Regina Miller, Graduating Class of 2011

Regina Miller graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the Macaulay Honors College at CSI.

She is the recipient of several awards, including the Phi Beta Kappa Associates Award, Biology Department Faculty Award, and the Joseph and Eileen Carlton Memorial Fund for Service Award. She was also a member of the Dean’s List (2007-2011) and is the recipient of the Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship.

Ms. Miller’s experience with volunteering in clinics and shadowing doctors in New York has led her to an understanding that her passion lies in a clinical setting with doctor-patient interactions. She is currently working in a Neuroscience Laboratory studying the molecular causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

As well as volunteering at several New York hospitals, Ms. Miller has also traveled as far as Florence, Italy where she studied culinary science in order to research the correlation between proper nutrition and restoration of health, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where she interned at the Tashkent Breast Cancer Dispensary where she provided much-needed patient care.

Along with balancing her class time with her work volunteering and interning around the world, Ms. Miller has also found time to become an assistant swimming coach and a part-time kickboxing instructor.

Ms. Miller plans on attending medical school so that she may one day follow in the footsteps of the physicians she assisted in hopes of seeing the rewarding smile of a patient whose pain she has assuaged.

Jessica M. Ng, Graduating Class of 2011

Jessica M. Ng graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at CSI.

Jessica M. Ng graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the College of Staten Island. She is a member of the Dean’s List (2008-2011) and is the recipient of several awards, including a Phi Beta Kappa Associates Award, the College of Staten Island Club President of the Year Award (2009-2011), the Anya Gabriela Kuppersmith Memorial Award, the Student Government Student Service Award, and the Peter F. Vallone Scholarship (2008-2011). 

During her time at CSI, Ms. Ng has been involved with a multitude of student organizations, College committees, and work environments. She was the President of the CSI Psychology Club and served as a division board member on the CSI Association, a non-profit organization that handles the financial aspects of College life. She has organized various campus activities throughout her role as President, including advisement workshops, Psychology Lab tours, internship recruitment sessions, etc.    

Ms. Ng balanced her time between a 22-hour school week with working as a Peer Educator in the Peer Drop-In Center next to the Health and Wellness office. There, she worked closely with students who are dealing with health-related issues, such as nicotine replacement therapy, sexual harassment, stress management, and much more.  She also worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at Curtis High School, tutoring students in a wide array of subjects ranging from biology and algebra to Spanish.  

As well as all of her work in and out of the classroom, Ms. Ng has dedicated much of her time working to benefit the CSI College community by being a member of the CSI Sustainability Committee and the CSI Institutional Planning Committee.

Ms. Ng will be attending New York University in the fall pursuing a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy where she hopes to develop the skills and knowledge she needs to become an occupational therapist, working closely with people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

Melissa Horne, Class of 2011 Valedictorian

Melissa Horne, CSI Valedictorian 2011
Melissa Horne, CSI Valedictorian 2011
Melissa Horne, CSI Valedictorian 2011

Melissa Horne is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Writing.  She is a Verrazano School student carrying a 3.98 grade point average and an impeccable academic and co-curricular record.  Ms. Horne is a recipient of a CSI Scholarship (2007-2011), the Belle Zeller Scholarship Trust Fund (2008-2011), a Phi Beta Kappa Associates Award (2011), and the CUNY Model Senate Award at the Eighth Annual COPE Symposium in 2008.  She is also a Dean’s List student and was featured in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for 2010-2011.

During her time at CSI, Ms. Horne has worked extensively with the Bertha Harris Women’s Center and the Campus Activities Board.  She has won several awards for writing, including the English Department Creative Writing Award and the Women’s Center and “My Staten Island” essay contests. Ms. Horne is the founder of the Heads Up Awareness Program and has volunteered at the New York State Office of Family and Children’s Services.

While maintaining her academic excellence and community involvement, Ms. Horne has also managed several popular New York City clubs while raising a son with Hirshsprung’s Disease, a genetic disorder affecting the digestive system.  In 2009, her son underwent two major corrective surgeries and Ms. Horne also suffered the loss of her father. Despite these hardships, Ms. Horne continued all of her academic and community work, and she is very proud to graduate this June with her son (who is graduating from kindergarten).

Ms. Horne is preparing for the fall LSATs and is applying for fall 2012 admission to law schools at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Columbia University.  Her goal is to combine two distinct interests about which she is passionate: juvenile justice reform and literature and writing. To this end, she is also working on an essay compilation focusing on how place defines identity and its effects on coming of age.

View a more detailed biography of Ms. Horne.

Brian Kateman, Class of 2011 Salutatorian

Brian Kateman, CSI Salutatorian 2011
Brian Kateman, CSI Salutatorian 2011
Brian Kateman, CSI Salutatorian 2011

Brian Kateman is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Biology (major) and Psychology (minor) as a senior in the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island.

For the past year, Brian has served as a research assistant for the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) as part of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship. During his time at CERC, he wrote a case study on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to contextualize the social, political, economic, and environmental instability of the region and better understand the role of all stakeholders involved.

He was hired after his internship to write for the CERC Blog, Eco-Matters, and use other forms of social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Google) to increase participation in select education programs.

Prior to interning at CERC, Brian worked in the Strategy, Technology, and Communications Department at Echoing Green, a not-for-profit that provides seed money to social entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas for social change. During this time, he also volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History in the Hall of Human Origins, teaching students about the exhibit.

On campus, Brian was a mentor for the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) program and Freshmen Integrated Resources Support and Teaching (FIRST) program, a peer educator at the Wellness and Health Center, and a member of the Sustainability Committee, and Ambassador Program. He has written many scientific discovery articles for the College’s official newspaper, The Banner, and the magazine, Third Rail.

He is the recipient of many CUNY awards including the Belle Zeller Scholarship, Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship, STEAM scholarship, and Biology Graduate Award.

In 2010, Brian studied conservation biology in the Galápagos Islands and in 2011 studied the Italian Renaissance in Florence, Italy.

As a researcher, he has worked with many faculty members at the College of Staten Island, exploring the effects of climate change on White Oak trees, the social behavior of naked mole rats, and the island biogeography of snakes, and presented his findings at several national conferences.

He is completing his honors thesis under the guidance of Dr. Mitra and Dr. Veit on the long-distance dispersal of a variety of bird species.

Upon graduation, Brian will be completing his last internship during the summer in Washington DC at the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

In the fall, Brian will begin a full-time position at an environmental center and begin applying to Master’s degree programs in Conservation Biology.

For more information about Brian, read the Staten Island Advance article online.

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.

Student Wins Award at Eastern Colleges Science Conference

Sherry Browne, a Biology major at the College of Staten Island who graduated with honors last May, has recently been awarded an Excellence Award at the Eastern Colleges Science Conference [ECSC] that took place at Wagner College.

Saying that she feels “extremely proud and accomplished,” Browne’s winning poster was entitled “Dynamic Studies of Alzheimer-Like Pseudophosphorylated Tau Proteins and Microtubles.” Explaining the research, Browne’s mentor Dr. Alejandra del C. Alonso,
Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Program in Developmental Neuroscience, says “There is a protein that gets modified because of disease, which destroys the structure of the cell. In the cells, there are structures like train tracks that take things from one part of the cell to the other and when this modified protein appears in the brain, then those tracks get destroyed. [Sherry] wanted to see the process while it was happening, so she made the cell express this modified protein and she made the modified protein express light so she could videotape that and see the process as the tracks were getting destroyed in the cell.” According to Dr. Alonso, Browne’s was one of approximately 180 posters at the regional undergraduate research conference.

Browne notes that she feels that her experience at CSI contributed to her winning this award and, in particular, she credits Dr. Alonso. “CSI allowed me the opportunity to work with Dr. Alejandra del. C. Alonso. She has been so patient, informative, and inspirational. Without her, I would have not experienced such success.”

Looking toward the future, Browne comments that “I plan on traveling the world and participating in as much volunteer work as possible.”

According to the conference Website, “The first [ECSC] was organized in 1947 by undergraduate Pauline Newman at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The aim then, as now, was to stimulate interest in undergraduate research in the sciences and related fields and to provide a lively forum for the presentation of research papers…Over the years interest has increased in the conference and over 50 colleges and universities have attended this annual event. Over time the range of subject matter has also expanded and now covers computer science and behavioral and social sciences, as well as the original areas of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and engineering.”

Sherry Browne poses in front of her award-winning poster at the Eastern Colleges Science Conference.