Two CSI Students Are Selected as Jeannette K. Watson Fellows

This year at CSI, Brian Kateman and Michael Maslankowski have each earned the prestigious title of being a Watson Fellow, a prestigious paid summer internship program offering mentoring and lifelong contacts to talented freshmen and sophomores at CUNY and independent city colleges who demonstrate exceptional academic promise and outstanding leadership skills.

Brian Kateman is a sophomore at CSI where he majors in Biology and Psychology, hoping, eventually, to become a professor, psychologist, or a conservation biologist. He is an ambassador, biology tutor, and Outward Bound orientation group leader for the Macaulay Honors College; he is a Peer Educator for CSI’s Health and Wellness Center; and he currently volunteers at the American Museum of Natural History and Project Hospitality. Brian is spending his first Watson summer interning at Echoing Green, an organization that works for social change.

Michael Maslankowski is a spohomore majoring in Cinema Studies and English at CSI with strong interests in film and writing. Michael serves as an orientation leader at CSI and a mentor for the CSI Office of New Student Orientation/CLUE/Pluralism and Diversity. In addition, he is an Adult Day Service mentor for the Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program. In his first summer as a Watson Fellow, Michael is interning at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Previous College of Staten Island recipients include 2000 Fellowship recipients Kenyatta Carter, Yekaterina Lushpenko, and Tara Lynch; 2001 recipient Kristine Gansico; 2002 recipient Elie Jarrouge; and 2004 recipients April Boland, Melody Messina, and Khadijah Rentas.

Established by The Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1999, the fellowship operates on the principle that “talent is broadly distributed but only selectively developed.” Watson Fellows have their pick of coveted job placements over three consecutive summers in not-for-profit agencies, business organizations, and in government service that give them a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills, and gain self-confidence in a variety of professional settings.

A series of weekly seminars further enhances the learning experience by encouraging debate and interaction, and also provides an opportunity for Watson Fellows to share stories about their work experiences. Visits to cultural institutions like Shakespeare in the Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art enable students to discover New York’s free summer offerings. Every Watson Fellow receives a generous stipend as well as a laptop computer to complete their assignments.

Twelve colleges in all, including the College of Staten Island, compete annually for 15 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship openings; each school may nominate up to four candidates.

For more information about The Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship or to receive an application packet, contact Geoff Hempill, PhD at 718.982.2302.

[L-R] CSI sophomores Michael Maslankowski and Brian Kateman are the College's newest Watson Fellows.

Morales Receives Honorary Degree from American College of Thessaloniki

College of Staten Island President Dr. Tomás D. Morales received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT), at the school’s annual commencement ceremony in Greece. ACT is a longtime study abroad partner with CSI.

ACT President Richard L. Jackson, who bestowed the degree on Dr. Morales, noted Morales’s “broad bicoastal and international vision of higher education and the dynamic role that he is playing in it,” and mentioned the CSI President’s impressive record of having held “senior administrative positions at the three largest public university systems in the United States, and I believe in the world: the California State University System, the State University of New York, and The City University of New York.”

“I want to thank the Board of Trustees for conferring this degree,” Morales said in his remarks after receiving the degree. “It’s a wonderful honor to be associated with such an outstanding institution.”

President Jackson also underscored the relationship between CSI and ACT. “The College of Staten Island is the oldest and most loyal study abroad partner of the American College of Thessaloniki and for over two decades students from the College Consortium for International Studies, which President Morales’s college manages, have added diversity to our campus and returned to the United States as ambassadors for Hellenic culture and values. In honoring President Morales today, we take pleasure in equally recognizing and honoring the longstanding vision and leadership of the College of Staten Island in the field of study abroad and international education.”

According to its mission statement, the “American College of Thessaloniki, a division of Anatolia [College], offers undergraduate and graduate programs of study characterized by reasoned and open inquiry, acquisition of the breadth and depth of knowledge associated with traditional university curricula, and achievement of the highest possible standards in student-centered teaching and faculty scholarship, with emphasis on individual growth. Through its educational, cultural, professional, and service activities, ACT seeks to contribute actively to the wider communities of Greece and Southeast Europe as well as to enhance understanding and friendship between the peoples of the United States and Greece.”

CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales and ACT President Richard L. Jackson at the ACT commencement

Employee of the Month

President Morales has approved the selection of Gabriel Cynowicz, IT Assistant in the Office of Information Technology, as the Employee of the Month for July 2009.

WSIA Concert Series

CSI’s WSIA 88.9 FM and the City of New York Parks and Recreation have begun the third annual WSIA Concert Series every Wednesday night from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Greenbelt Recreation Center, 501 Brielle Avenue.

These free weekly concerts feature up-and-coming area bands selected by WSIA’s Music Department.  Bring a chair or blanket, but don’t be surprised if you’re overcome with an urge to get up and dance.

For more information and directions, contact WSIA Radio at 718.982.3050 or Click Here to visit our Website.

Click Here to RSVP.

2009 Faculty Senate Election Results

The results of the spring 2009 Faculty Senate elections are as follows:

Faculty Senate-Adjunct Senator (one-year term ending 2010):         
Steven Beyer (Engineering Science and Physics)
Paul Burdett (History)
Faculty Senate Delegate at large (three-year term ending 2012):        
Humanities and Social Sciences:
Maryann Feola (English)
Richard Powers (History)

Science and Technology:
Roberta Klibaner (Computer Science)
Jose Torres (Engineering Science and Physics)

Faculty Senate-Research Committee (three-year term ending 2012):
Humanities and Social Sciences:
Richard Flanagan (Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy)                
Bertram Ploog (Psychology)               
Mark White (Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy)                   

Science and Technology:
Gregory Cheplick (Biology)
Li Hong (Connie) (Engineering Science and Physics)
Shiqun Zhang (Computer Science)
Faculty Senate Admissions Committee (three-year term ending 2012):
Humanities and Social Sciences:
Brian Carolan (Education)
Chao Li (Modern Languages)
George Sanchez (Performing and Creative Arts)

Science and Technology:
James Hladek (Engineering Science and Physics)
Athanasios Koutavas (Engineering Science and Physics)
Kevin O’Bryant (Mathematics)

College Council-By-Law Committee (three-year term ending 2012):         
Alan Benimoff (Engineering Science and Physics)
Roberta Klibaner (Computer Science)
Kathryn Talarico (Modern Languages)
Cindy Wong (Media Culture)

College Council-Administrative Review and Evaluation Committee (three-year term ending 2012):
Gloria Garcia (Student Services)
Jacqueline LeBlanc (Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work)
Bethany Rogers (Education)
George Sanchez (Performing and Creative Arts)
Stephen Stearns (History)

Faculty Student Discipline Committee (one-year term ending 2010):
Baruch Englard (Business)
Peter Kabachnik (Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy)
Vadim Oganesyan (Engineering Science and Physics)
Syed Rizvi (Engineering Science and Physics)  

College Council Institutional Planning Committee (three-year term ending 2012):
Humanities and Social Sciences:
Richard Flanagan (Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy)             
Ken Gold (Education)                
Nan Sussman (Psychology)
Science and Technology:
Wilma Jones (Library)
Syed Rizvi(Engineering Science and Physics)
John Verzani (Mathematics)

Appeals Committee (three-year term ending 2012):
Humanities and Social Sciences:
Sandi Cooper (History)
Bertram Ploog (Psychology)

Science and Technology:
Jacqueline LeBlanc (Biology)
HEO Steering Committee (three-year term):
Gloria Garcia (Student Services)

Public Safety Revamps Office and Website to Serve a Safer Campus

The Office of Public Safety at the College of Staten Island and its director, Paul Murtha, have been busy overhauling the Office and its Website in an effort to better serve and inform the College community.

“We wanted to make the Public Safety Website easier for the campus community to navigate by creating point-and-click menus for both general topics and then for more specific topics,” Murtha explained.

Among the site’s new features are PDF versions of critical resource materials such as the new Emergency Procedure Guide; an Emergency Management Structure Guide, which, according to Murtha, “lays out the basic framework of the College of Staten Island Emergency Management Plan”; a CUNY Alert section to notify the campus community of emergencies; a portal for the new Silent Witness Program, where information and crime tips can be left anonymously to help Public Safety apprehend crime suspects; and the Public Safety Annual Report, which details the number and types of crimes committed on campus.

“The Annual Safety Report has been both revised and revamped,” Murtha explains. “In addition to being more accessible on our Website, the new report also provides students and other community members with the most up-to-date information on the safety of their campus.” Regarding the latest report and the security of the campus, Murtha adds, “The College of Staten Island continues to be one of the safest colleges in the region. Violent crime, both on campus and in the neighborhoods surrounding our campus, has never been lower.”

Murtha credits these improvements to a number of measures that the Office has taken recently, including, the purchase of new portable radios for officers to improve communications and new smaller pathway vehicles to improve patrol coverage inside the campus. The Office is also ready to introduce new eco-friendly Segway patrol vehicles.

On the emergency management front, beyond the creation of an Emergency Procedure Guide for the campus community and extensive updates to the College’s Emergency Management Plan, the Office is collaborating more closely with the NYPD and FDNY to develop response plans and train personnel.

Murtha thanked Joyce Taylor, Deputy to the Vice President for Technology, and her staff for their efforts in improving the Website.

Looking toward the future of the Office online, Murtha hopes to add a Public Safety Community Liaison section to the Website to “link individual officers to specific buildings and departments to act as liaisons in order to improve our service to the campus community.” In addition, Murtha is designing a Public Safety Advisory section that would “provide the campus community with the latest information on safety and security concerns, traffic and gate opening information, and other public safety news.”

In an effort to make our campus even safer the Office of Public Safety has been making many changes.

CSI Prepares for Influx of Veterans

CUNY school adds to program for returning service personnel

If Uncle Sam wants you, so does the College of Staten Island.

CSI is expecting an influx of military veterans this fall thanks to the new G.I. Bill that goes into effect next month. CSI is adding to its already extensive program of support for these student heroes.

The Core program at the College of Staten Island will offer a special section of the course called “Core for Veterans.” Core 100 is one of the required general education courses that all freshmen attend.

Recently, the program has begun designing special-interest sections to meet the needs of the diverse student population that attends CSI.

Click Here to view the CSI Today photo gallery.

“In recent months, much attention has been paid to the difficulties confronting the returning vets as they transition back to civilian life,” said Donna Scimeca, Core coordinator.

“An awareness of this, and a deep desire to help in some way prompted the Core program to invite students from the veterans group on campus to meet with Core faculty to ask for their input on creating the course and how it might benefit this student population. Their responses were overwhelmingly positive.”

The course is intended as an informal support group for the students. The teacher will be Vito E. Zajda, veterans adviser, certifying officer and deputy registrar.

The CSI Student Veteran Center already has a one-stop-service approach for the 132 veteran students who were registered as of the spring semester.

“We see the students through from admission to graduation,” Zajda said.

“We want to make sure that they’re connected to all the services they are eligible for and the more information we can offer, and the more connected they are with their peers we feel the easier the transition will be,” said Urszula Echols, veterans coordinator.

The center, located in room 219 of building 1C, offers a broad range of academic and social services. Zajda is the go-to guy for assistance with practical matters like admissions, financial aid, military benefits and academic advisement.

Ms. Echols mentors the vets by offering them information and referral for disability services, mental health screenings and treatment, academic assistance or tutoring and a wide range of community resources.

“We provide a safety net for the students who come back with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” Ms. Echols said.

“Some of our veteran students are under a lot of stress and PTSD surfaces under pressure.”

Veterans can connect with each other at the Armed Forces Club, which meets at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays when school is in session in room 001 of building 2N.

The Armed Forces Club participates in college club functions and hosts a variety of guest speakers and workshops.

The Student Veteran Center hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, when school is in session in building 1C, room 219. For information, call Zajda at 718-982-2129 or, or Ms. Echols at 718-982-3108 or

by MAURA GRUNLUND – Staten Island Advance
©2009 SI Advance – ©2009 – All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted on CSI Today with permission.

College of Staten Island Core Program personnel are hoping to help as many veterans as possible.

Despite Obstacles, Sophomore Excels, Nets Awards

CSI sophomore Marybeth Melendez has been very fortunate, lately. She has recently won the 2009 Michael D. Solomon Scholarship Award, and the 2009 Women’s Opportunity Award and $5,000 North Atlantic Regional Award from the SI Chapter of Soroptimist International. If that weren’t enough, she also received a scholarship from the American Association for University Women for outstanding leadership and academic success.

This news is even more remarkable when one considers that Melendez, a single mother of three with a double major in Clinical Psychology and Sociology, is visually impaired. “When I came here to CSI,” Melendez recalls, “I had my goals set, but I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to meet the challenges. You have to stop and think, how does a blind person become a student in the classroom with the other students?

“I remember walking into a classroom,” Melendez continues, “and as the professor was writing on the blackboard, it was hieroglyphics to me—all I heard were the sounds and the smell of chalk, [and there was] the business of writing and the textbooks I couldn’t read, and for one moment, my heart stopped. Then I realized in this school there is the Office of Disability Services. That was one of the definitive factors in my success here. That office had all the tools that I needed to become a productive, visually impaired student. They had the technology, the software, the equipment that I could take in and out of the classroom, and that made the difference for me in excelling because now I had everything I needed plus my own hard work. The combination was explosive.”

It was explosive, indeed. In her year and a half at CSI, Melendez has flourished as a Verrazano School student, and she has a long list of other accomplishments, including acting as the CSI representative for the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities, and being a CSI Emerging Leader; President of the OUI Club (for students with disabilities); and a member of the SEEK, Psychology, and American Sign Language clubs, and the Institute for Basic Research Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. She is even scheduled to sing the National Anthem at a Staten Island Yankees game this month.

As for her awards, Melendez reports that she was nominated for the honors. Regarding the Solomon Award, she says, “The fact that they had nominated me, that this isn’t something that I had solicited, spoke volumes to me. I was touched. It’s a recognition that has to do with leadership qualities, academic excellence. Two people were chosen; I was one of the two.”

Discussing the Soroptimist honors, Melendez states, “I was told that this particular organization, which has been around for at least 70 years, and in some locations, 80, reaches out to women who may have financial need but display all of the characteristics of someone who will follow through with their academic endeavors and will make a difference in society. They did their search through an essay, and of course you have to have nominations and a letter of recommendation. So, I was able to submit everything in a timely fashion and I was called and told vocally that my essay had won, that they were impressed with my life and my story—what I was doing academically and how I had achieved that—and I was very honored. Then, my essay was submitted into the national division, because, apparently there are three legs to this contest. I was called and I also won the North Atlantic Region part also. They shipped me off to Albany where I spent the weekend…and I got to meet some women who were in some strong corporate-sector roles from all over the country.”

In light of her recent shower of recognition, Melendez says, “I’m grateful. I worked hard for this. I have determination and perseverance. I know where I’ve been, I know where I am now, and I know where I want to go. I am so grateful that every time I needed assistance there was someone there to shed a little light and give me a hand to where I had to go. I have a lot of passion for the College of Staten Island [and feel] that I’ve found another home here.”

She also waxes philosophically on what she has overcome to achieve so much. “I have a disability. It’s my calling card; it’s who I am. And if I can do this now in my life, can you imagine what [others] can do?”

Sophomore Marybeth Melendez, who is visually impaired, has recently collected a number of awards.