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Stronger Together: New Colleagues Are STEM Heroes

Mccombs natasha 008

Stony Brook University’s Simons STEM Scholars Program, introduced in May 2022, aims to support underrepresented STEM students in their academic and professional pursuits.

Executive Director Erwin Cabrera and his warmhearted team of colleagues — better described as a family — are responsible for the difficult task of selecting 30 participants from a pool of roughly 800 high-achieving applicants. Cabrera, who decidedly compares his staff to the Avengers, could not be happier with the team of heroes he’s assembled — Brady Brick, Marie-Line Lubin and Natasha McCombs.

Stop by the New Colleagues page on the Stronger Together website to read the full features on each person, and stay tuned for more new colleagues stories to come throughout the year!

Brick brady 013Brady Brick knows who every potential member is before they even set foot on campus for an interview.

“The big mantra of our program is always looking for the who, not the what,” he said. “It’s great if you have a 1500 on your SATs, it’s great if you have a 100 GPA, but it goes deeper than what you’ve done in the classroom — we care far more about you as an individual and what you’ve accomplished.”

Before he joined the Simons STEM Program faculty, Brady spent three months as an academic success coach for Stony Brook’s football team. He has also served as an academic assistant at Portland State athletics and as a substitute teacher at Battle Ground Public Schools in Washington State. “I love that this job is all about encouraging people to fulfill their greatest potential,” he said. Read his full profile.

Lubin marie lin 006Marie-Line Lubin has an endearing sense of humor that immediately draws you in. She puts her heart and soul into her work, recalling her time as an administrative assistant to five doctors in CitiMed’s radiology department during the early 2000s.

“A lot of people were intimidated by some of the doctors — one was chief of the department — but I opened up to them and they loved me,” she says. “They even went to my daughter’s sweet 16!”

Before she came to Stony Brook in early January, Marie-Line was executive assistant to the vice president of HR at the corporate office of The Bristal Assisted Living. A friend who used to work with her, who is now a senior recruiter at Stony Brook, invited her to apply for the Simons STEM executive assistant position. “When I found out what the whole program was about, I was like ‘oh my God, this is perfect,’” she said. Read her full profile.

Mccombs natasha 008Natasha McCombs has been hard at work since the moment she arrived for her first day on the job. As Summer Bridge coordinator, she’s in charge of the six-week program that prepares Simons STEM Scholars for their collegiate careers.

“I was already juggling meetings on my first day,” she says. “Contacting vendors and laboratories who will be involved in the Summer Bridge Program, calling people from the Meyerhoff staff to help optimize the schedule, checking in with my teammates to offer support — I really just dove right in.”

Natasha instantly clicked with her colleagues. Even though she and Marie-Line came aboard more recently than Erwin and Brady, you’d think the four of them have been friends for years. They laugh together, they eat lunch together, and they take daily walks around campus together.

“I know we’ve all said it, but having such a strong team with all of these great personalities — that’s the best part of the job,” Natasha says. “I just met a bunch of the students on selection weekend and, not gonna lie, some of them made me cry, so I know they’re going to be a close second. But without this team, we couldn’t bring them here.” Read her full profile.


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