Another academic year has drawn to a close, and as always, it was great to celebrate student success and welcome new alumni into the Alfred State Family during our commencement ceremony. This past year was full of successes and excitement. Success comes in many forms and can be defined in several ways, some of which you will read about in this issue. We continually seek ways to help our graduates reach their personal and professional goals, and we are devoted to celebrating your successes. Whether you strive to excel in your personal life, professional life, community, or perhaps all three, it is our privilege to share your amazing stories. Our alumni awards are also a large part of how we celebrate you. Please consider nominating a deserving alumnus or alumna or college friend for one of these prestigious awards. We hope you enjoy reading about our 2019 alumni award winners and will be inspired to nominate someone you know. You play a crucial role in the college’s successes, and we are extremely grateful to all of you who share your time, talent, and resources. You do make a difference. Our office continues to be dedicated to connecting with you, and to linking you with your Alfred State Family. We look forward to seeing you at one of our many upcoming alumni chapter events throughout the year. Please continue to visit our website at www.AlfredState.edu/alumni for the most recent updates. Let’s stay connected. Learn more. We love hearing from you!
We are so proud of all of our alumni! Our college works to prepare students for success in their careers, and your stories in the working world are an inspiration to our students. Recently the Business Department put together a collection of stories from recent alumni. Take a look at their stories, and by all means, share your story of career success with us. We love to hear from you.
As always, we look forward to news from you – your travels, achievements, births, weddings, or simply your updated address or email. Be well, and we hope to see you at one of our many upcoming alumni gatherings! Never forget…….it’s always good to be a “Pioneer!”
Colleen H. Argentieri, ’85
Director of Alumni Relations
“I think Alfred State is preparing us for success.”
Surveying and geomatics engineering technology
Dannielle will have four years of credit toward the total statutory time requirement for licensure as a land surveyor in New York State after she graduates.
Dannielle O’Buckley was drawn to Alfred State’s surveying and geomatics engineering technology major for a couple of reasons.
Number one, she was searching for a surveying program with a four-year degree path. Number two, she noticed the major is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET).
“Being involved on this campus is one of the key things you should do as a student because it expands your horizons so much."
Court and realtime reporting
"Class sizes are small, and you are able to go to anyone in your class and ask for help."
Carissa Kelsch has many reasons why she’s glad she enrolled at Alfred State.
As a court and realtime reporting major, Carissa values the fact that she can have one-on-one interaction with her professors and get real-world, hands-on experience.
“Court reporting schools are actually becoming very far and few between and it’s kind of scary because this job is in high demand. Most people are having to go completely online to learn it. The fact that I can come on campus, learn from my professors, and get hands-on work experience is phenomenal to me.”
“I am representing something that I really do believe in. This college is an excellent place."
Anthony began racing competitively in 2008 at age 10.
When Anthony Riforgiato was about 6 or 7 years old, his dad took him to watch the races at Lake Erie Speedway.
Looking on as the bandolero cars sped past, he heard the announcer at the track say that children as young as 8 years old could drive these vehicles. This immediately piqued young Anthony’s interest.
“I looked at my dad and said, ‘I want to do that.’ He said, ‘OK, when I retire.’ He figured I saw a car that looked cool and that it was a phase, and that when he retired in a year and a half, I’d forget.’”
“Alfred State is at the root of what I do and love every day at my job."
Jessica (Mosher) Strassner
Jessica (Mosher) Strassner
Immediately after graduating, Jessica accepted a position as a registered nurse (RN).
Looking back at her Alfred State education, Jessica credits the college with providing her a strong base for what she has been able to accomplish both academically and professionally.
“Alfred State is at the root of what I do and love every day at my job, and it really allowed me to be able to grow and prosper as a nurse practitioner.”
“Honestly, everything I’ve been doing here at Alfred State will set me up for my career. I feel prepared.”
Tatyana aspires to become a sports agent.
Tatyana always knew she wanted a career in sports, so she sought a college and a major that would help make her dream a reality.
Her search led her to discover Alfred State’s sport management bachelor’s degree program, which turned out to be the perfect fit for her.
“I was looking around for a sport management program, and when I was doing research, I found out that Alfred State’s was new and still growing, and it seemed like a really good program, so that’s why I came here.”
"A glimpse of excellence will permeate when challenges are met with the will to prevail."
Business Administration BBA
Thomas participated in basketball, football, and track & field.
Thomas Daniels is a member of the center for Equity, Inclusion and Title IX. His current title is the Coordinator of Intercultural Student Support at Alfred State. Thomas’s primary focus is to assist efforts that cultivate self-discovery, awareness, advocacy, and empowerment in an inclusive environment with an emphasis on the international student community. He Co-chairs the Kaleidoscope Coalition and oversees the Center for Intercultural Exploration.
“I feel like Alfred State has made me more confident."
Computer Information Systems
In her major, Shelby is getting plenty of hands-on, real-world experience.
Ever since she was a child, Shelby Detro has been interested in technology.
Whenever the Xbox or the computer at home needed fixing, she was the one to do it. It is only fitting, then, that she enrolled in Alfred State’s computer information systems program, where she is learning to become the “resident expert” not only at home, but on the job, as well.
In her major, Shelby is getting plenty of hands-on, real-world experience learning how to administer a computer networking system, install software, establish security, and more.
“There is so much opportunity for women in the automotive industry."
Automotive Service Technician
Owner of two successful automotive repair shops
Kate Jonasse is living proof that if you have the drive, talent, and proper guidance to pursue your dreams, you can achieve them.
Before becoming a successful technician and business owner, Kate started out as a first-year automotive service technician student at Alfred State. Though she had never even picked up a wrench before entering the program, it didn’t take long for her to get the hang of things.
“No matter where I go on campus, I can bump into someone I know."
Sarah's major allowed her to study abroad in Sorrento, Italy.
Sarah loves the real-world experience she gets in her program through working on a variety of commercial and residential projects. Her major has also allowed her to study abroad in Sorrento, Italy, and to secure an internship with SWBR Architects in Rochester.
“At my internship, I dealt with clients. I was less nervous working with them because, through my class projects, I already knew what it was like to have clients and to have to meet their expectations.”
“I’ve seen a great deal of success in the students that we have produced.”
Dr. Mel Chambliss
Dr. Mel Chambliss
Agriculture and Veterinary Technology Department
Founder of the veterinary technology major
Since developing Alfred State’s veterinary technology program 17 years ago, Dr. Mel Chambliss has touched the lives of countless people and animals, both on campus and in the community. The impact of his skills, knowledge, and expertise in his field has been felt by students, pet owners, and animal care organizations alike.
“You can have a hands-on experience here and there at other schools, but Alfred State is one of those places where they show you everything.”
Being at Alfred State, Charles said, is like a second home because of the friendliness of the college community.
Charles Richards began honing his culinary arts skills a few years ago when he studied at the only culinary-based high school in New York City.
After enrolling at Alfred State, Charles was able to expand his knowledge to include all facets of the food industry, from mass food production to fine dining, the latter of which is his favorite. He plans on pursuing either catering or becoming a private chef.
Being at Alfred State, Charles said, is like a second home because of the friendliness of the college community.
“I love the real-world learning aspect of my major so much.”
Though she admits nursing requires a lot of hard work, she acknowledges that it pays off in the end.
Although she initially chose to study nursing at the urging of her parents, Olufunmilola Olojede discovered her passion for the field at Alfred State.
Specifically, she enjoys being able to help people, to feel like she could save somebody’s life, and also having the opportunity to not just learn, but to also apply the processes in clinical experiences.
“I feel like I’m going to be more successful in life as a result of the hands-on aspect of my major.”
Mechanical engineering technology
After she graduates, Elizabeth plans on designing equipment for the Navy.
Before deciding to attend Alfred State, Elizabeth Glick had heard about the school’s strong mechanical engineering technology program through friends of hers, who had “only positive things to say” about the college.
Also making her decision to enroll easier were the peaceful, welcoming atmosphere on campus; the 20-1 student-faculty ratio; and of course, the college’s emphasis on hands-on learning.
“The stuff that we do in class relates 100 percent to the job. We learn what to do and then we get to go out there and do it, and that’s the fun part.”
“Clubs and organizations are so beneficial to your growth as a student, as a human being.”
Like many Alfred State students, Robert Mahany’s education extends outside the classroom walls.
As an intern at a Tonawanda-based mechanical contractor, he was able to get hands-on project management experience, which he also received this summer at an internship in Washington, DC with a leading international infrastructure group. Whether he’s learning the theory or putting it into practice, Robert knows he is being prepared well for the next step after graduation.
"During my birthday, the college sent me a birthday card and no other school did, so that made me realize that Alfred State is caring.”
The faculty “know you personally, rather than just as a number.”
After watching TV shows such as Law and Order and Criminal Minds, and researching the field of forensic psychology, Nahillah High was certain of what career path she wanted to take.
However, after Alfred State helped her land an internship at the Alfred Montessori School, she changed her mind. Rather than become a forensic psychologist, Nahillah decided she wanted to be a child psychologist instead.
“I’m definitely glad I made the choice to come to Alfred State. I know I’m pretty much guaranteed to have a job once I come out of this program.”
Building trades: building construction
Through real-world experiences and receiving live, hands-on training every day, Aaron's very confident about his future.
Aaron Aumick loves learning all of the different aspects of the construction world at Alfred State, from drywall, to interior surfaces, to rough framing.
In his major, Aaron is being educated on how to build a house from the foundation to the last shingle on the roof. One very notable house Aaron helped construct was Team Alfred’s entry in the 2015 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.
“Getting involved in clubs and organizations can give you valuable experience outside of the classroom to help prepare you for the real world.”
Information technology: network administration
Thomas said the hands-on classes he took at Alfred State gave him more experience than other job candidates.
From making lifelong friendships, to gaining leadership skills, to becoming well-prepared for the workforce, the ways in which Thomas Richards benefited from his Alfred State experience are many.
These days, Thomas is employed as a senior security consultant at Cigital, one of the world’s largest application security firms, which is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices throughout the United States, Europe, and India.
“I feel as if I make a difference in the quality of their writing, their ability to graduate from Alfred State, and their ability to work at a job at some point in the future.”
Dr. Aniko Constantine
Dr. Aniko Constantine
Getting to know Annie
Dr. Aniko Constantine’s true legacy is her impact on students.
In her 40-plus years of teaching English at Alfred State, Dr. Aniko Constantine has won awards, become a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, and donated money for scholarships and a legacy gift in the form of a $100,000 annuity.
Yet Constantine’s true legacy isn’t measured in achievements or dollars and cents, but rather by the impact she has had on her students.
"The one thing that hasn't changed viscerally at Alfred State is the culture; faculty are here because they want to teach students and foster their full potentials."
Dr. James Ferry
Dr. James Ferry
James and Marilyn Ferry donated $10,000 to support the James G. and Marilyn A. Ferry Endowed Scholarship.
Dr. Ferry received his AAS degree in agronomy from Alfred State in 1963 followed by BS and MS degrees from the University of Georgia. He continued his education with a PhD degree in biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1974. He was appointed assistant professor of microbiology at Virginia Tech in 1976, where he rose to the rank of professor.
“I had a job offer in hand and signed and was ready to go, which was a huge relief because I didn’t have to do any job searching when I was all done with college.”
Mechanical Engineering Technology (BS)
For Taylor Battaglia, the hands-on learning he received at Alfred State was invaluable once he entered the workforce.
“I think Alfred State really gave me the experience of what it would be like to be working, partially because it wasn’t just sit down, have someone talk at you for an hour,” Taylor said. “It’s one thing to look at it in a textbook, but it’s another thing to actually hold it in your hand. It’s a totally different experience.”
“As a result of that education that I had received at Alfred State, I just stayed in my field and I found it very enjoyable and it became very successful for me.”
General business management, '59
When Albert Styrcula entered the workforce in 1959, he was fresh out of college.
He started out at Foodcraft Inc., a small processing and distribution company that dealt in dairy products. His jobs varied from accounting work to driving trucks to delivering milk to washing bottles.
However, by 1972, Styrcula had worked his way up to the top of Foodcraft, becoming CEO and chairman of the board, positions he held until 1988, when Uni-Marts Inc. acquired the company. During that time, the company’s sales increased from $2 million to $50 million under Styrcula’s leadership.
"All of the things that have really become my strengths were from opportunities I had at Alfred State."
Information technology: web development
Dispenza became less shy through getting involved with many clubs and organizations on campus.
In his senior year of high school, Buffalo native Chad Dispenza was voted shyest person in his class.
But once he came to Alfred State, he came out of his shell.
“At the football games, every time we scored a touchdown, I would run down onto the field and do as many sit-ups as we would have points,” he said, “and the cheerleaders would yell at me.”
"[Online classes] offer a lot of flexibility. It takes a lot of self-discipline, but it’s really great for someone who has a busy schedule."
Nursing BSN, Chemical Dependency Rehab, New Horizons Inpatient at Binghamton General
Lisa had a lot of conflicting ideas about what to do with her life before entering college.
“To be honest, I sort of fell into nursing as a major. I looked at a lot of schools, thought about pre-med, law enforcement, everything. In high school I considered psychology as well,” Lisa says. Today she’s a 2013 graduate of the nursing bachelor’s degree program at Alfred State, and she’s working in the dynamic field of psychiatric nursing at one of the largest hospitals in Binghamton, N.Y.
“I heard about how good the major here was, and it was really one of the few schools that offered it with both hands-on training and the green building aspect.”
Building Construction, Technology Management
Travis is passionate about all things green—from renewable energy and resources to green building techniques.
Travis was attracted to the building construction major at Alfred State because of the incredible hands-on learning opportunities it offers. “I heard about how good the major here was, and it was really one of the few schools that offered it with both hands-on training and the green building aspect.”
Strong work ethic and leadership skills were the direct result of her programs and getting involved on campus.
A 2013 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipient, Courtney joined Student Senate as the activities chair and later became president of that organization. In addition, she co-founded Live to Fight, a group that brings awareness to all types of cancer and terminal diseases.
“Having two degrees will make me a more competitive job applicant. The more versatile you are and the more you know, the more marketable you are.”
Automotive Technology, Heavy Equipment: Truck and Diesel Technician
Zach Diangelo, of Nunda, has a love of all things fast, powerful, and four-wheeled.
“I really love working on cars. I love seeing how I can make them go faster and be more powerful. My dream is to work on Lamborghinis and Mercedes.”
In the automotive service technician major at Alfred State, hands-on learning is key. “You’re working on live customer vehicles and troubleshooting real problems. You’re out there figuring out what you need to do just like you would on the job. Hands-on learning and knowing the vehicles from the ground up makes a big difference.”
“I was put into an environment that I call a ‘practice job’ and I came out the other side with the utmost confidence in my abilities.”
Ryan had the opportunity to gain live, hands-on experience as a technician, and work alongside instructors very well-versed in their field.
Ryan Dontoh can attest that Alfred State played a huge role in helping him become the person he is today.
The Dryden native is now employed as a senior build technician at Local Motors, Inc. out of Phoenix, AZ, a company he established a relationship with while taking part in the Fireball Run competition as an Alfred State student. Also, joining the Psi Delta Omega Fraternity and the Emerging Pioneers Leadership Program (EPLP), he says, helped make him into a leader.
"The Development Fund Board ’s main goals were to establish a ‘habit of giving’ among the friends of Alfred State and to set up appropriate structures for conducting fundraising and stewardship activities."
Alfred State College Council
James will leave a legacy gift to the college.
Although he never attended or worked at Alfred State, Koller has been a Pioneer for more than 30 years.
In 1981, he was appointed to the Alfred State College Council, an advisory group to the president of the college. He would serve for two additional seven-year terms, the legal limit.
For more than 20 years, Koller voluntarily invested his time and efforts in the future of Alfred State, both as a College Council member and later as an original member and second chair of the Board of Directors for the Development Fund, the fundraising entity for the college.
“I just go to things, just to make a presence, because I enjoy what the college has.”
First lady of Alfred State from 1964 to 1986
An enduring and endearing presence
You may have seen her at an Alfred State sporting event, at Commencement, or exercising at the Orvis Strength and Conditioning Center.
Mary Huntington has had a strong presence at Alfred State and the nearby community since 1964, when she became first lady of the college after her husband, David, took over as the school’s seventh president. David Huntington, for whom the Huntington Administration Building on the Alfred campus is named, served as head of the college until 1986.
"An investment in the education of our young people is one of the best investments we can make for our families, communities, and our country.”
"Alfred State is one of my big loves."
Barbara Becker credits Alfred State with providing the foundation for advancement in her 40-year career in the business world, as well as the confidence to meet the challenges of everyday life.
"Alfred State is one of my big loves," she said.
At the time of her graduation in 1947, Becker was one of seven in the first graduating class of executive secretarial majors. A Corning resident, she soon began working for Corning Glass Works as secretary to the director of New Products and of the Centennial.
“[Alfred State] gave us a chance to flourish and to discover what lay ahead for us in the future.”
Tim and Deborah (Wallace) Moore
Tim and Deborah (Wallace) Moore
Class of 1982
For the Moores, Alfred State is many things.
Alfred State is the place where they met, the place where they fell in love, and the place that helped set them on a path to bright futures. The Moores' road to where they are today began in the early '80s, when they first met in the registration line at Alfred State as nontraditional, adult students. Though they now reside more than 400 miles away from Alfred, the Moores have still maintained close ties to Alfred State and have generously supported their alma mater over the years.
"My professional success, I believe, is greatly indebted to the solid foundation I received at Alfred State.”
Brasted has given back much to Alfred State over the years.
In his 30-plus years of working for Shell Offshore, a subsidiary of Shell Oil, Lee Brasted carved out an impressive and prosperous career as a world-class engineer. The success he enjoyed in this field was largely founded on the solid education he received at Alfred State.
Brasted has also given back much to Alfred State over the years. Since 1997, he and his wife have been President's Society members, have donated and had matching gifts totaling nearly $100,000, and have also established the Lee Brasted Engineering Science Endowed Scholarship.
When former Army Master Sgt. Bill Buckner decided to attend college to learn building trades, he wanted some hands-on work, rather than sitting in a classroom all day, so he chose to earn his degree at Alfred State.
“I didn’t want to write a whole bunch of papers. In the building trades: building construction major, you sit in a classroom for an hour or two in the morning and then you apply what you’ve been taught. Plus, you’re more active.”
“We’re getting that hands-on experience that employers are looking for.”
Electrical Construction and Maintenance Electrician
Faculty helped him out tremendously and the college has given him the knowledge and confidence he needs.
After completing his service in the Marine Corps, Jordon Williams began researching colleges to attend.
His search ultimately brought him to Alfred State.
“It had the best program for what I wanted to do.”
Williams, who planned on becoming a wind turbine technician after graduating from Alfred State, said the faculty helped him out tremendously, and that the college gave him the knowledge and confidence he needed to have when entering the workforce.