Open menu button Close menu button

Graduate Conference

College of Staten Island Graduate Conference: Research & Scholarship, Spring 2023

Call for Papers


The 2022-23 organizing committee for the College of Staten Island Graduate Student Conference is happy to re-establish this event after a five-year hiatus. We invite proposals from students in master’s and Ph.D. programs on any topic at any point in their graduate program, particularly those in the early stages of research. Conference organizers aim to present a premier opportunity for emerging scholars to present papers, participate in discussions, network, and develop collaborations across different disciplines.

Graduate students interested in participating in the conference should complete and upload the following as a single PDF document to the blackboard folder “Graduate Conference: Research & Scholarship - Spring 2023 (CSI)”: 

  • Conference presentation proposal submission form can be downloaded from the blackboard cite "Graduate Conference: Research & Scholarship - Spring 2023 (CSI)
  • A draft of the research paper/project
  • A draft of presentation slides (each presenter will have 20 min for the presentation and 10 min for Q&A. Four to six slides will be enough for the organizing committee to assess the presentation proposal. Participants will be able to modify presentation slides before the conference program is finalized.)

Modality: Fully Online

Dates & Times: 

  • Thursday, 05/11/2023 between 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
     Zoom link, Meeting ID: 822 5655 4934, Passcode: 253201
  • Friday, 05/12/2023 between 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
    Zoom link, Meeting ID: 862 1182 3151, Passcode: 885676

Important deadlines:

  • Conference presentation proposal submission deadline:  11:59 pm, 03/15/2023
  • Mentor approval deadline: 11:59 pm, 03/31/2023
  • The acceptance/rejection communication deadline: 11:59 pm, 05/01/2023

If you have any questions, please e-mail

     Zoom link, Meeting ID: 822 5655 4934, Passcode: 253201

    3:10 – 3:20 pm

    Opening remarks: George Vachadze,
    Professor of Economics, at the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business

    3:20 – 3:35 pm

    Keynote Address: Dr. Zaghloul Ahmed PT PhD
    Professor and Chair
    Department of Physical Therapy/ School of Health Sciences

    Keynote Title: Applied Electrical and Ionic Currents in The  Nervous System Repair and Healing

    3:35 – 4:05 pm

    Author(s): Denise Pace
    Mentor: Prof. Judit Kerekes
    Presenter(s): Denise Pace
    Title: Impact of Home Life on Academic Performance        
    Moderator: Prof. Ruth Silverberg

    Denise Pace has been enrolled in CSI since 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in childhood education and is currently enrolled in the master's program in childhood education. She plans to graduate this summer. Due to childrearing, she has only been able to work as a substitute teacher. Her future aspiration is to begin working full-time and have her own classroom!

    4:10 – 4:40 pm

    Author(s): Elizabeth Bialkin, Jacqueline DiForte, Fernando Salazar, and Brian Tucci
    Mentor: Prof. Michael Chiacchiero
    Title: Are High Amplitude Microsaccades a useful biomarker for the Diagnosis of Concussion?
    Moderator: Prof. Rosanne Carlo

    Elizabeth Bialkin graduated from Rutgers University in 2018 with a major in Applied Kinesiology. She found her passion for Physical Therapy working as a student athletic trainer for Rutgers Football.  Elizabeth is interested in pursuing a career in inpatient acute care with a focus on neurorehabilitation.

    Jacqueline DiForte graduated from Fordham University in 2020. As an undergraduate, she participated in research and presented posters at Fordham’s Undergraduate research symposium all four years. Jacqueline is extremely passionate about the field of Physical therapy, particularly sports medicine, and rehabilitation. After graduation, Jacqueline plans to work in outpatient orthopedics and pursue becoming a Sports Certified Specialist.

    Fernando Salazar Graduated from Hunter College in 2020 and pursued the field of physical therapy to put his passion for exercise, movement, and wellness into practice. After graduation, Fernando is considering a career in outpatient orthopedics.

    Brian Tucci started at CSI in 2015 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 2020, he enrolled in the Physical Therapy program at CSI. Brian has previously held a position as a personal trainer where he discovered his love of health through exercise and decided to share his passion with the world. He is also affiliated with a hospital where he helps to mobilize patients with various conditions and limitations. Brian is interested in continuing this work and doing research to better the field of Physical Therapy and improve our body of knowledge as a profession.

    4:45 – 5:15 pm

    Author(s): Benedicta Gbemudu
    Mentor: Prof. Shen ChangHui
    Presenter(s): Benedicta Gbemudu
    Project Title: The Effect of Ino80p Acetylation in Gene Expression

    Moderator: Prof. Xiaowen Zhang

    Benedicta Gbemudu is a master's student in Biology with a concentration in Biotechnology and is set to graduate in Spring 2023. She joined CSI in January 2021 after completing her Bachelor of Science in Zoology in Nigeria. Along with her studies, Benedicta is passionate about teaching and is an adjunct lecturer in the biology department. Her research interests are primarily in Ecology, Molecular Biology, and Cancer Biology. Benedicta has extensive experience in molecular biology research, particularly in her thesis work, and is grateful for the mentorship of Dr. Chang-Hui Shen. She has completed internships and research projects in the field of zoology and was awarded a Student Award from the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars Eta Lambda Chapter at CSI. Benedicta plans to pursue a doctorate degree, and her long-term goal is to become a college professor and make contributions to the fight against diseases such as cancer.

    5:20 – 5:50 pm

    Author(s): William Bray
    Mentor: Prof. Syed Rizvi
    Presenter(s): William Bray
    Project Title: Model Africa’s Power onto a common grid and shore up its shortfall with renewable energy
    Moderator: Prof. Xiaowen Zhang

    William Bray is a Vice President for National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), CSI chapter, and a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He joined the College in 2021 and his expertise is in the areas of marine electrical engineering and power systems. His aspirations are to work in the power systems industry and to do college teaching.

    5:55 – 6:25 pm

    Auror(s): Angell Chee, Alani Harrison, Omar Elwany, Vincent Liu
    Mentor: Prof. Ahmed Zaghloul
    Title: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Changes ForePaw Use of Preference in Mice
    Moderator: Prof. Rosanne Carlo

    Angell Chee graduated from Stony Brook University in 2017 with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering. He decided to enter the Physical Therapy field with a passion for exercise and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders. He entered CSI's Doctor of Physical Therapy with an interest in orthopedics and performance optimization.

    Alani Harrison joined CSI as an undergraduate student in 2015 and obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors in 2019. In the same year, Alani joined the Doctorate degree program in Physical Therapy at CSI. She previously presented a research project at the Undergraduate Research Conference in May 2019. Alani's aspirations after graduation are to work as a Physical Therapist with underserved populations and to give back to her community.

    Omar Elwany Graduated from Brooklyn College in 2019 with a Bachelor's in Kinesiology. Upon completing his Degree, he then continued His studies at the CSI Doctor of Physical Therapy program. His research at CSI has been focused on transcranial Direct current stimulation and its physiological and behavioral effects on the mouse model. Omar has previously presented his research at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience Conference and the CSI 2020 Graduate Research Conference.

    Vincent Liu graduated from John Jay College of  Criminal Justice in 2015 with a  bachelor's  degree in  criminal justice.  He decided to pursue a career in Physical Therapy after discovering the immense  knowledge that physical therapists can acquire in pursuit of health  optimization and root cause medicine. Committed to optimizing movement and  clinical excellence, Vincent entered the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at  the College of Staten Island, with a special interest in Orthopedics and Sports  Medicine.

    6:30 – 7:00 pm

    Author(s): Harry Klumbach Jr.
    Mentor: Prof. Judit Kerekes
    Presenter(s): Harry Klumbach Jr.
    Project Title: Group Discourse in Elementary Mathematics: A Study on Implementation in a Third-Grade Classroom            
    Moderator: Prof. Ruth Silverberg

    Harry Klumbach Jr. joined CSI in 2016 as an undergraduate student and graduated from the college with a major in business management and a minor in finance in 2020, In the same year, he started a master’s in childhood education and plans to graduate at the end of this semester. The main reason for his career change was his true passion to teach and educate children. He is currently a full-time teacher at New World Preparatory charter school. Harry plans to continue his career education and shape the minds of the children he teaches.

    7:05 – 7:35

    Auror(s): Tristiana Adragna, Brian Ng, Michael Maisano, Rivka Weis
    Mentor: Prof. Amanda L. Rotondo
    Project Title: Effects of Virtual Versus In-person Instruction of Confidence Level of Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy
    Moderator: Prof. Rosanne Carlo

    Tristiana Adragna joined CSI Macaulay Honors Program in 2016. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in 2020, she continued her study at the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Her research interest is in the area of pediatric developmental milestones. She  presented her work at the CSI Undergraduate Research Conference in May 2020. Tristiana is an accomplished athlete. She received numerous medals and Honorable Mentions in the past. She would like to become a Pediatric Physical Therapist.

    Brian Ng graduated from Penn State in 2016 with a BS degree in Kinesiology. He found his passion through working with athletes at the Penn State fitness center and solidified his choice to pursue a career in Physical Therapy after working as an aide. After graduation, Brian plans on pursuing a career in outpatient orthopedics and eventually opening his own clinic to help those in need improve their quality of life.

    Rivka Weis joined the Department of Physical Therapy at CSI in 2020. She holds a BS degree in Biology from Touro College. Rivka has previously worked with the pediatric population, as well as completed multiple physical therapy assignments. Her current affiliation is in a specialized school, the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence, where she met and began to work with children with various disabilities including children with cerebral palsy. Rivka is very interested in continuing her work and doing research in Physical Therapy.

    Zoom link, Meeting ID: 862 1182 3151, Passcode: 885676

    10:05 – 10:35 am

    Author(s): Joyce Chen, Jennifer Coppola, George Krawczun, and Ming Kwok
    Mentor: Prof. Wei Zhang
    Title: Toward a new data acquisition paradigm shift in hand function evaluation - Fatigue Protocol
    Moderator: Prof. Michael Chiacchiero

    Joyce Chen obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hunter College in 2019. After her grandfather had suffered a stroke, his rehabilitation had a significant effect on her outlook of quality of life and physical wellness. She entered the College of Staten Island’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program with an interest in the field of Pediatrics.

    Jennifer Coppola graduated from Fordham University-Lincoln Center in 2018 with a degree in Natural Science, on the Pre-Med track. She decided to enter into the field of Physical Therapy after seeing the amazing way in which it healed her own injury and to pursue her passion for studying science and health. She entered into CSI’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, with an interest in a career in the area of Pediatrics, specifically with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

    George Krawczun had a diverse undergraduate background, studying mechanical engineering and biology, before graduating from the College of Staten Island in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. George entered the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the College of Staten Island in 2020, with an interest in Orthopedics.

    Ming Kwok graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. Shortly after, he entered the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at CSI in hopes of learning more about the human body and using that knowledge to help people achieve their fitness goals. Ming plans on pursuing a career in outpatient orthopedics and sports rehabilitation.

    10:40 – 11:10 am

    Author(s): Heather Lallave
    Mentor: Prof. Judit Kerekes
    Presenter(s): Heather Lallave
    Project Title: The Effects of Small Group Phonemic Awareness Instruction on Struggling Readers in the 1st Grade
    Moderator: Chandan Acharya

    Heather Lallave is a graduate student completing her MS degree in childhood education. She began her journey at the College of Staten Island in 2019. This is a career change for her, as she graduated from Brooklyn College in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in business, management, and finance. Heather has been working in finance within the healthcare field for many years. She decided to return to school and complete her master’s in education in pursuit of her original dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. She is currently a substitute teacher for the NYC Department of education for various schools on Staten Island. Heather believes that graduation will not be the end of her educational journey. She sees her daily experiences in the classroom as an ongoing learning process. She wants to always be open to educating herself on new research and instructional practices that will enhance her ability to be successful in her career.  

    11:15 – 11:45 am

    Author(s): Megan Ngo
    Mentor: Prof. Athanasios Koutavas
    Presenter(s): Megan Ngo
    Project Title: Investigating paleo-ENSO in the equatorial Pacific Ocean: An exploratory approach to understanding ENSO during the pre-industrial era using marine sediments
    Moderator: Prof. George Vachadze

    Megan Ngo joined the master’s in environmental science program in 2021. She holds the B.S. degree in Earth System Science. Her research interest is in the are of paleoclimate. Her aspiration is to become a research scientist.

    11:50 – 12:20 pm

    Auror(s): Daniel Krute, Angus Ma, Dana Vicino
    Mentor: Prof. Jean-Philippe Berteau
    Title: Investigating the Effects of Osteocalcin on Spasticity and Muscle Mass in Mice with Spinal Cord Injury
    Moderator: Michael Chiacchiero

    Daniel Krute graduated from Rutgers University in 2019. Daniel fell in love with the field of Physical Therapy after getting a job as an aide in his last year of college. Along with his classmates Dana Vicino and Angus Ma, he presented at the Bone Interdisciplinary Symposium in 2022 on the same research project. After graduation, Dan is considering a career in outpatient orthopedics and sports rehabilitation.

    Angus Ma graduated from Hunter College in 2019 and began his study in Physical Therapy in 2020 at the College of Staten Island’s DPT Program. Angus, Dan, and Dana had the opportunity to present their research and study at the Bone Interdisciplinary Symposium in 2022. After graduation, Angus plans to continue his career in outpatient orthopedics and sports rehabilitation.

    Dana Vicino joined CSI's Department of Physical Therapy program in 2020 after receiving a BS in Biology from SUNY Oneonta. Dana and her group members have worked on this study since 2021, and presented it at the Bone Interdisciplinary Symposium with their mentor - Dr. Berteau in 2022. Dana became interested in pursuing Physical Therapy after volunteering in in-patient rehab. Dana hopes to begin her career in the hospital setting and help patients maximize their functional abilities.

    12:25 – 12:55 pm

    Author(s): Emily Higgins
    Mentor: Prof. Christine Flynn Saulnier
    Presenter(s): Emily Higgins
    Project Title: Group Diversity Perspective
    Moderator: Michael Chiacchiero

    Emily Higgins is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at CSI. She joined the college in 2018 and graduated with a BA degree in sociology & anthropology in 2021 with Summa Cum Laude in her major. She will graduate in May 2023 with a master’s degree in social work. Her primary area of expertise/interest is clinical social work. She also enjoys working with children in the school/academic setting. While in the program, she completed an internship with an agency “Partnership with Children” and is currently completing her internship with “Integration Charter Schools at Lavelle Preparatory High School” as a school counselor.
    In the future, she would like to become a school social worker and continue working with children and supporting them in the academic setting. Emily’s dream job is to open her own practice to provide animal-assisted therapy as working with animals has always been her true passion.

    1:00 – 1:30 pm

    Author(s): Ghada Mahgoub
    Mentor: Prof. Judit Kerekes
    Presenter(s): Ghada Mahgoub
    Project Title: Cognitive Training and the Development of Inductive Reasoning      
    Moderator: Chandan Acharya

    Ghada Mahgoub is a single mother of four beautiful children. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and education in 2017 from the College of Staten Island (CSI). Ghada was inspired to become an educator to give back to her community and positively impact her students’ lives and their love of mathematics.  She works as a geometry and statistics teacher at NYC public school. Ghada is attending the graduate school of CSI and her GPA is 4.00.

    Prof. Chandan Acharya, Chazanoff School of Business

    Prof. Rosanne Carlo, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences

    Prof. Michael Chiacchiero, School of Health Sciences

    Prof. Ruth Silverberg, School of Education

    Prof. Xiaowen Zhang, Division of Science and Technology

    Prof. George Vachadze, Chazanoff School of Business