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Senior Truong Ho Receives Statewide EOP Award Norman R. McConney Jr. Award recognizes student achievement 10/30/2019

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson and Truong Ho, Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence honoree.

Truong Ho, a senior and Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), was recently honored with the inaugural Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence. The award recognizes a student's ability to overcome obstacles to achieve success.

Ho was among 42 SUNY students to be honored by SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson at a reception at the Global Center in Manhattan, New York.

Ho, a biochemistry student, arrived in the United States from Vietnam while in high school. Despite a significant language barrier, he had the goal of becoming a doctor. He was admitted to ESF as an EOP student in the fall of 2017 and will graduate in May 2020, completing his biochemistry program in three years. He plans to apply to medical school after graduation.

About the award ceremony, Ho said, "We had a chance to see and talk with the SUNY Chancellor and important state legislatures, which was such a great experience. Their speeches gave me even more motivation and encouragement to become a doctor and follow my dreams."

Kailyn Wright, ESF's EOP director said, "Truong is a truly remarkable student. He has worked diligently to not only become proficient in a second language, but to excel in an incredibly demanding degree program that is taught exclusively in a second language. This incredible feat is due to his strong work ethic and ability to maintain focus on his goal to study medicine. ESF is lucky to have a student with such impressive academic and personal resolve."

Ho has been an active member of the ESF community, both in and out of the classroom. He has consistently been on the Dean's List and shown leadership as a general chemistry teaching assistant, a college tutor for chemistry and calculus, and an EOP chemistry review session leader. Ho has served on the board for ESF's chapter of the National Society for Leadership and Success and is involved in ESF's Alpha Xi Sigma Honor Society, the Food Recovery Network, and the Alchemist Society. This past summer he received a CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program) fellowship to work in Dr. Christopher Nomura's lab on (PHA)-based biodegradable plastics.

Receiving the EOP-specific award has significant meaning to Ho. "The mission of EOP is to help people succeed and I want to do the same thing as a doctor, but with health. I want to help underserved people connect to healthcare."

The award is named in honor of Norman R. McConney, one of the founders of the Educational Opportunity Program. Since 1967, EOP has offered college access and support to students who have the ability and talent to succeed in college but have had limited academic and financial options to meet their potential. As Johnson said during the award ceremony, "Through the EOP, SUNY has changed the course of so many lives and has given so many students the chance to excel and pursue their dreams. We are enormously proud of the students receiving these awards today. Many of them have overcome enormous obstacles to fulfill goals that once may have seemed unattainable. I applaud every one of them for demonstrating perseverance and determination."