When Nancy Legra-Garcia left her native Cuba to come to the United States, she was looking for new opportunities. But moving meant that she would have to leave her family of origin behind. “I was an accountant looking for new hopes and dreams,” she says. When the economic crisis of 2008 left her unemployed, “I understood that this was my opportunity to show courage and a positive attitude,” she recalls. “I wanted my daughter to learn that we can only reach our dreams if we really fight for them.”
Nancy decided to attend Onondaga Community College so that she could earn an associate degree, with the hope that she could transfer her credits to SU. She enrolled through the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at OCC, and continued through HEOP when she transferred to University College. UC has the only HEOP program for part-time students in New York State. “This wonderful program benefits low income students, and as an international student I knew HEOP would bring me all the necessary tools to complete my dream of a bachelor’s degree,” Nancy says. The HEOP program and its activities are supported, in whole, or in part, by the New York State Education Department.
“Support from the University College staff gave me an excellent transition from OCC,” Nancy remembers. “They gave me advice and provided resources like workshops to improve English writing skills and overcome math anxiety. They helped me get the financial support I needed to buy books, and opened the door to a new way of thinking about how to manage my personal life.”
Nancy graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting through the Whitman School of Management, and landed a job with Widewaters Group. “I am applying my knowledge from Whitman to my work in this company,” Nancy says. “Getting this degree from SU opened up better opportunities for me and a better future for my family. I recommend it to anyone – it’s the best investment you can make. No matter how long it takes, in the end you and your family will see the benefits. University College is your door to a new future.”