SUNY Oswego recently secured a five-year grant from the New York State Department of Education to support the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), which offers a range of strong support for underrepresented and/or economically disadvantaged students entering STEM or professional licensure fields.

An annual grant of nearly $200,000 through 2025 will support a range of activities to bolster student success in fields that benefit from a well-prepared diverse pool of graduates.

“The program provides mentoring, a supportive community, research experience, strong connections with professional and graduate opportunities, tutoring, help with graduate entrance exams and more,” said Kristin Croyle, dean of Oswego’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Financial, academic and career support for students make this a successful and sought-after program, she added.

CSTEP’s most recent five-year cycle on campus ran through 2015. Mathematics professor Preety Tripathi, who saw students benefit from the program in the previous cycle, serves as lead faculty member and consultant.

“As a faculty member, it’s rewarding to see students blooming and doing so well,” Tripathi said. 

“It ties in with a lot of our institutional priorities, including supporting the success of underrepresented students in STEM and other fields, and in fostering close and beneficial student-faculty connections,” Tripathi added. It also provides the kind of mentoring opportunities, working one-on-one on projects, which can benefit students as well as faculty.

Opening pathways

The program can also help show a lot of students who might not be considering these career paths or the college as a destination “to see Oswego as a possible place they can go and succeed,” Tripathi noted.

“It’s important to show underrepresented students the opportunities available to them,” said Christina Vasquez, who is serving as program advisor. “We need to invite students who might not consider STEM fields and the jobs and opportunities that are available through these programs.”

“The program can help us provide opportunities to more minority students and first-generation students,” Tripathi said. “We have a huge need for teachers, in mathematics for example, from underrepresented groups.”

“Students feel connected with the college and the community when they see themselves represented,” Vasquez said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what professionals we can bring in to show the students what is possible.”

Students also have the opportunity to go to and present at conferences. During CSTEP’s previous cycle, Tripathi said she could see students learning from each other and starting to develop a professional community.

Additional benefits to students include access to CSTEP research stipends, textbook stipends, academic and career counseling, study skills and career preparation workshops, networking opportunities and support for study materials for graduate preparation exams such as the MCAT, LSAT or GRE.

Ultimately, the program also improves the job fields that the students enter by diversifying the professional body. “It literally can help us change the face of some professions, which benefit from the experiences and backgrounds from these students, who have so much to offer,” Croyle said.

To qualify, students must be full-time, New York state residents (at least 12 months), either underrepresented minority or economically disadvantaged, and interested in pursuing a career in a STEM field or a licensed profession (like accounting, teaching or counseling).

Croyle said while they have already seen a healthy interest in the program, with a goal of a first cohort of 110 students, opportunities are still available.

For more information or to apply for the program, visit