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Garrett Camby

Garrett Camby

While working in her office one day Ginny heard a strong voice say: “I am looking for Virginia Donohue.” A police officer was standing in her doorway. His stern look quickly turned into a kind smile. “Remember me?” It had been 7 years since they had seen each other.

After attending SUNY Canton and graduating from the Police Academy at Mohawk Valley Community College, Garrett first became a campus officer at Syracuse University, before becoming a Patrol Officer for the Utica Police Department, and finally landing at the Syracuse Police Department. Throughout his journey, On Point for College helped him with transportation to and from college and provided plenty of encouragement.

Today, Garrett continues to mentor inner-city youth, and is working to form a police athletic league for young people. Garrett and his wife, Whitney, have two sons, Keondre and Brayden.

Tajuana Cerutti

Tajuana “Tae” Cerutti

“I am and will always be grateful, because the support I received is part of my journey.”

Tae knew she needed a college degree—not just for herself, but to help her family, especially her younger sister. On Point helped her with clothing, college supplies, transportation to and from college, books, paying for GRE exams, and even moral support.

On Point’s support paid off, and Tae graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo, and a master’s degree in multidisciplinary studies: public relations management from SUNY College at Buffalo. Today, she is employed by Onondaga County working in contract compliance to ensure the inclusion of minority and female workers in county-funded construction projects.

Tae helps to mentor young girls through various organizations. She is also a volunteer with On Point for College, helping to plan and execute the annual Celebration Dinner in Syracuse. She says: “I want to continue to provide a grounded and stable foundation for my family.”

Corneisha Brown

Corneisha Brown

“My parents don’t drive, so I never would have made it without help.”

Corneisha graduated from Buffalo State in 2014 with her Master’s in public administration, after earning a bachelor’s degree in social work. On Point for College helped with buying books, paying dorm fees, and providing her with school supplies. But perhaps most important - with no car in the family - were the rides to and from college that On Point staff and volunteer drivers provided her over the years. Without that support, she never would have made it through to graduation.

Corneisha now works as a family advocate at a nonprofit in Buffalo, NY, where she provides support and guidance to young people in much the same way as On Point provided support and guidance to her.

Davin McKinney

Davin McKinney

“On Point for College changed my life forever.”

Growing up, Davin wasn’t the greatest student. “I wasn’t the type of kid to get all A’s and B’s,” he said. “My father wasn’t in my life and my mother loved us and encouraged us, but there were so many of us and not enough of her to go around.”

Davin credits On Point with helping him enroll in college and encouraging him to take his school work seriously. In 2015, he graduated with an associate degree from Alfred State University with a 3.77 grade-point average.

Throughout his journey, On Point helped with clothing, food, college visits, and transportation to and from college. When Davin had trouble obtaining his high school transcripts, On Point stepped in and helped him solve the problem. While Davin’s dream is to play football in the NFL, his plan is to go to school for special education and become a teacher.

Tia Florence

Tia Florence

“I knew I wanted to be an urban teacher and share the life lessons I was taught.”

Tia’s difficult childhood and teen years set the stage for the rest of her life. “My teachers kept me going,” she said. Education became an early escape from the troubles at home. By taking advanced courses, she managed to graduate from high school in three years. After what seemed like countless college visits with On Point’s Sam Rowser, she enrolled at SUNY Morrisville.

Tia now has degrees from Morrisville, Syracuse University and SUNY Oswego, where she earned a master’s in childhood education. She’s a fifth-grade teacher at Seymour Elementary in the Syracuse City School District, and she strives to provide support for her students, just as she was supported when she was in elementary school.

“When my students struggle, I tell them I’ve been there,” she said. “And when they have a problem, we work together to find a solution.”

John Dau

John Dau

“The weather may be cold in Syracuse, but the people are warm.”

While walking hundreds of miles from his war-torn village in South Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya, John thought of lessons he had learned while reading the Bible. “One can’t be held hostage by what happens,” he said. “You must know that you are not alone. Everyone goes through hardships. If you give up, you will miss what is to come.”

For John, that would have meant missing out on many great accomplishments. With On Point for College’s support, he is the first in his family to earn a college degree, and eventually earned a master’s degree in public policy from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. John achieved national fame when his story was featured in the book and Sundance Award-winning movie “God Grew Tired of Us,” and he now leads four nonprofit foundations, including The John Dau Foundation, which develops health clinics in South Sudan, and the South Sudan Institute for Education, Culture and Recognition.

John believes that because he was helped by God, his mission in life is to help those who can’t help themselves. Since 2011, 600 formerly blind people in South Sudan have had their cataracts removed and can now see – because of John’s work on their behalf.

John is thankful to On Point and the American people who have helped with his mission. “People are so generous and willing to give even though they may not get anything in return.”

Yanetta Mathis

Yanetta Mathis

“I will forever be grateful to On Point for College.”

Yanetta is the first in her family to graduate from college earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cazenovia College. She credits On Point for helping her get there. Today, she is mother to a wonderful young boy, works full time in a facility for disabled youth, and is attending Syracuse University part-time while working towards a master’s degree in social work.

“If it was not for my faith in God, my family’s support and On Point for College, I probably would not have been the first person in my family to graduate from college,” she said. “Whenever I was feeling stressed, needed a listening ear, or was not financially equipped to continue my education, the people at On Point for College were always willing and able to help me. So for that, I will forever be grateful.”

Shpend Behrami

Shpend Behrami

“On Point for College was always there for me.”

In 1999, Shpend spent two months living in a refugee camp in Macedonia with his parents and sister before leaving the country and resettling in Syracuse. With support from On Point for College, Shpend graduated from SUNY Morrisville with a bachelor’s degree in information technology.

In 2011, Shpend met John Watt, former Board President of On Point for College and a former Executive Vice President at Alliance Bank (now NBT Bank). After a brief conversation and interview, Watt offered him an internship with the bank’s IT department, and he’s been employed there ever since. “On Point is the reason I have my current job,” he said. “Besides helping me get the internship, they helped tremendously while I was in college.”

Shpend views the war in his homeland of Kosovo as the greatest obstacle he has ever faced, and credits his parents for guiding him through that experience. “During the war they were able to keep us out of harm’s way,” he said. “In the refugee camp, they made it feel like life was still normal. And they were able to move us to the United States so we would have the best chance to make something of ourselves.”

Robert Nyumah

Robert Nyumah

“I work to empower others to not only succeed, but excel.”

Born in Liberia, Robert’s family fled to Ghana after the outbreak of the second Liberian civil war when he was 7 years old. In 2006, the family immigrated to Syracuse, where Robert became involved with On Point for College during his senior year of high school. He graduated from Cornell University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development and a minor in Global Health.

Everything Robert does is motivated by his desire to help others. Robert now works as a case manager for Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Services, where he assists newly arrived refugee families in accessing services and navigating local systems during their initial resettlement period. He also is a girls varsity soccer coach, and he designed and facilitates an SAT and College prep program for young people in Syracuse.

Robert says he truly lives On Point for College’s mission. “In the words of Dr. Marian Wright Edelmen, ‘Service is the very purpose of life. It is the rent we pay for living on this planet,’” he said. “I am very passionate about the mission of On Point and I have incorporated its values into the work that I do every day, both paid and unpaid.”

Natasha Myers

Natasha Myers

“Each patient’s life is in my hands.”

When highly trained surgeons repair a knee, replace a heart valve, or remove a tumor, Natasha is there. Some might say she plays an even more critical role: administering anesthesia to ensure that patients remain sedated and pain-free throughout their surgeries. “You play a critical role in that operating room,” she said. “If a patient is not stable, an anesthesia provider can cancel or postpone surgery.”

Growing up, both of Natasha’s parents worked and struggled to take time off to take her to visit colleges. She was introduced to On Point through a group of friends, who went together on college visits with staff and mentors. She ultimately attended the University at Buffalo, and was one of 16 students selected for its anesthesiology program from among 200 applicants—and the only African American.

Today, Natasha is a mentor with On Point, and has been a frequent attendee at alumni meetings, where she offers advice to grads who may not have found their ideal careers yet. “I really want to give back,” she said. “I want to share the knowledge that I’ve gained with young people. On Point gave me that start. With the resources and mentors willing to help, that makes a big difference, and I appreciate their support so much.”

Stefon Greene2

Stefon Greene

“The more I learned in school, the more I learned that life could be better all around—not just for me, but for my family.”

After high school, Stefon took a year off to work full time—which quickly turned into a year and a half. He doesn’t regret that decision, but by the time he decided he was ready to go to college, he realized that he did not have anyone to help him through that process. “You don’t realize how important and complicated those pre-college steps are until you have nobody to advise you,” he said.

With On Point for College’s assistance, Stefon was able to enroll in Le Moyne College and graduate. Today he works at WCNY, where he was recently was promoted to Producer. The first story he told as the producer of the public affairs show “Insight”, was a story about On Point for College. In addition to producing the story, Stefon even spent some time in front of the camera being interviewed about his life-changing experience as an On Point for College student.

“It’s come full circle and I feel like I have a voice,” he said. “On Point was one of the few things that helped me along this journey that I had to give back to.”

Stefon’s accomplishments have been an inspiration not only for the younger generation in his family, but also for his mother, Debra Mims, who subsequently enrolled in college with On Point’s help. She is currently enrolled at Empire State College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in substance abuse counseling.

Click here to watch Stefon's story.

Lashia Perkins

Lashia Perkins

“I knew that On Point would always be there for me.”

Lashia is the first person in her family to attend college. She graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in health science. She is currently the youth services coordinator at ACR Health, where she works with students, teaching them to be peer educators and leaders, and speaking to student groups about sexual health, risk reduction, and prevention.

“I can’t say enough about how On Point helped me,” Lashia said. “They helped with the college application process, taking me on campus visits, providing college supplies, rides to and from college, visits and phone calls to see if I was okay, encouragement, job fairs, and so much more.”

In her spare time, Lashia volunteers for the Samaritan Center, Rescue Mission, and the Kidney Foundation, assisting patients who come in for screenings. Her goal in life is to continue helping people and make them smile. One day, she hopes to become a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant.

Nyisha Carter

Nyisha Carter

“Ginny Donohue and On Point for College work miracles.”

With an AAS in accounting with honors from Herkimer Community College, Nyisha is the first person in her family to graduate from college. She now works for Onondaga County’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), where she helps people who have issues with heating and electric during the winter.

Nyisha and several of her friends founded a nonprofit organization called TEAM ROCK, which stands for Together Everyone Achieves More Through Respect, Organization, Commitment and Kindness. The program mentors young girls and women, ages 8-18, through a variety of fun activities, with a focus on staying on the right track in life. TEAM ROCK has received grants from Wegmans and the Gifford Foundation.

Nyisha is grateful for the supplies, rides to and from college, and caring guidance she received from On Point. “On Point was there for me when I was homesick, and that meant so much,” she said.

James Kiki

James Kiki

“On Point is my family away from home.”

James arrived in Syracuse 14 years ago as a refugee, one of the “Lost Boys” of South Sudan. He and 400 other young boys and girls fled his war-torn village in the early 1990s and found shelter in Kenya with a German nun, Sister Luise Agonia. “I remember she used to tell us that the best weapon is a pen and paper,” he said.

After three months in Syracuse, James was accepted at Onondaga Community College, which he attended fulltime while working 60 hours a week as a machine operator. After earning his associate degree in accounting, he elected to continue working, rather than going on for his Bachelor’s, so that he could support himself, his mother, and his siblings back in South Sudan.

In 2011, after learning about On Point, James decided to re-enroll in college and transferred to SUNY Oswego. On Point helped pay for summer classes and textbooks and provided rides to and from college. James is the first in his family to earn a college degree, and probably one of very few from his village of Lorema. After three months of volunteering in On Point’s accounting office, James now works for On Point fulltime as a general accountant. He remains actively involved in the Sudanese Community of Central New York.

This past year marked two milestones for James: He was able to buy his first car, and had his first child, a son, Malcolm, with his girlfriend Stella.

Maranda Morris

Maranda Morris

“All of my friends expected me to fail. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

After dropping out of high school, Maranda earned her GED and was accepted to Onondaga Community College. But during her sophomore year, she suffered a major setback. A serious head injury forced her to leave school to recover. She eventually returned to college at Syracuse University, where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy.

Maranda graduated in May 2013 as On Point for College’s first architecture alumna and quickly found a position with Austin Patterson Disston Architects LLC in Southport, Connecticut. She is currently working toward her architecture license, which involves a 7-part exam she plans to complete next year.

Maranda is grateful to On Point for College for providing her with transportation to and from college and college supplies, but most of all, she is grateful for the emotional support that she wasn’t getting anywhere else, but that she received from On Point. “I went through a total of eight years of college and had to work the entire time,” she said. “It wasn’t easy, but On Point was always there to support me.”

Jennifer Miles

Jennifer Miles

“My success took motivation, but motivation couldn’t help buy my books. On Point did that.”

In 1999—the year On Point for College was founded—Jennifer met Ginny Donohue. Jennifer was a teenage mom and knew she wanted a college degree, but had little support. “Ginny became an anchor for me in my life,” she said. “The gratitude I have toward On Point cannot be expressed in words. Since that first meeting with Ginny, my success has not stopped.”

Because she was raising and supporting her two children, Jennifer’s journey through college was especially challenging and lengthy. On Point supported Jennifer when she was enrolled in Onondaga Community College and when she transferred to Montgomery College in Maryland, helping her pay for application fees and textbooks and stepping in to help in emergency situations. In January of 2009, she transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University to major in Human Resources Management.

When Jennifer graduated in 2010, Ginny and Jennifer's children were right there cheering when she walked offstage. She landed a federal job in her field and began pursuing a master’s degree. Jennifer says she is eternally grateful for the help she has received.

“Every now and then, we meet people who are connected to our destiny,” she said. “The staff and volunteers at On Point for College have this experience daily. I am proud to say I am an On Point for College graduate.”

Brittany Harris

Brittany Harris

“On Point has helped me in ways you can’t even imagine.”

With degrees from Mohawk Valley Community College and Keuka College, Brittany was the first in her family to graduate from college. On Point was there to provide rides to and from college, college and dorm room supplies, and clothing. “On Point showed lots of love and support, but after a tragedy in my family, On Point was there for me in a very special way,” she remembers.

In October of 2013, Brittany’s sister was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was shot and killed. But Brittany couldn’t afford to travel home to be with her family in the wake of this tragedy and also pay her security deposit for her new apartment. On Point stepped in and paid for her travel through a special emergency fund.

Today, Brittany is committed to serving others. She volunteers as a member of the Team ANGEL Program, as a youth leader in her church, and as an On Point for College ambassador. She is completing a challenging field placement in the Social Work Department at Upstate Medical University—the first-ever undergraduate to be given this opportunity. It came through hard work, perseverance, and with a little help from On Point for Jobs.

Brittany hopes to set a positive example for her younger sister, who is still in elementary school. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without On Point, and it’s comforting to know that they will always be there,” she said.

Henry Barwotoe

Henry Barwotoe

“The only person standing in your way is yourself.”

One of eight children, Henry arrived in the U.S. after spending 15 years in a refugee camp in Ghana, where he and his mother and siblings ended up after fleeing war in their homeland of Liberia. Henry entered the U.S. as a refugee, and found work in retail and manufacturing before deciding to go to college.

Other than On Point, Henry had little support on his college journey. On Point took him on college visits, helped him apply for financial aid, provided rides to and from college, and helped him buy books and college supplies. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources in 2012, and, with the help of On Point for Jobs, was hired by Syracuse University in the Human Resources Department.

As a member of the first Liberian family to arrive in Syracuse, Henry feels a responsibility to help others from his country. He formed a Liberian Community Group that helps with medical appointments, driver’s licenses, language skills, jobs, tutoring and interpreting.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from,” Henry said. “What matters is how you can make your life and the lives of others better.”

Zierra Forbes

Zierra Forbes

“On Point has helped me tremendously in so many ways.”

Zierra was introduced to On Point for College by classmates at Buffalo State College, and is grateful for the opportunities she has had as a result. “I am very thankful for the support, rides, books, and especially On Point for Jobs,” she says.

Armed with her B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Administration—and the support of On Point for Jobs—Zierra was hired as a product advisor for Microsoft at Destiny USA where she is actively engaged in the company’s community service initiative, which provides a stipend for local charities for every hour of volunteer work completed by their employees. She volunteers at least twice a month at agencies like the Food Bank, Girl Scouts, Rescue Mission, and Ronald McDonald House.

Before being hired by Microsoft, she co-planned the grand opening of the SALT Makerspace at the Delevan Art Center.

“On Point has helped me by providing great networking opportunities and the chance to participate in projects I care deeply about,” says Zierra. She is passionate about making our community a better place and encouraging others to do the same.


Mohamed Jabril

Click to hear Mohamed's story.

The second oldest of ten children, Mohamed Jabril came to America from Somalia when he was 10. He joined On Point for College in fall 2013, with dreams of becoming a nurse.

In the spring of 2013, Mohamed tested into the nursing program at MVCC after only a semester and a half – an accomplishment that typically takes two years. He is currently enrolled in Saint Elizabeth’s and Saint Luke’s combined nursing program and hopes to eventually attend medical school.

Majak Dut

Majak Dut

Click to hear Majak's story.

Chol Awan Majok

Chol-Awan Majok

“My college education was my first possession in life, and no one will ever take it from me.”

Chol arrived in the U.S. at age 16 after living in refugee camps in Kakuma, Kenya for seven years. He had a wonderful, supportive foster family, but it was On Point for College that fulfilled his needs for textbooks and rides to and from college.

Chol graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned his Master’s from SUNY Albany. After internships with the New York State Attorney General’s office and a state Senator, he was hired as the assistant to Mayor Stephanie Miner. Chol hopes to continue working in public service, earn his doctorate, and eventually return to South Sudan to help his home country.

Chol is a husband and a father of two daughters. He enjoys singing, and once a week teaches traditional Dinka songs to Sudanese people as part of an ecumenical group that meets at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Elijah Dut

Elijah Dut

“My grandmother’s compassion inspired me to become a nurse.”

Elijah was always passionate about learning, but felt college was never an option for him. Until age 7, he was raised by his grandmother, who helped the people in their Ugandan village by using traditional medicines to treat their illnesses and ease their pain. His grandmother inspired him to be compassionate and to be a lifelong learner.

Elijah earned his master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner in 2012. While in college, he worked part time in a nursing home not only to earn money, but also as a way of honoring his grandmother. There, he learned that patients were his best teachers, and that they deserved to be treated with care and respect.

Elijah is now working with the Pulmonary Health Physician Associates as a Nurse Practitioner. He is grateful to On Point for all of its help, and especially for helping him with the funds necessary to pay for his RN and NP Boards.

Nicole Merriweather

Nicole Merriweather

“Every dark place has helped make you who you are—I made it through, and so can you.”

Nicole first met On Point’s Ginny Donohue at her graduation from Herkimer Community College. She wanted to transfer to a four-year college, but had no support. “From then on, On Point helped me every step of the way,” she said. “They helped me to transfer to Buffalo State and helped me with orientation and supplies, but most of all they were like a family to me.”

Nicole grew up in a low-income family, one of six children. Her parents had struggled with drug use, and she had no support at home. But with the help of On Point and her spirituality, she was able to readjust her mindset about what she wanted from life.

Today, Nicole is proud to be working at On Point for College as a College Success Advisor, where she is able to give the gift of hope and opportunity back to young people the same way it was given to her. She is also involved in dance and youth ministry at her church.

“I have faced many obstacles in my life, and when I meet with different people who are facing something similar, I think of me being that shining light for them, encouraging them in a positive way,” she said.

Julius Wani

Julius Wani

“I wanted to be aware—about myself, my potential, and my understanding of others.”

Julius Nyambur Wani, a former child soldier, was born in South Sudan and immigrated to the U.S. in 2006. From a precarious early education in the bushes of South Sudan, Julius went on to successfully complete his secondary school in Kenya.

Three months after arriving in Syracuse, Julius met Ginny Donohue and began his relationship with On Point for College. The first in his family to attend college, Julius earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science, philosophy, and international peace and conflict resolution from Binghamton University and American University.

He is currently serving as a Policy Consultant in Washington D.C., with the goal of becoming a peace agent and ambassador. He is well on his way, having volunteered with Voices for Sudan, and appeared in round-table discussions at the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Julius says he will be eternally indebted to On Point for helping him achieve his dream. “On Point has stood by me since the first time I decided to undertake intellectual pursuit,” he said. “They provided transportation to and from college, offered mentorship, afforded me summer residence, and bought me textbooks.”

Abeer Alziadi

Abeer Alziadi

“I want to show my younger brothers that hard work does pay off.”

In the middle of her senior year of high school, Abeer moved to Syracuse from New York City with her mother and three younger brothers. She struggled with the upheaval, and withdrew from her classmates.

After graduating from high school Abeer was trying to enroll at Onondaga Community College, but her dad filed the family’s taxes and he hadn’t yet moved to Syracuse. Recognizing her struggles, a guidance counselor, Marinda Williams, directed Abeer to On Point for College. “My father was self-employed and everything was so complicated, but we had the paperwork done in just a few minutes,” she remembers.

Abeer graduated from OCC and transferred to Syracuse University to pursue a degree in social work. She has volunteered with Mercy Works and volunteers with On Point to help with summer orientations, where she shares her personal experience with new college students. She says her goal is to set an example for other Muslim women and for her siblings.

Abeer received many supports from On Point, but she is most grateful for the kindness she was shown when Marinda, her guidance counselor, tragically and unexpectedly passed away. “It was the first time I had to deal with a close death and they helped me through every step,” she said.

James Deng

James Deng

“On Point stood by me.”

James has seen much that could make anyone feel hopeless, and yet he has used every obstacle as an inspiration to do something at both the local and global level. A refugee from South Sudan, James graduated from Syracuse University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations.

His volunteer work is extensive. He has volunteered with InterFaith Works, helping other refugees by providing transportation, help with paperwork, and translation services. In 2012, he traveled to Kenya to volunteer with the Development Initiative Access Link, a humanitarian agency, where he wrote grants and helped with refugee needs assessments.

During the trip, James was also able to reunite with his mother and siblings for the first time since they fled the Civil War in South Sudan. He hopes to bring his family to the U.S. one day.

James has also volunteered with On Point for College, where he now works as a College Access Advisor. “On Point has stood by me,” said James. “As a new refugee, I wasn’t familiar with the education system here in the U.S., and On Point helped me so much at every step.”

Brian Greene

Brian Greene

“I’m not sure what I would have done without On Point.”

Growing up, Brian’s mother was in prison and his father struggled with drug addiction. He was raised by his grandmother, Carol J. Miller, whom he describes as his personal hero. “She took me in when she did not have to. Even with her ailments and old age, she tried her best to give me everything my parents couldn’t.”

During Brian’s senior year of high school, his grandmother’s illnesses finally forced her to enter a nursing home—and he found himself homeless. It was at that point that On Point for College stepped in to support Brian, finding him summer housing at Le Moyne College, where he lived during the summer before his freshman year at Erie Community College, and throughout subsequent summers—until he met Janice and Dick Geddes, OPFC mentors, who took him in and made him part of their family.

“My life was changed forever,” Brian said. “Words cannot describe what they mean to me, and if not for On Point, I never would have met them.”

Brian graduated from Buffalo State in 2014 with a degree in public health. While in college, he was captain of the football team and an all-conference player. He now works as a College Access Advisor at On Point, where he helps students facing many of the same challenges he has endured, and he volunteers as a mentor for male athletes in the Syracuse City School District.

Check Out Brian's Aha Moment

Kishma Alexander

Kishma Alexander

“I never wanted to use my disability as an excuse.”

When Kishma was 10 years old, she had serious doubts that she would ever be able to achieve her dream of getting a college education. A native of Dominica, an island in the Caribbean, Kishma had sustained scarred corneas due to severe eye allergies, and needed to have two corrective surgeries on each eye.

While she feels very fortunate for having received funding from Rotary that allowed her to come to Syracuse in 2005 and 2007 for her surgeries, she never wanted to use this early misfortune as an excuse. Instead it has inspired her to work harder towards her goal of earning a college degree.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in ecological studies from University of Buffalo, and she is currently the science director at Camp Fiver in Poolville, NY, where she designs science classes and activities for campers, ages 7-14, who are low-income students primarily from New York City.

Kishma is grateful to On Point for helping her financially, helping her find living arrangements, and for moral support. Armed with her degree, she hopes to return home and help make environmental contributions to her country of Dominica.


Keh Blut Soe

Before arriving in United States in late 2011, Keh Blut Soe had spent her entire life in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border, never imagining that she would go to college.

Keh Blut Soe joined On Point for College in the spring of 2014, enrolling in and graduating from Mohawk Valley Community College with a degree in individual health studies and dreams of going on to nursing school.

In her spare time, Keh Blut Soe tutors high school students participating in the STEP program and works as a medical interpreter at Compass at Mohawk Valley Resource Center (MVRCR) for refugees.


DuWayne Engram

Legally blind, DuWayne Engram joined On Point in the fall of 2014 after having already attempted college three times. Working with On Point, DuWayne was able to refine his educational goals and make a plan that ultimately put him on the path to success.

DuWayne earned his associate degree from Mohawk Valley Community College and received the college’s diversity award in 2015. He currently attends the University of Albany where he is majoring in Human Resources.


David Beck

As a child, David Beck was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. While David is sometimes shy and likes to keep to himself, he has not allowed his diagnosis to stifle his dreams of obtaining a college degree.

David started at Mohawk Valley Community College in the spring of 2014. Initially he took only online classes, but after finishing the semester with a 4.0 GPA, he transitioned into on-campus classes alongside other students. David further challenged himself by speaking publically in front of On Point for College’s Annual Utica Celebration event in 2014.

David will graduate from MVCC in spring 2016 and plans to transfer to SUNY IT in the fall, where he will continue to pursue his passion for computer science.


Pri Praw

Pri Paw spent her childhood in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. Despite having had limited educational opportunity in the camps, Pri Paw managed to graduate among the top ten students in her class at Proctor High School in 2013.

Pri Paw graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College with a degree in medical assisting and is now on the pre-med track and majoring in biology at the University of Buffalo.


Eliezer Mercado

Eliezer Mercado, a Proctor graduate, came to On Point’s first open house in November 2012. With On Point’s help, he enrolled at Mohawk Valley Community College two months later. Eli graduated from MVCC in December of 2014, and was On Point for College’s first Utica graduate.

Following in the footsteps of his brother Eddy, Eli is currently serving in the U.S. Marines.