New Year Message from the Chair

At the beginning of the new year one can do nothing but cherish the great achievements and changes our department has accomplished in 2008.

Dr. Sasan Karimi was promoted to the rank of Full Professorship in the Spring 2008. We all congratulate his success and recognition as he started his 11th year in our Department.

During the Fall of 2008 three faculty, Drs. Sharon Lall-Raamnarine, David Sarno and Jun Shin, were granted tenure. All three will be applying for promotion to the Associate Professor rank in the Spring. We all congratulate them for their productive accomplishments.

Dr. Tirandai Hemraj-Benny joined our department in August 2008 as a tenure track Assistant Professor raising the total number of the full time faculty in our department to nine. Seven years ago our department had only five full time faculty. We all wish her the best as she starts her academic career with us.

Mr. Tian (Andrew) Xu will join our department as a full-time tenure-track College Lab Technician (CLT) in January 2009. Andrew actually started his college career at Queensborough and graduated with an A.S. in 2005 before transferring to Hunter College where he earned his B.S. degree in Biochemistry in 2007. The wishes of all of us follow his developing career.

Dr. Jordan Verdis will serve as Substitute Assistant Professor for the 2008-09 academic year. Dr. Dennis Capitanio will serve as Substitute Assistant Professor for the Spring 2009 semester. We are grateful for their availability.

The increase in enrollment has continued its upward trend. The number of students taking chemistry courses has almost tripled during the academic year since 2001, while the summer session numbers have increased eight-fold in the same period (672 vs. 84). For the second time ever our department will offer two courses during the January 2009 intersession (CH-127 and 128).

Dr. Sasan Karimi has had one more peer-reviewed publication carrying the names of a Queensborough student (Varsha Patel) [click] This raises the total number of such publications to nine (9) since 2002.[click]

2008 was a superb year for the Department’s quest for grants. First Dr. Sarno in conjunction with Dr. Moni Chauhan and Biology Department’s Dr. Roland Scal were awarded more than $70,000 as the second installment for a scanning electron microscope. Dr. Lall-Ramnarine was awarded a CUNY collaborative grant. Drs. Sarno and Shin were also awarded PSC-CUNY grants. An $840,000 ATE grant was awarded to Dr. Paris Svoronos (Co-PI) in conjunction with York College, Bronx Community College and Kingsborough ommunity College. The largest grant ever obtained by our college,a $2,000,000/ 5 years NSF grant awarded to our college (Dr. Svoronos, PI) in conjunction with QCC’s Biology chair Dr. Mel Gorelick , Queens College’s Chemistry Department and Brookhaven Laboratories was renewed for the second year. Half of this money will be used to support both Queensborough faculty and students during the summer as well as subsidize conference trips and PLTL tutorials. [click]

The first undergraduate research lab financed by a $253,000 Perkins grant was finally opened in December 2007 and continues to support the research of faculty and students.

Dr. Shin starts his chairmanship of the ACS-NY section on January 1, 2009 after Dr. Sarno’s expired in 2008. Dr. Verdis was elected chair of the ACS-Long Island section for 2010. Drs. P. Svoronos as well as Dr. Luis Vargas will also serve in the board of that section as directors-at-large.

Our students also had unique successes. Emily Hughes had an REU at City College, supported by Princeton University. Emily was also awarded a scholarship by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) during a ceremony in Douglaston in June 2008. She is the second ever Queensborough student to earn this award since Alana Doonachar in 2007.

Dr. Sarno’s Carolina Chaves had a summer internship at Brookhaven Labs as did Dr. Lall-Rmanrine’s Ayisha Munawar, Ankita Parikh, Xing Li and Jinghee Gwon. Seven students had summer internships at the DEP analyzing water samples and two more at the Food and Drug Administration in Jamaica.

The number of students involved in research keeps on its upward trend. In 2000 the practice started in our department with one student participating at the URS (Undergraduate Research Symposium) of the ACS-NY section. Our students had a total of more than 30 oral presentations at the 56th Undergraduate Research Symposium of the ACS-NY section at Manhattan College easily surpassing every other college or university in the New York City area. More than forty of them proceeded to have poster presentations at the 40th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) held also at Queensborough May 17-21 and 24 poster presentations at the 234th National ACS Meeting in Phildelphia, PA August 18.[click]

But the highlight of the year was the fact that Queensborough held the 40th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM 2008 ) August 17-21, 2008. This was the first time ever this conference was hosted by a community college. This was the first time ever this conference was held in New York City. Almost 1,000 attendees presented a total of close to 600 posters and papers. There were to plenary lectures by Professors Roald Hoffman, Chemistry Nobel laureate in 1981, and Ronald Breslow. There was a large number of attendees including CUNY’s Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.

There are better days ahead of us here at Queensborough.

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