SUNY Cobleskill Students Earn Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

Recent SUNY Cobleskill graduates Jason Ratchford and Angela Zhu were honored with a Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence from SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher at a ceremony in Albany on April 5.

The prestigious award recognizes SUNY students who excel at integrating academic success with leadership, campus involvement, community service, arts, athletics, or career achievement.

“I could not be more proud of Angela and Jason as they receive this award,” said SUNY Cobleskill President Dr. Marion A. Terenzio. “While at SUNY Cobleskill, they have shown themselves to be scholars, leaders, and caring citizens. I applaud their achievements as I look forward to the successes in store for them.”

“It is my honor to celebrate the achievements of students who have surpassed SUNY’s highest standards of academic excellence and leadership both on and off campus,” said SUNY Chancellor Zimpher. “Every student we recognize today has demonstrated a strong commitment to their degree program, home campus, greater community, and much more. Congratulations to all of the students receiving this year’s award.”

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JASON RATCHFORD graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Technology in Fisheries and Aquaculture. In addition to maintaining a high GPA, he volunteered with the SUNY Cobleskill student chapter of the American Fisheries Society, the student chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He also worked at the College’s 40,000-gallon cold-water fish hatchery, including giving tours to prospective students and high school classes.

While at SUNY Cobleskill, Ratchford undertook an independent research project to study the feasibility of culturing pugnose shiners in ponds to supplement declining native populations. He presented his research at conferences across the country, including at the World Aquaculture Society Conference in San Antonio, Texas. He also worked with two SUNY Cobleskill professors and Riverkeeper to study the water quality of the Mohawk River in the second year of an ambitious, ongoing project. That research was presented at this year’s Mohawk Watershed Symposium at Union College.

“I feel very lucky that I got this award,” Ratchford said. “The fact that I’m included among the best in the SUNY system is an honor. I worked really hard in college, so it’s great to be recognized.”

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ANGELA ZHU graduated in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology. During her time at SUNY Cobleskill, she was active in the campus chapter of the TriBeta National Biological Honor Society, which she helped establish. She worked as a Resident Assistant, a teaching assistant for a microbiology lab, and a lab assistant in the Biotechnology program. She also volunteered with the campus chapter of Circle K International.

In the spring 2016 semester, Zhu completed an internship that involved researching hops. The following semester, she directed her internship toward researching soybean agrobacterium mediated transformation, which involves injecting soybeans with genetically modified bacteria to increase nematode resistance and the overall health of the plant.

Zhu recently accepted a position as a Quality Control Instrumentation Analyst with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

“Receiving the Chancellor’s Award allows you to take pride in the fact that all of your hard work throughout your college career has been acknowledged,” Zhu said. “It also humbles you, because you know the award would not have been possible at all without the continuous support of your professors and peers.”


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Header photos: Angela Zhu and Jason Ratchford with SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, left, and SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio, right.