Serendipity: When Things Just Fall In To Place

Stephanie Martino

Quote from CDL student Stephanie Marino to her mentor, Dana Henson:
“I have had the lovliest serendipity since coming to ESC. I love school! I choose classes that complement each other and I have been able to cross-reference ideas and make connections every single semester. My online classes are off to a good start!”    

When you connect with the “right” college, and the “right” classes at the “right” time, the decision to return to school is positively reinforced. The quote above captures Stephanie Marino’s enthusiasm for her goal to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies with a Concentration in Ethnic and Multicultural Studies through the Center for Distance Learning at SUNY Empire State College.

Marino, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, dropped out of college 30 years ago to pursue a career in music. She described herself as a “terrible student”. At age 50, she returned to ESC after a recommendation from her friend and ESC professor Silvia Chelala.  

“What an amazing time in my life! I want to say that this is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  The ESC staff from mentor to bookstore to professors and my classmates, have made my life richer and I have proven to myself that I really am a good student!”, said Marino, who currently works as an English teacher in Italy.

Upon graduation in 2013, Marino plans to continue her studies and pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching.

“It’s a Pleasure to Finally Meet You”: Sharing A Graduation Story

Ruby Tan and Dr. Bidhan Chandra

Please enjoy this post, written by Dr. Bidhan Chandra, after he met his student, Ruby Tan, for the first time (in person) at Saturday’s graduation festivities.

Saturday’s graduation ceremony was truly great and memorable. I can’t imagine how much planning and hard work went in for making this event so memorable and so flawless. I would like to congratulate and thank everyone who was involved in the event planning and execution.

The student speakers were excellent. One of them was Ruby Tan. Ruby was my student in my International Business course in 2009. By chance, we were seated at the same table for reception after the graduation ceremony. We were very happy to meet each other. She said that I was her only mentor that she was able to meet so far. This made me feel so special. My wife (Usha) and I had wonderful conversations with her and her family. Her sister and brother-in-law came all the way from Singapore to be present and to celebrate Ruby’s achievement.

I have attended and enjoyed all CDL graduations ever since I joined CDL in 1996. I feel that these graduation events are the only opportunity for me, as a mentor, to see the fruits of our collective work as faculty, professional, and staff. It is a great joy to see the students and their families together. Please consider attending the graduation ceremony next year if you could not attend this year’s.”

– Written by faculty member and Area Coordinator, Dr. Bidhan Chandra