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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Ricky Chen, an exchange student from China living in Williamsville and attending Cardinal O’Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda, is the 2016 grand prize winner for the Congressional Art Competition, representing the district of Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo. Front-runners from each congressional district were invited to Washington, D.C., for the official unveiling of a gallery featuring artwork from around the nation, which will be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel to the United States Capitol. Other awardees in Higgins’ district include Taylor Zlotek of West Seneca East High School, first runner-up and People’s Choice Award; Elena Ritz of Williamsville South High School, second runner-up; Tiana Gonzalez of South Park High School, Best of Western New York.


The Cattaraugus County Sheriff Employees Benevolent Association presented $500 to Jonathan Dixon, a graduate of Allegany Limestone Central School. The annual scholarship is presented to a graduating student who intends to pursue a career in criminal justice or police science. Dixon plans to study criminal justice at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.


The Physical Therapy Department at School 84 Health Care Center for Children at ECMC was recently awarded the “Outstanding Center for Physical Therapy 2015 Clinical Education Award” by the New York/New Jersey Physical Therapy Clinical Education Consortium.

School 84 Health Care Center for Children is the district’s school designated for students with severe disabilities and illnesses. It has 165 students in kindergarten through 12th grades. ECMC provides one senior physical therapist and one staff physical therapist at the school.


Daemen College student Jessica Vongxay, a physical therapy major, was selected to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this summer in China.

Vongxay is one of more than 1,150 undergraduate students from colleges and universities across the U.S. chosen to receive a Gilman Scholarship. The program aims to diversify students who study and intern abroad and familiarize them with the countries and regions where they study so they can gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies.

The $5,000 international scholarship will enable Vongxay to travel with the School for International Training to Kunming, China. During the six-week program, she will study community health and traditional Chinese medicine by working with professionals in urban and rural areas. Critical health issues, traditional Chinese healing practices, herbal medicine, acupuncture and other topics will be covered.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program is administered by the Institute of International Education.

In addition, Vongxay received Daemen’s Charles Sabatino Study Abroad Scholarship to support her international education experience in China.


Max Finberg, the director of AmeriCorps VISTA, joined Buffalo Chief Service Officer Oswaldo Mestre at a ceremony honoring Arthur and Constance Eve for their exemplary volunteer service in the community.

The Eves were presented with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps.


The American Association of State Colleges & Universities selected Buffalo State’s Amitra A. Wall for the inaugural class of AASCU’s Emerging Leaders Program. Wall is a sociology professor who also serves as assistant dean of intellectual foundations and first-year programs and as the interim chair of the political science department.

Wall recently joined 25 other promising, mid career higher education professionals and faculty leaders from across the country for a seminar in Washington, D.C. The participants had the opportunity to engage in practical, hands-on exercises; take a leadership self-assessment and develop a plan to help them achieve their leadership goals.