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Roosevelt Mareus

Dean/Executive Director, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center

Years in current role: 10

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The mission of the Educational Opportunity Centers is to provide tuition-free career and academic programs and services to underserved individuals in the community. In my role as the Dean/Executive Director of the Rochester EOC (REOC) I enjoy supporting the mission of the Educational Opportunity Centers and working with our wonderful faculty and staff who work tirelessly to support our students through their journey and help them to gain access to college or careers. The positive stories our students share as they progress through their programs and after they graduate reinforce the impact we have on the community and reason that I love working at the REOC.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

The biggest challenge I have encountered is pivoting from in-person to remote program offerings because of COVID-19. The majority of our programs are based on clinical rotations, hands-on training and internship experiences. Fortunately, through various hybrid strategies, we were able to retain the majority of students who successfully completed their programs.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the higher education industry in the next 3-5 years?

Post-secondary schools will have a greater online presence. And community colleges will offer more short-term and certificate-based programs.

This is why I am excited about the SUNY Chancellor’s SUNY for All initiative. SUNY for All promotes online learning through in-demand programs such as high school equivalency, college preparation, and myriad workforce development programs. In addition, training and success coaches are available to provide guidance and support.

REOC is the leader in the SUNY for All initiative and currently offers over 10 asynchronous programs to New York State residents.

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

Some of the community organizations I currently support are:

Roc the Future — Because they create opportunities for every child to be successful through a collective approach, which is a passion of mine.

Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) — Because their mission is similar to that of the REOC, and they strive to eradicate poverty by empowering our underserved community to become self-sufficient.

Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) — I feel it is important to be connected and to advocate for inclusive developments in the community around us. These developments impact REOC students and their future endeavors.

RochesterWorks! Innovation Board — Because they understand REOC’s mission and continuously provide supportive services for our students.

What college class that you haven’t taken would you be most interested in taking and why?

Creative writing. At work, almost everything that I write is based on facts. By learning more about how to write creatively, it will enable me to be more innovative and in-depth in my messages. Looking toward my future, creative writing will assist me in my goal of writing a book about my life’s journey.

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