FLCC OK’d to partner on state apprenticeship programs

Woman operating computerized machinery
Leslie Harris is a graduate of the advanced manufacturing machinist job training program run jointly by Finger Lakes Community College and ITT Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls. FLCC has state approval to expand its educational programming through New York apprenticeship programs.

The state has approved Finger Lakes Community College to teach classes associated with apprenticeship programs for 11 occupations with advanced manufacturing, including industrial manufacturing technician, quality assurance auditor and electro-mechanical technician.

The designation means local employers that apply to participate in the state’s apprenticeship program can select FLCC to provide the instructional component of the program.

New York has more than 800 registered apprenticeship programs and more than 18,000 apprentices, who are paid full-time employees. Apprentices receive on-the-job training as well as classroom instruction relevant to their job with their pay rising at intervals as their skill-level increases.

“FLCC is ready to meet with employers interested in establishing apprenticeship programs to build a pipeline of new employees for expansions and replacement of retirees,” said Todd Sloane, FLCC’s director of workforce development.

FLCC focused on advanced manufacturing given its experience offering a mechatronic course and a machinist training program with G.W. Lisk Co. and ITT Goulds Pumps. Advanced manufacturing is a growing industry that uses computer-controlled equipment to make precision components.

Apprentices would take the college’s Foundations in Advanced Manufacturing course, developed in cooperation with local companies that identified a set of basic skills all successful employees should have. The course provides the nationally recognized Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential. The CPT credential was developed by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, which selected nine rapidly emerging, data-intensive technologies that will profoundly influence manufacturing production processes and quality control, including artificial intelligence and nanomanufacturing.

FLCC also offers Foundations in Advanced Manufacturing as a stand-alone course to those who are interested in improving their qualifications for employment. The course is currently offered in a hybrid format, meaning it is part online and part in-person.

FLCC holds informational sessions about manufacturing programs through its Workforce and Career Solutions Office every second Wednesday of the month. To register for an informational session, visit flcc.edu/workforce and click on “Manufacturing Programs” or the “Orientations” button.

Employers seeking more information on apprenticeship programs can contact Andrea Badger, custom training specialist, at Andrea.Badger@flcc.edu.

Life pushed her down, she pushed back

Finger Lakes Community College student Gabrielle Young of Shortsville has received the 2020 Norman R. McConney Jr. Award, an honor that recognizes excellence among participants in the State University of New York Educational Opportunity Program.

Gabrielle Young

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras congratulated Young and other students from across New York in December.

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.

Young is majoring in childhood education with plans to become a K-5 teacher. She was a lead teacher at Our Children’s Place Child Care Center in Canandaigua from August 2019 to March 2020 and has volunteered at the Catholic Charities food pantry. She is currently working as a nanny, including managing virtual learning for the children in her care.

Lisa Thomas, director of the Educational Opportunity Program at FLCC, nominated Young for overcoming obstacles early in life.

“Gabrielle is such a wonderful young woman. She has such a positive and upbeat attitude regardless of what she has had to face in life,” Thomas wrote. “Coming from a broken home, Gabrielle has experienced a lot of trauma and dealt with anxiety and depression for years but has not let it define her. She wants to be a role model and lead by example, making sure that others know that they, too, can persevere no matter what challenges life may present.”

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New director and goals at FLCC Muller Field Station

Woman bending over a shallow sandbox
Alexandria Esposito of Springwater, conservation outreach education coordinator at FLCC, uses a field guide to verify footprints in a trap pit at the Muller Field Station in Canadice, Ontario County.

Finger Lakes Community College has named a new director for the Muller Field Station, a research and education facility at the south end of Honeoye Lake, and begun making plans to further enhance facilities and programming.

Head and shoulders image of John Van Niel
Professor John Van Niel

John Van Niel of Seneca Falls, professor of environmental conservation and coordinator of the fish and wildlife technology degree, began his duties on Sept. 1. He succeeded Professor Emeritus Bruce Gilman of Middlesex, author of “Ontario County Flora,” also known for his research into water quality trends in Canandaigua and Honeoye lakes. Gilman retired after 40 years of teaching in 2018 but stayed on as part-time director of the station through this past summer.

The late Florence Muller donated the 48-acre property to FLCC in 1999 in memory of her husband, Emil, a Swiss immigrant who sought to preserve the biodiversity of the Honeoye valley. Since then, funding from the Emil Muller Foundation and Florence M. Muller Foundation has supported education, research and improvements to property.

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What do fishers eat? There’s only one way to know for sure

Fisher facing forward
A fisher is a carnivorous mammal related to a weasel. Photo courtesy of John Van Niel

A professor and his students collect data on the stomach contents of this secretive mammal for the state Department of Environmental Conservation

A scalpel in her right hand, Chloe Bliss begins cutting into the brownish-pink organ she holds in her left.

This is part of her job as a work-study student at Finger Lakes Community College. Her boss is Professor John Van Niel, coordinator of the college’s fish and wildlife technology program. The work entails studying the stomach contents of fishers, a carnivorous north American mammal related to the weasel.

These solitary animals are fairly small, weighing up to 14 pounds, and have long bushy tails. Trapping for fishers is allowed in the fall in most of New York state, largely in the Adirondacks, Hudson Valley and North Country, with a brief season in the Southern Tier.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) dropped off 500 frozen fisher stomachs at FLCC last year as part of an effort to gather data on New York’s fisher population. Fur trappers provided the carcasses so the DEC could study the teeth (to determine age), uteruses of females (to see how many kits they had) and the stomachs (to find out what they really eat).

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FLCC’s longest serving professor retires

Dr. Kennedy in academic regalia at a podium
The Rev. Dr. Edward Kennedy

Ed Kennedy retired in late summer from teaching psychology, but that’s not what he says he’s been doing for the last 51 years.

“I was more of a history teacher of the self,” Ed explained. “I have always been interested in helping students look at their thinking and why they think the way they do.”

For example, he would challenge them to think of a memory — perhaps from first grade — and ask themselves how that memory played out in their thinking.

With 100 semesters of teaching eight or nine classes, Ed estimates he has taught roughly 20,000 students, enough to make any dinner out or trip to Wal-Mart a reunion: “People come up and say, ‘I have never forgotten what you taught me.’”

He started teaching as an adjunct instructor in 1969 under founding president Roy Satre. “I had the privilege of serving under all of the presidents, and every president I served under was the right person at the right time,” he said.

Cover of Laker magazine showing five people plue the text "Stories of resolve and resilience"
This story is one of several in the Fall edition of The Laker magazine. Click this image to read the electronic version.

Having turned 85 this year, Ed had made the decision to retire before the pandemic. He is not putting his feet up, though. He would like to return to the ministry, when churches resume more in-person gatherings. The Rev. Kennedy served as pastor of the Rushville Congregational Church for 49 years, having stepped down during his late wife’s illness several years ago.

His dual vocation made him a natural choice for the many invocations and benedictions during commencement, nursing advancement and other solemn occasions.

He leaves with gratitude for his fellow faculty, the professional staff and leaders on the board of trustees and at the county. “There is not one thing I ever disliked in the College,” he said. “I’ve been blessed for 50 years. I have never regretted a day that I walked into the building at FLCC.”

 

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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