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ESF Marks the Successful Conclusion of the Inaugural Class of the Chancellor’s Summer Research Excellence Fund

SYRACUSE, N.Y. Aug. 25, 2023 – ESF President Joanie Mahoney today celebrated the successful conclusion of ESF’s 2023 Chancellor’s Summer Research Excellence Fund internships. ESF was one of the initial participants of the Summer Research Excellence Fund, along with Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Stony Brook University. 

At ESF, the internships were in the fields of environmental biology, chemical engineering, and landscape architecture. In the Department of Environmental Biology, student research experiences ranged from laboratory-based molecular biology, physiology, and behavior to regional, national, and international field-based ecology and biodiversity conservation and restoration. In the Department of Chemical Engineering, students engaged in research projects that ranged from understanding the chemistry of paper making, biopolymers and the production of sustainable materials, and processes for cleaner and renewable biproducts. Research in the Department of Landscape Architecture focused on the human dimensions of the environment, including urban sustainability and environmental justice. 

The Fund, supported by SUNY’s Empire Innovation Program, covers all student costs for the internship including, but not limited to, student stipend/salary, tuition/fees, housing, meal plans, childcare, and transportation.

“Internships are a vital part of student success,” said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. “Through the Chancellor’s program we were able to provide twice as many students this important opportunity without financial barriers or additional debt for a summer session.”

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, “Internships are essential to providing students with real-world, practical experience that will prepare them for their future careers. SUNY has set the goal that every student will be able to participate in an internship by the time they graduate. The Chancellor’s Summer Research Excellence Fund was the first step in making that goal a reality and investing in the upward mobility of SUNY students.”

Among the ESF interns, a group of landscape architecture students surveyed community members within Syracuse to develop an engagement tool to understand sustainable roadway configurations addressing walkability issues in Syracuse.

“Community engagement within a design process is crucial for addressing issues such as walkability within our built environment,” said Dan Cronan, assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture. “The research group developed a 'roadway diet' gameboard to engage community members, gather input about community needs, and educate audiences about design solutions within transportation corridors in Syracuse." 

In the Department of Chemical Engineering Brianna Moser worked on a project focused on determining how many sugars are available in corn stover samples, since the sugars can be converted into renewable fuel sources. 

“My internship over the summer drastically improved my time management skills, communication, and confidence in working in a laboratory setting,” said Moser. “It also greatly expanded my knowledge of biomass and how it can be converted to renewable energy sources. I'm excited to see what my future holds as a bioprocess engineer!”

The internships present students with the skills and opportunities they need to succeed in their career through real-world experience and increase their marketability. Sixty percent of employers prefer to hire graduates and workers with internship experience, and a 2022 study found that for each additional high impact internship completed, students boosted their job or continuing education placement odds as well as their starting salary.

About SUNY ESF

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world. The College offers academic programs ranging from the associate of applied science to the Doctor of Philosophy. ESF students live, study and do research on the main campus in Syracuse, N.Y., and on 25,000 acres of field stations in a variety of ecosystems across the state.