Rose Mary Algerio, 35 year-old BMCC Student Makes it out of the “Cave”

May 25, 2007
Why I selected BMCC
The Faculty are Caring
I enjoy evening classes
Upward mobility with a degree
What does a degree mean to me
How I can influence my son

Rose Mary Algerio is a staff auditor at the Office of the Auditor General in New York City’s Department of Transportation. She also is an Accounting major at BMCC and takes classes in the evening, expecting to graduate in the fall of 2008.

In her English 101 essay, Rose Mary Algerio compares her life with that of Plato’s prisoners of the cave and in her paper writes, “I was able to make a real life and would have missed many things if it had not been for the trials and tribulations I have gone through. I have truly gotten out of the cave. BMCC has been my way out.”

In one way, Rosey’s would agree with the late, great, German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), who might have told Rosey that her life was much like those “men firmly chained in a dark cave, who see neither the genuine original light nor actual things… Yet they imagine that the shadows are the reality, and that determining the succession of these shadows is true wisdom.”

At 17 Rose Mary Meets the World of Work as a Mother
As she writes in third person, “Rose Mary became a mother at the age of 17 and was not able to attend college straight out of high school; she went straight to work to support her son. Rose Mary worked very hard to make sure that she would not be another statistic in the City. She went into the private sector of the work force for about seven years. In 1997, Rose Mary was assigned to the New York City Department of Transportation – Staten Island Ferry Division through the Work Experience Program.”

The Fatal 2003 New York City Ferry Accident Leads to Job Change
“One terrible day back in 2003, there was an accident that killed 11 passengers and changed her world and career forever. In 2004, the city and federal government made a choice that would affect many of us. Ferry personnel were fired and/or transferred from the Staten Island Ferry, including her immediate supervisor, who was transferred. In a matter of six years, Rose Mary not only lost her biological parents (her father died of lung cancer and her mother passed away from a heart attack), but was also slowly losing her second family. “

“By December 2004, Rose Mary was transferred out of the Staten Island Ferry and was reassigned to the Office of the Auditor General within the Department of Transportation. When Rose Mary started working at the new unit she felt frightened and alone. She was now out of her familiar surroundings and put into a position where she had no clue how to do the work. Over time Rose Mary adjusted to her new surroundings and is enjoying working with her new colleagues.”

“Rose Mary was sitting and thinking about her life and how wanted to move up the ladder at work. That’s when she decided to enroll at BMCC and pursue a degree in Accounting.”

A College Degree at BMCC is the Way Up and Out
According Rose Mary in an interview with BMCC’s Office of Public Affairs, she realized that without a college education there was no room for upward mobility. With the support of her colleagues, she started to work toward her degree. She said, “When I get my degree in the fall of 2008 I’ll be able to pursue another position in the department, perhaps Principal Administrative Assistant and/or Accountant. Moreover, I’ll be eligible for merit raises more easily.”

Rose Mary was candid about what a college degree at BMCC will do for her. “A College education,” she said, “opens new possibilities for me. It means so much.”

She added that the going to college in the evening was both convenient and more appropriate for her. “I have a lot in common with many people who go in the evening. They seem more focused.” In addition, she has high praise for the BMCC faculty who she characterizes as “caring, reliable, and always available to see me in their offices.” Rose Mary likes to quote her father when she talks about her education at BMCC. He once said, “Strive for perfection and never settle for mediocrity.”

Rose Mary’s Influence on Her Son
Rose Mary’s son, who is 17, wants to get out into the world of work, much like his mother did. Rose Mary supports his decision but wants him to understand that he can do both, go to work and get a higher education. She is hopeful that her example will have a positive impact on him.

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