Swenda Cepeda already graduated from BMCC—in January to be precise.
Even though she currently attends CUNY Baruch as a Finance major; she hasn’t let go of BMCC quite yet.
“I just love BMCC’s energy,” says Cepeda, who received her associate’s degree in Business Administration. “In fact, I love BMCC so much that I’m taking a BMCC Continuing Education course in Paralegal Studies.”
Like most BMCC students, she juggled work with classes. “I worked in property management while attending BMCC,” she says, joking that her beloved BlackBerry kept her time-management skills in check.
“I advise BMCC students to ‘give it all you’ve got’—attend your classes, aim for premium grades, talk to your professors if you’re faltering, and be a leader.”
Practice here, practice now
Speaking of leaders, Cepeda’s face lights up when she talks about her involvement with the BMCC organization that made her “more of a leader”: Phi Theta Kappa. (PTK)
PTK is national honor society that recognizes and encourages the academic achievements of two-year college students; the BMCC chapter is called “Alpha Kappa.” Before she graduated, Cepeda, an honors student, was the chapter’s Vice President of Finance and received a Distinguished Chapter Officer Award.
Cepeda strongly advises BMCC students to get involved with PTK or other organizations. “Being involved with a club or organization enhances your interpersonal skills. You’ll learn how to be a leader by taking on an executive position within that organization,” she says. “Even when you transfer, these leadership skills help you in the job market and in graduate school.”
As a PTK officer, Cepeda worked directly with the advisors, and other officers, to organize volunteer initiatives, such as book sales and movie nights, and encouraged non-members to learn more about PTK.
“Organizations like PTK truly give you real world experience in dealing with a board and interacting with people from different cultures,” she says. “I gave presentations and speeches as a PTK officer. I oftentimes tell other students to practice here at BMCC. Practice being a leader now and not when you transfer or start working—it will be harder.”
Being financially powered
When she’s not at Baruch, or interacting with the friends she still has at BMCC, Cepeda is hard at work on her Web site, financiallypowered.com. "The economic collapse prompted me to make a site like this available," says Cepeda. "It's still in its developmental stages."
Cepeda, who is no longer working in real estate, wants her Web site to help individuals “gain a foothold on their finances.”
“Through Financially Powered, I want to use the knowledge I learned in the field, and my interpersonal skills, to help individuals realize that being financially powered is more than just having money in the bank,” she explains. “I want to help people with their financial plans.”
According to Cepeda, her site will provide information about the economy, business law, real estate, financial planning and self-improvement. Within the next few months, the BMCC community can expect to see articles about jobs, tuition and education and even finance-related crossword puzzles on Cepeda’s Web site, along with informative podcasts and videos.
Giving back to BMCC
Cepeda views her Web site as a means of giving back to the college she loved. “I’m definitely thinking about reaching out to BMCC faculty to submit articles in reference to certain subjects to help others better understand, better grasp, the subject at hand,” says the aspiring financial planner.
“It’s always good to come back to the institution that provided you with a foundation. BMCC has some quality professors,” says Cepeda, who hopes to someday teach at BMCC. “I found the college’s support system was excellent; and I have a special, soft place in my heart for BMCC.”