“I’m always asked how I heard about Nyack.
I didn’t find it through the internet. I didn’t hear about it through an ad.
I didn’t hear about Nyack through a friend.
Unfortunately and fortunately, I learned about Nyack in prison.”
-Steve Sanchez, Nyack College alumnus
How valuable is a second chance? To Steve Sanchez, a second chance meant a fresh start after facing a sentence of 18 years to life in prison.
At Fishkill Correctional Facility, Nyack College offers the Associate in Arts and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with two concentrations. Today, 85 men are in one of those programs. Before a parole board granted his release in October 2019, Steve was one of these students who earned an AA.
After continuing his studies in person at our Battery Park campus in 2020, Steve received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude with a 3.9 GPA in interdisciplinary studies. His story gets even better. In the 2022-2023 academic year, he will begin his staff role as a Success Advisor in Nyack’s Advisement Center, which is responsible for fostering student retention, facilitating an increase in student GPAs and raising graduation rates.
Steven is just one example of why Nyack has championed the cause of prison education for more than two decades. While New York State has a 40% recidivism rate, Nyack College has 0%. None of our graduates have returned to prison. All have taken their second chances and made a fresh start. This is the power of a transformative Nyack College education anchored in Christian values. (View Steven’s testimony)
Dr. Nathaniel Perez, an Alliance Theological Seminary professor and the director of Nyack’s Center for Racial Reconciliation, is an ambassador of second chances at Fishkill. “I consider every opportunity to serve there to be the highlight of my week. I often reflect on Jesus’ message in Matthew 25:35-40: ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for Me.’ Each time I go to Fishkill, I am reminded that this is the work of advancing the Kingdom of God and I take it seriously because each one of those men matter to Jesus.”
Steve Sanchez’s second chance gets even better: This fall, he will start his new job as a Success Advisor on the staff of Nyack’s Advisement Center!