Young Entrepreneur Academy student heads to national competition

Brandon Russell headshot
Brandon Russell is a sophomore at Honeoye-Falls Lima High School

A student who participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy last year at Finger Lakes Community College is headed to the 12th Annual Saunders Scholars National Competition for young business owners, hosted online by Rochester Institute of Technology on Oct. 17.

Brandon Russell, 15, is a sophomore at Honeoye Falls High School in Lima. His product, called No Touch Flush, is just as it sounds, a device that can be used to flush a toilet without using your hands.

He will be up against 35 other students from Young Entrepreneurs Academy chapters across the country, including seven others from New York State.

Though he had an interest in starting a business from a young age, Brandon enrolled in the Saturday morning program a year ago without a product in mind. “I was doing YEA and really struggling to find an innovation or idea,” he said.

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FLCC awarded $141K in National Science Foundation funds for research into mushroom sugars

Finger Lakes Community College has received $141,000 in National Science Foundation grants to study methods for extracting mushroom sugars with therapeutic properties in partnership with a Henrietta company.

FLCC faculty and students will collaborate with Empire Medicinals to find the most effective way to produce complex polysaccharides, or sugars, from mycelium, the fibrous root-like parts of mushrooms that are often below ground or in trees.

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

“This is a great opportunity for students to work with an industry partner and learn how to set up experiments,” said FLCC professor James Hewlett, coordinator of the college’s biotechnology program. “For the college, it could lead to more partnerships and long-term partnerships with industry.”  

Hewlett is also founder of the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI), a national effort to teach scientific principles and skills through research. CCURI promotes collaboration among community colleges on projects to expand the number of students who have an opportunity to engage in research early in their higher education experience. FLCC will work on the mycelium project with faculty and students from Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa.

Package of mushrooms
Empire Medicinals, grower of Leep Foods mushrooms, will work with FLCC on research with mushroom sugars.

The grants will enable FLCC to conduct experiments and pay four to five students as undergraduate researchers. In addition, FLCC scientists plan to learn from members of the Funguschain consortium in Europe, a global leader in developing products from mushroom byproducts.

Empire Medicinals cultivates organic mushrooms for the food and restaurant industry under the brand name Leep Foods. It currently grows the mushrooms on hardwood pellets, much as mushrooms in the wild derive nutrients from trees, explained Christopher Carter, co-founder of the company.

For this project, the company is hoping to use another growing medium: whey. Whey is a waste product of the dairy industry but rich in lactose, another kind of sugar. The goal is to grow the rootlike mushroom mycelium in the milk waste and turn it into a food additive.

“We want to show we can use this waste to create a food product, dry it into mycelial flour and use it in foods,” Carter said. The complex mushroom sugars are prebiotic, meaning they promote beneficial gut bacteria, and could be used to improve the health profile of a wide range of foods.

FLCC and MCCC researchers will conduct experiments to determine the most productive ways to grow and extract the sugars. For example, Hewlett said, they will try producing the sugars with different strains of mushrooms under varying temperatures and nutrient conditions.

“This is called ‘proof of concept,’” Hewlett explained. “A lot of startups do not have large budgets for research and development, so they partner with institutions.”

Sarad Parekh, who teaches Introduction to Biomanufacturing II as an adjunct instructor at FLCC, also works as a consultant with Empire Medicinals. He helped bring the company and the college together. Both Parekh and Carter see potential for biotechnology to grow in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.

“There is an up-and-coming cluster of companies doing biomanufacturing in the Rochester area,” Carter said. Empire Medicinal’s focus on using biotechnology to innovate within the food industry makes sense in a region with major companies like Wegmans and LiDestri, he added. Involving local colleges is critical to build a biomanufacturing workforce. Major companies, Parekh said, “are very interested in getting students trained in this area.”

FLCC previously collaborated with Cheribundi to help the company learn whether storage conditions such as temperature and light could degrade the beneficial compounds in its tart cherry juice.

Students interested in learning more about FLCC’s biotechnology program or how to apply for a research position may contact Hewlett at James.Hewlett@flcc.edu.

FLCC trains 100 high school teachers in online learning

Finger Lakes Community College has provided free training in online teaching to about 100 educators from 20 school districts in Ontario, Seneca, and Wayne counties as well as Monroe and Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES.

With the switch to remote learning in the spring and local districts’ plans for remote and hybrid learning this fall, FLCC began planning training for high school faculty who teach FLCC courses in their home districts via the Gemini program. Gemini allows high schoolers to earn college credit before high school graduation, thereby reducing the total time and expense of college.

FLCC’s training in course design and best practices for remote learning was then expanded to include other teachers.

“FLCC’s willingness to provide training sessions on best practices in remote learning is evidence of the strong partnership they share with area districts, such as Seneca Falls. Working with an institution that has experience in connecting with students virtually, sharing pedagogical practices and planning techniques is a huge benefit to teachers who are moving forward quickly to provide the best instruction possible for K-12 students,” the Seneca Falls Central School District said in a statement following the trainings. “These training sessions not only helped individual educators progress, but strengthened our existing collaborative efforts in educating the whole child and achieving at a high level regardless of the instructional model.”

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FLCC announces fall plan for student courses, classes start Aug. 31

Reporter speaking on camera in front of FLCC main campus
Tanner Jubenville of 13WHAM in Rochester reported on FLCC’s opening plans on July 20. Click on the image to watch the video on the 13WHAM website.

Finger Lakes Community College has finalized its fall course schedule to maximize faculty and student interaction in a low-density environment by converting traditional in-person classes into live remote and hybrid classes.

Remote classes, also referred to as synchronous online classes, are held via the web conferencing software Webex, allowing professors and students to interact in real time. Hybrid classes are partly online and partly in person. Classes will be divided into small groups that take turns meeting in person with their instructor. Details are available at flcc.edu/covid.

“We know people come to FLCC for small classes and personal engagement, so we looked for ways to maintain that tradition in this new environment,” said FLCC President Robert Nye.

Signs like this one are going up at the FLCC main campus and campus centers as FLCC prepares for fall operations.

Forty-six percent of FLCC course sections will be live remote classes, while 28 percent will be hybrid classes. The remaining 26 percent are traditional online classes, in which students work independently on their own schedules. Before the pandemic, about a quarter of all FLCC classes were already online, given its rising popularity with students. In 2019, 42 percent of all FLCC students took at least one online course.

Students will be able to visit the library, computer labs, academic support centers, One Stop Center and other offices — though hours may be more limited and appointments may be necessary. The college will begin accepting walk-in traffic on Monday, Aug. 17.

“Overall, we expect the main campus to feel a bit like a traditional summer: fewer in-person classes going at any given time, fewer employees around and more informal interactions – albeit, with masks, social distancing, and lots of handwashing,” Nye said.

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556 FLCC students named to spring semester dean’s list

A total of 556 full- and part-time students were named to the Finger Lakes Community College dean’s list for spring 2020.

To be named to the dean’s list, students must have a 3.5 grade point average and meet other criteria as follows:

Full-time students are eligible if they are matriculated – meaning enrolled in a degree program – and achieve a 3.5 grade point average for the semester (12 or more hours of earned credit) with no grade below passing and no incompletes.

Part-time students are eligible if they are matriculated, have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours at FLCC, earn a combined total of at least 12 credit hours for a given year and achieve a 3.5 grade point average with no grade below passing and no incompletes. The student must be part-time for both semesters. The dean’s list for part-time students is compiled at the end of the spring term only.

Below are students by county and town:

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FLCC, Empire State College announce cybersecurity transfer agreement

A screen shot of the online ceremony to mark the new transfer agreement.

Finger Lakes Community College and SUNY Empire State College today announced a new agreement allowing guaranteed admission of graduates from FLCC who have earned an associate degree in networking and cybersecurity to SUNY Empire’s new bachelor of science in security studies program. SUNY Empire’s bachelor of science in security studies will help prepare qualified professionals to meet the national and global security challenges of the 21st century in high demand areas such as homeland security, emergency management, disaster relief, and law enforcement.

The agreement was celebrated with a online signing ceremony that included FLCC and Empire faculty and staff as well as SUNY administrators.

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Double your donation: SUNY offers $50,000 match on emergency funds

The SUNY Impact Foundation recently announced it will match every donation the FLCC Foundation receives for student emergency funding by June 30 up to $50,000.

FLCC began its COVID-19 Emergency Response campaign in April to help students through the financial crises that came with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Logo for SUNY Impact FoundationTo date, the combined support of alumni, faculty, staff, and community members has raised over $25,000. If the campaign gets to $50,000, the FLCC Foundation will be able to max out this challenge grant to make a total of $100,000 available for student emergency needs.

FLCC’s student emergency funds include the food cupboard and emergency loans, as well as specially designated funding for students facing crises as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the last academic year, 54 students borrowed over $26,000 in FLCC Foundation emergency loans and 171 students used the Food Cupboard at least once. In addition, FLCC students have received a combined total of over $8,000 in emergency grants and COVID-19 response funds thus far.

The Foundation welcomes both new and repeat donors in the final days of this campaign.

Click here by June 30 and your gift will be doubled!

The intent of the SUNY Impact Fund’s emergency program is to help students experiencing temporary set‐backs such as: medical emergencies, job loss, housing changes or threats of eviction, backup transportation, backup child care and computer repair.

Messages in support of Black Lives Matter

The FLCC and SUNY community share the following messages in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

A Message from FLCC President Robert Nye

Dear FLCC Community,

Over the past several days our nation and our communities have experienced the anger, rage, sadness and grief as a result of the terrible loss of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The inhuman and callous treatment of George Floyd is not an isolated incident, but a long continuation of sad
and unnecessary loss of human life that lays bare the social inequities and social injustices that linger across America.

FLCC President Robert Nye in front of main campus
Robert K. Nye

We cannot ignore it, and we must address this issue. Since 2016, I have asked our College community to treat everyone we encounter with dignity
and respect. Dignity helps us to value individual identity and self-esteem. Respect helps us value others for who they are as individuals. We all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, in our world today, and even at times on our own campus, this does not always happen or hold true.

It is the reason that all across America and even in our own communities in the Finger Lakes, we are observing not just peaceful demonstrations, but also civil unrest as a result of years and years of both pernicious and outright visible social inequity and social injustice.

Our College serves as a dynamic learning resource, empowering all our students, and all of our faculty and staff to succeed as unique individuals who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. When we do so, it is only then, that we may truly contribute to both the cultural vitality and economic vitality within our community. We educate students from all walks of life,
from all races, origins and gender.

By recognizing and appreciating diversity at FLCC, we can make ourselves stronger and provide an example for others throughout the Finger Lakes to
emulate and to counter social inequity and social injustice.

Diversity is strength – I believe this, and I ask that all of us at FLCC dedicate ourselves to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do at the college, and to never look away when we see acts of social inequity and social injustice, because substantive change will not come until we stand together, support each other, account for each other, and learn from each other. Now more than ever, we must join together to make a difference, to engage our students, to engage each other, to help bring an end to the despair of social inequity and social injustice wherever it is present in order to make a difference for our College, our community, and our society.

Sincerely,Robert K. Nye signatureRobert K. Nye, Ph.D.

A Message from SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson

To the SUNY Community:

As so many of you have, I viewed the killing of George Floyd by the police—without reason, without due process, and without a shred of humanity—with a sense of both outrage and helplessness.

While we mourn this senseless cruelty to one man, protestors around the country are reminding us that what we just have witnessed is, in fact, an example of systemic racism in the United States.

Portrait photo of Kristina Johnson
Kristina Johnson

Despite the beauty of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the force of law is still regularly applied unequally and with malicious and disproportionate impact on people that are black, brown and LGBTQ. The injustice is intolerable, and it is compounding the anguish being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that has followed. It is easy to feel that our nation is experiencing an existential crisis.

What, can we, as an academic community, do in this moment of horror? Let me assure you that together and with a little focus on an unyielding moral compass, we are neither hopeless nor helpless.

We can’t instantly remake our divided society or divisive politics.
But we can demonstrate some of the same resolve and sheer focus on what’s right that this community has demonstrated in such abundance during the pandemic.

In fact, the compassion, bravery, and ingenuity SUNY people have recently shown in battling COVID-19 gives me hope that there might be answers to our societal miseries.

At SUNY, we were founded in 1948 in part to eliminate discrimination in higher ed, and our mission requires us to be “fully representative of all segments of the population.” When we see something that disadvantages students on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic hardship or gender, we
fix it—including a huge gap between the demographics of our students and the faculty who teach and mentor them. With PRODiG—Promoting Recruitment Opportunities for Diversity and Inclusive Growth—we set a goal last year of hiring 1000 underrepresented minority faculty and women in STEM by 2030, and we are off to a great start.

We are a community that does its best to welcome all, to offer opportunity to all, and to understand that there is power in embracing our differences and joining forces to do great things. At its best, the United States, too, stands for equality of opportunity. At its worst, it refuses to recognize and
repair the history of slavery and the mistreatment of minorities of all kinds.

As an academic community that educates hundreds of thousands of young people every year, we have an opportunity to explore and communicate both the worst and the best of history, and to shape new generations of citizens whose impulses to solve problems, to use their knowledge to help
others, and to serve the greater good no matter the personal costs, can help us to build a more just and caring world and ensure that George Floyd will not have died in vain.

Sincerely yours,
Kristina Johnson signatureKristina M. Johnson, Ph.D.

188 FLCC students named to Phi Theta Kappa honor society

The Finger Lakes Community College chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, inducted 188 members this spring.

Phi Theta Kappa promotes scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. FLCC’s chapter, Alpha Epsilon Chi, was chartered in 1981 and provides leadership, service and scholarship opportunities for members. Membership requires completion of 15 hours of associate degree coursework and a GPA of 3.0. Phi Theta Kappa members also serve as campus ambassadors.

New members are listed below by county and town:

ALLEGANY

Friendship: Calum Ruxton

Wellsville:  Samantha Bailey

BROOME

Johnson City: Rebecca Rayne

CHAUTAUQUA

Forestville: Brandy Schroeder

DUTCHESS

Hyde Park: Brie-Anne Sloniker

ERIE

Alden: Jessica Froebelv

GENESEE

Batavia: Aisha Thatcher

Byron: Daniel Jensen

Le Roy: Sarah Efing

LIVINGSTON

Caledonia: Deanna Krenzer

Dansville: Sierra Crawford, James Shepard

Hemlock: Brooke French

Lima: Paige Stein

Livonia: Kyler Cavalcante, Angelle Farabell, Ryan Mattice, Anne Watt

MONROE

Fairport: Phillip Emmans, Robert Gehring, Hanna Slaughter

Henrietta: Aaron Nestler

Honeoye Falls: Samuel Chunick, Lisa Lapresi, Allissa Merritt

Pittsford: Josiah Capozzi, Courtney Renner

Rochester: Laura Buckley, Laura Kieliszak, Stephanie Mahonsky, Elizabeth Middleton, Selin Ogultekin, Megan Rotunno

North Chili: Elizabeth McGarvey

Webster: Alessia Paratore, Courtney Teeter

ONTARIO

Bloomfield: Zachary Brautigam, Mackenzie Helling

Canandaigua: Charlotte Alvord, Andrew Asserson, Samuel Belanger, Raymir Briceno-Ortega, Samuel Brocklebank, Matthew Brumagin, Jamie Colf, Olivia Dipaolo, Chelsea Doell, Sarah Ducar, Ranita Gage, Olivia Garlock, Andrew Gregory, Terri Griffin, Elizabeth Haas, Rebecca Hazard, Dylan Hazlett, Jeffrey Howard, Aria McKee, Belle McKee, Cassidy Miles, Brendan O’Shaughnessy, Allison Pellett, Jaylea Ransom, Brena Rocca, Nathaniel Schue, Ashley Smith, John Squires, Anna Vitale, Emily Young

Clifton Springs: Anthony Dimariano III, Selina Finewood, Danielle Hildbrand, Coby Maslyn, Alison Romeiser, Sara Vanderhoof

Farmington: Christopher Ayers, Madison Cunningham, Jourdan Hurlbutt, Emmanuel King, Derwin Melendez-Diaz, Samantha Reese, Taylor Reese

Geneva: Emily Augustine, Jami Baran, Ty Bluto, Jonathan Ferrer, Dierra Godfrey, Joshua Hennessy, Briana Horton, Tatiana Klestinec, Electra Laird, Caleb Miller, Grace North, Bailey Wayne

Ionia: Nathan Bradley

Manchester: Travis Liberty, Benjamin Moran

Naples: Lauren Robison, Michaela Williams

Phelps: Jasmine Fiori, Jared Jensen

Shortsville: Florence Weed

Stanley: Dominique Robinson

Victor: Deyanira Ainsworth, Vanessa Conte, Kelly Duprey, Alexis Gossage, Naomi McMullen, Cole Moszak, Zane Palzer, Careena Raftery

ORLEANS

Medina: Kaylyn Holman

OSWEGO

Pulaski: Emily Klein

Oswego: Taylor Ladue

QUEENS, NEW YORK CITY

South Ozone Park: Munesh Roopnarine

SCHOHARIE

Sharon Springs: Owen Rohac

SENECA

Lodi: Sarah Farrow, Justin Smith

Ovid: Kodi Hopkins, Danielle Goerlich, Vincent Vangalio

Romulus: Sharon Goucher

Seneca Falls: Hunter Brignall, Mary Carter, Hunter Haust, Allison Hilkert, Georgedaliz Lopez, Madison McKoy, Brenden Sofo

Waterloo: Julia Corsner, Taylor Hurdle, Nicolas Lane, Derek Slywka

STEUBEN

Avoca: Nicholas Julien

Hammondsport: Megan Allen

Prattsburgh: Leif Jensen, Lydia Lenhard, Mackenzie Lynk

Wayland: Emily Bernal

WAYNE

Clyde: Nathaniel Brewer, Morgan Carr, Linda Gross, Alissa Hughes

Lyons: Shannon Sergent

Marion: Abigail Defisher, Christian Lopez-Dennis, Noah McKaig, Emily Passmore

Newark: Hollie Bassett, Aleah Buckalew, Ashley Cornett, Elizabeth Henninger, Marshall McFarland, Libby Smith, Haley Stivers

Palmyra: Lauren Crane, Cody Freeman, Casandra Hazlett, Jordan Huddleston, Harlan Miller, Earl Patton, Emma Perrone, Carissa Sabatasso, Ryan Saucier, Hannah Snelling, Lydia Wizeman

Sodus: Hugh Laird, Thomas Tangry

Walworth: Nicholas Block, Blake Britton, Alaska Dunstan, Abigail Giddings, Sarah Stripp

Williamson: Matthew Serody, Lindsay Sharp, Dara Storms

Wolcott: Sherri Lewis

YATES

Dundee: William Fryburger

Middlesex: Alexander Lyons

Penn Yan: Kari Ayers, Morgan Bayer, Deja Glover, Cameron Ledgerwood, Corey Ledgerwood, Chloe Madigan, Mildred Phillips-Espana

Rushville: McKenna Campbell-Fox, Misty Hill

FLCC converts summer camps to online format

Logo for FLCC STEAM campsFinger Lakes Community College has modified its STEAM summer day camps for middle schoolers by creating projects students can do at home with opportunities to share results while videoconferencing.

Kellie Gauvin, a biology professor and camp director, didn’t want to cancel because that means fewer options for kids over the summer. She tapped into the College’s expertise in online learning. FLCC has many online courses — about 80 percent of summer classes were already planned for an online before the pandemic began. FLCC faculty and staff have also experimented during the outbreak with new ways to teach and interact remotely.

The camps will be held over three weeks, from July 13 to 31, and consist of daily live meetings to discuss projects in topics such as conservation, art, technology, nutrition and athletic training. Participants can do all the projects or select the ones that most interest them.

Families can purchase access to the schedule and meetings for $15 or pay $50 for access and a materials kit. Siblings can participate but each materials kit is designed for individual use. Families can buy additional kits. Signups are online at flcc.edu/steam.

Instructor with 2 middle-schoolers
Kellie Gauvin, an FLCC biology professor and director of the College’s summer STEAM camps, works with two students in 2019. Prof. Gauvin has converted the 2020 camps to an online format.

The camps had previously been in-person day camps open to students entering grades seven through nine in the fall. Educational institutions are part of phase four of the governor’s plan to reopen New York state, making it unlikely that the camps will be able to be held in person by July.

“One of the exciting things about summer camp is the ability to share experiences, often with a new group of people. The daily meetings allow us to capture that shared experience and offer children the opportunity to learn from one another,” said Gauvin.

FLCC is partnering with local business to create virtual field trips. Each faculty member who designed a project for the camp will lead the discussion about the project, giving campers the ability to interact with local experts in a range of fields.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. Parents and students are welcome to email questions about the online program to STEAM.camp@flcc.edu.

Families that previously signed up for the in-person camps will get refunds.