INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Former gang member now devoted mentor
The average student would be hard pressed to do half of what Stevenson Andre does in a week.
A product of the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Andre, 21, lost his father at an early age. Though he credits his mother, Margarette, with giving him strong morals and values, he also acknowledges that his childhood was marked by gang affiliation.
“I didn’t come from a perfect life,” he says. “I always wanted to leave my hometown and go to college.”
And college is where Andre has flourished. A senior human development major, Andre is a second-year resident assistant in Hinman’s Smith Hall.
Andre, who says he is familiar with limited resources, has made a point of taking every advantage Binghamton offers, including those provided by the Educational Opportunity Program.
He works seven jobs, including positions with Safe Ride, the University Call Center and two separate posts as event security. He’s also a manager-in-training at Finish Line at the Oakdale Mall.
Susie Regan, resident director of Smith Hall, once told him to “cut it back.” But after he received a 3.5 GPA, she recanted.
“Everyone who knows me knows that if I’m not in class, I’m working,” Andre says.
Perhaps the position he seems most dedicated to is mentoring students at Binghamton High School.
Andre has deep ties in this field. He helped to develop the Supporting Learning and Growing Program, which brings at-risk youth from Washington Heights to the University, and he spends his summers as a senior counselor at a Brooklyn child-care agency.
“Stevenson is an example of how students can also be educators,” Regan says. “I have no doubt that he will one day change the world.”
He will start by studying for a master’s degree in social work at Columbia University in the fall.
“I can get up every day saying I made a difference,” Andre says. “If you touch one, you’ve done something.”