Chancellor Zimpher Announces SUNY Student Fellows at Global Big Data Conference

October 29, 2013

Fellows To Recommend Innovative Uses of Big Data To Transform the Student Experience

New York City — At the system's third annual “Critical Issues in Higher Education” conference today in New York City, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher announced SUNY's first class of Student Fellows, who will work with SUNY leadership over the next year to shape the system's use of Big Data and transform the student experience.

The conference, Building a Smarter University: Big Data, Innovation, and Ingenuity, has brought together international experts and thought leaders to examine how the emergence of big data can help higher education improve the student learning experience, enhance research, maximize resources, support effective community outreach, strengthen the education pipeline, and advance university infrastructure.

“The ability to manage and accurately analyze data is a skill that is increasingly important in today's marketplace,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Learning from experts from across the globe at this week's conference, the SUNY student fellows will play a critical role in helping SUNY to educate and prepare future generations of students for this challenge.

“Selected by their campus provosts for this designation, our student fellows have each shown an interest in and capacity for using big data to enhance their academic and professional pursuits, and we are proud to partner with them as we determine the best uses for Big Data in the future of higher education.”

The interests of the fellows span the disciplines of healthcare, computer science, communication, finance, math, and education. The student fellows are:

Abbegail Katherine Brown, Cayuga Community College
Abbegail Katherine Brown is pursuing an associate's degree in Liberal Arts & Human Services, with a concentration in Psychology. She hopes to earn a doctorate in Psychology and contribute valuable knowledge and research to the realms of adolescent psychology, biopsychology, and neuropsychology. She tutors in the Center for Academic Success at the college, in writing and psychology, and enjoys the interactions she has with students. She is enrolled in the Honors Study program and has completed multiple research projects in psychology. Abbegail is passionate about academics and the study of psychology because, she says, it gives her the freedom to understand the world in a logical and creative way.

Dane Marco Di Cesare, University at Buffalo
Dane Marco Di Cesare is a third-year doctoral scholar pursuing a degree in Special Education at the University at Buffalo. He is the recipient of the Leadership Grant—Preparing Leaders of Tomorrow to Work in a Digital Age. Dane's research interests are in developing digital tools to increase writing achievement for students with learning disabilities. He is in the process of earning two advanced certificates – a statistical analysis certificate from the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department, and a certificate of new literacies from the Learning and Instruction Department at UB. Dane has presented at state and national conferences, co-authored one publication in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Special Education Technology (Multimodal Composition: A Review of the Literature), co-authored two publications awaiting review (iPad, Therefore, iAm: Assistive Technology Needs for a Student with Dysgraphia; Connecting Without Fear: Media Consumption by Sexual Minority Youth), and is currently preparing three manuscripts for publication.

Sandra Gothard, University at Buffalo
Sandra Gothard is a second-year doctoral student at the University at Buffalo School of Nursing. Her professional career began at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University in Chicago, in perioperative nursing. Her current role is regional administrative director of Perioperative Services at Bassett Medical Center. The Bassett Health Care Network system, ranked one of the top 100 most integrated systems in the nation, offers all specialties and phases of care, over 400 full time providers in an employed model, Bassett-Columbia University Medical School, and the Bassett Research Institute. Sandra's research interests include exploring the extent to which sociodemographic and psychosocial factors could influence the state of obesity in the rural, female, adult population.

Wang Liao, Cornell University
Wang Liao is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. His current research relates to communal risk information sharing and knowledge sharing in social media and organizational contexts. In general, his research interest lies in online social dynamic, community formation, and knowledge sharing, with a network perspective. He received his master's degree in New Media Study at Tsinghua University, China, and his bachelor's degree in advertising at Xiamen University, China.

Paul Vroman, SUNY Old Westbury
Paul Vroman is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. Maintaining his standing on the Dean's List, Paul expects to graduate this December from SUNY Old Westbury. Paul tutors at the college, in computer science and technology, and works with other students in the program.

Erika Wilson, SUNY Oswego
Erika Wilson is a junior at SUNY Oswego. She majors in Applied Mathematics and minors in Applied Statistics. After graduation, she hopes to attend Columbia University to obtain her master's degree in Statistics. Erika has participated in several undergraduate research projects, including image restoration and copula model fitting.

Terrence Wilson, SUNY Buffalo State
Terrence Wilson is a Computer Information Systems student at SUNY Buffalo State. He is slated to obtain his bachelor's degree in the fall of 2014, and hopes to go on to pursue a master's in Business Administration or Management Information Systems. Terrence fine-tunes his understanding of the C++ language through educating others. He is currently a teaching assistant for the intro to C++ programming course at SUNY Buffalo State, and also tutors in the subject. He sharpens his technical and interpersonal skills as a student technician for computing services at the college. He also serves as the academic excellence chair of the National Society of Black Engineers' chapter executive board at SUNY Buffalo State. Terrence's current academic and professional interests include systems analysis, project management, and computer programming.

Eyub Yegen, SUNY Oswego
Eyub Yegen is a senior, majoring in Finance and Applied Mathematical Economics, with a minor in Applied Statistics at SUNY Oswego, and a part-time student at Harvard University, Extension School. He is a senator-at-large for the Student Government Association, president of three leading clubs at his home university, a member of the Strategic Advisory Board Committee, and serves on the School of Business Student Advisory Council. Last summer, Yegen was invited to become a financial and statistical research intern at the Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program, where he assisted the organization by analyzing their Big Data set. Yegen also worked on social business projects with students from Brown University and Cambridge University. Currently, Yegen is working on three different research articles on microfinance with professors from around the world. His goal is to pursue his Ph.D. in Finance to develop and in-depth understand of how to use financial tools to solve socio-economic problems.

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. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY serves throughout the year about 1.4 million students in 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 exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are 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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