Weekend of Champions

The SRC Arena and Murphy Field will see plenty of activity the second weekend in May.
The SRC Arena and neighboring Murphy Field will see plenty of activity the second weekend in May.

LAX Championships at OCC logos-FinalThe “Weekend of Champions” is coming to the Onondaga Community College campus!

The College will honor academic achievement Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. when it hosts commencement in the SRC Arena and Events Center.

The Men's Lacrosse team hopes to earn another national championship banner on its home field.
The Men’s Lacrosse team hopes to earn another national championship banner on its home field.

That same weekend the College will also host the NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championships. The semi-finals will be played Saturday, May 14 at Murphy Field which is adjacent to the SRC Arena. Game times are 12:00 and 2:30 p.m. The Lazers will be the #2 seed and play at 2:30 p.m.

The national championship game will be played Sunday, May 15 at 1 p.m. OCC’s Men’s Lacrosse team has won seven consecutive national championships and will have the luxury of pursuing its eighth in a row on its home field.

Student Commencement Speaker

TOP OF STORY Marissa DeLand - student commencement speakerMarissa DeLand will be the student speaker at Onondaga Community College’s commencement. The event will be held Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center. “I’m honored to have been chosen,” DeLand said. “This year has been filled with numerous opportunities and I am excited to end it with this final opportunity. I can’t wait for commencement day!”

DeLand is a 2013 graduate of Marcellus High School. She came to OCC with the intention of fulfilling her general education requirements, transferring to a four-year college and pursuing a pharmacy degree. During her third semester she changed her mind, kept her Mathematics and Science major and decided to add on a Business Administration major. “I’m fortunate I realized here I wanted to change majors rather than at a college which cost a lot more money. A lot of students think they know what they want to do and they go to a bigger, more expensive school. Then they realize they want to change their major but now they owe a lot of money and it’s like they are starting over.”

DeLand loves helping students, whether they’re currently enrolled at OCC or considering coming here. She can often be seen working as a Student Ambassador, leading high school students and their families on campus tours. DeLand also serves as a Peer Connector assisting students through the class registration process. In the fall 2015 semester she joined the Student Association as Vice President of Clubs and Organizations. She oversees all of the clubs on campus and makes sure they get what they need.

The OCC experience has been perfect for her. “I’ve loved it. I like the small class sizes and how personal you can get with your professors. They know your name and what you want to do after OCC. If I would have gone from Marcellus to a place with much bigger class sizes it would have been difficult.”

DeLand will transfer to SUNY Oswego and major in business administration. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in project management.

Champions of Opportunity

OCC's 2016 YWCA Champion of Opportunity Award recipients are (left to right) Paul Aviles, Denise Reid-Strachan, Dr. Glenda Gross, Pete Patnode and Jamie Sindell.
OCC’s 2016 YWCA Champion of Opportunity Award recipients are (left to right) Paul Aviles, Denise Reid-Strachan, Dr. Glenda Gross, Pete Patnode and Jamie Sindell.

Five Onondaga Community College employees received the “2016 YWCA Champion of Opportunity Award.” They were honored April 21 at a luncheon held at SKY Armory in downtown Syracuse. OCC’s honorees were:

  • Paul Aviles, English Professor and Tutor
  • Dr. Glenda Gross, Sociology Professor
  • Pete Patnode, Criminal Justice Professor
  • Jamie Sindell, English Professor and Chairperson of English/Reading/Communication
  • Denise Reid-Strachan, Financial Aid Administrator

The awards are bestowed upon individuals who embody and defend the values of justice, peace, dignity and equality, are actively leading or participating in programs that embrace and promote equity, equality, diversity and inclusion, conduct work that supports opportunities for women’s growth and leadership and/or works or advocates for the creation of opportunities for professionals of color, within Central New York.

The luncheon was emceed by OCC Professional Communication Professor Mark Muhammad. The keynote speaker was Melanie Littlejohn. Ms. Littlejohn is Regional Executive Director for National Grid and a member of OCC’s Board of Trustees.

Career Coach

Workforce Coordinator Jay Harrison holds a informational session on Career Coach during the College's Spring Open House.
Workforce Coordinator Jay Harrison holds an informational session on Career Coach during the College’s Spring Open House.

Jay Harrison would loved to have had Career Coach when he was growing up in the Bronx. Harrison tried five different college majors before finding the right one. “Career Coach could have helped me identify what field was best for me and give me a backup plan,” he said.

CROPPED career coach screen grab
Career Coach is free for use by the public.

Today Harrison is a Workforce Coordinator at Onondaga Community College. His focus is Career Coach, a free website that allows anyone to explore potential careers. Users enter information about themselves. In return they learn about employment prospects for careers which suit their interests. Real-time information is customized to the Central New York region. It includes detailed wage estimates and related, up-to-date job postings. Career coach also highlights OCC academic programs which are aligned with specific jobs. “Sometimes students will choose a field but not know what they should study. This gives students answers in details the need.”

Career Coach has a specific section tailored to Veterans. They can enter their military occupation code and it will be matched to similar civilian careers.

Career Coach includes a resume builder to help students and jobseekers quickly and efficiently put together an updated resume which highlights key skills and job experience.

Career Coach is free for use by the public. You do not have to be an OCC student or alumni to access the online service. Users do not have to create an account but doing so will save information related to previous searches.

Career Coach is part of the Onondaga Pathways to Careers (OPC) project and is funded by the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). ODEP’s goal is to increase the capacity of community colleges to provide inclusive integrated education and career development, and training services to youth and young adults with disabilities. The project is designed to assist young people with disabilities to enroll at OCC, earn a credential and acquire a job that pays a living wage.

For more information, please contact Jarrell Harrison, OPC Workforce Coordinator at j.r.harrison2@sunyocc.edu.

Dan Quackenbush

TOP OF STORY Dan QuackenbushDan Quackenbush came to OCC with a passion for films and computers and wound up earning degrees in both. Quackenbush graduated from Cicero-North Syracuse high school in 2014 and entered the College as an Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major. While earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average in EMC he also chose to pursue a degree in Computer Information Systems. “I enjoy doing film work but decided to shift focus. I’ll keep doing film work on the side but my priority is computer networking,” Quackenbush said.

While earning two degrees in two years Quackenbush achieved membership in international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and was named one of the College’s five recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. He also earned the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, was Vice President of the Politics Club and received the Civic Engagement Recognition award in recognition of his more than 500 hours of volunteering during his time on campus.

In the fall Quackenbush will transfer to the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) where he will major in Computer and Information Technologies. He’ll leave OCC with an appreciation for how the College helped him advance to R.I.T. “I can really see how what I learned here is going to help me tremendously in the future, not only at four-year schools but the basic knowledge I have picked picked up. It’s helped me with jobs and will continue to do so.”

Student Honors

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OCC honored many of its best and brightest Wednesday night during the Student Honors ceremony in Storer Auditorium. Faculty members singled out the top students in each of the College’s majors. Curriculum Honor Awards were presented to the following students:

  • Accounting                                                                                    Frances Klaiber
  • American Sign Language                                                            Joshua Ambrose
  • Architectural Technology                                                           Matthew Romano
  • Art                                                                                                    Gregory Minix
  • Automotive Technology                                                              Charles Miller
  • Business Administration                                                             Nicholas Claver
  • Business Technology                                                                    Tina Salsbery
  • Computer Information Systems                                                Karen Gonyea
  • Computer Science                                                                         Anatoliy Dinis
  • Criminal Justice and Public Safety                                            Micah Keach
  • Electronic Media Communications                                           Jade Lewis
  • Emergency Management                                                             Leighann Bulich
  • Engineering Science                                                                      Molly Adams
  • Environmental Technology                                                          Jennifer Miranda
  • Fire Protection Technology                                                          Katelyn Schroeder
  • Health Information Technology/Medical Records                 Tara Curley
  • Hospitality Management                                                              Chanhvone Xaysanavongpeth
  • Hospitality Management                                                              Mark Bennett
  • Human Services                                                                             Ashlyn Leonard
  • Interior Design Technology                                                         Tsai-Yuan Liu
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences: Adolescent Education                       Mary Sorensen
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences: Childhood Education                        Pearl Fischer
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences: Early Childhood Education             Cecelia Clark
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences: General Studies                                  Olivia Onoff
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences: Humanities and Social Sciences     Toni Jones
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences: Mathematics and Science                Ahmad Salah
  • Mechanical Technology                                                               Aaron Fleming
  • Music                                                                                               Darci Prentice
  • Nuclear Technology                                                                     William Quigley
  • Nursing                                                                                           Stacey Boettcher
  • Photography                                                                                  Joanna Goncalves
  • Physical Education & Exercise Science Studies                      Thomas Benedict
  • Physical Therapist Assistant                                                       Elisabeth Bialczak
  • Professional Communication                                                     Jennifer Riddle
  • Surgical Technology Assistant, CERT                                      Sarah Turner
  • Telecommunications Technology – Verizon                           Joel Glimpse
Toni Jones (left) receives one of two awards from OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.
Toni Jones (left) receives one of her two awards from OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

A series of awards were also presented to students who achieved excellence on local, regional and national levels. Those winners and the awards they received were:

  • Civic Engagement Recognition Award             Yezenia Rodriguez
  • Outstanding Service-Learning Award              Shanesha Menzies


SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

  • Leighann Bulich, Toni Jones, Jade Lewis, Daniel Quackenbush, Iga Szczepanik


President’s Volunteer Service Award “Silver Level”

  • Individual – Leon Porcello
  • Team: Rita Brush, Shaowen Cheng, Lindsy Coon, Kaylee Hartley, Kira Kelley, Joshua McGinley, Hannah Rhodes


All-New York State Academic Awards

  • First Team                Iga Szczepanik
  • Second Team           Leighann Bulich

Student Honors attendees were treated to outstanding musical performances by Music major and Soprano Katherine C. Joslyn who was accompanied by Dr. Kevin Moore on the piano. They collaborated on the National Anthem, Mozart’s Una donna a quindici anni from Cosi fan tutte and the OCC Alma Mater.

Soprano Katherine C. Joslyn performs while accompanied by Dr. Kevin Moore.
Soprano Katherine C. Joslyn performed while accompanied by Dr. Kevin Moore.

Jobs for Students and Alums

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OCC Student Beatrice Faida
OCC Student Beatrice Faida

Beatrice Faida came to OCC’s Job & Experience Fair April 20 in search of a job. Faida took her time going through the Allyn Hall gymnasium, perusing the 90 employers who had set up displays and hung their banners in search of employees. “It was great the way there were so many businesses in one place,” Faida said. “You could never visit all of them in one day if they weren’t here.”

Nearly 400 job seekers attended the fair which was organized and presented by the College’s Career and Applied Learning Center. It was the headliner in a series of events which began in March, all aimed at helping students and alumni find jobs. Related events focused on resume and LinkedIn profile writing, good and bad things to say to a prospective employer and how to dress for an interview and work. The Center collected donated professional clothes for students and alumni to utilize for interviews and jobs.

Professional clothes collected for students and alums.
Professional clothes were collected for students and alums.

As for Faida, she’s a second semester student who is a native of Tanzania. She’s involved in the Liberty Partnerships Program which provides assistance to students who may be at risk or underprepared for college or a career. Her goal is to find employment assisting others. “I want a job where I can help people from other countries who have gone through a transition to the United States like I have.”

The College’s Career and Applied Learning Center is open year round to help students like Faida and alumni. You can learn more by contacting the center at (315) 498-2585 or calcenter@sunyocc.edu.

Feats of Clay

TOP OF STORY Feats of Clay Gallery Exhibit 031The 29th edition of Feats of Clay has returned to OCC’s Gallery! The annual competition highlights high school students who demonstrate excellence in the area of ceramics.

Feats of Clay is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final day of the display is Thursday, May 5. The following day more than 20 participating schools will meet on OCC’s West Quad and take part in the “Feats of Clay Olympics.” Events will include the “Cylinder Stack,” “Mug Production,” “No Hands Throw,” “Blindfold Throw,” “Pot Put” and the “Highest Coiling.” The school which does the best will receive a trophy. The Feats of Clay Olympics will begin at 9:45 a.m on Friday, May 6.

Below is a slideshow of some of the student art work on-display in the gallery.

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Join Our Team!

Student Ambassadors at the Spring 2016 Open House
Student Ambassadors at the Spring 2016 Open House

Onondaga Community College is looking for Student Ambassadors for the 2016-17 academic year! Student Ambassadors give campus tours to prospective students and their families. Student Ambassador is a paid position which helps you gain valuable public speaking skills and networking opportunities. If you are interested in being a Student Ambassador contact Paula Bernardoni in our Office of Student Recruitment at (315) 498-2723 or p.l.bernardoni@sunyocc.edu.

Paula Bernardoni
Paula Bernardoni

Emory Haynes

TOP OF STORY Alyssa Haynes

Emory Haynes experienced one of those transformational moments during her senior year at Solvay High School. As secretary of the school’s Key Club she was invited to a regional conference in Albany. “The main speaker was a representative from the Thirst Project which is a non-profit, college-based organization that goes to places in Africa that don’t have access to clean, reliable sources of water and builds fresh water wells. His presentation was very powerful.”

That day helped her decide she’d like to pursue a career in environmental activism. During the fall 2015 semester Haynes was named president of the Whole Earth Club. Her outstanding academic performance led to her induction into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). She’s majoring in Mathematics and Science with an Honors minor and is PTK’s vice president of leadership.

Haynes has benefited from her involvement with OCC’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, known as C-STEP. “It’s fantastic. It gave me access to resources that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have. With C-STEP you have an advisor who knows you, knows what’s best for you, what classes you should be in, what you’re capable of taking and genuinely cares about the outcome of your success.”

Haynes will earn her OCC degree in December 2016, just three semesters after enrolling. She plans to transfer to SUNY-ESF.