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Alumni Spotlight: Kevin O’Connor ’82

Watch Video of Alumni Spotlight: Kevin O’Connor ’82

President and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgehampton National Bank

Class of 1982

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Space Shuttle Commander Robert ‘Hoot’ Gibson ’66 Inspires Suffolk Students

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Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun L. McKay, at left, was joined by Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson at a dinner with faculty, staff and students a day after Gibson’s inspirational commencement speech at Suffolk County Community College’s 55th commencement on May 21.

Gibson, a 1966 graduate of Suffolk, presented the college, pictured, with artifacts from his voyages aboard the space shuttle including a Suffolk pennant he carried into space.

“Commander Gibson was impressed by our STEM program and the national recognition we received with the award of more than $2.6 million in grant funding in the past decade, and that our STEM scholars have achieved paid research internships in arenas as varied as NASA, in 6 of the 11 federal laboratories around the nation, and also at the Smithsonian Institute,” said President McKay.

“Commander Gibson spoke passionately about his academic and career pathway – all , in his words, influenced by his start in engineering science at  Suffolk County Community College,” said Suffolk County Community College Professor of Chemistry and NSF SSTEM program chair, Dr. Candice J. Foley.

“STEM programs at Suffolk County Community College include a Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP), a Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and a Liberty Partnerships Program, all funded by the New York State Education Department. Total student enrollment in these programs exceeds 700 students and funded with more than $1 million annually,” said Associate Dean, Continuing Education Nina A. Leonhardt.

Media Contact:
Drew Biondo
631-451-4776
biondodr@sunysuffolk.edu


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Investigating Scott Higham ’79: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Graduate Tells All

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Scott Higham ’79

Scott Higham is a Pulitzer Prize-winning member of the investigations unit of The Washington Post. He has examined the deaths of foster children, waste and fraud in Homeland Security contracts, the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and conflicts of interest on Capitol Hill. He has also investigated the off-shore banking industry, the rise of ISIS and its use of U.S. social media, and the murder of Chandra Levy, among many other projects. After graduating from Suffolk, Mr. Higham attended Stony Brook University and the Columbia University School of Journalism.

How was your Suffolk experience?

I met people at Suffolk who wanted to succeed in life. I also had teachers who believed in me for the first time, and I began to excel as a student. Suffolk prepared me for a four-year college and the graduate school program I would later attend.

Where did your interest in journalism come from?

I fell in love with journalism when I walked into the newsroom of the student paper at Stony Brook University, The Stony Brook Press. I had graduated from Suffolk and was taking pre-law classes at Stony Brook but I saw journalism as a different way to perform a public service, see the world on someone else’s dime, and have some fun along the way. It was the best choice I ever made, besides becoming a father.

What excites you about what you do?

As a journalist, I get paid to tell the truth. There’s been a lot said about journalists being untruthful and that’s simply not true. When we make mistakes at The Washington Post, we are held accountable and can catch hell from our editors. If someone knowingly fabricates a story, they are fired on the spot. In my 30 years as a reporter, I’ve only seen it happen a handful of times. There are not many jobs that pay you for being honest. There are also not many jobs that put you in a position to witness history, to see things few people ever see, to learn from people in all stations of life and have fun every day you go to work. I feel like I have the best job on the planet, working as an advocate for the readers of The Washington Post, holding the powerful accountable and helping the less fortunate along the way. And the culture of a newsroom, with its creativity and energy and character, can’t be beat.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud to be part of a tradition that is so essential to our democracy. The founders of our country made the freedom of the press the First Amendment for a reason. Our work at The Washington Post, and the work being done by reporters across the country, helps to inform the public and expose corrupt politicians and abusive corporations. There are few higher callings. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1787: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

What can be done about the proliferation of fake news?

Great question. Rely on trusted news sources, double check sources, find source material to verify information and read as many publications as possible. There’s an old saying in journalism: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” So if someone shares a “story” with you on Facebook or Twitter or whatever, check it out before you share it with someone else.

What advice would you have for today’s high school students?

Community college is a great place to start. Most students have no idea what they want to do with their lives when they’re graduating high school, and places like Suffolk can provide them with a place for experimentation and the space to take chances. And you can take those chances without racking up big tuition bills and burdensome loans. I really don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t gone to Suffolk.

– Drew Fawcett

Source: Suffolk County Community College Career Focus


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3/8/17 Adelphi University: Spotlight On: Careers in Social Work Panel featuring Suffolk County Community College Alumni

Adelphi University: Spotlight On: Careers in Social Work Panel featuring Suffolk County Community College Alumni

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Hauppauge Education and Conference Center
55 Kennedy Dr, Hauppauge, NY 11788

If you’re looking for a career with meaning, action, diversity, satisfaction, and an abundance of options, Social Work is the career for you. Come and join us and learn all about this fascinating career. You will hear from a dynamic group of experienced Social Workers who have been in the field for many years. We look forward to seeing you.

Panelists Including Suffolk County Community College Alumni

FLEETON F. ALLEN ’12

Fleeton Allen is an Alumni from Suffolk Community College class of 2012. He is also an Alumni of Adelphi University School of Social Work, Hauppauge Center, where he received his BSW in 2014 and an MSW in 2015, he is also a Licensed Social Worker. Fleeton is currently is employed at Concern for Independent Living, as a Case Manager in the HUD-VASH program, where he works with Homeless Veterans and their families.

RACHEL GEARWAR ’04

Rachel Gearwar received her BA in Psychology from Stony Brook University and her Masters in Social Work from Adelphi University. She is certified by EAGALA as a Mental Health practitioner for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Rachel has completed Crisis Prevention, Intervention training, EAGALA military training and vaulting training. She works for Pal-O-Mine as a job coach for the work-study program, an equine assisted learning facilitator for the BOCES School districts and a natural horsemanship teacher and more.

Online Registration Required


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Courtney Hubbard ’16 Wins Food Network’s ‘Bakers Vs. Fakers’ Competition

bakerHost Buddy Valastro and Courtney Hubbard of Hampton Bays on the game show Bakers vs. Fakers. COURTESY FOOD NETWORK

 

Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Woman Wins Food Network’s ‘Bakers Vs. Fakers’ Competition

Feb 14, 2017 12:44 PM

From the very first moment Courtney Hubbard ’16 was able to hold a spoon, she has been an avid baker.

When the Hampton Bays High School alumna was a small child, she would always be in charge of the mixing bowl when she baked cookies or brownies with her “nana,” Linda Hubbard of Hampton Bays.

“I liked to bake whatever I liked to eat,” Ms. Hubbard recalled as a big smile spread across her face. “So brownies were my favorite thing to bake with her, because I think her recipe was the best recipe.”

As she got older—and her parents started trusting her to use the oven in the kitchen—Ms. Hubbard, now 21, started baking on her own, and getting more creative with her craft. She baked a cake to look like a tiger for her younger sister Olivia Pervete’s birthday, and wedding cakes with intricate flowers and designs.

She transitioned from home baker to professional when she graduated in January 2016 from Suffolk County Community College’s culinary school on East Main Street in Riverhead, where she studied baking and pastry arts.

This past November, the young baker was a contestant on the Food Network’s game show “Bakers vs. Fakers”—and she came home with the $10,000 grand prize.

On the show, hosted by Buddy Valastro, both professional bakers, like Ms. Hubbard, and amateurs are brought in for a bake-off where they are asked to make treats with unusual ingredients—such as bacon, aromatic ginger or even beer.

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Courtney Hubbard ’16 of Hampton Bays, NY on Bakers vs. Fakers. Courtesy of Food Network.

When Ms. Hubbard was brought on the show, she and the two other contestants were asked to bake cupcakes using hot peppers. A self-proclaimed picky eater, Ms. Hubbard said it was challenging, because she doesn’t care for spicy foods. “I was, like, ‘Really? That is going to taste good? Who is going to want to eat that?’” she recalled. “I just thought of heat and chocolate. In Mexican chocolate, they have heat in there.”

She used her go-to chocolate cake recipe for the base of the cupcake, adding in pepper jelly and ancho chile powder along the way. The cupcake was topped with cream cheese frosting.

“I was tasting it along the way,” Ms. Hubbard said. “I was, like, ‘This has to come out good, or it’s going to taste like a nacho or something.’ So I tasted the batter, and I thought it was very spicy, because I just don’t like spicy food. But when I tasted the baked cupcake, I tasted the spice but it was a little mellowed out.”

Ms. Hubbard explained that while the judges seemed like they were looking for a stronger pepper taste than her cupcakes offered, she was excited that she still managed to secure second place in that round.

In the second and final round, Ms. Hubbard was tasked with baking something using, as ingredients, “school snacks,” such as baby carrots, chocolate milk, raisins, applesauce or Fruit Roll-Ups.

Ms. Hubbard chose to work with chocolate milk and Fruit Roll-Ups—two of her personal childhood favorites. She used the chocolate milk to make the pastry cream for a napoleon. Then Ms. Hubbard reduced the Fruit Roll-Ups with port wine to create a reduction sauce for the plate.

“They weren’t a big fan of that,” Ms. Hubbard said of the judges’ reaction to the reduction sauce. “But I like Fruit Roll-Ups, so that was delicious to me. I was, like, ‘You can say that—but I will eat it all day long!’”

When the judges were tasting her creation, she remembers crossing her fingers, hoping she would win. She said she went into shock when she opened the gold envelope that showed she won.

“They said my name—I still have the envelope,” Ms. Hubbard said. “I was, like, ‘Did they say my name? Did I imagine that?’ It was like I was dreaming. I really didn’t think I would win.”

Perhaps the hardest part about the entire competition for Ms. Hubbard was not telling anyone that she was going on the show. Viewers are not initially told which of the contestants are bakers and which are “fakers,” so to help keep the secret Ms. Hubbard had to sign a contract that kept her from being able to share the exciting news with her friends and family.

From the time she filmed the show in Jersey City, New Jersey, in November, until the time it aired on January 25, Ms. Hubbard had to bite her tongue every time someone would start a conversation with her about her baking. “I thought about it every day until January 25,” she said.

The secret became even harder to keep once Food Network aired a commercial promoting the episode, called “Caliente Cupcake,” on December 26. She was quickly recognized by her signature French braids—but at that point she still couldn’t confirm that it was she on the show.

“Everyone [saw] it,” Ms. Hubbard said. “I had people messaging me saying, ‘Did I just see you?’ and I was, like, ‘I don’t know. You’ll have to watch!’”

Ms. Hubbard calls the 17 hours she spent on the “Bakers vs. Fakers” set the best day of her life. She credits most of her success to her nana and to chef Richard Amster, who taught most of her baking classes in culinary school.

“This is for her,” Ms. Hubbard said of her nana. “This is me saying, ‘Thank you—thank you for showing me my dream.’”

While the elder Ms. Hubbard was the one to introduce her to her craft, she credits Mr. Amster with giving her the confidence to be a successful baker.

She recalled her first day of class with Mr. Amster: “My very first day, I cried. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t get something right, and I was so disappointed and so discouraged with myself. He took me out in the hallway and he told me, ‘Courtney, there is no crying in baking. If you want to be a pastry chef, you have to be confident and just get it done and do it right.’”

She listened to Mr. Amster’s advice, though she admits she cried when she learned she won $10,000.

“So I asked him, ‘Can the “no crying in baking” rule be edited to “no crying in baking unless you win $10K”?’ And he said, ‘You won—you make the rules.’”

Mr. Amster said on Monday that he is proud of Ms. Hubbard. “She did a great job,” he said, pointing out that he noticed Ms. Hubbard used some of the techniques taught in his classes. “It was a pleasure to see her. How can you not appreciate a student who comes in and gives 100 percent?”

Ms. Hubbard is saving her winnings from the show to use toward opening a bake shop in the future—possibly locally. She is sticking to baking in her kitchen until her business, Courtney’s Sweet Tooth, picks up.

Until then she is taking orders and sharing pictures of her treats on her Facebook page, facebook.com/courtneyssweettooth.

 

 

Courtney Hubbard works on a cake in her kitchen in Hampton Bays. DANA SHAW

Source: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

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Oya Bangura ’13 dancing with Mary Tyler Moore and the National Dance Institute Celebration Team in “Peking Duck”

Watch Oya Bangura ’13 dancing with Mary Tyler Moore and the National Dance Institute Celebration Team in “Peking Duck”. Oya is one of two Suffolk students who won the Kennedy Center Amirican College Theatre Festival Irene Rayan Acting Award.

Theatre Arts Director Charles Wittreich ’86 shares “She is FABULOUS in so many ways!”

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Congratulations Keith Dinielli ’90 on your Emmy (Again)

Congratulations Keith Dinielli ’90 on your Emmy for Outstanding Reality – Competition Program as Senior Producer of the Voice on NBC

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Keith Dinielli ’90 with Professor Al Bernstein

Do you know of alumni news? Are you a graduate of the Radio & TV Broadcast Program? Contact us at alumni@sunysuffolk.edu


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Congratulations Kayla O’Brien ’16 – Best College Newspaper Reporter at the Press Club of Long Island’s 2016 Annual Media Awards

Kayla OBrien 16

Outgoing Editor-in-Chief of The Western Student Press Kayla O’Brien ’16, won Best College Newspaper Reporter at the Press Club of Long Island’s 2016 Annual Media Awards banquet in June.

The annual awards includes Long Island colleges among hundreds of New York and Long Island professional media vying for coveted honors in a variety of categories.

Pictured with Kayla is faculty adviser Anita Leibowitz.


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Jose Gomera ’10, Nuclear Engineer, Brookhaven National Lab

Watch Jose Gomera ’10, Nuclear Engineer,

Brookhaven Science Associates at Brookhaven National Lab

“Suffolk helped me get ready for my career by laying a good foundation of S.T.E.M. courses and by having small classes where I could interact with my professors.”

Do you know someone considering college?  Connect with Admissions

Do you know a Suffolk graduate we should feature? E-mail alumni@sunysuffolk.edu


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Watch video of Kevin M. O’Connor ’82 Bridgehampton National Bank President and CEO

Watch video of Kevin M. O’Connor ’82

Suffolk Community College Foundation’s 33rd Annual Golf Classic

Honoring Kevin M. O’Connor ’82

Bridgehampton National Bank President and CEO

 Monday, August 22, 2016
The Hamlet Golf and Country Club
One Clubhouse Drive, Commack, NY

Benefiting student scholarships and academic program support

For reservations and committee information please contact:

The Foundation Office: 631-451-4846 Or via e-mail at Golf@sunysuffolk.edu

Sponsorship and Registration Information


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