Tipping Hats to Top Graduates
Caitlyn Koch, Neslihan Ari, and Antonio Bottos have been honored with the College's most prestigious student awards.
Graduate and undergraduate Commencement cermonies May 17 and 18 at SUNY Brockport will celebrate more than 2,600 members of the graduating Class of 2019. Three of them have been awarded the College's highest honors for their outstanding achievements in the classroom and beyond:
President’s Citation Award
The College’s highest award for a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding scholastic merit (a GPA of at least 3.75), a strong record of cocurricular activities, significant contributions to the College and community, and evidence of professional promise.
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. Koch 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, Koch will attend the University of Virginia School of Law and pursue a career as a corporate attorney.
"It was an honor to receive the President’s Citation Award, and I truly feel that my time at Brockport helped me to develop and hone the skills I needed to earn this award and continue my success in my graduate program and my professional career. It was thanks to the faculty and staff at the College that I was able to achieve this award and much of my academic success."
– Caitlyn Koch
Graduate Distinguished Scholar Award
Recognizes an exceptional graduate student with a record of outstanding academic work and scholarship. To be considered for the award, a nominee must be a graduating master’s level student with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.85 and outstanding scholarship or creative activity in their field of study.
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. Ari
earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Rochester. Her graduate
research included MicroRNA Target Prediction using Machine Learning, which Ari 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, Ari will
start medical school at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.
"With numerous opportunities it presents, Brockport not only allows its students to improve academically, but also grow individually. The endless support from the faculty and the student body allows you to freely express yourself while pursuing your passion. I am honored to be receiving this award and thankful for the incredible people I have met during my time here."
– Neslihan Ari
Marion Schrank Student Leadership Award
The College’s highest leadership honor, presented to a student who exemplifies integrity and civility. The recipient is selected on the basis of scholarly achievement, exemplary leadership, dedicated involvement in campus organizations and engaged learning, and a commitment to the creation of an inclusive Brockport community.
Antonio Bottos not only boasts an impressive 3.58 GPA as a double major in psychology and biology
and member of the Honors College, he has also compiled a lengthy list of activities
during his time at Brockport. Bottos has membership in multiple honor societies, gained
acceptance to the highly competitive Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and was the principal investigator
leading a team of undergraduate research assistants. He has spent multiple years as
a laboratory assistant, teaching assistant, tutor, student leader in various roles,
and volunteer. As the head of household and primary breadwinner for his family since
the age of 16, what makes Bottos's accomplishments even more impressive is his ability
to achieve them while managing multiple jobs and supporting his family, a father with
disabilities and two brothers, one of whom has autism.
"SUNY Brockport is an institution that values civility and integrity in leadership, while making every effort to embrace collaboration, diversity, and inclusion. I am proud to be a Golden Eagle and believe that this community motivates me to be my very best self, while being sensitive to my background as a first-generation college student."
– Antonio Bottos