Learning opportunities can happen anywhere and at any time. For OCC alum Joe Grande his positive experiences in OCC’s residence halls turned into his career.
Grande graduated from Whitesboro High School in 2011. He chose to attend OCC because the College offered students the opportunity to live on campus. “OCC was one of the first area community colleges to invest in residence halls and that was a main focus in my decision making,” he said. Grande became an RA (residence assistant). The leadership position set him on an unexpected career path. “The experience made me want to work in higher education. It drove me to pursue this as my line of work.”
Grande entered OCC as a General Studies major but switched to Human Services because of his residence hall experience. He credits Human Services Professor Tina May and Residence Life Director Dr. Cathy Dotterer with being mentors and friends who he has maintained relationships with since graduating.
Grande transferred to SUNY Oswego where he participated in a residence hall internship and earned a Sociology degree. He’s now at Buffalo State working as a Residence Director and pursuing a master’s in higher education and student affairs administration. After graduating this May he plans to continue working in residence life. He sees a career in that area as his way of contributing to student success. “College students first few months on campus are critical. They have to give it a chance because living on your own, making good choices and maturing as an adult can be just as important as the academic side of a college education.”