[video] UNICEF Honors CSI Students for creating “A Bridge to Clean Water” for Children in Kenya

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Yr4bRWYCI[/youtube]A team led by CSI students was recently awarded First Place at the 2013 CUNY Design for UNICEF Challenge.

The competition, titled, “Fulfilling the Promise” tasked teams of CUNY students to design a solution that has the potential to save children’s lives. The challenge united UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s advocate with CUNY, the nation’s leading urban university in what UNICEF has called, “a ground-breaking initiative to mobilize the vast talent and diversity of CUNY’s 270,000 students to find solutions to prevent 6.9 million child deaths that occur every year.”

Members of Dr. Alan Lyons lab.

The challenge that the team addressed was how to provide clean drinking water to remote villages in Africa where water is scarce and incidence of water-borne disease, such as cholera, is high. The team worked to improve on a current method called SODIS, where water is heated by the sun to a temperature above 40 degrees Celsius for six hours—which due to the long times required, compliance with the protocol is imperfect and children continue to fall ill. “A Bridge to Clean Water” proposed a low-cost catalyst film that could be added to bottles in order to reduce the time needed to purify the water.

Dr. Alan Lyons, Professor of Chemistry at CSI, explained the process the team is working on to accelerate water purification. “My students developed a new method to partially embed catalyst particles into the surface of a polymer film. In this way, the majority of the particle surfaces are exposed and retain their high catalytic activity. Also, the process uses particles economically as they are located only on the surface and not distributed throughout the film. The process is compatible with low-cost continuous polymer processes, which would make the reusable material inexpensive and accessible to people in remote areas of Africa.”

Dr. Lyons, who is proud of his students believes that what made “A Bridge to Clean Water” successful was not only the “enthusiasm and hard work of the students” but also the “support and collaboration that many members of the CSI community generously provided.” He credits the students as well as Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. QianFeng Xu, Imaging Center Facilities Manager Dr. Michael Bucaro, and several members of the Biology department, notably, Kinnea Keating, Natalie Thompson, and Professor Elena McCoy.

The team’s  YouTube video clearly illustrates how the film can be easily placed into any clean and secure plastic bottle.  Exposed to direct sunlight, the photocatalytic activity augments the effect of heating to reduce the time required to kill bacteria.  By saving time, the method becomes more effective and greater compliance can be achieved.

The team also considered how to educate future users on how to use the catalyst film so that they will be self-reliant in the future. They will continue their materials research work at CSI to quantify and improve the process as well as work directly with UNICEF to evaluate the method’s effectiveness in African communities.

Inside Cheerleading magazine Names Two Dolphins All-Americans

Giana Abbrusseze and Ashley Isaccs earned All-American status from Inside Cheerleading Magazine

The College of Staten Island Cheerleading squad is continuing to make headlines past their competitive season, and this time it is on a national level.  The squad celebrated its first ever All-American awards, bestowed to Ashley Isaacs and Giana Abbrusseze by Inside Cheerleading magazine.  Known to insiders as “iC,” the publication is designed to help athletes enjoy, train, perform, compete and live cheerleading to the maximum.  Each year, the magazine gives its top laurels after evaluating nominations from collegiate coaches.  Isaacs and Abbruzzese were two of 20 total All-Americans and were the only pair representing NCAA Division III institutions.

“I’ve always looked up to Division I cheerleading programs and being mentioned alongside members of teams from the University of Alabama and University of Memphis is a great honor and will raise the standards for collegiate cheerleading at CSI,” said Abbrusseze, a Nursing major at CSI who helped champion the squad to a CUNYAC title in 2012 and a runner-up finish in 2013.

Isaacs, a team captain and flyer for the unit, earned CSI a gold medal in the 2013 Jumping routine at this year’s championship, pairing up with freshman Yenitza Mendes.  The junior Biology major at CSI was quick to acknowledge the prestige of the accolade.

“To be recognized beside some of the top cheerleading programs shows that my devotion, hard work and talent are beneficial,” Isaacs said.  “It’s exciting to bring recognition to the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) and the College of Staten Island.  Cheerleading is most definitely a sport and we’re working hard to make our reputation better than ever before.”

Isaacs also notes that with the high honor, comes higher expectations for the future.  “With this honor comes the chance as a team to improve our skills, grow, and compete nationally,” the captain said.  “I hope this encourages more students to try out this fall and in the years to come.”

To be considered for All-American status, respective head coaches need to nominate their deserving candidates.  For CSI Head Coach Justine Elyse Green, the decision to nominate Isaacs and Abbrusseze was an easy one.

“Ashley and Giana are unbelievable cheerleaders and I am thrilled that both athletes were selected as members of the iC 2013 Collegiate All-American Team and hope to have many more in the future. We’re a small program, but there’s a great deal of talent walking around our campus and they epitomize that. We’re reaching for excellence and we encourage everyone learn more about us and join our family.”

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, iC magazine is currently distributed to Books-A-Million, Borders, Hastings, and Barnes & Noble.  The magazine features correspondents that include 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist gymnast Jaycie Phelps and former World and Olympic gymnastics team member John Macready.  For more information on iC magazine, log on to:  www.insidecheerleading.com.  For a complete list of 2013 All-Americans click here.

The College of Staten Island Cheerleading program continues to strive for excellence and is looking for talented individuals to supplement its roster.  The team has already held a pair of Captain’s Clinics with more try-out dates scheduled on the horizon.  For more information, contact Coach Green at  JustineG04@yahoo.com.

CSI Wins Sixth Consecutive First-Place Honor at CSTEP Conference

CSI Psychology student Melice Golding won First-Place honors at this year's CSTEP Conference.

Melice Golding, a senior Psychology major at CSI, won first place for her poster at the 21st annual CSTEP conference at The Sagamore on Lake George in Bolton Landing, NY.

Golding’s poster, “Processing of an Unfamiliar Foreign Language in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” was CSI’s second win in a row for psychology students—CSI swept the Psychology field this year—and the College’s sixth first-place finish in a row.

The poster focused on children with ASD and used a discrimination-choice procedure embedded in a video game to examine whether these deficits might be due to unusual patterns of attention. The study used unfamiliar languages, German, in this case, that prevented the children from extracting meaning in order to determine if the inability to extract meaning has a detrimental effect on the attention spans of students with ASDs. From the study, Golding discovered that meaning does not have an effect on the attention of ASD children.

In discussing the process of competing at the conference, Golding jokingly called the experience “nerve wracking.” Golding, who had competed the year before, said she “really wanted to take home a trophy for my College.” She went on to discuss her project and the surprising results she gathered. “We were utterly surprised by the results,” she said. “That is the best part of being a researcher. Though, you don’t want your hypothesis to be incorrect, it is really exciting to see results you aren’t expecting.”

In all, there were 121 projects in 15 categories presented by 144 CSTEP students from 34 institutions from around the state, including, New York University, Columbia University, Syracuse University, Long Island University, and SUNY Downstate, as well as all 24 CUNY colleges and universities. The conference was comprised of several student workshops as well as programs geared to professional development. The focus of the conference is to celebrate the dedication and effort that New York-area CSTEP students put forth in their scholarship and to encourage them all to continue their research in whichever field they choose.

As stated previously, Golding’s success is nothing new to CSI as the College’s CSTEP program has a brilliant track record of producing some of the brightest and most successful students in the state. The CSTEP program was founded to provide academic enrichment and research experience in science, mathematics, and technology content areas. Debra Evans-Greene, the Director of the CSTEP program at CSI emphasized the importance of having programs such as CSTEP at institutions of higher learning. “CSTEP levels the playing field for students belonging to historically underrepresented groups or families that are financially unstable,” she said.

“The trick,” Evans-Greene continued, “is to get these students to believe that math and science are fields they can get into. They come to me and say, ‘I can’t do this’ and I love to prove them wrong,” she added with a smile.

She goes on to say that conferences such as the one at Lake George provide healthy competition, “which is good. It helps to sharpen your skills. It also helps to provide students with a network of like-minded individuals.”

She also praised the efforts of many of CSI’s professors and CSTEP PhD students, including Dr. Bertram Ploog and Dr. Alan Lyons, who directly influenced Golding’s work. “They did such a wonderful job preparing the students for the conference,” she noted.

Dr. Ploog, praising Golding’s work, said, “Ms. Golding has been central to all our efforts and success. I consider her among my very top students I have had the privilege to teach over the past 20 years. In addition, with her intelligence and warmth, Ms. Golding is truly a quality person. She has been exceedingly successful despite some life adversities that would have made others quit.”

“On a personal note,” Dr. Ploog added, “I’d like to thank CSTEP and in particular Ms. Debra Evans-Greene for their wonderful support of our deserving and best students. It truly has been a pleasure to work with Ms. Evans-Greene and her wonderful staff. I hope this collaboration will continue for many more years to come.”

Golding, who is planning to study for her PhD in Clinical Psychology, added, “My professors went above and beyond, getting us ready for the conference.” She added that the practice presentations that her professors held were “brutal” in the best possible way as CSI’s CSTEP students took home three trophies combined.

“We also have five PhD students who really grilled our conference students,” Evans-Greene added.

In all, Evans-Greene takes obvious pride in the success of the CSTEP students and is keen to keep the pressure on for next year’s CSTEP cohort. “We won six in a row at the conference; my goal is to make it seven.”

[video] Meet Evelyn Okeke – 2013 Co-Valedictorian

Evelyn Okeke has been conducting research as a Biology (BS) major with a double minor in Biochemistry and Chemistry at CSI in Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi’s lab since the summer of 2010, where she worked on a project that led to two publications. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA since she started her undergraduate studies in The Verrazano School Honors Program in 2010.

She has recenlty presented her research at numerous conferences including the 18th International Taurine Meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. During the summer of 2011, she worked as a research assistant in the Robinson lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and last summer, she completed an internship in the department of Protein Science at Merck & Co. Inc.,as well as study abroad on scholarship in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R28o_qFA-wA[/youtube]Evelyn was awarded the prestigious UNCF/Merck fellowship for the academic year 2012/2013 and she received an honorable mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2012.

In the fall 2013, she will be begin her doctoral studies at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. This summer, she will go to the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands to complete a research internship in the Department of Pediatrics with a focus on neuroscience.

[video] Meet Christopher Bitetto – 2013 Co-Valedictorian

Christopher Bitetto is graduating from The Verrazano School Honors Program as a Communications major with a concentration in Media Studies. Upon matriculating to CSI after graduating fifth in his class at Susan Wagner High School, Christopher set out to accomplish two goals during his career at CSI: To maintain a 4.0 GPA and to become the Sports Director at WSIA so he could broadcast all of CSI’s basketball and baseball games, and host a weekly sports talk show.  He is proud to say that both goals have been met.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_xHTVXvxYg[/youtube]He realizes, however, that his goals at CSI have not only been met, they have exceeded even his high expectations.

During his tenure at CSI, Christopher interned at Sirius XM Radio; he presented his honors thesis production, “Moneyball: The New Formula to America’s Pastime,” at the Undergraduate Conference on Research, Scholarship, and Performance; and completed an independent research paper on baseball as a microcosm of society.  He thanks his family and the CSI faculty members, without whom he would not have been able to reach his full potential.

Christopher’s mindset in life is “if you are going to do something, why not be great at it?” and he has approached every challenge with which he has been faced as a student at CSI.  He is proud and thankful for receiving the Valedictorian honor.

Meet Christina Terracino – 2013 Salutatorian

On a basic level, Christina Terracino’s coming of age story can be related to that of Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë’s classic journey of maturation, self-discovery, and increasing confidence almost mirrors that of Ms. Terracino’s, who, being a young woman who has always resided in her hometown, feels great pride in the powerful and independent growth she has shown during her tenure with The Verrazano School Honors Program at CSI.

As a teenager attending Staten Island Technical High School, Christina would often try to imagine the woman she would become once she graduated from college. Anyone in her large Italian American family who attended college credited that time as the defining years of their lives and Christina has quickly come to the same conclusion.

Christina began her studies at CSI as a young woman whose father had recently passed away, whose confidence had been faltering, and whose love for reading was the only glimmer of a future career path. Her affinity for reading developed into a passion and appreciation for literature’s conveyance of human emotions, opinions, and nature. Such a connection to literature and research assured her that a career as an academic librarian and professor were a perfect fit.

Christina’s goals have always remained constant: to pursue higher education, to choose a career path that is both productive and enjoyable, and to learn from every possible experience.

During her time at CSI, Christina has become part of a cohort of brilliant and talented CUNY students through the CUNY Pipeline Program, met countless encouraging professors and other members of the College community, presented at two academic conferences, and accepted a fellowship offer from St. John’s University to pursue a Master’s degree in English Literature. She is proud of all of these accomplishments, is enthusiastic to move ahead, and will remain confidant, living by the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

CSI Grad Students Win First in State for “Going Green on Campus”

Rania Skaf (undergrad), Yang Liu (PhD student), and Yuanyuan Zhao (PhD student)

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at The Rochester Institute of Technology recently named the team from the College of Staten Island as first-place winners of its second statewide R&D student competition.

The competition, entitled “Go Green on Campus,” required the teams of students to identify a specific activity at their college or university with a large environmental footprint and find a solution to make their campus more environmentally sustainable. Open to colleges and universities throughout the state, the event recognized both graduate- and undergraduate-level sustainability projects as part of NYSP2I’s ongoing research and development program.

The CSI Team placed first in the Graduate Student category over teams from Syracuse University and The New School.

The CSI graduate team’s first-place project, entitled “Degradation of Dyes Used in Undergraduate Instructional Laboratories,” was a plan to use sunlight and a unique nanomaterial to decompose organic wastes generated by the College’s instructional laboratories before they are disposed.  The team was led by two PhD candidates working in Dr. Alan Lyons’s Chemistry lab, Yuanyuan Zhao, and Yang Liu, along with undergraduate students Bibi Ghafari and Rania Skaf.

The team won after making a 15-minute presentation to a panel of three judges at the competition and received trophies and $1,500 to share among team members.

“This was a team effort,” said Dr. Lyons of the collaborative nature of the project. “The graduate and undergraduate students wrote the proposal and conducted the experiments.  They were monitored by me and Dr. QianFeng Xu, a Research Associate working in my lab.” Dr. Lyons also credited CSI Health and Safety Officer James Saccardo “for his support and valuable guidance regarding hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal,” as well as Dr. Mike Bucaro, manager of the CSI Imaging Institute, “for helping the team acquire high-images.”

“We were thoroughly impressed by the innovative ideas that both the graduate and undergraduate level teams identified to help make their campuses more environmentally friendly,” said Anahita Williamson, Director of NYSP2I.

 

Marybeth Melendez named Rising Star by NYC Mayor

CSI alumna Marybeth Melendez continues her academic success as she pursues her graduate degree at the College.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG KICKS OFF THE 10TH ANNUAL IMMIGRANT HERITAGE WEEK CELEBRATION

Mayor Presents American Dreamer Awards to New Yorkers Improving the Lives of Immigrants

National Park Service Teams Up with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to Bring Hurricane Damaged Ellis Island Immigration Museum Programs to the Five Boroughs

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama today kicked off Immigrant Heritage Week at Gracie Mansion. Immigrant Heritage Week is a citywide celebration, from April 17-24, honoring the experiences and contributions of the millions of immigrants who have shaped New York City for generations. During the reception at Gracie Mansion, the Mayor announced the 2013 recipients of the American Dreamer Awards, presented to five New Yorkers dedicated to improving the lives of immigrant communities across the City. In addition, three new Rising Star Awards were presented to students that show promise as American Dreamers for their work to advance the lives of their fellow students. This year’s Immigrant Heritage Week will focus on showcasing the stories of the millions of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island to start their lives in New York City and cities across the United States. With Ellis Island closed due to damage it suffered during Hurricane Sandy, the City will work with the National Park Service to the bring the stories of immigrants from Ellis Island to communities across the City. National Park Service Rangers from the Ellis Island Immigration Museum Workshops will hold over twenty educational programs at schools, community and cultural institutions across the five boroughs during Immigrant Heritage Week. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Shama were joined at Gracie Mansion by David Luchsinger, Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Steve Briganti, President and CEO of the Statue of Liberty- Ellis Island Foundation and the National Park Service Rangers who will lead the programs across New York City.

“In New York City we’ve always known how important immigrants are to this country,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “That’s why we have been a leading voice in the fight to fix America’s broken immigration system. We are very optimistic that a compromise immigration reform bill has attracted bi-partisan support in Washington. This bill could give millions of hard-working people the chance to realize their American dreams and go a long way towards strengthening our economy, our democracy and our communities. Our diversity, our tolerance and our spirit of mutual respect is part of what makes this City so great. That’s what we hope to highlight during Immigrant Heritage Week and it’s the reason we our City continues to attract people from around the world looking to build a better future.”

“To celebrate the rich cultural heritage of our City, this Immigrant Heritage Week we are working with the National Park Service to feature the stories of millions of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island with dreams that are as alive in immigrants today as they were a hundred years ago,” said Commissioner Shama. “It is those dreams and commitment to success that makes New York City better every day, and it is what we continue to celebrate today as we recognize our American Dreamer Awardees.”

“We are thrilled to join Mayor Bloomberg and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on this initiative, and to celebrate our immigrant heritage and the rich diversity our city and country enjoys,” said National Park Service Superintendent Luchsinger.

Established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2004, Immigrant Heritage Week is celebrated around April 17th, the day in 1907 when more immigrants entered through Ellis Island than any other date in the City’s history. This year, Immigrant Heritage Week will take place from April 17th – 24th. Immigrant Heritage Week was made an annual celebration by Executive Order 128, signed by Mayor Bloomberg in 2009. It is a citywide celebration honoring the experiences and contributions of the millions of immigrants who have shaped our City for generations. During Immigrant Heritage Week, the Department of Cultural Affairs’ NYCulture Calendar will feature arts and cultural organizations hosting events during the week that feature immigrant artists or international content. Events citywide can be found by visiting www.nyc.gov and searching “Immigrant Affairs.”

 American Dreamer Awards

The American Dreamer Awards were created to celebrate the significant accomplishments and contributions made by an individual or organization to better the lives of immigrants and immigrant communities in New York City. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs received over 100 nominations from community organizations, and individuals from across the five boroughs in March and five winners were selected from an outstanding group of candidates. This year, a new category was established, the Rising Star Award, to highlight students that show promise as American Dreamers for their work to advance the lives of their fellow students. The honorees are:

Ambassador Award- Seema Agnani, Executive Director of Chayya Community Development Corporation, is being honored for her role in combating the foreclosures that are threatening the South East Asian community of Queens. She founded Chayya in 2000 with the mission of creating a grassroots group that would address housing and community development issues in one of the most diverse communities in the city, Jackson Heights, Queens. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Neighborhood Housing Development and the New York Immigration Coalition.

Business Leader Award- Jessamyn Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen, is being honored for empowering immigrant women to build their economic security by opening pathways to professional opportunities in the food industry. Frustrated by the fact that despite the rich culinary history of immigrant women, they were still predominately cooking in people’s homes instead of fine dining establishments, she founded Hot Bread Kitchen out of her own home in 2007. She designed a program that trained and paid women in the technical skills and English fluency necessary to succeed in the food industry. Since then she has grown Hot Bread Kitchen into a nationally respected bakery and training program that has trained 41 women from 15 different countries, supported over 20 immigrant entrepreneurs in growing their own food businesses, and has hired over 60 full-time and temporary positions to their bakery in the historic La Marqueta in Spanish Harlem.

Community Builder Award- Ligia Guallpa, Executive Director of Workers Justice Project, is being honored for her role in improving worker rights for the over 3000 mainly undocumented Day Laborers in New York City who are highly vulnerable to wage and job safety abuses. She was instrumental in building hiring halls from shipping containers in Brooklyn so that Day Laborers would have a place to negotiate a fair wage with contractors. A few months after their hiring hall in Bensonhurst was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, she was able to foster community support and rebuild as she noticed the increasing demand for Day Laborers in post-disaster cleanup.

New York’s Uniform Award- Sergeant Dhendup Chadotsang, of the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn, is being honored for his exemplary service with the Tibetan community. Tibetans in New York City tend to not speak English, lack a basic understanding of the law and are often victims of predatory practices. Dhendup volunteers with his community by guiding them through the often complicated process of living and working in New York City. He assists them with finding housing, filling out job applications, paying their electric bills and overall making the NYPD approachable to his community.

Visionary Award- Yolanny Rodriguez, Director of Teatro Las Tablas, is being honored for her work in raising awareness for women and children’s rights through her production of “The Vagina Monologues,” of which all of the proceeds go to various women’s organizations. She founded the non-profit cultural organization Teatro Las Tablas which promotes and produces Latino theater in Spanish for Upper Manhattan. Additionally, she is a tenant organizer, activist and proud drama teacher to students with Down syndrome.

Rising Star- Angelo Cabrera, Founder and President of MASA, is being recognized for his work in helping immigrant children achieve academic success and ultimately graduate high school. He founded MASA in 2001 as part of a campaign focused on attaining the rights for undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition at CUNY and SUNY schools. As part of this campaign, Angelo and several others held a hunger strike to urge CUNY’s policy of in-state tuition for undocumented students to become law. After the law passed in 2002, MASA began to focus its efforts on promoting access to higher education for students of Mexican descent living in New York. Having immigrated to the United States at the age of 15, he understands first-hand the many complex barriers Mexican youth face today. In order to serve his community better, he is pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at Baruch’s School of Public Affairs.

Rising Star – Marybeth Melendez, Student Development Assistant for the College of Staten Island, is being recognized for her work with the immigrant community of Staten Island. She is a single mother of three who lost her eyesight to a degenerative eye disease that compelled her to retire from a promising career in a law firm. She and her seeing-eye dog Trixie have served as volunteers for three years with El Centro del Inmigrante in Staten Island by working in their soup kitchen and distributing food and supplies to home-bound immigrants in Staten Island. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, she and several classmates volunteered in Staten Island delivering food, water and clothing. Their actions prompted the Coast Guard and the FDNY to designate New Dorp as a central receiving and distribution site.

Rising Star – Denise Vivar, student at Sunset Park High School, is being recognized for her work in mobilizing her school behind the passage of the DREAM Act. After attending a presentation about the DREAM Act with two other students, she led a petition in her school and the community around Sunset Park, placed advertisements in favor of the DREAM Act in businesses and filmed a PSA about the issues affecting the passage of the bill.

Sharing Ellis Island Immigration Stories

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the National Park Service Rangers from Ellis and Liberty Island will hold over twenty educational programs at schools, community and cultural institutions across the five boroughs during Immigrant Heritage Week. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum sustained severe damage from Hurricane Sandy and is not expected to re-open to the public this year. Through this partnership, Rangers will bring the stories of the millions of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island and whose descendants account for almost half of the American people into communities.
The programs being offered by the staff of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum are:

•“We Are Ellis Island” The Neighborhood Ranger will show the award-winning documentary “Island of Hope; Island of Tears”. The documentary chronicles the moving stories of people and families with dreams of opportunity leaving their homeland with what they could carry. The film also contains magnificent archival footage from Ellis Island when it was the primary port of entry for millions of European immigrants. The film is preceded by a 15 minute conversation led by a Park Ranger. Internet access or a DVD player and television monitor are required for this program.
•“Immigrants: Let Us Entertain You” Between 1892 and 1954, immigration officials processed over 12 million immigrants at Ellis Island. Immigrants helped build the United States of America and their efforts continue to define and enrich our nation’s and our city’s identity. Some of those passing through Ellis Island reaped a variety of riches in their adopted home. Some were honored for their contributions to variety of fields. As we celebrate this year’s Immigrant Heritage Week, we salute immigrants who entered through the doors of Ellis Island and went on to leave an indelible mark on the arts. Attendees will be able to see the ship manifest records of Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Irving Berlin and Maria Von Trapp. They will also hear about three Ellis Island immigrants who were eventually elected Mayor of New York City. In addition, participants will discuss immigrants who made significant contributions to the fields of architecture and dance, and children will enjoy hearing the story of Chef Boyardee (yes, he too arrived at Ellis Island!). Participants over the age of 12 will experience the story of Ellis Island and be provided with tips to preserve their own family stories for generations to come.
•“Punching the Ticket” As immigrants finished processing at Ellis Island, many confronted the difficulties of communicating with others in a different language. Symphonies of Italian, Russian, and a host of other languages filled the air as they made their ways to their new homes. In Punching the Ticket, the Neighborhood Ranger will explore some of the communicative challenges and other difficulties immigrants faced as they settled in their new country. The program is highly interactive and designed for recent immigrants to the United States.
•“It’s Story Time” History, liberty, democracy, immigration and citizenship are represented in American symbols explored in these colorful, small-volume story books for children in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. The Neighborhood Ranger will read aloud from children’s books in which children will learn about liberty, pride, freedom and themselves. The following are suggested story books: What is the Statue of Liberty? by Janice Behrens; Lily and Miss Liberty by Carla Stevens; Dreaming of America by Eve Bunting, and The Memory Coat by Elvira Woodruff.

Celebrating the Stories of Our Community Campaign with WNET/Thirteen

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs has worked with WNET/Thirteen to create the Celebrating the Stories of our Community campaign. Currently broadcasting on WNET/Thirteen and their website, Community Stories highlights the rich cultural heritage of diverse New Yorkers. Some of the community stories include Staten Island Borough Present Molinaro, New York State Assemblyman and former Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Guillermo Linares, Suri Kasirer, and a Windows on the World restaurant worker and 9/11 survivor. Viewers are invited to share their family immigration stories by recording and uploading videos of their own that may be featured online or on television. WNET will also feature some of their immigrant-focused programming on air during Immigrant Heritage Week.