Recent Upstate graduates Kasandra Scales and Chigozie Onyinanya were honored before Commencement with 2012 SUNY Chancellor Awards for Student Excellence.
Kasandra and Chigozie are among 257 students from the 64 State University of New York campuses to receive this prestigious award.
Chigozie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Medical Biotechnology from our College of Health Professions. He will apply to medical school and has an interest in public health and in working with children who are diagnosed with autism.
Chigozie served in the elected statewide position of director of Campus Relations for SUNY Student Assembly, and was involved in many organizations and activities at Upstate — including resident assistant at Clark Tower residence hall, hospital volunteer, and mentor in the Mentors in Healthcare program for underrepresented students pursuing healthcare careers.
Kasandra graduated from our College of Medicine and will stay at Upstate for her medical residency placement in obstetrics/gynecology.
In 2009, Kasandra was selected as one of only 12 medical students nationwide to receive the American Medical Association Foundation Minority Scholar Award. She is the first Upstate student ever to receive the $10,000 scholarship.
The AMA Foundation awards recognize scholastic achievement, financial need and personal commitment to improving minority health.
Kasandra drafted a policy, approved by the AMA, to improve public health measures for vulnerable populations in disasters. This was inspired by her work with Hurricane Katrina survivors while she pursued her master’s degree in public health at Columbia University before coming to Upstate.
She was awarded a research fellowship from The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease in 2010, where she was involved in the Diabetes Support Project at Upstate’s Joslin Diabetes Center.
“The students we honor have taken full advantage of the academic and extracurricular programs that SUNY provides both in the classroom and in the community,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “These proven leaders truly represent the power of SUNY.”
– adapted from Upstate Online, May 10-17.