Oniel Cross, '04, came to the United States from Jamaica when he was 19 to attend college and launch his professional career. With plans to study computers and the goal of working in cybersecurity, Cross looked at several schools before selecting Farmingdale State College. Among his criteria: a school that would allow him to work full time, finish his courses quickly, and study with top-notch professors. FSC fit the bill perfectly, and he enrolled in 2000.
Cross graduated with a B.S. in Computer Security, a member of one of the first graduating classes to complete the program. He especially credits the foresight and vision of Professor John Kostanoski at the Center for Criminal Justice Studies, who Cross noted “was way ahead of his time in his thinking about cybersecurity.”
After FSC, Cross spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq, working in computer networks and IT infrastructure capacity development for the government during conﬂicts in the Middle East, then relocated to Washington, DC. While working in the Beltway, he earned a reputation as someone who was results-driven, and after some time he landed an opportunity with Deloitte in 2010. Deloitte, one of the top four consulting firms globally, provides audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world's largest brands.
Hired as a manager and having risen to the rank of principal, Cross now wants others from FSC to have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. He learned a lot of lessons at the College, but one question stuck with him above all others: “What’s your source?”
“During my freshman year at FSC, I took a comparative history course with former Professor Paul Lovizio. One day, after I handed in my paper, he stopped me in my tracks and challenged me on how I drew my conclusions. It’s true, I hadn’t done much research—I think I only cited one "New York Times" article.
“Lovizio taught me to slow down, analyze the authors’ goals, and explore whether or not information could be manipulated.”
Today, Cross applies this inquiry about trusted sources every day in his work as a principal in Deloitte’s public sector technology practice.
“Now I channel Professor Lovizio when I ask my team, ‘Where did this data come from? Did you ask the right questions? Were they leading or open-ended?' In life, I tell them, we have to look at the angle from which information is coming and draw insights about its origin and purpose.”
Cross says it’s no secret that in the past, big firms like Deloitte traditionally mined talent from Ivy League universities. That’s changing, and Cross wants FSC to become a feeder school.
“I would argue to anyone that FSC has the best students and professors of just about any school, and its diversity is a major asset,” he said.
Based on Cross's suggestion, Deloitte has developed a new relationship with the College and has recently recruited several talented students for internships and full-time roles through the Nexus Center for Applied Learning and Career Development.
Deloitte is currently looking for students with cyber and IT skill sets, as well as those majoring in Environmental Science, Accounting, and Business. Deloitte receives more than 150,000 job applications annually, and Cross stressed that FSC alumni have, like him, demonstrated that they’re primed and ready to compete.