In addition to being students at Schenectady High School, Ny’Asia Rogers and Nick Kopczynski are both college students as well. While they’ve been enjoying their summer vacations, they have both been very focused on academics, coming to campus since June, taking college level courses, and earning college credits while they are still in high school.
Ny’Asia Rogers started taking college courses last year before she entered ninth grade, earning credits in psychology and First Year Success Seminar through the Schenectady Smart Transfer Early College High School Program. She has some important people in her life who look up to her every step of the way. “I have five younger brothers, my sisters, and younger cousins and I want to set a good example for them,” Ny’Asia said.
This summer, as she prepares for 10th grade at the high school, Ny’Asia is taking Western Civilization and College Transition on the SUNY Schenectady campus. “I like to challenge myself and be able to explore new things,” she said. “I knew this program could help me get an associate’s degree by the time I also get my high school diploma, and that financially it would be a big help.”
This year, she would like to join the American Sign Language (ASL) Club. After high school and earning her associate’s degree, Ny’Asia plans to go on for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science, followed by her Ph.D. “I have always loved science my whole life,” she said. “I like the fact that it’s hands-on and I can actually see the result for myself.”
Schenectady Smart Transfer Early College High School is a grant-funded program which allows high school students to earn associate’s degrees at the same time they are earning their high school diplomas. Students then transfer to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Funded by the New York State Education Department, Smart Transfer is a partnership among SUNY Schenectady, University at Albany, SUNY Delhi and Schenectady High School.
When Nick Kopczynski enters Schenectady High School as a ninth-grader this fall, he will already have earned one college credit. As a Smart Scholar, Nick is on campus this summer taking First Year Success Seminar, learning about information literacy techniques, technology, and learning strategies. It’s his first summer in the Schenectady Smart Scholars Early College High School Program and he has really enjoyed it.
“This summer at SUNY Schenectady in Smart Scholars was the most comfortable experience,” said Nick, who graduated in June from Mont Pleasant Middle School. “The staff really enjoyed our presence on campus and the instructors were willing to give us a helping hand. This program is going to be the start to a long road of education in my life. I thought it would be a great way to start earning college credits.”
Next summer, he will be back on campus taking more courses with the goal of earning a minimum of 24 credits before he graduates from high school. Nick plans to then pursue a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity with the goal of one day working for the CIA. The support of his family has made a big difference. “I’m the one in my family who knows about coding and computers and if I continue, I can change the world probably,” he explained. “I’m the helping hand in my family and they told me that I could do something with technology. I get my inspiration from my parents and my family.”
Schenectady Smart Scholars Early College High School is a partnership among SUNY Schenectady and Schenectady High School (SHS) with the intent to establish a collaborative learning and teaching environment for incoming ninth graders to increase high school graduation rates and address needs of students from populations traditionally underrepresented in college. The goal of the program is to have each student graduate from high school with a Regents Diploma and successfully transition into college with at least 24 credit hours earned and transferred.