CSI Alumni Association Elects New Board Slate at Annual Meeting

The CSIAA Outstanding Student Leadership Award winners pose with their awards.

The CSI Alumni Association (CSIAA) recently held their annual meeting on the CSI campus.

After outgoing CSIAA President Vullnet Kolari, Esq. ’98 called the meeting to order and thanked all for their attendance, CSI Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs Barbara Eshoo presented College of Staten Island highlights for the past year.

CSIAA Associate Director Jennifer Lynch then presented the CSIAA Student Leadership Award winners, Isabella Cardona, Dan Hoizner, and Raechel Strobel, to the board. They are all 2011 graduates and were nominated to receive this award for their service to CSI and the community.

Following this presentation, Kolari thanked Outgoing Recording Secretary Roy Mackey ’02, ’03, a board member since 2007 and Recording Secretary since 2009, for his service, and outgoing Second Vice President Arthur J.  Merola thanked Kolari for his two years as President and presented him with an award from the Board for excellent service.

New and outgoing CSIAA Board Presidents pose with new Board members.

The election of new Board members was next on the agenda. The results include:

-Donna J. Fauci ’96, ’03, Robert Ferone ’86, and James McBratney ’05 were each elected to a second three-year term.

-Alan Benimoff ’67, Dmitriy Bykovskiy ’11, Francisco Collado ’09, Fran D’Atria Romano ’68, Numan Ejaz ’09, Paula T. McKeown ’90, and Sharmila Mohammed ’10 were elected to their first three-year term.

The election of officers concluded the voting with the following results:

-Arthur J. Merola, DPM ’84, ’85 was elected President. Dr. Merola had held the office of First Vice President since 2008 and had previously been Second Vice President and  Assistant Treasurer.

-Theresa Marro ’85, ’89 was elected First Vice President. Ms Marro had held the office of Second Vice President since 2008 and had previously been the Recording Secretary.

-Vullnet Kolari, Esq. ’98 was elected Second Vice President.

-Marietta DeLuca ’74, ’85 was elected Recording Secretary. She has been on the Board since 2009.

-Phyllis Minacapilli ’86, ’91 was re-elected Treasurer.

-Linda Dianto ’69, ’71, ’74 was re-elected Assistant Treasurer.

-James Raggi ’68, ’70 was re-elected Corresponding Secretary.

Each officer will serve a two-year term.

Alumni Association Celebrates CSI’s Early Years, Honors Stamos Zades

(L-R:) CUNY Trustee Kathleen Pesile, Stamos Zades, Rose Volpe

Memories of the College of Staten Island’s predecessor institutions, Richmond College and Staten Island Community College, were in the air recently at the CSI Alumni Association’s Early Years Alumni event at the Campus Center Green Dolphin Lounge, recognizing graduates of 1958 to 1976.

View the Photo Gallery.

The well-attended event, which honored Professor and Dean Emeritus Dr. Stamos Zades, opened with light fare and refreshments, allowing attendees to mingle and reminisce, as well as view a special display of photos from both institutions, created by the Archives and Special Collections, College of Staten Island Library.

After greetings from CSI Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs Barbara Eshoo and CUNY Trustee Kathleen Pesile ’73, College President Dr. Tomás D. Morales spoke to the guests, reviewing the history of Richmond College and SICC, and how they merged to become CSI. In addition, he shared some of the College’s recent accomplishments with the gathered alumni, such as the recent completion of the College’s Strategic Planning process, CSI’s first Goldwater Scholar, and the naming of CSI Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Michal Kruk to Thomson-Reuters’s list of the Top 100 Chemists, 2000-2010.

The President and Trustee Pesile then presented a framed photo montage of SICC images to Dr. Zades to thank him for his years of dedication to the College. In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Zades discussed how much his years at SICC, and later, CSI, meant to him.

Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs Dr. Ken Boyden, then thanked the Alumni Association and the Special Collections and Archives for their contributions to the event, and invited alumni up to the lectern to share memories of their respective institutions. Quite a few alumni accepted his offer, telling stories of happy days at Richmond College and SICC.

Attendees spent the remaining time discussing their college days and catching up on more recent events.

This gathering also marks the beginning of an Early Years chapter of the CSIAA with the hope that these alumni will continue to return to campus and bring their fellow alumni with them.

Jenna Calderon, Graduating Class of 2011

Jenna Calderon '11 graduated from the Macaulay Honors College at CSI.

Jenna Calderon graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance with a minor concentration in Mathematics from the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island.

Ms. Calderon maintained a near-perfect Grade Point Average of 3.9 and is the recipient of several awards, such as the CSI Auxiliary Services Corporation Award for Academic Excellence in Performing and Creative Arts, Phi Beta Kappa, and the CSI Foundation Prize for Music.

She is also a Dean’s List (2008-2011) student and was featured in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for 2010-2011.

Ms. Calderon first began her career as a student studying physics and mathematics but soon decided to pursue her passion for music by studying classical guitar at CSI. She has performed at the CSI Undergraduate Research Conference, as well as in the CSI Guitar, Chamber, and Jazz ensembles.

Along with her dedicated work on campus, Ms. Calderon also performs around NYC as the lead guitarist of ska band Not From Concentrate and as a guitarist and percussionist for the Richmond County Orchestra. She also tutors students in music and mathematics as well as works as a guitar teacher at the Rustic Music Center in Staten Island.

Ms. Calderon is planning on pursuing a graduate degree in Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University in the fall. She hopes to not only further her music expertise but also wants to dedicate herself to helping others in satisfying their passion in music.

Supporting Teachers in Madrid

Michael Young '10 is embarking on a Fulbright teaching assistantship in Madrid.

The opportunity to obtain an excellent tuition-free education first drew Michael Young to the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island. The chance to travel nailed his decision. As an undergraduate he studied in Florence and Tokyo, in the summer after graduation in 2010, Guatemala City.

Now he is on the move once more, heading to Madrid on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

At CSI, where he graduated magna cum laude, Michael majored in American Studies with minors in Studio Art and Spanish. His first step was working at CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center where he was able to secure his first two internships, one, a paid summer working for the Staten Island Mental Health Society, and the other, at Marvel Comics.

The Career and Scholarship Center also encouraged him to start getting involved on campus, where he worked as a Career Mentor for the Pathfinder Program, a SEEK Mentor, and a CSI Ambassador.

He then received a Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship that provided a paid internship with Global Kids, which seeks to develop youth leaders, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation press office.

In 2010, during his third Watson summer, Young headed to Guatemala City’s Esperanza Juvenil (Boys Hope Girls Hope), a residential, college-preparatory school for about 100 troubled youngsters in grades K through 12. He arrived not long after a volcanic eruption dumped three inches of ash on the city, Hurricane Agatha struck, and a sinkhole that National Geographic reported was 60 feet in diameter and 30 stories deep opened not far from the school.

“Suddenly, Guatemala was receiving worldwide attention just days before my arrival,” he says. “I was nervous about safety, but motivated to start teaching.”

Young, found that he was “enamored by the students, teaching in a non-native language, and immersing myself in a new culture. I treat each of these experiences as opportunities for personal growth and discovery.”

Two days after he returned home from Guatemala, he started work with the New York City Civic Corps, an Americorps program for service to the city. He worked for the nonprofit organizations Central Park Conservatory and GrowNYC, “improving their volunteer capacity and working in project management.”

Now, the Fulbright Assistantship sends him to Madrid, where he is going to work in a secondary school. “I’ll be in classrooms supporting teachers, either in English, history, or social studies. Perhaps I’ll be training teachers in the English language,” he notes.

He credits his Spanish teacher, Dr. Carlos Abad, who performed his Foreign Language evaluation for the Fulbright, and also Dr. Jane Marcus-Delgado, CSI’s on-campus Fulbright adviser, for helping him with the Fulbright application process.

“I want to be a teacher or a professor…and my childhood dream is to become a cartoonist and illustrator. I started a humor magazine called Operation Three-Legged Dolphin, and that was my pride and joy.”

Young adds, “I’ve been very privileged to have had all these opportunities. They gave me a strong framework in which to think about professional development and to build a transferrable skill set–and build a life.”

College Community to Celebrate 35th Annual Commencement

CSI will hold its 35th Annual Commencement on Thursday, June 2.

The College of Staten Island will recognize the Class of 2011’s  2,534 degree candidates on Thursday, June 2 at 10:00am on the College’s Great Lawn.

View detailed information for graduates.

Commencement will begin with welcoming remarks from College President Dr. Tomás D. Morales, as well as greetings from CUNY Trustee Kay Pesile ’73 and CUNY Vice Chancellor for Labor Relations Pamela Silverblatt, on behalf of CUNY Chancellor Dr. Matthew Goldstein.

The class valedictorian, Melissa Horne, will be graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BA in English and a concentration in Writing. She is a Verrazano School student with a 3.98 grade point average. Ms. Horne has received numerous scholarships and  is a Dean’s List student. During her time at CSI, Ms. Horne worked extensively with the Bertha Harris Women’s Center and the Campus Activities Board,she has won several awards for writing, and she is the founder of the Heads Up Awareness Program, a community service effort.

This year’s honorary degree recipients will be Dr. Diane Kelder, Dr. John Noble Wilford, and Denis Hughes who will each receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Dr. Diane Kelder, who received her BA from Queens College and went on to earn her doctorate at Bryn Mawr College (1966).  Her research interests include the art of the French Revolution, 19th and 20th century French painting, the history of graphic art, and early American modernism. She taught at the College of Staten Island from 1971-2000, and at the Graduate Center from 1980-2000.  Dr. Kelder served as the long-time editor of Art Journal, the journal of the College Art Association. She chaired the committee that selected the paintings and sculptures at CSI.  She has presented at numerous professional events and participated in panels, lectures, and symposia. Dr. Kelder is a prolific and accomplished author and curator who was the founding director for Art Gallery of the CUNY Graduate Center.

Dr. John Noble Wilford, winner of two Pulitzer prizes who earned a BS in Journalism from the University of Tennessee in 1955 and an MA in Political Science from Syracuse University. Dr. Wilford’s career in journalism began in 1956 with a job as a general assignment writer for The Wall Street Journal, and later as a medical writer. He spent a year at Columbia University under a Ford Foundation Fellowship, subsequently taking a job with Time magazine as a contributing science editor, then onward to The New York Times as a science reporter in 1965. Dr. Wilford eventually became The New York Times‘ best-known science reporter and was instrumental in creating the “Science News” section that elevated the quality of science coverage in the newspaper. He has been honored with numerous awards for his writing; held visiting professorships at several universities, including Princeton, Syracuse, Duke, Yale, and the University of Tennessee; and he has been author, coauthor, or editor of eight books. Dr. Wilford has been called the preeminent space reporter in the United States.

Denis Hughes has been the President of the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO since 1999. A top priority of his presidency has been creating a more mobile, active, and aggressive statewide labor movement.  Accomplishments include coordination of labor’s successful efforts to secure $20 billion in federal funding to help rebuild New York City and New York State in the aftermath of 9/11, and passage of legislation that provides necessary funding for treatment and medical care for 9/11?s heroes and first responders. Mr. Hughes serves on Cornell University’s Board of Trustees and was chairperson of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2010.

The keynote speaker this year will be New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

President  Morales will also recognize the recent recipients of the President’s Award, Ms. Dolores N. Morris, Distinguished Professor Fred Naider, and Fire Commissioner Cassano, as well as other dignitaries in the audience.

The ceremony will then focus on the 2011 graduates with greetings on behalf of the faculty from Professor Michal Kruk and induction of the new alumni by CSI Alumni Association President Vullnet Kolari ’98.

This year’s class of degree candidates will then be presented by Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Fritz to Dr. Morales, who will confer their degrees.

Immediately following the Commencement ceremony, Departmental Exercises will be held at various locations on campus. A reception for graduates and guests will follow in the Campus Center at 12:30pm.

Another Successful “Savor the Flavors” Serves Up Scholarship Support

This year's Savor the Flavors was another success, raising funds for student scholarships.

Approximately 200 hungry attendees recently enjoyed the signature dishes of some of the finest Island restaurants at the Second Annual “Savor the Flavors” event in the Center for the Arts Atrium on the campus of the College of Staten Island (CSI).

Proceeds from the event, hosted by the CSI Alumni Association with co-sponsors Con Edison, Liberty Mutual, and National Grid, will be used to provide crucial funding for student scholarships at the College.

“Savor the Flavors” not only gave those on hand a chance to taste some amazing cuisine, beverages, and desserts, but guest Celebrity Chefs Rob Burmeister and John Sierp, from the Food Network’s Chopped, also added to the fun by choosing the winners for Best Dish and Best Dessert.

Winners included Celebrate at Snug Harbor (First Place, Best Dish), The Beer Garden (Second Place, Best Dish), Venezia (Third Place, Best Dish), Cake Chef (First Place, Best Dessert), and Cookie Jar (Second Place, Best Dessert). The attendees awarded People’s Choice honors to Da Noi.

In addition to the awards, there were also raffle prizes, including an Italian food basket from Colavita, NuWorld Beauty cosmetics baskets, and a color NOOK eReader from the CSI Alumni Association, and music, which was donated and provided by Alumni Board Member Robert Ferone ‘86, of PartyHostDJs.com.

The fundraiser event was chaired by James McBratney ’05, CSI Alumni Board Member and President of the Staten Island Restaurant and Tavern Association, and was also made possible through the hard work of about 50 CSI student volunteers.

Participating restaurants, whose generous donation of food charmed the palates of the guests, included: Afternoones, Alfonso’s, Angelina’s Ristorante, Arirang, Bayou, The Beer Garden, Bocelli, Bridge Tavern, Pasticceria Bruno, Cake Chef, Cookie Jar, Canlon’s Restaurant, Celebrate at Snug Harbor, Da Noi, Dosa Garden, España Restaurant, Jimmy Max (Westerleigh & Great Kills), Joe Mozz Gourmet Shop, Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn, La Candela Española, The Lake Club, Manor Restaurant, Mother Mousse, Nucci’s (North & South), Paesano’s Pizzeria, Oriental Plaza, Park Café, Pepperjack Grill, R. Ippolito Distributing (specialty beers), San Rasa Sri Lankan Cuisine, South Fin Grill, Venezia, The Vanderbilt, and Vino Divino (wines).

After the event, Barbara Eshoo, CSI Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs, commented, “We are most grateful to everyone who made this event a success again this year–the sponsors, the Alumni Association, the student volunteers, and the restaurants who graciously donated their food. Now that people have had the chance to sample these wonderful dishes, I hope that they return the favor by patronizing these establishments.”

Working Women Mentor CSI Students at Networking Event

Pamela Columbia, President and owner of Statewide Fire Corporation, was one of 20 women leaders participating in the Working Women event.

In honor of Women’s History Month, CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, in conjunction with the Women’s Leadership Council and several independent professional women, recently held a networking event for CSI students at the Park Café. The event, entitled “Working Women,” included over 20 female professionals living on Staten Island. In all, 48 students attended.

Many of the women were CSI alumnae who offered to mentor current CSI students in their chosen fields. Each professional was matched with one to three students who are hoping to pursue careers in fields such as banking, teaching, business, engineering, and medicine.

The event began with a “day in the life,” as each woman explained what one day of working in her respective field would be like. This was then followed by a question-and-answer session.

“We received great insight at our table on how to prepare for an interview, what avenues we could take when choosing a master’s degree, and kept us hopeful about the future,” said Sara Lim, one of the students in attendance.

Some of the students involved were invited to interview for internships while many others received valuable guidance and career advice.

“It is a tough thing to do,” said Joanne Hollan, Associate Director of the Career and Scholarship Center, who helped organize the event with the program’s co-coordinator and moderator Nina Long. “It is a lot like matchmaking, but, with Nina’s hard work and enthusiasm for hosting this kind of event, these women (the professionals) were so interested in helping.”

Another student, Mary Ponte, added, “They gave me clarity on my direction and possible steps I could take. I hope one day I will be successful enough to be a mentor to someone else.”

The Women’s Leadership Council contributed 14 professionals of the 23 in attendance. Pamela Columbia, the Program’s Director, was also in attendance. “I really believe that (the event) was a success. I look forward to continuing our joint efforts to inspire and mentor the lives of these ambitious young ladies.”

The proactive women students at the event earned valuable information that is not always learned in a classroom. The event, which will be just one of many networking events available to CSI students, was successful not only because many students were able to procure interviews but because it afforded the them an opportunity to meet lifelong mentors in their chosen fields.

The Career and Scholarship Center is located in Building 1A and was established to “support and empower students and alumni in their career decision making.”  For information about upcoming networking events visit the Career and Scholarship Center or the CSI Today Event Calendar.

The Women’s Leadership Council is a group of women who are recognized as leaders in their fields. Its mission is to provide a forum for its members to promote the exchange of ideas, provide networking opportunities, and support its members’ professional and personal growth.

Women professionals participating in the day’s event include Florence M. Certo, DDS and owner of a general dental practice on Staten Island; Pamela Columbia, President and owner of Statewide Fire Corporation; Janet Warren Dugo, marketing and publishing communications professional; Jennifer Falcone DC, Doctor of Chiropractic with a private practice in Staten Island; Joanne Gerenser, Executive Director of the Eden II Programs; Juliet Lewis, Public Affairs Manager at Con Edison; Jennifer Lynch, Associate Director of Alumni Relations at CSI; Janet Mandile, an Associate Broker at Our Island Real Estate; Marlene Marko-Boyd, founding member and partner in MLM Public Relations; Chrissy Mazola, President and CEO of North American DF, Inc.; Frances Hogan Meyers, Director of Community Relations for the Staten Island Mental Health Society and the Co-Coordinator of the agency’s School Reading Volunteer Program; Roseann Mezzacappa, Principal of PS 58 on Staten Island; Holly Wiesner Olivieri, Staten Island’s North Shore real estate expert, currently working at Joanne Costa Realty; Irene Paoli, Associate Broker with Vitale Sunshine Realtors; Lisa Rondon, Associate Director of Administration at Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC; Gina Schlagel, Integrated Marketing Manager for Staten Island University; Jan Somma-Hammel, photographer with the Staten Island Advance (and Assistant Photo Editor); Serena M. Stonick, an attorney with the law firm of Lahr, Dillon, Manzulli, Kelley, & Pennett, PC; Laura Jean Watters, Program Officer at The Staten Island Foundation; Amanda Wexler, Licensed Social Worker who is currently the Director of the YMCA Counseling Service’s Little Steps Program; Tasheemah Wilkerson, HR Specialist for The City University of New York, College of Staten Island; and Fern Aaron Zagor, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS).

CSI Post-Master’s Grads Impact Education Citywide

Marquitta Speller, Principal of Promise Academy Charter High School in the Harlem Children’s Zone

“The training that I received in the leadership program at CSI has helped prepare me for success in a demanding educational environment. After completing the program, I became a more reflective educator and leader.”

Those are the words of Marquitta Speller, Principal of Promise Academy Charter High School in the Harlem Children’s Zone, which seeks to break the cycle of poverty for all 10,000 children in a 97-block zone of Harlem.

“CSI teaches you how to lead with purpose and with vision. When your mission in life is to change the lives of children, these are the tools that you need to experience success.”

Speller, Promise Academy Principal since January 2010, completed her certification requirements at CSI in 2003. The skills that uniquely qualified her for her important position in a groundbreaking charter school environment can also be found in every high school on Staten Island.

That’s right; every high school on Staten Island currently employs at least one administrator who has honed his or her skills with a Leadership in Education Certificate from CSI. However, graduates from CSI’s Leadership in Education program aren’t a well-kept secret.

“These high-quality candidates go on to careers as administrators throughout New York City and the region as Assistant Principals, Principals, and Superintendents,” noted Ruth Powers Silverberg, EdD, coordinator of the Post-Master’s Advanced Certificate Program for Leadership in Education at CSI. “We currently have over 120 educational leaders in the system.”

“The students who are accepted into this highly competitive program join a cohort of fellow students, which helps foster a community of learning,” Silverberg said. “This learning community of highly qualified and motivated students moves through the program together so that they can provide a support system for each other in the program and beyond.”

“The CSI program focuses on how school leaders create conditions in schools that support high-quality teaching and learning for all students,” commented program alum Frank Giordano, Principal of Brooklyn’s MS 443. “At the same time, the CSI program is intensely personal, focusing on the leadership development of each participant.”

Courses include curriculum to human relations, as well as research and practice in educational leadership. Along with theory-driven coursework, students also gain valuable field experience through fieldwork projects focused on school and district level issues. Unique to CSI, students in the program also complete full-time internships in a New York City summer school program.

“These program components better prepare the candidate for a highly competitive career in the New York school system and also provide the opportunity to network with current leaders, many of whom are also fellow graduates,” Silverberg stated. “This further positions them to be the strongest possible school leaders.”

The next class of the Post-Master’s Certificate in Leadership in Education begins in July. Applications are currently being accepted. For questions, please contact the CSI Office of Graduate Admissions at 718.982.2019. The College of Staten Island, located at 2800 Victory Boulevard, is a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban university.

Leadership Graduates at a Glance

-Approximately 320 graduates in 19 graduating classes since 1997
-Every High School on Staten Island employs at least one program graduate
-6 District Supervisors
-2 Agency Directors
-44 employed on Staten Island
-51 employed in Brooklyn
-10 employed in Manhattan
-2 employed in Queens
-2 employed in Parochial schools
-5 employed in New Jersey

What Do Leadership Graduates Have to Say?

“I found the Leadership in Education program at CSI to be a thought-provoking, rigorous, and in-depth experience. The learning environment is collaborative, innovative, and reflective. The summer internship is an invaluable training experience and great networking opportunity. As a result, I felt thoroughly prepared and confident in my administrative abilities.”

-Philip J. Carollo, Assistant Principal, PS 22, Staten Island

“I am a graduate of the Leadership Program at the College of Staten Island. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is planning to go into an educational leadership role. All of the instructors are highly knowledgeable about what an educational leader needs, and are clearly in touch with the recent practices that are used in public schools. Sound strategies were provided and multiple opportunities were given in which we were able to explore, create, devise, and reflect on what an effective leader needs.

I am currently a principal of an elementary school and I have utilized many of the skills that I gained from my experiences at the Leadership Program at CSI.”

-Sophie Scamardella, Principal, PS 65 (The Academy of Innovative Learning) Staten Island

“I am a graduate of the Leadership Program of the College of Staten Island from nine years ago. The program has given me the foundation necessary to lead in New York City’s complex and dynamic educational system.”

-Joseph Scarmato, Principal, High School for Medical Professions, Brooklyn

“My course work in CSI was an experience that allowed me to collaborate with other professionals and to gain insight from professors who modeled the elements of effective leadership. I thank CSI for focusing my vision toward a constructivist-based leadership style”

-Malky Plutchok MS, CCC-SLP, SBL, SDL, Supervisor of Speech, Cluster 5

“Taking part in the CSI Leadership Program provided me with the opportunity to make great connections in all areas of the school community, as well as develop my skills as an administrator. I recognized that a school’s structure should be set up where every person has an active and equally important role in setting high expectations of clear academic goals for all students. In addition, it became clear that a leader can change or improve the climate of a school by exemplifying qualities of support, appreciation, recognition, and honest leadership to brighten the tone of a school environment and promote learning.”

-Maria Bender, Assistant Principal of Mathematics, IS 72, Staten Island