Keuka College’s Lightner Library was uncharacteristically raucous last weekend as the serious solitude of study gave way to exuberant exhibitions of scholarship and creativity.
It was all part of the first Keuka College Expo, a celebratory symposium of the College community’s artistic, intellectual, and creative achievements with a special focus on experiential learning.
“We know how talented our students, faculty, and staff are – we see evidence of it all the time,” said College President Amy Storey. “But we seldom have the chance to see so much of this talent at one time, in one place. KC Expo is a fun, new way to celebrate what we’ve done so well for so long.”
The May 5-6 expo attracted submissions from more than 90 College community participants. Events included an expansive art show, roundtable discussions, and poster presentations on everything from vegetarian diets, to the safety of sunscreen, to the environmental impacts of logging, to the use of virtual reality to manage stress. The event was kicked off by keynote addresses from Professor of Education Dr. Deb Dyer and Professor of Chemistry Dr. Tom Carroll.
“It was amazing and wonderful to see so many students and faculty engaged and confidently presenting their scholarly experiences,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Fuster. “Everyone did such a wonderful job and the event really contributed to the campus culture.”
Among the dozens of students sharing their work was Allyson Gurweitz ’23, a Unified Childhood and Special Education major. While student-teaching, she noticed pandemic-related learning gaps among her first- through third-graders, including in phonics, mathematics, skill retention from kindergarten, and even the ability to spell their own names.
An extensive literature review resulted in her divisional honors project, which she adapted for her KC Expo presentation, “Social and Educational Effects of Covid Education.” She said organizing the presentation, and the research that went into it, will inform her classroom acumen as she prepares for a career in education.
“It really opened my eyes to the fact that we need to be constantly looking at where students’ needs are,” Allyson said. “It really brought to light the concerns we're facing now that we’re post-COVID.”
Allyson’s presentation was among many that tackled serious, present-day issues: the safety of nuclear energy (Austin Glazier ’23), the ethics of factory farms (Madeline Greene ’23), the efficacy of homeopathic medicine (Matthew Leonardo ’23). The majority of the presentations stemmed from Field Period experiences, underscoring the Expo’s intention to spotlight experiential learning.
“It is heartening to know that our current students are experiencing the same benefits our graduates experienced when Field Period began at Keuka College back in the 1940s,” said President Storey. “Over the past 75 years, this hallmark program has attracted thousands of students to our College and I am convinced that it has prepared our graduates to fulfill our shared vision to bring strength to the nation and help to humanity.”
Experiential Learning was threaded through the expo in ways beyond the presentations. Assistant Professor of Visual Communication Design Carrie Kehoe’s students, for example, created the program booklet that accompanied the expo.
“This event is a testament to the value of experiential learning,” said Dean of Experiential Learning & Career Engagement Ann Emo, who, along with her office, conceived of and organized the event. “People were eager to share what they learned and we were supportive of one another. This includes the entire process of putting the event together.”
The success of the Expo has ensured that it will become an annual event at Keuka College.
“I can’t wait until next year!” said President Storey.