GUEST COLUMN: Community colleges prepare students for life , learning

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

By Dr. Steady H. Moono
For The Daily Gazette

I am truly humbled when I witness the powerful transformations of our students and the profound growth that takes place within them while they are at SUNY Schenectady.

Nkeiru Ubadike is one such student who came to the College with energy, passion, drive, and an inquisitive spirit.

Her love for both physics and scientific research flourished while she was a student at SUNY Schenectady.

As a participant in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, Nkeiru found avenues available to her so that she could begin her journey toward a career in science.

During the Summer Research for Community College Students (SRCCS) program, she conducted research in the field of accelerator physics at Cornell University.

After graduating with her associate degree in Mathematics and Science in 2019, there was a clear pathway to continue on, as she transferred to Stony Brook University for her bachelor’s degree in Physics.

Now, Nkeiru is conducting research in the renowned Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, using one of the country’s best particle accelerators, and this summer she will be interning in the nationally-competitive Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program at Brookhaven National Lab’s Office of Educational Programs. She plans to earn her master’s degree in physics as well.

Nkeiru embodies the idea that dreams — not debt — are why we go to college.

Just like Nkeiru, New Yorkers attend college to achieve their goals, whether earning an associate degree for an in-demand job, pursuing a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D., or learning new skills to change careers.

That’s exactly what SUNY’s 30 community colleges across New York, including SUNY Schenectady here in Capital Region, are designed for.

When our students graduate, they are not usually overburdened by student loan debt.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of SUNY Community College associate degree graduates have zero student loan debt.

They graduate with an accredited SUNY degree and a pathway to an in-demand job or guaranteed transfer to a bachelor’s degree at another SUNY institution.

Simply put, community college is the most affordable way to earn a college degree.

We are proud New Yorkers and are equally as proud to serve our students as New York state rebounds and rebuilds after the effects of the pandemic.

As business and industry return to full strength with existing and new career opportunities, SUNY Schenectady will continue to serve as a dynamic institution of learning and support for our students.

We are here for our full-time and part-time students, whether they are recent high school graduates or returning adults, through on-campus and online associate degree and certificate programs.

This summer, our proud alumni like Nkeiru are sharing their stories in SUNY’s #CommunityCollegeGotMeHere campaign.

I encourage you to check them out, reach out to us at suny.edu/communitycollege, and learn about all the places SUNY Schenectady can take you.

Dr. Steady H. Moono is president of SUNY Schenectady.

 

Categories: Guest Column, Opinion

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