PROFILE: JOSEPH SKEETE
May 5, 2004
Skeete will graduate from New York City College of Technology (in Brooklyn) on June 3 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. He is on the dean's list and is president of the Student Support Services Club, which is made up of students with disabilities.
Through the Office of the Dean of Student Activities, Skeete mentors other students in computer science, math and English. In 2001, he was the recipient of a CUNY Leadership Award for College Community Activities and Academic Excellence.
Skeete is 61 and a native of Guyana. He served as a captain in the Guyanese Merchant Marine and later as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps of the Guyana Defense Force. During a military exercise, a diving accident fractured his spinal column and left him a quadriplegic at 26. Skeete spent four years in Brazil for medical treatment. When he was 51, he moved to Brooklyn to stay with relatives. He lives in St. Albans.
"A science professor once told me that what he admired most about me was the fact that I was able to complete the exercise. ... He admired my courage and determination to go through the whole program."
"My plan is to go do a master's program and I'm toying with the idea of doing a master's in forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice or Downstate [SUNY Health Science Center] in Brooklyn, which is offering a program that is relatively new, a master's of science in informatics, which combines computer technology with the medical profession."
"It started way back when my doctors first told me that it was not what I had lost that matters, but what I have left, and to make the most of it. That has been the driving force behind all my achievements to this day. Many people call it faith, but I call it guts, grit and determination."