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March 3, 2015

Graduate Student Research Showcased at New York State Capital

Left to right: Roxana Toma, Josh Horn, Tai Arnold and John Vellenga at the 2015 Graduate Research Symposium.

Faculty Mentor Roxana Toma, at far left, stands next to her former graduate student, Josh Horn '14, and Tai Arnold, dean of the college's School for Graduate Studies, joining MBA student John Vellenga at the 2015 Graduate Student Research Symposium. Photo/Empire State College

Graduate student John Vellenga and alumnus Josh Horn ‘14 were selected to present their research at the biennial graduate research symposium, which is sponsored by the faculty senates of both the State University of New York and the City University of New York and is held in the state capital.

Vellenga, a veteran of the U.S. Army, who left active duty in 1990, as a captain, is enrolled in the college’s School for Graduate Studies MBA program. He presented his project, “Improving Employment Rates for Veterans.”

He said that he chose to take “Credit Where Credit is Due: Veteran and Service Member Pathway to the MBA” as his first course with the college to help other veterans make the transition to commercial employment.

“It took me a while to gain professional employment at the appropriate level after I left active duty,” said Vellenga. “So, I thought I might offer some advice to more recent veterans joining the commercial marketplace, now that I am a hiring manager.”

As vice president of operations for AMETEK Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices, he is responsible for the company’s aerospace manufacturing facilities in Binghamton, N.Y. and Wichita, Kans.

“It was a great honor to have been selected to represent SUNY Empire State College,” said Vellenga. “I was really impressed with the interest shown by senior SUNY officials and the leadership of state government. They obviously care about our veterans and I was excited at how interested they were in the proposal describing how Empire State College and SUNY can expand their work helping veterans.”

Horn, who recently satisfied the requirements for a Master of Arts in Social and Public Policy, submitted his final project to the symposium, “Why Graduate Students Choose to Attend SUNY and the Factors Influencing their Satisfaction,” before graduation last year.

“I chose my topic because I wanted to conduct research that would provide me with new insights applicable to my career field,” said Horn, the director of admissions at Columbia-Greene Community College. “Presenting at the SUNY graduate research symposium was a tremendous honor and I have already begun to use some of my research findings to advance college recruitment at Columbia-Greene.”

The symposium, which was held on Feb. 11, in the well of the Legislative Office Building, in Albany, provided a showcase for public higher education and graduate student research to the members of the state legislature and their staffs. Next year, SUNY and CUNY faculty senates will hold their biennial symposium for undergraduate research at the state capital.

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