Thursday, October 30, 2014

Semester Abroad: Bienvenue à Nice, France.

Veronica LaManna, a member of the Verrazano Class of 2016 studying International Business with a minor in French, is spending the Fall 2014 semester in Nice, France.  Veronica arrived in Nice a couple of months ago and is having a great experience so far!  Read below for her first impressions after her arrival in France.

Bienvenue à Nice, France.

I have just begun my study abroad adventure in Nice, France.  I decided to take the same flight as another student who attends the College of Staten Island and who would also be studying at the same school in Nice.  We also decided that it would be better for us to stay with each other and try to find an apartment together.  When we arrived in Nice we did not have an apartment to live in yet, so we stayed in a hostel while we searched for one.  Living in a hostel is something I think everyone should experience.  A hostel is similar to a hotel except it shared with strangers who are usually traveling.  The hostel we stayed in at had two sets of bunk beds, a shower and a sink.  If you needed to use the bathroom, you had to leave the bedroom.  We shared our room with two older women who weren’t from America so they had different ways of doing things that we weren’t used to.  The hostel we stayed at also had rules.  Everyone had to be back in the hostel by 11 o’clock at night.  The hostel also only had Wi-Fi in the lobby downstairs so we weren’t able to have Internet while in the room.  In America we take these small luxuries for granted.  

It was a little hard getting used to life in Europe.  Everything is smaller here, so we had to take turns bringing our luggage up to our room since there was only room for one suitcase in the elevator.  The first few days were extremely stressful since we were jetlagged, unfamiliar with Nice, and living in a different country.  We also were stressed because we wanted to find an apartment to live in quickly. Our school helped us find an apartment, but we had to do most of the work on our own.  It was challenging since we had language barriers with most of the landlords, which caused a few misunderstandings.  After five long days of searching for an apartment we finally found one in Ville Vieux, also known as the Old City.  I have just a ten-minute walk to school and a two-minute walk to the beach.  

The town I live in is very touristy and has a very interesting history.  Our apartment is full of different accents and cultures since it is shared with a few other students who are from different countries.  After getting settled in we had orientation at IPAG, where we got to meet the other Erasmus students and our professors.  In our school we must speak English.  Our student body is made up of students from over thirty different countries.  I have already become friends with so many of the students and it is so interesting to learn about everyone’s culture. Even though the first week was extremely challenging, I have been having an amazing time and I am truly enjoying studying abroad in Nice already.  I am finally getting used to life in Nice and I am looking forward to experiencing this lifestyle for the next four months. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life Changing Internship At The Brennan Center for Justice

Allison Fremer, a student in the Verrazano Class of 2017, was selected for a competitive internship at the Brennan Center for Justice for Summer 2014.  Here, Allison shares her experience and the opportunities she's had through this internship.

Allison at the Brennan Center for Justice
My name is Allison Fremer, and I’m an Accounting major in the School of Business at the College of Staten Island and a member of the Verrazano Class of 2017.  I am currently a Finance and Operations Intern at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law, where my title is “Junior Accountant.”  I heard about this paid internship opportunity through Joanne Hollan, Associate Director of the Career and Scholarship Center, and Katie Geschwendt, Associate Director of The Verrazano School Honors Program,   Eager to start exploring the workforce, I decided to apply. The application review process was highly competitive. Despite this obstacle, my online resume was one of the top ten finalists.  Then, phone interviews eventually narrowed down the competition to five candidates, including myself. The potential interns were called in for a one-on-one interview at the Brennan Center.  I found out several weeks later that I had landed the internship opportunity.  Believe me, I know its a difficult decision choosing between going out with your friends or going to work.  However, I firmly believe that the internship was one of the best decisions I have made. 

The Brennan Center for Justice is located on the Avenue of the Americas in Soho, where there are numerous activities and a large assortment of places to eat.  Through this internship, I’m given a wide variety of tasks including, but certainly not limited to, entering accounts payable invoices, preparing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in uploadable formats, depositing checks from contributions, maintaining the credit cards for employees, and making adjustments to the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  The hands-on approach that the Brennan Center has provided me throughout my stay is teaching me in ways that go far beyond what is learned through a textbook.

This internship opportunity has changed my perspective in unimaginable ways and I am excited to continue learning more in the future.  As an intern at the Brennan Center for Justice, I've become more knowledgeable about what is associated with my chosen career path. During the summer, I was offered an extension to my internship, and I made the life-changing decision to continue there during the fall semester.  

Allison with her fellow interns on a break
The professional work environment and being surrounded with positivity has encouraged me to better myself. I have met many intelligent individuals that I will keep in close contact with for a lifetime.  The interns have made a conscious effort to put aside at least one day a week where we eat together to form a bond with one another.  Ive opened my eyes to cuisines of many cultures that I would have never tried if it wasn’t for my fellow coworkers.

The Brennan Center for Justice has many events including “Brown Bags,” where prominent guest speakers talk. My personal favorite was Andrew Weissmann.  Other events include: “Bagel Tuesdays” where we have a conference with the D.C. office staff members, “Pizza Thursdays”, “Trivia” & “Game Nights”.  The annual barbecue at the home of President Michael Waldman and the annual picnic at McGowan Park in Brooklyn were also among the list of events. 

I’ve learned so much through this internship, and I encourage other Verrazano students to find internships that will help them gain very valuable experience.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bon Voyage! Verrazano Student Heads To France For Fall Semester

Veronica LaManna, a member of the Verrazano Class of 2016 studying International Business with a minor in French, will be spending the Fall 2014 semester in Nice, France.  Veronica received a Verrazano Study Abroad Scholarship to help support her study abroad endeavor, and she will be sharing her experiences on the Voyager over the coming months.  Read below for her first blog post.

Bonjour! I will be studying in Nice, France during the Fall 2014 semester. Before I came to the College of Staten Island, I knew that my ultimate dream was to travel the world.  Like most college students, choosing a major was very difficult for me.  I knew that I wanted to incorporate my dream of traveling with my area of study. Keeping traveling in mind, I chose to major in business with an international concentration and to minor in French. During my freshman year, a representative from the Center for International Service at the College of Staten Island gave us information about some study abroad programs that were offered.  I knew right away that before I graduated I wanted to study abroad.  Although I was anxious to study abroad, I decided to wait until my junior year of college so I would be able to have more knowledge of the French language.  I also found out that I could potentially receive a scholarship from The Verrazano School that would help with the cost of studying abroad.

I went to the Center for International Service and gathered some more information about studying abroad. I knew that I definitely wanted to study in France because I have taken French classes for seven years and have always loved French culture. The representative from the Center helped me select a program that would fit my field of study and fit my budget.  After a lot of thinking I decided to apply for the CSI Ambassador Exchange Program at IPAG Business School in both Paris and Nice.  This program was perfect for me because it was being offered to only students who are business majors. The students who are accepted pay the College of Staten Island tuition, which is very affordable, along with room and board. Shortly after applying to the program, I received not only an acceptance letter for the program, but also one from the Verrazano School informing me that I had received a scholarship.

I decided to study at the IPAG Business School campus in Nice since I have already been to Paris. Nice is a beautiful city in the Côte d’Azur region located in the South of France. It is the second most popular city to visit in France right after Paris.  The university I will be studying at is only a fifteen-minute walk from the Mediterranean Sea. I will be living in an off campus apartment with another student from the College of Staten Island, and the apartment is located very close to the school. Nice is also situated between Italy and Spain, which are very easy to travel to. IPAG stands for Institut de Préparation à l’Adminstration Générale - that translates into the Institute for General Administration Preparation.  The University is French but most of the student body is made up of Erasmus or exchange students.  My classes will be taught in English, but I will be taking a French class in a level that is not offered at CSI. I will be taking business courses as well, which will give me insight on the economy from another country’s perspective.  I know that university professors in Europe have a very different style of teaching, so I am anxious about being in a different learning environment.  Although I am nervous, this will be a good experience to prepare me for my future career in international business. 

During these final weeks before I leave for France, I am both excited and nervous.  I am excited because this is an opportunity that I have dreamt of for years and it is finally becoming reality.  I am also nervous because I have never been away from my family and friends for so long.  I have also been preparing for my stay by applying for my student visa, looking for a place to stay, and searching for a flight to book.  Through my study abroad experience, I hope to become more proficient in the French language, understand the culture of France and of other countries, learn more about the global economy, and make lasting memories!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Verrazano Honors Students Make The Most Of Summer Break

Verrazano Honors students are spending the summer conducting research, participating in internships, and exploring the world, and some of them have been selected for special opportunities. Here's what some of our top students are doing this summer.

Abeer Husein, Verrazano Class of 2016, is participating in a Teach & Travel program in Turkey.  This is a month-long program in which participants teach English to elementary school students while gaining valuable work and cross-cultural experience.  Abeer is pursuing a combined BA/MA degree in History along with the Adolescent Education certification. 


Juliet Baidoo, Verrazano Class of 2015, has been selected for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Princeton University.  She will be working with Dr. Celeste Nelson, whose research is focused on tissue morphodynamics.  Juliet is part of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) which aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority students pursuing graduate and bachelor's degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.  Juliet is majoring in Chemistry and plans to apply to medical school.

Kamal Kaur, Verrazano Class of 2017, has been accepted to the New York Needs You (NYNY) Fellows Program.  The New York Needs You Fellows Program is an intensive program for high-achieving, low-income, first-generation college students.  The two-year program offers career development workshops, access to internships, and professional development grants, and Fellows are matched one-on-one with a successful and motivated professional mentor. Kamal joins a growing list of Verrazano students who have been selected for the NYNY Fellows Program, and she is studying Biology. 

Dennis Lam, Verrazano Class of 2015, is working with Dr. Sharon Loverde in the Chemistry Department at the College of Staten Island this summer, where he will be using molecular dynamics (computer simulation) to analyze Camptothecin (CPT) drug delivery.  Dennis is majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Chemistry and has been involved in undergraduate research since his freshman year.

Adriane Musacchio, Verrazano Class of 2015, has been accepted for a CSI Summer/Fall Undergraduate Research Fellowship.  She will be the research assistant for Dr. Zara Anishanslin’s forthcoming book on eighteen-century women’s history to be published by Yale University Press, and Adriane will be fact-checking, obtaining image permissions, and researching eighteenth-century primary sources – images that are in museums, online history collections, and other information accessed through various archives.  Adriane is pursuing a double-degree in Dramatic Arts and History/Adolescent Education.

Allison Fremer, Verrazano Class of 2017, was selected as the Undergraduate Intern for Finance and Operations at the Brennan Center for Justice through a competitive application process.  Allison is studying Accounting and hopes to attend law school in the future.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Verrazano Honors Graduate Named 2014 CSI Salutatorian

Congratulations to Elizabeth Krawczun, Verrazano Class of 2014, who was named the 2014 CSI Salutatorian and Honors Convocation Speaker!  Elizabeth pursued a concentration in Epidemiology through the CUNY Baccaluareate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, and this fall she will be attending the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom for a MSc in Medical Anthropology.  

Elizabeth is graduating summa cum laude, and she served as the Class Speaker at the Verrazano Senior Convocation and was the President of the CSI Chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a member of the Senior Class Gift Committee.  Elizabeth studied and traveled abroad three times during her undergraduate experience.

You can read more about Elizabeth and her accomplishments here on CSI Today.