Each spring the ACC/CCC Alumni Association hosts an awards program recognizing alumni who have set themselves apart through their service to the community and/or Auburn/Cayuga Community College, its Foundation or its Alumni Association. Selection of recipients is based on a range of criteria. These include volunteer service, involvement in civic functions or vocational achievements to name a few. Recipients exhibit qualities symbolic of the mission of the Alumni Association. This year, we are pleased to introduce the 2013 recipients, Patricia Callahan and Michael Frame.
Patricia M. Callahan ’87
The personal success achieved by Mrs. Callahan began when she sailed from Scotland to America in 1928, where she her mother and her siblings were greeted at Ellis Island by her father and Uncle. After graduating from high school, she received her first Associates degree when she attended secretarial school and went to work for an insurance company. She began her studies at CCC as a nontraditional student after her children were grown, and graduated in 1987 with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood. Through the continued encouragement and guidance of mentor/coordinator of Empire State College, Mr. Lee Herman, Patricia continued her education with Empire State College. Nominator Martha MacKay said, “She is not only an inspiration to her family but to her many friends, who consider her a role model.” In 1994 she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree for Studies in Human Development and Society. Patricia shares, “It took a while, but my dream was fulfilled.”
Patricia’s long-time history of volunteering began when she was a teenager. She helped to raise money through her sorority, where she served as president. She has been involved with Literacy Volunteers, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts when her children were young, and many other charitable causes. Mrs. Callahan represented the ACC/CCC Alumni Association by serving as a member of the Board of Directors of The Cayuga County Community College Foundation for two three year terms. During her tenure, she served as secretary for three years, and was a member of the Development Committee and of the ad hoc Long-Range Planning Committees. Mrs. Callahan gave generously of her time to the board, took her appointment seriously and always promoted the Foundation and College.
Two scholarships have been established by Mrs. Callahan at Cayuga Community College—the Patricia M. Callahan Scholarship in appreciation of her two-year experience at CCC, and the V. H. and P. M. Callahan Scholarship in recognition of her own success and fulfillment as a transferring, nontraditional student at Empire State College.
Patricia is the mother of two daughters, a son and has five grandchildren. She continues to support the Foundation through her generous giving, and she always encourages those interested in furthering their education to attend Cayuga Community College. Pat has often said, “It has been my good fortune to be associated with Cayuga Community College, its teachers and personnel. The two year commitment to CCC by students is the first stage to fulfillment of their chosen career and profession. I wish all graduates the best of luck.”
Michael R. Frame ‘99
Following his graduation Summa cum Laude from Cayuga, Michael attended Cornell, where he found his future career as a lobbying politician. He shares, “Growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer, history teacher, or an accountant. I never knew that a job in government relations would provide me with the opportunity to do the lithe bit of all three.” He received a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and immediately attended the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, where he received his master’s degree in public administration.
Upon completion of his master’s program, he became federal relations assistant and policy analyst for the California State University system in Washington, D.C. Returning to New York, he served as director of special projects for the Metropolitan Development Association in Syracuse, where he traveled throughout Central New York working to help young professionals become more involved with their community. Michael Frame has served as director of federal relations for the State University of New York since 2011, as well as the director of federal relations for Binghamton University since 2006.
Michael has served on, or is currently serving on many boards including the executive committee of the Council of Government Affairs for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Other board of director’s positions he has been involved with are The Science Coalition and State University of New York Council for Advancement (SUNYCUAD), the Government and Public Affairs Committee of MedTech, and the Government Affairs Committee of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.
Michael has also been associated with numerous civic organizations including vice president for OnPoint for College, chairman of the Young Leaders Congress, and treasurer of 40 Below. He was awarded 20 in their twenties by the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition. In the Spring of 2010, the ACC/CCC Alumni Association featured Michael in The Spartan newsletter, following his award of 40 under Forty by the Central New York Business Journal.
When Bob Frame, Director of Theatre Operations at CCC nominated his son for the award, he shared that “CCC is an integral part of Michael’s background . . . it helped make him the man he is today!” As an “inordinately proud” father, Bob shared that his son is “an example of the best in what Cayuga Community College can graduate and is a great role model for our current students.” Michael is married to Kristy Frame and they live in Syracuse.
James B. Vargason ’80 was originally run in the spring/summer 2013 edition of The Spartan
A 2001 Alumni Award recipient, Jim started practicing law in Auburn after graduating from Syracuse University College of Law. He was elected District Attorney of Cayuga County, where he served for 16 years as the county’s chief law enforcement official. Jim created first-of-their-kind programs in Cayuga County to combat child and domestic violence, as well as the first victim services program. He is the only Cayuga County DA to serve as President of the NYS District Attorneys Association. Jim also taught criminal justice courses at CCC for 18 years.
Following retirement in 2007, Jim and his wife Anne moved to Northern Virginia. He started a new career at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he investigates and prosecutes DOJ attorneys and federal agents for professional misconduct. Jim holds some of our nation’s highest security clearances, including a classified clearance, a top secret clearance, and is certified to courier classified national security information. Vargason has received five consecutive Sustained Superior Performance Awards from the DOJ.
In early 2011, Jim completed a rigorous pre-deployment training program after volunteering to go to a warzone in Iraq to serve one year as the DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Resident Legal Advisor and Rule of Law Section Chief. Jim underwent extensive training in diplomacy, antiterrorism, and weapons/ firearms certification, after which he was appointed a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal. In Iraq, Jim first served at a Civilian/Military Provincial Reconstruction Team on a U.S. Military Base, and then at the first U.S. Consulate General, both in Basrah. He led a team of legal professionals, and worked closely with Iraqi justice officials providing technical assistance, training, and advice to Iraqi judges, prosecutors, and intelligence officials, among others. Jim traveled throughout Iraq by Blackhawk helicopters and in mine resistant armored personnel vehicles. There were many rocket attacks on his base and while he worked in other provinces in Iraq.
After completing his tour of duty in March 2012, Jim returned to Northern Virginia and resumed the position he held at the DOJ before he left for Iraq.
Reflecting on his time at CCC, Jim shared: “I chose CCC because it had an excellent reputation with a CJ program of instructors with real life experience. It was the first step in achieving a law degree, earning an “Honorable” salutation as an elected official, and it can be said that it helped take me all the way to the Middle East where I had an incredible experience.”
On April 19 the ACC/CCC Alumni Association hosted a three day weekend trip to Washington, DC. It was a return visit to our Nation’s Capital because of the great response from a previous trip. Once again, our sold out trip of 50 alumni and friends embarked on a wide variety of sights and experiences. The group visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum for a private tour of the facility. Over the next three days, travelers created their own experiences and visited the many historic sights the city has to offer.
Cayuga Community College held its 59th annual Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19. Degrees were earned by 630 students who are now officially members of the ACC/CCC Alumni Association – Welcome to all!
Faith Fanning and Brian Knapp, recipients of a 2013 SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipients gave the Commencement address. “Our time at CCC is coming to a close; it is the end of a season in our lives,” Fanning said. “Today each of us will leave this place having made an accomplishment, prepared to move on to the next seasons in our lives.”
The Cayuga Community College Nursing Students rehearsed for the 38th Annual Professional Advancement and Pinning Ceremony. The Ceremony took place on Friday, May 17, in the Irene A. Bisgrove Community Theatre, 197 Franklin St., Auburn. 34 students from the program were recognized at the graduation.
Speakers included Anne J. Herron, provost and vice president of academic affairs; Daniel P. Larson, president; John M. Camardo, chairman of the College Board of Trustees; Joseph L. Runkle, deputy chairman of the Cayuga County Legislature; and Linda Alfieri, professor and director of the nursing program. Amy L. Updike of Auburn will deliver the Class Address.
Several students were recognized with Commencement Awards, and each graduate received a nursing pin.
The pinning ceremony dates back to the crusades when a symbol on knight’s armor identified those who protected the sick and dying.
The nursing graduates also participated in the College’s Commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 19 in Spartan Hall, 197 Franklin St., Auburn.
The Cayuga Community College Fulton Campus recently hosted “An Evening of Art and Music” on the new campus, 11 River Glen Drive, Fulton. Visitors viewed the artistic creations of students from the College and high schools across Oswego County, community members, as well as College employees and alumni. The exhibitions included submissions in a range of media—including photography, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and drawings.
The Fulton Campus art show was part of a seven-stop Gallery Hop, organized by the Art Association of Oswego. The event was sponsored by the College Foundation and the Faculty-Student Association.
Cayuga Community College Fulton Campus students and advisors, participating in the Student Government Organization, the Business Leadership Club, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Veteran’s Club, recently presented a check presentation to Danielle Hayden, director of the Oswego Branch of the American Red Cross and coordinator of the Local Heroes for the American Red Cross campaign.
Through various fundraisers, including bake sales and pizza sales, clubs raised more than $1,350 toward the campaign.
Our April 2013 issue of Get Inspired! we featured the Mosaic Mural Project. Art instructor Melissa Johnson and Professor Tom Casella received a Daniel C. Labeille Grant, administered by the Cayuga Community College Foundation to install a mosaic mural on the CCC campus. Jennifer Gandee, visiting artist and longtime adjunct in the art program oversaw the project. The venture involved students, faculty, and the larger community from design to installation.
The mosaic mural creates a focal point on the cement wall outside the window in the link between the main and tech buildings on the ground floor to help bring energy to the new School of Media Arts (SOMA).
The photos in this edition will show the development of the mural from its early stages through it’s near completion.
A new brand of identity theft could be coming to a neighborhood near you.
Tucked in a pocket of northeast Ohio, not far from Lake Erie, is a little piece of the American dream. Two-story homes of brick and stone stand in front of big backyards, surrounded by a community of neighbors who know one another, socialize and watch one another’s kids.
But just last week, a rash of identity theft rocked the quiet waters of this typical upper-middle-class suburb. Police have found 18 victims, some with tens of thousands of dollars fraudulently spent in their name. And this home development isn’t alone. At least one other Ohio community has been hit with mass identity theft. It has all the trappings of an ugly new trend.
Alison Smith* first heard the news from a neighbor. “We’re all pretty close-knit around here,” she said. “A friend reached out and said, ‘Hey, a couple of neighbors have had identity theft issues.’ ” Smith called her homeowners insurance company and found she was covered by IDentity Theft 911. She connected with fraud investigator Maria Valenzuela on the phone.
“Alison did exactly the right thing,” Valenzuela said. “She knew of five neighbors who all had multiple accounts opened around the same time. She had no fraud, but called us as a preventive measure.”
Valenzuela quickly set up a 90-day fraud alert on Smith’s credit accounts, then removed her from a national database of pre-approved credit applications. They applied the same measures to Smith’s husband’s accounts, but as it would turn out, all the victims in this case were women.
The next day Valenzuela’s phone rang again: another victim from the same northeast Ohio housing development. This one wasn’t nearly as lucky as Smith. Thirteen accounts were opened in this victim’s name: $5,000 charged at Best Buy, $4,000 at Sears, more than $700 at Victoria’s Secret. The crook bought cell phones, paid utility bills, set up cable and Internet accounts.
“First I got a letter from Victoria’s Secret thanking me for applying for a new card,” said victim No. 2, Mary Jo Sullivan*. “Then a letter came from Carson’s, then Macy’s, Sears and on and on and on.” Sullivan was traveling on business when the first few letters arrived. In those two days that the accounts went unchecked, thieves managed to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in charges.
“They got me pretty bad,” Sullivan said. “Most of the people in my development caught it in the first day, or before it started, but in my case they got away with it a lot longer.”
After a few days of frantically calling all the credit companies, utilities and cell phone companies that had opened fraudulent accounts, Sullivan realized her homeowners policy offered identity protection services. Valenzuela picked up the torch again, making calls on Sullivan’s behalf, and got her squared away with police reports and credit bureaus, and put a freeze on all new credit activity.
“This information was compromised from one source,” Valenzuela said. While it might be quick to pinpoint stolen mail or home break-ins where documents are taken, that never happened in this community. And even if it did, Valenzuela said, thieves aren’t likely to get the volume of personally identifiable information that was clearly exposed here. “The damages wouldn’t have been this large-scale, this serious,” she said.
All clues point to the homebuilder, according to police. “Whenever you apply for a mortgage, that broker has all your information, so we’re probably looking at a breach or theft from the purchasing agent in that development,” Valenzuela said.
The local police told Alison Smith as much. Just a few days after calling IDentity Theft 911 and having a fraud alert set up, the thieves struck. AT&T called on a Saturday, confirming that she was setting up new service. AT&T called again, from another store location, an hour later. Smith told the agent she’d been a victim of identity theft and asked for information on the purchaser, but was told they couldn’t release personal information. “That’s my information!” Smith said. “They tried to make me out to be a criminal, because I’m asking for information on the person stealing my life.”
The fraud alert worked. The two AT&T applications were denied. A T-Mobile and a Sprint application were denied. A Kohl’s card was denied. But Verizon let five iPhones slip through. “When I talked to Verizon customer service, she came right out and said they’re not as diligent with online orders as they should be,” Smith told me.
Cell phone and store charge cards are common targets for thieves, Valenzuela said. Retailers often prioritize moving merchandise out the door over security. Most of the purchases in Smith’s case were made in Tulsa, Okla. Though the investigation is still pending, police said it likely will trace back to a crooked employee at the homebuilders office, which handled the mortgages for the entire development.
Smith, for her part, dodged a bullet, getting her accounts protected before the criminals dialed in. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.
“I don’t know what I would have done without Maria,” Smith said. “She’s done everything. She put all the paperwork in place to get the freezes. She was on the line with AT&T and sent letters to all three credit bureaus. I would have been lost without her.”
* Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the victim’s privacy.
As You Head Out for Vacation, Protect Your Home and Your Identity Against Burglars
Burglars who break into your home this summer may be after more than your jewelry and electronic equipment—they may also steal your identity. As you prepare to leave on vacation, it is important to protect yourself against both a physical and a virtual break-in, according to the Insurance Information Institute(I.I.I.).
Most burglaries occur in July and August and homeowners insurance claims due to theft total about $1 billion annually, with the average claim around $2,500.
“Once in your home, a burglar can easily obtain credit card information, social security numbers or other identification information by going over personal documents in a home or stealing the family computer,” said Loretta Worters, vice president for the I.I.I.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing white collar crimes in the country, according to the Federal Trade Commission, with more than nine million victims annually. The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in a person’s name. The victims may not find out about the theft until they review their credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges they did not make—or until they are contacted by a debt collector. Losses to credit cards average $7,000, and while victims are generally only liable for the first $50 for each card, they may also end up spending hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some victims may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.
The I.I.I. recommends following these preventive measures to keep your home safe:
- Keep your home well lit. Mount exterior lights in your yard or on your house so that they are out of reach of would-be burglars. Put indoor lights on a timer.
- Make it time-consuming to break into your home. Dead-bolt window and door locks can slow a burglar down. You may qualify for a discount of 2 to 5 percent on your insurance policy for installing these devices.
- Make it noisy to break into your home. Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective systems ring at an outside service, which alerts the police, fire or other emergency service. A sophisticated alarm system could result in insurance discounts of 15 to 20 percent.
- Make sure you have strong doors. Outside doors and frames should be made of metal or solid hardwood and be at least 1¾-inches thick and each door must fit its frame securely. Even the best lock will not deter a burglar if it is installed in a weak door. Garage doors also need strong locks. If you have a tool shed, keep it locked since burglars can use the tools to break into your home.
- Turn off your computer and disconnect it from the Internet. If you save personal information in your computer, make sure it is difficult to access. You do not want a hacker at work while you are on vacation.
- Keep valuables in a secure location. When possible, do not leave personal documents in your home office or desk—burglars know to look for them there. Keep important documents, expensive jewelry and other items in a safety deposit box in a bank or other secure location.
As you prepare to leave on vacation follow these additional steps:
- Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office. Also, stop newspaper deliveries and ask a neighbor to pick-up circulars for you.
- Leave blinds or curtains open in their usual position. This will make it appear that you are at home.
- Ask a neighbor for help. Ask a neighbor you trust to keep an eye on your home while you are away. Make arrangements for your lawn to be mowed. Only tell people you know and trust that you are going away.
Insurance is available for identity theft, providing reimbursement to victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports. Some companies include it as part of their homeowners insurance policy. Others sell it as a stand-alone policy or as an endorsement to a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Typical policies cost between $25 and $65 a year for $25,000 to $30,000 worth of coverage, but vary by company. Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement for expenses such as phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailing costs and sometimes attorney fees with the prior consent of the insurer. Some companies offer resolution or restoration services that will guide you in the process of recovering your identity.
Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for theft of personal possessions and damage to the home caused by the break-in. With replacement cost coverage, which is only about 10 percent more than actual cash value coverage, damaged property is replaced without deducting for depreciation.
Survey says young people most vulnerable – Zach Gonzalez, a game designer based in Irvine, Calif., was scanning his Facebook home page when an instant message popped up.
Zach Gonzalez, a game designer based in Irvine, Calif., was scanning his Facebook home page when an instant message popped up. It was an elementary school friend asking for a couple hundred dollars: “Hey dude, I’m stuck in Vegas and I have no one else to call.”
“Yeah, right,” thought Gonzalez, 27. Although they were friends on Facebook, they weren’t close in real life and hadn’t seen each other in at least five years. Gonzalez called the man’s brother, who hadn’t heard anything about a Vegas trip gone awry. As Gonzalez suspected, the story was bogus. His old friend’s Facebook page had been taken over by a scammer.
Gonzalez was savvy enough to smell a rat. But many social media users — particularly young people — are blissfully unaware of the potential for fraud. Like Gonzalez’s friend, they fall prey to account hijackings when they unwittingly give phishers their user names and passwords. Others post the kind of information that makes them more vulnerable to identity theft. Oversharing — giving away too much information about oneself, such as favorite hangouts, movies and shared experiences — can be exploited by con artists hoping to get just close enough to lure a trusting “friend” into trouble.
An Identity Theft 911 survey shows that people ages 18 to 24 are the heaviest users of social media, and this demographic also tends to be the most oblivious about the dangers. More troubling, as a group they also don’t seem to be particularly bothered about surrendering their privacy so easily and so quickly. The survey, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media Omnibus Services from March 5-7, found that 84.6 percent of young people belonged to an online social network, like Facebook, MySpace or Bebo, compared with 28.3 percent of those ages 50 to 64.
This younger age group also was more likely to post information potentially useful to scammers. (Some 81 percent posted their birth dates, for example.) Thieves mine social networking profiles for information they can use to guess passwords or answers to security questions (“What is my favorite band’s name?”) on accounts and Web sites. Or they use something as simple as a birth date in conjunction with other information they already have to open credit card accounts.
Criminals who specialize in breaking and entering might have reason to take interest in the 28 percent of young people surveyed who post their travel plans (thus alerting outsiders when their home might be vacant). Some 20 percent posted a specific time when they would be at a specific place. Meanwhile, about 8 percent of people ages 50 to 64 shared travel plans and only 5 percent revealed specific locations.
Young people were more likely than other age group to have experienced problems with social media Web sites, like the takeover of Gonzalez’s friend’s account. While 17 percent of total respondents had social media accounts misused, about 27 percent of young people had that happen.
Despite their problems online, young people like Alysha Nakamoto of Peoria, Ariz., seemed least concerned about fraud through social networking. Unless she’s playing volleyball or sleeping, Nakamoto is on Facebook via her Blackberry. The 17-year-old updates her status “probably 20 times a day” for more than 500 friends, she says. But she and her friends think little about potential risks associated with sharing information, like a full birth date, so freely.
“To be honest, we just don’t worry about [oversharing],” she says. “We feel like we’re invincible on the Internet.”
Jason Boone, a research assistant at the National White Collar Crime Center, says he believes older adults are more careful about privacy issues.
“The age group around 30 or 35 and under … they are all just a little less aware of how all of this has changed from 30 or 40 years ago,” Boone says.
Kathy Hubbell, a public relations consultant who teaches a social media class as an adjunct professor at Oregon’s Marylhurst University, agrees.
She says students in her class range from their 20s to their 60s. And one noteworthy difference among the younger ones and older ones, she says, is how they feel about privacy issues in social media and on the Internet in general.
“The older students understand a lot more about privacy,” she says. “They remember what it was like when it existed.”
- Use strong passwords made up of numbers, letters and symbols and change them often. Use different passwords for your social Web sites, personal life and financial life.
- Don’t accept friend requests from strangers simply to try to have higher “friend” numbers on Facebook.
- Be careful about clicking on links on social media Web sites. They could lead to malicious code being automatically installed on your computer. And be aware that even photos can contain viruses and other things that can do damage.
- Log out of any social-networking site when not in use. Use different log-ins for various sites.
- Consider how much of your identifying information is posted on these sites. Are there photos that show the entire layout of your apartment and everything in it? Is your full birth date disclosed? Oversharing is a bad idea for many reasons.