Just before Christmas, Lisa Makarick finished a course in community health. Just after Christmas, Makarick discovered a profound contrast between the classroom and Calabrete, Dominican Republic, where she traveled with 11 others from Keuka College to bring health education to some of the youngest residents of the community.
“It’s one thing to do a windshield study on [community health] and it’s a whole other beast to do a service project, to get down there with the people and work hand-in-hand with them,” said Makarick, a Hammondsport resident.
Makarick is pursuing her baccalaureate nursing degree through the College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). She attends classes at Corning Community College, one of 2o ASAP sites around the state. Nine other nursing students from cohorts in the Syracuse, Elmira, Ithaca, and Utica areas, and one occupational science major from the home campus in Keuka Park, also traveled to Calabrete.
From January 2-9, the Keuka College group, led by Patty Mattingly, associate professor of nursing, assisted the Mariposa DR Foundation, which invests in sustainable solutions to end generational poverty, serving girls as young as 8-years-old. By battling barriers that keep the poor vulnerable and limited, and offering support such as access to quality health care and education, the Mariposa DR Foundation seeks to educate, empower and employ girls in Calabrete to ultimately give back to their community.
The students presented a workshop on dental hygiene and hand-washing, gave a first-aid presentation to parents, and made home visits to assess safety risks and recommend follow-up by Foundation staff. In addition, students also toured a public hospital and an HIV clinic in the area. The trip also fulfilled Keuka College Field Period ™ requirements for the students. Typically, a Field Period ™ enables a student to explore professions, other cultures, or even provide community service for others, but usually, only one of those elements happens at one time. However, the 2014 Keuka College team accomplished all of the above.
According to Makarick, a maternal service nurse and mother of five who will finish her nursing program in April, the trip was an “amazing experience” that she hopes to repeat. The team worked with 15 girls, ages 8 -11, providing encouragement with extracurricular activities that included simple games and health-care instruction. In that region, children only attend a half-day of school and often lack positive alternatives to “just wandering around all afternoon,” said Makarick.
Thanks to one of her daughters, Makarick said she was educated on the threat of sex trafficking and modern slavery facing these young girls. According to New Friends, New Life, a human rights agency seeking to raise awareness, 13 is the average age at which American girls, particularly those vulnerable to poverty, are trafficked into the sex industry. For the poor and vulnerable from developing countries, where legal protection is nearly nonexistent, sexual exploitation and forced prostitution may happen even earlier. As such, Makarick said the impact the team could make was clear.
“I was absolutely not disappointed,” said Makarick. “You can see the effect fairly quickly, even small, little [things] of having someone encourage them … they just bonded with us, and we learned from them, too.”
The group split into two teams of six to conduct home inspections in the neighborhoods where the girls lived, and, in some cases, the level of poverty was “pretty overwhelming,” Mattingly said, describing scenarios where rat poison was left where children could come in contact with it. One student described barbed wire “clotheslines” so low to the ground that children’s bodies and faces bore cuts from running into it. Other elements of culture shock were encountered in el barrio (the ghetto) and the local hospital, which had just five beds in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and where equipment and staff practice was like “turning the clock back 30 years,” said Makarick.
According to two Keuka College juniors, the Field Period internships they conducted in the human resource divisions of different global corporations were the best of times.
While she went to a Boston bio-tech company of 5,000, he went to the U.S. headquarters (Pittsburgh) of a global chemical corporation that employs 17,500 people. Both are juniors, both worked May – August 2013, and both were paid – an uncommon occurrence in the arena of collegiate internships.
She is Sini Ngobese, a business and organizational communication major from Durban, South Africa. He is Devon Locher, a business major from Baden, Pa. Both students are pursuing human resources (HR) concentrations in their business majors, while Locher’s second concentration is in marketing. While Ngobese conducted her Field Period at Biogen Idec, Locher conducted his at Lanxess, a corporation focused on development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber and specialty chemicals. While she researched best-practice policies for redrafting an internal human resources (HR) manual, he worked on internal surveys covering employee and international intern integration into the city and company culture.
Locher said he was able to visit a production site in Ohio once which allowed him to see some of the manufacturing side of the company – with its setting and safety protocols – as well as the corporate side. The Pittsburgh workplace was positive and upbeat, he said, and while Locher already conducted two HR-related field periods, confirming that HR is the field he wants to work in, his two prior internships were at much smaller corporations.
At a prior Field Period, Locher learned he didn’t enjoy accounting work, but at Lanxess, no two days were ever the same,” he said. “There was always something different going on, even if some of the tasks were the same. That’s what I liked about it.”
In addition to developing what turned out to be a 30-page PowerPoint for managers to review, Locher also researched other company plans to ensure affirmative action laws and other HR standards comply with a wide variety of state and federal guidelines.
“I learned a lot through research,” Locher said. “I think that’s why Keuka does the Field Period, because you can only do so much in the classroom and then you have to get out out there and work and see how it applies.”
According to Ngobese, Biogen Idec is the second largest bio-tech company in the world, manufacturing drugs for those suffering from autoimmune diseases. Ngobese was stationed in its Weston branch office, although the company has locations “all over the globe,” she said.
Ngobese said her duties focused on the capture and synchronization of all U.S., European, and Canadian HR policies, to be shared on a new self-service portal for employees.
“It was, by far, the greatest career experience I’ve had thus far and truly fulfilled what the Field Period mission and vision strives to achieve,” said Ngobese. In addition to confirming her career aspirations and the type of company culture she hopes to find, Ngobese said her Field Period also helped her find a professional role model: Elizabeth Abbott, her supervisor.
“All of us were “wowed” by Sini’s professionalism, communication, work ethic and work product,” said Abbott. “Sini has many strengths, but her ability to communicate effectively, professionally, clearly, and persuasively in both written and oral communications is what really stands out to me. I was proud to have her represent my department and proud to call her a member of my team. She will be a strong contributor, I believe, wherever she goes.”
Thanks to Abbott, Ngobese said she now knows exactly what kind of female leader she wants to be, and has a clear sense what future purpose she can have within the HR field. She befriended other HR interns and was able to benchmark herself against those coming from bigger schools and gain confidence that she could still hold her own with them. The experience was so fulfilling, Ngobese may be invited to return to intern a second time, and if so, that would be in the company’s Cambridge, Mass., offices where the HR department will be moved.
“It was intrinsically rewarding in that it truly helped me see that this is what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life,” she said. “I woke up thrilled to go to work and that really was an amazing experience for me.”
Faculty members who teach in the Division of Business and Management bring significant, real-world experience to the classroom.
For example, take Rita Gow, associate professor of accounting, who came to Keuka College in 2005 after a distinguished career at Ernst & Young, a public accounting firm in Boston, Mass. She also worked for a Fortune 500 company, not-for-profit organizations including the Susan B. Anthony House (a national historic landmark), and a family-run insurance agency.
“Teaching is a different culture than I was used to, but I did what I tell everyone—persevere,” said Gow, who retired after the 2013 fall semester. “It’s OK to try new things, to take a chance and do something different. Change can be invigorating.”
In fact, change was the focus of the speech she delivered at academic convocation—her reward for being named Professor of the Year in 2011.
Gow said change “pushes us outside our comfort zone.
“But it’s good to step outside that box,” she said at the ceremony. “We all feel a bit of anxiety at some point—this is not necessarily a bad thing. It can motivate you.”
And motivation is what can help students who may be struggling in their classes.
“If a student is simply willing to try, work hard and persevere, they will succeed,” said Gow. “The College has had some fantastic success stories, including those who work for one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms or have done well in graduate school. We have had students work at both Ernst & Young and KPMG, and many have found success at both large and small accounting firms.”
Reflecting on her years at Keuka, Gow said “there are a lot of hard-working people [here] and I’ve been lucky to work with some really great students, like Joe DeBarr ‘12. He came to Keuka, while his twin brother went to SUNY Albany. Both were accounting majors. Every so often, I’d ask Joe how he liked it here and if he was considering transferring to Albany. Each time, he said ‘no’ [to the second part of the question]. While he enjoyed visiting his brother, the culture at Keuka was a perfect fit for him.”
After graduation, both brothers applied—and were accepted—to Syracuse University for graduate school.
“To me, this is a great success story,” said Gow. “It says that even though Keuka has a small accounting major, we have proven over and over that it is still rigorous enough to compete with a larger program.”
Gow said ”it’s been fun to see the students come in as freshmen and evolve into seniors. I like that I may have had a part in helping students grow, even if they are not accounting majors. I like that about my job.
“Sometimes, I’ll get a note, or card, or Facebook message from a former student thanking me for teaching them. It’s not always obvious to them at the time that they will use what they have learned here. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard ‘I wish I’d paid more attention in accounting…’”
If she had collected those nickels, she might have saved them and used them to visit her daughter, who will move to Capetown, South Africa.
“My husband and I might use Capetown as a jumping off point to travel some more,” said Gow. “We will also visit my son and his wife in Virginia, who have three daughters, including twins. They are all under 3-years-old.”
And while Gow plans to travel, Keuka Lake will always be home.
“We live on Keuka Lake and we love it here, so we plan to stay,” said Gow. “I am active in the community, including serving as treasurer for the Keuka Housing Council, and the board of the Yates Community Endowment Fund. I may also teach Accounting for Managers, a course I have taught before, in the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP).”
“Butch,” a fifth-grader at Penn Yan Elementary School, didn’t like reading.
But thanks to a three-week partner project where Keuka College students met one-on-one with schoolchildren to craft a personal story from the child’s perspective, it wasn’t long before he changed his mind. So says Butch’s new buddy and personal “author,” Keuka freshman Will Staub.
“Butch told me the first day he didn’t like reading, then the next week he showed me this book he’d read,” Staub described. In truth, it was more like Butch raced to Staub’s side, book in hand, thrusting it into view and leaning forward in eager anticipation for the response.
Watching the interaction – and others like it across 17 such pairs of college and elementary students – were Dr. Jennie Joiner, assistant professor of English at Keuka, and fifth-grade teacher Terry Test, herself a 1973 Keuka graduate. The two teamed together, with support from elementary principal Edward Foote, to enable the collegiate “authors” to craft a three-page story from the perspective of each child selected from the joint classroom Test shares with team teacher Rebecca Morse.
The project, dubbed “Who is Penn Yan?,” was the final assignment for Joiner’s Literature in the Wider World course, a new introductory English course in Keuka’s general education curriculum. The course was designed to highlight the focus the English program is placing on literature as the doorway to culture, society, community and more. Over the course of three weeks, each college student spent time getting to know his or her child, and ultimately, learning more about Penn Yan through the child’s eyes or imagination.
The fifth-graders all chose character names for themselves and wore name tags to each session, where partners paired up, using whatever chairs, tables, floor space, gym mats, or window ledges were available to continue their conversations.
“Look at the dynamics of this,” Test said, gesturing around the room at the pairs. “The ‘I’m too cool to do this’ vibe just shattered in the first second, and my students are real, being true to themselves. The energy is here on all sides. I’m so impressed at Dr. Joiner’s scaffolding of this.”
To say the children were thrilled would be an understatement. Some brought sketches, notebooks, origami, and more to share with their college author during the second and third sessions. A handful of boys could be seen half out of their seats, leaning forward to dialogue with their authors, while other children were seated more casually, body positions mimicking the college students taking detailed notes.
Watching from a few steps away each week, Test and Joiner were almost as excited as their students at the energy generated during the interactions, and the impact it had on student learning. By the end of the first week’s session, when alerting everyone in the room that only two minutes were left on the clock, Joiner said she could tell the project was en route to success.
“Every student – big and little – turned around and went ‘awww’ in disappointment,” Joiner said. “Some of my students who are not as vocal in class totally engaged with the children. It was just a cool thing.”
Test said the impact on her fifth-graders was almost immediate. (more…)
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the 10th in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
In the spring of 2012, Alex Jones of Conklin earned a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Keuka College, then headed to Pace University in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
He is now halfway through a two-year program and on track to earn his Master of Science in forensic science in 2014. With degree in hand, Jones hopes to land a job in a criminal justice laboratory.
“At the graduate level, the classes are always interesting because it’s more specialized and the students learn about their interest in their chosen career field,” he said. Looking forward to classes every day, a student is more likely to walk away with a basic understanding and a drive to further develop it, he added.
According to Jones, the small class sizes at Keuka allow every student to stay engaged in c lectures and labs. Beyond that, the element he most valued was the challenge Keuka professors gave students with “tough questions to make us think like real scientists. This improved thought process has helped me become more successful in graduate school.”
The accreditation of Keuka College’s social work program has again been reaffirmed by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Keuka offers a bachelor’s degree in social work in its traditional program on the Keuka Park campus and at sites across New York state through the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP).
One reason why CSWE accreditation is critical is that social workers seeking licensure from the National Association of Social Workers must hold a master’s degree from an accredited social work program, according to Stephanie Craig, professor and chair of the Division of Social Work.
“Being accredited by CSWE also allows us to provide a program that is accepted across the United States and permits students to apply for admission to master’s degree programs at an accredited school,” said Craig.
CSWE is a national association that “preserves and enhances the quality of social work education for practice that promotes the goals of individual and community well-being and social justice.” CSWE pursues this mission through setting and maintaining policy and program standards, accrediting bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in social work, promoting research and faculty development, and advocating for social work education.
The CSWE conducted a site visit and review of Keuka’s program earlier this year, but the College spent “two to three years” preparing for it, according to Craig.
“It was much more arduous this time because we added a social work degree through ASAP in 2007,” said Craig. “In addition to conducting a self-study, we rewrote the syllabus, developed assessments, and analyzed how the program fits within the College.”
Social work has been part of the Keuka College curriculum since 1950 and became fully accredited by the CSWE in 1982.
“Our traditional social work program has earned the respect of human service providers across New York state, from Watertown to Binghamton and in between through the service of our students and faculty, as well as the employment of our graduates,” said Craig.
Craig said that “with the addition of the innovative ASAP delivery model—resulting in an increase of 50 to some 300 students—Keuka has provided access to secondary education that would otherwise be unobtainable.”
On the surface, hip hop music isn’t something that would warrant serious scholarly investigation.
But when you dig deeper, as Athena Elafros did, it most assuredly does.
“The sociological study of hip hop culture teaches a great deal about culture and society in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world,” said Elafros, assistant professor of sociology at Keuka College
Her doctoral dissertation, Global Music, Local Culture: Popular Music Making in Canada and Greece, was completed at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It featured 62 interviews, as well as song lyrics, in order to analyze how global cultural forms, such as rap music, are rearticulated within local contexts in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, and Athens, Greece.
“Hip hop music began as a predominantly African-American, Puerto Rican and Latino youth culture in the South Bronx in the mid 1970s,” said Elafros, who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. “The loss of good-paying factory jobs within the South Bronx contributed to the poor social and economic conditions within which hip hop culture developed.”
Turn the pages of Tipsy Magazine’s Summer 2013 edition and you’ll find the latest trends in high-fashion nail and manicure art.
Tipsy caters to salon owners, manicure artists and nail divas nationwide who turn to the 9×12 glossy for up-to-the-minute articles and photos on polish products, fingertip designs and the edgy nail jewelry that celebs like Lady Gaga have catapulted to fame. Its touted trends take the traditional acrylic manicure (Only one shade of polish? Puh-lease!) to a color-and-jewel-crazed, punk rock-level.
Which is why it should come as no surprise that Dr. Andrew Robak, associate professor of chemistry, has landed in the pages of a Tipsy article. Robak, who holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, has self-described “wacky interests” in chemistry or science as art. His expertise was sought by writer Erin Hart, who started her own design business, Nail Pop LLC, just over a year ago, working on location doing photo shoots, nail parties and fashion shows. Hart endured a nasty chemical burn after she tried to mix fake gold leaf, a decorative metallic, with nail glue to create her own quick-dry polish.
“The gold leaf is so popular right now because it just looks so decadent and when you’re having your nails done, you want to go all out,” said Hart, noting the element comes in either sheets or flake form and can be found at craft or art stores. Hart said she was at home with a friend, experimenting with the fake gold leaf by gluing a big piece to the tip of her finger when “decadent” turned into “drama.”
“The burning started immediately and as I was trying to peel away the [gold] leaf, my skin blistered and came off. I didn’t lose too much skin, about the size of an eraser head, but boy did it hurt!” Hart said, adding it reminded her of burning her finger on a marshmallow stick when she was a kid.
“It took about a week for it to heal using your standard first aid burn care.”
According to Hart, staying ahead of the trends in nail art happens most often by experimenting with different materials, so to best inform other nail artists of any potentially dangerous combinations, she packed up the gold leaf and glue and shipped them to Robak for a thorough chemical analysis and explanation. The two are cousins and Hart had no problem asking for a family favor, she said.
“He was the first person I thought to call after I burned myself and I knew he’d be able to figure it out, which he did immediately after receiving the samples I sent,” Hart said. “I was really impressed with how quickly he was able to compose an explanation that I could actually understand.”
It turns out the fake gold leaf flakes are essentially a combination of tin, zinc and shiny copper. The tin and zinc prevent the copper from tarnishing, Robak informed Hart. The nail glue, known as ethyl cyanoacrylate, is a polymer that will cure, or dry rapidly, once exposed to small amounts of moisture in the air or on surfaces. What non-scientists like Hart think of as “glue drying” is really the substance changing from liquid to solid form, Robak said.
Ordinarily, a tiny, almost imperceptible amount of heat is released as the glue hardens, but when mixed with the fake gold leaf, the tin and zinc become catalysts, speeding up the process such that there is an excess of heat energy, Hart learned. The gold-glue mixture can’t hold as much heat energy as the liquid glue alone, and not only causes chemical burns but can even produce small tufts of smoke, Robak informed Hart.
So what’s a nail artist to do?
Well, one solution would be to use real gold, Robak suggested, noting the pure element is one of the least reactive substances and won’t require tin to protect it from tarnish. According to the New York Mercantile reported on CNNMoney.com, real gold is currently retailing for about $1,391 an ounce.
If you can’t afford that option but seeing a shiny, metallic gleam at the end of your fingertips is still a must-have, then switching to a simple, clear polish and mixing that with the fake gold leaf will produce the same ritzy look without the Ritz-Carlton price tag. The clear nail polish won’t dry as fast as the glue, but it won’t create an exothermic reaction either, Robak advised.
And that was the advice Hart chose to share with fellow Tipsy readers after she came across a call for submissions for upcoming issues. As it turns out, her unexpected science revelation became her first “big” article for a magazine.
“I’m hoping to do more writing in the future, but I think this first attempt went pretty well,” Hart said, noting she called her cousin for permission to include him in the article. “Most of what you mix with nail glue won’t create an exothermic reaction, but I’ve also experienced heat from nail glue when it comes in contact with cotton fibers. It’s something I’ll need Dr. Robak’s expertise to explain further.”
The imaginary county in Mississippi that William Faulkner fashioned to serve as the foundation for his fiction will come to vivid, online life in a new digital humanities project involving some two dozen Faulkner scholars from around the country – including Dr. Jennie Joiner, assistant professor of English at Keuka College.
“Dr. Joiner’s participation in this important and prestigious digital humanities project promises to raise Keuka’s profile significantly in the field of digital scholarship,” said Doug Richards, professor of English and chair of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts.
Over the next three to five years, Faulkner scholars will collaborate to translate the characters, timelines, dialogue and events of his short stories and novels into interactive online maps that help readers visualize and glean new insights into Faulkner’s works. According to Joiner, Faulkner himself drew a map of Yoknapatawpha indicating locations and events portrayed in his stories.
“He considered it his little postage stamp of native soil of which he was sole owner and proprietor. Thus, this project is attempting to digitalize his fiction and expand on his mapping,” Joiner explained.
Stephen Railton, professor of English at the University of Virginia, is directing the project and invited Joiner to come aboard in late August. This fall Joiner will team with Taylor Hagood, associate professor of English at Florida Atlantic University, to map a short story “The Unvanquished” (later revised and known as “Riposte in Tertio”), first published in The Saturday Evening Post as part of a 1934 series. Joiner and Hagood are facing a year-end deadline to finish digital mapping of the short story and then, Joiner will be assigned to a team mapping one of Faulkner’s 15 novels.
The project, which received a nearly $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), builds upon a 2011 Yoknapatawpha map prototype created by the University of Virginia Library’s Digital Media Lab. The NEH grant was one of 23 awarded through its start-up program to promote progress in the digital humanities. Back in 1957-58, Faulkner held the university’s first writer-in-residence post, so the current online archive includes nearly 30 hours of audio recordings of public readings or remarks he gave, according to a news article from the Virginia website.
According to the website, the project centers on the 15 novels and 48 stories Faulkner wrote between 1926 and 1960 and set in Yoknapatawpha. The prototype models a way to enter every character, location and event from separate works into a robust database that then maps that data into an atlas of interactive visual resources, according to the demands of each particular story. Ultimately, the entire body of Yoknapatawpha fiction would be linked together in new, cumulative maps enabling scholars or students to study, for example, all black inhabitants and the roles they play in Faulkner’s works, or his representations of violence, religion, or family, the site indicates. (more…)
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the ninth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
About two weeks prior to graduation, Melissa Garcia ’13 of Keuka Park accepted a job offer in the Division of Neuroscience and Physiology Research at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.
In addition, Garcia, who received a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language (ASL)-English Interpreting, is seeking freelance interpreting work with two agencies in Syracuse.
While Garcia’s new job was not directly connected to her Field Period internships, she said her three years as a work-study employee in student affairs helped her land the job.
She added that fellow Keuka ASL-English Interpreting graduates who did conduct Field Period internships with the ASL agencies where she is seeking work referred her through their connections.
“I truly value the hands-on experience and the Field Period(s) required for the [program],” Garcia said, adding that despite the extra work, “it helped me become more knowledgeable of what is expected of me and more prepared for the real world.”
In addition, Garcia praised the personal touch of the Keuka community: “I love the fact I felt like I was family and belonged within the Keuka staff and students.”
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