Chancellor Malatras Announces the Inaugural Class of the Pre-Med Opportunity Program

May 18, 2021

25 Students From 10 SUNY Schools Chosen to Receive Academic Support While Pursuing Their Medical Degrees

Those Selected will Participate in a Residential Summer Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University this Summer

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras today announced the final selections for the inaugural class of SUNY's Pre-Med Opportunity Program. A total of 25 students from 10 SUNY schools were chosen, and will receive academic support while pursuing medicine, optometry, physical therapy, or physician assistant programs.

Those students selected will participate in a residential summer program at SUNY Upstate Medical University from July 18-22, which will include clinical exposure through the simulation labs at Upstate, as well as workshops, skill development, and academic programming. Students will also receive remote instruction to prepare them for medical school prerequisite courses—organic chemistry, physics, and microbiology—that they will take during the Fall 2021 semester.

SUNY System will cover all costs incurred for the summer program, including transportation, room, board, and instruction. As announced in February, the program was created to solve for persistent income disparities found amongst the nation's medical schools, with about two-thirds of students coming from families within the top two quintiles of family income ($74,870 to $225,251).

"Many of our hardworking, dedicated, and talented SUNY students have the drive and ability to become the next generation of healthcare heroes, yet not all of our students have the same advantages to go on to medical schools," said Chancellor Malatras. "Modeled off the of long-standing and successful Educational Opportunity Program, our newly created Pre-Med Opportunity Program will make SUNY the launching pad for talented professionals who represent the diversity of our great state. With this program, nothing will hold these students back from a successful career in medicine."

SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales said, "As the largest public higher education system in the nation, it is up to SUNY to lead and show the way forward when it comes to giving all students an equitable opportunity at following their dreams. The Pre-Med Opportunity Program is an example of that value being turned into action, and this inaugural class will be provided with the needed resources and networks of support as they progress in their undergraduate studies so that they enter into medical school with the confidence and sureness that they will thrive and feel as one among their peers."

SUNY Upstate Medical University President Mantosh Dewan, M.D., said, "Congratulations to the inaugural class of the Pre-Med Opportunity Program. Everyone at Upstate is excited to know you will be coming to our campus this summer. This program is an integral part of how Upstate and the SUNY system are training the next generation of health professionals. These students are about to have a career-shaping experience here at Upstate, working side by side with some of our best people. That, combined with a host of other hands-on experiences and educational opportunities, will prepare them for a promising career in a health-related field that is yearning for their enthusiasm and talents."

SUNY's Deputy Student Advocate and Executive Director for EOP Programs Cheryl Hamilton said, "SUNY's Educational Opportunity Program is known for opening doors for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Our latest addition of the Pre-Med Opportunity Program will provide specifically tailored resources and supports to students on the pre-med track, to ensure that they are set up for success and can move on to medical school, and arrive at a career in the medical field. This work is paramount, and SUNY is prepared to help both our student body and the workforce become more diverse so that patients are able to receive care from medical professionals who are representative of their own backgrounds and needs."

The inaugural class of Pre-Med Opportunity Program is as follows:

University at Albany

  • Catherine Pierre, Medicine
  • Rosmery Reyes, Medicine

Binghamton University

  • Kwame Adu, Medicine or Physician Assistant
  • Abigail Obeng, Medicine

University at Buffalo

  • Adora Amobi, Medicine
  • Sabrina Espinal, Medicine
  • Enikbokun Musaagboneni, Medicine

Buffalo State College

  • Ayan Ali, Medicine
  • Nayelisi Cano, Physician Assistant
  • Unique Phyall, Medicine
  • Cindy Sanchez, Optometry
  • Jennifer Sosa, Medicine

SUNY Campuses at Cornell University

  • Anzila Haris, Medicine (College of Human Ecology)
  • Khalid Mansouri, Medicine (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)
  • Mugabo Nshimye, Medicine (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)


  • Bri'ajah'nae Hymes, Physical Therapy

Farmingdale State College

  • Jason Benitez, Medicine

SUNY New Paltz

  • Julio Aguilar, Medicine
  • Guillermo Granados, Medicine

Onondaga Community College

  • Regina Kangela, Medicine or Physical Therapy

Stony Brook University

  • Nyquana Blake, Medicine
  • Leslie Campo Catalan, Medicine
  • Kevin Medina, Medicine
  • Anahy Moran, Medicine
  • Nawab Quaderi, Medicine

Since its inception in 1967, the EOP has provided access, academic support, and supplemental financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. In its 53-year history, the EOP has served more than 76,000 students and evolved into one of the country's most successful college access programs. SUNY received a 20 percent increase in funding for EOP, the first new investment in the last five years, securing $6.4 million in the 2022 fiscal year state budget, with the support of the Governor and state lawmakers, especially Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker.

In the current academic year, SUNY had more than 10,000 EOP students on 49 SUNY campuses. EOP students often outperform their peers, with 74 percent of them graduating with a baccalaureate degree within six years.

SUNY graduates more than 11,000 health professionals every year, including one of every three medical school graduates, nearly one of every three nursing graduates, and one of every four dentists in the state. Enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year is at 2,740 students. SUNY announced in December that it has received a dramatic increase in applications to its medical programs.

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 state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 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 2021, 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 opportunity, visit

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