CSI’s DPT Program Celebrates 100% Success Rate

DPT Class of 2016

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is proud to announce that this year all 20 Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) graduates passed the Physical Therapy license exam on their first attempt. This marks the first time in the history of the program, which is just under three decades old, that graduates have celebrated a 100% success rate.

“This achievement clearly reflects a team effort of having an outstanding group of dedicated, intelligent, and resourceful students, and now licensed graduates; committed and hard-working highly qualified faculty and staff; and an administratively supportive environment with adequate resources for teaching and research,” noted Dr. Jeffrey Rothman, former Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.

“As the outgoing Founding Chair, this accomplishment is personally very gratifying. I wish the program faculty and staff, students, and graduates much continued success,” said Dr. Rothman, who stepped down as chair in July.

The Department’s new Chair, Dr. Zaghloul Ahmed, commented, “I am thrilled to lead such an impressive department and I look forward to helping to bring our next class of students to the same lofty achievements as has been accomplished by the Class of 2016.”

School of Health Sciences Dean Dr. Maureen Becker added that, “This is an incredible feat, like taking home an Olympic gold medal! Traditionally, the Physical Therapy license exam results have always been outstanding … bronze and silver medal-worthy … this year, it all came together. I am truly proud of our students, alumni, and faculty, both full-time and adjunct, whose ongoing assessment and improvement implementation has led to this phenomenal outcome.”

The graduates mean scale score was more than 35 points above the mean national scale score (717 to 683) and the passing rate was seven percentage points above the national percentage. The exam was administered nationally on July 19 and the official results were reported by the Federation for State Board Physical Therapy Examiners.

The Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) program prepares students to become clinician-scientists who can competently apply research to clinical practice, perform all aspects of physical therapy practice, and perform clinical research. It will prepare graduates to examine, evaluate, diagnose, and intervene in the management of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities of the cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary systems.

The program meets the changing national standards as well as community needs for physical therapists working in a multitude of settings. The DPT program is in accordance with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recommendation that physical therapists be doctorally credentialed. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Graduates will be eligible for the National Physical Therapy Examination.

CSI Alumna Attending Cornell University

Jasmine Calle feeding green algae to a polychaete known as Hydroides elegans.

“Keep yourself busy, but remember to enjoy the ride.”

This is the advice from College of Staten Island alumna Jasmine Calle ’16 who redefines the term “busy.” The Macaulay Honors College (MHC) graduate, who spent her college years feverishly conducting research, participating in student activities, and volunteering in the community, has been accepted to Cornell University. Calle will begin at the University this fall to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine.

“Conducting research has been an adventure. As soon as I started working in the lab, I knew that research was something I wanted to incorporate into my career” proclaimed the St. John Villa Academy high school graduate, who is happy to be able to combine her love of research and her passion for animals into a career path. Calle will also partake in biomedical research for the Cornell-based Veterinary Investigator Program this summer.

At CSI, the 21-year-old Clifton resident majored in Biochemistry and Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. With multiple scholarships under her belt, Calle noted how CSI lived up to its world-class reputation.

“Whenever I hear others extolling the benefits of the College, the term that most frequently comes up is ‘world-class’ faculty. That phrase is easy enough to overlook, but I began to fully realize the weight it held as I attended school here. Truly, the faculty is amazing, both as teachers and innovators in their own field,” said Calle, thanking, in particular, MHC staff Lisa French and Anita Romano.

A Dean’s List student, Calle was a member of the Emerging Leaders Program and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, the Class of 2016 CSI representative for the Macaulay Scholars Council, a Macaulay Scholars Council (MSC) member, and the Vice President of Academic Affairs on MSC’s first-ever Executive Board. She was a Resource Assisted Initiatives in Science Empowerment for Women Scholar and a The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority participant.

In Fall 2013, she participated in the lab of Professor Shaibal Mitra, where she studied the changing spring arrival dates of certain migrant land birds in New York State. Calle also assisted in the Arenas-Mena Lab studying gene regulatory networks in sea urchins and polychaetes for the better part of her undergraduate career.

Calle educating youth on the Pine Snake

In addition, she participated in a ten-week NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates at the New York State Department of Health where she assisted in basic and public health research in the labs of Dr. Samuel S. Bowser, Dr. Ellen Braun-Howland, and Melissa Prusinski.

“Truly, this was one of the most fun, eye-opening research experiences I had because I was given a taste of the impact research could have on those around me,” exclaimed Calle, who also attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and the Emerging Researchers National Conference.

Calle was a member of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars, Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, a Revson Scholar, a Young Latinas Leadership Institute Scholar, recipient of the Valedictorian/Salutatorian Scholarship (awarded to students who were Valedictorian/Salutatorian in a Staten Island high school), and a Dean’s List student.

Adding to her wild adventures as a young conservationist, Calle traveled to the Galapagos Islands to take a class on Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation in Ecuador and the Galapagos. Her volunteer efforts include working at the Staten Island Zoo, St. Francis Animal Hospital, and St. Joseph’s RC Church.

She leaves her under-classmates with these inspiring words: “You are the most important part of your academic career. Push yourself forward without knocking yourself down.”


[videos, galleries] 67th Commencement Celebrates Student Achievement

Sunny skies and a pleasant temperature near 70 degrees greeted the 2,546 January and June graduates of the College of Staten Island, their families, friends, and supporters, as well as members of the College community on June 2 at the College’s 67th Commencement ceremony on the Great Lawn.

View the Commencement Photo Galleries>

After opening remarks from CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Gary Reichard, CSI President Dr. William J. Fritz came to the lectern. In his remarks, Dr. Fritz focused on the legacy of place of the College’s Willowbrook campus and launched the College’s 60th Anniversary celebration. He outlined the progression of the campus from farmland to the site of Halloran General Hospital, a state-of-the-art medical facility that provided treatment to more than 162,000 wounded soldiers during World War 2.

View the Commencement Program>

Dr. Fritz then discussed the conversion of Halloran into the infamous Willowbrook State School after the war’s conclusion. As Halloran was a model medical facility, Willowbrook was a model of a tragically broken system for treating people with developmental disabilities, serving as an overcrowded warehouse for neglected patients. Eventually, the public was made aware of the horrors of the facility when Senator Robert Kennedy referred to it as a “snake pit” and Geraldo Rivera’s reports for ABC News shed light on the conditions there.

View the Honors Convocation Program>

Willowbrook became a civil rights battleground, according to the President, leading to the signature of the Willowbrook Consent Decree by then Governor Hugh Carey in 1975. The Decree established that Willowbrook’s residents had a constitutional right to be protected from harm and to live their lives as citizens within the community. Willowbrook eventually closed in 1987.

Dr. Fritz pointed to the progressive aspects of this portion of the College’s legacy. “What you may not know is that Willowbrook’s legacy, like Halloran General Hospital before it, is in many ways a story of remarkable triumph. Shortly after he signed the Consent Decree, Governor Carey extended similar benefits to all persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities served by the State system, leading to the closure of other State schools and increased placements in residential community homes. The heightened awareness brought about by Willowbrook State School is credited with sparking the adoption of the first federal civil rights legislation protecting people with disabilities which became the building blocks of laws eventually leading to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990.”

Eventually, in 1993, Willowbrook became the home of the College of Staten Island, continuing its legacy of accessible quality higher education, building on the past successes of predecessor institutions Staten Island Community College and Richmond College, which merged in 1976 to form CSI.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhXYQMfzBds[/youtube] One of the College’s current success stories is 2016 Valedictorian RinZhi Go Larocque. The daughter of a fisherman in Malaysia who had trying encounters with pirates as he worked, she came to the U.S. to face language barriers, immigration problems, and eventual homelessness. Comparing her past life to being adrift in a leaking boat, RinZhi explained, “For me, my rescue boat turned out to be the CSI-CUNY Language Immersion Program.”

Now an academic success, as well as a Verrazano School student, a dedicated volunteer who helps others in need, and soon to be a graduate student at SUNY, Buffalo, studying dentistry, RinZhi imparted her example and encouragement to the other graduates. “Despite my circumstances, I held my head high and kept sailing, laboring mightily to repair my leaking boat by assimilating into a new society. Just as the pirates did not deter my dad from fishing in the ocean, nothing should discourage us from pursuing our dreams and giving our all to humanity’s underserved, globally as well as locally. There will always be storms ahead of you in the ocean. Do not lose hope! Find something you believe in because all of the challenges that you will face are in fact lessons that will go on to form your legacy, based on the beautiful life that you will have after reaching the shore.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRr86NYHvYQ[/youtube]During the ceremony, the College bestowed two honorary degrees: Dr. Khalid Iqbal, Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurochemistry at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, received a Doctor of Science degree, and Shakespearean actor John Douglas Thompson received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZalYtjx2lY[/youtube]Also in attendance to celebrate the Class of 2016 were U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, CUNY Trustee Dr. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, and Brian Cohen, CUNY Vice Chancellor and University Chief Information Officer.

Near the conclusion of this year’s Commencement, Dr. Fritz recognized 88-year-old William Carey, a World War 2 veteran who was graduating with a History degree in American Studies.


Dolphin Awards

In the afternoon, the tradition of honoring exceptional CSI faculty, staff, and students continued with the Annual Dolphin Awards ceremony.

Visit the CSI Today Dolphin Awards Photo Gallery in order to read the individual biographies of the outstanding honorees for 2016.

This year’s honorees included:

-Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Daniel McCloskey

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Patricia Brooks

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Jane Marcus-Delgado

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty: Susan Rocco

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title: Kathy Galvez

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in CLT and OIT Specialists Title: Linda John

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff: Erma Tacopino

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, Security: Barbara Brancaccio

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Part-Time, Non-Teaching Staff: Jeremiah Jurkiewicz

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Currently Enrolled Student: Rana (RJ) Mohammad

President Fritz opened the ceremony by thanking the many people who made this Commencement day possible. College Writer/Editor Terry Mares followed Dr. Fritz, reading short biographies of each of the honorees, celebrating their contributions to the College.


CSI Salutatorian Beginning as Port Authority Engineer

Tyler Franco '16 during his internship with the Port Authority at the top of One World Trace Center

As Tyler Franco ’16 stood at the lectern at the 2016 Honors Convocation, he told himself to “just enjoy this moment because it’s not every day that you get to do something like this!”

Franco, a Macaulay Honors College graduate, delivered a moving speech at Tuesday evening’s ceremony in the Center for the Arts that was not without some humor.

“When I was first told that I was salutatorian and would be speaking to you all today, I was thrilled. After all, what’s better than an extra homework assignment during finals, and then getting to read it in front of hundreds of people?”

View the Honors Convocation Program>

He did strike a serious note as well, emphasizing that “while the idea of starting something new may be intimidating, it is also wrought with opportunity. Yes, we may be able to go out and travel the world or get a high-paying job in our field, but as college graduates, we also have the opportunity to make the world a better place.”

An Electrical Engineering and Engineering Science major with a minor in Mathematics, Franco will begin working as an engineer for the Port Authority of NY&NJ this summer.

Tyler Franco in South Africa

“I hope to continue working as an engineer and to eventually leave my mark by working on some of the largest projects in the Tri-state area,” Franco stated.

He commended the faculty and staff at CSI for their support over the course of his four years at the College.

“Macaulay advisors Lisa French, Anita Romano, and Dr. Charles Liu have been incredibly helpful to me over the last four years. They have always made themselves available to lend a helping hand. From helping me decide on my post-graduate plans to identifying good internships for me, and everything in between, they have always gone above and beyond to try and help me the best they could,” recalled Franco, who received a full merit scholarship from the Macaulay Honors College as well as an Undergraduate Research Stipend for conducting research on partial volume segmentation.

He has done extensive volunteer work as an SAT tutor and college advisor for low-income high school students, an assistant coach at his former high school, and a worker for the recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy.

In fact, much of Franco’s message at the Convocation focused on public service.

“The impact you can leave on someone just by being there to lend a helping hand is immeasurable. So, I implore everyone, regardless of major, to go out and become stewards of kindness, helping to build a better tomorrow.  Whether it’s as a teacher, friend, or stranger, make the world a better place by chipping in.”

Tyler Franco in Australia

The Prince’s Bay resident, who graduated from St. Joseph by the Sea High School, also took advantage of CSI’s Study Abroad program, visiting Sydney, Australia in 2015 and Cape Town, South Africa in 2016.

Franco’s parting advice to CSI students is to work closely with their professors.

“At CSI the faculty is excellent and incredibly knowledgeable. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet them in office hours or after class. You’ll find that they will enjoy having students who are engaged and willing to go the extra mile to become better students.”

To his fellow graduates, he reminded them of the importance of being active in the CSI alumni community.

“In our post-graduate plans, we will meet new people, have new experiences, and visit new places, but we won’t forget the time spent here at the College of Staten Island. And as successful alumni, it is our duty to be ambassadors for the school, which has served as a second home to us for years. So as we move on, we should all be proud of our accomplishments but remember to always give back.”


Young Graphic Designer Wins CSI 60th Anniversary Logo Contest

Robert Weber, winner of the CSI 60th Anniversary logo competition is joined by CSI Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna (left) and CSI Foundation President Samir Farag.

When Robert Weber ’16 considered entering the College of Staten Island’s 60th Anniversary Logo Contest, he knew he wanted to create something original and beautiful.

His hours and weeks of hard work paid off when his art was selected as the winner of the contest. The Communications major with a minor in Design and Digital Media, who has been working for several years as a freelance graphic designer, noted that his inspiration “started with the idea that the logo ought to not be the typical ‘Collegiate’ style.”

“It is too often that you see designs produced by colleges that look the same. I didn’t want the design to be stereotypical of a college production,” said Weber, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from St. John’s University and has also studied Information Security and Forensics for two years at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

To celebrate the College’s Diamond Anniversary, the Office of Communications and Marketing, Division of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs, hosted the competition to provide the opportunity for a currently enrolled CSI student to become part of the CSI legacy by designing the College’s 60th Anniversary Logo.

Weber’s winning logo entry will be used online, in print, on merchandise, and to create stickers that can be placed on books, letterhead, and envelopes. It will also become part of the prize-winning portfolio of the successful entrant. In addition, he will receive $500.

Weber, who will graduate Magna Cum Laude this spring with a 3.8 GPA and Honors, was proud to be chosen out of the four finalists.

“I wanted to give back to CSI as my time here came to a close… I feel accomplished to have been able to leave behind a positive mark on the College of Staten Island,” said Weber, a Great Kills resident who graduated from Susan Wagner High School. He has offered his design services at no cost to many small businesses in New York as he believes that “giving back to those who help our local economy is very important.”

The young artist’s design process began with sketching out ideas that included the required text in varying sizes and framing each sketch with a diamond. He drew his color inspiration from the colors and composition of the CSI logo.

Using Adobe Illustrator, he began his work, and after about a week of browsing through dozens of fonts, colors, sizes, and constant repositioning, “I had my final revision of this flat and elegant design that aligns with the identity of the College of Staten Island while expressing a sense of modernism.”

This summer, Weber will be interning at CNET, a subsidiary of CBS in New York.




CSI Student with Visual Impairment Looks Forward to Graduation and Graduate School

Cheriyan utilizing assistive technology in the CSA

Although Ben Cheriyan ’16 had trepidations about attending college as a student with a visual impairment, he decided that he would not give in to his fears.

This spring, the College of Staten Island (CSI) Psychology major, who is minoring in Business, celebrates graduation, as well as academic and co-curricular success at the College. Carrying a 3.675 GPA, at this year’s Commencement, Cheriyan will receive a Cum Laude Award, Honors in the Department, the James Ortiz Jr. Memorial Award, and the CSI Auxiliary Corporation Excellence in Psychology.

“As a freshman, I had doubt in myself and feared my visual impairment would hold me back. Through the amazing people I met during my time at CSI, I learned that it was not my vision that was holding me back but fear itself,” said Cheriyan, who received a 2016 CSI Undergraduate Research Stipend for the Spring 2016 semester and served as an ALPHA Club and CSI Student Government member, as well as the treasurer of Psychology Club.

Cheriyan at the CSI Undergraduate Research Conference

The Ralph McKee Career and Technical High School graduate is grateful to the staff at the Center for Student Accessibility (CSA) for supporting his efforts throughout his college career.

“The Center went above and beyond to make sure I received reasonable accommodations and provided me with necessary assistive technology. What I appreciate the most about the CSA is that they took time to know me as an individual and not just as someone who is visually impaired,” commented Cheriyan, a 21 year old from Sunnyside.

Cheriyan also worked closely with Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, Assistant Professor of Psychology at CSI and Coordinator of Project REACH, a program aimed to help students on the autism spectrum succeed in college and beyond. He began work with the Project’s peer mentoring program in Spring 2013 as a mentee, and with Professor Gillespie-Lynch’s guidance and encouragement, he became a mentor the following year. Cheriyan has also been conducting research under Professor Gillespie-Lynch as he works with her on his honors thesis. The topic of his thesis is whether participating in a peer-mentorship intervention improves test anxiety in college students.

“What I appreciate the most about Prof. Gillespie is that she has high standards for me despite being legally blind. In the past, teachers have kind of ‘babied’ me because I was visually impaired. The skills I have learned under Kristen are something I will continue to use as I progress in academia and in the workforce,” said the student, who is planning to apply for a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology for the Spring 2017 semester. Cheriyan’s career goal is to work with individuals with disabilities to provide appropriate job training and accommodations to succeed on the job.



Kellie Joseph ’16 Starts Her Own Non-Profit Venture

Kellie Joseph with CSI President William Fritz at the 2014 Dean’s List Ceremony.

While modern fads and trends urge people living in our fast-paced society to practice yoga, keep calm, and live life comfortably, Kellie Joseph ’16 has some unusual advice:  “Get uncomfortable!” she urges.

The College of Staten Island Sociology and Anthropology major and recipient of multiple scholarships carries a 3.695 GPA, coordinates a budding not-for-profit business, and holds multiple positions on campus. Her reasons for “getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new” are simple.

“Learning something new and meeting new people helps you pick up new skills along the way, and it also opens your mind to a different way of thinking. If you don’t try something new, you won’t know if that ‘random elective’ could be the gateway to a fulfilling career,” she proclaimed, adding that she has studied subjects from the math and sciences to media and management, volunteered for different organizations, and attended a wide array of campus events.

Kellie Joseph (right) volunteering with fellow Verrazano members at the 2015 Verrazano Honors Convocation.

“There is so much that is offered here at CSI through the different programs and clubs. It’s shame to let it go to waste,” said the Notre Dame Academy graduate.

Born in Trinidad, Joseph currently embarks on several mission trips a year to the Caribbean to feed the homeless. She is currently using her own resources to fund the project and is seeking donations to assist in her efforts. She is in the process of registering the business as an official 501c3 organization.

The Verrazano School student currently holds several positions on campus: a peer educator in Health and Wellness Services, a tutor and note-taker for the Center for Student Accessibility, and the star status coordinator and Vice President of Community Service, National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She was a part of the first cohort of the CUNY Service Corps (2013-2014), an alumna of CSI’s Emerging Leaders Program (2014-2015), a Dean’s List recipient since 2013, a member of Who’s Who Among College and University Students (2015), a CSI scholarship recipient, and a member of the sociology honor society Alpha Kappa Delta. In addition, she is the recipient of the Norma B. Chernok Memorial Scholarship and the College of Staten Island Student Government Scholarship.

The young scholar is grateful to CSI faculty and staff members for making her college experience a successful and rewarding one. “Whether it’s stopping in to chit chat about life or doing a terrifying, yet rewarding, ropes course to learning about healthier life choices, or writing a senior thesis, every time I met with them, they were happy to help, give advice, and always had a smile on their face. Most people leave college feeling like ‘just another number’ but they all made sure that wasn’t the case,” she enthusiastically explained.

Joseph is currently conducting independent research with Professor Ananya Mukherjea in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology on public health and medical sociology, and has aspirations to become a public health research scientist as well as a college professor.