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Two SBU Students Win Inaugural “Future Leaders in Policy” Competition


On April 27, the Rockefeller Institute of Government announced the winners of its first annual Future Leaders in Policy competition, which showcases the best of SUNY undergraduate and graduate research in public policy. Stony Brook’s Gabby Mayers and Stephanie Taboada were two out of the three students that received the award.

Leading up to the virtual event, students worked with Rockefeller Institute researchers to refine their presentations and enhance their policy communication skills. On April 16, participants presented their research to a diverse panel of judges made up of New York State leaders and policy experts who selected the winners. Mayers and Taboada will be given an opportunity to work with Rockefeller Institute experts to further develop their research and will receive $500 upon publication of their research with the Institute.

“The inaugural Future Leaders in Policy competition was a great success,” said Rockefeller Institute Executive Director of Research Laura Schultz. “The participants did an outstanding job presenting their original research to our judges. We look forward to continuing to work with the winners to publish their research in the coming months. We also want to thank our judges for volunteering their time to provide a unique professional development opportunity for SUNY students.”

Mayers won for their presentation, “Addressing the Racial Disparities and Homophobia in Mental Healthcare.” Mayers is a senior sociology student and has dedicated much of their time as an undergraduate to presenting research aimed at addressing racial and social issues at conferences. 

Taboada was awarded for her presentation, “Potential of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) to Decarbonize New York’s Energy System.” Taboada is a chemical engineering PhD candidate whose research focuses on advancing renewable natural gas production and utilization in New York State by providing the following: a comprehensive statewide resource assessment, optimization of an emerging pathway to produce RNG, known as power to gas (P2G), and creation of a pathway to produce valuable feedstocks, such as synthesis gas, from renewable natural gas.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The Institute conducts cutting-edge research and analysis to inform lasting solutions to the problems facing New York State and the nation. 

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