2013 Fall Alumni Newsletter

Message from the Director:
Now in our 42nd year and approaching 8,000 total alumni, who are working in areas from business and education to theater and health care, we continue our commitment of offering students the ability to: individualize their degrees; work closely with faculty mentors; and complete coursework throughout the CUNY system.  What also have not changed are the students, who, as you, are bright, motivated and committed to reaching their academic and professionals goals.  Many are also struggling with numerous commitments to their employers and families, juggling personal challenges with academic pursuits – sound familiar?

If you feel strongly about your experiences with CUNY BA and are in a position to give back, now is the time.   Tuition costs and living expenses are rising, and many of our students are struggling.  You have the ability to keep these students in CUNY BA and help them to earn a degree that will put them on the road to success, which you have already travelled.  If you are able to contribute, I urge you to do so.  Your generosity goes directly to students, making your donation as productive as it gets.

CUNY BA Updates:

CUNY BA and the Bard Prison Initiative:

Bard Prison initiative

CUNY BA is collaborating with the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), which provides incarcerated men and women with the opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. CUNY BA is in conversation with BPI about providing further degree opportunities to BPI students reentering the New York City community.

New CUNY BA website:
This summer we redesigned our website to make it more user-friendly. We’ve BIGGER REBELadded a number of features, and hope everyone will take a look at it and find it improved and useful. One of the new features can be found on our homepage: “CUNY BA’s Rebel of the Week.” Each week we will feature a new “rebel” – (historical, famous or not even well-known) who typifies the spirit of CUNY BA students- as people who don’t accept the status quo but act instead as change agents and leaders. If you have an idea for a rebel we should feature, contact Beth Kneller at bkneller@gc.cuny.edu.

How to Give and How Your Donations are Used:

Give back to the program that gave so much to you! You can donate to CUNY BA by making a financial contribution or by including the program as a beneficiary in your trust, will, or life insurance. There are several ways primary ways that we encourage alumni to give back to CUNY BA:

  • Each spring, the Alumni Fund awards scholarships at Commencement to two or more graduating students who have been accepted to graduate school. These scholarships are funded solely by you, our CUNY BA alumni. Please consider giving to the Alumni Fund this year. We accept donations of any size. In doing so, please check with your employer to find out if they offer a matching donations program which could double or even triple your gift.
  • Another option for giving back to CUNY BA is to establish a CUNY BA Named Award. Some alumni have contributed donations to have scholarships created in their name or the name of a loved one.  For example, Dr. Abby Stein (’91), now a professor at John Jay, started an annual  $500 award to celebrate her 2000 Ph.D. graduation. If you are interested in starting a named award at CUNY BA (minimum required is $500), contact Beth Kneller at bkneller@gc.cuny.edu.

Upcoming Events

  • October 1st, 2013: Smith Ceremony, CUNY Graduate Center. This Ceremony honors recently awarded Thomas W. Smith Fellows. Former Smith Fellows are welcome to attend and should RSVP to sfajardo@gc.cuny.edu.
  • October 1st, 2013Fulbright applications due. See our website for more details.
  • October 2nd, 2013Retirement Workshop. This workshop features experts who will answer questions about retirement and investment planning. Open to all alumni, please RSVP to sfajardo@gc.cuny.edu.
  • October 8th, 2013: Information Session on Careers with the US Department of State. This Information Session will be hosted by Patricia Guy, Diplomat in Residence. More information can be found on our website.
  • October 18th, 2013Arab Spring and the Fall of the Iron Curtain: For this year’s installment of the CUNY BA Academic Conference Series, we are partnering with the Consulate of the Republic of Poland to bring a conference comparing the Arab Spring and the fall of the Iron Curtain. The conference will take the form of a panel discussion between Eastern European specialists and Middle East scholars. Please RSVP via the link above.

Where Are They Now? Alumni Updates:

Yeon Adams B.S. 2001 (International Criminal Justice/Computer Information Systems). Since graduating, Adams has completed his MA in Criminal justice at John Jay College (2007) and is currently working on the dissertation phase of his PhD Program at Capella University. He expects to complete his dissertation within the next 18 months. Professionally, he is still at the United Nations Headquarters in NYC but has moved from Security to Humanitarian Affairs and just celebrated his 13th year with the Organization.

sifat azad
Sifat Azad

Sifat Azad B.A. 2008 (Literature/Creative Writing) will be attending Kingston University in London to pursue a MFA degree in Creative Writing. Azad is also a recipient of the Hilary Mantel International Scholarship.

Maeve D’Arcy, B.A. 2009 (Visual Arts and Social Justice Studies) recently graduated in July 2013 with an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.

Kayhan Irani

Kayhan Irani, B.A. 2008 (Theatre and Social Change) was in India for 8 months undertaking research for her new play, entitled “Tree of Seeds”. She completed a Fulbright fellowship in June and has been invited to London to present a staged reading of the play for a celebration of women in the arts at the Actors Centre, December 16-18.

Florina Petcu

Florina Petcu, B.S. 2012 (Creative Movement and Drama Therapy/Sports Psychology) is working on a master’s degree in clinical psychology at San Francisco State University. She says: “The coursework is challenging but I have great faculty. The most exciting part about this program is the internship I am doing with an organization called College Track. I go there twice a week and work with teenagers who are struggling with their academics. All of them come from low SES and struggle with many family issues. They are good kids and try to stay motivated hoping to go to college. It has been wonderful to be able to support and help them stay on track.”

georgia steele
Georgia Steele

Georgia Steele, B.S. 2004 (Business Information Systems). When you see a digital (flat) Georgia license plate, think of Georgia. She received her Master of Public Administration in Urban Government Management from Long Island University in May 2010. While working on her master’s degree, Georgia served as the Assistant Commissioner for Licensing and Standards at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. She recently relocated to Atlanta, GA to take on the role as Assistant Director of the Georgia Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division.  One of the projects within this new position is the transitioning of almost 300 different license plates from an embossed plate design to the new digital process. As part of the project, military veterans now have over 100 license plates options to show the combat period they served in or medal awarded.

Ray Tebout, B.A. 2012 (Transitional Counseling Psychology/Economic Empowerment) recently published an article in the Huffington Post about the role of education in reentry and recidivism in New York City.

Ella Viola B.S. 2012 (Zoology) is a master’s student studying genetics in Freshkills Park on Staten Island via the College of Staten Island. She is currently working on a turtle project, as featured on her school’s website.

via the New York Times

Portia Walton (Zeus) B.S. 2009 (World Gender and Women’s Studies/Mixed Media Arts) auditioned June 2013 in open auditions for the Public Theaters Original Musical adaptation of “The Tempest” by Shakespeare, and accepted an invitation to join the ensemble. She says: “The entire experience, as our brilliant director Lear deBessonet stated at first rehearsal was ‘our proposal to humanity.’ The work spoke truth to power and granted “unearned favor to unlikely prospects.” The three words I link to the production are: ‘Imbued, Humanistic, Pageantry.’”

Jaqui Young B.S. 2009 (Choreography and Creative Theory of Dance/Deviance and Victimization of Women in the US) is finishing up her Masters in Criminal Justice at John Jay College and she will graduate in the spring of 2014. She is currently an adjunct professor at John Jay in the Sociology Department, and teaches at Landmark High School in the College Now Program, which allows high school students to take John Jay College classes while in High School to earn college credit. She also teaches dance at Sing Sing Correctional Facilityand has been askesd to speak at University of Ottawa this November on Dance in Prison. Finally she will be speaking at the American Society of Criminology about transitioning to academia from other careers, specifically discussing the decision to go back to school after a professional career as a dancer.


2013 Summer Alumni Newsletter

Message from the Director:
It is a pleasure to send you this alumni report on the activities and accomplishments of our graduates.  After reading it, I am sure that you will be as impressed and proud as I am with not only the intellectual and academic credentials of these individuals but also with their integrity and humanity.
CUNY Baccalaureate can now boast more than 7,000 alumni during the past 42 years – a true accomplishment by any standard.  But, we are only getting started.  Our students continue to be among the best in CUNY – with high academic achievements including national and international scholarships and fellowships such as, this year alone, three Fulbrights and a British Marshal.
Please, let us know what you think of this report and keep us abreast of your accomplishments and milestones.  We will be happy to include them in future issues.
(Mr.) Kim J. Hartswick, Ph.D.
Academic Director

CUNY BA Updates:

2013 CUNY Baccalaureate Commencement:

Commencement 2013

76 students participated in this year’s commencement ceremony, which was held on June 4th, 2013 in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union. Guests attended from across the U.S. as well as from Barbados, Burkina Faso, Italy, Nepal and Switzerland.
The keynote address was delivered by Rosalind Pollack Petchesky, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Hunter College and The CUNY Graduate Center, who spoke about the role of CUNY BA students as change-makers in society, and of the great potential that personal action holds.  Nicolas Montano was the student speaker, and he delivered an address discussing his personal journey and experience in CUNY BA. Nicolas’ home college was John Jay and his areas were Psychology of Juvenile Delinquency / International Criminology.
Recent Student/Alumni Accomplishments – Major Awards

CUNY BA is proud to announce that three students have earned Fulbright Fellowships for 2013. Russell Barlow, B.A. 2013, will spend next year in Germany working with the Institute for Indo-Germanic Linguistics in Münster.  Jaime Stettin, B.A. 2011, will travel to France where she will teach English in an underserved community.  Joshua Trinidad, B.A. 2012, will spend next year teaching English in Colombia.  A fourth CUNY BA student is an alternate for a Fulbright to South Africa for January 2014. We are also very proud to have a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, a $30,000 scholarship given for each of two years. This scholarship went to Azar Kafaei, a current CUNY BA student at BMCC whose area of concentration is Social Movements Studies.

Nicolas Montano

Nicolas Montano, B.A. 2013, is a recipient of the British Marshall Scholarship. He will be pursuing two Masters degrees in England starting this fall.

In other CUNY BA current student news:

  • Eric Carlsen (Studies in Sustainability: Urban Food Ecology / Studies in Sustainability: Business and Society) was one of 50 students across the nation to earn an Honorable Mention citation from the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation for his research and writing on Stewart Udall, a champion of social justice and environmentalism. Carlsen also received the Abbey Duncan Scholarship through the NYC Brownfield Partnership for demonstrating his passion for the urban environment and reclaiming spaces for community use.
  • Kimberly White (Social Justice / Environmental Studies) also received the Abbey Duncan Scholarship.

    Syreeta Gates
  • Syreeta Gates (Urban Youth Culture) has released a book titled Just BECause: Ah Ha Moments to Inspire the Next Generation of Change Makers.
  • Nazmul Sagar (Political Theory / Philosophy), Kelly Giles (Urban Sociology / Gender) and William Cheung (The History of Philosophy /Meta-Ethics and Critical Theory) have been admitted to the CUNY Pipeline Program. Through the CUNY Pipeline Program for Careers in College Teaching and Research, undergraduate students, under the supervision of a faculty research mentor, are able to develop research skills in their chosen discipline in preparation for doctoral study and careers in the professoriate.
  • Janaye Solomon (Race, Gender and Class in the U.S.) has received the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship at Brooklyn College.
  • Khalimah Priforce (Global Executive Leadership) has been made an Echoing Green 2013 Fellow. Khalimah is harnessing web- and mobile-based technology to transform the interests of under-represented youth into STEM career pathways using game-like rewards and mentorship from real-life professionals through his company Qeyno Labs.  Echoing Green provides funding and other support to promising social entrepreneurs working in over forty countries.

New Scholarship
The S. Suthiana Impact Award was established last week by Steven Suthiana, B.S. 2009. Suthiana is an alumnus of CUNY BA and a former Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellow. He has designated a $500 award for a current CUNY BA student whose degree focuses on LGBTQ Studies or who is otherwise working to advance LGBTQ causes. In doing so, he joins the ranks of many other graduates who have established annual awards for CUNY BA students, including Dan Daley ‘86, Stacey Simons ’02, and Padraig O’Donoghue ’04.

Chad Infante (Philosophy and Literature) with Prof. Abby Stein, John Jay
Chad Infante with Prof. Abby Stein

How to Give and How Your Donations are Used

Give back to the program that gave so much to you! You can donate to CUNY BA by making a financial contribution or by including the program as a beneficiary in your trust, will, or life insurance. There are several ways primary ways that we encourage alumni to give back to CUNY BA:

  • Each spring, the Alumni Fund awards scholarships at Commencement to two or more graduating students who have been accepted to graduate school. These scholarships are funded solely by you, our CUNY BA alumni. Please consider giving to the Alumni Fund this year. We accept donations of any size. In doing so, please check with your employer to find out if they offer a matching donations program which could double or even triple your gift.
  • Another option for giving back to CUNY BA is to establish a CUNY BA Named Award. Some alumni have contributed donations to have scholarships created in their name or the name of a loved one.  For example, Dr. Abby Stein (’91), now a professor at John Jay, started an annual  $500 award to celebrate her 2000 Ph.D. graduation. If you are interested in starting a named award at CUNY BA (minimum required is $500), contact Beth Kneller at bkneller@gc.cuny.edu.

Recent and Upcoming Events:

Professor Chris Alen Sula, panelist

CUNY BA recently convened a panel, “Improve Your Digital Self: A CUNY BA Panel on Online Marketing and Networking,” at the CUNY Graduate Center. Professors and professionals from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Magnet Media Originals, Pratt Institute, CUNY School of Law, and the American Society of Picture Professionals.

Panelist attendees

Professionals discussed their use of online media in their work and the furtherance of their careers and fields.  Panelists reflected that online media provides an opportunity to build one’s reputation and accountability in a field, allows one to communicate with a wider audience and connect more easily with colleagues, and affords individuals the opportunity to promote themselves and their interests.

Stay tuned for an upcoming CUNY BA retirement planning seminar. A lawyer, insurance advisor, and an estate planner will present information and strategies for planning for retirement and will answer questions from the audience.

Where Are They Now? Alumni updates:

  • Mohamad Bazzi, B.A. 1994 (Urban Studies) has been promoted to Associate Professor of Journalism at NYU and was granted tenure.
  • Eva Fognell, B.A. 1999 (Anthropology/Art History), went to graduate school for an MA in Museum studies and is currently working as curator of American Indian Art at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY. She writes: “I curate new exhibits here at the museum every year. Publishing a catalogue on one of this year’s exhibit titled ‘Plain and Fancy: Native American Splint Baskets’.”
Rosalyn Will
  • Rosalyn Will, B.A. 2000 (Women’s Studies), writes “At the age of 75, I received an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Hunter(2008). I self-published Chrysalis, A Memoir, My Life Beyond the Cage of Scoliosis in 2010, still being sold on Amazon.com. During the next two years, I taught memoir writing to a small group of women who had such amazing stories to tell that we decided to create an anthology, Ladies’ Mile, 17 Stories Up. On a stormy winter day we held a reading of our work and were astounded to receive over 70 guests and sell 45 anthologies! Presently, I belong to a Writers’ Group at All Souls Unitarian Church and am working on a new book.”
  • Carol Starmack, B.S. 2008 (Philosophy and Society) is now Associate Executive Director at American Montessori Society.
  • Sara Ingram, B.A. 2008 (Disability Studies) received an Outstanding Achievement Award from The CUNY Graduate Center for her work as Assistant Program Officer of the Doctoral Program in Public Health.
  • Nusrat “Jerin” Arifa (formerly Jerin Alam), B.A. 2009 (Marketing/Public Relations), started the first-ever-virtual chapter of The National Organization for Women (NOW), called Young Feminists and Allies, to bridge the gap between women’s rights activists across ages and geographic locations. She continues to be a National NOW Board member and the chair of the National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, and was interviewed by NPR for her activism for One Billion Rising. She was recently promoted to a Commercial Manager position at Regus, a global leader in flexible workspaces. In her new position, she is leveraging the skills she picked up in marketing and community organizing at CUNY BA.
  • Iana Benjamin, B.A. 2009 (Corporate Psychology) started the Darlington Jordan Foundation in 2007 to honor and pay homage to her late parents.  She has graduated from law school, during which she worked on Capitol Hill and assisted in drafting legislation that was debated in the Judiciary Committee by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.  Iana was also sworn in by the Supreme Court of Florida in the capacity as a Certified Legal Advocate, where she represented defendants in misdemeanor cases.
  • Catherine Granton, B.A. 2009 (At-Risk Females and Environmental Education) is working as an onboard naturalist for The American Princess Whale & Dolphin Cruises out of Riis Landing, Queens NY. She writes: “Every Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at noon, we go out on a 4- hour cruise doing both research and an eco-tour… We havealready seen many pods of bottlenose dolphin and two humpback whales. Enjoying this new adventure.”
Angie Webley
  • Angie Webley, B.S. 2009 (Literacy and Literature Studies), received her Masters of Public Administration degree and Advanced Non-Profit Management Certification from Long Island University in May 2012. Out of 10,000 candidates throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories, Angie was among 628 and the only person in her graduate class selected into the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship Leadership Program, affording her the opportunity to serve the public in Federal government. In addition, she actively contributes her efforts to fulfill the vision of Rising Wealth Network (R.W.N.) which states, “Every person has the opportunity to contribute their true gifts and talents and leave a viable world for future generation.”
Havalah Collins
  • Havalah Collins, B.S. 2010 (Ethical Vocal Studies), writes: “I am now a Brand Partner with Nerium International empowering my business partners to create time and money freedom with the fastest growing company in the beauty industry in the U.S. My website is WWW.transforminglives.Nerium.com.  I also formed a band called Tres Leches (WWW.tresleches.us) incorporating much of my music and Spanish studies from CUNY.
Vasudevan Panicker
  • Vasudevan Panicker, B.S. 2010 (Contemporary Music Studies), works as the Managing Director of Face the Music, the only professional youth orchestra in the country dedicated to learning and performing music by livingclassical composers.
  • Marcus Campbell, B.S. 2012 (Technology and Web Design), was actively involved in helping fashion students at New York City College of Technology create the largest fashion show event in the college’s history, titled “Bryant Park at City Tech.”  He writes: “The fashion show was a critical success as press/media, students and the general audience lauded the talent of the designers and the professionalism of the whole show…The purpose was to boost the Department of Business’s goal to create a new fashion related degree program, expanding the current two year Fashion Marketing degree to a four year Fashion Business degree.
  • Dogukan Kahraman, B.A. 2012 (Middle Eastern Studies) currently works at Bilgi University as the administrative assistant of the MBA programs. He writes a blog about Middle Eastern politics (dogukankahraman.blogspot.com) and will be applying for Masters soon on Polisci and International Relations. He is “Living, exploring, and studying in Istanbul.
  • Kristen Wyman, B.A. 2012 (Modern European Thought / German Language and Culture), writes: “My studies at CUNY BA had a direct hand in obtaining a full-time position at the German-American Chamber of Commerce. My mentor, Lisa Marie Anderson of Hunter College, was the contact person for this endeavor and encouraged me to apply. I was chosen, and my 4-month internship in the Career Services department was not only paid, but also for credit, contributing to my German Language and Culture major. The GACC retained me in the summer as a Graduate Intern and in January 2013 I was offered a full-time position as the sole J-1 visa representative for the GACC on the west coast. On June 1st I will relocate to San Francisco to be in charge of all west coast companies participating in our J-1visa program, as well as certain marketing and outreach initiatives to explain our services and grow our client base there.”
  • Tyler Alterman, B.A. 2013 (Communications Design / Cognitive Science) is finishing fundraising for the mobile cognitive science lab that he will be directing at the University of Chicago. He writes: “Its task will be to combat the gender and race gap in science through inquiry-based learning. Our students will design and run original experiments aboard our bus and get the chance to apprentice with world-class scientists. We’ve raised about $40K with the help of 187 crowdfunding donors, press coverage, and a recent fundraiser at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College. After raising the remaining $10K, we’ll be building the bus and hitting the road.”
  • Gabriel Lockwood, B.A. 2013 (Modern European Languages / Conflict Resolution) submitted a research paper to the ACR-GNY Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Student Writing Competition in June and won in the undergraduate category. The paper proposed the application of mediation and conflict resolution approaches to the ever-widening divide in American politics and in the American population.
  • Baruch Tauber, B.S. 2013 (Urban Planning and Design) has been hired as an Intern for the Trust for Public Land, doing public outreach for a large-scale urban design project. He has also been accepted to both Parsons and City College for graduate school.

    Baruch Tauber