By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

When graduates reflect on what made their college experience a successful one, they often attribute a portion of their achievements to the guidance of a mentor. In many cases, the collaboration between a student and a trusted faculty member, advisor, or a member of a campus’ professional staff, can result in a life-changing way. To help foster those important connections, SUNY Broome has created a new team of Student Success Coaches to support incoming and current students throughout their time at the College. The Student Success Coaching team is comprised of Brendan Doherty, William Mason, Abbey Perkins, and Vatsal “Sam” Shah and is spearheaded by Erin Marulli, Staff Associate for Student Retention.

The primary goal of the Success Coaches is to empower SUNY Broome students to confidently take ownership of their education. Through a collaborative process, students can seek support with success tools such as clarifying their program of study and career path, goal planning, time management, and study strategies. When working with students, the coaches follow the “GROW” model. Students set a Goal. Then, the coach and student discuss the Realities related to that goal. These realities can include further exploration into what previously has or hasn’t worked. From there, the student and the coach review Options for meeting the previously defined goals. These options can include accessing campus resources, implementing time management tactics, or seeking additional support via technology. Next, the student maintains the Will to succeed by committing to practicing success strategies with their coach, as well as independently. Success Coaches also serve as a primary liaison to resources on and off campus. Simply put, if a SUNY Broome student has a question, a Success Coach has the tools to either answer the question directly or connect the student to a resource who can. 

Collectively, the Success Coaches’ breadth of higher education knowledge and experience is unparalleled. Their professional backgrounds include previous roles as a licensed social worker, a community resource liaison for high school students, an educational opportunity counselor, a residence hall director, an admissions ambassador, an assessment coordinator for institutional effectiveness, and an athletic coach. They have shared their talents with private and public colleges and universities, as well as local municipalities. 

The coaches hail from as far as Gujarat, India, to as near as the Southside of Binghamton. Their academic degrees are in a wide variety of disciplines from eastern classics, to broadcasting and communications, to English, to anthropology, to business and technical management. They bring to the table personal student experiences that include being an international student, a transfer student, a first generation student, a student athlete, and a non-traditional student. They have attended colleges and universities from across the state and across the globe. Interestingly, all share the commonality of being SUNY Broome students at some point throughout each of their respective academic careers. 

For structural purposes, the Success Coaches have been assigned cohorts of students based on academic division and program, but it can be fluid. 

“If a student makes a connection with a particular Success Coach based on a common interest, experience, or comfort level, we are happy to make an adjustment. Our goal is to ensure that our students are matched with a coach that will collaboratively foster an academically and personally rewarding experience here at SUNY Broome,” said Erin Marulli. 

Meet SUNY Broome’s Student Success Coaches

Vatsal “Sam” Shah, William Mason, Abbey Perkins, and Brendan Doherty support each academic division on campus. Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

 

Success Coach: Brendan Doherty

Hometown: Binghamton, NY

Cohort of Students: STEM and Liberal Arts

Fun Fact: When Brendan is not coaching success strategies for college students, he is head coach for SUNY Broome’s men’s basketball team. Go Hornets! 

Advice for SUNY Broome Students: “Spend some time defining what success means for you. That will help to realistically shape your goals and expectations.”

Where to Find Brendan on Campus:  SS-209D

 

Success Coach: William Mason

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Cohort of Students: Business and Professional Studies

Fun Fact: William Mason was a non-traditional student athlete. At the age of 23, he joined SUNY Broome’s men’s basketball team. During this time, he balanced his studies by working as the lead Student Ambassador in the Admissions Office.

Advice for SUNY Broome Students: “You can do it!  Sometimes that simple statement just needs to be reiterated.” 

Where to Find William on Campus: SS-209B

 

Success Coach: Abbey Perkins

Hometown: Binghamton, NY

Cohort of Students: Health Sciences

Fun Fact: Abbey has extensive higher education experience and has held many positions in the areas of residential life, institutional effectiveness, EOP counseling, and more. Of all of her professional experiences, she is most excited about working as a Success Coach at SUNY Broome. As a Broome County native, she is thrilled to be giving back to the community that raised her. 

Advice for SUNY Broome Students: “Don’t just go to college because that is what is expected. Also, remember that the bachelor’s degree is not the end all, be all. Depending on your specific career goals, you might most benefit from a micro-credential, certificate, or associate degree.”  

Where to Find Abbey on Campus: WC-204

 

Success Coach: Vatsal “Sam” Shah

Hometown: Gujarat, India

Cohort of Students: STEM and Liberal Arts

Fun Fact: Vatsal has a deep passion for serving the community and has picked professional positions that allow him to do just that. He has worked as a social worker, care manager, middle school teacher, and a tutor! 

Advice for SUNY Broome Students: “SUNY Broome is such a blessing to the community. Don’t hesitate to explore all the opportunities that the College has to offer. Success Coaches are happy to help you explore all of the available opportunities.”

Where to Find Vatsal on Campus: SS-207

Are you interested in meeting with a Student Success Coach? Appointments can be scheduled via Starfish. Learn more about Student Success Coaching here!

The Success Coaches are available for individual appointments throughout the semester.
Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

 

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