Macaulay Honors Student Receives Honorable Mention for Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Naomi Gaggi presenting neuroscience research to CUNY administrators and government officials at the New York Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY.

Some students are student athletes; some are researchers or scholars.  Some study abroad, help in the community, and plan to devote their career to helping individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Naomi Gaggi ’17 chose all of the above.

The Brooklyn native student at the Macaulay Honors College (MHC) recently received an Honorable Mention for the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

However, her scholarship and achievements do not simply end there.

Gaggi is also a New York Trust Fund Scholarship Recipient, a Meyer Scholar, a National Collegiate Scholar, a Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award winner, and a Dean’s List student.

The College of Staten Island (CSI) Psychology major with a concentration in Neuroscience and Autism Spectrum Disorders is naturally not content with simply wading through college with multiple scholarships and awards.  Gaggi is also an active member of CSI’s Women’s Swimming and Diving Team, securing her place as a CUNY Athletics Conference All-Star and CollegeSwimming.com Swimmer of the Week, both in 2016, and receiving the CSI Women’s Swimming & Diving Team Coach’s Award (2014 – 2015) and Rookie of the Year Award (2013 – 2014).

Naomi Gaggi at the 2015 CUNYAC Championships

A St. Joseph Hill Academy graduate, Gaggi does have some method to her college madness. “I am highly adamant in the importance of time management and being proactive in all aspects of being a student, not only in the classroom. I strive to exemplify a well-rounded student by maintaining a high GPA and being socially committed to my college and my community,” said Gaggi, adding that CSI Head Coach Michael Ackalitis has pushed her to grow as both a student and an athlete by stressing the importance of balancing athletic and academic life.

Her commitment to her community is apparent in her work with autistic children and adults that she has enjoyed since high school. She is also an active research assistant in two labs on campus, working with Dr. Patricia J. Brooks, Dr. Daniel McCloskey, Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, and Dr. Bertram O. Ploog and has conducted research at the Yale University School of Medicine, conducting neural imaging research with Dr. Joy Hirsch. She is also a member of Psi Chi, the CSI Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and the American Sign Language Club.

While Gaggi thanks many of her CSI professors and mentors, she praised in particular Dr. Daniel McCloskey, one of her research advisors, who has been “extremely welcoming.” McCloskey, a recent recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, encouraged the young researcher to work on projects in his lab where she discovered her keen interest in neuroscience.

In her spare time, the 21 year old has taken advantage of CSI’s Study Abroad program, traveling to Copenhagen, Denmark in the summer of 2015. This summer, she plans to volunteer abroad in Kandy, Sri Lanka to aid in the care of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Both abroad experiences are funded by the Macaulay Honors College Opportunities Fund and the New York Trust Grant Scholarship.

Gaggi also lauded Dr. Charles Liu and the MHC staff as well as Fellowship and Scholarship Advisor at CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center Michele Galati for the constant support and guidance she has received throughout her journey at CSI. “Ms. Galati puts in as much effort into my applications as I do. She is extremely helpful and always finds the opportunities that match me perfectly,” said Gaggi.

After graduation, Gaggi plans to obtain a PhD in Neuropsychology/Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience to research and understand the etiology of neurological disorders. “My goals are to find the neuromarkers of autism and learn more about the ‘social’ brain of autism,” Gaggi said, adding that she plans to apply this knowledge to treating patients in a clinical setting as well as teaching at the university level.

 

 

Dolphin Awards 2011 Photo Gallery

The annual Dolphin Awards ceremony honored outstanding contributions to the College by faculty, staff, and students. View the CSI Today Photo Gallery.

This year’s honorees included:

-Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Michal Kruk.

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Tracey Jones.

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty: Shah Jayman.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Thomas Tellefsen.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title: Donna Gerstle and Doriann Pieve-Hyland.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in CLT and OIT Specialist Titles: Joanne Nierkrash-Camhi.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Clerical Function: Jean Coombs.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, Security, Service, and Support Function: Marilyn Ulrich.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Part-Time, Non-Teaching Staff: Barbara Uszacki.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Currently Enrolled Student: Michael Maslankowski and Jolanta Smulski.

35th Annual Commencement Celebrates Student Achievements [video, photo galleries]

A beautiful sunny day set the tone for the College of Staten Island’s 35th Commencement, which honored the scholarly accomplishments of the graduating class of 2,534 students. CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales underscored the common bond that those student share, “the desire to improve your lives, and in the process change the world through higher education. And you chose to do it here–at this great institution.”

View the Commencement Photo Gallery and
the Dolphin Awards Photo Gallery.

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This year’s valedictorian was Melissa Horne, who graduated summa cum laude from The Verrazano School at CSI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Writing. She is a recipient of the CSI Scholarship, the Belle Zeller Scholarship Trust Fund Award, the Phi Beta Kappa Associates Award, among others. Ms. Horne is also a Dean’s List student who was featured in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Her accomplishments at CSI include extensive work with the Bertha Harris Women’s Center and the Campus Activities Board, and she has won several awards for writing, including the English Department Creative Writing Award and the Women’s Center and “My Staten Island” essay contests. Ms. Horne is also the founder of the Heads Up Awareness Program and has volunteered at the New York State Office of Family and Children’s Services.

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Although she began her address with some campus-based humor about being late for class, Ms. Horne focused on the importance of CSI in her life and how it expanded her horizons. “I believe place determines identity and the College of Staten Island has been instrumental in establishing who I am. The relationships I developed here, most notably with the professors who profoundly broadened my vision, as well as the guidance from The Verrazano School, have added great depth to my character. This place has instilled in me the desire to curiously and continually search for knowledge, and to fully understand what it is to identify. The cannots are replaced by confidence through learning to speak eloquently and listen carefully…It was on this beautiful campus that my heart learned to soar. I learned that resilience is a choice, integrity grants respect, and passion lies within even the smallest daydream.” At the end of her address, Ms. Horne fired up the crowd by singing part of the refrain from “Empire State of Mind” from Jay Z, “New York…the concrete jungle where dreams are made of…there’s nothing we can’t do.”

President Morales, in his comments, discussed the transformation that the College is undertaking, including a new Mission Statement; a faculty “who continually redefine the standards of excellence”; an increasingly exemplary student body that contains “record numbers of high school valedictorians and salutatorians [who] have reflected increases in college admissions averages and SAT scores,” and the College’s first Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship recipient; the growth of the College’s selective programs, the Macaulay Honors College, The Verrazano School, and the Teacher Education Honors Academy; and an increase in students studying abroad, including the first class of students, faculty, and staff who have been inducted into the Phi Beta Delta Society for International Scholars. Near the close of his remarks, Dr. Morales noted that a number of graduates at today’s ceremony had already been accepted into prestigious professional and graduate institutions.

Also on hand for the festivities was keynote speaker New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, whose speech was both humorous and inspirational.

In addition to the presentation of the degrees to CSI students, Dr. Morales; Dr. William Fritz, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; and CUNY Trustee Kay Pesile bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on Denis M. Hughes, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. Drs. Morales and Fritz also bestowed honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters on Professor Diane Kelder, a prolific and accomplished author, educator, and curator for the Art Gallery of The Graduate Center, CUNY, and John Noble Wilford, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science reporter.

The day’s events concluded in the afternoon in the CSI Library with the annual Dolphin Awards ceremony that honored outstanding contributions to the College by faculty, staff, and students. View the CSI Today Dolphin Awards Photo Gallery.  This year’s honorees included:

-Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Michal Kruk.

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Tracey Jones.

-Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty: Shah Jayman.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Thomas Tellefsen.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title: Donna Gerstle and Doriann Pieve-Hyland.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in CLT and OIT Specialist Titles: Joanne Nierkrash-Camhi.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Clerical Function: Jean Coombs.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, Security, Service, and Support Function: Marilyn Ulrich.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Part-Time, Non-Teaching Staff: Barbara Uszacki.

-Outstanding Service and Contribution by a Currently Enrolled Student: Michael Maslankowski and Jolanta Smulski.

After emcee Terry Mares, College Writer/Editor, introduced the honorees, President Morales recognized Professor Emeritus Stamos Zades, who was in attendance. He also commended the hard work and dedication of everyone who helped to make the 2011 Commencement a success, including a special thank you to his staff for supporting the Office of the President and other College operations.

[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.

2011 Dolphin Award Winners

The winners of the 2011 Dolphin Awards are as follows:

Category 1: Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Professor Michal Kruk

Category 2: Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Professor Tracey Jones  
    
Category 3: Outstanding Teaching by a Member of the Adjunct Faculty: Professor Shah Jayman

Category 4: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Full-Time Faculty: Professor Thomas Tellefsen

Category 5: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Teaching Instructional Staff in HEO Title: Donna Gerstle and Doriann Pieve-Hyland

Category 6: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in CLT and OIT Specialists Title: Joanne Nierkrash-Camhi

Category 7: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff: Jean Coombs
  
Category 8: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Non-Instructional Staff in Maintenance, Operations, and Security: Marilyn Ulrich

Category 9: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Member of the Part-Time, Non-Teaching Staff:  Barbara Uszacki

Category 10: Outstanding Service and Contribution to the College by a Currently Enrolled Student: Michael Maslankowski and Jolanta Smulski

Presidents Morales and Smulski Engage Students at First-Ever Presidents’ Forum

Student Government President Jolanta Smulski and CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales fielded questions from students at the Presidents' Forum.

In the spirit of continuing administrative openness and transparency at the College of Staten Island (CSI), as well as collaboration between students and administrators, College President Dr. Tomas D. Morales and Student Government President Jolanta Smulski fielded questions from students side-by-side at CSI’s first-ever Presidents’ Forum recently.

The event was well-attended with approximately 100 students and administration members on hand to hear the presidents’ remarks.

In her introduction, President Smulski welcomed the students and explained that the event was organized not only to give participants a chance to ask important questions, but also to give students the chance to listen to one another and discuss campus issues. She also encouraged attendees to read the Student Government newsletter, Time-Out CSI, and mentioned an ongoing survey regarding student rights, which may eventually lead to a proposed Student Bill of Rights at the College.

President Morales, in his introductory remarks, noted that this cooperative event speaks to the College’s values. He also discussed the role of Student Government and called on student leaders to reach out to their constituents to gauge their opinions and to foster dialogue between students and the College. In addition, Dr. Morales discussed the difficult budget situation that CSI will face for at least the next year, he encouraged students to participate in the campus-wide review of the College’s new Strategic Plan, and he recommended that students take part in the wide variety of activities that are available through the Division of Student Affairs, Student Government, the Office of Student Life, and other clubs and organizations.

The presidents next turned to student questions, which had been submitted on index cards. The questions addressed topics ranging from the availability of more class sections, how an increase in Student Activity Fees will affect child care on campus, the effectiveness of writing to government officials, student involvement, the College’s image during a period of economic downturn, and the Student Bill of Rights, among others. As both presidents addressed the questions, a central theme was their encouragement of students to take an active role in their College, underscoring the significance of collaboration between students and the administration in the ongoing effort to move the College into the future.

After the initial questions, event moderator Ken Bach, CSI Director of Communications, turned the floor over to audience members who asked the presidents questions on topics ranging from learning communities to traffic issues to alcohol policy.

The event concluded with President Smulski recognizing Student Government members in the audience and calling on students to seek their assistance regarding matters of concern. President Morales then introduced the members of the administration and commented that he is privileged to have the chance to work with the College’s exemplary faculty, staff, and student leaders.

Presidents’ Forum

CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales and Student Government President Jolanta Smulski will hold an Open Forum tomorrow, March 24 in the Center for the Arts Lecture Hall (Building 1P, Room 119) from 1:30pm to 2:45pm.

This is an opportunity for students to join both leaders, as well as other members of the College administration and Student Government, in a question-and-answer format. Please join us and encourage your students to do the same.

This is a Co-Curricular CLUE-certified event.

For up-to-date event information visit the CSI Event Calendar.

[video] Student Opinion Poll Topic of Student Government President’s Address at Celestial Ball

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CSI Student Government President Jolanta Smulski, a senior majoring in International Business, recently addressed attendees at the second annual Celestial Ball at the Richmond Country Country Club.

As she discussed a recent poll regarding student opinions on their CSI experience, Smulski pointed out that although some students felt that there was need for improvement in some areas, most students agreed that CSI “is a diverse environment with a lot of potential for success. [The majority of students also believed] that [CSI] is an affordable alternative to private schools, and that it offers endless opportunites to get involved.”

Students, according to Smulski, also expressed a lot of respect for the faculty and valued the high-quality education that they are receiving.