||Vol. 4 No. 4 May 27, 2009
At CCNY's 163rd Commencement, May 28th, 2,887 To Receive Degrees
City College will confer honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees on Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Childen’s Zone, and Thelma Golden, director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, at its 163rd Commencement, Thursday, May 28. In addition, the City College President’s Medal for Distinguished Service will be presented to Bernard Spitzer, a 1943 CCNY alumnus and noted philanthropist and real estate developer. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. outside Shepard Hall. CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2009. Marc V. Shaw, Member, Board of Trustees, The City University of New York (CUNY) and Dr. Gillian Small, Vice Chancellor for Research, CUNY, will offer greetings. This year's graduating class includes approximately 2,887 students, of whom approximately 1,775 are candidates for bachelor's degrees. There will be a live webcast of the ceremony starting at 10:00 am at: http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/commencement09/ . The webcast will be available for the next six months. More on this story.
CCNY Names Nayyer Valedictorian; Rivera Salutatorian
Samreen Nayyer, a 21-year-old mathematics whiz in the Macaulay Honors College, graduating with a 3.93 G.P.A., is City College’s Class of 2009 Valedictorian. Forest Hills resident Andrew M. Rivera, who will receive a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, is the Salutatorian. He is graduating summa cum laude. Born in Saudi Arabia of Pakistani parents, Ms. Nayyer is a budding fiction writer whose family came to the United States in 2002. Her honors at CCNY have included the Dean’s List (2006-08); the Jack Nash Scholarship (2007-09); the Peter Vallone Scholarship (2007-09); a Weston Public Service Fellowship (2008) and a Colin Power Center for Policy Studies Community Engagement Fellowship (2008). Mr. Rivera was a Mack Lipkin Research Fellow who conducted a community health-related study on the traditional Mediterranean diet in Spain last year. In 2006, he was selected as a teaching assistant based on the quality of his course work and taught the fundamental concepts of Community Oriented Primary Care at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education. And as a Leonard Davis Community Service Fellow, Mr. Rivera volunteered with the nonprofit “In Arms Reach” program in 2006 and 2007 to tutor and mentor children of incarcerated parents. He will enter the New York University School of Medicine in June.
Sorkin Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Michael Sorkin, Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program in The Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Professor Sorkin was one of 210 leaders from the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs, and the nonprofit sector elected to join the prestigious honorary society, which dates to 1780. He will be inducted at an October 10 ceremony at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. Professor Sorkin has taught at CCNY since 2000. He joined from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and has held professorships at Cooper Union, Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, University of Minnesota, University of Illinois, University of Michigan and University of Nebraska. For 10 years he was the architectural critic of the “Village Voice” and is currently a contributing editor for “Architectural Record.” Professor Sorkin is also Principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio, a professional practice in architecture and urbanism, President of Terreform, a non-profit engaged in urban research and advocacy, and President of The Institute for Urban Design. More on this story.
NY Law Gives Honorary Degree to President Williams
CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws from the New York Law School at its 117th commencement. He also delivered the commencement address at the May 15 ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall. President Williams, who was Dean of the Law School and Carter C. Kissell Professor of Law, The Ohio State University, before coming to CCNY in 2001, was honored for his outstanding accomplishments and influence in the field of law. It was the fifth honorary degree bestowed on President Williams, who also holds five earned degrees, including the J.D. and a Ph.D. from George Washington University. In his address to the School’s Class of 2009, he challenged the 471 newly minted lawyers to remember why they decided on a career in law and to work to increase access to the legal system to those who have been shut out. “As you graduate today, I urge you always to remember that you have the ability to make a difference in another person’s life. I hope and believe that you will not shrink from that opportunity,” he said.
M.F.A. Grad Jeremy Joffee’s Film Wins Student Oscar
“The Bronx Balletomane,” CCNY alumnus Jeremy Joffee’s M.F.A. thesis film, has been chosen a winner in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 36th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. The prize – gold, silver or bronze - will be announced June 13 at a ceremony in Beverly Hills. The 30-minute dramatic comedy, which stars Federico Castellucio from “The Sopranos,” is competing in the Narrative category. Mr. Joffee, who graduated in 2008 with an M.F.A. in Writing and Directing, said he was deeply honored that his project had received such recognition. “I feel a deep sense of pride to be representing City College in this prestigious competition, and thank all my mentors in the M.F.A. program.” The Bronx native wrote and directed “The Bronx Balletomane,” a father and daughter tale about two tough souls from the Bronx who overcome their inner fears and take an unexpected step into the world of ballet that will forever change their lives. The film has raked in numerous other honors including the “Spalding Award” at the Cleveland International Film Festival, the “Lou Costello Award” at the Garden State Film Festival and a “Gold Remi Award” at Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival.
Grad Students McKenna, Roffino Win Fulbrights
Ilan McKenna and Sara Roffino, graduate students in the School of Education, have received 2009-2010 Fulbright Program English Teaching Assistantships (ETA). ETA recipients are placed in schools or universities outside the host country’s capital city. Grant recipients are assigned various activities designed to improve their students’ language abilities and knowledge of the United States. Ms. McKenna, who is pursuing a Master’s in Special Education, is headed for New Delhi, India, in July to teach English in a secondary school there. Ms. Roffino, who will receive a M.S. in Education with honors at Commencement, May 28, will begin her ETA in Coimbra, Portugal, in October. Both are New York City Teaching Fellows and currently work in classrooms in Manhattan. “It’s a huge honor and I’m extremely excited at being awarded the assistantship,” said Ms. McKenna, a resident of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “This is an opportunity for me to make a difference in a place where education is often limited and is urgently needed.” A graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where she received a B.A. in Political Science, she teaches students with emotional disturbances at P.S. 94 on the Lower East Side. More on this story.
CCNY Architecture Students Win ‘Iron Designer’ Contest
A team of four Architecture and Landscape Architecture graduate students from The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture bested rivals from Columbia University, Parsons The New School and Pratt Institute to win an “Iron Designer” competition. In the manner of the TV series “Iron Chef,” the teams were given one hour to produce a sustainable design solution for the DUMBO Archway underneath the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the East River. Landscape Architecture majors Halina Steiner and Brett Seamans and Architecture majors Perry Randazzo and Orlando Rymer represented CCNY in the contest, held Thursday, April 23. The CCNY team proposed a flexible space that could be used by artists and galleries from the surrounding neighborhood. The judges praised the CCNY team for delivering a lucid presentation and for their ample school spirit. In addition, they said the project was a thoughtful response to the surrounding neighborhood since the Archway is very close to the DUMBO art galleries. “It was an amazing experience to work as an interdisciplinary team,” said Mr. Seamans. “We used our different skill sets to read and analyze the site. Together, we came up with a cohesive solution.” More on this story.
Studio Art Grad Kyle Meyer Named Brandeis Fellow
Kyle Meyer, a graduating senior in The City College Art Program, is a 2009 winner of the Mortimer Hays-Brandeis Traveling Fellowship. He plans to use the Fellowship, which carries a $19,000 stipend, to travel to Swaziland this fall to document communities affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Mr. Meyer will graduate on May 28 with a B.A. in Studio Art, with a concentration in photography. He is the eighth CCNY student to be named a Mortimer Hays-Brandeis Fellow since 1994. An activist who has participated four times in the annual AIDS Walk New York, Mr. Meyer said he was tremendously excited at having been awarded the Fellowship. “It offers an invaluable opportunity for me not only to document what’s going on in Swaziland and also to help in the fight against the disease.” The Harlem resident will be based at the Moya Center, a community center in western Swaziland where AIDS orphans who are heads of households receive assistance. Mr. Meyer chose to do his fellowship in the tiny southern African nation because its HIV/AIDS rate, around 40 percent of the population, is the highest in the world.
Two CCNY Seniors Nab 2009 Salk Awards
Seniors Martin Detchkov, a Bronx resident and Mario A. Pinto of Harlem were among the eight CUNY students awarded the 2009 Jonas E. Salk Award, which provides an $8,000 stipend for medical school. Mr. Detchkov, a biochemistry major and native of Bulgaria, has a 3.843 G.P.A. He will attend SUNY Downstate Medical School in the fall. Mr. Pinto, a biology major and native of Colombia, has a 3.69 G.P.A. He will pursue his studies at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. The Salk Award is named for Dr. Jonas E. Salk, a 1934 graduate of CCNY, who developed the first polio vaccine. When Dr. Salk was offered a ticker tape parade by New York City in 1955 in honor of his discovery, he asked that the money be used for the scholarships instead. CCNY last had multiple winners of the Salk Award in 2006, when three CCNY students, Sherman Chu, Andrea Silva and Edward J. Vazquez-Cintron received the honor. More on this story.
Birdsong Evolution Points to Genetics – Culture Link
In an experiment that points to a role for genetics in the development of culture, biologists at CCNY and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have discovered that zebra finches raised in isolation will, over several generations, produce a song similar to that sung by the species in the wild. According to Dr. Olga Fehér, who conducted the experiment for her dissertation at CCNY, first generation male zebra finches raised in isolation produced an unstructured, often abnormal-sounding song that was quite different from the “wild-type” song. These birds were paired in a “tutor-pupil” relationship with a new generation of zebra finches that imitated their tutors’ songs, but changed certain characteristics. The alterations accumulated over generations. By the fourth generation the song had evolved toward the “wild-type” song,” Dr. Fehér and colleagues reported in “Nature.” “We were surprised the song reverted back to the wild-type song so fast,” she said. “Culture appears to be encoded in the birds. It just needed a few generations to emerge,” said Dr. Ofer Tchernichovski, CCNY Professor of Biology and Dr. Fehér’s thesis adviser. Co-authors with Dr. Fehér and Professor Tchernichovski were Sigal Saar from CCNY and Haibin Wang and Partha P. Mitra from CSHL. More on this story.
CCNY Adult Ed Program Helps Bridge Digital Divide
Helping to bridge the digital divide for some of New York’s poorer and older citizens, The City College of New York (CCNY) Adult & Continuing Education program is providing computer training and GED classes at 15 New York City public housing complexes under a three-year, $600,000 contract with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The contract is funded through a Neighborhood Networks grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Persons in lower income and older age groups often fall on the wrong side of the digital divide because they lack effective access to computers, the Internet and other technologies. Initiatives to overcome the digital divide can help persons prepare for better job opportunities, access information resources previously not available to them and become more engaged participants in society. The training provided under the contract will target two distinct groups: seniors wanting to learn how to use technology, and adults and teens seeking job skills that will help them enter the workforce, said Leiby Adames-Boom, Associate Director of Adult & Continuing Education at CCNY. The courses, which provide between 60 and 160 hours of instruction, are offered during both daytime and evening. More on this story.
CCNY/MSKCC Partnership Hosts 1st Outreach Event
The CCNY/Memorial Sloan – Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) Partnership for Cancer Research, Education, Training and Community Outreach held its first public outreach event on campus April 21. The “Good News about Cancer in Minority Communities” Symposium, which occurred during Minority Cancer Awareness Week, drew approximately 30 participants representing over a dozen community-based service agencies, according to Dr. Tiffany D. Floyd, Professor of Psychology, and CCNY Principal Investigator of the Partnership Community Outreach program. The partnership sponsored the event. Dr. Diana Lake, an MSKCC medical oncologist who specializes in treating minority women with breast cancer, encouraged attendees to go for screening. “Mortality rates have decreased drastically in the last 20 years, due to advancements in treatment and in screening,” she said, adding that statistics nonetheless still show lower use of screening in minority communities. Dr. Jamie Ostroff, Chief of Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Smoking Cessation Program at MSKCC, spoke about the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, which provides counseling and supplies smoking cessation aides to callers. “Smokers need counseling as well as cessation aides to fight the highly addictive habit of smoking,” said Dr. Ostroff. The CCNY/MSKCC Partnership will continue to spread awareness by partnering with community-based organizations to encourage cancer prevention, early detection and treatment in minority and medically underserved populations. Professor Floyd said the Partnership’s community outreach component will sponsor similar events at least twice a year.
Rangel Center Workshop Addresses Urban Youth Issues
Urban youth, particularly in Central Harlem, face a dire situation characterized by low high school graduation rates and high rates of unemployment, incarceration and homicide. These challenges were the topic of a one-day workshop at City College organized by Dr. Jean Krasno, Lecturer in Political Science, and sponsored by the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service. “If we are to be successful in preparing young people for careers in government, we cannot ignore the problems they encounter long before they reach college age," said Mark Musell, the Rangel Center’s Deputy Director. Dennis Walcott, New York City Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development, called for changing the mindset on how our youth are viewed. “Things we hear in the news and read in the papers can create the worst stereotypes of our young people,” he said. “We have to constantly challenge ourselves to see the unlimited potential of our youth and the need to offer them the best opportunities to succeed.” The workshop was the first such event sponsored by the Rangel Center, which helps minority and other students prepare for professional careers in public service by earning the Master of Public Administration degree. More on this story.
CCNY Hosts Cyber Security Conference, June 4 - 5
CCNY’s Center for Information Networking and Telecommunications (CINT) and the U.S. Army War College will present a two-day policy and technical seminar, June 4 – 5 on campus. Titled “Cyber Infrastructure Protection: Policy and Strategy,” the conference will help policymakers and researchers stay abreast of the latest research and foster greater contact between these groups. “As our dependence on the Internet and other telecommunications networks and information systems has increased, so have hostile attacks on cyber infrastructure by network predators,” said Dr. Tarek Sadaawi, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of CINT. The conference features presentations by prominent academic, government and industrial researchers in the fields of information systems security, networking and telecommunications infrastructure protection. A highlight will be a panel on “Cyberpower and National Security” with three speakers from the National Defense University. The conference keynote speakers are Peter Tippett and Christopher J. Mayer, both vice presidents with Verizon, who will speak on the “2009 Data Breach Investigations Report” and “Securing the Carrier Infrastructure – a Verizon Perspective,” respectively. More on this story.
Exhibit Marks 40th Anniversary of Campus Takeover
“The Five Demands: The Student Protest and Takeover of 1969,” an exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of a student occupation of the CCNY campus, is on display through July 24 in the Cohen Library Atrium and July 27 through October 28 in the Cohen Library Archives Gallery. On April 22, 1969, a group of CCNY students, whose demands included greater minority enrollment, occupied the South Campus and Klapper Hall. They did not vacate the buildings until May 4, two weeks later. The protest led to the implementation of CUNY’s controversial open enrollment policy and resulted in the resignation of CCNY’s seventh president, Dr. Buell Gallagher. “The Five Demands” exhibit sets the takeover in historical context. It notes the antiwar activism and internal protests at CCNY in the earlier part of the 20th century; the pressing need to expand the College’s mission and the broader influence of the tumultuous late 1960’s as contributing factors,” said Pamela Gillespie, Associate Dean and Chief Librarian of The City College Libraries. “In addition, the exhibit examines the role of various ethnic groups on campus, in particular, African-American and Puerto Rican students, whose quest to achieve greater representation in the student body as well as in the curriculum, served as a catalyst for the protest.” More on this story.
From the President
What an incredible month this has been at City College! Our annual gala dinner raised over $1 million – an impressive feat in these dire economic times. In a few days we will hold commencement ceremonies for one of the largest classes in our history: Nearly 2,800 students are receiving degrees. And, The Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture is moving into its new home on South Campus.
However, what excites me the most are the remarkable accomplishments of our students over the entire academic year. City College students have been chosen for: a Rhodes Scholarship, our second in four years; a Truman Scholarship, our third in four years; a Javits Fellowship, our second in four years; a Hays-Brandeis Fellowship and two Fulbright Teaching Assistantships. In addition, Jeremy Joffee’s M.F.A. Thesis Film, “The Bronx Balletomane,” has just been picked for a Student Oscar.
This year, our Office of Communications and Marketing has created a special feature on our website to celebrate the Class of 2009. Called “Great Grads: 2009,” it profiles 12 remarkable students whose achievements and stories inspire us to do what we do at City College – help promising men and women from modest and diverse backgrounds go on to virtually limitless possibilities. Check it out at: http://www1.ccny.cuny.edu/prospective/greatgrads/
Gregory H. Williams
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