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 fifth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
John Miller ’12 of Canandaigua, graduated magna cum laude in December with a degree in organizational communication. He spent most of his final semester as a senior searching for jobs and came close in some interviews before receiving two job offers in January of 2013. He accepted a position as marketing coordinator for O’Connell Electric Company in Victor and has since been applying many of the lessons he learned in his organizational communication classes.
Miller said he was able to leverage the experience and successes gained with his Field Period internships to demonstrate how he would be a good fit for the company, adding that the rigor of Keuka’s organizational communication program was good preparation. So were the numerous projects and group work he completed with fellow “Org Comm” classmates, he said.
Among several benefits Miller valued most at Keuka were the small class sizes, which enabled strong relationships, he said. In particular, Miller cited Dr. Anita Chirco, professor of communication, who “saw the potential in me from Day One and motivated me to apply myself.”
“I have much more perspective now on everything related to how we communicate,” Miller said.
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the fourth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Erica Ruscio ’13 graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and visual and verbal art. The Middlesex resident will be pursuing a master’s degree in English with a concentration in children’s literature at Kansas State University this fall. Ruscio landed a graduate teaching assistantship where she said she will “earn her keep” by teaching one section of expository prose, similar to Keuka’s freshman composition course, in the fall and two sections in the spring.
Ruscio said she believed the Field Period experience she could include in her admission application, particularly one Field Period working with the children’s librarian at the Penn Yan Public Library, helped showcase her as a desirable candidate. Keuka’s Field Period is a 140-hour annual internship or exploratory study required each year for undergraduates.
During her time at Keuka, Ruscio participated in the annual Red Jacket Literary journal, the Arion Players theatrical presentations, wrote a College blog for incoming freshman, and showcased several paintings, mixed media and photos in the senior art show. She said Keuka provided her the ability to explore what she really wanted to do with her life through its internships, small class sizes, and “awesome professors and advisers.”
“If it hadn’t been for Keuka, the Field Period [program], and my first advisor, Ms. Harris, I may have been stuck writing press releases instead of studying literature, making art, and doing what I really want to do,” Ruscio said.
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.”
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 ’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.”
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.
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
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.
There aren't any events scheduled for today. Please check back in the near future or view the College calendar to see what's coming soon.