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SUNY Niagara EOP Student Receives Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award

By News Archive

Sanborn, NY – SUNY Niagara student Kaytelynn Alsup has been selected as a recipient of the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Student Excellence. Alsup will be recognized at the fifth annual recognition ceremony on April 18 in Troy, New York.

The Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award is the highest SUNY honor for EOP students. The award recognizes EOP students who have shown positive academic trajectories despite challenges faced during their academic careers.

The SUNY EOP provides access, academic support and financial aid to students who are historically underserved or underrepresented. SUNY Niagara currently has 37 students enrolled in EOP.

“The EOP at SUNY Niagara is dedicated to helping students in the face of challenges to achieve academic excellence,” said SUNY Niagara EOP Director Angela Jackson. “Kaytelynn exemplifies the spirit of the EOP program. This award is a testament to her dedication to her own academic prowess and commitment to SUNY Niagara.”

Alsup will be honored alongside 52 other EOP students at the awards ceremony on April 18. For more information on the EOP at SUNY Niagara please visit:

Media Contact Information

Zachary Rohde
Public Relations Assistant
Phone: 716-614-6794

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

SUNY Niagara unveils new EOP office and collaboration with Niagara Falls High School

By News Archive

December 8, 2020

While the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) has been around since former New York State Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve started the program in 1967, it is relatively new to SUNY Niagara.  The program started at SUNY Niagara in August of 2016 with the goal of providing academic workshops, tutoring, counseling, advisement, and financial assistance to historically under-served students who require additional academic support.

Currently, the SUNY Niagara EOP has funding through the State University of New York (SUNY) Office of Opportunity Programs to support 70 students.  As of Tuesday, November 17, EOP students have a brand new space to call home as SUNY Niagara cut the ribbon on a larger, more student-friendly office.  More important than the office is the people who run the program on campus.  As an SUNY Niagara Alumna and former EOP student herself, Angela Jackson, EOP Coordinator at SUNY Niagara has a valuable perspective when it comes to the population she serves.  “Being able to work at my alma mater is awesome in and of itself, however being a former EOP student and being able to oversee and help shape the new EOP at SUNY Niagara was a dream opportunity for me,” says Angela.

Not all high school students receive the guidance and support needed to pursue their goals in higher education, or may not feel they are “college material” according to Angela.  Because of her own experience, she recognizes the importance of having a presence in high school to illustrate possibilities firsthand.  As part of her duties, Angela will now spend one day a week on-site at Niagara Falls High School allowing her to have 1-on-1 time with students to share information about EOP and inform students on exactly what services may be available to them.

While COVID has transitioned many of the services typically offered on-campus to a virtual experience, EOP is still very active in making a positive impact in the lives of the students it serves.  Angela notes that colleague Ted Mallwitz, Academic Support Specialist is amazing at disarming students and creating a safe space for them while directing them to the appropriate resources needed to assist them in their academic journey.  When asked about the vision of the future of EOP at SUNY Niagara, Angela envisions the program doubling the population it serves and hopes to provide even more financial support for students.  “The program has survived 52 years; I hope we have another 52.”

The SUNY Niagara Educational Opportunity Program helps through mentorship, academic programs, financial assistance, counseling/advising, and other campus support services to those who are first-generation college students, and/or from low-income and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The comprehensive program of support services includes advising, learning skills development, tutoring, and academic advisement.  For more information about the SUNY Niagara EOP Program, please call (716) 614-5977 or email:

Media Contact Information

Barbara M. DeSimone
Director of Public Relations and Event Management
Phone: 716-481-3775

SUNY Niagara Student Alisha Rivers

SUNY Niagara student to receive EOP honor in New York City

By News Archive

October 3, 2019

On Thursday, October 17, 2019, State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Dr. Kristina M. Johnson will be hosting the first Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Honors Awards Ceremony at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan.  This inaugural event will honor students from 41 SUNY campuses across New York State, including Alisha Rivers, a radiologic technology major from SUNY Niagara.

Alisha was chosen to receive the 2019 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.

A Lockport native, Alisha is a non-traditional student who works an overnight shift for Kaleida Health as a phlebotomist while attending classes at SUNY Niagara during the day in addition to raising a ten-year-old daughter.  Her goal is to become a radiologic technician after graduation.  In order to get the support she needs in this endeavor, Alisha participates in the Mapping Opportunities for Single Parents program, which is an initiative offering academic and career services to single parents enrolled at SUNY Niagara.  This guidance, along with the tutoring services offered at the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) has helped Alisha in the pursuit of her degree.  “ACE has been an amazing resource where I can get help with classes, and the professors at SUNY Niagara want to help you succeed,” says Alisha.  When asked what the EOP Student Excellence Award meant to her, Alisha responded, “this allows me to show pride in my hard work and solidifies my commitment to my program.”