Student Commencement Speaker

Dewayne Garner Jr. has been selected to be the Student Speaker at OCC’s 2015 Commencement. The ceremony will be held Saturday, May 16 at 1 p.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center.

Garner Jr. is a 2012 Cicero-North Syracuse High School graduate and second generation OCC student. Both of his parents earned degrees here: Dewayne Garner Sr. in Engineering Science in 1999 and Kionna (Scott) Garner in Human Services in 1998. Garner Jr. majored in Mathematics and Science and took first place in a competition at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington, D.C. He credits his faith in God, his family and his involvement with On Point for College and OCC’s CSTEP and LSAMP programs with putting him on the right path. “A lot of the experiences and successes I’ve had thus far on my academic journey are a direct result of programs and the and the people in them. They made a significant impact on everything I accomplished.” Garner plans to transfer to a four year institution, major in biomedical engineering, then move on to a Ph.D. program.

If you are unable to attend Commencement you can watch it live at www.sunyocc.edu. It will also be rebroadcast on WSYR TV’s “MeTV” channel May 23 at 9 a.m. The “MeTV” channel can be found at 9.2 with a digital antenna, 1240 on Time Warner Cable, 470 on Verizon FiOS and 23 on New Visions.

Researching Learning

One week before the start of the spring semester the campus is quiet and cold. Sub-zero wind chills greet those brave enough to go outside. If you don’t have to go outside why bother? It’s a perfect week for students to sleep in before classes resume.

The mindset is much different inside Ferrante Hall where 10 students are coming to a biology laboratory every morning at 9:00 and receiving day-long, hands-on training in microbiology research techniques. The students, part of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry (CSTEP) Programs of OCC and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), are participating in a weeklong “PowerLab,” a collaboration between OCC and RIT. “This is a great opportunity for the students who are really serious about knowing science,” said RIT Assistant Professor Dr. Robert Osgood who is running the program. “You have to LOVE science and want the opportunity to practice it to be willing to give up your winter break. Basically they are giving up sleeping-in to be here.”

Dr. Robert Osgood (right) works with student Jessica McCormack (left) during PowerLab.
Dr. Robert Osgood (right) works with student Jessica McCormack (left) during PowerLab.

The PowerLab is designed to expose students to concepts, techniques, benefits and advantages of research in a short timeframe requiring intense focus.  The assignment this week involves learning the laboratory, principles, procedures and protocols, then putting them to use while extracting DNA samples from saliva. The process is complex and involves multiple steps. The lab setting provides students the opportunity for hands-on learning. “To learn is to hear, to see and to do. That’s exactly what this PowerLab is about. It’s open-ended, hands-on stuff. When you get your hands involved in science it tends to stick in your mind,” said Osgood.

Students enjoyed the opportunity to work in a small group in a lab setting:

  • “It was great to be able to do something out of the ordinary. I’m much more of a hands-on student.” -Harrison Franklin (Jamesville-Dewitt), OCC Engineering Science major
  • “I loved the ability to work in small groups, have all of our questions answered and work hands-on in a lab. I’m a visual learner. The ability to see things being worked on and to work on them yourself was a huge help.” -Bria Cherebin (Nottingham), RIT Chemical Engineering major
  • “I like that it’s very hands-on. It allows us to get involved rather than sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture.” -Kaitlin Brockway (Saranac Lake), RIT Software Engineering major
  • “This is a great opportunity to actually touch materials and learn how to use them.” -Jessica McCormack (City-As High School in Manhattan), OCC Mathematics and Science major
DeWayne Garner Jr.
Student DeWayne Garner Jr. adds isopropyl to a saliva sample during the DNA extraction process.

Perhaps no student was more comfortable in the lab than OCC sophomore DeWayner Garner Jr. (Cicero-North Syracuse).  In February 2014 Garner was invited to participate in the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington, D.C. Garner gave a presentation on the immunomodulation of cystic fibrosis and won first place in the category of Microbiology, Immunology, and Virology. Garner enjoyed PowerLab and thinks students should strongly consider it in the future. “If you haven’t been introduced to research it’s a good primer. It helps you build certain skills. If you decide to go into research in the future this will put you ahead of the game.” Garner is a Mathematics and Science major on track to graduate in May. He plans to transfer to a four-year institution, major in biomedical engineering, and ultimately pursue a Ph.D.

“PowerLab is a great environment to ask questions in and to learn,” said Osgood. “Everyone who attends is like-minded and wants to learn about science. It offers students the opportunity to be taught or to practice and refine what they have learned. Regardless of their knowledge or skill level, the PowerLab approach leaves students encouraged, enlightened and confident as they engage their future in science. All of the advantages of having students from various scientific backgrounds learn from each other while they are learning together are realized with the PowerLab atmosphere.”

Drake Harrison is OCC’s CSTEP Director. He sees huge benefits coming from the weeklong event. “PowerLab and other opportunities like this one are fundamental to the education of students. They walk away with a heightened sense of awareness and confidence through what I call ‘community building.’ PowerLab allows students to build relationships with each other and develop support systems which can have a positive impact on performance.”

Students interested in finding out more information about PowerLab or CSTEP can do so by contacting Harrison at (315) 498-2307 or harrisod@sunyocc.edu.

Dewayne Garner Jr.

Dewayne Garner Jr. is a 2012 Cicero-North Syracuse High School graduate who is making national headlines at OCC. In February 2014 Garner was invited to participate in the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington, D.C. Garner gave a presentation on the immunomodulation of cystic fibrosis and won first place in the category of Microbiology, Immunology, and Virology. “Winning the competition was so amazing. It was an incredible feeling!”
Succeeding in college is nothing new for Garner or his family. Both of his parents graduated from OCC and continued on to Syracuse University where they earned their bachelor’s degrees. Dewayne Garner Sr. graduated from OCC in 1999 with a degree in Engineering Science and today works as an electrical engineer. Kionna (Scott) Garner earned a degree in Human Services from OCC in 1998. Today she works with students at Corcoran High School as part of the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. The Garner’s have three children.
Garner credits his faith in God, his family and his involvement with OCC’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) with putting him on the right path. “A lot of the experiences and successes I’ve had thus far on my academic journey are a direct result of OnPoint for College, OCC’s CSTEP and LSAMP programs and the people in them. They have made a significant impact on everything I have accomplished.”
Since coming to OCC Garner Jr. has set high goals for himself while majoring in Mathematics and Science. “After I graduate in May 2015 I want to transfer to a four year institution, major in biomedical engineering, then move on to a Ph.D. program.”

Student Champions from Coast to Coast

Pictured (left to right) are Sam Rashkin, Building Technologies Office Chief; team members Brent Crump, SUNY ESF; Peter LiCongo, SUNY ESF; Andrew Kenneally, Onondaga; Michelle Tinner, SUNY ESF; David Wallace, Onondaga; Gamika Korale, SUNY ESF; Jacek Bartczak, Onondaga; and Thomas Kenney, Housing Innovation Research Laboratory Vice President of Engineering and Research. Onondaga team member Krystal Tyrrell is missing from the photo.
Pictured (left to right) are Sam Rashkin, Building Technologies Office Chief; team members Brent Crump, SUNY ESF; Peter LiCongo, SUNY ESF; Andrew Kenneally, Onondaga; Michelle Tinner, SUNY ESF; David Wallace, Onondaga; Gamika Korale, SUNY ESF; Jacek Bartczak, Onondaga; and Thomas Kenney, Housing Innovation Research Laboratory Vice President of Engineering and Research. Onondaga team member Krystal Tyrrell is missing from the photo.

OCC students experienced an unprecedented level of success while competing against fellow college students in regional and national events during the spring semester.

This design earned first place in the category of Detached Single Family Homes.
This design earned first place in the category of Detached Single Family Homes.

A group of students from OCC, SUNY ESF, and Syracuse University earned first place honors in the the U.S. Department of Energy’s Challenge Home Student Design Competition April 26 and 27 in Denver, Colorado. Student teams were required to create and present designs for a cost-effective, zero energy ready home for mainstream builders. Onondaga students Jacek Bartczak (Klucze, Poland), Andrew Kenneally (West Genesee), Krystal Tyrrell (Faith Heritage) and David Wallace (Fulton) were members of the winning team. They won first place in the category of Detached Single Family Homes. SUNY ESF student Brent Crump (Sandy Creek), who graduated from Onondaga in 2009, was also a member of the winning team.

Dewayne Garner, Jr.
Dewayne Garner stands outside the White House while in Washington, DC for the Emerging Researchers National Conference.

Dewayne Garner Jr. (Cicero-North Syracuse) took first place honors in the Emerging Researchers National Conference in February in Washington, D.C. Garner was honored for his presentation on the Immunomodulation of Cystic Fibrosis in the category of Microbiology, Immunology, and Virology. Both of Garner’s parents, Dewayne Sr. and Kionna, are Onondaga alumni.

 Onondaga Aerospace Scholars (left to right) Shaquille Young, Elijah Tillman, and Bryan Morris discuss the orbiting process.
Onondaga Aerospace Scholars (left to right) Shaquille Young, Elijah Tillman, and Bryan Morris discuss the orbiting process.

Onondaga was well represented at NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars program in Huntsville, Alabama in February. Only six students in all of New York State were invited to participate, and four of them came from Onondaga: Joshua Manrow (Jordan-Elbridge), Bryan Morris (Fair Haven), Elijah Tillman (Syracuse), and Shaquille Young (Brooklyn). To be selected, students needed to put together a presentation which would send a lunar rover to Mars. Their plan needed to include objectives and goals, a strategically selected landing site, a carefully planned budget, and a design of their rover. While in Huntsville students took part in meetings and briefings conducted by NASA engineers and scientists, and they were part of an exploration team project directed by NASA engineers.

(left to right) Jullen Merrill, Anthony Pernisi, Chef Eric Rose, and Tom Hooker talk strategy prior to the Culinary Beef Tour and Competition.
(left to right) Jullen Merrill, Anthony Pernisi, Chef Eric Rose, and Tom Hooker talk strategy prior to the Culinary Beef Tour and Competition.

Onondaga’s Hospitality Management team won the first ever Culinary Beef Tour and Competition April 10 and 11 in Canandaigua, New York. Students Anthony Pernisi (West Genesee), Tom Hooker (East Syracuse Minoa), and Jullen Merrill (East Syracuse Minoa), along with Chef Eric Rose, defeated teams from Paul Smith’s College, SUNY Cobleskill, Finger Lakes Community College, and two teams from Niagara Culinary Institute. Each Onondaga student earned a $500 scholarship for their efforts. The competition required each team to turn a beef ribeye into an appetizer and an entree within a two hour period. Students were asked to create one beauty plate and five tasting plates for the judges, along with 12 servings of each recipe to divide and shared with fellow contestants. Each team also had to learn the marketing side of hospitality management, name their recipes, print them out for customers, and utilize Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to post their “special of the week.” The competition was sponsored by the New York Beef Council.

Zachary Field is congratulated by the Honorable Jenny Rivera as he receives the grand prize in the 2014 David A. Garfinkel Essay Contest.
Zachary Field is congratulated by the Honorable Jenny Rivera as he receives the grand prize in the 2014 David A. Garfinkel Essay Contest.

Zachary Field (Onondaga Central) was the recipient of the New York State Community College Grand Prize in the 2014 David A. Garfinkel Essay Contest, sponsored by the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York. His essay was titled, “Balancing National Security and Freedom of the Press.” Zachary was presented his award at the Law Day 2014 Ceremony April 30 at the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany, New York.