Several of Onondaga Community College’s best students were honored in Albany April 24 during the presentation of the USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Awards, and the SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence. Both ceremonies were held in the Albany Capital Center.
Three OCC students were named winners of the USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Awards for their distinguished academic achievements and leadership accomplishments. They were:
High School: Cicero-North Syracuse, class of 2016
Major: Electronic Media Communications
High School: Central Square, class of 2016
Major: Mathematics & Science with a concentration in Biology
Kate was also recognized for earning a national Coca-Cola scholarship.
Native of Kosovo
Major: Electrical Technology
Four OCC students were recognized as winners of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by SUNY. OCC’s winners were:
High School: Fairfax in Los Angeles, class of 2013
Major at OCC: General Studies – Liberal Arts & Sciences
High School: Homer, class of 2016
Major at OCC: Engineering Science
Home schooled, from Fayetteville
Major at OCC: Humanities & Social Sciences with an Honors minor
High School: Windsor in Colorado, class of 2016
Major at OCC: Exercise Science
During both ceremonies SUNY Chancellor Kristin M. Johnson addressed the honorees. “These award recipients emerged from their campuses this year as the top scholars, athletes, performers, and achievers, as well as a tremendous source of inspiration. The students made the choice to be leaders on their campuses, prioritize their studies, and serve their communities. Congratulations to this year’s awardees, and I applaud you for pursuing excellence in all that you do.”
Graduates of Cicero-North Syracuse and Central Square High Schools along with a native of Kosovo have been chosen to represent Onondaga Community College on the 2019 USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York State Academic Team. All three students are members of OCC’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. They were selected for their academic excellence and community service. The students will be honored during a ceremony in Albany April 24. The students are:
Major: Mathematics & Science with a concentration in Biology
Kate is a member of honor society Phi Theta Kappa. an Honors Student Ambassador, a Biology notetaker for students who utilize OCC’s Office of Accessibility Resources and the recipient of a national Coca-Cola scholarship.
Marigone is a member and officer in honor society Phi Theta Kappa who interned at National Grid last summer where she focused on Substation Engineering and Design.
All three students plan to transfer to four-year institutions and earn higher degrees. They are highlighted in this month’s edition of our podcast, “Higher Ed News You Can Use from Onondaga Community College.” You can listen to the podcast here.
Matthew Honeywell and Giavanna Sylvester have been chosen to represent OCC on the 2018 USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York State Academic team. They will be honored at a recognition ceremony March 6 in Albany.
Honeywell grew up in the foster care system, survived abuse and was adopted at age 11. He graduated from West Genesee High School in 1989, served in the United States Navy and worked several jobs while trying to determine his career path. He enrolled in OCC in the spring of 2016, started as an Accounting major and switched to Human Services. He became an outstanding student and was inducted into honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Honeywell earned his degree in December 2017 at the age of 47.
He now attends SUNY Oswego with the goal of becoming a therapist for children in foster care, adopted children and their families. He also wants to work on policy issues related to adoption and change confidentiality laws which prevent children from searching for answers to questions as they try to find out about themselves. Honeywell has already accomplished his biggest goal in life. It’s something he gets to experience and enjoy every night when he goes home. “The one thing I always wanted more than anything else was my own family because I never had one. Even after I was adopted I never felt close to my adopted mom and dad.” Honeywell and his wife have a daughter and a son who is in his second semester at OCC.
Sylvester graduated from Fabius-Pompey High School in 2013, spent a year in New York City, then returned to Central New York to attend OCC. “It was the best decision for me because I wasn’t ready grade-wise to get into a four-year college. Class sizes were smaller and I got a lot of attention here.”
During her time on campus she was a member of honor society Phi Theta Kappa, Student Conversation Circles, the History Club and earned a degree in Humanities and Social Sciences. “All of the opportunities and experiences I had made my experience at OCC very fulfilling.”
Sylvester finished taking classes at OCC in the fall 2017 semester. She is now enrolled at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe where she is pursuing a degree in Psychology with the goal of becoming a counselor.
Congratulations to Matthew Honeywell and Giavanna Sylvester!
Onondaga Community College shined brightly at the annual USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-State Academic Award ceremony. The event was held March 2 at the New York State Museum in Albany.
Sophomore Music majors Julianna Meyers (Central Square HS) and Katie Spriggs (Liverpool HS) sang the Star Spangled Banner. College President Dr. Casey Crabill was an award presenter and she had the honor of calling the names of two OCC student recipients, Heather Flewelling and Haley Hurst. They were named to the All-State Academic Team based on their academic excellence and community service.
Flewelling is a native of Oswego who earned her GED in 1999. She’s a Liberal Arts & Sciences: Humanities and Social Sciences major with minors in Honors and Women’s Studies. Flewelling will earn her degree in May. She plans to transfer to Syracuse University and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a minor in Medical Anthropology.
Hurst is a 2015 graduate of Port Byron High School. She’s a Mathematics & Science major with an Honors minor. Hurst attended OCC tuition-free thanks to the New York State STEM scholarship program. She will earn her degree in May. Hurst plans to transfer to SUNY Binghamton and pursue a degree in its nanotech stem research program.
Major @ OCC: Liberal Arts: Humanities & Social Sciences with minors in Honors and Women’s Studies
Heather Flewelling is a 34-year-old mother who has become one of OCC’s top students. She’s overcome significant life hurdles to reach this point. “My journey has been filled with so many ups and downs and I have learned and gained from those experiences. Everyday seems to have either new joys or challenges both at school and at home. I’m very proud and can’t wait to see where this journey will take me.”
Flewelling earned her GED in 1999, tried to go to college but wasn’t ready for the challenge. Then life happened. She gave birth to a daughter with disabilities. “School was put on hold for a long time. I needed to be with my daughter every day.”
Three years ago Flewelling was ready to try college again. “It was time for me to go back to school. It was time for me to pursue what I wanted to pursue as a career.” Her pursuit focused on the health field. “My daughter requires a lot of my time and attention. A career in public health would give me the flexibility that I need at home to have the career I want.”
Flewelling’s desire to return to college was aided by a scholarship opportunity through the OCC Foundation. She applied for and was awarded the Helen & John Etherington Endowed Scholarship. “The money helped me so much. I don’t work during the semester but still have to live. It was a big relief.” Helen Etherington enrolled in OCC in 1965 while raising four children. She earned her degree at OCC and three additional degrees from Syracuse University. Etherington returned to OCC as a faculty member, became an administrator, OCC Foundation Board Director and an Alumni Faces honoree. The Helen & John Etherington Scholarship is awarded to female students who are 25 or older and have dependents at home.
Flewelling has taken advantage of the support she’s received. She’s earned membership in international honor society Phi Theta Kappa thanks to hard work coupled with the wisdom which comes with being older. “My dedication is much different now. I’m very on top of everything. I go above and beyond what is expected of me. I look for bigger and better opportunities. My age and life experience have made a difference. I’m very dedicated to being in the classroom.
In March, Flewelling will travel to Albany and represent OCC as one of two honorees at the USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team Recognition Ceremony. She was overjoyed when she learned she had been selected. “I remember when I got the email. I was so overly excited. I was in the middle of the mall jumping up and down. I’m very proud of that. It’s a big honor!”
When Flewelling receives her degree in May she’ll leave campus with wonderful memories and an appreciation for those around her. “My experience here was wonderful. I fostered so many relationships with students and professors. Relationships here really opened up doors for me. I made a great decision coming here.”
Flewelling plans to transfer to Syracuse University and pursue a bachelor’s in Public Health with a minor in Medical Anthropology.
Students Heather Flewelling and Haley Hurst are being honored for their academic excellence and community service. They are OCC’s representatives on the USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team. Flewelling and Hurst will travel to Albany next month for a recognition ceremony at the New York State Museum in Albany.
Flewelling is a native of Oswego who earned her GED in 1999. She’s a Humanities & Social Sciences major with minors in Honors and Women’s Studies. Flewelling will receive her degree in May. She plans to transfer to Syracuse University and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a minor in Medical Anthropology.
Hurst is a 2015 graduate of Port Byron High School. She attended OCC tuition-free thanks to the New York State STEM scholarship program. Hurst majored in Mathematics & Science with an Honors minor. She will receive her degree in May. Hurst plans to transfer to SUNY Binghamton and pursue a degree in its nanotech stem research program.
Two OCC students will receive statewide honors for their academic excellence and community service. Leighann Bulich and Iga Szczepanik will represent the College at the USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team Recognition Ceremony Tuesday, March 8 at the New York State Museum in Albany.
Bulich came to OCC from Lake George Jr.-Sr. High School (60 miles north of Albany) where she was a member of the class of 2014. Bulich served her community as a member of the West Glens Falls Emergency Squad and an emergency medical technician. She graduated from OCC in December 2015 after just three semesters on campus. She took more than 20 credits each semester, worked as an RA and was Vice President for Service in the College’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Bulich earned a degree in Emergency Management with an Honors minor. She is now attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management. Her career goals include becoming an Emergency Manager at a V-A Hospital and a management position with FEMA.
Szczepanik is an International Student from Swidnica, Poland. She started learning English when she was in preschool and today speaks the language fluently. Szczepanik came to the U.S. when she was high school aged and graduated from Bishop Grimes in 2014. She’s majoring in Business with minors in both Women’s Studies and Honors. She’s also a member of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and is President of OCC’s chapter. Szczepanik also works as a student ambassador, going to area high schools and promoting the Honors Minor program. After earning her degree in May Szczepanik plans to transfer to Rochester Institute of Technology and pursue a degree in international business.
Two of OCC’s best and brightest students were honored for their academic excellence and community service Monday, March 9 in Albany. Alena Cerro and Greg Frietag represented the College at the USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team Recognition Ceremony at the New York State Museum. SUNY Community College students from across the state were singled out for their achievements.
Students and family members in attendance were treated to inspirational remarks from SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and Dr. Rod A. Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa, the student honor society for two-year college students. During the ceremony each student was called up individually, presented an honorary medal and photographed with Zimpher and Risley.
Four of Central New York’s elected representatives came to the museum to congratulate Cerro and Freitag including: Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D, 129th District), Assemblyman Sam Roberts (D, 128th District), Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D, 129th District) and Senator Dave Valesky (D, 53rd District).
Following the event Cerro and Frietag were escorted to the New York State Assembly chambers were they were singled out for their accomplishments. Assemblyman Al Stirpe, a Democrat representing the 127th District told his colleagues about Cerro and Freitag’s achievements:
“Alena Cerro is an Electronic Media Communications major at Onondaga Community College. She is vice president for public relations for the College’s Alpha Sigma Zeta chapter. Cerro also serves as an Honors Program Student Ambassador and Honors Program Committee Student Representative. Cerro has earned President’s List status each semester on campus, received numerous scholarships and awards and participated in service learning projects. She is an intern in OCC’s External Relations and Marketing & New Media departments. Cerro is a 2013 graduate of Liverpool High School.”
“Greg Freitag is a Hospitality Management major at Onondaga Community College. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA while volunteering for campus events, working several jobs and raising seven children. Freitag works full time on the overnight shift as a Plant Utilities Engineer at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He also works in the hospitality industry at the Courtyard by Marriott in Armory Square where he has been named employee of the month. In 2014 Freitag medaled in the Empire State Games Track & Field competition. This summer he will be one of 12,000 participants in the National Senior Games in Minneapolis. Freitag is a 1977 graduate of Olympia High School in Greece, New York.”
William Magnarelli, a Democrat representing the 129th District also addressed fellow colleagues. “Alena is a young lady with her whole future in front of her. Greg’s accomplishments are remarkable as well. Both of them are to be commended and I wish them the best in their future endeavors.” When Magnarelli finished speaking members of the Assembly applauded Cerro and Freitag.
The day of recognition was greatly appreciated by Cerro and Freitag.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It’s an honor to be able to accept this award on behalf of my college and the mentors who have nominated me for it. It’s just such a special day. I’m so lucky to be here,” Cerro said.
“I am overwhelmed. I think of myself as such a regular guy, not someone who’s worthy of all the attention that’s been given me. It’s all been a great honor and an extreme pleasure,” Freitag said.
Two OCC students will be honored for their academic excellence and community service at a statewide event in Albany. The USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team Recognition Ceremony will take place Monday, March 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New York State Museum. All SUNY Community College Presidents will be in attendance along with elected officials. Speakers will include SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and Dr. Rod A. Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa.
OCC’s student honorees are Alena Cerro and Greg Freitag.
Cerro is an Electronic Media Communications major, is vice president of public relations for the College’s Alpha Sigma Zeta chapter and serves as an Honors Program Student Ambassador and Honors Program Committee Student Representative. She has earned President’s List status each semester on campus, received numerous scholarships and awards and participated in service learning projects. Cerro is an intern in OCC’s External Relations and Marketing & New Media departments. She is a 2013 graduate of Liverpool High School.
Freitag is a Hospitality Management major. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA while volunteering for campus events, working several jobs and raising seven children. He works full time on the overnight shift as a Plant Utilities Engineer at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Freitag also works in the hospitality industry at the Courtyard by Marriott in Armory Square where he has been named employee of the month. In 2014 he medaled in the Empire State Games Track & Field competition. This summer Freitag will be one of 12,000 participants in the National Senior Games in Minneapolis. He is a 1977 graduate of Olympia High School in Greece.
“We are so proud of Alena and Greg and all they have accomplished,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. “Their stories are a wonderful example of the opportunities available here at OCC and on community college campuses across the nation through Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. A student who graduated from high school two years ago and a seasoned adult student making a career change are both succeeding at high levels and preparing themselves for outstanding careers. We salute both of them and look forward to honoring their achievements during this ceremony.”
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