Editor’s Note: Here is a look at the seven people nominated by students for the Work-Study Supervisor of the Year Award, which will be presented at a luncheon April 18.
According to international student Sini Ngobese ’15 of South Africa, College Chaplain Rev. Eric Detar creates a warm and positive work environment in the Center for Spiritual Life. With his kindness, generosity, compassion and patience, as well as light-hearted spirit, the rewards of working in the CSL office have extended farther than wages, she said.
The work shift begins with a heartfelt smile and greeting and a few moments to catch up and ensure that all is well, Ngobese said. It’s not simply a polite inquiry, she said, “but a genuine interest for my well-being which, as a student who is an ocean and continent away from home, helps me feel welcome, cared for and important.”
Each work shift has enabled her to learn positive skills that will benefit future workplace endeavors, she said. New tasks are explained with patience and stated in a conversational manner, rather than as commands. If ever a mistake is made, Detar never chastises, but rather empowers her how not to make errors in the future.
“He wholeheartedly praises the good, which helps me as the employee feel motivated, important, encouraged, enthusiastic and inspired,” she said, adding that, Detar’s personable demeanor and propensity to share laughter have helped instill a love for the job and a passion for contributions made to the department.
“As a result, I feel more a fundamental part of the office and its prosperity as opposed to a mere work-study employee. Consequently, I have a huge sense of pride for the office, its projects and events,” Ngobese said. However, she added that of all the great experiences gained as Detar’s office assistant, “the best reward of all is the awesome friendship we’ve established.”
A fun, sweet, helpful and friendly spirit are among the many positive characteristics of Eva Moberg-Sarver, director of student activities.
According to Lauren Esposito ’15, who works for Moberg-Sarver as a student activites and Campus Activities Board (CAB) assistant, “Eva brings fun and energy into the office” and has helped make it more exciting for Esposito to come to work each day.
“I have never seen her in a bad mood and she is always nice to everyone,” said Esposito. “She truly cares about the campus, especially the students. She challenges me to do better and work harder. She is my inspiration and I look up to her or advice, wisdom, cheering up and just nice conversations.”
Moberg-Sarver has been a “remarkable” addition to the Keuka community, Esposito said, and has put in hard work across the numerous areas of campus activities and events that she oversees. Through a positive personality, Moberg-Sarver gets others excited about happenings on campus and is herself, excited about what is happening.
“Her shining personality makes her more than worthy for this prestigious award,” Esposito said.
One of the first people sophomore Savannah Fuller ’15 met as a freshman was Valerie Webster, co-curricular transcript coordinator and community service coordinator. Fuller received the Experiential Learner of the Month Award as a high school senior in January 2011 and a partial academic fellowship to attend Keuka.
Knowing that completing at least 50 hours of community service was a fellowship requirement, Fuller, an occupational science major, kept Webster’s name in her head.
“I went into her office and was immediately greeted with enthusiasm and spunk,” said Fuller. “After volunteering at the office, she recommended that I apply for the community service advocate work-study position. Having a supervisor who is passionate about helping others makes being a community service advocate meaningful.”
Webster’s ”unrelenting dedication to her work-study students and enthusiasm for community service are the highly commendable,” said Fuller. “She told me there was always work to be done and that I was always welcome. Knowing this has made working in the office rewarding.”
According to Fuller, Webster “is always on top of the projects in which community service advocates are involved, and knows how to approach any problem we encounter, big or small. Even while on leave due to major surgery, Valerie made it a point to check up on the community service advocates and give us advice.”
Not only does Fuller count on Webster as a supervisor, but also as a friend.
“She is a mother figure to me,” said Fuller. “I count myself among the large number of students who know we can lean on Valerie when we are having a bad day, and are too far away from home to hug our own mothers. Her office is a safe haven when the stressors of college become overwhelming, and her guidance and support have allowed me to build important skills essential to success.”
While Emily Ekstrom ’13 has been TeamWorks! facilitator for just one semester, she said it’s the only work-study job she’s had that has challenged her and made her a better person. She gives a lot of the credit to her work-study supervisor, Molly McGuigan ’11, TeamWorks! manager.
“It is Molly’s first year in charge of the TeamWorks! program, and she has gone above and beyond any supervisor I have ever had on campus,” said Ekstrom.
As an education major, Ekstrom said her work-study job helped prepare her for the challenge of student teaching.
“A large component of this was Molly,” she said. “She helped me build my TeamWorks! facilitating skills so that I could bring them into the classroom for my students. She not only provided me with the materials, but ideas and advice on different lessons I could do with my students.”
Ekstrom said McGuigan provides a challenging work environment, and pushes the facilitators to go outside their comfort levels.
“Molly encourages us to grow as workers and students with a combination of classic team building activities and fresh ideas,” said Ekstrom. Even though TeamWorks! is a student-led program, Molly is there for moral support, which is always welcome when running a program. She knows just what to say to help us through, and I think she is not so much as boss, as she is an older sibling watching over your shoulder. She is there help us when we have a problem as well as celebrate our successes.”
Ekstrom said that whether she wants to chat about an upcoming program, grab a piece of candy, or just talk about a class, one of the best aspects of having McGuigan as a supervisor is her open cubby policy.
“A real benefit of knowing that Molly graduated from Keuka is that she knows what we are going through, and always has some insightful help when we are in a pickle,” said Ekstrom.
According to Samantha Stevenson ’13, who has worked under Jon Accardi, director of campus recreation and aquatics, for the past four years, Accardi has expanded campus intramural programs from just four sports to more than 30 different annual events that go beyond intramural competitions to include overall fitness and health.
“[Jon] does everything he can to try and get more of the student body involved and active in the Weed Physical Arts Center,” Stevenson said.
As a result, many of the new programs or events introduced under Accardi’s tenure were launched by work-study students. Some of these events include yoga, fitness boot camp, Zumba, a dodgeball tournament now in its sixth year, a rewards program that marks 30-, 45- and 60-day uses of the fitness center with small prizes, and an obstacle-course event last year that has morphed into a “Zombie” Run event this year. The latter three were created with the inspiration of former students Ashley Valentine, Joe Debar, and Alicia Wimmer.
Accardi interacts with work-study employees in a way that makes them feel like colleagues, not “underlings,” Stevenson said, describing how that includes encouragement and praise, recognition of hard work, and at times, a push to press on in spite of challenges.
“I gained determination and integrity to achieve any goal I set for myself from Jon’s leadership. With these experiences, I have achieved a higher understanding not only of what it means to work hard, but how to motivate others to do the same,” Stevenson said, calling him one of her greatest mentors. “I know that I’m a better person because of it, and anyone working under Jon in the future will be, too.”
Halie Squires ’13 has worked in the Office of Admissions as a student ambassador for a year-and-a-half. In that time, her work-study supervisor, Tom Jackson, marketing and administrative manager for traditional admissions, has made her believe her role is valuable.
“One of Tom’s main goals in the office is to ensure that the student ambassadors know we are part of the collective whole of the admissions staff,” said Squires, a senior occupational science major. “This is one of his most important roles as our supervisor. He also provides guidance and support to the administrative assistants within the office, ensures prospective students will have a great visit to campus, and collaborates with everyone on campus.”
According to Squires, Jackson also tries to have the student ambassadors connect what they’re learning in class to what they try to achieve in their work-study role.
“During our staff meetings, he encourages us to incorporate our skill sets and background into our tours and interactions with prospective students and their families,” said Squires. “Tom encourages us to work together, ask questions, and be part of a team so that students enjoy their visit to the fullest potential, and make the admissions office run smoothly.”
Squires admits that the admissions office can sometimes be a difficult and stressful place to work, since what needs to be accomplished must be accurate, organized, and completed in a timely manner.
“Tom reassures us that yes, while the work can be challenging at times, it is rewarding,” said Squires. “He knows how to keep us motivated and working toward the goal of admissions—finding students who will enjoy the Keuka College experience. He will tell us, ‘Remember when you’re walking on campus, and see people you took on tour who are now enrolled as Keuka College students? Isn’t that worth the work?’”
Added Squires: “Tom is a wonderful addition to the admissions office, and a phenomenal work-study supervisor. Without him in the office, I am not so sure things would run as smooth as they do.
Rachel Dewey, communications specialist in the Office of Communication and Keukonian co-adviser, was nominated by Danielle Petrilli, editor of the student newspaper.
“Even with her own hectic schedule, Rachel is always willing to talk with the Keukonian staff if they have any concerns with changes made, or if they have questions about how to interview or get in contact with Keuka staff and faculty,” said Petrelli.
Petrilli preaised Dewey for Rachel always having a “welcoming spirit” and being ”eager to help in whatever way she possibly can, whether it be story ideas, or how to approach a story lead.
“No one deserves this [award] more than her; she is the most flexible person, and is always willing to set up a time that works for us, as well as keeping me informed of her schedule so I don’t just drop in and have her be gone. Rachel keeps us on track, but also allows us to do our jobs without hesitation.”
It’s a cold day in Buffalo, typical for this industrial city, which is dusted with a fine coat of snow. Traversing the numerous buildings and animal habitats at the Buffalo Zoo, but sporting warm and cheerful smiles, are Ashley Hager and Megan Hilsdorf, junior biochemistry majors at Keuka College.
Both put in 8-hour-a-day, 6-day work weeks for three weeks in January to conduct 140-hour, Field Period internships at the zoo. While Hager spent most of her time in the Reptile House, working in the Hellbendar (salamander) acquatics lab, Hilsdorf worked with primates, birds and other animals in the M&T Rainforest Falls exhibit. Both were exposed to sections of the zoo the public never sees, such as where specialized meals are prepared for each exhibit, animals receive any needed veterinary care, and babies are are kept until they are old enough to venture out into the display habitats.
Thanks to a relative of Hilsdorf’s who offered use of his Buffalo apartment for three weeks when he wasn’t going to be there, both girls were able to stay in the city and commute to the zoo each day for the internship, which is an annual part of every Keuka student’s graduation requirements.
“They’re so short-staffed, and they told (tell ok) us we’ve been a big help,” said Hager.
Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the fifth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
Scott Welch ’12 graduated magna cum laude with a degree in biochemistry and has been accepted to the doctoral program at St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Pharmacy.
“The plan is to graduate in four years with my Doctor of Pharmacy,” Welch said.
On a personal level, Welch said he enjoyed Keuka’s beautiful location and the ability to play lacrosse, in part because of the smaller size of the school. Keuka’s men’s lacrosse team went 11-4 this year in Division III play, capturing its second-straight NEAC (North Eastern Athletic Conference) post-season championship. Welch competed all four years with the team as a defender. He was named the Keuka College Senior Male Student-Athlete of the Year (2012) in May for academic achievement, community service, athletic dedication and sportsmanship.
He said he built many friendships with fellow students while attending and also enjoyed the community they formed.
Ultimately, however, “the thing that I valued most at Keuka was the professors and their willingness to go out of their way to help students,” he said.
To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.
The faces and forms of the people in his paintings look as though the individuals brushed into living color could step right off the canvas and into conversation.
They look, in a word, real. And that’s exactly how artist Lennie Muscarella of Victor wants it to be.
“If you were right next to it, it looks like a hodgepodge, but step back 10 feet and you’ve got a photograph,” he said, explaining that a number of contemporary painters in the same Realist style he aspires to are currently striving to master that technique.
Muscarella had lots of time to become intimately acquainted with the human face and figure. After studying biology at St. Bonaventure University, and a brief stint in the U.S. Navy, he entered dental school at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Though he had given up art school to pursue a “day job” that could support a family, Muscarella found himself rewarded, he said, because dental school turned out to be “a very sophisticated art school.”
“They taught you how to paint porcelain and you have to know your colors inside out to match anteriors [teeth], and they hone your sculpting skills down to a tenth of a millimeter and bless them, they give you the privilege—not the right, but the privilege—to dissect the human body twice,” he said. “As a figure painter, you can’t get any better than that.”
While he may be “Dr. Muscarella” by day, in his free time he is simply “lennie” the artist, and yes, he spells it lowercase, because painting such a long name with a brush involves more work. “It’s much easier, if [I] use the one name,” he said.
In Muscarella’s mind, dental school was also a saving grace because had he instead entered art school in 1977, he would have confronted what he considers “a horrible year, the post-modern movement, [which] we’ve suffered from the last 40 years. They threw away all the technique and all the skill level is gone.
“I’m so sick and tired of people signing toasters or toilets and calling it art. It’s the king and his clothes, and people have got to be told the king is naked,” he said. “America’s got a wonderful crop of world-class figure painters on the East Coast right now making a comeback—they’ve held the fort up quite well.”
Muscarella will also show some of his drawings and sculptures at the Keuka exhibit, which continues through April 13. While he enjoys both sculpting and oil painting, casting sculptures is more expensive, so he tends to lean toward toward painting, he said.
“Painting is like playing the violin and sculpture is like playing the drums — it’s more physical. There’s a hammer involved, welders, tables with clamps on them. It’s very satisfying in its own way. I like both. But [sculpture’s] a lot messier.”
Muscarella will meet the public Thursday, March 22 during an artist’s reception, 4:15 – 6 p.m. in Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery, where light refreshments will be served. Prior to the reception, Muscarella will give a demonstration of his oil painting technique, known as the old master’s method, to Keuka drawing and painting students taught by Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art. And while it would be impossible to finish a work that typically takes 60 to 90 hours in an hour-and-a-half, Muscarella plans on giving them a significant taste in the science of it.
To that end, he will dissect one of his portraits in progress, creating a four-part cross-section on linen canvas where one quarter of the portrait is simply his drawing, and the next is coated with a sepia-tone wash of diluted oil paints. The final two quarters are in stages he calls “underpainting” and “almost done.” During the demonstration, Muscarella will take each cross-section to the next stage of completion. The canvas-in-progress will be put on display during the reception.
“It’s the process of making art, the doing that’s important,” Muscarella said. “Once one [work] is done, it’s time to move on to the next, like a rainbow in the next field. You never quite get there, and you’re always chasing it.”
For Katie Barnhart, the third time was the charm when it came to Field Period, the 140-hour real-world internship every Keuka College student conducts each year.
After working at a hospital for her freshman year Field Period, Barnhart, a member of Keuka’s Class of 2012, discovered she did not want to become a doctor. Between the high pressure environment and cautions from many hospital staffers that doctor’s hours would conflict with any desire to raise a family, “it wasn’t appealing to me,” she said.
For her second Field Period, she went to a forest region of Kenya, Africa, participating in field research on the Colobus monkeys, seeking to learn how deforestation was impacting the animals’ behaviors.
“I realized that field research was great and fun, but I really love the lab setting more,” she said.
So she spent her third Field Period in the research labs of the University of Rochester (U of R) Medical School, working with mitochondrial cells and yeast over the summer between her sophomore and junior years.
“I loved it,” Barnhart said, adding that proper research simply requires extended periods of time, making a summer Field Period, where there is ample time to log those extra hours, a better option than the five weeks of winter break.
This summer, she wanted to repeat the magic with another research lab and was delighted to find an ally in Dr. Carolyn Klinge ’79, professor of biochemistry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. (more…)
So, the biochemistry major and Endicott resident was encouraged by Joan Magnusen, professor of biology, to pursue cancer research in Carolyn Klinge’s ’79 lab.
When Keuka College alumna Cynthia Shannon Weickert (Classes of 1987 and 1988) delivered a presentation on campus two years ago focused on her career exploring genetic and developmental aspects relating to schizophrenia, biochemistry major Kelin Wheaton—then a freshman—took note.
Editor’s Note: Every member of the Class of 2008 has a story about his or her experiences at Keuka College and plans for the future. We couldn’t publish all of those stories but here are 12 of them and they give us a good idea of the kind of people the College is producing.