Faculty poet's 'Watershed' collection rises on observation, perseverance
Laura Donnelly of the English and creative writing faculty recently released “Watershed,” an award-winning poetry collection whose genesis is a story of observation, practice and perseverance.
“Watershed” earned the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors Prize and was published by the company. In this collection, Donnelly finds inspiration in the often-overlooked work and experiences within women’s lives—ranging from her mother studying Darwin’s finches to ongoing challenges facing women artists.
“Many of the poems try to listen closely to the quiet moments of our experiences, whether from a small gesture or a piece of music, and use that to explore larger questions of culture and identity, especially for women,” she said. These observational poems draw on such varied inspirations as the lives of famous figures, everyday women or even women depicted in paintings.
“The Principle of Flickering,” which at one point was the collection’s working title, serves as “a kind of anchor to the book,” Donnelly said, and “talks about change and being in motion and the process of transformation.”
The theme fits her life well. Originally trained as a classical pianist—groundbreaking pianists and composers Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn are among those explored in her poetry—Donnelly also majored in English literature, where she really enjoyed her first poetry class.
The rhythms of poetry appealed to her, and the disciplines had other parallels. “The musical training complements poetry because of the importance of practice,” Donnelly said. “I was used to spending a lot of time in practice rooms, so I was very comfortable with the idea that you have to practice a phrase over and over to get it right.”
Many poems people read that seem very immediate and spontaneous are really the result of a lot of writing and revising, Donnelly noted, an important part of creativity she passes along to students.
The title poem of “Watershed” views the watershed region of the Hudson Valley through an environmental lens, but the collection came together with a lot of images of water, natural for somebody who grew up around the shores of Lake Michigan.
The water connection followed her. Donnelly recalls marveling at Lake Ontario when she visited to interview for her position at SUNY Oswego. “Do you realize how amazing this is?” Donnelly kept saying of the Great Lake during her visit.
Tale of perseverance
Her experience in writing, revising and getting a collection of poems spanning from 2005 to early 2013 finally published helps her communicate the importance of perseverance to her students. Donnelly planned to make that lesson a major part of her presentation in the college’s Living Writers series earlier this week.
“The writers who are getting published are sending their manuscripts to more than 100 publishers,” she explained. “My message is that if you’re trying to get published and getting rejected, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.”
Her poems have appeared in journals that include Cimarron Review, CutBank, Flyway and Poetry East. A former editor in chief of the national literary journal Third Coast, Donnelly has been a finalist for the Brittingham and Pollak Prizes, the Orlando Prize and the St. Lawrence Book Award.
The experience publishing “Watershed” and an earlier chapbook with Finishing Line Press—“Nocturne—Schumann’s Letters” on musicians Robert and Clara Schumann—helped inform a capstone class project she developed asking students to put together 15-to-20-page chapbooks.
“Working on these has helped me think about ways to encourage them to put their poems into a cohesive whole,” Donnelly said. “Students can do a themed collection or individual poems, but they should still figure out how their poems are talking to each other and to develop an arc for the whole collection.”
PHOTO CAPTION—Award-winning poet—A collection of poems by Laura Donnelly of the English faculty earned the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors Prize and recently was published by the company under the title “Watershed.”
Mon Sep 22, 2014
Summer sessions boost enrollment, courses
Summer sessions this year recorded an overall increase in the number of courses offered across the 12 weeks of sessions, leading to a 2 percent increase in enrollment compared to summer 2013.
The Division of Extended Learning reported that the college offered 332 courses this summer, an increase of more than 18 percent from the 281 courses offered in 2013, said Karen Moore, interim coordinator of summer and winter sessions.
This is partly attributable to a significant bump in the number of courses offered online, she said. This summer, 181 courses were offered online, a 25 percent jump over the 144 in summer 2013.
Thanks to a new program allowing for flexible class sizes, the number of course cancellations due to under-enrollment decreased from 83 canceled courses in 2013 to 52 this summer.
“The campuswide cooperation has been crucial to the success of both summer and winter sessions,” Moore said.
Mon Sep 22, 2014
Since Sept. 8, University Police have investigated several cases of theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct and made 14 arrests.
A 25-year-old Hannibal man was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and failure to return license plates, both misdemeanors, and speeding and inadequate lights, both infractions.
A 23-year-old Hannibal man was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration, a misdemeanor, and driving on shoulders of the road, an infraction.
A 24-year-old Oswego man was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.
A 19-year-old Seneca Hall resident was charged with disorderly conduct and unauthorized use of a license, both violations.
Officers charged 10 students with possession of marijuana: four each from Cayuga and Seneca Halls, one each from the Village and Waterbury Hall.
Mon Sep 22, 2014
Grant to fund monitoring rare turtles by air, land, water
Peter A. Rosenbaum of the biological sciences faculty has won a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant to lead a multidisciplinary team to monitor elusive bog turtles at sites in Wayne and Seneca counties.
The $58,000 grant, “Population Monitoring and Habitat Monitoring for the Bog Turtle at Two Sites in the Prairie Peninsula and Lake Plains Recovery Unit of New York,” gives Rosenbaum the opportunity to continue a research interest of more than a quarter-century and to intensively assess a rediscovered bog turtle site and a historically well-known one as part in a large, multistate monitoring project.
The bog turtle, on the federal threatened and state endangered lists, is found in 11 Eastern states and, according to Rosenbaum, is “arguably North America’s smallest and rarest turtle.” It is a symbol in the effort to protect and restore the mucky fens and sedge meadow environments the turtle favors. Rosenbaum frequently has served as a consultant on alleviating the threats from planned developments, and has a long history of working with other conservation groups to protect and steward the bog turtle’s rare habitats, which sustain a unique mosaic of plants, animals and geology.
In this latest grant, Rosenbaum will work with other scientists and students using trapping, tagging, radio telemetry, remote photography and drones. As part of the larger study, the effort will focus on two of 62 verified sites across the Northeast for these palm-size reptiles.
Along with students from SUNY Oswego and, potentially, other colleges, scientists from four conservation organizations will partner with Rosenbaum to carry out the project and lend high-tech monitoring equipment such as wildlife cameras and aerial drones. Principal scientists include Lori Erb and Brandon Ruhe of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation, James Curatalo of the Wetlands Land Trust, Patrick Raney of the Upper Susquehanna Coalition and James Eckler of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Rosenbaum said “three or four dozen students” have helped with fieldwork and other tasks in his and colleagues’ research on bog turtles and their habitats over the years. In the current two-year project, Rosenbaum expects student researchers to learn many skills, including the art and science of setting out traps around habitat favored by bog turtles, mapping the traps’ locations using GPS and how to check the traps daily.
The students will also learn about bog turtle habitat and have the opportunity to learn about radio telemetry, using drones as habitat monitors and utilizing different wildlife photography equipment to try to digitally “catch” bog turtles and other wetlands creatures.
One of the sites now under study was first discovered in 1916 by world-renowned wildlife biologist and herpetologist Albert Hazen Wright of Cornell University. The site and its location were not well described, and it was not until 2004 that Rosenbaum was able to trap and tag a bog turtle at the Wayne County site he long had suspected was the one Wright had found.
“We put a radio transmitter on her and followed her around, but found no other bog turtles there in 2004,” Rosenbaum said. “Next year will be our first opportunity since then to locate other bog turtles at this site.”
Part of the new grant will help assess that site in detail as part of the ongoing federally funded effort to help conserve and, where possible, restore bog turtle habitat. Several restoration and stewardship projects are ongoing at each of the five known bog turtle sites in Central and Western New York, Rosenbaum said.
The ultimate goal of the federal recovery plan in what is known as the Lake Ontario coastal plain is to restore bog turtles in at least 10 sites, either by discovering five additional bog turtle populations or by reintroducing them into sites where the reptiles once lived but have disappeared.
Rosenbaum said he also plans to repeat a 1990s project first done with Syracuse’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo to collect turtle eggs and head-start hatchling turtles in captivity—protecting them from predators and other threats until they are more fully grown—and then release them in an attempt to reintegrate them into their native habitat.
PHOTO CAPTION: Monitoring movements—Peter Rosenbaum of biological sciences will work with other scientists and students in a two-year project funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor elusive bog turtles and their habitats at two sites in the region, as part of a larger effort across the Eastern United States. Here, he displays a bog turtle on a small scale and carrying a radio transmitter on its shell in 2012, during fieldwork on another grant. (Photo by Richard Back)
Mon Sep 22, 2014
SUNY organization honors Career Services
The SUNY Oswego Career Services Office’s revamped system of collecting information from the past year’s graduates on the jobs they landed and graduate schools they attended has won kudos from the SUNY Career Development Organization.
Fri Sep 19, 2014
Oswego partner in competition encouraging apps supporting CNY
SUNY Oswego is a partner in the first-ever AT&T Central New York Civic App Challenge, a two-month “virtual hackathon” encouraging developers to solve local issues by building smartphone apps that serve Central New Yorkers.
Fri Sep 19, 2014
Sustainability educator, PSC chair to keynote conference
On Monday and Tuesday, the college will host SUNY’s annual Sustainability Conference, featuring guest speakers from Yale-National University of Singapore and the state Public Service Commission.
“Our policy is to allow interested students, staff and faculty to drop in on any of the presentations and keynote speakers free of charge and without registering if the topic is of interest to them,” Mike Lotito, SUNY Oswego’s sustainability engineering coordinator, said Monday. “Official registration is closed and we have just under 100 participants signed up and paid.”
Michael Maniates, professor of social sciences and head of environmental studies at Yale-NUS, will make an opening keynote presentation titled “Why Environmentalists Rarely Get Invited to Parties (and How We Can Change That)” at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, in the Marano Campus Center auditorium.
To close the conference, Audrey Zibelman, commissioner and chair of the PSC, will present “Reforming the Energy Vision” at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium.
The complete program is online.
The SUNY Sustainability Conference annually brings together educators, administrators and others to share information about environmental innovations and issues. This year’s program features presentations, panels and case studies on a wide variety of topics, including the Farm to SUNY program in which SUNY Oswego is playing a prominent role.
Jamie Adams, Oswego’s sustainability programming coordinator, will appear with representatives of University at Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta and the American Farmland Trust’s Farm-to-Institution New York State partnership. A grant from the Farmland Trust helps fund the SUNY program, which is charged with increasing student awareness of and demand for local produce on campuses and in dining facilities.
Katherine Spector of Oswego’s mathematics faculty and Grace Maxon of the Office of Learning Services will make a presentation on the upcoming permaculture living lab planned for a 3/4-acre plot between the Shineman Center and Lee Hall.
Other conference sessions will cover on-campus biodiesel production, residential and farm-scale hydroelectricity, solar photovoltaic project development and other initiatives around the State University system.
Maniates’ current work focuses on competing paths to sustainable consumption, “next generation” programs in environmental studies and the environmental politics of sacrifice. He has co-founded two award-winning environmental organizations, directed a semester of study on a floating university and consulted widely with colleges and universities on sustainability initiatives.
Zibelman sits on the state Energy Planning Board and is chair of the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, state Energy Research and Development Authority, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc., state Disaster Preparedness Commission and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Task Force.
For more information, visit choose.esc.edu/suny-sustainability.
Fri Sep 19, 2014
Debbie Diment thrives in 'year-round busy' Experiential Learning
In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Debbie Diment, secretary in the Center for Experiential Learning, formerly Experience-Based Education. A jack-of-all-trades who loves staying busy, she’s an entrepreneur off the job with a global clientele.
Q. How long have you worked for the college?
A. I came to campus part time in 1986. I worked in the biology department. I did some temporary stints in math and physics. I came to Experience-Based Ed in 1994. In August, it was 20 years in this office. My sister, Diane Carroll, and I job-shared here for about 10 years. It worked well. When she moved to the associate provost’s office two and a half years ago, I had the chance to go full time. I jumped right in.
Q. What are your duties?
A. Office management, assisting students—I’m really a jack-of-all-trades at this point. I work on the processes and procedures for the internship program, help with the content and edit the website, schedule workshops, do a lot of the handouts, run the Facebook page, do the Twitter, LinkedIn (accounts) – and many other things that have developed over the years. My big project at this time is to transition the student learning agreement process to a paperless system.
Q. Is your job changing in the newly renamed Center for Experiential Learning?
A. We’re not just internships now. We’re bringing in co-ops, the Mentor-Scholar Program and short-term work-based learning at companies. From what I understand, I will still be managing the office and will use my 20 years of experience here to help us move forward as we grow and add new programs. I am very excited to have Denise DiRienzo as our new director and can’t wait to see what plans she has for the office.
Q. How many internships a semester does your office handle?
A. Generally, we have 200 to 300. I deal with all the students at some point as their paperwork gets handed in and processed for approval. A lot of people don’t realize we run all summer. Interestingly, this summer we had 202 interns, a record number that is 25 percent over our previous record.
Q. How do you like dealing with SUNY Oswego students?
A. I thoroughly enjoy working with students. I enjoy helping them, talking with them. If they come to my office with an unrelated issue, I’m very happy to find the right place to send them—I never want a student to leave here not knowing where to go next.
Q. Is there an innovation you helped lead for the office that stands out?
A. I did set up Laker Leads for the Compass when that was purchased, where employers can register their internships directly through our website. That was quite a project—the initial setup of the forms and the trials and the testing. Also, getting an office website set up, and our social media. Getting interviews set up with interns—they do amazing internships: Miami Dolphins, “Live with Regis” (now “Live with Kelly and Michael”), Buffalo Sabres and all over—and every semester I ask a few of them to do an interview for the website and share it on social media. They actually ask to be included now. One student went to Africa and worked at a wildlife preserve. Her interview is on the website. Hopefully we’ll get into some live interviews in the future.
Q. What are your other interests?
A. When I was working part time, I wanted to get into freelance web design on the side. So I took some courses in it. Then it led me into a whole other business. I make personalized wedding accessories—ring bearer pillows, wedding garters, flower girl baskets, guest books and pens. I’m on break right now; I shut my company down when classes start here, because it’s too much. I hand-make and ship my products all over the world. I process about 600 orders a year.
Q. What can you tell us about your family?
A. My husband, Vinnie, and I are getting used to being empty nesters. My daughter graduated from here with a public justice degree. My son is a sophomore at RIT. My mother, Sue Losurdo Torres, worked at the college in Learning Resources—she works at Volney School now. My father is retired from Alcan.
Q. What’s something only family and good friends know about you?
A. I don’t know—I’m pretty open. Hmmm, I like work. I really like having a lot on my plate and a lot to do. I like working in this office—it’s year-round busy and extremely interesting and rewarding.
Thu Sep 18, 2014
SEFA walks, skates, bakes, blooms toward $40K goal
The college’s State Employees Federated Appeal recently kicked off its 2014-15 campaign, setting a $40,000 goal for donations that can be directed to charitable organizations far and wide to assist those less fortunate.
Early fundraising events serving to raise awareness around campus of this year’s SEFA drive feature a Fitness Centers deal, the fast-approaching SEFA Bake-Off and the just-concluded sale of chrysanthemums.
Later this fall, the SEFA Committee will organize one of its most popular fundraisers, Baskets of Caring.
In coordination with the statewide appeal, employees will be asked to pledge contributions to the campaign via payroll deduction or direct donation.
“People can give to literally thousands of organizations across the world,” said Howard Gordon, who convenes the SEFA Committee on behalf of college President Deborah F. Stanley. “Consider giving to the United Way locally or to national organizations such as the ALS Association or others that are local, national or international—we don’t press people to give to any particular place.”
Gordon said the committee continues to strive to increase the number of employees who contribute. Employees who donate to the campaign by check or payroll deduction will be eligible for one of the fall 2014 weekly drawings for prizes from local merchants and a drawing for a larger prize as the 2014-15 campaign winds down.
“Even $1 or $2 per paycheck would go a long way to helping children, families and others in need,” he said.
Each year, state employees around New York give millions of dollars to charitable organizations through 23 regional SEFA campaigns.
SEFA also plans a wide array of events, from the SEFA/United Way Walk-A-Thon to a holiday toy drive, from Skate with the Lakers to an in-progress Fitness Centers deal.
Contributors across campus have until Sept. 30 to earn a one-month membership to Cooper-Glimmerglass Fitness Centers for a $20 donation in check or cash to SEFA at the Residence Life and Housing office, Room 303 of Culkin Hall. The deal also enables participants to extend their memberships through the rest of the semester or academic year at rates reduced by $20.
“The Fitness Centers are a longtime supporter of SEFA,” Gordon said. “We want to highlight their support this year and their commitment to the campus community.”
Another imminent event is the annual SEFA/United Way Walk-A-Thon, organized by committee member Laura Brown of the human development faculty and Vega women’s honor society. Runners, walkers, those in wheelchairs and stroller-pushers all are welcome to participate. Registration begins at noon Saturday, Oct. 4, at Lanigan Hall for the 1 p.m. campus-looping event.
“We are also reviving the Deans’ Challenge, with each academic school—and dean—vying for the top fundraising from their constituents,” Brown said. “Let the trash-talking begin!”
SEFA Bake-Off contestants from a variety of buildings across campus will vie for votes on Oct. 15 at Marano Campus Center near the Point, Oct. 20 in the Shineman Center atrium, Oct. 23 in Room 711 of Culkin Hall and Oct. 28 in the Mahar Hall lobby.
A regularly updated calendar of SEFA-related events and more information is available at oswego.edu/sefa.
PHOTO CAPTION: Colorful campaign—State Employees Federated Appeal Committee members Kristin Gublo, left, of the chemistry department and Tammy Elowsky of the Office of Business and Community Relations deliver mums to customers around campus last week. Part of each sale benefits the 2014-15 charitable campaign, which kicked off recently with a $40,000 goal and plans for fundraising events throughout the fall.
Thu Sep 18, 2014
Campus grant deadlines one month away
The Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee encourages faculty, staff and students who are engaged in scholarly research or creative activities to begin thinking now about applying for campus grants next month.
Up to $3,000 is available per proposal under the Faculty Scholarly and Creative Activities Grant Program. The deadline to apply is Oct. 27.
Faculty and staff members may want to encourage students who are actively engaged in scholarly and creative projects to apply for Student Scholarly and Creative Activities Grants. The deadline is Nov. 3.
Students may apply for up to $1,000 to support their academic-oriented projects. Students must have a faculty or staff sponsor for their projects.