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November 16, 2012
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate names 23 as student ambassadors

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Twenty-three students at Upstate Medical University have been selected as the new class of student ambassadors of the university.

The student ambassadors are selected from the university’s four colleges — Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing — and represent the university at various special campus and community events and activities, including presidential receptions and other high-profile gatherings.

“These students are goodwill envoys for the university,” said Upstate President David R. Smith, M.D. “They are front and center in our outreach efforts and help create a deeper understanding of Upstate’s unique academic mission in this region.”

The students were recognized at a campus ceremony Nov. 8.

Nicole Cifra, an M.D./M.P.H. student, will serve a second term as a student ambassador. “One thing I really like about the program is that it includes students from each of the four colleges, and there is an intentional mix of students at most of the events,” she said.  “It’s nice to meet these colleagues and learn about their experiences at Upstate, as well.”

The student ambassador program was initiated in 2006 as a way for the community to learn more about Upstate by interacting with students, as well as to increase the students’ involvement with the greater Syracuse community. Student ambassadors are regular attendees of university and community functions, putting them in touch with Upstate alumni, donors, civic and cultural leaders.

Cifra recalls serving on a health professions panel for high school students as part of Upstate’s community outreach. The ambassadors spoke about the medical program, offered advice on medical school applications and answered students’ questions.

“I enjoy helping younger students along their career path, so I thought it was a neat opportunity to give them some insight into medical school,” she said.

Student Ambassador Jairo Orozco, a Radiation Therapy student in the College of Health Professions, was able to meet Bill Corr, deputy secretary for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, when he visited campus last November to give a presentation on healthcare reform.

“When the president [David R. Smith] asked if I would like to meet the secretary, I responded with a ‘yes,’” said Orozco. “I never thought I would be talking to someone from the White House about my life goals. I think it’s one of those moment that I will keep in my memory bank.”

Both ambassadors said they highly recommend the program.

“Now being a second-year student ambassador, I can’t wait for the new experience and events I will attend with the president, and most of all new friends that I will meet and share this experience with them.” Orozco said.

The 2012-2013 Student Ambassadors are:

From the College of Graduate Studies: Gregory James Goreeny, Stephen Shinsky, Naman Shah, Jing Bi

From the College of Health Professions: Amy Brandt, Jason Meany (Respiratory Therapy); Amelia Weimar, Lamya Sahraoui (Radiation Therapy); John Knack (Medical Imaging); and Joel Miller, Nicole Hensey (Physician Assistant Program).

From the College of Medicine: Anthony Chiaravolloti, Daniella De Jesus (Class of 2014), Tiffany Bush, Hassan Naqvi (Class of 2015); and Arthur Zak, Stefanos Haddad (Class of 2016).

Returning Ambassadors are:

Carlos Brown, Jr., Nicole M. Cifra, Matthew Connelly, Onecia Hannibal, Jairo Orazco and Anjali Patel

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