May 2017

Three Alfred State adult students receive RACCE awards

Posted Date: Monday, May 1, 2017 - 11:00
Two of the winners pose with Dr. Robert Curry
Pictured are Alfred State students and 2017 RACCE Outstanding Adult Student
winners Robert Orton, left, James Dombert, center, and Dean of the School of
Arts and Sciences Dr. Robert Curry. Not pictured is award winner Kyle Brown.

More than 30 of the brightest and most highly motivated adult students within the Rochester area were honored recently with Outstanding Adult Student Awards, including three from Alfred State.

Presenting the awards was the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE), a consortium of area colleges that promotes and advocates for continuing education to adult and other non-traditional students in the greater Rochester area. RACCE’s extensive network of college administrators provide information about educational programs to students and fosters collaboration and professional development opportunities among its membership.

The Outstanding Adult Student Award recognizes adult students who have excelled academically while successfully combining their college education with other commitments to family, job, career, and service to the community. Receiving awards from Alfred State were Kyle Brown, nursing, Randolph; James Dombert, automotive technology, Hornell; and Robert Orton, entrepreneurship, Wellsville.

Brown, who maintains a 3.88 GPA, has had model performance in his classes in preparation for a bachelor’s in nursing. His participation, attitude, assistance to other students, and scholarly work are always exemplary.

Brown has received multiple awards and honors for his scholarly abilities and for his participation in civic engagement and community work. He also contributes his time and knowledge as a supplemental instructor to the nursing students at Alfred State, and has experience as a registered nurse at a summer camp as a lead RN.

Dombert, who has earned a 3.0 GPA, is a very dedicated student. His effort and performance on labs, homework, as well as midterm and final exams were outstanding. In addition to his academic work, Dombert works part time at Lowes in Hornell, and is a father to two boys.

Dombert’s patience with other students in the class is always impressive. One particular student he worked with throughout an entire course did not have tools or a vehicle to work on. Dombert was kind and compassionate with this student, allowing him use his tools and project vehicle. 
Orton, who maintains a 3.73 GPA, has been on the dean's list since the fall of 2015.  He is married and has two young children. In addition to family and school, Orton is a teacher's aide in the Cattaraugus-Allegheny School District and works with special needs students.  He is a member of the Cross Town Alliance Church and is a lead usher, groundskeeper, and leader of two groups, the Teenage Group and Couples' Group. 

Orton is a veteran of the United States Air Force and spends time working with other veterans on campus. Outside of school, Orton is very busy with family, work, and volunteering.  His ability to balance each of these aspects of his life is remarkable.

Alfred State grad encourages students to Dream It! Do It!

Posted Date: Monday, May 1, 2017 - 13:15

Story originally published 4/29/17 in Olean Times Herald by Tom Dinki.

PORTVILLE — More than 900 local middle and high school students got the chance to operate forklift simulators, explore virtual Minecraft maps and maybe even shake hands with their future boss at Dream It Do It Western New York’s Manufacturing and STEM Fair Friday at Portville High School.

“The manufacturers here have come out — they’re coming out of their busy day and wanting people to be aware of what we have here in the Olean area,” said Evelyn Sabina, DIDI-WNY project coordinator.

Cody Young, a drafter with Pierce Steel Fabricators, showed students what the metal fabrication company does, from designing small metal signs to building large air filtration tanks.

“We build anything that’s really, really small to anything that’s really, really big that we might send all over the United States,” he said.

Young also gave students advice on becoming drafters and welders. The 2014 Alfred State College graduate recommended students do what he did: attend a local college with a good drafting or welding program.

“(The fair) keeps kids interested in something for their future, and … shows the kids what’s out there and what possibilities there are,” he said.

Students in Tech Unleashed — a computer, augmented and virtual reality, graphic art, and video editing program for high school students — created a 10-minute Minecraft challenge for other students to try on laptops at the fair.

Christina Lopez, whose Olean tech center Boundless Connections runs Tech Unleashed with Strength Solutions, said students recreated Boundless Connections’ North Union Street shop in sandbox video game Minecraft for the challenge.

“Right down to the details,” she said.

Lopez noticed more girls at Friday’s fair than in years past. Getting more girls interested in STEM has been a focus for DIDI-WNY, as women only made up 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce in 2013, despite making up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, according to the National Science Board.

“We’re getting a lot more girls this year that are engaged, that actually know how to do this stuff, so that’s good to see,” Lopez said.

A group of middle school girls lined up to try Cummins Inc.’s virtual forklift simulator. Greg Scott, safety coordinator for Cummins’ Lakewood engine factory, said students liked the hands-on aspects of the simulator, which is the same simulator Cummins uses to train its drivers.

“It really goes through everything a power vehicle driver would have to go through — all the controls, how to get things properly and safely around the plant up and down on the racks,” Scott said.

The fair shows students there are manufacturing jobs all over, Scott said. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment to decline in most manufacturing industries between 2012 and 2022, it also expects future job openings because of retiring workers.

Dream It. Do It Students
A group of middle school girls lined up to try
Cummins Inc.’s virtual forklift simulator.
Courtesy: Tom Dinki, Olean Times Herald

“We have 1,400 employees and we’re going to need 1,400 more someday down the road,” Scott said. “Some of these kids in four or five years might be building the same engine that’s going to be doing down the road on a trailer, so it’s great to get out here and show what we got, make some connections with the kids.”

Time capsule dedicated, lots of fun had at Hog Wild Day

Posted Date: Monday, May 1, 2017 - 14:45

Wellsville students lower the time capsule into its spot

From a mechanical bull, to a competitive tug of war contest, to a time capsule dedication, this year’s Hog Wild Day celebration on Alfred State’s School of Applied Technology campus was definitely one to remember.

Featuring a carnival theme, the annual end-of-the-school-year celebration included a number of activities, such as jousting, mechanical bull-riding, and carnival games. Various prizes and raffle tickets were awarded, and a number of contests also took place, including tug of war, “Loudest Exhaust,” and “Loudest Stereo.”

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wellsville campus, the college held a time capsule dedication at the Pioneer Student Union (PSU). The capsule is located just outside the PSU and is not to be opened for another 25 years.

Inside the capsule are a number of items, including copies of historical papers from the opening of the campus in October 1966, a list of original faculty members, a Wellsville campus faculty and staff directory, a school calendar from the 1966-1967 academic year, curriculum lists, and a map of the campus.  Also included in the capsule are copies of current year’s 50th anniversary celebration memorabilia, a current faculty and staff directory list, school calendar, curriculum catalog, and a map of the campus.

Speaking at the time capsule dedication was Jeff Stevens, interim dean of the Wellsville campus, who played the No. 1 songs from 50 years and 25 years ago over a speaker during his speech. He encouraged everyone to return to campus 25 years from now for the opening of the time capsule, and also to remember how “we took time out to have fun today, eat some snow cones, play some tug of war, and enjoy each other’s company.”

“It’s important in life to slow down sometimes and just remember what was important,” he said. “We might remember the songs, we might remember the moments, but we’ll certainly have some great memories of the friendship and the camaraderie that came along with it.”

Since Alfred State classes first began in Wellsville in 1966, the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc. has owned and maintained the campus, having made more than $8 million in improvements over the years. The group is a private foundation representing faculty, staff, and friends of Alfred State dedicated to improving the college community through the support of educational programs.

Alfred State’s Dr. Jakobi publishes book on animals, plants, and other life forms

Posted Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 14:00

Retired Alfred State Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Steven Jakobi has published a new book on Amazon's CreateSpace platform. Titled “Birds, Bats, Bugs, Beavers, Bacteria: Lessons from Nature,” this collection of 37 essays spans the spectrum of life from viruses and bacteria to plants and animals.

“The stories not only touch on the lives and habits of the organisms themselves, but also delve into folklore, myth, and the history of discovery by people who advanced scientific knowledge,” Jakobi said. “The stories also highlight how life has solved many of the technical and engineering problems that people are currently working on, and the lessons we can learn from even the simplest of creatures.”

Each essay is presented in a short (three to 10 pages), nontechnical fashion, and includes autobiographical sketches of how biology has shaped the author's life and attitudes. An earlier version of this book was published in 2015 as “Giorgio the 'Possum and Other Stories from Nature,” but this new volume has up-to-date information, seven additional stories and pen-and-ink drawings made by the author. “Birds, Bats, Bugs, Beavers, Bacteria: Lessons from Nature” is available from Amazon, on Kindle, or can be ordered from retail outlets.

Steven Jakobi, PhD, has taught biology and environmental science for 30 years. His love of biology and nature began at a young age in his native Hungary. Although retired from full-time teaching, he continues to serve as adjunct instructor at Alfred State.

Valerie Nixon wins statewide award for student advocacy

Posted Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 15:15

Executive Vice President Val NixonWhile Val Nixon oversees administration, advancement, enrollment, and finances for Alfred State’s two campuses, she remains committed to helping students figure out their own finances for college, and recently won a statewide award for her dedication. The State University of New York Financial Aid Professionals (SUNYFAP) honored Nixon with the 2017 Daniel Sistarenik Advocacy Award.

“Over the course of nearly 30 years of service to Alfred State, Val has advanced in increasing roles of authority, and she remains devoted to providing a student-centered campus,” said Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State. “Through her supervision, she directs her staff to provide comprehensive service to our students. We’re proud of Val for winning this award and for being an outstanding advocate on behalf of students”.

Dan Sistarenik, retired SUNY New Paltz director of financial aid, was honored by SUNYFAP when the group established this award in his name in 2015. The student advocacy award is only bestowed when nominating committee members believe that there is a deserving individual who has given a significant long-term commitment to the profession. Sistarenik and Dan Hunter, director emeritus of Financial Aid for Buffalo State, nominated Nixon for the 2017 honor.

Nixon started her career at Alfred State as director of financial aid in 1987. More recently, she was promoted to executive vice president in 2012 and led the college as interim president during the presidential search in 2013. Prior to that, Nixon served as vice president for administration and enrollment and vice president for enrollment management, having been named vice president in 2005. She has also been director of student financial services and director of financial aid. Before joining the college, she held positions at Alfred University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and The College at Brockport.

The recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 1994, Nixon has received numerous professional awards, including the New York State Financial Aid Administrator's Association (NYSFAAA) Founder's Award, and the NYSFAAA region 2 Service Award, which she received twice. She is the recipient of the State University of New York Financial Aid Professionals (SUNYFAP) Daniel Sistarenik Advocacy Award, and the Bill Troy Service Award, the highest honor that organization bestows.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from SUNY Fredonia and a Master of Professional Studies degree in community services administration from Alfred University. Nixon is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and serves on a number of professional boards and committees, including the executive boards of the State University Business Officers Association (SUBOA), Upstate New York College Collaboration (UNYCC) and the Alfred Technology Resources, Inc. She is past president of CCSG, Inc., a charitable organization that provides support for local needy families.

Students plan for both sun and studies this summer

Posted Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 10:00

With nearly a hundred courses available online, Alfred State’s summer session offers everything from the history of western civilization to a class for leaders of the future. Online classes begin on May 22, June 12, or June 26 and some include concentrated studies for completion as fast as three weeks.

“Some of our new courses this summer include healthcare ethics and organizational behavior,” said Wendy Dresser-Recktenwald, senior director of Human Resources and the Center for Continuing Education and Training at Alfred State. “Not only do we have a wide variety of courses, but we also serve a diverse audience including college students wanting to knockout a course early to gain extra credits during the break, and those who want to concentrate on a certain class over the summer to boost their GPA.”

James Reese and Kelly Harrison at a computer and desk
James Reese and Kelly Harrison with Alfred State’s Center for Continuing Education
and Training register students for summer session classes beginning May 22.

The same experienced faculty who teach during fall and spring semesters also facilitate Alfred State’s summer courses. Online students choose from classes that take three, five, 10, or 12 weeks to complete. The flexibility of online classes also makes it possible to balance course work with a summer job, internship, or family vacation.

“Students attending other colleges and universities often enroll in our summer classes as non-matriculated students,” said Dresser-Recktenwald. “It’s a good idea to check with an academic adviser at your home campus about the applicability of the classes you select for your degree program. It’s a popular option since our summer tuition is a fraction of the cost of private universities.”

Courses include general education subjects and program-specific classes. A full list of courses and registration information for summer session is available at

New reverse vending machine available at Alfred State

Posted Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 13:00
Man poses while putting a bottle into the machine
Alfred State Student Senate Executive Vice President Eric
Hulbert makes a deposit in the college’s new reverse
vending machine, located in the Student Leadership Center.

Looking to wipe out improperly discarded bottles and cans on campus, Alfred State has now made available a reverse vending machine to students, employees, and community members alike.

Located on the first floor of the Student Leadership Center (SLC), the machine is now available for use during normal SLC hours, 7 a.m. to midnight each day, and will be available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday as of May 15 (summer hours). Users from both on-campus and the public may bring in only plastic bottles and metal cans (no glass) to be recycled, for a receipt to be redeemed for cash within 30 days at the Campus Bookstore, located in the same building.

To mark the availability of the new machine, the college recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony during its Earth Week festivities. Students, faculty, and staff gathered to watch as Student Senate Executive Vice President Eric Hulbert (network administration, Mexico, NY) and AmeriCorps VISTA member Cassandra Bull were the first to use the new bottle and can recycling machine. Both Bull and Hulbert were instrumental in bringing the machine to campus.

Bull said students and employees made a push for many years to bring a reverse vending machine to campus, and that she can’t believe they finally got one.

“We’re really proud of it. Right now, it’s our job to spread the word about this great opportunity that isn’t 12 miles away to return bottles and cans,” she said, referring to the nearest redemption center a dozen miles away in Hornell. “Hopefully, it will lessen the amount of waste on our campus.”

Provided by the Tomra Recycling Company, the machine’s exterior wrap was designed by digital media and animation major Callie McIntosh, of Canton. The machine was paid for through the Alfred State Student Senate’s Green Pioneer Sustainability Grant, which provides funding for Alfred State students working in environmental-related projects.

Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State, said it is exciting to see this student initiative come to fruition. 

“This is just the latest example of the creative ways that Alfred State students are addressing sustainability challenges,” he said.

Looking to the future, Alfred State plans on increasing the amount and variety of its machines and expanding their locations to residence halls and other buildings on campus.

BUV team secures back-to-back top finishes in annual competition

Posted Date: Monday, May 8, 2017 - 10:15

For the second consecutive year, the Alfred State Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) Team earned a first-place finish in the annual intercollegiate BUV Design Competition in Batavia, OH.

The team tied with the University of Cincinnati for first place, making this the fourth time Alfred State’s squad has come out on top. The team has also come in second four times since first entering the competition in 2006.

The contest is a combination of a race and manufacturing design competition. Other schools that competed include Baylor University, Purdue, Trine, and Texas A&M.

This year’s team consisted of William Faes (mechanical engineering technology, Canisteo), Dominic Freudenvoll (mechanical engineering technology, Rochester), Robert Kelso (mechanical engineering technology, Middletown), and Kyle Glaub (mechanical engineering technology, Buffalo). The team was accompanied by Academic Support Technician Ray Gleason, and Steven Martinelli, professor in the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Department, who served as the team’s adviser.

According to Martinelli each team’s vehicle was judged prior to the competition. Points were awarded at the onset of the competition with respect to safety, innovation, and construction. The Alfred State team received all points possible at the inspection.

members of this year’s BUV Team wearing Alfred State T-shirts
Pictured are the members of this year’s Alfred State BUV Team, which tied for first place in
the 2017 BUV Design Competition in Batavia, OH. From left to right are Academic Support
Technician Ray Gleason, William Faes, Dominic Freudenvoll, Robert Kelso, and Kyle Glaub.
Not pictured is the team’s adviser, Steven Martinelli, professor in the Mechanical and
Electrical Engineering Technology Department.

As for the competition, which was primarily an endurance test, each team’s vehicle was required to haul three 55-gallon drums full of water three times around a very muddy track that was about 1.5 miles in length. The teams then had to unload the water into a pond, reload the barrels with water, and repeat the process until the competition ended.

While the Alfred State squad experienced a number of mechanical challenges throughout the day, they never relented, completing four cycles of the competition. After all points were calculated, judges determined that the Alfred State group had tied for first.

“The team performed professionally and admirably through all of the difficulties and mechanical challenges that they faced,” Martinelli said. “They never once considered quitting.”

Hiring season for new graduates

Posted Date: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 10:30

When the staff at Day Automation comes to campus, they don’t come merely to meet new students; they know they are here to meet their future co-workers. The company’s system controls and video surveillance systems are operating in over 200 K-12 school districts, 20 colleges, universities, and hospitals across the state, thanks in large part to the work of Alfred State graduates.

“Of our entire technical and engineering staff, Alfred State grads represent over 50 percent of that staff,” said Mick George, director of marketing for Day Automation. “Our founder, James Day, is an Alfred State graduate, along with sales engineers, project managers, and one of our VPs.”

George says what makes Alfred State graduates into such great employees is a passion for the development of electronic, mechanical, and computerized solutions used by Day Automation clients.

“The students we contact for follow-up interviews have demonstrated enthusiasm. Alfred State graduates who are hired are capable to hit the ground running,” he said “Their education in electrical and mechanical engineering provides a solid foundation for building a facility’s video surveillance, access control, or building automation systems. Our in-house development and deployment software allows for a quick start-up and execution of jobs for entire K-12 school districts, universities, hospitals, and commercial buildings.”

employers and students at tables in the gymnasium
Hundreds of students meet their future employers at a recent career fair on campus.

Thanks to an emphasis on applied learning in all programs, and an abundance of majors focused on preparing students for in-demand careers, the employment and continuing education rate at Alfred State is an astounding 99 percent.

Companies like Rochester-based Surfwrench LLC recognize that new graduates are ready and qualified to begin their careers right away. Surfwrench attended a recent career fair looking for automotive technicians and people to develop the company’s app and website.

“The resumes that I’ve gotten from students shows they are very sharp developers,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and head of marketing and sales for Surfwrench LLC. “The idea that you have an application-based curriculum in the IT department is fantastic. It’s something that you don’t see a lot of, hands-on specialization in IT.”

Employers came from as far away as the west coast to meet students at the career fair. Cisco Meraki traveled from California to recruit talented students for both internships and full-time careers. Companies wanting to recruit on campus, post a job opening, and participate in future career fairs should contact Elaine Morsman, director of Career Development,

Student Showcase highlights impressive projects

Posted Date: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 15:00
two male students holding their electrical engineering project, standing in front of a poster presentation
Javel Smith, electrical engineering technology, Bronx, left, and Kevin Gordon, electrical
engineering technology, Brooklyn

Throughout the academic year, students spend countless hours utilizing their talents and knowledge to create some amazing projects, a number of which were on display recently for all to see during the annual Student Showcase. 

With the aid of models, posters, prototypes, multimedia exhibits, and sometimes even their advisers, the students took attendees step-by-step through their own learning and achievement process. Examples of projects included a fire-fighting robot, an automated wood-cutting system, a virtual reality project, membrane heat pump research, community service efforts, a replica of a NASCAR motor, and more. 

Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost, said, “I never cease to be overly and utterly amazed by the work that our students do. Across our curricula, our students engage in hands-on, applied learning, and they make discoveries and create products that will benefit all of humanity.” 

Robert Privitera, a human services management major from North Tonawanda, said, “The Student Showcase is great because it lets students get the opportunity to really be proud of the work they’ve produced and to show it to other people. It’s one thing to turn in an awesome project and just be proud of it by yourself, but getting the opportunity to show it off and tell other people about is really rewarding.” 

Brittany Richards, a forensic science technology major from Geneseo, said, “The Student Showcase is a really great way of showcasing a project I was able to work an entire semester on and display the hard work I’ve put in and kind of brag about it in a way to all of the faculty and staff and students who get to come through and see it.”