An uncommon college experience in Northern New York.
Immerse yourself in a campus culture that's as eclectic as you are.
The Curious Cases of Nasser Malit
Dr. Nasser Malit has volunteered his time with the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Unit since 2011. In the role of a forensic anthropologist, he narrows and focuses the almost endless possibilities surrounding a skeleton or a shard of calcium. Malit’s early research prepared him for this work, taking him deep into the Great Rift Valley in Kenya where he excavated a 7,000-year-old human skeleton in partnership with the famed paleoanthropologists in the Leakey family. His forensic anthropology students now benefit from his vast knowledge while examining bones in his lab.
Lost and Found in the Adirondack Mountains
A university's classroom isn't always what you think. In the SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education Leadership program, students build inner strength and outer savvy in the deep woods of the Adirondacks.
The Man Behind the Music
The otherworldly sound of an orchestra playing Adagio for Strings can be lost without someone like Dr. Douglas McKinnie, the audio and video streaming engineer at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. Since 2014, McKinnie has worked behind the scenes at Crane to ensure that hundreds of performances are professionally recorded—leaning on two decades of experience as the chief engineer of live sound at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The Value of Connections
Emily Morse ’21 is primed for success in the computer science industry because of the many SUNY Potsdam alumni who dedicate time and resources to the computer science department. This summer, Morse took part in a remote internship with the Griffiss Institute and the Air Force Research Laboratory, made possible by her connections with alumni and support from a generous scholarship established by Haden Land ’84.
A Veteran’s Passion for Medicine
After serving in Afghanistan as a hospital corpsman during a seven year stint in the U.S Navy, Kellen Bertrand ’21 returned stateside and set his sights on getting a degree at SUNY Potsdam. He’s now in his final year at the College, and wrapping up a degree in biology and chemistry all while maintaining an impressive 4.0 GPA. In the spring he will be applying to medical school where he plans to parlay his success into a lifelong career.
Home in the North Country
For more than two decades, SUNY Potsdam Professor Tony Betrus ’93 & ’94 has continued to have a positive impact on his students, promoted a passion for learning, and emphasized the importance of technology. His dedication to education runs in the family. His wife Kristen (Schneider) Betrus ’95, mother Barbara '91, and brothers Ryan '95 & '02 and John Betrus '97 & '01 all received their degrees from SUNY Potsdam and transitioned to careers as teachers—proving that there’s something special when you set foot on the campus.
Global Music Connections
Through trips to India and Ireland, working with the West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, and co-founding a Taiko drumming group on campus, Bridgid Bergin '15 paved the way to a career in ethnomusicology. She now works for the International Contemporary Ensemble in NYC.
Murals for the Masses
Art Professor Amy Swartele recently completed a vibrant mural in downtown Potsdam. After securing a grant for professional development, she has been expanding the scope of her work and learning the nuances of creating large scale murals—all with the goal of launching SUNY Potsdam's first-ever mural painting class in the fall of 2021.
Working Hard for Others
SUNY Potsdam alumna Serena Rockingster '19 could have gone many places for her advanced degree, but she stuck close to the North Country in hopes of setting up a counseling practice that will help bring healing to Vermont’s underrepresented populations.
Taking the Lead
When Adam Smith ’15 entered SUNY Potsdam his freshman year, he never imagined he would be backpacking throughout the Adirondacks or scaling walls of ice and rock. Through the wilderness education program he gained leadership skills that set the stage for a successful career in outdoor education. Now he’s come full circle, back at SUNY Potsdam as an instructor in the same program where he was once a student.
Their Essential Nature
When dozens of creatures wait in an empty building for you to show up, you know you’re essential. Among the unheralded individuals who keep a college campus going when no one is around to notice, two SUNY Potsdam students—Amber Rudolph ’20 and Morgan Gregg ’20—trudge through an echoing Stowell Hall three times a week on a mission: to care for, feed and give companionship to a mottled cadre of turtles, aquarium fish, geckos, bearded dragons and snakes.
High Fashion Mask-erade
The accomplished fashion designer and savvy entrepreneur Saad Hajidin ’88 has turned his company InPhorm into an ally in the fight against COVID-19—shifting his focus from manufacturing women’s activewear to producing protective face masks. The SUNY Potsdam alumnus has been working with his factory in Thailand to manufacture protective face masks that are fashionable and eco-forward, while also meeting guidelines set forth by the FDA.
Setting the Record Straight
Archaeology students Adam Jacobs ’20 and Mindy Thompson ’20 are determined to spread the historical and archaeological truths of their Akwesasne Mohawk heritage through SUNY Potsdam’s 2+2 Archaeological Studies Program where students complete their first two years at St. Lawrence College, and their involvement in Potsdam begins with a single archaeology class each semester to limit the amount of commuting necessary. By their third year, students are fully matriculated at Potsdam.
From a Tiny Studio
Stretching skyward from the tiny studio at the back of her Potsdam home, Rivka Rocchio, an assistant professor of theatre, uses her phone to record yoga techniques for her students. Her routine—like with every other professor and student at SUNY Potsdam—has shifted inward in the wake of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the social distancing that followed. Rocchio has responded—using technology to bridge the physical chasm between her and her students.
The Next Best Thing
Making solutions, preparing samples, and studying reactions and the formation of complex ions in the lab—the show must go on. Fitting chemistry challenges onto the flat face of a computer has become a sudden and unexpected specialty for John Proetta '09. An instructional support assistant at SUNY Potsdam, his forte has traditionally been lab chemicals. Now, he has been thrust into the role of crafting and facilitating a unified approach to the online delivery of chemistry lab instruction. In a world where the old playbook has been thrown out, Proetta finds himself on tight deadline, working one-on-one to help instructors in their scramble to present their materials through the screen.
Notes From the "New Territory"
Monday marked the start of all online classes at SUNY Potsdam, the continuing journey toward our academic goals and with these, a test of our collective will and capacity. Our campus community members are offering snapshots into their own personal “new territory.” One benefit of these posts is that they may help us learn new methods and gain ideas from each other.
Rising Out of Darkness
As a wounded service member returning from Iraq, alumnus James Wilkes ’01, ’06 & ’10 re-entered civilian life with a battery of injuries, including significant memory loss. For the past 15 years, he has been continuing to climb out of that darkness left behind in war. After receiving degrees in biology, business administration, and instructional technology and media from SUNY Potsdam, he went on to an impressive career at IBM. In his spare time, he tackles the most daunting endurance races on the planet—including recently completing the Quintuple Anvil Triathlon, with 703 miles of biking, running and swimming.
Finding a Higher Octave Down Under
Jenn Belisle ’20 has thrown the doors of possibility wide open. The Crane School of Music student broadened her horizons when she took the plunge and traveled on a teaching assignment to another hemisphere.
Melanie Shank ’16
After getting her Master of Music degree in vocal performance from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, Melanie Shank ’16 landed a job at the most prestigious performing arts center in the world, working as the executive assistant to the vice president of concert halls and operations at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Natalia Anapolis ’20
With a tank of air on her back and fins on her feet, Natalia Anapolis ’20 stepped into the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia. The scuba diving adventure was a completely new experience for her—foreshadowing her work in Australia over the next few weeks as she stepped into a classroom as a student teacher for the first time. Last fall, Anapolis spent 13 weeks Down Under where she got to explore the continent, while also completing her student teaching placement as part of her degree in childhood/early childhood education.
Choices Toward Love
For those willing to juggle university classes and commitment to children, the challenge of being a student parent also offers the sweet rewards of family. SUNY Potsdam parents Megan and Zachary Bovee share their story.
After Potsdam: The Pathway Up
Amanda Moeller ’15 has leveraged a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from SUNY Potsdam to gain a master’s degree and a sought-after position with a multinational company. A member of several honors societies while at SUNY Potsdam, she is now the customer supply chain manager at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, where we caught up with her to chat about her undergraduate experiences.
Mountains Give New Form to LeighAnn Montaglione
The Adirondacks have stretched and formed LeighAnn Montaglione '20. When she graduates in May, she’ll take a suite of skills with her that will help connect her dual passion for photography and conservation.
Road to Physical Therapy
SUNY Potsdam’s exercise science program has been a treadmill to success for Lucas Rucci ’20 and Wilber Parada ’20. Now in their final semester at SUNY Potsdam, both students were just accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs of their choice.
Cameron Hewes ’15
Amazon has nothing on Cameron Hewes ’15. The giant online retailer sells almost anything you can think of, but don’t expect to find specialized sheet music for the clarinet. For that, musicians can now turn to CAMco—the Crane School of Music alumnus’s new business that offers hundreds of options for purchasing sheet music composed specifically for the clarinet family of instruments.
Neishja Ransom ’17
After growing up in East Harlem, N.Y., Neishja Ransom ’17 never expected to be bushwhacking through the Adirondacks or dangling from rock climbing walls, but that all changed when she came to SUNY Potsdam. The wilderness education program provided her with skills ranging from wilderness first aid and rock climbing to leadership in the backcountry that she parlayed into a leadership position with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York.
Kayla Boyd '20
Kayla Boyd continues to take on leadership roles on campus as a team leader in her entrepreneurship classes, the president of the Black Student Alliance, coordinator for Multicultural Weekend, and most recently as an instructor for Kayla’s Bootcamp, a high-intensity interval training fitness class offered through the Potsdam intramurals program. She will be graduating this May with a double major in business administration and creative writing.
Kelley DiPasquale '20
Set high in the Rocky Mountains, Banff, Alberta, is known for its world-class skiing and prestigious film festival. But for Kelley DiPasquale, a non-traditional student in the music business program at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, it was something else entirely that drew her to the snowy mountain town. DiPasquale is in the middle of a six-month-long audio recording internship at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The hands-on practicum has allowed her to oversee professional audio recordings for bands like the Rapidgrass, a Colorado-based bluegrass quintet, and work with jazz drummer Jerry Granelli, best known for recording the “Charlie Brown Christmas” album with the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
Nicole Weed ’20
Nicole Weed ’20, a senior in the Department of Anthropology, is currently working on a Presidential Scholars project looking at how technology has affected language and communication over time. With opportunities to work as a research assistant for Dr. Lydia Rodriguez and as an intern for Dr. Faris Khan, the culmination of her experiences has been paving the way for graduate school and a successful career as a linguistic anthropologist.
For first-year students, there’s no better opportunity than the Environmental Studies Adirondack Experience. The unique program allows students to work with Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Donald McNutt and Dr. Katherine Cleary as they focus on three disciplines (English, ecology and biology), set against the backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains. View a day in the life of our students exploring the Spring Pond Bog Preserve and the Wild Center in Tupper Lake as part of the Adirondack Experience.
Paul Dougall ’20
Paul Dougall ’20 is a true Renaissance man. Now in his last year at SUNY Potsdam, he is completing not only a degree in music business, but two separate degrees in mathematics as part of the Department of Mathematics’ BA / MA program—a unique opportunity for highly motivated students to graduate with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics at the same time. Over the summer he landed an internship at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center where he was able to incorporate all of those disciplines.