AC² Community recognizes graduates and celebrates 35th anniversary

The SUNY New Paltz AMP & CSTEP Community (AC²) Program celebrated a landmark anniversary at a joyous annual recognition ceremony, honoring the program’s newest graduates at the close of the spring 2023 semester.    

For 35 years, AC² at SUNY New Paltz has helped economically disadvantaged and traditionally underrepresented students pursue degrees and successful careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, providing not only mentoring and other academic resources, but a genuine sense of community and belonging that can be invaluable for its members. 

“The program has evolved over the years, but the goal of providing our students with the most extensive support possible to successfully complete their desired degree continues to be what drives us,” said AC² Program Director Nancy Campos. 

Students participating in the AC² Community take part in research projects and professional networking opportunities, receive mentorship from faculty and offer the same to fellow students through tutoring programs on campus, all while excelling year after year in the classroom.   

“AC² Program students are prepared, interested in the material we teach, and take their studies seriously,” said School of Science & Engineering Dean Dan Freedman. “We take an enormous amount of pride in this program because we see how successful you all are.” 

Each year, the AC² recognition ceremony serves as a strong demonstration of student and faculty success, with each recognizing the other for their academic and community impact. Students honored outstanding faculty for their ongoing support and a record number of outstanding student scholars were recognized by faculty.  

One of those students was Michael Ezeani ’23 (Biology), who addressed his fellow graduates as the senior speaker.  

As a student, Ezeani represented the AC² Community at this year’s Annual STEP Statewide Student Conference and served as the program’s social media content creator and manager.  

“All the doubts we had in the past, we will look back on how we got through them, and see that as a big accomplishment,” he said. “I’m here today because of the effort, dedication and diligence that everybody here took to support me.” 

Critical to the success of the program and students like Ezeani is Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy Stacie Nunes, who served as Campos’s predecessor in the program director role and received special recognition during the ceremony for her dedication to the AC² Community. 

As the program’s second director, Nunes spearheaded its expansion into providing impactful mentorship and research opportunities by launching the AC² Summer Research Program, a five-week faculty-mentored student research opportunity which inspired New Paltz’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). 

“Continued support from faculty has prepared our science and engineering students for a bright future, and now the world will be in good hands when you take your place in it,” she said. 

About the AC² Community 

Through the course of nearly four decades, New Paltz’s AC² Program–which combines the Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)– has provided academic, financial, and professional supports to more than 850 students from underrepresented backgrounds in achieving science and engineering scholarship. 

During the 2022-23 academic year, they served 125 students in majors across science and engineering, a tremendous growth from where it started with 26 students. 

To learn more about the opportunities AC² offers students each year, follow them on Instagram @ampcstepnp.