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.
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumnus Keegan Fernandes ’15, ’16, ‘17 has won a Jonas Salk Scholarship.
Through the Scholarship, in fall 2017, Fernandes will attend the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell University in North Carolina, where in addition to pursuing a Doctor of Osteopathy degree, he will also conduct research relating to epileptic seizures and type II diabetes.
“I am so humbled and want to express my deepest gratitude for being awarded the Jonas Salk Scholarship. This prestigious award will allow me to pursue my dreams and for that I cannot thank the Jonas Salk committee enough,” said Fernandes.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Fernandes has received a Purple Heart Medal and Ribbons denoting Army Commendation, Army Service, NATO Service, and Global War on Terrorism.
“Having spent seven years in the military, retuning to civilian life was difficult. I was grateful to find a home with the Veteran Support office where Laura Scazzafavo helped me focus on reaching the dream of becoming a doctor,” remembers Fernandes, who graduated with both a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2015 and went on to complete a Master of Science in Biotechnology at CSI in spring 2016. The graduate student is slated to receive a second Master of Science in Neuroscience and Developmental Disabilities in spring 2017.
While in the Army, Fernandes served as the lead medic for his platoon and found his inspiration to become a physician after saving the life of his friend (and fellow soldier) in Afghanistan, who was severely injured by an improvised explosive device.
At CSI, Fernandes instructed tenth grade high school students in neuroscience and mathematics through the CSTEP Program, received honors in his major and served as a Veteran Support Specialist and a member of the Armed Forces Club and the Pre-Medical Society at CSI.
As an undergraduate, Fernandes worked in a laboratory with Dan McCloskey, PhD, examining the paradoxical lack of brain Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in the African Naked Mole-Rat. According to Dr. McCloskey, “He helped develop first neuronal cell culture studies on this species and his research revealed that this unusual mammal uses alternative strategies to grow new blood vessels in the brain, which allows them to handle low oxygen environments in their native habitat. This work informs us of new strategies for human vascular growth to counteract stroke and heart disease.”
“Academically, the professors that I have crossed paths with saw my truest potential even when I couldn’t see it in myself. Having the backing that was offered at CSI has played a huge role in receiving this award,” said the student, who in particular recalls the support of Bill L’Amoreaux, PhD; Abdeslem El Idrissi, PhD; and Dr. McCloskey.
“Without their belief in me I would not be finishing my degree. Their mentorship held me up when life was too much, and here is the proof that anything is possible,” he said.
Dr. McCloskey, who serves as the student’s research mentor and pre-med advisor, added that, “Keegan has propelled himself toward this award. I have been fortunate to work with truly great students here at CSI, including previous Salk Scholarship Awardees, but I have never met a student like Keegan. I have no doubt that he will go on and continue to do amazing things.”
“CSI is very proud of Keegan for his academic achievements as well as his brave service to our country. He is to be commended for his involvement in research throughout his academic program here. There is no doubt that the outstanding mentorship by Dr. McCloskey provided a major boost toward his securing this great recognition,” noted Gary Reichard, PhD, CSI Provost.
The hard-working student and soldier believes, “No matter how long or tough the road is, if you stay with it and you really want it, you will achieve it. This journey is not over. It is the stepping stone to the future I am now certain of, given every challenge I have conquered.”
Macaulay Honors College (MHC) alumna, Lucinda Zawadzki ’15 has received a full scholarship to the University of Oxford to pursue a PhD in Zoology.
Through the Oxford-Christ Church-Natural Motion Graduate Scholarship, Zawadzki will study full time at the University from October 2017 to September 2020 with all tuition, college fees, and living costs covered.
“I am extremely excited to attend the University of Oxford for my graduate studies. After finding my passion studying birds, I knew that I wanted to continue my studies in graduate school, but I never imagined being able to do so at such an amazing institution. This opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I cannot wait to begin my studies in the fall,” said Zawadzki, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science with honors in Biology, minoring in Biochemistry and Chemistry,and was the Class of 2015 Salutatorian and recipient of multiple scholarships while at CSI.
At the University of Oxford, Zawadzki plans to study vagrancy in birds as an indicator of climate change by conducting research with the Oxford Navigation Group.
“Through use of existing databases and fieldwork, I will be studying how vagrancy drives movement in bird populations, and whether vagrancy is due to misorientation or an adaptation. To date, no such analysis has been performed. This work is important in terms of climate change, as many organisms will need to adapt to changing conditions through dispersal,” Zawadzki said.
She was also selected as a finalist in the very prestigious British Marshall Scholarship, a first for CSI in this particular scholarship competition. She has also received an honorable mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and two honorable mentions from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
Zawadzki reflects that, “I have learned that if you have a dream, never give up. I knew this already from college, when I faced the dilemma of switching majors and changing research directions after I discovered my love of biology… challenges do not end in school; they continue after you graduate. However, no matter what roadblock may stand in your way, if you have a goal, and you work really hard, you will achieve it. From senior year of college I knew that I wanted to study birds for a living, and now I have a real path to that dream. I worked hard to get here, and now, day by day, I am slowly making my dream a reality. And I could not be happier.”
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumna Stefanie Fadel is currently the Chief Physician’s Assistant at Quality First Urgent Care. The Brooklyn resident was interviewed in the article “Local Hero, Devoted Practitioner” on the BKLYNER.com, where she is referred to as “somewhat of a local hero due to her extensive medical experience, generous volunteer work, and success as a marathon champion all while fulfilling her role as devoted wife and mother of three.”
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumna Viktoriya Morozova ’15 has been asked to speak at The New York Academy of Sciences. The event, “Targeting Tau in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders,” on March 13, is presented by the Brain Dysfunction Discussion Group.
Morozova is a student in the Master’s Program in the Center for Developmental Neuroscience at CSI. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and, in 2013, joined the lab of Alejandra Alonso, PhD, studying the mechanism of neuronal loss in Alzheimer’s disease as a function of tau expression. Morozova has been awarded first place in the Graduate Conference on Research and Scholarship. Her current focus in the lab is to analyze the prion-like propagation of tau in culture and in a mouse model of tauopathy.
College of Staten Island alumnus Michael Gigante ’14 has been accepted to Kyushu University’s Political Science Master’s program and has also been offered a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology: Japan (MEXT) scholarship, which will cover all tuition and provide a stipend to supplement living expenses.
“I am delighted to hear about this positive outcome. No doubt the acceptance and scholarship are due to the mentoring of Michael’s faculty and his scholarly accomplishments and evidence of interest in Japan,” commented Nan M. Sussman, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.
College of Staten Island (CSI) alumnus Kevin Peter Carroll, Democratic District leader of the 64th Assembly District, has announced he is running for the open 43rd District City Council Seat this year. Carroll graduated from CSI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, minoring in History.
Two alumni from the College of Staten Island (CSI) are celebrating their accomplishments in graduate school, work, and research.
Omri Shick ’16 is a graduate student in MSEd in science education. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Chemistry and Teaching in May 2016 and is a full time science teacher at the Lavelle Prep Charter School.
Stephanie Sheehan ’16 is a graduate student in MSEd in mathematics education. She graduated with a BS in Mathematics as a Noyce Scholar and is also a full time math teacher at the Lavelle Prep Charter School.
Shick is the first author of the paper “The Effect of Short Mathematics Instruction in High School Chemistry Course on Student Chemistry Achievement,” which has been accepted as a full paper at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting. This paper represents results of his research completed as an undergraduate student at CSI with Irina Lyublinskaya, PhD, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction as his advisor and co-author on the paper. He was also a recipient of a CSI Undergraduate Research Award to complete this study.
The AERA, founded in 1916, is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results. AERA’s more than 25,000 members are faculty, researchers, graduate students, and other distinguished professionals with rich and diverse expertise in education research. AERA is international in scope. Nearly 5% of members, representing over 85 countries, reside outside the United States. Over 28% of AERA members are students—approximately 6,500 graduate students and 600 undergraduate students.
Sheehan completed two research projects in her senior year at CSI. Her first project was completed in the fall 2015 in collaboration with Dr. Lyublinskaya and Mikhail Epshtein, PhD, of St. Petersburg State University in Russia, and focused on the effects of short-term international programs for pre-service STEM teachers on their professional growth as teachers. The paper was accepted as an oral presentation at the 13th International Congress of Mathematics Education and was presented in Hamburg in July 2016. The Congress is held every four years and is under the auspices of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. Over 3,000 mathematics educators from all over the world attended the Congress last summer. It is considered one of the most important international events in mathematics education.
In spring 2016, Sheehan received a CSI Undergraduate Research Award to conduct research on effects of virtual and physical manipulatives on retention of mathematics knowledge for students with disabilities. As part of this research, Sheehan developed geometry activities for her students. Based on this work, her group submitted a proposal and have been accepted to present a workshop at the Long Island Mathematics Conference (LIMACON) on March 17, 2017 at SUNY Old Westbury, NY.