I am ambitious. I am organized. I am ESC.

Lisa worked throughout high school and, immediately upon graduation, entered the workforce full time. But the day her daughter was born, she vowed she would go to college when her daughter graduated from high school.

“I wanted that accomplishment for myself,” Lisa says, “but more than that, I wanted to be a role model for her.”

Shortly after her daughter's graduation, during Lisa's annual performance review, her supervisor asked about her personal goals.

“I told him I wanted to go to college to earn a degree, but that I didn't want to sit through classes I didn't need to take. I said I wished I could get credit for the knowledge I gained in my career,” Lisa recalls. “He told me I could at SUNY Empire State College.”

Lisa applied to ESC the following month and says it was one of the best decisions she ever made. She also says that once she decided to earn her degree, she wanted to hit the fast track.

“ESC was perfect for me because of the various ways to earn credit, particularly by individual Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA) – credit for college-level learning I gained in my career,” Lisa says. “Other ways to earn credit were just as valuable, including online, independent and residency-based study. I used them all, depending on timing and my needs.”

While working full time, Lisa earned her bachelor's degree in business management and economics, with a concentration in business administration. She is now an assistant director of operations in information technology services, a title and promotion she says she owes to her ESC degree.

“In my work place, a bachelor's degree is required for advancement or to obtain administrative status,” Lisa says. “I knew I would not get the advancement and recognition I wanted (and deserved) without a degree, so that was a huge motivator for me.”


I AM ESC is both a welcome and a deeply rooted sense of belonging. Here, students come first. Their success is supported every step of the way so they can go confidently into the world and put new skills and ideas into practice.

I AM ESC is a testament to our students’ resolve to do more, to be more, to achieve more. And it is proof that education, family, work and life can go hand in hand, and even enrich the academic experience.

I AM ESC captures the spirit of our students and statewide community. It reflects the talents, interests and diversity of the residents and industries critical to the state we call home.

I AM ESC is a rallying cry – an all-inclusive invitation to students to freely pursue their goals and to fully experience and continually shape our college and programs.  

I AM ESC is a statement of pride, ownership and accomplishment. It’s a celebration of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. It’s a guiding force and fundamental element of what ESC is and what ESC does.

I AM ESC is you. And we’re better because of it.

Take the Next Step

Ready to advance your education and career? There’s no time like the present. Apply now, or learn more about SUNY Empire at one of our information sessions.