October 18, 2016

Student Patricia MacLeod a 2016 SUNY ACT Scholarship Recipient for her “SKIN” Initiative

SUNY Empire student Patricia MacLeod, holding her ACT scholarship award, is supported by Frank Pagano, SUNY Fredonia ACT member, and Mary Caroline Powers, the college’s vice president for communications and government relations and liaison to ACT. Pagano organized the ACT award event. Photo/ Joe Putrock for SUNY
Patricia MacLeod, center, is supported by event-organizer Frank Pagano, SUNY Fredonia ACT member, and Mary Caroline Powers, the college’s vice president for communications and government relations, and liaison to ACT. Photo/ Joe Putrock

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Oct. 18, 2016) Patricia D. MacLeod, an undergraduate student at SUNY Empire studying Community and Human Services, is a 2016 recipient of the ACT award for Excellence and Student Initiative Scholarship for SUNY comprehensive colleges for establishing and managing the Safe, Kind, Inclusive Networking (SKIN) Initiative.

“I was really touched to have been chosen as a recipient,” said MacLeod. “Although I applied because I knew I fit the criteria, and had hoped for help paying for tuition and donating to my favorite charities, I was honored that I was chosen over so many other applicants.”

“Patricia’s commitment to her community is impressive beyond measure,” said Associate Professor Cathy A. Davison, who is MacLeod’s primary faculty mentor. “Patricia is an excellent writer and a great verbal communicator, which enables her to demonstrate her learning and communicate it very effectively to others. I have found Patricia to be an astute learner, who also instructs and acts as an example for other students, perhaps without her even realizing it.”

The SKIN initiative bridges the cultural gaps between the largely white, long-term residents of Cobleskill, N.Y., and its surrounding areas, and newcomers, as well as the faculty, students and staff of SUNY Cobleskill.

SKIN was inspired by an upper-division undergraduate course, Community Organizing, that MacLeod took in September 2015, where students are expected to initiate a participatory organizing project in their community.

“Patricia made outstanding contributions, both to the course and to her community project,” said Associate Professor Joyce S. McKnight, who had MacLeod as a student in Community Organizing. “Like all effective participatory community organizers, Patricia is deeply involved with bringing out the best in people and situations wherever she finds herself. In my course she worked well with the other students and helped each of them in their individual projects.”

“In carrying out this work (SKIN), Patricia has demonstrated outstanding leadership, organization and interpersonal skills by successfully identifying, connecting with and recruiting potential partners for her team,” said Associate Professor Nadine V. Wedderburn, who is facilitating MacLeod’s study in program development. “She possesses strong critical thinking and analytical capabilities and understands the value of being intentional when striving to join forces from all constituents across a community. She also is extremely well organized, deliberate and exceptionally adept at practically applying various stocks of knowledge that she has learned throughout her academic journey. Her passion for advocacy and community service is genuinely clear and her excellent academic record speaks to her proficiency in relating theory to practice.”

The college’s third recipient of the ACT award, MacLeod follows 2012 recipient Cristy Dwyer ’08, ’10, ’13 and 2014 recipient Lori Mould ’14, who also a current graduate student.

The ACT award is an academic scholarship given by the Association of Council Members and College Trustees of the State University and serves to reward students for outstanding academic performance and extraordinary commitment to their campus, community or both.

To be eligible, students must have a GPA that qualifies for an academic dean’s list and have played a role identifying or supporting specific needs on their campus or in their community and provided a service or solution to address those needs.

The scholarship amount of $1,000 is more than 15 percent of annual, full-time, resident undergraduate tuition.

An additional $250 is provided in the name of the recipient to the charity of his or her choice.

About Patricia D. MacLeod

MacLeod carries a 4.0 GPA and anticipates graduating this coming spring with the class of 2017.

She worked for the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) for about 10 years and helped run programs to educate employees of health care facilities about nationally proven best practices to improve care for their patients.

She decided that she wanted to work directly with people in need and decided to leave her job and enroll with SUNY Empire so that she could complete her bachelor’s degree and make a career change after graduation.

“The work I was doing at HANYS was part of a very important process that, in the long run, directly affects patients,” MacLeod said. “I wanted to do something more hands-on. I wanted to feel as though I had touched someone's life each and every day in a way that could really impact what they are able to do for themselves. I suppose you might say that in the office I was constantly fishing for others. In the career I am beginning, I will be teaching others to fish for themselves.”

She also has taken advantage of the college’s individualized Prior Learning Assessment program and her degree plan calls for 32 credits based on college-level learning acquired through work and life experience, as opposed to in a traditional college classroom setting, which will save her time and money.

In addition to SKIN, MacLeod also was selected for her participation in the college’s annual Keep-Mills Symposium.

Since 2005, Stephen Keep-Mills ‘89, an alumnus and former member of the Empire State College Foundation Board, has supported an annual symposium on “ways of knowing.”

This for-credit symposium that blends online and face-to-face learning guided MacLeod’s work with SKIN and she said it also helped her to understand what is, and what is not, realistically within her control.

“The online discussions were so great and, when we all got to the residency (face-to-face learning), it was like we were old friends reuniting,” said MacLeod. “It was really an amazingly fulfilling experience.”

She and her husband, Douglas Charles MacLeod Jr., an assistant professor of composition and communications at SUNY Cobleskill, live in Cobleskill with their two dogs.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates nearly 19,000 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 coursework on site, 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 78,000 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 www.esc.edu


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


518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038, cell