Published April 22, 2020
Fourteen UB students have been chosen to receive the 2020 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the highest honor SUNY bestows upon its students.
The annual award recognizes and honors students who have best demonstrated and been recognized for integrating academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement or career achievement.
Recipients are chosen by a committee of SUNY campus presidents that reviews the accomplishments of nominees and then forwards recommendations to the Chancellor’s Office for a second review. Finalists are then recommended to the chancellor, who makes the final determination.
This year’s recipients:
Jonathan Bessette of Buffalo graduates with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a minor in studio art. Bessette is a University Honors College Scholar and was selected as a Marshall Scholar finalist, a U.S.-U.K. Summer Institute Fulbright Scholar and a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar. Bessette has been involved in humanitarian research, entrepreneurship and outreach. Examples of his work include designing a high-payload and an unmanned aerial vehicle, researching water quality in India, and extensive teaching experience both in the Buffalo Public Schools and abroad.
Fatak G. Borhani
Fatak Borhani of Buffalo graduates with a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering. Borhani has been named one of Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders: The 20 Twenties by Aviation Week Network. He was presented with an Undergraduate Researcher Award presented on behalf of UB’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The thesis he completed as a University Honors College Advanced Honors Scholar was presented at the Small Satellite Conference in 2019. Borhani has worked in the mechatronics engineering co-op program of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, assisting on spacecraft that will study Earth’s climate change.
Liam Christie of Elma graduates with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering. Christie has been an undergraduate research scholar in the Sensors and Microactuators Learning Lab, focusing on advancing biometric and medical technologies. A Western New York Prosperity Fellow, Christie has focused his entrepreneurial work on making personalized medicine more accessible to all. He has also been active in STEM outreach, including serving as a classroom leader for the Science is Elementary Program.
Summer J. Davis
Summer Davis of Ithaca graduates with a combined bachelor of science degree in occupational science and a master’s of science in occupational therapy, as well as a microcredential in interprofessional collaborative practice. Davis is a University Honors College Scholar, Perry Scholar and president of Pi Theta Epsilon, Tau Chapter. She has served as a teaching assistant, peer mentor, graduate assistant for Accessibility Resources and student admissions recruitment specialist for the Office of Admissions. Outside the classroom, Davis interns at the Center for Assistive Technology.
Megan E. Dwyer
Megan Dwyer of Baldwinsville graduates with a bachelor of science in biological sciences. Dwyer, a University Honors College Scholar, has served as a teaching assistant for the Honors Colloquium and an academic assistant for the first-year residential community. She conducted research in the Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences, the Department of Biological Sciences and at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dwyer volunteers with Danceability, a movement program for individuals with special needs.
Katherine M. Eaton
Katherine Eaton of East Amherst graduates with a bachelor of science degree in biological sciences. Eaton is a University Honors College Scholar and member of the Department of Biological Sciences’ Honors Program. As an Evolutionary Biology Lab teaching assistant, Eaton has taught 60 students. She has done research in biology and geology labs, examining the impact of climate change and overfishing on the evolution of aquatic organisms.
Daniela R. Falcone
Daniela Falcone of West Seneca graduates with a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and a minor in Italian. Falcone is a University Honors College Scholar, and has been a resident adviser, an orientation team leader and a teaching assistant in cellular biology. She traveled abroad to Panama during spring break 2019 to serve on a medical service trip. Falcone also conducts research in a biochemistry laboratory, contributing to advancements in characterizing kidney cancer.
Dennis C. Fedorishin
Dennis Fedorishin of East Amherst graduates with a bachelor of science in computer science. Fedorishin has been a recipient of the nationally prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. His work has contributed to a patent and to peer-reviewed publications. He has participated in numerous poster presentations and received personal project funding. He is currently a software and research engineer at ACV Auctions and a research assistant at UB, working in the field of artificial intelligence research.
Arsh Issany of Great Neck graduates with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences and a bachelor of arts in psychology. Issany has worked as a research assistant in the Department of Nuclear Medicine, as well as in the Maternal and Child Health Lab, where he contributed to publications and grants. He founded the Buffalo chapter of Volunteers Around the World; was vice president of Sub-Board Inc., a multimillion-dollar nonprofit; and has served as the director of student affairs for the undergraduate Student Association.
Lisa R. Marcellus
Lisa Marcellus of Rochester graduates with a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in international business, a bachelor of arts in environmental studies and a minor in Spanish. Marcellus is a University Honors College Scholar and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholar. She has been a resident adviser, teaching assistant, event assistant for the UB Distinguished Speakers Series, president of the Buffalo Undergraduate Consulting Group and leadership peer mentor. She helped rebuild houses in Puerto Rico as part of the first SUNY Stands with Puerto Rico initiative.
Kathleen Ohman of Spencerport graduates with a bachelor of science in biological sciences and a bachelor of arts in psychology, along with a minor in public health. Ohman, a University Honors College Scholar, has received a Presidential Scholarship and Grace W. Capen Award. She has worked as a research assistant in exercise science, psychology and bioacoustics labs, and received the Robert W. Young Award for Undergraduate Research in Acoustics from the Acoustical Society of America. Ohman has also served as music director of the Enchords, a UB a cappella group.
Jillian P. O’Shaughnessy
Jillian O’Shaughnessy of Fairport graduates with a bachelor of science in biotechnology and a bachelor of arts in Spanish. O’Shaughnessy is a University Honors College Scholar. Along with conducting biotechnology research at UB, she co-authored a University of Cambridge Department of Genetics research publication. O’Shaughnessy is a medical assistant, teaching assistant, triathlon champion, president of UB’s Aces Tennis club and a volunteer with Journey’s End Refugee Services. She has been accepted into medical school.
Alyssa Reese of Hilton graduates with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences; a bachelor of arts in the legal studies concentration, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Program; and a minor in Spanish. A University Honors College Ambassador, Reese has been president of the UB Association of Pre-Medical Students and Mock Trial club, and a member of the Royal Pitches a cappella ensemble, Impulse Dance Force and the UB Love Your Melon Crew. She has been involved in 10 research projects and volunteers with Crisis Text Line, the Alzheimer’s Association and Newborns in Need.
David Tallents of Fulton graduates with a bachelor of arts in mathematics-economics and political science, with a concentration in international politics and a minor in English. Tallents is a University Honors College Scholar and received a Presidential Scholarship. An AmeriCorps alumnus, Tallents is also a former Presidential Fellow for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and has published research on American foreign policy.