[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.”

“Clothes the Deal” Helps Students Dress for Success

Clothes the Deal gave students pointers on proper business attire.

The Career and Scholarship Center  recently hosted “Clothes the Deal: Your Fashion Runway to Success.”  The event, held in the Center for the Arts Atrium, involved both students and faculty “dressing for success.”

The fashion show, coordinated by Chris Carbone and Cheryl Barzey of the Career and Scholarship Center, demonstrated for students how they should dress for that all-important job interview or first job. “The purpose is to bridge the gap between student and professional,” Carbone said.  “Most students,” he continued, “do not come from white-collar backgrounds…they don’t know that they need to know these things.” Jeanine Sledge, a junior Business Management major at CSI and one of the event’s many student volunteers, reiterated that statement saying, “most students out of high school don’t know this part.”

The runway show, which had diverse models, consisting of both students and faculty members, showcasing a variety of business outfits, was the highlight of the event, but it was the post show that may have had the biggest impact.
After the show, the students in attendance were able to speak with representatives from the Small Business Development Center, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Leadership Council. The professionals advised students on their career wardrobe by helping them pick out clothing from the “career closet,” a veritable department store of business clothing donated by the CSI community and many local clothing stores. They also provided invaluable advice on preparing for job interviews and the upcoming CUNY Big Apple Job Fair.

Carbone mentioned that the event’s purpose was two-fold: to hold a relaxing, fun event where the students learn something about the world outside the classroom, as well as “help educate the community about the young professionals attending and graduating from CSI.”

This was the second runway show that the Career and Scholarship Center has held, generating a lot of community attention from local retailers. Some of those who were in attendance were MYM Suits, Sears, Ann Taylor, and Men’s Wearhouse. The retailers offered discounts for all in attendance and had tables where attendees could browse through clothing and get fashion advice from the representatives. Jeanine Sledge called the show “liberating.” She went on to explain that she had “always wanted to do this,” referring to organizing a large, multi-layered event.  “College is about molding.”

Overall, the event played to its dual purpose perfectly, offering students a chance to learn about real-world situations in a more casual, energetic atmosphere, as well as showing the professionals in attendance that CSI’s students are serious about entering the workforce and becoming effective and dynamic members of the community.

[video] CSI Students in Dublin Learn You Cannot “Find Culture in a Classroom”

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The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and the College of Staten Island have been involved in cooperative efforts for over four years and the results have been better than expected. CSI business students looking for a study-abroad opportunity are beginning to choose Ireland as the “gateway” country to studying in Europe. DIT and CSI offer a full-semester program as well as a short-term summer program in Dublin.

CSI business students studying at DIT were able to receive the full range of educational opportunities available as well as witness the unique history that Dublin, one of Europe’s oldest cities, has to offer. Because of its unique location, Dublin is considered a gateway to mainland Europe. In addition, although the culture is different the common language makes it easier for English-speaking students to acclimate themselves to a new country.

CSI students attended lectures at DIT and also visited important literary sites such as the home of James Joyce, traveled to Belfast in Northern Ireland to see how the peace is working, and made company visits to firms like Intel and O-2. The Intel visit was especially significant since the company carefully guards its proprietary information and  does not often entertain guests. “We were exposed to the inner workings of a company we otherwise never would have been exposed to,” said Mary Beth Reilly, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management at CSI, who accompanied the students last summer program.

Recently returning CSI students all commented that they had a “once in a lifetime” experience and they stressed the importance of learning cultural diversity as business students.

“As a manager, you may have a wide employee base,” said Naushad Mohammed, who has a BS and MS from the College. “You find people from all walks of life and as a manager you have to understand every single one of these employees. Studying abroad gives future business managers the opportunity to not only experience another country’s culture and practices but to meet new people and broaden personal horizons.”

Aside from being a practical learning experience and a good way to strengthen a résumé, the experience elicited the same response from all of the students who have returned from studying at DIT. They echoed the sentiment shared by Jared Desposito, a 2009 graduate from CSI’s MS in Management program, “I learned so much about what I don’t know about the world.”

CSI offers full-semester programs to DIT as well a summer ten-day program worth three credits. There are scholarship and grant opportunities for all students planning on studying abroad.

Registration for this summer’s program will open on April 6. Students who are interested in applying need to visit Camille Lazar or Alan Zimmerman in the Business Department office.

[video] Business Mgmt Major Emphasizes How Scholarships Help Bottom Line

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Megan Ernst, a CSI freshman majoring in Business Management, had an opportunity to address the attendees at the second annual Celestial Ball, last month.

Ernst, a recipient of the CSI Foundation and John & Filomena Merlino scholarships, emphasized the important role that these funds play in the lives of students who do not have the financial resources to remain in college without them.

Discussing her own situation, Ernst said that the money that she received has “helped remove a finanical hardship for my family and even for myself. It helps me become one step closer to achieving my goals, as well as [helping me to give] back to the community that helped me.”

Ernst then told the audience that she wanted to get beyond her personal experience, so she surveyed other friends and colleagues to tap their opinions on scholarships. She reported that some feel that scholarships are defined as personal achievement, as a recognition of their hard work. Others, she said, are grateful to receive this recognition from the community, and in turn, have an opportunity to give back.

Before thanking the attendees, Ernst noted that the scholarship money helps students to envigorate the economy through student expenditures on essentials like food and transportation, but, most importantly, “scholarships help you take an extra step in life…an extra step leading down a new and wonderful path you never thought you’d make it down before.”

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery and read the Celestial Ball article.

Make a Gift to the CSI Foundation.

Alumni Mentor Students in the Art of the Business Meal

Kristian Gargasz chats with students at the Business Etiquette Luncheon.

In today’s fiercely competitive job market and economy, today’s graduates need every skill they can acquire to get an edge on the competition. Toward that goal, the College’s Career and Scholarship Center and the CSI Alumni Association teamed up last Friday to present “The Business Etiquette Luncheon.”

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

The two-hour event gave a capacity group of 58 CSI students the opportunity to enjoy a five-course professional business lunch, while a CSI alumni member at their table offered helpful suggestions on the proper way to conduct themselves during a real-life business meal situation. Beyond the one-on-one interaction with alumni, who are seasoned business professionals, the attendees also enjoyed a presentation from the Career and Scholarship Center’s Nina Long, who, between courses, shared more valuable information regarding the proper behavior in such a scenario.

Francesca Navarro, a junior studying Business Management with a minor in Corporate Communications, was one of the student attendees. When asked what she hoped to get out of the luncheon, she said, “I hope to develop the ability to go to an interview and present myself adequately, and if it is a dinner, so that I can have good communications skills and not offend anyone in the process.”

Another student, Michael Wallace, a sophomore majoring in Biology, added that, when he eventually faces a potential employer, he wanted to be able to “have a good interview and get a good job.”

Explaining the importance of the luncheon, Joanne Hollan, Associate Director of the Career and Scholarship Center, commented that “The business dinner and the interview that takes place along with it are the latest trend in how students are recruited into today’s job market. Many of the larger companies are now holding this kind of ‘Interview Day’ where students are invited to the company for the entire day to conduct a series of interviews with staff including the business interview luncheon or dinner. It can be a deal maker if done correctly. It can also be a deal breaker if students are not well prepared on how to conduct themselves during the business interview meal. In order to help our students be as competitive as possible, especially in today’s job market, The Career and Scholarship Center wants to provide students with these “career building” skills that will set them apart from other college graduates conducting a job search.”

As for the CSI alumni who were on hand to share their expertise, the general goal was to help prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s job interviews.

Frances Melendez, PhD ’80, ’94, the Deputy Director of the MA in Mental Health Counseling program in the Psychology Department, who received an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a BA in Psychology from CSI, noted, “I think, as a CSI alumna, that it’s important that students see that CSI alumni can be successful. It’s also for them to understand what the real world is like–how to interview, what the etiquette is, how they should prepare themselves, to empower them to do a good job on an interview.

Joe Ricciutti ’94, President of the Staten Island Yankees and a Foundation Board Member, who CSI graduated with a BS in Business Management, commented, “Being a CSI graduate and a member of the business community, any opportunity that I can give back, even if it’s just a little advice, I’m happy to do it. Given how competitive the job market is, it’s tough enough getting a good job, nevermind being right on the cusp and losing it because you did something [wrong] at an interview.”

Another alumnus was Kristian Gargasz ’06, who received a BS in International Business from CSI, eventually launching Grand Prix America, the North American offset of Grand Prix-Trading House, the European Dance and Fitness Apparel Company. He explained that “As students… we were educated very well, [but] as far as circumstances in the real world, we had little practice. When it came time to face real people in business we didn’t have the proper scenario in order to speak and articulate with those whom we were going to work with in the future. This [event] gives [students] an opportunity to practice and step forward into the professional world.”

Also on hand was Carole Gervasi ’02, Vice President of Online Degree Programs for the College Bound Network and a CSI alumni Board member with a BS in Communications from the College, who said, “CSI has definitely given my company a lot of interns over the years…I’m here not only to get an idea from the students in terms of what their opinions are of the outside world, but also how I can help them by bringing all of my expertise and experience, and see how I can recruit some more potential interns into my company because we’ve had such success with them in the past.

For the last seven years, the Business Etiquette Luncheon has been a part of the many events and services offered by the Career and Scholarship Center to help students succeed in the job market, and the event seems to draw more student participation every year. With that in mind, although, as Hollan mentioned, this is an usually an annual event, she said that “We had an overwhelming response to this event [this year] and would like to do another one in the spring, if we can.”

For more information of the many services that the Career and Scholarship Center has to offer, visit their Website at http://www.csi.cuny.edu/career/index.html or call them at 718.982.2300.

CSI alumni who are interested in participating in future Etiquette luncheons should contact the Alumni Relations Office at 718.982.2290.

This event was generously funded by the Campus Activities Board with Student Activity Fee funds.

Business Alumni Reunite at Residence of Dr. Morales

L-R: Crystal Deosaran ’04, Prof. Cynthia Scarinci, Prof. Eugene Garaventa, Christina Bosco ’08, Prof. Daniel Gagliardi ’70, Prof. Rosane Gertner

An enthusiastic group of nearly 100 Business alumni and faculty gathered at the residence of President Tomás D. and Mrs. Evy Morales last week for a networking evening. Alumni, spanning from the 1970s to our most recent grads, the class of 2010,

L-R: Crystal Deosaran ’04, Prof. Cynthia Scarinci, Prof. Eugene Garaventa, Christina Bosco ’08, Prof. Daniel Gagliardi ’70, Prof. Rosane Gertner
L-R: Crystal Deosaran ’04, Prof. Cynthia Scarinci, Prof. Eugene Garaventa, Christina Bosco ’08, Prof. Daniel Gagliardi ’70, Prof. Rosane Gertner

and representing the fields of accounting, finance, management, international business, and information systems, had the opportunity to catch up with their favorite faculty members and fellow grads.

View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

President Morales highlighted the College’s record enrollment and discussed plans to advance the College further with the strategic planning process currently underway.

In addition, the President spoke about the importance of alumni remaining in touch with the College and our students, underscoring the strides that the College is making in fundraising efforts, including major gift development. On a related note, he discussed the importance of supporting the upcoming Celestial Ball on December 4, which provides much-needed funding for student scholarships.

CUNY Trustee, the Honorable Kathleen (Kay) Pesile ’73, reflected on how far the College, the CSI Alumni Association, and Business Department have come since her days as a student, and the challenges ahead, given significant budget cuts to the CUNY system.

Vullnet Kollari, Esq. ‘98, Alumni Board President, brought greetings from the Alumni Association and discussed the important contributions that Business faculty members have made in the lives and career paths of alumni.

Professor Thomas Tellefsen ’77, Chairperson, Business Dept., brought alumni up to date on the Master’s in Business Management program and the proposed plan to transform the department into a School of Business.

Richard Prinzi, CPA ’93, past Alumni Board President and current Treasurer of the CSI Foundation, spoke of his strong ties to the College, borne of his positive undergraduate experience, and the value he has found through the years in recruiting more than 60 accounting students for internships and employment. He concluded by encouraging his fellow alumni to get involved with their alma mater in whatever way they can, whether it be offering a job, an internship, or being a mentor for our students. He assured them they would not be disappointed.

Throughout the evening, the attendees enjoyed each other’s company, sharing career and personal updates with friends and faculty while mingling and exchanging business cards. Faculty in attendance included: Deborah Brickman, Daniel Gagliardi ’70, Eugene Garaventa, Susan Holak, Rosane Gertner, Cynthia Scarinci, George Stern, Thomas Tellefsen ’77, and Alan Zimmerman.