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As part of the Binghamton Advantage Program, Steven Corrrell spent his freshman year at SUNY Broome Community College before taking classes at Binghamton University.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Commencement 2015 profile: Steven Correll
May 12, 2015Tweet
Steven Correll is a firm believer in second chances and is glad he was offered one by Binghamton University.
Correll came to Binghamton in an unconventional way: As part of the Binghamton Advantage Program (BAP), a joint admissions program between Binghamton University and SUNY Broome Community College. If students are accepted into BAP, they begin their college career as any other students, living in residence halls, eating in dining halls and joining organizations. The major difference is that BAP students take classes at SUNY Broome. If students are successful after one or two years at SUNY Broome, they are granted full admission to Binghamton University.
“I believe in second chances if you’re genuine about them,” Correll said. “I knew this was my second chance and I was determined to make the best of it.”
Though Correll was excited to start classes at Binghamton, he said that he also enjoyed a great education at SUNY Broome.
“Every professor I had there was wonderful,” he said. “They cared about each student individually and were invested in our success.”
The Huntington, Long Island, native hit the ground running his freshman year by involving himself in a variety of organizations, from gymnastics club to the rugby team. After his successful transfer into Binghamton University, Correll juggled his extracurricular activities and his new academic schedule with some help from Transfer Student Services (TSS). TSS assists band supports transfer students making the transition to Binghamton after attending college elsewhere, and is a place where transfer students can go for mentoring, advice and advocacy.
Zach DuBord, assistant director of Transfer and Veteran Services, said TSS has been involved with BAP since its inception, and it’s a highly valued program.
“BAP students really seem to flourish at Binghamton after spending their time at SUNY Broome,” DuBord said. “The program has grown considerably from its beginning and we are proud to give students like Steve a pathway into Binghamton.”
“TSS helped me to get over all the mental stumbling blocks and growing pains of ‘where do I belong?’” Correll added.
At the start of his sophomore year, Correll was elected president of Broome Hall Government after a spirited campaign that essentially wallpapered the residence hall with flyers featuring the “other” Steve Carell (the famous actor/comedian) and a platform emphasizing an end to voter apathy.
“Being president of Broome (Hall) helped me realize the problem of indifference in my building and gave me an opportunity to change that,” Correll said. “It helped me develop leadership qualities, and interact with Binghamton staff and administration to see how the gears of the University work.”
Correll was also hired as a tour guide his sophomore year—a position that seemed only natural.
“Binghamton was everything that I wanted in a college, as well as all the things I didn’t know I wanted,” he said. “I wanted to find a way to give back to the University. Our lively campus and unique population combined with the fact that Binghamton gave me a second chance to go to a top university despite my track record in high school: How could I not love it here?”
As a tour guide, Correll enjoyed sharing with prospective students what his experience at Binghamton has taught him. He stressed: “Your undergraduate career is to figure out what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at and who you are as a person. If you can find a major that lines up with all three of those, everything else will fall into place.”
For Correll, that alignment was found in an English major.
Having picked up two concentrations ─ rhetoric and global studies ─ Correll was able to work closely with a number of professors in the English Department, and even got the opportunity to take a graduate-level course, Rhetorics of Race, with Assistant Professor Aja Martinez. The course called for a seminar paper to conclude the semester, and though Martinez offered to lighten the workload for the undergraduates, Correll opted for the challenge. Thirty-seven pages on racism in public schools later, Correll had conquered his largest academic challenge to date.
“It showed how much I have changed and grown. I never thought I would have been able to produce something like that, but being at Binghamton exposed me so much to other people and other ideas that I was able to push myself to this next level,” Correll said.
Correll’s fascination with race in society sparked his interest in studying abroad. He decided on Seoul, Korea, as his destination.
“I had an insatiable desire to travel. I wanted to see if I could survive by myself in another country and make friends around the world, and I found the answer to my question was an overwhelming ‘yes,’” Correll said.
Correll planned his trip by attending several study abroad fairs, as well as stopping by the Office of International Programs (OIP). “They helped me to step out of my comfort zone and it was so worth it,” Correll said.
In the summer, Correll will begin working at a start-up company called Room Zoom, a service similar to OKCupid, but for college roommates, as director of marketing. He will be in charge of all marketing and social media regulation for the company, but for now is focusing on cherishing his last weeks at his beloved Binghamton.
“We live in a world of overwhelming expectations,” Correll said. “It’s really hard to figure yourself out ─ it takes a lot of trying new things, meeting new people and self-reflection. I can’t think of a place better than Binghamton to do all of those things.”