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AU seniors receive SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence
4/08/13

Sam Miller and Stephanie Giera

Sam Miller and Stephanie Giera

Two Alfred University (AU) seniors – one an engineering major and the other an art major – are recipients of the State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, announced last week in Albany by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

Samuel Miller, a materials science and engineering major from Kinsman, OH, and Stephanie Giera, an art history and theory major from Hernando/Ocala, FL, were among the 243 students selected for the honor statewide. Four of the academic programs in the Inamori School of Engineering – biomedical materials science engineering, ceramic engineering, glass science engineering and materials science and engineering – and the School of Art & Design at Alfred University are part of the statutory College of Ceramics, making students enrolled in those programs eligible for the SUNY awards.

Miller “stands out as one of the top five (among more than 1,000) undergraduate students I’ve worked with in the past 20 years,” wrote Doreen Edwards, dean of the School of Engineering in nominating Miller for the honor. “Sam has excelled academically while engaging in an impressive array of extracurricular activities. With a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.97, Sam has been awarded numerous scholarships for his outstanding achievements… He also received two notable Alfred University awards, the Faculty Award for Outstanding Senior and the Scholes Scholar Award for the sophomore student with the highest GPA.”

Edwards noted Miller has been “actively engaged in community service and professional activities,” and has “gained considerable real-world experience through his internships at Corning Incorporated, Owens Corning and on-campus research jobs.

Miller is currently working with Prof. Scott Misture to complete his senior thesis in the area of oxide thermoelectrics. He is synthesizing, characterizing and measuring the thermoelectric properties of reduced niobium oxide materials.

A Presidential Scholarship recipient at Alfred University, Miller received several national scholarships including the Lucille and Charles A. Wert Scholarship from the ASM International; the Lewis C. Hoffman Scholarship from the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) Electronics Division; the J. Earl Frazier Memorial Scholarship from the Pittsburgh section of ACerS; the Gilbert Chin Scholarship from the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) and a Tau Beta Pi Scholarship.

He was selected as the Alfred University delegate to the President’s Council of Student Advisors for ACerS; is a member of the Vice President’s Advisory Council and the Engineering Student Advisory Board; was named to the Student Athlete Advisory Committee as representative of the men’s soccer team, and served as a member of the search committee for the director of athletics’ position.

For his involvement as a mentor in the Alfred University Honors Program, Miller was chosen to represent the University at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference. 

As a member of the men’s soccer team, Miller received a Sportsperson of the year award from Empire 8, and was named an all-region scholar athlete.

Miller is the son of Aaron and Melissa Miller of Kinsman, OH, and is a graduate of Badger High School.

Giera was nominated for the award by Gerar Edizel, professor of art history in the School of Art & Design at Alfred University.

As a sophomore in a required art history course, “she distinguished herself as one of the most active and engaged students,” Edizel wrote.  Even in a subsequent class with seniors and graduate students, Giera “set the tone for a very high level of engagement and set the bar high for graduate students.”

A Dean’s List student, Giera also finds the time to devote to activities and community service. As president of the Art History Club, she “planned, organized and implemented many events, including fieldtrips to museums, art walks, a faculty lecture series, gallery talks, film screenings and several fund-raisers. She also curated an exhibition.

The SHOPTALK lecture series she organized “introduced and highlighted artwork by faculty and graduate students in the School of Art & Design, and by artists in the community.”

She hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for AU students who were unable to go home for the holiday; she provided marketing support for the Library of Friendship Collection, which focuses on Austrian art, at the Scholes Library of Ceramics; and she organized the community sidewalk chalk competition with the Center for Student Involvement during Hot Dog Day in 2011. In the fall of 2011, she organized the 11/11/11 Armistice Day Art Walk to draw attention to a series of coincident art openings on and off campus.

Giera has also volunteered as a summer camp counselor for the Good Spirit Foundation that provides opportunities for students from low-income families in the Alfred area.

She has had work included in several exhibitions, including “Horse Fever,” a community-based charitable fund-raiser in central Florida that raised more than $200,000 for cultural organizations in that area.

Giera is a marketing and design assistant for a commercial photographer and a marketing and design adviser for a real estate broker.  She provided marketing and public relations support for the Covenant Children’s Home and as a catalogue assistant in the visual resources department at Scholes Library.

She has been selected to participate in a newly initiated cultural, global art exchange project partially funded by the Cultural Ministry of Austria and organized by Austrian artist Josef Shutzenhoffer and William Contino, professor of printmaking at Alfred University.  The collaborations will involve participation in two major international projects during three weeks in Austria, Croatia, Serbia and Italy.

She is the daughter of Ted and Donna Giera of Hernando, FL, and is a graduate of Lecanto High School.