New Paltz Sociology Student Receives SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Deborah Walnicki, a Sociology student with a Concentration in Human Services and a minor in Spanish, had been named a 2014 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.  Deborah is an alumna of the AmeriCorps City Year program, having served in East Harlem, NY.  She was subsequently named City Year Recruitment Ambassador at SUNY New Paltz in City Year’s first campus recruitment pilot program.  The success of this pilot led to this becoming a model for nationwide recruitment.  Deborah Walnacki

A member of the Honors Program since Fall 2010, Deborah was the recipient of the Cetrino Family Scholarship in 2013.  During 2013 Deborah worked as research assistant to sociology professor Dr. Eve Waltermauer at the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) developing the Community Health Assessment and the Community Health Improvement Plan, commissioned by the Ulster County Departments of Health and Mental Health.  Deborah has also found time to study abroad in Guayaquil, Ecuador where she interned at a Global Education Project, Fundacion Crecer.   Deborah has taken her talents beyond the campus and has played an active role in the local community.  She is currently working with the Greater New Paltz Community Partnership, offering yoga classes to high school students as part of their “stress busters” initiative.  As part of a human services internship, she is also working with community member, Amy Frisch, launching a “Girls on the Run” program (a girls’ empowerment program) for the first time in New Paltz. 

On campus Deborah is a certified yoga instructor, is president of the Yoga Club, and has been a volunteer at Oasis/Haven.  As a significant contributor to the Concentration in Human Services, Deborah’s other internships include Riverhaven Youth Shelter in Poughkeepsie, Ulster County Department of Social Services Children’s Services Division, and Parsons Child and Family Center in Albany.  She has also worked as a job coach at the Northeastern Association for the Blind in Albany.  This summer she plans to study abroad with the International Social Welfare program to Denmark.