Oswego student selected among national 'Academic All-Stars'

Nadia DropkinUSA Today has named Nadia Dropkin, a senior at SUNY Oswego, to its prestigious All-USA College Academic Team, honorable mention.

Dropkin is the first Oswego student to make the highly selective list of outstanding undergraduates across the nation.

The annual USA Today list includes 80 high-achieving undergraduates in all, 20 each on the first, second, third and honorable-mention teams. Students were selected from about 600 students nominated by their schools.

The 20 making honorable mention this year come from such institutions as Johns Hopkins and Tulane universities, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the University of California at Los Angeles, in addition to Oswego.

Dropkin, who is majoring in both studio art and women’s studies, is co-director of the student Women’s Center at SUNY Oswego. She based her application essay on her public service, including organizing a campuswide meeting on preventing sexual assault and violence on campus and, from that, becoming a principal collaborator on a U.S. Department of Justice grant proposal toward the same end.

“Nadia has a strong commitment to social justice that is coupled with intellectual curiosity and self-confidence,” said Lisa Langlois of the art department, who first proposed Dropkin for the honor.

“When I read about the competition, I immediately thought of Nadia Dropkin,” Langlois said. “The broad range of skills, talents, and qualities called for, coupled with excellent academic work, would mean that, [among] the few who qualified for the honor, the competition would be fierce.”

Dropkin’s accomplishments are many. A member of SUNY Oswego’s Honors Program, she spent a year abroad at Australian National University studying ceramics.

Among her formal recognitions, besides the latest honor, are five awards, a scholarly and creative activity grant, and two scholarships from SUNY Oswego; two articles accepted for publication, one in a book from Greenwood Press and one in an international journal; three upcoming presentations at conferences around in the country including the National Women’s Studies Association conference; and photography and ceramics by her included in seven exhibitions at venues ranging from Oswego to China and Australia.

Maureen Curtin, director of women’s studies, who wrote Dropkin’s nomination letter for the All-USA honor, added that “she has traveled extensively . . . largely on her own initiative and almost entirely independently.” Dropkin’s honors thesis has grown out of her travels in Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Israel and Egypt over two summers. For next fall, she is applying to master’s programs in Middle East studies in Israel.

Dropkin said that when Langlois approached her about entering the competition for the All-USA College Academic Team, she was a bit intimidated by the kinds of students who received the honor last year—many with 4.0 grade averages from Ivy League schools and big research universities.

But she told herself, “You’re not going to know unless you try,” and completed her application in the final hours before the deadline. On the day USA Today announced the winners, she said, “I’m glad that I went for it.”

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(Posted: Feb 21, 2007)