A Message from the President

“I am and always will be a catalyst for change...”

-Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm 

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Spring is here! As we welcome warmer weather and beautiful scenery, we also take time to celebrate the contributions of women in various fields. 


At Guttman, we are committed to elevating equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging, and we were fortunate to host dynamic women for our President's Speaker Series. They reminded us of the power of identifying mentors. Additionally, the department of Student Life curated several noteworthy programs that reflect our focus on student access, success, transfer and careers. We are excited to share these programs and continue our mission of providing resources for all our students to thrive. 



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

President Adds Perspective

Manhattan Power 100 List

On Feb. 28, President Johnson was honored with other awardees at the Schneps Manhattan Power List Dinner at Bryant Park Grill. On Mar. 14, he was the guest on Victoria Schneps A-Lister Podcast. Listen here.

Advancing Growth (Pillar 4)

Advancing Growth – Pillar #4 of Guttman Forward 2028 Strategic Plan! This month, Dr. Johnson had the privilege of meeting with Harlem YMCA Executive Director Christopher Foster on Mar. 11 to discuss pathways to higher education for youth and families. On Mar. 14, joined by Guttman leaders in Academic Affairs and Admissions, he visited with Dr. Darlene Williams and her team at East Harlem’s Union Settlement to advance partnership opportunities. He and the Enrollment Management and Student Affairs team discussed collaborative ventures with Dr. Khalek Kirkland, Community Superintendent of Brooklyn’s District 23 on Mar. 20.

Women's History Month

Contributing to month-long activities celebrating Women’s History Month, Dr. J joined other CUNY presidents in a virtual CUNY Career Compass for Women Leaders fireside chat on March 19. Watch here.

At Guttman, he spoke with Guttman’s own Vice President Mary Coleman, Professor Rebecca Walker and Associate Director Dana LePage and invited guests Executive Deputy Commissioner Johanne E. Morne and Executive Director Nicole Engel on March 28.

News Around Campus

Scaling Access and Success with Pre-College Programs 

From the beginning, congruent with our goal to provide students multiple opportunities for access and success in higher education, Guttman has offered a variety of pre-college programs. These programs help students bridge educational gaps by strengthening the education proficiencies they’ll need to successfully engage in college-level work and allow eligible students to begin taking credit-bearing college courses earlier. “As part of our Strategic Plan, we’re expanding our pre-college program offerings and partners so that more students can have a strong start,” said Associate Director of Pre-College Programs and Academic Success Laura Fritz Greenlee. “These programs transition students into the college community where they can meet our faculty and staff, learn college-level academic expectations and gain access to student life and resources.”  


Here's a snapshot of Guttman’s expanding Pre-College Programs

College Now is a free dual enrollment pre-college program that CUNY offers in partnership with New York City Public Schools (NYCPS). High school juniors and seniors with a GPA of 70 or higher can enroll in courses that earn college credit and fulfill CUNY’s general education Pathways while fulfilling their high school graduation requirements. Currently, Guttman offers college credit courses on Saturdays in fall and spring semesters on campus and at partnering high schools on weekdays. Current partnerships include Harvest Collegiate High School, Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy, Information Technology High School and Urban Assembly School for Green Careers. “Our goal is to increase the number of NYCPS students earning at least three and up to 12 credits. This way, they’re saving tuition and financial aid dollars for when they start taking courses toward their degree,” Greenlee said. Guttman is also piloting a new initiative inviting high school seniors who’ve already been accepted in the admissions process to “start early” and sign up for a class before they matriculate.

Math Start is an intensive seven-week summer or winter program offered for $35 to any incoming student who completed all admission requirements but scored a 59 or less on CUNY’s math proficiency index. Students who successfully complete Math Start can transition directly into a required 3-credit math course. According to Greenlee, Guttman now allows eligible students to enroll in Math Start when they transfer into the college or are re-admitted after taking a break.

Apprenticeship: A Closer Look with IT Major Juan Castillo

“Stopping out” was a decision Juan Castillo made during COVID when, discouraged and disengaged, he discontinued taking classes that, frankly, weren’t motivating him. “Getting back in the game” was also a decision that Castillo made when, at the urging of Guttman advisors, he re-enrolled back into his IT major. And that decision, it turns out, was fire. Today, Juan is an apprentice developer with TD Securities. “Only in the future could I imagine myself getting an opportunity to work at a large company like TD,” says Juan. “I would never picture that I would get this opportunity now.” 


Thanks to an exciting initiative between the New York Jobs CEO Council and CUNY, Castillo and three other Guttman students were accepted into The Jobs Council College Apprenticeship Program offered in business and tech tracks for the Spring 2024 semester. With six CUNY colleges, The Jobs Council developed a work-based learning opportunity to support students in their development for full-time roles. 


Castillo’s spending his final semester shuttling between his computer at home next to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, at 50 W. 40th campus for three classes, and at work at 42nd and Park’s TD Securities for his nine-credit paid apprenticeship position. With everything he’s learning in his IT courses and from his TD team, he’s prepping his final presentation prior to graduation in hopes of landing a full-time job with the company. “Everybody is giving us so much support—my mentor and I communicate all the time, and my manager meets twice a week with our team. On the first day, we met with people in finance and as the program winds down in April, HR is offering us coaching and feedback towards our employment goals.”  


One of the best things about his experience, according to this apprentice, is that his colleagues and supervisors value creativity and open-mindedness in developers, making it easy for Juan to admit what he doesn’t yet know about building front- and back-end applications and encouraging him to seek multiple solutions on his own. “I came to my job as a developer knowing one programming language, Python. My manager wanted me to know more languages to troubleshoot and design, so he sent me courses to take in Java and JavaScript. It feels like my learning is accelerated on the job. Now my professors see me as the student who’s always raising his hand in class because I know and use the course material!”  


To be eligible to apply to the apprenticeship at the end of his Fall 2023 semester, Juan had to be a full-time student, completing 45 credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA towards his A.A.S. degree in Internet and Information Technology, authorized to work in the U.S., and able to work for approximately 20 hours per week. On the employer side, the eight companies participating in the CUNY/Jobs Council College Apprenticeship Program committed to offering students in targeted associate degree programs paid, credit-bearing, on-the-job training and professional skills that lead to full-time employment in in-demand industries. 


“This opportunity is the biggest thing that ever happened to me,” says Juan. “I know people who graduated ahead of me and are still trying to get into the industry. I recommend this to everybody!”

Robert Pagan Joins Guttman Community College as Senior Advisor for Partnerships, Alumni Engagement & Development

Guttman Community College is thrilled to welcome Robert Pagan to serve as senior advisor for partnerships, alumni engagement and development at the College. An accomplished alumni and development professional with a focus on strategic vision and advocacy, Pagan brings a proven track record in relationship building, creative programming, event execution and fundraising to Guttman. Read more.

Faculty News

During her sabbatical in Copenhagen, Denmark this month, Guttman Urban Studies Professor Molly Vollman Makris (on right) and her colleagues from Yale and Molloy University gave multiple presentations and conducted field research and interviews.

Human Services faculty Dr. Anya Spector’s co-authored paper "PrEP for people who use opioids: A NIDA clinical trials network survey study in Southern U.S. cities where HIV incidence is high” was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.


JobsFirst NYC regranted $10,000 in support of Guttman’s work implementing the Healthcare Sector Network in New York City project. 


Dr. Tashana Samuel, coordinating the Emerson/Guttman Study Abroad Program, announced this month that Liberal Arts majors Alexander Atack, Tyshaun Braxton, Marcos Quinones and Ryan Moran were selected as Baldwin Fellows to participate in The James Baldwin Writers’ Colony, a five-week offering of Emerson College’s summer Global Pathways Program taking place at Kasteel Well in the Netherlands. (Photo courtesy of the Emerson College website.)

“Playing with Puppies” is the best way to kick off the spring semester on March 5.

Showing style at “The People’s Runway,” the Black Student Union and Guttman’s Media Group collaborated for a March 8 fashion show.

On March 9, Guttman headed to Albany! Representing at the SOMOS NY State Assembly and Senate, Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force were Demier Bautista, Ariel Danilo Cedeno Velez and Mohamed Barry. Safiya Richardson and Samantha Ruiz-Correa participated in the CUNY/SUNY Model Senate. Students also toured SUNY University at Albany.

Guttman’s Senior IR Data Analyst Nyssa Hasan and HR Generalist Cheri Randall attended NYC Women in Leadership Symposium 2024 Leading with Heart: Empathy, Ethics and Excellence on March 14.

Women of GRIT sponsored a March 14 women’s self-defense workshop led by Guttman Public Safety Sargeant Andros Rodney. “Our goal is not only to impart physical skills but also to foster confidence and empowerment among participants. We believe that every woman has the right to feel safe and capable of protecting herself when needed,” said Sargeant Rodney. Participants were equipped with practical skills to defend themselves in the event of an attack, including boundary setting and verbal assertiveness, distancing and escape strategies, techniques for breaking holds and basic strikes and kicks.

Students met with over 40 senior colleges at the March 21 Transfer Fair organized by Associate Director of Advising and Transfer Support Diana Zechowski and her team.

Relieve stress! Build confidence! SGA and Peer Leaders hosted a rock climbing excursion at Chelsea Piers on March 21, and the Abilities Club cracked the code to an Escape Room on Mar 28. 

Club President Mona Diaz leads Gaming Grizzlies club’s first meeting, March 22.

At the March 26 Fireside Chat, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Courtney Stevenson spoke with women’s rights advocate Namita Luthra about “The Legacy We Leave Behind.”

At the invitation of the Guttman Library and Humanities Alliance, members of the college community gathered for the first of three “dine and discuss” sessions for the 3rd annual Big Read on Mar. 26 This year’s choice is “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Exploring feminine divine archetypes throughout history, Rev. Dominique Dessables, academic internship fieldwork manager, facilitated an interactive wellness circle featuring meditation, deep reflection, music and artwork on March 28.


Guttman CRSP Scholars Publish Research and Pursue Studies  

“I am delighted to announce the March publication of three research papers authored by Guttman graduates, Mengyi Lin, Ellis Spica, and Claire Wilgus. These students participated in the CUNY Research Scholars Program (CRSP) and presented their research in CUNY’s 2022 Winter Symposium in New York and at the 2023 ACS Northeast Regional Meeting in Boston,” said Chemistry Professor Chulsung Kim, who leads Guttman’s CRSP Scholars.  

Mengyi Lin conducted research on the Reevaluation of the Diphenyl Carbazide Method for the Determination of Aqueous Phase Hexavalent Chromium under the guidance of Professor Kim during 2021-2022. She is now an architecture major at City College of Technology and a college assistant in Guttman, working in the 7th floor Lab Prep room. “I hope to graduate in 2027. My current goal is to understand my profession and learn different software. During my time at Guttman, I learned to understand myself, tried different things, learned a lot of knowledge, and my English ability also improved. All of these made me become more confident.”

Ellis Spica, Guttman class of ‘23, is currently studying in the Health Sciences department at Stony Brook University. As a sophomore, he engaged in research of Direct Detection of Hexavalent Chromium in the Presence of Potassium Chloride with Dr. Kim. “Although it feels impossible at times, my biggest goal right now is to get accepted into medical school. From my time at Guttman, my biggest takeaway was learning to like education.”

Claire Wilgus graduated from Guttman in 2022. Studying the poetry of T.S. Eliot under the supervision of Dr. Ria Banerjee, she wrote her paper What the Thunder Said and What We Say Back, which won an award at the CRSP 2022 Winter Symposium. Pursuing her bachelor’s in English and American Literature at NYU, she looks forward to presenting at NYU’s Undergraduate Research Conference and graduating this summer. “I was able to take advantage of the resources and opportunities available at Guttman such as career advising and research in order to progress my personal and professional goals. I would like to work in a university library as an archivist.”


Stepping into Leadership with Lissete Estrada, Class of '14


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