EOP is a statewide program celebrating its 50th year of existence. The program has impacted the lives of thousands of students who, had it not been for EOP, would not have had access to institutions of higher education.
SUNY Broome EOP currently serves 83 students. The program provides a support system to students who are academically and economically disadvantaged. EOP students are among some of the most resilient students on any campus and ours is no exception. As a way of honoring our history, we have decided to highlight current EOP students by bringing you their stories and their thoughts and reflections about the ways the program has impacted their time here in their own words.
Edward Jose Marte Rosario is an Individual Studies Liberal Arts major in his second semester here at SUNY Broome. Here is his story:
I moved from the Dominican Republic to Binghamton five years ago. My entire family still lives in DR. I attended and graduated from Binghamton High School. Before going to Binghamton High School, I was going to the American Civic Association for ESL classes. I was 16 years old and I was taking classes with adults. I was advised to take ESL classes and then take my GED.
I came to this country to make a better life and wanted an opportunity at a better education, so I decided that I was going to work very hard to learn English and then attend high school to earn my Regents diploma. The Binghamton Boys and Girls Club helped a lot because it gave me the opportunity to interact with kids my age. I am grateful that they opened that door for me because that is my second home. I accomplished my goal and graduated from Binghamton High School with my Regent’s diploma. I am now here at SUNY Broome.
I am the only one from my family that is in college. I want to make my family proud. I want to make a better life not only for me but to make a better life for my mom. Even though she lives far away, my mom always calls me and is a great source of encouragement and support as I continue my education.
My goal is to graduate from SUNY Broome and be able to attend a four-year school so that I can give back to my community. I want to help other people. My goal is to become a counselor and work with immigrants to help their transition into the U.S. My experience was made a little easier because I learned how to speak a little bit of English from the American Civic Association classes before I went into the high school, but not everyone has that and it is not fair for those students to be thrown into a situation where they are attending school in an English-only setting. So my hope is to support people in that situation.
My first day of college, I met an international student from Mexico. I volunteered to assist them with getting to know the area. I wanted to make sure that they had what they needed. I was there to support them throughout their time here in Binghamton. For me, that was a great experience because I want to help people and that experience helped me to know that I am on the right track as a Liberal Arts major. I have also been hired as a tutor for Spanish and I am only in my second semester, so this makes me proud. In my first semester, I also became a Student Assembly Senator and I am a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Department, a member of the Leadership Honor Society and a proud EOP student.
One of the challenges that I face is time management. I work two jobs and so juggling work, school and life can be challenging at times. Even though this is a challenge, my EOP Counselor is always there to help me with my needs. I have also had the benefit of meeting other staff members who believe in my ability to graduate and have a better life… This is important! I feel welcomed here at SUNY Broome because I have been able to make friends with students from diverse backgrounds and we are very supportive of each other.
I am honored that I am an EOP student. The Summer Program helped me to understand the college better and helped me to understand the next steps. I met people from diverse backgrounds, I got to know the campus, I got to meet different staff members that are willing to support the students. We learned about time management; we also learned how to communicate with each other and listen to one another, because we all know that we come from different backgrounds and communication can be hard. Not everyone reacts to things the same and we all have different circumstances; we also learned the importance of being punctual.
We learned that we are a family and that we have to support each other. The EOP is a great program because the counselors are there to support us and make sure that we have what we need. I also recommend EOP to other students because I want other students who face challenges in college to have the same support that I have. I am proud that I am an EOP student because it will help me do well in college.