A Sunday Brunch serves up Food for the Mind

he College of Staten Island (CSI) may have a local sounding name, but nearly thirty years of graduates and hundreds of new faculty additions and the college has established itself as a regional, national, and even international presence.

On Sunday, March 9, CSI visits the Lincroft Inn’s Jefferson Room, when their alumni association establishes their New Jersey Regional Council.

“We have over 5,000 alumni in New Jersey,” said Richard Truitt, CSI’s vice president for college advancement, “and this event allows us to visit with friends and meet new ones, and is a great opportunity to network, socialize and learn a little bit more about their college that has changed so dramatically in the last 25 years.”

CSI’s New Jersey Alumni Committee has chosen professor George Stern, Jr. as guest speaker at the event. Stern, who is the best selling author of What Do You Think? ( A Survival Guide for the Everyday Challenges of Life) will share with guests “Some Ideas to Grow By.”

Having devoted his career to the fundamental study of human behavior and personal motivation, Stern notes “we live in incredibly challenging and complex times… as parents, we are competing for the well-being of our children; as business people, our capacity to communicate will make our business not simply prevail, but thrive.”

And thriving seems to be a word that can also describe CSI. The New Jersey Regional Council joins other active alumni programs that CSI already holds in Manhattan and Florida.

“We believe that CSI will be among the most important colleges in the region,” continued Truitt, “and through their participation in events like this and volunteer efforts, alumni can make this vision real.”

CSI began as two small campuses on Staten Island, Richmond College, known for its progressive approach to classroom instruction and Staten Island Community College. Today, CSI has a 204 acre state-of-the-art campus right over the Goethals Bridge, and is home to a nationally renowned china program, an unsurpassed teacher education and nursing program, and is performing the basic analytical biochemistry research that may revolutionize the treatment for burn victims.

Recently, CSI faculty members have returned from the Antarctic where they were developing datasets to establish international protocols on the commercial harvesting of krill, and a new species of American snake was recently identified and catalogued by a faculty zoologist.

CSI’s Sunday Brunch with George Stern is March 9 at 11:30 a.m. in the Jefferson Room of the Lincroft Inn, at a cost of $10 per person. The Lincroft Inn is located at 700 Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, NJ. Space is limited but there are still a few seats left. For more information and reservations, call CSI’s Alumni Association at 718-982-2290.

New Serpents and Old Music: The Life of a Field Biologist in the Deep South

For zoologist Dr. Frank T. Burbrink, the dark legacy of September 11, 2001 was more than the global tragedy of the collapse of New York City’s World Trade Center.

It was also the day that his good friend and mentor, Dr. Joseph Slowinski, the curator at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, was bitten by a krait — a pencil-thin serpent as deadly as a cobra — on an expedition in Myanmar, formerly know as Burma. Slowinski died the next day.

The 38-year-old Slowinski, a renowned herpetologist, discovered at least 18 new species of reptiles and amphibians in his abbreviated career. Slowinski’s last days in the Himalayan Mountains will now be remembered as the namesake of Burbrink’s most recent discovery — America’s newest snake.

Slowinski’s Corn snakeBurbrink’s snake was recently documented by the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, after review by fellow scientists. Burbrink named the newly classified species of snake “Slowinski’s Corn snake,” or “Elaphe slowinskii” in Latin, and the U.S., which had 140 known snake species, now has 141.

Slowinski’s Corn snakes are found in the pine forests of western Louisiana and eastern Texas, where Burbrink did part of his postdoctoral fieldwork at Louisiana State University with Dr. Slowinski. Together they handled thousands of snakes and were bitten countless times.

Burbrink’s species of corn snake was not hiding in those southern pines; it was simply thought to be the same as other corn snakes — until now. Burbrink recognized slight external differences in the corn snake specimens, and began examining them genetically for differences among the DNA sequences in all of the corn snakes. It was by using these DNA sequences that Burbrink determined that Slowinski’s Corn snake was actually a distinct species.

“The methodology and resources available to scientists today facilitate the classification of new species,” says Burbrink, “and we may be seeing many more species being classified in the United States.” Burbrink sums up his work and that of fellow scientists by noting that, “if humankind was satisfied with fire, we would never have the light bulb.”

But the life of a scientist isn’t all laboratories, classrooms, and the tracking of evolutionary lineages. Burbrink and the requisite equipment of a field researcher have faced more than their share of run-ins with small-town southern sheriffs, Canadian border patrols, and airport security personnel.

And examining the evolutionary relationships of vertebrates is just one passion for Burbrink; he is also an American music enthusiast with over 8,000 records in his collection. While in Louisiana and Mississippi, Burbrink not only befriended the locals, he identified a new species of snake and discovered many rare and one-of-a-kind 78 rpm records. The most contemporary album in his collection dates to 1965.

As a zoologist, Burbrink is bringing his unique perspective and life experiences to a book he is writing which is tentatively titled The Evolution of American Music, where he investigates the evolution of this uniquely American art form, tracking its growth through the years, and its influence throughout the world.

Burbrink, age 32, whose specialty is snakes and their evolution, is a biology professor at The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island. He earned a BS and an MS in Biology at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a PhD in Zoology at Louisiana State University.

Burbrink’s research involves molecular phylogenetics and the evolution of vertebrates. Burbrink will be introducing a Vertebrate Zoology course at CSI, which will examine the evolution and DNA sequence variation of several reptiles and amphibians on Staten Island, a borough of New York City.

Burbrink has been featured in The New York Times, Science magazine, the Staten Island Advance, plus many other newspaper articles and scientific journals. He has also appeared or been mentioned on the BBC and the National Geographic channel.

Contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328, Director of Public Relations for The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, for more information and to schedule an interview with Dr. Frank T. Burbrink. Color photography and field video available.

CSI announces contingency plan for final examinations in the event of NYC transit strike

Tn the event of a transit strike on December 16, the College of Staten Island will remain open. Final examinations and continuing education classes will proceed as usual.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s contract with the Transit Workers Union expires on Sunday, and a transit strike could pose difficulties for faculty members, students, and staff at CSI, the Island’s largest college and second largest employer.

Over 12,000 students, with approximately 22% commuting from Brooklyn and Queens, have been studying in preparation for their final examinations. The exam period is December 16 through December 23.

CSI faculty members with commuting difficulties will have proctors administer their final exams on campus, and the original exam schedule will be followed.

“Students with commuting difficulties should be in touch with their professor, through the department offices, to make alternative arrangements,” noted Carol Jackson, vice president for student affairs at CSI.

A comprehensive telephone listing of CSI’s academic departments can be found by clicking on “Faculty and Staff” at the College’s website, www.csi.cuny.edu

“Faculty, staff, and students should make every possible effort [to be on campus],” said Thomas G. Tyburczy, acting vice president for finance and administration at CSI.

Realizing the commuting hardships, Tyburczy notes that employees who anticipate difficulty in arriving on campus should contact their department chairs or direct supervisors as soon as possible.

Tyburczy estimates that approximately 20-30% of students and employees commute to CSI via mass transit. He encourages all students and employees to ride-share with friends and colleagues to help ease congestion on the Island and on campus.

CSI’s loop bus, which provides convenient transportation between buildings while on the CSI campus, will operate as usual in the event of a transit strike.

At this time, there are no changes anticipated to the January schedule of Immersion classes, or the first day of the Spring 2003 semester, January 27. Should a transit strike persist, additional information will be made available.

The CSI campus is home to many programs, events, and activities. College officials encourage the public to check in advance with the appropriate offices before coming to campus.

For updated information visit “Special Announcements” from the College’s website, www.csi.cuny.edu or call the CSI hotlines at 718-982-3333 or 718-982-4444.

For details on New York City’s transit strike preparations, visit www.nyc.gov/transitstrike

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban university. CSI offers 35 academic programs, 15 graduate degree programs, and challenging doctoral programs to 12,000 students. The 204-acre landscaped campus of CSI, one of the largest in NYC, contains an advanced, networked infrastructure to support technology-based teaching, learning, and research. For more information, visit www.csi.cuny.edu

President George W. Bush appoints Rita DiMartino to Foreign Scholarship Board

President George W. Bush announced the appointment of College of Staten Island alumna Rita DiMartino to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. DiMartino, with residencies on Staten Island, New York, and Washington DC, is one of four recently announced appointments. Her three-year term expires September 22, 2005.

As a Consultant and former Vice President, Congressional Relations for AT&T, DiMartino assists in AT&T’s relations with the U.S. administration, congress, and state governments. She develops an enhanced political standing of the company by establishing a recognition by the White House of AT&T as a major corporate citizen with significant impact on matters of national and international concern.

As an esteemed member and spokesperson for the Hispanic community, as well as a nationally recognized expert on Hispanic affairs, DiMartino provides information and guidance to the AT&T Corporation and its senior management about this growing segment of the population. Additionally, she offers leadership and direction, especially with respect to multicultural issues.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed DiMartino as Ambassador to the UNICEF Executive Board. As head of the United States delegation, she represented the interests of the U.S. at meetings of the UNICEF Executive Board and influenced policy regarding the relationship between the U.S. and UNICEF.

In 1992, President George Bush appointed DiMartino to the USO World Board of Governors.

DiMartino is active at all levels of Republican politics. She is recognized by Who’s Who in America, 100 Hispanic Influentials in America Today, and Cattell’s Who’s Who in American Politics. She has been widely recognized for her efforts by publications, corporations, community organizations, and universities. She was inducted into the College of Staten Island’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 1986.

DiMartino is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations; the national council of La Raza; Vice Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus; the Cuban American National Council, and NALEO (the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials), among many other organizations.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, DiMartino earned a B.A. from the College of Staten Island, an M.P.A. from Long Island University, and an honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Dowling College, among other credentials.

DiMartino has three children, Vickie Ann, Anthony, and Celeste. Vickie Ann DiMartino graduated from the College of Staten Island with a Bachelor’s degree in 1984 and a Master’s in 1994, and is currently employed by the Empire State Development Corporation.

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban university. CSI offers 35 academic programs, 15 graduate degree programs, and challenging doctoral programs to 12,000 students. The 204-acre landscaped campus of CSI, one of the largest in NYC, contains an advanced, networked infrastructure to support technology-based teaching, learning, and research. For more information, visit www.csi.cuny.edu

College of Staten Island Alumni Association Announces their 2002 Hall of Fame Awardees

The College of Staten Island’s Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on October 26, 2002, as part of the Alumni Day celebration that brings friends and neighbors together to discover the riches of the CSI campus, its faculty and alumni.

Cynthia DiMarco `74, an attorney in private practice and a Staten Island native (Dongan Hills), is chair of CSI’s 2002 Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony, sponsored by the CSI Alumni Association. Alumni Association board members Louise Brinskelle `80, Edward Josey `64, Dr. Arthur Merola `85, William Roane `87 and Thomasina Williams `82 will serve as committee members and Richard Prinzi, Jr., `93., CPA, president of the Alumni Association, will bring greetings.

“Alumni who have achieved success in their careers and distinguished themselves through outstanding service to the community, the College of Staten Island, or the CSI Alumni Association will be honored,” Ms. DiMarco explained.

A graduate of CSI, Ms.DiMarco is involved in many community activities, also serving as an officer of the Business and Professional Women’s Association, and Second Vice President of the College of Staten Island Alumni Association. Ms. DiMarco’s private practice located in New Dorp specializes in personal injury, will and estates, real estate and business law.

The Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 1986 by the CSI Alumni Association, and represents nearly 50,000 graduates. This year six alumni will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Virginia Tormey Friedman `73, is a native of Staten Island and received a bachelor of arts degree in American Studies from the former Richmond College. She makes her home in Charleston, SC, where she is vice president of strategic communications at the College of Charleston. Virginia is a writer-producer of radio and television documentaries including the southeast regional Emmy award-winning film on race, “Where Do We Go From Here?” She is the winner of awards for filmmaking and fiction from such notable competitions as WorldFest, Chicago International Film Festival, Writer’s Network Screenplay Competition, and is a two-time winner of both the South Carolina Fiction Project and Piccolo Spoleto Fiction Open.

Joan Migliori `90, also a native Staten Islander is the daughter of Maria Luisa Marchi and New York State Senator John J. Marchi. She attended Notre Dame College and the College of Staten Island/CUNY, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies. Joan is Assistant for Specialized Counseling for the CUNY John D. Calandra Italian American Institute. Over the years Joan has contributed her time to many civic and charitable endeavors and continues her involvement with several Italian-American Organizations. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her service and leadership. In January 1995, Joan received the rank of Cavaliere of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy; the honor was bestowed upon her by the then Consul General of Italy, Minister Franco Mistretta, on behalf of the Italian government. The award recognized her outstanding contribution to fostering relations between Italy and the United States, especially in the area of Italian culture and education. In June 1995 she also received the College of Staten Island’s “Dolphin Award” for bringing various Italian cultural events each year to the College and the Community and learning opportunities in Italian language and culture to numerous students. In 1996, the Italian government honored Joan with its “Distinguished Service Award” in recognition of her outstanding contribution and dedicated service to the Italian-American community. In 1995, 1997, and 1999 she received a “Certificate of Special Appreciation” from the New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators. In 1998 Joan received The New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislator’s “Woman of the Year Award”, in recognition of her many accomplishments and sustained commitment to Italian-Americans of New York State. In November 2001 Joan was honored by the Order Sons of Italy in American, Guiseppe Mazzini Lodge her commitment in promoting Italian Culture to the Italian American Community.

Terry Golway`78 majored in Political Science and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Staten Island. He is city editor for the New York Observer in Manhattan, and the author of five books. His most recent book is, “So Others Might Live,” a history of the Fire Department of New York which The New York Times praised as “gutsy” and “passionate.” His other books focused on Irish and Irish-American history. One, “The Irish in America,” was the companion book to an award winning PBS documentary. Golway has been in the newspaper business since graduating from high school in 1973. He started his career as a sportswriter for the Staten Island Advance, and later became the paper’s night city editor and its political columnist. He joined the Observer’s staff in 1990, and has covered numerous political campaigns and national party conventions. He wrote the paper’s lead story on September 11, 2001, from the paper’s uptown office.

Christine Cea `86 entered the College of Staten Island through the ARC – Adults Returning to College – Program, Christine’s completion of a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (with Honors) served as the cornerstone of her professional activities. A longtime advocate for persons with developmental disabilities and their families, returning to school provided her the opportunity to not only formalize her knowledge, but also develop a focus that led to her graduate education. After graduating from CSI, Christine went on to earn both a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Fordham University. Christine is dedicated to serving the Staten Island Community. She is a member of both the Executive Board of the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council and the Board of Directors of the Staten Island Mental Health Society, as well as various other organizations and committees that speak to the concern for the betterment of services, fair treatment, and improved quality of life for persons with disabilities and their families. Serving on both the Boards of Directors of the College of Staten Island Foundation and the Friends of the College of Staten Island speaks to her commitment to the importance of public higher education.

Film scholar and critic Bahman Maghsoudlou `78, `80 has been a participant in the world of cinema in many capacities. He has served as a panelist, juror and lecturer at a wide variety of film festivals, including the San Francisco, the Tri-Continental Festival at Nantes, France, the Margaret Mead Festival in New York City, the St. Petersburg “Message to Man” Festival and others. As an author he was the recipient of the Forough Farrokhzad literary award in Iran (1975). His books include the widely acclaimed Iranian Cinema (1987), published by New York University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, which is used around the world as a resource on the history of Persian films. Mr. Maghsoudlou wrote and directed the short documentary film Ardeshir Mohasses and His Caricatures, which was shown at the Leipzig Film Festival in 1996. As a producer his films have been selected for more than one hundred prestigious film festival from all around the world. They include The Suitors (Cannes, 1988), Manhattan by Numbers (Venice, 1993), Seven Servants (Berlin, 1996) starring Anthony Quinn and David Warner, and Life in Fog (1998), the single most awarded short/documentary film in the history of Iranian Cinema. Mr. Maghsoudlou is currently producing and directing a long documentary on the history of Iranian Cinema entitled Iranian Cinema: The Roots (1900-1979).

Marsha J. Tyson Darling `71 is an Associate Professor and Director of the African American & Ethnic Studies Program at Adelphi University. Dr. Darling teaches African American history and culture, the history of conscience and social justice movements in American History, women and international development, and significant issues in globalization on distributive justice issues, including the emergence of biomedical technologies and their consequence for privacy and human rights practices. Marsha J. Tyson Darling received an Associate of Arts degree, with honors, from the former Staten Island Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College, and a Master of Arts and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Duke University. She has taught at Harvard University, Wellesley College, the University of Maryland at College Park, Hood College, and Georgetown University, and she received a Fulbright Award to teach and conduct research at Bangalore University in India.

“Alumni Day 2001 engaged over 200 community members, alumni, faculty and friends,” said Francine Raggi, the director of the CSI’s Alumni Association, “and we look forward to meeting and welcoming community members to our magnificent campus for an even more fun-filled day of learning, thinking, networking and having fun with friends and neighbors.”

CSI’s Alumni Day, October 26, 2002, begins with an Opening Reception & Welcome in the Library at 12:00 PM, and offers faculty and alumni presentations from 1:15 PM – 4:15 PM.

Presentations include “How Are Brains Born Knowing What They Want To Learn?.” “The Creative Writing Process: The Brave – A Story About the FDNY,” “Your Money, Investing and Reform,” and “Hazards From Space,” as well as a photographic history of CSI and the Staten Island community, a nighttime viewing session at the Observatory, and the exhibition of a pollution-free mirrored solar collector, as well as many more.

The day ends with the 2002 Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony and buffet, beginning at 5:00 PM.

Alumni Day 2002 is open to the community for $10.00 per person for the Opening Reception at the Library and faculty and alumni presentations. $25.00 per person includes the full day of activities and Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony and buffet at 5:00 PM.

For additional information and reservations please call the College of Staten Island Alumni Association at 718-982-2290.

A Tribute to Nurses, our Everyday Heroes Remembrance Tree Dedication and Memorial Ceremony

After 9/11, when the word Hero comes to mind, many of us think of Firefighters and Police Officers. We may even think of EMS workers, Paramedics, and Doctors. However, all too often Nurses go unnoticed and do not get the recognition they deserve.

The Mu Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society at the College of Staten Island (CSI) conceptualized a plan to plant a Tree of Remembrance to honor Nurses and others who aided the victims of September 11th.

“Trees are an enduring symbol of life, symbols of strength, pillars of support,” states Dr. Roberta Cavendish, Associate Professor of Nursing at CSI, and “the Remembrance Tree was planted in the courtyard of Marcus Hall as a living memorial to create a sacred space, a place for reflecting, remembering, renewing, and for healing that transcends yet never forgets the victims or heroes.”

The Remembrance Tree Dedication and Memorial Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, October 9th at 2:30 pm, as part of CSI’s CUNY week programming.

Nursing and Healthcare Professionals, as well as their families and are all encouraged to attend this public ceremony in the courtyard of Marcus Hall, building 5S. A commemorative plaque will be in place at the base of the remembrance tree.

The 25 foot maple tree and plaque are being sponsored by The Mu Upsilon Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, the New York Counties Registered Nurses Association, District 13, and SINDA.

“The nursing organizations who are the sponsors of this memorial ceremony demonstrate cohesiveness, connectedness and commitment inherent in the nursing profession,” states Dr. Roberta Cavendish, President of the Mu Upsilon Chapter.

After September 11th, honor society members gradually began to comprehend the magnitude of the impact associated with the destruction of the World Trade Center on the Staten Island community and of the invisible, tireless work of the nurses on Staten Island. They counseled, comforted, consoled, and were trained in surveillance and response for biological attacks on the community.

CSI Nursing student Lisa Romano was working as a medical assistant in the Intensive Care Unit at Staten Island University Hospital on September 11th. Seeing the nurses in action that day further inspired her. “I realized that, regardless of what happens on the outside, my main priority was that patient.”

CSI Nursing graduate Marcela Leahy lost her husband, James, a city police officer who was killed on September 11th. “The outpouring of support I’ve received just makes me want to be a nurse even more,” Leahy said. “It helped me keep my sanity in one way, and it made me lose it in another. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Three Students from the nursing program at CSI will be a representative from each degree level: Associate in Applied Science degree program nursing major, the Bachelor of Science degree program nursing major, and the Master’s degree program major.

Poems will be read and a candle lighting ceremony will conclude the dedication ceremony.

After the ceremony, there will be a welcome by Dr. Cavendish. Light refreshments will be served on the first floor lounge of building 5S, Marcus Hall, following the dedication ceremony. Donations will graciously be accepted.

Research Takes Flight CSI Student receives Graduate Fellowship from Hudson River Foundation

When most people think of the five boroughs of New York City (NYC), they think buildings and concrete, not nature and wildlife. CSI Biology grad student, Andrew Bernick is an exception. Bernick is currently researching the foraging patterns of black-crowned night herons in Staten Island and Eastern New Jersey under Biology Professor Richard Veit.

Besides using the findings for his Doctoral Thesis, Bernick hopes to shed more light on the patterns of habitat use and foraging ecology of these birds, which are the most abundant wader species breeding within New York City heron colonies.

Andrew BernickRecently, Bernick was awarded a Graduate Fellowship from the Hudson River Foundation, and he hopes to contribute to the design of a more effective management plan for NYC wader populations.

Bernick did not always intend to study birds, although he did intend to pursue a career in the sciences. After an ornithology class at the University of Rhode Island, Bernick explains he “became hooked and really interested in birds.” Later, while doing field research, Dr. Veit, who was a part of the same project, encouraged him to pursue a graduate degree at CSI.

Black Crowned Night Heron NestlingBernick’s research, which began in March 2002, and will continue until September 2004, will attempt to answer a number of questions about the herons. Bernick will examine the prey capture success of the birds, and their different habitat types and where these are located. In addition, he will assess the time of day that the birds forage throughout their breeding season, the type of prey available in heron-frequented foraging sites, and how the success of birds’ foraging affects their choice of feeding area.

Bernick’s studies will not be a walk in the park. Throughout the two and a half-year period, he will record the birds’ flight line patterns twice a week, visit foraging areas on a daily basis to assess conditions and record the birds’ foraging behavior, monitor the availability of prey species at biweekly intervals, and observe the diet of nestlings by collecting and analyzing their regurgitant.

Bernick captured this heron and its reflection in the water with a night-scope camera attachment.Although his research will prove long, and sometimes difficult, Bernick says that he is glad to have the opportunity to do it with the help of the CSI Biology Department for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he appreciates his colleagues at the College–especially Dr. Veit, who Bernick notes is “really supportive” of his students.

Besides enjoying the fact that he is based in Staten Island where he lives, Bernick also stresses that he “likes the whole package” at CSI, where, through the CUNY Graduate Center, he can take classes on campus and at other institutions like NYU and Columbia. “I like the flexibility here,” he continues, “and it’s also very affordable to study here.”

As for his future plans, Bernick hopes to continue his focus on the black-crowned night heron. However, he will next examine the birds’ persistence patterns–were they came from before they arrived here and where they will go after they leave Staten Island.

CSI Student featured at the United Nations on International Literacy Day

Mercy Martis and her four children fled a refugee camp on the Ivory Coast in March 1999, leaving behind her husband, a fifth child, and her native country Liberia in the throes of war.

Martis arrived on Staten Island, her family’s immigration sponsored by an Interfaith Lutheran organization, and now calls Stapleton home. Martis soon began working with the Superior Confections Company, and eventually entered the Adult Literacy Program at CSI, a part of the College’s Continuing Education department.

Staci Weile, Director of Grants and Public Contracts with the program has arranged for Martis’ participation to be paid by grant monies. “These programs are gifts to the students that open up the world of reading and writing,” said Weile, “and serve as stepping stones to greater challenges.”

Martis attended courses at CSI to learn English and function independently in society. Today, she has become competent enough to fill out important forms and attend inservice classes for her job. Certain forms in particular were Martis’ favorites-those that allowed her husband and fifth child to immigrate to the U.S. as well.

September 5 is International Literacy Day 2002, and serves as a call to ensure gains in literacy among those marginalized due to ethnicity, language, gender, and/or religion in America’s communities. Martis will be part of a special program entitled “Reflections on September 11” in the UN Delegates Dining Hall.

Martis was at work on September 11, 2001 when the news reached her. “It was horrible. I was filled with fear. It was like a dream,” says Martis. “It reminded me of the war in Liberia, when a plane bombed my country in 1992 and killed many people.” Remembering this, Martis became more horrified.

Later that fateful day, the fear, sorrow, and confusion continued when her son asked, “If a plane was to come and bomb again, where would we go?” and her daughter wondered “Who will be there for us in case of anything else?” Martis didn’t know the answers, but replied “God will take care.”

“For me, it was a sad day. I cried the whole night. I could not sleep,” wrote Martis. “I feel sorry for the people who lost their loved ones.”

Martis will be one of the select adult learners whose reflections will be highlighted at the United Nations on September 5. Martis’ reflections, along with those of Vasvije Cenovski from Yugoslavia, an Islander and classmate, will have their writings published in Literacy Harvest by the Literacy Assistance Center of New York (LAC) as part of its “Literacy for Diversity: Voices of Resilience” program.