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Invest in Oswego, Create Opportunities

Katrina Debaun ’15 was a long way from home while studying wildlife in Brazil this summer. An Oswego native, Debaun credits much of her opportunity with scholarships and assistance she has received from SUNY Oswego. She is a first generation college student and is extremely appreciative of the opportunities she has been given.

The journey to Brazil was a part of Projeto (Project) Puma, a Brazilian organization that conducts field research in an effort to “divulge and improve a new protocol for evaluation of areas with high conservation priority within forests managed for timber,” according to the website.

Debaun observed and documented jaguars, ocelots and pumas in the rainforests of Brazil. The trip is one of the opportunities she experienced as part of the Possibility Scholarship that Debaun, who majors in Zoology and minors in Health Science, received her last year of high school. The scholarship is awarded to students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Recipients of this scholarship are given the opportunities to do research abroad and to work with a faculty mentor matched to their research interest and career goals.

“I had never really been anywhere like that before. I really liked being around the Brazilian people,” Debaun said. “I would love to go back to the Amazon.”

Debaun primarily observed animal tracks and set up cameras on her expeditions. She noted that trees and plants in the rainforest are nothing like their Central New York counterparts.

“I wouldn’t have been able to go if it wasn’t for the scholarship,” Debaun said. “I feel like the experience pushed me ahead of the other people in my degree and will really help me out in the future.”

Debaun strives to work in a zoo or a rehabilitation center after college. She said that Oswego provides a lot of opportunity for students in her field, particularly with the opening of two new science facilities, the renovated Rice Creek Field Station and the new Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.

“It’s beautiful there,” Debaun said of taking classes at Rice Creek. “I love that the new shuttle gives everyone access to the facility.” Debaun takes a behavioral biology class at Rice Creek and organic chemistry in the Shineman Center.

“I just want to thank everyone who helped give me this opportunity,” Debaun said. “Without [the scholarship] I don’t think I would be attending Oswego State.”

The possibility scholarship is just one of many advantages students have through personal gifts to The Fund for Oswego. While New York State covers less than 20% of the college’s operating budget, gifts to The Fund for Oswego helps to bridge the gap, ensuring that students like Katrina have access to a first-rate education at an affordable price. Ultimately, investing in Oswego creates opportunities for the students.

Making an unrestricted gift of ANY size makes an impact and ultimately increases the value of an Oswego degree by raising the alumni participation rate in rankings like US News and World Report. Unrestricted gifts provide financial flexibility that allow the college to allocate the money where the need is greatest.

Please consider investing in Oswego and creating opportunites for our students today!

-Tyler J. Edic ’13