STUDENT STORIES

Welcome to the SUNY Empire student stories page. These are highlights of students sharing their unique experiences, perspectives, and passions.

We’re excited to share these with you. Maybe — just maybe — you’ll find a little bit of yourself in every person here.

Meet Gina

Major: Public Affairs

Why they chose SUNY Empire: Credits for work/life experience and prior education. Plus, the flexibility of online education.

Gina is a mom, a wife, a sister, a student and a first responder (among many other things). Her biggest passion is helping people and being of service to others.

Fun Facts About Gina

  • Gina was an elected official for 13 years. She served on the town board of Glenville, New York and was Deputy Supervisor for the last five years of her term.
  • She has been a paramedic for more than 11 years.
  • Gina and her husband have an old transit bus that they remodeled to travel with

"There’s always a choice."

Meet Jessica

Major: Business, Management, and Economics

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The flexibility of online education

Jessica is a natural born leader who’s honing her business management skills at ESU. She works at her family’s business in Poughkeepsie, New York while going to school.

Fun Facts About Jessica

  • Jessica came to SUNY Empire during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the advantages of online education.
  • She always saw herself as a leader in a business setting.
  • Jessica has done some of her schoolwork from her boyfriend’s 18-wheeler while he was a truck driver.

"What is meant for you won’t pass you."

Meet Harry

Major: Master of Arts in Teaching

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The ability to take courses online and have a flexible schedule.

Fun Facts About Harry

  • Harry learned Latin to read an original Shakespeare book
  • He comes from a family of educators
  • Harry works and focuses best at coffee shops and libraries
  • He loves running and was the coach for a cross country high school team

"Failure is a part of success."

Meet Kate

Major: Visual Art (B.A.)

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The flexibility to create a personalized degree program and get credit for prior learning experience.

Kate is the owner of Advokate, a marketing agency that empowers startups, small businesses, nonprofits and artists with the marketing tools they need to be successful.

Fun Facts About Kate

  • Kate is a mother of three.
  • Her favorite color is yellow.
  • Kate is well known in the Glens Falls, New York community for her creative advocacy.
  • She loves writing memorable jingles for brands.

"Work hard and be kind."

Meet Jordan

Major: Community and Human Services (B.A.)

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The freedom and flexibility to take online classes around her work schedule.

Jordan is passionate about helping children. She has worked in both schools and summer programs. This passion is leading her to a career in social work, where she wants to give all children — especially at-risk youth — a fighting chance in society.

Fun Facts About Jordan

  • She loves coffee and crafts.
  • Juvenile Justice & Delinquency was her favorite course at SUNY Empire.
  • Jordan is a big advocate for teaching children about different cultures to help open their minds.

"Don’t let the darkness fool you."

Meet Takeyce

Major: B.A. in Digital Media Arts

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The flexibility to earn a degree online while balancing her family and work schedule.

Takeyce is an artist, mother, wife, and media producer at an education technology company.

Fun Facts About Takeyce

  • Takeyce’s paintings have been featured all around upstate New York, including the Adirondack Experience museum.
  • She has her own art studio in her backyard.
  • Takeyce views success as setting goals and achieving them, no matter how long it takes.

"It's your responsibility to use your strengths and talents to make the world a better place."

Meet Harold

Major: B.S. in Management

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The ability to transfer credits and the university’s focus on business ethics.

Harold is a father, husband, and Program Manager in the U.S. Army.

Fun Facts About Harold

  • Harold views education as an investment in himself and his family’s future.
  • He lives by the core value of integrity.
  • Harold’s wife and children are the biggest supporters of his education.

"Education is more of a journey than anything. Education never stops."

Meet Kiearra

Major: Psychology (B.A.)

Why they chose SUNY Empire: Someone recommended it to her. Kiearra says, “SUNY Empire chose me.”

Kiearra is from the Bronx, NY and one of the most active students in our Education Opportunity Program.

Fun Facts About Kiearra

  • She loves things that support mental health like music, meditation, praying, painting, and walking.
  • Kiearra’s definition of success is stability in every area of life (financially, emotionally, socially, etc).
  • One of her biggest strengths is her ability to listen and relate to people.

"If you break it down to one day at a time, you'll get through."

Meet Margaret

Major: Master of Arts in Public History

Why they chose SUNY Empire: It’s online, affordable, and fits into her busy lifestyle.

Fun Facts About Margaret

  • Margaret is a Museum Educator at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx.
  • On top of being a working graduate student, she’s also a single mother and caretaker for her parents.
  • Margaret is a dog lover. She was involved in dog rescue for several years and has two dogs of her own.

"I realize how important it is to just believe in yourself and the power that has."

Meet Danielle

Major: B.A. in Business Administration

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The ability to earn a degree online and take courses around her schedule.

Fun Facts About Danielle

  • She’s a big fan of Rubik’s Cubes.
  • Danielle loves hiking and spending time outdoors with her husband and daughter.
  • She loves SUNY Empire so much that she’s both a student and an employee (as an Administration Assistant in Enrollment Management).

"If you want to be treated a certain way, then treat others that way."

Meet Juan

Major: A.A. in General Studies

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The supportive environment and flexibility to earn his degree online while in the Army.

Juan learned the value of hard work from his parents, who immigrated from Mexico. Now he’s applying that to be one of the first of his family to graduate from college.

Fun Facts About Juan

  • Juan wants to be a teacher and inspire young people through education.
  • He loves challenging himself with new experiences to grow as a person.
  • Juan loves classic video games, like Pac-Man.

"Always give your 100%. If you don’t try, you will never know."

Meet Michael

Major: B.S. in Historical Studies

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The ability to customize his degree program and take online courses.

Michael is a Career Counselor in the U.S. Army.

Fun Facts About Michael

  • Michael loves learning about history, and uses it to see common themes in our world today.
  • He believes hearing different viewpoints is key to learning about any topic.
  • Two core values Michael learned in the Army are discipline and integrity.

"Find what you enjoy in life and focus on that."

Meet Kasie

Major: MPA in Public Administration

Why they chose SUNY Empire: A coworker recommended SUNY Empire, plus the ease of registration as a veteran.

Kasie is a mother, wife, and works as a Victim Advocate for the US Navy.

Fun Facts About Kasie

  • Kasie’s undergraduate studies were in engineering, and her graduate studies at SUNY Empire are in Public Administration.
  • She served in the US Navy for 12 years (and her husband is a fellow sailor).
  • Kasie views self-care as not only taking care of her mind and body, but challenging herself as well.

"If you expect something from your subordinates or from your kids, and you're not willing to model that behavior, then you become their excuse for not doing it."

Meet Xavier

Major: B.A. in Liberal Arts

Why they chose SUNY Empire: The convenience of online education and faculty support.

Xavier is passionate about inspiring young people, especially in places like Jamaica where he’s from. His goal is to use teaching as a means to help the next generations.

Fun Facts About Xavier

    • Xavier took most of his courses while on deployment, which taught him dedication, discipline, and time management.
    • He believes that teachers play one of the most important roles in society, because they have the ability to shape minds and positively influence children.

"Be persistent and committed to make it happen."