Discimus ut serviamus: We learn so that we may serve.
What’s News
QC A Best Value College, Again
Queens College has again been recognized by Princeton Review with inclusion in its Best Value Colleges list for 2020. Out of 646 colleges and universities evaluated, 200 schools received the distinction, recommended as offering the best ROI (Return on Investment). Its ROI ratings tallies and selection process considered more than 40 data points, broadly covering academics, affordability, and career preparation. Profiles of the 200 schools are available here.
Veterans and current service members got the latest details on campus life, resources, and benefits at the Spring 2020 Veteran and Military Orientation, held in Student Union 310 on Monday, February 3, from noon to 2 pm. Military Times , Victory Media, and  Military Advanced Education & Transition Guide to Colleges and Universities  have all cited QC for creating a supportive environment for servicemen and women, veterans, and their families.
Visitors savored breakfast and  Arte Cubano  when Godwin-Ternbach Museum served up Taste of Art on the morning of Thursday, February 6. The event, co-hosted by Interim President William Tramontano, gave Maria Cristina Pio, Louise Weinberg, and Stephanie Lee—respectively, the museum’s co-directors and their assistant—the opportunity to introduce themselves to the QC community. If you haven’t seen  Arte Cubano  yet, there’s still time: The exhibition will close on February 20.
At Local 371/DC 37’s annual gala on Thursday, January 23, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams shared a photo op with his fellow honorees (from left), QC alumnus Gregory Mantsios ( ’72 BA, ’73 MA), dean of the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and alumnus Arthur Cheliotes (’70 BA), business manager and former president of Local 1180 of the Communications Workers of America, AFLCIO. Mantsios and Cheliotes were recognized for establishing the school at the University. 

The fourth individual in the picture is Cheliotes’ grandson.
Addressing Food Insecurity at QC
Since Fall 2018, QC students with food insecurity have been eating better thanks to the Knights Table Food Pantry. Consistent with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s No Student Goes Hungry Program, the pantry gets support from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, and the campus community. Throughout December, the Queens County Farm Museum  www.queensfarm.org , under the leadership of Executive Director Jennifer Walden Weprin, collected nonperishable items from its visitors and delivered the “harvest” to the college, as seen here  food pantry video . The pantry is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Services are available to qualified matriculated students and their families. To schedule an appointment, email  KnightsTable@qc.cuny.edu  or call 718-570-0393.
Black History Month 2020
The National Association of Black Accountants will host “Black History: Not Just a Month” on Wednesday, February 19 at 7 pm in the James Muyskens Conference Room at the Summit Apartments.
Call for QC Departments to Host CUNY Summer Corps 2020 Interns

QC’s Center for Career Engagement and Internships wants to make campus departments aware of an exciting program: CUNY Summer Corps 2020. This is an opportunity for departments to hire CUNY students for paid internships during the summer by completing the employer host site form (below).

CUNY has received funding from New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development and its Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) to support summer internships geared especially to undergraduate students from CUNY colleges. The program is recruiting CUNY campus partners interested in hosting Summer Corps interns who will work 25 hours per week for six weeks earning $15 an hour.

Employers do not pay to participate in the 2020 program. They need only provide substantive work assignments that will enable students to build their resumes and bolster their workplace skills. CUNY has secured full funding to support 1,200 student interns, all of whom will begin their work in July. The program is open to senior and community college students and is eager to host CUNY students who are starting to explore careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

If you are interested in becoming a CUNY Summer Corps employer partner, please complete and submit this  interest form  by no later than FEBRUARY 15. The Summer Corps Team will reach out in mid- to late-March to begin the formal process of designating the QC campus as a 2020 Summer Corps partner.

For additional information please email The CUNY SYEP Summer Corps Team at  summercorps@cuny.edu .
Intro to GIS Added to Summer Session
The Urban Studies course Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will be among the innovative offerings of QC’s first summer session, June 21-24, the first of four summer sessions in 2020. Knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an increasingly sought-after skill from professions ranging from urban planning to public health to political science and many others.
GIS goes beyond simply making maps. It assists in creating, organizing, analyzing and visualizing data. It helps answer and visualize such questions, among countless others, as: How and where has population increased across different cities? How do health disparities vary across a region? Which counties had the most voter turnout in the last election? Students will learn the fundamental concepts of GIS as well as gain a practical skill that they can use in their research and professions. Previous students have used this class to assist them in completing research projects and theses, advance their professional positions, and gain internships and jobs.

You can register for one or more QC summer sessions by clicking here .
Science Faculty Open House for High School Students
Hundreds of students from 12 local high schools attended QC’s 23rd Annual Science Open House for High School Students on January 7.
A highlight of the day’s science exhibitions and presentations was the Thomas Hayden Memorial Chemistry Show in Remsen Hall, organized by Gopal Subramaniam (Chemistry and Biochemistry). QC alumni Tom Sangiorgi and Joe Heitler, who now teach chemistry at Townsend Harris High School, and QC alumna Victoria Pirulli from Forest Hills High School, not only brought their students, but participated in the chemistry show as well. The dazzling demonstrations involved the use of liquid nitrogen, displays of bioluminescence, an electric pickle, and more. 
David Goldberg (Physics) put on a show focused on the effects of sound waves, while Dax Soule (SEES) gave a keynote on volcano seismology. Many other faculty members opened their labs, giving students lessons and demonstrations throughout the day on a bevy of scientific topics. 
Herb Weiss, a science teacher from Long Island’s South Side High School who is also a QC alumnus, has now brought his students—including a group with special needs—to the open house for 20 straight years. 
Bridging the Gap

“Queens College is not only helping to educate the students who love science, but also bridging the gap to special education students,” said Weiss, who earned a degree in biology at QC in 1995. “Oftentimes, autistic kids are forgotten about in education. They weren’t forgotten about here. They were welcome here; it’s really a very inclusive program.”
The event was organized by the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces at Stony Brook University, and by QC’s Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, with special assistance from Townsend Harris High School. The Garcia Center was named in honor of Narciso Garcia in recognition of his dedication to teaching, research, and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. Garcia earned his PhD at Stony Brook and was a QC faculty member until his passing in 1996. 

Connecting to Public Schools 

“[The open house] is an important opportunity to connect to Queens and Long Island public schools and demonstrate our interest in and support of their STEM programs,” said Steven Schwarz (Physics), who helped organize the event. “Most important, the event opens the eyes of young students to the fascination and impact of scientific research. A key factor in the event’s success is the contagious enthusiasm of the faculty and students who present their research and demonstrations. Of course, the fast-paced tour of programs, demos, and talks is attractive to students as well, and the pizza lunch is always a hit.”
“As far as I am aware of, a STEM event of this magnitude catered to high school students is unique within CUNY and probably among local institutions as well,” added PoKay Ma (Biology). “This event is well-known to teachers in local high schools. This is free to the schools, all of which have no other way to offer their students a comparable experience. As such, this is an enormous service QC provides to the community.”
Scratching the Sub-Surface in Antarctica
On February 3, Dax Soule (SEES), along with six QC students, traveled all the way to the Bransfield Strait along the Antarctic Peninsula. For a month, they are helping explore the structure of the back-arc basin found there and the volcanism related to its rifting of the underlying continental crust. 
Soule and students Lauren Schmahl (team lead), Miguel Castillo, Jordan Diaz, Jazmyn Fulle, Rua Hamid, and Jacqueline Sarmiento, as well as some top scientists from Spain and Germany, deployed from Ushuaia, Argentina aboard a Spanish research vessel, BIO Hesperides. The National Science Foundation contributed $1 million to this study, a collaborative effort with the University of Washington, of which Soule received $76,000.
Listening to the Earth

A year ago, Soule and the team made their first trip to Antarctica and dropped instruments on the sea floor to collect data. They also generated explosions to listen to how the earth reverberates and to build images of what the sub-surface looks like as a result of these explosions. This time around, they will collect the instruments and bring them back home to study the data. “Our goal is to understand how the rift is structured, and more broadly what this tells us about the structure of volcanoes and the formation of passive margins,” says Soule. 
To reach Antarctica from Argentina, the group had to cross the Drake Passage, a body of water that stretches across 500 miles and is notorious for rough seas and unpredictable weather. They will spend about three weeks in Antarctica, where they will have opportunities to get off shore and collect the instruments while also visiting the Chilean, Spanish, and Brazilian research bases. They will make the long trip back home in the beginning of March.
What’s Next?

Upon their return, the work will have only just begun. Going through all the data acquired in the study will take an estimated five years. “In this experiment we are collecting gravity, magnetic, seismic, and barometric data,” explains Soule. “That seismic data comes in many flavors. We’ve got active-source seismic data where I’m making explosions; I’m exciting the earth, and using different types of instruments to measure what that tells me about the sub-surface. We also have passive-source data—where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are occurring. We’re listening to how the earth gets excited. We’ve got all the data sitting on the sea floor. We are going to slowly pull that out, get it organized, and start working from the top down.”
Building Futures: Archie Spigner '72
Born in a small South Carolina town where his family struggled to put food on the table, 91-year-old QC alumnus and former New York City Council Deputy Majority Leader Archie Spigner made his way to New York and became an influential labor activist and political leader in the African American community. He reflects on his remarkable life and career in this profile written by Jay Hershenson (Communications and Marketing) and published on  QNS.com .

Archie Spigner (above left) with Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks.
In Memoriam
Drora Barkai Pershing, 1935-2020

Celebrated pianist and educator Drora Barkai Pershing ’55, who played an integral part in Queens College’s music programs for more than 40 years, died in January.
Born in the Bronx to immigrant Eastern European Jews, Drora—Hebrew for “freedom”—had compiled an impressive resume by the time she reached her teens. She studied at Juilliard Preparatory School and the High School of Music and Art, performed more than once on WNYC Radio’s Young Artists Showcase, and spent a summer at Tanglewood before matriculating at QC. Co-winner of the college’s concerto competition her senior year, she continued her training as a special student in piano performance at the Royal College of Music in London.

In 1961, Drora and Gale Pershing—whom she had married five years earlier—relocated to Huntsville, Alabama, with their three young children. Gale, a civil engineer, helped build facilities for the U.S. space program; Drora performed frequently as a pianist, taught dozens of piano students, led the local orchestra’s viola section, and helped establish the Huntsville Chamber Music Guild.

Family Returned to NYC

Gale’s death in 1965 prompted his widow to move her family back to New York, where she entered the CUNY doctoral program in musicology and became a QC teaching fellow in music theory and ear training. In 1970, Pershing married harpsichordist, organist, and conductor Paul Maynard, head of the college’s early music program and director of the New York Pro Musica, an ensemble that specialized in medieval and Renaissance repertoire. The next year, Pershing became a tenured member of the QC music faculty.
She went on to hold multiple responsibilities in the department, including service as an associate department chair and associate director and overseeing the BM performance program. She was deeply involved in the department’s transformation into the Aaron Copland School of Music and in the design, planning, and administration of ACSM’s current building. A substantial gift from Pershing and Maynard, who passed away in 1998, helps support the upkeep of the Maynard-Walker Memorial Organ in LeFrak Concert Hall. She also established an annual scholarship in the name of her mother, Anna Barkai, for a Copland School student in financial need.

With faculty colleagues Allen Brings, Charles Burkhart, Roger Kamien, and Leo Kraft, Pershing was a co-author of the widely used textbook  A New Approach to Keyboard Harmony , developed on the basis of their experience at QC. She was Kraft’s devoted companion from 2004 until his death in 2014. She is survived by her two sons, daughter, two stepsons, and their families. In honor of her memory, they welcome donations to the Anna Barkai Scholarship .

(This obit is derived from a detailed biography Steve Pershing wrote about his mother to accompany the donation of a significant portion of Maynard’s papers to the college’s archives.) 
Harriet Zinnes, 1919-2019

Professor Emerita Harriet Zinnes, a poet and critic, passed away in her sleep in November just five months short of her 101st birthday.
Zinnes, nee Victoria Harriet Fich, was born in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, but spent most of her life in New York City. After graduating from Washington Irving High School, where she was editor of the school paper, she attended a series of New York institutions earning her bachelor’s degree at Hunter College, her master’s at Brooklyn College, and her PhD from New York University.
Ten-year-old Harriet had written, at her mother’s dictation, “I must never make myself dependent on a man.” As a married mother of two, Zinnes more than fulfilled that vow. She wrote 11 books of poetry and two short story collections, contributed art and literary criticism to numerous magazines, and was a beloved teacher at Queens College for more than 30 years in total. “[Harriet] had a kind of aura about her, and I think it was just her warmth and her boundless social and intellectual energy,” QC’s Evan Zimroth (English) told  Poets & Writers . In further evidence of her vitality, she thought faster than she could write by hand and was such a speedy typist that composer Gheorghe Costinescu recruited her to “play” the typewriter in a performance of his music at the MacDowell Colony when both were residents.

Lifelong Love of Poetry

Zinnes had a long and prolific career, publishing her last book in 2014 and writing poetry almost until the end of her life. She always kept a notebook at her bedside, so that she could jot down any lines that popped into her head if she woke in the middle of the night. 
Zinnes was predeceased by her husband, Irving, who was a professor of physics at Fordham University. She is survived by their two children and three grandchildren. The family asks that donations in her name be made to Poets House in Manhattan, which will hold a memorial service for Zinnes on Sunday, March 7, from 6 to 8 pm. The service, which will be free and open to all poetry lovers, will feature readings of her work by poets Daniela Gioseffi, Thomas Fink, Burt Kimmelman, and Nelly Frechin de Castet and music by Costinescu and fellow contemporary composer Gao Ping. 
Heard Around Campus
Citing her impressive record of leadership roles, the North Shore American Association of University Women recently selected QC SEEK student  Seema Bejai  to be the recipient of a scholarship to attend the National Conference for College Women Leaders in May in College Park, MD. Bejai was nominated for the award by Vice President for Student Affairs Adam Rockman. . . Elissa Bemporad  (History) received the National Jewish Book Award for her latest book,  Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms and Ritual Murder in the Land of the Soviets  . . . A new article in  Mother Jones  magazine, “Trump’s Stealth Plan to Preserve White Electoral Power ”, features analysis and commentary from Andrew Beveridge (Sociology). . .
Joseph Brostek ’55 presented 1,000 custom-ordered pens to the Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estates to acknowledge and support the school’s efforts to teach students about responsible use of social media. The pens bear the message, “It is always wise to PAUSE & THINK before speaking, posting or hitting SEND.” The event was covered in the  Queens Chronicle . . .  and the Tablet  . . .
Lauren Comito ’07 (GSLIS) was named a “Librarian of the Year” by the trade publication  Library Journal . Comito, neighborhood library supervisor at Brooklyn Public Library’s Leonard Library, was cited for co-founding the advocacy organization Urban Librarians Unite with colleague Christian Zabriskie . . .
Sascha Eder , an entrepreneur formerly in residence at the Tech Incubator at Queens College, was named to the  Forbes  “30 Under 30.” Eder was cited as co-founder of NewtonX, an artificial intelligence-powered search engine that matches clients to the world’s leading investors, consultants, and technology experts . . .  Mike Fu , an alumnus of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, translated  Stories of the Sahara  from the original Chinese; the book was reviewed in  The New Yorker . Fu will be giving a reading on campus on February 25, in an event sponsored by the MFA program . . .
Chancellor Felix V. Matos Rodríguez and  Jay Hershenson  (Communications and Marketing) were among the New York public servants honored at the Prince George Ballroom on Monday, January 27, when City & State and AARP celebrated the 2020 50 Over Fifty Awards: The Age Disruptors . . .  Briallen Hopper  (English), author of  Hard to Love (Bloomsbury), a collection of essays about love and friendship, saw her book included in “ The best international nonfiction of 2019 ” by the CBC . . .  Do Lee  (Urban Studies) was quoted in the press release for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters. Lee is an activist with the Biking Public Project, which aims to expand local cycling advocacy discussion by reaching out to underrepresented bicyclists around New York City, including women, people of color, and delivery cyclists . . .  QC Hillel  is the lead institution for a three-year, $200,000 grant from the Covenant Foundation to focus on Jewish learning, leadership training, and community building for Sephardic and Mizrahi students on five major CUNY campuses. QC Hillel will be working with its counterparts at Hunter, Baruch, Brooklyn, and College of Staten Island . . .
Social Practice Queens  ( Chloë Bass and Gregory Sholette , co-directors), the collaboration between the Queens Museum and Queens College that offers a unique MFA concentration and Advanced Certificate Program to show the relationship between art and social action, has been named the recipient of a grant from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation for its 2020 Art and Social Justice Initiative. The grant was awarded to 53 cultural leaders in artistic activism, grass-roots organizations, and community-based institutions throughout New York City.
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