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Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.

QView #152 | April 18, 2023

What’s News

Joining in National Volunteer Month, the Kessler Scholars Program at Queens College hosted its inaugural, two-day alternative spring break trip to Stony Kill Farm, a 750-acre property owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Eighteen scholars and two staff members ventured to Wappingers Falls to participate in service activities such as weeding and re-setting bricks in the Verplanck Garden, cleaning community garden plots, wiping down and de-cobwebbing the inside of the barn, and even bagging fertilizer for the farm to sell in its retail operations.

Erika L. Moritsugu, an attorney who serves as deputy assistant to President Joe Biden and as Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander senior liaison, toured the Queens College campus on April 11. Meeting with students, faculty, staff, and elected officials, Moritsugu heard about QC’s faculty research, student life, and powerful community presence in “the world's borough.” She shared important insights gained from her stellar career in leadership positions in government and advocacy organizations.

New York State Senator John Liu and Assemblymember Steven Raga bookend Erika Moritsugu.

York College Senior Director of Wellness and Resources Charmaine Townsell ’05, ’19 MA—seen here next to Vice President Kamala Harris—and others from QC were among members of the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities who met Harris over the weekend.

Diverse Activities on Campus

Queens College Diversity Week got off on the right foot yesterday with Monday Mile with President Wu (above) and Let’s Talk About “IT”: Race, Gender, Sexuality, Religion, Mental Health—activities that explored the college climate. Compliance, culture, community, and change are the themes for the rest of the week, culminating in the Dismantling and Combating Hate Conference on Friday, April 21. For the complete schedule, click here.

Baseball Goes 5-0 Last Week; Men’s Tennis Gets Ready for ECC Playoffs

The Queens College baseball team continued its dominant play, winning all five of its games last week. The Knights edged Wilmington University, 9-8, on Wednesday and then swept a four-game series from Lincoln University over the weekend. QC has a record of 24-9 overall and 8-4 in the East Coast Conference (ECC), which has them in third place with three weeks left in the season. Senior first baseman Anthony Fontana is leading the Knights and the ECC in both batting average (.402) and home runs (6).

The men’s tennis team closed out the regular season with a 7-0 win over Daemen University on Saturday. The Knights are 14-4 overall and 5-1 in the ECC as they head into ECC playoffs, which begin this Friday. First-round matchups have yet to be announced.

For the latest Knights’ athletics news, be sure to visit https://queensknights.com/.

Commemorating Lives Cut Short by COVID

The Queens College community endured significant losses during the coronavirus pandemic. To honor family members, friends, and colleagues who are no longer here, the Office of Student Development and Leadership (OSDL) invites students, faculty, and staff to the college’s Annual COVID Memorial tomorrow, Wednesday, April 19, at 12 noon at Cooperman Plaza. The opening ceremony will begin at 12:30 pm. Speakers will include President Frank H. Wu, Arianna Livreri (OSDL), and sisters Jessica M. and Danielle M. Alejandro—respectively a QC graduate student and an alumna—who lost their grandfather to complications of COVID-19 and coordinated a Yellow Heart Memorial on campus for people who passed away. A representative from the office of Queens State Senator Joseph Addabbo, an active supporter of this initiative, is expected to attend. 

Journalists Visit Queens College

Randal Archibold

Arun Venugopal

The Knights News Visiting Journalists Series continues on Wednesday, April 19, with presentations during free hour and in the evening. Randal Archibold, sports editor for The New York Times, will have a sit-down with students at the Knight News Office from 12:15 to 1:30 pm. Refreshments will be served. From 6 to 7:30 pm, Arun Venugopal, senior reporter in the Race and Justice Unit at WNYC, National Public Radio, will speak in President’s Conference Room #2, in Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library. This event is co-sponsored by Media Studies and the Queens Podcast Lap.

Poetry Month Events

Marking both the 20th anniversary of the war in Iraq and the annual celebration of National Poetry Month, award-winning poet and U.S. Army veteran Brian Turner will give a reading on April 19 at 7 pm at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum. He will also answer questions moderated by fellow poet and veteran Jasper Lo. 

Turner, who holds a BA from Fresno State University and an MFA from the University of Oregon, served seven years in the U.S. Army—first in Bosnia-Herzegovina, then in Iraq, where he was an infantry team leader. Winner of the 2007 Poets Prize, he is the author of five collections of poetry, including Here, Bullet (which received the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award) and Phantom Noise (shortlisted for the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize) as well as the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country. He is currently director of the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.

Lo, an alumnus of QC’s MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation program, is a fact-checker at the New Yorker

As reported in QNS, the event, which is open to the public, is part of the Spring 2023 Reading Series hosted by the Queens College MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation.

Joseph Gross, another alumnus of QC's Creative Writing & Literary Translation program, will read from his debut poetry chapbook, Lest We All Get Clipped, on Monday, April 24, at 7 pm in the Tannenbaum Room of Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library. Gross is a recipient of the Birdhouse Chapbook Prize, awarded by Ghostbird Press. Kimko Hahn (English) will introduce the event.

CUNY Alums Empaneled for Event Focused on Legal Careers

This week, Queens College and CUNY students interested in a career in law will have a great opportunity to learn about all that law school has to offer from some of its own. Pre-Law programs from across CUNY campuses have organized “Composing a Life in Law: Getting from Backpack to Briefcase as a CUNY Grad,” to take place at Borough of Manhattan Community College on April 21 at 1 pm.

The event will feature discussions with 11 CUNY graduates working in law, with two panels: “How CUNY Prepared Me for Law School,” moderated by Tina Coco, manager of the Baruch College Max Berger Pre-Law Program, and “Life of a Lawyer,” moderated by Elizabeth Broccoli, director of John Jay College’s Pre-Law Institute. Sudha Setty, dean of CUNY Law School, will give closing remarks. 

“I think the key thing our students are missing is community and seeing people like them go far in life and have successful careers,” said Queens College professor Sari Kisilevsky (Philosophy), who was instrumental in organizing the event. “This event will feature students who transferred from community colleges, students who were low-income and first-generation, students who went to school part-time or had families as they were completing their degrees, students who themselves immigrated to the U.S. and had to build their lives from scratch, and students who encountered all kinds of challenges along the way—all of whom have successful careers in law across a broad range of practices.”

"Composing a Life in Law" is open to all CUNY students, but space is limited to just 60 people. Spots are still available, and students must register in advance. For additional information and to register visit the event website.

“The event will give Queens College students a chance to meet pre-law students from across CUNY, to talk to CUNY grads now practicing law, and to meet with the dean of CUNY Law School,” added Kisilevsky. “I think it will really help Queens College students see all of the paths that are open to them and put them on much surer footing on the road ahead. And it comes with a free lunch! It’ll be a great event.”

Planning a Productive Summer

By attending Summer Session, students can earn up to 15 college credits in 4, 6, or 10 weeks and still have time for fun in the sun. Classes will start in June and July. Students can choose from courses in in-person, online, and hybrid formats. For complete details, go to www.qc.cuny.edu/summer.

Ray Romano Makes Directorial Debut

After finding success in standup comedy, television, movies, and animated features, QC alumnus Ray Romano worked both sides of the camera on Somewhere in Queens, which receives its theatrical release April 21. The first-time director co-wrote the screenplay, a family drama in which a blue-collar Italian American father—portrayed by Romano—goes to great lengths to help his son win a basketball scholarship.

While the plot isn’t autobiographical, elements of it are. Writing the script, Romano tapped into memories of attending his son’s high school basketball games. “I would go to his games and get a thrill watching him play and also get all this attention for being the father of the starting center and, if I’m being honest, I really enjoyed living through my son in those moments,” he told Variety last year. In another example of art drawing on life, Romano’s on-screen wife, played by Laurie Metcalf, survived cancer, like his actual wife, actress and cinematographer Anna Scarpulla.

You can see Romano, Metcalf, and other cast members in this trailer.

On the Path of Parkinson’s Research

Design by Jessica Membrano

It’s not too late to join or support the college’s delegation at the Michael J. Fox Foundation-Parkinson’s Unity Walk this Saturday, April 22, in Central Park. For the second year, the Speech-Language-Hearing Center is fielding a team comprising faculty, administrative staff, students (i.e., members of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association), friends, families, and clients from Reclaiming Your Voice (QView 112), a no-cost speech and communication program for people with Parkinson’s. All are welcome to be part of the QC contingent, which will gather at the Naumburg Bandshell (near West 72nd Street) at 9:30 am before embarking on the 1.2-mile course.

This year, for the first time, the Speech-Language-Hearing Center will be among the organizations and service providers with kiosks near the walk route. “We are so excited to represent Queens College with a booth presence to provide education and resources regarding our Reclaiming Your Voice program,” said Elizabeth Viccaro (Linguistics and Communication Disorders), who secured the booth with funding from a PSC-CUNY grant. “Please come visit our booth to learn more about the program and receive some giveaways/swag.”

Reclaiming Your Voice at QC utilizes the SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd therapy approaches developed by the Parkinson Voice Project, which just awarded Viccaro her fourth consecutive grant for continued support of the program.

All funds raised at the Unity Walk, the largest single-day grassroots fundraiser for Parkinson’s disease research in the United States, go directly to Parkinson's research and public policy priorities. To sign up for the QC delegation or support the walk, visit the team’s fundraising page.

Please feel free to contact Viccaro directly via email at [email protected] or the Speech-Language-Hearing Center at [email protected] if you have any questions about the walk or the program.

Featuring Faculty Poets

Every April, QView celebrates Poetry Month by sharing work by QC faculty. This week’s contributions come from Roger Sedarat and Kimiko Hahn, members of the English Department.

Ghazal 271                         

Hafez (Translated by Roger Sedarat)


Lost in dark hair I find the mystery.

My beloved’s veil blinds the mystery.


Despite my sins love keeps me on the path.

No matter where, the heart finds mystery.


Who suffers from a cup of wine? No one.

When offered, don’t decline the mystery.


Let scholars study letters in the books.

The Sufi understands wine’s mystery.


Dear walker, you can put away that map.

The path itself unwinds the mystery.


I tried to play it safe, avoiding risk.

No wonder I can’t find the mystery.


I watched the polo match played in the sky.

The struck ball sailed behind the mystery.


Hafez, at last allow yourself to drown.

The deep Karun’s full of wine’s mystery.

Ghazal 393                          

Hafez (Translated by Roger Sedarat)


Notorious for playing with my love

I’m just the willing fool who’s played by love.


The mullah shamed us with his mournful look.

Beyond reproach we reached a happy love.


I asked the beggar where to find the path.

He pointed to the cup and said, “Try love.”


Our gaze upon the garden in full bloom.

The blushing rose turns redder, shamed by love.


To drown my self-image, I splashed the pool,

Then looked to wine to reembody love.


Surrendered to the search for your dark hair.

I pray once more that I might brush by love.


Poor workers must obey words of their boss.

We at the winehouse just abide by love.


Compassion is the great lesson of God.

Let me learn from the friend who’s taught by love.


He’s forced to kiss the beloved’s wine cup.

The lips of Hafez remain ruled by love.

Seeing Someone Seeing

by Kimiko Hahn


A little girl with a cellphone camera

noticed a whale in the Buttermilk Channel

and clicked a shot of its aura,

just a random child with a camera.

How often do we see phenomena--

a robin or turtle hatching? or an angel

of a child with a camera

capturing her whale in the Buttermilk Channel?


Originally published in a Floodgates chapbook, 2021



Cherry Stems

by Kimiko Hahn


I’m not too happy that fruit flies have brains


since I swat them whenever I see them or think I see them.

I know about their brains because I met a scientist


who tinkers with their "learning circuitry,"

“the actual mechanics


of how a memory trace is laid down in a nerve cell or neuron.”


All this proxy—dissecting the behavior of an insect—

to figure out how the brain works


for something like typing at which my mother was a pro


and me, fairly miserable because of some disorder

which it seems my daughter has inherited


since she also exhibits left/right confusion. However,


she can twist a cherry stem into a bow with her tongue

an ability no doubt from an ancestral brain


but which also reveals something about a summer in Florence.

In other words, too-much-information regarding memory trace.


Originally published in Brain Fever (W.W. Noton, 2014)

In Memoriam

Debra (Debby) Danis Seiden ’76

Fifty years ago, touring Europe on a course offered by the Home Economics Department—a precursor of FNES—a group of students forged lifelong friendships. Here Mina Malin ’74, Jane Reiser ’74, and Patricia Veneziano ’75 celebrate the memory of their classmate.

Last year we said goodbye to a wonderful woman: Debra (Debby) Danis Seiden passed away on January 11, 2022, after a 12-year battle against breast cancer. Born on March 30, 1954, Debby was a Queens girl at heart and remained a resident her entire life.

Like so many people raised in Queens, Debby was the child of immigrants. Her mother, Ruth (Stern) Danis, escaped Antwerp with her family when the Nazis invaded in 1940. Settling in Queens after a long journey through Europe and Cuba, Ruth and her husband Seymour Danis played an instrumental role in opening the first Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School in the borough. Debby and her sisters Marion and Naomi attended the Day School from kindergarten through eighth grade. The family was also active in the Forest Hills Jewish Center, where Debby had her bas mitzvah.

After graduating from Forest Hills High School, she enrolled in Queens College. A quiet girl, she began to develop confidence as a Home Economics major. She excelled in her classes and met a wonderful group of fellow students. For us, the highlight of the summer of 1973 was a trip to Europe to study Foods, Fashions and Furnishings in six countries over six weeks. The scholarly trip was organized and led by Helen Volkman. Our group enjoyed friendships that endured for the next 49 years. (Sadly, we recently learned of the passing of Dr. Volkman at age 96.)

Mina was there when Debby met her husband, Michael Seiden ’75, a reporter for QC’s Newsbeat who earned a BA in Mass Communications. Debby and Mina were at the Flagship Diner on Queens Boulevard when Michael, whom Mina knew from an English class, came in and struck up a conversation. The rest was history. In 1977, after Debby graduated, she and Michael married, making their first home in Briarwood.

Debby planned to teach high school home economics for the New York City Department of Education, but right after she graduated, the city suffered a budget crisis and stopped giving the home economics licensing exam. She needed to find a new career. Fred Baum, a family friend who was the founding librarian at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, offered her a clerical job at Cardozo. She loved the job in technical services and the professional staff loved her. Fred promised her a full-time professional library position if Debby—who had given birth to her first child, Steven—got her Masters in Library Science (MLS) on her own time and at her own expense. The Seidens hired a nanny to look after their baby while Debby worked at the library and completed her MLS at Queens College, attending classes at night.

Meanwhile, she continued her family’s traditions. Once Steven was old enough, Debby enrolled him, as she later would his siblings, at Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School. Active like her parents in the Forest Hills Jewish Center, she helped create its Parent-Child Drop-In Center, where mothers with small children could meet and socialize. She helped organize the center’s annual used book sale. With a large group of fellow volunteers, she invested months in planning the event, collecting donated books, pricing them, organizing them by subject and reading level, and staffing the tables during the week-long sale, generating tens of thousands of dollars.

Balancing career and family, Debby, by that point also the mother of Zachary, left Cardozo for a library position at the CUNY Law School. The Seidens had moved to Kew Garden Hills; the law school’s location on the Queens College campus, within walking distance of their home, was appealing. However, the time demands for her tenure-track title were significant. With the arrival of a third child, Jill—finally, a daughter, a redhead!—Debby left librarianship for a series of office jobs. Three were deeply rooted in the Jewish community. She was the executive secretary to the director of the Jewish Educators Assembly; served as a personal assistant to internationally known Jewish feminist author and speaker Blu Greenberg; and was the office manager at Jonathan David Publishers, which released The Jewish Book of Why.

With two sons in college and a daughter at a private Jewish high school, Debby sought part-time employment through a job placement agency. She told the agency exactly what she wanted. The job had to be within walking distance of Penn Station, so she could take the LIRR from the Forest Hills Station. The job had to be for a not-for-profit organization whose mission met her ethical requirements. After Debby applied, she and her husband laughed, certain that she would never hear from the agency. But within a month, she got a call about an office manager position for the Libel Defense Resource Center, now the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC). A nonprofit membership organization, the MLRC assists media lawyers and media organizations—such as newspapers, TV stations, and social media companies—defending first amendment rights and libel cases. Located near Penn Station, the MLRC met Debby’s geographical and ethical requirements. She worked there for 17 years, retiring at the end of December 2017. Michael, who spent most of his career marketing books for academic publishers, including Oxford University Press, left his job the same day.

In retirement, Debby and Michael traveled to Ireland, Scotland, London, Normandy, Paris, and Morocco. They audited courses at Queens College. Debby took a ceramics class; amazingly, she had the same teacher and worked on the same wheel as her mother, who audited the course a decade earlier. In addition, Michael and Debby audited Bible and Talmud courses at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan, participating first in person, then, when the pandemic started, on Zoom. Debby had lots of hobbies to keep her busy: gardening, knitting, crocheting, yoga, and Zentangle (meditative structured designs). She enjoyed taking long walks with Michael.

Debby was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Her treatments controlled the spread of the cancer for almost ten years, but in early 2020, the disease began to metastasize. She fought valiantly; doctors called her a super-warrior. Debby went through many medicines, procedures, tests, surgeries, and rehab until she received a terminal diagnosis. She spent her last ten days at the Bronx campus of Calvary Hospital, a hospice.

Debby’s survivors include Michael, her husband of 44 years; their children Steven, Zachary, and Jill; and grandchildren Jordan, Hannah, Jeremy, Jared, Nathan, Benjamin, and Zoe. She is also survived by her two older sisters, Marion Danis and Naomi Danis, and her brother-in-law, Marion’s husband Roger Kurlander. Debby is dearly missed by her family, friends, and QC Home Economics classmates and fellow European travelers.

Brenda Lockwood-Gibbs ’91

Occupational therapist and a community activist Brenda Lockwood-Gibbs passed away on April 1, a few months shy of her 81st birthday.  

An Illinois native, Lockwood-Gibbs earned a BS in Occupational Therapy from Mount Mary College—now Mount Mary University—in Wisconsin. She came to New York in 1965, planning to stay only a few years. Instead, she put down personal and professional roots, holding positions at Goldwater Memorial Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, and finally Downstate Medical Center/SUNY University Hospital of Brooklyn, serving as its OT director from 1975 until her retirement two decades later. Thereafter, she spent eighteen years as an occupational therapist with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

Lockwood-Gibbs earned an MA in Political Science/Public Policy Administration from Queens College, receiving merit recognition for her thesis, “AIDS: Its Impact on Health Care Workers.” She presented at national conferences; co-authored a pamphlet on exercises for scleroderma patients; and guest-lectured at OT programs at Columbia University, SUNY Downstate, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Certified in upper-extremity prosthetics training, she published an article in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy and lectured at schools and senior centers In Brooklyn and Queens.

A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha for nearly 50 years, Lockwood-Gibbs served on sorority committees, the AKA Day Care Board, and as Health Committee chairperson for two years for the Epsilon Pi Omega Chapter. In 1970, she and her husband, Richard, formed the 415 Lefferts Avenue Tenants Association in Brooklyn, which included tenants from 96 units. In 1977, the couple received the SNAP Award from then-New York City Council President Carol Bellamy for turning a vacant lot into a vegetable garden/sitting area. 

In Queens, Lockwood-Gibbs joined the Cambria Heights Civic Association and was an inaugural member of the Queens Community Democratic Club in St. Albans. Devoted to Our Lady of Light Roman Catholic Parish, she sang in its adult choir, and volunteered in its food pantry and St. Vincent de Paul Society.

“I will miss Ms. Brenda's mentorship and her guidance,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie, citing her attendance alongside her husband at critical political meetings, her enduring commitment to Southeast Queens, and her participation in and support of many local organizations.

She is survived by her husband, family, friends, sorority sisters, and her colleagues in community service.  


Queens College is the first public college in New York State to participate in the Kessler Scholars Program, launched by former New York Mets majority owner Fred Wilpon and his wife, Judy. The Kessler Program provides scholarship aid and uses research and real-time student feedback to transform the experience of first-generation college students.

Group photo sitting at conference table
Heard Around Campus

Richard Celestin (SEEK) was among the honorees at the CUNY Black Law Student Association’s annual Soul Food Gala on March 31 . . . . Jenna Citron (Hillel) was appointed by Borough President Donovan Richards to a two-year term on Community Board 8, which serves the neighborhoods of Fresh Meadows, Cunningham Heights, Hilltop Village, Pomonok Houses, Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Estates, Holliswood, Flushing South, Utopia, Kew Gardens Hills, and Briarwood . . . . Jamie Cohen (Media Studies) was quoted in a Washington Post article, “Congress had a lot to say about TikTok. Much of it was wrong.” . . . . Keisha Lindsey Nurse MA ’06 is among the health care professionals cited in an Essence article, “The Disruptors: Black Women Championing Public Health Post-Pandemic,” about the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service . . . . Beatriz Carolina Peña (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) received the Organization of American Historians’ Willi Paul Adams Award for the best book on American history published in a language other than English for 26 años de esclavitud: Juan Miranda y otros negros españoles en la Nueva York colonial [26 Years a Slave: Juan Miranda and Other Spanish Negroes in Colonial New York] (Universidad del Rosario) . . . .

Howie Rose ’77, the voice of the Mets, will be honored this season with his own team bobblehead, as reported in the New York Post. The seven-inch collectible says “Put it in the books,” the way Rose celebrates every Mets win, and will be given to fans on May 31 . . . . Zadia Feliciano (Economics) and Vanessa Pérez-Rosario (English) are among the 65 doctoral students and faculty from 16 CUNY campuses who were named CUNY Black, Race and Ethnic Studies Fellows . . . .

Vanessa Pérez-Rosario

Zadia Feliciano

President Frank H. Wu was a panelist, along with Baruch College President S. David Wu and former Asian American / Asian Research Institute Executive Director Joyce Moy, for a breakout session at the White House Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Economic Summit at the CUNY Graduate Center on April 11. The topic was Advancing Equity in Higher Education and AANAPISIs. That evening, Wu delivered a virtual lecture on April 11 for the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles on the 125th anniversary of the United States vs Wong Kim Ark. The Supreme Court decision determined that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship to all individuals born in the United States, regardless of their parents’ national origins . . . . The Knights Table Food Pantry got extensive cable television coverage on NY1.

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