A semester spent a traveling the Atlantic Ocean while visiting countries in Europe and South America, and daily observations of veterinary work garnered the top awards in experiential learning for senior Erica Rusio and freshman Lydia Watkins at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony May 4 at Keuka College.
During the fall semester, Ruscio sailed around the Atlantic Ocean on the MV Explorer, an 836-passenger floating classroom, as part of the Semester at Sea program.
“I went to 12 countries, took classes, attended seminars, navigated through unfamiliar cities and new experiences, and discovered new understandings of what it means to be human. It was the coolest thing I have ever done,” said Ruscio.
It also earned Ruscio, an English major from Rushville, the Upperclass Experiential Learner of the Year Award, which recognizes learning from Field Period, co-curricular involvement, and community service.
Nominated by Allison Schultz, international student adviser in the Center for Global Education, Rusico said she has taken learning far beyond the traditional four-walled classroom.
“As an English major, I love books, but they only tell half of the story,” she said. “The concrete experiences can’t be replicated, and can’t be doubled in a book.”
Ruscio said Keuka College and the Semester at Sea program share the same philosophy when it comes to learning: you learn more by doing.
For example, Ruscio said she didn’t just read in a book what South Africa was like, “I explored it myself and made friends there. I didn’t just see a picture of the native people of the Amazon; I spent the night in the jungle with them. I didn’t just read a statistic about poverty in Latin America; I played with the kids in the Argentine slums.”
Ruscio said that she now has more faith in the opportunity to try, take chances, make mistakes, and try again.
“Experiential learning, which embraces the whole person, is what I received from Keuka College and the Semester at Sea program,” she said. “I haven’t just ‘done’ this experience, I’ve become it.”
An active participant in the College’s Arion Players Drama Club and the Women’s Center Advocacy Club, Ruscio also serves as a TeamWorks! facilitator, editor of Red Jacket, and is a writing tutor. She also lends her time and talents to the Literacy Volunteers of Ontario and Yates Counties.
Watkins’ January Field Period at Southtown Veterinary Hospital in Montrose, Pa., solidified her career choice.
The Field Period also helped earn Watkins, a biomedical major from Springville, Pa., the Freshman Experiential Learner of the Year Award. The award recognizes learning from Field Period, co-curricular involvement, and community service.
Watkins, who has known since she was 10 that she wanted to be a large animal veterinarian, was nominated for the award by Andy Robak, assistant professor of chemistry.
“I nominated Lydia because she had a great first Field Period,” said Robak. “She had her first experience working in a small animal veterinary clinic, and built relationships with the people with whom she was working.”
And while the vets at Southtown Veterinary Hospital care for small animals, Watkins still “learned a lot of information about the veterinary field, and I cannot wait to have the V.M.D. in front of my name. By watching the vets, I expanded my knowledge and fine tuned my interests.”
Watkins was able to watch several procedures, including spays, neuters, ACL repair, bone surgery, and a splenectomy. Shortly after her Field Period ended, she was hired as a veterinary assistant. Watkins will work weekends, summers, and other times when classes are not in session.
Watkins said she “loved my Field Period, and now my job, but I still want to work with cows.”
Said Robak: “A lot of students will do similar Field Periods in vet offices, but rarely does it end up in a great relationship like she found. Lydia is also an excellent student, excelling in sophomore chemistry as a freshman, and is well on her way to veterinary school when she graduates.”
Kayla Curtis, a senior psychology major, found out today (April 18) she made it to the Final Four of the National Student Employment Association (NSEA) Student Employee of the Year competition.
Curtis was honored at a luncheon for being the 2013 Keuka College, New York state, and Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators (NEASEA) Student Employee of the Year. As the regional winner, she went up against three other regional winners (from University of Iowa, California Polytechnic State University, and Auburn University) for the NASEA award, which was won by the student from Auburn University.
Nonetheless, winning the NEASEA award is impressive because nearly 100 schools/institutions from 11 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and six Canadian provinces are members of the organization.
“Two-hundred students, including six from Keuka College, were nominated at the institutional level,” said Sally Daggett, associate director of the Center for Experiential learning and director of student employment. “Nineteen schools from nine states submitted their winners for state awards and the regional winner was chosen from that group.”
Curtis, who hails from of Red Creek, is a psychology major who has served as student coordinator for the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) chapter on campus since arriving on campus as a transferring sophomore. BBBS pairs volunteer “Bigs” (college students) with “Littles,” young students befriended and mentored by the Bigs.
Curtis was nominated by Valerie Webster, co-curricular transcript coordinator in the Center for Experiential Learning
According to Webster, Curtis increased the number of matches from one to 12, handles all aspects of training and data entry for the “Bigs,” and does “98 percent of the work to keep the program operational.”
Curtis exhibits a “work ethic, initiative and commitment to understanding and serving others” that will make her an asset to any organization after graduation, said Webster. “Her positive attitude, patience and ability to work with people are refreshing and energizing.”
Curtis has also been a resident assistant, a three-year member of the Psychology Club (current vice president), a member of two honor societies, and holds a 3.8 GPA.
Curtis received a certificate and a check for $250 from NEASEA, and a plaque and $100 gift card to the bookstore from the College.
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of profiles of Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 18.
Ask Assistant Director of Admissions Kristen Harter to play word association when it comes to senior Ashley Larimore and she’ll give you three: dedicated, determined, and driven.
Harter nominated the organizational communication major for the Student Employee of the Year for a second year in a row.
“One of my top recruits to attend Keuka College, I have known and worked with Ashley since she was a freshman,” said Harter. “She is extremely reliable and organized, and has gained an excellent perspective of how an admissions office is run.”
According to Harter, Larimore, a resident of Horseheads, knows what admissions material Keuka has and introduces it to new students effectively.
“Ashley is able to easily communicate by phone, email and in person with prospective students from the minute she meets them,” said Harter. “She adapts to all situations in the office, whether it’s giving a tour, calling a prospective student, sending out information or answering phones.”
It’s this personal communication that Harter said “stands out to our students and even more to our students’ parents. Ashley has the ability to connect with all types of families and make them feel at home at Keuka.”
As a freshman, Larimore took the opportunity to complete a Field Period with Harter in admissions.
“I was honored Ashley wanted to learn more about our office and the admissions process for prospective students,” said Harter. “She worked many extra hours in preparation for scholarship days and made sure that prospective students had all of their questions answered.”
Harter describes Larimore as a self-motivated, determined, and focused young woman “who has the confidence and ability to learn and adapt to new things in the work environment.”
This motivation is especially evident to Harter because as an admissions counselor, she is “on the road” for about five months out of the year and in the office only randomly at other times. But Harter doesn’t worry about things in the office while she’s away.
“Ashley has the ability to start new projects, answer emails and phone calls professionally, and represent Keuka College,” said Harter. “I can count on her to complete projects for me and ensure that prospective students from my territory know all there is to know before making the decision to enroll at Keuka College.”
Harter also said Larimore is always willing to help any of our staff members complete a project and cover when a staff member may be out of the office.
“Ashley leads by example, and is highly respected by the admissions professionals as well as other areas across campus,” said Harter. “She is a leader in admissions, especially when training and working with new student ambassadors. I often wonder how she does it all.”
Added Harter: “Ashley is obviously committed and dedicated to Keuka College. I have no doubt that she will make an outstanding admissions counselor if she decides to pursue it as a career.”
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of profiles of Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 18.
To excel at the student circulation desk/lab assistant position in Lightner Library, one needs to work independently while paying attention to details, and possess excellent interpersonal skills and above-average computer proficiency.
According to Carol Sackett, library circulation supervisor, junior Colleen Young does all that and more.
While Young, a resident of Fairport, may only work in the library about nine hours a week, Sackett said “she is an outstanding team player who works well with faculty, staff, and students alike. She is adept at handling any problem that might arise and is confident in all that she does.”
That is why she nominated the unified childhood education major for Student Employee of the Year.
“She is always ready to fill in at a moment’s notice, and her energy and work ethic are to be admired,” said Sackett, who added that Young has worked in the library for two years. “Colleen mastered our Library of Congress system easily, has helped train new student workers, and has a knack for working with others.”
Young’s other duties include shelving materials, working with reserves, and helping others find research articles. She provides computer assistance as needed and directs patrons to peruse research areas.
In addition to her work-study position, Sackett said Young maintains a heavy collegiate and co-curricular schedule.
“She serves as president of the Education Club, secretary for both the Special Education Club and ASL Club, is a member of Spiritual Interest Groups (SIGS) and Sigma Alpha Pi, and a Davis Hall resident assistant,” said Sackett.
After commencement in May 2014, Young anticipates attending graduate school and wants to work with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Added Sackett: “Colleen has been a wonderful addition to our staff. Although diminutive in size, she is a powerful mentor to the rest of my workers and respected by all. She adapts to change quickly and is a delight to have working at the front desk with the public.”
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 18.
Two years ago, when Jon Accardi, director of campus recreation, was looking for a senior supervisor for intramurals, he didn’t have to look far.
Accardi turned to Travis Simmons, an intramurals student employee and participant. He said selecting Simmons as senior supervisor was an “easy decision.
“Travis possesses enthusiasm, commitment and natural leadership ability, all of which played a key role in the tremendous growth intramurals experienced,” said Accardi.
Accardi says the program reached an all-time high of 47 percent participation from the student body in 2011-2012. The program is on pace to reach more than 50 percent in 2012-2013.
These stats are just one reason Accardi nominated Simmons, a business management major from Norwich, for Student Employee of the Year.
“I absolutely believe there is a direct correlation between the success of the program and Travis’ abilities as a staff supervisor and event manager,” said Accardi. “At games and events, Travis goes above and beyond by greeting participants and spectators, which helps shape a fun and friendly atmosphere. He is the face of intramurals.”
Simmons, who supervises a staff of 18 referees and scorekeepers,” is the most well-rounded, talented, dedicated, and trustworthy student employee I have had. He is always the first one to show up and the last to leave for events.”
Accardi says Simmons has set a new standard for his position, and he is always looking for new opportunities to learn more and improve the program. For example, Simmons asked to assist with the student-employee evaluation process.
“He viewed the additional work as an opportunity to learn how to evaluate someone, as well as provide and obtain feedback,” said Accardi.
According to Accardi, Simmons extends his commitment to the intramurals program through his service on the Recreation Advisory Board, helping refine the current program and generate new ideas to keep things fresh and exciting.
Simmons plans to pursue a career in collegiate recreation and intramurals.
“The positive experiences he’s had as a work-study student in our office has led him toward that path,” said Accardi. “He is a prime example of the importance and value of the work-study program. It is this type of hands-on experience that will prepare Travis for success in the real world.”
Peter Cottontail might be out of a job.
That’s because, as the perennial favorite says, members of the Keuka College community brought every girl and boy—in the Head Start programs in Dundee and Penn Yan—baskets full of Easter joy.
Keuka students, staff, and faculty donated toys, bubbles, stuffed animals, and other Easter basket goodies and distributed them to the children in each class.
The Community Service Resource Center in the Center for Experiential Learning and the Class of 2015 coordinated the Easter Basket Project, a College tradition since the mid-1990s. The baskets were then given to the Dundee and Penn Yan classes.
On hand to help distribute the baskets were Jamie Allen, a sophomore psychology major from Canandaigua, who serves as treasurer of the Class of 2015; Nikita Wilkins, a sophomore biology major and a community service advocate in the Center from Bloomfield, Savannah Fuller, a sophomore occupational science major and community service advocate in the Center from Philadelphia, N.Y; Mary Leet, a freshman visual and verbal art major from Stanley and a community service advocate in the Center; Kalya Hall, a sophomore occupational science major from Ballston Spa and Class of 2015 representative; Emily Brown, a sophomore occupational science major from Homer and Class of 2015 representative; Sarah Schneider, a freshman childhood education major from Stanley and community service advocate in the Center; Paige Fuller, a sophomore American Sign Language major from East Greenbush; Alex Morgan, a junior biology major from New Berlin; Shanita Williams, a freshman exploratory major from Geneva; and Jeffery Miller, a sophomore occupational science major from Bloomfield.
For the seventh straight year, Keuka College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted 690 colleges and universities for the role they play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.
Keuka was one of 113 schools to earn Honor Roll with Distinction recognition. It’s the third time in four years the College has earned that status.
Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
In the past year, Keuka College students dedicated nearly 143,000 hours of service to the community. Some of the many local organizations and programs that benefit from the time and talents of Keuka students include: Yates County Humane Society; Clinton Crest Manor, an adult care facility in Penn Yan; Child and Family Resources Inc; Head Start in Dundee; Celebrate Service… Celebrate Yates, an annual day of community service organized by students and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce; and the DRIVE (diversity, responsibility, inclusion, vision, experiential learning) program, a partnership between the Yates ARC, Penn Yan Central School, and the College that provides on-campus learning and life training skills to area students with special needs, ages 18-21.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. It is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.
The late American educator Mary Ellen Chase once said “Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind.”
And the Christmas state of mind was evident in the number of ribbons and bows that adorned the bags and boxes for 38 children receiving gifts though Keuka College’s Angel Tree Project. The gifts for the children were wrapped and delivered to the Child and Family Resource Center in Penn Yan Monday, Dec. 3, where Santa Claus was on hand to give the gifts to the children.
“Angel Tree gives the College a way to do community service,” said Valerie Webster, community service advocate adviser and co-curricular transcript coordinator. “It makes people stop and realize how important it is to help others, and to understand the true meaning of the holidays.”
Freshman Mary Leet agrees.
“[Helping others at] Christmas feels more like Christmas when you give, rather than receive,” said the visual and verbal art major from Stanley, who also serves as a community service advocate.
A community service staple and College favorite, the annual Angel Tree Project is designed to make the holidays a bit brighter for area children in need. Students, staff, and faculty select a paper angel from a Christmas tree. The angel contains a child’s age and gender, and a suggested gift of toys, clothes, or both.
Savannah Fuller, a junior occupational science major from Philadelphia and community service advocate, said Christmas “is a time to cherish all kids, and by choosing an angel from the tree, I felt good knowing I helped make a child’s Christmas brighter.”
Webster said two clubs—Rotaract Club and Drama Club—bought gifts for two families. The clubs combined to give the families necessity items including cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, towels, and pots and pans.
Rotaract Club member Brittany Gleason, a sophomore mathematics and management major from Carthage, says “the club is all about community service, and we feel good knowing that a family is getting things they need that they might not otherwise be able to get.”
Added Webster: “The Angel Tree Project gives everyone a chance to have those wishes we all have. And it gives the community of Yates County insight into the giving spirit of Keuka College students.”
Emily Good, a resident of Lockport and senior at Mount St. Mary Academy, is the October recipient of Keuka College’s Community Achievement Award.
Good will receive a $68,000 scholarship ($17,000 annually) in recognition of her strong academic and community service record.
The College will select five monthly winners during the 2012-13 academic year. Emma Karaman of Sherburne was the September recipient and others will be selected in November, December, and January.
Good was nominated for the award by Helen Scimeca, campus minister/community service coordinator at Mount St. Mary.
“Emily is an excellent student and an asset to our school,” said Scimeca. “She demonstrates her enthusiasm to help others through community service programs at the school and her church.”
Since her freshman year, Good has completed 287 hours of community service, 122 more than the school requires.
“Community service is a great part of my life and has been since I was little,” said Good. “I choose to perform community service because it is important to be involved and help others.”
Good received bronze Presidential Volunteer Service Awards in 2011 and 2012, “and I am sure she will receive another in 2013,” said Scimeca, who added that Good “has always been eager to accept responsibility for many events as well as fill in wherever needed without being asked.
“Emily is a talented and dependable young lady with outstanding organizational skills and the ability to successfully complete multiple tasks with favorable results despite deadline pressures,” said Scimeca.
For more information on the Community Achievement Award, or to nominate a high school senior, go to: http://www.keuka.edu/community/
Emma Karaman, a resident of Sherburne and senior at Sherburne-Earlville (S-E) Central School, is the inaugural recipient of Keuka College’s Community Achievement Award.
Karaman will receive a $68,000 scholarship ($17,000 anually) in recognition of her strong academic and community service record.
The College will select five monthly winners during the 2012-13 academic year. Karaman is the September recipient and others will be selected in October, November, December, and January.
Karaman was nominated for the award by Candice Poyer, high school counselor.
“Her willingness and desire to donate every free minute to working and mentoring children makes her an excellent and deserving recipient of this award,” said Poyer. “Since her freshman year, she has used her free time to assist elementary teachers in their classrooms. Occasionally, I have juniors and seniors do this, but Emma was the first freshman who had the desire and maturity to be a valuable resource to the teachers.”
Karaman plans to pursue a degree in adolescent education and in addition to teaching, hopes to pursue a career in coaching. That should not come as a surprise, since her talent for working with children extends beyond the classroom.
The leading scorer on the S-E soccer team, “Emma shares her talent, love of the sport, positive attitude, and tremendous work ethic with youth soccer teams,” said Poyer.
However, her athletic acumen isn’t confined to soccer. She holds the school’s pole vault record.
“I always wanted to fly,” explained Karaman of her attraction to the sport.
A time-management whiz, Karaman is a member of the concert and marching bands and a dance troupe selected to perform at Disney World. In addition, she has been instrumental in organizing numerous class activities, from chicken barbecues to the prom.
“Emma is admired and respected by her peers,” said Poyer.
Karaman is also active in her community, serving as an acolyte, assistant Sunday school teacher, and member of the youth group at her church. She is a frequent volunteer at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown.
For more information on the Community Achievement Award, or to nominate a high school senior, click here.