- Major at OCC: Communication Studies with an Honors minor
- High School: Bishop Grimes, class of 2009
Andrea is a high-achieving student, a mentor to fellow students and a successful intern at one of Central New York’s top companies. The life she presently leads makes her past seem like a distant memory. “It’s 180 degrees different from what it used to be. My first time here at OCC I got D’s and F’s. Now I’m getting A’s.”
Andrea was born in Romania, adopted as an infant and brought home to Central New York. Her adoptive mother had a heart condition which made childbirth too risky. Unfortunately, she would pass away when Andrea was in elementary school. “I never wanted to try in school. I believe one of the reasons I didn’t was because of the emotional trauma I was going through. It affected my well-being and education.”
Nearly a decade ago Andrea came to OCC after earning her high school diploma. After a semester-and-a-half she quit school. Andrea drifted. “I was really lost. I was in and out of jobs and abusive relationships.”
One day while in Binghamton she walked into a church for the first time in three years. “I had never been there before. Somehow I felt like I was home. Things started changing in my life.” A short time later she would go to school, become a New York State Licensed Cosmetologist and gain experience in salons.
In the spring of 2016 Andrea decided to take two classes at OCC @ Liverpool; English and Introduction to Psychology. Regular encouragement from Professors James Resti and Thomas Zino motivated her to do well. “They would say and write things on my papers like, ‘You have a good grasp of the material. You demonstrate advanced critical thinking skills.’ I was blown away they would take the time to compliment me. I was hearing things about myself I’d never heard before.”
In the fall 2016 semester Andrea took two more class, this time at the main campus. A Public Speaking class with Dr. John Trombetta proved inspirational. “The confidence I gained in myself through that class was unbelievable. It made me think I could really make a difference.”
Andrea was inducted into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) during the spring 2017 semester. She had achieved a 4.0 grade point average with the classes she had taken since coming back to OCC and continued to retake old classes from 2009 she had done poorly in. “Being a PTK member has given me so many advantages. I feel like I’m ahead of the game.”
Andrea’s transformation has been noticed across campus. “As an educational advisor, I related Andrea’s story to many of the students I work with,” said Steve White. “Andrea truly represents the best OCC has to offer and I enthusiastically recommend her as someone who will not only be an asset to any organization she joins, but also as someone who will serve as a catalyst and as a leader, inspiring and making those around her better.”
Outside class Andrea works as a Peer Connector in OCC’s Advising Center assisting fellow students with the registration process. She’s also an intern in the Corporate Communications office at SRC, Inc., an independent, not-for-profit, research and development corporation which applies science, technology and information to solve grand challenge problems in the areas of defense, environment and intelligence. “It’s been a great experience being a student there, learning things in the classroom and seeing things in the workplace as well.”
Andrea will earn her degree next May. She plans to transfer to a four-year college.