Corvena Francis Named 2007 Rockefeller Teaching Fellow
Corvena Francis, a senior majoring in Psychology at City College, was one of 25 undergraduates nationwide awarded the 2007 Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color. A native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, who now resides in the Bronx, Ms. Francis is the first City College student to receive the prestigious Fellowship and only the seventh from The City University of New York (CUNY) system since the program’s inception in 1991. “It was extremely competitive and I’m grateful to God for being selected,” said an ecstatic Ms. Francis. Fellows were selected for their commitment to education, children and youth, and teaching in the public schools. Each will receive up to $22,100 over a five-year period that begins this summer. The Fellowships also cover full-time graduate study and will end upon completion of three years of public school teaching. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund invited applicants from a select group of 27 colleges and universities that included Duke, Brown, Howard and Princeton as well as CCNY. These schools were chosen for the overall quality of their undergraduate programs and their commitment to educating minorities and improving teaching in public schools. More on this story.
Valeria Balogh-Nair Receives Faculty Service Award
Dr. Valeria Balogh-Nair, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at City College, received the 2007 Faculty Service Award from the Alumni Association of The City College of New York at its 155th Annual Meeting, June 7, in the Great Hall. The honor was in recognition of her nearly 25 years of distinguished service to CCNY as a mentor and researcher. Dr. Balogh-Nair’s career at the College began in 1984, when the Hungarian-born scientist came from Columbia University. Educated at the University of Louvain in Belgium, where she earned her B.Sc. and Ph.D., Dr. Balogh-Nair has reveled in teaching and conducting research with both undergraduate and graduate students. She has employed innovative teaching methods in chemistry and its related fields to attract many top students and others with the potential for achievement. Many of her protégés have produced brilliant research papers, earned prestigious fellowships and prizes, and graduated with honors. Also at the Annual Meeting, Alumni Service Awards for outstanding service to the CCNY and the Alumni Association were presented to: Arlette Williams ’71; Selvin Gootar ’72; Cai-Wen Ding ’90MA; Lorraine Gamble-Lofton ’97, ’03MA, and Andrea Nunez, ’97CE. More on this story.
CCNY Women Take 3rd in NCAA Division III Track Championship
CCNY clocked an NCAA season-best time of 46.32 seconds to win the 4x100m women’s relay, and finished in third place at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships held in Oshkosh, Wis., in May. The relay team consisted of graduating senior Mechelle Barnwell, senior Alecia Watson and sophomores Jodyann Raymond and Sharnalee Stewart. This is the second consecutive year CCNY took first place in the relay event. Overall, the Beavers captured two national titles and were runners-up in two other events. In addition, all four CCNY competitors received All-American honors. CCNY garnered 43 points and finished third behind University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh (57 points) and Calvin College (44.5 points). Teams from 67 schools participated in the three-day event. Ms. Watson also defended her national champion in the triple jump and earned CCNY’s other gold medal with a leap of 39’ – 10 ¾” (12.16m). More on this story.
Two Recent Grads Awarded Hays-Brandeis Fellowships
Ruben Ramirez, ’05, and Hrvoje Slovenc, ’07, both of whom studied photography at CCNY, have been named 2007-08 Mortimer Hays-Brandeis Traveling Fellows. They will each receive $16,000 toward travel and living expenses for up to a year of field work outside the United States. Mr. Ramirez plans to travel to the Dominican Republic to photograph child labor exploitation there. His goal is to have his portfolio published as a book. “I want to bring the issue to light,” he says. “It’s a world-wide issue – it’s not just in the Dominican Republic.” Mr. Slovenc, a native of Croatia who now lives in the Bronx, plans to document industrial sites in three of the world’s most contaminated cities: Kabwe, Zambia; Linfen, China, and Dzerzhink, Russia. “As a photographer, I am interested in documenting the physical legacy of industrialism, the way it has eaten away at entire urban neighborhoods, and as a trained scientist I’m greatly concerned about the less apparent, though even more pernicious ecological damage it continues to wreak on global populations and environments,” he said. More on this story.
CCNY Researchers Shed New Light on ‘Nurse’ Cells
Research by Professor of Biology Jerry Guyden and colleagues has shed new light on the important role played by thymic nurse cells in the development of T-cells. T-cells, which are mature thymocytes and are produced by the thymus, recognize harmful invaders, such as viruses, and then attempt to eliminate disease-infected cells. Thymic nurse cells have been reported to be able to take up to 50 thymocytes into their bodies. Previous studies suggested the nurse cells only took up abnormal thymocytes and killed them. However, Professor Guyden’s research, which was published in the June issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, shows that the nurse cells ingest both healthy and abnormal thymocytes and then decide which shall die and which shall be allowed to mature. “This is an important process because if abnormal thymocytes were to mature to become T-cells, they would have the potential to kill healthy cells in the body,” Professor Guyden explained. More on this story.
Witherspoon Named Head of Urban & Governmental Affairs
President Williams has named CCNY alumna Karen Witherspoon, ’79, Director of Urban and Governmental Affairs. She became Acting Director of Urban and Governmental Affairs in 2006 following the retirement of W. A. “Tony” Rogers, and had been Associate Director since 2002. As Director, she serves as Public Policy Advisor to President Williams and represents CCNY on the CUNY Legislative Action Committee. In addition, she is a primary liaison between the College and elected officials and community leaders. She also supervises the College’s Harlem Partnership Center initiatives. Ms. Witherspoon came to The City College from Bronx Municipal Hospital, where she served as Director of Training and Education between 1992 and 1995. Earlier in her career, she was a buyer with J.C. Penney, a New York City high school English teacher and a terminal supervisor with Pan American Airways. More on this story.
Ivan Bukta Named Point Scholar for 2nd Year
For the second year running, Ivan Bukta, who is expected to graduate from The City College of New York this September with a B.F.A. in film and video production, has received a Point Foundation scholarship for outstanding students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). A recipient of a similar scholarship in 2006, Mr. Bukta is one of 38 LGBT students from across the United States named 2007 Point Scholars, and the only repeat Scholar in the group. In addition to monetary rewards, Point Scholars receive leadership training and mentoring from the Foundation. “If it wasn’t for the Point Foundation, I could not even think about continuing my studies as a graduate student,” said Mr. Butka. “Being a part of the Point Foundation has been a transformative, eye-opening experience.” After graduation, Mr. Bukta will continue his studies at CCNY as a graduate student in the College’s M.F.A. in media arts production program. He currently is an intern with Home Box Office in Manhattan, where he helps create spots and promos for the cable network's programming. Mr. Butka was born in Novi Sad, Serbia, and now resides in Manhattan. More on this story.
Five Classes Attend Reunion 2007
Spanning three generations, members of the Classes of 1937, 1947, 1957, 1967, and 1982, gathered to celebrate their time at City College and the school’s legacy at a weekend reunion June 1 – 3 hosted by The City College Fund. The classes met up on campus Friday, June 1, and attended the commencement exercises. Afterwards, they had lunch and toured the campus, led by current students. They also got a taste of CCNY today by attending a jazz concert, an excerpt from a musical theatre production, two Academy Award-winning student films, and presentations by the Jewish Studies Department and the Grove School of Engineering. On Sunday, June 3, the classes gathered again at the New York Hilton for a reception and dinner with President Williams, who opened the program with an inspiring talk on developments at the College. Architect and developer Frank J. Sciame, ’74, the keynote speaker, gave a fascinating presentation on his experiences helping develop the World Trade Center Memorial. The event was the best-attended reunion in CCNY history and also raised the most money. Each class presented the school with a Class Gift to commemorate their respective anniversaries. The Class of 1937 produced three Nobel laureates: Jerome Karle, Herbert Hauptman and Arthur Kornberg.
In Situ Embedding of Nano-particles May Improve LCDs
A team lead by CCNY Professor of Chemistry George John has developed a new process for embedding metallic nano-particles in liquid crystals. The process could improve the viewing range of big-screen television sets, computer monitors and other liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Embedding the nano-particles would make it possible for the displays to be seen from wider angles, however previous methods for doing this required external reducing and stabilizing agents. Professor John and his team were able to embed gold nanoparticles in cholesteric (glassy) liquid crystals in situ (in place). They did this by heating a mixture of the crystals and a gold salt compound to the isotropic state and then selectively synthesizing the nano-particles to control their shape. As the mixture cooled to room temperature, nano-particle assemblies spontaneously formed in ribbon-like patterns. “We were successful because we were able to incorporate a functional group that reduces the gold in the presence of liquid crystals,” Professor John said. The findings were reported in the April 27 edition of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
Washington Post Web Video Features CCNY Fulbright Scholar
CCNY Fulbright Scholar Jessica Tibbets, ’07, is featured in a three minute video on “onBeing,” a video project on washingtonpost.com, the website of The Washington Post, that captures “the musings, passions, histories and quirks of all sorts of people.” Jennifer Crandall, the video journalist who produces the series, said she was introduced to Ms. Tibbets through a mutual acquaintance and was intrigued by her Fulbright project to travel to Yemen to study Arabic and learn about the local deaf community. “Those are words you don’t usually hear in the same sentence, so we decided to shoot (tape) her, edit her story and put it up,” said Ms. Crandall. On the video, Kansas-born Ms. Tibbets talks about being the only non-Arab in her freshman Arabic class at CCNY and goes on to explain how she became intrigued with the differences between Arabic and American sign language. For example, she explains, the symbol in Arabic for American is someone using their fingers to pretend they are drawing guns for a shootout. “It’s because people watched Westerns, so when they thought of America, they thought of these Western movies and they thought of people pulling guns out on other people.” See the complete video here.
Education Professor Amita Gupta Publishes Second Book
City College School of Education Assistant Professor Amita Gupta has a new book out. An expert in Early Childhood Education, she edited and wrote three chapters in Going to School in South Asia, published this February by Greenwood Press of Oxford, United Kingdom. The tome provides detailed information on the main aspects of the historical development of education in eight South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. “It examines: the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels of education, identifying the types of education available; any race, gender or social class issues that impact education, and major reforms taking place,” said Dr. Gupta, whose first book, Early Childhood Education, Postcolonial Theory and Teaching Practices in India: Balancing Vygotsky and the Veda, was published in March 2006. Her latest effort has received favorable reviews from, among others, the publishing quarterly Reference & Research Book News, which notes her “understanding of the similarities and differences among educational systems throughout the world from a historical perspective.” For more information on the book, visit: http://www.greenwood.com/books/printFlyer.aspx?sku=GR3553&location=international
Paaswell Tapped For Higher Ed. Commission
Govenor Spitzer has appointed Dr. Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, to a new 29-member commission charged with identifying ways to improve higher education in New York State and making the system “world class.” The new Higher Education Commission will study the current system and make recommendations about improving access to the public system, expanding its degree programs to reflect state and regional economic development objectives, preparing community college graduates for a smooth transition to four-year institutions and/or obtaining high value jobs upon graduation, and enhancing the capacity of the state’s university research centers to regain New York’s preeminent status in academic research. The Commission is chaired by Cornell University President Emeritus Hunter Rawlings. Besides Rawlings, its members include distinguished college and university presidents and chancellors, among them CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, professors, students, elected officials, business and labor leaders. Earlier this year, Professor Paaswell, who is also Director of the City College-based University Transportation Research Center, was named to two Metropolitan Transportation Authority Blue Ribbon Panels on Workforce Development and Construction Excellence.
Professor Raj Elected Zeller Scholarship Fund Trustee
Rishi S. Raj, CCNY Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Chair of the Faculty Senate was elected treasurer and a trustee of the Belle Zeller Scolarship Trust Fund. The Fund awards scholarships to high-achieving CUNY students. It was established by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) in 1979 to honor the late Belle Zeller, a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Brooklyn College and a founder of the PSC, which is the collective bargaining agent for faculty and administrators at CCNY and other CUNY institutions. Professor Raj’s term began June 1 and runs for three years.
CCNY Administrators Provide Input to CUNY ERP Project
Several CCNY administrators are participating in the university-wide effort to implement CUNY’s first Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The ERP will impact everything from the way students register for classes to how they pay tuition and other charges. ERP will also broadly impact the human resources function. “What we’re doing is reviewing all of CUNY’s current processes and procedures as they relate to human resources, in the context of complying with the law and the various labor contracts,” says CCNY Director of Human Resources Sabrina Brown, who is participating in prototype activities for the project’s human capital management processes along with other senior HR personnel from other CUNY colleges. “The goal is to ensure consistency across CUNY while improving efficiency in the process.” Other participating CCNY administrators are: Ramona Brown, Assistant Dean for Students and External Affairs, Grove School of Engineering; Joseph Fantozzi, Director of Admissions; Richard Iannacone, Associate Registrar; Celia Lloyd, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management; Oilda Martinez, Director, Adult & Continuing Education; Thelma Mason, Director of Financial Aid; Richard Metz, Vice President for Finance & Administration; Jay Mwamba, Senior Writer for Public Relations & Communications; Michael Rogovin, Deputy to the President and Chief of Staff; Alan Sabal, Associate Director of Admissions; Tom Sabia, Project Manager, Information, Technology & Computer Services, and Bridgette Zapata, Bursar. The CUNY ERP project, soon to be christened CUNY-FIRST (Fully Integrated Resources & Service Tool), will be introduced incrementally beginning in summer 2008. It is expected to be fully operational across CUNY by 2012. When complete, it will integrate the critical administrative functions of human resources, financial management, and student services across all 23 CUNY institutions. For more information on the ERP project, visit: http://erp.cuny.edu.
Former English Chair Jerome Brooks Memorialized
Dr. Jerome B. Brooks, former Chair of the CCNY English Department and Professor Emeritus, who passed away January 21, 2007, was remembered by the CCNY community at a memorial service April 24. “I recall with gratitude, Jerome Brooks’ broad smile, his generosity, and the goodwill he so often showed towards other members of the faculty including myself,” said Professor Mark Jay Mirsky, the current department chair. Born in 1932 in Houston’s Fifth Ward, Dr. Brooks was the first African-American to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the Congregation of the Passionists. He went on to earn B.A. and M.A. degrees from Holy Cross University in Chicago, an M.A. in English Literature from University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in English and Theology from the University of Chicago. His teaching career spanned more than 30 years, mainly as a member of CCNY’s English Department. He also taught at the University of Madagascar and was a Visiting Professor of English at Bard College. Dr. Brooks also served as Acting Dean of Academic Affairs at CUNY and was Deputy to the President at CCNY before he retired in 1995. His honors included a Fulbright Fellowship in 1976 for his expertise in English and Afro-American literature and a NEH Grant 1979.
Former Athletics Assistant Austin Ahmed Dies at 87
Austin E. Ahmed, a venerated and enduring figure in the City College Athletics Department for over 30 years, died June 6, 2007, of natural causes. He was 87. A memorial service was held June 15 at the Trinity Cemetery, 153 St. and Riverside Drive, in Manhattan, where his ashes were interred. Born in Harlem September 5, 1919, Mr. Ahmed joined CCNY in 1972 and spent the next 32 years helping to coordinate the College’s athletics program as the Beavers’ avuncular administrative assistant. At his desk well before 9 a.m., he would frequently work late into the night at athletic events in the Nat Holman Gym. “I never met anyone who was more genuine and more self-sufficient than Austin,” said Dr. Kevin Abdur-Rahman, CCNY’s Associate Athletics Director. “He was the most independent individual I ever met.” Raised and educated in Harlem, Mr. Ahmed served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and later worked for the U.S. Department of Justice. He lived on Convent Avenue and 142nd Street, two blocks from the City College.
From the President
Relax, recharge and have a great summer.
Gregory H. Williams
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