Four SEAS students named SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipients

by Gina Carbone

Published April 22, 2020

Jonathan Bessette, Fatak Borhani, Liam Christie and Dennis Fedorishin are among the 14 UB students to receive the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the highest honor SUNY bestows upon its student.


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 from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences:

Jonathan Bessette.

Jonathan Bessette

Jonathan Bessette

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 Borhani.

Fatak Borhani

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.

Liam Christie

Liam Christie

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, a partnership between Westminister Community Charter School, National Grid and UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Dennis Fedorishin.

Dennis Fedorishin

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.