Immerse yourself in the sciences, humanities and fine arts, in an environment that prizes creativity and discovery.
The School of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Potsdam exposes students to a variety of fields within the fine arts, sciences, humanities and social sciences. The School’s strong foundation in the liberal arts prizes creativity and inquiry, offering a full palette of study in 18 departments offering majors, minors and interdisciplinary programs that encourage hands-on learning opportunities for every student.
Breaking the Mold
In a world with rising education costs, Dr. Michael Rygel and Dr. Page Quinton are at the forefront of reducing financial burdens, while also elevating the academic experience for their students. They recently completed an OER textbook on sedimentary geology, full of photos and illustrations from their own research with SUNY Potsdam students and alumni, which is now part of the curriculum in Rygel’s 300-level course.
Sustainability in Action
Spearheaded by Dr. Jessica Pearson and students from the Department of Environmental Studies, sustainability is taking a major leap forward at SUNY Potsdam this year. Food waste previously destined for the landfill will now be composted at Whitten Family Farms—and in the process the College will be saving money and making a positive impact on the environment.
Advocating for Others
A child of deaf adults, Julita Nunez ’24 has seen firsthand the struggles that people with disabilities often face. Advocating for her parents defined her youth, and impacted how she has interacted with everyone around her. Now, a senior at SUNY Potsdam, Nunez is working as a peer advisor to help prepare her classmates for their careers—a leadership role that has been the perfect training ground for her own career aspirations focused on helping people with disabilities, the incarcerated, or students in higher education.
Hands-On Learning at HEARTH
Dr. Tim Messner talks about the value of the HEARTH (Hand-crafted, Experiential, Archaeological Research and Teaching Hub), a brand-new applied learning center at SUNY Potsdam.
Forging a Leadership Path
Riley Notarthomas ’23 has taken a range of skills from his time at SUNY Potsdam to positively impact struggling youth in a wilderness therapy program in Vermont, while also being a leader back at SUNY Potsdam where he has returned to teach courses in the wilderness education program.
The Tick Trackers
As Jada West ’24 drags a light-colored flannel sheet across the forest floor, she searches for microscopic creatures most of us hope to never encounter. Pulling the sheet over leaves, plants, and soil she captures Blacklegged ticks like a lint roller absorbing fuzz balls from a favorite sweater. Working with Dr. Kate Cleary, Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Bridget Amulike, and Dr. Jessica Rogers, West and four other students were able to get hands-on experience through grant-funded research this summer, studying small mammals and examining tick abundance around Potsdam.
Realizing His Dreams
When Wilber Parada ’20 arrived at SUNY Potsdam his freshman year, he already had a vision for his future. His plans to one day become a Doctor of Physical Therapy would involve years of hard work, completing undergraduate and graduate degrees, and passing the National Physical Therapy Examination. Seven years later he has made his dream a reality. Parada is now working at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, one of the top-rated hospitals in the country, where he’s conducting research on exoskeletons and robotics, and helping to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic illnesses.
Road to Redemption
For Jake Winters ’24 and a group of approximately 40 inmates in the Riverview Correctional Facility, SUNY Potsdam’s new Potsdam@RCF program has been making an indelible impact on their lives—providing them with the skills to succeed as they reenter the job market and helping them transition back into society. The SUNY Potsdam baccalaureate program is one of a select few offered through the Second Chance Pell Experiment to help incarcerated individuals access higher education.
“A Key to Freedom”
From inside the walls of the Riverview Correctional Facility, Brandon Rodriguez ’24 diligently completes the coursework for his SUNY Potsdam sociology degree. Part of the first cohort in the Potsdam at RCF program, he works as a teaching assistant for Dr. Nancy Lewis and leads study sessions for his fellow inmates—using education as a key to free his mind. After being released from prison earlier this year, he moved to Potsdam, exchanging his classroom behind bars, for a seat in Satterlee Hall.
“A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity”
A lifelong curiosity about the inner workings of humankind brought Alexandra Sveshnikova ‘25 to the SUNY Potsdam Department of Anthropology. The fire of that curiosity will be fueled by a research trip this summer to Kenya, where she will be part of a cutting-edge examination of our origins and the history that preceded human tenure on earth, as she joins Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology Nasser Malit and more than 20 researchers and experts from around the globe.
Interweaving Nature and Art
After receiving a full scholarship to pursue her BFA in visual arts at SUNY Potsdam, Hong Hong ’11 has parlayed her undergraduate experiences into an impressive career as an artist and professor. Recently, she received a $50,000 grant through the United States Artists Fellowship, which along with the Guggenheim and the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants, is considered one of the most prestigious awards an artist can receive.
Measures of Success
Just a mile down the road from SUNY Potsdam, Claudia Basabakwinshi ’24 slips into her waders and carefully steps into the chilly water flowing through Parkhurst Brook. Extending what looks like a blue telescopic ski pole, she measures the water velocity with a flow meter, as her classmate Allyssa Card ’26 calculates the depth of the stream. The two students are part of the first cohort in the College’s brand new environmental science program, which is preparing students for careers in environmental conservation and protection.
From Liberal Arts to Big Tech
Just over a decade ago, Daniel Romlein '12 graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a degree in studio art. Now he works at one of the biggest technology companies in the world—combining a myriad of liberal arts skills from his undergraduate years that became the foundation for an impressive career at Google and YouTube as a user experience (UX) designer.
Fertile Ground for Exploration
A double major in anthropology and international studies, Simisola Macaulay ’23 has taken on leadership roles as the president of the anthropology club, a student ambassador for Admissions and Advancement, and a peer study abroad counselor in the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning. Whether giving a TEDx Talk on gender expression within the Yoruba community in Nigeria, or conducting research on maternal practices of women in the Maasai tribe in Tanzania, she has continued to personalize her educational experiences by connecting them to her family and African heritage.