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04/20/2010
Five Hudson Valley Community College Students Honored With SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence Photo Available

CONTACT: Eric Bryant (518) 629-8072 e.bryant@hvcc.edu
FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Five members of the Hudson Valley Community College student body were recently named as recipients of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.

The recipients are:

Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak, Maria Cardenas-Grajales, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. ZimpherMaria Cardenas-Grajales of Delmar.
Cardenas-Grajales, a native of Venezuela, graduated from the college's Criminal Justice program in December and is currently attending Columbia University. While a student at Hudson Valley, she served as president of the Alpha Xi Sigma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, a national academic honor society. She also was president of the college's International Students Club, active in student leadership, a Spanish language peer tutor in the college's Learning Centers and was one of six students chosen to write about their college experience as a student blogger. Cardenas-Grajales also was an outstanding student in the Criminal Justice program and recognized by Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak, Lorena Craig, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. ZimpherLorena Craig of Valatie.
Craig is an outstanding student in the college's Biological Sciences program and is set to graduate this May. She is a senior senator for the Student Senate, president of the Student Christian Association and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, a national academic honor society. Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges has recognized her campus and community service. She is a worship leader at Cornerstone Fellowship Church and Youth Group and also has volunteered at the Alpha Pregnancy Care Center.

Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak, Barbara Hoenzsch, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. ZimpherBarbara Hoenzsch of Stillwater.
Hoenzsch is a mother of three boys, one of whom will be graduating alongside her this spring. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including Outstanding Achievement in Theatre, Outstanding Service to Theatre Students, and the Learning Assistance Center Spirit Award for her work promoting the services of the college Learning Centers. A student in the Individual Studies program with a 4.0 grade point average, her written work has been published in the student literary magazine, Threads. Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges has recognized her campus and community service, which includes serving as a youth leader for her church. She plans to continue her education this fall at The College of Saint Rose.

Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak, Ryan Morris, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. ZimpherRyan Morris of Rotterdam Junction.
Morris earned a 4.0 grade point average in the college's Dental Hygiene department. He has been awarded several scholarships including one from the Hudson-Mohawk Chapter of the American College of Dentists for outstanding leadership and scholastic performance. He also was awarded the Frank Hanrahan Memorial Scholarship which recognized academic excellence. Morris was invited to become a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and is a member of the Student American Dental Hygienists' Association, Phi Theta Kappa, and was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He is active with volunteer work which includes missionary trips to Uganda to aid in creating safe water sources.

Hudson Valley President Drew Matonak, Matthew Sekellick, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. ZimpherMatthew Sekellick of Clifton Park.
Sekellick, a Theatre Arts major, served as president of Theatre Club and was a freshman senator with Student Senate. He has directed plays, performed leading roles in numerous productions, and excelled in positions of technical support. He has been recognized for outstanding achievement and service by the Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Broadcast Communications Department at the college. Named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, he has been on the President's list for two semesters. Sekellick was an intern with the New York State Theatre Institute and continues to work with the company professionally. Additionally, he has performed summer stock theatre with the Classic Theatre Guild.

The five Hudson Valley students were honored along with other recipients from across the State University system on April 6 at a ceremony in Albany.

The Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence was created 14 years ago to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts or career achievement.

Each year, campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews exemplary members of their college communities who are graduating. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor's Office and are subject to a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 13,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 65,000 alumni.