Three FLCC students receive SUNY Chancellor’s Award

Three Finger Lakes Community College students have received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

The award is presented annually to students at each of the 64 SUNY institutions who have best demonstrated their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include leadership, campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service or the arts.

FLCC recipients are as follows:

Head and shoulders photo
Justin Cosser

Justin Closser of Rochester will graduate in May with an associate degree in horticulture. Closser previously served in the New York State Army National Guard for eight years, including a tour in Iraq. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges, and president of the Horticulture Club. Closser also played lacrosse.

Head and shoulders photo
Rebecca Hazard

Rebecca Hazard of Canandaigua will graduate this year with an associate degree in therapeutic massage/integrated health care. A certified farrier and blacksmith, she moved from the West Coast to Canandaigua six years ago. Hazard is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the Therapeutic Massage Club, and the Wildlife Society. She also volunteers at Light Hill, the comfort care home on Parrish Street Extension in Canandaigua.

Head and shoulders photo
Sarah Middlebrook

Sarah Middlebrook of Clifton Springs will graduate in May with an associate degree in psychology. She is a Navy veteran who discovered her interest in psychology working with students with autism at Midlakes Education Center. Middlebrook is the president of the Student Veterans Organization and a member of the Logging Sports Team and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Middlebrook organized the Third Annual Armed Forces week at FLCC, including the Formal Dinner and Dance. She also serves on the Veterans Advocacy Council and LGBTQ+ Health Initiative Community Advisory Board.

FLCC provides training for downstate COVID unit workers

Finger Lakes Community College is providing online training to home health aides in New York City and Long Island so they can fill a critical need for nurse assistants in COVID-19 units.

United Healthcare Workers East, 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, has hired FLCC to provide the training based on the college’s reputation for online education and experience training certified nurse assistants in the Finger Lakes region.

Nurse assistant students watching demonstration at patient bed
Students in an FLCC training class for certified nurse assistants watch a demonstration.

Classes began Tuesday, April 21, for a pilot class of 22 home health aides, chosen because they have some health care experience. During a state of emergency, federal law allows many health care workers to work outside their normal scope of practice, provided they have training in a critical set of skills.

FLCC curriculum designers moved those skills, largely involving the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to the beginning of the 10-week class. This will allow the students in the pilot class to go to work in four weeks in COVID-19 recovery units while completing the course components that can be taught online.

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FLCC to Ph.D. Part 4: Open to possibilities

Man standing in archway
Nicholas Knopf ’06 earned honors for his doctoral dissertation at the University of Rochester. /Photo by Eryn Yates

Christina Knopf was a shy 17-year-old who only knew she wanted to write at the time she enrolled. Professor Sandra Camillo thought she would be a good fit for the student aide job in the college public relations office. It became the first stop on Christina’s path toward a doctorate in political communication and cultural sociology.

Her cousin, Nicholas Knopf, enrolled at FLCC to stay local while awaiting a kidney transplant then discovered his love for literature in Deborah Ferrell’s class. In 2019, he was honored for his dissertation exploring the portrayal of physical disabilities in English and American literature.

Woman at podium
Christina Knopf, a faculty member at SUNY Cortland, studies society through comic book superheroes and graphic novels.

Christina and Nick are among the alumni who credit FLCC as the springboard for careers in research. Their stories are featured in the new edition of The Laker Magazine.

Nationally, community colleges get attention for their agility in developing applied programs to meet local needs. Think of courses for wind turbine technicians at two-year schools in the Midwest and FLCC’s viticulture and wine technology degree.

It is not uncommon, however, for students who got their start at community college to pursue doctoral degrees. The National Student Clearinghouse reports that 11 percent of those who earned doctoral degrees in 2016-17 entered higher education at a community college. The proportion was highest in the health and clinical sciences in which 21.5 percent of all those who earned doctoral research degrees started at a two-year school.

Christina entered FLCC knowing only that she wanted to write. “When I was at FLCC, I had no idea that I would end up getting a Ph.D.,” she said.

Continue reading “FLCC to Ph.D. Part 4: Open to possibilities”

FLCC to Ph.D. Part 3: Studying Chernobyl

Woman in science lab
Cara Love ’05, shown at a University of Georgia lab, is earning a Ph.D. in ecology. / Photo by Beth Gavrilles

Cara Love was a homeschooler who needed a high school equivalency diploma as a bridge to college. While prepping for the state exam at Finger Lakes Community College, she found a place to begin exploring her fascination with human impacts on the natural world. Today she is studying the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on wolves.

Cara is among the  alumni who credit FLCC as the springboard for careers in research. In each case a person or program at the college was just what they needed at just the right moment.

Nationally, community colleges get attention for their agility in developing applied programs to meet local needs. Think of courses for wind turbine technicians at two-year schools in the Midwest and FLCC’s viticulture and wine technology degree.

Cover of The Laker magazine
Cara Love is one of several alumni featured in the newest edition of The Laker magazine. Click this image to read the electronic version.

It is not uncommon, however, for students who got their start at community college to pursue doctoral degrees. The National Student Clearinghouse reports that 11 percent of those who earned doctoral degrees in 2016-17 entered higher education at a community college. The proportion was highest in the health and clinical sciences in which 21.5 percent of all those who earned doctoral research degrees started at a two-year school.

Cara arrived at FLCC at age 17. Homeschooled in Naples, she quickly moved through her high school equivalency program into an eclectic mix of college classes: Wilderness Camping, Spanish, Cultural Anthropology, Business Mathematics, Foundation Drawing, Computing in the Information Age, and Biology of Man: Genetics, Evolution and Environment.

“I realized how much I loved the atmosphere at FLCC,” she said. “Some of the best teachers I’ve ever had were at FLCC. They took the time to inspire and encourage my curiosity about the world around me as well as explore my own interests and new topics.”

Continue reading “FLCC to Ph.D. Part 3: Studying Chernobyl”

FLCC to Ph.D. Part 2: This thing called math

About two years into his career teaching mathematics at FLCC, Charles Hoffman ’01 set in motion a chain of events that has advanced the development of cloaking technology.

All he did was answer a student’s question. That student, Ryan Vogt, had signed up for Charles’ class to fulfill a requirement for computer science. Ryan had hated math in high school.

Male student in front of NC State sign
Ryan Vogt ’13 is on track to earn his doctorate in mathematics from North Carolina State University this spring./Photo by Ken Martin

“He took the time to tell me a story about why math was important,” Ryan explained. “He spent a great amount of time with me.”

Ryan is now finishing up his Ph.D. in mathematics at North Carolina State University and has spent the last two summers working at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. His research has included solving problems in the development of binary electromagnetic cloaking, the science of manipulating the paths of light to make an object optically invisible.

Ryan is among the alumni who credit FLCC as the springboard for careers in research. In each case a person or program at the college was just what they needed at just the right moment.

Cover of The Laker magazine
Ryan’s story is one of several in the Winter/Spring edition of The Laker magazine. Click this image to read the electronic version.

Nationally, community colleges get attention for their agility in developing applied programs to meet local needs. Think of courses for wind turbine technicians at two-year schools in the Midwest and FLCC’s viticulture and wine technology degree.

It is not uncommon, however, for students who got their start at community college to pursue doctoral degrees. The National Student Clearinghouse reports that 11 percent of those who earned doctoral degrees in 2016-17 entered higher education at a community college. The proportion was highest in the health and clinical sciences in which 21.5 percent of all those who earned doctoral research degrees started at a two-year school.

Continue reading “FLCC to Ph.D. Part 2: This thing called math”

FLCC to Ph.D. Part 1: A professor’s story

The newest edition of The Laker magazine features four alumni who have earned or are about to earn Ph.D.s. Each talks about how their FLCC experience contributed to their decision to pursue academic research. We’ll share their stories over the next several days -and the full magazine will appear in your mailbox. (Not on the mailing list? Let us know.)

In the meantime, FLCC faculty have their own stories to tell.

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.

Tomorrow, Part 2: This thing called math

Alumni: Stay in touch
We love learning your stories and sharing them. Help us stay in touch by updating your contact information. Click here for an online form to record your address and any news.

 

Podcast explores ‘Ontario County History and Culture’

Three people making a podcast
Valerie Knoblauch, executive director of Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, moderates a podcast with Fred and Nancy Goodnow, who have led the effort to restore the Cheshire Grange building, at the Finger Lakes TV podcasts studio at the Finger Lakes Community College main campus.

A diverse community group has created a local podcast to share efforts to support and promote local history and the arts.

“Ontario County History and Culture” was recorded in the Finger Lakes Television podcast studio at the Finger Lakes Community College main campus in Canandaigua.
FLTV Podcast logo

The first episode of the podcast was released on Feb. 23 with a new episode released weekly through April 12. Ontario County History and Culture is available through iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. It also can be accessed on the Finger Lakes Television website at ochc.fingerlakestv.org.

George Herren, retired Ontario County property tax services director and operations division manager, who serves on several community groups, approached the Ontario County Historical Society, Ontario County Arts Council and the Cheshire Community Action Team about co-sponsoring the podcast and all parties agreed.

“After learning that Finger Lakes TV was expanding into podcasting, I thought it would be a golden opportunity to share information about all the work that is done to preserve our local history and promote the arts,” he said. “A lot happens behind the scenes to make our county such a vibrant place to live and visit.”

Herren enlisted a wide range of moderators and guest presenters, including Preston Pierce, Ontario County historian; Fred and Nancy Goodnow; who are leading the effort to restore the former Cheshire Grange as a local theater and meeting hall; former Mayor Ellen Polimeni, and Sheriff Kevin Henderson.

Finger Lakes TV, the local public access cable station, offers the service for a fee to cover costs associated with recording, editing and uploading podcasts for distribution. The project also provided hands-on experience in podcast recording and editing for a Finger Lakes Community College student.

Finger Lakes TV is a community service funded by local municipalities and based at FLCC through an in-kind donation of space and administrative services. More information about Finger Lakes TV is available at fingerlakestv.org or by calling (585) 785-1623.

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.

 

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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