Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Verrazano Student Shines at SiriusXM Satellite Radio Internship

Lauren Hornek, Verrazano Class of 2014, shares her internship experience with the Verrazano Voyager blog readers.

Hey everyone!

My name is Lauren Hornek and I am a sophomore in The Verrazano School/Class of 2014. I couldn't wait to start this semester because it was when I would be starting my internship at SiriusXM Satellite Radio! I'm already a month in and I love it so much that I never want it to end. I work from Wednesdays to Saturdays and I work specifically with Cousin Brucie, who was my idol as a kid and still is, and his show. During live show nights which are Wednesdays and Saturdays, I work the phones and get to interact with the callers, update and maintain the show Facebook & email, edit & record phone call-requests in the editing room, help The Cuz with his show prep and participate A LOT on air. I also get to meet countless celebrities and music artists that come through on a regular basis; some so far have been Little Steven Van Zandt, Godsmack, Dr. Ruth, & Steve Aoki.

Lauren Hornek and Cousin Brucie

On non-show days I work on the main floor doing work on music channels such as 70's on 7, Siriusly Sinatra and Elvis Radio. I put new music into the database, load voice tracks, make song logs and send out the appropriate music sheets to the disc jockeys for their shift amongst other things. I have a ton of friends on the main floor, it's such a good environment to work in.  You hardly feel like you're working when you have such great people around you; that is why I love going there every day. It's a perfect mix of radio, work, and networking with others in your field.

I'm very glad I took hold of this opportunity because I'm learning things that I need to for my career in radio which will hopefully be at SiriusXM one day. Every day is a new learning opportunity, and by the end of this internship I expect to be at the top of what I'm taught to do and mastering it expertly.

-Lauren Hornek

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Verrazano Senior Reflects on Semester Abroad in Ireland

Jonathon George, a Business Finance major in the Verrazano Class of 2012, spent the Fall 2011 semester as a CSI Exchange Ambassador in Dublin, Ireland.  Please enjoy reading Jonathon's reflection on his experience abroad.

Before I begin in earnest, I should mention that I have had a hard time getting this entry done. The biggest barrier being that I honestly had no idea where to begin. Do I start with the study abroad application process that went on seemingly forever? Do I describe my September 8th trip to JFK airport to embark on my very first plane trip? Or perhaps I should begin a couple weeks after landing so I might skip some of the less interesting material. After all, just about everyone knows what a plane trip is like, and just as well, paperwork is relatively boring. So where do I begin?
It was the beginning of sophomore year at CSI that, as far as I can remember, a friend and I began to consider the idea of studying abroad. At the time graduation still seemed distant and abstract, as if it would never happen, and we had ample time to consider our options and delay. We delayed and delayed and soon enough nearly two years had gone by and no progress had been made. During this time I had a number of experiences and encounters that prodded me towards my goal. On such experience was during the first semester of junior year with an instructor who considered leaving your "comfort zone" as being crucial to personal growth. That was the year that I truly began down the road to Ireland and what would be an unforgettable experience.
With a mere three full semesters to go, me and my accomplice began the paperwork. From passports to insurance, interviews to scholarships it seemed like every other week I was filling out another document. Trips to the International Office in building 2A were common as the pieces slowly came together. By the summer of 2011 the application process was all but complete and all that stood between me and insanity was a few months, and then my running mate dropped out of the race just like that. It was a harsh blow, but to me the point of no return had been crossed, expectations were already set, and too much work had already been done. All I had to do was sit tight as summer quickly came and went.
September arrived with little hesitation and with it my day of reckoning. I distinctly remember the morning of the 8th. Surreal in many ways, until that point the whole thing hardly seemed real. I never imagined I would actually be getting on a plane for the first time in my life, or that I would be on my own for over three months in a foreign country. That morning was a real shock as my parents rushed me off to the airport for a 5:15pm flight on Aer Lingus. Everything about that day remains crisp in my mind. Surprisingly enough, the flight itself was the source of little worry save for the takeoff. It was only when I landed in Dublin at 5:30am, collected my things and sat down for breakfast that it hit me that I was just a little crazy.
I made my way to Avalon House, the hostel I had booked one week in advance, by midday and fell asleep. I was lucky in that in my four-bed room was a couple from Chicago who gave me an introductory tour of the area that first night. It was strange, I was in the heart of Dublin, a modern capital by any definition and yet it felt incredibly alien, I never could have imagined how much like home it would feel in just a few weeks. The next day the two from Chicago left my room and Amin moved in -  a Moroccan studying English.  We quickly became friends.
The first two weeks were the hardest. By then I had moved into a twelve bed (yes that’s a 12) dorm and was spending most of my days searching daft.ie for some sort of accommodation. The hostel was not a particularly bad place to be, but it was not entirely conducive to school work and feeding myself was troublesome. I was living almost entirely off of 2-Euro chicken sandwiches and the occasional Moroccan dinner courtesy of Amin.
Cliffs of Moher

To take my mind off the temporary hardship I took my first trip. The tour took my to the west coast of the country the main attraction being the stunning cliffs of Moher. Some 600 feet high the cliffs were a sight to behold. This would be the only trip that commanded a sunny day. My trip to the cliffs did more than provide me with beautiful sights, however; it also lifted me out of an emotional slump and reminded me why I was there. I say I was in a slump because with the start of class at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) there came many headaches. The problem that I faced upon starting class on September 19th was that just about all of my courses had to be changed for one reason or another. This lead to numerous class sit-ins and was the source of great frustration for me. Eventually I ended up taking four courses, Human Resources Management, Business Information Systems, Irish Business Environment, and Entrepreneurial Studies.
It was not until near the end of September when I took my next trip. Amin came on this one as well, to county Cork in the southwest of Ireland. It was a two day excursion the highlight of which being a visit to Blarney Castle and the famed Blarney stone. An incredible experience to say the least and a nice escape from the trouble I was having with DIT.
Blarney Castle

By October both Amin and Robert, a Canadian I had befriended, left the hostel in lieu of more hospitable accommodation. I was still at Avalon much to my dismay. Every day I looked for a place to live then finally, I got my big break. October 7th I moved about two miles south of DIT and Avalon into my very own apartment. I had gotten lucky, my apartment was a good size and it was in a great neighborhood with a plethora of stores a five minute walk away. It had everything I could need to make my stay enjoyable, no television though. To make travel to and from DIT a bit easier I bought myself a bike. 
I suppose I should mention that while all of these major events were occurring I was also out and about nearly every day exploring the city, visiting every manner of attractions and landmarks, relaxing in pubs and enjoying some of the very best fish and chips available. I also kept in contact with Robert and Amin, often sharing coffee at the local cafĂ©. I spoke with my family every other day. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Verrazano Junior Studies Culture Shock with Dr. Sussman

Nora Mahmoud, Verrazano Class of 2013, shares her experience doing research as an undergraduate at the College of Staten Island.
Hello everyone.  I’m Nora, a Psychology (BS) major writing for the first time on The Verrazano Voyager blog.  I would like to share my undergraduate research experiences.  The research I am taking part in studies the physiological effects of culture shock among naked mole rats.  We will basically be moving a mole rat from one colony into another and measuring its stress levels.

In terms of getting involved in the research officially, it was almost like applying for any other class except you are required to write a proposal statement describing your research.  I actually enjoyed writing the statement; it was really simple.  You also fill out an independent study form, have the papers signed by your research instructor and the department chairperson, and take them to the Registrar's office.  Dr. Sussman was very helpful throughout the process.  She guided me in every step, and if not for her I could probably have missed the deadline.  I am receiving four credits for doing this research, and it's great to have this on my academic transript.

My faculty advisor, Dr. Sussman, plays an important role in my research experience.  She encourages me to get a head start on everything, which I find extremely beneficial.  She's also always available if I have any questions regarding the study, or anything else for that matter.

Aside from the research being quite interesting, it is the first study of this kind to be conducted in a certain way.  We are assessing cortisol levels, the stress hormone, using physiological measures rather than with self-reported measures as previous studies have done.  This is a more direct approach.

It is definitely a great experience working with other students and faculty.  It's nice meeting new people and everyone is friendly.  My role in this study is to observe and record naked mole rat behavior.  I observe two of the colonies at CSI for a couple of hours, watching carefully for any differences.  I share my findings in our weekly lab meetings.

If our research hypothesis is correct, our data findings will show that culture shock does occur and those who experience it are more stressed.  Although this study is conducted on an animal model, it will give us insight into the transition process among humans.  It will help us better understand the physiological phenomenon that affects millions of sojourners.

Taking part in this research study is helping me prepare for my honor's thesis, which will be the next step of this research.  Next year I will be investigating the phenomenon of culture shock and stress in humans.  

Nora Mahmoud

Nora will be presenting her research at the CSI Undergraduate Conference on Research, Scholarship, and Performance on Thursday, April 26th.  The conference will be held in 1P from 11:00-4:00.  Stop by to learn more about Nora's research and many other projects projects in which Verrazano and CSI students are involved! 
Research Conference website: http://www.csi.cuny.edu/ugconference/