College Admissions and Financial Aid Information Night

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.

Memorable Evening Had at Second Annual Baseball Alumni Game

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.

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

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.

CSI Grad Receives Prestigious Horst Schulz Prize in Biochemistry

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.”

CSI alumna Kelly Levano is the second CSI student in a row to win the prestigious Horst Schulz Prize

CSI Alumna Dr. Muriel Howard named AASCU President

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.

Read the entire article as published in Eye on CSI by viewing the CSI Today virtual magazine.

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.”

Dr. Muriel Howard is the President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.