||Vol. 2 No. 4 April 27, 2007
Filmmaker Ric Burns to Deliver Rudin Lecture May 2
Award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns will deliver the Spring 2007 Samuel Rudin Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture at City College, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, in The Great Hall. His address, “History and the Art of Making Documentary Films,” is free and open to the CCNY community. Mr. Burns has been writing, directing and producing historical documentaries for nearly 20 years. He is best known for his epic series New York: A Documentary Film (1999-2003), which won two Emmys and numerous other honors. He began his career collaborating on the celebrated PBS series The Civil War, (1990), which he produced with his brother Ken, and wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward. Mr. Burns received many awards for his work on the series, including two Emmys and the Producer of the Year Award from the Producer’s Guild of America. Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed some of the most distinguished programs in the award-winning public television series, “American Experience,” including Coney Island (1991), The Donner Party (1992), The Way West (1995), Ansel Adams (2002) Eugene O’Neill (March 2006) and Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film (September 2006). To RSVP, call the CCNY special events hotline, (212) 650-5315 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More on this story.
CCNY Receives $6 Million SCORE Award from NIH
CCNY has been awarded a four-year, $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for continued participation in the Institute of General Medical Sciences’ SCORE program. The award is the second renewal for CCNY, which received its first SCORE grant in 1999. SCORE, an acronym for Support of Continuing Research Excellence, provides research funds for faculty development at minority-service institutions, explained Karen Hubbard, CCNY Professor of Biology and Principal Investigator on the grant. “It gives faculty members enough money to generate the preliminary data they need to apply for larger grants.” In addition to funding scientific investigations, the grant provides money to create career development plans for each of the funded professors: Marom Bikson, Biomedical Engineering; Jay Edelman, Biology; M. Lane Gilchrist, Chemical Engineering; Paul Gottlieb, Microbiology and Immunology; Shubha Govind, Biology; Ronald L. Koder, Physics; Mahesh K. Lakshman, Chemistry; Linda Spatz, Microbiology and Immunology; Tadmiri Venkatesh, Biology, and Barbara Zajc, Chemistry. More on this story.
CCNY Physicist Awarded $680,000 to Study Social Networks
City College physicist Hernán Makse has received a three-year $680,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate whether the principals used to explain the organization of complex networks in matter can also be used to study the organization of social networks. Professor Makse was drawn to the problem because of his interest in complexity, a subset of statistical physics. Patterns of organization can be observed and understood, he explains, only when many units or modules of matter are seen interacting within a system. “People are not molecules, but there are many similarities in how they organize,” he continues. “Social networks have complex properties that cannot be explained just by looking at interaction between units.” Professor Makse and his colleagues intend to introduce a statistical method known as self-similarity that is based on partitioning a complex network with successively larger levels in order to unravel its modular structure. This will enable them to study how the scale of observation affects the modules. By doing so, they can observe whether the dynamic evolution of modules, and then modules of modules, behave in a similar way. More on this story.
Academy of Arts and Letters Honors CCNY Music Adjunct
Composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, an Adjunct Professor in CCNY’s Music Department, has been awarded a Charles Ives Fellowship by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She and a co-recipient, Arlene Sierra, will be honored at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial May 16 in Manhattan. Each will receive a $15,000 cash prize. The Fellowship has been given out in memory of the great American classical composer Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954) since 1970. “Being an immigrant, I am particularly honored to have received this recognition from the American Academy of Arts,” she said. A native of the former Yugoslavia, Professor Vrebalov’s compositions have been performed around the world, including Davies Hall in San Francisco, the Staatsoper in Vienna, the Barbican Center in London and Theatre de la Ville in Paris. Her music has been played by The Kronos Quartet, Holland’s Utrecht String Quartet, the Moravian Philharmonic of the Czech Republic and Robert Aitken, among others. Professor Vrebalov’s additional honors include the Vienna Modern Masters Recording Award and awards from ASCAP and the American Music Center. Her latest string quartet, Pannonia Boundless, was published by Boosey & Hawkes in January 2007.
Film Grad Wins Three Student Emmys
“Silences,” the award-winning M.F.A. thesis film by 2006 City College graduate Octavio Warnock-Graham, won an unprecedented three awards at the student Emmys. The 20-minute short about Mr. Warnock-Graham’s search for his racial identity won for Best Documentary, Best Director and received The Seymour H. Bricker Humanitarian Award at the 28th College Television Awards Gala at Culver Studios in North Hollywood, Calif. “This is the first time in the 28-year history of the student Emmy's that a film has won three awards. I am terribly thrilled,” said Mr. Warnock-Graham. “The film has grossly exceeded my expectations and, in a way, taken on a life of its own.” Last October, “Silences” won the Outstanding Documentary Award at the prestigious 2006 Angelus Student Film Festival in Los Angeles. The film was also named Best Documentary in Cityvisions 2006, CCNY’s annual festival for graduate students in media arts production. “Silences,” which was shot in Ohio and San Francisco, follows Mr. Warnock-Graham’s journey to understand his mother’s refusal to discuss the circumstances of his birth. The student Emmys are presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. More on this story.
CCNY Extends Model UN Dominance
For the fourth consecutive year running, City College won top honors at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference, held at the United Nations and the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Manhattan. CCNY was one of 17 institutions to receive an “Outstanding Delegation” award, the equivalent of a gold medal, in the 2007 competition, which attracted over 270 colleges and universities from five continents. “I’m thrilled beyond words!” said Oghogho Edomwonyi, the team’s Faculty Advisor. “The team worked hard in class from Day One, developing their knowledge about the U.N., international affairs and diplomacy until they attained such sophistication that when it came to the conference, their delivery was impeccable.” NMUN, which is organized by the National Collegiate Conference Association, a non-governmental organization of the United Nations, is the world’s largest university-level U.N. simulation. Every year, the conference educates more than 4,000 students – half from outside the United States – about the United Nations and contemporary international issues. This year, the 19-member CCNY team, 15 of who were born outside the United States, represented Angola. Participants prepared for the conference by studying the Portuguese-speaking African nation’s positions on a number of international issues. More on this story.
Art Major Garners Honorable Mention in Design Competition
Wenjun Zhao, a senior majoring in Electronic Design & Multimedia, received Honorable Mention in a nationwide student editorial design competition sponsored by Adobe Systems and the Society of Publication Designers (SPD). Mr. Zhao was recognized for a magazine feature layout about the rock band Radiohead that he designed in Professor Ina Saltz’ Publishing Projects class. A panel of distinguished editorial art directors chose his entry from among several hundred submissions from collegiate art students around the country. Mr. Zhao and Professor Saltz were recognized on SPD’s website and his work will be published in SPD's forthcoming awards annual, an oversized, beautifully produced full-color volume that is considered to be the defining collection of the year’s best publication design.
CCNY Student Business to Help Harlem Go “Green”
A group of CCNY students are learning entrepreneurship and environmentalism by building a business to help Harlem residents and property owners retrofit buildings with green roofs. Their venture, called Greenproofing, is the business arm of CCNY’s interdisciplinary Environmental Engineering and Entrepreneurship Program (E.E.P.). “We want to help Harlem property owners install green roofs and develop opportunities for local entrepreneurship at the same time,” said Cory Ip, a CCNY junior majoring in Earth Systems Science and Environmental Engineering. “We’re working with schools now, but want to work with community groups, as well.” Green roofs are vegetated roof covers, with growing media (soil) and plants replacing bare membrane, gravel ballast, shingles or tiles. In addition to mitigating storm water runoff, they can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by helping to keep urban buildings cool during hot weather. The students chose to focus on green roofs after one of their cohorts, Gary Chan, a senior civil engineering major, received a $24,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to install a green roof atop Steinman Hall, the home of CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering. More on this story.
CCNY Hosts 10th Annual Urban University Conference
City College will host the 10th Annual Urban University Conference, April 27- 28. Over 700 students, mentors, and research scholars, mainly from metropolitan New York, are expected to attend the event, which aims to increase participation of underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. The conference is sponsored by the City University of New York, the New York City Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NYC-LSAMP) and CCNY, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, Yale University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Brookhaven National Labs and the National Science Foundation’s Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. Dr. Edmund W. Gordon, a distinguished educator, psychologist and researcher, will be the conference keynote speaker. He currently directs the Institute of Urban and Minority Education (IUME) at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he is Richard March Hoe Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education. In addition, Dr. Gordon is the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Yale University and the founding Director of the Institute for Research on African Diaspora in the Americas and Caribbean (IRADAC) at The City College. More on this story.
Jewish Studies Majors Visit Poland With Holocaust Survivor
Five CCNY Jewish Studies majors accompanied one of the “Hidden Children” – Jewish youths who were shielded from the Nazis during the Holocaust – on her return to Poland. The students, Madeline Cepeda, Kerry Farias, Gillian Grude, Kira McCune and Cynthia Rodriguez, witnessed history come alive when Ms. Moskowitz was reunited with a surviving member of one of the families that hid her. In addition, they visited Piaksi, which was Ms. Moskowitz’ birthplace, Madjanek and Warsaw. The trip ran April 19 – 24 and was led by Dr. Roy Mittelman, Director of CCNY’s Jewish Studies program. Also on the trip were Professor Andrzej Krakowski, Chair of CCNY’s Media and Communication Arts Department, who is a native of Poland, and Jennifer Lyne, a former Hollywood talent agent and writer, who recently graduated from CCNY. They are helping the Jewish Studies program produce a documentary about the journey. The trip was part of an advanced seminar on the “Hidden Children” that was made possible by a gift from alumnus Milton Gralla, ’48, and his wife, Shirley, through The City College Fund. More on this story.
CCNY M.A. Candidate Kelly Pajek Named NYC Art Boss
Kelly Pajek, a candidate for the M.A. degree in Museum Studies at City College, has been named Deputy Director of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program. Ms. Pajek brings ten years of experience in public art to the position. Since 1982, the Percent for Art Program has made art accessible and visible throughout the city. This is under the Percent for Art Law, which states that one percent of the capital budget for newly constructed or reconstructed buildings must be spent on art. Ms. Pajek, who completed her M.A. coursework in 2005, is returning to New York after two years as a Project Manager with the Fort Worth Public Art Program in Texas. Before that, she managed art programs for the New York City subway system under the MTA’s Arts for Transit Program. She earned the 2003 Municipal Arts Society New York City Masterworks Award for her artistic involvement as part of the design team for the 81st Street Museum of Natural History subway station artwork. Her other honors include a New York Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award.
From the President
Not only is The City College home to many brilliant students whose academic achievements have garnered much attention, but we have some amazingly talented ones as well. This became quite evident at the finals for our answer to “American Idol,” “CCNY Idol.” The event, which took place Wednesday evening, was sponsored by my office and The Finley Student Center.
Sixty students entered the competition, with 13 making it to the final round. One by one they were eliminated until four contestants remained. But these four were so talented and had such enthusiastic support that we called it a draw. Instead of awarding one $2,500 scholarship to the winner, we awarded the top prize to all four!
Congratulations to Shana Clarke, Daniel Constant, Rolanda Kingston and Joshua Weiner. And watch out, Kelly Clarkson!
Gregory H. Williams
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