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Student Focus

Finger Lakes Community College Graduates Continue Education At Cornell

By Marin Cherry

The Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture and Wine Center, opened in 2016, is home to their two-year Viticulture and Wine Technology program.  It is located adjacent to Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

A growing pathway between Finger Lakes Community College and Cornell University is opening opportunities for future professionals in the wine and grape industries.

In 2014, Cornell University and Finger Lakes Community College signed a transfer articulation agreement, setting in place procedures and expectations for students that wanted to go beyond FLCC’s highly rated Associates in Applied Science degree and continue as Viticulture & Enology majors at Cornell University. Students at FLCC complete their A.A.S. in Viticulture & Wine Technology, learning important skills and developing a course background that sets the stage for further advanced courses at Cornell. Excellent performance in courses at FLCC and a drive for further education makes them eligible to transfer to Cornell as junior undergraduates.

Fall 2017 brought three FLCC graduates into the Cornell Viticulture & Enology major, each with their own passion and background that set them on a path toward a future in wine and grapes.

FLCC transfer students Corrigan Herbert, Marete Seymour, and Bruce Stebbins

Bruce Stebbins, class of 2019, is one of the new transfers. “I chose FLCC because it is located right in my hometown…and, as I discussed with my high school counselor, FLCC’s Viticulture and Wine Technology program was one of the best Associates programs in the east.” Stebbins also values the relevant experience offered by FLCC. “This program let me experience so many different aspects of the wine and grape industry.”

Corrigan Herbert, another FLCC transfer in Fall 2017, found her way to FLCC first on similar terms. “[When I visited], I knew right away that going to FLCC would open up a lot of opportunities for me and give me knowledge as well as an enormous amount of practical experiences.”

The real-life experiences and opportunities to be part of viticultural and winemaking processes is a recurrent theme in drawing these future transfers to FLCC. Marete Seymour, the third FLCC transfer in fall 2017, felt, “FLCC was the start of my dive into the world of wine, and the top two things it gave me were real life hands-on experience and an appreciation for food that I never thought possible.”

After graduating from FLCC, students are drawn to Cornell for a variety of reasons. “The opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the country is something I am always amazed by at Cornell,” says Herbert.

Stebbins also considered Cornell due to the proximity to the movers and shakers on campus. “I wanted to go to a school that not only had a good program for my major, but I wanted somewhere that I could make connections and important ones at that.”

Regardless of what brought them to FLCC and eventually Cornell, all three of our transfers have the same general goal – making their mark in the wine and grape industry. As Seymour states, “After graduation I hope to travel the world working in the wine industry.”  Stebbins echoed that sentiment, “I hope to continue my education by gaining hands on experience from working at various wineries around the world.” Their next two years and the time spent at Cornell by all of the past and future FLCC transfer students will hopefully set them on a course to realize those goals. In the meantime, they’re enjoying their experiences on campus. As Herbert puts it, ““I want to never stop learning.”

Marin Cherry is student coordinator of the Viticulture and Enology program, in the department of food science at Cornell.