This spring’s senior art show at Keuka College will feature the works of four seniors, each accomplished artists in their own rights and each with their own signature style.
Their joint exhibit, “Underneath It All,” will be featured in Lightner Gallery in the Lightner Library at Keuka College from April 20 – May 15. An artists’ reception, where light refreshments will be served, will be held Thursday, April 23, from 4:30-6 p.m.
Within the show are four separate themes conveying the work of each student artist. Potsdam resident Kaycee Maguire’s segment, “Ode to Spring,” features patterned designs created by the lacrosse midfielder who is completing a minor in graphic design and marketing. Horseheads resident Danielle Alred created a series of movie posters depicting the hidden, inner world where people can battle any of the seven deadly sins, while appearing otherwise fine on the outside in her works, “7 Deadly.” Dundee resident Jesse Ninos is going big with his larger-than-life mixed media and graphic design with an art noveau style in “We are Dragons.” Meanwhile, Interlaken resident Megan Chase uses watercolor paint, black india ink and fabrics to showcase women “Breaking the Boundaries” of traditional standards of beauty.
“I see women as snowflakes— while there are millions, there are no two who are exactly alike. Our differences as human beings should be praised rather than shamed,” Chase offered as explanation for her presented works.
In her four years on campus, Chase said she was able to explore many different mediums and styles of art as well as writing (she’s passionate about both) and will graduate with a diverse skill set, thanks to her visual and verbal art degree. After a digital photography course followed by a Foundations of Art course during her freshman year, Chase said she chose to switch her major from English to visual and verbal art.
“I am leaving Keuka College with a lot more than just an art degree, I’m leaving with communication skills that can be applied to all other aspects in life as well as a career. The program here has really allowed me to find and pursue my passions in life and I believe it allows all art majors to do so,” Chase said.
For Maguire, Keuka College offers a “ton of resources,” she said, counting Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, among them. “Ms. Newcomb is a great advisor who always pushes students to strive for the best,” Maguire said.
“Graduating as one of the first few with an art & design major is awesome,” Maguire added, referring to the major the College introduced in 2013. “I have a ton of experience in a variety of fields. This program is headed in a great direction.”
And it’s preparing graduates for success too, as evidenced by the job offer Danielle Alred of Horseheads already received, to join the Elmira Jackals hockey team as its art director after graduation. Alred conducted a Field Period™ study with the Jackals in January, providing graphic design support for the East Coast Hockey (ECHL) minor league team, producing designs for their website, Jumbo-Tron and outdoor billboards, as well as social media. She credits her ability to stand out to the Jackals and others because of the handful of art classes she began taking each year after discovering a passion for graphic design in her sophomore year.
“As soon as I stepped foot into that design class I fell in love with art, which led to my student-initiated minor in digital design. Having a minor in digital design and having the skills in various Adobe design programs has helped me to stand out on campus as well as at Field Period™ sites. Being in the art program has led to a variety of different opportunities that honed my skills in not only graphic design but in a variety of different art forms,” the organizational communication major said.
Ninos too, can boast enhanced skills through his Keuka College training, having produced works in mediums that span everything from spray-painted street art, caricatures, sculpture, comics-style art and graphic design. Describing himself as “infatuated” with mixed media, Ninos has begun to focus on fantasy-themed works evocative of his artistic idols Alan Lee (illustrator of Lord of the Rings), Mary Doodles of YouTube fame, and various DC, Marvel and Wildcats comic-book artists.
“I have learned that I love capturing the element of movement, with strong lines, the essence of an organic object or the gesture of a figure drawing coming alive on the page,” Ninos said, adding that his best work often consumes eight hours or more.
Ninos said he enjoys creating art that can serve “as a strong narrative element in storytelling.” Given his love of movement, expression and emotion in art, he is pursuing further study and has applied to graduate art programs at SUNY Oswego and Alfred University.
Newcomb praised the seniors for preparing unique works reflecting different life values, beliefs, interests or personal identification with the world, and in doing so in a short two-and-a-half months time.
“Each one has a strong presence, and powerful statement built through layers of meaning,” Newcomb said. “They are leaving a strong impression on the future of the Art & Design program.”
Keuka College will welcome a visiting scholar from Nigeria to campus April 27 and 28, thanks to the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF). A senior lecturer in engineering at Nnamdi Azikiwe Unversity in Awka, Nigeria, Dr. Matthew Menkiti is currently conducting research at Texas Tech University as a Fulbright visiting scholar.
Dr. Menkiti will speak twice during his campus visit. His first lecture, entitled Petroleum Produced Water Treatment Processes and Management,” will focus on the utilization of novel plant and animal extracts as active treatment agents and will be held from 4 – 5:30 p.m. in Hegeman Hall, Room 109. In his second talk, entitled “Republican Democracy in the Traditional ‘Igbo Nation’ of Nigeria,” he will focus on his home culture. That lecture will focusing on the evolution and influence of Europeanization from the colonial to post-colonial era, and will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Brezinsky Room of Dahlstrom Student Center. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
Since 1946, the federally-funded international educational exchange program has been operating and is considered an important diplomatic tool, building relationships between American academics, policy experts, and students and their foreign counterparts. Each year, some 800 faculty and professionals from around the world receive highly competitive Fulbright Scholar grants to travel to higher education institutions to conduct advanced research and lecture at other universities on their research specialties and the history and culture of their home countries. American faculty can also apply for competitive grants to travel abroad for research or teaching opportunities, while students can apply for international exchange study.
Through the Fulbright Scholar Program, U.S. students, faculty and community members have the opportunity to exchange ideas with visiting Fulbright scholars and the foreign scholars themselves can become better acquainted with U.S. higher education, and create links between their home institutions, host institutions stateside and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).
According to Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science, this is the first time Keuka College has welcomed a Fulbright scholar as a visiting lecturer, and it’s the beginning of what she hopes will be many new academic advantages for the College, its faculty and students.
For example, the College could apply to host a Fulbright visiting scholar on campus for a year, and Narasimhan is particularly excited about the possibility of hosting foreign language tutors who could teach new languages to Keuka College students. Meanwhile, Keuka College faculty could apply for Fulbright scholarships to teach abroad or conduct research.
“I’ve always dreamed of doing a Fulbright [scholarship] to go back to Romania where I did my undergraduate degree and teach there, maybe for a semester or a year,” Narasimhan said.
Among the campus community, Dr. Wendy Gaylord, dean of the Keuka China Program (KCP), in which Chinese students at four partner schools overseas receive Keuka College degrees, received a Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) award in 2002-03 to conduct research for her dissertation in Indonesia. She gave the program high praise, saying that “the Fulbright community was a wonderful group of doctoral students doing dissertation research in various fields, professors teaching or doing research and [foreign] scholars going to the U.S. for study or research or teaching.”
No matter what opportunities may be sought from the Fulbright program in the future, Narasimhan said that the first step is to host someone internationally recognized and distinguished for a campus visit. Dr. Menkiti’s visit will serve as the beginning of an “active relationship” with the Fulbright Scholar program.
“We’re going to start to take advantage of the opportunities that are available,” Narasimhan said.
To that end, Narasimhan and fellow assistant professor of political science, Dr. David Pak Leon, will host an informational session on the Fulbright program from 4-5 p.m., Tuesday, April 28 in Hegeman Hall, Room 109. Narasimhan and Leon are campus representatives for the Fulbright Scholar program.
“This is part of trying to encourage global citizenship and active engagement, whether at home or abroad,” Narasimhan said.
For more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program, visit online at: http://www.iie.org/fulbright.
For many area nonprofit organizations, the rhythm of daily operations can leave few resources to tackle special projects.
That’s why the 18-year community service day collaboration between Keuka College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, known as Celebrate Service …Celebrate Yates(CSCY), is so well-received by nonprofit leaders who welcome volunteers to help with spring cleaning and other projects.
And Sunday’s (April 12) annual day of service set new records, with a volunteer corps of students and community members some 297 strong chipping in at a record 32 nonprofit work sites around Yates County.
“As far as what it means to us, we really appreciate the help,” said Dick Smith, trustee for the Bluff Point United Methodist Church.
Smith was all smiles Sunday, welcoming four women from the Catholic Daughters of the Americas at St. Michael’s Church in Penn Yan to help rake stones pushed by snowplowing from the parking lot into the surrounding grass over the harsh winter months.
“We just couldn’t get it done otherwise,” Smith added, estimating a congregation where as many as 80 percent of parishioners may be seniors unable to labor long and the other 20 percent busy young families with little time to serve. A similar challenge faces St. Luke’s Episcopal in Branchport, where CSCY volunteers, including members of the Penn Yan Rotary and Keuka College women’s soccer team, reported to serve.
One of the Bluff Point volunteers —new Penn Yan resident Deborah Smith — said CSCY was one of the first local events she heard about after joining the Catholic Daughters.
“Good cause, great day, good exercise — all kinds of benefits are coming out of it,” Deborah Smith said, adding the event was also a great way to meet people in her new hometown.
At another corner of the church lot, the nearly 70-degree temperatures and bright sunshine found Deb Thurling in high spirits.
“I’m hoping to bulk up my muscles to bowl better on Tuesday and beat Pastor Judy [Wunder of Bluff Point UMC] and her husband in our senior league,” Thurling quipped.
Thurling’s enthusiasm was matched by four Keuka College students trekking the steep hills of Route 364 near Delooza Road with Rev. Jeff Childs of the Penn Yan United Methodist Church for the church’s two-mile stretch of “adopted” highway. Asked what exotic findings they’d uncovered, senior Brianna Jackson and junior Lakeisha Ford launched into a few bars of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” while sophomore Dakota Warren held out a skeletal bone from a cow. And not just any bone —Warren insisted her classroom training in occupational therapy classes confirmed it was a lumbar bone.
Other findings included a hubcap, a tire resembling a hula hoop, metal building pipes, parts of a house shingle, “and a little sign and a stick to make music,” according to senior Rachel Guthrie.
“I love this!” Guthrie said of her first CSCY experience. “I do highway cleanups at home in North Rose. It couldn’t be a better day.”
And it wasn’t just the great weather or the opportunity to give back that found so many volunteers relishing the moment. At the Yates County Habitat for Humanity site in Dresden, freshman Alyana Murphy said she likes “paying it forward,” but added, “It’s nice to know more about the community where I go to school, and I like how people from the College and community get together to help each other.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by four members of the Keuka College men’s golf team, assigned to the Keuka Lake chapter of the Izaak Walton League on Guayanoga Road. All four students, all first-time CSCY volunteers, were marveling at the quiet they’d discovered while stacking logs and moving brush as three members of the women’s soccer team tackled the windows and floors inside the clubhouse.
“It’s so peaceful, going from the campus to this,” said freshman Mike Parrow, while the sounds of small wildlife and a running stream nearby were heard. “We’re coming back, and we’re going fishing.”
The foursome knew they’d miss next weekend’s hunter safety course due to a golf match in New Jersey against Rutgers-Camden but were hoping to catch an upcoming chicken and biscuits dinner hosted by the Walton League May 2, said freshman Rory Doremus.
“I told them I got the applications right inside and we’re always looking for new members,” Skip Johnson, chapter president, said with a chuckle. “This is fun. I love working with the kids and everything.”
Indeed, many children and families participated this year, increasing the makeup of the volunteer corps to a 58 – 42 percent split between the College and community members, organizers reported.
And perhaps Kristine Mattison, a pre-K teacher at Penn Yan Elementary School serving at City Hill Cemetery in Penn Yan, could be the poster child for the value of starting young when it comes to community service.
“I grew up helping clean the City Hill Cemetery—it was my spring, summer, and fall job. And I still do. A lot of people have family buried here, including some of my relatives. Everyone works together to keep the cemetery clean and ready for visitors. Everyone here is having a great time,” she said.
CSCY is underwritten each year, thanks to the generous support of local businesses and merchants serving as sponsors. The 2015 Day of Service sponsors include: Arc of Yates, American Legion Post 355, AVI Fresh, Chrisanntha Construction, Eaves Family Dental Group, Ferro Corporation, Finger Lakes Realty, Graphic Connections, Keuka College Student Senate, the Office of Alumni and Family Relations, the Office of Student Affairs, Keuka Spring Vineyards, Knapp & Schlappi, Knights of Columbus, K-Ventures, Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 2030, Lyons National Bank, Phelps Sungas, Stork Insurance, and Tony Collins Class of ’77 Celebrity Golf Classic.
Hailed as a student who is passionate about the profession, and one with exceptional character and integrity, Brandon Jones ’15 was recently named one of six 2015 Student Social Workers of the Year for the Genesee Valley division of the state National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The Sodus resident, winner for Keuka College, received his award at a March 11 banquet, cheered on by Jen Mealey, associate professor of social work, Dr. Ed Silverman, assistant professor of social work and Stephanie Craig, chair of the division of social work.
The NASW award recognizes social work students who have made significant contributions in the field, including service, social justice, dignity, integrity and competence. And Jones’s contributions are indeed significant.
In addition to stellar academics that place him in the top three percent of social work majors at Keuka College, Jones is heavily involved in a number of campus groups and activities. He works as a peer mentor serving students with special needs in the campus DRIVE program (which stands for Diversity, Responsibility, Inclusion, Vision and Experiential Learning). He has participated in the annual Hunger Banquet event for the past two years, seeking to raise awareness about poverty to fellow students, faculty and staff, and he also works as a note taker in the Academic Success at Keuka College (ASK) office. Further, Jones is an active member of the Association of Future Social Workers (ASFW), the Psychology club, the LGBTQ Resource Center, PRIDE and Peer Advocates.
Currently, Jones is conducting his senior social work practicum with the LGBTQ Center of the Finger Lakes in Geneva, building additional advocacy skills already gleaned from lobbying on behalf of the LGBTQ population with fellow students attending the past two Equality and Justice Day gatherings in Albany. He is helping the Geneva organization plan FLX Pride, an LGBTQ festival, and begin programming for a twice-monthly support group for 13-to-22-year-olds across Yates, Wayne and Seneca Counties known as You Are Not Alone (YANA).
“I’m helping individuals with the coming out process or just being there if they want to talk. I’m more knowledgeable now about the LGBTQ community, in my terminology and all,” he said, adding that he has a personal life motto to strive to eliminate oppression and discrimination and promote acceptance. “I’ve always been an activist, but definitely the social work program brought it out in me.”
According to Mealey, who nominated Jones for the NASW honor, “Brandon is a charismatic individual who draws people to him,” offering undivided attention, and a listening ear.
“Brandon understands that being a social worker means participating in the suffering of other human beings. He holds each individual he interacts with in high regard,” Mealey said, adding that he is as passionate about advocating for the elderly, military veterans, and children as those in the LGBTQ community.
Jones credits Mealey, who visited his high school during his senior year, for inspiring him about the opportunities within the social work field and introducing him to Keuka College.
According to Jones, the leadership skills he developed at Keuka College helped him conquer the nerves he used to feel as a freshman, particularly when speaking in front of groups.
“Now, I’m so prepared, it’s easy and I’m a natural,” he said, crediting his Keuka College professors, particularly Craig and Mealey, for support and encouragement to do his best. “I don’t know where I’d be without them, to be honest.”
Following graduation, Jones plans to attend grad school at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. for a master’s degree in social work. He was awarded a $5,000 scholarship and his undergraduate honors earned him status as a second-year graduate student with advanced standing, meaning he will be able to complete his master’s degree in May 2016.
“It’s going to be a challenging program but I’m definitely ready and prepared,” he said, citing the 518-hour internship Marywood requires. Thanks to his four Keuka College Field Period™ experiences, “I’m not worried about that at all,” he said.
Indeed, his last two Field Period™ experiences went so well that his supervisors at both the Newark Manor Nursing Home and Rehabilitation and the Blossom View Nursing Home in Sodus, wanted to offer Jones a paid position for the exceptional care he was told he provided to elderly residents. With his plans for a master’s degree, he wasn’t able to accept the offer Blossom View was able to make, but said both Field Periods™ were “amazing” experiences.
Jones said he still hasn’t settled on which population to serve long-term when it’s time to join the workforce —LGBTQ or the elderly.
“I’m torn—I want to work with both, but I know I can’t do that,” he said. “I’m leaning more toward the field of geriatrics, just because I work really well with the elderly and I feel like it’s my calling.”
No matter which path Jones takes in the field of social work, his professors are confident he will make his mark.
“Brandon is a shining star who offers his warmth to those that cross his path,” Mealey said. “We are proud of what he has accomplished thus far and look forward to his future success in the profession.”
First came the stories. A year ago, fifth-graders in the Penn Yan Elementary School classroom of Terry Test ’73 met three times for interviews with Keuka College “authors” in the introductory English course “Literature in the Wider World” to craft stories from the perspective of each child. Now, colorful images bring an extra punch to the words on each page.
The project, dubbed “Who is Penn Yan?” was the brainchild of Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, Dr. Jennie Joiner. The goal was to provide both college and elementary students with a hands-on learning experience in story development and characterization.
Rather than an exercise in creative writing, the assignment emphasizes “the power of story,” Joiner said. “It’s catered to the child, and goes back to the narrative form and what it means to take someone’s story in your own hands and be responsible for it.”
This year, the collaboration took on new dimensions with the addition of an illustration component, provided by students in the book illustration course taught by Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and design. A group of college artists were assigned to produce illustrations spanning a wide range of artistic styles and mediums.
Both the stories and illustrations came together over several weeks during the fall semester. College artists met first with each child, to discuss what they had in mind. The fifth-graders borrowed books from the library to use as examples of styles they liked. The College author teams then spent three weeks meeting with fifth-graders at the elementary school to hear how the children envisioned their stories unfolding, jotting down notes each time to take back and work into drafts in progress. College artists then collaborated with authors to determine what key story element to illustrate for each one.
According to Test, the Keuka College students made quite an impression on her class.
“To have fifth-graders see a college student sit down and write and take notes—well, this year’s class was impressed. They mentioned it after the first day and I see much better note-taking than there was before,” she said, adding that she was also seeing improvements in their writing too, particularly in response to literature.
And it’s not just the tangible improvements that have Test thrilled.
“They see that real people go to college and how it’s do-able. In talking with their authors, they realize they have to get good grades, finish high school, and they have to plan for it,” she said.
Just before Thanksgiving break, College authors brought near-finished drafts of each fifth-grader’s story to the school to read them aloud and gather any additional feedback. More than a few were waiting with bated breath. Take Elysia Robbins ‘18, for example, who teamed with “Jack” on a story about his character facing football tryouts.
“I was really nervous coming here this morning, but this is so rewarding!” Robbins said after hearing Jack rave over the results. “Coming down here is such a unique experience.”
In another corner of the room, “Tiffanie” listened to Katie Crossley ‘16 read through the story of her character’s experience fast-forwarding through life with a magic remote control.
“I kind of like the end more,” Tiffanie explained. “My character finally realized she didn’t need to live in the past. She can live in the now.”
At another table, Ian Ault ‘17, an adult student, sat with “Johnny,” reviewing a detailed tale of Johnny’s exploits as a superhero known as Lizard Ninja. As far as Ault was concerned, far more than mere fantasy happened in the tale.
“It’s a matter of taking a concept, such as good versus evil, and recreating how you view it, and with kids, they make up a story and that’s how they decide what decisions they’ll make,” Ault said. “For some, like Johnny, you create the story and the concepts, and that’s how you learn.”
Similar revelations unfolded when the artists returned to the elementary school on December 1, visiting Test’s classroom to unveil final paintings, drawings or multimedia works to each child.
“It was challenging, because it wasn’t just my fifth-grader’s vision, but it had to fit the author’s vision too,” said Courtney Knauber ’17, who illustrated two different stories of a dog named Pug-Popo for “Christy.”
According to Prof. Newcomb, creating different pieces in different styles and mediums for each child stretched her art students outside their comfort zones, and provided personal experience in working with a “client” just as they could encounter as a professional.
The sustained interaction with Keuka College students was maturing Test’s classroom in new ways too, she said.
“You had 17 ten-year-olds discussing art for 40 minutes in hushed, gallery tones,” said Test.
Back at campus, College authors made final revisions to each “Who is Penn Yan?” story, turning them in to Joiner as part of the final project for her English course. Then over winter break, artist Jesse Ninos combined all of the elements into the second volume of the “Who is Penn Yan?” collector’s book for his senior Field Period™. The finished books rolled off the press just days before Test’s entire class made a special visit to Lightner Library where the new College mascot, Kacey, waited with Joiner, Newcomb and their students to celebrate the book’s release.
Flanked by special guests from the Keuka College Executive Alumni Association, which co-sponsored the field trip for the fifth-graders to come to campus, the Wolfpack mascot gave each child a hug before handing him or her their book.
“Beautiful job, you guys,” Dr. Paul Forestell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, told the fifth-graders as he got a first glimpse of the special edition and praised them for sharing their great ideas.
“What’s really interesting is to realize how much you as fifth-graders have taught our College students, and other way around. That’s a really important learning adventure, so thank you for being willing to join us and share it so well,” Forestell said.
Speaking above the laughter and excitement of her class as they downed cookies and punch, Test added her thanks to each Keuka College student for “the amount of time you invested into 10 year-olds.”
“We have a fifth-grade class that now loves writing and it’s an honor to say that,” Test added.
As fifth-graders and college students turned the crisp, new pages of their shared book, exchanging hugs — and autographs—praise for the project continued. Seated next to author Anna Kramer ’18, “Marley” demonstrated how the book flips open in the middle —right to her story.
“Oh, I like it! Two thumbs up!” Marley gushed.
Holding his copy of the work, Ian Ault ‘17 gestured to the schoolchildren beaming smiles.
“The book is cool, but the experience of doing it — you can’t put that on paper. This makes the college experience deeper.”