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Archive for the ‘Points of Pride’ Category

Dr. Wendy Gaylord Charter Member of National Language Service Corps

According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 300 languages other than English are spoken in the U.S. Nearly 7,000 living languages are documented worldwide.

Such diversity of language illustrates the need for dedicated language resources in local communities, and the U.S. at large. But where can these resources be found?

Enter the National Language Service Corps (NLSC) and its members, including Dr. Wendy Gaylord, dean of China programs. Gaylord became a charter member of the NLSC in 2009 when it was a pilot project. In 2013, it became a permanent part of the Department of Defense, providing services to all branches of the government.

“I was interested in participating as a charter member because I want to use my language skills to promote understanding,” said Gaylord, who speaks fluent Indonesian. “The NLSC is an organization of volunteers fluent in foreign languages who are willing to provide language services to the U.S. government when required. I am always interested in ways to use my Indonesian language skills, so this was a good fit.”

A first-of-its-kind government organization, the NLSC offers multilingual speakers the opportunity to volunteer their language skills and be a bridge to their language communities. These individuals speak, listen, read, understand English and another language, and make themselves available to help others when a U.S. government requirement arises.

“I heard about the NLSC program during the pilot phase because I had received a Boren Award to support my use of Indonesian language during my doctoral dissertation research in Indonesia. I was accepted, in part, because I have been a State Department interpreter for the Office of Language Services, so my name was already on a list somewhere in the government,” said Gaylord. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to add an important international and language component to their educations.

According to Gaylord, the NLSC  is needed because while the U.S. has many people with foreign language skills, the government had no way to find such people when needed.

“The NLSC is a group of people who think that their skills can be used for good if they can help bridge cultures divided by language,” said Gaylord. “I have worked overseas and have seen the problems that can arise when people are unable to communicate effectively due to the lack of a common language. I have always thought that it is critical for people to really learn other languages and cultures in order to know their own.”

In order to be a member of the NLSC, Gaylord took language tests—in English and in Indonesian—to document that she is fluent. Members can be called upon in times of need to use their interpreting, translating, teaching, and/or subject matter expertise skills to assist others in the United States and around the world during short-term assignments.

“I receive messages whenever there is a need for an Indonesian speaker to carry out an assignment,” said Gaylord. “These vary in scope and in length of time. Because I work full-time at Keuka College I have not been able to respond to some of these, but recently, I did participate in a four-day assignment in Washington, D.C. It was very gratifying to think that the work I do benefits other people.”

While Gaylord speaks Indonesian and English fluently, she has studied Chinese and can communicate, but is not fluent. She also relies on her high school French and Latin, which she admits, “are only useful in crossword puzzles.”

Added Gaylord: “I imagine that Indonesian does not have many assignments compared to languages needed in some of the world’s ‘hot spots’ such as Afghanistan or areas of the Middle East. I have not been able to take an assignment that is out of the country. I have only been to Washington D.C., but I would enjoy doing more.”

Redesigned Athletics Website Unveiled

Keuka College is proud to unveil a new and redesigned athletics website that will allow fans of the Wolfpack’s teams and student-athletes easier access to the latest news and information about the College’s 19 intercollegiate athletic squads.

Partnering with PrestoSports, a company that has designed and built athletics websites for hundreds of colleges and universities, the redesigned site will incorporate the College’s new athletics identity — the Wolfpack — and can be found at www.KCWolfpack.com.

Students sport Wolfpack gear following the Aug. 25 pep rally unveiling the new mascot. (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15)

The new and improved website will allow fans across the country better access to follow their favorite teams all season long.

The design has been cleaned up and mainstreamed, with a brighter and more reflective look.

There is also more of an emphasis placed on both videos and social media, with easy to find social media tabs for the Wolfpack’s Twitter (@KeukaAthletics), Facebook (www.facebook.com/KeukaAthletics), Instagram (@KeukaAthletics) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/KeukaAthletics) accounts.

Each sport’s schedule, roster and the latest news on that team is easily found on both the homepage and each sport-specific page. (more…)

Artists Come Together for “Clay Connection”

Collaborative work by Richard Aerni & Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz.

Faith Benedict was looking for a way to inspire the growing number of students in her ceramics class at Keuka College, and the result is a new exhibit: “Clay Connection,” featuring the work of eight regional potters and sculptors from Rochester to Syracuse.

Although most of the artists don’t personally know one another, they have in common a passion for creating art from the same original element: clay. And though each piece began in the same form—as a wet, misshapen lump—the variety of shapes, sizes, colors and uses of the pieces that result reflects the distinct styles and skills of each artist and further contrast just how dynamic clay itself can be.

The array of pieces now adorning new gallery space in Lightner Library even features a handful of collaborative works where two artists teamed together to display the contrast possible between large-scale pottery and small-scale sculpture. While Richard Aerni of Rochester fashioned the foundational jars or pedastals of each piece, Carolyn Dilcher-Stutz, also of Rochester, designed the intricate, hand-sized animals – birds, a deer – atop each one.

Whimsical teapot crafted by John Smolenski

Nearby, other animals, particularly fish, serve as whimsical, cheery handles on several teapots crafted by John Smolenski of Skaneateles. The former Keuka College professor attended the School of American Craftsman at Rochester Institute of Technology, then served as artistic mentor to Benedict and other students during her undergraduate years before he went on to teach high school art in Skaneateles.

The “Clay Connection” exhibit also features the work of husband-and-wife artists Ann Bliss and Steve Pilcher of Butternut Pottery in Jamesville, N.Y., along with Peter Valenti, and David Webster, both of Skaneateles, and Peter Gerbic of Middlesex. Light refreshments will be served at the artists’ reception held from 4:30 – 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 at the gallery inside Lightner Library, with a brief artists talk from Smolenski on the craft, starting at 5 p.m. The reception is open to the public and the gallery is open daily during library hours.

According to Benedict, her personal connections with potters such as Smolenski led to new connections with additional potters and sculptors until she had gathered eight masters of the craft. The show includes artists using traditional methods of firing high-temperature stoneware, as well as some who use a single-firing technique.

An earthenware piece by Gerbic

Peter Gerbic of South Hill Pottery in Middlesex has been working with clay since 1964 when he first started at the American School of Craftsmen at RIT, where he trained under the tutelage of renowned sculptor Frans Wildenhain. While initially trained in functional pottery, Gerbic said, like his “master” Wildenhain, he eventually moved into sculpture, even murals, which retain the same, brick-colored hue as the earthenware in which he specializes. Even its name, terra cotta, correlates to its nature as “baked earth.”

“At the moment, I’m doing straight sculpture, which means lots of curves, at least the way I do it,” Gerbic said with a chuckle. “My emphasis is more on the sculptural elements – the bark on trees, the way sand or snow moves from the wind, human body forms, fruit forms, the way a stream is etched by the water, rocks that have been sandblasted, or water itself. I’m trying to create my own interpretation with the bedrock of Great Nature behind me.”

Gerbic’s works also include some ceremonial pieces, which he described as “my interpretation of Native forms and designs and representations that speak to larger dimension of our life.”

A work by David Webster

According to Benedict, seeing what other artists are doing, with the same material she works with, will inspire her, not only as a fellow craftsman, but as a teacher.

“It’s important for the students to understand that every one says something different with their work – what is your voice? We’re all on different paths and experience different things,” said Benedict, drawing a contrast between her own functional pottery –plates, bowls, mugs and such – and the bronze or clay sculptures for which her husband, Professor Emeritus of Art Dexter Benedict, is known.

“No two of us are the same,” she said. “When we’re talking about the connection at Keuka College, I think that’s what is exciting about an organization, where you have all this diversity, this common bond of wanting to learn. It’s our glue”

Abbott’s Address: Finding Beauty in Any Subject

Contrary to popular opinion, the field of mathematics is creative, even beautiful particularly to mathematicians. In a similar way, beauty can be found in the general education courses new undergraduate students might be tempted to rush through, as if merely items to check off on a list.

So says Dr. Catherine Abbott, professor of mathematics at Keuka College and the 2013-14 Professor of the Year. Delivering the keynote address Tuesday at academic convocation, Abbott, a 13-year veteran among the faculty, welcomed new freshmen and transfer students to campus and challenged them to seek new learning experiences within the diverse array of possibilities available to them.

Often Abbott says she is asked why she enjoys mathematics, but the question is frequently delivered in much the same tone as when Abbott asked her young daughter why she would want to dye her hair with Kool-Aid. As laughter peppered the rows of those seated in Norton Chapel, Abbott then explained what it is about math that she finds so satisfying.

“Many times students tell me they like mathematics because, ‘there is only one answer,’” she said, adding such a response often tempts her to reply that while there may only be one answer, there are frequently “multiple ways to get there.”

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

Citing the Pythagorean Theorem as one such example, Abbott pointed to some of her favorite distinctive mathematical proofs including one attributed to Euclid, one by former U.S. President James Garfield, and a 1939 proof, devised by American Maurice Laisnez, then a high school student. What all three shared in common, Abbott said, was the desire to create.

So too, Abbott discovered her own creativity – and an appreciation for the creativity of other mathematicians – as she worked to solve complex equations. It sometimes took days, and then weeks to solve questions as an undergraduate and later, grad student, she described. While completing her doctorate, it could take months. While it felt “tremendous” when finally solving a challenging theorem, she said, there were also many other questions she was never able to answer. Still, mathematicians the world over use words like “elegant” to describe the beauty, even poetry within their equations and proofs.

“What makes a proof or theorem ‘elegant?’ I don’t think I could hope to quantify it any more than I could hope to explain my tastes in art, music, or literature—or our current math majors’ obsession with Dr. Who, for that matter,” she said.

According to Abbott, she chose the discipline of mathematics “for much the same reasons my colleagues on the faculty have made their choices. My field is creative, beautiful, challenging, and exciting.”

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

“What about you?” she asked, turning the question to students. “What is going to excite you? Will it be the English course where you learn to appreciate a piece of poetry for the first time? Will it be the history course where you really understand the relationship between World War I and World War II?”

Citing her own experience entering college with an undecided major, Abbott advised students not to hurry through general education courses, lest they miss the hidden beauty of diverse subjects.

“You wouldn’t drive from New York to California without taking time to appreciate the scenery,” she said.

“How do I know this? From my office directly across from Jephson 101, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy some fantastic classes during the last thirteen years,” Abbott said, referring to a central lecture hall in the Jephson Science Center. “So take your time to enjoy these courses.  You may not find your passion, but then again, you may. I wish you success in your journey here at Keuka College.”

Also welcoming news students with brief remarks at academic convocation were College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera and Robert Schick, chair of the Board of Trustees. The ceremony marks the official opening of the 2014-15 academic year and includes a colorful processional with upperclassman bearing flags from around the world and faculty in regalia lining the sidewalk to Norton Chapel and applauding new students as they enter. The symbolic rite of passage is an annual tradition for the College.

More photos from Academic Convocation.

Mary Martini-Hauser Nominated for Geneva ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award

Keuka College’s Director of Counseling Services Mary Martini-Hauser is among the five nominees for this year’s Geneva ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award.

Established in 2007, the award is for an emerging woman leader, 40 years of age or younger, who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in her business or profession; provides valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in her community; and clearly serves as a role model for young women, both professionally and personally.

“I am honored to be among this incredible group of women,” said Martini-Hauser, who was nominated by her husband, Justin Hauser. “Hearing what they have done for our community is inspiring, and it makes me want to do even more.”

Martini-Hauser’s husband works with the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, and “knows some past recipients,” she said. “He thought about what I do for the community and decided to nominate me. He believed my hard work needed to be highlighted, and his nomination of me was a complete surprise.”

In her role at Keuka College, the Geneva resident provides Keuka College students with professional counseling services and works alongside the College to enrich student lives, both physically and mentally.

“My office offers confidential individual counseling, couples and roommate counseling, and group counseling,” said Martini-Hauser. “We offer stress relief tips, provide alcohol screening, and participate in One Walk, which raises awareness to help prevent suicide.”

She also is involved in resident assistant (RA) training, and speaks with all new students in their wellness classes.

“I hope after I talk with them, they see me as a trusted person they can talk with,” said Martini-Hauser, who strives to be a positive role model to the students.

Martini-Hauser serves as an ambassador for the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, where she volunteers at such events as the annual golf tournament, membership barbeques, and Cork & Fork, a popular two-day event that offers participants an opportunity to sample and buy locally-made products from area farms, wineries, chefs, restaurants and other food producers.

In addition, she is a founding member of Finger Lakes Young Professionals, a group that offers networking forums, professional development, and volunteer opportunities to young professionals of the Greater Finger Lakes Region. She also is an active volunteer at St. Mary’s Church in Waterloo.

Added Martini-Hauser: “If I receive the award, it will push me to be sure I am doing the best I can.”

The winner will be announced Sept. 18 at the 10th annual ATHENA Awards dinner at Ventosa Vineyards in Fayette.