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CSTEP Stands Out at Statewide Conference 

UAlbany had two first place and three honorable mention winners.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 23, 2016) -- Ten students representing the University at Albany CSTEP program recently presented at the 24th Annual CSTEP Statewide Student Conference held at the Sagamore on Lake George. The conference, “Journeys beyond Excellence,” sponsored by the New York State Education Department, featured more than 28 institutions and over 550 participants.

Out of the 28 institutions represented at the conference, the UAlbany CSTEP program took home the most wins, with five UAlbany students taking first place and honorable mention in both oral and poster presentation categories - two first place winners and three honorable mention winners.

Participating students included: Miguel Ramirez, David Bunn, Johanna Buitrago, Sira Faizi, Mary Adeyeye, Deniece Brown, Nega Seyum, Donniecia Corke, Evanna LeRouge, and Jesus A. Frias. CSTEP’s Graduate Assistant Ahlam Abuawad, who was last year’s 1st place winner, served as conference ambassador. Witness the weekend in review.

Students received the following honors:

  • Bunn won first place for an oral presentation in the Natural Sciences Upper Division II category. His research: “Nucleoside Analoga Activated by Adenoaine Kinase for the Treatment of Plasma Cell Malignancies” was overseen by Dr. Ethel Cesarman from Cornell University.
  • Corke won first place in the Biology 2 category for her poster presentation: “Comparative Anti-Inflammation and Anticoagulation Activity among Heparin Sources.” Her faculty mentor was Dr. Shaker Mousa from the Pharmaceutical Research Institute.
  • LeRouge, mentored by Dr. Maria Basanta Sanchez, a UAlbany Life Sciences faculty, received honorable mention in the Biochemistry 2 category for her poster presentation: “Investigation of DNA and RNA Structural Differences Using Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography.”
  • Seyum received honorable mention in the Technology category for his poster presentation: “Engineering an Argon Plasma System for Neutralization of Electrons on Photoresist, under the guidance of Dr. Gregory Denbeaux from SUNY Poly - CNSE.
  • Jesus A. Frias received honorable mention for his poster presentation: “The Role of Transcription Factor AP2ε in the Fate of Vomeronasal Sensory Neurons” in the Biology 3 category. He was mentored by Dr. Paolo Forni, a UAlbany biology professor.

UAlbany CSTEP student, Omar Perdomo, presented his research at the conference in collaboration with the SUNY College of Optometry. In addition, three former UAlbany research participants presented their exceptional research in their respective fields.

Collina Cooke, LMSW and program coordinator for the UAlbany CSTEP program, expressed pride in her students’ accomplishments, “I am elated. The students did an amazing job. I know that they will go on to do great things in the future, whether it will be having their work published, becoming doctors, or designing new scientific technology -- their possibilities are endless.”

Mayra Santiago, interim director of the UAlbany CSTEP, said it would not be possible without the guidance of the dedicated staff members that work hard for their students’ success. “I want to thank all the faculty members and community partners who continue to nurture and strengthen our young scholars. I am extremely excited about the growth and direction of our CSTEP program. The success could not have been achieved without the collaboration of our mentors and their whole-hearted commitment to our students,” she said.

The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) serves underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students going into the STEM fields or any licensed profession. Their mission is to develop leadership in the academic, professional, and social arenas.

UAlbany CSTEP offers free tutoring services for students who qualify, as well as mentoring and guidance from staff and professionals. They also have a book loan program to cut the cost of expenses, and offer students the opportunity to participate in the UASRP (Summer Research Program). The CSTEP office is located beneath the library in the EOP complex.

For more information about the CSTEP Conference or the University at Albany CSTEP program, contact: Collina Cooke or Mayra Santiago.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.