The Polly Weidenkopf ReserveAid Scholarship
Ann A. '57 & George M. Bantuvanis Scholarship
When you’re a sports fan, you never know where your fascination with numbers and statistics might lead. For Justin Suppes, it led to “a love of math” and eventually to the University at Albany, where he’s working on a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
Suppes, an Arizona native, attended college for a year in Flagstaff before deciding to join the U.S. Navy at age 19. He completed two years of nuclear-propulsion studies in Charleston, S.C. Subsequently, Suppes was stationed in Bremerton, Wash., where he served aboard the U.S.S. Connecticut, a Seawolf-class nuclear-powered submarine, for four years. After re-enlisting, he taught in the nuclear-power program in Ballston Spa, N.Y. He looked into the GI Bill and enrolled at UAlbany as a freshman in Fall 2017.
For Suppes, 31, attending the University as an older student “has been a great experience. I received transfer credit for some of the classes I took in the Navy and for my naval experience, so I’ll graduate in 2020 instead of in ’21.”
Now an electrician’s mate in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Suppes is weighing his career options. “I was going to be a teacher; then I found out about the data-science program. I’m thinking about getting a master’s. My wife, Katherine (Katie) Staulters [M.S.’12], is a teacher in Saratoga Springs and did grad school at UAlbany, so education is big with her,” says Suppes, who cites his Calculus II course with Thomas Peebles as “one of my most memorable classes.”
The Polly Weidenkopf ReserveAid Scholarship supports Suppes’ academic pursuits. He recalls: “The woman I worked for in the veterans’ services office here recommended me for the scholarship. It feels good to be honored for what you’ve done in your life, education, or work. Scholarships are important. College costs a lot of money, and the thought of being in debt for years scares students away. A scholarship reassures you that college is a possibility.”
Suppes, who also received the Ann A. ’57 & George M. Bantuvanis Scholarship from the math department, still visits the veterans’ office to “hang out” with other vets and do homework. A jogger, he enjoys the sports facilities on campus and attends both men’s and women’s Great Danes games. “My father-in-law, Harvey Staulters [B.A.’85; M.A.’88], a teacher in Ballston Spa, graduated from UAlbany,” adds Suppes. “He tells me stories about how he used to run around the loop and do the 5K.