Mikayla Banack

  • Major: Biology
  • High School: Central Square, class of 2016

It took Mikayla Banack less than a semester to realize she should have come to Onondaga Community College first. Banack graduated from Central Square High School in June of 2016. Two months later she was enrolled in a four-year college. “Around Thanksgiving I was thinking, ‘I’m wasting so much time and money here not knowing what I want to do.’”

Banack finished the semester, then came to OCC in January 2017. “I took random classes to try to figure out what I wanted to do. I was in a gen ed (general education) class where we explored careers and our strengths and weaknesses. After a lot of tests, I saw the medical field was the direction I would go in.”

Banack explored different options and realized anesthesia interested her the most. She took her first Biology and Anatomy classes and everything clicked. “I loved them both. I realized I loved learning and how the human body works.” Finding subject matter she was passionate about motivated her to become an excellent student. “I applied myself more than I ever did. I realized I could do it and really started to push myself.”

Banack did so well in class she was inducted into the College’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). This semester she is the PTK Vice President of Service. Every week she volunteers somewhere in the community and enjoys the satisfaction she gets from helping others. “I feel like both parties benefit from community service. There’s nothing that makes me feel as fulfilled as community service. It gets me so excited. I enjoy meeting people and making connections. Afterwards I feel like I made a difference.”

Between the community service and other PTK responsibilities, Banack has seen herself grow as a person. “I’ve learned leadership and communication skills. This kind of leadership requires all of us to do things together, to have fun and to make a difference in campus and community life. I only have classes two days a week but I come to campus every day because I love being here with PTK.”

This is Banack’s final semester on the OCC campus. In the fall she’ll be majoring in Biomedicine at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). As a PTK member she qualified for extra scholarship money which helped make attending RIT a reality. She’s looking forward to her time at RIT but will miss those she will be saying goodbye to. “I’ve met so many awesome people here. There were wonderful people who were always ready to help me with whatever I needed.”

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