Two County Students Honored With Chancellor’s Award

Zachary Eklum is pictured with Nancy Zimpher, SUNY chancellor, and Cedric Howard, SUNY Fredonia vice president for student affairs.

FREDONIA — Three State University at Fredonia seniors, two from Chautauqua County, who collectively have five majors, two minors and GPAs of 3.9 or higher were among 256 SUNY students from across the state to receive the 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Maria Gordon from Stephentown, Zachary Eklum of Jamestown and Rebecca Hartling of Falconer were chosen from among eight Fredonia finalists.

The awards ceremony and reception for recipients was held on April 5, at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

“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 Nancy Zimpher, SUNY chancellor.

Every student recognized has demonstrated a strong commitment to his/her degree program, home campus, greater community and much more, Zimpher added.

“Maria, Rebecca, and Zachary are excellent examples of the quality of student Fredonia is preparing for success,” said Cedric Howard, SUNY Fredonia vice president for student affairs, who attended the awards ceremony. “They are not just leaders in and out of the classroom; they are poised to become future leaders in a global society.”

The award 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.


Eklum, who is majoring in biology and has minors in psychology and chemistry, became the first Fredonia student accepted into the Early Assurance Program at Upstate Medical University, which he will enter this fall. He is a son of Todd and Dawn Eklum and was valedictorian of Jamestown High School’s Class of 2013.

Eklum has been an active member in the Biology Club, Health Professions Club, Golden Key International Honour Society and the Fredonia chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the national biological sciences honor society. He has tutored numerous students in chemistry, biology, psychology and physics and is currently engaged in a research project with Psychology Assistant Professor Catherine Creeley that is studying the effects of NICU neurotoxins on the fetus during the third trimester pregnancy using a mouse model. The effects are quantified by comparing the density of cell death (apoptosis) in various regions of the brain across treatment and control groups.

Job shadowing has been a key part of his undergraduate education. Eklum has conducted observations in a primary care physician’s office, an operating room and radiology department. His internship at UPMC Chautauqua WCA included emergency, cardiac, orthopedic and general surgical departments, among others.

Eklum’s capstone internship focused on cardiology and the assessment of implantable cardioverter defibrillators in relation to pre-discharge assessments.

Eklum has been the recipient of numerous honors: Yunghans-Mirabelli Biology Achievement Scholarship, Walter Gotowka Award for Excellence, ACS General Chemistry Award, Golden Key International Honour Society Award, Fiat-Lux – Let There Be Light Award and Adele Maytum-Hunter scholarships.


Ms. Hartling, who is majoring in molecular genetics and psychology, has served two years as a student researcher with Dr. Nicholas Quintyne, where she has explored the resolution of mitotic defects induced by carcinogen treatment in cancer and non-cancer cells. She has also served as a teaching assistant with Drs. Scott Ferguson, Scott Medler and Quintyne, all of the Department of Biology. She is a daughter of Richard and Renee Hartling and a graduate of Falconer High School.

Hartling will attend Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the State University at Buffalo.

Hartling is a member of the Biology Club, Chemistry Club and Pre-Health Professions Club and an undergraduate member of the American Society of Cell Biology. She has given poster presentations of undergrad research at the American Society of Cell Biology annual meeting in San Francisco, the Beta Beta Beta regional convention in Latrobe, Pa., and at Fredonia.

She has served as president and treasurer of Upsilon Chi, the Fredonia chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the national biological sciences honor society, is a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, Golden Key International Honour Society and Student Ambassadors Program, and has served as a teaching assistant. The membership ranks in Beta Beta Beta increased dramatically, from seven to 50, during her tenure.

Hartling was accepted into the Fredonia Honors Program as a first-year student, received an Adele Maytum-Hunter Scholarship, Freshman Dean’s Scholar Award and Fredonia Faculty Staff Scholarship, has served as a mentor in the Biology and Honors programs, was a volunteer in the Relay for Life benefit for the American Cancer Society and participated in Fall Sweep.

Additional campus finalists for the Chancellor’s Award included: Dean Bavisotto, Emily Bystrak, Madeleine Goc, Connor Hoffman and Mikayla Kozlowski. Also nominated for the award were: Zachary Beaudoin, Jefferson Dedrick, Katelyn Dietz, Bridget Doyle, Joseph Drake, Margaret Fagan, Jonah Farnum, Melissa Goggin, Korrin Harvey, Chelsea Jones, Ilana Lieberman, Chelsea May, Maggie Papia, Charlotte Passero, Ariana Perez, Burgandi Rakoska, John Secunde and Carolyn Sheridan.


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