2017 Alumni Faces Honoree Dr. Deirdre Hunter, ’02

Dr. Deidre Hunter (center right) with some OCC CSTEP students and Program Director, Drake Harrison (back right)

Onondaga Community College annually recognizes distinguished graduates by naming them “Alumni Faces” for their accomplishments and contributions to the community. The 2017 class will be honored during a ceremony November 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall which is located in the Academic II building. One of the graduates we will honor that night is Dr. Deirdre Hunter.

Dr. Deirdre Hunter’s interest in STEM-related fields began at an early age. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Hunter loved to follow her father around while he worked as a mechanic, tuning-up engines in his garage. “I was always fascinated by the work my father did. He had to understand the importance and delicate nature of each part to have the engine run properly.” Her interests put her on a unique path. “For me it was all about gaining knowledge. It never crossed my mind to not take courses in certain fields based on my gender because it all came so naturally to me.”

Dr. Hunter with Professor Eugene Camerota

Dr. Hunter with Professor Eugene Camerota

Hunter came to Onondaga Community College and enrolled in Engineering Science. “After the first class I knew I had made the right choice. The class sizes were small and students were all very dedicated. We were all financing our educations and had a vested interest in succeeding.” One of Hunter’s professors, Eugene Camerota, encouraged her to continue her education beyond OCC. “He saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. He helped me fill out an application for Syracuse University and mailed it. I am forever grateful for his encouragement.”

Hunter earned a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse and in 2015 added a doctorate in engineering education from Virginia Tech. Today she is a Lecturer of Engineering Design at Rice University in Houston. She credits OCC with helping build the foundation for her success. “If I would have attended a four-year university right out of high school I do not think I would have excelled academically to the extent that I have. For me OCC was not an only choice, it was my choice.”

Dr. Deirdre Hunter, ’02

Dr. Deidre Hunter (center) with OCC CSTEP students and Program Director, Drake Harrison (back right)
  • Major at OCC: Engineering Science
  • High School: Jersey Village in Houston, class of 1998

Dr. Deirdre Hunter fell in love with science and engineering as a young woman while working on cars with her father in his auto repair business. She earned degrees from OCC, Syracuse University and Virginia Tech. Today she is a Lecturer of Engineering Design at Rice University in Houston. “If I would have attended a four-year university right out of high school I do not think I would have excelled academically to the extent that I have. For me OCC was not an only choice, it was my choice.”

Please take a moment, visit our Alumni web site and tell us how OCC impacted your life.

Alumni Faces Class of 2017

The etchings of Alumni Faces honorees are on display in the Academic II Building (above) and the Gordon Student Center.

Five former students have been named 2017 “Alumni Faces” honorees for their professional achievements and contributions to the college and the community. They will be honored for their accomplishments during an induction ceremony Wednesday, November 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Academic II building’s Recital Hall. The honorees are:

 

DelVecchio

John D. “JD” DelVecchio, ‘79

  • Major: Radio & Television (now Electronic Media Communications)
  • Profession: Television Director for live sports events
  • High School: Corcoran, class of 1977

JD DelVecchio is an Emmy award-winning television sports director who has overseen coverage of some of the world’s biggest sporting events. Today he works for the Golf Channel. His resume includes Olympic Games, College Football, Saturday Night Live, David Letterman and the Cosby Show.

 

Hunter

Deirdre N. Hunter, Ph.D., ‘02

  • Major: Engineering Science
  • Profession: Professor of Engineering
  • High School: Jersey Village High School in Houston, class of 1998

Dr. Deirdre Hunter fell in love with science and engineering while working on cars with her father in his auto repair business. She earned degrees from OCC, Syracuse University and Virginia Tech. She was one of the few women in her educational field and received many accolades for her research. Today she is a Lecturer of Engineering Design at Rice University in Houston.

 

Ngwashi

Marthe Ngwashi, Esq., ‘03

  • Major: Business Administration
  • Profession: Lawyer
  • High School: Nottingham High School, class of 1994

After earning her associate degree at OCC and her bachelor’s at SUNY Empire State College, Marthe Ngwashi worked in the State Attorney General’s Office where co-workers encouraged her to pursue a law degree. She took their advice and today practices law in her firm, Ngwashi & Associates PLLC in Buffalo.

 

Riley

Edward M. Riley

  • Major: Architectural Technology
  • Profession: Developer
  • High School: Christian Brothers Academy, class of 1972

Ed Riley is a nationally renowned developer. In 2016 he completed one of the hallmark projects of his career when he restored the old Hotel Syracuse. It reopened in August 2016 as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

 

Riley

Janet H. Riley, ‘74

  • Major: Nursing
  • Profession: Registered Nurse
  • High School: Bishop Ludden, class of 1972

Janet Riley was a Registered Nurse at Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital, a Triage Nurse at Syracuse University Health Center and held several nursing and management positions at SUNY Upstate Health & Science Center prior to her retirement.

Congratulations to our Class of 2017! You can see a list of Alumni Faces honorees here.