Alumni Spotlight - Class of 2010-2019
Teresa Hocker '19
When I was younger I always knew that I wanted to attend college “someday,” but I started a family and tabled the idea for a later time. Although I had never attended college, I instilled in my children a drive for higher education and am incredibly proud of their accomplishments. Two of my children are graduates of SUNY Orange, and my oldest son is a graduate of SUNY Albany. Having spent many years hearing me talk of going to college “someday,” my daughter was especially instrumental in giving me the final push to attend. It was an easy choice for me to pick SUNY Orange knowing the fine reputation of this school, and the many programs and course schedules that were offered. I liked the flexibility of evening scheduling and being able to take online courses as well. And now I have been accepted and am attending SUNY Empire in the fall to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Community and Human Services. SUNY Orange has given me the confidence and a strong foundation to move forward with my educational goals!
Abigail Doyle '15
I attended SUNY Orange right after graduating from Valley Central in 2012. I was reluctant to go to SUNY Orange because I felt there was a negative stigma around community colleges and I ultimately wanted to go away to school. Looking back, attending SUNY Orange was the best decision I could have made when it came to choosing a college. I decided to major in liberal arts because I was unsure of what I wanted to choose as a career in or what I was passionate about. The choice to major in liberal arts let me have the freedom to explore a variety of different classes from History of Rock Music, to Criminal Justice 101, to Public Speaking. I was able to dip my toes into many different avenues to discover what I was passionate about. Being enrolled at SUNY Orange made school convenient. It was a 25 minute drive from my house, and I was able to select a schedule that would allow me to work and still participate in extracurricular activities. I was able to graduate without student loan debt. After graduation, I received a job at Walden Savings Bank. The classes I took at SUNY Orange have been invaluable and have taught me skills to feel confident when speaking in front of colleagues, customers, and directors. My job at Walden Savings Bank has even allowed me to stay connected to the College and the Foundation. I am grateful for the people and the things I have learned and the opportunities SUNY Orange is still giving me today.
Brittney Valera '16
My name is Brittney Valera and I am the owner of an online sun glass store called Highly Shaded and an online t-shirt store called You Think So Too! I graduated as a psychology major, but I am in love with being creative and helping other creatives execute their vision. I started my sun glass business in June 2019 and I'm very excited to see how far this brand will go. I plan to bring more items to the store and add men/unisex glasses. The vision of this brand is to have a pair of sun glasses to fit everyone's personality. Sun glasses are a one size fits all, which makes it inclusive to everyone - all shapes and sizes to pick from which is something I really wanted. This way, no one feels left out.
Danielle Wright '11
I attended SUNY Orange after graduating from Valley Central High School. Unsure of what I wanted my major to be I knew I wanted to pursue something related to business. After my first semester I narrowed my concentration down to Accounting. My time at SUNY Orange allowed me to grow into the young professional that I am today. Upon graduating I transferred to Pace University where I received my Bachelors in Business Administration - Concentration in Accounting. Today I’m employed at Walden Savings Bank as an Accountant and also very involved in the community. Thank you SUNY Orange for setting me up for success!
Danny Torres '14
Right out of high school, I decided to attend SUNY Orange and earn my Associate's Degree in criminal justice. I was unsure of what I wanted to do or become. There were a few special faculty and professors who became my mentors and influenced where I am today in my life. I was very active in the Board of Activities and also in the Student Senate. I served as Student Senate President for about a year and a half. I also served as a Student Ambassador and gave informational tours, participated in open houses, and volunteered for events for prospective students and their families. Since graduating from SUNY Orange, I made it my life's mission to go to law school, graduate, and become a lawyer. After SUNY Orange, I transferred to CUNY - John Jay College of Criminal Justice to obtain a Bachelor's of Arts in political science and a minor in Spanish. I spent the remaining two years there. My successes at SUNY Orange translated into more successes at John Jay. There, I became a campus leader for the Pre-Law Institute. Upon graduation from John Jay in 2016, I was accepted into law school. I attended Western Michigan University - Thomas M. Cooley Law School for my Juris Doctor degree which was completed in 2018, I started my own consulting firm, D&D Lawgical Solutions LLC. As a Newburgh native, I did not expect to be where I am today. I am extremely grateful for everything that SUNY Orange has offered.
Steven DeBuck '11
My experience at SUNY Orange was filled with extracurricular activities and courses that led to graduation and beyond. I was very active with the Board of Activities from day one on campus to graduation day. I attended weekly meetings, plus ran and assisted events on campus. I also served one semester as the Community Service Committee Chair, a branch off of the Board of Activities. During this time, with my committee, we committed ourselves to a "pet supply" drive for the Middletown Humane Society. The entire college campus, community, and families were involved and the drive was very successful. I also served as a Student Ambassador on campus and provided tours for prospective students and their families plus helped with the college's Open House and various other events. I was also actively involved with SUNY Orange's Business Club. That is how I spent my time at SUNY Orange and graduated in May 2011. I am now full time at the assisting living facility, Promenade at Middletown as an Activities Assistant for over five years now. Promenade at Middletown is surprisingly just down the road from the college. Also, working seasonally at DeBuck's Sod Farm and Scenic Farms Golf Course.
Marissa Tahboub '17
I graduated from SUNY Orange in 2017 and received my Associate Degree in Liberal Arts: Social Sciences and Humanities. I really enjoyed SUNY Orange because the campus community and professors helped me feel included and heard. I was able to feel what college life was like, while obtaining all of my general education credits that I transferred to SUNY Plattsburgh. I now attend Plattsburgh and truly think SUNY Orange has helped structure my perspective and outlook on education and helped me in reaching my goal to become a teacher.
Elizabeth Girolamo '15
I graduated from SUNY Orange in 2015 with honors, and finished up my BS in Organizational Communication at SUNY New Paltz. In senior year, I started laying down the foundation for my brand/company called Tee-Owels, which is an online focused t-shirt hair towel company based out of Middletown, NY. My hair towel is made of soft, organic cotton t-shirt material, which is more favorable than traditional rough and heavy bath towels used in hair drying. Tee-Owels are the best choice for all hair types, but are especially designed to benefit curly and dry hair types. Over the past two and a half years Tee-Owels has been featured in both national and local magazines, such as Glamour Magazine, Orange Magazine, WAG Magazine, Curl Magazine and Curly Hair Mag London. My ultimate goal with Tee-Owels is to help improve modern hair drying and shape the future of ‘protective hair care,’ while guiding women towards a happier hair experience.
Emily Moriaty '18
My own SUNY Orange story began in Fall 2016, two months after I had just graduated from Middletown High School in the top thirty of the senior class with fourteen combined college credits from CTE and Syracuse University "Project Advance" for College Statistics. Being an alumni on the autism spectrum, Asperger's syndrome to be exact, my two years at SUNY Orange were challenging, but enriching, as I went for a degree in visual communications. The first semester was rough because that was when I learned that when it comes to success, there also comes failure. After failing Freshman English 1, I felt like giving up, but I knew I had to try again and learn from my mistakes. Spring 2017, I was back on track academically, I passed all my classes and by the Fall 2017 semester, I was back to my creative and academically successful self. I made the Dean's list and into TRiO. Creatively, I learned to improve on my drawing skills in character designs by finding the balance between realism and my personal style. I learned to take great photographs with my android smartphone and build a website on Wix with a collection of all the projects I did during the spring semester. I learned to manage my time and ask for help. All the struggles and successes were well worth it in the end when I graduated with honors (cum laude). Currently, I am living in Middletown doing my art and digital photography using what I have learned at SUNY Orange. I write, sing, and make videos on the side while I look into my options as to where my path will lead me next. I came a long way during my time at SUNY Orange. The biggest thing I learned was summed up in a quote from Professor Slater-Tanner, "remember – breathe," and "work smart, not hard." It is not about repeating the easy successes of high school. I learned that I am going to have some bumps and failures through the path of success. As a free-lance multimedia digital artist, smart work and hard work are the way to go, creatively and academically.
Emily O'Brien '14
“After graduating SUNY Orange in 2014, I attended the University at Albany, SUNY where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and later a Master of Science in mental health counseling. I now work as an out-patient therapist in public mental health in the capital region. SUNY Orange was where I first had an instructor believe in me. I am especially grateful for Dr. Douglas Sanders and Dr. Kathleen Malia for their instruction and guidance. My time at SUNY Orange was critical, more than I knew at the time, and honestly without the support of the faculty I would not have pushed myself to see what my potential was. I’m very grateful for my years at SUNY Orange and the community there that fostered so much growth in me at a very uncertain time in my life.”
Florinda Estrada '15
“In 2015, I graduated from SUNY Orange with a degree in Exercise Science. Afterward, I moved to New York City and got a day job as I continued my education and working as a model on the side. I eventually became certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach but was uncertain about the exact direction I wanted to go, so I decided to continue working as I figured things out. Fast forward to today, and I‘m so honored to say that out of thousands of other models, I’ve made Sports Illustrated Swimsearch 2019’s Top 17. For the next few months (and hopefully longer), I represent their incredible brand! Currently, we’ve partnered with Kate Upton and her wellness brand called Strong4Me Fitness and I’m so excited to use my past experience and education in a way I never imagined I would. I get to combine all of my passions to inspire people in a very unique way. Cheers to following your own unique path and trusting the process. And a big thank you to SUNY Orange and especially Sheila Stepp, the department chair of my program who pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me realize how much I was capable of in life.”
Hailey Anthony '15
Originally attending Ithaca College, Hailey transferred to SUNY Orange for the 2014-2015 school year. A native of the area, born in Middletown and raised in Montgomery, SUNY Orange was the obvious choice in continuing her education. With a passion for exercise science and a love for basketball, she joined the women’s basketball program while excelling in the classroom. This was in huge part thanks to the caring staff and faculty. After graduating with an AS in exercise science, she continued to pursue further education at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; graduating with a BS in athletic training in 2017. From that point, she continued working in Pennsylvania but longed for a return back home. After a couple of years working for a private high school in Easton, PA, she received and accepted an offer for an athletic training position at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. Officially back home, she has been working along-side collegiate athletes, Mount Saint Mary College colleagues and teaching a course covering exercise science. She takes with her all the support and knowledge SUNY Orange has given her. Without SUNY Orange, she feels she wouldn’t have gotten to where she is today.
Matthew Wynkoop '16
In 2016, I was part of the first New Media graduating class. After graduating from SUNY Orange, I continued my education, receiving my bachelor's degree from Marist College. Life after Marist has taken me in a different direction than I thought, as I ended up working part-time for Angry Orchard in my hometown of Walden, NY. I quickly began to fall in love with the world of hard cider, particularly the tour aspect of the business. Now, I have been with Angry Orchard for over two years and have worked my way to a full-time position as Tour Center Coordinator. I continue to stay active with video production, working on freelance video projects with the Village of Montgomery and most recently with the SUNY Orange Foundation. I feel that my education at SUNY Orange has been beneficial not only for the video production skills it has provided, but also in communication. courses such as The Speaking Voice and radio Shows for Colt Rock Radio. These courses have provided me with practice in public speaking and the necessary skills to address large groups as I do in my career. I am proud of my SUNY Orange education and look to continue my relationship as an alumnus for years to come.
Seamus Hughes ‘15
I graduated SUNY Orange in 2015 after my dad passed away in February of that year. We were in a bind so I helped my family out by taking 3 years off of school. In 2018 I applied for The College of Staten Island where I live now. I have been a student leader, DJ at my campus’s radio station, WSIA, and involved in The LGBTQ community on campus. I am graduating in May of 2021, at the age of 27, with a Bachelor’s in Communications with a concentration in Media studies and a minor in Sociology/Anthropology. I am looking to get a job in radio someday soon!