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What’s News
QC and Google Take Summer Program Online
For the third year in a row, QC is partnering with Google to host an intensive and interactive summer coding bootcamp. Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) Online offers incoming freshmen a four-week introduction to computer science; this year’s program will be conducted entirely online. Admission is competitive and students from groups that are historically underrepresented in technology are urged to apply. Visit https://cssi.qc.cuny.edu/ to learn more about CSSI or apply to it.
Warming Up to Foreign Languages and Literatures
Summer is a great time to begin a new language or immerse yourself in English versions of great writing from overseas. Because all of QC’s Summer Session courses are held online, everyone can study from the safety and convenience of home. Foreign-flavored options include Beginning French I (French 111 LANG); Italian Literature in Translation (Italian 41-01, Italian 41-02 LIT); Keys to Russian Literature (Russian 155-01, Russian 155-02 LIT); and Writing About European Literature and Culture (Euro 120 EC2).
Speaking of languages: the American Sign Language class, offered during summer for the first time, is so popular that an additional class is being created. For complete listings, go to the Summer Session page .
Documenting the Pandemic Experience
The Queens Memory Project has launched the COVID-19 Project, a groundbreaking effort to document Queens residents’ lived experience of the pandemic. Casting a wide net, the project is seeking submissions of videos, photographs, oral testimony, ephemera, and other evidence of the texture of this crisis—and doing so as events are still unfolding. “What we’re all feeling right now are the first impressions and first emotions of adjusting in the here and now,” explains Lori Wallach (Special Collections and Archives), Queens Memory Outreach Coordinator at QC. “Those impressions will be invaluable pieces of evidence for future researchers and historians. How were people actually experiencing the pandemic as it happened?”

Photo by: Megan Green
Photo by: Linda Dutan
Photo by: Geo Marin
Headed by GSLIS alumna Natalie Milbrodt and supported by Queens Public Library (QPL) and Queens College, the Queens Memory Project is best known for its oral histories of the borough. It conducts interviews and gathers historical materials that both institutions archive for public and scholarly use.

Spreading the Word

Under pandemic conditions—with libraries partially closed, many people cloistered in their homes, and a health emergency in Queens—the COVID-19 History Project is reaching out in new ways. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to respond,” says Wallach. “We’re doing social media, we have an 800 number set up which is new for us, and we’re trying to leverage our community partners so they can spread the word.” They post topical prompts and submissions from the public on Instagram. “It’s very exciting,” Wallach notes. “We’re learning as we go along, and all of us doing it remotely adds another layer of challenge.”

As Meral Agish, Queens Memory community coordinator at QPL, observes, “Some people may want to contribute a photo or a video; some people may want to write about their experience or talk about it. Because we have the ability to capture all these stories—to collect and archive them and share them right now, and to catalogue them for the future—it seemed like an incredible opportunity to open the floodgates and let all the new material in. People are living in this moment now and they’ll speak about it, think about it, write about it in a different way than they would even a week or two or several months down the line.” Part of the project’s plan is to begin curating these submissions in a podcast this summer.

Getting the Stories

To solicit contributions, the COVID-19 Project is reaching out to both individuals and organizations. Besides community cultural partnerships, QC has developed networks based in the college (including retired faculty and staff volunteers who assist Special Collections and Archives); Wallach is soliciting submissions from the larger college community, and has begun interviewing people at QC. QPL has more than 60 branch libraries throughout the borough, which give it a wide reach. “The goal is to capture as many stories about life during the pandemic as we can get,” says Agish. “There are more than 2 million people who interact with the Queens Library system every year, and we’re imagining that every one of those people—and every person who lives, works, goes to school, has loved ones in Queens—has a story to contribute. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, even grateful in some ways that there’s a project paying attention to what is happening right now.”

The challenge of documenting a pandemic in such a diverse borough is tremendous. “It’s interesting being in a moment where we’re all experiencing this collectively, but the effects are very uneven,” continues Agish. “We see that there are certain neighborhoods that are the hardest hit and others that are a little bit more protected. We want to be mindful that even though we’re all living in a pandemic, the reality on a person-to-person basis is very different. That gives us a chance to focus on what are the stories that are most pressing to record, because quite often they’re not the ones that get the most attention. We want to be aware of how do we reach as many people as we can, as many organizations as we can, as many communities as we can, to capture the sheer diversity of what life is like right now.”

For more information, visit the Covid-19 Project . Online submissions can be found here .
SEES Club Provides a Down-to-earth Good Time
Even for a club that has used creative solutions to keep members in touch during the pandemic-induced closure of the Queens College campus, staging a talent show was pretty ambitious. Yet, on a recent Thursday evening the SEES Club did exactly that.

Recipients of a link distributed by email clicked at 7 pm and were taken to YouTube where for half an hour, club members and SEES faculty provided laughs, music, dance (including a striking bit of choreography using lanterns in a darkened room), pet videos, a cooking segment, and some things that defy description. A column running alongside allowed viewers to comment in real time on the proceedings. The comments were pretty entertaining, too.

Queens College Got Talent

The SEES Talent Show was organized and presented by club president Lexi Kenis, who also edited and provided titles and credits for the acts which were submitted on video over a two-week period right up to the day of presentation. A dual major in Geology and Environmental Science, Kenis, who graduates this spring, was elected president at the end of the Spring 2019 semester.
Some illuminating choreography from Prof. Jaquelyn Bracco (SEES-Geology).
A handy keyboard outing from Andrew Seelall.
Lexi Kenis lends vocals and unusual instrumentation (with assistance from her sister Paige on ukulele) to a Britney Spears song.
The SEES Club, she explains, doesn’t really have a set schedule for meetings like other clubs.

“We have a club room in the SEES Department and we have a tutoring room, so we’re kind of all together all the time. Instead of set meetings, we would have specific events relative to the time of year: We had a Thanksgiving Potluck. The department has colloquiums every Wednesday, so we started Waffleoquium Wednesdays and sold waffles before colloquiums.

“We have about 20 members who are active and alumni who are on our email list, and we try to get the professors involved as much as we can,” she says, citing Allan Ludman, the club’s faculty adviser, and Jacquelyn Bracco, who advertises the Waffleoquiums.

“So, we’re really close. We hung out together every day; it was a big change to not see everyone every day. . . We just wanted to do something to keep in touch. So, we did a trivia night on Kahoot!, a website teachers use. All of Pompeii is on Google Streetview, so I found a bunch of things on Streetview and we had a scavenger hunt where other people had to find those things. We did a movie night.”

Night at the Movies

The movie was Tremors, a comic monster film that pits residents of a tiny town in the Nevada desert against giant carnivorous wormlike creatures that burrow underground, occasionally popping up to snatch someone. Appropriately, one of the lead characters is a seismologist.

“We’ve managed to have an event every week since the closure. But some of us stay in contact even more than that,” Kenis says, mentioning a board game, Settlers of Catan, that some members played regularly and continue to play via a digital version.

“There are group chats using Google Meet where everyone checks in with each other. Also, Netflix has a [Google] Chrome extension called Netflix Party. So, when we had our movie night, we could all watch the movie at the exact same time and it adds a little chat feature on the side where you live-respond to the movie.”

“I’m really excited to see it all come together,” Kenis says of the talent show, describing the acts with a chuckle as, “kind of running the whole spectrum of things that can exist. . . For example, one of the professors sent me a four-minute cold open in the style of a late-night comedy show.”

The Quarantine Show

Sure enough, following the onscreen proclamation, “Hope this helps take everyone’s mind off the craziness around us right now,” the talent show opens with The Quarantine Show with Dr. Karl Lang (“Live from an apartment in Queens…”) appropriately setting the tone for what’s to follow with five minutes of cheesy music, canned applause, canned laughter, and, of course rim shots and cymbal splashes to punctuate a series of bad jokes.

Midway through the proceedings, Kenis, herself, appears accompanied by her sister offering a take on a Britney Spears song featuring her vocals and some truly unique instrumentation.

Perhaps it should be noted that actor and director Jon Favreau got his first show business experience at Queens College in the 1980s as part of a student group that staged concerts on campus. Who knows what the future may hold for Kenis? She says she plans to travel out west after graduation. Interestingly, Favreau did the same thing.
Still Possible To Join the Electorate (and Vote Remotely)

Postponed from last month, the New York primary—including the Democratic presidential primary—will be held on Tuesday, June 23. As a result, would-be voters have a little more time to register. The new deadline is Wednesday, June 3, 2020. Registrations submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than Friday, May 29, 2020. For more information click here .

Amid concern about COVID-19, which is highly contagious, no one needs to leave quarantine or isolation to visit a polling place in person. Instructions on getting and filing an absentee ballot are posted here .
School of Education Names Interim Dean

Effective July 1, Dana Fusco will become interim dean of the School of Education. She succeeds Craig Michaels, who will rejoin the faculty of Education and Community Programs after taking a sabbatical this fall.

Fusco is already well acquainted with QC colleagues: She spent several months working with the college’s Education faculty on the CAEP Accreditation and the probationary self-study report that was submitted in April.

Fusco comes to QC after more than 20 years as a professor of Education and Youth Studies at York College. As chair of Teacher Education—a title she held from 2014—she led York to a successful CAEP Accreditation and created several student-focused initiatives to improve retention and completion rates.

A first-generation college graduate, Fusco majored in psychology at SUNY New Paltz and earned a doctoral degree in educational psychology at The CUNY Graduate Center. The author of three volumes in the emergent field of youth work, dozens of chapters and peer-reviewed articles, she has keynoted national and international conferences. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and playing fetch with her dog, Brylie.
University-wide Convergence
CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) assembles researchers from different disciplines across the university to address important issues. To advance that work, ASRC launched “Converge to Transform,” a four-part webinar series, on Thursday, May 6. The three remaining sessions—covering topics such as such as sustainable energy and urban environmental impacts—will take place on May 26, June 9, and June 23, all at 2 pm to 4 pm. Scholars from STEM, social sciences, and humanities are all encouraged to attend. For more information, including how to register, click here .
Coping with COVID-19 and its Aftermath
The office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli maintains a website to help individuals, businesses, agencies, and nonprofits weather the coronavirus. The COVID-19 Financial Survival Toolkit for New Yorkers lists resources in areas such as health care, the CARES Act, personal finance, and programs for seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans.
Closer to home, the QC portal has expanded its coronavirus FAQs/resource page , which is rapidly becoming one of the most visited areas on the college’s website.

The Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center collaborates with Share Meals, Hunger Free America, Beta NYC, and Plentiful to prepare food resource guides for each of the New York City Department of Health’s 59 community districts.

Because all of these websites are constantly being updated, it’s best to check them frequently for the latest information.
Arts Remain Lively at a Distance
All the world’s still a stage for the college’s performing arts faculty and students. Actors, dancers, and musicians and singers are working remotely and capturing their efforts on video.

Unable to present Titus Andronicus in March and April, as planned, the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance shared students’ renditions of scenes from the Shakespeare tragedy .

In Yin Mei Critchell's dance class Mona Wang made use of a stairwell in choreography that evokes the feeling of being contained indoors.

Virtual Aaron Copland School of Music performances include “Choir-antine” 2020, featuring the QC Treble Choir under the direction of Eric Rubinstein, and a movement of a trombone quartet with all parts played by faculty member Haim Avitsur. “No click tracks,” he informs viewers. “No fancy equipment. Just an iPad camera and a whole lot of listening.”
Heard Around Campus
The Louis Armstrong House Museum got additional coverage on NY1 Louis Armstrong Museum Continues to Educate After Coronavirus Closure for its virtual offerings . . . . Mary Catherine Ford , an alumna of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation, published on op-ed about celebrating her first Ramadan as a Muslim in the Washington Post on April 30 . . . . Seogjoo Jang (Chemistry and Biochemistry) announced publication of Dynamics of Molecular Excitons on Elsevier . . . . Nathalie Nieves ’17 MA is an inaugural winner of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Ana Real Scholarship . . . . Caroline Rupprecht (Comparative Literature) has a new book, Asian Fusion, coming out from Peter Lang this summer . . . . Karen Strassler (Anthropology) published an op-ed, What We Lose When We Go From the Classroom to Zoom , in the New York Times on May 4 . . . . Uri Samuni (Chemistry and Biochemistry) received a four-year, $462,000 NIH grant for his project, "Hybrid Nanogels as Biostable Non-Toxic Multifunctional Imaging Agents for MRI.” The research will develop nitroxide hybrid nanoparticles to serve as metal-free, non-toxic contrast agents for MRI diagnostic tests . . . . Daniel Weinstein (Biology) is featured in the May 2020 edition of CUNY TV’s “Urban U,” talking about the personal protective equipment collected and donated by the School of Math and Natural Sciences . . . . President-designate Frank H. Wu presented a c ontinuing professional development webinar on cultural competence and cultural diversity to the Law Society of Saskatchewan, Canada, last week. On June 10, he will be featured in APAICS in Conversation , a webinar series presented by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
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