CSI Alumna Jennifer Sammartino-Mallen ’99: Making her Favorite Borough Even Better

Sammartino-Mallen with her family in Provincetown, Cape Cod.

College of Staten Island (CSI) alumna Jennifer Sammartino-Mallen ’99 has been working to improve Staten Island ever since she graduated.

Appointed as the first Director of Tourism and Cultural Affairs for Staten Island in the Office of the Borough President, Sammartino-Mallen recently commented on her devotion to her hometown as well as her own journey as a professional.

“I love Staten Island. I honestly do. It’s my birthplace and my home, and I know it has so much to offer. My entire career, I have tried to do things that benefit my community and make it a better place. I have been so fortunate to have worked with professionals at stellar institutions on the Island and to be able to give back in small ways. I believe the journey I am on will allow me to continue to do that. I look forward to perhaps one day running my own organization and have even thought about getting an MBA,” said Sammartino-Mallen, who resides in New Brighton with her husband, daughter, and their cat, Steve Buscemi.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, the native Staten Islander went on to be a journalist at the Staten Island Advance before she began serving for Borough President James Oddo as Director of Communications and External Affairs for more than three years.

“This is an extremely exciting time for our borough, and I am honored to be able to contribute to a positive image of Staten Island to potential visitors in our city, state, country, and the world,” commented Sammartino-Mallen, who, as an undergraduate, received scholarships from several organizations, including the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company and The Lions Club.

Sammartino-Mallen’s impressive résumé also includes posts as the Director of Communications and Development at Richmond University Medical Center and the Public Information Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which serves Staten Island Veterans. She has also volunteered for the March of Dimes, the Staten Island Heart Society, and the Carl V. Bini Foundation, and is an active parent at Children’s Harbor Montessori School, where she served on the Parent Association’s executive board.

Sammartino-Mallen (second from left) with staff of the Borough President’s Office at the Halloween Hoopla event, a free event for children.

The successful professional, mother, wife, and conscientious citizen reminds other grads to “network. Take the time to go to events and meet people. Never turn down an invitation. You never know who you might meet.”

She further advises CSI students to, “Try everything. Explore. You never know what might grab you and lead you down the right path. I had two or three majors by the time I settled into English Literature. I majored in something I loved because I knew I could stick with it. I wasn’t concerned about how it would relate to my job search after school. I just wanted to be passionate about something and talk about books and plays, and CSI allowed me to do that.”

The proud alumna remembers some notable professors she enjoyed at CSI, including the late Jim Tolan and Michael Shugrue, and Catherine Lavender.

“I recall a grad-level class where Jim Tolan had us take poetry we had written and physically cut it apart, line by line. I was devastated. I’m no poet and I had worked really hard on the assignment. Once we had the work in pieces, he asked us to reassemble it in a different way. What I had before me was so much more profound and interesting when I stopped thinking about where the thoughts ‘belonged.’ I think the same can be said for so many areas of our lives. It was an eye-opening lesson,” she stated.

Finally, Sammartino-Mallen humbly notes, “Life is a balancing act, and I fail all the time. As a mother to a young child, it is next to impossible to give 110% all day, every day to everyone and everything in your life that deserves attention. Do what you can, don’t stress the stuff that you can’t change, and be grateful. And dye your hair.”

 

 

Patricia Smith Featured on ESPN.com

College of Staten Island (CSI) Associate Professor of English Patricia Smith was featured in the ESPNW article “Four Poets on the New Feminism.” Smith’s poem What Leaps from a Storm’s Throat was one of four featured in the article depicting the importance of the feminist movement.

View the full article at ESPNW.com.

 

Shantel Rowe ’17: Embracing Academics and The Arts

Shantel Rowe '17 has been playing the guitar since age 15.

“Writing is an extension of oneself. When I write, I can show the parts of my soul, and heart that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Writing allows one to bring another layer of themselves into the world, and it can be a truly beautiful process.”

These are the illuminating and introspective words from College of Staten Island (CSI) English major Shantel Rowe ‘17. The Verrazano School student has written for The Banner and the Verrazano Voyager as well as for her own music blog, “Call It What It Is.” Also a performing artist, Rowe has played the guitar since she was 15.

With a wide range of influences including Amy Winehouse, Rupi Kaur, and Sylvia Plath, Rowe also attributes her passion for the pen to her mother. “I had always enjoyed writing, as my mother is a writer herself; however, I began taking it more seriously once I entered high school. I was challenged to write poetry, journalism, and creatively—and writing every day essentially helped me connect more with the craft,” commented Rowe, who carries a 3.9 GPA, with a concentration in Writing and a minor in Journalism and American Studies.

Some of her favorite pieces for The Banner include her commentary on Rihanna’s Anti album titled “Rihanna Takes on New Tone with Confidence” and also “Nina Brings the Drama Onscreen and Off,” an article about the controversy surrounding the Nina Simone film, Nina, which largely spoke to colorism in Hollywood.

Rowe is an English major and Verrazano School student.

Balancing life as a busy artist and devoted student, the recipient of a CSI Foundation Scholarship has also worked closely with Ava Chin, PhD, researching Chinese immigration into America. “We primarily focused on Dr. Chin’s family’s immigration, predominantly in New York City in the 18 and 19 hundreds; however, our research also speaks to Chinese immigration as a whole. I feel as if this work deepened my knowledge of immigration but more importantly of New York geography and how history plays its role in that. Of course, we know about certain neighborhoods living in New York; however to truly understand the history and dynamics behind Chinatown is something that is truly culturally enriching. To walk along Mott Street or Bayard and look at buildings that aren’t just structures, but artifacts/stories, is truly fascinating,” noted the 21-year-old Grasmere resident and Brooklyn native.

Dr. Chin was equally pleased to work with the student. “Shantel is a rare combination of old-soul maturity mixed with quirky brilliance. She has a keen and intuitive writing voice, a sharp eye for detail, and a great sense of musical styles—it’s been a pleasure to watch her grow from being a talented freshman to an outstanding senior. I could not be more proud of her,” Dr. Chin commented.

The graduate of the College of Staten Island High School for International Studies says she is “humbled” by her experiences at CSI and by professors who “have assisted with both my academic and personal growth.”

“Once you enter college, you learn more than you ever could anticipate, not just academically, but socially, culturally.  As an individual, I’ve significantly grown because of my experience here; I’ve experienced so many opportunities where I stepped outside of my comfort zone in the classroom and around campus, and because of that, I feel as if I’ve been very humbled,” said Rowe, who plans to pursue a doctorate and become a music journalist and college professor.

Charles Liu, PhD, Director of MHC and the Verrazano School, praised that, “In this increasingly media-blanketed world, we are fortunate to have Shantel and her brilliant, thoughtful voice to help us make sense of what we see and hear.  It’s great to have Shantel as a member of the Verrazano School and the larger CSI community.”

Rowe’s advice to her peers involves both mental and physical commitment in order to achieve success. “Mentally, you have to focus on your goals and set forth the steps to achieve them. This means networking, going the extra mile, and staying organized. Physically, these steps can be made by remaining an active voice and participant on campus,” she said.

Sarah Schulman Interview on Lenny Online

College of Staten Island Distinguished Professor Sarah Schulman was featured in an interview on Lenny online. The piece, “Is Shunning Ever Useful? An interview with the writer, theorist, and activist Sarah Schulman,” by Kaitlyn Greenidge provides an overview of some of Schulmans’ books, followed by her comments on such things as recent political issues and the problem with “shunning.”

Read the whole interview on the Lenny Web site.

 

 

Sarah Schulman Quoted in The Villager

College of Staten Island Distinguished Professor Sarah Schulman was recently featured in “Palestine and anti-Semitism in the Age of Trump,” an article in The Villager online by Bill Weinberg. In the story, Schulman comments that, “I think some in the administration have been troubled for a long time about the hypocrisy of the U.S. position… Obama and Kerry may understand there is an apartheid system in Israel that is unjust and violates international law.”

Read the full piece on The Villager Web site.

 

 

Sarah Schulman Interview on Truthout Online

In “A New Understanding of Loyalty: An Interview With Author Sarah Schulman,” writer Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore talks to Distinguished Professor at The College of Staten Island, Sarah Schulman. In the piece, recently published on Truthout online, Schulman discusses some of her many published works and some of the history behind them.

View the full interview on the Truthout Web site.