Monroe Student Activities Office Hosts the 5th Annual Club Recognition Banquet


On Thursday, July 17th the Student Activities Office recognized club members for their continuous contributions to Monroe College Student Life. The Student Life mission states, “By participating in campus clubs, students seek to balance the scales between their academic requirements and their social development. To enhance this experience Monroe College clubs are committed to embracing specific core objectives such as conflict resolution, self-concept enhancement, problem solving, diversity/sensitivity training and promoting self-esteem.”

Club members and their advisors play a vital role in Monroe College Student Life. The event which was held in the Mintz Auditorium began at 4:00pm and the club members were addressed by President Jerome, Vice President for Student Affairs, Robert Greenberg and the Director of Student Activities Edith Banks. They each thanked the students for their participation in student life and reminded them that they are indeed making a difference to the Monroe community.


A Message from the Dean: The Ethics of a Leader

While reading the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek , I came across an article entitled “How GM Silenced Its Whistle-Blowers.”  The article detailed a verbal exchange between a former employee at General Motors and an attorney representing the company.

The former GM employee of 30 years stated that he “felt morally responsible to fix a problem that [he] found in a vehicle.”  The attorney’s response to this statement was, “[Yes, but] was it part of your job description?”  

As I read this article, I reflected on the notion of “right and wrong”  and the extent to which ethical standards travel across cultures, across companies and even within companies.  As aspiring leaders in the fields of business, criminal justice, and public health, it is important to remember that personal ethics are everything, that values matter, and that character counts. 

It is a leader’s job to set the tone at the top and some of the toughest choices that a leader makes are easier when you have a strong internal compass and you know which way it points.  Personal ethics and values are what guide you when no one is watching and when you think that no one will ever find out.

Unfortunately, abusive people with a lack of integrity are sometimes tolerated because they get results but as a leader, in order to really convince an organization that values matter, you have to be prepared to act on this premise.  This is because people watch the walk, they don’t listen to the talk!

- Dr. Harris


Business & Accounting Students hosted by American Express and Google

Can you imagine visiting two companies at which most graduates want
to work on the same day? That is exactly what 25 undergraduate and
graduate business and accounting students representing both the
Bronx and New Rochelle campuses along with many faculty members did.

The visit was part of the School of Business and Accounting and the College’s
Small Business Center’s Networking with the Professionals monthly outing.
According to Dean Linda Silva Thompson, “It’s important to both our
students and faculty to get out and interact directly with the array of innovative
business professional who are stretching their entrepreneurial energy every
day right under our nose.”

The first stop was at American Express located in the World Financial Center.
Senior Vice President Susan Chapman-Hughes, Account Development,
Global Corporate Payments-Americas shared precious nuggets of wisdom
including the importance of networking, goal setting, mentors, and the value
of giving back to the community. According to Ms. Chapman-Hughes, “Use
your inside contacts to get you out and your outside contacts to get you
in … and start preparing for your next opportunity the day you get your
current one.” The visit to American express concluded with a tour of some
of the Amex floors and offices — several of which had been reconfigured to
promote the new “open space” corporate environment. Deputy Chairperson
of New Rochelle, Professor Stacy Crawford, advised students to “never sell
themselves short and to turn every obstacle into an opportunity”.

Next was a quick hop to Google Inc. where students had the opportunity
to tour the offices of several departments and personally experience a
creative and dynamic work environment. Thanks to the School of Business &
Accounting’s iPad Pilot — the faculty transported its 30 iPads that were used
for a hands-on demonstration of the functions of various Google apps by
Google managers and developers.

The visit to Google was an instant hit for faculty and students alike especially
after learning about the interesting perks employees receive ranging from free
food available every 150 feet (yes, that was actually tested) to pool tables,
massage chairs, and scooters just to name a few. Anthony Hernandez
and Garrett Auzenne presented Google+ and Google apps explaining
how students could use Google as a platform for productivity. “Google Docs
is a very useful tool for collaboration when working on term projects”, said
Professor Eshra, Deputy Chairperson.


Shivana Ramcharan: Nothing is Impossible

When Shivana first arrived at Monroe, she was shy and unsure. Coming from Trinidad, she was not so familiar with the culture. She quickly learned, however, that Monroe’s large international community was a great resource for familiarity and a sense of belonging. Now, after completing her Bachelor’s in Public Accounting and Master’s in Business Administration with a  concentration in Finance, Shivana is finishing up her OPT and heading to pursue a job opportunity at Deloitte in the Fall.

Soon after Shivana began classes at Monroe, she decided to get more involved. As an undergraduate student, she became a tutor in the School of Business and Accounting. She was smart – so smart, in fact, that she began tutoring MBA students even as an undergrad. It was at this point that she felt as if she was really coming into her own.

“At first I felt like I was just doing my job. Then, once students did well on their exams and came back to thank me, I knew I was making an impact – a difference,” explains Shivana.

With a newfound confidence, Shivana decided to expand her horizons even more and joined NABA, the National Association of Black Accountants. It was through her membership that she received a scholarship in 2012 and through Monroe’s NABA Student Chapter that she was able to attend major professional development conventions in places like Maryland and Arizona, which provided to her the opportunity to network with prominent employers and students from other institutions. At the NABA National Convention held in Phoenix, Arizona in 2012, Shivana gained notice from not only the Dean of the King Graduate School, Dr. Roberta Harris, but also from Deloitte, which led to a summer internship and later, a full time offer.

Dr. Harris saw Shivana’s progress and thought that she would be a perfect candidate for Monroe’s Entrepreneur Center. Shivana began to create business plans for local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“At the Entrepreneur Center, I was able to put my studies into practice because I was creating actual financial statements for entrepreneurs,” Shivana says. “The involvement in these projects really helped me as a graduate student, because I had do apply a lot of what I was currently learning in class.”

Shivana has been to able to assist in creating three business plans during her time in the Entrepreneur Center. She is currently working on financial statements for a STEM project in Mt. Vernon – a project that she feels will be “huge” when it comes to fruition.

While Shivana has most definitely found professional success at Monroe, she has also succeeded in personal endeavors. Monroe’s warm, friendly environment and large international community allowed Shivana to make new friends from all over the world.

“My roommates were from all over – from Japan to Brazil,” she explains. “I’ve really become to respect those cultures, and I plan to visit my friends in their home countries in the future.”

With all that she’s accomplished, Shivana knows that she made the right choice in coming to Monroe and offers the following advice:

“I want to encourage international students like myself. I want them to know that nothing is impossible.”


Monroe Culinary is the winner at the 6th annual Chesapeake Bay Cup Tournament

Glen Burnie, MD, May 4, 2014—The Monroe Culinary team was declared the champions at the 6th annual Chesapeake Bay cup tournament held at the Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism (HCAT) School on the campus of Anne Arundel Community College. 

The competition was comprised of teams of 4 students representing their schools. Monroe Culinary was led by third year student and team captain, Angelina Hernandez, a NJ Prostart student from Passaic County Technical Institute. Angie scored a silver medal for her duo of pan-roasted duck breast with duck and pistachio sausage with sweet potatoes. Rossella Cangialosi, a Barry Tech BOCES, Skills USA student in her third year at Monroe also earned a silver medal for her Cornish hen entry featuring a wild mushroom sauce, rissole potatoes and a vegetable medley. 

Eyrricka Prescott, a first year C-CAP student from Arizona, earned a silver medal for the team’s pastry entry which featured a warm chocolate grand Marnier cake with sabayon sauce. The high score for the team was earned by Carmen Albino, a Port Richmond HS C-CAP student in her third year at Monroe. Carmen’s pork dish featuring a pork loin stuffed with a country sausage stuffing, roasted poblano-flavored tomato sauce and vegetable medley scored a gold medal.

“It was amazing watching these young ladies work. It’s a tribute to them and their coaches, and an indication of the kind of program that they are a part of at Monroe,” said Chef Michael Beriau, a Cape Cod country club chef. 

The team was first among the top three scoring schools which included the HCAT team, who were the defending champions, and the 2012 winners from the Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts out of Lancaster, PA.

”I couldn’t be more proud of these students for the efforts they put forth and the pride they brought to Monroe Culinary,” said Dean Frank Costantino. “It was an honor just to be invited to the tournament based on the national recognition we are receiving as a top culinary and hospitality program.” 

The Chesapeake Bay cup is a travelling trophy and the team pledged to defend it at next year’s competition.  The team was coached by Dean Costantino and Chef Eric Pellizzari with assistant coach Shamel Donigan, a veteran competitor, Monroe BBA hospitality alumnus and current Monroe MBA student. Pastry chef-instructor and team advisor, Chef Gerard Molloy, was also on hand for support.

For Monroe Culinary, it was four more medals toward the milestone of 500 — which is now just 14 medals away.


Monroe College graduate Jahangir Kabir was honored by the National Restaurant Association as their 2014 Faces of Diversity Winner. Take a moment to watch this wonderful piece on him and his accomplishments.


Why a Master’s Degree is Important

A Message from the Dean of the King Graduate School, Dr. Roberta Harris

People often ask if a graduate degree is really worth it. Well, to answer this question, let’s take a look some trends in the job market and in higher education.

Graduate education in the United States, and across the globe, has become increasingly valued over the past half century. Years ago, having a bachelor’s degree was enough. In fact, having any type of undergraduate degree opened up doors to society’s better jobs.  However, while associate’s and bachelor’s degrees still offer college graduates plenty of career options today, these degrees don’t have the power they used to. Now, having an undergraduate degree has become the norm and graduate education is growing in importance. Master’s degrees are preferred and have become a requirement for entry into many professions. For some occupations, going to grad school is a no-brainer since an advanced degree is required for those jobs.

Also, due to increased competition among potential employees and the global economic crisis, job searching has become an uphill battle for many people during recent years.Studies have shown that an increasing number of people are pursuing graduate degrees to equip themselves with the necessary skills to get a lucrative job – and to keep it! 

As you can see, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, a graduate degree definitely puts you in a better position to advance your career.


FINAL UPDATE: Monroe Medical Mission in Beards Fork, West Virginia

The last day of the mission has sadly arrived. We went to the Ansted  Elementary school for our last education session. We provided health education for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders on sun safety, bike safety and healthcare careers. We had assistance from the professors, nurses and staff. The education sessions were a success.

After we visited the Beckley coal mine and took an underground tour of the mine. This tour exposed us to the harsh conditions that the miners faced while working in the coal mine.  How miners worked in these conditions for decades is astounding. 

This past week we have witnessed and experienced various aspects of public health. Seeing the poverty within the community the former miners who are suffering from black lung diseases and the lack of health education was truly a humbling experience. However, the determination, hope, and teamwork of the community was truly amazing to witness. The community welcomed and treated us as part of their family.  Even though our week here at West Virginia was short in time we hoped the education we provided has created a behavior change in at least one child for a lifetime. 

Christine Freaney, Ph.D.„ MHA, CHES
Monroe College 


Neesha Meminger: A Natural Born Communicator

Neesha Meminger was born to be a communicator.  Whether through writing one of her six books or translating language and culture for her Indian-born parents, communication has always been at the center of her life. As the Director of the Writing Center at Monroe, Neesha emphasizes the importance of communication on a daily basis.

When Neesha moved to Canada from India at the age of five, she took it upon herself to learn English and study the culture of her new country. Her family lived next door to a Sikh temple in an effort to find familiarity and a sense of community, and Neesha acted as translator to her parents as she, herself, assimilated.

During their first year there, a group of young men set the temple on fire, demonstrating to Neesha that being Sikh made her different, and that the world was not as accepting as she thought – whether she conformed to a new culture or not.

Years later, as Neesha sat with her six-week-old daughter in her arms, she watched the events of 9/11 unfold and was transported back to the crime that upset her childhood. She thought, “What kind of world will my daughter grow up in?”

And so, Neesha began what started out as a love letter to her young daughter and was later published as her first book, Shine, Coconut Moon. The book speaks of a young Indian-American teenager growing up in a post-9/11 America. Though the book is not autobiographical – the main character is much more assimilated than Neesha initially was – it exposes similar struggles of acceptance and understanding of cultural differences. 

Shine, Coconut Moon was recently highlighted on VanityFair.com, though it was only the beginning for Neesha. She has written five additional books, and plans to continue writing for as long as she is able to.

Neesha’s writing expertise is not the only asset that makes her perfect for her role as the Director of the Writing Center at Monroe College. Her life experiences are just as vital in helping her to relate to her students.

“I look around, and I see the students here having the same experiences that I had growing up,” she explains. “I can really relate to them. I was able to go from not speaking the language to writing novels in the language. I learned of the power of communication very early on.”

In addition to her role as the Director, Neesha also teaches one to two classes each semester – which, she finds, is very rich and rewarding.

“I really feel like my students and I are able to have an amazing, wonderful exchange,” she says. “I’ve gotten as much out of them as I hope they have out of me.”

The number one lesson that Neesha hopes to impress upon her students is that the ability to communicate is of the utmost importance – something she tries to convey on a daily basis.

“You may be brilliant, but if you go into an interview or class presentation and you can’t express yourself, no one will know of that brilliance. Whatever your major might be, you still have convey your knowledge in some way,” she says. 


UPDATE 4: Monroe Medical Mission in Beards Fork, West Virginia

"Begin, and the rest is easy"

Today we had the opportunity to  provide nutrition information at the Rosedale Elementary school and Mt. Hope after-school program. We worked with third and fourth grade students. The primary focus of the lesson was (1) the benefits of a healthy breakfast on testing, (2) the importance of physical activity and exercise, and (3) public health careers. 

The nursing students, medical assistants, and professors were present and assisted with the lesson plans. The children had a strong nutritional education foundation and were well motivated and engaged. Overall, the experience was a success.

After leaving the schools, we received a tour of low income housing that was built by members of the Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALs). It was amazing to see how much the affordable housing built by SALs has impacted the community. It was interesting to know that they offer housing to people with poor credit by giving them a loan to help them to rebuild their credit. What a way to give back to the community; what an inspiration for the reason we do public health!