Home » Uncategorized » Nine Suffolk County Community College Students Earn Distinguished Student Achievement Award

Nine Suffolk County Community College Students Earn Distinguished Student Achievement Award

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Long Island Press Releases(Long Island, NY) Nine Suffolk County Community College students from the college’s Ammerman Campus were presented with Distinguished Student Achievement Awards for having a “significant positive effect on the community and/or the College”  at an awards ceremony on April 30.
The student recipients, selected by college faculty, are:

  • Courntey Ocasio (Patchogue)
  • Timothy Cary (Greenport)
  • Deirdre Keen (Selden)
  • Bryan Nee  (East Setauket)
  • Elizabeth Ammenwerth (Bayport)
  • Amie Bernstein (Holbrook)
  • Rebecca Serini (Farmingville)
  • Justin Joseph (Shoreham)
  • Angelina Curley  (Sayville)

Excerpts of faculty introductions of several of the award recipients are below.

Elizabeth Ammenwerth (nominated by faculty member J. Andrew Monahan)

This award is to acknowledge not only her scholarship but her contributions to both the college and the community.  Before doing so, I would like to spend a moment outlining her background.  Beth is the recipient of the Daniel B. DePonte Ammerman Campus Student of the Year Award as well as the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.  She has also received a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship.  She is in the Honors Program and a Get There from Here Scholar, as well as a member of Alpha Beta Gamma, Phi Theta Kappa, and Pi Alpha Sigma.  Outside of the classroom she is President of the Community Service Club.  Last semester she worked on a clothing drive.  Recently she also interned with the Town of Babylon’s Beautification Project, coordinating a beach cleanup at Venetian Shores Park.  Her level of commitment is particularly impressive given that she is concurrently a full time student, a full time employee, and also both a wife and mother.  She is also an ordained Minister.  Because of this, many students view her as a role model.  She has my unconditional respect, and, I know, that of my colleagues as well.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Beth Ammenwerth, recipient of the Distinguished Student Achievement Award.

Justin Joseph (as nominated by Counselor Matthew Zisel)

Justin is a sincere humanitarian. He has organized campus-based sporting events twice this year to collect food for the Long Island Cares food pantry. He has volunteered at Good Shepard Hospice, where he provided a day of caregiving to young children who had experienced the loss of a loved one. The event, known as the Children’s Holiday Party, was an experience that he has told me that he will never forget. I am familiar with a few of Justin’s ambitions in life, and most of them have to do with assisting less advantaged people. All of Justin’s efforts in these endeavors come from a special place- his heart. He is as sincere as they come.
In addition to his leadership in community service initiatives, Justin is an academic leader as well. While he is primarily interested in mathematics, he fully appreciates all types of learning. From Calculus, to Chemistry, to the Philosophy of Human Liberation- Justin celebrates rigorous academic of study. He is a naturally curious young man.

I would like to congratulate Justin! He has distinguished himself as a student leader, a scholar, and perhaps most importantly, as a friend to all that have been privileged to know him.

Courtney Ocasio (as nominated by Courtney Brewer, PhD, Asst. Prof. of Psychology)

I am very pleased to present this Distinguished Student Achievement Award to Courtney Ocasio.  Courtney has served as President of the Ammerman Campus chapter of Psi Beta, the National Honor Society in Psychology, for the past school year, and I have had the pleasure of working with her as the faculty advisor for Psi Beta.

I have had past presidents before, but none like Courtney.  She eagerly stepped forward to assume this leadership position and has upheld the standards of the office in every way.  I’ve seen firsthand how Courtney has acted as an excellent role model for her peers, and can always be counted on to help make the chapter run smoothly in any way, from her one-woman membership drive which brought in 20 new members, to working bake sales, to coordinating and collaborating with her peers in order to create Psi Beta’s Stress Prevention and Management presentation during the library’s Wellness Week earlier this month.  Courtney was the driving force behind what turned out to be an informative, interactive, and very impressive presentation designed to benefit the campus community. All this while maintaining her 4.0 GPA, and being an active member of Phi Theta Kappa.

Courtney’s passion is for helping children, and she plans to dedicate her future academic and career path to this end.  She understands the value of her education in providing her with the necessary tools to meet her goals.  She is an active member of the communities to which she belongs, both on and off campus, and has been an asset to our College.  She is a shining example of what Suffolk has to offer the world in our graduates.  I have no doubt she will be a Suffolk “success story” at the end of her journey.  Courtney will be a welcome and valuable addition to any school, program, or organization that is fortunate enough to have her.  It has been not only a pleasure, but an honor to work with her, and she is truly a “distinguished student”.  Congratulations Courtney, and thank you.

Angelina Curley (as nominated by Marianne McNamara; Asst. Prof. of Biology)

It is my great pleasure to award Angelina Curley with the Distinguished Student Award for 2014. I first met Angelina as a student in my BIO152 class last fall. She immediately made an impression by asking insightful and thoughtful questions on even the most boring of material. While her aptitude for learning is tremendous, it is overshadowed only by her passion for and commitment to outreach and community service. Since January 2013, Angelina has served as president of the Biology Club at SCCC.  During this time, she coordinated a campus blood drive with the American Red Cross, collecting over fifty pints of blood for those in need. She also organized an organ donor awareness event after learning that New York was ranked 47th in the US for registered organ donors. This event drew over 60 faculty and students and generated over a dozen new signatures for organ donation. Angelina also arranged trips to the 17th Annual Stony Brook Mind and Brain Conference, the Bodies exhibit in New York City, and helped to organize a special visit to Unity Drive Elementary School in Centereach providing first graders a lesson in bone anatomy. This event received an incredible amount of praise and laid the foundation for future events at this and other schools on Long Island. Not stopping there, Angelina also organized numerous guest lectures during her tenure as Bio Club president. These lectures included a speaker who described to SCCC students their personal account of overcoming Multiple Sclerosis through changes in lifestyle and nutrition modification. Angelina and her club also hosted a fundraising bake sale and organized a book drive to collect gently-used children’s books to those in need during the holidays. Angelina is humble and sincere, she does all of this without any need for commendation or praise, and truly views outreach and community involvement as an ongoing responsibility. She is able to balance these efforts with an excellent academic record, while working full-time and providing primary care of an older relative.
It is with great pride that I present her today with Suffolk County Community College’s Distinguished Student Award.

Bryan Nee (as nominated by Steven Lantz-Gefroh; Prof. of Theatre)

It is my pleasure to introduce the next recipient of the Faculty Senate—Distinguished Student Achievement Award:  Bryan Nee.  Bryan—come on up!  Bryan is a winner of the 2014 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, has been included in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, has received the “Get There From Here” Scholarship, was a finalist for the “Stay on Long Island” Scholarship, has earned Pi Alpha Sigma honors and continues to make the Dean’s List with a 3.8 GPA.  He also serves as a volunteer firefighter and assistant youth football coach in his community and has been an Orientation leader, mentor for young theatre students, my student aid in the department’s Stage Combat class and a successful member of the Suffolk Forensics Team.

These accomplishments alone would have qualified Bryan for the DSA. But what pushed his nomination over the top for us, was his work in the theatre department and the regional and national accolades he has received from the Kennedy Center—American College Theatre Festival and its Acting Competition also known as the Irene Ryans.

Every year Suffolk competes in both performance and technical events against some of the top 4-year colleges and Masters Programs in the six states that comprise the New England Region.  Not only has Bryan had major roles in five productions here at Suffolk but he has also consistently excelled as an Irene Ryan nominee and partner during these Festivals.  In January of 2013, he served as partner to Oya Bangura.  They won that regional competition and in April of last year, took first place in the National Irene Ryans in Washington, DC.  In January of this year, Bryan returned to the Festival as partner to Jack Weppler.  No national title this time but a strong showing once again in our Region as the only participants from a community college in the final round.

Bryan is a throwback to another generation, which speaks well of his upbringing.  He embraces the concepts of honor, loyalty and integrity and strives to live his life by them.  He has this tough guy exterior; but, inside—the sensitive soul of an artist; although he would never admit this in public.  He is a perfectionist.  He leads by example, he works hard, never complains and inspires others to follow suit.  That tireless work ethic, combined with his talent, dedication and achievements in the community and on the collegiate level, along with his accomplishments on the regional and national stages of the Kennedy Center set him apart.

I have been proud to serve as his professor, his director and his mentor during his tenure here at Suffolk.  Last year he shared this Award with the Cast and Crew of The Foreigner.  This year I am honored to present him with his very own.  Congratulations Bryan!

Timothy Carey (as nominated by Christina Bosco; Adjunct  Instructor, History)

I first met Tim when he sat in the front of my Western Civ II class last fall.  It quickly became clear that he was the kind of student professors hope most for– inquisitive, thoughtful, and energetic.  In the time he’s been here, Tim has devoted himself to his education, using this opportunity to engage with all that Suffolk has to offer.  Earning Dean’s list his first semester, Tim’s voracious thirst for knowledge makes him a stand-out student.  Tim originally pursued STEM, thinking, like many students that that is his best avenue for a career.  After dedicating countless hours to math and science, he came to the conclusion that he loved liberal arts and it was better to pursue his passion and interests to truly make his time at Suffolk well spent.

While at Suffolk Tim has discovered a love of history and has become president of the History Club.  Tim worked hard to ensure that the History Club activities were a success while also remaining active in the Student Veterans Association. Several veterans joined the History Club on our recent trip to the Statue of Liberty and because of Tim’s involvement, next semester the History Club and SVA will be working together on events.   Throughout the semester he has actively participated in organizing activities and even volunteered his time, rides and assistance so that any student who wants to join us can do so.  It’s been a pleasure to watch as shy students come out of their shell because Tim took an interest and his easy demeanor makes everyone feel included.

Tim leads by example and his confidence and commitment to school inspires others. He considers his opportunity to study at Suffolk a blessing and is excited about the chance to start a new career.  Given his determination and ability, I have no doubt that he’ll find great success in the future.  It is a privilege to give him this award today.

Amie Bernstein (as nominated by Deborah Provenzano; Professor, Library)

The primary criterion considered when bestowing a Distinguished Student Award is inspiration and significant positive effects on the campus and community.

Think about the traits of people who have inspired you.  You probably think of courage – generosity – commitment – kindness and vision; the same traits we see in strong leaders.  I have seen each of these traits in Ms. Amie Bernstein.

Amie was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for two year colleges in 2012 and has since held significant positions in that organization, most recently as its president. Last month she was nominated for and elected to serve as the president of all NYS PTK chapters. No Suffolk County Community College student has ever had this distinction conferred upon them.

When I first met Ms. Bernstein I noticed her ability to bring her fellow students into whatever group she was working with. Her sincerity and commitment to the task at hand are obvious to all who have worked with her. I have seen Amie reach out and bring a student she has never met before to a campus-sponsored event by simply walking up to them with an explanation of what the group was working on. Just like that – – she manages to get others involved

Amie is generous with her time and courageous in her vision. She was one of the guiding forces in organizing this year’s SUNY Commit to Complete day, helped make last month’s PTK Induction ceremony the most creative and memorable one yet (for those of you who were there, you know what I am talking about), and along with her fellow Phi Theta Kappans, brought together all three campus PTK chapters for a full evening of scholarship and fun at the first ever Chapters Unite program. Earlier this month Amie traveled up to Albany, in a very swanky car, to receive a Chancellors’ Award for Student Excellence from Chancellor Zimpher.

Amie has helped to expand our successful Peer Mentoring Program and completed a leadership course offered by the Office of Campus Activities and Student Leadership Development.  Her work inside of the classroom has her not only as a member of PTK, but also as member of  Psi Beta, the Psychology Honor Society.  Next week, Amie will be inducted into Sigma Kappa Delta, the English Honor society. Amie is a courageous person and strong humble leader. She has what it takes.

Thank you Amie for everything you have done here at Suffolk.

Lastly, I want to thank Amie’s family for being here today and for always being there for Amie. Their dedication to raising a courageous visionary has benefited every student, faculty member and administrator here at the College.

Source: Long Island Exchange


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