- Major: Engineering Science
- High School: Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, class of 1994
Twenty-five years after graduating from high school, Alexis Riccardo is in her first semester at Onondaga Community College and loving the experience. The 43-year-old mother is an Engineering Science major and an officer in the Student Association. She's made a seamless adjustment to life as a college student. "The first week was tough but after I learned how things were going to work, I was able to buckle down, figure out my workload, and when was the best time for me to get my homework done. I have a really supportive family and boyfriend who gave me the time to study and balance being a mother."
Riccardo had tried college right out of high school. She attended Clarkson, Potsdam and OCC for one semester each. After failing to experience success, she went to work. More than a decade in retail left her burned out and interested in starting a career. She began the process of returning to OCC earlier this year. "Everything seemed very different this time. I was much more focused. I went to Open House, met with an adviser, and got my schedule set up. I was ahead of the game on everything including financial aid, scheduling, and Box of Books. Coming to class the first day, there was nothing left unchecked. I felt really good about it."
Picking up her Box of Books before the semester presented Riccardo with an unexpected opportunity. Anyone receiving their Box of Books early had their name placed in a drawing. Riccardo won an Amazon Gift Card and needed to pick it up from Shawn Edie who oversees Residence Life and Student Government. While talking with Edie he brought up the possibility of her becoming a student officer and representative on the Onondaga Community College Association board. "He thought I would be perfect for it and it sounded like something I would be interested in. In my retail job I was always a leader, a mentor, and a manager. I thought I could contribute talents I had already developed in my professional life, bring them here, connect with people, see how we can improve, and how we can make our experience better here."
Riccardo's OCC experience has been perfect so far, including her coursework. "I love my classes, even my math class that I was worried about. I'm really pleased with all my professors and am receiving great support in The Learning Center. I've gone for tutoring and have had great experiences there. They've been very helpful."