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ESF Students Honored with SUNY Chancellor’s Awards

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – April 11, 2024 – Two SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) students received the 2024 Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating student by SUNY.

Lynzee Morris and Jade Nguyen were honored for demonstrating the integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives. They will be honored during a ceremony April 11 at the Albany Capital Center. 

“Lynzee and Jade exemplify the commitment ESF students have, not only to their academics, but to their peers and community,” said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. “We look forward to following their future successes.”

Lynzee Morris '24

Morris, a biochemistry major from Washington, Penn, maintained a 3.608 cumulative GPA, with a perfect 4.0 in the Fall 2023 semester. In addition to earning membership in the ESF Honor Society, they received the Outstanding Junior in Chemistry award in April 2023. Morris was selected as one of three teaching assistants for a newly created De-Stress for Success course designed to support first-year students. Morris’ knowledge and leadership skills helped ensure student success. Through a connection with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Morris serves as a math tutor for a local fourth-grade student.

Morris has filled several leadership roles at ESF. They are secretary for The Alchemist Society and is actively involved with the ESF Honor Society, The Sexuality and Gender Alliance, and the Crypt Keepers. They are the lead student employee in the Financial Aid Office, where they serve as a role model to student colleagues by demonstrating successful work habits.

As a research assistant in the Organic Chemistry Lab Morris performed tests to study the quality, safety, and nutritional value of baby formula through scientific analysis and validation techniques. Morris also served in the Physical & Computational Chemistry Lab, where they worked on atmospheric theoretical chemistry.

Jade Nguyen '24

Nguyen, from Center Line, Mich., is an Environmental Studies major, with a minor in Food Studies and a concentration in Environmental Police, Planning & Law.  She achieved a nearly perfect academic record at ESF. Graduating summa cum laude with a 3.905 in December 2023, she was on the President’s List for six of seven semesters while carrying a credit load of 17 credits or more. She completed her minors with a 4.0 GPA in both.

Nguyen’s senior synthesis project involved intensive research on public foraging codes that impact food accessibility in urban areas. She completed research projects on forest land use and its impact on the populations of hardwood and ash forests, as well as concentrated animal feeding operations and agricultural accountability. Nguyen was invited to speak at ESF’s Inclusive Excellence Celebration, which honors traditionally marginalized groups on campus.

As early as her second semester, Nguyen began taking a leadership role in the Environmental Studies Student Organization (ESSO). Stepping in as treasurer when engagement was low during the pandemic, she took on the mantle of co-president when the rest of the executive board graduated in spring 2021. In this role, she maintained well-loved events and collaborated to start new ones.

With the support of the ESSO faculty advisor, Nguyen co-created the “Renatured” environmental storytelling collection, as well as the Sustainable Fashion Show. The latter event confronts the issues of the fast-fashion industry and promotes thrifting, upcycling, and renewing clothing. In its second year, the event won an award for best campus program.

During Earth Week, Nguyen and ESSO created an annual community art project by painting wood cookies to represent the department/environment/campus. Her leadership continued in the classroom where she demonstrated an ability to facilitate engagement among her peers with challenging course material.

Nguyen also participated in an internship with the Syracuse Urban Food Forest Project (SUFFP). This project, started by faculty at ESF and the neighboring Syracuse University, aimed to create an edible food forest in the city’s Southside. Through redlining policies, this neighborhood is the most depressed section of the city and experiences extreme food apartheid. Nguyen’s work with SUFFP focused on researching how policies and codes might be changed to provide urban food forests protection and resources. Nguyen intends to continue to focus on food access and environmental justice in her career.


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.