UAlbany’s Rackmyer part of SUNY Student Advocate First Class

UAlbany Graduate Student Taryn Rackmyer

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 17, 2021) — Taryn Rackmyer, a 2020 graduate of UAlbany, has been named to the inaugural class of the SUNY Student Advocate Fellowship Program. Rackmyer, who earned a bachelor of arts degree from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy in December and is currently pursuing a graduate degree at Rockefeller, will serve as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fellow.

She joins three other recent SUNY alumni as part of the executive leadership team to drive student-centric policy initiatives to address pressing issues, including affordability, access, academic quality and success, racial and social justice, mental health services, resources for students with disabilities and food insecurity, among others.

“Working for SUNY, an institution that touches the lives of millions of New Yorkers each year, has given me a unique platform to advance the social justice causes I care most about,” said Rackmyer in an announcement of the appointments. “The opportunities I have been granted these first three months have not only enhanced my understanding of higher education policy, but have opened my eyes to the vast potential SUNY has to build a more equitable and inclusive future for all of New York State."

The other fellows include Kaitlyn Bertleff (SUNY Geneseo), Shay Gauthier (SUNY Brockport) and Kalief Metellus (SUNY Old Westbury).

As the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow, Rackmyer will report to SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Teresa Miller.

Prior to this fellowship, Rackmyer was a graduate assistant to the Secretary of the SUNY Board of Trustees and a student assistant in Government Relations and Marketing. During her undergraduate studies at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) and UAlbany, Taryn held a number of student leadership positions, earning her the 2019 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, among other accolades. Rackmyer earned two associate degrees from MVCC in 2018 and 2019, followed by her degree from UAlbany in December 2020 in public policy and management with a concentration in local government.

While at UAlbany Rackmyer earned the a distinguished undergraduate achievement award. She expects to graduate in December 2021 with her master's degree from Rockefeller College in political science.

Originally launched in April as a singular fellowship position, the Student Advocate Fellowship Program grew based on the quality of candidate resumes and opportunities within SUNY system. The fellows will provide an invaluable student perspective and help formulate and implement solutions across SUNY's 64 colleges and universities.

“Since we first announced the Student Advocate Fellowship in April and received the response from applicants, we knew we had to expand the program to include more recent SUNY graduates. Their experience at SUNY — coupled with an excellent education from our campuses and their stellar academic achievements — is what we need to build on our programs to stay current to meet and exceed the needs of our students,” said SUNY Chancellor James Malatras. “In turn, throughout the next two years of the fellowship we will continue their education with a robust professional development program to give them training in areas that usually develop over years of work experience. Our Student Advocate Fellowship program is as much about our fellows’ individual career growth as is it about strengthening SUNY's overall efforts to provide an affordable and accessible education.”