CSI/Verrazzano Student Anes Ahmed Selected Critical Language Scholarship Program

Anes Ahmed

Anes Ahmed of the Verrazzano School Honors Program and a graduating senior, has become CSI’s first student to be selected to participate in the Critical Language Scholarship Program, a nationally competitive program that provides students with the opportunity to study a critical-need language in an immersive environment.

This summer, Ahmed will spend ten weeks studying Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) via a language learning site based in Meknes, Morocco. Typically, students travel to the host country to engage in intensive language and cultural studies; however, due to the pandemic, the program will again be conducted remotely this year.

He applied to the CLS Program to further his fluency in MSA, as he aspires to be a professor of Arabic Literature as well as an author of his own creative works. After graduation with his BA in Writing and Literature from CSI, he is seeking to enter an MFA program through which he will hone his creative writing skills. His eventual goal is to diversify literature in the classroom by exposing students to Arabic and Arabic American writers, as well as to translate the works of Arabic authors to help bring their works to a wider audience.

Ahmed has furthered his writing skills throughout his time at CSI by serving as a contributor and editor for the campus publication, The Banner. He has also authored poetry and short stories through his participation with PEN America, a non-profit organization that advocates for creative free expression, which led to performance of his poetry at the PEN World Voices Festival in 2019. He has additionally performed his work at the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival and the Poet’s Passage, and has published his creative writing via literary publications including Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine. Most recently, Ahmed was featured as a speaker at CUNY’s 2021 TEDx Talk.  

He has also served as a Junior Senator on the CSI Student Government, and was a Disaster Relief Participant in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria via the CUNY Cultural Corps, where he aided communities in rebuilding homes. Over the past year, Ahmed has devoted his time to assist The Olive Writers in Casablanca, Morocco, an organization that provides disenfranchised youth with resources and training to develop their creativity through the literary arts.  

By Michele Callahan

Notable Business Student Receives Prestigious Scholarship

Nicole Agu of CSI’s Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business has been named a recipient of the PSC-CUNY Belle Zeller Scholarship for 2020.

Nicole Agu, a current student in the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business who is notable for her many outstanding achievements and contributions to the School, the College, CUNY, and the community, has added another accomplishment to her résumé, having recently been named a recipient of the PSC-CUNY Belle Zeller Scholarship for 2020.

This scholarship, named for the founder of the CUNY Professional Staff Congress (PSC), recognizes students who demonstrate a combination of social commitment and scholarship. Agu, who is pursuing a double major in Accounting and International Business, embodies both of these attributes. Among other roles, she has served as the Vice Chair for International Student Affairs of the CUNY University Student Senate, Chair of the Club Commission, and President of the International Business Society at the College of Staten Island, and as a tutor in mathematics, accounting, and economics. She was also named to the Dean’s List for her outstanding achievements in the classroom.

Professor Alan Zimmerman, who coordinates the International Business degree program and serves as the faculty mentor for the International Business Society (IBS), says that Agu was “one of the most dynamic presidents in the club’s 20-year history.” He goes on to note that she led the IBS in many interesting activities and hosted several fascinating speakers, and that “as a result of her leadership, the International Business Society was chosen as Club of the Year [in 2019].”

As a demonstration of her academic accomplishments, Agu met the requirements to join the College’s chapter of Sigma Beta Delta (SBD), the international honor society in business, management, and administration, into which she was inducted in spring 2019. That same year, she was selected as a national recipient of a Donald H. Driemeier Scholarship from SBD, an award named for the founder of the organization. Agu represented the Chazanoff School of Business and the College of Staten Island at the annual Sigma Beta Delta conference in Philadelphia, PA in October 2019, when she was presented with her award.

Professor Patricia Galletta, Deputy Chair for Accounting in the Department of Accounting and Finance, also taught Agu in two accounting classes, and was able to see her dedication to her studies first-hand. Galletta notes that “Nicole spent time getting involved in her profession outside of the School by joining professional associations and entering accounting competitions, as well as taking advantage of all the opportunities CUNY offered.”

The achievements noted above only touch upon Agu’s activities outside of the classroom. She is generous with her time at the College, serving as “one of the best economics tutors the department has ever had,” according to Dr. Simone Wegge, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics. [Although Agu is not majoring in Economics, foundational classes in the subject are required as part of the core Business curriculum.] Aligning with her Accounting degree, Agu took advantage of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) internship program from the IRS, offered by the Department of Accounting and Finance, in which she assisted with the preparation of tax returns for low-income, elderly, disabled, and non-English-speaking taxpayers in the community. She also did volunteer work through the CUNY Service Corps.

In order to extend her network and develop her skills, Agu represented the College and the Chazanoff School of Business at the annual CUNY Women’s Leadership Conference in November 2019; she is a student member of the National Association of Black Accountants, the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants; and she was chosen from among more than 3,000 applicants to attend the 2020 national Goldman Sachs Women’s Leadership Camp, held in Dallas, TX.  She is currently interning at Deloitte, and will be starting a full-time position with Goldman-Sachs in Salt Lake City, UT, after she graduates this May.

Agu is also active in print and other media. She authored an article entitled, “A Traditional Business Plan Is Effective for Start-Up Businesses,” which appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of the Chazanoff School of Business student publication, Get Down to Business, and was also featured in the September 2019 issue of the publication CPA Journal in a special section called “Future Professionals, in Their Own Words.” In July 2020, Agu was interviewed on the Brian Lehrer Show on New York’s public radio station WNYC, speaking about the potential impact of remote learning on international students.

Dr. Susan Holak, Founding Dean of the Chazanoff School of Business, comments that she finds Agu to be “an engaging and energetic person, who is curious about the world and how her personal contributions can have an impact on not only her own future, but the futures of those around her,” and that she “consistently strives to achieve the best results in her classes and her co-curricular activities.”

In her own words, Agu remarks upon her time at the College of Staten Island and the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business, saying that she was challenged to step out of her comfort zone and discover her potential. She continues: “Thanks to my professors, mentors, fellow students, and staff, I have experienced personal, academic, and professional growth. Reflecting on the past four years, I am most proud of taking advantage of opportunities that helped me become a scholar and a student leader who gives back to her College community. I hope to continue to inspire others through my story.”

The faculty, staff, and students of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business congratulate Nicole Agu on her significant accomplishments, and wish her well for continued success in her career beyond the College of Staten Island.

By Warrick Bell

CSI MSW Alumna Wins Kotaro Barns Award

Natsuko Okazaki, a CSI MSW alumna, has won this year’s Kotaro Barns Award from JAMSNET (Japanese Medical Support Network) for her volunteer work.

Chiya Ikemi, MSW, CAC, Director of Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI), where Natsuko volunteered in the summer of 2020 and now interns, said, “Natsuko offered her time to volunteer at our organization before starting her social work internship. This offer turned out to be a great help with us since one of our staff left her position in April. With Natsuko’s help, we were able to handle ever-increasing Hotline inquiries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Natsuko has had helped us with various area in the organization, which led me to consider nominating Natsuko for the Kotaro Barnes Award.”

By Terry Mares

School of Business Student Receives Scholarship from International Honor Society

Frimcha Fuchs

The Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business at the College of Staten Island/CUNY is pleased to announce that one of its students, Frimcha Fuchs, was named the recipient of a 2020 Fellowship from Sigma Beta Delta (SBD), the International Honor Society for Business, Management, and Administration, which boasts 97,000 members worldwide.

Chapter 372 of SBD at the College of Staten Island was founded in 2012, and has grown to include 298 undergraduate students, 46 graduate students, 18 honorary members, and 25 faculty. Only the top 10% of junior, senior, and graduate Business students at the College are invited to apply for membership.

Frimcha is pursuing a BS degree in Accounting with a minor in Finance. She was inducted into Sigma Beta Delta in May 2020, and intends to take the Certified Public Accountant exam after graduation to become a Forensic Accountant. Frimcha has also applied her classroom learning in experiential settings through internships with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, offered by the Department of Accounting and Finance, and underwritten by the U.S. Treasury. Next to being a full-time student, she says that she is also a “stay-at-home mom of two beautiful children.”

Frimcha was nominated for the scholarship by Professor Seokyoun Hwang, Assistant Professor of Accounting, who submitted her name for consideration because of the hard work, perseverance, and commitment that she had demonstrated in the classroom. According to Dr. Hwang, “Frimcha not only mastered the class concepts, but she also shared her knowledge with her classmates.” He described Frimcha as a passionate, generous, and selfless person, and he noted that he regularly saw “mini classroom seminars after class hours pop up with other students surrounding Frimcha … discussing the course subjects.” From her own perspective, Frimcha says that Professor Hwang “is an exceptional professor” who is “humorous [and] engaging,” who made his classes enjoyable. She adds that “those who give it their all can be certain that he will help them reach their grade goal.”

Dr. Susan L. Holak, Founding Dean of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business, states that “the School of Business is extremely proud of Frimcha. She is a committed, exemplary student who goes out of her way to engage with others both in and out of the classroom, and is generous with her time and abilities in the community. The award committee at Sigma Beta Delta has made a wonderful choice for this year’s recipient, and we look forward to celebrating her ongoing success in the future.”

By Warrick Bell and Heidi Bertels

Naomi Gordon Receives Inaugural 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award

CSI Business major Naomi Gordon, a student-veteran who is serving in the Army Reserve as a Specialist (E-4), has received an inaugural 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award from Viqtory Media.

Laura Scazzafavo of CSI’s Veterans Support Services said that Noami “has successfully developed and implemented several programming opportunities at CSI that have resulted in increased awareness of the veteran’s community and the services that CSI provides. She has also been extraordinarily helpful in other areas at the College. In addition to her on-campus programming work, Naomi led our networking efforts that brought in various veterans’ organizations to share their stories and aid with benefits and job placement, all of which were a resounding success and highly lauded by our student-veterans. In addition to her VA Work-Study and full-time student responsibilities, she is the Vice President of the college’s Student Veterans of America Chapter.”

According to Dan Fazio, Managing Editor at Viqtory Media, this inaugural list, which honors 48 student veterans who are making a positive impact at their school and in their communities, will be published in the August issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, a national publication that has been connecting service members, veterans, and their families to civilian career, education, and business ownership opportunities since 2001.

Diane Quince Receives 2020 Women’s Forum Education Award

Diane Quince has recently been selected for the Women’s Forum Education Award, a prestigious city-wide opportunity that provides $10,000 to women who have overcome extraordinary challenges to pursue their educational goals.

Quince can often be found typing away within the CSI Library, determined to make every stroke of the keyboard have an impact as she ponders the societal conditions affecting NYC’s most vulnerable populations. A student of the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing with the intention to raise awareness for communities in need. She is committed to helping those who have lost their way, focusing on restoring hope in people who have fallen victim to substance abuse and homelessness, and connecting them with the resources they need to overcome their circumstances.

Quince herself is no stranger to adversity. Left to make her own way in the world as a teenager, she has risen above a myriad of struggles to enter college at the age of 61.

Commenting on how she feels about having received the award, Quince said, “I like it! I have never before had a purpose in my life. When I started CSI, I found caring, support, and encouragement. Most of all I found purpose. From SEEK, to Accessibility, to Ms. [Michele] Callahan [Fellowship and Scholarship Advisor], I have felt nothing but love. I hope by being a recipient of this Prestigious Award I have brought honor to my beloved school.”

In addition to maintaining an outstanding academic record, Quince has dedicated extensive volunteerism to Samaritan Daytop Village on Staten Island, including serving as a motivational speaker during special events. She is also a member of the SEEK Program Women’s Club, through which she endeavors to foster confidence in young women and a sense of inclusion for students who have returned to college after suffering the most daunting of obstacles. Avidly devoted to helping others, Quince likewise engages in fundraising initiatives for the LGBTQ community and for those living with HIV/AIDS.

By Michele Callahan

School of Business Student Receives Scholarship from International Honor Society

Award-winning School of Business student Nicole Agu with (L to R) Professor Alan Zimmerman, Founding Dean Susan L. Holak, and Professor Patricia Galletta.

The Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business at the College of Staten Island/CUNY is extremely pleased to announce that one of its students, Nicole Agu, was named the recipient of the 2019 Donald H. Driemeier Scholarship from Sigma Beta Delta (SBD), the International Honor Society for Business, Management, and Administration. The scholarship is named for Donald H. Driemeier, the founder of Sigma Beta Delta.

Chapter 372 of SBD at the College of Staten Island was founded in 2012, and has grown to include 277 undergraduate students, 30 graduate students, 16 honorary members, and 25 faculty members. Only the top 10% of junior, senior, and graduate Business students at the College are invited to apply for membership.

Nicole is a Verrazano Honors student, who is in her junior year of a double major in Accounting and International Business, with minors in Finance, Management, and Marketing. She completed her Associate’s degree in Accounting at CSI in January 2019, graduating magna cum laude. She was inducted into SBD in May 2019, and intends to go on to become a Certified Public Accountant.

In addition to her membership in SBD, Nicole has received numerous commendations, awards, and other scholarships for her leadership and academic accomplishments. She serves as the President of the College’s International Business Society, and is currently working as an accounting intern in the Center for Global Engagement at the College of Staten Island. According to Professor Alan Zimmerman, Coordinator of the program in International Business and the faculty liaison for the International Business Society, Nicole is “an outstanding planner and leader of her fellow students,” and is “one of the most effective presidents since the founding of the Society 18 years ago.”

Ms. Agu has also applied her classroom learning in experiential settings through internships with the CUNY Service Corps and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs. On campus, she works as a tutor, an orientation leader, and a peer advisor. These are just a few of the notable accomplishments that reflect Nicole’s outstanding dedication to her education, and to the community.

Dr. Susan Holak, Founding Dean of the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business, states that “the School of Business is extremely proud of Nicole. She is an exemplary student, an effective leader, and is generous with her time and abilities in the community. The award committee at Sigma Beta Delta has made a wonderful choice for this year’s recipient.”

Nicole was nominated for the scholarship by Professor Patricia Galletta, Deputy Chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance, who submitted the student’s name for consideration because of the hard work, perseverance, and commitment that she had demonstrated both in and out of the classroom.  From her own perspective, Ms. Agu says that Professor Galletta “is an outstanding mentor to her students” and that she “ensures that they succeed in class and their career lives.”