Presidential Campaign on Wheels

The C-SPAN bus parked next to the Whitney Applied Technology Center.
The C-SPAN bus parked next to the Whitney Applied Technology Center.

The C-SPAN Bus visited the OCC campus Wednesday, September 21. The million dollar bus is used for educational outreach. It’s on a marketing tour of New York State as it makes its way to Hofstra University on Long Island, scene of next Monday night’s Presidential debate.

C-SPAN stands for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network. It televises federal government proceedings as well as other public affairs programming. C-SPAN consists of three television channels, one radio station and website www.c-span.org.

Members of the campus community who boarded the bus were able to utilize interactive zones and touch screens, have access to C-SPAN’s video library and see an area in the back of the bus where Presidential candidates have done live interviews. “It was amazing to see the turnout here and see students come out and be interested in politics,” said C-SPAN’s Jenae Green.

One of those interested students was Jessica Rivera, a Hospitality Management major from Syracuse’s Fowler High School. “It was pretty neat in there. I really liked it. Following Presidential politics is a new experience for me.” Next to the bus members of OCC’s Politics Club were signing up students to vote. After touring the bus Rivera registered for the upcoming election. “I think it’s important for people to register to vote,” said Alicia Willenborg, a member of the Politics Club and a Humanities major from Marcellus High School. “I’m pretty excited about the race. It will be interesting to see what the turnout will be.”

The C-SPAN Bus will visit schools in Albany Thursday and New York City Friday before heading to Long Island. We thank C-SPAN for choosing to bring its bus to OCC!

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New Student Leaders

2016-17 Student Association Officers are (front row, left to right): Henry Humiston, Michael Phelps, Vernon Macklin and Deyoni Stith. Back row left to right: Sandy Klinzman, Joanna Reyes and Liz Angle.
2016-17 Student Association Officers (front row, left to right): Henry Humiston, Michael Phelps, Vernon Macklin, Deyoni Stith, (back row left to right): Sandy Klinzman, Joanna Reyes and Liz Angle.

A new group of officers have been selected to lead the Student Association during the 2016-17 academic year. The new student leaders are:

Sandy Klinzman, President

  • Major: Humanities
  • HS: Marcellus

 

Deyoni Stith, V-P of Clubs & Organizations

  • Major: Business Administration
  • HS: Clara Barton in Brooklyn

 

Vernon Macklin, V-P of Entertainment

  • Major: Electronic Media Communications
  • HS: Institute of Technology

 

Michael Phelps, V-P of Media

  • Major: Electronic Media Communications
  • HS: Corcoran

 

Joanna Reyes, Student Representative on the Board of Trustees

  • Major: Humanities & Social Sciences
  • HS: Cicero-North Syracuse

 

Liz Angle, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • Major: Early Childhood Education
  • HS: Oneida

 

Henry Humiston, Student Representative to the OCCA Board

  • Major: Nuclear Technology and Electronic Engineering Technology
  • HS: Faith Baptist Academy

 

The Student Association provides students with opportunities for governance while developing leadership skills and serving the needs of the student body. Elected student officers and professional staff collaborate with students, faculty, staff and administration to identify and deliver programming and services that reflect the needs and preferences of the student body.

STEM Camp

STEM Camp student Katherine Evans watches her robot begin its journey through the obstacle course.
STEM Camp student Katherine Evans’ robot begin its journey through the obstacle course as classmates look on.

It’s the final day of STEM Camp in OCC’s Mulroy Hall and you can cut the tension with a knife. There’s a high-level competition in progress between female participants and the ultimate prize is on the line. Students have spent the week building robots in preparation for this day. They’ve programmed their robots to navigate through an obstacle course. Each time a student sends her robot into the obstacle course and doesn’t make it she hears words of encouragement and advice from instructor Scott Stagnitta. “That was good! Program the turn so it’s ten degrees more and it will work next time,” Stagnitta says. The student listens and returns to her desk to reprogram her robot. This is serious business. At the finish line rests a large pile of candy which will go to whomever can get her robot there first!

Fun coupled with learning have become annual summer traditions at OCC’s STEM Camp. It’s held the last week of July for boys and girls entering grades nine through 12 who are interested in careers in science, technology, engineering or math related fields. Students spend half of each day in class learning about modern manufacturing, robotics design and programming while participating in team building experiences. During the other half of the day they take field trips to businesses and explore their relation to robotics and automation. Participating businesses include Lockheed Martin, National Grid, Schneider Packaging, Time Warner Cable News and Welch Allyn.

STEM Camp is divided by gender and finding enough girls to fill the class at times can be challenging. That’s where Girls Inc at the YWCA comes in. The organization reaches out to the community and finds girls interested in careers in science. “We go to local schools and talk about the program,” said Flavia Rey de Castro, Youth Development Director with the YWCA. “We require girls to write an essay about why they would be interested in attending the program. Along with the essay they have to submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor.” At the end of the process Girls Inc at the YWCA selects five girls to attend STEM Camp. Camp tuition is paid for through a grant from National Grid.

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Craelle Hinds is one of the students who attended thanks to Girls Inc at the YWCA and National Grid. She’ll be a freshman at West Genesee High School in the fall. “I want to be a cosmetologist and I’m very interested in learning how hair products are made. Seeing how things were put together at places like National Grid and Schneider Packaging was very interesting. I’m very grateful to Girls Inc. for helping me come to STEM Camp.”

The 2016 STEM Camp was a hit with other attendees too:

  • “This week reinforced my interest in science and showed me the career side of it. I learned what I would be doing and how I would be interacting once I completed college and was in a career. I liked seeing the manufacturing side of operations at Welch Allyn. It was interesting to see the production and creation of products.” – Liam Hawes, 9th grader at Marcellus High School
  • “I was planning on becoming either a computer programmer or an engineer. Now I’m leaning more toward becoming a mechanical engineer. All of the companies we visited use mechanical engineering. I know there are good careers there.” – Justin Kehoe, 9th grader at Cicero-North Syracuse High School
  • “I really like tech and came here and found out how much fun it was to put things together. That got me interested in mechanical engineering. Then I learned about biomedical engineering and it seemed like an interesting career for me. I really liked Welch Allyn because of the biomedical engineering connection. I also enjoyed National Grid because of the hands-on experience. We got to use tools and look at how they actually operate in the field.” –Katherine Evans, 9th grader at Westhill High School

OCC’s STEM Camp would not be possible without the generous support of National Grid. The electricity and natural gas utility contributed $10,000 to the program. National Grid also donated $5,000 to the College’s summer STEM Scholars program which helps college-aged students stay on track with their degree requirements.

You can learn more about STEM Camp by contacting the College’s Office of Lifelong Learning at (315) 498-6000 or lifelong@sunyocc.edu.

Student Commencement Speaker

TOP OF STORY Marissa DeLand - student commencement speakerMarissa DeLand will be the student speaker at Onondaga Community College’s commencement. The event will be held Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center. “I’m honored to have been chosen,” DeLand said. “This year has been filled with numerous opportunities and I am excited to end it with this final opportunity. I can’t wait for commencement day!”

DeLand is a 2013 graduate of Marcellus High School. She came to OCC with the intention of fulfilling her general education requirements, transferring to a four-year college and pursuing a pharmacy degree. During her third semester she changed her mind, kept her Mathematics and Science major and decided to add on a Business Administration major. “I’m fortunate I realized here I wanted to change majors rather than at a college which cost a lot more money. A lot of students think they know what they want to do and they go to a bigger, more expensive school. Then they realize they want to change their major but now they owe a lot of money and it’s like they are starting over.”

DeLand loves helping students, whether they’re currently enrolled at OCC or considering coming here. She can often be seen working as a Student Ambassador, leading high school students and their families on campus tours. DeLand also serves as a Peer Connector assisting students through the class registration process. In the fall 2015 semester she joined the Student Association as Vice President of Clubs and Organizations. She oversees all of the clubs on campus and makes sure they get what they need.

The OCC experience has been perfect for her. “I’ve loved it. I like the small class sizes and how personal you can get with your professors. They know your name and what you want to do after OCC. If I would have gone from Marcellus to a place with much bigger class sizes it would have been difficult.”

DeLand will transfer to SUNY Oswego and major in business administration. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in project management.

Student Nominated for a SAMMY

Zoe FEATURE pic
Zoë Mullan-Stout
Zoe (left) and Alison (right) perform at the Oswego Music Hall.
Zoë (left) and Alison (right).

OCC student Zoë Mullan-Stout is a finalist for a 2016 Syracuse Area Music Award! The awards are more commonly known as “The SAMMY’S.” Mullan-Stout and her sister Alison make up the singer/songwriter duo “Alison and Zoë.” They are one of five music acts nominated in the category of “Best Folk.”

Mullan-Stout is a 2011 graduate of Marcellus High School. At OCC she’s a Humanities major with a Music minor. She’s in the College’s Honors program and is a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Mullan-Stout will earn her degree this May.

Alison & Zoe Home is coverIn December 2015 Alison and Zoe released their first EP, “Home is…” It contains five original songs.

The SAMMY Awards will be handed out Friday, March 4 at the Palace Theater.

You can follow Allison and Zoe on Facebook.

Marissa DeLand

Marissa Deland gives perspective students and their families campus tours while working as a Student Ambassador.
Marissa DeLand gives prospective students and their families campus tours while working as a Student Ambassador.

Marissa DeLand is a member of Marcellus High School’s Class of 2013 who came to OCC with the intention of fulfilling her general education requirements, transferring to a four-year college and pursuing a pharmacy degree. During her third semester she changed her mind, kept her Mathematics and Science major and decided to add on a Business Administration major. “I’m fortunate I realized here I wanted to change majors rather than at a college which cost a lot more money. A lot of students think they know what they want to do and they go to a bigger, more expensive school. Then they realize they want to change their major but now they owe a lot of money and it’s like they are starting over.”

DeLand loves helping students, whether they’re currently enrolled at OCC or considering coming here. She can often be seen working as a Student Ambassador, leading high school students and their families on campus tours. DeLand also serves as a Peer Connector helping students through the class registration process. In the fall 2015 semester she joined the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement as Vice President of Clubs and Organizations. She oversees all of the clubs on campus and makes sure they get what they need.

The OCC experience has been perfect for her. “I’ve loved it. I like the small class sizes and how personal you can get with your professors. They know your name and what you want to do after OCC. If I would have gone from Marcellus to a place with much bigger class sizes it would have been difficult.”

DeLand will graduate in May 2016. She plans to transfer to a four-year college and major in business administration or marketing.

Committed to Completing

Glen LaPoint, known to Central New York radio listeners as Gomez Adams, is returning to OCC to complete work toward his degree.
Glenn LaPoint, known to Central New York radio listeners as Gomez Adams, is returning to OCC to complete work toward his degree.

The idea first came to him a few years ago. Glenn LaPoint was chatting with friends at a Syracuse University football game when the topic of a college education came up. His friends knew he had gone to OCC and assumed he had his degree. “I told them, ‘Technically I never finished. I thought I only had a few classes to go,'” said LaPoint. “That’s when I started a bucket list and began thinking about going back.”

His friends assumed he had his degree because of his accomplishments. LaPoint is known to Central New Yorkers as Gomez Adams, a radio personality who has entertained listeners for more than 30 years. For the last 22 years he’s been the top talent at radio station WTKW, “TK-99,” where he co-hosts the “Gomez and Lisa” morning show with Lisa Chalenza.

LaPoint graduated from Marcellus High School in 1978. He was one of the top students in his class and selected to give the Valedictory Address at graduation. LaPoint went to the University of Buffalo and majored in chemical engineering but left after a year-and-a-half. He moved back home and decided to give OCC a try.

When LaPoint started taking classes in the spring of 1980 he found only one student he knew on campus. That person worked at student radio station WOCC. LaPoint started hanging out with him and became interested in radio. He decided to major in Radio and Television and found it to be perfect for him. “The professors were great. Everyone had so much experience and was so helpful.”

In October of 1981, while still attending OCC, LaPoint was offered a full-time radio job in Herkimer. “At the time I figured, ‘Why not take the gig? That’s what I’m in college for!'” He jumped at the opportunity and began his odyssey across the region. LaPoint would go from Herkimer to Channel 3 television in Syracuse where he worked part-time in the newsroom and also played “Peppermint Pete” on children’s show, “Saturday Showboat.” LaPoint’s next stop was WKFM radio in Granby, WYYY (known as “Y94”) in Syracuse and ultimately WTKW.

When LaPoint left OCC he had every intention of getting his degree sooner rather than later. “Like anyone else who leaves early I was saying, ‘I can go back and finish.’ All of a sudden months turned into years and you know how that works. Next thing you know it’s about 35 years later!”

In November 2015 LaPoint decided it was time to finish what he started. One day after work he drove up to campus, walked into the Gordon Student Center and began the process of returning to college. Eventually he learned he would only need three classes to earn his degree in the old Radio and TV major which is now called Electronic Media Communications.

LaPoint returned to class in January 2016 on a campus which looks much different from the one he left behind in the early 1980s. LaPoint comes to campus often both in his role as a radio personality and as a member of the Southwest YMCA which is part of the SRC Arena and Event Center complex. “The campus has grown up so much. Anyone who has never been should really come up and visit. All of the buildings and the athletic facilities are second to none.”

When LaPoint walks across the stage at commencement in May and is handed his degree he’ll join his wife as alumni of the College. He will also proudly cross one item off his bucket list. “I had nothing but a great experience my first time at OCC. I love the career I started because of it. I’m excited to be back and glad to be finishing what I started.”

2015 Alumni Faces Inductees

2015 Alumni Faces (left to right): OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill, Dinyar Vania, '99, London Ladd, '95, Anne Marie Abt, DPT, '75 and Richard Delmonico, Ph.D., '77.
2015 Alumni Faces (left to right): OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill, Dinyar Vania, ’99, London Ladd, ’95, Anne Marie Abt, DPT, ’75 and Richard Delmonico, Ph.D., ’77.

Onondaga Community College honored four distinguished alumni by naming them 2015 “Alumni Faces” for their professional achievements and contributions to the College and community. The ceremony took place Wednesday, October 28 in the Recital Hall of the Academic II building.

The 2015 honorees are:

Anne Marie AbtAnne Marie Abt, DPT, ‘75

Major: Mathematics & Science

Profession: Physical Therapist

Anne Marie Abt came to OCC from Bishop Grimes knowing she wanted a career in physical therapy. She earned her associate degree and graduated from Upstate Medical Center two years later. Today Dr. Abt is a physical therapist in the Jamesville-Dewitt School District where she works with students with diagnosed disabilities. Dr. Abt is also an adjunct instructor in the Physical Therapy Education Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University, teaching a pediatrics therapy course to doctoral students. She is a board certified pediatric clinical specialist and is part of the Fitness Inclusion Network affiliated with Upstate, which promotes inclusive fitness for children and adults with disabilities.

 

Richard DelmonicoRichard Delmonico, Ph.D., ‘77

Major: Humanities

Profession: Neuropsychologist

Richard Delmonico is a graduate of Liverpool High School who credits OCC’s Counseling Department with helping him decide on a major, consider career options and complete applications for bachelor degree programs. Delmonico also earned degrees from colleges in California, Connecticut and Missouri. Today he is the chief of neuropsychology at the Kaiser Permanente Rehabilitation Center in northern California where he specializes in working with people with neurological disorders such as traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Delmonico is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of California and the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Neurological Society.

 

London laddLondon Ladd, ‘95

Major: Art

Profession: Illustrator

London Ladd is an illustrator who creates the visuals that help tell the stories of some our nation’s most historic figures. The Corcoran High School graduate came to OCC as a Computer Science major, switched to Art and developed into a nationally renowned children’s book illustrator. He’s worked for some of the nation’s largest publishers including Scholastic, Disney/Hyperion and Lee & Low Books. His subjects have included Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglas. In between projects Ladd remains active in the community, serving as a facilitator for Syracuse’s Say Yes to Education after-school program. He is a member of the Syracuse Public Arts Commission.

 

Dinyar VaniaDinyar Vania, ‘99

Major: Music

Profession: Opera Tenor

Music always played a significant role in Dinyar Vania’s life, but he didn’t realize his greatest gift until he became a student at OCC. Vania graduated from Marcellus High School with the dream of being a percussionist. OCC’s Music faculty discovered he had enormous potential as a vocalist and worked with him to enhance those skills. After graduation Vania went to New York City, performed in several choral ensembles and earned principal roles on the main stage for the New York City Opera Chorus. Vania is now one of the most sought after talents in opera throughout the United States and Europe.

During the ceremony each recipient delivered brief remarks. There was also an outstanding performance of Brindisi from LA TRAVIATA. It was performed by 2015 Alumni Face honoree Dinyar Vania, OCC Student Vocalist Brittany Montpetit (Cicero-North Syracuse High School), the OCC Concert Choir and Pianist Katharine Ciarelli under the direction of Conductor David J. Rudari, D.M.A. You can view the performance here:

Earlier in the day the Alumni Faces honorees spent time on campus interacting with students in the disciplines they majored in. It was a wonderful opportunity for students to interact and receive valuable career advice.

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You can see a complete list of the College’s Alumni Faces honorees here.

 

 

Zoë Mullan-Stout

Zoë Mullan-Stout has the gift of song and she’s beginning to share it with Central New York. Mullan-Stout is a Humanities major with a Music minor who is in the College’s Honors program. She’s also one half of “Alison and Zoë,” a budding singer/songwriter duo along with her older sister Alison.

Mullan-Stout is a 2011 graduate of Marcellus High School who is on track to graduate from OCC in December 2015. She’s always had a passion for playing guitar and writing and signing harmonies. “In the past year or so Alison and I have had the ‘say yes to mostly everything’ mentality. It has led to a lot of opportunities to perform in diverse environments.”

Zoe (left) and Alison (right) perform at the Oswego Music Hall.
Zoe (left) and Alison (right) perform at the Oswego Music Hall.

The duo will be releasing its first CD later this year. In the meantime Zoë says they are happy to play and sing wherever people want to enjoy their music. “In our eyes performing is a compliment to all the other ways in which we love to share and create music, whether its in a song circle or in someone’s living room.”

You can follow Alison and Zoë on Facebook.

Star Opera Singer: Dinyar Vania, ’99

Dinyar-Vania,-'99Music has always played a significant role in Dinyar Vania’s life, but the opera singer didn’t realize his greatest gift until he became a student at OCC.

Vania grew up surrounded by music. He started playing the piano at age four, his sister enjoyed the flute, and his brother favored the clarinet. Each of them also learned to play other instruments. The Vania children followed in the footsteps of their parents who had also played instruments at young ages. “My parents were very culturally conscious. They took us to the Syracuse Symphony a lot. Whenever they went to Broadway plays they would buy the soundtrack. There was always a lot of music in our house,” said Vania.

Vania attended Marcellus High School in the mid 1990s and was very active musically outside of school. He was a percussionist both in a rock band and with the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra. Vania wanted to pursue music in college but struggled to find the right school. “I auditioned at several upstate music schools but none of them impressed me. My mom suggested I visit OCC, and that’s when everything fell into place.”

It didn’t take long for Vania to stand out in OCC’s Music program, but it wasn’t in percussion. Retired Professor Richard D. McCullough saw something in Vania right away. “From his first moments in the voice studio, I could tell there was something special about his voice. Back in the mid 90s, Dinyar sang as a ‘baby baritone.’ As time went on, he began to open up and blossom. That’s when I thought, ‘Oh! I think there is a hidden tenor in there,’” said McCullough.

With the encouragement of McCullough and other Music professors Vania flourished. “Everyone was extremely supportive which meant a lot. There were many positive influences, and that really went a long way in my development and growth.”

Vania graduated from OCC in May of 1999 with a degree in Music and a specialization in Voice. “I received the best education of my life at OCC. Everybody from the Music department to my Astronomy professors to my History professors to my Liberal Arts professors – the education was by far the best anywhere I’ve ever been.”

Vania moved to New York City and began to pursue his dream. He worked as a semi-professional chorister, singing in ensembles with choral artists for the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and anywhere else he could. “I was getting great opportunities. I learned a lot about how those at the top of their profession work and conduct themselves.”

To make ends meet Vania also worked at Tower Records in Lincoln Center and as a full-time baby sitter. While dividing his time between multiple jobs Vania continued to grow professionally. He was invited to audition with the New York City Opera Chorus and did well enough to become an associate chorister. After one year Vania was promoted to understudying principal roles, then went to singing main stage principal roles.

During the summer of 2014 Vania returned to upstate New York and worked at the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown. He performed the lead role of Pinkerton in “Madame Butterfly.” One of his shows was attended by several members of his Onondaga family including McCullough, retired Music Professor Donald Miller, and Music Professor David Abrams. Abrams wrote a review for CNY Cafe Momus, a website dedicated to classical music, opera, and theater.

Vania lives his life on stage and on the road where he spends eight to nine months out of the year. After Cooperstown it’s on to Nebraska for Opera Omaha, where he will be singing The Duke in the Italian Opera “Rigoletto.” When he gets to Omaha he’ll be reunited with his fiance, Rachele Gilmore. She’s a soprano who will also be performing in “Rigoletto.” Gilmore is an Atlanta native who met Vania when they worked together in Knoxville, Tennessee. “This is the life we’ve chosen,” said Vania. “We both love what we do and understand we won’t always be able to be together.”

As Vania moves from city to city his former professors will continue to follow his work with great interest. “Teaching Dinyar and having had some small level of influence with his career development was more than just professional pleasure. He is not only an accomplished singer, Dinyar is sincerely a fine individual with a huge heart full on kindness. I so look forward to following his career and further vocal development,” said McCullough.

You can follow Vania’s career at his website.