The value of an Oswego education began to pay off for Emmanuel Cruz ’09 from the day he moved into his residence hall freshman year.
“I talked to my roommate’s father when he came to campus to move his son in,” said Cruz, who was part of the Sept. 22 alumni panel for the ALANA Student Leadership Conference. “And he said, ‘Hey, I know you’re a marketing major. There’s an opening in our office. Do you want to stay at our house over the winter break and just come and intern for us?’”
The alumni panel was part of a weeklong conference for ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) student groups and organizations. The Student Leadership Conference, which began 28 years ago, helps students develop leadership skills and an understanding of ALANA cultures.
Highlights of ALANA week included:
- Fashion Show
- Unity Peace Walk
- Mini-Carnivals and Festivals event
- “Collections of Expressions” open mic night
- Cuban drummer and composer Dafnis Prieto and his Si o Si Quartet
The alumni panel featured Cruz, Adam King ’11 and Rufaro Matombo ’12. They spoke to a crowd of about 75, nearly half of whom were freshmen. Cruz, King and Matombo also visited several classrooms and made presentations through the Oswego Alumni Association’s Alumni- In-Residence (AIR) program.
Matombo, a professional DJ, credits working on the student Media Summit team for connecting him with the marketing director for WBLS, the No. 1 adult contemporary radio station in New York City. That relationship led to an internship.
While his experience at WBLS opened doors, it was his participation in student organizations that helped him to get through those doors.
“All these things make me more marketable,” Matombo said. “The minute you leave here, that is what it’s all about. What makes you different from the next applicant that’s right under your resume?”
King, now a paralegal with a New York City law firm, advised students to diversify their skills now to make themselves more attractive to job recruiters later.
Each panelist urged students in the audience to use the resources and opportunities at Oswego.
As an undergraduate, Cruz was an admissions tour guide for four years, leading prospective SUNY Oswego students around campus. The experience led him to work in the admissions office at St. Gregory’s University in Oklahoma, Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., and the SUNY system. In the fall, he started a new position as the New York City regional admissions counselor for SUNY Oswego.
“You never know where the opportunities are,” Cruz said. “The person who is your roommate could actually be the person who helps you land your first internship opportunity, and that’s part of being in a living and learning environment like Oswego.”
—Edwin Acevedo M’09