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SUNY Plattsburgh Salutes Class of 2005 Stand Out Seniors

From medical school to veterinarian school, from working in New York City to Florida, members from the SUNY Plattsburgh Class of 2005 have big plans. On Saturday, May 14, we're sending forth another group of graduates who are off to start the next step in their lives. Some will continue their education at institutions across the country while others will enter the workforce. The following are highlights of a few students from the SUNY Plattsburgh Class of 2005. We're proud of each and every one of you - congratulations!

John Takyi Asare

John Takyi Asare is a biochemistry major from Ghana. Asare was able to complete the requirements for attaining his degree in just two and a half years at SUNY Plattsburgh. After graduation, Asare, who won the Charles Blood Scholarship for best pre-med student, plans to go to medical school."I've worked hard for the past five semesters, and I'm happy to be graduating," said Asare. "Education at SUNY Plattsburgh is really amongst the best."Asare has worked as a chemistry and math tutor in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Claude J. Clark Learning Center and the tutor centers in the residence halls. He is a member of the Chemistry Club and has also participated in Alternative Winter Break and the Peer Education Program at the Office for Violence Prevention.

Thomas Azzarella

Thomas Azzarella is an earth and environmental science major from Williamsville, N.Y. After he graduates, Azzarella plans to work for a while and then continue on to graduate school to study sustainable development and agriculture.He has been very involved on campus. He is a resident assistant in Mason Hall, a member of the Sexual Orientation Ubiquity League (SOUL), the Outing Club, the Center for Womyn's Concerns and the Twin Valley's Advisement Task Force among others."Campus groups and the community of Plattsburgh gave me an education that was more than just academic," said Azzarella. "The College taught me the skills I needed to be an active member of a civic society."Azzarella has also won many awards. He was the recipient of the Freshman Community Service Scholarship, the Freshman Achievement Scholarship, the Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Outstanding Sophomore Award and the Anthony Santandrea Memorial Scholarship among others.

Jacquelyn E. Canning

Jacquelyn E. Canning, from Altona N.Y., is a biology and psychology major with a minor in chemistry. After graduation, Canning plans to go to medical school. Canning is grateful for the education she has received here at SUNY Plattsburgh and feels confident that her time here has given her a strong base to build on."I am a little sad to be leaving Plattsburgh, but it feels good to know that I will be moving on with a great education," said Canning.Canning has won numerous awards while attending SUNY Plattsburgh. These include the Outstanding Psychology Student Award, the Award for Academic Excellence in Psychology, the Presidential Award for Student Excellence and the Outstanding Psychology Student Award.In addition, Canning is a member of many organizations, clubs and honor societies including Phi Kappa Phi (national academic honor society), Omicron Delta Kappa (national leadership honor society), and Psi Chi (national psychology honor society). She is also a member of the Honors Student Association, Legislative Review Board and the Pre-Med Club.

Athena DiLorenzo

Athena DiLorenzo is a child and family services major from Schenectady, N.Y. After graduation, DiLorenzo plans to find a job and eventually move to Florida.She has been a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh women's basketball team and was the most valuable player for the 2004 Cardinal Classic tournament. She is also a member of the Alpha Phi Omega (international community service fraternity) and Chi Alpha Sigma (national athletic leadership honor society)."Being involved on campus really showed me that there are a lot of opportunities out there," said DiLorenzo. "I have made great memories at SUNY Plattsburgh." DiLorenzo has been awarded the Cecil Perkins Scholarship twice. The NCAA has also recognized her for her contributions in athletics, academics and community service.

Gustavo A. Espinal

Gustavo A. Espinal is a graphic design major with a minor in business from Brooklyn, N.Y. He is currently a graphic design intern at the SUNY Plattsburgh Office of Public Relations.Espinal's art was included as part of the Senior Art Exhibition Show in the Myers Fine Arts Building. He was a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh men's baseball team for three years.His favorite professor at SUNY Plattsburgh has been Norman Taber, associate professor of art. "Mr. Taber has always been there for me," said Espinal. "He has been a true mentor as well as a very good teacher."After graduation, Espinal plans to work as a graphic designer for the New Yorker magazine.

Aleksandar Popovski

Aleksandar Popovski is a political science and philosophy major from Macedonia. Popovski feels more than prepared to tackle what may come his way after college, largely due to his education here at SUNY Plattsburgh."Plattsburgh offers a well-rounded liberal arts education that can prepare a young man or woman for any challenges that lay ahead," he said.Popovski is the founder and president of the Poetry Club, a member of Phi Eta Sigma (national freshman honor society) and is also a member of Pi Sigma Alpha (national political science honor society).In addition, Popovski has won the Philosophy Award for Excellence, the Wocjik Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior in Political Science and the Phi Kappa Phi Sophomore Essay Award. He has also been the recipient of the Winkel Scholarship for the Humanities and the Redcay Honors Scholarship.After graduation Popovski plans on working in Washington D.C and will apply to the Ancient Language/Philosophy post-graduate program at Princeton University.

Julie Anna Ritchie

Julie Anna Ritchie is a biology major from Newark Valley, N.Y. Ritchie has enjoyed the time she has spent at SUNY Plattsburgh."I feel that I received a fantastic education," she said. "SUNY Plattsburgh has provided far more enriching experiences than I would have had if I attended an institution with a larger student body."Ritchie has been an active member of Campus Democrats and Progressives, an on-campus club, for the past two semesters and has served as its vice president.She was awarded the Faculty Undergraduate Research Endowment this spring. She was also awarded the Philip Walker Undergraduate Research Award in Biology.After she graduates, Ritchie plans on attending the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she has been accepted into the plant biology graduate program.

Cassie Alexander

Cassie Alexander from Saranac, N.Y. will be graduating with a degree in nutrition. She has been accepted for an American Dietetic Association-accredited dietetic internship at the Sage Colleges in Albany."I am ready to graduate and to begin a new chapter of my life," said Alexander. "I feel very fortunate to have grown up near such a great college."Alexander is a member of the Plattsburgh State cross-country and track teams. She made both SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNYAC-All Academic teams since spring of 2003. She also received the NCAA National Student Athlete Day Award in spring of 2004 and 2005. Alexander plans to run a half-marathon this summer and then a full marathon in the fall.

Alyssa Amyotte

Alyssa Amyotte, from Lacona, N.Y., is an anthropology major with minors in psychology and sociology. Amyotte will be returning to SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall to pursue her graduate degree in student affairs professional practice within the Counselor Education Program."SUNY Plattsburgh has been great," said Amyotte. "I have had wonderful professors and amazing experiences both in and outside of the classroom."Amyotte has received numerous awards including the Freshman Community Scholarship, the Janice Beach Memorial Community scholarship and the Academic Excellence Scholarship. She is a member of the Honors Student Association. She is also a member of multiple honor societies including Omicron Delta Kappa (national leadership honor society), Psi Chi (national psychology honor society) and Pi Eta Sigma (national freshman honor society).During her time at SUNY Plattsburgh, Amyotte has spent much of her time helping others. She is involved in Project HELP and has been on eight alternative spring and winter break trips. She is vice president for central affairs in the Student Association and is a member of SUNY Student Assembly.

Kirby Keeton

Kirby Keeton, from Kingsport, Tenn., will be graduating summa cum laude with a degree in anthropology and a minor in geography. Throughout his career as a student at SUNY Plattsburgh, Keeton has kept himself busy. He is a member of the Honors Student Association, has served as the president of the College Democrats and Progressives and was a member of the Environmental Action Committee.In fall 2004, he traveled to northern India to work as an intern researching development and tourism for the Central Tibetan Administration. While in India, he wrote a paper, "Inspiring Possibilities: What western progressives have gained and have to gain from Tibetans in exile," which was later published in the Indian news magazine, Tibetan Review. Upon his return to the United States, Keeton presented the paper at the Northeastern Anthropological Association Conference in Lake Placid, N.Y."My internship in India would not have been possible without the help of Dr. Amy Mountcastle (associate professor of anthropology and Asian studies)," said Keeton. "This internship challenged me to apply my anthropological skills in the real world." Keeton is a recipient of the Redcay Honors Scholarship and was also a teaching assistant for Dr. Amy Mountcastle. He has made the Dean's List every semester as a SUNY Plattsburgh student.This summer, Keeton will work for Ensemble Studios in Dallas, Texas. He also plans to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

Conor McDonough

Conor McDonough, from Ontario, Canada, will be graduating with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. McDonough is a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh men's ice hockey team. In 2002 and 2004, he was both a NCAA semi finalist and a member of the SUNYAC All-Academic Team. "I am very excited to graduate," said McDonough. "I feel it is a great accomplishment, yet on the other hand, I will miss SUNY Plattsburgh."As a student, McDonough was more than just an athlete. He made Dean's List every semester. He was a recipient of the Semmler Award and was named among Who's Who Among the American Universities and Colleges. He is also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (the national leadership honor society) and Chi Alpha Sigma (national athletic leadership honor society)."SUNY Plattsburgh has provided a great education and a solid foundation for further studies," said McDonough.After graduation McDonough plans to continue his education at dental school.

Kimberley Sebastian

Kimberley Sebastian is a political science and international business major. He plans to work for a few years before continuing onto graduate school.Sebastian's favorite professor at SUNY Plattsburgh is Dr. James Csipak. "His (Csipak) boundless energy makes it easy for students to identify with him," said Sebastian. "He is always willing to help students as much as possible."Sebastian is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (national leadership honor society) and Pi Sigma Alpha (national political science honor society). "My education here has been wonderful," said Sebastian. "Graduation is the validation of hard work, scholastic achievement and dedication." Sebastian is a resident assistant in Adirondack hall, vice president of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and he is a member of the Sigma Tau gamma fraternity.

Sarah Shuster

Sarah Shuster, from Oppenheim, N.Y., is a chemistry major with a minor in biology. Next fall she will be attending veterinarian school at Michigan State University."I am excited to graduate," said Shuster. "I have received a quality education during my four years at SUNY Plattsburgh."Shuster received many awards and honors as a SUNY Plattsburgh student. She has been inducted into several honor societies including Omicron Delta Kappa (national leadership honor society), Phi Kappa Phi (the national academic honor society) and Phi Eta Sigma (the national freshman honor society). She is a recipient of the Freshman Merit Scholarship, the Craig A. Koste Scholarship, the George F. Sheats Scholarship, the Freshman Chemistry Award and the American Chemical Society award. Shuster is currently planning her wedding, which will take place in July.

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