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May 22 - RCC Commencement

May 22 - RCC Commencement

RCC Student SUNY Chancellor Award Honorees


DATE: May 17, 2016

CONTACT: Maralin Roffino

845 -574-4244





May 22 - RCC Commencement
Honorees include SUNY Chancellor Awardees, Professor Emeriti and Poet Emeritus

Ramapo- Congratulations to the graduates and honorees at Rockland Community College Commencement on Sunday, May 22 from 1-4 pm. Eligible to walk in the ceremony are 171 graduates from August/2015, the 269 who completed their degrees in December/2015 and 711 students who completed their degrees this May 2016. Honorees include SUNY Chancellor Awardees, and conferring of Professor Emeriti and Poet Emeritus.

RCC’s Eugene Levy Fieldhouse 1-4 pm
Rockland Community College
145 College Road, Suffern NY 10901

The program is live-streamed:


The student speaker, Nayomi Fernandez, is graduating with an AAS Degree of Hospitality and Tourism. The “Message to the Graduates” will be delivered by David Carlucci, RCC Class of 2000, BS, NY State Senator - 38th District.


Chancellor Award Student Honorees:

RCC students Sidra Ijaz, Gene Steinberg, Johanna Svensson and Julian Vega are the 2016 recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence along with Scholar Athlete Nicole Talamini. The Chancellor’s Awards honor students for integrating academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, including leadership, campus involvement, community service, arts, athletics and/or career achievement.


Chancellor’s Awards Honorees Faculty and Staff:
Excellence in Teaching: Eric Magaram, MS, Chair, Mathematics

Excellence in Faculty Service: Patty Maloney-Titland, MFA, Chair, Performing Arts

Excellence in Professional Service:
Robin Conklin79, BA, Registrar

Burton Louis-Charles, BS, Coordinator of Evening and Weekend Studies

Excellence in Classified Service:Jeremy Cordock, Civil Service


Honors Conferred:

Poet Emeritus Daniel Masterson, BS, Professor of English, appointed Rockland County’s first Poet Laureate in 2009, Masterson is also RCC’s first Poet-in-Residence. Professor Masterson works with veterans undergoing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to teaching poetry classes and workshops. The author of four books and published in numerous professional journals, he was previously awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, two Pushcart Prizes, and Bullis, Borestone, and Fels national poetry prizes.


Professor Emeritus status will be conferred to the following RCC faculty members: Ann Fey, EdD, Nancy Hazelton, PhD, Neal Kreitzer, PhD, Oden Oak, MA, Ellen Spergel, MS, and Estelle Yahes, MA.


STUDENT SUNY Chancellor Award Honorees

Sidra Ijaz – Spring Valley

Ijaz, a computer science major with a 3.79 GPA, was chosen for the USA Today Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Award, 1 of 5 students in New York State and 1 of 50 nationally to be named a 2016 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar, entitling her to a $1,500 scholarship and a medallion. As the only woman in some computer programming classes, she says, “More women should definitely enter the field. There are subtle preconceptions against women in computer science, and the environment may be intimidating. Women shouldn’t let this get in their way.” As a senator in Student Government, IJaz was instrumental in establishing a Muslim Student Association and Center for Muslim Life at RCC. She also wrote for the Outlook student newspaper, was a student ambassador, and treasurer of the school’s PTK chapter. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science. An alumna of the East Ramapo schools, Ijaz also started a college mentorship program for low income/minority students attending Ramapo HS.


Gene Steinberg – New City

Raised in a Hasidic, Yiddish speaking community, Steinberg taught himself English and adapted quickly to the rigors of college life, excelling academically. After enrolling at RCC, he swiftly rose to honors level, earning a 3.94 GPA while majoring in Liberal Arts: Social Science & Humanities. Steinberg founded OTD Meetup, a social support group for individuals separating from Orthodox religious communities and also volunteers with Footsteps, another organization providing support for this population. As an advocate for students dealing with mental health issues, Steinberg reactivated the Active Minds Mental Health Awareness Club at RCC and served as its president. Steinberg plans to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work, with the goal of becoming a licensed clinical social worker.


Johanna Svensson - Orangeburg

Svensson plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician. She earned a 3.915 GPA at RCC in a demanding program of pre-medical studies, majoring in biology. Svensson earned the American Chemical Society New York Section Achievement Award for Outstanding Scholastic Performance in First-Year Chemistry. At her internship at Good Samaritan Hospital, Svensson devoted 135 hours volunteering for patient care while gaining experience in medical terminology and an understanding of how nurses and doctors interact with patients.

Nicole Talamini - Garnerville
Scholar–Athlete Talamini maintained a 3.6 GPA at RCC, earning an AS of Business Administration. After lobbying RCC Athletic Director Dan Keeley to start a bowling program, she served as captain of both the men’s and women’s teams for their inaugural 2015-16 season. Talamini earned national distinction, coming in 4th in the nation in doubles play with partner Victoria Garcia at the National Junior College Athletic Association women’s bowling championships. Talamini also played two years of volleyball at RCC under Coach Erik Ellingsen. She plans to continue her studies at SUNY Albany and pursue a bachelor’s in Business Administration with concentrations in marketing and information technology. Both her parents and brother also attended RCC.


Julian Vega - Airmont

Vega earned a 3.96 GPA, majoring in Criminal Justice where he impressed his instructors with his enthusiasm, organizational skills and a strong commitment to assisting fellow students. He was selected to receive a $1,000 Phi Theta Kappa scholarship as a 2015 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. Vega also served as vice president of the Criminal Justice Club at RCC and credits the mentors who guided him through a memorable learning experience. “I am truly fortunate to have been in the presence of some of the most passionate and dedicated professors and learn from them,” he said, citing criminal justice faculty Dr. Kevin Barrett and Clifford Ader, among others. Vega intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, criminal studies or legal studies and attend law school towards a career defending civil rights in constitutional law. At the recent RCC Scholarship Ceremony for Continuing Students, Vega was awarded the highly coveted full two-year Pace University-Jane Cohen Memorial Scholarship.


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