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

QView #171 | February 14, 2024

What’s News

On February 6, President Frank H. Wu and Assistant Vice President for External and Governmental Relations Jeffrey Rosenstock went to Albany to meet with legislators and seek their support for CUNY in the state budget. Here, Wu is seen with New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, chair of the Committee on Higher Education.

Queens College takes pride in the many extracurricular outlets available to students. The South Asian Student Association, K-Pop Club, and Hispanic Club were just a few of the campus organizations looking for members on Club Day on February 7 at free hour.

The Queens College Vocal Ensemble has released its latest CD, A Concordance of Leaves. Composed by ACSM alumnus Shanan Estreicher, Concordance is based on an epic poem and book of the same name by Philip Metres. The piece, written for the Queens College Vocal Ensemble, premiered in LeFrak Hall on December 5, 2022, in a concert conducted by James John (ACSM) and featuring his faculty colleagues Andrew Wannigman, baritone, and Joseph Liccardo, piano. The same team made the recording. The album can be streamlined or downloaded here and is also available on YouTube.

Above: Wielding ceremonial shears, CUNY Vice Chancellor Maite Junco (left), KITH Chief Impact Officer Sharifa Murdock, and President Frank H. Wu cut the ribbon at the renovated sewing lab in Rathaus Hall on February 7. President Wu is wearing the KITH varsity jacket he purchased at the Foundation Gala by bidding in an auction to support students. Below: QC Marketing Director Lillian Zepeda (at the podium) and (from left) Fashion and Design students Alexis Puebla, Nishat Chowdhury, Stephanie Giraldo Deabreu, and Sopia Chattergoon spoke at the event. The lab upgrade, featuring state-of-the-art sewing machines, was covered through a $25,000 grant from the Kinnect Foundation, the nonprofit arm of clothing and lifestyle company Kith. The grant, which also funds stipends for fashion and textiles students holding unpaid internships, was included in an agreement for the launch of the limited edition Kith for Queens College Fall 2022 Collection. A second collection was released last September.

Dean Emeritus of the CUNY School of Professional Studies John Mogulescu (at right in photo) spoke about his career and his memoir, The Dean of New Things, in a February 8 fireside chat with VP for Communications and Marketing and Senior Advisor to the President Jay Hershenson. A graduate of Brown University and the New York University School of Social Work, Mogulescu spent more than 35 years at CUNY. He is credited with leading programs such as the CUNY Service Corps, CUNY Start, and CUNY Prep, new specialized high schools, the CUNY School of Professional Studies as well as development of the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College—heralded at its 2012 opening as CUNY’s first new two-year school in four decades. For those who missed the conversation, the chat has been posted to YouTube.

People associated with the Percy Ellis Sutton Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) Program—students, alumni, faculty, and staff—sought each other out in the Barham Rotunda on February 8 at the opening reception for “Struggle to Learn, Learn to Struggle”: The Impact and History of the SEEK Program at Queens College, 1966–Today. Assembled from the holdings of Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library’s Special Collections and Archives, the multimedia exhibition covers the origins and growth of an initiative that helped level the academic playing field for disadvantaged students.

It was a learning experience for all when New York City Department of Education’s Lucius Young, chief of Curriculum and Instruction, and Danielle Giunta, chief of School Leadership and Development, came to campus on February 9.

From left: Admissions Counselor Elpida Asimakopoulos, Director of Undergraduate Admissions Chelsea Lavington, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Jennifer Jarvis, President Frank H. Wu, NYC DOE Chief of Curriculum and Instruction Lucius Young, NYC DOE Chief of School Leadership and Development Danielle Giunta, School of Education Dean Bobbie Kabuto.

Abrams and Chester Receive ECC Weekly Honors

Queens College freshman women’s basketball player Jalea Abrams and junior Shamar Chester of the men’s basketball team each were honored by the East Coast Conference (ECC) following a pair of career-best performances last week.

Abrams was named ECC Rookie of the Week after scoring a career-high 32 points with five three-pointers made vin a losing effort against Molloy University on February 7. It is the second straight week she’s earned Rookie of the Week honors and the third time this season. For the season, the rookie sensation is averaging 12.6 points per game, which ranks third on the team.

Chester had a career-high 31 points and five steals to go along with six assists in a loss to Molloy on February 7. It was his second straight appearance on the ECC Honor Roll. Chester is averaging 13.3 points this season to lead the Knights.

Coming up this week, the women’s and men’s basketball teams will visit Roberts Wesleyan University on Friday. The games tip off at 6 pm and 8 pm respectively. Additionally, the men’s and women’s indoor track and field team will compete at the ECC Championships on Sunday, February 18 at 4 pm at the Ocean Breeze Complex in Staten Island.

For the latest Knights news, be sure to visit queensknights.com.

This Week in Black History Month

QC’s Black History Month events continue today—February 12—with a talk by Sentwali Bakari, vice president of Student Affairs & Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Adelphi University. He will discuss the ways travel and global engagement helped him grow personally and professionally. The event takes place from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in the Muyskens Conference Room of The Summit Apartments.

Tomorrow, February 13, Shana Eutsay, a director at the Center for Educational Innovation, will present Restorative Justice in Action from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in Student Union 310. Her talk will explore social emotional learning from a perspective reflecting equity and success in both the classroom culture and overall campus community.

Africana Studies will hold a fireside chat with Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, associate professor of English at Georgetown University, on February 15, at 4:30 pm in Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, President's Room 2. A limited number of copies of Sullivan’s book, Big Girl: A Novel, will be on hand for the author to sign for students. 

B School Serves Breakfast

The college’s first Business Breakfast of the semester, Thriving 101: Mastering Success at the QC School of Business, will be held on Thursday, February 15, from 8:30 to 10 am in the Q-Side Lounge, Dining Hall. Here’s a chance for students to get pointers on making the most of their undergraduate years. Light breakfast, including kosher options, will be available. RSVP to reserve a seat.

Notwithstanding Tuesday’s snowstorm, it’s not too soon for students to think about Summer Session. Take advantage of flexible scheduling to complete credits in your major or pursue a rewarding elective and still have time to go to the beach.

Eight QC Professors Selected to Prestigious Faculty Fellowship Publication Program

CUNY has announced the selections of eight Queens College professors for the 2024 CUNY Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP), a university-wide initiative that assists full-time, untenured assistant professors in the design and execution of writing projects essential to progress toward tenure. This year’s FFPP selections are:

  • Ryan Black (English)
  • Junyong Choi (Chemistry)
  • Jonathan Gryak (Computer Science)
  • S.E. Hackney (Graduate School of Library and Information Studies)
  • Sawyer K. Kemp (English)
  • Megan Paslawski (English)
  • Nafiz Zaman Shuva (Graduate School of Library and Information Studies)
  • Omari Weekes (English)

"This is a signature CUNY program that nurtures our talented early career faculty,” said Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Price.

The FFPP is sponsored by University Human Resources in order to advance CUNY’s institutional commitment to diversity. To be accepted into this prestigious program, faculty members submitted a detailed proposal on their project along with a diversity statement and letters from the department chair and the provost supporting the reassignment of three contractual hours for participation in this program. Projects may include research-based scholarly articles for juried journals, books for academic presses, and creative writing projects.

A summary of each fellow’s project can be found below.

Ryan Black will be working on a poetry manuscript, I've Come to California. The manuscript's title poem will focus on Hollywood film composer Harry Warren, who wrote the music for 1930s musicals like 42nd Street and Gold Diggers of 1933, as well as songs that became classics (e.g. “At Last,” “I Only Have Eyes for You”). Warren, whose birth name was Salvatore Antonio Guaragna, emigrated to Brooklyn in 1893 and happens to be Black’s great-grand uncle. I've Come to California will consider the instability of whiteness and the “Americanizing” of formerly ethnic whites. Its point-of-view character, Black’s aunt, drove west from New York City in 1979 with her husband and three kids to stay with Warren in his Beverly Hills home. The poem will also address familial mental illness, incarceration, and patterns of self-harm.

Junyong Choi’s project is titled “Allosteric inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase.” For the last several years, his laboratory has worked on the research project to develop allosteric inhibitors of kinase, producing interesting preliminary data. Allosteric inhibitors have many advantages in biomedical research, but the development of such agents has been hampered due to the challenges in the identification of starting chemical agents. In this program, he will prepare a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant proposal for the development of allosteric inhibitors of kinases, which will be submitted in early 2025.

Jonathan Gryak’s research is titledA Machine Approach to Understanding Food Allergies.” In prior work, a machine learning approach was developed to accurately predict the results of oral food challenges for common food allergies such as peanut, milk, and egg, using common clinical data. Gryak’s research will seek to determine the utility of additional immunologic and genetic factors for diagnosing and understanding food allergies. A manuscript will be written that will serve as preliminary results for an NIH R21 grant application to further develop this methodology.

S.E. Hackney’s project, titled The Birth of Digital Text, examines the sociotechnical history of the written word, and its transition into the realm of networked digital computing during the latter half of the 20th century. Focusing on the frictions between the social and linguistic aspects of human communication and the development of the technical specifications that are required to support text in a digital environment, this book uses an information systems perspective to present the development of digital text from its earliest military uses in the 1940s through the incorporation of emojis into the Unicode Standard in 2015.

Sawyer K. Kemp will study Shakespeare in performance, interrogating the claim that text is made “accessible” by cross-dressed narratives that speak to contemporary transgender issues. Kemp will stress that Shakespeare and theatre studies must look beyond costume, and instead center contemporary transgender issues like homelessness, medical care, state violence, and intersections with race and disability as integral to early modern gender critique.

Megan Paslawki’s research, titled “Instructional Desires: American LGBTQ Life Writing in the Twenty-First Century,” reads the texts it studies as complex negotiations of the ethnographic expectations and impulses attaching to first-person projects that depict LGBTQ lives. This focus illuminates a distinct pedagogical orientation within contemporary queer/trans life writing that positions its texts as mediators of LGBTQ survival and intergenerational continuance.

Nafiz Zaman Shuva’s project, entitled “More Than a Place for Social Capital Creation: Public Library as a Place for Newcomers’ Settlement in a New Country,” aims to explore the use of public libraries among Bangladeshi immigrants in Queens, New York, and the role public libraries play in immigrants’ settlement in a new country. The study will address some gaps in our understanding of public library usage among Bangladeshi immigrants, one of the largest immigrant communities in New York. Based on the results of this study, policy recommendations may be provided for designing need-based public library services for newcomers in New York.  

Omari Weekes’ project, titledLurid Affinities: Sex and the Spirit in Black Contemporary Literature,” explores how queerness has affected Black religious expression in African American literature written since the Black Arts Movement (approximately 1965­­­–1975) by illustrating the ways in which queer sexuality has been operant in Black religious space, expression, and thought in the post-Black Arts Black literary imagination. By examining these texts for the ways in which Black authors have imagined queerness as being not only compatible with religious expression, but also helping to structure Black religions, Weekes shows that these works excavate the space for a political terrain that can be simultaneously Black, religious, and queer. 

Queens College congratulates all the recipients and wishes them well in their research. 

New Show at Godwin-Ternbach

Poster of The Psychology of Portraiture

Opening at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum on February 15, the Psychology of Portraiture

explores how individuals are portrayed across eras and cultures. The show features prints, drawings, paintings, and sculpture from the museum’s extensive collection, including a Roman mask from the fifth century BCE and contemporary sculpture. Psychology of Portraiture is funded in part by the Friends of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Kupferberg Center for the Arts, and Queens College. Education programs and initiatives are supported in part by the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.

Directory Assistance

Not sure who does what on campus? Senior administrative staffs are now listed on the college website under the offices in which they work. For information about directory links and how to use them, please review the mid-December mailer.

Supporting Students’ Mental Health

Counseling Services gives special attention to students’ mental health, with the aim of alleviating painful symptoms, enhancing self-understanding and understanding of others, and fostering students’ pursuit of their goals. Licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed mental health counselors, and counseling interns supervised by professional staff offer individual counseling, groups, and referrals to appropriate college or community resources. Counselors work with students on a variety of issues, including—but not limited to—anxiety, depression, grief, family conflict, relationship issues, college adjustment, and career/life choices. All services are confidential and free of charge.

To contact Counseling Services to set up an appointment, students can call 718-997-5420 or send an email to [email protected]. They should leave their name, CUNY id, and phone number. All messages—whether voicemail or email—will receive a response within 24 hours during business hours (usually Monday to Friday, 9 to 5). Students will be scheduled a time for a brief (approximately 30 minutes) screening with a counselor to help us to determine how best to assist you.

Also available to all Queens College students is the CUNY Crisis Text Line. For access, text CUNY to 741741.

In Memoriam

Jon Sperling

Biology Professor Jon Sperling passed away on February 3. He was 87.

In decades of teaching field courses in natural history, lower and higher plants, and ornithology, Sperling inspired generations of students to become nature lovers. “He was thinking about retirement, but he was not looking forward to it,” says David Lahti (Biology). “He never wanted to leave Queens College.”  

Sperling is survived by three children and three grandchildren. 

Heard Around Campus

Alyson Cole (Political Science) is a co-author of Bodies on the Line vs. Bodies Online: A Feminist Phenomenology of Digitally Mediated Political Action, published in Women’s Studies in Communication . . . . Sanjidah Haque, a QC student, and Lillian Zepeda (Communications and Marketing) are featured in a LinkedIn video about student volunteers assisting asylum seekers through a program led by CUNY Citizenship Now . . . . Michael Wechsler (Economics) was appointed ambassador for education to the Global Blockchain Business Council, the world's largest such trade association. An alumnus, Wechsler teaches a Blockchain and Money course . . . . Abdullah Zahid MLS ’05 published “The Cost of the American Dream? Our Intimacy” in the Modern Love column of the New York Times. The essay recounts his and his wife’s experience after emigrating from Bangladesh to New York, where Zahid worked as a cab driver while attending Queens College. Today, he is a librarian.

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