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Queens College Skyline, view of Manhattan
Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.

QView #142 | November 22, 2022

What’s News

Thursday, November 17, was so eventful that QView is recapping that day through pictures. 

Sebastian Alvarado (left) showed Her Majesty Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata a fish from Africa in his lab as President Frank H. Wu looked on.

Maral Tajerian, who shares the lab with Alvarado, discussed her research with Queen Diambi.

Her Majesty Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata of the Democratic Republic of Congo came to campus that morning. A CUNY alumna—she holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Staten Island—Queen Diambi stopped by the lab of Maral Tajerian and Sebastian Alvarado (Biology). Alvarado studies Astatotilapia burtoni, or Burton’s mouthbrooder. (The name references the fact that the fish keeps its eggs in its mouth.) Burton’s mouthbrooder is endemic to Lake Tanganyika, which borders Zambia, Congo, Burundi, and Tanzania; it can also be found in riverine areas that drain from Tanganyika. Making the most of a photo op, one of the fish gave birth in a small, hand-held tank. The queen’s visit, documented in this video, culminated in a reception in her honor at the Tanenbaum Room in Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library.

From left: CUNY Board of Trustees Vice Chairperson Sandra Wilkin, Chief Diversity Officer & Dean of Diversity Jerima DeWese, Chief Librarian Simone Yearwood, Her Majesty Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata, Political Science Department Chair Francois Pierre-Louis, Former NYS State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, President Frank H. Wu, and Math and Natural Sciences Dean Daniel Weinstein.

Queen Diambi had the opportunity to talk to the Queens College community about her work.

From left: Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Price, Tech Incubator Executive Director Ying Zhou, Assistant VP for External and Governmental Relations Jeffrey Rosenstock, Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Sean Pierce, New York Jobs CEO Council Executive Director Kiersten Barnet, and the Center for Career Engagement and Internship's Business Educator and Internship Specialist Eleanor Mavashev and Director Zavi Gunn.

The same morning, Kiersten Barnet, executive director of the New York Jobs CEO Council, joined college officials in Kiely 806 for coffee and a tour. As part of its mission to create economic opportunity for New Yorkers from low-income communities, the council helps find internships and jobs for CUNY students. The organization was launched in August 2020 by CEOs from 27 of the city’s largest employers.

Colleagues and friends of Carol Douglas—a graduate of QC and CUNY who served as an administrative executive assistant for the School of Social Sciences and was a founding member and leader of the Black and Latinx Faculty and Staff Association (BLFSA)—celebrated her life at the Q-Side Café at 12:30 pm. An endowment fund established in her name will support an annual award to a QC student who contributes to supporting equity and diversity on campus, as well as an event celebrating the campus community’s diversity.

From left: Math and Natural Sciences Dean Daniel Weinstein, scholarship recipients Kirk Persaud and Kathleen Arcangeles, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Laurie Dorf, Mark Pepper, Anne Kupferberg Pepper, and President Frank H. Wu.

That afternoon, Kiely 806 was the site of a second gathering: Anne Kupferberg Pepper and her husband Mark Pepper met current recipients of the scholarship they sponsor. The Kenneth Kupferberg Memorial Fund, established in 1995, supports undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Math and Natural Sciences.

At a virtual session last week, Arts & Humanities Dean William McClure provided an overview of the Arts Advisory Board mission.

Members of the Queens College Arts Advisory Board, formerly the Kupferberg Center for the Arts Advisory Board, gathered over Zoom. Cultural organizations from beyond the college—including Flushing Town Hall, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, and Langston Hughes Library—took part in the meeting to discuss ideas for the coming year.

Wu and Yu on quad on a sunny but cold day

President Frank H. Wu strolled around campus with alumnus Frank Yu. An immigrant, Yu put himself through college by driving a truck; founder of the Ally Bridge Group, a global life science investment firm, he serves on the board of the Guggenheim Museum.

Late that afternoon, QC students and alumnae, along with Center for Career Engagement and Internships Director Zavi Gunn (far right), visited Blackstone Inc. headquarters for a networking event for CUNY women. After meeting with Blackstone senior leaders to learn about pitching a business and building a personal brand, attendees enjoyed a reception with employees of this global investment firm, including CUNY alumni. Learn more about empowering entrepreneurs at Queens College Blackstone LaunchPad.

Wu Meets with International Students

President Frank H. Wu shared breakfast with international students from two of the nations he recently visited—South Korea and Taiwan—on Friday, November 18, in the President’s Conference Room in Kiely Hall.

Wu was joined by students Jane Lee, Caspar Tao, Kyungtae Kim, and Darci Jeong as well as by Lin Reed, executive director of QC’s Global Student Success Program (GSSP) and Blake Egbert, the program’s assistant marketing director. GSSP is a partner of Navitas, a global higher education organization that teams up with universities to increase international students’ access to higher education and prepare them for future success.

The students shared stories about some of their experiences in the United States, as well as their favorite things about Queens and the challenges they face living in a foreign country. President Wu offered some advice on how to get the most of their time at Queens College and gave them insider tips on local shopping, restaurants, and attractions.

Be on the lookout for December’s issue of Frankly Speaking, where President Wu will talk in more detail about his breakfast with international students and the importance of the Global Student Success Program. 

From left: students Jane Lee, Caspar Tao, Kyungtae Kim, Darci Jeong and President Frank H. Wu

Ellis Drops 22 Points to Lead Men’s Basketball to Win Over Holy Family

QC’s men’s basketball team earned a 75-61 victory over Holy Family University in front of their home crowd on Saturday, November 19. William Ellis had a big game, scoring 22 points and grabbing eight rebounds to lead the Knights. Ellis’ performance helped Queens bounce back from a tough loss earlier in the week to Felician University.

On the preceding Thursday, the women’s basketball team lost a nail-biter in its only game of the week, falling 61-60 to Post University.

On Saturday, the cross country team wrapped up the 2022 season with three runners—Njehn Phillip, Rachel Mow, and Natalia Cutter—qualifying for the NCAA East Region Championship held at Bethpage State Park. Phillip led the Knights with a 67th place finish.

Coming up this week, the women’s basketball team will be on the road today—Tuesday, November 22—to battle Bloomfield College at 5:30 pm, and they will compete in the ECC/CACC Crossover Challenge held at Molloy University this Saturday and Sunday, at 12 pm and 2 pm respectively. Men’s basketball will host Alliance University on Wednesday at 6 pm and visit American International College on Sunday at 2 pm.

QC Fields Revived Community Soccer Club

Photo of soccer field and track on a clear blue skyline

Fall 2022 at Queens College has looked like a normal semester for the first time since the pandemic. Students are attending classes in person, faculty and staff are collaborating face-to-face, and the Queens College Community Soccer Club is back in action.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, the club allowed faculty and staff to enjoy time together and play a friendly game of soccer after a hard day’s work. The club died out when the pandemic struck and employees shifted to remote work.

Now many employees are back on campus regularly and there is a brand-new soccer field for them to enjoy. So the club was revived thanks to the efforts of Ethan Jenkins ’20 (Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management) and Zeco Krcic (Facilities, Planning, and Operations).

Jenkins was a QC student and a resident assistant back in 2019 and was familiar with the soccer club. After graduating, he landed a job in the Student Affairs office while continuing his graduate studies at John Jay College. He had always enjoyed playing soccer growing up and wanted to bring the club back in order to keep his skills sharp and to stay in shape, but also to build camaraderie with his fellow QC employees.

So he reached out to Krcic and the Athletics Department for assistance, and together they re-established the Queens College Community Soccer Club. Games resumed in August.

“I want to express my gratitude towards athletics,” noted Jenkins. “They have been very accommodating. Without them, what we are doing wouldn’t be possible.”

Joining In


The club is open to anyone in the QC community—of any skill level—who would like to play. Games are typically held once a week after work from 5:30–7:30 pm. There are no commitments. Community members can play as often as they like. 

“I think it’s allowed a lot of staff and faculty members to be able to experience the new renovated fields and athletic facilities that we have,” said Jenkins. “The investment that Queens College and local government have made to our facilities have made them more appealing, not only to outside parties but also campus employees, students, staff, and clubs.”

Staff and faculty from all different departments have been represented. After two years of seeing each other only through Zoom calls, they are enjoying the time together in person once again. 

“I think it’s something our group of players really look forward to,” said Jenkins. “It turned into a good way to meet fellow staff and faculty and other members of the community. It is a good way to build up a community rapport.”

The club has been a great success this fall, with a good showing of players each week. Although the weather is getting colder, the games will still go on. Over the next few weeks, the club will shift indoors into the gymnasium. Games are held once a week, but the day of the week may be adjusted depending on when the gym is available. The club has set up a mailing list, a Microsoft Teams chat, and a WhatsApp group to keep members informed and connected.

If you are interested in joining, please fill out the interest form or contact Jenkins for additional information at ethan.jenkins@qc.cuny.edu.

Motor Vehicle Department Gets REAL about IDs

Effective May 3, 2023, a REAL ID (a driver’s license that meets federal security standards), Enhanced ID (non-driver permit), or passport will be required of all travelers flying domestically within the United States. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in Queens Hall will host walk-in service on Wednesday, November 30, and Thursday, December 1, from 7:30 am to 4 pm, for individuals who want to upgrade a standard driver’s license to a REAL ID. For instructions on who qualifies for a REAL ID and the documents required to get one, see the recent campus mailer on the topic.

Tech Incubator Joins NYC’s Founder Fellowship

The Tech Incubator at Queens College is among five additional “operator partners” named to the Venture Access NYC Founder Fellowship. Launched in February 2022 by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the fellowship provides diverse tech entrepreneurs with access to networking, fundraising, mentorship, business development, and more.

“The Tech Incubator at Queens College is honored to collaborate with NYCEDC to support entrepreneurs in New York City who are starting tech-related or tech-enabled businesses,” said Ying Zhou, the incubator’s executive director. “We will be able to deliver much-needed resources for historically marginalized and underrepresented founders to grow and thrive thanks to NYCEDC's broad connections and NYC’s tech ecosystem.”

To be eligible for the next founder fellowship cohort, entrepreneurs or their companies must have a physical address in New York City. Information about the program and applications are available here. Applications must be submitted by December 16, 2022.

Professor Identifies New Tool for Earlier Autism Diagnosis

In a just-published study, “The importance of low IQ to early diagnosis of autism,” Kristina Denisova (Psychology) establishes for the first time that infants with very low IQ are at risk of developing childhood autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Both verbal and non-verbal delays suggest the need for early evaluation and intervention.

“Professor Denisova is an expert on autism who has conducted extensive research in the field,” says Queens College President Frank H. Wu. “Her new findings have enormous implications for clinical practice with children, particularly those from underserved populations. We may have been leaving an important diagnostic tool on the table without realizing it.”

No previous prospective study looked specifically at the cognitive abilities of infants from the general population to assess their risk for autism. Denisova’s study, supported by funding from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative and the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health (NIMH), showed that an infant with low verbal or non-verbal early cognitive abilities has a 40% greater likelihood of developing ASD in childhood.

These findings should pave the way for parents and caregivers of infants to seek a medical evaluation at any sign of atypical cognitive development. Denisova hopes this information will be especially helpful to underserved populations, in particular African American and Hispanic families. Rates of both ASD and ID are especially high in children in the African American community, and often there are delays in age of first diagnosis of their children. 

For more information about Denisova’s study, see the college’s press release.

Venue Rentals Boost the Bottom Line

If you think you have caught glimpses of QC in shows such as Law & Order, Inside Amy Schumer, or The Leftovers, congratulations on your sharp eyes. Through the efforts of the Office of Venue Rentals and Events (QCVRE)—led since early 2021 by Brenna St. George Jones—the campus has accommodated crews filming documentaries, popular series, and national television commercials. These activities add to college revenues. They also enhance learning opportunities for students.

QCVRE’s portfolio extends beyond media. The office has arranged for the QC campus to serve as a polling site for Peruvian and Ecuadorian elections; host testing and training events for agencies such as the New York Board of Health and FDNY; and support AP testing for Queens high schools. Residents of certain electoral districts can come here for early voting.

Finally, QCVRE enables Queens College to help the community during crises. Ten years ago, the college sheltered people left homeless by Hurricane Sandy. After last year’s disastrous flooding, the campus supplied space for a satellite FEMA office. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, QC provided COVID testing, pop-up vaccine events, and informational support.

Whatever is taking place on campus, QCVRE strives to mitigate disruptions and ensure accessibility to facilities. To learn more about this critical office and what it does, visit https://www.qc.cuny.edu/vr.


In 1979, President Jimmy Carter became the first president to visit Queens College, holding a Town Hall Meeting at Colden Center.

Heard Around Campus

Umar Kagzi

Richard Prins

Frank H. Wu

Umar Kagzi ’22 was interviewed by WINS 1010 about his contributions to the Artemis 1 space launch as a NASA intern . . . . Richard Prins, a student in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation program, received a grant from the PEN/Heim Translation Fund for translating Walenisi, a novel by Katama Mkangi, into English from the original Swahili . . . . President Frank H. Wu was quoted in MIT Technology Review in coverage of a settlement won by Chinese American scientist Sherry Chen, wrongfully accused of being a spy . . . . CUNY is part of a five-year, €100,000 EUR International Network of Research (GDRI) grant awarded by the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France’s most prestigious research funding institution. The theme of the winning proposal is “Norms of Life,” and the network includes humanities and social science scholars from Doshisha University (Japan), Harvard University, John Hopkins University, La Sorbonne (France), Oxford University (Great Britain), Université de Picardie Jules Verne (France), and the University of Cape Town (South Africa). Alyson Cole (Political Science) is the principal investigator for the grant. CUNY’s leadership team includes Distinguished Professor Glenn Burger (English).

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