Hunter Headlines for 2008
SSW Alumnus Jared Bernstein Appointed Chief Economic Advisor to Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden
NY Secretary of State Cortés-Vázquez to Deliver January Commencement Address
Hunter Students Launch 1st Human Rights Day Simulation at the UN
Hunter Professor Jenkins Awarded Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Study of Black American Literature
Hunter Students Scoop Up Awards at Biomedical Research Conference
Cyclists in New York City Disobey Traffic and Helmet Laws, a New Hunter College Study Finds; Raises Concerns Given Significant Increase in City Bike Riders
Hunter Model UN Team Stacks up Even More Awards
NIH Awards Hunter $1.3 Million Grant For Pioneering Project in Quantitative Biology
Hunter Economics Team Excels in the ‘Fed Challenge’
Hunter Model UN Team Stacks up More Awards
Hunter Geography Student Awarded National Fellowship
NSF Awards Grant to Hunter Chemistry Professors
Motorola Foundation Awards $50,000 for Program to Improve Geometry Teaching
Hunter Education Professor Awarded $3.1 Million Grant from National Science Foundation
Hunter Sophomore Wins Kempton Journalism Award
CUNY Trustees Appoint Kenneth Olden Founding and Acting Dean of Proposed School for Public Health
Hunter Professor Emerita Named MacArthur Fellow
Five-year $4,250,000 Grant from U.S. Education Department
Hunter Researcher Wins Major NIH Grant
First-Year Seminar Students Assigned Short Stories on the Dominican Immigrant Experience
Hunter Scores High Again in U.S. News & World Report Best College List
Hunter Alum Awarded 2008 NJ Governor’s Nursing Merit Award
Hunter Alum Named COO of Amalgamated Bank
Two Hunter Students Are First Authors of Article on Tumor-Fighting Substance
Fried Frank Partners With Hunter In Diversity Initiative
Nine Professors Honored with Presidential Awards for Excellence
Hunter History Professor Awarded Gilder Lehrman Fellowship
Newfield Professor Wins Press Club Award
Hunter Alum Sings in “The Love Guru”
Class of 2008 Graduates at Hunter’s 197th Commencement
MFA Student wins Javits Fellowship
Hunter Students Participate in Model NY Senate
Hunter Grad Wins NSF Fellowship
Two Hunter Pre-Med Students Awarded Salk Scholarships
Three Hunter Students Chosen For UN Global Forum
Vote for Peter Carey’s Book as Best Novel
Hunter College Study Finds That Despite Seat Belt Law, Many New York City Drivers Do Not Buckle Up
Conference on Hip Hop Culture Held at Hunter
Hunter Partners with the Red Cross
History and Geography Combine at Hunter Workshop
Hunter Envoy is Now Online
Three Hunter Students Win Scholarships to Study in Germany
Chris Matthews to Deliver Hunter Commencement Address
Hunter Student Joins “Gossip Girl” Cast
Hunter Senior Named NYC Urban Fellow
Hunter Awarded $1.4 Million Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant for Science Research and Education
Hunter Alum Brings Hit Play to the Kaye
Edwin Meléndez Appointed Director of Centro
Two Hunter Students Named 2008 Jeannette K. Watson Fellows
Students Win Fulbright Awards to Teach Overseas
Hunter Captures ECAC South Men's Volleyball Championship
Merage Institute Awards Fellowship to Hunter Student
MFA’s Meena Alexander Wins Guggenheim Fellowship
Supreme Court Justices Breyer and O’Connor Speak at Hunter
Hunter-Bellevue Student Nurses Win National Community Service Award
Hunter’s MFA Program Ranks High in U.S. News & World Report
Hunter Science Students Display their Research
Metropolitan Opera Presents Philip Glass Opera With Libretto by Hunter’s Constance DeJong
U.S. Government Official Visits Hunter; Talks about Fighting World Poverty
Hunter Lab Student Wins Top Chemistry Honor
Hunter Group Offers Aid in Dominican Republic
‘Gossip Girl’ Takes SATs at Hunter
From Hunter To Princeton
Art History Professor Katy Siegel Honored at Guggenheim
Social Work Student Wins Soros Fellowship
Secretary of Interior Names Professor Ahearn to Geospatial Committee
Men’s Volleyball Wins 12th Straight: Bello Gets 100th Coaching Victory
Hunter Model U.N. Students Win 9 Awards
Hunter Wrestlers Head to NCAAs
Hawks Win CUNYAC Men’s Volleyball Honors
Message from President Raab Concerning Northern Illinois University
Alum Wins Grammy for Woody Guthrie Album
Hunter Journalist Wins Romona Moore Scholarship
Hunter Students Participate in Harvard National Model U.N.
MFA’s Tom Sleigh Wins 2008 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
Hunter Students Plaunova & Foster Receive Humanitarian Awards
Alum's Thesis Published by Bureau of Labor Statistics
Hunter Science Student Wins Gilliam Fellowship
Jeffrey Sachs Addresses Hunter Grads
Focus the Nation, January 31
Peter Carey Named Distinguished Professor
Hunter Alumna Ruby Dee Wins SAG Award
Brokaw Hosts Opening Roosevelt House Event
Alumna Joins the Peace Corps
January ’08 Grad Named Soros Fellowship Finalist
Hunter Awarded Stem Cell Research Grant
Student Spends Thanksgiving Clearing Wreckage from Hurricane Ike
Hunter Student’s Videos Air on CNN.com
Eight Math/Science Students to Receive Pilot Grants for Women
Hunter Student Films Chosen for Indy Showcase
Hunter Student Releases Music Record
Freshman Wins National Italian American Foundation Scholarship
Hunter Senior Wins Chemistry Award
Jared Bernstein, a Hunter College School of Social Work (MSW’86) alumnus, has been appointed by Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden as Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser.
Bernstein currently serves as the Director of the Living Standards program at the Economic Policy Institute. He is an expert in the areas of federal, state and international economic policies, specifically the middle-class squeeze, income inequality and mobility, trends in employment and earnings, low-wage labor markets, poverty and international comparisons. Bernstein has been an economist at the Economic Policy Institute since 1992 and is a renowned author of several books and academic treatises on the economy and the middle class.
From 1995-1996, he served as Deputy Chief Economist for the Department of Labor under Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Bernstein is on the Congressional Budget Office’s advisory committee. He has also taught at Howard University, Columbia University and New York University.
Hunter alumna Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, the first Hispanic to hold the position of New York Secretary of State, will deliver the commencement address to graduating seniors of the Hunter Class of ’09 on January 22, 2009. The commencement will be held at 3pm in the Hunter College Assembly Hall.
Secretary Cortés-Vázquez has an extensive background in the corporate, non-profit, and government sectors that spans over 27 years.
Prior to her appointment, she was Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Cablevision Systems Corporation. In the 90’s, Secretary Cortés-Vázquez gained national recognition for her work in the non-profit sector as the Executive Director of ASPIRA of New York, the oldest and largest non-profit youth leadership development and education advocacy agency in the nation. Later, as President of the Hispanic Federation, a non-profit network of 90 Latino health and human service agencies, aiding more than two million Latinos annually, she coordinated the "Latino Fund Collaborate,” a national coalition of eight regional organizations that create endowments and individual donor campaigns.
In 2001, she was appointed to the New York State Board of Regents, a position she held until 2007. As chief of staff to former New York State Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez, she oversaw the Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force and the annual Somos El Futuro Conference. Secretary Cortés-Vázquez also worked at the New York City Department of Aging for 14 years, becoming Chief of the Bureau of Program and Resource Development.
Secretary Cortés-Vázquez has a master’s degree from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and certificates from Harvard University's Women and Power Program and from Columbia University's School of Non-Profit Management.
Hunter College students launched the First Annual Human Rights Day Simulation at U.N. Headquarters on December 10, 2008 on the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hunter and Columbia University students presented resolutions at the Hunter College Model U.N. Darfur simulation after being briefed by diplomats from the U.K. and Sudan, as well as from Human Rights Watch and U.N. resident correspondents. They students then attended the General Assembly Human Rights Award presentation.
The Modern Language Association of America has awarded its seventh annual William Sanders Scarborough Prize to Candice M. Jenkins, associate professor of English at Hunter College, for her book, Private Lives, Proper Relations: Regulating Black Intimacy, published by the University of Minnesota Press. The prize is awarded for an outstanding scholarly study of black American literature or culture. Jenkins will receive a certificate and a check for $1,000.
The committee’s citation for the winning book reads:
“This study of representations of sexuality and the body in African American literature is daring in its argument and meticulous in its execution. Candice M. Jenkins contends that intimacy constitutes a zone of doubled vulnerability for African Americans. The desire to protect African American culture and persons against pathologizing stereotypes of sexuality and domesticity has been expressed as a salvific wish, a concern with heteronormative propriety that has dominated the black cultural imaginary and representations of black middle-class life in the twentieth century. In lucid, well-tempered prose deeply informed by contemporary scholarship, Jenkins illuminates the profound limitations imposed by the idea that the realm of sexuality can be rendered wholly safe and compellingly articulates the imbrication of public and private within the life of the black intimate subject.”
Professor Jenkins is a 1996 Andrew W. Mellon fellow in humanistic studies and an alumna of the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. She earned her BA from Spelman College and her PhD from Duke University. Her research and teaching consider intersections of gender, sexuality, and class in African American literature, particularly that of the twentieth century. Jenkins’s work has appeared in such journals as Modern Fiction Studies, MELUS, and African American Review. She is now at work on two new manuscripts: a theoretical study of hip-hop music as American narrative and a critical monograph examining black middle-class embodiment in post–civil rights era African American fiction.
The MLA, the largest and one of the oldest American learned societies in the humanities, promotes the advancement of literary and linguistic studies. The 30,000 members of the association come from all fifty states and the District of Columbia, as well as from Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. PMLA, the association’s flagship journal of literary scholarship, has published distinguished scholarly articles for over one hundred years.
Hunter student award winners Beltran, Ebrahim & Bah
Four Hunter College science students, Mark Ebrahim, Fatmata Bah, Andrea Beltran and Ginna Moreano, took home awards for their presentations at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, which was held November 5–8 in Orlando. The award winners were among some 1,500 students from across the country who attended the conference which was designed to encourage underrepresented minority students to enter science PhD programs.
Ebrahim, a physics major received the award for best oral presentation in the chemical science division for his work with Hunter Professor Yuhang Ren; Bah and Beltran, both biology majors working in Professor Laurel Eckhardt’s laboratory, won for their posters on the summer research they conducted at Johns Hopkins and Princeton University, respectively, and Moreano, a psychology major working in Professor Michael Siller’s laboratory, took home an award for the summer research she conducted at the University of Iowa.
In addition to presenting their research, conference participants heard from a wide range of university, industry, and government researchers — including Hunter Biology Professor Jill Bargonetti-Chavarria.
The Hunter students and faculty in attendance included representatives from the following honors programs: Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC), which prepares students for PhD careers in the sciences; Minority Biomedical Research Support Program/Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS/RISE), which provides students the opportunity to conduct research in conjunction with a faculty mentor; Career Opportunities in Research and Education (COR), an interdisciplinary research training program for minority juniors and seniors, and the Howard Hughes Program, which supports summer research opportunities.
Cyclists in New York City Disobey Traffic and Helmet Laws, a New Hunter College Study Finds; Raises Concerns Given Significant Increase in City Bike Riders
A new study released today, November 19, 2008, by Hunter College found that as New York City is seeing an upsurge in cyclists, many of them do not obey traffic and helmet laws. Children under the age of 14 years are required by law to wear a helmet while riding a bike, however almost 50 percent do not. The same law applies to commercial cyclists such as messengers and delivery workers, and only 27 percent of those cyclists observed were wearing helmets. A noticeable sex disparity in helmet use was also evident. Approximately one-half of the females use helmets compared to just a third of the males. These results are found in a Hunter College study co-authored by Peter Tuckel, a Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Bill Milczarski, an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning. Abundant research has been carried out on obedience to traffic laws by city drivers. Surprisingly, though, few systematic studies have been conducted on the behavior of urban cyclists.
Cyclists, too, must obey the traffic laws: stopping at a red light, riding in the same direction as traffic, and not riding on sidewalks. Only 43 percent of cyclists observed stop at red lights. Overall, about 13 percent of cyclists were observed riding against traffic, and children under the age of 14 were the most likely to ride in the opposite direction of traffic at 26 percent. Children under the age of 14 were disproportionately found among those who pedaled on sidewalks at almost 56 percent. Altogether, almost 13 percent of cyclists were observed riding on sidewalks.
Professors Tuckel and Milczarski collaborated with Hunter students in their Introduction to Research Methods course in the Department of Sociology, and a graduate course entitled, “Urban Data Analysis” in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, respectively. The results are based upon observations of 2,928 bicyclists at street intersections, bike lanes, and bike paths at 69 different locations in New York City from October 1-29, 2008.
“Given the findings presented in this study that the overwhelming majority of cyclists in the city are not wearing helmets and the attendant risks of injury or even death, it is important that greater efforts be expended by governmental agencies and other responsible parties including parents, schools, cycling clubs, and sport retail outlets to encourage greater helmet use,” said Professor Tuckel.
“Greater adherence to these traffic laws would not only help to safeguard the well-being of cyclists but at the same time would reduce the increasing tensions between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. Recently, several accounts from cities across the country have surfaced of conflicts between cyclists and motorists,” said Professor Milczarski.
The student researchers were also tasked with observing cyclists at a street with a bike lane, and nearly 14 percent did not use the designated lane while an additional 5.7 percent used both the designated lane and another street lane. Children under the age of 14 were the most likely not to use the bike lane, however, many children ride their bikes on the sidewalk. After controlling for “riding on the sidewalk,” delivery workers were found to be the most likely group not to ride in the designated bike lane followed by general riders, 15.2 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.
Hunter College’s Model UN team is on a roll.
At Yale's 31st Annual Security Council Simulation, Hunter College's Model UN team competed on 14 different committees, some current and some historic, and David Hunter Walsh took home a coveted Outstanding Delegate award for representing Lithuania on the Council of the European Union.
Evgeniya Kim, who arrived at Yale to represent Panama after winning the tennis championship for Hunter College said, "This is our version of varsity debating, and we are champions."
Jakub Walko, Hunter's Head Delegate, who represented Col. Witold Sieniewicz on the KGB Committee said, "The Hunter team was so well-versed on all the panels, working around the clock for weeks and it paid off. We learned about negotiations, coalition building and public speaking, in addition to the substance of the
This triumphant trip to New Haven comes on the heels of the team taking home an Honorable Mention and a Verbal Accommodation at the third annual Columbia Model UN Crisis Simulation.
Competing against schools as formidable as Harvard and UPenn, Hunter's Jared Greenfield came away with an Honorable Mention Award for his role in the committee, Allied Supreme War Council: San Reno Conference 1920. Lauren Vriens, acting as Rex T. Shelby in the committee, Enron's Board of Directors in 2000, was given a Verbal Accommodation.
"The Hunter College team took away prizes at both Columbia and Yale and is gearing up for the U.N. Headquarters simulation," says Professor Falk, the team's faculty advisor, "Hunter is rightfully beaming about their team."
Hunter has received a five-year $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop its quantitative biology project, an innovative program that will prepare students in biology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics and statistics to master the advances taking place in 21st-century biomedical science. Hunter is one of only nine institutions in the country to receive this grant.
Titled “Curricular and Pedagogical Innovations in Quantitative Biology,” the project, which was launched in July and will run through June 2013, will transform the College’s existing science curriculum by introducing innovative teaching methods, bioinformatics concentrations, and focused work and quantitative reasoning and analysis.
Weigang Qiu, assistant professor of biology, is the principal investigator of the project. Adrienne Alaie, assistant professor of biology, and Virginia Teller, professor of computer science and chair of the Computer Science Department, are co-P.I.s. Other leading faculty members from anthropology, biology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics and statistics took part in the development of the project.
Among the benefits that students in the project will enjoy are small classes, individual mentoring, the opportunity to participate in research conducted at Hunter and nationally, and topnotch preparation for graduate studies and scientific/mathematical careers. Scholarships will also be available for qualified students.
The components of the project include:
- concentrations in bioinformatics for students majoring in biology, chemistry, computer science, or mathematics and statistics;
- transformation of the curriculum in science, mathematics, and statistics so that students graduate with knowledge and understanding of the fundamental concepts of bioinformatics and the critical role that bioinformatics plays in biomedical science today;
- faculty development initiatives such as the introduction of innovative pedagogy and bioinformatics content in 27 courses.
The students directly involved in the quantitative biology project are not the only students who will benefit from the project, notes principal investigator Qiu. Some 6,500 students a year—all students taking courses in the disciplines related to the project—will benefit from the curricular improvements that will arise once the new computational and quantitative biology content is integrated into these courses.
The Hunter College Economics Department Team has been selected to move into the semi-final round of the Fed Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Hunter’s five-member team, Megha Singh, Jose Lemus, Anumita Mukherjee, Besufekad Alemu, and Brian Trainor, are all undergraduate economics majors or students in the joint B.AM.A. program.
On November 10, the Hunter team took part in the first-round of the Challenge. The competition comprised a 20-minute presentation and a 15-minute Q&A session with the judges. During the presentation, students described the current state of the economy, forecasted growth, employment and inflation trends, and made recommendations for the Fed’s monetary policy.
Coached by Hunter Economics Professors Niklas Westelius and Sangeeta Pratap, the team spent months getting ready for the Challenge. They learned how to collect, organize and analyze microeconomic data — and honed their communications skills. While preparing for the event, the team also stayed abreast of the latest developments in the financial markets. The Hunter group was praised by competition judges for its crisp and succinct presentation — showcasing a deep understanding of economic principles and recent events.
Of the 16 collegiate teams that competed in the event, six were chosen to move on to the semi-final round, which will take place on November 21. At that event, the judges will choose two teams to compete in national finals on December 3.
Hunter College's Model UN team took home an Honorable Mention and a Verbal Accommodation this past weekend at the third annual Columbia Model UN Crisis Simulation.
Competing against schools as formidable as Harvard and UPenn, Hunter's Jared Greenfield came away with a Honorable Mention Award for his role in the committee, Allied Supreme War Council: San Reno Conference 1920. Lauren Vriens, acting as Rex T. Shelby in the committee, Enron's Board of Directors in 2000, was given a Verbal Accommodation.
“They really did an excellent job representing Hunter,” said Professor Pamela Falk, the team's academic adviser and “war room” correspondent at the conference, “I'm incredibly proud of them.”
Due to the small size of the committees, only half of the class attended Columbia. The rest of the students are expected to do as well in this weekend's Model UN Conference at Yale University.
“The Hunter College Team represents six of seven continents and has gained vital experience from competing at Harvard, CUNY and Columbia,” said Delegate Coordinator Raissa Dally.
“This is an incredible education,” said Vriens, a member of the HC Team who competed at Columbia and is an intern at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Elyssa Davis, a Hunter geography masters student, is a winner of the 2008/2009 Society of Woman Geographers (SWG) Evelyn L. Pruitt National Minority Fellowship. Davis is using her grant award to pursue thesis research on women's participation in improved rural water supply in the Dominican Republic.
Awardees of the Pruitt National Minority Fellowship demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, a strong interest in geography, and promise of future accomplishments in the discipline. The Fellowship is named for Evelyn L. Pruitt, a longtime SWG member who was a geographer for the U.S. Navy and whose work greatly advanced the study of coastal environments and the use of remote sensing in geographical studies from the 1940's into the 1970's.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a four-year, $749,996 Noyce grant to Hunter Chemistry Professors Bill Sweeney and Pam Mills and Deborah Gardner, Director of Hunter’s Teacher Academy. The grant will fund 40 students who enter the Teacher Academy in their junior year and who major in math or science in the BA/MA programs of their disciplines.
This project builds on the existing Teacher Academy program which admits highly qualified candidates as freshmen or sophomores. The Noyce program will provide funding for tuition and stipends for 40 new biology, chemistry, earth science, physics or mathematics majors who intend to teach in middle schools or high schools in New York City. The Noyce program will continue the Teacher Academy collaboration between the Schools of Arts & Sciences and Education at Hunter, the host schools that provide internships to the students, and the Partnership for Excellence in Teaching at the Department of Education.
The Motorola Foundation has given a grant of $50,000 to Hunter College in partnership with the Manhattan Hunter Science High School to implement a pioneering program that uses technology and innovative approaches to mathematical thinking to improve the teaching of high school geometry.
The project director for the grant is Frank Gardella, Hunter professor of curriculum and teaching, and executive director of the Mathematics Center for Learning and Teaching, which is part of Hunter’s School of Education. The new program—Intuitive Experiences Before Formalism: A Model for Teaching High School Geometry—originated during the 2007-2008 school year, when the mathematics department at Manhattan Hunter Science High School and the Mathematics Center for Learning and Teaching developed a learning sequence aimed at helping students meet the New York State standards for the new Integrated Geometry Regents Program.
A central problem that the new sequence seeks to address is that geometry tends to become a formalized entity before students have had an opportunity to develop the intuitive ideas underlying the formalism—e.g., the “proofs” that constitute a principal aspect of high school geometry. To deal with this problem, the new program assigns students laboratory activities using special software—Geometer Sketchpad—as well as traditional tools such as rulers, protractors, and compasses. After working through a series of activities, both computer-based and hands-on, from which they are asked to draw a conclusion, students develop a more intuitive understanding of geometric concepts and are then able to move on to the formalism of geometry with a clearer grasp of the underlying ideas.
Students in the program, which is being given at Manhattan Hunter Science High School, will be tested at various points during the school year.
Hunter College School of Education Professor Elizabeth Da Silva Cardoso has been awarded a $3.1 million grant by the National Science Foundation for her project, “MIND Alliance for Minority Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” designed to increase the quantity and quality of minority students with disabilities in the field of sciences at the high school, community college, college level and in the work force.
Professor Cardoso will partner with Southern University at Baton Rouge on her project. This collaboration allows for the expertise, experience, institutional, programmatic and personnel resources to provide best practice educational and career development services to students with disabilities from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds.
At Hunter College, Professor Cardoso teaches in the Department of Educational Foundations and Counseling Programs in the School of Education. She teaches in the Rehabilitation and School Counseling Programs that includes clinical and didactic course work in psychosocial aspects of disability, counseling and interviewing skills, practicum, internship, and individual clinical supervision.
Professor Cardoso has published extensively in the areas of substance abuse assessment and treatment, multicultural counseling, psychosocial aspects of chronic illness and disability, and evidence-based practice. She received an American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA) research awards in 2004 and 2005 for an empirical research papers entitled, "Readiness to change among individuals in therapeutic community programs for treatment of substance abuse" and “Rehabilitation counseling students attitudes toward people with disabilities in three social contexts: A conjoint analysis”, that were published in the Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin. Some of her research has been funded by PSC-CUNY, Junior Faculty Development Award, and the George N. Shuster Faculty Fellowship.
Hunter College sophomore Tracy Neiman is among the winners of the first Murray Kempton Awards for Journalism. Her article about a Hunter student raising awareness for a cancer charity was selected Best Feature Story by a three-person panel of judges. The piece, “Why Ly Ky Tran is Relaying for Life,” details Ms. Tran’s effort to honor the memory of a friend who died of brain cancer.
“I wanted to write an article about Hunter’s participation in Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society fundraiser – and as I talked to participants, I realized many of them had really moving stories to tell about what fueled their enthusiasm for the cause,” Neiman said.
The award-winning article was published in The Hunter Envoy, the student newspaper on which Ms. Neiman has worked for about a year. She is currently the news editor.
Neiman, who has not yet declared a major, credited journalism professor Bernard Stein for helping to develop her reporting and writing skills. “One of the most important teachings Professor Stein left me with is this: Everyone is interesting and everyone has a story to tell,” she said. “I think of this often, especially when I’m lacking article ideas or inspiration.” She also said that the support of her Hunter creative writing professor Isabel Grayson “has truly made me more confident in myself and in my writing.”
The awards are named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Murray Kempton. His career in New York journalism spanned a half-century, during which his left-leaning columns became staples in New York Post and, later, in Newsday. Kempton died in 1997.
“Murray Kempton was an amazing journalist and columnist, and I am so honored and gratified to receive an award in his honor,” Neiman said.
The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York has appointed Dr. Kenneth Olden as Founding and Acting Dean of the proposed new CUNY School of Public Health to be sited at Hunter College.
The appointment was made at the recommendation of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab.
Dr. Olden headed the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), from 1991 to 2005. He was the first African-American to become Director of one of the 18 Institutes of the NIH, and has also recently served as Yerby Visiting Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
President Raab said: “Under Dr. Olden’s leadership CUNY and Hunter College will be well positioned to establish a world-class School of Public Health given our strong master’s and Ph.D. programs in the field, combined with the University’s great strengths in the natural and social sciences that underlie the public health field.”
Dr. Olden earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Knoxville College, a master’s in genetics at the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in cell biology and biochemistry at Temple University. Before conducting research at the National Cancer Institute, he did postdoctoral work and taught at the Harvard Medical School. From 1979 to 1991, Dr. Olden worked at Howard University in several roles, ultimately as director of the Howard University Cancer Center and Chairman of the Department of Oncology. In 1991, he became director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program, with a concurrent scientific post as chief of the Metastasis Section of the NIEHS Environmental Carcinogenesis Program.
Dr. Olden stated: “The goal of CUNY’s School of Public Health is to train interdisciplinary urban public health researchers and practitioners capable of working across all levels of analysis, disciplines, and social sectors -- such as health, education, the environment, and criminal justice -- to address complex urban public health problems.” He said the school will produce graduates “with the skills and knowledge to help eliminate the serious disparities in urban health care facing the poor, minorities and immigrants, while also preparing future faculty and addressing staffing shortages in the public health workforce that will accompany the aging of Baby Boomers.” Dr. Olden noted that, “by virtue of its location at the City University, the School will attract students who live and work in the very urban communities it is designed to serve.”
In October 2006, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced plans to open a School of Public Health at Hunter College by 2010 that will be the only such program in the nation focusing on urban public health. The school, which will offer community-based public health doctoral and master’s degrees, will also be the first public school of public health in New York City.
By 2030 nearly two-thirds of the world’s 8.1 billion people are expected to be city dwellers. Many of the most serious health problems of our time, including HIV infection, drug addiction, forms of interpersonal violence, and more serious variants of chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes, have emerged first in cities. The proposed CUNY School of Public Health will focus on developing new ways to control health problems in urban populations while training practitioners to implement these solutions in New York City and other urban centers.
In his new post, Dr. Olden will head a School that will draw upon four CUNY colleges with particular strengths in the public health field, and featuring a collaborative model in accordance with Chancellor Goldstein’s mission of an integrated university. The campuses are: Brooklyn, Hunter and Lehman Colleges, which are already home to master’s degree programs in this area; and the Graduate Center, which along with Hunter, currently houses the Doctor of Public Health degree programs. The school is in formation, and will be fully established when it is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), which we expect to occur during 2010--2011.
The proposed CUNY School of Public Health will offer the Master of Public Health or Master of Science degree program tracks in the five core areas of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, social and behavioral sciences, health care administration and policy, and environmental health sciences; and the Doctor of Public Health (DPH) degree programs in four of these core areas. The MPH degrees will be offered on the Hunter, Brooklyn and Lehman College campuses, while the Doctor of Public Health (DPH) degree programs will be offered jointly by Hunter College and the Graduate Center with support from other CUNY colleges.
Dr. Olden has maintained his research interests throughout his administrative career. Among his many publications are a 1978 paper on glycoproteins in Cell that has become one of the 100 most-cited scientific research reports, and a 1985 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that reversed the 15-year conventional wisdom that secretory proteins are transported via a “conveyor belt.”
Dr. Olden’s early cancer research led him to study the role of glycoproteins in cancer. Working with Ken Yamada and others at the National Cancer Institute, he became fascinated with fibronectin, a glycoprotein that promotes the attachment of cells to the extracellular matrix. Because fibronectin disappears from cancer cells, which then metastasize, fibronectin might hold the key to metastasis prevention, thus saving patients’ lives. The team got as far as preventing metastasis in mice but was unable to do the same thing in humans.
Hunter Distinguished Professor Emerita Nancy Siraisi has been chosen as one of 25 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius Awards.” Dr. Siraisi, a medical historian who studies the impact of medical theory and practice on Renaissance society, culture and religion, was singled out for her creativity and potential for making important future contributions to her field. She will receive $500,000 over five years from the MacArthur Foundation.
In making the announcement, MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan F. Fanton said that MacArthur winners were “people working on the very edge of discovery and people at the edge of a new synthesis.”
Siraisi was a professor of history at Hunter College from 1970 until her retirement in 2003. She is the author of several books, including Taddeo Alderotti and His Pupils (1981), Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine (1990), and History, Medicine, and the Traditions of Renaissance Learning (2007). Regarded as a leading scholar of the field in the U.S. and Europe, Siraisi continues to provide contributions to the evolving scholarly understanding of medical history and, specifically, Renaissance intellectual history.
Siraisi said the award will keep her studying and writing about medicine in the 16th century. "I take it to be an expression of confidence," said the 76-year-old, "that I will go on actively working."
Hunter has received a five-year $4,250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to launch a center on disability statistics and demographics whose ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities.
John O’Neill, professor of educational foundations and counseling, will be project director of the new Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (RRTC) and Elizabeth Cardoso, associate professor of EF&C, will be co-director.
Noting that existing survey data on people with disabilities “lack continuity and are underutilized, leading to missed opportunities to improve the programs and policies that advance the lives of people with disabilities,” the project leaders say that the new center will carry out an integrated set of research and outreach projects aimed at overcoming these problems.
To further strengthen its results, the center will bring together the work of researchers, advocates for people with disabilities, and leaders in vocational rehabilitation, and will build on statistical and demographic efforts already carried out at Hunter.
The central goals of the proposed RRTC are to improve knowledge of existing data and access to the data, to generate the knowledge needed to improve future data collection, and to strengthen the connections between data from respondents, researchers, and decision makers. “In this way,” concludes the grant proposal, “we hope to facilitate evidenced-based decision making that will improve service systems and ultimately lead to the improvement of the quality of life of people with disabilities.”
The grant will be awarded in five yearly increments of $850,000, beginning in fall 2008.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a four-year, $952,000 grant to Professor Beatrice J. Krauss, Executive Director of Hunter’s Center for Community and Urban Health. The grant will fund a project to address the continuing HIV epidemic among minority youth.
Professor Krauss’s co-principal investigators will be Professor Carol Roye, who holds a dual appointment in nursing and urban public health; Darrell P. Wheeler, associate dean for research and associate professor at the School of Social Work, and Professor Jeffrey T. Parsons, chair of the Psychology Department. The project will be housed at Hunter’s Schools of the Health Professions and will collaborate with the School of Social Work, the CUNY graduate health psychology program, Columbia University and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Professor Krauss’s project will mentor and advance the careers of eight Fellows who are recruited from the New York region. The Fellows will be trained in youth, family, community and HIV issues, thereby increasing the number of skilled researchers who are from communities that are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.
Hunter College has assigned Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz’s first book, Drown, as the primary reading in this year’s First-Year Seminar (FYSH) courses, taken by all incoming freshmen and transfer students. Drown, a collection of short stories, chronicles the Dominican immigrant experience in the Dominican Republic, the Bronx, and a number of Northern New Jersey towns.
Díaz's 2007 novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, earned a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Sargent First Novel Prize, and the National Book Critics Award for Best Novel of 2007.
All FYSH students will be invited to hear Díaz read from Drown when he visits Hunter to deliver the FYSH Lecture on October 22. Díaz is no stranger to Hunter audiences. He read from his novel at a Distinguished Writers Series event on campus and also led a workshop for Hunter MFA students.
Once again, Hunter has won outstanding marks in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.” In its widely anticipated 2009 issue, the newsweekly rated Hunter an impressive 12th among “Top Public Universities” in the North and placed the College 52nd on its list of “Best Universities in the North” that grant master’s degrees.
In a category of special importance to the student body, Hunter repeated its first-place finish among master’s granting universities in the North whose undergraduates leave school with the lowest personal debt.
Hunter also got a top grade for the diversity of its student body. It ranked fourth in this category among masters-granting universities in the North. Significantly – but perhaps not surprisingly – CUNY had five campuses among the top six in this category. Besides Hunter, they are Baruch, City College, Brooklyn College and John Jay. CUNY’s commitment to diversity is strong, and Hunter is helping lead the way.
Hunter alumna Maria Brennan has been awarded the 2008 N.J. Governor’s Nursing Merit Award, Nurse Administrator. Brennan was selected among New Jersey’s top nursing leaders to receive this award, which is given for excellence in nursing, compassion in care, and technical proficiency.
Brennan, who earned her MS in nursing from Hunter in 1984, is the chief nursing officer for St. Joseph’s Healthcare System (SJHS) and the vice president for patient care services at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ.
As the senior nursing executive at SJHS, she has demonstrated her commitment to excellence in patient care by developing “swing” units to deal with the seasonal influx of patients, designating “urgent care” alternate sites, and creating additional patient-need nursing units. Brennan is also credited with decreasing the RN vacancy rate at SJHS from 12% to 2%. She has also advised organizations nationally and locally on how to improve patient care and nursing practice.
In December 2006, Brennan was elected to the Board of Directors of the Organization of Nurse Executives of New Jersey (ONE/NJ), and in 2007 she received the ONE/NJ Nurse Executive Award. She was also honored as a Healthcare Heroes Nurse of the Year finalist in June 2008 by NJBIZ magazine.
Prior to accepting her current position at St. Joseph’s in 2004, Brennan served as vice president for nursing and patient care services at other healthcare organizations including St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center of New York, Staten Island Services Division, Meridian Health System, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Capital Health System in Trenton.
Hunter alumnus Barry Kipnis has been named Chief Operating Officer of Amalgamated Bank, reporting directly to the Bank’s CEO.
As the Bank's COO, Kipnis is responsible for reviewing bank-wide technology projects, expense control, development of new products and services as well as general oversight of operations and administrative functions.
Kipnis, who earned a BA from Hunter in 1973, has over 30 years of diversified experience in securities operations and administration. Before joining Amalgamated Bank, Kipnis served as Vice President, in Securities and Custody Services for the Global Wealth Management business at Morgan Stanley & Company.
Two Hunter graduate students are the first authors of a just-published journal article on a substance that could play an important role in the fight against cancer.
The article appears in the July 1, 2008, issue of the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Cancer Research and also lists Hunter biology professor David Foster as an author. The article is titled “Honokiol Suppresses Survival Signals Mediated by Ras-Dependent Phospholipase D Activity in Human Cancer Cells.”
The Hunter students, Avalon Garcia and Yang Zheng, worked in the laboratory of Dr. Foster. The research on the substance—honokiol, a natural compound from magnolia cones—was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted collaboratively by labs at Emory University School of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, and Hunter.
Earlier research conducted at Emory led to the discovery in 2003 that honokiol, which is found in Japanese and Chinese herbal medicines, has the ability to inhibit tumor growth in mice. Knowing more about how the substance works, said Dr. Jack Arbiser, the head of the Emory lab, “will tell us what kinds of cancer to go after.” The compound’s properties, he added, “could make tumors more sensitive to traditional chemotherapy.”
Hunter College has partnered with the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP to form the Fried Frank Pre-Law Scholars Program. The intent of the program is to prepare the college's diverse student body to become competitive law school candidates through intensive LSAT and academic preparation and mentoring programs.
The Fried Frank Pre-Law Scholars Program will focus on intense and comprehensive preparation of Hunter's undergraduates, 33 percent of whom are identified as either black or Hispanic, for law school admissions. The program includes early and extended LSAT workshops, interaction with Fried Frank lawyers for help with law school essays and other aspects of the application process, and exposure to the legal profession.
“Thanks to our partnership with Fried Frank, many worthy applicants who otherwise might have been overlooked will get the opportunity they deserve - to compete with the best and live their dreams,” said Hunter President Jennifer J. Raab.
According to the last United States Census, while racial and ethnic minorities constitute 30 percent of the US population, they make up less than 15 percent of practicing attorneys in the US. Hunter College is ideally positioned to address this discrepancy. In addition to being one of the most diverse universities in the nation, two-thirds of Hunter's student population live in households with incomes under $50,000, including almost a third in households with incomes below $20,000. A significant number of students are immigrants and/or the first generation in their families to attend college
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is a leading international law firm with a long history of civic activism and student mentoring. “We are grateful to Fried Frank for their continued interest in pipeline programs and in ensuring that students from every background have the opportunity to succeed,” said President Raab.
To celebrate the outstanding contributions of faculty from across Hunter’s campuses, President Jennifer J. Raab recently honored nine professors with Presidential Awards for Excellence. The winners were praised at a reception with friends, relatives, colleagues, and other members of the Hunter community.
Professor Adrienne Alaie of the Department of Biological Sciences won the award for Excellence in Teaching Full-Time. The award for Excellence in Teaching Part-Time went to Joseph Nelson of the School of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations. Three faculty members won for Excellence in Service: Dr. Robert Gyles in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Professor Susan Klitzman of Urban Public Health, and Professor Stanley Moses of Urban Affairs and Planning. Professor Helena Rosenblatt of the Department of History and Professor Hiroshi Matsui of the Department of Chemistry won for Excellence in Scholarship. Professor of Art History Katy Siegel won the award for Excellence in Creative Activity, and Professor of Social Work Terry Mizrahi won the award for Excellence in Applied Scholarship.
Julie Miller, Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Hunter College, has been awarded a research fellowship by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Dr. Miller will use her fellowship to conduct research on her second book, tentatively titled “Amelia Norman: Seduction and Betrayal in Antebellum New York.”
At Hunter, Dr. Miller teaches courses on nineteenth-century social history, the history of New York City, and the United States History survey course. Her first book, “Abandoned: Foundlings in Nineteenth-Century New York City” was published by New York University Press this spring. In 2005 the manuscript won the Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize of the New York State Historical Association.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History awards short-term fellowships to doctoral candidates, postdoctoral scholars, and independent scholars to conduct work in five archives in New York City—the Gilder Lehrman Collection at the New-York Historical Society, the library of the New-York Historical Society, the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the New York Public Library, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NYPL). Dr. Miller is one of twenty Gilder Lehrman Fellows for the second half of 2008.
Former Jack Newfield Visiting Professor Tom Robbins – who also taught investigative reporting this past spring at Hunter – was honored by the New York Press Club on June 16th as the winner of one of the group’s prestigious 2008 Journalism Awards.
Robbins was cited for a story he wrote in the Village Voice last year called “Tall Tales of a Mafia Mistress.” The story played a key role in discrediting the testimony of a mobster’s girlfriend during a federal corruption court case - and led to charges against an ex-FBI agent being dropped.
Robbins, a longtime investigative reporter for the Voice and colleague there of Newfield, served as the second Jack Newfield Visiting Professor at Hunter in 2007. The position was created as a legacy for Newfield, who graduated from Hunter in 1960 and went on to an award-winning career as a journalist at the Village Voice and New York Post. Newfield was also a highly-acclaimed author and documentary filmmaker. He died in 2004.
Hunter alumna Linnette Harrigan has just recorded a song for the Paramount Pictures film, “The Love Guru,” starring Mike Myers and Jessica Alba, which opens June 20, 2008.
Harrigan, who graduated from Hunter in 1995 with a BA in media studies, is a singer, actress, and songwriter who has been a backup singer for R. Kelly and performed in musicals like “Sing Harlem Sing,” and “Freedom Train.” She attributes much of her success to her alma mater.
“Hunter had a huge influence on me, as it introduced me to the world of media,” she said. “I had some great classes and an excellent internship at Sony Music Entertainment, which allowed me to talk to music executives and even attend some events with music artists. I was able to network and learn the ins and outs of the business.”
Harrigan is currently recording songs for upcoming films in the UK as well as tracks for her own pop/gospel album. She is looking forward to hearing her song played in the “The Love Guru” when the film debuts.
“[That recording] opened up yet another door for me in the world of music,” she said, “another opportunity to do what I love.”
TV news anchor Chris Matthews delivered the keynote address to some 2,700 graduates and their friends and families who packed Radio City Music Hall for Hunter’s June 4, 2008 commencement ceremony.
Matthews – star of Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC and The Chris Matthews Show on NBC, as well as a regular commentator on NBC’s Today show – told the graduates they were going out into the world at a historic time when Barack Obama had just become the first African-American to be nominated for President.
“This is one of those moments in history, people always remember where they were when it happened,” Matthews said. “You’ll always be able to say, “I was at Radio City Music Hall graduating from Hunter College.”
Matthews hailed the diversity of the Hunter graduating class and compared the hard work they had done to get there to the challenges facing all of the immigrants who had made America great. “It’s absolutely remarkable how immigrants move up in this country, how much this country owes to immigrants,” he said.
And he urged the graduates not to be afraid to start at the bottom – pointing out he began his career in Washington as a Capitol police officer before working his way up to presidential speechwriter, aide to the House Speaker and eventually a successful broadcast journalist.
This theme was also emphasized by the two honorary degree recipients, Joel Katz (BA’66), one of the nation’s top entertainment attorneys; and Abbe Raven (MA ‘77), president and chief executive of A&E Television Networks. Both talked about their early struggles before reaching the prominent positions they now hold in the entertainment industry – and urged the graduates to pursue their own dreams. Katz was the recipient of a Doctorate of Laws, Raven was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters.
Tennessee Jones, a first-year student in Hunter’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, has been awarded a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Javits Fellowships are given to a select group of graduate students around the country based on their achievements, exceptional promise and financial need. In addition to a stipend, the students receive funds covering tuition and related fees for a year, renewable annually for up to three additional years.
Jones – who grew up without running water in a poor area of the Appalachian Mountains in East Tennessee – has published a book of short stories, Deliver Me From Nowhere (2005), which was praised in the New York Times Book Review; produced self-published magazines for several years; and worked as an editor for an independent publisher before joining the Hunter MFA program. He graduated magna cum laude from Hunter with a CUNY BA.
Hunter College was represented in this year’s Model New York Senate Session by two undergraduates, Dia Rueda and Bruno Daniel. Rueda, who is from Venezuela, is a political science and economics major. Daniel, who was born in Mexico, is an English/political science major.
The Model Senate program brings more than 60 CUNY and SUNY students to Albany each year for a series of training sessions in the legislative process conducted by prominent members of the Legislature and guest lecturers. The program culminates with students debating a bill on the floor of the State Senate chamber. In the debate, Rueda and Daniel were designated Republican senators, and Daniel eventually was named Senate Majority Leader as the participants engaged in a lively give-and-take over a proposal to impose congestion pricing on mid-Manhattan traffic.
The Model Senate project is run by CUNY’s Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs in collaboration with SUNY and the State Legislature’s Puerto Rican/Hispanic Caucus.
Hunter alumna Mitsy Chanel-Blot has received a 2008 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Chanel-Blot, a May 2007 anthropology major, is currently a doctoral student in social anthropology at the University of Texas-Austin.
Her research focus is the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in Europe, examining the notions of exclusion and invisibility as it pertains to the Haitian diaspora in France, and the broader impact of immigration in Europe.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides approximately 1,000 students with three years of funding -- up to $121,500 -- for research-focused Master’s and PhD degrees in the social and physical sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
Two outstanding Hunter College pre-med students have been awarded prestigious Jonas E. Salk Scholarships to attend medical school.
May Kong, a biology major and chemistry minor at the William E. Macaulay Honors College, will study at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Kong, who emigrated to the U.S. from Myanmar with her family at the age of 11, has done research work with New York University physicians at Bellevue Hospital Center; participated in a summer research program at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass; and is currently working on a Barrett’s esophagus project at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Samia Mohammed, a biochemistry major and German minor in the William E. Macaulay Honors College, will study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Mohammed joined the lab of Frida Kleiman, an assistant professor in the Hunter chemistry department, and participated in research on the coordinated response of mammalian cells to DNA damage – which resulted in the publication of a scientific paper of which she is co-author. She later joined Professor Hiroko Matsui’s lab at Hunter to do bionanotechnology research involving electronics and sensors.
Kong and Mohammed were among only eight CUNY students to receive the Salk Scholarships, which were awarded during a ceremony on May 15. The scholarships are the legacy of Dr. Jonas E. Salk, who developed the polio vaccine and was a 1934 graduate of City College. They provide for a stipend of $8000 per scholar, to be appropriated over three or four years of medical studies, to help defray the cost of medical school.
Three Hunter College students - Nikolay Lisnyanskiy, Stella Ma and Jennifer Milosavljevic - were selected to be part of a Global Governance Forum at the United Nations. They were among 300 students from around the world chosen to participate in the UN event after a highly competitive international selection process.
The students heard ambassadors from several countries as well as prominent international leaders in business; politics and religion speak about the advancement of technology, the environment and other crucial issues facing governments around the world today.
“I was inspired to learn more about the world and to be open-minded and explore different possibilities and solutions to world problems of poverty, hunger, disease, etc.,” said Ma of the opportunity to attend the Global Governance Forum. “This was a truly unforgettable experience.”
The forum - sponsored by ATHGO, a non-profit organization of the UN Global Compact that trains 18-32 year old budding diplomats – is aimed at promoting youth involvement in many aspects of international policymaking.
You can vote for Hunter’s own Peter Carey - executive director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and an award-winning author - in a prestigious competition to select the most outstanding novel written over the past four decades.
Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda was nominated in May for The Best of the Booker. This competition -- based on voting open to the public -- will select the top novel to have won the Booker Prize since it was first awarded in 1969. Carey has won the Booker Prize twice - for Oscar and Lucinda in 1988 and True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001 - as well as numerous other major awards and distinctions. He is one of only six authors chosen to compete for The Best of the Booker Prize, a select list which includes such famous writers as Salman Rushdie and Nadine Gordimer.
To submit your vote, simply go to this website: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/news/vote.
Voting will end at noon on July 8. The winner is to be announced on July 10.
A new study released today found that 15 percent of New York City drivers do not wear seat belts even though it is required by law, and this number jumps to 20 percent when counting taxicab drivers, who are not required by law to wear them. These results are found in a Hunter College study directed by Sociology Professor Peter Tuckel. The study is the first systematic inquiry of seat belt usage focusing exclusively on New York City.
According to the study, there is also a noticeable gender gap when it comes to seat belt usage. Nearly 90 percent of females observed were buckled up compared to 77 percent of males. However, the incidence of seat belt use by male drivers when there is a female front seat passenger increases to 91 percent. There is no change in female drivers’ behavior when there is a front seat passenger. Drivers were observed in all five boroughs of the city at 56 intersections with traffic lights.
Professor Tuckel collaborated with Hunter students in his Introduction to Research Methods course to observe 3,329 drivers from April 6-30, 2008, making this the largest pool of drivers observed than in previous studies on driving behavior conducted by Hunter.
“The good news is that a lot of drivers are wearing seat belts, but that does not mean officials should become complacent, because we should have a higher rate of compliance with the law. Every day, and especially with many drivers hitting the roads soon for Memorial Day weekend, drivers and passengers should be buckling up because studies show that seat belts save tens of thousands of lives a year,” said Professor Tuckel.
Another major finding is behavior among taxicab drivers, who are predominantly male and are not mandated to wear seat belts under New York law. Male taxicab drivers observed in the study buckled up at the low rate of 44 percent, while female taxicab drivers wore seat belts 84 percent of the time.
The student researchers were also tasked with noting the behavior of drivers who smoke cigarettes, and the incidence of children in the car at the time. They found that smokers are 5 percent less likely to wear a seat belt, and that the presence of a child in a car is not a deterrent to lighting up.
“One might have anticipated that the presence of a child in the car would deter drivers from smoking. This result certainly went in an unexpected direction,” said Tuckel.
Spoken word artist Bryonn Bain, "Platanos and Collard Greens" director Summer Hill Seven, and Professor Karen Hunter convened at Hunter for a conference on hip-hop.
On May 6, a panel of artists and scholars gathered at Hunter for a one-day conference which examined hip-hop from its roots to the route it may take in the future.
With this event, Hunter joined over 300 colleges and universities around the country which have held hip-hop conferences, offering insight into a phenomenon that has global youth appeal and a growing influence on society.
Speakers included Hunter Acting Dean of Diversity John Rose, alum and playwright David Lamb, Hunter Distinguished Lecturer Karen Hunter, hip-hop performer Talib Kweli, hip-hop/spoken word artist Bryonn Bain, director Summer Hill Seven, and educators Marcella Runnell-Hall, and Kersha Smith.
Professor Hunter, who has co-written books with hip-hop giants LL Cool J and Queen Latifah, showed hip-hop video clips with images of wealth, prison culture, violence, and misogyny. She explained that as hip-hop goes global, so too does the notion that black culture is exactly what these mainstream hip-hop images convey. “This is not what hip-hop was ever meant to be,” she said.
“These aren’t real images,” said David Lamb. “These are stereotypes pulled from the most racist images in history.”
Lamb, who wrote the play “Platanos and Collard Greens” and “From Auction Block to Hip-Hop,” described how the roots of hip-hop grew out of opposition to oppression. He recalled its earliest origins in the African Diaspora, traced it to Negro spirituals, to the blues, and up to today.
One of the conference’s main objectives was to encourage involvement. Several speakers discussed their efforts to contribute to hip-hop through their music, poetry, and plays, and suggested that an academic course on hip-hop be offered at Hunter.
Adam Runkle of the Red Cross with Hunter's Red Cross team.
Twenty Hunter students and staff took part in disaster relief training at Hunter College in April as part of “Ready When the Time Comes”—an American Red Cross initiative to train volunteer teams to respond to local disasters.
Hunter is the first college or university in New York City to collaborate with the Red Cross on this campaign. Adam Runkle, a senior coordinator in the Disaster Volunteer Partnership of the American Red Cross, called the collaboration “an exciting new step.”
“We hope that this partnership with Hunter will be a model that other campuses can follow to be ready to assist victims of disaster when the time comes,” he said.
At the Hunter training, Runkle covered disaster response procedures and policies as well as approaches to comforting people affected by disasters at a shelter.
“Learning vital disaster relief skills from one of the world's foremost emergency response organizations—alongside compassionate Hunter students and staff—was gratifying and very informative," said Theoni Angelopoulos, special assistant to the vice president of student affairs.
The Red Cross estimates that it will need 10,000 volunteers to staff up to 100 shelters and provide aid to thousands of New Yorkers who might be forced to leave their homes in the event of an emergency.
On April 12, Hunter’s Center for Geographic Learning hosted an interdisciplinary presentation on “Infrastructure in U.S. History,” featuring Geography Professor Philip Gersmehl and History Professor Angelo Angelis. The event centered on the impact and legacy of the establishment of the Erie Canal and the U.S. Postal Service, and demonstrated the importance of interdisciplinary learning.
Utilizing multi-media geographic technology, Gersmehl guided the audience—composed of students and teachers— through basic principles of geography as well as the physical conditions that made the building of the Erie Canal not only feasible, but successful. Angelis followed with an elaboration on the development of towns and big cities along the path of the Canal, as well as the emerging pre-eminence of NYC as industrial development and trade expanded from the west to the Hudson River and southward.
In their discussion of the US Postal Service, Gersmehl shared examples of early census materials that were key to the construction of roads, and the realization of an effective postal service for the young nation. Angelis then documented the flow of materials, including newspapers and public communications, which were vital to the revolutionary struggle and to the democratization of social relationships.
Education Professor Sema Brainin—who coordinated the event and provided packets of primary sources for attendees—described the collaboration as a “powerful demonstration of the deeper understanding achieved when multiple perspectives interpret events and phenomena.”
The Hunter Envoy, Hunter College’s student newspaper, can now be accessed 24/7 on the newly-launched Hunter Envoy website, http://www.thehunterenvoy.com/
The website covers breaking news, features, arts, and sports, as well as opinion sections, blogs written by the editors and links to student and faculty websites. The site will soon include more graphics than the print version of the newspaper, along with more in-depth coverage of events at Hunter College. On the site, readers can also comment on and email Envoy articles to other users.
Three Hunter students have been selected to participate in competitive study abroad scholarship programs focusing on U.S.-German intercultural exchange. Freshman Catherine Detrow will take part in InternXchange, a program sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service, and juniors Olga Generalova and Kristina Kalpaxis will participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), sponsored by the U.S. and German governments.
Detrow, an anthropology major, is one 14 students nationwide selected for InternXchange. She will head to Berlin in the summer, spend her first six weeks at the renowned Freie Universität, and then embark on an intensive four-week internship with a German newspaper, magazine or radio station.
Generalova, a world history and German major, and Kalpaxis, a German and media major, are two of 75 students from across the nation who will participate in the 12-month CBYX program in Germany. Starting in July, they will have intensive German language training for two months, four months of classroom instruction at a German university or college of applied sciences, and then a five month internship in their career field.
While Hunter has had recipients of Congress-Bundestag scholarships in the past two years—Alexander Rodriguez and Sarah Wolf—this is the first year that two Hunter students were selected at the same time.
Chris Matthews, broadcast journalist and host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, will address approximately 3,000 members of the Class of 2008 and their families and friends at Hunter College's 197th commencement ceremony, to be held on June 4, 2008 at Radio City Music Hall.
A television news anchor with significant depth of experience, Matthews has distinguished himself as a broadcast journalist, newspaper bureau chief, presidential speechwriter, and bestselling author. Matthews covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa, the Good Friday Peace Accord in Northern Ireland, and the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He has covered every American presidential election campaign since the 1980s.
Matthews worked for fifteen years as a newspaper journalist, thirteen of them as a Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner and two as a national columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Before that, he had a fifteen year career in public service: in the U.S. Senate for five years for Senator Frank Moss of Utah and Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine; in the White House for four years under President Jimmy Carter as a presidential speechwriter and on the President’s Reorganization Project. He previously served for six years as the top aide to Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr.
Hunter’s commencement ceremony will take place at 2pm on June 4. The College will also celebrate the achievements of Hunter alumni Abbe Raven, President and CEO of A&E Television Networks, and Joel Katz, prominent entertainment attorney who is chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s global entertainment practice. Raven and Katz both will be awarded honorary degrees.
The cast of the hit TV show “Gossip Girl” has added a Hunter girl to its ranks – junior Yin Chang has landed the recurring role of “Nelly Yuki” and had her debut on the show’s April 28 episode.
A teen drama that airs on the CW network, “Gossip Girl” follows the lives of young socialites attending elite schools on the Upper East Side. Chang, a creative writing and media studies major, describes her “Gossip Girl” role as a “stereotypically nerdy Asian who wears dorky oversized glasses.”
“I’m excited about the whole nerdy character, though,” she said. “I’ve never played anything like that in my work. I’m having a great time—the people are so nice. They are considered celebrities, but they’re so down to earth.”
Although she only began acting two years ago, Chang has already appeared in episodes of “Law and Order” and “Six Degrees,” and in commercials for Best Buy, Master Card, and Verizon.
Chang is juggling school with her acting schedule, and plans to graduate in spring 2009. She hopes to incorporate writing into her career, and—if acting doesn’t work out—become a casting director.
Elizabeth Rodriguez, a political science major who will graduate in June, has been selected as a New York City Urban Fellow – a program that offers a handful of America’s finest college students the opportunity to gain work experience in local government and public service.
Rodriquez is currently in the Public Service Program at Hunter, where she has been working for Councilmember Gale A. Brewer. As an Urban Fellow, she will spend nine months working full time for a New York City mayoral agency. Once she is assigned to a specific agency job, Rodriquez – who plans to go on to law school after the fellowship is completed - will receive a $25,000 stipend.
“As a native New Yorker, I have a passion to work as a public servant for all the native New Yorkers who are fighting to stay in a city that has become high priced and unaffordable for many,” Rodriquez said. “I have aspirations to work at a high level in a city agency so I can be in a position to effect policy for many people. I also hope to become an elected official so that I can help the residents of New York City.”
The highly competitive NYC Urban Fellows Program selects only 25 young men and women from around the nation each year who want to pursue careers in government and public service. Three other students from Hunter have won this honor in previous years.
Hunter Awarded $1.4 Million Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant for Science Research and Education
Hunter College has received a $1.4 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to expand its science and research programs and educational outreach initiatives. One of just 48 undergraduate institutions in the country awarded such a grant, Hunter was selected through a stringent review process by a panel of distinguished scientists and educators that considered the applications of 192 schools. HHMI initially invited proposals from just 224 colleges with a track record of preparing undergraduate students for research careers. Hunter is the only CUNY school to be awarded this HHMI grant.
“The undergraduate years are vital to attracting and retaining students who will be the future of science,” said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech. “We want students to experience science as the creative, challenging and rewarding endeavor that it is.”
Hunter plans to use part of the HHMI grant to expand an established program that gives students money for school full time while they also work in a research lab on campus. “They are essentially allowed to just do research and really see what it is all about,” said Shirley Raps, chair of the biology department. Many students at Hunter College must fit college in around full-time jobs. “Almost all of our students work and many can only attend school part-time,” said Raps.
The current program, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is designed to encourage students from groups underrepresented in the sciences. The HHMI grant will expand the same program to women and students from underprivileged backgrounds. Hunter students will also get career counseling and mentoring by faculty members.
In addition, Hunter students will have the chance to conduct research outside of the college with a program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. There, students will immerse themselves in a research environment, working side-by-side with high-powered researchers. Four Hunter science students will be matched with four scientists for the summer.
“It just opens up their horizons, which is what we want to have happen,” said Raps. “They will be very well known scientists as their careers progress. I’m convinced of that.”
HHMI is the nation’s largest private supporter of science education. It has invested more than $1.2 billion in grants to reinvigorate life science education at both research universities and liberal arts colleges and to engage the nation’s leading scientists in teaching. In 2007, it launched the Science Education Alliance, which will serve as a national resource for the development and distribution of innovative science education materials and methods.
The hit play Platanos and Collard Greens came to the Kaye Playhouse on April 17 for a special performance—a homecoming of sorts for both the playwright, Hunter alum David Lamb, and the play, which is set at Hunter College.
Centered on the love story between an African American man and a Latina, Platanos has been widely celebrated for its humor and pathos in handling issues of race and ethnicity. It has been performed before sold out off-Broadway audiences and in over 100 colleges across the country since its debut in 2003.
Lamb, who graduated from Hunter in 1987 magna cum laude with a degree in economics, described his return to his alma mater as “fantastic.” “This is like a dream come true,” he said.
Lamb’s company, Between the Lines Productions—which he founded and runs with his wife Jamillah—has also put out another critically acclaimed play of his called Auction Block to Hip Hop, which has achieved success in both the New York theater and national college markets. He also continues to be a sought after speaker at many colleges around the country, which is how he started writing plays.
“I would go to schools for readings and students urged me to write a play,” Lamb said. “I think this play, Platanos and Collard Greens, captures the situation at so many schools. It’s a comedy. People laugh out loud uproariously. Forty to fifty times in the show. I hope it makes you laugh, I hope it makes you think and I hope it inspires you. If I can accomplish that with an audience, then I think I’m really accomplishing something.”
Dr. Edwin Meléndez has been appointed as Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) and Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning.
Dr. Meléndez brings to Hunter more than 20 years of vast experience in public policy, academic research and publishing, and Puerto Rican studies. He previously served as Professor of Management and Urban Policy at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy at the New School in New York City. Earlier, he was Director of the Community Development Research Center at the Milano Graduate School. He also has authored or edited numerous books and research projects, including his most recent book: Latinos in a Changing Society.
"Dr. Meléndez will bring a high level of intellectual and professional leadership to his new role and will usher Centro into an exciting new chapter of its storied legacy," said President Jennifer J. Raab in announcing the appointment.
He officially begins his new position on July 1, although he will be at Hunter on a consulting basis before that.
Joseph Eastman and Peter Michalakis
Hunter students Joseph Eastman and Peter Michalakis have been awarded 2008 Jeannette K. Watson Fellowships. The three-year fellowship program offers paid summer internships, mentoring, and enhanced educational opportunities to New York City undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional promise, outstanding leadership skills and commitment to the common good.
Eastman is a second year student at Hunter and a member of the Honors College. He plans to major in political science and economics. Currently an intern for the New York State Democratic Committee, he has also interned in Congressman Anthony Weiner’s District Office. At Hunter, he is the founder, president, and administrative director of the Roosevelt Institution, the nation’s first student-run think tank that seeks to engage students in public policy. He is also the treasurer of the United Nations Student Association/ Model United Nations Debate Team, the secretary of the Student Political Science Association, a Student Senator, and a member of the Faculty Student Disciplinary Committee.
Peter Michalakis is a first year student who plans to major in political science and journalism. He has participated in various local basketball tournaments and leagues, including the JCH Intramural League, the Leif Ericsson Summer League, and the Regina Poris Open. He hopes to pursue a career in broadcast journalism or politics.
Eastman and Michalakis are currently in the process of interviewing for their first Watson summer internships.
Established by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1999, the Fellowship operates on the principle that “talent is broadly distributed but only selectively developed.” Watson Fellows have their pick of coveted job placements over three consecutive summers in non-profit agencies, business organizations, and government service that give them a chance to grow and develop interpersonal skills and gain self-confidence in a variety of professional settings.
Margaret Park and Alex Rodriguez are winners of Fulbright Fellowships for 2008. Each will be teaching English abroad -- Park in Korea and Rodriguez in Hong Kong.
Park, who received her MA in childhood and special education from Hunter in January 2008, will teach English to elementary school children in Korea. Since 2005 she has been teaching in New York City through the support of a New York City Teaching Fellowship.
After her Fulbright year, Park plans to continue teaching and eventually earn a doctorate in education.
Rodriguez, a senior majoring in economics and German, is a member of the Macaulay Honors College. He has studied in Germany and looks forward to his year in Hong Kong, teaching English and learning Cantonese.
He plans to earn an advanced degree in language and study international marketing.
Administered by the Institute for International Education, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards full research grants to graduating seniors and young alumni after an extensive application process. Recipients receive a stipend to cover, travel, housing and living expenses.
Freshman outside hitter Wojciech Jakubiak had a match-high 25 kills and was named the Most Outstanding Player as the Hunter College Hawks defeated No.10 Stevens Institute of Technology 3-2 (25-30, 30-28, 32-30, 27-30, 15-13) to win the program’s first ECAC title, and the school's first since 1993 (women's volleyball).
Hunter got to the finals after defeating CUNYAC foe Baruch earlier in the day by a 3-1 count.
After dropping the first game 30-25, the Hawks stepped up their game in the second, battling point-for-point with the Ducks, tying the game 12 times and would pull ahead with a 10-7 run to close out the game. Hunter then owned the third game most of the way through, with Stevens taking their first lead at 20-19. Hunter would gain the 2-1 match advantage on a kill from Jakubiak and an attack error by junior middle blocker Doug Reger.
Games four and five were neck and neck with the Ducks pulling away in the fourth after a 23-23 stalemate. In the fifth, the score was tied up at 8-8 and later 13-13 before Jakubiak once again gave Hunter a one-point advantage and they would win the match on an hitting error by Stevens outside hitter Jonathan Landis.
Sophomore setter Zacarias Ripoll had a match high 50 assists and added 14 kills and nine digs to his performance. Freshman outside hitter Pablo Oliveira finished with 18 kills, seven digs and six assists, while fellow freshman Eryk Kowalski contributed with 12 kills.
Hunter closes out the 2008 season with 32-4 record and had a program best 23 match win streak during the season.
Nataliya Binshteyn, a January 2008 Hunter graduate, has been awarded a 2008 Merage American Dream Fellowship, which recognizes students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership skills, creativity and initiative. Binshteyn is one of 12 students selected from colleges across the country.
Applicants, who must be immigrants, were asked to describe their goals, their American dream – with respect to achieving leadership positions in an area of business, culture and the arts, science or education, or public service. The award is a stipend of $10,000 per year for two years of post-graduate study, travel or research.
Binshteyn emigrated with her family from the Ukraine in 1993. She graduated from Hunter with majors in political science, Spanish and Special Honors and was a member of the Honors College. While at Hunter, she interned in the office of Senator Hillary Clinton and in the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Binshteyn is currently interning at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires and plans to attend a joint degree program in law and international affairs in the fall.
Distinguished Professor of English Meena Alexander, an award-winning poet and novelist who teaches in the MFA program at Hunter, has been named a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow.
Alexander – whose most recent book of poetry, Quickly Changing River, was published in January -says she will use the prestigious award to write a new book of poems retracing her journeys as a child when she traveled by steamer across the Indian Ocean from her native India to Sudan.
“I am thrilled to bits to have won a Guggenheim,” Alexander said. “I have a whole book of poetry coiled inside, waiting to be written, and now I feel I can give it a real shot. My project is a book of poems retracing the map of my migrant life, overlaying the travels I went through as a child. Now from New York I will make these journeys in life and in art.”
Also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship was Hunter adjunct Vicky Shick, a New York City choreographer who has taught in the College’s Dance Program for the past eight years.
As a Guggenheim fellow, she will pursue a new dance project she is very excited about. “I will be working with dancers from New York and Budapest, setting a piece in both cities in January and March 2009,” Shick said. “I am extraordinarily lucky to have been awarded this Guggenheim Fellowship, which will support this project and allow me to work here in New York City and in my hometown, Budapest.”
The Guggenheim fellowships are awarded each year to a select group of artists, scientists and scholars who have exceptional records of past achievement and also show extraordinary promise for future great accomplishments with their work.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor came to Hunter on April 7 for an extraordinary “Aspen at Roosevelt House” discussion about the delicate balance of constitutional power between U.S. presidents and the nation’s highest court.
Justices Breyer and O’Connor talked about the tension that has existed between the Supreme Court and the White House from the early days of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, through Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Nixon and right up until today – with controversial rulings on the Bush-Gore 2000 election and the rights of accused terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay.
They emphasized the unique constitutional responsibility of the top court to provide a balance of power with a president- as well as some of the practical problems the court faces.
“When we make a decision, it is not just a decision for the date and time when it comes down,” Breyer said, pointing out that no justice can predict future developments which could be affected by that ruling. “But when the Court decides something, who does it then? What happens when you get a case where the president doesn’t want to do it?”
“The Court has serious problems with enforcement power,” agreed O’Connor, the first woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court - who retired in 2006. “We hope that when the court rules that other branches go along to take the hit. For the most part they do, but on occasion they don’t.”
The discussion – one of a series of high profile political events leading up to the opening of a renovated Roosevelt House as Hunter’s new public policy center this fall – was moderated by Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times correspondent Linda Greenhouse, who has covered the Supreme Court for the Times since 1978. The event was endowed by Hunter alumna Phyllis L. Kossoff.
Students from the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing were honored for their outstanding service to the community at the National Student Nurses Association 2008 convention held in Grapevine, Texas this spring.
Nine Hunter nursing students received the Most Successful School Community Health Project, Silver Community Health Award from the organization – which has a national membership of more than 45,000 students, faculty and nursing leaders. The award was for two projects – the Brookdale Campus Health Promotion and 68th Street Campus Nursing Recruitment Fairs, and Peer-to-Peer Mentoring for Professional Advancement.
Both projects were carried out by junior nursing students in the NURS 200 Introduction to Nursing course and overseen by Professor Aida Egues, RN, one of the course’s faculty advisers, along with Dr. Donna Nickitas.
“We were thrilled, given the importance of service to the community, to receive this award,” Egues said. “For this tremendous work done by our students to be recognized on the national level is such a wonderful validation. I salute their dedication, as well as that of all our students in the course.”
Hunter’s national academic stature continues to grow. The 2009 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools” has ranked Hunter’s Master of Fine Arts program as the 21st best in the country.
This top ranking for Hunter is based on a survey of art school deans and other leading art scholars at some 220 master of fine arts programs in art and design throughout the nation.
It is just the latest confirmation of the way Hunter’s reputation as a leading education institution keeps climbing. U.S. News and The Princeton Review both ranked Hunter as one of America’s “best colleges” last year – with The Princeton Review observing that “like the Big Apple itself, Hunter has a ton to offer academically.”
An array of posters lined Hunter’s third floor bridge on April 2 as part of Annual Science Poster Day, an event showcasing undergraduate projects by students in minority research programs. These programs, which include Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS), encourage greater minority participation in science research.
Poster projects covered a broad spectrum of the sciences, ranging from the field of biology to sociology. There were studies on glaucoma detection, coastal storm climatology, and HIV risk among Latino and Black youth, to name a few.
Vladimir Thomas, a senior in the MARC program, presented “Phytochemical Analysis of Tidestromia oblongifolia,” a project that analyzes a desert plant from the western U.S. with the aim of isolating and elucidating the structure of the plant’s compounds.
“Usually plants that grow in extreme conditions have interesting compounds and bioactivities,” explained Thomas. “We hope that the extracted compounds have antifungal and antimicrobial properties.”
Tidestromia oblongifolia, also known as Arizona honeysweet, is used in folk medicine in some parts of Asia to treat a variety of illnesses. Thomas, who has long been interested in medicinal chemistry, said the analysis of these plants might lead to the development of new treatments for disease.
Like all students in Hunter’s minority research programs, Thomas regularly received guidance from a faculty advisor. Wayne Harding, an assistant professor in the Chemistry Department, assigned and facilitated Thomas’ project.
“I’ve had two MARC students, and they are committed to what they want to do—they have a lot of potential,” said Harding. “I think the minority research programs are really good in terms of what they hope to achieve.”
Several graduates of Hunter’s minority research programs have gone on to have distinguished careers in the sciences, including Arlie Petters, a Duke University professor of physics and math, and Erich Jarvis, a Duke neurobiologist who was named one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” in 2006.
Stunning contemporary music combines with a paean to nonviolent political activism in a new Metropolitan Opera production of Satyagraha, an opera by Philip Glass with a libretto by artist/writer Constance DeJong, Distinguished Lecturer in Hunter’s Department of Art.
The opera will be performed at the Met on April 11, 14, 19, 22, 25, and 28 and May 1.
“Satyagraha,” explains DeJong, “is the name that Gandhi gave to his nonviolent civil disobedience movement. The opera covers the years during which Gandhi and members of the movement practiced Satyagraha in South Africa.” The opera’s text, she continues, reflects “the historical continuity of nonviolence beginning before South Africa, coming to fruition there, reappearing in the American civil rights movement, remaining still as a methodology among present-day political activists ill-disposed to terrorism. In this way the opera suggests the persistence of an idea.”
DeJong, who received her MA from Hunter, has been teaching at the college since 1998.
The head of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Washington – a high level U.S. government position created in 2004 - came to Hunter on April 2 to talk about the innovative efforts this new government agency is taking to reduce poverty in underdeveloped nations around the world.
Chief Executive Officer John Danilovich told a group of Hunter students and faculty members that the MCC has established successful grant programs for economic growth totaling more than $6 billion in 17 different countries so far – and achieved extraordinary results. “This is a good use of taxpayer money,” said Danilovich – a former U.S. ambassador to both Brazil and Costa Rica. “We’re not there to build a road to the governor’s mansion. “Our target population is the poor. It’s the poor who are the beneficiaries.”
He said nations receiving money from the MCC must first meet a strict set of requirements – including such crucial areas as human rights; democratic government; education; gender reform to allow women an equal role in the country’s society; and efforts to stamp out corruption. “We don’t just give them money and hope it works out well,” Danilovich explained.
He encouraged the Hunter students to join in this dramatic new U.S. concept to spur economic growth and aid people in poor countries around the world, telling the audience: “I hope some of you apply for a job with us someday."
“Students who care about the issue of world poverty, like those at Hunter, are our next generation of leaders,” Danilovich said after the meeting. “I appreciate their interest in international affairs and welcome this interaction on ways to address long-term economic growth and the discussion about how the MCC is a new and different way to deliver U.S. Government assistance to some of the world's poorest countries."
Nurxat Nuraje, a member of Hunter Chemistry Professor Hiroshi Matsui’s laboratory, was selected recently to receive the highly-competitive 2008 Graduate Student Award from the Materials Research Society (MRS).
These MRS awards are given out to only 21 chemistry students throughout the nation – many of them from top research institutions such as MIT, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. At the group’s spring meeting in San Francisco, Dr. Nuraje won a Silver Award for his presentation which was praised as “particularly significant and timely research.”
Nuraje graduated with a PhD in chemistry earlier this year from the CUNY Graduate Center, where he studied under Professor Matsui. He earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in China. He plans to do post-doctoral work at MIT beginning this June.
Members of Hunter College’s Dominican Perspectives Club traveled to the Dominican Republic recently where they distributed toys to poor children and provided aid to residents of the country’s impoverished communities.
Six Hunter students and former students made the trip from January 3-17. Toys, food and other supplies were given to many needy children, including one group at an orphanage for children with AIDS in the capital of Santo Domingo. Educational workshops were held and more supplies handed out to people at several other locations in the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Perspectives Club group from Hunter consisted of Masiel Mejia (club president); Zawilky Santana (former president); Adela George (former president); Clary del Rosario; Hans Villamil and Anthony Peters.
Gossip Girl stars Jessica Szohr (Vanessa) and Chace Crawford (Nate) at Hunter.
Those weren’t real students taking their SAT exams at Hunter on March 24th, it was the young stars of Gossip Girl. Nate, Vanessa, Blair, Penelope, Hazel, Jenny and other popular characters from the hit TV show – in which students from an exclusive prep school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side addictively follow school gossip –shot several scenes about taking SATs right here at Hunter as adoring fans looked on.
Want to see more of how Hunter looks on TV? This Gossip Girl episode will air Monday, April 28th, at 8 p.m. (EDT) on the CW Network.
A Hunter College alumna and two current Hunter students have been accepted into prestigious programs for government and public policy study at Princeton University.
Taína Borrero will begin studying for her master’s in public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs this fall. Since graduating cum laude from Hunter in 2006, Borrero has worked for the College in the Office of External Affairs – helping to coordinate with community groups and government officials. She also served as an intern in Sen. Hillary Clinton’s office while at Hunter. “I’ve always been deeply committed to public service,” Borrero says. “Two years spent at Woodrow Wilson will be the finest training for this objective.”
Two Hunter juniors, Jessica Lee and Sehrish Bari, were selected to attend the highly-competitive Public Policy & International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at the Woodrow Wilson School. This influential program for encouraging diversity in our future world leaders only accepted 36 students for the summer session - so it is quite impressive that two came from Hunter.
Lee is a political science major who plans to go on for a master’s degree in either public administration or international affairs. She currently interns at the United Way in Manhattan. “I’d like to work with issues involving poverty in the city and at some point with an international organization like the UN,” Lee said. “This program at Princeton is a great opportunity to help me reach those goals.”
Bari, who has a double major in sociology and political science, hopes to continue on to earn a master’s in public health. She now interns at the New York City Department of Health and also the Global Business Coalition – which deals with health issues of malaria, TB and HIV. “I know going to this program in Princeton will provide me with the information I need in public policy and international affairs to help me pursue a career in public health,” Bari said.
Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab, who also holds a master’s in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School, is a past member of the advisory council of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.
Katy Siegel, associate professor of art history at Hunter, received a prestigious curatorial award at the Guggenheim Museum on March 17 for the show: “High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967-1975.”
Dr. Siegel was honored in Best Shows of 2006-07 by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) – which gives out the only awards for extraordinary curators in the U.S. The exhibit has also been named one of the top 10 shows of 2007 by New York magazine and extensively written about in the New York Times, the New Yorker and major art publications around the world.
“High Times, Hard Times” has appeared in six museums, including the National Academy in New York and major museums in Mexico City, Austria and Germany, where it is set to open this month. The catalogue is in its second printing.
Siegel is also a highly-acclaimed writer about contemporary art. She is co-author of Artworks: Money, published in 2004, and has written many catalogue essays on major contemporary art and artists for museums in the U.S. and Europe. She has been hailed as one of “today’s most visible critics” in the art world.
Hunter School of Social Work student Alexandra Smith has won a prestigious Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship for her project “Out of the Box.” The Fellowship, awarded to “outstanding individuals,” is for a period of 18 months and supports innovative policy advocacy projects that promote criminal justice reform.
As a Soros Fellow, Smith will monitor the implementation of a new bill passed in New York State designed to prevent people with mental illness from being placed in solitary confinement. She will also provide community outreach and generate community capital.
“My goal is to make those directly affected, and their families, the leaders of this movement,” said Smith, a second year student. “They are the heroes—they are the leaders because they’ve lived through this.”
“Living through” solitary confinement can be a challenge for any prisoner, but for mentally ill inmates, it is particularly difficult, according to Smith.
“This is not a rehabilitative model, it is a brutal practice. These people should be in treatment,” she said.
Smith currently serves as the coordinator of Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (MHASC), and is an organizer forRights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities (RIPPD). She will graduate from Hunter with an MSW in June and begins her fellowship in September.
Sean Ahearn, professor of geography and director of Hunter’s CARSI (Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information) Lab, has been named by U.S Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to the newly formed National Geospatial Advisory Committee. Ahearn is one of only two academics named to the committee, which will give advice and recommendations on federal geospatial policy and provide a forum to convey views of members of the geospatial community.
“This appointment,” said Ahearn, “will give me an opportunity to advise the U.S. government on the critical geospatial data and processes necessary for emergency response based on my work following 9/11.”
Ahearn’s work following the attacks on the World Trade Center included helping to select the remote sensing instruments that were used for evaluation and monitoring of ground zero, analyzing data to create 3-D visualizations of ground zero for the Fire Department, creating an application for cataloging the location of items found at ground zero, and creating an application for generating status maps showing which streets could safely be opened.
Stressing the importance of the new committee, Secretary Kempthorne noted that “Geospatial information and technology help many programs ranging from wildlife conservation to weather prediction to national security. This committee will help provide advice and perspectives as we continue to develop new ways to utilize geospatial information for the benefit of the public.”
The CARSI Lab directed by Ahearn is a state-of-the art teaching and research facility and one of the best-equipped laboratories in the U.S. for geographical analysis. In addition to its many other projects, CARSI has been working with the City of New York to develop its geospatial information infrastructure for over 12 years.
Freshman outside hitter Wojciech Jakubiak recorded a match high 15 kills to help the Hawks defeat the Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University 3-0 (31-29, 30-17, 31-29) which also gave Hunter head coach Ray Bello his 100th career coaching victory.
Bello reaches this milestone in his fifth season as Hunter coach. A 2003 Hunter graduate, Bello holds a career coaching record of 100-52. Hunter now leads the all-time series with NJCU, 12-10 and snapped a five match win-streak that the Gothic Knights held over the Hawks.
Freshman outside hitter Pablo Oliveira and freshman middle blocker Eryk Kowalski each added nine kills for the Hawks, while sophomore setter Zacarias Ripoll Plata, finished with 38 assists, seven digs and five kills.
The Gothic Knights were led by junior outside hitter Kevin Rogers who also had a match high 15 kills and freshman outside hitter Marley Pena-Guzman contributed eight kills and six digs.
The Hawks return to CUNY Athletic Conference action on Saturday, March 8, 2008 when they are scheduled to play York College and Brooklyn College at a CUNYAC Multi-Match hosted at City College.
Hunter students meet up with Congressman Charles Rangel at Model U.N. Competition
The Hunter College Model U.N. Team came way with nine awards – the most prizes of all schools participating – during a three-day, 11-college CUNY Model U.N competition.
The 26 students – who also distinguished themselves recently at the Harvard National Model U.N. - are from the Hunter College Model U.N. class, an initiative launched this year. The class is taught by Professor of Political Science Pamela S. Falk.
Each of the student delegates represented a separate country in the U.N – and Hunter won an award in every phase of the competition. “We are a mini-United Nations ourselves,” said Caroline Grangier, one of the award-winning Hunter students. “Our team speaks two dozen languages…this is what education is all about.”
New York Congressman Charles Rangel delivered the opening address at the event.
Two Hunter College wrestlers are headed for the NCAA Championship Tournament on March 7 and 8 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Senior Ben Bonaventura qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time in his four-year career after taking first place at the Metropolitan Conference Championships held on February 24 at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Bonaventura finished the competition with a 3-0 record.
Sophomore Andre DeCristo received an at-large bid and will also make his first NCAA tournament appearance.
Sophomore Zacarias Ripoll and Freshman Pablo Oliveira
Hunter College sophomore Zacarias Ripoll was named CUNYAC Player of the Week and freshman Pablo Oliveira selected as Rookie of the Week for their outstanding performances as the Hawks’men’s volleyball team scored impressive victories over three opponents.
Ripoll’s all around stellar effort was highlighted by a triple double against Baruch, with 13 kills, 48 assists and 15 digs. Oliveira scored a season high 21 kills to go with 16 digs and 5 solo blocks in the victory against Baruch. The Hawks also scored wins over Lehman and Brooklyn College.
The victories gave the Hunter men’s volleyball team – unbeaten in CUNYAC play – sole possession of first place in the conference.
Dear Members of the Hunter College Community:
Please join me in keeping the Northern Illinois University community in your thoughts as it recovers from the senseless and horrifying tragedy of February 14. We grieve with the students, staff, faculty, and families of NIU, and we wish them the best in restoring their campus to a place where everyone can feel safe to gather and free to learn.
We also remind the Hunter community of our support services in the Dean's Office. Specifically, the Division of Student Affairs is available for walk-in appointments or by calling x 4873 or x 4931. There is also the dedicated Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff, which can be reached at 212.772.4051.
Incidents like this naturally lead us to reflect on our own safety. We continue to actively update and review our security procedures in light of the NIU tragedy. Our highest priority remains the safety and well-being of our students and employees.
Jennifer J. Raab
Hunter alumnus Jorge Arévalo Mateus (BA, MA ’98) has won a 2008 Grammy Award for Best Historical Album for his work on “The Live Wire: Woody Guthrie In Performance 1949.” Arévalo Mateus served as a compilation producer for the album, which features the only known recording of folk music icon Woody Guthrie performing before a live audience.
“The Live Wire” was produced by the Woody Guthrie Foundation, where Arévalo Mateus has worked as an archivist since 1996—concurrent to his studies in music and ethnomusicology at Hunter College. His work on the “The Live Wire” began in 2001 after a man named Paul Braverman approached the Foundation with two wire recordings he claimed contained a live Woody Guthrie performance held in Newark, New Jersey in 1949.
“No one had a sense of what Woody Guthrie sounded like as a live musician—how he communicated to people, and how they responded to him,” said Arévalo Mateus. “The idea that this gentleman had a live recording… it was exciting. But I thought, I’ll believe it when I hear it.”
The recordings turned out to be the real deal, and—digitally restored—they became “The Live Wire” album, which comes with a 72-page book primarily written by Arévalo Mateus.
“We wanted it to be the best possible recording, and have the best packaging and scholarship around it,” he said. “The Grammy is really an acknowledgement of the effort that goes into this kind of historical work.”
Arévalo Mateus credits his mentor, Hunter Ethnomusicology Professor Barbara Hampton, with instilling in him a sense that he “had something to contribute culturally and educationally.” In addition to serving as curator for the Woody Guthrie Archives, Arévalo Mateus is a PhD candidate at Wesleyan University and a curator at the MAC650 gallery in Middletown, New Jersey. An audio installation featuring his musical compositions will be on exhibit starting February 28 at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. "The Live Wire" is only available for purchase through the Woody Guthrie Foundation website: www.woodyguthrie.org.
Professor Peter Parisi joins Kisha Allison at awards ceremony
Hunter College student Kisha Allison has been named as the recipient of this year’s Romona Moore Scholarship, an award which honors the life of a young Hunter student who was murdered in 2003.
Allison, a junior majoring in media studies, received the scholarship at the New York Association of Black Journalists’ Annual Scholarship Banquet on February 13th. She has written extensively for the Hunter WORD as well as other College publications – and recently covered the New Hampshire political primaries as a student journalist.
The Romona Moore Scholarship benefits minority students at Hunter who excel academically. “My dream is to use journalism to convey pertinent messages to the black community, messages that will not only inform, but teach,” Allison wrote in her essay for the award.
Hunter College sent 40 students to Harvard University on February 14 to take part in the prestigious Harvard National Model U.N., a highly-competitive U.N. simulation in which students take on the role of diplomats from different countries. The Hunter students were chosen to represent Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Tajikistan.
All are from the Hunter College Model U.N. class, an initiative launched this year by Hunter President Jennifer J. Raab, Dean of Arts and Sciences Shirley Clay Scott and Professor of Political Science Pamela S. Falk. Professor Falk, who teaches the class and also works for CBS television at the UN, was able to help the students prepare by getting them unusual access to the General Assembly, the Security Council and even to actual diplomats from the countries they’re representing.
Falk’s class is made up of students who come from six of the seven continents. “Antarctica is the only one not represented,” she pointed out. All of the students are chosen for their outstanding records and background in international relations studies. “We have a waiting list a mile long,” Falk said. “Everyone wants to be a part of this.”
President Raab told the students she hoped they win their debates on international diplomacy at Harvard, but added: “The most important thing is to have fun. This is an amazing experience. Enjoy it.”
James Graham, a senior in political science, said he was looking forward to the trip because “I’m interested in seeing diplomacy at work.” Sophomore Evgeniya Kim – who is a star on the Hunter tennis team – used a sport analogy to talk about her anticipation for the event. “This is a big game,” Kim said.
Tom Sleigh, a professor of poetry in Hunter’s MFA program in Creative Writing, has won the 2008 Kingsley Tufts Award for his collection Space Walk. The prestigious award - which comes with a $100,000 prize, the largest in the nation for a mid-career poet – is administered by Claremont Graduate University.
Sleigh is the author of seven books of poetry, a book of essays, and a translation of Euripides’ Herakles. He has been a finalist for the Lamont Poetry Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and has been nominated for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets and The Nation Magazine.
Sleigh will be honored at a ceremony at Claremont on April 15.
Recipients of Hunter College’s 2008 Humanitarian Award are (Left) Senior Anna Plaunova with Acting Dean for Diversity and Compliance John Rose, and (right) junior Shandu Foster with Associate Dean of Students Michael Escott
Senior Anna Plaunova and junior Shandu Foster were named the 2008 recipients of Hunter College’s Humanitarian Award -- presented to two student-athletes, one male and one female, who embody Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “vision of peace, persistence in purpose, and inspirational action” as well as sportsmanship within or outside the college community. Hunter’s Acting Dean for Diversity and Compliance John Rose and Associate Dean of Students Michael Escott presented the award to Plaunova and Foster during Hunter’s basketball game against New York University on January 14, 2008.
Plaunova is a four-year member of the swimming team and a three-year member of the cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams. She maintains a 3.4 cumulative GPA as a nursing student.
As a swimmer, Plaunova has helped the team to four straight regular season championships and two conference tournament championships. In her junior year she became just the fifth female in Hunter’s cross country history to become an individual CUNY Athletic Conference champion. This season, she set new conference record at the championships while earning her second straight individual title.
Foster is a four-year member of the men’s volleyball team. As a freshman at Hunter, he excelled on the volleyball court, leading the team in total blocks and was ranked 17th in the nation in blocks per game. Shandu currently boasts a 3.48 cumulative GPA as a sociology major with a minor in Women and Gender Studies.
This fall, Shandu was named a NIMH-COR (National Institute of Mental Health – Career Opportunities in Research Education and Training Program) Scholar, a program at Hunter College designed to give minority students an opportunity to conduct research and pursue education at the graduate and PhD levels.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award is awarded annually as part of Hunter and New York University’s MLK Day Celebration which coincides with their annual men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader.
David Lempert's ('07) economics master's thesis—“Women’s Increasing Wage Penalties from Being Overweight and Obese”—has been published on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website as Working Paper 414. The Working Paper Series circulates research findings as a means of encouraging discussion prior to publication in academic journals.
Lempert's thesis analyzes rising rates of obesity through an economic lens, drawing on studies that show that white women suffer the greatest wage penalties for exceeding weight norms. His paper concludes that wage penalties for overweight and obese white women have risen significantly, and that there is an increasing premium on thinness as it has become scarcer. These findings have sparked conversations in several publications, including the New Economist, Foreign Policy, Salon.com, and The Atlantic.
“Obesity is one of the pressing social issues of our time,” said Lempert, an economist at the BLS. “Like race and gender, an aspect of it involves its effect on wages.”
Lempert, who graduated summa cum laude in May, dedicated 10 hours per week over a nine-month period to his paper—all the while working full-time at the BLS. Professor Partha Deb, the chair thesis advisor for the economics department, guided him through the process.
“We strive to get our students to do something that we think is publishable, and David has certainly done that,” said Deb. “This is the quality of work I would expect from all our students.”
Hunter senior Silvia Caballero has been selected as one of five outstanding young scientists from across the nation to receive a prestigious 2008 Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study.
These highly-competitive fellowships, awarded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, provide full support for up to five years of study toward a PhD for exceptional young people in the field of biomedical research. The awards are aimed at fostering excellence and diversity in education and science.
Now in her final year at Hunter, Caballero plans to further her research interests after graduation and then obtain a PhD in either immunology or virology.
Caballero came to New York from Peru at the age of 16 and learned English on her own in order to pursue her studies. In addition to her outstanding achievements at Hunter, she has already done remarkable work outside the classroom in both cancer and HIV research labs.
Caballero is the second Hunter student to be awarded a Gilliam Fellowship. Naira Cerceau Rezende ('05) was named a Fellow in 2005.
Top international economist and health expert Jeffrey Sachs delivered the keynote address at Hunter’s winter 2008 commencement ceremony on January 24, urging some 1,200 graduates to help their generation change the world by winning the battle against poverty and disease.
“It is possible to end extreme poverty on the planet by 2025,” said Dr. Sachs, widely considered to be the leading international economic adviser of our time and a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University who serves as special advisor to the UN. “Our problems are manmade, and therefore they can be solved by man.”
He also said that much of the malaria throughout the entire continent of Africa could be eradicated simply by spending $1.5 billion to buy sleeping nets, adding that the Pentagon currently spends $1.7 billion per day on its operations. “I want the Pentagon to take next Thursday off!” he quipped.
Sachs told the graduates that Hunter, with students from 150 different countries, “epitomizes the very best of the world. This is what the world can be. A world of so much diversity and so many talented people pulling together to accomplish so many remarkable things.”
Also honored during the commencement ceremony were Hunter alumnus Arlie Petters, now a highly-acclaimed professor of mathematics and physics at Duke University whose theory of gravitational lensing has made him the founder of the field of mathematical astronomy; and Jonathan Bing, a member of the New York State Assembly who has worked tirelessly for his constituents on the East Side of Manhattan and been a strong friend and supporter of Hunter. Dr. Petters was the recipient of a Doctorate of Science, while Assemblyman Bing received the President’s Medal.
On January 31, faculty and students from Hunter College will participate in a nationwide all-day teach-in on global warming. Focus the Nation, designed to foster dialogue on the solutions to global warming, is also an effort to urge politicians to address climate change and advance solutions to it. Across the country, over 1000 colleges, universities, businesses, and religious institutions are gathering to act upon what is quickly becoming one of the most critical issues the world faces today.
The purpose of the teach-in is to educate Americans on the challenges of addressing climate change as the nation moves toward the 2008 presidential elections.
The teach-in at Hunter will conclude with a roundtable discussion on New York State and City Environmental Challenges, as well as CUNY’s role in making New York City the greenest in the nation.
The event is cosponsored by the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities, Hunter USG, and Hillel.
Peter Carey, Director of Hunter College’s MFA program in Creative Writing, has been named a CUNY Distinguished Professor by the CUNY Board of Trustees. The appointment was approved unanimously and announced on January 28 by Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
Professor Carey is one of the most original, talented and prolific writers in the English language today. He is a two-time winner of both the Booker Prize and the Commonwealth Prize, and the recipient of countless other distinctions. He has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded three honorary doctorates. His work has been translated into at least 30 languages.
At Hunter, he has transformed the MFA program, recently named “the best MFA in New York City” by the Village Voice. Along with being an acclaimed teacher and mentor, he has attracted leading writers to participate in Hunter’s Distinguished Writers Series, and has helped develop the unique Hertog Fellows Program, in which MFA students win fellowships as research assistants for major writers.
Fewer than 2% of CUNY professors can claim the honor of being a Distinguished Professor, a title reserved for faculty with records of exceptional performance by national and international standards of excellence in their profession.
Famed Hunter alumna Ruby Dee (’44) has won a prestigious Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actress for her standout performance in the hit movie American Gangster. She received the prize at the Guild’s 14th Annual Awards Ceremony, held in Los Angeles on January 27th.
Dee – the legendary actress who graduated first from Hunter High School and then from the College with a BA in French and Spanish – earned rave reviews in the role of Mama Lucas, the mother of a Harlem drug king pin played by star Denzel Washington.
In addition to receiving a SAG award for her performance, Dee was nominated for an Academy Award—the first Oscar nomination in the actress’ long and storied career. Dee has played memorable roles on stage, on television and in more than 50 movies, and has been hailed for her work as a writer and social activist.
Last year, Dee returned to Hunter to present an exclusive preview screening on campus of Naming Number Two, an award-winning movie filmed in New Zealand in which she starred and won numerous film honors and accolades.
TV newsman Tom Brokaw moderated a discussion about presidential leadership in wartime with two noted historians at Hunter on January 14 - the kickoff to a series of events leading up to the much anticipated opening of a renovated Roosevelt House in 2008.
Brokaw, who served as anchor and managing editor of the NBC Nightly News for more than 20 years before retiring in 2004, was the host for “The President at War” – a talk with historians David Kennedy and Joan Hoff at the Kaye Playhouse about President Bush and other presidents in wartime.
“This discussion reminds us once again how important the presidential election is this year,” Brokaw told the audience. “The stakes are very high.”
The series, entitled “Aspen at Roosevelt House: Conversations on Presidential Leadership in Honor of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.,” honors both the Roosevelt legacy and the memory of Schlesinger, who was for many years a member of the graduate faculty of the City University of New York. The January 14th event was endowed by Hunter alumna Phyllis L. Kossoff.
The ribbon-cutting for Roosevelt House, which will become Hunter’s new public policy center to honor the distinguished legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, is scheduled for this fall.
Hunter alumna Marissa Polnerow does not work to receive a paycheck—her compensation comes in the form of community development. A Peace Corps volunteer in Negotino, Macedonia, Polnerow helps non-governmental organizations strengthen local communities.
Polnerow headed to the Eastern European republic in September 2007, one month after graduating from Hunter with a degree in French and political science.
“It's been an enriching experience so far," she said. "I hope more students take advantage of the opportunity after college.”
Currently learning the Macedonian language and culture, as well as practical technical skills, Polnerow is mainly responsible for developing a branch of the Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales or AIESEC, which facilitates international traineeship exchanges. Her time at Hunter prepared her for this role—she was a member of AISEC—and provided the impetus to enter the Peace Corps as well.
“My Arabic professor [Christopher Stone] inspired me to join,” she said. “He is a returned volunteer.”
Polnerow has come far in the past few months. On December 14, she gave a nationally televised speech for the Peace Corps' swearing-in ceremony, which she delivered entirely in Macedonian before politicians and the American ambassador. She will remain in Macedonia until December 2009.
Nataliya Binshteyn, a January 2008 Hunter graduate, has been selected as one of 84 finalists for the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Nearly 900 students have applied for this highly competitive fellowship, which awards more than $20,000 towards a graduate or professional school education. Thirty students will be selected in February as Soros Fellows.
Binshteyn will graduate in January as an Honors College student and member of the Thomas Hunter Honors Program with a double major in political science and Spanish. Born in Russia and fluent in Russian, she has won awards for excellence in Spanish language and literature.
She is currently working on Latin American affairs for the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and previously worked on immigration issues in the office of Senator Hillary Clinton. This spring Binshteyn will intern at the United States Embassy in Buenos Aires and will begin professional and graduate study in law and international affairs in the fall.
Hunter's first Soros Fellow, Van Tran ‘04, is currently a PhD candidate in the joint program in sociology & social policy at Harvard and a doctoral fellow in the inequality & social policy program at the Kennedy School of Government.
Hunter College is one of 25 New York State institutions to receive a one-year development grant from Governor Eliot Spitzer’s stem cell research initiative. Hunter received the maximum it was eligible for: $155,980, which will be used to supplement funding for current stem cell research being conducted in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Study of Gene Structure and Function. Associate Dean Ann Henderson is Hunter’s principal investigator of the grant. The award was announced January 7.
“It’s fantastic news,” said biology professor Paul Feinstein, who studies “therapeutic cloning,” or “the ability of stem cells to reprogram DNA from an individual for therapeutic purposes.” His eventual goal is to generate cells to replace mutant cells that cause diseases like leukemia. Feinstein will share the award with fellow biology professor Benjamin Ortiz, whose goal is to apply his current studies of immune cell development and gene regulation to stem cell gene therapy.
Hunter’s grant was part of the $14.5 million approved for the first round of awards by the Funding Committee of the Empire State Stem Cell Board to promote statewide biomedical research. A total of $600 million will be distributed over a number of years.
Tobi Jaiyesimi spent the Thanksgiving break bringing food to people who live in cars and tents, shoveling mold out of flooded homes, and offering comfort and empathy to families who lost all of their material possessions—and most of their dreams—when Hurricane Ike smashed into their hometown of Galveston, Texas.
Tobi, 20, a Hunter senior who expects to graduate this spring, went to Galveston along with members of her church. She was shocked by what she saw. “Two months after Hurricane Ike, many people were still homeless, houses and other structures had been under five, ten, fifteen feet of water, many homes were without electricity or running water and many others were totally wrecked. People were dazed, they still couldn’t fathom how terribly they had been stricken. Government was helping, but owing to the nation’s economic difficulties, governmental resources were nowhere near enough. When this happens, we—as individual people, as part of nonprofit groups—have to step in.”
During her first day in Galveston, Tobi lived on a camp ground and helped to clean up the camp, which, like much of the coastal area, was a shambles of mud, fallen trees, and scattered pieces of ruined buildings. On Thanksgiving Day she worked in a church—in better condition than most buildings, since it was on high ground—where she and her fellow volunteers cooked Thanksgiving dinner for anyone in need who was able to get to the church. Later the volunteers packaged meals and took them around to nearby Galvestonites—including many who were living in their cars or on the beach because promised mobile homes had not yet arrived.
After Thanksgiving Tobi worked in storm-damaged homes, ripping out sheetrock and shoveling out mold and vermin—and people’s possessions. “We had to shovel out clothes, toys, pots that still had seawater in them from over two months ago. We were breaking down people’s homes, which was heartbreaking, but we had to do this because the houses had to be cleaned out before they could be disinfected and rebuilt and people could start their lives again.”
The volunteers also did whatever they could to lift the storm victims’ spirits, Tobi says. “These people are not only needy in a material sense,” she emphasizes, “but they also need to know that people care; they need to know that their fellow Americans understand and appreciate the painful struggles they’re going through. The media pay a lot of attention to sensational or frivolous stories, but they don’t often focus on the struggles ordinary Americans face when disaster strikes.”
A triple major in political science, English, and special honors—she is in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program—Tobi plans to work toward a PhD in political science, go into academia, and “get involved with the underrepresented and the underserved, those left out of both the academic and the political power system.”
In the meantime she goes to school full time and works as an office assistant for State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.
Tobi, who was eight when she moved from Lagos to the U.S. with her family, planned to become a physical therapist when she first came to Hunter, but while taking a political science course she “fell in love with political theory” and decided she wanted to “focus on working with the political state, which has so much potential for doing good.”
And as Tobi learned in Galveston, the career she has chosen offers a first-rate path for carrying out her wish to help people heal.
Hunter College junior Jonathan Mena has filmed and edited three videos that have aired on CNN.com. http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-153135
A media major, Mena also edits and produces for The Word, a Hunter student-operated multimedia news organization.
Mena’s latest video covers New York high school students demanding protection from school safety officers in a protest that took place on the steps of City Hall on November 23rd. His other two videos covered a gay rights rally at City Hall and protests outside of the last 2008 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University.
After graduation, Mena hopes to work in independent ethnic news media.
Eight Hunter students—all of them women and all majoring in science or math—will be among the first undergraduates in the country to receive scholarships from the Clare Boothe Luce Program, an initiative established by Mrs. Luce (1903-1987) to “encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach in science, mathematics, and engineering.”
The total grant to Hunter, which resulted from a proposal written by Ann Henderson, associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences for research planning and facilities, is for $350,000. It will provide two-year scholarships to eight students as well as money for equipment and supplies, research assistance, and travel to professional meetings. One group of four Luce Grant recipients entered the program this year, and another group of four will start next year. Each student’s annual scholarship is for $12,600.
Clare Boothe Luce was a playwright, journalist, U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Congresswoman, and the wife of Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor in chief of Time, Inc. The program she established “addresses a continuing leadership gap in American higher education where women are underrepresented in many scientific fields,” says the Luce Program literature.
Each Hunter student in the program will work as a researcher in her chosen field alongside a faculty mentor. This year’s four students are:
May Ting Chiu, who went to Washington Irving High School in Manhattan, finds “an endless path of discovery” in the Luce Program. “I hope to learn as much as possible in the realm of mathematics,” she says, but, she emphasizes, she also believes that the experience will help her discover her own weaknesses, “become self-improving and master my time management.” Overall, she hopes that she will “gain a great experience in the research program that will make me a better person.”
Sasha Fahme, a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, is doing research in her inorganic chemistry lab that involves water purification. “This research is incredibly important to me,” she says, “not only because of my concerns with the Earth’s dwindling supply of clean water, but also because in recent years cancer rates have multiplied almost exponentially in my hometown, a small village in Lebanon, leading many doctors to blame the water quality.” Following her recent trip to Lebanon, she brought back a sample of water from this contaminated water stream, which she and her mentor will examine.
Regina Goldvekht, who also went to Brooklyn Tech, seeks both to excel in her chosen field, mathematics, and to broaden her understanding of all areas of knowledge and develop her creative faculties. “Through my research,” she says, “I hope to gain a solid understanding of basic math as well as several of the advanced math theories, such as game theory and knot theory.
Fei Yan Mock, a graduate of New York City Lab High School in Manhattan, is majoring in chemistry and classical studies. As an undergraduate researcher she has gained considerable experience in cutting-edge research, which has, she reports, increased her “familiarity in advanced research” and enabled her to apply the knowledge that [she has] gained from textbooks to practice.” Moreover, she says, her undergraduate research experiences have given her a better understanding of “what life would be like as a graduate student.”
Four films by Hunter students have been selected for the NEXT GEN NY Showcase at Independent Film Week (formerly known as IFP Market), a highly competitive festival organized by IFP, the largest organization of independent filmmakers in the nation.
The students and their films are:
Kalim Armstrong, who directed the documentary “Field Guide to a New England Life,” has documented bike messengers in New York City and soldiers training for winter combat in the Norwegian mountains and has traveled throughout Europe filming rock bands on tour and across Canada with long-distance truck drivers. His work as a video engineer has appeared in Emmy-winning HBO documentaries.
Micah Bochart, director of the documentary “Street Supreme,” which deals with wasted food in America, was raised in the small hamlet of Haines, Alaska. He got his start in the documentary field when he was hired by the Tlingit Native Village to record the ceremonies, festivals, and events that reflect the Tlingit community’s efforts to retain a traditional way of life. A 2008 Hunter graduate with a bachelor’s in film, he plans to continue work as a documentary filmmaker and hopes to return to Alaska, with the aim of raising awareness of environmental abuse.
Jenny Byrne, who directed “Fremente,” a narrative, is from Australia and has been living in New York for 10 years. A senior majoring in film, she completed “Fremente” for her film seminar project.
Laura Melillo, director of the narrative “Strays,” which she wrote and directed as her senior thesis, came to New York from small towns in Kansas and Texas. A student in the Macaulay Honors College Program, she graduated from Hunter in 2007 and, since graduating, has worked on small film productions and has supported herself through a day job at an equipment-rental house. An artist as well as a filmmaker, Melillo works in acrylic and paper collage.
Since its founding in 1979, IFP has supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers. The nonprofit organization currently represents a network of 10,000 filmmakers in New York City and around the world.
Hunter biology student Carl Creighton usually dissects lab specimens – a few months ago he cut an album instead. That full-length music record, Creighton’s first, is entitled “Minnesota” and will be released on April 22 by iTunes and cdbaby.com.
The record, featuring music Creighton calls “Americana Pop,” is the realization of a long held dream for the 24-year-old sophomore.
“I’ve always wanted to do it, but never had the money… now I finally found some,” he laughed. “So I’m really happy.”
Creighton is a Minnesota native who grew up playing the piano and guitar, and listening to the music of the Beatles and Bob Dylan. He recently moved to New York to start his music career and attend college. Rather than major in music at Hunter, Creighton chose to study biology because, he said, “I was afraid I’d lose interest in music if I learned too much about it. It’s also a practical decision.”
Creighton maintains his musical interests outside of class by playing at cafes and lounges on the Lower East Side, and composing in those fleeting free moments between going to school and working full-time. Though immersed in life in New York, Creighton said he feels conflicted about where he belongs–that feeling is the focus of his new album.
“My ‘Be My Best Friend’ song is about having a place to stay but still feeling homeless,” he said, “because I don’t know if my home is New York or Minnesota.”
Creighton completed his album over the course of a week, recording for four days and mixing for two, at Brooklyn’s Seaside Lounge. He found that although he had never made music in such a big recording studio, being there was oddly familiar.
“Recording in the studio was like working in a laboratory,” he said, “but instead of science, it was music.”
Hunter freshman Adriana Caruso has been awarded the John J. LoSordo Scholarship from the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). The $5,000 award supports “the educational expenses of academically outstanding students in Italian studies.”
Caruso, a foreign languages and political science major, is an aficionado of Italian language and culture. Fluent in both Spanish and Italian, Caruso has twice won first place in the Italian Teachers Association Exam, a national exam that tests students’ comprehension of Italian. She also works for an Italian language and cultural arts center, and recently won two singing competitions in Sicily.
Caruso is using the NIAF scholarship to finance her Hunter education, as well as a study abroad trip to Italy—a place she considers her second home.
“My dad is Italian and my family and I have been going to Italy every summer for two months for the past 13 years,” she said. “It is wonderful to live in a big city calling cabs and always seeing bright lights, but is also wonderful to be able to step away from that every summer and see green mountains and the sky filled with stars at night.”
When she graduates, Caruso hopes to become a high school language teacher or work for an Italian company.
Laurence James, a senior chemistry major at Hunter, has won an award for his contribution and poster presentation in the research field of chemistry at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science conference held in Kansas City recently.
James is a student in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program at Hunter, where his mentor is Chemistry Professor Akira Kawamura. He previously was a student in the Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program.
These two highly-acclaimed programs, funded by the National Institutes of Health, train minority students at Hunter to pursue advanced careers in biomedical research by earning PhD or M.D/PhD degrees. The students major in chemistry, biology, physics or psychology.