Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.
What’s News
QC Sees Highest Freshman Enrollment in Nearly 30 Years
More than 1,900 first-time, first-year students—the highest number since 1990—have enrolled at QC for the fall semester; these scenes from Move-In Day and Welcome Day capture the excitement.
Google-QC Partnership Debuted on Campus
The academic year had yet to begin when 26 incoming QC freshmen reported to campus for Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute Extension program—a 15-day intensive course that covered software and programming fundamentals. Selected through a competitive process, participants in the first QC-CSSI program learned the basics of HTML, JavaScript, and databases and took a field trip to the Google New York City offices, where they met and asked questions of Google engineers.

During the last three days, the students were split into three-person teams to design, develop, and deploy apps of their own. At a final event held on August 15 in the QC Dining Hall Patio Room, the students presented their projects, including Moosic, a mood-based app that allows users to select playlists based on their mood; Money Mappers, an app that helps users budget their money into specific spending categories; and Fridge.io, which can notify a user when groceries are set to expire. Many of the students plan to continue developing their apps and took suggestions from the audience on how to improve them.

QC boasts the largest computer science program in New York City and the majority of the students who completed CSSI expect to major in computer science. QC-CSSI put them a step ahead of their peers. “We didn’t even start college yet, and we have something really impressive to put on our resume,” said Bibi Hassan, who helped to develop a social networking app called Just Connect. “That really puts us forward.”

Their teachers were pleased, too. “I am really honored to have participated in the program,” said lead instructor Edgardo Molina. “I am so impressed by the work that these students have done.” Here’s what the Times Ledger wrote about QC-CSSI
Front row: 1. Joceline Garcia (Moosic) 2. Shara Nafiz (FortFinder) 3. Laiba Farhan (Comparify) 4. Nazia Asmaul Husna (Moosic)
Back row: 1. Ensar Dogrusoz (Money Mappers) 2. Madelyn Greene (Shpiel) 3. Lamiae Hairane (Reminder App)
CERRU Hosts Lunch and Launch This Month
On September 13, the Queens College Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding will hold the season’s first Lunchtime 2.0, an informal event from 12:30 to 2 pm, when students can stop by the QC cafeteria to chat with other students about pressing issues. Pizza will be served. The official launch will take place two weeks later, at the QC Patio Room from 6 to 9 pm. The theme of the event—a welcome-back party for returning CERRU members and an icebreaker for prospective members—will be heroes and villains. Costumes are encouraged.

Meanwhile, the center is making progress toward naming its first advisory board, primarily made up of mid-level to senior-level professionals. They will assist with alumni relations, provide industry expertise, and help with fundraising efforts. The eight-person board will be finalized by mid-October. The advisory board will also work alongside the center’s Young Professionals Board, comprising QC alums who participated in CERRU and have since joined the workforce. That group meets once a month to discuss strategic planning for the organization.  

“We decided to form the young professionals board because we were missing a lot of voices,” says CERRU Director Sophia McGee. “The students that go through the program have a huge impact. They make suggestions that we take to heart.”

For further information about CERRU, please stop by the office in Delaney Hall 213, or call 718-997-3070.
Practical Progress in New Participatory Budget Process
What at first glance appears to be nothing out of the ordinary–a sticker on a soap dispenser instructing users how to report to Buildings and Grounds if it’s empty–is in fact the first manifestation of an evolving collaborative process that will offer Queens College students a way to be more directly involved in how some things get done on campus.

Called Participatory Budgeting (PB), it is a democratic process by which members in a community are given a direct say in how to spend part of public budget. Already in effect in many New York City council districts and some 1500 cities globally, the concept originated in Brazil in the 1980s and was introduced to QC about three years ago by Alex Kolokotronis ’16, a BA/MA student in Political Science now pursuing his PhD at Yale, explains Sal Asaro, a Biology master’s student currently coordinating the activities of QC’s PB committee, which has been leading the way CUNY-wide in implementing participatory budgeting techniques.

The process began, he says, with a series of open assemblies as well as visits to the classes of cooperating faculty to explain the process to students and to solicit their feedback on which projects should be funded to improve the daily campus experience. That feedback eventually led to the creation of a ballot distributed to the entire student body.

“The front had eight projects; we asked students to circle three,” says Asaro. “On the back was a survey soliciting some basic information about the individual students as well as their input on some other projects that could be pursued on campus. We did it mostly on paper. We got 2,201 votes total or about 11.1 percent of the student body.

“We were able to fund five of the eight projects on the ballot this year, of which a ‘Repair Request System’ came in second place. With our funding this year, we were able to do the first iteration of the process: a series of labels across campus that tells you whom to contact when something breaks. The label provides a phone number, email address, and QR code that generates an email. It’s basically a way to open up a line of communication between the students and the staff, sort of QC’s own 311.”

Seed funding comes largely from the office of Assistant Provost Eva Fernández, which supports Participatory Budgeting as an experiential learning initiative. “What would they participatorily budget for,” she says, “if they didn’t have any budget?”

“You would think that the students would be asking for pie-in-the-sky stuff, but they’re not,” she continues. “They’re asking for very rational things: better equipped bathrooms, better lighting in some areas, more WiFi.”

Some of the projects receiving a large number of votes involve technology. This led some PB committee members to join the tech fee committee to seek additional funding from the mandatory tech fee all students pay. “Our next phase is to have the labels displayed on all of the computers in the IT computer labs and departmental computer labs with a similar message that will instead direct them to IT services,” says Markus Erndl, director of Budget and IT Process Management. “They will be on the podiums in every classroom, as well.”

Erndl has helped the PB group better determine what IT requests are already being covered by the tech fee so the group can direct resources elsewhere. “They’re getting us to do things that are good for them without their having to pay for it, necessarily,” he says.

The fact of the labels first appearing on the new soap dispensers is somewhat serendipitous, explains Zeco Krcic, AVP Facilities Planning and Operations. The campus had just changed vendors and installation of each new dispenser will include application of one of the new service stickers.
“The code-generated report goes immediately to B&G work order requests,” he says, “If we get ten hits from one restroom, then we can direct resources and prioritize scheduling with that location in mind and based on high feedback traffic.”

Historically, he notes, only faculty and staff were making complaints to B&G. But with the new service stickers, students can now easily report issues. “I’m excited because that’s one community we historically heard from the least,” he notes. “It’s a nice way to communicate with people who might otherwise take it to social media, not being aware of any other way to communicate with operation units on campus.”

Krcic says plans call for deploying stickers in big spaces such as lecture halls where large numbers of people may be affected by issues such as the room temperature or lighting: “We’ll start in the fall and, based on feedback, be smarter in the spring.”

“From my perspective, it’s an excellent experiential learning opportunity,” says Fernández. “Students are getting an insider’s view of how Queens College works. Where do budgets come from? How do budgets get allocated? Where in these processes can students have a voice? And for the administration it’s a great opportunity to learn about what students consider important.”
Hibernian-Themed Work Showcased at QC Art Center

Dúchas : The Drive Within —an exhibition of work by Irish and Irish-American artists, as well as non-Irish artists inspired by Irish culture—is on display at the QC Art Center in Benjamin Rosenthal Library through September 7. Two QC graduates with Irish roots, Alexandra Dolan-Mescal and Tim Keane, are represented in the multimedia show, which includes paintings, drawings, photography, text, and music. The closing reception on Thursday, September 6, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, features performances by traditional Irish musicians and dancers, as well as light refreshments. Slainte! For complete details about the show, click here.
Director at BlackRock To Address First QC Business Forum of Academic Year

Mark Shpizner, director of financial markets advisory at BlackRock, will give the keynote at the first Queens College Business Forum Breakfast of the 2018-19 series on Friday, September 14, from 8 to 10 am in the Student Union Ballroom, 4th floor. The forum’s theme will be From American Studies to Asset Management: The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Business Environment.

At BlackRock—the world’s largest money manager, with $6.3 trillion in assets—Shpizner supports clients across a range of advisory services, focusing primarily on balance sheet management, capital markets and transaction support, data and analytics, and regulatory matters. His keynote speech will be derived from personal experience: He graduated from Northwestern magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and English.
The event is open to the public; there is a suggested $25 donation. To register, go to qc.cuny.edu/businessforumRSVP , call 718-997-5453, or email business.forum@qc.cuny.edu . Please RSVP by September 7. Complimentary parking will be available in the Student Union Building.
Nily Rozic Allocates $750,000 To Keep Campus Upgrades on Track

State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic visited campus on August 22 to announce the allocation of $750,000 to QC. Two-thirds of the funding is designated for upgrading and maintaining the outdoor athletic track; the remainder goes toward upgrades as part of the college’s capital plan.

“Queens College is a cornerstone of our community that provides quality, affordable education for students of all backgrounds and academic pursuits,” said Rozic, who was joined by State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, QC President
Félix V. Matos Rodríguez , Townsend Harris High School Principal Brian Condon, and John Bowne High School Assistant Principal Steve Perry. “It is my honor to provide funding that will allow QC to achieve its mission of serving students and the Queens community.”

“Assemblywoman Rozic—a Townsend Harris alumna—is a great friend of Queens College, and we can’t thank her enough for the allocation she announced today,” said President Matos. “By helping us upgrade our campus, and in particular the outdoor athletic track, she is improving facilities enjoyed by the entire neighborhood, including the students at Townsend Harris High School and John Bowne High School.”
It's Never Too Late for Lifelong Learning

“Truth isn’t truth,” a prominent public figure recently declared on a national television show, awakening readers of George Orwell. For those experiencing difficulty determining what is true in the current media climate, QC may have a remedy with its new course, Media: How do we know what is real?—one of a number of Personal Development courses that will be available in October at part of Professional and Continuing Studies. Other offerings include Your Nutritional Health, Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia): Get over it!; Power of Rhythm and Movement; How to be a Meeting Rock Star; Healing Power of Writing and the Word; Social Documentary Photography; You can draw, too!; and more. Computer and graphic design courses can be found there, as well. Find complete course descriptions here.
One Stop Closer to Kissena; New Food for Thought

The One Stop Service Center has relocated from the Dining Hall to the lobby of Jefferson. The One Stop consolidates the services of the Registrar, Bursar, and Financial Aid, so that many questions can be resolved on the spot. For students who don’t have appointments, the center will be taking walk-ins this Friday, September 7, from 9 am to 5 pm.

In other campus developments, QC Dining Services has expanded its menu. Q Cafe has introduced the frozen yogurt shop Reis & Irv’s, as well as a cereal and snack station. The SA Coffee Shop has added a line of kosher baked goods, sandwiches, salads and sushi. Need to grab a late lunch? Au Bon Pain—now offering three soups and two chilis—and Kissena Bagels are in operation all day long.
Former White Supremacist Reads from Memoir at Calandra Institute

Writers Read, a series at QC’s John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (25 West 43rd Street, Manhattan), gets off to a powerful start on September 11 with an appearance by Christian Picciolini, author of White American Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette Books, 2017). Fred Gardaphe (English) will lead a discussion. Event starts at 6 pm. Admission is free; RSVP at 212-64-2094.
Incubating Coders, Gamers, and More

Drawing on in-house talent, QC’s Tech Incubator is presenting classes and workshops this fall. Undergraduate hackathon winners from QC will be teaching a course in coding on the afternoons of September 17-19; to develop the next generation of women in STEM fields, the incubator is also offering Girls Who Code clubs to third- through 12th-graders. A course in game design is already underway. The thinking process that underpins design has broader applications. Design Your Learning, based on a Designing Your Life class at Stanford University, focuses on foundational or core skills in communication, learning how to learn, decision making, and other areas. For details about these and other programs, click here.
Heard Around Campus
Eric Becker , an alum of QC’s MFA program in literary translation, has won a $12,500 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to support his translation of a short story collection by Brazilian author Lygia Fagundes Telles, who writes in Portuguese . . . . Elisee Joseph (Economics) has been named a Forbes Under 30 Scholar for the 2018 Under 30 Summit in Boston, taking place September 30-October 3. . . . As a co-principal investigator, Dax Soule (SEES)—now an assistant professor—won awards for two National Science Foundation proposals. Soule’s QC lab will get $228,000 over five years for “Collaborative Research: Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration (EDDIE): Using large datasets to build quantitative reasoning.” The second proposal, which will receive $75,000 spread over three years, is “The Tectonic and Magmatic Structure and Dynamics of Back-arc Rifting in Bransfield Strait: An International Seismic Experiment.” QC undergraduates will participate in this project, which allows collection of data in Antartica in 2019 and 2020.
In Memoriam: Joyce Warren
Scholarship Established in Joyce Warren’s Memory

Spring 2019 will see the first award made from the new Joyce W. Warren Scholarship Fund, created to honor the memory of a much-respected, longtime member of the English Department who passed away last December. In name and purpose the fund will help sustain Joyce Warren’s legacy at Queens College. Because its namesake struggled economically to secure her own education, the scholarship, fittingly, will be awarded to a part-time or full-time undergraduate student demonstrating financial need.

Joyce Warren is also remembered as the director since 2001 of the Women and Gender Studies Department, in which capacity she brought to the college the annual Virginia Frese Palmer Conference each March, Women’s History Month. The 2014 conference on Women and Genocide indirectly provided the impetus for the new scholarship.

According to her husband, Frank Warren (History Department Chair, Emeritus), the idea for the scholarship began with Elissa Bemporad (History). “She and Joyce had just edited a book, Women and Genocide (Indiana University Press, 2014), which included pieces written by some of the conference participants, and Elissa suggested that the royalties be donated to something in Joyce’s honor. She discussed it with me and we arrived at the idea of a scholarship.”

“My experience working with Joyce on coediting Women and Genocide was incredibly positive and beyond rewarding,” says Bemporad, adding, “which is not always the case when scholars come together to edit a volume.”

 “Joyce was in general a fearless, strong, stubborn, persistent role model of a woman scholar, equally devoted to teaching and conducting research,” she continues. “But she was also a wonderful person to work with: uniquely thorough and accurate; someone who read and reread the different essays in the volume and would always find the smallest mistake, which had escaped the careful eye of the essay’s author. It was a pleasure to work with her, but also a challenge given her high standards.”

The college invites contributions to the fund, which can be made online here or by mailing a check—made out to the Queens College Foundation and earmarked for the Joyce W. Warren Scholarship—to the Development Office, Kiely Hall, Room 906, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11367. Please contact the Development Office at 718-997-3920 if you have any questions.

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