While driving in New Jersey, Shadiyah Stroman’s eye caught a sign with a message that resonated: If you see something, say something.
Part of a campaign for the federal Transportation Security Administration, the slogan could also be a motto for SUNY Broome’s Homeland Security degree program, where Shadiyah is currently finishing her A.S. degree.
It will actually be Shadiyah’s second associate degree from SUNY Broome; in 2015, she graduated with a degree in Health Studies and a certificate in phlebotomy. Afterward, she spent three years working in her field at the Red Cross – but another dream called.
She plans to serve her country by joining the Army National Guard, and eventually getting a job with the TSA, most likely in the Albany area.
Her Homeland Security degree is preparing her for both. While she enjoys courses in criminology, criminal investigations and criminal law, her favorite was special issues in homeland security, which discussed cybercrime, terrorism and war – all timely topics.
Her favorite professors include Charles Hoffman, who teaches the special topics course, and Kerry Weber, who worked in the criminal justice field herself as a patrolwoman before transitioning to higher education.
“Her class is really interesting! It’s really different from Health Studies. She explains things so well and she sets a good example,” Shadiyah said.
In addition to her studies, Shadiyah also has a five-year-old son and holds down a job at a local store. While juggling family life with schoolwork can be challenging, it’s an anchor to her long-term goals – to achieve not only her professional dreams, but to create a secure future.
“I’m a full-time mom and a full-time student with a part-time job. I’m a very busy person!” she said. “Ever since he’s been born, I’ve been in school. I do what I’ve got to do, and I have a very good family support system. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I think about my long-term future and I think about him, and it makes me more motivated.”
College also motivates more than just the individual student. Shadiyah – a first-generation student herself — has been encouraging her brother to consider college. Their sister attends the University at Buffalo, while a younger sister is considering a military path – similar to Shadiyah’s own.
It’s an apt demonstration of the transformative power of education. For her part, Shadiyah is grateful she has received a solid start at her local community college.
“I love SUNY Broome! The teachers help you out,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this school.”