Bahr Scholarship Opportunity for Union Members and their Families

“This is my second semester with the scholarship and with the financial help it has surely helped reduced the stress of going more into debt. I will have my bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in human resource management. I have learned so much that I feel I would not have learned in a traditional classroom.”
Bahr Scholar, Kelly M.
Bachelor of Science in Business, Management and Economics

Bahr Scholars and the Center for Distance Learning
This scholarship, created in the name of Empire State College alumnus Morton Bahr, assists union members and other workers by furthering their educational goals and enhancing educational access through distance learning.

As a Bahr Scholar with Empire State College Center for Distance Learning (CDL), you can earn your entire degree online. Busy, working adults are increasingly turning to the web for quality education that fits into their lives. Whether you’re on the road or prefer to study from the comfort of your home, the Center for Distance Learning offers you the chance to reach your goals.

Work With Faculty
Online learning offers dedicated, disciplined students the ability to earn a degree or upgrade skills with our proven web-based education delivery. You will have the opportunity to work with a faculty mentor to develop an individualized degree program that builds upon your interests, life experiences, needs and goals. Through this flexible program, you may work at times and locations that are convenient. Students communicate with faculty and course instructors by means of e-mail, telephone and through discussion areas online.

Stimulating, Challenging Courses
Center for Distance Learning courses are completely self-contained and are highly interactive through discussions with the instructor and other students.  With online learning, you progress at your own rate, and as a Bahr Scholar, you can take up to 2 courses for a maximum 8 credits per term. Keep in mind, however, that online courses are rigorous, requiring the discipline of systematic study, concentrated reading and carefully written assignments. To be successful, you will need to set aside substantial blocks of time for study, logging into your courses at least three times per week.  For example, with a 4-credit course, you should plan on a minimum of 10 hours of study time per week.

Other Bahr Scholars share their thoughts:
Catherine G. –
“I finished my Associates Degree at Empire this past May and wasn’t sure I was going to continue to work for a Bachelor’s Degree. I have kids in college and high school and their education is more of a priority for me. Thanks to this scholarship, I will be able to complete my degree.  I am planning to earn a BS in Business Management and Economics.  I am excited and thankful for this wonderful opportunity.”

Zsuzsanna S. - “… I’m one year away from completing my degree in Social Theory, Social Structure and Change. Being a student at ESC has been a fantastic experience, and I met some really great people in the past two years.”

Robin J., B.S., Human Resources and Communications - “When the statement came from ESC the other day my husband and I looked at the $1700+ total and said to each other (again!) that without the Morton Bahr scholarship there’s no way I could be doing this.  It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life and always with deep gratitude and awe that there are people like Mr. Bahr out there whose ideals translate into action to make this a better world for working people.”

Cheryl O., B.A., Community and Human Services – “I felt like I had won the lottery when they called me! After I finished my degree plan and looked at all those classes it seemed like a huge hill to climb, but now I will be finished at the end of this year and get my degree. Never would have been possible without the scholarship! The best part is all of the support from the mentors and other staff at ESC.  I will miss that the most when I graduate, you get so much help and support here!”

Nancy D., B.A., Human Development - “This scholarship has made my life fantastic, and has given me amazing confidence in myself.”

Need More Information?
View this short video to tell you more about online learning at Empire State College or or additional information on the Morton Bahr Online Scholarship, visit this link to apply!

It’s Very Nice to Meet You, Vira :-)

“Have you ever been to Mexico?”

Why not ask Chatterbot “Vira” (pictured at left) who recently placed 4th an international competition (www.chatterboxchallenge.com) featuring 34 “bots” from around the world.

Vira is an internet-downloadable “chatterbot”, designed to simulate human intelligence and converse casually with humans when asked simple questions like, “What is 18+21+3” or “Can you give me an example of a living animal?”.

Created by Empire State College student Tom Joyce as final project for his CDL course Discrete Mathematics, Vira out-chatted 34 other English-speaking bots vying for a $1,000 cash prize.

Joyce’s work incorporates principles of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), which he refers to as “reinforced learning”, a combination of science and engineering which results in “intelligent” computer programs that can perform simple tasks like open an elevator door, interact within a video game, or have an actual speech-recognized conversation, like Vira.

“Finding ways to enjoy A.I. is important because designing it usually involves pushing the limits. Luckily building a machine that talks right back to you is an experience most find very entertaining and rewarding,” said Joyce, a New Jersey resident. “This is significant since it demonstrates that my research is going forward, and will provide a solid foundation for new and exciting innovations in the future,” he added.

SUNY Event, “Discovery: An Undergraduate Showcase” Features Students’ Research and Talents

Students and faculty pictured with SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H.Carl McCall and Chancellor Zimpher.

In opening remarks, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher noted, “Research is a critical part of the undergraduate education experience. Today’s event gives us all an opportunity to work together to showcase the quality of our work to the world.”

That’s why SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning (CDL) student Veronica Baiamonte traveled from Denver, CO to attend the SUNY Faculty Senate-sponsored event, “Discovery: An Undergraduate Showcase,” which took place yesterday at the Legislative Office Building at Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY.

Veronica Baiamonte with mentor Dr. Nicola Martinez

“I was so happy to be a part of this event and share my research in a real-world setting,” said Baiamonte, a CDL student whose Bachelors degree is focused on media and learning. “There were many more people than I expected. Everyone was walking around, asking questions, and talking about their work. I was able to share my ideas with senators, faculty members and other students, too. It motivates me to think bigger and continue my research in other ways.”

Baiamonte’s research, “Developing an Assessment Rubric to Evaluate Digital and Media Literacy Activities,” was part of a capstone study, instructed by her faculty mentor, Dr. Nicola Martinez, who also attended the event.

“Having a full day to focus on Veronica’s research and interests gave us some lovely ‘mentoring moments’. It allowed us to connect informally, as peers, with similar interests, sharing thoughts, ideas, and interests,” said Martinez, an academic Area Coordinator, Mentor and Instructor for humanities and digital media at the CDL. ”In addition, it was wonderful to see the energy and enthusiasm for undergraduate research shared by the SUNY administration, New York legislators, SUNY faculty mentors, and staff, as well as the extraordinary students who participated,” added Martinez.

The Discovery Event goal was to “share enthusiasm in showcasing a range of undergraduate research projects…and to enhance the image and reputation of SUNY public higher education.” A call for entries was announced in December 2011 and Baiamonte was one of two students selected to represent Empire State College. Over 125 poster presentations were showcased from students at SUNY campus locations across the state including Binghamton University, Morrisville State College, Fashion Institute of Technology, Purchase College, and more.

Janine Carchidi discusses her work with David Lavallee, SUNY Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

“I was shocked and excited when I received the letter that I was selected to attend this event,” said Janine Carchidi, Empire State College’s second student representative. Carchidi’s entry, “Advocacy by Design,” showcased her goal to help not-for-profit organizations to benefit from higher-quality communication and graphic design campaigns, offered at reduced rates. “My passion is graphic design. My experience is in not-for-profit management. When I combine the two, I am able to bring together my ideas and mission into one goal that benefits organizations and the entire community,” said Carchidi, who will earn an Associate of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Advocacy of Design.

Phil Ortiz, CDL Faculty member and a past Faculty Senate representative also attended today’s event. He commented, “Janine and Veronica were actively engaged in their own learning. They were able to describe their projects in a way that was understandable to everyone, and their answers to questions demonstrated their mastery of the subject matter. In observing them interacting with the Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor, Senator and everyone else with who they discussed their projects, it was clear that they were very impressive examples of our unique and talented Empire State College students.”