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Alumni Profiles

8 Alumni Revolutionizing Modern Science

SUNY Alumni in Science

WIthin SUNY’s 3 million alumni, the 64 colleges and universities educate some of the most talented individuals in the world.  SUNY strives to educate its students by providing them with great knowledge that helps to lead them into successful careers.

With over 5,000 programs total, SUNY has build a solid platform for our students to grow and excel.  From helping Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak build one of the first Apple computers, to creating security codes for the National Security Agency, to ensuring that their children are able to enjoy a bountiful and lively planet in centuries to come, our graduates’ intelligence blends with creativity and collaboration to expand the capacities of this generation.

Here are 8 SUNY alumni that have excelled in the area of science:

Frances Allen1. Frances Allen is a computer scientist and the first female IBM fellow.  She graduated from the University at Albany with a degree in mathematics in 1954.  She joined IBM shortly thereafter, where in her 45-year tenure, she was a major contributor in the field of optimizing compilers and had a role in intelligence work on programming languages and security codes for the National Security Agency.  Ms. Allen achieved the Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize in Computing.


Carl Safina2. Carl Safina, a well-known conservationist, has authored six books and more than a hundred scientific and popular publications on ecology and oceans.  His work has been featured in National Geographic and The New York Times and he himself has been featured in profiles in the latter and on Nightline. An alumni of Purchase College, he is now an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University‘s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.


Eileen Collins3. Colonel Eileen Collins is a retired NASA astronaut and retired United States Air Force colonel.  She was the first female pilot and commander of the Space Shuttle.  In 1976, she received her associates degree from Corning Community College in mathematics and science.  She has logged a total of 38 days, 8 hours, and 10 minutes in outer space.


Dr. Jill Bargonetti-Chavarria4. Dr. Jill Bargonetti-Chavarria is a scientist and molecular biologist.  She graduated with honors in biology from Purchase College and currently serves as associate professor with the Graduate Center at CUNY and the Hunter College biology department. She has earned the Association for Women in Science Outstanding Women Scientists Award (2001), NYC Mayor’s Award (2001), and the Presidential Early Career Award (1997).


Scott Kelly5. Captain Scott Kelly is a retired U.S Navy Captain and NASA astronaut. The twin brother of astronaut Mark Kelly, he attended SUNY Maritime College prior to being selected by NASA in April 1996. Kelly is a veteran of three previous space missions, and was recently selected for a special yearlong mission to the International Space Station set to being in the Spring of 2015. This mission will include collecting scientific data important to future human exploration of our solar system.


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Jeff Raskin6. Jef Raskin is a computer technology pioneer who worked closely with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to assemble the team that created the Macintosh Computer in the late 1970’s.  He received an incredibly diverse education from Stony Brook University: a B.A. in mathematics and B.S. in physics with minors in philosophy and music.


Ellen Shulman Baker7. Ellen Shulman Baker is a physician and NASA astronaut. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a degree in geology in 1974.  She has since logged nearly 700 hours in space and she currently serves as the Chief of the Education/Medical Branch of the NASA Astronaut Office.


Dorothy Childers8. Dorothy Childers is an advocate for marine and coastal conservation in Alaska.  She is the program director and former executive director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, a community-based organization that advocates for healthy ecosystems.  Childers is received her bachelor’s degree from Empire State College in 1979.

This is only a small sample of our nearly 3 million alumni–all who are unique and impactful in different ways.  Stay tuned for more highlights!

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Written by Shaniese Alston

Shaniese Alston was a student assistant in the Office of New Media of the State University of New York for the fall 2013 academic semester while a student at the University at Albany.

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