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Top Student, Boss Honored

Eight students were nominated for Keuka College's 2015 Student Employee of the Year, including from left: Brittany Kuhn, Tyler Redington, Savannah Fuller, Zach Ward, Sini Ngobese, Connor Delavak, and Courtney Nojeim. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

A “pillar in the athletics department” and a “friend who changes student lives for the better” were the respective recipients of the 2015 Student Employee and Work-Study Supervisor of the Year awards at the Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 15.

Senior psychology major Connor Delavak and Co-Curricular Transcript Coordinator and Community Service Coordinator Valerie Webster were selected by two separate panels of judges.

Delavak, nominated for the award by Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics and head athletic trainer, has worked as a student athletic trainer for four years, and the longer Bray has been at Keuka College, the more increasingly selective he has become of those he chooses to hire as his work-study students.

Connor Delavak and Jeff Bray. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

In 23 years of supervising student employees, Bray says senior Delavak ranks in his top five, touting his demeanor and sincerity for setting him apart. In fact, Bray says Delavak has become a pillar within the athletics department.

“He has a tremendous grasp on what is expected of him and the role he plays within our department,” said Bray, adding Delavak is part of the fabric of the athletic training staff and the athletic department. “It has gotten to the point that when we are scheduled to depart for a weekend road trip, I simply ask him if we are ‘all set’ and he replies with a very confident ‘yes sir.’ He truly cares about the job that he does and it shows every time he works.”

And Bray does not hesitate to say that Delavak is a “tremendous asset” to the athletics department.

“I believe there is added responsibility that comes with that,” said Bray. “Connor has always represented himself, our department, and Keuka College in a positive and professional manner. In fact, there are times that our coaches forget that he is a student and not a full time staff member.”

Added Bray: “I think we often take for granted the importance and the impact our student employees have on our campus. With Connor, he is a respected member of my staff. I feel fortunate to have played a small role in his collegiate experience.” 

The other student nominees were Tyler Redington, Brittany Kuhn, Ethan Eschler, Savannah Fuller, Courtney Nojeim, Sini Ngobese, and Zach Ward.

“All of our student employees are winners, but the eight nominees are the cream of the crop,” said Sally Daggett, human resources manager. “I thank all of the nominators who took time to nominate your student employee. It sends a powerful message to those students, as it tells of the importance of them in your lives.” 

Savannah Fuller and Valerie Webster (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

Webster was one of five work-study supervisors nominated for the award. She was nominated by occupational science major Savannah Fuller.

In the three years senior Fuller has worked in the Community Service Resource Office as a Community Service Advocate, she said Webster has pushed her to think outside of the box and find new ways to reach out to others.

“Upon accepting this job three years ago to help pay for college, I had no idea the true wealth I would gain from Valerie,” said Fuller. “Over this time we have established a strong working relationship, and she is a phenomenal work-study supervisor.”

That’s because Webster “provides each of us with appropriate guidance and leadership to help us grow and be successfully independent in our roles as a work-study students,” said Fuller. “No matter what challenges life presents Valerie with, she always given her work-study students 100 percent.”

After commencement, Fuller believes that the friendship she and Webster share, as well as the dedication to each of their communities, will last beyond her work-study position and long after her graduation from Keuka College.

Added Fuller: “The impact Valerie has had on my life, and the lives of countless other students, is invaluable and transcendent. Valerie has a way of changing student’s lives for the better. It has been an honor to work with her.”

The other supervisor nominees were John Boccacino (sports information director), Rachel Dewey (communications specialist), Carol Sackett (library circulation supervisor), and Xong Sony Yang (international student advisor).

From left: Rachel Dewey, Sony Yang, John Boccacino, Valerie Webster, and Carol Sackett. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

“It is an honor for me to talk to you at this luncheon, as it is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Jim Blackburn, vice president of student development. “The work student employees perform is immeasurable. Keuka College employees 511 students in 814 jobs. That is the equivalent of 150,000 hours of work per year—enough for 134 additional full-time positions. So, Keuka College students do a massive amount of work.”

Each of the nominees was recognized at the luncheon by his or her nominator and presented with a gift. The names of the student and supervisor award recipients will be added to two separate plaques housed in the Center for Experiential Learning. The Student Employee of the Year plaque is hung up in the winner’s work-study location until the following year’s awards luncheon.

More photos from the 2015 Student Employee of the Year Luncheon can be found here.

Connor Delavak a ‘Pillar’ in the Athletics Department

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of 2015 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Connor Delavak

The longer Jeff Bray, associate athletic director and head athletic trainer has been at Keuka College, the more increasingly selective he has become of those he chooses to hire as his work-study students, as well as what his expectations are.

In 23 years of supervising student employees, Bray says senior Connor Delavak ranks in his top five, touting his demeanor and sincerity for setting him apart.

According to Bray, if Delavak, a psychology major from Rush, is on the schedule, he will be there, generally early.

“When we have practices at 6 a.m., we open at 5 a.m.,” said Bray. “It never fails that when I walk around the corner into the gym, the training room door is open, the light is on and Connor is already prepping our things for practice.”

In fact, Bray says Delavak has become a pillar within the athletics department.

“He has a tremendous grasp on what is expected of him and the role that he plays within our department,” said Bray, adding Delavak is part of the fabric of the athletic training staff and the athletic department. “It has gotten to the point that when we are scheduled to depart for a weekend road trip I simply ask him if we are ‘all set’ and he replies with a very confident ‘yes sir.’ He truly cares about the job that he does and it shows every time he works.”

When you do a job day to day, Bray said, “you don’t always see what can become seemingly simple. When Connor sees something that needs done, he just takes it over and gets it done.

And it is not just Bray who has confidence in Delavak’s abilities.

“Recently, we had teams traveling to Pennsylvania for a 3-day trip,” said Bray. “Due to scheduling of other events, my staff wasn’t going to be able to travel. I went to the coaches and said I would most likely send a student on the trip with them. Without hesitation, they both said, ‘can we have Connor?’”

And Delavak’s efforts did not go unnoticed on the road.

“The head athletic trainer from Wilson College sent an email telling me ‘Connor did a great job—thanks for sending him with your teams,’” said Bray. “When you are a student traveling with a Keuka College athletic team, and the head athletic trainer at the opponents’ college recognizes your efforts and how you present yourself, then takes the time to let your supervisor know—that sums it up.”

Bray does not hesitate to say that Delavak is a “tremendous asset” to the athletics department.

“I believe there is added responsibility that comes with that,” said Bray. “Connor has always represented himself, our department, and Keuka College in a positive and professional manner. In fact, there are times that our coaches forget that he is a student and not a full time staff member.”

Added Bray: “I think we often take for granted the importance and the impact our student employees have on our campus. With Connor, he is a respected member of my staff. I feel fortunate to have played a small role in his collegiate experience.”

Keuka’s Athletic Trainers are Experienced Experts

Jeff Bray (l), Gabrielle Lorusso, and Phil Rahr provide Keuka College's student-athletes all phases of preventive training, care and injury rehabilitation for all intercollegiate sports at the College.

When Keuka College’s student-athletes come to campus as freshmen, they hope to enjoy productive and healthy collegiate careers that include plenty of wins on the field, and success in the classroom.

They also hope to remain healthy as they practice and suit up for the Wolfpack’s 18 intercollegiate sports teams.

While a student-athlete can’t predict when or if they will need the services of an athletic trainer, Keuka College student-athletes are supported by an athletic training staff that includes three National Athletic Trainers’ Association (N.A.T.A.)-certified athletic trainers who collaborate with physicians and other allied health care professionals to provide the best possible medical care.

The athletic training staff administers all phases of preventive training, care and injury rehabilitation for all intercollegiate sports at the College.

Jeff Bray has served as Keuka’s head athletic trainer since July of 1992, while Gabrielle Lorusso has been an assistant athletic trainer since December, 2012, and Phil Rahr was hired as an assistant athletic trainer in August of 2014.

Combined, Keuka’s three athletic trainers possess more than 36 years of experience in athletic training. Their experiences range from secondary school to Division I NCAA athletics to the National Football League.

“Our staff challenges each other to continually improve and gain knowledge of the latest trends in athletic training,” said Bray, adding that each staffer pays attention to the latest trends in sports medicine and has attended recent seminars on the importance of properly diagnosing and treating concussions and concussion-like symptoms.

“Each staff member is committed to treating each student-athlete as an individual, and we work as a unit to develop and oversee a sports medicine program that focuses on the overall well-being of our student-athletes.”

Bray has taped thousands of student-athletes and professional athletes during a career that, among other stops, has seen him work the sidelines of NFL games with the Philadelphia Eagles, alongside pit crews for assorted auto racing events across the world, and behind the bucking chutes at top-flight bull riding competitions.

A native of Sterling, Kansas, Bray earned his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University (’87) and obtained his master’s degree in education from Boise State University (’90). Bray is a certified athletic trainer who has been certified by the Board of Certification. He is also registered with the New York State Department of Education and is a member of both N.A.T.A. and the New York State Athletic Trainers Association (N.Y.S.A.T.A.).

Both Lorusso and Rahr bring a tremendous skill set with rehabilitation techniques and the ability to relate to the student-athletes. 

Lorusso has been certified by the Board of Certification, and she is also registered with the New York State Department of Education and is a member of both the N.A.T.A. and N.Y.S.A.T.A. Lorusso attended Daemen College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health care studies (’11). She also earned her master’s degree in athletic training.

Rahr, who graduated from Keuka College in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, is a certified athletic trainer who has been certified by the Board of Certification.

Rahr received his master’s degree in athletic training from Shenandoah (Va.) University. In both 2011 and 2012, Rahr traveled with and was a trainer for the under-18 boys teams that captured gold medals at the USA Hockey national championships.

For the latest stories, schedules and results from Keuka athletics, visit www.KCWolfpack.com, go to the Keuka Athletics Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/KeukaAthletics, and like us on Instagram and Twitter @KeukaAthletics.

Top Student Worker, Boss Honored

Student Employee of the Year recipient Brandon Jacobs is flanked by Jeff Bray and Sally Daggett

The “face of Game Day and Event Management” and a “role model, mentor, and friend” were the respective recipients of the 2014 Student Employee and Work-Study Supervisor of the Year awards, respectively, at the Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 17.

Senior management major Brandon Jacobs and Interlibrary Loan Librarian Kimberley Fenton were selected by two separate panels of judges.

Jacobs, nominated for the award by Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics, has worked in Game Day and Event Management for four years.

“You think when you go to a sporting event on the Keuka College campus, it just happens—but it only happens because of Brandon,” said Bray, who sees the Walworth resident as a co-worker.

As the student supervisor for Game Day and Event Management, Jacobs’ role is “absolutely critical” to the success of hosting home sporting events.

“Over the past year, Brandon has become the ‘face’ of our game management staff,” said Bray. “Referees, visiting coaches, and our own coaching staff know he is someone they can count on and is the ‘go-to’ person.”

Jacobs is responsible for the organization and set-up for more than 70 home sporting events—including equipment, sound systems, scoreboards, visiting locker rooms, and game officials.

“In doing so, it has been assumed by many that he is member of our professional staff; not a student employee,” said Bray. “When those individuals comment on a job well done, they are shocked to learn that he is a student. Brandon has aspirations of becoming a college athletics director and has really taken stock in his opportunity as a work study student.”

Sally Daggett (l), poses with the Student Employee of the Year nominees including Megan Barney, Lee Bottoni, Brandon Jacobs, Brianna Long, Karina Cochran, Kayla Garrow, and Megan Barney

The other student nominees were Lee Bottoni, Kayla Garrow, Karina Cochran, Kelsey Morgan, Brianna Long, and Megan Barney.

“Recognizing our work-study students is important, and this is an opportunity to honor the best of the best of our student workers,” said Sally Daggett, human resources manager. “I am proud of the work all of our 442 students, who perform 870 jobs for an average of six hours a week. If we were to hire full-time employees to do the work they do, we would need 103 more full-time employees. So, Keuka College students do a massive amount of work.”

Work Study Supervisor of the Year Kimberley Fenton holds her plaque next to Sally Daggett and Faith Garlington

Fenton was one of five work-study supervisors nominated for the award. She was nominated by occupational science majors Alysa Halsey and Faith Garlington.

Both were nervous about finding a work study position when they arrived as freshmen on campus, but since then, Halsey and Garlington believe Fenton has welcomed and included them in many library related tasks.

“Ms. Fenton has steered me toward success in any activity that I do,” said Halsey, an occupational science major from Pulaski. “She gives me freedom and allows me to feel independent by figuring out problems on my own, but reminds me she will always be there to answer any questions I have.”

That freedom and independence includes creating display case designs for patrons of the library to view.

“Ms. Fenton usually just lets me do whatever inspires me about the particular topic that is being displayed at the time,” said Halsey. “I use my imagination for the appearance, and my knowledge for the information that is being displayed. She provides me with the responsibility of creating displays, but I know that if I need advice or help I can always go to her for guidance.”

Garlington, who also assists in creating displays, agrees.

“I have also used my academic background in the creation of specialty displays for different disease awareness months,” said Garlington. “As an occupational science major, I have learned about many disorders which have ‘awareness months’ and I am often recruited to come up with display ideas. When I achieve these special goals, the other librarians also support me. They notice a particularly job well done and offer support in any task with which I may struggle.”

Halsey says Fenton creates a “quality and challenging environment by pushing me to work for the things I don’t believe that I can accomplish. She exemplifies the characteristics of a leader and a role model while helping me achieve the goals and dreams that would otherwise be out of reach.”

In her time with Fenton, Garlington has “gradually received more responsibility. [For example], this past fall when Ms. Fenton hired a new assistant to replace a graduating senior, I was entrusted to train her in many different aspects of the job. I had to act as a professional while showing the new student how to do many tasks. This made me feel as though I was a part of the library staff.”

Sally Daggett (l), poses with the Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees Lori Haines, John Boccacino, Kimberley Fenton, Michelle Polowchak, and Karlee Roberts

The other supervisor nominees were Lori Haines (assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees/board liaison and presidential support specialist.), John Boccacino (sports information director), Michelle Polowchak (director of human resources) and Karlee Roberts (D.R.I.V.E. peer mentor supervisor).

“Thank you to our student workers for the excellent work you do across the entire campus, and to our work study supervisors who provide a positive working environment,” said Anne Weed, vice president for academic affairs. “Thank you to all the nominators for recognizing how important it is to make people feel the worth of what they do every day.”

Each of the nominees was recognized at the luncheon by his or her nominator and presented with a gift. The names of the student and supervisor award recipients will be added to two separate plaques housed in the Center for Experiential Learning. The Student Employee of the Year plaque is hung up in the winner’s work-study location until the following year’s awards luncheon.

Click for more photos from the luncheon.

Game Day and Event Management a Success Thanks to Brandon Jacobs

Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of profiles of 2014 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 17.

Two years ago, Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics and athletic trainer, watched then-sophomore Brandon Jacobs struggle with the Game Day and Event Management process.

The now-senior management major was trying to figure out how to do his job, said Bray, while seeing the need for the management of the process to be done differently.

“Brandon mentioned to me on several occasions that if he were in charge, ‘this is how it would be done,’” said Bray, who nominated the Walworth resident for the Student Employee of the Year award. “So when the opportunity presented itself, I challenged him. The result—Brandon has taken the opportunity and run with it.”

As the student supervisor for Game Day and Event Management, Jacobs’ role is “absolutely critical” to the success of hosting home sporting events.

“Over the past year, Brandon has become the “face” of our game management staff,” said Bray. “Referees, visiting coaches, and our own coaching staff know he is someone that they can count on and is the ‘go-to’ person.”

That is because in the role that Jacobs fulfills, said Bray, he has the opportunity to work with and communicate directly with professional staff, outside vendors, as well as staff and administrators from visiting colleges.

“In doing so, it has been assumed by many that he is member of our professional staff; not a student employee,” said Bray. “When those individuals comment on a job well done, they are shocked to learn that he is a student. Brandon has aspirations of becoming a college athletics director and has really taken stock in his opportunity as a work study student.”

“Keuka College has a reputation within our athletic conference of using outstanding student workers for home games,” said Bray, who gives much of the credit to Jacobs. “In working with his peers, Brandon does so in such a way that they want to work with him. He is knowledgeable in what his tasks are and he completes them.”

In addition to his responsibilities for the organization and set-up for more than 70 home sporting events—including equipment, sound systems, scoreboards, visiting locker rooms, and game officials—Jacobs was tasked to complete a work study schedule for the spring semester.

“He had every student worker’s name, event, and task for that day,” said Bray. “Brandon had obtained all 25 of the students’ class schedules, the athletic schedule, spring break, meal times, etc. and had completed a task that has been known to take me weeks to do complete. It was a bit of a ‘wow’ moment for me.”

Bray said Jacobs is unlike any other student employee he has supervised in the Game Day/Event Management area.

“The work study position that Brandon maintains represents Keuka College on the frontline of visitors to our campus,” he said. “Brandon’s professional approach allows us to always have a full staff for games, as his work study peers respect him and respond appropriately when he schedules them to work or he offers instructions to them. Upon graduation, if I had a position available, I would not hesitate to offer it him.”