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Graduate helps students determine their future plans

School of Education and Human Development

Name: Erik M. Colón
Degree: MA in social science with a concentration in student affairs and diversity
Plans: Pursue a career in higher education administration.

Erik M. Colón loves people, especially those students who are confused about their futures — perhaps because he used to be one.

When Colón first arrived as an undergraduate student at Binghamton, he was accepted as an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student and was enrolled in the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science’s computer-engineering program. Yet despite his love for computers, he quickly decided that it might not be the right choice of study for him.

“It was too competitive,” Colón said. “I switched to computer science the second semester but that didn’t work for me either.”

Then Colón became an orientation advisor (OA), which opened up a different world for him. In fact, he credits his OA experiences as being among the most important things he has done during his five-year stay at Binghamton University.

“The summer of 2001 was a turning point in my life,” Colón said. “Being an OA, I was introduced to different people and different departments. I also met my girlfriend, Elaine. It was after that summer that I was accepted into the School of Education and Human Development and received my first A in my classes.”
Skimming through Colón’s resume, there is no doubt he has been an active student.

As an undergraduate and along with his work as an OA, he worked as a resident assistant, a community service coordinator and a student information mentor for Telecommunications. He also boasts an extensive list of extracurricular activities, including being appointed as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and serving on several academic committees as either treasurer, chairman or a director on the board.

He also credits EOP for getting him to this point. “Without EOP, I wouldn’t have been here,” he said. “The program helped me with advising, academic, financial and counseling support. They helped pull me through.”

So, for someone who was told by his high school guidance counselor that he would never make it in college, Colón has proved that hard work does pay off.
Last May, Colón received his BS in human development and was accepted into SEHD’s master’s in social science program. He chose the accelerated track and completed the normally 1.5- to 2-year program in just a year, earning a 3.9 GPA.

As a graduate student, he remained active and became an academic advising graduate assistant.

“I like to talk a lot,” Colón said. “Which is why I do academic advising. You learn a great deal from the students. Interacting with people allows you to learn about their culture and their way of life. I also get to share my experiences with them. This helps us to diversify.”

His work has also helped him stand apart among his peers. During the past year, Colón has been awarded both the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and the University Award for Student Excellence.

When nominating Colón for the University Award for Student Excellence, Rodger Summers, vice president for student affairs, said, “Erik personifies the ideal student who has grabbed every learning opportunity and while enriching his own academic career, has helped and continues to help others follow the same path.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08