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The 2014 Conference included three panels of experts who addressed:


Click on each of the above to be taken to more information about the events, including photos and bios of the individuals who spoke at each session.


Preparing for and Thriving in Graduate School

A panel of graduate students or recent graduates from various disciplines and fields talked about their experiences. Their tips and stories provided ideas about what to do as an undergraduate student to best prepare for graduate school and how to choose and make the most of their graduate experience.

Celine Cammarata 

Neuroscience, John Hopkins, Hunter alum

Celine graduated from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter in 2012 with a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience.  She conducted her undergraduate research on motor learning in songbirds in the lab of Dr. Michael Long at the NYU School Of Medicine, for which she received a Goldwater Scholarship in 2011.  Celine is now a PhD student in the Johns Hopkins Department of Neuroscience, where she studies the identity and behavior of cortical interneurons, and is currently pursuing an internship in the Office of the Provost at Hunter.  Celine’s interests focus on cortical circuitry and science education. 

Ivan Cohen, M.A.

Biomedical Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Hunter alum

I worked in a neurobiology lab at Hunter for 3 years and I graduated in June 2013 with a BA/MA in Biotechnology. I started the Gerstner Sloan-Kettering PhD program in August 2013 and I am currently doing my rotations and taking classes. I am interested in research involving basic cancer biology concepts that are relevant in the clinic, such as how cancers cells are able to spread to different tissues and thrive there, a process generally known as metastasis.

Ben Hellwege

History, The Graduate Center CUNY

Ben Hellwege is a doctoral student in the History Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. His area of specialty is 20th century U.S. history, with an emphasis on the history of the modern welfare state. During the 2013-2014 academic year he is serving as the Writing Fellow for the History Department at Hunter College.

Caroline Hewitt, DNS

Nursing Faculty, The Graduate Center CUNY alum

Caroline Hewitt is currently an Assistant Professor at the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing in New York City where she coordinates the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. She earned her DNS at The Graduate Center/City University of New York where she focused her research on public health workforce and competency development. In addition to maintaining a clinical practice at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Dr. Hewitt is the founder and President of Women’s Health Resources, Inc., a New York-based educational organization supporting the professional development of nurse practitioners who care for women. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Certification Corporation and advises public health organizations nationally in reproductive health training and competency development.

Janet Garcia

Rutgers School of Criminal Justice Center for Law & Justice, Hunter alum

Janet Garcia is a 2011 graduate of Hunter College and is currently a Ph.D. student at Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice. Her research primarily evaluates the obstacles individuals face after their release from incarceration, but Janet’s research interests also include the racial-ethnic differences in particular policing strategies and the impact of incarceration rates in communities of color. She has worked as a Research Assistant on the Stop, Question, and Frisk study by the Vera Institute of Justice. Janet has also worked as a consultant for RAND Corporation, studying civilian relations and perceptions of the Israeli police. Currently, Janet is working collaboratively with two professors at Rutgers University studying how mentors help formerly incarcerated women build a social support network through a firmly dyadic relationship with markers of a fictive kinship. For her dissertation, Janet will continue to evaluate how women negotiate motherhood after their release from imprisonment.

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Tips from Faculty: Professionalism & Self-Presentation

A moderated panel of Hunter College faculty from across the disciplines provided tips about how to get involved in research (e.g., how to approach faculty, how to find a mentor), etiquette as a student and evolving professional (e.g., requesting letters of recommendation), and how to communicate with faculty outside of the classroom (e.g., email communication).

Virginia Valian, Ph.D. (Moderator)

Distinguished Professor
Psychology, Linguistics, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center

Virginia Valian is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and is a member of the doctoral faculties of Psychology, Linguistics, and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center.  She is co-founder and co-director of Hunter's Gender Equity Project, which has been funded by NSF and NIH.  She is also director of the Language Acquisition Research Center. 

Dr. Valian works in two domains:  the psychology of language and gender equity.  In gender equity Dr. Valian performs research on the reasons behind women's slow advancement in the professions and proposes remedies for individuals and institutions.  She is currently particularly interested what determines who receives awards and prizes and the role of letters of recommendation in search committee decisions, an NIH-funded project she is working on with colleagues at Rice University and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  Dr. Valian's audiences have ranged from natural scientists, such as chemists and astronomers, to theater actors and directors. 

Her science-based approach has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Nature, Scientific American, The Women's Review of Books, and many other journals and magazines.  She has also appeared on NPR, the BBC, and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

Christa Acampora, Ph.D.

Professor of Philosophy

Professor Acampora joined the Hunter faculty in 2000 and the Graduate Center faculty in 2003. Her specialties include modern European philosophy, aesthetics, moral psychology, and political philosophy. Since 2006, she has served as Editor for the Journal of Nietzsche Studies(http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/jns). 

Professor Acampora is the author of Contesting Nietzsche (University of Chicago Press, 2013). She has published five other books (three on Nietzsche and two in the areas of aesthetics and critical race theory) and numerous articles and book chapters. Her courses include upper level seminars on Nietzsche and Heidegger, existentialism, aesthetics, twentieth-century philosophy, and special topics such as Tragedy & Philosophy and a team taught course on Competition and Culture. She has taught courses in the Thomas Hunter Honors program and the Muse Scholar program. She currently chairs the Hunter College Senate.

Mande Holford, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Mandë Holford is as an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College and CUNYGraduate
Center, with a scientific appointment at the American Museum of Natural History. Her
dual appointment reflects her interdisciplinary research, which combines chemistry and biology
to discover, characterize, and deliver novel neuropeptides from venomous marine snails (cones
snails, terebrids, and turrids) as tools for manipulating cell signaling in the nervous system. She
has received funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support her independent research. Dr. Holford
received her PhD in Synthetic Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University. In 2013 she
was awarded the prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. In 2011 she was awarded
an NSF CAREER Award, and named a 21st Century Chemist in the NBC-Learn, Chemistry Now
series. She is an inaugural member of the World Academy of Young Scientist (WAYS), an
organization sponsored by UNESCO and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World
(TWAS). She served on the Advisory Committee for Term Members of the Council on Foreign
Relations and the Junior Council at the American Museum of Natural History. She is also a
member of AAAS, The American Chemical Society, the American Peptide Society, and the New
York Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Holford has a sustained and active involvement in science education and advancing the
public understanding of science. She has developed several educational outreach programs for
high school students at informal education venues such as the American Museum of Natural
History and the Utah Museum of Natural History. She has co-founded a new initiative, RAISEW
(Resource Assisted Initiatives for Science Empowerment for Women), geared towards the
recruitment and retention of women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
(STEM) fields. She is a member of the Educational Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees
at The Rockefeller University where she advises on the University’s graduate school program.

Regina Miranda, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Regina Miranda is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and a member of the doctoral faculty at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She directs Hunter’s Experimental Psychopathology Lab, is Co-Director of the NIH-funded Blueprint Program for Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Education Experiences (BP-ENDURE) at Hunter College, and is former Director of the NIMH-Career Opportunities in Research Program at Hunter College. Dr. Miranda is also a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Miranda completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Yale University, her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at New York University, and a NIMH T32 post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Professor Miranda’s research focuses on understanding social and cognitive risk for suicide in adolescence and emerging adulthood.  Presently, she is a longitudinal study of cognitive predictors of suicidal ideation and behavior among young adults.  Her work seeks to understand the role of self-focused and future-oriented ruminative thinking in the development of hopelessness-related thoughts, along with the specificity of cognitive content that most increases vulnerability to suicidal ideation and attempts.

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Career: What You Can Do with a Science Degree

Professionals working in different career fields gave short introductions and discussed their undergraduate-to-career trajectories and experiences in their professional positions with students in groups. This session allowed students the opportunity to explore and ask questions about the plethora of professional opportunities and options available to them when they graduate with a background in undergraduate research related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

Katie Brown, M.A.

Actuarial Analyst

Katie Brown is an actuarial analyst for the employee benefits practice of an actuarial consulting firm. She received her Master of Arts degree in Statistics & Applied Mathematics from Hunter College and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Queens College.

Susie Cheng, Ph.D., J.D.

Partner, Leason-Ellis LLP

Dr. Susie Cheng is a registered patent attorney and a partner at Leason Ellis LLP-an intellectual property law firm in White Plains, New York.  She is also the Chair of the China Practice Group at her firm.  She obtained her Ph.D. in Genetics and development from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and continued with a post-doctoral training at the Rockefeller University.  She obtained her J,D. at Brooklyn law school and has been practicing patent law.  Dr. Cheng focuses on all aspects of global strategic patent protection, licensing of inventions and monetization of intellectual property. She also provides advice regarding intellectual property disputes and litigation.


Gustavo Gomez, M.S.

Director of Research & Methodology, Envirosell

Gustavo Gomez has been working in the market research industry for 14 years. He is currently the Director of Research & Methodology and part of Senior Management at Envirosell Inc., where he manages methodologies, data, analysis, and research infrastructure to support Envirosell around the world by deploying new technologies and developing new research services. He oversees global research, standardization and compliance, and the introduction of new methodologies. His early adoption of research technologies enabled Envirosell to be one of the first independent research agencies to use mobile eye tracking at retail.  Additionally, Mr. Gomez is a pioneer in using mobile technologies to capture shopper behavior at the point of sales with over a decade of experience in that area.  Mr. Gomez has worked in Asia, Europe, and Latin America and contributed to projects for many fortune 500 companies including P&G, Unilever, Kraft, ExxonMobil, BP, Hewlett-Packard, Bank of America, Microsoft and Verizon.  Retailers have included Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, Gap, Target, and Macy’s.

Prior to joining Envirosell, Gustavo worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.  He was a research assistant, conducting qualitative and quantitative work, on research exploring how families adopted to HIV/AIDS.  Mr. Gomez lectures on Consumer Behavior for the Sociology department at Hunter College and has lectured on topics of Psychology at Devry College of New York. Gustavo received both his M.S. in Social Research and his B.A. in Sociology from Hunter College in New York City. 

Cherbrale Hickman, D.O.

Pediatrician, Coney Island Hospital

Cherbrale is a pediatrician at Coney Island Hospital and was previously a fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She specializes in pediatric critical care. Cherbrale went to medical school at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience.  She is eager to share information about her osteopathic training.

Oliver Medvedik, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology at Cooper Union, Scientific Director of Genspace

Oliver Medvedik is presently the Sandholm Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology and Bioengineering at The Cooper Union and a Scientist-in-Residence at The School of Visual Arts. He also cofounded the community biotechnology laboratory, Genspace, in Brooklyn, where he is also the Scientific Director. He is a 2012 TED Fellow and a native New Yorker.
He received his bachelor's degree in biology from Hunter College, City University of New York, where, as an undergraduate, he worked at the laboratory of Dr. Laurel Eckhardt studying B-cell development.
He later obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard University, in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences program. For his doctoral work he used single-celled budding yeast as a model system to map the genetic pathways that underlie the aging process, while working at the laboratory of Dr. David Sinclair.
Since graduating from Harvard, he has worked as a biotechnology consultant, taught molecular biology to numerous undergraduate and graduate students at Harvard University, The Cooper Union, SVA, NYU and mentored four undergraduate teams for the international genetically engineered machines competition (IGEM) from 2009-2012. This year, he’ll be mentoring the Cooper Union IGEM team!

Leslie Tive, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Tive has over 23 years experience in drug development and medical affairs and has been responsible for a variety of drug development programs. She is particularly interested in developing new and safer compounds to offer to patients who have chronic pain conditions.  She was instrumental in developing and launching Celebrex for pain related to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis  and Neurontin for pain due to post herpetic neuralgia. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and did her Masters and Ph.D. research in opioid pharmacology in the Biopsychology department at Hunter College. Dr. Tive was a post-doctoral fellow in the neuro-oncology department of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry.

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