Daryl Griffin earned an associate degree in criminal justice at BMCC in 2014, after serving as a team leader in a U.S. Marines infantry unit that was twice deployed to Iraq. While a student at BMCC, he maintained straight As and was active in the Alumni Club, serving as its treasurer and then president. He mentored other student veterans through PROVE, the Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education at BMCC, and helped them access Veterans Administration benefits through the BMCC Veterans Resource Center. Today, he is a Senior Academic Advisor with the Veteran Services program at LaGuardia Community College.
Q: What is your favorite memory (professor, class, etc.) of BMCC?
A: My favorite memory from BMCC was on Veterans Day, 2015, when BMCC honored the veterans. President Perez was there and I had a chance to stop and talk to him. He told me he remembered the first time he met me back in 2012. I remember the first time I met him but never did I think he would remember meeting me. I thought he must have had me confused with someone else; then he started detailing the event back in 2012 where we met.
Q: How did BMCC help you get where you are today?
A: BMCC provided me an opportunity to work as a peer mentor while I was a student there and later as a college assistant. In these roles I worked under Mr. Wilfred Cotto in the Veterans Resource Center. His confidence in my ability gave me the reassurance that I could not only handle any event, but that working in higher education could be a career option for me. The most important thing I gained from working Mr. Cotto was, professionalism. It is something I practice and preach even today in my current position as an advisor for student veterans at LaGuardia Community College.
Q: What advice do you have for today’s BMCC students?
A: My advice to today's BMCC students is that, “It is better to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit.” Don't be afraid to try something because of what it will cost you; be more fearful of what not trying will cost you. Just know to be successful in anything it requires true effort. One quote I always think about is from Robert Browning, who said, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”
Q: Why is it important for alumni to stay involved with BMCC?
A: For me, staying involved at BMCC as an Alumni is important because of the community of veterans I became a part of while I was there. We are more like a family, and to come back and speak to the current student veterans about senior colleges and career development programs provides an additional resource for the veterans of BMCC that is hard to find at other schools.