An Estonian immigrant who learned English as her third language and a North Country native who is earning her second SUNY Canton degree both received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.
Alissa Jatsenti, an Accounting major, and Sindy Afriat, a Criminal Investigation major recently traveled to Albany with SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy to receive their awards. Both students underwent a rigorous three-part process that evaluates their academic, artistic, and athletic performance, in addition to their individual service to the community.
“I’m extremely proud of our Chancellor’s Award recipients,” Kennedy said. “They have proven that they are not only among the best scholars at SUNY Canton, but also among the top students in the entire SUNY System.”
Jatsenti immigrated to the North Country after graduating from high school in her hometown of Tallinn, Estonia, and now resides in Canton. This year she was a student leader in the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and helped moderate to low-income families prepare their taxes free of charge. Jatsenti is a passionate photographer who submitted her work to the SUNY-wide “Best of SUNY Art Exhibition” in Albany. She is also member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Jatsenti is the 2009 recipient of the Clarkson Transfer Scholarship and plans to continue on to earn her Certified Public Accountant’s license.
“I’ve gained priceless experience through interaction with the Canton community,” she said. “It has been an extremely educating and delightful experience, which will greatly help me work and live in America after I finish the immigration process. I feel very grateful for everything SUNY Canton has taught me.”
Afriat has maintained excellent grades while working full-time, demonstrating her tireless commitment to her education. She returned to SUNY Canton after graduating with her associate degree in 2007 to work on her bachelor’s degree in the four-year Criminal Investigation program. Afriat is the President of the Omega Upsilon chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the honor society for Criminal Investigation students. She has received numerous SUNY Canton Foundation scholarships, including the Grasse River Scholarship, the Rachael M. Bagley Scholarship, and two Canino Awards for Academic Excellence, and the Flora Bertram Geller Scholarship. She is also the vice president of the Zen Do Kai karate club and secretary of the Criminal Justice Association.
“Working full-time and maintaining high grades hasn’t always been easy,” Afriat said. “I’m very proud that I’m graduating with the highest grade point average in the Criminal Investigation program.”
Through her club and student organization involvement, Sindy has participated in several community service projects, including a First-Frost AIDS Walk/Run at the Thompson Park Zoo in Watertown.
Both Jatsenti and Afriat will be graduating at SUNY Canton’s 101st Commencement Ceremony on May 16.
SUNY Canton offers a wide variety of career-driven bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs, as well as three master’s degrees in conjunction with SUNYIT, Utica. Most of SUNY Canton’s new four-year programs are designed so students can take them on-campus, online, or both. SUNY Canton OnLine features more than 100 courses online each semester. The College’s athletic teams belong to the NAIA’s Sunrise Conference, enabling students to compete in their respective sports for four years.
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