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Honors and Awards Ceremony
  • 2019-04-29
  • John Follaco

Honors and Awards Ceremony Recognizes Brockport’s Outstanding Students

Annual Event salutes excellence among undergraduate and graduate students.

SUNY Brockport celebrated its most outstanding students during the annual Honors and Awards Ceremony on April 26. The event recognizes students for their academic success at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Brockport President Heidi Macpherson presented the President’s Citation Award, the highest award given to a graduating senior, to Caitlyn Koch. Koch was selected by Macpherson after a series of interviews.

“When meeting with the students I closed each interview by asking what they wanted their legacy to be,” Macpherson said. “(Koch) stated, ‘That I worked hard, and that I made a difference.’ That answer was direct, to the point, and a sentiment to which each of us should aspire.”

This year’s top awards include:

School of Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate Distinguished Outstanding Achievement Award

Mikayla Heiss is completing a double major in English and environmental science, with a 3.93 GPA. A member of the Honors College, her thesis paper is on how scientific information reaches the public, focusing on prevalent frames and framing implications of media portrayal of the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report. She interned with the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in summer 2018, developing scientific materials for public distribution, surveying the public on comprehensibility and engagement with the materials. Mikayla has volunteered at several environmental cleanups throughout Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region. She is president of Dumbledore’s Army, a Brockport social/service club of students who have a shared interest in Harry Potter. Mikayla will attend Boston University for a master of science in journalism, with the goal of working with a nonprofit, writing stories that help spread awareness of on-going research—nurturing a two-way form of communication with the public.

Graduate Outstanding Achievement Award

Neslihan Ari is completing a Master of Science in Biology, with a 4.0 GPA. She is a first-generation immigrant from Istanbul, Turkey, who came to the United States at the age of 16. Neslihan earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Rochester. Her graduate research included MicroRNA Target Prediction using Machine Learning, which Neslihan presented at the Rochester Academy of Science Poster Session in fall 2018. She also did course research on Systems Physiology in fall 2017—Validation of ANO1-delta7 Transgenic Zebrafish, and a course presentation—CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing Technique. She was honored with a Graduate Student Distinguished Professor Award for Research Project (fall 2018), and a Distinguished Scholar Award (spring 2019). In the fall, Neslihan will start medical school at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

School of Business and Management

Undergraduate Distinguished Outstanding Achievement Award

Caitlyn Koch is completing a double major in finance and English, with a 3.96 GPA. She is a member of the Honors College as well as Alpha Chi National College Honor Society; Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society for members of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and Sigma Tau Delta, international English honor society. Caitlyn serves as president of the Circle K Club, co-president (2017-present) and secretary (2016-2017) of the Honors Club, and she was vice president (2017-2018) and secretary (2016-2017) of the Brockport Swing Dance Society. She completed the green, gold, and presidential certificates of the Leadership Development Program and is currently working on her capstone project. She has received numerous awards, including the Department Scholar for English (2019) and the Josh Silber Student Leadership Award (2018). In 2018, she interned at the Monroe County District Attorney’s office. After graduation, Caitlyn will attend law school and pursue a career as a corporate attorney.

Graduate Outstanding Achievement Award

Jeffrey Fensken is completing a Master of Science in Accounting, with a focus on forensics, and a 4.0 GPA. He graduated magna cum laude from SUNY Brockport with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He has been inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society for members of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society; and, Alpha Chi Honor Society. Jeff has served as a Becker Campus Ambassador—the CPA examination preparation program, and tax season intern for The Bonadio Group (Batavia, NY), and an intern for Kevin Clune CPA, LLC (Manhattan, NY). He also held roles in the Brockport Accounting Society and Brockport Men’s Club Soccer. Jeff has secured a job with the Bonadio Group’s Rochester office, in their auditing department. He will be studying to become a Certified Public Accountant, and he hopes to one day get into forensic accounting and become a Certified Fraud Examiner.

School of Education, Health, and Human Services

Undergraduate Distinguished Outstanding Achievement Award

Sara J. Purvis is completing a major in public health education, with minors in biology and pre-professional health, and a 3.9 GPA. A member of the Honors College she completed her thesis entitled “#MeToo: Association of Educational Institution Affiliation and Sexual Health Services and Reports of On-campus Rape”. She is chair of philanthropy for the Delta Sigma Chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma. Sara studied abroad with the Peru International Health Adventure in the Sacred Valley Program (January 2018), participated in the Leadership Development Program, and volunteered at St. Joseph’s Hospital through their VIP Program. She was named Department Scholar for public health and health education this year and Sorority Scholar in 2018. Sara’s next step is to pursue a master of public health in maternal and child health. In the future, she hopes to work for a nonprofit and continue conducting research.

Graduate Outstanding Achievement Award

Kristi Jo Lane is completing a Master of Science in Education, Physical Education, with a concentration in adapted physical education, in which she has earned a 3.95 GPA. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology—with Wisconsin K-12 teaching certifications for physical education, health education, and adapted physical education. She has been recognized with the Fannie Barrier Williams Courage Award, American Kinesiology Association Graduate Scholar Award, National Silver Volunteer Service Award, and is a Nationally Board Certified Adapted Physical Educator, Lavelle Fund for the Blind Fellow, and New York Grace LeGendre Endowment Fund Fellow. Kristi is a Camp Abilities Senior Graduate Assistant, Lead Wellness Coordinator at Summer LEAP, Head Elementary Special Olympics Track and Field Coach, Activity and Aquatics Director for the Swim and Gym Program, Director of JEEP Program (Educational Gymnastics for Students with Disabilities), among other programs both on campus and in the community. After graduation, Kristi will take a full-time teaching position in the Rochester area. She looks forward to improving adapted physical education services in public schools and advocating for positive policy change and implementation for individuals with disabilities.

Last Updated 7/29/21

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