Victoria Panyu

Fashion research conducted by SUNY Oneonta senior Victoria Panyu has been accepted for presentation at the 2014 International Textiles & Apparel Association (ITAA) conference.

Panyu, a fashion and textiles major/business communication minor from Staten Island, conducted research on online-only fashion retailers in collaboration with Dr. Hyejune Park, assistant professor of Fashion & Textiles.

After spending the fall 2013 semester collecting and analyzing data, Panyu wrote a research paper synthesizing everything that she did over the course of the project, including literature review, data collection and analyses.

“What she brought as a final outcome was truly impressive,” said Park. “The research findings were insightful in that the new trends of current online-only fashion retailers’ e-tailing strategies were well-recognized in her analysis. The quality of her work was definitely higher than I expected from an undergraduate student and the overall outcome was so good that I decided to submit the refined version of her research abstract to the ITAA.”

Park and Panyu will present the research in November at the 2014 conference of the ITAA, the largest and most renowned international academic association in the fashion and textiles area, in Charlotte, N.C.

In March, Panyu presented the project at the college’s annual Student Research and Creative Activity Day and was one of five undergraduate students, selected from nearly 180 participants, to receive the 2014 College at Oneonta Foundation Award for Excellence in Student Research & Creative Activity. This accolade, made possible by philanthropic support, recognizes students for exemplary scholarship.

During her time at SUNY Oneonta, Panyu has sought out opportunities to apply what she has learned in the classroom. She worked with Dr. Park as a teaching assistant for two semesters, completed six credits in fashion styling and trend forecasting during a study abroad program in London, and was a member of the Student Fashion Society.

Panyu plans to graduate in December 2014 and will either apply to graduate school or look for employment in the fashion industry. “Whichever path she decides to pursue,” Park said, “she will definitely add a great deal with her passion for fashion!”

Dennis Banks

The New York State Education Department Board of Regents has selected Dennis Banks, professor and chair of SUNY Oneonta’s Department of Secondary Education, as the 2013 recipient of its Louis E. Yavner Citizen Award.

Banks received the award, given in recognition of his work in human rights education, during a Board of Regents meeting in Albany on Tuesday, June 24.

The Louis E. Yavner Citizen Award recognizes a citizen who has made an outstanding contribution to education about the Holocaust and other violations of human rights. The annual award was established by the Regents and funded by the late Regent Emeritus Louis E. Yavner to honor Holocaust survivors, scholars of the Holocaust and human rights issues from many professions, and self-taught experts who help to educate New York state students about these difficult topics.

Awards are presented on the basis of distinguished educational service to state institutions and organizations through classroom and public programs, school assemblies, workshops, exhibits, community service, scholarship, writings and other related activities.

“It was indeed an honor to receive this award for work that I have been doing for my entire life,” said Banks. “I was taught from an early age to respect all people. We all have certain rights bestowed upon us simply because we are human, including such things as respect, dignity and health. With rights, come responsibilities. As teachers, we have the great responsibility of molding the minds and consciences of our students as they grow into the citizens of the future. As teaching becomes a more and more complicated task, we cannot forget what is truly important: Test scores will pass, hearts and minds will endure.”

2014 Orientation Leaders

New student orientation kicks off June 24 with a session for transfer students planning to major in Education and Human Ecology. Additional transfer student sessions will be June 26 (Mathematics, Science and Social Science), June 30 (Business, Humanities and Fine Arts) and Aug. 21-22 (all majors).

Freshman Orientation will be July 2-3, 7-8, 10-11, 14-15, 17-18 and 21-22, and Aug. 21-22.

Our 20 enthusiastic Orientation Leaders will guide new students in getting to know the campus, answer questions and offer tips for a smooth transition to life at Oneonta. Students will register for courses and attend talks and workshops on topics including academic opportunities, myths and realities of college life, college and career success, and diversity and inclusion.

Students who attend a session in June or July will move into their residence halls on Aug. 23 or 24. Students who attend the Aug. 21-22 session will move into their residence halls between 8 and 11:30 a.m. on the 21st; orientation will start at 12:30 p.m. Classes begin Aug. 25.

For more information, contact the Office of New Student Services at (607) 436-2255 or

Recent SUNY Oneonta graduate Lauren Zimmardi of Middle Island, NY, has received a national award for excellence in geography.

Zimmardi, who graduated with honors in May, majored in Geography and Early Childhood/Childhood Education (B-6). She was one of 21 students from colleges and universities across the country chosen by university faculty as the best all-around undergraduate student geography scholars in an awards program sponsored by the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE).

For 99 years, the NCGE has worked to enhance the status and quality of geography teaching and learning at all levels of instruction. Through its awards program, the NCGE recognizes excellence in geography teaching, mentoring, research, instructional design and service.

Award recipients will be honored during a ceremony held at the NCGE’s 2014 National Conference on Geography Education. The conference will be held July 31 – Aug. 3 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

Steve Ascher

Former SUNY Oneonta baseball player Steve Ascher, who just completed his third season at Oneonta, was drafted Saturday by the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball in the 17th round of the amateur draft. Ascher, a left-hander, was the third Division III pitcher and the only player from a New York college selected in this year’s draft. He was the 518th overall pick. The first Division III pitcher taken, Trevor Lubking of Pacific Lutheran, also a left-handed pitcher, was taken in the 14th round by the Rays. In all, there were 15 players selected from the Division III ranks.

Ascher is the first Oneonta baseball player drafted since 2010 when Dave Filak was taken in the fourth round by the Atlanta Braves. Ascher signed his contract today and will play for the Princeton (VA) Rays of the Rookie League.

“I couldn’t be happier for Steve,” said SUNY Oneonta head baseball coach Ben Grimm. “To see how far he’s come since his freshman year has been something special.”

Ascher was the SUNYAC Pitcher of the Year and finished the season with a record of 6-4 with a 1.82 ERA. In 10 starts this spring he recorded three complete games while registering two shutouts. He struck out 82 batters, which led the SUNYAC, in 69 innings while holding opponents to a .193 batting average against. He was a first team All-SUNYAC selection and was named to the All-New York Region first team.

Ascher’s season highlight was a complete game, four-hit, shutout against Kean University, which was ranked No. 3 at the time of the game.

“I think today allowed me to realize that all the hard work does pay off,” he said. “Now I need to continue working hard and stay inspired, dedicated and motivated to reach my goal to play in the Major Leagues.”

A mountain of futons, rugs, clothing, appliances, electronics and other items was distributed to Oneonta charities and community members this week during SUNY Oneonta’s first Move-Out Donation & Reuse Program.

From May 5-16, as students moved out of their residence halls for the summer, the college placed special donation Dumpsters near the 15 halls to collect gently used items that students no longer wanted.

On Monday, May 19, at the St. James Church in Oneonta, the items were dispersed to 10 area nonprofit organizations—Catholic Charities of Delaware and Otsego Counties, Opportunities for Otsego, Catskill Area Hospice, RSS Inc., Spirit and Truth Christian Assembly, Northeast Parent and Child Society, St. Mary’s Church, Elm Park Church, Literacy Volunteers of Otsego & Delaware Counties, and the College Assistance Migrant Program. Once staff from the charities had selected the items they wanted, members of the community were invited to take the remaining items at no charge. Approximately 150 community members attended the event.

“Our first donation distribution event was extremely successful,” said SUNY Oneonta Sustainability Coordinator Hannah Morgan. “The college allocated two days to give away all the items, but they were gone within four hours! We hope to build on the partnerships created with the community agencies to expand the program next year.”

More than 90 cubic cards of cast-off items—including 25 futons, 50 rugs and 75 pairs of shoes—were given away through the program. Other donation items included clothing, bags, linens, office supplies, toiletries, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, sporting goods, storage containers, appliances, electronics, nonperishable food items, books, toys and kitchen appliances. The program was coordinated by the college’s Office of Sustainability and the Move-Out Committee.

SUNY Oneonta’s Office of Sustainability coordinates energy- and waste-reduction initiatives on campus and engages the campus community in sustainability programs. The office also works to integrate sustainability into the residential and academic experience.

More information about the Move-Out Program or other campus sustainability initiatives is available from Hannah Morgan at (607) 436-3312 or

Marvin Rodriguez

SUNY Oneonta junior Marvin Rodriguez has been selected for the first SUNY Brain Summer Scholars Program, part of the SUNY Brain Network of Excellence.

Rodriguez, a computer science major and mathematics minor from Greenport, NY, was one of 13 students selected from throughout the SUNY system to take part in the new program, the State University of New York and Research Foundation for SUNY (RF) announced Tuesday. The other 2014 SUNY Brain Summer Scholars are from the University at Albany, Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo and SUNY Canton.

Research conducted by students this summer will support President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, which aims to increase understanding of how the brain works in order to develop new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders.

“The SUNY Networks of Excellence allow us to offer students unique opportunities like the Summer Scholars Program, where they will be on the cutting edge of new research and innovation that has the potential to transform highly-specialized fields such as neuroscience,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to this first class of Summer Scholars and thank you to the SUNY faculty across New York who will work alongside our students and ensure the program’s success.”

“As a leader in neuroscience study, SUNY can play a primary role in building the pipeline of future researchers,” said Dr. Timothy Killeen, RF president and SUNY vice chancellor for research. “The SUNY Brain Summer Scholars Program provides a necessary and focused platform to attract undergraduates with aptitude in physics, computation, engineering and mathematics to the rapidly expanding field of neuroscience.”

Students were selected for the program from more than 70 applicants based on criteria including faculty recommendations, academic transcripts and a personal statement of interest. The students will conduct hands-on research that supports the work of SUNY Brain faculty at the University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical University.

The SUNY Brain Network of Excellence is designed to maximize interdisciplinary and collaborative neuroscience research across SUNY campuses and facilitate partnerships with academia, industry, and the community.

SUNY Brain is one of five SUNY Networks of Excellence establish to increase research collaborations and spur commercialization activities between SUNY and industry partners in core research areas. The others are SUNY 4E, SUNY Health, and SUNY Materials, Advanced Manufacturing, and SUNY Arts and Humanities.

Tracey Ranieri

SUNY Oneonta Director of Athletics Tracey Ranieri has been selected as an Under Armour Division III Athletic Director of the Year as announced by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Ranieri was one of 28 national winners and one of four in Division III selected for the honor.

The award spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS; Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges). Winners will receive their awards during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, June 11, at NACDA’s 49th Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Fla.

NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione said the ADOY Award is essential because it highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.

“Since 1998, NACDA has been highlighting the impressive contributions made by athletics directors across all divisions of our membership,” he said. “This award allows athletics directors to be recognized not only nationally, but also in their respective communities which heightens the awareness of their leadership position in the athletics enterprise.”

All NACDA-member directors of athletics in the United States, Canada and Mexico who met the criteria were eligible for the award. Among the criteria were service as an AD for a minimum of five academic years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments. Additionally, each AD’s institution must have passed a compliance check through its appropriate governing body (i.e., NCAA, NAIA, etc.), in which the institution could not have been on probation or cited for a lack of institutional control within the last five years during the tenure of the current athletics director.

Nominators were NACDA-member directors of athletics, institutional presidents and conference commissioners. Special Selection Committees composed of current and former directors of athletics, present and past NCAA and NAIA presidents, current and former commissioners and other key athletics administrators voted on nominees for the award. A complete listing of Selection Committee members can be found on NACDA’s Web site at

The Class of 2014 will be honored at SUNY Oneonta’s 125th commencement on Saturday, May 17.

The college will offer three ceremonies in the Dewar Arena of the Alumni Field House. The ceremony for students graduating from the School of Economics & Business, the School of Arts & Humanities and the School of Natural & Mathematical Sciences will be held at 10 a.m., followed by the School of Education & Human Ecology ceremony at noon and the School of Social Science ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Following each of the ceremonies, the graduates and their guests will participate in one of five school ceremonies, where individual diplomas and awards will be presented.

A total of 1,513 students are expected to be awarded degrees. More than 1,000 will participate in the annual ceremony, which will include graduates who completed the requirements for bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and certificates of advanced study in the summer or fall of 2013 or the spring of 2014.

Live web streams of three commencement ceremonies will be available online. It is recommended that those planning to tune in test the web link on their browsers prior to commencement day.

College President Nancy Kleniewski will offer the welcome and introduction of honored guests, and College Council Chair Patrick Brown will greet the assembly. President Kleniewski and Provost Maria Thompson will present SUNY Chancellor’s Awards to 10 SUNY Oneonta faculty and staff:

Charles Joe Weaver, supervising painter in the Maintenance Operations Center, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.
Leslie Hasbargen, associate professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; William Vining, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Charlene Christie, chair and associate professor of Psychology; will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Carol Exley, lecturer in the Department of Education, and Cynthia Klink, lecturer, in the Department of Anthropology, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching.
Brian Haley, professor of Anthropology, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Michael Koch, chair and associate professor of Philosophy, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.
Jeanne Miller, associate vice president for student life in the Office of Student Development, and Elizabeth Tirado, director of business services in the Office of Finance and Administration, will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Council Chair Brown will join President Kleniewski in presenting an honorary SUNY doctorate to Sylvia R. Carey-Butler, who will address the graduates. A 1980 graduate of SUNY Oneonta, Carey-Butler has earned a reputation as a highly regarded scholar, leader and innovator during her 30-year career in higher education.

As interim executive director of the United Negro College Fund’s Institute for Capacity Building and Director of Enrollment Management Program, Carey-Butler has partnered with 38 leaders at private historically black colleges and universities to increase enrollment, retention and graduation rates, particularly for African American males. She has conducted extensive research on student success in higher education, is a frequent invited speaker on the topic, and has developed and convened four national enrollment management conferences.

More information on commencement, including details on parking and locations for the school ceremonies, is available online.

Andrew Gallup

Why do we yawn? An evolutionary psychologist at SUNY Oneonta may have the answer.

Previously, scientists thought that yawning was a mechanism for increasing oxygen to the blood, but that theory was debunked in 1987. Now, a new study led by SUNY Oneonta Assistant Professor of Psychology Andrew Gallup supports the theory that yawning is a brain cooling mechanism.

Gallup worked with a team of researchers from the University of Vienna, Austria, and Nova Southeastern University to show that yawning is part of a suite of thermoregulatory mechanisms, much like sweating, that keep the brain functioning optimally. The results of the study are published this month in the scientific journal Physiology & Behavior.

A number of factors, including sleep cycles and stress, are associated with changes in brain temperature, and these fluctuations can hamper mental efficiency and alertness. That’s where yawning comes in. Gallup’s thermoregulatory theory suggests that yawning functions to cool the brain, in part, due to the heat exchange that happens as we stretch the jaw and take a deep inhalation of air.

It’s widely accepted that yawning is contagious. Even animals—including domesticated dogs, chimpanzees and parakeets — have been documented to show contagious yawning. Gallup’s research goes a step further, suggesting that both spontaneous and contagious yawning occur within a narrow “thermal window.” At temperature extremes, people yawn less frequently —even when they see others yawn.

To test this theory, Gallup’s team measured contagious yawning frequencies of pedestrians outdoors in Vienna, Austria, during both the winter and summer months, and then compared these results to an identical study conducted in Tucson, Arizona. Results showed that contagious yawning was constrained to a range of temperatures around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. In Vienna, people yawned more in summer than in winter, whereas in Arizona, people yawned more in winter than in summer.

The latest study is an incremental piece in a body of work Gallup has done on the topic. For example, previous studies by Gallup have shown that brain and skull temperatures rapidly decrease following yawns. He first became interested in yawning as an undergraduate student at the University at Albany. “I was really shocked to find out that no one had a clear understanding of why we yawn,” he recalls. “It’s something that we do every day, multiple times, and something that all vertebrates do … but why do we do it?”

Read more…