Skip to content

Keuka College News > Author Archives: Rachel E. Dewey

Putting Some Soul Into Design

Self-portrait of the artist (Sandra Devaux)

Sandra Devaux believes art should contain something of the soul. A lifelong aficionado of art and design, Devaux also enjoys finding words that convey her aesthetic beliefs.

One of those words, “meraki,” means “to do something with soul, creativity or love; to put something of yourself into your work,” and given the term reflects her relationship with the world of art, Devaux chose it as the title of her exhibit. “Meraki,” which runs through Dec. 11 in Lightner Gallery at Lightner Library, features many branded creations Devaux has created for Keuka College, as well as photography and select drawings. An artist reception with light refreshments will be held Thursday, Nov. 12 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. and Devaux hopes guests who attend will see beyond words and graphics to the creative passion beneath them.

Drawings by Devaux

“I like to incorporate more artistic sensibilities into the design process. A lot of people think of graphic design as functional and practical, but I want people to see it as an art as well,” Devaux said.

Indeed, Devaux’s work has taken her to New York City, before a return home to Penn Yan, where, after a two-year transition freelancing for the New York Yankees and designing ads for a weekly newspaper, she joined the College in December 2012. Since then, Devaux has made her mark, so to speak, revamping a number of print and digital materials across the College before being tasked with a lead role in transforming the visual identity, including the school’s logo and its athletics mascot, in 2014. In recognition for that work, she received the school’s highest employee award, the Presidential Award for Sustained Outstanding Achievement, in August 2014.

A fresh perspective on color palettes by Sandra Devaux

According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and curator of Lightner Gallery, it was important to showcase the work of a graphic designer at the gallery. The College offers a major in Art and Design, and a minor in digital design has just been added to the curriculum as well.

“Sandra’s work has impacted the College aesthetically in so many ways.  She is so talented, and has learned from some of the best, including Milton Glaser In New York City,” Newcomb added, referring to the man artists consider the “Father of Design.”

When Devaux first moved to the Big Apple in July 2005 she applied for an internship at Milton Glaser, Inc. and spent a few months under the tutelage of Glaser and his design team. Glaser is known for the state’s famous “I (Heart) NY” icon and the popular silhouette of Bob Dylan with multicolor hair.

College of design materials for the NY Yankees

“What really excited me about working there was the passion and dedication everyone had, a drive to communicate a message in a way that made it appealing and as clear as possible. That was really the first experience for me in the real world and it was very encouraging to work with people so dedicated to what they do. It was an amazing start in the right direction,” Devaux said.

From there, Devaux freelanced a short time for mNovack Design in New York, designing materials for hospitals and city colleges. The transition from internship to freelance work was fortuitous, she said, as she ultimately landed a job at the Catch 24 Advertising and Design Agency in Manhattan. There, she was assigned to national accounts including DirectTV, Lufthansa Airlines, American Express and the Yankees. She worked in New York City almost seven years before returning home to Penn Yan.

Devaux uses unique angles to showcase a collage of College designs.

A few select works from Devaux’s big-city career appear in her show; most, however, are more recent designs created for the College. But while Devaux hopes guests enjoy seeing some original prints, feeling textured paper and flipping pages, she didn’t merely frame her works. Many print pieces on the gallery walls are presented from a new perspective, one created when Devaux photographed them, often by spreading the works across a surface and shooting at an angle or adding filter effects.

“It’s amazing how typography and imagery can take on an entirely different personality depending how you look at it,” she said. “Including photographs that show design in a more abstract way helps convey that sense of art as well, and I want them to see design as I see it.”

Big Night, Big Wins for Keuka College Alumni

Election Day 2015 was a stellar success for two Keuka College graduates. Aileen McNabb-Coleman ’00 and Tom Drumm ’15 both won seats in the Cayuga and Oswego county legislatures, respectively.

Aileen Coleman-McNabb, center, celebrates her victory Election Night. (Image courtesy the Auburn Citizen.)

Running on the Democrat, Independent and Working Family lines, Mc-Nabb-Coleman defeated opponent Joseph Runkle, to win a four-year term in Cayuga’s 6th District seat. Meanwhile, Drumm, who ran on the Democratic and Women’s Equality lines for Oswego’s 16thDistrict seat, defeated Republican opponent James Scanlon and will serve a two-year term. At Keuka College, McNabb-Coleman earned a degree in unified childhood/special education while Drumm earned degrees in political science and history and organizational communication.

“I believe strongly in engagement and participation in local government,” said McNabb-Coleman “Due to the climate of the national stage of politics, I find that citizens are disengaged; couple that with having busy careers and family life, and it is difficult to increase awareness.”

So she did something about it.

McNabb-Coleman and her family. (Image courtesy Aileen McNabb-Coleman).

“When I finally decided to run for county legislator, what drove me was the idea of setting our county on a new fiscally responsible path so that my children could enjoy the fruits of our labor—and representing women on a 15-member, all male, county legislature,” said McNabb-Coleman, who used the phrase “Run Like a Girl” in her campaign signs to reinforce her position.

Drumm said he ran on a message of “new energy and new blood” at the county level. He started getting that message out about six months ago when he launched his campaign and sticking to it proved effective, he said.

“I think those in the county are craving new leadership,” Drumm said. “I discussed that we seem to have become stagnant, whether in social issues or some economic areas as well.”

Drumm’s campaign got a boost the Sunday before Election Day from six political science and history majors at Keuka College who traveled to Oswego with Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science and history. After convening briefly at the union hall for Oswego’s UA Local 73 to hear from Drumm about his platform, the group picked up campaign literature and set out to help Drumm make door-to-door visits.

The Keuka College team with Dr. Narasimhan, center, gave Drumm, left of her, in blue, a final boost.

“It was huge how that team helped me cover my entire district in a day,” Drumm said. “My opponent was a lifelong resident in the city, raised a family and he’s lived here probably 45 years, and sometimes that works to people’s advantage. I’m fresh out of college and it can take a lot to establish a coalition. The big thing is the final push – you have to turn out the vote. To get a push like that from students who traveled two hours to Oswego to help knock on doors for a campaign like mine – I’m in debt to them. I’m so grateful.”

According to Dr. Narasimhan, three of the students had never met Tom and several were interested in getting involved politically back home so they were eager to hear his story and his advice.

Drumm and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, during Drumm's freshman-year Field Period™ at one of Schumer's regional offices.

“He used each Field Period™ experience and his major to explore different avenues, and was able to tell my students about the connections he made and how he found an office to run for,” Dr. Narasimhan said, describing how Drumm learned from local party leaders the strategy they envisioned for him to win an open seat. The canvassing experience “absolutely” aligned with the College’s focus on experiential learning, she added.

During his time as a student, Drumm conducted separate Field Period™ experiences with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) and the NYS Democratic Committee. He also completed his senior practicum with Doug Lippincott, Keuka College’s executive director of grants, government relations and compliance. Some of the individuals he met became mentors, Drumm said.

“It’s very rewarding to see it all pay off  – it’s exciting, and honestly, it’s a little overwhelming,” Drumm said, attributing his win to “not only how much I’ve learned but the amazing people I met during college —professors like Drs. Narasimhan, Chris Leahy, David Leon—who gave me the confidence and knowledge to be able to make a political run at 22.”

Both Drumm and McNabb-Coleman will be sworn into their new offices in early January.

Meet New Faculty: Social Work, Spanish and Nursing

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of Q&As with full-time faculty members who recently came aboard at Keuka College. Today, meet three of our professors.

Dr. Margaret “Malia” Spofford-Xavier, assistant professor of Spanish and intercultural studies, currently teaches all Spanish classes as well as ENG 207 (Latin American literature and society) and INS301R (Intercultural Studies). She joined the faculty at the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

Last book read: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Favorite quote: “Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.” (Author unknown)

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why:  The Little Prince has always charmed me with his optimism and creativity.

What makes teaching fun:  I enjoy getting to know students as they transform their dreams into reality through critical thinking and hard work.

What do you do for fun?  I like to jog, kayak, and garden. I spend time with my husband Bruno and two children, Nicholas and Olivia. We enjoy cooking, being outdoors, swimming, and visiting the library.

Christopher Clinton, assistant professor of social work, directs the BSW field placement program for the Division of Social Work. Currently, he teaches Social Work Practice I, SW Policy II and Senior Practicum.

Last book read: Joseph Campbell “The Power of Myth”

Favorite quote: “I have the world’s largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world … perhaps you’ve seen it,” by Steven Wright.

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: The Cat in the Hat, the greatest of iconoclasts, challenger of authority all the while awakening the mind and spirit to a new world of possibilities that would have otherwise remained hidden.  Be careful what you wish for children, this cat will surely take you to the edge of your comfort zone, hang you by your feet staring down at the abyss of new possibilities and consequences and then throw you back on your comfy-cushy couch begging for more….and once that iconoclastic kitty-cat leaves, you will never be satisfied with your once-accepted status quo. Best of all, after all that mayhem and unadulterated fun, you don’t have to lift a finger to clean up. Let’s not forget that he also banished Dick and Jane to the bookshelves of the humdrum and uninspired: ”What would you do if your mother asked you?”

What makes teaching fun:  When the effort and consciousness of teaching dissolves and we are effortlessly learning, consumed by the moment and collectively transformed by the experience. Spontaneous forays into role plays all the while making new connections between seemingly disparate concepts that fold into one another as if they were puzzle pieces effortlessly falling into place before our very eyes. How did that happen?

What do you do for fun? Hiking or hiking and hunting for mushrooms, listening to and playing music, tennis and kayaking.

Dr. Darlene Del Prato, professor of nursing, teaches Philosophy and Theories of Teaching and Learning, Nursing Theory and Research, Teaching and Learning Environments and Governance, Health Care Policy, Teaching and Learning Methods. She joined the faculty in early 2015.

Last book read: Parker Palmer’s “The Heart of Higher Eduction: A Call to Renewal”

Favorite quote: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”  Vince Lombardi

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Hmm, I don’t typically read fiction.

What makes teaching fun: The energy and exchange of ideas!

What do you do for fun? I enjoy being on the water, long walks in nature, gardening, and spending time with family and good friends.


Meet New Faculty: Finance, Biology and Occupational Therapy

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

Dr. Lee-Hsien (Ken) Pan, assistant professor of finance, is teaching classes in international finance and intermediate accounting this semester.

Last book read: “My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore’s Billingual Journey” by Lee Kuan Yew.

Favorite quote: Fight to the death; never give up!

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Bruce Lee. He is a strong man not only physically but also spiritually.

What makes teaching fun: Exchanging thoughts and experiences with students are the happiest thing in the world.

What do you do for fun? Play tennis, listen to music, and watch YouTube videos.

Dr. Luciana Cursino-Parent (aka “Dr. C”), assistant professor of biology, is teaching BIO102 “Science of Life” and BIO 135 “Cells and Organisms” this semester.

Last book read: “The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning” by James E. Zull

Favorite quote: none.

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why: Little Lulu Moppet because she reminds of myself as a little girl with my two brothers, based on a description of the character: “She is a very good little girl, and rarely initiates a battle with the boys; she just takes them on when they bother her or the other girls. Lulu is very imaginative, and she tells stories to Alvin to divert him from mischief and teach him a lesson. She also records some of her adventures in “Lulu’s Diary”

What makes teaching fun: Watching my students have fun and experiencing the “I get it” moment.

What do you do for fun? Outdoor activities: in summer and fall  - swimming and fishing; in the winter – snowmobiling and ice fishing.

Cassie Hey MSM, OTR/L, is assistant professor of occupational therapy and joined the faculty in 2014. She is currently teaching classes in mental health application and mental health community application.

Last book read: “Log Hotel” by Anne Schreiber. It is always the last book I read, as it is my 7-year old son’s favorite bedtime story.

Favorite quote: “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better” – Abraham Lincoln

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why:  Eowyn from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, due to her strength, compassion and courage.

What makes teaching fun: Seeing students gain passion and making connections

What do you do for fun? I enjoy spending time with my family and children, golfing and working on our “hobby farm.”


Ceremony Marks First New Building for Keuka College in 40 Years

From left to right, are: : David Waite, project manager for Krog Corp., Bebette Yunis, Keuka College Board of Trustees member, Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College, Bob Schick, chair of the College Board of Trustees, Jerry Hiller, vice president for finance and administration at Keuka College and Paul Neureuter, president of Krog Corp.

A ceremonial ground-breaking for the coming Keuka Commons building —the first new construction on the Keuka College campus in more than 40 years —was held Oct. 17. The ceremony was staged at the corners of Central and Assembly Avenues where the new building will be erected; actual construction is not slated to begin until November.

President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera was joined by Board of Trustees Chair Bob Schick, Vice President for Finance and Administration Jerry Hiller, Trustee Bebette Yunis and two members of the Krog Corp. of Buffalo for the ceremonial dig.

Chairman Schick welcomed members of the Board of Trustees, along with alumni and College employees to the morning ceremony, which took place during Green & Gold Celebration Weekend. This year’s festivities also marked the College’s 125th anniversary.

Schick announced that the two-story, 28,000- square foot building will house the College’s bookstore, cafe, health center, Center for Professional Studies (CPS), Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics (CBAHI), and provide additional retail space that can be used for new ventures.

Digital rendering of the exterior of the two-story Keuka Commons building.

“Since 1890, the leaders of Keuka College have been committed to enhancing the education and experience of local residents,” Schick said, adding that the joint-venture project with Krog Corp. will improve amenities for students and community neighbors. “As the leaders of Keuka College, We Believe in What We Can Do Together with and for our local residents and campus community,” he concluded.

President Díaz-Herrera added his enthusiasm for the new project, indicating the return of CPS staff to the main campus will unify adult student programs with traditional ones on campus, and that watching CBAHI programs harnessing the tools of technology and data analytics in partnership with emerging businesses will be exciting.

President Díaz-Herrera speaks

According to Dr. Díaz-Herrera, the construction of Keuka Commons will help carry forward the new vision for the school, which builds upon the one established by founder Dr. George Harvey Ball 125 years ago. In the 1880s, Díaz-Herrera said, Dr. Ball envisioned an educational institution that would meet the needs of the region’s youth with an emphasis on academic achievement, community service and practical trades.

“Since then, our College has remained focused on preparing students for success through rigorous academics, professional practice, community service and personal transformation,” Díaz-Herrera said. “I’m so excited to be part of the continued vision of George Harvey Ball and to be part of Keuka College at this time in history when we are building and growing for a bright future. Let’s dig in!”