SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence Recipient
Posted March 2008
Receiving the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence is one of many accomplishments Daniele Baker's many accomplishments during her four years at ESF.
Chancellor's Award honorees excel both in academic achievement and in at least one of the following areas: leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, or career achievement. Baker excels in many of these areas.
When she graduates in May, she will have built an impressive resume. Since arriving at ESF in 2004, she has worked with a variety of researchers, accumulating an array of real-world experiences.
Baker is an environmental and forest biology major studying how nutrients cycle through the food web, but her fieldwork has taken her beyond her area of study.
When she was a freshman, Baker's advisor, Dr. Donald Leopold, had a job opening in his plant ecology lab. Baker got the job and analyzed soil and leaf material to qualify changes of nutrients through soil and shrub willow.
"The goal is to figure out what is the optimal amount of each type of organic matter and fertilizer that should be applied to increase yield and decrease waste/pollution," said Baker.
Her work was connected to ESF's willow biomass project, which is receiving national attention as a form of renewable alternative energy.
Baker worked for the Student Conservation Association as a historic interpreter at Grey Towers, the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the U.S. Forest Service and twice governor of Pennsylvania. Among her duties, Baker spent the summer conducting historical tours of the building and grounds along with researching the building's history.
She has worked with Dr. Gregory Boyer of the Department of Chemistry on toxic algal blooms. Boyer does regular sampling on lakes Erie, Ontario, Champlain, and Onondaga. The samples are analyzed by several methods to determine and quantify the presence of the toxin associated with cyanobacteria. Baker assisted with such analysis along with other laboratory procedures.
"I'm also quite organized and I often get volunteered to organize the data, the information regarding the samples, the freezers and anything else that is slowing down work in the lab," Baker said.
When she began planning her honors thesis with Dr. Myron Mitchell in biogeochemistry, Baker said, "When I was looking for a thesis I met with UFI (Upstate Freshwater Institute). Now I'm working at UFI for my thesis and hopefully will get published."
Baker is cleaning up data collected from UFI's near real-time buoys in Onondaga Lake where she removes any errors caused by equipment malfunctions. The data is then made available for public use.
"Modeling takes mathematical relationships and relates them to each other," Baker said. "You can then change variables to see what will happen say if you reduce pollution. You can ask, 'What would have the most benefits?' and go through and see what works best."
All her research experience is having a payoff already. "It really impresses the graduate schools,," she said.
Beyond impressing grad schools, her experiences have lead her to self discovery.
"I've gotten a feel for what works best in managing my own research, which will be easily applicable to everything else I do in my career," she said. "I've learned how important it is to be organized and keep careful notes, use the appropriate laboratory procedures and why you should be humble and treat the glassware washer well."
"I think a lot of students make the mistake of not talking to professors about available positions. Once you get the positions, you get the experience," she said. "The professors are the best resource. They make it so much easier"
In between her field assignments, Baker has found time to get involved in other aspects of life at ESF. She is president of the Baobob Society, the College's multicultural club, whose aim is to promote diversity of people's cultures, religions and lifestyles.
"We're trying to reach out to all students by holding events where you can experience different cultures. Not lectures. More of a 'come and experience it yourself' atmosphere."
Baker also serves as an orientation leader and mentor and is the student representative to ESF's Board of Trustees, where she gives her input and a student perspective on numerous issues facing the College community.
"As an orientation leader I tell students to talk to their professors. You'll always need a recommendation and it's hard to ask for one from someone who doesn't know you."
"With mentoring I trying to help freshmen think things out and plan ahead," Baker said. As a mentor, Baker coordinates activities for a small group of freshmen. They may go out for an evening, get together for dinner or just talk about challenges the new students face.
"The one thing I'm sure to tell them is, 'Go to class.' It makes things a lot easier."
ESF Students Make their Mark
- Class of '17 Joins ESF Alumni RanksDegrees and ESF flags in hand, graduates celebrate accomplishments
- Chemistry Student Wins AwardGraduating senior Curtis Wilhelmsen recognized by environmental division of the American Chemical Society
- ESF Announces Commencement Weekend ActivitiesNumerous events celebrate students’ achievements
- ERE Major Builds Lengthy Resume at ESFTight-knit community, real-world experience made college stand out
- ESF Students Win StoryFest CompetitionTop prize is trip to Brazilian Rainforest for storytelling expedition
- Student from Nepal Finds Her Niche at ESFJyotika ‘Nicci’ Shah plans career in water quality
- ESF Education a Family Affair for Schiavone BrothersThree siblings share a major and a graduation date
- ESF Nordic Skier Competes in World University GamesConducts study on perfluorocarbons between races
- Academics, Athletics, Affordability Lure Soccer Captain to ESFHeather Carl makes her mark on campus
- Daily Adventures Mark Trip to South AmericaRosen Fellowship funds experience of a lifetime
- Student from Italy Finds Motivation at ESF"Here I am constantly pushed to do more"
- Walk on the Wild SideFellowship Funds Trip to South Africa
- USA President Focuses on Building RelationshipsBen Taylor leads 'growth year' for student government
- ESF Junior Honored as 'Unsung Hero'Shewa Shwani to receive award at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
- ‘Jet’ Lewis Builds Busy Life as ESF SophomoreCalifornia resident says diverse ideologies made ESF stand out
- Dedication to Environment Brings Student to ESF from Mexico'There is no other place like ESF,' freshman says
- Beer Eases Final Moments for Euthanized InvertebratesGraduate student seeks humane method for ending lives of research subjects
- ERE Major Tackles Wastewater Plan in IcelandFink Fellowship Supports Summer Abroad
- 44 ESF Students Spend Summer as DEC Interns‘Phenomenal’ range of work can help launch careers
- Paper Engineering Boosts Student through Semester AbroadGraduate-level classes and travel highlight trip to Germany
- ESF Alumnus Begins Peace Corps Service Caleb Rudge to spend two years in Paraguay
- Dream Becomes Reality for ESF SeniorRosen Fellowship supports summer internship in Stockholm
- Summer on the FarmFink Fellowship sends ESF junior to work on Thousand Islands farm
- SRC Fellowship Supports Student in Battle against Mosquitoes Chemical compound could help stop spread of disease
- ESF Landscape Architecture Students Receive ASLA HonorsHonor and merit certificates presented
- ESF Student Finalist for Olmsted Scholar AwardKathryn Chesebrough recognized for academic excellence
- ESF Graduate Joins Teach for America Peter LeDuc finds passion for teaching at ESF
- Advice for Graduates: Stay United, 'Enjoy Your Wisdom'Class of 2016 celebrates at Commencement
- Two ESF Students Earn SUNY Chancellor’s AwardFoley, Zubair honored for excellence
- Closed-Loop Art: Woodburner Uses Material at HandSenior donates artwork to Student Showcase Symposium
- Honors Student Works with 'Best Thing Ever': ElephantsTravel takes Yvonne Lim to Elephant Nature Park in Thailand
- ESF Ph.D. Student Selected as Junior Fellow in Korea
- The Cheer Fun of ItESF student leads SU cheer team
- Ph.D. Student Appointed to Federal Advisory PanelYang joins National Coal Council
- ‘Great Experience’ Takes Grad Student to BulgariaMLA student spends summer monitoring primitive horse population
- ESF Senior Wins Fulbright Research AwardGabriel Smith heads to Sweden to study fungi
- ESF Grad Student Awarded Rare Book School ScholarshipProgram delves into history of hand papermaking
- ESF Senior Honored at National STEM ConferenceCSTEP student Danielle Berry wins second place for poster
- Meghan JohnstoneTraveler in Australia, Nature Conservancy Intern
- Ryan HenrySU's biggest sports fan.
- Michael AmadoriAquaponics Research
- Lauren AlteioHarvard Forest Program
- Brookhaven National Laboratory InternsCourtney Buckley, Daniel Larkin, Michael Norman and Beverly Agtuca
- Brendan-Michael Galloway Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship
- Lynne BeattyMarine resources workshop participant
- Kristen AnthonyLandscape Architecture student, and SU competitive skier
- Craig LazzarEssay Contest nets ESF Senior $10,000
- Zachary KingBiotechnology Researcher
- Daniele BakerSUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence Recipient
- Greg BoydESF Senior, biodiesel expert
- Khristopher DodsonPublisher of Envi magazine
- Cara StaffordInvasive Plant Technician, Catalina Island
- Irony SadeBiotechnology Major
- April Karen BaptistePh.D. Candidate, Fulbright scholar, ESF
- Leah Dudziak & Lisa RuggeroTwo ESF Students on SU Dance Team