Verrazano Student John Gioeli ’17 Engineering a Blueprint for Success

John Gioeli as goalkeeper for the CSI Men's Soccer Team.

John Gioeli ’17 has always dreamed of designing automobiles, airplanes, or even complex mechanical infrastructures. So, when an engineering internship opportunity arose, the Engineering Science major and soccer star juggled his priorities in order to take another step closer to his goal. The Verrazano School student and 2014 CUNY Athletic Conference All Star notes that it was “a bittersweet moment” when he decided to stop playing soccer at CSI in order to have time for the internship. Gioeli is currently an engineer intern at a company constructing a high-rise condominium building, where he assists the project manager in analyzing blueprints and documentation, and inspecting overall construction and MEP systems.

While carrying a 3.58 GPA and pursuing a Mechanical Engineering specialization with a minor in Mathematics, Gioeli has always managed to handle multiple obligations outside of the classroom. The Brooklyn native is working with Aleksander Haber, PhD on a senior design project, along with classmate Dimitrios Pavlidis. The project is a ball-and-beam control system with an inverted pendulum control situated on top of the beam setup.  The feedback-control system is used in everyday-life applications, such as military missile or rocket guidance and automatic piloting.

Gioeli also studied in Florence, Italy in June 2015, commenting that, “I would recommend it to every student to study abroad at least once. The cultural experience is remarkable.”
As the goalkeeper and three-year starter for the CSI Men’s Soccer Team from 2013-2016, Gioeli is referred to as an individual who “helped build the foundation of the current program” by his coach John Tardy.
Earning multiple scholarships and awards, the St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate still finds time to coach a youth travel soccer team for Cedar Stars Staten Island.
In fact, the busy 21 year old’s advice to college students is to “join a club or sports team so that you do not always live in the textbooks studying. Having a few hours a week networking and enjoying time with friends is a major part of college.”

John Gioeli (second from right) in front of Mount Vesuvius on his visit to Pompeii.

To that end, Gioeli is also, along with Dr. Haber, working to establish an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) club at CSI.

With future plans to pursue a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and become a licensed professional engineer, the student is grateful to many professors as well as the Verrazano staff for their support.
“Professor Chang-Min Kim has always been there to lend a helping hand for academic work and always made room to fit students in his busy schedule… The Verrazano School staff are the most helpful and down-to-earth group of people who I can have endless conversations with. Cynthia Palumbo, Cheryl Craddock, and Dr. Charles Liu have guided me through the four years at the College to do my best and to push me to work even harder.”

Gioeli is the recipient of the William H. Chiles Engineering Scholarship, Bing Technology Memorial Scholarship, Donald DiFranco Memorial Scholarship, Telehouse International Corporation of America Scholarship, the Con Edison Scholarship Endowment Award, and several student-athlete awards.

“John has a wonderful demeanor and a live mind. He’s an academic and athletic powerhouse who works at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have him in our CSI Verrazano School community,” said Charles Liu, PhD, Director of the Verrazano and Macaulay Honors College programs.

CSI Salutatorian Beginning as Port Authority Engineer

Tyler Franco '16 during his internship with the Port Authority at the top of One World Trace Center

As Tyler Franco ’16 stood at the lectern at the 2016 Honors Convocation, he told himself to “just enjoy this moment because it’s not every day that you get to do something like this!”

Franco, a Macaulay Honors College graduate, delivered a moving speech at Tuesday evening’s ceremony in the Center for the Arts that was not without some humor.

“When I was first told that I was salutatorian and would be speaking to you all today, I was thrilled. After all, what’s better than an extra homework assignment during finals, and then getting to read it in front of hundreds of people?”

View the Honors Convocation Program>

He did strike a serious note as well, emphasizing that “while the idea of starting something new may be intimidating, it is also wrought with opportunity. Yes, we may be able to go out and travel the world or get a high-paying job in our field, but as college graduates, we also have the opportunity to make the world a better place.”

An Electrical Engineering and Engineering Science major with a minor in Mathematics, Franco will begin working as an engineer for the Port Authority of NY&NJ this summer.

Tyler Franco in South Africa

“I hope to continue working as an engineer and to eventually leave my mark by working on some of the largest projects in the Tri-state area,” Franco stated.

He commended the faculty and staff at CSI for their support over the course of his four years at the College.

“Macaulay advisors Lisa French, Anita Romano, and Dr. Charles Liu have been incredibly helpful to me over the last four years. They have always made themselves available to lend a helping hand. From helping me decide on my post-graduate plans to identifying good internships for me, and everything in between, they have always gone above and beyond to try and help me the best they could,” recalled Franco, who received a full merit scholarship from the Macaulay Honors College as well as an Undergraduate Research Stipend for conducting research on partial volume segmentation.

He has done extensive volunteer work as an SAT tutor and college advisor for low-income high school students, an assistant coach at his former high school, and a worker for the recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy.

In fact, much of Franco’s message at the Convocation focused on public service.

“The impact you can leave on someone just by being there to lend a helping hand is immeasurable. So, I implore everyone, regardless of major, to go out and become stewards of kindness, helping to build a better tomorrow.  Whether it’s as a teacher, friend, or stranger, make the world a better place by chipping in.”

Tyler Franco in Australia

The Prince’s Bay resident, who graduated from St. Joseph by the Sea High School, also took advantage of CSI’s Study Abroad program, visiting Sydney, Australia in 2015 and Cape Town, South Africa in 2016.

Franco’s parting advice to CSI students is to work closely with their professors.

“At CSI the faculty is excellent and incredibly knowledgeable. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet them in office hours or after class. You’ll find that they will enjoy having students who are engaged and willing to go the extra mile to become better students.”

To his fellow graduates, he reminded them of the importance of being active in the CSI alumni community.

“In our post-graduate plans, we will meet new people, have new experiences, and visit new places, but we won’t forget the time spent here at the College of Staten Island. And as successful alumni, it is our duty to be ambassadors for the school, which has served as a second home to us for years. So as we move on, we should all be proud of our accomplishments but remember to always give back.”


[video] CSI Student Takes Sandy Relief into Own Hands

CSI student Christian Spears established SIFT to help residents who were affected by Superstorm Sandy.

As the weeks since Superstorm Sandy have passed, we have heard many stories of tragedy, bravery, and charity on our campus and in our communities.

Many members of CSI’s faculty, staff, and student body are continuing their efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy any way they can.

One such student is Christian Spears, who in the wake of such a terrible natural disaster decided to take it upon himself to begin his own volunteer group called Staten Island Friends Together (SIFT) to help those who were greatly affected by Sandy.

View the video>

Spears, a sophomore Political Science major at CSI, took a look around Staten Island the day after Sandy struck and decided to start his own grassroots organization to help demolish homes that were terribly damaged by Sandy in order to expedite the rebuilding efforts.

“It was complete [destruction],” said the 19-year-old about Tottenville, the first neighborhood he checked.  Not only was he commenting on the devastation brought about by the storm, he was also disappointed with the early relief efforts. “It was very unorganized, no one knew where to go, what to do.”

Spears then spoke with the sanitation workers and police officers on the scene, and using their pointers, he formed SIFT two days later with a few friends from the College and the neighborhood, namely, Jason Newman, Anthony Natale, and Daniel Savage, with his father, Mitchell.

“It was word-of-mouth for a couple of days because I didn’t have power,” said Spears, discussing how he transformed his idea into reality. “Once the power came back on, social media has had a huge impact.” And what an impact it was–to date, Spears has counted that approximately 350 individual volunteers joined SIFT at one time or another.

“The first weekend we had 217 volunteers,” he said.  “It was such a huge accomplishment for everyone involved.”  The large group met on the intersection of Manhattan and Billop and they went house to house asking anyone if they needed assistance. The group mostly took care of the demolition and clean-up work, aiding single mothers and the elderly who would not have been able to accomplish the clean up without support. “We have worked on over 450 houses so far,” said Spears of the progress that SIFT has made.

Carol Brower, Director of Student Life, responded to the work Christian has done so far. “The drive and commitment that he made to make a difference will be remembered for a very long time. CSI is very proud of him and all our students who understand the importance of “giving back.”

Spears, who has had no construction experience to speak of before this, used his Web-savvy and charisma to organize the volunteers. He set up a Website where volunteers could track the group’s progress via blogs, photos, and even videos of volunteers working on homes, but more importantly, check where and when future organized clean ups were occurring.

The group has never accepted any payment for the work they did and Spears has plans to turn SIFT into a not-for-profit in the near future. SIFT has subsisted mostly on the donations of its members and of those looking to help like the Arden Heights Jewish Center which donated $1,000 for supplies.

While the creation of SIFT alone is enough to count as a success story, Spears is wholly proud of the fact that the group was able to get the Veterans of  Foreign Wars (VFW) building in working order. “It was under nine feet of water [and] in a week we had it up and running and serving as a drop-off spot for people who wanted to donate items.”

Spears doesn’t plan on stopping once the clean up is complete. The second step in his plan is to raise funds for the victims to help pay for their rebuilding efforts. He also plans on attending seminars and workshops to learn how the re-build the homes in the spring.

“This is something that has definitely impacted my life for the better,” said Spears of his experience running a volunteer organization. He also said that he would like to go into local politics or emergency management after graduation.  “Seeing this disaster from so many angles makes me feel like I can become a community leader so I can take what I have been learning from this and apply it to future emergencies we may have.”

For more information about SIFT or if you want to volunteer please visit the group’s Website.  You can also contact Christian Spears via his Facebook page or call 718.915.3715.

 Christian Spears graduated from St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School. He is majoring in Political Science at the College of Staten Island.