What our world needs

The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) at Fulton-Montgomery Community College is like a family to our 120 students. CSTEP is a grant funded New York state program that helps to increase the number of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students pursuing careers leading to professional licensure or professions in mathematics, science, technology and health-related fields.

CSTEP members enjoy many benefits. On our campus, we offer two lab spaces that provide two professional tutors, a quiet place to study and educational resources. This not only helps students socially, but also helps them be inspired and discover their potential. Tom Simek is one of our professional tutors. Tom tutors all topics in the fields of math and science.

He states, “Our lab is very social, yet conversations are based around scholarly topics. Our students come from various backgrounds, ages and experiences, yet work together as a team and are united over the commonality of taking STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math — courses.”

While the CSTEP program focus is on STEM courses, we understand the importance of studying the Humanities to develop a well-rounded education. Victor Preuninger is CSTEP’s lab coordinator and Humanities tutor.

Victor says, “I see CSTEP as a thinking community where students come to learn and apply fact based learning, not just to their courses, but to life experiences.”

The students are able to come to the lab space to tutor, study, socialize and grab a snack.

Jenyah Patrick is a second year CSTEP student who is pursuing a career in Nursing. Jenyah is a 20-year old “traditional” aged student from New York, NY.

“Two years ago I joined CSTEP and it has helped me to achieve my goals and meet new people with similar aspirations and dreams,” Jenyah said. “If it wasn’t for CSTEP, I don’t know where I would be. They educate us on how all of our fields of study connect and how to stay motivated. I am thankful for our tutors, Tom and Victor, every day.”

Another student that has benefited from CSTEP is Danielle Sowle. Danielle is a 35-year-old, returning adult, mother of two from Mayfield.

In her first year here at FM, she is working on her prerequisites for a degree in radiologic technology.

“I am able to get help from fellow students and the tutors. I had an extra credit project for chemistry and was able to brainstorm topics with students and tutors,” she said. “We came up with a really great idea. I am able to get to know people and create bonds that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Everyone is supportive and helps you stay motivated. It’s like I have my own cheer squad.”

There are so many benefits to taking advantage of programs like CSTEP and the many other supportive grants and programs that Fulton- Montgomery Community College offers. CSTEP provides these additional resources to students from all walks of life including returning adult students, “traditional” aged students, and students of various backgrounds. The common thread that Tom, Danielle and Jenyah mentioned is that our world needs more places like CSTEP where people from all walks of life get to have scholarly conversations and become friends.

This article was written by Michelle Moore, CSTEP academic advisor at FM.