Celebrating Nontraditional Student Week: Katherine O’Neil Veley

Kate Veley PortraitKatherine O’Neil Veley joined the Syracuse University family 15 years ago as an administrative specialist. As an SU employee, she was able to use her tuition benefits to take classes in flexible formats while working fulltime at Falk College. Though Veley just retired as the event manager for Falk College, she is still working toward a bachelor of professional studies degree in Creative Leadership and is expected to graduate in May 2020.

As a first-generation college student Veley feels very fortunate for her opportunity to attend UC as a Syracuse University employee. But her path toward a degree has not been an easy one. Veley juggles work and family obligations while keeping up with her studies. To maintain her dean’s list status, Veley spends many hours a week on her academics. “For over a decade, I gave up my free time. There is always homework waiting to be done, or the opportunity to get ahead a bit,” says Veley. However, with the help of her advisor, she was able to balance her multitude of responsibilities. “In an effort to have a minimal impact on my job schedule, I took a lot of evening and online classes,” Veley explains. Luckily, her son and husband have both been extremely supportive and encouraging of Veley’s desire for a college degree. “They are very understanding when we’ve needed to schedule family vacations around homework and class schedules,” she says. Also, knowing other adult students were working with the same challenges of balancing life and schoolwork was valuable. “It’s nice to know people know what you’re going through,” she says. “There’s a lot of support and understanding there.”

Veley’s part-time study at UC and professional and personal experience helped in advancing her career. She is now the director of Corporate Philanthropy at Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York. Veley encourages those who are raising young children, working a full-time job, and staying up late to study to never give up. “You’re growing in ways you can’t imagine as you maneuver this process,” says Veley, “You’re setting an example (and trust me, many are watching) and you, too, are going to graduate with a degree from Syracuse University! That is an honor and a privilege, and a representation of who you are and how hard you’ve worked.”

UC Goes Pink!

University College staff supported the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY with a week of fundraising and events. The staff raised $775 to donate to the foundation through selling pink ribbon cutouts, organizing raffles, and a arranging breakfast.

On Wednesday, October 23, Beth Baldwin, daughter of Carol Baldwin, stopped by UC for a photo opp with the staff wearing pink. Baldwin serves as the executive director of the fund. All proceeds raised in Central New York stay in the local community.

“Several staff members at University College requested that we support this cause,” says Eileen Jevis, communications manager. Jevis said there are several UC staff members who have battled this disease and many more who have had friends and family members affected. “The staff embraced the initiative and were generous in their support. We are thrilled to be able to give the Carol M. Baldwin Foundation this donation, that was collected in just one week of fundraising.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a worldwide annual campaign that takes place in October to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research.

Fulfilling His Dream of a College Degree: A student profile of Nick Mobilia

Nick Mobilia knew at the age of 14 that he would join the military when he graduated from high school. It was a promise he made to his mother during their last moments together.

In 2015, Mobilia fulfilled his mother’s wish and entered the Army, where he served as a combat engineer stationed at Fort Drum. His mother’s brave battle with cancer and her wish for him to serve his country gave him strength during military combat. “I was able to put the obstacles I faced in the military into perspective, remembering the battle she fought,” says Mobilia.

While on active duty, he completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. In 2017, Mobilia was recognized at the Pentagon by the Sergeant Major of the Army as a representative for the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program at Fort Drum. The program addresses the well-being and morale issues of the single and unaccompanied soldiers in their units. As a representative, he was selected to travel to Washington, D.C. to represent the 10th Mountain Division and to escort Gold Star Families at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. “It was what I consider my biggest accomplishment to date,” says Mobilia. “It was an incredibly humbling experience that I will never forget.”

Mobilia retired from the service at the end of August. In January, while still on active duty, he was accepted into the Bachelor of Professional Studies program (B.P.S.) at University College and began his coursework for a degree in cybersecurity administration. “I chose this program because the digital world has become an increasingly dangerous place, with more threats than ever before,” explains Mobilia. “Enrolling in this program to learn how to lead and manage teams that work to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber attacks is incredibly appealing.” Mobilia said that while in the military, he quickly learned that cyberspace is becoming one of the world’s future battlefields and that gaining knowledge and expertise in this field is very important for the future safety of our country.

The military also taught him to be an effective leader. “I learned that everybody comes from different walks of life and has something to contribute,” he says. “Approaching people with different leadership styles and learning exactly what they have to offer is how I learned to build great working relationships and an even better team.”

Mobilia now uses the skills he learned in the military to be successful student. “The skills I apply the most to my life and my education are discipline and goal setting.” When he entered the military, Mobilia was told to set attainable goals for his career and develop specific strategies to accomplish them. “I learned that writing down my plan and taking a small step forward every day was the best way for me to meet my goal of becoming Sergeant.” Mobilia says that he uses that same strategy in his quest for a college degree. “My plan includes short term goals like reading a certain number of textbook pages each night or completing a certain number of credits each semester,” he explains. “Breaking down a long-term goal into smaller pieces makes the process more rewarding and a lot less stressful.”

Mobilia credits his grandfather for his strong work ethic. “My grandfather served in the Air Force and has been a really great role model,” he says. “Growing up, he was the first person to teach me what hard work really was. He did this by showing me how to do yard work and garden. Both require patience and determination.”

The Cybersecurity Administration degree is fully online with a synchronous component. The weekly live session gives Mobilia the opportunity to learn and connect with students and professors from across the country. “So far, I love the program and am excited about my future with University College. My favorite part so far has been the small class sizes with thoughtful professors who really want us to learn.”

Like many part-time students, Mobilia juggles his coursework with work and other obligations and admits that time management has been his biggest challenge. “Working full time as an active duty soldier and studying was not easy,” he says. “I had to plan out my days and weeks. Most weeks, I would have to look ahead at our training schedule and figure out ways to free up time each night for coursework while still being an active leader.”

While Mobilia continues his educational journey, he recently accepted a position as a superintendent trainee at Maine Drilling and Blasting—another opportunity to put his leadership skills to work. His hope is to become an information security analyst in a leadership role. His long-term goal is to become an IT specialist for a professional sports team.

He knows that his mother would be proud of all that he has accomplished. “I plan on continuing to make my mom proud by getting my college degree,” says Mobilia.

“I learned so much from my time in the Army. When I made that promise to my mom to serve, I did not know how much I would accomplish and grow as a person. I plan to take everything I learned from the military and apply it to my studies at Syracuse University,” he says.



New Programs Offered to Meet Market Demand

B.P.S. in Cybersecurity Administration

To meet the high demand in the cybersecurity field, University College of Syracuse University now offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies (B.P.S.) degree in cybersecurity administration. The degree is fully online and can be completed from anywhere in the world.

Cybersecurity specialists work on the front lines and are responsible for implementing and overseeing networks that are required to run specific portions of a security program. The B.P.S. degree provides the applied skills, breadth of knowledge, and professional competencies needed to manage people and the technologies required to protect information systems and infrastructures.

Active duty military, New York State National Guard members, and U.S. Reserve Component Military admitted to the online degree in cybersecurity can use their military tuition assistance or New York State RIRP tuition benefit to cover 100 percent of the tuition.

Pursuing a college degree online allows students to manage the ever-increasing demands of personal and professional commitments while beginning or continuing their education.

Minor in Project Management

Full-time and part-time matriculated undergraduate students can now add a minor in project management to complement and enhance their existing program.

The 18-credit minor is delivered completely online and is designed to help students explore foundations, organizational leadership, methodologies, and the communications techniques of project management. The six required courses for this minor are offered in eight-week sessions.

The 18-credit minor is delivered completely online and is designed to help students explore foundations, organizational leadership, methodologies and the communications techniques of project management. The six required courses for this minor are offered in eight-week sessions.

For more information visit, email, or call 315-443-9378.