Their Story is Our Story
The story of both our students and Onondaga Community College—our past, present, and most definitely our future—is a story about perseverance and aspiration. A college that opened with 500 students in an old typewriter factory in Downtown Syracuse, Onondaga now has more than 35,000 alumni and was recently named one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation by Community College Week. Our graduates include local CEOs, health care providers at all levels, business owners, engineers, and world-renowned artists and musicians. Still we, and our students, continue to persevere and to aspire to even greater accomplishments in the years ahead.
Quindell Williams ’08- Electronic Media Communications
The world of radio and television just comes naturally to me. I’ve always dreamed of being the on-air personality or working behind the scenes as an executive producer. And now, as the operations manager of Onondaga’s Internet radio station, SuperMix, I’m getting the hands-on experience that this career demands. I really feel like I’m on my way.
Before coming to Onondaga, I attended a four-year school. But it really wasn’t the right fit for me. The Onondaga campus is close to home and an affordable way for me to get the experience and education I need. What I like most about this career is that I can be creative and get involved in a variety of activities. Every professor has been willing to go the extra mile to encourage me to learn as much as I can and to experience as much as possible. Last year, I had the chance to earn college credit while participating in a paid internship experience at Walt Disney World®.
After graduation, I know I will be ready to transfer to a four-year school to complete my bachelor’s degree in radio and television production. Coming to Onondaga allowed me to figure out what I really wanted to do.
Lisa GreenPope ’08 - Math/Science
I’ve always wanted to use my life to help others. When I first came to Onondaga, the Nursing program really interested me. It wasn’t until I participated in a unique five-week research opportunity through Onondaga at Binghamton University that I discovered my true passion. While there, I conducted research in behavioral neurobiology alongside other students from two and four-year colleges. My new career goal? To become a biomedical researcher.
Jason Montague ’08- Dual Major in Math/Science and Engineering Science
I moved to upstate New York from Sonoma Valley, California looking for a change. Choosing a community college made sense to me for a number of reasons. Affordability was important, but being able to take a variety of classes to discover where my strengths lie was key. I’m pursuing a dual degree in Math/Science and Engineering Science and plan to transfer to a four-year school when I graduate. What I’ve learned over the last two years is that I don’t have to rush myself through to a four-year college. In fact, I feel more established and better prepared to transfer because of my time spent at Onondaga. I know now what’s important to me and I can see more clearly the possibilities for my future.
Kasey Fellows ’07- Criminal Justice
Being part of the back-to-back championship men’s lacrosse team was an amazing experience. I didn’t come to Onondaga right out of high school, choosing instead to work in the construction industry. But then Coach Wilbur called wanting to recruit me to play for the Onondaga lacrosse team. After discussing it with my family, I decided that I have the rest of my life to work – now is the time for college. I chose humanities as my major with an emphasis on law enforcement. And I played defense for the lacrosse team. Two decisions. No regrets.
Honestly, if Onondaga wasn’t here, I would not have gone to college at all. It just worked best for me. I’m now in training at the Central New Police Academy right on the campus and hope to someday become a Sheriff for the county. The Academy is tough. Tougher than winning a championship. But, it’s something I really want. I love Central New York. My family is here and it’s where I want to spend the rest of my life.
Kayla Spivey ’09- Nursing, President of Whole Earth Club
I started at Onondaga Community College as a Humanities major with a journalism concentration. My goals were to focus on my studies and use my talents to make a positive impact on the world. After working part-time at a local hospital as a nursing assistant, I realized that nursing is my calling—specifically the fields of oncology and HIV/AIDS. Eventually, I would like to travel internationally with an HIV/AIDS Foundation and help educate underdeveloped countries about prevention and treatment and to give care to those already affected.
I believe the purpose of college is to explore your options and your interests in order to uncover a career path that is right for you. This has certainly been true for me at Onondaga. There are a variety of courses to choose from that help students find their niche. And there are so many opportunities to get involved in the campus community. I am president of the Whole Earth Club and I think we’ve made some great progress so far in informing the campus community about “green” ways of life. I’ve met new people, I’ve set new goals for myself, and I love the fact that I’m making a difference at Onondaga.
Jessica Clark- General Studies
I always knew I would go to college. I chose Onondaga for two reasons: to live in the residence halls and to play basketball. I grew up in Central New York, but I really wanted to be on my own for the first time. And Onondaga gave me that opportunity. The residence halls are everything I thought they would be. Plus, I’m not very far from my family for visits on the weekends.
In high school, I played basketball as a point guard and was recruited by Coach Wheeler to play for Onondaga. The biggest difference between playing high school and college ball is that everyone is here because they want to be. We’re a strong team. I like athletics—it’s what I’m good at. I’m a general studies major and my dream job is to teach physical education and coach at the high school level. But for now, my goal is to help the Onondaga women’s basketball team make history.
Kevin Qassemzad- Architectural Technology
I came to the United States from Iran three years ago and at Onondaga I’ve discovered a whole new life. My father attended school in upstate New York and our family had taken many vacations to America, so when I arrived at Onondaga I was familiar with American customs. My biggest challenge was perfecting my limited knowledge of the English language.
Through architecture, my goal is to create something new. Something that has never been created before. I am a very creative person and architecture gives me the opportunity to sharpen my skills. I’ve found that I’m most drawn to commercial architecture. My professors gave me the chance to put my skills to the test when they assigned me the project of creating a concept design for a Green Living Center on campus. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and am pleased that a computer animation tour of the center is featured on the College Web site.
Architecture gives me the chance to visually communicate my thoughts and ideas to the world. After Onondaga, I plan to continue my studies in architectural technology at a four-year school in New York.