Published March 28, 2019
Fifteen UB students have been named recipients for the 2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.
The UB awardees will be recognized at a reception April 3 in the Landmark Room, 210 Student Union, North Campus. Recipients also are invited to a ceremony on April 24 in Albany.
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.
Students are selected to receive the award after a rigorous selection process. Each year, SUNY campus presidents assemble a selection committee to review the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees chosen by each selection committee are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for a second review. Finalists are then recommended to the chancellor to become recipients of the award.
UB’s honorees are Jacob Bleasdale, majoring in biomedical sciences; Dylan Burns, majoring in architecture and urban planning; Julia Cordani, a dual major in linguistics and music performance; Destiny Diaz, majoring in mathematics; Benjamin Gutsin, majoring in business administration; Gunnar Haberl, a dual major in political science and the social sciences interdisciplinary program; Shaun Nowicki, majoring in English; Philip Odonkor, majoring in mechanical engineering; Katherine O’Donnell, majoring in biomedical sciences; Jessie Pelosi, a dual major in biological sciences and environmental geosciences; Cheryl Porzi, majoring in occupational therapy; Julia Quebral, a dual major in mathematics and physics; Tara Strade, a dual major in English and psychology; Conor Sullivan, majoring in business administration; and Anthony Taboni, a dual major in mathematics and political science.
This year’s recipients:
Jacob M. Bleasdale
Jacob Bleasdale of Depew, New York, graduates with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences with minors in pharmacology and toxicology, as well as in public health. Bleasdale is a University Honors College Scholar and has conducted research at the School of Public Health and Health Professions, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Erie County Medical Center. Bleasdale has served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences and the University Honors College, an intern in the Intercultural and Diversity Center and a health educator with the Erie County Department of Health.
Dylan N. Burns
Dylan Burns of Buffalo, New York, graduates with a master of architecture and a master of urban planning. A Western New York Prosperity Fellow and a Presidential Scholar, Burns participated in the Fulbright Commission Summer Institute. He volunteered as house leader for Habitat for Humanity and served as an architecture studio teaching assistant and research fellow in the IDeA Center. Burns was part of UB’s GRoW Home team, which won second place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in 2015.
Julia Anne Cordani
Julia Cordani of Lewiston, New York, graduates with a bachelor of arts in linguistics and a bachelor of music in music performance. Cordani is a University Honors College Scholar and served the college as a teaching assistant. She has worked as a research assistant in the Department of Linguistics while studying the Seneca language, and is an avid performer for the Department of Music and in the Buffalo community. Cordani also volunteers with the music education nonprofits Buffalo String Works and Buffalo Girlchoir.
Destiny Diaz of Buffalo, New York, graduates with a bachelor of science in mathematics and a minor in Spanish. Diaz is a University Honors College Scholar and an ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a Western New York Prosperity Fellow and volunteered on an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Dominican Republic. Diaz has also completed research dedicated to increasing STEM enrollment and works at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center as a research apprentice.
Benjamin Gutsin of Orchard Park, New York, graduates with a bachelor of science in business administration. Gutsin is both a University Honors College Scholar and a member of the School of Management Honors Program. He has been a teaching assistant for several courses, a representative to the Intercollegiate Athletics Board and a research assistant for UB’s Behavioral Medicine lab. Gutsin currently serves as the clinic manager for Cornerstone Manor, a shelter for homeless women and children.
Gunnar J. Haberl
Gunnar Haberl of Elma, New York, graduates with a bachelor of arts in political science and in the legal studies concentration of the Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Program, as well as a minor in education leadership and policy for equity. Haberl is a University Honors College Scholar and president of the undergraduate Student Association. He won a fellowship through the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress and was nominated for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. He has worked as a legislative aide in the New York State Assembly and serves on the Iroquois School District’s Board of Education.
Shaun Nowicki of Hamburg, New York, graduates with a bachelor of arts in English and a certificate in creative writing. Nowicki, a University Honors College Scholar, has been president of the undergraduate English club, a teaching assistant and an ambassador for the English department and an editor of NAME Magazine. He has also worked as a crew member for the Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of “10 out of 12” and was co-dramaturge for the department’s production of “Julius Caesar.”
Philip N. Odonkor
Philip Odonkor of Accra, Ghana, graduates with a doctor of philosophy in mechanical engineering. His National Science Foundation-funded research has yielded featured journal publications, along with first place at UB’s Three Minute Thesis and Transforming Our Tomorrow competitions. Within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Odonkor has been a PhD teaching fellow, student ambassador and mentor for the BEAM and “Science is Elementary” outreach programs. He was an invited speaker at the 2018 TEDxBuffalo and was a North Carolina State University Building Future Faculty Fellow.
Katherine O’Donnell of Williamsville, New York, graduates with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences and a minor in nutrition. A University Honors College Scholar, O’Donnell is a published author, president of the Association of Pre-Medical Students and a tour guide for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She has presented her research on nutrition and exercise at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine. O’Donnell is also an artist and a teaching assistant at Buffalo String Works.
Jessie A. Pelosi
Jessie Pelosi of Guilford, Connecticut, graduates with a bachelor of arts in biological sciences and a bachelor of science in environmental geosciences. A University Honors College Scholar and Biological Sciences Honors Scholar, Pelosi received a UB Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creativity Award. He helped develop a community outreach program introducing students to environmental awareness. Pelosi also leads research projects at the Buffalo Undersea Reef Research lab that are focused on evolutionary ecology and coral bleaching.
Cheryl L. Porzi
Cheryl Porzi of Buffalo, New York, graduates with a combined bachelor and master of occupational therapy and a minor in nutrition. Porzi is a University Honors College Scholar, president of the Occupational Therapy Honor Society and vice president of her graduating class. She has held leadership positions in the Residence Hall Association, National Residence Hall Honorary, undergraduate Student Association and Faculty Student Association. She has also been a research assistant and a teaching assistant, and has submitted her first book for publication.
Julia V. Quebral
Julia Quebral of Williamsville, New York, graduates with a bachelor of arts in mathematics and a bachelor of science in physics. Quebral is a University Honors College Scholar and a Physics Honor Society member. She has served one year as president of the Society of Physics Students. Quebral visited Montana State University as a solar physics Research Experiences for Undergraduates student, completing a project on solar flares. She also has served as concertmaster for the UB Symphony Orchestra.
Tara N. Strade
Tara Strade of Orchard Park, New York, graduates with a bachelor of arts in English and psychology with a minor in education. A University Honors College Scholar, Strade is a senior resident adviser and vice president of the UB American Sign Language Club. She has served as a teaching assistant for the Honors Colloquium, conducted social psychology research, served as a writing tutor and acted as a mentor for the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools.
Conor J. Sullivan
Conor Sullivan of Lancaster, New York, graduates with a bachelor of science in business administration with a minor in music performance. A University Honors College Scholar and Western New York Prosperity Fellow, Sullivan has volunteered with a dozen local community organizations. He serves as a teaching assistant for the Department of Economics and the University Honors College, as well as a Leadership House peer mentor. Sullivan is a cellist and performs regularly throughout Western New York.
Anthony R. Taboni
Anthony Taboni of Tonawanda, New York, graduates with a bachelor of arts in mathematics and political science. A University Honors College Scholar, Taboni has been president of the Honors Student Council, a SUNY SA delegate, an Honors ambassador, a Faculty Student Association board member and a teaching assistant. Winner of the Robert Stern Award for Best Undergraduate Political Science Paper, Taboni worked as a research assistant, contributing to an analysis of publishing decisions made by U.S. Courts of Appeals.