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Potsdam Prepared: Spring 2022 Updates

The Reporter

The Reporter is SUNY Potsdam's news portal for faculty and staff. It features important information and announcements including campus policies, upcoming events, benefits information, grant information and updates about colleagues’ accomplishments.

Discovering Her Calling

With an emphasis on hands-on learning, SUNY Potsdam's arts management program has been the perfect fit for Madi Bray-Trophia '22. Learning the nuances of writing grants and developing her own business plan has paved the way to hands-on experiences at the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions (MONC), and an internship at the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. 

Launch Video

Examining Humanity Through an Anthropological Lens

From nightly performances on a Royal Caribbean cruise line, to acting gigs all over the world, Charlie Sarkioglu ’22 has had a fruitful career embracing his passion for the arts. Now he’s shifting gears as he completes his undergraduate degree in anthropology at SUNY Potsdam—something that he believes will positively impact his future theatrical projects.

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Learning in the Real World

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Raegan Becker ’22 is completing her master’s degree in special education at SUNY Potsdam, and gaining real-world skills as an educator at Colton-Pierrepont Central School. By collaborating with Dr. Mei Shen—an assistant professor at SUNY Potsdam who received a Kilmer Grant for research through the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning—Becker has been assisting with a research project to assess the effectiveness of inclusion-based classrooms for special needs students at Colton-Pierrepont. When she graduates in May, she with be leaning on her applied learning experiences at the College as she launches her career as a teacher. 

Launch Video

Finding Mentors for Success

Marking the culmination of her success as a musical studies major at Crane, Christina Morris ’21 recently staged A Concert for Equity and Equality at Hosmer Hall. Pouring her heart and soul into the concert, she organized the event, secured a grant to pay her musicians and composers, and then conducted the concert from start to finish. She leaves Crane with unrivaled experiences—working one-on-one with Crane professors, touring Asia with the National Youth Orchestra, and attending Tanglewood’s prestigious conducting program—as she embarks on a career in conducting.

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The Stars Aligning

Jaylen Kawenninon Francis-Herne ’23, who is pursuing a degree in community health with a minor in human services, first enrolled at SUNY Potsdam in 2012. Fresh out of high school, she wasn’t prepared for the road ahead, and withdrew during her first year. Eight years later, she has returned to the College—this time with an unwavering determination and focus driven by the responsibilities of motherhood and a commitment to serve the Mohawk people within her community.

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A Calling to Give Back

Jason Sanchez ’23 was raised by strong women. His mother, who has held jobs as an EMT and teacher, and his grandmother, who spent her career working in law enforcement, both have had a significant impact on his academic path at SUNY Potsdam within the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

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A Philosophical Mind for Animals

After graduating summa cum laude with a double major in music and philosophy, Kate-Nicole Hoffman ’17 has continued to excel academically. First receiving her master’s degree from York University, she’s now pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and conducting research on animal cognition—a natural extension of a Presidential Scholars research project that she completed years earlier as an undergraduate student at SUNY Potsdam.

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Applied Learning, Close to Home

Graduating at the top of her class in high school, Anah Bogdan ’24 was looking for a college experience close to home where she could pursue her passion for mathematics. Now a sophomore, she has made the President’s List the past two semesters, and has added a second major in geology. She was recently asked to join a research team to examine rock formations in Texas’ Guadalupe Mountains National Park with Dr. Page Quinton and Dr. Mike Rygel. Leading up to that trip, Bogdan will be working as a field assistant in Montana to measure and describe 300 million-year-old rocks, valuable field that she will inform her research project in Texas.

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Hands On, All In

From forensic anthropology students working with Kathryn Allen at a mock recovery scene on campus, to students in Amy Swartele’s mural class creating large-scale outdoor paintings, hands-on learning is back in full force. Join us for a look back at images highlighting applied learning experiences at the College over the past two months.

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Arts Management in the Real World

Business savvy students pursuing a degree in arts management are gaining valuable hands-on experience this semester at organizations around the North Country—impactful capstone internships that allow them to take what they’ve learned in the classroom out into the real world. Led by Arts Management Coordinator Joshua Vink, students are completing internships at organizations like the St. Lawrence Arts Council, Brick & Mortar Music and the Community Performance Box Office.

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Foundations for Success

With aspirations to work in the field of health care administration when she graduates, Nikki Ramirez ’21 & ’23, a double major in psychology and business administration, has been a leader on campus this year as an official contact tracer for the College. Back home in California, she gained additional applied learning experiences as a volunteer for CORE, an organization that offers free COVID testing and vaccination clinics for underserved communities in Los Angeles. After she graduates in December, Ramirez will be pursuing her master’s degree in management at SUNY Potsdam, while working as a graduate assistant for the men’s volleyball team.

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Finding Peace in Potsdam

Born and raised in New York City, Laneise Goggans ’15 & ’22 found a new home when she enrolled at SUNY Potsdam. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she returned to the city and immediately launched a career as a dance teacher at a charter school in Brooklyn. Now she’s back in Potsdam, pursuing a master’s degree in education while raising her twin boys, in a community that has always felt like home.

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Whitewater Rafting in the Adirondacks

A group of adventurous students recently spent the day whitewater rafting along a 15-mile stretch of the Indian and Hudson Rivers—a beautiful patch of wilderness in the heart of the Adirondacks. As part of the new Live Now program at SUNY Potsdam, the trip is one of many being offered this year, bringing together diverse groups of students to explore Northern N.Y., and the Adirondack Mountains. Join us for a look back at their unique hands-on experience.

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Chords of Success

Wheeling a large Lyon & Healy harp through the halls of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music is nothing new for Shannon Boyle ’20 & ’22. For more than a decade she has been mastering the harp at Crane, first in middle school and high school through the National String Project, then as an undergraduate student, and now while pursuing her master’s degree in music performance. Through an outpouring of scholarships, she will be graduating in May without any debt as she looks ahead to the future as a musician and educator.

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An Unwavering Trajectory

After devising an ambitious plan to complete her undergraduate degree in just three years, Cashlynn (Jaggers) Colbert ’19 & ’21 immediately landed a job as an art teacher at Salmon River Central School. Now she is back at SUNY Potsdam, wrapping up an educational technology specialist master’s degree program, all while balancing her responsibilities as a full time teacher.

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Seeds of Change

In an ever-changing world, SUNY Potsdam is at the forefront of adapting with the times, and developing relevant academic offerings for students. During the Spring 2021 semester, Dr. Christa Haifley offered a Cannabusiness class for the first time—one of three new courses that will form the backbone of a Cannabis Studies minor currently being developed at the College.

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The Perfect Balancing Act

Pursuing a degree at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music is a daunting task in and of itself, but Natalia Buitrago ’21 went the extra mile, recently graduating with a double major in music performance and music business. Over the past four years she has not only continued to refine her abilities as a musician, but she learned valuable entrepreneurial and communication skills.

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The Path of Persistence

As both a full-time student and a full-time employee at SUNY Potsdam, Angella St. Denis ’21 has learned to make the most of every moment, spending her days studying and her nights working on campus—all in pursuit of her dreams.

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Raising the Bar

As a preamble for her education and career, Sara Behuniak ’14 found herself playing the role of a lead defense attorney in high school. A reading of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” set the stage for a mock courtroom trial as Behuniak and her classmates brought the pages of Capote’s non-fiction masterpiece to life—and in doing so, she found her true calling.

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From Zeppelin to Mozart

Introduced to music on his father’s electric guitar, Alex Mariano ’21 played the songs of Led Zeppelin and Van Halen throughout his youth. Now he’s pursuing a music performance degree at The Crane School of Music where he’s been mastering the classical guitar under the guidance of Dr. Douglas Rubio.

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Between Mummies and Motherhood

Powered by a SUNY PRODiG Fellowship, a passion for anthropology and a wealth of lived experience, Kathryn Allen is inspiring other women to pursue their interest in the STEM fields.

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