Dolphins Announce New Coach Hire in Men's Soccer; Cross-Country

The College of Staten Island has announced the hiring of two coaches who will fill vacancies beginning this fall. Armen Simoniants, who has guided multiple soccer programs both domestically and internationally was named the head coach of men’s soccer, while former NCAA Division I cross-country and track and field star Jon Lewis Biles will take over duties for both the men’s and women’s cross-country programs.

Simoniants, whose last appointment was as an assistant coach with The City College of New York in 2007, doubles as a coach and instructor with the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association and United States Amateur Soccer Federation, teaching theory and practices of soccer, offering lessons to coaches, and observing youth academies. He earned his Master’s degree in Physical Education at the Moscow State Sports Academy in Russia, in 1990.

In 2006, Simoniants was overseas, coaching FC Olympia in the Republic of Moldova, competing for a premier league championship with the pro organization. There, he succeeded in taking a handful of former NCAA stars from the United States to excel on foreign soil. Several of his former athletes have earned promotions to professional premier leagues, with others are now coaching in the United States.

In addition to his endeavors at FC Olympia, Simoniants, who possesses a United States Soccer Federation “A” Professional Coaching License, was the head coach of the New York Metrostars’ Reserve Team in 2002-2003. His coaching career also includes stops as an assistant coach with Drew University and a pair of head coaching stints at Pope John XXIII and Morris Knolls High Schools. His head coaching appointment at CSI is his first head coaching position in the NCAA ranks.

Preaching the value of strong academics before play on the field, Simoniants believes that hard work in the classroom translates to success on the field, using education as a vehicle to athletics.

“Many athletes don’t reach their prime athletically until their mid-20s,” Simoniants stated. “Therefore, I always tell my players to finish their studies, get their degrees, and then concentrate on playing at a higher level in soccer. Our goal is for student-athletes to be armed with a quality education and to prepare them physically for extended play outside of college.”

Simoniants is taking over a CSI Dolphins squad that finished as the CUNYAC Runner-Up in 2007, but is ten years removed from a conference championship.

Also making his collegiate head coaching debut is Jon Lewis Biles, taking over a men’s and women’s cross-country program at CSI that is still in its relative infancy.

Last year, Biles spent the fall season as a volunteer assistant coach with Brooklyn College, assisting the program with all facets of cross-country operations. His prior coaching endeavors also featured a stop as an assistant coach at Lehman College, in 2005.

Prior to his coaching experience, Biles enjoyed a stellar playing career at Montana State University, earning NCAA All-America honors in the 5,000-meter track and field event. He finished his career as an indoor Big Sky Conference Champion in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events.

Before excelling at MSU, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, Biles spent a pair of years at the College of Southern Idaho, where he excelled as a track and field academic and athletic All-American.

A certified strength and conditioning specialist, Biles has a USATF Level 1 license and manages a Super Runner’s Shop in Manhattan. There, he specializes in runner’s gait analysis, and he created a training program for heart rate monitors that are utilized at specialty runner’s shops and clinics.

“I’m excited to be a part of the growing program at the College of Staten Island,” Biles said. “I believe we can be competitive while continuing to build our program with each year.”

Competing as a varsity program for the first time, the women’s program finished third overall in the CUNY Athletic Conference Championship in 2007. The men’s program will become varsity this season after registering as a club team in 2007.

CSI Student-Athletes Recognized at SI Yankees Game

Student-athletes at the College of Staten Island got a real treat for their hard work, and a chance for some quality rest and relaxation after the rigors of the school year, as they took in a Staten Island Yankees game tonight at the Richmond County Park in St. George. The student-athletes were honored at the Athletic Awards Banquet at the end of May and were invited to tonight’s event by CSI President Tomas D. Morales. They enjoyed the best view of the field in luxury suite seating.

As a highlight to the evening and to kick-off the festivities, CSI baseball player James Mardikos threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game. Mardikos earned the save in CSI’s CUNYAC championship-clinching win over John Jay College, pitching the 9th inning in the Dolphins’ 8-7 win.

The student-athletes enjoyed a complement of food and soft drinks as they socialized with their fellow teammates and administrators, enjoying the luxury treatment and watching the Yankees take on the Hudson Valley Renegades in NY-Penn League play. They were also welcomed during a public address announcement throughout the stadium as well as on the big screen in right field.

The student-athletes saw the Staten Yankees fall to the Hudson Valley Renegades, 3-1, in an 11 inning game.

CSI President Morales threw out the first pitch on Wednesday at the Staten Island Yankees home opener where they lost 3-1 to the Brooklyn Cyclones. The SI Yankees are 1-3 in their young season and will host the Renegades again tomorrow at 7:05pm.

Northfield Bank Foundation Awards CSI $25K

CSI students and Staten Island not-for-profit organizations will benefit from $25,000 in funding from Northfield Bank Foundation. The funds will sustain a program to provide stipends for CSI students with financial need who intern at various not-for-profit agencies in the borough.

The Northfield Internship Program is offered through CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, and has been funded for three consecutive years by Northfield Bank and the CSI Foundation. The program offers internship opportunities to students who are traditionally unable to participate in non-paid internships, with preference given to those with financial need. It provides students with the ability to gain experience and explore their field of interest while helping them to develop new skills through experiential learning.

The program also serves a tremendous service to the community, by placing the students in not-for-profit agencies throughout the borough whose budgets do not allow for much support staff. The interns are carefully placed to ensure that they match the specific intern job description provided by the selected not-for-profit sites.

Lucille Chazanoff, treasurer of the board of directors for the Northfield Bank Foundation, notes, “This is a wonderful program. It brings new employees-young people and possible future contributors-to those organizations, so it’s just a win-win for everyone.”

CSI President Tomás Morales, says, “I really appreciate that the Northfield Bank Foundation was willing to provide us with its support. My vision, and the vision of many of us here-the staff and faculty-is to create opportunities for our students to give back to the community, and to align those experiences with their curriculum.”

Many CSI students express interest in participating in an internship because of the great rewards it provides, such as developing contacts and job-relevant skills, while these students are still in college. The program provides qualified students with the opportunity to intern and develop strong skills, while being paid a $1,000 stipend. This program eliminates the difficult choice between finding paid employment to offset personal expenses or participating in a career-related educational experience.

CSI students Sharon Daniel and Raquel Brown participated in the program last summer. Daniel, who interned at the Seaman’s Society working with youth, comments “I learned a lot from the youth; they were very broadminded, eager to learn, and just wanted to know what lies ahead of them. It was a privilege to represent the College of Staten Island to be there and be a part of their lives and it also inspired me to go out there in the future and work with the youth in our community.”

Brown, who worked with AIDS patients at Community Health Action, says, “For me, it was a very rewarding experience…and it really influenced me in the [career] direction that I wanted to go.

To participate in the program, students must have completed 24 credits, have a GPA of 3.0 or better, and submit an essay on how an internship would help them to achieve their career goals. Selected students must work a total of 60 hours for the organization to which they are sent. Upon completion of the internship, students must complete an evaluation of their internship experience, submit an essay that describes their internship experience, and receive an overall “satisfactory” rating from their employer.

With the $25,000 grant, 25 students will be placed in internships at not-for-profit organizations including Community Health Action, Eden II Community Resources, Seaman’s Society for Children and Families, Staten Island Center for Independent Living, and Staten Island Mental Health Society.

Looking to the future, President Morales wants to establish “a center for community service learning that would provide an opportunity for faculty to engage in some cost redesign work where students, as part of a course, would go out and do community service. At the same time,” Morales continues, “a structure would be created where a professional staff would go out and negotiate those placements with non-profit organizations on Staten Island and beyond.”

CSI students will benefit from $25,000 in funding from Northfield Bank Foundation.

CSI Showcases Budding Researchers

Undergraduate students at the College of Staten Island recently had the opportunity to present their research to the College community at the seventh annual Undergraduate Conference on Research, Scholarship, and Performance. The conference featured 75 posters, representing the work of 130 CSI students and their 42 faculty mentors, as well as four performances that spotlighted theater and student musical composition.

Notable posters included a study on the use of medical sensors to keep tabs on seniors’ health conditions in their homes, research on the effects of alcohol consumption and on- versus off-campus living arrangements on grade point average, an examination of the productivity of song birds after spraying for the West Nile Virus, research on the effect that women leaders have on poor women in developing countries, and a study that exposes breast cell tissue to chemicals found on Staten Island, among others.

Susan Holak, CSI Associate Provost and the coordinator of this year’s event commented that she “was amazed by the level of work that I saw across the board.” She added that the conference “is something that brings both divisions of the College [Science and Technology/Humanities and Social Sciences] together –going across the aisle and seeing what everybody else is doing.” Many of the student participants agreed with Holak’s assessment.

Biology major, Sarah Tirro said, “I think it’s a great opportunity to enjoy what other people are researching and also get your ideas out there and get a response from other professors to see how you can make your ideas better.” Psychology major Nicole Lukovsky also felt the sense of academic camaraderie, “I think it’s a really great experience to be here and share with your fellow student peers and see what other students in the school are doing as well.”

Holak noted that an important aspect of the Undergraduate Conference on Research, Scholarship, and Performance is that it gives students a chance to see what it is like to present their research for the first time. This often serves as a launch pad for presenting at regional and national conferences, and gives these students an experience that is usually reserved for graduate-level students. With the CSI conference under their belts, these CSI undergrads, according to Holak, are not only better researchers, but also stronger candidates for graduate school, once they complete their undergraduate degrees at CSI.

CSI Showcases Budding Researchers.

Presidential Investiture and Afternoon Awards Ceremony Complement Commencement Day at CSI

Commencement Day at the College of Staten Island last week realized the dreams and ambitions of 2,376 students, as they received degrees for their hard work and determination. Although this is the headline story, the College also celebrated the Investiture of Tomás D. Morales as CSI’s third president and recognized the contributions of members of its faculty, staff, and supporters.

After his Investiture, conducted by Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of The City University of New York (CUNY) and Philip Berry, CUNY Vice Chair, Morales commended the graduating class for a job well done and praised the College’s world-class faculty.

In concluding, Morales expressed his enthusiasm for CSI and everyone who is working to help it achieve its goals, “Our energy is terrific. Our hopes are high. Our vision is 20/20. And looking at our graduates, faculty, and staff, I am confident. Through your work, through your devotion, you have made a CSI degree a goal to be desired and an achievement to be respected. I can’t wait for tomorrow to continue the great work we have undertaken together to move the College of Staten Island forward.”

Later that day, the CSI Library hosted an awards ceremony that honored outstanding contributions to the College. CSI Foundation Board members Sally Williams and Samir Farag received College Awards for their tireless efforts to advance the mission of the College. Associate Professor George Emilio Sanchez, Chairperson of the Department of Performing and Creative Arts was honored with the second annual Presidential Award for Innovation in Pedagogy for his unique and effective approach toward teaching theater. Also, 11 members of the CSI community received Dolphin Awards for their significant contributions to the College. They include:

-Margaret Lunney, Professor, Department of Nursing for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty

-John Osakue, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy for Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty

-Harry Cason, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy for Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty

-Vasilios Petratos, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty

-Mary Beth Reilly, Higher Education Officer, Office of Recruitment and Admissions, and Nicholas Saccone, Higher Education Associate, Business Office for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title

-Avi Gannon, IT Senior Associate 3, Office of Information Technology for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in CLT and OIT Specialists Title

-Palma Eadicicco, CUNY Administrative Assistant, Office of the Registrar, and Marguerite Fuller, CUNY Administrative Assistant, Office of Finance and Administration for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff

-Berardino Grieco, Maintenance Worker, Office of Building and Grounds for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, Security

-Alokika Fernandes-Prabu for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Currently Enrolled Student

After emcee Robert Huber, Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement, recognized the honorees, President Morales concluded the ceremony by thanking the CSI faculty and staff for their contributions to Commencement Day, as well as for their efforts since he took the helm as President.

Presidential Investiture and Afternoon Awards Ceremony Complement Commencement Day at CSI.

Israeli Biophysicist to Speak at CSI

In its continuing efforts to provide a world-class education to its students and the community, the College of Staten Island welcomes Israeli Biophysicist Meir Wilchek, PhD on Wednesday, June 18 in Building 6S, Room 230 at 1:00pm, as part of its ongoing Current Topics in Developmental Disabilities Colloquium Series.

Dr. Wilchek’s topic will be “The Biotin-Avidin System and Its Use in the Life Sciences.” Dr. Wilchek, is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biophysics, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

Dr. Fred Naider, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at CSI, who did his post-doctoral research at the Weizmann Institute in the department where Wilchek was then a senior scientist, noted that “it is a great honor to have a scientist of the stature of Professor Meir Wilchek at the College of Staten Island. He was a pioneer in the field of Affinity Chromatography and the use of the Biotin-Avidin system in biorecognition. This reagent is used world-wide in hundreds of laboratories. Thus Dr. Wilchek’s work has influenced thousands of scientists.”

Dr. Wilchek has also published over 400 scientific works and he is a member of many scientific societies including the Israel Academy of Science.

This series of lectures is made possible by the CSI/IBR Center for Developmental Neuroscience and Developmental Disabilities in collaboration with the CSI/CUNY Macromolecular Assemblies Institute. For more information, call 718.982.3950.

The College of Staten Island welcomes Israeli Biophysicist Meir Wilchek, PhD.

CSI Athletics and Alumni Help Project Hospitality

The Office of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation teamed with the Office of Alumni Affairs at the College of Staten Island to donate hundreds of pounds of canned goods and non-perishable food items to Project Hospitality. Collecting the goods for over a month, the campus-wide collection effort yielded nearly 400 pounds of goods delivered first-hand by members of both the Athletics and Alumni team on campus to Project Hospitality collection headquarters in Stapleton.

The group dropped off what seemed like an endless count of bags stuffed to the brim with canned goods, cereals, and dried food items. The collection effort, principally organized by Gloria Castellucci, chair of CSI’s Alumni Student Interaction Program, coincided with Project Hospitality’s plea for donations, as supplies have been at a premium over recent months.

Founded in 1982, Project Hospitality is a community-based, not-for-profit agency established as an interfaith volunteer emergency response to the needs of homeless and hungry persons in Staten Island, New York. Its location in Stapleton alone services over 300 needy families on a biweekly basis, and the organization has mobile pantries that deliver to churches and group homes monthly. On a tour of the facility, members of the CSI collection effort learned that the Soup Kitchen housed within the Stapleton location can serve anywhere from 80 to 200 individuals weekly.

“It felt really good to help those in need, especially in times like these,” said Stefanie Plust, who helped spearhead the collection effort through CSI’s Alumni Office. “We had a really great turnout of food and cans, and we’re going to try to continue working with Project Hospitality to support them year-round.”

The trip to Project Hospitality was the second for CSI Athletics, who saw its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee organize a holiday canned goods drive in December. The second go-around has plans in motion for subsequent visits.

“It’s a moving experience to know you are making a difference,” said David Pizzuto, Associate Athletic Director. “We recognize that Project Hospitality does so much for so many, and we want to make our trips here more frequent and more serviceable to help our friends and neighbors on Staten Island.”

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Project Hospitality, or becoming a volunteer, can call Reverend Will Nichols at 718.448.1544. To learn more on how to contribute to CSI’s ongoing canned goods drive, please call 718.982.3160.

CSI Acquires the Papers of Bradford M. Greene

On the evening of May 20, the CSI Archives and Special Collections formally accepted the papers of Bradford M. Greene, a landscape architect and environmental activist on Staten Island for 60 years. Greene, who graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1942 and served in World War II as a member of U.S. Army Intelligence in the 12th Army Group Headquarters under General Omar Bradley, worked for 40 years with the internationally known landscape architecture and engineering firm of Clarke, Rapuano, and Halloran and in private practice on Staten Island. A Vice President for Planning at Clarke, Rapuano, and Halloran, Greene’s design work included highways such as the Garden State Parkway, the New England Thruway, and Mile Strip Road in Buffalo, New York as well as parks such as the Rose Garden restoration at the New York Botanical Garden. His many Staten Island projects include a series of gardens at the Staten Island Botanical Garden, the Gretta Moulton Gates at High Rock Park, the restoration of the grounds of the Alice Austen House, and the Seaside Nature Garden at Great Kills.

The scope and breadth of his work is testimony to his success both in the United States and abroad, where some of his design works include the United States exhibit in 1960 at the Rotterdam Floriade; the U.S. Military Cemetery in Margraten, Holland; and the Mokattam suburb of Cairo, Egypt. Much of his work involved college campuses, corporate headquarters, and oceanographic institutes in Massachusetts and Florida (Woods Hole Research Center and Harbor Branch). Some of his most important projects are the Lackawanna Office of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Saucon Valley Community Master Plan, and the Lehigh University Master Plan.

Greene has advocated for the preservation of Staten Island land for parks since 1964 when he was the proponent and the definer of the concept of the Staten Island Greenbelt which, at 2,800 acres, is one of the largest natural areas within the five boroughs. A man truly committed to Staten Island, Bradford Greene is the founder of the Staten Island Citizens Planning Committee as well as a member of several environmental and/or preservation groups, including the Greenbelt Conservancy, the Preservation Society of Staten Island, the Conference House Association, Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, the Staten Island Historical Society, and the Manor Civic Association, as well as being a former member on the advisory board of the Moravian Cemetery.

Greene was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA), recognition by his peers for outstanding accomplishments in landscape architecture, administrative leadership, knowledge, and service to the profession. He has served on several boards, including the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, Staten Island Citizens Planning Committee, the Fine Arts Federation, and the Municipal Arts Society. He served for eight years on the New York City Art Commission and was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for six years. Throughout his career, Greene has received many distinctions and awards including the Staten Island Greenbelt Award, the Lynne R. Steinman Community Service Award, and the Federated Garden Clubs NYS Director’s Award.