Our dedicated faculty and staff are at the very heart of what makes SUNY Potsdam unique.
SUNY Potsdam faculty and staff members are published authors, well-known researchers, accomplished artists and inspiring mentors. Like our students, they are a friendly, caring group from a range of backgrounds - always ready to discuss a challenge or assist with a project.
Dedicated to teaching, learning and service, SUNY Potsdam faculty are not just active in the classroom, but outside it, too. Many of our students say they learn as much through friendship and interaction with their professors and with staff members as they do in classroom studies.
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Aligning Music and Movement
To address the pain and discomfort that musicians often deal with from long hours of performance, Assistant Professor Tracy Lipke-Perry has responded with a new research project to analyze the posture and ergonomics of more than 20 musicians in a cutting-edge motion capture study at The Crane School of Music.
On the Road in Libbie’s World
SUNY Potsdam Department of History Chair Dr. Libbie Freed explored five countries in Central Asia and brought her students along with her virtually on a trip to discover the history and modern remnants of the famed Silk Road trade route.
In the same way that vertical aeroponic Tower Gardens help plants grow under a series of LED lights, so too have the partnerships grown between SUNY Potsdam and the community over the past decade. Through generous grant funding from the Alcoa Foundation, the WISER Center has continued to make an impact in the region—leading to educational workshops on campus, and allowing the College to supply 11 local schools, and now the Riverview Correctional Facility, with more than a dozen Tower Gardens at no cost.
With nearly 65,000 followers on TikTok, Laura Beth Wendelin ’17 & ’19—a self-proclaimed orchestra dork teacher—has become a surprise influencer overnight, sharing witty videos about instrument repair and providing advice to other teachers in the field as she launches her career as an elementary school music teacher. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in music education from Crane, Wendelin landed a job as an orchestra director at a middle school in eastern Connecticut, now inspiring students in the classroom and music teachers and students around the world through her social media presence.
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.
Putting it All Together
Elira Mavraj ’22 & ’24 and a dozen other graduate students, many of whom are already working as music teachers around the state, are mastering technical instrument repair skills this summer at Crane. Taught by Musical Instrument Technician Miles DeCastro, the hands-on class offers students a unique opportunity to learn how to fix everything from flutes and clarinets to trumpets and trombones—invaluable knowledge to help them launch their careers as elementary, middle and high school music teachers.
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.
The Shape of Music
Fifty years of Crane Youth Music has left a lasting imprint on the lives of many young musicians. From the first note to the latest camp, this enduring symbol of passion and purpose has shaped countless futures. Led by the talented faculty and alumni educators, campers have learned valued skills and forged lifelong friendships—many choosing to return to Crane to pursue their undergraduate degrees after high school.
Hands Across Cultures
Bringing years of research experience from remote regions of Latin America into the classroom, Dr. Sergio López and Dr. Lydia Rodríguez have continued to share their passion for anthropology with their students, while creating unique applied learning opportunities for them along the way. Since 2016, they have worked with their students to organize the annual AIBR International Conference of Anthropology, which unites 600 professionals and students from around the globe—a formative, even life changing experience for students studying anthropology or Spanish at SUNY Potsdam.
Windows to the World
With their woodwinds in hand, a quintet of Crane students recently traveled to New York City with Assistant Professor Dr. Brian Dunbar to connect with Crane alumni, meet with prospective music students interested in pursuing a degree at SUNY Potsdam, and attended a concert by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra— a trip that put them at the center of an arc linking accomplished alumni to students of the present and future.
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 new environmental science program, which is preparing students for careers in environmental conservation and protection.
An Agent for Change
SUNY Potsdam Professor Dr. Seon Levius knows that business technology has no meaning without the human element. Drawing from core principles of his Business Process Analysis course, Levius is bringing a broad perspective in ICT, policy and human resources to help a Caribbean disaster management agency operate effectively in the digital age.