For Immediate Release — July 9, 2003



GENESEO, N.Y. — Four SUNY Geneseo seniors have been named recipients of 2003 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence: Tracie Klusek of Kenmore, N.Y., Bethany Lipa of North Tonawanda, N.Y., Summer Raines of Rochester, N.Y., and Melissa White of Naples, N.Y.

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence acknowledges students who have received recognition for student excellence. In all, 283 students from 61 SUNY campuses were recognized this year for their accomplishments in the areas of academics, leadership, athletics, creative and performing arts, community services, entrepreneurship or career achievement.

Klusek was one of five students nationwide to receive the Scripps Howard "Most Valuable Staffer" Award. Competition for this award is open to students who work at U.S. college broadcast stations. This award included a $5,000 scholarship and an additional $5,000 matching grant to Geneseo’s WGSU-FM station.

A communication major, Klusek also earned the Campus Media Leadership Scholarship from the Geneseo Foundation, which recognized her outstanding leadership in campus media. She also earned the Foundation’s Mel Allen Award, a competitive scholarship which requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and participation in at least one of the electronic or print media organizations on campus.

Lipa, a biochemistry major, was one of two students admitted to the prestigious internship program at Oxford University in the summer of 2001. With a focus on organic chemistry research, Lipa studied carbohydrates with respect to intercellular recognition and community.

In the summer of 2002, she earned a summer research grant to work with Geneseo Associate Professor of Chemistry Wendy Pogozelski on the effect of radiation on mitochondrial DNA. The grant was issued by the Council for Undergraduate Research, or CUR, and the CUR Summer Research Grant Program is a highly competitive national program that requires joint application by the undergraduate student and faculty mentor. Only 14 of these grants were awarded nationwide in 2002.

In addition, Lipa was awarded second place at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Fifth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. At this symposium, research was submitted by 150 undergraduates from ten states and the District of Columbia. Contributions focused on both the diverse sub-disciplines of chemistry and biology as well as the broad interface areas shared by these two major disciplines. Lipa presented her research on mitochondrial DNA at the symposium.

Lipa has been accepted to the University of Buffalo Medical School.

Biochemistry major Summer Raines received the Barry M. Goldwater Foundation Award in 2002, the most prestigious undergraduate science award in the United States. The Goldwater Foundation aims to "provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in those fields." In 2002, only six Goldwater Scholarships were awarded across the SUNY system. Raines was the only senior from a SUNY four-year college to receive this scholarship.

In the summer of 2000 and 2001, and again in December 2000 and January 2001, Raines participated in a competitive undergraduate intern program at Eastman Kodak Company. Her work for the company focused on chemical management.

She was one of four students accepted to a competitive admission internship at Oxford University, and spent the summer of 2002 there working on carbohydrate synthesis. She presented her findings at the 2002 University of Maryland Baltimore Symposium, as well as at Geneseo.

From September 2001 to the end of the 2002-03 academic year, Raines was a Geneseo Research Foundation Fellow, having earned a competitive grant to work with a faculty mentor on the effect of radiation on mitochondrial DNA. She is also a member of Phi Eta Sigma national honor society and the Golden Key Honor Society.

Melissa White became a six-time All-American at Geneseo by finishing second in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Division III Track and Field championships at St. Lawrence University this spring. White ran the distance in a new school record time of 34:13.85 as the winner crossed the line in 34:08.59. In addition, she was named the NCAA Atlantic Region Runner of the Year at the championship awards dinner in May. The All-American Award recognizes scholar-athletes from NCAA Division III institutions who have demonstrated a high degree of excellence in academics and athletics.

She also earned a national championship title for Geneseo at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field championships in March, held at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. She won the 5,000-meter run, setting a meet record and a DePauw track center record time of 16 minutes, 39.16 seconds.

In addition to her achievements on the field, White has earned a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their last year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The NCAA postgraduate award is a $6,900 scholarship that White may use for part-time or full-time postgraduate study at the university or professional school of her choice.

A business administration major, White was also honored as the Rochester Press Radio Club Frontier Female College Athlete of the Year.

White earned distinction with two All-American certificates in outdoor track in May of 2002 and her dominating cross country season in the fall of 2002. White won individual titles at the SUNYAC, NYSCTC and NCAA Atlantic Region races before finishing third nationally at the NCAA Division III championships. She led Geneseo to team titles at all three major races and an 18th place finish at the nationals.

"These students are among the State University’s best and brightest," said Chancellor Robert L. King. "Their commitment not only to academic excellence, but also to serving the wider community indicates they are likely to emerge as New York’s future leaders. I am enormously proud of these students and very pleased to be able to recognize their accomplishments."

Chancellor’s Award nominees were screened through a rigorous selection process. First a campus selection committee reviewed outstanding graduating students. The surviving nominations were then forwarded to the Office of University Life in Albany for a second round of review. Finalists were then recommended to the Chancellor.

In addition to grade point average, candidates for the Chancellor’s Award must have demonstrated significant contributions to the greater campus community.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. Each student received a framed certificate and a medallion.

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