OSWEGO — Five SUNY Oswego seniors will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence — the highest student recognition through the SUNY system — in ceremonies April 4 at Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.
This year’s Oswego honorees for outstanding achievements inside and outside the classroom are music majors Elizabeth Canfield and Evangeline Canfield, dual political science and communication and social interaction major Barbara Ciceron, biochemistry major Adam Szymaniak and adolescence education major Jon Whitelaw.
The pianist co-founded, with identical twin sister Evangeline, the Rubenstein Society for piano enthusiasts at the college, and has performed for numerous audiences, including the Middle States Showcase, Quest Honors Recitals and her own Senior Recital.
The Fulton resident’s community work has included promoting concert attendance in her hometown, working with children at an Adirondack camp and, with mentor Robert Auler of the music faculty, co-hosting a piano clinic in Pulaski.
She was selected for a summer study program at University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and performed Mozart’s “Double Piano Concerto” with her sister and the College-Community Orchestra.
Volunteering extensively around the region as a piano instructor, accompanist and performer with budding pianists ages 4 to 14, she was selected to perform at the SUNY-wide University Faculty Senate Plenary Showcase.
Among her honors is the 2012 Maurice O. Boyd Scholarship for the music department’s most outstanding upperclassman.
She shares many of the accomplishments and volunteerism of her sister, including dramatized storytelling at Oswego Public Library, performing at the opening of the LaVeck Concert Series with Canadian pianist Christine Vanderkooy, playing for the city of Fulton’s annual tree lighting ceremony and also attending the University of Cincinnati’s summer conservatory program.
For the future, the Canfield twins plan to attend graduate school together for a master of music degree in piano performance, and they eventually hope to become a professional piano duo.
Last spring, Ciceron received a grant to coordinate a women’s conference on sexual assault and domestic violence.
A past president of the Political Science Club, the McNair Scholar serves as treasurer of Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society, a director of the Student Association Programming Board, program coordinator and longtime volunteer at the Newman Center and with Operation Southern Comfort rebuilding homes in New Orleans.
A native of Haiti, Ciceron won the Mrs. Multicultural Award of the Caribbean Student Association. A certified home health aide, she cares for elderly and disabled patients in Brooklyn when she is home.
“I will be attending law school,” Ciceron said of her future plans. “My ultimate dream is to work for the United Nations.”
Szymaniak has worked on four major research projects, submitting for peer-reviewed publication a paper on drug synthesis and presenting his work at five regional and national conferences, including the American Chemical Society’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
The Chemistry Club president tutored groups of chemistry students, volunteered with the Adopt-a-Grandparent program, assisted mentor Fehmi Damkaci of the chemistry faculty with GENIUS Olympiad organization, exhibited scholarly work at Quest and the Summer Scholars Research Symposium and played piano for the College-Community Orchestra and College Hour.
The Syracuse resident has earned numerous academic and research awards and completed a medical internship at Oswego Hospital.
“I will receive a full ride to obtain a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Boston College, or possibly a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from Northeastern University,” Szymaniak said. “I wish to either pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry for drug development, or a career in academia.”
The men’s ice hockey team captain — a second-team All-American — has received several top awards for combining superior academics and athletics, including the SUNY Athletic Conference’s Dr. Sam Molnar Award, the SUNY Chancellor’s Scholar Athlete Award and SUNYAC All-Academic team membership.
The former SUNYAC Rookie of the Year presented on the importance of player-referee understanding at the USA Hockey Referee Convention, participated with five teammates in a wheelchair basketball tournament for Move Along Inc., spent summers at home in Huntsville, Ont., teaching hockey fundamentals to children and served as a mock trial guest judge at Nottingham High School in Syracuse, where he student teaches.
Whitelaw ideally “would like to be fortunate enough to pursue possible opportunities with hockey that would allow me to travel and see other parts of the world,” he said. “Ultimately, regardless of where I end up after Oswego, it is my goal to continue my education and pursue a career in teaching.”