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.


New Academic Leadership at CSI

The College of Staten Island proudly announces three new academic leaders.

Dr. Margaret-Ellen (Mel) Pipe

Dr. Margaret-Ellen (Mel) Pipe

Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, Research, and Institutional Effectiveness

Dr. Pipe is currently Acting Assistant Provost for Planning and Special Projects at Brooklyn College, where she previously served for six years as Chair of the Department of Psychology. Prior to moving to Brooklyn College in 2006, she served for five years as Staff Scientist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (National Institutes of Health). Most of her prior academic career was spent at the University of Otago (1985–2001), in Dunedin, New Zealand, where she rose to a rank equivalent to Full Professor. Dr. Pipe’s research and publications have been concentrated in the areas of memory development and child abuse and neglect. She has held several research grants as Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator during her career, including grants from the National Children’s Research Foundation, the Marsden Fund, the Foundation for Research, Science, & Technology (NZ), the National Institutes of Justice, and the Australian Research Council. She has also served on the editorial boards for six professional journals in her field and received an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University in 2015.

Effective August 1, 2016, Dr. Pipe will work with deans, department chairs, and other academic leaders at the College of Staten Island and partner institutions to develop and maintain strong graduate programs, provide strategic leadership for the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research, work with the Office of Academic Assessment and other units to assure a strong “culture of assessment” in the College, and oversee the organization and implementation of the annual Undergraduate Research Conference. She will also serve as a member of the Deans’ Council and the Provost’s Council.

“I look forward to working with the College’s senior leadership, deans, department chairs, and faculty in developing new opportunities for students through strategically targeted graduate programs and to facilitating research and program grant funding. Assessment will, of course, be particularly important this year, with the Periodic Review Report due in June 2017,” noted Dr. Pipe.

Dr. Pipe holds her BA in English and PhD in Psychology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and completed postdoctoral work in Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington (also New Zealand).


Dr. Kenneth Gold

Dr. Kenneth Gold

Dean of the School of Education

Dean Gold came to the College of Staten Island in 1995 as an adjunct lecturer, was appointed Assistant Professor two years later and promoted to Associate Professor in 2003. He served as Chair of the former Department of Education in 2004 and again from 2007 to 2010. Prior to his arrival at CSI, Dr. Gold was a teacher at both John Dewey High School and Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn. He received his BA from Princeton University and his MA and PhD from the University of Michigan, all in History. In addition to his book, School’s In: The History of Summer Education in American Public Schools and a co-edited historical guide to Staten Island, he has published numerous refereed articles and given a large number of professional and scholarly presentations.

Appointed on June 9, 2016, Dr. Gold has been serving ably as Interim Dean of the School since its founding in fall 2013. In the period of his interim leadership, the School has deepened the College’s relationship with K-12 schools and Education alumni on Staten Island through program grants, principals’ networks, memoranda of understanding, and CSI’s participation in the 30,000 Degrees Initiative; launched new programs in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages); instituted mechanisms to support student preparation for the EdTPA and the other new state certification exams; and established the Teachers Society for students. The school is currently developing a proposal for a new EdD in Community-based Leadership.

“I look forward to continuing to work with faculty to make the CSI School of Education a linchpin in coordinated, collaborative efforts on behalf of P-12 student learning and teacher development on Staten Island and beyond,” Dr. Gold stated.

Dr. Gold holds a PhD in History and a Master’s in History, both from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a Bachelor’s in History, cum laude, from Princeton University.


Dr. Ralf M. Peetz

Dr. Ralf M. Peetz

Interim Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Student Success

Dr. Peetz has been a member of the Chemistry Department faculty at CSI since 2003, and is also a long-time member of the Graduate Center Doctoral Faculty in Chemistry. His areas of academic specialization include functional materials and macromolecular engineering, future energy needs, and science in education. He has published nearly 40 refereed articles and other papers, has been Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator on several significant grants, and has received numerous CUNY internal awards.

Dr. Peetz has served in many faculty leadership roles at CSI. These roles have included membership on the Teacher Education and Science, Letters, and Society advisory boards, chairing of the Graduate Studies Committee, membership on the Institutional Planning Committee, and, until now, service as Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate. He has also served on the Honors College Advisory Boards for both the CSI Macaulay Honors College program and The Verrazano School, and as a member of the General Education Committee.  In addition, he has mentored more than 20 undergraduate researchers, as well as five doctoral students. Dr. Peetz also has an extensive record of community service.

Appointed on June 3, 2016, Dr. Peetz will provide oversight and strategic leadership for the Center for Advising and Academic Success (CAAS); the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative; several student academic support offices including the Office of Academic Support, the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program, C-STEP, and Liberty Partnership Programs; three CSI honors programs; Learning Communities; and the Bertha Harris Women’s Center. He will also serve as a member of the Deans’ Council and the Provost’s Council.

“Our students do not cease to amaze me. They come from all walks of life and they deserve any and every tool and opportunity that meets their needs and then exceeds their expectations. I am excited because I will be intimately involved in providing these tools. And what better place to do this than at CSI with its strong and distinct student commitment?” said Dr. Peetz.

Dr. Peetz received his Vordiplom in Chemistry from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), and his MS and Ph.D in Chemistry from The University of Hamburg. Prior to joining the CSI faculty, he served for three years as Visiting Scientist at the Maurice Morton Institute of Polymer Science at the University of Akron.



Inaugural Graduate Research Conference at CSI Draws Crowds

Andrew Mancuso

Are parents the ones who should be willing and able to provide sex education for their children? Is your favorite restaurant a healthy and safe choice of eatery?

These are just some of the questions addressed at this year’s first annual Graduate Research Conference (GRC) at the College of Staten Island (CSI). For the first time in CSI history, graduate students were invited to share their research and scholarship at a conference that took place at CSI’s Center for Performing Arts on May 12. The program outlined 14 oral presentations, (moderated by Professors Wei Zhang, Soon Ae Chun and William L”Amoreux) and 45 poster presentations by more than 70 CSI students.

The GRC was coordinated by Maureen Becker, Interim Founding Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Lynne Lacomis, and Joanne DeLucrezia. Dean Becker was extremely proud of the inaugural event commenting that “we far surpassed our expectations in terms of the number and caliber of participants.”

“No matter what the topic, the presenters were all so engaging, so well prepared and experts on their topic areas” said Dean Becker, adding that all schools and divisions were represented at the Conference, which attracted more than 400 people.

Some notable posters included those by Junaid Qaiser, Kaushiki Chatterjee, Randy B. Topper, and Andrew Mancuso.

Junaid Qaiser

Qaiser’s presentation “Smart ‘Healthy’ City Decision Support with New York City Restaurant Inspection Results” analyzed a list of restaurants inspected in a given timeframe in order to address policy making decisions for the city government and to provide information on the health status of restaurants. Qaier’s facuty mentor is Professor Soon Ae Chun.

Chatterjee’s poster “Effects of Resveratol and Pterostilbene on Human Cervical Cancer Cells” studied the effects of two polyphenols, Resveratol and Pterostilbene, on cervical cancer cells. Professor Jimmie Fata serves as Chatterjee’s faculty mentor.

“To What Extent Are Parents Willing and Able to Give Their Children Accurate Comprehensive Sex Education?” was the poster presentation created by Randy B. Topper who looked at specific data showing to what extent parents are the appropriate individuals to communicate information on sex education to their children. Professor Barbra Teater is Topper’s faculty mentor.

Mancuso created two posters.  One in collaboration with Chatterjee and Kamia Punia was titled “Delivering Phytochemical Therapeutics through Polymer Nanofibers.” The group created specific nano fibers to use as an implant for the treatment of cervical cancer and antimicrobial infections.  The faculty mentor for this group is Professor Krishnaswami Raja.

Mancuso, with faculty mentor Professor Raja, also presented on “Novel Polymer Micro-Structures for Drug Delivery Produced by Solution Blow-spinning.” Utilizing the blow-spinning process to create nano fibers in this project allowed greater control over the fabrication process.

The Conference culminated in an awards ceremony in which three of the best poster and oral presenters were selected by audience members. The “People’s Choice Awards” winners are listed below. Each winner received $50 gift card.


Best Poster Presentations

Tied for First Place:


Student: Viktoriya Morozova

Mentor: Professor Alejandra Alonso


Title: “Uptake of Tau Proteins by HEK Cells”


Student: Carla Ann Kostandy

Mentor: Professor June Como


Title: “Diabetes in a Nutshell: A Clinical Nurse Specialists’ Education Project for Healthcare Personnel”


Second Place


Student: Jennifer Williams

Mentor: Professor Eric Ivison


Title: “A Double Spouted Jar of the Chimu Culture in the Pre-Columbian Collection of the Staten Island Museum”


Best Oral Presentations (one from each room)


Student: Lauren Scott

Mentor: Professor Judit Kerekes


Title: “Heterogeneous Cooperative Learning and Its Effects on Students’ Understanding of Multi-step Mathematical Word Problems”



Students (group presentation): Christina Gioeli, Kerry McPartlan, Emily Reid, Matthew Turturro

Mentor: Professor Wei Zhang

Physical Therapy

Title: “Multi-Digit Coordination in Absence of Cutaneous Sensory Feedback During Grasping Tasks”



Student: Maiara Bollauf

Mentor: Professor Vinay Vaishampayan

Engineering Science

Title: “Communication Complexity of the Closest Lattice Point Problem”



Win-Win for CSI and Staten Island University Hospital: CSI Students Participate in Bell Hop Program

Alan Wood '15 volunteering at SIUH

Over the course of the past year, College of Staten Island (CSI) graduate student Alan Wood ‘15 has donated almost 200 hours of his time to Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) North. Recognized among college volunteers for “going above and beyond in his volunteer duties,” the Master of Science in Neuroscience and Developmental Disorders candidate is a participant in the CSI Bell Hop/Patient Liaison Program at the Hospital’s Neurology unit.

“I am participating in this program because it opens up a  door to reach out to others in need, explore potentials, and be introduced to the practical realities of the medical field and hospital life,” said Wood, noting that it is “an excellent way to give back to the community.”

Through the volunteer program, sponsored by CSI, under the supervision of the Patient Care Unit Manager or Nurse Manager of each unit, the volunteer acts as a liaison between the patient, family members, and staff.  The liaison reinforces the strategies of the SIUH Service Excellence Program as well as the Culture of Care program and serves as a conduit through which patients, family members, visitors, and other customers are able to seek assistance by communicating unmet needs.

Bell Hops work closely with staff, managers, and physicians in order to improve customer satisfaction. Other duties include preparing patients for meals, assisting with feeding under the supervision of primary nurse, and assisting in transporting or escorting patients who are being discharged to the lobby.

“The Bell Hop/Patient Liaison program was created to provide college students, who are interested in healthcare, with access and exposure to the healthcare setting, to healthcare professionals, as well as to patients. It’s the best of both worlds and it’s a win-win for SIUH, the students, and our patients,” commented SIUH Manager of Volunteer Services Toni Arcamone.

CSI’s Career Center has been an integral part in this successful partnership between the College and SIUH. Director Caryl Watkins is impressed with the interest that the Program has generated among CSI students, noting that more than 65% of program participants are enrolled CSI students. Other participants include students from other CUNY schools and Wagner College.

“This volunteer internship program provides a wonderful opportunity for our students who are interested in the healthcare field, allowing them to work alongside medical professionals in a hospital setting,” commented Watkins.

Kristi Nielson, Career Assistant at the Center, added that the Program “provides students with a professional experience that links academic coursework to the disciplines that a student may want to pursue for a career.”

According to Arcamone, in 2014, SIUH welcomed 83 total Bell Hops, with 58 being CSI students. In 2015, SIUH welcomed 91 bell hops, with 63 being CSI students. An additional 35 CSI students have started the application process.

The initiative is a rotational program that allows volunteers to work with doctors, nurses, patients, and families in many units including Outpatient Care, Oncology, Critical Care, and Medical/Surgical units. Junior- and senior-level students in the sciences are encouraged to participate, particularly those seeking résumé-building skills that will make their medical and dental school applications more competitive and for those seeking fellowships or scholarships that require previous volunteer work or experience in the health field.

Wood, who received his undergraduate degree at CSI, majoring in Biology and minoring in Italian, expects to graduate from the Master’s program in May 2017. Wood reflects, “Throughout my involvement in this program, I am learning how to be actively engaged in making a difference in the lives of many people, networking skills, and how to exercise personal responsibility in what I have to do. There are many avenues where this program may lead depending on availability, location of service, personal talents, and more; and freedom to lend a hand increases as personal responsibility is demonstrated.”


“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.







Professor Makes Tweeting a Course Requirement

Giancarlo Lombardi Profile picture from his Twitter account @gianclm

While some teachers might forbid social media in their classrooms, one professor at The City University of New York (CUNY) embraces the digital tool.  Not only does Dr. Giancarlo Lombardi appreciate the use of applications like Twitter, he has made “tweeting” a mandatory activity in his Television Without Borders graduate seminar.

The seminar requires students to watch an entire season of a television drama outside of class and Tweet about the show as they watch it, at least five times a week. Dr. Lombardi is extremely pleased with the level of engagement as well as the insightful observations students are making on Twitter.

Dr. Lombardi's Twitter posts for his course

“The students are actually quite sophisticated in their analysis of these shows.  Twitter lends itself to a very economic form of writing. Every word weighs a ton because you only have so many characters to write a strong, solid, reaction piece. That’s what my students have been able to do,” said Dr. Lombardi who teaches the course at The CUNY Graduate Center.

Using the hashtag “#tvwithoutborders,” students have not only been engaging with each other, but also with the actual actors on the series. Dr. Lombardi noted that two actors were involved in a discussion on Twitter with students, “creating a much larger audience for this intellectual conversation. This also creates a strong sense of community outside of the class, which only meets once a week,” noted the professor, adding that the 20 enrolled students are tweeting well beyond the requirements of the course.

Dr. Lombardi, Executive Officer of the PhD Program in Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center and also a professor at the College of Staten Island since 1999, said this is his first time using Twitter and first time using it in the classroom.  He intends to continue using the tool in future courses as he finds it “a very productive use of social media.”

To check out the television drama online conversation go to #tvwithoutborders on Twitter.

Live Actors Pose as Patients in Nursing Classrooms

Andrew Capizzo, currently working toward his MS in Adult Gerontology, performed the role of a Nursing student working with Standardized Patient Joe Daly, a local actor, who is portraying a transgender individual transitioning from male to female.

The ability of a clinician to develop a rapport with a patient, the skill to perform an organized physical examination, and the competency to gather an accurate and concise history is the hallmark of a successful clinician. To respond to this call, the College of Staten Island’s School of Health SciencesDepartment of Nursing has developed a Standardized Patient (SP) Program to assist CSI Nursing students in teaching and evaluating these important skills.

Developed by CSI Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. June Como, the SP Program is currently being utilized by students enrolled in NRS 702: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning, a course that helps students develop advanced competencies in health assessment.

The Program enlists actors who are tasked to play the role of a patient undergoing a physical assessment for a fictional job. Nursing students are expected to complete a head-to-toe physical examination of the patient. Just prior to the simulation, which lasts 20 minutes and is video recorded for analysis, the students randomly choose two focused assessments out of several possibilities. The student proceeds to the examination room where a healthy adult SP in a hospital gown is awaiting examination.

According to Dr. Como, Standardized Patients are used all of the time for Nursing students; it’s just that the practice is rarely formalized. “We are always practicing our methods on family and friends,” she explained. “Now, at CSI, we have a formal way of assessing its effectiveness,” she said, emphasizing the value of using Standardized Patients as a tool to evaluate student ability.

Although the SP program at CSI is currently being used as a high-stakes assessment tool, the Nursing Department is hoping to make broader use of it for low-stakes assessment and training purposes. Dr. Como envisions the SP Program becoming as ubiquitous as classroom lectures being, “What will set CSI’s Nursing Department apart from similar programs.”

She added that, “Most importantly, it teaches the student how to interact with the patient,” explaining that this level of interactivity is usually learned on the fly, during a nurse’s early career. “This way, any mistakes made during the assessment can be fixed, and will not translate to a real-life scenario where a real patient’s health can be endangered.”

Graduate student Andrew Capizzo performs an exam on Standardized Patient Joe Daly.

During a short vignette, which the Nursing Department held to showcase the effectiveness of SP assessment, Andrew Capizzo, currently working toward his MS in Adult Gerontology, performed the role of a Nursing student working with an SP, Joe Daly, a local actor.

Daly, who played a major role in bringing the SP Program to CSI, due to his friendship with Dr. Como and previous work as an SP for NYC universities, was briefed before the vignette and told that he would be playing the role of a transgender individual transitioning to a female who is receiving a physical for a new job.

Dr. Como explained that having Daly play the SP role as transgender was integral to the training:  “It is our responsibility to provide healthcare to all people, including members of the LGBT community.”

Capizzo agreed and acknowledged that, “We treat and assess people from all walks of life and need to learn how to interact with whoever is sitting on that bed.”

Participants in the Program agree that it aids future nurses in being more understanding and sensitive of different individual needs from their healthcare provider. “It is up to us,” Dr. Como emphasized, “that we ensure the individual receives the highest level of care possible and the SP Program at CSI will benefit both nurses and patients in the long run.”


Lehmann Scholarship Endowment to Fuel Graduate Studies in the Humanities

The Kurt and Marjorie Lehmann Scholarship has been established with an endowment of $415,000 to provide financial support to graduate students in the humanities and social sciences at the College of Staten Island. This is among the largest scholarship gifts to the College and the first devoted exclusively to Master’s-level students.

“Scholarships for students at the graduate level are especially helpful, since many of these students do not fall within the parameters for public support,” explained Dr. Nan Sussman, Dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences. “This type of private scholarship funding will greatly increase their ability to continue their studies and grow into tomorrow’s leaders.”  These future leaders include students pursuing Master’s degrees in Cinema and Media Studies, English, History, Liberal Studies, Mental Health Counseling, and Social Work, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Autism.

As the cost of living continues to rise, the Lehmann endowment will provide financial support to ensure the academic success of graduate students by alleviating the need to work additional hours.  Among CSI’s 14,000 undergraduates, even those receiving financial aid often take full- or part-time jobs to help pay for their education. In this student population, 35% represent the first generation of their family to attend college, 22% work for more than 20 hours per week, and 48% report working for pay to make ends meet.

“We are delighted and deeply grateful for the Kurt and Marjorie Lehmann endowed scholarship fund,” said Dr. William J. Fritz, President of the College of Staten Island. “It is through their generosity that our students will be able to achieve a higher level of education and training in order to enhance their desirability in the job market and be better positioned to make meaningful contributions to our community, nation, and the world.”

The Kurt and Marjorie Lehmann Scholarship is administered by the CSI Foundation, whose mission is to secure philanthropic support for the College to provide the assistance necessary for students to reach their highest level of academic excellence. To learn more about the many benefits of joining the CSI Honor Roll of Donors, please call Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs and Executive Director of the CSI Foundation, at 718.982.2365, email, or visit the Foundation Website.