Two students will be receiving special recognition for outstanding academic and community achievement at SUNY Canton’s 109th Commencement Ceremony held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 13, in the Roos House Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center.
Poornima Rathika Balasubramaniam Nanayakkara, a Health and Fitness Promotion student from Sri Lanka, and Sarah N. Nuss, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology major from Wynantskill both earned the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. They recently received their awards at a special ceremony in Albany and will wear special medals denoting their accomplishment at commencement.
“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 SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Every student we recognize today has demonstrated a strong commitment to their degree program, home campus, greater community, and much more. Congratulations to all of the students receiving this year’s award.”
Nanayakkara came to SUNY Canton through an educational agreement with the International Institute for Health Sciences in Sri Lanka, having previously earned a Computer Technology Diploma in her home country. She earned an Associate Degree in the Physical Therapist Assistant program and then joined the college’s four-year Health and Fitness Promotion program.
She’s been on the President’s List every semester of her college career. She won the award for the highest GPA in her program and is a member of both the Golden Key International Honor Society and the Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program. Nanayakkara has also been a Resident Assistant on campus for the past year and has been both a volunteer and professional tutor in the college’s Math and Science Tutoring Center.
Nuss is the vice president of the SUNY Canton American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter and led the design team for this year’s steel bridge. She helped the team earn second place in a recent regional competition.
She has been a frontrunner and active member of six clubs and societies on campus, including serving as president of the Outdoor Adventure Club and a senator for the Environmental Change Organization. She is the cofounder of the new Society of Women Engineers and has been a role model for young women looking into entering the science, engineering and technology fields.
Nuss has been extensively involved with undergraduate research and has coauthored three publications in the Geological Society of America Conference Abstracts Bulletin related to water quality, erosion prediction, and sediment loading of the Grasse River in Canton.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 13 exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are conference members of the newly formed American Collegiate Athletic Association.