News Briefs
Cai Oristian
OCC Advantage helped Cai Oristian find their passion. "I'm really grateful. It was great to come to a community college where I had the opportunity to explore."

Cai Oristian did a lot of academic and career exploration while attending LaFayette Big Picture School. At one time or another automotive technology, psychology, and criminal justice all seemed like viable courses of study and eventual careers. Ultimately a conversation with trusted voices made the difference. "I sat down with my teachers and said 'I have no idea what I want to do! My History teacher said 'you like to write. Why not just look at that?' I did, and decided this was what I wanted to do."

LaFayette Big Picture School is part of the LaFayette School District, one of five school districts affiliated with OCC Advantage, a college and career readiness program which provides financial assistance to eligible students. "I figured OCC would be a great place to try different electives. Without OCC Advantage I don't think I'd be going down the path that I am."

Two years ago, Oristian graduated LaFayette Big Picture School and enrolled in OCC's Creative Writing degree program that fall. Positive experiences in Creative Writing-related classes taught by professors Patrick Snow and Rhiannon Catherwood confirmed the decision. "There's a really great community within Creative Writing. I love the professors and my fellow students. Everybody's great."

Oristian is extremely active outside class serving as Co-Vice President of Service in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, President of OCC's Animal Conservation Club, works at LaFayette Kennels, and volunteers at Pawsitivitea CNY Cat Cafe at Syracuse's Regional market.

Next month Oristian will cross the stage at Commencement, then move on to SUNY Oswego where they will major in Creative Writing with a minor in Audio Production. It's a career path which became possible thanks to the support provided by OCC Advantage. "I'm really grateful. It was great to come to a community college first where I had the opportunity to explore. I have a feeling I would have ended up back here if I went to a four-year because there's so many great opportunities here. I feel like I would have gone to a four-year, realized I can't do this, and eventually go to a community college."

Onondaga Community College
SUNY Oswego