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Great Danes on GMA

Paula O'Neil, seated, and her daughter, Chantel Batuk, motivate each other to succeed. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 8, 2017) – A mother and daughter who are graduating together from UAlbany’s School of Social Welfare this semester will be featured tomorrow on “Good Morning America” (GMA).

The duo, Paula O’Neil and Chantel Batuk, were selected as part of a GMA series which profiles non-traditional students who have overcome significant obstacles to graduate.

Their story will air during the 8 a.m. window and will be followed by a live studio appearance.

Paula, age 52, wanted her grown daughter Chantel, age 31, to go back to college. However, one thing stood in Chantel’s way: she did not have a GED.

Chantel made a deal to Paula: “If you do it, I’ll do it.”

The two earned their GEDs, enrolled together at Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FMCC), and were accepted into UAlbany’s undergraduate program in social welfare.

“The School of Social Welfare baccalaureate program is highly competitive, with only a small number of applicants admitted each year,” said Alyssa Lotmore, who handles BSW program admissions. “The fact that a mother and daughter were both accepted and are graduating together is really quite amazing.”

Paula and Chantel were interviewed by GMA last week. Their segment will feature both the University’s Uptown and Downtown Campuses.

You can learn more about the duo’s story here.

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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.