When Genesee Community College graduate, Kelly Caracciolo walks across the stage to collect her diploma next month it will be her first time setting foot on campus. She is a Distance Learning student from Trinidad and Tobago, who has earned a degree from Genesee completely online.
She finished a Business Administration degree in August and will attend commencement in May with her family.
Caracciolo is no stranger to the United States. She has family in Brooklyn and has visited the U.S. many times throughout her childhood. She knew she wanted to earn a degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) education system, and was referred to Genesee by the international student advisor at SUNY Plattsburg for efficiency, low cost and convenient scheduling opportunities. She someday hopes to enroll in a management program at a local university in Trinidad to continue her education.
Caracciolo, 25, is from the Borough of Arima on the island of Trinidad, the southernmost island in the Caribbean. The birthplace of the steel pan musical instrument and the limbo dance, Trinidad is a fusion of many different cultures including Spanish, French, Indian and African. She lives in the same house she and her mother both grew up in, which boasts many family memories of island living.
She works as an administrative assistant at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, and originally found that balancing work with academic studies was challenging.
"It was a lot of work," Caracciolo noted. "But all worth it in the end. I believe the whole process has made me a more independent person."
She will graduate as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and with a 3.81 G.P.A. She was also on the part-time student Dean's List. In the beginning, she found online classes were difficult to get accustomed to, but she gradually began to love the opportunity and believes the classes made her more independent.
It was comforting to know that the instructors were just an e-mail away. Her favorite course was BUS 214-Management Principles because it covered all aspects of the Business curriculum, which she readily applies to her professional interests and long-range career plans.
Her dream job would be to manage a hotel or resort. She is passionate about proper customer service and hopes to one day provide this to customers on a daily basis as they visit her island nation.
"I am so glad that I found Genesee Community College, and I am very grateful to the Distance Learning staff," she stated in an e-mail correspondence. "They gave me the opportunity to get started on my career. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the courses were challenging, yet enjoyable."
Caracciolo enjoys sports, especially watching and playing tennis, working out, billiards, and an occasional high-energy spinning class at the local gym. She also loves a good movie with friends, and of course, listening and dancing to native island music.
Genesee is expanding both course and degree earning options of its Distance Learning program. Last semester, 85 online courses were offered, and this semester, 108.
For further information about completing a degree at Genesee via Distance Learning, please visit <http://www.genesee.edu/DL> or contact Judith Littlejohn, Distance Learning advisor at 343-0055, ext. 6158.