Four years ago Marigone Istogu came to the United States without knowing a word of English. One week from Saturday she will be the student speaker at commencement. She was selected following a campus-wide nomination and interview process. “I’m very excited and honored to be commencement speaker to be able to share my story and motivate students to reach their goals whatever they might be.”
When Istogu was 6 or 7 years old, she and her family were forced to flee their home in Kosovo in the middle of the night due to the Independence War between Kosovo and Serbia. Her family spent three months living in the woods and were without a home for nearly a year because it was burned down and needed to be rebuilt.
In 2015 Istogu immigrated to the United States and began learning English by watching movies and taking an English as Second Language class. She enrolled at OCC in 2017 and became an Electrical Technology major. Thanks to her tireless work ethic she conquered both the language barrier and the coursework. Istogu became president of OCC’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, was named a USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York State student, and was awarded a national scholarship from Coca-Cola. Istogu spent the summer of 2018 interning at National Grid where she focused on Substation Engineering and Design. She will work there again this summer. In the fall she will transfer to Syracuse University.
OCC’s 56th commencement will be held Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center.