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On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama presented the United States, and families watching from their television at home, a chance at hope one more time. This announcement went by the name of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) with the addition of an expansion to the requirements for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The proposition for DAPA provided parents of Lawful Permanent Residents and U.S. citizens, if they fell under the set requirements, a relief from deportation of the United States.

As the announcement went on, various non-profit organizations across the U.S. started preparing for DAPA and expanded DACA by gathering volunteer trainings, conducting informative workshops, and holding community conferences. These programs were expected to assist over 4.4 million people, according to the Department of Homeland Security. As time went by, many individuals on the opposing side of President Obama’s executive action gathered as much force possible to attack and ultimately destroy the preposition.

To our demise, with a policy that would have granted millions of families the opportunity to work with a work authorization and stop fear of deportation, on February 16, 2015 a federal judge in Texas blocked these two programs. In his injunction, he stated that the two programs were against the abilities of the President and thus placed a hold on them so that they can no longer be implemented.

Up to this date, DAPA and expanded DACA supporters have attempted to find some sort of outlet to allow it to go forth but it has not found itself successful. In recent news, as of October 3, 2016, the Supreme Court denied the request to rehear the DAPA and expanded DACA case until after a 9th justice is appointed, which would mean these immigration programs will remain blocked.

While this is disappointing and families are currently in limbo waiting for some sort of relief to keep their families united, we should continue to fight and show our support for DAPA and expanded DACA. This also only means that now more than ever, we need to have our voices be heard and VOTE on November 8 for a new body of government that will stand up for our families, community and our future.

Let your voice be heard, and vote on election day—our ancestors didn’t fight for our right to vote for it to only be put to waste.

Yours truly,

A passionate advocate for immigration reform

P.S.—Please be aware of immigration fraud by understanding that nor expanded DACA or DAPA is active. There are currently no immigration forms available for these two programs. Also, when consulting for immigration relief one should only adhere to accredited organizations and legally authorized attorneys that practice immigration law in the United States. Lastly, “notarios”/notaries are not lawyers or accredited representatives therefore they can not provide you with any sort of assistance or guidance on immigration cases or forms. If you need any legal help contact the New York State Office of New Americans for reliable referrals.

Melissa Portillo is a recent graduate from Baruch College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Immigration Law with the CUNY School of Professional Studies. In her spare time, Melissa is greatly involved in various volunteer projects that are geared towards assisting immigrants and low-income New Yorkers by informing and empowering families to attain successful integration. As a first generation graduate, Melissa hopes to continue to improve the lives of immigrant families and bring about change.

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.

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!

The New York Times digital subscription for CUNY SPS students

In 2004, Senator Robert Byrd [D-WV] introduced legislation that lead to the passage of a bill establishing Constitution Day.

Here are five fun facts about the Constitution of the United States that you might not know:

Thomas Jefferson didn’t have a chance to place his “John Hancock” on the Constitution. He was in France and missed the signing altogether.

There are several spelling errors in the Constitution, but the most egregious might be “Pensylvania.”

Benjamin Franklin, “Sage of the Constitutional Convention” was the oldest signer at 81 and needed help because of ailing health.

Vermont ratified the Constitution before it even became a state on January 10, 1791.

Amendment XXVII, ratified May 7, 1992, was the last to be adopted and declares: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”

The complete text of the Constitution of the United States can be found on the The Charters of Freedom website of the National Archives.

The City University of New York offers several initiatives aimed at providing assistance to the community on constitutional rights. Citizenship Now!, perhaps the largest and most diverse program, offers individuals and families law services to help them navigate their path to U.S. citizenship. CUNY SPS has proudly supported the efforts of Citizenship Now! through technical support of webinars featuring top immigration attorneys and advocates.

The CUNY SPS’s Graduate Certificate in Immigration Law program is planning a webinar on the immigration implications of two recent Supreme Court decisions: DOMA/United States v. Windsor, in which the court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional; and the striking down of Prop. 8, California’s ballot measure banning same-sex marriage. More information will be posted on our Facebook “Events” page so check back often.

*Fun facts above can be found on the Oak Hill Publishing Company’s website

The SPS Scholarship Committee has identified six scholarship recipients for the 2013-14 academic year. After careful deliberation, the Committee selected these students from an impressive pool of approximately 70 submissions—the most SPS has received to date.

Vearlane Edge and Velma Felix have been selected as 2013-14 Bob Martin Scholars. Vearlane is a student in the Online B.A. in Communication and Media program, and she anticipates graduating in 2014. For the past 20 years, she has organized and hosted Girl Scout troops of all ages, and has been especially active in an event providing children in need with backpacks and school supplies. With her help, this event has grown from 150 to over 300 participants in just three years. Velma, a student in our Online B.S. in Business program, is on track to graduate in December 2013. Velma returned to SPS after discontinuing her college education because of financial hardship. The Bob Martin Scholarship will allow Velma to finish her degree with SPS.

Tiffany Garcia is our inaugural Timothy Meade Scholar. A student in our Online B.A. in Disability Studies program with a Spring 2014 anticipated graduation date, Tiffany was led to the degree through her work as a special education teacher’s assistant in New Jersey. Tiffany has always worked hard for her education. Following an associate’s degree at LaGuardia Community College, she chose to finish her undergraduate education at SPS. She is on her way to becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college, which has inspired her older sister to return to higher education as well.

Nooria Nodrat and Merrilee Robinson have been awarded Founding Dean’s Scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year. Nooria is an in-person student in the M.A. in Disability Studies program, and anticipates graduating in May 2014. Nooria, who is blind, decided to come to SPS to pursue Disability Studies in order to give back to her community. Merrilee is currently pursuing a B.S. in Health Information Management with an anticipated graduation date in Spring 2014. Born in a “third-world country,” Merrilee has overcome hardship and prioritizes her education. Her goal is to enter the workforce, earn certification in RHIA and RHIT, and find employment as a compliance officer

Elmo Paige will be receiving the 2013-14 Stephen M. Rossen Memorial Scholarship. Elmo, a single father of four teenagers, is guiding them through their educational journeys as he embarks on his own. With the full encouragement of his employer, this scholarship will allow him to reduce his work hours and focus more closely on his studies: he anticipates graduating from SPS in 2015 or 2016 with the M.S. in Data Analytics.

Class of 2013 degree students, your diploma is ready for pick up! Visit the SPS Office on the 9th floor in room 905 at 101 West 31st with a photo ID. We will be open from 9:00am through 7:30pm Monday through Thursday. During the summer, we will be closed on the following days: June 28, July 4, July 12, July 19, July 26, August 2 and August 9th. Please feel free to call us at (212) 652-2869 to ensure the office is open before you arrive.

Please note: if you have any “stops” on your record your diploma will be held. This includes library fines, bursar blocks, and financial aid exit counseling. Please check your eSIMS account to verify your status before coming to the office.

For those students who want their diploma mailed, please email Jennifer Lee with your full mailing address.

Certificate students who recently completed their program will have to wait until late July to pick up their certificate.

If there are any additional questions, please call (212) 652-2869.

The BLK ProjeK is having a bus party!

Bus Party

Congratulations to the newly elected SPS Governing Council for the 2013-2014 academic year. The winners are:

Mary Casey, Online Master’s in Business Management and LeadershipStudent Representative: Mary Casey, Online Master’s in Business Management and Leadership. “CUNY provides an outstanding education at a reasonable price. I could have enrolled in an adult masters program at my university that would have been tuition-free, but none of its programs match the SPS MS in Business Leadership and Management Program.” Read Mary’s full statement.

Paul Tuohy, Online Master’s in Business Management and LeadershipStudent Representative: Paul Tuohy, Online Master’s in Business Management and Leadership. “My classes at SPS have been a guide to me in several recent business situations. Furthermore, my classes relate directly both to what I am doing at work now, and to what I wish I could do in the future. The online curriculum, particularly the convenience, has made attending school a possibility.” Read Paul’s full statement.

Cheri Martinez, Online Master’s in Business Management and LeadershipAlternate Student Representative: Cheri Martinez, Online Master’s in Business Management and Leadership. “…I take pride in figuring out a way to balance my life for the benefit of others and myself.  I have always been passionate about education, and my relentless drive to complete goals that I have set for myself.  This year, my goals are to be more involved and supportive of those missions I feel strongly about.” Read Cheri’s full statement.

The Governing Council of the CUNY School of Professional Studies provides oversight and approves new courses, certificates and degree programs that the school offers as well as advising the Dean of SPS on the administration, coordination, and development and termination of all of its programs and curricula.

Tonight, the CUNY SPS 2013 Commencement keynote speaker, Tanya Fields will discuss The BLK Projek’s latest plans for a new mobile food market, and you have an opportunity to join her.

The BLK Projek was founded in 2009 to empower women and youth with the resources to rise out of poverty through the food justice movement. A new key asset in their mission to create economic development opportunities in the South Bronx is The Veggie Mobile Market. The goal is to turn a bus into a solar powered, mobile market that will bring fresh vegetables and “…good food to the ‘Hood’.”

The BLK Projek's Mobile Veggie MarketThe South Bronx community will get their first look at The Veggie Mobile Market at the “Meet the Bus” event tonight at 6pm. It is also a chance for anyone from CUNY SPS that is interested in Tanya’s work to meet her in person. She will be conducting a cooking demo “Fab Food on a Food Stamp Budget” that will be part of the mobile market’s educational outreach program.

Also presenting tonight at “Meet the Bus” will be Dara Cooper, director of the New York City Food and Fitness Partnership at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation who was a founder of Chicago’s mobile food market, Fresh Moves.

As Tanya explains on the campaign fundraising page, “This project is about food but it is about so much more. It will change the way we see ourselves in our community. It will allow us to hire marginalized folks and pay them a living wage. It will change the way people think about economic development and the way they see the Bronx. It will use food as an empowerment tool!”

Take a moment to RSVP, and if you can’t make it in person join them on Google Hangout.