Adding to the ways in which Alfred State students are preparing to become the leaders of tomorrow, the college will begin offering a leadership minor this coming fall semester.
The minor is intended to expose students to existing courses and experiential credits (internship or practicum experiences) at Alfred State that focus on and/or include leadership topics. These students will be introduced to the Social Change Model of Leadership and mentorship opportunities.
Although the minor will be administratively housed in the Business Department, a team of faculty and staff will help coordinate the program and advise students who register for it. Danielle Green, chair of the Business Department, said she is excited about this new offering.
“As the department continues to grow, we look to add new opportunities in the academic field of business,” she said. “This minor will provide an opportunity for both business and non-business students to acquire skills necessary to be leaders in their respective fields.”
Requiring a flexible 15 hours of credit, the minor will:
The backbone of the minor integrates Alfred State’s existing Emerging Pioneers Leadership Program (EPLP), which offers leadership development opportunities at three certificate levels for all students. The new minor and the EPLP are one of several leadership-centered offerings at the college, including the Civic Leadership Living Learning Community and Leadership Suites/Organizational Suites.
Alyshia Zurlick, assistant director of the Office of Student Engagement, said, it would be an understatement to say that the Alfred State community is excited about this opportunity.
“One of the single greatest determining factors of college and workplace success is the ability to be a highly effective leader,” Zurlick said. “Leadership skills are valued and respected and have become increasingly pursued in the workforce. The leadership minor will provide students with essential leadership qualities and principles that will enhance and solidify success both in the classroom and the workplace.”
While homeowners may alternate between praying for rain to turn their turf green, or cursing their lawn when it is growing too fast, for many people their interest in grass is merely a hobby. But there is a business, an industry, and even a science to be studied related to keeping things green, and Grasstravaganza is bringing together these experts from around the country.
Alfred State is hosting Grasstravaganza Aug. 4-6, an event for farmers, conservationists, and consumers who are interested in soil health, grazing, and sustainable agriculture. The theme is “Healthy Soils, Healthy Animals, Healthy Farms,” and will feature presentations by nationally recognized grazing and soil health experts.
“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Fred Provenza as our featured speaker,” said Phil Schroeder, chair of the Agriculture and Veterinary Technology Department. “His decades of groundbreaking research has led to many discoveries in livestock grazing behavior, foraging, and nutritional information important to both animals and humans. Attendees will not only be able to hear directly from this international leader, but have dinner and ask questions in less formal gatherings together.”
Attendees are invited to take tours of farms in West Sparta, Angelica, and Birdsall, as well as the college’s own 800-acre farm, which is home to horses, alpacas, swine, poultry, sheep, and both conventional and organic dairy herds.
“Our farm demonstrates just one way in which Alfred State is committed to preparing the farmers and conservationists of tomorrow, and we are proud and excited to be hosting an event like this for those who are already in these fields and are looking to learn even more,” said Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State.
Additional speakers at Grasstravaganza include: Justin Morris, NRCS soil health specialist; Matt Ehrhart, director of Watershed Restoration at the Stroud Water Research Center, an independent research institution focused on stream and river ecology; Dr. Hue Karreman, a first-generation organic veterinarian; and Jeremy Engh, recognized for gourmet quality grass-fed beef production.
In addition to presentations from nationally known speakers, there will be specialized workshops and a trade show. For information or to register, call Karen Meade at 607-587-4714 or visit the conference website.
In today’s world, there are computers at every turn and people have come to rely on devices for commerce, communication, transportation, and virtually every aspect of their lives. While this sort of convenience has its upsides, it may also mean a dream environment for hackers, and have the potential to turn into a nightmare for everyone else. That’s why Alfred State students are looking to thwart that criminal activity.
Recent examples of massive data breaches include: 145 million records stolen from eBay in 2014, 80 million accounts compromised at Anthem health insurance in 2015, 76 million bank records taken from JP Morgan Chase in 2014, and 56 million debit and credit cards compromised in 2014 at Home Depot.
This has led to a heightened awareness of vulnerabilities among the public, and a greater demand for professionals who can stop these attacks. This requires education and training, which Alfred State is providing in order to produce professionals who can help make the world more secure from hackers.
Formerly known as “information security and assurance,” the college’s Bachelor of Technology degree in cyber security is designed to prepare graduates to enter the workforce as an information security professional, with a special emphasis in network and host security, secure programming, secure database applications, mobile device security, and cloud security. Courses ranging from security to programming to language sequences help these students to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s information security industry.
One of the reasons that Alfred State is such a terrific place for studying cyber security is the fact that students aren’t just learning the theory. They’re putting it into practice building networks, firewalls, access control lists, and more.
“In my classes, when I tell you to build a network, I expect you to build a network,” said Scott O’Connor, associate professor in the Computer and Information Technology Department and coordinator of the cyber security program. “The students are building an active directory with 16 servers running in our net lab environment and it’s running off a hypervisor, which is exactly the same thing they would do if they got a job working at a corporation.”
Students also perform security audits of the various buildings on campus. In their final semester, they are required to take a semester-long internship in which they complete supervised field work in a selected business, industry, government, or educational setting.
Furthermore, Alfred State has a long-standing Cisco Academy affiliation and in the past year became one of the first Palo Alto Networks Academies in the world.
Outside of the curriculum, the college also has a student club called the Alfred State Information Security Team (ASIST). This club encourages the exploration of topics related to information security and ethical hacking. ASIST also features weekly presentations that all students are encouraged to attend.
Additionally, ASIST students have honed their skills in a number of cyber defense competitions, such the CyberSEED: Cybsersecurity, Education, and Diversity Challenge Week, and the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NECCDC).
This past December, the club hosted a Cyber Security Capture the Flag Competition, in which four schools participated. The competition allowed participants to understand the technology and thought process of hackers, while also sharpening their security skills and learning new techniques.
With so many opportunities for learning, it’s safe to say that Alfred State is doing its part to produce graduates who are well prepared to help make the cyber universe safer.
“Through their hands-on learning experiences, their internships, the competitions, the security audits, and more, our students are receiving the knowledge and experience that employers are seeking,” O’Connor said. “They know what to expect on the job because they’ve done it already here, and that knowledge and experience will only grow and, as a result, further serve our field’s mission of making the world safer from cyber warfare.”
Continuing to add unique and in-demand academic offerings, Alfred State is pleased to announce the addition of a two-year motorcycle and power sports technology major that will be the first of its kind among all public colleges in the Northeast. Classes for this program will begin in the fall of 2017.
The Associate in Occupational Studies degree program will prepare students for a career as a motorcycle/power sports/ small engine technician, incorporating a progressively challenging format and hands-on laboratories, using full-size functioning vehicles.
Training will include all aspects of motorcycle and small vehicle repair, including the diagnosis and repair of gasoline and diesel engines, transmissions, electrical/electronic systems, brake systems, steering systems, and suspension systems.
Occupational opportunities for graduates of this program include motorcycle technician, marine vehicle technician, small engine/lawn and garden equipment technician, service manager, and shop foreman.
Kent Johnson, program coordinator and chair of the Automotive Trades Department, said, “I am excited to add the motorcycle and power sports technology curriculum to our department. The Alfred State Automotive Trades Department has 50 years of experience training technicians to repair trucks, equipment, and cars. That experience, combined with us working closely with industry to develop curricula, should help us make this a premier program very quickly.”
Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, said, “This major’s simulated real-world practice environment, experienced faculty, and diverse tools and equipment will give our students a competitive edge once they enter the workforce. We are delighted to add motorcycle and power sports technology to our academic offerings, and I thank all of the faculty who made this program possible.”
Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost, said, “Alfred State is pleased to provide the opportunity for students to engage in hands-on learning to service motorcycles and other recreational vehicles. Housed on our Wellsville campus, this program will prepare students to ‘hit the ground running’ in a growing industry.”
Incoming students are catching more than just a glimpse of college life during Alfred State’s summer orientation, with the new Pokemon Go mobile game they are venturing across campus and making new friends along the way.
“As a college of technology, our first inclination is to look for ways to utilize technology for a benefit,” said Stephanie Hoyer, digital media coordinator. “When students are using Pokémon Go we noticed that they are going out and exploring the campus, finding where things are located, and sharing experiences with their new found friends. There are positive attributes to the game that can be embraced.”
Students designated as Orientation Leaders at Alfred State are also trained regarding the dos and don’ts on how to use Pokémon Go. Players are cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and to stay safe while not placing themselves in harm’s way. Students who choose to play are encouraged to make the most of the experience by learning their way around campus and sharing their experience while interacting with fellow students.
“It’s our job at orientation to guide students to become successfully engaged and productive members of the campus community,” said Mallory Morehouse, coordinator of orientation. “We want to guide new students to keep their academic success a priority. We also understand the need for students to become engaged outside of class, to pursue their personal interests and passions while making new friends. Pokémon Go can be an incredibly social experience since it encourages gamers to go outside, explore and even enjoy some friendly competition.”
The Bell Tower at the center of the Alfred campus serves as one Poke Stop, where players can collect free Pokeballs, incense, potions, revives, and eggs. Other nearby stops include the Alfred Post Office, the Box of Books Library, and the Alfred Fire Department.
Whether playing solo or in groups, students have the option to join one of three color-coded teams, known locally as Alfred State BLUE, Pioneer GOLD, and Team Alf-RED. A Pokemon gym is located at the entrance to the Hinkle Memorial Library, where players often congregate for competitions. Another gym is located at the Theta Gamma House on Main Street in Alfred.
After a July 5 launch, the popularity of the game has grown rapidly across the country and by the first orientation session on July 10 a great number of students had downloaded the free app and were playing Pokemon Go as they explored the campus. The college’s 2016 summer orientation includes a number of overnight and daytime sessions from July 10-29. All full-time, new, and transfer students entering Alfred State in the fall of 2016 are required to attend a session.
Perhaps the best part about being an educator is sharing one’s knowledge of and passion for a particular subject with others.
As assistant professors and co-founders of a group to encourage female student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Dr. Danielle Bond and Dr. Tabitha Sprau Coulter are igniting the imaginations of young women by showing students how rewarding and interesting engineering can be.
In August 2014, the two engineers’ paths crossed when they became assistant professors at Alfred State. During their very first semester, they co-founded a group for engineering students that came to be known as Women Engineers are Pioneers (WEP), which encourages young people to be interested in STEM fields of study, especially young women.
According to Bond, WEP has two main goals, the first of which is connecting female students in engineering and technology programs at Alfred State to enable collaboration, community, and support. The second goal involves leading and participating in outreach events to attract young people to engineering and technology programs.
The club, which has a core group of mostly but not exclusively female engineering students, has five student officers and meets on a weekly basis. It has also teamed up with the SAE Baja Club to earn a leadership suite in the Student Leadership Center.
Bond said she encourages women to consider engineering because it typically provides many job opportunities with interesting work and good salaries.
“Obviously these things are good for anyone, regardless of gender,” she said. “I would also say, for anyone career-shopping, so to speak, that engineers are creative problem-solvers who can make a difference in the world.”
Sprau Coulter noted that the goal in founding the club was “to provide opportunities, as well as to show young women that they can be successful and that there are other women in the field.” However, both she and Bond stressed that the club is open to anyone who wishes to join.
Both Bond’s and Sprau Coulter’s paths to becoming educators at Alfred State began in their native state of Pennsylvania. Hailing from Sweet Valley, Sprau Coulter graduated from Lafayette College in 2007 with her bachelor’s degree in engineering, and a minor in architecture. She then enrolled at Penn State, where she received her master’s in 2009 and her PhD in 2014, both of which are in architectural engineering.
Professionally, Sprau Coulter provided consulting services as an energy modeler for a small engineering design firm at Penn State. Afterward, she went on to work at KlingStubbins, an architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning firm headquartered in Philadelphia, which was acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group in 2011.
A Pittsburgh native, Bond received her bachelor’s degree in engineering with a minor in educational studies from Swarthmore College in 2006. She then earned her PhD in mechanical engineering in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh.
Bond worked as a mechanical engineer at M-R/Innoveers LLC and URS Corporation before taking on engineering teaching positions at the University of Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University.
Through their efforts and outreach, Sprau Coulter and Bond are leading the way for future generations to discover the exciting world of engineering and to share their passion for the field with others as they both have done.