For Immediate Release—Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
(585) 245-5516

Five SUNY Geneseo Students Receive Chancellor's Award

GENESEO, N.Y.—Five State University of New York at Geneseo students have been recognized by SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan with the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence for being among the university's most outstanding students for 2007.

In all, 283 students from SUNY campuses with an average grade point average (GPA) of 3.78 and significant record of contribution to their campus or local community were honored. Geneseo seniors Amanda Brownsten, of North Tonawanda, N.Y.; Christy Finke, of Fairport, N.Y.; Amanda Gitomer, of Bay Shore, N.Y.; Jessica Gucwa, of Tonawanda, N.Y., and Sarah Pinchoff, of East Amherst, N.Y., received the award.

In addition to GPA, candidates for the Chancellor's Award have demonstrated significant contributions to the greater campus community. Each of the honorees has excelled both in academic achievement and in at least one of the following areas: leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, or career achievement. This year's awards were presented April 18 at a ceremony in Albany. The recipients received a framed certificate and medallion to wear at commencement.

"Recipients of this year's awards have excelled academically and, in many cases, far exceeded even their own expectations in their pursuit of higher education and community service," said Chancellor Ryan. "The Chancellor's Award for Excellence is given to the best and the brightest students across the SUNY System. I am pleased to see so many recipients this year from nearly all of our campuses. I commend the campus presidents and their faculty and staff for discovering and enhancing student excellence throughout the year."

Brownsten, a childhood/special education major, served as treasurer of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society of education, and was a member of the international Golden Key Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma national freshman honor society. She also served as president of the Council on Exceptional Children, a resident advisor, admissions tour guide and summer orientation advisor and coordinator. Brownsten won awards for excellence in elementary and special education and was a recipient of several scholarships. In addition, she served as chair of the Autistic Family Support Group Program and fundraising coordinator for the Elementary and Secondary Education Association.

Finke, a childhood/special education major, was a key member of Geneseo's 2005 NCAA Division III national championship women's cross country team. She was inducted into the SUNYAC Cross Country Hall of Fame and holds school records in the 4-by-800 meter relay in women's outdoor track and distance medley relay in women's indoor track. Finke received the Chancellor's Scholar-Athlete Award in 2005 and 2006. She made the All-Academic List/Commissioner's every season. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society of education, the international Golden Key Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma national freshman honor society. Finke also was in Geneseo's Honors Program. She served as a tutor for the Council for Exceptional Children, as a volunteer with Kidstart Preschool and Habitat for Humanity: Collegiate Challenge and as publicity director/historian for the Young Children's Council. Finke served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and as captain of the women's cross country team in 2006. Finke was a two-time qualifier for the NCAA Distance Medley Relay Championship and made the All SUNYAC Team for women's cross country in 2003 and indoor track and cross country in 2004, 2005 and 2006. In addition, Finke studied in Oxford, England, during the summer of 2006.

Gitomer, a double major in English and Spanish, graduated with more than 171 credits, including study abroad programs in Costa Rica and England. A Geneseo Presidential Scholar, Gitomer volunteered in the award-winning Livingston CARES Katrina relief program and as a volunteer art therapist for the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office. She was a member of Phi Sigma Iota international foreign language honor society; La Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispanic/Sigma Delta Pi National Spanish Honor Society; Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society, an international English honor society; the international Golden Key Honor Society; and Phi Eta Sigma national freshman honor society. Gitomer was the recipient of numerous scholarships and wrote an English Honors thesis. In addition, she was a writing tutor for the Writing Learning Center, research assistant for the D.H. Lawrence Review and teaching assistant for English-as-a-Second-Language classes. In addition, she served the College in numerous ways as a facilitator of events, treasurer of Residence Hall Council and member of organizations.

Gucwa, a biochemistry major, was named a prestigious national Barry M. Goldwater Scholar in 2006. She was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society, Beta Beta Beta national biological honor society, the international Golden Key Honor Society and the Phi Eta Sigma national freshmen honor society. She won the Undergraduate Award for Achievement in Organic Chemistry. Gucwa was on the women's swimming and diving team for four years and was selected for the SUNYCUAD All-Academic Team every season. She served as a research assistant to professors of biology and chemistry, as well as an immunology research apprentice at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo in the summer of 2005. Gucwa presented a paper at the National Experimental Biology Conference in 2007 in Washington, D.C., and received a Summer Student Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation in the summer of 2006. She served as a volunteer for the Council for Exceptional Children, American Cancer Society and Alzheimer's Association.

Pinchoff, a double major in English and music, was the principal cellist for the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra. She also served as the crew chief for Geneseo First Response, a student-run medical emergency services provider; the Jewish Student Union's president in 2005-06 and treasurer in 2004-05; and vice president for social outreach for Hillel in 2006. Pinchoff was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society, Sigma Tau Delta international English honors society, the international Golden Key Honor Society and the Phi Eta Sigma national freshmen honor society. In addition, Pinchoff served as the student representative to the Geneseo First Response Board of Directors and was the recipient of numerous scholarships.