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SUNY Potsdam Announces Winners of Learning & Research Fair Awards

May 8, 2018

SUNY Potsdam junior John Paliakkara '19 presents his research, which involved testing water from the Raquette River for drugs and toxic metals. He drove all the way from Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks for the fair.

SUNY Potsdam recently recognized students and faculty mentors for excellence in research and creative projects, following the College’s 2018 Learning and Research Fair.

The 2018 Learning and Research Fair at SUNY Potsdam was held on April 25 in the Barrington Student Union, and featured more than 60 student projects. Top research projects were recognized with awards, which included $2,500 worth of prizes, presented in a ceremony concluding the fair.

Frederick B. Kilmer Research Awards

  • Brandon Keough, first place in the science category, for “Sequence Stratigraphy of the Late Carboniferous Clifton Formation, New Brunswick” (Faculty mentors: Michael Rygel and Page Quinton, Department of Geology).
  • Amanda Averill, first place in the humanities, arts and social sciences category, for “The Impact of Preservice Teachers’ Backgrounds on their Philosophies of Literacy Education” (Faculty mentor: Lynn Hall, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy and Special Education).

Ram L. Chugh North Country Research & Public Service Awards

  • Kristie Yager, Adam Ketchum and Samuel Wilson, first place, for “Kinematic History of the Clare Mylonite in the Northwest Adirondacks: Structural and Petrographic Analysis” (Faculty mentors: Sara Bier and Christian Schrader, Department of Geology).
  • John Paliakkara, second place, for “What’s in my Drinking Water? Drugs, Chemicals, Toxic Metals or All of the Above?” (Faculty mentor: Fadi Bou-Abdallah, Department of Chemistry).

Graduate Student Award

  • Tomas Bradbard, Tristen Napoli, Andrew Peryer, Kristen Willman and Laura Beth Wendelin, for “Little Kids Rock: A Critical Analysis of Meanings and Values” (Faculty mentors: Mark Robin Campbell and Emmett O’Leary, Department of Music Education).

Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Student Research

  • Sydney LaPan, for “Researching Sustainable Growing Techniques for Growing Microgreens Vertically Using Recycled Materials” (Faculty mentor: Raymond Bowdish, Department of Biology).
  • Alex Gregory, for “Analyzing Space Within the Palace at Palenque, Mexico” (Faculty mentor: Timothy Messner, Department of Anthropology).

Outstanding Faculty Mentorship of Undergraduate Research Award

  • Raymond Bowdish, biology instructional specialist and coordinator of the Wagner Institute for Sustainability and Ecological Research (WISER).

The Learning and Research Fair is coordinated by the Office for Student Research and Creativity, which offers support for student-faculty collaborations or mentorships that contribute to the understanding of a discipline through the examination, study, creation and communication of new knowledge, by means of an original scholarly or creative project.

The Office for Student Research and Creativity also oversees the Presidential Scholars Program, the Kilmer Fund, the Institute for Ethical Behavior and the Honors Program. It is part of the Donald and Kathryn Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, located in the Lougheed Learning Commons. To find out more, visit

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

For Media Inquiries

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, College Communications (315) 267-2114

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