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SUNY Recognizes Two Plattsburgh Seniors for Excellence in Academics, Leadership

People of Plattsburgh

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Two SUNY Plattsburgh seniors were chosen to receive the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence by the State University of New York.

Kara Oatman, an education major from Honeoye Falls, N.Y., and Christine Parmeter, a psychology major from Plattsburgh, were cited for excelling in areas such as campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service, creative and performing arts. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by the university.

enyedi"I am incredibly proud to congratulate Kara and Christine, our two exceptional student Chancellor Award winners,” said President Alexander Enyedi. “This honor is not merely a recognition; it is a testament to their unwavering dedication to academic excellence, leadership, and selfless service to others.

“They epitomize the very essence of what it means to be an exemplary scholar and role model on our campus. As they embark on their respective journeys, I am confident that they will continue to excel and leave an indelible mark on the world. While their personal and professional paths will lead them in many directions, they will forever remain Cardinals, inspiring generations to come," Enyedi said.

Oatman was in the middle of her school day as a student teacher in the Peru Central School District when she received word from the state about the award, so celebration had to be delayed.

“It wasn’t until (an email from) President Enyedi came later that day when it finally clicked, and I was able to feel excitement from such an achievement,” Oatman said.

Parmeter concurred.

“I was beaming with delight all day,” she said, recounting how she felt “an immense wave of pride” upon receiving word of the award. She knows she put in the work, the “countless hours to my academics, fieldwork and community. (But) still, receiving the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence sparked a blend of shock and validation.

Thrilled to Share the News with Family

“I was especially thrilled to share the news with my family, who have always been my biggest supporters,” she said.

oatman taraOatman will graduate in May from the BA/MST program, which was one of the draws for her choosing SUNY Plattsburgh as an incoming first-year student. SUNY Plattsburgh also gave her the chance to live in another region of New York — Honeoye Falls is just south of Rochester in the western part of the state — as well as play on the Cardinal women’s basketball team. She said it was also “the beautiful geographic location.”

“I considered attending a few different SUNY schools, but chose Plattsburgh for those factors,” she said.

While Parmeter said she moved around the Northeast throughout her childhood, she, too, returned to Plattsburgh for the area’s “natural beauty and my connection with it as my hometown,” she said.

After high school, she looked at various bachelor’s degree programs but said SUNY Plattsburgh “best matched my aspirations.”

‘Reputable Program’

“I wanted a reputable program with distinguished faculty and applied learning opportunities,” Parmeter said. “As a family-oriented person, I was ecstatic that I did not have to leave my hometown.” Attending one of the Office of Admissions open house events further convinced Parmeter to enroll.

“The faculty demonstrated a level of expertise and authenticity that captured my attention,” she said. “This impression, combined with the campus’ supportive atmosphere, confirmed my decision to enroll.”

parmeter christineParmeter will also remain at SUNY Plattsburgh following graduation, continuing in the fall to earn her master’s in clinical mental health counseling.

“As a teenager, I endured leg surgeries to reduce my chronic joint pain,” she said. “The social biases I encountered while using mobility aids sparked my desire to study human nature. I now aspire to become a mental health counselor and help individuals navigate the complex terrain of their psychological challenges.”

Oatman hopes to work as a biology or science teacher.

“I look forward to getting as many opportunities as possible to become a lifelong learner and an active member of my school’s community,” she said. Oatman thanked her family as well as those in her life who “became a source of support and encouragement for me, both academically and personally. I would not be in this position without every single one of them.”

Thankful for Mentorship

That includes Dr. Nancy Price, assistant professor in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science, and Sarah Hackett, lecturer and program leader in education, with whom she worked at different points in her academic career, saying their support and feedback “helped me to grow both professionally and personally. I am very thankful for their mentoring as a future educator,” Oatman said.

Parmeter gave a shout-out to Dr. Stephen Mansfield, professor in psychology, and Dr. Andrew Christy, assistant professor in psychology, who supervised the majority of her psychological research.

“They taught me fundamental skills through every lecture and project, keeping me on a path to success,” Parmeter said. “More importantly, they recognized my potential and encouraged me to pursue my ambitions.”

Parmeter also gave her fellow award recipient her best, saying that Oatman went “above and beyond in her field. It will be an honor for us to represent SUNY Plattsburgh and celebrate our accomplishments at the upcoming ceremony in Albany,” Parmeter said.

The awards will be presented at the Albany Capital Center in downtown Albany Thursday, April 11.

— Story, Photos of Oatman, Parmeter by Associate Director of Communications Gerianne Downs

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