March 9, 2015

Six Students Receive Scholarship Awards from The Adirondack Trust Co.

Charles Wait Jr. stands at left with students and 2014-15 Adirondack Trust Co. scholarship recipients Alison Helm and Kendra Pelham. President Merodie Hancock also was on hand for the recognition event held at the college's Alumni House.

Charles Wait Jr. stands at left with students and 2014-15 Adirondack Trust Co. scholarship recipients Alison Helm and Kendra Pelham. President Merodie Hancock also was on hand for the recognition event held at the college's Alumni House. Photo/Empire State College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 12, 2015)  Kendra Pelham, an RN and mother of six, and Alison Helm, a single working mother striving to set a good example for her child, are among the six recipients of the Empire State College Foundation Adirondack Trust Co. Scholarship for 2014-15.

Financial support for the scholarships comes from The Adirondack Trust Co.

“I was astonished when I learned about receiving an Adirondack Trust scholarship,” said Helm. “One of my primary reasons for earning a college degree is to be a good example for my teenage son.”

A full-time employee with the college and resident of Ft. Edward, Helm is concentrating in photography and pursing a bachelor’s degree in The Arts.

“The Adirondack Trust scholarship gave me the freedom to update my photography equipment and I am very grateful for the bank’s support,” said Helm.

“I felt great being a recipient of an Adirondack Trust scholarship, it was just a blessing,” said Pelham. “I put a lot of effort into my education and it is encouraging to me to know that there are businesses that care about the future of our country and the education of students, regardless of their age or the fields that they are in. Adirondack Trust is investing in the future and I think that is wonderful.”

Pelham lives in Clifton Park and is employed at St. Peter’s Hospital, in Albany. She is currently enrolled in the college’s RN to B.S. in Nursing program and also plans on completing the college’s M.S. in Nursing program.

“Empire State College actually cares about my future and the future of society. The shortage of nurses is going to be a very big problem very soon and I am looking forward to becoming a nurse who can educate other nurses,” said Pelham.

Students Helm and Pelham were recognized Friday, Feb. 27, at an event held at the college’s Alumni House, 28 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs.

They were joined by Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college, Adirondack Trust Co. Executive Vice President Charles Wait Jr., who also is a member of the Empire State College Foundation Board of Directors.

“Meeting Alison and Kendra was a great pleasure,” said Wait. “The stories Empire State College students tell about what they have had to do to complete their degree has always impressed me and it is why I give my time and energy to a great institution.”

“SUNY Empire State College is grateful for Adirondack Trust’s longstanding and ongoing commitment to student success,” said Hancock. “For SUNY Empire’s nontraditional students, receiving a scholarship tells them that someone else believes enough in them to invest money in their education. Students tell me that when they receive a scholarship, it really puts a skip in their step.”

This year the Adirondack Trust scholarship provided a total of $20,000, which was distributed equally to six undergraduate students. Graduate students also are eligible to receive this award and all students must reside in Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Montgomery, Saratoga, Washington, Fulton, Schoharie, Greene or Columbia counties.

Thanks to the Adirondack Trust, 58 students have received more than $120,000 in scholarship awards since the program was established in 1998.

The scholarship award permits students to defray the cost of $6,170 in annual SUNY undergraduate tuition, $500 in college fees and other expenses.

About the Scholarship Recipients

The other scholarship recipients are Sheila Conway of Waterford, Emily Hoover of Glens Falls, Katey Shover of Cohoes and Nicole Strobeck of Cobleskill.

Conway is in her final year of studies and will earn a bachelor’s degree in Business, Management and Economics with a concentration in health care management. Conway currently works as a private-duty nurse and plans to continue working in the health care field after graduation.

Hoover, a preschool teacher at North Country Academy, is studying Community and Human Services and is scheduled to graduate in December. She said that after graduation she hopes to begin working for the state Child Protective Services System and completing a master’s degree in psychology.

Shover is studying Business, Management and Economics and is concentrating in business management. Currently employed as a sales manager in her family’s business, Shover’s goal is to work in personal finance after completing her bachelor’s degree.

Currently working as a family advocate for the Schoharie County Child Development Council, Strobeck is pursuing a degree in Human Development with a concentration in early childhood. She anticipates graduating at the end of this year. Strobeck and her husband have two young children and her professional goal is to advocate for low-income families in her community.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 73,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at

About The Adirondack Trust Company

Founded in 1901 in Saratoga Springs, The Adirondack Trust Company is an independent, employee- and locally owned and operated community bank, offering a wide variety of business and personal financial services.

The bank also offers trust, investment and insurance services and originates both residential and commercial real estate mortgages and commercial business loans throughout its market area. It is rated by Bauer Financial as a 5-Star bank for the period ending Dec. 31, 2014.

The bank has more than $1 billion in assets and 12 branch locations. Visit for more information.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications, SUNY Empire State College

518 587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)

Media contact: Robert E. Ward, Jr. vice president – marketing, The Adirondack Trust Company

518 584-5844, ext. 2441