Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence Winners 2021
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 20, 2021) — Three graduating seniors have won the 2021 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY’s highest award for academic achievement and service.
The virtual awards ceremony honoring the Chancellor’s Award winners from all 64 SUNY campuses was held on April 14.
A double major in Biology and Spanish, Sana Effendi hopes to pursue a career in medicine. She is the president of the Muslim Students Association, a member of the Presidential Honor Society and the Phi Beta Kappa Society and has tutored various biology courses at the Biodome. Effendi, from Clifton Park, spends her time off-campus volunteering at the ICCD Food Pantry and Peregrine Senior Living.
Effendi also volunteers virtually for Akhuwat Learning Hubs, a school in a red-light district of Lahore, Pakistan, which serves as a safe haven for children of stigmatized groups such as sex-workers and dancers. After graduation, she plans to continue working with the school for a year, before heading to medical school with plans to become a physician and continue community service.
“In my limited time at UAlbany, I have created some of my fondest memories, including the time I spent in the Dominican Republic with Volunteers Around the World, the wonderful mentors I met, the numerous events I attended, as well as the education I received that has paved the way for my future career,” Effendi said.
Gathering with friends between classes at the fountain is another dear memory, of “a common space where all students got together and enjoyed the warmth and light-hearted conversations knowing that we should probably be in the library studying for finals.”
That tradition was halted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but, Effendi said, “I am glad that I can continue to cherish the memories that I have. I am extremely grateful for the time I have spent at UAlbany furthering my education and growing as a leader and as a person, and I hope to implement what I have learned throughout my life.”
A Biology major with a minor in Psychology, Andrew Eldeiry did research at UAlbany on the safety and efficacy of two new cholesterol medications and presented at the 2020 CURCE symposium. Eldeiry, who grew up in Slingerlands, found community involvement volunteering at the South End Children’s Cafe, an after-school program for elementary-aged students in downtown Albany.
After graduation Eldeiry will begin a one-year master’s degree in biomedical sciences this fall, and hopes to attend medical school soon after with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. In his free time, he enjoys playing music and soccer with friends and family.
Of his time at UAlbany, Eldiery said, “My favorite memory is hanging with friends in the library and campus center, way back in a simpler time.”
Chidiogo Igboekwe is a Nigerian-American from Queens, an honors student with a passion for social justice. A Communication major with minors in Criminal Justice and Education, she hopes to make education more accessible for incarcerated people, both during prison sentences and post-release. Education, Igboekwe says, has the potential to restore lives and communities, allowing each member to meaningfully contribute to society.
One of her cherished memories of UAlbany is from her freshman year, when a paper she wrote was chosen by the Writing and Critical Inquiry program for her to present at a symposium, in front of her peers and professors. The paper, titled “An Analysis of the Research on the Effects and Influence of Eurocentric Beauty Standards on People of Color,” highlighted many issues that Black and brown people experience, such as colorism, as well as the implications of their misrepresentation and underrepresentation in the media.
The experience was formative. Igboekwe’s plans after graduation include taking time to pursue her passion in media before attending graduate school. In 10 years, she sees herself in a position where she can be a role model to young girls who are similar to her, and also reconstruct the narrative of Black people who have a history of being misrepresented in the media.
You can view videos from UAlbany’s three winners on SUNY’s student excellence page.
Story by Staff Intern Rachel Kalter