Fordham Notes: August 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Google Exec to Welcome CBA Freshman to Fordham

The College of Business Administration Class of 2014 will get a taste of success on Monday, Aug. 30, when Bill Sickles (CBA ’84), Business Head for Google's Emerging Sector, addresses them as part of New Student Orientation.

Sickles, who earned an MBA from Northwestern University after graduating from Fordham with a degree in marketing and management, will speak at 9:30 a.m. in the McGinley Center Ballroom.

In his current position, he is responsible for developing Google's global relationships with a select group of consumer product's companies. Previously, he spent three years as head of healthcare at Google, focused on providing solutions for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, and a year in sales management with Google Audio.

After Sickles’ talk, Frank Werner, Ph.D., associate professor of finance and economics will review the students’ summer reading assignment, The Google Story (Delacorte Press, 2005). The students then will break into groups to discuss potential business proposals.

—Patrick Verel

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fordham Business Education Noted in Influential Collegiate Rankings

The College of Business Administration’s Finance and Accounting areas have been ranked 21 and 27 nationally in the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” issue.

The online component of the magazine, which went live on Aug. 17, also ranks Fordham University at No. 56 among the 262 most prestigious national—or “top-tier”—universities.

“That the strength of Fordham's undergraduate business program is being recognized comes as no surprise to me,” said Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of CBA and business faculty. “Our dedicated and hardworking students, faculty and alumni form an extended entrepreneurial community, and have New York City—the money capital of the world—for their laboratory. Wherever our graduates go, they are equipped to be leaders in their fields.”

The marketing area was also ranked fourth in a list of undergraduate specialties released by Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine in May. In addition, the college was ranked eighth in ethics; ninth in business law; 19th in finance; and 23rd in accounting.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek surveyed more than 85,000 students at more than 100 top business schools and asked them to rate their programs’ performance in a dozen academic disciplines ranging from accounting and ethics to marketing and sustainability. The list ranked specialty areas from the 50 top undergraduate business programs.

The U.S. News rankings come two weeks after Fordham boosted its academic and quality-of-life ratings in the 2011 version of The Princeton Review’s influential college guide: The Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition.

Fordham also earned the distinction of being one of eight schools in the top tier that has no more than 1 percent of its classes larger than 50 students. In fact, 50 percent of the University’s classes had 20 students or fewer.

The magazine defines top-tier national universities as those that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees, often with an emphasis on research. The top category is based on guidelines from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and includes 164 public and 98 private institutions.

U.S. News uses a proprietary methodology that ranks more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools based on a set of 16 indicators of academic quality. Among the key measures of quality the magazine factors are peer assessments, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and student selectivity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hinze becomes president of CTS

Bradford E. Hinze, PhD, professor of theology, was elected to the presidency of the College Theology Society at its annual convention in June.

“First of all, the CTS is hospitable and promotes collegiality,” said Hinze. “It has been fostering great intergenerational collegiality among theology and religious studies faculty members who teach in colleges and university. They have a friendly, perhaps laid back style. They meet annually in the spring at Catholic Universities and colleges, stay in the dorms, eat meals together in the cafeteria, and socialize in the evenings. Everyone comments on the hospitality of this group and the friendships they have formed there.

“Second, this group sponsors the journal Horizon, which publishes essays and book reviews in theology and religious studies. In addition, they publish a volume of essays annually based on the theme of the yearly conventions. These two publications provide important venues for established scholars to published materials, but also it is very important that they provide new scholars, both newly minted Ph.Ds, and also those who are finishing up their degree programs, with respected places to get their work in print. These two publications give scholars traditional blind reviews of their submissions. The CTS may be friendly, but it promotes the highest level of scholarship, without being snooty.

“Third, besides promoting the highest level of scholarly achievement through publications, the CTS also emphasizes the importance of solid and innovative pedagogies in the classroom. The CTS sees both scholarship and pedagogy as vitally important, but also as mutually related. They yearly devote sessions to pedagogy.”

Hinze’s statement to the Society on the occasion of his nomination is available on the website.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

FordhamScience: Engineering Physics at Fordham

One of the most important components to an engineering education is hands-on laboratory experience. Freeman Hall is home to the new Engineering Physics Laboratory, which plays an important role supporting the Engineering Physics Program.

As part of the Engineering Physics curriculum, students take courses in Engineering Statics, Mechanics of Materials, Fluid Mechanics, Introduction to Electrical Engineering and now a formal course in Engineering Experimentation. The introduction of this new course to the curriculum is a result of the Engineering Physics Laboratory which was made possible through a generous gift from John and Jeanette Walton.

The creation of the new laboratory included the renovation of an older laboratory space which required new floors, fresh paint, new and improved lighting, all new laboratory benches and furniture, new computers and air conditioning.

In addition to the renovation, the gift included funding for new laboratory experiments. These experiments were selected to match the courses taught as part of the curriculum. Experiments include strength of material testing, material hardness testing, beam and column buckling, complete fluid dynamics experiments including fluid flow analysis in pipes, pressure and velocity measurements and analysis of fluid flow through various valve configurations.

Additional experiments in Mechatronics and automation technology include computer controlled robotic platforms and conveyor belt assembly units. Students can program each conveyor unit separately in small groups so that the groups can connect all of the units to create a long conveyor system which can assembly parts, test the assembled unit and finally lift and remove the unit from the conveyor system. Experiments also include a broad spectrum of experiments in Electrical Engineering including operational amplifiers, power semiconductors, transistor and amplifier circuits, DC and AC technology, and digital technology.

Sanzari speaking about Engineering Physics to the Fordham College at Rose Hill Board of Visitors.

The curriculum in engineering physics offers unusual opportunities to the student to combine a broad set of options in the engineering disciplines with a strong background in physics and mathematics. Building on a physics and engineering science base, students may choose from among technical elective options in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer and information science, and electrical engineering. This combination of experience in engineering design and practice with a broad knowledge of the underlying fundamental physical and mathematical concepts provides the student with an excellent base for careers in engineering as well as for graduate work in engineering.

Fordham students graduating with a degree in Engineering Physics are currently pursuing or have completed graduate degrees in engineering from the following institutions: Columbia University, University of Southern California, Manhattan College, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of California San Diego, University of Central Florida, and Georgia Institute of Technology. Graduates have also entered the professional workforce as engineers with the following companies: Lockheed Martin, Con Edison, Thor Laboratories, City of Yonkers Engineer, Inductotherm, Mottola Rini Engineering, John P. Picone, Inc, and Valador.

A new minor in Engineering Physics has been created. The minor will provide students in the pre-architectural program with courses in civil and mechanical engineering that are vital to their field. The minor will also be attractive to any student that wants to gain a more sophisticated background in engineering and technology. I am currently working to finalize a cooperative agreement with Manhattan College which would lead to guaranteed acceptance for Fordham student’s graduating with a degree in Engineering Physics to the Master’s degree programs in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Manhattan College.

The Engineering Physics Program is also building a new Alternative Energy Laboratory which is currently under renovation and will be completed this Fall. The renovation and creation of this laboratory is made possible through a generous gift from the estate of William A. Robba. Solar panels and a wind turbine will be mounted on the roof of Freeman Hall. Electrical cables from these devices will run into the Alternative Energy Laboratory. Students will be able to perform experiments in energy conversion, DC and AC electrical circuits, energy storage, photovoltaic cells and wind energy conversion. The power generated by the solar panels and wind turbines will supply energy to help power the lab.

—Martin A. Sanzari, Ph.D

Martin A. Sanzari, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of physics and director of the Engineering Physics Program. Before joining the faculty in 1996 he was a program manager at Kearfott Guidance & Navigation Corp. The holder of four U.S. patents, Sanzari’s research focuses are on Medical Engineering Physics and Applied Optics. He is also a visiting research scientist at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fordham Family Members Honored in Wall Street 50

Irish Central’s Thirteenth Annual Wall Street 50 is a celebration of the best and the brightest Irish Americans and Irish-born who demonstrate standout success in the financial industry. This year’s list includes Joseph W. Jordan, CBA '74, and Michael Farrell, father of Sean Farrell, FCRH '05. Jordan is a former football player and Hall of Famer at Fordham. Michael and wife Nancy Farrell are generous donors to Fordham Football.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Consultant: Stupidity Threatens Cyber Security

A cyber-security consultant speaking on Aug. 5 at Fordham pointed out how easy it is to gain access to sensitive business and government information.

John Verry, principal enterprise consultant of Pivot Point Security, and his “Tiger Team” attempted to access data possessed by the government and several Fortune 500 companies. Their methods included entering physical structures as well as using the Internet.

This research allowed Verry to suggest precautions to reduce information security risks. He found it possible to enter secure facilities without authorization in the following ways:

“Smokers are the friendliest people,” Verry said. By smoking (or pretending to smoke) outside the door of a building and striking up a conversation with other smokers, it is easy to gain access. “[The smokers] will hold the door open for you.”

Another easy way to enter secured buildings is through loading docks.

Government officials want their water, so just carry a large amount of Deer Park water bottles, he said. Or better yet, hang around the loading dock while the actual Deer Park delivery person delivers the water.

Verry pointed out that the person delivering the water probably just wants to get his or her job done. As such, he or she will not be paying attention to anyone lurking in the loading dock.

Getting data online is also quite simple.

First, gather information on someone from using a site such as, he said. Then, call the person and pretend to be from the payroll department at his or her workplace. Next, accuse the person of logging onto the payroll department’s online information site without proper authorization.

When the person says he or she did not, ask them to verify their e-mail address (which can easily be found online).

“After the individual confirms, say, ‘And your password is 123, right?’ The individual will say, ‘No, it’s XYZ,’” Verry explained.

He told the audience that many security lapses are due to people not realizing the gravity of the situation in which they find themselves.

“People act stupidly,” he said. “They give out passwords when accused or reset passwords without verifying who is trying to gain access. They let smokers and delivery people in without checking identification.”

Eliminating stupid mistakes would reduce cyber information risks. But as Verry pointed out, “You can’t fix stupid. You can only try to make people more aware.”

Verry spoke as part of the second International Conference on Cyber Security, which was co-sponsored by Fordham and the FBI.

—Jenny Hirsch

Monday, August 9, 2010

Parasites In Your PC

According to Eric Davis, all complex systems have parasites, and a computer system is no different.

Davis, the director of anti-malvertising at Google, is responsible for finding ways to manage the malware parasites that can be buried in on-line advertisers’ SWF (shockwave flash) files. Most of the time, even the advertisers selling bundles of ads don’t know when a malicious ad is there, and they sell it to some of the most recognized and respected (and unsuspecting) companies.

Davis spoke on the last day of Fordham University’s second International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) held Aug. 2 through 5 at the Lincoln Center campus and co-sponsored by the FBI. He said that malvertisements can mimic real brand names—WeightWatchers or Suzuki, for example—or appear as other ads (i.e., “Live and Work in Canada.”) Once a user clicks on the malicious advertisement, it either installs malware or jumps to a site that installs it. Then, it can can corrupt information or crash a user’s machine, trick a user into accepting an unwanted software download, steal a user’s credit card information, or cue for a future attack on the system. The number of such ad hits is estimated at more than a million a day.

Most of the time, site owners have no idea they’ve been infected, he said.

In a “perfect world,” said Davis, computers would have been designed from the outset with tighter main frames. In lieu of that, there are lots of anti-malvertising sites to visit, and Google has a site where you can check URLs against the company’s blacklist of suspected phishing and malware sites.

—Janet Sassi

Thursday, August 5, 2010

FordhamScience: Mice Don’t Read Eye Charts

How do you know if a mouse is blind?

It’s hard to tell just by observing the mouse; unlike humans, mice rely less on vision and more on sense of smell and on their whiskers. (For those of you who know your nursery rhymes, this explains why Three Blind Mice ran after a farmer’s wife who was holding a kitchen knife.)

Yet a mouse’s eye photoreceptor rods and cones work very much like a human’s eye rods and cones.

Which is why Silvia Finnemann, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, measures and compares photoreceptor activity in live mice.

Finnemann’s work focuses on the causes of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or loss of sight that accompanies the aging process. Of the 161 million people in the world who are visually impaired, 58 percent of them are over the age of 60.

Finnemann joined with research associate Ying Dun, Ph.D., and student-mentee Ramy Elattal (FCRH’ 10) on an experiment in her Larkin Hall laboratory to document the quality of vision in mutant lab mice that have reduced cellular anti-oxidant defenses, against normal “wild-type” mice. Anti-oxidants are molecules (found in green, leafy vegetables, pomegranates, etc.) that help prevent or reverse damage to living tissues caused by another type of molecule called a free radical. Free radicals (often formed when certain molecules interact with oxygen), have unpaired electrons, causing them to be very reactive with other molecules. When free radicals come in contact with DNA and cell membranes, the reactions damage them, a process called oxidative stress.

To test the eyes of live mice, the team uses an electroretingram (ERG) machine, which measures animal’s vision as well as human vision by means of simple electrical impulses detected on the surface of the eye by a contact lens—it’s a very similar procedure to an Electrocardiogram machine, which measures the heart.

An ERG can measure the light sensitivity of eye rods and cones and can also detect abnormal function in the retina. A healthy eye will respond to a flash of light much more vigorously than an unhealthy eye, so the team measured the different responses to light flashes in the two mouse groups, administering three separate recording sessions each with five consecutive responses at five different light intensities.

Those mutant mice that lacked proper anti-oxidant defense had a reduced reaction to the flashes of light, compared to the “wild-type” mice, whose response time was stronger and with larger amplitudes.

But the team wanted to see what the differences in the retinal photoreceptors of both teams of mice looked like as well. They used laser scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy, a process that takes pictures of a section of the retinal tissue.

You can see the mice’s retinas in the laser photographs (left): an image of a cross-section of a mouse retina. The green color shows cone photoreceptor cells, and the red color is a DNA counter stain that shows where the different cell types in the retina are positioned.

Now look at the following two photos. They offer a close-up comparison between a the healthy, normal mouse retina and a damaged retina in a mouse lacking antioxidant defense; the green squiggly lines in the wild-type photograph represent the presence of healthy cones.

Since there was no matrix of cones in the mutant mice, the scientists suggest that cones may be missing or defective and therefore impeding the vision.

So how does this relate to human blindness?

“Our cells and tissues have the same anti-oxidant defense systems as mouse cells,” said Finnemann, who studies cellular functions in the retina and their role in causing AMD. “But as this defense diminishes with age, our rods and cones malfunction.”

Finnemann said that identifying which components of the retinal cells are particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage is an important first step toward devising effective strategies how to prevent age-related blindness. Her other research includes a study (funded by the California Table Grape Commission) feeding mutant and wild-type mice a "healthy diet" enriched in grapes (good sources of anti-oxidants) and observing how this improves vision.

—Janet Sassi

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Saving The Planet One Trip at a Time

Jason Aloisio, a Fordham graduate student in biology, has parked his bike for the time being, but not before pedaling 400 miles to help save the planet.

Aloisio and Anthony Grizzi, a pharmacology graduate student at Thomas Jefferson University, left Fordham’s Rose Hill campus on Friday, July 30 to bike all the way to the 2010 Ecological Society of America annual conference in Pittsburgh, PA., which runs through Aug 6. They arrived three days later, on Monday evening, Aug. 2.

The theme of this year’s conference is global climate change, so Aloisio and Grizzi could think of no better way to make the point: they estimate that their decision to bike rather than drive saved approximately 420 lbs. in carbon dioxide emissions.

“We share two major passions; exploring the world . . . and seeking to better understand it,” said Aloisio. “We not only fuse these passions by viewing the countryside through a new perspective and gaining new insights at the ESA conference, but also bringing awareness to a global issue.”

The pair traveled through three states and climbed over 15,000 vertical feet. Along the way, they overcame five flat tires and “met lots of nice people, including a personal performance from some musicians in Gettysburg.”

Aloisio, who is in his second year of graduate school, is doing his research on rooftop ecology, studying green roofs as a way to integrate both function and biodiversity. Unfortunately, the need to complete his summer research means he can't take three days to bike home. But, he is still doing his part by carpooling back with three other Fordham students.


Fordham Earns High Marks in Princeton Review

Fordham University boosted its academic and quality-of-life ratings in the latest version of the Princeton Review’s influential guide to the best colleges, released on Tuesday.

The college guide, The Best 373 Colleges: 2011 Edition, rates colleges and universities on campus life, academics, selectivity, financial aid and other areas.

Compared to last year, the University’s overall academic rating jumped five points, from 79 to 84, and its quality of life score jumped from 75 to 79. Fordham was rated 75 for having interesting professors and 79 for having accessible professors, compared to ratings last year of 71 and 73, respectively.

“We commend Fordham University for its outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our selection of schools for the book,” said Robert Franek, the Princeton Review's senior vice president for publishing and author of the college guide. The guide includes only 15 percent of 2,500 four-year colleges in the United States and two colleges in Canada.

The college guide includes comments from students who praised Fordham for its sense of community, its excellent business and honors programs, vast internship opportunities, core curriculum, small classes and engaging professors. Said one student, a finance major: “Each of my professors has made me interested in their subject, even if I was only taking the class out of requirement. I get the impression that they are genuinely interested in what the students think.”

The University’s financial aid rating improved slightly from last year, going from 73 to 75, and its selectivity score remained constant at 92.

Fordham also earned a place on the Princeton Review’s list of the best 218 colleges in the Northeast. That guide, The Best Northeastern Colleges: 2011 Edition, goes on sale August 10.

In addition to its ratings, The Best 373 Colleges contains 62 “top 20” lists that rank the colleges in particular aspects of academics, quality of life, social scene, demographics, extracurriculars, and other areas. There is no overall ranking for any college.

The ratings, on a scale of 60 to 99, are based on institutional data and a student survey. Academic factors include class size, student quality, use of teaching assistants, the amount of class discussion, and the amount of students’ study time outside class. Quality of life factors include the campus’s beauty, safety, and location; the quality of food and dorms; ease of navigating the campus and dealing with the administration; and overall student happiness.

For more information about the rankings and ratings, visit
—Chris Gosier

Monday, August 2, 2010

Men and Women for Others

Students from all over the United States filled Keating First on the Rose Hill campus on Saturday, July 31 to hear Alison Donohue (first of four photos above), FCRH ’94, GSAS ’98, New York Project Manager for Contemplative Leaders in Action and a former youth minister at New York’s St. Ignatius Loyola Church, speak on “Magis: An Ignatian Approach to Decision-Making.”

Donohue’s talk was part of Fordham’s fourth day hosting its first Jesuit Student Leadership Conference, which drew almost 300 students for lectures and discussions on Jesuit-inspired leadership. Donohue said that students can deepen their own understanding of themselves and their life's goals by the act of choosing one good thing over another, and she stressed the importance of discernment in one's own development.

The lecture was followed by discussion circles on Edward's Parade, where students talked about how to incorporate Jesuit ideals into their personal and professional lives. Later, delegates attended a Mass at University Church by John Cecero, S.J., celebrating the Feast of St. Ignatius. Above, Father Cecero (second picture) greeted Loyola Maryland student Matt Lopez.

Students enjoyed a barbecue on the lawn and a special evening banquet, a Taste of the Provinces, where they were welcomed by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.

The annual gathering of students from the 28 U.S.-based Jesuit colleges was sponsored by the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators, with corporate sponsorship from The New York Times, Northwestern Mutual and others.

Photos by Bruce Gilbert