Verrazano Student Receives Full Scholarships to Multiple Law Schools

Jennifer Pierce ’16 wasn’t sure that she wanted to attend the College of Staten Island. After graduating from Port Richmond High School, the New Springville resident considered going away to school. Now 21 and a senior at CSI, graduating this spring with a dual degree, Pierce says she doesn’t regret a thing.

“I really wanted to go away and only chose CSI because it was more affordable. I don’t regret that decision at all!  CSI is great, everyone is nice and helpful, and the professors are so smart,” said Pierce, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Communications: Media Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in English: Writing, and a Minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Carrying an impressive 3.889 GPA, it should come as no surprise that the Verrazano School student was accepted to three law schools with full tuition scholarships: Cardozo, Seton Hall, and Temple University. She was also accepted and awarded a partial scholarship to George Washington University.

Pierce found her experience at The Verrazano School to be a great support network. The Verrazano Extracurricular Learning Activities (VELAs), according to Pierce, were particularly helpful.

“These events were eye opening and provided me with great information on graduate schools. I also got to meet a lot of people, which is nice as CSI is mostly a commuter campus,” said Pierce. Verrazano students participate in VELAs that enrich their undergraduate experience through academic, social, and cultural learning opportunities outside the classroom.  VELAs feature a wide range of topics including career preparation, study abroad, international issues, and community service.

The budding poet is also grateful to Dr. Cate Marvin, who helped her find her voice in the world of poetry. Pierce has even submitted a portfolio of poetry for her thesis and hopes to submit her work to magazines. The busy law student-to-be also attends weekly poetry meetings with friends from CSI.

For information about this program, please visit the Verrazano School Website.

Studying Abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica

Georgiy Lyzhin '16

Georgiy Lyzhin ’16 completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in January 2016, but not before he traveled to Costa Rica with CSI’s faculty-led program, where he earned nursing credit!

Hola! My name is Georgiy Lyzhin and I just graduated the College of Staten Island with a major in Nursing.  Over the January 2016 Intersession, I had the chance to study abroad in Costa Rica for 3 weeks.  It was a Faculty-Led program from the Nursing department that gives students the opportunity to be immersed in an entirely different culture, studying the Spanish language, and experiencing firsthand the healthcare system that is followed there.

Being in a foreign country with a language different from yours for 3 weeks is an unreal and absolutely amazing experience.  It is a rare opportunity that everyone should experience.  I was assigned to a family that welcomed me with open arms and opened up their house to me; even though there was a huge language barrier between us.  Just imagine both parties having minimal knowledge of the other person’s language and trying to communicate basic needs or wants.  Looking back and comparing day 1 to day 21, I was surprised of my and the whole groups’ new language abilities.

Costa Rica is truly an incredible, beautiful country that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.  It is filled with lush rainforest, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking mountainous landscape.  Costa Rica is well known for their chocolate, coffee, and tourism.  The locals there, called ticas and ticos follow the Pura Vida lifestyle, which, translates to Pure Life, and is a perspective of a relaxed, laidback, and positive life.  Living the Pura Vida lifestyle has really inspired me and had me advocating this type of living to everyone back home.

While abroad, I’ve met so many wonderful people that I will always remember, from my host mom and her family, to our drivers and tour guides, to the staff at the university where we studied and the clinics, and of course, to the students that were part of our trip.  Spending so much time with these people, you form relationships that are truly unforgettable.

Apart from the trips to the national parks, volcanoes, beach resorts, spas and local city tours, we spent a great deal of time understanding and experiencing the healthcare system of this country.  Costa Rica heavily invests in its healthcare system, to provide public health to working citizens.  Visualizing the equipment in the hospitals and clinics, and comparing and contrasting nursing in Costa Rica to nursing in the United States, I was able to attain a whole new perspective on this field.

Throughout my entire undergraduate career, I have been dreaming of studying abroad.  Having finally gone in my last semester, I could not be happier.  It was an amazing experience and I would like to thank CSI, my professors, and the Verrazano school for guiding me and helping me make my dream become a reality.  Pura Vida!!

To read more about exciting exploration, visit The Verrazano Voyager homepage.

Mahwish Razi: China, guys, China!

Mahwish Razi ’18, a Verrazano student, is a Computer Science major with minors in Chinese and Political Science. Not only does she study broadly, she travels broadly! Here she shares here experiences on a winter study abroad in China (and elsewhere!).

2/5/2016
Three countries, one month, and I am officially back and labeled, “Miss traveled the world”.  I spent three weeks living and studying in Shanghai, China, four days touring Tokyo, and one week on vacation in Dubai this past winter break. I came back Sunday night and in only a few hours was back on the CSI campus. Jetlagged? Like never before. Culture shocked? Well, only the fourth time in four weeks.

Both China and Japan were at the top of my bucket list, Japan above China even. Studying abroad for me was my lifelong dream; however, when I began college, it was almost a joke. As soon as I entered the Verrazano program, there was all this talk about studying abroad and I was constantly asked if it was in my plans, and I’d respond each time saying, “Yes!” while thinking to myself, “If only.”  It’s almost funny when I figured it out; the only thing holding me back really was myself. I’d always find myself wandering into the international center whether it was for an event or to inquire about one, when I finally decided to just get that application and go.
And so I went… It was the best decision I’ve ever made. On the way to Shanghai, we stopped in Japan as it was a connection flight, and although we didn’t leave the airport, I was fascinated beyond imagination. Those Japanese toilets were something, and I remember telling my friends how I wished we came to study abroad in Japan instead of China. However, it wasn’t long before I’d be whining about not leaving Shanghai and coming up with plans to live my life out there.

Shanghai became, in just three weeks, home. My friends became my family and although my tones were off and half the time I was speaking in Chinglish, I came to a point where all I wanted to do was speak Chinese. I find myself nostalgic about everything there. There is not a single thing that I don’t miss. My friends hated being pushed into the trains, but I, for one, loved it. Yes, ask me anything about China and I will say I loved it. It was nothing like what I imagined going there. I thought I’d be going to a bigger Chinatown; I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was a place with the most amazing infrastructure; I almost thought I was in the future. With such advanced technology and architecture, this was also a place rich in culture and cuisine. Although most shops were closed for breakfast, watching the early groups enjoy tai chi and the calligraphy being painted on the park tiles filled me up right to the brim.

I still can’t believe I went to China and I couldn’t believe it there either. I’d probably say it five times a day, if not more, “Guys can you believe we’re in China? China guys, China!” and towards the end I changed it up a bit: “Guys can you believe we’re leaving? We’re leaving China guys, China, aren’t you super duper sad?” Travelling to China was definitely an experience that changed my life for the better and gave me clarity as to where I need to be headed with my future goals. I think if anything, I have been blessed for this opportunity and for the friends that became so dear to me. Xièxiè for everything China and to everyone that helped me reach such an amazing place.

 

To read more about exciting exploration, visit The Verrazano Voyager homepage.

Conducting Speech Research at the College of Staten Island

Jessica Spensieri ’17 received a Verrazano Research Grant in the Summer of 2015, and used it to conduct research in the CSI Speech Lab.

My name is Jessica Spensieri and I am a Verrazano student of the 2017 graduating class.  I am also a linguistics major and recipient of the Verrazano Research Study Grant for my work with Dr. Jason Bishop.  I have been working in the CSI Speech Laboratory alongside Dr. Bishop on a study about executive function and personality traits, and boundaries in speech.  Basically what this means is we are examining people’s speech and seeing where they pause, and determining if there is a connection with their personality traits and working memory.  We are still in the process of collecting data, so we don’t yet have results.  If you’re a native English speaker, you can actually help out by coming to the speech lab in 2S-216a to participate.  The study doesn’t take long, and you’ll even get paid for your participation, so everybody wins!

Even though I don’t have results to share, I would like to share my experience.  Working with a professor as an undergraduate and having the ability to present your findings at conferences is an amazing opportunity.  I am so fortunate that Professor Bishop took me under his wing and has given me this chance.  I am enjoying working with him in the lab and discovering new things, and am looking forward to what next semester and next year hold.  Not only have I gained this wonderful experience, but I have made friends along the way!  I have met girls that have the same dreams and aspirations as me, and I am so happy that I was able to meet them through this.  I encourage people to take part in research as undergraduates, because it makes you stand out from the rest and is an exciting way to learn new things and meet new people.  I am eager to narrow down our findings for this study and present them at the Undergraduate Research Conference in the spring!

To read more about exciting exploration, visit The Verrazano Voyager homepage.

 

 

Studying Abroad in Italy!

Tayla Lugo

Tayla Lugo ’17 received a Verrazano School Study Abroad Scholarship to take a class on the Medieval Renaissance in Florence, Italy. She spent a month extracting everything she could out of her experience, including traveling well beyond Florence.

 

My name is Tayla Lugo and I am a Verrazano Student and a double major in English Writing and Literature at the College of Staten Island. This summer I had the privilege to study abroad in one of the most amazing cities in the world: Florence, Italy. I went on a one month long Faculty-led program to learn about the Medieval Renaissance.

I learned about the Medici’s, who were one of the wealthiest families during the Renaissance period, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Savonarola, Brunelleschi, and many other prominent figures. My class and I went on many site visits, which included the Academia, the Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, a city walk around Florence, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Horne Museum, and a visit to a Preschool in Florence. At the Academia I was able to view Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the David. The Uffizi, which is one of the oldest and most famous museum in the world, showcased Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and The Primavera, as well as many other works by Raphael and Giotto. My favorite museum that we visited as a class was the Horne Museum because it is a secret treasure that is extremely undervalued. This museum once belonged to the Alberti and Corsi families and contains antique furniture and famous artworks.

While in Italy I visited Pisa, Siena, Capri, Ana Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Venice, Murano, Burano, Rome, and Paris. Every city was different in its own way, which allowed me to have a greater appreciation for Italy. Studying abroad not only opened my eyes to the endless possibilities in the world, but has also allowed me to escape my comfort zone. I can honestly say that I have matured during this unique experience and my passion for traveling has awakened. I have made true, genuine friendships that will last a lifetime. Florence became my home in an instant and I cannot wait to someday return and maybe even study there again! I am forever grateful to the College of Staten Island for this amazing opportunity and for everyone who contributed to my dream of studying abroad. I hope that my experience will allow other students to inquire about studying abroad and open their minds to the many possibilities that are out there!

To read more exciting news, visit the Verrazano Voyager website.