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April 2010 Achievements


Mara-Lee Bierman, Professor and Chair of the Department of Languages, has been chosen as Outstanding Teacher of the Year for 2010 by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Metropolitan New York Chapter. Bierman received her award at the Association's Annual Gala (New York City, April 17).

Rich Birnbaum ‘96, Interim Director, Writing Center, was accepted into the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Birnbaum is an M/TS Honors graduate and holds a bachelor's degree from Amherst College.

Suzanne Cleary-Langley, Ph.D., Professor, English, participated in the TYCA (Two-Year College English Association) National Poetry Month celebration, reading her poem, "Anyways," at TYCA's Southeast Region event (April 7). See:

Christie L. Cruse, adjunct faculty, Life Skills, was recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in education. Cruse is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Christopher Plummer, adjunct faculty, Performing Arts, was chosen as one of a select group of eligible Advanced Actor-Combatants in the Society of American Fight Directors to intern at the annual Virginia Beach Bash at Regent University with World Renowned Fight Masters Richard Ryan and Dale Anthony Girard (March 27-28).

Dr. Nahed Salama, Professor of Science, was accepted into the iPlant Faculty Workshop at Howard University in Washington, D.C. (June 11-12), which is organized by the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, a pioneer in Biotechnology. An annual workshop, only 24 candidates are accepted nationwide and Salama was accepted twice before, resulting in bringing DNA technology to RCC's General Biology and Microbiology laboratories.

Xin Ye, Instructor, Electrical Technology, and Stephen Burke, adjunct faculty, English, were awarded a FACT (Faculty Access to Computing Technology) Scholarship to attend SUNY's CIT (Conference on Instructional Technology) 2010 (Plattsburgh, May 24-28).


Three College employees received the SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence from the State University of New York system. They will be recognized at Commencement on May 23.

Peter Arvanites, Professor, Mathematics: Excellence in Faculty Service

Diane Mena, Support Staff, Business: Excellence in Classified Service

Elissa Silverstein '79, Assistant Professor/Counselor of Financial Aid: Excellence in Professional Service

Five people associated with the College were honored by the Nyack NAACP for their positive impact on African American youth. The following educator and ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) Mentors received awards at the 51st Annual Membership, Recruitment and Freedomfund Dinner (April 8, Pearl River):


Dr. Cliff L. Wood, President


Collette Fournier, adjunct faculty, Art, and Educational Support Specialist

Gerald Mushumbusi, student

Dana Stilley, Recruitment Specialist

Wylene Branton Wood, wife of Dr. Cliff L. Wood, President

The 2010 ACT-SO competition was held on campus on March 20 with Rockland and Bergen students competing in 26 categories. Doreen Zarcone, Enrollment Management, coordinated the effort with Doria Hillman, Chair of the ACT-SO competition. The competition is supported by the Spring Valley and Nyack NAACP. The awards ceremony, held on campus (April 9), featured an M/TS program presentation and M/TS student speaker, Jamilla Grampus. The College was honored that evening with an award for supporting and hosting the competition. High school students who won gold will compete at a regional competition in Kansas.


Faculty, students, staff and RSVP volunteers solicited food donations at 10 supermarkets for People to People for the College's annual Food Drive. After only 3 1/2 hours, two tons of food items were delivered to People to People's Nanuet office/warehouse where it was unloaded by more RCC volunteers (April 24). John Marra, Coordinator of Student Activities and Volunteer Services, organized the drive.


Collette Fournier, adjunct faculty, Art, and Educational Support Specialist, Campus Communications, will be exhibiting four prints from the Post Hurricane Katrina Series at the Edward Hopper House, Nyack, May 15 - July 11 (opening reception: May 15, 5-7 p.m.). See:

Elizabeth Sayles, adjunct faculty, Art, has her illustration, "The Goat-man" from the fairytale, "Gold," on view at the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art (MOCCA) through May 30 (New York City).


Dan Masterson, Professor, English, did a poetry reading at the Pearl River Library (April 25). Masterson is Rockland County's first Poet Laureate.

James Salvadon '90, Assistant Professor, Math, presented at the Institute for Community College Development's (ICCD) annual Mid-Hudson Valley Successful Teaching Conference (April 16, Poughkeepsie). His presentation, "Four Major Styles of Teaching and Learning Mathematics," was featured in the GIFTS (Gathering Ideas for Teaching Success) section of the conference.


The Speech and Debate Team ended the Spring 2010 season in victory when Zamir Ben-Dan and Ian Ridgeway beat Yeshiva University in a 3-0 decision in the Extemporaneous Debate final round at SUNY Rockland's Public Forum Debate League Tournament (March 21) Ben-Dan and Ridgeway advanced to the final round after winning three preliminary rounds of competition in a field of debaters that included SUNY Albany, Dominican College and Yeshiva University. Fellow Rockland debater, Michael Croce, was the second place speaker in that division. Andrew Jacobs, Professor of Speech, is the Debate Team coach.

Two teams of programming students, the Java Hawks and the Jets, participated in the 2010 Pace University Community College Programming Contest (April 24), taking second and third place. Lynn Aaron, Associate Professor, Computer Studies, was their coach/facilitator.

Second place – Jets: Students Michael Bauer, Matthew Cohen, and Joseph Domingo

Third place - Java Hawks: Students Daniel Blossom, Paola Garcia Cardenas, and Rahul Mahida


The winners of the 2010 Henry V. Larom Award for outstanding fiction and poetry are:

Fiction -- Yonatan Kamensky, for "Why I Cry"

Poetry -- Chloe Cannon, for "Fire Island"

The story and poem will be featured in a special section of Outlook and be printed in Impulse magazine.

The winners of the 2010 Maxwell Anderson Award for an Essay on Literature:

First place: Urban Eisen-Miller for his essay, "The Degradation of Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost."

Second place: Enior J. Jimenez for his essay, "Concordia Discors: The Beast within the God."

Outlook won first place Mark of Excellence awards for feature writing, sports writing, and in-depth reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists' (SPJ). This honor places Outlook in the top nine or ten of all community colleges nationwide in these categories. James Borchers, Editor-in-Chief, won first place for his coverage of the RCC Men's Basketball team's playoff journey (Sports). Ziv Schwartz, Managing Editor, won first place for his coverage on the high costs of textbooks and where to buy them (features, in-depth reporting). Outlook took second place in the category of best all around newspaper for a two-year college. (April 10, New York). Rob Fuentes, Instructor, English, is the Outlook advisor.

Mark Svensson was chosen from more than 1500 nominees from 856 community colleges by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, Inc., in collaboration with USA TODAY newspaper, to be selected for the elite 20-member USA TODAY's 2010 ALL-USA Community College Academic Team. USA TODAY presented Svensson with a $2,500 scholarship at the annual conference of the American Association of Community Colleges (April 19, Seattle, W.A.). As the top scoring New York State community college student, Svensson was also named New Century Scholar by Phi Theta Kappa and was awarded $2,000. Featured in USA TODAY on April 19 in the article, "They're making a difference," Svensson's accomplishments included his recent participation at the Clinton Global Initiative University 2010 Conference (April 16-18, University of Miami). Svensson is RCC's first ever ALL-USA selectee, and this year, was the only student chosen from New York State.

At the Clinton Global Initiative University 2010 Conference, Mark Svensson and Tarik Abdelqader's report, "Be The Key To Freedom," which details their mission and work to end slavery, was featured on stage during the conference, having been selected from hundreds of reports as among "a select few that both demonstrated outstanding progress, told an interesting story that could be beneficial to others with similar goals, and aligned well with one of CGI U's program topics this year."