Campus Update

Thu Mar 20, 2014
Student's paintings at Quest to display city calendar-style

David Owens, a junior fine arts student concentrating in illustration, will present his work-in-progress, “Twelve in Oswego: An Artistic Interpretation of Time and Place,” on April 9 at Quest.

Artist David OwensFor every month of the year, Owens finds an ideal location to photograph a place in Oswego and creates paintings based on the photos. His goal is to get people to see his process and understand his work, as well as to think about the environment of the city and how it transforms month after month.

Owens hopes to turn these paintings into a 12-month calendar once he is finished.

“I wanted to make the project relatable to people who see it and get them to understand my process,” he said.

With his camera in hand, Owens spends approximately two hours capturing the perfect moment for a potential piece in his artwork. He has fully completed paintings for the months of January and February, and is currently finishing one for March.

Owens received a Scholarly and Creative Activity Committee grant to assist his project. The grant helped him pay for art supplies, boards and paint that would have been much too expensive for him otherwise. He also received the SUNY Oswego Presidential Purchase Award in 2013 and 2014 at the Juried Student Exhibition.

Opening doors

Owens will be one of two students to represent the college in the “Innovative Exploration Forum: Undergraduate Research in New York State’s Public Higher Education System” on April 1 at the University Faculty Senate in Albany, where he will present his project. His painting for the month of January was displayed in Schweinfurth Memorial Arts Center in Auburn.

“This project has opened a lot of doors for me,” said Owens, who continuously sends his artwork to publications and regional shows.

Art faculty member Richard Metzgar mentors Owens in the development and completion of his project, and the student has appreciated the teacher’s efforts.

“He’s invaluable,” Owens said. “His professional work relates to mine as an artist, and he pushed me conceptually to go with this idea.” Metzgar also helps Owens with grant applications and posters that are going to be on display.

Owens said he has always been passionate about painting and expressing himself creatively through his artwork. Along with pursuing his project, he also contributes to the Oswegonian through cartoons, editorial illustrations and covers. His artwork is displayed on his website,

Visit for more information, including, as Quest day nears, the times and places for the more than 300 presentations, exhibitions and other events.

Thu Mar 20, 2014
Geese migration, weather changes engage student scientists

Using high-end, temperature-sensing remote wildlife cameras, two students and a biological sciences faculty member have begun a study to determine whether changing weather patterns affect the migratory paths and ecological relationships of Canada geese from northern Quebec.

Students, professor discuss geese tracking studyJunior biology major Jeffrey Benjamin and junior meteorology and applied mathematics major Tyler Pelle have worked since last fall on the project with SUNY Oswego zoologist, ornithology specialist and faculty member Michael Schummer, in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We have to know what makes them migrate before we can determine what could change their patterns,” Schummer said of the geese. “What types of weather variables influence the behaviors of these geese?”

Benjamin has pored over thousands of photos of geese at the Junius Ponds Unique Area northwest of Waterloo, while Pelle has painstakingly correlated the cameras’ temperature data with that of the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center, known for its ground-based, airborne and satellite snowfall analyses.

At Quest on April 9, the students intend to make two presentations—one focused on abundance and foraging patterns as a function of temperature of what is known as the Atlantic Population of Canada geese, the other on the reliability of the cameras’ own weather data.

“I find more and more that if you are interested in waterfowl, you’ll need to consult with a meteorologist or a climatologist,” Schummer said. “It’s really fun, because it’s two different languages that have to meld together.”

Quest is the college’s daylong celebration of scholarship and creativity on campus. The young scientists’ project with Schummer benefited from a grant provided by the college’s Scholarly and Creative Activity Committee.

Publications possible

Benjamin said the Reconyx PC 900 professional wildlife cameras went up at the Junius Ponds location in October and came down when the ponds froze over in January. In the interim, the state-owned instruments took a photo every hour during daylight hours. At peak during the migration, the week of Dec. 6, Benjamin counted more than 1,000 birds on the pond each day.

Pelle and Benjamin also tracked the geese’s daily foraging flights and other movements, determined types and amounts of precipitation and tracked daily average temperature.

While both students are headed back to remount the cameras this spring, it will be Benjamin who carries the project forward this fall.

“I think that with another year’s worth of data, there’s capability to get this published in a regional journal, if not in a bird journal, and possibly presented at a regional conference,” he said.

Schummer, who with the assistance of graduate students has previously studied mallards’ migratory behavior in relation to climatic factors, agreed.

“My goal always with students is to present locally, regionally and internationally if you can, and to follow up with a peer-reviewed article,” he said. “I expect to keep these guys busy. It’s in their best interests—it really helps them if they go on to do master’s degrees.”

Visit for more information, including, as Quest nears, the times and locations for presentations.

PHOTO CAPTION: Flight paths—Junior meteorology and applied mathematics major Tyler Pelle (left) and junior biology major Jeffrey Benjamin (center) have worked with Michael Schummer of the biological sciences faculty since last fall on a project to study Canada geese abundance during seasonal migrations, in relation to temperature, precipitation and other meteorological variables. The students will make presentations at Quest on April 9. The study aims to help determine whether changes in weather patterns affect migration patterns of the Northern Quebec birds through Central New York.

Thu Mar 20, 2014
Student team probes bitcoins with an eye on manias of past

Bitcoins, a digital currency with a brief but volatile history as an investment, have come under the scrutiny of five Quest-bound undergraduates in an upper-level finance class.

Students preparing for Quest Bitcoin presentationThe students in business faculty member Hong Wan’s “Multinational Financial Management” course are working on a historical-economics analysis to show whether bitcoins—fluctuating in value from nearly nothing at their 2009 debut and soaring to more than $1,200 in 2013 before settling recently around $600—are in a phase that makes them ripe for a crash, another upswing or long-haul stability.

“We are trying to determine what stage we are in with bitcoins,” said Eyub Yegen, a senior majoring in both finance and applied mathematical economics. “Are we looking at a bubble? How is this similar to the mortgage-backed securities bubble in 2007?”

Yegen and colleagues Xiaodong Lou, Victoria Danquer, Yixuan Wang and Kyle Crisafulli plan to present their preliminary findings April 9 at Quest, the college’s daylong celebration of scholarly and creative activity. Quest, free and open to the public, has applications for more than 300 presentations, panels and events.

The five students believe theirs is a unique quest: to apply to bitcoins a model developed by the late economic historian Charles P. Kindleberger, whose 1978 book with Robert Z. Aliber, “Manias, Panics and Crashes,” went through five editions and remains required reading for students of the cyclical life of unstable investments.

Bitcoins—not backed by any traditional commodity, such as gold—have depended on building global credibility to establish value. Today, bitcoins are used for everything from pizza purchases to fulfilling seven-figure contracts, thanks to consensus among their users that they are secure, promise anonymity, usually are free of third-party payers and fees, and employ a reliable and public multi-entry ledger system for tracking all completed transactions of each of the 12.5 million bitcoins currently in circulation.

Boom and bust

The student researchers aim to use the lessons of investment manias going back to the Tulip Bubble of the 17th century to position bitcoins in their version of Kindleberger’s model: Simplified, the stages include innovation, confidence-building, euphoria, boom, speculative mania driven by market irrationality and unrealistic borrowing, bubble, profit-taking, increasing disenchantment triggered by a specific event, financial distress, panic and, ultimately, bust.

“We are trying to find out whether there’s a bubble or are we before the bubble,” Lou said.

Proponents of bitcoins believe they are riding the wave of the digital-commerce future, providing a secure method for local or global transactions unique enough that Bitcoin has its own lexicon: “mining,” “block chain,” “hash rate” and so on.

In the course of the project, the undergraduates are learning about teamwork and research steps that will help them in graduate school, the workplace and in their own financial futures.

“This is definitely exciting,” said Danquer, a senior finance major who is conducting the literature review. “We are the first finance students trying to do this. I am very interested in bitcoins and learning more about them, and possibly investing in them someday.”

Wang’s part of the project will be using the Bloomberg service and Internet finance sites to collect data on price, volume and other trading measures for bitcoins. “Professor Wan gives us ideas about the variables to put into the model,” she said.

Yegen said he believes the group eventually can publish the work in a peer-reviewed journal and make presentations at other conferences after Quest, thanks to another historical lesson of economics: division of labor.

“It’s a joint project, and that’s the beauty of teamwork,” he said. “Everyone is busy, so everyone has a part.”

Visit for more information, including, as Quest nears, times and locations for presentations.

PHOTO CAPTION: Tracking bitcoins—Seniors in an upper-level finance class gather March 14 in Lake Effect Cafe’s adjacent conference room to work on their project for Quest: “Innovation in Currency Markets: Will Bitcoins Succeed in This Marathon.” Seated from left are finance majors Victoria Danquer and Eyub Yegen (also an applied mathematical economics major); standing from left are marketing major Xiaodong Lou and finance major Kyle Crisafulli. Missing from the photo is finance major Yixuan Wang.

Mon Mar 10, 2014
Sea Grant, SUNY Oswego launch business development pilot

New York Sea Grant and SUNY Oswego’s Office of Business and Community Relations are launching a Business Retention and Expansion Program this month to evaluate the local business climate and to assist existing recreation and tourism businesses with expansion in Oswego County.

Over the next several weeks, nearly 600 recreation and tourism businesses in Oswego County will have an opportunity to help local and county leaders and residents better understand the issues facing locally owned businesses in today’s economy.

“This pilot program in Oswego County will help us to understand how these businesses see the challenges ahead and advise us and our partners on how to design programs to effectively meet those challenges,” says New York Sea Grant Interim Director William Wise.

The Oswego County Recreation and Tourism Business Retention and Expansion Task Force developed the survey to assess the status and need for workforce training and professional development by business owners and the overall condition and characteristics of the Oswego County recreation and tourism business community.

Survey responses will be collected from mid-March to May 12.

The Oswego County Recreation and Tourism Business Retention and Expansion task force members represent the Fort Brewerton/Greater Oneida Lake Chamber of Commerce, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Tug Hill Commission, Operation Oswego County Inc., Oswego County Promotion and Tourism, New York Sea Grant and the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations.

New York Sea Grant is part of a nationwide network of 33 university-based programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Sea Grant research and outreach programs promote better understanding, conservation, and use of America’s coastal resources. Sea Grant is funded in New York through SUNY and Cornell University and federally through NOAA.

Mon Mar 10, 2014

Since Feb. 24, University Police have investigated several cases of vandalism, theft and marijuana use and made three violation arrests.

A 19-year-old Onondaga Hall resident was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds. Officers said they pulled him over when he failed to stop at a stop sign and they discovered an imitation starter pistol in his vehicle.

A 20-year-old commuter student was charged with possession of a controlled substance in a non-original container. The substance was amphetamine salt pills. He was also charged with failure to keep right and driving with inadequate lights.

A 22-year-old commuter student was charged with possession of marijuana.

Mon Mar 10, 2014
Shineman grant boosts faculty member's plan for Oswego Renaissance

Oswego Renaissance, a homeowner-by-homeowner, block-by-block plan for revitalizing housing stock in Oswego city neighborhoods, has received a $150,000 grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation.

SUNY Oswego sanctions and supports the renewal program. The college provides an office and former lab space in Mahar Hall for the Oswego Renaissance Association and received the Shineman grant through the SUNY Research Foundation.

Restoration of Swits Churchill Conde housePaul Stewart of the psychology department founded and directs the association. The program relies on the “Healthy Neighborhoods” approach for revitalizing urban neighborhoods, increasing homeowner confidence and encouraging reinvestment in houses, streetscapes, parks and, ultimately, entire neighborhoods, leading to neighborhood stabilization, renewal and marketability.

“We are building on undervalued strengths,” said Stewart, former director of the Oswego Children’s Study at the college and a city resident for 12 years. “Historic architecture, charm, walkable neighborhoods, remarkably intact historic downtown: The groundwork for a market-driven transformation is beginning.”

Another of the city’s strengths is the college, Stewart said. Dozens of students, many of them in city-based fraternities and sororities, helped the Oswego Renaissance Association and its partners on projects such as improving the West Park playground and the tree canopy along West Bridge Street.

Backed by a study of nearly 6,000 homes in the city, Stewart said Oswego Renaissance depends on strategic community partnerships and on hometown talent, energy and resources, rather than on a large pot of federal dollars. Everyone has a stake, he said.

Stewart with his partner, Steve Phillips, has spent years restoring the former Swits Churchill Conde house at 53 W. Seneca St. He expresses great enthusiasm when talking about the shared equity that city residents and the college community have in the historic homes and neighborhoods in Oswego.

Breaking the cycle

Stewart says his experience, training in psychology and study of the basic elements of the Healthy Neighborhoods approach show that breaking the “cycle of disinvestment” in Oswego neighborhoods can be done, a block and a neighborhood at a time.

“The name of the game for Oswego’s revitalization is really market confidence,” Stewart said. “It’s basic investor psychology. Homeowners have to be confident that investing in their properties and neighborhoods over time will yield a return. It’s risk-reward—people are willing to risk smaller amounts of money initially until they start seeing that the neighborhood is on a clear, positive trajectory. Most every homeowner I’ve talked to has responded enormously well to this plan. The goal is to begin transforming targeted neighborhoods initially, where we have the greatest chances for early success.”

A 3-year-old Jamestown program has had great success with clustered reinvestment—the Healthy Neighborhoods approach—sparking revitalization of more than 200 homes, Stewart said. In Baltimore, where a similar program has been in progress for a decade, housing values have risen in targeted neighborhoods.

With the assistance of CZB Inc.—a consulting firm with a track record of assisting cities from Saginaw, Mich., to Jamestown with neighborhood revitalization—and with existing funding, the program aims to incentivize, assist and otherwise encourage homeowners to undertake renovation and streetscape projects, large and small, to build confidence and pride among their neighbors.

The Oswego Renaissance Association began last fall with three Neighborhood Pride projects on the city’s west side, partnering with Novelis and organizations such as Oswego Tree Stewards, and recruiting neighbors and SUNY Oswego students to assist. The results were playground improvements to West Park, 74 additional trees along West Bridge Street starting at the foot of Washington Boulevard and heading east, and a bench restoration in Montcalm Park.

“Those projects involved over 90 students, many of them members of fraternities and sororities,” Stewart said. “When students have an opportunity to do something good, they do it—and they do it in large numbers. At the playground, we did in a day what would have taken weeks without all the help.”

The CZB study found, among other positive signs, that city of Oswego residents have $23 million a year in disposable assets for housing.

Planting flowers one year can lead to full landscaping the next, repairing a porch can lead to window replacement, Stewart said.

“Each block starts where it’s at, and you build out from there. Eventually, Oswego’s neighborhoods will compete for families and become neighborhoods of choice,” he said.

“The Oswego Renaissance Association partners with clusters of concentrated households all at once—a minimum of five on the same street. Eventually, with sustained investment, Oswego’s neighborhoods become places where residents want to stay, and also become more and more competitive for families to move in. We call these places neighborhoods of choice.”

To learn more about the Oswego Renaissance Association, visit

PHOTO CAPTION: Revitalizing a landmark—Paul Stewart, right, a psychology faculty member and director of the Oswego Renaissance Association, works with former SUNY Oswego technology education student Jon Boo to restore the Swits Churchill Conde house, 53 W. Seneca St., to its former glory. The association has many connections to SUNY Oswego and recently received a $150,000 grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation.

Mon Mar 10, 2014

Lyn BlanchfieldLyn Blanchfield, pictured, of the history department recently presented a paper at an international conference titled “Violence in the Ancient and Medieval World” at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. She presented “The Problem of the Urban Pig: Violence and Civic Order in the Late Medieval Italian City-State.” Scholars attended from all over Europe and the United States. While there, she visited Portugal’s National Archives and National Library.

Kathleen Evans, associate dean of students; Sara Blaney, assistant director of Residence Life and Housing; and Christy Huynh, associate director of the Compass, are scheduled to give a presentation Tuesday, March 18, during the annual conference of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in Baltimore. Their presentation, “Developing a Divisional Approach for Continuous Improvement,” will address assessing how student affairs professionals influence student success, share a model for creating a divisional assessment plan and facilitate discussion on best practices.

Carolina Ilie, Martin Dann and Dylan McIntyre conducting researchCarolina Ilie of the physics faculty and two undergraduate physics majors, Martin Dann and Dylan McIntyre (pictured, from right), will assist researchers from three other colleges on a $135,000 SUNY Network of Excellence in Energy, Environment, Education and Economics (4E) project titled “Smart Magnetic Materials for Energy Conversion.” The Oswego team will work on a part of the project dealing with nanoscale-thin films in the search for novel high-performance magnetic materials for use in energy transmission. The principal investigator is from the University at Buffalo, while partners include researchers at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany and Alfred University. Ilie said McIntyre and Dann will work this summer with state-of-the-art physics department equipment to study Langmuir-Blodgett films—monolayers of materials measured in tenths of nanometers. They will also conduct a bibliography search and may travel to UB to use equipment there. “I had them in a calculus-based mechanics and magnetism course, and they are both outstanding students,” Ilie said. “They know magnetism and they are absolutely able to understand what happens with these materials.” McIntyre, a junior from Sterling, said, “I’m very excited: I hope to get a better feel for what experimental physics involves and get a better idea where I want to go in life.” Dann, a sophomore from Hastings, agreed, adding, “My hopes are that we obtain results that are significant enough to present at APS (the American Physical Society conference) or other national or regional conferences.” The grant’s investigators are aiming for preliminary data in support of a larger federal grant proposal.

Julieve Jubin photograph in CubaA solo exhibition of art department faculty member Julieve Jubin‘s photographs of Cuba will open at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at the Red House Arts Center, 201 S. West St. in Syracuse. The exhibition, titled “/cuba,” will run from March 16 to April 25. Jubin teaches the course “Travel Photography: Cuba” and also has made her own research trips to the island nation. “Certainly, I expected to see the old American cars, Spanish colonial architecture and propaganda,” Jubin said in an artist’s statement. “What I didn’t expect was the richly textured character of the street life.” Spending most of her time in the densely populated Centro district of Havana, the photographer interacted with children who take to the streets as an extension of their homes and live with “a sense of trust and freedom” that Jubin found “unexpected and paradoxical” given governmental restrictions. The landscape is changing, with economic reforms that have boosted small business and restored some homes, Jubin said, though it hasn’t yet altered the daily rituals of the streets.

Presentation of Wear It! awardU.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 21 Commander John Steinbarge, pictured left, recently presented New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White with the 2013 Wear It! Award. The award recognizes excellence in teaching the public about life jacket safety. White, of New York Sea Grant at SUNY Oswego, is pictured in a cold-water survival suit he wore as a part of a public education program on life jackets at the 2014 Central New York Boat Show. Wear It! is a campaign of the National Safe Boating Council in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and National Association of State Boating Law Administrations. White has incorporated life jacket education into the award-winning Discover Clean and Safe Boating campaign developed by New York Sea Grant in 2008. The training covers the various types of life jackets, boating regulations associated with life jackets and how to get a good fit for everyone in the family, including the family dog. (Photo by Brian P. Whattam)

K. Brad Wray, professor of philosophy, is the author of a review of Paul Hoyningen-Huene’s book “Systematicity: The Nature of Science” in the March issue of the journal Metascience.

Fri Mar 07, 2014
Plumber by trade, dog rescuer by passion: Fred Matteson lives fully

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Fred Matteson, a man of many skills and interests who rescues the college from water leaks, then goes home to rescue dogs for the Oswego County Humane Society.

Fred MattesonQ. Where did you grow up?
I was brought up here in Oswego, went to Oswego High School. I was a football player for Oswego and also did basketball, wrestling, track—I played just about everything. I then went to prep school in Manlius.

Q. Where did you work before SUNY Oswego??
I started out as an apprentice pipefitter/steamfitter for four years. I worked for Hammermill Paper Co. for 29 years. I was a steamfitter, welder, became a boiler operator and then supervisor of the boiler house and did the safety for the plant. They closed in ‘02. I ran security at Oswego Speedway for 30 years, something I did on the side.

Q. Did you come to work for the college after the plant closed?
I had different job offers, out of state and in Syracuse. The college offered me a job, and I saved the 40-mile drive to Syracuse. I started here Oct. 4 of ‘02 as a custodian. Sometime in ‘03, I bid out to the plumbing department, first in a temporary job, and I later got the position.

Q. What are your responsibilities?
I take care of all the locating of underground utilities, I do all the treatment of heat systems and then I share the plumbing and steamfitting with six guys. I work a lot in the academic buildings and the housing buildings. I jump all over campus. We do a lot of showers, toilets, sinks, leaks through the roof—which usually turn out not to be ours, but anytime folks see water, we get called. I am on the employee safety committee and we meet with management and Christine (Body) and go down the best avenue to do the right thing. I also do the asbestos removal for the college.

Q.  What do you like about your job?
My thing—and you can ask the guys this—I like the dirty work. I like the hydrant work—I do all the testing of hydrants on campus and all the installations. I like to work with my hands. And I like to work with the young guys coming in. The young generation today doesn’t always want to go in and get dirty, but you need that. I can understand them—at the end of the day, you go home and have a sore back or arms. I enjoy teaching, and we’ve got a great bunch of guys.

Q. Do you have a lot of contact with students?
We do all the time. I have fun with them. You’ll see a kid on the elevator with an iPhone, and I’ll go, “Are you texting?” He’ll say, “Yeah, why?” and I’ll go, “Well, there’s a law—no texting in an elevator.” He says, “There is?!” (Laughs.) We’ll kid around—there’s a great bunch of students here and it’s a fantastic college.

Q. Can you tell us about an interesting work experience here?
I can tell you about one we just had—it was a water main break. I got the initial call-in on a Saturday morning and went out to find a valve system that I could shut off to knock down water for the least amount of buildings. Open and close, open and close. We had a big lake of water with ice over the top. The pumps couldn’t keep up. We tried to find the break. We called Malone’s in, found the line before they got here and we worked together and did the repair. I worked 22 hours straight.

Q. How do you get along with colleagues and supervisors?
We were close at the (Hammermill) plant, but we’re close here, too. That’s a good thing. Generally, all around, it’s a nice place to work. Management is good to you—they’ll listen to you. Right now, I’m drawing up a map of our water system, where we can add valving to try to keep water service to parts of campus that we’re now losing. I enjoy doing things like that.

Q.  What are your interests outside of work?
My wife and I foster for the Oswego County Humane Society. We’ve been involved about five years now—over a hundred-plus dogs we’ve taken in and rehabilitated and gotten good homes for them. Right now we have 11 dogs. When my horse passed away at 26, our last one, I took the stalls in the barn and made them into kennels. I can have the worst day away from home, and in 10 minutes I am laughing my head off.  I do a lot of hunting and fishing. We go up to Seaway Island Resort on Wellesley Island. My wife, Christine, loves to fish. She likes to soak up the sunshine while I’m snorkeling. I like watching SU (sports) on TV—I don’t know about lately ... (Laughs.)

Q. What else can you tell us about your family?
We live in Scriba—Lycoming. My wife has a unique job; she is the director of the weatherization program for Oswego County for almost 20 years. I have three children. My son, Fred Jr., is a border patrol agent in Arizona. My youngest daughter, Rebecca, is a nurse practitioner in Dover, Del. My oldest daughter, Regina, is a software specialist for a medical company in Syracuse. My wife and I have six beautiful grandchildren. My stepsons are Derek, in the Navy, and Jimmer, who is a carpenter.

Fri Mar 07, 2014
Noteworthy alumni Bocko, Baum, Clement to speak at Commencement

Accomplished alumni Peter Bocko, Mark Baum and Linda Clement each will address a Commencement audience as SUNY Oswego moves to three May graduation ceremonies for the first time.

All will be Saturday, May 17, in the Campus Center convocation hall.

Bocko, chief technology officer for Corning Inc.‘s Glass Technologies Group, will address candidates for graduation in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at 9 a.m.

Baum, senior vice president of industry relations and chief collaboration officer for the Food Marketing Institute, will speak at the ceremony for the School of Business and the School of Communication, Media and the Arts at 1 p.m.

Clement, vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland, will be the speaker for the School of Education graduation at 4 p.m.

“Peter Bocko, Mark Baum and Linda Clement—each highly respected in his or her field—bring outstanding professional credentials to Commencement,” said President Deborah F. Stanley. “Each has continued to have enduring commitments to our students and initiatives at SUNY Oswego and will serve as an inspiring example to our graduates.”

Glass expert

Peter BockoA foremost expert in glass for display and electronics applications, Bocko earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Oswego in 1975. His responsibilities now center on building and sustaining the global influence of Corning Inc.‘s largest business group, developing and bringing to market glass—such as ultra-thin, super-tough Corning Gorilla Glass—used in cutting-edge devices.

Bocko earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Cornell University, joining Corning in 1979 as a senior scientist with research interests in glass composition, surface chemistry and novel optical fiber materials. He was on a team that early on explored the market value of fusion glass, now well known for large-screen LCD televisions, and served as technical adviser for Corning’s popular futuristic videos “A Day Made of Glass.”

Food industry advocate

As a top executive advocating on behalf of the retail food industry and representing nearly 40,000 grocery stores and 25,000 pharmacies, Baum engages retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers to help raise the bar on industry collaboration at all points of the food retail chain. He has spent more than 25 years in the food, beverage and consumer products industries, since his graduation from Oswego with a degree in political science in 1981. He has a master’s degree in marketing from Marymount University.

Mark BaumBaum formerly was managing partner with MARCAT Group LLC, an independent consulting/advisory firm specializing in business, market and customer development.

Since 2006, Baum has served as a board member for the Oswego College Foundation. A former chair of the Foundation’s development committee, he was a member of the campaign cabinet for “Inspiring Horizons,” the college’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, and has served as national annual fund chair.

Higher education leader

With oversight of 15 departments and more than 1,500 employees at the University of Maryland, Clement’s duties involve her in all aspects of student life. As a faculty member in counseling and personnel services, she regularly teaches undergraduate courses and teaches and advises master’s and doctoral students. 

Linda ClementShe began her career at Maryland in 1974 as a staff member in the departments of resident life and orientation.  From the late 1970s until 2000, she served as director of undergraduate admissions and later as assistant vice president for academic affairs.

A native of Oswego and a 1971 graduate of the college’s secondary education English program, Clement earned a master’s degree at Michigan State University and doctorate at Maryland. She has chaired the board of trustees of the College Board. She is co-author of a book on student services leadership.

Fri Mar 07, 2014
GENIUS Olympiad adds music, invites 2014 entries

The college will host the fourth annual GENIUS Olympiad June 16 to 20, unveiling a new category—music composition and performance—in the growing global high school environmental competition.

GENIUS participants explaining their inventionSUNY Oswego’s GENIUS Olympiad (Global Environmental Issues—U.S.) aims to inspire high school students and the public to become aware of and contribute to the protection and improvement of the environment.

Entries are open until April 1. The competition last year drew more than 1,200 applications, welcoming 530 participants from 53 countries and 38 states to campus for the finals. Besides music, students can enter projects with environmental-sustainability themes in science, art, writing or design.

Those numbers showed substantial growth from the inaugural year. In 2011, among 630 GENIUS Olympiad applicants, 223 finalists in science and art from 34 countries and 31 states competed in Oswego.

Fehmi Damkaci, GENIUS founder and director, believes this year will draw more applicants than ever.

“We are already drawing applications from new countries this year, such as Chile, Uruguay, Holland, Colombia, etc., making GENIUS Olympiad get bigger, which excites me,” said Damkaci, associate professor and graduate coordinator of chemistry. “Also, each time we add a new discipline, I am excited to see how many applications it will get.”

Mentors—teachers, parents or other educators or family—accompany the finalists, swelling the number of visitors to Oswego and to other destinations that week, including Niagara Falls and Destiny USA.

Creativity encouraged

In the most popular category, students in science enter a 15-page research paper in environmental quality, ecology and biodiversity, resource and energy or human ecology. Finalists also create a scholarly poster and often present a demonstration for the public and judges, this year June 16 and 17 in the Campus Center arena.

Damkaci and the competition’s advisory board encourage entries from around Central New York; for example, Manlius Pebble Hill School student Emerson Czerwinski Burkard won a silver medal last year for his presentation on “Application of Renewable Wind Energy to Improve Aircraft Efficiency.”

The art category invites environmentally themed photographs, short films, posters and satirical illustrations. Design encompasses architecture, urban planning, interior environment and innovative ideas for novel products or processes. Writing subcategories include short stories, essays and poetry.

The inaugural music category encourages appeals to emotion in order to affect listeners’ attitudes toward the environment.

“GENIUS Music heightens public concern for environmental problems and offers solutions by pulling at the auditory heartstrings through composition and performance,” organizers write on the competition’s website, “Compositions/performances may be in any style, but must exhibit a high degree of performance acumen, rehearsal, care, and thought.”

Every competitor receives a participation certificate, and winners receive medals and other prizes, such as tablets and MP3 players. Finalists and their mentors also have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Besides founding sponsors SUNY Oswego and the Terra Science and Education Foundation, SRC Inc. once again has signed on to support the GENIUS Olympiad.

GENIUS will hold events throughout the program for participants and the public. On June 17, for example, the colorful GENIUS International Culture Fair from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Campus Center arena will display clothing, food, entertainment and more among attendees from around the world. A College Fair from 9 to 11 a.m. June 19 along the Campus Center concourse will provide information about applications, financial aid and other topics for students applying for higher education.

Competitors will arrive on campus June 15. The opening ceremony, free and open to the public, will begin at 6:15 p.m. June 16 in the arena, followed by a public viewing of the students’ exhibits. For more information, email or visit

PHOTO CAPTION: Scientific innovation—The fourth annual GENIUS Olympiad, June 16 to 20 at SUNY Oswego, will accept environmentally themed entries through April 1 in science, art, writing, design and, new this year, in music from high school students around the world. Here, 2013 Costa Rican finalists Alexander Paniagua Campos, right, and Kerlin Yaradaxniz Murillo Camarena explain their coffee roaster based on solar energy to Kim and Russell Lupo from North Carolina in the Campus Center arena.

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