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By James Dean
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  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Biology
  • Evolution
  • Environment
  • Water
  • Climate
A diverse group of students, three of which are CALS, have been selected to receive the 2021 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

The award acknowledges outstanding achievements that demonstrate excellence in areas including academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service, or the arts, according to SUNY. A virtual recognition ceremony for around 130 awardees across the SUNY system is scheduled for April 14 at 2 p.m.

Enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), College of Human Ecology (CHE), College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), Cornell’s recipients, who all boast GPAs near or exceeding 4.0, are:

  • Jack Elstner ’21 (CALS) of Stevensville, Maryland, is an earth and atmospheric sciences major focused on climate dynamics and ocean science. Faculty last year selected Elstner to participate in field research coral reef ecology to humpback whale bioacoustics. He capped a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hollings Scholarship with research informing his thesis on COVID-19’s impact on urban fossil fuel emissions in New York City. Elstner served as a squad member for the Cornell University Emergency Medical Service, and has taught photography and coached youth baseball and softball in underserved communities.
  • Deana Gonzales ’21 (CALS) of Budd Lake, New Jersey, is an environment and sustainability major with a concentration in policy and governance. While maintaining an outstanding academic record, Gonzales has led numerous campus activities focused on service, including founding a club that provided environmental science enrichment to elementary school students; serving as president of the Cornell Computer Reuse Association and Zambia Community Education Initiative; and as co-chair of the Student Assembly’s City and Local Affairs Committee.
  • Sabrina Shih ’21 (CALS) of Rhinebeck, New York, is a biological sciences major who transferred from Binghamton University as a sophomore and plans to pursue a medical career. Shih’s honors research focusing on fish evolution uses advanced radiology, anatomical illustration and phylogenetic methods. She created an art therapy program for the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County and Cayuga Medical Center, and started an online sustainable fashion business that donated proceeds to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
  • Abigail Brown ’21 (CHE) of Fairfax, Virginia, is a design and environmental analysis major with a minor in environment and sustainability. In addition to regular dean’s list honors, Brown has performed pro bono design work for projects involving Cornell Sustainability Consultants, a youth homeless shelter in Ithaca and a community center in Nepal. She is a certified wilderness first responder and trainer and has led YMCA and 4-H youth outdoor education programs.
  • Terrill Malone ’21 (ILR) of Belleville, Michigan, is an industrial and labor relations major who plans to attend law school. Malone gained international experience through the ILR Global Service Learning program in Mysore, India, and the ILR/University College Dublin program, where he became the first first-generation college student to receive an award for the top GPA among ILR participants. He has served as a teaching assistant for ILR’s Hopi and Navajo Mediation Engaged Learning program and as an ILR Ambassador, founder of the Cornell Lending Library and Minority ILR Student Organization board member.
  • Lindsay Seewald ’21 (CVM), of Duxbury, Massachusetts, is a doctor of veterinary medicine candidate. Seewald has consistently ranked first in her class, contributed to more than a dozen scientific publications (as lead author on three), served as a teaching assistant and peer tutor, and run an independent academic consulting business, according to her nomination. She was inducted into Phi Zeta, the Veterinary Honor Society, in 2019, and in 2020 received one of three Coyote Rock Ranch Scholarships awarded nationally by the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
  • Mohammed Ullah ’21 (CHE) of Brooklyn, New York, is a human biology, health and society major with minors in computer science and health policy. Ullah’s neurodegenerative research through the Weill Cornell Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology resulted in two co-authored, peer-reviewed publications last year. He has served in several peer mentorship roles and worked with the Cornell Bangladeshi Students Association to support Bangladeshis suffering financial hardship during the pandemic. Creatively, Ullah is co-president and former performance leader of Cornell Sitara, a Bollywood fusion dance troupe.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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