Cristy Dwyer ’13
Cristy Dwyer ’13
Outreach Training Institute, Org.
Why did you choose Empire State College? What do you think is the best thing about the college?
I was inspired to return to school when attending my husband Hugo Dwyer’s (’06) graduation. In fact, it was during his Center for Distance Learning (CDL) pre-graduation that I met Meg Benke, then dean of CDL, who made me feel so welcome and engaged. The next day at the Saratoga City Center, after meeting Hugo’s mentor (and happily my future mentor) Suzanne Benno, I knew I wanted to do this too! The best thing about the College continues to be the support faculty and staff, many of whom I’m still in touch with on a regular basis.
How did Empire State College help you shape your personal and professional goals?
For me, the academic experience at SUNY has been transformational. My now five-year association with Empire State College (AS ’08, BS ’10 & MA ’13) has not only afforded me the opportunity to realize my long-time goal of pursuing a college education, but has allowed me to pursue advocacy efforts and engage in a discourse with leaders on local, state and national levels,” said Dwyer. “Without question, the policy courses I have received at SUNY have given me the knowledge, self-assurance and confidence to feel worthy of a seat at the table. Last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the extraordinary support I’ve received from the faculty at ESC. Without their continuous enthusiasm and encouragement I would not be where I am today.”
What is your career highlight or proudest career moment to date?
Definitely envisioning and helping shepherd to completion an articulation agreement between SUNY Empire State College and my non-profit affiliate, Outreach Training Institute (OTI), that affords OTI’s students’ who are studying to become Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors (CASAC’s) academic credit towards their own undergraduate degrees at ESC. The partnership encourages many adult students to continue their education by engaging on an academic level that was previously thought to be out of reach by many of the students. To date, OTI has referred many of our students who are now enrolled at ESC and working towards earning their undergraduate degrees. I couldn’t be more proud of this partnership!
What advice would you give to a current Empire State College student?
All your hard work will pay off sooner than you think! While finishing my last term of graduate studies on my MA in Social Policy, I worked as a part-time student advisor and lecturer at Outreach Training Institute training adult students who were working to earn their CASAC’s. 3 months into my tenure OTI, and immediately following the successful oral defense of my masters thesis, I was asked to join the organization on a full time basis as Senior Counselor. Having my MA made all the difference, not only in terms of my marketability, but more importantly it gave me the knowledge, expertise and self-confidence to succeed.
Anything else you would like to share with fellow alumni and students?
Stick with it – your family and friends will forgive you for all those times you opted to study and write another paper instead of attending those social gatherings. If they’re anything like mine, they will be proud members of the audience at your graduation!