High School Students Wowed by First Annual CSI Science Day

High school students congregate in the 1P Atrium.

Students from Staten Island Technical High School, New Dorp High School, and the CSI International High School attended the College of Staten Island’s (CSI) first annual CSI Science Day. Established by the Division of Science and Technology, the event allowed students to tour CSI laboratories and facilities, and participate in science-related activities throughout the day.

“It was exciting to welcome all the participants from the high schools. Our faculty, staff, and students pulled it all together to offer an engaging day dedicated to showcasing the research done in the Division and the opportunities available to the students in the College,” commented Dean of Science and Technology Vivian Incera, PhD, noting that approximately 250 students traveled to the CSI campus.

CSI professors led the teens through educational activities to introduce them to some of the research and experiments going on at the College. These activities showcased the diversity in the curriculum that CSI offers and included information about astronomy with Emily Rice, PhD, and chemistry with Alan Lyons, PhD.

“The visitors saw the passion our professors have for what they do, the excitement of the students working in those labs, and the incredible research taking place on our campus,” said Dr. Incera, whose team worked tirelessly to make the event, which featured a total of 13 professors, a success.

Dean Vivian Incera welcomes students to CSI Science Day.

New Dorp High School student Richard Lin commented that, “Most of us in high school don’t know what we want, but these activities give us options and different paths to choose.”

CSI International High School student Arlett Moran became “inspired and encouraged” to learn more about biology after experiencing the Naked Mole Rat activity presented by Alejandra Alonso, PhD.

New Dorp student Adam Kozlowski said that the event “gave us an insight into what the atmosphere would be like if we were to study [at CSI].” Kozlowski’s favorite part of the day was Michael Bucaro’s bioluminescent single-cell protists presentation.

CSI and the Division of Science and Technology have a long history of collaborating with other organizations to promote the sciences. Creating CSI Science Day specifically for high School students allows CSI to attract and inform prospective students.

“These events provide exposure and accessibility for students who may have an interest in getting involved in the sciences when they enter their collegiate career but don’t know where to begin. The five departments within the Division of Science and Technology provide a range of perspectives for students to decide which field is right for them,” noted Dean Incera.

“I am very pleased with the outcome of our first CSI Science Day… if we managed to plant the bug of science and the thirst for scientific understanding in some of those kids, our efforts were all worthy… We have also received very positive feedback from the high schools leaders, who said it was an ‘eye-opener’ for their students. They all are looking forward to the next CSI Science Day. I think we have just started a new tradition on our campus,” Dean Incera said.

CSI student ambassadors Benjamin Hermus '18; Batool Shirazi '20; Arshia Lodhi '20; Amber Van Cleat '19; Usama Zubair '20; and Tiffany Miller '19, with Dean Incera.

New Dorp High School Students Attend CSI HPCC Tour

Rodrigo Balderas working in the Computer Lab.

There are approximately 13,605 Yellow Taxi Cabs in New York City making more than 500,000 trips per day. Jonathan Peters, PhD, took note of these gargantuan numbers and after more than 48 months of collecting data, in partnership with researchers at Arizona State University, the College of Staten Island (CSI) professor has a little more than 600,000,000 records in his database.

Dr. Peters has been studying urban issues such as New York City taxi cabs, the bike-share programs, and what folks are tweeting in City Starbucks locations.

His presentation, “Big Data Analytics Examples and Issues Exploring Travel Behavior,” outlines how Dr. Peters uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the High-Performance Computing Center (HPCC) at CSI. The lecture kicked off the agenda for the CSI HPCC Tour.

It was truly a big day for big data as 19 New Dorp High School (NDHS) students traveled to CSI to learn more about how data from devices like Global Positioning System (GPS) units are used today.

Accompanied by their teacher, Christine Rivera, and NDHS Assistant Principal Salvador Contes, the young crowd of ninth and tenth graders experienced a day of college-level learning and exploration. The event was sponsored by the Office of Information Technology.

“I enjoyed the event at CSI because it was intriguing and I found it was a fun topic to learn about. I learned how GPS systems work and how technology has evolved into a smarter and quicker way of doing things. This field of study really makes you wonder how far the human race has advanced and how much more it can improve,” commented Rodrigo Balderas, a 15-year-old junior from NDHS, who plans to study software/hardware engineering in college.

New Dorp High School students visiting the HPCC server room.

“The most interesting part of the day was when we learned how all of modern-day technology can be used to track anyone or anything quick. This is a very interesting experience and might just change my future plans,” said Balderas, a Dongan Hills resident who grew up in Brooklyn.

Urban Policy Analyst Nora Santiago helped coordinate the event and also introduced students to GIS. Following the lectures, students worked on two hands-on GIS projects: the Great Fire of London, 1666, in which students completed GIS spatial queries, walking through the historical event step by step as the fire was spreading through the streets of London. In the second project, students created a map of the historical fire at the end, and the Great Plague of London, 1665, where they mapped the number of weekly deaths due to the plague by parishes as it was reported for the Bills of Mortality. Students were also able to include a graph of the total number of burials per week. They then created a map of the historical plague.

The participating students are a part of a smaller NDHS learning community called Business and Technology.

“These events provide our students with the opportunities of visiting a college and to meet first-hand, professors discussing new and up-to-date information on majors that align to our schools Smaller Learning Community (SLC) themes,” noted Contes, adding that the collaboration between NDHS and CSI has created a “trust within both schools.”

“With trust, students are more comfortable with sharing their thoughts and potentially seeing the multiple opportunities CSI provides, in turn, strengthening our collaborative efforts into a stronger partnership,” said Contes, a three-year veteran at NDHS.

The next stop was the HPCC where students heard from Paul Muzio, Director of the facility, who discussed High-Performance Computing.

Nineteen New Dorp High School students attended the event.

The curious tech-savvy teens also visited the HPCC server room. Eyes wide and ears covered, students were able to see and hear the massive energy and processing of the system.

“Students attending this event were able to get a real-world experience of what it is like to participate in a college course at CSI. All of the students on the trip take interest in technology (both software and hardware), and by allowing them to use the computer lab to create their own projects, as well as, get a tour of the server, the students were able to see that they don’t need to go far away to get a quality education on what they love. Instead of traveling, they can get a quality education right in their own backyard,” commented Rivera.

The day culminated with a pizza lunch and lots of interesting tech banter.

“On the bus back to school, there were some conversations on how interesting the software was and the many things CSI can accomplish with the HPCC. Events like this one illustrate how CSI provides just as valuable, if not more valuable a post-secondary education than most colleges,” Contes said.

Rodrigo Balderas in the HPCC server room.

Rivera agreed that, “This collaboration with CSI helps students to see that the College has so much to offer in regard to obtaining a quality education. It allows the students to obtain awareness of what is offered right here on the Island and how they can take advantage of it when it is time for them to attend college.”

Patricia Kahn, PhD, CIO, and Assistant Vice President for Information Technology Services and the High-Performance Computing Center, noted that, “The College of Staten Island is excited to offer opportunities to high school students to encourage STEM careers. Providing exposure to the HPCC and the research that is currently being conducted using this facility, will hopefully encourage our youth to consider a career that uses computational thinking.”

The 12th annual GIS day will be on November 15, 2017 when organizers hope to extend the invitation to other high school students on Staten Island and introduce them to GIS technology.


CSI Celebrates GIS Day

Students from New Dorp High School gather in the CSI Library.

On November 16, people from all around the globe celebrate Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Day. The international forum was especially noteworthy at the College of Staten Island (CSI) as it marked the 11th annual event.

As GIS Day falls within Geography Awareness Week (always on a Wednesday), the College hosted several lectures and workshops over the course of the week, focusing on the use of GIS technology in real-world applications that are making a difference in society today.

Students from New Dorp and Staten Island Technical High Schools visited CSI as part of the 30,000 Degrees initiative to participate in a comprehensive agenda led by CSI faculty, staff, and students. This was the first year that high school students have been invited to participate in GIS Day. They participated in three different workshops with faculty and staff:  the Great Fire of London, 1666, the Great Plague of London, 1665, and the Proposed Lynx Habitat Sites.

Faculty presentations during the week included lectures by Alan I. Benimoff, PhD; Simone A. Wegge, PhD; and Stephen Ferst, EdD. Also each year, CSI celebrates GIS day with a display of maps in the Library Rotunda. The maps showcase how CSI students and faculty use GIS in different disciplines.

Nora Santiago presents during GIS Week.

Organizer Nora Santiago, GIS Specialist, noted that, “Geographic Information Systems is a tool that many of us use but we are not aware of it. Your app or Website is relying on GIS technology when you are looking for the nearest place to eat or shop. GIS is a backbone of many online services and games today. GIS allows for processing spatial data quickly and accurately, making it an essential tool for companies and government agencies.”

“These GIS workshops provided high school students with a meaningful college campus visit, access to lab space and faculty, and an opportunity to engage in a 21st Century skill, which we see more and more of in the college and work place setting. This is the kind of exposure we seek to create, and extend to our high school students. It sends the message that college is within reach, and that there are tangible skills and personal growth that can be gained from the experience,” commented Crystal Montalvo, Director of the 30,000 Degrees initiative.

The first formal GIS Day took place in 1999. Esri, an international supplier of geographic information system software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications, president and co-founder Jack Dangermond credits Ralph Nader with being the person who inspired the creation of GIS Day. He considered GIS Day a good initiative for people to learn about geography and the uses of GIS. He wanted GIS Day to be a grassroots effort and open to everyone to participate. For more information, visit the GIS Day Website.

Next year’s GIS Day will take place on November 15, 2017.




Continuing Education Celebrates Summer App Build Program at the CSI Tech Incubator

Port Richmond High School Student Ryan Horgan presents his app.

Imagine. You are racing down Bay Street to catch the morning ferry. You miss it by seconds and are forced to jump into the choppy bay waters and battle hungry human-like fish to catch the boat. By way of Manhattan, you arrive in the Borough of Queens at a crowded subway station. As the 7 train rumbles overhead, you luckily have an arsenal of pizzas to whirl into the mouths of angry, attacking commuter zombies rendering them less angry. When you finally arrive at your destination, after leaping from treacherous moving scaffolding, you zoom away in a helicopter.

Though fictionalized in at least some respects, this may sound close to a typical day of commuting in New York City. The City’s infamous commuting experiences are what inspired mobile app designer and high school student Ryan Horgan to create “NYC Splunking” in a STEM summer program offered at the College of Staten Island (CSI).

Horgan, a sophomore at Port Richmond High School, was one of ten high school students who participated in the “Summer App Build” program for high school students. The program was created by CSI’s Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development. With tuition funded by AT&T, the program marks another successful collaboration between the College and AT&T.

“With the technology sector booming in New York City, it is essential that colleges serve the City and its residents by offering programs that provide access to this fast-growing employment sector,” said Christopher Cruz Cullari, Executive Director for Continuing Education and Professional Development. “With support from AT&T, we have been able to do this in two ways.  First, through a workforce development program for out-of-work/ out-of-school youth, we created a program that provided entry into the field for high school graduates looking for well-paying jobs. Now, this summer, we are working with students while they are still in high school, tapping into their technological creativity and hopefully creating excitement about attending college and studying one of the STEM fields.”Horgan's "NYC Splunking" App

In the summer program, high school students worked diligently during the month of August to create their own apps, learning the science and math behind computer programming. The program culminated in a presentation ceremony at the new CSI Technology Incubator in St. George where the students showcased their work. Director of the CSI Technology Incubator Jarred Sutton spoke briefly about the space, urging that “Staten Island is in a unique situation to harness its great talents with the College of Staten Island to invigorate economic development in the technology industry locally. With support from a myriad of organizations, partners in the community and the resources of CSI and CUNY we can build tech related businesses right here on Staten Island.”

Deputy to the President Kenichi Iwama congratulated the students and thanked AT&T as well as the Continuing Education staff.  He noted that, “On a small scale, this program celebrates student creativity, while on a larger scale it celebrates the innovation taking place in the country. Hopefully, we are igniting this creativity through programs like this one.”

“I’m proud of our students, and I’m very grateful to AT&T,” said Cruz Cullari. He added, “The students would not have been able to participate in this program without the tuition funded by AT&T. They are some of the brightest young minds on Staten Island, and it is an honor to be able to support their talent, which in the long run, will benefit the Borough and the City.”

Approximately 50 family members and CSI staff joined in the enthusiasm as students presented their apps and explained their processes.

Port Richmond High School Student Angelina Vega presents her app.

“My favorite thing was that this program opened my mind to the coding world and to this new generation of computers,” said Angelina Vega, a sophomore at Port Richmond High School, who created Duos Adventure, a game inspired by Super Mario Brothers.

Both Vega and Horgan used Paint.net to create the graphics.

Horgan said he wants to be a game or app developer and work for a large company like Google.

David Brim, an instructor in the program, congratulated his students on conquering the “herculean task of creating apps in essentially eight days.” Brim highlighted some of the knowledge that students gained including algebra, the logic of a computer, and how software correlates with hardware. “I couldn’t be happier and more proud. My students had no experience with this and they worked like crazy.”

Here is the complete roster of “Summer App Build” students:

  • Cameron Baldovin – Age: 16, Grade: 11, School: Xaverian HS
  • Jorge Quintero-Blancas – Age: 16, Grade: 12, School: New Dorp HS
  • Jordan Clanton – Age: 13, Grade: 8, School: NEST+m​
  • Ryan Horgan – Age: 14, Grade: 10, School: Port Richmond HS
  • Joseph Malak – Age: 15, Grade: 10, School: Port Richmond HS
  • Genesis Taveras – Age: 18, Grade: 12, School: Clark Academy
  • Khaleed Sadakah – Age: 16, Grade: 12, School: Susan E. Wagner HS
  • Nouha Sadakah – Age: 14, Grade: 9, School: Susan E. Wagner HS​
  • Angelina Vega – Age: 14, Grade: 10, School: Port Richmond HS




Teacher Education Honors Academy Students Change the World

Samantha Haimowitz '14, Dr. Deirdre Armitage, Dr. Jane Coffee, and Stephanie Palumbo '14

Samantha Haimowitz ’14 and Stephanie Palumbo ’14 had the privilege of being teachers before they even became teachers. Both CSI graduates participated in the College of Staten Island’s Teacher Education Honors Academy (TEHA), a selective program that allows CSI students to intern in middle and high school math and science classrooms, and offers full and partial scholarships. Both are full-time teachers as well as TEHA liaisons.

“I was employed as soon as I graduated, so I would call the program a success. I am not the only one who found a job as soon as we graduated either! Many of the TEHA graduates are my colleagues in the school where I work,” noted Palumbo, who is in her second year of teaching biology at New Dorp High School. The St. Peter’s Girls High School graduate also assists the department’s grade leader in developing the Living Environment program’s pacing calendar.

Coupled with a President’s Scholarship for their freshman year, Teacher Academy students achieve their degree tuition-free while getting to know the high school or middle school administrators through a comprehensive internship program.

Every TEHA graduate who has completed the NYCDOE application process has been hired at their desired school, and all of them are still teaching. Currently, there are 38 graduates of TEHA teaching in 19 different schools.

“The model has been very well respected by principals and assistant principals who hire the graduates. New Dorp High School has already hired more than five graduates,” Dr. Deirdre Armitage, Director of Fieldwork for the School of Education at CSI, noted. “The model is very popular, and it’s effective.”

In fact, administrators like New Dorp High School Principal Deidre DeAngelis have been so impressed with recent hires, that Teacher Academy alumni are playing a major role in such functions as realigning the school’s math curriculum to changes required by New York State and the Common Core standards, for example.

“I love the program. The students come in with hands-on, practical knowledge, and we get to work with them while they are completing coursework, which is key,” said DeAngelis, explaining that these new hires participate on inquiry teams, sit beside teachers, help with assessments and rubrics, and analyze data. “They also come in with much higher level skill in terms of use of technology, which benefits teachers who don’t have that kind of background,” she added.

Feedback from the students at the High School has also been overwhelming positive, according to DeAngelis. “Some of their favorite teachers are the teachers that came out of the Academy. The kids respect them and they have confidence in them because they know they are fair and knowledgeable,” said DeAndelis, who is in her 17th year as principal at New Dorp.

Additionally, these CSI graduates are writing recommendation letters for the excellent students in their high school classes for acceptance into this honors program.

TEHA Director Dr. Jane Coffee, while inspired by its success and the success of its students, is hopeful that each year will see increased recruitment. “The Teacher’s Academy has been awarded more grant money for scholarships than we currently have candidates that are eligible to receive these scholarships. I encourage anyone interested in becoming a well-prepared STEM high school or middle school teacher to take advantage of the wonderful full scholarship opportunity available,” said Dr. Coffee.

The graduates confirm that Dr. Coffee and the Program coordinators are largely deserving of praise for the Program’s success.

“The Program Coordinators really deserve a shout out for all the hard work they do in ensuring we have all the classes we need each semester to stay on track,” said Palumbo, who received the Noyce Scholarship, which covered her junior- and senior-year tuition.

Haimowitz, in her second year of teaching math at New Dorp High School, appreciated the job training she received. “The program gave me a lot of opportunities to grow professionally, especially when hosting different professional development opportunities,” commented Haimowitz, a Wagner High School graduate and CSI Noyce Scholar.

Receiving a full Presidential Scholarship, Haimowitz is also a grade leader in the math department, which includes building the curriculum for one of the courses; she also serves as a TEHA liaison, helping to place student observers into classes.

The students also attended several SMART Board and technology workshops, went to a technology conference in Washington DC, worked at summer school through the Noyce Program, and taught in the Galapagos Islands through the TEHA program.

The Program has, indeed, often funded opportunities for international teaching as Armitage urges, “international experiences help teachers become better educators by promoting understanding of different ways of learning and different cultures.”

Armitage confirms that this intense fieldwork “allows the students to make sense of their early education courses in ways that other students might not be able to. It connects them to the field. This can solidify their decision to become a teacher, or, just as valuable, it may let them find that this isn’t the work they want to invest time in.”

DeAngelis also appreciates the collaboration and “open communication” between the high schools and the Program. “We are constantly looking at college classes, and they allow input and there is less of gap in what we need when we hire new teachers. That’s huge,” she commented.

For application and Program information, potential candidates can visit the TEHA Website.

High School Students Gain Insight into the “World of Accounting”

High school students learned about the World of Accounting this semester at an event in the Center for the Arts.

Earlier this semester, the Williamson Theater turned into the “World of Accounting.”

The event, which was sponsored by the Staten Island Chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA) was coordinated by Cynthia Scarinci, Assistant Professor of Accounting, who is also the past president of the chapter and currently a state board member of the NYSSCPA.

The purpose of the event, which also took place in the fall of 2010, was to provide high school students with information about the field of accounting.

The program featured guest speakers from different industries within the accounting profession, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

More than 150 high school seniors attended, along with a number of Staten Island high school faculty members, from schools including Tottenville High School, Curtis High School, St. Peter’s Boys High School, Susan Wagner High School, Monsignor Farrell High School, New Dorp High School, Moore Catholic High School, and the Michael J. Petrides High School.

The guest speakers from the FBI, Supervisory Financial Analyst Michele A. Palumbo and Forensic Accountant Daniel J. Tempone, discussed their respective positions within the bureau. Richard Singer of Robert Half spoke about interview skills and building a winning résumé. Professor Scarinci discussed the accounting curriculum and requirements for the CPA exam and licensure. Lastly, Rebecca Russo-Iacobellis, CPA, discussed her career path in the field of public accounting.

The event also featured mock college-entrance interviews, conducted onstage with student volunteers, with feedback provided by a panel of local CPAs.

High school teachers and students in attendance expressed how pleased they were with the event, which provided insight into a field of study for the “soon to be graduating” students.

[video] JPMorgan Chase Supports SEEK/Strategies for Success with a $80K Grant

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JPMorgan Chase is helping students at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and underserved elementary and middle school students on the Island with an $80,000 grant for the SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge )/Strategies for Success program. In addition, this grant supported the initial stage of a partnership with Curtis High School as a “community school model” completing the pipeline for students from the elementary to the college level.

The mission of the SEEK/Strategies for Success Program, which is administered by the Division of Student Affairs, is to deliver academic assistance to the most disadvantaged intermediate and elementary school children enrolled in after-school programs at Title I schools and local community centers. In addition to the academic assistance, college students offer personal support to the children. Through educational games, arts and crafts, and self-esteem workshops, the children are encouraged to recognize and celebrate their talents and abilities.

The second aspect of the program’s mission is to provide CSI students, drawn largely from the SEEK Program, with a chance to further their development beyond the classroom. The program provides work experience that helps undergraduates clarify their own career goals, and build their own academic and personal skills. At the same time, “Strategies” provides a college work experience, where students can put into practice, theories learned in the classroom, as many are Education majors. Being involved in the development of youth they learn civility, acceptance, and a deeper understanding of the community and the diversity of its population. With the support of this grant, Strategies for Success was able to secure interventions on the high school level at Curtis. SAT preparation courses were conducted at Curtis High School, further preparing students for the college level. Direct partnerships were formed with Curtis and various areas of the college, including the Psychology and Performing and Creative Arts Departments.

SEEK/Strategies for Success has been instrumental in bringing together CSI with public schools, educational organizations, community centers, and private foundations to create resources and interventions that are critical to the well-being of children and families in the Staten Island community.

In regard to JPMorgan Chase’s contribution to “Strategies,” Gloria Garcia, Director of the College’s SEEK  Program, commented, “Through the generous grant provided by JPMorgan Chase, elementary and middle school children learn about saving, spending, donating, and investing money. They learn, hands-on, how math works in their everyday lives. College students participating in the Financial Literacy workshops also learn these important principals through their involvement in the project. This past February, college students in the program attended an “Identity Theft Awareness” workshop at CSI. The Strategies team invited a JPMorgan Chase Vice President and a Personal Banker to conduct the workshop, and the 17 CSI students who attended reported positive outcomes from the workshop.”

Garcia added that “The Financial Literacy Strategies for Success team is taking their commitment to the teaching of financial success one step further. The Strategies for Success Workshop Facilitator will be conducting 20 Financial Literacy Workshops this summer. Through this effort, approximately 2,000 first-semester CSI freshmen will take part in money management workshops conducted by the Financial Literacy team through the CSI New Student Orientation Program.”

Georgia Landrum, Strategies for Success Program Associate Director stated, “It is amazing how quickly our young participants pick up on the basics of financial literacy and the many terms that Jennifer Sullivan, our workshop facilitator, teaches them. We were thrilled when we read our surveys and found that as a result of the project, most of our third-grade children understood what the term ‘bull market’ meant.”

How do the public school students who receive this training feel about this program? A third grader at PS 57 said, “When you save your money in the bank, you earn interest.” A sixth grader at IS 49 noted, “[I learned] what credit is and how to avoid identity theft. I learned how important it is to protect your identity.”

Francesca Navarro, a Business Management major at CSI who is one of the mentors, underscored the importance of the program, “A lot of children are not exposed to financial education and it is important for our youth to be knowledgeable so that we do not repeat the current economic recession.”

When asked why JPMorgan Chase opted to back this program Seth Edwards, Vice President, Community Relations, JPMorgan Chase, said, “At JPMorgan Chase, we are committed to providing financial education to all those who live in the communities in which we serve. The financial knowledge and skills that these students are acquiring will serve them in good stead their entire lives. Therefore, it is our pleasure to support this Strategies for Success initiative.”

CSI Student Service Learning Marketing Research Projects Provide Valuable Insights

On-Point Marketing Research members (L-R:) Jeffrey Drouillard, Lorna Wilson, Susan Fenley (Executive Director, Sundog Theatre), Gideon Omagbemi

Four teams of upper-class marketing research students presented the results of their semester’s marketing research projects to representatives of the Sundog Theatre, Richmond County Orchestra, Riverside Opera Company, and the Little Cupcake Bakeshop recently at the College of Staten Island’s Center for the Arts.

On-Point Marketing Research members Lorna Wilson, Jeffrey Drouillard, and Gideon Omagbemi gave a 20-minute presentation on their findings to the Director of Sundog Theatre, Susan Fenley.

Elite Entertainment members (L-R:) Katie Kapitan, Melissa Castellanos, Maestro Alan Aurelia (Richmond County Orchestra/Riverside Opera Company), Sandy Tang, Shannon Clark, Kiki Kosmidou, Vincent Cannone

Student researchers from Elite Entertainment including Katie Kapitan, Kiki Kosmidou and Sandy Tang presented their results to Maestro Alan Aurelia of the Richmond Country Orchestra as did C3 Research, Vincent Cannone, Melissa Castellanos, and Shannon Clark with their segment on the maestro’s Riverside Opera Company.

NEKS Level Research members (L-R:) Sagi Alkobi, Kristie Draper, Nelson Ortiz

Market research for a CSI alumni member’s Little Cupcake Bake Shop in Brooklyn, a for-profit business, was presented by NEKS Level Research team members Sagi Alkobi, Kristie Draper, and Nelson Ortiz.

These Student Service Learning presentations were executive summaries of information gleaned from their marketing research projects. Each team met with their client to determine the problem areas; define the research objectives, constructs, and measurements; and to develop a questionnaire. The questionnaires were completed electronically and manually by a convenience sample of both organization supporters as well as Staten Island Chamber of Commerce members who agreed to participate. The students’ data were then analyzed via SPSS, a statistical software application, and then crafted into a final report and PowerPoint presentation. Each team was able to demonstrate new and surprising insights to each organization from their support base as well as Chamber members, and provide real-world suggestions for cultivating future donor/supporter involvement and market expansion potential. This year the students added their first for-profit client.

Past research projects from CSI marketing research students have included a study for a St. John’s University continuing education program; SCORE, Staten Island branch; The American Cancer Society, Staten Island division; and COAHSI, Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island.

Maestro Aurelia commented, “I learned a lot about how we can reach more people on Staten Island and what our general audience is thinking. The teams of students you selected to work on this report were fantastic to work with. I also learned from the other teams’ remarks during their presentation.”

Susan Fenley added, “Thank you so much for allowing Sundog to be part of this wonderful program. I think it was a completely win-win situation, with everyone benefiting.”

Professor Thomas Tellefsen, Chairperson of the Business Department at CSI, acknowledged, “The feedback has been great. It’s particularly gratifying when real managers speak well of our students.”

Jeffrey Drouillard, a student who worked on the Sundog Theatre project noted, “I wanted to thank you for allowing me to be part of something [in which] a select few students get to participate. I have learned so much in this quick semester-–this class gave me an insider look into the real business world–-late nights and very early mornings…Thank you for the learning experience – I will hold it with me wherever I go in the future.”

The client-sponsor for Little Cupcake Bakeshop was not able to attend the presentation because of holiday business issues but stated in an email, “Your students very much impressed me and I know the work will be stellar!” He will receive his report after the holidays.

Bill Dubovsky, Adjunct Lecturer in Business, welcomed the audience with a brief presentation on how marketing research can be used by non-profit organizations to build capacity (audience and supporters) and video-recorded the presentations for future marketing research classes. “Our community client-sponsors all came away with useful information and learned from each other’s presentations. It’s gratifying to see students excited about doing real research and then see their results put to practical use by real organizations,” stated Dubovsky, who thanked them all for their time and support of the students.

Each attending client-sponsor received a copy of the research report, data, the PowerPoint presentation, as well as a PDF copy of Non-profit Marketing – Capacity Building Workshop Participant Workbook to act as a guide in developing marketing strategy from the data.