Awards Reception Awards Reception

2023-24 Awards Ceremony & Reception

Friday, May 3, 2024
6-9 p.m., University at Albany ETEC Building

Click here for photos from the event.



Dean Julie Novkov, Provost Carol Kim


Student Awards

Department of Political Science
Brian Greenhill, Associate Professor, Chair

Department of Public Administration & Policy
Luis Luna-Reyes, Professor, Chair

School of Criminal Justice
Dana Peterson, Professor, Senior Executive Director

Honor Society Inductions
Patricia Strach, Professor
Ellen Rubin, Associate Professor

Alumni Awards

Dean Julie Novkov, Dana Peterson, Luis Luna-Reyes, Brian Greenhill

Faculty/Staff Awards

Dean Julie Novkov


Dean Julie Novkov



Student Awards Presentation
Political Science

James Unger Memorial Undergraduate Award for an Outstanding Research Paper

Ayisha "Billy" Swindler

"The Omertà of the Carting Industry: A Dumpster Dive Into the World Of “Trash Politics” in New York City and Long Island"


Presidential Award for Undergraduate Research

Michael Becker

“Blue Waves, Red Resistance: The 2022 Midterm in Midwestern State Legislatures”

Emily Lyons 

“A Distorted Vision: How the NRA Won the Culture War”


Rockefeller College Undergraduate Community Service Award 

Emiliano Torlasco


Outstanding Student Leadership Award 

Jeremy Baker 


Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award 

Samuel Eisenkraft 


Outstanding Adjunct Instructor 

Jellisa Joseph


Outstanding Teaching Assistant

Farzin Shargh


Rockefeller College Capstone Paper Award

Catherine Seifert 

“Skyscraping the Surface: An Analysis of Ultra-Luxury Skyscrapers and the 421-a Program”



Calvin Guidici


Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award

Esra Gules-Guctas

“Naming and Blaming Automated Decision-Making Systems: Analysis of Contesting Algorithmic Injustice”


Professor Martin Edelman Excellence in Teaching Award

Patricia Strach

Public Administration and Policy

Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award

Ju-Ying Yang

“How Municipalities Transition to Renewable Energy and Address Problems that Occur in the Process: A Comparative Case Study of Four Texas Municipalities”


Outstanding Candidacy Paper Award

Tzuhao Chen

“The Adoption and Implementation of Artificial Intelligence Chatbots in Public Organizations: Evidence from U.S. State Governments”


Outstanding Student Leadership Award

Madeleine Wadeson


Steve Jackson Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award

Hyoeun Kim



Numa Khan

School of Criminal Justice

Distinguished Teaching Professor James Acker/Dr. Walter Francis Award

Juliette Kerzhner


Donald J. Newman Award for Outstanding Achievement

Joseph Lawton


Presidential Award for Undergraduate Research

Jenna Chorba

“Examining Police Use of Less Lethal Physical Force”


Graeme Newman Award for Entrepreneurial Criminal Justice

Jacob Bett

Delia Quinones



Ana Jeranashvili


Dr. Walter M. Francis Award for Excellence in Master’s Study

Manuela Belen Brunner Carrasco

Jillian Benedict

Irene Nelson


Frank Remington Award for Interdisciplinary Legal Studies

Manuela Belen Brunner Carrasco


Distinguished Professor David Bayley/Walter M. Francis Policing Award

Beau Holladay


Steven DeBraccio ’10 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Caitlin Udas


Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award

Bruce Davis

“Indecent Exposure and the Court as Custos Morum”

Honor Society Inductions

Pi Sigma Alpha  

Rishanne Burt

Sophie Coker

James Cuddy

Benjamin Furner

Danielle Gandelman

Gabrielle Hope

Tugra Isler

Akhenaton Lazarre

Ethan Madappatt

Sarah McNaughton

Sean Millington

Hansel Ortiz-Rosario

Ryan Parker

Tanner Ryan

Gabrielle Samson

Robert Secor

Benjamin Sepello

Rebecca Sikarev

Tejaswini Sivanesan


Pi Alpha Alpha

Thin Aung Htoo 

Hnin Thazin Htwe 

Edward McGlone 

Anjalee Modrasra 

Danielle Muth 

Roseanna Vanca 

Madeleine Wadeson 

SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Eva Alvarez Ero

Jillian Benedict

Jude Klein

Biancamaria Scricco

Dean’s Leadership Council

Annabelle Trowbridge

Anna Schumacher-Zaremsky

Steven Jimenez

James Cuddy

Irene Aloyce

Jeremy Zheng

Dmitriy Sandul

Jeremy Baker

Bryce Avery Mack

Sodiq Ambali

Sean Millington

Brianna Bace

Molly Lamendola

Zeinab Toure

Mari Shakishvili

Akhenaton Lazarre

Aasam Ali

Olivia Sheffer

Kayla Cooper

Daniel Seth Weinstein

Scholarship Recipients

Anna Boochever De Beer Scholarship Fund 

Alexander Jodush


Anne Gustin Rockefeller College Scholarship for Women in Law or Government 

Billy Swindler


Bruce L. Davis '73, '75 Fellowship 

James Hubbell


Buchly Semester in Washington Fund 

Julia Ross-McGuire


Criminal Justice Scholarship 

Tiana Hewitt


Dean Frank J. Thompson Scholarship 

Daniel Weinstein


Distinguished Service Professor David F. Andersen Scholarship 

Patrick Schumacher


Governor Mario Cuomo Scholarship Fund 

Marina Varghese


J. Edgar Hoover Foundation Scholarship 

Juliette Kerzhner


Jean Ellis Poletti Memorial Internship Fund 

Charles Bernet

Ava Green


John Giarruso '87, '89 MPA Endowed Scholarship

Emily Matura


Joseph & Helen Heikoff Endowment  

Jacqueline Johnson

Anna Mohammed


Larivee Family Scholarship in Criminal Justice 

Alexandra Von Stackelberg


Larry Siegel PhD Fund 

Alexandra Von Stackelberg


Lew Wiener '84 Scholarship 

Ciara Barrett

Noah Flint

Aedan Perry


Lt. John Finn Memorial Scholarship Fund 

Kierra Coffey


Mary & Peter Brusoe Washington Fund  

Astrid Fuentes-Dimas


Professor Jose E. Cruz Scholarship for Global Understanding 

Mitchell Givens


Professor Michael J. Malbin Washington Semester Fund 

Jaidyn Bruner

Astrid Fuentes-Dimas

Julia Ross-McGuire

Emiliano Torlasco


Professor Walter Goldstein Graduate Scholarship 

Abigail Evans

Liam Nugent


Public Administration & Policy Scholarship 

Sarah Davis


Ralph H. & Dora Baker Scholarship 

Bryant Caizachana

Asia Harris

Kayla-Jay Soriano


Ricardo Gonzalez and Evelyn G. Gonzalez Family Scholarship 

Charles Bernet


Richard Bailey Memorial Scholarship Fund 

Jennifer Thiem


Richard Gentilcore '66 Criminal Justice Scholarship 

Joseph Lawton


Robert S. Herman Endowment 

Abigail Evans


Rockefeller College Advisory Board Scholarship Fund  

Taylor Browning


Rockefeller College Dean's Fund for Excellence 

Charles Bernet 

Liam Dowd

Deok-soo Kim

Michael Maynard

Ella McGrail

Patrick Schumacher 


Rockefeller College Scholarship  

Molina Nelkys

Xavier Lamar

Ellen Hahne

Teuta Mujaj

Joanna Ogrodnik

Htet Naing Oo

Erica Whitman


Rockefeller College Steve Jackson Graduate Student Scholarship 

Ashlea Raemer


Rockefeller Diversity Scholarship Fund 

Eva Alvarez Ero

Jasmine Cheston-Moore


Rousseau Warner Family Scholarship Fund  

Alexander Jodush

Oroboghene Obaro-Ogbovoh


Steven Gold Research Assistantship 

Maia Edwards

Ivana Npwang Ntonga


Student Philanthropy Fund 

Unity House  

Unity House of Troy, N.Y. was awarded $10,000 by Rockefeller College's Student Philanthropy Fund. Unity House was selected for its mission and vision to “make life better” for Capital Region residents. The Student Philanthropy allows UAlbany students to distribute funds to local nonprofit organizations as part of coursework in which they learn about philanthropy and the essential role nonprofit organizations play in building vibrant communities.


The Libby Post '82 MA '84 Endowed Fund for Social Justice Policy 

Francesca Pande


The Relentless Bonilla Fazio Public Service Scholarship 

Michael Maynard


Walt Francis Fund in the School of Criminal Justice 

Emily Brown

Abigail Dilbone

Abigale Rhodes

Alison Stutsrim

Michaela Webb

Alumni Awards Presentation

Lifetime Achievement Award
Scott Heil, MPA ’94
Scott Heil, MPA ’94
Scott Heil, MPA ’94

Born and raised in upstate New York, Colonel (Retired) Scott L. Heil graduated from Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an Army Second Lieutenant in 1989. His major assignments included Military Advisor to the Syrian Transition Assistance Response Team (START), Strategic Planner at United States Central Command, Battalion Commander, and Director of Medical Theater Security Cooperation at United States Army Central. His overseas tours included Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey, Bosnia, and Germany.  

COL Heil’s military education includes Command and General Staff College, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Chemical Officers’ Basic Course, and the Civil Affairs Advanced Course. He received a bachelor’s degree from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in 1991 and a master’s degree in public administration from the State University of New York at Albany in 1994.  
His highest awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (5 awards), Joint Services Commendation Medal (2 awards), and the Army Commendation Medal (2 awards). Colonel Heil currently resides in Odessa, Florida, and is married to the former Bea Galagate. He has two daughters, Kristina, and Gisele.  

Distinguished Service to the College
Libby Post, BA ’82, MA ’84
Libby Post
Libby Post, BA ’82, MA ’84

Libby Post brings a wide range of communications experience, advocacy, and political campaign expertise to her clients. What began as a graphic design firm in 1984, Communication Services has transformed into a full-service public affairs and lobbying operation that provides strategic communications and campaigns to clients that include public libraries, healthcare organizations, and animal welfare groups. This work is now done under the firm’s new division — Progressive Public Affairs and Government Relations. 2024 will mark the firm’s 40th anniversary. 

Post also runs the political consulting firm, Progressive Elections, LLC, with her business partner, Sheila Healy. They specialize in local elections and have had tremendous success electing pro-choice, pro-LGBTQ candidates since starting the firm in 2018. 

Through her public affairs work, Post runs the New York State Animal Protection Federation and represents the state’s network of animal shelters at the capitol. She has been successful in garnering support for homeless companion animals including the establishment of the Companion Animal Capital Fund, which has brought tens of millions of dollars to shelter capital projects across the state. She was also instrumental in passing the Puppy Mill Bill and the Companion Animal Care Standards Act for Shelters and Rescues. 

Post has been a regular on WAMC’s The Roundtable for over a decade. She is the founding co-chair of CapitalWomen, the Capital Region’s political action committee. She is also an adjunct professor at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy where she teaches “The Science and Art of Political Campaigns” and “Making Policy Understandable.” 

Post holds a Master’s Degree in Political Communications from the University at Albany. She lives in Menands, NY with her partner of 29 years this June 11th, Lynn Dunning-Vaughn, their six-year-old Golden Retriever Shayna, and her 8-year-old sister Sophie who was rescued from an Amish Puppy Mill. They have a 38-year-old son, Alex Vaughn, who is an organic farmer in the mid-Hudson Valley.

Distinguished Alumnus in Criminal Justice
Ivan Sun, MA ’97, PhD ’00
Ivan Sun, MA ’97, PhD ’00
Ivan Sun, MA ’97, PhD ’00

Ivan Y. Sun is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and a faculty member of Asian Studies at the University of Delaware. He received his PhD in criminal justice from the State University of New York, University at Albany. His research interests include police attitudes and behavior, public assessments of legal authorities, and crime and justice in Asian societies. Dr. Sun has published four books and more than 150 refereed journal articles, including over 90 pieces on mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. His recent books include Race, immigration and social control: Immigrants’ Views on the Police (2018) and Policing in Taiwan: From Authoritarianism to Democracy (2014). Dr. Sun served as president of the Association of Chinese Criminology and Criminal Justice (ACCCJ) in the US between 2016 and 2018.      

Distinguished Alumnus in Criminal Justice
Richard O’Brien, MA ’01
Richard O’Brien, MA ’01
Richard O’Brien, MA ’01

Richard J. O’Brien is a recently retired Staff Inspector with the New York State Police, where he successfully completed a career spanning more than three decades. Mr. O’Brien began his career as a Trooper in 1991 and has served in various ranks including Investigator; Senior Investigator; Lieutenant; Captain; Major and Staff Inspector. 

Career highlights include being the Troop Commander of Troop G, which encompasses the ten-county area of New York State’s Capital Region. As Troop Commander, he supervised approximately 500 sworn members of the Uniform Force and Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), both supplemented by numerous civilian employees. 

He is a former coordinator of New York State’s AMBER Alert program and has also supervised state police recruitment, entrance examination administration, and hiring on a statewide basis. He is also a certified polygraphist and a motor vehicle Collision Reconstructionist. 

Mr. O’Brien is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where he earned a master’s degree in criminal justice, and a 1990 graduate of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. 

Mr. O’Brien currently resides with his wife in Rensselaer County and has two adult children.

Young Alumna in Criminal Justice
Vanessa Panfil, MA ’08, PhD ’13
Vanessa Panfil, MA ’08, PhD ’13
Vanessa Panfil, MA ’08, PhD ’13

Dr. Vanessa R. Panfil is an ethnographer, criminologist, sociologist, and advocate. She is the author of The Gang’s All Queer: The Lives of Gay Gang Members (NYU Press, 2017), the co-author of Sex-Positive Criminology (Routledge, 2021), and the co-editor of the Handbook of LGBT Communities, Crime, and Justice (Springer, 2014; 2nd ed. forthcoming 2024). Centrally involved in developing the burgeoning field of queer criminology, her research explores how intersections of gender and sexuality shape people’s experiences with gangs, crime, victimization, and the legal system. While the vast majority of her research has focused on LGBTQ people's experiences, her research is expanding to explore disability/accessibility and its intersections. She has volunteered for advocacy organizations for two decades and is committed to public service and social justice. Currently, Dr. Panfil is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University and serves as the Graduate Program Director for ODU’s PhD program in Criminology & Criminal Justice. In 2024, she was honored with a Diversity Champion Award and the University Doctoral Mentoring Award, which speak to two other priorities in her career. Prior to joining her current institution, she was a post-doctoral associate in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark and earned her PhD in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany. 

Distinguished Alumna in Public Administration
Angela Albertus, BA ’88
Angela Albertus, BA ’88
Angela Albertus, BA ’88

Angela Albertus is the Juvenile Justice Director at the National District Attorneys Association where she is responsible for implementing a comprehensive training program for juvenile prosecutors; developing resources to build and improve relationships between youth and law enforcement; and creating juvenile justice publications for juvenile justice prosecutors. Angela’s juvenile justice experience includes serving as Division Chief of the Family Court Division of the NYC Law Department from 2010–2020 where she oversaw juvenile prosecutions; prior to that, she served as Deputy Chief, from 2005–2010. In her role as Division Chief, Angela was responsible for the implementation of Raise the Age, improving services for victims, increasing diversion and other community-based options for youth, and enhancing the Division’s community outreach efforts. Additionally, from 2014–2019, Angela was an adjunct professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she co-taught a juvenile delinquency seminar. Angela has also held other positions in New York City, including Executive Assistant District Attorney, Chief of Staff, and Executive Director of the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Family Violence. She is a 1991 graduate of Fordham Law School and a 1988 graduate of UAlbany.  

Young Alumnus in Public Administration
David Belsky, MPA ’09
David Belsky, MPA ’09
David Belsky, MPA ’09

David Belsky is Founder & CEO of Good Rebellion, a full-service consulting and public relations agency. He offers unique experience in communications strategy for purpose-driven organizations focused on education, health care, non-profit, social responsibility, government, politics, and more. 

David drove integrated marketing for nearly a decade at The State University of New York. He successfully implemented a new brand across 64 campuses, helping to establish the system and its chancellor as national thought leaders. While at SUNY, David maintained a wide-ranging portfolio, including media and government relations, advertising, website and social media, executive speechwriting, crisis communications, alumni engagement, student leadership, and supporting the Board of Trustees. 

He then joined The Fund for Public Schools at the NYC Department of Education, where he built a newly created communications department from the ground up. David was responsible for developing and implementing strategies for fundraising, donor engagement, content creation, partner relations, reporting for the Board of Directors, and liaising with City Hall. 

David serves as Vice President for Strategy for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Democratic Club and as a member of the BBYO Alumni Council. He is asked to speak at national conferences on crisis communications, college marketing, nonprofit branding, and more. 

A native New Yorker, David was born and raised in Queens and now lives in Brooklyn. He attended NYC public schools, earned his BA in Political Science from Binghamton University, and MPA from the University at Albany. 

Distinguished Alumnus in Political Science
Fred Kowal, PhD ’98
Fred Kowal, PhD ’98
Fred Kowal, PhD ’98

United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal has served as UUP’s president since winning election in May 2013. 

Under Kowal’s leadership, UUP has become a strong, politically influential organization in New York State. Central to this work has been Kowal’s insistence that UUP takes on the role of offering innovative solutions to the challenges facing SUNY and communities across the state. 

His New York HEALS (Healthcare, Education, Access, Leadership, Sustainability) is a bold, wide-ranging plan focused on securing full state funding of SUNY and its public teaching hospitals. The blueprint also promotes the health of all New Yorkers and brings attention to important issues such as combating climate change and support for racial and social justice. 

Kowal strengthened the bonds between the union and its members during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, he spearheaded a program to provide UUP members on the front lines with hotel rooms near SUNY’s public hospitals and held a series of “Tele-town Hall” forums with members—the first time UUP has ever held such events. He directed the purchase of personal protective equipment for essential workers at SUNY’s hospitals, including 100,000 isolation gowns and thousands of N95 masks and Nitrile gloves. 

In 2022, advocacy efforts led by Kowal resulted in securing bonus pay for SUNY health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic, and hundreds of millions more in state funding for SUNY. 

Moved to action by the tragic, racially motivated shooting in Buffalo in May 2022, Kowal initiated and later moderated a roundtable discussion on mental health equity and structural racism at SUNY Buffalo State College in October. 

Also that year, Kowal became the host of UUP’s podcast, “The Voice.” Under Kowal’s direction, the podcast has taken on important issues such as environmental justice and abortion rights. 

In October 2013, Kowal was appointed as an American Federation of Teachers vice president. He also serves as an Executive Council member. Kowal was elected to the New York State United Teachers Board of Directors and the NYSUT Executive Committee in 2014. 

He was elected to the New York AFL-CIO's Executive Council in 2022. 

In April 2016, he was appointed to the National Wildlife Foundation’s Board of Directors. Kowal was appointed to the American Labor Studies Center’s Board of Directors in 2018. Kowal was honored with the ALSC’s Kate Mullany Award in 2017. He was also recognized by the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State for his work as a union leader in the cause of social justice. 

Kowal was named to City & State's State Labor Power 100 list in 2022 and 2023. Kowal made the magazine's Higher Education Power 100 list in 2023 and 2021 and was chosen for its Upstate Power 100 list in 2021. 

Kowal grew up in the mill town of Chicopee, Mass., the son of working-class, unionist parents. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Western New England University, a master’s in economics at American University, and a doctorate in political science from the University at Albany. 

After completing his master’s degree, Kowal moved to Montana to work on the Flathead Indian Reservation. There, he was exposed to and joined in tribal fights to maintain sovereignty, to preserve wilderness areas in the Mission Mountains, and cultural traditions. 

He returned to New York in 1986 and began his teaching career at SUNY Cobleskill. In 1995, Kowal developed Native American Studies courses that became an undergraduate minor. 

Kowal joined UUP while at Cobleskill and became a leader at the chapter and statewide levels. He served as Cobleskill Chapter president from 1993 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2013. He was elected as statewide membership development officer from 1999 through 2001. 

Kowal lives in Warnerville, NY with his wife, Cheryl Hamilton. 

Young Alumna in Political Science
Jessica Pidgeon, PhD ’15
Jessica Pidgeon, PhD ’15
Jessica Pidgeon, PhD ’15

Dr. Jessica Pidgeon serves in the Executive Office of the New York State Office For People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), supporting the Commissioner in the agencies’ strategic planning process in collaboration with stakeholders across New York State, other state and local agencies, and the OPWDD leadership team. She also supports the Executive Office in external engagement and communication efforts, internal organizational change management, and evaluation of strategic initiatives.

Jessica has over a decade of experience in strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, evaluation, training, and technical assistance at the state and federal level. Prior to joining OPWDD, Jessica worked at the New York State Council on Developmental Disabilities (CDD), where she was responsible for managing the implementation and evaluation of federal initiatives for the agency, leading the development of multiple 5-year strategic plans, and working side-by-side with CDD’s Executive Director to update agency processes to create efficiencies, embed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion principles into policies, and improve engagement with stakeholders. 

Dr. Pidgeon has over ten years of experience serving as an adjunct professor of Political Science, including at Rockefeller College at University at Albany, Siena College, and Siena College’s Mt. McGregor/Green Correctional College Initiative. As a professor, she cultivated her education, facilitation, and relationship-building skills now in use at OPWDD and in her personal life as a wife and mom to a vibrant and energetic three-year-old. 

Jessica earned a PhD with distinction, in American Politics and Public Policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, an MA with distinction, in Mass Political Behavior at the University of California, Riverside, and BA from Siena College. 

10 Under 10 Award
Daniel Butterworth, MA ’11, MPA ’13
Daniel Butterworth, MA ’11, MPA ’13

Daniel Butterworth, MA ’11, MPA ’13

Daniel Butterworth is an Albany resident and Capital Region native with 15+ years of experience working for local nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions. He joined RISSE (Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus) as Executive Director in October 2021, continuing to pursue his long-standing passion for social justice issues, community development, and public service. Since his arrival, RISSE has more than doubled its budget and the total number of newcomer families receiving services.  

Daniel’s prior work has focused on issues including HIV/AIDS services, K-12 education, food security, and environmental protection. He is particularly proud of his work at the University at Albany as Program Director for Community Engagement for the Office of the President. There, he helped foster university-community partnerships, provided strategic assistance to community organizations, and expanded UAlbany’s impact in the Capital Region and beyond. He was also a founding contributor to the Institute for Nonprofit Leadership and Community Development.  

Daniel has also served as a volunteer, committee member, and board member for a variety of community-based organizations and initiatives throughout the region, currently including the Albany Institute of History & Art and WMHT Community Advisory Board. 

Daniel holds two master’s degrees from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany — a Master of Arts in Political Science with a focus on democratic political theory, and a Master of Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University.  

Marc Cohen, BA ’16, MPA ’18
Marc Cohen, BA ’16, MPA ’18

Marc Cohen, BA ’16, MPA ’18

Marc Cohen became Chief of Staff at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce in December 2018. In his role, Marc works to ensure the smooth operation of the organization and he directly oversees government relations, legislative affairs, advocacy, and is the primary policy advisor to the Rochester Chamber’s CEO, former New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy. With over 1,300 members, the Greater Rochester Chamber serves as the Voice of Business for the nine-county Finger Lakes Region of New York.  

Marc serves on a variety of boards including Temple B’rith Kodesh, the United Way of Rochester/Finger Lakes’ Emerging Leaders Society, and the ROC City Coalition. He also volunteers as an EMT with Brighton Ambulance and is a 2021 Rochester Business Journal 40 under 40 recipient. 

Prior to joining the Rochester Chamber, Marc served as a Trustee for the State University of New York and as a two-term President of the SUNY Student Assembly, elected to represent the more than 500,000 students across SUNY’s 64 campuses. During his time with SUNY, Marc worked on issues including food insecurity, college access and affordability, diversity and inclusion, and mental health.

Marc grew up in Amherst, NY and graduated summa cum laude from the University at Albany before completing his Master of Public Administration from UAlbany’s Rockefeller College. While at the University at Albany, Marc worked as a Research Fellow in the Office of the Provost and co-authored the book Diversity at College: Real Stories of Students Conquering Bias and Making Higher Education More Inclusive. The book has received numerous accolades including from American Bookfest, Foreword INDIES, and Independent Press. 

Marc lives in Rochester, NY with his wife, Dr. Emily Cohen, their son, Benjamin, and their pup Knox. 

Diana Cruz, MIA ’19
Diana Cruz, MIA ’19

Diana Cruz, MIA ’19

As the Co-Executive Director of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement (CCSM), Diana oversees a range of program areas, including deportation defense, accompaniment and family support, and community building. Her guiding principle is that investing in one person can have a lasting impact on their family, community, and the overall quality of life for immigrants in New York. During her tenure, Diana has led the organization's expansion, secured funding for an in-house legal program, and strengthened partnerships with other organizations to offer high-quality, liberatory support to CCSM's community members. She has been featured in prominent media outlets such as the Economist podcast and NPR. 

Alyssa Derrick (Shanderson), BA ’17
Alyssa Derrick, BA ’17

Alyssa Derrick, BA ’17

Alyssa K. Derrick is a law firm diversity, equity, and inclusion professional in Washington, D.C., working alongside firm leadership, practitioners, and business professionals to implement inclusive business processes, support and develop under-resourced employees, and build community. 

Alyssa earned a BA in political science with a global concentration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany, SUNY in December 2017 as a part of the Undergraduate Honors program and the Semester in Washington (SIW) inaugural Fall 2017 cohort. Notably, Alyssa was the 2017 Rockefeller College James Unger Award recipient and a member of both Sigma Pi Alpha and ODK Omicron Delta Kappa at UAlbany. Since graduating, Derrick has been an active mentor in the SIW Alumni Program as a mentor and guest panelist for undergraduates and served as the 2020 Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of the Women’s Information Network in Washington, D.C., a social, political, and professional network for pro-choice Democratic women. After time as a Research Assistant at the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, Alyssa has pursued roles in the BigLaw, aligning with her passion for good governance and promoting women’s representation and development cross-sector. 

In the run-up to the 2022 and 2024 U.S. elections, Derrick is passionate about supporting the campaigns of candidates who uplift the middle class, support unrestricted access to abortion, are working to combat climate change and advocate for racial and gender equality and justice. 

Alyssa is also the proudest native of Sunnyside, Queens, New York, living in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, who is also a Rockefeller BA alum. 

Craig Famoso, MA ’14
Craig Famoso, MA ’14

Craig Famoso, MA ’14

Detective Craig Famoso completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2006. Additionally, he completed a graduate certification in public administration with a concentration in homeland security from the State University of New York at Albany in August 2014. Lastly, Detective Famoso completed his Master of Arts degree in criminal justice from the State University of New York at Albany in December 2014.  He is currently enrolled at American Military University pursuing a graduate certification in executive law enforcement leadership. 

Detective Famoso joined the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in July 2017 and attended the Basic Course for Investigators at the Division of Criminal Justice Academy from July 2017 to December 2017.  He has been assigned to the Special Victims Unit since March 2021.  Detective Famoso is responsible for investigating physical and sexual abuse cases involving children under the age of thirteen, and aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault cases involving thirteen to seventeen-year-old victims.  Additionally, he investigates sexual assaults where the suspect is unknown to the victim, including adult victims. Lastly, he is responsible for investigating human trafficking occurring within Union County. 

Detective Famoso is also assigned to the Union County Emergency Response Team as a crisis negotiator. Additionally, he is a Federal Aviation Administration-qualified unmanned aerial vehicle pilot and is the Chief Pilot assigned to the Unmanned Aerial Systems Unit. Detective Famoso is a Resiliency Program Officer, Honor Guard member, and Trustee of PBA Local 250. 

From November 2018 to March 2021, Detective Famoso was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children section of the Cyber Crime Task Force, where he investigated cases involving the possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse material. He has also conducted online undercover investigations. Detective Famoso was also assigned to the Shooting Response Team and assisted with investigations into police-involved shootings. 

From July 2017 to November 2018, he was assigned to the Criminal Case Control Unit where he was responsible for the review and investigation of indictable offenses and prepared cases for indictment and prosecution. 

Prior to joining the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Detective Famoso was an active-duty Naval Officer from May 2006 to April 2017, serving as an H-60 helicopter pilot. He completed two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In April 2017, Detective Famoso became affiliated with the Naval Reserves to continue his naval service. He completed one deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar from November 2019 to October 2020. Detective Famoso is currently assigned to a Naval Reserve unit in Fort Dix, New Jersey. 

Casey Fenton, BA ’17
Casey Fenton, BA ’17

Casey Fenton, BA ’17

Casey is currently a Vice President at Ostroff Associates, one of New York State’s top lobbying firms. At OA, Casey manages legislative and regulatory affairs on behalf of clients in spaces including technology, economic development, and entertainment. In addition to her lobbying work, Casey manages and mentors OA’s team of legislative analysts.  

Prior to joining Ostroff Associates, Casey worked in the New York State Senate, where she started as a Session Assistant in the Senate’s undergraduate program while at UAlbany. At the completion of the internship, Casey was hired as a Legislative Aide, a role that gave her the legislative and political knowledge to join Ostroff Associates as a Legislative Analyst in 2020.  

Casey graduated summa cum laude from the University at Albany in December 2017 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Communications. She resides in Ballston Lake with her husband and their three dogs. 

Monique Gibbs, BA ’13
Monique Gibbs, BA ’13

Monique Gibbs, BA ’13

Monique Gibbs has dedicated her career and life to the advocacy and implementation of policy and programs to address disparities and advance equitable opportunities for all. Monique is the Manager of Equitable Business Development at MassHousing, (Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) where she develops and manages initiatives to achieve the agency’s Diversity and Inclusion strategic business goals, through the implementation of innovative policies and programs, and collaboration with business partners and organizations. Prior to joining MassHousing, Monique’s professional background involved political and legislative advocacy, labor organizing, and community engagement. 

Monique is originally from the Bronx, New York. She received her Bachelor of Art in Public Policy from the University at Albany in 2013 and a Master’s in Public Administration from Northeastern University in 2018. 

Matthew McLarnon, BA ’13
Matthew McLarnon

Matthew McLarnon, BA ’13

Matthew McLarnon is a dynamic healthcare professional with a wealth of experience in policy development, government affairs, and corporate operations within the healthcare sector.

Currently serving as a Corporate Operations Manager at Centene Corporation, one of the nation's leading Fortune 25 healthcare companies, Matthew plays a pivotal role in shaping policy initiatives and operational strategies to enhance healthcare access and delivery for millions of individuals across the United States.

Prior to joining Centene Corporation, Matthew served as a Senior Business Development Specialist at SAS Institute, Inc., a multinational analytic software developer. In this role, he leveraged his expertise as a Medicaid subject matter expert to drive business growth and innovation. Matthew's responsibilities included conducting market research, collaborating with cross-functional teams, and identifying opportunities to address critical healthcare challenges through analytic solutions.

During his tenure at Modivcare Solutions, LLC., Matthew held progressive roles in government affairs and advocacy, demonstrating his commitment to advancing healthcare access and equity. As Government Affairs Director and Manager, he spearheaded initiatives to expand transportation access to healthcare services, advocated for policy reforms, and cultivated strategic partnerships to support the company's mission of connecting individuals to essential care.

Matthew's early career experiences at Capital Health Consulting, LLC. laid the groundwork for his passion for healthcare policy and advocacy. In this role, he played a pivotal role in securing grants, negotiating agreements, and advocating for legislative reforms to improve healthcare delivery and access across New York State.

Matthew McLarnon holds a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University at Albany. His academic background, coupled with his hands-on experience, equips him with a unique blend of strategic acumen and policy expertise to drive positive change within the healthcare landscape.

Matthew McLarnon's career journey exemplifies his unwavering dedication to making a meaningful impact on healthcare policy, operations, and access. With a track record of leadership, innovation, and collaboration, Matthew continues to be a driving force in shaping the future of healthcare delivery and ensuring equitable access to quality care for all individuals.

Rebecca Prince, BA ’14, MA ’16
Rebecca Prince, BA ’14, MA ’16

Rebecca Prince, BA ’14, MA ’16

Rebecca Prince is a passionate public servant with a distinguished career dedicated to upholding the Fair Housing Act. Since joining HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) in Chicago as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2016, she has consistently demonstrated exceptional commitment to ensuring equal access to housing. 

She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology, along with a master's degree in criminal justice from the University at Albany. This background, combined with her experience in property management and real estate, provided her with a well-rounded understanding of the housing market and the challenges faced by different communities when obtaining and maintaining stable housing. 

Recognizing the need for a broader perspective, Rebecca embraced a rotational detail with HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development in 2017. This experience allowed her to gain expertise in conducting monitoring and risk assessments of HUD grant recipients. 

Upon graduating from the Presidential Management Fellowship program in 2018, Rebecca actively worked in her role as Equal Opportunity Specialist. While in this role, she assessed a large volume of complex and highly sensitive housing discrimination complaints; interviewing parties, gathering evidence, and conducting property searches, to assess and determine if the allegations fell under HUD’s jurisdiction. 

In October 2023, Rebecca's dedication and leadership were recognized with her promotion to Intake Branch Chief at FHEO. In this role, she continues to play a pivotal role in fulfilling FHEO's mission of creating equal housing opportunities for all individuals across the six States of the Upper Midwest region. Rebecca's exceptional blend of experience, passion, and leadership make her a true asset to HUD and a role model for aspiring public servants in the fight for fair housing. 

Faculty/Staff Awards

President's Excellence in Teaching Award 

Arzana Myderrizi

President's Excellence in Professional Service Award

Sheena Loughlin

Stacey Zyskowski

Senior Faculty Research Recognition Award 

Ashley Fox

Spark Award 

Brian Greenhill

Honorary Committee
Committee Members

Susan Appe

Zakhar Berkovich

Dr. Peter W. Brusoe

Casey Crandall 

Judy Disco

Dr. Jonathan Doh

Lynn Dunning-Vaughn

Barbara Goldstein

Kelly Hammond

Sheila Healy

Frank R. Jazzo

June Mastan

Dean Julie Novkov

Dana Peterson, PhD

Libby Post

Catherine Provost

Nic Rangel

Haven Sheehan-Hutchinson

Gary Striar