Flashback Friday looks at the top moments from the 2015-16 athletic year at the College of Staten Island.  To kick off the summer countdown is the most recent memory on our list, a tremendous academic honor won by CSI Softball senior Christina Tufano.  The CUNYAC Player of the Year became only the third woman to win the award for the College, and was honored as part of the Michael Steuerman Scholar-Athlete Awards Dinner held at Queens College in mid-May.

#10 – Christina Tufano – CUNYAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year recipient
Date:  May 17, 2016
Who:  Christina Tufano, Women’s Softball Senior
Where: Queens College – Queens, NY
What Happened:  Each year, each Senior College in the CUNYAC system nominates two males and two females for Scholar-Athlete of the Year recognition, to be honored at the conference’s Michael Steuerman Scholar-Athlete Awards Dinner, easily the crown jewel of events held by the organization each spring.  Tufano joined former Dolphins Gabrielle Nagy and Ilona Stoyko, both women’s tennis stars, as the only Dolphins standout ever to win the major award on the women’s side.  Tufano’s efforts were striking, boasting a 3.84 GPA in Psychology while earning two CUNYAC Player of the Year honors on the diamond, capping a four year career that saw her break school records for hits, RBI, and doubles, complete with four straight CUNYAC Championships.  Tufano’s achievements on the diamond sat side-by-side with her proficiency in the classroom and in the community, where she helped pioneer softball camps at CSI while juggling a full-time position as a physical therapy assistant on Staten Island.  On top of the CUNYAC honor, Tufano was named the College’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  At the Michael Steuerman Scholar-Athlete Dinner on May 17, Tufano was inaugurated by her coach, Stella Porto, and addressed the crowd, speaking of the importance of athletics as a stabilizing backdrop to her collegiate career.

5200Q&A…with Christina Tufano
How did you first find out about winning the honor and how did it make you feel?  I received a phone call from the CUNY Athletic Conference telling me I was the winner of the four-year CUNYAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. I don’t think I have ever been more excited about receiving such a special award. Being recognized for my academics, as well as athletics was such an amazing feeling.

The more time passed, I’m sure the honor that you received became bigger and bigger, knowing everything what was going into it (the video, preparing a speech, etc.)  What was it like knowing you were winning one of the conference’s most prestigious awards of the academic year?  When I found out that I had won, I didn’t realize I had to do a video about myself and that there was a banquet where I was actually being honored.  I have worked so hard these past four years on and off of the field, and to be recognized with this prestigious award was so rewarding.  It has been such an honor to be part of the CSI program and CUNY conference for these past four years.

What were your thoughts on the night itself?  Were you nervous?  What were some of the key things you took away from that evening?  Receiving the award at the ceremony was something I will always remember.  I was a little nervous to give my speech, and just as nervous to see my video.   Walking in and seeing a poster, reading the program’s write-ups on my accomplishments throughout my four years was so special.  I didn’t expect this at all. The conference and the athletic department do so much for us as student athletes.  Being able to represent my college meant a lot. I am so grateful to them for all that they do to promote each and every student-athlete. It was an amazing night for me and for my proud parents.

An award like this is obviously won over the long haul, four years of hard work and sacrifice.  What does it take to be a successful student while juggling the responsibilities of being on a sports team? In order to play sports and be successful in school you need to manage your time.  Learning to multi task has really helped me. I have always managed to put aside time for studying, softball, and work.  I have even sacrificed many weekends to catch up and study.

It obviously takes a lot of support both on the field and in the classroom to win an award or to be proficient at both.  Who do you credit for helping you achieve all that you have?  I had an amazing support system from my coaches and my family. They taught me about dedication, and about having a strong work ethic on and off the field.    At times it can be very tiring, but it’s so worth it in the end.  I went to college to get an education and pursue a career, and I have never lost sight of that. My family and my coaches have always stressed the fact that academics comes first. Sports has actually kept me focused on my school work, and has made me work even harder to achieve the goals I have set for myself. I would not have achieved all that I have without the support of my coaches, my teammates and of course my parents.
Not only did you take home this exceptional award, but you also won the CUNYAC Player of the Year award in softball after a tremendous season by the team.  You also broke so many records.  What was it like having such a great finish to your career?  
Having received the Player of the Year award in my senior year and finishing my softball career on this note meant so much to me.  Most of all finishing the season with another CUNYAC championship win with my amazing teammates and coaches was more than I could ask for.  I have had four tremendous seasons with the best teammates and coaches.  I feel proud to have been part of this team, and at the same time sad that it has ended.  Four years goes by very fast, especially when you are having so much fun and doing what you enjoy.

You’ve had a brilliant playing career and you graduated at the top of your class, applauded for your proficiency in the classroom.  How will you look back on your years here at CSI in the next 5, 10, 20 years?   In years to come I will look back at my time here at CSI with great pride. Getting my degree and pursuing my career started with CSI.  My most treasured memory will always be my softball career here at CSI, the game that I love to play.  The coaches and teammates and friends that I have made will always be remembered. I will always look back and feel proud of all the accolades that I received, but the experiences and memories I have with this softball program and teams will last a lifetime. What a great four years of playing the sport that I love. I’ll always remember my time as a CSI Dolphin, my coaches, and the family and friends I made along the way.

Other Highlights
CUNYAC Promotional Video
CUNYAC News Story
CSI Feature Story
Staten Island Advance Article
CUNYAC Championship Photo Gallery


Tufano is flanked by her coaches
(left) and parents (right).

Tufano addresses the crowd
at the annual dinner.

Tufano poses with introductory 
speaker Stella Porto.