Advanced Imaging Facility Has Grand Reopening

Facility Director Dr. William L'Amoreaux (rear) and Facility Manager Dr. Michael Bucaro discuss the structure of a single cell captured using a confocal microscope.

After eight months of renovation and expansion, the College of Staten Island’s Advanced Imaging Facility (AIF) reopened recently with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included CSI Interim President Dr. William J. Fritz, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Fred Naider, and Dean of Science and Technology Dr. Alex Chigogidze. AIF Director and Professor of Biology Dr. William L’Amoreaux also conducted a tour of the facility for the assembled faculty and students.

The upgrades to the AIF, which included a nearly doubling of the floor space and increased the number of rooms in the suite from six to 13, showcases the over $3 million in equipment housed in the facility. Included in the inventory are an X-ray microanalysis system to identify which elements are present in samples, and a confocal microscope to provide detail into subcellular structures. These instruments were funded through two National Science Foundation grants in the amounts of $227,000 and $480,000.

Drs. Naider and Fritz cut the ribbon to the newly expanded and renovated Advanced Imaging Facility.

Before he cut the ribbon to open the AIF, Dr. Fritz commented that the facility “is one of signature parts of the campus. We have lots of gems on campus, but certainly, the Imaging Facility ranks right up there at the top.”

Dr. Naider stated, in his remarks, that “there are so many fields today in science that are dependent on imaging. They go from structural biology to cell biology to material science to nanoscience…I think what’s exciting is that I look around this room and see biologists, biochemists, polymer chemists, people who are all doing different types of science who are going the benefit from having this particular facility.”

According to Dr. L’Amoreaux, “The facility, which is a core facility for faculty at CSI, is available for use by investigators from all CUNY and non-CUNY campuses. It houses a transmission and a scanning electron microscope, the confocal laser scanning microscope, an atomic force microscope, a live-cell imager, flow cytometer, fluorescence-activated cell sorter, and a host of ancillary equipment for specimen preparation.”

As far as the applications and reach of the AIF are concerned, Dr. L’Amoreaux explained that it “provides high-resolution imaging equipment for the analysis and characterization of specimens. These specimens range from nanostructured materials to complex polymers to biological cells and tissues. These resources are available to all CSI faculty, and their graduate students and post-doctoral students. What makes the CSI AIF unique is that students in high school and undergraduates may use equipment that are either unavailable to them as undergraduates (they must wait until graduate school) or not available at all.”

The AIF is also unique, according to Dr. L’Amoreaux, because it is “a core facility that houses all the instruments, and under one director. At other colleges, they may have a transmission electron microscope in Biology, and scanning electron microscope in Geology, and atomic force microscope in Physics, but we have had the foresight to house these together. City College of New York’s new Advanced Science Research Center will adopt this to some extent, but will have different managers for different equipment.”

Looking to the future of the AIF, Dr. L’Amoreaux not only emphasizes the impact that it will have on research, but on education on the Island. “The future plans for the facility are to provide our world-class faculty with the tools needed to further their research, but also to use this as a recruiting tool to retain Staten Island’s best high school students. To this day…I am still amazed at the number of students from Staten Island that matriculated at either a SUNY or even another CUNY campus who have come out to take a course only to find that the resources that they were looking for in the pursuit of a degree were closer to home than expected.”

US News & World Report names CSI Best College

The College of Staten Island was included in the 2014 US News & World Report Best Colleges issue for the first time in the college’s 58 year history.

In the Regional Universities (North) category, CSI was ranked 44th among Top Public Schools and 135th in the overall Best Colleges category.  CSI’s national ranking for Nursing is 295 (2011), and Physical Therapy, 172 (2012).

Anita Narayan, Education Editor with US News & World Report states “we offer reliable and consistent data on nearly 1,800 schools to allow [parents and students] to compare them.”

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Inside Cheerleading magazine Names Two Dolphins All-Americans

Giana Abbrusseze and Ashley Isaccs earned All-American status from Inside Cheerleading Magazine

The College of Staten Island Cheerleading squad is continuing to make headlines past their competitive season, and this time it is on a national level.  The squad celebrated its first ever All-American awards, bestowed to Ashley Isaacs and Giana Abbrusseze by Inside Cheerleading magazine.  Known to insiders as “iC,” the publication is designed to help athletes enjoy, train, perform, compete and live cheerleading to the maximum.  Each year, the magazine gives its top laurels after evaluating nominations from collegiate coaches.  Isaacs and Abbruzzese were two of 20 total All-Americans and were the only pair representing NCAA Division III institutions.

“I’ve always looked up to Division I cheerleading programs and being mentioned alongside members of teams from the University of Alabama and University of Memphis is a great honor and will raise the standards for collegiate cheerleading at CSI,” said Abbrusseze, a Nursing major at CSI who helped champion the squad to a CUNYAC title in 2012 and a runner-up finish in 2013.

Isaacs, a team captain and flyer for the unit, earned CSI a gold medal in the 2013 Jumping routine at this year’s championship, pairing up with freshman Yenitza Mendes.  The junior Biology major at CSI was quick to acknowledge the prestige of the accolade.

“To be recognized beside some of the top cheerleading programs shows that my devotion, hard work and talent are beneficial,” Isaacs said.  “It’s exciting to bring recognition to the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) and the College of Staten Island.  Cheerleading is most definitely a sport and we’re working hard to make our reputation better than ever before.”

Isaacs also notes that with the high honor, comes higher expectations for the future.  “With this honor comes the chance as a team to improve our skills, grow, and compete nationally,” the captain said.  “I hope this encourages more students to try out this fall and in the years to come.”

To be considered for All-American status, respective head coaches need to nominate their deserving candidates.  For CSI Head Coach Justine Elyse Green, the decision to nominate Isaacs and Abbrusseze was an easy one.

“Ashley and Giana are unbelievable cheerleaders and I am thrilled that both athletes were selected as members of the iC 2013 Collegiate All-American Team and hope to have many more in the future. We’re a small program, but there’s a great deal of talent walking around our campus and they epitomize that. We’re reaching for excellence and we encourage everyone learn more about us and join our family.”

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, iC magazine is currently distributed to Books-A-Million, Borders, Hastings, and Barnes & Noble.  The magazine features correspondents that include 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist gymnast Jaycie Phelps and former World and Olympic gymnastics team member John Macready.  For more information on iC magazine, log on to:  For a complete list of 2013 All-Americans click here.

The College of Staten Island Cheerleading program continues to strive for excellence and is looking for talented individuals to supplement its roster.  The team has already held a pair of Captain’s Clinics with more try-out dates scheduled on the horizon.  For more information, contact Coach Green at

[video] Meet Evelyn Okeke – 2013 Co-Valedictorian

Evelyn Okeke has been conducting research as a Biology (BS) major with a double minor in Biochemistry and Chemistry at CSI in Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi’s lab since the summer of 2010, where she worked on a project that led to two publications. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA since she started her undergraduate studies in The Verrazano School Honors Program in 2010.

She has recenlty presented her research at numerous conferences including the 18th International Taurine Meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. During the summer of 2011, she worked as a research assistant in the Robinson lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and last summer, she completed an internship in the department of Protein Science at Merck & Co. Inc.,as well as study abroad on scholarship in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

[youtube][/youtube]Evelyn was awarded the prestigious UNCF/Merck fellowship for the academic year 2012/2013 and she received an honorable mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2012.

In the fall 2013, she will be begin her doctoral studies at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. This summer, she will go to the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands to complete a research internship in the Department of Pediatrics with a focus on neuroscience.

[video] Meet Christopher Bitetto – 2013 Co-Valedictorian

Christopher Bitetto is graduating from The Verrazano School Honors Program as a Communications major with a concentration in Media Studies. Upon matriculating to CSI after graduating fifth in his class at Susan Wagner High School, Christopher set out to accomplish two goals during his career at CSI: To maintain a 4.0 GPA and to become the Sports Director at WSIA so he could broadcast all of CSI’s basketball and baseball games, and host a weekly sports talk show.  He is proud to say that both goals have been met.

[youtube][/youtube]He realizes, however, that his goals at CSI have not only been met, they have exceeded even his high expectations.

During his tenure at CSI, Christopher interned at Sirius XM Radio; he presented his honors thesis production, “Moneyball: The New Formula to America’s Pastime,” at the Undergraduate Conference on Research, Scholarship, and Performance; and completed an independent research paper on baseball as a microcosm of society.  He thanks his family and the CSI faculty members, without whom he would not have been able to reach his full potential.

Christopher’s mindset in life is “if you are going to do something, why not be great at it?” and he has approached every challenge with which he has been faced as a student at CSI.  He is proud and thankful for receiving the Valedictorian honor.

Meet Christina Terracino – 2013 Salutatorian

On a basic level, Christina Terracino’s coming of age story can be related to that of Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë’s classic journey of maturation, self-discovery, and increasing confidence almost mirrors that of Ms. Terracino’s, who, being a young woman who has always resided in her hometown, feels great pride in the powerful and independent growth she has shown during her tenure with The Verrazano School Honors Program at CSI.

As a teenager attending Staten Island Technical High School, Christina would often try to imagine the woman she would become once she graduated from college. Anyone in her large Italian American family who attended college credited that time as the defining years of their lives and Christina has quickly come to the same conclusion.

Christina began her studies at CSI as a young woman whose father had recently passed away, whose confidence had been faltering, and whose love for reading was the only glimmer of a future career path. Her affinity for reading developed into a passion and appreciation for literature’s conveyance of human emotions, opinions, and nature. Such a connection to literature and research assured her that a career as an academic librarian and professor were a perfect fit.

Christina’s goals have always remained constant: to pursue higher education, to choose a career path that is both productive and enjoyable, and to learn from every possible experience.

During her time at CSI, Christina has become part of a cohort of brilliant and talented CUNY students through the CUNY Pipeline Program, met countless encouraging professors and other members of the College community, presented at two academic conferences, and accepted a fellowship offer from St. John’s University to pursue a Master’s degree in English Literature. She is proud of all of these accomplishments, is enthusiastic to move ahead, and will remain confidant, living by the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

[gallery] The Verrazano School Celebrates Its Fourth and Largest Graduating Class

The Verrazano School held its fourth annual Senior Convocation last week.

The Verrazano School Honors Program at CSI, home to the College’s co-valedictorians and salutatorian this Commencement year, celebrated its largest graduating class to date at the Verrazano Senior Convocation in the Center for the Arts on Friday, May 17.

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There are 56 graduates in the Verrazano Class of 2013, the program’s fourth graduating class, representing 20 different majors.  The evening featured remarks by Professor Charles Liu, Director of The Verrazano School, as well as Provost Fred Naider and Associate Provost Deborah Vess.

Professor Liu provided background piano music before the start of the Convocation, and he entertained the guests throughout the event.

Noorelhoda Mahmoud and Nicole Wallace were selected as this year’s class speakers through an application process.

The ceremony concluded with the awarding of Verrazano certificates and honor cords to each graduate, and then graduates and their guests made their way over to the Green Dolphin Lounge for a dessert reception to cap off the evening.  The dessert reception, catered by Jodi Merendino and her staff, kept with the Verrazano tradition of including an assortment of sumptuous, homemade miniature pies with the Verrazano “V” on top. The reception offered an opportunity for students to celebrate with their families and friends, professors, CSI administrators, and Verrazano alumni.

Verrazano students are very involved during their undergraduate years, and this class is no exception. Graduates participated in more than 2,000 hours of community service at organizations including public schools, the Salvation Army, the YMCA, Silver Lake Nursing Home, Project Hospitality, Eden II, Staten Island University Hospital, Sea View Rehabilitation Center, Million Trees NYC, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Meals on Wheels, Families Helping Families, Regional Food Bank, Hurricane Sandy Relief, and numerous Verrazano and other campus activities.

Over the past four years, Verrazano graduates participated in internships, locally and nationally, at organizations and companies including the Walt Disney Corporation, the Discovery Institute, Con Edison, Fraunces Tavern Museum, the New York County DA’s Office, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, Staten Island University Hospital, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Grace Foundation, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Conde Nast Publications, and the NYS Assembly in Albany. Graduates also explored the world through study abroad programs and conferences in countries including Ecuador, France, Italy, Morocco, and Spain.

In addition to graduating with Verrazano honors, many graduates completed honors theses and projects in disciplines including business, communications, English, history, and psychology, and participated in undergraduate research in many fields. Six students are graduating summa cum laude, the highest Latin honor awarded to students based on cumulative GPA, and three students are graduating with a perfect 4.0.  This year, the College of Staten Island’s co-valedictorians, Christopher Bitetto and Evelyn Okeke, as well as the salutatorian, Christina Terracino, are all graduating from The Verrazano School.  

The Verrazano School serves all majors, and Verrazano students benefit from smaller class sizes and priority registration, additional support from faculty, scholarship opportunities for study abroad and research, and personalized advisement and career and graduate school preparation.

The Verrazano School also offers its exceptional, highly motivated students added assistance and guidance in pursuit of internships, research, and community service opportunities. However, none of that would matter if the students themselves were not motivated to make their experience on campus a memorable one.

Verrazano students strive for success, and a significant number of Verrazano graduates will pursue master’s degrees at the College of Staten Island as well as other CUNY schools, Adelphi University, New York  University, McGill University, St. Johns University, and SUNY Downstate. Evelyn Okeke, one of this year’s co-valedictorians, will be attending Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to pursue a PhD in Molecular Biosciences. In addition, Verrazano graduates have been accepted to doctoral programs in optometry and physical therapy. Other Verrazano graduates are pursuing career opportunities at Clove Lakes Rehabilitation Center, Staten Island University Hospital, and Viacom International.

[gallery] CSI Awards Deserving Students at End of Year Gala

CSI Athletic Director Charles Gomes (far left) and Assistant Director Katie Arcuri (far right) flank Victoria Procopio and Richard Anderson, CSI

In the latest installment of a great tradition at the College of Staten Island, the athletics program spotlighted a host of its student-athletes, coaches, and distinguished staff members with its annual Athletics Awards Banquet held at the Sports & Recreation Center earlier this evening.  A total of over 80 award winners were highlighted as part of the gala, among them members of CSI’s 14 teams in 2012-13.

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After greetings fromnewly appointed Director of Athletics Charles Gomes, CSI President Dr. William Fritz and Vice-President for Student Affairs Dr. Ramona Brown, awards were given for each sport in chronological order beginning with teams last fall, and ending with men’s baseball, which was the last team to finalize its season, winning 30 games and a CUNYAC title.

Major awards were presented to Female Athlete of the Year Victoria Procopio, sophomore pitcher and outfielder for the CSI women’s softball team, one of three schools to make it to the annual NCAA Division III tournament .  Procopio posted 19 wins this season in the circle for the Dolphins, the second highest single season mark in school history, which included a perfect 3-0 in the CUNYAC Tournament.  The slugger also batted a healthy .446 this season.  Just across the way and in the same season, CSI Baseball hurler Richard Anderson earned Male Athlete of the Year honors.  Anderson set school records for single season wins (9) and complete games (8), boasting a 2.09 ERA on the season, leading the team in innings pitched, strikeouts and opponent batting average.  The hard-throwing right hander pitched 21 innings in a span of four days, allowing just two runs in the CUNYAC Tournament, and scored a 4-2 win over Salisbury State, ranked No. 4 nationally at the time.

CSI Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors was given to women’s basketball star and senior Olivia Tierno.  A CUNYAC All-Star this season, Tierno overcame a pair of knee injuries in her sophomore and junior seasons to return to the hardwood, leading the team in scoring this season.  A two-time CUNYAC Scholar-Athlete of the Month, Tierno boasts a 3.91 GPA, majoring in Psychology.  Mary Beth Reilly, CSI Vice-President for Enrollment Management, also honored the CSI Men’s Tennis team for posting CSI Athletics’ highest Team GPA, at 3.21.

Nick Zikos, graduating junior from men’s tennis, was awarded the 8th Annual Bill Cali/John Scrivani Sportsmanship Award, named after CSI’s former baseball skippers who earned similar honors from the Staten Island Advance in 2005.  CSI men’s basketball head coach Tony Petosa, who won the same honor from the Advance in 2011, assisted in the presentation.  Zikos, a three-time CUNYAC All-Star enjoyed a stellar close to his career atop the No. 1 Singles position on his team, and was noted for his spirited and fair play on the courts, serving as an ambassador for the sport and team this season.

CSI Bursar Michael Baybusky, a familiar voice of athletic programming on CSI SportsNet, was on hand to offer nearly 30 awards, bestowed to CSI All-Stars scattered throughout the year and the CUNYAC’s three scholar-athletes, including Tierno and Zikos and fellow honorable mention Ilona Stoyko.  A national NCAA honor was given to soccer sophomore Melissa Gelardi, who won the nation assist title in 2012.

Midway through the ceremony, members of the CSI Student-Athlete Advisory Committee presented their Inspiration Award, given this year to Ednita Lorenzo, former SAAC President who has served as a community-service trailblazer since graduation. The SAAC also awarded its fourth-annual G.L.O.V.E. Award to to the CSI Men’s Soccer Team for their model of Giving, Leading, Organizing, Volunteering, and Encouraging.

All told, the rousing event was a great success, according to David Pizzuto, Associate Athletic Director, principal organizer and host of the event each year, who was also honored with an appreciation award at the dinner.

“Every year our event grows in stature and hardware, and it’s a testament to the many deserving individuals we choose to highlight each year,”  he said.  ”We have a lot to be proud of and we set the bar very high with some of our performances this past year.  We are very proud to have this as a close to our athletic season because it captures all that we have achieved on a single night.”

An end-of-year highlight video, prepared by CSI Facilities Manager Anthony Avena was the highlight of the evening.  The video will be posted soon.  The CSI academic year will come to a close in the coming weeks, when Commencement will take place on May 30.

Award winners this year include the following:

Women’s Volleyball

MVP: Jean Marie Lewandowski

Rookie: Selma Kolenovic

Coaches: Pola Pokrobko

Women’s Tennis:

MVP: Jean Baak

Rookie: Sabrina Bragerton-Nasert

Coaches: Madiha Mulla

Women’s Soccer

Co-MVP: Demi-Jean Martorano

Co-MVP: Samantha Wysokowski

Co-MVP:  Melissa Gelardi

Rookie: Deanna Kvetkoff

Coaches:  Christina Jacob

Men’s Soccer

MVP: Alfonso Castaneda

Rookie: Brandon Cadmen

Co-Coaches: Ahmed El-Ghareib

Co-Coaches:  Giovanni Cortese

Women’s Cross-Country

MVP: Victoria Barry

Rookie: Ayat Odeh

Coaches: Kubra Shirazi

Men’s Cross-Country

MVP: Andrew Pate

Rookie: Samuel Obisanya

Coaches: Richard Ruggiero

Women’s Basketball

Rookie: Lisa Galasso

Co-Coaches: Jennifer Coughlan

Co-Coaches: Olivia Tierno

Co-Coaches:  Danielle Kartalis

Men’s Swimming

Co-MVP: Andrey Tarasov

Co-MVP: Yury Zimarev

Rookie: Sergio Garcia

Coaches – John Pignatelli

Women’s Swimming

MVP – Stephanie Collyer

Rookie – Dakota Dawkins

Coaches – Jessica Pifalo

Men’s Basketball

Co-MVP:  Bloochy Magloire

Co-MVP: Jonathan Chadwick-Myers

Coaches:  Matt Van Manen

Women’s Softball

Offensive MVP:  Stefanie Solari

Defensive MVP:  Brittany Smith

Co-Rookie:  Maxine Jasko

Co-Rookie:  Christina Tufano

Co-Coaches:  Victoria Procopio

Co-Coaches:  Danielle Locke

Men’s Tennis

MVP:  Nick Zikos

Rookie: Hector Molina

Coaches:  Daniel Ursomanno

Men’s Baseball

Co-MVP:  Bryan Moreno

Co-MVP:  Chris Ramanauskas

Co-Rookie: Joseph Palmeri

Co-Rookie:  John Baggs

Team Award:  Michael Fitzpatrick

Team Award:  Dan Lynch


MVP: Nicole Ashley Medina

Rookie: Yenitza Mendez

Co-Cheerleaders:  Ashley Isaacs

Co-Cheerleaders:  Giana Abbrusseze

Distinguished Service Award (awarded seperately)

Kellie Carnevale, former Assistant Sports Information Director

SAAC Inspiration Award

Ednita Lorenzo

SAAC G.L.O.V.E. Award

CSI Men’s Soccer Team

Team G.P.A. Award

Men’s Tennis, 3.21 GPA

Bill Cali/John Scrivani Sportsmanship Award

Nick Zikos, Men’s Tennis

Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Olivia Tierno, Women’s Basketball

Male Athlete of the Year

Richard Anderson, Men’s Baseball

Female Athlete of the Year

Victoria Procopio, Women’s Softball