If Jacob Banas is described as something of an over-achiever, it might be well-deserved. The graduating college senior from Delmar, N.Y., near Albany, decided in the spring of his sophomore year to add a second major —organizational communication—to the English degree he was already pursuing. That meant adding a couple of 18-credit semesters to meet requirements for both degrees.
Then he also decided to start training as an EMT so he could begin volunteering for the Branchport-Keuka Park Fire department. By October of 2013, Banas had started his 160-hours of EMT training, even staying on campus over Winter break to continue four-hour class trainings on Tuesday and Thursday nights, that ran through March 2014.
“My Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would get up for my 8 a.m. class, and not stop till 11 p.m. and maybe be up later with homework,” he recalled. “It’s a miracle I survived that semester.”
But by April 2014, Banas had passed the EMT course —which he dubbed a “First Aid class on steroids”— and could begin volunteering as a first responder on emergency calls. Soon after, Banas also joined the ambulance corps in Penn Yan. More training hours were required and Banas was recently awarded the 2014-15 Yates County award for the most individual training hours in EMT service by any medic for the year. According to Banas, the 185 training hours he logged between 2014 and 2015 does not include his 145 hours on duty or additional volunteer hours with the fire department.
“It’s a surreal moment of closure for me as I’m finishing my time here at Keuka College, to be recognized by so many friends I’ve made at both departments,” he said, calling the award “a really nice recognition.”
Banas now holds basic EMT certification, which means there are limits to what he can do or the medications he can administer. At basic certification level, EMT’s can manage fractures, head/neck or back injuries, motor vehicle accidents, cardiac issues, or allergic reactions. However, basic EMT’s are not licensed to carry narcotics or perform emergency intubations to manually open a patient’s airway as a certified paramedic would be licensed, he said.
Banas said he tries to maintain at least one to two shifts a week at the ambulance corps. “Every now and then, there’s an emergency near the College that the fire department will be called to and I respond in my free time,” he said.
According to Asa Swick, director of operations for the Penn Yan Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Banas is often the first on-scene when an emergency call comes in for an incident on the College campus.
“Often, Jake is already there and he’s been able to assess and start a needed treatment and he knows so many of the staff and students, he’s on a first-name basis with most, and has a good handle how to best help them,” Swick said.
“College students make great responders, they’re looking for stuff to do in a new school, it benefits the community— it’s a win-win all the way around. Students are wonderful to work with because they already want to learn. You’re just providing them another opportunity (for an activity) and a skill they can use for the rest of their lives,” Swick said, noting that Banas’s reputation is “outstanding.”
“Jake is a great medic, gets along with everybody, and fits in really well. He’s told us that if he can find a job in his current field, he’d love to stay and we’d love to see that too. I’d love to have 20 college students that are as active, involved and dedicated as Jake. If I could have 20 Jakes, this community would be in really awesome shape,” Swick said.
And how does Banas see his EMT volunteer service fitting in with his unusual degree? It was just another step along his personal journey to discover his passions, he said. While he could see himself fitting into the medical field, patient care is not the strongest pull. When a friend’s mother suggested he consider hospital management, Banas began incorporating the suggestion into his required Field Period™ experiences.
In the winter of 2015, he conducted a Field Period™ in the PR department of the Albany Medical Center, writing press releases and updating a 60-page crisis communications plan, assisting staff who coordinated media interviews for the physicians and even going into the ER with a news crew to observe a patient’s deep-brain stimulation procedure. The news crew had been following the patient’s treatment for Parkinson’s disease so they were permitted in the operating room without violating patient privacy laws known as HIPPA laws.
Then, for spring semester 2015, Banas conducted his 80-hour senior practicum in the Community Services office of Finger Lakes Health in Geneva, so he could get a feel for similar work at a smaller hospital. He assisted staff on wellness programming to teach local schoolchildren better exercise and nutrition habits, ran the social media component of New Visions, an after-school program where high schoolers provide transport and food services to patients, and continued standard PR work writing press releases and maintaining a database of published media clips on Finger Lakes Health.
Between the two hands-on experiences, “it definitely confirmed for me that working in the hospital setting, but maybe not in patient care is where I’d see myself someday,” said Banas, who hopes to pursue a master’s in hospital administration in the future.
Before graduating with his dual degrees May 23, he accepted a position as Marketing and Visitor Services Assistant at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection in Canandaigua.
Dr. Anita Chirco, professor of communication, has served as Banas’s academic advisor and said he exemplifies the “can-do, hands-on spirit of a true Keukonian.”
“On top of the countless hours he has put in to succeed at the double majors in English and Organizational Communication, the hours of training and volunteer service he has invested in his EMT work in Keuka Park and Penn Yan have enriched our college and community immeasurably. I am so proud of him,” she said.
Juan Jones, an admissions specialist at Corning Community College (CCC) in Corning, was recently named winner of the Joint Presidential Scholarship. This partnered award from Keuka College and CCC provides a full-time CCC employee a tuition-paid degree through Keuka College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). Jones is the sixth recipient of this scholarship award, and plans to begin his education this August.
Jones currently holds an A.S. degree in humanities and social science from CCC and plans to further his education with a B.S. in organizational management from Keuka College. He first started school at the CCC Elmira campus, which used to house a Head Start program. Since then he has spent more than 20 years working with the local Elmira community. Whether it is volunteering at his local library, helping with the Chemung County Head Start program, or volunteering in the Elmira City School District. Jones looks forward to using the new skills he’ll gain by acquiring a higher education.
Kimberly Morgan, director of admissions for ASAP, said that Jones is held in such high regard “it was like he was the mayor,” and at least 20 people came to the ceremony to honor his achievement.
Embodying the ideal of service and giving back, Jones is planning on using the scholarship to better serve his community and said he was “truly honored” to receive it.
The B.S. in organizational management program at Keuka College features an accelerated format; students attend class one night a week and complete their degree requirements in less than two years.
Keuka College offers seven degree programs through ASAP: four bachelor’s degree programs (criminal justice systems, nursing, organizational management, and social work) and three master’s degree programs (criminal justice administration, management, and nursing). Classes are offered at some 20 locations in New York State, including Corning Community College.
For more information on ASAP, contact the Center for Professional Studies at 866-255-3852 or asap.keuka.edu.
Mike Rogoff’s college career got off to an inauspicious start.
He blew up the chemistry lab at Hofstra University.
“I started my college career as a pre-med major because I planned to become a psychiatrist,” explained Rogoff, Keuka College’s 2012-13 Professor of the Year who delivered the keynote address at academic convocation today (Aug. 27). “Things went pretty well in my biology courses, but chemistry was another story. I was barely making it through chemistry lecture with a D- average but the big problem came when I blew up the chemistry lab.”
No one was hurt, but “‘Big Boom Boy’ got bounced from pre-med,” recalled Rogoff.
But then he “bounced back.” Rogoff changed his major to psychology and the rest is history.
“It’s great if you start with a major that fits you right away and you stay with it throughout college,” said Rogoff, who joined Keuka faculty in 1971, “but don’t feel like a failure if your first major just doesn’t fit your talents and interests. These changes help you build your personal and professional identity. They help you find out who you are, what you’re good at, and what you really want to do.”
Rogoff credited one of his teachers (Dr. Vane) and adviser (Dr. Cohen) for helping him “grow into my new major” and building his “confidence as a learner.
“I needed that support,” he said. “I didn’t feel good about myself when I bombed out of pre-med. As a matter of fact, I felt downright stupid. But my adviser helped me flip things around. He reminded me that I had done pretty well in my biology courses even though I had a hard time in chemistry.”
According to Rogoff, he also got a lot of support from the upperclass psychology majors, and by the time he finished at Hofstra, he was on the Dean’s List and admitted to all seven of the graduate schools to which he applied.
“Not too shabby for the ‘Big Boom Boy,’” quipped Rogoff, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.
Said Rogoff: “My main message here is that you’ll have the same opportunities as you grow into your career. Here at Keuka, you’ll have access to many circles of support and that will help you continue to develop your competencies and interests. You’ll continue to gain insight into who you are, what you can do, and what you want to do.
“Let us help you accomplish your dream,” added Rogoff. “Let us help you develop your competencies, and let us help you build your support and bounce-back skills. Increasingly, you’ll be able to put into place the circles of support. You’ll be able to help others build resilience. All of this can help make the world a better place.”
Academic convocation marked the official opening of the 2013-14 academic year and College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera and Robert Schick, chair of the Board of Trustees, welcomed new students to campus.
Schick urged the students to get involved.
“Make a new friend every day: another student, faculty member, any of the staff of the College. Immerse yourself into the very fabric of the College by joining clubs and participating in sports as a participant or fan.”
Friendship was also on the president’s mind. He told the students they could “expect to make plenty of friends, many of who will become lifelong friends. You can definitely expect to make memories that will last a lifetime.”
He also said they can expect to make a difference—both on campus and in the larger community.
“Community service at Keuka is important,” he said. “Last year alone, our students devoted more than 60,000 hours of service.”
Jonathan Accardi, director of campus recreation and aquatics at Keuka College, received a double dose of good news Thursday (April 18).
After winning the College’s Work-Study Supervisor of the Year Award, Accardi learned he had also captured the Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators (NEASEA) Supervisor of the Year Award.
The NEASEA’s Supervisor of the Year program begins at an institutional level and progresses to the regional level. The award was established to recognize the integral part that the supervisor plays in the education of a student employee. Supervisors act as mentors and provide education to their students not gained through the classroom. Students at colleges and universities across the region were asked to nominate supervisors they felt were especially worthy of recognition.
In all, 91 supervisors were nominated, including seven from Keuka, and 11 schools submitted their winner for consideration for the NEASEA award. Accardi bested winners from colleges in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and West Virgina.
According to senior Samantha Stevenson, who nominated Accardi, he communicates continuously with student workers, is always open to comments or concerns, and freely shares his vision for future campus recreation programming. Stevenson called Accardi one of her greatest mentors. (more…)
Esther Yoder, a 1960 Keuka College graduate and former chair of the Board of Trustees, will return to her alma mater May 26 to deliver the commencement address.
The Gainesville, Fla., resident will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Yoder, owner of Subway EAY Stores Inc. in Gainesville, was a member of the Board of Trustees for the better part of the last 20 years, serving as chair in 2006-07 and vice chair from 2001 to 2006. She is now an emeritus member of Keuka’s governing board.
Yoder chaired the Saving the Future: One Graduate at a Time campaign, the most prolific fund-raising drive in Keuka history.
She is one of only six people in Keuka history to receive the Norton Blyley Presidential Medallion, which recognizes service to the College “above and beyond an extraordinary high standard,” and is a recipient of the Alumni Association’s Eleanor Judd Wilkes Service to Keuka College Award.
Yoder is an active member of the Gainesville community, donating her time and talents to Trinity United Methodist Church, NEFL State Mental Health Hospital Advisory Board, Gainesville Sports Commission Executive Committee; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and other organizations.