President's Award winners
President's Awards for 2017 went to outstanding staff and students.
Faculty and Staff
Chris Breslin, in IT's user-services division, is known for his kindness, patience, detail and
follow-through in helping faculty, students and staff with a wide range of computing
and IT questions. He has sacrificed days off to set up equipment for Human Resources'
benefits enrollment day, worked late at the Palamountain Benefit polo gala and assisted
the Middle States review committee.
Chris also supports campus community events such as the Give and Go recycling project and staff-networking lunches. He attends many Thoroughbred games to cheer on our student-athletes and often wears Skidmore apparel both on the job and after hours.
Kim Frederick, professor and chair in chemistry, has been faculty coordinator for the past five
years of planning the Center for Integrated Sciences. Representing more than a hundred
faculty in at least 10 departments and working with architects, donors and others
required countless hours of careful thought, outreach and diplomacy. She is also on
the steering committee for CIS's IdeaLab and helped create a pilot pop-up makerspace
as part of a minicourse.
She is a frequent partner in student-faculty summer research and an advocate for women in science and inclusion efforts in general. She recently won a Fulbright award for work in Australia during 2017–18.
Skidmore's Counseling Center provides compassionate, expert counseling to students as well as liaison and outreach to the entire Skidmore community. While the center moved into renovated space and converted from paper to electronic records, it addressed increased demand for mental health services by revising its triage, service and scheduling, which resulted in a 40% drop in wait times for appointments.
Clinicians also went to other student-service offices and other campus spaces, to reduce any stigma associated with going to the Counseling Center space. Outreaches were made to peer mentors, students of color, international students and many others. And last year, when Skidmore experienced two tragic student deaths, counseling staff provided extra care for the entire community both in public and in private.
Abude al-Asaad '17 was freshman class president and senior class gift co-chair. Also president of the
J Street Chapter, he has advocated for critical thought and civic engagement; he organized
panel discussions on student apathy, Israeli-Palestinian relations and affirmative
When political science professor Bob Turner helped bring Jose Antonio Vargas, an outspoken immigrant and founder of Define America, to speak on campus, he invited Abude to meet Vargas. Later, at his formal talk, Vargas asked Abude to come up on stage and talk about what it means to him to be American. With no preparation, in front of a big audience, Abude gave a moving 10-minute speech about the American Dream that left the entire room in tears.
Julia Elstein '17 was the Student Government Association's VP for financial affairs and also sat on the all-college Institutional Policy and Planning Committee, prudently weighing what is best for the college and what is best for students.
An economics major, she integrated her sociology minor into her studies for a more nuanced perspective, plus she was a peer mentor for students in psychology professor Sheldon Solomon's courses.
In addition, she worked to combat sexual and gender-based misconduct, and she raised the most donations for the senior class gift.
Lauren Gorstein '17 had her senior project accepted for presentation at the annual meetings of the Eastern Sociological Society. The research analyzed new data to elucidate the relationships between college fraternities and sexual assault on campuses.
As a leader of the Skidmore College Emergency Medical Services, she amassed more than 1,000 on-call volunteer hours and served as personnel officer and training officer, ensuring the quality of all providers' basic life support skills. She founded SCEMS divisions for sexual misconduct, mental health, mass casualty and rapid deployment.
Jonathan Ogunleye '17, a social work major, did fieldwork for Shelters of Saratoga. Outside the classroom, he directed the Ujima club's fashion show; served three years as president of SkidTV; provided students, faculty and staff with tech support as a student worker in Media Services; volunteered for the senior class gift campaign; and helped plan senior week.
Jonathan is known as a caring, funny, and thoughtful person who shows his pride for Skidmore through his service, passion, and willingness to get involved.
Madison Plummer '17 was a strong force in the Student Government Association as senior class president (and mentor to younger class presidents), senator and committee member. She welcomed new and prospective students as an ambassador and a pre-orientation leader, and she was a Circus Club leader.
She combined an art major with minors in film and media studies as well as dance. When she returned from studying animation in London as a junior, she created animations to be projected during a dance professor's choreographed piece. She also taught acrobatic and circus techniques to student dancers.
The Counseling Center celebrates, with President Philip Glotzbach at right: