Through Adelphi's online degree programs, people like Justin Slionski are able to earn a degree on top of their already busy schedule.
For non-traditional student Justin Slionski ’18, 35, who is juggling a full-time job at ConEdison in Manhattan, a young family in Center Moriches and a two-hour commute, University College’s online program in emergency services administration has been key to his returning to school.
“I’m out of the house about 80 hours a week,” said Slionski, who in March 2016 became a father. “I don’t think I would have been able to do it any other way.”
Having earned an associates degree from Suffolk Community College in 2004, Slionski decided to return to school after getting a job at ConEd in late 2013. “The opportunity to grow within the company appealed to me and got me to go back to college,” he said.
His research of online colleges turned up Adelphi’s Emergency Services Administration program, an area relevant to his work at the electrical department, where he drives a truck and services power connections to buildings. Since enrolling in 2015, he has been diligently using his 80-minute train ride between Ronkonkoma and Manhattan – the longest leg of his commute – to study. “The time that would be wasted on the train I now use to get all my reading done so I can come home and finish my homework.”
So far, Slionski’s efforts have paid off. “I have straight A’s as of right now—the first time in my entire life,” he said.
Slionski was born and raised in Smithtown, NY, and graduated from Smithtown High School in 1999. He took occasional classes at Suffolk Community College while running a landscaping business. But in 2003, his father died. “I promised him that I would finish at least my associate degree,” he said. He returned to school and graduated within one year. “Unfortunately, it took something like that to reassess everything,” he said.
In 2005, Slionski accepted an offer to manage a franchise of the trash removal service 1-800-Got-Junk?. Seven years later, while on leave due to a broken hand, he reevaluated his career. “I was making decent money,” he said, but lacked “future stuff” such as retirement benefits. By then he had a steady girlfriend, Lauren, now his wife. “I was thinking about a future with my wife, starting a family and owning a house.”
Looking to the future led him to accept a job offer from ConEd and take advantage of the benefits they offered. He and Lauren are now married and have a baby girl and Slionski is looking at the certification programs University College offers, and the tuition reimbursement he gets through ConEd, and at a better future for his family.
“ConEd offered benefits that I never had before,” he said. “I want to give my daughter everything that I didn’t have,” he said.