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.

Spring 2019 Honor Society Inductees

The spring Phi Theta Kappa honor society induction ceremony was held March 28 in the SRC Arena and Events Center. The event is usually held in Storer Auditorium but was moved due to the extraordinary size of the incoming class of students and their supporters in the audience.

Onondaga Community College’s outstanding chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa welcomed 200 new members during its spring induction ceremony Thursday, March 28. The class of students was so large the event was moved from its usual home in Storer Auditorium to the SRC Arena and Events Center. To be eligible for membership in Phi Theta Kappa, a student must be matriculated; have completed 12 credit hours at OCC, and have earned a minimum cumulative GPA here of 3.5.

PTK student officer Kate Hanson speaks at the spring induction ceremony.

During the ceremony PTK Advisor and Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Annie Tuttle presented the year in review for the college’s chapter. PTK officer Kate Hanson (Central Square HS, 2016) shared her moving story about how she turned a negative incident in her life into a campus-wide, week-long learning opportunity, #LightMeUp.

Photographer and film director Solon Quinn was named an honorary PTK inductee. Quinn is the managing partner at Solon Quinn Studios, a content creation and management company which has been doing work in the Upstate New York region for 10 years.

The generosity of Tim and Rosemarie Nelson, both graduates of OCC’s class of 1979 was also recognized. Thanks to the Nelson’s, all PTK members participating in commencement May 18 who are in good standing will be eligible to receive their PTK stoles and tassels the morning of commencement at no cost. In addition, PTK students who reserve their cap and gown from the college bookstore will also be eligible to receive those at no cost.

Congratulations to the spring 2019 PTK inductees!

  • Mark Allen Abbe
  • Mayada Abedrabbah
  • Elham Abraham
  • Anthony S Acevedo
  • Eden Marie Adler
  • Yara Alamir
  • Delanie Rose Alberici
  • Nidaa Kamal Aljabbarin
  • Ahmad Ayad Alzouabi
  • Rinad Ayad Alzouabi
  • Mark Thomas Ambrusko
  • Benjamin Russell Amrod
  • Alise Anghel
  • Khin TZ Aung
  • Chloe Rose Baker
  • Samantha Jean Ball
  • Collin Michael Barrigar
  • Donna Mary Basile
  • Bertin Laira Batundi
  • Anthony Joseph Beckham
  • Shahzad Bhatti
  • Tapaingga Elezae Bird
  • Lemuel Rich Gavina Bitome
  • Anna Madeline Bohrer
  • Sabrina Michelle Bottino
  • Jason Edward Breezee
  • Avery Michael Buda
  • Stephanie Yvonne Burbank
  • Michael Charles Burgmeier
  • Eloise Adelaide Cadmus
  • Vincent Alec Camarena
  • Samantha Amber Carrier
  • Allison Marie Carroll
  • Shane Checkley
  • Chrisa Anne Chiasson
  • Christopher Raymond Chiasson
  • MacKenzie M Cole
  • Zachary Edward Collins
  • William Jason Coughenour
  • Chelsea Loretta Currier
  • Cameron Michael Curtis
  • Jordan Daly
  • Diane Theresa Day
  • Caroline Valeria Delaney
  • Hanna Elizabeth Dellostritto
  • Michael Joseph DeMauro
  • Jovan Diaz
  • James William Dowd
  • Natalie Marie Durocher
  • David Michael Evans
  • Amelia Jane Fisher
  • Kayla Rose Fogg
  • Eric Ryan Frank
  • Edward J Furcinito
  • Logan Alexander Gardner
  • Karen Garrett
  • Autumn Cheyenne Gebhart
  • Aurelia Mary-Louise Geerer
  • Elio Tabor Giannetti
  • Anna Aleksandrovna Gonchar
  • Yanira L Gonzalez
  • Ethan Joseph Granan
  • Joanna Michelle Gregory
  • Yasser Arturo Guerra Garcia
  • Anna Amelia Guiles
  • Benjamin Jeffrey Haines
  • Sophia Ruth Hale
  • Maddison Elizabeth Haley
  • Kate Dyani Halstead
  • Jalyn Kalis Handford
  • Catherine Hanifin
  • Alyssa Marie Hanlon
  • Paige Alysse Harding
  • Joshua Michael Harvey
  • Stephen H Hickey
  • Daniel Everett Hoffman
  • Michael Eric Hollenberger
  • Delaney Marie Horst
  • Jacob Adam Horst
  • Causwell A Hyde
  • Lillian Jane Ingalls
  • Amber Lee Janosh
  • Kiesha Nikia Jefferson
  • Alyssa Michele Jenkins
  • Emily Grace Johnson
  • Hadassah Johnson
  • Kelsey Lynn Johnson
  • Devon Xavier Jones
  • Koyoa Zaline Jones
  • Carmiel M Kapilla
  • Nicole Ashley Kestler
  • Charles A Koder
  • Daria Kononenko
  • Thomas Michael Krohl
  • Lewes Kunda
  • Angelo Kwolek
  • Isabella Elaine Lantry
  • Douglas Lawrence LaPrease
  • Katherine Brianna Lasher
  • Brian Lawler
  • Ruth Jisun Lee
  • Jacob Adam Leland
  • Joseph M Lemoniades
  • Kathryn Brenna Lesselroth
  • Penny Sue Loomis
  • Kevin M Louer
  • Anthony Georgio Lumia
  • Jesus Alberto Luna
  • Irineo Rebekah Elyse MacLean
  • Elisa Sada Makhlouf
  • Jemma Ruoxue Mallia
  • Seanna Eden Manahan
  • Shari Pearl Manchester
  • Alison Dawn Mapes
  • Matthew Aidan Marks
  • Ezequiel Lucas Martin
  • Leydi Martin
  • Christina Marie Mason
  • Jeanne Marie Mattiace
  • Danielle Nicole McCallops
  • Brendan McCasland
  • Grace Elizabeth McGuinness
  • Joleen McManamay
  • Stephanie Lynn Miller
  • Sarah Angelique Motayne
  • Gabrielle Murray
  • Cody Musso
  • Stephanie Tshimanga Ndelela
  • Cayley Noel Nightingale
  • Hailey Maddison Niles
  • Grace Elizabeth Norton
  • Kinsey Novak
  • Amanda Oberpriller
  • Autumn R Orts
  • Brendan Michael Penny
  • David Harrison Pitoniak
  • Emelia Marie Pollock
  • Jordan Melville Pone
  • Ryan Anthony Procopio
  • Marissa Nicole Pysnack
  • Isabela Maria Radio-Rodriguez
  • Gregory Richard Reeves
  • Bryanne Marie Reynolds
  • Isaiah G Rivera
  • Nyjee Delores Rivers
  • Daniel James Robinson
  • Jordan Aaron Rodriguez
  • Shannon M Rowlands
  • Matthew Ryan Savage
  • Jason Francis Schad
  • Kevin Lochart Schalk
  • Alyssa Nicole Scott
  • Alex Joseph Shaban
  • Carissa Renee Shanley
  • Lioubov G Shipman
  • Alexa Shumway
  • Tyler James Silliman
  • Manuel Maria Silva
  • Janekia Nashea Simmons
  • Brianna Marie Smith
  • Jacob George Smith
  • Sarah Elizabeth Smith
  • Emily May Spath
  • Kristina Marie Spaulding
  • Anthony Spinelli
  • Keegan Alexander Stan
  • Riley Martin Sullivan
  • Samantha Joann Sutton
  • Lindsey Marie Switzer
  • Deena Marie Tallarico
  • Tyler Todd Tamblin
  • Sariyah Cheyenne Taylor
  • Matthew Mark Teta
  • Taylor Nicole Thomas
  • Nicholas Aaron Thrasher
  • Maliyah Tillman
  • Kyle Bernard Tripolone
  • Bridget Marie Varner
  • Sara Vassallo
  • Lily Mae Vernon
  • Nilvia Edith Viamonte-Perez
  • Spencer Marie Vono
  • Laku Wah
  • Alexis Elizabeth Waldron
  • Jason Reed Walter
  • Trevor Warner
  • Erwin Duane Webster
  • Claudia Mae White
  • Madalynn Rose Wiers
  • Corwin Antonio Williams
  • Luke Alexander Willis
  • Meghan Grace Wilmot
  • Caitlin Diane Wiltsey
  • Breanne Rose Worcester
  • Kyle Christopher Worsley
  • Lily Jean Woughter
  • Kate Elizabeth Woytowicz
  • Alyssa Rose Wright
  • Jennifer Yanez

Daniela Vasquez and Tom Krohl

US Navy Veterans and OCC students Tom Krohl and Daniela Vasquez.

The United States Navy brought Daniela Vasquez and Tom Krohl together. Today they are married, pursuing degrees at OCC and are regulars in the college’s Veterans’ office on the second floor of Coulter Hall. “We like coming here and doing work. We’re seeing more people coming here every day,” said Vasquez.

Vasquez and Krohl are an unlikely couple. She is a native of Colombia who moved to the United States at age 9 and graduated from New Dimensions High School in Kissimmee, Florida in 2010. Krohl is a lifelong Central New Yorker who earned his diploma at Central Square High School in 2010. They met while in the Navy and attached to the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship. They spent most of their four years stationed in Sasebo, Japan before being honorably discharged in 2015. Two years later, they married.

Both are pursuing dual degrees at OCC. Vasquez is in the Nursing and Liberal Arts & Sciences: Humanities & Social Sciences programs. “I always wanted to take care of patients,” said Vasquez. “The Nursing program is tough. You have to be very organized. If you’re not it will make you organized. It’s a good technique to learn before you graduate. It’s something you will need to be a nurse.”

During the 2017-18 academic year Vasquez received financial assistance thanks to a grant provided by the Carrier Corporation which supports Student Veterans. “It helped me so much. I was able to pay for a class the Veterans Administration could not cover because it wasn’t part of my major. It was a great relief to me because I was afraid I would not have enough for rent or other needs.”

Krohl is focused on Nuclear Technology and Electrical Technology degrees. “An officer in the Navy used to talk to me about nuclear and she was incredibly enthusiastic about it. When I came here I planned to get a Math & Science degree. Steve White who runs the Veterans’ office told me about the Nuclear Tech program and here I am.” Krohl did an internship at Nine Mile nuclear plant during the summer and it reaffirmed his choice of a major and career.

Krohl is a Work Study at the Veterans’ office. He knows what it’s like to walk in and ask for help and remembers when the staff here helped him and his wife. “They’re knowledgeable about the GI Bill. You get out of the military and you have all of these benefits but they don’t teach you how to use them. The people here know about them and helped us.”

Vasquez and Krohl are on schedule to earn their degrees next May.

You can learn more about OCC’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs here.

You can learn more about supporting our students through our Believe In Better fundraising campaign here.

Kate Hanson

Kate Hanson
  • Major: Mathematics & Science with a concentration in Biology and an Honors Affiliate
  • High School: Central Square, class of 2016

Kate Hanson loves helping others whether she’s serving as an Honors Student Ambassador, tutoring fellow students or working as a Biology note taker for students who utilize the Office of Accessibility Resources. “I didn’t know I had the desire to help others until I took a year off between high school and college. That’s when I learned how much fulfillment I get from helping people.”

During Hanson’s senior year at Central Square High School, she studied cosmetology at BOCES. “I was really interested in making people feel beautiful, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled mentally.” Despite earning her cosmetology license and having a career path in front her, something was missing. “I needed a major I was passionate about. Taking the year off helped me take a look at what I wanted to do and not what other people were doing. I realized how much I missed going to school and missed learning.”

Hanson had become interested in a career as a Physician’s Assistant. She decided to attend Onondaga Community College and major in Mathematics & Science with a concentration in Biology. As a commuter student she would live at home and save money. She also applied for and was awarded the Excelsior Scholarship which provides students the opportunity to attend a college in the SUNY system tuition-free. “Excelsior was a huge difference maker for me. It helped me a lot here. When I go to my next school I won’t have any loans.”

Hanson is a member of the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and its leadership team. She shares her knowledge with fellow students by tutoring them in Biology and Psychology. “I really enjoy the feeling of helping others. It’s why I want to become a Physician’s Assistant and help people. The year I took off school helped me realize how much fulfillment I get from helping people.

Hanson has another long-term goal and it’s one she started talking about before coming to OCC. “When I was in high school I was asked, ‘ten years from now what’s the most important thing you could be?’ I answered, ‘a mom.’ The person I was talking to was so taken aback by that, like I was wasting my brain. It’s very important to me to have a family.”

Hanson will earn her degree next May. She plans to transfer to another SUNY school so she can continue receiving Excelsior Scholarship benefits as she works toward her career goal.

2018-19 Student Officers

The 2018-19 Student Association Officers are (front row, left to right) Calli Giron, Allison Guzman and Leigh-Ann Dence. Back row, left to right: Petey Maxwell, Seth Bae, Breanna Cherchio and Liam Stewart.

Meet the new team of Student Officers! They were elected to their positions during the spring 2018 semester. During the academic year they will provide support for Student Clubs and Organizations, the Student Government Association, the Lazer Lounge, student leadership development and campus-wide activities.

In their roles the student leaders will meet monthly with OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. One of the students is also a member of the Board of Trustees and will be involved in decision making at the highest level.. The 2018-19 officers are:

Leigh-Ann Dence, President

  • High School: Central Square, class of 2016
  • Major: Architectural Technology & Interior Design


Liam Stewart, Vice President of Clubs and Organizations

  • High School: Saratoga Springs, class of 2015
  • Major: Communications


Seth Bae, Vice-President of Media

  • High School: Fairfax in Los Angeles, class of 2013
  • Major: General Studies: Liberal Arts & Sciences


Breanna Cherchio, Vice-President of Entertainment and Programming

  • Home schooled, from Camillus
  • Major: American Sign Language


Allison Guzman, Student Representative to the Board of Trustees

  • High School: Westhill, class of 2017
  • Major: Mathematics & Science


Calli Giron, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • High School: Chandler HS in Arizona, class of 2015
  • Major: Criminal Justice with a minor in Liberal Arts General Studies


Petey Maxwell, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • High School: Windsor HS in Colorado, class of 2016
  • Major: Exercise Science


The Student Officers are headquartered in the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement which is in room G114 in the Gordon Student Center.

Leigh-Ann Dence

Leigh-Ann Dence
  • Major: Interior Design
  • HS: Central Square, 2016

Leigh-Ann Dence learned the value of discipline at an early age. That foundation led to her being voted president of Onondaga Community College’s Student Government Association. “I participated in Winter Guard, Parade Band and Field Band for seven years. You would have a week in between seasons, then start up again. It was all about dedication, a schedule, and being on time. Those things just became normal to me. I didn’t realize at the time how it was grooming to be in a leadership position but it really gave me the structure I needed.”

Dence came to OCC from Central Square High School. She wanted to stay close to home and found everything she needed here on campus. During the 2017-18 academic year she served as an RA. The experiences she had that year made her want to have a larger voice on campus for the student population. After hearing about the Student Government Association elections, she decided to run for president.

Dence is looking forward to her year in a leadership role and plans to streamline processes. “I went to my first conference and learned about structure and the rules of order in meetings. I like order and I think it’s important for our student government to have a good structure in place for meetings so everything is communicated properly.”

As president, Dence succeeds another Central Square graduate, Sam Stetson who oversaw the Student Association last year.

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.”

Sam Stetson

Sam Stetson
  • Major at OCC: Business Technology with a minor in Communications
  • High School: Central Square, class of 2016

Sam is President of the Student Association and she likes to get things done. “I’ve always been involved. I take after my mother. We have the same kind of personality. I feel like if nobody is stepping up to do something I may as well be the one.”

During her senior year at Central Square High School Sam was Co-President of Student Government and President of DECA, an international association of high school and college students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. “In the state competition I competed against 90 other people and took 10th place. It was a great experience.”

Samantha volunteered at Onondaga’s Day of Service October 13.

Sam credits the Business teachers at Central Square with helping her figure out her strengths. “I’m not good at math and science and I didn’t want to go to college originally. They helped me become interested in business. I had such a good experience with DECA I decided to choose a business major.”

DECA also prepared Sam for going through the job interview process. It worked so well she has part time jobs at both Panera in Fairmount and Fish FINatics in East Syracuse. She’s also a full time student and a member of OCC’s Business Club. “Professor Kristen Costello has been amazing. She’s the advisor for the Business Administration program and the Business Club. She has always helped me with my schedule and other things. She’s helped me more than she’s needed to.”

As President of the Student Association, Sam plans to work on creating motorcycle parking for students and smoking huts for people who want to smoke on campus. She will earn her degree next May. Sam’s goal is to work in the court system.

Our New Student Leaders

The new Student Officers are (front row, left to right): Clarence Shepard, Moise Laub, Breanna Cherchio. Back row, left to right: Samantha Stetson, Calli Giron, Leah Walsh, Michaela Capone.

Meet the new group of officers who will lead the Student Association during the 2017-18 academic year! Their mission is to serve the needs of the student body while governing and developing their own leadership skills.

Samantha Stetson, President

  • Major: Business Technology with a minor in Communications
  • HS: Central Square, Class of 2016


Leah Walsh, V-P of Clubs & Organizations

  • Major:  Communications
  • HS: Auburn, Class of 2015


Michaela Capone, V-P of Entertainment and Programming

  • Major: Business Administration
  • HS: Faith Heritage, Class of 2016


Breanna Cherchio, V-P of Media

  • Major: Early Childhood Education
  • HS: Homeschooled, from Camillus


Clarence Shepard, Student Representative on the Board of Trustees

  • Major: Electronic Media Communications
  • HS: Rush-Henrietta, Class of 2014


Calli Giron, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • Major: Criminal Justice
  • HS: Chandler HS in Arizona, Class of 2015


Moise Laub, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • Major: General Studies
  • HS: Norman HS in Oklahoma, Class of 2006


The students are headquartered in the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement in room G114. It’s located on the first floor of the Gordon Student Center next to the Lazer Lounge.

The new Student Officers have fun during their photo shoot.

Lily Hohmann

Lily Hohmann
  • HS: Central Square, 2016
  • Major: Criminal Justice

Lily Hohmann wants to serve her community through a career in law enforcement. “I want to help people. Everything that interests me is in policing. The Criminal Justice classes here are my favorites,” she said.

Hohmann as a member of the Central Square Rifle team.

During her senior year at Central Square High School Hohmann was a member of the the school’s Rifle team which won both sectional and State championships. “It was a good opportunity for me to work on handling rifles and my marksmanship skills. I’d never shot anything before I joined the team. I did pretty well and enjoyed it.”

The success she experienced with the Rifle team fueled her career goals. “I’d like to use my skills on the SWAT Team. I’m also interested in working with the K-9 unit and also be part of the mounted police division. I’ve ridden horses for a long time.”

Hohmann has excelled in the Criminal Justice major. “Professor Pete Patnode is one of my favorite teachers. He has a background in policing and he’s a great people person. He enjoys helping you as much as he can.”

In March, Hohmann was inducted into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. During the fall 2017 semester she is serving the campus community as both a Resident Assistant in the Residence Hall and with the Department of Campus Safety as a member of the Student Patrol.