Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka College degree take you? This is the fifth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2014.
As a busy member of the campus community, Mike Kelly ’14 of Black River, N.Y. gained plenty of experience in leadership, service and special events.
During his four years at Keuka College, Kelly served as president of the College chapter of Enactus, the international non-profit which empowers students to coordinate entrepreneurial projects to improve the lives of people in need. He worked as an advertising assistant in the office of student activities, and chaired the fundraising committee for the annual Relay for Life event for the American Cancer Society during sophomore and junior years. His senior practicum was spent assisting with communications and social media for the 17th annual Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates (CSCY) day of service event, which is a collaboration between the College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Kelly served three years as a resident assistant to other students living in two residence halls.
The organizational communication major was recently accepted to Lasell College in Boston where he intends to pursue a master’s degree in communication with a concentration in integrated marketing communication. Kelly said he is looking for jobs in that area, too, so he can work while attending grad school.
Looking back, Kelly said he sees the biggest benefit of his Keuka College education is “that I am incredibly prepared for the ‘real world.’”
Kelly said he owes Dr. Anita Chirco, professor of communication, many thanks for the one-on-one time in she gave in senior seminar class to work with each student to prepare portfolios, resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
“Not only am I confident that the things I’ve learned in my communication classes will help me professionally, they have given me personal confidence, something you cannot put a price on,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka College degree take you? This is the third in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2014.
Kyle McVannan ‘14 of Endicott graduated with a B.A. in organizational communication and has begun a new job working in the video production department of the Binghamton Mets, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets.
In between McVannan’s junior and senior years, he conducted a Field Period™ in the Mets’ video department, which paved the way for his job offer upon graduation. A Field Period™ is a self-initiated placement of at least 140 hours that each Keuka College undergraduate completes each year. It can be an internship like McVannan’s, a cultural exploration, community service or creative project or a spiritual/faith-based exploration.
During his time at Keuka College, McVannan pitched for the baseball team and played some at third base while also serving as one of four team captains. In his senior year, the team made a significant turn-around under a new coach, winning the most games in a season in school history while earning a share of the North Eastern Athletic Conference’s (NEAC) regular season title. He also completed a senior practicum within his major, working with the College’s digital media producer on a variety of video-related marketing projects.
McVannan has been excited to carry his love of the game over into a job opportunity involving his favorite sport. His Field Period™ experience was “awesome,” he said, because it put him in “a real-world position” to explore career opportunities.
“The best thing about my Keuka College education is that I was able to branch out and have Field Periods™ that really helped me in my decision on what I wanted to do with my life,” McVannan said.
Later this week, Genille Gordon of the Bronx and Primrose Nyahwai of Harare, Zimbabwe will be on a plane to China, bound for a first-hand experience of another culture that both Keuka College sophomores hope will be transformational in their personal and professional development.
Nyahwai and Gordon are the first recipients of the Dr. Anne Marie Guthrie Educational Fund Scholarship, which was funded by Dr. Michael Hwang, administrative chancellor for Keuka College China Campuses. Since 2002, the Keuka China Program (KCP) has enabled nearly 7,000 Chinese students to complete an American bachelor’s degree in business at one of four partner universities — Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Jimei University in Xiamen, Wenzhou University, and Yunnan University of Finance and Economics in Kunming.
Dr. Hwang established the scholarship fund in memory of Dr. Guthrie, who died in October 2013 after an extended illness. Dr. Guthrie served 12 years as dean of the Center for Experiential Learning at Keuka College, and the two worked closely together during the creation of the KCP learning model. According to Dr. Hwang, she was a “great supporter” of the Career Management and Experiential Learning course, a “highlight and unique part” of the KCP curriculum.
“I am certain that the Keuka China Program would not have reached its credibility and status in China without that course. And Dr. Guthrie was such a key part of making all of this happen,” Dr. Hwang said.
Experiential learning is embedded in the Keuka College curriculum and flourishes in Field Period™, conducted each year by undergraduate students who invest several weeks into hands-on learning experiences. A Field Period™ may consist of an internship in a professional field, a community service or creative project, exploration of another culture, or a spiritual exploration study such as a charitable mission trip. Diversity is also upheld as a key College value, and the marriage of experiential learning and diversity in the Guthrie scholarship represents another unique offering where collaboration results in powerful opportunities for student learning.
Nyahwai and Gordon were selected for the honor on the basis of their GPAs, personal leadership accomplishments, and involvement in campus clubs and activities, according to Dr. Anne Weed, vice president for academic affairs. Weed was commissioned to review candidates and select the first winners.
While Nyahwai hopes to study Chinese practices of recycling and sustainability, with the purpose of implementing what she learns at an elementary school back in Zimbabwe, Gordon hopes to develop skills in understanding and collaborating with those in China and ultimately, to raise awareness of the shared humanity of individuals, back on the home campus. Both young women also plan to study Chinese dialects and glean as much as they can of a foreign language.
“Cross-cultural experiences, such as those afforded to Genille and Primrose through this scholarship, provide a new perspective on the world and allow students to learn about cultural differences through direct experience outside the classroom,” said Dr. Wendy Gaylord, dean of KCP for the College. “This is a major goal of experiential learning, and we thank Dr. Hwang for assisting our students in this way.”
According to Dr. Gaylord, Dr. Hwang’s generous funding will allow both young women to meet Chinese students, learn about campus life in China, and experience Chinese culture, in addition to completing their Field Period™ projects. The interaction with Chinese culture will continue when they return to the home campus in Keuka Park, as the College hosts many exchange students from China, Gaylord said. (more…)
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.