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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Student Profile: Daniel Totong

    Coming to college means a lot of things for many different students. Indeed, Stony Brook University provides more than just a higher education, and for 23 year-old Daniel Totong, SBU has offered him plenty for the past six years. The Mechanical Engineering major and Business Management minor student has found his niche within the campus community, serving the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Inc. (SHPE) as past Public Relations Representative, President, and currently, the Undergraduate Student Advisor.

    Totong, now in his last semester at SBU, initially wanted to become a US Navy fighter pilot but decided to pursue mechanical engineering in high school after working as a self-employed mechanic, detailing and maintaining various cars, trucks, and vans. He was accepted into the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) as a freshman and in 2002, when he was a sophomore, Totong began to explore SBU’s chapter of SHPE, Inc., the national organization that is ‘the leading social-technical organization whose primary function is to enhance and achieve the potential of Hispanics in engineering, math and science’ (shpe.org).

    Soon thereafter, in 2003, he became SHPE’s Public Relations Representative, promoting the chapter’s objectives and recruiting members to take active roles within SHPE’s aims to advance professional, leadership, academic, chapter, and community outreach development. In conjunction with the Career Center, SHPE works with students on resume improvement and also provides mentoring and extensive networking opportunities with various companies and organizations.

    In addition to his dedication to SHPE, Totong is the 2006-2007 Committee Chairperson of CEAS’s Engineering Ball. Balancing venue placement with catering plans, ticket and sales promotion and fundraising as well as marketing efforts, Totong and the E-Ball Committee are holding the annual event on Sunday, April 15 at The Watermill in Smithtown off Route 347. The E-Ball, which has been compared to a college prom of sorts, gives students the chance to network with faculty, professionals, alumni, other students, and corporate representatives. The tentative date for ticket sales is Monday, March 19. Additional information on the E-Ball is available at the event website: http://sbcs-acm.com/engball/. Totong’s work with the E-Ball extends from being the Chair of the Fashion Show of the Etiquette Dinner Committee last year, an event hosted by the Career Center ‘designed for students to acquire the social and networking skills necessary for success in the corporate and professional world.’

    With an extensive resume packed with leadership skills and plenty of work experience with such businesses as Roper Aero Industries, J.C. Broderick & Associates, and Bogner Industries, Daniel Totong is still quick to acknowledge all the help he is grateful to have found. SHPE’s past executive board members such as former President Alexis Simeonidis have shown him the ropes and influenced his own management within the club. ‘I didn’t think I could get up and talk to people in that way,’ Totong said of his initial reaction to Simeonidis’ confidence.

    It was not long until Totong found his own self-confidence, and started to develop himself. Having been guided by SHPE leaders himself, Totong continues to help current SHPE members. ‘You can get up and speak and influence younger people. That’s what I’m here for,’ he said. He credits many other people in his life who have done much for him, including Career Center Director Marianna Savoca who helped him ‘more than she probably realizes,’ his current boss and mentor, John Roper of Roper Aero Industries, and his girlfriend, Cindy Leiton, who both inspires and encourages him to accomplish all the goals he sets for himself.

    Totong, who has come this far, plans to pursue sales after graduation. After graduation however, SBU will not be far from Totong’s mind, for he wants to give back to the school, which has offered him much. Ten years from now, at age 33, Totong hopes to be financially successful, to not have to depend on a salary, and possibly own a couple of businesses. ‘I love risk. High risk, high reward – it’s the story of my life,’ remarked Totong. ‘I’m just another guy. I’m not Superman. I’m not special. There’s nothing that I do that you can’t do.’ His advice? ‘Just put your mind and heart to it and do it. You’re going to run into obstacles, road blocks, red tape, or politics, and it’s a matter of working the situation and accomplishing your goals.’

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