Students selected to receive Sonnenfeld award

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scholarship winners and associate dean

Kayla Makosiej (left), Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, Online and Extended Learning, and Faculty Development Judy Horowitz, and Esmeiry Ventura Santana (right).

The Marion Sonnenfeld Award Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding female students who exemplify leadership, hard work and a good sense of community, were presented to undergraduate students Kayla Makosiej and Esmeiry Ventura Santana.

The Council for Women’s Concerns (CWC) awarded the 2021-2022 scholarships at its annual ceremony held recently at the Horizon Room.

Kayla Makosiej is a senior from Mastic, who is majoring in Early and Childhood Education with a concentration in English. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester. Her teaching experiences include placements at local elementary schools, volunteering as an elementary special education volunteer and serving as a substitute teacher for K-5 students. Kayla's passion is helping students develop a love for learning and helping them succeed. She has been a Resident Assistant on campus since 2019 and has held leadership roles in the Residence Hall Association, the Residence Hall Advisory Board and Alpha Phi Omega. She plans to pursue a master’s degree and work as an elementary school teacher in a high-needs district, along with teaching students abroad.

Esmeiry Ventura Santana is a junior from Melville, and on the premed track. She is majoring in Biochemistry (Chemistry emphasis) and minoring in Psychology. Esmeiry conducts research in Dr. Emeka Okeke’s immunology lab on campus, and this past summer attended a prestigious six-week medical program at the University of California Los Angeles and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine. Additionally, she works as a volunteer Spanish medical translator on Long Island, and is a fundraising lead and treasurer of Fredonia’s Partners in Health club where she advocates for health care charities abroad. Esmeiry She also volunteers as a tutor at Literacy Volunteers of Chautauqua County, and serves as Chief Justice of the Fredonia Student Association’s Supreme Court. Esmeiry plans a career in medical research.

Both students recognized were selected as participants in the Honors Program at SUNY Fredonia.

Dr. Sonnenfeld taught German as a member of the SUNY Fredonia faculty for 25 years. She was honored as a SUNY Distinguished Professor and became the first female Dean of Arts and Humanities at Fredonia. Dr. Sonnenfeld carried the virtues of her parents of loving life, being a faithful and loyal friend, having an outstanding work ethic and taking pride in her work. The Council for Women’s Concerns seeks to help ensure a productive educational and work environment for faculty and staff at Fredonia, particularly in areas related to women's concerns. It focuses on general issues of campus climate and programs as they affect faculty and staff, and on policies and procedures that affect women on campus. Functioning as an advisory group, the CWC acts as a liaison between Fredonia employees and campus administration on matters of university policy and procedure related to women’s concerns.

The CWC will begin accepting scholarship applications from students for the 2022-2023 academic year in the Spring 2022 semester. Female students with at least sophomore standing and with at least one full academic year remaining before graduation may apply. For more information, visit online. Additional information can be found on the council’s website.

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