Give Back’s partnership with Binghamton University provides our scholars with support in the form of tutoring, mentorship, and connections with students and faculty on campus. We do not doubt that our students will have a seamless transition to higher education because of our great partners. We work with an excellent trio that makes it all happen, Michelle Gardner, Craig Broccoli, and Steve Rebello. Michelle helped start our partnership and set up our pre-paid scholarships. Craig will guide our students through the University’s application process, and Steve will ensure our students receive supports on campus. Let’s learn more about their work and vision.
Michelle Gardner is the Senior Director of Foundation Relations and Campaign Gift Strategies, and also a Binghamton alumna. She describes her work as more than fundraising for the University. She brings together people who want to change the world through academic quality with those who can. Michelle works with Binghamton’s alumni network each day to support students who wish to make the world a better place. Before her work in higher education, Michelle worked in politics and public relations. Now, she cannot imagine doing her job for anything but public higher education. “Your work is easier if you care about what you do and worthwhile if you have a passion behind it,” Michelle says.
Michelle has a witty sense of humor that will make you laugh for minutes at a time. She holds that if you spend too much time with her, she will ask for a donation to the University. She wants the best for Binghamton University and its students. When asked about her hopes for Give Back scholars, she yearns for the scholars to find success and themselves in whichever form that means. “I want them to be successful and give to students like they were given to or share a wealth of experiences with students,” Michelle noted.
Craig Broccoli is the Associate Director of Admissions. He describes his work as engagement with students wherever they are in their application process. Craig reviews thousands of applications a year. He also helps students navigate their selected academic programs and get to the next step on campus.
Craig guides students through the EOP program and the Binghamton Advantage program. The EOP program provides support and advocacy for students who meet academic and financial criteria from the time of admission through graduation and beyond. The Binghamton Advantage Program is a joint admissions program that allows students to live on Binghamton University campus while taking SUNY Broome classes with the opportunity to transfer to Binghamton after one or two years. Students in the program have access to smaller classes and receive advising from SUNY Broome and Binghamton.
Craig is a Binghamton alumnus and an Engineer with a passion for solving problems. His admiration for Binghamton empowers him to connect high school students to the University because it is a low-cost academic platform making palpable changes in the world. Craig is energetic, kind, and dedicated. During a virtual information session for our high school juniors, he engaged with our students. He had them asking question after question for over 90 minutes! He hopes that Give Back scholars realize they are capable of so much. “Meet students from all over the world and find your team with a drive to make a change,” Craig notes.
Steve Rebello is the Director of TRIO – Student Support Services. He works to bring students up to speed with the University’s level of academics. Once students commit to the University, they are invited to TRIO and the Summer Bridge program. Both programs ensure students connect with each other, TRIO staff, and the campus community. Steve always knew he wanted to work with youth. He worked as an Orientation and a Biology Teacher, before joining Binghamton University. However, Steve yearned to help students overcome obstacles as a counselor. He realized he could enable many teachable moments outside of the classroom.
Steve is passionate and wise. His passion for education equity becomes evident through his insights and descriptions of Binghamton’s support services. He hopes that Give Back scholars “avoid preconceived ideas of who they are going to be and are open to changes they experience while on campus.” Whether by meeting new people or taking courses outside of their majors to explore areas of interest, “open your eyes to all the university and world has to offer,” Steve says.
Michelle, Craig, and Steve would love for a Give Back, and Binghamton alumnus to reach the White House, return to campus for commencement, and tell the graduates that they could achieve such a goal. Where will they be? All three agree that they will likely be cheering loudly in the audience.
Thank you, Michelle, Craig, and Steve, for opening doors for access to education. It is an honor to work with you.
Photo Credits: Binghamton University/ Jonathan Cohen ©