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

QView #172 | February 21, 2024

What’s News

From left: Ashley Smith, Michelle Park, Isabel Riano

In a Government and Industry Careers Panel presented by the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES) on February 14, SEES alumni Michelle Park, Isabel Riano, and Ashley Smith—employed, respectively, by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Hillman Consulting, and the United States Geological Survey—talked about working in jobs related to their studies. A Q&A moderated by peer advisor Julia Sandke followed their presentations.

Guests got face to face with thousands of years of art at the opening reception for the Godwin-Ternbach Museum’s new show, the Psychology of Portraiture. The show will be running through May 16.

In connection with the International Neuropsychology Society’s 52nd Annual North American Meeting, held in New York City, the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at Queens College hosted an alumni-student-faculty event. Many students, including four from the lab of Veronica Hinton (Psychology), presented research. As seen in the photograph below, QC alumna/PhD student Amanda Kenepp (left) and undergraduate Bella Weiss flanked their poster.

Meanwhile, PhD student Shira Russell-Giller (left), also a QC alumna, and undergraduate Jordan Dickson enjoyed a photo op in front of their poster.

The New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislators held its 53rd annual conference in Albany last weekend. President Frank H. Wu was among the speakers on the February 17 panel, Stronger Together: Harnessing the Power of Black and Asian American Solidarity. Also in attendance was Assembly Member Grace Lee, seated to Wu's left. During the CUNY luncheon on the same day, Assemblyman and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Aubry (at podium) received the Educational Leadership Award from Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.

A bench was dedicated in honor of Alice Artzt (left) and Frances R. Curcio, co-directors of TIME 2000QCs innovative mathematics teacher preparation programto mark its 25th anniversary. You can read more about TIME 2000 in Queens Magazine.

As part of the celebration, TIME alumni enjoyed a light breakfast and heard fellow graduates talk about their experiences as teachers.

Knights Wrap Up Winter and Look to Spring

It is a busy week in Athletics, as winter sports start to wrap up their regular season, while Spring teams begin their season.

Men’s and women’s basketball continue their four-game road trip against Mercy University and St. Thomas Aquinas College, with both teams looking to make strides in clinching an ECC Playoff spot. The men’s and women’s indoor track and field conclude their regular season competing in the Fasttrack Last Chance Invitational.

Opening Day has arrived as baseball travels to Myrtle Beach for a four-game weekend series. Yesterday—February 19—the Knights were ranked #7 in the NCBWA East Regional Poll. omen’s tennis returns to action as they begin their push for a NCAA at-large bid to the big dance in May.

Two ACSM Faculty Win GRAMMYs

Aaron Copland School of Music (ACSM) faculty members Mark Dover and Luis Perdomo were winners at the 66th annual GRAMMY Awards. The February 4 ceremony recognized recordings issued from October 1, 2022, through September 15, 2023.

Mark Dover

Luis Perdomo

Dover, who teaches clarinet at ACSM, was honored as both a player and producer for Best Classical Compendium for the latest release by the Imani Winds quintet, Passion for Bach and Coltrane. Perdomo, an alumnus of ACSM who teaches ACSM jazz piano there, won in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album for his work with Miguel Zenón on Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2.

“This recognition perfectly reflects the caliber of a Queens College Arts education,” said Queens President Frank H. Wu. “Students who enroll in the Aaron Copland School of Music in our School of Arts can expect to learn from exceptional faculty who are also real-world successes—an experience that will provide them with a sound musical foundation, as well as the skills needed to succeed with their degree.”

“We at ACSM are proud and excited that two of our faculty received these prestigious awards! Congratulations!” said Michael Lipsey, ACSM chair.

Two other musicians associated with ACSM were nominated but didn’t make it into the winner’s circle. Adjunct Jazz Professor Darcy James Argue was in the running for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Dynamic Maximum Tension. Conductor JoAnn Falletta, an alumna, received her fourth nomination, for Best Orchestral Performance for her work on Scriabin: Symphony No. 2; The Poem Of Ecstasy, recorded with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. To date, she has won two GRAMMYs.

For additional details about the winners and nominees from QC, see the college’s recent press release. QNS also covered the story.

Pre-Law Students Get Their Day in NYC Supreme Court


Thanks to Saba Hosseinabadi ’21, a group of QC pre-law students and alumni—Shemika Sandy, Emma Lopez, Shivangi Sharma, Destiny Fierro, and Rolanda Coleman—and faculty member Sari Kisilevsky (Philosophy) enjoyed an up-close view of the New York City Supreme Court in downtown Manhattan on Friday, February 16.

Hosseinabadi, a paralegal at New York County Defender Services (NYCDS), organized a tour of the court for interested QC students. They spent the morning in arraignments, watching defendants at the very beginning of their encounter with the justice system. Lawyers told their clients’ stories as they fought about bail, rap sheets, and protective orders. In the afternoon, students watched the cross-examination of a complaining witness during a criminal trial. They thought the best part was all the objections! 

In a highlight of the day, Judge Marva Brown (in robes in photo below) stepped down from the bench during a moment of downtime to talk to the students about her experience as a defense lawyer and as a judge, and the road she took to get there. Students peppered her with questions about how she decides cases, how she manages to put her own feelings aside and decide cases fairly, how she became a judge, whether it is necessary to clerk for a judge in order to be elected (it’s not!), and her experience as a woman of color in the legal profession. 

Hosseinabadi expertly explained all the workings of the court, from where defendants are held, to who brings them out, who sits in a courtroom and what each person does there, and why each role is important to the judicial system. The day’s itinerary included a visit to the clerk’s office, where motions are filed and cases are picked up; a peek at juvenile court; and stops at various courtrooms, so students could observe the differing styles of judges and lawyers and how these affect the proceedings, atmosphere, and even findings of the court. 

NYCDS lawyer John Conzo joined the QC group for lunch to give students a breakdown of the action. 

Petrie Foundation Makes New Grants to QC

Queens College will be receiving $70,000 from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, part of a slate of 14 grants it announced on January 31.

The Knights Table, the college’s food pantry, will receive $20,000 to support its efforts to reduce food insecurity among students. The pantry stocks nonperishable items. The Petrie grant also assists with monthly Harvest Fests, which provide students with fresh produce free of charge.  

A second grant, of $50,000, will support expansion of the QC Service Corps—a skill-building internship that promotes civic engagement—to serve additional students during academic year 2024-25.

“The Petrie Foundation has funded multiple programs at Queens College, and we are deeply grateful for its generosity once again,” said President Frank H. Wu.

A private, independent grant-making foundation, Petrie supports colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, and individuals as they work to improve education and career outcomes for low-income New Yorkers.

This Week in Black History Month

QC will present two Black History Month events tomorrow, Wednesday, February 22.

Shola Gbemi—author of They Were Chosen: A Novel and strategist with SYPartners, a consulting firm that helps clients make positive impact—will lead a workshop on social justice careers from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in the Patio Room, Dining Hall. Free copies of They Were Chosen will be given to the first ten students in attendance. This workshop is sponsored by the Office of Student Development and Leadership. Seats can be reserved here.

The panel discussion “So Black, So Queer, So Beautiful” will take place from 6 to 9 pm in the Student Union Ballroom and on Zoom. Speakers will examine mainstream beauty standards and their effects on queer and trans people, specifically of color. In-person attendees can make use of a Black History Month photo booth with a guest stylist on hand. “So Black, So Queer, So Beautiful” is sponsored by the Office of LGBTQIAA+ Programs at Queens College and made possible through the generous support of the CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium in partnership with the New York City Council. Register for this discussion and see the full list of sponsors here.

One Screening of Everything Everywhere All at Once

In Everything Everywhere All at Once, an Asian couple stumbles through alternate universes as they try to save their marriage, their estranged daughter, and their laundromat. This award-winning indie film will be screened during QCAP Movie Night on Thursday, February 23, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm in Student Union 301. Halal and kosher snacks will be served; click here to to reserve a seat and help the hosts know how much food to order.

School of Arts to Host Arts Leadership Bootcamp for Second Year

After a successful event a year ago, the School of Arts will once again host its Arts Leadership Bootcamp in 2024. Taking place March 8-10, the bootcamp is designed to prepare students to be professionals in the arts by letting them learn from industry experts in various artistic fields.

The program will feature panel discussions by executive leaders of museums and performing arts centers as well as management and production companies; opportunities for students to practice pitching their arts projects; digital marketing and self-promotion workshops; lessons in arts leadership; and much more.

The bootcamp was created with the idea of gathering a select group of students who can speak with experts in small groups, ask direct questions, and network in order to learn from the experiences of professionals in the field. It is ideal for arts students who are interested in starting their own business or brand, want to work in arts administration, or just want to learn more about what types of opportunities are available. It will benefit arts students from every area of interest including visual arts, performance arts, and arts administration.

“One of the goals of the bootcamp is to prepare our students to be successful arts professionals,” explained Julia Del Palacio, associate dean of the School of Arts. “That is achieved through their regular training of artists but also through career development initiatives.” 

Kayhan Irani, Emmy-award-winning writer and cultural activist; Klaudia Ofwana-Draber, faculty member at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art; and Cathy Hung, executive director of New York City’s Children’s Theatre are among the experts who will participate. QC alumni from last year’s event will also be on hand to talk with students about their experiences. A full itinerary can be viewed here.

The bootcamp is open to select students from CUNY campuses in the Borough of Queens as well as from Hostos Community College. Students needed to apply in advance to take part in the weekend-long initiative.

“It extends a lot of professional skills that artists don’t necessarily pay attention to. It will open our students’ perspective to what they can do,” added del Palacio. “Sure, they can be an art teacher, but they can also go on to work at auction houses, for example, and be very successful. The idea is to give them the opportunity to learn about ways they can apply their art.”

The bootcamp also serves another unintended purpose: to give students confidence. Many attendees from last year felt the bootcamp helped with their self-doubt about whether they could successfully pursue a career in the arts.

“After the bootcamp experience, I started to take myself seriously as an artist,” explained Akampreet Kaur, a QC TESOL student who attend last year’s event. “I had all these doubts, but now it’s clear that I am an artist and I’m going to take myself seriously.”

Mining Vintage Materials

One of the gems of Queens College is its Fashion and Textiles Collection. Holdings are deep, encompassing garments, accessories, and textiles and ranging from hand-made 18th-century clothes to high-end ready-to-wear and haute couture by contemporary designers. First established as a study collection, the fashion archive was reimagined as an integral teaching and exhibition resource for hands-on learning by Emily Ripley—lecturer and director of the fashion program, curator of the collection, and a fashion historian with extensive experience in museums and the arts. She not only turned it into a teaching and exhibition showpiece, but also created a new Fashion and Design BA in the humanities for Queens College students.

“The collection was created in the 1950s,” explains Ripley. “Phyllis Tortora (Family, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences [FNES]) was the caretaker for a long time. She wrote Survey of Historic Costume, one of the seminal costume history texts. The initial donations came from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Before the value of historic garments increased, museums used to donate things they didn’t want; now they would auction them.” One item that stands out to Ripley is a “beautiful Titanic-era dress” in very good condition. Local individuals also gave items to QC. Some are purely study pieces, but there also are stunning, valuable haute couture specimens in the collection. Among them are garments by Oscar de la Renta for Balmain and Yves St. Laurent that were owned by Jayne Wrightsman (one of the Met’s most important patrons). There is a sizable group of Emanuel Ungaro ready-to-wear pieces. Overall, says Ripley, “It’s primarily pieces from the early 1800s through the twenty-first century.”

However, the collection was closed for use when Ripley first began working with it. Information on date and provenance for many items was not found. “There’s all this mystery, like smoke and mist, for a lot of the early items. Plenty of major museums have that issue as well.” Unfazed, she remembers that “when I saw there was this amazing collection, as a fashion historian I thought, wow, this is a dream come true.” As curator and collections manager, Ripley has devoted many hours to researching and identifying pieces; cleaning, cataloging, and labeling them; conserving them; and fundraising for essentials like archival housing materials.

In 2014, Ripley was named director of FNES’s Fashion and Textiles program and advisor to its students. In that capacity, she began experimenting with uses for the collection—first guiding student exhibitions, then curating exhibitions for alumni events and the annual Gala as well as exhibitions with the Godwin-Ternbach Museum. In Spring 2023, she and her students staged 21 garments from the collection for the Godwin-Ternbach exhibition, The Gift: Queens College Collects, a celebration of gifts to the college. Ripley also developed new courses that explicitly incorporated the collection in the curriculum.

Connecting with Culture 

“It’s very special to be able to have material culture artifacts and to study them,” she believes. “Looking at an haute couture garment, you can appreciate and understand exactly what goes into it: the hours of hand work, the gorgeous high-end textiles, and the painstakingly crafted embellishments. We have a Balmain dress designed by Oscar de la Renta that has a net underlay with cutout and hand-stitched, velvet, diamond-shaped appliqué pieces, and in between the diamonds is extensive beading on the net. Below the net is another layer of sheer chiffon. It’s a complete work of art.” Students learn how garments relate to the body through the underlying construction, and they research objects held in the collection. “I feel that it’s better than looking at books,” explains Ripley. “For the longest time I studied fashion history in books and loved it; I was a painter so this really appealed to my visual sense. But it was a whole new ballgame being able to actually work with the garments. I really want that for my students.” The collection offers hands-on lessons for fashion history and, “as Jules Prown, the great theorist of material culture, spoke of, the truth of the material and countering your own biases,” she says.

New Opportunities for Students

Under Ripley’s direction, the fashion program moved in 2022 to the Drama, Theater, and Dance Department. The new program offers a BA in fashion and design with a full range of coursework. Ripley aims to open doors without funneling students into specializations prematurely. “I’m a firm believer in having that hands-on experience in understanding the construction details of the garment. I think it’s just an essential practice,” she says. “I love theory and I love innovative teaching, but I also want students to have training, with tangible skills for work with historical objects. For example, when they work on the collection, they’re getting experience working in an archive. Another one of my goals is to give them a smorgasbord of knowledge and training for work in the fashion industry. I want my students to understand that there are many different jobs and roles, and I want them to be able to cultivate their own personal interests.” She helps students get ready for a variety of future paths—whether developing a competitive portfolio for the fashion industry or cultivating skills for graduate studies and work in museums and archives.

Ripley, who holds a BFA in fine arts and humanities from the University of Colorado and an MA in fashion and textiles studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), had worked in the fashion industry and museums before coming to QC. She worked for many years in the fashion industry for DKNY/Donna Karan, interned at the Calvin Klein Archive and the Museum at FIT, and held a position as a research assistant in the prestigious Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has taught fashion design and history at FIT, Parsons School of Design, and the Art Institute of New York.

In 2022 she was an Andrew W. Mellon Transformative Learning in the Humanities Fellow, an honor afforded to support “equitable, creative, student-centered pedagogical research and methods” as well as foster the importance of the humanities in education and society. Her teaching continues to emphasize multicultural, multidisciplinary content with inquiry-based, hands-on learning, and her courses focus on fashion history, sketching, design, material culture, and exhibition practices. One of her signature courses, Material Matters, exemplifies her commitment to maintaining the excitement of a hands-on field in the classroom—combining lectures with reading, writing, discussion, sketching, observation of garments, study of material culture, and research. “When I’m teaching fashion history, I’m always researching,” she says. “What’s really fun is grabbing things from the collection—to explore garments with the students.”

The new courses and degree program are opening the doors of opportunity for fashion and design students. Graduates of the BA program are pursuing graduate work in fashion and textiles studies and in fashion law; some pursue additional, specialized fashion-design degrees in evening wear or certificates in haute couture sewing techniques. Alumni are working in such areas as fashion design and production, museums, archives, publicity, quality control, retail branding, fashion curation, and fashion law. Recently, the Kith Clothing Company’s Kinnect Foundation gave $25,000 to the Fashion and Design program. Their donation will support student scholarships and a state-of-the-art sewing lab, which just opened in Rathaus Hall. (QView #171)

In Memoriam

Ben Chitty

Arthur “Ben” Chitty, long-time library systems officer and PSC-CUNY union activist, passed away on February 11.

A circuitous route led Chitty to QC. As a young man, in keeping with his family’s tradition, he enlisted in the Navy, which sent him to Vietnam.

Discharged in 1969, he entered college, joined Vietnam Veterans against the War to prevent others from serving in that conflict, and immersed himself in medieval studies to gain insight into pre-capitalist society. “I ended up abandoning medieval literature for two reasons,” he told Clarion in 2019. “The prospects for academic employment in the mid-1970s were pretty grim, and I thought that studying medieval texts was pretty close to impossible without access to the documents themselves.” Changing tracks, he co-wrote From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short Illustrated History of Labor in the United States with his wife, Priscilla Murolo, a scholar in the topic.

Hired by QC in 1984, Chitty worked first as an assistant professor in Paul Klapper Library. Four years later, with the opening of Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, he became a library systems officer, a position he held until his retirement last summer.

Beyond the library, Chitty had a parallel career as a union activist particularly devoted to health and safety issues. He helped organize the Queens College Unions Joint Committee on Quality of Life, which included members from every union on campus and held monthly meetings for more than a decade. Clarion reported that in 2011, for his role in creating and maintaining the committee, he was named an Unsung Hero by New York State United Teachers. The award honors union members who identify and help solve health and safety problems in the workplace or manifest healthy environments at work.

Chitty is survived by Murolo, two stepsons, and two grandchildren.

James Fisher

James Fisher, a lecturer and counselor with the Queens College SEEK Program, passed away on December 23, 2023. He was 81.

A proud alumnus of West Virginia State University—an HBCU where he pledged the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, whose motto is “Friendship is Essential to the Soul,” and earned a bachelor’s degree—Fisher also completed a master’s in art education from Ohio State University. In 1970, he began his 25-year career with Queens College SEEK.

Devoted to the program, Fisher served as its co-director of counseling; created “Art in Prison” classes with well-known artist, activist, and educator Benny Andrews and through it taught at Rikers Island and the prison psychiatric ward in Bellevue Hospital; served on the college’s P&B Committee; and played on the faculty basketball team.

“Jim was always an advocate for art and music in our surroundings,” recalls Dr. Gwyned Simpson, who taught in SEEK. “He was an original member of the 1980’s SEEK Art Committee, which selected an amazing collection of Black and Puerto artists, including early works of Coreen Simpson, who created the Black woman’s cameo. Jim also loved jazz and used his connections to recruit the Heath brothers, renowned jazz musicians. As a result, QC’s classically oriented and esteemed music program, which until then had great difficulty enrolling Black and Puerto Rican students, transformed. The jazz program attracted a diverse student body.”

In his spare time, Fisher engaged in art and photography, played tennis, and later, danced salsa. He enjoyed vacationing in Bermuda.

“The Queens College SEEK Program owes a debt of gratitude to Jim Fisher and many others, whose commitment, innovation, and resilience set the foundation for who we are today,” observes SEEK Director Norka Blackman-Richards. “Thanks to these invaluable contributions, Queens College SEEK remains one of the most comprehensive and trailblazing opportunity programs within CUNY. Upon their shoulders we stand.”

David Kleinbard

David Kleinbard, a QC professor of English for more than 30 years, died on December 23, 2023.

A polyglot scholar with wide-ranging interests, Kleinbard held a BA from Williams College, a second BA and an MA from Cambridge University—where he studied on a Fulbright Scholarship—and a doctorate from Yale University. Perhaps best known for The Beginning of Terror: A Psychological Study of Rainier Maria Rilke’s Life and Work, Kleinbard published studies of William Faulkner, Galway Kinnell, D.H. Lawrence, and Derek Walcott, as well as his own fiction.

He was predeceased by his wife of 42 years, Maureen Waters, a fellow member of the English faculty and a pioneer of the college’s Irish Studies program.

Heard Around Campus

Julia Del Palacio (School of Arts) shared what she most loves about the borough in the Monthly Picks column, of It’s in Queens, an electronic newsletter published by the Queens Economic Development Corporation . . . . QC will offer Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), a free IRS initiative, on March 2, 10 am–4 pm, Powdermaker Hall 212; make reservations in advance. To qualify for VITA help, clients make $75,000 or less, are disabled, or have a limited command of English. Additional sessions will take place March 17, April 6, and April 14.

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