Submitted by SUNY Oswego
The SUNY Oswego Alumni Association will honor a student from Vietnam and a student from the Republic of Cameroon with the 2014 Outstanding Senior Award at the Commencement Eve Dinner on Friday, May 16.
Biology major Larissa Assam and business administration major Hanh Huynh were selected based on their academic achievements and their contributions to campus.
Both have worked since their sophomore years as tutors in the college’s Office of Learning Services. Huynh tutors accounting courses, and Assam tutors in the science and math areas.
“Hanh and Larissa are excellent tutors,” said Catherine Santos, associate provost for multicultural opportunities and programs and director of the Office of Learning Services. “They take their work seriously and are reliable employees.”
Santos said an important goal of the center is to encourage students to become independent learners, and she observed that both Huynh and Assam did that for the students who worked with them.
Huynh and Assam each said they have found generous support for their individual goals at Oswego. For Huynh that meant receiving genuine welcome when she joined clubs and volunteer groups.
“Ever since I came here, even though I am shy, I joined a lot of clubs to learn language and to see how my American friends act,” Huynh said.
Originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Huynh chose Oswego after her parents encouraged her to study in America. She attended an international fair at her school, where she met Ryan Lemon of the college’s Office of International Education and Programs and knew she would like the atmosphere at Oswego.
Often appearing on the President’s List, Huynh said she credits the faculty for providing challenging classes and supporting students as they seek internships to apply their classroom learning to professional settings. She is a Navigator intern in Career Services at the Compass on campus and serves as an intern at Harmony Financial Services in Oswego.
She took part in the college’s alternative winter break program last year, volunteering at Head Start Program in Bridgeton, N.J.
She has been active in student organizations, including Asian Student Association as vice president and director of finance, Japan Go! club as co-president, Students in Free Enterprise/Enactus, and the International Students Business Organization.
Also an honors student, Assam is in CSTEP, the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, directed by Dr. Cleane Medeiros of the biological sciences faculty. “She goes out of her way for all of us students,” Assam said of Medeiros. “For every good thing that has happened to me here, for every award and every honor, I can give thanks to her.”
Winner of a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, Assam did research in Calcutta part of the college’s Global Laboratory and completed an internship at Oswego Hospital. She also has served as a Laker Leader orientation guide.
She has been active in student organizations, including as president and founder of the Oswego chapter of the Minority Association of Pre-health Students and director of programming for the African Student Organization.
Assam lives with two other students at the Hall Newman Center. “We are involved in peer ministry,” she said. “We live like family, and Michael Huynh, director of campus ministry at the Newman Center, has been a great source of support.”
As Hanh Huynh begins her job search in the business sector and Assam prepares for graduate school in medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, both said they are proud to have earned the designation of “Outstanding Senior.”