3 May 2019

Science Students Chosen for Prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson presented 210 SUNY students from across the state with the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, including two SUNY Schenectady students: Valerie Lenigk and Chandra Williams.

Photo of student Valerie Lenigk with Dr. Steady Moono, College President, and Dr. Kristina Johnson, SUNY Chancellor, and headshot of student Chandra Williams

About SUNY Schenectady’s Chancellor’s Award Recipients

Valerie Lenigk has a dual major in Mathematics/Science and Science with a concentration in Biology. (She is pictured with Dr. Steady Moono, College President, and Dr. Kristina Johnson, SUNY Chancellor.) A homeschooled student prior to attending SUNY Schenectady, Valerie was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, has been named to the President’s list, and maintains a GPA of 3.86.

Active on campus, Valerie was Secretary of the Student Government Association (SGA) during 2017-2018 and now serves as its President. She was Chair of the SGA Sustainability Committee, spearheading a sustainability initiative that planted trees and hosted a clean-up day to beautify campus. She is associated with the Faculty Student Association (FSA) Board of Directors and was the student representative on the Brand Event Committee.

In addition to all she does on campus, Valerie serves as a junior docent mentor and volunteer at the Albany Pine Bush Nature Preserve, guiding visitors and providing environmental education. She also has been a member of the 2nd Albany Regiment Unit and Schuyler’s Company, volunteering at local historic sites and educating visitors about history and 18th century beer-brewing. In her spare time, she enjoys playing classical piano.

Valerie will graduate next month with her A.S. degree. She plans to further her studies by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Prior to attending SUNY Schenectady, Chandra Williams had already earned her Master of Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany, and B.A. in Political Science from the University at Albany. She decided to attend SUNY Schenectady and change gears to enter the STEM field. Chandra was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, named to the President’s and Dean’s Lists, and maintained a GPA of 3.87. (She is shown above at right in photo.)

While in the Biology II course, Chandra’s original research helped her team earn first place which led to her selection as the College’s representative at SURC (SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference). Active on and off campus, Chandra has tutored her classmates and is a volunteer for the American Red Cross, the Pawsome Pups Preserve Dog Rescue, and HeartsHerd Animal Sanctuary.

Chandra earned her A.S. in Science from SUNY Schenectady in December 2018 and transferred to RPI where she is pursuing her B.S. degree in Biology.

“Award recipients emerged from their campuses this year as the top scholars, athletes, performers, and achievers, as well as a tremendous source of inspiration,” said State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “The students made the choice to be leaders on their campuses, prioritize their studies, and serve their communities. Congratulations to this year’s awardees, and I applaud you for pursuing excellence in all that you do.”

“Valerie and Chandra exemplify excellence both in their work in the classroom and their contributions to our campus and local community,” said Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady. “We are very proud of all that they have accomplished already and look forward to learning about their continued success.”

“To have two of our finest students presented with SUNY Chancellor’s Awards is truly an honor,” said Ann Fleming Brown, Chair of the SUNY Schenectady Board of Trustees. “They are excellent representatives of the College and we wish them well in their future endeavors.”

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.

Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the award.


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