Furthering their education outside of the classroom, a group of seven Alfred State business students were able to expand their knowledge and network with experts in the field Sept. 14-16 at the Financial Planning Association’s Annual Conference in Baltimore.
The conference is the largest gathering of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professionals and financial planning thought leaders, according to the conference’s website, http://fpa-be.org/. The website further states that the attendees, speakers, and partners are among the “most innovative folks in the industry” who come together to connect and share ideas.
Attending from Alfred State were Joseph Henderson, of Far Rockaway; Jerome Hart, of Wellsville; Jason Moore, of Fairport; Denton Cassels, of Bronx; Valerie Wallace, of Rexville; Sierra King, of Clyde; and Alanna Conciardo, of Buffalo. All of the students are financial planning majors except for Hart (business management) and Cassels (business administration).
The students had access to more than 30 trainings on financial planning topics and were able to interact with hundreds of financial planners and financial companies from across the nation. They were also able to have formal and informal interviews with many different companies.
Scott DuMond, assistant professor in the Business Department, who accompanied the students to Baltimore, said the conference provided students with fantastic exposure to the business world, as well as their future career options.
“This conference really opened up their eyes to the many careers that are available to them with a financial planning degree from Alfred State,” he said. “Most FPA members have their CFP certificate, and our financial planning major is a CFP Board-Registered program. This means that our graduates not only obtain their bachelor’s degree, but that they have met the educational requirements necessary to sit for the CFP test, which is a big deal. Each student who attended the FPA Conference was engaged and shared that it was beneficial to them.”
Speaking first-hand to the value of the conference to the students, Conciardo said, “These events are so important because they ready students for the times when these professional interactions could make or break a career opportunity. Being prepared and comfortable in situations such as these can set you apart early on in your career when you aren’t expected to be comfortable.”
King described the conference as a “wonderful learning and networking opportunity.”
“I was surrounded by many professionals who were more than eager to engage with you, and it honestly was an eye-opener for me,” she said. “I feel privileged to have been able to attend the conference. Overall, it was a great experience.”
Without the assistance of college volunteers, many public, non-profit, and community-based organizations would not be able to fulfill their missions of service to others. That’s why a Community Involvement Fair at Alfred State attracted a crowd of organizations eager to enlist the support of more students.
Many of the organizations present at the fair have benefited from a flood of Alfred State student volunteers and interns in the past, which is why they were looking to recruit Pioneers again.
Susan Hooker, executive director of the Hornell Area Concern for Youth, noted that “there are so many ways” in which Alfred State students have helped her organization. She particularly complimented the human service management students who have completed their 400-hour management-focused internship at Concern for Youth, saying they have been “excellent.”
“Alfred State students are well prepared to enter into non-profit internships or volunteer experiences,” she said. “They come in, interact with the youth, and share their ideas and talents.”
Hannah Spalding, recruitment manager for The Service Collaborative of Western New York, mentioned two recent Alfred State graduates who have served as Americorps members through programs offered by her organization. One of them served in Clifton Springs helping veterans, and another is currently a tutor and mentor in Buffalo city schools.
“The whole point of our agency is to connect individuals with volunteer and service opportunities in the community, wherever their community may be,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to exist without people who want to be engaged, so I would say Alfred State students absolutely help us do what we do.”
Though Bryan Gamache became the executive director of the Allegany County United Way in July, he is no stranger to working with Alfred State students, noting that he has had positive experiences with them in the past when he was with Accord. Given the number of students who had expressed interest in volunteering with the United Way during the fair, the impact they could have would be “phenomenal,” he said.
“We depend a lot on volunteers, and based on the conversations I’ve had today,” he said, “going forward, if we were to have this group of students come together, I think a lot of good ideas would come of that.”
At the Community Involvement Fair, 28 organizations from Alfred and the surrounding region were on-hand to highlight internship, volunteer, and community engagement opportunities. Students from nearby Alfred University were also invited to participate, as students network with potential employer or internship sites, make valuable community connections, and discover ways to get involved.
Making the US News & World Report Best Colleges rankings for the 10th straight year, Alfred State performed better than ever before.
The prestigious publication recognized a tremendous value at Alfred State for the price. For schools with out-of-state tuition below $18,000, Alfred State is the number one regional college in the North.
Another gold medal achievement recognizes that many students are looking for just the right-sized school. US News & World Report notes an 18:1 faculty to student ratio for personalized attention at Alfred State, while also operating a campus large enough to offer students a wide variety of activities and choices for majors. For schools with an undergraduate population of 3,000 students or more, again Alfred State is ranked in first place among northern regional colleges.
When considering all factors in the Best Colleges rankings, Alfred State advanced seven spots, coming in at 12th place overall for regional colleges in the North, up from last year’s 19th ranking.
“It’s extremely gratifying for US News & World Report Best Colleges to recognize the fine reputation of our faculty, the excellence of our staff, and the superior experience that we offer students,” said Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan. “We work hard to provide the very best education at a reasonable price and to deliver personalized attention to a good-sized student population. On those two measures of low cost and right sized, US News & World Report ranks us number one among northern regional colleges. We couldn’t be more proud.”
The college also earned a sixth-place ranking among all public regional colleges in the North. In the rankings for Best Regional Colleges for Veterans in the North, Alfred State moved up eight spots, coming in at sixth, and also ranked third among public regional colleges for veterans in the North.
US News & World Report’s Best Colleges list is one of the most sought-after rankings among colleges and universities across the nation. The rankings include data from 1,620 colleges and focus on academic excellence, with schools ranked on seven measures of academic quality.
“The US News & World Report rankings are a testament to the excellent programs and services provided by faculty and staff across SUNY, and a reminder to our current and future students that SUNY is dedicated to providing them with a highly valuable degree that will serve them well long after graduation,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to Alfred State on this much-deserved recognition.”
Visitors to the David A. Howe Library in Wellsville from Wednesday, Sept. 21 to Friday, Sept. 23 will have a chance to learn more about the history of Alfred State as part of Allegany County History Awareness Week, which runs from Sept. 19-25.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. those days, the college will have a table set up at the library displaying a number of pictures, historical items, old yearbooks, a DVD highlighting Alfred State’s 100th anniversary, and books produced to commemorate the college’s 60th and 100th years.
“Alfred State is proud to be a part of the first-ever Allegany County History Awareness Week,” said Michael Colomaio, assistant professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department. “We look forward to educating those who visit our display on the rich history of our college, as well as the exciting progress it has made since being founded in 1908.”
History buffs who visit the Wellsville library during the week will also have the chance to view famous American artifacts in the exhibition room, as well as historical presentations in the library auditorium in the evenings. Allegany County museums will be opening their doors at varying times and days during the week, and the Palmer Opera House in Cuba will host an event on Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. featuring re-enactors who will share the life stories from various notable historical personalities representing different towns in Allegany County.
With the new minor in psychology, Alfred State students now have the opportunity to explore various psychological processes and their impact on human behavior.
The minor, which was added in time for the start of the fall 2016 semester, is open to students in any of the college’s baccalaureate programs. However, it may particularly interest students in programs such as forensic science technology, business administration, human services management, and more.
Dr. Jill Amati, chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, which houses the minor, said, “The psychology minor is a great addition for our students. It complements Alfred State’s baccalaureate programs and offers students the opportunity to specialize their degree plan in a way that relates to their major.”
The psychology minor requires a minimum of 15 credit hours in psychology and includes an introductory course, two upper-level psychology courses, and two psychology electives. At least three credits must not count toward the student’s major, and at least three credits must be completed at Alfred State.
For his role in developing a new environmentally friendly cooling system, Dr. Jon Owejan, an assistant professor in Alfred State’s Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Department, has recently been nominated as a Campus Connector for the 2016 Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards.
The organizers of the awards, Upstate Venture Connect (UVC), received more than 100 submissions celebrating entrepreneurial leaders throughout Upstate New York who are transforming the region’s economy.
“This is a clear sign of how our ecosystem has become more connected and inclusive with so many entrepreneurial leaders emerging to transform their communities, and the region as a whole,” said UVC Founder and Venture Catalyst Martin Babinec.
Winners, chosen by an independent panel of judges, will be announced at a special luncheon event held at Turning Stone Resort in Verona on Sept. 16, featuring keynote speaker Tim Keenan, co-founder of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship.
Owejan’s nomination comes after he, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Department Chair Dr. Matthew Lawrence, and Nathan DeMario, a mechanical engineering technology student from South Wales, worked to develop a cooling and dehumidification system that does not use chemical refrigerants and compressors to carry heat out of buildings. The goal was to improve energy efficiency while eliminating the harmful impact that hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants have on global warming.
As part of the commercialization effort, a start-up company called Phase Innovations was formed with the intent to launch a product that will significantly reduce operational and maintained costs relative to conventional systems. For more information, visit phaseinnovations.com.
Owejan noted that technology transfer activities are an ideal catalyst for engaging engineering students in purpose-driven learning.
“The successes of these activities are highly dependent on the strong entrepreneurial network in upstate New York,” he said.
Speaking about Owejan’s award nomination, Lawrence said it represents an overdue recognition of one of Alfred State’s best young faculty.
“Jon has excelled in every possible way during his time here, and this nomination demonstrates his successes reach far beyond the classroom,” Lawrence said. “Dr. Owejan has, in addition to his regular duties as a professor, pursued this applied research not just in the classroom and lab, but he is actively leading a team through NEXUS-NY, a very competitive seed accelerator program based in Rochester.
He added, “Jon is as good as an engineering technology professor can be. His expertise in his field is world-class, his passion for his discipline is evident in his classroom instruction, and he involves students in his many cutting-edge research initiatives.”
Faculty and staff weren’t the only ones welcoming new students to Alfred State last month during the college’s annual Week of Welcome.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, the Hinkle Memorial Library brought in a group of therapy dogs for students needing to catch their breath amidst all of the exciting events taking place on campus that week, which are intended to help students have fun, get involved, and feel at home. The canines were from the same Therapy Dogs International (TDI) Canisteo chapter that sends them and their handlers to the library during finals week for both the fall and spring semesters.
“Handlers are always thrilled to visit the library, saying they look forward to seeing our students and interacting with them,” said Library Instructional Support Assistant Amie Acton. “Ice cream sundaes were also served that day, much to the students’ delight. The event helped the library boost awareness of its presence, space, and services among incoming students, and is a part of the library’s continuing efforts to be more visible on campus.”
Students won’t have to wait long for the therapy dogs’ next visit, which will be in December during finals week.