Representing the Students

Clarence Shepard, 2017-18 Student Trustee

Clarence Shepard will represent the students on Onondaga Community College’s Board of Trustees. He will be sworn-in as Student Trustee September 26 at the Board’s first meeting of the academic year.

Shepard is a native of the Rochester area. He graduated from Rush-Henrietta Senior High School in 2014 and attended another community college before coming to OCC. He’s found a home in the Electronic Media Communications major. “I love it. It’s a lot of hands-on, working with cameras and scripts. There’s a lot of different projects. It keeps me focused. I’m not the type of person who can sit in a lecture and just listen. If I can get my hands on it and work it keeps me going.”

Shepard serves the campus community as a Student Ambassador, giving tours to prospective students. He’s also a Resident Assistant. This is his fourth semester overseeing life in the residence halls. “I love every bit of my job. I’m very approachable. Students come and talk to me about everything. I see students as humans, not just as a resident or a student. They always know they can come and talk to me.

In his role as Student Trustee Shepard wants to help fellow students understand the opportunities available on campus. “A lot of students don’t realize how much there is to do here. I want to make sure they are aware of everything OCC has to offer.”

Students Earn Statewide Honors

Two OCC students will be honored for their academic excellence and community service at a statewide event in Albany.cropped ptk logo The USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team Recognition Ceremony will take place Monday, March 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New York State Museum. All SUNY Community College Presidents will be in attendance along with elected officials. Speakers will include SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and Dr. Rod A. Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa.

OCC’s student honorees are Alena Cerro and Greg Freitag.

Alena Cerro
Alena Cerro

Cerro is an Electronic Media Communications major, is vice president of public relations for the College’s Alpha Sigma Zeta chapter and serves as an Honors Program Student Ambassador and Honors Program Committee Student Representative. She has earned President’s List status each semester on campus, received numerous scholarships and awards and participated in service learning projects. Cerro is an intern in OCC’s External Relations and Marketing & New Media departments. She is a 2013 graduate of Liverpool High School.

Greg Freitag
Greg Freitag

Freitag is a Hospitality Management major. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA while volunteering for campus events, working several jobs and raising seven children. He works full time on the overnight shift as a Plant Utilities Engineer at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Freitag also works in the hospitality industry at the Courtyard by Marriott in Armory Square where he has been named employee of the month. In 2014 he medaled in the Empire State Games Track & Field competition. This summer Freitag will be one of 12,000 participants in the National Senior Games in Minneapolis. He is a 1977 graduate of Olympia High School in Greece.

“We are so proud of Alena and Greg and all they have accomplished,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. “Their stories are a wonderful example of the opportunities available here at OCC and on community college campuses across the nation through Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. A student who graduated from high school two years ago and a seasoned adult student making a career change are both succeeding at high levels and preparing themselves for outstanding careers. We salute both of them and look forward to honoring their achievements during this ceremony.”


Zakary George


Zakary George received advice at a very young age which set him on his career path. “When I was in the 3rd grade my teacher told me I should be a talk show host. I always loved talking and still do today.”

George came to OCC from Fabius-Pompey High School where he was one of 70 members of the class of 2013. “I was surprised by the small class sizes at OCC. It made my transition very easy.”

George hasn’t stopped talking since arriving on campus. He works at the student radio station, “SuperMix,” as both a disc jockey and a sports talk show host. He also serves as a play-by-play announcer and color commentator on sports broadcasts for the media club.

George is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, OCC’s student honor society. He’s majoring in Electronic Media Communications (EMC) and doesn’t hesitate to take advantage of his professors’ expertise. “I love the faculty, especially the EMC department. They are always very helpful.”

George is scheduled to graduate in May 2015. He’s planning to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and journalism.

Alena Cerro

Alena Cerro has found a home at OCC. She came here after graduating from Liverpool High School in 2013. “I was very close with a lot of my teachers there. Their constant support was very important to me.”

Cerro has found the same support at OCC where she is a member of student honor society Phi Theta Kappa and the organizations vice president of public relations. She’s enrolled in the Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major. “I love the faculty here. If I need anything I can go to their offices and they immediately help. They all have so much professional and life experience they always have an answer.”

Cerro is highly motivated to succeed and says she can’t get enough of the EMC program. “I think it’s the best on campus. I’m so invested in it. I’m here on days I don’t have to be here because I want to be here. I want to be growing and learning as much as I can.”

Cerro is on schedule to graduate in May 2015, then plans to pursue both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In the meantime she’s enjoying each and every day at OCC. “I don’t take anything for granted here. I love my college experience. I’m very happy to be where I am.”