The OCC Effect (Part 2)

The OCC Effect Staff Shots 008 (1000px)

Earlier this month we launched, “The OCC Effect”. We wanted to hear from our former students about the ways in which OCC has impacted their lives. Below are a few of the stories we’ve heard so far!

If you would like to join in the conversation please visit our Alumni web site and tell us what your OCC experience has meant to you. Your success is a significant part of OCC’s story which began more than a half-century ago when we first opened our doors in 1961. We’re proud our middle name is “community” and we’d love to hear what OCC’s effect has been on you.

John M. Chapman, ’78

  • Major: Business
  • Occupation: JMC Advisory
  • Resides in Fairport, New York

I attended OCC for two years and graduated with a degree in business. This was a great affordable education and provided me the foundation to continue my education at Long Island University, C.W.Post College. My educational experience at OCC gave me the confidence to ask questions, explore new areas and expand my learning in advancing my career and additional education.

Julianna Clum, ’16

  • Major: Mathematics and Sciences


Julianna Clum
Julianna Clum, ’16

It is hard to put into how OCC impacted my life because it did in so many ways. I was lucky enough to spend two years at this institution and it was the most memorable years of my life. I played on the women’s soccer team and it showed me how to manage my time wisely but also gave me some unforgettable memories. I am lucky enough to still be close friends with some of my teammates today. I also worked as a math tutor in the Learning Center and it was the BEST. I could actually talk about everyone that works there for hours and about the amazing memories we all made with one another. When I graduated the entire staff signed a t-shirt and made a cake for me and I’ll cherish that forever. Finally, the biggest thing that made an impact on my life at occ was becoming an RA. I was an RA for 3 semesters and I wouldn’t take it back for anything. As an RA I learned responsibilities, time management but also went deeper and was able to experience training in things I never thought i would have. If I never became an RA I would not have the friends I have today. I would not be the person I am. It really shaped me and helped me realize the hardships college students actually face. But the greatest thing of all was the friendships. I met my best friends by working on programs, bulletin boards and being on one another’s staff. I will always be thankful for what res life has done for me and the opportunities OCC gave me.


Bruce Hahn, ’92

  • Major: Engineering Science
  • Occupation: Supply Chain Management
  • Resides in Syracuse, New York


Bruce Hahn, ’92

OCC has impacted life in more way than one!  In Spring, 1988, as a junior in high school, I signed up to take a calculus I course at night. The instructor, Ms. Marcellus, was inspirational with her counseling as well as teaching.  She kept telling me that even though the coursework came easy to me, I should take notes and work out every problem as if it didn’t come easy.  The following year, I took calculus II at night.  I was going to high school fulltime while also balancing a full-time job.  Professor Leonardo was motivating and the second excellent professor of many during my OCC career!


When I graduated from high school, my destiny was set with attending Onondaga Community College to pursue an A.S. degree in Engineering Science. In my first semester, I met the two best physics professors in all of my education, Professor Camerota and Professor Fleck.  I still remember the classes complaining how hard the courses were and how there seemed to be no relief in the grading.  Thirty years later, I can safely say these professors got it right.  When you moved on, you knew your physics!  (By the way, my daughter is presently taking physics at OCC, and the class appears to have the same comments so Professor Camerota doesn’t seem to have changed – excellent news!) By the time I graduated from OCC in Spring, 1992, I couldn’t thank the school enough for all that I had experienced:  Phi Theta Kappa, a faculty scholarship, solid math and science foundation, engineering fundamentals, lifetime friends, and a stepping stone to my four-year college experience.

Upon graduating from Binghamton University with my Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, I came back to my roots in Syracuse to work at Welch Allyn, Data Collection Division.  In 1998, I obtained a master degree from Cornell.  OCC prepared me well for all of my education.  In Fall, 1999, I decided to explore getting my professional engineering license.  I self-studied before taking the test in Spring, 2000.  As I understood the statistics, I was part of the 2% that passed the test in taking it for the first time and only 11% that passed the exam that Spring.  I contribute this purely to the Engineering Science program from OCC.  Not a professional day goes by where I don’t reflect back to something I learned and still use today from my OCC experience.

During my adult life, I continue to have an excellent career, travel the world, meet many wonderful people, worked on several technical projects with peers, negotiated business deals, and raised three beautiful, smart children.  I honestly owe all of this to how my life was impacted positively by Onondaga Community College.

Lynn Dailey, ’72

  • Major: Music
  • Occupation: Retired Music Teacher

I had a great education as a music major at OCC.  I was able to transfer to the Crane School of Music and graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree 2 years after OCC.  I taught Elementary and Middle School Band as well as K-8 general music and chorus.  The knowledge I gained in every music class I took at OCC was used in my successful career!  I am now retired, but still am very active in music.  I play in 4 community bands and teach private lessons.

Even more important than my education, was how I was able to grow as a person and become self-assured and confident while a student at OCC.  I met my future husband, who was also an OCC student.  We have shared 41 years of marriage!  Thank you OCC!

Thomas Carello, ’74

  • Major: Bussiness
  • Occupation: VP Business Development
  • Resides in Syracuse, New York

In the 70’s in Syracuse, you usually went to work for one of the many manufacturing plants in the area. A lot of my friends did. Not knowing what I wanted to really do and being a solid C student I applied and was accepted to OCC at Mid Town Plaza.  To be honest that was where I started growing up a bit.  I volunteered to be on the student paper as an assistant editor. They were desperate and eventually I ended up the business manager.  When I graduated I went to work in a commercial communication store called Nu-Tronics. It is still there today in Eastwood.  I used a lot of what I learned at OCC in my business endeavors there.  I eventually wanted to expand myself and went to work as a road salesman again and my OCC education helped.  I liked the road and in 1983 went to work for a Japanese Company called Uniden America Corp.  They had a two-way radio division and, because I had a college degree and two-way radio experience, was offered the job as Regional Manager for the North East.  I worked there eventually getting promotions to Vice President of Sales.  I worked for a few foreign companies until finally coming back to Syracuse for personal reasons in 2000. My jobs have taken me all over the world meeting all kinds of different businesses and people and it was all because I had a two-year degree from OCC.   I have had a great career and I found out that 2 years is better and more affordable than 4 and if you have the desire, it can be all you need.

Nancy Shepard, ’96

  • Major: Office Technology
  • Retired

I attended OCC when I was 50 years old and our youngest child was 12 years old.  I began my studies intending to be a social worker because I was interested in Social Justice issues and had volunteered with the Fresh Air Fund and in the classroom at the Beard School in Syracuse.  After one semester I decided that administration was more suited to my abilities and switched to office technology.  My most difficult course was typing/keyboarding.  Training these fingers to touch type was a struggle that I am so glad I conquered with perseverance. The communications class taught by James MacKillop gave me the confidence to speak before a group.

After graduation, I worked at Syracuse University for a communications law professor at Newhouse for one year before moving to the Maxwell School of Public Administration as coordinator of two undergraduate courses, Global Community and Critical Issues for the U.S.  Part of my job was to attend the professors’ lectures with the students.

Our youngest child’s tuition was free because I had worked at S.U. long enough by the time he was a college freshman.  I retired in 2005 to spend more time volunteering with Catholic Charities refugee resettlement.  I am on the Social Justice committee of Immaculate Conception Parish and joined Fayetteville-Manlius Neighbors and Newcomers, a social organization that has lots of fun activities for empty-nesters and retirees.

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