Chazanoff School of Business Students Network with Career Experts at Annual Summit

Members of the Speaker Panel, the Moderator, and the Organizer, with the Dean of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business

A near-capacity audience of over 300 students, faculty, and alumni occupied the Williamson Theatre on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, for the third annual “Careers in Finance, Economics, and Accounting Summit” hosted by the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business. The summit featured experts from various sectors of the financial world, and included a keynote address via remote link and a panel of executives. Each speaker shared details of their own career paths, imparted advice about strategies for landing one’s first job and career advancement, and emphasized the importance of networking.

In her introduction to the evening, Founding Dean of the Chazanoff School of Business Susan Holak introduced the program by noting that CSI Macaulay Honors College and Chazanoff School of Business alumnus Thomas Brigandi, CFA, who has already had great career success, has been a significant supporter of the School and had been working on the program for several months. Dean Holak also added that this was the third consecutive year that this event had been held, with a different group of panelists presenting each time.

With its panel organized by Mr. Brigandi, the event featured professionals from a range of backgrounds and at various career levels. Since its inception, the Career Summit has become a mainstay of the annual calendar of the Chazanoff School, drawing students, faculty, and alumni to the College each November.

Following the keynote address via Skype by United Nations Economist Dr. Utku Teksoz, the panelists spoke about their career paths and the opportunities that they took advantage of along the way. Moderator Kyrill Firshein posed questions and scenarios to panelists Matthew Anthony; Katherine Brigandi; Joshua Burrell, CFA; Edward Cotler; Jonathan Dong; Antonio Rodriguez, CFA; and Deepika Sharma, CFA; all of whom have extensive experience in the fields of Accounting, Economics, or Finance. At the conclusion of the formal program, Dean Holak invited audience members to a reception and networking session in the adjacent atrium, where students could meet and interact with the panelists.

Dr. Jonathan Peters, Professor of Finance at the Chazanoff School, stated that “this is a fantastic chance for the students to hear from real field professionals about issues and opportunities in these areas. It is very important to have outside validation of the learning that takes place in the classroom, and it’s great to be able to demonstrate some of the advantages that come from being located in New York City.”

In addition to Mr. Brigandi and his sister Katherine – herself an alumna of the Macaulay Honors College and the Chazanoff School of Business – other alumni of the School of Business were present in the audience. Those who were recent graduates of the School found the advice from the speakers to be relevant and extremely useful, and at the networking reception following the panel presentations they also connected with current students to offer guidance and insights.

One such alumnus was Joseph Maggio, who earned his CPA license after graduating from the School of Business in 2017, and who returned to his alma mater just to attend the event. Joe, who now works as a staff accountant and who attended the first career summit as a student, noted that he “learned so many useful life lessons from the panel, intangibles that aren’t taught in the classroom,” and that he “felt inspired walking out of there.”

Current graduate student Richard Pallarino, who works in the accounting industry, said that “being around some of the top finance professionals from different backgrounds is an advantage that not many other schools can offer, and CSI is making this happen at least once a year.” Pallarino also noted the value of the contributors’ viewpoints to students who are about to embark upon their own professional careers, stating that it was “great to see the other side of the equation and have access to such astute panelists.”

One aspect common to all of the speakers’ presentations related to being outgoing and confident, and that students should demonstrate their determination and leadership through personal connections. The panelists spoke of their own experiences – both positive and negative – that brought them to their current careers and positions. After the panel concluded, Andrew Colbeck, the staffperson and technician for the Con Edison Trading Room in the Chazanoff School of Business, who has extensive experience in the Wall Street environment, remarked that “you would not see a higher-level group of people in these fields at any college anywhere in the country.” Pallarino neatly summed up the value of the event by saying that the Career Summit is “something that each student should attend and take advantage of.”

The Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business hosts many events and student professional development opportunities through its Dean’s Special Speaker Series, Tuesday Business Briefs discussions, Student Club events, and classroom guest lecture opportunities. Students, faculty, and alumni from across the College are welcome to attend and contribute to the conversations relating to business and its place in modern global society.

Schwerner Writers Series Host SI Poet Laureate

The Schwerner Writers Series hosted Marguerite Maria Rivas, Staten Island’s first Poet Laureate, on October 29.. (Photo by Willie Chu)

The English Department’s Schwerner Writers Series hosted Staten Island Poet Laureate Dr. Marguerite Maria Rivas on October 29 in the Center for the Arts Screening Room.

Dean Sarolta Takács opened the event by talking briefly about serving on the committee that recommended Dr. Rivas’s appointment as Poet Laureate. Then, Lee Papa, Chair of the English Department, introduced Dr. Rivas.

Dr. Rivas read from her anthology Tell No One: Poems of Witness and also a number of new poems. Some of the topics that she covered were 9/11, her hobby of welding, and her Peruvian roots, which was inspired by a report of scientists discovering the mummified remains of a young girl in Peru. Dr. Rivas related how she was appalled by the idea that the remains would become the subject of study, as she felt the body should just be left to rest in peace.

In the Q&A session that followed Dr. Rivas’s presentation, a member of the audience asked her how welding and poetry were connected. She mentioned that the activities were vastly different in nature, but were both acts of creation.

Dr. Rivas is a native Staten Islander who graduated from Tottenville High School. She holds associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees from the College of Staten Island. After receiving an MA in English, she enrolled in a doctoral program at Drew University. She taught at the College of Staten Island as an adjunct professor while pursuing her doctoral studies at Drew. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College where she teaches writing and literature.

Her title as Poet Laureate is a four-year, unpaid appointment, based on the recommendation of a selection committee comprised of Borough literary and arts specialists. In her position, Rivas performs community outreach and advocates for poetry and literacy in the Borough.

Founded in 2003, the Schwerner Writers Series invites accomplished and emerging poets, fictionists, and essayists to visit the College of Staten Island and read from their work. The readings are free and open to the public. The series is a crucial part of the cultural lives of members of the CSI community, providing students, faculty, staff, and Staten Island residents with an opportunity to interact with visiting writers and have conversations about literary craft and the writing life.

By Lara Saguisag and Terry Mares

Friends of CSI Literary Brunch Explores Loss in the Digital Age

Rev. Dr. Kathleen (Katie) Cumiskey during her presentation at the 2019 Friends of CSI Literary Brunch

On Sunday, October 27, the Friends of CSI’s annual Literary Brunch featured Rev. Dr. Kathleen (Katie) Cumiskey, Chairperson and Professor in the Department of Psychology at CSI. The event’s lead sponsor was Victory State Bank, with generous event support from Carol and Rocco Berardi, and Lynne Persing.

Before the formal program got underway, guests mixed and mingled, enjoyed a seasonal brunch, and perused the festive raffles table in hopes of going home with a prize. 

Carol Berardi, President of The Friends of CSI, opened the program with a warm welcome, and noted the importance of The Friends, as well as the Literary Brunch, “I’ve been a member of The Friends of CSI since 1989 and I am honored again to serve as its President. Over the years, The Friends have raised funds through various activities, such as Dinner Shows at The Center for the Arts, International Programs, and the Starlight Ball. Our Literary Brunch is a great tradition for a worthy cause—raising scholarship funds for deserving students over many years.” 

CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. J. Michael Parrish brought greetings from the College and acknowledged the integral role that the Friends of CSI have played in supporting the College and student scholarships for more than 43 years, noting, “The Literary Brunch has become a signature event associated with the Friends through the years and I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate an event that is uniquely identified with them, than by featuring the timely and extraordinary work of a member of the CSI faculty.”       

Cumiskey opened her presentation by asking everyone to take out their phones and look at their last photos taken, Web searches, and social media postings; then to consider that this is what we are leaving behind for future generations to see about our everyday lives. She further added that our digital legacy will be far more than previous pre-digital generations have left behind, and it is now something to consider just as importantly as a will.        

In Haunting Hands, Cumiskey described her research with undergraduate students, and the ways in which their being digital natives translates to their representing and sharing of loss, such as a perceived sense of ongoing connection to the deceased, via Instagram and Facebook posts, continued texting to the deceased, and re-viewing of videos as if the deceased were still present. Cumiskey was clear to point out that her research is not being viewed through a lens of right or wrong and makes no moral judgments.

The presentation continued with a look at earlier memorial practices such as posed photos of the dead in the late 19th Century, spirit photography, and intricate braiding of the deceased’s hair into memorial jewelry and artwork—all as ways to keep a connection to a departed loved one. She notes that each era has incorporated methods available at the time to represent and share loss. Digital media has now ushered in a new realm and Artificial Intelligence is on the horizon with technologies to digitally keep the dead alive. A clip from an episode of Black Mirror (Netflix) chillingly depicted this possibility.

A lively Question and Answer session addressed the many thought-provoking points Cumiskey raised. A round of applause was accentuated with the presentation of a bouquet to Cumiskey from Berardi, on behalf of The Friends of CSI, for a fascinating presentation.            

“The brunch is a very popular signature event for the Friends of CSI,” said their College liaison, Jennifer Lynch, Associate Director of Annual Giving. “The event is unique in that our guests are fed, literally and figuratively, with a delicious brunch and intellectual food for thought. Rev. Dr. Cumiskey’s compelling look at the role that digital media is playing in the expression of grief and loss left attendees with much to think about, including their own digital legacies. The funds raised from this distinctive event go to scholarship support that makes a difference for our students.”

Haunting Hands: Mobile Media Practices and Loss is published by Oxford University Press, 2017.

By Jennifer Lynch

Convocation 2019

Please save the date of Thursday, Dec. 12 for CSI’s Convocation 2019, which will take place in the Center for the Arts (Building 1P) Williamson Theatre at 2:30pm.

As part of our Convocation, we will once again be honoring full-time members of the College community who have reached service milestones.

Additionally, a College-wide Holiday Dessert Reception will be held in the Atrium immediately following the event.

I hope that you will be able to join us for this annual campus community tradition.

By William J. Fritz