Today and tomorrow –- Feb. 1 and 2 –- supporters of CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program) are taking part in advocacy days to request the state to increase investment in this valuable program.

CSTEP successfully relaunched a five-year cycle through 2025 on the Oswego campus in 2020, and includes around 100 students in the program that helps underrepresented and/or economically disadvantaged students thrive in STEM or professional licensure fields.

An annual grant of nearly $200,000 supports a range of student benefits including a supportive community, mentoring, research experience, tutoring, connections with professional and graduate opportunities, help with graduate entrance exams and more.

Given the impact of the program, CSTEP participants throughout the state are sharing their stories on social media and meeting with legislators to ask for additional funding so they can provide access to more students. 

Since its foundation in 1986, CSTEP has graduated nearly 34,000 students. Most of those alumni continue to live in New York state in high-paying STEM, health and licensed fields, showing the investment is worth it, advocates said.

Success stories

Student success stories are already emerging with the program’s return, as participants appreciate the impact the program has on their future.

Alexis Rideout, a junior biochemistry major from Rochester, plans to either become a physician's assistant or complete a master's in biochemistry. "CSTEP has helped me to narrow down my options and hear from guest speakers who made me feel more confident in my choices for my future," said Rideout, who noted the beauty of the campus and academic programs first made her want to attend Oswego.

"When I learned about CSTEP, I joined because I saw how many amazing opportunities it had to offer for students," Rideout noted. "I am so glad I am a part of CSTEP because I have met other students with similar goals to mine, and learned more about options for my future after SUNY Oswego. Also, CSTEP has helped me gain confidence with leadership opportunities like Peer Mentoring, helping me get a research position on campus and becoming a tutor for both the CSTEP office as well as the Learning Services office. Overall CSTEP has helped me stay motivated and feel more connected to my campus community and I am very grateful for this opportunity." 

Nancy G. Robles, a junior zoology major from Newburgh, transferred to Oswego knowing this was the only state school with that major, and CSTEP’s restart dovetailed perfectly. Robles’ future goals include becoming a wildlife veterinarian and working in an animal rehabilitation facility. 

CSTEP helped me both financially and academically by motivating me to work harder and helping me get the books I needed for all my classes,” Robles said. “At SUNY Oswego, CSTEP continues to push me harder in order to achieve my goals and I am very grateful such a program like this exists.”

“While at SUNY Oswego, I have joined CSTEP and the program has provided me with support and opportunities to achieve my educational as well as future career goals,” said Johnson Liu, a junior computer science major from Brooklyn whose potential plans include graduate school or becoming a software engineer.

Coming to Oswego “has given me the opportunity to leave my hometown and explore a new place with new people,” Liu said. “Also, the university offers a great computer science program and a lovely campus right by Lake Ontario.”

Providing opportunities

Maria Belen Salinas, a senior biology major from Staten Island, values CSTEP support such as graduate school preparation, stipends and mentoring. Salinas plans to go on for a master’s degree, and perhaps a doctorate, on the way to becoming a biomedical researcher, and attending Oswego and participating in CSTEP are paving the way.

“I chose to attend SUNY Oswego because of the array of opportunities available,” Salinas said. “There are many clubs, programs and projects to become involved in on campus. For instance, as a biology major, I have had the opportunity to participate in research projects held by the biological sciences faculty, and many other departments provide such experiences as well.”

Yakira Jack, a freshman biochemistry major from Brooklyn, chose Oswego because it offers so many resources for science majors while remaining affordable. CSTEP and other programs build onto those resources to support Jack's future interest of becoming a physician's assistant by helping students with financial challenges "explore their interests with top-notch technology and labs," Jack said.

"Along with making being a biochem major more affordable, CSTEP also offered tutoring services and open study hours I will be able to utilize to help with my academic success at SUNY Oswego," Jack said. "In addition, CSTEP internships and shadowing opportunities are easier to access or learn about."

For more information on opportunities available through CSTEP at SUNY Oswego, visit the college’s CSTEP website or email