Alumni: 89,000   Students: 17,000

Deborah Falco ’11

Deborah Falco

Deborah Falco ’11
Senior Administrator and Evaluator
WAHVE and SUNY

What three words best describe who and what you are?
Determined. Resilient. Empathetic.

What inspired you to earn your college degree? What was your “moment”?
After taking a few classes at the local community college, “just for fun”, I realized that the “fun” and my love of learning could be converted into something more meaningful.

Why did you choose to attend ESC?
I chose ESC because of the flexibility of scheduling. I was working full-time when I enrolled and did not have the luxury of taking off work to attend traditional classes.

Who supported and encouraged you along the way?
Every single mentor I encountered was supportive and seemed genuinely invested in my success. Of course, my family was also supportive in their cooperation and willingness to accept how I chose to spend my free time (learning).

What, if any, obstacles did you overcome?
I became seriously ill while enrolled. (I had lesions develop in my throat that at one point were suspected of being cancerous). I was debilitated and feverish and could not concentrate for many weeks. Once I had been diagnosed with the illness, I contacted my mentors and explained the situation. They were understanding and concerned for my well-being. Miraculously, I was able to finish the semester on time.

What advice would you give to a prospective ESC student?
Go slow at first. It is tempting to jump in with both feet because it is exciting to be a student again. Take 2 classes maximum for the first few semester to get a feel for things. Life definitely does get in the way sometimes, so you do not want to set yourself up for failure. I also highly recommend taking a group study. Being able to connect with other students on a face to face basis helps protect you against that inevitable sense of academic isolation.

Why do you give back to SUNY Empire?
Because they gave so much to me.

How has your experience at ESC changed your life since graduation?
I went on to earn my Master’s degree and have changed careers.

Anything else you would like to share?
Many of my friends have remarked, “I’m too old” to go back to school. I remind them that no matter their age their future birthdays will come whether they go to college or not, so they might as well get a degree. Another thing I have encountered is some of my friends/acquaintances remarking to me, “Wow – I can’t believe how much you’ve changed a lot since you went back to school.” My typical response is “I can’t believe how much you’ve remained the same.” Change is growth!