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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.

From One Arts Arena to Another

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.

Lange's senior art project, a bronze installation.

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.”

Lange interacts with guests during a Perfect Pairing gallery event.

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…)

Extra! Extra! Sophomore Stakes Out Claim to News

Banas with reporter John Purcell at Delmar Spotlight News

For Jake Banas, the month of January was all about journalism.

The Keuka College sophomore and Delmar resident spent most of the month writing for The Spotlight, an independent news organization headquartered in his hometown, near Albany. Spotlight News produces five weekly editions in Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga counties, with a combined circulation of more than 45,000, according to its website.

Each Keuka undergrad conducts a 140-hour internship, known as Field Period, every year en route to a bachelor’s degree. An English major, Banas had begun to write for the Keukonian, the student newspaper at Keuka, and decided to learn more about journalism by pursuing an internship with his hometown paper.

Banas started by proofing pages for grammatical errors before the paper went to press for a Thursday distribution. From there, he began writing short event announcements submitted by local organizations, and gradually worked his way into full-scale, bylined articles—transitioning from shadowing reporters to being a reporter himself.

“The first day I walked in, everything was very hectic, because it was a Wednesday and they were trying to finalize the paper and get it out [the next day]. People were yelling back and forth and I was kind of scared, not sure what was happening,” Banas said. “The next day it was all quiet because everyone was out doing assignments and getting ready for the next issue.”

His first major assignment was an interview with the owner of the Junk King garbage removal company for the paper’s regular “Spotlight on Business” feature. Other assignments found Banas at the local school district board of education meeting, or taking hundreds of photos of different town locales. As each article went into print, Banas said it was “incredible” to have something he wrote published. Most of his work ran in the Bethlehem Spotlight, he said, while a few articles ran in other editions.

“There’s a lot more to journalism than people think. I expected it to be so simple, [thinking] you just hear a story and write about it but I learned you want to keep your ears open for specific things,” Banas said. “You have to go out and work with people and gather information and there’s a lot more to take away from it than just sitting there, writing the news.” (more…)

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.

Snapshot of a Graduate: Allie Walker

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

Allie Walker '12

Allie Walker ’12 recently completed a final Field Period internship in the music industry department at the Burst Agency, an entertainment agency, in Atlanta, Ga. She graduated with a degree in organizational communication and in the fall, she will begin professional training in concierge work with special events and public relations with a hotel in Cancun, Mexico. After mastering greater fluency in Spanish, Walker plans to relocate to Miami, Fla.

“The thing that I value most from my Keuka education is the hands-on experience I was able to gain throughout my college career. I was able to travel around the country and world. Everything that I learned during my Field Periods I have been able to apply and will still be able to apply in the workplace,” Walker says. “I have made great connections on the way.”

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

Snapshot of a Graduate: Junelle King

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

Junelle King of Ithaca, N.Y.

Junelle King ’12 graduated cum laude with a degree in organizational communication and is currently amidst three months of full-time work with the Finger Lakes Museum project, a non-profit organization working to build a world-class cultural and natural history museum and aquarium on land at Keuka Lake State Park. During the spring semester of her senior year, King conducted a senior practicum at the museum, developing summer programs and promotions at community sites throughout the region. Her practicum went so well, she was asked to stay on to carry out the programs she designed, including community “coffee chats” and two community event nights at Keuka Lake State Park, one in July and one in August. During each park event, officials will bring in a State Parks wildlife biologist as well as a local music group to appeal to local residents, boaters and the campers visiting the park, to raise awareness and build support for the museum.  Additional job duties involve monthly e-newsletters sent to supporters and managing the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the Museum.

King says Keuka’s Field Period internship program was a major factor in her decision to enroll, and now, after graduating, she believes it paid off for her.

“Having the work experience, building my resume and trial-and-error figuring out what you want to do and the experiential learning with the senior practicum is how I was able to get my job with the Museum. Not many other schools offered that.”

While temporary, her current job is a “great opportunity” to work on building a project from the ground floor up, she said.

“Even though I’m a communications assistant, I do get to have a lot of input because there are so few staff and it’s in the early stages. It’s great to see how an organization develops as it’s growing and to help other people to see it too. It’s very inspiring.”

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