Curriculum Honors

News Briefs
School of Computing & Applied Technologies

Every April, OCC holds a ceremony called Curriculum Honors during which we recognize the top student in each of the College’s majors. It’s one of the highlights of the year. During the ceremony a faculty member introduces each student and details his or her accomplishments, the student receives a certificate and a light blue stole to be worn at commencement, and the student is photographed with OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. Due to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, we were unable to hold our ceremony this year.

Nonetheless, we are proud to recognize the achievements of each of our 2019-2020 honorees. We are announcing each of them in conjunction with the reorganization of our majors into 8 schools. Following are the recipients in the School of Computing & Applied Technologies:


Advanced Manufacturing Machining Certificate - Jonathan Magill

  • Cicero-North Syracuse High School, class of 2015
  • Faculty testimonial from Professor Bob Tanchak: “Jonathan Magill Was a student in our Mechanical Technology program in the spring 2020 semester, and Advanced Manufacturing Machining Certificate in the summer 2019 semester. He demonstrated great drive and motivation while in both programs. Jonathan was a student who exhibited great attendance and participation in the classroom, always doing an excellent job on homework assignments and projects. He was a student other students would go to for help and advice. He was an excellent student to have in class and in the Advanced Manufacturing Machining Certificate program. Congratulations Jonathan!”
Jonathan Magill
Jonathan Magill, Advanced Manufacturing Machining Certificate Curriculum Honoree

Automotive Technology - Purna Tamang

  • Faculty testimonial by Professor Mark Ellis: “Purna is an English as Second Language student who has worked hard to maintain his GPA. He is one of those students who asks questions and engages in classroom conversations, making lessons more interesting for everyone involved. He has also worked on his automotive skills outside the classroom, getting involved with the repair and maintenance of vehicles belonging to family and friends. This in turn has led to question-and-answer sessions after classes, centered on his out-of-school experiences. These conversations, in class and after, not only quenched his thirst for knowledge but also improved his verbal communication skills. They also point to a student who is involved in this area of study, not just attending classes. In our hands-on labs Purna seems to have a natural gift of understanding automotive technology, and a willingness to help those students that might not have as much ability or experience. Purna Tamang is our Curriculum Honoree not only because of good grades, but also because he has applied himself and worked hard while showing the kind of inquisitiveness, integrity, and perseverance that will help him succeed in the future.”
Purna Tamang
Purna Tamang, Automotive Technology Curriculum Honoree


Computer Forensics - Gavin Landless

  • Faculty testimonial from Professor Pam McCarthy: “Gavin first came to OCC in the fall 2015 semester. He enrolled in our Computer Forensics A.S. Degree at that time. Over the next five years, Gavin diligently attended OCC in the evenings as a part-time student while holding down a full-time job during the day. Gavin was one of those students that every professor loves to have in class. He was academically strong, responsible, and produced a quality of work that was outstanding as was evidenced by his excellent work ethic and study habits. Gavin was highly motivated to complete his degree. His persistence and patience have served him well. He will graduate this month with an AS degree in Computer Forensics, Summa Cum Laude, with a GPA of 3.976 and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, all while juggling the responsibilities of a family and working full time at Empire Federal Credit Union.”
Gavin Landless
Gavin Landless, Computer Forensics Curriculum Honoree


Computer Information Systems - Nikki Amon

  • Beekmantown Central in West Chazy, NY, Class of 2006
  • Faculty testimonial from MaryPat Root: “Nikki Amon is what I consider a great student to be. Nikki may not have entered the program with the strongest technical skills, but that changed by graduation. As a student she grew with each lesson and each course. Nikki never rushed, always asked questions, and made the most of every opportunity. Nikki’s presence in the classroom was known, but not just for her work. Her most memorable train is a sense of humor.”

  • Nikki plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems. As for her career goal? “I’m not totally sure. I just want to be great.”

Nikki Amon
Nikki Amon, Computer Information Systems Curriculum Honoree


Computer Information Systems - Michael DeMauro

  • Liverpool High School, Class of 2010 
  • Faculty testimonial from Professor Tim Stedman: “Michael came to OCC for a change in career path after earning a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University. However, this was not his first experience with OCC! While at SU he needed to take some supplemental coursework and came to OCC instead of taking it at SU. He was so impressed with the quality of instruction and the supportive environment that when he decided to change his career plans to computing he came to Onondaga. As a slightly non-traditional student, Mike brought a level of maturity to all his classes. His instructors described him as an ‘all-around good person.’ While he might not have always been the ‘strongest’ student in terms of grasping it right away, he always put the effort (and then some!) into getting it. He was not afraid to ask questions and seek out help. And Mike continued those relationships with his professors even after the conclusion of their courses, stopping by Offices to ask ‘how do I do this’ or ‘how does this work’ or just to say hello. Further, Mike was one of our student lab workers. He was always ready to help instructors get their equipment set up and assist other students. He is a super-polite person and extremely professional in his interactions with both faculty and students. Overall, Mike is the model type of student - motivated, inquisitive, and courteous. He will do exceptionally well wherever life and his career take him. And he is an exemplar of the CIS.AAS program and Onondaga Community College as a whole.”
Michael DeMauro
Michael DeMauro, Computer Information Systems Curriculum Honoree

Computer Science - Kate Woytowicz

  • Faculty testimonial from Professor Richard Specioso: “Kate is an ideal student in all aspects. She was a great student to have in the classroom. Her attendance was impeccable and she was an active member in class through discussions and questions. Her questions were not just about what she did not understand, but advanced questions about how to apply the technology and comparisons with other technologies. She took her assignments seriously, paid attention to details in her work, and she worked very hard which was clear from her accomplishments.”
Kate Woytowicz
Kate Woytowicz, Computer Science Curriculum Honoree

Electrical Technology - Erin McKnight

  • Bolton High School in Alexandria, Louisiana, Class of 2002
  • Faculty testimonial from Professor Art Peterson: “Erin McKnight brings a positive and friendly ‘can do’ attitude along with a cheerful smile. Outside of classes, the faculty in Applied Engineering Technology would certainly find Erin providing a helpful hand to other students. A number of Electrical Technology students did considerably better as a result of her competent and voluntary tutoring. Originally from Louisiana, Erin served four years with the United States Marine Corps in Public Affairs. After completing her service with the Marines, she moved to Central New York and decided to earn her Electrical Technology degree at OCC. The problem-solving nature of this degree appealed to Erin. She served as a model student for others in the program. While working toward her degree, she completed an internship with Novelis. After seeing the quality of her work, they quickly offered Erin a full-time position within the company. SInce completing her degree work in December, she successfully began demonstrating her professional value to Novelis.”
Erin McKnight
Erin McKnight, Electrical Technology Curriculum Honoree


Mechanical Technology - Amanda Mackes

  • Elk Lake High School in Dimock, PA, Class of 2012
  • Faculty testimonial from Professor Bob Tanchak: “Amanda came into the Mechanical Technology degree program a few years ago as a student who worked a full-time job. Her entire time in the program she was a straight-‘A’ student, eventually graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. Amanda always had great attendance and would always work hard and complete her homework on time, while maintaining and balancing a job. Amanda was always willing and available to help other students in the class. She was an excellent team player that other students looked up to. Overall, Amanda was a great student that was a pleasure to have in class in the Mechanical Technology program.”
Amanda Mackes
Amanda Mackes, Mechanical Technology Curriculum Honoree

Nuclear Technology - Jessica Sleezer

  • Oswego High School, Class of 2008
  • Faculty testimonial from Professor Art Peterson: “Jessica represents what our non-traditional students are capable of doing when they put their mind to it. After graduating from Oswego High School, Jessica jumped with into the professional world. She started working for Valvoline at the Route 57 service location. Over a period of eight years, she climbed the ladder... starting a a customer service advisor, then an assistant manager, and finally as a market trainer. She traveled throughout a large number of Valvoline service locations. In order to move further up the organization, Jessica needed a college degree, so she studied part-time at OCC during the spring 2018 semester. During that semester she maintained her full-time job at Valvoline, picked up additional part-time work, and still managed to do well academically. While on campus she discovered OCC’s Nuclear Technology program offered an ever better opportunity for long-term professional growth and advancement. After receiving scholarships to support her college studies, Jessica resigned from her full-time job and became a full-time student. Even with the scholarships she still worked part-time to help defray other expenses. Jessica exemplifies how to successfully balance work, college, and family life. During this academic year she served as the Nuclear Technology program’s second year student representative on the Nuclear Technology Advisory Council. She is now interviewing for a job opening at Gianna Nuclear Power Plant near Rochester.
Jessica Sleazer
Jessica Sleazer, Nuclear Technology Curriculum Honoree
Onondaga Community College