CSI Prof’s New Book Awarded Prestigious Fraenkel Prize

The Wiener Library of London awarded its prestigious Fraenkel Prize to College of Staten Island Assistant History Professor Mark Lewis for his book manuscript, The Birth of the New Justice: The Internationalization of Crime and Punishment, 1919-1950, which examines international criminal courts and the field of international criminal law from the end of World War I to the beginning of the Cold War.  

The Fraenkel Prize, sponsored by Mr. Ernst Fraenkel OBE, joint President of the Library and former Chairman, is awarded for an outstanding work of twentieth-century history in one of the Wiener Library’s fields of interest: the history of Europe, Jewish history, the two world wars, anti-semitism, comparative genocide, or extremism.  Dr. Lewis was awarded the Category A prize of $6,000 as well as an invitation to lecture in London on his book’s topic, which explains how World War I catalyzed the idea of international prosecution for war crimes, and why this idea was applied to many different types of crimes in the following decades.

The book began its life as Dr. Lewis’ dissertation as he researched the attempt to institute an international criminal court at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I, and then discovered that the ideas asserted there by European jurists were transformed over the following decades to deal with other types of crimes, such as a terrorism and genocide.  “I was very interested in understanding the political impetus for these changes,” Dr. Lewis explained. “I also wanted to explain the history from the point of view of non-governmental organizations, rather than only the government perspective,” he said about his historical approach. Dr. Lewis was also “thrilled and honored about winning such a prestigious prize.”

Dr. Lewis was informed of his prize by Ben Barkow, Director of the Wiener Library, who offered “heartfelt congratulations on a wonderful achievement” and expressed interest in having Dr. Lewis travel to London and give a lecture at the library. The lecture, which is still in its planning stages, is tentatively scheduled for May of 2014.

Dr. Nan Sussman, CSI Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, was delighted to hear about the “honor given to Mark Lewis” and went on to discuss how “these concerns are with us still as we continue to query how to address and define ethnic cleansing, terrorism, war crimes, and legitimate opposition. Our students are fortunate to be able to study with this fine scholar.”

Dr. Eric A. Ivison, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at CSI, reiterated Dr. Sussman’s sentiment–“This award brings honour to Mark, the History Department, and CSI-CUNY.”

The Birth of the New Justice shows that legal organizations were not merely interested in ensuring that the guilty were punished or that international peace was assured. They hoped to instil particular moral values, represent the interests of certain social groups, and even pursue national agendas. At the same time, their projects to define new types of crimes and ensure that old ones were truly punished also sprang from hopes that a new international political and moral order would check the power of the sovereign nation-state. When jurists had to scale back their projects, it was not only because state governments opposed them; it was also because jurists lacked political connections, did not build public support for their ideas, or decided that compromises were better than nothing.

The book will be published this month by Oxford University Press.


Department of Engineering Science and Physics Patents

Erlan Feria was awarded a U.S. Patent in April 2013 for “Predictive Transform Source Coding with Subband.”

Mark Feuer, joined by Mikhail Brodsky, were awarded a U.S. Patent on December 17, 2013 for “Method for measuring signal quality in WDM optical networks.”

Mikhail Brodsky joined by Mark Feuer, were awarded a U.S. Patent on June 4, 2013 for “Architecture for Reconfigurable Quantum Key Distribution Networks Based on Entangled Photons by Wavelength Division Multiplexing.”

Mark Feuer joined by Vinay Vaishampayan, were awarded a U.S. Patent on January 8, 2013 for “Digital Light Path Labeling System with Dual Polarization Quaternary Phase-Shift Keying Modulation.”



Department of Chemistry Patents

Krishnaswami Raja, joined by Probal Banerjee, Andrew Auerbach, and William L’Amoreaux, were awarded a U.S. Patent on July 16, 2013 for “Curcumin and Tetrahydrocurcumin Derivatives.”

Nan-Loh Yang, joined by Ron Pirich, Kai Su, and I-Wei Chu, were awarded a U.S. Patent on November 26, 2013 for “Facile Synthesis and Magnetoelectric Coupling at Room Temperature.”


Advanced Imaging Facility Has Grand Reopening

Facility Director Dr. William L'Amoreaux (rear) and Facility Manager Dr. Michael Bucaro discuss the structure of a single cell captured using a confocal microscope.

After eight months of renovation and expansion, the College of Staten Island’s Advanced Imaging Facility (AIF) reopened recently with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included CSI Interim President Dr. William J. Fritz, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Fred Naider, and Dean of Science and Technology Dr. Alex Chigogidze. AIF Director and Professor of Biology Dr. William L’Amoreaux also conducted a tour of the facility for the assembled faculty and students.

The upgrades to the AIF, which included a nearly doubling of the floor space and increased the number of rooms in the suite from six to 13, showcases the over $3 million in equipment housed in the facility. Included in the inventory are an X-ray microanalysis system to identify which elements are present in samples, and a confocal microscope to provide detail into subcellular structures. These instruments were funded through two National Science Foundation grants in the amounts of $227,000 and $480,000.

Drs. Naider and Fritz cut the ribbon to the newly expanded and renovated Advanced Imaging Facility.

Before he cut the ribbon to open the AIF, Dr. Fritz commented that the facility “is one of signature parts of the campus. We have lots of gems on campus, but certainly, the Imaging Facility ranks right up there at the top.”

Dr. Naider stated, in his remarks, that “there are so many fields today in science that are dependent on imaging. They go from structural biology to cell biology to material science to nanoscience…I think what’s exciting is that I look around this room and see biologists, biochemists, polymer chemists, people who are all doing different types of science who are going the benefit from having this particular facility.”

According to Dr. L’Amoreaux, “The facility, which is a core facility for faculty at CSI, is available for use by investigators from all CUNY and non-CUNY campuses. It houses a transmission and a scanning electron microscope, the confocal laser scanning microscope, an atomic force microscope, a live-cell imager, flow cytometer, fluorescence-activated cell sorter, and a host of ancillary equipment for specimen preparation.”

As far as the applications and reach of the AIF are concerned, Dr. L’Amoreaux explained that it “provides high-resolution imaging equipment for the analysis and characterization of specimens. These specimens range from nanostructured materials to complex polymers to biological cells and tissues. These resources are available to all CSI faculty, and their graduate students and post-doctoral students. What makes the CSI AIF unique is that students in high school and undergraduates may use equipment that are either unavailable to them as undergraduates (they must wait until graduate school) or not available at all.”

The AIF is also unique, according to Dr. L’Amoreaux, because it is “a core facility that houses all the instruments, and under one director. At other colleges, they may have a transmission electron microscope in Biology, and scanning electron microscope in Geology, and atomic force microscope in Physics, but we have had the foresight to house these together. City College of New York’s new Advanced Science Research Center will adopt this to some extent, but will have different managers for different equipment.”

Looking to the future of the AIF, Dr. L’Amoreaux not only emphasizes the impact that it will have on research, but on education on the Island. “The future plans for the facility are to provide our world-class faculty with the tools needed to further their research, but also to use this as a recruiting tool to retain Staten Island’s best high school students. To this day…I am still amazed at the number of students from Staten Island that matriculated at either a SUNY or even another CUNY campus who have come out to take a course only to find that the resources that they were looking for in the pursuit of a degree were closer to home than expected.”

CSI Accounting Professor Earns Education Award

Thomas Tellefson, Cynthia Scarinci, and Susan Holak at the NYSSCPA 116th Annual Election Meeting.

CSI Accounting Professor Cynthia Scarinci, CPA, was awarded the Dr. Emanuel Saxe Award in Education at the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants’ (NYSSCPA) 116th Annual Election Meeting and Dinner at the New York Marriot at Times Square.

The award is named for Emanuel Saxe, a well-known New York CPA who was a Dean Emeritus and a member of the Baruch College faculty for 31 years.  It highlights outstanding service and professional development in education and is designed to recognize educators for distinguished service and excellence in teaching and for contributing to and promotion of the accounting profession.

Professor Scarinci, a current member of the NYSSCPA’s Board of Directors, at both the state and local level, has been a member of the organization since 1990. She is a former President and Vice President of the Staten Island chapter and is a member of the chapter’s Executive Board.

Scarinci has worked tirelessly, helping students through various outreach programs such as the first annual Career  Opportunities in Accounting Program (COAP), which took place this summer in early July, and the World of Accounting, which introduces high school students to various opportunities in the accounting profession and highlights the education requirements for the major.  Scarinci established this program and coordinates it annually for the Staten Island chapter and area high schools.  Last year’s attendance was a recordbreaking 175 participants. For the past decade, she has coordinated the chapter’s annual accounting education night for Staten Island college students, where students listen to presentations and mingle with accountants from a variety of professions and organizations, including the FBI.  She has also served on CSI’s Curriculum and Proficiency committees and Mentor Program.

“Twenty years ago, if someone had asked me to “fast forward” my life, I would never have envisioned a career change into the world of academia,” said Scarinci. “It is so great to now see my students’ reactions when their balance sheets actually balance, or when they are completing their audit assignment and they finally understand how all of the pieces of the accounting puzzle fit together…their Aha! Moment; I just find it very rewarding to see their sense of accomplishment and enjoyment of it.”

“It’s hard to believe that I have been a member of the NYSSCPA for 23 years,” Scarinci continues. “The time has passed so quickly. I didn’t realize how important Society membership would be. I have made so many friends and business contacts throughout the years. I even came to teach at CSI because of colleagues in the Staten Island chapter! Our chapter works diligently to reach out to students in high school and college, to provide a better understanding of the field of accounting, CPA licensure requirements, and opportunities for a variety of different venues, but we are also involved in charitable work. Our chapter runs the Annual Bowl-a-thon for Batten disease. We always have a great turnout and have raised a great deal of money for this very worthy cause. We coordinate continuing professional education courses for Society members throughout the year and we assist in an annual tax advisement program coordinated by the Society and the Staten Island Advance. I encourage all of my students to become student members and to continue their membership when they are licensed and employed.”

Cynthia Scarinci has published several articles in the field of auditing and small business. She has also conducted disaster recovery and contingency planning surveys of small businesses that have survived disaster. She is presently working on a survey and interviews of Staten Island small business owners who were impacted by Superstorm Sandy.


Department of Biology Patents

William L’Amoreaux, joined by Krishnaswami Raja, Probal Banerjee, and Andrew Auerbach, were awarded a U.S. Patent on July 16, 2013 for “Curcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin derivatives.”

Probal Banerjee, joined by Krishnaswami Raja, were awarded  a U.S. Patent on May 13, 2013 for “Novel Curcumin-antibody Conjugates as Anti-Cancer Agents.”



Patricia Smith: A Passionate and Prolific Poet

Professor Patricia Smith teaches at the College of Staten Island.

Assistant Professor of English Patricia Smith is an award-winning poet whose works include Close to Death, Big Towns, Big Talk, and Life According to Motown, just released in a 20th-anniversary edition. Her collection,  Teahouse of the Almighty, was chosen for the 2006 National Poetry Series, and Blood Dazzler, which chronicles the human, emotional, and physical toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and one of NPR’s Top Books of 2008. The book was the basis for a thrilling dance/theater collaboration, which sold out its performances at NYC’s Harlem Stage. Her newest collection, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, is already receiving its fair share of accolades as a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Patricia Smith is also a record four-time National Poetry Slam winner and arguably the world’s best spoken word performer. She earned a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014.

Her accolades are numerous but what is most interesting is finding out just what makes her tick. In our most recent faculty profile, CSI Today was able to speak with Professor Smith and find out a little about what makes her such a successful writer and educator.

Professor Smith first discussed Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, in which she wanted to “write about Motown and the sway the music had on me.” She was attracted to the connection she had with the stories that Motown songs told. The book, a loose autobiographical collection of poems, focuses on “a segment of the population—my age group—that we don’t often hear from.” She further discussed how the Great Migration—the move from the southern to the northern parts of the country that many African Americans took part in during the middle of the 20th century—as “such a sea change. It was like migrating to another country.” In the early 1950s, her parents, Annie and Otis Smith, joined that exodus and settled in Chicago.

The writer was inspired by the memory of listening to her father tell her stories after work. “I grew up in the tradition of the back porch. When I was a young girl, my father would sit and tell me stories about his day, the people he worked with at the candy factory, folks he encountered in the neighborhood.”  That tradition taught her to “look at the world in terms of the stories it could tell.”

Smith has been obsessed with telling those stories since she was eight-years-old, but it was not until she won a poetry contest in Chicago and was awarded with a trip to Osaka, Japan to present her poetry that she realized she had a future as a writer. “Having my poetry translated for 25,000 Japanese businessmen, a group of people who would never otherwise be exposed to my work was an amazing experience,” she said of her first trip outside of the country. “I thought about my father who by that time had passed away; it was something neither one of us could have imagined.”

Discussing her time teaching at CSI, Professor Smith focused primarily on the students and how, much like her, their backgrounds drive them to be excellent students. “They have such a work ethic that most likely stems from their families.”

“So many of my students are new to college or are too busy with their lives to focus on their passions. My job is to tell them that writing can be a parallel career to the one they’ve chosen.”

Professor Smith claims that she gets a rush out of “watching that realization by students who are not aware of their natural writing talent.”

She advises young writers to read as much as possible. “You can’t be a full-fledged writer unless you sample other lives,” she said of the importance of exploring the world through books. She also commented on the ease at people can now “go online or go to readings and meet poets and sample their work.”

She also preaches discipline and believes that writers should treat writing just like another job. “You have to say, ‘I’m going to write ten pages today’ and then do it.” Otherwise, she continued, “it’ll just be a recreational activity.”

But most of all, Professor Smith, who is currently working on an anthology of anonymous 19th-century photographs “brought to life” by contemporary poets, had this to say about the life of a writer: “You must tell yourself, ‘I am a storyteller—I will do something that reaffirms that’.”