CSI Professor Probes the Depths of Research

David Lindo-Atichati in front of the NOAA Research Vessel Nancy Foster.

More than 1,333 miles away and almost 3,000 meters of ocean depths, that’s how far College of Staten Island (CSI) Professor David Lindo-Atichati’s research took him this summer. An Assistant Professor at CSI as well as at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY), Lindo-Atichati traveled to Cuba for a two- week research expedition in the front of the Caribbean current.

Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Lindo-Atichati was joined by 11 other invited scientists from all over the world to study the physics of the sea, specifically ocean eddies, rotating bodies of water that make up the weather of the sea. With a wealth of data and discoveries uncovered about the formation of eddies and their impact on connectivity of water masses and ecosystems between Cuban and the U.S. waters, the bold researcher is “very excited to be leading this little piece of scientific work.”

“To better understand the physics of the water highways, you need to understand what is occurring where the water stream is originated,” said Lindo-Atichati, explaining that eddies are invisible islands of water with diameters ranging from one to a few hundred kilometers, bringing together and mixing ocean life while swirling like a hurricane. “Also, large eddies play a role in the formation of the ocean-atmosphere boundary layer and especially in the intensification of hurricanes.” The high-resolution data obtained from this cruise will allow Lindo-Atichati to look at the evolution of unexplored ocean eddies south of Cuba. Likewise, this work will provide better understanding on the formation of eddies in regions with a high tropical cyclone activity. Thus, this study can eventually help us to better predict the intensification of hurricanes and superstorms like Sandy.

The seafaring crew departed from Cozumel, Mexico on May 21, stopping at “stations” in the Mexican, Cuban, and Jamaican waters to take water samples, measuring the velocity and temperature of the water as well as the physical and biological properties, such as the species of fish in the area. He and his colleagues worked around the clock in rotating 12-hour shifts studying entire “water columns” from the ocean’s surface to 3,000 meters below the surface. After several hours at one station, they would proceed to the next one. After the expedition, Lindo-Atichati gave a seminar at Universidad de la Habana and met Cuban scientists and students.
“My research, in conjunction with an international network of collaborators, grapples with questions at the frontiers of physics, biology, and chemistry in the oceanic systems. I approach these questions from a multidimensional perspective that includes theory, observation, and modeling. By weaving these three approaches together, my research program is specifically designed to understand the interactions between oceanic circulation, marine ecosystems, and marine pollutants at very fine scales,” he noted.

David Lindo-Atichati shooting an XBT off the stern to obtain high resolution data of sea temperature and depth.

Dr. Neo Antoniades, Chair of the Engineering Science and Physics Department, expressed his support for his colleague, noting that, “David is a bright rising star in our department with a most impressive research portfolio in the exciting field of oceanography.”

Lindo-Atichati, who is also a guest investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a physical oceanographer, and his fellow scientists contributed much of their own resources to help fund the delicate instruments necessary for the expedition, which cost approximately $15,000 per day, including food, crew, scientists, and gas.

A native of Barcelona, Spain, who arrived in the U.S. ten years ago, Lindo-Atichati is excited that the project brings together not just fields of science, but also different countries. “This will be an interdisciplinary and an international long-term project, combining physics and biology, and also showing the connectivity between Cuba and the U.S.,” said Lindo-Atichati who also hopes the project “will bring some good attention to CUNY’s new lines of research and education.”

Although research is his primary focus, Lindo-Atichati says he is eager to return to CUNY in the fall when he will be teaching two brand new courses: a graduate course called Physical Oceanography, and a new undergraduate course in Meteorology and Climatology.

“I love conveying to students my own excitement about the importance of the ocean in our daily lives, and I relish awakening their curiosity on the interdependence of the physical, chemical, and biological systems in the ocean,” commented Lindo-Atichati, a St. George resident, who received his degrees from the University of Miami and the University of the Canary Islands, Spain.

Together with his colleagues from NOAA and the University of Miami, Lindo-Atichati is working on publishing his findings. His “groundbreaking” discoveries will be submitted to a high-impact peer-reviewed journal as he continues to write grants through the National Science Foundation to continue to fund the research.


Professor Patty Brooks Receives Faculty Service Award

Dr. Maureen O'Connor and Dr. Patty Brooks

The City University of New York (CUNY) is proud to name Dr. Patty Brooks as the recipient of the first annual “Faculty Service Award” in the Doctoral Program in Psychology.

Professor Brooks, who serves as the Director of the Language Learning Laboratory in the Psychology Department, joined the College of Staten Island faculty in 1997. She is currently the first-ever Deputy Executive Officer of Pedagogy and Professional Development in the Department of Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY, a position created to support graduate students outside of their doctoral research in such activities as teaching, and community and college service. Professor Brooks is also a faculty advisor to the Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA) of the American Psychological Association and has helped CUNY graduate students gain national recognition for their innovative teaching and engagement of students in CUNY classrooms.

“I was very surprised and honored to be given this award. It has been great fun to work with the doctoral students in psychology at CUNY and support them as they launch their careers as teachers of psychology,” Brooks commented.

The Certificate of Appreciation reads as follows:

“Professor Patty Brooks has played a key professional development leadership role in the Doctoral Program in Psychology. She helped to create, support, and expand our pedagogy development program, oversees and guides our annual Pedagogy Day… serves as the energetic and innovative advisor of the GSTA, and launched our new Psi Chi chapter, using it as a forum to support grant-writing expertise for our students. In recognition of her extraordinary service, the Doctoral Program in Psychology awards this Certificate of Appreciation and the 2015-16 Service Award with tremendous gratitude and respect to Professor Patricia J. Brooks.”

“It has been my honor to work with Professor Brooks over the last eight years, and I am exceptionally grateful to her for the countless hours she has dedicated and ideas she has generated to benefit our students,” commented Maureen O’Connor, JD, PhD, Professor of Psychology, John Jay College, and Executive Officer, Doctoral Program in Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Dr. Brooks is currently working with the GSTA leadership to produce an edited book titled How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Student-centered Teaching to be published by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology in 2017.

She has also recently launched PSYCH+Feminism as part of Wikipedia’s Year of Science, an initiative that encourages instructors of psychology courses to incorporate Wikipedia editing assignments in their classes, specifically to address the lack of articles on prominent women in psychology.

Dr. Brooks is preparing for the Seventh Annual Pedagogy Day conference to be held at The Graduate Center, CUNY on October 28, 2016, featuring Professor Janie Wilson, President of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, as keynote speaker. The conference is open to the entire CUNY community free of charge.


Two CSI Professors Receive Fulbright Awards

In recognition of their distinguished work in higher education and beyond, Dr. Ava Chin and Dr. Ying Zhu have both received 2016-2017 Fulbright Awards.

Dr. Ava Chin featured in a CUNY advertisement

Dr. Chin, Associate Professor in the Department of English at the College of Staten Island (CSI), will travel to China to lecture on American journalism, focusing on food and popular culture. “I plan to base my advanced magazine writing and food journalism courses on those that I have perfected at CSI,” said Chin, adding that the other purpose of the trip will be to work on her next book project, a memoir about her family roots in China. The experienced mentor also looks forward to working with young writers in China.

Chin won the Provost Research Award, which supported her while she was conducting research as well as applying for fellowships like the Fulbright.

“Under a Fulbright to China, I look forward to bringing my many years of experience in commercial print and digital journalism to a Chinese university, where I could be useful in helping with curriculum development, as well as offering a variety of journalism courses that have been successful to American and East Asian students in New York and Los Angeles. I’m also eager to share my insights on how technology has positively and negatively affected commercial media outlets in the U.S., for better or worse,” Chin commented, adding that she will be traveling to China with her husband and her four-year-old daughter.

Dr. Chin, a Queens native, is the author of the award-winning Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal and the former Urban Forager columnist for The New York Times (2009-2013). She has written for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Saveur, Marie Claire, The Village Voice, and SPIN. A New York Institute for Humanities fellow at New York University, she is an Associate Professor of creative nonfiction and journalism. The Huffington Post named her one of “9 Contemporary Authors You Should Be Reading.”

Chin also represents CUNY mentors in several CUNY advertisements appearing in CUNY Matters and on New York City subways.

Dr. Zhu, who has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, will be conducting research in China, primarily based in the Shanghai Film Academy, which is affiliated with the Shanghai University, a long-term partner of CSI. Dr. Zhu’s award project is a book called China, Soft Power, and The Great Narrator: A History of China’s Engagement with Hollywood. The work, to be published by The New Press, examines two periods during which Hollywood dominated the Chinese market: one during China’s Republican era and one since 1994 when Hollywood reentered the Chinese market after decades of absence. Dr. Zhu will trace Hollywood’s historical engagement with Chinese audiences, the film industry, and state regulatory agencies while simultaneously sketching out the evolution of Chinese cinema from its infancy under the shadow of imports to its current global economic and cultural ambition.

Dr. Ying Zhu and her daughter Frances

“Treating Sino-Hollywood engagement as a case of political, cultural, and economic rivalry and cooptation, the project examines how economic interest intersects with political posturing and cultural propagation,” Dr. Zhu explained. He considers the Shanghai Film Academy, which is headed by the world-renowned Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, 1993) a perfect institution for her to work on this historical book project.

Dr. Zhu, a Cinema Studies Professor in the Department of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island-CUNY, has published eight books, including Two Billion Eyes: The Story of China Central Television and Chinese Cinema during the Era of Reform: The Ingenuity of the System. A leading scholar on Chinese cinema and media studies, her writings have appeared in major academic journals, books, and publications such as The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Her works have been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Zhu is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2006) and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2008). Her 2003 research monograph, Chinese Cinema during the Era of Reform: The Ingenuity of the System, is considered by critics as a groundbreaking book that initiated the study of Chinese cinema within the framework of political economy. Her 2008 research monograph, Television in Post-Reform China: Serial Drama, Confucian Leadership and the Global Television Market, together with two book volumes in which her work featured prominently—TV China (2009) and TV Drama in China (2008)—pioneered the subfield of Chinese TV drama studies.

Dr. Zhu’s daughter, Frances Hisgen, will also travel to China during the Fulbright tenure. Frances will join Maliya Obama to be part of the Harvard Class of 2021 upon return from China.

 The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, and it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

“We hope that your Fulbright experience will be highly rewarding professionally and personally, and that you will share the knowledge you gain with many others throughout your life,” commented Laura Skandera Trombley, Chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

“As a Fulbright grantee, you will join the ranks of distinguished participants in the Program,” noted Trombley, adding that Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 54 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 29 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Since its beginnings in 1946, more than 360,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program.


“Scientists and engineers rock!” CSI Prof Receives Award at the White House

Dr. Dan McCloskey in The Red Room at the White House

“Scientists and engineers rock!”

Those words, spoken by President Barack Obama, are one of the highlights of Dr. Daniel McCloskey’s trip to the White House.

An Associate Professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island (CSI), Dr. McCloskey was the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), granting him the U.S. government’s highest award for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers.

“I was very proud to be representing the College because, as our College President has remarked, CSI is a different institution than those of many fellow awardees,” said Dr. McCloskey, adding that he was “extremely proud to represent a public university that has so many opportunities for undergrads.”

Dr. McCloskey was honored for “research combining modeling, neurophysiology, and systems biology/network science that will transform the field of social neuroscience by providing a comprehensive approach towards understanding the role of neuropeptides in complex behavioral systems.” He is currently on sabbatical and conducting research both on and off campus with seven graduate, six undergraduate, and two Staten Island Technical High School students.

While the honor and grandeur of the nation’s capital was truly memorable for the CSI Professor, he reflects that the best part was sharing the experience with his family.

“In science, there is not often opportunity to share these occasions with family as they happen,” commented Dr. McCloskey, who traveled to Washington, DC with his wife, three children, and his parents.

“Meeting the President, who is every bit as personable and funny as he comes across, was an honor, and I will never forget it,” recalls Dr. McCloskey.

President Obama welcomed more than 100 leading scientists and engineers from across the country and around the world to thank them for their work on some of the most challenging and complex issues in science and technology.

Dr. McCloskey spent two days in Washington, DC, meeting with Administration leaders and sharing the insights of his work. Ceremonies took place at the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and finally, the White House.







Two CSI Professors Named CUNY Distinguished Fellows

The Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) has recognized two professors from the College of Staten Island (CSI) Department of English as Distinguished City University of New York (CUNY) Fellows.

Associate Professor Ava Chin was selected for for Fall 2016 and Professor Ashley Dawson was selected for Spring 2017.  Both professors will receive full reassigned time to engage in their research and be part of a scholarly community that includes about ten other CUNY faculty plus about ten visiting scholars. The ARC fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and extends the CUNY Graduate Center’s global reach and prominence as an international hub of advanced study.

To read more about ARC, visit the ARC Web site.

President Obama Awards CSI Prof Dan McCloskey with Nation’s Highest Honor for Early Career Researchers

Dr. Dan McCloskey standing by a computer array in the Higher Performance Computing Center that crunches the data received by the transponders that track the social interactions and movements of the Naked Mole-rats.

President Barack Obama named College of Staten Island (CSI) Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Daniel McCloskey a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, granting him the U.S. government’s highest award for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Dr. McCloskey, who is one of 105 researchers awarded this national distinction, was selected for his research that combines “modeling, neurophysiology, and systems biology/network science that will transform the field of social neuroscience by providing a comprehensive approach towards understanding the role of neuropetides in complex behavioral systems,” according to the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” President Obama said. “We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people.” The purpose of the award is to encourage and accelerate American innovation to grow the economy and tackle the country’s greatest challenges.

Dr. Daniel McCloskey to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the U.S. government's highest award for researchers in the early stages of their research careers.

“I am humbled to receive this recognition,” commented Dr. McCloskey. “It represents the hard work, creativity, and support from a team of students and colleagues who share my enthusiasm. I am also proud that our efforts have been considered ‘promising’ by the White House, as this confidence recognizes the progressive combination of resources and brain power at CSI to not only conduct cutting-edge research, but also to see it succeed. We look forward to delivering on that promise, by continuing to find new approaches to study the social brain.”

A Named Mole-rat "lunching" on a slice of cantaloupe in The McCloskey Laboratory animal facility, one of only approximately 12 such labs throughout the world working with the fossorial rodents native to parts of East Africa.

Dr. McCloskey will deliver on that promise by studying the African Naked Mole-rat, a unique and highly social fossorial rodent, and harnessing the power of the Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computing Center on the College’s campus, one of the region’s most powerful supercomputers. The computer center allows Dr. McCloskey to track the behavior of each of more than 100 animals in his colony with high resolution as they navigate their way through a complex system of tubes and cages. The animals are implanted with transponders similar to the ones used to pay tolls on bridges. Each time an animal passes through a tube with a sensor, the identity, location, and time of that event is stored in a database that receives hundreds of thousands of events each day. Analysis of these large datasets requires the power of a high-performance computer to manage them and ask questions about animal behavior. In this manner, insights into the organized social community will help the researchers to understand how individual differences in social behavior are influenced by physiological and environmental factors and understand the role of social behavior brain systems in health, as well as develop deeper insights into diseases such as epilepsy and autism.

The complex research being conducted “includes researchers from postdoctoral scientists to high school students, and all levels in between,” Dr. McCloskey notes with pride.

“The College of Staten Island has received numerous national accolades this year highlighting the transformative educational opportunities provided to our students and the professional prospects of our alumni,” noted Dr. William J. Fritz, President of the College of Staten Island and Fellow of the Geological Society of America. “Dr. McCloskey’s recognition by the National Science Foundation and President Obama is a testament to the high-caliber research that our students are exposed to in Dr. McCloskey’s lab, and indicative of the overall cutting-edge research being conducted at CSI. I extend my sincerest congratulations to Dr. McCloskey and his research team.”

“Dan McCloskey is a CSI faculty superstar who is deserving of this enormous honor in every way,” added Dr. Gary W. Reichard, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at CSI. “He not only conducts highly significant, cutting-edge research with real-world implications, but also serves as a mentor and role model daily for undergraduates and graduate students alike.  We are proud of him, and deeply grateful for his contributions to science and to our students.”

Dr. McCloskey is one of 21 Presidential Award recipients whose research was nominated by the NSF. Foundation Director France Córdova congratulated the “teacher-scholars who are developing new generations of outstanding scientists and engineers and ensuring this nation is a leading innovator. I applaud these recipients for their leadership, distinguished teaching, and commitment to public outreach.” Dr. McCloskey was awarded a five-year Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the NSF in 2012, one of approximately 500 nationwide.

The White House will hold a spring ceremony recognizing the honorees.

For more information, visit The McCloskey Laboratory online at http://mccloskey.neuro.nyc.

For more information on Naked Mole-rats, visit National Geographic.

Understanding the Electrical Pathways of the Nervous System via Trans-Spinal Stimulation Clinical Trials


Dr. Knikou (top-center) and her DPT students work collaboratively towards a better understanding of human movement in health and disease.

Dr. Maria Knikou was recently awarded a $400,000 grant by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to develop strategies in treating people who suffer from serious spinal cord injuries, and bringing sensation and mobility back into their lives.

“People with spinal cord injuries have motor dysfunction that results in substantial social, personal, and economic costs,” said Dr. Knikou, a neurophysiologist and Professor of the Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) program with the School of Health Sciences, explaining the impetus for her research. “This uncontrolled muscle spasticity and motor dysfunction can result in disabilities that significantly reduce quality of life.”

This grant will enable Dr. Knikou and her researchers to develop a stimulation protocol in order to, Dr. Knikou explains, “induce functional recovery” in people who are attempting to recover from moderate to serious spinal injury.

Research in action: non invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation assesses connections between the brain and leg muscles.

Dr. Knikou’s research on spinal cord injuries focuses on utilizing non-invasive trans-spinal stimulation of the spinal cord with constant or direct electrical current to strengthen the connections between the brain and spinal cord, thereby improving movement.

The two-year grant was awarded for Dr. Knikou’s project, titled, “Trans-spinal Stimulation to Increase Neuroplasticity and Recovery after SCI,” which seeks to test a new intervention to treat motor dysfunction of people suffering from spinal cord injuries.

Her lab uses Trans-Spinal Constant or Direct-Current Stimulation to alter the signals between the nerves and muscles in people suffering from spasticity due to injuries. According to Dr. Knikou, this spasticity causes stiffness of the muscles affected by the nerve damage caused by spinal injuries. This stiffness can cause patients suffering from these injuries to have difficulty moving and going about their daily lives. Dr. Knikou’s project aims to not only treat subjects who are undergoing the clinical trials but also to research more effective strategies in order to provide long-term treatment.

The treatments are non-invasive and require the subjects to receive 40-minute non-invasive Trans-Spinal Stimulations daily for three weeks. One of the machines used is called Trans-Cranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which both acts as treatment for the subjects during the clinical trials as well as helps the researchers study the action potential of the stimulation being provided.

Dr. Knikou celebrates victory on understanding the function of the human nervous system via non-invasive electrophysiological methods.

Dr. Knikou elaborated on the methodology that her lab uses, saying “People with motor incomplete spinal cord injury will be randomized to receive trans-spinal stimulation with direct or constant current.” The researchers, many of whom are post-graduates working on their DPT degrees as well as CSI postdoctoral research fellows, also use an EEG machine to map the areas of the brain that are being stimulated in order to better understand which placement and intensity of the electrodes works best with each subject. “Results from the proposed project will provide for the first time evidence on a novel neuromodulation method that has the advantages of being noninvasive, cost-effective, and can be used in different clinical settings to improve motor function and decrease spasticity after spinal cord injury in humans,” Dr. Knikou concluded.

While the overall goal of these clinical trials is to provide relief to people currently suffering, it will also build novel and effective rehabilitation strategies.

Dr. Knikou remains passionate about training the next wave of physical therapy researchers, and she demonstrates this by tasking her lab’s doctoral and undergraduate students with assisting with the clinical trials in a very hands-on manner.

Speaking of her philosophy behind her delegation of her student’s responsibilities, Dr. Knikou says.  “I want them to not only be consumers but also creators of research.”

For more information about the Trans-Spinal Stimulation clinical trials, visit www.csi.cuny.edu/schoolofhealthsciences.

A Guggenheim for Rhyme

Joshua Mehigan on the campus of the College of Staten Island. CUNY Photos.

CUNY Matters: In his widely acclaimed poetry collection, Accepting the Disaster, Joshua Mehigan takes on grave topics filled with tragedy, suffering, and death. But, the dark message of his poems comes veiled by the musicality of rhyme and meter.

As an example, Mehigan’s narrative poem “The Orange Bottle,” uses uncanny, tender rhyming verse to tell the story of a man who stops taking his medication and suffers a psychotic episode before being arrested and sent to a mental hospital.

The clear orange bottle was empty.
It had been empty a day.
It suddenly seemed so costly
and uncalled for anyway.

For Mehigan, part of his joy in writing poetry is the thrill of composition, playing with words and language, and also rhythm and meter.

However, he also uses poetry as a vehicle to discuss societal problems and issues in contemporary life.

“In writing poetry, there are ideas that I have about the world that I would like to get into people’s heads, subtly,” he said.

Mehigan, a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaching fellow at the College of Staten Island, was named a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry.

Appointed on the basis of “prior achievement and exceptional promise,” Mehigan joins 174 Guggenheim winners that include ten poetry Fellows. His first book, The Optimist,was a finalist for the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry and winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. His most recent book, Accepting the Disaster, was cited in the Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere as a best book of 2014. Critics have called him “one of our finest emerging poets.”

Mehigan’s poems have also appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Smithsonian, and several anthologies.

When asked how he became interested in poetry, Mehigan said he started writing when he was about 10 and attributes his poetic beginnings to childish self-absorption.

“It wasn’t because I loved literature. It wasn’t because I loved writing. It was mainly just to try to impress people probably,” Mehigan joked. “But, eventually, I woke up and realized there is something to this.”

For inspiration, Mehigan goes to favorites who have also tackled difficult subjects such as W.H. Auden, Jorge Luis Borges, Edgar Bowers, Gwendolyn Brooks, and John Clare. Although his poetry focuses on dark topics, Mehigan explains that he doesn’t dwell in constant sadness.

“I’m obsessed with death. It’s true. I am,” he said.

“So if I’m walking down the street and see something in a particularly poignant way that demonstrates some interesting thing to me about death or my fear of death, then it will find its way to a poem. But it’s not like I walk around weeping,” he said with a laugh.

While he has enjoyed teaching at the College of Staten Island, Mehigan is grateful for the Guggenheim award, which he will use to focus on his next collection.

“I’ll take off a year from school and it will allow me to live, so that I can work. So that I can write poems. And that is really and truly, an amazing gift,” he said.