Teachers and students of the STEM-based Proyecto Access STEP (Science and Technology Entry Program)

Students in Eugenio María de Hostos Community College’s highly successful STEM-based Proyecto Access STEP (Science and Technology Entry Program) took home a third-place prize from the 16th Annual STEP Statewide Student Conference.

Of the six Hostos students at the conference, the three who gave a presentation on “Predicting a Knuckleball” - David Koffi (11th Grade), Amanda Turcios (9th Grade), and Bethuel Yebouet (9th Grade) - won the prize in the Physical Science category. Their mentors—Dr. Moise Koffi, Mr. Grahman Hill, and Ms. Marie Balo Lou—were very proud of the team’s accomplishments.

“Beyond the entertainment aspect of breaking down a knuckleball, these Hostos STEP students really learned the science behind the pitch,” Koffi said.

Throughout the fall and spring semesters, middle and high schools students from the vicinity of Hostos worked on challenging research projects to present at this prestigious conference, which was held in Albany from March 28th to the 30th.  Attendees included 396 students, 232 administrators, and numerous staff members, counselors, parents, and professionals from 48 institutions of higher education.

About Proyecto Access STEP
In 1996, in response to the decline of freshman engineering enrollment among minority students, NASA funded the Proyecto Access New York Pre-Freshman Engineering program (NYPREP). The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) developed the project in conjunction with eight institutions of higher learning. Now operating in nine cities, the program recruits high achieving middle and high school students and enrolls them in a rigorous summer curriculum of pre-engineering, problem solving, logic, computer science, algebraic structures, physics, and internet technologies.

The program is designed to identify social and economically disadvantaged middle and high school students with the potential to become scientists or engineers and provide them with academic enrichment and reinforcement in the pursuit of these fields. Proyecto Access STEP is a year-round program with an intensive seven-week summer session that reinforces the development of students’ abstract reasoning and problem solving skills. It provides a rigorous, engaging, high quality education to all its participants. The program places particular emphasis on learner-centered instruction, technology uses in classroom, and preparation of students for their transition from school to the high technology workplace. Proyecto Access encourages the participation of high achieving women and minority students so that they will continue their studies through college graduation with majors in science, engineering, and other mathematics-based disciplines.

Proyecto Access at Hostos is headed by Dr. Moise Koffi.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.

Hostos offers 29 associate degree programs and five certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.