Macaulay Grad Accepted to AmeriCorps Program

Macaulay Honors College graduate Isabella Cardona has recently been accepted to Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program.

Isabella Cardona, who graduated magna cum laude from the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island (CSI) with a BA in Political Science and International Studies, along with a minor in French, has been accepted to Public Allies. Public Allies is an AmeriCorps program, where she will work with We Are New York,  a project formed as a joint endeavor by The City University of New York and the Mayor’s Office to facilitate English-language conversation groups for immigrants living in New York City. Her appointment began on September 1 and runs through June 29, 2012. 

We Are New York helps the immigrant community in two ways: by providing platforms (situated in local communities) in which immigrants can practice their English and by enabling immigrants to learn more about important New York City services. 

Commenting on how she feels about this honor, Cardona said, “It has always been and will always be very important for me to maintain high levels of civic engagement. It is a true honor to be able to provide meaningful service to my country—the one that has given my family and me a tremendous amount of opportunity. I know that being part of AmeriCorps will strengthen my leadership skills, enable me to further develop my core values, deepen my love for civic participation, and will undoubtedly inspire much personal and professional growth. 

“As graduation approached,” she adds, “I faced the unnerving question of what to do after receiving my hard-earned degrees. I was not sure what specific direction to go in, but I did know that I needed some time to reflect on what my next step(s) should be. Public Allies is a perfect fit for me because the program allows me to do the aforementioned while working altruistically in my community. It also enables my natural intellectual curiosity to continually be fueled with the weekly skill training, community building, and leadership development seminars it provides. Furthermore, upon completion of the program, I will receive a $5,500 education award. It almost seems too good to be true!”                                                                                                                                  

Upon graduating, Cardona received both the International Studies Award and the CSI Alumni Association Outstanding Student Leadership Award. During her tenure at CSI, she also served on the organizing committee of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars, as a New Student Orientation Leader, a SEEK Mentor, a CSI Ambassador, and a student volunteer for the CSI Alumni Association.

In addition, Cardona has completed internships with the U.S. Department of State and World of Children—a humanitarian organization dedicated to supporting child advocates, and TheBigWord—a leading global translating and interpreting agency. She has also studied abroad in Paris, France and Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, and she accompanied President Morales and several other CSI students to a breakfast meeting with Mayor Bloomberg in the spring of 2009. She is also fluent in Spanish. 

As for her future plans, Cardona is in the process of applying for a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Argentina next year.

[gallery] Top Scholars Recognized at Fourth Annual Honors Convocation

Brian Kateman
Brian Kateman
Brian Kateman (left) addresses the audience. President Morales, right.

The College of Staten Island honored its top students, with the help of their friends and families, last night at the fourth annual Honors Convocation, which was held in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The event’s emcee was Dr. A. Ramona Brown, CSI Vice President for Student Affairs.

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College President Dr. Tomas D. Morales, in his greetings to the attendees, emphasized the transformation of CSI students, and of the College itself, “You are graduating during a period of remarkable transformation at the College of Staten Island. This academic year, a new mission statement was developed by the College that will guide our great institution for the next five years. Central to our new mission is our uncompromising and absolute commitment to student success and achievement, which will continue to elevate our College. As students graduating with honors, each and every one of you represents this ongoing transformation of the College of Staten Island as an outstanding public institution of higher education. And for that, I applaud you.”

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After greetings from CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Fritz, the Class of 2011 Salutatorian Brian Kateman, who will be receiving a BS in Biology, gave the student address.

In his remarks, Kateman shared his philosophy of life, stating, “The truth is this: life is beyond total control. As a scientist, this has been the most difficult lesson for me to learn. Thankfully, through wonderful mentorship from the CSI faculty, I now know that success and happiness stems not from defining and designing our lives but from having the belief in ourselves to cope with its vicissitudes and capricious nature.”

Following the student address, Carol Brower, Director of Student Life, presented the Student Dolphin Awards to Michael Maslankowski and Jolanta Smulski. (They will receive the actual awards at the Dolphin Award ceremony following Commencement.)

In addition, Dr. Ann Lubrano, Acting Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs presented certificates of completion for the Melissa Riggio Program.  Christine Flynn Saulnier, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dr. Alfred Levine, Interim Dean of Science and Technology, presented the Academic Honors and Student Service Leadership Awards.

Dr. A. Ramona Brown chaired the Honors Convocation committee and was the presiding officer.

Musician, Math Whiz Jenna Calderon Will Graduate from Macaulay Honors College and Go on to Columbia University’s Teachers College

Jenna Calderon, a senior at the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island, is concluding her four years at the Willowbrook school with a classical guitar senior recital. (Photo Courtesy of the Calderon Family.)

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE – The education Jenna Calderon received through The City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island (CSI) was music to her mind.

Ms. Calderon, a Midland Beach resident and senior at CSI, graduated from Staten Island Technical High School four years ago and enrolled at the Willowbrook college because it seemed like a good opportunity to stay home while getting a really good education.

She’s a Music major who specializes in classical guitar and was preparing for her senior recital when the Advance caught up with her.

“That’s the culmination for all the work I’ve been doing for the last four years,” the young woman said.

It’s her version of the typical senior thesis.

In her studies, Ms. Calderon was able to learn about what New York City has to offer, scientifically, in the arts, its people, and its future.

One topic highlighted was the music that stemmed from the Big Apple. She studied it her first semester of college.

“We did a lot on New York City bands,” she said, citing Sonic Youth and The Velvet Underground. “I got really into that because I’m a musician.”

Her science studies included tree coring in Palisades Park, NJ, and a project on how it relates to global warming.

As most students presented data and details to peers at the same school, Ms. Calderon chose to travel west, and, along with other classmates, discussed her research at the University of Montana last April.

“It was huge,” she said, adding that college students from across the country participated in the National Conference for Underground Research (NCUR). “That was a lot of fun. It was definitely something different.”

Her experiences in the Macaulay Honors College didn’t end there, as she was able to study abroad in Paris, where she learned French.

“It was definitely intense. I came out of there learning a lot in just a month,” she said. “I’ve been able to explore a lot of things.”

The Math minor, at one point, debated choosing the subject as her major, but wasn’t sure if she’d be fully satisfied.

Through the assistance of her advisor, Ms. Calderon was able to pick the field she knew would fit her perfectly.

“They’ve definitely been very involved,” she said of the Macaulay staff. “My adviser always wants to know what’s going on. She’s kept up with me. She helped me decide my path.”

The Macaulay faculty has been very supportive of her, she said, and helpful in preparing for the future.

After graduation, Ms. Calderon will attend Teachers College, Columbia University, in Manhattan.

“They do a lot for you, but you still have the opportunity to do your own thing and get involved. They don’t hold you back,” she said. “They definitely encouraged me to branch out beyond Macaulay.”

This story appeared first in the Staten Island Advance on May 19, 2011, and is reprinted here with permission.

Goldwater Scholarship Awarded to CSI Undergrad for Research and Development of 3D Robotic Printer that Simulates Surface of a Butterfly’s Wing

Mark Barahman is the College's first Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship winner.

Mark Barahman, a junior with the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and a Goldsmith Scholar, was named a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship winner, a first in the history of CSI.

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by the United States Congress in 1986 and is the premiere federally funded undergraduate award of its type.  It is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers and PhDs in the sciences, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and related fields. Only 300 students nationwide earn this prestigious distinction.

Dan Feldman, also a junior in Macaulay Honors College at CSI, is majoring in Physics with a concentration in Astronomy. He has received an Honorable Mention for the Goldwater Scholarship. Only 150 students receive an honorable mention award.

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A Biochemistry major at CSI, Mark has worked in two prestigious laboratories—the neuroscience lab of Professor Abdeslem El Idrissi and the chemistry lab of Professor Alan Lyons.  He currently works with Dr. Lyons on research related to super-hydrophobic surfaces.

Mark’s most notable accomplishment during the summer of 2009 was the construction and programming of a robotic printer that prints in three dimensions (3D) on a microscopic scale.

“Commercial 3D printers are available, but they are often extremely expensive, fragile, and very limited with respect to the building material,” notes Barahman. “We needed to build something that would allow us broad applicability and flexibility, while also being inexpensive and scalable to industrial-size processes.”

“He programmed the robot early that summer and quickly developed two printing methods to produce ‘super-hydrophobic surfaces’,” commented Dr. Lyons.  “One method used highly viscous materials that deposited drops similar to a chocolate kiss, and the other method used a lower viscosity material that printed thinner, pancake-shaped layers.”

Both of these methods created super-hydrophobic surfaces, three-dimensional surfaces that hold droplets of water on multiple microscopic “spikes.” This surface prevents the water droplet from strongly adhering to the surface, allowing it to roll rather effortlessly, while maintaining the integrity of its spherical shape.

When these surfaces are used, the fluids are able to effortlessly move along the surface with minimal force. These surfaces can be applied to facilitate transportation of fluids in the medical profession.

The next challenge was controlling direction of the water droplet flow on these super-hydrophobic surfaces.

Looking to nature, Mark became inspired by the water-shedding properties of the butterfly’s wing.  When a butterfly lowers its wings, the water rolls off onto the ground. When the wing is raised, the water is pinned and does not roll down the wing onto the body of the butterfly.  This adaptation keeps the butterfly’s body dryer and lighter.

Mark experimented with multiple concepts, and learned that by programming the robotic printer to deposit the 3D “kisses” and “pancakes” at an angle, the water droplet would flow easily in one direction, and with great difficulty in the other direction.

On the microscale, Mark had developed a synthetic material that emulated the water shedding effects of the butterfly wing.  This new biomemetic surface containing angled “spikes” acted as a “one-way” sign or “liquid ratchet” controlling the directional flow of water using only the interactive properties of the fluid with the solid.

Whereas super-hydrophobic devices allow for the easy transportation of fluids within many applications in the medical field, these new directional-devices may transport cooling fluid in micro-electronic devices without back flow.  This could minimize the size and heat-producing pressure often needed for the transportation of fluid, and allow for a 360-degree application environment without the chance of backflow.

“I am exceedingly proud of Mark’s important research at CSI,” said Dr. Lyons. “He is a serious scientist who works very hard and thinks deeply about problems.  I expect that when he enters graduate school he will rank amongst the top echelon of all graduate students.”

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Mark Barahman for his well-deserved distinction,” said CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales. “He has forged a place for himself in the history of the College by being the first Goldwater Scholar at CSI, and has earned himself great honor and national recognition.  I offer my thanks to his faculty mentors for supporting Mr. Barahman’s academic goals, and challenging him to succeed. Together we are bolstering CSI’s national and world-class reputation.”

“Winning the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship would not have been more than a dream without the guidance and teaching of my mentors and professors at CSI,” Barahman states.  “The scientific training and opportunities at CUNY are first class. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to work with experienced and distinguished scientists like Dr. Alan Lyons, and to be taught and guided by Dr. Fred Naider, Dr. Charles Kramer, and Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi. I am excited about winning this award as it reveals the terrific opportunities CSI offers and the world-class science taking place at the labs.”

Mark’s professional aspirations include obtaining an MD/PhD in the field of Biomedical Engineering.

Mark grew up in Israel, working as a teenager as a first responder for MDA (Magen David Adom, or Red Star of David), an emergency medical organization, which is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.  He immigrated to Brooklyn in August of 2006. During the summer of 2010, Mark participated in NYU/Bellevue Hospital’s prestigious Project HealthCare summer program, in which he was able to work in the emergency room and operating room, where he interacted closely with patients and the hospital staff, as well as assisted with clinical research projects and work on the annual Bellevue health fair.

Mark was the only undergraduate invited to give an oral presentation at the Young Chemists Committee ACS Symposium at The Cooper Union in March 2011.  The presentation was entitled “Printed Super-hydrophobic Surfaces Exhibiting Slip-Angle Anisotropy.”

His research has also been presented by Dr. Lyons in a variety of prestigious forums, including the 2010 SPIE Optics and Photonics Conference in San Diego.

Learn more about the valuable services of the Career and Scholarship Center at CSI.

Macaulay Honors College at CSI Welcomes the Class of 2014

The Macaulay Honors College at CSI hosted an orientation recently for its incoming class. The 38 new students enjoyed an opportunity to see their new campus and meet each other and members of the College community.

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One of the new students, New Dorp High School grad Tom Rodberg, when asked about how he feels about being a part of Macaulay, said, “I’m extremely excited.” Rodberg, who was CEO of the New Dorp team that won the 2010 U.S. Network of Virtual Enterprise National Business Plan Competition, said “I can’t wait to get into all the opportunities that CSI has to offer at Macaulay, including study abroad, internships, and research. I’ve already spoken to plenty of professors who all have research opportunities in physics and engineering.”

Another incoming Macaulay freshman, Elaina Lei, from Staten Island Technical High School, also commented on the research potential at CSI, “I feel that [Macaulay] is going to give me a lot of opportunity to study outside of my field [of biology].” Lei, a multi-talented young woman, has many interests. She has excelled in science competitions, swim meets, and as a violinist.

Patrick Granata, an exceptional scholar-athlete from North Shore High School in Nassau County, who plans to play on CSI’s basketball team, added that “It’s an honor and I was happy that I was able to get into such a prestigious program. I feel that it’s going to help me to reach my full potential.”

The students’ day began in the Macaulay Honors College lounge with an ice-breaking game called “Get to Know You Bingo.” The freshmen then toured the campus, stopping at the Library, the Center for the Arts, and the many student service offices.

A brunch followed, where CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales greeted the students, encouraging them to take advantage of the many facets of the Macaulay experience, such as developing close research ties with faculty, studying abroad, and providing service to the community.

At the brunch, the students also heard from Macaulay Honors College Director Dr. Deborah Popper, who called on them to learn as much as they can and develop creative and critical thinking skills so they can affect positive change on the world, once they leave CSI.

Lisa French, a Macaulay advisor, and MHC coordinator Anita Romano filled the freshmen in on what they need to know to succeed in the program, and Mary Beth Reilly, Vice President for Student Enrollment; Dr. Alfred Levine, Acting Dean of Science and Technology; Dr. Susan Holak, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness; Mike Daniels, Associate Dean for Student Affairs; and Donna Fauci of the CSI Office of Recruitment and Admissions also introduced themselves.

Regarding the incoming class, Dr. Popper stated, “We’re happy to have so many good students joining the program. These students have a range of interests and experience that we really appreciate…it’s great to think about the talents that they’re going to bring and what they’re going to develop here.”

Students in the Macaulay Honors College receive full tuition scholarship at CSI and have access to a $7,500 Opportunities Fund that provides money for study abroad and funds unpaid internships or independent research projects. The students also receive a free laptop computer, have exclusive access to the Honors College Lounge and Computer Room, and receive personalized advising throughout their four-year tenure at Macaulay.

College Recognizes Student Achievement at 34th Commencement

Although the skies were cloudy last Thursday, the mood at the College of Staten Island’s 34th Commencement was warm and sunny, as President Dr. Tomás Morales told 2,272 students that, thanks to their own achievements and the world-class quality of the College’s faculty, they “have a degree that is second to none.”

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The student speaker was Michael Young, who graduated magna cum laude from the Macaulay Honors College at CSI with a Baccalaureate degree in American Studies with minors in Studio Art and Spanish. He is also a past recipient of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, a program in which he completed internships over three consecutive summers. During his time at CSI, he also brought smiles to the faces of members of the College coummunity as the founder and editor-in-chief of Operation Three-Legged Dolphin magazine.

In his humor-laden speech, Young looked to the future. “Today we are leaving the College of Staten Island, where we have had positive reinforcement, set class schedules, and tight-knit groups of peers. From here on we won’t be running into the same faces every day. But that might be a good thing. We can be self-starters and build new structures to keep us going. We are empowered to take control of our own learning. And the friendships we will hold onto are the ones we will work to keep.”

President Morales, in his comments, championed the vast achievements of the members of the graduating class, noting that many of them are going on to graduate programs at prestigious schools, such as Cornell, UCLA, SUNY Downstate Medical School, and Tufts. The President also stressed that these student “accomplishments are…a testament to CSI’s exceptional faculty,” recognizing the 43 new faculty members who came to CSI last fall and highlighting the strengths of the entire faculty. In addition, Dr. Morales underscored the fact that the College continues to move forward with a Macaulay Honors COllege program that doubled in size last year, our thriving Verrazano School, the awarding of full-tuition scholarships to seven valedictorians and salutatorians last year, and an ever-expanding list of programs with sister institutions around the world.

In addition to the presentation of the degrees to CSI students, Dr. Morales and Dr. William Fritz, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on CSI alumna and President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Dr. Muriel Howard, who received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Elementary Education from Richmond College.

The day’s festivities concluded in the afternoon in the CSI Library with the annual Dolphin Awards ceremony that honored outstanding contributions to the College by faculty, staff, and students. This year’s honorees included:

-Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Marianne Jeffreys.

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: David Falk.

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty: Thomas Mormino.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Stephen Stearns.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title: Manuel Gonzalez.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in CLT and OIT Specialist Titles: Valeria Belmonti.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Clerical Function: Florinda Mattia.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, Security, Service, and Support Function: Vincent Bono.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Currently Enrolled Student: Dennis Gaffigan.

After emcee Michael Daniels, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, recognized the honorees, as well as the presence of Professor Emeritus Stamos Zades, President Morales thanked the faculty and staff of the College for their hard work and dedication to CSI. The President also called Professor Sandi Cooper up to the lectern to thank her for her commitment to the College and to introduce her as the new President of the University Faculty Senate.

President Morales Hosts Legislative Breakfast

Area legislators and their representatives were updated on the state of the College of Staten Island, its future plans, and the CUNY budget last week at a breakfast hosted by CSI President Dr. Tomás Morales.

Underscoring the fact that CSI “is one of the very few institutions in American higher education that enjoys an extraordinary level of support from both sides of the aisle from our city, state, and federal legislators,” Morales began the meeting, which included a PowerPoint presentation that not only provided news of the College’s latest achievements, such as a steady increase in enrollment, a 48% increase in the number of entering baccalaureate students over the past three years, and a doubled enrollment in the prestigious Macaulay Honors College, but a look ahead at CSI’s Master Plan. Outlining the plan, Morales focused on the anticipated growth of the campus, including new residence halls, a dedicated building for the new state-of-the-art High-Performance Computing Facility, expansion of the Campus Center and Library, renovation of Building 2M, a new Welcome Center/Transportation Center, and plans to make the campus more bicycle-friendly by adding bike paths.

City University of New York Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees Jay Hershenson discussed the University’s budgetary situation. On the positive side, he noted that CUNY’s mandatory costs would be covered for the coming year, but added, on the negative side, that the University also faces an $84.4 million state aid reduction. Hershenson also mentioned that CUNY enrollment is up in the current hard economic climate, most likely as a result of people attempting to acquire the skills that they need to compete in the today’s tight job market. Another increase, Hershenson reported, is a 120% boost in transfer applications to the University.

After the two presentations, Dr. Morales opened the floor to the guests for questions and comments. Meaghan Devereaux, Chief of Staff for Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, and a CSI alumna, shared her feelings about the wonderful education that she received at CSI, and she credited Dr. Morales for making CSI the quality institution that it is today, commenting that he is very engaged with the Borough.

The meeting concluded with remarks from CUNY Trustee and CSI alumna Kay Pesile, who noted that she has taught Finance classes as an adjunct at the College since 1978 and mentioned that initially, it was difficult for CSI grads to find job placements in Wall Street firms, but today she is writing letters of recommendation to these firms on behalf of students “who are on an equal footing with [students] at NYU, Pace, St. John’s.” Trustee Pesile then called on the legislators to work to expand CSI students’ opportunities.

Other attendees at the breakfast were: NYS Assemblyman Michael Cusick, Meaghan Devereaux (representing SI Borough President James Molinaro), NYS Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer, Joe Borelli (representing NYC Councilman Vincent Ignizio), Kim Marsell (representing NYS Senator Andrew Lanza), Patrick Hyland (representing U.S. Representative Michael McMahon), NYC Councilwoman Deborah Rose, Anthony Basile (representing NYC Councilman James Oddo), NYS Senator Diane Savino, NYS Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Michael Capottelli (representing NYS Assemblyman Lou Tobacco), CSI VP for Institutional Advancement and External Relations Barbara Eshoo, CSI Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs Dr. William Fritz, CSI VP for Finance and Administration Milton Santiago, CSI VP for Student Affairs Dr. Jerald Jones-Woolfolk, CSI VP for Technology Systems Dr. Michael Kress, President Morales’s Chief of Staff Dr. Ann Lubrano, CSI Student Government President Nick Iambrone, CSI Foundation Board President Robert Cutrona, CSI Finance Professor Dr. Jonathan Peters, and CSI Political Science Professor Dr. Richard Flanagan.