By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

SUNY Broome is delighted to announce that two students have been honored with the 2024 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence – Brandy Banchs (Nursing: A.A.S.) and Alejandro Chavarria Gonzalez (Engineering Science: A.S.). The Chancellor’s Award is the SUNY System’s highest honor, which acknowledges students for their outstanding academic achievements, campus involvement, and community service. 

When Brandy and Alejandro are not tackling their respective course loads in two of SUNY Broome’s most rigorous academic programs, they volunteer their time to enhance their classmates’ academic and personal successes. 

Though their academic pursuits and extracurricular responsibilities differ, the 2024 Chancellor’s Award winners interestingly have much in common! Both are driven by a commitment to improve the healthcare system. For Alejandro, developing efficient healthcare management practices can be done through the lens of industrial/systems engineering. For Brandy, change starts on the hospital floor, through a nurse’s comprehensive, patient-centered care. They are each deeply committed to championing the voices and needs of their fellow students. And when they need to wind down after a long day of classes, they both default to sewing and knitting.

Brandy Banchs

Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

The spring 2024 semester is particularly busy for Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipient Brandy Banchs. As she prepares to complete her final semester of SUNY Broome’s Nursing: A.A.S.. program, graduate, and sit for her NCLEX national licensure exam, she has the added bonus of preparing for the birth of her fourth child, who is conveniently due the week before commencement. 

While balancing being a full-time student, mother to three with one on the way, and a nursing assistant in the maternity ward at UHS seems nearly impossible, for Brandy, those responsibilities are just the beginning. Not only is Banchs the president of her nursing class, but she also co-founded an incredibly successful mentorship program that pairs second-year nursing students with incoming freshmen. The program encourages experienced nursing students to share their tips and tricks for academic success. Brandy supports the nursing skills lab and serves as a tutor and supplemental instructor for Anatomy & Physiology and Meeting Human Needs I – VI. Understanding the needs of her fellow student parents, Brandy was an instrumental voice in support of the B.C. Center. 

After graduation, Brandy plans to take a deep breath and then jump into her new role as a registered labor and delivery nurse at Guthrie Lourdes. She eventually plans to pursue a career as a midwife. 

Brandy’s Advice for SUNY Broome Students: “Don’t be afraid to take chances!”


Alejandro Chavarria Gonzalez

Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

To say that Alejandro Chavarria Gonzalez has made the most of his time as SUNY Broome student is an understatement. Alejandro’s SUNY Broome career began while he was still a student at Windsor High School. Thanks to his participation in BOCES’ New Visions (Engineering) program, Alejandro spent his senior year completing classes and labs on campus in the Applied Technology Building. 

Alejandro received a full tuition scholarship through SUNY Broome’s Presidential Honors Scholars program. In addition to being a full-time Engineering Science: A.S. student, he serves as an RA in the Student Village and represents the voice of the student body through his role as Student Trustee on the College’s Board of Trustees. Alejandro was president of the Engineering Club and the Racket Club, the latter of which he founded. 

Nationally, Chavarria Gonzalez was named a Hispanic Heritage Foundation scholar and attended the 2022 LOFT (Latinos on Fast Track) Institute in Washington, D.C. He is an intern at Guthrie Lourdes Hospital in their analytics department and spent this past summer conducting research at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. 

Alejandro will graduate from SUNY Broome in May 2024. He is in the midst of exploring his transfer options to continue his studies in industrial/systems engineering.

Alejandro’s Advice for SUNY Broome Students: “Explore all the opportunities that SUNY Broome has to offer, and don’t be afraid to create your own!”


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