In the Comfort Zone

Corning Community College has always been a part of Associate Professor Sky Moss’ life. His brother graduated from CCC. He took classes here. And, as a young professional, the College allowed him to test a new profession. After years of working in the human services field – administering GED tests, managing federal nutrition programs, and building houses for Habitat for Humanity – Associate Professor Moss wanted to test the teaching waters. Hired as an adjunct, he found energy in CCC’s classroom, even after working a full shift at his “day job.”

“Corning Community College first represented career opportunity for me,” said Moss, who also considered a career in the legal field. “It grew into a better understanding of what was possible and eventually transitioned into a level of comfort that just feels right. This is where I am supposed to be.”

Now a tenured associate professor, his sentiment is fully endorsed by students. They consistently share through anonymous class evaluations that his class is one of the reasons they climb the hill, despite the fact that Associate Professor Moss teaches history.

“History has some pretty dogmatic baggage,” said Associate Professor Moss. “Few are predisposed to liking history. I am one of them. The challenge of helping those who may bring a phobia of history to class is exciting.”

Associate Professor Moss conveys his enthusiasm for the subject matter in a variety of ways, sharing that he considers himself a bit of a Griot, a West African story-teller. Shaping his stories with anecdotes that are so outrageous they would be impossible to fabricate, he weaves unexplored angles about identities – age, racial, gender, and national – into the fabric of his narrative.

“We all possess multiple identities,” said Moss, who believes in goodness, second chances, and equal access to opportunity. “Once you understand that and find them, history becomes far more compelling.”

The ultimate compulsion, though, would be to experience historical events personally. If Moss could have witnessed any moment in time, he would like to have seen the faces on the Secret Service agents and Tuskegee instructors when Eleanor Roosevelt insisted a black pilot take her on a flight during her survey of the black pilot program during World War II.

It’s likely a similar expression Moss makes when he does the laundry, a chore he finds tedious and never-ending. Food, though, is a different story; he enjoys cooking. Although he avoids tree stands, he is a proud ground hunter and is most joyful when casting a line or hunting ducks.