Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a 10-part series on the 2011 Experiential Learner of the Year Award nominees. Nominees for the upperclass and freshman awards will be honored at a luncheon May 6; the winners will be revealed at Honors Convocation May 7.
The Keuka Field Period is meant to capitalize on a student’s interests and course of study and senior Rory Conheady, added one more key ingredient – initiative – as he developed a research project investigating cases of vandalism on campus.
In the lead role, the Rochester resident worked with fellow senior and criminology/criminal justice major Brett Leonard to collect data, analyze it and make recommendations for policies and practices to address the issue. According to Janine Bower, assistant professor of sociology, criminology and criminal justice, Conheady’s work shows “how lessons learned in the classroom can be translated into action in order to solve real-world problems.”
Conheady and Leonard worked under the supervision of Tracy McFarland, associate dean of students. While Conheady managed much of the data collection on best practices at other universities, Leonard spearheaded student surveys to garner feedback from those directly affected. In addition to plotting out a map of areas on campus more vulnerable to vandalism than others, the pair also conducted a safety “audit” to identify spots that might put students, faculty or staff at risk, McFarland said.
“Looking at where the vandalism occurred can help us to (better) direct some of our efforts. Do we need extra staffing, extra hours for desk workers, etc.?,” McFarland asked. “Rory did a great job – he was very much on task the whole time. I think it’s evident he has a passion for this kind of work so I think it was a real practical experience for him and a way for him to give back to the institution as well.”
In addition to his academic and Field Period work, Conheady has also served in numerous club and student leadership roles, including service as student senator and member of the paintball, Sociology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Political Science and History, Media and Fishing clubs. Since 2008, he has served as a resident assistant, twice winning the Residence Life Recognition award.