Heralded among 10 Rochester-area colleges as the cream of the crop, three adult students enrolled in Keuka College Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) degree programs earned Outstanding Adult Student awards in the 31st annual awards ceremony of the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE) network.
The three Keuka College recipients—Ana Toomey of Marcellus, Natalie Payne of Canandaigua, and Lakesha Carter of Rochester – are pursuing master’s degrees in management with ASAP cohorts at Onondaga Community College, Finger Lakes Community College and Monroe Community College, respectively.
Toomey works as a service expeditor for Welch Allyn in Skaneateles, and will graduate May 25. A two-time winner of professional awards within her organization, Toomey said she hopes to serve as a role model for her two young children. She currently volunteers in her local community as a clown and costumed character for non-profit organizations and fundraisers, and said she takes pride in making people of all ages smile. Her most recent volunteer work was for Breathe Deep CNY (LUNGevity), a fundraiser for the Cayuga County Home Daycare Association, and a benefit for a local child with a rare form of cancer. Toomey earned a 4.0 GPA and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in leadership.
Payne has worked as the communications and programs director for the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum since 2010, and will graduate May 25. As the first female in her family to earn an advanced degree, Payne said she hopes her accomplishment will serve as inspiration to her future children, and she and her husband are expecting their first child this month. Payne’s volunteer service includes the Strassburg Sock Keuka Lake Triathlon, the 2012 Arts at the Gardens festival at Sonnenberg Gardens, and the 2013 Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates committee. She currently volunteers for the Downtown Pantry outreach of Crosswinds Wesleyan Church in Canandaigua. In 2013, Payne was recognized as part of a female leader spotlight in the Finger Lakes Women magazine.
Carter graduated with high honors in December 2013, and was a speaker at her commencement ceremony, earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Eager to advance into an upper management position, Carter is currently taking master’s classes in the management program with Cohort 157 at MCC. She is an active member of the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) for the Urban Suburban program in Rochester, and through her work for PAC, has helped to coordinate student volunteer activities, plan and execute health and wellness fairs for parents and children, and assist parents in advocating in their children’s educational setting. Carter said she believes her perseverance and success as an adult student has made her a good role model for her own children, and she hopes they will be inspired to further their own education too.
Additional colleges participating in the April 30 RACCE ceremony at Mario’s via Abruzzi in Pittsford included the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, Empire State College, The (SUNY) College at Brockport, Genesee Community College, MCC, FLCC and Roberts Wesleyan College.
When they were youngsters, students who took part in the mid-year conferral of degrees Sunday, Dec. 8 at Keuka College, learned their ABCs.
Prior to receiving their diplomas, they learned their five Ps.
“My goal today is to encourage you to live by a plethora of Ps: perspective, preparation, persistence, passion, and principles,” said Dr. Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College (MCC), the featured speaker at the ceremony.
Perspective, said Kress, “is what helps you see the huge wave about to overtake you is made up of small drops of water, each easily deflected. It’s what allows you to keep a sense of humor when things get stressful, to prioritize when the piles of work look like canyon walls all around you.”
Preparation, she explained, is what opens the door to opportunity; it’s what turns potential into reality. “We prepare not by talking and rushing but by researching, reviewing, reflecting, and listening.”
Persistence, according to Kress, “is how you get up time and time again until you cross the finish line. As the great philosopher, Bond, James Bond, once said, ‘I don’t stop when I am tired; I stop when I am done.’”
Passion is the ‘P’ that lights the fire, she explained. “Community colleges are my passion; they’re in my blood, heart, and soul. Keep your passion. It will warm you and reward you; it is invaluable.”
Kress said principles are hard won. “If you haven’t already, you will come to a day when you need to make a choice between doing the right thing and doing something quite different. Remember that such a choice won’t just impact you, it reverberates and it rebounds. Make sure you have non-negotiables, articulate them to those around you, and keep them safe and secure.”
Tina Fey, stated Kress, “claims the worst question in the world to ask a working mother is: ‘How do you juggle it all?’ I’ll extend it: it’s the worst question to ask anyone. During your time at Keuka, you’ve had to juggle too many balls and sadly, I’m here to tell you that won’t change even after today. With perspective, preparation, persistence, passion, and principles—and your outstanding Keuka education—you have more than enough power to keep the most important balls speeding through the air successfully.”
Rochester resident Lakesha Carter, who received her Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management through Keuka’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP), also spoke at the ceremony. Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Keuka College chapter of Alpha Lambda Sigma, the national honor society for adult students.
A wife and mother, Carter said “the driving force behind my success as a Keuka College student is the many competitions I have with myself and the message I am sending to my children by continuing my education.
“I grew up in the projects in Rochester,” she added. ”I am the youngest of seven children. I am the only the second person in my family to graduate from high school and the first one to go to college. I wanted to give my family something to be proud of. I want to be able to show my children that I don’t just talk the talk; I walk the walk.”
Another highlight was the presentation of the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award to Karen Reid, who has taught in the Division of Social Work since 2007 and served as a cohort adviser since 2010. She was nominated by Ed Silverman, director of the ASAP social work program.
“Karen has been instrumental in the growth and excellent quality of the social work program in the Syracuse/Auburn region,” said Silverman. “She has gained the respect of her students and colleagues alike with her honest and straightforward approach to student teaching and helps each student achieve personal and professional growth, and academic success.”
Silverman said Reid “challenges students to get out of their comfort zone and encourages each of them to trust in their own potential and strength. Her success in reaching students has its foundation in her own modeling of high quality and competent social work. Students appreciate her ability to bring real-world connection to concepts covered in the classroom.”
Added Silverman: “Karen is of the mindset that if she does a good job, then she knows that the students will go out into the world and truly make a difference in the life of someone who is hurting or in need.”
Dr. Anne M. Kress, president of Monroe Community College (MCC), will deliver the address at Keuka College’s mid-year conferral of degrees Sunday, Dec. 8.
More than 100 traditional and Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) students will receive degrees at the ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. in Norton Chapel.
Since beginning her tenure at MCC in 2009, Kress has elevated the college’s role in several key areas—readiness for college, college completion, workforce development, diversity and sustainability—to better serve the needs of students and the community.
New initiatives launched under her leadership include an enhanced Honors Institute, which provides the most academically prepared students with a comprehensive program of study that includes undergraduate research, and more meaningful collaborations with area school districts in strengthening the K-12 pipeline and improving college completion rates.
A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Kress earned a doctoral degree in higher education administration, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English, and a bachelor’s degree with honors in finance, all from the University of Florida.
Her career spans more than 20 years as an administrator and educator in higher education. Kress is a member of the American Council on Education’s Commission on International Initiatives; the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on Academic, Student and Community Development; and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues. She also serves as a member of a State University of New York Innovation Team focused on advancing the “Seamless Education Pipeline” initiative in SUNY’s strategic plan.
In 2011, Kress was named a member of the Regional Economic Development Council by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Locally, she is a board member of the Rochester Business Alliance, Greater Rochester Enterprise and the United Way of Greater Rochester.
Other highlights of the ceremony include the presentation of the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award and a speech by Lakesha Carter, a Rochester resident who will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management. College President Dr. Jorge Díaz-Herrera, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Robert Schick, and President of the Keuka College Alumni Association Jeremy Hourihan ’08 will also address the graduates.
They range from social workers to business professionals to police officers to nurses to college administrators.
They are the 2013 class of inductees into the Keuka College chapter of Alpha Lambda Sigma (ASL), the national honor society for adult students.
ASL recognizes the special achievements of adults who accomplish academic excellence while facing competing interests of home and work. It is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship and recognizes high scholastic achievement in an adult student’s career.
Ten Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) students and one graduate were inducted into Chi Alpha Lambda, Keuka’s local chapter, Aug. 9:
Dr. Frank Colaprete, ASAP associate professor of criminal justice, delivered the keynote address. He challenged the inductees to reflect inward. (more…)