May 18, 2003
Tough Job Market? Not For Southampton College's Adele Billups
Graduate Uses Unique Programs to Immediately Land Job at BNL
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Southampton, NY - While headlines talk of 2003's graduates entering a tough job market, several Southampton College students report otherwise.
A large number of students set to graduate at 2 p.m. on Sunday on Chancellors Hall West Lawn have already landed career-related employment, a direct result of internships and co-ops performed while they were students, including Adele Billups, a psychology student originally from Queens who now makes Southampton her home. She started work at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Monday, studying the effects of deep space radiation on rats in collaboration with NASA so that someday they could send a manned mission to Mars.
Billups, 21, not only benefited from the Cooperative Education program that fosters hands-on learning through internships with often high-profile employers, but also Southampton College's Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), aimed at inner-city students whose high school experiences may not have properly prepared them for college. Billups says that HEOP turned her into a full-fledged student after four years with high school teachers that mostly gave A's for effort. "When I entered the HEOP summer program, I realized I didn't know as much as I thought I did," she said. "They crammed four years of high school into a few months ? without the extra preparation, I probably would have failed out first semester."
But Billups didn't fail out. Not even close. She was a devoted learner and became a model student. She graduates Sunday cum laude with a 3.53 grade point average. Her experience at a big, inner-city high school in Queens wasn't right for her. However, close-knit Southampton College, which fosters hands-on learning and one-on-one relationships with professors and has a beautiful setting in the Hamptons, gave her a second chance.
"My problem in high school was that I don't function well when I'm just a number, but at Southampton College everything was different," she said. "I met professors like Dr. John Neill, who helped whenever I had trouble. Without him and his contacts, I never would have imagined working at a place like Brookhaven National Lab."