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Campus News

Retired Alfred State professor talks GMO foods with Honors Program students

Posted Date: Monday, February 27, 2017 - 15:45
The Honors program students pictured with Emeritus Professor John Buckwalter
Pictured from left to right are Alfred State Honors Program students Mary Rose Ricotta (forensic science technology, Derby), ShirleeJae Illsley (architecture, Castle Creek), Nic Covelli (surveying and geomatics engineering technology, Stormville), Professor Emeritus John Buckwalter, Stacy Duink (architecture, Hamburg), Brittany Richards (forensic science technology, Piffard), Cassandra Ryan (mechanical engineering technology, Gloversville), and Ian Potash (digital media and animation, Syracuse).

Emeritus Professor John Buckwalter returned to the Alfred State campus recently to meet with members of the college’s Honors Program, and present up-to-date information on GMO (genetically-modified organism) foods.

The topic of GMO foods is sometimes controversial, and the processes behind creating them are often poorly understood by the average person, Buckwalter said. While the benefits of using the process to create pest-resistant strains of numerous plants are clear, not every country allows GMO crops to be planted. 

According to Buckwalter, humans have been genetically ‘modifying’ food crop plants for millennia, and today’s GMO foods have undergone a lengthy, rigorous review process before being introduced to the public. Buckwalter retired in 2013 after teaching biology at the college for 31 years, finishing his career at the rank of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor. During his career, Buckwalter also taught in Ethiopia, China, and Russia, accompanied to each location by his wife, Laurel.


Bianchi promoted to lieutenant within Alfred State’s police department

Posted Date: Monday, February 27, 2017 - 15:30

Man is posed sitting for pictureFollowing the retirement of Lt. Ed Kenney, Officer Kris Bianchi has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant within the University Police Department at Alfred State. Bianchi began his new duties on Feb. 23.

Originally from downstate New York, Bianchi began his law enforcement career with the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, where he served as a corrections officer. Bianchi was hired as an officer with the University Police Department in August 2012, and graduated from the Elmira Regional Police Academy in 2013. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the State University of New York at Oneonta.

Chief Matt Heller said, “Kris Bianchi has shown over his time with the department that he iscommitted to the department and the college. He has taken on additional responsibilities and has shown he is ready for the next step in his career. Lt. Bianchi is looking forward to the challenges of the position, and I know he will be successful.”

Since graduating from the academy, Bianchi has attended numerous Department of Criminal Justice Services trainings, some of which include: Police Field Training Officer, Law EnforcementBicycle Patrol, Patrol Rifle, Active Shooter, Interview and Interrogation, and Naloxone Training for Law Enforcement Officers.  

The University Police Department is an accredited police agency in New York State, and Bianchi is one of the department’s accreditation managers.

Dr. Kellogg authors short mystery story

Posted Date: Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 10:00

Dr. Richard Kellogg, professor emeritus of psychology at Alfred State, is the author of a short story appearing in the most recent issue of The Digest Enthusiast, a bi-annual journal published by Larque Press. The Digest Enthusiast contains book reviews, author interviews, and original fiction.

Kellogg's contribution is a mystery titled “Fencer's Document Caper.” The adventure, which involves the illegal sale of fraudulent documents, is based upon the Spenser detective stories created by the late Robert B. Parker (1932-2010).  The author notes that Spenser, a private investigator based in Boston, has become one of the most iconic characters in the world of mystery fiction. Actor Robert Urich (1946-2002) played the detective in a series of television programs from 1985 to 1988, which were based on the Spenser novels.

Dr. Kellogg writes frequently about mystery fiction and is the author of four books about legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. He is the creator of the Barry Baskerville series of mysteries for children.  The most recent book in the series, available on the Amazon website, is titled “Barry Baskerville's Blue Bicycle” (Airship 27, 2016).

Western equestrian riders finish season strong, advance to regionals

Posted Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 12:15
Kristin Reynolds rides in Western competition
Alfred State’s Kirstin Reynolds (diagnostic medical
sonography, Cuba) rides in one of the western equestrian
team’s final shows of the regular season earlier this month.
Photo courtesy of Mandy Reynolds.

The Alfred State western equestrian team finished its regular season on a high note recently, earning top spots in its final two shows, and sending many of its riders off to the regionals.

In its last regular-season action of the year, the group was deemed the High Point Team (first place) for its morning show and the Reserve High Point Team (second place) for the afternoon show. Team captain Haleigh Hurd (accounting, Greenwood) was the Reserve High Point Rider for both shows, qualified for regionals, and earned a trip to compete at the semifinals at West Texas A&M in March.

The team, led by Hurd and fellow team captain Mary LaPlante (agricultural business, Angola), and coached by Rose Stayer-Ruffner, will be well represented at regionals, which will be held 9 a.m. Feb. 26 at the Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center, 5174 Lake Road, Alfred Station.

Victoria Bolton, who has been instrumental in forming and guiding the team since its inception, said, “The team members are very dedicated and have worked very hard honing their riding skills under the guidance of Rose. The riders accumulate points by placing in their classes at the eight regular season shows. To have 10 riders qualify for the regional show is very impressive.”

In addition to Hurd, nine other riders have earned the points needed to move on. In the Beginner Horsemanship division, are Amber Laibe (veterinary technology, Vestal), Hannah Schaus (culinary arts: baking, production and management, Arcade), Erika Sutherland (veterinary technology, Dundee) and John Thompson (human services, Hornell).  Intermediate riders who qualified are Jessica Bongard (architecture, Webster), Morgan Hynes (veterinary technology, Retsof), Rachel McNeal (radiologic technology, Elmira), and Rachel Von Hagn (nursing, Bath). Hannah Brizzee (agricultural business, Canisteo) qualified for Novice and Hurd will be riding Open Reining. 

Many impressive rides were given by team members, including Hurd who took a first and second in Open Reining, Alyssa Beardsley (architectural technology, Silver Springs) who had a strong pattern to earn a third and fourth in Advanced Horsemanship, and Brizzee, who walked away with a first in Advanced. Von Hagn won her Novice Horsemanship. 

In a large and competitive Intermediate 2 division, Kirstin Reynolds (diagnostic medical sonography, Cuba) earned first in both shows, Sarah Czelusta (welding technology, Bliss) another first, McNeal a second, and Mackenzie Caletka (veterinary technology, Apalachin) a third.  For Intemediate 1, the morning show resulted in the Alfred State riders taking first (Laibe), second (Thompson) and third (Schaus), and Sutherland took second in the afternoon show.  A couple of newcomers to the team also performed well, as Katelynn Lawson (agricultural business, Savannah) placed first and second in Beginner and Willow Voegtlen (agricultural technology, Columbia Cross Roads, PA), in her first-ever show, received a second in Beginner. 

The team would love to have the support of Alfred State students, employees, and community members at the regional show Sunday. The top two riders in each division in the regional show will move on to semifinals, which will be March 25-26 in Texas. Riders who advance to semifinals who place in the top four will move on to finals, which will be held May 4-7 in Lexington, KY.

Associate professor qualifies for Boston, New York City marathons

Posted Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 15:45
Man running in race
Alfred State Associate Professor Robin Torpey competes
in the Empire State Half Marathon in Syracuse in October 2016.
Photo courtesy of Pat Hendrick Photography. 

When Robin Torpey goes for a run, he feels like a kid again. He feels like he can run forever.

As Torpey, age 58, notes, “It’s just putting one foot in front of the other, right?”

While this is technically true, it’s definitely not as easy as it sounds. Becoming a competitive distance runner literally and figuratively take many steps, which Torpey, an associate professor at Alfred State, has done so often that he has now qualified for the 2017 New York City Marathon and the 2018 Boston Marathon.

“The New York City Marathon is a bucket list item for me,” he said. “I love New York City and am excited by the idea of being able to run 26.2 miles through all five boroughs of the city. The Boston Marathon was never a big goal for me, but it’s like the ‘Holy Grail’ for marathoners. You’re not considered a ‘real’ marathon runner until you’ve qualified for Boston, and a lot of runners never manage to qualify, so I wanted to do it just to prove that I could.”

Torpey’s path to becoming a runner is a unique one. Though he ran track and field at Cuba High School in the mid-70s and also ran for fitness purposes while in the Air Force, he didn’t begin competitive distance running until the age of 55.

By then, he had decided that as he was getting older, he wanted to get into better shape, so he enrolled in a mixed martial arts (MMA) school.

“I soon found that I was too out of shape to do well at MMA,” he said. “The instructor told us that the best thing you could do in a bad situation, if possible, was to run away, so I decided to start running, figuring by doing so, I could get into better shape and would then be able to return to MMA school. After running for a while, I found that I enjoyed it so much that I never returned to MMA school.”

When he first started training, Torpey began by doing eight consecutive two-minute intervals, with each consisting of 15 seconds of running, and one minute, 45 seconds’ worth of walking. He gradually increased his running and decreased his walking within each interval to the point where he could begin competing in 5Ks.

“After I started running 5Ks, I learned that I really enjoyed it,” he said. “Then I learned that as a general rule I’m not very competitive, but when I’m running I’m extremely competitive. Before long, I was placing in the top three in my age group in every 5K I ran.”

In addition to a rigorous personal training regimen and running with the Olean Area Runners Group, Torpey has stayed in shape by eating foods such as salmon, lean red meat and chicken, and low-fat cottage cheese, instead of processed foods or anything made with refined grains.

As he has continued to train and eat healthy, Torpey has become able to run even greater distances for longer periods of time. He qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon, which will be held April 16 that year, by running one in Harrisburg, PA in November 2016 in less than three hours and 40 minutes. To be eligible for the 2017 New York City Marathon, taking place Nov. 5, he needed to finish the Empire State Half Marathon in Syracuse in October 2016 in less than an hour and 36 minutes, which he did.

To date, Torpey has earned a number of honors for his achievements in running, including finisher’s medals for four marathons and six half marathons, and medals or trophies for 16 5Ks, all within the span of two years.

While Torpey has been training and running competitively for a while now, his employment at Alfred State dates much further back. Since being hired as an instructional support associate in 1991, he has held a few positions at the college, including Electrical/Electronics Department professor and chair. He is currently an associate professor in the Computer and Information Technology Department.

For anyone looking to follow Torpey’s example of becoming a distance runner, he urges them to, “Decide how badly you want it and whether you’re willing to do what it takes to get there.”

“Like most things in life, you have to do the work to get the rewards,” he said. “I don’t care how much talent a person has, if you want to be a competitive distance runner, you have to do the work, and there’s nothing wrong with deciding you just want to be a distance runner without being competitive. Don’t ever forget that it’s supposed to be fun.”

Torpey also advises runners to remember the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“You have to start slowly and easily and gradually work your way up,” he said. “Too many people go out and try to run too far, too fast, too soon, and they end up injured. It’s no fun watching everyone else run while you’re recovering from an overuse injury.”

Finally, he offers one last piece of advice: Don’t try to beat him in a race.

“It’s not going to happen,” he said.

Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc. continues support of students through work-grant program

Posted Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 13:30

The Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., annually provides $10,000 to Alfred State students through its work-grant program, allowing students who are ineligible for Federal College Work-Study funds to find employment on campus. The grant is renewable on an annual basis.

Additionally, departments within Alfred State can request student workers with specific skills and the work-grant coordinator attempts to meet those needs with appropriate student assistance.

Students funded through the Ed Foundation to work in specific areas on campus are considered “regular” employees of the college and are expected to maintain the level of professionalism required of their colleagues.

Currently for the 2016-2017 award year, seven students were able to find employment with the offices of Equity, Inclusion, and Title IX; Health and Wellness Services; Athletics; and International Affairs through the work-grant program.  The program provides students with employment opportunities, and campus offices with student personnel who have specialized talents. 

The program is administered through the Student Records and Financial Services Office.

The Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., is a private foundation representing faculty, staff, and friends of Alfred State dedicated to improving the college community through the support of educational programs.  The activities pursued by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., are governed by a board of directors made up of representatives from each of the following groups: alumni, College Council, faculty and staff, and friends of the college.

The Foundation provides monetary support to enhance learning opportunities for students through scholarships, work grants, and community service projects.  The Ed Foundation also funds the Building Trades programs’ hands-on home construction projects.

Additionally, the Foundation owns and maintains the School of Applied Technology campus in Wellsville.  The 22-acre parcel consists of more than 20 buildings with nearly 800 students enrolled in 15 programs.  The programs, which stress “learning by doing,” incorporate traditional classroom experience with comprehensive “on-the-job” laboratory experiences.

Since 1966, the Foundation has invested more than $8 million in improvements on the campus.