Queens College Skyline, view of Manhattan
Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.
QView #117 | December 14, 2021
What’s News
The Center for Career Engagement and Internships marked the year’s achievements with a remote celebration on Tuesday, December 7. Speakers included QC President Frank H. Wu and alumni Harris Horowitz and Sabir Semerkant. Horowitz is a managing director at BlackRock Inc., an investment management company; Semerkant is an expert in e-commerce and runs his own company, Growth by Sabir.
Frank H. Wu
Harris Horowitz
Sabir Semerkant
Nearly 60 years ago, 16 volunteers from Queens College traveled to Prince Edward County, Virginia, to tutor Black children shut out of public schools due to massive resistance to desegregation. Annie Tummino (Special Collections and Archives; seen at right, top), and Victoria Fernandez, the 2020–2021 Freda S. and J. Chester Johnson Civil Rights and Social Justice Archives Fellow (at right, bottom), revisited that program in Stories from the Civil Rights Archives: The Queens College Student Help Project of 1963, a Queens College at Home virtual presentation on Thursday, December 9. Queens College at Home is sponsored by the Office of Institutional Advancement.
Students in Acct 791 (Data Analytics for Accountants) heard about applying data analytics to detect white-collar crime and developing a data-driven risk management strategy in a Zoom discussion featuring Larry Vigna (Supervisory Forensic Accountant, FBI Phoenix Division) and Suzanne Allen (Special Agent, FBI Phoenix Division) on Wednesday, December 8. The session was organized by the Institute of Management Accountants QC Student Chapter. Jian Xiao (Accounting and Information Systems), who teaches Acct 791, is the chapter’s faculty advisor.
QC a Top Choice for First-Generation Students
Queens College placed second in New York State and 19th in the nation on Best Colleges for First-Generation Students, a new report issued by Student Loan Hero. The study ranked the United States’ largest 300 public and private institutions (by enrollment) in terms of five equally weighted metrics: percentage of first-gen students; median debt-load for those students; percentage of first-gen students who graduated within six years at the original institution; five-year repayment rate for first-gen students; and net price. By these standards, Baruch came in first overall. Eight of the top ten spots went to public institutions in California.

Student Loan Hero, founded in 2012 and acquired in 2018 by online lending marketplace LendingTree, helps student loan borrowers organize, manage, and repay their student loan debt.
Assistant Profs Win Slots in University Program

Four Queens College faculty members—Michelle Fraboni, Nakia Gray-Nicolas, Robin Naughton, and Fidel Tavarez—have been selected by CUNY to take part in this year’s Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP). This university-wide initiative assists full-time untenured faculty (assistant professors) in the design and execution of writing projects essential to progress toward tenure.
FFPP, sponsored by the Office of Recruitment and Diversity, advances CUNY’s institutional commitment to diversity. Projects may include research-based scholarly articles for juried journals, books for academic presses, and creative writing projects. Proposals on structural and systemic inequality are encouraged. The program provides three credit hours of course release for the spring semester, a writing group, and the guidance of a senior faculty member. This year’s senior faculty member mentor is Anahi Viladrich (Sociology).

Important Interactions

“The FFPP gives our junior faculty time to work on publishing their work, the opportunity to interact with junior faculty across CUNY, and mentoring from experienced senior faculty members like Professor Anahi Viladrich,” explained Queens College Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Hendrey.

Fraboni (Elementary and Early Childhood Education) will revisit participants from a previous study to investigate how their undergraduate learning experiences have influenced their developing professional identities as teachers and their sense of belonging to the teaching profession.

Gray-Nicolas (Education and Community Programs) will work on a study titled “College-Ready by Whose Definition: Towards a More Inclusive Definition and Approach to College-Readiness.” Expanding on her college readiness work, she will explore how college students and graduates defined college readiness and leveraged their pre-college program experiences to persist in and through college. This project empowers the voices and experiences of Black and Latinx students to reframe college readiness definitions and approaches to pre-college interventions and programming.

Naughton (Library) will work toward publishing peer-reviewed research on the experience of those who use the Queens College Libraries website. Her article, “Modern Impressions: Understanding Queens College Library (QCL) website users,” is a part of a larger study to help redesign the QCL website so
that it can better respond to the needs of users. 

Tavarez (History) will be completing the manuscript for his first book, The Imperial Machine: Assembling the Spanish Commercial Empire in the Age of Enlightenment. The book shows how the Hispanic world’s commercial reforms in the 18th century represented a genuine effort to solve the dilemmas of early modern globalization.

In order to be accepted into FFPP, faculty members submitted a detailed proposal on their project, a diversity statement, and letters from the department chair and the provost supporting the reassignment of three contractual hours for participation in this prestigious program. Participants will attend an orientation in December as well as five writing group sessions and a professional development day in the spring.
Services through the Semester
Free, confidential help for all students is available through Counseling Services. Contact the counseling office at counselingservices@qc.cuny.edu or 718-997-5420. All email and voicemail messages will receive a response within 24 hours; sessions are conducted via telehealth. Information: https://bit.ly/3ydhcYs

With exams around the corner, students with disabilities may have important concerns. The Office of Special Services (OSS), operating remotely, offers comprehensive support to students with disabilities. Email OSS at qc.spsv@qc.cuny.edu or call 718-997-5870. Click here for information. 

To keep apprised of the latest coronavirus guidance for Fall 2021, visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/coronavirus.
Pre-law Previews Events for Spring

QC’s Pre-law Advisory Program is getting ready for an exciting Spring 2022 semester, an important time for students who are curious about applying to law school. The Pre-law Program has numerous upcoming networking events and plenty of expert guidance available from top QC faculty to help the aspiring lawyer.

Now heading into its first complete cycle, the Pre-law Program has grown substantially. Last spring, it hosted multiple events and four QC students were accepted into national pipeline programs. Pipeline programs are designed to help students learn more about law and prepare to apply to law school. Some are targeted toward college sophomores and juniors who are curious about law, while others aim to help anyone from underrepresented communities with the application process. Winter is a crucial time of year for pre-law students looking to get into pipeline programs, which makes now the perfect time to join the Pre-law Program. 
Pre-law is led by Sari Kisilevsky (Philosophy), who is growing the program on a national stage. She recently led a national webinar with the Law School Transparency Project, one of the best tools available for helping students make informed choices about law. She has also met with the chief diversity officer of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) resources and tools for diversifying the legal profession.

What’s Next? 

This spring semester, the Pre-law Program has many exciting events on tap.
Two events, titled “What to Expect in Your First Year of Law School” and “Study Skills for Law School: How to Crush the Curve!” will give students the skills needed to prepare for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and prep them for what to expect once they are accepted into law school.

Also in the works are a panel with several accomplished environmental lawyers and an event that will offer the opportunity to prepare and argue a case in a mock trial in a partnership with first-generation students from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Dates, times, and locations are still being finalized; students can sign up for the pre-law email list for updates or visit the pre-law website for more information. For additional questions, students are encouraged to make an appointment with a pre-law advisor.
Celebrating Love at First Site
Lance Gilbert and Amy Osofsky
Gifts made of rubies are traditional on a couple’s 40th anniversary. But what should a man give his wife on their 39th? Lance Gilbert, managing partner of the Net Results Group—a Louisville-based technology consulting firm that helps companies make better use of their maintenance, repair, and operations data—wanted to commemorate the place where he met Amy Osofsky, ’82. That location was on the Queens College campus: Colwin Hall.

Gilbert decided to commission a necklace with the global positioning system (GPS) coordinates for that site and contacted President Frank H. Wu for help. Zeco Krcic (Campus Facilities) got the information by looking it up.
In March 2020, the college sent Gilbert the GPS numbers—40.735177-73.816159—as well as a QC picture frame. Gilbert gave Amy the necklace on their anniversary, which happened to be a day after their daughter’s wedding. “Those coordinates helped me make our 39th anniversary memorable for my wife and me,” he reported.
In Memoriam
Dan Georgakas

Dan Georgakas, director of the Greek American Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, passed away on November 23 at age 83.

An activist and academic Renaissance man, Georgakas attributed his worldview to his upbringing as the son of working-class Greek immigrants. He described his childhood in the memoir My Detroit: Growing Up Greek and American in Motor City. With Marvin Surkin, he wrote Detroit: I do mind dying: a study in urban revolution, documenting dynamic black radical movements in his hometown in the 1960s and early ’70s. On his website, Georgakas observed, “I advocate radical solutions to contemporary problems, but I think achieving something genuinely new also necessitates reanimating many traditional values.” He wrote or edited five poetry volumes, served on the editorial board of Cineaste Magazine, helped to found the New York City Greek Film Festival, and was the subject of a documentary made for Greek National Television, Dan Georgakas: A Diaspora Rebel.
Evelyn Puccini Rolleri

QView just learned that Evelyn Puccini Rolleri ’41, who posed in QC regalia to mark the 80th anniversary of her graduation (QView 102), passed away over the summer at the remarkable age of 102. A resident of Ridge, New York, Rolleri was predeceased by her husband. She is survived by her two daughters and three grandchildren.
Sylvia Weinstock

Sylvia Weinstock, whom Bon Appétit magazine dubbed “the Leonardo da Vinci of wedding cakes,” died on November 22. She was 91.

A Bronx native who was already married—to a Queens College alumnus—at her graduation from Hunter College, Weinstock subsequently earned a master’s in education from QC. She credited her managerial abilities to the fact that she taught elementary school while raising a family. As a hobby, she began making desserts, apprenticing herself to pastry chef George Keller and fielding orders from customers referred to her by Manhattan bakery owner William Greenberg, who didn’t sell wedding cakes.

In her fifties, after surviving breast cancer, Weinstock turned her sideline into a full-time business. Her creations, with elaborate ornamentation based on flowers she dismantled for intensive study, were sought out by A-listers in sports, entertainment, and both sides of the political aisle: Clintons, Kennedys, and Trumps were among her clientele. Her husband, a lawyer, retired from practice and devoted himself to inventing reliable systems for tasks such as icing cakes and transporting them.

Having turned herself into a brand, Weinstock served as a guest judge on the TV contest shows “Chopped Sweets” and “Nailed It” and instructed other high-end patissiers in her techniques. She retired in 2016 to take care of her ailing husband, who died two years later. In October of this year, she designed one last wedding cake, for bride Jennifer Gates, a medical student, competitive horseback rider, and daughter of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, and groom Nayel Nassar, an Olympic equestrian.

Weinstock is survived by her three daughters and six grandchildren.
Mongolian Embassy Fetes Rossabi
Rossabi was the center of attention when the Mongolian Embassy celebrated his birthday last week.
Morris Rossabi’s birthday isn’t a national holiday in Mongolia, but the country took notice nonetheless. On December 8, the Mongolian ambassador to the United Nations treated the CUNY Distinguished Professor of History—who just turned 80—and his wife Mary to a surprise luncheon at the Mongolian Embassy. In addition, the foreign minister awarded Rossabi a certificate of merit in recognition of his work promoting Mongolian history and culture. He has remained busy despite the pandemic. In the last year, he wrote China and the Uyghurs (Rowman and Littlefield); issued a revised edition of his A History of China (Blackwell); edited and wrote two books for Brill Publishers and the National Museum of Ethnology of Japan; wrote chapters in books published by Routledge and Harvard University Press; wrote articles for the journals Education About Asia, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Asian Survey, and Acta Via Serica; and delivered remote lectures to Bard Graduate Center, Humboldt University (Berlin), Planck Institute in Berlin, and the universities in Ulan Ude, Vienna, Bonn, and Leiden.
Heard Around the Virtual Campus
Aaron Copland School of Music presented Dido and Aeneas on December 10 and 11. The production of Henry Purcell’s chamber opera featured singers from the Queens College Opera Studio and Vocal Ensemble and instrumentalists from the Queens College Baroque Ensemble under the leadership of James John, music director; Nell Snaidas, stage director; and Dongmyung Ahn, Baroque Ensemble director
A sorceress and witches enchant audiences from the stage.
Erica Fletcher on stage; Hanme Cho was the student lighting designer.
Dido director Nell Snaidas shares a photo op with student stage manager Jenni Cabrera.
Regina Bain
Keena Lipsitz
Steven Markowitz
Regina Bain (Louis Armstrong House Museum) has been appointed to the Arts, Parks & Culture Committee of Mayor-elect Eric Adams’s transition team . . . . Jacquelyn Bracco (SEES) won NSF CAREER funding from the Division of Earth Sciences’ Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry Program for a five-year research and educational project, Impacts of Incorporated Metals on the Dissolution Rates of Minerals . . . . Tashnima Choudhury, a Bronx teacher studying in QC’s Educational Leadership program, has been named to Mayor-elect Eric Adams’s education transition team, as reported in Chalkbeat New York . . . . Keena Lipsitz (Political Science) has two articles in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In “The nonlinear feedback dynamics of assymetric political polarization,” Lipsitz and her co-authors link the current extremism of Republican members of Congress to public opinion, showing that Americans are still partly to blame for the extremism of their elected officials. In “A systems framework for remedying dysfunction in US democracy,” Lipsitz and her co-authors argue that mathematical theory based in engineering and biology can be used to understand the implications of democracy reforms such as ranked-choice voting and citizen redistricting . . . . Marc-Antoine Longpré (SEES) published a commentary piece, “Reactivation of Cumbre Viejo volcano” in Science. His on-site research was covered in QView 116 . . . . Steven Markowitz (Barry Commoner Center) appeared with New York Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler at a November 30 press conference calling on Congress to include $2.85 billion to continue to fund the WTC Health Program in the Build Back Better bill . . . . Holly Reed (Sociology) coedited New Demographic Directions in Forced Migrant and Refugee Research, a special issue of the Journal on Migration and Human Security, based on workshops hosted through the Committee on Population of the National Academy of Sciences . . . . Eileen Sprague (LCD) was named one of Irish Echo’s 2021 Community Champions for her work on QC’s Irish in New York Oral History Project . . . . President Frank H. Wu gave a talk at an Administration of Institutions of Higher Education seminar presented by University of Albany, SUNY. He also spoke recently for the Minnesota judicial conference and at William James University.
This is the last issue of QView for 2021. Happy Holidays! The newsletter will resume publication in the spring semester.
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Comments and suggestions for future news items are welcome.