Outstanding seniors named as presidential scholars

Fifteen Geneseo students were recently named presidential scholars for the 2013-2014 academic year. These students were chosen because they represent a variety of academic areas and exemplify the college’s institutional values. According to the Geneseo website, the presidential scholars serve as ambassadors for the college and are top-achieving members of the senior class.

This year’s scholars are biochemistry and mathematics major Sarah Ackerman, geography major Kristen Balschunat, biology major Laura Duclos, physics and mathematics major Drew Ellison, Spanish and biochemistry major Joe Geraghty, chemistry major Carolyn Levinn, chemistry major Michael Nellist, psychology major Rachel Olin, philosophy and psychology major Rena Pazienza, business administration and international relations major Topher Pike, musical theatre major Alyssa Ramirez, biochemistry major Emily Redington, political science and economics major Martin Rogachefsky, computer science and mathematics major Herb Susmann and mathematics major Suraj Uttamchandani.

The website said that, in order to receive this recognition, the students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.6. They also need to demonstrate academic success throughout the curriculum, which confirms Geneseo’s values of excellence and innovation.

“Each year, students are nominated by departments across the campus to be presidential scholars; a committee of faculty and existing scholars select from these nominations, seeking the highest standards of achievement, integrity and service amongst the candidates,” Provost Carol Long said.

“The presidential scholars work each year to advance the college and to serve as mentors and models to other students,” she said. “We are very grateful for their many contributions to this campus and to the community.”

According to Pike, students were nominated for the honor by one of their professors. Professor of strategic management and small business management Peter Markulis nominated Pike.

“We are expected to participate in admissions and promotion activities for the college,” Pike said. “We are also supposed to come up with projects that are beneficial to the college.”

According to recipients Nellist and Levinn, the scholars attended the freshman convocation and introduced themselves to the incoming students.

“The presidential scholars are supposed to support the president in his initiatives and represent the school for high school students,” Susmann said. “We have to uphold the Geneseo principles.”

According to Susmann, this spring the scholars will meet with parents of high school students and explain the mission of Geneseo and options the college offers.

“I’m very proud to be a representative of Geneseo as a whole,” Nellist said. “That’s one of the primary reasons for this scholarship: to have students to represent what Geneseo stands for and explains what the school is about.”

Although this honor is recent, the recipients said they are excited about the future as presidential scholars.

“I’m looking forward to working with other students to show them all the different opportunities available on campus and elsewhere and teaching them how to seize these opportunities before it’s too late,” Geraghty said.

Ackerman said she is excited about “the opportunity to interact with students in different majors and help the school as much as I can.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the provost and president and bettering Geneseo and advancing the academic mission,” Pike said.

Some of the achievements of the recognized students range from working in national laboratories, studying abroad in countries such as Brazil, Spain, Moscow, Hungary and Nicaragua, assisting Geneseo departments in research endeavors, presenting works at the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, having research published in psychology journals and establishing the Student Advocate Response Team on campus.υ