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Chancellor's Award: Kayla James 

Kayla James was inspired by a course on law and criminal justice taught by Prof. James Acker. (Photo by Mark Schmidt) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 13, 2017) – Chancellor’s Award winner Kayla James of Baldwin, N.Y., sees a future in academia for herself.

James, a double major in criminal justice and psychology, remembers Introduction to Law and Criminal Justice as being the best and one of the most challenging courses she has taken at UAlbany.

“The topics were relevant to everyday life and I felt as though it was the first time I could directly connect what I was learning to topics that would arise when I left the University,” James said. Professor James Acker held the class to high standards.

“His passion for the subject reinforced my choice of becoming a Criminal Justice major,” James said. “I also valued his kindness and openness to helping students. He even wrote me a letter of recommendation for the School of Criminal Justice B.A./M.A. program.”

Chancellor's Award winner Kayla James.

Kayla James, center, receives her SUNY Excellence Award from Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Interim President James Stellar. 

After graduating in May, James will enter graduate school in the School of Criminal Justice with a concentration in crime causation, prevention and intervention.

Down the road, she plans on actively participating in criminal justice research and working for a government agency.

“I would also like to begin pursuing a Ph.D. and other credentials that would allow me to teach in higher education. Ultimately, I want to be doing something that makes me happy and that I am passionate about,” James said.

James began her involvement in the Emerging Student Leader Program, where she serves as a leadership coordinator. She has been an orientation leader, a resident assistant, an EOP tutor, an Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Board member and is a Purple & Gold Ambassador. She is a Presidential Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society member, and a research assistant, exploring pro-social decision making.

“When I leave the University, I will take away the lifelong friendships I have made,” she said. “I will also take away confidence in myself and what I can accomplish. Finally, I will take the leadership skills I have developed into my field of choice.”

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