For Marc Stoyer, a reset in life set him on a new path.

“My time at ACC began and coincided with a significant restart in my life. I had just moved to Austin after my failed experiment that was going to school up in Colorado, and, well, I wasn’t entirely sure what I planned to do nor how I was going to do it.”

Marc enrolled part-time at Austin Community College District (ACC) in fall 2021. 

“After my first semester, I reconnected with the love of learning I lost in Colorado. I decided to pursue my associate degree in physics. It’s a subject that’s  had a stranglehold on my heart for as long as I can remember.”

In spring 2023, Marc not only completed his associate degree in Physics — he had also earned a degree in Economics — all while working a full-time job.

“Pursuing this love would be anything but easy. At one point, I would get done working a 10-hour day carrying solar panels around atop the Tesla Gigafactory in the middle of July, hop into my car still covered in dirt and sweat, still equipped with my high-visibility vest and steel-toed boots, and drive 45 minutes north to the Round Rock campus so I could take a calculus test. The work has without a doubt paid off.”

Over the winter break, Marc will pack up and head more than 1,700 miles north to New York, where he will attend Columbia University to work toward his bachelor’s degree in Physics. 

“I want to thank my Economics Professor, Dr. Lei Ji, for pushing me to reach for the stars and apply to Columbia University. I had toyed with the idea, but after receiving my first B in Calculus III, I figured I didn’t have what it would take. It is bittersweet to be transferring. I have fallen in love with Austin and have grown relatively deep roots within ACC. The excitement I felt when I read that I was accepted into Columbia speaks for itself.”

For Marc, the community at ACC helped him push forward. He joined the Honors program and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). He earned a PTK scholarship to help pay for his schooling at Columbia University. 

“I met amazing people through these programs. These people will continue to cheer me on in my endeavors.”

That community at ACC is what Marc says helped him reach this goal.

“My first semester of engineering physics, I remember hunkering down at the Highland Campus ACCelerator with a handful of other classmates all chugging along, sporadically writing on the whiteboard, scribbling notes, or rapidly typing code on their computers. We were all different in a million ways but working together to overcome the same obstacles.”

For those looking to transfer, Marc shares some advice.

“My transfer process was remarkably smooth. However, I recommend that students apply to far more schools than I did and not wait until the last minute.”

Marc also wanted to acknowledge the following people:

  • Professor Lei Ji, thank you for pushing me, and helping me achieve my goals, as a mentor and professor alike!
  • Dr. Anne Marie Thomas, thank you for running such a tight-knit and well-oiled machine that is the Honors program and, as a result, giving me the opportunity to make many of the lasting connections I have and allowing me to stand out amongst a sea of great candidates.
  • And lastly, a shout-out to both Professors McCarthy and Mastroleo, the most strenuous courses I have taken to date have been Calculus III and Engineering Physics II, yet simultaneously they have been the most enjoyable. Beyond that, y’all have both helped shed light on the fact that one day I hope to fan the flames of the next generation as a professor myself, so thank you for helping me find a finish line worth running toward! 

“My favorite part of ACC was the people — between the Chancellor, my manager and coworkers, my professors, and my peers, the people are what made ACC so enjoyable for the past two years. It’s moments like…meeting with the new Chancellor to discuss the core values of ACC that will stick with me and which I will continue to revisit when asked about my time here.”