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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Dr. Mary H. Gresham, Teresa A. Miller and Lee H. Melvin are being honored for their recent appointments as vice provosts of the University at Buffalo.

The three will be honored during a private reception Monday by the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, the bar group’s Foundation and the Goldberg Segalla law firm.

Miller, who assumes the new post of vice provost for equity and inclusion, is a 1986 Harvard Law School graduate who has been on the UB Law School faculty since 1995. Miller previously taught research and writing at the University of Miami Law School and clerked for U.S. Justice William M. Hoevelor in the Southern District of Florida.

Gresham, who is vice provost for educational collaboration and engagement, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology and a doctorate in counseling psychology at UB.

Melvin, vice provost for enrollment, earned a bachelor’s degree in music education at Houston (Texas) Baptist University and a master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.


Matthew Bowker, visiting assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, has received Medaille College’s annual Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scholarship Award in recognition of his research contributions in the fields of political theory, psychoanalysis and literary criticism.

Bowker’s research combines political theory with psychoanalytic and literary approaches. He is the author of several books and has published numerous articles in scholarly journals.

Bowker is involved in the development of Medaille’s General Education curriculum, the improvement of students’ critical thinking skills across the curriculum, and the direction of community-based learning projects in Buffalo. In 2010, he was a faculty fellow at the Western New York Service-Learning Coalition and has led workshops on reflective practices in community-based learning partnerships.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University and a master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park.


William B. Collins, Collins & Collins Attorneys Llc, has been selected for inclusion in the 21st edition of Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of personal injury litigation – plaintiffs. The selection for this honor is based on a multiphase process that includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

Collins has been practicing law since 1982, representing clients in personal injury cases throughout the United States. He has secured clients numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements. The honor is given to those who possess the knowledge, skill, experience and success held by the finest and best lawyers in America.


Ecologist Scott Pickard was presented the department of the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service by Lt. Col. Karl Jansen, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District. Pickard was recognized for his outstanding work in sediment analysis. His efforts in a difficult and technically complex discipline are essential to accomplishing timely navigational dredging of rivers and harbors in the lower Great Lakes.


Jenna Braun, a high school student from Clarence, has been awarded the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship, which covers an academic year of study and cultural immersion in Germany. The CBYX program is funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and administered in the Northeast by AFS-USA, a worldwide nonprofit student exchange organization.

Jenna is one of only 50 students in the Northeast and 250 nationwide to receive this prestigious scholarship, and will be spending the 2014-15 academic year living with a German host family and attending a local high school.

Jenna was selected as a Congress-Bundestag scholar due to her demonstrated academic qualifications, cultural open-mindedness and motivation. She will serve as a youth ambassador from the United States for the academic year, while participating in educational, cultural and political events, including receptions and meetings with aims to strengthen U.S.-German relations through public diplomacy and cultural understanding.


Marc Cohen, a 2012 graduate of Williamsville East High School, was recently elected vice president of the University at Albany student association. Cohen, a junior in the Honors College at the University at Albany, served as the chief of staff to the president of the student association, Francis Agyemang, before being asked to run on his ticket. Agyemang will be serving his second term as president.

Cohen served as a senator, director of legislative affairs and most recently chief of staff at the University at Albany. In addition to his work with the student association, Cohen is the senior director of external relations for the SUNY Student Assembly, development director for the College Democrats of New York, and sits on a number of boards and committees within the university and around the Albany community.


Tanner M. Gregory, of Great Valley, received a $500 scholarship from the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Employees Benevolent Association. The award is presented to a graduating student who intends to pursue a career in criminal justice or police science.

Tanner is a graduate of Ellicottville Central School and plans to pursue criminal justice at Jamestown Community College. He is the son of Shawn and Greta Gregory.


Dr. John B. Wiles, general surgeon, has been installed as the new president of the Medical Society of the County of Erie at the society’s annual meeting and installation of officers held April 30. He succeeds Dr. Thomas A. Lombardo Jr. of Northtowns Orthopedics, P.C.

Wiles received his medical degree from the University at Buffalo in 1976. He went on to complete two surgical residency programs from 1976 to 1981. His surgical residency was completed at the Erie County Medical Center. Following his residency, Wiles became board certified by the American Board of Surgery in November 1982. His current appointments include attending surgeon at Sisters Hospital; attending surgeon at St. Joseph Hospital; and courtesy staff at ECMC.

Wiles has served as the Medical Society’s secretary/treasurer, vice president and president-elect beginning in 2011. Currently, he is also an active member of the American College of Surgeons, as well as the Buffalo Surgical Society.

Other officers installed at the Medical Society’s annual meeting include: president-elect, Dr. Charles E. Wiles III; vice president and co-chairman, Health Law Committee, Dr. Timothy F. Gabryel; and secretary/treasurer, Dr. Willie Underwood.

Also elected were the following chairs of society committees: Dr. Rose Berkun, legislative affairs; Dr. Jason Matuszak, new physician practice; Dr. Stephen P. Scrivani, public health and education; Dr. John R. Fudyma, medical education; Dr. John A. Gillespie, practice management; and Dr. Ernesto A. Diaz Ordaz, chairman, delegate, Medical Society of the State of New York.


The Council on Social Work Education has honored University at Buffalo School of Social Work Dean Emeritus Lawrence Shulman with its Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award.

Shulman, who was dean from 1998 to 2003, is recognized for his dedication to excellence in scholarship and research, pedagogy and curriculum development, and organizational leadership by the CSWE.

Shulman and two other recipients of the CSWE’s professional recognition awards will be honored at the opening ceremony and awards presentation of the organization’s annual meeting Oct. 23 in Tampa, Fla.

Schulman remains active in the school, involved in writing papers and doing grant research. The UB School of Social Work recently received a one-year extension, lasting to 2016, of its $87,000 School Violence Prevention program, which Schulman directs. The program is in its third year of providing services to at-risk students and families at the inner-city Lydia T. Wright School for Excellence. A full-time counselor, two UB social work students and a part-time field instructor provide individual and group counseling, mediation, bullying prevention and family interventions.


Jordan Pescrillo, of Buffalo, will begin teaching at the Minmahaw Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization opened in 2007 to educate Burmese youth with disadvantaged backgrounds. There, she will provide instruction in a variety of topics to students ages 17 to 24.

Pescrillo graduated in 2012 from St. Lawrence University with a major in global studies and a minor in educational studies. While attending St. Lawrence University, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, participated in Amnesty International and Literacy for Nepal student groups, and spent a semester abroad in Kenya. Pescrillo also worked as an intern for the Weave, an independent media project in the university’s department of global studies. Most recently, she has been working as an Americorps member in Buffalo.

MEF is an English-immersion school staffed entirely by volunteers that prepares Burmese students to take a high school equivalency exam so they can gain entry to college. In addition to an education, the program provides a safe location for the students to study as well as food, clothing and basic medical care.


The American Nurses Association announced the first recipients of its Future Nurse Leader Awards. Designed to honor nursing students entering the profession and encourage them, as registered nurses, to continue developing leadership skills, the awards recognized 22 students graduating from nursing schools around the state. Two local nurses were awarded.

Buffalo native Jeffrey H. Fahmer graduated from Wegmans School of Nursing, St. John Fisher College in Rochester. Fahmer’s nomination for the Future Nurse Leader award notes his dedication to peer mentoring and academic success. A member of the Wegmans School of Nursing Student Nurses Association, Fahmer has been a student ambassador since 2010, and during the 2011-2012 academic year served as the director of student recruitment initiatives. He completed graduate coursework in the senior year of his program and has made the Dean’s List every semester since fall 2011. He works in the neurosurgery, neuroscience and hospice care department at a Rochester-area hospital.

Sandra Leinweber graduated this spring from D’Youville College in Buffalo. Leinweber’s nomination for the Future Nurse Leader Award notes her commitment to increasing her knowledge and skills. After practicing as a nurse for more than 15 years, Leinweber returned to complete her bachelor’s degree in nursing with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She has been accepted to Stony Brook University in the psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner program.