SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher honored New Paltz seniors, Hope Dobrzynski, Alyssa Finck, Jennifer Sánchez and Robb Webb with 2011 Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence at a ceremony on April 5 held in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.
The Chancellor’s Awards, inaugurated in 1997, highlight students who distinguish themselves most prominently by integrating excellence in academic achievement in combination with accomplishments in leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts or career achievement. The grade point average this year for all 249 Chancellor’s Award recipients across the 64 SUNY campuses was 3.8.
“The students we honor today have excelled academically and taken advantage of what SUNY has to offer in and outside the classroom,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “These students are proven leaders, athletes, artists, community servants and much more… I congratulate all of the students… and thank them for the positive impact each has had on SUNY and the communities we serve.”
Hope Dobrzynski ’11 (Psychology) of Long Beach worked for five semesters in Residence Life, where she is now a Community Development Assistant and at the College’s peer counseling center Oasis/Haven, where she is currently a supervisor. After graduation, she plans to study school psychology at Marist College.
“I am so grateful for every opportunity I was given here, and I don’t know what I would have done without it,” said Dobryznski. “I’ve acquired skills and lessons that have definitely changed my perspective and forced me to look at the world differently.”
Alyssa Finck, ’11 (Communication Disorders), two-year co-captain of the field hockey team, was also a recipient of 2010-11 Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award. Finck, has a minor in linguistics and is originally from Hudson. She was an integral part of the Hawks’ success during her four years on the team, exhibiting leadership and skill as both an offensive and defensive player. Finck earned First-Team all State University of New York Athletic Conference honors following the 2010 campaign, marking her first mention on an All-Conference team.
In addition, she served as public relations officer for the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association and was elected president in spring 2010.
Throughout her involvement in athletics she has built an unbreakable “sisterhood” with her teammates. In addition, Finck said she has learned many skills from being part of a team that will benefit her career and her life. “I learned to set aside differences with others and work together. I have learned how to handle situations respectively, overcome obstacles and bring people together,” Finck said.
Since coming to New Paltz, Finck said she has changed considerably. “I’ve figured out what matters most in my life since coming here. I’ve learned to give 100 percent in all areas. Before coming to New Paltz, I always settled, but now I strive to do the best that I can,” Finck said.
“My coach has definitely inspired me … pushing me to the limit in the best way to give it my all. It takes a special person who can make that part of you excel—to come alive.”
Finck plans to attend graduate school at the College of Saint Rose to pursue a master of science in education degree and become a speech language pathologist.
Rob Webb ’11 (Management/Marketing), originally from Hillsborough, N.J. plans to pursue an MBA. He earned the James Fulton Award after his performance at the 2011 SUNYAC Swimming & Diving Championships. Webb is a two-time First-Team All-SUNYAC honoree (2010, 2011) and is a six-time individual finalist at the SUNYAC Championships. He is also an exemplary student: a three-time SUNYAC All-Academic Team member and a two-time SUNYAC Commissioner’s List honoree. Webb’s community involvement includes Adopt-A-Family for Poughkeepsie’s Battered Women’s Shelter.
“My experience here at New Paltz has been very positive and has provided me with an environment to grow, expand my knowledge and to prepare for the future,” Webb said. “Athletics has been vital to my growth at New Paltz. The swim team has given me an area to develop as a leader as well as a team player.” Webb attributed much of his success to the guidance and advice of his coach Scott Whitbeck, head swim coach.
“Rob has brought a passion for swimming and an intensity to training that is rare for college students,” Whitbeck said. “He came here not only to excel as a student, but also because he wanted to compete with the best in his conference as a swimmer. Rob has the rare trio of academic excellence, athletic success and community involvement. I’m really proud of him for this award; it’s much deserved.”
Jennifer Sanchez ’11 (Black Studies/Communication Disorders), from Corona, Queens is president of the Student Association and a Community Development Assistant for Bouton Hall. Sanchez will be attending Teacher’s College, Columbia University, in the fall to study speech language pathology with a bilingual extension.
“My involvement and research as well as my extra-curricular activities have made my time at New Paltz memorable and transforming. I have learned a lot within my field, but even more about myself,” Sanchez said. “I learned about a history that was relevant to my ancestors and the social injustices that are prevalent in our communities. My time at New Paltz has made me a more conscious person and showed me how I can contribute to and serve my community.”
Sanchez’s many mentors include the late Margaret Wade-Lewis (Black Studies), former chair and the director of the Scholar’s Mentorship Program, and Associate Professor Karanja Carroll (Black Studies), chair.