Palwasha Syar ’17: CSI Valedictorian Never Loses

Palwasha Syar poses at Commencement.

During her speech at the College of Staten Island’s (CSI) 68th Commencement, Palwasaha Syar ’17, CSI’s valedictorian of the graduating Class of 2017, quoted Nelson Mandela: “I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” Her meaningful words were in reference to the life lessons she learned during her time as a student at CSI.

Syar graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with plans to attend medical school.

“CSI was the place where I was accepted for who I was. … leaving it is like leaving my home… CSI has also shaped me into the strong woman that I am today,” she said, while also conveying her sentiments of challenge and triumph at CSI.

Syar shared the spotlight with several of her fellow graduates, relaying stories about their varying struggles to arrive at graduation. One student, Erin Richards, a single mother of four, while attending classes also had to manage the care of her children. Another, Andrea Dalzell, was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis and is currently graduating from the Nursing program.

Syar further asked those in attendance to “celebrate the people around you… Learning about people’s lives and the struggles they go through will give you new perspective on your problems… Learning about others allows us to connect with them. Listening to others’ stories gives us courage and remind us that we are not alone in our struggles.”

Syar has an impressive track record of being active outside of the classroom. Along with a long list of internships, she volunteered with the CSI Emerging Leaders and also joined the CUNY Service Corps, volunteering at the Staten Island Youth Court.

Palwasha Syar delivering her Commencement speech.

“I think it is very important to get experiences outside of the classroom… since I have been blessed with so much, it is very important for me to give back. I would like to continue my service in the future, and take my medical degree to work in impoverished areas,” noted Syar, who emigrated from Pakistan to the U.S. when she was 12 years old.

Facing both social and financial challenges when she arrived, and moving several times within New York State, she found it hard to make friends. Coupling this with her challenge to master the English language, the young Syar felt “lonely and isolated.”

During her initial visits to New York City, she was in awe of her new surroundings. She noted, “the skyscrapers in the city were so high that my hat used to fall of my head when I used to look up at them.”

After her plans to attend medical school, Syar plans to continue to give back to the community. She intends to open her own medical practice in the U.S. and also volunteer in poor and underserved areas in Pakistan.

“I would like to take the skills and values I have learned here and apply them to my service in developing countries,” she commented.

Syar concluded her speech by thanking her parents, sisters, and aunt, who came from Pakistan to attend the Commencement. She also thanked the faculty and staff who supported her and her friends who made her experience at CSI so memorable.

Syar proudly exclaimed, “It has been an absolute honor standing here in front of you all giving this speech. I would like to thank you all and Congratulations, Class of 2017!”

Saada Amadu ’16 Forges Ahead to Study Sustainability

Saada Amadu visiting Château de Chambord in France.

As a sustainable environmental continues to be a global concern for many, one College of Staten Island (CSI) graduate is taking action.

Saada Amadu ’16 has received a full scholarship to attend graduate school at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary to study Environmental Sciences and Policy.

“I hope to work at the intersection of environmental science and policy because I believe for us to be able to find methods to sustain ourselves without endangering the environment and livelihood and well-being of future generations to come, international policy must find a way to bridge the gap with the scientific community,” said Amadu, who was an International Studies major with minors in Geography and French.

The Port Richmond High School graduate credits much of her motivation and inspiration for graduate studies to her experiences with research, under the advisement of Associate Professor Roshen Hendrickson, and study abroad opportunities at CSI.

“Saada is a very bright and ambitious woman who has gained access to stimulating opportunities, such as study abroad and graduate school in Europe, through sheer hard work. She has been a great pleasure to work with because she’s intellectually curious and motivated to contribute to her global community,” commented Professor Hendrickson.

Saada Amadu visiting temples in Hong Kong.

For her honors thesis, Amadu wrote about, “policies that led to Senegal importing over 70% of its food and also organizations and individuals working to revive the sector. The interesting part of the research was discovering that structural adjustment programs imposed by the IMF and World Bank were part of the reason for the decline in the Senegal agricultural sector.”

Currently crafting her Master’s thesis, Amadu is studying “the nexus of food, energy, and water security issues. The need for new energy sources and climate change have led some countries to seek alternative sources of energy through biofuels, which are basically energy derived from biomass. First generation biofuels can be derived from crops such as soy or corn while second generation biofuels are derived from by-products such as wood or crops such as jatropha [a flowering plant]. My research is focusing on the fact that biofuels affect both energy and water security of certain communities, in particular rural Ghanaian communities.”

For a truly rich college experience, Amadu strongly urges college students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities as well as the financial support available for those courses.

“Programs can be expensive but with the help of scholarships and grants, the costs might not be too much. I went on two semester-long programs and was still able to graduate in three and a half years. The Center for International Service is particularly helpful when it comes to applying for programs and scholarships,” said Amadu, who traveled to Paris, France in Spring 2015 and Hong Kong in Spring 2016.

The 21-year-old native of Tamale, Ghana was also the recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, Benjamin Franklin Travel Grant, CUNY SIROCS, and CSI Study Abroad Scholarship.

“Saada is an outstanding, dedicated student with a plan to utilize sustainability initiatives to make a difference for underserved communities around the world,” praised Michele Callahan, Fellowship & Scholarship Advisor.

To succeed in college, Amadu urges students to, “Take advantage of opportunities if and when you are presented with them. Also, try to have a faculty mentor because they can be of help when you least expect.”

 

 

CSI Strong: Transcultural Learning and Global Health Sciences

CSI Nursing student Derrick Tam presenting his poster on "Cardiovascular Health in Costa Rica" at the CSI Undergraduate Research Conference with Professor Regina Lama and Professor Nora Maloney.

The College of Staten Island (CSI) has received a 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Award from a Santander Bank-sponsored competition to fund Transcultural Learning and Global Health Sciences Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica and New York City. The award will help to fund CSI Nursing students studying abroad as well as bring international students to the College.

“Nursing students at CSI are going to be working in an environment where they have a broad demographic and multicultural setting. They will enhance their transcultural skills, which is super important to them for work anywhere, particularly in the New York area,” commented Stephen Ferst, EdD, Executive Director of the CSI Center for Global Engagement.

“CSI is committed to internationalization, and this award will move that commitment forward,” noted Dr. Maureen Becker, Dean of the School of Health Sciences.

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas is to increase the number of U.S. students studying annually in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000, and the number of Western Hemisphere students studying in the United States to 100,000 annually by the year 2020. The Innovation Fund is a public-private collaboration of the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

CSI Nursing students presenting at the Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing Honor Society) Evidence-Based Expo at Richmond University Medical Center.

“The initiative really encapsulates joint research, community involvement in the U.S. and Costa Rica, undergraduate research, faculty involvement, global and cultural engagement, all rolled into one,” said Dr. Ferst.

CSI and the Universidad de IberoAmérica in San Jose, Costa Rica have created a unique study abroad program in Transcultural Learning and Global Health Sciences that aims to familiarize students with the theoretical framework underpinning transcultural healthcare provision, as well to contextualize comparisons among healthcare systems in the Americas; provide students with hands-on experiences through direct field observations, with the aim of deepening their understanding of cross-cultural issues in healthcare provision; increase students’ language skills in comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking; broaden and deepen students’ understanding of Latin American and U.S. cultures; and strengthen ties and enhance connections between the home and host university communities.

Led by Professor Regina Lama, a bilingual specialist in transcultural nursing, CSI has successfully run a study abroad program in Costa Rica with UNIBE for nursing students for four consecutive years. For the 2015 and 2016 sessions, this opportunity was expanded to include students from the Physical Therapy

Doctorate program at CSI. This Award allows CSI and UNIBE to build upon the already successful collaboration to increase the participation rates and to expand the partnership to include two-way exchange, joint research projects conducted by Costa Rican and U.S. students, presentations at conferences in both the U.S. and Costa Rica, and new collaborative linkages among faculty at both institutions.

 

Sixteen MBA Students from Seven Universities in China Visit the CSI Technology Incubator in St. George and More

Students, faculty, and staff gather at the CSI Incubator

A group of 16 MBA students and two chaperones from seven universities in China visited the newly established College of Staten Island (CSI) Incubator last week, and they received a warm welcome from Dr. William J. Fritz, President of CSI; Ken Iwama, Esq., JD, Vice President for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations; Prof. Susan Holak, Dean of the School of Business; and Dean Balsamini, Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

The guests met with Christopher Cruz Cullari, Executive Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development, and Jasmine Cardona, Director of Workforce Development and Administration, to showcase the advanced technology at the Incubator and provide an overview of their service. Mr. Richard Marin, CEO of the New York Wheel, was also present to give an update on the progress of the New York Wheel to the guests. “Our guests really appreciated the warm welcome from the CSI administrators and the opportunity to obtain first-hand knowledge of the Wheel,” said Winnie Brophy, Special Programs Coordinator at the Center for Global Engagement.

This week-long program was sponsored by the Center for Global Engagement. The visit to the U.S. is a combination of tourism and professional visits to companies in New York City. In addition, participants were able to attend seminars from faculty members Prof. Bill Dubovsky, Prof. George Wang, and Prof. Alan Zimmerman from the School of Business, as well as learn about local commerce and society in New York City. Participant Bo Li said, “Why do the professors know so much about China but they are living in the U.S.?  It is amazing!” “I will come back to Staten Island in 2018 and ride on the New York Wheel,” said Jiang Li.

MBA student Yuanyuan Li from Shanghai University asks a question at the presentation.

Balsamini also brought the guests to have lunch at Nunzio’s Pizzeria, which was seriously devastated by Superstorm Sandy in late October 2012, and rebuilt to become a present-day Staten Island success with the help of the SBDC. “We love the pizza in America much better than the one from Pizza Hut in China,” said Bo Li.

All of the participants have full-time jobs in China, and lived with host families on Staten Island. None of them had been to the U.S. before, so they were able to benefit from learning about U.S. culture and business. This should give them an advantage in their professions in China as they take this knowledge back with them.

The group also visited the UBS Investment Bank in New York, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and was hosted by the Hon. Philip Straniere at the Richmond County Civil Court to experience a real civil court case.

This is the second year that the College has hosted the MBA Business Study Tour. It is hoped that  this tradition will carry on in an effort to help young future entrepreneurs.

CSI Administrator Selected For Fulbright IEA Program

Monika Wojciechowski with the Waseda University mascot.

College of Staten Island (CSI) administrator Monika Wojciechowski was recently selected for the 2016 Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) Program in Japan. IEA seminars help U.S. international education professionals and senior higher education officials create empowering connections with the societal, cultural, and higher education systems of other countries. Grantees have the opportunity to learn about the host country’s education system as well as establish networks of U.S. and international colleagues over the course of an intensive two-week grant duration.

Wojciechowski is the Assistant Director for International Admissionsat CSI. On the trip, which took place in late June, Wojciechowski, along with nine international educators, visited institutions in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Kyoto: the University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Kyoritsu Women’s University System, Hiroshima Shudo University, Ritsumeiken University, Tokyo Metropolitan Kokubunji Senior High School, and Rikkyo University.

Monika Wojciechowski taking a campus tour of the University of Tokyo.

“The visits gave us a great opportunity to learn about the internationalization and global initiatives, the programs, services, and the reforms. They allowed us to have very informative discussions with administrators, faculty, and staff, to exchange ideas and to open a dialogue for future collaborations. We also had a chance to interact with students and Fulbright alumni and to discover very personal fascinating stories,” commented Wojciechowski who has been at CSI for four years.

“This program gave me an exceptional insight into higher education in Japan, its culture, and its people. It was truly an unforgettable experience and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said upon return.

“This is a great professional development opportunity for Monika and contributes to our goal of positioning the College to achieve greater international recognition,” noted Emmanuel Esperance, Jr., Director of Recruitment and Admissions at CSI.

 

 

 

 

CSI Students Present at International Conference

CSI Student Juliana Zaloom (middle) receives Best Undergraduate Submission award from committee chairs Dr. Sam Putnam, Bowdoin College (left) and Dr. Martha Arterberry, Colby College (right).

This year, three College of Staten Island (CSI) students attended the 2016 International Conference on Infant Studies in New Orleans, winning various awards and showcasing their research contributions.

Juliana Zaloom, Andrew Russo, and Carmen Guallpa are Psychology majors doing research in the Child Development Lab at CSI with Dr. Lana Karasik, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Dr. Sarah Berger, Associate Professor of Psychology.

Juliana Zaloom won the prestigious, highly competitive award for “Best Undergraduate Submission” for her work with Dr. Karasik on a cross-cultural project in Tajikistan. She was first-author on a poster presentation and the only one selected from nearly 200 undergraduate abstract submissions. Zaloom received a plaque and a monetary award from the Infancy Congress. Andrew Russo, who has been conducting research in Dr. Karasik’s lab and writing his honors thesis, also first-authored a poster. He received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support his work in the lab.

Juliana Zaloom, Andrew Russo, Dr. Lana Karasik, Dr. Jennifer Wagner, and Dr. Sarah Berger enjoying coffee and beignets in New Orleans.

Carmen Guallpa, who has been doing research with Dr. Berger, for the last year, and writing her honors thesis, also presented a poster. Guallpa also received the Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

All three received travel awards (only ten travel awards are distributed) from the International Conference on Infant Studies (ICIS) as well as travel grants from CSI, and all were honored at the awards ceremony.

“It was really exciting to see CSI and CUNY represented at this international conference,” said Dr. Karasik, who has been a full-time staff member of the CSI Psychology Department since 2012.

“When I recruit students to work with me, I train them to be research collaborators; I want them to feel they are part of the research enterprise. Students are trained to be independent researchers and because of this, they become really invested in the work,” said Dr. Karasik, adding that another benefit of attending these conferences is that students can network with other students and experts in the field, and research graduate school opportunities.

“It is wonderful to see our students featured at an international academic venue. Dr. Karasik’s research is highly valued and well respected, both by her colleagues and our field. Our students benefit greatly from the opportunity to work with such a reputable scholar,” said Rev. Dr. Kathleen Cumiskey, Chair of the CSI Psychology Department.

 

Fifth Induction Ceremony of the Eta Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Delta

Students, faculty, and staff of the College of Staten Island gathered to induct 34 new members into the Eta Lambda Chapter of the Phi Beta Delta Honors Society for International Scholars. Among the new inductees are faculty members, staff, students (domestic and international), alumni, and Dr. Seyed Masoud Noori, the keynote speaker of for the fifth annual induction ceremony.

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Phi Beta Delta is the first honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education. CSI currently has more than 200 members in the Society, with Eta Lambda being the first chapter within The City University of New York system.

Dr. Noori is a lawyer and professor with a research focus on international human rights and Islamic studies. the topic of his speech was the importance of academic freedom within universities. He emphasized during his lecture and again afterward, “research is essential to discovery.”

For more information visit  http://csivc.csi.cuny.edu/pbd/files/.

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You: CSI Students go to Ireland and Back Again

CSI faculty and students pose at Glendalough in County Wicklow. Glendalough, home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland, is an early Christian monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century.

For more than ten years, the College of Staten Island has partnered with the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) to give students from both schools the opportunity to study overseas and take advantage of a significant cultural exchange that effects students long after they graduate and pursue their careers.

This year, 23 students, 21 from the School of Business, recently returned from a 10-day-trip to Ireland as a part of the short-term summer program in Dublin. The number of students on the trip is a great example of the rising popularity and success of CSI’s partnership with DIT which balances studying with cultural activities and touring the Irish countryside.

The importance of studying overseas has grown as the world has shrunk, thanks in part to inexpensive travel costs and the internet.  With the DIT study abroad program, CSI students can stay one step ahead in their respective and very competitive fields of study.

The condensed, 10-day-session aims to pack as much in as possible combining several tours of Ireland such as a visit to Belfast and a tour of the Glendalough Monastery with lectures from DIT professors and the CEO of Adlens, Michael C. Ferrara. They took part in a tour of Intel’s large Irish facility and also visited the European corporate headquarters of Oracle where they spoke with key corporate representatives who shared candid insights about worldwide operations, career paths, and corporate culture. While staying at Trinity College in Dublin, the students were able to experience the history of the campus and visit the impressive library that houses the Book of Kells.

The CSI students prepared for the experience by studying the business climate in Ireland and selecting a topic for a research project. They were then able to continue and finalize their research through first-hand opportunities to engage with DIT faculty, businesses and a wealth of resources in Ireland.

“There is no substitute for this type of immersive learning experience,” said Dr. Susan Holak, Founding Dean of the School of Business at CSI, who accompanied the CSI students to Dublin—her first trip to Ireland—and was delighted by the level of immersion the students experienced, adding, “The students were exposed to information about Irish society, history, literature, and economic trends. Student accommodations were on the campus of Trinity College, Dublin—what an experience to live in a setting established in 1592!”

Professor Alan Zimmerman, who helped create this three credit summer session course, is encouraged by not only the rising number of students taking advantage of the partnership but by the diversity of the students. The 23 students were made up of 15 undergraduates and eight graduates, a number of whom were Professor Zimmerman’s students as undergraduates–Some as long as 12 years ago.

It is not just International Business majors who attended the trip, but business majors from several focuses were represented, as well as Engineering and Political Science.

Professor Zimmerman emphasized this diversity, saying, “It is important that we spread this experience to as many students as possible.” He went on to discuss the convenience of having a shorter, summer session to Dublin since “most CSI students are too busy to spend a full semester away; this trip allows students from all backgrounds to have the experience of studying overseas.”

CSI President Dr. William J. Fritz agrees that travelling overseas is an important  component of a student’s growth. “Every time you go overseas,” said President Fritz, “it changes you forever.”