Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka College degree take you? This is the fourth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2014.
Dung Hoang came to Keuka College from a partner school in Hanoi, Vietnam to pursue a degree in management with a minor in accounting. After graduation May 25, she moved to Anaheim, Calif. where she is now working as an accounting assistant for Business Expo Center, an events company.
Hoang’s student visa permits her a limited time after graduation to work in an off-campus job related to her field of study.
“Honestly, I feel that I am so lucky to get this job,” she said, adding her excitement at the chance to apply what she learned from her classes and gain even more experience in accounting.
Her duties include processing and reconciling payments and other business transactions using a system based on the QuickBooks software, a popular accounting tool she’d never heard of until introduced to it in her Keuka College classes. Hoang conducted a Field Period™ with the California company over winter break and credits the real-world internship experience there for leading to her job offer.
“I love the way Keuka College requires us to take the Field Period™ every year, because we can apply what we learned from college in a real working environment, we support our future career,” she said, adding her thanks to her academic adviser, professors, Field Period™ supervisor and many friends who helped “lead me to the right way for my future.”
“I am so thankful for what I have today,” Hoang said. “I love the education here and I grew up a lot from this environment.”
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka College degree take you? This is the third in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2014.
Kyle McVannan ‘14 of Endicott graduated with a B.A. in organizational communication and has begun a new job working in the video production department of the Binghamton Mets, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets.
In between McVannan’s junior and senior years, he conducted a Field Period™ in the Mets’ video department, which paved the way for his job offer upon graduation. A Field Period™ is a self-initiated placement of at least 140 hours that each Keuka College undergraduate completes each year. It can be an internship like McVannan’s, a cultural exploration, community service or creative project or a spiritual/faith-based exploration.
During his time at Keuka College, McVannan pitched for the baseball team and played some at third base while also serving as one of four team captains. In his senior year, the team made a significant turn-around under a new coach, winning the most games in a season in school history while earning a share of the North Eastern Athletic Conference’s (NEAC) regular season title. He also completed a senior practicum within his major, working with the College’s digital media producer on a variety of video-related marketing projects.
McVannan has been excited to carry his love of the game over into a job opportunity involving his favorite sport. His Field Period™ experience was “awesome,” he said, because it put him in “a real-world position” to explore career opportunities.
“The best thing about my Keuka College education is that I was able to branch out and have Field Periods™ that really helped me in my decision on what I wanted to do with my life,” McVannan said.
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka College degree take you? This is the second in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2014.
For Kelsey Tebo ’14 of Tupper Lake, a semester of study in the Fourth Judicial District of the NYS Supreme Court, which covers Franklin and Clinton Counties, pushed her towards a career in law. While there, the double criminal justice and sociology major had the opportunity to work on mortgage foreclosure cases, meeting with banks, attorneys and families, and observing paperwork procedures. She also sat in on a sex offender containment case and a two-week medical malpractice trial.
“It was the medical malpractice trial that made up my mind that I wanted to attend law school. Watching the attorneys fight for their clients, it just hit me that I wanted to be in court right next to them,” Tebo said, adding that she’s leaning toward specializing in either criminal law or medical malpractice after law school.
Supreme Court Justice John T. Ellis and the rest of his staff were “incredibly supportive,” recommending law schools she could apply to, helping her study for the LSAT (entrance exams to law school), and challenging her to “be the best I can be,” Tebo said.
That focus paid off earlier this spring when Tebo was accepted into Tulane Law School, and received a generous scholarship, according to her adviser, Dr. Janine Bower, associate professor of criminal justice. Bower also praised Tebo for outstanding academic performance, personal leadership and community service in various volunteer and extra-curricular roles.
Bower said Tebo’s eagerness to learn, understand and think critically about concepts within the fields of criminal justice and sociology was evident in her Field Period™ experiences, including one Tebo conducted at the Sunmount Developmental Center in upstate New York. There, staff work with a challenging population—convicted sex offenders with developmental disabilities—and Tebo observed patterns indicating staff burnout and depersonalization, Bower said. Tebo’s written reflections showed “significant insight” and maturity on that kind of work, the structure of the work environment, and its effects, Bower said.
“The Field Period™ and experiential learning opportunities at Keuka College directly influenced my future job opportunities and my decision to pursue law,” Tebo said.
Two career-affirming Field Period™ experiences, a spiritual exploration of Thailand, and being an active member of the Keuka College community helped earn junior Sini Ngobese the Experiential Learner of the Year Award, which recognizes learning from Field Period™, co-curricular involvement, and community service.
At her summer 2013 Field Period™ at Biogen Idec, a biotechnology company, Ngobese gained invaluable career experience, established a network of human resources (HR) professionals, and solidified her career aspirations. Her January 2014 Field Period™ at the Yates County Personnel Department led her to experience a different aspect of HR through interning in the public sector.
“The theoretical knowledge I gained in the classroom was applied in practice, and, through hands-on, experiential learning, I grew in my understanding, skills and abilities,” Ngobese said.
Nominated for the award by Director of Marketing and Communications Pete Bekisz and Professor of Communication Studies Anita Chirco, the Durban, South Africa resident believes her experiential learning opportunities make her a well-rounded candidate that will be an asset to any organization.
“These opportunities have vastly improved my written communication by emphasizing the importance of communicating clearly, yet professionally,” Ngobese said. “My oral communication also improved immensely during these internships, and I believe I have become a much more effective and confident communicator.”
Elizabeth Abbott, senior manager at Biogen Idec and Ngobese’s Field Period™ supervisor, would agree.
“Sini has many strengths, but her ability to communicate effectively, professionally, clearly, and persuasively in both written and oral communication are what really stand out to me,” said Abbott. “Sini’s communication strengths are impressive at any level, and the fact that she is still in school makes it even more remarkable.”
At the Yates County Personnel Department, Ngobese took “great initiative” in problem solving and was well prepared to have high-level discussions, according to Amy Guererri, personnel officer and human resources director for Yates County, and Ngobese’s Field Period™ supervisor.
“Sini took great pride in the quality of the work she produced,” said Guererri. “She quickly gained my confidence in her abilities and proved to be quite capable of performing well at a high level. Her ability to comprehend multifaceted subject matters, and then proceed independently in completing assignments was impressive. It allowed us to cover a wider variety of topics than we had originally thought.”
Abbott, too, was “extremely impressed by how much work Sini did, with little guidance and structure, and still maintain an extremely high quality of work.”
For example, Abbott told Ngobese that she wanted to create a policy template which would assist policy owners in putting together content with a consistent format.
“I thought I would sit with Sini and give her some ideas, we’d go back and forth on a few drafts, and then it would be complete,” said Abbott. “Instead, Sini sent me her first draft of a template, and it was exactly right.”
With Guererri, Ngobese “produced reports and documents that were at a level I would have expected from a seasoned professional,” she said. “During her short time working with us, Sini produced several viable work products and solutions that we utilized and implemented, which greatly benefited our department and Yates County.”
Guererri added she is “incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with Sini. She is such a bright, determined, capable young woman, and I can state with the utmost certainty that she has an extremely bright future ahead of herself, and will excel in any endeavor she undertakes.”
Ngobese might not have had the same amount of confidence in herself that Abbott and Guererri had in her as she boarded a plane bound for Thailand, a country where Ngobese said she faced language and cultural challenges.
But she chose to participate in a Spiritual Exploration Field Period™ in Thailand, because in the “craziness of the busy streets, dense jungles, tan faces, and humid cabs in Thailand, I had never felt so lost,” she said, “or found.”
Experiencing a culture that differs from her own increased her appreciation of what she loves about her Zulu South African culture.
“Though we are different and eat different foods, worship different deities and have different social and behavioral norms, we all pursue to be happy, loved, and free,” said Ngobese. “My trip to Thailand helped me see that though we are different, at our very core, we are similar.”
Ngobese said her spiritual exploration of Thailand brought her closer to her own faith, Christianity, and helped her gain additional respect and admiration for a different faith, Buddhism.
“I was able to experience Thailand’s delicious food with curious taste buds and smell the rich, and sometimes pungent, odors of its busy streets and clear beaches,” said Ngobese. “I felt the sleek fur of a tiger beneath my clammy, nervous fingertips, and saw the heart-melting adorableness of a dancing baby elephant. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude at being able to embark on this life-changing, independence-solidifying trip.”
Through Field Period™, Ngobese said she has gained a greater understanding of her own greatness and potential.
“To undertake an intimidating adventure in yet another foreign country took courage, and my professional growth has been fostered through challenging Field Period™ opportunities at Biogen Idec and the Yates County Personnel Department,” said Ngobese. “[In all three experiences], I utilized the various knowledge, skills and abilities I have acquired in my liberal arts education at Keuka College.”
Part of the College’s liberal arts education includes the opportunity to get involved outside of the classroom. And Ngobese is taking full advantage of those opportunities as an active member of the Keuka College community.
She serves as an Academic Success at Keuka (ASK) tutor in human resources management and writing, and credits her Field Period™ experiences at Biogen Idec and Yates County with helping her expanded her HR knowledge.
“HR truly feels like second nature to me after having two Field Period™ experiences immersed in its terminology and way of thinking,” said Ngobese. “I believe I am a truly informative resource as an HR tutor, because not only do I have a theoretical understanding of the material, but can provide real-life examples.”
She also serves as an office assistant for the Center for Spiritual Life and the Center for Global Education, is a New Student Mentor, and has been on the Dean’s List since 2011. Ngobese received a Judith Oliver Brown Cultural Exploration Field Period™ scholarship, the Student Senate Leadership Scholarships Rising Senior Award, and was awarded the Center for Spiritual Life Excellence Award.
President of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, Ngobese is also active in the Keuka College International Club, where she serves as vice president and community service coordinator. She is a member of Students Helping Students’ Crisis Response Team, President’s Leadership Circle, Budget Allocations Committee, Tuesday Non-Denominational Service Drama Team, Sigma Lambda Sigma, and the Spiritual Life Advisory Board.
Said Ngobese: “Keuka College’s Field Period™ has benefitted my mental, spiritual, and emotional growth, and has revolutionized my college learning. I have aspirations to one day become a full-time Biogen Idec employee, and I look forward to my career with renewed vigor and certainty that this is the career path I want to follow, and I am immensely excited for my future.”
Later this week, Genille Gordon of the Bronx and Primrose Nyahwai of Harare, Zimbabwe will be on a plane to China, bound for a first-hand experience of another culture that both Keuka College sophomores hope will be transformational in their personal and professional development.
Nyahwai and Gordon are the first recipients of the Dr. Anne Marie Guthrie Educational Fund Scholarship, which was funded by Dr. Michael Hwang, administrative chancellor for Keuka College China Campuses. Since 2002, the Keuka China Program (KCP) has enabled nearly 7,000 Chinese students to complete an American bachelor’s degree in business at one of four partner universities — Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Jimei University in Xiamen, Wenzhou University, and Yunnan University of Finance and Economics in Kunming.
Dr. Hwang established the scholarship fund in memory of Dr. Guthrie, who died in October 2013 after an extended illness. Dr. Guthrie served 12 years as dean of the Center for Experiential Learning at Keuka College, and the two worked closely together during the creation of the KCP learning model. According to Dr. Hwang, she was a “great supporter” of the Career Management and Experiential Learning course, a “highlight and unique part” of the KCP curriculum.
“I am certain that the Keuka China Program would not have reached its credibility and status in China without that course. And Dr. Guthrie was such a key part of making all of this happen,” Dr. Hwang said.
Experiential learning is embedded in the Keuka College curriculum and flourishes in Field Period™, conducted each year by undergraduate students who invest several weeks into hands-on learning experiences. A Field Period™ may consist of an internship in a professional field, a community service or creative project, exploration of another culture, or a spiritual exploration study such as a charitable mission trip. Diversity is also upheld as a key College value, and the marriage of experiential learning and diversity in the Guthrie scholarship represents another unique offering where collaboration results in powerful opportunities for student learning.
Nyahwai and Gordon were selected for the honor on the basis of their GPAs, personal leadership accomplishments, and involvement in campus clubs and activities, according to Dr. Anne Weed, vice president for academic affairs. Weed was commissioned to review candidates and select the first winners.
While Nyahwai hopes to study Chinese practices of recycling and sustainability, with the purpose of implementing what she learns at an elementary school back in Zimbabwe, Gordon hopes to develop skills in understanding and collaborating with those in China and ultimately, to raise awareness of the shared humanity of individuals, back on the home campus. Both young women also plan to study Chinese dialects and glean as much as they can of a foreign language.
“Cross-cultural experiences, such as those afforded to Genille and Primrose through this scholarship, provide a new perspective on the world and allow students to learn about cultural differences through direct experience outside the classroom,” said Dr. Wendy Gaylord, dean of KCP for the College. “This is a major goal of experiential learning, and we thank Dr. Hwang for assisting our students in this way.”
According to Dr. Gaylord, Dr. Hwang’s generous funding will allow both young women to meet Chinese students, learn about campus life in China, and experience Chinese culture, in addition to completing their Field Period™ projects. The interaction with Chinese culture will continue when they return to the home campus in Keuka Park, as the College hosts many exchange students from China, Gaylord said. (more…)