More than 1,600 students were eligible to take part in SUNY Oswego’s three Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12, and many have already secured futures in their fields.

Human resource management major Judith Ferguson will take her knowledge and experience to work as an area manager at Amazon in New Jersey, supervising systems, people and ever-evolving technology.

Amazon contacted Ferguson via LinkedIn to set up an interview with the Bronx native, whose previous internships included JetBlue, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office and the Disney College Program. One experience often led to another because she was open to opportunities. “Networking is very important,” she said.

Ferguson's major and the college helped build confidence and ability to impress in the interview phase. “You’re constantly doing presentations and you’re constantly doing interviews,” she said. “At Oswego, I also really learned how to work in a team.”

She even drew on a lesson from a management class -- how to work in a team when not everybody is pulling their weight -- to help her answer a question during her Amazon interview.

Joseph Miles, who completes his master’s in biomedical and health informatics (BHI) through SUNY Oswego’s Syracuse campus, will join Crouse Hospital’s Clinical Information Technology team. “The Clinical IT team already includes the healthcare experiences of doctors, nurses and paramedics,” said Miles, who also interned at the hospital during his master’s work. “I will be able to add to the team with my experience as a pharmacist as well as applying my training from SUNY Oswego.”

The BHI master’s program “has taught me how to better utilize the large amount of data in electronic medical records to individually manage patients more effectively and efficiently,” he explained. “Informatics teaches skills for transforming data into useful information that can be further developed into clinical knowledge.” Miles also plans to help SUNY Oswego continue to develop its BHI program as adjunct faculty member, he added.

Miles' projects in the BHI program not only provided experience but helped the industry as well. “I worked with SUNY Upstate Medical to write an interface program to upload research data into a database maintained by the National Institute of Mental Health,” Miles said. “I also worked with Loretto Health to help develop a test to predict the likelihood of a person falling, by utilizing machine learning. I created a SUNY Oswego version of a large database of intensive care unit patient data called the Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care III.”   

Professional preparation

Oswego's broadcasting program will continue its talent pipeline to ESPN as Anthony Barney will become a stage manager there. He plans to keep his eyes open for other opportunities at the sports network en route to his dreams of becoming a director.

"I believe my internship at ESPN helped me a great deal as well as my professors in the broadcasting department," said the Air Force veteran who was featured in ESPN Front Row's Intern Chronicles. "They gave me a renewed way of looking at television and media as a whole which I will cherish forever."

Fellow broadcasting major Kaitlyn Genari will move into a full-time news producer position at CNYCentral in Syracuse. Communication studies faculty member Michael Riecke, a former reporter and anchor, connected her with the opportunity.

“Professor Riecke has been my mentor since my freshman year, making sure I get the classes I needed,” Genari said. “The professors have a really big impact on the time we spend here, and getting the experience in the classroom and everything we need to succeed after college.”

Genari earned experience through SUNY Oswego’s student media opportunities, working with TV station WTOP since her freshman year in roles including reporting, producing and morning news assignment editor. She also served as an executive news producer at the college’s WNYO radio station. For her last semester, Genari is a news-reporting intern at WWNY TV in Watertown. “You get a glimpse of it all in the broadcasting program here and if you take advantage of that, I think it will definitely benefit you,” she said.

Meteorology major Nichole Hammond will go to work at the Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, one of nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) under the National Weather Service. Hammond will be “a Pathways employee, which is a unique opportunity for full-time students to enter the NWS with the intent of accepting a full-time position pending the completion of the Pathways requirements,” she said. Starting this fall, she also will pursue a master’s in geography at East Carolina University.

“The meteorology department at Oswego has offered many valuable experiences, including participating in a local forecast contest, going storm chasing across the Midwest as a part of the Storm Observation and Forecasting Program, and also participating in lake-effect snow research as part of the OWLeS Fellowship,” Hammond said.

In addition to the ongoing support and guidance of Oswego’s meteorology faculty and the encouragement of the BASIC club on campus, participating in and doing research with the NCEP Student Internship program in summer 2017 helped prepare Hammond for her future.

Autumn Caldwell, a dual marketing and public relations major, will start work as an analyst at JP Morgan Chase & Co., with plans for graduate school as well.

“I think that the faculty and advisers in the School of Business have played a major role into the career path that I have now,” Caldwell said. “When I first came to college, I use to limit myself in opportunities because I did not think that I was capable of doing more. Faculty members, such as Lisa McGhee, Richard Skolnik and Napatsorn Jiraporn, have taught me that the sky should be the limit and nothing less. These three individuals are part of the reason why I am starting my career at JPMorgan Chase, and I am thankful for them every day.”

At the School of Business, “all of the faculty members are very knowledgeable in their field and encouraging to students,” Caldwell said, adding she would recommend to “any student in the state of New York that is looking to go into business to attend this school for not only the accreditation but for the affordable cost that comes with the quality of education.”

Teaching futures

Oswego’s School of Education reports a rebounding market for teachers. Technology education graduates find a particularly fertile field, with graduates reporting multiple job offers. Tyler Morris, who completes his master’s in technology education in May to go with a bachelor’s in it from Oswego last year, found an opportunity with the Hanover Park Regional High School District in New Jersey that was too good to pass up.

“They haven’t had a technology program for a long time, since they cut it,” Morris explained. “I’m going to be building the program from the ground up, which is pretty cool.” That means rolling out introductory courses, then building additional courses and infrastructure and connections, including “maybe partnering with local industry to provide real-world experience of what they’re doing in the classroom,” he said.

As a student-athlete, running track and cross-country during his undergraduate years is paying dividends. “The combination of an intense major with athletics helped me to stay good with time management and really stay on top of my work,” he said.

Oswego technology education is “a fantastic program that’s known up and down the East Coast and across the country because there are so many connections here,” Morris said.

Trevor Wilcox, who will take his undergraduate technology education degree into positions teaching and coaching in Arlington, Virginia, would agree.  

He will teach with the Arlington Career Center public school program in Virginia, while joining the football coaching staff of Washington-Lee High School. He made connections during the department’s annual Fall Technology Conference with visiting alumni that led to job interviews and enough offers that he could choose the best fit. He even got to stay with alumni families during his interviews to learn more.

“I liked having professors that had a lot of teaching experience and who could guide you” at Oswego, he said. “So now that I’m student teaching, I feel like I’m ready. It all felt attainable because of how the program prepared me.”

Human development major Michael Carlucci will travel even farther to teach, having earned a highly competitive Peace Corps position in Zambia, Africa. “I got into human development to help people and this really seemed like a great opportunity,” he said.

Carlucci will provide English lessons to sixth- to eighth-grade students, and he said college and volunteer experiences giving him experience in adaptability prepared him well. Taking a variety of courses inside and outside his major plus the support of professors and staff members were also pivotal, he added.

According to a survey from the college’s Office of Career Services, hot job fields where Oswego students were finding jobs included accounting, broadcasting, communication, education, engineering, finance, insurance, law enforcement, marketing, meteorology, scientific research, software and web development, and zoology. Many others are heading to graduate schools across various states and disciplines.

Morris, the future technology teacher, found the Oswego experience emphasized opportunity. “You can come in here with a dream of something you want to do, and nobody’s going to stand in your way,” Morris said. “Everybody here is very supportive.”