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Keuka College News > Author Archives: Rachel E. Dewey

Meet New Faculty: OT, management and sociology

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of Q&As with full-time faculty members who recently joined us at Keuka College. Today, meet three of the College’s new additions.

Dr. Kristen Bacon, assistant professor of occupational therapy, teaches OCC 430, guiding students in theories for field practice

Last book read: Pedretti’s Occupational Therapy Practice skills for physical dysfunction.

Favorite quote: Two personal quotes of mine: ”I don’t do math in public,” & “I’m an OT. I can adapt and overcome…almost anything.”

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Tinker Bell… because she can fly anywhere she wants.

What makes teaching fun: The variety of students on campus, their personalities, & the satisfaction knowing you’ve taught the students part of something they’ll be using for the career.

What do you do for fun? I enjoy spending time with my husband & two daughters and together we enjoy family time and camping.

Dr. Mikhail Sher, assistant professor of operations management, currently teaches BUS 330 on operations and production management, and will teach a variety of management, finance and business analytics courses in the future.

Last book read: “The Power of Intuition” by Gary Klein. This book is about how we can use our intuition to make better decisions at work as well as in our personal lives.

Favorite quote: “It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.” — W. Edwards Deming

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Neo from “The Matrix.” Do I really need to say why?

What makes teaching fun: I love seeing the growth and progress of my students!

What do you do for fun? I enjoy playing chess, watching football (Go Steelers!!!) and spending time outdoors.

Dr. Jessica MacNamara, assistant professor of sociology, joined the campus in 2014, and teaches classes including: Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of the Family, Environmental Sociology, Social Problems, Methods of Social Research, Applied Research Methods, First Year Workshop in Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Sociology, FYE Popular Culture & Society, and Independent Study in Sociology of Gender and Transgender Studies.

Last book read: “In the Shadow of the Banyan” by Vaddey Ratner

Favorite quote: “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” —Paulo Freire, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: I can’t think of a single fictional character I’d like to be. I prefer my real life to anything fictional. But in terms of historical figures, I would enjoy spending a day in the life of W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963), American Sociologist and social reformer.

What makes teaching fun: Both the students and teaching subjects I’m passionate about make it fun!

What do you do for fun? I like to hike, swim, and travel.

Seven Keuka College Nurses, Professor Nominated in 2015 “Nurse of the Year” Awards

Seven Keuka College nurses and one nurse education professor have been nominated for the Fifth Annual March of Dimes  “Nurse of the Year” awards gala. The Keuka College nurses will be among the nominees to be recognized Friday, Sept. 18 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

The event honors outstanding nurses from across upstate New York and throughout the Finger Lakes region who have been nominated for their service in some 22 different categories. In past years, the gala has raised more than $75,000 for the March of Dimes, a long-standing, non-profit organization with a mission to improve the health of mothers and babies, prevent birth defects and premature birth and reduce infant mortality.

The following Keuka College nurses have been nominated across several categories:

Nurses can be nominated for the March of Dimes awards by patients, coworkers, friends, family or other health professionals. Last year, five nurses, including Witter, and Dr. Vicki Record, assistant professor of nursing, also received nominations.

“The Nursing Division at Keuka College congratulates the nominees and are proud of their tremendous accomplishments,” said Dr. Debra Gates, chair of the division. “Keuka College nurses are certainly having an impact regionally and seeing nominations each year for these prestigious awards is testament to that. It’s really wonderful that the March of Dimes takes the time to celebrate nurses and the difference they make. We salute all these leaders in the field of nursing.”   

Fine Art Tiles With a Story to Tell

Part of the "Come Sail Away" series featuring a background recovered from a silent movie theater in Wausau, Wis. Each sailboat design is one of a kind.

Years ago, anyone wishing to enjoy the patterned art of a tin ceiling —popular in Victorian architecture—would suffer a crink in the neck as they looked up. But thanks to Nancy Fobert, tin ceiling remnants reclaimed and enhanced with color glazing live anew as contemporary wall art – no neck strain necessary.

Members of the College community and the public are invited to an artists’ reception featuring the glazed antique tin art tiles of Fobert Designs from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 at Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library at Keuka College. Light refreshments and music will accompany the event and Fobert hopes guests will enjoy learning the stories and provenance, or origin, behind each unique piece.

A self-taught artist who has made her living by showcasing her unique creations at juried art festivals for the past seven years, Fobert and her husband, Gary, seek out antique tin ceilings across the country. They have now uncovered original tin ceilings or remnants of ceilings in 50 cities across 12 states, including the Brother’s Lounge jazz club in Cleveland where BB King and other greats played, Willard State Psychiatric Hospital near Ovid, N.Y., an old saloon in Florida, and a silent movie theater in Wausau, Wis.

Signature Butterfly Series pattern, crafted in the "Step In Time" format

When found, Gary Fobert will remove the original tin and transport it back to their home outside Watkins Glen, where he’ll clean off 100 years or more of grime. Depending on its appearance then, “that tells me if I’ll want to add color to the glaze or not,” Nancy Fobert said. While she prefers to keep specifics of her multi-layer process a trade secret, Nancy said she uses a combination of acrylics and signature glazes to enhance the beauty of the original tin patterns. Rather than use a traditional kiln, the couple lays pieces out under the sun to set the glaze.

A special three-panel commission featuring tin recovered from Mechanicsburg, Pa.: "Birch Tree Stand."

Typically, the tin comes from commercial or public properties, but sometimes from private homes, such as one family’s aged cabin in the Adirondacks. Most tin ceilings originated in the late 1800s when ornate plaster engravings adorning ceilings across Europe were desired for American architecture. However, America lacked the trained artisans of Europe, and tin ceilings—painted white—were an economic alternative to European plaster, particularly with the boon in steel and metals during the industrial revolution. Eventually, manufacturers began rolling tin out in sheets, impressing ornate patterns into the metal; squares of engraved tin were fitted together in a fashion similar to contemporary drop ceilings. Tin ceilings were popular through the 1930s.

"Point of View," crafted to resemble a stained glass window.

“They have their own story to tell as far as the history of where each piece comes from,” Nancy Fobert said, adding that the provenance of each tin is documented on the back of her finished “tiles.”

Admitting her craft is “definitely not traditional art,” Nancy Fobert says some of the pieces will be further enhanced with mirrors her husband embeds in cut tin, or wooden frames made by her 75-year-old father, an antiques dealer. In several pieces, small holes or physical elements resembling the keyhole of a door can be found, as she likes to say “I unlocked the beauty of the tin.”

“We felt like the world was missing out on this as an art material and that inspired us to save as much as possible by doing this. I love that we’re preserving part of history,” she says. While her fine art designs can complement many different styles of homes, she adds, “we don’t want to lose the character and integrity of the tin itself. We want you to feel that yes, you are looking at a piece of history, but now it’s made contemporary and cool.”

The Fobert Designs exhibit continues through Oct. 24 at Lightner Gallery and will include the College’s second annual Green & Gold Celebration Weekend. Plans are also in the works for Fobert to speak to art and design students on entering juried art shows.

According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, her students can benefit from the opportunity to connect with a professional artist making a living in the field of high-end art. “A lot of students will look for ways to survive on their own as artists and Nancy’s a great example of how it can be done,” Newcomb says.

Rethinking First Impressions

American history is full of examples of people whose appearance, background, religion, sex, or race caused other people to discount them at the beginning, but who overcame that underestimation to make important contributions.

So said Dr. Christopher Leahy, professor of history and the 2014-15 Professor of the Year at Keuka College, in his keynote address Tuesday at academic convocation, which marks the official opening of the 2015-16 academic year. The ceremony includes a colorful processional with upperclassman bearing flags from around the world and faculty in regalia lining the sidewalk to Norton Chapel and applauding new students as they enter. This year, a record-setting number of new students experienced this symbolic rite of passage.

In Dr. Leahy’s address, the eight-year faculty veteran challenged students to resist the temptation to discount what someone else might teach them because of “superficial attributes.” He gave two examples from American history of individuals initially underestimated who defied expectations to make an undeniable mark: Al Smith, a NY State Assemblyman and four-term governor, and Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist and one-time Congressional candidate from Mississippi.

New members of the Keuka College Class of 2019.

“People underestimated both Al Smith and Fannie Lou Hamer,” Dr. Leahy contended. “In Smith’s case, his colleagues in the NY State Assembly believed they had nothing to learn from a Bowery Irishman whose accent and (Catholic) religion were suspect. In Hamer’s case, her impoverished background, her race—and her sex—led white Mississippians to doubt her resolve and ability to effect change… Enough people doubted them, or told them they could not succeed, that they might have started to believe it themselves. Yet they did not.”

According to Dr. Leahy, Smith’s lack of formal education and Catholic background garnered condescension from Ivy League-educated legislators from elsewhere in the state, when he first won his Assembly seat in 1903. Yet Smith fought to prove himself, committing legislative bills to memory, sponsoring bills of his own, and leading the commission investigating the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911. Ultimately, Smith was elected governor of New York in 1917, served four terms and became the first Catholic to earn the Democratic nomination for U.S. President in 1928.

The granddaughter of slaves and child to sharecropper parents, Hamer became a vocal activist in the civil rights movement, literally singing hymns to scores of African-Americans riding buses to voter registration stations throughout the state. Famous for the line “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Hamer endured an arrest, jail beating and other persecutions to rally African-Americans and white students in the North to support civil rights. Her work helped bring national attention to the Civil Rights Bill championed by Pres. Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In addition to a run for Congress, Hamer also fought to win seats for African-American delegates of the Mississippi Freedom Party at the Democratic National Convention; stymied in 1964, she succeeded by 1968.

Dr. Leahy even shared a personal instance of underestimation: as a high school sophomore in Baltimore, Leahy complained to a friend after just one class that his new European history teacher, Dr. Dan Allen, was a boring government bureaucrat with a funny accent. But Leahy learned quite a lesson as Dr. Allen—who’d overheard the complaints —dismantled every presumption Leahy made, in the next class and over the course of the year.

Professor of the Year Dr. Christopher Leahy, right, with President Díaz-Herrera.

An embarrassed Leahy was surprised to learn that Dr. Allen had a background in military intelligence with the U.S. Air Force, and spent four years working as the American embassy’s military expert in Czechoslovakia. Further, Dr. Allen was a friend of Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick, the Georgetown University professor who helped shape American policy during the Cold War as Pres. Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Dr. Allen eventually became one of Leahy’s favorite teachers and inspired him to pursue a doctorate of his own.

Dr. Leahy closed with a 1910 quote from President Theodore Roosevelt that advocates credit be given to the individual who “strives valiantly,” in spite of coming short, “spends himself in a worthy cause;” and who ultimately experiences either the enthusiasms and devotions of high achievement or who “at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.’”

Brief remarks to welcome new students were also shared Tuesday by College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera and Alan Ziegler, vice-chair of the Board of Trustees. The president encouraged students that the College will prepare them for the journey of their professional life, particularly through developing individuals who know how to apply digital technology within the context of their respective professions. The College’s Digital Learning@Keuka College (DL@KC) initiative includes a digital studies minor and incorporates digital literacy throughout the curriculum.

“My advice to you, Class of 2019, is to learn as much about this as you can. Learn to read and write code, the new literacy,” Dr. Díaz-Herrera challenged, posing questions aspects of DL@KC could answer within a number of academic majors. “You will learn that you have the power to do amazing things. When you graduate from Keuka College you will have that thread of digital literacy woven through all aspects of your education.”

Click here for more photos from Academic Convocation

Snapshots of Our Adult Graduates

Editor’s Note: For adults interested in fitting a bachelor’s or master’s degree program around an already-busy work and home life, the Keuka College Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) may offer the shortest route to reach their goal.  Here, five of our graduates describe the primary benefits of pursuing their respective degrees at sites across Western New York near where they live and work, and the steps they are taking into the future.

Heather Bock of Canandaigua, N.Y.
Major: M.S. in Management
Where she took KC ASAP classes: Finger Lakes Community College

Why she pursued her degree through our ASAP program: Getting a master’s degree was one of my life goals. After a recent promotion into management at work, I knew that I needed to prioritize that. As a full-time professional, I needed a program that would fit my schedule, while providing a fantastic education. The Keuka College ASAP MSM program offered me exactly what I needed to achieve my goals.

Notable highlights of her KC degree program: Seeing my hard work come together into a data-driven paper for the Action Research Project (ARP) was a form of personal validation that I had not experienced before. I am also passionate about my job so having a project that contributed to what I do each day motivated me.

Personal benefits? The course work exposed me to ethics, leadership, and business law, which I have been able to translate into my personal life. I use the theory discussed in the leadership course almost every day, both at work and at home.

Next steps: I will continue in the same position, but through completing my degree, I see lots of opportunity for growth in my career.

Matt Carpenter of Rochester, N.Y.
Major: M.S. in Criminal Justice Administration
Where he took KC ASAP classes: MCC – Damon Center

Why he pursued his degree through our ASAP program: I have been an active instructor at the police academy since 2008, and thoroughly enjoy teaching. The next logical step was to obtain my master’s degree. Another reason I returned to college was the personal satisfaction of achievement, and the hope to inspire my five daughters to never settle or make excuses against hard work.

Notable highlights during the program: I received the 2015 Rochester Area Colleges’ Continuing Education (RACCE) Outstanding Adult Student Award. My Action Research Project (ARP) directly related to work I do instructing in defensive tactics and helped me to better understand and explain portions of the police recruit training curriculum.

Next steps: I am looking for positions as an adjunct professor at local colleges and also looking for a Ph.D. program.

Shawn Lorraine Futch of Rochester, N.Y.
Major: B.S. Organizational Management (2014)
Where she took classes: MCC – Damon Center

Why she pursued a Keuka College degree through the ASAP program: This lifelong desire had been derailed by life’s challenges.

Notable highlights of her KC degree program: I have a higher standard in my personal work ethic now. Having six of my grandchildren at my graduation was another highlight. My grandson watched in awe. After the ceremony he told his mother he “came from a family of hard workers.”  We now have a family benchmark: everyone has to have at least a bachelors’ degree.

What she most valued in her Keuka College education?: I had a stroke two months prior to starting the program so this was a challenge because my speech and mental capacity had been affected. Having supportive teachers who were willing to work with me after hours when needed was a huge benefit and it contributed to my success.

Emily Grose of Horseheads, N.Y.
Major: M.S. in Nursing with a concentration in nursing education (2014)
Where she took KC ASAP classes: Arnot-Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, N.Y.

Why she pursued her degree through the ASAP program: After accepting a new position at work, I believed an advanced degree would help me excel and achieve future professional goals.  I have always been interested in nursing education, and the Keuka College ASAP program offered that component which many other online and hybrid programs did not.

Notable highlights of her KC degree program: My Field Period™ allowed me to put to use many of the techniques and concepts we had learned in class. I learned a lot about the nursing academia field, and I made connections with experienced nursing instructors who were eager and willing to share their experiences and be a resource for me both in and outside of the classroom.
I was also inducted as a Nurse Leader to Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society

What she most valued in her KC education?  The experience and professionalism of all the professors.  They are all masters of their content areas and approachable, so I felt that I truly was learning from the best of the best. I also value the relationships forged with my cohort. I love that we all stay in touch and continue to support one another personally and professionally!

Personal benefits? The location and class times were easy for me to accommodate while working full-time and having a newborn at home.

Next steps: I have accepted a full-time position at Corning Community College as a clinical instructor and am very excited to start in the fall! The Field Period™ really helped me to realize that this setting was where I excelled. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity so soon after completing my degree.

Michelle McGlory Whyte of Canandaigua, N.Y.
Major: B.S. in Social Work (2014)
Where she took classes: Finger Lakes Community College

Why she pursued her degree through our ASAP program: As a stay-at-home mother of three young children, I was motivated to brighten the future of our family and be a role model in continuing education.

Notable parts of her KC degree program: The social work values taught throughout the program were extremely valuable. Returning to school as an adult and a parent felt like a daunting task, but the ASAP program made it practical.

What she most valued in her KC education? Flexibility, awareness of working adults and family along with some wonderful professors.

Next stepsI recently completed my MSW in an advanced standing program and currently work at the University of Rochester as a psychiatric therapist.