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Introducing Our New Great Danes

UAlbany welcomes Class of 2021 from record number of applicants

UAlbany’s Class of 2021 and new transfer students formed a giant “A” on Bob Ford Field. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 28, 2017) – A growing reputation, combined with New York State’s Excelsior Scholarship and new academic programs has led to record student numbers at the University at Albany.

UAlbany is welcoming about 2,800 freshmen to the Class of 2021 from an applicant pool of just under 25,000 – the largest ever received. Approximately 1,350 transfer students and 1,530 graduate students are also entering the University this semester.

“UAlbany is growing its reputation for academic excellence,” said Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Sandra Starke. “With top-ranked programs such as criminal justice and public administration and unique new programs such as digital forensics, computer science and emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity, the University is generating more student interest and record numbers of applicants.”

“It also appears that Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior program is having an effect,” Starke added. “This summer, we are seeing far fewer students withdraw their enrollment than usual, which may be directly attributed to Excelsior.”

Quick facts on UAlbany’s Class of 2021:

• The class boasts an overall high school average of 90 percent
• 251 students are enrolled as Presidential Scholars
• 138 students are joining the University’s Honors College
• One of the most diverse classes in University history, students come from 23 states and 24 countries

Below is just a small sample of the students joining us this fall:

Adam Bush, Class of 2021, Intended Biology Major

Adam Bush is standing tall as he joins UAlbany’s Class of 2021.

Bush, a native of Pine Bush, N.Y., was told less than one year ago that he may never be able to run again after tearing a major ligament in his knee. Today, he’s back at full speed and joining the University’s Track and Field team as a decathlete.

“I rehabbed through my entire senior year, just to prove a point. No one can tell me what to do or define my limits. That’s my mentality,” Bush said.

UAlbany was his top choice, as it offered a reputable biology program, is strategically located in the Capital Region of New York and would allow him to compete in track at the Division I level.

“Once I toured the campus I was sold,” Bush said. “I feel like the opportunities are endless here. I’m excited to be a Great Dane.”

Jazz Girard, Class of 2020, Sociology and Philosophy Major, Computer Science and English Minor

Jazz Girard has dreams of becoming a lawyer.

She was determined to attend UAlbany for various reasons including its multitude of academic offerings, affordability, access to internships and proximity to New York City. It also offers a path to law school – through the University’s affiliation with Albany Law School.

Unfortunately, Girard was not accepted as a freshmen applicant and instead attended a small liberal arts school in Towson, Maryland. One year later, she tried again, this time with positive results as a transfer student.

“I have big plans for my future and want to attend a college that can keep up with me. UAlbany is that college,” Girard said. “As a pre-law student, the University’s proximity to the state capital will provide valuable internship and career opportunities I would not be able to get elsewhere.”

Girard, who is from New York City, plans to get involved on-campus in a number of different ways, including joining Serendipity, an all-female a cappella group, and participating in the SUNY Model European Union.

You can read more about her story in this Huffington Post article titled “Rejection to Acceptance: The Road to College.”

Nisha Mirchandani, Class of 2021, Intended Criminal Justice Major

Nisha Mirchandani, from Yorkstown Heights, N.Y., is interested in becoming a criminal profiler for the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI – making the University’s top ranked criminal justice program a perfect fit.

Her grandparents, both UAlbany graduates, live 20 minutes from campus.

“Our family has history at UAlbany and I’m excited to move closer to my grandparents,” said Mirchandani, who is half Indian and half Canadian. “I’m also attending because I know I’ll be receiving a degree from one of the best criminal justice programs in the country.”

Mirchandani would like to continue her education through earning a Psy D. in UAlbany’s Educational and Counseling Psychology Department.

Nicholas Bird, Class of 2019, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Major

Nicholas Bird will be joining UAlbany’s baseball team as a transfer student this semester.

Last year, he took the risk of not playing baseball competitively and instead spent his time in the gym training, in hopes of drawing attention from a Division I program.

UAlbany offered him exactly what he was looking for – an opportunity to play baseball at the highest collegiate level and a unique academic program through the University’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

“Once I toured the campus and met my coaches, I knew this was the place for me,” said Bird, a native of Schalmont, N.Y. “Not playing baseball last year was a risk, but it ended up being the best decision for both my baseball career and future.”

Bird has plans to become a New York State Trooper after graduation.

Michael Atkinson-Woodward, Class of 2021, Intended East Asian Studies Major

Michael Atkinson-Woodward is an out-of-state student from North Granby, Conn.

After being born into poverty, he was adopted by two fathers at age 8. They have had a large impact on his success.

“I owe everything to my parents,” Atkinson-Woodward said. “Without their love, help and support I would not be where I am today. It does not matter where you come from. It’s what you do with your past that defines you.”

Atkinson-Woodward said UAlbany was his top choice because of its diversity and spirit of inclusion. He is looking forward to meeting classmates from different backgrounds.

“I feel like UAlbany is going to give me the diverse community that I crave,” Atkinson-Woodward said. “It not only offers my major, but the University’s values also align with mine. Each person is worth no more and no less than others are. Treat everyone equal and show them it’s ok to be yourself.”

Opening Convocation:

On Friday, Aug. 26, UAlbany hosted its annual Opening Convocation Ceremony for new students and their families. The ceremony celebrates UAlbany’s academic mission, introduces new students to University traditions and welcomes them as part of the campus community.

View photos here.

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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.