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International Students Honored with President's Awards

2012 President's Awards for Leadership

Margaret Reich (Director, ISSS), Cuneyt Gozu, Dhanushki Samaranayake, Ray Bromley (Vice Provost, International Education)

Margaret Reich (Director, ISSS), Cuneyt Gozu, Dhanushki Samaranayake, Ray Bromley (Vice Provost, International Education)

Cuneyt Gozu – International Graduate Student Leadership Award & GSO Distinguished Service Award

Cuneyt, from Turkey, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Organizational Studies Doctoral Program and currently an adjunct professor in the Management Department. He is the President of the Turkish Student Association. Under his leadership, Turksa organized several collaborative events including a fundraising dinner to help Turkish people after a massive earthquake.
(His wife, Hamide Gozu, is a PhD student in the Educational Psychology department.)

Cuneyt's Remarks

I am very happy and proud to pursue my doctoral education at the University at Albany. The PhD journey in the Organizational Studies Program is the most rewarding experience I have ever had. At the University at Albany, I have been working with world-class scholars who are very supportive, friendly, and accessible. I have been inspired by their knowledge, creative thinking, and work ethic throughout the program. I truly appreciate their guidance and dedication.

[The] University at Albany with its multicultural environment helped me to enrich my learning experience as well. To contribute to campus life, my fellow Turkish friends and I established the Turkish Student Association six years ago. We have organized various educational and social events with the support of the Graduate Student Organization, Office of International Education, and Office of Multicultural Student Success. These events not only introduce the Turkish culture to the campus community but also foster long-lasting friendships. We are extremely pleased to make contributions to the quality of student life at the University at Albany and create a bridge between Turkey and the USA.

Frankly, choosing UAlbany was the best career decision I have ever made, and I encourage prospective students to consider pursuing their degrees at the University at Albany.

Cuneyt Gozu and his wife Hamide Gozu, Dhanushki Samaranayake and her husband Chinthaka Jayawarden

Cuneyt Gozu and his wife Hamide Gozu, Dhanushki Samaranayake and her husband Chinthaka Jayawarden

Dhanushki Samaranayake – International Graduate Student Leadership Award

Dhanushki is a PhD student from Sri Lanka studying Biomedical Sciences. Dhanushki was an orientation assistant for the International Student Orientation in 2011. She is also co-chair for the Albany Student Dining Advisory Committee, treasurer of the Biomedical and Environmental Health Sciences Graduate Student Organization of SUNY Albany, secretary for the Eastern New York Student Chapter of the American Society of Microbiology and lead organizer of the student-selected speaker for the Wadsworth Center Seminar Series She is also a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honors Society.

Her husband, Chinthaka Jayawardena, is currently a graduate student pursuing a degree in computer science. As an undergraduate in 2011 he won the same award as his wife did in 2012!

Dhanushki's Remarks

[The] University at Albany has enriched my life in many ways. The Department of Biomedical Science creates an excellent background for students interested in public health-related research and this was a perfect fit for my desires. The distinguished and dedicated faculty guided me to excel in every aspect of being a learned scientist with training in bench-research, scientific writing and presentation skills. [The] University at Albany also provided great opportunities for me to get involved with the rest of the student community. I already have peer-reviewed publications, both published and in preparation to jump start my career in academia as I prefer. My experiences at [the] University at Albany have brought me closer to my dreams.

Shuang (Amanda) Liang – Middle Earth Award

Amanda is a senior from Wuhan, China who is studying psychology. She is the vice president of Middle Earth and was also an orientation assistant for the International Student Orientation program in 2011.

Ekaterina Tamashuk – International Undergraduate Student Leadership Award

Ekaterina is a senior from Moscow who is studying accounting. She is a Beta Alpha Psi Representative for the Dean’s Leadership Council. Also, she is a recruiting committee and executive advisory council member and mentor for Beta Alpha Psi.

Yingjie Zhang – Academic Leadership Award

Yingjie is a senior from Chengdu, China who is studying accounting and math. She is a member of the Honors College. Yingjie was a tutor and accounting study group facilitator for the Educational Opportunity Program. She is also the treasurer for Women Excelling in Business and president of the Badminton Club.

Umang Sharma & President George M. Philip

Umang Sharma & President George M. Philip

Umang Sharma – International Undergraduate Student Leadership Award

Umang is a senior from Ujjain, India who is studying chemistry and biology. He is the president of the Indian Student Association. He also received the Department of Biology Excellence Undergraduate Research Award.

Umang’s Remarks

I am a fourth year international student, studying for my B.S. in chemistry and biology at UAlbany.  As an international student, it’s always difficult to pick the right University. However, after spending four years at UAlbany and gaining so much knowledge and confidence, I feel I have made a great choice!

At UAlbany, I have found amazing resources for a non-native English speaker.  The course curriculum (including the general education requirement) is very well structured.  Here the professors, advisers and staff members are very helpful, friendly and easy to approach. The research facility in the form of Life Sciences Research Building is a remarkable place for any undergraduate or graduate student aspiring for a career in biomedical research.   I have had the opportunity to be part of many student clubs and organizations; this has immensely helped me to develop leadership skills and self-awareness.  Above all, for someone living 8,000 miles away from home, UAlbany has given me a family- the UAlbany Family!!

2012 President's Awards for Excellence

Allen Wong – Excellence in Teaching by a Teaching Assistant, Sociology


Nabila El Guennouni & Allen Wong

Nabila El Guennouni & Allen Wong (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

Nabila El Guennouni – Excellence in Teaching by a Teaching Assistant, Languages & Literatures

Nabila‘s Remarks

As an international student when I came to the United States I had many difficulties adapting, and the staff at the International Student and Scholar Services office were extraordinarily helpful to me.  I am extremely grateful to them and I know that at other universities I would not have received this kind of care.  After several years I discovered the existence of Institute of Teaching, Learning and Academic leadership (ITLAL) and the services that they offer for teacher training and professional preparation for graduate students.  This is a wonderful resource and along with the ISSS office has enabled me to become a real part of the university community.  I encourage other international students to take advantage of these opportunities at the University.


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Contact Information

International Student & Scholar Services

Science Library G-40
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.

Office Hours:

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST
Advisement 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Monday through Friday


Phone 518-591-8189
Fax: 518-591-8171

International Student Advising Hours:

Main Campus:

Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm in Science Library G40

Downtown Campus (Alumni Quad):

Husted Hall 114
Tuesdays, 10:00 AM to 12 PM
Discussion Room by the Café

East Campus (School of Public Health):

Hours are over for the Fall 2015 Semester on the East Campus. Spring 2016 Hours will be announced in January 2016.

International Insurance Office

9:00 AM to 4:30 PM EST
Monday through Friday


Phone: (518) 591-8185
Fax: (518) 591-8171