Four Distinct Programs Recognize GCC’s Best & Brightest Reflecting the Broad Reach of GCC’s Academic Excellence

Congratulations to SUNY Chancellors Awardees, Outstanding Adults, Math Scholars and the NYS All-Academic Team

Batavia, NY- Eleven students from Genesee Community College have been recognized in four distinct academic honor programs acknowledging excellence, dedication and exemplary performance while representing an array of different programs, age groups, backgrounds and interests. The collection of honors and student achievers not only reflects GCC’s diverse student population, but signifies the varied academic opportunities as well as the consistency of the College’s supportive faculty in all divisions.


“We commend these hardworking students,” GCC President James Sunser, Ed. D. said. “Their achievements are not limited to the classroom, but extend to areas of leadership and innovation exhibited throughout Genesee Community College and also in many different communities where our students live.”


  • The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and Leadership

The State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have demonstrated the integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include leadership, campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative and performing arts while maintaining a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.8. Each year, campus presidents establish a selection committee which reviews exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the SUNY Chancellor’s Office and are subject to a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended and finally approved by the Chancellor to become recipients of the prestigious award.


The following three students, all members of GCC’s signature Fashion Business programs, were among the 256 students named as the 2017 recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and Leadership at a reception in Albany on April 5, 2017. Each recipient received a framed certificate and a medallion, which is traditionally worn at all commencement ceremonies.


  • Julia Bailey, Fashion Business, AAS major

While carrying an accumulative average of a 4.0 GPA, Julia Bailey of Newark, New York was actively involved in campus life as an orientation leader, board member on GCC Association, and she continues to work in branding and co-producing the College’s annual Fashion Show. As the largest, fashion show in Western New York, this year’s 36th annual event, entitled “Elysium,” is scheduled on Saturday, April 29, 2017 with two shows at 3 and 7 p.m.  Having graduated from GCC in December 2016, Julia has already transferred to FIT and is working toward her bachelor’s in Advertising and Marketing Communication. Additionally, Julia was recognized as a New York State All-Academic Team member with Phi Theta Kappa (see below).


  • Seonggyung Choe, Fashion Design, AAS major

A native of Busan, Korea, Seonggyung Choe, or “Song” as she is commonly called, immersed herself in GCC’s Multicultural Communications Club which is affiliated with Toastmasters International. Not only is she co-president, but she has won several speaking awards and earned a Leadership International Certificate. Her additional involvements include being a member and secretary for GCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, she presented at the Global Education’s Experiences Around the World Poster Session and she was certified in Life Bound professional training. As a Fashion Design major, Song is also working hard to help produce the 36th Annual Fashion Show, “Eylsium” with the scene “Fates/Moirai” highlighting Greek deities of Fate.


  • Mariah Paddock, Fashion Merchandising, AAS major

As a tour guide or phone-a-thon caller, a student ambassador or Cheer Team member, or while campaigning for the United Way, Mariah Paddock has been an integral member of the College community. She is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Business Forum Club and works at GCC’s Child Care Center. However, helping market and promote new products that use the newly introduced GCC Tartan plaid is perhaps the experience most relative to her major in Fashion Merchandising. Mariah is a resident of Clyde, New York.  


“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," SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said. "Every student we recognize 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.”



  • Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE) Outstanding Adult Student Award

The Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education Association (RACCE) announced that three students from Genesee Community College were recipients of the Outstanding Adult Student Award at its 33rd annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet held at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Rochester on April 12, 2017. The Outstanding Adult Student Award recognizes adult students who have excelled academically while successfully combining their college education with other commitments to family, job, career and service to the community. GCC’s Melinda Pitcher, Christi LoTempio and John Burek were among the honorees recognized for their success in balancing college study with their many adult responsibilities.


  • Melinda Pitcher was raised on a dairy farm and acquired a work ethic that prepared her to return to school while balancing the responsibilities of family and work obligations. She graduated from Lyndonville High School in 1999 and started at the University at Buffalo before financial restraints forced her into the workforce. She started working at Brunner International in Medina on the assembly line and stayed with the company for seven years before transitioning to Baxter International, where she currently works. Melinda began her journey back to college in February of 2015 thanks to GCC’s “late start” courses with accelerated, shorter terms. Back in college for the first time in 15 years, Melinda admitted it was a difficult adjustment at first, but she finds time using breaks at work and even vacation days to complete her coursework. She is on track to graduate this fall with an associate degree in Business Administration. Melinda resides in Medina, New York.


  • Christi LoTempio of Pavilion, New York, faced a difficult decision when the factory she worked at closed, but she took it as an opportunity to return to college to advance her skills and improve her resume. Despite experience in many areas of business management and accounting, she lacked a college degree which inspired her to attend GCC. Since she began at the College, Christi’s self-confidence has improved and by joining the CEO Club and attending many seminars, she is now excited about her future. She credits GCC faculty including Rebecca Tallo, Dr. Lina LaMattina, Rick Dudkowski and Amy Slusser as her major influences. Currently in her fourth semester, Christi is enrolled as a full-time student and maintaining a 3.93 GPA. She also works part-time for First Wave Technologies in Batavia, and manages many personal responsibilities—not the least of which is planning her May wedding. She hopes to complete her studies this summer and graduate with an associate degree in Business and Accounting.  


  • John Burek is not only a retired registered nurse, but he also served as a medic in the Army National Guard and was awarded the Bronze Star for his combat service in Afghanistan. He was recognized by the Buffalo News as a “Hometown Hero,” but memories of his military service were painful and he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Shortly after his military service, John endured deep depression and insomnia, but in 2015 he found the strength to return to college at GCC. He earned Computer Repair Certificate in 2016, explored Web Design courses, and will earn his Entrepreneurship degree this spring. He is now considering continuing his education for a bachelor’s degree. Although John hadn’t been in school for nearly 30 years, he earned places on GCC’s Dean’s List and President’s List, and joined numerous clubs including the Computer Repair Club, the Photography Club and the CEO Club. A resident of Attica, New York and a 52-year-old father of two and grandfather of four, John cites his college success as motivation for his wife to return to school, as well as his son and step daughter. Although he has many accomplishments, he considers the RACCE Outstanding Adult Student Award as one of great pride.    


“The recognition for Melinda, Christi and John is very well-deserved,” Cliff Scutella, GCC director of Student Activities said. “Their dedication and hard work to excelling in school and life is exactly what this award is about.”

  • Scholarships Awards from New York State Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges

Genesee Community College took top billing at the 50th Annual Conference of the New York State Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges (NYSMATYC) in Syracuse, NY on April 7-9, 2017 with four GCC students taking honors and collectively earning $2,750 in scholarship awards—a GCC record for this particular conference.  The GCC NYSMATYC scholarship winners were:

  • Alexandra Gloskowski of Batavia, received the coveted $1000 Helen Siner Memorial Award, one of the top three $1000 awards of the overall program.
  • Skylar Laessar of Batavia, received $750 scholarship award for Excellence in Mathematics.
  • Kiera Gross of East Bethany, received $500 scholarship award for Excellence in Mathematics.
  • Johnathan Peritore of Rochester, received $500 scholarship award for Excellence in Mathematics.

NYSMATYC has over 50 member schools, and the Scholarship Committee received 24 applications. GCC students earned four of the ten total scholarships awarded. The scholarships will be used by students as they transfer to four-year institutions to earn higher level degrees in mathematics. All applicants must have completed one year of Calculus I or II, at least a 3.5 GPA in mathematics courses, and at least a 3.3 GPA overall. Students interested in mathematics education are especially encouraged to apply. For further information go to:

  • Phi Theta Kappa  New York State Academic Team

Each year, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the International Honor Society for two-year colleges sponsors the All-State Community College Academic Team with 38 states participating from across the nation. The scholastic program honors outstanding students through a competitive application process that includes a comprehensive essay revealing how each team member has immersed themselves in their community to have a positive impact. This year, the following two GCC students placed in the PTK/NYS Academic Team.


  • Julia Bailey, Fashion Business AAS, major

As indicated above, Julia completed her Fashion Business major at GCC last semester with high honors that also earned her a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. She is now studying at FIT working toward her bachelor’s in Advertising and Marketing Communication.


  • Megan Molisani,  Teacher Education AS, major

While carrying a near perfect cumulative average at GCC, Megan has also served as a resident assistant at College Village, earned a Citizenship Scholarship, the Pepsi Scholarship, volunteered her time in the Child’s Center Day Care and been involved in many campus events, such as being a model in the 2016 Fashion Show. She works extensively in the Marketing Communications Office, and contributes to all aspects of the vibrant culture of the College. She is a resident of Clyde, NY and has already been accepted at St. John Fisher College with life-long plans to be an inspiring and motivating teacher to children. 


GCC's local chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Iota Upsilon, has a rich history as an active chapter and has been listed among the Top 100 Chapters internationally. To be inducted into the honor society, a student must have completed 12 credit hours of associate degree coursework at GCC with at least a 3.6 GPA, and also adhere to the school conduct code while illustrating leadership qualities. The chapter has nearly 200 current members and over 3,000 alumni. Alpha Iota Upsilon was chartered on February 15, 1985. 


For further information, please contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email:


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Editor’s Note:

Photographs of students and supporters from various award ceremonies are available at the respective links below:


  • GCC’s honorees for the 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards are as follows, standing with SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher (on the left) and GCC’s Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Virginia Taylor (on the right):


  • Outstanding Adult Student honorees, left to right: Melinda Pitcher, Christi Lotempio and John Burke.



  • New York State Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges Scholarship recipients with their GCC mathematics professors, standing left to right are: Johnathan Peritore, Skylar Laessar,  Alexandra Gloskowski, Kiera Gross with GCC professors Philip Pickering and Christopher Kemp. Winners.jpg



  • Phi Theta Kappa New York State Academic Team member Megan Molisani (left) and Julia Bailey (right) stand with Laura J. Bohm, Chair of the GCC Board of Trustees. Award_Molisani_Bohm_Bailey2.jpg