The Robert Kyncl ’95 and Luz Avila Kyncl ’96 STEM Scholarship Fund debuted in 2018 as a new award to offset tuition costs for SUNY New Paltz students in engineering and computer science, with priority given to those from demographic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in those fields.
The award was made possible thanks to a generous gift from its namesakes, alumni Robert Kyncl and Luz Avila Kyncl, who have seen first-hand the shortage of computer scientists and engineers from underrepresented backgrounds in technology fields.
This year’s Kyncl Scholars include:
- Rebecca Borrer ’20 (Computer Science) of Palenville, New York
- Wilfredo de Leon Maldonado ’21 (Mechanical Engineering) of Guatemala
- Amira Shagan ’21 (Electrical Engineering) of Poughkeepsie, New York
- Imani Taylor ’20 (Computer Science)
- Paulina Wiater ’23 (Mechanical Engineering) of Queens, New York
At the fall 2019 Day of Gratitude celebration, these students spoke a bit about what they hope to accomplish in their fields, and why it’s so important to encourage diverse perspectives in science and engineering.
“It is important to encourage everyone to explore different fields and find their passions, not just stick to what might be socially accepted,” Taylor said. “I’ve always wanted to work in nonprofit, but I’m more suited to STEM fields. This is why computer science is perfect – I can use technology to help others around the world.”
“Everyone has something important to bring to the table, but not everyone has equal opportunity to do so,” Shagan said. “This scholarship provides those kinds of opportunities to people who would not normally get the chance, and helps create a level playing field so everyone can share their viewpoint.”
“I think encouraging diverse viewpoints in STEM professions allows bigger problems to be solved,” said de Leon Maldonado. “I’m interested in working on designing next generation renewable energy, or maybe working with an automobile company to design a more efficient engine.”
In addition to creating a scholarship to help offset tuition costs, the Kyncls have also established the Robert Kyncl ’95 and Luz Avila Kyncl ’96 STEM Experiential Learning Fund, which supports once-in-a-lifetime experiential learning opportunities for students in computer science and computer engineering, including undergraduate research, study abroad and industry internships.
For more information about the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, please visit http://www.newpaltz.edu/give/.