College of Staten Island (CSI) alumna Faye Michalakos was one of 19 Big Apple Award winners at the New York City Department of Education’s fifth annual Big Apple Awards-a city-wide recognition program that honors outstanding public-school educators. Thirteen of this year’s 19 Big Apple Award recipients are graduates of CUNY colleges. Michalakos is a sixth-grade math teacher at Hellenic Classical Charter School in Brooklyn and a graduate of the College of Staten Island, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
College of Staten Island (CSI) advisory board member for the School of Business, Claire Bisignano Chesnoff, has joined The Expert Network—an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals. Bisignano Chesnoff, Owner & Operator of Claire Properties, has been chosen as a Distinguished Real Estate Professional™ based on peer reviews and ratings, numerous recognitions, and accomplishments achieved throughout her career. The City University of New York (CUNY) alumna hold 20 years’ worth of experience in the business, is a 5-star rated Zillow agent, and was honored as Staten Island’s Top Woman in Business.
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumnus Dom Vulpis was honored by the Board of Education in advance of his retirement after 22 years. Vulpis, who earned an administrative degree from CSI, is retiring as East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School Athletic Director and is praised for his long-lasting positive influence on students. Vulpis will start working as the assistant to the executive director of Section VIII athletics in Garden City on July 1.
Project Access today announced that BBVA Compass Senior Vice President and Relationship Manager for Corporate Banking Eugene Gonzalez was appointed to its Board of Directors. Gonzalez is a College of Staten Island alumnus and studied business management. Project Access is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with headquarters in Orange, California and Oakland, California. The mission of Project Access is to be the leading provider of vital on-site health, education, and employment services to low-income families, children, and seniors.
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumna, Margaret Ricciardi, was featured in an article in the NY Daily News, focusing on her painting and academic experiences at CSI. Ricciardi, who is 103 years old, will be granted an honorary doctorate from CSI at the 2017 spring commencement.
Saving the world may very well be on Vincent Wong’s future agenda. The 23-year-old Macaulay Honors College (MHC) alumnus achieved a tremendous amount in his four years at the College of Staten Island, which speaks both to his work ethic and thrill for adventure. The recipient of several scholarships and awards, including The Jack Nash Scholarship (2014) and Psychology Departmental Award (2015), Wong is currently a medical student at Upstate Medical University at Syracuse, where he’ll be starting his clinical rotations this summer, with an interest in family medicine.
During his time on campus, the Psychology major and former club vice president was heavily involved with Project Reach, a peer-mentoring program for college students with learning disabilities. As a student researcher, he worked closely with Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, PhD, developing a thesis on the impact of mentoring on the mentors and their success rates. Reflecting on his time with Dr. Gillespie-Lynch, Wong states,
“She is one of the nicest people I know. She allowed me to conduct research with her for two and a half years and guided me every step of the way. She encouraged me to enter various conferences to present my research, which was one of the best-presented undergraduate research at the conferences.”
The admiration is mutual as Dr. Gillespie notes, “Vincent was a huge asset to the mentorship program. He was an exceptional mentor for several students, including a student with a disability whom he inspired to become a mentor himself. His sense of humor and natural exuberance created joy in the students he worked with.”
In addition to his work on campus, the Brooklyn Technical High School graduate, also participated in several extracurricular activities.
Wong was a member of the CUNY Service Corps program, which allowed him to work at the Prospect Park Zoo. Some of his responsibilities included managing the zoo database and helping the staff coordinate special events.
Of his many activities, one program Wong found to be transformative was AmeriCorps. After hearing about the opportunity at the Macaulay job fair in Manhattan, Wong knew that AmeriCorps would be an enriching and life-changing experience for the aspiring doctor. AmeriCorps is a civil society program supported by the U.S. government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of “helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.”
In addition to the special bond he shared with Sheridan, Wong experienced nature in a unique way. He states, “It opened an entirely new world that was unknown to me before. I always thought of nature being far away and having to transverse hundreds of miles to find a small quiet place to enjoy. However, Gateway National Park is only 45 minutes away on bike. Not only was it super close, it was also a hidden gem.”
During this time, Vincent learned how to kayak and rescue other kayakers, and paddled to an uninhabited island off the coast of Brooklyn where a pack of horseshoe crabs greeted him and his peers.
Another memory the medical student holds fondly was traveling to Sandy Hook Beach to camp overnight. He recounts, “I remember sitting by the fire with the vivid night sky over my head. The next morning was a marine demonstration. Another counselor and I walked along the shore with a huge net. The captured animals were quickly returned to the ocean after we showed the public all the various species of small fishes that lived in these waters. Overall, this experience taught me to enjoy nature just a little bit more.”
Although it may seem as if he has conquered the world on his own, the current medical school student and Syracuse resident credits his success to a number of individuals including Charles Liu, Lisa French, and the entire Macaulay Honors community.
Wong has also been an asset to the MHC community, “We are very proud of Vincent Wong. He is a genuine, kind, and humble person whose wit and intelligence will help to make him a wonderful doctor one day,” said Lisa French, Associate Director of the Macaulay Honors College at CSI. “Jovial, joyful, and inspiring—a pleasure to have as a student—that’s what comes to mind when I think of Vincent!” adds Charles Liu, Macaulay at CSI’s faculty director.
Wong encourages fellow students to cultivate these kinds of relationships, which made him feel like “family,” as he states, “Students should take the time out to develop and nurture a relationship between a professor or staff member. This relationship will help them grow as a student and as an individual.”
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumna Fran Ramos has been named new General Manager for Comfort Inn Midtown West by M&R Hotel Management. Ramos is a nine year veteran of the hospitality industry and is moving up from her position at the same location.
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumna Andrea Dalzell is being hosted by the United Spinal Association’s 6th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill, June 11-14 in Washington, D.C. Dalzell, who has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Neuroscience from CSI, and is currently in nursing school, will join other prominent disability advocates to speak directly with legislators on issues that affect the independence and quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) and other pre-existing conditions.