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#46
What’s News
Alumnus Matthew Higgins To Speak at Commencement

Matthew Higgins ’98 will stand on ceremony on Thursday, May 30, when QC holds its 95th commencement: He’s the event’s main speaker. Higgins is CEO and cofounder of the private investment firm RSE Ventures, vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins, and a guest shark on the ABC-TV reality show “Shark Tank”; he appeared most recently in the episode that aired on Sunday, March 17. He also supports single mothers who are taking classes at the college through the Linda Higgins Empowerment Scholarship, which he established in honor of his late mother Linda Higgins, a QC alumna. Five recipients are among the graduating class of 2019.

“It brings me great joy to invite stellar alumni like Matt Higgins back to their home campus in the role of commencement speaker,” says President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “It’s a unique opportunity for our students—on the brink of a new life chapter—to hear from individuals like Matt who used his Queens College education to build an extraordinary career and, like Matt, as a means to give back to the community. By recognizing Matt’s accomplishments, we celebrate those of his mother, Linda, also a Queens College graduate. Today, Matt’s scholarship program for single mothers honors his roots while making success stories like his possible for the next generation.”

“The foundation of my entire career was poured at Queens College, so it is incredibly meaningful for me to come full circle and celebrate the 2019 graduating class as commencement speaker,” Higgins said. “At a time in my life that was marked by abject poverty, my earliest memories are of this wonderful campus, which served as a beacon of hope for my family. Before my mother lost her health battles, Queens College conferred upon her more than just degrees and diplomas, but dignity and self-respect. To so many who work their way through school, or who battle struggles at home, or who summon the will to return to college after years of prolonged absence, this is an oasis; it is a place where the promise of an excellent education is not contingent on means, but on mettle.”
Alumna Carol Hochman To Speak
at Baccalaureate

Carol Hochman ’71 will address this year’s Baccalaureate Convocation as the keynote speaker in Colden Auditorium on the evening of Tuesday, May 28, when she will receive the Queens College President’s Medal. Hochman is president of RHH Capital & Consulting, Inc., which works with new and existing businesses in the retail, apparel, and licensing fields. In her previous position, she was president and CEO of Danskin. Before that, she was the group president for non-apparel at Liz Claiborne.

Hochman is a QC Foundation board member and one of its former chairs, as well as former chair of W.O.M.E.N. in America, a mentoring program for young businesswomen with high potential, and the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the major trade group in its industry. She serves on the advisory boards of Feed, a socially conscious business that combats world hunger, and the Westport Corporation, a leather goods manufacturer. Hochman is also managing director of Golden Seeds, an angel investment group. In 2015, she received QC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“In her career and in her service to the community, Carol is an outstanding role model for our graduates,” says President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “She has also devoted herself to supporting Queens College, ensuring that other deserving students will be able to get the high-quality education that enabled her to become a leader in her field. We are delighted that she will join us at the Baccalaureate Convocation, and we look forward to her speech.”
QC Teams Up with Navitas
To Extend Global Reach

QC is the first college in New York State to sign an agreement with Navitas, a global higher education organization that partners with universities to increase international students’ access to higher education and prepare them for future success. 

The partnership will give QC access to Navitas’ significant internationalization resources, including its extensive international recruitment capability and global teaching and learning expertise. The collaboration will also include the development of a global student success program on campus to support the transition of international students to a U.S. university environment and prepare them for future academic success.

“With a campus located in America’s most ethnically diverse county and students from more than 150 nations, we are looking forward to beginning a partnership with Navitas,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Hendrey. “We are eager to work together to increase the global perspective of our campus community and provide students worldwide with greater access to a high-quality Queens College education.”

“Navitas is delighted to be partnering with Queens College, which is a leading institution for the quality and value of its academic programs and student achievement,” said Navitas Group CEO David Buckingham. “We are excited to support the college with its internationalization strategy, which will enable more students from around the world to benefit from the excellent academic programs and vibrant student life that Queens College and the New York City area have to offer.”

QC’s global student success program is expected to welcome its first students in Spring 2020.
Former City Councilmember James Vacca helped fund QC’s Tech Incubator while he chaired the council’s technology committee; this semester, he teaches an Urban Studies course on campus, and invites experts to talk to students. A recent class, covering tech in public administration, featured (from left) Zachary Hecht, policy director at advocacy organization Tech:NYC; Vacca; Ying Zhou, executive director of the incubator; and Youssef Kalad, program director, Mayor's Office of the Chief Technology Officer.
Grounds of Improvement
A lot of work has been taking place at QC—and we’re not talking only about academic research: Facilities on campus and at the Louis Armstrong House Museum are being transformed through a series of construction projects. They’re documented in Building Futures , a new video from the Office of Communications and Marketing.
For a closer look at these capital improvements, information about new academic initiatives underway as well as profiles of QC faculty, students, and alumni, read QC’s newly published 2019 biennial report.
Events Spring Up on Campus and in the Borough

April may be the cruelest month, but in Queens, it’s shaping up as one of the busiest.

QC’s Veteran Support Services is teaming up with the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs, the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services, and the Queens Vet Center to facilitate a first-ever Queens Veterans Resource Fair at the Student Union Ballroom on Tuesday, April 9, from 10 am to 2 pm. Here’s a chance to learn about government and community organizations that offer assistance with housing, health, education, legal matters, job opportunities, mental health support, and LGBT issues. Food and raffles will be provided. Register here . No Student Goes Hungry . . .

On Wednesday, April 10, all faculty are invited to a cybersecurity education forum in Kiely Hall 150 from 12:15 pm to 1:30 pm. In collaboration with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the company IQ4, QC won funding for a three-year initiative—starting this summer—to expand cybersecurity education and integrate it into academic programs. Faculty from all majors are eligible for stipends; qualifying projects may involve adding cybersecurity to existing classes or creating new ones. RSVP to CyberQC@qc.cuny.edu to attend the forum and receive updates.
Also on April 10 at 12:15 pm to 1:30 pm, QC’s Department of Urban Studies is presenting “The Green New Deal & New York City” in Kiely 270. The speakers—Andres Bernal, advisor to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; City Councilmember and QC alumnus Costa Constantinides; Leslie Cagan, coordinator of Peoples Climate Movement NY; and Annel Hernandez, associate director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance—will address topics ranging from climate justice and the federal Green New Deal resolution to local legislation to reduce GHG emissions from large buildings. Kosher pizza will be served at the event.

Two days later, on Friday, April 12, CUNY School of Law (2 Court Square West, Long Island City 11101) is hosting CUNY’s 2019 Social Justice and Emerging Technologies Conference, from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Jeannette M. Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and a professor of computer science at Columbia University, will deliver the keynote. In addition to panel and workshop sessions on subjects such as sources of bias and how to avoid them, and serving the public good through emerging technologies, the day’s schedule includes networking and poster presentations by researchers in social justice and STEM fields. To register, click here.
Accelerated Master’s Degrees Help Students Advance Faster

QC’s accelerated master’s degree program, which allows qualified students to begin taking coursework for a graduate degree as undergraduates, is receiving rave reviews from many of the students enrolled.

Janet Chen, a Chinese secondary education major, wants to save money and graduate as soon as possible. An accelerated master’s degree will help her reach her goal of teaching in a world language department. She also finds it comforting to have a jump start on her master’s degree.

It’s relieving to know that once I graduate, most of my credits will transfer over to my graduate studies. It feels like even though I’m completing my undergraduate experience, I’m already getting a head start and working towards my master’s, giving me a boost in my studies,” explained Chen.
Ava Katz, an art history major, hopes to one day go to law school to assist with issues arising in the art world. Her enrollment in the program puts her on the fast track to get there; she is scheduled to earn her masters in just one year.

“While it can be difficult to manage a schedule with both graduate and undergraduate classes, my experience in the program has been largely positive. I have had the opportunity to take the first nine credits of my MA at an undergraduate price and am well situated to complete my MA by May 2020,” noted Katz.

Senior mathematics major Rakib Ahmed is naturally good with numbers, so he knew it made financial sense to enroll in a program that will help him save a significant amount of money.

“I do not come from a family that does well financially. I simply cannot afford to go to other institutions,” said Ahmed. “Not to mention, after seeing the great mathematics department here at Queens College, I would love to continue my education with them. Being part of the accelerated master’s program allows me to enhance my education in a financially secure and knowledgeable way.”

When Joaly Burgos finishes her studies, she hopes to parlay her accelerated MA in urban studies into a career with a global non-profit that seeks to improve the quality of life in developing communities.
“Being an involved global citizen is important to me, and my hope is that I can bring all that I’ve learned to other communities around the world,” said Burgos. “I’ve had a great experience so far! I’ve always enjoyed all my courses and my professors, so I look forward to diving deeper into the program.”

Students with upper sophomore or lower junior standing (45–75 credits) and a GPA of 3.0 or above may be eligible to enroll in the accelerated MA program. Up to 12 credits of graduate coursework can count toward both baccalaureate degree requirements and the graduate program of interest. Admitted students begin taking graduate coursework at undergraduate tuition rates in their senior year, and they may be able to earn their master’s degree in as little as one year after completing their bachelor's degree. 

Currently, 17 master’s degrees are available through the accelerated MA program, with additional options coming soon. Accelerated graduate certificates are also offered. For more information, visit accelerate.qc.cuny.edu.
Guggenheim Offers Free Advance Screening of Native Son

Native Son, a new movie based on Richard Wright’s powerful 1940 novel, will get an advance screening at the Guggenheim Museum on Tuesday, April 2, at 4 pm—and CUNY students, faculty, and staff may attend for free. A coming-of-age drama set in Chicago, Native Son follows a young African-American man who is hired as a chauffeur for an affluent businessman. Guggenheim collection artist Rashid Johnson directed the film from a screenplay by Pulitzer-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.
The program, which kicks off with an introduction by Johnson, is free with RSVP and includes same-day museum admission (already available to all QC students, staff and faculty with their QCard, as covered in the QView published on Tuesday, March 19). Seats will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis as space allows. To reserve your place, register here and use your university email address.

This program is co-presented by the Guggenheim and CUNY with support from cable and satellite television network HBO, which will release the film on Saturday, April 6.
Getting into Business This Summer

Ever wonder what’s involved in launching and running your own company? Business and Liberal Arts, a minor unique to QC, is offering “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” this summer. The course is open to all students and, because classes meet on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, no one has to quit a day job to enroll. To find out about this and other programs, visit www.qc.cuny.edu/summer .
Building Futures Profile: Carlos Chediek
Carlos Chediek exemplifies a cosmopolitan outlook and the intellectual perspective gained from a liberal arts education. The son of an official with the United Nations Development Programme who moved frequently, he is proficient in English, Turkish, Spanish, and Portuguese, and has met the presidents of Peru, Nicaragua, and Brazil. However, he credits a United States president, Barack Obama, for spurring him to activism.
 
Listening to the broadcast of Obama’s last State of the Union address, “I got truly inspired to be an agent of change in my community,” Chediek recalls. “I felt energized, ready to make a difference.” Joining NYPIRG’s voter registration drive, he signed up more than 1,700 students in 2016. That led to his current role as Queens College ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation and its nonpartisan Vote Everywhere project, for which QC has the main campus chapter. Chediek is proud of the foundation’s legacy and the importance of its work, noting that Andrew Goodman’s killers “stifled not only his voice, but also the voices of those he could potentially have registered that year.”
 
Ambassadorial responsibilities take Chediek from classrooms to student spaces and included hosting a midterm watch party for 30 students. In addition, as a political science major, he has been a teaching and research assistant for Michael Krasner. For a comparative course on the ascent of the political right, Chediek examined how Brazilian celebrities had risen to public office; facilitating conditions across otherwise different countries included “high degrees of political instability, a very negative outlook from the population toward the government, and a polarizing or celebrity-like figure joining the government and being seen as a savior, just by not having that much political experience.”
 
Further diversifying his background, Chediek chose to minor in Business and Liberal Arts because, he explains, “everything’s related in life. Being aware of what’s going on in business will give you a very good baseline with which you’ll be a more effective worker, communicator, and leader.” After graduation, he wants to work as a paralegal in order to take the first steps in becoming a lawyer.
Heard Around Campus
Elisee Joseph (Economics) successfully defended his dissertation at Felician University School of Business, earning his DBA . . . . President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez was interviewed on Thursday, March 21, by NY1 “Noticias” and appeared on “ Tiempo ” on Sunday, March 24 . . . . Financial services provider TIAA just announced the national rollout of TIAA FinSights, a financial education initiative for college students. FinSights was launched at QC last semester in a pilot program for SEEK students.
The Q View is produced by the
Office of Communications and Marketing. 

Comments and suggestions for future news items are welcome.