Two New Paltz students earn SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for outstanding scholarship and service

The College congratulates Ashleigh Arrington ’21 (Chemistry; Mathematics) and Isma Rajpura ’21 (Biology) for being named recipients of the 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, an honor reserved for students who have distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, leadership, service and through other contributions to living and learning communities across the SUNY system.

Please join us in congratulating our two Chancellor’s Awardees on their accomplishments:

Ashleigh Arrington is a double major in chemistry and mathematics who has excelled in research both here at SUNY New Paltz (including as a presenter at the upcoming 2021 Student Research Symposium) and in a highly competitive summer undergraduate research program at the University of North Carolina in 2019.

According to her nominator, Associate Professor Megan Ferguson, “Ashleigh has demonstrated extraordinary aptitude for scientific research, readily recognizing the influencing factors of a problem, determining possible outcomes, and planning experiments accordingly.”

Arrington has supported peer students as a tutor on behalf of the Center for Student Success, the Math Lab and the Department of Chemistry, and has also served as a member of the Association for Women in Mathematics and the Chemistry Club.

She has also acted as a role model within the regional STEM community, volunteering at Girls Rock – STEM and Family Mole Night events dedicated to introducing science and technology concepts to young learners.

Isma Rajpura is an Honors student and biology major pursuing a career in medicine. She is a daughter of immigrants from India who is passionate about science and service, and interested in a career providing medical care abroad.

Rajpura has participated extensively in research during her time at the College, including experience in pond-sampling projects under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Lydia Bright. She will be a co-author on a forthcoming published article detailing this research, and has also presented aspects of the work at multiple Student Research Symposia.

She is an Honors Program member who credits the program and the merit-based scholarship it provides with making her enrollment at SUNY New Paltz possible. “Through the Honors Program, I have taken multiple seminars that explore interdisciplinary topics, including the Individual and Society and Education Across Borders,” Rajpura said. “These courses have given me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge base in different topics outside of my major, which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”

Rajpura is engaged on campus as a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, the Global Medical Brigades, the Student Health Advisory Committee, the First-Year Internship Program and the Stepping into Diversity Program.

She is also active in sharing and developing her medical care skills in the local community. She volunteers at Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown, New York, working as an Emergency Department assistant prior to the pandemic, and more recently as a contact tracer in their Infection Prevention Department.

About the Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence
The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.

Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish selection committees to review the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the award. Each recipient receives a framed certificate and medallion, which is traditionally worn at commencement.