Skip to content

Posts Tagged ‘valerie webster’

Top Student, Boss Honored

Eight students were nominated for Keuka College's 2015 Student Employee of the Year, including from left: Brittany Kuhn, Tyler Redington, Savannah Fuller, Zach Ward, Sini Ngobese, Connor Delavak, and Courtney Nojeim. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

A “pillar in the athletics department” and a “friend who changes student lives for the better” were the respective recipients of the 2015 Student Employee and Work-Study Supervisor of the Year awards at the Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 15.

Senior psychology major Connor Delavak and Co-Curricular Transcript Coordinator and Community Service Coordinator Valerie Webster were selected by two separate panels of judges.

Delavak, nominated for the award by Jeff Bray, associate director of athletics and head athletic trainer, has worked as a student athletic trainer for four years, and the longer Bray has been at Keuka College, the more increasingly selective he has become of those he chooses to hire as his work-study students.

Connor Delavak and Jeff Bray. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

In 23 years of supervising student employees, Bray says senior Delavak ranks in his top five, touting his demeanor and sincerity for setting him apart. In fact, Bray says Delavak has become a pillar within the athletics department.

“He has a tremendous grasp on what is expected of him and the role he plays within our department,” said Bray, adding Delavak is part of the fabric of the athletic training staff and the athletic department. “It has gotten to the point that when we are scheduled to depart for a weekend road trip, I simply ask him if we are ‘all set’ and he replies with a very confident ‘yes sir.’ He truly cares about the job that he does and it shows every time he works.”

And Bray does not hesitate to say that Delavak is a “tremendous asset” to the athletics department.

“I believe there is added responsibility that comes with that,” said Bray. “Connor has always represented himself, our department, and Keuka College in a positive and professional manner. In fact, there are times that our coaches forget that he is a student and not a full time staff member.”

Added Bray: “I think we often take for granted the importance and the impact our student employees have on our campus. With Connor, he is a respected member of my staff. I feel fortunate to have played a small role in his collegiate experience.” 

The other student nominees were Tyler Redington, Brittany Kuhn, Ethan Eschler, Savannah Fuller, Courtney Nojeim, Sini Ngobese, and Zach Ward.

“All of our student employees are winners, but the eight nominees are the cream of the crop,” said Sally Daggett, human resources manager. “I thank all of the nominators who took time to nominate your student employee. It sends a powerful message to those students, as it tells of the importance of them in your lives.” 

Savannah Fuller and Valerie Webster (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

Webster was one of five work-study supervisors nominated for the award. She was nominated by occupational science major Savannah Fuller.

In the three years senior Fuller has worked in the Community Service Resource Office as a Community Service Advocate, she said Webster has pushed her to think outside of the box and find new ways to reach out to others.

“Upon accepting this job three years ago to help pay for college, I had no idea the true wealth I would gain from Valerie,” said Fuller. “Over this time we have established a strong working relationship, and she is a phenomenal work-study supervisor.”

That’s because Webster “provides each of us with appropriate guidance and leadership to help us grow and be successfully independent in our roles as a work-study students,” said Fuller. “No matter what challenges life presents Valerie with, she always given her work-study students 100 percent.”

After commencement, Fuller believes that the friendship she and Webster share, as well as the dedication to each of their communities, will last beyond her work-study position and long after her graduation from Keuka College.

Added Fuller: “The impact Valerie has had on my life, and the lives of countless other students, is invaluable and transcendent. Valerie has a way of changing student’s lives for the better. It has been an honor to work with her.”

The other supervisor nominees were John Boccacino (sports information director), Rachel Dewey (communications specialist), Carol Sackett (library circulation supervisor), and Xong Sony Yang (international student advisor).

From left: Rachel Dewey, Sony Yang, John Boccacino, Valerie Webster, and Carol Sackett. (photo by Abigail Oderman '18)

“It is an honor for me to talk to you at this luncheon, as it is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Jim Blackburn, vice president of student development. “The work student employees perform is immeasurable. Keuka College employees 511 students in 814 jobs. That is the equivalent of 150,000 hours of work per year—enough for 134 additional full-time positions. So, Keuka College students do a massive amount of work.”

Each of the nominees was recognized at the luncheon by his or her nominator and presented with a gift. The names of the student and supervisor award recipients will be added to two separate plaques housed in the Center for Experiential Learning. The Student Employee of the Year plaque is hung up in the winner’s work-study location until the following year’s awards luncheon.

More photos from the 2015 Student Employee of the Year Luncheon can be found here.

Valerie Webster ‘Changes Student Lives for the Better’

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles of 2015 Work Study Supervisor of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Valerie Webster

More than three years ago, senior Savannah Fuller became a work-study student in the Community Service Resource Office as a Community Service Advocate.

In that time, Fuller said her work-study supervisor, Valerie Webster, co-curricular and community service coordinator, has pushed her to think outside of the box and find new ways to reach out to others.

“Upon accepting this job three years ago to help pay for college, I had no idea the true wealth I would gain from Valerie,” said Fuller. “We have established a strong working relationship, and she is a phenomenal work-study supervisor.”

Fuller said that Webster has instilled in her an intrinsic motivation to help others.

“Valerie has helped me grow into a better person, and I will never be able to thank her enough for that,” said Fuller, who is nominating Webster for a second time.  “I attribute the success of [the Community Service Resource Office] programming to Valerie’s unwavering commitment to her community and desire to do better for the people within it.”

In fact, as a result of “countless hours” of brainstorming sessions with Webster, Fuller said she has helped “improve our community projects to better benefit others.”

“Over the years, we have added new community service projects, made new and lasting contacts in the community, and have doubled—even tripled—participation and donations on campus for our projects,” said Fuller. “Valerie’s dedication to her employees and work-study programs is beyond admirable.”

In addition to supervising the Community Service Advocates, Webster oversees Big Brothers Big Sisters, the New Student Orientation mentors, and off-campus tutors.

“As a supervisor, Valerie provides each of us with appropriate guidance and leadership to help us grow and be successfully independent in our roles as work-study students,” said Fuller. “No matter what challenges life presents Valerie with, she has always given her work-study students 100 percent.”

After commencement, Fuller believes that the friendship she and Webster share, as well as the dedication to each of their communities, will last beyond her work-study position and long after her graduation from Keuka College.

Added Fuller: “The impact Valerie has had on my life, and the lives of countless other students, is invaluable and transcendent. Valerie has a way of changing student’s lives for the better.”

Savannah Fuller Understands the Meaning of Community Service

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of profiles of 2015 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, April 15.

Savannah Fuller

Senior Savannah Fuller has been a Community Service Advocate in the Community Service Resource Office in the Center for Experiential Learning since 2011.

In that time, her work-study supervisor, Valerie Webster, co-curricular transcript coordinator, said the occupational science major from Philadelphia, N.Y. has been dedicated, hardworking, and has great attention to detail. She has helped hire and train five other advocates, including one who will take over for her when she graduates.

This is particularly important as the Community Service Resource Office is responsible for two major projects each year on campus—the Angel Tree and Easter Basket Projects.

“The Angel Tree Project benefits 30-35 children from low-income families, while the Easter Basket Project benefits the local Head Start program,” said Webster. “Savannah oversees both of these projects and has improved campus involvement in each project for the last three years.”

Webster said Fuller has a particular passion for the Angel Tree Project, and it shows. For the 2014 edition, Webster said the donations tripled past years.

“Savannah has continued to improve the project by having other clubs become co-sponsors,” said Webster. “There is not one day from the start in October to the delivery in December that Savannah is not checking and double checking that the project is running smoothly. She does not want one child to go without having the clothes needed or the toys wished for.”

Last year, Fuller planned two Kan Jam tournaments to get students out of the residence halls and performing community service while having fun. In fact, during the fall, Fuller organized a Kan Jam tournament for the local food pantry that doubled the contributions she had coordinated a year earlier.

And Fuller’s planning and multitasking skills were put to the test early in the academic year.

“During Fall 2014, with three major projects going on in my office, I became sick,” said Webster. “Savannah’s dedication to the office and her job was shown as she took over running the projects for me even with a heavy load of classes.”

“Savannah made sure that the inventory count and delivery of a campus-wide can drive—not being run by the Community Service Advocates—was completed,” said Webster. “She also helped with an off-campus day of service, in which there were more than 100 students and numerous sites to coordinate.”

This could be because of a notebook Fuller created of community service projects “that is referred to as the ‘bible’ of how to run a project in the office,” said Webster. “Savannah created a checklist for each project, [complete with] contact numbers, timelines, event promotion ideas and summaries of the projects. The office does many projects that overlap so having this notebook has been a great asset.”

During Fuller’s time as a Community Service Advocate, Webster has observed “Savannah’s work ethic, initiative, and her commitment to service and understanding about serving others that you don’t see among many college students today.”

“Savannah has experience coordinating projects, and working with a variety of people from different backgrounds, ages and abilities,” said Webster. “I have no doubt Savannah will be an asset to any organization she will work for upon graduation.”

Angel Tree Giving Sets New Record in 2014

All smiles for the Angel Tree project (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15)

Keuka College must be crazy for community service. After a record spring on behalf of the community, including nearly 1,000 service hours by almost 200 members of the campus body, primarily students, following May floods that devastated Penn Yan and Branchport, this year’s Angel Tree benefit set a new record.

Donations given in 2014 on behalf of 31 needy children and two additional families, each with four children, totaled $9,033 – that’s four times greater than last year’s contributions, according to Valerie Webster, who supervises students holding roles as community service advocates in the Center for Experiential Learning. The Community Service Advocates coordinate the Angel Tree program for Keuka College.

Santa with some of the children receiving gifts at Dec. 4 Angel Tree project distribution. (Photo by Stepanie Lockhart '15)

Similar to Angel Tree programs elsewhere, participants select an angel-shaped ornament from a Christmas tree with the name of a local child or family in need and their wish list of gift items. Donors then bring items to the sponsoring organization so each child can have a merry Christmas.

One of the youngest recipients at the Angel Tree Project distribution (Photo by Abdul Abdullah '16)

According to Webster, who delivered goodies Dec. 4 with community service student advocates, “some of the bags are so heavy, it will take two students to lift them to get out of here.”

The partner agency receiving donations for local families, Child and Family Resources, Inc. is a unique family-centered service organization with locations in Rushville, Penn Yan, Geneva, and Seneca Falls. For nearly 40 years, the agency has offered programs to support of the educational, emotional, and social needs of families and children of all ages. Alicia Avellanda, lead early childhood educator at the Penn Yan office said the agency is “incredibly grateful to partner with Keuka College for this very special program.  Thanks to the wonderful students and college community we are able to share some holiday spirit with local families.”

A young boy beams at his new bike. (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15)

Webster said she could not count the number of participants among students, faculty and staff – she only knew it exceeded all previous participation. According to her, not only were students, staff and faculty physically requesting “angels” from the tree, but even ASAP adjunct professors emailed in, sight unseen, to request information on a child they could support with Christmas gifts. Even local merchants, including Weaver’s Bicycle Shop on Route 14A, got involved. According to Webster, the shop owner sold students in the Rotoract club three bicycles at reduced cost with no shipping and handling, to give to a family who lost everything in the May floods. The Rotoract club sponsors an entire family for the Angel Tree project each year, she said.

“I just want to say thank you to the whole campus community for doing this, “she said. “I’m very grateful and I’m so proud of everyone right now.”

Making the Holiday Season a Bit Brighter for Needy Children

Community Service Advocate Savannah Fuller helps open a doll during the annual Angel Tree Project.

“When we recall Christmas past,” said the late comedian Bob Hope, “we usually find that the simplest things—not the great occasions—give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

And the Christmas glow of happiness was evident in the number of bags and boxes for ­­­the 36 children receiving gifts though Keuka College’s Angel Tree Project. The gifts for the children were wrapped and delivered to the Child and Family Resource Center in Penn Yan, where Santa Claus was on hand to give the gifts to the children.

“Angel Tree is probably one of the most fun projects to do because it is devoted to making sure that local kids in need have a good holiday,” said Mitch Leet, a sophomore art and design major from Stanley and community service advocate.

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

The Angel Tree Project is one of the College’s longstanding traditions. Students, staff, and faculty select a paper angel from a Christmas tree. The angel contains a child’s age and gender, and a suggested gift of toys, clothes, or both.

The Angel Tree Project saw “contributions from students, staff, faculty, parents of students, and my husband, who loves to shop for the angels,” said Valerie Webster, community service advocate adviser and co-curricular transcript coordinator. “Every child is an angel and they all should have something special during this time of year.”

Savannah Fuller, a junior occupational science major from Philadelphia, N.Y., said the Angel Tree Project is her favorite to work on and she believes it is the most important project the Community Service Resource Center runs.

“Angel Tree is a project that takes everyone’s focus away from the ‘receiving’ aspect and turns it to the ‘giving’ aspect of the holiday season,” said Fuller, who serves as a community service advocate. “During this project we witness a coming together of students, faculty, and staff at Keuka College who all share the common goal of giving children in need the magical Christmas experience they deserve.”

Webster said Rotaract and the Association of Future Social Workers (AFSW) combined to help a family of six children, and their parents, while the PRIDE Club collected gifts for a family of three children and their mother.

Sarah Schneider, a sophomore unified childhood major from Stanley said she “loves being able to make someone else’s Christmas special and see the kids’ smiling faces,” while Leet said “it’s fantastic that we’re able to help so many families, because it is a tough world to live in right now, and sharing what we’re lucky to have just comes naturally.”

Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '15

To Fuller, Angel Tree means “means putting a smile on a child’s face when they open the toy they’ve been dreaming of on Christmas morning. It means focusing on something other than yourself and reaching out to those in need.”

Added Nikita Wilkins, a junior biology major from Bloomfield: “Angel Tree provides an opportunity for needy children to experience Christmas. It gets the community involved in an activity that gives back. Christmas is more than gifts—it is the spirit of everyone coming together for a greater purpose.”

For more photos, click here.