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Students Chosen As Recipients Of 2024 SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence


SUNY Schenectady is pleased to announce that Melody Roper, Culinary Arts major, and Parmesh Thakoordial ’23, Science alumnus, have been chosen as recipients of the 2024 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence. The Chancellor's Awards recognize students who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and the integration of SUNY excellence within many aspects of their lives in areas such as academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service, or the arts. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by the University.

Melody and Parmesh will be recognized along with Chancellor’s Award recipients from campuses across the state during a special ceremony on April 11 at the Albany Capital Center in downtown Albany.

Melody Roper holding dish of baked goods, in culinary uniform, in culinary lab

Melody Roper, Culinary Arts

“A natural leader whose dedication, judgement, and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Coast Guard (USCG).” That’s how the USCG fittingly described Chief Petty Officer Melody Roper when she was a recipient of The Coast Guard Commendation Medal in 2022. She is still with the USCG and also a Culinary Arts major at SUNY Schenectady. After she was selected for Advanced Education Training in 2021 through the Coast Guard Advanced Education Program, she moved from Miami, Fla., to the Capital Region to learn from the faculty chefs at the College.

“I am extremely passionate about the Culinary Arts and the people who dedicated their lives to this profession,” Melody shared. “My experience at SUNY Schenectady has been enlightening and made me eager to learn and share knowledge more than ever. I cannot thank my instructors at the College enough for motivating and inspiring me and my peers to push past limitations and always aim for perfection.”

A member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Melody has carried a 4.0 GPA since her first semester at the College. This semester, she was the Student Manager of the Banquet Management class while the Air National Guard held its annual dinner on campus to honor newly inducted Senior Noncommissioned Officers to the rank of Master Sergeant. Melody applied the appropriate military protocol for the evening and she was able to share the appropriate rules of conduct with her classmates which made the entire experience extremely memorable for her peers, instructor, and the military guests.

Melody will graduate in May and move to Petaluma, Calif., where she will be stationed at the USCG Training Center and share what she’s learned with other USCG members as a culinary arts instructor.

Parmesh Thakoordial at microscope in Biotechnology Lab

Parmesh Thakoordial ’23, Science

Parmesh has a mission: to become a physician and scientist, and bridge the gap between clinicians and laboratories so that research and patient information is easily shared between the two. He’s on his way as a first-year honors student at the University at Albany pursuing his two bachelor’s degrees, a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and a B.A. in Psychology. His diverse research interests include regenerative medicine, community health research, bioinformatics, and drug delivery therapy. Parmesh is also on his third year as a volunteer in the Emergency Department at Ellis Hospital, where he assists with moving patients, helping patients check in, and assisting physicians and nurses with supplies.

“As a West Indian American, I am extremely aware of the disproportionate impact that diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, have on my community,” he said. “This motivates me to pursue a career as a physician-scientist so that I can develop cures that will directly impact my community.”

A member of the Smart Transfer Program, Parmesh graduated from Schenectady High School in June 2023 and then SUNY Schenectady in August 2023 with his Associate degree in Science, while maintaining a 3.98 GPA. He was one of only 20 college students from across the country named to the All USA Academic Team, chosen from among more than 2,400 students nominated for this recognition. He was the only student from New York state on the team.

Parmesh was a campus leader as Vice President of the Student Government Association. He was named to Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, participated in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and conducted research at Vale Park in Schenectady. He is also an American Red Cross Blood Drive Donor Ambassador, helping to facilitate blood drives in the Capital Region since 2019.