Interprofessional Seminar Promotes Better Understanding and Collaboration

Graduate students in education and occupational therapy discuss case studies during the annual Interprofessional Seminar.

Graduate students in education and occupational therapy discussed how they can collaborate in the classroom during the annual Interprofessional Seminar on November 2, 2019.  Mike Kelly, Ph.D., Director of Graduate Programs in Education, said the seminar promotes better understanding among the professions.

During the seminar, the students break into groups and discuss real-life case studies.  “The bottom line is to come up with some practical skill sets that both of the disciplines can talk about,” said Kelly.  The goal, he said, is for the students to have a plan of how to work together to best serve young people when they are out working in schools.

The Interprofessional Seminar has been held for more than 10 years at Dominican College.   About 70 students participated in the program in the Palisades Room in Casey Hall.

Olympic Medalist and Activist Speaks At Freshman Read Event

Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad (center) answered students questions during the Freshman Read event. Adjunct English Professor Lori Myers (left) and event organizer and English & Gender Studies Chair Ellen Dolgin (right) moderated the event.

Freshman English students were treated to a question and answer session with Ibtihaj Muhammad –entrepreneur, activist, author, and Olympic medalist – on October 17, 2019 in the Hennessy Center.  The students had all read Muhammad’s memoir, “PROUD:  My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream.”  Muhammad is the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in fencing and was the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab.

Muhammad told the students that her journey was not easy because she faced bullying and battled depression.  During the Freshman Read event, Muhammad was asked how young people could help combat discrimination. “Don’t think that this is not my problem and I can’t do anything,” she answered.  “You have to know that you are part of the solution and you have to find ways to insert yourself into the conversation and make yourself part of that change that you seek “

Muhammad is a sports ambassador with the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sport Initiative and works closely with organizations like Athletes for Impact and the Special Olympics.  She was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential list in 2016, the year she was in the Olympics.  Mattel’s first hijabi Barbie, modeled in Muhammad’s likeness, became available for purchase in July 2018.  That same month, Muhammad released her memoir, which also has a young readers edition. In September 2019, her children’s picture book, “The Proudest Blue” was released.  She also has her own clothing company, Louella, which aims to bring modest, fashionable, and affordable clothing to the United States market. 

After fielding questions, Muhammad graciously signed copies of her memoir and posed for selfies with students. 


Dominican College Ranked a Top Performer on Social Mobility by U.S. News & World Report

Dominican College has been ranked as a Top Performer on Social Mobility by U.S. News & World Report in their 2020 Best Colleges list.  Dominican College was ranked #19 out of Regional Universities North for social mobility.  Top performers in this category are more successful than other colleges at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded Pell Grants.  Most of these federal grants are awarded to students with adjusted gross family incomes under $50,000.

President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P., Ph.D. said, “We are delighted to be recognized for helping  economically challenged students to succeed.  Dominican College has always welcomed students of all economic backgrounds and strongly believes that everyone deserves a top quality education.”

Dominican College is the top ranked college for social mobility in Rockland County.   For more information and the complete list, visit the U.S. News & World Report website.

Criminal Justice Students Participate in Police Boot Camp

Joe Nyce Parrello spoke to criminal justice students about how to promote better police community relations within our schools and in the streets.

Criminal justice students who are considering a career in law enforcement took part in the College’s first Police Boot Camp on October 3, 2019 in the Hennessy Center.  Motivational speaker and Harrison Police Officer Joe Nyce Parrello administered the Cooper physical fitness test to the aspiring police officers and encouraged the students to become officers only if they are doing it for the right reasons – to make a difference and to help people.

“Being a police officer is an amazing job.  You have the opportunity to affect the lives of thousands of people over the course of your career,”  he said.  “But it’s also a very dangerous job and a very tough job.  Right now it is not easy to be a police officer in the United States.”

Parrello believes that individual police officers can be part of the solution by always treating others with respect and by building relationships in the community.  He is a cousin of Tara Parrello, Ph.D., Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program.

Volunteers Package 10,000 Meals for the Hungry

Volunteers packaged 10,000 macaroni and cheese meals in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall on September 27, 2019.

The Dominican College community packaged 10,000 macaroni and cheese meals for the hungry by partnering with The Outreach Program, Inc. during Founders Week.   More than 130 students, faculty, administrators, and staff volunteered on the assembly lines that were set up in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall on September 27, 2019.

The Outreach Program Regional Manager Ted Swartwood said Dominican College’s assistance is appreciated, “Hunger is a real issue wherever you go and the meals will go to people who really need them.  One in five people in the greater Rockland County area do not know where their next meal is coming from.  These meals will help.”

About 9,000 meals were delivered to People to People for distribution to local families and the remainder are being kept in the College food pantry for students.  The Outreach Program is a nonprofit organization focused on providing safe water, food, medical care, and education to children and those in need at home and abroad.

Business Forum Addresses Trends Defining the Future

Senior Vice Presidents at Capital Group Kathy Nalywajko and Greg Singer spoke to business leaders at a forum entitled, “Defining the Future: Trends Transforming the Way We Live.”

The world is quickly changing and business leaders heard about trends that are transforming the way we live during a Palisades Institute forum on October 3, 2019 in Rosary Hall.

Greg Singer, VP and Investment Director at Capital Group, said three major trends are the growth of cloud computing, advances in medical research, and the increase in global air travel.  “Everyone is very worried about volatility in the markets right now and the risk of an upcoming recession.  We see volatility likely to stay and a recession likely to happen in the next couple of years,” he said.  “But at the same time, there are multi-decade trends going on and companies that are going to get through the recession to the other side and that can create attractive investments. “

Singer advises business owners to make sure their businesses can get through the stress of a recession, noting that companies with volatility and debt are particularly at risk.  Singer was joined on the panel by Kathy Nalywajko, VP at Capital Group.

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.


New Food Pantry Opens On Campus

Virginia Reeves, sister of Sr. Catherine Howard, cuts the ribbon on the new Sr. Catherine Howard Food Pantry. College President Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien is on the right.

A new food pantry for students has opened on the Dominican College campus.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Sr. Catherine Howard Food Pantry took place on Friday, September 27, 2019.   The pantry is located in the Sullivan Library and is open on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Melissa Leigh Grau, Director of Community Engagement & Leadership Development, said the goal is to help students so they are able to pursue an education with as few barriers as possible.  “Students who self-identify as needing food assistance, as well as students referred by faculty or staff, will have access to shelf-stable food staples, as well as on-the-go snacks like granola bars and peanut butter,” she said.

Social work students Jhanya Squires and Arabia Shearn (left to right) both worked to get the Sr. Catherine Howard Food Pantry up and running in the Sullivan Library.


Grau said her office is working with the Social Work Department and the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt on the project.  The Sisters have donated money from several fundraisers toward the pantry, which is staffed by a social work intern.  The pantry was named in honor of Sr. Catherine Howard, who served as president of The Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt and as a College trustee.  The talented administrator and social worker died on November 9, 2018.  She is remembered for her dedication, kindness, and selflessness.

Winners of the 2019 Spirit of the Founders Award Announced

The 2019 Spirit of the Founders Award was presented to Bruno Garcia and Samantha Colon.

The Dominican College 2019 Spirit of the Founders Award was presented to senior Samantha Colon and junior Bruno Garcia during a ceremony at the Granito Center on Thursday, September 26, 2019.  The event was one of the highlights of the week- long celebration of Founders Week.

The Spirit of The Founder’s Award recognizes the contributions of student leaders who hold the promise of carrying the Dominican spirit into the future.  “It means that all the work we are doing in college has a purpose, not only for us, but also for the community that we live in,” said Garcia, who added that he was honored to receive the award.  Garcia is a member of the soccer team, a Resident Assistant, a student ambassador, a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and the junior class representative on the Student Government Association (SGA).  He has also been on the Dean’s List every semester.

Colon said she was pleased that her hard work was noticed and encouraged others to get involved.  “The more you get involved, the more people you know and the bigger impact you can make on the campus community and what we do outside of here,” she said.  Colon participated in the Alternative Spring Break, is a tutor at the Academic Success Center (ASC), speaks at open houses, is secretary of DC Strength, and volunteers at St. Dominic’s School.  She has also been on the Dean’s list for the last three years.

The winners of the Spirit of the Founders Award are selected by a vote of Dominican College administrators, faculty, staff, and students.  The runners-up for the award were Denzel Edwards, Isabelle Ossee, Jaylen Cruz and Savannah Donaldson.


College Celebrates Founders Week

Kevin Ahern, Ph.D. presented the keynote presentation, A Dialogue of Faith and Reason for a Better Future., during Founders Week.

Dominican College began its Founders Week celebration with a keynote presentation from Theological Ethicist Kevin Ahern, Ph.D. Ahern served as President of the International Movement of Catholic Students and in 2016 was elected President of the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs.

Ahern told students that the legacy of St. Thomas Aquinas, who lived in the 13th century and was Dominican, was important to them today.  “I’d encourage you to think about how you can mix faith and reason, how you can strive for justice for the common good – especially in this moment when lots of human beings are treated as sub-human,”  he said.

He also encouraged the students to follow St. Thomas Aquinas’s lead by:

  • Thinking of something bigger than themselves, like God or humanity.
  • Having critical dialogue with people who have different opinions than they do.
  • Always having hope.

Ahern presented a clear, impassioned message to the students – describing St. Thomas Aquinas as a fascinating character who is still very relevant when it comes to fighting discrimination, racism, and poverty.

Founders Week is the annual celebration of Dominican College’s heritage and the Dominican Sisters who established it.  Activities include guest lectures, a preaching in action project, and the presentation of the Spirit of the Founders Award to two  students.


College Administrators Raise Money to Construct Well in El Salvador

Dorothy Filoramo and Ryan O’Gorman met with local officials and members of the community in El Salvador to make preparations for a new well to be constructed.

Three villages in El Salvador will finally have access to a clean, plentiful water supply thanks to the efforts of two College administrators.  Dorothy Filoramo, former VP for Institutional Advancement, and Ryan O’Gorman, Director of Retention and Student Success, are both members of the Rotary Club of Pearl River and were recently awarded a Rotary International grant of $27,000.  That money coupled with the $58,000 they had previously raised will be used to construct a new well for the communities of Sol Naciente, Once, and San Francisco.

“The residents’ quality of life will improve with access to clean water for cooking, bathing, and washing their clothes,” said Filoramo. ”They have been relying on meager supplies and buying water.  This will mean clean water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for three communities.”

O’Gorman added, “For us, we take clean water for granted because we turn on the faucet, there it is, and we drink it.  Whereas for them, they are appreciative and want to assist us in bringing them clean water.”

Filoramo and O’Gorman established partnerships with Rotary Clubs in San Miguel, El Salvador and Pune, India, as well as with Dominican College and Molloy College to assist with the project.  In addition, they have traveled to El Salvador several times to arrange for the purchase of land, for test drilling, and for a hydrological study.  Filoramo and O’Gorman plan to return to El Salvador in January to be there for the beginning of the well construction project, which is expected to take two months to complete.

Each year, students and administrators from Dominican College and Malloy College travel to Sol Naciente to volunteer at a children’s day camp that is run by a Dominican Sister, Sr. Flor Buruca, of Amityville, NY, who grew up in El Salvador.  It was during one of these service trips about four years ago that Filoramo and O’Gorman first discovered the need for clean water in the community and learned that the well used by residents was running dry.

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