Salute to Scholars

Our Tradition of Scholarly Inquiry

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

In the fall 2013 issue of CUNY Matters, Nobel prize-winning chemist and CUNY alumnus Jerome Karle, who passed away in June, was celebrated for his contributions to his field and to the University. Karle’s legacy is extended by CUNY scholars, men and women who advance the fundamental mission of the University: preserving, transmitting, and generating new knowledge. That work is embedded in CUNY’s DNA, passed from mentor to student, each identifying critical questions, unpacking data and positing new approaches and answers.

Via Verde — a New Model for Affordable Housing

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

STEPPING OUT of the subway station at 149th Street and Third Avenue in the South Bronx, you hear the sounds of honking cars and noisy crowds pulsate through the hardscrabble streets like the borough’s heartbeat. But walking further, after passing a smoke-filled falafel truck, a pawnshop, and a weed-choked lot, you soon encounter a striking oasis of homes known as Via Verde, or the “Green Way.”

New Yorkers Get Their 10-Year Physical

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

SOME NEW YORKERS are being asked for information about their medical history to help researchers get a better understanding of urban health. Nearly 3,000 New Yorkers have been randomly selected to participate in the New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NYC HANES.

Turtles: CUNY’s Excellent Partners for a Habitat Restoration Study

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

THEY’RE ONLY TURTLES but they may be the key to helping CUNY researchers figure out how wildlife is affected by habitat restoration.

President Obama in Brooklyn: ‘What’s Going On at P-TECH Is Outstanding’

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

It was a special day for students at Pathways in Technology Early College High School. President Barack Obama had come to visit the Brooklyn institution he hailed as a national model of technology education.

Spotting the Elusive ‘Hofstadter Butterfly’

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

A TEAM OF SCIENTISTS who set out to study a new type of material inadvertently confirmed a nearly 40-year-old physics theory that predicts a pattern of energy.

Greener Living Through Chemistry

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

AT KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, chemistry students are learning to synthesize biodiesel from vegetable oil found in their kitchen cupboards. Other innovative chemistry lessons include teaching student chemists to de-polymerize plastic bottles from recycling bins and how to extract the naturally occurring hydrocarbon, limonene, from an orange, instead of using a petroleum-based chemical.

Tracking Where a Terrorist Cloud Could Move

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

CUNY RESEARCHERS are doing their part to help the city create an antiterrorism plan to deal with the release of hazardous airborne material. Last summer, New York City College of Technology was the hub of a field study investigating how these contaminants may disperse in the city’s streets and subways.

Lights, Cameras, Action! — From a Master

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

JONATHAN WACKS, founding professor of Brooklyn College’s Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, discusses what unique qualities the new film school — scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 on a working production lot — will bring to both students and the industry.

Coming Soon! a Movie Lot, a Film School, a Graduate Program All in One

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

THE FIRST new film school of the 21st century is now “in development” at Brooklyn College.

Discovering What Birds And Babies Share In Learning to Vocalize

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

MOST ADVANCES in science these days tend to come out of laboratories with the very latest and most sophisticated equipment. And then there is the groundbreaking science emerging from Ofer Tchernichovski’s lab at Hunter College.

Boot Camp for MFA Theater Auditions

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

FOUR RECENT Queens College theater graduates sat chatting with instructor Claudia Feldstein about the Capulets, the Montagues and the major Shakespearian roles they would soon play at Flushing Town Hall.

Film-Scoring Magic

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

‘HERE’S the scenario,” musician and composer Michael Bacon tells his students on the first day of their film-scoring class at Lehman College. “I’m a film director and you’re the composer. My film is in trouble and I say to you, ‘This scene doesn’t feel sad enough. Or it’s too sad. And this scene isn’t exciting enough.’”

Setting Table in the South Bronx

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

LIZZETTE BONFANTE GONZALEZ, 23, is moved to tears when she discusses the importance of food education in the inner city. “My purpose is to share fairness and goodness,” she says. “For me it’s all about food justice and food education, and if there’s Community Supported agriculture or a farmer’s market in your community it should be supported.”

Better Health for the Many

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

AFTER A BUSY, HEARTBREAKING NIGHT as a pediatrician for a neonatal unit in a city with the highest infant mortality rate in the country, Dr. Ayman A.E. El-Mohandes decided that if he really wanted to help as many patients as possible, he needed to study public health.

Giving Back in a Big, Big Way

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

IN THE FALL of 2010, Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed to host a small dinner party for a select circle of colleagues: fellow billionaires. Among the guests were Warren Buffett, the renowned investor and philanthropist, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, along with wife, Melinda, now co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of the evening was to persuade other attendees to sign on to the Giving Pledge, a campaign spearheaded by Buffett and Gates to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to commit to giving at least half of their fortunes to charity.

From Young, Determined Immigrant to New York CEO

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE. But true. Kam Wong was not always a stellar student.

Today, the distinguished Baruch College alumnus and donor is president and CEO of the Municipal Credit Union of New York, with more than 350,000 members and almost $2 billion in assets.

In America On His Own

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

MEET JUAN RODRIGUEZ — New York City’s first immigrant.

He’s also a historical figure who went unrecognized for centuries.

But now researchers at City College have come together to set the record straight.

Rodriguez was born in Santo Domingo or Hispaniola (present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) — the first European colony established in the Americas. He was part of a crew that arrived in Hudson’s Harbor aboard a Dutch ship in 1613, probably sailing from the Spanish colony of Hispaniola. Rodriguez was also a free, dark-skinned man, according to Dutch notarial documents published by the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute.

“The story of Juan Rodriguez belongs to the history of all New Yorkers,” says Ramona Hernandez, director of the institute and professor of sociology at City College. “It shows that immigration and Dominicans are as old as apple pie. And it shows that New York has had inter-actions between different races and ethnicities since the very beginning.”

Rodriguez has been labeled the first because “he is simply the first individual for whom a historical record exists who is known to have lived in the Hudson Harbor area for several months (1613-1614), far from his society of origin, with only the local Native Americans as companions,” says Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, the assistant director of CUNY DSI.

It is likely that while living on the island of Santo Domingo, Rodriguez was hired to work as a sailor for the Dutch. The fact is that we find Rodriguez on a Dutch expedition destined for New Amsterdam and the Netherlands in 1613. But once Rodriguez arrived in Hudson’s Harbor he adamantly refused to leave, according to “Juan Rodriguez and the Beginnings of New York City,” a monograph published by the institute. Dutch notarial documents reveal that he lived and worked in New Amsterdam for at least eight months between 1613 and 1614.

Paraphrasing the few written statements that survive about Rodriguez, Hernandez says: “He was left here because he told whoever hired him, ‘I’m staying right here. And if you don’t leave me, I’ll jump overboard!’ We don’t know why he said that but I think this is a spirit of rebellion that

Studying Baboons in Africa — and Learning About Humans

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

IN PARTS OF AFRICA, baboons can be controversial. Some people consider them pests, while others value the lessons they teach us about human behavior.

Josie Marcus and the Legend of Wyatt Earp

December 11, 2013 | Salute to Scholars, The University

WYATT EARP was an icon of the American West. Both an outlaw and a lawman, he was the only man to walk away uninjured from the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.