Amil Vargas Castillo has lived the words he shared with fellow students at the December Graduate Recognition Ceremony. “Don’t give up. Sometimes we have to fail to become successful. I never gave up and now I am an exceptional student.”
Castillo shared reflections on his journey with fellow graduating students December 6 in Storer Auditorium. He’s a native of Puerto Rico who began taking classes at OCC in August 2014. He was far from home and fighting to survive academically. “I struggled a lot the first semester and almost didn’t make it. I nearly lost my financial aid but I didn’t give up.”
Castillo found the support he needed in the office of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). “The people in the CSTEP office became my family here. They helped me with books, counseling, where to go for tutoring and so many other things. My best friends at OCC I met in CSTEP. It’s where I got to know myself.”
Castillo went from a struggling student to one who earned all “A’s” and “B’s” and is now the proud owner of an associate degree in Mathematics & Science. He plans to transfer to Clarkson or the Rochester Institute of Technology and pursue a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. Castillo credits OCC with helping him build the foundation which has made the next stage of his education journey possible. “Coming to OCC was the best decision I ever made. It was an amazing experience. I am way better prepared for a four-year school now than when I started here.”
Congratulations to Amil Vargas Castillo and all of our December 2016 graduates!