Michael Molina, director of CSTEP and STEP at Fordham, recently received the University’s Sursum Corda award. Photo by Patrick Verel
Michael Molina, director of CSTEP and STEP at Fordham, recently received the University’s Sursum Corda award.
Photo by Patrick Verel

Who he is
Director of Fordham CSTEP (Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program) and STEP (Science & Technology Entry Program)

What he does
We administer the STEP program, which is the pre-college program at Rose Hill, and a new one at Lincoln Center that’s about three years old. We also administer the CSTEP program, which is the undergraduate program. The purpose of both is to address the preparation of minority students, and particularly blacks and Latinos, in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), health, and licensed fields.

What he likes best about the job
Working with students, seeing them come in as wide-eyed freshmen and leave as accomplished young men and women. It’s quite a transformation, and it’s wonderful to see every four years.

What it means to be awarded the Sursum Corda award at the March 3 Convocation. (See story Fordham’s Most Loyal Celebrated at Convocation)
I view it as recognition for the work we do. I have a great staff of eight people who are absolutely phenomenal. They keep me young; they’re really smart, and they’re great with the students. I do appreciate the recognition; it’s very flattering. And the fact that Father McShane was there—he’s someone I really have a lot of regard for and he really shares our vision.

His background
I’m a born-and-bred Puerto Rican New Yorker. I grew up in the Jefferson projects in East Harlem and was the first person in my family to go to college, so I’ve had a blessed life. I’ve lived in New Providence, N. J., for the last 16 years. After living in New York all my life, it’s an interesting change. Suburban living is great—except for the commuting.

What he does for fun
I’m a Tito Puente fanatic. I like all the new jazz musicians too; I just heard Russell Malone at Shanghai Jazz in Madison, N.J., and got to meet him and have a picture taken with him. I love going to Jazz at Lincoln Center; I’ve seen Eddie Palmieri, Joey DeFrancesco. I don’t play though; I’m a frustrated musician. I just bang drums on the counter when I get really excited.

His family
I have a great family that allows me be here late many nights and go to conferences and events that take time away from them. I’ve been married to my wife, Ada, who’s chief clerk of the criminal court in Staten Island, for 30 years, and I have two daughters: Laura, FCRH ’08, and Sandy.

Why he has stayed at Fordham for 27 years
I grew up during the civil rights movement and saw history taking place. I was a young man in high school and college when Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and all these others who brought about change were alive and actively involved in the struggle to make the United States the place it is today. I guess, being a child of that period, this kind of work is consistent with who I am and what my values are.


Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.