Anderson Receives $135,000 to Link Geography, Evolution
Assistant Professor of Biology Robert Anderson has received $135,000 over two years from the National Science Foundation to use computer mapping and DNA sequencing to study the distribution and evolutionary relationships among species of the spiny pocket mouse genus Heteromys in northwestern South America. Professor Anderson, along with graduate student Ali Raza (’07) and undergrad Mariya Shcheglovitova, will travel to Venezuela in January to collect tissue samples for DNA sequencing, which will be done to determine evolutionary relationships among species of the genus. Eliecer Gutierrez, a Ph.D. student, will conduct taxonomy research with Professor Anderson that is expected to identify at least two new species within the genus. Using GIS (geographic information systems) modeling techniques, the group intends to identify distribution ranges for species found in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. This will enable them to identify the species’ environmental requirements, or niches, and examine how niches have evolved as the genus diversified. In addition, the information will assist conservation efforts by identifying remaining habitats and determining whether they are contiguous or isolated. “We can see how many species are covered by existing reserves and then propose new reserves or national parks for species not already protected,” Professor Anderson said.
CCNY Physicist Carlos Meriles Receive Cottrell Scholar Award
CCNY Assistant Professor of Physics Carlos Andres Meriles is a 2007 recipient of the Research Corporation’s Cottrell Scholar Award. The Award, which carries a $100,000 stipend, will support Professor Meriles’ investigation into generation and control of nuclear spin magnetization in semiconductor nanostructures. To do this work, Professor Meriles intends to apply a strategy known as optical pumping, in which a semiconductor is illuminated using a special probe at very low temperatures (-269° C). This induces a physical process in the semiconductor that leads to a high degree of spin alignment, he explains, adding that radio frequency pulses could be used to control nuclear spins. This ability could find applications in areas ranging from sensitivity-enhanced nuclear magnetic resonance to quantum computing, he notes. Cottrell Scholar Awards are given to early-career faculty in astronomy, chemistry and physics who offer original, creative and feasible solutions to problems of “high scientific significance” and feasible strategies for addressing problems in science education. In 2007, 10 awards were granted nationwide. Professor Meriles, who received an NSF CAREER Award in 2006, will use part of his award to make laboratory work more engaging for students in order to get them to think more about how the experiments they conduct relate to their class work.
Dominican Archives Wins New York State Award
The Dominican Archives at The City College of New York (CCNY) received the 2007 Debra E. Bernhardt Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Documenting New York’s History from the New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Archives at a luncheon in Albany October 22. The Archives, which were established in 2002 as part of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (DSI), is the only one of its kind in the United States. It attracts scholars from all over the world to its unique collection of material related to the U.S. Dominican population. Chief Archivist Idilio Gracia Peña, ’74, has over 45 years experience in archives, library and records management. He is a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Records and Information Services and was director of the New York City Municipal Archives (1978-1989) before that. Dr. Ramona Hernandez, director of the Dominican Studies Institute, praised Mr. Gracia Peña for developing the Dominican Archives into a “world-class repository. “Don Gracia Peña has worked tirelessly since Day One in launching, sustaining and developing the Archives and its staff into an institutional outlet that has earned the respect and appreciation of professional archivists in both the U.S. and overseas.” More on this story.
Professor Wachtel Integrates Psychotherapeutic Approaches
Older psychoanalytic theories are often almost always exclusively concerned with the experiences of the earliest years of life. Most recent theories have stressed the powerful impact of experiences in new relationships throughout life. Dr. Paul Watchel, CCNY Distinguished Professor of Psychology, has written a new book for practitioners that integrates both. In Relational Theory and the Practice of Psychotherapy (Guilford Press 2008), he shows how these different dimensions can be brought together and understood in relation to one another. His aim is to help psychotherapists break the vicious cycle suffered by patients whose internal feelings lead them to act in ways that elicit responses from people that keep them feeling the same way and once again act in the same manner. For example, someone who learned at an early age to suppress feeling of anger might go out of their way to be cooperative and unassertive. “You become a pushover because you’re trying so hard to be nice, and when that happens, you interact with people in ways that lead to frustrating experiences,” he says. “This then generates still more anger, which further needs to be countered by excessive niceness. The whole pattern becomes self perpetuating until you learn how to express angry feelings and normal desires to have your fair share in socially acceptable ways.”
CCNY Junior Tationna Bosier Stars on BET Reality Series
When Tationna Bosier, a 20-year old CCNY junior majoring in advertising and public relations and theatre saw a notice seeking “College Hill Interns,” she thought she was applying for an internship with the hit BET reality series. When she went down, she learned to her surprise that it actually was a casting call for a spin off of the TV show. Tationna, a Bronx native, auditioned and was selected along with nine other young men and women from around the country to become cast members and spend the summer living together in a Chicago townhouse and working on a variety of assignments designed to improve their career skills. For six weeks, Tationna and her colleagues engaged in competitive tasks such as marketing, event planning, focus testing, community service outreach and company promotions with organizations such as McDonalds, Toyota and BET’s Rap It Up campaign to promote condom use. Tationna says the latter was the most challenging since her team had one week to plan and hold a fundraising event. “We had to get a venue, manage a small budget, do radio promotions, produce fliers and interest people in coming to the event. As a college student, you don’t realize you can do things like this, but once you have had the experience you know you can do it.” The program debuted 10 pm Tuesday, October 23, and runs for six weeks.
Joanne Braxton to Keynote Hughes Festival Symposium
Noted scholar and poet Joanne M. Braxton will be the keynote speaker at The City College of New York (CCNY) Langston Hughes Festival’s third symposium Friday, October 26 in CCNY’s Great Hall. Entitled “Lift Every Voice,” the one-day symposium explores black lyricism in the African-American poetic tradition of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes. Papers will be presented on the works of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Bob Kaufman, Jayne Cortez, Michael Harper, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ntozake Shange and other African-American poets. The event runs from 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in CCNY’s Great Hall, Shepard Hall, 138th St. & Convent Ave., Manhattan. Admission is $12; $6 for students and seniors. More on this story.
CCNY Hosts ‘Einsteins in the City 2’ Research Conference
CCNY will host “Einsteins in the City 2: Research and Society,” an international multidisciplinary student research conference, October 30 – 31 in The Great Hall. More than 130 students representing 22 institutions in five states, Puerto Rico and Austria will exhibit and compete for awards in the conference’s two juried poster sessions on Wednesday, October 31. They will present their research findings in six disciplines: science and mathematics; engineering and computer science; social science, education; architecture and humanities and the arts. Plenary session guest speakers are Sebastian, the Mexican sculptor whose monumental geometric sculptures have placed in such cities as New York, Osaka, Buenos Aires and Mexico City, and Dr. Sidney Nagel, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor with the Department of Physics and James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago. For additional information about the conference and to register online please visit the Einsteins in the City website. More on this story.
Conference to Examine Role of Digital Tools in Architecture
Ineffable means that which cannot be described through language. Ineffable is also the title for an academic conference being presented by the CCNY School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Saturday, November 10, in Room 95 of Shepard Hall. The conference will explore points of contact between inexpressible dimensions of architecture and the codes, theories and techniques by which they are manifested. It asks architects, design scholars, literary critics and historians to address the cultural, political and philosophical issues associated with the use of digital technology to express architectural ideas. Of late, many architects have begun writing code; typing textual commands to produce architecture, notes Professor Brad Horn, the conference organizer. “Ineffable interrogates the limits of language, whether natural or digital.” The conference is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited and reservations are required. Call 212-650-7118 before October 26 to RSVP.
Dean Emeritus James F. Watts Dies at 72
James Francis Watts, Resident Professor of History and Dean Emeritus of Humanities and the Arts, passed away October 16 at the age of 72, following a 10-year struggle against prostate cancer. Dean Watts joined the CCNY as Assistant Professor of History in 1965 and rose through the ranks to become associate professor, full professor and resident professor. From 1984 to 1994, he served as Chair of the History Department. In 2002, President Williams appointed him Dean of Humanities and the Arts, and he served in that role until he retired in 2005. “Jim was more than a member of this community,” President Williams said in a statement. “He embodied its spirit. He was “the real City College deal,” utterly dedicated to our students and our mission.” As a scholar, he authored or co-authored several volumes on comparative world civilization and on the American Presidency. Dean Watts is survived by his wife, Pamela, children Jennifer and Nathaniel, brothers Michael and Patrick, a sister, Marianne, and several nieces and nephews. The College will hold a gathering later in the year to celebrate Jim’s life. Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Rifkind Center in the Division of Humanities and the Arts.
Spitzer Chair Professor Randall C. Forsberg Dies at 64
Dr. Randall C. Forsberg, the first Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair Professor of Political Science at The City College of New York, died Friday evening, October 19, at Calvary Hospital in Brooklyn after losing her struggle with endometrial cancer. She was 64. The Spitzer Chair Inaugural Lecture, which was scheduled for October 16, was cancelled because of her illness. An internationally recognized authority on arms control and security issues, Dr. Forsberg came to The City College in the fall of 2006. She founded and was Executive Director of the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies (IDDS), a policy research and advocacy center that studies military policies, defense spending, arms control and advocates for alternatives to war. In addition, she served as an adviser on disarmament issues to Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. IDDS relocated to CCNY from Cambridge, Mass., when Dr. Forsberg joined the faculty. President Williams called her passing is “a tragic and untimely loss for the College and our students. While her tenure here was far too brief, she made her mark in that time putting in place programs that will enable CCNY to participate in the continuation of her important work in disarmament,” he noted. “These programs will provide a foundation to enable our students to do coursework in security issues.” At press time, Randy’s family and colleagues were planning a memorial service. The College will conduct a new search for the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair Professorship.
From the PresidentOn October 31, CCNY will host a truly unique event, the “Einsteins in the City 2: Research and Society,” international student research conference. What makes this event so special is that it is a multidisciplinary gathering with undergraduates presenting projects in social science, education, architecture, and humanities and the arts as well as in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. Besides CCNY, participating students hail from 21 institutions in five states, Puerto Rico and Austria.
As home to the metropolitan region’s largest undergraduate research program, it is fitting for The City College of New York to host a gathering like this. Professor Maria Tamargo, the chair of the conference organizing committee, has rightly noted that research is a “broad, vibrant activity that plays a vital role in our society.” It not only is the foundation of scholarship, but informs decision making throughout the public and private sectors.
Preparing our students to conduct research will give them an advantage as they prepare to enter the workforce. Those who will be able to integrate research strategies from multiple disciplines will be in an even stronger position.
If you’re going to be on campus next Wednesday, plan on stopping by the Great Hall for “Einsteins in the City 2.” You’re going to see some terrific work.
Gregory H. Williams
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