Go-getter Leea Sinay 'so excited' about SUNY Oswego in Syracuse 

Nontraditional student Leea Sinay works full time, coaches lacrosse, takes 12 credit-hours a semester—and says finishing her college degree in business administration at SUNY Oswego in Syracuse is tailor-made for her.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born in Syracuse and lived on Montrose Ave. I went to Marcellus High School. I graduated in 2010.

Q. Can you describe your path in higher education?
A. I decided to attend Wagner College on a lacrosse scholarship, and I was there from 2010 to 2011, a full freshman year. I loved my team and the campus was gorgeous, but Staten Island is not the greatest place and I was very homesick—I’m very attached to my family. I decided to move back to Syracuse and transfer to Onondaga Community College (OCC). I ended up playing lacrosse, and we won a national championship in 2012. I was All-American, as well. I earned my associate’s degree in humanities, then I took a little over three years off from school. I just took that time to really find myself.

Q. Did you go to work?
A. I’m coming up on two years at National Grid (in Syracuse). I work in the mailroom, and I’ve become very familiar with all the employees there. We’re always busy and it’s a great way to network myself. I think I know the building like the back of my hand! (Laughs.) I’m also now an assistant coach for OCC women’s lacrosse. My head coach, Tom McDonald, became my boss. I thought about attending Binghamton University, and I would have had a scholarship. But I started coaching and fell in love with it. I’m so happy coaching, so I think taking a step back and thinking about what I really wanted was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Q. So not enrolling right away in another four-year college has worked out?
A. I have friends who told me you don’t have to rush to get your degree. You don’t have to go right from high school to college and from college to graduate school; you can do it any way you want. I feel that now that I’ve taken a couple of years off and I’m a little more mature, I feel like I have more of a purpose to my school career. I know I want to become a head women’s lacrosse coach for a four-year NCAA college—I just love coaching so much. I want to succeed, I want to get my degree within a certain amount of time and I’m just very determined to get it done. Now that I have a sense of direction, I’m very focused. I have my eye on the prize, I guess.

Q. Can you tell us about re-entering college at SUNY Oswego?
A. At first when I applied to Oswego, I was going to major in wellness management—I just thought that was a natural thing for an athletic coach to take. I started last fall. I commuted back and forth from Syracuse to Oswego and took four face-to-face classes. But I have so many ties to Syracuse, I felt I couldn’t do the whole school and working and coaching and commuting for the whole year. I got in touch with Sarah Wehrle, who’s in charge of the (college’s) Distance Learning Center and nontraditional students, and she told me the Metro Center (now known as SUNY Oswego in Syracuse) had developed three undergraduate programs—business administration, public justice and human development.

Q. So did you change your major?
A. I talked about it with my mom and with Tom McDonald, and I just felt that majoring in business was going to benefit me in the long run. I had always thought about business; it was always at the back of my mind. It will help me with my job at National Grid and I’ll be able to do a lot with it in the future.

Q. So in spring semester, you won’t need to drive to Oswego?
A. I’m taking four courses, and I also took an online course during Winter Session. Two spring courses are online and two are at the Metro Center. I’m so excited to get started there! It’s going to be such a huge stress relief from traveling back and forth, and I’ll save that much time, too. I’m definitely going to miss coming to main campus—it’s so pretty, it’s such a nice community, everyone is so friendly and the professors are all great and so helpful. But I’ll be able to walk from National Grid to the Metro Center, which is so nice! It’s still a lot of work, but my boss at National Grid is so understanding—she wants to see me succeed and it makes me happy that I can still keep my job, too.

Q. What do you like to do with your down time?
A. I have a very big family and I’m always trying do things with them. My brother is a pro baseball player (in the Blue Jays organization), and he’s in his offseason. When he’s home, I try to spend as much time as I can with him and his girlfriend, who’s one of my great friends. I have a boyfriend, so I want to spend time with him, too. His sister is like my little sister. I also need to work out, because it makes me happy. I’m very lucky, because I can go to the athletes’ gym at OCC, and I actually have time to work out with the (lacrosse) players, too. I still play lacrosse in summer leagues, down in the Valley, in the Syracuse City League. During the winter, I ski a lot.

Q. What can you tell us about your parents?
A. My mom works at National Grid; she has been there for 30 years. She was a big proponent of my getting a job there, too. My dad is a carpenter and does carpentry work on various projects for Onondaga County.

Q. What’s something about you that only those close to you know?
A. We used to have Arabian horses at home, and I would ride and show them at the fairgrounds when I was little!