Museum of Maritime Navigation and Communication Provides Employment for CSI Students, Receives Official State Charter

(From left to right): Arlinda Draga, Miriam Mishkin, Samir Farag, Samantha Harris, and Alvin Cheriyan at the Museum.

As the College of Staten Island celebrates its 60th anniversary, another historical Staten Island organization, with ties to the College, celebrates success.

It has been announced that The Museum of Maritime Navigation and Communication of New York (MMNCNY) has been recognized by New York State’s Department of Education, receiving an official state charter as of July 2016. The Museum is a participating host site to the CUNY Service Corps for the 2016-2017 academic year and has taken part in previous years through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at CSI.

CSI student Alvin Cheriyan ‘18 works as a Web Specialist, focusing on developing the Museum’s Social Media platform through outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as updating the Museum’s Website. Cheriyan, a Computer Science major, is also working on an app design to showcase specific maritime equipment and allow prospective visitors to preview the Museum prior to their visit.

“The plan is to increase the visitors’ knowledge about maritime history and equipment, while also creating interest in wanting to visit the museum. The goal is also to make the Maritime Museum more engaging and interactive for today’s youth,” noted Cheriyan, adding that, “With my skills and intuition, I plan on helping the Maritime Museum become better known to every generation, and the experience has helped me greatly increase my technical, networking, and social skills.”

CSI Accounting major Miriam Mishkin ’17, who has been working on bookkeeping and even grant writing and research for the Museum, said she has learned a lot during her time there, improving skills like using accounting software.

“It has been a great experience so far,” commented Mishkin.

Museum founder and Chairperson Samir Farag, who is also the CSI Foundation Board President, expressed his enthusiasm for the Museum’s place in Staten Island’s rich history.

“Getting this charter was very important not just for the Museum, but for the community. The Museum’s mission is to teach the history of a great industry that boomed on Staten Island and the State of New York years ago with an emphasis on the technological evolution. Technology has drastically changed over the years, and through the pieces in the Museum, you can see the transition from the sextant — the first navigational tool used in the 1800s (and earlier) — to the GPS that is now on our phones, cars, watercraft, and shipping vessels,” said Farag, a New Springville resident originally from Cairo, Egypt, who collected thousands of pieces over the years, many dating back as far back as 1930.

Farag has displayed pieces from his collection in several other locations over the past two years. Currently, he has items at the Staten Island Children’s Museum, the public library in St. George, and in the Working the Waterfront display in the Staten Island Arts headquarters in the St. George Ferry Terminal. Two years ago, in association with the City’s Parks Department, the MMNCNY’s traveling exhibit was showcased at Conference House Park in Tottenville for several months.

The next step in the Museum’s growth is to find a larger, more permanent location for the MMNCNY, according to Farag.

 

 

Macaulay Honors College Student Ana Hayes ’17 Interns at U.S. Embassy in Berlin

Ana Hayes '17 interned at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany.

World travel has taught College of Staten Island (CSI) student Ana Hayes ’17 many things. The most important lesson she shares, though, is to always “keep an open mind.”

After the 20-year-old Macaulay Honors College student traveled to Berlin, Germany this past summer, that lesson became a true reality.

“I met with quite a bit of culture shock upon my arrival in Berlin. The Germans are a wonderful people and, to some extent, the values and norms Americans share with them outweigh the differences between the two groups,” said Hayes about her two-month internship at the American Citizen Services department in the U.S. Embassy.

The Queens, NY-born CSI student is no stranger to travel, venturing to Europe as early as nine years old. These early experiences, coupled with her geographical coursework at CSI, according to Hayes, “proved very valuable as I developed some sense of European politics at large that I leaned on throughout my trip.”

“During the course of my internship, I came into contact with Embassy employees who better fleshed out my understanding of the types of people drawn to government service. I was struck by how diverse a group they are; indeed, I feel that in some ways I learned just as much about the United States as I did about Germany. For the first time, I found myself interacting daily with people from well outside the New York orbit. Their perspectives were often worlds apart from my own, yet we all shared a passion for cultural plurality. It made the office a pretty exciting atmosphere,” said Hayes, who will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Italian language, Culture and Politics, and Political Geography of the United States. She currently holds a 3.9 GPA.

Hayes has been inspired by many individuals in her life: Peter Kabachnik, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Global Affairs; Gerry Milligan, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of World Languages and Literatures; and, of course, her mother.

“My mother and I have traveled together since I was young. Travel has always been a major part of my life, and I want to continue that,” said Hayes, noting that her mother, as a Professor of History at Montclair State University, would receive research stipends and take Ana with her on trips.

After graduating from the International Baccalaureate Program at Curtis High School in 2013, Hayes began at CSI with many of her courses focused on Russia. Her dual Italian American citizenship also encouraged an active interest in Italian culture and language. Sicily is of especial interest to her, due to her Sicilian heritage.

Ana Hayes (right) and her sister, Maddie, also an MHC student at CSI, on the Italian island of Pantelleria.

Her advisor and mentor, Dr. Kabachnik, has also been a positive influence in her academic career. “He encouraged me to do research on Chechnya and that got me interested in doing some very serious research,” commented Hayes, not forgetting the support she has received at Macaulay Honors. “All the people at Macaulay are wonderful and so helpful. They encouraged me to apply for many opportunities.”

A CUNY BA student, Hayes also received the prestigious Thomas W. Smith fellowship. Her mentors for the CUNY BA are Dr. Kabachnik and Dr. Milligan.

Director of the Macaulay and Verrazano School programs Dr. Charles Liu commented, “Ana is a tremendously talented scholar and communicator whose view of our world is truly global. She represents the College of Staten Island and the Macaulay Honors College with eloquence and distinction wherever she goes—in our local community and across the globe too.”

When asked how she balances school, travel, and other responsibilities, the Dean’s List student noted how her family dynamics help her to stay focused. “I’m the second eldest of seven children. Learning how to best use my time, flexibility, etc. were all ingrained in me from an early age as a result,” commented Hayes.

Verrazano Student John Gioeli ’17 Engineering a Blueprint for Success

John Gioeli as goalkeeper for the CSI Men's Soccer Team.

John Gioeli ’17 has always dreamed of designing automobiles, airplanes, or even complex mechanical infrastructures. So, when an engineering internship opportunity arose, the Engineering Science major and soccer star juggled his priorities in order to take another step closer to his goal. The Verrazano School student and 2014 CUNY Athletic Conference All Star notes that it was “a bittersweet moment” when he decided to stop playing soccer at CSI in order to have time for the internship. Gioeli is currently an engineer intern at a company constructing a high-rise condominium building, where he assists the project manager in analyzing blueprints and documentation, and inspecting overall construction and MEP systems.

While carrying a 3.58 GPA and pursuing a Mechanical Engineering specialization with a minor in Mathematics, Gioeli has always managed to handle multiple obligations outside of the classroom. The Brooklyn native is working with Aleksander Haber, PhD on a senior design project, along with classmate Dimitrios Pavlidis. The project is a ball-and-beam control system with an inverted pendulum control situated on top of the beam setup.  The feedback-control system is used in everyday-life applications, such as military missile or rocket guidance and automatic piloting.

Gioeli also studied in Florence, Italy in June 2015, commenting that, “I would recommend it to every student to study abroad at least once. The cultural experience is remarkable.”
As the goalkeeper and three-year starter for the CSI Men’s Soccer Team from 2013-2016, Gioeli is referred to as an individual who “helped build the foundation of the current program” by his coach John Tardy.
Earning multiple scholarships and awards, the St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate still finds time to coach a youth travel soccer team for Cedar Stars Staten Island.
In fact, the busy 21 year old’s advice to college students is to “join a club or sports team so that you do not always live in the textbooks studying. Having a few hours a week networking and enjoying time with friends is a major part of college.”

John Gioeli (second from right) in front of Mount Vesuvius on his visit to Pompeii.

To that end, Gioeli is also, along with Dr. Haber, working to establish an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) club at CSI.

With future plans to pursue a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and become a licensed professional engineer, the student is grateful to many professors as well as the Verrazano staff for their support.
“Professor Chang-Min Kim has always been there to lend a helping hand for academic work and always made room to fit students in his busy schedule… The Verrazano School staff are the most helpful and down-to-earth group of people who I can have endless conversations with. Cynthia Palumbo, Cheryl Craddock, and Dr. Charles Liu have guided me through the four years at the College to do my best and to push me to work even harder.”

Gioeli is the recipient of the William H. Chiles Engineering Scholarship, Bing Technology Memorial Scholarship, Donald DiFranco Memorial Scholarship, Telehouse International Corporation of America Scholarship, the Con Edison Scholarship Endowment Award, and several student-athlete awards.

“John has a wonderful demeanor and a live mind. He’s an academic and athletic powerhouse who works at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have him in our CSI Verrazano School community,” said Charles Liu, PhD, Director of the Verrazano and Macaulay Honors College programs.

CSI Honors Student Achievements Adding Up

Tim Sweeney '17

The following equation sums up Tim Sweeney’s experience at the College of Staten Island (CSI): Macaulay Honors College Student + Captain of the CSI Men’s Swimming and Diving Team + Mathematics Major = One Amazing Student. Leading his team to three CUNYAC Championships in a row, Sweeney ’17, who is also member of the Student Athletics Advisory Committee (SAAC), advises his peers not to let school work add up.

“Stay on top of your work. College is a great opportunity to have fun but the amount of work can pile up quickly. Complete your work piece by piece, without letting it get out of hand,” urges Sweeney, a 20-year-old graduate of St. Peter’s High School.

Sweeney and his team recently traveled to Stuart, FL for a week-long training trip of two-a-day swim practices and dry-land workouts, where the athletes could focus on training without any distractions. Sweeney hopes to represent CSI at the 2017 NCAA Division III Swimming Championships this March.

“We are extremely proud of Tim. He is an excellent leader to his teammates and a very hard worker. It’s been a pleasure to see him grow as a student and excel as an athlete,” lauded Charles Gomes, CSI Director of Athletics.

“Swimming has been such a big part of my life for about 15 years. Because of this, I’m around the pool so much. I give swim lessons at CSI and I’m one of the head coaches of Hillside Swim Club, a team that I swam on for 13 years, until I graduated high school,” noted Sweeney, a West Brighton resident who also carries minors in Geography and Finance.

In a brief hiatus from aquatics and academics here at CSI, Sweeney also had the opportunity to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark where he studied Danish Greenspace, a class that allowed him to “see and experience so many new things from a culture that is so different than ours here.”

With an impressive 3.865 GPA, Sweeney is also a research assistant under Professor Jonathan Peters of the Finance Department at CSI and recently presented at the 2016 CSI Undergraduate Research Conference. His project, titled “Geospatial Analysis of New For-Hire Vehicle Services in New York City,” was an analysis of four different taxicab services throughout the five boroughs.  Sweeney also participated in the Macaulay Big Data Boot Camp, part of the Data Science Program at Macaulay Honors College and is taking part in a data analytics project this summer at the CUNY HPCC.​

Sweeney is grateful to many CSI faculty and staff members, particularly his swim coach, Mike Ackalitis, who has been “a key factor in my swimming successes and is always available to help outside of the pool as well, whether it is with school or work.”

Sweeney also appreciates his Macaulay advisors, Anita Romano and Lisa French, who “have offered guidance in all of my academic endeavors dealing with classes and outside internships,” as well as his mentors Professor Peters and Nora Santiago.

“Tim’s devotion to his studies as well as his training is admirable. He is a terrific student, and the Macaulay Honors College is proud to have him in the program,” said Dr. Charles Liu, Director of the Macaulay Honors College and The Verrazano School at CSI.

After graduation, Sweeney plans to attend graduate school for actuarial science, which would incorporate his math and my finance backgrounds and “allow me to enjoy the best of what each has to offer.”

 

 

 

 

[videos] CSI Student Artwork Brightens Local School Hallways

In another example of the College of Staten Island (CSI)’s seamless collaboration with the Staten Island community, an art internship project between CSI and PS 3, The Margaret Gioiosa School, has culminated in a mural installation at the Prince’s Bay school. CSI student James Merlis was welcomed by PS 3 Principal Elmer Myers this week for the unveiling of his artwork, which will adorn the grammar school’s second grade hallway.

“This was a very successful partnership in that it allowed a CSI student to give back to the community with his talents and passion. We would not have been able to identify a student with the requisite skills on our own,” commented Myers, adding that the mural project “has inspired our students to read more.”

Merlis, who is slated to graduate in January 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art in the recently established BFA in Art Degree program, will also work at PS 3 over the summer months to create a mural for the fourth grade hallway. The current murals include artistic interpretations of classic literary characters such as Mr. Toad, the Grinch, and Flat Stanley as well as an eight-foot-tall blue heron, the school’s mascot.

CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Gary Reichard addressed his audience of “our youngest Staten Islanders” at the ceremony in the school’s library where he also thanked the artist and the principal.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTNXDcZ5Vbs[/youtube]“I’m very proud of James, and I applaud Principal Myers for having the vision to know this project would be a great thing,” said Reichard, adding that collaboration between CSI and all Staten Island schools is something that will continue to blossom.

“CSI has students from all over the world, and it is also rooted in the Staten Island community. There is nothing better we can do than to reach out and touch and be a part of the schools in our community,” he commented.

The partnership between the Performing and Creative Arts department and CSI was coordinated by Professor Marianne Weil.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmOFrgNS2EY[/youtube]“Through the PS 3 mural project, James worked tirelessly towards his studio art objectives as student-artist and specifically as a mural painter. Field experience and internships are our students’ first significant means to strengthen their career path and provide a gateway to a profession. These experiences help cement our student goals,” noted Weil. “This is a wonderful testament to the value of field work and internship experience while an undergraduate in the BFA in Art program at CSI.”

Director of the Office of Enrollment Services Mario D’Alessandro, whose two children both attend PS 3, was particularly impressed with the project. “I encourage other schools, organizations, and companies to consider ways they can collaborate in a mutually beneficial manner with CSI, whether through independent study courses or internships, to help educate and prepare the next generation of CSI graduates,” D’Alessandro urged.

Myers explained the process of the project, which included input from PS 3 teachers. “Our second grade teachers worked with Merlis to identify literary works that would both be appropriate and inspirational to the students. Merlis then selected books, added his artistic vision, and transformed the bleak hallway into a colorful literary world,” explained Myers.

No one was as excited by the unique and magical artwork than the PS 3 students themselves. One student, Serge, wrote that, “When I look at the pictures, it just makes me happy…The paintings on the wall always make me dream that I am in it with the nice, kind characters.”

Shachi reflects that, “When I see the murals, I feel like I am in the murals… When I see the Grinch, I feel like I want to turn his frown upside down.”

Noah added, “…the art is beautiful because it makes me feel like I’m inside of the books.”

“When I walk down the hallway, I feel like the pictures are jumping out at me,” exclaimed KJ.

Damian loves that, “… the school murals are amazing… I think this amazing artist did a fantastic job.”

The humble artist simply commended Myers, CSI, and his long-time mentor, Weil for their support and looked to the future of contributing his creativity to the community. “It’s been a wild ride, and I’m thankful for this opportunity to utilize my skills and artistry to portray literacy for the students. I’m also thankful that I can continue this project at PS 3.”

 

Rising Stars: Steve Arriaga ’17

Steve Arriaga

Steve Arriaga ‘17:  Major: English with a concentration in Linguistics, minoring in French and Spanish Language. A Verrazano School and Dean’s List student, and a recipient of 13 scholarships, he completed a year as a study abroad peer advisor, and graduated from the Emerging Leaders Program and the CUNY Service Corps where he interned at Lifestyles for the Disabled. He is also interning at Port Richmond HS through the CSI Liberty Partnerships Program. A favorite aspect of CSI: “My time at CSI has been outstanding. The professors that I’ve had have inspired me in one way or another to always love what I learn and what I’ll teach one day.” Future plans: After graduation, he plans to apply for a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to teach abroad in South America. Afterward, he will pursue a PhD in Linguistics.  To read more about CSI Alumni, check out Eye on CSI.