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Edited By: Pamela Beach

The Ukraine Project: Humanitarian Efforts of the Honors College

By Jaden Lynn Smith

The Ukraine Project

In the fall of 2023, the Honors College embarked on their most ambitious month-long humanitarian aid project yet to collect donations and supplies for people in Ukraine—especially the large, displaced population in outstanding need from the fighting. Led by efforts from Dr. Austin Busch (Director of the Honors College) and Dr. Sharon Lubkemann Allen (English Professor teaching Honors classes), the Honors peer mentors and first-year Honors students worked to raise awareness of Ukraine’s need and to collect goods and money for Ukraine. The Honors College partnered with ROCMaidan—the humanitarian arm of the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Rochester—whose been sending various supplies to Ukraine. Some specialized items include ambulances, first aid kits, and other tools to protect medics and allow them to do excellent work like wound repair with a shortage of resources. The Honors College Ukraine Project primarily collected medical supplies, as they are the largest need in Ukraine, but monetary donations were also welcome.

While this was the main focus of the Ukraine Project, it also involved several events that were not only aimed at humanitarian aid but also at raising awareness. There was a film series that the Ukraine Project helped sponsor; the Ukranian films, some of which dealt with the recent conflicts. There were also a couple of events where people involved in humanitarian aid for Ukraine, recently traveled to Ukraine, or work with people in Ukraine, came and gave a firsthand account of the current crisis there. According to Dr. Busch, the educational focus of the Honors humanitarian project was to provoke critical thinking, such as “what are the needs, and what are the concerns? And so, the whole first-year Honors class sort of was engaged in those practical educational ways with Ukraine..”

Connection to the Ukraine Project’s Mission

Now, we know what the Ukraine Project is and the massive scale of involvement here at SUNY Brockport, but what is the story behind choosing Ukraine for this years’ service project? Unfortunately, Dr. Allen was not available to give a statement, but Dr. Busch was happy to relate her story behind supporting Ukraine.

Well, every year, the Honors first-year class does a large service project, and we call it Honors Give Back. And it’s different things each year, but the Ukraine conflict is the central kind of humanitarian crisis of our time. We had a faculty teaching Honors classes who had a close connection with Ukraine, Dr. Allen. She had already been doing some stuff, sort of tangentially, in her own work related to Ukraine… So, we just asked if there was any way we could work together, and she had this idea about trying to collect humanitarian aid for Ukraine through Honors and that was sort of our connection.

Dr. Allen did a series of drawings when she was in Ukraine, right after she graduated from college, and she ended up being in Ukraine when it initially declared independence. As she was traveling through Russia and Europe, communism was failing, so it was an unpredictable time. Dr. Allen ended up immersed in the Ukrainian culture since she knew some people in the countryside, where it was safe, and she went to hang out there for a while. No one really knew what would happen in the cities during what they were going through, no one knew whether it would be violent or peaceful. During this tense time, Dr. Allen got to know a lot of Ukrainians, and from the portraits she’s drawn—mostly of kids and older people since everyone else was working—it was sort of just life. Through her artwork and daily life, she developed a close connection to Ukraine. Dr. Allen developed friendships and a love for the country. Recently, she started selling some of the pictures that she made and suddenly there was a lot of interest in them because of everything going on. Presented with such an opportunity, Dr. Allen used the profits from her drawings to raise money for Ukraine, making prints of them to sell for money for Ukraine. To do this, Dr. Allen worked with ROCMaidan and this is how the Honors College at Brockport made connections to get involved with relief efforts for Ukraine.

The Ukraine Project’s Impact on Campus

The SUNY Brockport campus reacted very positively to the Ukraine Project as a whole, and especially in terms of involvement. As Dr. Busch said when queried about the impact on campus, “there is a reason why we have a Ukrainian Cultural Center here, there’s a decent number of Ukrainian people in Rochester. And, you know, we have some here at Brockport on campus. And I recall, that one of our honors students happened to be assigned a roommate who was Ukrainian and spoke Ukrainian and has family there. So, I think one effect that it had is it really opened students’ eyes to how globally connected we were.”

At one of the events promoting awareness of Ukraine’s needs, Dr. Allen had students who read Ukrainian poetry. The honor student mentioned above read their translation while their roommate read the original in Ukrainian. These sorts of interactions were what Dr. Busch, and the Honors College were hoping to see. “What we hope we’re doing with Honors Give Back all the time, is helping students see that they’re not just in college to prepare for what they’re going to do after college. It isn’t our central mission. But it’s important to us, it’s important to me… to give back where you can intervene with your gifts and your talent and your treasure. And that’s why we have things like the Ukraine Project.” Part of the Honors College is challenging students to achieve at a higher level beyond the classroom. This means getting students to think about how, from the moment of their first semester of their first year, to be a member of society who is concerned for their local and global communities and learn proactive ways to help.

Outcomes of the Ukraine Project

Honors students collecting items to send to the Ukraine for relief efforts

Honors students collecting items to send to the Ukraine for relief efforts

In terms of overall collected donations, the Honors College was able to pack an entire truck to ROCMaidan full of supplies for Ukraine. The Nursing department was very generous in gathering surplus medical supplies to fulfill the needs of medics and patients—including items like wheelchairs that are in desperate need in Ukraine. The Honors College was so grateful for the efforts of the campus and for our local communities as well! Some local municipalities had ambulances that were being replaced but still had some life in them, so they shipped them over to Ukraine. These were some of the exciting outcomes for Dr. Busch and the peer mentor/mentee teams!

More importantly, Dr. Busch noted the awareness raised on campus, inciting people to have critical conversations and express their desires to know more about how they can help with humanitarian efforts for Ukraine. At the very beginning of the project, Dr. Busch admitted to being slightly nervous about the project becoming politicized. “It’s an issue, you know, whenever there are wars. In the United States, the question becomes are you right wing or left wing? Do you support this war? But, that was not something that ROCMaidan and Ukrainians were concerned about because it is existential for them. The way the people in Ukraine look at it isn’t so much that they need the help of Europe or the United States or anything. In their eyes, this is their country, this is their fight. But to a certain extent, if Ukraine weren’t there, someone else would be fighting, because they’re just the ones in between Russia invading other countries in that direction.”

I thought this viewpoint was very interesting—but more importantly, it puts into perspective how many humanitarian aid projects are made into political debates here in the U.S. versus elsewhere. The other worry lied in the desensitization of the war and that, after a while, people would forget about it and Ukraine’s need would not be as important. One of the most positive outcomes of the Ukraine Project then, and one the Honors College is very proud of, was being able to increase mass awareness on campus. The events and donation project got people to remember Ukraine’s plight and start spreading the word on how we, as a campus and community, can continue and better our humanitarian activism, contributions, and efforts.

Kali Donaldson in a dancing pose and dressed in a leotard Honors Thesis Spotlight

By Emma Rinn

Kalli Jhané Donald

When you think about dance, what are the first things that come to mind? Is it the elaborate costumes, the heavy stage makeup, or is it the trophies? Well, if you are Honors College student Kalli Jhané, you think about change, changing the hearts of the audience members through genuine and meaningful movement. That is Kalli Jhané’s dance. 

Kalli Jhané is a double major in Dance and Psychology at SUNY Brockport who is working towards completing her honors thesis. The thesis is a project that all students of the Honors College complete typically during their senior year through the Honors College. An honors thesis is an intensive project that often requires months of planning and research to complete, and Kalli Jhané’s is no exception. For her thesis, Kalli Jhané choreographed a dance performance that conveys a specific message to her audience. Using her knowledge of dance and psychology, she plans to create a piece that causes her audience to reconsider their thoughts through the emotions provoked by the performance.

Kalli Jhané grew up dancing at a young age and competed in dance competitions. She recalls hearing praise from people in the audience describing her performances as “moving” and “powerful” and truly coming to understand the potential depths that dance can bring. From this point in her life, she had been competing in dance competitions wearing full makeup, doing her hair a certain way, and wearing dramatic dance costumes to win a trophy that “means nothing”. At the age of 12, she made the decision to compete without the dramatics of a dance costume, and the special hair-do, and the makeup. Kalli Jhané competed with a dance that was genuine and profound. She left out what competitions are known for, difficult movements and tricks, and replaced them with a story that evoked raw emotion from the audience. It wasn’t the fact that she won first place that night, but the way she made the audience feel that pushed her to use dance to change the way people think and feel. The idea behind her thesis was born in this moment.

While developing her thesis Kalli Jhané found herself struggling to find an advisor. She knew that her thesis was going to be a performance, but she did not want to choose a professor from the dance department because they did not have the knowledge of psychology that she needed. The same problem would have obtained had her advisor been a psychologist. To remedy this issue, Kalli Jhané decided to choose the Honors College’svery own Dr. Beach (Kinesiology) due to her knowledge of embodied movement and research. Kalli Jhané relied extensively on her dance and psychology professors for outside perspectives, opinions, and their relevant expertise, but worked primarily with Dr. Beach in planning the thesis project.

The next step for Kalli Jhané is finalizing her choreography and her costumes. She then needs to finish the paper portion of the thesis project, which to Kalli Jhané is no problem. She finds writing to come naturally to her, so the paper is not a big stressor in her life.

In the future, she plans to become a freelance choreographer. Kalli Jhané wants to use her abilities to change the competition dance scene to be more personal and deeper instead of simply aesthetic. She wants future dancers to know that dance is more than something pretty; it is something powerful that can change the world. Kalli Jhané wants to help other dancers to break barriers like she found herself doing at the young age of 12.

Kalli Jhané wants the incoming freshman to be prepared for change. She recalls that during her firstyear her expectations for college life were completely different from its reality. Being open to change will make the college experience a little easier for incoming first-year students. The final piece of advice that Kalli Jhané would like to give to honors college students looking to prepare for their own thesis project is to be yourself. Finding a topic that is interesting to you and connects to what you like makes the honors thesis feel less like work and more like a hobby. Let us all cheer on Kalli Jhané and show support for our fellow Brockport student.

College Life in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands Spring Break Study Abroad

Group of SUNY Brockport students in front of the Buckingham Palace

By Tegan Hughston

 A couple of days before we were supposed to leave for the trip I started to get really worried that I wouldn’t be able to make any friends and that I was going to feel like an outsider to the group. My worries were quickly diminished as I felt immediately welcomed by everyone; I really think we became more like a family than anything else by the end. 

This was my first experience traveling anywhere outside of the U.S. and although there were certainly some bumps in the road, it was still an amazing trip. My favorite place we visited was definitely Amsterdam, although I’m very biased because I got to see my mom’s friend, his girlfriend and their baby! We had a great time walking around the Amsterdam Central Train Station, and I ate the best food on the entire trip. I thought being in the Netherlands was really interesting because a lot of people bike everywhere so there are bike lanes on every road, which was difficult to get used to because a lot of the time they looked really similar to the sidewalks and we would wind up standing in the way. It is definitely obvious that they live much healthier lifestyles than we do, there are enough bikes for them to have underground bike parking like we do for cars, and their food is often made with a lot more greens and other healthy ingredients. The same thing can be said for the Hague, which was especially prevalent when we did the cooking class with Dutch students there, they also talked about being cognizant of dietary restrictions such as being vegan or vegetarian. Another cultural difference I noticed was how much cleaner Dutch cities are compared to most of the cities in the United States. 

Although I was most excited to visit London, based on the place alone and not the people, I think it actually wound up being my least favorite location. We were not really within walking distance of much and London is where I did the most walking by far, but it was also the least interesting to me. I think much of what we saw in the Netherlands, Coventry and Stratford-upon-Avon was a bit unexpected and it really caught my attention; I already knew a lot about London and the things we saw while we were there so it wasn’t as exciting. Obviously, that’s not to say being there wasn’t still incredibly exciting, it was just my least favorite out of all the amazing places we went. While we were in Europe, we went to the Anne Frank house, the Heineken Experience, the Hague campus, their sports campus, Coventry’s campus, Shakespeare’s house, Stratford-upon-Avon, Buckingham Palace, Westminster, the London Eye, and I went with a friend to the Natural History Museum. That’s an incredible amount of places to visit and things to see in just ten days, including three travel days! 

I most appreciated visiting the Anne Frank house because I have not had a historical experience like that and have learned a lot about the Holocaust and World War II. This was my first experience to see anything of historical importance from those events, and I think being able to actually see it puts it into perspective. History is incredibly important to me, and I am a firm believer that if we don’t learn about it and contextualize it, we’ll repeat it. Seeing the Anne Frank house was an important part of understanding the reality of the Holocaust and World War II events, and I appreciate that they do not try to overlook what happened. The museum provided a headset to hear audio clips while you walk through the rooms and the museum has furniture and other artifacts that are relevant to her story from when the Frank’s lived there. 

My topic for this trip was government and politics. From speaking with Dutch and British students, I learned that tend to think that their government is pretty slow and useless; a similar opinion held by a majority of the youth in America as well. This really just reaffirmed my belief that we (Americans) are not as different from Europeans as many Americans might think. It did catch me off-guard that Europeans disliked the way their governments functioned because of how many policies they have that the United States doesn’t have here that would definitely be useful, a great example of this is their universal healthcare. However, I think that since they’re so used to having what we would consider more “liberal” policies in place, they see the time it takes their governments to continue to adopt them a failure. So, we might agree on a very surface level but looking at it from a deeper perspective shows that our frustrations are not as similar.

Overall, this was an amazing experience, and I would definitely recommend studying abroad to all students. An educational international trip really opens up your understanding of the world and allows you to get to know people you might otherwise never become friends with. The experiences you’ll have, the people you’ll meet, and the things you’ll do are well worth the anxiety and the money!

Morgan-Manning House Spotlight

By Jaden Lynn Smith

We have all passed the elegant, stately house on Main Street, but how many of us know what the Morgan-Manning House is really about? After all, a museum is a museum. But, like many treasures rich in history, appearances can be deceiving. Given the continued involvement of the Morgan-Manning House in the village of Brockport, and moreover, the building’s thriving internship program with SUNY Brockport, I wanted to know more about these close ties and the mission behind the house. To learn more, I interviewed Dr. Rozenn Bailleul-Lesuer, the Morgan-Manning House’s expert curator, who shed light on what the historic landmark means to her and to our Brockport community.

Dr. Rozenn Bailleul-Lesuer’s Involvement with the Morgan-Manning House

Two days after moving to Brockport, Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer got involved with the Morgan-Manning House because its extensive history piqued her interest. A few years later, she is the curator of the Morgan-Manning House, in charge of caring for and maintaining the collection of artifacts the house holds. In terms of her career, however, she wears several different hats! First and foremost, Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer is an accomplished Egyptologist, acting as an expert for tours to Egypt offered by Smithsonian Journeys. She is also a beloved adjunct lecturer at SUNY Brockport and the University of Rochester, in the departments of Anthropology and Art History respectively. Despite this workload, Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer manages to carve out a generous amount of time to work with students who intern at the Morgan-Manning House—which is her favorite aspect about working there!

While speaking to Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer about her various tasks at the house, it was apparent how passionate she is about the history and future of the Morgan-Manning House. She loves getting to know students as individuals and helping them to pursuecareer in a museum setting. In her work, she researches the artifacts present in the house and integrates them into the story told to the public. One of the most fascinating parts of her job is transcribing the family’s letters, especially the mother’s, Susan Morgan, through which Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer came to learn so much about the life of those who once inhabited the house.

The Morgan-Manning House

One of the historical jewels in the village of Brockport, the Morgan-Manning House is more than just a museum for those that work there. It is a testament to Brockport’s commitment to the preservation of local history. In Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer’s words, “we are fortunate to live in a village that values their historical heritage, and the Morgan-Manning House is a perfect witness to the community’s personal commitment to preserving the historical character of the village.” To understand just how vital the village of Brockport was in the survival of the Morgan-Manning House, we must first look at who these people were and why being part of the community is so important. 

Mr. Morgan was a self-made man and a brilliant entrepreneur, first succeeding in the manufacture of agricultural equipment at a time when agriculture was beginning to be mechanized. Along with his partner William H. Seymour, Mr. Morgan was involved with the production of the first McCormick reapers—harvesting machines that were groundbreaking in their efficiency! He came to the house originally as a boarder with his young wife, Susan. In 1867, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan purchased the property as their home and continued on to raise their seven children there. Their eldest daughter, Sara, married Dr. Frederick Manning in 1893—hence marking the entry point at which the Morgan-Manning House would attain its full title. Unfortunately, Dr. Manning died just three years later in 1896, leaving Sara to return to her parents’ household with her young child. Surviving her parents, Sara lived in the house until 1964, and upon her death, donated the house to the village of Brockport community.  

It was at this point in our interview that Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer shared the incredible story of how the village fought for the preservation of the Morgan-Manning House. After Sara donated the house to the village of Brockport in her will, several entities wanted to purchase the house for their own purposes. These included organizations like the YMCA, a convent, religious and charity associations, and even a social club for college faculty. The people of Brockport went door-to-door in order to raise enough money to purchase the house. By collecting funds and writing up papers to declare the Morgan-Manning House for the community, the village of Brockport established the house as a historical building to preserve the legacy of the Morgan-Mannings.

Mission and Goals of the Morgan-Manning House

As part of the Western Monroe Historical Society, the Morgan-Manning House is committed to educating diverse audiences on the life and times of the Morgan-Mannings. Further, it is the staff and council’s responsibility to preserve the house as a historical museum and a repository for a collection of archival materials and artifacts related to the Morgan family—thereby extending their legacy. In terms of goals, however, the staff are currently in the process of revisiting their role in the community. The staff want the Morgan-Manning House to make other valuable contributions. For Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer, this means being able to work with the students of SUNY Brockport and providing them with an opportunity to work in a museum environment. 

The Morgan-Manning House has been serving the SUNY Brockport community since 1965, but the internship program with the college is still fairly recent, flourishing in the last ten or so years. So, what does an internship at the Morgan-Manning House look like for SUNY Brockport students? Surprisingly, the internship is very broad and self-led. Most of the time students propose their own projects and work independently on relevant aspects of the museum. Some of these projects have included letter transcription, exhibit design, programming for family activities, cataloging artifacts in the collection, writing panels to be displayed in the exhibit rooms, social media management, and community outreach.

Challenges and Triumphs for the Morgan-Manning House

Not everything is as easy on the eyes as the architecture of the Morgan-Manning House, however. As an older house, there are always repairs to be made to preserve its condition—very expensive repairs. Because of the pandemic, fundraising has not been particularly easy, but given the major problems humidity is causing in the basement and the roof, they will soon need to be replaced, which means a lot more funds must be raised. Not only is money a constant issue but, as with most non-profit organizations, the Morgan-Manning House is run almost entirely by volunteers—thus finding and retaining volunteers is also an unending challenge. With such short staff on hand, the Morgan-Manning House cannot be open most of the time, and visits are by appointment only due to a shortage of tour guides. 

It is difficult in this way to offer as much to the community as they want to, but the community can help support the Morgan-Manning House by showing how much the place matters to them. “How would it feel if the Morgan-Manning House was not here anymore? How would the village of Brockport change?” Right now, Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer is trying very hard to reach the younger generations and get them involved with the house, since they are the future of the Morgan-Manning Houses’ persistence.

In their partnership, SUNY Brockport has really opened doors for the Morgan-Manning House with the level of involvement from students. Dr. Bailleul-Lesuer shared that, in working with the students, many of them did not previously know about the Morgan-Manning HouseSince then, however, several student groups have wanted to host their events at the house. “These students”, she says, “are the volunteers of tomorrow and we want to make sure they all know how awesome a place we are. We need to break the stereotype of the historic house being an intimidating place and just for a certain group of people in the community—like a select social club. It is for the community, and we want to be welcoming!”

Even with a shortage of staff, anyone can call or ring the bell outside between the hours of 9:30 am and 4:00 pm during the week and someone will answer. So, if you have always been curious to see what’s inside the house, or want to support their mission, consider this an invitation to swing by!

Charlie Hage Charlie Hage

By Caleb Carr

Charlie Hage is the long time owner of local carpeting company, Brockport Custom Carpet, Inc. A SUNY Brockport Alumni, Charlie had a long coaching career, receiving multiple awards and honors and has brought so much success to this village that he now calls home. When his career started at Brockport Central as the Physical Education teacher, he had to work his way up from the modifided level. In just a few years, his skill at the position was easy to see, and he worked his way up to varsity and coached there for 20 years. Although he is no longer coaching, he continues to stay present in the community, both on and off the court.

Charlie Hage, a SUNY Brockport alumni and long-time owner of Brockport Custom Carpet, and his two brothers grew up in a poorer part of East Utica, but didn’t let that define who they were or who they could be, their father made sure of it. His father, who immigrated from Lebanon, taught Charlie work ethic and that you must work for everything you do. His father came to America in the late 1930s, and could not read or write English at first. After hard work and learning English, he fought for America in World War II as an interpreter. Following the war, Charlie’s father began his own carpeting company, which is where he and his brothers learned about not only the business of carpeting, but the importance of hard work. Now with a family of his own, Charlie has taken the lessons of love and dedication that he learned from his parents to care for his family. He credits a lot of what he has done in his life to his wife, Diane, and his four children, Chad, Jason, Ryan, and Lindsey. 

Winning multipe awards and honors throughout his excellent coaching career, Charlie’s love for basketball grew right next to his family’s church. He remembers his two brothers teaching him how to shoot, and learning the game by watching them play. He would face-off against his brothers, as they taught him different skills and helped him develop his game. 

We just fell in love with it (basketball) and then the competition and totally fell in love with basketball and once you start coaching, it’s like a chemical imbalance 

Charlie began his career as a student teacher at Pavilion Central School. After his student teaching, he was hired to coach Pavilions Varsity team at just 22 years old. Just a year later, he returned to Brockport as the school’s physical education teacher. He continued his love for basketball by coaching the boys modified team. He worked his way up the ladder, and finished his career by coaching the varsity boy’s team for 20 years. While coaching the varsity boys, he and his long-time friend, Jack Hogan, began the Hage-Hogan Basketball camp, and have been running it together for the past 41 years. Charlie has dedicated his life to teaching the younger generations about what he believes is the greatest game on planet earth. And, he’s pretty darn good at it. Throughout his excellent coaching career, he received many awards, and was invited to coach many teams. Among some of the awards he has received are the Monroe County League Division One Coach of the Year, NYS Coaches Association NYS Honor Award, and Man of the Year in the Town of Sweden. He has also received the honor of coaching many “all-star” games, such as the Western Scholastic Empire Games, Ronald McDonald All-Star Game, and the Monroe County Senior Select Game. Finally, other than his own Hage-Hogan camp, he has also been a coach at the Syracuse University Boys Basketball camp, the Challenger Baseball program for youths with disabilities, and assisted at the Special Olympics hosted by SUNY Brockport. 

After leaving his head coaching days behind him, Charlie focuses on the Hage-Hogan camp, his carpet company, and most importantly, his family. Growing up helping their father run the family owned carpeting buisness, Charlie and his brothers learned not only how to install carpet, but how to run a succesful buisness.. While in college, he and his brother, George, used this knowledge to make some extra cash, as they started a part-time carpeting company called “Dial-it Carpet”. With the success of “Dial-it”, they made their name known around the community, George started Brockport Carpet. Charlie took his brother’s company over and renamed it “Brockport Custom Carpet”, and has owned and operated the business since. The small town store has gotten many big time projects throughout the years, including muchof the SUNY Brockport campus, Syracuse Universities South Campus, and even some penthouses in New York City. The company has become very well-known not only in the Brockport communities, but the communities around as well, and they have become the place to go for top-notch installation. Charlie Hage would like to give credit to his many workers and helpers, who make Brockport Custom Carpet as successful as it is. Jane Murray, Dennis Terelli, Jake Hogan, Antonia Alverez, Rich Bentley, and Brian Colvert and his crew of installers. 

In every aspect of his life, both in his coaching career and by hiring young college students to his company, Charlie has been teaching younger generations for years, and hopes to continue. He loves working with kids and helping them become the best they can be. Teaching and coaching them on how to be a good team, he feels a sense of pride when he sees them succeed after school and in life. The impact that he has made on their lives, has made an even bigger impact on his. His advice to the younger generations is very simple, yet very powerful. Surround yourself with good people. Do everything with a great attitude. Never be late. Always be honest and upfront. 

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you love it. Do it everyday with love, and love those around you. Do what’s right, do your best, and don’t be afraid to take risks! 

Kyle Adams

By Caleb Carr

Every year, Honors students design a Thesis project that fits with their majors, as well as their post-graduation goals. These projects are where students have a chance to show off their knowledge of their major and show employers that they are capable of making a difference in their field. An Honors Thesis requires hard work, dedication, and a few late nights. When it is finished though, the thesis becomes an achievement of great pride. As all students and majors are diverse, so are the projects that they create. Some research studies to qualitatively or quantitatively examine their field’s toughest questions. While others create programs in their community and study the impact. And some, like 2022 Computer Science graduate Kyle Adams, develop computer programs that help to launch them into successful careers right out of college.

Kyle Adams (middle) with his co-worker Matt Morgan (left) and his advisor Sandeep Mitra (right) on Honors Graduation Day

Kyle Adams with his co-worker Matt Morgan and advisor Sandeep Mitra on Honors Graduation Day, May 2022.

Kyle Adams was a fellow honors student at SUNY Brockport, graduating in 2022. Even before college, Kyle was always finding ways to help people. While learning about Software Engineering here at SUNY Brockport, Kyle discovered he could build skills in software development and then apply those skills to create something that somebody else could use to improve their day-to-day lives. This idea instantly drew his interest, especially when an opportunity to work with the Institutional Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee (ISLOAC) arose. ISLOAC needed an application that would help them manage the data that they received from student assessments. In Kyles own words, the applications “allow(s) for the configuration of data capture by configuring each learning outcome with the semester and the classes in which student performance data will be captured, allowing for the data entry/update of such performance data as per expected standards and allowing for the generation of reports, over multiple assessment cycles, that can be saved on Excel spreadsheets and incorporated into other documents”. 

ISLOAC co-chair Professor Donna Wilkerson-Barker gave some more information on just what this app has been providing for the college. She says “Each year, we collect data on student achievement for certain student learning outcomes. Instructors administer assessments in their senior-level courses and, using a rubric, determine how well students are meeting the institution’s standards”. Professor Wilkerson-Barker went on to explain how this data of student success is paired with narratives that explain strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in teaching and learning. This allows Brockport the ISLOAC the data and accuracy they need in order to track and record how well both students and professors are performing. 

Kyle Adams at his work desk at Gleason Corporation

Kyle at his workplace, Gleason Works, Rochester

Kyle has been able to benefit from the hard work put into his thesis outside of college as well. Now working as a Software Engineer with Gleason Corporation in the Research and Development department, Kyle predominantly works on web app development, with the occasional work on desktop applications. Kyle credits his work on his thesis project to helping him get to where he is today. He states “If it weren’t for the experience of dealing with a real world client and the successful development of the application then I wouldn’t have both the software engineering skills or the customer service skills that I have today. This project was an invaluable opportunity, which let me hone in my skills and put the knowledge I learned throughout the 4 years to the test…The thesis also helped me set myself apart from my peers during the interviewing process as well. It helped me market myself by giving me a major project to explain during an interview and how I overcame certain struggles that arose during the development process”. 

SUNY Brockport as a whole has also played a huge part in Kyle’s immediate success. Kyle believes that the foundation that Brockport provided him has allowed him to grow and perfect his software and communication skills. He credits the students he has worked with as well, as the incredible group-discussions have helped him in his job today. “Through the various team/group projects in both my major and non-major courses I was able to get a feel for the various types of personalities and that gave me the opportunity to see how others would process the task at hand”. 

Kyle has provided four main tips for all students working on a thesis project to keep in mind and to help them do their best possible work.

  1. If you are taking on a development project as part of your thesis, have an objective for your thesis in mind - what is it for, and who will be benefited from it?
  2. Identify the “customer base” and see what features your project needs to really have an impact
  3. Identify a faculty member who is enthusiastic about the product and the process and work with them to determine if the project is feasible given the time frame you have
  4. Be prepared to work hard (long hours) on the project to deliver a quality product


Tegan Hughston

Tegan Hughston is a Brockport Student Government senator who enjoys cooking and reading. She’s a double major in International Studies and Communication, as well as a member of the honors college. This is her first time writing for the Promethean and she’s excited to share about her experience abroad.

Caleb Carr

Caleb Carr is a Junior Journalism Broadcasting major with a minor in Coaching. He is also a member of the Brockport Track and Field team. He aspires to be a sports writer in the future, as he loves the NFL and NBA. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and kayaking, as well as spending time with his family and friends.

Emma Rinn

Emma Rinn is from Angola, NY and is a sophomore in the Brockport honors college. She is studying communications with a concentration in relationships and social identity as well as minoring in business administration. She is a fan of modern jazz music and can often be found walking to class listening to soft jazz. She is excited to be part of The Promethean

Jaden Lynn Smith

Jaden Lynn is a biracial poet who likes to collect grocery lists and Breakfast Club quotes. She currently writes for the Promethean and is the editor-in-chief of Jigsaw Literary Magazine. Jaden Lynn is a triple major in Creative Writing, Philosophy, and African & African-American Studies.