Nine students receive SUNY Chancellor’s Awards

Nine students and recent graduates representing Cornell’s four contract colleges were selected to receive the 2024 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.  

The award acknowledges outstanding achievements demonstrating excellence in academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service and the arts, or diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. A recognition ceremony for awardees across the SUNY system was held April 11 at the Albany Capital Center.  

“Each of these outstanding Cornellians represents, in their own way, the combination of academic excellence and public engagement that is a hallmark of Cornell,” said President Martha E. Pollack. “As a private, Ivy League university with a public mission, Cornell holds a unique place within the SUNY community, and these awards are a wonderful way of recognizing the achievements that partnership makes possible.” 

Cornell’s recipients, whose GPAs all near or exceed 4.0, are:  

Eileen Troconis Gonzalez (College of Veterinary Medicine) of Merida, Venezuela, is a dual DVM/Ph.D. student who will graduate with distinction after conducting extensive research in physiology. She has presented at numerous conferences and co-organized the 2021 Association of Veterinary Scientists Symposium, an international student organization that strives to advance veterinary research and create community among veterinary scientists. She has brought this same desire for community building to Cornell, where she is a leader of the LatinX Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA). With her guidance, LVMA created the noncredit course titled “Introduction to Basic Veterinary Spanish,” for which Gonzalez is a TA. She also works with the Office of DVM Admissions on admissions panels and as an ambassador and tour guide. Within the local community, Gonzalez served as a workshop leader for Expanding Your Horizons, a Cornell conference designed to engage middle and high school girls in STEM subjects.   

Ju Hee Kim ’23 (College of Human Ecology) of New York City graduated in December 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in human biology, health and society and a minor in human development. She was president of the Cornell Elderly Partnership, a social justice organization serving senior citizens in the Cornell community. She was also the student representative for the Vietnam Adverse Childhood Experience Pathfinders Program, a tri-institutional Cornell-VinUNI-Center for Community Development Initiatives community engagement collaboration project. Kim was the CHE Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Council research chair, a biochemistry teaching assistant and a CHE Peer Partnership Program peer mentor. She was an undergraduate researcher in the Fischbach Lab where she focused on researching breast cysts. She simultaneously participated in the Riffin Lab at Weill Cornell Medicine and examined tools for caregivers of patients with dementia. Kim has secured a postbaccalaureate research position at the National Institutes of Health.  

Grace Kwon ’24 (ILR School) of Fairfax, Virginia, transferred to Cornell as a junior after earning an associate’s degree from Northern Virginia Community College, where she received the Global Scholars distinction, which requires an extensive courseload and international experience, as well as a credit internship. Kwon is a member of the ILR Peer Mentor Program, the Speech and Debate Club, Pi Lambda Sigma, and the Global Service-Learning Program in India, and is involved in the Vietnam Engaged Learning Program, where she was a student program assistant.   

Marlee Pincus ’24 (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), of Yorktown Heights, New York, is pursuing a degree in biological engineering and a minor in Spanish. As a cancer survivor, she is interested in bridging the gap in understanding between academic research, the health care industry and patients and started her own line of inquiry in her research lab. She serves weekly at Cayuga Medical Center, where she helps people find resources to cope with new diagnoses, and also volunteers at Cayuga Cancer Center, helping local patients with their diagnoses and treatment. She is also a Tatkon team leader and a teaching assistant. 

Christel-Remy Kuck (CVM), of West Hempstead, New York, works with colleagues to recruit additional students from various backgrounds to help diversify the veterinary profession. As president of Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment, she partnered with Minority Animal Science Students to create a mentorship program between veterinary students and undergraduates that offers advice to minority, first-generation and low-income students on navigating the pre-vet pathway. Kuck received the John Communing Award and the Dean Warnick Scholarship and was inducted into the Phi Zeta Honor Society in her third year. She was also vice president of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative, a group that seeks to empower women to assume more local, state and national leadership roles; Cornell’s was the founding chapter of the organization.  

Joshua Rosenheim ’24 (CALS), of Los Gatos, California, is pursuing a degree in landscape architecture and a minor in music. Rosenheim served as vice president of communications for the Cornell Center for Jewish Living and is also the vice president of the Classical Music Appreciation Club. A classically trained pianist, Rosenheim has performed with student ensembles and given solo recitals at Cornell.  

Nazir Sharifi ’24 (CALS), of Garrison, New York, led a field experiment in four states on sustainable production of dry bean for his honor’s thesis, and was awarded the 2023 Outstanding Undergraduate Award from the New York State Agribusiness Association. He was a team leader for the Climate Smart Communities program in 2023, leading efforts to coordinate with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor the progress of communities in meeting climate change adaptation goals. He was a recruitment executive with the Cornell Residential Sustainability Leaders, director of industrial relations for the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences group, a COVID-19 peer ambassador through Cornell Health, and vice president of the residence hall council for “Low Rise 6/7 Hall.” He has been a member of the Arthur O. Eve Education Opportunity Program since matriculation, is an Office of Diversity and Inclusion Research Scholar, and is also an interviewer in the McNair Research Scholars Program Selection Committee. And, in recognition of his commitment to work in sustainable agriculture, he received the 2023 Solomon Cook Award for Engaged Research and Scholarship.  

Margot Treadwell ’24 (ILR School) of Elma, New York, will graduate with distinction from the ILR School, having written an honors thesis titled “The Motivations of Jordanian Women in Pursuing Higher Education” and completing the Global Scholars Program, spending the summer of 2023 in India, where she studied labor codes. She volunteered with the Buffalo High Road Program and FeedMore WNY, assessing fresh food availability at SNAP retailers. She was the speech team captain for the Cornell Speech and Debate Team, a judicial intern with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York State, and a Future Leader in Public Service Fellow with the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office. 

Rachel Zun ’24 (CHE) of Wilmette, Illinois, is majoring in human development, minoring in biology, and completing the pre-med track. She is a member of Cornell’s Gymnastics Team and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She also leads SAAC’s Mental Health Committee and participates in the Cornell Coalition on Mental Health. She is a tutor for undergraduate students in biology, chemistry and neuroscience, and was a teaching assistant for neurobiology and behavior and human bonding. Zun is a member of Pi Beta Phi and served as its director of service and philanthropy. Under her leadership, the sorority achieved the highest fundraising honors out of all Cornell Greek organizations. Zun volunteers with RallyCap Club, meeting weekly with disabled kids to play sports. She was also tapped into Sphinx Head, one of Cornell’s oldest honor societies, which recognizes strength of character and dedication to leadership and service.  

 Becca Bowes is a freelance writer for the Office of the Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs. 

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