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College Will Offer Master of Social Work Degree

Starting this fall, Keuka College will offer a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program, in two formats, at the Keuka Park home campus and in the Syracuse region. The MSW program is a 65-credit, clinically focused program designed to prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective psychotherapy and psychosocial services to clients at an individual, family, and group level.

The MSW also prepares graduates to act in an administrative and supervisory capacity, and to serve as leaders in dynamic communities and organizations. Students with an MSW degree are eligible to take a state licensing exam after graduation, and can then begin serving diverse client populations in settings including schools, community-based agencies, health care systems, legal systems and more.

Recently approved by the New York State Board of Education Office of the Professions, the Keuka College MSW program will be offered in two formats. Roll-out of the program will begin this fall, with two cohorts of advanced standing MSW students.  One cohort of full-time students will study weekdays at the Keuka Park campus near Penn Yan, and will complete the program in May 2016, while a second cohort of part-time students studying in the Syracuse region, will complete the degree in 21 months of primarily evening classes once a week. Both advanced standing formats include clinical practicum work, similar to an internship. A first-year foundation program for applicants with a non-social work bachelor’s degree will begin at the Keuka Park campus in the fall of 2016.

Stephanie Craig

Stephanie Craig, chair of the Keuka College Division of Social Work and associate professor of social work, is thrilled to see the MSW program launch after nearly 10 years of dreaming and planning.

“It’s so exciting to see the vision come to fruition,” Craig said, adding thanks to the many faculty members and administrators who’ve invested time and labor over the past several years to support the College’s efforts to add the new degree. “I see growth ahead and an outstanding MSW program at Keuka College.”

After the initial launch year, the College will begin offering the advanced standing MSW program at select off-site locations in full-time or part-time formats. Students have the opportunity to personalize the focus of their studies through the selection of different electives. According to Dr. Doyle Pruitt, a licensed, certified social worker, MSW program director and assistant professor of social work for Keuka College, the College has offered bachelor’s degrees in social work to adult students at multiple community college locations across upstate New York through its Accelerated Studies for Adult Program (ASAP) format, and some of those will be considered for expansion of the MSW in future years.

Dr. Doyle Pruitt

Elective courses and initial field work placements have been structured so that students will be prepared for work within systems such as the Veteran’s Administration, health care settings, prison systems and community agencies, particularly those that may be located in the areas where the MSW program will be offered, Pruitt described. For example, Yates and Schuyler counties have some of the lowest numbers of MSW practitioners in the state, she said, noting that social work is a profession always in demand.

“Our program allows students who are committed to their local communities to receive their education without having to be uprooted and risk not returning,” Pruitt said.

And that will benefit communities across the greater Finger Lakes region, as well-prepared Keuka College MSW graduates provide services appropriate to the unique demands of rural areas and under-represented populations, said Dr. Paul Forestell, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Dr. Paul Forestell

“For 125 years Keuka College has remained true to the vision of our founder, George Harvey Ball, to graduate ‘superior men and women who shall bring strength to the nation and help to humanity,’” he cited. “Our new Master of Social Work program continues that tradition.”

According to Pruitt, an MSW degree can be more marketable than degrees for marriage and family therapists or licensed mental health counselors, due to the structure of insurance billing in New York State.

“We’re preparing graduates to be eligible to provide clinical services, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and so on. The clinical degree allows them to provide therapy, but they could also choose to take their career in an administrative or service direction, so it’s really setting them up to be competitive in the marketplace,” Pruitt said.

Applications for the new MSW programs have a deadline of June 15, 2015. For more information on the program, please visit online at:, or for more info on how to apply, please contact Admissions Counselor Patricia White at or (315) 317-8455. 


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: Jose Cervantes

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

jose, degree, 2013, benefit, value, graduateJose Cervantes ’13 was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco-Mexico, but grew up in Horseheads. With aspirations of working for Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in its Madrid, Spain branch office, Cervantes earned a degree in business management with a marketing concentration and will pursue a second degree through Keuka: a master’s of management with a concentration in international business.

Cervantes played midfield on Keuka’s men’s soccer team in his junior and senior years after transferring in from Corning Community College, where he played as a sophomore. He’ll compete one more year for Keuka while grad school is underway. Indeed, sports have played a major role in the internship experiences Cervantes pursued through Keuka’s Field Period program. His senior year internship was conducted at Watkins Glen International Speedway.

“I benefited the most from the Field Periods,” Cervantes said of Keuka. “Having [job] experience before graduation is a great plus in the ‘real world.’”

While grad school is underway, Cervantes will branch out in his new role as restaurant chain supervisor at Garcia’s Mexican restaurant (his family’s business), where he will also oversee marketing.

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.

Snapshot of a Graduate: Jayme Peterson

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

jayme peterson, criminal justice, degree, 2013, benefit, value, job, keukaJayme Peterson ’13 earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice and was hired by a private probation company, Intervention Inc., in Colorado less than a month after graduation.

According Dr. Janine Bower, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice, Peterson received the job offer after completing a semester-long internship this spring with a probation department in the 20th Judicial District, Boulder, Colo. During her time at Keuka, Peterson participated in a number of campus clubs, served as a tutor at Dundee Library and in the Academic Success at Keuka (ASK) office, was a member of the step team, and served on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.

“This is exactly what I wanted to do after graduating college and the experience from my Field Period directly influenced my ability to obtain this job,” said Peterson, adding that she also received a job offer from one Field Period site, but turned it down because the position was partly volunteer.

The Gloversville resident said she most valued the ability to work closely with professors as an active learner and beleived Keuka’s small class sizes led to better discussions and more in-depth analysis of course material. In addition, Keuka’s Field Period program helped her practice how to research and apply for jobs, and develop confidence with professionals in her field, she said.

Conducting a 140-hour annual internship or exploratory study each year was “very valuable,” Peterson said, because it developed work experience prior to graduation and helped her confirm that working as a probation officer “was actually the right career path for me.”

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