Adam in China

Adam Finkelstein is a third year Delta with a passion for traveling the world to learn more about the cultures of other countries and their distinct histories firsthand. As a History major, Adam enjoys studying events of the past whether it is learning about American past times right here in the Brockport History Department, or taking classes halfway around the world to explore one of the most ancient cultures on the globe. The later is exactly what Adam did last semester, Fall 2015, when he studied abroad in China. 


Adam in Shanghai

Adam attended Beijing University, also known as Biada University, where he studied the Chinese language, Chinese politics, Sino-American relations, and took a history class that focused on China from about the 1860’s to 1960’s. Adam explained that Beijing University is basically the Harvard of Chinese universities and the biggest university he has ever been on. Any class he had to get to was at least a 20 minute walk, which is basically twice the commute from Mortimer to Hartwell here at Brockport (I’ve timed it at eleven minutes speedwalking).

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The Beijing Opera

China is a country rich in history and Adam found traces of the deep cultural roots in almost every area he visited. Of particular interest to Adam was his visit to Tiananmen Square and the relation that Chinese students have to the events that occurred there. Though here in the U.S. we learn all about the protests and their repercussions, Adam said that few of the students he knew had much to say about the square and the infamous events that occurred there, simply exclaiming that “it was a violent protest”. Adam, on the other hand, was in complete awe and considered his visit to Tiananmen Square one of his favorite moments of his trip.

Another highlight that Adam talked about was his visit to Tibet. The particular weekend of his visit, there happened to be a religious festival taking place, which Adam described as extravagant and interesting. Tibet is well-known for religion, especially the Buddhist monks who inhabit the beautiful east Asian region. Adam and his peers were advised not to take pictures of the ceremony, especially not of the cops who lined the streets with fire extinguishers beneath their shields in case there was any self-immolation by participants of the ceremony. Adam said most of the police officers were around his age, some even younger. This was once again a major “culture shock” , but a learning experience that he truly enjoyed and that enhanced his experience abroad.

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Sunrise in Tibet.

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Potala Palace in Tibet.

Real-world experience such as this trip are one of the reasons that Adam was drawn to joining Delta College. He was intrigued by the aspect of internships and other professional development opportunities that our program has to offer. His experience in China served as his Delta Capstone, and clearly it was an experience of a lifetime.


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Fun with DCSA

Deltas are successful wherever they go and that is mostly contributed to the fact that our students and staff are seriously dedicated to education and development. However, Delta isn’t all work and no play. There are plenty of opportunities for students to haveDCSA Michaela fun outside the classroom and get involved around campus!

The Delta College Student Association, otherwise known as DCSA, is the student group that represents Delta by organizing and hosting special events. Currently, the officers of DCSA are Samantha Brown and Michaela Turturro who serve as Co-Presidents, Julia Thorp as Secretary, Connor Finn as Treasurer, and me (Michaela Brennan) as Academic Council Representative. All officers are second years and we are encouraging freshmen to run for an officer position for 2016-2017 academic year.

Our “club” has a lot of fun with the events that we hold which serve as a platform for Delta students from all years to get to know each other in a casual environment. We host movie nights, crafting events, study sessions, the famous Café Coopers, and even some large scale events where we collaborate with other clubs around campus, a great networking opportunity where we get to know our Brockport peers! And, in true Delta fashion, there is almost always food at our events which is a major perk for college students.FullSizeRender

Movie nights, crafting sessions, and de-stress events are some of the most common activities that DCSA puts on. In the fall we met on a few different occasions to provide Deltas with a fun weeknight. One of our favorite events was the night that we made stress balls out of flour and balloons. This happened right around finals week so it was a great opportunity for students to take a study break and have a little fun!

Café Cooper is a favorite Delta College tradition. Once a month, DCSA makes a special trip to Wegman’s for some delicious muffins, bagels, and coffee to be served in the Delta Lounge of Cooper Hall. All Brockport students and staff are welcome to help themselves, and many do. I mean, who could resist a spread like this?

FullSizeRender (3)DCSA has many events planned for the spring including craft night, more Café Coopers, a possible local volunteer opportunity, and a large scale event with Brockport Student Government that involves a hypnotist.  We always love to hear from other Deltas who would like to get involved, and any clubs who would like to collaborate, so keep your eyes peeled for emails regarding meetings and upcoming events.

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Rob Tyler’s Adventures in Antarctica

IMG_1520Students have the opportunity to travel to practically anywhere in the world through study abroad. Some of the most popular destinations are Europe, the UK, Asia and Australia. But occasionally we come across the brave souls who choose to venture to some of the most extreme locations on the planet. Delta College proudly claims one of those courageous students as our very own Robert Tyler who traveled to Antarctica over winter break on a consortium trip involving Brockport, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech. Rob is a junior and an Environmental Science, Wetland Ecology major. His unique study abroad experience served as a portion of his Capstone project. The Capstone is specific to Delta and encourages students to complete twelve credits of experiential learning in whatever format they see fit for their personal needs and interests. Rob knew early on that he wanted to study somewhere unique and remote, and Antarctica was a perfect match for him which he describes as “an experience of a lifetime”. Here is his story:

IMG_1418On December 16th, 2015 I began going south. I walked to about the Brockport Aldi’s before my friends pointed out that flying would be faster and gave me a lift to the Airport. From Rochester (ROC) I flew to LaGuardia (LGA) and from there to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL). At Ft. Lauderdale I met up with a friend from Brockport’s meteorology program and the next morning we met up with the students from other schools at Miami Airport (MIA). As a group we flew Aerolineas Argentinas to Buenos Aires, Argentina where we stayed the night in a hotel. The next morning we once again went to the airport and boarded a plane to Ushuaia, a tiny city in Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina. We spent a little time in the city enjoying the culture and traditional lamb and king crab meals before crashing at the lovely Hostel Yakush.

IMG_1453.JPGnext morning we attended a lecture and discussed our on trip research. We then boarded the ship, the MV Plancius. The Plancius is a retrofitted Dutch navy ship with an ice strengthened hull. The boat measures 296ft and is currently used by Oceanwide Expeditions as a polar cruise ship. Here we began our journey as we sailed through the Beagle Channel and the well known Drake Passage. During those two days of travel we attended lectures from the expedition staff, all of whom have done or are doing research in their respective Antarctic fields. We also began our group meetings and project. I was part of the Seabird group. We went out before every meal and watched for birds which we identified and tallied. We arrived in Antarctica at the end of the second day quickly sailing past the South Shetland Islands.

Students, crew members, expedition staff, and cruise passengers quickly became friends, and together we began our first Antarctic day using zodiac boats to land at Danko Island to snowshoe and see a colony of Gentoo penguins. That afternoon we landed at Couverville and had a zodiac tour around the ice bergs. Here we found a Weddell seal, Gentoo and Adelle Penguins. We then had a debriefing, dinner, group meetings, and chill time at the observation deck. We continued birding throughout. That night I camped in a bevy bag (no tent) on an island in Leith cove. Here I saw a glacier calve in front of me. Everyone was silent and watching in amazement.

GOPR0769.JPGWe woke the next morning and ventured to Paradise Bay (a continental landing at Brown research station), and Useful Island. That day we saw Antarctic Shags, South Pole Skuas, Antarctic terns, Gentoo penguins, Chinstrap penguins, Crabeater seal, Weddell seal, and one of only two species of grass that can grow in Antarctica. It was Christmas Eve and the ship had a party that night. If anyone has a better way to celebrate Christmas than Orca’s, friends, and champagne, do let me know.IMG_1829.JPG

Christmas Day we sailed through the Lemaire channel and landed at Peterman Island. Here we had Adelle penguins hatching. That afternoon we went to a museum. Port Lockroy is a base operated by The British Antarctic Heritage trust. It operates a post office and a museum of an original research/military base from the 1940’s. Its original function was to stop German ships from using Antarctica and the Drake Passage for military gain during the Second World War. IMG_1476

The next day we landed at Whalers bay and our final stop of Half-moon Island. At Whalers bay on Deception Island we first climbed a volcano before I became the first of the ship to willingly do the most intelligent thing possible, go swimming. A real polar plunge just outside of an Antarctic specially protected area, Half-moon bid us farewell that afternoon with seals, penguins, and a breaking iceberg. We almost left a student who vowed,” To live among the penguins as they do.” He waddled right into the waiting arms of a large Australian man who served as a guide and returned him to the boat. We set sail back across the Drake, bird watching and attending lectures. In our free time we watched movies. Our final day on ship we all presented our preliminary work to the passengers and the crew. The next morning we arrived in Ushuaia and disembarked.

After touring the town of Ushuaia, hiking to Turquoise Lake, and traveling for two days, we returned home to our families with an assigned reflection and research paper, as well as photos to prove the experience was unforgettable.

  • Questions about the trip or the Antarctica program can be answered at:
  • Brockport Study Abroad office:
  • Delta College:
  • Oceanwide Expeditions email:



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Meet Michaela Brennan

Michaela smilingHi there! My name is Michaela Brennan and I am currently a second year Delta student majoring in Marketing. This semester I have the pleasure of documenting the stories of current Deltas on this blog as an internship experience. Whether you are a prospective Delta, a current Delta interested in your peers’ experiences, or another reader who found our page; keep reading! We’re glad you are here and can’t wait to share with you what Delta College is, the experiences our students have, and the story of our learning community.

Delta College has many perks and appeals to students in different ways. Personally, I realized that Delta was the program for me during summer orientation before my freshman year when I spoke with our academic advisor about the intimacy of Delta College. I am from the small town of Wyoming, NY, and I graduated from high school in a class of only 120 students, so I was excited to learn that Delta offered small class sizes in a friendly setting which allowed students to easily form connections with each other and Delta staff members. I love that I know everyone by name and can always look to a Delta professor if I need any advice regarding classes, internship opportunities, and my personal college-to-career plan.

Dairy PrincessAs I said earlier, I am from a small town about 45 minutes from Brockport. I grew up in a very rural community, in fact Wyoming County is known for having more cows than people and many of my extended family members make a living as dairy farmers! That being said, it should come as no surprise that I myself own a small herd of cows, spent my weekends in high school working on a local farm, and even served as a Wyoming County Dairy Princess, an experience which actually led me to choose my major in marketing. In addition to all of this cow stuff, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading almost any genre of books, going for walks with my doggygolden retriever/labradoodle dog; Murphy, shopping with friends, and hunting with my family in the fall (for the most part I just sit in a tree stand and watch squirrels play in the leaves, I’m not a very lucky hunter). All in all I’m basically your typical small-town-farm girl.

However, I have always wanted to leave my town (for a little while) and travel, which is one reason I was so drawn to Brockport when choosing a college. We have an outstanding study abroad program that allows students to learn from practically any country in the world. My dream is to travel to Ireland and intern in Dublin for a summer and I’m actually in the midst of making plans to do so in 2017! DCSA Michaela.JPG

Luckily, Delta College values experiential learning practicums, (such as studying abroad and interning in our local community) so highly that these kinds of experiences have become part of the curriculum, making it even easier for our students to have extraordinary opportunities. From adventuring in China over winter break, to studying in the UK for a semester, to conducting research right here in our Rochester community, Deltas have had remarkable experiences that they would like to share. So come back soon, and bring a friend, to keep updated on all that is going on in Delta!

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Time Shortened Degree Option

As stated in the history post, Delta College was birthed from the encouragement of the Carnegie Corporation in the 1970s to create a time shortened degree by making the first year of college more challenging and less like the last two years of high school. A great example of how this plays out today is our college orientation course, DCC 100. Mainstream Brockport students are required to take both Academic Planning Seminar for 1 credit and English 112 Intro to College Writing for 3 credits. However, Delta combined these two courses into DCC 100.

Another way Delta’s curriculum has been enriched is by including 16 credits of experiential learning. Students are encouraged to learn through IMG_8763.JPGexperiences such as studying abroad, completing an internship, and/or research within their field. Many students begin an internship during their first year. This has proven to be extremely beneficial because it helps develop their transferable skills, provides concrete examples to include in a resume, and gives them invaluable insight to the modern work place. For many students, this experience provides clarity as to whether or not they are pursing the best career path.

The technological advancements over the past couple decades has forever K Wojtas Morocco Camel ridingchanged the working world. International business developments have led to a globalization of the market. The demand for young professionals to be culturally aware and internationally minded has skyrocketed. Cross-cultural exposure serves to broaden students’ perspectives and develop them to be culturally aware citizens. This is precisely why Delta provides multiple international opportunities.

The Delta curriculum  includes three Professional Development seminars. These courses cover a wide variety of topics such as, how to write a resume, how to prepare for an interview, how to obtain an internship, and how to give professional presentation. Students are equipped with the necessary skills needed to enter the working world.

Delta’s curriculum is so robust that  once students complete it, they may be able to graduate with 99 credits instead of the traditional 120 credits.

gradautes.jpgThe Delta curriculum satisfies all of the general education requirements at the College. This means that once a student completes the Delta curriculum, they only have their selected major’s requirements to complete before being able to graduate. There are several major’s in which the requirements can be satisfied by the end of the sixth semester, or third year. This is why many of our students have the option of graduating early.

Graduating in three instead of four years can be a huge savings in time and money! It provides students with the opportunity to enter the working world or apply to graduate school before their peers. A student may choose not to graduate early and instead add an additional major or minors.

The following majors have the option of graduating in three years:

  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Criminal Justice
  • Dance
  • English
  • Health Science
  • History
  • International Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Social Work
  • Theater
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Delta College Welcomes the New Year

You have probably heard of Delta College in a passing conversation, on a campus tour, or even met a Delta student, but how would you answer the question, what is Delta College?

This year, Delta College is making a New Year’s resolution to send out newsletters and fill this blog with the new developments that are happening right now through Delta. Our students are involved in so many incredible things that we want to be sure to share their stories. Be on the lookout for future posts about the design of Delta College, students’ study abroad experiences, the different internships students are participating in, and what Delta alumni are up to now.New Years Fireworks

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Meet Professor Tony Dumas

The newest scholar to join the Delta College faculty is Tony Dumas, now in his second year, who holds a joint appointment in Delta and the Department of Theatre and Music Studies.

As an ethnomusicologist, Dumas studies various ways in which people use music to express deeply held cultural values and constructed identities.

Dumas specializes in the study of flamenco as a transnational genre connecting Mediterranean, Caribbean, and American musics and ideas. The romantic image of the Spanish “Gypsy” takes on new meanings as flamenco comes into contact with Cuban son and American jazz, new age, and Americana. He is currently writing a book that examines how these themes interact within the flamenco scene of northern California.

Dumas has a secondary teaching and research interest in ecomusicology, which examines the intersection of music, culture, and nature. As a fellow at UC Davis, he co-developed the Art/Science Fusion project which, among other things, used music to help teach scientific concepts. For example, he co-taught a class called Earth, Water, Science, Song in which students composed and performed tunes like this catchy jam.

So, yeah, he’s a total Delta.

Dumas wasted no time immersing himself into goings on at Brockport, from co-directing and soloing with the Brockport Symphony Orchestra to supporting the varied audio and musical needs of the Theatre & Music Studies Department.

“Teaching in the Delta College has been a fulfilling and glorious challenge,” Dumas notes. “In my first year, my students and I analyzed the aesthetic sensibilities of ancient Greece and India and examined the complexities of African and Latin musics. We were moved by the powerful words of American poets, and we traced the legacy of the First Amendment through the lens of protest music. Each step of the way my Delta students were engaged and fearless and I was reminded that this is what college is all about.”

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Ask A Manager: a great career blog for students and alums

One of the most distinctive features of the Delta experience is the series of internships that students pursue and the professional development seminars that guide them. We like to say that when Deltas graduate, they have both a diploma AND a resume. While we hope to help our students launch satisfying careers, we also hope they’ll be well prepared to manage those careers over their lifetimes.

Here’s an excellent resource: Ask a Manager, a blog by Alison Green. 2014 grads might want to start with this post: What surprised you most when you first started working?  She has a whole category of posts for new grads. Current students should check out How to make the most of your internship and other posts in the student category. Throughout the blog, she provides especially good advice for people new to a supervisory or management role — a challenging transition.

Are there other career blogs that you would recommend?

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A Brief History of The Alternate College and Delta College

The Alternate College, later renamed Delta College, was born in the early 1970s, during a time of explosive growth and innovation in higher education. The SUNY system was growing from a modest supplement to the array of private colleges and universities in the state to a major educational force in its own right, expanding access to coming-of-age baby boomers, returning GIs, and others who saw a college education as increasingly necessary in the high-tech cold -war economy. Brockport was completing its transformation from a state teacher’s college to a full-fledged liberal arts institution. Enrollment at Brockport had nearly tripled in the last few years of the 1960s.

Such rapid change prompted reflection. After the unusually large baby-boom cohort moved through its conventional college years, attention turned to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education. One landmark document was a Carnegie Commission report entitled Less Time, More Options, envisioning, in part, shorter degree programs combined with more educational options throughout one’s working life. “Students”, they write, “would be given more points at which to reassess their direction, stop out for work experience, or stop with credit.”

A subsequent grant program of the Carnegie Corporation encouraged colleges to develop “time shortened” degree programs meant to make the first year of college more challenging and less like the last two years of high school. The SUNY system won a grant to begin six such programs at various campuses, joining eight other Carnegie-funded experiments in California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio. Some built a seven-year path through high school and college for advanced students, and others waived general education courses based on standardized exams. Beyond the Carnegie-funded experiments, a 1973 survey of colleges and universities revealed over 240 time-shortening programs across the country. While many students can still seek out time-shortening opportunities like dual high school-college enrollment and credit-by-exam, Brockport’s experimental program is the only one of the original 13 that is still operating.

The Alternate College at Brockport was unique in the SUNY system in creating an interdisciplinary and experiential “college within a college.” It opened its doors in 1973 with a chief academic officer reporting directly to the president, about 20 faculty members, and almost 300 students. Students flocked to the available spots, drawn by the promise of closer faculty-student interaction and the more individualized nature of the program. The comprehensive alternative design of The Alternate together with its success in attracting students garnered it the 1979 G. Theodore Mitau Award for Innovation and Change from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Some initially defining elements of The Alternate College proved hard to sustain. Initially, students in all courses in The Alternate College were evaluated on a Pass/Fail/Honors scale, together with written evaluations that formed a narrative transcript. Many students, and especially those with their sights set on graduate school, worried that other audiences would look askance at such transcripts. A short-lived compromise was “shadow grades”: conventional letter grades recorded on a transcript but not communicated to students. Within two years, The Alternate College used conventional letter grades and relied on the ongoing interaction between faculty and staff to help students meaningfully reflect on their goals and progress.

The Alternate College was renamed Delta College in 1985, in part to attenuate the counter-cultural overtones of “alternative” during the conservative 1980s. As enrollment at Brockport shrunk from its baby-boomer peak, so did enrollment in Delta, settling in at about 60 incoming first-year students every fall.

Despite such major shifts over four full decades, the themes that animate the original Alternate College proposal will be familiar to current students: “faculty mentor/student relationships,” “interdisciplinary instruction,” and “experiential education.” Amidst the changes, the Delta College Program has always been a vibrant learning community for students seeking to make the most of their Brockport education.


Leslie, W. Bruce and Kenneth Paul O’Brien. (2000, October 16). The Alternate College, a general education program from the 70s (Part 1). Alumni News, 2(3), 18, 20.

Leslie, W. Bruce and Kenneth P. O’Brien. (2000, November 6) From Shadow Grades to Delta – The Alternate College, Pt. 2. Alumni News, 2(4), 16, 18-19.

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