Veolia Funds New STEM Program for High School Students

Bill Madden, left , of Veolia presents a check on campus to Regina Alvarez, Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, and Joseph Valenti.

Thanks to Veolia, Dominican University New York is partnering with Spring Valley High School on a new STEM program.  The company donated $10,000 to fund the program in which students will research the water quality at the Spring Valley Memorial Park pond and other sites. 

Regina Alvarez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, said the students will work at Dominican University, Spring Valley High School, and out in the field.  “They are going to learn how to do environmental testing and sampling of water and it’s going to involve several different things.  We have chemistry kits.  We are going to do DNA sequencing.  We are going to do microscope work.,” she said. 
“We are going to do very frequent samples to get a good picture of the health of the water body.”

The Veolia donation will be used to purchase equipment including bacterial analysis kits, microscopes, slides, filters, and DNA sequencing.  Chris Graziano, Vice President/General Manager of Veolia Water Operations in New York said, “We are committed to contributing to our local communities with the same dedication with which we service and protect their environment and economy.”

The program will expose students to STEM fields, let students do authentic research, and examine the state of a much-used pond as a service to the community. 
 

Live Theater Returns to Dominican College

The Aquin Players performed Once on this Island on March 4 and 5 on the stage of the St. Dominic School.


Live theater returned to Dominican College on March 4 and 5, 2022, with Once on This Island. Members of the Aquin Players theatre club, theatre students, and alumni performed in the Spring Musical on the stage of the St. Dominic School.     

Director James Filippelli, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Fine and Performing Arts, said the return of live theatre to the campus indicated the return of normalcy,” The Aquin players of Dominican College originally staged this musical for a March 2020 opening.   However, one week before opening, COVID placed it on hold for two years.” Six of the original cast members were able to return for the performance two years later. 

Once On This Island is a coming-of-age musical with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. It is based on the 1985 novel My Love, My Love or The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy.  The musical is about a peasant girl, Ti Moune, who uses the power of love to bring people of different social classes together.  It is set on a tropical island in the French Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea.

Healthcare Symposium Focuses on Telemedicine

Joan Facelle, M.D., Former Rockland County Commissioner of Health and Vice Chair of the Dominican College Board of Trustees, moderated the 8th Annual Healthcare Symposium.

Dominican College’s 8th Annual Healthcare Symposium focused on Issues in the New Age of Telemedicine.  The Zoom symposium on February 23, 2022, highlighted concerns about telehealth delivery, data security, privacy issues, and insurance coverage. 

 In her opening remarks, Panel Moderator Joan Facelle, M.D., Former Rockland County Commissioner of Health, said the topic of telemedicine was timely because of the tremendous growth in remote medical visits during the pandemic. “Telemedicine and telehealth visits have grown rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Lockdowns, and health risks due to COVID-19 made these visits very attractive with obvious benefits,” she said.   

Patients were encouraged to check whether remote medical visits were covered by their insurance company and to get the response in writing.  The panelists who participated in the symposium included Abigail Richman, Family Nurse Practitioner, Firefly Health; Ernie Garcia, Director of Informatics & EMR, Cornerstone Family Healthcare; and Adria Goldman Gross, CEO & Founder, Medwise Insurance Advocacy, Division of Medwise Billing, Inc. 

Outlook on the Economy Delivers Mixed News

Jason Bram delivered the annual Outlook on the Economy on
January 20, 2022 via Zoom.

During Dominican College’s annual Outlook on the Economy forum, community members heard how the pandemic’s effect on the economy was much different than the typical recession.  

Jason Bram, a Research Officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, spoke via Zoom during the January 20, 2022 forum.  “When things plunged in March and April 2020, I think a lot of economists thought that it would look like a recession, that is that you would have this drop off, and then have this very, very gradual recovery like you had in 2009-2010 up until now,” he said. “But what in fact you saw, was a very, very quick snap back. “

Bram said employment has continued to rebound briskly across the metro region, housing markets have been exceptionally strong, and office markets have been exceptionally weak.  In addition, he said businesses reported widespread price escalation amidst supply disruptions and labor shortages, but remain optimistic about the outlook.

Bram’s research focuses on the U.S. economy, with a primary emphasis on the Federal Reserve’s Second District, which includes New York State, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

College Holds Free Community Environmental Workshops Funded by O&R

Dominican College is holding free workshops to educate local residents about the environment and to teach them how to become good stewards of our communities.  The workshops are free and are funded through a grant from Orange & Rockland Utilities.

Regina Alvarez, Ph.D.,  Dominican College Assistant Professor of Biology and Instructor at the New York Botanical Garden, said that although many people are concerned about the environment, they often don’t realize how important nature is in cities and suburbs.  Nature, she stresses, is all around us, even in the most urban environments.

“We believe this workshop series will foster community wellness and a sense of connection to the natural environment in Rockland County,” said Alvarez.  “Learning about the world around us and how to care for it locally empowers the community to protect and advocate for the environment within which we all live. “

The workshops will take place at the Prusmack Center, 3 Campus Drive, Blauvelt, NY, on the Dominican College campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.  For more information, or to register for one or more workshops, please email DCWORKSHOPS@duny.edu

The four workshops scheduled are:

  • Introduction to the Biodiversity of Rockland County – Saturday, July 24, 2021  Alvarez will teach participants to recognize the biodiversity around them and to explore the connection between biodiversity and their well-being. 
  • Community Science: The People’s 21st Century Flora – Saturday, August 21, 2021  Daniel Atha, Director of Conservation Outreach, New York Botanical Garden, will discuss EcoFloras of North America.  This innovative model connects people to plant collections, nature, and urban biodiversity, combining existing knowledge from herbaria and libraries with real-time observations of plants and their ecological partners. 
  • The Natural History of Insects – Saturday, September 18, 2021  Ken Chaya, President of the Linnaean Society of New York and Instructor at the New York Botanical Garden, will delve into the world of the creatures that make up 84 percent of the animal kingdom. Participants will learn about the roles insects play in maintaining healthy ecosystems, as well as their fascinating life cycles and complex social systems.
  • The Unseen Universe: Microbial Diversity Under Our Feet – Saturday, October 16, 2021  Bernadette Connors, Ph.D., Dominican College Associate Professor of Biology, will guide participants in exploring the microbes from soil and water using next generation computational technologies.  Participants will also learn about the connection of microbes to environmental and public health.

The workshops are open to interested community members, local teachers, college students, and high school students.

NY Fed Researcher Discusses Economic Recovery After COVID

Photo of smiling Jason Bram, wearing suit and tie and eye glasses.

Jason Bram shared his thoughts on the post-pandemic economic recovery with community members on May 18, 2021, via Zoom.

The message of the annual Outlook on the Economy presentation on May 18, 2021, was that the regional economy has shown signs of improvement now that COVID cases are down and vaccinations are on the rise.

Jason Bram, a research officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was the guest speaker during the Zoom forum.   “This downturn that has been declared a recession is much more like a natural disaster,” he said.  Bram explained that in a recession the recovery is very gradual.  However, he hopes the economy will turn around quickly following COVID, as it usually does following an earthquake or hurricane.

Bram noted that consumer spending is up, the service sector is improving, and home prices have increased, except in Manhattan.  Inflation, however, is an area of concern.

Bram’s research focuses on the U.S. economy, with a primary emphasis on the Federal Reserve’s Second District, which includes New York State, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Healthcare Symposium Tackles Obesity

Joan Facelle, MD, moderated the 7th Annual Healthcare Symposium, “Obesityand Weight Gain During the Pandemic,” on February 23, 2021.

During the 7th Annual Healthcare Symposium, “Obesity and Weight Gain During the Pandemic,” a panel of experts discussed the “quarantine 15” and how obese patients fared with COVID-19.

Lisa Hirsch, MD, an Internist with Bon Secours Medical Group, stressed that obesity increases the risk of poor outcomes with COVID-19. “It not only increases the risk of severe illness, but increases the need for critical care services.  It triples the risk of hospitalizations, increases the risk of death, and although it is too early with the vaccine to know, other vaccines have had decreased efficacy with overweight people,”  she said.

Hirsh said that factors leading to pandemic weight gain included stress, boredom, gyms closing down, more accessibility to the kitchen, and an increase in baking. Her advice to lose the weight involved three steps:  motivation, plan, and compliance.

Other panelists included Jill L. Brodsky, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist, CareMount Medical Urgent Care; Michelle S. Kleinman, Public Health Nutritionist, Rockland County Department of Health; and Robert Ranieri, Senior Vice President, Rose & Kiernan, Inc.

The symposium took place via Zoom on February 23, 2021, and was moderated by Joan Facelle, MD, Former Rockland County Commissioner of Health and Vice Chair of the Dominican College Board of Trustees.

Outlook on the Regional Economy Remains Positive

Jason Bram, Research Officer, Regional Analysis Function, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, spoke during the Outlook on the Regional Economy in the Fury Lecture Hall on January 23, 2020.

Overall, the regional economy is in good shape with unemployment rates at or near record lows.  That was the message from Jason Bram,  a Research Officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, during the 9th annual Outlook on the Regional Economy presentation on January 23, 2020  in the Prusmack Center.

There are some signs that the robust economy is slowing, however.  Bram pointed out that housing markets have softened,  job growth has slowed, and recent business surveys are less positive.  “The economy has slowed, but it hasn’t slowed dramatically,” said Bram.  “It’s hard to be negative when unemployment is so low and still declining.”

Bram research focuses on the U.S. economy, with a primary emphasis on the Federal Reserve’s Second District, which includes New York State, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He produces the regional Beige Book reports, and uses monthly business surveys to monitor and analyze current and emerging economic trends and issues of concern.

 

Dominican College Hosts MLK Day of Service

Students, staff, and community members volunteered on Saturday, January 18, 2020 as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  The event was sponsored by Volunteer New York! and took place in the Granito Center.

“MLK Day is a day millions across our country choose to come together as volunteers, inspired by a message of hope and equality, and enact positive change by addressing local needs,” says Volunteer New York! Executive Director, Alisa H. Keston. “We’re especially thankful to Dominican College for their partnership in bringing our 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to Rockland in such a special way.”

Volunteers worked on a number of projects for children, seniors, and deployed service members.  In addition, some volunteers were trained in Hands-Only CPR.

Dominican College Hosts MLK Day of Service

Students, staff, and community members volunteered on Saturday, January 18, 2020 as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  The event was sponsored by Volunteer New York! and took place in the Granito Center.

“MLK Day is a day millions across our country choose to come together as volunteers, inspired by a message of hope and equality, and enact positive change by addressing local needs,” says Volunteer New York! Executive Director, Alisa H. Keston. “We’re especially thankful to Dominican College for their partnership in bringing our 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to Rockland in such a special way.”

Volunteers worked on a number of projects for children, seniors, and deployed service members.  In addition, some volunteers were trained in Hands-Only CPR.