October 6, 2015

2015 Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarships Announced

CWA Emeritus President Morton Bahr
Morton Bahr '83, 95, president emeritus of the Communications Workers of America

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Oct. 9, 2015) SUNY Empire State College has announced The Morton Bahr Online Learning Scholarship recipients for the 2015-16 academic year.

They are: Suzanne Baxter, Stacy Kempf, Emma Manno, Kathleen Miller, Kimberly Patterson and Carol Storrs.

The Bahr online scholarship supports students studying to complete their bachelor’s degree online. It was created to honor president emeritus of the Communications Workers of America and college alumnus Morton Bahr ’83, ’95.

Bahr is nationally recognized as one of the labor movement’s leading experts on technology and information-based industries.

Available to anyone across the country, the Bahr online scholarship expands access, primarily for union members and other workers, by providing financial support leading to a high-quality SUNY Empire degree.

“Congratulations to the 2015 scholarship recipients,” said Bahr. “Today’s jobs are rapidly changing and increasingly complex, which places new demands on working men and women. Lifelong learning and online education are now becoming part of mainstream employment. A scholarship to Empire State College provides working men and women with help paying for college, the opportunity to learn online while holding down a job and the skills they need to keep learning throughout their lifetime.”

“I join Morton Bahr in congratulating this year’s recipients of the Bahr Scholarship,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of Empire State College. “We recognize the sacrifices they have made in order to pursue their dreams of earning a college degree, while working, raising families or engaging in other pursuits. All of the recipients are connected to a labor union in some way. Whether they have chosen to earn an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or both through the college, Mr. Bahr could leave no better legacy than changing the lives of these Empire State College students.”

About the Bahr Online Scholarship Recipients

head shot, Baxter, Bahr Scholar 2015Suzanne Baxter, of East Syracuse, N.Y., (left) works as an administrative assistant for NYSUT and is a member of CWA Local 1141. A cancer survivor and mother of two, Baxter learned in March, after five years, that the cancer was eradicated. “It reawakened unfinished goals and created new ones,” she said. She began to lead by example for her family in the areas of healthy eating, physical exercise, home cooking and living more frugally. “As a result, I hope my family will learn that a balanced lifestyle includes time for your family and for yourself…I am showing my children how charity can have a positive effect for not only those who in in need, but for us as well.” Baxter hopes earning a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity will afford her opportunities for advancement in her career. “I want to show my girls, 11 and 14, that you can succeed when you put in the effort.”

Kempf Bahr Scholar 2015Stacy Kempf, of Alden, N.Y., (right) is a member of CWA and employed by People, Inc. as a team leader. She’s also a wife and mom who had to postpone college immediately after high school, but is hoping to improve her life by earning a degree. So far, undecided on an academic concentration, she is eyeing human services, psychology and business. “My employer, People Inc., is a nonprofit agency that assists individuals with disabilities,” she said. “My job is my passion and it is very rewarding to have positive effects on the lives of those who depend on me to assist them. Any of these fields would allow me to further my career with People Inc., or a similar company. If I combine my work experience, educational success from high school and the experience I have from previously being a volunteer firefighter, I know I will pick up where I left off academically.”‌‌

Manno Bahar Scholar 2015Emma Manno, of Equinunk, Penn. (left) is a stay-at-home mom and a member of Local 825 Operating Engineers. She is earning an associate‌ degree from SUNY Empire, and hopes it will open up more career opportunities and help her gain financial independence. She started her higher education at SUNY Sullivan. After taking a break, she is pursuing her degree in Human Development and has maintained an A average, while studying entirely online. “It is important to me to give my all to my course work. By studying online, I am pretty much in charge of my education,” she said. “I have a strong passion for human development and behavioral health. I have strong desire to help other people and obtain the background necessary to be able to achieve this goal.”

Miller Bahr Scholar 2015Kathleen Miller, of Ballston Spa, N.Y., (right) a mother of two, is employed as a program assistant at the Parsons Child & Family Center. She applied for the Bahr Scholarship because her spouse is a member of the CWA. She is earning her bachelor’s degree in Community and Human Services. “I want to help people and make a difference in other peoples’ lives,” she said. Although an assistant, she says that “caseworkers frequently discuss their cases with me, exchanging ideas to rectify a case issue. I have learned a tremendous amount through these interactions about the available services and programs for those in need.” Once she earns her bachelor’s degree, she hopes to work as a case manager herself.

Patterson Bahr Scholar 2015Kimberly Patterson, of Pittsburgh, Penn., (left) works for the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessments as a valuation analyst. She is a member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who has been working for Allegheny County for more than 26 years. She earned an associate degree while supporting herself as a clerk typist. Her long-time desire is to earn a bachelor’s degree. She attended night classes at the University of Pittsburgh, but had to drop out due to finances. She then began taking courses at the National Labor College, whose students later merged with Empire State College’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School for Labor Studies.

Storrs Bahr Scholar 2015Carol Storrs, of Auburn, N.Y., (left) who works as a senior account clerk for the city of Auburn, had been a stay-at-home for 20 years, yet always dreamed of going to college. Then two things occurred: She observed her daughter earn a four-year degree completely online and the city was considering privatizing the department where she worked. Although privatization did not occur, the new administration would have required that all but entry-level positions be held by someone with a bachelor’s degree. Storrs, who always had an interest in human resources and labor issues, enrolled in the college to earn her degree. She also is the treasurer of her local CSEA unit. She has found that her studies have come in handy during negotiations with her employer. “I am overseeing the transition to an automated water meter reading/billing system,” she said. “I have seen firsthand how important it is to keep up to date on new technology and the difference it can make to workers.

About Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 77,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.




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