Sunday, July 2, 2023

Adirondack-area nonprofits announce comings and goings

Several Adirondack-area nonprofits, including Paul Smith’s College, Adirondack Foundation, Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Watershed Alliance program, and Silver Bay YMCA recently welcomed new employees/board members, and announced noteworthy achievements within their establishments. Please see below for details.

Paul Smith’s College Employees Recognized for Years of Service and Exemplary Service

Paul Smith statute at Paul Smith's College

Paul Smith statute at Paul Smith’s College. Paul Smith’s College website photo.

Paul Smith’s, NY – On May 30, Interim President Dan Kelting honored Paul Smith’s College employees at end of the year celebration.

During the all-employee meeting, faculty members were promoted in ranking:

Assistant Professor to Associate Professor: Amy DeWitt

Associate Professor to Full Professor: Joe Conto ‘85, Corey Laxson ‘98, and Rebecca Remoeo

Employees were also recognized for their years of service to the College:

5 years: Casey Gerrish ‘10, Michale Glennon, Catherine Lalonde, Zachary Luzzi ‘10, Zoe Smith ‘10, Bailey Walton

10 years: Kelly Cerialo, Patrick Romeo, David Simmons ‘07

20 years: Sandra Brown, Dan Kelting, Craig Milewski, Heather Tuttle ‘99, Lee Ann Sporn, Lydia Wright ’77 & ‘02

30 years: Sarah (Sally) Bogdanovitch ‘77

David Chamberlain Awards

The Chamberlain Awards were established in 1994 to honor Past President H. David Chamberlain and to recognize outstanding employees of Paul Smith’s College.

David Chamberlain Teaching Excellence Award

This award honors an exemplary educator who is enthusiastic about teaching, inspires curiosity, and provides engaging learning opportunities in a broad range of topics. They must have demonstrated significant commitment to the students and to the mission of Paul Smith’s College.

Corey Laxson was awarded the H. David Chamberlain Excellence in Teaching award. Corey serves as Associate Professor of Ecology and Aquatic Science.

“Corey forges connections with students, expressing a personal interest in each student’s success, especially in developing skills so they will become lifelong learners. This connection with students stems from how he grounds his instruction in real world experience. In the classroom, he challenges his students to think more deeply about concepts that may appear daunting at first, but always provides a pathway to understanding. As an alumnus of the college, he truly understands what it means to be a Smitty,” said Interim President Kelting.

David Chamberlain Staff Merit Award

The H. David Chamberlain Merit Award is to acknowledge and recognize an individual who by excellence in performing their job, showing cooperation and teamwork within the department and with other College departments, is readily identified by colleagues as one who has done an outstanding job this year. The staff member will have demonstrated teamwork, cooperation and inspiration for fellow staff.

Dr. Jeffrey T. Walton was awarded the H. David Chamberlain Staff Merit Award. Jeff serves as Director of Institutional Research and College Registrar.

“Jeff has been a vital member of the PSC community since 2006 and throughout the years has worn many hats including lecturer, dean, professor, and most recently registrar. Jeff is an employee who has been an invaluable mentor to other staff and is respected by all campus members because of his strong ethical standards, confidentiality, and dedication to his role,” said Interim President Kelting.


Adirondack Foundation welcomes new staff members, trustees

Lake Placid, NY-  Adirondack Foundation has announced the addition of several new board and staff members.


The Foundation’s Board of Trustees recently welcomed Scott McGraw and Kathleen Colson, and the staff added Lisa Bramen, Jamie Cecilia and Leslee Mounger.


“Our work to drive positive change in the Adirondack region only goes as far as our people can carry it,” said Cali Brooks, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “The newest additions to our team will help us continue to rise to meet the challenges and opportunities in our communities.”

Scott McGraw

Scott McGraw. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Foundation.

McGraw, a private investor and consultant, worked in television advertising for 29 years. Most recently, he was executive vice president and general manager of National Advertising Sales for the Discovery Networks. Prior to that, at The CBS Television Network, he was executive vice president of Sales and Marketing for CBS Sports. McGraw earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Denver. He is former board chair of the Adirondack Health Foundation and Skidmore College.

Kathleen Colson

Kathleen Colson. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Foundation.

Colson is renowned as the founder of The BOMA Project, an award-winning organization that works in Africa’s arid lands. BOMA is recognized as a global thought leader for their innovations in technology, programming, female empowerment and financial inclusion. With extensive experience in nonprofit management and fundraising, Kathleen created her Big Idea Nonprofit Consulting firm, which has worked with numerous Adirondack organizations, including Adirondack Foundation, in that capacity.

Lisa Bramen

Lisa Bramen. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Foundation.

Bramen steps into the role of director of communications at the Foundation, bringing a range of communications experience and deep knowledge of the Adirondacks. She has worked as an advertising art director for McCann Erickson Los Angeles, a reporter for the Glens Falls Post Star and, most recently, as a senior editor at Adirondack Life magazine for 15 years. She has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in art from California State University, Fullerton. She serves on the board of the Upper Jay Art Center.

Jaime Cecilia

Jamie Cecilia. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Foundation.

As chief financial officer, Cecilia brings experience from various finance-related positions to the Foundation, ranging from economic development lending to credit union leadership. He moved to the North Country in 2012 to accept the CFO position at a regional credit union and has been a resident ever since. He has an MBA from Union College as well as a master’s in public administration and bachelor’s in economics from Syracuse University.

Leslee Mounger

Leslee Mounger. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Foundation.

In her role as funds and programs officer, Mounger works to connect donors with the Foundation’s overarching grantmaking strategy. Previously, she worked for over a decade helping residents and tourists alike enjoy all the Adirondacks have to offer as co-owner of Green Point Foods and as general manager of The Birch Store. She has served on the board of the Keene Valley Library Association and graduated with a BA from Wesleyan University.


To learn more about Adirondack Foundation, visit or contact Lisa Bramen at

New Graduate Assistant Alison Spasyk Welcomed to Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Watershed Alliance program
Alison Spasyk

Alison Spasyk. Lake Champlain Sea Grant website photo.

By Shari Halik

Alison Spasyk joins Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Watershed Alliance program as a graduate assistant starting June 1. Alison will help the Watershed Alliance education team bring aquatic science to K-12 students and teachers in the Lake Champlain basin during both summer and academic year sessions.

“I am extremely excited by this opportunity to get involved with Watershed Alliance and learn more about using our watershed as a framework for teaching students about the physical, chemical, biological, and cultural dynamics in the place they live,” said Alison. “Developing an understanding and appreciation of the watershed you live in at an early age is critical to fostering a sense of stewardship of natural and cultural resources.”

She has been involved in numerous education and outreach initiatives focused on developing an appreciation for Lake Champlain and teaching students and community members about what they can do to care for local waterways. In her new role as a graduate assistant, Alison will continue to educate students, teachers, and community members and inspire them about actions they can take to improve water quality.

“We are so excited to have Alison join our team,” said Ashley Eaton, Watershed and Lake Education Coordinator at Lake Champlain Sea Grant. “Alison brings a unique skill set and broad range of experience working with Vermont communities.”

A native Vermonter, Alison graduated in 2020 from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where she double-majored in biology and government. For her undergraduate thesis, she studied environmental justice in Vermont. Using GIS mapping software, she examined whether toxic-releasing facilities in the state are disproportionately located within low-income or BIPOC neighborhoods. As part of the project, she investigated which external market factors may contribute to inequitable environmental burdens in Vermont.

Since graduating, she completed two years of AmeriCorps service with Vermont Works for Women and with Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, where she worked for the past year as a project coordinator. She helped develop and submit grant proposals to state and federal programs to fund assessments, engineering designs, and implementation of projects for stormwater management, floodplain restoration, and shoreline protection.

This summer, as a graduate student with Dr. Kris Stepenuck at the University of Vermont, Alison will begin her Master’s research, for which she will evaluate the long-term programmatic outcomes of Watershed Alliance.

“Over the next two years, Alison’s work with Watershed Alliance and her research will help answer questions around the impacts of watershed focused education programs,” said Ashley. “This research will inform practice and provide more information regarding the role of watershed education in the greater context of sustainability.”


Silver Bay YMCA hires two new VP’s  

Silver Bay announces VP of Guest Experience and VP of Program hires 


Silver Bay, NY – Silver Bay YMCA is proud to announce two new vice president positions: VP of Guest Experience, and VP of Programs. These positions will help Silver Bay YMCA with the daily running of operations while helping to expand our offerings as well.

     Luke Callahan will be filling the role of VP of Guest Experience. Callahan received his Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management from SUNY Plattsburgh and has been working in the hospitality and food industry ever since.

     Callahan started his career with Ocean Properties Ltd. Management Program which took him from summers at The Sagamore to winters at two of their premier resorts in Florida. During his time at The Sagamore, Callahan was promoted to Director of Dining for the resort’s restaurants. Callahan has spent the last nine years with Blue Water Manor in Bolton Landing, holding the position of General Manager for the last six years.

     “I am excited to join the team at Silver Bay YMCA as the VP of Guest Experience. I’ve been passionate about hospitality in the Lake George region since my time spent here in my youth. I look forward to working with the team and enhancing the guest experience at Silver Bay YMCA,” said Callahan.

     Uriah Rodriguez will be filling the VP of Programs position. Rodriguez joins us from the YMCA of Greater Springfield where he has over 20 years of experience. While there he has held many positions from Executive Director of Outreach, Teens and Camping to Executive Director of Education. Most recently he held the Executive Director of Operations position.

     Rodriguez’s focus was on fiscal management, program operations, and youth and staff development. He has successfully secured funding for teen education and programming for underserved youth and turned around a camp program that was on the decline to have four seasons of fiscal growth. Rodriguez’s experience will be fundamental in helping the Ticonderoga Teen Center and Silver Camp prosper.

“I look forward to sharing and developing new ideas to help grow and sustain Silver Bay’s long reputation of program excellence,” stated Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is a trained Opera singer with a master’s in music from the University of Massachusetts. When he is not working, he enjoys woodworking, and has traveled extensively.


Photo at top: Adirondack Almanack photo.


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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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