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Student Academic Conference has Another Successful Year

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos ’10, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College

November 19, 2015

Group photo of students attending Student Academic ConferenceThe Student Academic Conference is an annual event offered by SUNY Empire State College so that participants from across New York state can make connections that enhance their studies and academic experiences. “At its core, the Student Academic Conference is designed to bring the entire SUNY Empire State College community together for a few short days to network, share scholarship, make new friends, and allow the opportunity to give back to our communities,” coordinator of Student Life, Danielle Boardman, told The Student Connection.


The 2015 SUNY Empire State Student Academic Conference (StAC) was full of dynamic presentations and events that provided students and alumni the opportunity to learn about one another and all of the incredible learning happening at the college. This year, presentations comprised of several topics addressing social issues, professional development, leadership and wellness. Some presentations were organized along academic tracks that highlight closely related presentations, including:

  • Social Justice – sexual violence, infertility, intra-cultural discrimination and American Individualism
  • Student Leadership – managing work, life and school; utilizing MBTI; understanding your personality; professional presence; and your personal brand
  • Student Wellness – deep listening; Health and Wellness Initiative; Lean In ESC; World Café; Depression and ADHD and volunteerism

All of the conference’s presentations were vibrantly attended. In addition to the conference’s thought-provoking presentations, participants engaged in a number of activities to enrich their studies.

Student Leadership Institute

Patricia Myers presenting at student Academic conferenceThe inaugural class of the new SUNY Empire State College Student Leadership Institute met for the institute’s kick-off meeting. The Student Leadership Institute is a 1-year program wherein students work together as well as with institute coaches and mentors to hone and further develop their existing leadership skills. Director of collegewide student services, Patricia Myers, outlined important characteristics of an effective leader and gave participants words of encouragement and advice for becoming better leaders. Members of the first Student Leadership Institute cohort are students living in various parts of New York state, who were selected after an extensive application and interviewing process. The conference was a chance for them to congregate at one place and discuss institute objectives.


Information Tables

Heather Shalhoub table set up at StAC to talk about library servicesThe line of information tables was especially busy at StAC. Attendants loaded their conference bags with valuable information about services available at SUNY Empire State College, including financial aid, disability services, academic support, Title IX and VAW as well as military and veteran education. The SUNY Empire State College online librarians used the conference as an opportunity to meet students face to face and talk about the many features of the college’s online library and its updated design. Students consistently expressed to online librarian, Heather Shalhoub, their appreciation for her and the team of online librarians’ assistance in completing course assignments.

College student groups like ESC Education for All, the Student and Alumni Business Club and the Human Services Collaborative had tables with information about their clubs, future events, and registration forms. Co-chair of ESC Education for All, Tanya Thompson, explained the importance of the information tables. “Because of the distance between students, there needs to be a space where we can learn about the great things going on at other college locations,” Thompson told The Student Connection. “The information tables at StAC serve as a central space to share in ways that we normally don’t have.” Thompson said.

Organizers of the SUNY Empire State College Student Academic Conference provided students with another spectacular two days of learning and networking. As students said their goodbyes, they were already talking about seeing one another again at the Student Wellness Retreat April 14 – 16, 2016.

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