Life can be particularly challenging for adult students.
Successfully juggling college studies with family and job responsibilities is a remarkable accomplishment.
Maintaining a lofty grade point average and serving your community while doing so is worthy of special recognition, which three students who earned, or are earning degrees through the College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP), received last night (April 24).
Randy Kuhn Jr., Edith (Edie) Smith, and Kellie Gatson were among some 30 adults who received the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education’s (RACCE) Outstanding Adult Student Award at the organization’s 30th Annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet at the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Victor.
Kuhn, who resides in Newark, is a police officer with the Newark Police Department. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice systems in 2010 and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration in 2012.
Kuhn, who received an associate degree from Monroe Community College (MCC) in 1997, said the inspiration to return to college came from his father.
“My father had a massive stroke and is permanently disabled,” he said. “Keeping my father upbeat and motivated each day is a personal goal of mine.”
Recently, Kuhn developed a proposal for a bicycle patrol division, which was approved by Newark village trustees. Earlier this month, he presented research on police training with emotionally disabled persons at the Graduate Research Conference at SUNY Brockport. Through membership in the Rengade Pigs Motorcycle Club (active and retired law enforcement officers) and Rochester Emerald Society, he has helped raise funds for many charities, including the Dream Factory.
Kuhn was selected to deliver the student address at Keuka’s 2012 Mid-Year Conferral of Degrees and will begin a term on the Alumni Association Executive Council in June.
Smith, who resides in Auburn, is a residential registered nurse at Seneca Cayuga ARC and an adjunct clinical nursing instructor at Cayuga Community College (CCC). She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2007 and a master’s degree in nursing in 2012.
“Keuka’s program fit my life,” said Smith, who earned an associate degree from CCC in 1991. “The time commitment needed for college meant that I had to carefully prioritize my life in order to balance family, work and school. Support from family and friends made the sacrifice less painful and allowed me to focus when activities and events were missed in order to complete homework assignments.”
She presented her research on nursing care and the developmentally disabled patient population at the New York State Intellectual Disabilities/Developmental Disabilities Nurses’ Association conference last fall.
Smith is enrolled in the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at SUNY Upstate Medical University and plans to work with intellectually and developmentally disabled patients at the Karl D. Warner Clinic.
Smith is active with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event and donates platelets for the American Red Cross.
Gatson, a resident of Rochester who earned an associate degree from MCC in 2009, is a customer service representative at ABVI—Goodwill Inc. She has overcome challenges during her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in social work, which she will complete this fall.
“Being a full-time mother of four children and supporting them on a limited income has been challenging,” said Gatson, who also had to deal with the death of her grandmother last year. “I have found great love in pursuing an education, not only for myself but for the opportunities in the future to touch the lives of those in my community.”
She has already touched the lives of many by serving meals at a homeless shelter and visiting the Open Door Mission to listen to others’ stories, share her own, and offer hope.
“Kellie’s academic work is always above and beyond expectations outlined in her courses,” reported her adviser. “She manages raising a family, school work, and employment while maintaining a high level of passion for each endeavor in which she engages.”
That passion will serve her well when she begins pursuit of her next academic goal: a master’s degree.