Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano announced yesterday that Abdo Nahmod, a 25-year veteran of the Department, has been appointed Chief of FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service Command effective yesterday.
“Chief Nahmod has shown tremendous dedication to this Department and to the people of New York City throughout a long and distinguished career,” Commissioner Cassano said. “With an advanced degree in Homeland Security he earned earlier this year and several years overseeing FDNY’s Emergency Medical Dispatch, he will continue our mission of providing New York with the best Emergency Medical Service available anywhere.”
For the past three years, Chief Nahmod has served as a Deputy Assistant Chief overseeing Emergency Medical Dispatch. He grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and moved to Paris with his family in 1967. Two years later, they immigrated to the United States, where he went on to study health science at the College of Staten Island. While in school, he worked for six years with a volunteer ambulance company in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn before joining the city Emergency Medical Service as an EMT in 1986. Over the years, he was promoted up through the ranks and, as a Captain, was tapped to head the first combined Fire-EMS station in Rossville, Staten Island. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2004 and served as Staten Island Borough Commander before being promoted to Chief of Emergency Medical Dispatch in 2008. Chief Nahmod earned a Master’s degree in Homeland Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, Calif. in March. He was recognized five times during his career for meritorious service.
“Emergency Medicine, for me, has always been a calling, not a job, and the Fire Department has given me the opportunity to fulfill this calling,” said Chief Nahmod. “I couldn’t be happier to take on the important role of overseeing the world’s greatest Emergency Medical Service and I’m honored to have the opportunity.”
Chief Nahmod replaces Chief John Peruggia, who has served as head of EMS Command for the past six years and will continue his career with the Department in a new role to be determined.
Commissioner Cassano is elevating the Chief of EMS position from three to four stars, in recognition of the growing stature and importance of the EMS Command, which responded to a record 1.26 million calls last year.
“I created the first strategic plan for EMS last year to focus on further improving the service we provide to New Yorkers,” Commissioner Cassano said. “We have made some changes and, despite Chief Peruggia’s dedicated service to this Department, I felt new leadership was needed at this time. Last week’s blizzard presented tremendous challenges for the Department that are currently being addressed with an eye toward improving performance going forward.”
In today’s fiercely competitive job market and economy, today’s graduates need every skill they can acquire to get an edge on the competition. Toward that goal, the College’s Career and Scholarship Center and the CSI Alumni Association teamed up last Friday to present “The Business Etiquette Luncheon.”
The two-hour event gave a capacity group of 58 CSI students the opportunity to enjoy a five-course professional business lunch, while a CSI alumni member at their table offered helpful suggestions on the proper way to conduct themselves during a real-life business meal situation. Beyond the one-on-one interaction with alumni, who are seasoned business professionals, the attendees also enjoyed a presentation from the Career and Scholarship Center’s Nina Long, who, between courses, shared more valuable information regarding the proper behavior in such a scenario.
Francesca Navarro, a junior studying Business Management with a minor in Corporate Communications, was one of the student attendees. When asked what she hoped to get out of the luncheon, she said, “I hope to develop the ability to go to an interview and present myself adequately, and if it is a dinner, so that I can have good communications skills and not offend anyone in the process.”
Another student, Michael Wallace, a sophomore majoring in Biology, added that, when he eventually faces a potential employer, he wanted to be able to “have a good interview and get a good job.”
Explaining the importance of the luncheon, Joanne Hollan, Associate Director of the Career and Scholarship Center, commented that “The business dinner and the interview that takes place along with it are the latest trend in how students are recruited into today’s job market. Many of the larger companies are now holding this kind of ‘Interview Day’ where students are invited to the company for the entire day to conduct a series of interviews with staff including the business interview luncheon or dinner. It can be a deal maker if done correctly. It can also be a deal breaker if students are not well prepared on how to conduct themselves during the business interview meal. In order to help our students be as competitive as possible, especially in today’s job market, The Career and Scholarship Center wants to provide students with these “career building” skills that will set them apart from other college graduates conducting a job search.”
As for the CSI alumni who were on hand to share their expertise, the general goal was to help prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s job interviews.
Frances Melendez, PhD ’80, ’94, the Deputy Director of the MA in Mental Health Counseling program in the Psychology Department, who received an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a BA in Psychology from CSI, noted, “I think, as a CSI alumna, that it’s important that students see that CSI alumni can be successful. It’s also for them to understand what the real world is like–how to interview, what the etiquette is, how they should prepare themselves, to empower them to do a good job on an interview.
Joe Ricciutti ’94, President of the Staten Island Yankees and a Foundation Board Member, who CSI graduated with a BS in Business Management, commented, “Being a CSI graduate and a member of the business community, any opportunity that I can give back, even if it’s just a little advice, I’m happy to do it. Given how competitive the job market is, it’s tough enough getting a good job, nevermind being right on the cusp and losing it because you did something [wrong] at an interview.”
Another alumnus was Kristian Gargasz ’06, who received a BS in International Business from CSI, eventually launching Grand Prix America, the North American offset of Grand Prix-Trading House, the European Dance and Fitness Apparel Company. He explained that “As students… we were educated very well, [but] as far as circumstances in the real world, we had little practice. When it came time to face real people in business we didn’t have the proper scenario in order to speak and articulate with those whom we were going to work with in the future. This [event] gives [students] an opportunity to practice and step forward into the professional world.”
Also on hand was Carole Gervasi ’02, Vice President of Online Degree Programs for the College Bound Network and a CSI alumni Board member with a BS in Communications from the College, who said, “CSI has definitely given my company a lot of interns over the years…I’m here not only to get an idea from the students in terms of what their opinions are of the outside world, but also how I can help them by bringing all of my expertise and experience, and see how I can recruit some more potential interns into my company because we’ve had such success with them in the past.
For the last seven years, the Business Etiquette Luncheon has been a part of the many events and services offered by the Career and Scholarship Center to help students succeed in the job market, and the event seems to draw more student participation every year. With that in mind, although, as Hollan mentioned, this is an usually an annual event, she said that “We had an overwhelming response to this event [this year] and would like to do another one in the spring, if we can.”
For more information of the many services that the Career and Scholarship Center has to offer, visit their Website at http://www.csi.cuny.edu/career/index.html or call them at 718.982.2300.
CSI alumni who are interested in participating in future Etiquette luncheons should contact the Alumni Relations Office at 718.982.2290.
This event was generously funded by the Campus Activities Board with Student Activity Fee funds.
An enthusiastic group of nearly 100 Business alumni and faculty gathered at the residence of President Tomás D. and Mrs. Evy Morales last week for a networking evening. Alumni, spanning from the 1970s to our most recent grads, the class of 2010,
and representing the fields of accounting, finance, management, international business, and information systems, had the opportunity to catch up with their favorite faculty members and fellow grads.
President Morales highlighted the College’s record enrollment and discussed plans to advance the College further with the strategic planning process currently underway.
In addition, the President spoke about the importance of alumni remaining in touch with the College and our students, underscoring the strides that the College is making in fundraising efforts, including major gift development. On a related note, he discussed the importance of supporting the upcoming Celestial Ball on December 4, which provides much-needed funding for student scholarships.
Vullnet Kollari, Esq. ‘98, Alumni Board President, brought greetings from the Alumni Association and discussed the important contributions that Business faculty members have made in the lives and career paths of alumni.
Professor Thomas Tellefsen ’77, Chairperson, Business Dept., brought alumni up to date on the Master’s in Business Management program and the proposed plan to transform the department into a School of Business.
Richard Prinzi, CPA ’93, past Alumni Board President and current Treasurer of the CSI Foundation, spoke of his strong ties to the College, borne of his positive undergraduate experience, and the value he has found through the years in recruiting more than 60 accounting students for internships and employment. He concluded by encouraging his fellow alumni to get involved with their alma mater in whatever way they can, whether it be offering a job, an internship, or being a mentor for our students. He assured them they would not be disappointed.
The CSI Alumni Association hosted a College Admissions and Financial Aid Information Night for alumni, their college-age children, and the local community.
According to Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Jennifer Lynch, “President Morales is supportive of new and innovative ways to provide services of value to our extensive alumni base here on Staten Island. This event was a perfect opportunity to demystify the college admissions process and provide relevant information families need.”
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. William R. Fritz opened the presentation by bringing alumni up to date on academics and facilities at CSI. Emmanuel Esperance, Director of the Office of Recruitment and Admissions, provided an overview of the steps in a solid college admission plan, and Philippe Marius, Director of Financial Aid, provided a wealth of information about how financial aid is determined and he discussed federal and private loans.
Alumni Board Member Anna Fiorentino ’03 spoke of how her undergraduate experience created many opportunities to combine her passion for biology and computer science into a viable career path.
Alumni Board Members Marietta DeLuca ’85, Robert Ferone ‘86, Michele Karpeles ’10, Lynne Libert ’06, Theresa Marro ’89, and Sumi Raj ‘90 were in attendance to meet and greet our alumni and guests.
It felt like a midsummer night as 20 former Dolphin Baseball players turned out for some friendly competition at the second annual Baseball Alumni game at the CSI Baseball Complex. Alumni from teams ranging from 1985 to 2006 put on their gloves and got out their bats to be Dolphins baseball players for one more night, as alumni from the odd-numbered years defeated the even-numbered-year squad 3 to 2.
Current CSI assistant coach John Scrivani coached the winning odd-numbered team that donned black jerseys and consisted of Frank Guglielmo ’03, Kevin Biesty ’05, Ted Maceda ’04, David Granato*, Anthony Hillery ’07, Mark Gonzalez*, Steven Schnell*, Robert Marolla ’96, T.J. Greco ’01, Joe Ruiz ’06, and Victor Reich ’90. Wearing blue was the even-numbered team, coached by CSI assistant Tom Wohlfit, which included Anthony Avena’01, Bill Lonergan ’93, Anthony Calafiore ’92, Nick Secchini*, Andrew Fraschilla*, Joe Perrotta*, Matt Stefanski*, Pat Smith*, and Arne Mattsson ’79.
Mark Gonzalez was awarded MVP honors for the black team after knocking in the winning run and getting the save on the mound. Anthony Avena, who tallied three hits, an RBI, and a run scored, was named MVP for the blue team.
CSI head coach Mike Mauro ’89 and associate head coach Neil Barbella organized the Alumni matchup, and CSI’s Alumni Association provided t-shirts and raffles. All members of the 2009 CSI CUNYAC Championship team were there to help with batting practice and registration.
“It was a great night, thanks to our supportive alumni and the hard working staff at CSI,” said Barbella, “I’m happy so many people look forward to this night and the alumni and their families have an enjoyable evening. We hope it continues to grow as word spreads to all of our Dolphin Baseball alumni.”
*Denotes that a player attended CSI but did not graduate from the College.
Kelly Levano, who obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2003 from the College of Staten Island and her PhD in Biochemistry in August 2009 from the CUNY Graduate Center (home campus CSI), has recently received the Horst Schulz Prize in Biochemistry. Her winning paper was entitled “A Genetic Strategy Involving a Glycosyltransferase Promoter and a Lipid Translocating Enzyme to Eliminate Cancer Cells.” Levano received the award at a ceremony at the CUNY Graduate Center. In attendence were CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Fritz; her mentor at CSI, Professor of Chemistry Dr. Probal Banerjee; and Levano’s mother, among others.
This is the second year in a row that the prize was won by a CSI student, as Leah Cohen received the award last year for her paper “Expression and Biophysical Analysis of Two Double-Transmembrane Domain-Containing Fragments From a Yeast G Protein-Coupled Receptor.”
Levano, who is currently working as a Postdoc at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Department of Developmental Molecular Biology under Dr. Paraic Kenny with a research specialization of breast cancer, said, “I was very honored to have received this award. I was especially moved during the award ceremony by [Executive Officer of the Biochemistry program at the CUNY Graduate Center] Dr. Edward J. Kennelly’s introductory speech where he read a few lines from my admission’s essay. He reminded me of my goals and expectations at the time I entered the Doctoral program and reinforced my goal to help in the fight against cancer.”
“The Horst Schulz award was started in 2008 honoring Prof. Emeritus Horst Schulz, who chaired the Biochemistry Doctoral program for a number of years,” Dr. Banerjee explained. “Every year, it honors a Biochemistry doctoral student whose research has been published in a peer-reviewed journal in the form of a first-author article. It is highly competitive, because a number doctoral students from various CUNY campuses compete for this honor. We are proud to acknowledge that Leah Cohen from Dr. Fred Naider’s lab received this award for 2008 and now Kelly received it for 2009, thus bringing special honor to CSI.”
As for Levano and her achievement, Banerjee added, “Kelly joined my research team as a shy undergraduate student who was sure about her talents but not really set in her goal in life. Her strong background in Biochemistry helped her grasp the research project fairly quickly, but then she had to work really hard to secure a berth in the CUNY Doctoral program in Biochemistry. Little did she or anyone else know that she would eventually mature into a talented doctoral student. Furthermore, it was difficult to predict that in the melee of so many highly talented students she will be chosen to receive this prestigious award…I feel extremely proud of her achievement and hope that she will accomplish much more during her future years as a cancer biologist.”
Regarding Levano’s honors and the fact that CSI students have won the award two years in a row, Dr. Fritz commented that “this is another indication that our students and academic programs are “World Class, right here.”
Looking back on her studies at CSI, Levano noted, “the College of Staten Island has been my home for ten years. It was here that I developed my love for research and where I acquired the tools to achieve my goals as a researcher.”
After her graduation from Richmond College (a predecessor of CSI) in 1970 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Elementary Education, Dr. Muriel Howard has dedicated her life to public higher education. After a 23-year tenure at University of Buffalo, and her most recent 13-year service to Buffalo State College, eventually becoming the institution’s President, Dr. Howard has been chosen as president of American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). AASCU is an advocacy and support organization representing over 430 public college and university members in the United States, as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Member institutions pride themselves on access and opportunity, being student-centered, and acting as “stewards of place”—connecting students and faculty with the people in the outer community to advance local education, the economy, and quality of life.
Discussing her selection to lead AASCU, Dr. Howard remarks, “I was especially thrilled and honored to be selected because I was recommended and selected by my peers. In addition it is a privilege to have an opportunity to help advance national policies that will impact the lives of so many students. This opportunity comes at a very exciting time in my career in that I believe that I had accomplished many of the goals that I had established for Buffalo State College. I was ready to examine new opportunities that would enable me to have a greater impact on higher education and to help a greater number of students….”
Regarding her new role, Dr. Howard says, “We are an association that is focused on student access, affordability, and competiveness in higher education. My role will involve working on public policy issues such as garnering more Pell support for students. I will work closely with our member institutions to seek greater opportunities for first-generation and non-traditional learners as well those students who are from underserved populations and creating professional development and leadership opportunities for institutional leaders—especially college and university presidents and chancellors.
Richmond College Revisited
When asked if her time at Richmond College had an impact on her success, Dr. Howard’s response was “Absolutely. We had a wonderful faculty. They were extremely talented and came from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Some of them were interested in what we might today call applied research and frequently guided students through academic learning experiences that involved the community. I vividly remember two experiences that I was engaged in and I know that those experiences influenced my life and my work at Buffalo State College. In addition, Professors Francis Botchway and Charles Thomas from the African American Studies Department provided a home away from home for students and spent many out-of-class hours helping myself and other students chart a course of success. So, certainly, my experience at Richmond was extremely meaningful.”
Richmond College also provided a spark that kept Dr. Howard focused on her own education, and eventually, helping others to advance their studies. “Before I completed my degree, I remember Brian Sherman (who was my major adviser in Sociology) saying to me, ‘You should go to graduate school.’ I thought about it and decided to work for a semester on Staten Island at the Urban League, following through on my major in Sociology. Over the summer, I decided to go back to graduate school [at the University of Buffalo] and discovered that Brian had been right. It was the most important thing he ever said to me. I had a great experience at the University of Buffalo and completed my Master’s of Elementary and Remedial Education and a Doctorate in Education, Administration, Organization, and Policy while working full time at the University. Prior to this new position, my entire career in higher education has been in Buffalo.
A Connection to CSI’s Future President
While at the University of Buffalo, Dr. Howard found herself working with Dr. Tomás Morales, who is now CSI’s President. “When he was working for [City College] CUNY,” Dr. Howard recalls, “he was very much involved with the EOP [Educational Opportunity Program] and helping students to gain access to college. Our careers were moving along similarly and we would attend statewide meetings together and try to champion issues that we felt were important to access, retention, and the persistence of students. Tom and I always shared ideas and information about projects or activities that we were involved in at our institutions and we often lobbied together in Albany.
Today, Dr. Howard and Dr. Morales are working together again, advocating for higher education, as they both sit on the AASCU Board.
Making an Impact at Buffalo State
As President of Buffalo State College, Dr. Howard certainly brought positive results. Among her many achievements are the successful overhaul of the institution’s general education program. In addition, she helped to amass over $350 million for new buildings and other capital improvements on campus, including a new arts center, and a new math and science center, residence hall, and technology center, which are currently under construction. Dr. Howard was also instrumental in expanding the school’s honors program from about 60 students to 200, and she succeeded in increasing the number of faculty, noting, “last year I was able to hire 50 new faculty members before the economic decline came along and that was just in one year.”
The Importance of Public Higher Education
Now that she is heading AASCU, Dr. Howard can continue her lifelong work to help others gain access to a college or university education. “I think that public higher education is a basic right that everyone should be afforded and take advantage of at some point in their life. I found it to be a transformational experience and have been afforded many opportunities and benefits as a result of my collegiate experiences. Like me, most college graduates, tend to volunteer more, help others, and are more engaged in their community and society. College graduates also tend to apply their knowledge to support and advance their careers and offer to support other family members who wish to attend college. I believe that a college education is the greatest and most important opportunity available in society. It is a special gift and I am thankful to my family for the support and many sacrifices that they made to support my siblings and me.”