A Message from the President

Dear Friends & Supporters:  

Welcome to the February edition of Press from the Prez. Over the past weeks, Guttman faculty, staff, and students have engaged in co-curricular activities celebrating Black History Month. We are a community committed to amplifying diverse perspectives, cultures, and beliefs. Ensuring that students leave our college able to ascertain how divergent perspectives can connect us all as learners and citizens is one of the most important things we do here. 

As I reflect on this month, I am even more convinced of the transformative power of education to change mindsets and positively impact communities. Today, we must continue to “get in good trouble,” in the words of Congressman John Lewis, and fiercely advocate for resources that will improve students’ social and upward mobility.  

The clarion call for equitable educational outcomes is a social and moral imperative. Guttman is a college that embraces values that undergird our resolve to be “responsive to its students, adaptive to the economy, relevant to a modern society, and accessible to all” (Guttman Vision Statement).


Dr. Larry D. Johnson, Jr. ("Dr. J")

President Adds Perspective

President Forecasts Trends for 2024  

NationSwell, a social impact company, asked Dr. Johnson’s insights for its 2024 Outlook Report, a resource assisting change makers and thought leaders in purpose-driven enterprises to anticipate the most important trends of the year ahead. Read the full report and his remarks on U.S. democracy, civic engagement and social cohesion on p. 7. 

Podcast Guest, Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of New York 

President Larry Johnson was the guest on the JustLove weekly radio program hosted by Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. He discussed Guttman, the newest community college in the CUNY system in four decades, why it was created and what the future aspirations of the school are. The show aired Feb. 3 and 4 on Sirius/XM’s Catholic Channel #129.

News Around Campus

Guttman Technology’s Two New “Inside Tracks”

Doubling down on the Strategic Plan, two units vital to Guttman’s mission launched new tech tools, the Intranet and Campus Groups, to deliver on key priorities of Pillar 1: Elevate Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Pillar 3: Amplify Employee Vitality and Engagement, and Pillar 5: Optimize Operations.


“Distinctly different than the Guttman website which provides information to the external world, the Guttman intranet, a project led by Associate Director Chris Eng and his colleagues from the college’s Information Services team, was designed as a secure internal website to share information with Guttman employees,” said John Stroud, CIO and associate vice president for technology and information services. On it, users can learn about the focus and functions of college offices, easily access standard operating procedures and save various units’ manuals, documents and information intended for internal use.

Campus Groups 

Campus Groups is the new, virtual place for students to find and register for events, connect with one another, and join clubs and programs through the app or online. Recognizing a gap in the way that students were able to use the college’s events calendar, Student Life Director Andrew Bennett and his team researched several alternatives in pursuit of a solution, leading them to Campus Groups. “This tool serves as a centralized space for students, faculty, and staff to discover and engage with all upcoming campus events across various categories,” explained Danny Cordova, assistant director of Student Life. “This platform not only enhances visibility for existing clubs but offers organizations and programs, such as the PTK Honor Society, to manage their memberships effectively,” he said. The software completed a successful soft launch, making its debut on January 5 at the start of the Fall II session. To log in, go to cg.guttman.cuny.edu, click on “Sign in” and then "School Login" to access your account using your CUNYfirst credentials.  

"Everybody Deserves to Breathe Clean Air": Student Researcher in India

“I was just doing my Bio homework when I saw an email forwarded from my professor, Dr. Gomes, about a field research opportunity to gather air pollution data in India in the subject line. I thought, ‘I want to know more about this!’ explained first-year student Safiya Richardson. Learning that the deadline was in two days, Safiya moved quickly to prepare her application. “That was in early October. Two weeks later, they asked me to come in for an interview. I couldn’t believe it!” 

Safiya read everything she could about air quality in India prior to meeting with Professors Neal Phillip and Paramita Sen of Bronx Community College, and Professor Brian Vant-Hull of City College, the three principal investigators of a three-year study of air pollution and climate change in Mumbai and New Delhi funded by the National Science Foundation. “They were impressed that I had already done some research,” she said, “and offered me a spot on the team!” Safiya was to join the project’s second cohort of students from Bronx Community College, York, Baruch and other CUNY campuses headed to India from December 28, 2023 to January 20, 2024.  

Her family was elated, and, surprisingly, so was her manager at TJ Maxx, where she had just gotten a job a few weeks earlier. “Everybody was happy for me and so supportive. My boss understood that this was a rare opportunity and told me my job would be waiting when I got back.”  

There was only one catch – it was the end of October, and Safiya, who had never travelled out of the country, didn’t have a passport. She recounts, “Honestly, I can’t thank Guttman enough. My advisor, Leslie Mejia, wrote a letter to the passport agency, explaining my situation.” It worked; they expedited her application, and she walked out of the Manhattan office with passport in hand.  

Once arriving in India, Safiya and the other students collected field data while taking long walks in five-member teams through rural, urban and suburban neighborhoods, equipped with wireless air quality monitoring devices and portable weather stations in their backpacks. Each team would add their findings to a shared database, analyze particulate matter concentrations and CO2 levels, compare their data with that which was collected by the previous year’s cohort, and make their work accessible to anyone online. In parts of Mumbai, Bhopal and New Delhi, they recorded alarmingly high levels of particulates small enough to enter the bloodstreams of the areas’ inhabitants, ultimately causing lung disease and shortening the lifespan of residents.

Getting to their research sites every morning by tuk-tuks and buses, Safiya witnessed up close what contributes to the country’s extreme air pollution: “We saw people burning trash and using fires for warmth. Traffic congestion and construction also contribute pollutants to the air, especially after monsoon season. Living in the Bronx, I know that air quality isn’t great – but there, the people definitely have it worse. In Delhi, I could actually see it when I coughed. It’s what people experience every day,” she said. 

“Everybody deserves to breathe clean air, to live in a clean community. This trip definitely got me thinking that I want to do more research outdoors, using field instruments, testing things first-hand.” In between collecting and analyzing data, Safiya and her peers visited two universities, met with Indian government officials and diplomats, and delivered uniforms, blankets and wheelchairs procured through fundraising prior to the trip.

“My favorite parts were when we got to interact with people, like playing soccer, dancing with children and visiting old people. I’d say now that environmental research has a humanitarian, maybe even moral aspect to it. I can see myself in a major that links the environment and health care.” 

Safiya is so glad she opened that email. Read more.

Chase Pathways Program Celebrates Black History Month with Guttman  

Guttman Business, IT and Cybersecurity students, alumni, faculty, staff and administrators gathered on Feb. 8 in the newly opened CUNY@Amazon space (formerly Lord & Taylor) on 5th Ave. for a professional event in celebration of Black History Month. “Highlighting Courageous Career Conversations” was the title of a career pathway panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Jesse Jackson of the JP Morgan Chase Business Resource Group. Patricia Jean, Center for Career Preparation and Partnerships director, led the event in collaboration with Dean Curtis Dann-Messier and Executive Chief of Staff Dr. Rosslyn Knight. Panelists shared strategies on how to take advantage of internship experiences, discussing work-life balance and how they have been able to juggle their responsibilities.

The panel followed an earlier alliance between Guttman and JP Morgan Chase with an associate banker program, facilitated by Guttman’s Business Professor Naveen Seth and former Chief of Staff Linda Merians from 2017-2021. Five cohorts of Guttman students took part in the program, and three program alumni were present for the panel. (See Alumni Spotlight below). The college’s Career Innovation Hub is exploring renewed internship and job opportunities with JPMC. Read more.


A $50,000 grant from an anonymous donor is expanding the availability of fresh food and clothing for students through Guttman’s Connect Center, plus a new opportunity for eligible students to procure meals at the nearby CUNY Graduate Center’s dining services. The grant also makes possible significant additions to the academic services, personal and professional supports offered through the college’s United Men of Color (UMOC) student organization. 


In Albany on February 16-18 for the 53rd Annual Legislative Conference of the New York State Association of Black Puerto Rican Hispanic and Asian Legislators, Dr. Johnson, Executive Chief of Staff Dr. Rosslyn Knight and Assistant Director of the Office of AccessABILITY Luis Gutierrez were joined by Guttman Student Government Association members Marielas Gomera and Samantha Ruiz-Correa.

On Jan. 24, Guttman’s Dr. Marcus Allen, professor of political science, and Errol Olton, associate director of academic innovation and career success, spoke with CUNY TV Producer/Director Audra West on her award-winning show “Black America.” Joined by June Cross, founder and professor of Columbia University Journalism School’s Documentary program, the guests responded to the question: “Is Academia Failing Black Faculty?” Watch the interview. 

The Office of Admissions and Recruitment, looking toward Dr. Johnson’s initiative of raising awareness of higher education options with our neighbors in Harlem, hosted A. Philip Randolph Campus High School on February 2. They met with a wonderful group of 26 high school juniors, providing them with information about Guttman’s programs and support systems.

Black History Month kicked off on February 1 with this year's theme, "The Black Diaspora & The Arts," as developed by the 2024 Black History Month Committee. Highlights included:

  • 1/31 Broadway play "Purlie Victorious," Music Box Theatre 
  • 2/1 BHM Performance Showcase and kick-off celebrating performance art
  • 2/2 & 2/16 Community Service with God’s Love We Deliver meal prep
  • Ongoing Community Art Project (see photo on left) 
  • 2/8 Brooklyn Nets v. Cavs basketball game
  • 2/7 Presentation by Big Russ, Russ Barber Training Program

On February 2, Guttman employees gathered for the semi-annual All College Meeting to gain updates and offer input on Strategic Plan progress, have some fun and de-stress.

Over 30 students participated in the Feb. 15 Healthcare Cybersecurity Networking Event led by LaShonna Turner, interim associate director of Guttman’s Center for Career Preparation and Partnerships in concert with the college’s Cybersecurity certificate program, the Career Innovation Hub and the Greater New York Hospital Association. The speakers highlighted the increasing demand for cybersecurity talent within the healthcare industry as digital health records and connected medical devices become more prevalent.

Guttman welcomed 42 students to Bridge the week of Feb. 20. Students attended in-person sessions Tuesday through Friday and then participated in Convocation on Monday, Feb. 26. Students enjoyed music and speakers Student Success Advisor Emily Irwin, LMSW, and alumni speaker Bashir Juwara, class of ‘23 and current Hunter College SGA President.

Jahsiah Montrevil, Black Student Union representative, joined Guttman leaders on Feb. 22 to welcome to campus NAACP New York State Conference 2nd VP Karen Blanding and NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch President Kyndell A. Reid. Dr. Larry Johnson, Dr. Rosslyn Knight and Interim Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Courtney Stevenson explored opportunities for collaboration between Guttman and the country’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.

Guttman students have even greater access to healthy, fresh and frozen foods, snacks and necessary household and hygiene items, thanks to the efforts of generous donors and the indefatigable efforts of the Connect Center’s dynamic duo, Associate Director Dana LePage and Administrative Coordinator Samantha Gregoire. The newly expanded Grizzly Pantry ribbon-cutting took place Feb. 27.

Students and staff members of Guttman’s Office of AccessABILITY Services participated in CUNY Student Empowerment Day in Albany on Feb. 26, joining students from CUNY, SUNY and other schools across New York State to rally for increased funding for enhanced services for college students with disabilities.


Holliday Senquiz

At Guttman:  

  • Class of 2023 
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences (A. A.) major 
  • Phi Theta Kappa Public Relations Officer 


After Guttman: 

  • Studied abroad with Emerson College 
  • Transferred to Queens College 
  • English major 


“Guttman empowered me to take on anything in my academic career. At Queens, I challenge myself with sophisticated coursework and connecting with others in the Transfer Honors Program and English Honors Program, respectively. I look forward to pursuing full-time work in higher education and advancing to graduate school.”

Jan Rahman

At Guttman:  

  • Class of 2023 
  • Business Administration (A.A.) major 
  • MathStart tutor 
  • UMOC member 

After Guttman: 

  • Transferred to Baruch 
  • Accounting major 


“I’m proud that I’ve continued my education after obtaining both a GED and an associate degree and am on the path of achieving a bachelor's degree. I really enjoyed my time at Guttman and I’m looking forward to working full-time for one of the Big 4 accounting firms.”


Guttman's Impact on Alum Johandra Veras and Her Career at Chase Bank


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