Social Jobs For Students

The new academic year comes with new job opportunities for students. If you are someone who likes to help others you may be perfect for a Student Ambassador position. They represent the college in a variety of ways including:

  • Giving campus tours to prospective students and their families.
  • Giving campus tours to high-level visitors, such as the SUNY Chancellor.
  • Participating in student panels for various events including orientation and OCC Advantage outreach to area high schools.

Student Ambassador is not a work-study position. Rate of pay is $11.10 an hour.

Anyone interested should contact the Office of Student Recruitment at, or (315) 498-2221.

Director of Student Recruitment Dana Acee (left) and Digital Marketing Specialist Zach Snyder (right) are looking for students to work for them. They are pictured on the OCC campus with the statue “Herculium” in front of the Whitney Applied Technology Center.

If you love social media there are some exciting opportunities. The Department of Marketing & New Media is looking for Social Media Reporters and Social Media Ambassadors. A Social Media Reporter helps create content for OCC social media channels, runs the official OnondagaCC Snapchat account, helps with social media contests and provides feedback on strategic marketing. Social Media Reporters often have the opportunity to get involved in other interesting projects as well. If you enjoy social media and are comfortable speaking with fellow students this could be for you! Average time commitment is 5 to 8 hours a week. The rate of pay is $11.10 an hour. This is for work-study students. If you are not a work-study student, the Social Media Ambassador position may be exactly what you’re looking for. Students will receive rewards for posting about OCC to their personal social media accounts. The rate of pay is $11.10 an hour.

Students can apply for either of the social media opportunities on Purple Briefcase, by visiting, or by emailing Digital Marketing Specialist Zach Snyder at

These exciting job opportunities are the subject of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use From Onondaga Community College.” You can listen to the podcast by clicking on this link. Enjoy the podcast!

“One Team” Serving New Students

Ryan Nellenback (left), OCC’s Director of Student Onboarding, is helping lead the One Team effort. He’s pictured with student Nathan Abdo in the Gordon Student Center Team Room.

Onondaga Community College’s new “One Team” initiative is giving incoming students personalized assistance as they navigate the registration process. Each new student is assigned a College employee who is a One Team member. That person becomes the student’s point of contact for anything he or she needs related to:

Sarah Gaffney
  • Financial Aid – Federal and State
  • Immunization Records
  • Certificate of Residence
  • Advisement

One Team members are constantly reaching out to their assigned students, making sure their questions are being answered and assisting them as needed. Our new One Team approach is the subject of this month’s edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use From Onondaga Community College.” Our guest is Sarah Gaffney, OCC’s Vice President of Finance and leader of One Team. You can listen to the podcast by clicking on this link. Enjoy the podcast!

Home Court Advantage

Fourteen of the 24 members of the crew which produced The Basketball Tournament telecasts for the ESPN family of networks were OCC alumni and/or faculty members. Most of them are pictured (above) at center court in the SRC Arena before the start of the tournament.

Onondaga Community College didn’t have a team competing in The Basketball Tournament, but thanks to a team of OCC Alumni and Faculty, all of the games were broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. When the $2 million dollar winner-take-all competition was held in OCC’s SRC Arena on the last weekend of July, 14 of the 24 television production crew members were affiliated with the College. “It was great national exposure for the campus and our Electronic Media Communications (EMC) program,” said class of 1983 and faculty member Tony Vadala. “We had graduates from 1971 to 2019 working together during the tournament.”

Dan Roach, ’79 operated a camera during the The Basketball Tournament.

The on-court headliner in the tournament was “Boeheim’s Army,” a team comprised mostly of former Syracuse University basketball players. Several team members play professionally abroad and enjoyed the opportunity to return to Central New York and reunite with former teammates. “It’s unique to have the basketball players coming back to their city where they went to college and a group of people returning to their alma mater to televise that very event,” said Mark Ballard, an OCC faculty member who works as a director on broadcasts across the region.

One of the crew members who returned home was Dan Roach (Liverpool HS), a 1979 graduate of OCC who operated a camera throughout the tournament. Roach still lives in Central New York but travels most often when he works for the Golf Channel and ESPN. “We all appreciate that we came from OCC and had the same learning experience. OCC was always about being hands-on which is how we learned the business so well. It wasn’t theory based, it was hands-on.”

Tommy Valentine, ’19 worked as a statistician during The Basketball Tournament.

Tommy Valentine was the youngest crew member to excel in OCC’s hands-on EMC program. The Chittenango High School graduate earned his OCC degree in May of this year. He was also named the top student in the EMC major. Valentine developed his skills quickly at OCC. “The first time you walked into the TV studio it was daunting. You had all of these lights and buttons and everything going on. They brought us right in, got us familiar with everything and our comfort with the equipment grew exponentially as we went on in the first semester. Before long it was, ‘okay I know how to do everything because we’ve gotten this practice right out of the gate.’ They let us make mistakes and learn what we needed to learn.”

Throughout Valentine’s two years on campus he took every opportunity to work on sports broadcasts. He was a behind-the-scenes regular at Syracuse University Football and Basketball games. He also worked at the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown the weekend before the TBT Tournament. He always found himself on live broadcasts with OCC faculty members which added to their credibility in the classroom. “To be able to listen to my professors in class and watch them execute it, to practice what they’re teaching, I knew if I followed their advice I could get to where they are. I knew what they were teaching was legitimate.”

Next month Valentine will transfer to St. Bonaventure University and major in Broadcast Journalism. He’s looking forward to new opportunities there, and to crossing paths with former Lazers while working at future sporting events. “OCC alumni are the best in the business. Every production I’ve worked on has included OCC alumni. The fact I get to be part of that prestigious culture means a lot to me. Professor Tony Vadala always says, ‘coast to coast, border to border, the OCC alumni are all over the country.’ To be part of that family means a lot to me.”

In the days leading up to the TBT Tournament, Valentine was a guest on a special iPhone edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.” You can listen to the podcast here.

Third Best In The World

OCC’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society students and administrators show off the trophies they won at PTK’s annual conference in Florida. They are pictured on the main stairwell inside Coulter Hall.

There are 1,275 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapters both in the United States and internationally. OCC’s PTK chapter has been named third best in the world. Students and administrators received the amazing news in April at the Phi Theta Kappa Catalyst Gala in Orlando, FL. PTK is the international honor society of community colleges. Students must achieve a 3.5 grade point average to earn membership.

Dr. Annie Tuttle

Our PTK chapter’s remarkable accomplishments are the subject of this month’s edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed news You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.” Our guest is Dr. Annie Tuttle. She is a Sociology professor and Faculty Adviser for our PTK chapter. You can listen to the podcast by clicking on this link.

Following is a list of awards won by OCC’s PTK chapter:


  • 3rd Most Distinguished Chapter in the Society
  • Distinguished Chapter Award
  • Distinguished Honors In Action Project
  • Distinguished Honors In Action Project Theme Award – “Powers of Connection”
  • Distinguished College Project Award


  • Distinguished Officer Team Award – Jennifer Boback, Brandon DeFrancesco, Katelyn Doner, Michaela Grainger, Katherine Hanson, Chris Holmes, Marigone Istogu, Ben Masten, Maysarah Mohamed, Mikayla Purcell-Bolha, Cody Ravas
  • Distinguished College Administrator Award – Sarah Gaffney, OCC Vice President of Finance


  • Most Distinguished Chapter In New York
  • Most Distinguished College Project
  • Most Distinguished Honors In Action Project
  • Honors In Action Theme 7 – Powers of Connection
  • Distinguished Officer Team (first runner up)


  • Digital Media Award
  • Phi Theta Kappa Programming Awareness Award
  • Leadership Award
  • Fellowship Award – (first runner up)
  • Academic Achievement Award for a Non-Traditional Student Award – Marigone Istogu
  • Jodi Oriel Scholarship Winner – Mikayla Purcell-Bolha


  • Coca-Cola Bronze Scholar – Kate Hanson

Congratulations to all of our winners!

You can learn more about OCC’s PTK chapter by clicking on this link.

2019 Commencement Student Speaker

Marigone Istogu is the 2019 Commencement Student Speaker. She fled violence in Kosovo before starting her new life in the United States. She will be receiving a degree in Electrical Technology. Marigone is pictured in the Whitney Applied Technology Center.

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.

You can hear more about her amazing story in this month’s edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use From Onondaga Community College” by clicking on this link.

OCC’s 56th commencement will be held Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center.



2019 All-State Students

OCC’s 2019 USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York State Academic Team members are (left to right) Katelyn Doner, Kate Hanson and Marigone Istogu.

Graduates of Cicero-North Syracuse and Central Square High Schools along with a native of Kosovo have been chosen to represent Onondaga Community College on the 2019 USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York State Academic Team. All three students are members of OCC’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. They were selected for their academic excellence and community service. The students will be honored during a ceremony in Albany April 24. The students are:


Katelyn Doner

  • High School: Cicero-North Syracuse, class of 2016
  • Major: Electronic Media Communications
  • Katelyn is a member and officer in honor society Phi Theta Kappa.



Kate Hanson

  • High School: Central Square, class of 2016
  • Major: Mathematics & Science with a concentration in Biology
  • Kate is a member of honor society Phi Theta Kappa. an Honors Student Ambassador, a Biology notetaker for students who utilize OCC’s Office of Accessibility Resources and the recipient of a national Coca-Cola scholarship.



Marigone Istogu

  • Native of Kosovo
  • Major: Electrical Technology
  • Marigone is a member and officer in honor society Phi Theta Kappa who interned at National Grid last summer where she focused on Substation Engineering and Design.


All three students plan to transfer to four-year institutions and earn higher degrees. They are highlighted in this month’s edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.” You can listen to the podcast here.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Dr. Kristen Lounsbery (pink sweater) works with Physical Therapist Assistant majors in their lab on the 2nd floor of Ferrante Hall.

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program is the focus of this month’s edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.” Our guest is Dr. Cyndy Warner who is PTA Program Coordinator.

Dr. Cyndy Warner

For the third year in a row each PTA student who completed the coursework and took the boards, known as the National Physical Therapist Assistant Exam, earned a passing grade. That perfect rate is well above the national average of 84.6 percent.

Every student in OCC’s PTA program who has wanted to go directly into the workforce has done so within six months of earning their degree or passing the exam. They have found employment in nursing homes, hospitals or private practices. PTA’s always work under the supervision of a Physical Therapist. They help patients regain range of motion, strength, and above all, confidence in their body to take them where they need to go.

The future job market for graduates of OCC’s program is strong. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says the overall employment of pta’s and aides is projected to grow 30 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy is expected to increase in response to the healthcare needs of an older population and individuals with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.

The learning environment within the program is outstanding. Students range in age from right out of high school to in their 50s.

You can listen to our conversation with Dr. Warner by clicking on this link. Enjoy the podcast!

Also, you can learn more about the PTA program here.

Job Opportunities for Students

Abbey Baird is the Director of OCC’s Career Center which is preparing for a large Career Fair on campus February 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the SRC Arena.

Onondaga Community College will host a Career Fair for students and alumni Wednesday, February 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Employers will be looking for candidates for part-time, full-time and summer employment, internships and volunteer opportunities.

The College’s Career Center is spending the month of February helping students prepare by hosting multiple “Crush the Career Fair” sessions. Each is a “drop by” style gathering at which students will be able to receive advice about what to wear, learn how to prepare an elevator pitch about themselves, have their resume reviewed and learn how to speak to employers. The “Crush the Career Fair” schedule is as follows:

  • Mon, Feb 4        10:30am    Mawhinney lobby
  • Thurs, Feb 7       11:00am    Coulter lobby
  • Tues, Feb 12       2:00pm     Whitney Atrium
  • Fri, Feb 15           9:00am     Gordon lobby
  • Mon, Feb 18      11:00am    Mawhinney lobby
  • Thurs, Feb 21     10:00am    Coulter lobby
  • Fri, Feb 22           1:00pm     Coulter lobby
  • Mon, Feb 25       2:00pm     Coulter lobby

Students can find a list of employers who will be at the Career Fair by visiting Purple Briefcase, OCC’s online career portal and job board.

Thanks to the generosity of the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors, OCC now has a career closet, “Suited For Success.” Professional clothing for men and women is available there. More details are available at the Career Center.

If you need help building your resume you can make an appointment with the Career Center by emailing or calling (315) 498-2585. The Career Center is located in Coulter Hall, room 110. If you enter through the main doors, the Career Center will be on your immediate right.

The upcoming Career Fair and all of the related activities are the subject of this month’s edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College. Our guest is Abbey Baird, Director of Career Services. You can listen to the podcast by clicking on this link.

The GPS Project: Bridging the Gap to Student Success

Onondaga Community College has received approximately $3 million from the United States Department of Education which it will use to help increase completion rates. The project is called Guided Pathways to Success, or GPS. Program goals include:

Dr. Julie White
  • 7 percentage point increase in course completion rates among developmental students.
  • 8 percentage point increase in fall-to-fall retention rates of first-time, full-time students.
  • 5 percentage point increase in degree completion rates by 2022.

The GPS project is the subject of our monthly podcast, Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College. Our guest is Dr. Julie White, OCC’s Senior Vice President for Student Engagement and Learning Support. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Improving Lives at the Southwest Community Center

Flagan Prince (left) is a Recruitment Specialist at OCC who staffs the College’s office at the Southwest Community Center. Rashawn Sullivan (right) met Prince at the Southwest Community Center and is now a student at OCC. They are pictured in the Whitney Applied Technology Center where they were guests on our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use From Onondaga Community College.”

OCC’s growing presence in one of Syracuse’s most impoverished areas is the topic of our monthly podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.”

Flagan Prince pictured in OCC’s office in the Southwest Community Center.

Two years ago the college opened an office at the Southwest Community Center on South Avenue. The office is staffed by OCC Recruitment Specialist Flagan Prince. He has worked tirelessly to establish a presence there and a connection with the community. Prince has also built relationships with people interested in attending OCC. One of them is Rashawn Sullivan who is completing his first semester in college. Sullivan spent several years incarcerated before becoming a college student. He’s turned his life around and found a home on campus.

Prince and Sullivan are this month’s guests on our podcast. You can listen to it by clicking here!

Enjoy the podcast and Happy Holidays from Onondaga Community College.