Join us in welcoming the new Distinguished Lecturer and Academic Director of Data Analytics and Information Systems Arthur O’Connor. He sat down with us and shared his thoughts about new trends in data science and more.

Arthur O'Connor

What did you do before joining CUNY SPS?

I was a VP of Risk Measurement & Analytics in the NYC branch of a large Japanese bank.

What are you most looking forward to about working at CUNY SPS?

Helping to empower this great adjunct faculty to teach, and helping our students to learn and master some of the most exciting and high-demand disciplines, techniques and tools in data analytics and information technology.

Most exciting new trend in data science?

I’d have to say content processing/semantic analysis of unstructured data. We now have commercially viable knowledge discovery tools to derive insights from things like images, text messages, voice and video files—pretty wild!!!

What’s your favorite thing about living/working in New York City?

Central Park—its given me so much. I met my wife there on a Memorial Day weekend in the 80’s. I played with my 3 kids in its fields when they were young.

What are you reading right now?

I’m re-reading Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson—this time in e-book form.

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

Sing like no one is listening; love like you’ve never been hurt; and dance like nobody’s watching.

What do you hope to accomplish before the fall semester begins?

Get to know the faculty and at least some of the students—they are a very impressive group!

Welcome to CUNY SPS, Arthur, we look forward to an exciting new semester together.

CUNY SPS is proud to present this year’s ePortfolio Student Showcase, which highlights student work in individual courses, programs, and capstone projects at both the bachelors and masters level!

tyoes of eportfolios

ePortfolio provides a window into our students’ lives: who they are and who they aspire to be. While reviewing nominations to this year’s showcase, we saw a lot of CSS customization and 2015_badge3_orangemultimedia integration; providing a richer experience for viewers while demonstrating students’ digital and communication skills.

Showcase winners received an Amazon gift card and a digital badge to place in their ePortfolio. Feel free to browse the showcase website or visit the featured ePortfolios directly below.

To visit the ePortfolio directly, simply click on a student’s name. To view additional information such as the course they created the ePortfolio for and why the ePortfolio was featured, click on the image.

Congratulations to this year’s winners! If you’re interested in submitting your ePortfolio for next year’s showcase click here.

Marcy Lewis graduated from the CUNY School of Professional Studies with a B.A. in Psychology just last week. She shares advice for new students, and talks about how she overcame many obstacles on the way to completing her degree.

Marcy Lewis is a recent graduate from the Psychology program.

1. What was your motivation/inspiration for completing your bachelor’s degree? Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

I have had so many things that have motivated me to complete my bachelor’s degree. Coming from a broken family of low socio-economic status and having my first child when I was very young created a desire for me to show my children that stereotypes do not define who you are or what you can accomplish. I wanted to do better for myself as well as my children and to inspire them that even in hard times you can still achieve your dreams.

I chose CUNY SPS because it offered me the complete package of what I was searching for in a University: flexibility, accreditation, affordability, positive reputation for online programs and a strong background in the academic success rates.

2. What is it like to earn a degree fully online?

Earning a degree online has been a mixture of ease and difficulty. I find that I learn better using this method of instruction yet when speaking with those who attend “traditional” classes it seems there is often a greater work load in online classes. I have found that it is crucial to be somewhat ahead of the game; slacking is just not an option as it will pull you behind faster than you could imagine. It really takes commitment, self-discipline, and structure to stay on top of all of your assignments. Being late can really affect not only your work but the work of the entire class. However, despite these difficulties I would not have taken any other route in getting my degree as it truly was the best fit for me.

3. What is the greatest piece of advice you received while at CUNY SPS?

Many of the professors I had here at CUNY SPS offered a similar piece of advice that I found to be quite crucial throughout my college path; taking care of yourself is vital to not just the body but the mind as well. Being someone with a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis, this can be quite difficult but I was able to incorporate much of the knowledge and skills I gained through my studies in increasing my overall wellness. By doing so I was able to significantly decrease the stress of being ill, taking care of a family, and taking a full course load each semester. To me, this was crucial in completing my degree.

4. What advice would you like to extend to someone considering entering the Psychology program at CUNY SPS?

The greatest piece of advice I could offer someone considering entering the Psychology program at CUNY SPS would be to interact as much as possible with your professors and classmates as this is how you will get the most out of your academic journey. Asking questions for clarification or direction as well as checking in regularly and participating in the class or group discussions are all vital in achieving greater learning in the online Psychology program. One of the main focuses I found in my online classes was concept of learning not just from the professors but from fellow classmates as well; we learn from each other and we succeed with each other.

5. In which ways have you grown as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

As a result of my studies at CUNY SPS I have grown intellectually through the new knowledge I acquired from professors and classmates. I have grown more confident in my abilities and with myself, not just in a professional manner but in personal matters as well. Most of all, I have learned that living with a disease that I cannot control does not mean I have to succumb to its disruption. It is empowering to know that you can take control over something so destructive and that is something that I do not know if I would have learned had I not continued pursing my education here at CUNY SPS.

6. What does earning a bachelor’s degree mean to you?

To many people earning a bachelor’s degree means a higher salary and greater prestige. Those, after all, were some of the reasons that enticed me to start undergraduate school. However, during my second semester I became ill and everything changed. I could have just quite when my doctor said I was unable to work. Why continue if I will never be able to use a degree? The answer is this; a bachelor’s degree meant so much more to me. It meant showing my children that no matter what life deals you to never give up. It meant keeping faith that maybe I can beat the illness and not let the illness beat me; maybe someday I CAN put it to use. It meant showing those nay-sayers that people can overcome adversity no matter how big or small and to never underestimate the underdog. It meant proving to myself that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to.

7. What kind of impact do you think your degree will have on your professional and personal lives?

Having my bachelor’s degree will most definitely have beneficial impacts on my professional and personal life… if I am able to return to work. Before school I was a waitress, working long hours/weekends/holidays, constantly missing out on my children’s lives, living day to day on tips never knowing how much I would make; thankfully, those days are over. A bachelor’s degree in Psychology increases my job prospects in such a wide array of professions. Living in North Carolina I am able to take the needed exams to secure a teaching license or I can opt to work in my chosen field and assist with grief counseling for military families in my area… the options are quite plentiful as a Psychology degree is so versatile and can be beneficial in social work, business management, customer service, education, mental health etc. etc. etc… My degree has also benefited me personally because I have been able to incorporate skills I have gained to help family and friends during difficult times.

8. What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation I would like to work on getting stronger both physically and mentally so that I can return to work. I am hoping to either work with children and families in crisis or become teacher at the elementary level. Perhaps one day I will return to school; however, for now I would like to focus on my health and re-entering the work industry. But first I am going to take a little R&R and enjoy life, my family, and yes… the beaches of Coastal North Carolina.

Show Your Work

Have you created one or more ePortfolios this past year? If so, we invite you to submit your ePortfolio to the CUNY School of Professional Studies ePortfolio Student Showcase for an opportunity to be selected as one of the “Featured Student ePortfolios” on the ePortfolio Showcase website and receive a $100 Amazon gift card!

Selections are made based on:

  • Design layout
  • Organization of materials
  • Best use of multimedia
  • Demonstration of reflective learning
  • Overall representation of academic skills, coursework, and extracurricular activities

To nominate yourself, please complete this form by May 24, 2015.


Last month, the ePortfolio Team and Career Services teamed up to offer our second in-person (and first online) workshop titled, Transforming your ePortfolio, where students learned how to use ePortfolio to identify and demonstrate their transferable skills. We also covered how to incorporate different types of multimedia and organize mutliple ePortfolios. If you couldn’t make it, feel free to watch the one hour recorded webinar below and check out the handout resources:

We recommend viewing this video full screen at 720p.

Handouts from the workshop:

Remember to nominate yourself by May 24, 2015. Please help us recognize your great work with ePortfolio!

Professor Anthony Sterns is an entrepreneur in the healthcare field, and has been quite successful in bringing his product, iRxReminder, to fruition. He teaches courses in our MS in Business Management and Leadership degree program: BUS 620 Entrepreneurship in a Global Environment, BUS 680 Economics for Business Decisions, BUS 698 Applied Business Research, and has been a thesis mentor to both graduate and undergraduate students.

CUNY SPS Professor Anthony Sterns

1. How did you come about teaching for CUNY SPS?

I have a good friend from high school and another friend from graduate school who both work at CUNY City Tech. I happened to see an advertisement on the Academy of Management Organizational Behavior List-serve for a business adjunct at CUNY SPS and because I knew something about CUNY, I applied.

2. Over your time as a thesis mentor to our graduate and undergraduate students, which thesis idea have you been most excited by so far?

I had one student complete a systematic review of 3-D printing and whether it met the criteria as a disruptive technology in the manufacturing space. That student was very good and completed a very strong paper.

3. What’s the most important piece of advice you can give to future entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is a long and lonely road. You have to have a strong passion for the vision of the future you see. You will need help to get there. Pick your friends and business relationships carefully, because your relationships will be challenged and it’s those relationships that will mean the difference between succeeding and failing to succeed.

4. What was your motivation behind developing iRxReminder?

My previous work focused on people living with dementia. Medication adherence is one of two reasons that people loose their independence, the other being wandering. I wanted to find a way to help older adults live independently longer. As we learned more about medication taking challenges we focused our attention on first helping clinical researchers and more recently improving adherence to oral cancer treatments and recovery from transplants.

5. What has it been like to watch iRxReminder grow from an idea to an award-winning start-up within the healthcare IT community?

Each milestone feels like a real victory, as every one is hard fought. The most important validation was the investment of our first angel this time last year. I started out in engineering. When I turned in my graduate education and research, I stopped making tangible things; things people use. I am most gratified when I know someone has an app and a device to help them complete a drug study, or take all the medications required to remain independent.

6. What’s next for you and iRxReminder?

We are planning on closing our current seed round this summer, bringing on an additional investor, and finishing our FDA 510(k) clearance, which will open up new markets to us this fall.

1. Favorite way to relax after a long day: Sailing.

2. What I’m reading right now: Managerial Economics.

3. The person I most admire: It’s a tie between Jacques Ives Cousteau and my parents, Drs. Harvey and Ronni Sterns.

4. Greatest piece of advice I have ever received: When they say, “It can’t be done, and you know how to do it, you are definitely onto something.”

5. If I wasn’t a professor/healthcare IT entrepreneur, I’d be: a touring musician.

6. Best part of teaching online at CUNY SPS: My boss, B. Loerinc Helft. She keeps the ship running. I also really like working with the students; their drive keeps me motivated in my own work.

Thank you, Professor Sterns. We’re very fortunate to work with people like Dr. Helft here at CUNY SPS.

Workshop: Transform your ePortfolio

Evolution of ePortfolios

When: Thursday, April 23, 2015, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: CUNY SPS, 119 W. 31st Street., Room 303, New York, NY 10001

Want to make your ePortfolio showcase ready? Join the ePortfolio team and Career Services for some pizza and learn how to transform your ePortfolio in time to participate in our annual ePortfolio showcase, where featured student ePortfolios will receive an Amazon gift card.

This workshop will focus on ways ePortfolio can be used for academic and career development. 


Peter Magri is a student in our new online Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing program. He explains why he enrolled here at CUNY SPS and what he expects to gain from his degree.

Peter Magri

1. Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

CUNY SPS offered the sense of continuity for me within the CUNY system since I had recently graduated from the Nursing Program at Queensborough Community College. I had come to trust the faculty at QCC and thought that it would be a good fit. I also was happy to hear that SPS used BlackBoard, which was also used at QCC, so the online demographic would be easy to fit into.

2. What is the single most important professional or personal goal that you would like to achieve during your studies at CUNY SPS or after graduation?

I would really like to land a job as a nurse. I have been on so many interviews and have applied to countless jobs and have yet to be hired in a hospital. I would like to get into critical care or the fast pace of a busy ER to really prove my skill sets to myself and those from nursing school.

3. How have you grown intellectually as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

I have definitely broadened my assessment techniques and understand the body and how it works because of the Pathophysiology class I took. I also have learned so much about culture and teaching and how important it is to incorporate a patient’s culture in the plan of care.

4. What advice would you offer to someone considering applying for admission to the program?

APPLY! I am so glad I did. The faculty are warm and are always there to assist you through anything that may concern you. You may feel that since it is an online program that you would get lost in the shuffle, but there is nothing further from the truth. They’re there with you every step of the way.

We also asked Peter a few fun questions about his life and his studies.

1. Place of residence: Franklin Square, New York.

2. Favorite CUNY SPS course: NURS301-Assessment.

3. Weirdest place you have studied: Oh God…really??? OK—the toilet.

4. Your favorite music to play while studying: I actually don’t like to listen to music while I study; I like to have CNN on in the background.

5. Best thing about your community or NYC: It’s close to Manhattan and my parents live just down the block from me! Always get great home-cooked meals!

Thank you, Peter, for bringing such a positive attitude about online learning and a passion for the field of nursing to your work here at CUNY SPS!

Professor Stacey Murphy teaches in the CUNY SPS Health Information Management program and shares her thoughts on motivating students to learn and health care systems.

Stacey Murphy Health Information Management Faculty

1. Who or what inspired you to join the health care field?

During my junior year of high school I had a job where my supervisor, a clerk, gave me the opportunity to code some records. At that time, everything was on paper so I learned completely from scratch.

2. How do you get your students excited about subject matters such as medical billing and coding in an online learning environment?

In the classroom, we share real life experiences with students and ask them to do the same. In our discussion boards, everyone participates and has unique questions. Students find ways to engage with one another in order to answer each other’s questions. I also always advise my students to not become frustrated with the work. Coding takes time; it’s not something that can be memorized.

3. Are there any attributes of other countries’ health care systems that you would like to see adopted by the U.S.?

The World Health Organization (WHO) developed the ICD-10 Coding System. Approximately 25 countries currently use the ICD-10 Coding System. Some use it for morbidity/mortality statistics and others for resource allocation and reimbursement purposes. Australia, Sweden and Netherlands began using it as early as the 1990’s. Canada, China and France began using it in 2000’s. Of record, the most recent country to adopt ICD-10 is Dubai in 2012. The U.S. was scheduled to adopt ICD-10 on October 1, 2011. The implementation date was delayed to 2013, 2014 and again to October 1, 2015. Physician medical associations nationwide have asked Congress for yet another delay, which will delay implementation to October 1, 2017. What is the future of ICD-10 in the U.S.? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

4. As a health care professional, which piece of technology do you think has most benefitted the field?

The online class platform. For me, as an adult learner and professor, I wasn’t initially sold on the benefits of online learning. However, I was faced with certain adversities in life so I went online and realized how much this platform has to offer. Of course, the person running the class makes all the difference in student learning outcomes.

5. What changes do you foresee occurring in the U.S. health care system within the next decade?

Electronic medical records across the board would be a great thing, especially for the consumer since it gives greater access to information.

Professor Murphy also shares some personal information.

1. Favorite spot vacation (so far): Las Vegas. It reminds me of NYC; another city that never sleeps.

2. Best song to listen to after a long day: Mary J. Blige.

3. Greatest piece of advice you have received: Don’t set high expectations for others. You’ll always be upset and disappointed if they don’t meet them.

4. What you’re reading right now: ITTIO PCS Resources (for my January prep class).

5. The person you most admire: Maryanne Rice, my mentor and the first person that inspired me to get involved in the HIM field.

6. If I wasn’t a professor, I would be a: Nurse, but I don’t like blood and needles. 7. Best part of living in NY: It’s the city that never sleeps! And, all of the employment opportunities.

7. First thing you would say to the Queen of England upon meeting her (Stacey aspires to meet the Queen one day): I would start crying first and then gain the courage to say, “It’s truly a pleasure to meet your acquaintance.”

Thanks, Professor Murphy! So many of the HIM faculty who we’ve spoken with have shared the importance of a strong mentor. I’m sure you are fast becoming a mentor to CUNY SPS students.

Cami Dreyer is a student in our online Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (R.N. to B.S. in Nursing) program. She shares her motivations for achieving her educational and professional goals.

Cami Dreyer, Online Nursing student at CUNY SPS

1. Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

This past summer I received my AAS is in nursing and achieved my dream of becoming an RN. While in that program, I was notified about a new, fully online RN to BSN program at CUNY SPS. I knew this would give me the freedom to job hunt and enter the workforce while continuing to work towards the coveted BSN that is now required by most hospitals. I had heard great things about SPS, so I decided to make the leap!

2. What is the single most important professional or personal goal that you would like to achieve during your studies at CUNY SPS or after graduation?

Quite simply, to achieve my Bachelors of Applied Science in Nursing!

3. How have you grown intellectually as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

Even though it has only been a little over a month, I have already grown so much! Learning here at SPS goes beyond knowledge and comprehension. SPS is pushing me to apply, analyze, and evaluate the material I learn. In addition, my writing abilities and my sense of how to approach assignments has greatly improved.

4. What advice would you offer to someone considering applying for admission to the program?

If you have other responsibilities, start slow with one or two classes to get the feel for the online format. If you are self-motivated, do IT! You won’t regret it.

Cami also shares some fun facts about her life.

1. Place of residence: Park Slope, Brooklyn.

2. Favorite CUNY SPS course: Physical Assessment.

3. Weirdest place you have studied: While walking through a street fair.

4. Your favorite music to play while studying: Classical.

5. Best thing about your community or NYC: Diversity.

Thank you for sharing all of this with us, Cami. Can you give us your best tip on how to study while walking?

As I helped my 4 year old son with his homework on a recent evening, I kept on insisting that he “stay within the lines” as he colored in his assignment.  This scene repeated itself for several minutes, as we both grew increasingly frustrated with each other.  My son could not understand why I did not acknowledge how beautiful he thought his coloring was, all I seemed to see were the “mistakes.”  I finally caught myself and realized what I was doing.

Sometimes we do the same thing when we think of our lives.  I’m sure there are moments when “staying within the lines” is important; take for instance respecting the limits that laws place on our behavior or even just staying in our lanes when we drive.  Moving beyond these sometimes literal ways of “staying within the lines,” what happens when we live our entire life that way?  Always focusing on what is wrong?  Or never reaching out for more because we can’t see beyond the limits we place on ourselves?  We miss out on how beautiful life can be when we don’t take chances and when we can’t see a lesson in what may seem like a mistake or failure.  I learned from that short moment with my son that our lives don’t have to be perfect to be good.  What we perceive as an imperfection may be what makes our lives that much more beautiful.

So, this is a reminder to focus on the good, savor your life, and don’t be afraid to try something new.  You’ll hold up your picture one day and be surprised at how beautiful it is.

Stephanie Perez is in her final year at CUNY SPS, majoring in Sociology. When she is not busy joining her four year old son on his daily adventures, she likes to spend her time reading, cooking, and dancing to her favorite music. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in human rights law and advocacy.

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