Upstate News

May 2, 2008
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Two students win SUNY’s highest honor

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — SUNY Upstate Medical University students Benjamin Bert and Nicole Flaherty have been honored as winners of the 2008 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. Bert and Flaherty are among 275 college students from SUNY campuses to receive the award, presented annually to students who earn a grade point average of 3.78 or higher and who make significant contributions to their campus or local community. The award consists of a framed certificate and a medallion that is traditionally worn at commencement.

“This year’s recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence are among the most gifted and talented students in the entire SUNY system and I congratulate them, their families and the campuses for all their achievements,” said interim SUNY Chancellor Dr. John B. Clark.

Bert, who will receive a Doctor of Medicine degree at Commencement May 18, is a member of the SUNY Upstate admissions committee, the admissions task force, a President’s student ambassador and president of the Campus Activities Board. He was inducted to the Gold Humanism Honor Society and received the Medical Alumni Citizen Award.

“Ben is not only a pillar of the community, but also the foundation many of his friends rely on,” said Bert’s classmate Jonathan Brugger, who nominated Bert for the award. “His warm, direct and cheerful approach to leadership makes everyone motivated to accomplish the task.”

Bert is a native of San Francisco.

At Commencement May 18, Flaherty will receive a bachelor of science degree in medical biotechnology from the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences in College of Health Professions.

Flaherty’s academic excellence has consistently earned her the Dean’s honor roll as well as the SUNY Upstate Department of Pathology Scholarship. She is class treasurer, an admissions ambassador, Campus Activities Board member and a member of the martial arts club. She served as an intern in the academic research laboratory of Rosemary Rochford, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

“Dr. Rochford was so impressed with the outcome of Nicole’s work regarding African Burkitt’s lymphoma that she has since included Nicole’s data in a current grant application,” said Susan S. Graham, associate professor and chair of SUNY Upstate’s Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. In addition to this research, Flaherty also interned in the New York State Biodefense Laboratory of the state Health Department’s Wadsworth Center, where she worked on the development of an assay for the detection of a biotoxin.

Flaherty is a native of Queensbury, N.Y.

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