Two SUNY Cobleskill Students Receive Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Two SUNY Cobleskill students were among the 243 students who were presented with the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher at Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Thursday, April 4. They are Maii Zikry, an international student from Cairo, Egypt, who will receive her Bachelor of Science in Communications this year with a 4.0 GPA, and Marten Peterson, a Bio-technology Bachelor of Science major who will graduate this year with multiple honors and a 3.69 GPA. Both students will be honored on the SUNY Cobleskill campus at an awards convocation on April 19th in Bouck Hall.

"This is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by the University, and SUNY Cobleskill is honored to have them receive Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence," said Steve Ackerknecht, Vice President for Student Affairs at SUNY Cobleskill. "Maii and Marten have distinguished themselves as exemplary student leaders who are role models for the entire campus community."

In addition to being honored with the Chancellor's Award, Zikry was the recipient of SUNY Empire State Diversity Honors and the Merrill Family Foundation Scholarship. She is a member of the Epsilon Pi Tau International Honors Society and has served as a Resident Assistant, President of the International Club, served on the Student Health Advisory Committee and was appointed by the Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs to the Student Leadership Advisory Council, among many other roles, including Global Ambassador, soup kitchen volunteer, tutor in the academic support center and a speaker for educational awareness programs on domestic violence and sexual assault. Having participated in the College's Study Abroad Cultural Exchange program with Egypt and Canada, she serves as a Delegate for Model United Nations and provided leadership for SEED—Sincerely Educating Empowering Developers Organization.

Peterson has distinguished himself as an exceptional student leader both in and out of the classroom. He was named Outstanding Biotechnology Student of the Year, received the Associate and Bachelor's Student Citizenship Awards, and has been included in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He is a member of Delta Thea Chapter of Pi Tau honor society, Captain/Instructor of the Student Medical (EMS) Squad, Global Ambassador for the International Student Office, a member of the Woodsman and Fisher's and Wildlife clubs, and was appointed to serve on the Quality of Student Life Committee, the Student Health Advisory Council, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Task Force, Campus Wellness Committee and the Vice President for Student Affairs Student Advisory Council. As a student athlete Peterson has served as Captain of the Track and Field and the Cross Country teams and was a member of the Swimming and Diving team. His community service includes service as a volunteer fire fighter, EMS Paramedic, Health Director at Vanderkamp Christian Youth Camp, a volunteer with STRIDE camp for disabled youth, and offered his time to helping reconstruct trails in the Adirondack Mountains with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Peterson traveled to and lived in Ghana and served as a first aid instructor with the Volta Aid Foundation. He received an award to participate at the Society for In Vitro Biology's annual meeting in Providence Rhode Island, where he will make a poster presentation based on his research entitled "Engineering Drought and Salt Tolerant Soybeans by Overexpressing AVP1, the Vacule Proton Pump" co-authored by Dr. Peiyu Zeng, which will be published in the meeting's booklet as well as in the society's scientific journal, In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology. He has also presented research on drought tolerant soybeans at the SUNY ESF, Upstate Medical and Central New York Biotech Research Center Biotechnology Symposium. Peterson's demonstrated leadership in academics, athletics, community and student service garnered him recognition by SUNY Cobleskill's College Council with a special Resolution affirming his contributions to the campus community as a consummate student leader.

Peterson has aspirations of becoming a physician.


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Maii Zikry
Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Student Maii Zikry, Provost Debra Thatcher


Marten PetersonChancellor Nancy Zimpher, Student Marten Peterson, Provost Debra Thatcher