Michael-Daniel Vodzogbe's story at SUNY Oswego is a compelling illustration of the university's commitment to preparing students for the multifaceted challenges of today's global landscape. From his undergraduate days majoring in wellness management, graduating in 2023, to his current pursuits in the online master's program in health promotion and behavioral wellness, Vodzogbe embodies the theme of being ready for what’s next.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Vodzogbe’s journey at SUNY Oswego began in fall 2019. His academic and extracurricular pursuits have been diverse and dynamic, reflecting his commitment to wellness not just as a field of study, but as a way of life. His roles on campus have ranged from record-breaking performances on the men’s track and field team to serving as an assistant hall director to engaging in creative expressions like Tyler Art Gallery's 61st annual Juried Student Exhibition.

His engagement doesn’t stop there; Vodzogbe extends his passion for wellness into the community by assisting an elderly community member and organizing wellness programs. These activities not only enrich his academic learning but also embed a practical understanding of health promotion in real-world settings.

At SUNY Oswego, I feel fully equipped to embrace my future. I feel like I’m ready to embrace the real world and take what I’ve learned here to apply it to my career.

Reflecting on his early days at Oswego, Vodzogbe entered as an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student, undecided and exploring various academic disciplines. During this exploration, a significant meeting with wellness management faculty member Amy Bidwell steered him towards that discipline.

"Professor Bidwell kind of went through different routes that I could go through based on what I wanted to do. And what I wanted was more of a culture routine, something that focuses on the human body," Vodzogbe explained.

This initial guidance blossomed into a profound commitment to the field, influenced by his parents' backgrounds in nutrition and athletics. "My mother comes from a dietary background, where she practices a lot of the nutritional value of wellness, while my father is more on the physical side, as he used to be a basketball athlete," he shared.

As a graduate student on track for a 2025 graduation, Vodzogbe spearheaded a month-long wellness program in his residence hall, Oneida Hall, which included workshops on stress management, nutritional advice and physical fitness sessions. His initiative reached over 100 students, significantly enhancing their daily lives and providing them with practical tools for maintaining personal wellness.

Vodzogbe’s academic work has already begun translating into tangible outcomes. His internship as a wellness coach allowed him to put theory into practice, developing engaging and meaningful wellness activities for students. "A part of my internship was becoming a wellness coach with professor Bidwell, and that allowed me to teach positive emotions, positive relationships and engagement," he said.

Driven by a deep-seated passion to empower others, Vodzogbe is pursuing a career as a wellness coach to foster healthier communities. His goal to coach track and field springs from a desire to mentor young athletes, instilling in them the discipline and resilience he has learned on the track. Moreover, his aspiration to author a graphic novel is inspired by his love for storytelling and his eagerness to communicate wellness concepts in an engaging, accessible format.

One of his most notable achievements as a student was setting a new school record for the 60-meter dash, a testament to his dedication and resilience, especially following a challenging injury. "The following week after coming back from an injury, I broke the record," he proudly recounted. This achievement is not just a personal milestone but also a symbolic reflection of his philosophy on wellness and personal growth.

Beyond the track, the classroom and the community, Vodzogbe's involvement in the health promotion and behavioral wellness graduate program is preparing him for a robust career that combines his passions for health, coaching and creative expression. His work, studies and extracurricular activities are interwoven with the lessons learned at Oswego, equipping him with the knowledge and skills necessary to confidently embrace the future.

Reflecting on his Oswego experience, Vodzogbe sums it up: "At SUNY Oswego, I feel fully equipped to embrace my future. I feel like I’m ready to embrace the real world and take what I’ve learned here to apply it to my career." This sentiment captures the essence of his journey at SUNY Oswego—a journey of preparation, empowerment and readiness for whatever comes next.