Retired Associate Professor of Biology and Alfred Station resident Dr. Steven Jakobi recently published a collection of non-fiction short stories, titled "Giorgio the 'Possum and Other Stories from Nature."
The 28 essays cover the spectrum of life forms, from bacteria and fungi, to plants and animals. Each story is presented in a nontechnical fashion and prior knowledge of biology is not required to understand and enjoy the topics.
There are also autobiographical sketches to illustrate how biology and love of nature have shaped the author's life and attitudes. More information about the essays and the author can be found at www.stevenjakobi.com. The book is available at Amazon and on Kindle reader.
Jakobi is a native of Hungary who immigrated to the US in 1967. He has attended colleges in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and his dissertation work on the control of chestnut blight was conducted at West Virginia University. Jakobi has taught biology and environmental science courses at colleges in West Virginia, Massachusetts, and at Alfred State over a nearly three-decades-long career, prior to retiring from full-time teaching in 2013.
The Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., annually funds up to eight Alfred State students through its work-grant program, allowing students who are ineligible for 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 help.
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.
For award year 2014-2015, seven students from Engineering, Math/English, Public Relations/Sports, Athletics, Student Engagement, and International Affairs earned a total of $9382.25 from the work-grant program.
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 some 800 students enrolled in 19 programs. The programs, which stress “learning by doing,” incorporate traditional classroom experience with comprehensive “on-the-job” laboratory experiences.
Since 1996, the foundation has invested more than $2.3 million in improvements on the campus.
Alfred State recognized approximately 900 May 2015 graduates during commencement ceremonies on Sunday. Dr. Skip Sullivan, president, presided over the event, held at Pioneer Stadium on the Alfred campus.
Offering some welcoming remarks was Eunice Lewin, State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees member. Lewin serves on several boards of directors, including as commissioner of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, founding member of Roswell Park Alliance, and member of Buffalo Urban League, Hispanic United of Buffalo, and Canisius College Board of Regents. She is also a member of the Erie County Chapter of Links, Hispanic Women’s League, and Buffalo Niagara Guitar Festival Originators.
The student speaker was Kory Shick, who earned his human services associate degree in December 2014 and is working toward his bachelor’s degree in human services management. Shick is also the student representative on the Alfred State College Council, past president of the Greek Senate, a brother of Pi Rho Zeta, executive vice president of the Student Senate, and president incumbent of the Commuter Council.
Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Dr. J. Gregory Ferry, chaired professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State. Ferry is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and past editor of the Journal of Bacteriology. He has served on numerous national committees and currently is co-chair of the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science that advises the federal government on matters of space exploration.
A former member of Alfred State’s undefeated wrestling team, Ferry received his AAS degree in agronomy from Alfred State in 1963, followed by BS and MS degrees from the University of Georgia. He continued his education at the University of Illinois, where he earned a PhD in biochemistry in 1974.
Ferry was appointed assistant professor of microbiology at Virginia Tech in 1976 and rose to the rank of professor. In 1995, he moved to Penn State to accept an endowed chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has authored more than 200 scientific publications.
Ferry recently created the James G. and Marilyn A. Ferry Endowed Scholarship to assist students with a strong desire to learn and who have the need for financial assistance.
Specially recognized at the ceremony were Merrill B. Allen, of Gowanda, who earned his AAS degree in radio communications from Alfred State in 1943, and Donald M. Bergreen, of Olean, who attended the college from Oct. 5, 1942, until June 25, 1943, also majoring in radio communications.
Allen and Bergreen were two of several men who, in the years between 1942 and 1945, left their homes, families, friends, and the opportunity to finish their college career or attend graduation to serve in the military to help defend and preserve the American way of life. Many of these men were unable to attend graduation, even if they were fortunate enough to complete their course work, as they were swept away to serve in the military immediately upon or before fulfilling their degree requirements.
Allen was presented with a diploma recognizing his graduation from Alfred State, and Bergreen was given a certificate in recognition of his time spent studying at the college.
Another highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the Paul B. Orvis Award for Excellence to five graduating students. The award honors Paul B. Orvis, a former president of Alfred State and State University of New York dean for two-year colleges. Recipients must meet the criteria of service, leadership, character, and scholarship.
Receiving the award were Jessica L. Baier, Rochester (School of Applied Technology associate degree recipient); Samantha J. Duquette, Churchville (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology baccalaureate degree recipient); Sheyenne N. Hooker, Angelica (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology associate degree recipient); McKenzie E. Mallaber, Livonia (School of Arts and Sciences baccalaureate degree recipient); and Emily A. Gilfert, Wellsville (School of Arts and Sciences associate degree recipient).
Near the end of the ceremony, Shawn Sanfilippo, electrical engineering technology, won a 2003 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition vehicle after his ticket was drawn in a raffle.
The Alfred State Men’s Quartet performed the national anthem and the college’s alma mater. Students were led out in recessional to the music of the Gates Keystone Police Pipes and Drums.
Six dogs were able to bring some much-needed relief to students studying for final exams on Monday, May 11, during the Hinkle Memorial Library’s Dogs in the Library event.
From 6-8 p.m., the dogs and their handlers came to the library to visit with students and help them relax and de-stress during finals week. Five of the canines are registered through Therapy Dogs International, an organization that trains, regulates, and certifies therapy dogs and their handlers for service in community settings, such as libraries, schools, and nursing homes. Another dog was affiliated with Pet Partners of Syracuse, a group of volunteers who promote the health benefits of the human-animal bond.
Amie Acton, instructional support assistant at the library, said, “The event has quickly become a mainstay during finals week and something students consistently look forward to attending.”
Thanks to an investment by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., the Alfred State School of Applied Technology campus in Wellsville made a number of significant improvements during the current school year, including renovating the Student Activities Center.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, the foundation allocated $549,500 for a number of upgrades and repairs to various buildings and locations on campus. Of that amount, $65,000 went toward renovating the activities center.
According to Justin Cornelius, coordinator of student affairs at the Wellsville campus, improvements upstairs in the main gathering space have included new painting, trim, doors, and ceiling tiles, and the creation of a revamped computer lab with new stations, and a mind spa that focuses on stress reduction. Student Senate has also provided funding for new foosball tables, a new ping pong table, furniture, and new, modern computer desks for each of the seven stations in the lab.
“By combining capital improvements with updated equipment and furnishings,” Cornelius said, “our returning students noticed an amazing transformation throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.”
Jared Good, an electrical construction and maintenance electrician major from Andover, said he thinks the changes to the Student Activities Center are fantastic.
“The best thing about the Activities Center is that it is a place where students can come in to relax,” he said. “It is important for students to stop in simply because of all the great activities and services the center has to offer.”
Also upgraded through Educational Foundation funds were the stairwell and two downstairs bathrooms. The “largest footprint that was left by the Educational Foundation funding,” Cornelius said, is the revamped gymnasium, which had been used for building trades classes, but is no longer.
“After the space was cleaned, an entirely new synthetic floor went over the existing floor that was original from the early 1980s,” Cornelius said. “With that came fresh paint and freshly painted lines. This was a major improvement, as students now use the space for health- and wellness-related activities.”
Cornelius said outside vendors have also been increasingly interested in using the gymnasium area.
“Having a clean, updated space really allows us to make a positive impression on those who step foot on the campus,” he said.
Also recently made available to students and the community is a racquetball court, which was previously used for storage. Cornelius said he would be very excited if the court also drew interest from community members.
“On a small scale, we have been able to have community members sign liability waivers and use the space,” he said. “I am not entirely sure how it would work if we were to, say, start talking about a community league with larger numbers and more routine use. I am pretty confident that something could be arranged that would make this a possibility.”
The Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc. is a private foundation representing faculty, staff, and friends dedicated to improving the Alfred State community through support of education programs. The foundation provides monetary support to enhance learning opportunities for students through scholarships, work grants, and academic club activities.
Two Alfred State students and a faculty member will depart for Ventura Beach, CA, Friday to partake in the seven-day Everyone Loves Kids (ELK) Charity Challenge.
Held May 16-23, the event is an interactive adventure that pits 50 philanthropic vehicle enthusiasts against one another in a journey to give back to America’s children, according to www.elkcharitychallenge.org. Each day, participants will navigate through numerous challenges and locations that test their dedication, determination, and preparation.
Points are earned by completing daily missions based on historical significance, local points of interest, and more. A $10,000 daily contribution is made to the children’s charity of the winning squad.
A variety of vehicles will be competing in the challenge, from high-end models such as Ferraris and McLarens, to classics such as Cords and Dusenbergers, to more unique vehicles, including the “Back to the Future” DeLorean time machine.
Alfred State’s car is a 1966 Lincoln Continental once owned by American diplomat and political scientist Henry Kissinger. Craig Corbell, owner of the Lincoln and friend of Alfred State, is sponsoring the college’s team, which consists of Automotive Trades Assistant Professor James Fleischman, and heavy equipment: truck and diesel technician students Jacob Macken, of Alden, and Ryan Balcerzak, of Elma.
Macken said he feels very excited and privileged to be competing in the ELK Challenge.
“Hopefully, we’ll represent Alfred State in a good way and get a win out of it, but it’s all about raising money and helping out a charity,” he said.
Balcerzak said he is also very excited about the challenge, especially the traveling aspect.
“I’ve never been out of the state very far, let alone to California,” he said. “I’m very grateful to go and it’s for a good cause.”
Roughly 25 to 30 students from a variety of majors worked on the car, according to Fleischman, who said their efforts included rebuilding the engine, painting, and performing an alignment.
“The cool part is that it’s a good applied learning project because everything the students are learning in class is everything that we worked on for the car,” he said.
Fleischman said competing in the ELK Challenge is an honor and noted he was surprised that Corbell decided to sponsor the Alfred State team.
“It’s not often that somebody will foot the bill for something like this and send you across the country to be in an event,” he said. “I just want to thank everyone who was involved and helped pull this off.”