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Sam Frumkin: A Leader in Academics and Community Work

Tutor, mentor, Honors College student, charitable volunteer, and Albany community advocate, Sam Frumkin '12 was a 2011 student achievement award winner from SUNY's Association of Council Members and College Trustees.

Sam Frumkin’s time at UAlbany was about breaking down racial and socio-economic boundaries and forming relationships within various communities. Whether he was in the Dominican Republic, New Orleans, or Albany’s Arbor Hill neighborhood, he learned to value the ways in which society is connected.


After the tragic deaths of UAlbany student Richard Bailey and 10-year-old Arbor Hill resident Kathina Thomas, Sam was determined to make a difference.

He became deeply involved in the selection process for Albany’s new chief of police. Sam developed and submitted to the mayor a public process through which recommendations for police chief could be made. He also was influential in the search committee’s choice to recommend a person with significant experience in community policing.

For these efforts, Frumkin was one of four students across the State University of New York system to be honored in 2011 with an Association of Council Members and College Trustees of SUNY Student Achievement Award.

An Africana Studies major and Spanish minor, his achievements crossed many disciplines. Academically, the Honors College student had a 3.92 GPA—and even more impressive—held a perfect 4.0 for his first six semesters.

“Sam is one of the top students we have had in the six years of The Honors College,” said Honors College Director Jeffrey J. Haugaard.

Sam’s outstanding academic performance was complemented by his penchant for community service. He served as a mentor and tutor in the Liberty Partnership Rising Stars Afterschool Program in Albany, which serves as a second family for many local, underserved middle and high school students.

While studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, Sam volunteered at the Villa Bendicion Orphanage in Santo Domingo. He also repaired roofs, hung sheet rock, and painted walls as a volunteer through the “Love Knows No Bounds” program in New Orleans, La.

Sam’s long-term goal is to open a charter school for disadvantaged youth. His time serving as a teacher’s assistant at Phillip Schuyler Achievement Academy served as a great training ground for this. He worked with second graders on math and science, and also worked one-on-one with three students diagnosed with autism and special needs.

“After developing these relationships with children, high schoolers, community activists or church congregations, it seems natural to invest in their lives as though they are my own family,” said Sam, who graduated in May 2012.

This fall, he will attend the UAlbany School of Education teacher certification program for special education and literacy.

For more graduate profiles, please visit our 2012 Commencement Page.

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