Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE) recognized 35 outstanding adult students, including three from Alfred State, in its 32nd annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet April 20 at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Henrietta.
The RACCE consortium of area colleges promotes and advocates for continuing education to adult and other non-traditional students in the greater Rochester area. RACCE’s extensive network of college administrators provide information about educational programs to students and fosters collaboration and professional development opportunities among its membership.
The Outstanding Adult Student Award recognizes adult students who have excelled academically while successfully combining their college education with other commitments to family, job, career, and service to the community.
This year’s recipients come from 13 Rochester-area colleges: University of Rochester, RIT, Keuka, St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, Empire State College, College at Brockport, Genesee Community College, Monroe Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, Alfred State, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, and Roberts Wesleyan College.
Receiving awards from Alfred State were Steven Richardson, agricultural technology, Akron; Dorothy Smith, culinary arts, Bath; and Shawn Murat, electrical construction and maintenance electrician, Bath.
Richardson maintains a 3.73 GPA and is on the dean’s list, while juggling college, a family, a farm, and community service. He credits Alfred State for giving him a much deeper understanding of agriculture and a heightened understanding of the benefits of research and higher education. Richardson is a veteran and helps out with all Alfred State’s Future Farmers of America events and has been a big voice for the chapter.
Smith worked for 32 years at Phillips Lighting in Bath, before starting over at Alfred State. She maintains a 3.79 GPA and is on the dean’s list while balancing her family, internship, and fundraising/charity events. Smith is described as the “mom” of her program by other students, who value her work effort and ethics, as well as her approachable and welcoming personality. She volunteers her time for Culinary Arts Scholarship fundraising events and Christmas dinners for the Salvation Army.
Murat has a 3.81 GPA and is on the dean’s list while juggling school, family, a farm, and community service. He came to Alfred State to continue his education and to learn a new trade. Murat plans on working in his field and continuing at Alfred State to earn his bachelor’s degree in technology management. He is a great mentor to younger students, a former Army Reservist, a volunteer for the Steuben County 4-H program, and has refereed soccer for many years.
Tammy Woods Edwards, coordinator of Continuing Education at Alfred State, said “Seeing the students receive their awards and hearing about all of the obstacles they have faced and overcome is very humbling. The three students from Alfred State were just a few of the many adult students who were deserving of this award. Coming back to school after being out for many years is hard enough, then you add family, work, and other activities on top – these students are amazing.”
Associate Professor Wayne Bensley met with Honors Program members April 21 at the college to review current federal laws controlling marijuana and to present data available from states that have approved the drug for medical and recreational use.
The director of the college’s forensic science technology program, Bensley spent his earlier career in police labs testing for drugs and testifying in drug-related court cases. Despite being approved for medical use in an ever-growing number of states, including New York, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, considered by the federal government “to have no medical use.”
Bensley addressed this seeming contradiction, telling members, “In the 1930s, political influence, Hollywood filmmakers, yellow journalism, and a measure of racism put ‘reefer madness’ in the headlines and resulted in marijuana being considered in the same class as heroin by the government, making actual scientific research on the drug nearly impossible.”
Bensley cited short-term positive data resulting from Colorado’s approval of recreational marijuana but also cautioned that the “experiment” in that state is only two years old, too soon to judge its success or failure.
Nearly 250 participants from 19 teams helped raise almost $24,000 for the fight against cancer April 8-9 during Alfred State’s sixth annual Relay for Life.
The theme of this year’s Relay was “Toon Out Cancer,” in which each registered team selected a cartoon theme for their campsite. Events were held throughout the evening that gave teams a chance to show their dedication to their theme.
Krystal Perlman, college Help Desk coordinator and adviser to the student-run Alfred State Relay for Life Planning Committee, said this year’s Relay was one of the most well-attended so far. She said the event even had a surprise visit from retired faculty member Michelle Green, who doubled the fundraising efforts of the Gamma Theta Gamma Fraternity team.
“Michelle is a wonderful supporter of our event and is always brainstorming ways we can try to get more faculty, retired faculty, and community members involved in our event,” Perlman said.
Brittany Richards, event chair and a forensic science technology major from Geneseo, said this year’s Relay was “beyond successful” from the organizing committee’s point of view.
“We had nearly 20 clubs and organizations participate in the event and bring such a positive attitude,” she said. “The interactions and donations from everyone involved – teams, donors, committee members – made this Relay one of our highest fundraising efforts ever on campus and I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization and event.”
Mackenzie Howe, Relay for Life community manager, said the Alfred State students were “a blast to work with,” and added that the participation from the student body was a remarkable thing to experience.
“Many people tend to think cancer only effects older individuals, but it was very moving to see this group of young adults celebrate life, remember their loved ones lost, and fight back against this awful disease,” Howe said. “The American Cancer Society appreciates every dollar raised by the Alfred State students and we look forward to future events.”
Thanks to the continued generosity of the Bethesda Foundation, Alfred State was able to recently provide its radiologic technology students with an imaging suite in the Agriculture Science Building.
To honor and recognize the Foundation, the college held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, April 28, dedicating and unveiling the new “Bethesda Foundation Imaging Suite.”
Alfred State also recognized St. James Mercy Health System for partnering with the college, a collaboration that led to the establishment of the radiologic technology program, and Bethesda Foundation Executive Director Fred Marks, whose leadership helped to foster a strong and productive relationship between the Foundation and the college.
Composed of two imaging rooms totaling 450 square feet, the suite includes both a non-energized X-ray unit and a fully functional digital energized unit. This facility was made possible because of a $50,000 donation from the Foundation to be used toward purchasing new imaging equipment.
Based in North Hornell, the Bethesda Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization devoted to the funding and support of health-related projects and scholarships in the Hornell area. It provides roughly $15,000 a year for scholarships at Alfred State for nursing students.
Attending Thursday’s ceremony were members of the Foundation, faculty, staff, students, friends of the college, and community members. Speaking at the event, Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan thanked the Foundation for its role in creating the imaging suite, and for its ongoing support of the college, particularly its nursing students.
“We have a large number of successful graduates who would not have been able to go to school and be successful had it not been for the Bethesda Foundation,” Sullivan said. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank the Bethesda Foundation.”
Following Sullivan’s remarks, Physical and Life Sciences Assistant Professor Bridgett Mayorga gave a history of the radiologic technology program.
Mayorga, the director of the program, noted that the suite is state-of-the-art and rivals imaging technology found at the surrounding hospitals’ facilities. It allows the students, she said, to practice and experiment with the digital technology prior to their hands-on experience in their clinical settings.
“This opportunity is paramount to their clinical success,” Mayorga said. “Without the Bethesda Foundation, the purchase of this imaging suite would not have been possible.”
Near the end of the ceremony, Foundation President Phil Loree offered a few comments, saying, “We are delighted to be a part of this effort with Alfred State and we will continue to follow it and continue to be supportive.”
Five students were recently inducted into the Psi Beta honor society, an organization that promotes interest in the study of psychology at two-year colleges.
To qualify for induction, students must have earned a 3.25 (out of a possible 4.0) grade point average, including 3.0 in at least one psychology course. The ceremony was conducted by Assistant Professor BJ Douglass, Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, and faculty adviser to the Alfred State chapter.
Following a “Name the Nestlings” social media campaign in which more than 36,000 people voted on five different name pairings, the two baby bald eagles at the US National Arboretum were officially named “Freedom” and “Liberty.”
Following voting on the National Arboretum Facebook page, which took place from April 19-24, eagle experts and several private groups and government agencies made the announcement Tuesday, April 26 in Washington, DC. Other name pairings included Stars and Stripes, Freedom and Liberty, Anacostia and Potomac, Honor and Glory, and Cherry and Blossom.
Attending the announcement from Alfred State were Jeff Stevens, chair of the Electrical Trades Department; Dr. Craig Clark, vice president of Economic Development; and electrical construction and maintenance electrician students Mike Lee, of Brooklyn; Thomas Wzientek, of Buffalo; and Ethan Yanda, of Wayland.
These students, along with fellow electrical construction and maintenance electrician majors Justin King, of Uniondale, and Oliver Jackson, of Williamsville, installed a unique solar-powered trailer at the Arboretum in October to supply the energy for the public to view the nesting and hatching of the bald eagle family online. The hatching of the eaglets took place in mid-March.