Recently, the State University of New York awarded four Geneseo students with the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Seniors Jesse Goldberg, Michael Roff, Elizabeth Lawrence and Kaitlyn Gayvert were honored for the 2011-12 academic year. These students have demonstrated both academic accomplishment as well as success outside of the classroom.
“Goldberg is a double major in English and philosophy, while Roff studies English with a pre-med concentration,” said professor Beth McCoy of the English department. Having both students in their freshman year, McCoy said she “enjoyed the opportunity to watch both students grow.”
“There’s two things about both Jesse and Michael: It’s that both of them realize that the earlier stuff they did has an impact on what they choose to do later,” said McCoy. “They don’t see their academic work as a series of classes that you hopscotch one to another.”
Goldberg, who has been part of the editorial board of The Lamron since his sophomore year and is president of the Geneseo Karate Club, said he attributes much of his success to the combination of his English major and involvement with The Lamron. “Jesse shows that you can learn from anybody and anything; even if it’s a bad experience, he just absorbs it, and it becomes part of his galaxy,” said McCoy.
“He models interdisciplinary work,” she said. “It makes him valuable as a participating member in a classroom, and for being able to work with students of all different backgrounds.”
Roff said he would define his time at Geneseo as deeply service oriented. As vice president of the service organization Alpha Phi Omega and founder of Heard@Geneseo, a project to record the stories of the elderly to leave a lasting legacy, Roff has completed over 3,000 hours of community service.
“I think what Michael is most concerned about is leaving behind a legacy that will make things easier for people behind him,” said McCoy. “He exemplifies the college’s commitment to sustainability. He’s really interested in leaving behind something the community can continue to work with.”
Recipient Elizabeth Lawrence said she attributes her award to her involvement with leadership programs throughout campus. She is an accounting major and highly involved in the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program, where she has mentored since her freshman year.
“Her interest, support and involvement in the G.O.L.D. program is outstanding,” said Tom Matthews, associate dean of leadership and service at Geneseo. “The thing I most treasure about Elizabeth is that you know she’s given some thought to any issue or problem that we might be discussing.”
“When she makes an observation or suggestion, you pay attention to what she has to say because you know there’s thought behind it,” he said.
Kaitlyn Gayvert, a double major in mathematics and biology, said she attributes her success to her recent research experience as well as her involvement with the tennis team. Her work on Research Experience for Undergrads brought her to national conferences and got her involved with independent research.
“She wants to know what she should do, and when I give her something, she goes and does it,” said Caroline Haddad, associate professor of the mathematics department. “She’s there because she’s motivated.”
“I’ve had smart students who don’t think they need to work hard, and they don’t go anywhere,” she said. “Katilyn, however, has the whole package.”
In terms of future plans, Golberg and Gayvert said they will attend Cornell Univeritsy for the English Ph.D. program and Tri-Institutional computational biology and medicine Ph.D program, respectively. Roff said he expects to return to work on an organic farm near his hometown for a year before attending medical school. Lawrence said she is moving to Charlotte, N.C. this June to work as a financial management associate with Bank of America.