Student in Trinidad and Tobago Earns Online Degree from Genesee Community College

When Genesee Community College graduate, Kelly Caracciolo walks across the stage to collect her diploma in May 2010 it will be her first time setting foot on campus. Kelly is a Distance Learning student from Trinidad and Tobago, who has earned a degree from Genesee completely online. Kelly recently finished a Business Administration degree in August 2009 and will attend commencement in May with her family.
Kelly, who is no stranger to the United States, has family in Brooklyn and has visited the U.S. many times throughout her childhood. She knew she wanted to earn a degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) education system, and was referred to Genesee by the international student advisor at SUNY Plattsburg for efficiency, low cost and convenient scheduling opportunities. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration and someday hopes to enroll in a management program at a local university in Trinidad to continue her education.
Kelly, 25, is from the Borough of Arima on the island of Trinidad, the southernmost island in the Caribbean. The birthplace of the Steelpan musical instrument and the Limbo dance, Trinidad is a fusion of many different cultures including Spanish, French, Indian and African. She lives in the same house she and her mother both grew up in, which boasts many family memories of island living.
Kelly works as an administrative assistant at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, and originally found that balancing work with academic studies was challenging. “It was a lot of work,” Kelly noted. “But all worth it in the end. I believe the whole process has made me a more independent person.”
Kelly will graduate as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and with a 3.81 G.P.A. She was also on the part-time student Dean's List for the duration of her enrollment at Genesee. She found that online classes were, in the beginning, difficult to get accustomed to, but she gradually began to love the opportunity and believes the classes made her more independent. She found comfort in the fact that the instructors were just an email away. Her favorite course was BUS 214-Management Principles because it covered all aspects of the Business curriculum, which she readily applies to her professional interests and long-range career plans.
Kelly’s dream job would be to manage a hotel or resort. She is passionate about proper customer service and hopes to one day provide this to customers on a daily basis as they visit her island nation.
“I am so glad that I found Genesee Community College, and I am very grateful to the Distance Learning staff,” Kelly stated in an email correspondence. “They gave me the opportunity to get started on my career. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the courses were challenging, yet enjoyable.”
Kelly enjoys sports, especially watching and playing tennis, working out, billiards, and an occasional high energy spinning class at the local gym. She also loves a good movie with friends, and of course, listening and dancing to native island music at local dance clubs.
With the success of students like Kelly, Genesee is expanding both course and degree earning options of its Distance Learning program. In fall 2009, 85 online courses were offered, and in the spring 2010 semester 108 online courses are available. For further information about completing a degree at Genesee via Distance Learning, please visit or contact Judith Littlejohn, Distance Learning advisor at 585-343-0055 x6158.

Editor’s Note: A photograph of Kelly Caracciolo is available at