Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.
January marked the fifth Field Period™ for senior Francesca Spina, who traveled to London; four Field Periods™ are required for graduation.
“I discovered that I learn best through experiential learning, so I decided to complete a fifth Field Period™ because I wanted to continue to challenge myself,” said Spina, an adolescent history education major from Rochester.
As part of that challenge, Spina received this advice from one of her Keuka College professors: the best way to teach history is to go into the world and explore it; to see firsthand where it happened.
And by traveling to London, she took those words to heart. Spina, a participant in Comparative Social Issues, a sociology course offered through Cayuga Community College, traveled to places such as Stonehenge, Bath, and Greenwich.
“I traced the history, culture, and traditions of Great Britain, and explored the causes and effects of social classes through the ages,” she said. “I also examined the British Empire’s impact and influence all over the world.”
And by completing her fifth Field Period™, she fulfilled a goal she has had since she was a youngster.
“As a child, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and that I wanted to see the world,” said Spina. “After learning about Keuka College’s Field Period™ program, I wanted to find a way to study abroad. I wasn’t sure how or where, but I made it a goal.”
Added Spina: “Keuka College has provided me with many wonderful opportunities to grow through challenging courses, the yearly Field Period™, and mission trips. I was excited to travel to London and [eager to] apply what I learned to my future career as an adolescent history teacher.”
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the third in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Emily Ekstrom ’13 graduated cum laude with a B.S. in education and has accepted a post as a special education teacher serving grades 3-5 at Holiday Park School in Phoenix, Ariz.
During her four years at Keuka, the Ashville, N.Y. resident participated in the Equestrian and Education clubs, worked as a lifeguard and also as a facilitator for the Teamworks! Adventure course, served on Student Senate and was vice-president of Sigma Lambda Sigma, Keuka’s college-wide honor society.
“Although I have never done a Field Period at the school, my previous Field Periods have helped,” she said, referring to Keuka’s required 140-hour annual internship. “As much as I hated the paper work, I loved my Field Periods and all the experiences I gained from them.”
Ekstrom’s prior Field Period internships included a third-grade inclusion classroom in Bowling Green, Va., a 4-H summer camp in Long Island, N.Y., a month in two different special education classrooms at Chautauqua Central School, and a fourth-grade classroom in Falconer, N.Y.
Ekstrom added that another bonus was the support from close personal ties at Keuka, such as those she found in the division of education, via a mentor affiliated with the Teamworks! Adventure course and the College chaplain.
Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a series of profiles of new, full-time faculty members who have joined the Keuka community.
Robert Dischner loves being in the classroom and said it’s always been his dream to be a college professor.
The former director of learning and development for utility companies such as Niagara Mohawk and National Grid, joined the full-time Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) faculty this year and sees many similarities between the corporate night classes he once led for utility company staffers and the ones he now teaches for Keuka management students in cohorts in Corning and Elmira.
Business experience was woven through his professional career, which includes nearly 30 years of human resources and professional development work. Dischner even had a brief stint as a stockbroker, before he landed his first teaching job: instructing company employees of Niagara-Mohawk in finance and accounting.
In addition to developing employees in technical disciplines, his department set up a corporate university that sought to expand the role of a traditional training department.
“We wanted to educate our employees, not train them, and doing that at night was the way the industry was headed. I didn’t realize at the time, but I was practicing, in a classic way, the model that Keuka has,” Dischner said of ASAP’s once-weekly evening classes, small-group cohorts, and modular format. “It’s a great way to do research and learn at the same time.
“I started off working in the field, then in the training department teaching and getting involved with major change initiatives,” added Dischner, who ultimately found himself in charge of technical training in gas and electric utilities, with approximately 80-90 people reporting to him. But the classroom called to him still.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in education, and a Ph.D. in education, all from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). While his dissertation was in education, it included a focus on business development and reinforced a passion for the difference between training and teaching, he said. (more…)
While she hasn’t yet completed her bachelor’s degree in social work from Keuka College, Canandaigua resident Melanie Nwaobia is already practicing the skills that will come into play for a career serving others.
Over the last three years, she has worked as a one-to-one teacher’s aide with Noah Haus, who is now a fourth-grade student at Canandaigua Elementary School. While Noah’s autism means that his verbal skills are limited, he is “an incredibly smart young man” who works hard and excels with hands-on tasks, Nwaobia said. Using calendars and schedules with visual cues and icons, as well as technology tools like an iPad with apps he can manipulate and receive electronic “applause” for completing, Nwaobia assists Noah as he works through classroom lessons.
In December, Noah’s parents nominated Nwaobia for the Golden Apple Award from WROC- TV (Channel 8), the CBS affiliate in Rochester. A TV crew then came to the classroom to surprise her with the honor and to film Nwaobia and Noah going about the routines of his school day. (Click HERE to see the TV footage.)
In a letter to the station, Noah’s parents wrote how each day, Nwaobia sends home a full note detailing their son’s entire day, since he does not have the typical language and social skills to tell them himself. She sends text messages and photos too, so that they can celebrate the little successes Noah has each day.
Editor’s Note: This is the 8th in a series of stories saluting members of the Class of 2011. We asked division chairs for story ideas and they in turn contacted faculty members for ideas. We believe they came up with some terrific profiles.
Erin Madigan has always known she wanted to be a teacher. Sure, she debated what grade, learning level and subject she wanted to teach, but she was always convinced her future career would be at the front of a classroom.
It should be no surprise, then, that the Melrose resident will graduate Sunday with a degree in adolescent English and special education. And while Madigan said she will miss Keuka, her friends, and the professors who have pushed her further than what she initially thought she was capable of, she is excited to finish her student teaching semester and start in on her master’s degree.
“I can’t believe I’m graduating already. It’s crazy. I feel like I just started here,” said Madigan, who transferred into Keuka in the fall of 2008, after completing her senior year of high school at Hudson Valley Community College, which granted her freshman college credits at the same time. “I have loved every minute I’ve been here.”
Madigan said she knew she definitely wanted to teach secondary level students and definitely wanted to teach English. She is especially grateful for the three Field Period internships she now has “under her belt, so I won’t be blind for my first experience (leading) a classroom,” she said. (more…)
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