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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Daemen College has named Lauren Metzger director of annual giving and alumni relations. Most recently, she was youth market fundraising director for the American Heart Association in Buffalo. Before that, she was assistant director of annual giving and alumni relations at Daemen, a position she held for over two years. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Daemen.

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Barry Willer, University at Buffalo professor of psychiatry and a specialist in traumatic brain injury, has received a $600,000 grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to carry out a three-year controlled trial to treat a disability seen in many brain-injured people -- the inability to interpret and express emotion. He will team up with Machiko Tomita, UB clinical associate professor of rehabilitation sciences. Willer, with graduate student input, has developed a computer-based diagnostic and treatment program to help brain-injured adults regain their emotional lives.

Working with graduate students Barbra Zupan and Dawn Neumann, Willer took two interventions shown to be successful in emotions recognition, modified them to be appropriate for adults with brain injury and tested them in a pilot study. Tim Bleiler, an instructional designer for the UB Medical School, has placed both interventions onto software in anticipation of the multisite trial.

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Ramon M. Ammerman and Carl M. Balmas were both unanimously elected to the board of the Amherst Senior Citizens Foundation for three-year terms. The foundation's mission is promoting the welfare of senior citizens in Amherst, helping to maintain and raise funds to support senior services and activities.

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Denise E. O'Donnell, commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, has won a 2009 Excellence in Public Service Award from the New York State Bar Association. A graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law, O'Donnell began her career as a social worker before becoming a lawyer. O'Donnell was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bill Clinton 1997 and became the first woman to hold the post of top federal prosecutor in upstate New York. O'Donnell was inducted into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame and received the association's Ruth G. Schapiro Award in 2005.

O'Donnell was appointed commissioner of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services in 2007. Anthony J. Annucci, executive deputy commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, also won an Excellence in Public Service Award.

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David DeLaVergne is a leader of the Genesee Community College Foundation's annual Our Best Investment campaign. "In the past year, I've become more acquainted with the college and its campus centers in Warsaw and Arcade, and they are truly assets," he said.

The mission of the campaign is to attract and retain academically talented and deserving students, thereby strengthening the local economy by providing training in high-need work-force skills. This past year, 464 scholarships were awarded, worth a total of $265,488.

"It truly is our best investment in our community and our citizens," DeLaVergne said. "The gratitude of the students is immeasurable!" Other volunteers include: Andrea Aldinger, Jonah Broughton, Bruce Camp, Jen Clark, Paula Edwards and Genesee Community College Foundation board members Richard Fish and Norb Fuest. Also, Mike Hardie, John McClurg, Sandy Pirdy, Brianna Stone, Charlene Strain and John Wheeler. The foundation is dedicated to providing service and support to Genesee Community College, with a 30-member board of directors composed of business and civic leaders. It was formed in the mid-1980s to provide philanthropic support to the college.

e-mail: lcontinelli@buffnews.com

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