CSI President Morales Honored as Pakistani Civic Association Celebrates Independence Day

Councilwoman Debi Rose joins CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales on the grounds of Snug Harbor. Both were recently honored by the Pakistani Civic Association.

The Pakistani Civic Association celebrated Pakistan’s 64th Independence Day at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center last month. The event was both a celebration of Pakistani culture and heritage as well as an opportunity to honor members of the Staten Island community who have supported the Pakistani community on Staten Island.

Among those honored was College of Staten Island (CSI) President Dr. Tomás D. Morales, who has a lifelong dedication to ensuring equal opportunity to students from all backgrounds in their attempt to obtain a valuable college education.

In his acceptance speech, President Morales addressed possibly broadening the Center for International Service’s scope to include Pakistan as well as mentioning that Pakistani students at CSI were “great students from a great community.” He went on to say that “Pakistani students at CSI are leaders on campus and that all of CSI has been enriched by Pakistani culture.”

Other honorees at the event included Tom Early, founder of Health Plus; Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly; and Councilwoman Debi Rose. Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a young Pakistani American EMT, who was killed on September 11, 2001, was honored posthumously. The special guest for the afternoon was the Honorable Faqir Syed Asif Hussain, Counsul General of Pakistan in New York.

The Pakistani Civic Association President Dr. Mohammad Khalid called the day “a very special day to celebrate our heritage and ensure our children don’t forget the Pakistani culture.”

The outdoor event was attended by a diverse group with many enjoying the Pakistani food and live band. Children played baseball in the field adjacent to the adults who mingled with Councilwoman Rose and President Morales. As the event wound down, Dr. Khalid told attendees that he was very proud that “Pakistani Americans are very loyal, sincere, and hardworking members of the American community.”

State of Israel Bonds Honors CSI

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE – State of Israel Bonds Staten Island Division honored the College of Staten Island with its Israel Unity Award on June 19 at a community-wide breakfast at the Joan and Alan Bernikow JCC, Sea View. The campaign has raised $1.3 million so far as Bonds celebrates its 60th anniversary year.

On hand were Bonita Sussman, breakfast co-chair; Dr. Fred Naider, CSI board and faculty member; Dr. Zalman Brody, bond drive co-chair; Dr. David Friedman, chairman — President’s Club of Bonds; Dr. Tomas D. Morales, CSI president; Ya’acov Rosenrauch, bond drive co-chair; and retired Brigadier Gen.Yehuda Halevy, guest speaker.

This story first appeared in the Staten Island Advance on June 24, 2011, and is reprinted here with permission.

[video] Zaghloul Ahmed awarded 2011 NYC BioAccelerate Prize For Neural Stimulation System

Zaghoul Ahmed, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and Department of Neuroscience at The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, has been named one of five winners of the $1.5 million 2011 BioAccelerate NYC Prize for his novel research of the PathMaker Neuromuscular Treatment System, a CUNY-trademarked method of treating spinal cord injuries by using electrical stimulation to strengthen neuromotor connections.

System Restores Mobility after Traumatic Injury, Disease or Defect

Dr. Ahmed was awarded the 2011 BioAccelerate prize for his research at CSI, which involves a Proprietary Electrical Stimulation Method and System that combines trans-spinal steady DC stimulation with cortical and peripheral repetitive pulsed stimulation.

“We are extremely proud that Dr. Ahmed has been awarded the 2011 BioAccelerate NYC Prize,” said CSI President Dr. Tomas D. Morales. “Dr. Ahmed’s groundbreaking invention exemplifies the innovative research being performed at the College of Staten Island and places him at the vanguard of this transformative field.”

Bringing Science from the Lab to Lifestyle

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqieMnoaChU[/youtube]“Millions of US patients are suffering from paraplegic or quadriplegic paralysis,” commented Dr. Ahmed. “We have developed a system – method and apparatus – for treating neuromuscular damage, such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and stroke, and related anomalies.”

These conditions are united by the fact that a failed communication pathway between the brain/spinal cord and the associated muscle group is the fundamental cause of the disability.

Dr. Ahmed’s invention includes method and apparatus for treatment of dysfunctional communication between neuronally coupled sites in the nervous system.  A unique combination of electrical signals stimulates the neuronal pathway that couples these sites.  The applied signals include a charging component to increase communication intensity along that pathway and a handshake component that enables the sites to regain communication with each other.  The stimulation energizes and engages the natural recuperative mechanisms of the nervous system.

“When there is a spinal cord injury, the connections from the brain to the spinal cord and the spinal cord are weakened.  The basis for the technology I have developed is that applying stimulation to activate brain cells, spinal cord cells and muscle—at the same time—should strengthen the connections and improve function,” said Dr. Ahmed.

Ahmed’s device and method have shown early promise as an effective technique for strengthening the neuromotor pathways that remain after a spinal injury, promoting significant and perhaps permanent improvement.

He, along with his colleagues, has published two papers reporting “remarkable recovery” with mice.   This research, conducted during the past four years in the animal research facility at the College of Staten Island, was funded by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center.

From Wheelchair to Walking

In his private practice as a physical therapist, Dr. Ahmed has treated severely disabled patients, and has substantially remediated disabilities with lasting effect due to his proprietary stimulation equipment and therapy.

“The system and methods can be employed to strengthen or awaken any weak or dormant pathway in the nervous system – as long as there is at least some minimal connection,” according to Dr. Ahmed.

One of the most remarkable outcomes involved a sixteen-year-old female with severe cerebral palsy affecting both her arms and legs.

“She has always been in a wheel chair.  After three weeks of treatment, three times a week for 15 minutes, she was walking with crutches without assistance,” said Dr. Ahmed.

“Dr. Ahmed’s research will help to establish a new paradigm in the treatment to restore mobility and function in individuals with paralyzed extremities that include spinal cord injuries and related neurological disorders,” commented Dr. Jeffrey Rothman, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at CSI. “His research has far-reaching implications that will lead to breakthroughs in the field. We applaud the efforts of the New York City Investment Fund that will make this possible.”

The Business of Human Science

Funds from the BioAcelerate grant will be used by Dr. Ahmed to purchase equipment and create a facility on the College of Staten Island campus where a clinical trial involving 96 patients will be conducted in partnership with Staten Island University Hospital.

If the PathMaker system continues to prove effective, CUNY could license the technology through an offshoot company.

The Partnership for New York City and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has designed the BioAccelerate program to further research in the life sciences to attract venture capital funding.

The New York City-based winning researchers will each receive $250,000 to conduct late-stage, “proof-of-concept” research on products that improve human health, with a goal of making New York City a center of bioscience and bringing proven technology to the marketplace.

Of 55 applicants, five winners were selected after a competitive process in which all of the applicants were scrutinized by leading venture investors and senior executives from the life science industry.  Along with funding, Dr. Ahmed was also paired with a mentor who has senior level management experience at a life science company.

The competition marks the first phase of the Partnership for NYC’s long-term commitment to ensuring that promising laboratory discoveries made in New York translate into jobs and business development for New York City.


[gallery] Top Scholars Recognized at Fourth Annual Honors Convocation

Brian Kateman
Brian Kateman
Brian Kateman (left) addresses the audience. President Morales, right.

The College of Staten Island honored its top students, with the help of their friends and families, last night at the fourth annual Honors Convocation, which was held in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The event’s emcee was Dr. A. Ramona Brown, CSI Vice President for Student Affairs.

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

College President Dr. Tomas D. Morales, in his greetings to the attendees, emphasized the transformation of CSI students, and of the College itself, “You are graduating during a period of remarkable transformation at the College of Staten Island. This academic year, a new mission statement was developed by the College that will guide our great institution for the next five years. Central to our new mission is our uncompromising and absolute commitment to student success and achievement, which will continue to elevate our College. As students graduating with honors, each and every one of you represents this ongoing transformation of the College of Staten Island as an outstanding public institution of higher education. And for that, I applaud you.”

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After greetings from CSI Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Fritz, the Class of 2011 Salutatorian Brian Kateman, who will be receiving a BS in Biology, gave the student address.

In his remarks, Kateman shared his philosophy of life, stating, “The truth is this: life is beyond total control. As a scientist, this has been the most difficult lesson for me to learn. Thankfully, through wonderful mentorship from the CSI faculty, I now know that success and happiness stems not from defining and designing our lives but from having the belief in ourselves to cope with its vicissitudes and capricious nature.”

Following the student address, Carol Brower, Director of Student Life, presented the Student Dolphin Awards to Michael Maslankowski and Jolanta Smulski. (They will receive the actual awards at the Dolphin Award ceremony following Commencement.)

In addition, Dr. Ann Lubrano, Acting Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs presented certificates of completion for the Melissa Riggio Program.  Christine Flynn Saulnier, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dr. Alfred Levine, Interim Dean of Science and Technology, presented the Academic Honors and Student Service Leadership Awards.

Dr. A. Ramona Brown chaired the Honors Convocation committee and was the presiding officer.

[videos] Verrazano School Celebrates First Annual Senior Convocation

Jessica Scarcella, Verrazano Senior Convocation Student Speaker (third from left) is joined by fellow graduates before processional into the Convocation ceremony.

The Verrazano School at CSI celebrated its first annual Verrazano Senior Convocation on Wednesday, May 25 in the Center for the Arts.

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

The Class of 2011 is the second graduating class from The Verrazano School and the first Verrazano class in which students entered the prestigious honors program as incoming freshmen. There are also students in the graduating class who were accepted to the program after the freshman year as transfer students. In all, 42 students graduated from the honors program this year and as the program grows, so will the family of Verrazano alumni.

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Available to all majors, the students receive extra support from full-time faculty, benefit from smaller class sizes and priority registration, and perhaps more importantly, personalized academic advisement and career preparation.

“Students will not get lost in this program,” said Katie Geschwendt, Coordinator of The Verrazano School. “We stay in close communication with, and provide support for, students to help them have the most successful and fulfilling undergraduate experience possible.”

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The Verrazano School serves as a springboard for exceptional, highly motivated students who meet the academic requirements needed to enroll. Students in the honors program receive added assistance and guidance in pursuit of internships, research, career opportunities, or preparation for graduate studies.

Students also work closely with academic leaders, assessing the program and providing valuable insights on how to help the program evolve to better meet the needs of the students. This invaluable two-way discussion contributes to the growth and success of the program.

Dr. Charles Liu, the Verrazano Director, not only served as Master of Ceremonies for the Convocation but also provided the background piano music to the event as guests arrived.

“We’re running this event on a budget,” he joked. More seriously, he told the audience, “This Convocation celebrates the 2011 graduates of The Verrazano School and their wonderful achievements. I’m privileged and honored to have been able to get to know these remarkable students who have accomplished so much in their time at CSI.”

The featured speakers were Mr. Vullnet Kolari, Alumni Board President; Dr. Ann Lubrano, Acting Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs; and Jessica Scarcella, this year’s Verrazano Senior Convocation Student Speaker.

It was apparent during the Convocation that the faculty and staff formed a close bond with the students over the past four years as they all expressed pride and excitement for their students.  “It is extremely rewarding to work with students from freshman year to graduation and see the transformations that occur as they become involved in opportunities such as internships, research, community service, and study abroad,” said Ms. Geschwendt. “Verrazano students take advantage of opportunities within and outside of the classroom, and this makes them well-rounded and ready to take on whatever they choose to do in the future.”

The Dessert Reception, generously sponsored by the CSI Alumni Association, featured a delectable treat making its premiere on the campus: homemade miniature pies with sumptuous apple, peach, and chocolate cream filling adorned with a fresh-made pastry Verrazano “V” on top. The reception offered the opportunity for students to celebrate with their family and friends, professors, and CSI administrators and alumni.

This year’s graduating Verrazano class consists of students representing 17 majors, and the graduating class’ overall GPA is 3.475—an  exceptional number for an entire graduating class.

While many of the students are already prepared to enter the workforce, most will continue their academic careers in graduate programs at schools including Columbia University, College of Staten Island, CCNY, Brooklyn College, New York University, and Rutgers University.

College of Staten Island to Receive Israel Unity Award

State of Israel Bonds will honor CSI with its Israel Unity Award this June.

State of Israel Bonds will honor the College of Staten Island with its Israel Unity Award, to be accepted by President Dr. Tomás D. Morales, on Sunday June 19 at the Staten Island Jewish Community Center (JCC).  The event commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Bonds organization. 

 “I am grateful for the generosity of the donor that originally presented the College of Staten Island with a gift of an Israel Bond, resulting in the creation of the Marcus Memorial Scholarship at CSI,” commented President Morales. “I am pleased that CSI students in Nursing and Allied Health programs have the opportunity to receive financial support thanks to the proceeds generated from this investment. I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the estate of Else T. Marcus and the College of Staten  Island.  I also congratulate State of Israel Bonds on its 60th anniversary.” 

The Boyerker Scholarship Fund, founded by the estate of prominent Staten Island physician Dr. Else T. Marcus, established the Dr. Else T. Marcus Memorial Fund Scholarship at CSI in June 1989 with a gift in the form of an Israel Bond.  The endowment provides scholarship assistance to a minimum of four CSI students per year studying in Nursing or Allied Health programs.  Marcus Hall, the academic building on the CSI campus that houses the College’s prestigious Nursing program, is named in honor of the nursing education advocate. 

Bonds President and CEO Joshua Matza commented, “We are very proud to recognize the College of Staten Island for its recent Israel Bond reinvestment.  We are particularly pleased that the College’s investment in Israel will assist many CSI students.” 

The breakfast event, co-chaired by Dr. Zalman Brody and Ya’acov Rosenrauch, is a community-wide Bonds activity held in conjunction with 20 Staten Island synagogues and Jewish organizations. 

 The guest speaker at the event will be Brigadier General (ret.) Yehuda Halevy, who served as president and CEO of State of Israel Bonds from 1982to 1988.  He is currently president of the S. Daniel Abraham Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya College in Israel. 

 The event will take place Sunday, June 19 at 10:00am at the Staten Island JCC’s Bernikow Center at 1466 Manor Road. Reservations are $30 per person.  For reservations or more information, contact Robert Lunzer at robert.lunzer1@israelbonds.com or 212.446.5835. 

According to their Website, State of Israel Bonds is widely recognized as one of Israel’s most valued and reliable economic resources, with worldwide sales exceeding $32.4 billion to date.  Since 1951 it has been a catalyst for Israel’s rapid evolution from struggling agrarian nation to global high-tech powerhouse. Securities offered by Israel Bonds can assist in achieving numerous investment objectives, including preservation of capital, retirement planning, charitable giving, and portfolio diversification.

College Community to Celebrate 35th Annual Commencement

CSI will hold its 35th Annual Commencement on Thursday, June 2.

The College of Staten Island will recognize the Class of 2011’s  2,534 degree candidates on Thursday, June 2 at 10:00am on the College’s Great Lawn.

View detailed information for graduates.

Commencement will begin with welcoming remarks from College President Dr. Tomás D. Morales, as well as greetings from CUNY Trustee Kay Pesile ’73 and CUNY Vice Chancellor for Labor Relations Pamela Silverblatt, on behalf of CUNY Chancellor Dr. Matthew Goldstein.

The class valedictorian, Melissa Horne, will be graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BA in English and a concentration in Writing. She is a Verrazano School student with a 3.98 grade point average. Ms. Horne has received numerous scholarships and  is a Dean’s List student. During her time at CSI, Ms. Horne worked extensively with the Bertha Harris Women’s Center and the Campus Activities Board,she has won several awards for writing, and she is the founder of the Heads Up Awareness Program, a community service effort.

This year’s honorary degree recipients will be Dr. Diane Kelder, Dr. John Noble Wilford, and Denis Hughes who will each receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Dr. Diane Kelder, who received her BA from Queens College and went on to earn her doctorate at Bryn Mawr College (1966).  Her research interests include the art of the French Revolution, 19th and 20th century French painting, the history of graphic art, and early American modernism. She taught at the College of Staten Island from 1971-2000, and at the Graduate Center from 1980-2000.  Dr. Kelder served as the long-time editor of Art Journal, the journal of the College Art Association. She chaired the committee that selected the paintings and sculptures at CSI.  She has presented at numerous professional events and participated in panels, lectures, and symposia. Dr. Kelder is a prolific and accomplished author and curator who was the founding director for Art Gallery of the CUNY Graduate Center.

Dr. John Noble Wilford, winner of two Pulitzer prizes who earned a BS in Journalism from the University of Tennessee in 1955 and an MA in Political Science from Syracuse University. Dr. Wilford’s career in journalism began in 1956 with a job as a general assignment writer for The Wall Street Journal, and later as a medical writer. He spent a year at Columbia University under a Ford Foundation Fellowship, subsequently taking a job with Time magazine as a contributing science editor, then onward to The New York Times as a science reporter in 1965. Dr. Wilford eventually became The New York Times‘ best-known science reporter and was instrumental in creating the “Science News” section that elevated the quality of science coverage in the newspaper. He has been honored with numerous awards for his writing; held visiting professorships at several universities, including Princeton, Syracuse, Duke, Yale, and the University of Tennessee; and he has been author, coauthor, or editor of eight books. Dr. Wilford has been called the preeminent space reporter in the United States.

Denis Hughes has been the President of the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO since 1999. A top priority of his presidency has been creating a more mobile, active, and aggressive statewide labor movement.  Accomplishments include coordination of labor’s successful efforts to secure $20 billion in federal funding to help rebuild New York City and New York State in the aftermath of 9/11, and passage of legislation that provides necessary funding for treatment and medical care for 9/11?s heroes and first responders. Mr. Hughes serves on Cornell University’s Board of Trustees and was chairperson of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2010.

The keynote speaker this year will be New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

President  Morales will also recognize the recent recipients of the President’s Award, Ms. Dolores N. Morris, Distinguished Professor Fred Naider, and Fire Commissioner Cassano, as well as other dignitaries in the audience.

The ceremony will then focus on the 2011 graduates with greetings on behalf of the faculty from Professor Michal Kruk and induction of the new alumni by CSI Alumni Association President Vullnet Kolari ’98.

This year’s class of degree candidates will then be presented by Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Fritz to Dr. Morales, who will confer their degrees.

Immediately following the Commencement ceremony, Departmental Exercises will be held at various locations on campus. A reception for graduates and guests will follow in the Campus Center at 12:30pm.