Biology Student Accepted into Prestigious Research Program

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Freshman Kimberly Acevedo will be taking part in a competitive research program for undergraduates at Clemson University this summer.

Freshman biology student Kimberly Acevedo of Brewster, NY, has been accepted into a prestigious 10-week summer program at Clemson University for students who are exploring a career in biological research. Acevedo is one of just ten students accepted into Clemson University’s National Science Foundation REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) Program.  There were more than 300 applicants. 

Acevedo hopes that the intensive research program at the South Carolina school will help her decide on a career path. “I’m not sure whether I want to go to medical school or if I want to do research so I figured having a summer internship for research at Clemson University will help me determine if I want to do research or not,” she said.

The summer program is called, From Genomes to Phenomes – Exploring Function Across Scales. “The REU that Kim will participate in will provide her with experience not afforded to many freshmen,” said Bernadette Connors, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology. “She will have an opportunity to work with Clemson researchers on a significant and meaningful ecological project.  The work she completes this summer will enhance her opportunities post-graduation, and give her insight into the multiple career paths that an education in biology can provide.”

Some of the highlights of the program include:

  • Individual mentored research from faculty members
  • Field trips, as well as workshops on scientific writing, giving presentations, and applying for both graduate school and fellowships
  • A $5,250 stipend, free room and board at the college, and travel costs up to $500

The program runs from May 22 – July 29, 2016.

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New BEST Program Comes to Dominican College


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BOCES representatives briefed College Department heads on the new BEST program. Shown here (from left to right) are Director of the Health Center Lynda Chesterman, Director of Food Services Anthony Longobardo, as well as Maureen Danizig and Dawn Kitz of BOCES.

Dominican College is teaming up with Rockland BOCES to prepare high school students with disabilities for the world of work. The new program is called BEST (Business Expertise for Student Transition and Training) and it will kick off in September 2016 with eight students.

College Director of Special Services Margaret Giuliano said the high school juniors and seniors in the program will be entering the workforce or going to college after graduation. “Through the partnership, they will be spending 1 ½ hours  each day on our campus, experiencing real life job placement as interns and learning soft skills that are key to college and career success,”  she said. 

Rockland BOCES is providing a full-time teacher, teaching assistant and part-time coordinator to work with the students at the College and teach what are considered soft skills. “It could be interview skills, resume writing, social skills – how to dress on the job, how to speak to your co-workers, anything related to a job,”  said Dawn Kitz, Transition Coordinator at BOCES. 

During a recent Open House hosted by BOCES in the Badami Room, representatives of different College departments dropped by throughout the day to be briefed on the new program and to sign up to accept BEST students as interns in their departments.

Dominican College Announces 2016 Persons of the Year


The Wortendyke Brothers, owners of Cal Mart Enterprises, Inc., have been chosen as the 2016 Persons of the Year. Pictured from left to right are Peter, Carl, and Martin Wortendyke.

Dominican College and its Board of Trustees have named Carl, Martin, and Peter Wortendyke – owners of Cal Mart Enterprises, Inc.—as the 2016 Persons of the Year. They will be honored at the College’s 44th Annual Grand Reception on Friday, May 6, 2016.

The Grand Reception will be held at the Old Tappan Manor in Old Tappan, New York, at 7 p.m.

“Carl, Martin, and Peter Wortendyke were chosen as the 2016 Persons of the Year for their outstanding professional leadership, their community involvement, and their philanthropic works,” said Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D., President of Dominican College. “Not only have the Wortendyke brothers built a successful business here in Rockland County, but they have given back to the community by generously donating their time and money to support so many causes.”

Cal Mart Enterprises, Inc. is a construction company located in Congers, NY, and has built major commercial, industrial, and residential projects.

Cal Mart and the Wortendykes have been honored for their generous contributions to many organizations, including Nyack Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Helen Hayes Hospital, Camp Venture, Jawonio, and the Boy Scouts of America. They received the Helen Hayes MacArthur Award in 2004 and the Pinnacle Award for Contracting and Development from the Rockland County Builders Association in 2015.

Carl Wortendyke has been a board member of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) since 2005. He also served as a Saratoga Capital District Regional Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation for 10 years. Carl was the Republican Businessman of the Year for the Town of Clarkstown in 1986 and the Rockland County Businessman of the Year in 2000. He resides in Upper Nyack, NY. 

 Martin Wortendyke is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Rockland Community College. In addition, he serves on the Helen Hayes Hospital Board of Visitors and is a member of the Sterling Bank Business Leaders Council. Martin belongs to the NYS Society of Professional Engineers, as well as the American Society of Civil Engineers. He lives in Upper Nyack, NY, with his wife Liz and their daughter Krista.

Peter Wortendyke is President of the Oak Hill Cemetery and was a member of the Jackson Hose Company Nyack Fire Department for 30 years as a volunteer firefighter rising through the ranks to Commissioner. He was elected Commissioner of the Nyack Joint Fire District in 2014. Peter lives in Upper Nyack, NY, with his wife Mary Ann and their daughter Tori.

The tickets to the Grand Reception, honoring the Wortendykes cost $350 each. All proceeds will  support the expansion of the Hennessy Center, academic programs, and technological advancements at the College.  For additional information, and to purchase tickets, click here.


College Celebrates Culture and Cuisine of Ireland

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Musicians from the Pearl River School of Irish Music performed at the Night in Ireland event.

Dominican College held its third annual Night of Culture and Cuisine on Friday, March 11, and this year a sell-out crowd was transported to Ireland. The attendees were treated to the sights and sounds of Ireland in the Lawrence Room in Rosary Hall from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The menu consisted of Irish favorites including scones, shepherd’s pie, Guinness stew, Irish smoked salmon and corned beef. For dessert, there was pavlova, trifle, and more. Of course, there was plenty of Guinness to drink, and Irish coffee to end the night. 

While dining on delicious food, guests were treated to local Irish entertainment. Dancers from the Broesler School of Irish Dance delighted the crowd with their footwork.  In addition, musicians from the Pearl River School of Irish Music played traditional Irish instruments and performed a few songs. 

Denise Mingione, was among those who attended. “Not only was the food fabulous, but the live Irish music, step dancing, and singing by the local children was truly amazing. When that young girl sang ‘Emigrant Eyes’ a cappella, it reminded me of grandmother’s journey to New York, alone at only 19 years old, “  she said.  “Thank you for a really fun night with neighbors and friends.”

Orangeburg resident Deirdre O’Boy, from the Department of English at Lehman College, and director of the CUNY Institute of Irish Studies spoke about how food had been portrayed in Irish literature over the ages.  

As part of the decorations that filled the Lawrence room, The Danu Gallery of Pearl River generously displayed beautiful Celtic giftware.

The Night in Ireland event follows a Night in Argentina and a Night in Sicily.


Dominican College Presents “Kiss Me Kate”

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Some of the cast members of this year’s Spring Musical at Dominican College, “Kiss Me, Kate.”

Performances of the Dominican College Spring Musical Kiss Me, Kate were held Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12 at 8 p.m. at St. Dominic’s School, 488 Western Highway, Blauvelt, NY 10913, behind the Convent of St. Dominic.

Kiss Me Kate is a Cole Porter musical that takes place in Baltimore, where a theater troupe is putting on a performance. Egotistical leading man Fred Graham is reunited with this ex-wife Lilli Vanessi when the two are forced to play opposite one another in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. It becomes clear that as much as they profess to hate each other, they are still very much in love. The show also has gangsters, mistaken identities, and more romantic entanglements. Kiss Me, Kate has something for every — including comedy, romance, drama, and suspense.  

Kiss Me, Kate was presented by the Dominican College Aquin Players and directed by James Filippelli. 

Students Build Homes During Alternative Spring Break

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These students spent Spring Break in North Carolina and Florida, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes.

For the past 10 years, a group of Dominican College students have passed up on the traditional Spring Break, instead volunteering to work with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for families in need of decent, affordable housing.

This year, about 30 students participated in the week-long Alternative Spring Break Program. The students were split into two groups, with half going to Goldsboro, North Carolina, and the other half to Palm Bay, Florida.  

The popularity of the Alternative Spring Break Program at Dominican College demonstrates that the students connect with the service mission of the College, according to Melissa Leigh Grau, College Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development. “Not only do the students return every year, but they bring their friends and they get new people and they show others what it means to be part of the Dominican College community,” said Grau. 

Freshman through seniors participate in the trip. The students pay for a portion of the trip, with Dominican College subsidizing the cost. 

Grau says the students understand that Spring Break doesn’t have to be about relaxing at the beach and having fun. “Spring Break can be having fun, but building and contributing and being part of something bigger than yourself,” she said.


Business Leaders Get Practical Advice on the Affordable Care Act


Business leaders attending the last Palisades Institute forum walked away with practical advice on how to be in compliance with changing regulations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The forum entitled “The Affordable Care Act: Its Impact on Business Strategy and Operations” was held on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall.

A panel of experts on the Affordable Care Act  let business leaders know what is required of them and answered questions.

The panel included:

  • John Rosenberger, CPA, Tax Manager, GKG Certified Public Accountants and Business Consultants
  • Matt Libby, Vice President , MDG Employee Benefit Solutions, Certified Insurance Consultants
  • Stu Kornberg, Director, PayServ Corporation, Payroll Service

Topics discussed included: healthcare coverage that must be provided to employees; how to determine ACA-related “full-time equivalent” employees; how to minimize tax liability and penalties; forms that must be submitted to the federal government; and financial and human resources data and software compatibility with ACA requirements.


Upcoming Career Fair Open to the Public

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Dozens of area businesses will gather at Dominican College on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, looking for prospective employees.   The event is open to the public.  Don’t miss this opportunity to meet company recruiters, apply for jobs and internships, and polish your networking skills.   The event will take place in the Hennessy Center, 495 Western Highway, Blauvelt, from 2 to 5 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity for our students and local residents to meet with many different employers in one location,” said Evelyn Fiskaa, Director of Career Development. “Participation at the Career Fair is a great way to connect and network with representatives of organizations that are recruiting for positions and internships.”

Companies who will be in attendance include, but are not limited to:

Adecco Staffing
Adventist Health
Active International
ARC of Rockland
Allstate Insurance, Hamilla Agency
Braemar Living at Wallkill
Camp Chen-A –Wanda
Camp Venture, Inc.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark
Coca-Cola Refreshments
Combined Insurance
Constellations Health Service
Crystal Run Health
EF International Language School
Enterprise Holdings
Express Employment Professionals
Ezras Choilim Health Center
Foresters Financial Services
Head Start of Rockland, Inc.
i9 Sports
New York City Department of Correction
New York Life
New York State Environmental Conservation Police
Nice Pak/PDI
Northwestern Mutual-White Plains
Nyack Computer
NYS Department of Labor
Orange & Rockland
Rockland Boulders
Rockland County’s Sheriff’s Office
Sleepy Hollow Physical Therapy
Sparkling Pool Services, Inc.
Spectra Laboratories
St. Dominic’s Home
SUNPOWER by infinity solar
Sunshine Healthcare services
The NYS Dept. of Taxation & Finance
Townsend & Associates, Inc.

Interested in recruiting at the event? Register here!

For more information, call 845-848-4033. 

Dominican College to Participate in National Research Project


Dominican College has been selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to pilot a new laboratory for undergraduate biology students. Just 20 schools were chosen nationwide to participate in the SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) Project.

Bernadette Connors, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, said the program will result in freshman biology students being trained in more advanced laboratory techniques than they had been in the past. She said the students will become “virus hunters” and will look for bacterial viruses, otherwise known as bacteriophages, in soil samples. Once they isolate a virus and extract the DNA, HHMI will do the genome sequencing on the virus and students will subsequently piece together the genomic information. 

Dr. Connors stressed that the students will have ownership of the project throughout the 2016-2017 school year.   “They find the organisms.  They extract its DNA.  They figure out what the sequence looks like that makes that organism what it is,” she said. “It’s very experimental.  We don’t know what the results will be, so they are really digging and figuring it out for themselves and controlling it.”

HHMI provides support for the program by training faculty and conducting the genome sequencing. At the end of the project, one Dominican College student will be chosen to go to a national meeting to present the work of the group.  In addition, the class will become authors of an article in a peer-reviewed publication. 

Dr. Connors said the program will provide students with a good foundation. “All of biology is going the way of bioinformatics –putting together DNA pieces to better tell what an organism can and cannot do.”


Former Dominican College Athlete Inducted Into CACC Hall of Fame

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Director of Athletics Joe Clinton, Maryellen Massey Montera ’88, and CACC Commissioner Dan Mara, shown left to right.

Former Dominican College basketball and softball star Maryellen Massey Montera ’88 was Inducted into the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Hall of Fame on Saturday, February 6, 2016. This is the first year that the CACC has inducted athletes into a Hall of Fame.   

The ceremony honoring Montera took place in Hennessy Center between games of the Dominican-Philadelphia University basketball doubleheader. CACC Commissioner Dan Mara presented Montera with a framed portrait featuring photos from her legendary career.

In women’s basketball at Dominican College, Montera is the all-time leading scorer with 2,066 points. In softball, she was a standout as both a pitcher and a hitter.  She posted a 1.23 earned during her career, which is tops in program history. She also pitched a pair of no-hitters, including a perfect game against John Jay College.  At the plate, she had a .414 batting average and became the first and only student athlete in school history to have her jersey retired in 2009. 

Just six athletes, including Montera, were chosen for the inaugural class of the CACC Hall of Fame. The CACC is a NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 schools in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  


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