John F. Penrose, Professor of Chemistry
Chair, Laboratory Sciences Department
B.S., M.S.
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (1995)

Mr. Penrose has dedicated 40 years of his life to the teaching profession. His greatest enjoyment as a professional emanates from seeing his students develop from their freshman semesters to Jefferson graduates. A graduate of LeMoyne College, Syracuse, NY and Fresno State College, Fresno, CA, Mr. Penrose became interested in chemistry as a high school student and expanded his interest at the college level. During his tenure at Jefferson he has taught Introductory, General, Organic and Analytical chemistry classes. Mr. Penrose also serves as a consultant to the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the American Chemical Society for developing examinations for those groups.

Mr. Penrose’s interests outside the College include working on his camp in Keene Valley, NY, traveling, and enjoying outside recreational activities.


Venkat Chebolu, Professor of Chemistry
B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

Dr. Chebolu grew up in Bombay (now Mumbai) India. His love for chemistry started during his freshman year in chemistry at Parle College, University of Bombay. The lab activities were so interesting to him that after a three hour lab, he could not wait to complete his lab reports. Following the completion of a B.S. degree in chemistry, he pursued a M.S. degree in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and then completed a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from SUNY at Stony Brook. After three years of postdoctoral research at The Pennsylvania State University, Venkat pursued a full time teaching career and began his tenure at Jefferson in 1993. Venkat enjoys showing the fun in chemistry to everyone interested. He currently teaches Introductory, General and Organic chemistry classes.

Mark D. Irwin, Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Irwin grew up on a dairy farm near Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada and has a long-term interest in zoo animal management. His zoo career began with an animal care student position at Toronto Zoo. While completing his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, he continued to work at Toronto Zoo and traveled to places such as Alberta, Tennessee, and Florida to pursue his zoo interest and experience. He has work experience on farms, in several private and AZA accredited zoological facilities, and in private pet/exotic/zoo animal veterinary practice. At the New York State Zoo he has served on several committees, worked as veterinarian, and successfully led the animal department through AZA accreditation as director of collections and conservation in 2005. In 2007 Mark studied ecosystem health at White Oak Conservation Center, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Ngongoni, South Africa as a 2007 Envirovet. Mark currently leads JCC’s Animal Management Program and teaches the zoo-related classes. Outside of class he is faculty advisor for the Zoo/Exotic/Wildlife (ZEW) Club.

Carolyn Clarke, Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., M.S., Ph. D.
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (1996)

 Dr. Clarke is a native of New York, growing up in the apple orchard country of Syracuse, NY. An early love of biology and health related fields, lead to a B.S. degree from LeMoyne College and a M.S, degree in science education from Syracuse University. After working for several years in medical research laboratories, she returned to graduate school at Northeastern University in Boston to obtain an M.S. degree in physiology. From there, Dr. Clarke attended the School of Medicine at the University of Buffalo, earning a Ph.D. in pharmacology. She worked in medical research for several more years, then began her college teaching career. Currently, she teaches human anatomy and physiology for those students interested in health related careers. Her background in pharmacology has lead to an interest and hobby of raising medicinal herbs in her gardens during the summer. This interest has lead to the development and teaching of a course in alternative medicine at Jefferson.

Frank P. Florence, Associate Professor of Geology
B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (2003)

Skier, hiker, climber, kayaker, I’ve been an active outdoor recreationalist most all of my life. That’s why I became a geologist: I’m forever curious about our physical world. I marvel at the processes of mountains growing and landscapes changing, the celestial behaviors governing the changing seasons, and the profound contrast between the time of human history and the age of our planet. If you get the feeling I love the topics of Earth Science, you’re right.

I’m presently involved in geological studies in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State that are aimed at understanding how these mountains formed. I’m also an amateur astronomer and try to stay current with the amazing developments taking place in that field. Most of all, I’m concerned about the quality of our physical environment. We constantly hear about the degradation of air and water resources, depletion of energy resources, and the ongoing changes in regional and global climates. The first step in addressing any of these concerns is to carefully look at how natural processes operate in the environment. Helping students understand the physical processes related to environmental concerns has become my highest professional objective. Once we appreciate the nature of our surroundings, we can then consider the human influence to them.


Bill McMahon, Laboratory Technician
A.S., A.A.S.

 Mr. McMahon grew up on the outskirts of Carthage, N.Y. where he lived on a small family farm and developed a great passion for the environment. Upon graduation from Carthage Central School, he obtained an A.S. degree from Jefferson and then an A.A.S. degree in forest technology from SUNY ESF Ranger School in Wanakena, N.Y.. He has since furthered his education in the areas of chemistry and microbiology. He has work experience as a field technician for the natural resources branch of the environmental division at Fort Drum, N.Y.. His work responsibilities included environmental data collection and interpretation regarding forestry, wetlands biology, botany, mapping and spatial analysis. He also has work experience pertaining to land surveying, logging and entomology.

Initially hired as a laboratory assistant at Jefferson in 2003, Mr. McMahon has advanced to the position of Laboratory Technician and oversees the management of the biology and chemistry stockrooms. He is responsible for the preparation of materials and the maintenance of apparatus for all biology and chemistry laboratory offerings. He is also a member of the College’s Safety Committee and is a designated safety officer. Mr. McMahon thoroughly enjoys fishing (catch and release), hunting, camping and woodworking. He is an avid outdoorsman and has developed a true love for nature.


Monica LeClerc, Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

 Dr. LeClerc grew up in Connecticut where she developed an early interest in observing birds. She attended the University of Connecticut, earning a B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation. She earned an M.S. in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Brigham Young University in Utah. Monica's research was in the area of avian ecology. She lives on a small farm where her family raises sheep and vegetables. Her employment experience includes field research, farm work, environmental education, and teaching. Monica teaches biology, mammalogy, ornithology, and ecology at JCC.

Todd Vincent, Assistant Professor of Biology
B.S., Ph.D.

 Dr. Vincent is from Randolph, New York, and enjoyed a rural upbringing that fostered a love of nature from an early age. After graduating from Randolph Central School he attended Hiram College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. Upon graduation he received an invitation to enter the Doctoral Program of the Department of Zoology at the University of Tennessee, where he began conducting research on the behavioral ecology of the green anole, Anolis carolinensis. Ultimately he earned a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with research emphases on lizard community ecology, invasive species ecology, and lizard reproductive physiology. His main hobbies are gardening, home improvement, and keeping up with his two boys. Todd teaches animal management seminars, general biology, and herpetology at JCC.

Patricia Jaacks, Assistant Professor of Biology
B.S., M.S.

Ms. Jaacks earned her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from SUNY Plattsburgh. Following a year long internship at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, she worked as a Medical Technologist at Samaritan Medical Center for 18 years specializing in microbiology. While working at Samaritan Medical Center, Ms. Jaacks developed and directed a Medical Laboratory Technician Certificate Program. Under her leadership, the MLT-C Program earned two successful accreditation surveys through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Ms. Jaacks started as an adjunct instructor at Jefferson Community College in 1989. She earned her Master of Science in Education from SUNY Potsdam. She currently teaches Microbiology, Genetics and Human Biology.

Oliver G. Youst, Assistant Professor of Physics
B.A., M.S.

Mr. Youst has been a faculty member at JCC since 1999. He teaches courses in the Math/ Science and the Engineering curricula. These courses include general physics, engineering physics, electrical circuits and a design and build class. He is also actively involved in the engineering club where he advises students in building robots for state and national competitions. He received a B.A. and an M.S. in Physics at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.

Michael J. Babcock, Associate Professor of Chemistry
B.S., M.S.

Mr. Babcock is a native of northern New York State. After graduating from South Jefferson Central School he attended Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Upon graduation he received an invitation to enter the Chemistry Program at Syracuse University, where he earned a Master of Science in Physical Chemistry. His interest in the sciences was fostered by his parents (had his first telescope at age 8 and chemistry set at age 10) and by a wonderful high school chemistry and physics teacher. His graduate research involved kinetic studies in membrane mimetic chemistry using colloidal semiconductors to initiate polymer formation and artificial photosynthesis. His main hobbies are photography, most any technology, boating, skiing, snowmobiling, and traveling. Michael teaches introductory chemistry, physical science, physics and computer networking at JCC.

Kathy Flanders, Assistant Laboratory Technician
B.S., M.S.

Kathy Flanders was born in the great state of Vermont and received a B.S and M.S. in Medical Technology from the University of Vermont. She worked as a research technician for UVM in Food Microbiology until moving to Clayton in 1994. Since moving to NY, Kathy has worked at area hospitals in the laboratory and taught Medical Technology courses at SUNY Canton. Several years ago, she began her relationship with JCC by teaching Microbiology as an adjunct faculty member. She has expanded her role at JCC recently, by taking a Laboratory Assistant position in the Science Dept.. Kathy currently enjoys the St. Lawrence River with her husband, David, and their two children, Dana and Kellen.