Queens College Skyline, view of Manhattan
Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.
QView #123 | March 15, 2022
What’s News
Meng Supports Campus WETLAB
Queens College is expected to receive $1,850,000 to establish a Wastewater Epidemiology Training Laboratory (WETLAB) on campus through Community Project Funding allocated for the borough by Congresswoman Grace Meng. Community Project Funding was included in the new government spending package, which passed the House of Representatives late on Thursday, March 10. The legislation is likely to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Joseph Biden soon.
The new facility will support development of simple, cost-effective, and robust strategies for detecting the presence of dangerous pathogens—such as coronaviruses, noroviruses, and cholera—in wastewater. Students of diverse backgrounds will get training on site to participate in high-level research activities. The WETLAB project was conceived and will be directed by John Dennehy (Biology), who has been tracking and analyzing COVID-19 through New York City sewage, as reported in QView 119.

“Queens College is an outstanding institution in our borough, and I am thrilled that it will receive funding to establish a Wastewater Epidemiology Training Laboratory through the new government spending package,” said Meng, New York’s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “This lab will provide new and robust strategies for detecting the presence of dangerous pathogens in wastewater. It is something that all congressional districts can benefit from as we continue to battle coronaviruses and other harmful pathogens that can hurt our communities. I look forward to seeing this lab created, and all of the good it will do helping protect the residents of Queens.” 
John Dennehy in his lab wearing white lab coat
“Professor Dennehy has established himself as a leading expert on testing for COVID using innovative methods. His outstanding work is a great example of how academic research benefits the whole world,” says Queens College President Frank H. Wu. “Congresswoman Meng has always been a tremendous supporter of Queens College, and we are proud to be in her district. We are grateful that she appreciates the value not only of scientific research but our vital role within the community.”

Putting Public Health First 

“We are delighted to receive this funding support as it will enable us to train a new generation of students in wastewater epidemiology,” adds Dennehy. “We hope to build pathways to high-paying jobs for our students, and additionally to provide support for New York City's public health needs.” 

The WETLAB is one element in a package for which Meng secured a total of $9,579,000 in federal funds. The other nine projects include three New York City Health + Hospitals initiatives; youth and community development programming at the Flushing and Ridgewood YMCA; a women’s imaging suite at Flushing Hospital Medical Center; community-based resiliency projects at Waterfront Alliance’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park; Make the Road New York’s adult education for local immigrants; upgraded facilities at Ohel’s Kissena Boulevard residence for people with developmental disabilities; and nutrition and emotional wellness activities for seniors at four borough locations of Selfhelp Community Services.
Historic Achievement for QC Professor
Kristina Richardson (History) is one of nine outstanding early- and mid-career scholars awarded the Dan David Prize last week. Sometimes described as the Nobel for history, the Dan David is the largest prize in its field. A selection committee of eminent scholars assessed hundreds of nominations from around the world to select the nine winners, who will each receive $300,000 to recognize their achievements to date and support their future work.

“While the bulk of the money will go toward developing my current project on enslaved peoples in Basra, Iraq, I intend to donate some of the money to famine relief agencies,” says Richardson. “I also would like to fund symposia about early global medieval cultures. The aim would be to write histories that present European history in line with its contributions and not as the standard-bearer of print. I also will fund research trips.” 

A CUNY First 
“Kristina is the first CUNY professor ever to earn this distinction,” notes QC History Chair Julia Sneeringer. “This award comes in recognition of her recently published book, Roma in the Medieval Islamic World: Literacy, Culture and Migration. That book outlines a medieval history of Roma and other traveling groups and argues that they were the missing link between medieval Asian and European print, bringing print to Europe in the 15th century, decades before Gutenberg invented his press.” 

Richardson’s research is based on the writings and material production of non-elites in the medieval Middle East. She has analyzed the intellectual networks of medieval disabled writers, explored the degraded position of blue- and green-eyed people in early Islamic societies, identified the only known pre-modern Arabic sign alphabet, and co-published a study and edition of the earliest known notebook written in Arabic by an artisan or merchant. She is currently writing a book about free and unfree African and Asian manual laborers in early Islamic Basra, Iraq.

Richardson earned a BA in History and a Certificate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and later received a master’s degree and a PhD at the University of Michigan. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment of the Humanities, European Research Council, Marie Curie Foundation, Mellon Foundation, ArtSTOR, and the City University of New York.
Flier with protestors against Ukraine invasion
On March 9, Keena Lipsitz (Political Science) moderated a panel of faculty experts Elissa Bemporad (History), Julie George (Political Science), Igor Kuskovsky (Physics), Peter Liberman (Political Science), and Thomas Ort (History) providing insight into Russia’s devastating war against Ukraine. The discussion, presented over Zoom, was sponsored by the History and Political Science Departments.
Top l to r: Social Sciences Dean Kate Pechenkina, Student Association President Zaire Couloute, VP of Communications and Marketing and Special Advisor to the President Jay Hershenson, Carol L. Izumi, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Hendrey, CUNY Distinguished History Professor Morris Rossabi, Mary Rossabi, Arts and Humanities Dean William McClure, Biology Professor John Waldman, Assistant Vice President for External and Governmental Relations Jeffrey Rosenstock. Bottom l to r: Counsellor to the Ambassador Mandkhai Batsuren, Ambassador Voshilov Enkhbold, President Frank H. Wu, Counsellor Ulziibayar Vangansuren, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Jennifer Jarvis.
President Frank H. Wu and colleagues met Mongolian Ambassador Voshilov Enkhbold and his assistant Vangansuren Ulziibayar on Thursday, March 10. The gathering built on existing relationships with members of the QC community. Last December, Enkhbold arranged a surprise birthday party for CUNY Distinguished History Professor Morris Rossabi, who specializes in Asia. He’s not the only faculty member interested in Mongolia. John Waldman (Biology) spent a month there studying the taimen, a giant fish in the salmon family.

Ambassador Voshilov Enkhbold and President Frank H. Wu
The ambassador spoke with students about their involvement with Model UN simulations.
CAAPS leaders and participants flank President Frank H. Wu and Carol L. Izumi.
Asian Americans after COVID 19: From Civil Rights to American Dreams was the subject on Saturday, March 12, when President Frank H. Wu delivered the keynote address including a PowerPoint presentation at an event co-sponsored by Queens College and the Chinese American Academic and Professional Society (CAAPS). The event was livestreamed worldwide with the help of QC Information Technology. The meeting, held in LeFrak Concert Hall in the Music Building and online, was followed by a reception in the Atrium. Sing Tao USA gave coverage to the proceedings.
Jason Katims ’84 spoke about his television career to a rapt audience of faculty and students on Wednesday, March 9, through Professionals on Campus, a program sponsored by the Office of Institutional Advancement. Katims is the creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the upcoming Amazon series "As We See It," based on an award-winning Israeli series about three 20-something roommates on the autism spectrum. He previously worked on such shows as "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood."
Representatives of Israeli Hope in Academia—an organization that encourages different parts of Israeli society to work together in academia, education, employment, and sports—stopped by campus on Monday. March 14 with the assistance of CERRU Director Sophia McGee. Prominent educators and administrators met yesterday with QC leaders at the Rosenthal Library to share information and experiences and explore potential collaborations. 
From left: Jennifer Jarvis, Sophia McGee, Rachel Fester, Meytal Iran-Jona, Shulamit Almog, Frank Wu, Yosepha Tabib, Yifat Bitton Achva, Jay Hershenson
Frank Wu
Sophia McGee
Warming Up to Summer
By taking classes this summer, students can make progress toward their degree and still find time to go to the beach. Sessions last four, six, or ten weeks. Hundreds of undergraduate and graduate courses are available, in online and in-person formats. Click here to learn more and register.
Dean Named for Social Sciences

After a national search, Kate Pechenkina was appointed dean of the School of Social Sciences; she has been leading the school on an interim basis since July 2020. In that capacity, she has been instrumental in the development of QC’s Business School, which made its official debut on Thursday, March 3. In other significant campus projects, she has been coordinating the 4+1 Program with the CUNY Graduate School of Public Heath, supervising the redesign of the Pre-Law Advisory Program, and overseeing the Faculty Diversity Initiative sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

“We are delighted to name Kate Pechenkina as our new dean of Social Sciences,” says President Frank H. Wu. “With her international outlook, excellence in teaching and scholarship, and interdisciplinary knowledge and research skills, she is the ideal person to represent and bridge the many disciplines included in the School of Social Sciences. She brings very current, socially and scientifically engaged awareness to bear on our 21st-century mission.”

Pechenkina holds a BS in Biology and an MS in Biology/Anthropology from Moscow State University, Russia, and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2002. She explores the way environmental and cultural changes shaped human epidemiology long ago; her research interests include stable isotope reconstruction of past human and animal diets, gender inequality in health, and bone and dental pathology. Since 2004, Pechenkina has been conducting fieldwork in China’s Henan Province, where she excavates at the Ancient City of Zhenghan, a capital of the Zheng and Han kingdoms.
Uniformly Responsive

Queens College has been designated a Military Friendly School for 2022-23 by VIQTORY, a marketing firm owned and founded by veterans. The college received gold ranking in the category of large public institutions. VIQTORY determines Military Friendly status on the basis of public data and responses from a proprietary survey. Over 1,800 colleges and universities were evaluated for this year’s list; 282 received gold awards in recognition of their leading practices, outcomes, and effective programs. 
Thinking Big
This week, Big Ideas—an original online video series produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing—presents “Life Lines,” featuring Kimiko Hahn (English). In this episode, Hahn, a CUNY Distinguished Professor, discusses the use of ecopoetry to enhance environmental awareness.

Big Ideas, launched last year, focuses on QC faculty and their research. The current season is described here.
Han Solo: Professor Christopher Hanusa Displays Mathematical Art in One-Man Show

Christopher Hanusa (Mathematics), who was previously featured in QView for his design of mathematical jewelry, also creates mathematical sculpture and digital prints, and his latest collection has been selected for a solo art show. The exhibit, which began on March 4 and runs for four weeks, is curated by Gallery 1064, a new gallery based in Seattle, Washington, that fuses science and art in all its exhibits.

For several years, Hanusa has created art using the computational software Mathematica which is used in many technical, scientific, engineering, mathematical, and computing fields. He uses mathematical functions injected with random elements, which generates unique pieces of art at each iteration of the mathematical code written. 
Christopher Hanusa thinks and teaches in three dimensions.
Blurring the Boundaries 

Hanusa’s art will be sold through a virtual gallery on Gallery 1064’s website. While Hanusa’s art has been on display at a number of group shows worldwide, this is his first opportunity at a solo art gallery. His exhibit, titled “Existence and Uniqueness,” is described as “blurring the boundaries between art and math, between the intangible and the corporeal, between impermanence and calculation.” After he creates his art digitally with Mathematica, his works are then physically produced using a 3d printer, typically using sandstone, to create unique pieces of art. Although they are 3d printed, the pieces on display at Gallery 1064 are limited prints. No other copies of these models will be made. 

“I really enjoy being able to show the beauty of mathematics through visualization and explore what’s possible by bringing together the math, the computations, and an artistic touch to make something unique, beautiful, and that appeals to a wide audience,” explained Hanusa. 

Hanusa joined the Queens College faculty in 2008 and has a PhD in combinatorics (an area of mathematics primarily concerned with counting families of discrete objects) from the University of Washington. He has published numerous articles on the subject in top journals. Among the courses Hanusa teaches at QC is Mathematical Modeling and a new course designed for non-math majors called Mathematical Design, where students use simple mathematical tools to generate art. Students from the class designed their own mathematical sculptures, which are now on display in the Rosenthal Library

You can learn more about the exhibit and read an interview with Hanusa through the gallery’s website. His collection of mathematical jewelry can also be purchased at hanusadesign.com.
In Memoriam
Clarice Hoffer

Clarice Hoffer ’96 passed away on January 13, 2022, at the remarkable age of 99½. 

Hoffer had enrolled in City College in 1942, but dropped out due to the start of World War II; instead, she went to Washington, DC, to work for Voice of America, which began broadcasting that year to combat Nazi propaganda.
When the war ended, Hoffer came back to New York. She married, raised a family, and had a very happy life and career with the NYC school system. Returning to college as a septuagenarian, she earned a BA from Queens College at age 74, more than 50 years after she first pursued a degree. 

“My mom loved learning and loved Queens College,” says her daughter, Sue Herskovits. “She continued to audit classes after graduation. I'm sure she went to Homecomings, too; she was very social and loved parties!” 
Heard Around the Virtual Campus
Yvonne Shortt
Edisa Weeks
Jeffrey Bird (SEES) was recognized as a 2021 Soil Science Society of America Journal Outstanding Associate Editor. He begins a new editorial appointment this year as an Associate Editor of the Springer journal, Biogeochemistry. . . . Interim Dean of Education Dana Fusco, Interim Associate Dean of Education Trina Yearwood, Leslee Grey (SEYS), and their partner Nick Ferreria from the Child Center of New York prepared a panel presentation, "Teacher preparation and the invisibility of community," that was accepted for the first annual CUNY Education Conference: Innovative Practices in Preparing Educators Across CUNY . . . . Theodore Kesler (EEC) received a research grant award from the Center for Expansion of Language and Teaching for his research project, “The Expression of Gesture in the Reading Process” . . . . Nia Love (Dance) received a $45,000 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant . . . . Cathy Savage-Dunn (Biology) has been awarded a $455,871 NIH R21 grant for "Multi-Omic Analysis of BMP-Insulin Signaling Crosstalk in Lipid Metabolism During Aging" . . . . Yvonne Shortt MA ’08, interviewed by WPIX, discussed her social practice art and her family’s long association with QC. Shortt mounted an installation, “Elevations,” on campus grounds last year . . . . Anthony Tamburri (Calandra Institute) published an opinion piece, “Observations on Why Promotors of Italian American Culture Need to Know More: The Italian/American Experience of Religion,” on the Journal of Religion and Society, volume 24 . . . .Edisa Weeks (Dance; acting chair of Drama, Theatre and Dance) headlined the Motion State Arts Dance Festival in Providence, Rhode Island, March 4-13.
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