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Honors Student of the Month Mia Piede, with Dr. Ted Lee.
Honors Student of the Month Mia Piede, with Dr. Ted Lee.

Honors Student of the Month Mia Piede, with Dr. Ted Lee.

  • December 22, 2023
  • Marketing and Communications staff

Mia Piede, a junior double major in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry, is the recipient of the October 2023 Honors Student of the Month Award at SUNY Fredonia.

SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Ted Lee nominated Ms. Piede for this honor. Piede has taken HONR 304: Pandemic Health, BIOL 275: Health Professions Careers, INED 312: Health Care in Latin America and INED 313: Study Abroad: Health Care in Honduras with Dr. Lee. She has also worked with him through the Health Professions Advising Committee.

As Dr. Lee explains, “Mia's done excellent work in all of my classes, but it was her work in Honduras that truly stands out,” Lee explained. “Her reflective paper and journal were the most thoughtful and intentional that I have read from students in the three years I have brought students there. 

Mia's done excellent work in all of my classes, but it was her work in Honduras that truly stands out. Her reflective paper and journal were the most thoughtful and intentional that I have read from students in the three years I have brought students there.” – Dr. Ted Lee

“While in Honduras, she was proactive in interacting with everyone on the trip (such as the cooks at our host site). She led by example on the trip and I asked her to join me in August 2023 for a non-student trip. Her work again was excellent. Service to others is important to Mia and she leads by example. She is inclusive in her work and she strives to learn while serving others.”

Elaborating upon Piede’s reflections, Lee adds, “Her Honduras journal and reflective paper were exceptional. Many students write about how the experience impacted them and how happy they were in Honduras. Mia's writings were much more insightful and had a far greater degree of understanding. She wrote of being grateful and humbled while articulating her experiences clearly. In her classes, she seeks to understand and use the information she is learning, not just learning for the test.”

Moreover, on both trips, Piede provided support for other students, working closely with a different student on each trip, Lee said. She has started to throw clay in a local studio under Lee’s direction and has already made bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraisers. These raise money for the food pantries in the county.

At SUNY Fredonia, Piede is president of Biology Club and secretary of Psychology Club, as well as a member of Beta Beta Beta, the national honor society in biological sciences, and Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. Outside of Fredonia, she volunteers as a youth soccer coach and teaches Sunday school at her local parish. She also volunteers at her church by playing clarinet in the choir every weekend.

Concerning her career plans, Piede explains, “After graduation, I hope to attend medical school to become a physician. I am greatly interested in family medicine and traveling to less fortunate communities to help in providing medical care.”

Piede is grateful for the SUNY Fredonia community in preparing her for her career. “My favorite thing about Fredonia is the overall sense of community and teamwork. I always feel like my professors have my back and I am able to reach out to them or my peers to become a better learner. I also love doing research with Dr. Ferguson in FergLab. Working in FergLab gives me a sense of belonging and I feel valued through my participation in research. I have been greatly impacted by the way my peers and professors support me throughout my education here at Fredonia.”

Piede added, “I would like to thank Dr. Lee for nominating me for this award and being such a supportive figure throughout my time at SUNY Fredonia. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Ferguson for constantly challenging me to become a better learner and researcher, as well as supporting me no matter how many questions I may ask.

“Additionally, I would like to thank Dr. [Nicholas] Quintyne, Dr. [Mark] Janik and Dr. [Matt] Fountain for truly helping me to think differently and approach my education in ways that have made me a better student. I would also like to thank Professor [Christine] Wagner for helping me to see the importance of integrating mindfulness into my life to remain true to myself throughout my journey as a student.”

According to Lee, at Fredonia, Piede embodies the Honors Program vision statement, which states, "The Fredonia Honors Program will be a transformative, comprehensive experience for academically motivated students from diverse backgrounds, providing access to distinctive, high-impact interdisciplinary learning and leadership opportunities."

As proof, Lee explains that Piede “is pre-med and is doing research in Biology and Psychology. She is thorough in her work and is focused on learning. She works well with others and helps others in their work. Mia has also borrowed multiple books from me to learn more about science and medicine; this is independent of academic work. She is curious and wants to learn so that she can be a better student, person, and physician (in the future).”

Moreover, “She is active in her church and has worked with younger children in the community. She is at the top of her class, but works to include and support her fellow students.”

In response, Piede says, “I like the community of the Honors Program and being able to connect with fellow classmates from different backgrounds and majors through the Honors classes.” Of these, her favorite Honors course is HONR 304: The Biology of Science Fiction, which she took in Fall 2023 with Department of Biology Associate Professor Quintyne.

Piede, a graduate of Dunkirk High School, concludes by saying, “My greatest piece of advice is to dive in headfirst when it comes to new adventures and experiences. This is the time of your life when you can really be a sponge and soak up the world around you. There is a great big world out there to learn about and it's waiting for you!”

The Honors Student of the Month Award is a joint effort of the Honors Program and of the Office of Residence Life, which generously supports the various forms of recognition the winners receive. The Honors Student of the Month Committee is also composed entirely of Office of Residence Life staff. It was noted that this year's committee members – Alicia Wroblewski, Sabrina Sosa and Grissom Hall and Honors House Residence Director Kyle Piscitelli, along with Director of Residence Life Kathy Forster – have been exceptionally supportive of the program and of the students.