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Involved and Engaged, Senior Charts Path to Service

SUNY Chancellor’s Award Student Profile: Marc Cohen

Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence 2016 recipient, research fellow, and chief of staff for the SUNY Student Assembly Marc Cohen. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 24, 2016) – University at Albany senior Marc Cohen lives what he studies, and is in many ways far along the path of realizing his dream career.

Which is evolving.

"I originally planned to work in public policy, and possibly hold office," he said. "I have always wanted to be in a position to effect change, and public service is a way to do that. But lately I've been able to focus that, to see clearly how higher education policy directly impacts people's lives. It might sound like a cliché, but we have the ability to make real, tangible change. And since higher education is the path people take to build their lives, I want to help that process."

The political science major from Buffalo, N.Y, arrived at UAlbany in the fall of 2012 and joined the Honors College after his first semester. Soon he entered a unique BA/Master of Public Administration program. His academic life at UAlbany, centered at the nationally recognized Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, has been one of service and taking chances. He's run for office in student government, having served the University at Albany Student Association as a senator, director of legislative affairs, chief of staff, and vice president. Currently Cohen is the elected student representative on the University at Albany University Council.

The student government experience has been enlightening, he says, and rewarding. "What I've learned is UAlbany gives students a seat at the table. It goes above and beyond in giving students a voice. I can literally say that I play a role in enhancing the student experience."

In addition to his leadership roles at UAlbany, he was recently elected president of the SUNY Student Assembly, the governing student body for the entire State University of New York system.

And -- 'involved' just might be too light a word for this -- on top of his participation in the UAlbany Student Association and SUNY Student Assembly, Marc has been an active member of the University Auxiliary Services Board of Directors, Rockefeller College Dean’s Leadership Council, the University's Presidential Honors Society, and the College Democrats.

Then there's the research fellowship in the office of UAlbany Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost James Stellar.

So it's no surprise he is a recent recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the State University of New York. Recipients demonstrate and are recognized for their integration of academic excellence with aspects of their lives including leadership, campus involvement, community service, arts (creative or performing), athletics, or career achievement.

"New York is home, I knew I wanted to go to college in the state," he said. "I wanted to immerse myself in policy, and where better than UAlbany and Rockefeller College? It's one of the best public policy schools in the country -- we've got the academics, the relationships with state lawmakers, and we're here in the capital. In the end, it was the only choice."

The recipients of the 2016 Chancellor’s Awards will be honored at a ceremony at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Tuesday, April 5, at 2 p.m.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.