Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the third in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Emily Ekstrom ’13 graduated cum laude with a B.S. in education and has accepted a post as a special education teacher serving grades 3-5 at Holiday Park School in Phoenix, Ariz.
During her four years at Keuka, the Ashville, N.Y. resident participated in the Equestrian and Education clubs, worked as a lifeguard and also as a facilitator for the Teamworks! Adventure course, served on Student Senate and was vice-president of Sigma Lambda Sigma, Keuka’s college-wide honor society.
“Although I have never done a Field Period at the school, my previous Field Periods have helped,” she said, referring to Keuka’s required 140-hour annual internship. “As much as I hated the paper work, I loved my Field Periods and all the experiences I gained from them.”
Ekstrom’s prior Field Period internships included a third-grade inclusion classroom in Bowling Green, Va., a 4-H summer camp in Long Island, N.Y., a month in two different special education classrooms at Chautauqua Central School, and a fourth-grade classroom in Falconer, N.Y.
Ekstrom added that another bonus was the support from close personal ties at Keuka, such as those she found in the division of education, via a mentor affiliated with the Teamworks! Adventure course and the College chaplain.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles on new, full-time faculty members who have joined the Keuka community.
Perhaps it’s fair to say that Angela Narasimhan is intent on expanding the borders of possibility, whether those borders be in political science, motherhood and family life, or long-held traditions about college education.
Indeed, Keuka’s newest assistant professor of political science went beyond borders to pursue her collegiate studies, moving from Washington, D.C., to Romania, where she spent a year in language school before earning her B.A. in political science from Babes-Bolyai (pronounced “Bobbish- Boyea”) University in Transylvania, Romania. That was followed by a master’s degree in political science from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. And while her Ph.D. – also in political science – is from Syracuse University, Narasimhan maintains a particularly global view on American politics.
“I wanted to study post-communist transition, but I was very interested in American politics from an international perspective. My dissertation was on globalization and the Supreme Court, and how different American institutions are dealing with globalization,” she said, adding that her studies have also touched on American politics, public law and public policy.
“We have many individual rights. We have the strongest, most enduring constitution, and we’re very inclusive, very democratic. These are all important, unique things that many Americans take for granted,” she said. “At the same time, we also lag behind other countries in certain things, and there’s a lot of fear of globalization undermining American values. However, the world is increasingly interdependent. We have to deal with other countries on a more direct basis, and we’re expected to have a global set of abilities to compete.”
Prior to coming to Keuka, Narasimhan taught political science at Idaho State University and the Unversity of North Dakota. She and her husband, Kamesh, who hails from India, moved to be near her parents, who had retired to Central New York.
“I’ve been to more rural places than Keuka and Keuka is more diverse than some places,” she said. “Keuka has this international program reputation, so I was excited to come to a place where students do travel and get out in the world, but it’s not just traveling abroad. Once you work in a real-world environment, you start to understand the practical skills you can take away. I like that. I like to teach to the real world; that fits with my personality. Experiential learning is a contact back and forth between practical and theoretical and that’s how my academic pursuit has always been.”
The lights will soon dim in a campus building near you.
That’s what students working on the Keuka College CSI (Campus Sustainability Initiative) project are hoping. As members of Keuka’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team, those working on the environmentally friendly project created a “green” project recommending motion-sensor lighting technology be used more places on campus, such as in classrooms vacated near the end of the day, dorm hallways and other locales.
SIFE CSI Project Manager Katelin Maxson submitted a proposal in early September to the national SIFE organization, hoping to be chosen one of 15 elite teams across the Northeast to qualify for a grant award through SIFE’s sponsor, o.b® a brand of Johnson and Johnson. In keeping with the sponsor’s marketing theme, “women for less waste,” adding motion-sensor lighting to select classrooms and hallways would reduce energy usage and waste, according to SIFE team president Nick Simpson. The team learned Dec. 1 they had won a re-grant award.
“I’m on campus late most nights,” said Maxson,, a senior accounting major from Whitney Point. “I go by Hegeman [Hall] and see almost every classroom lit up with computer screens and lights on at 9 p.m., but no one’s been in those classrooms for several hours.”
Simpson called the $1,500 award “seed money” for the next phase of competition, when the SIFE team can present data showing what kind of impact the green initiatives had on the campus. Maxson explained that the CSI team will receive an initial $1,250 to launch the project, with the remaining $250 to come when the tracking data – actual net savings shown on utility bills – is submitted to the national SIFE organization, likely in April. Prizes earned at the next level of competition could garner the team an additional $1,000 – $2,500.