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In September, SPS announced that Linda Key (’12) received a prestigious Fulbright award. Applied Theatre students and alumni continue to break ground. At elementary schools in all five boroughs, Leah Page (’13), Liz Parker (’11), Rachel Evans (’13), Amy Sawyers (’13), Anneka Fagundes (’11), Shamilia McBean (’13), Brisa Munoz (’13), and Sara Hunter Orr (’13) deliver “Alice’s Story,” an interactive theatre piece about bullying. The piece was created by J’nelle Chelune (’11), Ria Cooper (’11), and Anneka Fagundes for the arts in education organization Making Books Sing, with the organization’s Director of Education. TIME for Kids magazine covered “Alice’s Story” in a recent October issue—in fact, the publication featured Rachel Evans and Liz Parker on its cover, in TIME’s iconic red frame.

In Chelsea this summer, second- and third-year students interviewed seniors at SAGE, the nation’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender senior center. Led by visiting professor Tony Goode, our students wove the interviews into an original piece of theatre, and then performed the piece for SAGE and other centers. Chelsea Now covered the performance, acknowledging Carli Gaugh (’13), who had “channeled a SAGE member” and captured the spirit of the singular seniors.

The Applied Theatre program’s collaboration with SAGE began in 2011 as a thesis project. Sherry Teitelbaum (’11), Kevin Ray (’11), and Jenny Houseal (’11) led LGTBQ youth and members of SAGE in creating a theatre ensemble. Foreshadowing this summer’s work, the ensemble drew on its members’ stories to create a dynamic original piece of theatre. Now, the project, called Bridging the Gap, has won major funding to return to SAGE; Bridging the Gap’s second original piece, “The Quest for Love,” premiered Saturday, December 1 at The LGBTQ Center. Also working with seniors, Abigail Unger (’12) was recently hired as Recreation Coordinator for Project Find, a network of senior centers throughout the city.

Downtown at Judson Memorial Church, Wil Fisher (’11) and Michael Wilson (’11) produced The New Masculinities Festival, an evening of performances addressing what it means to be a man. See or to watch the performance.

In October of this year, Paul Russo, Ph.D., SPS’s Director of Online Programs and an instructor in the Sociology program, led a team of current CUNY students and graduates to develop a free student-to-student text book exchange as part of the ApplicationsforGood codathon sponsored by the Motorola Mobility Foundation, Center for Social Innovation, Blue Ridge Foundation, and New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

While textbooks represent 17% of tuition costs in various majors, the team believes that there are simple ways in which technology can make books more affordable. Their application—much like other online communities such as or Craigslist—combines the broad reach of the Internet with the benefits of local face-to-face interactions. Focusing on urban areas such as New York City offers the project access to a critical mass of potential users, which is necessary to make participation valuable to all textbook swappers.

The team is committed to making the bookswap student owned and student operated, following the OpenSource model, to ensure future use will have only student friendly policies. Their model is also distinct from other services such as because the primary mode of exchange is student-to-student swapping or monitored low cost reselling, to prevent high markups or shipping costs. The group says that over time, they are interested in adding more functionality to the site such as links to affordable housing, health services, and various types of student discounts.

The judges awarded the project the Most Promising Prize, which included a cash award and an invitation to a December 12th luncheon with angel investors. The group currently has a working prototype, and as the next version of the platform comes online, Russo hopes there will be interesting research opportunities for students to study the system as part of a capstone project or in his own course titled “The Digital Revolution and Information Society” (SOC 419). To learn more about their plans for the textbook exchange, see You can also contact Paul at or 646.344.7247.


The School of Professional Studies is delighted to announce that Linda Ames Key, a graduate of the School’s M.A. in Applied Theatre program, has been named a Fulbright Specialist.

In 2011, while completing her M.A. in Applied Theatre degree at SPS, Ms. Key participated in the School’s Project Rwanda: Drama and Theatre Education for Reconciliation and Development program, teaching applied theatre techniques to drama teachers at Kigali Institute of Education, Rwanda. The twin goals of the Project are: (a) to develop the use of theatre and drama strategies as educational tools to help promote unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, and (b) to create job opportunities by building applied theatre troupes, first in schools and colleges, and later in the professional, cultural milieu.

The Fulbright award will now enable Ms. Key to continue this work with two possible return visits through 2017. “I am thrilled to be given this opportunity,” said Ms. Key. “I look forward to returning to Rwanda, continuing to professionally develop through this work, and learn from the Rwandan students. I credit CUNY SPS and my phenomenal professors in the Applied Theatre program with opening up this new and exciting career opportunity that I had never imagined.”

Ms. Key is the Education Director of Vital Theatre Company, New York City, whose teaching artists integrate theatre arts into the humanities curriculum in an effort to jumpstart academic progress. A lead partner with Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School in Canarsie, the Company also holds partnerships with Fordham High School for the Arts, Bronxdale High School, PS 6, PS 166, PS 199 and PS 452. Since its founding, Vital has presented over fifty original productions for over 160,000 children and their families.

The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. academics and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas. The program is designed to award grants to qualified U.S. faculty and professionals, in select disciplines, to engage in short-term collaborative 2 to 6 week projects at host institutions in over 100 countries worldwide. International travel costs and a stipend are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Project activities focus on strengthening and supporting the development needs of host institutions abroad. Eligible activities include short-term lecturing, conducting seminars, teacher training, special conferences or workshops, as well as collaborating on curriculum planning, institutional and/or faculty development. U.S. faculty and professionals apply to join a Roster of Specialists for a 5-year term. Roster candidates are reviewed by peers in the same discipline, and by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB).

Lisa Poelle, faculty member for the Child Development Associate (CDA) program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, is author of the soon to be released book, The Biting Solution: The Expert’s No-Biting Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Early Childhood Educators.

Lisa’s twenty-five years of experience in the field of early childhood education include counseling families, pioneering a mentoring program for teachers, applying her expertise to the architectural design of child care centers, as well as serving as a consultant for corporations and government organizations. She has also provided consultation to childcare centers and programs through the Children’s Health Council. Her experience with this multidisciplinary agency inspired her to write the book. “That’s when I started getting so many requests to help with biting, and it is how I had a chance to practice and perfect my method,” Lisa says. “My case studies in the book came from this period. This was quite a unique opportunity.”

Here at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, Lisa shares her knowledge and experience with students in the Child Development Associate (CDA) program. The CDA program, offered in partnership with the NYC Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, offers students an opportunity as early childhood professionals to master the knowledge base, application of theory to practice, and qualifications to create effective learning environments for children. Lisa teaches Child Development: Birth to Five and Observing and Recording Development of the Young Child.

In her book, Lisa provides realistic advice to help caregivers devise effective plans to solve children’s biting behaviors. She provides seven questions for caregivers to consider before establishing a plan to describe the problems and design the solutions to curb children’s biting behaviors. Using her method, “Stop the Fighting and Biting,” Lisa emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in developing positive and effective solutions for aggressive behavior problems.

The Biting Solution: The Expert’s No-Biting Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Early Childhood Educators will be published in the fall of 2012.

Lisa Poelle is also co-author of the book, Growing Teachers and several parenting articles. Lisa’s website can be found at:

Please join us in welcoming our new Academic Director for the Health Information Management program, Ellen Shakespeare. Ellen joined CUNY School of Professional Studies in August from her last position as a faculty member and the program coordinator for the health information technology programs at Raritan Valley Community College.

Prior to her position at RVCC, she was a health information management department director and consultant at hospitals in Florida, New York, and New Jersey. Ms. Shakespeare recently achieved Fellowship with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), an honor only bestowed on 116 fellows out of over 60,000 members.

Ellen also serves as a panel reviewer for CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management), as past president of the New Jersey Health Information Management Association, and is a member of AHIMA’s Council for Excellence in Education and Health Information Exchange Practice Council.

She received her MBA with a concentration in health administration from the University of Miami, and a B.S. in health information management from the University of Central Florida.

The CUNY SPS Online B.S. in Health Information Management prepares students for careers in this dynamic and rapidly expanding field. Students learn to develop, implement, and manage health information and data systems for quality care, reimbursement, research, planning, and evaluation.

Find out more about this and other SPS programs by visiting our website,, or by attending an in-person information session. The next Online Baccalaureate Info Session will be held Wednesday, September 12th 6-8pm at the CUNY Graduate Center. Click here to register.

I recently attended an SPS Career Services workshop and networking seminar lead by career expert Arlene Newman. Newman is the President of Career Bound Success and has an extensive background in Human Resources across multiple industries. Newman emphasized the importance of networking in career endeavors and divulged techniques that are useful for successful networking. I will highlight the key points of the seminar and share with you some of the points I think are effective.

Before embarking on your networking journey, it is necessary to devise a clear plan by outlining your objectives, profiling your unique personality, and highlighting your strengths. It is fundamental to ask yourself these questions so you can offer a thorough presentation and give others a clear vision of who you are and what you have to offer. This is also known as an “elevator pitch”– a 30 second to 2 minute clear, concise and carefully planned description that summarizes your personal brand.

From here on, your focus should be on building rapport through the following networks:
• Friends & Family
• Work and Professional Organizations
• Classmates, Alumni Groups and Professors
• Community, Political and Religious Organizations

It is very important to have a positive and enthusiastic attitude in your communication with others. No matter what mood you are in or if you left your last job on a negative circumstance, ensure that your comments are positive. You also must be prepared–this means having a business card ready for all networking events. Your card can display “student” and your major, and if possible, list skills on the back of the card, or even an inspirational quote that is a reflection of your principles. Follow up with every individual through e-mail or a phone call. If there is no answer, always leave a voicemail.

Keep in mind that technology is not 100% reliable, so if you do not get a response the first time, it is okay to send a second e-mail.

Research your field, as well as individuals and organizations pertaining to it. This will prepare you to participate in conversations and become aware of trends and events.

Networking has become an extremely broad concept through our technological evolution, as we now have the tools to increase our networking capabilities. Companies, graduate schools and organizations, are fully aware of this and using online search tools to investigate candidates. Newman stressed the importance of maintaining a professional online presence. To prevent the possibility of a negative image, Google yourself regularly and interact in social networks with your professional image in mind.

Key words for networking:
– Be proud of who you are, your background, your skills and your traits. Use this to your advantage- it makes you unique!
– Your ideologies should remain the same anywhere you are visible
Build trust by being honest and upholding integrity with each person that you meet.
– In a competitive job market, it is vital to display what makes you different, in order to distinguish yourself from the rest.
– In order to network, you must be noticeable to the world – achieved through attending events and sustaining a public online presence.

Following these networking guidelines are a start to building long lasting relationships with individuals that can assist you in building your education and career. With every person you meet, you should treat the interaction as a potential opportunity. You should also incorporate philanthropy in networking by approaching it as a two way street- expect to receive as much as you give out.

Don’t worry if you missed this workshop, you have an opportunity to attend Ask The Expert this Wednesday 11/9 at 6pm.  This SPS Career Services program and networking event features a panel of Human Resources professionals answering all your questions about job search and careers.  There’s still time to sign up!

Nivia Martinez is a senior undergraduate student at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, majoring in Communications and Culture.  Upon graduating, she plans to continue her education by pursuing her Masters in international studies and sociocultural anthropology.  In her spare time she enjoys attending cultural events and attending sport events with her 11 year old son, Esteban. 

Whenever I’m in Chelsea, I feel compelled to casually walk by the Alexander McQueen store and glance in the window. There’s always something in the window that catches my eye. It’s usually a fantastic design, bold colors, and unusual silhouette, or an extreme use of ruffles, rosettes or ruching.

And I’ve gotta have it. Just gotta have it.

Something about the designer’s work attracts me. It draws me to it, and every time I walk by that store, I feel drawn inside. My wallet however, usually drags me back out as quickly.

I know why I’m drawn towards this designer. But for a lot of other things that attract my attention, I usually don’t know why. Sometimes it’s the colors, sometimes it’s the display. Sometimes it’s the product itself. It’s the branding that attracted me like a lonely moth towards a street lamp.

I just gotta have it.

Not too long ago, I woke up with a crazy thought that just popped into my head. I finally figured out the best asset I had to work with. It was staring right back at me from the mirror. Myself.

I don’t know why I’ve never thought about it before. I know myself inside and out. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. It’s other people that don’t. If I am my best asset, why don’t I brand myself that way?

I am a brand.


I am a brand.

With unemployment at uncomfortable levels, people occupying Wall Street, Oakland, San Francisco and everywhere else, people are unfortunately all starting to look the same. People are starting to blend together like running ink from a wet newspaper. We’re all old news, fading away and moving quickly towards the drain.

There is nothing to attract employers to you, unless you do it yourself. You have to make yourself a brand that the company just has to have. What sets you apart from your peers? Your competitors? What makes you an individual? What makes you the brand that you are? Why do they need you rather than someone else? No one else can build that value of yourself or that sense of urgency that you are a once in a lifetime opportunity. You don’t want to miss out on this exclusive limited time offer that is ME!

As I pondered this thought, I tried to think of a way to describe myself. What would make me seem different?

I started with: “They are standard, and I am deluxe.” Yeah, like that would work. I’d come with pickles and onions with a side of fries.

“They are vanilla, but I am rocky road.” I’ve never even had rocky road, so I’m not sure where that one came from.

I finally hit on it.

“These people are one dimensional, while I am prismatic.”

I am colorful, unusual, sparkly, and multi-faceted. Why didn’t I think of this before?

I am prismatic.

How will you brand yourself? What word or phrase best describes you?
Ebonye Gussine is a recent graduate in the Master of Science in Business Management & Leadership Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.  She loves writing, reading, and is an avid fan of John Steinbeck’s works. In her spare time she sings off-key and travels to new places.

With the somewhat-sudden loss of Steve Jobs, everyone is wondering about the future of Apple. The stagnation of Facebook also has people wondering what Mark Zuckerberg has up his sleeve next. Twitter has taken flight and is continuing to gain speed as it moves towards the horizon. Everyone in Silicon Valley is scrambling to be the next big thing.

Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.

Many people, in the United States and across the world want to have that single great idea that makes them millions. They want to find a niche in the technology world to fill. Once you think the market is saturated with tech companies, innovative ideas and more services you didn’t know you needed, something else comes up. It seems almost inevitable.

It’s one of the great things about innovators like Steve Jobs. They keep on re-inventing and they keep on moving forward.

But this post is not about Steve Jobs.

We are suffering from a lack of clear vision and focus. So many people get start-up money, rent some office space, add “fun extras” and wait for the money to roll in. Google did not gain it’s place in the marketplace by offering gourmet meals to it’s employees and adding treadmill-desks to the offices. They did it by working hard and thinking outside of the box.

I think too many of us fail to do the same. We expect that our great ideas will be enough to carry us through.

What we need are fresh injections of new ideas and new perspectives. I came across a blog entry that made the statement that we need to see more women in tech. I think that’s only a partial answer. I think we need more of everyone in tech. Many people of color and most socio-economic statures never venture into tech. Often it’s the lack of education. But there are many other factors at play. Many people think it’s too hard. Or too boring. Some people just don’t have the financial or emotional support to dedicate the hours needed in order to put good ideas into action.

It’s not to say that the people who make technology now aren’t doing it well or fast enough. But if we have more people with different cultural and educational perspectives, I’m sure that we’d see technology move even faster than ever.

Are you up for the challenge?

Ebonye Gussine is a recent graduate in the Master of Science in Business Management & Leadership Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.  She loves writing, reading, and is an avid fan of John Steinbeck’s works. In her spare time she sings off-key and travels to new places.

A friend and I decided to go to the Occupy Wall Street protest the first Sunday in October. We made the plans after the infamous pepper spraying incident but before the 700 arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge. We didn’t know what to expect.

The last time I participated in a group protest was in August 2004 against the RNC Convention in New York. It was a family affair – my then husband and our two eye-rolling kids who were in high school. (The family that protests together . . .) It was a very festive and diverse atmosphere, with babies being pushed in strollers and grandmas being pushed in wheelchairs. Multi-generations of families and people of all races and colors marched together.

As we marched up 7th Avenue, we were penned in by police barricades. It was hot in the sun and no one was allowed to climb under or over the barricades to buy water in any of the stores along the route. Only at certain cross streets were people allowed to enter or leave the procession. There was a major police presence with few incidents during the march. As we passed Madison Square Garden (the site of the convention) and the Fox News studio, we were met counter-protesters and the volume “words were exchanged”, but the police forced the marchers to keep moving. Funny, but the pro-Bush protesters were allowed to stake out their positions and not coerced to move.

Although the march appeared very orderly and it was far-removed from 1968 style demonstrations, it was later revealed that over 1,800 people were arrested that weekend and held in a pen on the West Side nicknamed “Guantanamo on the Hudson”. Although the NYC Police Department lost millions in civil suits overs the arrests, they were not required to release data used in leading up to those arrests. Surveillance and intelligence gathering methods were kept secret “in the interests of national security”. (

Well, the Occupy Wall Street protests sure need some invigorating. It looked more like a tourist attraction last weekend, with out-of-towners gawking at a patchwork of humanity temporarily living in Zuccotti Park. Where are the major media outlets? Where are the thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of actual participants? Where is the outrage? Are we so beaten down and defeated that we have no fight left?

There was certainly no absence of police presence. The number of police vans filled with cops just sitting there, squad cars, unmarked cars (so obvious), uniformed police, inspectors, detectives and undercover officers was astounding to the point of being laughable. Who was protecting the rest of the city? Police barricades were set up everywhere, making walking in the area difficult. No one was allowed to use a bullhorn. Taking pictures made the police very nervous. I overheard a few of them talking among each other (if he takes a picture of me . . .). Terrorism threats and national security are the buzzwords used to keep from upsetting the status quo.

Unions such as the United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United, and Transport Workers Union Local 100 and well known people (Michael Moore, Joseph Stiglitz) and organizations (MoveOn) are joining in support of the protests against the greed and corruption that are causing the collapse of our economy and destruction of the middle class.  This will help to legitimize and publicize the movement. Isn’t it time to speak out?

Mary Casey is a student in the MS in Business Leadership and Management program at CUNY School of Professional Studies and is an alumna of Lehman College. She is an administrator for a university in NYC. She loves to travel and wants to see as much of the world as possible. Mary almost has more comments on the SPS blog than she received on the community/political blog that she created and maintained from 2002 to 2004.

I was embarking on a long plane ride back to New York when I decided to rifle through the random literature available in the pocket in front of my seat whilst the stewardess engaged in the standard mime routine showing what might, but probably won’t, increase your luck in the event of some objectionable, airborne misfortune. As it were, however, luck was on my side just then. British Airways has a fun magazine called Business Life (eat it Delta!) that just so happened to have a story on one of the most weird-yet-innovative ideas I have seen in awhile: trading trash. So much was I intrigued that I decided I would have to dedicate one of this semester’s blog posts to the brilliant entrepreneur of other people’s rubbish: Brooke Farrell.

Farrell has a background in marketing and advertising and was a former waste management consultant in the US for years where she learned the ins and outs of the colossal amount of trash percolating its way into landfills and on unfortunate occasions, other parts of the earth not suitable to handle it. In an interview with Smart Planet, Farrell stated of her experience in the trash industry:

I got a huge exposure to different angles on trash. The real learning there was the scale, the scope of how much stuff is generated both by communities of residents and also by business and industry. There’s just so much more than any of us can imagine. I calculated, based on the latest EPA estimates, that there was enough waste to fill trucks and wrap garbage trucks around the equator 600 times. That’s just what’s generated in the U.S. in one year”.

According to Farrell, only 30% of trash today is sent for recycling, a number she says is unacceptable. This means that the other 70% (usually) goes to landfills – those horrible smelly places where VCRs and cassette players go to die. As distressing as all of this may sound, for Farrell, it presented an opportunity – one that no one had ever thought of before.

In 2009, Farrell quit her job and together with her business partner/brother-in-law Chad Farrell started a company called RecycleMatch. What RecycleMatch does is similar to what eBay does, only it does it with trash. It is essentially “the E-Harmony for trash”, as Chad Farrell has described it – a web 2.0 platform that helps companies to maximize the value of their waste materials and lower disposal costs by matching them with another company who can make use of the waste. To start off, the pair located companies with different kinds of trash that was destined for a landfill and it would pitch those companies to list the trash on their website instead. It wasn’t that difficult; who wouldn’t want to make a few bucks on something they were about to pay a landfill to throw out? After the trash was listed, they set out to find a buyer – someone who could use the waste material for something else. Little by little, a market emerged.

Most of what is listed on the site is material waste and RecycleMatch also offers sustainability software on their website that “enables corporations to maximize the economic and environmental impact of their Zero Waste initiatives”. Since its inception, RecycleMatch has attracted thousands of buyers and sellers to its website and the rubbish trade has gotten off to a good start. Some examples of trades on RecycleMatch include food waste that was bought and converted to an energy source and damaged, non-recyclable glass that was bought, crushed and used to make counter tops and other materials for building.

RecycleMatch has been listed in a myriad of magazines, including Entrepreneur and Forbes, for its innovative idea and the success that it has seen as a result. As the company continues to grow I can only imagine that it will continue to expand both in content and in location and soon, more like it will appear. The future of cleaner trash disposal has arrived, landfill moguls be warned!

Nina Michael is in her senior year in the BS in Business program at CUNY School of Professional Studies. Nina has been all over the world and loves traveling; she currently  lives between Italy and New York where she works as a professional English teacher and translator. She loves languages, food, coffee, wine and a good book; she is also a first-rate bartender.