Pinwheels for Prevention

Bright, shiny pinwheels reflecting in the sun filled part of the quad in front of Ferrante and Mawhinney Halls. The pinwheels were placed there by children who attend OCC’s Children’s Learning Center as part of “Pinwheels for Prevention.” The event was held Monday, April 13 in conjunction with Syracuse’s McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. The goal of the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, as well as to increase the community’s ability to protect children through child abuse prevention and education. Students enrolled in the College’s Criminal Justice major also participated in the event, helping children place pinwheels in the ground.

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Bertina Bailey

Bertina Bailey grew up on a dairy farm in the Cortland County community of Marathon. She graduated from Marathon Central School in 2010 and enrolled in OCC. Bailey worked multiple jobs while commuting daily and double majoring in Criminal Justice and Humanities with an Honors minor. She was a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. During her final year as a student Bailey lived in a residence hall and served as an RA. She was awarded a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence for her outstanding academic performance and contributions outside of class.

Bailey plans to attend the National University of Ireland in Galway where she will study psychology. Her goal is to become a psychological profiler with the FBI. She credits OCC with setting her on her career path. “If you’re not sure what you want to do, a community college is a great choice. OCC helped me decide what I wanted to do. I am forever grateful and will remember this College forever.”

Human Library Brings Books To Life

Students had the unique opportunity to ask books questions during the Human Library event at Coulter Library. People played the role of “books,” sharing their personal stories with students in one-on-one or small group settings.

Pauline Lynch Shostack (left) and Angela Weiler (right) organize the event.
Pauline Lynch Shostack (left) and Angela Weiler (right) organize the event.

This was the third year the College hosted the event. “It’s grown each year in a number of ways,” said Pauline Lynch Shostack, Chair of OCC’s Coulter Library. “We had more students signing up for the event in advance, more human books participating, more volunteers working and longer hours for the event. It’s exciting how popular it has become.” Shostack and Angela Weiler, a Reference and Instruction Librarian, organized the event.

A huge schedule and list of books covers a wall in Coulter Library.
A huge schedule and list of books covers a wall in Coulter Library.

The Human Library was held on the third floor. Volunteers at a registration table greeted “books” and “readers” as they arrived. The wall behind the registration table was covered with a massive schedule of sessions and complete listing of all of the books. Volunteers worked to piece everything together and keep the schedule running on-time.

Rooms throughout the remainder of the floor were filled with colorful and informative conversations, and some visual presentations as well. Christine Braunberger, an English/Reading/Communication Professor, was the human book, “Stories in the Flesh: Tattoo in America.” Braunberger and student Cody Watson discussed each other’s tattoos. Watson is a student-veteran who served a year in Afghanistan while stationed at Fort Drum. “It was great to speak with her. She had an instant understanding of my tattoos and their origin,” said Watson.

Student Arlene Brodbeck, who is majoring in Communications, made an appointment with the book, “93Q Radio Personality.” The book was Amy Robbins who has been a staple in the Syracuse radio scene for more than a quarter of a century. “It was a wonderful experience to hear how she started and to understand there’s a lot more to her day than just talking on the radio,” said Brodbeck. “She told me the way to get started in the business is to get your foot in the door somewhere with an internship.”

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Student Nick Swan, a Computer Information Systems major, was inspired by his book “Syracuse Firefighter.” Swan’s conversation with firefighter Patrick Foody left him pondering his career options. “It was amazing. It really opened my eyes. I didn’t know much about firefighting but now I’m considering a career in it.”

The Human Library is made possible in large part thanks to the event’s sponsors: OCC Foundation, Student Association, Diversity Services and American Food & Vending.

Award Winning Art

The colorful and creative work of OCC Art students was celebrated during the 14th annual Student Art Exhibition in the Atrium of the Whitney Applied Technology Center. The exhibit culminated with a pizza party and award ceremony on April 8.

Students were given 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards in the following categories: Color Theory, Computer Graphics, Design, Digital Photographer (studio and non-studio), Drawing, 2D Design, 3D Design and Mixed Media. Commercial Art Supply, located at 935 Erie Boulevard East in Syracuse, generously donated gift cards to the winning students.

Event attendees were able to vote on the event’s big prize, the “People’s Choice Award” and the $200 prize that comes with it. The winner was a painting titled Yeo Rum Ei Ggot by student Hyun Noh. The painting is pictured at the top of this story.

A pizza party and award ceremony capped off the 14th annual OCC Student Art Exhibition in the Atrium of the Whitney Applied Technology Center.
A pizza party and award ceremony capped off the 14th annual OCC Student Art Exhibition in the Atrium of the Whitney Applied Technology Center.

Sai Htet Aung

Sai Htet Aung came to OCC from Myanmar on the advice of his sister who was studying for her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Syracuse University. “She told me come to OCC for my first two years to save money. I wound up getting a lot more than I expected!”

While majoring in Business Administration Aung served on the Student Advisory Council for the new Learning Center, was Vice President of the Student Association and Vice President of the Student Association’s Executive Committee. “My experiences taught me a lot about teamwork, understanding others strengths and weaknesses and how to get the most out of everyone.”

Aung is a member of student honor society Phi Theta Kappa. In April he was honored in Albany as one of only six OCC recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

After graduation Aung will transfer to Utica College and major in Construction Management. He also plans to earn a masters degree before returning to his home country and helping others. “I want to share what I have learned and ensure future generations receive better education.”

LinkedIn to Success

One of Central New York’s leading communications experts shared valuable advice with OCC students as part of a LinkedIn workshop. Crystal (Smith) DeStefano, a 2004 graduate of the College, led the presentation April 1 in a computer lab in the Whitney Applied Technology Center. Smith is President and Director of Public Relations at Strategic Communications, LLC.

Crystal (Smith) DeStefanno, '04
Crystal (Smith) DeStefano, ’04

Students attending the workshop learned how to create a new LinkedIn account and enhance existing accounts. DeStefano’s advice included: different ways students could give themselves a title and describe their strengths, explained how to turn a resume on LinkedIn into a PDF which could be used when applying for jobs, and detailed how students could customize their LinkedIn page URL.

During her presentation DeStefano emphasized how permanent everything on social media is. Students were surprised when DeStefano told them every tweet they post on Twitter is recorded in the Library of Congress.

Student Charles Curran poses for a professional head shot as photographer Chuck Wainwright takes his picture.
Student Charles Curran poses for a professional head shot as photographer Chuck Wainwright takes his picture.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to pose for a professional head shot. Photographer Charles Wainwright of Wainwright Photo took individual photos in front of a professional background. The photos were emailed to each student for his or her use.

Chanel Turnquest, a Professional Communication major, enjoyed the workshop. She has worked in real estate for more than 20 years and is considering a career change. “I’m interested in the public relations field. I found this to be very informative and enlightening regarding how to get the most out of LinkedIn, build my career and use it to build my business.”

The LinkedIn workshop was sponsored by OCC’s Office of Alumni Relations and the Career and Applied Learning Center.

cropped Linkedin Workshop Team Photo
LinkedIn Workshop attendees pose for a group photo with presenter Crystal (Smith) DeStefano, ’04 (front row, second from right).