- Hometown: Liverpool
- Majors @ OCC: Nuclear Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology
Henry Humiston is a 46-year-old-student who will earn two degrees from OCC this May. It’s an accomplishment he never dreamed of until an injury forced him to stop working. “It’s really been unbelievable. Everything has been possible thanks to close loved ones and countless respected professors here.”
Humiston grew up in Liverpool where his parents raised him to have a strong work ethic. “My mother and father weren’t college educated but both were really hard workers. I did chores, I cut grass, I had a paper route. They were really a big influence.”
Despite Humiston’s desire to succeed he struggled in high school. He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder, chose to quit school and earned his GED.
Humiston became a professional drywall finisher. He loved working with his hands, turning sheetrock and plaster into finished walls. Everything changed when he injured his back. “I had to move in with my parents. Mom suggested I go back to OCC.” Humiston had attended OCC in 1990 for a semester but didn’t do well.
Humiston tried to return to work but his back wouldn’t let him. In the summer of 2012 he took his mother’s advice and returned to OCC. This time he brought a new approach with him. “I was a hard worker but I wasn’t a rocket scientist. I figured if I put my hard work into school I could do it.”
Humiston began by taking developmental classes. By his own admission he entered OCC with a 6th or 7th grade education. Humiston credits math professors Olin Stratton and Garth Tsyzka with playing significant roles in his success. “When I got into algebra Professor Stratton realized I didn’t know any geometry. He taught me geometry during his office hours. Professor Tyszka told me I needed to eat, drink and breathe my studies. He also told me I should try the Nuclear Technology major.”
Humiston tried Nuclear Technology and loved it. In May it will be one of the two degrees he receives along with Electrical Engineering Technology. During his final year on campus Humiston has also become a leader, serving as an officer in the Student Association and the student representative on the Onondaga Community College Association Board.
The future is bright for Humiston. He plans to work at a nuclear plant after earning his degrees and he’ll be getting married within the next year. He credits the college with his successful journey. “OCC has been a life-changing experience for me. I’m so glad my mother suggested I come back here.”