Conroy Parchment graduated from Alfred State in 2001 with an AOS degree in Building Trades: Building Construction  and in 2005 with a BT degree in Construction Management Technology. Today he is a project manager for Rodgers Builders, one of the largest health care construction companies in the nation.
"Don't be afraid to grow. Look for opportunity where you are."
Alfred State totally changed me. I came from one of the worst areas of Brooklyn; I was the oldest of four children of a single mom, and I was very shy.
I attended Alfred State for my associate's degree in construction. Professors invested heavily in me. They stretched my vision. After my first two years, I went for my bachelor's degree, which took another four years. It was a hard decision, but one of the best I ever made.
I joined the Student Senate. That organization taught me how to speak, work with people, delegate, and become a leader. I eventually became Student Senate president and president of the student activities club.
In the real world, you have to excel at making relationships. You need strong people skills to succeed on the job. The professors at Alfred State will tell you straight, "I think you'll do this excellently." Now that I'm out in the real world, I see how valuable it was for my professors to befriend me and teach me so much of what I'd need on the job.
That's why I'm so willing to give back to Alfred State. My adviser is responsible for helping me get the job that I have right now. We still e-mail each other. No one succeeds in a vacuum. Helping everyone around you succeed actually helps you succeed. If a mom or a teacher or a school helps you get to where you want to go, be sure you go back and give your thanks and your help. Alfred is the reason I am who I am today.
My advice for students today?
Take the time to know what you want out of life and out of your school years. Your college experience should help mold you and launch your career like my Alfred State experience did. Take the time to look deeply at your choices. Spend the night there; spend a weekend. Find out about the organizations and the opportunities to develop your leadership skills. Nothing will hold you back [in your career] more than poor leadership.
I had a lot of challenges growing up. But I knew what I wanted out of life and I kept working to overcome the obstacles. I'm glad I stuck it out and didn't give up. I hope that one day my story will inspire somebody else to be the best they can be.