SUNY Announces Recipients of the 2nd Annual Graduate Research Empowering and Accelerating Talent Awards

February 11, 2022

28 SUNY Students Each Awarded $5,000 in Funds for Research Expenses, Travel, Professional Development, and Stipend Support

Awarded Work Includes Focuses in Climate Science, Homeland Security, Bone Health, and Urban Design

Bios and Photos of Recipients Can Be Found Here

Albany, NY
– State University of New York Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley today announced that 28 students have received the second annual SUNY Graduate Research Empowering and Accelerating Talent (GREAT) awards, which provide $5,000 to each student in flexible funds for research expenses, professional development, and supplemental stipend support. The 28 recipients have all won national recognition for their research from prestigious graduate fellowship programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health.

SUNY's award recipients are conducting research in topics such as using historical data to predict sea level rise, discovering the environmental benefits of urban forests in historically marginalized communities, and uncovering mechanisms of human health and disease across the lifespan. Several projects focus on human behavior, messaging within the brain, and the evolution of human cognition. Other projects deploy artificial intelligence in new ways, from detecting engine disfunction using acoustic signals, to detecting anatomical structures from CT scans.

"SUNY graduate students are not simply researchers, they are creating innovative solutions, and whether it be measuring the impacts of climate change or improving homeland security, our talented young minds are dedicating their intelligence to improving the lives of others," said SUNY Interim Chancellor Stanley. "Congratulations to our SUNY GREAT award recipients. We will continue to invest in their dedication, talent, and potential. SUNY is a leader in groundbreaking research, and we are proud to provide the laboratories and resources necessary to propel our students forward in their careers."

This year's awardees epitomize the diversity and ingenuity of SUNY students. One quarter of them were the first in their families to attend college, one quarter identify with groups who are ethnically or racially underrepresented in science and academia, and nearly 40 percent are women. Fully half are from New York, and 10 earned their undergraduate degrees at a SUNY comprehensive or R1 university center. The awardees are enrolled in doctoral programs at SUNY's four university centers and at SUNY ESF. Eight are affiliated with Stony Brook University's Medical Science Training Program (MSTP). Bios and photos of this year's recipients can be found here.

SUNY Board Trustee Courtney Burke said, "Our SUNY research students are not working for the present alone, they are studying far-reaching ideas with impacts well into our future. With this additional funding and support, we are encouraging them to test their theories and be bold in their discoveries. I congratulate them on receiving this distinction and look forward to seeing how they will change the world."

SUNY Provost-in-Charge F. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik said, "Our SUNY graduate student researchers are being trained to be the visionaries of our time, imagining a future not of problems, but of solutions and opportunities—crafted by their own hands under the guidance of our internationally known faculty. I am so proud that we are encouraging our students with the GREAT awards, rewarding their grit and innovation. We believe in the power of innovation and progress in positively impacting our world, and we believe in them."

SUNY's student researchers are pursuing their graduate training at SUNY Stony Brook University, University at Buffalo, University at Albany, Binghamton University, or the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The awardees include:

Stony Brook University

  • Noele Doreen Certain, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
  • Marlee Harris, Anthropological Sciences
  • Alicia Gabriella Mendoza, Microbiology and Immunology
  • Angus John Koller, Chemistry
  • Sekine Ozturk, Clinical Psychology
  • Andrea Jasmine Arreguin, Neuroscience/Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
  • Aziz Mohammedi Rangwala, Molecular and Cellular Biology/MSTP
  • Daniel Radin, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology/MSTP
  • Joshua Kogan, Neuroscience/MSTP
  • Ki Hong Oh, Biomedical Informatics/MSTP
  • Michael Adrian Martinez, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology/MSTP
  • Philip Andrew Moresco, Genetics/MSTP
  • Cristian Ryan Lopez Cleary, Genetics/MSTP
  • Kayla Rain Donaldson, Clinical Psychology

University at Buffalo

  • Natalie Anselmi, Oral Biology
  • Liam Bernard Christie, Electrical Engineering
  • Narayan Dhimal, Neuroscience
  • Dennis Christopher Fedorishin, Computer Science
  • Kyle Jeffrey Hunt, Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Grant Thomas Iraci, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Lindsey J. Mattick, Epidemiology and Environmental Health
  • Steven Gregory Alan Lewis, Computational Cell Biology, Anatomy and Pathology
  • Kathleen Paige, Clinical Psychology
  • Caleb Kazunari Walcott, Geology

Binghamton University

  • Megan Elizabeth Gauck, Anthropology / Biological Anthropology
  • Trevor Towner, Psychology / Behavioral Neuroscience

University at Albany

  • Amber Altrieth, Biology

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

  • Jordan Michael Jessamy, Environmental Science

Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis said, "I am incredibly proud of this year's recipients of the SUNY GREAT awards. At Stony Brook University, we are passionate about supporting the spirit of inquiry and innovation that animates our early-career faculty and graduate students, so it is gratifying to see that 14 out of the 28 recipients are Seawolves. With honorees from the fields of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Genetics, Chemistry, Anthropological Sciences, Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, it is clear that the passion for knowledge thrives in all disciplines amongst our brilliant graduate students, who bring to their research a broad diversity of backgrounds and experiences."

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University at Buffalo Graham Hammill said, "It's incredibly gratifying to see the wide array of advanced research and scholarly activity these extremely talented University at Buffalo students are engaged in. Support from the SUNY Graduate Research Empowering and Accelerating Talent program will help further their studies, which in turn fosters an even more dynamic learning environment for graduate students here at UB and throughout New York State."

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger said, "Our graduate students are responsible for conducting groundbreaking research year-round, and these awards will give them an even greater opportunity to explore the topics that mean the most to them and their future careers. Thank you to SUNY for enabling our graduate students and giving Binghamton another boost for our research endeavors."

University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez said, "Amber's work through The RNA Institute to advance regenerative medicine exemplifies UAlbany's graduate researchers' positive impact on complex societal challenges. The GREAT awards are an important recognition and ensure that SUNY's next generation of thought leaders, innovators, and educators have the support necessary to succeed."

SUNY ESF President Joanie Mahoney said, "We are excited for Jordan's recognition. His work—which explores the intersection of urban forestry and environmental justice—will impact how cities can be improved for all people. This award will help Jordan continue his important research to improve our world and we're grateful to SUNY for providing this opportunity."

For more information about SUNY GREAT awards, please visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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