After the 2009 election, four Asian Americans — Democrats as well as Republicans — held office, signaling a rising Asian-American political voice in New York City. On May 5, Binghamton University’s Asian and Asian American Alumni Council (AAAAC) will explore the growing political involvement of Asian Americans in a lively panel discussion, "To Be Seen and Heard: The Emergence of the Asian American Political Voice in New York" at the SUNY Global Center in Manhattan.
“It’ll be a discussion about political engagement from a population that is usually seen as passive, the model minority that doesn’t ask a lot of government or society,” says AAAAC founding chair Yang Chen '87. “It’s staggering to think that Asian Americans have been part of New York for a good 150 or more years, but it took us until the 21st century to make a significant impact on the political scene in New York.”
The panelists are Margaret Chin, the first Asian American elected to City Council in Manhattan’s District 1 (“The significance of that victory is that District 1 encompasses Manhattan’s Chinatown, which is one of the largest Chinatowns in the country,” Chen says); Grace Meng, the only Asian American in the New York State Assembly; Chung Seto, who ran John Liu’s successful city comptroller campaign and is now his advisor; Kevin Kim, candidate for New York City Council from Queens; and Associate Professor Lisa Yun, departments of English, General Literature and Rhetoric and of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University.
The moderator will be Rocky Chin, director of the New York State Division of Human Rights and co-founder of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. City Comptroller John Liu '88 will make remarks during a reception following the panel discussion.
Chen says the discussion helps Harpur College keep in touch with issues facing its alumni.
“Many Harpur students like myself are children of Asian immigrants who are living out the American dream of getting a good education,” he says. “Harpur and Binghamton have graduated many Asians and Asian Americans in the 60 years it has been around, and this program and the AAAAC provide an important way for that alumni base to stay connected with the school. It also allows alumni who are interested in Asian and Asian American culture, history and development to broaden their horizons and continue the path of learning that they embarked upon when they first entered Binghamton University.”
"To Be Seen and Heard: The Emergence of the Asian American Political Voice in New York" — 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, May 5, at the SUNY Global Center (formerly The Levin Institute), 116 E. 55 St. (between Lexington and Park avenues), Manhattan. Register now for this event.Back to top
Speaker urges business students to act ethically
By Steve Seepersaud
Sharing lessons learned from a mentor in the hopes that tomorrow’s business leaders will hold them close to their hearts and eventually put them into practice was the theme of the keynote speech by Charles R. Dreifus during the 24th annual Abraham J. Briloff Lecture Series on Accountability and Society, held March 31, in the Anderson Center’s Chamber Hall.
Dreifus, a portfolio manager and principal at Royce & Associates, manages special equity products for the New York-based firm that focuses on small-cap investing. He has 42 years of investment industry experience, and was named Morningstar’s Domestic-Stock Fund Manager of the Year in 2008.
The School of Management sponsors the annual lecture, named in honor of Briloff, the Emanuel Saxe Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Bernard Baruch College and Presidential Professor of Accounting and Ethics at Binghamton University. Over his distinguished career, Briloff has been recognized as the ethical conscience for business and the accounting profession, mentoring Dreifus and others who have followed in his footsteps.
Dreifus studied accounting as an undergraduate student at Baruch in the mid-1960s, then entered a doctoral program after deciding he didn’t want to be an accountant. That’s when he met Briloff, who has served as his mentor ever since. During his visit to Binghamton, Dreifus presented the investment manager’s perspective on accountability and ethics, saying Briloff’s teachings have influenced his work and how he deals with clients.
“There is an inherent conflict where it’s in my benefit and the firm’s benefit to take on all kinds of money,” Dreifus said. “But, at some point, that works to the detriment of the client, because you can’t invest it all effectively. Our firm and other firms have closed funds as a result. Too often on Wall Street the client’s true interest doesn’t come first. Greed prevails.”
Dreifus said investment managers should take a lesson from Briloff when it comes to transparency. In other words, they are quick to point to their best years, while an ethical investment manager would “show his warts and awards.” Dreifus echoed his mentor’s belief that certified public accountants, and the firms for which they work, should perform at the highest ethical standards.
“They should look at the way facts are presented and say ‘is this what’s happening?’” Dreifus said. “If something has a basis in accounting guidelines, but doesn’t reflect the economic reality, you as an accountant should step back and say ‘this is not good.’”
Briloff, in his commentary, expressed the same sentiment, but in a much more colorful way.
“Financial statements are like bikinis. What’s revealed is interesting, but what’s concealed is vital,” Briloff said.
On a more serious note, Briloff addressed global crises, such as the upheavals in Egypt and Libya, saying the root causes are similar to those of conflicts that have taken place on our home soil.
“What does the citizenry want?” Briloff said. “Food, housing, medical care and education. And, above all, they want jobs and dignity. Dred Scott was someone looking for dignity and the Supreme Court denied it. That’s what caused the Civil War.”
About 275 School of Management students, faculty, alumni and community members attended this year’s lecture.
Students recognized as Goldwater Scholars
By Eric Coker
Two Binghamton University students have been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which honors exceptional undergraduate researchers who intend to enter math, science or engineering fields.
Watson School computer science junior Jared Schmitz was one of 275 students to win the $7,500 annual award. Nearly 1,100 students from U.S. universities and colleges applied for the scholarship. Binghamton University was the only SUNY school with multiple recipients; Stony Brook, Geneseo and Buffalo each had one winner. Other New York schools with two winners included Cornell University, Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Hunter College.
“I had no idea how [the scholarship] was so prestigious until I looked to see how many people it had been awarded to,” said Schmitz. “When I saw that  won, I thought, ‘Oh, this is a big deal.’”
The Goldwater Scholarship is even more prestigious for Schmitz, who is one of only five computer science majors in the nation to receive the award this year. The 20-year-old from Huntington Station, N.Y., is advised by associate professors Nael Abu-Ghazaleh and Dmitry Ponomarev. Schmitz has researched computer security in Ponomarev’s lab for more than a year and credits the hands-on atmosphere with much of his success.
“If you do research at bigger schools, your adviser will say, ‘Come up with a research topic,’ look at your abstract and not really help you,” Schmitz said. “My professor here is overly available. It’s great. If we ever have a problem, [Ponomarev] is in the building and always where we can talk with him. We’ll sit down in a conference room, fill up a white board and figure it out.”
A research paper authored by Schmitz on computer security was accepted – and will be published – by the Design Automation Conference. He will present on the topic at the organization’s annual conference in San Diego in June.
Ponomarev praised Schmitz’s creativity, maturity and ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
“I am extremely impressed with Jared’s ability to quickly capture the new concepts, analyze them, read supplemental literature and make contributions toward the project goals,” Ponomarev said. “Instead of being discouraged by the challenges, Jared views them as additional opportunities.”
“It’s a great scholarship that is very competitive,” said sophomore William Marsiglia, a biochemistry and music double major, who also received the award. “This is good for Binghamton in terms of showing what kinds of students we have.”
Marsiglia, a 19-year-old from Holtsville, N.Y., works with Associate Professor of Chemistry Christof Grewer on the study of transport proteins. A trombonist for the University Orchestra, Marsiglia also plans to start a science journal for Binghamton University undergraduate researchers.
“Even if students’ papers aren’t published by a major journal, the research is still worth showing to others and saying, ‘This is what the students do here,’” he said.
Marsiglia is no stranger to major awards, having won first place at the New York State Science and Engineering Fair as a high school student for a project that examined wound healing and regeneration rates in worms. The project later earned him a third-place award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, Nev.
Like Schmitz, Marsiglia said the University’s faculty members have been instrumental in his success.
“The teachers are supportive, knowledgeable and easy to ask questions of,” Marsiglia said. “Different professors cover different areas of chemistry and it’s nice to see we have specialists who can give you a global perspective by taking their classes. There is such a variety of fields and professors in those fields.”
Matthew Antalek, a junior math and biochemistry double major, was a runner-up in the Goldwater program.
School to host health conference for rural and underserved populations
From staff reports
The Decker School of Nursing will host “The Canopy of Health Care for Rural and Underserved Populations: Strengthening the Root System”, Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 5-7.
This multidisciplinary conference, sponsored by the Rural Nurse Organization and the Decker School of Nursing, will highlight research projects, practice and conceptual or theoretical papers that focus on rural nursing or health as well as the healthcare of rural and underserved populations. The conference will also include a graduate student research session.
For more information, contact Pamela Stewart Fahs, Decker Chair in Rural Nursing, by e-mail or at 607-777-6805.
Social Work Launches New Certificate Program in Gerontology
By Cassandra Bransford
Last fall, the Department of Social Work launched a new certificate program in geriatrics and gerontology. The program, designed by social work faculty and staff with expertise in aging studies, will enable students enrolled in the MSW program to obtain advanced competencies and specialized skills across all curricula areas of the concentration year component of the MSW program. These areas include practice (e.g., individual, family, group, community and organization), policy and research. Students will develop service-learning and other projects in collaboration with both their concentration-year course instructors and certificate advisors, and also with community-based partners.
In its inaugural year, the certificate program will be available to full- and part-time MSW students who meet certificate program admission requirements. Future plans include extending the program to also provide postgraduate training in practice, applied clinical research, policy and administration to practitioners, researchers, policy makers and administrators.
Initial grant funding for this program came from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) through its Specialized Gerontology Program (Spec Gero). CCPA is one of only 16 programs nationwide to receive this funding. CSWE has been focusing considerable efforts on developing a workforce capable of providing aging baby boomers and other older adults with competency-based social work services across the entire spectrum of physical and mental healthcare. The Spec Gero Program was created to facilitate the development of specialized aging curricular structures within social work departments and schools across the United States.
For additional information about the new program, contact Cassandra Bransford, chair of the certificate committee.
Early Childhood Education Gains Ground
From staff reports
In recent decades, two significant developments have profoundly altered the educational landscape. First, an explosion of research in child development suggests that what happens during the early years matters a great deal. We now know that learning begins in the womb and the achievement gap begins before birth. Concerns over the persistence of gaps in achievement among certain populations of children contribute to the broader issue of lagging student achievement in the United States. Second, there have been dramatic transformations in the social and economic circumstances under which young children are living. Current economic conditions exacerbate inferior living and schooling conditions among our nation’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens. As a result, striking disparities in what children know and can do are evident well before they enter kindergarten.
For many years, preschool education and elementary education — each with its own funding sources, infrastructure, values and traditions — have remained largely separate. In recent years, early childhood’s educational purpose and potential increasingly have been recognized, and the boundary line between preschool and elementary school has begun to blur. These two educational arenas now have several compelling reasons to strive for greater continuity and collaboration: expanded learning standards and accountability policies that include preschoolers; a shortage of affordable, high-quality programs and qualified professionals to serve children less than 5 years old; and the need for preschool and elementary teachers to exchange best practices to better support all children’s learning. In response to this new knowledge and these changing circumstances, Binghamton University’s Graduate School of Education has expanded its coursework and field experiences during the academic year and Summer Session to include early childhood education.
In addition to existing partnerships with our local school districts, the Graduate School of Education has developed new partnerships with the Family Enrichment Network, Handicapped Childrens' Association, Campus Preschool and BOCES Circle of Friends Childcare Center. Recently approved by the New York State Department of Education, the coursework and field experiences provide graduate students with new and exciting opportunities to obtain additional teaching certifications and expand their employment opportunities. There are three different options available to individuals interested in early childhood education. The first two options prepare pre-service students (individuals without current teaching certification) in early childhood and childhood education with pathways to the special education or literacy certifications available. The third option prepares in-service students (individuals with current teaching certification in birth through grade 2, or birth through grade 6) in early childhood special education.
Liz Anderson, assistant professor of inclusive and special education, takes advantage of her experience as an early childhood special education teacher and early intervention agency administrator to coordinate the early childhood component of these Graduate School of Education programs.