Life can sometimes get in the way of earning your degree. The Community Care Hub (CCH) can help overcome those obstacles preventing you from earning your education. CCH can connect you with resources to help you find affordable housing, obtain food, connect you with scholarships and other financial resources, help with tax preparation, provide bus bases and more!
OCC awards scholarships year-round to help students finance their education. Fill out the online interest form to get started on financing your education.
Personal struggles shouldn’t get in the way of your education. If you need someone to talk to, come to the counseling center. We’ll help you with what you’re going through and remind you that you’re not alone.
Career Services will be there for you at any time during your time at OCC and beyond. They can help you build your resume, polish interview skills, connect you with internship and job opportunities and more.
The Syracuse City School District (SCSD) is looking for the next group of students who will enter the P-TECH program. P-TECH stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders.
In January the SCSD will host P-TECH Info Sessions for middle school students and Career & Technical Expos for 8th grade students at various locations across the district. More information on dates, times and locations can be found on the SCSD website.
Nearly 100 high school students are taking classes at OCC as part of P-TECH in one of the following majors: Clinical Laboratory Technology, Computer Information Systems, Drone Technology, Electrical Technology, Health Information Technology and Mechanical Technology. All costs associated with the P-TECH program including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.
Four P-TECH students here are on an accelerated schedule. While attending the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) they amassed so many college credits they will earn their associate degree from OCC in just one year. One of them is William DeJesus, a Mechanical Technology major who started receiving job offers before coming to OCC in August. “In my family I’m the first person to go to college. The P-TECH program has opened up so many opportunities for me. It was important for me to get my degree now.”
Three P-TECH students majoring in Electrical Technology are on the same schedule as DeJesus. They received their diplomas from ITC in June 2018 and will earn their associate degrees from OCC in May 2019. They are Imari Gary, Mike Lloyd and Quintin Shanes. The thought of taking college classes before you are college-aged may seem intimidating. Gary said the professors at OCC made the transition seamless. “When we started coming to campus they were all extremely helpful. They knew we were high school students and steered us in the right direction.” A year from now Gary plans to be at the Rochester Institute of Technology pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Technology.
Besides being a full time student Lloyd also works at Carrier as a lab technician. He’s hoping his position there will become full time after he earns his degree from OCC. “I’m definitely glad I did this program. My parents picked it for me. I wasn’t on board with it at first but now I really like it.”
By contrast, Shanes seemed destined for Electrical Technology. His father is an engineer and his brother has an Electrical Engineering degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Shanes plans to transfer to Syracuse University next fall and pursue his bachelor’s degree. How can a middle school student know if P-TECH and Electrical Technology is for him or her? Shanes has the answer. “If you’re curious and want to know how things work like your phone or something in your house, engineering is the way to answer those questions. In P-TECH you can surround yourself with people who have an ‘I want to be better mindset’ and never settle.”
Don Miller’s lasting tribute to the military is now New York State’s official hymn honoring fallen members of the military. During the final week of 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill which made “Here Rests in Honored Glory” the Empire State’s hymn of remembrance in honor of all American veterans.
Miller’s work is the result of service he narrowly missed out on. He was growing up in southwestern Ohio when the Vietnam War started. He expected to be drafted and was prepared to serve his country but was never selected. “I felt guilty. I wanted to make some sort of contribution because I wasn’t called,” said Miller.
He would go to college, earn multiple degrees and become a Music professor at Onondaga Community College in 1971. OCC had just moved to its new campus on Onondaga Hill and initially, the Music department was located in the Service & Maintenance Building. That’s where Miller would begin his 30-year career teaching students Chorus, Music History, Music Appreciation and Classical & Jazz Guitar.
Despite his professional success, the feeling of guilt never left him. Two decades after not being drafted, Miller created his own way of contributing. In 1986 he composed “Here Rests In Honored Glory,” a song based on the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Miller used two hymn tunes within his composition, “All Glory Laud and Honor” along with “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” as a tribute to multiple religions. “The Unknown Soldier is representative of all religions or persons of no religious belief,” he said. “An unknown soldier can be a non-believer, a Muslim or whichever religion he or she observes.”
In the more than three decades since Miller composed the song it has been gaining prominence in and around the military community. Here Rests In Honored Glory was adopted as the Official Hymn of Mourning by two organizations; the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America. All of Miller’s composer royalties were split evenly between the two organizations. He has not and will not profit from the song.
In 2006 the work was recorded by the North Carolina Master Chorale in Raleigh as a CD. You can listen to it here. All proceeds from the sales went to raise money for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS is a national non-profit organization made up of, and providing services to all those who have lost a loved one on active duty with the Armed Forces.
In 2009 Miller’s composition won the George Washington Medal of Honor from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. The Watauga County Community Band and choral group in Boone, NC will perform the arrangement this fall for the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice. At the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy in France, the CD is played each June 6th in commemoration of D-Day which was the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.
During the 2018 legislative session, the New York State Assembly and Senate both approved designating Miller’s song as the Official State Hymn of Remembrance in Honor of All American Veterans. Its passage was spearheaded by Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli and Senator John DeFrancisco. “I thank our lawmakers for everything they’ve done,” said Miller. “If it helps our Veterans and recognizes Veterans and their families, it is wonderful.”
Most rewarding for Miller and his wife Mary are the stories they have heard from those impacted by the song. “Through TAPS we got to know a lot of families. One of our friends from their lost their son 14 years ago. They listen to the song regularly and it brings them relief,” said Mary Miller. “We know a family that plays the song at the grave of their loved one in Arlington,” added Don Miller. “It comforts them. It’s how they celebrate.”
Here Rests In Honored Glory is published by Mark Foster Music, a division of Shawnee Press, Inc. and exclusively distributed by Hal Leonard Corporation.
The Miller’s wish to thank OCC’s Susan Tormey, Music Professor Dr. David Rudari and OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill for their continued assistance and support.
OCC would like to thank Donald Miller for his 31 years of service to the College. He and his wife Mary raised five children. Three of them along with a son-in-law are all Veterans.
Onondaga Community College is offering classes at both its main campus and Liverpool locations to help high school students get ready for their SAT exams. The Official SAT Study Guide will be used to help prepare for the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math test sections. Students will also learn test-taking strategies and take practice tests in an effort to assess strengths and weakness. The classes will be taught by teachers with years of experience in the classroom.
The test schedule for OCC’s SAT Prep Classes is as follows:
Sundays January 6 to February 10 11a.m.-2p.m. Main Campus
Thursdays March 7-April 11 6p.m.-9p.m. OCC @ Liverpool
Sundays March 10-April 28 11a.m.-2p.m. Main Campus
The process began nearly two months ago. Professor Kristen Costello created teams of students within her Marketing class (BUS 121) and gave them projects. Their job was to examine assigned areas of the college and create marketing plans for them. There were a dozen areas of focus including Advising, Career Services, the Learning Center and the Honors College. “As soon as we got the assignment we emailed Jackie Barstow of the Honors College,” said Mary Troyanovich (West Genesee HS). “We met with her and researched the topic on the website before we started working on our presentation.”
Professor Costello required that each team’s marketing plan consist of a 10 to 12 page paper and a 10 to 15 minute presentation. “When we first got this project I was scared out of my mind,” said Troyanovich. “Professor told us if we did the project right we would struggle to fit everything into 15 minutes and she was right.”
The presentations were given during the final days of the semester. Each began with students introducing themselves and their topics before diving into a detailed SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It specifies the objectives and identifies factors which will be favorable and unfavorable to achieving those objectives. Student teams also made suggestions on how their area of focus could be improved.
When they completed their presentations, audience members gave feedback. Those in attendance included members of the areas which had been analyzed, other College employees and on the morning of December 20, OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill and Provost Dr. Daria Willis. “I’d done public speaking plenty of times but never with such high-ranking people,” said Anthony Wheaton (East Syracuse Minoa HS) whose team analyzed Advising.
Professor Costello always saved her remarks for last. Her feedback and that of her colleagues touched on everything from the content to the techniques used during the presentations. “The evaluations were fantastic,” said Goran Lucic (Westhill HS) who was part of a team which analyzed the Learning Center. “It helped us learn what we need to improve on.”
The process was a learning experience for Professor Costello as well. “The students worked really hard all semester, meeting with OCC staff to understand the needs of the department or service area they’d been assigned. I was so pleased with how well they did coming up with creative ideas that will help us help future students. They learned a lot—and we learned from them, too!”
Onondaga Community College student Osman Hassan is the proud owner of a share of a world record. Earlier this year Hassan and 24 teammates combined to set the world record for the greatest distance on a kick or push scooter during a 24 hour period. They traveled 1,630.49 miles during the marathon event in Gorham, Maine August 17 and 18. “There was so much joy! We felt like we accomplished something,” he said.
Hassan’s team was named “Wheeling for the World” and all of its members were part of the Seeds of Peace leadership organization which brings youth and educators from areas of conflict to its camp in Maine. The Wheeling for the World team was made up of campers and counselors from eight different countries. Hassan, who was born in Somalia and is now a United States citizen, had attended Seeds of Peace camp previously and said it had a profound impact on his life. “I became more open towards people and stopped living in the shadows. It really made a difference in my life when I started connecting with people and seeing how much we all had in common.”
Wheeling for the World team members strategized the best way to set the record. They broke up into four different teams that operated in 60 minute intervals. Two teams were always riding and two teams were always resting. “It was really exhausting. During each hour when I wasn’t riding I was able to get 30 minutes of sleep. It was enough rest so I never collapsed.”
Congratulations to Osman Hassan and fellow members of the Wheeling for the World team!
Hassan has a remarkable life story which he shared with the campus community last year. You can read it here.
Ten years ago, Matt Landers and Quindell Williams were students together in Onondaga Community College’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major. Today they’re teammates in flight, becoming the first licensed drone pilots for a Central New York television station. When big news happens they’ll be getting in their CNY Central (channels 3, 5 and 6) news vehicle and responding to the scene with their drone. “When we were asked to launch the drone program it was an honor,” said Williams. “I’m very excited, humbled and honored to be part of this,” added Landers. “It adds a whole new skill set and a whole new challenge.”
Landers (Cicero-North Syracuse HS 2007 and OCC 2009) and Williams (Nottingham HS 2003 and OCC 2008) went through rigorous training before launching CNY Central’s drone operations. They studied relentlessly for a highly detailed written test and also traveled to Virginia Tech for three days of intense, around the clock training. “We really enjoyed working with each other,” said Williams. “We motivated each other. Our close working relationship made this all worthwhile.”
The next time you see drone footage on one of CNY Central’s television stations or its website you can do so knowing it was gathered by two graduates of OCC’s EMC program. “We’re honored. We know it’s up to us to set a standard both for our station and all stations in the viewing area.”
Criminal Justice majors in Professor Donna Stuccio’s Law Enforcement Process (CRJ 226) course had the opportunity to learn from the voices of experience when they were joined in class by four retired police officers with more than 100 years of combined service. “Their collective wisdom was extremely valuable to my students as they work to learn about how police officers move through the challenges of the profession of law enforcement and the impact their careers had on them,” said Professor Stuccio.
The four retired officers who spent time with the class were:
Loretta Arlotta, 21 years with the Syracuse Police Department
Gail Barella, 32 years with the Geddes Police Department
Tracey Johnson, 26 years with the Syracuse Police Department
Becky Thompson, 32 years with the Syracuse Police Department
They spoke with the class as a whole, then broke up into smaller groups for question and answer sessions. “I wanted students to gather information about their careers, their decision to become an officer and the impact of that decision on their lives,” said Professor Stuccio.
Tracey Johnson shared with students her story of enrolling at OCC after graduating from Westhill High School. “I came for accounting because I was very good at math. When I got here I saw posters all over the place. They were looking for minorities and women to be police officers. I decided to do it. I saw what was happening here and it looked interesting.”
After earning a degree in Business Administration Johnson pursued a career in law enforcement and became a Syracuse Police Officer. During her 26 year tenure she regularly patrolled the west side of the city and specialized in interviewing children who had been involved in traumatic events. Johnson shared numerous stories with students from her career. She also explained to them the value of communicating with people. “90 percent of police work is talking people down. People are elevated and irritated. It’s better to listen to them and have them listen to you.”
“I hope that my students grasped how incredibly dedicated and brave these women were and still are,” said Professor Stuccio who is also a former Syracuse, North Syracuse and Cicero police officer. “The sacrifices they made for their community can never be underestimated. Their incredible willingness to share their lives with students is part of their continued commitment to our community.”
Major: Mathematics & Science with a concentration in Biology
One of the worst moments of Olayinka Awokoya’s life set him on his career path. It happened in June of 2016 in his home country of Nigeria. Awokoya was riding a bus to college when it was rammed by another bus. “It was so sudden. My whole life flashed before my eyes. First I thought I was dead. Then I realized I couldn’t feel my leg.”
The impact of the crash left Awokoya with a serious injury. He was rushed to the hospital and treated but his leg never healed correctly. As he struggled to recover, Awokoya knew what he needed to do. His wife of one year, who was also from Nigeria, was working as a nurse at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. “I decided to move to the United States so I could get better health care and start a family.”
Shortly after arriving in the U.S. in November of 2016 Awokoya went to the doctor for a second opinion. “I was told my leg was not done properly and they had to do it again.” He went through two corrective surgeries and is hoping to be out of his cast next year.
Awokoya’s experience gave him a career focus. “I decided I wanted to work in the health care system.” In January of this year, he started taking classes at OCC. He’s a Mathematics & Science major with a focus on Biology. Earlier this semester he was inducted into the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. “It was a very wonderful moment. It shows that hard work pays off.”
The Onondaga Community College experience has been exactly what Awokoya needed as he transitioned from Nigeria to the United States. He’s a regular in the library, the Learning Center, the C-STEP office and the Office of Accessibility Resources. “Coming to OCC has been a wonderful opportunity for me. I’ve met so many people who are so supportive every time I need their help. I’m happy to come here every day because it feels like home.”
Awokoya will keep coming to OCC until the end of the spring semester. Then he plans to transfer to the University of Buffalo and begin pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
For students like Brittney Jones, moments like this are what make it all worth it. She was one of many students honored at the Students of Color Cording Ceremony recently. The moment was even more special for Jones, for whom it was the culmination of a decade-long journey.
Over ten year’s ago Jones was studying to go into the health and medical field at SUNY Fredonia when she became pregnant with her son. She dropped out of school and moved to Atlanta where she worked different jobs in the food service and health fields. In 2017, Jones decided to make a change. She packed up, and moved back to Syracuse to be with her family and finish her education.
Jones enrolled almost immediately and started to earn the credits she needed to transfer to nursing school. Three semesters later, she’s accomplished her goal and is moving on to studying at the College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital having earned a 3.5 GPA.
The grass isn’t growing under her feet either. Jones left to start a new job at SUNY Upstate Medical University immediately following the ceremony.
When you support Onondaga Community College, you are making a statement that you believe in the importance of quality affordable education for everyone. You are creating new opportunities and new beginnings for students and our greater community.