A semester spent a traveling the Atlantic Ocean while visiting countries in Europe and South America, and daily observations of veterinary work garnered the top awards in experiential learning for senior Erica Rusio and freshman Lydia Watkins at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony May 4 at Keuka College.
During the fall semester, Ruscio sailed around the Atlantic Ocean on the MV Explorer, an 836-passenger floating classroom, as part of the Semester at Sea program.
“I went to 12 countries, took classes, attended seminars, navigated through unfamiliar cities and new experiences, and discovered new understandings of what it means to be human. It was the coolest thing I have ever done,” said Ruscio.
It also earned Ruscio, an English major from Rushville, the Upperclass Experiential Learner of the Year Award, which recognizes learning from Field Period, co-curricular involvement, and community service.
Nominated by Allison Schultz, international student adviser in the Center for Global Education, Rusico said she has taken learning far beyond the traditional four-walled classroom.
“As an English major, I love books, but they only tell half of the story,” she said. “The concrete experiences can’t be replicated, and can’t be doubled in a book.”
Ruscio said Keuka College and the Semester at Sea program share the same philosophy when it comes to learning: you learn more by doing.
For example, Ruscio said she didn’t just read in a book what South Africa was like, “I explored it myself and made friends there. I didn’t just see a picture of the native people of the Amazon; I spent the night in the jungle with them. I didn’t just read a statistic about poverty in Latin America; I played with the kids in the Argentine slums.”
Ruscio said that she now has more faith in the opportunity to try, take chances, make mistakes, and try again.
“Experiential learning, which embraces the whole person, is what I received from Keuka College and the Semester at Sea program,” she said. “I haven’t just ‘done’ this experience, I’ve become it.”
An active participant in the College’s Arion Players Drama Club and the Women’s Center Advocacy Club, Ruscio also serves as a TeamWorks! facilitator, editor of Red Jacket, and is a writing tutor. She also lends her time and talents to the Literacy Volunteers of Ontario and Yates Counties.
Watkins’ January Field Period at Southtown Veterinary Hospital in Montrose, Pa., solidified her career choice.
The Field Period also helped earn Watkins, a biomedical major from Springville, Pa., the Freshman Experiential Learner of the Year Award. The award recognizes learning from Field Period, co-curricular involvement, and community service.
Watkins, who has known since she was 10 that she wanted to be a large animal veterinarian, was nominated for the award by Andy Robak, assistant professor of chemistry.
“I nominated Lydia because she had a great first Field Period,” said Robak. “She had her first experience working in a small animal veterinary clinic, and built relationships with the people with whom she was working.”
And while the vets at Southtown Veterinary Hospital care for small animals, Watkins still “learned a lot of information about the veterinary field, and I cannot wait to have the V.M.D. in front of my name. By watching the vets, I expanded my knowledge and fine tuned my interests.”
Watkins was able to watch several procedures, including spays, neuters, ACL repair, bone surgery, and a splenectomy. Shortly after her Field Period ended, she was hired as a veterinary assistant. Watkins will work weekends, summers, and other times when classes are not in session.
Watkins said she “loved my Field Period, and now my job, but I still want to work with cows.”
Said Robak: “A lot of students will do similar Field Periods in vet offices, but rarely does it end up in a great relationship like she found. Lydia is also an excellent student, excelling in sophomore chemistry as a freshman, and is well on her way to veterinary school when she graduates.”
Junior Kat Andonucci helped put Keuka on the scientific map last fall after her year-long independent study, a photographic portfolio of various chemical elements and experiments, became an art show in Lightner Gallery, was presented to regional chemists, and landed in a national scientific magazine.
Now, Andonucci has reteamed with Dr. Andrew Robak, associate professor of chemistry, to conduct a new artistic study of some 11 elements of the Periodic Table, creating the letter code for each scientific element with a paint created from the element itself.
“The overall image is an abstract kind of 3-D Periodic Table and we want it to serve as a permanent reference source in a classroom or lab—it will be a huge art piece,” said the junior visual and verbal art major from Chestertown (near Lake George).
Using stand-alone 12×12 canvas squares painted with each element, Andonucci will arrange them to hang so that some of the squares appear to be raised and some depressed, creating a more dynamic artwork.
While some elements, such as arsenic or mercury, would be dangerous to paint with, others, such as barium sulfate, iron oxide, and cadmium have been created already and painted, she said. For example, titanium has been mixed with linseed oil to create the scientific code letters (Ti) for that element on the table.
According to Robak, all of the pigments Andonucci used to paint the periodic table symbols contain the elements, but are not made from the pure elements. For example, the cadmium pigment utilized a cadmium compound, while the titanium pigment was made from titanium oxide, which is used to make all modern white paints
Granted, Andonucci has run into a few challenges, such as the three attempts to create the synthetic pigment Egyptian blue, which will be used to represent copper in the table. Historically, pigments were derived from naturally occurring minerals and/or plants. While Egyptian blue was one of the first synthetic pigments made in history, the age of the product and process made it hard to track down anything resembling a specific recipe over the Internet.
“It was on Wikipedia and it wasn’t exact measurements, just percentages, so it was hard to get it exactly right,” she explained. Directions suggested a mixture of sand, natron and copper oxide be baked in an 800 to 900-degree kiln over three to four days. “The first time we [tried,] the oven got above 900 degrees and fried it and it came out black and actually charred. It was a lot of trial and error. We’re up to our third try, but I may try again because it’s not as blue as I wanted it to be.”
To support her creative work, Andonucci received a $500 Academic Excellence Initiatives grant from the Office of Academic Affairs. Last year, her Art of Chemistry project was also funded $560 from the same competitive grant process.
In September, the Art of Chemistry exhibit was formally presented to members of the Corning Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) by Robak, who commissioned Andonucci for the project. In addition to the American Chemical Society, Andonucci and Robak’s work drew the attention of Chemical & Engineering News in Washington, D.C., which published a story on the exhibit in its Oct. 1 issue and website.
Students who enrolled in Assistant Professor of English Jennie Joiner’s Traditions of Literature course this spring expected to delve into a collection of works set in New York state.
What they didn’t expect was an Empire State history lesson.
The running joke in class is that maps are now a regular part of Joiner’s routine, as students traverse a literary route from east to west across the state, exploring different regions of New York in works that include Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers, the Erie Canal Reader, 1790-1950, and Walter Edmonds’ Rome Haul.
Joiner acknowledged that her dependence on maps has been to emphasize that New York was the only state with geography sufficient for construction of the Erie Canal, and with the canal, linked the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, bringing commerce and other boons of civilization further west.
“You think the biggest thing that happened to the state was New York City, or you’d think New York City was the heart of the state, but it’s not. The Erie Canal was. I’m not from here so it’s interesting to know,” said junior Annie Smith, a New Jersey native. “I never heard of the Erie Canal, so to see how much went on during the Erie Canal [era] and now in the 21st century … We wouldn’t have Auburn, Geneva, and all those places if it wasn’t for the canal. It played a major part in what’s 20 miles north of us and east or west.”
Sophomore Marie Cozzi calls Long Island home, and said she never realized how much history was prevalent in Upstate and Western New York.
“Reading through the stuff, it’s cool to see how the history is [represented] in the novels. I never thought there would be a history of Upstate New York in the books. One thing leads to the next. They all relate to the other.” (more…)
Bridgett Rosato is a busy mother of three, a mediator for the 10-county Center for Dispute Settlement, and a volunteer with the Ontario County Jail.
She’s also an award-winning social work student in the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) at Keuka College.
The Canandaigua resident was named one of six student Social Workers of the Year at a regional chapter event for the National Association of Social Workers. The NASW award recognizes social work students in the New York State Chapter’s Genesee Valley Division who have made significant contributions in the field.
Stephanie Craig, associate professor and chair of the Division of Social Work, said Rosato “is an amazing student and person. She represents the profession very well.”
A desire to help people is what drives Rosato to work toward prevention of some of the personal experiences she went through as a child. (more…)
Mike McKenzie couldn’t figure out why his mother never returned to her childhood home in western Kansas.
“My brother and I tried numerous times to get her to go back,” said McKenzie, associate professor of philosophy and religion. “We thought it would be fun for to see the place and some of her friends. I just didn’t get it.”
He got it after making the trek to Johnson, Kan., himself.
“It’s an utterly exposed place,” recalled McKenzie. “You’re exposed to winds and weather on all four sides.”
And that made life tough for Maxine Carter, her mother; father, who was a wheat farmer; and sister—especially in the 1930s when the Dust Bowl, a period of severe dust storms, caused major ecological and agricultural damage on the Southern plains.
The Dust Bowl lasted 10 years and made activities typically taken for granted—breathing and eating—a challenge. Children wore dust masks and women hung wet sheets over windows to keep the dust out of their homes. Crops were blown away.
So powerful were these rolling waves of dust they would “obliterate the sun,” recalled McKenzie’s mother.
And it wasn’t just dust storms that the young Maxine Carter was forced to survive. Tornadoes, ice storms, and blizzards would “force kids into storm cellars and they wouldn’t know if their farm or home was still standing until they came out,” said McKenzie.
Maxine Carter was born in 1922 and moved to Oregon in 1936. She will never return to Johnson or Manter, Kan., where her family lived before heading to the Pacific Northwest. And her son now understands why.
“My mother had a good home life growing up but a scary place,” he said. “I understand why she doesn’t have fond memories of her early life in Kansas.”
While acknowledging the highly personal nature of this story, McKenzie saw it has a perfect fit for his Environmental Ethics class that he his teaching this semester.
“The Dust Bowl is the greatest environmental disaster in this country’s history, and I decided to do a large segment on it in my class,” he said. “I couldn’t bring my students to Kansas so I am bringing Kansas to them.”
McKenzie teamed with Troy Cusson, instructional design manager in the Wertman Office of Distance Education (WODE), to create a video that features an interview McKenzie did with his mother in January as well as photos his grandfather took in western Kansas in the 1930s.
And, he partnered with John Locke, director of instructional design and multidisciplinary studies in WODE, to construct a Dust Bowl exhibit in a Lightner Library display case.
“Students and others will see artifacts from the Dust Bowl and the display case itself looks like a farmer’s cabin from the 1930s,” said McKenzie. “There is even some actual Kansas dust.”
One of Locke’s biggest challenges was to find a way for people to view the video (it runs on a loop and headphones are available for listening) without impinging on the “rustic” quality of the display. So, he built cabinet and gave it a “rough finish to create an aged look.”
He also created a “window into a dust storm” by backlighting an image of a 1930s dust storm.
“John did a terrific job of bringing 1930s Kansas to life,” said McKenzie.
To further enhance his students’ knowledge of the Dust Bowl, McKenzie is planning a field trip to nearby Hunt Country Vineyards “to see how a modern farmer (Art Hunt) employs sustainability in his day- to-day operations. The class will engage in some hands-on activities and get to see good farming practices put into use, as contrasted with those on the high plains of the 1930s that helped spawn the Dust Bowl.”
Finally, McKenzie recently screened Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl.
“Everyone loves stories,” said McKenzie. “Ken Burns tells a story and that is what we did. It’s a story about my mom. It’s personal, but at the same time it’s educational.”
A trio of seniors are presenting their final art projects – a closer look at their personal journeys – in an exhibit on display April 29-May 24 at Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery.
The Senior Art Show showcases the talents of Erik Holmes of Penn Yan, Courtney French (Massena), and Erica Ruscio (Middlesex). An artists’ reception will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 at the gallery in Lightner Library. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to the public. The exhibit runs through May 24.The gallery is open during Lightner Library hours, whichcan be found online at: http://lightner.keuka.edu.
According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and adviser to the student artists, each one had to prepare an artist’s statement, along with a “thesis” of sorts, representing the culmination of work produced over their time as a student. Throughout this semester, they met weekly for senior art seminar, she said, and from those talks, a group consensus emerged: everybody’s grown.
This group has some of the strongest raw talent of students Newcomb has mentored during her four years at Keuka, she said.
According to Ruscio, the trio named the exhibit “EXPEERIENCE” because it’s “all about our experiences and we hope that people can see that by peering a little closer.”
“There are also a lot of eyes and faces, so we just thought it was a catchy title,” Ruscio added. (more…)
Keuka College will be well represented at the Master’s Level Graduate Research Conference Saturday, April 20, at SUNY Brockport.
Nine occupational therapy majors will present original research, including:
Emily Conrad and Alicia Steeves: “Effects of Parent Training for Children with Behavioral Difficulties.”
The Master’s Level Graduate Research Conference is open to the public and will feature work by hundreds of master’s level students across the disciplines from Brockport and more than 30 other colleges and universities.
Students will present original research and artistic endeavors in poster sessions, oral presentations, and creative performances. In addition, there will be workshops for on career development and doctoral study and one for visiting faculty on government and foundation grant opportunities.
Dr. Timothy Killeen, president of the SUNY Research Foundation and SUNY vice chancellor for research, will deliver the keynote address on “National and International Change Research.”
Professor of Occupational Therapy Jean Wannall and graduate students Emily Conrad and Cindy Prober represented Keuka College and the OT profession at the recent Healthcare Alliance of the Finger Lakes’ Career Exploration Day at Finger Lakes Community College.
More than 270 students from 15 Finger Lakes high schools learned about health care and human service needs, according to Wannall.
The Healthcare Alliance of the Finger Lakes is a partnership of private and public sector agencies whose primary goal is to create solutions for finding and keeping a qualified workforce in the healthcare industry within the local area.
“The main focus of the career fair is to expose our youth to various health care professions and agencies while encouraging them to learn, work and live in the Finger Lakes area,” said Wannall. “Various professionals from around the area gave of their time to present information about their chosen profession.”
Including the trio from Keuka, who shared what it was like to be an occupational therapist.
“Students learned not only the educational requirements of becoming an OT, but where OTs work,” explained Wannall. “Demonstrations included the use of adaptive equipment, technology, and several evaluation tools typically used by OTs.”
Providing the high school students with a glimpse of what it is like to be occupational therapists was very important to Wannall.
“We need to reach out to the youth of today and get them excited about the potential career opportunities within health care or we are not going to have enough people to take care of the needs in our society,” she said.
Both graduate student presenters took the day off from their Level II internships to share their knowledge about the field and encourage younger students to explore the field of occupational therapy.
And it’s certainly worthy of exploration.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OT is one of the top 10 needed professions in health care right now,” said Wannall. “Baby boomers are retiring, people are living longer healthier lives and as a result staying in their own homes longer. Not only is there a huge need for therapists to work with the geriatric population but within school districts as well. According to recently released studies from the U.S. government, the rate of children on the autism spectrum has risen from 1 in 88 to 1 in 50, creating the potential for many more jobs for OTs working in pediatrics.”
Conrad is finishing up her second placement at Marcus Whitman School District and Prober is completing her second at Geneva General Hospital in both the acute and long-term care sections of the hospital. Both students will graduate in May and have already started interviewing for jobs in the local area.
Said Wannall: “Cindy and Emily are prime examples of what the Healthcare Alliance of the Finger Lakes is all about— keeping people in our area.”
The Division of Nursing will co-sponsor the Finger Lakes Region Future of Nursing Conference, scheduled May 4 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Smith Opera House in Geneva.
The conference is designed for nurses, nursing students, consumers, and health care decision-makers interested in the nurse’s role in “transforming the health care system of the future” in the areas of training and education, professional development and leadership, and policy making.
Presentations will provide attendees with a status report on Future of Nursing activities, as well as state and regional updates and contacts. Participants will leave the conference with a toolkit and strategies to promote the recommendations of the Future of Nursing to consumers, health care educators, and nurses in their institution/county/area. Participants can earn six contact hours.
Presenters include Cathryne Welch, co-chair of the New York State Future of Nursing Committee; Dr. Deb Stamps, vice president and Chief Nursing Officer of Newark-Wayne Hospital and a member of the State Future of Nursing Steering Committee; Mel Callan, legislative strategist; and the Hon. Richard Dollinger, Monroe County Supreme Court judge.
Dr. Debra Gates, associate professor and chair of the Division of Nursing at Keuka, will co-facilitate a breakout session. Gates, along with Dr. Heather Cook-Smith of Unity Health in Rochester, is one of the co-leaders of the Finger Lakes Region Future of Nursing’s Remove Barriers to Practice initiative.
To register online, go to http://www.npagr.org/FONConference.shtml. The cost is $75 for nurses, $30 for nursing students, and $65 per person for groups of three from the same institution/area. Those paying at the door should make checks payable to NPAGR Future of Nursing Conference.
For more information regarding key messages and recommendations put forth by the Institute of Medicine Report October 2010—“The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”— go to http://futureofnursing-nys.org/recommendations/priorityRecs.htm and/or http://thefutureofnursing.org/.
Keuka College may not be considered a “research school” in the traditional sense but that doesn’t mean research and scholarship don’t exist on campus.
In fact, multiple student research studies and creative projects are funded by grants provided through the Office of Academic Affairs.
The Academic Excellence Initiatives, begun in fall 2010, has supported student research, scholarship or creative projects to the tune of $5,139. Each year, up to $2,000 in grants is awarded to support undergraduate student research, scholarship or creative projects. Students work with a faculty sponsor to develop their projects and then apply through a competitive grant process. The proposals are reviewed by a team of six faculty members before awards are made.
In 2010-11, a quartet of science majors received awards for research projects later presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). And another student received almost $300 to conduct a study of sensory exploration for elementary education. In 2012, Stephanie Lange ’12, a visual and verbal art major, received $500 to complete an art installation of a bronze hawk that now graces the campus along the path that runs to the west of Allen Hall towards Jephson Science Center. A second visual and verbal art major, Kat Andonucci ’14, received $560 for a photographic study of chemical experiments, which became an art exhibit, “The Art of Chemistry.”
This academic year, Andonucci received another grant, for $500, to conduct a new independent study: painting portions of the Periodic Table, with the elements themselves. Adult social work student Cyndy Bundy of East Syracuse received $650 to travel to Myrtle Beach last month to present her study on the responsible use of social networking for relevant social work education and counseling at the national Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors Conference. Also this semesester, Amber JeJong ’16 received a $342 grant to study changes in the eggs (particularly shell thickness) of the red-shouldered hawk, under the supervision of Dr. Bill Brown, assistant professor of biology and environmental science. Keuka holds a collection of preserved eggs of that bird dating to almost 100 years ago, and DeJong plans to compare measurements of Keuka’s collection with data from studies of the 1970s, after pesticides impacting that bird population were introduced.
Keuka students are encouraged to consult with any faculty member about pursuing an Academic Excellence Initiatives grant for a new research study or project for the coming summer or next academic year. The application deadline for academic ‘13-’14 is May 1. For more information, go to:
The competitive grant awards are offered in support of the College’s mission to challenge students intellectually and to foster their academic development. According to Anne Weed, vice president of academic affairs, faculty serving on the grant application review board are Anita Chirco, professor of communication, Mike Rogoff, professor of psychology, Dianne Trickey-Rockenbrod, assistant professor of occupational therapy, Stephanie Craig, chair of the social work division, Tom Carroll, professor of chemistry and physics, and Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science.