Campus Update

Fri Jan 24, 2014
Quest 2014 goal: 'Quality plus quantity'

Quest, the college’s day to celebrate research and scholarly and creative activity, returns April 9 for its 35th edition with new coordinator Norm Weiner emphasizing a goal of “quality plus quantity.”

Thu Jan 23, 2014
Lake-effect researchers share excitement far and wide

A banner year for lake-effect snowstorms has delighted researchers from SUNY Oswego and partner universities, blanketing a $4 million National Science Foundation project in dramatic weather phenomena and delivering a storm of media coverage.

Weather researchers discuss equipmentTeam members with the OWLeS—Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems—study began gathering data in early December. That phase is scheduled to end today, providing weary researchers a chance to catch their breaths as they prepare to dive into analysis of a very active lake-effect season that has featured snow lightning, blizzards and, east of the lake, more than 10 feet of snow, all scrutinized by an armada of scientific vehicles, instruments, faculty and students from across the nation.

Besides SUNY Oswego, participating institutions include the University of Wyoming, University of Illinois-Champaign, University of Utah, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Millersville (Pa.) University, Penn State University, University of Alabama-Huntsville, SUNY Albany and the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colo.

While the massive snowfalls of the Tug Hill Plateau have tended to corral the attention of Oswego alumni Al Roker, Tom Niziol and the Weather Channel as well as other media, the project also has sought to better understand the complex interactions that generate lake-effect bands across the Finger Lakes.

Scott Steiger, associate professor of earth sciences at Oswego, and some 30 students from the college joined more than 100 other project members to share their excitement, blogging, tweeting, posting and scientifically reporting on OWLeS, as well as responding to inquiries from general-interest media and specialized publications.

As Steiger told WROC-TV in Rochester at a kickoff event he helped organize and promote Dec. 4 in Penn Yan, “we’re going to be finding things that we’ve never seen before.”

Students from Millersville State certainly had that experience when they video-recorded snow lightning (near the 1:39 mark) during a lake-effect blizzard Jan. 7 near Pulaski.

“One thing that has really intrigued me with the research so far was the lightning we had in (that) event,” Steiger said. “It was a lot for a snowstorm—near 25 flashes in a few hours—but also occurred in very cold conditions and well inland from the lake, a big heat source, near Barnes Corners.  These are surprising finds and will cause me to ponder for quite some time.”

The researchers also have made time for education, reaching out to give updates and tours of instrument-laden vehicles such as three Doppler-on-Wheels radar trucks, a University of Wyoming Beech King Air research plane and a Mobile Integrated Profiling System with high school students and other members of the general public.

PHOTO CAPTION: Storm tracker—Rachel Humphrey of the Center for Severe Weather Research, a meteorology faculty member at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colo., talks with SUNY Oswego’s Robert Ballentine, center, and Alfred Stamm of the earth sciences department about the “pods,” portable weather stations, that measure and record a range of local weather information, such as air temperature, humidity and wind speed. Humphrey assisted Scott Steiger of earth sciences and others conducting Jan. 14 tours of equipment used in the Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems (OWLeS) study, whose multiple-university research partners have had a banner two months of data gathering during storms that have sometimes made national news.

Tue Jan 21, 2014

Faculty, students receive campus grants

Faculty and students will commence work on 26 scholarly and creative projects this semester with funding through campus grants. The college’s Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee reviewed the grant proposals in the fall and made the funding recommendations to Provost Lorrie Clemo.

All faculty proposals were approved this fall, and the four faculty members received a total of $12,000 for their scholarly and creative projects. Twenty-two student projects received funding, of 30 submitted, for a total of more than $20,000 in grant awards.

Faculty and students will have more opportunities to apply for campus grants this semester. The deadline to apply for Faculty-Student Challenge Grants and the next round of Faculty Scholarly and Creative Activity Grants is Feb. 17.

Fall round of awards

The newly approved faculty projects are: “The Longitudinal Comparison of Hair and Saliva Cortisol” by Kestutis Bendinskas of the chemistry department with students Jessica Blodgett and Daniel Walter and faculty collaborators James MacKenzie and Vadoud Niri; “A Reference Transcriptome for the Terrestrial Isopod Trachelipus rathkei” by Christopher Chandler of the biological sciences department; “New Creative Work Based on Iznik Ceramics, Byzantine Frescoes and the Contemporary Craft of Glass” by Roxanne Jackson of the art department; and “Research Visit in Tubingen, Germany” by Elizabeth Wilcox of the mathematic department.

The 25 students receiving support for 22 scholarly and creative projects are:

In anthropology: Aericka Pawlikowski for “Analysis of Archeological Data Gathered at Fort Haldimand on Carleton Island, N.Y., in 2011 and 2013,” Rhiannon Peshniak for “Analysis of Historic Artifact Assemblage from Potential Site of Original Historic LeRay Mansion at Fort Drum,” and Megan Therrien for “Analysis of Historic Artifact Assemblage from the 1947 Pine Camp Barracks Fire at Fort Drum, N.Y.,” all with faculty sponsor Douglas Pippin.

In art: Luzmaria Cruz and Stephanie Gamboa for “Steamroller Printing Project” with faculty sponsor Cynthia Clabough; Caitlin Roberts for “Closer” with faculty sponsor Christopher McEvoy; and David Owens for “Twelve in Oswego” with faculty sponsor Richard Metzgar.

In biological sciences: Kimberlyn Bailey for “Investigating Binding Sites in Mitochondrial Protein Import” with faculty sponsor James MacKenzie; Jeffrey Benjamin and Tyler Pelle for “Estimating Influences of Climate Change on Seasonal and Daily Movements of Atlantic Population Canada Geese During the Non-breeding Season” with faculty sponsor Michael Schummer; Yvaline Dorce for “Genetic Markers Studies of a Small Sample of People with Diabetes in the Democratic Republic of Congo” with faculty sponsor Christopher Chandler; Joshua Drake for “SPF Natural Selection: The Evolutionary Response of C. elegans to an Ultraviolet Light-intense Environment” with faculty sponsor Chandler; Maame Hayfron for “The Effect of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone and Caffeic Acid on the Lifespans of C. elegans” with faculty sponsor Jenifer Cruickshank; Jamal Lavine and Cynthia Marroquin for “Effect of Humidity on Development and Enzyme Activity on Geomyces destructans, the Causal Agent of Bat White Nose Syndrome” with faculty sponsor Sophia Windstam; Carolanne Smith for “PCR Analysis of Locally Collected Ixodes scapularis (Blacklegged Tick) for Presence of Disease Microbes Babesia microti and Anaplasma phagocytophilum” with faculty sponsor Timothy Braun; and Calee Wilson for “Local Museum Specimen Screening for Chytridiomycosis” with faculty sponsor Windstam.

In chemistry: Kaitlyn Dodge for “High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)” and Christopher Pitts for “Environmental Effects of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons,” both with faculty sponsor Martha Bruch; Robert Mroz for “The Synthesis of Boc-amino Acid Ester Derivatives of Betulin” with faculty sponsor Joseph LeFevre; Cihad Sigindere for “Expanding Compound Scope of N-Oxide Picolinic Amide Ligand in C-O Bond Formations” with faculty sponsor Fehmi Damkaci; Viktorija Sprancmanis for “Human Plasma Protein Alpha-2-Macroglobulin and Lead Binding Interactions” with faculty sponsor Kestutis Bendinskas; and Leann Valentino for “Creating Monocarboxyboranes to Create CO2 in Controlled Environment” with faculty sponsor Nin Dingra.

In physics: Patrick Howard for “Thermal Desorption Spectra of Water” and Marie Romano for “Film Fabrication and Characterization through Langmuir-Blodgett Trough and Spin-Coating,” both with faculty sponsor Carolina Ilie.

Mon Jan 20, 2014
'Plan B' provides rewarding career for Dan Laird of CTS

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Dan Laird, media and design specialist for Campus Technology Services. Laird’s multifaceted job reflects the eclectic mix of interests of a family man whose grandfather lived where SUNY Oswego now sits.

Dan Laird in a smart classroomQ. What do you do for CTS as media and design specialist?
The short version would be that I create print and digital media for CTS, am in charge of maintaining our Web page, supporting faculty with multimedia creation and helping with the Multimedia Room at Penfield Library, as well as administering the lecture-capture service on campus and training faculty how to use it.

Q.  What is your educational and career background?
I went to high school in Oswego and graduated from college here in 2000 with a bachelor’s in business administration. My first career was as a financial analyst. I was a licensed New York state insurance agent. Technology was my Plan B—it has always been a hobby of mine. I built my first computer in ‘93. I worked for a company for five years before I came here; that gave me the keys to the kingdom as far as servers and networks, so I’ve learned by doing it. I’m now in a graphic design master’s program.

Q. How did you first become interested in technology?
My parents were early adopters of different computing systems. My father purchased a Commodore 128 and bought me a programming book when I was a preteen. BASIC was my first introduction to programming. I created a few games on the Commodore and spent most of my allowances on new software. I’m definitely a vintage video game enthusiast.

Q.  How do you like working for SUNY Oswego and CTS?
I really enjoy my particular position, because it allows me to be creative and to collaborate with lots of different people in order to provide services to faculty and staff, which is my main goal besides the care of our Web page. I train faculty in multimedia skills. I’ve helped outfit the computer labs on campus with posters about services we have that some people may not be that aware of. There’s quite a diverse base of people in CTS and I really enjoy working with them. It’s a blessing to be able to enjoy your job.

Q. Is it a challenge working with faculty of varying technological aptitudes?
In this position, it’s been a really nice challenge. I’m actually pleasantly surprised that many of them are well versed in some of the technology I’ve been working on and will have good feedback for me. We did a search committee for the lecture capture project and we included three faculty ranging in technological skills, and they’ve been very helpful in their feedback. You need to have feedback from those who know a lot about technology as well as ones who don’t in order to arrive at the best experience for everyone on campus. We are customer service to the faculty and staff and students on campus to make sure they can do their jobs—that’s why we’re here.

Q. Why should faculty consider lecture capture?
Some of the benefits that faculty have cited to me are students needing to review material they missed, and the ability to own what faculty have said in class in case it’s taken out of context or students claim that subjects in a (test) question were not covered in class. It’s also a self-assessment tool.

Q.  What are some of the things you like to do outside of work?
I like camping and canoeing and biking, and I want to get my children involved in those activities. I really enjoy cooking. My coworkers at my last job wrote in to The Post-Standard and nominated me and I was chosen as chef of the month. I got in there with my four recipes and had my picture taken. I’ve catered a few parties for friends. I do a lot of outdoor cooking and ethnic cooking—I really love Thai cooking.

Q. What’s your favorite recipe?
As far as barbecuing, I have Ranch Rosemary Chicken Kabobs—they’re my go-to recipe for parties. I do quite a bit of tailgating, too, for Bills football games. Grilling wings at tailgating parties is fun.

Q. What can you tell us about your family?
My wife and I met when we dated in junior high. I later met her at a bar on New Year’s Eve in 2001. It was easy to reconnect. I proposed to her a year later in Clinton Square where the ice rink is on Christmas Eve. Kaleigh is my 15-year-old daughter, and we have 5-year-old Billy and 4-year-old Ellie. We live in Scriba.

Q. What’s something about you that many people don’t know?
My grandfather’s family lived on campus. His original farm is where Swetman Hall was built. The state acquired it by eminent domain. My grandfather then bought a place where Penfield Library is now. So five or six years later there was another knock on the door. He said enough of this and moved to Scriba. I did my senior thesis on the expansion of campus and the effect on families whose property was bought out.

Mon Dec 02, 2013

Since Nov.18, University Police have investigated several cases of theft, disorderly conduct and vandalism and made seven arrests.


A 19-year-old Massapequa man was charged with resisting arrest as well as disorderly conduct, a violation. University Police found him lying on the side of Rudolph Road near Onondaga Drive and stopped to check on him. He was intoxicated and when officers tried to assist him, he became violent.

An 18-year-old Funnelle Hall resident was charged with third-degree possession of a forged instrument. Police said he had a forged driver’s license. He was also charged with disorderly conduct, a violation.  He is accused of taking trash from garbage cans and throwing it on the road near Draper Avenue.

An 18-year-old Oneida Hall resident was charged with petit larceny. He is accused of stealing an exit sign from Oneida Hall. Another 18-year-old Oneida Hall resident was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. She is accused of being in possession of the stolen exit sign.

A 33-year-old Fulton man was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration and failure to return license plates, both misdemeanors, and operating a motor vehicle without an inspection certificate, an infraction.


Two 18-year-olds were charged with possession of marijuana: one from Cayuga Hall and one from Funnelle Hall.

Mon Dec 02, 2013
Business executive to speak at December graduation

SUNY Oswego’s December Commencement on Dec. 14 will feature as speaker an alumnus of the college who used his business administration degree to advance to leadership positions at Fortune 100 companies.

Mon Dec 02, 2013
December graduates looking to future paths

About 530 students are eligible to participate in December Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, then take steps to futures that include jobs and graduate school—with some expecting a new bonus.

Mon Dec 02, 2013
Oswego student to present research at prestigious biology conference

Spencer Saraf, a senior majoring in chemistry who graduates this month, has received a travel award from the National Science Foundation to present the surprising results of her summer research on eyesight to an international audience of scientists at the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology next month in Austin, Texas.

Mon Dec 02, 2013
Lake-effect researchers to hold event today

Mon Dec 02, 2013
Renovated Park Hall offers wealth of teaching, learning possibilities

As Park Hall begins to fill back up nearing the end of a two-year, $17.5 million modernization, the School of Education looks forward to new opportunities for collaborative teaching and learning, from a more visible Center for Urban Schools to innovative partnerships with the sciences.

Students in new Park Hall auditorium“The changes are absolutely amazing when I think about all the possibilities,” said Pam Michel, interim dean of education.

The college’s second-oldest building, Park Hall will throw open its doors to high-tech flexible classrooms, a webinar room, fully renovated transportation lab and much more on Jan. 27, the start of the spring semester. The school’s new main entrance—an atrium with three levels of walkways connecting Wilber Hall—will open too.

The dean’s office and the departments of technology, vocational teacher preparation and educational administration have moved in, and the Office of Facilities Design and Construction will stage in other faculty and staff through winter break, even as Wilber Hall empties for its own yearlong renovation, according to Joe Messmer, the college’s liaison with general contractor PAC & Associates of Oswego on the project.

Michel said the project’s faculty shepherd, Dan Tryon of technology, and all the faculty and staff have worked with FDC to help tie in the Bergmann Associates design with the School of Education’s mission, vision and conceptual framework.

For example, the school puts a high premium on social justice and improving educational opportunities in the state’s high-need schools.

“We have moved the Center for Urban Schools to the third floor of Park Hall, the same floor as the dean’s suite, and I’m really excited about that,” Michel said. “It’s going to be much more visible to faculty, students and staff, and will assist our recruiting and supporting a diverse faculty and student body and our seeking funds to support partnerships across the state.”

Sciences linked

With a corridor connecting the School of Education to the new Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation, Michel said she has already seen new synergies as a result of the highly visible new 13,700-square-foot Wilber addition with its state-of-the-art technology labs and the school’s field placement office.

The STEM for Kids program, Youth Technology Days and the recent Nor’easter VEX Robotics Competition are all examples, she said.

“Alumni and the public school teachers are very excited to see the significant improvements, not only in the labs but in the curriculum,” Michel said.

Messmer said the list of what’s new in Park Hall is extensive, from the lower level’s all-new mechanicals and a modernized transportation lab to a fully renovated auditorium for Faculty Assembly meetings and other events.

In a project that sometimes resembled an archeological dig, contractors have transformed the 1932 building to a brighter, more open, more flexible and high-tech home for the next generations of teachers and those who teach them.

“We found a fireplace inside a wall on the second floor that still had wood stacked in it,” Messmer said during a tour in August.

Now Park Hall—renovated to LEED Gold standards—features new foam insulation, heating, air-handling, electrical, sprinklers and alarms, he said. New metered steam lines feed the heating system. Much of the building’s brickwork remains, but new brick matches it, and there are new fit-and-finish touches throughout, such as the atrium’s terrazzo floors and recycled redwood feature wall.

As Michel looked out over the atrium from the third-floor walkway, it brought to mind another set of collaborations she would like to see, with the arts.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful in this atrium if there were a string quartet or a small performance to bring to the School of Education?” she said.

PHOTO CAPTION: Makeover magic—Among the many new features of the $17.5 million Park Hall renovation project, the auditorium dons new seating, lights, carpeting, high-tech audiovisual equipment and window units, among other upgrades. Technology education students Erica Querns, left, a graduate student, and Omar Santiago, a senior, give the room’s theatre-style seats a try. While faculty and staff move into the building in stages through winter break, workers are wrapping up and preparing for the building’s reopening for classes when spring semester begins.

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