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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Student Devastated by News of Typhoon; Asks for Prayers

Vanessa Coy was “devastated” when she learned about the powerful typhoon that struck her native Philippines last week.

Her first concern was for her relatives—aunts, uncles, and others—who lived in towns and cities that felt the brutal force of Typhoon Haiyan, which brought sustained 147 mile-per-hour winds, 45-foot waves, and more than 15 inches of rain to some areas.

“Everyone is OK,” said Coy, a senior adolescent education major from Wellsville who came to the United States at a young age.

Coy was born in Olangapo City, a city located in the province of Zambales, northwest of the Philippine capital of Manila.

“My relatives in Zambales were not hit, but my family in Manila was,” said Coy. “I recently found out they lost their beach homes, farm animals, everything. They are relying on U.S. troops to supply first aid, food, and water.”

That information came from a cousin in Japan, according to Coy.

“We have not been able to get through [to our relatives],” said Coy, who last visited the Philippines in 2012. “We have sent money, but don’t know if they received it.”

Officials estimate that at least 4,200 people were killed and three million displaced. Nearly 500,000 homes were damaged.

The Center for Spiritual Life is leading a Keuka College drive to raise funds for the Philippines through ShelterBox USA ( ShelterBox is an international organization that “responds instantly after natural and other disasters by delivering boxes of aid to those who need it most. Each ShelterBox supplies an extended family with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.”

A complete box costs $1,000 “but we will donate whatever funds we raise,” said Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain.

Donations (cash or check) may be dropped off in the Center for Spiritual Life (Dahlstrom  13). Checks should be made payable  to “Keuka College” (indicate Shelter Box – Philippines in the memo line).

“In the past, our community has come together to support those around the world who have been devastated through natural disasters,” said Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain. “We responded when the earthquake crippled Haiti and the tsunami hit Japan. Today, we have the opportunity to come alongside the people of the Philippines, who were hit so hard by Typhoon Haiyan.”

Coy is appreciative of the College’s ShelterBox initiative and said there is one other thing people can do to help.

“The Filipino people have a very religious background,” she explained, ”and they need every prayer they can get because it is going to take years to rebuild the country.”

African Portraits Put Student on New Path

The images are arresting. Color portraits of African women and children, their faces lined with the trials of life, and yet a common denominator among most: genuine smiles.

africa, kenya, portrait, women, mission, center

A group of women from the center (All images courtesy Winsome Zinkievich '14)

These unmistakable indicators of the human experience – happiness—are the handiwork of senior education major Winsome Zinkievich, who traveled to Africa this summer with a group of adults under the umbrella of Tirzah International, a faith-based mission agency. Zinkievich’s younger brother and uncle traveled with Tirzah the year before, which piqued her interest in making the trip.

The group spent about two weeks in Bujumbura, capital of the country of Burundi for about two weeks, with another four days in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It felt like two years, Zinkievich said. Every day, they were driven from their protected housing compound, King’s Conference Center, to the Women’s Center, where a 10-month residential program was just beginning for 46 women, most widowed or orphaned.

The women receive counseling and group therapy and learn to sew, a trade that can provide them future income, she said.

mother, child, Kenya, africa, portrait, winsome, love, mission, tirzah

Winsome Zinkievich '14's portrait "Love."

“It was my mission to take pictures of all the women,” Zinkievich said. “A lot of them lost their husbands because of civil war or AIDS, or there’s children whose parents abandoned them. Some are young women who are my age and they’ve lived more than me. After I took my first photo of one of the ladies, I looked at it and knew it wasn’t something to just put on Facebook.”

Her photos could tell the story of each of the women, Zinkievich realized, describing how she learned of heart-wrenching suffering and loss, yet a joy in daily life, as she got to know each one without speaking their language. One 20-year-old widow, a year younger than Zinkievich herself, had endured five miscarriages and the death of her husband. One of the woman’s surviving children is afflicted with “water on the brain” and is not likely to live past childhood. In her photo, she is beaming as she holds her two children on her lap.

kenya, mission, mother, children, infant, widow, winsome, tirzah

"Marie Chantal & babies" by Winsome Zinkievich '14

“Even though she lost her husband and lost other kids, she’s still here and so happy for the day,” Zinkievich said. “I’ve been more disappointed about not getting a text from someone, than she seemed to me. It just changes your way of looking at the world and what’s really important.”

kenya, mission, women, tirzah, georgette, winsome, keuka

"Georgette" by Winsome Zinkievich '14

In many cases, women who had lost everything were filled with faith and happiness – faith that the program would help them provide for their families, and happiness “simply because they were alive,” Zinkievich said. “In a world where they have so little, these women still cherish the moment and believe in the future. I realized that maybe if I shared their pictures, I could show their emotion and [how real they are] … and maybe I could change the world a little for the better.”

A plan quickly came together to make framed prints of every woman’s image and sell them for $40 each to support them during their 10-month program.  It costs about $60/month to house and feed each woman, a cost covered by Tirzah through donations from sponsors.

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"Modestine" by Winsome Zinkievich '14

Back at Keuka, she has not lost that passion to make a difference with her photos.

“All these women have a story and they deserve their story to be told. None of the images are altered. I didn’t change any of the colors – it’s just there. That’s how it was, and it’s important to me to share that with the world.”

She said this was the first time “I went and did something, not even for me, but for other people and I was proud of it. It was just amazing,” she said. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think  about going back, or how I can help them, or ways to make my life different because of them, like buying less things and appreciating what I have or especially appreciating the day. So many people don’t think about how wonderful it  is that we’re here, alive and in the now. Instead of thinking about your crappy day, how can we make our day awesome and wonderful and worth living?”

According to Zinkieviech, the experience was deeply spiritual for her.

Winsome in Africa“When I was there, there was a huge belief that it was all going to be OK. Faith is like believing without seeing. The people there have so much faith that it’s going to be OK and that they’re going to figure it out, that it’s all going to come together and that’s a lot more than we have. God is in Africa to me and people are just happy to know God [there]. So that was huge.”

Zinkievich will graduate Keuka in late May and said she’d love to go back to Burundi to visit in June, when the women finish their 10-month program.

“It would be so great to see how they went from Point A to Point B,” she said.

Currently, a selection of Zinkievich’s photos are on display on the fourth floor of Hegeman Hall on the Keuka College campus. A full gallery of portraits can also be seen online at:

To order a print of an African portrait, contact the artist at:

Snapshot of a Graduate: Briana June

Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the sixth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.

Briana June ’13 earned her degree in unified childhood education/special education, with a concentration in American Sign Language (ASL) and a minor in mathematics.

After applying to over 50 schools along the East Coast, including many in New York state, she was offered a position in Upper Marlboro, Md. at Prince George County Public Schools teaching American Sign Language to 6-8th graders in Thomas Johnson Middle School. June said she was initially discouraged that her degree did not seem to be paying off right away.

“I chose to push grad school off for a year to not limit myself to locations for a school in this tough economy. I certainly was lucky to receive this offer!,” she said.

While the job did not spring directly from a Field Period internship or student teaching placement, June said she believed one Field Period at the Cleary School for the Deaf on Long Island, and additional ASL experience factored into the job offer.

June said she valued the hands-on learning gained through her Field Period internships, and the direction she now wants to take her career, even though she is not yet 100 percent sure where she will pursue a master’s degree. She added that the encouragement and one-on-one assistance from professors in both the education and ASL divisions was also beneficial.

“They were always there for individualized help whenever you needed it, even if it was without an appointment, which is big for someone like me who always asks questions. Without the help from my professors always encouraging me and never losing hope in me (even when I did), I definitely would not be where I am today,” June said.

To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.

Snapshot of a Graduate: Emily Ekstrom

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, keuka grad, degree, value, benefit, 2013Emily 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.

To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.

Faculty Development Committee Honors 3

By Mary Leet ’16

The Faculty Development Committee recognizes faculty for excellence in experiential learning, teaching, and academic achievement through an awards program. All three awards include a $500 prize. Here is a capsule look at the 2012-13 recipients:

Excellence in Experiential Learning Award: Dr. Patricia Pulver
The Excellence in Experiential Learning Award goes to a faculty member that has demonstrated an effective practice or activity that allows students to learn through their experiences.

And that is precisely what Dr. Patricia Pulver, professor of education, does through her Master Teacher Insight Project.

Pulver believes that by observing teachers in the classroom, then discussing relevant issues and reflecting on their actions, students gather first-hand knowledge and experience that shapes them into effective teachers “a lot faster than reading textbooks.”

In addition to observing current teachers teaching, students conduct four separate interviews over the course of a semester with a teacher they know and consider a “master teacher.” Students discuss what came out of the interviews with classmates and then compose a reflective paper that summarizes what they learned.

They must identify common themes and provide “specific illustrative examples.”

Through this project, “students are able to articulate what they learned about the process and any ‘take away’ strategies that they might utilize in their future classroom,” said Pulver.

Excellence in Teaching Award: Dr. Christopher Leahy

While the traditional history lecture is still important, “students learn history best— and enjoy it more— when they actually do what historians do,” said Assistant Professor of History Dr. Christopher Leahy.

Leahy employs the historical method to teach all his classes, effectively turning what can otherwise be a dry subject into a discipline that requires critical reading, logical thinking, and persuasive and effective writing.

Students respond enthusiastically to this unique approach, calling Leahy “interesting,” “captivating,” and “the best professor I have ever had.” Shelby Seeley ‘13 noted that “Dr. Leahy is a teacher who can make even the most tedious topics interesting and intriguing.” “His classes are the ones that the students are truly excited to take,” according to Diane DePrez ‘13. “It has often been said… that it is a sad semester when you don’t have a Leahy class.”

By using primary sources and working with students to interpret them, Leahy’s students say that he makes history accessible and understandable on a relevant level.

“[He] always strives to give his students a deeper understanding not just that an event happened, but how it happened, why it had to happen, what brought it about, and what might have happened if it never did occur,” said Josh Beaver ’13..

Excellence in Academic Achievement Award: Dr. William Brown

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. William Brown isn’t hesitant to involve students in research or have them present at professional conferences.

Recently, Brown presented a poster with collaborators from Kutztown University using data that had almost entirely been generated by students in his biostatistics classes.

Brown attended the annual meeting of the Rochester Academy of Science last fall, accompanied by undergraduates Kelsey Morgan ’15 and Amber De Jong ’16. Morgan presented her research at that meeting, and De Jong recently completed a research project of her own, “Temporal Changes in Red-shouldered Hawk Morphology,” which she will present at the 2013 meeting of the Rochester Academy of Science this fall.

In January 2012, a peer-reviewed paper composed by Janelle Davidson ’12, Brown, and ecologist Marion Zuefle was published in The Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, the leading peer-reviewed journal on the science of animal welfare. Titled “Effects of Phenotypic Characteristics on the Length of Stay of Dogs at Two No Kill Animal Shelters,” it has been read more than 800 times, making it the most-read paper published in the journal.

Slovakia and More

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.”

Snapshot of a Graduate: Katlyn Rosenbauer

Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the 10th in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.

Bloomfield resident Katlyn Rosenbauer

Katlyn Rosenbauer ’12 graduated magna cum laude in May with a degree in unified childhood and special education with an emphasis in child and family studies.

The Bloomfield resident credited personal and professional connections made with Keuka faculty, staff and Field Period internship supervisors for molding her into the educator she is today. According to Rosenbauer, her student teaching “sponsor”, Kelly Donlon, a first-grade teacher in the Prattsburgh Central School District, gave her a great reference and suggested to the director of Childtime Learning centers in Penfield, N.Y. that Rosenbauer would be a good fit for a job there. While Rosenbauer has been teaching summer curriculum to school-age children at the Penfield center, she’ll become the lead teacher for preschoolers in a few weeks.

“In such a tough job market, having an impressive resume with experience really does put you one-up on everyone else applying for those same jobs post-graduation. That’s where Field Periods come into play,” Rosenbauer said, referring to Keuka’s annual internship program, which provides 140 hours of work experience or exploration each year. “I got this job before graduating which is a great feeling considering the teaching job opportunities in New York state are scarce.”

According to Rosenbauer, Keuka’s “small-school family atmosphere has truly shaped me as a professional. From the amazing education department to Field Periods to the personal connections you make, Keuka has definitely prepared me for the real world.”

To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information

Snapshot of a Graduate: Chris Mazella

Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the eighth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.

Chris Mazella earned a master’s degree in literacy this spring, after receiving an undergraduate degree last year in adolescent education with concentrations in social studies and special education.

He is now triple-certified in literacy, special education and social studies, a factor that “thoroughly impressed” the hiring principal at Thompson Middle School in Richmond, Va., where he accepted a post as a special education teacher for students in 7th and 8th grades.

Mazella received invitations to interview for different special education posts in five of the schools within the Richmond Public Schools district after attending a March Teacher Recruitment Day event in Rochester. The Depew resident met representatives from Richmond and stayed in contact after the event. Of the five interviews, he netted three job offers from that district.

But if it weren’t for his first Field Period internship as a freshman, Mazella might never have discovered he was a natural in the classroom. With an interest in journalism, Mazella  enrolled at Keuka as an organizational communication major. But his plan to conduct his first Field Period at a newspaper failed to materialize and instead, he found himself exploring the classroom arena.

As they say, the rest is history. He came back to campus, switched his major to adolescent education and never looked back. His work-study supervisor in Keuka’s mailroom was so impressed by the growth she observed over Mazella’s four years that she nominated him for the College’s Experiential Learner of the Year award in 2011.

Mazella said he highly recommends that any student teachers seeking a position out-of-state attend Teacher Recruitment Day, facilitated at Keuka through the Center for Experiential Learning. However, the value of that networking event pales in comparison to “the dedicated faculty that helped us every step of the way,” he said, citing Keuka education professors such as Dr. Andy Beigel, Dr. Pat Pulver, and retired professor Dr. Diane Burke, as well as Dr. Chris Leahy, associate professor of history. Even his student teaching placement supervisor, Thomas Barden of Marcus Whitman High School, helped solidify the kind of teacher Mazella said he hopes to become.

“Without their guidance and support,” said Mazzella,  “I would not be where I am today.”

To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.

Alicia Pakusch a “Tremendous Asset” to Two Divisions

By Amanda Harrison ’12

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth 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.

Alicia Pakusch, a senior adolescent education major, has received numerous awards and recognitions during her four years at Keuka.

Now, she’s being nominated for another: Student Employee of the Year.

Pakusch, who works for the education and social work divisions, was nominated for the award by her supervisor, Paulette Willemsen, secretary in the education division.

According to Willemsen,  Pakusch is “a tremendous asset to the education and social work divisons,” and said she is “dependable, reliable, hard-working, and [comes] to work on time and with a positive attitude. She has excellent communication skills, is extremely organized, reliable, and computer literate.” (more…)

Child Care Credential Offering Expands Job Options

Thanks to its long-running Field Period internship program, and five courses already offered each year, Keuka College will have a near-seamless transition for students – both degree-seeking and non-matriculated –to earn a state credential in early childhood education.

The New York State affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children has offered a credential known as the ITCCC (Infant/Toddler Child Care Credential). In formal documents from the state’s affiliate in Albany, the credential is described as giving “formal recognition of those who display a specialized knowledge of infant and toddler development, the partnership of caregivers with the families of the children in their care and professional practice based on respect for the individuals, the system and themselves.”

Approximately 12 hours of coursework is required by the state in four areas: infant/toddler development (birth to 36 months), family and culture, environment and curriculum, and assessment and evaluation. The state requires applicants to have obtained at least three of those credit hours within the last five years. Additional on-site work experience, known as “field work” and a professional portfolio are also required before an applicant can be awarded the credential, but it could be possible to complete requirements within one year.

Deb Dyer

According to Deb Dyer, assistant professor of education, the credentialing body has already looked at five Keuka courses and confirmed they fulfill the state’s educational component. This means undergraduates may add the credential and the process to obtain it within a degree program they are already pursuing. In addition, those in the work force seeking to add the credential to their resume can also look to Keuka for help, because the College offers courses to non-matriculated students, or those who are not seeking a specific degree.

According to Dyer, the state requires either one year of direct experience caring for infants and toddlers in a licensed setting, or two semesters of supervised “field work” plus six months work experience in a licensed setting. All total, 480 hours of documented work must be completed.

Keuka’s long-running Field Period program, requires each student to complete a 140-hour internship each year at a real-world work site, and would provide nearly half the hours required for the field work component, Dyer said. That means a Keuka student who conducts a Field Period at a child care facility or service site could count that time toward the credential requirement, she said.

A professional portfolio that includes extensive documentation of an applicant’s competency across the four areas of study and across the stages of birth to 36 months is also required. According to Dyer, the portfolio must include documentation across each of the four areas, and the types of documentation must vary at least twice within that, including a photo or video journal, work samples such as communication with families or record-keeping systems, written observation from another person on the candidate’s interaction with infants or toddlers, or an essay discussing an ethical dilemma. Keuka professors would work with applicants and mentor them through submission of the portfolio, Dyer said.

“If they want our help, we can help them with the field work or maybe they have some of the hours already,” she suggested.

According to Dyer, the latest state day care regulations call for one year of specific training for infants and toddlers for those seeking “lead teacher” roles in a day care center, and advises obtaining the new credential. Day care centers in the state are moving towards a “star rating” system, she said, and centers that employ more staff with the credential are more likely to receive higher ratings.

“I think the marketability [of this] is another advantage in a tough market that may put you ahead of the pack,” Dyer said.

For more information on the new credential, go to: