Recent SUNY Brockport Graduate Joins SUNY’s First Student Advocate Fellowship Program

Shay Gauthier in cap and gown

The State University of New York’s Advocate Fellowship Program, designed to drive student-centric policy initiatives across SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities, announced its first class Monday.

The program, launched in April by Chancellor Jim Malatras, PhD, welcomed four recent graduates — including Shay Gauthier ’21.

The Student Advocate Fellows will sit on the executive leadership team to address pressing issues including affordability, access, academic quality and success, racial and social justice, mental health services, resources for students with disabilities, and food insecurity, among others. Other fellows come from University at Albany, Mohawk Valley Community College, SUNY Geneseo, and SUNY Old Westbury.

Gauthier will be working as a communications fellow to develop and implement a communications strategy to address issues and opportunities raised by students, as well as help promote SUNY programs that make it one of the most affordable and accessible in higher education.

“Throughout my time as a student journalist, I focused on being a voice for the voiceless,” said Gauthier, who was a journalism and broadcasting major at Brockport. “Having the opportunity to continue to acknowledge the challenges faced by students on a statewide scale is something that will not be taken for granted.

She was the right fit for SUNY’s Communications and Marketing team, “following extensive experience as a reporter and on-air personality, where she presented on important conversations such as, mental health, racial injustice, and issues surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community,” according to a statement.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the SUNY team in an effort to make the system more accessible and inclusive for students,” she said.

The four appointed fellows, Gauthier, Kaitlyn Bertleff, Kalief Metellus, and Taryn Rackmyer,represent the best qualities of our SUNY campuses as leaders and advocates for their fellow students and I congratulate them on this prestigious appointment,” said Eunice Lewin, a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

The fellows will report directly to SUNY Student Advocate and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs John Graham and serve a two-year appointment.

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