Edwin Michel

Edwin Michel (center) became a United States citizen during a naturalization ceremony in Storer Auditorium in November 2016. Behind him are New York State Acting Supreme Court Judge Michael Hanusczak and OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

Two of the highlights of Edwin Michel’s life happened in OCC’s Storer Auditorium. In April he was inducted into the College’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. A year-and-a-half earlier, in November of 2016, Michel became a United States citizen during a naturalization ceremony there. “It was amazing becoming a citizen. I love America, the freedoms it gives you and your rights. It’s a great country.”

Michel is from Autlan, Jalisco in Mexico, the same town legendary guitarist Carlos Santana hails from. Michel attended college after high school but wasn’t ready. “I did not like it and I did not do well. All of my grades were really bad.”

Michel recites the Oath of Citizenship.

Michel joined the United States Army and did three tours of duty in Afghanistan. While a member of Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division he met the woman who would become his wife. After he completed his military service they married and settled in Central New York.

He took a job working construction but his mind was elsewhere. “My wife had come to school here and earned a Nursing degree. She told me OCC was a great school and I should try it.” His wife, Grace Michel, now works as a Nurse Practitioner.

He examined the list of majors OCC offered and decided to enroll in Computer Forensics in time for the spring 2017 semester. College went much better for him the second time around. “I had more discipline thanks to my time in the Army. When I came back to school I felt better about myself.” He was also aided by faculty members who were always willing to assist. “All of my teachers were amazing. If I asked for help they helped me out. Teachers actually encouraged us to ask questions.”

In the fall the 31-year-old Michel will be a student at Le Moyne College. He plans to major in Cyber Security and hopes to one day deter criminals from stealing information and shutting down websites.

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