Engineering students take top honors

4 students posing with presentation materials
Bailey Phillips, Ksystof Seibak, Eric Sandle (the team captain and pilot), and Jacob DiGiovanni.

The FLCC team won first place for the second consecutive year in the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Competition, sponsored by the New York State Two-Year Engineering Science Association.

The event took place on April 28 at Monroe Community College with seven teams from five community colleges; the others were Broome, Hudson Valley, and Jefferson CC.

The competition involved two vehicles, a self-driving UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle), and a remotely piloted UAV. The objective was to autonomously transport the UAV through a series of ground navigation obstacles and release it at the designated zone.

The remotely piloted UAV had to maneuver around and through obstacles, change altitude to accomplish the flight mission, and land safely at the final destination. The project aimed to simulate a rescue mission where human navigation would be dangerous, and aerial navigation would be partially difficult.

Each team was evaluated based on their poster presentation and a series of mission demonstrations. FLCC’s team, named Bob ‘n’ Rob, was part of the Victor Campus Center based Engineering and Technology Club. Members are Bailey Phillips of Shortsville, Ksystof Seibak of Canandaigua, Eric Sandle of Bloomfield (the team captain and pilot), and Jacob DiGiovanni of Waterloo. They were coached by technical specialist Joshua Bell.

This year was FLCC’s sixth participation in this annual competition and their third win. Their poster presentation was judged to be the best among participating teams, and their mission demonstration was equally impressive.

SUNY honors student for overcoming obstacles

posed shot with 3 people, one holding certificate
FLCC student Josh Bauer with SUNY Chancellor John King, right, and Cesar Perales, vice chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Joshua E. Bauer of Interlaken, a business administration major at Finger Lakes Community College, was among 46 State University of New York students honored in April with the Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence.

The award recognizes students in the SUNY Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) for their academic merit and strength in overcoming significant personal obstacles.

Bauer, 20, who is scheduled to graduate with his associate degree on May 20, is a 2021 graduate of South Seneca High School. Bauer’s aspiration is to become a helicopter pilot and pursue a career in aerial cinematography and drone photography despite significant medical and financial issues.

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FLCC student researches sea ice, dreams of work in Alaska

Alexa Henehan, Mark Worrell
Alexa Henehan and Mark Worrell at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx.

Alexa Henehan of Victor, an environmental science major, was among 57 students from across the State University of New York selected to give an oral presentation at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference on April 14.

Alexa, a 2022 Victor High School graduate, was one of five community college students who gave oral presentations at the event at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx. She spoke on “The Effects of Glacier and Sea Ice Loss on Arctic Communities.”

Alexa developed her project in an English composition class with Mark Worrell, assistant professor of philosophy and rhetoric/composition. She took a break from finals to answer a few questions about her experience.
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FLCC opens time capsule from 2012

Wine bottles
Some of the wines produced by FLCC’s early viticulture students.

Finger Lakes Community College opened a time capsule on Friday, May 5, that had been sealed in 2012, the year the Student Center opened and the central part of the main building was gutted for renovations.

In fact, a piece of the ribbon from the Student Center ribbon-cutting in May 2012 was in the capsule.

Trista Merrill, professor of humanities and director of the honors program, suggested the time capsule due to the extensive construction under way and the recent completion of the 2012 Middle States re-accreditation process. Read the letter she put in the capsule here.

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We interrupt this dance career … with a degree

New York City dancer Erin Joy Grgas (pronounced GER-gus) completed an online degree and will see the FLCC main campus for the first time at commencement on May 20. Photo courtesy of Erin Joy Grgas

Dancing has always been Erin Joy Grgas’ life.

“I started dancing when I was 2 because my sister was in tap and ballet classes, and I wanted to dance with her,” said Erin, 24. “I was immediately hooked and have danced ever since.”

Erin, who grew up on Long Island and moved to Manhattan at 18, is among FLCC’s newest graduates. She completed her associate degree in kinesiology and human performance in December. 

The online program turned out to be a silver lining in the pandemic cloud that shut down live performances just as her dancing career began.

“I never imagined going to college until after my dance career, or maybe ever, so this degree is more than a piece of paper for me,” she said.

“Before the pandemic, I was living the hustle lifestyle,” she said. “For most dancers there’s no consistency, just a gig when you can, waking up at 6 a.m. and going to an audition, getting out at 3 p.m. to go take a dance class, then going to work.” Continue reading “We interrupt this dance career … with a degree”

A delayed dream, realized at FLCC

As a teen in the 90s, Dawn Pietropaolo thought she wanted to be a social worker and serve children.

Today, she does exactly that in a local district, but her story is not so simple.

Head and shoulders photo
Dawn Pietropaolo

As she finished high school in the Rochester suburbs, her family discouraged her from pursuing social work. 

“My entire family was against college and against that profession in general,” she said. 

Instead, Dawn got married and had four children, raising them and volunteering at their school. She has no regrets about her time as a stay-at-home mom, but a divorce led her to revisit her old dream. When her oldest, Juliana, applied to FLCC, Dawn enrolled in the human services program.

“We were freshmen together. We were in the same classes. It was a blast, and honestly, it gave me the confidence to keep going,” Dawn said of the camaraderie she shared with her daughter.  Continue reading “A delayed dream, realized at FLCC”

Laker magazine cover story: Alumni who lead in human services

Man in hard hat at indoor worksite
Nash Bock ’06, ’14 is the chief business and innovation officer for Greater Rochester Habitat for Humanity.

Nash Bock’s passion at FLCC was music, and he thought he would make a career of it. But his early college experience was also about community, and that struck a note when he had an opportunity to take a leadership role at Habitat for Humanity.

“I fell in love with the mission of the organization, was inspired by the people involved in the work, and opportunities presented themselves,” says Nash, now the chief business and innovation officer for Greater Rochester Habitat for Humanity. 

The organization is a recent merger of the Flower City (Monroe), Ontario and Wayne county Habitat chapters and reflects a trend in human service organizations seeking creative ways to pool resources and generate new revenue.

Michelle Jungerman ’99 has spent her entire career at another well-known social service agency, The Arc Ontario, formerly Ontario ARC. She has witnessed a transformation in the agency’s approach to helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities build work and life skills.

What’s more, her current role as chief operating officer of the agency’s business enterprises requires her to be as much a serial entrepreneur as a social worker. Continue reading “Laker magazine cover story: Alumni who lead in human services”

Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy holds 2023 session at FLCC

Instructor standing in front of lecture hall
Yates County Sheriff’s Lt. Ed Nemitz leads a class at the Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy at the Finger Lakes Community College main campus on March 21.

The Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy (FLLEA) began its 2023 training session at the Finger Lakes Community College main campus on Monday, March 20.

FLLEA has provided training for police and peace officers for agencies in six counties over the last 35 years. It moved to the FLCC main campus for this year to accommodate a larger class and build closer ties with the college’s criminal justice degree program.

“This partnership is a natural extension of the collaboration between FLCC’s academic program and the law enforcement community, and it opens doors to students of both programs,” said college President Robert Nye.

Regional police agencies, including the FLCC Campus Police, have enrolled a total of 35 new hires in the program. Instructors are current and retired law enforcement officers from FLLEA’s member agencies, including FLCC Police Officer Brandon Lawson.

The Academy students will use an FLCC lecture hall and athletic facilities through the summer before completing their final six weeks in field training with their respective agencies. Graduation will be held in October. Firearms training will be held at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office range, not the FLCC campus.

The Academy previously used multiple locations with more limited capacity to complete all classroom and training exercises. This is the largest ever class due to the high demand for police officers and sheriff’s deputies, according to John Falbo, chief deputy for the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and chair of the Academy.

The partnership will allow for informal interaction between FLCC degree and certificate students and the Law Enforcement Academy students. The Academy and College are developing a plan to grant college credit to Academy graduates who want to purse a criminal justice degree.

To attend the Academy, students must be sponsored by a local police agency. The Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy primarily serves agencies in Cayuga, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties though students from Monroe and other neighboring counties may attend.

The first step to getting hired by a police agency is to pass the civil service exam for police officers and deputies. Details and dates can be found at each county’s civil service office website. Names of those who pass the exam are shared with police agencies who contact candidates for next steps, including a physical agility test and background check. 

Information about FLLEA is available online.


Registration opens for middle school summer camps

Instructor working with two middle school girls
Kellie Gauvin, FLCC professor of biology, works with two participants on a DNA activity at a past STEAM summer camp at the Geneva Campus Center.

Registration is now open for Finger Lakes Community College summer day camps for students who will enter grades 7 through 9 in the fall.

The lineup includes camps at the college’s campus centers in Newark and Victor, as well as a new camp at the FLCC Muller Field Station at the south end of Honeoye Lake.

The full-day STEAM camps provide activities in science, technology, engineering, art, and math with themes for each location. Camps run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for five days. The cost for each week is $200 and includes snacks and a T-shirt; students should bring their own lunches. Students may enroll in more than one camp. The schedule is as follows:

July 10-14, STEAM in Motion, Victor Campus Center, 200 Victor Heights Parkway, off Route 251.

July 17-21, STEAM in Our Community, Geneva Campus Center, 63 Pulteney St.

July 24-28, STEAM in Space, Newark Campus Center, 1100 Technology Parkway, off Route 88.

July 31-Aug. 4, STEAM in Nature, Muller Field Station 6455 County Road 36, Canadice

The registration deadline is June 23, at Registration is limited to 15 students per camp. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available. Email questions about the camps to

FLCC to open ‘Keeping a Promise’ photo and poetry exhibit

Man on kayak
A photo by Joe Ripperger in the “Keeping a Promise” exhibit at FLCC.

The Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 at FLCC will open an exhibit of photography and accompanying poems inspired by the photos on Thursday, March 2.

The exhibit, “Keeping a Promise,” features photographs by the late Joe Ripperger with poems by his aunt, retired FLCC humanities professor Barbara Murphy. The title is a reference to Murphy’s work to complete the exhibit after Ripperger passed away in 2019.

Murphy will give a talk on March 2 from 2 to 3 p.m. and welcome guests at an opening reception from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The events are free and open to the public. The gallery is on the first floor of the main campus at 3325 Marvin Sands Drive. The exhibit runs through April 7.

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