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2018 Alumni Memorial Scholarship Recipients

2018 Alumni Memorial Scholarship Recipients — From left: Nicholas Bentley, Jordan Jessamy, Alex Hess, Randal Eblacker, Yuting Zhu, Madison Morley, Samantha Mello, Rea Manderino, Shruti Mokashi

Sophomore Class

Randal Eblacker

Randal is majoring in Environmental Resources Engineering and is a member of various campus clubs, including the Environmental Resources Engineering Club and the SU Outing Club.

He has been a Student Ambassador for the past two years – in this role, he communicates with prospective students as well as assists with campus Open House events and Accepted Student Receptions.

Randal has been involved with a number of interesting projects, including a Remote Sensing Case Study, a Beaver Dam Restoration Project in Cicero, and NYView, a subdivision of AmericaView whose goal is to advance the widespread use of remote-sensing data and technology through education and outreach.

He has supported his fellow students in his roles as a Mathematics Teaching Assistant and Tutor, and a Physics Coach.

Daniel Pelletier

Daniel is majoring in Environmental Resources Engineering and is a Project Team Member of Engineers Without Borders.

He is also a member of the ESF Men's Soccer Team, as well as the Food Recovery Network where he assists in bringing leftover food from SU dining halls to local homeless shelters.

Daniel has experience in overseas service projects. He performed reforestation and education efforts at Reserve Ecologica, and taught English to locals in Cusco, Peru.

He has worked for the Maine Audubon Society performing remote brook trout surveys, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust assisting with trial maintenance, and a consulting service in Maine conducting surveys and collecting data.

Junior Class

Nicholas Bentley

Nicholas is a Biotechnology major with a very impressive 3.99 GPA.

He has been an intern at the VA Hospital's Spinal Chord Recovery Unit since his freshman year where he works with VA staff members to incorporate horticulture into recreational and physical therapies. The idea being that veterans with spinal chord injuries can benefit from activities such as scooping soil and planting seeds as a great way to reinforce their treatment.

Nicholas has also coordinated recreational activities involving horticulture for the long-term residents of Brookdale Assisted Living Facility for residents with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease in Fayetteville.

He is also involved in campus academics and clubs. He is currently a Teaching Assistant for the General Biology and General Chemistry courses, was Sophomore Class Senator last year, and has participated in the Counsel of Student Affairs and Diversity, and Oakie's Activity Counsel.

Jordan Jessamy

Jordan is majoring in Environmental Science and has achieved a 3.93 GPA.

He is highly involved in a variety of campus activities. He is President of King's Court, a campus diversity group; Secretary of the student publication, "The Knothole," and Vice President Elect of Roots & Pursuits, a club that teaches traditional native survival skills while imparting their cultural significance.Jordan is also a very active volunteer. He has given his time to assist the Squantz Pond State Park, A Tiny Home For Good, Adopt-a-Stream, and ESF in the High School, to name a few. He also tutors his fellow ESF students in Biology.

Jordan is a member of Alpha Xi Sigma, the community-service based fraternity as well as FORCES, a community service group that works with local and state parks.

Senior Class

Alexander Hess

Alex is majoring in Environmental Resources Engineering. In addition to serving as Treasurer for the Environmental Resources Engineering Club, he also serves as Treasurer of the student chapter of the New York Water Environment Association.

He is also a member of the student group we are hosting here tonight, the Trout Bums! Along with his fellow Trout Bums, Alex volunteers by helping children fish at Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery, helps to clean up local waterways, including the one that's right outside our doors – the Salmon River, and also ties flies and shares fishing stories with veterans at Project Healing Waters at the VA Hospital in Syracuse.

Alex is currently a Teaching Assistant for the Introduction to Engineering Design class at ESF, and also tutors with the Academic Success and Math Center.

He has completed internships at both the Delaware County Planning Department and the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District. He recently signed on to be a summer intern at the local engineering firm of Barton & Loguidice, where he will be working in the water & wastewater engineering group.

Madison Morley

Madison is an Environmental Biology major who will be graduating with honors this May, and has been accepted into the dual MS/MPA program at ESF and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

She has been involved extensively in a number of notable research projects from the time she was in high school through today. Her projects have included (but are not limited to) "Snapchat for Science" (using the social media application, Snapchat, to photograph tree canopies to examine the effects of fertilization on leaf retention); a project that examines the rate of decomposition of rooibos and green tea in 336 sites around the world, and the "Multiple Limitation Nutrient in Hardwood Ecosystem Project" where she served as an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduate) student. The various research projects Madison has been involved with have resulted in numerous poster presentations, publications, and oral presentations.

In addition to all of her research activity, Madison has still found time to serve as a Teaching Assistant for General Biology and Field Orinthology courses at ESF. She serves on the ESF Chariots of Love Committee, which is an organization that collects polypropylene and polyethylene caps that are turned into wheelchairs for children in need, as well as the Coordinator of the ESF Public Speaking Lab.

She served as Keynote Speaker for the ESF in the High School Environmental Summit in 2016, and ESF Girls' Summit in 2017.

Graduate Students – U.S.

Rea Manderino

Rea is working towards her Ph.D. in Environmental and Forest Biology - Entomology. Prior to her studies at ESF, she completed a BA in Biology (with a specialization in Ecology) at the University of Chicago, and an MS at the University of Virginia. Rea's doctorate at ESF investigates the implications of gypsy moth presence in North American forests.

Her gypsy moth research first began as an undergraduate in Chicago, and continued through her Master's studies in Virginia. Rea's research results have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Agricultural and Forest Entomology, and presented at the 2013 Ecological Society of America meeting, the 2013 Eastern Branch meeting of the Entomological Society of America, and at the 2014 Gypsy Moth Review.

Some of her past employment positions include working as a Monarch Biologist for the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, an Assistant Naturalist with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, and a Bioscience Lab Technician for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Plant Protection and Quarantine.

Rea is currently Vice President of Communications for the Graduate Student Association as well as the Founder of the Graduate Student Association's Graduate-Undergraduate Research Mentorship Connections page. She is a Member of both the Entomological Society of American and the Ecological Society of America.

Outside of academia, Rea is engaged in efforts to improve science communication on social media as a moderator for the Facebook page, "Relax, I'm an Entomologist."

Samantha Mello

Samantha is pursuing her M.S. degree in Environmental and Forest Biology, and will be graduating next month. Her thesis focuses on the effects of parasites on the native New England Cottontails and non-native eastern Cottontails. She is a two-time recipient of the Alumni Memorial Scholarship Award, having also received this honor last year.

She is an engaged member of the campus community: she has served as the EFB representative to the Graduate Student Association, has volunteered her time at ClearPath for Veterans, and is a member of the SU Outing Club, the American Society of Mammologists, and the Wildlife Society.

Samantha has presented the preliminary results of her master's research at the New England Cottontail Technical Committee Meeting, the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mammologists, the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, and she plans to present her final research results at the 74th Annual Northeast Fish & Wildlife Conference this spring.

She has held a number of positions during her undergraduate and graduate studies, including at the Residence Education center at her undergraduate institution, at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division, as an assistant coach for a recreational women's weightlifting group, and currently tutoring students aged 6-17 at the Huntington Learning Center.

Graduate Students - International

Shruti Mokashi

Shruti is originally from India, and is currently a PhD candidate in Environmental Science – GPES – Environmental and Community Land Planning.

Her doctoral thesis research is focused on sacred groves and forests in Western India that are traditional community-preserved areas that hold high cultural and spiritual significance for locals. Her goal is to understand the management, relationship, and local perceptions towards these groves. She has submitted her research for inclusion in various papers and publications, and has presented at conferences.

Shruti is a very involved graduate student on campus. She serves as the Departmental representative for GPES students in the Graduate Student Association. In this role, she attends and conducts meetings and executes activities. She is also a member of the Graduate Student Association's Grants and Awards Committee, was an International Student Orientation Leader, and previously served as the graduate student representative on the recent search committee for the Director of College Libraries.

Prior to her time in Syracuse, Shruti and her Master's degree classmates designed an environmental awareness program in India where she traveled to schools and colleges to deliver informational lectures. She also completed a summer internship at the National Institute of Oceanography in India where she evaluated toxic trace metal content.

Yuting Zhu

Yuting Zhu is originally from China and is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Chemistry and is expected to graduate in December. Her thesis research deals with low-molecular-weight carbonyl compounds in surface oceans. The aim of her research is to provide a better understanding of how photochemical processes regulate the cycling of carbonyls in the ocean. She has completed a great deal of fieldwork, including a 33-day cruise in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean aboard "RV Endeavor" and a 20-day cruise in the Gulf of Alaska aboard "RV Melville."

Yuting has a great deal of research, teaching and conference experience. She has authored and co-authored a number of publications, has been a Teaching Assistant for General Chemistry for 7 semesters, and worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. Keiber for two years.

Yuting has received a number of awards, including the Graduate Student Award from the American Chemical Society (up to only 20 awardees nationwide), the Outstanding Student Poster Award by ESF's Chemistry Department, and the John A. Meyer Graduate Chemistry Award.

She has been accepted by SOLAS (Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study) to attend their summer school to be held in Corsica this summer.

Past Recipients