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Rebekah Keaton and Maureen Winters with SUNY Chancellor’s Awards

Keaton and Winters Receive SUNY Chancellor’s Awards

By News Archive

Keaton and Winters Receive SUNY Chancellor’s Awards

February 4, 2021 

A virtual recognition ceremony was held to honor faculty and staff at SUNY Niagara on Thursday, February 4th.  During the event, a special acknowledgment featured the recipients of the 2019-2020 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.  These annual awards are honors conferred to acknowledge and provide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence within the State University of New York (SUNY) system.   Dr. Rebekah Keaton was recognized for Excellence in Creative Activities and Maureen Winters was recognized for Excellence in Classified Service.

Dr. Keaton is currently an Associate Professor of English in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at SUNY Niagara.  She was nominated by a committee of her peers who noted her dedication to developing her craft as a complement to the scholarly and academic goals of the college community.  She has had nearly forty poems published in peer-reviewed publications, including prestigious journals including Arts in Buffalo, Blueline, Common Ground Review, New Plains Review, Slipstream, The Stonecast Review, A Harvard Review, and True Poet Magazine.  Dr. Keaton shares her talent at SUNY Niagara through presenting her work and by facilitating the inclusion of poetry in campus culture.  She served as a co-editor of the campus publication The Writer’s Review and coordinates On the Edge, an on-campus poetry series in which poets are invited to campus, attend selected classes, and give public readings.  In reference to his English Department colleague, Dr. Marc Pietrzykowski wrote, “I can think of no one better to be given a Chancellor’s Award in Creative Activities, as she embodies the role of teaching artist.”

After more than 30 years of dedicated service to SUNY Niagara, Maureen Winters, Stenographer in the Faculty Resource Center for Academic Excellence (FRCAE) was recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.  She was nominated for the award by former Professor Gail Tylec who noted Maureen’s extensive knowledge of the college operations, extraordinary organization skills, and willingness to learn new skills.

Her pleasant and efficient manner makes her an asset in her support staff position, and she is known to go above and beyond her duties to help others.  Maureen spends countless hours outside of her work schedule to coordinate a holiday giving event each year which raises over $1,500 to provide financial support to members of the SUNY Niagara community that have suffered hardships.  The receipt of the Chancellor’s Award coincided with Maureen’s retirement at the end of January.

Rebekah Keaton with SUNY Chancellor’s Award

Rebekah Keaton with SUNY Chancellor’s Award


Maureen Winters with SUNY Chancellor’s Award

Maureen Winters with SUNY Chancellor’s Award


Media Contact Information

Sara Harvey
Assistant Director of Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-6220
Email: saharvey@niagaracc.suny.edu

SUNY Niagara’s ACE Coordinator, Madison Ebsary (right), is pictured with the 2020-21 NCLCA Vice President, Michael Frizell.

SUNY Niagara Coordinator Receives Award

By News Archive

SUNY Niagara Coordinator Receives Award

January 28, 2021 

Madison Ebsary, Coordinator of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) at SUNY Niagara, has recently achieved Level 2 Certification as part of the National College Learning Center Association’s (NCLCA) Leadership Certification Program. She has been involved with the organization since 2017.

The certification is given to professionals in the learning assistance field and brings national recognition and credentials to those who meet the standards set forth by the organization. There are four levels within the certification program and Madison plans to obtain the third-ranking within the next two years.

Madison’s involvement with the NCLCA includes in-depth event organizing and decision making on behalf of the organization as well. She explains, “In 2018 I received the Karen Quinn Scholarship through NCLCA and was able to attend their institute for learning center professionals at the University of Cincinnati.  That same year I served on NCLCA’s conference planning committee when their annual conference came to Niagara Falls, NY. Through SUNY Niagara’s involvement with NCLCA, we were able to provide this training at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. At this time I also received certification as a Supplemental Instruction Supervisor through the University of Missouri-Kansas City.”

The knowledge which Madison has obtained through the Level 2 certification will be applied to further the mission of ACE: to provide students with learning support services that serve as a foundation for academic success, retention, and completion of educational goals. ACE is available to all registered SUNY Niagara students whether they are taking classes in-person or online. ACE is also available to high school juniors and seniors enrolled in SUNY Niagara’s College Accelerated Program (CAP). Madison adds, “ACE is one of the few higher education learning centers within the Western New York area that continues to offer face-to-face tutoring services while adhering to safe social distancing practices and guidelines set forth by the CDC.” Online services are also available.

With a passion for education, Madison states, “The best part of my job is working collaboratively with faculty and staff to provide our students with the best possible academic and student support services. Not only is SUNY Niagara ‘The smart place to start,’ it’s the smart place to be supported and thrive. As an alumna, I can truly say that coming to SUNY Niagara was one of the best decisions I ever made for my educational journey. I am grateful to be in a position in which I can help current and future Thunderwolves achieve academic success.”

SUNY Niagara’s ACE Coordinator, Madison Ebsary (right), is pictured with the 2020-21 NCLCA Vice President, Michael Frizell.

SUNY Niagara’s ACE Coordinator, Madison Ebsary (right), is pictured with the 2020-21 NCLCA Vice President, Michael Frizell.


Media Contact Information

Denyel Beiter
Event Coordinator, Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-5974
Email: dbeiter@niagaracc.suny.edu

EOP Student

SUNY Niagara student honored with statewide award

By News Archive
Elaine Champagne-Lewis

SUNY Niagara Student Elaine Champagne-Lewis, recipient of the 2020 Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for EOP Student Excellence

January 12, 2021

On December 14, 2020, State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Dr. Jim Malatras hosted a virtual Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Honors Awards Ceremony recognizing the achievements of 45 students from 49 SUNY campuses statewide. Elaine Champagne-Lewis of SUNY Niagara was chosen to receive the 2020 Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for EOP Student Excellence, which celebrates EOP students who have overcome significant obstacles in life to achieve their educational and personal goals.  The award is named after the late Norman McConney, one of the architects of the statewide EOP program and a champion of youth empowerment.  The EOP program provides academic support services, counseling, advisement and financial assistance to historically under-served students from low-income families in New York.

A mother of two, Elaine is a non-traditional student who was motivated to pursue a degree in human services after working several minimum wage jobs while trying to support her family.  “I struggled so much to get by, and I want to set an example for my kids,” says Elaine.  A friend encouraged her to look into studying at SUNY Niagara and Elaine worked with an advisor who helped her through the process of enrolling.  Once on campus, she saw that she met the qualifications for the EOP program and was accepted.  “The EOP workshops helped me to learn balance and self-care, to ask questions when I don’t understand things and connected me to appropriate resources when I needed help.”

Since enrolling at SUNY Niagara, Elaine has excelled.  “Elaine has consistently demonstrated the utmost commitment, perseverance, and resiliency in pursuing her academic goals. She has maintained a perfect GPA throughout two semesters of the pandemic while also working as a single mother to not only provide for her children, but help assist in their education as well. Her strength and dedication is an inspiration to me as her advisor and I believe her example can be an inspiration to others,” states Ted Mallwitz, the EOP Academic Support Specialist who nominated Elaine for the EOP Award for Student Excellence.

When asked if she had any advice for other non-traditional students in a similar circumstance, Elaine offered the following: “Ask questions and put in the effort, because it will pay off.  There are so many people ready and willing to help you if you just ask.  Going back to school feels like something you can’t do, but just put one foot in front of the other to make changes in your life.”  Elaine expects to finish her degree at SUNY Niagara in the fall of 2021 and plans to continue her education at Buffalo State College studying social work. She currently participates in an internship with a local substance abuse and mental health organization where she hopes to gain full-time employment after graduation.


Media Contact Information

Sara Harvey
Assistant Director of Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-6220
Email: saharvey@niagaracc.suny.edu

SBDC group photo

SUNY Niagara Small Business Development Center Receives Impact Award

By News Archive

December 9, 2020

Lynn Oswald, Director of the SUNY Niagara Small Business Development Center (SBDC), along with the rest of her team, has been selected as the recipient of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Impact Niagara award. The award will be presented to the SBDC during a special event hosted by the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce and M&T Bank via Zoom on December 14 at 9:00 a.m. There is no cost to attend but registration is required.

The Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce reports that Oswald and the SBDC staff have worked tirelessly through the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning their services to an online format and continuing to provide one-on-one counseling as well as public workshops which focused on creating, operating, and growing small businesses. In addition, the SUNY Niagara SBDC staff facilitated information sessions covering COVID-19 related topics such as: safety protocols, New York State mandates, Federal Paycheck Protection Program, and re-opening training.

Oswald shares, “I’d like to thank the Niagara USA Chamber for recognizing the efforts of my team. We, at the Niagara SBDC, are proud of our collaboration with all the business resource partners in the County during the Covid-19 crisis. Since mid-March, the Niagara SBDC has assisted over 371 clients with 74 receiving disaster funding totaling over $16.6 million and saving/creating 1,609 jobs.”

SBDC Group Photo

Top Row L-R: Lynn Oswald, Val Hill, Bree Bacon
Second row L-R: Jack Dezik, Maureen Henderson, Deanna Alterio Brennen, Dinene Zaleski
Third row L-R: J Suzan Ben, Tom Bruss, Kelly Walck, Amy Stack

Following the award ceremony, Gary Keith, Vice President and Regional Economist for M&T Bank will discuss how current events will impact the future of the Western New York economy. Guest speakers Larry Mietus, founder of Speaking of Strategy, and Franklin Sciortino, Director of the US Small Business Administration, will be contributing to the online event as well.

To register, call (716) 285-9142 or e-mail ewoods@niagarachamer.org. The public is welcome to attend and those who are involved in any type of business, community leadership, or the local economy are encouraged to participate in this free event.

The Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce is a premier business advocacy organization which serves the interest of its members and the business community of Niagara County and beyond. This dynamic, non-profit organization is a voice for business which fosters leadership, advocates on behalf of its members, and promotes the greater Buffalo-Niagara region.


Media Contact Information

Denyel Beiter
Event Coordinator, Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-5974
Email: dbeiter@niagaracc.suny.edu

Career and Transfer Fair

SUNY Niagara students receive Pathway Scholars Awards

By News Archive

November 4, 2020

Fifty students at SUNY Niagara received SUNY Pathways Scholars Awards as part of the State University of New York (SUNY) initiative to assist high-performing students committed to completing their associate’s degree within two years and bachelor’s degree within four years.  These students received a $250 stipend in the fall semester and will receive another $250 stipend after completion of the spring semester at SUNY Niagara.  Pathways Scholars will receive an additional $1,000 stipend upon completion of their associate’s degree and enrollment in a SUNY bachelor’s degree program.

In addition to the financial assistance received, Pathways Scholars receive academic counseling, career guidance, and a network of support services to keep them on track for success.  At SUNY Niagara, students have access to the Office of Career and Transitional Services, which helps them to determine transfer paths for programs on the SUNY transfer path list.  SUNY Niagara has established transfer articulation agreements with many colleges within SUNY, including Empire State College, SUNY College at Brockport, SUNY College at Buffalo, SUNY College at Fredonia, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Cobleskill, the University at Buffalo, and SUNY Upstate Medical University.  Students can take advantage of the lowest tuition rates in the region at SUNY Niagara and then seamlessly transfer their credits to other local four-year institutions.


Media Contact Information

Sara Harvey
Assistant Director of Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-6220
Email: saharvey@niagaracc.suny.edu

Emily Welch Ruth ’19 poses with billboard

SUNY Niagara Public Relations Department Wins SUNY Award for Advertising

By News Archive
Emily Welch Ruth ’19 poses with billboard

Emily Welch Ruth ’19 poses with billboard

November 3, 2020

The SUNY Niagara Office of Public Relations and Event Management received a Judge’s Citation award in the Excellence in Advertising Category for its 2019-2020 billboard campaign. The award was presented at the virtual SUNY CUAD (State University of New York Council for University Advancement) award ceremony held last month. SUNY Niagara Graphic designer Marlee McCabe was responsible for the photographs and design and several of the PR staff contributed key words to use on the billboards.

This is the second consecutive year the SUNY Niagara Public Relations Department has been recognized for its graphic design and photography by this organization.


Media Contact Information

Barbara M. DeSimone
Director of Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-481-3775
Email: desimone@niagaracc.suny.edu

SUNY Niagara Alumni Association Selects 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

By News Archive

October 13, 2020

The SUNY Niagara Alumni Association has selected two recipients for their 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award. This year’s recipients are Muriel Anderson ’83 and JoAnn Pellegrino ’97. Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the 2020 award recipients will be honored during the rescheduled SUNY Niagara Foundation Scholarship Gala. There is currently no new date at this time.

Muriel Anderson graduated from SUNY Niagara in 1983 with her Associate’s Degree in Accounting. She continued on to receive her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Accounting from the University at Buffalo. While earning her degrees, Muriel worked as the Vice President and Deputy Auditor for M&T Bank. In 2000, Muriel joined UB as a faculty member dividing her time between the School of Management Departments of Accounting & Law and Organization & Human Resources. In 2014, Muriel joined SUNY Niagara’s Accounting Program Advisory Committee. Her experience provided SUNY Niagara with important information to help students transfer and continue their education at UB. She has also served on SUNY Niagara’s Program Excellence Evaluation Review (PEER) Committee in 2015 and 2020. In addition to her dedication to education, Muriel manages her own business where she provides tax and account services to approximately 50 clients. She also volunteers her time as the treasurer for Hope for Sisi’s Kids, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and education of children in a rural area of Ghana, Africa.

JoAnn Pellegrino graduated from SUNY Niagara in 1997 with her Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She continued on to receive her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Nursing Education. While earning her degrees, JoAnn worked as an ICU nurse at Medina Hospital and Lakeside Memorial Hospital. She was promoted at Lakeside Memorial Hospital to Director of Nursing Surgical Services in the Maternity and Central Sterile Processing unit. After many years of applying her education in hands-on nursing roles, JoAnn went on to inspire the next generation of nurses as an Adjunct Instructor at Niagara University and Roberts Wesleyan College. In 2017, JoAnn was named Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Throughout her time, JoAnn has never forgotten her start at SUNY Niagara. She continues to remain involved by attending the annual SUNY Niagara Foundation Scholarship Gala and Leadership Luncheon, serving as the keynote speaker for the SUNY Niagara Nursing and Allied Health graduation ceremony in 2018 and is a current member of the SUNY Niagara Nursing Advisory Board.

To read SUNY Niagara’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient’s full biographies and for updates on the Foundation Scholarship Gala, please visit https://www.niagaracc.suny.edu/foundation/gala/.


Media Contact Information

Allison Korta
Foundation Assistant Director
Phone: 716-614-6231
Email: akorta@niagaracc.suny.edu

Retired SUNY Niagara Professor Gail Tylec

SUNY Niagara’s Tylec receives statewide recognition

By News Archive

August 11, 2020

Professor Gail Tylec has shown dedication to SUNY Niagara since she graduated from the institution in 1980 with her Associate in Arts Degree.  She was hired by the College not long after in 1988 when she began a career spanning 32 years.  Tylec retired this summer from her role as a Professor of Dietetic Studies, for which she was recently recognized by the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Inc. (NYS AHPERD).

In July Tylec was selected as the Western Zone’s Higher Education Teacher of the Year by the NYS AHPERD.  She received this award based upon a nomination from a colleague who noted her extraordinary teaching ability and the impact on students and staff alike.  The award highlights Tylec’s commitment to providing a quality and comprehensive physical and health education program that enables students to engage in healthy and physically active lifestyles.  Following this recognition, Tylec will present her innovative ideas through the organizational newsletter and presentations at regional events.


Media Contact Information

Sara Harvey
Assistant Director of Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-614-6220
Email: saharvey@niagaracc.suny.edu

NFCI’s Scott Steiner honored as Chef Educator of the Year

By News Archive
Dorothy Morton, ACF of Greater Buffalo Chapter President, Chef Scott Steiner, Mark Wright, American Academy of Chefs National Chair

Dorothy Morton, ACF of Greater Buffalo Chapter President, Chef Scott Steiner, Mark Wright, American Academy of Chefs National Chair

March 28, 2019

Chef Scott Steiner, Assistant Professor and Culinary Arts Program Coordinator at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute (NFCI) was awarded the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Chef Educator of the Year Award for the Northeast Region. The American Culinary Federation is the largest professional chefs’ organization in North America, with the Northeast Region covering 14 states.

Chef Steiner has been a faculty member at NFCI since it opened in August of 2012, and was instrumental in getting the program accredited by the ACF.  He has continually moved up and looked for opportunities to expand his role, including organizing an annual gingerbread competition in December as part of the Gingerbread Wonderland activities and running an ACF sanctioned competition and food salon at the end of each school year.  Chef Steiner has mentored many students during his career, helping them to receive substantial scholarships, ultimately putting them on a successful path to become professional chefs themselves.

Chef Steiner began his culinary journey as a student at Emerson Vocational High School in Buffalo and moved on to receive a B.S. in Career and Technical Education and an M.S. in Multidisciplinary Studies from SUNY College at Buffalo.  As an educator, he is always looking for ways to update the curriculum and keep courses relevant and current.  Most recently, Chef Steiner is assisting in the transition of Savor Restaurant, the fine dining establishment at NFCI to a fully academic operation for the fall of 2019.  In addition to his numerous duties at NFCI, Chef Steiner will be competing against 3 other chefs from different ACF regions across the country for the national title of ACF Chef Educator of the Year this August.