Leadership in Civic Engagement Awards and Scholarships

15th Annual Leadership in Civic Engagement Awards and Scholarships Reception


          Real World Superheroes........


On April 25, the Institute for Civic Engagement’s director, John Suarez, opened the 15th annual Leadership in Civic Engagement Awards ceremony and reception, announcing that – with today’s event – more than 665 people have been honored at the awards since 2004.

This year, fourteen SUNY Cortland students, two student groups, 10 faculty/staff members, three campus groups, seven community members, and two community groups received Leadership in Civic Engagement Awards.

Also awarded were eight community service scholarships, two Donald M. Wilcox awards, and the Cortland Area Chapter of the Alumni Association’s Community Service Award.

These awards recognize outstanding service to our community.


President Bitterbaum makes a point, speaking at the Leadership in Civic Engagement Awards Reception





Following Suarez’s opening remarks, President Erik Bitterbaum and Mayor Brian Tobin spoke, praising the value of civic engagement to the audience of about 75 people.

President Bitterbaum and Matt Clark, Associate Director of Institutional Advancement, presented the awards to recipients.


Mayor Brian Tobin extends his appreciation to award winners

Leadership in Civic Engagement Award Recipients


Katelin Cummings, Dylan Esposito, Cameron Garguilo, Olga Grygiel, Ryann Hudson, Miriam Hulede, Kaylee Hurley, Austen Johnson, Callie Klasek, Morgyn LeClaire, Michael McDonough, Maria Pezzlonati, Julianna Santamaria, Ashley Scarantino, and Sophie Umansky.   

Erik.Sophie Sophie Umansky launched Dragons Dress for Success

Morgyn LeClaire coordinated the 2019 Big Event  Erik.MorgynLeClaire

DylanEsposito Dylan Esposito was recognized as a volunteer with Cortland Fire Department

Student Groups

The Alpha Phi Omega fraternal organization (shown below) received an award for its members’ participation in the Cortland Fire Department’s carbon monoxide detectors program, and for their work on the “Got Your Back” project.


Kappa Alpha Psi was recognized for its members’ work in planning and conducting “From Our Eyes” events with Cortland Police Department and University Police Department, and for their upkeep of West Court Street.

Erik.Kappa      Kappa Alpha Psi

Faculty and Staff

  • Sam Avery, Assistant Professor and Director; Blackbird Film Festival
  • William Lee, Lecturer, Communication and Media Studies
  • Nan Pasquarello, Title IX Coordinator

Receiving individual awards for their work in local elementary schools as mentors with the New York State Mentors Program were

  • Ralph Carrasquillo, Director, Residence Life and Housing
  • Daphne Guy, Supervising Janitor
  • Lin Lin, Associate Professor, Childhood/Early Childhood Education
  • Natasha McFadden, Associate Director of the Cortland Fund
  • Tyler Moulton, Adjunct Lecturer, Biological Sciences
  • Greg Sharer, Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Alyssa Shears, Residence Hall Director

Erik.NYState MentorsPresident Bitterbaum, Tyler Moulton, Alyssa Shears, Lin Lin, Ralph Carrasquillo, and Natasha McFadden

Campus Groups

Cortland Cupboard Food Pantry’s Board of Directors, SUNY Cortland’s New York State Mentors, and SUNY Cortland’s University Police Department.

Erik.UPDSUNY Cortland UPD (Police Department) was recognized for campus and community service and fund-raising.

Community Members

Mary Coffey was recognized for her support of many non-profit organizations, including the YWCA and SPCA.

Ashley Peterson, owner of Cheerful and Creative Art Studio, was recognized for sharing her creative expertise and for opening her studio to many individuals and groups for fund-raising endeavors and other community projects.


Jesse Abbott, City of Cortland Police Department Community Officer, received a Leadership in Civic Engagement Award for  his many contributions to a safe and engaging downtown Cortland.

Ethan Gormley, NYPIRG Program Coordinator, was awarded for his work in motivating pan-political action on campus and for organizing students who registered more than 1,300 students to vote.

President Bitterbaum shakes hands with Jesse Abbott

Community Groups

CAPCO’s Adult Education Program received a Community Group Award. Its program tutors and mentors work diligently to help students in the program to acquire their GED. Gail Bundy, Joyce Allen and Katrina Martin each received an individual award.

erik.CapcoABE   Adult Ed Tutors, Joyce Allen, Gail Bundy and Katrina Martin

The Cortland Fire Department received an award for their work installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in more than 100 at-risk homes.


Ashley Scarantino was presented with the Cortland Area Chapter of the Alumni Association’s Community Service Award by Judy Swartwout, Alumni Association Board Member.

                                   AshleyS.JudySwartwout     Judy Swartwout and Ashley Scarantino

Lauren Scagnelli, Health Educator and SUNY Cortland Cupboard Board of Directors, accepted a Donald M. Wilcox Award on behalf of the Board. The Wilcox award recognizes outstanding participation in the fight against poverty and hunger.  

     Erik.Lauren.SayWarner.Wilcox    Saynyenoh Warner with Lauren Scagnelli

Callie Klasek, an Institute for Civic Engagement Action Team intern, received a Wilcox award for launching and conducting the Team’s Addressing Homelessness project.

Erik.Callie.WilcoxCallie Klasek

Sarah Coyle, Matt Dorazio, Ali Galus, Rachel Gillman, Ryann Hudson, Austen Johnson, Callie Klasek, Kristie Roth, Julianna Santamaria and Saynyenoh Warner were all recognized for their effectiveness as interns on the Institute for Civic Engagement Action Team.

Erik.Action Team Interns

President Bitterbaum, with Action Team members, Matt Dorazio, Ryann Hudson, Callie Klasek, Saynyenoh Warner, Julianna Santamaria and Austen Johnson

Ryann Hudson received a certificate in recognition of earning the prestigious Newman Civic Engagement Fellowship for her extensive work in boosting political engagement on campus.


Eight students won scholarships that acknowledge outstanding commitment to community and exceptional academic achievement:

  • Olga Grygiel, Kaleb Ciani, and Sara Reardon each won the Judson Taylor Community Service Scholarship.
  • Kaylee Hurley was awarded the Cathleen McDermott Lavelle '91 Scholarship.
  • Emily Montileone received the James H. and Dorothy A. Sarvay Scholarship.
  • Breanna Washington received the Lambda Phi Delta Scholarship.


Olga Grygiel with President Bitterbaum


            Emily Montelione

LambdaGroup Lambda Phi brother John Busch, Mayor Brian Tobin, Scholarship winner Breanna Washington and President Bitterbaum

A new scholarship, the ImPACt Applied Learning Scholarship, was awarded to Reegan Domagala, Miriam Hulede, Maria Pezzolanti, and Brianna Suarez.

Miriam.Seth Miriam Hulede, ImPACt Scholarship winner with Seth Asumah

SUNY Cortland Risk Management Officer William Veit offered closing remarks. He emphasized the value – to the college and to the greater community – of civic engagement.

The Leadership in Civic Engagement Awards Reception is sponsored by the Institute for Civic Engagement, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Institutional Advancement, and the Cortland Foundation and the Cortland Fund.