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Dr. Peter Park | Associate Professor of Biology
1. What brought you to Nyack? 
What brought you to Nyack/ATS? The short answer is: Nyack chose me. Back in 2011, I saw a job advertisement posted and I applied. I was just about to graduate with my Ph.D. in evolutionary biology. In preparation for my interview at Nyack College, I tried to learn as much as I could about the institution and its history. I did some research online and tried to speak with as many of my friends who knew or attended Nyack. Their stories moved me. I wanted the job at Nyack.
Below are the three main factors that brought me to Nyack.
1) Science: I am a Christian and I am an evolutionary biologist. I entered graduate school to study evolutionary biology, in part, because I wanted to learn more about a subject that often incited passionate dialogue from the pastors and congregants who I knew and loved. And so, upon receiving my Ph.D., the thought of teaching at a Christian college--where I could regularly engage colleagues and students in faith and science topics--truly excited me. I was genuinely humbled that Nyack College welcomed me. I learned quickly that our institution values the teaching of critical thinking and my role would be to provide a unique perspective to students. Ultimately, it will always be up to the students to think through how evolutionary biology fits into their view of the world if at all, but at least they would be exposed to it and therefore, unafraid to think critically and openly about topics that integrate faith and science. 
2) Fish: I am also a fish biologist. The other reason why I went to graduate school was to become an expert of fish. As a child growing up in Queens, NY and with parents who owned a fish market, I was fascinated by fish. I always wanted to grow up to become an "ichthyologist" (a.k.a.  fish biologist), and now I am one. My Ph.D. work led me to study fish psychology and adaptation. My position at Nyack has allowed me to further find my "fish" self and to flourish in it. For example, I have become immersed in a variety of NYC citizen science programs where I regularly get to lead and engage the public in fish research experiences along NYC beaches and parks (e.g., fish counts, bioblitzes). I get to inspire New Yorkers on a regular basis to care about fish! I'll never forget first seeing the scenic views of the Hudson River when I visited Nyack College during my interview. As a child, I had actually gone fishing in the area with my father a few times. Because I am a fish biologist, the thought did cross my mind that Nyack College would be a great place to host student fishing trips and start a fishing club.
3) Faith: God called me to Nyack and my job is an answer to prayer. In 2011, I was at a career crossroads. Not long after my first interview at Nyack College, I actually had received an offer from a competitive f ellowship program, which came with a hard deadline to sign and accept. I noted the deadline date but still held out hope out that I might hear back from Nyack College for a second interview. I decided that if I didn't hear back before the fellowship deadline, I would accept the fellowship. The nights leading up to the fellowship deadline were marked by prayers upon prayers. I asked God for clarity--clarity beyond what I wanted but for what He wanted for me. I prayed that I be able to do what He had called me to do in full trust and hope, regardless of the outcome. And then it happened, literally hours before the fellowship deadline, I got an email from Nyack College asking me to return for a second interview. The answer was clear. Then and there, I declined the fellowship and went all in for Nyack College. I haven't looked back since. :)

2. What is your favorite Nyack College experience?
There are so many favorite Nyack/ATS experiences, but if I had to choose one, it would have to be starting the Nyack College Fishing Club. Long ago, God instilled in me a deep passion for nature, and in particular, fish. I have been in awe of fish ever since seeing them at my parent's fish market, in the countless fish tanks I had as a kid and when my father took me fishing. And now, I've had the privilege of starting a fishing club for students at Nyack College where I get to regularly share my passion. And so, initiating this club is indeed a real dream come true, and I was overjoyed to learn that, supposedly, the word "Nyack" means "The Fishing Place." (See: ).
God's creation inspires me every day, and through His love, God placed a desire in me to share about His nature. The Nyack College Fishing Club is designed to honor that. I hope that through the club, students are inspired to become part of "creation care" in and around Nyack knowing full well that " God saw all that He had made, and it was very good... (Genesis 1:31)"
An old adage best captures the goal of the club: " Give a person a fish, and you feed that person for a day. Teach a person to fish, and you feed that person for a lifetime."  Through the fishing club, I have gotten to know so many undergraduate and graduate students and residents from the local Nyack community--friends from all walks of life. I have had so many amazing experiences. From fundraisers to fishing trips, it has been a joy and pleasure to see students' faces light up as they learn a new hobby, get good at it, take ownership of it and through it, learn to appreciate nature. Students and Nyack locals have also joined me on fish research excursions where I have witnessed firsthand the development in them of deep convictions for wildlife and conservation. I cherish the time spent and memories made on the water with each person with whom I have had the pleasure to meet through the club. Whether it's from the shore or on a boat, there have been countless meaningful conversations and experiences, and not just about fishing, but about life. The friendships and community nurtured through the club is what gives it its identity and inspires me to keep it going. 
3. Favorite food: 
It's a tie between yukgaejang (Korean) and pasta primavera (Italian).

4. Latest Interesting Read: 
Backcasts: A Global History of Fly Fishing and Conservation . This book consists of a collection of essays that span sport, history, ecology, ethics, policy, social justice, economics, conservation and religion, aligned into four themes--historical perspectives of fly fishing, geographies of sport and concern, native trout and globalization and ethics and practices of conservation of waterways. It's a must-read for any angler!

5. Interesting Fact: 
For leisure, I enjoy playing sports, specifically basketball and in the past, ultimate frisbee.
I also like to dabble in art, mostly drawing and painting.  
Ms. Jackie Eugene | Business Office, Cash Management Assistant 
1. What brought you to Nyack? 
I believe it was a call from God, using Mr. Harold Riggs to approach me while working at M&T Bank in downtown Nyack in 1999.

2. What is your favorite Nyack College experience?
One of my favorite and amazing experiences at Nyack was when I gave birth to my premature twins, Angelique and Christopher. I was touched by how much the Nyack family attended to us, mostly David Jennings, with all their hearts and souls. These memories will last with us forever. I am also grateful for what God and the Nyack family did for my nephew, Claude-Alix "Fabien" Crévecoeur. (NOTE: Fabien and his family survived the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He received the Nyack College scholarship for Haitian students. In 2014, Fabien earned his bachelor's degree and graduated summa cum laude; in 2017, he earned an MBA, honors with distinction.)
3. Favorite food: 
Don't really have any favorites.

4. Latest Interesting Read: 
I only read my daily devotions either by Dr. Charles Stanley or K-LOVE's encouraging word.

5. Interesting Fact: 
Braiding hair is something I like and enjoy doing. I am a very shy person, but a lot of people might not think of me as that because l always try my best to engage in conversations, make small talk and give feedback, but deep down I am very shy.
6. Anything else you would like to include: 
I always thank God for bringing me here in 1999. I believe I really grew spiritually and am still trying my very best to be closer to God. Everything happens for a reason. And God already showed me part of His reason why I am at Nyack College. There is more to come.
Homecoming Weekend: October 13-14
Ever wonder what students do after graduation? Where does life take them after Nyack? You can find out at Homecoming 2017! Sure, alumni come back to campus to be reunited with their friends and visit their old stomping grounds, but they are also looking for YOU!
We want you there, too! That's why we're offering you and your family complimentary tickets to all Homecoming events, with the exception of the NYC Adventure and the All-Alumni Dinner on Saturday evening. Because of the per person cost, we are able to offer you one complimentary ticket. Please contact Erica Videc at 845-675-4426 or via email at to reserve your complimentary tickets to all Homecoming events. The Homecoming webpage is where you can also find details on the entire weekend.
We're looking forward to seeing you there!!

The Office of College Relations

Saying "so long" to the pillars in our campus community is always a bittersweet occasion--bitter because their transition creates a void; sweet because we know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Nyack College President Emeritus, Dr. Rexford Boda, went home to be with the Lord on Friday, August 4.
Dr. Boda served as 10th president from 1988 to 1993. Prior to being appointed president of Nyack College, he served on the faculty of Canadian Bible College (CBC) as director of General Studies (1965-1971), academic dean of Canadian Bible College/Canadian Theological Seminary (CTS) and became president of CBC/CTS in 1979.
Countless memories of Dr. Boda will be recalled by faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College. The 1958 alumnus so loved sharing Nyack history, that he was often called upon to write or speak about his alma mater. The College's alumni magazine featured his recounting of the graduates martyred in Vietnam because of their faith. Dr. Boda was a lecturer and campus tour guide at more than one Homecoming Weekend. He was tapped to represent the College as narrator of The 14th Annual John Scott Armchair Walking Tour sponsored by the Historical Society of the Nyacks and The Friends of the Nyacks. The slideshow, "Nyack College--High on a Nyack Hill," was presented at the Valley Cottage Library in Rockland County in 2009.
Dr. Boda earned a Master of Science in education from SUNY Cortland, a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary and two Bachelor of Science degrees--from Nyack College and Cornell University. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Canadian Theological Seminary. A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to him at the Nyack College Alumni and Friends Luncheon during the C&MA General Council in 2013.

Of all his accomplishments, family remained the pinnacle of his life-as a husband to his beloved Jean for nearly six decades, and as a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
A celebration of Dr. Boda's life took place on August 12 at Good Samaritan Community Church in Kissimmee, FL.
Rev. G. Palmer Pardington III, a descendant of Rev. George Palmer Pardington for whom Nyack Rockland's Pardington Hall is named, recently passed away at his Oregon home. Mr. Marshall Davies Lloyd, the great grandson of the Pardington patriarch, informed Nyack President Michael Scales of the family's loss.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pardington family as they prepare to memorialize Rev. Pardington, who is from the lineage of a Nyack College patriarch," said President Scales. "Our Rockland campus School of Music, housed in Pardington Hall, proudly bares the family name."
To read the complete obituary published by the family in The Oregonian, click here.
Manuel Ocana, an Aramark housekeeping supervisor who in April celebrated his 10-year anniversary, passed away while visiting his family in Ecuador in June.
Director of the Nyack Facilities Department, Doug Walker had a special relationship with Manuel and shared about this exceptional man who was so well-loved in the campus community. "Manuel expressed how much he was looking forward to resting when he visited his family in Ecuador. He was a strong leader, yet soft-spoken and gentle, one who would come alongside to help get a project done. He was determined to help each individual do his or her tasks well. Richard Lopez, his supervisor, commented that Manuel was extremely neat and organized and this carried over to his team of housekeepers."
On Manuel's dedication to his job and the people he worked with, Doug Walker also remarked, "Monday mornings and throughout the week, Manuel would pray with his team before they set off to clean the Nyack and ATS residential campuses. His cheerful smile and encouragement to the entire Facilities team--both tradesmen and housekeepers--brightened our days. We will miss his smile and encouraging words."
Robin Luce, former Office of Student Development administrative assistant on the Nyack Rockland County campus, went home to be with the Lord on May 25, after a brief time in hospice care.
Many wonderful things can be shared about Robin's compassionate presence that established her as a pillar of the campus community. However, even before her retirement in 2009, she was publically recognized as a true treasure when the following introduction was read announcing the 2006-2007 Missionarian yearbook dedicatee. Read a tribute to Robin, written by Nyack's Dean of Library Services and her dear friend Linda Poston.
Bruce DeGroot retired in July from the Nyack College Facilities Department. When he joined the team more than 19 years ago, he brought his knowledge of HVAC and numerous skills that we have depended on through the years. Occasionally he has stayed with boilers to keep them going on cold, winter nights. Other times, Bruce worked to keep air conditioners running or replaced those that could no longer be repaired. He helped in every aspect of our operations. He acted as interim director while we waited for a new director several years ago. Anyone who came in contact with Bruce found a knowledgeable, soft-spoken and kind man.
Many student workers and younger staff relied on him to answer questions and to patiently teach them new skills. He treated everyone with respect and sometimes a touch of fatherly correction or encouragement. When we began to use the TMA Work Request System, Bruce added that to his multiple responsibilities. He was extremely patient with office staff as they strived to learn the system as well.
In a note to Bruce, David Jennings, executive vice president and treasurer, wrote: "Know that your presence will be missed, but that you have made an impact on all of us who have worked with you. On behalf of the College, faculty and staff and thousands of students, we thank you and recognize your years of faithful service to our community and Jesus."
We wish him well in all that God has prepared for him in this retirement phase of life, and hope he takes time for some well-deserved rest.  

Written by Doug Walker, Director, Nyack College Facilities
Excavations this summer on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee have uncovered what may be evidence of the ancient city, Bethsaida-Julias, chronicled in the New Testament of the Bible, as the home of three of Jesus' apostles: Peter, Andrew, and Philip (John 1:44; 12:21). The excavations were conducted under the auspices of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College (Israel), and directed by Dr. Mordechai Aviam (pictured right) with Dr. R. Steven Notley (pictured left) of Nyack College (New York). Notley, who served as the El-Araj Excavation Project academic director, is distinguished professor of New Testament and Christian Origins and director of graduate programs in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins at Nyack's Manhattan campus in Battery Park. Students and faculty from Nyack College joined volunteers from the United States and Hong Kong to excavate for two weeks last month July.

The El-Araj Excavations Project was made possible through the generous support of the Center for the Study of Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins, Nyack College, the Assemblies of God and HaDavar Yeshiva (Hong Kong).
National Geographic , Fox News, The Jerusalem Post and numerous other media outlets have shared this exciting, historic moment.

The excavations will continue next year from June 17 to July 12, 2018 with the expectation to uncover more evidence for the Roman period settlement and the lost city of Jesus' apostles.

Click here to read more.
Commitment to Mission Awards to 
Dean Glenn Koponen and Dean Wanda Velez*
The two New York campuses of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary came together for the annual year-end faculty and staff luncheon to celebrate and honor the service of its employees who embody one or more of the institution's five core values: academically excellent, globally engaged, intentionally diverse, personally transforming and socially relevant.
This year an award presented annually since 2009 to one faculty member and one staff member was renamed the Rick Santiago Commitment to Mission Award in memory of the late Rick Santiago (1972-2016), a Nyack alumnus (MSOL '07; BS '95) and employee. In 2011, he was a recipient of the Commitment to Mission Award.
The 2017 recipients were for faculty, School of Music dean and professor, Dr. Glenn Koponen (top) and for staff, Mrs. Wanda Velez (bottom) dean of students, Office of Student Development, Rockland campus, both pictured with President Scales and Mrs. Joy Santiago, wife of the award's namesake. Click here to read more.
Other awards included the 30-year service award presented to Cindy Jennings. Promotions included: Dr. Jung Hang Lee (Assistant Prof. to Associate Prof.) and Dr. Peter Park (Assistant Prof. to Associate Prof.). 
Baby Face

Dr. Amy Davis Abdallah and husband, Ghiath, welcomed their second baby boy on October 6, 2016. His contagious smile and boundless energy have added joy to their lives.

Matthew Cornacchione  and wife, Makayla, welcomed baby boy Pierce Joseph on February 15. He weighed 8 lbs., 3 oz.

Nichole Knott-Craig  and husband, Chris, welcomed their second daughter this summer. Lilliah Joy (name derived from Matthew 6:27-29) was born on July 9 (one day after Nichole's birthday) at 1:27 p.m. right after leaving their morning church service. She was 21 inches long.

Serene Mathew, School of Nursing clinical instructor,  and husband, Robin Jacob-Raju, welcomed baby boy Luke Jacob Raju on June 28. He weighed 8.314 lbs and measured 21 inches. Luke joins big sister Liana.

Erica Ponteen-Babasola and husband, Olanrewaju, welcomed a baby girl on March 27 who weighed 6 lbs., 2 oz.

Louis Sanchez and wife, Jessica, welcomed baby boy Asher on April 25. Asher weighed 7 lbs., 11 oz. and measured 18-1/2 inches. Asher joins big sister Rosemaria Zoe.

Raquel (Sanchez) Shaffer and husband, Bret, welcomed baby girl Isabella Faith on May 10 who weighed 6 lbs., 8 oz. Isabella joins big brother Logan. 
Family Matters

Dr. Charles Hammond, Jr. and his wife, Myrna, are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Melinda to Michael Adeyanju on July 10. The wedding took place on the Carnival Sunshine ship docked in Manhattan followed by an eight-day honeymoon to San Juan, PR, St. Thomas and the Grand Turk Islands.
Favorite Pastimes 

Dr. Stephen Bennett worked with young people in Warwick, NY teaching them the skills of tree cutting. The picture shows Dr. Bennett demonstrating how to cut a tree using the hinge-cut method.
Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Louis Sanchez 's daughter, Rosemaria Zoe, saw her mommy's baby bump after finding out that their family was expecting a new baby. Louis thought it would be funny to show Rosemaria his belly as well. After looking at her daddy's belly, Rosemaria's eyes got wide and she exclaimed in an excited voice, "Two babies!" while lifting two fingers in the air. This is the moment when Louis realized it was probably time to get back to the gym.

Dr. Tammy Lum and husband, Leo Li, enjoyed a two-week vacation at the art galore in Venice, Italy and places of ancient history in Dubronik and Split, Croatia, Montenegro, Athens and Olympia, Greece. The highlight of the trip for Tammy was seeing the Parthenon in Athens! Tammy gave a one-day master class and concert at the Affetto Music Academy in Hong Kong.

Dr. R. Steven Notley led a group of 60 students from Assemblies of God colleges in Israel from May 20 until June 6. He then flew to Porto, Portugal with his son, Christopher, and walked the Camino Portuguese to Santiago de Compostela, Spain for the third consecutive summer. He and Christopher walked 240 kilometers in 10 days. Now there's something to track on a Fitbit!
Faculty Achievements 
Dr. Amy Davis Abdallah led seventeen undergraduate and graduate students along the Footsteps of St. Paul in Greece in May. Just as in Acts 16-17, they started in the North where the highlight was standing in the place where Paul's first European convert, Lydia, was baptized by the river outside Philippi. Not only did  they see all the cities the apostle visited, they also visited ancient monasteries, crusader fortresses and the site of the first Olympics, Olympia. They completed their mainland tour with Athens and Corinth, reading Paul's famous sermon from Acts 17 atop Mars Hill, possibly in the very spot where the Areopagus met and Paul preached. It was breathtaking and spiritually transforming!  
Dr. Gerard Becker published an article with Nyack MBA adjunct professors Dr. R.L. Ponschock and Prof. A. Wilson entitled "A conceptual model of personal privacy considerations in a transformative media eco-system." The article was published in the Journal of Strategic and International Studies and presented at the Spring International Multidisciplinary Academic Conference in Orlando, FL in March. He also attended the CCCU Christian Professors conference at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI in June.
Dr. Stephen J. Bennett presented a paper at The City in the Hebrew Bible conference at Cambridge University. The paper was accepted for publication by Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, under the prestigious Library of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies series.
Prof. Byung-Kook Kwak spearheaded a concert, Ode to Summer 2017, in June at the Theater at The Riverside Church featuring The Solisti Ensemble. The concert was presented by Jubilee Artist Management and sponsored by Madeline's Catering.
Dr. Peter Park participated in the annual Fish Count on the Hudson River on August 5, where naturalists and visitors were welcomed to explore the diverse world hidden below the river's surface. Watch the News 12 clip here.
Dr. Elizabeth Simon 's book, Critical Care Nursing (Second Edition), was published by Jaypee Medical publishers. After revising the book and adding two chapters, the book was published in India.
Damien Sneed returns to the Nyack College School of Music in New York City this fall as the new
director of the Chorale. He will also teach conducting and offer private piano and voice lessons, as well
as work with the Collegium. Sneed is an accomplished multi-genre recording artist who is a
pianist/organist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, vocal coach and arts educator with an
extensive list of achievements. He was the 2016-2017 guest conductor of the University of South
Carolina Symphony (USC) Orchestra. In April 2018, he will graduate from USC with his Doctor of Musical
Arts degree in orchestral conducting. Upcoming events featuring this extraordinarily talented performer
and educator include a Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall debut (October 2017), a South American recital
tour with opera great, Jessye Norman (November 2017) and several performances in Europe.
Dr. Marie White received the Studying and Self-Regulated Learning SIG certificate of appreciation at the 2017 American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. The award was for her "exemplary leadership and ability to motivate and inspire all members of the SIG to produce remarkable theoretical and empirical scholarship while promoting core values of socially relevant, academically excellent, globally engaged, intentionally diverse, and personally transformed education."
Dr. Robert Bryan Widbin  served as an academic consultant and instructor in political theology at REALIS Christian Center in Kiev, Ukraine in May. The Research Education and Light Center, known as REALIS, is an interdisciplinary center that trains Christian leaders and special­ists and develops projects for strengthening the Christian witness to contemporary society. Read more here.
Staff Achievements
Evangeline Couchey, Nyack's institutional registrar, was a featured speaker in July at "Heart Matters
Matter: A Journey Into the Soul," a leadership seminar at Iglesia De Dios En Cristo La Senda in North
Bergen, NJ. Her presentation was based on the book Soul Care by ATS professor Dr. Rob Reimer. The
principles encourage youth workers about soul care for themselves and for the young people they work with.
Steve Phillips received his permanent church worker license from the C&MA this spring.
Keep us in the loop!

Please send your latest achievements including books published, research completed, honors received from professional organizations, fellowships awarded, oversight or development of service- learning projects, and work with community organizations to Erica Videc at

Please provide details (who, what, where, when, why) and the significance of news in relationship to our core values, where possible. High resolution digital photos that you can share for publication are welcome. (Please note: copy may be edited for length.)


Don't're invited to submit information to the "Life After Hours...On My Time Clock" section of Class Act. We want to hear about the books you've read; fun vacations you've taken; cooking/baking skills (share your recipes); family tree updates; good habits; and unknown talents. Share your good news with us!

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*Featured articles written by Deborah Walker.