[video] Northfield Bank Provides Support for Internships

[flowplayer src=’https://csitoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/NFB_032211_web.mov’ width=320 height=180 splash=’https://csitoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/northfield_bank_foundation.png’ ]

The College of Staten Island has received a $25,000 grant from the Northfield Bank Foundation for internship opportunities to support financially disadvantaged students.  The students, who are traditionally unable to participate in non-paid internships, now have the opportunity to gain experience and explore their fields of choice, while developing new skills via hands-on training, while working at a number of non-profit organizations.

Diane Senerchia, Executive Director of the Northfield Bank Foundation, recently visited the CSI campus to present the check to CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales.

John Alexander, President of the Northfield Bank Foundation, commented on the grant at last December’s Celestial Ball. “It is an honor to support the College. More importantly, it’s all about the students, getting them out into the community and giving back to community through their work at the non-profits on Staten Island,” he said.  The program provides the students with a unique opportunity to give back to the community as their positions are in organizations on Staten Island with limited budgets that cannot hire much support staff.

Back row (L-R) Caryl Watkins, Dr. A. Ramona Brown, Diane Senerchia, and Dr. Tomás D. Morales join student recipients of the Northfield Bank Foundation internship program. Front row (L-R) Michael Andrews, Sarah Alexis, Leticia Rodriquez, Margaret Harper, and Ann Mackey

“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,” commented Barbara Eshoo, CSI Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Relations. “The program provides 25 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 and participating in a career-related educational experience.”

“The responses from students who have participated have been overwhelmingly positive because they now feel more comfortable in their professional abilities and performance,” according to Caryl Watkins, Director of CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, which is administering the program. “Real work experience goes a long way in developing a student into a young professional.”

“This is a wonderful program for students who financially would not have the opportunity to intern, thus developing job-ready skills and gaining the competitive edge upon graduation,” commented Dr. A. Ramona Brown, CSI Vice President for Student Affairs. “I extend my sincerest thanks to Northfield Bank Foundation for their continuing support of CSI students and the Staten Island community.”

Organizations participating in the 2010-2011 program are the Alzheimer’s Foundation; the American Cancer Society; Art Lab, Inc.; COAHSI; Eden II; The Grace Foundation; the Greenbelt Conservancy; Northfield, LDC; Staten Island NFP Association; the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce; the Staten Island Museum; Snug Harbor Cultural Center; and Staten Island University Hospital.

To participate in the program, students must have completed 24 credits, have a GPA of 3.0 or better, and submit a 500-word statement on how an internship would help them to achieve their career goals. Applicants will also be expected to submit an unofficial copy of their transcript and job résumé. For some applicants, a personal interview may be required. Selected students receive the $1,000 stipend award upon successful completion of 80 hours of service to 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.

For more information contact the Career and Scholarship Center.

Alumni Mentor Students in the Art of the Business Meal

Kristian Gargasz chats with students at the Business Etiquette Luncheon.

In today’s fiercely competitive job market and economy, today’s graduates need every skill they can acquire to get an edge on the competition. Toward that goal, the College’s Career and Scholarship Center and the CSI Alumni Association teamed up last Friday to present “The Business Etiquette Luncheon.”

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

The two-hour event gave a capacity group of 58 CSI students the opportunity to enjoy a five-course professional business lunch, while a CSI alumni member at their table offered helpful suggestions on the proper way to conduct themselves during a real-life business meal situation. Beyond the one-on-one interaction with alumni, who are seasoned business professionals, the attendees also enjoyed a presentation from the Career and Scholarship Center’s Nina Long, who, between courses, shared more valuable information regarding the proper behavior in such a scenario.

Francesca Navarro, a junior studying Business Management with a minor in Corporate Communications, was one of the student attendees. When asked what she hoped to get out of the luncheon, she said, “I hope to develop the ability to go to an interview and present myself adequately, and if it is a dinner, so that I can have good communications skills and not offend anyone in the process.”

Another student, Michael Wallace, a sophomore majoring in Biology, added that, when he eventually faces a potential employer, he wanted to be able to “have a good interview and get a good job.”

Explaining the importance of the luncheon, Joanne Hollan, Associate Director of the Career and Scholarship Center, commented that “The business dinner and the interview that takes place along with it are the latest trend in how students are recruited into today’s job market. Many of the larger companies are now holding this kind of ‘Interview Day’ where students are invited to the company for the entire day to conduct a series of interviews with staff including the business interview luncheon or dinner. It can be a deal maker if done correctly. It can also be a deal breaker if students are not well prepared on how to conduct themselves during the business interview meal. In order to help our students be as competitive as possible, especially in today’s job market, The Career and Scholarship Center wants to provide students with these “career building” skills that will set them apart from other college graduates conducting a job search.”

As for the CSI alumni who were on hand to share their expertise, the general goal was to help prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s job interviews.

Frances Melendez, PhD ’80, ’94, the Deputy Director of the MA in Mental Health Counseling program in the Psychology Department, who received an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a BA in Psychology from CSI, noted, “I think, as a CSI alumna, that it’s important that students see that CSI alumni can be successful. It’s also for them to understand what the real world is like–how to interview, what the etiquette is, how they should prepare themselves, to empower them to do a good job on an interview.

Joe Ricciutti ’94, President of the Staten Island Yankees and a Foundation Board Member, who CSI graduated with a BS in Business Management, commented, “Being a CSI graduate and a member of the business community, any opportunity that I can give back, even if it’s just a little advice, I’m happy to do it. Given how competitive the job market is, it’s tough enough getting a good job, nevermind being right on the cusp and losing it because you did something [wrong] at an interview.”

Another alumnus was Kristian Gargasz ’06, who received a BS in International Business from CSI, eventually launching Grand Prix America, the North American offset of Grand Prix-Trading House, the European Dance and Fitness Apparel Company. He explained that “As students… we were educated very well, [but] as far as circumstances in the real world, we had little practice. When it came time to face real people in business we didn’t have the proper scenario in order to speak and articulate with those whom we were going to work with in the future. This [event] gives [students] an opportunity to practice and step forward into the professional world.”

Also on hand was Carole Gervasi ’02, Vice President of Online Degree Programs for the College Bound Network and a CSI alumni Board member with a BS in Communications from the College, who said, “CSI has definitely given my company a lot of interns over the years…I’m here not only to get an idea from the students in terms of what their opinions are of the outside world, but also how I can help them by bringing all of my expertise and experience, and see how I can recruit some more potential interns into my company because we’ve had such success with them in the past.

For the last seven years, the Business Etiquette Luncheon has been a part of the many events and services offered by the Career and Scholarship Center to help students succeed in the job market, and the event seems to draw more student participation every year. With that in mind, although, as Hollan mentioned, this is an usually an annual event, she said that “We had an overwhelming response to this event [this year] and would like to do another one in the spring, if we can.”

For more information of the many services that the Career and Scholarship Center has to offer, visit their Website at http://www.csi.cuny.edu/career/index.html or call them at 718.982.2300.

CSI alumni who are interested in participating in future Etiquette luncheons should contact the Alumni Relations Office at 718.982.2290.

This event was generously funded by the Campus Activities Board with Student Activity Fee funds.

CSI Student Selected for Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship

For the third consecutive year, a CSI student has been accepted into the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship.

Irvin Ibarguen is a sophomore member of The Verrazano School, majoring in Business Marketing. Although only a sophomore, Irvin has already participated in three internships—with the publisher Simon & Schuster’s marketing department, the marketing department for the SINY non-profit organization, and the executive director’s office of Northfield Bank. He is a former member of the LAWbound program, which is designed to prepare Latino students for careers in law. He has also been extensively involved with the CSI community, particularly through his efforts to help develop The Verrazano School program, which is now in its third year. To date, Irvin has served on The Verrazano School Student Initiative and written a marketing plan for the future recruitment of potential students. In addition to these accomplishments, he has managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA. Upon graduation, he plans to attend law school and pursue a career in immigration law and advocacy for immigrant rights.

The Watson Fellowship is a three-year career-building and mentoring program that places students in paid internships for the final three summers of their college careers. Watson Fellows also have the opportunity to attend various cultural events and professional development events around the city. Recent CSI recipients of the Fellowship have included Brian Kateman and Michael Maslankowski (2009), Michael Young (2008), Alexander Perkins (2006), and Sara Butler and Hal Harris (2005).

For this summer’s internship, Irvin is considering The Scholar Rescue Fund with the International Institute of Education (IIE), Echoing Green, and DonorsChoose.org.

In order to apply for the Fellowship, students must be freshmen or sophomores, not older than 25 years old at the time of application, and U.S. citizens or green card holders. Ideal candidates will be able to demonstrate a history of academic success and community/college involvement. If you would like to learn more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the Career and Scholarship Center in Building 1A, Room 105 or call 718.982.2300.

By Geoff Hempill, PhD

CSI sophomore and Verrazano School student Irvin Ibarguen has been selected as a Watson Fellow.

"Clothes the Deal" Helps Students to Prepare for Job Interviews

“Clothes the Deal” Helps Students to Prepare for Job Interviews

“Clothes the Deal,” an annual student/faculty fashion show and dress for success event recently took place at the College of Staten Island, and, once again, the event was a success. Sponsored by the Career and Scholarship Center and the Marketing Association of CSI, the event drew in more than 125 students.

Joan Dimeo Lyons of the Career and Scholarship Center, who coordinated the event, gave a brief talk on the importance of internships. Following this, the first portion of the fashion show began as the eight staff and faculty models walked out onto the runway individually, each displaying one flaw in their business attire that the student audience was asked to point out. When a student identified the flaws, which included white socks, too much jewelry, no sports jacket, and a tie that was “too busy,” he or she received a prize.

Jill DeSena-Shook, author of Just Tell Me How to Get Hired, was then introduced as the guest speaker. She began her presentation by discussing the importance of CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, and how students should take advantage of the services offered. Next, she explained to the students the differences between the words “polished” and “professional,” and followed up by making suggestions on what and what not to wear on a job interview. Aside from just having the proper attire, she stressed to the students the importance of smiling and having a positive attitude when trying to impress possible employers, which demonstrates enthusiasm about working for the company and being a part of a team.

After the speech, the student models were introduced wearing business attire from the Men’s Wearhouse and Annie Sez, walking down the runway one at a time. This ignited a huge response from the crowd, as all of the models were greeted with a loud roar upon emerging from the closed curtains. The models served as an example of how one should dress when attending a job interview.

At the conclusion, the President of the Marketing Association, Michael Levine, and the Vice President, Esmeralda Xheleshi, raffled off gifts to the students who attended.

By Matthew Santasiero

CSI Students Awarded Scholarships through HACU

College of Staten Island undergraduates Marybeth Melendez and Ismael Gonzalez are the proud winners of scholarships offered by The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), an organization representing nearly 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain, and Portugal.

Supported by corporate sponsors such as Lockheed Martin and GM, HACU offers multiple scholarships, for which students from member institutions across the country may apply.

“I congratulate Marybeth Melendez and Ismael Gonzalez for earning this well-deserved accolade in their respective fields of Psychology/Sociology and Mechanical Engineering. Ms. Melendez and Mr. Gonzalez are the College’s first winners of HACU scholarships, and we couldn’t be more proud,” commented Caryl Watkins, Director of the Career and Scholarship Center at CSI.

Marybeth M. Melendez, the oldest of three children, was raised in the tight-knit and culturally rich community of Spanish Harlem where, to this day, her pride and roots still lie. Following high school graduation, Ms. Melendez was employed in the legal field. In the late 1990s, after the birth of her children, Ms. Melendez began to rapidly lose her sight due to a genetic disorder known as Retinitis Pigmentosa, a progressive disease that destroys the retinal muscle of the eye rendering those afflicted with blindness. Ms. Melendez’s illness forced her to retire from her job in a law firm in order to focus on raising her children as a visually impaired parent. Thereafter, her vision began to quickly deteriorate, and she struggled to find a balance between parenting, surviving, and going blind. She became involved with the Martial Arts, where, as a student, competitor, and instructor of Tae Kwon Do and Judo, she began to find the balance, peace, and strength to go forward in life. Currently a full-time student completing Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Sociology with a Minor concentration in Disability Studies, Ms. Melendez hopes to pursue a career as a Clinical Psychologist.

The HACU award should go a long way toward helping Ms. Melendez realize her goals, as she notes: “The HACU Scholarship was both a blessing and an honor. It gave me the opportunity to maximize my education, as it not only covered the cost of my tuition for the Winter Session, but also the costs of my textbooks and supplies. I was fortunate enough to purchase a digital recorder and a talking scientific calculator, both of which are the much-needed tools that a blind student, such as myself, uses to be successful in the classroom. I am honored, blessed, and thankful that I was selected to receive this award.”

Ismael Gonzalez is a recent immigrant to the United States. Mr. Gonzalez grew up in Cuenca, Ecuador. In late 2006, he received the opportunity to come to New York, and shortly thereafter began taking classes at the College of Staten Island. Mr. Gonzalez is a full-time student in the Mechanical Engineering program. His eventual career goal is to work on designing computer hardware components.

To learn more about award opportunities such as the HACU Scholarships, please Click Here to visit the College of Staten Career and Scholarship Center online or contact Dr. Geoffrey Hempill, Scholarship and Fellowship Coordinator, at 718.982.2301.

CSI undergraduates Marybeth Melendez and Ismael Gonzales are both winners of HACU scholarships.

“Dress for Success” Gives Women Students a Much-Needed Edge in the Job Market

Women students from the College of Staten Island had a unique opportunity to get a jump on the competition in the job market at “Dress for Success,” an event hosted by the CSI Career and Scholarship Center, in partnership with the Women’s Leadership Council and the SEEK for Excellence Club.

Kay Pesile, a City University of New York Trustee, who spoke at the event, said that “Dress for Success” was important for the attendees because the College “is showcasing its future leaders of commerce, public service, and education.” She added that the College’s approach to helping CSI students to enter the job market successfully is two-fold, “one from the classroom to guide the students and the other is to show them that there are other people from the professional environment who are here to offer assistance, guidance, and mentoring.”

Click Here to view the CSI Today photo gallery.

In the opening remarks, Career and Scholarship Center Director Caryl Watkins encouraged the students to meet with the women professionals in attendance and ask them questions, using those conversations, and the vast resources of the Center to gain the necessary insight and expertise to find meaningful careers.

In addition, in recognition of the first-ever partnership between the Career and Scholarship Center and the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC), Center Career Coach and emcee Christopher Carbone presented Paula Coyle, Director of the WLC, with a plaque of appreciation for the Council’s support of the College and its students.

Miriam Perez-Lai, Faculty Advisor for the SEEK for Excellence Club, also awarded plaques of appreciation to three SEEK students, Babatunde Adekanbi, Rewieda Othman, and Bilikisu Hassan, whose hard work helped to make “Dress for Success” a reality.

Trustee Pesile offered advice to the women, giving them pointers on how to conduct themselves in an interview and, as a source of inspiration, she ended with a story of a Staten Island woman who braved a snowstorm to get to a job exam in Manhattan. When she arrived after a three-hour trip to be informed that the business was closed, she insisted that the only person there give her the exam, anyway. That company rep was so impressed with her drive and determination that he hired the woman, who turned out to be Pesile’s mother, on the spot.

After the introduction and opening remarks, the students had the chance to enjoy lunch while they networked with the business professionals on hand. During the luncheon, CSI President Dr. Tomás Morales stopped by to talk with the students and thank the Career and Scholarship Center and the SEEK for Excellence Club for hosting the event and providing assistance to CSI students. Dr. Morales also discussed the value of community service and of students giving back to their community as well as how the College also gives back to students through events like this one.

After lunch, the attendees went to the West Dining Room to browse through a rack of pre-owned business suits that had been donated to the College. Each student was able to take a suit, as a first step toward jump-starting her career wardrobe.

L-R: Miriam Perez-Lai with SEEK students Babatunde Adekanbi, Rewieda Othman, and Bilikisu Hassan.