- High School: Corcoran, Class of 2005
- Major: Electronic Media Communications with a focus on television and video production
Michael J. Phelps came to Onondaga Community College to pay tribute to his mother’s memory. Kimberly Lethbridge spent many years taking classes at OCC. During her time on campus she was a member of the Student Association. She finally earned a degree in Human Services in the spring of 2010. Three months later she passed away. Today Phelps is also an officer in the Student Association and an outstanding student. “Graduating from this college and participating in leadership positions is in homage to her. It’s a way to honor everything she did to help me become the person I am,” said Phelps.
Phelps took a non-traditional path to OCC. After graduating from high school he joined the United States Army. During his six years as a human resources specialist Phelps visited nearly 30 countries. “Getting to see the parts of the world I saw helped me grow as a person. I wish everyone would have the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad, understand how the world works and think more globally.”
Phelps enrolled at OCC in 2013 as a Math & Science major. He struggled and decided to take time away from higher education. He returned in 2015, became an Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major and earned Provost List honors. “I found a curriculum I could relate to and excel at and it made all the difference. The EMC major here is phenomenal. The talent pool in the faculty is amazing.”
Outside class Phelps is very involved in campus. As the Student Association’s Vice President of Media he crisscrosses campus weekly, putting the latest posters highlighting college activities on bulletin boards. Phelps is also a member of the Entertainment Planning Board, the College Leadership Committee, the Diversity Council and a participating member in the Diversity Circle.
Being an officer on the Student Association affords Phelps the opportunity to meet once a month with College President Dr. Casey Crabill and discuss what’s happening on campus. “She really wants to relate to the student body and understand issues students face. She’s a one stop shop for fixing those issues. She’s an advocate for the student body.”
There was a time in Phelps’ life when socializing with and representing others didn’t seem possible. He’s a high-functioning autistic student who found the assistance he needed at the College’s Office of Accessibility Resources. “Daneen Brooks is a phenomenal caseworker. She’s a big reason why I’m successful on campus. As a student officer I’m able to interact with others. It’s made a big difference and helped me grow as a person.”
Phelps will earn his degree in May 2017. He plans to transfer to a four-year college and pursue a film-related degree.