ACES: Access and Opportunity in STEM
Through the generosity of supporters, like Rick Roscitt ’73 and Barb and Jim Moraseski ’73 M.S. ’73, Stevens ACES (Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science) continues to expand and enrich opportunities for education and career development in STEM for talented high school students from underserved communities.
Trustee Emeritus Roscitt has endowed a scholarship to support ACES through the Roscitt Family Foundation.
“A STEM education will lift the fortunes of all who receive it,” Rick said. “Unfortunately, the cost of a high-quality college education in STEM is out of reach for many promising students and their families. The ACES program is Stevens’ way of helping and it works.”
The gift is particularly meaningful as it was made in honor of Rick’s parents Joseph and Muriel Roscitt. “While my parents were working-class, middle-income people, they found a way to send me to Stevens, so I could receive a great STEM education,” Roscitt said. “This, in turn, set up my career for success. I received scholarship support from Stevens, but without my parents’ sacrifice, it would not have been possible. I will always be grateful for the support from both my parents and Stevens.”
Through hands-on learning experiences, mentorship and exposure to real-world applications, ACES encourages high school students to consider STEM programs through our pre-college program. For undergraduates at Stevens, ACES offers support, including scholarships, to help them realize their goals and potential.
Humberto Flores ’25, a civil engineering major who participated in ACES, is a recipient of the Roscitt scholarship. The financial support alleviated his need to work while in school and enabled him to join the Latin American Association, Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers and intramural soccer.
“I’ve been able to join clubs that make my college experience all the better,” he said. “The clubs help me to network with my peers and become more well-rounded, while also excelling in my classes and striving for the best in my grades. Without scholarship support, I do not believe I would have been able to further my education. It has given me the perspective to do the same for others when I graduate.”
Seeking to support a university priority, the Moraseskis benefited from advanced summer programs during high school, and those experiences inspired their gift to ACES.
“We knew that having students in high school involved in the sciences and technology would provide them with a ‘head start’ that is so important for those bright students who do not have the opportunity at their high schools,” they said.
Barb participated in computer and calculus summer college programs, while Jim attended three STEM programs. Both later held careers in the Bell System in New York City.
Their gift was also especially meaningful as it was given in memory of beloved Stevens math professor Dr. Charles Suffel. Jim said he excelled more as a programming student than a math student, but when he took Dr. Suffel’s first-year calculus course, he was deeply inspired by his teaching.
“I was not the brightest of calculus students, but his method just clicked with me,” Jim said. “While other students were having trouble with the work, I was able to help them. I thought it would be special to make the gift in his memory.”
“We both hope that more students will be able to participate in the ACES program and have a start on a great education and life,” Barb and Jim said. “It is unfortunate that many bright students are not helped while in high school. Hopefully, ACES will help inspire more students to follow a STEM path.”
ACES launched in 2017 and continues to make a positive impact. In 2018–19, the program began with 26 students in the pre-college program and 206 undergraduate students. By 2022, the number of participants increased 32%, with 95% receiving scholarships to attend a pre-college program. Stevens currently partners with 18 high schools throughout New Jersey and New York in the program. The university is continuing to expand ACES by adding high school partnerships and increasing scholarship support.