Alumnus Invention Wins $1.125 Million Grant

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John Damiao demonstrates how his indieGo invention converts a typical wheelchair into a power wheelchair.

Alumnus and Adjunct Professor John Damiao ’09 calls his invention which turns an ordinary wheelchair into a power wheelchair for about $1,000 a “game-changer”  It’s called indieGo and has awarded  Damiao and his team at the Center for Discovery with a $1.125 million grant to develop it and get it on the market.  Damiao is an Adjunct Professor at Dominican College teaching Kinesiology. 

The indieGo is a small, lightweight device that you can roll any wheelchair on to in order to convert it to a power wheelchair. Damiao is an occupational therapist who works with individuals with Cerebral Palsy who are unable to control their own wheelchair.  His team in Hurleyville, NY, at the Center for Discovery is experimenting with a variety of controls, from joysticks to touch buttons to allow any patient with impaired mobility to drive.  Typical wheelchairs for these individuals can cost $10,000 to $15,000.

Damiao said it was nice that Google recognized the tremendous impact that this device can have and was not looking only at funding high-tech or flashy projects. “We felt great and excited that Google recognized the importance of trying to bring mobility to as many people as possible.  They are this big tech giant company and this device is very basic and simple,” he said. 

Google awarded 29 grantees with $20 million in grants to help address accessibility challenges all over the world and is helping bring the projects to life.



Four County Executives Answer Questions at Dominican College

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Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, and Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III (shown left to right) participated in the County Executives Forum at Dominican College on June 7, 2016.

The County leaders from Rockland, Westchester, Orange, and Bergen Counties were at Dominican College on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, to take part in the annual County Executive’s Forum sponsored by the Palisades Institute.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said New York State’s system for public assistance is a “recipe for fraud,” but said Rockland has a very aggressive Front End Detection System to root out fraud.  He also announced that Rockland County just reached a new milestone with more than 100,000 people on public assistance. “This is supposed to be a relatively wealthy suburban County,” he said. “Almost one third of our County is on public assistance.  It’s unsustainable.”

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III talked about the upcoming referendum in New Jersey on gambling in northern Jersey and stressed that a full casino is being considered – not simply slot machines. “The way the law is being written, there has to be a $1 billion investment by the person that brings gaming to Bergen County or the Meadowlands,” he said.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus also fielded questions from business leaders in attendance at the forum, which took place in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall.   

The aim of the Palisades Institute of Dominican College is to encourage leaders in business, government, and not-for-profit agencies to integrate the concepts of Leadership, Quality, and Ethics to achieve long-term success. 


A Capella Group to Perform National Anthem at Mets Game


Dominican College’s a capella group Pitches and Cream will sing the National Anthem at the Mets game on September 3, 2016.

Dominican College’s a cappella group Pitches and Cream will be singing the National Anthem at the Mets Game at Cit Field on Saturday, September 3, 2016. The group auditioned back in March and was featured on Channel 2 News.

Musical Director of Pitches and Cream Lydia Maynard, Ph.D. said this will be the largest audience Pitches and Cream has ever performed for – by far. “The stadium capacity is about 45,000 people and it’s Labor Day Weekend and the game is against the Nationals,” she said. “We are excited about it.”

Pitches and Cream was formed three years ago by Maynard, who is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Dominican College. “When I first interviewed here, I asked if they had an a capella group and they said ‘no’ so I knew I wanted to start one when I started working here.”  Maynard minored in music in college and has always enjoyed performing. 

Tickets to the Mets game are available for $25 and transportation will be provided. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.