Dr. Deirdre Hunter, ’02

Dr. Deidre Hunter (center) with some OCC CSTEP students and Program Director, Drake Harrison (back right)
Dr. Deirdre Hunter (center) with OCC C-STEP students and Program Director Drake Harrison (back right wearing red sweater)

Dr. Deirdre Hunter’s interest in STEM-related fields began at an early age. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Hunter loved to follow her father around while he worked as a mechanic, tuning-up engines in his garage. “I was always fascinated by the work my father did. He had to understand the importance and delicate nature of each part to have the engine run properly.” Her interests put her on a unique path. “For me it was all about gaining knowledge. It never crossed my mind to not take courses in certain fields based on my gender because it all came so naturally to me.”

Dr. Hunter with Professor Eugene Camerota
Dr. Hunter with Professor Eugene Camerota

Hunter came to Onondaga Community College and enrolled in Engineering Science. “After the first class I knew I had made the right choice. The class sizes were small and students were all very dedicated. We were all financing our educations and had a vested interest in succeeding.” One of Hunter’s professors, Eugene Camerota, encouraged her to continue her education beyond OCC. “He saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. He helped me fill out an application for Syracuse University and mailed it. I am forever grateful for his encouragement.”

Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse and in 2015 added a doctorate in engineering education from Virginia Tech. Today she is the Director of U.S. Development at La Gran Familia de Gregory in Mexico. Hunter develops programs that expand educational, economic and sustenance opportunities for the children living in the home and surrounding neighborhood in an effort to provide opportunity and hope for the future. She credits OCC with helping build the foundation for her success. “If I would have attended a four-year university right out of high school I do not think I would have excelled academically to the extent that I have. For me OCC was not an only choice, it was my choice.”

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