The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Long-Unused Courtyard to Finally Reopen as a Community Space
Long-Unused Courtyard to Finally Reopen as a Community Space
Annie Hubert, Guest Writer • April 13, 2024

Riddled with cracked cement and overgrown weeds, the courtyard that lies between Grewen and Reilly halls has been left untouched by the Le Moyne...

‘It Felt Like a Gift From God’: Le Moyne Students and Surrounding Community React to Eclipse
‘It Felt Like a Gift From God’: Le Moyne Students and Surrounding Community React to Eclipse
CMM-274 Class, Guest Writers • April 11, 2024

Amanda Wood started her day off in a taciturn mood at Le Moyne College, underwhelmed by all the talk of the big event. Monday was just any other...

Le Moyne College Responds to Surge in Campus Car Break-ins
Le Moyne College Responds to Surge in Campus Car Break-ins
La Quida Cummings, Guest Writer • April 10, 2024

In response to a recent series of car break-ins across campus, Derek McGork, director of Security, used a recent interview with The Dolphin to...

Spotlight: Cellist Jordan Gunns Musical Journey
Spotlight: Cellist Jordan Gunn's Musical Journey
Daniel Mondelli April 9, 2024

This Wednesday, April 10th, Le Moyne will host a performance by cellist Jordan Gunn in the Panasci Family Chapel at 7:30 pm and will be accompanied...

Flags and Acknowledgements: Le Moyne Takes Steps Toward Reconciliation with the Haudenosaunee
Flags and Acknowledgements: Le Moyne Takes Steps Toward Reconciliation with the Haudenosaunee
Isabella Allen and Carly Nicolai April 5, 2024

“We honor the Onondaga Nation, the original people on whose land Le Moyne College stands.” You may have heard this recited at school-sponsored...

Joyce Suslovic: Educator, Advisor, and Friend

via the Le Moyne website

If you can brace the piercing winter air and make it down the hill to Romero Hall, you will be greeted by warm smiles and the compassionate energy of a Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) advisor, ready to hear about your day. 

Unless you are a member of the CSTEP, chances are you haven’t heard of one of these advisors in particular, Ms. Joyce Suslovic, who indisputably embodies Le Moyne College’s core values and principles.

Suslovic shares her story from her origins in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a city she describes as quite similar to Syracuse. She comes from a family of immigrants from various countries such as Ireland, Lithuania, and Canada, and shares her experiences as a first-generation college student. 

“Education was always the most highly valued commodity in my house,” she says. “As it was when I was raising my two children. As it will always be when I work with my students. Give up anything but never give up your education and your values.”

A short conversation with Suslovic and you will immediately see the passions and causes she holds close to her heart. Her unshakable confidence in her students, commitment to social justice and equality, and her dedication to first-generation students is admirable. Suslovic shares her family’s roots in activism and social justice, with a history of involvement in labor union struggles and the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike led by immigrant factory workers in Lawrence. She and her siblings worked in factories to save money for tuition, and she explains that coming from a family of immigrants and laborers shaped who she is today. 

“I am a first-generation college student, which explains why I’m passionate and always have been passionate about assisting other first-generation students with any struggles they may have toward achieving their dreams through education.” 

Education is a central part of Suslovic’s story. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in political science and has been an educator for 49 years. Suslovic worked in the Syracuse City School District for 39 years but her impact as an educator extended beyond the walls of her classroom. She comments on how, by working with many immigrants and new American communities in Syracuse, she was able to learn about the depth of challenges faced by first-generation students. “In the end, my goal was to always empower students.” 

When the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the world, Syracuse was no exception. The challenges students faced when learning online were only exacerbated by a lack of faith in the educational system at the time. Access to the internet and technology posed a major issue, notably for refugee and immigrant communities as well as native Syracuse communities facing insecurity. Suslovic launched a tutoring program at Northside Learning Center in 2021 to inspire students to pursue their education and give them the tools and resources for success. 

“This [program] was for new college students who needed not only the academic structure but the self-discipline and study structure for college,” she explains.

This tutoring center consisted of volunteers from Le Moyne, Syracuse University, and Suslovic herself. These resources gave students access to one-on-one advising and insight into how to succeed in college. For first-generation students who often walk onto a college campus with no idea of what to expect, this is an invaluable resource and experience. 

“We worked five nights a week and Saturdays. We had fourteen students graduate from OCC and thirteen of them went on to four-year colleges. So last summer, I spent time helping students transition to dorm life at places like SU, SUNY Oswego, and University of Buffalo.” 

Recently, Suslovic got a call from a former student. “I always encourage past and present students to stay in touch,” she emphasizes. This student heartwarmingly shared the impact Suslovic had on his life and all the achievements he accomplished. Phone calls like this aren’t uncommon for Suslovic. She has an incredible ability to hear her students’ stories and carry them with her. By connecting with their heritage, cultures, and families, she gives support to students of color who very rarely get recognized by their educators for the incredible depths of their stories and identities. 

Suslovic now works as an advisor at CSTEP, The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, which is dedicated to first-generation students in the STEM field. Her role at CSTEP is irreplaceable, as many students will agree that she is more than an academic advisor. When you hear a knock at the door of your study room, it’s often Suslovic asking if you need tea or a snack. She assists students with scholarship and graduate school applications, proofreading, and much more. 

Too cold to walk up the hill? Suslovic is already rushing you out the door, insisting on driving you. Having a difficult time in your classes? She is by your side, listening and giving advice. You can also find her in the greater community, advocating for the social justice issues she is passionate about and always openly listening to her students to learn about the causes they care about. “If you are aware of a change that needs to occur, act on that change. Do whatever you have to. Take it to the limit,” Suslovic says. 

Le Moyne College’s mission statement stipulates that “As a Jesuit college, Le Moyne dedicates itself first and foremost to developing the full capacity of each student’s mind and heart.” Suslovic shares what this portion of the mission statement means to her: 

“This is a joy to me. Encouraging students to be their best, but not just academically. [A Jesuit education] is an education built on having a moral compass and also understanding the role that we play in a global community to make positive change, regardless of what academic field we are in. I thank Le Moyne for giving me the opportunity.” 

Suslovic and all of the faculty at CSTEP are hardworking and dedicated to embodying Le Moyne’s values. Take that walk down to Romero Hall and say hello to Suslovic and the amazing people at CSTEP, and thank her and all the educators who supply such dedicated support to their students.

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