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Junior Sini Ngobese Explores Thailand

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of features on recipients of the Spiritual Exploration Field Period™ Award. A Spiritual Exploration Field Period™ involves work with churches, missions, hospitals, or hospices with an eye toward providing aid to needy individuals and/or groups, in this country or abroad. Funding for the scholarship is provided by an Institutional Renewal Grant from The Rhodes Consultation on the Future of the Church-Related College.

Travel to a new land. Experience new people and a different religion. Immerse herself in an entirely different culture. Encompass the type of adventure and life experience that is paramount to her.

These are some goals junior Sini Ngobese had for her January Field Period™. The business management and organizational communication major from Durban, South Africa, traveled to Thailand “as part of my life goal to be a culturally and spiritually diverse, world-minded, global citizen.”

While in Thailand, a predominantly Buddhist country, Ngobese, a Christian, said she had no plans to change her current religious affiliations, but “I was passionate to discover the diverse ways in which believers of other religious express their spirituality,” she said. “I also wanted to see what houses of worship are sacred to them, what monuments encompass their devotion for their deity, and what actions or rituals help them feel closer to their deity and spiritually awakened.”

Ngobese wanted to meditate and practice yoga with experts in order to attain greater spiritual engagement as a Christian. She toured historical landmarks, Buddhist temples and other heritage sites, zoos, botanical gardens, snorkeled, and visited an orphanage.

“I wanted to see the things that weave together Thailand’s history, which influence the country as it is today,” said Ngobese. “One of those influences includes the various, extravagant drag shows orchestrated by Thailand’s transvestite population. I looked forward to attending some of the shows.”

Additionally, Ngobese planned to observe the mannerisms and behaviors of the monks at the temples to not only gain a better understanding of these spiritual leaders, but also to draw parallels, contrasts, and comparisons to various Christian spiritual leaders, and learn what perceptions Buddhists have of Christians.

“I also explored Thai culture through one of the most fundamental ways in which one can experience a new culture—its food,” said Ngobese. “From enrolling in a cooking course to sampling the culinary creations of various street stalls, I learned what tastes, combinations of spices, textures, and culinary aromas form what the Thai people have deemed their best and most popular national dishes.”

Added Ngobese: “The founder of Keuka College, Dr. Rev. George Harvey Ball, believed that an individual’s college experience should be both educationally developing and spiritually enriching. Traveling to Thailand helped me become both.”

In addition to receiving the Spiritual Exploration Field Period™ Award, Ngobese also earned a 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 who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

Costa Rica Provides Plenty for Field Period™

Editor’s Note: This is the second 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 who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

Brittany Gleason

Like many people, Keuka College junior Brittany Gleason has a bucket list. And like many people, traveling is among the items on the list.

Thanks to receiving the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award, Gleason had the opportunity to cross ‘traveling’ off of her list during her January Field Period™. The mathematics major and Carthage resident traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, where she took classes at Centro Cultural de Idiomas (CCI), a cultural language center.

“To me, traveling means learning and experiencing new cultures and broadening my horizons,” said Gleason. “It also means meeting new people and forming lifelong friendships. I was excited to push myself and get as much out of the experience as possible.”

But she was not the only Keuka student who traveled to Costa Rica for her January Field Period™. Sophomore Kathryn Zawisa, another recipient of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award, went too, intent on learning more about how Costa Rican small businesses are run.

Gleason, Zawisa, a marketing and management major from Amsterdam—and four other Keukonians—participated in Finger Lakes Community College’s (FLCC) study abroad program. During the Field Period™ each conducted, Gleason and Zawisa had the opportunity to improve their Spanish language proficiency, and develop an understanding and appreciation of Costa Rica’s culture. They also had the opportunity to tour sites of interest and be housed with a host family.

Kathryn Zawsia

“It’s been my dream to travel to a Spanish-speaking country where I could use what I have learned,” said Zawisa. “Taking Spanish classes since sixth grade has transformed into a minor at Keuka. Not only have I enjoyed learning the language, but I’ve also found myself yearning to learn more about the culture. Costa Rica gave me the opportunity to understand the Spanish culture and feed my interest.”

It was also a chance to practice community service.

“I have been involved in my community from an early age, so when I heard we were going to work with young girls, I jumped at the chance to help,” said Gleason.

She worked at a social services organization which provides room, board, and schooling to adolescent girls who have been removed from their homes due to domestic violence, neglect, and or abuse.

Gleason enlisted the help of her fellow Enactus teammates to ask the College community for donations for the girls. Together they collected pens, pencils, erasers, markers, colored pencils, notebooks, stickers, ponytail holders, headbands, and barrettes, among others. Zawisa also intended to donate part of her award money to a Costa Rican charity.

“I believe I am a driven and passionate student, which is shown through my interaction with others,” said Zawisa. “I hope I displayed this passion while in Costa Rica.”

Part of that passion was the desire to compare how a small Costa Rican business is run versus an American one.

“My family owns two small businesses in New York state so I already know much about how to run one,” said Zawisa. “But seeing what differs in Costa Rican businesses, instead of reading it online, was an unforgettable opportunity.”

And she was not just interested in how the businesses are run.

“I wanted to learn the differences of communication in a Spanish-speaking country such as nonverbal cues, inter-gender communication, and more,” said Zawisa. “Learning these skills could put me one step ahead of other Spanish minors because I’d not only know the language, but I’d also know how to approach, and speak to, a native Spanish speaker.”

Added Gleason: “Being at Keuka has given me the confidence and knowledge I need to be a productive member of society. I believe traveling to Costa Rica was a life-changing experience, especially because I learned more about the world while helping others in need.”

Seeing Where History Happened is a Good Lesson

Editor’s Note: This is the third 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 who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

Francesca Spina

January marked the fifth Field Period™ for senior Francesca Spina, who traveled to London; four Field Periods™ are required for graduation.

“I discovered that I learn best through experiential learning, so I decided to complete a fifth Field Period™ because I wanted to continue to challenge myself,” said Spina, an adolescent history education major from Rochester.

As part of that challenge, Spina received this advice from one of her Keuka College professors: the best way to teach history is to go into the world and explore it; to see firsthand where it happened.

And by traveling to London, she took those words to heart. Spina, a participant in Comparative Social Issues, a sociology course offered through Cayuga Community College, traveled to places such as Stonehenge, Bath, and Greenwich.

“I traced the history, culture, and traditions of Great Britain, and explored the causes and effects of social classes through the ages,” she said. “I also examined the British Empire’s impact and influence all over the world.”

And by completing her fifth Field Period™, she fulfilled a goal she has had since she was a youngster.

“As a child, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and that I wanted to see the world,” said Spina. “After learning about Keuka College’s Field Period™ program, I wanted to find a way to study abroad. I wasn’t sure how or where, but I made it a goal.”

Added Spina: “Keuka College has provided me with many wonderful opportunities to grow through challenging courses, the yearly Field Period™, and mission trips. I was excited to travel to London and [eager to] apply what I learned to my future career as an adolescent history teacher.”

Helping Children Find Their Voice

Editor’s Note: This is the first 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 a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

Stephanie Taylor, a resident of Huguenot, finds inspiration in “Speak Out,” a poem by Australian author Stacey Blevins.

That is fitting, as the social work major traveled to Sydney, Australia for her January Field Period™. A recipient of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Scholarship, Taylor worked at St. Saviours Anglicare, a home for children up to age 17 who have experienced trauma or abuse.

In “Speak Out,” Blevins writes “the power of one voice can change the world,” and Taylor said the poem “strikes a meaningful point to think about; the change you make may not be what’s considered exceptionally massive, but that speaking out can still create a critical and monumental difference. The poem reflects on my personal and professional growth as a senior at Keuka College, and as a future social worker.”

Taylor may have found her voice, and she wanted to use it to help others who might not have their own—particularly children. During her Field Period™ at St. Saviours Anglicare, Taylor observed case management with foster-care professionals in placing troubled youth, touring other agencies, meeting with professionals, and discovering what services are provided. She lived and worked with Julianne Panayi, a social worker at St. Saviours.

“Additionally, I was in Australia during one of Sydney’s largest events, known as the Sydney Festival, that’s full of talent, community, and culture,” said Taylor. “I also assisted Mrs. Panayi in preparing for Australia Day held Jan. 26, the day that Australia was founded as a colony, and is the country’s biggest day of celebration.” (more…)

Freshman Learns About Medical Tech in Field Period™

Freshman Melissa Slusher (Orwell, Ohio/Grand Valley) came to Keuka College in the fall of 2013 knowing she wanted to study medical technology. She just had no idea what direction her education in this ever-evolving field should take.

The medical technology field is quite broad and can encompass everything: from assisting pharmacists and physicians with treatment of their patients, working in a research laboratory, teaching health care professionals or working in the pharmaceutical, dental and public health sectors.

The degree’s primary focus, according to Slusher, is the study, diagnosis and treatment of different diseases, a field that is becoming more important as the technology used to treat these illnesses becomes more complex.

In January, Slusher conducted her Field Period™ at the Dover Air Force Base with the 436th medical group in Dover, Del. During her time on the base, Slusher assisted her brother-in-law, Senior Airman Jeffrey Utz on the base’s health clinic.

After completing her first Field Period™, Slusher came away with a more-defined definition of her career goals, and also left determined to play a bigger role in helping people recover and resume their healthy lifestyles.

“I have a passion for the medical field because I look at it as helping ill people become healthy, so they can live the healthy, happy life they deserve,” said Slusher, a defender on the Keuka College women’s soccer team.

“I chose medical technology because I knew that I wanted to pursue a job in the medical field, but I was unsure which field I wanted to study. With this major being so broad, I knew it would help me find my way.”

One of her primary responsibilities during her first Field Period™ was providing vaccines and shots to soldiers. Among the vaccinations administered on the base: chickenpox, smallpox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tuberculosis.

Every Thursday, Slusher and Utz spent the day administering smallpox vaccinations to soldiers who were preparing for deployment overseas.

Since smallpox can be a serious disease that can spread rapidly through a population — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified smallpox as a Category “A” agent, those that pose the greatest potential threat for adverse public health impact and large-scale dissemination according to the CDC’s website — Slusher said her work vaccinating these soldiers was extremely important to their long-term health.

Along with providing the essential vaccination, Slusher and her supervisor made it a top priority to educate these soldiers on the potential dangers of contracting the smallpox disease. They created a PowerPoint presentation that explained how the smallpox vaccinations would leave a series of punctures on the skin that must be kept covered at all times.

“My supervisor and I informed the men and women getting this vaccination how smallpox works, how to properly take care of it and what to look for if there are signs of a reaction to the vaccination,” Slusher said.

“We then gave the soldiers goodie bags consisting of bandages, gauze pads, wipes and hand sanitizer. This was my favorite part of the Field Period™ because we were helping protect our soldiers and wishing them luck on their deployment.”

Reflecting on her first Field Period™, Slusher said she appreciated the opportunity to help these soldiers while learning first-hand the important role that vaccines play in keeping people safe.

“I love how detailed and precise the medical field is. It continues to grow every day and it’s something I want to be a part of,” Slusher said.

“In coming to Keuka, I was in search of a degree to become a sonographer (ultrasound technician). I plan on continuing my research in this field and using my Field Period™ to help guide me down the right path. My dream job would be to work in a laboratory helping create cures for illnesses. I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to find a cure for an illness and save people’s lives in the process.”

For the latest stories, schedules and results from Keuka athletics, visit www.KeukaStorm.com or follow along on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/KeukaStorm) and on Twitter and Instagram @KeukaAthletics.

Josh Makin’s Field Period™ Confirms Career Goals

Sophomore Josh Makin (Lethbridge, Alberta/Catholic Central) has been instrumental in the successes of the Keuka College men’s volleyball team.

In 2013, Keuka’s first year with a team, Makin, an outside hitter, earned second-team All-North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) honors as the Storm captured the NEAC postseason championship.

As a talented student-athlete, Makin relies on athletic trainer Jeff Bray and assistant athletic trainer Gabrielle Lorusso to keep him healthy and on the court, despite the assorted nicks and bruises that occur during the volleyball season.

During the January Field Period™, Makin landed a joint Field Period™ with Rebound Health Center in Lethbridge, Alberta and Ocean Physical Therapy in San Clemente, Calif.

His appreciation for physical therapy started before Makin arrived on campus. When he was 17, Makin tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had reconstructive surgery before enduring a grueling, six-month rehabilitation.

Recognizing the important role physical therapists play in not only athletics, but in day-to-day life, Makin, a biology major, decided he wanted to become a physical therapist once he graduates from Keuka.

His latest Field Period™ only reaffirmed his passion for physical therapy. (more…)

From Practice to Practical

Just before Christmas, Lisa Makarick finished a course in community health. Just after Christmas, Makarick discovered a profound contrast between the classroom and Calabrete, Dominican Republic, where she traveled with 11 others from Keuka College to bring health education to some of the youngest residents of the community.

“It’s one thing to do a windshield study on [community health] and it’s a whole other beast to do a service project, to get down there with the people and work hand-in-hand with them,” said Makarick, a Hammondsport resident.

Makarick is pursuing her baccalaureate nursing degree through the College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). She attends classes at Corning Community College, one of 2o ASAP sites around the state. Nine other nursing students from cohorts in the Syracuse, Elmira, Ithaca, and Utica areas, and one occupational science major from the home campus in Keuka Park, also traveled to Calabrete.

The Keuka students helped run health and wellness workshops for young girls and local families

Mattingly

From January 2-9, the Keuka College group, led by Patty Mattingly, associate professor of nursing, assisted the Mariposa DR Foundation, which invests in sustainable solutions to end generational poverty, serving girls as young as 8-years-old. By battling barriers that keep the poor vulnerable and limited, and offering support such as access to quality health care and education, the Mariposa DR Foundation seeks to educate, empower and employ girls in Calabrete to ultimately give back to their community.

The students presented a workshop on dental hygiene and hand-washing, gave a first-aid presentation to parents, and made home visits to assess safety risks and recommend follow-up by Foundation staff. In addition, students also toured a public hospital and an HIV clinic in the area. The trip also fulfilled Keuka College Field Period ™ requirements for the students. Typically, a Field Period ™ enables a student to explore professions, other cultures, or even provide community service for others, but usually, only one of those elements happens at one time. However, the 2014 Keuka College team accomplished all of the above.

Calabrete girls served by the Mariposa DR Foundation

According to Makarick, a maternal service nurse and mother of five who will finish her nursing program in April, the trip was an “amazing experience” that she hopes to repeat. The team worked with 15 girls, ages 8 -11, providing encouragement with extracurricular activities that included simple games and health-care instruction. In that region, children only attend a half-day of school and often lack positive alternatives to “just wandering around all afternoon,” said Makarick.

Thanks to one of her daughters, Makarick said she was educated on the threat of sex trafficking and modern slavery facing these young girls. According to New Friends, New Life, a human rights agency seeking to raise awareness, 13 is the average age at which American girls, particularly those vulnerable to poverty, are trafficked into the sex industry. For the poor and vulnerable from developing countries, where legal protection is nearly nonexistent, sexual exploitation and forced prostitution may happen even earlier. As such, Makarick said the impact the team could make was clear.

“I was absolutely not disappointed,” said Makarick. “You can see the effect fairly quickly, even small, little [things] of having someone encourage them … they just bonded with us, and we learned from them, too.”

The group split into two teams of six to conduct home inspections in the neighborhoods where the girls lived, and, in some cases, the level of poverty was “pretty overwhelming,” Mattingly said, describing scenarios where rat poison was left where children could come in contact with it. One student described barbed wire “clotheslines” so low to the ground that children’s bodies and faces bore cuts from running into it. Other elements of culture shock were encountered in el barrio (the ghetto) and the local hospital, which had just five beds in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and where equipment and staff practice was like “turning the clock back 30 years,” said Makarick.

(more…)

A Tale of Two Field Periods

According to two Keuka College juniors, the Field Period internships they conducted in the human resource divisions of different global corporations were the best of times.

While she went to a Boston bio-tech company of 5,000, he went to the U.S. headquarters (Pittsburgh) of a global chemical corporation that employs 17,500 people. Both are juniors, both worked May – August 2013, and both were paid – an uncommon occurrence in the arena of collegiate internships.

She is Sini Ngobese, a business and organizational communication major from Durban, South Africa. He is Devon Locher, a business major from Baden, Pa. Both students are pursuing human resources (HR) concentrations in their business majors, while Locher’s second concentration is in marketing. While Ngobese conducted her Field Period at Biogen Idec, Locher conducted his at Lanxess, a corporation focused on development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber and specialty chemicals. While she researched best-practice policies for redrafting an internal human resources (HR) manual, he worked on internal surveys covering employee and international intern integration into the city and company culture.

Locher said he was able to visit a production site in Ohio once which allowed him to see some of the manufacturing side of the company – with its setting and safety protocols – as well as the corporate side. The Pittsburgh workplace was positive and upbeat, he said, and while Locher already conducted two HR-related field periods, confirming that HR is the field he wants to work in, his two prior internships were at much smaller corporations.

At a prior Field Period, Locher learned he didn’t enjoy accounting work, but at Lanxess, no two days were ever the same,” he said. “There was always something different going on, even if some of the tasks were the same. That’s what I liked about it.”

In addition to developing what turned out to be a 30-page PowerPoint for managers to review, Locher also researched other company plans to ensure affirmative action laws and other HR standards comply with a wide variety of state and federal guidelines.

Locher with VP of HR Ludovico Martin, of Lanxess

“I learned a lot through research,” Locher said. “I think that’s why Keuka does the Field Period, because you can only do so much in the classroom and then you have to get out out there and work and see how it applies.”

According to Ngobese, Biogen Idec is the second largest bio-tech company in the world, manufacturing drugs for those suffering from autoimmune diseases.  Ngobese was stationed in its Weston branch office, although the company has locations “all over the globe,” she said.

Ngobese said her duties focused on the capture and synchronization of all U.S., European, and Canadian HR policies, to be shared on a new self-service portal for employees.

“It was, by far, the greatest career experience I’ve had thus far and truly fulfilled what the Field Period mission and vision strives to achieve,” said Ngobese. In addition to confirming her career aspirations and the type of company culture she hopes to find, Ngobese said her Field Period also helped her find a professional role model: Elizabeth Abbott, her supervisor.

“All of us were “wowed” by Sini’s professionalism, communication, work ethic and work product,” said Abbott. “Sini has many strengths, but her ability to communicate effectively, professionally, clearly, and persuasively in both written and oral communications is what really stands out to me. I was proud to have her represent my department and proud to call her a member of my team. She will be a strong contributor, I believe, wherever she goes.”

Thanks to Abbott, Ngobese said she now knows exactly what kind of female leader she wants to be, and has a clear sense what future purpose she can have within the HR field. She befriended other HR interns and was able to benchmark herself against those coming from bigger schools and gain confidence that she could still hold her own with them. The experience was so fulfilling, Ngobese may be invited to return to intern a second time, and if so, that would be in the company’s Cambridge, Mass., offices where the HR department will be moved.

Ngobese with fellow Biogen Idec interns at a Red Sox game in Boston, one of several company-provided treats for interns.

“It was intrinsically rewarding in that it truly helped me see that this is what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life,” she said. “I woke up thrilled to go to work and that really was an amazing experience for me.”

Snapshot of a Graduate: Halie Squires

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

Halie Squires ’13 of Parish, N.Y., earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in occupational sciences and is continuing at Keuka to pursue her master’s degree in occupational therapy.

She’s currently completing the first of two 12-week fieldwork placements for hands-on experience in both traditional and non-traditional OT environments. Her current post is at a short-term rehab facility in Saratoga Springs, and when that concludes, she’ll return to campus for another semester of studies.

Squires said she is most thankful for the professionalism developed through Keuka’s Field Period program.

“After eight Field Periods or fieldwork placements, I feel as if I can carry myself with respect in a professional place of employment and communicate effectively and assuredly,” she said.

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

 

Environmentally Sound Engineering

By Mary Leet ’16

When it comes to construction and renovation, especially within cities, it is tempting to do what is fastest and easiest without considering the long-term impact on the environment.

Unless, of course, Lu Engineers, a civil and environmental engineering firm, is involved in the project.

Gina Ferruzza ’14, an environmental science major from Penfield, discovered just how committed the firm is to the environment by conducting a Field Period at their Pittsford office this summer.

“We investigate, identify problems, and then make a plan with a contractor to excavate,” said Steve Campbell, Ferruzza’s supervisor and director of the Environmental Division.

He explained that each site is a commitment the firm takes on, because even post-excavation sites must be continually monitored for many years in case other problems arise.

Campbell’s division assists in areas such as bridge and highway design, natural resource assessment, and site design to optimize the use of safe materials and methods in construction and renovation projects.

Where previous Field Period experiences had Ferruzza working in a lab, she has received “training she can use wherever she goes” as a certified Hazmat transporter, according to Campbell.

“The people here were relaxed and very patient with me as I was learning, and they’re also very funny,” said Ferruzza.

She has compiled data reports, collected and sent samples, and evaluated— with the survey crews— if bridges were built with hazardous materials.

“It’s important to us that our students are here to learn, not making copies,” said Campbell.

At a recent site, Ferruzza helped take soil samples to identify where contamination in groundwater was coming from.

The knowledge Ferruzza has obtained from her work at real sites is something she notices even off the job.

“I was so impressed when we started going to survey sites that Mitch [a coworker from the survey department] could look and see right away that certain materials were present, but now, I can look and see them too,” she said. “Sometimes, when I’m driving with my mom, I’ll look at a truck and know that it contains a flammable liquid.”

With one Field Period requirement left, Ferruzza hopes to return to Lu Engineers in January to hone her new skills at even more sites.