Senior biology major and chemistry minor Anthony Asencio said when he was 7 or 8 years old, his little brother Matthew was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of two.
Asencio said he had no idea what diabetes was and couldn’t understand why it was such a big deal. Asencio said he spent a lot of time in the hospital with his family because of this, and that was when he first interacted with doctors and got exposure to the medical field.
“Plus, I made a goofy promise to my brother. I was like ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to grow up, and I’m going to be a doctor and cure this, and you’re going to be fine,’” Asencio said. “And obviously at the time, it was just a goofy thing to say because I was a kid.”
Still, Asencio said he still holds true to his promise.
“I still hold true to that and completely plan to cure the disease, which sounds ridiculous, but it’s something I’ll just never quit,” he said.
Since then, he majored in biology and minored in chemistry at PSUC.
Asencio is also heavily involved in his minor. He is currently doing chemistry research for the Plattsburgh State department of chemistry.
“I’m currently doing a cytotoxicity study, where I examine its properties, and then I’m going to test it on human cell lines to see if it’s toxic in human cells.”
Besides completing research, he is also the executive director of St. Jude’s “Up til Dawn” event at PSUC. The event is an annual fundraiser held each year to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Asencio said the donations help ensure that no family ever has to pay a single hospital bill during cancer treatment.
His friend, PSUC senior journalism major Bailey Carlin, has known Asencio since their sophomore year of high school. They were introduced through mutual friends and became very close.
“His nickname has just always been ‘Wood’, not for an inappropriate reason or anything,” Carlin said. “It’s just a stupid nickname I created early on when we met in high school.”
Carlin said that when he first met Asencio, he thought he was a very intelligent person.
“He’s very sarcastic, but also very genuine at the same time,” he said.
Asencio applied to several schools before coming to PSUC and said when he was in high school, he wanted to find somewhere that felt like home.
“I visited all these different schools, and it just didn’t feel like home. The atmosphere always felt odd,” he said. “For some reason, something clicked, and it felt like a nice welcoming atmosphere here.”
Carlin said that since Asencio went Plattsburgh, he’s become a more driven person.
“His drive kind of started right away freshman year. He’s been killing it since freshman year,” Carlin said. “While others were going out and partying, he was staying in and studying. He definitely has found a rhythm of having fun and getting his work done at the same time, which is impressive.”
When Asencio first started school, he had no idea what sororities and fraternities were. He said he had just seen them on television shows.
When Asencio was a freshman, he said he was heavily influenced by his RA Jake Goldblum, a brother of Sigma Tau Gamma. PSUC alumnus Goldblum said when he first met Asencio, he thought he was a generally good person and considered him to be the ‘good seed’ among his friends.
“And instead of telling me to join his fraternity, he just (told) me to check out Greek life in general,” Asencio said. “And so through him, he kind of pushed me through it, and I started going to rush events.”
Goldblum said that as he got to know Asencio, he saw a lot of potential in him for both Greek life and Resident Life.
“He’s the kind of kid that always gives 100 percent,” Goldblum said. “I’m happy that I was able to kind of pass the baton to him.”
Eventually, Asencio started meeting brothers in Alpha Sigma Phi that lived in Whiteface and said he felt like he would fit in well.
“I just kind of saw that they were really great people that were mature and career-oriented,” he said.
During his sophomore year, he was management chair, and by junior year, he was the president of Alpha Sigma Phi. In addition, Asencio is currently the Inter-Fraternity Council Vice President, where he holds different fraternities responsible and accountable for the rules of Greek life.
Besides being involved in Greek life, Asencio is involved with Resident Life on campus. He is currently a Resident Assistant in Macdonough Hall. Halfway through his freshman year, he received an email saying he would be a good addition to the department. Asencio said he applied for the position and has loved it ever since.
His resident director Will Cangialosi said he met Asencio during his freshman year when Cangialosi was a Community Adviser for Whiteface Hall. He said Asencio was silly when he first met him but that he’s grown as a person over the course of four years. They’ve stayed connected because they were both in the same fraternity, and they were involved in Residence Life.
“I could see that he has his life together, and he’s successful at his job and his residents appreciate him,” he said.
“He can be direct and forward with his ideas, but at the same time, having a relaxed tone about it,” Cangialosi said. “He can make people feel comfortable even though he won’t beat around the bush. He’s a very direct person.”
Cangialosi said he can see Asencio running his own private practice or a hospital in the future. Carlin agreed and said he can see Asencio running a hospital.
“Whatever Anthony wants to do, he’ll end up doing it,” Carlin said.
Asencio plans on going to Albany Medical College to become a cardiologist and possibly do clinical research.
As far as future advice, Asencio said to make the most of each day at PSUC.
“Take it slow, and take everything in and absorb it all,” he said. “You get to enjoy and explore the community,” he said.
Asencio said students should join random clubs and go to different events even if they have no idea what it is. He said that’s when he met some of his best friends in college.
“I had no intentions of joining a fraternity, and I did. I had no intention of being an RA, and I’ve loved it ever since,” he said. “Just enjoy the community, and spend time in it while you can.”
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org