Four graduates of Syracuse University’s College of Professional Studies can confirm the adage “You never know where life will take you”. As each of their educational and professional journeys demonstrate, if you’re willing to work hard and commit to success, life can be whatever you choose.
Angela Gunn ’19, Patricia (Katie) McBride ’18, Tim Bryant ’15 and Aisha Huntley ’05 will return to campus for Coming Back Together (CBT), an event started in 1983 that brings Black and Latino/a Syracuse University alumni back to campus to celebrate their achievements, meet current students and remain connected to the University.
The graduates will be panelists at the College’s first alumni lunch and panel conversation, which will focus on access and creating opportunity. The event will take place on Friday, Sept. 10, from noon to 2 p.m as part of CBT’s weekend activities.
“I have tremendous admiration for what Angela, Katie, Tim and Aisha have achieved, both at Syracuse University and in their chosen careers,” says College of Professional Studies Dean Michael Frasciello. “We understand the sacrifices many students make while pursuing a degree as an adult. Those of us in the College who’ve walked that road also know the deep sense of pride and accomplishment that can be attained.”
Tim Bryant thought college was beyond his capability after a series of traumatic events caused him to drop out of high school. Yet, he earned a GED and was working as a massage therapist when one of his clients, a Syracuse University professor, suggested he might want to explore the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at the college. Bryant enrolled in 2009.
“I was surprised to discover a passion for learning I never knew existed within me,” says Bryant.
He graduated with honors as an Alumni Scholar in 2015 and was inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda, the honor society for nontraditional students. Bryant and three classmates were presented with the Chancellor’s Award for Public and Community Service (one of the highest honors Syracuse University bestows on students) for a smoking cessation program they designed and implemented at the Syracuse Community Health Center. He is now enrolled in the masters in public health (MPH) program at Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and expects to graduate in 2022.
Katie McBride is another College of Professional Studies alum who says she “continues to reimagine myself and advance in the midst of adversity, doing it afraid and yet soaring by any means necessary.” Becoming a mother while in her teens, McBride became determined to further her education, which she pursued part time while working full time. She earned an associate degree in accounting early in her career; completed a bachelor’s degree in professional studies at Syracuse University; and anticipates graduating from the University this fall with a master’s degree in human development and family science from Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.
Aisha Huntley is proof-positive that a personal vision and determination will take you far as a non-traditional adult learner enrolled through the College. She earned an associate degree from Onondaga Community College; a bachelor’s degree in information management and technology from Syracuse University; a master’s degree in education from Le Moyne College; and is currently completing coursework in educational leadership from Syracuse University’s School of Education. A full-time working mother, Aisha became Dr. Huntley upon earning a doctoral degree in May 2020 from St. John Fisher College.
Angela Gunn earned two associate degrees from Onondaga Community College: one in human services/social work and a second in art, reflecting her passion for drawing and painting. The mother of four earned her bachelor’s degree in political science through the College in 2019.
The Director of Diversity and Inclusivity Excellence at The College of Professional Studies, Tyler Bell, ’11, G’12, will moderate the Coming Back Together panel. He says, “Our four alumni returning for the Fall 2021 CBT are exceptional role models, exemplifying what’s possible through the College of Professional Studies.”
To register for the alumni lunch and panel, please visit: https://parttime.syr.edu/2021/08/16/coming-back-together-2021/