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Archive for the ‘Around the Tower’ Category

Top Student, Boss Honored

Eight students were nominated for Keuka College's 2015 Student Employee of the Year, including from left: Brittany Kuhn, Tyler Redington, Savannah Fuller, Zach Ward, Sini Ngobese, Connor Delavak, and Courtney Nojeim. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

A “pillar in the athletics department” and a “friend who changes student lives for the better” were the respective recipients of the 2015 Student Employee and Work-Study Supervisor of the Year awards at the Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 15.

Senior psychology major Connor Delavak and Co-Curricular Transcript Coordinator and Community Service Coordinator Valerie Webster were selected by two separate panels of judges.

Delavak, nominated for the award by Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics and head athletic trainer, has worked as a student athletic trainer for four years, and the longer Bray has been at Keuka College, the more increasingly selective he has become of those he chooses to hire as his work-study students.

Connor Delavak and Jeff Bray. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

In 23 years of supervising student employees, Bray says senior Delavak ranks in his top five, touting his demeanor and sincerity for setting him apart. In fact, Bray says Delavak has become a pillar within the athletics department.

“He has a tremendous grasp on what is expected of him and the role he plays within our department,” said Bray, adding Delavak is part of the fabric of the athletic training staff and the athletic department. “It has gotten to the point that when we are scheduled to depart for a weekend road trip, I simply ask him if we are ‘all set’ and he replies with a very confident ‘yes sir.’ He truly cares about the job that he does and it shows every time he works.”

And Bray does not hesitate to say that Delavak is a “tremendous asset” to the athletics department.

“I believe there is added responsibility that comes with that,” said Bray. “Connor has always represented himself, our department, and Keuka College in a positive and professional manner. In fact, there are times that our coaches forget that he is a student and not a full time staff member.”

Added Bray: “I think we often take for granted the importance and the impact our student employees have on our campus. With Connor, he is a respected member of my staff. I feel fortunate to have played a small role in his collegiate experience.” 

The other student nominees were Tyler Redington, Brittany Kuhn, Ethan Eschler, Savannah Fuller, Courtney Nojeim, Sini Ngobese, and Zach Ward.

“All of our student employees are winners, but the eight nominees are the cream of the crop,” said Sally Daggett, human resources manager. “I thank all of the nominators who took time to nominate your student employee. It sends a powerful message to those students, as it tells of the importance of them in your lives.” 

Savannah Fuller and Valerie Webster (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

Webster was one of five work-study supervisors nominated for the award. She was nominated by occupational science major Savannah Fuller.

In the three years senior Fuller has worked in the Community Service Resource Office as a Community Service Advocate, she said Webster has pushed her to think outside of the box and find new ways to reach out to others.

“Upon accepting this job three years ago to help pay for college, I had no idea the true wealth I would gain from Valerie,” said Fuller. “Over this time we have established a strong working relationship, and she is a phenomenal work-study supervisor.”

That’s because Webster “provides each of us with appropriate guidance and leadership to help us grow and be successfully independent in our roles as a work-study students,” said Fuller. “No matter what challenges life presents Valerie with, she always given her work-study students 100 percent.”

After commencement, Fuller believes that the friendship she and Webster share, as well as the dedication to each of their communities, will last beyond her work-study position and long after her graduation from Keuka College.

Added Fuller: “The impact Valerie has had on my life, and the lives of countless other students, is invaluable and transcendent. Valerie has a way of changing student’s lives for the better. It has been an honor to work with her.”

The other supervisor nominees were John Boccacino (sports information director), Rachel Dewey (communications specialist), Carol Sackett (library circulation supervisor), and Xong Sony Yang (international student advisor).

From left: Rachel Dewey, Sony Yang, John Boccacino, Valerie Webster, and Carol Sackett. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

“It is an honor for me to talk to you at this luncheon, as it is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Jim Blackburn, vice president of student development. “The work student employees perform is immeasurable. Keuka College employees 511 students in 814 jobs. That is the equivalent of 150,000 hours of work per year—enough for 134 additional full-time positions. So, Keuka College students do a massive amount of work.”

Each of the nominees was recognized at the luncheon by his or her nominator and presented with a gift. The names of the student and supervisor award recipients will be added to two separate plaques housed in the Center for Experiential Learning. The Student Employee of the Year plaque is hung up in the winner’s work-study location until the following year’s awards luncheon.

More photos from the 2015 Student Employee of the Year Luncheon can be found here.

John Boccacino Covers Sports Information with a Smile

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of 2015 Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

John Boccacino

Senior Tyler Redington has worked in the Office of Sports Information for more than two years. In that time, he said he has seen Keuka College take strides in expanding not only the campus’ physical size, but the Keuka College brand as a whole, including the athletics department.

Redington acknowledges there are a lot of people at the College who work very hard every day to ensure its success, including many in the athletics department. But it’s Sports Information Director John Boccacino who especially comes to Redington’s mind.

“Mr. Boccacino is not only the head of sports information, he is the only staff member in the entire department,” said Redington. “[But] he keeps up-to-date records on each of the sports at Keuka College, maintains the athletics website, and keeps up with all the latest news with our teams.”

And the news on the Keuka College Wolfpack is as varied as the number of sports offered.

“From press releases about our women’s basketball coach raising awareness for kids in third world countries who don’t have shoes, to post-game video interviews, or stories about our annual pep rally, John Boccacino covers it with a smile on his face,” said Redington.

But that is not the end of Boccacino’s duties, according to Redington.

“Since Mr. Boccacino is the only one in the sports information department, he also manages and monitors all of his work-study student employees,” said Redington. “This means he must also exhibit some human resource management ability by creating a schedule for his employees and training each of us to do the kinds of tasks needed to get done for the athletic events hosted on campus.”

As well as working for Boccacino, Redington also completed a Field Period™ with him. In addition to teaching Redington the daily ins-and-outs of the job, he said Boccacino saw him through a lot of difficult times, “including when I was suspended during my first attempt at a Field Period™ in his department. I was forced to leave the school for some bad decision-making,” said Redington.

“Instead of considering me another trouble-bound kid not worth the time, Mr. Boccacino called me and told me keep my head on straight and return to school where my position in his department would be waiting for me,” said Redington, who wants to pursue sports information as a career. “When I returned to school, Mr. Boccacino made sure I went back to work for him in his department, and has helped me raise my GPA higher than ever before.”

Added Redington: “If it were not for John Boccacino, I would not be in the position I am in today.”

Sony Yang is Dedicated to Her Job, and Her Student Employees

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles of 2015 Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Xong Sony Yang

Xong “Sony” Yang, international student advisor, arrived on the Keuka College campus in October 2014.

She “jumped right in” to her position and “immediately” began giving projects to her work-study students, including senior Crystal Billings.

“From what I saw, Sony made the transition into her new position smoothly, and was excited to work with Keuka College’s International Students Services,” said Billings, a sociology major from Groton.

The projects that Yang had Billings work on have included reorganizing the file system, bulletin boards, and various other creative projects, including working on a Lunar New Year display. During these projects, Billings welcomed the constructive criticism Yang provided.

“Sony has been extremely patient and I have greatly appreciated that,” said Billings. “Without the critiques she has given me, I would not have been able to grow as a student, or an employee. I believe she is understanding, and I am always able to talk to Sony to solve any problem.”

And that dialogue goes both ways. As Billings seeks to improve her role in the office, Yang is also actively seeking feedback from Billings and the other work-study students in her office.

“Sony has asked how she can improve as a supervisor,” said Billings. “She is conscious of how she is doing, which to me, shows that she wants to be the best supervisor she can possibly be.”

In addition to talking with Billings about the projects in the office, Yang “also makes sure that I am all right in other aspects such as health and academics,” said Billings, “which means a lot to me, because it shows that Sony cares about me.”

And Billings wants to model Yang after she graduates next month.

“Sony has encouraged me to work hard in this position, as she knows I would like to go into student affairs after I graduate from Keuka College,” said Billings. “She has been helpful with giving me advice and figuring out my path. It is evident that she cares for all of her students, which is what I would love to be able to show when I am in the field.”

While Billings does not know where she will work in higher education, Yang inspired her to apply for a graduate assistant position in the international programs office at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“I believe that it is because of the experiences that I have had with Sony that I want work in international programs outside of Keuka College,” said Billings. “She has influenced me to be the best I can be when I am in the field and have my own work-study students.”

Added Billings: “I have really appreciated being able to work with Sony during my senior year. She has shown me who I want to be when I get into the field and that means a lot to me. I believe Sony will go far as a work-study supervisor, since she cares so much about her workers. She really loves what she does, and that makes all the difference.”

Valerie Webster ‘Changes Student Lives for the Better’

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles of 2015 Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Valerie Webster

More than three years ago, senior Savannah Fuller became a work-study student in the Community Service Resource Office as a Community Service Advocate.

In that time, Fuller said her work-study supervisor, Valerie Webster, co-curricular and community service coordinator, has pushed her to think outside of the box and find new ways to reach out to others.

“Upon accepting this job three years ago to help pay for college, I had no idea the true wealth I would gain from Valerie,” said Fuller. “We have established a strong working relationship, and she is a phenomenal work-study supervisor.”

Fuller said that Webster has instilled in her an intrinsic motivation to help others.

“Valerie has helped me grow into a better person, and I will never be able to thank her enough for that,” said Fuller, who is nominating Webster for a second time.  “I attribute the success of [the Community Service Resource Office] programming to Valerie’s unwavering commitment to her community and desire to do better for the people within it.”

In fact, as a result of “countless hours” of brainstorming sessions with Webster, Fuller said she has helped “improve our community projects to better benefit others.”

“Over the years, we have added new community service projects, made new and lasting contacts in the community, and have doubled—even tripled—participation and donations on campus for our projects,” said Fuller. “Valerie’s dedication to her employees and work-study programs is beyond admirable.”

In addition to supervising the Community Service Advocates, Webster oversees Big Brothers Big Sisters, the New Student Orientation mentors, and off-campus tutors.

“As a supervisor, Valerie provides each of us with appropriate guidance and leadership to help us grow and be successfully independent in our roles as work-study students,” said Fuller. “No matter what challenges life presents Valerie with, she has always given her work-study students 100 percent.”

After commencement, Fuller believes that the friendship she and Webster share, as well as the dedication to each of their communities, will last beyond her work-study position and long after her graduation from Keuka College.

Added Fuller: “The impact Valerie has had on my life, and the lives of countless other students, is invaluable and transcendent. Valerie has a way of changing student’s lives for the better.”

Lightner Library a Second Home Thanks to Carol Sackett

Carol Sackett

Junior Courtney Nojeim serves as a student worker at the circulation desk in the Lightner Library. And every day when she comes to work, Nojeim knows she can count on Carol Sackett, library circulation supervisor.

“Not only is Carol a fabulous supervisor in the library, but she is someone that we can all rely on if we need someone to talk to,” said Nojeim. “She is always smiling and welcoming when we arrive at work. She has such a positive attitude at work, that I never know if she is having a bad day.”

While Nojeim has worked at the circulation desk for two years, she finds comfort in knowing Sackett “is always there to assist me when I am confused about any kind of process at the circulation desk,” said Nojeim. “I know that if I have any kind of problem, I can count on her to be right on top of it and try her best to help me solve it. Carol is always willing to train and retrain us when we are in need of learning new processes or programs on the computer.”

One of those new processes was transitioning from a paper-based timesheet to a web-based system. The student employees in the library were among those to first test out the system, and Nojeim said Sackett worked “extremely hard to keep up with the transition from the paper timesheets.”

Nojeim said that because of Sackett, “the library feel like a second home for me because she is so kind and friendly. When I had my first interview with Carol, I knew that I was going to succeed having her as my supervisor.”

Adds Nojeim: “I can’t express how willing Sackett is to help us when we are in need of her assistance. Carol has an encouraging outlook on life and her job. She does everything that she can to make it easier for the students working in the library.”