"Butterflies and Hurricanes" to Screen at FilmFest Reloaded and SI CTV's Director's Chair Film Festival

After screening at festivals in California and New York, the film “Butterflies and Hurricanes” will be featured in local indie film series on Staten Island in upcoming weeks.

The micro-budget documentary by former SI resident Jeanine Corbet chronicles 24 hours in the life of female Thai-boxer and New York native Alisanne Casey as she prepares for and competes at a championship bout in Las Vegas. The Island’s independent film series, FilmFest Reloaded will be showing the film at Karl’s Klipper, 40 Bay Street on Tuesday, September 18 at 8:00pm. The film will also screen on CTV in October as part of the four-day-long Director’s Chair Film Festival after which the director will be in studio for a live Q&A session with the studio audience.

The film received nominations in the categories of Best Sports Documentary and Best Female Action Performer at the 2007 Action on Film International Film Festival in Long Beach, California. Ms. Corbet says of the film, “The most remarkable thing to me is Alisanne’s determination to participate in an activity that many people close to her disapprove of in order to stay true to herself and her goals. Female fighters like her are out there pursuing their love of the fight in opposition to the ideal of women as passive, incapable of aggression, and inferior in strength. I hope that it continues to attract a whole new audience to women’s contact sports.”

Ms. Corbet is Director of Production Facilities for the Department of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island where she also teaches digital video production. Her first film “The Assault” was shot, in part, at Snug Harbor in 1991 and was featured in an exhibit sponsored by CSI’s Women’s Studies Department. She has since directed three other short films and several music videos, which have been shown in the U.S. and Europe. In October, “Butterflies and Hurricanes” will be featured as part of the International Museum of Women’s “Imagining Ourselves ” exhibit and online film festival.

For more information, please visit:

Contact: Jeanine Corbet: j9corbet@gmail.com

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Infantkind: How Toddlers Learn to Climb the Stairs

Every aspiring mountaineer has to start somewhere and for the great majority of us that first foray into alpinism begins with the humble staircase. One might be forgiven for taking the ascent and descent of this architectural staple for granted, but has anyone really ever stopped to consider how we learn to master this first milestone in an explorer’s career? Fortunately, new research in Elsevier’s Infant Behavior and Development explores this issue on our behalf.

Researcher Sarah E. Berger, assistant professor of psychology at The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, and colleagues interviewed the parents of 732 infants, who had observed first-hand the staircase activity of their offspring. Berger found that most infants (77%) had negotiated at least a first-floor ascent by 11 months old, several weeks after they had begun to crawl. The descent however proved a far more daunting prospect for those same infants, typically shying away from tackling the journey back to ground level until 12.5 months old. One assumes that they were rescued from their perch during the interim period.

Examining the various strategies that infants selected to undertake their first ascent, the researchers found that the overwhelming majority favored the tried and tested hands and knees/hands and feet approach. When it came to the descent, however, the infants adopted a much wider variety of styles. While most chose to turn around and either crawl or slide down backward, 9% walked while holding a banister, 13% scooted down in a sitting position, while 2% opted for the somewhat more adventurous strategy of sliding down face first.

The researchers also investigated whether coaching affected when infants learned to climb and descend the stairs. Although 58% of parents made a concerted effort to teach their infants to descend stairs safely, coaching had no impact on the age at which children managed to accomplish this feat.

Interestingly, the researchers state that infants may actually have a stair-climbing advantage over adults, due to the low center of gravity that their crawling strategy gives them. Given the number of accidents that occur on the staircase each year, perhaps it is not we who should be teaching our infants to climb stairs, but they who should be teaching us.

CFA Hosts Seventh Annual NY International Choreographers Festival

The Center for the Arts (CFA) at the College of Staten Island (CSI) opens its 2007-2008 season, “Island Culture: Near and Far,” with the Seventh Annual New York International Choreographers Festival, produced by the Staten Island Ballet (SIB), on Saturday, September 15, at 8:00pm and Sunday, September 16 at 3:00pm.

Tickets are FREE, but reservations are recommended and can be made only in person, by phone, or by mail through the CFA Box Office. The CFA and its box office are located on the CSI campus at 2800 Victory Boulevard, Building 1P, Room 113, in Staten Island. CFA Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm; Saturday, noon to 3:00pm. For reservations/info, call 718-982-ARTS (2787).

The Seventh Annual International Choreographers Festival features six dance debuts, from the classical to contemporary, and live South African drumming and Highland piper music. Choreographers include such emerging to established artists as Royce Zackery, David Fernandez, Benjamin Briones, Sduduzo Ka-Mbili, and Ellen Tharp. The Festival program will be performed by 26 dance artists drawn from such companies as Ferndance, the American Ballet Theatre, Juxtapower South African Song and Dance, and the Staten Island Ballet.

The New York International Choreographers Festival is a project of the SIB, which celebrates its 14th year under the direction of artistic director and founder, Ellen Tharp. In addition to the Festival, the SIB presents new work by today’s choreographers performed by professional dancers in a variety of programs around Staten Island, offers a professional school of the ballet arts at its Center in the Farm Colony-Seaview Historic District of Staten Island, and manages a charitable ticket program for Staten Island residents. The Festival is made possible with funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Friends of Staten Island Ballet.

This project is the first of 25 projects that comprise “Island Culture: Near and Far,” the 2007-2008 season at the CSI Center for the Arts. The CFA is easily reached by car from I-278, campus parking lots 1 and 2 are recommended. By MTA, take the S62, 61, 93, 53, and the Staten Island Ferry with connections to the bus.

The CSI Center for the Arts 2007-2008 Season is supported, in part, with funds from the Richmond County Savings Foundation; a gift by the Carnegie Corporation (made possible by an anonymous donor); the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the Office of the Borough President, Hon. James P. Molinaro; Dr. Michael Shugrue; the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts; Time Warner Cable; the Staten Island Rotary Foundation; the College of Staten Island; and by our many business and individual patrons.

“Island Culture: Near and Far,” CSI Center for the Arts 2007-2008 Season
continues with:

Thursday, September 27, 7:30pm Spotlight Japan Project

Wednesday, October 3, 7:30pm The Tabu Project

Saturday, October 6, 8:00pm A Beautiful Memory:
A Mother and Her
Sons against the Mafia

Saturday, October 13, 8:00pm Pete Michaels’ New

Monday, October 14, 7:30pm New York Philharmonic
Brass Ensemble

Sunday, October 21, noon-6:30pm Best of the New York
International Children’s
Film Festival

Saturday, October 27, 8:00pm Three Sisters from Queens

Sunday, October 28, 3:00pm Cenicienta/Cinderella

Saturday, November 17, 8:00pm I-Land

Saturday, December 1, 8:00pm I take your hand in mine

Saturday, December 8, 8:00pm Ru Sanda Rae (Beauty,
Moon, Night)

Sunday, February 3, noon-6:30pm Best of the New York
International Children’s
Film Festival

Saturday, February 9, 8:00pm Staten Island: Alive in

Saturday, February 23, 8:00pm Two Accordions with

Saturday, March 1, 8:00pm Eileen Ivers & Immigrant

Sunday, March 9, 3:00pm Drum Folk

Saturday, March 15, 8:00pm An Evening of Duets

Friday, March 29, 8:00pm AXIS Dance Company

Sunday, April 6, 3:00pm This American Life

Saturday, April 12, 8:00pm Vernon Reid

Saturday, April 19, 8:00pm Colin Hay

Saturday, May 3, 3:00pm Emilio and the Enchanted

Saturday, May 17, 3:00pm The Musical Adventures of
Flat Stanley

CSI Center for the Arts: 718-982-ARTS or www.cfashows.com

New Leadership at CSI Center for the Arts

The College of Staten Island (CSI) has appointed Jeanette Vuocolo director of the college’s Center for the Arts.

Ms. Vuocolo is a noted presenter and producer in the New York art world who has worked for such leading arts organizations as the Whitney Museum of American Arts, the Kitchen, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with specialization in Arts Management from the University of Binghamton/SUNY complements a background in the visual and musical arts. Over the years, she has developed cultural programs that support artists and build community in a variety of settings from urban to rural.

Ms. Vuocolo has served as a panelist for the New York Dance and Theater “Bessie” Committee, a consultant to the New York State Council on the Arts Presenting Program, an independent organizer for new artist works, and has participated in projects in China, Korea, Spain, and former Yugoslavia.

“Jeanette’s expertise ranges from solid, multi-arts programming to specific projects in such newer areas as the digital technologies,” commented Dr. Carol Jackson, vice president for student affairs at CSI. “In addition, she brings a deep interest in developing more meaningful cultural experiences for the campus in partnership with the Staten Island and metropolitan New York cultural community.

For the past year, she has served as the interim artistic associate director at CSI’s Center for the Arts. For her first season at the Center for the Arts, Ms. Vuocolo is focused on “island culture near and far” — featuring artists from Staten Island; Sea Island, Georgia; Sri Lanka; and much more.

“Ms. Vuocolo has exciting plans for the Center for the Arts that will benefit our students through Master Classes, and further expanding the academic and cultural impact of our presentations by uniting the artists with the community,” commented CSI President Marlene Springer. “She will be a great asset to our community, and we will all benefit from her passion and talent.”

The Center for the Arts is located on the CSI campus in Willowbrook at 2800 Victory Boulevard, convenient to mass transportation and immediately off the Victory Boulevard exit of the Staten Island Expressway. For more information regarding the performances, please visit www.CFAshows.com or call 718-982-ARTS.

Adult Learning Center Hosts Annual Student Recognition Evening

The Adult Learning Center at the College of Staten Island (CSI) celebrates with its Annual Student Recognition Evening on Tuesday, June 5 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm in the Williamson Theatre at the Willowbrook college’s Center for the Arts.

A sample of student recognition award winners include Joyce W., who raised five daughters of her own and now is balancing her work at a homeless shelter and classes; Arcadia R., who works in maintenance at her daughter’s parochial school and is studying to become a paraprofessional there and go on for her teaching degree; Julie C., who became a U.S. citizen this year and is looking forward to voting in the upcoming elections; Dana C., who quit school at 16 years old because of a serious car accident and after numerous surgeries returned to (General Education Development) GED classes, mastered mathematics, and passed her GED exam on the first try; and Joe B., who battled learning disabilities and attended classes for six years before he received his GED.

The Adult Learning Center at CSI serves approximately 650 students per year in Adult Basic Education, GED, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. Classes are funded through Workforce Investment Act Title II funds, distributed by the New York State Department of Education, and New York City Literacy funds.

Adult Learning Center classes are held on the CSI campus, as well as at local community-based organizations such as the Workforce 1 Career Center, the Osgood Head Start Center, Staten Island University Hospital, and Project Hospitality. All classes are held either in the mornings or evenings.

Students aged 17 and older are assessed and placed in the proper level based on their reading or English language skills. Currently, the Center has nine basic education classes for people reading at the first-grade level or higher, five GED classes, ten ESOL classes, and two bridge classes for students who want to improve their English reading and writing skills.

The College of Staten Island is located at 2800 Victory Boulevard. For further information about the Adult Learning Center contact Staci Weile, Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development, at 718-982-2070.

Alexander and Prinzi Elected to CSI Foundation Board

The College of Staten Island (CSI) Foundation board of directors last night elected John Alexander and Richard Prinzi to one-year terms at their annual meeting.

John Alexander, Chairman and CEO of Northfield Bank, also serves on the board of directors of Staten Island University Hospital and Staten Island Economic Development Commission (SIEDC). He earned his BS in accounting (with honors) from the University of North Carolina in 1975; was awarded a Bronze Star from the U.S. military for his service in Vietnam; and received the Richard Addeo Excellence in Business award from the SIEDC in 2003. He resides on Emerson Hill with his wife Janet. His children are Meredith, Ryan, and Kelly.

Richard Prinzi consolidated his business entities in 2005 to form Integrated Financial Services, with offices on Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Together with his three partners, two of whom are also CSI alumni, and 12 employees, eight of whom are alumni and current students, Prinzi oversees his practice that serves 4,000 clients a year. Prinzi is a 1993 graduate of CSI with a BS degree in accounting (with the highest honors) and became a CPA in 1995. He has been the president of the CSI Alumni Association for eight years. His leadership has strengthened that organization, and has helped it effectively reach out and involve many of the more than 50,000 college alumni. In addition, he is an active member of the community, and a leader with the South Shore Kiwanis. He resides in Egbertville with his wife and two daughters, Julia and Amanda.

“The Foundation always looks for leadership in the community and through its alumni,” said Richard Truitt executive director of the Foundation.

“John has been a business and community leader on Staten Island for many years. His commitment to the college through Northfield Bank is something that we value greatly. His farsightedness, his understanding of the community, and his belief in the mission of the College is something that will be very valuable to us all,” he added.

“Richard’s leadership as president of the alumni association has been stellar. In his own right, he is a very successful businessperson with strong ties to Staten Island. We welcome him to the board and know that his dedication and commitment to CSI will serve education at the college well,” Truitt continued.

As the fundraising arm for CSI, the Foundation supports many educational initiatives at CSI. For more information about the CSI Foundation, call 718-982-2365 or visit them online at www.csi.cuny.edu/foundation

The reelected officers for the CSI Foundation include James Easley, president; Robert Cutrona, vice president; Christine Cea, secretary; and Joseph Franzese, treasurer. Board members reelected to a fourth term include Marilyn Caselli, James Easley, and Carmine Morano; members reelected to a fifth term include Harry Doherty and Richard Nicotra; and member reelected to a sixth term include Peter Salvatore and Sally Williams.

CSI's Seshadri Continues to Earn Scholar Honors

College of Staten Island senior tennis ace Soumitri Seshadri, recently named the CSI Scholar-Athlete of the Year and noted as an honorable mention scholar-athlete with The City University of New York Athletic Conference, has now been named a CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American for the Men’s At-Large District II College Division. One of the most respected and distinguished scholar-athlete awards in collegiate athletics, this is the first CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American honor for a CSI student-athlete since 1999.

A member of The City University of New York Honors Program, Seshadri is a four-year Dean’s List student at CSI, majoring in both Engineering Science and Physics while minoring in Mathematics, boasting a 3.827 grade point average. He was recently given a first place award for best poster presentation for his engineering research in the Northeast Region I, District A of the Student Professional Development Conference and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has represented the CSI Engineering department in numerous expos and conventions and has served as President of the campus’ American Society of Mechanical Engineering.

A member of the men’s tennis team for the past three years, Seshadri capped his career as the team’s No. 1 singles and doubles performer. His “team-first” attitude and spirited leadership were prevalent in every match in which he appeared over the past three years. In his spare time, Seshadri would often give free lessons to local youths at the CSI Tennis Center, and he served as a volunteer for the Raganatha Temple in Pomona, New York, serving as an event organizer.

On Wednesday, May 16, Seshadri earned a Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention with the CUNY Athletic Conference, and on Friday, May 18, he was named CSI’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year at the school’s annual student-athlete awards gala in a presentation delivered by Dr. David M. Podell, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) selects Academic All-America teams in 12 programs: football, women’s volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s track & field/cross country, women’s track & field/cross country, men’s at-large, and women’s at-large. A first team, second team, and third team are selected in both the University (Division I and I-AA) and College (Division II, III, and NAIA) Divisions. To be nominated, the student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for his/her career, and must be of sophomore status or greater.

Selected among hundreds of nominations, Seshadri was happy to receive the honor, the first for CSI since women’s tennis star Gabrielle Nagy received similar honors in 1999.
“The awards and achievements show how hard work pays off,” said Seshadri. “I’m going to use this as motivation to keep working hard in the future and looking onward.”
Seshadri feels that his roles as both a dedicated student and athlete with the men’s tennis squad are a credit to his development at CSI.

“I’ve obtained so many experiences in terms of personal growth in college. Through being involved in sports and working hard in the classroom, CSI has prepared me to go out and present myself professionally and with a positive attitude.”

Graduating on May 31, Seshadri has already obtained employment with Lockheed Martin, a global leader in systems integration and information technology that works primarily with the U.S. Department of Defense and many other U.S. federal government agencies.

First-year Head Coach Paul Ricciardi, who spent the previous two seasons with Seshadri as an assistant, was excited for his pupil.

“I’m extremely proud of what Soumitri has achieved in the classroom. He’s been the rock of our team in many ways than one,” he said. “Judging by his performance on our campus, we know he will be successful in any endeavor he chooses.”

Staten Islander Hits a High Note with Entrepreneur Award

Ed Singer, a UPS Store franchisee, was honored with a Phoenix Award from the New York State Small Business Development Center, at its annual ceremony held May 1, 2007 at the Hotel Utica in Utica, NY.

Singer, a 30-year veteran of Wall Street, was one of the thousands of employees who lost their jobs as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As he considered his options, he discovered the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the College of Staten Island (CSI). Ed met with John Blohm a business adviser at the SBDC and an organization called VetFran through a Veterans’ Outreach Seminar hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the SBDC.

Singer then decided to become a retail franchise owner with UPS and establish a store on Staten Island. After a slow start in 2004, business steadily improved, with revenues nearly doubling by 2006. Five years after the loss of his job on Wall Street, Singer has successfully made the transformation from employee to owner. Singer’s emphasis on personal service is resonating in the community and helping him to develop many loyal customers.

The SBDC’s Phoenix Award, rarely presented, is given in recognition of a business owner’s recovery from a devastating loss. Since 2001, the organization has recognized five other business owners with this award, all with businesses that were nearly destroyed as a result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001.

Since it was established in 1984, the NYS SBDC has worked directly with 264,334 businesses, helping them to invest more than $3.2 billion in the state’s economy, and creating or saving over 124,000 jobs.

Since its inception in 1993 at CSI, the local SBDC has helped over 4,000 clients and created and saved over 3,000 jobs that have generated over $100 million in economic impact to the Island. Dean l. Balsamini, Director of the SBDC at CSI says “We help people understand and create a business strategy that fits their unique situation and our services are free. It’s gratifying to see a business we worked with grow and succeed.”

For an appointment, contact the SBDC at the College of Staten Island at 718-982-2560, or http://statenisland.nyssbdc.org

For additional information, go to the NYS Small Business Development Center Website ““ www.nyssbdc.org and click on Success Stories.