| Dr. Ivan-Scott Lee, Program Director
Education: Doctor of Education (Higher Education), Northeastern University-Graduate School of Education; Master of Science in Education (Higher Education) and Executive Certificate (Educational Research), CUNY Baruch College-Marx School of Public and International Affairs; Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Anthropology), CUNY College of Staten Island.
What college success tips do you have? Just know that you are not expected to navigate college all on your own--you have a support system here at the College to support you and to help you make sense and meaning of your college education and experience.
Fun Fact: I changed my college majors multiple times. Being a classically trained pianist since the age of five, I started college with the intention of pursuing a music degree, but ended up pursuing a degree in social sciences (with the help and encouragement from professors and advisors).
|Brenda Valentin, Associate Director
Education: Drexel University, Doctorate of Education (In-Progress); CUNY College of Staten Island, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts: History
What college success tips do you have? College is an exciting experience, but at times can be overwhelming. Remember the reason you decided to pursue this academic journey. Write it down and read it often.
Fun Fact: I studied active volcanoes in Hawaii (and yes, they were erupting).
|Ronald J. Oliva, Assistant Director
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Science in Communications: Media Studies. CUNY College of Staten Island, Master of Arts, Cinema and Media Studies.
What college success tips do you have? When I was a CSI student I always felt that I was being "annoying" by asking questions. This is not true. Asking questions shows that you are proactive and care. Never stop asking questions.
Favorite Quote: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky
|Julie Guerrero, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Arts.
What college success tips do you have? College will not always be easy but you have already taken the steps forward that many other have not. When you find yourself struggling focus on why you decided to pursue your education and what goals you came to achieve.This journey is yours. Make it count.
Favorite Quote: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela
|Damany Higgs, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY Lehman College, Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies.
What college success tips do you have? College is a journey. On a journey no person knows the actual final destination; nobody knows who they will be when they finish the journey. Explore your capacity for change. Explore your capacity for all things.
Favorite Quote: Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. – Langston Hughes
|Damaris Hipolito, Academic Advisor
Education: New York University (Undergraduate) and Teacher's College-Columbia University (Graduate).
What college success tips do you have? Always ask questions! Growing up, I was always afraid to ask questions, but if you don't ask questions, how would you know the answer. It is okay to be curious, and learning how to find the right answer. In a class, if you are not understanding a professor, or if the content is too difficult to understand, or simply if you want to learn more information, it does not it hurt to ask.
Why did you decide to work in Higher Education? My passion for higher education grew after my experiences with the Alternative Breaks Community Service Program at NYU where I was a participant and a Site Leader. I travelled to Ecuador and Costa Rica to serve underrepresented populations and to fully understand the influences of other diverse cultures. In addition, as a former NYU HEOP student brought up in a Puerto Rican, single-parent, low-income household, my aspiration was to become a role model to others and help them strive for excellence in order for them to obtain an education as their golden ticket to overcome struggles that stood in their way.
|Natasha Lauriston, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY Brooklyn College, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: Sociology and CUNY Brooklyn College , Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
What college success tips do you have? I wish more students knew more about the benefit of seeking help. In the case of my work, I am here to help. Also, the resources available on campus are there to help you. Independence and pride are great qualities, but don’t let them discourage you from attending your advising sessions, career employment sessions, campus life events and other opportunities. Yes, we live in a digital world where you may find it simpler to get advice and information online, but simpler isn’t necessarily better. The impact of communicating with people who are here to help is far greater than trying to do it all on your own.
Why did you decide to work in Higher Education? I believe there is a true value in taking the influence you’ve earned and sowing it back into the ground you came from. This is why I work in higher education. I look forward to being a great source of support and encouragement during my student’s proud and challenging moments.
|Lauren Merenda, Academic Advisor
Education: University of Connecticut, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; Business Minor. Central Connecticut State University, Master of Science in Counselor Education: Student Development in Higher Education.
What college success tips do you have? Get involved on campus! It is a great way to explore current interests, learn something new, and meet other students. Getting involved can also introduce you to potential careers and is a great addition to a resume.
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy running and will be participating in my first New York City Marathon this fall.
|Matthew Navarria, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and CUNY College of Staten Island, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.
What college success tips do you have? The key to success in college is preparation, hard work, love of learning/open mindset and utilizing all of the resources available (especially advisement and career related services). Its important to balance both day to day items ( studying, tutoring, attending classes etc) while also keeping in mind the "big picture" and long term academic/ career planning. Set realistic, short term and long term goals--- work hard and consistently to achieve them. Take advantage of resources, support services and extracurricular opportunities as well. Lastly, it's very important to have a personal support system ( family, friends, peers etc) to provide motivation and encouragement during challenging times.
Favorite Quote: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin
| Mary Quezada, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY Baruch College, Bachelor of Business Administration: Finance. CUNY College of Staten Island, Master of Arts, Liberal Studies.
What college success tips do you have? Participate! Just showing up is a great start but the more active you are in class, the more information you will retain.
Favorite Quote: There is no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. – General Colin Powell
| Melissa Scafiddi, Academic Advisor
Education: Arizona State University: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations in Business and Asian Studies.
What college success tips do you have? Don't be afraid to ask for help and don't wait until it's too late. The CSI staff and professors have all been in your shoes at one point. Even if you are not having difficulties in your class, you should still attend the tutoring centers. The centers not only help you to review class material, but they also offer workshops and opportunities to further develop the skills you already have. It is also important to communicate with your professor if you don’t fully understand something in class.
Favorite Quote: Only do what your heart tells you. – Princess Diana
|Christen Trapani-Kern, Academic Advisor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Arts Psychology. CUNY Brooklyn College Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Human Relations.
What college success tips do you have? A tip that I can offer students for college success is to ask for assistance when you are unsure about something.
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy cooking and baking.
|Sheila Harris, Financial Aid Specialist
Education: CUNY York College, Bachelor of Arts; New York Institute of Technology, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration; St. John's University, Doctor of Philosophy (In-Progress).
What college success tips do you have? Know the tools you need for your success in school. Understand your Financial Aid requirements. Know your academic requirements, and most importantly, know the people in those areas who you can go to for advice. Never be afraid to ask, and never assume anything.
Why did you decide to work in Higher Education? To pay it forward. I use to tell students in my caseload, "It is your job to do well in class, knowing I am working behind the scene trying to make sure your financial aid is sound". I love to see the students that struggle semester by semester financially finally graduate; to watch the joy on their families faces.
|LisaMarie Armento, Program Coordinator for Student Engagement and Persistence
Education: St. John's University, Bachelor of Science in Marketing.
What college success tips do you have? Challenge yourself! Strive to be the best version of yourself that you could be. Also take and look for any opportunities that come your way. It could lead you to find your dream career.
Hobbies/Interests: My favorite thing to do is to cook and bake (my specialties are French macarons and cakes)!
|Brittany Maniscalco, Career Specialist
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling.
What college success tips do you have? It is so important to build relationships while in college! Step outside of your comfort zone. Get involved! Have fun with it!
Memorable CSI Moment: Watching my first cohort of students walk up the great lawn and receive their Bachelors degree. It was very emotional and I felt so proud of each and every one of them. I remembered their stories they shared with me over the 4 years I worked with them... their successes and struggles. I just felt very lucky.
|Laila Basyouni, Peer Mentor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Engineering Science AS, anticipated Spring 2020 and Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering and minor in Mathematics anticipated Spring 2022.
What college success tips do you have? As a college student I try to connect and expand my network. Connecting with peers and professors can open new opportunities. They can also provide career advice based on a different perspective than yours.
Favorite Quote: Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits – Jerry Dunn
|Megan McNamee, Peer Mentor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Liberal Arts & Sciences AA conferred Spring 2019 and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science anticipated Fall 2021.
What college success tips do you have? Make sure you plan ahead! Read your syllabus and mark down your project due dates, homework assignments, and exams/quizzes. Planning ahead for your classes will not only make you more organized, but stress free! Never let your assignments pile over one another. Space things out and make time to prepare! You will certainly thank yourself later on.
Hobbies/Interests: Coding, Graphic Design, UI/UX Design, and Traveling.
| Courtney Oliver, Peer Mentor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Liberal Arts & Sciences AA conferred Spring 2019 and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology anticipated Spring 2020.
What college success tips do you have? Never be afraid to reach out for help!! And Make sure to stay on top of your credits and study.
Fun Fact: I have my own TouYube travel channel!
| Jingyi (Jing) Weng, Peer Mentor
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Liberal Arts & Sciences AA conferred Fall 2017 and Bachelor of Science in Social Work anticipated Spring 2020.
What college success tips do you have? My advice to incoming and continuing students is to be open-minded. You never know who will become your best friend, or what sort of new interest you may discover in college.
Favorite Quote: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde
| Nicole Bagliore, Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Bachelor of Science in Communications: Corporate and minor in Business: Marketing.
What college success tips do you have? Networking is crucial during your college career. It is not always about what you know, but who you know. Market yourself to the best of your ability and show the world what you are made of!
Favorite Quote: Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. ― Jeniffer Lee
| Alberto Ballesteros, Student Ambassador
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Liberal Arts & Sciences AA anticipated Spring 2020 and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science anticipated Spring 2022.
What college success tips do you have? There are more opportunities and support on campus then you may know. Did you know we have a counseling center on campus available for students free of charge? If you don't know where to look, always ask someone, they'll be able to point you in the right direction!
Favorite Quote: Seek discomfort and remember, a stranger is a friend you haven't met. ― Unknown
| Antoinette Constantino, Student Ambassador
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Liberal Arts & Sciences AA anticipated Spring 2020 and Bachelor of Arts in Psychololgy and a minor in French anticipated Spring 2022.
What college success tips do you have? Make connections with your peers and professors, take every opportunity that you are able to, do not doubt yourself and stay motivated. Always think about YOUR future!
Favorite Quote: It's never too late to do the right thing. ― Unknown
| Joshua Sosa, Student Ambassador
Education: CUNY College of Staten Island, Liberal Arts & Sciences AA conferred Spring 2019 and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Sociology/Anthropology anticipated Spring 2021.
What college success tips do you have? Don’t hesitate on opportunities that are open to you. Having doubt on taking up an opportunity or joining a club because you are unsure is a natural feeling. Unless you take the leap, you won’t have the experiences or knowledge that the opportunity may give you. Knowing that you could’ve taken up an opportunity but didn’t is the worse feeling. Take the leap! The more resources you give yourself the better!
Favorite Quote: If you can dream it, you can do it ― Walt Disney
| Laura Langworthy, Administrative Coordinator
Education: Ithaca College, Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications.
What college success tips do you have? There is an opportunity to learn something everyday- don't miss the opportunity to do so!
Favorite Quote: May the force be with you ― Star Wars