“I will confess that I like to watch reality TV, shows that are not scripted,” remarked VP for Student Affairs Dr. Marva Craig, who along with Senior VP for Academic Affairs Sadie Bragg, introduced the 2012 Honors Convocation in BMCC’s Theatre II.
“I like the intensity, as well as the lighter moments that are at play,” she said, noting that recently one of those shows, Wheel of Fortune, featured college students as contestants, and she saw some interesting parallels with the night's award-winners.
“At BMCC, some of you spun the wheel quickly, attending BMCC full-time, and finished your degrees on schedule. Others have spun the wheel a little shower—attending part-time, and completing your degree at your own pace.”
Either way, she said, “You have all come full circle and are in the same place for the same reason, and now you are being honored for your academic achievements.”
In his welcoming remarks, BMCC President Antonio Pérez picked up on that thread.
“I’m not really that into reality TV,” he said, “but I like the competition, how people interact, and watching them compete at their highest level.”
Referring to his own experiences in college, the President advised the award winners that, “It’s those who compete with you, who help you to reach your highest level. We try to give all our students the opportunity to compete and be successful.”
That success, he added, does not come without a price.
“But it’s how you react to setbacks, that determines how successful you truly will be,” he said. “Let setbacks be the instruments to set you forward, toward your goals.”
Thanking those who believe
Just before the awards were conferred, the BMCC Select Chorus, directed by Music & Art Professor Eugenia Oi Yan Yau, and accompanied by pianist Tobias Metcalfe, took the stage. Twenty outstanding BMCC music students, elegantly attired in flowing black gowns and suits, gathered to perform "Because We Believe," by Andrea Bocelli, in both English and Italian:
Like stars across the sky
E per avvincere
Tu dovrai vincere
We were born to shine
All of us here because we believe
Next, over 75 awards were presented to students who thanked their professors, friends, partners, children and classmates for the support they received.
The 2012 Valedictorian, Andre Barber was announced, as were the VP for Student Affairs Award winner Gounita Singh, and Senior VP/Dean of Academic Affairs Award winner Odette Geraldino, who credits the supports in place at BMCC that kept her academic performance at its highest possible level.
“All my professors made sure I was doing well, and the scholarship department also kept track of me,” said Geraldino, who moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic at the age of 16.
“I held a New York Needs You fellowship, as well as a scholarship through the accounting department,” she said. “They were based on my overall performance—not just grades, but how I handled challenges, like improving my English language skills, through tutoring that BMCC provided.”
And the winners are…
The individual awards were announced by department chairs, professors and administrators, and students joined BMCC President Antonio Perez, VP Sadie Bragg and VP Marva for a quick photo op, on stage.
The Accounting department presented the Louis Horowitz Award to Mario Carranza-Viveros, Odette Geraldino and Bin Guo.
The Allied Health Sciences department presented the Academic Excellence in Health Information Technology award to Matthew Carballal and Jason Lublinski, and presented the Academic Excellence in Respiratory Therapy Technology to Palash Sen and Sheleena Shameer.
The Business Management department presented the Academic Excellence in Business Administration to Timur Kamaldinov and Aaron Vandeursen; the Academic Excellence in Criminal Justice award to Vincent Acevedo; the Academic Excellence in Business Management award to Adrian Petrov; the Academic Excellence in Small Business/Entrepreneurship award to Sithora Sithen; the Academic Excellence in Finance award to Sandra Mendez, and the Academic Excellence in Office Operations to Merieme Dafer.
The Center for Ethnic Studies awarded the Asian Studies Award to Lay Hoon Chua; the African American Studies Award to Tara Griffin, and the Latino Studies award to Andre Barber.
The Computer Information Systems department presented the Academic Excellence in Computer Science award to Alejandro Hernandez and Eddy Conserve; the Academic Excellence in Computer Information Systems award to Robert Smith and Christopher Walsh; the Academic Excellence in Computer Network Technology award to Huy Ly, Quan Ly, Carlos Taveras and Dana Smith, and the Grace Hopper Award to Dana Smith.
The Cooperative Education department presented the Accounting Internship Award to Issouf Kafando and Yan Debono; the Multimedia Video Internship Award to Luchia Dragosh, and the Video Arts & Technology Internship Award to Anastasios Mouhteros.
The English department awarded the Academic Excellence in English award ti Amal Abbass, Alberto Ayora and John Reyes.
The Human Services department presented the Academic Excellence in Human Services to Jenny Carmona and Petra Scully.
The Mathematics department presented the Academic Excellence in Mathematics award to Omari-Khalid Rahman.
The Media Arts & Technology department presented the Academic Excellence in Multimedia Artto Ji Hyang Oh; the Academic Excellence in Multimedia Video award to Luchia Dragosh; the Academic Excellence in Video Arts & Technology award to Steven Anderson and the Academic Excellence in Multimedia Programming award to Matthew Sheehan, Robbert Maruanaija and Iori Nakanishi.
The Modern Languages department presented the Academic Excellence in French award to Siao Lyn Yip, Elena Matveeva and Victoria Dombroski; the Academic Excellence in Spanish, Native Speaker award to Mauricio Medina; the Academic Excellence in Spanish, Non-Native Speaker award to Yongjip Kim and Natalie Walshe; the Academic Excellence in Chinese, Non-Native Speaker award to Abigail Graf, and the Academic Excellence in Chinese, Native Speaker award to Iris Wong.
The Nursing department presented the Academic Excellence in Nursing award to Aneta Raybin.
The Science department presented the Academic Excellence in Science award to Ezekiel Ahn; the Academic Excellence in Engineering Science award to David Dawda, and the Academic Excellence in Science for Forensics award to Andre Rozado.
The Speech, Communication and Theatre Arts department presented the Academic Excellence in Theatre award to Nelson Patino and Myung Choi.
The Teacher Education department presented the Academic Excellence in Childhood Education award to Natalia Madalinska; the Academic Excellence in Early Childhood Education award to Iris Wong and Malgorzata Barrow, and the Academic Excellence in Bilingual Childhood Education award to Ying Cen.
Special Awards included that of Valedictorian, which went to Andre Barber; the Senior VP/Dean of Academic Affairs Award, which was presented to Odette Geraldino; the VP for Student Affairs Award, which was presented to Gounita Singh; the Orville N. Hill College Discovery Award, given to Yaoqi Lin; the Abner B. Rosenfield Award, received by Andre Barber; the Katy Halepi Graduating Scholarship for Women award, presented to Bibechana Basnet; the Josh Wolfson Accounting Scholarship Fund award, received by Odette Geraldino; the Leila & Simon Peskoff Memorial Scholarship Award, which went to Jian Kang Zhen and Carol Blagrove, and the Icarus Prize for Mathematics, which was presented to Hei Tung, Joanie Leung and Leonce Colas.
The event was organized by an Honors Convocation Committee including Natasha Apanah, Nicole Leach, Harry Mars, Sandra Rumayor and Tanoai Williams.
A buffet banquet followed, with music provided by the ensemble Nova, featuring Frankie DiDonato, String & Percussion; Gina DiDonato, Vocals; Gary Negbaur, Piano, and Rossen Nedelchev, on drums.