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Morrisville State College Student is One of Two Women Pursuing Residential Construction Degree

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.—Susan Chase knows a lot about houses. She can tell you all about building them—from the framing to the electrical work and carpentry—she can show you, too.

She’s getting her skills at Morrisville State College where she is a first-year residential construction student and one of only two women enrolled in the program.

Working in a male-dominated profession hasn’t discouraged Chase from pursuing her interest in the residential construction field.

“I am well aware that being a female in this line of work isn’t common,” she said. “It’s as tough as I expected it to be and it is very physical, but I intend to prevail.”

While Chase’s 5’5” 110-pound frame doesn’t appear to be a match for some of the tasks that need to be performed, she believes her true power is where it really matters.

“Size doesn’t matter as long as your heart is in it,” she said.

Chase, 18, of Long Island, is one of a handful of students who are building a field house on the Morrisville State College campus which will store equipment for the college’s Athletic Department.

She’s just like everyone else working on the job site, performing the same tasks as male students in her class.

“I don't feel any different being a woman,” Chase said. “I have been treated the same as everyone else in my program.”

Chase is used to fashioning her own road. In high school, she was one of few females who took a construction trades BOCES program. She liked it so much, she decided to pursue a career in the residential construction field.

Her Morrisville experience is teaching her how to build while showing her the ins and outs of running a business. She hopes to become a real estate tycoon some day.

“I felt if I knew more about the houses and what goes into them, I could sell them better,” she said.

“Susan brings a fresh perspective to assignments and works diligently to master them, not just complete them,” Paul Crovella, associate professor of agricultural engineering technology, said. “I expect her to be very successful.”

Building the field house is a laboratory experience that is part of a light framing class taught by Crovella. The project is providing students with hands-on experience and giving them the skills to gain a competitive edge in the job market.

Students in the residential construction program also acquire business skills through coursework in business law, employee supervision, accounting and even public speaking.

The field house is one of the many projects students at Morrisville State College have their hands into these days.

Agricultural engineering students are building a facility to house calves at the college’s dairy complex and students in the residential construction program along with other programs are building a house located on Hart Road in the town of Eaton.

Morrisville State College’s residential construction curriculum is designed to provide graduates with the background, experience and knowledge of materials and techniques for a successful career in any segment of the residential construction industry. Hands-on experience is emphasized through coursework in construction techniques, energy systems, sanitation, masonry systems, foundation concepts and surveying. Students receive an associate in occupational studies (A.O.S.) degree. The program is a ThinkPad curriculum in which the use of laptop computers is integrated into courses.

Morrisville State College offers 13 bachelor degrees and a wide variety of associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones.

The Norwich Campus recently announced its first standalone degree in early childhood and also offers associate degree programs in business, computer technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer and nursing to Chenango County area residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.