Accelerating Student Success

Diandra Allen, a human biology major, received Accelerator funding through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement to present her research at conference in Cleveland.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 11, 2019) – Students across the university are benefitting from a wide variety of initiatives designed specifically to support them, thanks to funding set aside as part of the University’s new Strategic Plan.

When “Authoring Our Success” launched in 2018, President Havidán Rodríguez announced that Accelerator funding would be made available to jump-start initiatives that could have immediate impact. Encompassing the five priorities of the Strategic Plan (student success, research excellence, diversity and inclusion and engagement and service), President Rodríguez selected 14 initiatives for the first “round” of Accelerator funding.

Five categories of Accelerators are available under the priority of student success:

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarships, funded in part by the University at Albany Foundation, provide financial support for undergraduate research projects.
  • Great Dane Internship Scholarships expand experiential learning opportunities, such as increased access to internships.
  • Great Dane Community Service Scholarships, funded in part by the University at Albany Foundation, provides funding to help support students successfully complete internships.
  • Master’s Student Scholarships creates funding for MA/MS students to attract higher quality graduate students and improve retention and graduation rates.
  • Online Education Program Development assists departments in enhancing and sustaining online enrollments.

Nine students were awarded a total of $20,000 through the Center for Leadership and Service’s Great Dane Community Service Scholarships, which “addresses our institutional strategic priorities for student success and engagement and service,” said Martha Asselin, director of the Center. “The awards are helping students to get more experience in their field of study and interest while at the same time assisting our community with a social good.”

The students were connected to a wide variety of summer internships, for which they’ll receive stipends, ranging from hurricane relief projects with the American Red Cross, to English as a Second Language programs in the Capital Region, to various projects aimed at advancing the well-being of people in Schenectady County.

Through the Office of Career & Professional Development, additional Accelerator funding will be used to help students with living expenses as they complete internships over the summer. Though they are still in the application period, Director of Career and Professional Development Noah Simon anticipates that the $25,000 in funding his office will give out as part of the Great Dane Internships Scholarships will have a big impact in helping students to successfully complete internships.

For Undergraduate Research Scholarships, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (CURCE), received $25,000 to provide direct support to undergraduate students looking to advance their research this semester.

“Sometimes, it’s something as seemingly minor as paying for a student’s train ticket to attend a conference, or the printing they need to do in order to present their research,” said Casey Kohler, assistant to the dean of the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

“Having access to funding that supports their research as undergraduates can really be a game changer for students, and based on the number of applications we’re receiving, it’s obvious that the Accelerator Funding is already meeting a need,” she added.

One student who knows firsthand about that need is senior Diandra Allen, a human biology major who received a $500 travel grant to attend and present at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists’ Annual Meeting. Her research, based around anthropology, was on the behavior and activity patterns of Kenyan pastoralist children.

“Without the grant, I would not have been able to go to the conference,” said Allen. “It gave me an opportunity to do something that is completely outside of my comfort zone, but also a way to stretch me as an academic.”

Michael Christakis, Vice President for Student Affairs, echoes the importance of the scholarships for students.

“Supporting students at all levels of their education is a core priority at UAlbany, and the Accelerator funding allocated through the Strategic Plan is another tool by which we can ensure students have the resources they need to be successful,” he said.

More information about the initiatives and funding can be found here.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY 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 sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, 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.