2019 Winter Involvement Fair – Table Request

On Thursday, Feb. 7, the Office of Student Life, Division of Student and Enrollment Services, will host the 2019 Winter Involvement Fair from 2:30pm to 4:30pm in the Campus Center (Building 1C) West Dining Room and Green Dolphin Lounge.

Clubs, organizations, publications, campus offices, and other areas of the College that provide involvement opportunities for CSI students are invited to set up tables. If your office, program, or service provides opportunities for students to become engaged as mentors, tutors, or leaders, we encourage you to register for a table for this event.

Create a CSI Connect account to save your request, edit your request at a later date, and receive a confirmation of receipt. To create an account, click “Sign in with CSI Username” at the top of the screen. Sign in with your CSI email address (firstname.lastname@csi.cuny.edu and your email password (FLAS).

You must register for a table with the Office of Student Life by Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 11:30am. Groups will share six-foot tables, so plan your display accordingly (no larger than three feet). We will provide plastic table covers for every table.

Let’s help our incoming and current students become engaged in the CSI community and benefit from all that involvement has to offer.


CSI Student-Athletes Spread Holiday Cheer to Children in Need

From Left to Right, Chelsea Ortiz (Cheerleading), Nancy Galbo (Cheerleading), Cassidy Iannariello (Women’s Volleyball & Track & Field), Devin Mooney (Women’s Basketball), Jacquelyn Cali (Women’s Basketball)

Student-athletes at the College of Staten Island, spearheaded by the efforts of their Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), made sure that the holiday season spread beyond the halls of the campus, as they paid a visit to the Pediatric Unit of the Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) to drop off dozens of toys and crafts for children in need. The Toy Drive took place within CSI Athletics over the past several weeks, and athletes representing their teams and the SAAC were on hand to meet with Child Life Specialist Rebecca Sherman to get the materials to RUMC through a series of trips to drop off materials.

“It is through continued support, from incredible friends like the ones we have at CSI, that Richmond University Medical Center is able to help each and every one of our pediatric patients feel a sense of normalcy and understanding through the familiarity of play,” said Sherman. “We cherished this support during the holiday season.”

Led by SAAC President and Women’s Volleyball and Track & Field senior Cassidy Iannariello, the connection with RUMC was a no-brainer. The Pediatric Unit admits more than 2,000 patients annually, and the toys will help bring the holiday giving season to these admitted patients at a time when others enjoy the comforts of home.

“I’ve always felt motivated to help children, especially sick children. Last year was actually the first year of the toy drive only with the Women’s Volleyball team and I really wanted to make it even bigger this year and bring in more donations,” said Iannariello, who brought the idea forward to the SAAC. “Being an EMT, I see firsthand what these kids go through and it’s really upsetting, and I know there are things that can help beside medicine. So, we decided to reach out to the pediatric unit and see if we were able to start a toy drive, and here we are today and I cannot thank everyone enough for all the donations, it really means everything to the pediatric unit.”

The SAAC, which has been involved with numerous drives and philanthropic efforts through the years, is made up of a collection of select student-athletes representing each of CSI’s 19 varsity and club athletic programs. Iannariello was overwhelmed by the response that her fellow athletes made for the effort.

“I’m so grateful for the way this outreach effort actually turned out. I wasn’t sure if we were going to get any donations, but every day when I walked into the lounge and saw the toys piling up I couldn’t help but smile,” she said.  “Just to hear that we’re making a difference to even one person, yet alone a whole pediatric unit, it truly warms my heart. We were told by a child’s father, who was in the PICU [Pediatric Intensive Care Unit], that his child had been so sad all week and every time we came in their face would just light up and it almost made me cry because it was so beautiful to see and to know that. Knowing that we put smiles on these kids’ faces, who are sick or hurt and spending their holidays in the hospital makes me so happy.”

Iannariello is confident that the model of giving will continue at CSI, even after she graduates in May. “I have many athletes coming up to me asking how did we reach out and get this started, and of course we share the information because we know someone can follow in the footsteps of giving back to the community, especially to people who need it most. Maybe next year it won’t be a toy drive but it will be something else that we can leave our mark on,” said Iannariello, who took over as SAAC President at the beginning of the school year. “I really think it’s so important for students to give back to their communities because you don’t know how someone’s day, year, or even life is going, and to know you can change someone’s path just by giving back can mean so much. You can save a life just by something as simple as giving a toy to a child.  They now know someone is looking out for them and they know that they have a team behind them and that they need to keep fighting no matter how sick they are.”

RUMC, an affiliate of The Mount Sinai Health Network accepts donations all year long. Those who are looking to continue to give can do so by contacting the Pediatrics Unit at 718.818.2863.


December’s Monthly Movie, “A Street Cat Named Bob”

The Library is pleased to announce December’s Monthly Movie, A Street Cat Named Bob, Thursday, Dec. 6 at 2:30pm in the Library Theater (Building 1L, Room 103) from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

Theater, 1L-103.  The film is based on the international bestselling book of the same name, and tells the true story of how James Bowen, a street performer and recovering drug addict, who had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.

We welcome feedback and suggestions from students, staff, and faculty on film topics or titles for future screenings. All events will be CC CLUE.

Keep up-to-date with Library news and events on our blog.

Students vs. Faculty/Staff Basketball Game

Students, Faculty, and Staff – We hope that you will join us for our final Students vs Faculty/Staff Games this semester; a Basketball Game on Thursday, Nov. 29 starting at 6:00pm in the Main Gym (Building 1R)​.

All SvsFS Games include free food post-game, a free t-shirt for participants, and PG CLUE credit for spectators and participants.

Go online to register orsign up in the Main Gym starting at 6:00pm on Nov. 29.

Last time, in Fall 2017, the Students were victorious against Faculty/Staff, 69-55. It’s always a fun environment with bragging rights on the line.

We hope to see many of you there.

Michael Morreale in Concert

The Music Program of the Department of Performing and Creative Arts presents a music hour: “Michael Morreale in Concert,” featuring Michael Morreale , piano; Earl Sauls, contra bass; Tim Horner, drums. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Center for the Arts (Building 1P) Recital Hall at 2:30pm.

“Do you know how many times I slipped and fell last year? I was black and blue.” Justin Ruiz was taking a break from a meeting of the CSI Student Veterans of America (SVA) club to discuss an award that is aimed at changing all that: On Nov. 8, he will be presented with a car by Progressive Insurance.

It’s a fitting award for the Computer Science junior. His military service, which began with the Air Force as a laboratory technician, and ended with the Army as a combat medic, after a 15-month tour in Iraq, has made a mess of his knees.

“When I was in Iraq, all the equipment I was carrying messed up my knees,” Ruiz said. “Sometimes people don’t know that in addition to all of the body armor and weapons, a medic carries 55 pounds of medical gear. We’re soldiers first and medics when someone needs treatment.”

Ruiz is not a complainer – he probably would have soldiered on to graduation despite the pain of standing, not to mention an hour’s commute to campus each way. But Veterans Support Services Director Laura Scazzafavo is not an idler.

“I saw this award and I knew it would be perfect if he got it,” Scazzafavo said. “It seemed like the perfect fit.”

Scazzafavo put together an application. Ruiz went in for an interview for the Progressive Keys to Progress Award. The ceremony is taking place Nov. 8 at the Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn.

“The guy asked me, ‘What would you do with a car?’” Ruiz recalled. “And I said, ‘My girlfriend comes from New Jersey to pick me up and take me places. I’d like to take her to Coney Island – I want to take her places.’”

On Nov. 8, Ruiz will get the 2015 Honda CRV .

“I was in some shock when I heard I won it.”

Scazzafavo’s initiative at least partly explains why the College of Staten Island is routinely ranked as one of the nation’s top Military Friendly Schools; last year it was Number 1, according to the publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs, and Military Spouse. And that makes a difference to student-veterans, students like Ruiz whose stories could fill volumes.

“I didn’t know what to expect going in” to Iraq, he recalled. “As a medic, 80 percent of the time was the most boring thing – you’re just missing everybody and home comforts. Another ten percent is the administrative stuff you have to do. And ten percent is hellish.”

Ruiz’s knees were not the only casualties. He also suffered post-traumatic disorder syndrome – he’d shut down emotionally, get distant.

“I feared every second during those hellish times – if I’d see my family again, were they going to be taken care of. Those were the times of the actual war – the shootings, the bombings, the explosions – when it went to 400 on a scale of one to ten.

“I couldn’t deal with emotions when I got back. I had to learn to deal with all that again when I came back.”

At CSI, Scazzafavo, a Navy veteran, has helped student-veterans find their way in college. Student-veterans – there are about 300 currently enrolled – do get first dibs on registration for classes, but beyond that, there are not many perks.

“When I enrolled at CSI, they immediately brought me to Laura,” Ruiz recalled. “Laura has been my only real veterans support – from practical to financial to paperwork.”

At a recent meeting of the SVA club, about a dozen students crammed into a room in the Campus Center. They were planning a haunted hallway activity for Halloween: “You just need to scare people,” Naomi Gordon, who is in the Army, told the group as she asked for volunteers. Gordon is the club’s events coordinator.

Brendan Pirando, an Accounting junior and the club’s treasurer, reminded members that they still had to figure out who could go to a national conference on employment opportunities for veterans. Pirando, a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves, said the club gave him a sense of belonging, particularly after he arrived at CSI from basic training.

“I think it’s helpful because you have that environment where people have had military experience,” Pirando said. “It makes you feel more welcome and at home. This was the one place where I felt like I really belonged. Everyone was very welcoming.”
CSI’s accommodations for student-veterans make a difference, Pirando said.

“Everybody’s very respectful” of student-veterans, Pirando said. “Professors will excuse you or give you extensions when you have drills. Students are very understanding. And other veterans on campus, they know where you’re coming from if you have personal issues.”
The club is not only social – members have also worked to address glaring inequities for student-veterans at CSI. For example, students who have completed four years of active duty are entitled to a housing allowance; on Staten Island, it’s about $2,700 a month, but in other boroughs it’s much higher.
“That is an issue,” Pirando said. “We’re in contact with Congressman Donovan. SVA is headquartered in DC and they have lawyers and politicians they work with, to make the process a little bit better.”

Initiative is sparking young minds’ interest in science

Noyce Masters Teaching Fellows working on a chemistry project during a graduate course at the College of Staten Island.
Noyce Masters Teaching Fellows, left to right, Natasha Marrapodi (P.S. 20), Rebecca Lugo (P.S. 78), Lisa Thompson (P.S. 78), and Raffaella Passanisi (P.S. 20) working on a chemistry project during a graduate course at the College of Staten Island.

One day recently, Natasha Marrapodi overheard an exchange between one of her elementary school students and his mother during pick-up at P.S. 20 in Staten Island’s Port Richmond neighborhood.

“I’ll pick you up early,” the mother said.

“You can’t pick me up early on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because I do STEM with Ms. Marrapodi!” her son replied.

There are probably a thousand exchanges like this between parents and children at any school’s pick-up on any given day. But this stood out to Marrapodi.

“For a kid to actually want to stay,” she mused recently. “He’s in school all day, 8 to 4, and he wants to stay for STEM.”

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Marrapodi credits her participation in the College of Staten Island’s Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program for her students’ increased enthusiasm. The National Science Foundation-funded $1.3 million initiative, “Developing Science Leaders in High-Need Elementary Schools: Noyce Master Teaching Fellows Academy,” is aimed at improving the quality of science education.

The Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship program is one of several College of Staten Island initiatives that are addressing the quality of teaching in schools generally across the borough and beyond. Since 2006, the CSI Teacher Education Honors Academy (TEHA) directed by Dr. Jane Coffee has supported entering freshmen and sophomores who wanted to major in mathematics and science and to teach in a NYC high need middle or high schools. Since 2009, CSI has supported TEHA sophomores in their junior and senior years thanks to NSF funding.

In July, two Noyce Master Teacher Fellows joined CSI faculty at the Noyce Summit in Washington, DC

Rebecca Lugo, a science cluster teacher at P.S. 78, said she has started to notice the difference the program has made in her teaching approach, too.

“We are early in the program (one year out of five so far),” she wrote in an email. “But I have already begun to shift my teaching style, looking for opportunities to harness students’ curiosity and for ways to make my classes more inquiry-based.”

Lugo and Marrapodi are among 15 teachers in nine Staten Island Title I elementary schools and one in Brooklyn who are part of the program. It is led by the Discovery Institute at School of Education.

There is a great need in New York City schools for teachers who are knowledgeable in the disciplines of mathematics and science and who are prepared to effectively engage students in exploring this knowledge, especially in high-need elementary schools. An NSF study that surveyed teachers across the country showed that of all subjects science is the one they feel least well-prepared to teach.

Joy Hines and Nancy Rogina, both at P.S. 18, designing projects for their students at Staten Island MakerSpace. As part of the program, each Master Teaching Fellow will be able to bring their students to the MakerSpace for STEM experience.
Joy Hines and Nancy Rogina, both at P.S. 18, designing projects for their students at Staten Island MakerSpace. As part of the program, each Master Teaching Fellow will be able to bring their students to the MakerSpace for STEM experience.

That lack of preparedness is reflected in students’ academic performance. According to the most recent results from 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, , the U.S. ranked 24th out of 71 countries in science; among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranked 19th in science .

That preparation is critical to ensure Americans can fill the STEM jobs that have only increased over the past two decades. Many young Americans seem to be concluding they cannot “do” science: not enough are trying to earn degrees in STEM areas and not enough are trying to get STEM jobs.

“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, during the period 2010–2020, employment in S&E occupations will grow by 18.7%, compared to 14.3% for all occupations.” – National Science Foundation

Improving the quality of science education is important more broadly: It is critical to understanding many of the issues facing the world today, from global climate change to the technology people use daily and from biomedical ethics to environmental conservation.

The number of science and engineering jobs in the U.S. is expected to continue to expand significantly. U.S. students need better STEM education to fill the positions.
The number of science and engineering jobs in the U.S. is expected to continue to expand significantly. U.S. students need better STEM education to fill the positions. Source: National Science Foundation.

The answer is to improve the quality of science education. The NSF grant for the Noyce Master Teaching Fellows Academy provides the teachers with supplemental salary and supports them to take specialized graduate courses at CSI, to participate in professional development workshops in STEM education and leadership, and to participate in conferences.

While it helps the teachers deepen their science knowledge and improve their teaching skills, it is mainly focused on developing their leadership skills to become teacher leaders who can role-model effective practices in their schools and across Staten Island’s District 31.

“The main goal of this project is to provide science teachers in underperforming, high-poverty elementary schools with critical disciplinary and pedagogical understandings, so they may more effectively engage students in science learning and achievement,” said Dr. Irina Lyublinskaya, Professor of STEM education and Director of the Discovery Institute, who is the principal investigator on the project. “Further, the project aims to build the teachers’ leadership skills, so they can sustain a professional learning community in their schools and across the district.”

Students at a Staten Island elementary school participate in a science lesson. The CSI Noyce Masters Teaching Fellows Academy is improving science teachers' knowledge and skills - and increasing student interest in science as a result.
Sharon Cameron of P.S. 45 facilitates a science lesson with her students at the Staten Island Title I elementary school. The CSI Noyce Masters Teaching Fellows Academy is improving science teachers' knowledge and skills - and increasing student interest in science as a result.

“By focusing on teachers’ development in three overlapping waves – teacher as science learner, teacher as science teacher, and teacher as facilitator of professional community – the project pursues the development of educators’ capacity in ways that will affect not only their individual classrooms and schools, but will also cultivate a networked leadership that can influence district-wide science instruction.”

The program was welcomed by Executive Superintendent for Staten Island Schools Anthony Lodico.

“I am delighted at the prospect of District 31 schools participating in an NSF Noyce Scholarship for Master Teaching Fellows in elementary school science,” Lodico wrote in a letter of support. “Many schools in District 31 have worked with the College of Staten Island (CSI) in different capacities and I can attest to a long history of highly successful collaborations and partnerships between schools and teachers in District 31 and the College of Staten Island’s Division of Science and Technology, School of Education, and Discovery Institute.”

“The NSF grant for the Noyce Master Teaching Fellows Academy provides equity and excellence in the teaching and learning of Science education, which I am confident will increase academic achievement for our students,” said Richard Tudda, the science instructional lead of District 31.

“Learning science is a cumulative process, which requires a foundation built in childhood,” Lyublinskaya said. “If students don’t learn the basics, if we don’t prepare them early enough, it’s too late. We need to do it during the critical elementary school period. And for that we need good elementary school teachers. That’s what makes a difference.”

It’s not hard, perhaps, to see why students lack enthusiasm for science: science education does not get as much attention or resources as other subjects, particularly reading and writing and math.

“When I think of low-quality science teaching, I picture students with a science textbook, sitting at their desks, reading a chapter, and answering questions,” Lugo said. “Maybe the teacher might do a demonstration in front of the class, or perhaps the students will follow a step-by-step set of instructions to do an “experiment.”

“The students are being given information and expected to retain it.”

Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi (right), CSI biology professor and co-principal investigator on the Noyce grant, guides Noyce Masters Teaching Fellows on an activity in their graduate course.
From left to right, Deirdre Reilly (P.S. 22) and Nicole Altilio (P.S. 21) work with Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi, CSI biology professor and co-principal investigator on the Noyce grant, on an activity in their graduate course.

Consider, in contrast, how Deirdre Reilly, who teaches science at P.S. 22 in the Staten Island’s Graniteville neighborhood, taught her students about animal adaptation, using bird beaks as an example.

“It was open-ended questioning and more research-driven,” said Reilly who has taught for almost 20 years. “You give them a broad theme and they’d have to do their own research, rather than me just teaching them a lesson on animal adaptation.”

The difference in her students’ energy for the topic was marked, she said.

“They get more excited,” Reilly said. “It’s a lot of work on (the teacher’s) end. It’s more conversation driven. A lot of your time is based on what the students are learning and catering to that, and giving them feedback on what they’re learning. It’s more feedback based.

“It gives them a lot more freedom and their interests come out. You give them time to explore questions and allow them to come up with their own idea.”

Raffaella Passanisi, also of P.S. 20, agreed. Passanisi and Marrapodi completely reoriented their teaching toward this “inquiry model,” which is also aligned with the Department of Education’s new science curriculum, known as “Amplify.”

Noyce Master Teacher Fellow Jaclyn Durkin of P.S. 11 investigating the health benefits of organic vs. non-organic foods in a a biology research lab
Noyce Master Teacher Fellow Jaclyn Durkin of P.S. 11 investigating the health benefits of organic vs. non-organic foods in a a biology research lab at CSI.

“Natasha and I made everything problem-based or hands-on experience so students could learn through inquiry,” Passanisi said. “Student engagement was sky high. All of the students were participating, they were really excited.

“They definitely showed more of an interest in science. We were able to change their perspectives on how they felt about science – at least for a good number of our students.”

Once a month, after school, the teachers participate in professional development workshops on the College’s campus and they take courses during the semester. They also participate in Saturday program that includes six full-days and focuses on STEM research experiences led by CSI faculty.
These activities deepen their science content knowledge, improve their science pedagogical content knowledge, and develop their leadership skills.10 ideas of science graphic

This year (year two), the Noyce Masters Teaching Fellows are learning the 10 “big ideas” of science.

In its second year in the graduate course co-taught by Lyublinskaya and Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi, CSI biology professor and co-principal investigator on the grant, teachers are exploring the “10 big ideas” of science, Lyublinskaya said.

“These are the ideas that underpin much of our modern science today and our understanding of the natural world,” she said. “They are the major ideas which everything is based on: evolution, atomic model, Big Bang, and plate tectonics, for example.

Understanding those ideas more deeply helps teachers help students learn and appreciate science.

“I didn’t teach science at the beginning of my career,” Marrapodi said. “Even if it’s a little above my head, I feel like it’s helping me have a better understanding of science.”

The CUNY Discovery Institute is proud to present 2017-2022 Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship Award recipients: Sharon Cameron (P.S. 45), Nicole Caruso (P.S. 160), Jarra Dandrea (P.S. 861), Jaclyn Durkin (P.S. 11), Lisa Esposito-Planzo (P.S. 45), Joy Hines (P.S. 18), Kimberly Kosnac (P.S. 19), Rebecca Lugo (P.S. 78), Natasha Marrapodi (P.S. 20), Raffaella Passanisi (P.S. 20), Nicole Altilio (P.S. 21), Deirdre Reilly (P.S. 22), Nancy Rogina (P.S. 18), Nicole Tartaglione (P.S. 16), and Lisa Thompson (P.S. 78).