CUNY CAT-City College-Corning: A Winning Combination

February 7, 2011 | news

When Michael Etienne received his doctorate in electrical engineering from CUNY’s Graduate Center, he didn’t have to worry about getting a job.

Shortly before his graduation, a team from Corning started a joint research program with City College and had already identified him as a post-doctoral candidate. Two years later, this post-doctoral journey culminated with Etienne’s being offered a full-time position at Sullivan Park, Corning’s main research center in upstate New York, where he is a research scientist in the Optical Physics & Network Technology department.

“It’s a really exciting job,” he says. “About 50 percent of my time is spent with fibers, and the other 50 percent is devoted to LCD-TV display. I’m working on things that people will not see for five to 10 years.”

Etienne is one of several students who have benefited from the unique collaboration of City College, CUNY CAT and Corning.

In his case, the Corning connection was forged when the company started financing City College Prof. Roger Dorsinville’s research on quantum computing, communications and imaging.
“I already had been involved with CUNY CAT,” Dorsinville says. “When I got the money from Corning, I got matching money from CUNY CAT. The CUNY CAT money made my work go faster. Most of the research money I get goes to support students like Michael Etienne.”

By the time he was in his second year of post-doc work, Etienne was splitting his time between Corning’s Sullivan Park and City College, working closely with the research Fellow who would become his boss at Corning.

The collaboration with Dorsinville was so successful that Corning began offering internships to City College students. “Every summer, we have three to four students going to Corning,” Dorsinville says. “It’s one of our larger contingents of paid internships. It’s a great addition to their resumes. And several of our undergrad and PhD students like Michael have gotten full-time jobs there.”

The relationship is a prime example of the mutually beneficial industry partnerships CUNY CAT cultivates.
“The CUNY CAT/CCNY collaboration has proven to be a rich technical talent and research pipeline for Corning’s technology community,” says Mark D. Vaughn, manager of technical talent pipelining for the technology community, Corning. “After laying the groundwork for a mutually beneficial relationship, the return has been remarkable. Not only have we benefited from valuable contributions made by CCNY interns, many of whom are now full-time Corning employees, but the collaborative technical exchange has resulted in sustained engagement at the highest technical levels of our organization.”

The exchange also has opened doors for Corning employees. After working with Dorsinville’s team, Andru J. Prescod, who has been a research scientist at Corning for more than a decade, decided to get his doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center. “The experience sparked my interest in electrical engineering,” he says. “That’s why I chose it as my degree.”

At Corning, Etienne has the opportunity to work on a variety of exploratory projects. “My getting to do post-doc work for Corning was great,” he says. “And getting the job at Corning was even greater. Working for Corning prepared me for life after college.”