At the heart of social work is service to others, and in that dimension, Keuka College senior Nakita Simons sets the standard.
Praised as a natural-born leader, the Prattsburgh resident and social work major coordinates so many special projects for non-profit agencies and organizations between home and school that it can be hard to keep them all straight. For her multitude of service, Simons was recently named one of six student Social Workers of the Year at a regional chapter event for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The NASW award recognizes social work students in the New York State Chapter’s Genesee Valley Division who have made significant contributions in the field.
According to Stephanie Craig, associate professor of social work and chair of the College Division of Social Work, Simons “is versatile, dedicated and one of the most diligent new social workers to enter this field. She’s got a lot of social work insight that has just really blossomed and developed through her experience here.”
Just how much does Simons serve? Well, she delivers holiday food baskets for the needy and serves at a bake sale fundraiser for the Howard Union Church. She coordinates Christmas gift deliveries through the Angel Tree project and runs twice-monthly volunteer support at Milly’s Pantry in Penn Yan for the College’s Association of Future Social Workers (ASFW) chapter. The ASFW members also host an annual Hunger Banquet to raise awareness of poverty, and assist the Branchport-Keuka Park Fire Department with their annual Halloween party for local children.
As president of Phi Alpha Theta, the College honors society for social work students, Simons coordinates all fundraising and community service work for the group. The newest venture, slated for April, will be conducting service work on behalf of veterans at the Bath VA Medical Center, she said. Back on campus, Phi Theta Alpha has also given a presentation on veterans’ issues, including mental illness, homeless rates, and other needs. In addition, Simons has served three years as a New Student Orientation (NSO) mentor, logging extra hours on her own to take new freshmen under her wing and show them skills for success.
In addition, Simons, who also served as a biology tutor, maintains a 3.9 grade point average, said Craig who attended the NASW awards banquet with Simmons last week.
And the NASW award is not the only one. Simons boasts another prestigious accomplishment: earning a BSW Child Welfare Scholarship from New York’s Social Work Education Consortium. The scholarship carries a two-year employment contract as a child welfare caseworker with a county Department of Social Services agency and the possibility of earning additional scholarship money for a master’s degree in social work, provided all goes well in an initial semester-long practicum. But once again, Simons stands apart. (more…)
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the second in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Josh Beaver ’13 of West Terra Haute, Ind., graduated with a degree in political science and history and will pursue a dual master’s degree in American history and historical administration from Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston, Ill. While he pursues his degree, Beaver will also hold down a customer service- based job in telecommunications at Alorica, Inc.
During his time at Keuka, Beaver was heavily involved in a number of campus clubs and organizations, including Student Senate, Chemistry Club, President’s Leadership Council and served as a member of the Spiritual Life Advisory Board, on two Alternative Spring Break mission trips, and on the steering committee for Keuka’s annual day of community service, Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates (CSCY).
“I value the opportunities that Keuka gave me, and taught me about: the environment, that change is not always a bad thing, the hard work ethic and dedication to yourself, to always do your best,” Beaver said. “My coursework taught me how to be flexible, how to pick up on patterns (mainly things that have already happened and how they can be improved on), and also how to analyze and adjust with what works and doesn’t work.”
If members of Keuka’s Class of 2013 are looking for inspiration as they enter the job market, they should check out Stephanie Lange, who was in their shoes just a year ago.
In her time at Keuka, Lange ’12 of Apalachin made quite a mark. While completing a double major in visual and verbal art and organizational communication, Lange helped found and lead an intellectual exploration group known as Tabula Rasa, worked as the graphic designer for the student newspaper, and completed a bronze sculpture installation of a red-tailed hawk as her senior art project.
Now she’s venturing into new ground in the arts, and landed what she calls her “dream job.”
In late January, Lange started work as the program coordinator for the Schweinfurth Arts Center in Auburn. She is now directing a two-week annual conference, “Quilting by the Lake,” for the non-profit in addition to helping promote the Arts Center’s five annual exhibits, communicating with corporate sponsors, and producing and designing the center’s newsletters and other marketing materials.
The annual quilt show convention, held each July on the campus of Onondaga Community College near Syracuse, features more than 30 quilting-related classes and lectures, a quilt show and specialty vendors. According to Lange, while traditional quilting styles and methods are featured, there is a focus on modern quilting techniques involving painting on the fabric and elements of geometry, all of which creates an artistic quality.
“It’s not like something my grandma does,” Lange said. “The precision required for quilting is difficult to master.”
Like others, Lange had been forewarned to expect great challenge finding a salaried, full-time position in the arts field and said that awareness had her raving to her family that this opportunity was amazing. Not only does she help stage exhibits – some in the same measurements she learned as a student assisting with shows in Keuka’s Lightner Gallery – but she can participate in art classes hosted by the Center, as well as meet artists and local residents through Schweinfurth’s special events. (more…)
Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the ninth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
Ean Titus of Geneva just completed his master’s degree in literacy (grades 5-12) at Keuka, after graduating in 2011 with a degree in adolescent education with concentrations in biology and special education.
A Field Period internship in the Geneva City School District, with a former teacher, led to landing a job teaching special education and algebra to 9th graders in the newly formed freshman academy in that district. Titus’s former teacher is now a co-worker and Titus is about to start his second year on the job.
“My freshman-year Field Period I was in a biology classroom teaching lessons and labs … seeing if teaching was a career that I wanted to pursue. After that experience, I knew it was the right path for me,” Titus said. “Completing my Field Periods gave me a lot of real-world experience that I plan to continue implementing for the rest of my career.”
Titus plans to begin work on a school administration degree this fall through Niagara University, and said his ultimate goal would be to become a principal or superintendent of schools.
To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.
The win-win partnership between Keuka’s Division of Business and Management and Fox Run Vineyards is so beneficial to both that it just might call for a toast.
For the second straight year, Fox Run has supplied students in Keuka’s Business Entrepreneurship class, with four vintages of wine to market as souvenirs in a microbusiness operation that runs from concept and sales strategy, to inventory management and accounting, to delivery of goods. The off-site sales add to the winery’s revenues while providing students a unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of operating a small business.
The course and the winery partnerships, which have included Hunt Country Vineyards in Branchport and Keuka Springs in Penn Yan, have coincided hand-in-hand since 1991. Currently taught by Neil Siebenhar, chair of the division and retiring associate professor of business, the class is offered in the spring of each year. The specialty-label wines are marketed as “bottled memories” to the graduating class, their parents, alumni, staff, and faculty of the College. (more…)
Thanks to his eighth-grade English teacher, General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, learned that conduct was part of his grade in life. That teacher was the late Marion Cutler, a 1952 Keuka graduate.
“Ms. Cutler taught me the difference between capability and conduct,” said Pace.
Years later, serving as a Marine in Vietnam, pausing to consider his conduct prevented Pace from ordering an airstrike that would have decimated a village of innocent women and children.
“Take time to set your moral compass,” Pace urged Keuka graduates during the 103rd commencement Sunday. “You will be morally challenged when, emotionally, you are least prepared to deal with it. Decide for yourself what you and will not do … so that when a challenge does come, you take the three to five seconds to think through (it).”
After giving him a “D” in the first quarter of his eighth-grade English class for “always mouthing off with some kind of joke,” he said, Cutler’s face would pop into his head in later years when tempted to say something inappropriate.
“The way you conduct yourself impacts everybody around you,” said Pace, who was awarded an honorary doctorate Sunday, along with the late Cutler, who died in March. Pace accepted his award “on behalf of the 2.4 million (soldiers) in our armed forces that make days like today possible.”
The Sunday ceremony was the final one for College President Joseph G. Burke, who is retiring after 14 years. Burke was awarded the title President Emeritus by Melissa Brown, Class of 1972, and chair of the College’s governing board.
Other commencement highlights included:
An honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree was presented posthumously to Marion Cutler. Cutler was one of General Pace’s favorite teachers growing up in New Jersey. The two exchanged letters often after Pace assumed his Joint Chiefs’ responsibilities and remained close up until Cutler’s death in March.
Editor’s Note: This is the 8th in a series of stories saluting members of the Class of 2011. We asked division chairs for story ideas and they in turn contacted faculty members for ideas. We believe they came up with some terrific profiles.
Erin Madigan has always known she wanted to be a teacher. Sure, she debated what grade, learning level and subject she wanted to teach, but she was always convinced her future career would be at the front of a classroom.
It should be no surprise, then, that the Melrose resident will graduate Sunday with a degree in adolescent English and special education. And while Madigan said she will miss Keuka, her friends, and the professors who have pushed her further than what she initially thought she was capable of, she is excited to finish her student teaching semester and start in on her master’s degree.
“I can’t believe I’m graduating already. It’s crazy. I feel like I just started here,” said Madigan, who transferred into Keuka in the fall of 2008, after completing her senior year of high school at Hudson Valley Community College, which granted her freshman college credits at the same time. “I have loved every minute I’ve been here.”
Madigan said she knew she definitely wanted to teach secondary level students and definitely wanted to teach English. She is especially grateful for the three Field Period internships she now has “under her belt, so I won’t be blind for my first experience (leading) a classroom,” she said. (more…)
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