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.”
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.”
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, www.AlfredState.edu/careers.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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 www.AlfredState.edu/online.
While 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 1988. 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.