Last summer, freshman Heather Hoerner started to question whether she wanted to continue to pursue an early childhood education major upon enrolling at Keuka College.
But spending her first Field Period™ in kindergarten teacher Nicole Brzykcy’s classroom at Maryvale Primary School confirmed Hoerner’s decision to become a kindergarten teacher herself.
“Hearing the stories about how dedicated Mrs. Brzykcy is to her students made me realize that I would not want to be in any other major,” said Hoerner.
That’s why the Buffalo resident nominated Brzykcy for the Field Period™ Site Supervisor of the Year. Each year, Keuka College presents two students with the Experiential Learner of the Year Award and one Field Period™ Site Supervisor of the Year Award.
According to Hoerner, Brzykcy made sure that from the first day Hoerner was in the classroom, she was able to work with the students.
“Mrs. Brzykcy came up with many different activities that let me work with the students both one-on-one and in small groups,” said Hoerner. “From the first email exchange that we had, she told me how challenging her class was this year and how she was looking forward to having the help.”
One thing Hoerner appreciated about being in Brzykcy’s classroom was that “she made sure she did not hide anything from me and showed me what it was really like to be a teacher. This was a real eye-opener for me, but I was glad she was honest and upfront with me. I saw the good and the bad that being a kindergarten teacher would include.”
Some of the things Brzykcy showed Hoerner were not in the classroom. Hoerner was able to attend meetings, and help her with things that did not involve the students. This helped Hoerner realize what else the job would entail.
“I even finished teaching a lesson to the class so Mrs. Brzykcy could talk with a parent,” said Hoerner. “I really enjoyed doing this, and they enjoyed interacting with me as well. When I came up with my own activity for the students, I tried to create something that they would be able to learn from while having fun, and the one that I ended up creating was a hit.”
Hoerner said her first Field Period™ experience “was amazing. Working with this group of students was definitely challenging, but I would not have had my first Field Period™ anywhere else. The connections I made with the students were amazing and I loved how supportive Mrs. Brzykcy was of my future. I could not have asked for a better supervisor to mentor me through my first Field Period™.”
Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students pursuing culturally-oriented Field Periods.
Some of senior Mattie Waldstein’s closest friends at Keuka are the students from Vietnam.
They have shared their culture and stories of life in Vietnam with her, and she “truly values” the friendships she has formed with them.
“One particularly close friend, Thanh, came home with me for spring break last year,” said Waldstien, an educational studies major from Needham, Mass. “Her family urged me to visit them in Vietnam.”
And that is what she is doing this month as part of her Field Period.
While staying with Thanh’s family just outside of Hanoi, Waldstien intends to learn about Vietnamese culture and apply what she has learned in her classes, particularly Sociology of the Family.
“I will also visit local schools, and volunteer at a preschool in order to observe the differences and similarities between schools in America and in Vietnam,” said Waldstien, before she left for Vietnam.
Waldstein plans to use the experience of “being a minority in a foreign country, with little language or cultural understanding, to gain a broader perspective on diversity, which can help me better educate my future students on cultural differences and the importance of inclusion.”
In addition to gaining education-based experience, Waldstien will have a chance to apply skills learned in her digital photography class when she takes photos to create a scrapbook of her time in Vietnam.
“I am certain this experience will change me in ways I cannot imagine long after I leave Keuka College,” added Waldstein.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students pursuing culturally-oriented Field Periods.
What began as a Skype session with high school students in Assistant Professor of Education Klaudia Lorinczova’s native country of Slovakia last year has turned into a Field Period opportunity for Keuka students.
The students will have the chance to travel to Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria during a summer Field Period.
Junior Tyler Kroon is among those who will travel to the three European Union countries.
“I’ve been fortunate to grow up as part of a family who places a high value on experiencing other cultures, so after reading about Judith Oliver Brown, I was excited to discover her love for travel, too,” said Kroon, a unified childhood/special education major from Canandaigua.
And while Kroon may be a seasoned traveler—he’s been to such countries as Italy, Fiji, and New Zealand, among others—he expects this Field Period to be “especially eye-opening.
“We will have the opportunity visit the high school we began Skyping with, so we will have the chance to interact with those Slovakian students,” he said. “This is particularly interesting to me because I believe that our education in the U.S. is narrowly focused. I would like to bring my experiences from schools in other countries into my future classroom to provide my students with a more culturally diverse education.”
Kroon and others on the trip will tour local landmarks, town centers, castles, and manor houses. The group will also explore the cities of Prague, Nitra, Banska Stiavnia, and tour the United States Embassy in Bratislava.
“Not only do I want to learn about the culture and history of the three countries we will visit, I want to develop the ability to function and interact with the people who live there,” said Kroon. “And I want to gain an understanding of important historical and political events that have helped shape Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria.”
Kroon is also interested in art, “so this trip will be an amazing opportunity to take photographs of castles and other sights unique to central Europe. I’m especially hoping for free time on this trip to people-watch and sketch scenes from the various places we’ll be learning about.”
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of six profiles of nominees for the 2012 Student Employee of the Year award that will be presented at the Annual Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 16.
Carol Sackett, circulation supervisor in Lightner Library, says “it is sometimes difficult to find a student that represents the higher goals that place them in the status of the Student Employee of the Year category.”
However, she says senior Charlie Clark fulfills these goals with “grace and style,” and Sackett is confident in her nomination of the Cheektowaga resident for the award.
Clark, a unified childhood/special education major, has worked as a student circulation desk and lab assistant for two years and has “always been one of the backbones of our student workers in the library,” said Sackett. “She is cheerful and continuously inspires other workers to do their best. She possesses superior leadership skills and has been a wonderful mentor to all workers.” (more…)
Editor’s Note: This is the first of six profiles of nominees for the 2012 Student Employee of the Year award that will be presented at the Annual Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 16.
Moran has worked in the mail room as a mail clerk for two years, and while his job description says he is responsible for the distribution of all mail on the Keuka campus, and assisting with copy jobs as needed, Spoor says Moran does much more than that.