Four SUNY Oswego students earned 2017 Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence, the highest such honor in the system. Meet Lauren Saroli, Nicholas Noviasky, Abigail Boyce and Tatiana Gregory and learn why they won this prestigious award.

[ Related story: read more about our winners ]

“I worked really hard and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it, I wasn’t even sure if I should continue to apply for it, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t and I’m very glad that I applied,” said Saroli, a zoology major and chemistry minor.

“I work with Dr. James MacKenzie, and we’re developing bioessays to essentially determine how the toxins in Lake Ontario and Cayuga Lake are affecting fish physiology,” Saroli explained. “We collected fish livers and we’re homogenizing and collecting microsomes and we’re measuring the absorbance to figure the concentration of a certain enzyme.”

“Over my experience at SUNY Oswego I’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities in research,” said Noviasky, a physics major and mathematics minor. “Some of the projects I’ve worked on here pertain to lithium ion batteries and now working on sodium ion batteries.”

Working with faculty has helped make this success possible, he said.

“I’ve had extremely great experiences with Dr. (Carolina) Ilie and Dr. (Mohammad) Islam,” Noviasky said. “They’ve been very helpful through the whole process of doing research as well as providing outlets to go to grad school and things like that.”

“For my past four years at SUNY Oswego, I have definitely found myself getting involved in a lot of different aspects of the campus, including track and then three clubs, Women in Business, Investment Club and Financial Management Association,” said Boyce, a finance major with a minor in statistics.

“By trying all these different things, I could sort of find out what I liked and what I didn’t like. I found out a lot more about myself than I even thought I would. At everything that I do in those clubs and in school and on the track and stuff, I just really put all my effort into it because I don’t know how to not,” Boyce explained. “I just try to exceed at everything that I tried, so I think that’s why I won this award.”

“When I found out I got it, I was just shocked and when I was telling my friends how happy and surprised I was, they were like, ‘well of course you got it, you do everything,’” said Gregory, a biochemistry major with minors in health science and nutrition. “And I guess I thought about it, and I’m probably one of the busiest people I know, as most of these Chancellor’s recipients are.”

Her research has included blood analysis as part of a long-running study the college has been conducting on the health benefits of taking vacation time.

“I’ve been working with Kestas Bendinskas, the biochemist here, to do the vacation health study, and we’ve been researching whether or not vacations, or specifically time off from work, paid time off from work, whether or not that reduces stress,” Gregory said. “So we’re hoping we can prove that time off will reduce stress on that level, versus past research.”