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…)
Part of the Keuka College educational model provides students with the genuine understanding of not only how to make computer technology and the digital tools of the age work for them, but how to think in computational as well as conceptual terms.
But that thinking and understanding is not limited to students. Case in point: Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, who is one of four editors of the recently published Computing Handbook, Third Edition (previously the Computer Science Handbook).
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 Simons 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…)
Keuka College may not be considered a “research school” in the traditional sense but that doesn’t mean research and scholarship don’t exist on campus.
In fact, multiple student research studies and creative projects are funded by grants provided through the Office of Academic Affairs.
The Academic Excellence Initiatives, begun in fall 2010, has supported student research, scholarship or creative projects to the tune of $5,139. Each year, up to $2,000 in grants is awarded to support undergraduate student research, scholarship or creative projects. Students work with a faculty sponsor to develop their projects and then apply through a competitive grant process. The proposals are reviewed by a team of six faculty members before awards are made.
In 2010-11, a quartet of science majors received awards for research projects later presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). And another student received almost $300 to conduct a study of sensory exploration for elementary education. In 2012, Stephanie Lange ’12, a visual and verbal art major, received $500 to complete an art installation of a bronze hawk that now graces the campus along the path that runs to the west of Allen Hall towards Jephson Science Center. A second visual and verbal art major, Kat Andonucci ’14, received $560 for a photographic study of chemical experiments, which became an art exhibit, “The Art of Chemistry.”
This academic year, Andonucci received another grant, for $500, to conduct a new independent study: painting portions of the Periodic Table, with the elements themselves. Adult social work student Cyndy Bundy of East Syracuse received $650 to travel to Myrtle Beach last month to present her study on the responsible use of social networking for relevant social work education and counseling at the national Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors Conference. Also this semesester, Amber JeJong ’16 received a $342 grant to study changes in the eggs (particularly shell thickness) of the red-shouldered hawk, under the supervision of Dr. Bill Brown, assistant professor of biology and environmental science. Keuka holds a collection of preserved eggs of that bird dating to almost 100 years ago, and DeJong plans to compare measurements of Keuka’s collection with data from studies of the 1970s, after pesticides impacting that bird population were introduced.
Keuka students are encouraged to consult with any faculty member about pursuing an Academic Excellence Initiatives grant for a new research study or project for the coming summer or next academic year. The application deadline for academic ‘13-’14 is May 1. For more information, go to:
The competitive grant awards are offered in support of the College’s mission to challenge students intellectually and to foster their academic development. According to Anne Weed, vice president of academic affairs, faculty serving on the grant application review board are Anita Chirco, professor of communication, Mike Rogoff, professor of psychology, Dianne Trickey-Rockenbrod, assistant professor of occupational therapy, Stephanie Craig, chair of the social work division, Tom Carroll, professor of chemistry and physics, and Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science.
A year-and-half ago, Keuka College junior Desiree Marsh, an occupational therapy (OT) major from DeRuyter, was killed in an automobile accident.
Now, members of Marsh’s class have helped create a scholarship in her name to assist Keuka students enrolled in the OT master’s program with some of their financial costs.
“Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE), the OT honor society, wanted to establish the Desiree Marsh Memorial Scholarship to honor Desiree because she had such an impact on our whole class, and we wanted to commemorate her in some way,” said Emily Conrad, a senior OT major from Geneva, who serves as PTE president.