Santino Aniek ’14June 21, 2016
Eileen Jensen ’06June 21, 2016
Alumni Spotlight: Christina Ilowiecki
Applied Psychology B.S., Class of ‘13
U.S. Army Executive Officer, SUNY Cobleskill MERITS and SOS
Where You'll Find Her Now
I currently work at SUNY Cobleskill in student support services with the MERITS and SOS Programs. Both serve educationally at risk students. Understanding psychology and barriers to education through many sociology classes has been helpful to design and implement new programs to support our students.
I also serve as a U.S. Army Executive Officer for a Quartermaster Company. I would say this job has tied into my education significantly because I am responsible for a large number of soldiers, and being able to understand how to motivate people and work with them effectively is key to success.
Rising above Challenges
As a student, I faced challenges outside of the college norm, and I was so impressed with how supportive my professors were during that time. In 2012 my husband deployed to the Middle East, leaving me and our two children alone for a year in Cobleskill. At the time, I was a full time student, working part time, and taking care of two young children. It was quite a balancing act, and at times I don’t even know how I handled all of the stress. But each of my professors knew about my situation, were very supportive, and took time out of their days to frequently ask how I was doing. Even a small gesture like that made a huge difference.
All of my professors within my major field were very supportive of my desire to work with U.S. veterans and military personnel, and allowed me to explore my interest in serving this population more as I went further in my degree program.
I credit my success in the U.S. Army as a leader to their support for allowing me to have a clear picture of what service members face in terms of mental health issues. The Student Veterans Association was a perfect opportunity for me to really get to work with veterans first hand before joining the Army, which I think made me a better-rounded student and soldier.
"As a student, I faced challenges outside of the college norm, and I was so impressed with how supportive my professors were during that time."
Achievements in the U.S. Army
The most recent achievement I’m most proud of would be my promotion to executive officer. Prior to this, I was a platoon leader overseeing only 36 soldiers. Now, I assist in overseeing over 160 soldiers. I also was recently appointed as the company fitness instructor.
Students, Take Note
SUNY Cobleskill offers great opportunities to engage with professors. Here you are not just a number or a name, professors actually know who you are and want to support your goals.