Finding Identity: Chidera Joseph ’16


Major: Business Administration

High School: Jamesville Dewitt

Chidera Joseph came to the United States from her native Nigeria when she was adopted by her aunt. She went through the Jamesville-Dewitt school system and when it came to graduate only one thing was one her mind. “I just wanted to get away from Syracuse because I was having all of these different feelings and felt getting away would help solve all of those issues.” However, Joseph’s aunt, Anthonia Joseph, resisted her impulse and implored her to think about attending a college more local, particularly OCC. “My eventual decision to go to OCC was not mine, it was my aunt’s, because she knew a simple move was not going to be cure all and would in fact only add to my struggles.”

She arrived at OCC in 2014 with the sole intent of coming for one year and then transferring, so her first year only involved her to go to class, work and then back home. When her grades came in her aunt knew she could do better and told her she would need to finish her degree before transferring. It was during her second year, where she began to have a change of heart which in turn led to her transformation. “During my second year I made more of an effort to get involved and I was really surprised on windfall of opportunities that came my way because of it, which totally reversed my initial thought process about attending OCC.”

Joseph was highlighted during the 2016 commencement ceremony.

Joseph would get involved in student government, become a calculus tutor, and participated in the campus’ Race and Ethnicity Conversation Circles and join OCC’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). With her new found energy and interest came a windfall of opportunities from a host of campus employees, including President Dr. Casey Crabill, which drove her to reach further and dream bigger. “Dr. Crabill, Professor Jerry Farnett, Professor Eunice Williams and Mr. Drake Harrison all had a tremendous impact on my second half success at OCC and during my transfer process to Cornell University. I came calling to their respective doors many times for a multitude of reasons and never once was I turned away.”

She is currently on track to graduate this December with a Communications degree with a focus on pre-law. Recently, Joseph had her honors topic selected, which is a highly competitive feat, so she will be researching and writing her thesis on The Effect of Media on Black Youth in the School to Prison Pipeline. After she completes her studies she plans on attending law school with a focus on family law so that she can dedicate her expertise towards children and women. Ironically, after becoming an attorney her dream is to come back to Syracuse. “I want to work on the South side, and after attending OCC Syracuse will always be home to me, and I feel it is important to come back and give back in the community that invested in you.”

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