Student Spotlight
Shyann Shaw
Shyann Shaw is a 2023 graduate of PSLA at Fowler who was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society this semester. She's a Criminal Justice major who wants to become Syracuse City Police Chief one day.

Shyann Shaw is determined to be the change in her community. Her biggest fan is also her favorite Onondaga Community College Professor, Pete Patnode. "He motivates me. He says 'my money's on you. I have a lot of faith in you!'"

Professor Patnode teaches in the Criminal Justice degree program and is a retired Syracuse Police Officer. Shaw's dream is to one day become a Syracuse Police Officer, and eventually Chief. "I feel like Syracuse has a lot of potential. If you start with the newer generation and work with youth, you can change the way people think."

Shaw grew up on Syracuse's West Side and at one point in her life was headed in the wrong direction. "I was messing up in school and following the wrong people. I had this realization that life is what you make it and I deserve a life full of adventure, and fun, and love. Once I had that realization I started doing the things to give me the life I deserved."

Her dream of becoming a police officer was sparked by a conversation with Geno Turo, an instructor at the Public Service Leadership Academy (PSLA) at Fowler. "He said 'you can help out your community. You're already fit. You should give it a shot!' I started looking into it, saw how police could connect to the community and give back by going to schools and talking to kids and let them know you don't have to be a product of your environment."

In June of 2023 she received her diploma from PSLA at Fowler. One month later she was on the OCC campus for the Educational Opportunity Program's Residential Pre-freshman Summer Institute. Over the course of nearly 6 weeks students live on campus, take two college classes, eat their meals in the cafeteria, and get a taste of what college life is like. "It gave me the structure to be organized and a sense of what my priorities were. It made me more confident as a freshman."

That confidence carried over into her freshman year, and earlier this semester Shaw was inducted into OCC's chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. It's quite an accomplishment, especially for a first-generation college student. "My family is very proud, but I have high expectations. I like having the mindset that this is what is expected of me."

Another focal point of Shaw's life is boxing. She's a regular at Option Zero on Hiawatha Boulevard where she discovered how talented she could be in the ring. "I wanted to do it for so long but was always told it was a 'male sport.' I was tired of hearing that and decided I was going to break the stigma. I was the only girl there when I started and had to fight boys. Now we have three girls boxing in the gym. I like being a role model. There are kids there dealing with tough situations. I try to share my life experiences with them and motivate them to go to school and college."

Shaw has a busy summer ahead of her. She has a perfect 3-and-0 record in boxing and hopes to be able to schedule a few matches this summer. She'll also be returning to campus for the Summer EOP Program, but this time as an R-A counseling new students. And in the fall when she continues work toward her Criminal Justice degree, she'll also be an R-A in the residence halls. She's become a leader, and the sky is the limit. "Once you get the idea out of you're head that you're not less than, you're equal to, you start prospering. I like rewiring my brain to believe anything is achievable and possible."

Onondaga Community College
PSLA at Fowler
Syracuse Police Department