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Five Students Honored with Chancellor' Award

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Five graduating seniors at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh have been selected to receive the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.

Kristen Buck, Jenny Hutchinson, Carianne Pershyn, Ilona Sitnitsky and Chrissa Wright were honored at a special ceremony Wednesday, April 18, at the Empire State Convention Center in Albany, N.Y.

"On behalf of SUNY Plattsburgh, I want to congratulate these students," said President John Ettling prior to leaving for the ceremony. "They have worked hard and excelled in and out of the classroom. I am looking forward to seeing these scholars recognized for representing the College so admirably."

Chancellor's Award winners must have a strong academic record as well as demonstrated significant contributions to the greater campus community.

Kristen Buck Buck is a senior communication disorders and sciences student from Hoosick Falls, N.Y.  She has participated in an undergraduate practicum and advanced honors thesis and was recognized as an outstanding psychology student.

She was the recipient of the Redcay Sophomore Scholarship and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She is currently a senior researcher in the Neurobehavioral Science Lab and has served as student clinician in the Speech and Hearing Center at SUNY Plattsburgh. Buck has co-authored a peer-reviewed journal article and has made numerous conference presentations. She is also an active member of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association.

"I was surprised and excited to learn that I have received this award," said Buck. "I've loved it here at SUNY Plattsburgh, and I love my major, the program and faculty. I've made great friends here, and I have had a wonderful experience as a SUNY Plattsburgh student."

Buck is currently applying to graduate schools where she hopes to continue her education and plans to become a speech pathologist.


Jennifer Hutchinson Hutchinson, a senior fine arts student from Queensbury, N.Y., is a member of the track and field team. She has served as captain of the team for three years and holds four school records in indoor pole vaulting. Twice, Hutchinson was named to the All-Academic First Team. She is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies and was the recipient of the Provost Award in spring 2006.

Hutchinson also received the Nina Winkel Scholarship. She has studied abroad in Florence, Italy and has had her artwork chosen for several juried exhibitions. She is currently applying to graduate schools for the fall semester.

"I couldn't believe it," Hutchinson said upon hearing she was chosen as a Chancellor's award winner. "I tend to be pretty modest, and this was a surprise. I'm very happy. I've done a lot of hard work as a student and it is nice to be recognized. I credit my success from the support of family and friends. I couldn't have gotten to where I am without them."

Carianne Pershyn Pershyn, a senior ecology major from North Tonawanda, N.Y., is one of the first students to graduate in the College's new ecology major. She is the recipient of the James A. Fitzpatrick Memorial Scholarship and was awarded outstanding achievement in undergraduate research for her work with the Lake Champlain Research Institute.

She also has research experience at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and researched bat populations at a proposed wind farm site in Beekmantown, N.Y. She is a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, and has been on the Dean's List for five semesters.

"I am extremely honored to be given this award," said Pershyn. "Plattsburgh has been wonderful. It has been everything I wanted it to be from the first time I visited campus."

Pershyn is planning to attend graduate school in January 2008 with a goal of earning her doctorate in tropical ecology or ethnobotany.

Ilona Sitnitsky Sitnitsky, a senior physics and mathematics major and chemistry minor from Herzeliya, Israel, has been working with Dr. George Flynn on analyzing space dust for NASA at the Brookhaven National Lab and is the recipient of the Science Hudson and Redcay scholarships. Results of her research have been published in Science Magazine.

She was awarded the "Most Promising Freshman in Physics" in 2004 and is a member of the Chemistry Club, Astronomy Club, American Physical Society and Society of Physics Students of the American Institute of Physics.

"I applied to two colleges and was accepted to both. I visited SUNY Plattsburgh and liked its environment, so I chose to come here," said Sitnitsky, who is currently applying to graduate schools to continue her educational pursuits.

"My work with Dr. Flynn at Brookhaven in Long Island was excellent. It was a unique experience. Not a lot of students get an opportunity like this to see how science is done on this level. Since I was a kid, I was always interested in space, so I stuck with science. If you decide you want to do it, you pursuit it."

Chrissa Wright Wright, a senior biochemistry and biology major from Bernhards Bay, N.Y., received a National Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid for her research with Dr. Nancy Elwess and has been honored with several national awards for her research. She is currently writing two research publications and has given seven presentations and conferences across the country.

She is the recipient of the E. Yale Clarke and Charles A. Blood scholarships. She was chosen for inclusion in the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and is a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society. When she's not doing undergraduate research, Wright handcrafts jewelry pieces that are available at Lily Pond in Plattsburgh and The Flower Mill in Constantia, N.Y.

"I am very honored to receive the Chancellor's Award," said Wright. "I've had great support while at SUNY Plattsburgh, especially from my faculty mentors Dr. Elwess and Sandy Latourelle in biological sciences. It's great to have the recognition for four years of hard work."

Wright will be attending SUNY Upstate Medical University in the fall to pursuit a doctorate in neuroscience.

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