Environmental center honors founder of SUNY Oswego’s GENIUS Olympiad

OSWEGO, NY – SUNY Oswego chemistry faculty member Fehmi Damkaci recently received an honor at the Center for Environmental Initiatives’ Environmental Excellence Awards in Rochester for his work in creating and growing the GENIUS Olympiad, the college’s global environmental competition for high school students.

The center honored Damkaci at its 39th annual Community Salute to the Environment for his leadership in environmental education and “outstanding commitment to the environment through implementing effective changes.”

More than 200 people attended the awards ceremony at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, including representatives of government, business and industry, civic and environmental groups, professionals and citizens concerned about the environment.

“Your leadership in environmental education is an excellent example of the type of leadership in the NGO (nongovernmental organization)-Education Category we want to recognize with this award,” George Thomas, executive director of the center, wrote in an award letter to Damkaci.

“It is good to be recognized,” Damkaci said. “We’ve been working on this for three years, and it’s not just me, it’s the whole campus who’s working.”

GENIUS — Global ENvironmental Issues-U.S. — is an international high school science, art, writing and design competition where students present solutions to environmental problems using scientific methods and artistic and design disciplines. More than 450 finalists are expected to attend the third annual GENIUS Olympiad June 16 to 21 at SUNY Oswego.

Damkaci said he believes the CEI recognition will help to promote the program as well as assist in applications for funding to make it possible for more students to participate. SUNY Oswego is lead sponsor of the competition, along with the Terra Science and Education Foundation.

“What makes the GENIUS Olympiad is that it’s unique in itself both in the United States and internationally,” he said. “And as a new thing this year, we would like to encourage our cities to implement projects relating to the environment.”

For more information, visit geniusolympiad.org