Campus News

Ceremony celebrates the best and brightest students at UB

Chancellor's award winners on stage at the Celebration of Student Academic Excellence.

Recipients of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence pose on the stage after the ceremony. Photo: Joe Cascio


Published April 21, 2017

“The students we are celebrating today have taken full advantage of UB’s resources and educational opportunities, and they have thrived.”
Provost Charles F. Zukoski

The Center for the Arts buzzed with the sound of fresh ideas and lively debate yesterday at the 13th annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence.

The celebration kicked off with a poster presentation in the atrium, outlining the research, scholarship and artistic pursuits of more than 300 UB undergraduates. Excited students shared their hard work with visitors interested in learning a bit more about their area of expertise.

Freshman Madeline Harvey was one of the undergraduates presenting her research.

A biological sciences/dentistry major, Harvey examined the potential to thin the mucus of cystic fibrosis sufferers with the use of an aspirating coagulative mouthwash that could go into the lungs and allow patients to breathe easier.

“I am very thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me as a result of doing this research, like having the chance to collaborate with Professor Robert Baier in the dental school and getting my research funded by CURCA (Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities),” she says. “Getting to present everything I’ve done here has been great and I love to share what I’ve learned from this experience.”

Like many of the undergraduates conducting these studies, Harvey hopes her work can be put to good use.

Following the presentation of the posters, the celebration moved to its other main event: the ceremony honoring students who were nominated for and awarded national, SUNY and UB awards and scholarships. The ceremony was hosted by Andrew M. Stott, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, who also served as emcee, and Graham L. Hammill, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School.

President Satish K. Tripathi welcomed the crowd. “Our students are making a positive and lasting impact on our world by bringing their classroom learning to life through lab experiments, clinical experience, study abroad, artistic performance, internships and community service,” Tripathi said. “Today, speaking to our students and seeing their research on display, it is clear to me that our students are taking full advantage of their experiences here at UB.”

dance major Haley Bjorn on the stage performing “Entrance”.

Senior dance major Haley Bjorn performs “Entrance,” a work she also choreographed. Photo: Joe Cascio

The ceremony also featured a performance, “Entrance,” by senior dance major Haley Bjorn, that provided the crowd with a chance to see the artistic pursuits of UB students. The dance, also choreographed by Bjorn, was described as a “physical embodiment of a year’s work of research on the female experience, consistent movement investigation and a personal urgency to fight for social justice.”

In his remarks, Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said he believes UB has a responsibility as a public research university “to impact our community and the larger world, and to create positive change in everything we do.” He also praised the lasting impact UB students were having on the world.

“The depth of knowledge, the enthusiasm and the range of subjects that were explored (in the poster session) is simply astonishing and it is certainly a pleasure to be working at UB with such talented students,” Zukoski said. “The students we are celebrating today have taken full advantage of UB’s resources and educational opportunities, and they have thrived. Honorees, you are truly extraordinary; the UB community is enormously proud and we have learned from your success.”

Among the students honored at the ceremony were those receiving the following awards and scholarships:

  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, awarded to sophomores and juniors who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue advanced degrees in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering: Anne Fortman, winner; Walker Gosrich, winner; Andrew Stewart, honorable mention; Javier Yu, nominee.
  • Harry S. Truman Scholarship: Mathew Falcone and Anna Porter, nominees.
  • Fulbright Scholarship: Ashlee Hart, Lisa Gagnon, Sushmita Gelda, Farhana Hasan, Sarah Stanford and Michael Surrett, winners; Jacob Caldwell and Sean Pears, finalists; Ledeebari Banuna, Cathleen Draper, Nathaniel Durant, William Fox, James Gawley, Erin Gould, Katherine Keefe, Randolph Kent, Julia Schoonover and Marygrace Stephan, nominees; Antara Majumdar, alternate.
  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence: Madelaine M. Britt, Jacob W. Caldwell, Meghan M. Capeling, Akshata K. Chaudhary, Won Woong (Tyler) Choi, Hannah L. Griffith, Anna Jacquinot, Barrett T. Kemp, Andrea D. Niper, Emily O'Brien, Alexander A. Salinas, Jacob P. Schupbach, George Sklivanitis, Emily Slominski and Hailie P. Suk.

A full list of award winners, finalists and nominees, as well as descriptions of the awards, can be found on the Celebration of Academic Excellence website.


Congratulations to Madeline Harvey on her excellent work, made possible by the extraordinary collaboration of the School of Medicine's Dr. Brian Weil and colleagues, who allowed additional use of pig lungs from their approved animal experiments!


An excellent example of benefits from IACUC requirements for replace, reduce, refine considerations in monitored animal research.


Robert Baier