Success After SUNY CCC
SUNY CCC alumni make a difference in every profession and every industry. They are leaders in classrooms and operating rooms, on construction sites and in design studios. If you know someone whose story should be told, please let us know. If you'd like us to tell your story, please give us a call or email us! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following stories.
Penny (Ellison) Rice '84
Penny (Ellison) Rice ’84
proudly graduated with her associate’s degree in computer science from Corning Community College. Attending CCC was an easy and practical choice. Local, affordable, and a quick commute from home, but most importantly they offered the degree program she wanted. Penny is originally from Watkins Glen and is a first generation college graduate.
She cherishes her time at CCC where she made numerous life-long friends. While a student, she was part of the college’s work-study program and had a job in the Dean of Students’ Office. Penny found a friendly community, caring professors, and helpful staff at CCC that supported her as she worked toward her degree. Living on campus wasn’t an option when Penny attended so she found a group of friends to share the commute to campus. Carpooling to and from class with friends was definitely part of the fun.
Amanda Lee-Copp '15 grew up in the area, a student of Elmira City Schools until a districting change during her third-grade year required her to transfer to Corning Schools. Eventually, she would end up at Horseheads where she graduated from high school.
Both of her parents are alumni of Corning Community College, so when it was time to consider where she would pursue higher education, the decision to go to CCC was an easy one. CCC was close to home, she had several friends from high school attending, and the price was right.
The CCC campus was not just where she got her education though, it is also where she met her husband, Tyler. She would pass her husband regularly in the halls of the Chemung building, where he and his friends would hang out near the hallway leading to the Atrium Gallery. After an unsuccessful date with one of Tyler’s friends, Tyler reached out. They went on a date that went a little better than the aforementioned one.
Ivy Stevens-Gupta ‘05
I am a huge fan of SUNY Corning Community College. Before transferring to CCC, I was not your traditional student. I had originally attended Alfred University for art and to play soccer. It took me seventeen years, while working full-time and raising two kids, to obtain my A.A.S. in Business Administration at CCC. My thinking at the time was that a degree in business was more practical than learning how to be an artist. My father had a seventh-grade education, and my mother made it to eleventh grade. I was the only one of seven siblings to finish college. Higher education was paramount to me.
CCC was an affordable choice. Each semester I would take one course usually at night or on the weekends and work towards my degree.
Martin Scanlon ’91 is a Finger Lakes native born and raised in Corning. He and his sister remain a permanent fixture in Corning as they both appear in “The People Wall,” the photo installation by Elliot Erwitt, a prominent New York City photographer during the 1970s, which remains on display at the courtyard side of City Hall in Nasser Civic Plaza. The wall, which was installed in 1976, features life-sized, full-color images of local Corning people who lived and worked in the area at the time. Martin shares the space with such prominent figures as then mayor and his wife, Joe and Eleanor Nasser, as well as former Congressman Amory Houghton, Jr.
Martin would make his way up the hill to Corning Community College in the early 1990s after transferring from SUNY Brockport. While at Brockport, he studied criminal justice but would eventually switch his major to business administration and receive his associates in 1991.
Dr. Robert Longwell-Grice ’75 grew up in Horseheads, NY. Like five of his eight siblings, he graduated from Corning Community College, forming the first generation of their family to attend and graduate from an institution of higher education. So would begin a career in education — and an educational journey — that spanned decades. That journey culminated in a doctorate in Educational and Counseling Psychology from the University of Louisville with research focused on first-generation college students.
Now retired from a 40-year career in student affairs, Rob joined forces with his wife, Dr. Hope Longwell-Grice, earlier this year to publish At the Intersection: Understanding and Supporting First-Generation Students.
Having first enrolled at SUNY Corning Community College in 1971, the Elmira-native found himself juggling multiple jobs and responsibilities as a college freshman. He was focused on his studies in Humanities & Social Sciences, but just as many people’s lives were interrupted, the infamous flood of 1972 threw a wrench into his plans. Just one year into his collegiate career, Skip recalls the decision to take a break from his studies.
“My teenage pretzel logic told me that I could make good money cleaning up after the flood vs. returning to SUNY CCC,” he says. And while he continued to save his money in hopes of returning to the classroom, he was drafted into the Army soon after—in fact, Skip recalls the exact day: November 16, 1972.
Bobette “Bobbie” March ’17, is a Sergeant in the Army Reserves, a recent Elmira College graduate and—of course—a SUNY Corning Community College alum.
Although she was already enrolled in the Reserves when she began her SUNY CCC journey, Bobbie’s aspirations have always pointed her towards the medical field. Originally enrolled in SUNY CCC’s nursing program, a few obstacles forced her to delay those plans– though the challenge was nothing Bobbie wasn’t capable of taking on.
“SUNY CCC helped me realize that failure is not the end of the road; it is what a person does after failure. We all have our journey, some make it to their goals and destinations sooner, but it does not make it less important,” she says.
She may not have known how, but even at a young age, Georgia Verdier knew she wanted to make a difference in the world.
“I practiced working [smarter], not [harder],” she recalls of her time in school “I concentrated on a journey that would provide me a seat at the policy tables so I could help plan the menus.”
Now President of the NAACP Elmira-Corning. Georgia says it was this same early mindset that she brought with her to Corning Community College. Despite already being a mother of two, she took the challenge of additionally balancing school head-on.
Troy M. Council III, ‘07, was nearly forty years old when he made the decision to go back to school and pursue a college degree.
“I had been out of school since the eighties,” Troy recalls. “I had to [either] catch up or quit. I didn’t want to quit.”
“Early on, I sat in the back and didn’t ask questions,” he says. “When we took exams, I was one of the first people to finish and [leave]. [I was] failing. [Eventually], I watched the people that got high scores and I saw they were the ones who sat up front and asked questions. I realized asking questions was the answer. There is nothing wrong with not knowing.”
Vince Mizzoni ’13 is a Graphic Designer for Corelle Brands in Corning, N.Y. Target is currently selling his gingerbread village and peppermints Christmas designs on Pyrex storage containers.
“Knowing that my designs are being sold across the country and being seen by millions of people is still surreal to me,” said Vince. “I’m glad I continued to push myself to get to this point.”
It was perfect timing. He entered the police academy and became a patrol officer. When the record-breaking low temperatures last winter began impacting the people in his community, it didn’t take long for Kenny to step up and help.
“A man came into the precinct to ask if we had any coats we were giving away,” said Kenny. “I told him to come back the next day and I would have a coat for him. I went home that night and grabbed one of my coats and gave it to him the next morning.”
Roeshawn Daniels ’16 loves being a Chemical Technician at Corning Incorporated. To Roeshawn, her job is a giant game of I-Spy. The answers are hidden all around her and it’s her job to find them.
The Corning, N.Y. native works in the SECTR [Surface Energetics, Chromatography, Thermal Analysis and Rheology] Lab and analyzes the samples that come in for Thermal Analysis, Surface Tension and Contact Angle.
When Casey Hale ’17 was eight years old, the SUNY Corning Community College Spencer Crest Nature and Research Center introduced her to different insects. A decade later, Spencer Crest helped solidify her love for bugs and her future career.
“I spent most of my childhood playing in the woods and catching bugs,” said Casey. “I knew I wanted to be an entomologist pretty early on. I started going to Spencer Crest to collect insects and learn more about them.”
Zach Dunbar ’13 is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Cancer Sciences Ph.D. program at the University at Buffalo. The Cancer Sciences Program is a hands-on partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Zach’s subfield is cancer prevention. His research is based on tobacco control, specifically the use of e-cigarettes. According to Zach, e-cigarettes are the most controversial tobacco product to enter the market in the past decade.
SUNY Corning Community College alumna Dr. Teresa Danforth ‘01 is working to get more women in the healthcare industry and improve the patient experience. For Teresa, those two things go hand-in-hand.
The Corning, N.Y. native is a practicing physician in Buffalo for UBMD Urology, primarily based at Buffalo General Medical Center. Her focus is female urology, where she takes care of patients with female urinary issues, those who have suffered strokes, have spinal cord injuries, and have Multiple Sclerosis.
Travis Winters ’06 invites artists from around the country to teach workshops at the Touchstone Center for Crafts- a residential craft school located in the Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania.
He recently invited Kensuke Yamada, an artist from Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. Kensuke moved to the United States as a foreign exchange student and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Montana.
Cornelius "Pepsi" Lyon
Cornelius “Pepsi” Lyon ‘64 knows what it’s like to bridge the gap between wanting an education, and pursuing an education. After high school, he joined the United States Air Force and began a 1-year deployment in South Korea. While serving in South Korea, and later at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, Cornelius realized he wanted to improve his reading skills when he returned home to Elmira, N.Y. He vowed that he would attend college one day, which led Cornelius to the newly established classrooms of Corning Community College.
LaMonte Orr ’18 never imagined chemistry could be fun … and then he accepted a position at Corning Incorporated. Today, he loves chemistry.
LaMonte is a Process/Lab Technician at Corning Incorporated and a part-time Adjunct Instructor at SUNY Corning Community College.
He works in Corning’s Diesel Facility where his role consists of experimental design, statistical analysis and reporting of experimental results, and material characterization.
Brandi Smith-Moffe ’02 is the 2018 SUNY CCC Faculty Art Show guest alumna. Brandi grew up in Elmira, N.Y., and attended Elmira Free Academy.
Unsure of the career path she wanted to take after high school, Brandi chose SUNY CCC for the affordability and convenience. Though she had always loved art she never viewed it as a career, rather a hobby. She majored in Liberal Arts, but soon found herself inspired by Professor Dave Higgins’ art classes.
Joan Dugan Wilson
Joan Dugan Wilson did not plan on attending college. Probably marriage. Definitely work. As the saying goes, though … the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men often go awry. After a short stint working at Corning Community College, a counselor convinced her to enroll.
“I graduated with honors,” said Joan. “That degree changed my life.”
Dr. David G. Gardner
Dr. David G. Gardner ’67 has earned the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing the many accomplishments he’s made to his profession.
David is the Mount Zion Health Fund Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of California at San Francisco. He serves as a mentor to post-doctoral fellows, junior faculty, research trainees, and is the mentoring facilitator for the division. David has published approximately 200 scientific articles, book chapters, and reviews and has co-edited five editions of the most widely used textbook in the study of endocrinology.
Dr. Holly Young
Originally from the Corning area, Dr. Holly M. (Preston) Young earned an Associate’s degree in Math and Science from CCC in 1998 before pursuing a Marine Biology degree at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). Upon earning her Bachelor’s from UNCW, she was awarded an internship at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility in Beaufort, NC.
She moved back to Corning after completing the internship at NOAA and worked as a research technician at Corning Incorporated. Holly was then offered a research assistant position at Harvard Medical School and lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for three years prior to attending graduate school at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a Master’s degree in Biology and a Doctorate in Kinesiology.
SUNY Corning Community College has a long tradition of launching some of tomorrow’s greatest minds. Eileen Collins ’76 went on to become a United States Air Force pilot and a NASA astronaut, logging more than 6,500 hours in 30 different types of aircrafts and making four trips into space.
Melissa A. (Dewey) Brumback was honored an award in the name of Eileen Collins, the Eileen M. Collins ’76 Professional Achievement Award, to honor her impressive professional achievements as a 2017 pioneering female alumna.
Lori J. (Swift) Brockway has been one to watch for years. While in high school, she studied for a year in Mexico as a Rotary Exchange Student. In 2004, she joined the Navy where she completed a tour in the Persian Gulf (Operation Iraqi Freedom) as an Information System Technician in Network Security. She was awarded Sailor of the Quarter and Sailor of the Year honors.
After her enlistment, Lori returned to the area and attended CCC where she received an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts in 2010. She was a participant in CCC’s Student Leadership Program. She continued her education at SUNY Brockport, majoring in International Relations. She interned at the United Association of Rochester (UNAR) and participated in a Winter Exchange in Europe.
Emily Doppel ’15 knows what it’s like to be pulled in multiple directions. In high school, she worked a series of part-time jobs and went to school. Although she graduated from high school with excellent grades and in the top 10 percent of her class, she wanted to focus completely on academics in college. Receiving the Presidential Scholarship allowed her to do this.
“The scholarship removed a lot of stress,” said Emily. “I hear my friends talk about the massive debt they have, and I am thankful that I avoided that. I also feel more prepared than many of my peers who couldn’t focus completely on schoolwork. I had the time to focus completely on the assignments and making the most of my college courses.”