IC Tech alumni get nod in new book

Two alumni from the instrumentation and control technologies (IC Tech) program are featured in a new book that tells the story of Construction Robotics.

Book cover showing robot arm, hard hat
The cover of a new book about Construction Robotics.

“SAM: One Robot, a Dozen Engineers and the Race to Revolutionize the Way We Build” by Jonathan Waldman explains how Nate Podkaminer and his son-in-law, Scott Peters, developed a brick-laying robot. They call it a semi-automated mason, or SAM, for short.

Construction Robotics was the first company to work with FLCC to get status under the Start-Up New York business development program. Under the partnership, the company agreed to give FLCC’s IC Tech students internships, and if all went well, jobs.

IC Tech was launched in 2010 as an interdisciplinary technology program, coordinated by Sam Samanta, professor of physics. Sam assists each student in finding a co-op, or paid internship, with a local company that often turns into a full-time job.

Kerry Lipp ’13 enrolled in IC Tech after injuries ended his construction career. In the book he is credited with helping develop some of the custom equipment necessary for this first-of-its-kind machine. “Essentially, he put together all the crazy things Scott dreamed up,” the author writes.

Mike Oklevitch, a former Eastman Kodak chemical engineer, also enrolled in IC Tech for a career change and landed a co-op at Construction Robotics. The title of chapter 10 bears his nickname, Mortar Mike, for his work in developing a way to keep the mortar the robot uses at the right consistency to stick to the bricks.

To read a New York Times review of the book, click here.

 

FLCC’s Ph.D.s: A professor’s story

Young woman talking to female professor
Linda Ross, Psy.D., professor of psychology, speaks with a prospective student at an FLCC open house in 2018.

Linda Ross was a high school dropout working as a seamstress when she decided she wanted more out of life. She embarked on an educational journey that ended with a doctorate in clinical psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In the audio file below, she shares her story with a colleague.

 

New FLCC Return to Finish program forgives unpaid bills

Mortarboard that says: Mama did it for you
Message on one graduate’s cap during the 2019 FLCC commencement.

Students who left Finger Lakes Community College before graduating and have unpaid bills to the college can now return and get up to $1,200 of those charges canceled upon graduation.

The new program, called Return to Finish, is meant to help students who may have been unable to register for classes due to previous debt. The deadline to enroll in Return to Finish is Jan. 8, 2020.

“We know that many of our students face multiple challenges, from medical and family issues to emergency expenses. Sometimes these issues become overwhelming and lead them to withdraw from college,” said Matthew Stever, FLCC director of admissions. “This program allows students to come back with a way to manage their past debt.”

Data show that financial problems can cause students to withdraw from school. This new policy is one way to level the playing field for underrepresented students, a key element of the FLCC strategic plan.

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Sands Family Foundation’s $3 million gift largest in FLCC history

Drawing of building
A concept drawing of the Sands Center for Allied Health

The Sands Family Foundation will donate $3 million to Finger Lakes Community College to more than double its nursing program.

The gift, the largest in the college’s history, will cover nearly half the cost of an expanded wing at the main campus in Canandaigua to be called the Sands Center for Allied Health.

The expansion will enable the college to gradually double the number of students it accepts into its registered nursing (RN) associate degree program. Currently, FLCC has 80 openings for new students each fall.

Older woman posing with two grown sons
Mickey Sands, with her sons, Robert and Richard, in front of a portrait of her husband, Marvin Sands

“With a growing need for nurses in the Finger Lakes region, this generous gift from the Sands family will help FLCC fulfill a critical community workforce need,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “The Sands Center of Allied Health will put many more nursing students on a pathway to providing valuable health services to people right here in New York.”

FLCC will also launch a licensed practical nursing certificate program (LPN), which can be completed in one year. The college anticipates scaling up to as many as 56 LPN openings per year within three years.

Objective 3 of FLCC’s strategic plan calls on the college to meet the needs of high demand sectors in our region. This gift allows FLCC to more than double its nursing program to address the local shortage of health care workers.

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Students stage Steve Martin comedy

Picasso character pointing pencil at the chest of Einstein character
Daniel Jackson, right, cast as Picasso, challenges Juan España, who portrays Einstein, in the Finger Lakes Community College production of Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”

Picasso and Einstein walk into a bar …

This classic setup is the basis for comedian Steve Martin’s play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” which Finger Lakes Community College students will stage on Nov. 15 and 16 at the main campus in Canandaigua.

This long-running off-Broadway absurdist comedy is set at a bar in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris in 1904, a year before Einstein publishes his theory of relativity and Picasso transitions into cubism. Einstein and Picasso have a lengthy discussion about genius and inspiration at the bar, which is named the Lapin Agile, French for nimble rabbit.

Performances will be held in the Student Center Auditorium, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. General admission is $8; entry for students and seniors is $5. This show is recommended for mature audiences.

Headshot of Juan España
Juan España

Student Juan España II of Penn Yan, cast in the part of Einstein, said he particularly enjoys the moment when the two characters, who begin by squabbling, discover their kinship.

“Einstein doesn’t see art as smart, and Picasso doesn’t see science as beautiful,” he said. “They are both geniuses, but of two different kinds, and they have this moment of recognition.”

“The play is asking if there is a difference between genius and talent,” added Daniel Jackson, of Naples, who plays Picasso.

España said learning to research characters in his acting classes helped him with the conundrum of playing a historical figure at a point in his life when we was still an obscure patent office worker.

Theatre productions are great opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in class. The college’s strategic plan emphasizes the importance of applied learning, particularly as a way to experience FLCC values.

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Mom of seven among scholarship recipients

Demetrice Garcia is a mom to seven children, ranging in age from 20 to just seven months and she works part-time in the emergency department of a local hospital.

That’s plenty to juggle. For Garcia, there’s more: She’s also enrolled full-time as a biotechnology major at Finger Lakes Community College.

Professor Bryan Ingham posing with student Demetrice Garcia
Demetrice “Demi” Garcia of Newark is shown with FLCC mathematics professor Bryan Ingham. Ingham and his wife, Christine, started the scholarship that Garcia received for the current academic year.

Garcia says she wouldn’t be able to pursue her dream of earning a degree if it weren’t for the support she has received from her employer, family and friends. Her perseverance has been recognized at FLCC with another measure of relief: she was recently awarded the Fred and Mary Jennejahn Memorial Scholarship.

The $1,000 award was created by FLCC mathematics professor Bryan Ingham and his wife, Christine, in honor of his grandparents. Fred was a WWII veteran, Rotarian and volunteer firefighter, while his wife was a longtime middle school math teacher.

FLCC scholarships advance Objective 1 by fostering self-advocacy and improving retention by removing financial barriers.

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FLCC student honored by SUNY for excellence

Finger Lakes Community College student Khadija Muhammadi of Rochester has received the 2019 Norman R. McConney Jr. Award, an honor that recognizes excellence among participants in the State University of New York Educational Opportunity Program.

Woman wearing hijab
Khadija Muhammadi is a mathematics major at FLCC.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson congratulated Muhammadi and other students from across New York at a ceremony on Oct. 17 at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan.

The award bears the name of the late Norman McConney, one of the architects of the statewide Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which provides financial assistance and support to those who face obstacles in achieving their educational and personal goals.

Muhammadi immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 2015 to live with two sisters while finishing high school in Irondequoit. Her parents and brother remain in her home country; she keeps in touch via Skype.

The Educational Opportunity Program supports Objective 2 by providing support to students from underserved populations.

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FLCC secures $1.14M to expand undergrad biotech research

Finger Lakes Community College will receive $1.14 million in National Science Foundation funding to take part in a national effort to strengthen biotechnology education and encourage more youth to pursue careers in the field.

FLCC is the home base for the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI), which promotes the teaching of science through research. The National Science Foundation has previously awarded FLCC $5.8 million to develop and share its approach with community colleges across the country.

Faculty member in lab coat
James Hewlett, professor of biology, is the founder of the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative

In this recent award, the National Science Foundation has granted $7.5 million to Austin Community College in Texas to lead the project. ACC will create the InnovATEBIO National Biotechnology Education Center to consolidate several biotech education projects into a national network. This network will share best practices and expand undergraduate research in biotechnology.

As a collaborator in the project, FLCC will provide training in the use of research to teach biotechnology concepts and skills.

“This latest grant is a testament to FLCC’s role as a national leader in the expansion of research opportunities for undergraduate students,” said FLCC President Robert Nye. “I congratulate our faculty and staff, led by Professor James Hewlett.”

CCURI supports Objective 4 by providing opportunities for applied learning in scientific research.

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FLCC pilots holography as a learning tool

Finger Lakes Community College is part of a small group of institutions working with Case Western Reserve University to pilot an emerging technology called mixed reality and evaluate its ability to help students learn human anatomy.

Student wearing visor
Finger Lakes Community College student Jacob Vivlamore of Canandaigua uses the HoloLens visor and HoloAnatomy software to view a hologram in his anatomy and physiology class. (Photo illustration by William Pealer)

Last fall, students in FLCC anatomy and physiology classes began using Microsoft HoloLens with the HoloAnatomy program that Case Western Reserve developed to view three-dimensional images of human organs individually or as part of body systems.

The university’s software allows the HoloLens to project a holographic image that everyone wearing the visors – students and their instructor – can see. The instructor can rotate the image, zoom in on a particular section or zoom out to show the entire class how systems function and interconnect.

FLCC joined the project after Christine Parker, associate professor of biology, learned about the HoloLens technology and the program for teaching anatomy, which Case Western Reserve was working to develop as part of the university’s Health Education Campus project with Cleveland Clinic.

The FLCC Forward strategic plan calls on the college to explore new ideas in technology, leadership, learning and professional development to foster greater student engagement.

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