Sharmin Pathan ’19 Engineering a Bright Future

Sharmin Pathan working on the Satellite Design Project.


Watch out! Sharmin Pathan ’19 is taking on the world of science full throttle. Studies show that about 20 percent of engineering graduates are women, in which only 11 percent are practicing (Huffington Post). Hoping to make up the latter, Pathan, the 2017 National Grid scholarship recipient is taking an active role on campus to ensure that these figures become a thing of the past.


The 20-year-old Yonkers resident is currently the chapter president of the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE), and is in the process of starting her own SWE club. While some may find themselves overwhelmed with the responsibilities of leadership and time management, Pathan has extended herself beyond one activity to encourage other females to pursue their interests in fields that might otherwise shut them out. Pathan is currently a participant in SWE’s Satellite Design Project in which she lends her talents to 3D rendering of various satellite system components and research on the pico-satellite’s structures and mechanisms.


The Yonkers High School graduate is currently an intern for CSI’s Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP). STEP is a Saturday program that helps students from grades 7 through 12, who demonstrate an interest in fields of science, health, engineering, education (math and science), technology, and other licensed professions. As a participant, Pathan has assisted seventh and ninth graders in the Engineering field which she feels helps “encourage” and “inspire” them. She credits this opportunity and experience to STEP/Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), project director Debra Evans. Pathan feels as if the program has given her “the confidence to be more involved with students and encourage them to join STEM field majors.”

Pathan graduated from Yonkers High School.


Similarly, the Engineering Science major has been an asset to the program and community, as director Evans notes, “Bringing Sharmin Pathan into the lives of our youth was the best investment for the STEP program.  Sharmin has taken our seventh through ninth grade students on a Satellite journey, and our students are eager to attend the STEP program each Saturday morning. Thank you Sharmin for bringing academic excitement into the lives of our youth.”

Newly appointed CSTEP program coordinator Karl Francis has taken note of Pathan’s hard work and growth as a member of the College. Based on their previous experience, he recalls, “I’ve known Ms. Pathan in a number of different capacities, over the last couple of years as a member of the College of Staten Island SWE chapter, mechanical engineering research student on the Satellite design project, and within the last few months as a CSTEP Scholar; through all these experiences, Ms. Pathan consistently demonstrates, a commitment towards her academic, research, and career goals and a level of professionalism that not only gives rise to impressive results, but inspires others to do the same. This consequently, makes her a natural leader and excellent fit as the new CSI Chapter SWE President!”

Though she is incredibly active here on campus, the sophomore isn’t limiting her efforts to the CSI community. Born in Gujrat India, Pathan is still looking forward to studying abroad, preferably in Germany. While she continues to pursue her Bachelors, and subsequent Masters, Sharmin still finds time to reflect on her experience at CSI thus far which has sparked her own hopes to carry out philanthropic efforts. She states, “CSI has offered me so many outstanding opportunities to gain critical experience in my field. As I continue to get that support, one day, I hope to be in the position to give something back as well.”

In intensive fields where women often appear as hidden figures, Pathan and future counterparts to come, act as flashlights to a new path.

Emily Rice Comments in UDaily

College of Staten Island (CSI) Assistant Professor of Engineering Science & Physics Emily Rice, PhD, was featured in the UDaily article “Brown Dwarf Mysteries.” Rice discusses how brown dwarfs hold important keys to understanding our universe.

View full article at

CSI Student Abigail Brown ’20 Wins Motorola Competition

Abigail Brown was on the winning team at the Motorola competition.

College of Staten Island (CSI) student Abigail Brown ’20 may have been “intimidated” when she first arrived at the Motorola headquarters in Chicago. However, that sentiment changed when it was announced that Brown’s team was one of only two grand prize winners in the Motorola Moto Z – Moto Mods Pitch competition.

Her team, MACAY Labs©,  one of 13 teams competing, founded MACAY Labs​© TrueSound HiFi©. They will receive up to $1 million in investment funding from Lenovo Capital and were offered enrollment in the first class of Motorola’s new Moto Mods Accelerator Program. MACAY Labs​© is comprised of five founders: three Staten Island Technical High School (SITHS) students; Brown, a SITHS alumna; and one Stevens Institute of Technology student.

“When we found out we won the investment, we were almost in tears. At first, I was too shocked to react, then people were coming up to us and shaking our hands. We were dumbfounded. Full-grown professionals were thanking us, teenagers, for sharing our time with them. They were congratulating us. It was a surreal experience,” exclaimed Brown, who notes that she was one of the youngest competitors and the only woman. The student first worked with CSI staff through the 30,000 Degrees initiative, when SITHS reached out to the Staten Island Small Business Development Center at CSI as well as the CSI Tech Incubator to assist Brown.

“30,000 Degrees brings together educators from P-12 and college settings to support student aspirations and success. In Brown’s case, the CSI team of business experts who helped her and her teammates prepare for the Chicago competition were palpably excited by Macay Labs. Given the impression she and her teammates made on the group, I am not at all surprised by the outcome of the Motorola competition,” declared Kenneth M. Gold, PhD, Founding Dean of the School of Education

Currently taking non-degree classes in order to focus on the Motorola project, Brown will be a full-time student at CSI in the fall, majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Bay Terrace resident has worked as an instructor at the Staten Island Hebrew Academy’s Intro to Lego Robotics course, an Engineering counselor at SITHS’s Summer STEM Camp, and an IT/Media Consultant at Lifestyles for the Disabled. She is also trying to start an independent Intro to Engineering course for kids.

Brown plans to pursue an undergraduate and then graduate degree in her field, with future plans to have her own consumer electronics company, and eventually teach engineering to high school students “to impact their lives like my teachers impacted mine.”

Read more about the competitors and their products on the Motorola Blog.​

View the video on NY1.



CSI Students “Rocking Science” in the Islands

(From left to right): Dr. Lindo-Artichati, Jessica Scicchigno, and Tatiana Vasyleva pose by their research vessel.

While many students choose to lounge on the sunny sands of exotic islands during the lazy days of Spring Break, three College of Staten Island (CSI) undergraduates are enjoying the tropics in a different way.

Lillian Morales ’17, Jessica Scicchigno ’17, and Tatiana Vasyleva ’17 are participating in a land and sea research project based in Puerto Rico.

Organized by Professor David Lindo-Atichati, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Physics at CSI, the marine research expedition will span from Puerto Rico to Saint Croix.

Vasyleva, a Physics major, and Scicchigno, double majoring in Psychology and English, will conduct hands-on research aboard the federal Research Vessel Nancy Foster from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Meanwhile, Morales will remain ashore to conduct outreach, including writing a blog in English and Spanish entitled “Ocean Expedition to the Virgin Islands: Undergraduate women rocking science!

According to Dr. Lindo-Atichati, “The on board team will deploy ocean instruments and sensors into the ocean to better understand the cross shelf transport of water masses and the implication of these ocean motions for the recruitment of baby fish. That work is important to understand the non-linear motions of seawater and nutrients near the shelf break, and critical to manage marine protected areas in the US Caribbean.”

As Morales loyally reports from the shores of San Juan, she describes a trip filled with hard work and also time for some recreation.

Lillian Morales is writing a blog about the team's adventure.

On Day 3 of her blog, she writes, “Despite their hard work at the labs, the researchers are able to enjoy themselves and the beautiful view that comes from working on this vessel. They have described their time out in the ocean to be peaceful and also amazed of how beautiful the ocean looks and sunsets. They have also enjoyed some time at the gym and despite the rocking of the vessel, Tatiana mentions that yoga there is very fun to do. Not only do they collect sample and data, they were also able to enjoy in a game of Easter egg hunt! Not only was that pretty cool today but Giovanni states that were able to deploy CTD’s to a depth of 2,110 meters. And now after a few stations they were finally had the first XBT deployment, expandable bathythermographs. They are not meant to be collected they just fall to the bottom of the ocean. What an exciting day!”

Morales is majoring in Education with a minor in Geology.

Impressed with the bilingual blog, Dr. Lindo-Atichati comments, “Outreach efforts like these show people (not only scientists) what we do, why we do it, and what society gains from it. In short, the goal of this effort is to deliver our science beyond the margins of a scientific paper, and beyond the walls of the classroom.”



National Grid Fuels the Future of CSI Engineering Students with Three-year Scholarship Investment

Kandace Rodriguez, Dr. Antoniades, and Bahira Akramy at a luncheon at CSI.

National Grid empowers tomorrow’s workforce through sustained commitment to the College of Staten Island (CSI) and STEM students

National Grid has a long- standing partnership with CSI providing scholarships to support students interested in advancing in engineering, and in general math- and science-related careers, and supporting workshops to engage high school students in the STEM curriculum.

The company has provided a grant, which has been allotted to the College over a three-year period to support STEM scholarships and National Grid’s Engineering Workshop Series with local high schools. Scholarship recipients are selected by the College of Staten Island’s Scholarship Selection Committee of the Career and Scholarship Center. Any number of scholarship awards in any amount may be made each year, up to the fund balance available for spending. Qualified students must submit the appropriate College-approved financial aid form each year to be eligible for an award.  This year, there were 11 scholarship recipients.

There was a time when Kandace Rodriguez ‘17 worked two jobs while attending school full time, and the 27-year old College of Staten Island (CSI) Electrical Engineering student is well aware of how stressful this schedule can be. As a recipient of the National Grid Scholarship, Rodriguez can focus less on funds and more on her studies.

“This scholarship will allow me to continue to pursue my degree. Tuition can become quite a burden and while studying engineering, it is very difficult to have a job and a great GPA,” commented Rodriguez, who plans to pursue a Master’s in Bioelectronics or Electrical Engineering. “Sustainable power systems intrigue me, and in the future, I would love to be a part of the innovation in more green and sustainable power systems,” she said.

Rodriguez, a member of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is grateful for the Scholarship as well as the support she receives at CSI.

“The CSI Engineering program is outstanding. I previously attended a large university and remember feeling very disconnected when I could not speak with a professor or advisor concerning difficulties,” noted Rodriguez.

Another elated and grateful Scholarship recipient, Bahira Akramy ‘19, plans to use skills she obtained at CSI to become a Professional Engineer (PE).

“I was so happy because I felt that my hard work had been recognized and this made me feel motivated to work even harder,” commented 19-year old Akramy, a Verrazano Honors student who is also a member of the IEEE and the Roosevelt Clubs.

The scholarship recipients were recognized at a meet-and-greet event at CSI where representatives from National Grid Inc. congratulated students on their success, learned about the value of the opportunity provided to them, and commended them for their hard work.

“National Grid – and the energy industry as a whole – needs to get young people on board with sustainability and inspire a new generation of STEM professionals,” said Frank Lombardo, Director, Construction and Maintain, National Grid.  “The company is committed to focusing our community investment on building a qualified and skilled workforce for the future and our partnership with CSI helps support students who are interested in developing productive math- and science-related careers.”

“National Grid has been extremely generous and supportive of our high school student outreach as well as the college student scholarship programs for the last seven years. Their passion for STEM starts from their top management and trickles down to their technical staff as is evident by recent visits to CSI by their executives as well as their amazing engineers and management teams. Their support of our programs has resulted in spectacular increases in student enrollment in STEM at CSI and in particular in Engineering where we have experienced a student enrollment growth of over 150% over the last three years and the emergence of several new programs,” said Prof. Neo Antoniades, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Engineering Science and Physics and National Grid Inc. Workshop principal investigator.

“National Grid is committed to enhancing STEM education in our communities and developing the next generation of engineers and scientists,” said Mauri Myers Solages, Manager Corporate Citizenship.  “Our partnership with CSI supports National Grid’s ‘Engineering Our Future’ initiative to build a qualified and skilled workforce.”


Sarang Gopalakrishnan Awarded CAREER Grant

Sarang Gopalakrishnan has received a CAREER Grant.

Sarang Gopalakrishnan, PhD, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant. Dr. Gopalakrishnan is a newly hired tenure track Physics faculty member within the Department of Engineering Science and Physics.

“I am very happy with the news of Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s CAREER grant award. Dr. Gopalakrishnan was recently hired to strengthen the Physics program in our division, and he is already making us all feel proud of that decision.  Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s research interests are related to the overlapping of condensed matter, quantum computing, and statistical mechanics, so he works in fundamental, as well as applied problems.  I am sure that this grant will create terrific research opportunities for the students,” commented Vivian Incera, PhD, professor of Physics and Dean of Science and Technology.

Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s project focuses on “the behavior of large physical systems [which are] irreversible. For instance, it is common for water to leak out of a pipe but not for the leaked water to spontaneously go back in the pipe. This irreversibility is manifested by the fact that over time systems tend to ‘forget’ their initial conditions: a spread-out puddle of water on the floor contains no obvious information about where the water came from. This apparent forgetting is at odds with the strictly information-preserving, reversible laws of quantum mechanics… This project explores the approach to equilibrium as an emergent phenomenon, and seeks to elucidate the nature of this phenomenon by exploring systems, related to glasses, in which it happens in ‘slow motion,’ i.e., systems that equilibrate extremely slowly and in well-separated stages… The proposal also has a substantial educational and outreach component, involving efforts to introduce undergraduates, high-school students, and the broader public to the surprising emergent phenomena in everyday life, such as the growth of icicles and the patterns of light on swimming-pool floors.”

Neo Antoniades, PhD, chair of the Department of Engineering Science, commended the new faculty members’ efforts. “Young faculty like Sarang with their impressive energy and research focus are currently leading our Engineering, Earth/Environmental and Physics/Astrophysics programs forward towards state-of-the-art levels,” Dr. Antoniades said.




CSI Offers Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering: New Program Begins in Fall 2017

Drs. Vaishampayan and Feuer in the Photonics and Communications Lab.

Animator Hayao Miyazaki once said, “…Engineers turn dreams into reality.”

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is proud to be a part of that reality by introducing a Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering (MEEE) Program at the College. The Program is currently accepting applicants for its debut in Fall 2017. CSI joins only one other City University of New York (CUNY) school, City College of New York (CCNY), which offers the degree.

“This Program will provide a foundation across all areas of electrical engineering,” noted Program Director Mark D. Feuer, PhD, who co-wrote the MEEE Program proposal with Vinay Vaishampayan, PhD.  “But we also want it to broaden existing CUNY offerings, so we included lab courses and curriculum supporting data infrastructure and analysis.”

The 30-credit program has two optional specializations: Photonic Systems and Networks or Information Processing and Transmission.

“We chose these two specializations to complement what is already available at CCNY and also to contribute to our data-driven economy,” said Dr. Feuer, who is also the Preceptor for Photonic Systems and Networks. “Our graduates are working in industries where the end product is not necessarily electrical engineering.”

“The traditional view of electrical engineering is that it is only about electrical machines and electric power. While those traditional applications are extremely important, a lesser-known side of electrical engineers is that they work with computers and algorithms and that many of the techniques that are popular in machine learning and `big-data’ analytics, have been known and used in the electrical engineering sub-field of signal processing for years,” added Dr. Vaishampayan, who is Preceptor for Information Processing and Transmission. “A rigorous training in electrical engineering is extremely relevant and valuable for work in data analytics, and graduates from the MEEE Program can work in a range of data-driven fields, including finance and advertising.”

The MEEE Program at CSI is currently accepting applications.

Feuer and Vaishampayan both previously worked at AT&T and taught at Columbia University. They began at CSI in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

“The industry experience informs us on what’s valuable outside. Hopefully, this Program will capture the best of both worlds: the academic side and the industry side,” said Dr. Vaishampayan.

Inspired by preliminary work by Syed Rizvi, PhD; Neophytos (Neo) Antoniades, PhD; and Alfred Levine, PhD, the official proposal was vetted by CSI faculty, reviewed by CUNY and external experts, and finally approved by the New York State Education Department.

“This was an amazingly smooth process, and we received tremendous support from President [William J.] Fritz and Provost [Gary] Reichard. They really helped to put a lot of energy into this,” noted Dr. Vaishampayan.

The MEEE can be a terminal degree, and also prepares students for the PhD in Electrical Engineering at CCNY. The Program will be accessible to full- and part-time students.

“The MEEE will offer tremendous opportunities for employment to our students in many high-tech industry sectors in the metro region as well as nationwide, and is a great supplement to our high-caliber, ABET-accredited undergraduate Engineering programs at the Department,” commented Dr. Antoniades, PhD, noting that there are currently about 600 students enrolled in programs at the Department of Engineering Science and Physics.

Dr. Feuer is confident that CSI students will be up for the challenges of the new graduate degree.

“Our Engineering students at CSI are committed, and we work them very hard. They have to master the mathematics and the technology, and they really throw themselves into the subject,” said Dr. Feuer, adding that the Engineering students are “truly ambitious” in their pursuit of hands-on, practical work after graduating.

To apply to the MEEE Program, visit the CSI Graduate Admissions Web site or contact Sasha Spence at



Emily Rice, PhD, Featured in Astronomy Magazine

College of Staten Island (CSI) Assistant Professor of Engineering Science and Physics Emily Rice, PhD, was featured in an article on Astronomy Magazine online. The piece, “Astronomy on Tap lights up the nights” by Liz Kruesi, discusses the Astronomy on Tap events and Rice’s involvement in them.

According to the article, “The program continues to grow, in part, Rice says, because ‘it unites the stereotypical scientist persona with the very human, very social, very creative persona.’”

Read the full article on the Astronomy Magazine Web site.