OCC student honor society Phi Theta Kappa held its fall induction ceremony November 3 in Storer Auditorium. The College’s chapter, Alpha Sigma Zeta, inducted 135 new members. Students selected must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 and maintain a high academic standing throughout their enrollment at OCC.
Alumnus John Dau, ’05 was the guest speaker. Dau is a former “Lost Boy” who was forced from his home in the South Sudan and spent five years in refugee camps before immigrating to the United States and settling in Syracuse. Dau graduated from OCC and Syracuse University. He is president of both the John Dau Foundation and the South Sudan Institute. His foundation raised enough money to build a medical clinic in South Sudan, bringing services to people who previously did not have access to them.
In April Dau received the American Association of Community Colleges 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award. He was one of only six recipients in the nation. During the PTK induction ceremony Dau was named an honorary inductee of the organization.
“Good morning! Where do you live?” It’s a busy morning at the Lakeside Recreation Center in Geddes and Alexandra Scudder keeps repeating those words over and over as voter after voter comes through the front door. When she finds voters’ names and addresses in the registry she directs them to the corresponding table so they can receive a ballot and vote.
Scudder, a freshman from West Irondequoit, is one of 30 OCC students working at polling places across Onondaga County. Each arrived at their polling places at 5:30 a.m. and worked until the polls closed at 9 p.m. “I’m very excited to be taking part in the process. I think this is an experience so many college students should have,” Scudder said.
A similar scene is being repeated at the Elmwood School Gym in Syracuse where OCC student Jonathan Rowe greets each voter who enters the polling place. “It’s great to speak with each person who comes in here. I really feel like I’m making a difference by working here.”
As the day goes on Rowe, a sophomore from Horseheads, sees a trend developing which was a topic of discussion in class. “Working here and seeing a lack of younger voters has reminded me of what our professors told us about being more involved. I’ve barely seen anyone around my age. The younger generation needs to be involved in our government, how things work and having their voice heard.”
Those words are music to the ears of OCC Political Science Professors Nina Tamrowski and Chris Thuot. They organize the annual effort which results in students working at the polls. “It’s very satisfying every year to know our students are taking part in the process and learning how it works,” said Thuot.
OCC students started working at polling places in 2008 and have done so every year since then. “We always enjoy hearing from students’ right after election day,” said Tamrowski. “They are always thankful for the opportunity and have a much better understanding of how important it is for young people to take part in the process.”
Corrine LaFrance plans to work her way around the world. LaFrance is a Business Administration major who came to OCC after graduating from Skaneateles High School in 2013.
While she was in high school she met two people who became her professional inspiration. “I job shadowed a couple that worked in foreign embassies. The husband was in national defense, the wife worked with cultural studies. I was fascinated with what they did. I love traveling. Doing what they do would be perfect for me.” LaFrance plans to transfer to Grove City College where she will major in International Business.
During her time on campus she enjoyed everything OCC had to offer. LaFrance was a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, the Business Club, the Women’s Soccer team, the Track Club, the National Society of Leadership Success and was a tutor at the new Learning Center. “I loved tutoring in math. I’m very good at it and I enjoyed helping others.”
Despite her global aspirations LaFrance is happy she started her college education so close to home, especially when she speaks with students who wound up transferring here. “I met people in my major who started at four-year colleges. They told me the work here was harder but there were more people here willing to assist you. Between helpful teachers and the Learning Center they did better here.”
When you support Onondaga Community College, you are making a statement that you believe in the importance of quality affordable education for everyone. You are creating new opportunities and new beginnings for students and our greater community.