Congratulations to SUNY Empire State College’s 2013 Bahr Scholarship Recipients!

’83,’95 Alumnus Morton Bahr’s commitment to education, leadership, and the SUNY Empire State College community continues to motivate and inspire students to earn their bachelor’s degrees while working completely online.

Morton Bahr

In 1983, Morton Bahr graduated from SUNY Empire State College’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies. In 1985, he became President of Communications Workers of America, and led 700+ union members through 20 years’ worth of technological, economic, and global changes in the telecommunications industry.

Determined to share all of his success with future leaders, Bahr implemented the Bahr Scholarship Foundation at SUNY Empire State College to assist Center for Distance Learning (CDL) students to earn their college degree. To honor his past, scholarship preference is given to union members and their families.

Dean of the Center for Distance Learning, Dr. Thomas P. Mackey

“We are grateful to the generosity of Morton Bahr for providing so many of our learners over the years with such an outstanding opportunity to achieve the dream of a college degree. Bahr Scholars enrich our academic community because, like many of our learners, they are pursuing online degrees while representing the workforce. It brings a vibrant mix of experience, application, and knowledge to our learning environment,” said Dean of the Center for Distance Learning, Dr. Thomas Mackey.

Join the College community in offering congratulations to this year’s recipients: Jennifer Jacobs, Mendy Thorsland, John Llewellyn, Jordan Marsh, and Kenya Coleman.

Jennifer Jacob
Keep your head high and your goals in mind, don’t ever give up.”

Jennifer Jacob is a Library Clerk at Gates Public Library in Rochester, NY.  She lives nearby in Hilton, NY with her husband, Dan. Jacobs is in pursuit of Bachelor of Science in Community and Service with a Concentration in Human Services.

What is your overall professional goal? How will your degree help you attain this?
My overall professional goal is to become a children’s librarian within our local public library system. A degree in Human Services will assist me in making the most of the interactions that I have on a daily basis with the public in the library setting. So many individuals visit the library not only for books but for referrals to community services or for reliable information. Knowledge of psychology and human services will assist me in providing even more individualized services to patrons.

Why are you excited to be selected as a Bahr Scholar? What does this mean to you academically?
Being selected as a Bahr Scholar is a huge honor. Not only am I excited and grateful, but I am also aware that we are role models and representatives not only of Empire State College, but of our unions as well. Academically, this means a great deal to me. Without this scholarship, it would have been very difficult for me to complete my degree because although I maintain excellent grades, my college funding is due to run out, leaving me with some potentially difficult decisions.

How did you find out about SUNY Empire State College?
I attended the Center for Distance Learning upon graduating from high school, however as a 17 year old, I was not the most disciplined of learners. After maturing, entering the workforce for a number of years, getting married and purchasing a home, I decided that I was ready to re-enter college. Since I was now an adult learner with a family and full time job, attending Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning was the only method of obtaining my degree that would work with my busy schedule. Although challenging, I am now responsible enough to rise to the challenge and have become an excellent student, priding myself on earning excellent grades.

What advice do you give to other students just starting their college education?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. So many students think that they can do it alone, or are ashamed to ask for help but obtaining a college education is challenging, especially if you are an adult learner. There are resources and support for you.

Mendy Thorsland
“Take it step by step…You will get there!”

Mendy Thorsland, RN, is an elementary school nurse at Watkins Glen Central school. She is working on a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing through the Center for Distance Learning. A local to Seneca Lake, Thorsland enjoys hiking, biking, and outdoor activities with her husband and their three children.

How Will Your Degree Help You Professionally?
I feel that health care is a field that is always in transition and if a nurse (or any health care professional) does not learn continually, they will not be able to keep up as time goes on. While this can often be done through professional journals and membership to professional nursing organizations, when I made my transition into school nursing, I felt I needed a more thorough education. While getting my Bachelor’s is not required for my current job, I feel that it will help to secure my position in an occupation that I love.

From an Academic Standpoint, What Does the “Bahr Scholar” Title Mean To You?
I am very excited and proud to have received the Morton Bahr Scholarship. It has given me the incentive to live up to the high standards Mr. Bahr demonstrated.

How did you find out about SUNY Empire State College?
I began Empire State College shortly after finishing nursing school in 1996 at the urging of my father-in-law, Martin Thorsland who was working for Empire State College. Unfortunately, they did not have the RN to BSN program at that time and that was where my heart was.

John Llewellyn
“When you can completely engross yourself in something you love, the college experience will never be burdensome. Stick with it. Your biggest regret in life may turn out to be giving up on your education.”

John Llewellyn, President of Local F-7, is a Firefighter/Hazmat Technician and EMT with West Point Fire and Emergency Services. Llewellyn will earn his degree in Labor Studies with a concentration in Labor-Management Relations. He enjoys New York Yankees baseball, New York Giants football, and spending time with his wife Sabrina and two children.

What is your overall professional goal? How will you grow through your education?
My goal is to work in labor. At this point, I am looking into work at the district or national level within the IAFF or working as a mediator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. A degree, specifically one in the labor studies area, will help me in these endeavors immensely. The new knowledge I am gaining in my studies here at ESC is giving me more of the background and information I will need to work in either of these fields.

Why are you excited to be selected as a Bahr Scholar?
I am excited to be a Bahr Scholar because it gives me another standard to strive for. Morton Bahr’s ideas and writings on the lifelong nature of learning really struck a chord with me. I feel that the example Mr. Bahr has set will motivate me not only to get the most out of my educational experiences, but also to encourage others to do the same.

How did you find out about SUNY Empire State College?
I originally found out about ESC from a former union leader about 10 years ago. After completing my associates degree, I began researching online bachelor’s degrees for labor studies, which led me here.

What advice do you give to other students just starting their college education?
Find something you’re passionate about. This may take some time but it pays dividends over the course of your education.

Jordan Marsh
“Never be afraid to ask for help; especially within the Center for Distance Learning; they have so many available resources and are of tremendous suport.”

Jordan Marsh will earn a Bachelor of Science in Labor Studies. He currently works for the  IUE-CWA GE & Aerospace Conference Board. A former semi-pro hockey player, an aspiring Ironman competitor and an avid Adirondack hiker, Marsh also enjoys coaching his sons’ hockey team.

What is your overall professional goal?
How will your degree help you attain this?  My overall goal is to obtain the tools to successfully advance my career and do so in a manner that will benefit myself and my employer.  My degree will give me a solid foundation in reaching this goal and the knowledge to ease the process.

Why are you excited to be selected as a Bahr Scholar? 
I am very excited to be selected as one of the Bahr Scholarship award recipients, as it validates the hard work that I have put in.  Academically speaking, it gives me an added boost of confidence that I can continue my education and solidified my decision to continue on by enrolling into a Master’s Degree program once my Bachelors is complete

How did you find out about SUNY Empire State College?
I was a graduate of the SUNY system and grew up in Saratoga Springs, so I had always known of SUNY Empire State.  After researching all of my options, SUNY Empire State College was hands down the best option for me in regards to my major.

What advice do you give to other students just starting their college education?
Stick with it!  I received a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport in 1998 and decided to change professions later down the road.  I went back to college 14 years later and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.  If you work hard and truly put in the effort, you will reap the rewards of your hard work.

Kenya Coleman
“Empire State College is a place that gives you easy, friendly access to everything you need to know to make things better for your academic study from beginning to end.”

Kenya Coleman works for the United University Professions (UUP) as Meeting and Travel Assistant/Assistant to the Vice President for Academics. She will pursue her degree in the Business, Management, and Economics area of study, and in her free time enjoys scrapbooking and spending time with her family.

Why are you excited to be selected as a Bahr Scholar? What is your goal?
I am very excited to have been selected as a recipient for the Morton Bahr Scholarship. It made me feel like I am starting off on the right path to something great. My overall goal is to gain the necessary skills knowledge to earn my bachelor’s degree.

Best of luck to this year’s scholars as they connect with their mentors, prepare for fall classes, and continue on their educational journey at the Center for Distance Learning!