Degrees of Success

Mackenzie Eck (left) is a member of Jordan-Elbridge High School’s and Onondaga Community College’s class of 2019. On June 22 she will receive both her J-E diploma and her OCC associate degree. Eck is pictured with J-E High School Principal Mark Schermerhorn. They are seated in front of a display which pays tribute to J-E’s graduates of distinction.

Mackenzie Eck planned to graduate from high school one year ago. She had powered through her freshman, sophomore and junior years at Jordan-Elbridge and earned enough credits to receive her diploma after just three years. She had also amassed 30 college credits, 23 of those through Onondaga Community College’s “College Credit Now” program which allows students to take college-level classes in their home high schools. Her plans changed after a conversation with her school counselor. “Miss (Jamie) Susino told me ‘there’s this program that could save you some money. You could get college credits. Go to OCC, get ahead and do great things.’”

Eck took her counselor’s advice. During her senior year of high school, she took Physical Education at J-E and attended OCC full time. She earned a total of 33 credits while majoring in Mathematics & Science. Her course load included demanding classes such as Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. “At first my parents told me it would be really hard. I finished my first semester and got all A’s and B’s. That’s when I got really excited and wanted to do more.”

On Saturday, June 22 Eck will be rewarded… twice. During J-E’s graduation ceremony she will receive her high school diploma and her associate degree from OCC. College President Dr. Casey Crabill will be on the stage to personally congratulate her. “It will be a great moment, but I didn’t do this to get attention. I just wanted to get ahead.”

Eck found her OCC experience to be very enjoyable, from the class registration process to the classroom. “I was amazed with all of the support I received. I worked with Jenna Alexander in Advising most of the time. She was great. Even though I was the youngest person in class the professors didn’t treat me any different. I’m really glad I got this opportunity.”

In the fall Eck and all of her 63 college credits will transfer seamlessly to the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She believes her OCC experience has given her the confidence she needs to experience success at a four-year college. “I know a lot of people can be nervous about the transition from high school to college. The OCC program was a really smooth transition. If you take classes in high school and you take classes at OCC, you get the best of both worlds. You can smoothly transition into college.”

Top SUNY Honors

Celebrating SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence are (left to right): Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and Honors Coordinator Jackie Barstow, Professor and PTK New York State Regional Coordinator Dr. Annie Tuttle, Fabrizio Tucci, Blake Carter, Ifrah Hassan, Matthew Honeywell, Hien Lam and President Dr. Casey Crabill.

Five of Onondaga Community College’s best and brightest students had their moment in the spotlight when they traveled to Albany to receive the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. The awards were handed out April 10 inside the Albany Capital Center.

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award ceremony was held inside the Albany Capital Center.

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence acknowledges students who have received recognition for distinguished achievements. It is the highest honor which can be bestowed upon a SUNY student. Honorees demonstrated the ability to combine academic excellence with other accomplishments which may include leadership, campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative performing arts.

Before students received their awards they were congratulated by SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “I am immensely proud of these students, who have demonstrated academic excellence and dedication to enriching their campuses and communities. From research publications in industry journals to volunteering in hospitals and local clinics to holding leadership roles at their institutions, I am inspired by each student we recognize today. Congratulations to all of the students receiving this year’s award.”

Recipients also heard from SUNY Empire State College Alumna Erin Hamlin. She’s a 4-time Olympian, a 2-time World Champion and a 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist in the sport of Luge. Before her speech a video was played showing Hamlin’s career highlights. She was greeted with a standing ovation as she walked to the podium.

Each of OCC’s SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence winners were called to the stage individually to receive their medal and have their picture taken with Chancellor Johnson and College President Dr. Casey Crabill. OCC’s honorees are:

 

Blake Carter

  • High School: Jordan-Elbridge, class of 2004
  • Major at OCC: Business Administration with an Honors minor
  • Blake spent several years working at Lowe’s before coming to OCC. He became and outstanding student and served as president of the College’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Blake earned his degree in December and currently works for Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter. In the fall he will transfer to Syracuse University and major in Economics.

 

Ifrah Hassan

  • High School: Utica Proctor, class of 2016
  • Major at OCC: Mathematics & Science with an Honors minor
  • Ifrah is a native of Kenya who moved to the United States in 2003. During her time on campus she was a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and tutored students in math. She earned her degree in December and now attends SUNY Binghamton where she is majoring in Integrative Neuroscience with a minor in Africana Studies.

 

Matthew Honeywell

  • High School: West Genesee, class of 1989
  • Major at OCC: Human Services
  • Matthew grew up in the foster care system and is a veteran of the United States Navy. At OCC he was a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He earned his degree in December and now attends SUNY Oswego. He plans to become a therapist for foster care children, adopted children and their families.

 

Hien Lam

  • Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Major at OCC: Mathematics & Science
  • Hien is an international student from Vietnam who is working to become a pharmacist. When he started taking classes at OCC he did not know how to speak English. Today he is a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. After he earns his degree, Hien plans to transfer to the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

 

Fabrizio Tucci

  • Hometown: Valencia, Carabobo in Venezuela
  • Major at OCC: Electronic Media Communications
  • Fabrizio is an international student from Venezuela. He’s an All-American tennis player, a Resident Assistant in the residence hall and a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Fabrizio plans to continue his tennis career at a four-year college while pursuing a degree in Marketing.

 

Congratulations to our winners!

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2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Award Winners

 

Five Onondaga Community College students have been named winners of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Honorees demonstrated the ability to combine academic excellence with other accomplishments which may include leadership, campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative performing arts.

The awards will be presented by Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson April 10 at the Albany Capital Center. OCC’s five honorees include three graduates of local high schools and two international students.

 

Blake Carter

  • High School: Jordan-Elbridge, class of 2004
  • Major at OCC: Business Administration with an Honors minor
  • Blake spent several years working at Lowe’s home improvement and appliance store before coming to OCC. He became and outstanding student and served as president of the College’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Blake earned his degree in December and currently works for Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter. In the fall he will transfer to Syracuse University and major in Economics.

 

Ifrah Hassan

  • High School: Utica Proctor, class of 2016
  • Major at OCC: Mathematics & Science with an Honors minor
  • Ifrah is a native of Kenya who moved to the United States in 2003. During her time on campus she was a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and tutored students in math. She earned her degree in December and now attends SUNY Binghamton where she is majoring in Integrative Neuroscience with a minor in Africana Studies.

 

Matthew Honeywell

  • High School: West Genesee, class of 1989
  • Major at OCC: Human Services
  • Matthew grew up in the foster care system and is a veteran of the United States Navy. At OCC he was a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He earned his degree in December and now attends SUNY Oswego. He plans to become a therapist for foster care children, adopted children and their families.

 

Hien Lam

  • Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Major at OCC: Mathematics & Science
  • Hien is an international student from Vietnam who is working to become a pharmacist. When he started taking classes at OCC he did not know how to speak English. Today he is a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. After he earns his degree Hien plans to transfer to the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

 

Fabrizio Tucci

  • Hometown: Valencia, Carabobo in Venezuela
  • Major at OCC: Electronic Media Communications
  • Fabrizio is an international student from Venezuela. He’s an All-American tennis player, a Resident Assistant in the residence hall and a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Fabrizio plans to continue his tennis career at a four-year college while pursuing a degree in Marketing.

Congratulations to our 2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Award Winners for Student Excellence.

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Mentoring Tomorrow’s Professionals

OCC Alumnus and CNY Central Photojournalist Matt Landers (right) works with Electronic Media Communication majors as they prepare for a shoot in Whitney Commons.

It’s not unusual to walk past a class in OCC’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major and see a member of the Central New York broadcast industry speaking with students. Current broadcast professionals regularly visit campus and share their experiences with students. “We’ve had many special guests ranging from photographers to news directors,” said Zach Sheridan, an EMC major and 2016 graduate of Fabius-Pompey High School. “They offer real-life examples of problems or issues they deal with every day and help give us a greater understanding.”

Each instructor within EMC has either worked in or is presently employed in the broadcasting industry. Most are behind the scenes staffers who play critical roles in the success of a broadcast. Others are people you see on-camera such as Niko Tamurian, a 2005 grad of the EMC program and Sports Director of CNY Central TV.

EMC Adjunct Professors Laura Bailey (left) and Tammy Palmer (right) pictured at Newschannel 9.

Earlier this semester students enrolled in Television News Production were given a challenging assignment by their professors who are both Syracuse broadcast professionals. Tammy Palmer is an anchor and reporter at WSYR TV, Newschannel 9. Laura Bailey is a Director at the same station and is also a 2017 winner of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. Professors Palmer and Bailey divided their students up into news gathering crews and gave them two-and-a-half hours to shoot, write and edit a story. It’s a tall task for those who do the job every day and even more challenging for students.

Each student crew was paired with a highly talented broadcast professional volunteering his or her time to work with students. They included Emmy-award winning CNY Central photojournalist and OCC Alumnus Quindell Williams, CNY Central photojournalist and OCC alumnus Matt Landers, Newschannel 9 photojournalist and OCC alumnus Evan Bailey, OCC alumnus and SUNY Oswego videographer Jim Kearns and Newschannel 9 multimedia journalist Olivia Ugino. Throughout the process they continuously offered advice on shooting, editing and writing techniques.

Some of the student crews beat the two-and-a-half-hour deadline, some did not. The lessons learned from those in the industry were invaluable. “It was great to get this hands-on experience while working with people currently employed in broadcasting,” said Jacob Manrow, an EMC major and 2016 graduate of Jordan-Elbridge High School. “Getting in-depth, real-world experience this early in my career gives me a competitive edge when taking my next steps.”

The EMC professors overseeing the exercise were pleased with the results. “Walking into class the students were very nervous about not only the assignment, but the whole semester,” said Bailey. “Two-and-a-half-hours later they had new confidence about what they could accomplish.”

“Mentoring is crucial in so many fields,” added Palmer. “Newsrooms lose experienced journalists every day. We need to make sure the next generation has the opportunity to learn from the men and women who do important work daily. Now more than ever the media is facing a skeptical audience. The cycle of passing down valuable lessons can’t fade away. Knowledge is power.”

You can learn more about OCC’s Electronic Media Communications major here.

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Blake Carter

Blake Carter
  • High School: Jordan-Elbridge, Class of 2004
  • Major: Business Administration with an Honors minor

Blake is a leader whether he’s counseling people about life choices, serving as an Honors Ambassador or as president of OCC’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). “I love mentoring people. When I was working in retail I enjoyed doing so, as a member of the Business Club I mentored fellow students and it’s the same now in PTK. I feel like with my life experience I can help people.”

Blake spent several years working at a Lowe’s home improvement and appliance store before coming to Onondaga. He enjoyed his job and his co-workers but saw himself getting passed over for promotions by people with college degrees.

Blake started taking classes at OCC in the spring 2016 semester. Two faculty members provided him with constant encouragement. English Professor Helaine Lubar would read his papers and advise him to pursue leadership positions at the college. Business Professor Kristen Costello’s mentoring led him to become a successful student and consider a career in economics.

Blake’s Honors project focused on the National Debt and misconceptions about it. He began working on it during the 2016 Presidential election cycle and asked Costello for advice regularly. “I became very passionate about the topic. I learned a lot about things like debt versus deficit, what makes up the debt, how much of the debt China really owns and how much of the debt is due to Social Security.” Blake presented his paper at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference at SUNY Fredonia in April.

Hunter

During this past summer Blake interned for New York State Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter and did extensive research on unemployment. Even though his internship ended when the semester began, he felt a responsibility to complete the report and is continuing to work on finishing it.

After earning his degree this December, Blake plans to transfer to a four-year college and major in economics. He credits the faculty with helping him become an outstanding student. “The professors are the biggest resource here. I’ve made so many connections with them. They’ve transformed my time here because of how accessible and willing to work with you they are. OCC is all about what you make of it. I’ve enjoyed it here and really like it.”

Simulating Danger

Students Tom Albring (near) and Chris Richards (far) test the drunk driving simulator in the Gordon Great Room.
Students Tom Albring (near) and Chris Richards (far) test the drunk driving simulator in the Gordon Great Room.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” A large sign bearing those words greeted students in the Great Room of the Gordon Student Center December 3rd. The sign was part of a drunk driving simulator set up for students to use so they could see first-hand the dangers of operating a vehicle while impaired.

Each simulator included a steering wheel, foot pedals, and a large monitor which positioned student motorists on a two-lane road with oncoming traffic. The simulators were altered to mimick driving conditions for a person with a blood alcohol content level of .10. Response times were slowed making it a struggle to keep the vehicle in the proper driving lane or able to stop in a timely fashion. When students finished driving they received citations listing the laws they would have broken were they actually on the road.

Student Tom Albring (Jordan-Elbridge) tried the simulator and was surprised by the results. “It felt like I had less control. I’m definitely not going to drink and drive.” Student Chris Richards (Skaneateles) had a similar experience. “I noticed I could get in an accident a lot easier. There is no way I’m going to drink and drive.”