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Three Receive 2018 Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

Three seniors were recognized for their academics and leadership with the 2018 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Lindsey Davenport of Webster, N.Y., Samantha Johnson of Schuyler Falls, N.Y., and Vrinda Kumar of Nikol Naroda Ahmedabad, India, were feted April 10 in Albany along with 246 SUNY students from across the state.

"We are very proud of Lindsey, Samantha and Vrinda," said Dr. John Ettling, president of SUNY Plattsburgh. "They represent the very best of this campus and are worthy recipients of the chancellor's award. This is a special time for each of them for their outstanding contribution to campus life. We celebrate with them."

Lindsey Davenport

Davenport, a biology and Spanish major, is a presidential scholar, an honor and award reserved for just five incoming students each academic year. She spent five weeks in Nicaragua engaged in a health-care service-learning experience. In addition, Davenport conducted genetics research with a faculty mentor that she presented at an undergraduate research symposium. She is a three-season student-athlete and recognized by the NCAA as a two-time All-Academic in women’s cross country.

“I was extremely honored and happy to hear that I was a Chancellor’s Award recipient,” Davenport said upon hearing of her award. She came to SUNY Plattsburgh because of the Presidential Scholarship and because of the opportunities afforded her in athletics. Recruited to run cross country and indoor and outdoor track, Davenport said the college “seemed to be the best choice for me to get a quality education at the most affordable price while continuing to pursue my love for competitive running.”

Davenport plans to attend graduate school to become a physician assistant and then work in a Spanish-speaking country.

Samantha Johnson

Johnson, an art history major, is a Presidential Scholar who received one of six awards for best paper at the annual Phi Alpha Theta history honor society conference. In addition, she participated in two historical research experiences: one in the Republic of Georgia, and the other in Canada. She holds numerous awards and participated in several internships related to her major.

A North Country native, Johnson said it wasn’t until she toured the campus that she decided to stay local.

“I realized that this wonderful campus had been hiding right under my nose all along,” she said. “What stood out to me the most, in comparison with other schools I visited, was the amount of art work on display throughout campus. As an art history major, I really appreciate the dimension that the visual arts add to our school.

“I made so many more connections with people on campus and in the community because I am from the area that I cannot imagine having gone anywhere else. This has facilitated enriching internships that have introduced me to new fields as well as given me a new perspective on the city,” she said.

Johnson plans to attend the University of Vermont in the fall to begin a master’s program in historic preservation.

Vrinda Kumar

Kumar has served as both the vice president and president of the Student Association during her tenure at SUNY Plattsburgh. In addition, she is a regional representative serving four SUNY campuses for the SUNY Student Assembly. Kumar has received numerous awards recognizing her academic and leadership achievements. She has led campus and community efforts to serve people, students and non-students struggling with immigration issues.

“I was honored to be chosen for this prestigious award,” the public health and social justice major said. “The people who supported and vouched for me both in Plattsburgh and back home were ecstatic with this news; it is this support that has gotten me where I am today.”

Kumar cites the assistance and encouragement of the Global Education Office that lead to her coming to SUNY Plattsburgh.

“I received a lot of help with the process of coming to this country and traveling half way across the world,” she said. “I’ve never looked back since. I was privileged enough to have numerous leadership experiences here with residence life, Title IX, the Student Association and with community engagement. This has helped me develop an unwavering passion for social justice and true advocacy, which has strengthened me and have now become my life’s motto.”

Kumar plans to work for a company that works for various organizations like Save the Children, UNICEF and World Wildlife Federation. She then plans to return to SUNY Plattsburgh as a fraduate student in the clinical mental health program, serving as a residence director.

“I inspire to work in the United Nations one day and focus on issues of violence against women and with refugees,” she said.

“I am immensely proud of these students, who have demonstrated academic excellence and dedication to enriching their campuses and communities,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, who presided over the award ceremony. “From research publications in industry journals to volunteering in hospitals and local clinics to holding leadership roles at their institutions, I am inspired by each student we recognize today.”

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement or career achievement. 

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