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David Cobb, a 2013 University at Buffalo graduate, is on his way to Japan after being selected for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Cobb leaves July 26 and returns a year later.

JET is in its 27th year and promotes grass-roots international exchanges between Japan and other nations. Cobb is one of just 100 Americans selected in a pool of 4,000 participants from 40 countries.

He has been hired as an assistant language teacher. His job will be to help Japanese English teachers effectively teach English using a native speaker’s point of reference. He will also be responsible for writing and implementing lesson plans.

A 2008 graduate of Hutchinson-Central Technical High School, Cobb graduated from UB with a focus on international studies and a minor in the Japanese language. Cobb said that it was his early interest in foreign correspondence journalism that pushed him to go abroad.

Cobb honed his journalism skills as a high school reporter and anchor for the “YGB” news radio show for “young, gifted and black” teens sponsored by the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists. In 2008, Cobb won the association’s $1,000 Carl R. Allen Memorial Scholarship for aspiring journalists.

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Sean Mendez of Buffalo, a senior at University of Alabama, designed an exercise device for fruit flies, potentially enabling a UA geneticist to better understand obesity. Mendez works in Dr. Laura Reed’s research laboratory. She is an assistant professor of biological sciences. The device, named the Treadwheel, will likely be the centerpiece of an upcoming National Institutes of Health funding proposal, Reed says. Flies share enough biological similarities with humans to potentially draw effective insight into human obesity and metabolic syndrome, Reed says. For example, flies can contract diabetes and, as they age, heart disease. Their insulin-signaling pathways, key in diabetes, share similarities with those of humans, as do their kidneys, liver and the types of tissue where fat is stored.

Mendez has been accepted into medical school at the University at Buffalo.

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Twenty-six students from Western New York were the finalists for Outstanding Scholar Awards in Genesee Community College’s Advanced Studies program. They were honored at a reception May 28 at the Stuart Steiner Theatre at GCC’s Batavia campus. The finalists were selected from more than 165 nominations in the subject areas of mathematics, science, social science, foreign language and English.

Listed by school within their subject areas, awardees are:

• English – Courtney Jones, Batavia High School; Katie Pummel, Dansville High School; Olivia Fish, Monroe 2 BOCES; Abigail Feldman, Lyndonville High School; and Michael Spink, Attica High School.

• Foreign Language – Kaitlyn Nowak, Alden High School; Lucas Audsley, Byron-Bergen High School; Briar-Rose Murphy, Avon High School; Alise Pangrazio, Albion High School; and Thomas Finnigan III, Attica High School.

• Mathematics – Gerald Kotas, Alden High School; Tyler Barrett, Notre Dame High School; Joseph Goodhue, Caledonia-Mumford High School; Martha Smith, Albion High School; and Jacob Stanek, Attica High School.

• Science – Mathew Minotti, Alden High School; Tyler Barrett, Notre Dame High School; Lindsay Piraino, Keshequa High School; Shelby Kunker, Holley High School; and Anthony Monteleone, Warsaw High School.

• Social Science – Jordan Kersch, Alden High School; Tyler Barrett, Notre Dame High School; Lily Cisco, Livonia High School; Benjamin Kaiser, Barker High School; Brett Zicari, Albion High School; and Renae Gozelski, Letchworth High School.

Advanced Studies is part of the College’s ACE program, or Accelerated College Enrollment, and allows high school students the opportunity to earn college credit from Genesee while attending class within their high school. High school teachers approved as Genesee adjunct faculty teach all advanced studies courses.

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Tyler Carpenter, a recent graduate of City Honors School, is the third recipient of the annual Drake M. Francescone Memorial Scholarship. She was nominated by her physical education teacher, John Kudla, as a student who exemplified the characteristics of a model physical education student and City Honors’ volunteer.

A member of the school’s varsity track, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading teams, Carpenter is a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Eggertsville, where she has established workshops in the fundamentals of track and volleyball. She plans to pursue a career in pediatrics.

Drake M. Francescone was a member of the physical education staff at City Honors and varsity sports coach in his 23 years at the school prior to his death in 2011. The $8,000 award is made possible through a contribution made by Francescone’s father, Joseph R. Francescone.

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Four Notre Dame Academy students were recipients of the eighth annual Marie Jackson Golf Committee scholarship award for their essays. Each student will have $1,500 paid to the Catholic high school they choose to attend in September. The winners are Claire Hildebrand, Elizabeth Pantano and Mary Catherine Thie, who will attend Mount Mercy; and Michael Klodzinski, who will attend Bishop Timon-St. Jude.

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Kenmore resident Dr. Joseph A. Sciandra has been named president of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association. He has been an NYSPMA trustee for 12 years, working to ensure that the highest quality of health care is available to the citizens of the state. He has served on numerous professional committees and is the past president of the Western New York Division of the NYSPMA. In addition, he is a director and immediate past president of the Foundation for Podiatric Medicine.

Sciandra graduated from Canisius College before attending the New York College of Podiatric Medicine in New York City, where he received his doctorate degree. He has served as a diplomat to the American Board of Podiatric Surgery since 1986. He has practiced podiatric medicine in Western New York for three decades with offices in Buffalo and North Tonawanda.

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People Inc., a nonprofit human services agency, has been awarded the four-year, national Person-centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership.

The accreditation was based on proficiency in ensuring fundamental safeguards related to health, safety and human security; supporting and empowering people to achieve their goals; and demonstrating organizational commitment to continued enhancement of systems directly related to person-centered services.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com