Up the Ladder published on Feb. 15

Vennessa Walker

NU's Mason honored

Jerrell Mason, director of the Niagara University Opportunity Program, was selected as the recipient of the 2021 Sarah Piraino Advising Award by WNY Advising, a collaborative group of advisers and higher education professionals in the greater Western New York area, Ontario, and beyond. Mason received the award during the organization’s annual conference on Thursday.

“In his work and life, Jerrell displays the strong leadership and passion for student success reflecting the legacy of Sarah Piraino,” said Christopher Sheffield, vice president for Student Affairs at Niagara University. “His mentorship and guidance have helped students to achieve beyond their own expectations and serve to catalyze Niagara University’s mission to serve others for the benefit of the local and global community.”

Mason, who has served in a variety of advising capacities in NUOP over the past five years, is being honored for his enthusiasm for the profession and his work with the students supported by the program—educationally and/or economically disadvantaged students who are disproportionately from under-represented backgrounds and often first-generation college students. Mason has also become a mentor and informal advisor for a number of students of color outside of the NUOP program, and he advocates on their behalf across campus. During the holidays, he coordinates an annual concert to raise funds used to help students meet basic financial needs and enable them to remain in school.

The award is named for University at Buffalo academic advisor Sarah Piraino in memory of her dedication to the WNY community and to helping others establish experience in the career field of higher education. It recognizes outstanding achievements from a professional in the field of advising.


Bagneschi named Schoellkopf Health Center administrator

Christopher J. Bagneschi has been named administrator of the Schoellkopf Health Center.His appointment was announced by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo.

Bagneschi is a licensed nursing home administrator and holds both a master’s degree in dietetics and an advanced certificate in Nursing Home Administration from D’Youville College. He previously served as an adjunct professor and student preceptor at D’Youville.

A former registered dietitian at Schoellkopf, Bagneschi has been the center’s acting administrator since last November.


Walker promoted at NU

Vennessa Walker has been appointed to the position of executive director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at Niagara University. For the past seven years, she has helped to lead the university’s planning, assessment, and accreditation endeavors.

Walker joined the Niagara University community in 2013 as the director of institutional research. In this role, she was instrumental in organizing and strengthening the university's data resources and managed Niagara’s regulatory reporting, institutional analyses and reports, and assessment projects.

In addition, she has been actively engaged in a number of areas on the campus, and has served on several committees, including the Identifying and Dismantling Racial Injustice Task Force, the University Planning and Resource Council, the Academic Senate, and the Institutional Effectiveness and Reporting Committee.

Walker received her Ph.D. in psychology from West Virginia University with a concentration in behavioral analysis.


Counseling Services appoints clinical supervisor

Counseling Services of Upstate New York has appointed Ashley Bates as clinical supervisor. In addition to overseeing the clinic, Ashley will bring her expertise in trauma informed therapy to CSUNY. The new appointment is a new chapter for the growing mental health clinic located on Broadway in the East side of Buffalo.

Bates brings several years of experience, notably clinical supervisor at Horizon Health Services prior to her position at CSUNY. Bates obtained her M.S.W and B.S from University at Buffalo, graduating with Highest Honors.

“I’m honored to take part in shaping a new mental health clinic serving the Western New York area. At CSUNY, we seek to uplift the wellbeing of our community through building connections and offering best care to those in need. I’m excited to continue providing trauma-informed care to our patients and embedding its principles into our organization as we continue to grow and thrive,” Ashley said.

Counseling Service of Upstate New York opened its doors in the Broadway Community in October of 2019. CSUNY offers mental health services including individual therapy, group therapy, couple/ family counseling, Psychiatric assessment and Psychiatric medication management. All services are offered via tele-mental health (in-person services are also available at this time upon request). For more information about CSUNY, please visit www.csuny.net or call 716-304-4411.

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