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SUNY Chancellor Awards Honor Three Oswego Students

OSWEGO — Three SUNY Oswego students active in academics, leadership and community service will receive the 2016 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence — the highest student recognition through the statewide university system.

This year’s Oswego honorees for outstanding achievements inside and outside the classroom are Juanita Diaz, a zoology major with minors in geology and biocultural anthropology; Tyler Pelle, a dual major in meteorology and applied mathematics; and Iain Thompson, a biochemistry major with a pre-health emphasis.

Juanita Diaz

Juanita Diaz
Juanita Diaz

Diaz, a native of Cincinnatus, is a veteran of field and lab work in evolutionary paleoecology, studying Late Devonian mass extinction. She is scheduled this month to make a presentation on her independent study project to the Geological Society of America’s Northeastern Section conference. President and former treasurer of Pride Alliance, Diaz serves on the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and as a resident assistant and formerly was a member of State Singers — all while excelling in the classroom. Her volunteerism has included summers helping with the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference.

The future: “I plan to get my Ph.D. in zoology or ecology and evolutionary biology as I would like to be a professor and work on answering evolutionary questions using phylogenomic methods.”

Tyler Pelle

Tyler Pelle
Tyler Pelle

Pelle, from Sparta, NJ, served as 2015-16 director of SUNY Oswego’s Lake Effect Storm and Research Center, building on field research he did with the Ontario Winter Lake-effect System project. He worked last summer as a National Science Foundation research affiliate at MIT’s Haystack Observatory. Vice president of the Meteorology Club, he has attended national American Meteorological Society meetings, served as counselor for Oswego’s mathematics bridge camp, volunteered with Adopt-a-Grandparent and Team Red, White and Blue, and presented at the Great Lakes Atmospheric Science Symposium. Academic honors include earning the college’s Lewis R. Ritter Upper Division Mathematics Award in 2015.

The future: “This fall, I will be attending the University of California, Irvine, as a Ph.D. candidate in the earth system science program to study the modeling of Arctic sea ice and its response to both natural and forced climate change.”

Iain Thompson

Iain Thompson
Iain Thompson

A nontraditional student from Buffalo majoring in biochemistry, Thompson has studied toxic metals such as lead in Syracuse children and last summer was a researcher at the National Brain Research Centre in New Delhi. President and co-founder of the Pre-Health Care Club, he also is a member of C-STEP Club. Thompson coordinated the Fight Ataxia Together Race, which raised over $15,000 to combat genetic disorder Friedreich’s ataxia. Also a personal trainer, Thompson has worked a variety of jobs to support his education, and interned and volunteered at Oswego Hospital. Last year, he earned the college’s Dr. Walter Freund Memorial Scholarship in pre-health.

The future: “I will be taking my MCAT this summer and applying to medical school for fall 2017. In the interim, I am applying for research positions at several research institutes.”

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recognition ceremony and reception will take place at 2 p.m. April 5, in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.