Prestigious Scholarship is Rarely Given to Two Students from the Same Institution

Farmingdale State College (FSC) is proud to announce two of its Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) Program scholars, Channon Lawrence, ’24, a Nursing Program student, and Elena Ortiz Dilone, ’23, an applied psychology graduate, were recently recognized through the prestigious United University Professions (UUP) College Scholarship Fund. 

UUP is the nation’s largest higher education union, representing the faculty and professional staff of the State University of New York System (SUNY) system. Created in 1987, the UUP College Scholarship Fund Undergraduate Scholarship celebrates its members’ commitment to academic excellence and the life of the mind, and to their endeavors in the promotion of social justice. Up to four one-time scholarships of $3,000 are awarded annually to SUNY undergraduates who demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence, social justice issues, and labor ideals.  

Since UUP gave its first undergraduate scholarships in 1988, this highly coveted honor is rarely given to two students from the same institution, said RAM Program Director Dylan Gafarian, Ed.D. 

“It is because of Sarina's hard work and dedication that Farmingdale not only got one, but two scholars selected--something that has never happened before with this scholarship,” Gafarian said of Sarina Turbendian, operations manager, and academic advisement assistant for the RAM Program. “Farmingdale students have a different level of determination---unlike anything I have seen before. That determination is met in likeness from our staff and faculty, such as the case with Sarina.”  

Channon Lawrence

“I was thankful for the role that my RAM community played in helping me build my confidence as an applicant,” said Lawrence, a first-generation student who holds a work-study position with the RAM Program, and a student advisory position with the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. “They provided me with the strength to believe in myself just as much.  

“The selection of two FSC students speaks volumes about our institution,” added Lawrence, who has also helped cultivate multiple FSC student initiatives, including the 2021 First-Generation College Student Celebration. “It also demonstrates the caliber of students FSC nurtures and the supportive environment it provides for scholars to excel academically and personally.” 

“During the last three summers, Channon has taken part in three wildly competitive Summer Research Experiences; one through Cornell University, MIT, and most recently through the National Institute of Health,” said Gafarian. “Channon is a scholar who has stared adversity in the face and made moments of greatness happen for herself.” 

Ortiz Dilone, who received a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award in 2022, and helped develop activities for FSC first-generation college celebrations, agreed.  

“I definitely believe this is a positive reflection of FSC having that it suggests that our institution is foresting an environment that builds talented students,” said Ortiz Dilone, a first-generation student and Sillcox Scholar, who while at FSC conducted extensive undergraduate research, an internship at a federal courthouse, peer tutoring, and served as a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and Psy Chi Honor Society. “That two students won the UUP award is only one of the many testaments of the great talent that FSC is nurturing.” 

“Elena is a force to be reckoned with, and as a recent graduate, I doubt this will be the last we will be hearing of her greatness,” said Gafarian. 

Ortiz Dilone

As Lawrence pursues a career in nursing informatics and Ortiz Dilone pursues graduate school, both plan to continue their personal commitments to service. Remaining active in her community and serving others “is essential,” said Ortiz Dilone.