2021 Commencement Awards and Honors

Group of Outstanding Seniors Headshot photos.

Graduating students were recognized for their incredible achievements by the College of Arts and Sciences and SUNY.

On April 27, 2021, Dean Robin Schulze held a virtual ceremony to recognize the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Seniors. Every year, each of the College’s departments chooses a graduating senior who has demonstrated exceptional diligence and promise during their time at the University at Buffalo.

College of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Senior Award

Group of Outstanding Seniors Headshot photos.

Africana and American Studies - Aqeelah Croskery-Howard
Aqeelah Howard of Buffalo, N.Y., graduates cum laude with a bachelor of arts in African American studies and a minor in psychology.

Kevin Klier.

Anthropology – Kevin P. Klier
Kevin Klier of Orchard Park, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in anthropology.

Jillian Daniels.

Art – Jillian A. Daniels
Jillian Daniels of Buffalo, N.Y., graduates cum laude with a bachelor of science in industrial design studies, special studies program, and a bachelor of arts in studio art with a general studio concentration.

Yaling Lin.

Asian Studies – Yaling Lin
Yaling Lin of Queens, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in Asian studies and a minor in Korean.

Nicholas Kagelmacher.

Biological Sciences – Nicholas D. Kagelmacher
Nicholas Kagelmacher of North Tonawanda, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in biological sciences.

Daniel R. Morphet.

Chemistry – Daniel R. Morphet
Daniel Morphet of Rochester, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in chemistry.

Jake N. Pawlush.

Classics – Jake N. Pawlush
Jake Pawlush of Rensselaerville, N.Y., graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in classics with a concentration in classical languages and literature.

 Austin C. Robar.

Communication – Austin C. Robar
Austin Robar of Potsdam, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in communication and a minor in psychology.

Corrinn J. Cincotta.

Communicative Disorders and Sciences – Corrinn J. Cincotta
Corrinn Cincotta of Penn Yan, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in speech and hearing science.

Peter D. Balogh.

Economics – Peter D. Balogh
Peter Balogh of West Hempstead, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in economics and a minor in media study.

Alexis M. Banaszak.

English – Alexis M. Banaszak
Alexis Banaszak of Clarence Center, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English and global gender studies.

Meredith L. Seibold.

Environment and Sustainability – Meredith L. Seibold
Meredith Seibold of East Aurora, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in environmental studies and minors in biological sciences and psychology.

Matthew P. Morris.

Geography – Matthew P. Morris
Matthew Morris of Webster, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in geography with a concentration in earth systems science.

Noah T. Dobson.

Geology – Noah T. Dobson
Noah Dobson of Horseheads, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in geological sciences.

Mosammet Asma.

Global Gender and Sexuality Studies – Mosammet Asma
Mosammet Asma of Brooklyn, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in global gender studies and political science with a concentration in public law.

 Mariah O. Agbonkpolo.

History – Mariah O. Agbonkpolo
Mariah Agbonkpolo of Montebello, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in history.

Anthony D. Catanese.

Jewish Thought - Anthony D. Catanese
Anthony Catanese of Amherst, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in Jewish studies.

 Kenn B. Lewis.

Linguistics – Kenn B. Lewis
Kenn Lewis of Ruthven, Iowa, graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in linguistics with a concentration in language and cognition and minors in Spanish, American Sign Language and political science.

Cameron J. Watt.

Mathematics – Cameron J. Watt
Cameron Watt of Grand Island, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in mathematical physics.

Cydney I. Teeter.

Media Study – Cydney I. Teeter
Cydney Teeter of Elba N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in political science and media study with a concentration in production.

Richard C. Hoover.

Music – Richard C. Hoover
Richard Hoover of Grand Island, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor of music in music performance.

Tiana N. Gleason.

Philosophy – Tiana N. Gleason
Tiana Gleason of North Bay, Ontario, graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in philosophy and history and a minor in French.

Hannah M. Seppala.

Physics – Hannah M. Seppala
Hannah Seppala of Penn Yan, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in physics and mathematics with a concentration in general study in mathematics.

Mia L. Hanson.

Political Science – Mia L. Hanson
Mia Hanson of Big Flats, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in history and political science with a concentration in American politics and public affairs.

Cassondra M. Lyman.

Psychology – Cassondra M. Lyman
Cassondra Lyman of Endicott, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in psychology and a bachelor of arts in statistics.

Serena E. Strollo-DiCenso.

Romance Languages and Literatures – Serena E. Strollo-DiCenso
Serena Strollo-DiCenso of Batavia, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in biological sciences and Italian.

Clara E. Cook.

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary – Clara E. Cook
Clara Cook of Sharon, Mass., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in social sciences interdisciplinary with a cognitive science concentration and a bachelor of arts in computer science with minors in psychology and Spanish.

Mia A. Forney.

Sociology – Mia A. Forney
Mia Forney of Lewiston, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in psychology and criminology and a minor in addiction studies.

Homeria L. Lubin.

Theatre and Dance – Homeria L. Lubin
Homeria Lubin of Westtown, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in dance and psychology.

SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

The 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was awarded to two College students: Gianna Damico and Matthew Taboni.

This recognition is awarded to students who, according to the SUNY website, “have best demonstrated their 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.” Students were recognized in a virtual ceremony on April 14, 2021.

Gianna Damico headshot.

Gianna Damico of Victor, N.Y., graduates with a bachelor of arts in anthropology and a bachelor of fine arts. Damico is a graphic designer and the only student in her BFA year with a solo gallery show. Gianna has worked for the Jacobs Institute since 2019, creating interactive 3D renderings of patient-specific vasculature structures and developing branding guidelines for the company.

She currently works as the designer and marketing strategist for the institute’s podcast “Journey into the Future of Medicine with Bill Maggio.” Gianna has also held the role of Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars’ graphic designer for seven semesters, shifting from creating marketing materials to managing social media roll-out plans and supervising a group of student interns.

Matt Taboni headshot.

Matthew Taboni of Tonawanda, N.Y., graduates with a BS in business administration and a minor in Nonprofit Leadership from the College of Arts and Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Program. Taboni has advocated for students as president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA); co-chair of Blue Table, UB’s food pantry; assistant director of health and wellness for the Student Association; and in numerous other roles. He was named President of the Year by the National Association of College and University Residence Halls in recognition of his efforts to implement an endowment and scholarship to support residential students, start an alternative spring break program and expand RHA’s regional and national involvement.

As co-chair of Blue Table, UB’s food pantry, he kick-started creation of the pantry that now serves more than 50 students a week, including growing the pantry’s stock to offer personal hygiene products. In his role as assistant director of health and wellness for SA, Taboni established UB’s first Mental Health Awareness Week. Consisting of eight activities aimed at destigmatizing mental health issues and educating students on available resources, the success of the week-long program helped him win an Outstanding Campus Impact Award in May 2019.

Pease join us in congratulating this year’s recipients for their accomplishments. We are so proud of our graduating class of 2021 and we are honored to welcome these individuals into the UB alumni family.