Chancellor Selects SUNY Canton Students to Receive Prestigious Award


Two SUNY Canton students were selected by SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson to receive the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Senior Jessica L. Fischer, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major, and senior Kaitlyn N. Tibbetts, a Criminal Investigation major, were recognized at a special ceremony held April 10 in Albany. They will wear a medallion denoting their accomplishments at the college’s 110thCommencement Ceremony Saturday, May 12.

Kaitlyn Tibbetts and Jessica Fischer

Kaitlyn N. Tibbetts (left) and Jessica L. Fischer (right) were selected to receive the 2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

“I am immensely proud of these students, who have demonstrated academic excellence and dedication to enriching their campuses and communities,” said Johnson. “From research publications in industry journals to volunteering in hospitals and local clinics to holding leadership roles at their institutions, I am inspired by each student we recognize today. Congratulations to all of the students receiving this year’s award.”

Fischer is the founder and president of SUNY Canton’s Environmental Change Organization, which is dedicated to achieving a more eco-friendly campus. In this capacity, she has spearheaded efforts to coordinate clean-up days, establish a pollinator garden and organize recycling initiatives. She also obtained a grant to establish a campus food composting operation that has diverted tons of waste from landfills.

A champion of green energy, Fischer was selected by the WindAid Institute in 2016 to build a wind turbine in the rural community of Playa Blanca, Peru. She worked with a team of 12 fellow volunteer engineers to complete the four-week project.

“During my tenure at SUNY Canton, I have not seen any other student accomplish as much as Jessica has,” said Assistant Professor Lucas Craig, Ph.D., who teaches in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program. “Her extracurricular activities throughout her academic career mirror that of a humanitarian, and she has made the entire campus proud.”

Fischer has maintained a 4.0 GPA every semester and is a member of Tau Alpha Pi Honor Society. A highly regarded peer mentor, she has shared her knowledge and experience by serving as a tutor, a guest speaker in the college’s first-year experience course for freshman, and an ambassador for the Mechanical Engineering Program at open houses and admitted student days.

Tibbetts is a founding member of the SUNY Canton Emergency Medical Service Squad and a volunteer with the St. Lawrence County Canton Fire and Rescue organization, where she provided patient care and transport to local hospitals. Her outstanding efforts in support of law enforcement earned her the New York State University Police Chief’s Dr. McBride Criminal Justice Student Achievement Award.

She also received SUNY Canton’s Outstanding Associate Graduate Award in 2016 upon earning a degree in Criminal Justice and is a member of the national criminal justice honor society, Alpha Phi Sigma. She will graduate with a double minor in Homeland Security and Forensic Science and also earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2017.

Tibbetts was hired by the U.S. Secret Service last fall to complete an extended pathway internship in Knoxville, Tenn. Her duties include supporting criminal investigations and handling counterfeit currency.

“Having been in higher education for 17 years, and law enforcement prior to that, I recognize that Kaitlyn is the ideal person to have a career in law enforcement,” said SUNY Canton Criminal Justice Lecturer Lisa E. Colbert. “She is professional, serious about any task she is given, mature, personable and has great communication skills. No matter if it is academic, organizational or community-oriented, Kaitlyn takes what she does seriously and with pride.”

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.