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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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