The Next STEP: Science and Technology Entry Program Graduates the Class of 2022

Harvard University, Syracuse University, and Le Moyne College. These are the college destinations of the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) Class of 2022: Michelle Amponsah and Z’nya Grainger, both seniors at Liverpool (NY) High School, and Tahirah Abdul Qadir, a senior at Syracuse Academy of Science High School.

Michelle Amponsah, Z’nya Grainger, Tahirah Abdul Qadir headshots“I am very proud of my scholars. They navigated through many things over the past two years,” says Leonese Nelson G’95, G’04, STEP Program Director. “If I had to use a word, it would be resilience to sum up this time.”

Nelson says the three STEP graduates already have impacted their high schools and communities, with much more to come. “I cannot wait to see their future achievements—such as articles they co-author with professors, changes in nursing practices, internships with prominent companies and labs, and significant research findings. My STEP scholars can do anything they want in life, and I’m happy that Michelle, Z’nya, and Tahirah allowed STEP to be a part of their academic journeys.”

A program of the School of Education’s Center for Academic Achievement and Student Development, STEP provides academic support services and enrichment activities to students in grades 7-12 in Syracuse and surrounding communities.

STEP activities take place on Syracuse University’s campus, with programming paralleling and reinforcing participants’ school coursework, including instruction about computers, math, science, language arts, and culture, as well as preparation for SAT and New York State standardized exams. STEP instructors and tutors are drawn from Syracuse University staff, as well as graduate and undergraduate students.

STEP Class of 2022

Tahirah Abdul Qadir

Advanced Regents Diploma, Syracuse Academy of Science High School
College: Syracuse University (Biology and Entrepreneurship)

Extracurricular Activities

  • Martial Arts (international champion)
  • National Honors Society (Vice President)
  • Congressional Award Program (gold medalist)
  • Upstate New York Girl Up Coalition (Director of Women in Sports)
  • Northside Learning Center (Tutor/Volunteer)
  • African Library Project (book drive organizer)
  • Fight Like A Girl (founder)
  • EMATC Tiny Tigers program (instructor)

Awards and Scholarships

  • Congressional Gold Medal
  • Gold Presidential Service Award
  • Footlocker Scholar Athlete Award
  • Dr. Bridget Lawson Scholarship

Father: El-Java Abdul Qadir
Mother: Sophary Abdul Qadir

Michelle Amponsah

Advanced Regents Diploma, Liverpool High School
College: Harvard University (English and Government)

Extracurricular Activities
  • Student Voice Journalism Fellowship
  • Novel Minority Literary Department Co-Chair
  • Liverpool High School Literary Magazine
  • National Honor Society
  • Symphonic Orchestra

Awards and Scholarships

  • Gold Medal/National Scholastic Awards
  • AP Scholar (with Distinction)
  • YoungArts Honorable Mention
  • College Board BigFuture Ambassador

Father: Bernard Amponsah
Mother: Gloria Amponsah

Z’nya Grainger

Regents Diploma, Liverpool High School
College: Le Moyne College (Nursing)

Extracurricular Activities

  • Dance STEP (UMOJA)

Awards and Scholarships

  • Student of the Month (November 2021)
  • Le Moyne Loyola Scholarship
  • Le Moyne PromiseNY Award
  • Le Moyne Housing Award
  • Cabrini Nursing Scholarship

Mother: Dominique Grainger-Mere