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Annual Report 2018-19

A Message From The Dean Team

 

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Front (L-R): Cindy Gonzalez, Head Administrator; Daniel Fimiarz, Core Facilities Manager; Frank Pace, Procurement Officer; Parameswaran Nair, Interim Dean; Elizabeth Rudolph, Assistant Dean; Laurent Mars, Associate Dean; Lisa Feng, College Assistant. Missing: Michael Boydston-White, Facilities Manager; Millicent Roth, Deputy Dean.

Download Low and High Resolution of the report. Older editions of the Annual Report can be found in our archives.

The Division of Science has completed another successful academic year. Like 2017-’18, this was a year of accomplishments and recognition for our faculty, students and staff.

The valedictorian of the Division of Science for Commencement 2019 was Nicole Martinez Santana of the Biology Department. Nicole was also a SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) and CCAPP (City College Academy for Professional Preparation) student. She chose CCNY over other college options because she felt “City College would be challenging and had a great science program, but it was also closer to home”. She is currently at Columbia University pursuing her dream of a master’s degree and a career in nursing.

Three students from City College’s CCAPP program took first place in their research categories at the 27th Annual CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program) Conference, joining the prestigious list of thirteen first prize winners from CCAPP in the previous four years. (CSTEP is a NY State-sponsored program dedicated to increasing the number of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students who pursue careers in STEM-related fields.)

Mathiu Perez-Rodriguez’s (Biochemistry) presented his results on “Antibacterial activity-guided fractionation of potato wound tissue extract.”, based on research carried out under the guidance of Distinguished Professor Ruth Stark.

Jasmin Morales, a double major in Biotechnology and Jewish Studies, presented a poster on “BLMP-1/Blimp1 regulation of apl-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans”. She was mentored by Professor Christine Li.

Dean Cuadrado’s (Biology) winning presentation was a poster on “Regeneration of a pediatric alveolar cleft model using 3D printed bioceramic scaffolds and osteogenic agents”, based on research guided by Professor Jonathan Levitt.

Behind our great cohort of students and high achievers is a great team of brilliant and dedicated faculty and staff, who continue to bring us recognition.

James Hedberg of the Physics Department won the Provost’s Award for Pedagogical and Curricular Innovation, having demonstrated significant positive impact on student learning through curricular innovation. James Hedberg is also the Director of the Planetarium, which we are in the process of refurbishing. It will be a great add-on to our astronomy courses as well as a great medium of public outreach.

Christine Li of the Biology Department won the President’s Award for outstanding faculty service. Christine has served in a variety of roles working to enhance student experience and services at the college, including serving as the Interim Dean of Science in 2012-13.

James Booth from Earth and Atmospheric Sciences won the Feliks Gross Award for outstanding scholarship presented to junior faculty. He joins our long list of talented winners of this award.

Another wonderful piece of news is that Michael Shub’s appointment as Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. Michael works mainly on two different areas of mathematics: Dynamical Systems (hyperbolic systems, bounds on entropy) and Computational Complexity. (The Blum-Shub-Smale model has made significant advances to the P/NP problem). In addition to great scholarly contributions, he was a founding member and first chairman of “Foundations of Computational Mathematics”, a leading organization in this sub-area of mathematics. He is also a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

The President’s STAR (Service, Teamwork, Action, Results) Award is an annual award recognizing and honoring staff who in addition to exceptional day-to-day service, make contributions above and beyond their assigned duties. Assistant Dean Elizabeth Rudolph of the Division of Science was the winner this year, no surprise to anyone who has worked with her. Whether it is accreditation, assessment, organizing events, working patiently through workload reports, etc., Liz has been the go-to-person for a long time.

This year the Division of Science decided to give out two new awards. There are many faculty members who carry out excellent research, show exceptional dedication and commitment in their teaching and willingly carry out some of the other duties such as serving on committees, putting in hours beyond reading of their job duties requires. The Division of Science Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service Award is meant to recognize a faculty member for this level of commitment. The first winner of this award is Mark Emerson of the Biology Department.

City College has a mission and commitment to encourage underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in the STEM disciplines. While there are many scholarships available for students, there is a need for recognition of faculty who work diligently to encourage and mentor minorities at the doctoral level. We decided to institute the Division of Science Excellence in Mentoring Minorities Award precisely for this purpose. The inaugural winner is Maria Tamargo from Chemistry & Biochemistry.

Congratulations to all the winners! As always, you have done us proud.

There are a few other initiatives that are worthy of mention. Research has become an integral component of education. Arguably, there has been more knowledge generated in the last fifty years than in the previous five hundred, so we cannot claim to provide quality education unless research is integrated into all of our teaching. In recognition of this, the Division of Science, jointly with the CUNY School of Medicine, created the office of the Director of Undergraduate Research. Karin Block from the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department has already taken up the challenge in organizing this effort.

Our alumni and well-wishers are our connection to the world at large and provide the historical continuity which helps us maintain our pursuit of excellence. On April 11, we organized the inaugural Day of Science at City College, showcasing the high quality and exciting research by our faculty, with lab tours and lectures. A number of alumni and public figures came to visit. In the words of Tucker Taylor, who is an associate at the healthcare AI company Perthera and a member of the board at several other companies he came “hoping to gain insights into the school’s state of the art technology”. Irving Levine, who graduated from City College in mathematics and had a long career as a software engineer and an executive at Reuters, was another of our guests for the Day of Science. “It may be a bit of a secret but they have first-class researchers and the facilities to do that research in. It was impressive to see them doing state of the art work and the facilities are great”, he remarked.

Time moves on and a number of our faculty, after a long and distinguished career at City College, retired this year. These include Jane Gallagher, Sally Hoskins (Biology), Daniel Akins, David Calhoun, Michael Green, Ronald Birke (Chemistry &Biochemistry) and Stanley Ocken (Mathematics). We wish them all a happy and healthy retirement.

City College is the premier institution for social and economic upward mobility in the country. This has been our role historically and it will continue to shape our future. CCNY is the exception that proves the rule: It is possible to have excellence in research and teaching with access for which the only criterion is how good you are and how willing you are to work for your goals. As this report will demonstrate, 2018-’19 was another academic year exemplifying our mission, combining the excellence of our research output and our high standards of teaching, leading to the success of our graduates.

Dr. V. Parameswaran Nair
Interim Dean of Science
Distinguished Professor of Physics

Dr. Laurent Mars
Associate Dean

Dr. Millicent Roth
Deputy Dean for Under

Dr. Elizabeth Rudolph
Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs & Assessment