OT Students’ Invention Moves Ahead in Statewide Competition

Recent graduate Amanda Fortuna is shown here building a prototype of a battery-powered reacher. The invention was selected as a semi-finalist in a statewide competition.

An invention of Dominican College Occupational Therapy (OT) students has been chosen as one of 25 projects to move ahead in a New York State Department of Health (DOH) competition.   The DOH Aging Innovation Challenge encourages New York students to develop innovations to assist aging New Yorkers and their caregivers in completing activities of daily living.

Recent OT graduate Amanda Fortuna took the lead in submitting the idea for a battery-powered reacher, which was conceived with some of her classmates during an Advanced Practice OT course.  “Typically in field work or clinical scenarios that we’ve been in, we’ve seen that people are given reachers, but they don’t have the grip strength to maintain a grasp to pick up an item,” she said.

In order to become a semi-finalist, Fortuna had to submit a written proposal. For the next phase of the competition, Fortuna and former classmate Samantha Kromer are developing a prototype.  They must submit a video demonstrating the use of the battery-powered reacher for bathing, dressing, and meal preparation by November 1.  Five finalists will be awarded $5,000 and the developers of the top innovation will be awarded $25,000.


College Welcomes Class of 2022

Our Welcome Team of upperclassmen helped new students move into Hertel Hall on Freshman Move-In Day

The Class of 2022 has arrived on the Dominican College campus.  The new students moved into Hertel Hall and Rosary Hall during Freshman Move-In Day on Thursday, August 23.  They then attended a two-day orientation with many activities, including sessions on leadership and academic success, a game show, and a barbecue.

Melissa Grau, Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development, said the Freshman Orientation is all about connections. “It’s about connecting with new people. It’s about connecting with this campus and it’s about connecting with themselves so that they are really able to find their place and succeed here academically, socially, and in every way,” she said.

There are 294 registered students in the Class of 2022.  The most popular major among freshmen is nursing, followed by biology, teacher education, management, and criminal justice.


High School Students Attend STEM Camp at College

Dominican College junior Tahinah Lamour (left) is shown here mentoring Spring Valley High School students to help them extract DNA from water samples collected in local ponds.

Twelve Rockland high school students are attending a 3-week science camp at the College this summer.  The experience is called RISE (Research Immersion in Science and Ecology) and is being held on campus from July 22 through August 10.  The program is free and was funded through a generous grant from Orange and Rockland Utilities.

“The program is important because it’s exposing high school students to the sciences and they are doing hands-on projects that they may not have the opportunity to do somewhere else,” said Biology Professor Regina Alvarez.

The students are taking samples of the Sparkill Creek and local ponds and using microbiology and chemistry to analyze the samples in the College laboratories.  The students are also studying the biodiversity of the area with botanical and ecological surveys. In addition to the three College professors working with the students, five Dominican College students are working as mentors with the high school students.  On Friday, August 10, the high school students will present their findings during a ceremony in the Lawrence Room in Rosary Hall at 7 p.m.  Family and friends are invited to attend.

College Offers New Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Degree

Dominican College will begin offering a new undergraduate degree this fall – a Bachelor of Science in the Health Sciences.  The College recently received approval to begin offering the new degree from the New York State Education Department.   This degree furthers Dominican College’s long tradition of providing top-notch educational programs, particularly in the fields of healthcare.

Students who study Health Sciences can pursue degrees in a number of Allied Health professions, such as Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), Athletic Training, Speech-Language Pathology, or Physician Assistant.

Director of the Allied Health Division Pamela Story, OTD, OTR/L, said there are three tracks offered within the new Health Sciences Program.  “We have two tracks specifically designated as pre-professional tracks – one for OT and one for PT,” said Story.  “There is a third general track that has a lot of flexibility in it and a lot of space for electives.” The students in the third track can use the electives to take pre-requisites for graduate studies in other fields such as speech-language pathology or athletic training.

Dominican College offers a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  Most students in those advanced programs earned their undergraduate degrees at other institutions.  Students earning the new B.S. in Health Sciences degree at Dominican College may now decide to apply for the OT and PT graduate programs at Dominican College as well.

For more information about the new Health Sciences Program, please contact our office of Admissions at or 1-866-4DC-INFO.

Faculty Present at Dominican Colloquium In Rhode Island

Dominican College faculty, administrators, and students who attended the Dominican Colloquium are shown here at Calabria Plaza on the campus of Providence College.

Seven Dominican College professors delivered presentations during a four-day Dominican Colloquium held at Providence College in Rhode Island from June 21-24.  The Colloquium is held every other year and brings together representatives from 15 Dominican colleges across the country.

Chancellor of External Affairs, Sr. Kathleen Sullivan, O.P., said the goal is for the colleges to be collaborative.  “To share ideas and experiences to help formulate what it is that we are providing to our students and to the communities we serve,” she said.  “The colleges are all rooted in the four pillars of Dominican life and they really work to involve everybody as a community within this framework.”  The four pillars are community, study, service, and spirituality.

The Dominican College professors presented on a variety of topics including biology, communications, education, and occupational therapy.  The presenters were: Bernadette Connors, Ph.D., Giovanna Czander, Ph.D., Dianne DiSpagna, Ed.D.,    Kathleen Hickey, Ed.D., Mark Meachem, Ed.D., Mary Walsh Roche, OTR/L, and Nadia Rust,  OTD, OTR/L.  The next Dominican Colloquium will be held in two years at Edgewood College in Wisconsin.

Fall History Courses Offer Field Trips and Focus on Native Americans

Professor Scott White reads a plaque on the grounds of the DeWint House in Tappan, which served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War. It is one of the sites students will visit in fall as part of his Public History course.

Dominican College is reviving two interesting history courses this fall – Public History and Survival of the Native American.  Adjunct Professor Scott White said the Public History students will be taking field trips to several historic sites, including George Washington’s headquarters in Tappan and the Stony Point Battlefield.  They will also be learning about the production of documentaries and how marketing is used in the tourism industry.

“Public history is the preserving and presenting of the past to the public,” said Dr. White.  “It’s through social media, museums, parks, living history demonstrations, and also through homecomings and commemorations of towns and communities.”

Professor White is also teaching a class about Native American history and will be introducing students to Native American beliefs and cultures, in addition to discussing contemporary issues concerning Native Americans.  Dr.  White lived out west for many years and speaks the Native American language of Lakota Sioux, as well as some Apache and Navajo.  He has been an expert witness on federal land claims cases for the return of lands to Native Americans, and raises awareness about looting of Native American sites for the illegal sale of artifacts. In addition, he was “adopted” as part of the Lakota Sioux clan in western South Dakota during a solemn Hankapi ceremony. Dr. White stresses that because he was able to speak with the elders, much of what he teaches cannot be found in books or online.

For more information on these courses, contact Professor White at



Four County Executives Answer Questions at College Forum

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, and Westchester County Executive George Latimer (shown left to right) presented during this year’s County Executives Forum at Dominican College.

There was an interesting and informative discussion of regional issues at the annual County Executives Forum at Dominican College on Thursday, June 7, 2018, which featured County leaders from Bergen, Orange, Rockland, and Westchester Counties.

Bergen County Executive Joseph Tedesco III said that his County is experiencing growth near transportation.  “While we were traditionally a real suburban community, with the advent of the millennials wanting to be closer to transportation hubs,  that is now moving up into Bergen County,” he said.  Tedesco is pushing for an expansion of light rail into the east side of the County.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus is particularly proud of the growth at Stewart Airport.  “Stewart Airport is booming.  Norwegian Airlines has double the amount of flights that are coming out of there.  You’ve got direct flights to Ireland, Scotland and Norway,” he said.  Neuhaus added that by  the end of the year,  there may be direct flights to Germany, London, and Paris as well.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day stressed that his focus has been on righting the County’s fiscal ship, economic development, and preserving Rockland.  “I’ve tried every step of the way to stay loyal to those three tenets that I ran on because frankly that’s what people voted for and I think that’s what they deserve,” he said.

Westchester’s advantages of being close to New York City with three direct train lines also mean more pressure on housing prices, according to Westchester County Executive George Latimer.  He said the  high cost of housing is one of Westchester’s biggest challenges.

The four County Executives also answered questions from business leaders in attendance, including questions about ethics, taxes, and transportation.

The Palisades Institute was created in 1990 as part of Dominican College to serve business, government, and not-for-profit organizations in Rockland and nearby counties.  The Institute encourages professionals to integrate the concepts of leadership, quality, and ethics to achieve long-term success.

ESPN Correspondent Delivers Inspiring Commencement Address

ESPN Correspondent and author Tom Rinaldi delivered the Commencement Address to Dominican College graduates on May 20, 2018.

ESPN Correspondent and author Tom Rinaldi delivered an inspiring and at times rousing address to the Class of 2018 during Dominican College’s 64th Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. A total of 572 students graduated — 123 with doctoral degrees, 100 with master’s degrees and 349 with bachelor’s degrees.

Graduates, their families, and friends all listened with rapt attention as Rinaldi recounted two stories.  The first story was about the parents of a two-month old child in a Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) who tragically did not survive.  Before the baby’s death, the parents arranged for him to have several experiences.  They brought a puppy into the NICU so the child could feel the fur.  They had a musician play a guitar so the child could hear music.  They took the baby off of his tubes and brought him outside so he could feel the sun on his face and the wind across his skin.  Finally, they put a bit of ice cream on the tip of his lips and the end of his tongue. Rinaldi told the graduates, “You get to experience those things every single day as you find your place in the world. So keep your capacity for wonder and appreciation over the wind and the life and the sun and the taste and the sound that surrounds you as you make your life.”

Rinaldi then told the story of Welles Remy Crowther – the Nyack High School graduate and 9-11 hero known as the “man with the red bandanna.”  He described how Welles led many to safety on 9-11 and saved lives.  During his speech, Rinaldi asked the graduates to raise their right hands as high as they could. “Do this for yourselves and for everybody else.  Don’t just reach up, reach out – reach out to touch, to teach, to inspire, to give, to grasp,” he said.

Rinaldi has won twelve national Sports Emmy Awards and six national Edward R. Murrow Awards.  His 2016 book, “The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy” was on the New York Times Best Sellers list. During the Commencement Ceremony, Rinaldi received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.

Others honored at the Commencement Exercises included:

  • Judith Kydon, M.A., M.Ed., President and CEO of St. Dominic’s Family Services, received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humanities.
  • Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe was awarded the Veritas Medal for his service to the community.
  • Wendy St. Felix, ’17, DNP, Family Nurse Practitioner at the Montefiore School Health Program at P.S. 85 in the Bronx, received the 2018 Badami Outstanding Alumna Award.

COMMENCEMENT by Dominican College on Exposure

Class of 2018 Senior Gift Unveiled

On the eve of Commencement, a new stainless steel arts sculpture that represents a  flame and rotates with the wind was unveiled.  The sculpture was a gift from the Class of 2018.   It is located on a brick pedestal outside of the entrance to the new fitness center.

The new sculpture represents a flame because when St. Dominic’s mother was pregnant, she dreamed of a dog that held a torch in its mouth.  The dream is believed to symbolize St. Dominic spreading God’s light around the world.

The Senior Class Gift has become an annual tradition at Dominican College and is a way for graduating seniors to show their appreciation to the College. “We want each senior class to leave a legacy at the College,” said Sal Pennino, Sr. Advancement Officer, who advised the eight student members of the Senior Gift Committee. “This is also the first opportunity for these students to give back to the College.  That’s important because we rely on our alumni to support the College.”

Past senior gifts include the Charlie the Charger statue, the Hennessy Center flag pole, the Alumni Book of Remembrance, and the Student Life Wall Mural in the Granito Center.

The student members of the 2018 Senior Gift Committee were Amanda Corriere, Amanda Magnotta, John Ameen, Hannah Ameen, Miriam Taylor, Joe Piccini, Patricia Simmons, and Stefani Reyes.


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