Liberal Arts Students Present Their Senior Research Projects

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Students, faculty, and administrators stopped by Lawrence Hall on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, to speak to seniors in the Liberal Arts program about their research projects.

More than 40 Liberal Arts students presented their Senior Research Projects on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall. The projects covered a wide variety of disciplines — including biology, communication studies, psychology and the social sciences.

The presentations come as seniors are wrapping up their capstone and senior seminar courses.  “Seniors who have been working on a particular research topic and subject have an opportunity to explain their research and their findings to the rest of the Dominican College community,” said Dr. Mark Meachem, Director of the Division of Arts and Sciences. 

This is the second year that all Liberal Arts students have presented their projects on the same day.  It’s a way to highlight Dominican College’s emphasis on the value of a Liberal Arts education, which provides students with a strong foundation in skills related to speaking, reading, writing, problem solving, analyzing, and interpreting information. 


College Unveils Chemistry Lab With Equipment Donated from Pfizer, Inc.

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Dominican College President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D. with Pfizer Pearl River Site Leader Kerrin Mahaffey in the newly renovated chemistry laboratory in Forkel Hall.

Dominican College unveiled a newly-renovated chemistry laboratory in Forkel Hall on April 14, 2016.  The updated lab was made possible by the generous donation of about $500,000 worth of furniture and equipment from Pfizer, Inc. 

“We are delighted to be able to open this classroom and research laboratory for our students to begin using in fall,” said College President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D. “This additional lab shows our commitment to the sciences, which provide such an important foundation for many of the top fields of study at Dominican College – including nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and athletic training.”

The furniture and equipment donated by Pfizer, Inc. include a chemical fume hood, four lab work benches, two equipment benches, glassware, solvent cabinets, and instruments. These additions will enhance the use of the renovated room for instruction and lab work.

Pfizer Pearl River Site Leader Kerrin Mahaffey said, “The Pearl River site has been committed to the Rockland community for over 110 years. Not only with advancing medicine and global health but in supporting our neighbors, non-profits and schools.”

She added, “We are so glad that we were able to provide the equipment for the chemistry and biology research labs. It is our hope that this will make it possible for future scientists to continue in the tradition of Pfizer and the Pearl River colleagues.  We expect great things from them.”          

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Colleen Evans, is pleased that the chemistry lab is located next to the biology lab. “That’s the future of chemistry majors to be able to have multi or interdisciplinary work.  I’m going to be working with faculty to develop programs that we can use for both chemistry and biology,” she said. “I think the new lab is really a catalyst that will hopefully help us grow the program to attract students to the field of chemistry.”

In November 2014, Dominican College dedicated a biology lab in Forkel Hall that also contained equipment donated by Pfizer, Inc. In addition to the laboratories in Forkel Hall, Dominican College has three biology labs, a physics lab, and a chemistry lab in Prusmack Center.




College Holds Interfaith Discussion on Pope’s Encyclical on the Environment

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Representatives of several different religions participated in a panel discussion on Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si.”

The Pope’s encyclical on the environment was widely praised by representatives of several different world religions during a panel discussion at Dominican College on April 12, 2016.   Representatives of Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam took part in the discussion of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ in the Lawrence Room.

Rabbi Lawrence Troster said he was struck by the fact that the Pope said he was writing the encyclical for all people – not just Catholics. “And he’s not trying to prescribe for us what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “The Pope wants to start a conversation between everybody – no matter what you do or who you are, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.  That in itself is a major achievement,”

The panel members stressed that there was an interconnectedness and oneness among all humanity when it comes to caring for the environment. The Reverend Monsignor Ed Ciuba said that everyone has a responsibility to the world and the planet, which is our common home. “We are all different. We all sing a different tune, but we have been made to sing in harmony and we are not singing in harmony.”

While the panelists all agreed there is much work to be done in caring for the environment, they also all had a message of hope. In speaking about the Pope, Islamic scholar Ibrahim Abdul-Matin said, “As human beings I think it’s pretty awesome that we have a spiritual leader who looks beyond the present and looks past the past that we acknowledge.”

Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Bodhi and Adam Hinge of Columbia University also took part in the discussion, which was sponsored by the Humanities Council.


Dominican College Alumna Appointed Bankruptcy Judge

Mary Kay Vyscocil

Mary Kay Vyscocil, ’80, has been appointed to serve as a bankruptcy judge in the Southern District of New York.

Mary Kay Vyskocil, ’80, has been sworn in as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York. Vyskocil, who was a partner in the New York law firm of Simpson, Thacher& Bartlett LLP, was appointed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

“Mary Kay is a widely respected trial lawyer who has been a valued colleague and a leader of our Insurance Litigation Practice,” said Bill Dougherty.  Chairman of Simpson Thacher’s Executive Committee.  “We are proud of all that she has achieved and congratulate her on this distinguished appointment.”

During her 33-year career at Simpson Thacher, Vyskocil litigated some of the most significant insurance and reinsurance cases, representing major domestic and foreign insurers in numerous arbitrations, jury trials and appellate arguments. She represented Swiss RE Ltd. In litigation arising from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and has also represented JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Travelers Cos. Inc.

Second Circuit Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann said , “ With her substantial experience in complex and sophisticated commercial litigation matters, Mary Kay Vyskocil joins a distinguished Southern District bankruptcy bench.”

Vyscocil graduated summa cum laude from Dominican College and was Valedictorian. She attended St. John’s University Law School. She has stayed active at Dominican College, serving on the College Board of Trustees for more than 25 years.   

College Offers Broadcast Journalism for TV Class

Students produce TV newscasts in a new studio on the upper floor of the Granito Center.

Students produce TV newscasts in a new studio on the upper floor of the Granito Center.

For the first time ever, Dominican College is offering a course this spring semester called Broadcast Journalism for TV.  The class is taught in the new TV studio on the upper floor of the Granito Center. 

Andrew Burns, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, said the 20 students who take the class are getting exposed to different fields of communications by producing a newscast and finding out what jobs suit them best. “Everybody rotates so they get experience in every position – director, producer, anchor, writer, editor, camera person,” said Burns.  “I think everybody has been able to get the feel for the communications field a bit more and where they want to try to find work later on.”

Burns said the students write the newscast which covers campus news, record it digitally, edit it, and upload it  to the College server.  During the next school year, it is hoped that the newscast will run on the TV monitors located throughout the College. 

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. 

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