Cell Phone, M.D.: Anas Almaletti ’08


Major: Math and Science Graduate

The story of Anas Almaletti is nothing short of remarkable. After graduating from high school in Jordan, he came to the United States to be with his father who was operating a cell phone repair service. He started classes at Onondaga Community College the following fall in 2006 and prepared himself for the language barrier and post September 11, culture he had experienced since his arrival. However, from his first day of classes he was encouraged and inspired.  “I could read, but not speak the language, but my professors and classmates helped me through the process so having a small setting and identifying with my instructors on a personal level was instrumental in adapting to the work.”

Almaletti speaking at the Multicultural Summit held at OCC in March.

When he first enrolled at OCC, Almaletti wanted to be a doctor, but he soon found out that he was not passionate about the coursework involved in the profession. He would transfer after graduating in 2008 to Binghamton University with a focus on Chemistry, but continued to find himself uninspired after graduating with the degree two-years later. He decided to take a year off to work with his father and reevaluate his options when he discovered the spark he was looking for. “Soon after I started working for my father I realized the business needed a lot of organizational and marketing help so I set about improving these areas and almost immediately I found my passion.”

Almaletti became a fixture in the company and would go on to get his MBA from Syracuse University in 2014 in order to fully commit to the profession. While at SU he began incorporating his education into how he could grow his father’s company because he knew the model of repairing and refurbishing cell phones was not a high growth opportunity. That year, AT&T bought out Cricket Wireless. He saw an opportunity to establish satellite branches locally and draw on his education coupled with what he had learned while working with his father. Today, Almaletti heads up about 15 Cricket Wireless stores and is as surprised as anyone. “I had no idea I would be where I am today once we started this process, all of this started with me wanting to help my father’s business and to see where we have come is truly unbelievable.”

Most of his stores have been open for only a year or two. He’s in the process of reviewing their profit analytics before committing to further expansion but is optimistic. He still operates his father’s store, with his brother, and due to their success his father has been able to retire.  Looking back, he feels much of his success is due to the start he received at OCC. “The best thing the College taught me was they were going to support me, but I was going to have to put the work in. This type of mindset has stayed with me and allowed me to push through some tough times in order to get to where I am today.”

Bridges to Opportunity

Ifrah Hassan (left) and Sidrat Rahman (right) spent part of their summer at SUNY Binghamton thanks to the Bridges to Baccalaureate program.

OCC students Ifrah Hassan and Sidrat Rahman enjoyed transformative learning experiences this summer. They participated in paid internships at SUNY Binghamton as part of the Bridges to Baccalaureate program. Rahman focused on chemistry, Hassan on psychology. “I loved the opportunity of being in a lab and getting real hands-on experience,” said Rahman. “I loved my research,” added Hassan. “I learned a lot about psychology and myself. Being around people from other schools made me more outgoing. I’m more confident now when it comes to engaging in conversation.”

The Bridges to Baccalaureate program supports under-represented students interested in pursuing careers in biomedical sciences. The program is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health and is a collaboration between SUNY Binghamton and three community colleges, including OCC.

Both students have similar life and academic backgrounds. Hassan is from Kenya. She moved to the United States in 2003 and graduated from Utica’s Proctor High School in 2016. Rahman’s parents are from Bangladesh. She was raised in Montreal before coming to the United States. She graduated from Jamesville-Dewitt High School in 2016. Both are Mathematics & Science majors with Honors minors, members of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and strong believers in the college’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP). “I was a little lost when I first came to OCC,” Rahman said. “Once I found the C-STEP office everything worked out. C-STEP is my family!”

During her internship Rahman worked in a lab, trying to figure out how to make a compound more soluble. “I found I really liked the process of figuring things out. Research is definitely a career I am considering now.”

Hassan found the internship also had a significant impact on her. The research she conducted focused on how ethanol impacts the brains of adults and adolescents. “More than anything I learned any part of life can be researched, not just science. Now when I have a thought about something I think, ‘I should do research on that.’ I used to be afraid of research but now I like finding answers myself.”

Hassan will earn her degree this December. During her final semester she’ll serve fellow students in the Learning Center, tutoring calculus and biology. Rahman is on track to earn her degree next May. She’s planning to work as a Student Ambassador with C-STEP throughout the academic year, sharing her success story with fellow students and guiding them. “I know people think community colleges aren’t academically challenging but OCC is. I’m glad I came here and I saved money too!”

from Object to Figure

TOP OF STORY Gallery Exhibit - From Object To Figure 032The first gallery exhibit of the academic year is open for viewing! “from Object to Figure” by sculptor Ronald Gonzalez opened Tuesday, August 23 in the gallery at the Ann Felton Multicultural Center. It is located on the first floor of Ferrante Hall directly beneath Storer Auditorium.

Gonzalez is a native of Johnson City, NY and a graduate of SUNY Binghamton where he is a professor of art and sculpture. “from Object to Figure” is a series of black figures made from schematic steel armatures assembled together with a wide assortment of objects, antiques and collectibles.

The exhibit is open to the entire campus community and the public Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final day of the exhibit will be Tuesday, September 27.

Below is a slideshow of some of Gonzalez’ work in the gallery.

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Josh Hummell

TOP OF STORY Josh Hummell 006Josh Hummell became an outstanding student and discovered his career path during his two years at Onondaga Community College. Hummell graduated from West Genesee High School in 2014. By his own admission he wasn’t a great student and was unsure what he wanted to do. As a member of the Junior ROTC program he had considered going into the military. At the same time family members were encouraging him to pursue an engineering degree at Clarkson.

Hummell began looking at everything OCC offered and decided to attend in the fall 2014 semester. Initially he was interested in the Business major, changed to Humanities and finally settled on History with an Honors minor. “I always loved history. I was in denial for a while. Everyone told me I wouldn’t find a job in it and I should just be an engineer. I came here and realized I could make a career out of history. If you have a passion for something you should go for it.”

The clincher for Hummell was a class he took his freshman year, 19th Century American History. “The way Professor Tara Ross taught made the difference. Class was always a discussion. We read this book, “Disunion,” about the Civil War. It was the most interesting book I’d ever read about history. It was fascinating. The discussions in class required you to study and apply yourself. It gave me a whole new perspective.”

Outside class Hummell was affiliated with numerous clubs and organizations. He was inducted into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and served as its vice president for scholarship. Hummell was also vice president of the Ski Club and enjoyed the Psychology, History, Geology and Whole Earth Clubs.

Hummell plans to transfer to SUNY Binghamton and major in history with minors in French and Latin. His goal is to become a college professor or a museum curator. He’s thankful for the foundation and direction he found on campus. “I really did enjoy my time here at OCC. I learned a lot. It changed my perspective and my life in general.”

Shannon Houghton

Shannon Houghton is on the fast track to success thanks to her hard work in high school. When she graduated from Cicero-North Syracuse in 2014 Houghton had earned 36 college credits through a combination of AP and OCC’s College Credit Now program. With one year of college work already complete Shannon chose to start at OCC. “It’s been a good experience here. I like my classes and my teachers.”

Houghton earned a 3.8 grade point average in the fall 2014 semester. She was named to the President’s List and was invited to join honor societies Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Alpha Pi. One year after graduating from CNS, Houghton will earn a degree from OCC in Humanities with an Honors Minor.

Houghton plans to transfer to SUNY Binghamton and pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her goal is to earn a master’s and become a psychologist. “OCC was the perfect step for me between high school and a four-year college.”

Starting Healthy – Lisa GreenMills, ’08

RESIZED Lisa GreenMills, '08

Lisa GreenMills found her passion while completing a college internship at Syracuse Healthy Start, a program focused on reducing health disparities and infant mortality in Syracuse. “As I was doing my internship I knew it was what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work with women and children and help them.”

GreenMills grew up in an East Syracuse home where helping others was a way of life. Her mother Diane GreenPope was a nurse in the Army. She served in Iraq and retired from military service. She also worked at Crouse Hospital in labor and delivery.

GreenMills was raised along with a brother and a sister, but there was another brother she never knew. Before she was born her brother Brian died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at four months old in 1984. “Even though I never knew him, his death played a role in my interest in infant mortality and my desire to help others,” she said.

GreenMills graduated from East Syracuse Minoa high school in 2003. She came to OCC and majored in Mathematics and Science. GreenMills was an excellent student and was selected for membership in the student honor society Phi Theta Kappa. She was also active in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, also known as C-STEP. Its goal is to increase the number of college graduates from both ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in technical-related fields and individuals from economically disadvantaged families who are interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, math, engineering and other licensed professions.

RESIZED Lisa GreenPope billboard
While she was a student at OCC GreenMills was highlighted in the College’s marketing campaign, appearing on a billboard in Syracuse.

Drake Harrison is the Director of C-STEP and a huge fan of GreenMills. “There have been a lot of outstanding students that have come through here. Lisa in in the top five. She was an incredible student and an incredible human being. She was always volunteering to help people here on campus and in the community. If you want to pick a model of what a college student should be Lisa is exactly what you would want,” said Harrison.

“Mr. Harrison has been supportive of everything I’ve done, both from my time as a student at OCC and in everything I’ve pursued since graduating. He always checks in on me and I always visit him when I’m on campus,” said GreenMills.

GreenMills earned her degree from OCC in 2008, received a bachelor’s in nursing from SUNY Binghamton two years later and completed a master’s in public health at SUNY Albany. In 2013 she returned to Syracuse Healthy Start where today she is the Program Coordinator. The project supports pregnant women and new families with outreach, case management, health education and community connections. The work Syracuse Healthy Start does is very challenging and very meaningful. “I love having a job where I am helping people. Life can be so stressful as a new parent, but it’s wonderful to be able to support families and help them reach their goals.”

GreenMills lives in Syracuse and has a two-year-old son, Everett. Even though her days at OCC are well behind her, the memories of her experiences are still fresh in her mind. “When I was at OCC I was involved with organizations outside of my major and it kept getting me interested in other things. Whatever your goal is, it’s important to just add to it. Keep learning and having interest in new things. Having that mindset will benefit you. You’ll find new interests. I really loved being at OCC.”

Nick Simmons


Nick Simmons’ dedication to physical fitness unexpectedly helped him find his passion and become a standout student. By his own admission Simmons was a very average student when he graduated from Skaneateles High School in 2012.

Simmons came to OCC, started in a major which he didn’t think was right for him, and stumbled upon his future one day when he was working out at the gym. “A friend told me he was interested in physical therapy. At the time I didn’t know much about it so I started looking into it.” He realized he was very interested in how the human body worked and decided to take a biology class. “I loved it and changed majors.”

Simmons became a Mathematics and Science major and his newly found interest motivated him to excel academically. He became a member of student honor society Phi Theta Kappa, the College Science and Technology Entry Program, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and the summer Bridges program which provides a five-week paid research internship in the Biological Science Department at SUNY Binghamton. Simmons spent part of the summer of 2014 there researching the effects of alcoholism in rats.

Simmons will leave OCC after the fall 2014 semester and transfer to SUNY Binghamton where he will study neuroscience. After graduating from Binghamton he will pursue a degree in physical therapy.