Student Spotlight
OCC students Jordan Black (left) and Zoe White (right) are both receiving scholarships from Lockheed Martin.
OCC students Jordan Black (left) and Zoe White (right) are both receiving scholarships from Lockheed Martin.

A global security and aerospace company is recognizing two outstanding Onondaga Community College students by awarding them scholarships worth up to $5,000 each. Lockheed Martin's Vocational Scholarship Program is honoring up to 150 students nationwide, and OCC's Jordan Black and Zoe White are among them.

Black is in the Computer Information Systems degree program, and White is pursuing a degree in Engineering Science. Both will earn their degrees in 2023, and they took distinctly different paths to arrive at this point.

White graduated from Fairport High School in the Rochester area in 2019 and attended two SUNY four-year colleges before enrolling at OCC in the spring of 2022. She felt right at home during her first semester on campus. "People are great here. Professors are here for you. They are different than at a four-year school. You are wanted at OCC rather than just being a number. OCC is very interested in the success of their students."

Her favorite teacher is Professor Gino Duca who nominated her for the Lockheed Martin Scholarship. "He's a great guy who wants everyone to be successful. He wants to educate everyone and encourage them to succeed and get their degrees."

Black is an extremely intelligent student who wound up leaving high school and earning his GED before coming to OCC. "I believe high school wasn't the type of education system that worked for me. I never failed any of the tests I received. I just didn't participate or show up because I was convinced I didn't need it. College is so different. You're paying to go, there are different ways to learn, there are teachers willing to teach you different ways, and you're learning something you're interested in."

Before enrolling at OCC Black taught himself computer coding by sticking to a rigorous schedule. He would wake up at 6 o'clock every morning, turn off his phone and all of his social media, and teach himself programming and coding. "I wanted to learn how to make games and this is how I did it. I kept a strict schedule and only went online when I needed help."

Black was nominated for the Lockheed Martin scholarship by Computer Studies Professor Richard Specioso. "He's a good teacher. Even though I generally know the fundamentals of programming, it's nice to listen to someone who's been in the field for so long."

Both students are excited about the benefits provided by the scholarship and their new connection to a global company. "I think it's an amazing opportunity," said Black who believes his future may be in software development or IT work. "Lockheed Martin is a company that interests me," added White. "I'm a big believer in doing my part, helping others, and being a part of something bigger than myself."

Onondaga Community College
Lockheed Martin