April 18, 2024
overcast clouds Clouds 51 °F

18 Binghamton University Pandemic Samaritans Who Make Our Days Brighter

From professors to facilities workers to contact tracers, there are so many people in the Binghamton community who have become “Pandemic Samaritans.” In honor of National Good Samaritan Day, we wanted to know who in the Binghamton community has helped make their day a little brighter during these challenging times. Here are just some of the nominees who have become “Pandemic Samaritans” to members of our community.

Lisa Cooper - Faculty/Staff

Lisa Cooper

“Lisa served beside me to go far above and beyond during the pandemic. Our special education school became one of the first in the area to offer telepractice services and to meet our families’ needs early on in the lockdown period. Lisa worked tireless hours with me to make sure that we supported our families, staff and students — far beyond what anyone in a similar position as her in the community would be willing or capable of doing. She is truly committed to our program and made sure that everyone’s lives she touched felt supported and heard. She is beyond an asset and is a shining example of what we do and what we believe in at the ICD (Institute for Child Development.) Her brand of selflessness is rare and, as such, is invaluable.” —Rachel Cavalari

Lexi Rosenberg - Student

Binghamton Alum

“Lexi has been working non-stop since the pandemic started as an EMT, contact tracer, COVID tester, working in hospitals, and etc. During the academic year, she has been working as an RA, helping to keep her new residents in Binghamton safe. Because of her hard work and dedication, she had to miss Thanksgiving with her family last year, and I am always amazed by the person she is and the love she shows for the people around her.”—Sasha Kinsler

Alicia Hernandez - Student

Binghamton Alum

“Alicia embodies the definition of a Pandemic Samaritan. She not only is one of the chiefs of Harpur’s Ferry, but she also is an active EMT at home on Long Island. On campus, she works at the COVID testing site while being a full-time nursing student. Alicia has done so much to help Binghamton students and faculty, the broader Binghamton community and her community at home! She deserves to be recognized for all she has done!”—Niles Davies

Devin Deodat - Student

Binghamton Alum

“Despite being a full-time student, Devin works 40 hours a week as a contact tracer. He’s also the Summer Program Coordinator for the freshman summer program for Student Support Services. Likewise, he and I both met in this program as first-generation college students. The program used to be in-person, but because of COVID-19, he is working over 10 hours a week as the program coordinator to make sure freshmen have a successful, virtual program. He truly is making a difference in the community!”—Steven Linnekin

Andrea Snyder - Faculty/Staff

Binghamton Alum

“Andrea is the pharmacy school’s skills education associate. She has done so much for the school during this pandemic and has had such a positive attitude throughout. It has been so appreciated by students, faculty and staff alike. As we all know, everything is more difficult during a pandemic, especially in lab settings, but Andrea takes each challenge in stride. She is adept at simplifying activities and directions to make it easier for students and faculty. She has handled some of the new technology workarounds with aplomb — including training several of our volunteer community members to act as standardized patients over Zoom (some with minimal technology comfort prior to Andrea’s training). We could not ask for a more effective, optimistic and helpful colleague, and are so thankful for Andrea!”—Sarah Lynch

Ryan Zawatsky - Student

Binghamton Alum

“My friend Ryan has been a supportive friend throughout this pandemic while being miles away. When we first got sent home last March due to COVID, Ryan would text and FaceTime me every day to play games and check in with how I was doing. These efforts continued throughout the summer, which I appreciated more than he knows. In December, I tested positive for COVID, and again, he constantly checked in on me… My friends and I appreciate all that Ryan has done to make us feel supported this past year.”—Jessica Norkus

John Vassello - Faculty/Staff

John Vassello

“John Vassello has worked tirelessly, along with his colleagues in the Field Office within the Department of Social Work to ensure meaningful field placement opportunities for social work students throughout the pandemic. Most notably, he has curated a catalog of remote activities, from guest speaker series to anti-racist trainings, to support students. Truly, his work has created such meaningful educational opportunities for students that is, to my knowledge, unrivaled in our profession. We are indebted to his efforts during the pandemic.”—Jackie McGinley

Maria Gordon - Faculty/Staff

Maria Gordon

“In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities in the Department of Social Work, Maria Gordon has undertaken several initiatives to support students and our community. In the early days of the pandemic, she collaborated with students to make masks for the local community. She also founded the Department’s Social Work Parent Support Group. Several times a month, she facilitates a group of social work students who are also parents to engage in mutual support and guided activities to ensure their success throughout the pandemic amidst innumerable competing demands. Her efforts have benefited so many, and I strongly believe she is deserving of this recognition.”—Jackie McGinley

Pete Nardone - Faculty/Staff

Pete Nardone

“Pete has been interacting with the students that are doing the outreach calling for those in quarantine/isolation housing. He contacts the callers to provide them with the list, as well as run through how the calling will go and answer any questions. This is completely outside of his normal daily operations, but he has graciously stepped up to cover.”—BethAnn Lubert

Jill Dixon - Faculty/Staff

Jill Dixon

“As associate university librarian for Public Services & Collections and chair of the Faculty Senate, Jill Dixon steered the libraries and the rest of the campus to successful fall and spring semesters. She worked tirelessly to make sure everyone was kept safe, while also ensuring the libraries and campus met their own goals. The libraries were able to offer Bartle To Go to meet the research needs of the Binghamton community fairly early on in the pandemic, and the libraries opened safely in the fall. She has put in countless hours of work; she is a Pandemic Samaritan.” —Megan Benson

Jennifer Bishop - Faculty/Staff

Binghamton Alum

“Jen has been doing an amazing job in helping get the drivers that take the students needing to be quarantined to the hotel. She puts in many hours above and beyond her normal role to help facilitate this component and ultimately help the students in need. She is a rockstar.”—BethAnn Lubert

Karen Sweeney Cummings - Faculty/Staff

Binghamton Alum

“Karen, along with the other volunteers serving as COVID consultants, has taken on the task of notifying students of positive COVID test results. This volunteer position is not an easy one to take on; at times it can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. Her advising duties have her working at SUNY Broome for a portion of her week, a portion spent with Harpur Advising, and now she has added this consultant role, not to mention being a mother of two. Karen deserves recognition for her dedication to Binghamton University and its students.”—Amy Hanford

Emily Sanderson - Faculty/Staff

Emily Sanderson

“She, for the most part, manages all of us undergraduate volunteers at the COVID surveillance testing center on campus. She does so much work there and is always extremely helpful. Whenever someone can’t make a shift or needs to leave early, she’s super accommodating. She is always just a bright, smiling face in the clinic and makes the shifts pass a lot easier.”—Anna Craig

Mary Chu - Faculty/Staff

Mein Bowl worker Mary Chu

“I feel that Mein Bowl Mary is a Pandemic Samaritan because, despite the horrible and depressing things going on in the world, she will always make you smile and forget about it for even just a moment. She also hands out socks and other things for free to the students she meets, making sure they stay warm and healthy during the colder months. She cares so deeply about everyone she meets and is just a ray of sunshine. I always look forward to running into her at the MarketPlace.”—Angelina Hammond

“She’s always incredibly positive, really cares about the students and is the highlight of the University Union, reflected in her unanimous admiration from the student body. Despite much of the seating/dining options being altered on campus, I can always count on visiting Mary for some amazing takeout and having a super positive interaction.”—Owen Holland

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/courtneyaslan.photography

Maeve Kelly - Student

Binghamton Alum

“Last year, when the pandemic first hit, Maeve was a Volunteer VP for Hinman Council and continued her role virtually. She also volunteered her time with Capital Roots, a local vegetable farm in Albany, over winter break. She also worked as a grocery delivery driver. This school year, she is serving as the President of the Binghamton University Running Club and has made great efforts to be inclusive to underclassmen during these tough, mostly virtual, times.”—Allison Squillante

Doug Russell- Faculty/Staff

Doug Russell

“Doug is our IT person, who has worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to make sure everyone in CCPA has what they need to work safely from home. If it weren’t for him, all of us would have risked exposure on campus or in the Downtown Center in order to do our jobs. Whenever I had a tech problem and notified Doug, he would go out of his way to help me solve it, even if it meant working on his break, before his day began or after hours. He is amazing and deserves recognition for his service!”—Rhonda Branca

Komla Dzigbede- Faculty/Staff

Komla Dzigbede

“Komla was my professor last semester for one of the most notoriously difficult classes in the MPA department: PAFF 527, Budgeting and Financial Management. Every class, Komla was kind and generous to his students, making sure that we were all okay emotionally, mentally and physically before we continued with the lesson. I always appreciated his attitude towards his students, treating us with respect and kindness, first and foremost. Something that stood out to me was when he said in class, ’Make sure you take care of you first. Everything else, all of the assignments, can come second.’ I really appreciated that and I was grateful for his attention to the well-being of his students.”—Isabel Londono

Campus Mail - Faculty/Staff

Campus Mail

“We had to scramble to mail boxed senior awards and envelopes in a hurry when COVID hit, and needed their guidance and had many questions. Then we had 135 study packages for our incoming freshmen in our summer program that needed mailing/tracking. Then there were the Summer Program Allowance checks to be mailed/tracked followed by the Book Stipend checks, same thing. All ASAP and they are always ON IT!”—Jill P. Murphy

Allison Khin is an intern in the Office of Media and Public Relations and a senior majoring in English rhetoric. She loves scrolling on social media, listening to Queen and watching “The West Wing.”

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.