Jen Boback

  • High School: Adirondack, class of 2006
  • Major: Alcohol & Substance Abuse Counseling

Jen Boback’s military experience set her on her career path. During her nearly four years in the United States Army she realized there was a need for people who specialized in counseling and helping others. “In the military alcohol and substance abuse is part of the culture, especially for coping and stress. I talked to people a lot, gathered information and did research to try to understand and manage why they rationalized and behaved the way they did. I thought seeing my peers drinking was a phase. As time passed I learned it wasn’t a phase and was becoming permanent for too many people and a huge part of our culture.”

Boback completed her military service in December 2016 and one month later began taking classes on the OCC campus. “I returned to New York after the Army because I wanted to go to Syracuse University. I decided to start at OCC and work my way up. I thought with the program here I could build a good foundation for a career in mental health.”

During her time in the Army, Boback displayed a strong work ethic. She was a distinguished honor graduate in her training class with the highest grade point average as a Watercraft Operator. She also spent nine months in Kuwait where she completed many sailing missions. Her experiences have served her well on campus. “I learned a lot of lessons that translate to college work. I understand things on a deeper level and am able to contribute by sharing a range of experiences and perspectives.”

During the fall semester Boback was inducted into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). This semester she is serving as the chapter’s Vice President of Scholarship. “I really like all of the things PTK does and the opportunities it offers. The responsibilities we have help develop professional skills. I also enjoy the many volunteering opportunities which allow me to engage with the community.”

Boback enjoys staying busy outside class. Besides her role with PTK she is also Treasurer of the Veterans Club at OCC, works at a pet store, volunteers at the Museum of Science and Technology, will be engaging in service learning at the Northside Learning Center and is just beginning an internship at Syracuse Behavioral Health Care.

When Boback earns her degree in December she will be the first member of her family to do so. She plans to transfer to Syracuse University and continue to pursue her goal of becoming a psychologist.

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