Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of profiles of 2014 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 17.
Two years ago, Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics and athletic trainer, watched then-sophomore Brandon Jacobs struggle with the Game Day and Event Management process.
The now-senior management major was trying to figure out how to do his job, said Bray, while seeing the need for the management of the process to be done differently.
“Brandon mentioned to me on several occasions that if he were in charge, ‘this is how it would be done,’” said Bray, who nominated the Walworth resident for the Student Employee of the Year award. “So when the opportunity presented itself, I challenged him. The result—Brandon has taken the opportunity and run with it.”
As the student supervisor for Game Day and Event Management, Jacobs’ role is “absolutely critical” to the success of hosting home sporting events.
“Over the past year, Brandon has become the “face” of our game management staff,” said Bray. “Referees, visiting coaches, and our own coaching staff know he is someone that they can count on and is the ‘go-to’ person.”
That is because in the role that Jacobs fulfills, said Bray, he has the opportunity to work with and communicate directly with professional staff, outside vendors, as well as staff and administrators from visiting colleges.
“In doing so, it has been assumed by many that he is member of our professional staff; not a student employee,” said Bray. “When those individuals comment on a job well done, they are shocked to learn that he is a student. Brandon has aspirations of becoming a college athletics director and has really taken stock in his opportunity as a work study student.”
“Keuka College has a reputation within our athletic conference of using outstanding student workers for home games,” said Bray, who gives much of the credit to Jacobs. “In working with his peers, Brandon does so in such a way that they want to work with him. He is knowledgeable in what his tasks are and he completes them.”
In addition to his responsibilities for the organization and set-up for more than 70 home sporting events—including equipment, sound systems, scoreboards, visiting locker rooms, and game officials—Jacobs was tasked to complete a work study schedule for the spring semester.
“He had every student worker’s name, event, and task for that day,” said Bray. “Brandon had obtained all 25 of the students’ class schedules, the athletic schedule, spring break, meal times, etc. and had completed a task that has been known to take me weeks to do complete. It was a bit of a ‘wow’ moment for me.”
Bray said Jacobs is unlike any other student employee he has supervised in the Game Day/Event Management area.
“The work study position that Brandon maintains represents Keuka College on the frontline of visitors to our campus,” he said. “Brandon’s professional approach allows us to always have a full staff for games, as his work study peers respect him and respond appropriately when he schedules them to work or he offers instructions to them. Upon graduation, if I had a position available, I would not hesitate to offer it him.”
Freshman Melissa Slusher (Orwell, Ohio/Grand Valley) came to Keuka College in the fall of 2013 knowing she wanted to study medical technology. She just had no idea what direction her education in this ever-evolving field should take.
The medical technology field is quite broad and can encompass everything: from assisting pharmacists and physicians with treatment of their patients, working in a research laboratory, teaching health care professionals or working in the pharmaceutical, dental and public health sectors.
The degree’s primary focus, according to Slusher, is the study, diagnosis and treatment of different diseases, a field that is becoming more important as the technology used to treat these illnesses becomes more complex.
In January, Slusher conducted her Field Period™ at the Dover Air Force Base with the 436th medical group in Dover, Del. During her time on the base, Slusher assisted her brother-in-law, Senior Airman Jeffrey Utz on the base’s health clinic.
After completing her first Field Period™, Slusher came away with a more-defined definition of her career goals, and also left determined to play a bigger role in helping people recover and resume their healthy lifestyles.
“I have a passion for the medical field because I look at it as helping ill people become healthy, so they can live the healthy, happy life they deserve,” said Slusher, a defender on the Keuka College women’s soccer team.
“I chose medical technology because I knew that I wanted to pursue a job in the medical field, but I was unsure which field I wanted to study. With this major being so broad, I knew it would help me find my way.”
One of her primary responsibilities during her first Field Period™ was providing vaccines and shots to soldiers. Among the vaccinations administered on the base: chickenpox, smallpox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tuberculosis.
Every Thursday, Slusher and Utz spent the day administering smallpox vaccinations to soldiers who were preparing for deployment overseas.
Since smallpox can be a serious disease that can spread rapidly through a population — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified smallpox as a Category “A” agent, those that pose the greatest potential threat for adverse public health impact and large-scale dissemination according to the CDC’s website — Slusher said her work vaccinating these soldiers was extremely important to their long-term health.
Along with providing the essential vaccination, Slusher and her supervisor made it a top priority to educate these soldiers on the potential dangers of contracting the smallpox disease. They created a PowerPoint presentation that explained how the smallpox vaccinations would leave a series of punctures on the skin that must be kept covered at all times.
“My supervisor and I informed the men and women getting this vaccination how smallpox works, how to properly take care of it and what to look for if there are signs of a reaction to the vaccination,” Slusher said.
“We then gave the soldiers goodie bags consisting of bandages, gauze pads, wipes and hand sanitizer. This was my favorite part of the Field Period™ because we were helping protect our soldiers and wishing them luck on their deployment.”
Reflecting on her first Field Period™, Slusher said she appreciated the opportunity to help these soldiers while learning first-hand the important role that vaccines play in keeping people safe.
“I love how detailed and precise the medical field is. It continues to grow every day and it’s something I want to be a part of,” Slusher said.
“In coming to Keuka, I was in search of a degree to become a sonographer (ultrasound technician). I plan on continuing my research in this field and using my Field Period™ to help guide me down the right path. My dream job would be to work in a laboratory helping create cures for illnesses. I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to find a cure for an illness and save people’s lives in the process.”
Sophomore Josh Makin (Lethbridge, Alberta/Catholic Central) has been instrumental in the successes of the Keuka College men’s volleyball team.
In 2013, Keuka’s first year with a team, Makin, an outside hitter, earned second-team All-North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) honors as the Storm captured the NEAC postseason championship.
As a talented student-athlete, Makin relies on athletic trainer Jeff Bray and assistant athletic trainer Gabrielle Lorusso to keep him healthy and on the court, despite the assorted nicks and bruises that occur during the volleyball season.
During the January Field Period™, Makin landed a joint Field Period™ with Rebound Health Center in Lethbridge, Alberta and Ocean Physical Therapy in San Clemente, Calif.
His appreciation for physical therapy started before Makin arrived on campus. When he was 17, Makin tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had reconstructive surgery before enduring a grueling, six-month rehabilitation.
Recognizing the important role physical therapists play in not only athletics, but in day-to-day life, Makin, a biology major, decided he wanted to become a physical therapist once he graduates from Keuka.
His latest Field Period™ only reaffirmed his passion for physical therapy. (more…)
Jonathan Accardi, director of campus recreation and aquatics at Keuka College, received a double dose of good news Thursday (April 18).
After winning the College’s Work-Study Supervisor of the Year Award, Accardi learned he had also captured the Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators (NEASEA) Supervisor of the Year Award.
The NEASEA’s Supervisor of the Year program begins at an institutional level and progresses to the regional level. The award was established to recognize the integral part that the supervisor plays in the education of a student employee. Supervisors act as mentors and provide education to their students not gained through the classroom. Students at colleges and universities across the region were asked to nominate supervisors they felt were especially worthy of recognition.
In all, 91 supervisors were nominated, including seven from Keuka, and 11 schools submitted their winner for consideration for the NEASEA award. Accardi bested winners from colleges in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and West Virgina.
According to senior Samantha Stevenson, who nominated Accardi, he communicates continuously with student workers, is always open to comments or concerns, and freely shares his vision for future campus recreation programming. Stevenson called Accardi one of her greatest mentors. (more…)
The first-ever Spring Storm Madness pep rally occurred Tuesday night as Keuka’s winter sports teams were recognized for their accomplishments while the eight spring sports teams were introduced to the community.
Tuesday night saw a number of firsts for the Keuka College athletics department.
First, the men’s volleyball team picked up its first-ever North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) victory with a four-set win over Wells College.
Then, the Weed Physical Arts Center was transformed into a massive pep rally as students, coaches, faculty, staff and administrators packed the gym for Keuka’s first-ever Spring Storm Madness.
Decked out in green, these participants eagerly cheered on the Storm’s winter sports teams and their many accomplishments while giving a warm welcome to Keuka’s eight spring sports teams.
The event was organized and run by senior Nate Smith (Hilton, NY/Hilton), a men’s soccer standout who was extremely pleased with the turnout and the support shown to the Storm’s student-athletes. The event was also organized by Keuka’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) with assistance from the Student Senate.
During this pep rally-style celebration, members of Keuka College and the surrounding community got the chance to meet these student-athletes and participate in school spirit activities.
For senior Montana McDonald (Romulus, NY/Romulus), a member of Keuka’s women’s basketball and soccer squads, the highlight of the evening was towards the end of the festivities, when hundreds of Keuka student-athletes, coaches and administrators participate in the Storm’s version of the viral “Harlem Shake” video.
“Having the ‘Harlem Shake’ costume competition among the teams was exciting because we all were dressed up and we really got the crowd excited,” said McDonald, who along with the members of the women’s basketball team dressed up in 1980s-style apparel for the video.
“With our video, we wanted to show that our school is full of high-spirited, intense athletes as well as a student body that is 100 percent supportive of us. We want other NEAC schools to see that off the floor we are a bunch of crazy college students that love to dress up and have fun. It was really exciting and such a fun way to kick off the spring sports season.”
Among the games that occurred during the pep rally: a tug-of-war contest amongst the classes, a sack race featuring members of the SAAC and a paper airplane contest.
Additionally, there was a dance-off and assorted costume contests. Assorted prizes and Keuka paraphernalia were given away during the Spring Storm Madness.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams and their coaching staffs were honored for successful seasons that saw the women post a 20-4 overall mark (16-1 in the NEAC) and claim the school’s fourth NEAC North Division championship in seven years.
The men’s basketball team went 10-13 and 8-7 in NEAC play and won the most games since the 2008-09 season.
Among the highlights: seniors Teddy Tuggles (Rochester, NY/Gates Chili) and Mariah Mouzon (Elmira, NY/Elmira Free Academy) each surpassed 1,000 career points during the season, while five student-athletes earned All-NEAC honors.
For the women, juniors Jessica Bandrowski (Center Moriches, NY/Center Moriches) and Danielle Gravel (Sidney, NY/Sidney) earned first-team All-NEAC, while Mouzon was named third-team All-NEAC.
For the men, Tuggles garnered second-team All-NEAC while sophomore Trevor Healey (Wethersfield, CT/Wethersfield) was named third-team All-NEAC.
While Storm Madness has always honored the fall sports teams while introducing Keuka’s basketball teams and its men’s volleyball squad, this unique pep rally gave fans their first look at the Storm’s lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis and golf teams.
“It was really exciting because the spring sports never really have the chance to be recognized and we have some of the most successful teams on campus,” McDonald said. “All the athletes were really excited and absolutely loved being announced, along with getting the chance to throw items out to the crowd.”
By Ryan Nichols ’12
Rarely is there an idea, concept, or craze that starts from one single person and spreads to the masses in a frenzy.
Snuggies, Beanie Babies, Twilight are some example. Now Zumba is sweeping the nation by storm and the Keuka Storm has joined the bandwagon.
“I love to just dance around, so I thought it would be a fun way to exercise,” said Jessamine Qualman ’13. “Zumba is a fun way to get people who may be intimidated by the gym, or who don’t know exactly what to do, moving and exercising. It is a fun, organized way to get people active and bring them together with a common goal.”
Zumba has its roots in Latin dance and fitness programs. The originator, fitness instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez, created Zumba in the 1990s in his native country of Columbia. One day he forgot the aerobics music for a fitness class and all he had was his traditional Latin salsa and merengue. So, he had to improvise.
Keuka got caught up in the Zumba craze last semester when classes taught by Billie Rizboskin ’14, began. Rizboskin started Zumba in her hometown of Waverly two years ago.
Rizboskin met with Director of Campus Recreation and Aquatics Jon Accardi and offered to instruct the class herself.
“I love Zumba; I didn’t care if I was not paid,” she said. “I just wanted classes.”
Apparently, so did many others.
“I was shocked. Back home there is generally about 20 people who participate. The first two Mondays [at Keuka] we had more than 100 people attend. When I started the music, people began cheering,” she said.
“Most schools offer group exercise programs. We want to offer options and Zumba is a stepping stone for finding out what interests the Keuka population,” says Accardi.
Until the recent addition of the auxiliary gym, Keuka did not have the space to do offer group exercise programs.
According to Accardi, he has received many e-mails about Zumba and all have been positive.
“People are excited about it and want more classes offered – apparently, two are not enough,” he explained, ” and everyone loves Billie.”
Accardi said that a survey about fitness programs sent to members of the campus community revealed that Zumba was the most sought-after fitness class. Others that were mentioned: yoga, turbo kick, boot camp, and pi-yo, a blend of Pilates, yoga and toning movements.
The majority of people taking Zumba classes are women, said Accardi, although some males have taken part. Zumba has attracted students who do not participate in intramurals and faculty and staff as well.
“I was thrilled it was being offered on campus because I live locally and it worked out to be a good time,” said Visiting Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Holly Preston. “I had been craving an outlet for relieving the stress of being a new professor. Zumba is a great workout and a lot of fun.”
Preston believes that more faculty and staff staff will get caught up in the Zumba craze.
“There were some new people who tried it toward the end of the semester and plan on continuing in the spring. I know of others who would like to participate, though scheduling is an issue,” said Preston, who would like to see an introductory Zumba session for faculty and staff.
Accardi and Rizboskin are hoping to offer offer at least three classes this semester. For now, classes are held Mondays and Wednesdays, 6- 7 p.m., Accardi said.
A Zumba-thon for charity is also in the works, according to Rizboskin.
“Zumba-thons are when people dance for a certain amount of time, and they raise money for a variety of charities, for example Party in Pink, and Party Hearty (heart disease),” she explained. “You can combine with vendors and hold raffles or auctions. I’m thinking of doing one for three hours.”
Zumba classes will be held every Monday and Wednesday at 6pm in the Auxiliary Gym at Keuka College.
Jeff Bray is an avid motorsports fan, and when he arrived in scenic Keuka Park to accept a job as Keuka College’s head athletic trainer/assistant athletic director in the summer of 1992, he figured he was just making a pit stop.
Nearly 20 later, the man who came to campus on a two-year plan can’t imagine working anywhere else.
As he reflects on two decades of dedicated service to the Storm’s student-athletes, Bray can’t help but wonder how he ended up as the second-longest tenured member of the College’s athletics department.
The number of intercollegiate sports offerings at Keuka College will increase to 16 with the addition of men’s volleyball and women’s golf.
“We are excited about adding both men’s volleyball and women’s golf,” said Athletic Director David Sweet. “They are both a natural fit since we already offer men’s golf and women’s volleyball. Both sports will give our students a wider variety of athletic events in which to participate.”
While women’s volleyball competes in the fall, the men’s squad will play its schedule during the winter, but won’t begin play until the 2012-13 season. The women’s golf team—along with the men’s—will play a fall and spring schedule and will start play in 2011-12. (more…)
Thad Phillips was assistant men’s basketball coach at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., before becoming head men’s hoop coach at Keuka College last May. There’s a lot more to making the transition from assistant to head coach than moving 18 inches (the width of a chair seat), but Phillips has handled it well. He has the Storm playing their best basketball of the season right now and in this interview he talks about his team, its character, recruiting, his goals for the program, and how much he enjoys the Keuka College experience.
Keuka College Today airs the fourth Thursday of every month from 8:30 – 9 a.m. on WFLR (1570 AM and 96.9 FM).
Morgan Engelbert doesn’t have a lot of down time.
But the 5-foot-9-inch senior forward for the Keuka College women’s basketball team likes it that way.
“It’s kind of how my life has always been,” said the Elmira Heights native, who played volleyball, basketball and softball all four years at Thomas Edison High School.
At Keuka, Engelbert has continued her three-sport career, playing outside hitter for the Storm in volleyball, and third base or outfield in softball, in addition to basketball.
“I work better on a schedule that’s busy. It doesn’t let me slack off,” she said.
Her fall semester also included student teaching assignments in Dundee and Hammondsport. Next semester, Engelbert says she’ll be able to “float” a little more, since she is “only” planning to carry an 18-credit academic course load.
Engelbert is one of at least 23 dual- or triple-sport athletes (spring rosters have not yet been finalized) at this Division III school playing sports for most or all of the academic year. That’s in addition to keeping up with classes, Field Period responsibilities, and minor aspects of life like eating or sleeping, to say nothing of a part-time job that might also be in the mix. Such is the case for senior Heather Fish, a middle hitter for volleyball who also plays guard and forward in basketball.
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