CDL Student Sandra Barkevich Recognized for Peer Leadership in Latino Community
By Diana Hawkins, academic advisor, Center for Distance Learning
March 12, 2013
“I want to give to the community what my parents gave to me…The courage to try new paths in life that might otherwise go unexplored.”
- Sandra Barkevich, named to Hispanic Coalition NY’s 40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars
The title “Rising Star” is certainly appropriate for Sandra Barkevich’s (at right) approach to life. Her energy is bright. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Her contributions are without boundary.
“I like to help people. I want to share my passion for education by helping others attain their academic goals, especially children, women and minorities,” said Barkevich, who began her college career at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in 1992, but stopped out after two semesters due to work and life responsibilities.
Now a SUNY Empire State College student who serves as a peer tutor, academic coach, student newsletter editor and creative writing instructor, Barkevich has combined her talents in writing, communication and teaching to encourage students and writers to overcome their challenges and realize their dreams.
“When I decided to go back to school, I was scared. What if I didn’t have time? What if I had to stop again due to life’s responsibilities?” Barkevich said. “I am happy I didn’t let my fears win me over. I took the first step forward and haven’t looked back. I want to be a role model for other people who might feel the same way. I want to tell them they can do it too.”
Now she will have her chance. Barkevich was honored along with a prestigious group of statewide individuals as the Hispanic Coalition NY’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars of 2013.The coalition recognizes community members who have shown “a quality of performance that indicates they are leaders among their peers and will continue to develop into distinguished members in their community.”
This summer Barkevich will continue her community-building activities by teaching a children’s creative writing class at the Creative Connections Arts and Cultural Center in Amsterdam. The goal of the class is to use communication to inspire kids to find their voice, express feelings and build character.
“Building a strong foundation in writing and communication will help kids to be more successful in their school, social, and someday, professional networks. It will benefit everything they do from this point forward. I can help them to make this connection at an early age,” she said. In leading the group, Barkevich draws on her own experience as an author who has completed a historical romance novel titled, “Andromeda’s Tear,” as well as several shorter works. Her current work-in-progress is a dark paranormal contemporary romance titled, “Transformation.”
Slated to graduate in June, what’s next for Barkevich? As of now, her plan is to advance her expertise in writing and education with a master’s degree in learning and emerging technologies.
She said, “I hope my story will inspire others to realize their own dreams. If I can help someone have courage to take their own step forward, then I have been a success. Happiness is my reward.”