College of Staten Island (CSI) Assistant Professor of English Tyehimba Jess was featured in the New York Times article “How CUNY Became Poetry U.” Jess won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for Olio.
CSI English professor Cate Marvin is interviewed in the article, which also mentions Professor Patricia Smith.
The article, by Elizabeth A. Harris, goes on to discuss the Pulitzer award and what it means for CUNY. It also touches on the notion that New York City is the capital for poetry, drawing prospective professors to CUNY for its location and diverse student body.
College of Staten Island Associate Professor of English Tyehimba Jess has been named the 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry for Olio, a volume of original verse published by Wave Books.
The Pulitzer organization called it a “distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.”
Olio, published in 2016, has been called “Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant…” in Publisher’s Weekly’s starred review, and was selected as one of the five best poetry books of 2016. Olio was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award in 2016.
Jess is also the author of Leadbelly, a winner in the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” He received a Lannan Literary Award December 2016.
Professor Jess has taught at CSI for seven years, and is currently on sabbatical in Chicago, returning to the classroom in fall 2017.
“Tyehimba is a great colleague and teacher, too, and we are absolutely thrilled for him,” commented Lee Papa, Chair of the English Department, adding “our amazing creative writing faculty includes Patricia Smith and Cate Marvin, both Guggenheim fellows; Ava Chin, a Fulbright fellow; Sarah Schulman, a winner of both a Fulbright and a Guggenheim; and, now with Tyehimba, a Pulitzer winner.”
“We have always known Professor Jess to be an integral component of the College of Staten Island experience, where he has shared the emotional depth and range of his poetry at many major events,” noted Nan M. Sussman, PhD, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences. “As coordinator of the Schwerner Writer’s Series, Professor Jess invited emerging and nationally-recognized poets to read to the college community and speak in classes. The College is honored and proud of this national distinction, and delighted that students at CSI have the opportunity to learn the craft of poetry in his classes.”
Read the Author’s Biography and more about the Winning Work at pulitzer.org>
Fred Naider, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the College of Staten Island (CSI) has been awarded a Jakob and Erna Michael Visiting Professorship at the Weizmann Institute of Science for the summer of 2018. Dr. Naider will travel to the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where he will collaborate with Professor Jacob Anglister on research related to the HIV-1 virus which is the cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
“This Fellowship will enable me to continue to collaborate with a group that is conducting breakthrough research on the structural biology of a pathogenic virus that remains a scourge in underdeveloped countries. Such interactions keep my research current and allows me to deliver meaningful and current scientific perspectives to students in my classroom” commented Dr. Naider, who is also a Leonard and Esther Kurtz Term Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.
Dr. Naider plans to be primarily involved in research activities that involve the development of new methods to study peptide-protein interactions. Such interactions are ubiquitous in living cells and are the basis for the regulation of metabolism, cell growth and for the perception of external stimuli by cells. Understanding such interactions at the molecular level should enable progress on numerous diseases and pathological states.
“The award of the Jakob and Erna Michael Visiting Professorship is testimony of Dr. Naider’s outstanding scholarship and international recognition. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Naider among our distinguished faculty. He is an incredible role model for faculty and students alike,” noted Vivian Incera, PhD, Professor of Physics and Dean of Science and Technology.
The Erna and Jakob Michael Visiting Professorships were established by the Michael Family for the purpose of attracting outstanding scientists in all areas of contemporary research to the Weizmann Institute.
College of Staten Island professor Louis Petingi, PhD, has received the Best Paper Award of the International Conference on Computational Biology for 2016. Dr. Petingi’s paper, “A Graph-Theoretical Approach for Partitioning RNA Secondary Structures into Pseudonotted and Pseudoknot-free Regions,” was presented at the World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science Conference in San Francisco, Ca.
Dr. Petingi’s field of expertise is Graph Theory, one of the sub-fields of Mathematics. “This area of research has been applied to study systems that can be modeled as graphs, such as social, communication, chemical, and biological networks (e.g., DNA, RNA, protein networks). My research, until recently, was focused on the study of the reliability of communication networks (e.g., wireless, internet, satellite networks), but in 2013, I became very interested on Ribonucleic acid (RNA) prediction and structure,” noted Dr. Petingi, who also had the opportunity to write a paper in this area with Tamar Schlick, PhD, from the department of Mathematical Sciences of the Courant Institute, New York University.
“As RNA secondary structures can be represented as graphs, we found how well-known graph-theoretical algorithms can be applied to partition RNAs into basic regions and allow classification and identification of complex structures called Pseudoknots. Pseudoknots are also identified using other computational techniques (e.g., dynamic programming), but Graph Theory offers a different perspective and an alternative research path to systematically investigate RNA structure,” explained Dr. Petingi, who began at CSI in 1998 as a tenured-track assistant professor of the Computer Science Department.
“This award not only honors Professor Petingi’s work, but it brings recognition to our university. It is an example of the quality research done at CSI,” commented Vivian Incera, PhD, Professor of Physics and Dean of Science and Technology.
“From the beginning our research encountered many obstacles, since our methodology was relatively new to the scientific community as it does not belong to the traditional areas of Biology and Mathematics, but rather to the frontier of both fields. Consequently this award represents a recognition to a challenging research path,” Dr. Petingi said.
Council member Debi Rose, NYCC, 49thDistrict, will be hosting a recognition ceremony to celebrate Women’s History Month. College of Staten Island (CSI) Professor Rev. Kathleen M. Cumiskey, PhD, will be honored at the event, which will take place on March 24th at 7 pm in the PS 78 auditorium, located at 100 Tompkins Avenue, Stapleton. Rev. Dr. Cumiskey is Chairperson and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology.
According to Council member Rose, the evening recognizes “women who have played a special role in our community in the fields of education, advocacy and community service.”
The event is free and open to all. Reservations can be made by phoning Councilmember Rose’s office at 718-556-7370.
Comfort B. Asanbe, PhD, Associate Professor and Licensed Psychologist in the Department of Psychology at the College of Staten Island (CSI) has been selected to serve as a Department of Public Information (DPI) Representative at the United Nations for the American Psychological Association (APA). The appointment is a renewable five year term.
“APA-appointed representatives work within the NGO community at the U.N. headquarters in New York. Based on APA advocacy goals and priorities, APA representatives collaborate with other NGO representatives and APA offices and governance to identify issues, organize programs and draft statements that bring psychological science and a psychological perspective to bear on global policies and programs. Representatives also foster dialogue and information exchange between psychologists and APA and U.N. diplomats and representatives of U.N. agencies, and serve as APA’s conduit for information about the United Nations,” according to the APA Web site.
Adding to the impressive array of substantial grants received by College of Staten Island (CSI) faculty are several new and well-deserved federal awards.
Professor Christina Tortora, PhD, has received a $740,000 grant to continue her research in linguistics. The collaborative research grant includes CSI as the “Lead Institution,” as well as the University of Pennsylvania, Queens College, and Lehman College.
According to Dr. Tortora’s grant proposal, “The Corpus of New York City English (CoNYCE) is an in-progress project that aims to further the study of New York City English (namely, the varieties of English particular to New York City and the surrounding region), through the development and use of an innovative audio-aligned and parsed corpus of New Yorkers’ speech.”
“I was thrilled to receive positive news from the NSF so early in the process,” said Dr. Tortora, a 16-year veteran at CSI. This is her seventh National Science Foundation (NSF) and ninth federally funded grant.
The CoNYCE “will combine recent advances in speech corpus development tools with the special talents and backgrounds of CUNY undergraduates to create a database that will be a resource for researchers in all areas of linguistics. In so doing it will provide extremely valuable research opportunities and experiences for CUNY undergraduates,” according to Dr. Tortora.
During the 42-month grant, Dr. Tortora will recruit students from her course “Methods in Linguistic Research,” a class replicated at Queens College and Lehman College, to conduct 200 interviews with people living in New York. The goal is to get one million words recorded, the industry standard for this kind of work, and, according to Dr. Tortora, this student involvement is “really key.”
“Our students are perfectly positioned for this, and they are so excited about the prospect of interviewing a person of their own choosing. They are excited to contribute something of value, and they are committed to doing it right,” noted Dr. Tortora, who is also working closely with CSI-CUNY Speech Laboratory Director, Jason Bishop, PhD.
As students gather data from different people and begin to process and analyze that data, they also work closely with Dr. Tortora as she mentors them through related research projects.
Another significant award was made to Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sharon Loverde, PhD. Dr. Loverde received a $477,089 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the behavior of small molecules and to examine how they interact with each other or with cell membranes. Using computer simulation, Dr. Loverde’s team is able to observe perspectives that are sometimes difficult to recreate in an experimental scenario.
“We can help experimentalists design better molecules or drugs, and our work is really best done at places like CSI where we can take advantage of the HPC and NSF Super Computers,” noted Dr. Loverde, who is currently working with three graduate students and two post-doctoral researchers, as well as with collaborators at City College of The City University of New York. They are looking to design different molecules to deliver cancer drugs to tumors. The focus is on how molecules behave in the body and these computer simulations are able to show just that.
“I hope that people in my group are able to learn from their experiences here at CSI and then can move on to other positions in the industry or academia, and I also hope the collaborations that I’ve started will continue,” said Dr. Loverde, a Chicago native, who has been at CSI for three years.
In other notable news, Dr. Emily Rice received a $565,658 NSF grant, her third from NSF; Dr. Sarah Berger received an NIH Research in Undergraduate Institutions grant for $375,000; Dr. Mark Feuer, with Jiang Xin, received his first NIH award of $307,156; Dr. Tobias Schaefer received a $99,554 NSF grant; and Dr. Greg Phillips received a $82,373 NIH award.
“Awards such as these are extremely competitive,” commented Associate Provost Mel Pipe, congratulating the recipients of these awards. “We are fortunate at CSI to have so many faculty who compete successfully at the highest level, not only for these federal grants but for funding from many other sources also.”
NIH offers funding for many types of grants, contracts, and even programs that help repay loans for researchers. To read more about NIH, visit their Web site.
NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations, and other research organizations throughout the United States. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.