A Tribute to Nurses, our Everyday Heroes Remembrance Tree Dedication and Memorial Ceremony

After 9/11, when the word Hero comes to mind, many of us think of Firefighters and Police Officers. We may even think of EMS workers, Paramedics, and Doctors. However, all too often Nurses go unnoticed and do not get the recognition they deserve.

The Mu Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society at the College of Staten Island (CSI) conceptualized a plan to plant a Tree of Remembrance to honor Nurses and others who aided the victims of September 11th.

“Trees are an enduring symbol of life, symbols of strength, pillars of support,” states Dr. Roberta Cavendish, Associate Professor of Nursing at CSI, and “the Remembrance Tree was planted in the courtyard of Marcus Hall as a living memorial to create a sacred space, a place for reflecting, remembering, renewing, and for healing that transcends yet never forgets the victims or heroes.”

The Remembrance Tree Dedication and Memorial Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, October 9th at 2:30 pm, as part of CSI’s CUNY week programming.

Nursing and Healthcare Professionals, as well as their families and are all encouraged to attend this public ceremony in the courtyard of Marcus Hall, building 5S. A commemorative plaque will be in place at the base of the remembrance tree.

The 25 foot maple tree and plaque are being sponsored by The Mu Upsilon Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, the New York Counties Registered Nurses Association, District 13, and SINDA.

“The nursing organizations who are the sponsors of this memorial ceremony demonstrate cohesiveness, connectedness and commitment inherent in the nursing profession,” states Dr. Roberta Cavendish, President of the Mu Upsilon Chapter.

After September 11th, honor society members gradually began to comprehend the magnitude of the impact associated with the destruction of the World Trade Center on the Staten Island community and of the invisible, tireless work of the nurses on Staten Island. They counseled, comforted, consoled, and were trained in surveillance and response for biological attacks on the community.

CSI Nursing student Lisa Romano was working as a medical assistant in the Intensive Care Unit at Staten Island University Hospital on September 11th. Seeing the nurses in action that day further inspired her. “I realized that, regardless of what happens on the outside, my main priority was that patient.”

CSI Nursing graduate Marcela Leahy lost her husband, James, a city police officer who was killed on September 11th. “The outpouring of support I’ve received just makes me want to be a nurse even more,” Leahy said. “It helped me keep my sanity in one way, and it made me lose it in another. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Three Students from the nursing program at CSI will be a representative from each degree level: Associate in Applied Science degree program nursing major, the Bachelor of Science degree program nursing major, and the Master’s degree program major.

Poems will be read and a candle lighting ceremony will conclude the dedication ceremony.

After the ceremony, there will be a welcome by Dr. Cavendish. Light refreshments will be served on the first floor lounge of building 5S, Marcus Hall, following the dedication ceremony. Donations will graciously be accepted.

Research Takes Flight CSI Student receives Graduate Fellowship from Hudson River Foundation

When most people think of the five boroughs of New York City (NYC), they think buildings and concrete, not nature and wildlife. CSI Biology grad student, Andrew Bernick is an exception. Bernick is currently researching the foraging patterns of black-crowned night herons in Staten Island and Eastern New Jersey under Biology Professor Richard Veit.

Besides using the findings for his Doctoral Thesis, Bernick hopes to shed more light on the patterns of habitat use and foraging ecology of these birds, which are the most abundant wader species breeding within New York City heron colonies.

Andrew BernickRecently, Bernick was awarded a Graduate Fellowship from the Hudson River Foundation, and he hopes to contribute to the design of a more effective management plan for NYC wader populations.

Bernick did not always intend to study birds, although he did intend to pursue a career in the sciences. After an ornithology class at the University of Rhode Island, Bernick explains he “became hooked and really interested in birds.” Later, while doing field research, Dr. Veit, who was a part of the same project, encouraged him to pursue a graduate degree at CSI.

Black Crowned Night Heron NestlingBernick’s research, which began in March 2002, and will continue until September 2004, will attempt to answer a number of questions about the herons. Bernick will examine the prey capture success of the birds, and their different habitat types and where these are located. In addition, he will assess the time of day that the birds forage throughout their breeding season, the type of prey available in heron-frequented foraging sites, and how the success of birds’ foraging affects their choice of feeding area.

Bernick’s studies will not be a walk in the park. Throughout the two and a half-year period, he will record the birds’ flight line patterns twice a week, visit foraging areas on a daily basis to assess conditions and record the birds’ foraging behavior, monitor the availability of prey species at biweekly intervals, and observe the diet of nestlings by collecting and analyzing their regurgitant.

Bernick captured this heron and its reflection in the water with a night-scope camera attachment.Although his research will prove long, and sometimes difficult, Bernick says that he is glad to have the opportunity to do it with the help of the CSI Biology Department for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he appreciates his colleagues at the College–especially Dr. Veit, who Bernick notes is “really supportive” of his students.

Besides enjoying the fact that he is based in Staten Island where he lives, Bernick also stresses that he “likes the whole package” at CSI, where, through the CUNY Graduate Center, he can take classes on campus and at other institutions like NYU and Columbia. “I like the flexibility here,” he continues, “and it’s also very affordable to study here.”

As for his future plans, Bernick hopes to continue his focus on the black-crowned night heron. However, he will next examine the birds’ persistence patterns–were they came from before they arrived here and where they will go after they leave Staten Island.

CSI Student featured at the United Nations on International Literacy Day

Mercy Martis and her four children fled a refugee camp on the Ivory Coast in March 1999, leaving behind her husband, a fifth child, and her native country Liberia in the throes of war.

Martis arrived on Staten Island, her family’s immigration sponsored by an Interfaith Lutheran organization, and now calls Stapleton home. Martis soon began working with the Superior Confections Company, and eventually entered the Adult Literacy Program at CSI, a part of the College’s Continuing Education department.

Staci Weile, Director of Grants and Public Contracts with the program has arranged for Martis’ participation to be paid by grant monies. “These programs are gifts to the students that open up the world of reading and writing,” said Weile, “and serve as stepping stones to greater challenges.”

Martis attended courses at CSI to learn English and function independently in society. Today, she has become competent enough to fill out important forms and attend inservice classes for her job. Certain forms in particular were Martis’ favorites-those that allowed her husband and fifth child to immigrate to the U.S. as well.

September 5 is International Literacy Day 2002, and serves as a call to ensure gains in literacy among those marginalized due to ethnicity, language, gender, and/or religion in America’s communities. Martis will be part of a special program entitled “Reflections on September 11” in the UN Delegates Dining Hall.

Martis was at work on September 11, 2001 when the news reached her. “It was horrible. I was filled with fear. It was like a dream,” says Martis. “It reminded me of the war in Liberia, when a plane bombed my country in 1992 and killed many people.” Remembering this, Martis became more horrified.

Later that fateful day, the fear, sorrow, and confusion continued when her son asked, “If a plane was to come and bomb again, where would we go?” and her daughter wondered “Who will be there for us in case of anything else?” Martis didn’t know the answers, but replied “God will take care.”

“For me, it was a sad day. I cried the whole night. I could not sleep,” wrote Martis. “I feel sorry for the people who lost their loved ones.”

Martis will be one of the select adult learners whose reflections will be highlighted at the United Nations on September 5. Martis’ reflections, along with those of Vasvije Cenovski from Yugoslavia, an Islander and classmate, will have their writings published in Literacy Harvest by the Literacy Assistance Center of New York (LAC) as part of its “Literacy for Diversity: Voices of Resilience” program.

CSI Mathematician Wins Guggenheim Everybody Loves Riemann

Rafael Herrera, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the College of Staten Island, was named a Guggenheim Fellow in the 2002 competition.

Herrera’s research will be in the “Classification Problems in Riemannian Geometry of Manifolds with Special Structures.”

In his classic work, Euclid focused on the geometry of the (flat) plane. The study of curved surfaces like those of a sphere or a doughnut, flowered in the late 19th century, thanks to mathematicians such as the German-born J. C. F. Gauss and G. F. B. Riemann. Their revolutionary ideas and use of calculus to study the geometry of surfaces created the field of Differential Geometry and laid the mathematical foundation for the development of theories such as the theory of relativity. Their studies led to the definition and study of abstract multidimensional spaces or n-dimensional Riemannian manifolds.

Herrera, working in the realm of abstraction, studies multidimensional spaces, which under certain circumstances are related to physical models of the world. His objective during his Guggenheim research will be to achieve the classification of the positive quaternion-Kähler manifolds, which form a family of Riemannian manifolds with special structures.

Herrera earned a BSc in Mathematics from the National University of Mexico in 1993. He graduated with Honors, and was a recipient of the prestigious and competitive Gabino Barreda Medal for the highest grade average among the 130,000 undergraduate students in the University.

In 1993, Herrera received a full scholarship to attend Oxford University, UK, where he entered the PhD program in Mathematics. Herrera became a Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, from 1996-1998 by successfully competing against 300 other scholars in the Arts and Sciences.

Upon graduating from Oxford in 1997, Herrera became a Gibbs Instructor (an endowed position for promising young mathematicians) at Yale University in 1998-2000, teaching undergraduate as well as graduate courses on Complex manifolds and Riemannian manifolds with special holonomy.

Before joining CSI, Herrera was a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Riverside, teaching Differential and Integral Calculus of one and several variables, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations and Differential Geometry.

Concomitantly, Herrera was the Director of Upper Elementary School Mathematics Institute for teachers of Coachella Valley Unified School District, a K-12 outreach project funded by the California Department of Education through the University of California where he endeavored to raise the educational standards of current teachers.

In addition to his recent Guggenheim, Herrera is working on a joint project funded by the National Science Foundation in association with Professor Yat-Sun Poon, the Primary Researcher at the University of California at Riverside.

CSI Professor Recognized for Leadership in Family Psychology

CSI Professor Irene Deitch was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychological Association (APA). Citing not only her many important roles within the organization, Deitch was honored with this award for the diverse and creative ways she has articulated Family Psychology through the media and with the general public.

“We are pleased to present this award to you, and thank you for your many significant contributions,” said Terence Patterson, the Immediate Past President of the APA’s Division of Family Psychology, who presented the award in Chicago at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association.

While in Chicago, Deitch presented a symposium on “Death, Dying, and Bereavement,” and one entitled “You Think You’ve Got Problems?,” which explored the use of humor in psychotherapy. A three mile a day runner, Deitch was the winner in her age group for the five kilometer “fun run,” which was sponsored by the APA.

Whether in Chicago or Staten Island, Dr. Deitch proves diverse and innovative with her approach to psychology. She writes extensively about aging, death, dying and bereavement, and media psychology, as well as humor and psychotherapy. Nationally, she is a recognized expert in her field, and locally, she has developed an engaging CSI program named Options: College Study Program for Older Adults.

The Options program at CSI is like a cruise ship of opportunity, exploration, and discovery for its passengers–replacing the voyager’s usual gastronomic rapacity for seafood and cocktails with a hunger for knowledge and a motivating thirst to cross new oceans–plus, the classes at CSI involve more than the art of napkin folding, such as the popular “Exploring the Psychology of Women through Art” class.

“Options is so much more than a social experience,” said Dr. Deitch, who is Chair of the program, “it’s about our dedication to the community, and engaging older students with challenging and rewarding programs that are not available elsewhere.”

From U.S. History to Art, Writing, Computers, and Psychology, volunteer instructors–some CSI students, some retired Distinguished Professors–engage students by eliciting ideas and conversations from a classroom that is brimming with years of wisdom, both conventional and visionary. The students pay a small semester fee, and are welcome to participate in as few as one class, or as many as all of them. Last year, over 100 students attended the nearly 20 courses offered.

Off campus, Dr. Deitch serves as a non-governmental representative to the United Nations’ International Council of Psychologists, and on the boards of Staten Island University Hospice, the Eastern Region of the American Cancer Society, Geller House (an adolescent diagnostic center), the Tibetan Museum, and Amethyst House.

As a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Deitch serves as Chair for numerous APA committees, most notably the Membership Committee and the Psychotherapists Enhancing Quality of Life Issues Committee, as well as serving as Interdivisional Chair of the Psychologists Working with Older Adults Committee, and as the former chair of the Public Information Committee. She is also a certified Grief Therapist and Death Educator.

She has recently been featured in The New York Times, TIME magazine, Inman News, Clarian Health news, Germany’s Medical Tribune, and The Philadelphia Enquirer.

CSI Student awarded 2002 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship

Elie Jarrouge, a College of Staten Island (CSI) student, recently earned a 2002 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, a sought-after, paid summer internship offering mentoring and lifetime contacts to talented college students who demonstrate exceptional academic promise and outstanding leadership skills.

Elie’s decision to leave his family in Lebanon at age 17 was a difficult one, but his ten years in the Boy Scouts honed his survival and leadership skills, and effectively prepared him for higher education in America.

A pre-med student majoring in biology at CSI, Elie not only has a 3.81 Grade Point Average, but is also very active on campus. He conducts research in the biology department, studying enzymes activities in fruit flies and gel electrophoresis to determine genetic components.

Elie tutors students in high-level physics, chemistry, organic chemistry and biology. He also works as a Teaching Scholar with the Discovery Institute and as a math tutor with CSI’s Summer Immersion program. This summer Elie is interning at the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo.

Established by The Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1999, the fellowship operates on the principle that “talent is broadly distributed but only selectively developed.” Watson Fellows have their pick of coveted job placements (“work they can learn from”) over three consecutive summers in non-profit agencies, business organizations, and government service that give them a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills, and gain self-confidence in a variety of professional settings.

Five Watson fellows currently call CSI home, including 2000 Fellowship recipients Kenyatta Carter, Yekaterina Lushpenko, and Tara Lynch, as well as the 2001 recipient Kristine Gansico.

During the third summer of being a Watson Fellow, international assignments can be granted through partnerships with Save the Children in Haiti, Malawi, or Ethiopia, as well as The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Tara Lynch was the college’s commencement speaker on June 6, 2002, and is working this summer in Ethiopia with Save the Children, while Kate Lushpenko, a CSI senior, will be guarding the museum walls of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.

For more than 40 years The Thomas J. Watson Foundation has provided opportunities for graduating seniors at 50 selective liberal arts colleges to travel abroad for a year of work and study through The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

A series of weekly seminars further enhances the learning experience by encouraging debate and interaction, and also provides an opportunity for Watson Fellows to swap stories about their work experiences. Visits to cultural institutions like Shakespeare in the Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art enable students to discover New York’s free summer offerings. Every Watson Fellow receives a generous stipend as well as a laptop computer to complete their assignments.

In 1999 The Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship was launched to provide a set of unparalleled workplace and seminar experiences to ignite the professional and personal growth of students. Students compete annually for 15 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship openings with only the most fiercely determined candidates surviving the rigorous soul-searching required of them.

For more information about The Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship visit www.jkwatson.org

CSI Professor recognized for Historical Study of America

CSI Professor Jonathan D. SassiCollege of Staten Island (CSI) Professor Jonathan D. Sassi was recently awarded the Ralph D. Gray Prize for the best article published in the Journal of the Early Republic for the year 2001.

The Journal of the Early Republic is published by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) at Purdue University, which was established in 1977 as a nonprofit organization of professional and avocational historians interested in the encouragement of studies in the history of the United States during the period of the Early Republic.

The selection committee consisted of Gary Kornblith, chair; Lacy K. Ford Jr.; and Joanne Pope Melish, and commended Sassi’s article, “The First Party Competition and Southern New England’s Public Christianity,” for offering both a nuanced interpretation of the impact of party politics on New England religious culture between 1800 and 1815, and a fresh explanation of the rise of Protestant-based reform movements soon afterward.

Sassi’s article covers the period between the Revolution and Civil War, known as the Early Republic. It focuses on the “descendants of the Puritans, who were still pursuing the ideal of a godly society in the new American era after the Revolution,” summates Sassi. The material in his article is relevant today, because “it discusses the origin of reform movements like the abolitionist movement, nationalism, and our national identity.”

His article looks at the effect that the first period of political party competition had on religious and social life in New England, carefully integrating intellectual and political analyses of sermons and other clerical writings while explicating the obstacles and opportunities presented to New England ministers by the Jeffersonian challenge to Federalist leadership at national and state levels of government.

The Congregational clergy known as the “Standing Order” were the most significant factor in the civil, religious, and cultural affairs of most New England communities but found, to their dismay and alarm, that they could no longer rely on civil magistrates to promote Christian morality as they understood it, while dissenting ministers from this ecclesiastical establishment adopted Democratic-Republican ideas and rhetoric in their campaign for the disestablishment of the Congregational Church.

As the crisis of authority deepened, Standing Order clerics lost faith in the nation’s divine mission, but they also developed a brilliant evangelical strategy for winning back the hearts, minds, and souls of New Englanders. Out of the Standing Order’s conservative concerns came the upsurge of religious revivalism and social reform movements that transformed New England much more dramatically than disestablishment per se during the 1820s and 1830s.

“Sassi tells this complex and fascinating story with greater precision and clarity than earlier authors in an article that is at once analytically sophisticated, well situated in the relevant historiography, and blessedly free of jargon,” comments Professor Michael A. Morrison, coeditor of the Journal of the Early Republic.

Sassi’s most recent book, A Republic of Righteousness: The Public Christianity of the Post-Revolutionary New England Clergy, published in 2001 and available from by Oxford University Press, argues that New England clergymen furthered the vitality of early republican culture through the application of their corporate ethic to public issues, fostering American identity, nationalism, and civil religion.

Inquiries concerning membership in SHEAR, or institutional subscriptions to the Journal should be addressed to: Editor, Journal of the Early Republic, Purdue University, 1358 University Hall, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1358.


Absract of The Impact of the First Party Competition upon the Southern New England Clergy’s Public Christianity by Jonathan D. Sassi

During the first fifteen years of the nineteenth century, political polarization and conflict wrought a profound change upon the southern New England clergy’s public Christianity. Clergymen across the denominational spectrum transformed the ways they linked religious belief and life in society. For most ministers of the Congregational Standing Order, Jefferson’s election and the rise of the Democratic-Republican Party inaugurated a period of drastic reevaluation. They became frustrated with the inaction of Federalist politicians, repudiated their providential reading of revolutionary American history, and spiraled into apocalyptic nightmares of impending doom by 1812. But their response to the first party contest did not stand alone. Even within the Standing Order a few moderates and Republicans bolted from the leading camp. Religious dissenters meanwhile embraced the Jeffersonians. Not only did the Democratic-Republicans give dissenters electoral allies, but also the dissenters’ critique of the establishment became more mainstream, as they added popular Jeffersonian rhetoric to their sectarian complaints. By joining with others who detested the Standing Order’s political preaching, dissenters were able to weaken or even bring down the establishment. Because of these changes, the Congregational ministry had to conceive new strategies if it still wanted to connect Christianity and society. Moving outside the establishment, it emphasized the socially sanctifying role of the evangelical churches acting on their communities. These changes in ideology, catalyzed by the polarization and acrimony of partisanship, prepared the way for the denominational realignments and reform initiatives of the 1820s.

CSI President appointed to New York City Charter Revision Commission

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed Dr. Marlene Springer, President, College of Staten Island (CSI), The City University of New York (CUNY), to a 13-member Charter Revision Commission to be chaired by former Police Commissioner Robert J. McGuire.

This Commission will review the entire City Charter to determine whether revision is needed and will hold a series of public meetings and hearings in all five boroughs before issuing a final report of its findings and recommendations.

The bipartisan Commission will decide by early September whether to propose any amendments to New York City voters on Election Day, Tuesday, November 5, 2002.

The members of this Commission “represent the very best of New York: independence, intelligence, and integrity,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “I am certain they will do an excellent job in evaluating whether civic improvements are needed, and if they are, in proposing amendments to the voters this November.”

“The City Charter Revision panel is joined together by a deep interest in the issues that face our city, and will be focused on positively contributing to whatever changes are necessary to the City Charter,” commented CSI’s President Springer. “I look forward to collaborating with my fellow members on the panel, and recommending a roadmap for legislators to bring our great city into the 21st Century.”

The Charter Revision Commission members include Robert J. McGuire, Herman Badillo, Richard I. Beattie, Wellington Z. Chen, Jerry E. Garcia, Patricia L. Gatling, Judah Gribetz, Patricia M. Hynes, Harry Kresky, Loretta Lynch, Cecilia E. Norat, Marlene Springer, and Herbert Sturz.