Monday, November 22, 2010

Staten Island History at Moravian Cemetery

On October 26th, 2010, the students of the Verrazano Learning Community (LC) 1, Jenna Cozzolino, Thomas Peruggia, Lauren Hornek, Michael Nappi, Joseph Bushman, Rachel DiVirgilio, Nicole Arce, and Medine Kovacevic, went on a school trip to the Moravian Cemetery. Their English professor, Professor Gianoulis, organized the trip, and accompanied the students on the trip. Their sociology professor, Professor Sigler, also attended the trip. Throughout the hour and a half tour, the tour guide talked about the history of some of the family grave sites that the group had seen as well as the sites that were in the cemetery. As the group came upon different grave stones, Professor Sigler cracked jokes about the different names on headstones, which gave everyone a laugh.

The students of LC1 had a great time taking funny pictures, enjoying each other’s company, exploring the cemetery, and learning about the history of the people that were buried at the cemetery. As the group passed multiple grave sites, the tour guide spoke about how some of the street signs on Staten Island were named after the families that were of great significance to New York or were wealthy and had a lot of property. The students were impressed by the amount of knowledge that the tour guide possessed about Staten Island and New York history/           

Further along in the tour, the group came upon a Receiving Tomb.  According to the tour guide, the Receiving Tomb was created as a place to store the bodies of people who died during the winter months due to the difficulty in digging a grave when the ground becomes frozen. Currently, the Receiving Tomb also holds bodies that are waiting to be buried because of the lack of room in some areas of the cemetery.  As the tour continued, the group came upon a recent tomb that had a built-in skylight, and Professor Gianoulis had thought it was “absolutely beautiful, and thoughtful as well”.  Before everyone knew it, the tour was finished. Everyone thought it was an all-in-all wonderful, fun, educational, and interesting experience.

Written by the Verrazano Students of Learning Community (LC) 1 in English 111

Edited by Medine Kovacevic

Photos by Jenna Cozzolino

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scholarships and Selective Opportunities: Advice for New Verrazano Students

On Thursday, October 28th the Verrazano School hosted a VELA event to help prepare underclassmen for the process of applying to internships and graduate schools.  Geoff Hempill from the Career and Scholarship served as the moderator of the student panel.  Attendees heard from three Verrazano upperclassman, Deryn, Irvin and Melissa, and each touched on various aspects of the application process.

Melissa, a member of the CUNY Pipeline Program discussed her experience with research in the field of psychology as well as the benefits of CUNY Pipeline.  She encouraged freshman and sophomores to try out several clubs and gain a variety of experiences while they still had the time in order to figure out what they were passionate about. Melissa also talked about applying to graduate school and the many steps one must take to be a successful applicant. Such steps included researching universities and their programs either the semester or summer before you apply, getting the GRE out of the way over the summer and writing one’s personal statement in enough time to have it proofread and edited if necessary. She also advises students in the sciences to get involved with research early in their college career, not only for the benefit of their resume but also because it would allow them to find mentors in that specific field. Research, as Melissa pointed out, could also lead to a job after graduation and in today’s economy this could prove to be a valuable back-up.

Next Deryn, a Lipper intern with the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust gave students advice on the ups and downs of applying to internships. She encouraged them to research organizations they would be interested in working with and sending out a resume. Many organizations will appreciate a student who takes the initiative to email and inquire about opportunities that might be available. Deryn also reminded the underclassmen that applying as a freshman or sophomore can be very difficult since many institutions give their internships to juniors or seniors who have had more experience in the field. During this time Deryn suggested that students get involved on campus since extracurricular activities would not only help to build a resume but would also allow them to network with members of the faculty and administration.

Lastly Irvin, a JK Watson Fellow spoke about his internship experience with several companies and non-profits. He explained that thanks to these internships he was able to realize what he wanted to do after college and got the courage to change his major. Irvin brought up the importance of networking and how fellowships such as Watson allowed him to connect with a group of students who had a wide array of interests and who would no doubt become useful contacts in the future. Irvin, as well as the other panelists, emphasized the importance of connecting with professors in one’s intended major. These connections, they said, would not only come into use when looking for a letter of recommendation but also because professors can offer valuable advice in regards to graduate programs.

In conclusion each panelist echoed not only the importance of networking but also putting yourself out there and making contacts in the area you are interested in studying. Getting involved early will allow you to accomplish more, and make a larger impact on not only your resume but also the college community. Finally the majority of college students will have changed their major by graduation so if you find something you love pursue it and turn it into a marketable attribute.    

Melissa, Geoff, Irvin, and Deryn
Links to related internships and fellowships:
CUNY Pipeline Program
Museum of Jewish Heritage - Lipper Internship
Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship

 - Deryn Cro, Student Correspondent