Clarkson University

Clarkson McNair Scholars wins highest academic award of the 2015 graduating class

Posted by on Monday, July 13, 2015 13:54 - 0 Comments

Clarkson University President Tony Collins (right) presents the Levinus Clarkson Award to Victoria Kocsis.

Clarkson University President Tony Collins (right) presents the Levinus Clarkson Award to Victoria Kocsis.

Graduating senior Victoria Kocsis of Altamont, N.Y., received the Levinus Clarkson Award during Clarkson University’s 122nd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9. She was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on her scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.

The Levinus Clarkson Award was established by University founders Elizabeth and Frederica Clarkson in memory of their brother, Levinus, and was first awarded in 1909. This award and the Frederica Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.
green_taglineKocsis received a bachelor of science degree with a triple major in biomolecular sciences, biology and interdisciplinary liberal arts studies with a concentration in pre-veterinary studies. She was a presidential scholar for eight semesters while attending Clarkson and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
Kocsis worked in the laboratory of Professor / Bayard and Virginia Clarkson Endowed Chair of Biology Thomas Lufkin and Assistant Professor of Biology Petra Kraus as a McNair and Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) scholar starting in the spring 2013 semester. This laboratory is working on developing a regenerative medicine-based approach to treating intervertebral disc disease using stem cells.
Recently, Kocsis was a secondary author in her first publication from this laboratory. The article examined the generation of a gene expression assay with single cell resolution using plate in-situ hybridization. While working in this laboratory, Kocsis also attended four research conferences to present her research, and she placed first in two and second in one of these conferences.
While attending Clarkson, Kocsis held several leadership and mentoring positions. She was president of the Animal Science Club, treasurer and historian of Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society and secretary of the Clarkson Humane Society Club.

During her senior year, she mentored freshmen through the CORE and Tri-Beta mentoring programs. Victoria was also a Community of Underrepresented Professional Opportunities (CUPO) advisory board member with affiliations through the Ronald E. McNair Scholars and Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) programs. She also served as an advisory board member at several Clarkson open house events to promote the health sciences and biology programs.

Kocsis was active in the Potsdam community during her time as a student. She volunteered with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm where she was able to receive her FAMACHA certification, a method farmers use to control parasite infestation. She also received her equine first aide certification and worked with a local riding stable as a farm assistant where she both gave and received horseback riding lessons. In addition, Kocsis worked with the Clarkson Discovery Challenge Program to mentor local high-school students to advocate the STEM field.

During her time at Clarkson, Kocsis consistently held at least two jobs at any given time. She worked four years at the Clarkson Health Sciences Library as a cataloging assistant and student manager, and she served as a teaching assistant of the freshmen biology and human anatomy laboratories. In the summer of 2014, Kocsis worked as a team leader through the Horizons Program at Clarkson.

Outside Clarkson, she was employed as an office manager of Growing Azalea Music and as a cashier at Casa Mia’s Italian Specialties during the summers between semesters. She also has consistently worked at two separate equine facilities as farm hand.

Kocsis received several scholarships as a Clarkson student, including the Bridge and O’Beirne Endowed Presidential Scholarship starting in August 2013. In August of 2012, she began to receive the Brownell Endowed Scholarship. Following her high-school graduation from Berne-Knox-Westerlo CSD, Victoria received the Scaringe Memorial Scholarship as well. Victoria was also recipient of Berne-Know-Westerlo’s Anthony Hill and Key Club scholarships and the Albany County 4-H Scholarship.

During the summer of 2014, Kocsis volunteered at the Bronx Zoo Reptile House where she worked with both the reptiles and live-food animals. She has volunteered and shadowed at several veterinary clinics, including Cottonwood Creek Veterinary Services, Trout Brook Veterinary Clinic, Upstate Veterinary Specialties and the Equine Clinic at Oakencroft for a total of 750 hours. After serving as a 4-H member for more than ten years, Kocsis continues to volunteer with her local 4-H club.

Kocsis was accepted into five colleges of veterinary medicine, and she will be pursuing her doctorate in veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University in August. She hopes to specialize in mixed-animal medicine and possibly pursue a board certification in equine dentistry following graduation.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
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