Alumni: 81,000   Students: 17,500

Shah Powell ’16, ’17

Shah Powell

Shah Powell ’16, ’17
NYC Department of Education

Why did you choose Empire State College? What do you think is the best thing about the college?
I chose SUNY Empire for a variety of reasons: course format flexibility, convenient NYC locations, Prior Learning Assessment option, and the SUNY reputation.The best thing about the college is the individualized mentoring provided and keeping that mentor from enrollment to graduation.

How did Empire State College help you shape your personal and professional goals?
SUNY Empire paved a safe space for me to pursue my educational goals while balancing a family and full-time employment. As a non-traditional student, that is not an easy feat. I was initially hesitant about taking online courses, but that hesitation was removed once I realized that the courses were as rigorous and engaging as any in-person class option. I was also thrilled to engage in the PLA process which provided me an opportunity to analyze and quantify my learning throughout my career and ultimately gain academic credit towards my degree plan.

What is your career highlight or proudest career moment to date?
My proudest moment to date is being accepted and enrolling at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to pursue a Master’s degree in Fall 2017. I was also accepted to the NYC Teaching Fellows and Hunter’s MSW program which also have strict/difficult admissions requirements. This is significant for me because it reinforces my confidence in the SUNY Empire degree that I have earned not only for graduate school admissions but for the workforce.

What advice would you give to a current Empire State College student?
Get yourself organized: use calendars, take notes, use the memo option on your phone, whatever it takes to keep track of your priorities. Purchase a vision board and write your goals and dreams…simple ones and most outlandish ones. Then write a step by step plan on how you can accomplish each one. Start taking detailed inventory of every training, certificate earned, class and course you have taken.

Anything else you would like to share with fellow alumni and students?
You can do anything you want in life starting right NOW: it all depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice of yourself. The only thing holding you back from your best life is fear: not your job, not your kids, not your financial situation, and definitely not your age.