Alumni Profiles is an ongoing series highlighting successful graduates who, with a SUNY education, achieved interesting and influential careers.
Ms. Dembinski grew up and continues to reside in Albany, New York. She attended Albany Academy for Girls and graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Zoology. She spent 30 years at Sterling Winthrop Research Institute evaluating investigational medicines for heart failure and diabetes in humans. She also spent 20 years at Omnicare Clinical Research as project director.
After 50 years in medical research, Ms. Dembinski decided to pursue her love of cooking by enrolling in Schenectady County Community College‘s culinary program. She graduated at the top of her culinary class and currently works in the kitchen at Yonos Restaurant whipping up homemade breads and pastries, much to the delight of the customers and staff.
Ms. Dembinski is a sliver medal contest winner of the American Culinary Federations Annual Competition Classic held at Schenectady Community College and was on the team that won a Gold Medal at the Knowledge Bowl ACF Competition held in Hershey, PA.
Ms. Dembinski continues to travel, volunteer at the Equinox Thanksgiving Event and Honest Weight Food Co-Op. This past January, Ms. Joan Dembinski was the subject of a resolution adopted by the New York State Senate for her designation as recipient of the 2012 Arts and Culture Award by Senior Services of Albany.
Paul Riker is a musician, technologist, and father. Riker is currently living in Saudi Arabia with his family where he is employed as the Audio Systems Developer for the Visualization Laboratory at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. He develops audio software solutions for immersive virtual reality systems with as many as 64 channels of surround sound. Riker also works with scientists from fields including Genetics and Fluid Dynamics to use sound as a means to reveal important properties of their data.
Riker is also an active composer of concert and film music, with recent performances and screenings in New York City, NY; Onasbruck, Germany; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Vancouver, B.C.; and Zurich, Switzerland.
Riker attended Schenectady County Community College to focus on music before completing his Bachelor’s degree in Music at SUNY Potsdam in 2002. He continued his education thereafter at Queens College (CUNY) in 2005, where he earned his Masters degree in composition. He served on the faculty of Nassau Community College and Queens College‘s music department from graduation until 2009 and is currently working on his PhD dissertation at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Beginning Monday, November 26, SUNY will be pinning stories of giving, service, and kindness originating from each of our 64 campuses and the communities that these schools are a part of.
With over 467,000 students, SUNY consistently takes advantage of the opportunity it has to be a significant impact in communities across New York State. The 30 Days of Giving campaign is a great way to recognize students and community partners involved in the many projects that happen all year round at each SUNY campus and their surrounding communities. The byproduct of taking volunteerism to scale is not only building character in our students themselves as they join our over three million alumni, but also to set an example of impact as the nation’s largest university system.