Stony Brook University senior Anthony Machuca is among a group of Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students from across the State University of New York (SUNY) system to receive the Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for Student Excellence.
Machuca ’22, of Deer Park, New York, is a triple major, working toward degrees in health science, psychology and sociology with minors in health, medicine and society, and health and wellness. He is a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, where he acts as a liaison communicating the needs of students within the College of Arts and Sciences, and he is a member of the President’s Council of Student Advisors, offering thoughtful, evidence-based insights to the university president on key issues affecting the student body.
Machuca is a member of both the EOP and the Collegiate Science and Technology Program. He previously served as a peer mentor and student success coach, and now holds the position of advocacy chair for the Educational Opportunity Program.
“I’m honored to have received this award, as it represents much more than my effort,” said Machuca. “Woven within its fibers are the legacies of EOP students past, present and future. It serves as a conduit containing the dreams of my family that urges us to reach higher. It acts as a celebration of the lessons my teachers were kind enough to share. Lastly, it’s symbolic of the love and pride that I feel when I say I was an educational opportunity student.”
The McConney Award — named after the man who helped draft legislation that established EOP as a statewide program in SUNY — is an honorary degree that recognizes students who have exhibited academic success, perseverance and leadership qualities during their journey to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Only one student from each SUNY campus with an EOP program wins each year. A total of 45 EPO students received the award this year.
“The students we celebrate today have their own story on how they got to SUNY, but they are unified by their incredible perseverance in pursuit of their academic dreams,” said SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. “Despite personal hardships, these individuals are driving forward to change the world.”
Since its inception in 1967, the EOP has provided access, academic support and supplemental financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. In its 55-year history, the EOP has served more than 78,000 students and evolved into one of the country’s most successful college access programs.