CSI Chemistry Major Weighs Options for Grad School

The story of CSI Chemistry major and senior Chin Ming (Benjamin) Hui is one of perseverance and commitment, and one of great success. He has recently reported that he has gained acceptance to Doctoral Chemistry programs at Carnegie Mellon University, Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, and Temple University, but he faced many obstacles on his road to success.

Benjamin came to the United States from Hong Kong at the age of 17, barely able to speak English and unfamiliar with U.S. culture, but with a hope to someday find a cure for smallpox. The death of his father from cancer eventually energized his goal of pursuing a career in science. Benjamin recalls that his father was skilled in engineering, particularly when it came to fixing electronics in his family’s home, but his father never received a college education because he had to work to support his family. After his father’s death, Benjamin eventually came to realize that his own “tirelessness, studiousness, and intelligence were inherited from my father. I believed he would want me to use my talent to help people, instead of grieving. Therefore, I promised to save people from illness, and help everyone stay healthy. That’s why I am interested in researching in chemistry and medical technology.”

Eventually, Benjamin, who gained experience in engineering in his teens at a computer company, where he had to work to help support his family, came to CSI. “My enrollment at CSI turned my life 180 degrees. While attending school here, I have enjoyed many opportunities to gain the experimental knowledge and theoretical techniques, which have satisfied my interest in the mathematics and science fields. I have also broadened my knowledge and improved my language skills by attending scientific conferences. In addition, hands-on experiences in the laboratory, field work, and lectures from graduate students and leading researchers have engaged my mind and captured my interest. I believe that studying science is the only way to save the world from global warming and defend human beings against diseases. That’s why I am always curious about every matter that is happening in science field, which could not be demystified by other fields.”

Benjamin also received a scholarship from STEAM, which is short for Science & Technology Expansion via Applied Mathematics, a comprehensive, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program that expands and supports undergraduate education in all areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Benjamin recalls, “During the summer semester of 2006, I began a research project in chemistry, namely, the synthesis and characterization of large-pore silica under the direction of Dr. Michal Kruk who is an Assistant Professor at CSI. We proposed materials that were appropriated in drug delivery and catalysis in pharmaceutical science, as well as low-k insulating material, which is useful in the engineering industry. I want to thank you Dr. Kruk especially for babysitting me for more than three years. He has taught me a lot of knowledge in chemistry, and above all, in research. He does care about my study and future. He made me feel confident again as a foreign speaker, foreign student.”

As Benjamin pursued his studies at the College, he still didn’t have an easy time of it, having to work many jobs to support his family. In fact, he was often so tired from working that he was often drowsy in class. However, he carried on and gained the knowledge and expertise to make a number of graduate schools take notice.

As for the future, Benjamin looks forward to a career as a researcher and to contributing to academic society, after he receives his PhD.

Chin Ming (Benjamin) Hui and his mentor CSI Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Michal Kruk.

Senior Accepted to Prestigious Summer Medical Program

As summer quickly approaches, many students are wondering what they will do over break. CSI Senior and Chemistry/Mathematics double-major Eric Rios-Doria doesn’t have that problem, as he has been accepted into the University of Iowa Summer Undergraduate Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and Research (SUMR) Program, an intensive eight-week summer program where he will be exposed to MD/PhD training that includes performing biomedical research as well as shadowing a physician-scientist.

Regarding his acceptance, Rios-Doria says, “I am very excited to participate in this program…The academic program at the CSI Chemistry Department is one I have very much enjoyed and am glad I have met such great professors… I would also like to thank Prof. [Krishnaswami] Raja for allowing me to perform research in his laboratory and work on an independent project.

Rios-Doria is also a recipient of a scholarship from CSI’s STEAM (Science & Technology Expansion via Applied Mathematics), a comprehensive, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program that expands and supports undergraduate education in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “STEAM has provided both academic and monetary support,” he notes “and I am most appreciative.”

In addition, he is on the Dean’s List, and is an LSAMP research scholar and CSTEP student. LSAMP is short for Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, an NSF-funded program with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of students successfully completing Bachelor’s degrees and gaining access to graduate programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The C-STEP program at CSI aims to increase enrollment and graduation, among historically underrepresented students, in undergraduate and graduate programs leading to professional licensure or to careers in the fields of science, technology, and education.

Admitting that he has been interested in medicine since he was young, due to bouts with severe asthma that led to frequent hospitalizations when he was a child, Rios-Doria transferred to CSI in 2007. He recalls that he has “found so many more opportunities here than at my previous institution. The programs available to the students are invaluable …The opportunities that have been provided through [the College] have allowed to me to become a better researcher and attain invaluable skills both inside the classroom and laboratory and outside the classroom and laboratory. As an example, CSI has given me the opportunity to present my research at local, regional, and national conferences.”

After his arrival at CSI Rios-Doria began research in chemistry with Prof. Raja. Saying that Dr. Raja “has guided me and taught me how to become a better researcher,” he is now working on an independent project that will eventually become his senior thesis. Explaining the research, Rios-Doria states that “I am currently working on synthesizing a liquid crystal that will have photovoltaic applications. An example of such an application would be the cost-effective use for solar cells. It is looking very promising and should provide exciting results.”

Hoping eventually to gain acceptance into an MD/PhD program with the hope of practicing medicine while conducting further research, Rios-Doria credits CSI and the programs available to him at the College for his current success. “The education I have received at CSI has been fantastic. All the professors I have had have shown genuine interest in the students and have allowed for my proper scientific thought process to be established. With the offer from the University of Iowa, I believe the education provided by the fantastic instructors at CSI has prepared me for the challenges ahead in the summer and has also placed me at an advanced level of understanding difficult concepts being learned in universities nationwide.”

Eric Rios-Doria has been accepted into a prestigious summer program at the University of Iowa.

Sheila Friedman Retirement

We invite you to share a special day honoring Sheila Friedman on her retirement. Please join the staff of the Center for International Service on Wednesday, May 20 in Building 2A, Room 206 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.

Please RSVP by Thursday, May 14 to Joanne at 718.982.2611 or Carolyn at 718.982.2101.

Park Café Restaurant

The Park Café Restaurant will be open through and including Wednesday, May 13.  However, the restaurant will be closed for the remainder of the semester and for the summer sessions beginning Thursday, May 14.

Commencement 2009

Commencement 2009 will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 10:00am on the Great Lawn, rain or shine.  Professor Sandi Cooper will serve as Grand Marshal.  CSI music student, Ann Marie Nacchio ‘09 will sing the National Anthem.  Professor Richard Flanagan will bring greetings from the faculty, Ms. Cynthia DiMarco ’74 will bring greetings from the alumni, and Besim Mehmedovic ’09 will bring greetings from the students.  Lady Borton will accept the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, and give the Commencement address.

Departmental exercises begin immediately after the College-wide Commencement.  A reception in the Campus Center (Building 1C) for graduates and their guests and the College community will follow the departmental exercises.

The Alumni Association Reception for the faculty and staff will be held in the Sports and Recreation Center (Building 1R), from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.

The Honors Convocation Program will be held on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 in the Center for the Arts (Building 1P) Springer Concert Hall beginning at 7:00pm.

We look forward to seeing you at all events.

Important Information Regarding the CUNY Alert System

CUNY Alert is the University’s notification system that will enable the College of Staten Island to advise students, faculty, and staff of an emergency (a severe snowstorm or an armed intuder on campus, for example), and provide timely information to protect lives and minimize campus disruption.

To read this important announcement and sign up for this valuable service, Click Here.

CSI Phi Beta Kappa Associates Ceremony

Please join CSI Phi Beta Kappa Associates for their ninth annual ceremony honoring the College’s top graduates in the liberal arts. Our event this year will be held on Thursday, May 14, from 1:30pm to 3:00pm in the Center for the Arts (Building 1P) Recital Hall. Grace Cho, Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, and author of Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), will give this year’s Phi Beta Kappa Address. After Professor Cho’s talk, we will present awards to 15 of our graduating seniors. We hope to see you there.

Important Information for All SIMS Users

CUNY policy regarding SIMS passwords has changed.  Effective immediately, you must change your password at least once every 45 days.  Also be advised, if you do not use your SIMS account within 120 days, it will be revoked.  These rules are designed to assist in protecting the privacy of our student information and to help ensure the integrity of our student and course data. To begin enforcing this policy, your password will automatically be changed for you, Thursday night, May 14.  Your SIMS Userid will not be altered.  The mailroom will soon deliver correspondence to your office address with your new password and these same instructions. We ask all faculty and adjuncts to please sign onto SIMS before leaving for the summer. The first time that you log on beginning Friday, May 15, you must enter this new password. You will then be informed that your password has expired and you will be directed to enter your SIMS Userid, your assigned password, and a new password of your choosing.  You will then hit the “enter” key and again enter only the assigned password and the one of your choosing.    
All passwords must be exactly eight characters long and contain at least one number that is not in the first or last position.  You can only use letters and numbers in your password.  You will not be allowed to reuse any previously used passwords or any passwords that too closely resemble a previous password. 
If you have any questions, please call 718.982.2209.