Queensborough Grad Finds Niche in Helping Student Veterans Overcome Math Anxiety

Published: September 23, 2019

Former marine and Queensborough grad Shaneen Festus, '17, knows what it's like to feel overwhelmed by college after active duty.

“I remember how stressed I was about everything and how people in the Veterans Office helped me learn to laugh and relax more.”

Shaneen enrolled at Queensborough in the fall of 2016 and immediately sought out the Office of Military and Veterans Services where she received support from one-on-one advisement to assistance with benefits and more. Before long she made lasting friendships and was hired for a part-time work study position tutoring in her favorite subject, math.

“I love math in all its applications but I realize the subject is famous for tripping up even the best students.”

Shaneen Festus, class of 2017Knowing this and how crucial it is for veterans to feel self-confident in their studies, Shaneen continues to work part-time in the Veterans Office at Queensborough and, in the fall of 2018, was named an official Veteran's Tutor.

Shaneen now carries a full load of credits at Hunter College but always finds time to be 'on call', sometimes spending hours on weekends and on her weeks off to help Queensborough students break through the math anxiety barrier.

“One student failed his first exam and was very discouraged—ready to give up on college. Eventually I convinced him that together we could beat the challenge. I was really proud of his determination. He forged ahead and after many hours of hard work, received a B in the class.”

Shaneen, originally from St. Albans, Queens, attended Delcastle Technical High School in Delaware, where she studied nursing and took advanced math classes for pleasure.

“All of my friends came to me for help in the subject because they knew how much I enjoyed it.”

In her senior year at Delcastle she began weighing her options about the future and decided to join the military.

At Marine Corps base Hawaii, Shaneen heard impressive things about Queensborough from her Education coordinator, who was receiving positive feedback from veterans who had attended the school. After serving her country for five years, Shaneen returned home to major in Health Sciences.

After four semesters, including a summer session, Shaneen received her A.S. degree and transferred to Hunter to study mathematics. She is planning to graduate in the spring of 2020 and pursue an advanced degree in applied mathematics with a concentration in biology. Her aspiration is to use mathematical equations to conduct research on the ways various medications interact with the body.

One day, she hopes to be a professor.

The Office of Military and Veterans Services is happy to welcome veterans to Queensborough, and are grateful for your service to our country. Please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time should you have any questions or concerns at 718-281-5767, email VeteransServices@qcc.cuny.edu. We look forward to assisting you as you transition into our campus community.


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