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May 12, 2011
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Two win Chancellor’s Award for academic excellence

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate Medical University students Dominick Gregory Maggio and Kimberly Zaccaria are among 249 students from the 64 campuses of the State University of New York (SUNY) to receive 2011 Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence.

“These students represent the future of our state and are perfect examples of the power of SUNY. I thank them for the positive impact each of them has had on SUNY and the communities we serve,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, Ph.D.

Maggio and Zaccaria are recognized for integrating academic excellence with accomplishments in leadership and community service.

Kimberly Zaccaria has demonstrated academic excellence in all components of her graduate student curriculum, achieving honors distinction on her Ph.D. qualifying examination.

Working in the laboratory of Professor James S. McCasland, Ph.D., of Upstate’s Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, her research established a novel mouse model of some aspects of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that has the potential for the development and testing of new ASD treatments. Her research was the subject of a report by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative and led her to form a collaborative with researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the University of Quebec. She was elected by her peers to serve as president of Upstate’s Graduate Student Association (2006 to 2007) and served as chair of the Graduate Student Association Volunteer Committee (2006 to 2007), where she was involved in fundraising efforts for the Equatorial African Children’s Research Fund and Vera House.

She and her mother developed the Rescue Mission “Holiday for the Homeless” program that provides the homeless population with gift bags of gloves, hats, scarves, blankets and food through Rescue Mission’s Homeless Intervention Services van. She volunteered with Locks of Love, and participated and volunteered with the Make a Wish Foundation Walk and Paddle for a Cure.

She has taught several courses as an upper level graduate student, serving as a teaching assistant for Upstate’s Neuroanatomy Laboratory (2009, 2011) and as an adjunct professor in Upstate’s Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory (Spring 2010) and General Biology Laboratory (Fall 2010) at LeMoyne College.

Zaccaria will receive a doctorate from Upstate’s College of Graduate Studies May 22. She will join Syracuse Research Corporation as a research associate this summer.

Dominick Maggio is president of the Upstate Chapter of the national medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA). He cofounded an Upstate AOA online question and answer forum to provide streamlined review materials to underclassmen, and created an online AOA site to coordinate current members. Since November 2009, he has served on the board of directors for Walu International, a non-profit organization that provides clean water and sanitation to villages in Papua New Guinea, and is credited with creating an oral rehydration worksheet to teach mothers how to care for children with diarrheal illness.

Maggio served as president and founder of Upstate’s Amaus Free Clinic Club, himself serving as a volunteer and coordinator for student involvement in the clinic that provided more than 700 hours of clinical exposure to the class within its first year. He also co-organized foot clinics and flu vaccinations and created a fundraising campaign that has raised $10,000 for the clinic. He has served as a care provider at Hway Ka Loke/New Blood Schools, in Mae Sot, Thailand (January 2010); a volunteer caregiver for uninsured recovering addicts at SC Hope Clinic (2008 to 2009); and as a Spanish translator and caregiver at Upstate’s Migrant Clinic (Summer 2008). He has served as president of Upstate’s 2011 medical class and has represented Upstate’s President’s Office at community functions as a Student Ambassador.

Maggio is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Morlang International Health scholarship for students pursuing work in international medicine.

A native of California, he will receive his medical degree from Upstate’s College of Medicine May 22 and complete a residency in emergency medicine at Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland, Calif.

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