“New York City is the ‘Number One’ destination in the U.S. for international students,” says Matthew Peipert, BMCC’s new Student Life International Student Specialist, in the Office of Student Affairs.
“A lot of them come from halfway across the world. They’re brave, to take that jump. They’re adventurous—and ambitious. For those who come from less advantaged countries, this is their shot. Often, they’re alone, and their families are pooling their entire savings to send them here.”
“I didn’t have an easy time in high school, so I was able to get my grades up at BMCC and transfer to a four-year college,” says Patricia Kettles, now manager at the Port Richmond Library on Staten Island, where she grew up.
“Plus I found the students at BMCC were there because they wanted to be there— maybe they didn’t have an easy time, but they were serious.”
According to a report by the Center for an Urban Future, raising the college graduation rate by just 10 percent in one decade would benefit NYC and NY State in the amount of almost $700 million. In two decades, it would be almost $1.5 billion.
Likewise, the cost of not raising the college graduation rate—in terms of lost dreams and aspirations—is incalculable.
Education wasn’t a priority in Daryl Griffin’s family. “I lost my father at a young age and my mother, brothers and I moved around a lot,” says Griffin, a fourth-semester Criminal Justice major at BMCC. “I didn’t put much effort into schoolwork. My attitude was, ‘whatever grade I got, that’s what I got.’”
Unsure about what he wanted to do with his life, Griffin enlisted in the Marines and served honorably in combat. But by the time he was discharged and returned home, he was burdened with a drinking problem and severe anxieties about his future. “It was a tough time,” he says.
But Griffin was tougher. With the encouragement of friends, he quit drinking and smoking, got back into shape—and, one day in 2009, called Eric Glaudé, BMCC’s counselor specializing in veteran affairs.
“It’s hard to believe a painter can rein in such color and make sense out of it,” art critic Stephen Westfall writes about Joan Thorne, whose recent work is currently on view at the Sideshow Gallery in Williamsburg. The one-person exhibition opened on October 12 and will run until November 10.
An adjunct professor in BMCC’s Music and Art Department, Thorne has collected a vast array of awards and honors over the course of a career that spans more than four decades. Her work has been featured in numerous one-person gallery shows, two Whitney Museum Biennials and major group exhibitions in Europe and the Americas. In addition, many of her paintings are part of the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Albright Knox Gallery, the Houston Fine Arts Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Professor Ivelisse Rodriguez, Co-Chair of the Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Executive Committee, delivered welcome remarks at the month-long celebration’s Opening Ceremony in BMCC’s Theatre I, and Co-Chair Professor Rosario Torres, hosted the event.
“I hope you have your soles ready to do some dancing,” said Dr. Torres, introducing the first of several songs by Lamar NYC, a musical group that “draws on the spirit of flamenco and world music.”
Alumni Natalia Sorokina and Nechama Gluck were among the first communication studies majors at BMCC, where they met and became friends.
Now, Sorokina is enrolled at Columbia University, and Gluck is at New York University (NYU)—both having earned generous merit scholarships to attend the prestigious schools.
But what they have in common goes much deeper than that.
BMCC’s newly-formed faculty chamber ensemble offered a double treat at its first formal recital at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center on October 16, with works from both the chamber and operatic repertoires.
Joined by mezzo-soprano Christine Free, soprano Eugenia Yau and baritone John Uehlein, the group performed instrumental works by Bohuslav Martinu and César Franck and selections from operas by Mozart and Johann Strauss.
The musicians, all members of the Music & Art Department faculty, included pianists Howard Meltzer and Jin-Ok Lee, flautist Maureen Keenan, and cellist Robert Reed.
Howard Prince, then associate dean for academic affairs at BMCC, was in his office when the call from Deland, Florida, came through. Library Science Professor Vicente Revilla was on the line.
“We won, Howie,” Revilla said. “We won the whole thing.”
When BMCC’s Music and Art Department relocated from the first floor of BMCC’s main building to large, spacious studios in the all-new Miles and Shirley Fiterman Hall, students were just as excited as their professors.
The college’s new art space made it easier for groups of students to work on large-scale projects such “Life Unfolding,” a commissioned piece of artwork built by some very talented BMCC students.
Getting through two years of college and earning an associate’s degree is an impressive achievement for anyone. But for low-income students with small children to care for, simply making it to class and keeping up with assignments can be a major challenge.
Since 1984, BMCC’s Early Childhood Center (ECC) has given student parents the peace of mind “that comes from knowing their children are in a nurturing and enriched environment,” says the center’s executive director, Cecilia Scott-Croff. “Parents can attend classes and without having to worry about the care of their children.”
Entering the headquarters of the United Nations (U.N.) complex overlooking the East River in Manhattan was like a dream come true for BMCC Liberal Arts major Nga Ping Lam.
“I saw the name in my history book but it was the first time I had seen the real thing,” she says. “I have the ID with my fingerprint on it, so I’ve been excited to explore it.”
Recently nominated to be a Youth Representative through the Association for Women in Psychology, Lam will canvas the BMCC student body for a report she’ll deliver at the U.N. this fall.
BMCC students are flexing their understanding of economics in a prestigious annual competition, the College Fed Challenge.
“Each student team needs to present four aspects: economic outlook, forecast, risks, and recommendations for policy,” explains Adrián Franco, Program Director for Economic Education at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “They prepare for months, studying macroeconomics and monetary policy.”
This fall, an exhibition of artworks by BMCC art faculty members opened in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center, located on the ground level of the college’s Miles and Shirley Fiterman Hall.
Participating faculty members are Simon Carr, Betty Copeland, Pat Genova, Xico Greenwald, Sarah Haviland, Ann Hjelle, Thaddeus Radell, Jessica Ramirez, Jerrold Schoenblum, Anthony Sorce and A.C. Towery. Their eclectic artwork was on display during the college’s acclaimed Steinway Soiree benefit, where funds were raised for scholarships and to acquire a Steinway piano for students and faculty.
Most college students juggle work with school, and CUNY students are certainly no exception. As the semester progresses, and the holiday season eases upon us all, local companies are hiring more than ever to get through the holiday rush. And, let’s face it—for BMCC students, earning a little extra money this time of year is quite beneficial.
This has been a busy year for Mykola Kyrychuk. This past spring he was named an Honoree of the Engineering Science department and graduated from BMCC with a 3.8 GPA. He is currently pursuing his Bachelors at Cornell on a Richard Dewar Scholarship. But those bare facts convey only one piece of a remarkable complex picture: At BMCC, he attended classes, worked summers as a research assistant, and mentored fellow students—all while working full-time.
One might assume that an artist at the pinnacle of her profession would have little left to learn about her craft. But don’t make that assumption about legendary singer/songwriter/musician Roberta Flack.
“Those of us who have had the good fortune of being students of fundamental music, art and dance, continue to study and take lessons,” says Flack, who performed at BMCC’s Steinway Soiree on Sepember 25.
“I take a voice lesson every week and I intend to keep doing it until I can no longer find my way to the voice teacher’s studio.”
If it’s hard to imagine David Letterman without Paul Shaffer off to the side, bantering with the host and leading the orchestra, consider this: If it hadn’t been for a chance encounter three decades ago, the high-energy, multi-talented entertainer might have pursued a career in academia.
A remarkable line-up of talent—internationally renowned songstress Roberta Flack; iconic singer/songwriter Art Garfunkel; jazz trumpeter Lew Soloff of Blood, Sweat and Tears fame, and sensational pianist/songwriter Peter Cincotti—came together in support of BMCC recently, their cameo performances emceed by jazz musician and popular sidekick to David Letterman, Paul Shaffer, who also sang and performed to the packed house.
For a brief period of time, BMCC student Turner Gray, a business administration major with two children—recently found herself in panic mode. She was facing eviction from an apartment she and her family resided in for many years.
“Plus,” she recalls of her situation last year, “it was finals week, and I had to stay with a relative until my kids, mother, and I could get back into our apartment.”