Alumni: 81,000   Students: 17,500

Patricia Festa ’14

Patricia Festa

Patricia Festa ’14
District Treasurer
Auburn Enlarged City Schools

Why did you choose Empire State College? What do you think is the best thing about the college?
I chose SUNY Empire based on comments and referrals from friends. Also, there is an office at our local community college and I stopped in for an information session to see what it was all about. SUNY Empire let me set up my own path and I had an amazing mentor who encouraged me the entire way.

How did Empire State College help you shape your personal and professional goals?
Although a BS or BA degree was not a requirement of my job I knew that if something ever happened I would never be able to do what I do anywhere else without a bachelors degree. It gave me confidence to maybe seek other opportunities knowing I had my degree and many years of experience behind me. I returned to school at 52, after a major life change. My education was never a priority and I not encouraged to achieve a personal goal that I had for many years.

What is your career highlight or proudest career moment to date?
Shortly after receiving my degree, I was contacted by another employer asking me to consider making a move to join them. I was able to secure a verbal deal for much more than I ever thought possible for someone in my position. I am proud to say that once my current employer was faced with me leaving, I was given a matching deal and was able to stay right where I have been for 20 years. Without my degree, I would never have been able to be offered what I received. Although I had the experience, it was my degree that sealed the deal for me.

What advice would you give to a current Empire State College student?
Don’t give up, even when you think you don’t have the time or strength, keep going. It is the most rewarding feeling when you have accomplished your goal and walk across that stage with that piece of paper and everyone is clapping for you. Only you know that amount of hard work it took to get there. It does not matter your age, gender etc., we all can accomplish and reach the same goal.

Why do you give back to SUNY Empire?
SUNY Empire made it possible for me to achieve a personal goal that waited for many years to be completed. Everyone was kind and helpful and encouraging. Believe me, if I can do it, you can also. I like to let people know what my experience was and it can be theirs also.

Anything else you would like to share with fellow alumni and students?
I returned to school at 52 and was petrified of the unknown. For me the biggest hurdle turned out to be the easiest and most cathartic, writing papers for prior learning experience. Once I wrote the first one and received positive feedback, I wrote and was evaluated for a majority of my credits. I had been afraid of the unknown. We all have strengths and weaknesses in different areas but everyone I was in contact with assured me that failure was not an option and they will work with you anyway they can to get you to your final goal.