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Couple Met Each Other and Future Careers at UAlbany

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 23, 2013) — A comprehensive research university offers a wealth of possibilities, evidenced by Jason and Emily Behnke.

As a UAlbany undergraduate, then Emily Riley chose English as her major. “I got a great education that really prepared me to succeed at the next level.” After her B.A in 2004, she followed a recommendation to UAlbany's MBA program. Despite no prior business education experience, she saw possibilities. They led to an MBA degree (2006) and a position with the College of Nanoscale Sciences & Engineering (CNSE), where she is now assistant vice president for the College's clean energy programs.

Jason Behnke had worked six years in industry when he heard about the research being conducted at CNSE. He became a UAlbany undergraduate in chemistry. By his sophomore year, he was able to conduct research on bacterial biofilms in CNSE Professor Nate Cady’s bioscience lab. “It was a great opportunity: first, to be involved in that level of research as an undergrad, and then to be able to follow it through as a graduate student.”

He received his UAlbany bachelor’s in chemistry in 2010, then went on to a master's in nanoscale engineering in 2011. Today, he is the principal process engineer at the Malta branch of the international semiconductor corporation GlobalFoundries.

Upstate New Yorkers Jason, from Sidney, and Emily, from Marion, both acknowledge that UAlbany changed the courses of their professional lives. And of course, they say, it dramatically helped transform their personal lives, as well.

“It was at CNSE functions that I met Emily,” said Jason. “She’d graduated with her MBA and was working at CNSE in the energy division.” The couple was married in June 2010.

“Jason and I joke sometimes about each getting our degrees and our spouse at UAlbany,” said Emily. “It really is true that UAlbany is a great place to meet people and make lasting connections. You become part of a network that can help you throughout your career. Classmates, alumni, professors — everyone seems willing to open a door for you. We’ve made lifelong friends at UAlbany, and they’ve been there through thick and thin with us.”

The personal touch just adds to the value they obtained from a leading public university. Jason talks about working at GlobalFoundries at the same level with researchers who spent much more on their educations at private universities. “Although the UAlbany education costs a lot less, you get your money’s worth, and then some,” he said.

Emily agreed, noting all the affordable avenues she was able to take that led to a great career. “Absolutely,” she said, “a SUNY education is a much better value than a private institution.”

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.