[video] Meet Lucinda Zawadzki: 2015 Salutatorian and Honors Convocation Speaker

Lucinda holds a Northern Saw-whet Owl that she banded at Sandy Hook, NJ during the fall of 2014.

Lucinda Zawadzki is graduating May 2015 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, and a double minor in Biochemistry and Chemistry.

Lucinda, a Macaulay Honors College student, has been conducting research with Dr. Richard Veit on vagrancy and population dynamics of migratory birds.

“I have [also] had the privilege of working with, and learning from, Dr. Ralf Peetz of the Center for Engineered Polymeric Materials, Dr. Shaibal Mitra of the Biology Department, and Dr. William Wallace of the Center for Environmental Science,” adds Lucinda.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFhLcZ0piCU[/youtube] She is currently working on four publications related to her research, including “Duration of stopover in relation to date of arrival in vagrant Western Kingbirds.” She has presented her research at numerous conferences, and recently presented her work on Western Kingbirds at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Spokane, Washington this April.

Lucinda at CSI's Undergraduate Conference on Research, Scholarship, and Performance presenting her research on vagrancy in Western Kingbirds.

Lucinda has been awarded the College of Staten Island Undergraduate Research Stipend two years in a row for her research, as well as an honorable mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2014.

During her undergraduate career, she has often traveled to conduct research.  Lucinda studied contemporary British drama in London during the summer of 2012, participated in an archaeological dig at the coastal erosion site of the Knowe of Swandro in Rousay, Scotland, during the summer of 2013, and learned about tropical ecosystems through a tropical ecology course in St. John, US Virgin Islands, this past winter. She continues her research fieldwork of banding birds in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Lucinda photo-cleaning part of the archaeological site at the Knowe of Swandro in Rousay, Scotland (June 2014).

In the summer of 2015, Lucinda will continue to conduct research with Dr. Richard Veit at Tuckernuck Island, Massachusetts, studying gull diet, and assisting in the banding of birds at two Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) banding stations. She has plans to attend graduate school to obtain her PhD in ornithology to pursue her dream of becoming an ornithologist, and conducting research on vagrant birds.

“The Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island has provided me with a unique educational experience that I would not have received elsewhere,” Lucinda reflects, adding “thanks to our esteemed faculty and small class sizes, I had the chance to form meaningful relationships with my professors, which has led to great research opportunities.”

Learn more about Lucinda:

Staten Island Advance CSI Value article>;

The Macaulay Messenger Spotlight profile>



[video, gallery] CSI Honors Student-Athletes at Annual Awards Banquet

The College of Staten Island athletics program celebrated another great year that was this evening, dishing out over 60 awards at its annual awards banquet held at The Vanderbilt at South Beach in Staten Island, New York.  The annual event recognized the top performers and other distinguished award winners spanning CSI’s 15 intercollegiate programs.

View the Photo Gallery>

After greetings from Director of Athletics Charles Gomes and CSI President Dr. William J. Fritz, awards were given for each sport in chronological order beginning with teams last fall, and ending with women’s softball, which finalized its season with a CUNYAC title and was one of three teams to advance to NCAA National Tournament competition.

Major awards were presented to Female Athlete of the Year Dakota Dawkins, junior from the women’s swimming and diving team.  In 2014-15, Dawkins was part of a unit that broke over 20 school records, and the signature breaststroker was a part of four individual and four relay record-breaking teams, and broke two records at the CUNYAC Championship.  Dawkins earned CUNYAC Performer of the Year honors this winter.  CSI Basketball powerhouse Will Fonseca earned Male Athlete of the Year honors.  Fonseca, the CUNYAC, ECAC Metro NY/NJ, and Metropolitan Basketball Writers’ Player of the Year, led  All-Star led CSI basketball to its second-straight ECAC championship, breaking the school record for points in a season with 732, and leading the nation in total points and double-doubles. 

CSI Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors was given to men’s tennis star and junior Ed Ruffe.  A CUNYAC first-team All-Star this season, Ruffe is graduating early from CSI, sporting a 3.987 GPA while majoring in Psychology. Vice President for Enrollment Management Mary Beth Reilly also honored the CSI Women’s Swimming & Diving team for posting CSI Athletics’ highest Team GPA, at 3.29.

Jennifer Coughlan, graduating senior from women’s basketball, was awarded the 10th Annual Bill Cali/John Scrivani Sportsmanship Award, named after CSI’s former baseball skippers who earned similar honors from the Staten Island Advance in 2005.  CSI men’s basketball head coach Tony Petosa, who won the same honor from the Advance in 2011, assisted in the presentation.  Coughlan, a captain with the squad, overcame several injuries to persevere as an ambassador to the program.

The same holds true for women’s soccer standout Danielle Smith, who was awarded CSI’s Inaugural Sports Medicine Award, distributed by Head Athletic Trainer Joe Abruzzo.  The award is given to an outstanding athlete who displays courage and resiliency through injury and/or rehabilitation.  Smith overcame a season-ending injury in 2013 to rebound and lead her team in goal scoring in 2014.

Honoring those outside the halls of athletics, the program honored long-time staffer and swim instructor Geraldine Ayers with a Distinguished Service Award.  Ayers, long regarded as one of Staten Island’s top youth instructors has spearheaded private lessons at the College, which has seen a spike in revenue and community interaction.  Another Distinguished Service Award was given to Kenichi Iwama, Deputy to the President.  Working collaboratively with Charles Gomes, Iwama has been instrumental in advancing and supporting the program through continuing branding efforts and facility upgrades. 

Midway through the ceremony, members of the CSI Student-Athlete Advisory Committee presented their fifth-annual G.L.O.V.E. Award to the CSI Women’s Basketball Team for their model of Giving, Leading, Organizing, Volunteering, and Encouraging.

All told, the rousing event was a great success, according to Gomes.

“It’s been an amazing year for CSI Athletics and tonight was our night to celebrate that success,” said Gomes.  “Our student athletes invest so much effort on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. This is our opportunity to honor them and their achievements. I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments from this past year.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88LiN7LFuAo[/youtube]An end-of-year highlight video, prepared by CSI Facilities Manager Anthony Avena was the highlight of the evening.  he CSI academic year will come to a close in the coming weeks, when Commencement will take place on May 28.

[video] ‘StarTalk’ debuts with Charles Liu, George Takei providing ‘warp drive’ lesson

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE — StarTalk, a late-night talk show about all things geeky with host Neil deGrasse Tyson made its debut with a look at the legacy of “Star Trek.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf3tgIBrw8I[/youtube]College of Staten Island professor Charles Liu, a guest on the show, comfortably held his own discussing the finer points of warp drive with Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History where the show takes place.

As a sci-fi space adventure, “Star Trek” is the ultimate blend of science and pop culture, that “StarTalk” aims to combine, along with some humor, every Monday at 11 on the National Geographic Channel. The combination is a first for a talk show, but Tyson has become a master at bringing science to the masses through television and radio.

In a pre-recorded interview, he chats with George Takei about his role as Mr. Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise.

Tyson then turns to fellow astrophysicist Liu and comedian Leighann Lord. He admits he has bungled his description of warp drive in the past, which he demonstrates using his tie. The two respond with disbelief and Liu provides an explanation of what is a “complete fabrication.”

Bronx-born Tyson has another strong tie to Staten Island. Noted borough artist Sarah Yuster painted his portrait which hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum. When her Staten Island Museum retrospective opened, he traveled to St. George for the opening by public transportation.

This article was written by Kathryn Carse and was originally published by the Staten Island Advance and SI Live on April 21, 2015. It is reprinted here with permission.

[video] Ava Chin appears on PBS TV

CSI Associate Professor of English Ava Chin, author of Eating Wildly (Simon & Schuster, 2014), was recently featured on the PBS TV program Victory Garden discussing urban foraging.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7gZtR_MP54[/youtube]Professor Chin’s segment  appears at 6:42 in the program, and the College of Staten Island campus segment appears at 10:44.

View the program at ediblemanhattan.com> and the CSI Today Video on Demand channel>

Listen to the CUNY Podcast with Ava Chin>




[videos] CUNY Service Corps pairs CSI Students with Not-for-Profit Organizations

The College of Staten Island has launched its second year of student service in the non-profit sector with the CUNY Service Corps.

While participating in the program, students will be building professional skills by engaging in work that addresses the City’s most pressing needs.

Local not-for-profit organizations will benefit from having professionally developed and  high-performing student interns in the workplace.

Registration for the 2015-2016 program closes soon:

Student priority registration ends March 1, 2015. Application closes March 15.

Community Partnership registration ends March 20, 2015 for interested not-for-profit organizations.

A primary goal of the Service Corps is to create opportunities for students to be civically responsible while advancing their educational goals and working toward choosing a career. The opportunity allows students to serve as stewards of CUNY, CSI, and their communities as they promote active citizenship, community engagement, and social responsibility.

For the 2014-2015 program, 110 students from CSI worked at 37 community partners across the City, with 66 students serving at 15 partner sites on Staten Island, which included The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island University Hospital and the YMCA.

“The CUNY Service Corps has enhanced our internship program by taking an experiential learning experience into the community, benefiting both students and our partners,” noted Caryl Watkins, Director of the CSI Career and Scholarship Center. “It’s a win-win for everyone and a truly exceptional program. CSI is proud to be one of the CUNY schools invited to participate.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6z9bFPyXtE[/youtube]This experience allowed me to explore a different avenue in the field of history—museum curating and conservation,” commented Abeer Husein about her work with the Art Department at the Staten Island Museum.My experience at the Staten Island Museum through the CUNY Service Corps has certainly benefited me in learning how to behave and perform efficiently in a fast-paced work environment. There is not one particular task assigned to each person at the museum, everyone is constantly doing something different, and this experience has allowed to be adjust to the different tasks assigned to me.”

“It is important for students to be aware of the connection between their academic learning and real‐world experiences, “commented Cheryl Barzey, CUNY Service Corps Manager with CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, adding that it is “invaluable to gain workplace skills that will improve their employment prospects after graduation.”

Steve Arriaga, who worked with Lifestyles for the Disabled, explained that he is most proud of the opportunity “to teach French to highly enthusiastic participants,” adding, “I aspire to be a college professor someday, so having the ability to teach the language that I love is priceless. I feel a sense of joy and pride whenever I hear someone speak French because I know that I’m influencing the lives of others, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

In order to be eligible, full-time students must be working toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and have a minimum 2.5 GPA with at least 24 college credits earned. The application process involves filling out an online application, writing a short essay, and submitting references, as well as participating in a group interview.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaAu_Y62uys[/youtube]The College of Staten Island is one of nine participating colleges currently accepting applicants into the CUNY Service Corps, a program that mobilizes CUNY students, faculty, and staff “to work on projects that improve the short- and long-term civic, economic, and environmental sustainability of New York City and of its residents and communities.”

More than 800 students were accepted into the CUNY Service Corps last year and approximately 350 new students will be accepted into the program for a 12-hour-per-week, 24-week-long project for the Fall 2015-Spring 2016 academic year in which they will be paid $12 per hour through CUNY and have the opportunity to earn credits toward their degrees.

Students who are accepted into the CUNY Service Corps will attend monthly professorial training and development workshops and will work with one of the 111 selected organizations that serve as community partners/placement sites. The range of organizations includes after-school programs, arts organizations and museums, government agencies, criminal justice/prisoner re-entry organizations, economic empowerment organizations, groups serving older adults, environmental organizations, hospitals and other medical facilities, immigrant-serving programs, libraries, public health organizations, K-12 schools, and parks/wildlife organizations.

The program’s beginnings lie in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy when Chancellor Emeritus Matthew Goldstein first announced plans to form the CUNY Service Corps in November 2012. Two years and more than 800 students later, the inaugural year of the CUNY Service Corps culminated with the First Annual Service Conference.

The program is organized around four themes that represent both opportunity and need in NYC: health, education, green sustainability, and economic development. Students who participate in the CUNY Service Corps gain professional skills and experience, and increase their opportunities for career exploration and expanding their networks. They also serve as ambassadors for CUNY.

Arif Ullah, Director of Programs at the Citizens Committee for New York City, noted that the Service Corps members assigned to the organization “are intelligent, responsible, thoughtful, and diligent, allowing [the organization]—a small nonprofit—to increase [its] capacity and be a more effective organization.”

For student and community partner registration, as well as complete program details, visit www.cuny.edu/sites/servicecorps/.

[video] Amy Posner appears on NY1 News

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOURD3SEUsQ[/youtube]Amy Posner, director of Hillel at CSI, discusses the exhibit in the college’s Library that chronicles the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders,” who challenged the mores of a racially segregated society by traveling together in small interracial groups, and sitting where they pleased on buses and trains. The group demanded unrestricted access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms, and were met with bitter racism, mob violence, and imprisonment along the way. But their courage and sacrifice over eight months in 1961 changed the U.S. forever.

This exhibit is proudly sponsored by Hillel at CSI and the Department of the Library in memory of slain CUNY student Andrew Goodman and his friends, Michael Schwerner and James Cheney, all of whom received a posthumous Medal of Honor from President Obama in the fall of 2014.

[video, gallery] Sixty-fifth Commencement Celebrates Legacy and Student Achievement

The heat that accompanied recent Commencements at the College of Staten Island took a welcome hiatus, this year, as a partly cloudy day with temperatures in the high 50s greeted the 2,375 members of the Class of 2014, and their families and supporters at CSI’s 65th Commencement on the morning of May 29.

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery>

View and download the event program>

In his opening remarks, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Fred Naider explained that although this year’s ceremony marked the 38th Commencement since the establishment of CSI in 1976, it is actually the 65th when all of the commencements of the College’s predecessor institutions (Staten Island Community College and Richmond College) are taken into account. This readjustment of the clock represents the efforts of College President Dr. William J. Fritz and his administration to embrace the proud heritage and legacy of the only public institution of higher education on the Island.

In keeping with this new approach, legacy was the dominant theme in President Fritz’s Commencement address. He pointed to the proud legacy at CSI that the graduates had help to build, noting the recent national recognition of the College’s excellence, including Time magazine’s college ranking that placed CSI at number 48 out of 2,500, ahead of Stanford, MIT, and University of California-Berkeley; Business Insider, the prominent business and technology Website, recently choosing CSI to represent the State of New York on its list of top schools in the country; and U.S. News and World Report selecting the College as one of the Best College’s in the Northeast.

Part of that legacy, President Fritz stated, were the many recent achievements on the CSI campus and beyond, such as the opening of the Dolphin Cove residence halls; the College’s new doctoral-granting status with programs in Nursing and Physical Therapy; its new schools of Business, Education, and Health Sciences; and accolades that include three National Science Foundation awardees and a Guggenheim Fellow. President Fritz also underscored the critical and selfless support that CSI students provided to our community in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

“No wonder,” President Fritz said, “Governor [Andrew] Cuomo during a visit last year called our campus ‘a jewel of the CUNY system.’ You were here. This is your great legacy.”

President Fritz concluded his remarks by paying tribute to the achievements of alumni from CSI, SICC, and Richmond College, which began with the first class of 200 from SICC in 1956, noting that people must embrace and honor the past in order to forge an effective and meaningful path to the future.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgJpEHOCLSM[/youtube] This year’s valedictorian was Blaze Fraser, who was graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. After spotlighting the immense contribution of “secretaries, tech support, professors, and administration” to the achievements of the Class of 2014, Fraser devoted a portion of his speech to the importance of motivation to achieving success. “Without that drive inside of you,” he told the graduates, “your journey to this point is a long unsure road. Your understanding of yourself as a person and perception of what your reasons are for everything you do gives you that direction and fuels you to succeed. Many of us here today understand ourselves and our incentives more than we did before this journey began.”

Also on hand to honor the College’s newest alumni and extend their support were U.S. Senator Charles Schumer; CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees Jay Hershenson; and CUNY Trustee Rita DiMartino.

In the afternoon, the tradition of honoring exceptional CSI faculty, staff, and students continued with the Annual Dolphin Awards ceremony.

Read the bios and view the CSI Today Dolphin Awards Photo Gallery>

This year’s honorees included:

– Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Soon Chun

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Richard Flanagan

– Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Jonathan Peters

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty: Jennifer Durando

– Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title: Vito Zajda

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in CLT and OIT Specialists Title: Aleksander Dudek

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff: Mary Ann Durante

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, Security: Mary-Jeanne Hennessy

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Part-Time, Non-Teaching Staff: Joyce Adorno

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Currently Enrolled Student: Jesse Rodriguez

President Fritz opened the ceremony by discussing the importance of the past in shaping the future. Noting that “it is important to understand that while our Strategic Plan is necessarily forward looking—our Mission, Vision, and Values set forth in the Plan are also reflective of our traditions and legacy dating back to the establishment of the Staten Island Community College in 1956, Richmond College in 1965, the merging of institutions in 1976 creating the College of Staten Island, and our relocation to our current campus in 1993. As part of this ‘continuum’, we must simultaneously ‘reach back’ in order to ‘reach ahead’. Dr. Fritz then announced that “for the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year, we plan to be very intentional in celebrating our rich legacy.”

College Writer/Editor Terry Mares followed Dr. Fritz, reading short biographies of each of the honorees, celebrating their contributions to the College.

[video] Meet Blaze Fraser: 2014 Valedictorian and Commencement Speaker

Blaze presented his research findings at the 18th International Taurine Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, April 2012.

Blaze Fraser is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 GPA from College of Staten Island’s Verrazano School Honors Program. While studying at CSI, he conducted undergraduate research under the supervision of Dr. William L’Amoreaux, director of the Imaging Facility.

Blaze’s research is focused on taurine, an effective osmolyte in the body, and its physiological effects on different tissues. This upcoming fall semester, he will begin attending the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine in pursuit of his long-term goal of becoming a dentist.

Blaze is the middle of five children, all born and raised in Staten Island. After Commencement, he will be the fourth College of Staten Island graduate of his family with the others including his mother Bernadette, brother Jerry, and sister Lauren.

He takes great joy in his family and faith and their influence on his personality, work ethic, and outlook on life. He is thankful to the College of Staten Island for allowing him to achieve through all of the exceptional opportunities presented to him.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgJpEHOCLSM[/youtube]More about Blaze:

• Member and Treasurer, CSI Pre-Dental Association (2011-2013)
• Department of Biology/Imaging Facility – researched the effects of Taurine on RPE tissues under the supervision of Dr. William L’Amoreaux (Spring 2012, Spring 2014); created experimental set-ups; grew cell cultures and treated and examined them; trained to use various lab equipment
• Presented preliminary research findings at the 18th International Taurine Conference in Marrakech, Morocco (April 2012)
• Recipient, STEAM Scholarship (2011-2013)
• Recipient, Student Government Academic and Curricular Affairs Departmental Scholarship, 2012
• Part-time manager at Body Tan (2011-2013)
• Post-graduation Plans: Has been accepted to Rutgers School of Dental Medicine and will attend starting in Fall 2014.