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On Tues., July 1st, the incoming Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) freshmen were welcomed by a panel of HEOP alumni and current students who took time out of their busy day to share some valuable advice. For two of the panelists, it was actually their second time sharing their insights with a group of incoming HEOP students. Javier Saldana, (B.S., Interdisciplinary Studies, ’03) first participated two years ago. He is currently a Career Counselor/Employment Specialist for the Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Hostos Community College at the City University of New York. Javier is also a shining example of the impact HEOP leaves behind long after graduation. Javier’s gratitude towards the program is evident - any time he is called upon to give back he finds a way to make it happen. It was also Oshane Cooke’s second time participating in the panel. Oshane is expected to graduate this upcoming December with a B.S. in Advertising.
With a larger amount of incoming freshmen majoring in Architecture than in recent years, the students seemed truly appreciative of the advice and stories that alumna Marilyn Encalada (B.Arch., Architecture, ’13) had to share. She told the students that while Architecture can indeed be an extremely challenging and demanding major, if she could do it despite the obstacles that arose along the way, so could they.
HEOP alumna and current M.B. A. student Ting Ting Mei (B.P.S., Hospitality Studies, ’13) held everyone’s attention when she described how HEOP helped her transition from a nervous, slightly self-conscious, and virtually silent student to the gregarious, inspiring, and confident young woman she is today. Ting Ting is currently funding her studies in the Masters of Business Admiration program here at NYIT through two graduate assistantships.
Current student Leroy Solis really got the students involved and engaged, at one point having all the freshmen recite after him in unison the phrase, “Whatever it takes, I will do.” Leroy is the definition of perseverance. After leaving school to care for his terminally ill mother, he found many obstacles in his path to finishing his education. Despite these roadblocks and with the help of his HEOP family, Leroy is now back on the path to obtaining his B.A. in Accounting in 2015, boasting an impressive G.P.A. of 4.0 in his first semester back!
Alumnus Pedro Vazquez (B.S., Electrical & Computer Engineering, ’12) discussed how HEOP, like any other supportive family, will help you to become a better person. Pedro currently works as a Media Services Technician for the Information Technology and Infrastructure Media Services Department of New York Institute of Technology.
Soon to be graduate Krystal Dean shared her struggles of overcoming the life obstacles that can occur during a college career. She reminded students that no matter what obstacles life throws at them, they have an invaluable support system in HEOP and NYIT and should never hesitate to use that support. Krystal will be graduating with her B.S. in Behavioral Science in 2015.
One piece of advice that every panelist shared was to utilize and seek advice from your “HEOP family”. The members of this panel knew from experience that their goals may have been unreachable without the support of family, friends, and HEOP. They reminded the freshmen that HEOP is not just a support program but a support system, that when fully utilized will help propel them to their dreams. Special thanks to the alumni and current students who took time from their busy schedules to share their advice and experience with these incoming freshmen. You are the proof that HEOP works, and we thank you for helping to keep it working for future generations of students.