Four Onondaga Community College students have been named 2019 recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. The awards are handed out annually to students who have best demonstrated the integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives which may include leadership, campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative and performing arts. This is the highest honor which can be bestowed upon a SUNY student. OCC’s students will be recognized during a ceremony at the Albany Capital Center Wednesday, April 24. The honorees are:
High School: Fairfax in Los Angeles, class of 2013
Major at OCC: General Studies – Liberal Arts & Sciences
Bae was born in Korea, moved to the United States at age 16 and served in the United States Army at Fort Drum before coming to OCC. He was a member of the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, an officer in the Student Association, a VA Work-Study in OCC’s Veterans office, a Peer Connector in the Advising Center and a First Year Experience Mentor. He was also a Social Media Reporter and blog contributor for the college’s media channels. Bae completed his studies in December and now attends Harvard University.
Burroughs is a member of the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, is one of only three OCC students to be named a NASA Scholar, has served the campus community as a member of Student Patrol and as an RA. He will earn his degree in May. Burroughs plans to pursue a master’s degree in either Mechanical Engineering or Engineering and Management.
Major at OCC: Humanities & Social Sciences with an Honors minor
Grainger is a member of the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, has done community outreach teaching people of all ages about technology and social media, and has served as president of Brothers and Sisters for Christ. She will earn her degree in May. Grainger plans to pursue a Ph.D. in history and become a professor.
Maxwell is a member of the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, an officer in the Student Association and a member of the national champion Men’s Lacrosse team. He will earn his degree in May and plans to transfer to a four-year school and continue his lacrosse career while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Congratulations to our 2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence honorees!
Nathan Burroughs learned his most valuable life lesson at a young age while working with his father on the family farm in Homer. “I was given a job which I was struggling with. When I finished I told my father I thought I had done ‘pretty good.’ He said, ‘anything worth doing is worth doing right so do it again.’ Those words have stuck with me in my academics, employment and even relationships. Anything I do I want to do it right.”
Burroughs has lived his father’s advice. He’s an Engineering Science major and member of the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He’s one of only three OCC students to be named distinguished NASA Scholars. In the spring he’ll travel to NASA’s Langley Research Center to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars onsite experience. “This is a really cool opportunity to learn more. I grew up watching Tom Hanks in Apollo 13. It’s the one VHS movie I remember watching tons and tons of time. I got a telescope when I was little with a night sky atlas. I liked going outside and looking up.”
During Burroughs’ first three semesters on campus he was a member of Student Patrol and an RA. When he signed up for more than 20 credit hours this semester he had to give up both roles. Burroughs only needed 14 credits to earn his degree but the Rochester Institute of Technology advised him to add a class which would transfer with him. He took their advice and added an Electrical Circuit Analysis class plus a Numerical Control Programming class and lab to widen his skillset.
When he’s not on campus Burroughs can be found volunteering at church, helping on the family farm or at Cazenovia Equipment Company, a tractor dealership where he began working in 2014. “I started off as a ‘wash boy’ detailing tractors, scrubbing all of the manure off and making everything nice and shiny. One day in February they pulled out four manure spreaders and said, ‘have fun.’ It was all outside. I had to wash them all. I came inside and my jacket was frozen solid.” Burroughs worked his way up and is now using a laser tape measure while creating floor plans for each of the buildings at Cazenovia Equipment Company’s nine locations.
Burroughs will earn his Engineering Science degree in May. He hopes to transfer to the Rochester Institute of Technology and pursue a master’s in either Mechanical Engineering or Engineering and Management. After he retires he plans to return to the family farm, Cold Brook Dairy.
Chemistry and Physical Science Professor Dr. Fred Jaquin is proud of what Onondaga Community College students have accomplished. Again. OCC’s best and brightest have become regular participants in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program. This year three OCC students have been selected. “They are the only three community college students in all of New York State to be chosen. It’s an amazing accomplishment for all of us to be so proud of,” said Jaquin. Not only do they represent all of New York State, they are also three of only 403 students chosen nationwide.
The three students are Nathan Burroughs, an Engineering Science major from Homer High School (2016) ; Wayne Ennis, an Engineering Science major from Corcoran High School (2007) and Rebecca Agosto Matos, a Mathematics & Science major from East Syracuse Minoa High School (2017). “I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Agosto Matos. “I had done robotics with NASA previously and learned a lot from it.”
Each student will take part in a five-week online activity which will culminate with a four-day on-site visit to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Students will have the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and employees as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. While at NASA students will form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team will be responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget and developing communications and outreach. “Being able to go to NASA and work with NASA professionals is very exciting,” said Ennis. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Burroughs has been dreaming about space since he was a young child when the Tom Hanks movie “Apollo 13” was popular. “I grew up watching it. It’s the one VHS movie I remember watching tons and tons of time. I got a telescope when I was little with a night sky atlas. I liked going outside and looking up.”
NASA will host another Community College Aerospace Scholars program in the fall. Students interested in participating can contact Professor Jaquin for more information at email@example.com. “Students who do this will have such an advantage going forward,” said Jaquin. “They will have an ‘in’ with NASA if they want to apply for an internship or a fellowship. NASA will know who you are.”
Congratulations to Nathan Burroughs, Wayne Ennis and Rebecca Agosto Matos, our latest class of NASA Scholars!
Mary Cope’s academic accomplishments almost seem routine when compared to her life off campus. Cope is a 2014 graduate of Homer High School who is majoring in Mathematics & Science with an Honors minor. Her outstanding work has earned her membership in international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. She’s also a member of the History Club.
Cope’s Friday nights are much different from those of a traditional college student. She’s licensed by the State and Federal governments in Rehabilitation and enjoys helping animals recover from injury. “My Friday nights are spent responding to wildlife calls. I’ll get a call saying there’s a coyote or a wolf or a deer that was struck and is on the side of the road. I’ll drive out, see if I can find it and rehab it.”
Cope is also a licensed General Falconer. She began studying falconry at age 14 and went through a four-year long apprenticeship to earn her license. “I have always loved birds. I have had every kind you could have since I was three or four years old. I worked at Lime Hollow Nature Center and my boss, Peter Harrity was a master falconer. He first got me interested. There was also a woman who lived right up the road from me who was a falconer and I was close friends with her.”
Cope enjoys the opportunity to train predatory animals. “When we get the birds they’re wild. We get them to the point where they’re not terrified of us and teach them to come back to us. We use positive reinforcement with food. They start at a small distance and they hop to our glove. We lengthen the distance until we’re sure they’ll come back to us. Then we release them and let them fly. It’s like teaching a puppy to come.”
Cope plans to spend her life rehabilitating animals and practicing falconry but both will be her hobby rather than her profession. After earning her degree in May she will transfer to the University of Georgia and major in Poultry Science and Avian Biology. Cope has so impressed professors there she’s been offered a position as a Teaching Assistant for an Introduction to Avian Biology course.
As Cope reflects on her decision to come to OCC she says things couldn’t have worked out better. “I’ve really enjoyed it. OCC was a great choice. I commute every day and still get to work with my birds when I get home. It was a great choice financially too. Some of my friends in their second year of college are deeply in debt. When I graduated from high school I wasn’t ready to move 13 hours from home to go to school. I definitely am now.”
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