A former construction worker and president-elect of the SUNY Student Assembly, a two-time U.S. Olympian, a union electrician, a “40 under 40 Rising Star,” a teacher’s assistant and an assistant director of a seven-time, state-championship-winning marching band, are the 2014 SUNY Empire State College recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY’s most prestigious student honor.
Lori Mould, the former construction worker, also recently was elected as the next president of the student assembly, SUNY’s student governing body. She also is a grandmother of two. Ashley Caldwell, a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic Team, is the current U.S. National Champion in freestyle skiing, aerials. Sandra Barkevich ’13 is a graduate student with the college and was selected as one of “2013 NY’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars” by The Hispanic Coalition NY, Inc.
Danny Ferreyra ’12 is an apprentice with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3. Elizabeth Hughes, who works with children with autism, is a teacher’s assistant at the Greece Central School District. Mark Rider, an assistant director of the Victor Marching Blue Devils, is an award-winning sales and training professional.
“Students honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence truly embody the power of SUNY,” said Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “As proven leaders and role models, scholar athletes, creative artists and civic volunteers, each student is recognized not just for academic achievement, but also for the profound impact they have on college campuses and local communities across New York state. My congratulations go to the Empire State College students.”
“From every walk of life, our students come to us to seek out a high-quality, nontraditional education,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of SUNY Empire State College. “This, in turn, requires that we fulfill that promise. As outstanding members of our student body, this year’s recipients have taught us how to better ourselves for the next generation of Empire State College students. My congratulations go to Sandra, Ashley, Danny, Elizabeth, Lori and Mark for receiving the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and for all of their remarkable achievements.”
About Elizabeth Hughes
“The more I worked through my studies with my faculty mentor, Gayle Stever, and my other mentors, the more I realized how much I had underestimated myself,” said Hughes. “The ability that I had just blew me away and I credit Gayle for pushing me as much as she did. Completing my degree has opened up all sorts of time for me. I work with children with autism now, so I plan on using my bachelor’s to become a behavioral therapist, focusing on children with autism. I have students that compete in the Special Olympics, so I would like to give back to them and that community.”
Hughes said that the best and worst part about studying face to face with a faculty mentor was that she couldn’t hide in the back of a classroom, or fake reading a chapter. She added that her mentors took the time to teach her when she didn’t understand the material.
A 44-year-old native of Endicott, N.Y. and resident of Rochester, Hughes is a teacher’s assistant with the Greece Central School District. She graduates this spring with a B.A. in human development, with a concentration in psychology, and a GPA of 3.9.
She is the mother of Sarah, 19, and Elijah, 18.
Hughes has co-authored two papers with Stever in the area of “parasocial” attachment. Both papers were submitted for publication consideration in the fall of 2013.
She was selected by the Greece Central School District administration, its autism consultant and special education teacher to design and implement the new classroom layout for the Brookside Elementary School’s autism classroom. Hughes also was responsible for developing teaching and learning materials for the students.
The program was so successful that she was asked to expand it to Athena High School, so the students could continue in a successful environment.
Hughes was recognized twice as an Empire State College Outstanding Adult Student because of her academic excellence, her sustained commitment to volunteerism in her community and career achievements.
She is a recipient of both the Mary C. Wilt Scholarship and the 2013 Empire State College Foundation Scholarship. Both awards are merit-based.
As an active member of the Association of Greece Central Personnel, she volunteers to help provide food and clothing for those in need. For nearly 14 years, Hughes has been an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America in its bottle and can drives, scouting for food and clothing event and Eagle Scout award projects.
About Lori Mould
“It’s heartwarming to know that others appreciate your work and that they are willing to recognize it,” said Mould. “As a career changer, I was attracted to Empire State College because of the ability to design a degree suited to a job that I would love doing. Empire State College worked for me because of the college’s emphasis on critical thinking, writing and knowledge as opposed to memorization.”
She graduates this spring with a B.A. in art, with a concentration in photojournalism and documentary production and a GPA of 3.9.
On April 5, 2014, Mould was elected as the next president of the SUNY Student Assembly at its annual spring conference, held this year in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The student assembly is the official student governing body for the 465,000 SUNY students across 64 campuses that engages with the SUNY Board of Trustees in the process of shared governance.
As president of the student assembly, Mould sits on the board as the student trustee. Mould’s term begins June 1, 2014 and ends May 31, 2015. She also served as acting vice president of the student assembly.
Mould is the first Empire State College student elected president and was the first student elected to serve as a university college representative to the student assembly.
The 51-year-old native of Delavan, N.Y., returned to school after 27 years after a career in construction.
She earned two associate degrees from Genesee Community College, where, in 2008, she was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for students attending two-year colleges. In 2010, while still at GCC, she was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence for the first time.
She organized a Hurricane Sandy rebuilding trip to Staten Island and has organized more than 30 trips to the Gulf Coast for recovery and rebuilding efforts post Katrina and Rita.
Mould was a presenter and co-presenter at the 2013 Student Academic Conference. Her research and presentation at the conference, “Ecological/Environmental Effects from Hurricane Sandy,” also was selected for inclusion in the annual showcase of student research. Held in Albany, the event is organized by the SUNY and City University of New York faculty governance bodies for the benefit and education of the members of the state Legislature.
She co-chairs the college’s Student Affairs Committee and serves on the college senate, the college’s Alumni Federation Board and on the Student Activity Fee Committee of the college’s Genesee Valley Center.
Mould’s artwork was selected for display at the 2012 and 2013 GVC alumni, student and faculty exhibit and one of her photographs was selected for inclusion in the college’s 2012-13 calendar.
Mould has one son, Joshua, 32, a daughter-in-law, Jamie, 29, and a two granddaughters, Autumn, 6, and Anaka, 2.
About Mark Rider
“Returning to college was a real awakening for me,” said Rider. “Initially it was to just check the box, say that I got it, and be done with it. But the reality is that once I engaged with Empire State College, I went through a transformative learning process. My entire perspective on workforce development, where I spent 20 years of my career, had completely changed.
“I first approached Empire State College with experience and skill sets, some college credit, a real mixed bag, and I wasn’t sure how to turn that into a degree that made sense. Fortunately, my faculty mentor, Lorraine Lander, was instrumental in helping me to navigate my path. She made a significant difference for me in terms of really evaluating where I was, where I wanted to go and what we could do to help get me there. Working with her really helped me find the finish line.”
Rider graduates this spring with a B.S. in educational studies, with a concentration in training and development, and a 3.93 GPA. The 40-year-old resident of Farmington, N.Y. and his wife, Lesley, have two daughters, Claire, 12, and Lauren, 10.
Rider founded and served as the volunteer director of the Victor Summer Music Lesson Program. This program allows students to continue their music lessons during the summer months at low or no cost for families with financial challenges.
He also is an assistant director of the Victor Marching Blue Devils, one of the leading marching band programs in the state. The Blue Devils have won the marching band state championship seven times and more than 100 students in the Victor Central School District participate each year. Additionally, he helped start Winterguard, the school district’s indoor percussion and cadet guard program.
Rider is an award-winning show designer, music arranger and visual designer. He has written more than 30 productions in the past decade for the Blue Devils and other marching bands, color guards, drum corps and percussion ensembles in the Northeast and Midwest.
As a member of the Victor Outreach in Children Education parent group, Rider supports parents who are new to working with Individualized Education Programs for their special needs children. As a parent of a special needs child himself, he has extensive experience in advocating for resources in his school district. He readily shares that expertise by participating as a parent representative during the IEP review process and by coaching new parents on how to advocate for their children so they receive the best services possible.
Last year he was promoted to director of sales operations at Getinge North America, part of Getinge AB, a publicly-listed, Swedish-based group of companies. He is recognized around the world as an authority on the implementation of the Getinge sales transformation program, “Commercial Excellence,” which includes analysis, design and implementation of sales strategy, process, management and key performance indicators and metrics.
Rider is a member of the Genesee Valley Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development and a former member of the chapter’s board of directors.
In 2012, he was invited and accepted an invitation to join the Leadership Development Network, a group comprising 16 thought leaders from high-performing organizations in the greater Rochester area.
About the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence
The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.
Top Photo caption: Elizabeth Hughes, right, is joined by her partner Kerry Wille at the ceremony honoring this year’s winners.
Photos/Empire State College