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Time to Shine

May 29, 2014

“Your name will be called tonight, but this is not the last time your name will be called,” were the auspicious words of VP for Student Affairs Marva Craig to BMCC’s most high-achieving students, as they gathered for the 2014 Honors Convocation in Theatre 2.

Sixty-five students received Department and Special Awards in over 30 academic areas, applauded by their professors, classmates, parents, siblings and friends.

Acting Provost & Senior VP for Academic Affairs Robert Messina congratulated the awardees, as well their faculty and “significant others,” and reminded them that “titles are thrust upon us, but excellence must be earned.”

BMCC President Antonio Pérez urged those receiving honors “to set standards for yourself … The greatest milestones are with those you touch; your children classmates, family members … Reach out to those who need your help, who might be considering college. At the end of the day, that will be the measure of your success.”

Reaching for the stars

The program began with a performance by the BMCC Select Chorus directed by Professor Eugenia Oi Yan Yau and accompanied by pianist Eun Ho (Jeremy) Kim.

A chorus of a dozen student singers in elegant black attire inspired the full audience in Theatre 2 to clap along as they sang, “Reaching for the Stars,” a popular inspirational song with music and lyrics by Sally Albrecht and Jay Althouse.

Things quieted down as BMCC Foundation Board Member Elizabeth Butson took the stage and presented the first award of the evening, the Katy Halepi Graduating Scholarship for Women—named in honor of her mother—to nursing graduate Maria M. Horsford.

“Well, Maria, what haven’t you done,” joked Butson. “You have so many achievements: You are a BMCC Ambassador, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, a Peer Achievement Leader, a President of the BMCC Scholarship Society, on the Dean’s List, a CUNY Academic Excellence Award … you are awesome.”

The next two Special Awards were presented by Accounting Chairperson Josh Wolfson.

The Josh Wolfson Accounting Scholarship Fund award went to Joshua Ketchum. “He was homeless for six months, but pulled himself up by his bootstraps and is now headed toward a career in forensic accounting,” said Wolfson.

Next, he presented the Louis Horowitz Award to accounting major Wanika Deane. “She worked full time and went to school full time,” he said. “She challenged me in class, and raised the level of discourse for other students.”

Department superstars

Before continuing with the presentation of special awards, department awards were presented by faculty to their students.

Coming up to the stage to be honored were the following students:

Allied Health Sciences—Monee Jordan and Isla Quanmontano, Academic Excellence in Health Information Technology; Marian Bekhet, Jin Seuk and Emily Butcher, Academic Excellence in Respiratory Therapy Technology; Ali Coutard and Mariela Flores, Academic Excellence in Paramedic.

Business Management—Jonathan Duran and Qinzeng Zheng, Academic Excellence in Business Administration; Nga Yuen, Academic Excellence in Business Management; Lilian Ortega, Academic Excellence in Small Business/Entrepreneurship.

Center for Ethnic Studies—Johanna Rhyins, Academic Excellence in Asian Studies; Yuki Tsukui, Academic Excellence in Africa/African American Studies; Angela Maltese, Academic Excellence in Latino Studies.

Computer Information Systems—Thierno Bah and Jun Wang, Academic Excellence in Computer Science; Maryna Asipchuk and Zouhaier Yahiaoui, Academic Excellence in Computer Information Systems; Petr Pasek and Nadia Khettane, Academic Excellence in Computer Network Technology.

English—Jessica Li and Katie Wright, Academic Excellence in English.

Mathematics—Joseph Bak and Jianxin Zhang, Academic Excellence in Mathematics.

Media Arts & Technology—James Williams, Academic Excellence in Video Arts & Technology; Tatiana Sheptalova and Matthew Broadfoot, Academic Excellence in Multimedia Programming & Design.

Modern Languages—Joshua O’Sullivan and Jasmine Caamano, Academic Excellence in French Non-Native Speaker; Ian Halliwell, Academic Excellence in Italian Non-Native Speaker; Eunhae Choi, Academic Excellence in Chinese Non-Native Speaker; Geyser Rodriguez, Academic Excellence in Spanish Native Speaker; Ekaterina Chernyavskaya, Academic Excellence in Spanish Non-Native Speaker.

Nursing—Zarina Kopb and Vanessa Maisonave, Academic Excellence in Nursing.

Science—Leon Flores, Academic Excellence in Biotechnology Science; Patrycja Lai, Academic Excellence in Science; Anna Smith, Academic Excellence in Engineering Science; Kathleen Lopez, Academic Excellence in Forensic Science.

Social Sciences and Human Services—Agnieszka Jankowski and Rachael Peters, Academic Excellence in Criminal Justice; Uyanga Tugso, Anggie Pareja and Anika Dottin, Academic Excellence in Human Services.

Speech, Communication and Theatre Arts—Jennifer Cachola and Anastasia Sidorenkova, Academic Excellence in Communication Studies; Kimberly Flores and Craig Watson, Academic Excellence in Theatre.

Teacher Education—Luk Cheung, Academic Excellence in Early Childhood Education (Infant/Toddler); Gilbertha Ferdinand, Academic Excellence in Early Childhood Education (Preschool); Edel Oliveira, Academic Excellence in Childhood Education (Bilingual); Sara Marr, Academic Excellence in Childhood Education.

Closing with Special Awards

The 2014 Valedictorian, Cindy Salazar, was introduced by Sr. VP Robert Messina.

Qinzeng Zheng was awarded the Senior Vice President / Dean of Academic Affairs Award, and Cyprien Kodjo received the Vice President for Student Affairs Award.

Carlos Olivares received the Orville N. Hill College Discovery Award.

Thathsara Palliyaguru and Rada-Mayya Kostadinova received the Abner B. Rosenfield Award.

Mathematics Professor Fred Peskoff, in honor of his parents, presented the Leila & Simon Peskoff Memorial Scholarship Award in memory of Professor Aaron Paukler of the mathematics department, to nursing major Brocha Schwartz.

He also presented the Leila & Simon Peskoff Memorial Scholarship Award in memory of Professor Yibao Xu of the mathematics department, to mathematics major Gregory Rodriguez.

The Icarus Prize for Mathematics was awarded to Konstantin Itskov, Noelle Belhumeur and Joseph Bak.

The ‘After Party’

A lavish buffet banquet was served in Richard Harris Terrace for the scholars and their professors, families and friends.

Music by Cookies ‘n’ Cream presented Kellie Nicole on vocals, Frankie DiDonato on guitar, Keiji Yoshino on bass guitar and Eemon Irishman on drums and ocarina.

The Honors Convocation Committee included Natasha Apanah, Nicole Leach, Harry Mars, Mary Marsh, Sandra Rumayor and Tanoai Williams.

Click here to view more photos.

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