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Campus News

Stone splits women’s STIHL title, Carhart to compete at US Championships

Posted Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 16:00

In addition to the Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club’s great success at the 70th Annual Northeast Woodsmen’s Conclave, a pair of club members also rose to great heights in the STIHL Northeast Collegiate Qualifier.

Kara Stone standing on a log with an ax
Kara Stone tied for first place

Alfred State’s own Kara Stone, a surveying and geomatics engineering technology major from Lake View, won the national collegiate championship for female competitors, but due to a scoring error on the field, split the women’s STIHL title with a competitor from SUNY Cobleskill. Sutton Carhart, a construction management engineering technology major from Stafford, took second place overall in the men’s division.

As a result of their achievements in the STIHL competition, Stone received a $500 scholarship, and Carhart was selected as a wild card athlete to compete against seven others in the STIHL Timbersports US Championships July 15-16 in Chicago.

Stone noted that, “Anything is possible with a great coach, hard work, blisters, and being sore for weeks on end. Being the national top female competitor was my biggest goal and it feels amazing to win that title.”

Carhart said, “It’s an honor to be part of the team that won the Northeast championship and to be selected as one of eight from the entire country to compete in Illinois is still a hard concept to grasp. Training for that competition while working a full-time job will be a challenge, but we are going to make it happen.

While the conclave and the STIHL event featured hundreds of top competitors within the region, the Alfred State Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club held its own, as the men’s team took first place and the Jack and Jill team came in second in their respective divisions in the conclave.

All events were held in April at either the athletics events field on the Alfred campus or at the Lake Lodge. Singles events included axe throw, birling, underhand chop, single buck, super suede, and stock saw; doubles events are standing block chop, fire build, and crosscut to death; and triples include underhand chop and quarter split.

Sutton Carhart with chainsaw cutting a log
Sutton Carhart was selected to compete in the STIHL Timbersports US Championships

The Woodsmen’s Club’s most recent success capped off another successful year, one that saw the men’s team finish undefeated and the Jack and Jill team win two out of three shows, with one second-place finish in the fall.

Speaking about the conclave and STIHL qualifier, Coach Scott Bingham said hosting a competition of this magnitude is a feat that one doesn’t fully comprehend until they have done it.

“To host the championships and to win it with a team this young that was founded only six years ago is unheard of,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this group of athletes.”

Bingham added that having Stone win the female division and Carhart move on to Chicago as one of the finalists for the entire country in the male division is really phenomenal.

“One of my biggest challenges as their coach was balancing just how far I could push the team without pushing them too far,” he said, “however it appears as though my pushing and their hard efforts matched perfectly.”

Alfred State holds 105th Commencement

Posted Date: Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 15:00

Alfred State recognized approximately 700 May 2016 graduates during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 15. Dr. Skip Sullivan, president, presided over the event, held on the Alfred campus. 

Sullivan told students that commencement is a time to celebrate the achievement of their goals and aspirations, and to reflect on their various accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom. 

people in Pioneer Stadium attending Commencement

“Commencement is also a beginning,” he said, “a beginning that is limitless in its possibilities and expanded by the knowledge you have gained through your experiences at Alfred State.” 

The student speaker was Stephanie A. Pembleton, who graduated in fall 2015 with an Associate in Science degree in liberal arts and sciences: social science and a Bachelor of Science degree in human services management. Pembleton, a member of Psi Beta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, is also a Pi Nu sister, a member of the Greek Senate Board, and a recipient of the Dr. Khalid Ashraf Memorial Scholarship. 

Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Tim Sanders, the former chief solutions officer at Yahoo and a current sales and leadership keynote speaker. Sanders spent most of his career on the cutting edge of innovation and change. He was on the ground floor of the quality movement, the launch of the mobile phone industry, and most notably the birth of the World Wide Web. Today, he’s gravitated to disruptive change for more than 30 years. 

Sanders was an early-stage member of Mark Cuban’s and Todd Wagner’s broadcast.com, which had the largest opening day IPO in history. After Yahoo acquired the company, Sanders was tapped to lead their ValueLab, which enabled sales teams to close hundreds of millions of dollars of new business through rapid collaboration. 

A major highlight of the ceremony was the conferment of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Lee Brasted, a 1962 engineering science graduate. Brasted, who retired after 32 years of service as a civil engineer at Shell Oil, was responsible for a part of a team that accomplished truly amazing and transformational things for Shell Oil, the oil industry, and the world.  

Brasted was the leader of a unique group of engineers who were responsible for the design, fabrication, and installation of platforms for drilling and producing offshore oil fields. In his career with Shell Offshore, a Shell Oil subsidiary, he played key roles in designing offshore drilling platforms from California to the Gulf of Mexico and from the North Sea to the South China Sea. 

In September 2000, Brasted was elected as one of the SUNY Alumni Honor Members for 2000 and was a special guest in Albany. Brasted has been a generous donor to the college for many years as an unrestricted donor, donating approximately $100,000, simply wanting to help the college and our students in any way needed.  

To pay tribute to his unwavering kindness, support and generosity, the college created the Lee Brasted Engineering Science Endowed Scholarship in 2010 with some of the unrestricted funds he contributed. Shell Oil supported his desire to help his alma mater with matching contributions to his generous gifts. 

Another major component 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 Benjamin Rawleigh, Dansville (School of Applied Technology associate-degree recipient); Matthew B. Porterfield, Hamburg (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology baccalaureate-degree recipient); Brendan Cataldo, Adams (School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology associate-degree recipient); Christine M. Dodd, Montrose, PA (School of Arts and Sciences baccalaureate-degree recipient); and Heather Andersen, Penn Yan (School of Arts and Sciences associate-degree recipient). 

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. 

Dogs in the Library event helps students relax

Posted Date: Friday, May 13, 2016 - 10:30
dog on leash, legs and sneakers
Pictured is Lisa, a mixed breed rescue dog

Continuing its end-of-the-semester tradition of helping students de-stress during finals week, Alfred State’s Hinkle Memorial Library once again held its Dogs in the Library event May 9.

Students were able to relax with a group of friendly dogs and handlers and grab a snack to keep them going. This semester’s event featured 10 visiting dogs, the most the library has brought in so far, with breeds ranging from Australian Shepherd, to Newfoundland, to Basset Hound, to rescued mixed breeds. The dogs were registered through either the Canisteo chapter of Therapy Dogs International or the Pet Partners chapter out of Syracuse.

“Some of these groups have been coming long enough to have an ongoing rapport with the students, and students often will take an annual picture with their favorite dog,” said Library Instructional Support Assistant Amie Acton. “By continuing to offer this event every semester, we are establishing the library as a welcoming place for relaxation as well as studying. Students know we care about their well-being and their experience here at Alfred State, and we hope our efforts contribute to an overall positive college experience.”

Plans for ‘MacKenzie Makeover’ unveiled

Posted Date: Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 09:30

When Alfred State determined that the largest residence hall on campus, the MacKenzie Complex, was due for a makeover, the design came from a very fitting source: architects who not only attended the college, but also lived in MacKenzie themselves. Their personal experiences offer a unique insight into what should be done to transform the residence hall to meet the needs of students both today and tomorrow.

“It adds a lot of excitement to my role in getting this accomplished,” said Mach Architecture Executive Vice President Douglas Schaefer, a 1985 architectural technology graduate. “It’s also a giving back to the college. As an architect, everything I do affects somebody’s life down the road with those spaces I build. Now, with MacKenzie, I know who it’s affecting.”

Mach Architecture Executive VP Douglas Schaefer, near the sign, and Associate Robert Brunner, at the podium, speak during the unveiling of “MacKenzie Makeover”
Executive VP Douglas Schaefer, near the sign, and Associate Robert Brunner, at podium

Schaefer along with Mach Architecture Associate Robert Brunner, a 2008 architectural technology graduate, recently unveiled plans dubbed the “MacKenzie Makeover” to a crowd of students, faculty, and staff.

Schaefer explained how the first phase of the project will involve renovating the East Tower to create a new entrance and gathering spaces for students on each floor, while reinventing the Central Quad to create an attractive core for the 1,200-student residence hall that is warm, welcoming, and feels like an extension of one’s own home. The quad’s design includes a 35-foot-tall atrium with the light illuminating natural surfaces of rock and wood throughout.

When compared to other residence halls across the state, MacKenzie will be in a class all of its own. Eric Gerken, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) design manager, said that beginning in the fall of 2016 and continuing over the next several years, “this phased project will reconstruct MacKenzie into the largest, most modern dorm across the SUNY system.”

Gregory Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, added that the goal of the renovation is to make the college’s largest residence hall the first choice for students. And Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of the college, stated, “Today certainly serves as a reaffirmation of our commitment to continuously advance our campus. The desire to continue to improve certainly is based on a single focus and that is making the experience even greater for our students.”

Talking about the next steps in the process, Glenn Brubaker, director of Facilities Operations, said, “As this project goes out for bids, we can get this off the ground this fall, with the construction fences up and the construction zone established when students return.”

“We are optimistic that this project will make MacKenzie the hub of a vibrant living community on campus and we look forward to moving ahead,” stated Matt Ryan, senior director of Residential Services, as he noted that MacKenzie will remain open for business during the construction.

Dave Sengstock, executive director of Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services, Inc. (ACES), talked about changes due to the closure of MacKenzie’s Exit West Café, stating, “In response, we will be extending the hours of operation for dining facilities all across campus with nighttime offerings, and introducing a new food truck to serve the Alfred State campuses and in particular the area surrounding MacKenzie.”

During construction, a central laundry in the quad will be replaced with multiple smaller laundry areas and vending options closer to the residents’ rooms. Then when the reinvented central quad opens, students will gain new amenities, including a large laundry, dining services, and a fitness center.

Brunner said it is “almost breathtaking” to be a part of this massive project. He said having an inside knowledge from their student years has definitely given him and Schaefer an edge with helping to create the new design because they understood MacKenzie.

“It’s great having that inside knowledge of the building and being able to work on it and make it better,” Brunner said. “It’s architecture at its best.”

Architectural renderings are available online.

Health information technology program granted reaccreditation

Posted Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 10:45

Alfred State is pleased to announce that the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) has approved reaccreditation of the college’s health information technology (HIT) program.

An independent, non-profit organization founded in 2006, CAHIIM accredits health information management and health information technology programs to ensure that they meet the necessary standards. Accreditation of the HIT program is required for students to sit the national Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam.

The reaccreditation, which lasts for eight years, was granted as a result of a very lengthy self-study process, recommendations from Health Information Management (HIM) Advisory Committee members composed of local HIM professionals, and the on-site review panel that submit its finding to the CAHIIM Board of Commissioners, which makes the final determination.

Tracy Locke, associate professor of Physical and Life Sciences and director of Alfred State’s Associate in Applied Science HIT program, MS, RHIA, said the college’s self-study began in July 2013 and its onsite visit took place Dec. 1-2, 2015. She noted that the reaccreditation was the result of hard work by many individuals.

“The reaccreditation demonstrates the quality of our HIT program, the largest online program at Alfred State,” she said. “We have students from all over the US, and even students around the world. The reaccreditation results also speak to our pass rate for the RHIT exam that students take upon graduation, which is generally 95 percent.”

Locke noted that graduates of CAHIIM-accredited programs who have the RHIT credential find employment in health systems such as hospitals, associated clinics, single or multi-physician offices, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical records (EMR) companies, and billing and coding services companies.

Among those who worked to ensure the reaccreditation are the HIT faculty and staff, including Locke; Lecturer Erica Matteson, RHIA; Instructional Support Assistant Lisa Boyle, RHIT; Physical and Life Sciences Department Chair Mark Amman; Physical and Life Sciences Secretary Annette Burdett; and the students and HIM Advisory Committee members who participated in the onsite visit with the CAHIIM Review Panel.

Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan said, “We are delighted at the reaccreditation of our health information technology program, which stands as a testament to the continued excellence of the program’s faculty, staff, students, and curriculum. Our students are the ones who benefit the most from the reaccreditation, and I thank all of those who made this possible.”

Dr. Robert Curry, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said, “I’m very pleased with the health information technology program’s reaccreditation. Though I know our program director, Tracy Locke, and our faculty and staff do an outstanding job delivering a top-notch program, this external accreditation affirms the quality of their work. It’s an excellent accomplishment for the Physical and Life Sciences Department.”

Mark Amman, chair of the Physical and Life Sciences Department, said, “Our accrediting body is an independent organization whose mission is to serve the public interest by establishing and enforcing the highest quality of education in health information technology, both didactic and experiential. This recent full reaccreditation validates not only the program, which we all knew was inherent, but also encourage prospective students to engage in an academic endeavor that will lead to job security in health information technology.”

Alfred State to host Grasstravaganza in August

Posted Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 09:15

Grasstravaganza, an event for farmers, conservationists, and consumers who are interested in soil health, grazing, and sustainable agriculture, will be held at Alfred State Aug. 4-6.

Taking place on the Alfred campus, the conference, “Healthy Soils, Healthy Animals, Healthy Farms,” will feature presentations by national and local grazing and soil health experts who will cover a range of topics, interactive soil health-related activities, and a trade show.

The featured speaker this year is Dr. Fred Provenza. For more than 38 years, Provenza has produced groundbreaking research on livestock grazing behavior. This work has influenced research in areas from nutrition and foraging behavior of animals and humans, to rural sociology and development.

Additional speakers include Justin Morris, Natural Resources Conservation Service 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; and Dr. Hue Karreman (tentative), a “first-generation” organic veterinarian, who began using alternative treatments in 1988 as a herdsman on a biodynamic farm.

For more information or to register, please visit the conference web site or call Karen Meade at 607-587-4714.

Western equestrian to join varsity sports

Posted Date: Monday, May 9, 2016 - 15:45

Alfred State students are riding high in the saddle after advancing to the national finals of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association in Lexington, KY. Among the equestrians’ many accomplishments, Travis Harvey (Alfred Almond) completed the season as the high point western rider of Zone 2, Region 1 and placed in the top 25 among all riders in the national finals. Previously this year, equestrian club members also brought pride to Alfred State when the polo team won 10 out of 12 contests, including two victories over Harvard.

With the continued success of equestrian sports, the college will add western riding to the Athletic Department’s varsity sports starting in the 2017-18 school year. The move further solidifies Alfred State’s support of equestrian competition and creates more chances for students to compete at the highest level in horseback riding.

“By adding western riding as the 19th official varsity sport for the Pioneers, we are recognizing the success of our student athletes and their mentor, Professor Victoria Bolton, who advanced the program to this stage where they are now able to leap to a whole new level,” stated Athletic Director Dr. Kelly Higgins. “Support runs deep for equestrian sports on campus with the strong backing of President Sullivan, the entire administration, and following an extensive review and approval by the Intercollegiate Athletic Board. The transition begins now and I’m anxious to take the reins of this new varsity sport in 2017.”

“It is a great day to be a Pioneer,” exclaimed Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan. "Alfred State is proud to be adding another official intercollegiate athletic program. Our equestrian team has been highly successful in recent years, and we are pleased to provide more great opportunities for our students."

Western riding is the first sport added by Alfred State since baseball returned to campus in 1995. Currently the equestrian program, including western riding, hunt seat, and polo, is a club team. The hunt seat and polo programs will remain club sports.

The western team, which currently consists of 17 members, competes in eight intercollegiate horse shows throughout the year where the riders earn points based on their placings at all of the shows. During the 2015-16 school year, the team was the reserve champion for Zone 2 Region 1. Six members of the team qualified for the regional show and three advanced to the semi-finals held in Murfreesboro, TN where Harvey then advanced to the national finals.

Vicki Bolton, who has guided the equestrian program during the club period is excited about the move. "The team is very enthusiastic about becoming a varsity sport, which will allow more students interested in horses and horseback riding an opportunity to compete."

The bond between a horse and rider is usually nurtured and developed over time. But in western equestrian shows, riders are paired with horses in a random drawing and the rider has only a few minutes to connect and build a partnership. The horses vary greatly in experience and it is the rider’s job to bring out the best performance after mounting the 1,200-pound animal for the first time. Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) riders are judged by their control of the horse, the rider’s body positioning, and their ability to make the ride appear effortless.

western equestrian team with President Sullivan
l-r: Rachel O’Neal, Travis Harvey, Brittany Cocuzza, Brooke Foster, Haleigh Hurd, Amber Laibe, and John Thompson.  Middle row are President Sullivan, Erika Sutherland, Hannah Brizzee, Brittany Jenkins, MaryElizabeth LaPlante, Alexis Fairbrother, Jessica Bongard, and Coach Marie Dougherty. Seated in the front row are Hannah Schaus, Morgan Hynes, and Cassandra Giglio