Friday, December 21, 2012

Verrazano Scholarship Recipients Are Ready To Explore The World

The Verrazano School is pleased to announce the Fall 2012 Verrazano Study Abroad Scholarship recipients.  Shiney David, Angelica Grant, Elizabeth Krawczun, and Kimmy Yu have been awarded scholarships to help support their study abroad experiences during the upcoming winter and spring sessions.  These students will pursue language and cultural studies related to their areas of interest and come back having gained valuable experience and memories to last a lifetime.

Angelica Grant, Kimmy Yu, Elizabeth Krawczun

Shiney David

Elizabeth Krawczun, Verrazano Class of 2014, is a CUNY BA student pursuing a concentration in Epidemiology.  She will be spending the winter intersession traveling to India on a Global Health program through Brooklyn College.  Elizabeth remarked, “ This scholarship is going to give me the opportunity to explore a new country and new cultures. I greatly appreciate the chance I am being given to step outside of my comfort zone and take part in a global education. I would not have had this wonderful opportunity, if not for the generosity of the Verrazano School."

Shiney David, a Psychology major in the Class of 2013, will be spending the winter intersession in Florence, Italy.  Shiney hopes to become a physical therapist and is interested in applying the cross-cultural skills she gains this winter to her future profession.  "Studying abroad has been one of my goals ever since I started college,” Shiney said.  Like many students, Shiney was concerned about the financial burden of a study abroad experience and decided to apply for scholarship funds.  “If it wasn’t for the Verrazano Scholarship,” she said, “ I would have never gotten a chance to have this experience.”

Kimmy Yu is a senior, majoring in Chemistry with minors in Biochemistry and Chinese. He will be traveling to Shanghai for the winter intersession. Kimmy plans to pursue a career in teaching and medicine. He feels that having this financial support will help provide him with the ultimate experience of living on his own while at the same time earning credits toward his minor.

Angelica Grant, Class of 2013, is a Psychology major who will spend her final undergraduate semester in Hong Kong as part of the CSI Exchange Ambassador Program.  After doing research with Dr. Brooks for several semesters and finalizing her honors thesis, Angelica is ready to have the adventure of a lifetime.  In expressing her gratitude for the financial support, Angelica said, “The scholarship will significantly help me to pursue my dream of living and learning abroad while taking courses in the Social Sciences and Humanities at the City University of Hong Kong.”

All four of these scholarship recipients are active members of the Verrazano community and the broader CSI community and will serve as wonderful ambassadors for study abroad while they are away and after they are back on campus.  They will be posting blog entries about their experiences before they leave, while they are abroad, and upon their return.   There will also be a Verrazano student study abroad panel held on February 14, and the scholarship recipients will be participating as panelists at that event.  We look forward to hearing more from these students!

Funds are available through a competitive application process to help support Verrazano student participation in study abroad programs.  Funds are made possible through the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs and the Center for International Service.  The deadlines to apply for a Verrazano Study Abroad Scholarship are October 1st for winter and spring study abroad programs and March 1st for summer and fall study abroad programs.  Awards range from $1000-$5000, and through the scholarship application process students are encouraged to clearly identify how the proposed study abroad experience supports the pursuit and achievement of their academic and professional goals and how the program would benefit their academic and personal growth.

For more information about the scholarship opportunity, please visit:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

History Comes Alive At The Conference House On Staten Island

Earlier this semester, Professor Victor Miller took members of his Verrazano Core 100: U.S. Issues, Ideas, and Institutions section on a field trip to the Conference House.  Below, some of the students in the Verrazano Class of 2016 share their reflections on that experience.

Beating drums echoed through The Conference House in Tottenville in mid-September as Professor Miller’s Verrazano freshman Core 100 class lined up to enjoy the festivities. Ben Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge started off the anticipated debate rowing in from the coast of New Jersey. Once off the boat the men were greeted by Admiral Richard Howe and proceeded to reenact peaceful negotiations that took place on September 11, 1776. As history proves, no peace was accomplished. 

Along with the debate there were other activities to view. The smell of burning wood filled the air as actors portrayed craftworkers making candles, clothes and other various household items. Under one tent, a lady of 1700’s attire demonstrated the process of making tin items such as, tea pots, water basins, and other silverware.  Another workshop available for viewing was a tailor who explained the process of making the clothing as well as the history of it. In the 1700’s the people only had one outfit until they grew out of it, and then it was passed on to other family members. In the summer the people wore sleeveless jackets and then sewed on sleeves for the colder weather.

The reenactment of the Conference House Debate allowed students to have a hands-on learning experience as well as personal enjoyment. This opportunity provided us with knowledge about our own community and how history had taken place in our own backyards. 

- Victoria Sax and Madison Lock

Thanks to my COR 100 professor, Professor Miller, at the College of Staten Island, I had the opportunity to attend a class trip to the Conference House of Staten Island. This class trip greatly bettered my knowledge of the peace conference that attempted to end the Revolutionary War. On this trip there were many things to do and see, such as taste food, hear music, and see dancing that took place during the time of the war. My favorite part of the trip was when they had Rutledge, Howe, Adams, and Franklin re-enact the peace conference. Seeing it with my own eyes helped me better understand the attitudes and the propositions that occurred during the conference. A tour inside the Conference House took place as well, where Prof. Miller readily answered all of my questions that I had about the place. This trip was a great learning experience as well as a fun one.

- Brian Cregg

In September I went on the trip to the conference house. This trip provided a hands-on experience to go along with what we were learning in class. In class we had a conference house debate in which each student was given a part. Visiting the actual conference house brought all of this information together for me. Watching people reenact the conference was not only entertaining but also educational. We were able to talk to the actors and ask them questions. In particular, we talked to some of the actors about the Howe brothers. I hope to go on more trips such as this one.

- Brittany Koerber 

This semester I had the privilege of joining my fellow classmates as well as my professor at the Conference House located at the very end of Hylan Boulevard.  This was a day dedicated to honoring the meeting that Admiral Howe put together to meet with representatives from the northern (John Adams), middle (Benjamin Franklin), and southern (Edward Rutledge) colonies.  This was a learning experience in itself.  Reading exactly what happened that day two hundred and thirty six years ago is one thing.  However, seeing the history acted out before me just made it all come alive.  The whole ambience gave me the feeling that truly was there that day hundreds of years ago.  

Shortly after arriving at the Conference House we saw the reenactment of the the very meeting that Admiral Howe had with the representatives.  This was the highlight of the whole day.  Then we the chance to tour the actual building these historical figures once occupied.  To think I could be standing in the very spot where this meeting took place was such a great pleasure.  The rickety floorboards and colonial furniture showed the true age of the Conference House.  Overall the Conference House trip was such a great experience, and I hope to go again sometime in the future.  I had an awesome time, and I feel honored that I stepped foot on one of the greatest pieces of U.S. history.

- Larry DiAntonio  

Photos taken by Victoria Sax, Madison Lock, and Rachel Torres 

To learn more about the Conference House, please visit 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Study Abroad - The Student Experience: A Panel Discussion

On Thursday, November 15, The Verrazano School co-sponsored a student study abroad panel event in partnership with the Center for International Service as part of International Education Week.  The panel was facilitated by Satoko Fukai, a study abroad advisor in the Center for International Service, and featured Verrazano students and study abroad peer advisors who studied abroad in China, Egypt, France, and Spain.

Student Panelists and Center for International Service Staff Members

The panelists at the event were Lena Abdelhamid (Cairo, Egypt – Spring 2012), Joanna Irizarry-Zaraza (China - Summer 2012), Alicia Jimenez (Paris, France – Summer 2012), Mark Kavanaugh (Santander, Spain – Summer 2012), and Kubra Shirazi (Nice, France – Spring 2011).  To read more about the study abroad experiences of Joanna, Alicia, Mark, and Kubra please visit the archives of The Verrazano Voyager blog.  To read about Lena’s experience, please visit the Dolphins Across the Seven Seas blog.

Satoko Fukai provided an overview of study abroad options for CSI students, and then each of the student panelists shared photos and spoke about his or her experiences overseas.  The panelists also shared suggestions about study abroad and discussed the life-changing effects that a study abroad experience can have on academic plans, professional aspirations, and personal growth.  The event closed with a Q&A session, and attendees had the opportunity to ask more specific questions of the panelists.  Over twenty students attended the event, and we hope that they were inspired to consider studying abroad during their undergraduate experience!

The Verrazano School hosts a returned student study abroad panel each semester to inform students about study abroad options and help encourage students to study abroad.  The next panel is scheduled for Thursday, February 14; please visit the Verrazano website for more details.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Con Edison Internship: Appreciating the Value of Field Experience

Michael Cicero, a Verrazano student in the Class of 2013, interned for Con Edison over the summer.  Read below to learn more about his internship and his perspective on the value of gaining experience outside of the classroom. 

Michael Cicero
During the summer of 2012, I had the privilege to work as an intern for Con Edison. As a Computer Science and Mathematics major, I was eager to find real world work experience in the field. I applied to many places, including Con Ed’s summer internship program which I found out about through a friend who works for the company. After a series of nerve-wracking telephone interviews and one in person interview, I was offered a position for the summer at Con Ed’s Information Resources department! I was very excited and immediately accepted. Also it was a full-time paid position in Staten Island where I live, which made it even more appealing.

My job assignment was to program electronic forms for company use. All existing forms in the company would become obsolete with the upgrading to Windows 7 Operating System; which Con Ed plans to do in the coming months. I was responsible for redesigning these forms in Microsoft InfoPath. This is basically a user-friendly software package that allows you to create those forms you sometimes see online when registering for a website or when making an online purchase. I had to find out who the owners of over 300 corporate forms were and reach out to them via email and/or telephone. My goal was to find out the functionality of their particular form and any updates/changes they might want in the new version of the form. I would then design the form, have it approved by the owner, and publish it to the company intra-net site for employee use. This was really a great opportunity on many levels. I now have the experience of programming software for various clients needs. This required communication skills, which I worked on and improved during the summer, as well as the ability to make the software which I owe to my computer science courses. I have made many social connections at the company, which in my opinion is the most invaluable asset I have taken from the summer internship. Who you know and how you know them can create many chances for recognition of skills and possible job opportunities. I was actually asked to stay on part-time during the school year! I will be continuing working on my assignment each Friday at Con Ed. I am very excited about this!

Con Edison has a program for recent graduates called the GOLD (Growth Opportunity for Leadership Development) Program. The program takes accepted applicants and puts them through 18 months of “Con Ed School.” In the 18 months you spend a third of the time in each department of the company (Engineering, IT, and Accounting) to get a thorough understanding of the company. At the end of the 18 months, assuming you have done well in the “Con Ed Schooling,” you are placed in a full-time management position. I am hoping my experience will help me get my foot in the door for this opportunity which I have applied for. I also hope that any fellow undergrads who are in the field of engineering, IT, or accounting will learn of this opportunity and apply as well!

All in all, I truly feel like I grew exponentially during the course of this internship, all for the better. My advice to any underclassmen would be, in addition to working hard in the classroom, it's important to get real work experience. Build your resume to its best reflection of your skills, get out there and apply to jobs. Be social and don’t be afraid to talk to people. Having skills is only half the battle. Being recognized for those skills by an employer is the other very important half.

It is important to remember that perseverance is key when applying for jobs or internships. At times during my application process, I felt like giving up. When you feel like giving it up, just remember that it is nothing personal and it’s simply a tough job market out there. Wise words of a professor of mine helped me realize that I was not alone in feeling this. Professor Robbins, a professor of astronomy at CSI, told me that when he was applying for jobs upon graduating from college, he had sent out 200 resumes. From the 200 resumes, he had 10 call backs of which he was granted 2 actual interviews, both whom offered him a job. The numbers just show the competitive reality of it all. His advice allowed me to apply to well over 100 companies, knowing that I was making the right moves. Like Professor Robbins, I only received a fraction of call backs, a few interviews, and 3 job offers. So to all those out there who are applying to internships and jobs, stay positive and just keep at it, eventually an opportunity will present itself.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Exploring Careers Through The Internship Stipend Program

Amanda Percaccio, a Psychology major in the Verrazano Class of 2013, is participating in an internship at Staten Island University Hospital as part of the Internship Stipend Program.  Read below for Amanda's experience in her own words.
Amanda Percaccio

Not only is college a time for learning, but it is also a time for exploration.  Students participate in college events, play a sport, or even complete an internship. Luckily, I have been given a chance to do all three; however, the most important thing to me during my college experience was to complete an internship.  I was lucky enough to get an internship at the Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) and observe pediatric physical therapists at work. My internship experience is especially beneficial because it is my ultimate goal to become a Pediatric Physical Therapist.

I was given this opportunity thanks to the Career and Scholarship Center and an internship program called the Internship Stipend Program.  I received an email from the Career and Scholarship Center asking if I was interested, so I immediately replied yes and filled out an application.  Anyone can apply at any time, and upon completion of the 80 hours internship you must write a 250-500 word essay and then you will receive a $1000 stipend.

During my freshman and sophomore years of college I volunteered at SIUH in the pediatric physical therapy unit.  However, my experiences as a volunteer and as an intern were not identical.  As a volunteer, I mostly dealt with the paperwork and took on the daily duties of a receptionist. As a student intern, I was able to ask the therapists questions and they were happy to share the techniques used and the rationale behind their methods. I was fortunate to have interned under the supervision of a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who is also a professor at the College of Staten Island in the Physical Therapy Department. He taught me a lot during my experience, and I look forward to learning more from him when I go to graduate school. By the end of the day, I felt I learned a great deal and I can use most of these treatment techniques on my own patients some day.

My duties as an intern were to set up the treatment plans for the therapist to use on the patients. These plans included lining up balance beams, setting the swings up, taking the toys out, setting the treadmill up, and much more. During the sessions, I observed the doctors closely. It was during this time that the therapist explained the plan of action to me. Due to HIPAA laws, they weren’t able to give me the diagnosis unless the parents of the patients provided consent. When the session ended, I cleaned the equipment that was utilized during the session and made sure everything was in its proper place.

I strongly recommend that more students consider completing an internship in their areas of interest. It is the best way to gain invaluable “hands-on” experience, and it is also a great way to network in your prospective field.  

To learn more about the Internship Stipend Program or other services available through the Career and Scholarship Center at the College of Staten Island, please visit 1A-105.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Building Community at the College of Staten Island Through The Peer Network Engagement Internship

Mitchell Harris, Verrazano Class of 2016, is serving as a Peer Network Engagement Intern with Hillel on campus during the 2012-2013 academic year.  Read more about how Mitchell got involved and how his experience at a summer conference prepared him for this leadership role. 

Mitchell Harris
When I started at the College of Staten Island in the spring semester of 2012, I knew that if I wanted to meet new people I needed to get involved with a club on campus. On the first day of the semester, I walked around the campus center to learn about the clubs and opportunities that C.S.I. had to offer. Since I have been raised in a Jewish household within a Jewish community and had gone to Jewish private schools until this point of my life, I felt comfortable walking into the Multi-Faith Center, especially because I noticed a big blue and white sign on the window that had “Hillel” written on it.  Hillel is an organization and club that promotes Jewish life on campus.

From the moment I walked into the office the director, Amy Posner, made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. After that day, I went to almost every event the club put together and became very involved. The first event I went to was a tabling fundraiser, around Valentine’s Day, for “Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, " during which we sold hearts on glass as well as pink and red cupcakes. Another event that I went to was a showing of a movie called The Syrian Bride.  This movie portrayed some of the difficulties of arranged marriages and afterwards there was a group discussion. After I attended multiple events and spent a great deal of time in the Multi-Faith Center, Amy Posner asked me if I was interested in interning for her as a P.N.E.I., which stands for Peer Network Engagement Intern. At first I was hesitant to accept, but after I let the idea sink in I realized what a great opportunity and learning experience it would be. The application process for this internship was straightforward; I needed to fill out some basic information about myself and then I wrote a required essay from three choices of prompts.  I chose to write about a time that I reached out and built a relationship with someone new.

One of the requirements to become a P.N.E.I. was to attend a five-day conference over the summer at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. At the conference the objective of the internship was explained, but Amy Posner had scheduled a couple of meetings before the trip to prepare me so I already knew the purpose. The primary goal of being a P.N.E.I. is to build relationships and form new networks. The secondary goal is to then have these new relationships attend Hillel events and make the new networks connect with a bigger one. To help with this goal, the organization gives me money to create my own events and capture the interest of students in a way that I feel would be successful. At the conference, which had hundreds of college students involved with Hillel from around the world, there were many events, including lectures on how to approach or interact with people and discussions on how to organize events along with two-college interaction simulations. In the simulations, each person was given a different role to play and had to accomplish specific goals within a given amount of time.

At the conference, the event that I found to be most meaningful and beneficial was called “Be Interested, Not Interesting."  From this group exercise, I learned that in certain situations, such as the ones I will be in for this internship, it is more important to show interest in my college peers by asking them more about themselves than it is to let them know about myself. However, this does not mean that I should interrogate everyone that I meet, but rather the conversation should be focused more on them. I was also reminded the importance of being a good listener. Not only is it good to listen, but it is important to listen without interrupting someone while they are still expressing their thought, idea or input. This is especially important when something is being said that is a shared experience that may cause an urge to express approval or similarity right away.   In addition to the program itself, I learned more by just interacting with the hundreds of people that were at the conference than anything else. I find that there are many things in life that can be taught, but ultimately the experience is what contributes to education; of course the training is crucial as well.

My goal as an intern is to interact with as many students as possible and try to have events that are educational in an enjoyable way. One of the events that I plan on organizing this year is a trip to Dialog In The Dark in NYC.  In Dialog in the Dark, visitors are led through a series of New York City environments by blind and visually-impaired guides in complete darkness.  I visited a museum like this in Israel a few years ago and remember how it was such an incredible way to learn appreciation for eyesight.

If anyone is interested in learning more about Hillel Club please feel free to contact me at  I'll be more than happy to answer your questions to the best of my ability.  Additionally, anyone is always welcome to stop by the Multi-Faith Center in 1C-202.