2010 Award Recipients

The University at Albany Alumni Association traditionally recognizes alumni and friends of the University for their outstanding achievements and service to the University and community. These individuals personify the University's commitment to excellence and service and bring distinction to themselves and to our alma mater.


Citizen of the University
Marie and Larry Shore

Distinguished Alumni Award
Michael J. Castellana, B.S.'84, M.B.A.'92
Bertha E. Brimmer Medal
Annette Romano, M.S.'90
Excellence in Alumni Service Award
DeForest R. Hinman B.S.'05
Excellence in Arts and Letters Award
Tania Modleski B.A.70, M.A.'71
Excellence in Business Award
Steven M. Zelin B.S.'84
Excellence in Community Service Award
Bill Barnette M.S.W.'81
Excellence in Education Award
Ann Marie Murray M.A.'75, M.S.'98, Ph.D.'02
Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Benjamin R. Bloomstone B.S.'79
Excellence in Public Service
Deborah VanAmerongen M.P.A.'92
Excellence in Science & Technology
Hany Farid M.S.'92
Outstanding Young Alumni
Karen C. Kelly, M.S.'08
International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement
Bhupendra N. Dev. Ph.D.'85

Citizen of the University

Marie and Larry Shore

Countless alumni give back to the University at Albany every year. But what makes the contributions of Marie and Larry Shore so significant – outside of the quality and depth of their service – is that the Shores are not UAlbany alumni. They are not tied to the University through a sense of alumni loyalty or fond college memories. Instead, their support stems from a deep commitment to education and their belief that UAlbany can provide a bright future to young people from their community and around the world. They regard UAlbany as a major Capital Region educational and economic asset, and an exceptional source for personal growth.

Larry and Marie have been involved with the University for more than 15 years, lending their support through a number of avenues. Larry joined the UAlbany Foundation board in 1993, retiring in 2008. “Attracting Larry Shore, a very successful corporate executive, to the UAlbany Foundation board was a coup,” said George Hearst III, current board president. “Larry served multiple terms for more than 15 years on the board. His business acumen helped to shape our organization’s operations and practices, and his financial knowledge was a crucial asset as the Foundation grew.”

Both Larry and Marie are College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Fellows, a group established to engage community members in the life of the college. Larry also is a member of the CAS dean’s advisory board. “Larry’s warm, engaging personality and judgment have been great assets to the advisory board,” said Dean Edelgard Wulfert. “In addition to his exemplary volunteer commitment, Larry and Marie have addressed graduate student support – one of the college’s most critical needs – through their philanthropy.”

In 2002, the Shores established the Lawrence and Marie Shore Life Sciences Graduate Scholarship to support graduate students pursuing degrees in biological sciences, chemistry, psychology or forensic sciences. “The Shore Fellowship has been instrumental in providing financial support to some of our most promising students,” said Albert Millis, professor of biological sciences and scientific director for Life Sciences, “facilitating the development of the next generation of bio-medical scientists and faculty. Awardees have obtained positions in some of America’s most distinguished academic institutions.”

Marie and Larry also have teamed up to support the School of Social Welfare; they are actively involved in programming for the New York State Capital Region OASIS, sponsored locally though the school. The nonprofit organization, designed to enhance the quality of life for mature adults, offers educational programs in the arts, humanities, wellness, technology and volunteer service.

In addition to their University service, the Shores currently support and serve on the boards of the Albany-Tula Alliance, Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar, Albany Institute of History and Art, and Albany ProMusica. “Larry and Marie are certainly Citizens of the University,” Hearst noted, “but I would add that they are truly Citizens of our Capital Region, as well. They have really made a difference for public higher education.”

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Distinguished Alumni


Michael J. Castellana, B.S.’84, M.B.A.’92
What gives Michael Castellana his edge? He still feels like the new kid on the block. Although Castellana has been leading SEFCU, the largest credit union in the Capital District, for more than 20 years, he tries to start each day with fresh eyes, helping him identify opportunities and areas needing improvement. It’s an approach that has paid off for Castellana; SEFCU; its members; and hundreds of non-profits in the Capital District, Binghamton, Buffalo and Syracuse that have benefited from his vision.

As SEFCU’s president and CEO, Castellana leads the seventh-largest credit union in New York State and one of the 100 largest in the country. He directs all functional areas and is responsible for business planning and asset management. During his tenure, Castellana has successfully negotiated and completed six mergers throughout the Capital Region, the Southern Tier of New York and the Buffalo region. He has overseen the growth of the credit union, which now boasts nearly 190,000 members, 39 branches and assets of $2 billion. "Michael is the most dynamic, forward-thinking leader I have ever met,” said SEFCU Board Member Tim Jennings. “His selfless actions support SEFCU members and staff, corporate business partners, and the communities SEFCU serves.”

Castellana has put his business acumen to work for his alma mater as well. As a member of The University at Albany Foundation Board of Directors since 2006, “Michael has been a major asset,” said Foundation and University at Albany President George Philip ’69,’73. “He has supported a wide range of initiatives at UAlbany, including the Albany High School Alliance, the Journey Program, the Kermit L. Hall and Phyllis A. Hall Inaugural Scholarship, and the naming of the SEFCU Arena. His enthusiasm and commitment have raised the profile of UAlbany in the community.”

Castellana also is committed to community service; a minimum of 25 percent of the credit union’s income goes back into the community. But his service extends beyond his involvement with SEFCU; for Castellana, service is also very personal. He serves on the boards of the Capitalize Albany Corporation and Gilda’s Club of the Capital Region. Castellana also sits on the advisory boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Anne Institute, the UAlbany MBA Advisory Council, the Hudson Valley Community College President’s Advisory Council and RPI’s Lally School of Management Dean's Council.

“Michael has one direction – forward – and one approach – fully committed,” said Bob Blackman, chairman of the board of Gilda’s Club Capital Region NY, a five-year-old organization that provides support and education for those whose lives have been touched by cancer. Castellana’s “great compassion and generosity,” Blackman added, have made it possible for thousands of community residents to benefit from Gilda’s Club services. “Once, during an interview, Michael paused and quietly shared how cancer had touched his family. Michael took from that personal experience … and turned it into an opportunity to be of service to others. Michael is the epitome of what a business and community leader is and should be.”

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Bertha E. Brimmer Medal

Annette Romano, M.S.’90

Annette Romano is a dedicated educator with more than 20 years’ experience as a teacher of special education, kindergarten, and first and second grades. She also has the distinction of being one of the first 100 teachers in New York to become National Board certified, and recently became the National Board Program coordinator for the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center (GCRTC).
As a teacher, Romano was known for her commitment, creativity and ability to build consensus. Lynn Macan, superintendant of Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District, says that, as a teacher at Niskayuna schools, Romano engendered great respect and admiration from colleagues, students and parents alike. “She is the type of person who makes everyone around her better, and she always takes seriously her responsibilities – to her students and families, as well as to her profession. I marvel at her knowledge, professionalism, seemingly unending energy and perseverance.”
Romano was a key player in revamping the district’s approach to sustained professional development and wrote a professional development plan for the district. Her commitment to professional development led her to become part of a cohort of teachers who decided to vie for National Board Certification (NBC), the teaching profession’s highest credential. Macan said: “I will never forget Annette saying to me one day when reflecting on the process and its impact, ‘I will never be able to sleep right again …,’ as she was constantly thinking about what she could do differently so that her students achieved their maximum potential. Annette inherently understands that when students do not achieve, it is because the adults did not do something.”
After receiving certification, Romano began networking with other certified teachers to assess their needs and began forming collaborations with various entities, such as GCRTC. She facilitated focus groups for other teachers interested in certification and began to realize the impact she could have on teachers – and students – statewide. This led to the creation in 2008 of the position she currently holds – NBC coordinator for GCRTC. “Annette’s exemplary work has taken this program from a regional initiative to a statewide program involving numerous stakeholders with foundation and corporate funding,” said Ellen Sullivan, GCRTC director. “Annette’s influence transformed this project into a truly remarkable experience for all involved – filled to capacity, highly visible in the educational community and receiving outstanding accolades.”
In recent years, Romano has extended her leadership and commitment to professional education through her involvement with the University at Albany. She was a critical player in the development and implementation of a new certificate of graduate study in teacher leadership. With the University, she is also a consultant for a new $200,000 grant intended to provide professional development experience with Albany City School District educators. “Annette is a caring and thoughtful leader,” said Virginia Goatley, associate professor at UAlbany. “She has a vision for what needs to happen and develops a plan to make sure it does. She is a true ‘teacher-leader’ whose work in education is having a positive impact on many students and teachers across the state.”

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International Alumni Award

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Bhupendra N. Dev, Ph.D. ’85

Bhupendra N. Dev, a senior professor at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata, India, is one of the leading surface scientists in the world. Dev earned his doctorate in physics from the University at Albany in 1985 and took a post-doctoral position at a major synchrotron radiation laboratory in Germany. He later returned to India, where he has built a distinguished career over the past 20 years.
Dev has set up several state-of-the-art research facilities for the study of surfaces and interfaces of materials, especially clean surfaces under ultrahigh vacuum condition, growth of epitaxial quantum structures by molecular beam epitaxy and the investigation of their morphology, geometric structure and electronic structure. He has made important contributions in the areas of epitaxial quantum structures on clean single crystal surfaces and surface and interface modifications by ion-solid interactions.
Dev has developed a powerful technique combining X-ray standing wave and X-ray reflectivity, including the theoretical development for the analysis of microstructure, interface modification and atomic migration in multilayered materials, which, in turn, provide an understanding of ion beam-induced magnetic transformation. His most recent work includes the development of a new technique, based on photoemission electron microscopy, for the determination of diffusion coefficient in nanostructured systems.
“Professor Dev has brought great fame and recognition to our university in the world communities of basic and applied condensed matter science and materials science and technology,” said Tara Prasad Das, professor of physics at UAlbany. “This unusual breadth of expertise that he developed in both experiment and theory has helped him expand his interests in many different aspects of surface physics and its bridges to other developing areas, such as scientific and technological aspects of nanosystems like lower dimensional nanostructures based on surfaces. In every center he has been in, he has expanded the surface science programs considerably, putting each of these centers in the forefront of the surface science and associated nanoscale science research.”
In addition to working with students in India, Dev has had collaborators in India, Japan, the United States and a number of European countries. He has carried out Indo-U.S., Indo-German and Indo-Japan bilateral research collaboration programs as principal investigator and has organized several international conferences in the areas of surface science and ion-solid interactions.
Numerous awards, including the Medal of the Materials Research Society of India, the Marie Curie International Fellow of the European Union, and the Department of Atomic Energy Raja Ramanna Prize in Physics, have recognized Dev’s contributions. Elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, he also serves on the editorial boards of a number of international journals and has written or contributed to several books.
Despite the heavy demands on his time, which includes mentoring numerous students, Dev still manages “to continue his extensive research efforts into exciting new frontiers of surface science and nanoscience,” Das said. “He has had a brilliant professional career as a pioneering researcher. He can most appropriately be referred to as ‘Mr. Surface Science.’ ”

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Excellence in Alumni Service Award

DeForest R. Hinman, B.S.’05

For most young alumni, giving back to their alma mater isn’t their top priority. But, as in many things, DeForest Hinman is the exception to the rule. Hinman, who graduated from the University at Albany’s financial analyst program in 2005, didn’t waste any time in giving back.
Upon graduation, Hinman established a career in investment analysis, initially at Paradigm Capital Management and then at Walthausen & Co., where he is now a principal and equity research analyst. He began working almost immediately with the firms to increase recruitment of UAlbany students for both jobs and internships. As a result of his efforts, four UAlbany financial analyst students have been provided internships over the past four years. In addition, Hinman frequently visited the School of Business’ Investment Valuation class to speak about the equity research process.
But his contributions didn’t stop there. “By far, DeForest’s most important contributions have been to the UAlbany Student Investment Group (UASBIG), which is responsible for managing over $100,000 of the University’s endowment fund,” said Hany Shawky and David Smith, professors in the School of Business. “This slice of the portfolio has outperformed the other equity components of the endowment fund.”
In addition to providing valuable guidance to the group upon its formation in 2007, Hinman “has served virtually 24/7 throughout the school year as a consultant to UASBIG student members about their common stock valuation models,” according to Shawky and Smith. Not only does Hinman take an active role in monthly conference calls with UASBIG members, but individual students send him their Excel files to troubleshoot. “They phone him and pick his brain for ideas about how to analyze certain companies and industries. This is an unprecedented level of commitment for an alumnus with a young family.”
Michael Reynolds ’08, one of the co-founding students of UASBIG, said Hinman’s commitment has been integral to the organization’s success. “DeForest encouraged and challenged students to reach beyond the classroom and endeavor into deep analytical research. This has shown many students how to utilize their available resources to formulate investment ideas and to ‘think outside the box.’ His dedication and guidance are major factors in the group’s success.”
James Fowler ’09, a former co-president of UASBIG, credits UASBIG and Hinman for much of his own success. Fowler praised Hinman for his deep commitment, noting that he not only contributed his time by conducting lessons on campus and participating in conference calls, but by making himself personally available to individual students. Hinman “established an open connection with members. Through his interactions with students, he provides valuable experience which allows them to differentiate themselves in the job market,” Fowler said. “He is an excellent mentor and teacher, and helps make the University at Albany such a great place to be a part of.”

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Excellence in Arts & Letters

Tania Modleski, B.A.’70, M.A.’71

Tania Modleski has been a major figure in feminist film studies and the study of popular culture for more than 30 years. Her books have influenced and inspired a generation of younger scholars, and she has consistently maintained feminism as the central focus of her inquiries.

Modleski’s first book, Loving with a Vengeance: Mass-produced Fantasies for Women, was among the very first scholarly studies to take “popular culture” seriously. It examined mass-media and pop-literature genres, such as the soap opera, the gothic novel and the Harlequin Romance, to discover how they emplot the social and psychological concerns of women readers and viewers. “Now considered a classic, this book was among those that gave rise to Cultural Studies, a theoretical movement that has become an entire scholarly discipline in itself,” said Margaret Russett, chair of the department of English at the University of Southern California, where Modleski is a professor.

Russett says, however, that it is Modleski’s second book, The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory, that solidified her reputation as one of the most perceptive, influential film critics in academia, as well as one of its most important feminist theorists. Mary Ann Doane, a highly regarded film scholar and professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, said Modleski’s second book took on a number of influential male critics who had guided the canonical reading of this crucial Hollywood filmmaker, revealing another, less patriarchal account of these films. “Tania’s work has always been highly polemical and she has not hesitated to criticize certain theoretical tendencies or developments within feminism itself.”

Modleski’s two subsequent books, Feminism Without Women and Old Wives’ Tales, also made major contributions to the study of women and popular culture. Modleski’s books and essays are widely taught at the college and postgraduate levels. The author of more than 40 articles, she has delivered more than 65 visiting lectures on feminist themes in film and other media. “Her articles and chapters from her books have been reprinted many times, an indication of their lasting importance and the high regard in which she is held,” Russett said. Modleski received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1989 and was a Humanities Research Institute Fellow at the University of California, Irvine, the same year.

“Tania Modleski's work has been groundbreaking,” said Judith Mayne, a prominent film critic and Distinguished Humanities Professor of French at Ohio State. “As one of the most important feminist scholars working today, she's taught us how to take popular culture seriously, how to understand the problems with ‘post-feminism,’ how to look at Alfred Hitchcock's films in new ways, and how to track the media's disregard for women. While others were bemoaning the woeful portrayals of women in popular culture, Modleski was asking questions about what women wanted – whether from soap operas or romance novels, or from classic films to contemporary theory. In her distinguished career, Modleski has demonstrated passion, critical brilliance and amazing insight.”


Excellence in Business

Steven M. Zelin, B.S.’84

To obtain success in the financial restructuring business, you need brains, creativity, superior analytical skills and nerves of steel, qualities Steve Zelin’s colleagues and peers say he has in abundance.

Zelin, a senior managing director in the Restructuring & Reorganization Group of The Blackstone Group, earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University at Albany and went on to rise quickly through the ranks to partner in Ernst & Young’s Restructuring & Reorganization Group. He joined The Blackstone Group in 1998 and has since built a reputation as one of the nation’s leading restructuring financial advisors.

Zelin’s experience extends across many industries in both domestic and international restructurings. “Over the course of his career, Steve has had tremendous success as an advisor to companies, equity sponsors, and creditors in both domestic and cross-border restructuring and turnaround transactions,” said Timothy Coleman, senior managing director at Blackstone. “He has built an impressive track record as a leading restructuring professional, having been the lead partner on many landmark restructuring transactions for companies including Enron, Xerox, AbitibiBowater and SemGroup.”

In addition, Zelin played a leading role in major restructuring transactions in the domestic automotive sector. Specifically, he led Blackstone’s automotive sector efforts by advising General Motors Corp.; Ford Motor Co.; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.; American Axle, Inc.; and the senior creditors of Delphi Automotive Systems.

“Steve’s outstanding expertise and personal traits have placed him at the forefront of America’s changing business profile,” said Joan Rosenthal, director of The University at Albany Foundation, “and he has been a leader in that change.” She noted that Zelin, who is frequently asked to lecture on restructuring issues, was named one of the country’s leading restructuring advisors in the 2004 through 2010 K&A Restructuring Register, a peer-group listing assembled by the country’s leading restructuring professionals.

Colleagues also praise Zelin for his commitment to the professional development of those around him. “Steve is a tremendous mentor and leader, taking the time to teach and provide professional guidance,” says Joan Solotar, a senior managing director at Blackstone. Coleman seconds that assessment: “Steve is a collaborative team player who empowers colleagues with the authority to achieve results, while providing the appropriate amount of oversight and guidance to get things done. Steve’s contribution toward others’ career development is consistently recognized by peers and colleagues.”

Despite his intensive work and travel schedules, Zelin finds time to support his community and various educational causes. He is a member of the University at Albany School of Business Advisory Board and chairs the Stern School of Business Dean’s Executive Board at New York University, where he obtained his master’s in business administration in 1991.

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Excellence in Community Service Award

Bill Barnette, M.S.W.’81

Bill Barnette has had a distinguished career in public service for more than 35 years. But service to his community is much more than a job for Barnette; it is a lifelong passion that has filled his personal time, as well as his workday.
Barnette retired in December 2009 as director of Interagency Collaboration for the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), where he was responsible for building partnerships and managing collaborations with other systems of care to better serve the OASAS population. Barnette had been in state service since 1973, holding various clinical, supervisory, management and executive-level positions at the Office of Mental Health, the Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, and OASAS.

Over the course of almost four decades, Barnette has demonstrated a broad-based, continuing commitment to community service that far exceeds his job responsibilities. He has helped develop a variety of programs and initiatives to respond to community and social needs. Barnette started as a community volunteer in the 1970s at the Albany Urban League, where he organized a program to engage minority youth in legal and medical careers. He has volunteered at the Arbor Hill Community Center, helped to organize the Parsons Minority Adoption Program, and served on the board of Project Equinox and on the Center for the Disabled Community Advisory Board. During the 1990s, he assisted in forming an Albany chapter of 100 Black Men, a national service organization that allows accomplished men to give back to their communities through education, leadership, youth mentoring, etc. The group established a technology center in Albany to offer computer literacy and programming courses to the community.

Barnette served two four-year terms on the City of Albany’s Board of Education, and served as board president, as well. “Bill is a dedicated, passionate leader. He works tirelessly on issues that seem too tough for many others to tackle,” said Katharine Briar-Lawson, dean of the University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare. “His advocacy for children and their success in schools has made him a nationally significant leader on closing the achievement gap between white and non-white students. He is an inspiring leader whose community service roles have touched the lives of thousands.”

Barnette, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Regents College and a master’s in social work from the University at Albany, is a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. His work has received numerous honors, including the 2006 University at Albany Excellence in Public Service Award, the Governor's African American Leaders of Excellence in State Service Award, and the Governor's 2007 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.

“Bill’s accomplishments are impressive, but they do not fully reflect the integrity and passion that he has consistently displayed in his work on behalf of the most vulnerable citizens of our great state,” said Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, OASAS commissioner. “He leaves behind a legacy that will be long remembered and appreciated.”

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Excellence in Education Award

Ann Marie Murray, M.A.’75, M.S.’98, Ph.D.’02  

An unwavering commitment to the viability and sustainability of community colleges is a hallmark of Ann Marie Murray’s long and distinguished career within the SUNY system.

Murray, the third president of Herkimer County Community College (HCCC), has amassed a wealth of experience as both administrator and faculty member. Prior to joining HCCC in August 2008, she served as vice president for academic affairs at Broome Community College. There, Murray was credited with developing a five-year academic programming plan, realigning the Academic Unit, establishing an Office of International Education, developing advanced online courses and creating a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Program for high school faculty.

Earlier, at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC), Murray forged an impressive 23-year record in administration and teaching. She served as dean of Business and Engineering and Industrial Technologies, associate dean of Academic Services, and department chair for Mathematics and Science and Engineering Science. She also taught mathematics at HVCC for 19 years, advancing in rank from adjunct to full professor. Murray was responsible for accomplishments in academic strategic planning; student outcomes assessment; five new major program initiatives, including semiconductor manufacturing technology; grants; and accreditation. While at HVCC, she also received the Excellence in Teaching Award, the President's Award for Service and the prestigious SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

“Ann Marie is a true devotee to community colleges,” said Robert Bangert-Drowns, dean of the University at Albany’s School of Education. “She recognizes the importance of access to post-secondary education for all, as evidenced, for example, by her work in increasing distance learning opportunities. She works to ensure that the community college will remain accessible and cutting-edge, better preparing students for employment.”

Murray has an excellent record of academic publication and successful grant seeking; one grant to which she was a major contributor (Title III) was valued at over $1.8 million. In addition, she has made numerous presentations on topics in the fields of mathematics and education and on community colleges; she has also served in various community-service capacities. A member of the Institute for Community College Development Board, Murray also serves on the Mohawk Valley EDGE (Economic Development Growth Enterprises) Board and the Genesis Board, and is involved in consulting activities for the New York State Education Department.

James LaGatta, HVCC’s vice president for Administration, attributes Murray’s leadership to “outstanding achievement and dedication in the field of education.” He added: “All genuine leadership ultimately begins as an ‘affair of the heart’ with a department, division or college where the leader, through love of product, staff and customer, is always motivated to maintain and enhance an organization’s performance. I believe Dr. Murray has dedicated her skills and talents to pursue this essential element of leadership, and she enriches the lives of those she works with and serves.”

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Excellence In Entrepreneurship

Benjamin R. Bloomstone, B.S.’79

For Ben Bloomstone, the road to opening his own investment management firm wasn’t a particularly straightforward one. But the twists and turns are part of what makes Bloomstone such a successful entrepreneur, say his many supporters.
Bloomstone is a founder and managing partner of Cross Shore Capital Management, LLC, an investment management firm specializing in hedge funds, in Boston, Mass. He is responsible for the portfolio management and investment process of the Cross Shore funds. 
Bloomstone worked in the financial services industry for 20 years before forming Cross Shore. He started his career at Price Waterhouse, where he was a C.P.A. in the audit and tax divisions. During his second tax season, he received a phone call from a headhunter regarding an institutional sales position at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., an investment management firm. He took the position, and traded his public accounting job for the risk of Wall Street. Bloomstone admits he didn’t love accounting, but the experience ultimately helped him to achieve his goals by affording him valuable business experience.
Bloomstone eventually became a principal of Sanford Bernstein, working in institutional equity sales. In 1989, he was recruited to First Boston, now Credit Suisse, as managing director and equity product manager responsible for the Boston office’s institutional equity business. He served in that position through 2003, when he left to form Cross Shore Capital, a fund of funds, with two former Sanford Bernstein colleagues. The new position allowed him to leverage the many key relationships he had developed with some of the best hedge fund managers in the country.   
“The idea itself was not novel; however, their approach was both novel and potentially lucrative to their investors,” said Michael Carmen, B.S.’84, senior vice president and partner at Wellington Management Co. “Ben, along with his partner, Vic Linell, had established great relationships with a number of renowned hedge fund managers over the years. Many of these managers had closed their funds to new investors, creating pent-up demand for their products. Additionally, many high net worth individuals do not usually have the wherewithal to invest in numerous hedge funds due to the high minimum levels. Through Cross Shore Capital, Ben created a vehicle where their investors could put capital with these hard-to-access hedge fund managers. Over the last five years, the firm has gained a huge amount of respectability in the investment community for its unique approach and has continuously built its asset base, creating a successful fund of funds.”
The company’s approach has paid off: In just six years, Cross Shore Capital grew from $25 million to $500 million under management with nine employees. “Each day brings new challenges,” says partner Vic Linell, “but Ben never feels daunted. Flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances, Ben always seems to find the right solutions. He’s intelligent, competitive, self reliant and has a strong desire to succeed. He has all the right stuff to be a successful entrepreneur.”

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Excellence in Public Service

Deborah VanAmerongen, M.P.A.’92

She’s been described as the perfect role model: “a highly able public servant who combines the head and the heart.” That’s University at Albany Dean Jeffrey Straussman’s assessment of Deborah VanAmerongen, who has worked tirelessly on affordable housing issues in New York State for more than 15 years.
VanAmerongen joined Nixon Peabody in New York City as a strategic policy adviser in February 2010. She works closely with attorneys in the firm’s Affordable Housing practice to advise developers, owners and managers of affordable housing, as well as their financing partners, on the preservation and production of affordable housing nationwide.
Prior to joining the firm, VanAmerongen was commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). In that position, she managed an agency with 1,000 employees and the responsibility for administering the state's complex rent-regulation system, and the state-financed Mitchell-Lama and other affordable housing portfolios. VanAmerongen also chaired the boards of the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and sat on the boards of the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Homeless HousingAssistance Corporation and the Harlem Community Development Corporation.
“Deborah’s commitment to sound public policy is matched only by her passion for increasing access to quality, affordable housing and strengthening New York’s communities,” said New York State Governor David Paterson. “It’s this winning combination that has driven her throughout her career and helped to make her an extremely effective commissioner.” Paterson credits VanAmerongen with streamlining DHCR operations, and developing new and effective relationships with other state agencies. Under her direction, DHCR undertook a comprehensive housing-needs study that identified affordable housing and community-development issues, and has proven to be an invaluable tool for targeting resources and tailoring programs to best meet the needs of state residents.
Prior to serving as commissioner, VanAmerongen served as director of Multifamily Housing for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York City region. In that position, she was responsible for the oversight of more than 1,300 HUD-assisted multifamily housing developments in New York City and the surrounding counties, as well as the provision of FHA mortgage insurance for housing and health care facilities.
VanAmerongen began her career in public service and affordable housing as a legislative coordinator for the New York State Assembly, where she had jurisdiction over the work of the Housing, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, and Veterans committees. 
VanAmerongen is a member of the board of editors for Affordable Housing Finance magazine, and served as the co-chair of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Task Force, National Council of State Housing Agencies. She is also a participant in the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association and the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition.

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Outstanding Young Alumni

 

Karen C. Kelly, M.S. '08

They say three times is a charm, and that’s certainly been the case for Karen Kelly. For each of the past three years, a significant award has recognized her professional achievements, culminating with the University at Albany’s 2010 Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Kelly earned the President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service Award from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2008 and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service in 2009.
Kelly joined SUNY Upstate as a research assistant in 2000 after graduating summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Oswego with a degree in biochemistry. In 2008, while still employed at Upstate, she received a master’s degree from UAlbany in curriculum development and instructional technology, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. It was during this period that Kelly co-developed a unique medical literature curriculum that earned her wide recognition and respect within the medical education community. “Her ability to excel in her graduate studies while adeptly handling her demanding professional responsibilities illustrates the tenacity of her character and strong work ethic,” said Paul Shanley, professor of pathology and director of the Medical Literature Curriculum at Upstate.
In 2004, Kelly joined forces with Shanley to run a case-study course in the second year of medical school. The method became so successful that it continued to grow and eventually expanded into the Medical Literature Curriculum, a series of required courses spanning three full academic years, and Kelly was promoted to serve as the program’s assistant director. Over the next few years, the Medical Literature Curriculum courses became a central feature of the educational program, Shanley said, with medical students coming to regard the courses as some of the most worthwhile at the school. “Using her educational background and unbelievable organizational and problem-solving skills, Karen introduced several technological innovations that brought this program into the 21st century,” Shanley said.
Kelly and Shanley have presented their program at numerous national and international medical education conferences. Together, they have written articles for several medical education journals and published several papers about the program, sharing their ideas and experience with others.
Shanley calls Kelly “the heart and soul of the operation.” Despite the enormous complexity involved in coordinating a program that comprises multiple courses, close to 500 students and nearly 100 faculty, participants say Kelly still manages to find the time to support each student. “I’ve never seen anyone as immediately responsive to questions,” says Jessica Shanahan, a fourth-year medical student. “The generous attention she gives to each student reflects her dedication to promoting educational excellence and her commitment to enriching the Medical College as an institution. She exemplifies the highest standard of personal and professional integrity. She is a creative force, and is indispensable to the program’s momentum and success.”

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Excellence in Science & Technology

Hany Farid, M.S.’92

“Don’t ever send me a photograph of yourself ," Hany Farid once told a reporter from The New York Times. “I’ll do the most terrible things to it.”
Farid is the founder of digital forensics, a scientific field designed to determine if digital images, audio, video and other documents have been manipulated or altered. As director of Dartmouth’s Image Science Group, Farid spends much of his time transforming ordinary images into drastically different ones, manipulating them to discover how computerized forgeries are made.
“Hany single-handedly started a new subfield, drawing on tools from statistical signal processing, computer vision, cryptography and optics,” said Eero Simoncelli, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “I can’t think of another researcher who has exhibited this level of variety, creativity and productivity in both academic output, as well as direct contributions to society.”
The advanced computational and mathematical techniques pioneered by Farid have created tools that can help to detect fake and otherwise altered digital images, explained George Berg, associate professor and chair of computer science at the University at Albany. “His work has made him a much-sought-after expert. He has used his skills in the legal arena, and is the ‘go-to-guy’ in both the technical and popular media on the topics of image forensics.” For example, when Iran faked a photograph showing multiple missiles being launched in Summer 2009, The New York Times called on Farid to do an analysis. His expertise has been sought out on the subjects of Kim Jong-il, cryptozoology, child pornography and Osama Bin Laden, among others. Intelligence agencies, news organizations and scientific journals are increasingly turning to Farid when they need to authenticate images.
Farid received his undergraduate degree in computer science and applied mathematics from the University of Rochester in 1989. He earned his master’s in computer science from the University at Albany in 1992 and a doctorate in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. After completing a two-year post-doctoral position in brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, he joined the computer science department at Dartmouth. Farid is the William H. Neukom 1964 Distinguished Professor of Computational Science and the director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science. He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, a Sloan Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
“The image forensics problem is always evolving in an escalating war, as more powerful tools become available for both making and detecting forgeries,” said Edward Adelson, the John & Dorothy Wilson Professor of Vision at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “At each step of the way, when it seems the forgers might have the upper hand, Hany rethinks the problem and comes up with a new approach. When everyone else is working with the standard assumptions, Hany manages to discover a fresh way of thinking. His ideas seem slightly kooky at first, and so he is eternally fighting skepticism. But he prevails, and in the end, everyone gets the ‘Aha!’ when they see how his ideas have fallen into place.”

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