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Nelson J. Garifi Jr., Class of 1978, a long-time member of JCC’s administrative staff, will begin the 2014-15 academic year as JCC’s executive director of academic innovation.

According to Marilyn A. Zagora, vice president of academic affairs, Garifi’s new position will allow JCC to expand on its tradition of innovation, building on emerging opportunities for new programs and services while preserving its commitment to academic excellence.

“Innovation is reflected in JCC’s academic programs and services which have been developed over the past decades,” Dr. Zagora said. “The landscape of higher education is increasingly complex and involves more partners, enhanced technology, a broader array of target audiences, and an expanded range of learner needs.”

Garifi will continue to oversee the college’s honors program, international outreach efforts, and experiential learning offerings. In addition, he will take on administrative leadership of the College Connections program, JCC’s concurrent enrollment program offering college-level courses in regional high schools, as well as technology-enhanced instruction for the college’s online offerings, courses delivered among multiple locations using interactive television, and innovative instruction within the classroom using diverse technologies.

Garifi will collaborate with faculty to develop directions for academic programs that respond to emerging community and national needs. “A focus on systems design and development will characterize his work,” Dr. Zagora said.

“I look forward to capitalizing on innovative opportunities by working closely with faculty and others in academic leadership roles as well as other leaders throughout the college and within the communities we serve,” Garifi said.

Garifi has held a number of college-wide roles at JCC since 1981, providing leadership for community relations, alumni affairs, recruitment, marketing, and academic initiatives. A graduate of JCC and St. Bonaventure University, Garifi was previously a high school and middle school English teacher, freelance writer, and technical writer.

He is a recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service and JCC’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and has been recognized by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

"My decision to attend JCC after high school is the reason why I am where I am today ... JCC really was the springboard I needed to get ahead." That's from Andrew Gustafson, Class of 2007, who earned a degree from JCC in Individual Studies and is now the assistant curator for the Torch Collection, a private history and culture museum and archive located in Houston, Texas. Read more in this Alumni Spotlight about how JCC helped make Andrew a success!

The water ban in Toledo has been lifted, but the algae blooms that form every summer on Lake Erie -- and were most likely responsible for rendering the water undrinkable -- remain an annual problem. Chris Ecker, Class of 2008, is currently pursuing his doctorate in microbiology at Ohio State, where he's studying what causes these harmful algae blooms in the first place. Read up on this Alumni Spotlight to see how JCC helped him begin what promises to be an amazing career!

Two JCC alumni – both of whom are JCC employees – were awarded the 2014 State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence! Kathy S. Taydus, Class of 1984, an associate professor of nursing at JCC and a recipient of the 2011 JCC Alumni Nurse of Distinction Award, received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Linda E. Fye, Class of 1988, a senior human resources assistant at JCC, received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service. To read more, click here.

A JCC alumna is among the contestants during the 2014 Chautauqua Lake Voices! Victoria McIlvain, Class of 2014, earned a degree in Fine Arts: Music from JCC and is continuing her education in music performance at Mercyhurst University, where she will focus primarily on operatic and classical music literature. Victoria is a primarily classical singer, but has been singing contemporary worship, country, pop, and jazz music since middle school. 

Victoria has performed as a classical guest soloist for the St. Luke's Episcopal Church choir, as a classical guest soloist for President Cory Duckworth's inauguration at Jamestown Community College, and at various recitals at JCC and the Infinity Performing Arts Center. She also attended a summer Blues camp in Chicago in 2012 at Columbia College with a full scholarship; has performed as a repeat feature soloist in the Jamestown Municipal Band; and has also performed various solo features in JCC music concerts. 

Chautauqua Lake Voices will kick off July 14 at 6:30 p.m. on the Floating Stage in Bemus Point. Good luck, Victoria!

The Jamestown office of Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. has announced that Kristy Woodfield, Class of 2010, is performing a summer internship there! As part of her internship at LAWNY, Kristy will be working to increase existing civil legal services for veterans and military families, a new project started by LAWNY in late 2013.

Kristy is a member of the Americorps JD program, which promotes the expanded delivery of critical legal assistance in low-income and underserved communities across the country for veterans, military families, disaster victims, and other vulnerable populations. On successful completion of the internship, she will earn an AmeriCorps educational award.

Kristy earned a degree in Liberal Arts & Science: Social Science from JCC. She came to JCC as a USA Scholarship recipient from Southwestern High School. In 2012, she earned induction into Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Buffalo. She is now a second-year law student at the University or Buffalo School of Law.

Congratulations, Kristy!

Patricia McKinney, RN, BSN, Class of 1992, was recently named the 2014 Nurse of Distinction at WCA Hospital! Patricia is a graduate of JCC's Nursing Program and is the Senior Staff Nurse on WCA's 5D Inpatient Medical/Surgical Unit. She was honored with the award at a special breakfast held in celebration of National Nurses Week. Patricia, a 36-year veteran of nursing at WCA, was recognized for her clinical knowledge and skills, leadership and development attributes, and expertise and compassion as a nurse.

WCA Hospital has selected a "Nurse of Distinction" each year since 1989. It is given to an outstanding Registered Nurse who exemplifies WCA's mission and vision; displays outstanding achievement; is a role model; possesses professional standards and leadership skills; is an advocate for healthcare and the nursing profession; and is involved in his or her community. Honorees are nominated by colleagues and selected by the Nurse of Distinction Committee comprised of recipients from previous years.

Patricia began her career at WCA Hospital as a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, in May 1978 when she accepted the position of licensed practical nurse. She was promoted to Graduate Nurse after her graduation from JCC, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Daemen College.

Tesla Nicole Grobaski, a local nature photographer and JCC alumna, will showcase her second exhibition at the Lakewood Memorial Library throughout the month of July. The exhibition will display her nature photography, which illustrates the beauty that can be found in many different areas throughout Western New York and some parts of Pennsylvania. Her aim is to get viewers to see this beauty by using different angles, depth of field, and natural light and color throughout her photographs.

In 2013, Tesla earned a degree from JCC in Individual Studies and graduated with High Honors. She's now studying visual arts and new media with a concentration in graphic design at SUNY Fredonia.

Maria V. Sena, Class of 2014, presented breast cancer chemotherapy research at the Immunology 2014 conference held during the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) 2014 Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. The event is considered the premier global conference for immunologists.

Throughout the conference, Ms. Sena elaborated on the research she and fellow student Andrew Gerwitz conducted at JCC. Their research poster, entitled: “Meprin Alpha Mediates CCL2 Activity in Murine Bone Marrow Cells Using a Model of Breast Cancer Chemotherapy,” was one of more than 2,000 displayed at the conference.

Immunology 2014 featured cutting edge developments from scientists, including world leaders in immunology presenting their research in plenary lectures and special symposia, award lecture presentations, and major symposia. In addition, more than 700 other AAI and guest society members presented their latest findings in over 100 sessions.

During the Frewsburg High School graduation on June 27, 2014, JCC alumna Lindsay Marzec, Class of 2002, spoke to graduates and offered as advice to her students the same advice offered by Polonious to his college-bound son in Shakespeare's Hamlet: "To thine own self be true."

From her speech: "Your boldness is what sets you apart from the rest. The next step is using those attributes that set you apart to better yourself and to better the world. You all can improve the world just by being true to yourselves. I hope you will remember how important you are in deciding your own futures."

Lindsay has taught in Frewsburg since 2004, where she has served as the English department chair and advisor for the school newspaper.

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