Gordon and Lorraine Di Paolo Board Room Unveiled

After months of extensive renovation to what was formerly called the President’s Board Room, located on the fourth floor of Building 1A, CSI President William J. Fritz, Provost Gary Reichard, College Vice Presidents and Deans, and other distinguished members of the faculty gathered to inaugurate the new state-of-the-art meeting space, the Gordon and Lorraine Di Paolo Board Room.

Thanks to a generous grant from Lorraine and Dr. Gordon Di Paolo, the facility now boasts furniture and technological upgrades, including new tables and chairs, as well as a new sound amplifier and speaker array, a wireless microphone system, and enhanced high-definition telecommunications functionality, which are all connected to a powerful and unified audio-visual processor unit that is operated via a wall-mounted touch panel.

Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs and Executive Director of the CSI Foundation, warmly welcomed guests by highlighting the Di Paolos’ “lifelong commitment to students through scholarship opportunities and contributing to the excellence of the CSI experience.” She noted with pride that Dr. Di Paolo joined the faculty in 1971, earned the Dolphin Award for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty in 2015, and is now the College’s first one-million-dollar lifetime benefactor.

Dr. Fritz continued, underscoring the long history of support that the College and its students have received from the Di Paolos, “This room represents but a part of the ongoing generosity and support that Gordon and Lorraine have shown for our students, and our College over the years. We also have them to thank for the Gordon and Lorraine Di Paolo Overseas Scholarship and the Di Paolo Commencement Awards in Marketing and Management, which, respectively, broaden our students’ worldviews and global experience, and ensure that they complete their degrees so that they may fully pursue their professional goals. They have also established other scholarships and provided funds for disabled students; the College, in general; and other critical initiatives. For their enormous contributions, they were honored in 2009 at the First Annual Celestial Ball with President’s Medals.”

“Today is a tribute to all of you. I have worked forty years as a classroom teacher and I loved the challenge of making the material interesting. Now, as a part of the governance and leadership team, I discovered that CSI has the most impressive, hardest working and brightest people I have ever met. Your warmth nourishes me and my soul, and I thank you for that,” commented Dr. Paolo, as a retrospective slideshow from his personal and professional life graced the large monitors encircling the room.

“Lorraine and I are very fortunate,” he continued. “We both have jobs we love and are surrounded by people we respect. But we do not have our own children… the students at the college are our kids, and we are pleased and proud to support them as if they were our own. Thank you.”

CSI Faculty Receive Host of Federal Grants

CSI faculty members have received grants from the NSF and the NIH.

Adding to the impressive array of substantial grants received by College of Staten Island (CSI) faculty are several new and well-deserved federal awards.

Professor Christina Tortora, PhD, has received a $740,000 grant to continue her research in linguistics. The collaborative research grant includes CSI as the “Lead Institution,” as well as the University of Pennsylvania, Queens College, and Lehman College.

According to Dr. Tortora’s grant proposal, “The Corpus of New York City English (CoNYCE) is an in-progress project that aims to further the study of New York City English (namely, the varieties of English particular to New York City and the surrounding region), through the development and use of an innovative audio-aligned and parsed corpus of New Yorkers’ speech.”

“I was thrilled to receive positive news from the NSF so early in the process,” said Dr. Tortora, a 16-year veteran at CSI. This is her seventh National Science Foundation (NSF) and ninth federally funded grant.

The CoNYCE “will combine recent advances in speech corpus development tools with the special talents and backgrounds of CUNY undergraduates to create a database that will be a resource for researchers in all areas of linguistics.  In so doing it will provide extremely valuable research opportunities and experiences for CUNY undergraduates,” according to Dr. Tortora.

During the 42-month grant, Dr. Tortora will recruit students from her course “Methods in Linguistic Research,” a class replicated at Queens College and Lehman College, to conduct 200 interviews with people living in New York. The goal is to get one million words recorded, the industry standard for this kind of work, and, according to Dr. Tortora, this student involvement is “really key.”

“Our students are perfectly positioned for this, and they are so excited about the prospect of interviewing a person of their own choosing. They are excited to contribute something of value, and they are committed to doing it right,” noted Dr. Tortora, who is also working closely with CSI-CUNY Speech Laboratory Director, Jason Bishop, PhD.

As students gather data from different people and begin to process and analyze that data, they also work closely with Dr. Tortora as she mentors them through related research projects.

Another significant award was made to Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sharon Loverde, PhD. Dr. Loverde received a $477,089 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the behavior of small molecules and to examine how they interact with each other or with cell membranes. Using computer simulation, Dr. Loverde’s team is able to observe perspectives that are sometimes difficult to recreate in an experimental scenario.

“We can help experimentalists design better molecules or drugs, and our work is really best done at places like CSI where we can take advantage of the HPC and NSF Super Computers,” noted Dr. Loverde, who is currently working with three graduate students and two post-doctoral researchers, as well as with collaborators at City College of The City University of New York. They are looking to design different molecules to deliver cancer drugs to tumors. The focus is on how molecules behave in the body and these computer simulations are able to show just that.

“I hope that people in my group are able to learn from their experiences here at CSI and then can move on to other positions in the industry or academia, and I also hope the collaborations that I’ve started will continue,” said Dr. Loverde, a Chicago native, who has been at CSI for three years.

In other notable news, Dr. Emily Rice received a $565,658 NSF grant, her third from NSF; Dr. Sarah Berger received an NIH Research in Undergraduate Institutions  grant for $375,000; Dr. Mark Feuer, with Jiang Xin, received his first NIH award of $307,156; Dr. Tobias Schaefer received a $99,554 NSF grant;  and Dr. Greg Phillips received a $82,373 NIH award.

“Awards such as these are extremely competitive,” commented Associate Provost Mel Pipe, congratulating the recipients of these awards. “We are fortunate at CSI to have so many faculty who compete successfully at the highest level, not only for these federal grants but for funding from many other sources also.”

NIH offers funding for many types of grants, contracts, and even programs that help repay loans for researchers. To read more about NIH, visit their Web site.

NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations, and other research organizations throughout the United States. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

To read more about NSF, visit their Website.







Submission for Dolphin Awards, 2016-2017

All members of the College community are invited and encouraged to submit nominations to the 2016-2017 Dolphin Awards Committee. The deadline for submission is Friday, Mar. 24, 2017.

The Dolphin Award, instituted in 1980, is given by the President to select faculty, staff, and students in recognition of their contribution and achievements. The awards, in ten categories, are bestowed annually and are formally presented on the day of the College’s Commencement.

Nuria Morgado Inducted to the North American Academy of the Spanish Language

Dr. Morgado inducted to ANLE

College of Staten Island (CSI) professor Nuria Morgado, PhD, Associate Professor of Spanish was officially welcomed to the American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE).

Morgado was inducted after a thorough dissection of the philosophical foundations in the poetry of Antonio Machado and a clear description of the contributions of Emmanuel Kant, Johann Fichte and Emmanuel Lévinas to the poet’s thinking.

“From his first book Soledades (1903) to Nuevas canciones (1924) through Campos de Castilla (1912), the first edition of Poesías completas (1917) and the writings of his apocryphal Abel Martín and Juan de Mairena, the theme of Otherness has occupied to a great extent the thought of Antonio Machado, “said Dr. Morgado, who earned a PhD in Spanish literature from the University of Arizona and a journalism degree from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

She ​​defined the otherness “as the experience of difference, investigating how this difference can challenge the systems of classification, interpretation and social categorization.”

“For Machado,” said the new inductee, during the event held in the auditorium of the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University, “the concept of otherness is almost always conceived through a poetic-philosophical praxis that tries to understand how the Self interacts with the world, and how the experienced Self learns from this complex interaction. Machado asks ‘how can one establish meaningful communication with the Other in the world?’”

After pointing out that Antonio Machado emphasizes the importance of the Other in the Self, surpassing in this way the rationalistic solipsism of both Leibniz (windowless monads) and that of Kant (categorical imperative), Morgado declared that for the Spanish poet “one must transcend the totalizing thought and adhere to the infinite inquiries about unity and difference.”

Precisely in the presentation of the new inductee, the information coordinator of the ANLE, Daniel Fernández, highlighted the fruitful work of Morgado as editor and reviewer. “I find admirable her task of opening spaces for others to publish,” he said of his new colleague whom he defined as “Catalan from Barcelona, ​​Andalusian, Hispanic and Trans-Hispanic.”

Finally he praised the persistent commitment of Dr. Morgado for “building bridges of communication between literature and philosophy.”

CSI Named 2016-17 STEM Jobs Approved College

CSI has been named a STEM Jobs Approved College

The College of Staten Island (CSI)  has been designated a 2016-17 STEM JobsSM Approved College by Victory Media, the leader in connecting young professionals with education and career opportunities, and creator of STEM JobsSM media and resources for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. The 2016-17 STEM JobsSM Approved Colleges survey rates universities, colleges, community colleges and trade schools on their ability and responsiveness to connecting programs and students with high-demand, high-growth STEM occupations.

For additional information, visit the STEM JobsSM Web site.

Sarang Gopalakrishnan Awarded CAREER Grant

Sarang Gopalakrishnan has received a CAREER Grant.

Sarang Gopalakrishnan, PhD, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant. Dr. Gopalakrishnan is a newly hired tenure track Physics faculty member within the Department of Engineering Science and Physics.

“I am very happy with the news of Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s CAREER grant award. Dr. Gopalakrishnan was recently hired to strengthen the Physics program in our division, and he is already making us all feel proud of that decision.  Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s research interests are related to the overlapping of condensed matter, quantum computing, and statistical mechanics, so he works in fundamental, as well as applied problems.  I am sure that this grant will create terrific research opportunities for the students,” commented Vivian Incera, PhD, professor of Physics and Dean of Science and Technology.

Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s project focuses on “the behavior of large physical systems [which are] irreversible. For instance, it is common for water to leak out of a pipe but not for the leaked water to spontaneously go back in the pipe. This irreversibility is manifested by the fact that over time systems tend to ‘forget’ their initial conditions: a spread-out puddle of water on the floor contains no obvious information about where the water came from. This apparent forgetting is at odds with the strictly information-preserving, reversible laws of quantum mechanics… This project explores the approach to equilibrium as an emergent phenomenon, and seeks to elucidate the nature of this phenomenon by exploring systems, related to glasses, in which it happens in ‘slow motion,’ i.e., systems that equilibrate extremely slowly and in well-separated stages… The proposal also has a substantial educational and outreach component, involving efforts to introduce undergraduates, high-school students, and the broader public to the surprising emergent phenomena in everyday life, such as the growth of icicles and the patterns of light on swimming-pool floors.”

Neo Antoniades, PhD, chair of the Department of Engineering Science, commended the new faculty members’ efforts. “Young faculty like Sarang with their impressive energy and research focus are currently leading our Engineering, Earth/Environmental and Physics/Astrophysics programs forward towards state-of-the-art levels,” Dr. Antoniades said.




CSI Offers Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering: New Program Begins in Fall 2017

Drs. Vaishampayan and Feuer in the Photonics and Communications Lab.

Animator Hayao Miyazaki once said, “…Engineers turn dreams into reality.”

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is proud to be a part of that reality by introducing a Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering (MEEE) Program at the College. The Program is currently accepting applicants for its debut in Fall 2017. CSI joins only one other City University of New York (CUNY) school, City College of New York (CCNY), which offers the degree.

“This Program will provide a foundation across all areas of electrical engineering,” noted Program Director Mark D. Feuer, PhD, who co-wrote the MEEE Program proposal with Vinay Vaishampayan, PhD.  “But we also want it to broaden existing CUNY offerings, so we included lab courses and curriculum supporting data infrastructure and analysis.”

The 30-credit program has two optional specializations: Photonic Systems and Networks or Information Processing and Transmission.

“We chose these two specializations to complement what is already available at CCNY and also to contribute to our data-driven economy,” said Dr. Feuer, who is also the Preceptor for Photonic Systems and Networks. “Our graduates are working in industries where the end product is not necessarily electrical engineering.”

“The traditional view of electrical engineering is that it is only about electrical machines and electric power. While those traditional applications are extremely important, a lesser-known side of electrical engineers is that they work with computers and algorithms and that many of the techniques that are popular in machine learning and `big-data’ analytics, have been known and used in the electrical engineering sub-field of signal processing for years,” added Dr. Vaishampayan, who is Preceptor for Information Processing and Transmission. “A rigorous training in electrical engineering is extremely relevant and valuable for work in data analytics, and graduates from the MEEE Program can work in a range of data-driven fields, including finance and advertising.”

The MEEE Program at CSI is currently accepting applications.

Feuer and Vaishampayan both previously worked at AT&T and taught at Columbia University. They began at CSI in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

“The industry experience informs us on what’s valuable outside. Hopefully, this Program will capture the best of both worlds: the academic side and the industry side,” said Dr. Vaishampayan.

Inspired by preliminary work by Syed Rizvi, PhD; Neophytos (Neo) Antoniades, PhD; and Alfred Levine, PhD, the official proposal was vetted by CSI faculty, reviewed by CUNY and external experts, and finally approved by the New York State Education Department.

“This was an amazingly smooth process, and we received tremendous support from President [William J.] Fritz and Provost [Gary] Reichard. They really helped to put a lot of energy into this,” noted Dr. Vaishampayan.

The MEEE can be a terminal degree, and also prepares students for the PhD in Electrical Engineering at CCNY. The Program will be accessible to full- and part-time students.

“The MEEE will offer tremendous opportunities for employment to our students in many high-tech industry sectors in the metro region as well as nationwide, and is a great supplement to our high-caliber, ABET-accredited undergraduate Engineering programs at the Department,” commented Dr. Antoniades, PhD, noting that there are currently about 600 students enrolled in programs at the Department of Engineering Science and Physics.

Dr. Feuer is confident that CSI students will be up for the challenges of the new graduate degree.

“Our Engineering students at CSI are committed, and we work them very hard. They have to master the mathematics and the technology, and they really throw themselves into the subject,” said Dr. Feuer, adding that the Engineering students are “truly ambitious” in their pursuit of hands-on, practical work after graduating.

To apply to the MEEE Program, visit the CSI Graduate Admissions Web site or contact Sasha Spence at sasha.spence@csi.cuny.edu.



CSI Ranks No.16 in U.S. for Providing Social Mobility For Students

The College of Staten Island (CSI) has ranked 16th out of more than 900 colleges nationally in CollegeNET’s annual Social Mobility Index (SMI).

This is the second consecutive year that CSI has placed in the top 20 colleges.

The index was created by CollegeNET, a company that provides Web-based services to some 1,300 higher education and nonprofit institutions around the world. For the past three years, CollegeNET has been ranking four-year higher education institutions throughout the U.S. according to how effectively they enroll students with low-income backgrounds and graduate them into promising careers.

According to CollegeNET, a high SMI rankings means that “a college is contributing in a responsible want to solving the dangerous problem of economic immobility in our country.”

The CollegeNET ranking adds to the impressive list of honors that CSI has received.

CSI recently received the following accolades:

#11 “Top Collegiate Vocational & Trade Education Programs in New York” (Community for Accredited Online Schools)

#27 “Top Salaries for Graduates” (U.S. Department of Education)

#4 “Most Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in New York” (Online Colleges.com)

#18 “Best-Bang-for-Buck College in the Northeast” (Washington Monthly)

Designated “Top Military Friendly School” (G.I. Jobs Magazine)


View the entire list of CSI’s recognitions.