Burnt Hills resident and SUNY Schenectady County Community College graduate Hannah Daignault, 24, has received the 2020 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.
The award recognizes students that have demonstrated the integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives.
While at SUNY Schenectady, Daignault was working on a research project that examines bacteria that is associated with cystic fibrosis.
“I have a friend with cystic fibrosis, and I wanted to see what could be done, if anything,” Daignault said during a phone interview. “I know it was something overly ambitious for someone at a community college.”
Daignault teamed up with Dr. Syeda Muniam, professor in the division of math, science, technology, and health at the school.
“I put together a research proposal and asked her if it was something that was possible,” Daignault said. “She said I’m going to walk you through this, and I think this is something that could be promising.
“That was a really cool feeling to have someone support me. She handled the administration side, helping get things set aside, the bacteria and the lab.”
Daignault was also elected as SUNY Schenectady’s student trustee, representing her peers at the highest level of the administration.
“There are a lot of budget items that have to be approved by the board of trustees,” Daignault said. “If anything comes up that I don’t think is in the best interest of the students or hear something specific about an issue I try to do as much as possible to be the voice of the students.”
While at SUNY Schenectady, Daignault was a tutor, a member and president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a senior senator with the student government association.
Daignault’s summer plans were also altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was scheduled to be a part of the International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on Medicine and Science in Sydney, Australia, but the event was postponed.
The nutrition major plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, following a pre-med track with aspirations of being an orthopedic surgeon.
Her career goal changed during her work with several animal rescue venues in the Capital Region where she earned the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Whiskers Animal Benevolent League in 2017.
“I love animals, but I realized when I was working at the veterinary clinic that I really like connecting with the owners,” Daignault said. “That’s a huge part of veterinary medicine; you need to know how to run a business and a practice.”
Daignault has not made her fall decision yet but plans to continue her pre-med track and then apply to medical schools after receiving her bachelor’s degree.