Helping Kids in Need

TOP OF STORY School-Supplies

A campus-wide school supply drive is underway. All donated items will go to children in the Syracuse City School District in grades Pre-K through 8. Any school supplies and clothes will be accepted and distributed to those in need.

Donated items can be dropped off in the Nursing area, Ferrante Hall, room 101 between now and Friday, September 9. The entire effort is being organized by Maggie Collins (498-2549 ) and Carole Ciciarelli (498-2360

STEM Scholars

TOP OF STORY STEM Scholars 2016-17 003

Students enrolled in OCC’s STEM Scholars program held their first meeting of the semester Friday, August 26. College President Casey Crabill welcomed the students to campus and encouraged each of them to make the most of everything the program offers. “We’re excited to have you on campus and have this opportunity to support you and make sure you have a good start to whatever science or technology field draws you in. We have high expectations for each of you,” said Crabill.

The STEM Scholars program is an entry point for students interested in pursuing a career within a growing industry. New York State ranks 3rd in the nation for projected growth in STEM jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 477,000 STEM-related jobs will be available in New York by 2018.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. OCC offers nine different STEM degree programs including:

  • Computer Forensic Science
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering Technology
  • Engineering Science
  • Environmental Technology
  • Math and Science Liberal Arts
  • Mechanical Technology
  • Nuclear Technology

Students selected to be STEM Scholars at OCC receive a scholarship renewable each semester provided they maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and continue full-time progress toward their associate degree.

The College’s STEM Scholars program is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation totaling nearly $600,000, ensuring students in specific programs have both merit and need-based funding. Selected STEM scholars receive scholarships up to $5,000 per semester, and are also supported by peer mentors, faculty mentors, and are encouraged to engage in internship opportunities that will prepare them for their transfer and career choices.

OCC’s STEM Scholars program is coordinated by Associate Professor of Biology Maryann Page.

Natalia Montilla

Natalia Montilla
Natalia Montilla
  • High School: Nottingham, Class of 2015
  • Major at OCC: Engineering Science

Natalia Montilla’s college experience started while she was attending Nottingham High School thanks to the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP), an organization which provides assistance to students who may be at risk or underprepared for college or a career. “Through LPP I was able to take summer classes here for free. LPP helped me get my feet wet so when I became a student full-time I was more prepared.”

Montilla enrolled in the College’s Engineering Science major and was accepted into the STEM Scholars program. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Montilla’s area of study is one of nine STEM-related majors the College offers.

Montilla’s support system on campus includes the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP) and Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Program (L-SAMP). “Both have provided me the opportunity to meet students with similar mindsets. I’ve made a lot of friends who have similar classes so there is always someone I can ask if I need help with a project.”

In September 2016 Montilla was honored by the community-wide Hispanic Heritage Month Committee for her accomplishments while in high school and college. She received an award at the opening ceremony for Hispanic Heritage Month, La Casitas “Balcon Criollo.”

Montilla will earn her associate degree in 2017. She plans to pursue both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering. She credits OCC and the organizations she has been a part of with helping her build a strong foundation. “I’ve felt so comfortable here. There is always someone available who can help you.  Every new connection I make is so helpful. You can really succeed at OCC as long as you are willing to put yourself out there.”

Finding His Way at OCC

TOP OF STORY Jacob Nicholson singing
Jacob Nicholson (singing) credits the outstanding environment in OCC’s Music major with helping him discover his career path. He is pictured with student Shane Bucci in the Academic II Recital Hall.

It’s June 2014. Jacob Nicholson is about to graduate from Pulaski High School in Oswego County. In two months he’ll be a freshman at SUNY Potsdam’s prestigious Crane School of Music majoring in music education. A plan is in place but something doesn’t seem right. “At the time I felt really unsure about pursuing that major, or even music at all,” said Nicholson. That’s when he made the decision to come to Onondaga Community College, a decision which would change the course of his life.

OCC Music Professor David Rudari
OCC Music Professor Dr. David Rudari

Nicholson arrived on campus in time for the fall 2014 semester. People made him feel comfortable right away beginning with a music professor. “Dr. David Rudari became my advisor. He was very welcoming and encouraged me to continue with music. He explained how much I could grow working with faculty and students.”

Dr. Rudari remembers his first meeting with Nicholson and time spent with him during his two years on campus.  “Jacob came to us as the majority of our students have; eager, talented, active in their home school’s performing arts organizations, actively searching for his niche in the vast world of Music.  He readily transferred his skills and enthusiasm to our Department and established himself as a strong leader.”

Nicholson enjoyed speaking with fellow Music majors as well and learning their plans. Through those conversations he discovered the path he wanted to take. “I had an interest in psychology and had heard about music therapy from my peers, so I started reading more about it in books and online.”  Music therapy is an established health profession in which music is used to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals. “After my research, I was just about positive that music therapy was what I wanted to do.”

Music Therapist Clare Arezina
Music Therapist Clare Arezina

Nicholson became co-president of OCC’s Music Club. In that role he helped plan a career panel with individuals who had pursued different careers involving music. That’s when he met Clare Arezina, a music therapist who worked at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. “I asked her all of my unanswered questions. It solidified my career choice.”

Today Nicholson is enjoying his first semester at SUNY Fredonia where he’s majoring in music therapy. He’s grateful for the guidance he received during his two years at OCC and the impact it had on his life. “The professors encouraged us to use them to help decide what we wanted to do. When I was fresh out of high school I wasn’t confident in what I was doing. Now I feel more confident about pursuing music therapy than I ever have about anything. I’m grateful for the opportunities I received at OCC.”

Shakespeare Behind Bars

TOP OF STORY Malkiel Choseed
OCC Writing Professor Malkiel Choseed

The inspiration came to Malkiel Choseed while he was attending a workshop focused on arts programming within prisons. Choseed is a professor who teaches writing at OCC. On a chilly February night he was watching a screening of the documentary, “Shakespeare Behind Bars” during which inmates in a Kentucky medium security prison were acting out a play and using the experience to reflect on their personal experiences. The screening also included a conversation with renowned prison arts practitioners Curt Tofteland and Tom Magill. “I started thinking about the possibility of doing something in a facility here,” said Choseed. “I also had to consider my own safety. Once I thought it through I knew I wanted to do it.”

Fast-forward four months. It was Monday, June 13. Choseed was inside the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy about 10 miles west of Utica. He was surrounded by nine residents along with Therapeutic Assistants and other facility staff members. Choseed was leading a discussion about the Shakespeare play, “Macbeth.” It’s a violent tragedy which dramatizes the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake. “We talked about the language and how you read the play. We talked about the characters in the play. I took them to a couple of moments and we tried to figure out why Macbeth made the choices he made and what the consequences were.”

Choseed found the conversation throughout his two hour presentation to be fascinating, especially while they were discussing Shakespeare’s portrayal of Macbeth who committed monstrous crimes against people. “One of the residents said, ‘I did a monstrous thing but I’m not a monster.’ It was intense.”

Choseed started and ended his conversation with the same message to the residents. “I told them, ‘I’m not a psychologist and I don’t work in the prison system; I teach English and Shakespeare. My goal is to have you feel more comfortable about reading and understanding a Shakespeare play.”

Choseed was encouraged by what he heard as he wrapped up his appearance. “The vocal residents seemed like they enjoyed it and said they would like to do it again. The psychologist who was there said it went well. I told her I would enjoy volunteering again some time.”

The effort turned out to be a therapeutic one for Choseed whose mother had passed away a few months earlier. She was a social worker who helped people with mental illnesses. “It didn’t matter who people were or what they had done. She always helped people both in her professional and personal life. Her life was an inspiration for me to do this. The individuals I spent time with did terrible things but if Shakespeare can help them learn or recognize what it is to be human that’s something positive.”

from Object to Figure

TOP OF STORY Gallery Exhibit - From Object To Figure 032The first gallery exhibit of the academic year is open for viewing! “from Object to Figure” by sculptor Ronald Gonzalez opened Tuesday, August 23 in the gallery at the Ann Felton Multicultural Center. It is located on the first floor of Ferrante Hall directly beneath Storer Auditorium.

Gonzalez is a native of Johnson City, NY and a graduate of SUNY Binghamton where he is a professor of art and sculpture. “from Object to Figure” is a series of black figures made from schematic steel armatures assembled together with a wide assortment of objects, antiques and collectibles.

The exhibit is open to the entire campus community and the public Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final day of the exhibit will be Tuesday, September 27.

Below is a slideshow of some of Gonzalez’ work in the gallery.

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Author of the Alma Mater

Paying tribute to Philip G. Klein for creating the College's Alma Mater are (left to right) Music Professor Dr. David Abrams, OCC President Dr. David Abrams, Klein and his daughter Amy Klein who is a Professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
Paying tribute to Philip G. Klein for creating the College’s Alma Mater are (left to right) Music Professor Dr. David Abrams, OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill, Klein and his daughter Amy Klein who is a Professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Philip G. Klein has left an indelible impression on OCC. He’s a founding member of the College’s signature Music department who served as a professor from 1963 to 1985. He is also the author of the College’s Alma Mater.

At Convocation for the fall 2016 semester Klein was honored for his role in creating the Alma Mater. College President Dr. Casey Crabill presented Klein with a plaque which contained his original sheet music. During the ceremony he played the Alma Mater on keyboards while Music Professor Dr. David Rudari, D.M.A. sang along.

A larger Alma Mater plaque was hung on the second floor of Academic II which is the home of the Music program. Below are Klein’s words to the Alma Mater.

The Alma Mater hangs in the Academic II building.
The Alma Mater hangs in the Academic II building.

Sing we now a song of praise

That everyone may hear,

A song of our own Alma Mater

To all hearts so dear.


All hail, our Alma Mater

Most noble sight to see!

We gratefully acknowledge

Our faith and trust in thee.

Happy hours at Onondaga

Go too quickly by;

But words of truth and golden wisdom

Will not ever die.


Though the years may come and go,

Sweet mem’ries ever dwell

Of friends and days at Onondaga

That we loved so well.


Below you can see and hear the OCC Concert Choir sing the Alma Mater in the Recital Hall of the College’s Academic II Building.

Jerry Tingley

TOP OF STORY Jerry Tingley
Jerry Tingley
  • High School: East Syracuse Minoa, Class of 2015
  • Major at OCC: Computer Studies

Jerry Tingley became an outstanding student as a freshman on campus. “I got motivated during my first semester. Something clicked and I really became interested in school. I realized I could accomplish what I wanted in life if I kept improving my grades. Now I’m trying to do the best I can.”

After two strong semesters Tingley was inducted into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He’s serving as the organization’s Vice President for Leadership during the 2016-17 academic year.

Tingley is part of the College’s STEM Scholars program and is pursuing a degree in Computer Science, a major he’s seem destined for since his youth. “When I was 12 I knew I wanted to work with computers. I taught myself how to program so it seems natural to me. Programming is what I really like to do.”

Tingley will receive his degree in May 2017. He plans to transfer to a four-year college and pursue a dual major in computer science and mathematics. “I feel like I’ve come so far here at OCC. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

New Student Leaders

2016-17 Student Association Officers are (front row, left to right): Henry Humiston, Michael Phelps, Vernon Macklin and Deyoni Stith. Back row left to right: Sandy Klinzman, Joanna Reyes and Liz Angle.
2016-17 Student Association Officers (front row, left to right): Henry Humiston, Michael Phelps, Vernon Macklin, Deyoni Stith, (back row left to right): Sandy Klinzman, Joanna Reyes and Liz Angle.

A new group of officers have been selected to lead the Student Association during the 2016-17 academic year. The new student leaders are:

Sandy Klinzman, President

  • Major: Humanities
  • HS: Marcellus


Deyoni Stith, V-P of Clubs & Organizations

  • Major: Business Administration
  • HS: Clara Barton in Brooklyn


Vernon Macklin, V-P of Entertainment

  • Major: Electronic Media Communications
  • HS: Institute of Technology


Michael Phelps, V-P of Media

  • Major: Electronic Media Communications
  • HS: Corcoran


Joanna Reyes, Student Representative on the Board of Trustees

  • Major: Humanities & Social Sciences
  • HS: Cicero-North Syracuse


Liz Angle, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • Major: Early Childhood Education
  • HS: Oneida


Henry Humiston, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • Major: Nuclear Technology and Electronic Engineering Technology
  • HS: Faith Baptist Academy


The Student Association provides students with opportunities for governance while developing leadership skills and serving the needs of the student body. Elected student officers and professional staff collaborate with students, faculty, staff and administration to identify and deliver programming and services that reflect the needs and preferences of the student body.

You’re Hired! – Anthony Olmstead ‘15

Anthony Olmstead '15 in his office at Kishmish
Anthony Olmstead ’15 in his office at Kishmish

Onondaga Community College is filled with opportunities for students who seek them out. Anthony Olmstead is proof of that. He started at a four-year school, found it wasn’t the right fit and left after one semester. He spent a year working and knew he needed to pursue higher education. His passion for computers attracted him to OCC. “I knew a two-year degree would help me start my career faster without accumulating more debt.”

Internship Coordinator, Rose Martens
Internship Coordinator, Rose Martens

Olmstead enrolled in the Computer Science major, took classes part time and eventually became a full time student. During his second year on campus he tried to network with local companies related to his major but struggled. That’s when he paid a visit to the College’s Career and Applied Learning (CAL) Center which provides a variety services aimed at helping students gain employment. “I met with Rose (Martens) there and she was wonderful. She helped me with my resume and was able to line me up with a couple of prospective internships in only three or four review sessions.”

In January 2015 Olmstead became an intern at Kishmish, a Syracuse company which provides businesses of all sizes with innovative solutions in IT, data, voice and digital marketing. He worked three days a week, found himself getting more immersed in the company and loved every minute of it. “Getting that ‘real world’ experience through the CAL Center set me on a course for success. The day-to-day workforce experience can’t be learned in the classroom.” Throughout the semester Olmstead’s hours expanded. In May as he was completing work toward his degree, Olmstead was offered and accepted a full-time position. He’s grateful for the opportunity he found at OCC and the path it set him on. “I got where I am today because of my passion for the work I do and because I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. I would not be where I am without OCC and the CAL Center.”