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Five SUNY Plattsburgh Students Awarded Graduate Diversity Fellowships for Spring 2009

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Feb. 4, 2009) - SUNY Plattsburgh has announced the winners of its Graduate Diversity Fellowships for spring 2009:

  • Angel Acosta of New York, N.Y.
  • Heather Chapla of Plattsburgh, N.Y.
  • Robin Downs of Peru, N.Y.
  • Casey Hicks of Somers, N.Y.
  • Anthony Williams of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The five students will receive full in-state tuition this spring semester. The award is worth a total of $3,430 and may be used at either the main campus or SUNY Plattsburgh's Branch Campus at Adirondack Community College.

"The fellowships are meant to honor diversity in the broadest sense of the word," said Marguerite Adelman, director of graduate admissions. "The students who have won them come from a wide variety of backgrounds."

From the death of parents to a background of poverty, from racial barriers to raising a family, from dealing with a brain tumor to coming back to school later in life, each winner has had to overcome challenges to find success in school.

"I think it is important that underserved or underrepresented students receive financial support in times like these," said Acosta. "These fellowships provide an opportunity to help students focus more on academics than on their finances."

"This scholarship has been profoundly important to me," said Downs, who is returning to school in her 50s. "It is a real vote of confidence in me as a nontraditional student as I undertake the rigorous challenge of a graduate master's program. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn and challenge myself as I recreate myself in a new profession. I will give this scholarship back to society in many ways for the rest of my life."

For Chapla, whose loss of a mother meant losing the ability to pay for her tuition, the fellowship means that she will actually be able to achieve goals held by both her and her mother.

"I wouldn't have been able to accomplish my goal of going to graduate school without this fellowship, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to continue my education," she said.

The Graduate Admissions Office is currently accepting applications for Graduate Diversity Fellowships for fall 2009. In order to be eligible, applicants must be also be applying for entrance into one of SUNY Plattsburgh's graduate degree programs this fall. The deadline for both is Feb. 15.

The fellowships will pay for in-state tuition for the fall semester and may be renewed for the following spring, depending on the availability of funding and the fellowship winner's academic progress.

Recipients must be full-time students during the period of the award. In most cases, this means they must enroll in a minimum of 12 graduate credit hours, applicable toward their degree. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens or  permanent residents; be newly applying for graduate school to a master's or Certificate of Advanced Study program; be able to contribute to diversity in the graduate program or field of study; have overcome a disadvantage or other impediment to success in higher education; have high intellectual and professional promise; be recommended by the department chair of the degree program and accepted by that program; and have completed and submitted an application by the due date.

Selection will be based on meeting the eligibility requirements described above, as well as the quality of the applicants' prior academic record as reflected in transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation and financial need as reflected in the FASFA or most recent income tax statement. Announcements of awardees will take place after all graduate degree programs have made decisions about whom to accept.

Applications for the fellowships are available online at www.plattsburgh.edu/financialaid, by clicking on "Forms" on the left menu bar. In addition, applications for both the fellowship and for entrance into graduate programs are available at the Graduate Admissions Office at SUNY Plattsburgh. The office is located 113 Kehoe, 101 Broad St. in Plattsburgh and may be reached by phone at 518-564-4723 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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