If you haven’t seen it yet, take a couple of minutes to look at the video just posted on the Engineering Career Fair. A number of employers who attended the fair explained why they like to recruit Alfred University students. While the topic of this particular video was engineering, the same could be said for our other majors at Alfred University. Employers like to hire Alfred University students because they are ready to go to work. They have the knowledge coupled with the hands-on skill set that make them so attractive to employers.
Giving students the opportunity to gain real-word experience, either in Alfred or by completing an internship in their chosen field, has long been a hallmark of an Alfred University education. One of the distinctive features of our University’s brand is that we are a maker culture.
But we know that for some students, being able to afford to participate in an internship or many other life-changing experiences such as study abroad or undergraduate research is beyond their financial means. Even if an experience is paid for, living expenses or travel costs can shut the door to the opportunity.
That’s why APEX–our applied and experiential learning program–is so important. Thanks to the generosity of alumni and friends who realize that such opportunities enhance our students’ professional success, APEX affords current juniors and seniors up to $1,000 toward an internship with a not-for-profit, a co-op experience in-state or out-of-state, study abroad, a service learning opportunity, or a research project beyond what our courses provide. By the fall of 2021, our juniors and seniors will be able to apply for a grant of up to $2,000 for an APEX experience as part of our strategic objective to become the first university/college in the country to both encourage all students to undertake an applied/experiential learning opportunity and provide the financial means to realize the opportunity.
Funding of the APEX program began with a generous $500,000 investment from Board of Trustee member Michele Cohen ’HD18 and her husband Marty. Philanthropic investment in the program has since nearly doubled due to gifts and pledges from Richard ’62 and Freya ’64 Block, Janet Foster, Sally Mueller ’83, Sheryl Ronan, and Fred ’68 and Judy ’68 Gregory. Since its beginning in July, our APEX program has had more than 100 students apply for the awards. As one example of the impact the program has already had, see what Lu Krawczyk ’19 has been able to accomplish through her APEX award.
The latest philanthropic investment in APEX came in the form of an $125,000 endowment commitment last month from Seattle-based Terry Montgomery ’70. Terry retired from Chubb and Son in 2010 after serving as vice president and worldwide manager for marine and transportation underwriting since 1998.
Terry and his late wife Nancy Risser ’70 strongly believed in the value of learning experiences outside the classroom. Nancy was among the first nurses in the nation to be certified as an adult nurse practitioner. She worked primarily as a nurse practitioner and clinical specialist for the Veterans Administration for more than 40 years and was recognized repeatedly for the quality of care she provided, including being named a 2005 New York Times Nurse of the Year.
Terry’s sister, Pat ’75, and brother-in-law, Steve Crandall ’76, are long-time residents of Alfred. Steve retired earlier this year as our dean of Libraries.
We can always tell when something hits close to the hearts of our alumni and friends. APEX certainly does. We are proud and grateful to be able to offer the valuable learning opportunity to all of our students, regardless of need, through the generous support of our donors.
Please join me in thanking our trustee Michele Cohen and her husband Marty for providing the initial investment to help us launch APEX as well as Terry Montgomery and the other alumni and friends who are helping us build further philanthropic momentum for the program.
Fiat applied/experiential (APEX) learning opportunities at Alfred University!
P.S. If your organization is interested in recruiting co-op/internship/full-time/experienced hire talent from Alfred University, please contact Amanda Baker, the director of our Career Development Center. If you are aware of a promising APEX opportunity for our students, please email our APEX advisor, Logan Gee ’18. And, if you are still searching for the perfect (philanthropic) gift for the holidays and are interested in supporting APEX or another such program through which Alfred University transforms student lives and betters our world, please reply at your earliest convenience or reach out to our vice president of advancement, Jason Amore ’97, ’99 MS.