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December 2001

An Integrated City University Responds to the WTC Crisis

Bold, High-Tech TV Magazine Invites "Study with the Best"
NYC Past in Full Array At Inaugural History Festival
CUNY Community Colleges: Vital to City Economy
Arthur Miller Drops Back In for Finley Award at CCNY Dinner
Archaeologists Research Vikings
Faculty Experts Join Collaboration on World Trade Center Future
New Research Foundation Head
Asthma Initiative at BCC Registers Major Success
Oysters Reintroduced to Bay
York Grad Makes Naval History
Managing the 9/11 Crisis at BMCC
Hunter Cartographers Prepare Vital Ground Zero Maps For Rescue
CCNY’s Rosenberg/Humphrey Interns Continue Public Service Tradition
City Tech Prof Sheds Light on Titanic
New Device for Medical Diagnonis
Mina Rees, Pioneering Military Scientist
Annual Perspectives Nears 25th Anniversary
University to HIV Children: “Toys (and Lots Else) Are Us”
Bold, High-Tech TV Magazine
Invites "Study with the Best"

"Study with the Best" senior producer Linda Prout, above, and series hosts Tomiko Karino and Zyphus Lebrun, below.
What do the madcap prince of morning radio Skerry Jones (aka the Na Na Guy), the balletic mating dance of Papua New Guinea's bird of paradise, and Khamranie Bhagroo's first trip to the opera have in common? The City University of New York, of course, and anyone interested in learning more about these wide-ranging subjects may do so at 8 am or 8 pm on Sunday, December 16, on CUNY-TV Channel 75—and every Sunday after that.

These are among the segments that will be presented on the debut edition of "Study with the Best,” a vigorously-paced, high-concept video magazine designed to bring the accomplishments of CUNY faculty and students, the University's broad array of career opportunities, and activities on its many campuses to the metropolitan-area television audience.

New editions of “Study with the Best” (SWTB) will be aired on subsequent Sundays over the next several months at the same time (think “Sunday at Eight with CUNY”). If the eye-popping cross-cuts, funky camera angles, chart-topping music tracks, and zingy animated graphics leave viewers now and then thinking “ MTV,” the producers will not be at all miffed. Welcoming viewers at the top of the inaugural edition to a university with “more than 1,200 academic programs and students from 184 countries,” Chancellor Matthew Goldstein says, “If you are thinking about college and your career and wondering what to expect, this show is for you.”

He points to many financial aid plans and scholarships—later in the show we learn that 70% of full-time CUNY undergraduates receive such aid—and ventures a promise to those who become students: “New York City will be your campus, and CUNY will be your ladder to success.

Chancellor Goldstein's remarks are brief because, hey, Senior Producer and Writer Linda Prout and her on-air student co-hosts Tomiko Karino and Zyphus Lebrun (all three are from City College's journalism program and media and communication arts department) have jam-packed their 26 minutes of air-time with a borough-hopping itinerary. First up is Joe Brown, the manager of WHCR-FM, CCNY/Harlem Community Radio, giving CCNY communications students their introduction to the “management and talent side of radioÇand the technical side.” Then the crew heads out for the new home of the Staten Island Yankees, where we observe College of Staten Island graduate Michael Cappelo getting hands-on experience as a sports broadcaster (and “getting paid for it”) for station WSIA-FM.

As a Brooklyn College student, Skeery Jones looked into his heart and the future and saw—radio. He praises CUNY for helping him “stick with the passion” as a campus radio personality, and since graduating he has won fame among morning persons as the Na Na Guy on top-ranked station Z100. The SWTB caravan pays a rambunctious visit to Jones's aptly titled program, "Morning Zoo."

After that, the SWTB camera zooms in on the Westbeth apartment of Lehman College professor and computer art wiz David Gillison, whose career began as a photographer and student of the culture of Papua New Guinea, notably the natives'fertility rituals. Gillison became fascinated by the mating dance of the bird of paradise, and his attempts to capture it on film led a colleague at National Geographic magazine to suggest he refine his work with computer animation. He didÇand was soon deeply involved in three-dimensional modeling at Lehman College's Art and Mathematics Project.

Another segment introduces two members of the first class of CUNY Honors College. Justin Gogel's interest is political science, and he was on the verge of going to the obvious school, George Washington University in D.C., but his impression of “a rebirth” at CUNY (and acceptance into the Honors College) brought him to Hunter College. Khamranie Bhagroo is pursuing a pre-med path at Queens College and expresses particular pleasure at the opportunities opened up by the cultural passport that is one Honors College perk: “I had no clue what opera looks like from inside, and I got to do that!

The debut edition wraps up with a visit to the second annual CUNY Jazz Festival at City College, with great bassist and Distinguished Professor Ron Carter on hand to observe, "When you attend CUNY, all of New York City is your campus."

Study with the Best” was conceived by its executive producer, Jay Hershenson, precisely to “ignite the fire” in ambitious and motivated prospective students, mainly from the metropolitan area but also from afar. Hershenson, who is also CUNY's Vice Chancellor for University Relations, explains that he was inspired by “two contradictory facts. First, television today is, overwhelmingly, the primary source of information for most people. Second, there is virtually no information about colleges available on television. We are going to change that reality, with an exciting and pioneering series to showcase the University.

Sensing the time was right for a major innovative venture onto video, Hershenson and CUNY-TV Director Bob Isaacson over the summer initiated planning for SWTB and brought in Professor Prout to lead the project. For production facilities they are relying on the multifaceted technological resources of CUNY-TV, located at the Graduate Center, and the University's well-established Channel 75.

Hershenson asserts that “Post September 11, more people are watching television together with family and friends. This is an important time to help New Yorkers learn about opportunities for advancement through higher education.”
Prout, director of the Journalism Program at City College, is now a writer for the Emmy-nominated PBS newsmagazine “In the Life,” the producer of “WomanSource,” an award-winning series on women and HIV, and a producer at CUNY's Channel 75.

Over the last two decades Prout has worked in all the major media, notably covering the Caribbean and Latin America as a correspondent for Newsweek and Newsday (her reportage on the invasion of Grenada won a New York Press Club award). Scouting shrewdly in her own back yard, Prout was able to recruit two impressive CUNY students as co-hosts who, it happens, had already worked together on a documentary about nursing homes. Tomiko Karino was born and raised in Osaka, Japan and came alone to the U.S. at age 19; after earning an Associate's degree at a Kansas community college, she and her boyfriend decided they didn't want to be in Kansas any more and made their way to New York. With private schools far beyond her means, Karino entered City College, where she has thrived as a journalism major to the tune of a 3.8 GPA. Now 23, she expects to graduate in June 2002.

When Zyphus Lebrun arrived at City College from his native St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles in 1998 at the age of 21, he was already something of a broadcasting man-of-all-work. He had reported, produced and anchored newscasts and feature stories, helped to create a call-in newsmaker program, and also hosted a “week in review” program for two different St. Lucia broadcasting companies.

A media communication arts major, Lebrun is maintaining a 3.9 GPA and, like Karino, expects to graduate in June 2002. Already in the can or on the story board for future editions of STWB are: a visit to that cornucopia of fine cuisine and elegant service, the Hospitality Program at New York City Technical College; a profile of Patricia Fraticelli, the charismatic Bronx Community College 4.0 GPA student and mother of three whose appearances highlighted several CUNY Information Fairs last year; a visit with some of John Jay College's forensic pathologists, who have been assisting in World Trade Center search and identification efforts; a segment on a research fellow at Hunter College's Brookdale Center who creates theater pieces based on the life stories told by Alzheimer's patients; and a profile of CCNY grad Barbara Nevins Taylor, now an investigative reporter for Channel 9's I Team.

Many segments will draw attention to outstanding scholars, artists, and research scientists on the CUNY faculty, among them Lehman College's U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, award-winning composer John Corigliano (Lehman College, Graduate Center), and bassist Ron Carter (City College).

Co-hosts Karino and Lebrun intersperse, between segments of SWTB, brief announcements directing viewers to other easily accessible sources of information about the University and its collegesÇthe CUNY Web site (, the toll-free number (1-800-CUNY-YES), and the Office of Admission Services (1114 Avenue of the Americas at 42nd Street, NY, NY 10036, 212-997-CUNY)—as well as information on financial aid and many special academic programs and outreach events.

To draw attention to "Study with the Best,” plans are under way to distribute thousands of dubs of the first program to New York City's college-prep students (and their parents), public educators, librarians, community leaders, and approximately 2,000 public and private high school counselors in the metropolitan area. Excerpts from the series will be available on the CUNY Web site.