- High School: Jordan-Elbridge, Class of 2004
- Major: Business Administration with an Honors minor
Blake is a leader whether he’s counseling people about life choices, serving as an Honors Ambassador or as president of OCC’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). “I love mentoring people. When I was working in retail I enjoyed doing so, as a member of the Business Club I mentored fellow students and it’s the same now in PTK. I feel like with my life experience I can help people.”
Blake spent several years working at a Lowe’s home improvement and appliance store before coming to Onondaga. He enjoyed his job and his co-workers but saw himself getting passed over for promotions by people with college degrees.
Blake started taking classes at OCC in the spring 2016 semester. Two faculty members provided him with constant encouragement. English Professor Helaine Lubar would read his papers and advise him to pursue leadership positions at the college. Business Professor Kristen Costello’s mentoring led him to become a successful student and consider a career in economics.
Blake’s Honors project focused on the National Debt and misconceptions about it. He began working on it during the 2016 Presidential election cycle and asked Costello for advice regularly. “I became very passionate about the topic. I learned a lot about things like debt versus deficit, what makes up the debt, how much of the debt China really owns and how much of the debt is due to Social Security.” Blake presented his paper at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference at SUNY Fredonia in April.
During this past summer Blake interned for New York State Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter and did extensive research on unemployment. Even though his internship ended when the semester began, he felt a responsibility to complete the report and is continuing to work on finishing it.
After earning his degree this December, Blake plans to transfer to a four-year college and major in economics. He credits the faculty with helping him become an outstanding student. “The professors are the biggest resource here. I’ve made so many connections with them. They’ve transformed my time here because of how accessible and willing to work with you they are. OCC is all about what you make of it. I’ve enjoyed it here and really like it.”