Fordham Notes: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vietnam Memorial Dedication Speech


The following remarks were delivered by retired U.S. Army Gen. John M. “Jack” Keane, GSB ’66 on April 21, 2013, at the dedication of a new Vietnam War Memorial honoring the 23 University alumni who perished in that conflict. 

Thank you Bill for your kind introduction and for all you and Terry have done to find all the Vietnam Vets and to get us all here. Please join me, everyone, in expressing our appreciation. 

Father McShane, faculty and staff, families, friends and loved ones of our fallen classmates, Vietnam Vets, and those who were so generous as benefactors in rebuilding the chapel's magnificent organ and, of course, the Fordham family. 

What a truly marvelous dedication mass and ceremony: the sound, the music, the voices were all so magical, we were all uplifted by such majesty. I believe our Fordham chapel exceeded St Pat's cathedral (and Bill Burke whispered in my ear, "I think I'm in Rome"). What a touch of class, Fr McShane. 

After World War II ended, a war weary nation began an epic struggle with the aggressive and assertive Soviet Union, which turned into a rush to develop the best nuclear weapons and the best missiles and bombers to deliver them. An arms race, as part of an ideological clash, that would last for 50 years and while we, fortunately, never had a direct confrontation, we fought two wars to contain the Soviet Union and communism, one in Korea and the other in Vietnam. Both culturally different places for America, far away, and places most Americans had never heard of and most certainly had never been. 

We grew up in the shadows of WWII, our fathers, uncles, and almost all our relatives participated. We saw the pictures, heard some of the stories and knew from our history classes they were part of something very important and even life defining, for some. Korea and Vietnam were much smaller wars but Vietnam was the longest and the most controversial. Most of us came from working class families in the NYC area and most were first generation college students. Fordham University was also an extension of the Catholic education experience (I told my military buddies that after 16 years of Catholic education, transition to the military was easy!!). 

Fordham, the best of the Catholic universities at the time, was a great educational experience, to be sure, with a liberal arts foundation, regardless of what school you attended, to include a minor in philosophy and four years of theology. But as we all know, Fordham University was even more than that, because it was about developing character and strengthening our spiritual and moral values our families provided us. Fordham, then and now, emphasizes service--that submitting to something larger than self is part of our human contribution in the journey of life. 

For 200 plus Fordham graduates, service in Vietnam seemed a normal thing to do despite the fact you could get a deferment rather easily for education, marriage, the peace corps or joining the national guard(today if you joined the national guard you are going to war). Indeed, for us it was an honor to serve, much as our father and uncles had done. Unlike our relatives most of us would serve as officers. 

If you know our military history, then you are aware, as Americans, we normally get off on the wrong foot in war--true of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII in Africa and the Pacific, and dramatically true in Korea, and Vietnam was no exception. Churchill said of us (and this is a paraphrase): "These Americans are different, they exhaust all the options and then get to the solution faster than anyone else". America's military is a reflection of its people, intellectually flexible, and operationally, very adaptable. 

In Vietnam, we had the wrong strategy for 3 years from 1965 to 1968, fighting an unconventional war, with conventional tactics, till we changed to a counter insurgency strategy under General Abrams in 1968 and defeated the Viet Cong insurgency by 1971. However, we had evaporated American political will because of the length of the war and the apparent lack of progress (the media had given up on the war and the new progress and success was hardly reported; to this day most Americans don't know). Henry Kissinger, now a dear friend, and the Nixon administration secretly negotiated a peace, which would allow US forces to exit Vietnam by 1973 and almost certainly guarantee a subsequent North Vietnam invasion, which took place successfully in 1975. 

For those of us who fought there, while the fight at time was challenging, it was certainly not controversial. North Vietnam and the Viet Cong, from the South, were the aggressors, who were intimidating, terrorizing, and killing the people of South Vietnam to force their capitulation. We saw it first hand, we were there to stop it! And in doing so, day in and day out, success was the norm and failure the exception. We found out much about ourselves, our character, how to accept our fears and at times terror, our love for our brothers who we fought with, and, yes, our values. We were proud to be Americans, having come so far, to risk so much, for others we did not know. 

Twenty three of us perished. More than 10% of those who served, which is higher than almost all universities to include our service academies. 

--8, Army; 6, Air Force; 5, Marines; 4, Navy --mostly pilots and ground combat soldiers --all were officers, except one sergeant and one was a Navy Chaplain, catholic priest. --the first was killed in 1964 and the last in 1973. 
Their decorations for valor is most extraordinary and is a story itself, it is quite remarkable: 

None of our 23 classmates wanted to die but what made them different and, if I may, special, is that they were willing to! I have been in awe of this reality all my life. Our classmates were willing to put at risk everything that they cared about in life, everything: the opportunity to have a long and full life, to have friends in their life, to be a parent, to have love in their life, to love and to be loved. 

They were willing to give up all of that for what? Why did they do it? In my view, they did it out of a simple, yet, profound sense of duty, which Fordham helped to inspire. And, they did it for one another. This is true honor! And we can never take this kind of devotion for granted. 

I am so proud, that our beloved Fordham University extended to our fallen classmates the respect and honor their devotion deserves. 

Yes, we were soldiers once, and, young and our fallen classmates remain soldiers and young, forever. God bless them, their families and loved ones, our Vietnam Veterans and our fellow Fordham Alumni who are serving in Afghanistan(1 have seen them many times these last 12 years in Iraq and Afghanistan and they make us proud} and God Bless our beloved Fordham University and our magnificent country, the United States of America. 


Friday, April 26, 2013

Fordham Student Journalists Take Home Awards

The Observer, Fordham College at Lincoln Center's student newspaper, and WFUV, 90.7 FM, were recently honored by the Society of Professional Journalists for their work.

WFUV earned first place awards for the categories best all-around radio newscast and radio in-depth reporting, the latter for “NYC's Bike-Share Program” by Connor Ryan. The station also won third place in the category radio sports reporting, for "Al Michaels: Seizing the Moment” by Kyle Kesses.

The Observer took home eight mark of excellence awards, for breaking-news photography, breaking-news reporting, editorial writing, feature photography, general column writing, general news photography, general news reporting, and sports writing.

Ian McKenna, the paper's managing editor, won the general news reporting and breaking-news reporting categories for his coverage of the Fordham College Republican's Ann Coulter speaking invitation and revocation. McKenna shared the editorial writing award with Opinions Editor Monique John and Editor-in-Chief Harry Huggins.

McKenna, a sophomore who will take over as editor in chief next year, said the staff's embrace of online journalism was a factor in paper's success.

"We haven’t been waiting for the two week cycle to print things. Harry Huggins really pushed us to join everyone in the 21st century. So I think that really riled everyone up to do their best work and more frequent work, because the more work you do, the better it works," he said.

Photography was another area where the paper excelled, with Tavy Wu, Weiyu Li, and Charlie Puente winning honors for breaking news, feature, and general news photography, respectively. Like McKenna's Ann Coulter story, Wu's picture of Riverside Park during Hurricane Sandy was published on short notice.

"We didn’t force him to go, because that would be unsafe. He decided to take it upon himself to get a picture," said McKenna.

"So in that way it was sort of related to our breaking news protocol, but also, we have a really great photo advisor who edits for Bloomberg, so I think that influence, along with this influx of new people really helped us." 

He also credited paper's advisor, Elizabeth Stone, Ph.D., professor of English, with helping make it a winning year.


"Dr. Stone was very supportive in editing and tailoring our articles. Without her push for both online and good journamislm, we wouldn’t be here," he said.

—Patrick Verel

Fordham Students Take Home Pollie Awards

Graduate students in the elections and campaign management program at Fordham University have won a combined total of five Student Pollie Awards given by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).
 
Awarded annually by the AAPC, the Pollies are the most prestigious awards in the political campaign and public affairs industry. This year, as in several years in the past, Fordham students received more Pollie Awards than any other institution.
 
Fordham’s Pollie Award recipients are:
 
•         Shelly Bendit: “Best Campaign Plan” (Silver); “Best Use of Direct Mail” (Bronze); “Best Use of Television Ad” (Silver).
•         Lucas de Aragao: “Best Use of Radio Ad” (Bronze); “Best Use of Television Ad” (Bronze).
 
“We are so proud of our students and delighted that the AAPC has recognized these students for excellence in political strategy and communication,” said Costas Panagopoulos, Ph.D., director of the master’s program in elections and campaign management (ECM) at Fordham. “The Pollie winners exemplify the standard of excellence that students in the ECM program are trained to achieve.”
 
Most of the entries that Fordham students submitted were developed as part of the “Strategies of Political Communication” course co-taught during the fall 2012 term by veteran instructors and leading political strategists Joseph Mercurio and Bart Robbett.
 
The students received their awards on April 4 at the AAPC’s 20th Annual Pollie Awards and Conference in Washington.
 
The AAPC is a multi-partisan trade association with more than 2,500 members from all 50 states, territories and other countries. Membership reflects a wide range of ideologies, partisan affiliations and professional specialties, and includes students and academics.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Heidi Miller's Ten Rules to Live and Work By

Heidi Miller (center) answers a question on the panel with Cathleen Ellsworth (left) and Rae Etherington (right).

In its final installation of panel discussions for the school year, the Fordham Wall Street Council invited three heavy hitters in finance to participate in a conversation on gender and corporate leadership on April 25. Heidi Miller, Ph.D., former president of J.P. Morgan International, joined Cathleen Ellsworth, GBA '93, managing director and chief marketing officer for First Reserve Corporation, and Rae Etherington, GBA '94, managing director of BNY Mellon Clearing, LLC.

The event, sponsored by the Graduate School of Business Administration, took on a more casual tone than some of the council's previous events, which often veered deep into policy or theory. Not that the participants weren't well versed, they simply weren't there to talk about that. Etherington said she's usually called on to talk about CAT bonds, not glass ceilings.

The room overlooking Central Park at the New York Athletic Club, once an oak-paneled bastion of male dominance, was filled with to near capacity with women.

None of the panelists started with a leg up in the finance industry. Both Etherington and Ellsworth talked of humble beginnings, with both their fathers on the police force. Etherington taught French in small town in Idaho, while Miller began her career with a doctorate in history from Yale.

"The question I'm often asked is 'How does someone with a Ph.D. in history become the CFO of what was then the largest bank in the United States,'" she said. "I've always found that question somewhat puzzling, as I myself have described my career as inadvertent, meandering, and spontaneous."

Miller said that if such an answer doesn't satiate audiences looking for something a bit more concrete, she could offer up "Heidi’s Top Rules to Live and Work By." Advice, she said, that could be taken regardless of gender...

1. Only work for people that you respect.
"You don’t have to like them or have dinner with them, but you do have to respect them... Bad bosses are to be avoided at all costs... Insecurity in a boss means that their only desire is to shine only themselves and consequently they won't give you the opportunity to shine independently."

2. Take jobs that are enjoyable, not just the one where you think you need to learn something.
"Sometimes someone is great at marketing and they think they better learn finance, and then get stuck in those finance jobs and fail...  I benefited from being in areas that were less sexy than others. It was in those marginal areas that people didn't flock to that gave me an opportunity to do more than someone at my level might have in another area. I remember when I went into emerging markets everybody was into leverage buyouts. Leverage buyouts were crowded with every alpha male in the bank. But as a consequence I was able to take on roles that were well beyond my qualifications at that moment."


3. It's not the name of the organization that you are asked to work for; it's what you do.
"Go somewhere and work with people, whether it's a blue chip or not, and work where you'll have a breadth of opportunity. It's not the name on the door, it's what you do. Again, big companies fail. It's much more important to develop your skills."

4. Work with supervisors to clearly define your job, how your success will be measured, and where it will land you.
"Take control of these [review] conversations, no boss likes to give these. People in business who are successful are not trained at all to be managers, and so they avoid these conversations. You can't have these ambiguous conversations where you walk away thinking you had this glowing review when in fact what they really wanted to say is, 'You're fired.' You have to make it easy to have those conversations and you deserve to have that knowledge."

5. Be prepared to work somewhere else; loyalty only goes so far. 
"In this day and age of creative destruction, many people get laid off. Be prepared... Don't wait too long, because sometimes waiting too long makes you stale."

6. Cultivate your network.
"Collect business cards. Even if you’re not searching for a job, find out what they do. Ask them what makes them successful in their jobs. These are conversations that people love to have, they love to talk about what they do. This becomes part of your network. I don't care if that takes ten or twenty years, that network will hold you in good stead... Stay in touch and build your organic network."

7. Take risk.
"Sometimes a woman who applies for a job will have a resume that has 90 percent of the experience needed to qualify for that job, but the conversation will focus on the 10 percent that disqualifies them. Women are reluctant to jump that experience gap and claim they can do it. A guy comes in and his resume is just the reverse, and spends that time in the interview and sells the gap."

8. Set your limits and articulate them clearly to your boss and yourself.
"Burnout is real. We have limits; we have families, and community interests. If we deny these other interests in our lives, we often get resentful and reach a point where we can’t do the job."

9. Find your own style, your own voice, and your own authenticity.
"You have to do it your way. If you’re looking and reading every book and trying to figure out 'What’s the way I have to look in order to be successful?' Well, if it's not comfortable, it's not going to be right."

10. Be flexible. 
"Sometimes you’ve got to roll with the punches, industries change and you’ve got to be prepared to change as well. You’ve got to be open to doing different things. Business is great because you are constantly learning and you constantly need to reinvent yourself. There are so many different things to do under this umbrella of finance."

In a separate and final piece of advice for women, Miller quoted former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help women."

-Tom Stoelker


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

“One Mic, One Movement” Returns to Fordham

Following its successful launch last year, the “One Mic, One Movement” conference will return to Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus this weekend for the second annual gathering on the subject of hip hop therapy and psychology.

“One Mic, One Movement 2: Advances in Hip Hop Therapy and Hip Hop Psychology” will convene practitioners and researchers from a variety of fields to present on the many ways that hip hop can help at-risk youth.

Saturday, April 27
9:15 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Pope Auditorium | Lowenstein Center
Lincoln Center Campus | 113 West 60th Street, New York, N.Y.


Conference Co-Chair Edgar Tyson, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) is the pioneer of hip hop therapy, which refers to treatment that uses hip hop music and culture to help troubled adolescents.

Leading the conference with Tyson is Lauren M. Gardner, a psychology doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center and co-founder of Hip Hop Psychology.

“Hip Hop Psychology is very firmly based in traditional science,” Gardner said. “We use that traditional science and meet that with our artistic backgrounds. The idea is to create an authentic experience for clients through which they can connect with their life experiences, can evoke and feel and express their emotions, and ultimately create some sort of artistic piece that is expressive and authentic to themselves.”

Sessions include:
  • “The Rise and Call of Group Rap Theory: A Critical Analysis,” by Alonzo DeCarlo, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Seton Hill University;
  • “Strength of a Cypher: Hip-Hop Hope and Healing for Traumatized Youth,” by Jaleel Abdul-Adil, Ph.D., associate professor of clinical psychology and associate director of the Disruptive Behavior Clinic at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and
  • “Dialogues on Hip Hop Feminism,” by Rikiesha Pierce, a student at the University of Southern California.
The conference will conclude with a concert featuring various hip hop performers.

Click here to register.

— Joanna Klimaski

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Power of Making Art Behind Bars

In the United States, there are more than 25 million young people in the juvenile justice system. Of these 25 million youth, it is estimated that between 65 and 70 percent had at least one mental health disorder, and more than 60 percent had multiple diagnoses.

The use of the art therapy and education has proven successful not only in their rehabilitation, but also in teaching life skills that benefit these youth long after they return to society.

This weekend, the Graduate School of Social Service’s (GSS) Be the Evidence Project (BTEP) will sponsor an evening of discussion and performance to spotlight this important use of the arts.

“Arts for Change: Why Teach the Arts in Prison?”
Saturday, April 20
6 p.m.
McMahon Hall 109 | Lincoln Center Campus
113 West 60th St., N.Y., N.Y.


The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature dance, monologue, and spoken word performances by alumni of the Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) program. Established in Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 1996, RTA teaches theater, dance, voice, music, visual arts, and creative writing in five men’s and women’s New York State prisons.

Katherine Vockins, founder and executive director of RTA, and Lorraine Moller, Ph.D., associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will discuss the ways that the arts benefit individuals in the justice system.

“This is a population with a history of trauma and chronic stress, so the arts are a way to process their trauma and a lot of the emotional and memory blockages,” said Tina Maschi, Ph.D., an assistant professor at GSS and founder and director of BTEP. “Art gives a sense of liberation. It taps into one’s self-expression—it helps them discover who they are, what they think, what they feel.”

With this in mind, Maschi and GSS student Alyson Weaver have been documenting the outcomes programs such as RTA, which use the arts as prevention and intervention for people with histories of trauma, mental health problems, or criminal offending. Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the project has studied art-based interventions in juvenile detention centers and prisons, youth art centers, and mental health facilities.

“The results of these programs include increased confidence and social skills,” Maschi said, noting that these programs use a variety of media, such as drawing, drama, dance, and even basket weaving. “It also increased self-reflection, which is important, because kids in the juvenile justice system often act impulsively.”

Other benefits included better anger management, improved academic achievement, and reduced recidivism.

“If youth learn to self-express and self-reflect, it reduces the risk that they will engage in delinquent behavior, and helps them learn to manage their mental health symptoms,” she said.

Maschi has witnessed these results firsthand, having developed a group drumming intervention program, I-We Rhythm. She has used it with a number of populations, including homeless women with children and members of helping professions, such as social workers. She found that the activity not only reduced stress, but also helped participants feel connected to a group.

These mental health benefits aside, though, there is an even more significant reason to encourage the arts in any setting, Maschi said.

“It’s a human right,” she said, referring to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to freely engage in the cultural life of a community, enjoy the arts, and share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

“By not giving youth the opportunity to engage in the arts, we’re denying them a basic right for self-expression,” Maschi said.

— Joanna Klimaski

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Poet Anne Waldman, Force of Nature




If you have any doubt about the dynamism of poetry, make a point to experience the wild words and deft delivery of a live reading by activist poet Anne Waldman.

The author of more than 40 books, founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and organizer of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project gave the final Poets Out Loud (POL) performance of the academic year on April 15 to full house in Fordham-Lincoln Center’s 12th-floor Lounge/Corrigan Center. The performer shared the podium with four local teenagers and aspiring poets from Girls Write Now and Cristo Rey School. The teens are participants in POL’s high school outreach program.




(photos by Janet Sassi)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fordham College at Lincoln Center Students Show Off Research

Photos by Patrick Verel

The plaza and street level of Lowenstein Center were abuzz on April 11 as 42 juniors and seniors from Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) shared their research with the Fordham community.

The research fair, which was followed by an awards ceremony, featured topics in humanities, sciences. and visual and performing arts.

Molly Clemens, a junior from Rochester majoring in environmental science, was stationed on the plaza to discuss “Drought Creates Stress Memory for European Beech Trees,” which she worked on at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. 

A DAAD Rise scholarship enabled her to travel to Germany last summer, where Laura Nagy, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Bayreuth, served as her mentor.

Clemens' research concerned whether or not European Beech trees have the ability to adapt to a drought and survive a second drought better.

Molly Clemens chats with a research fair attendee.
“We set up four different control groups using 60 beech trees, and we subjected them to four different regiments of water-we had a control drought, a control for the control, and then the double drought,” she said.

“What we were able to see is that the double drought plants were able to recover better and survived better than the control drought plants did that did not undergo the first draught.”

Clemens hopes to build on this research with a Fulbright scholarship that she is applying for in Australia. She also worked on two other projects in Germany, where she was given a lot of leeway to choose how to approach research.

“The other project was a biodiversity project assessing the biodiversity of grasses, so we would spend long hours smelling grasses and biting them and feeling them, because it's actually very hard to distinguish between them if you just have a pile of grass,” she said. 

“It was very hands-on science.”

Lauren Vogelstein observes Ailey/Fordham BFA students
performing her dance "I think I heard you say that once."
Down on the street level, Lauren Vogelstein was showing off an independent study in choreography. Vogelstein, a senior Ailey/Fordham BFA student from Chicago, presented a demonstration of the dance “I Think I Heard You Say That Once,” which she described as the culmination of four years of trying and failing to create something she was truly happy with.

“I’ve learned what my teachers have been telling me all along, which is that you have to let go of the preciousness of your work in order to create something you really love,” she said. 

Vogelstein is also earning a bachelor's of science in mathematics and will be working at the Museum of Mathematics after graduation. Although she has done formal mathematical research with one of her professors, she chose to present dance at the fair. 

“I thought it was important to show art in a context as research, because I don’t think a lot of people think you can do research in the arts, so I wanted to bring that to the fair today,” she said. 

Cody Brown and Nick Espinoza show off their UAV, which
is capable of analyzing wireless networks from the air.
On the ground floor by the Center Gallery, were Cody Brown and Nick Espinoza, seniors majoring in computer science and political science and information science, respectively. 

“Bridging and Observing Wireless Services for Electronic Reconnaissance,” or BOWSER, involved the construction of a rotor-driven unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of wireless access reconnaissance barnstorming and penetration testing.

“We picked a drone to utilize the city’s uniquely vertical environment to go up and down apartment buildings, where you’ll find a lot more wireless networks than you would in a flat area,” said Brown.

“Let’s say you’re a contractor. You can test for security flaws in company enterprise networks, or just have fun and map out networks around you.”

Espinoza, who hopes to work in cyber security upon graduation, touted their UAV as a unique solution to a very real problem with penetration testing. 

“You can’t exactly see these wireless networks. You might have to go into the building and access the floor," he said. "Why would you take the elevator, and talk your way past security, when you can fly your way right up next to it?”

Jamie Juchniewicz illustrated how words affected the
attitudes of 18th-century American colonists.
Jamie Juchniewicz, a junior anthropology major, addressed the past for her project “Revolution: The Vocabulary of the American Revolution.” What topics, she wondered, would have trended the highest  if Twitter had existed in the American colonies between 1763 and 1776? 

For her project, which she hopes will help her continue onto graduate school, she took five of the most popular American pamphlets from each of the years, from 1763 to 1776, and ran them through Voyant, a processing software that calculates the most used words.

“When we start out in 1765, we’re only seeing the word “American” two times, and when we end in 1776, we see the word “American” 12 times. The colonials are seeing themselves transforming from, 'I’m a member of this colony,' 'I’m a member of the Maryland colony,' 'I’m a Pennsylvanian,' 'I'm a New Yorker,' into seeing themselves as an American, because they’re all sharing the same language,” she said.

Words like "authority" and "fame" highlighted the power of the individual, especially going into the revolution, she said. "So you can identify all the main actors by the words they’re using and the political activities that followed the language.”

—Patrick Verel

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Happening at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus on Friday, April 12, 2013.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mimes and Mummers Alumna Advocates for the Arts

For Natalie Sweeney, FCRH ’05, joining Mimes and Mummers was one of the best decisions she made during her four years at Fordham. The drama club not only gave her a chance to indulge and deepen her lifelong love of theater, but it also lit the path to her career in marketing—and to her husband.

“The Mimes was particularly important in shaping the person that I am today,” says Sweeney (née Medaglio), who joined the club during her freshman year.

A double major in English and communications, she discovered an interest in marketing and project management after joining Mimes and Mummers, which celebrates 157 years at Rose Hill this year.

As the secretary of the club's executive board her junior and senior years, she chaired the publicity committee and learned to work with a budget, create promotional items, and liaison with administrators for the comedies, dramas, and musicals brought to the stage in Collins Auditorium every year. And performing on stage helped her refine her public speaking skills—skills she calls upon in her job as an assistant vice president and regional marketing manager in the private wealth management group at U.S. Trust.

Sweeney also developed a “long-distance crush” on fellow Mimes member Denis Sweeney, FCRH ’02, after spotting him rehearsing Neil Simon’s Rumors in Collins Auditorium during her freshman year. They dated briefly, lost touch, then reconnected in 2006 at Mimes and Mummers’ 150th anniversary party. They married in August 2012.
Former Mimes and Mummers Denis and Natalie Sweeney


Natalie and Denis, a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department, regularly return to Rose Hill to see Mimes productions. In their roles with the Mimes and Mummers Alumni Association (Natalie is president, Denis is a member), they continually work to foster fellowship among the graduates, support the theater arts on the Rose Hill campus, and help raise funds for upgrades to Collins Auditorium.

“We want to ensure the traditions we all loved live on,” says Sweeney.

She’s always felt the call to volunteer: “My father instilled this value in all of his kids.” At Fordham she participated in Global Outreach trips to Belize and in New York City. Belize struck a particular chord. “It opened up my view of the world like nothing ever could,” she says. “It was the first time I realized that a volunteer experience is beneficial to everyone involved.”

Sweeney’s parents supported a childhood rich in the arts. Her father read Shakespeare to her before bedtime, and her mother was an amateur ballet dancer. The family often went to the ballet, theater, and museums. Sweeney took up ballet at 3 years old and trained as a classical ballerina for 10 years before leaping to a new artistic activity: musical theater. She performed in junior high and high school shows and at the Keswick Theatre near her hometown of Doylestown, Pa. At Fordham, she performed with Mimes and Mummers, Fordham Experimental Theater, and Expressions Dance Alliance.

While her acting days are past, Sweeney still supports the craft and the New York City performing arts community as a regular theatergoer and as a young patron and ambassador for the off-Broadway company MCC Theater, where she helps cultivate potential donors.

And she’s found a new outlet for performing: long-distance running.

Soon after Sweeney graduated from Fordham in 2005, her uncle was diagnosed with leukemia, and she began participating with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, which raises funds for the society through marathons, triathlons, and other endurance-sport programs.

Sweeney, who has completed four marathons, including the New York City and Chicago marathons says it was “on my bucket list and I thought, ‘why not?’” Last year, through TriLife, a multisport coaching team, she finished her first Ironman—a long-distance race consisting of a swim, bicycle ride, and marathon—in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“Fantastic teammates and coaches make it worthwhile,” Sweeney says. “It’s like being back in Collins. Being a part of Mimes meant you were part of a team, a family really, all working toward the same goal; we struggled together, received guidance from experts, and bonded in a unique way.”


—Rachel Buttner

Visit here to register for the Mimes and Mummers’ 157th anniversary gala on April 20 and to learn more about the Mimes and Mummers Alumni Association.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fordham Students Travel to Ukraine to Investigate Youth and Politics

Olena Nikolayenko, Ph.D., and the students of Youth and Politics
outside of Ukraine's National Theater of Opera and Ballet.
Photo courtesy of Olena Nikolayenko.

The first thing that the students in Youth and Politics had to learn as their plane touched down in Kyiv, Ukraine was flexibility.

“We flew into the wrong airport,” said Rose Hill senior Peter Heintz about their diverted flight. Heavy fog had forced the plane to land in Kyiv, which meant the group had to then travel seven hours by bus to Lviv, their destination. “It was the first insight into a post-communist transitional state—that not everything works 100 percent, and you have to be flexible in your scheduling [on account of] the basic infrastructure and road systems.”

Once settled in Lviv, the students turned their attention to their objective—to study how political attitudes and behaviors differ between American youth and Ukrainian youth.

The interdisciplinary capstone course, taught by assistant professor of political science Olena Nikolayenko, Ph.D., explores the political participation of young people in non-democracies. During Fordham’s spring break, Nikolayenko and her 11 students traveled to Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU)—with which Fordham has an academic partnership—to interview Ukrainian students about their stances on their country’s politics.

“The political situation is quite different there,” said Nikolayenko, a native of Ukraine. “Ukraine is still struggling to shake off the communist legacy. So there is a high incidence of corruption and electoral fraud, which makes it more challenging for young people to effectively participate in politics and to affect policy-making processes.”

Heintz, a political science major, said his Ukrainian peers are cognizant of widespread corruption in the government, but they commit nonetheless to making themselves heard.

“Their vote counts for much less than ours do,” said Heintz, who will present his research findings at the Undergraduate Research Symposium this spring. “But they said that if they don’t vote, then they can’t complain about the government, because they didn’t take responsibility and try to do something about it.

“A lot of them also said that if they don’t vote, [and have their name recorded as having voted], then the government will take their [unused vote] and count it toward [its preferred candidate.]”

He also found that Ukrainian students, unlike their American counterparts, tend to look for political news on the Internet, since they cannot rely on television or newspapers, which are government-controlled.

“Sometimes I take it for granted that we live in a country where things run on time, and the government is actually voted in by us,” he said, reflecting on the trip. “It made me take a step back and appreciate that.”

When they weren’t conducting research, the students attended lectures given by UCU faculty, including Yurii Logush, Ph.D., former associate professor at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business Administration, now vice rector of UCU.

The class also visited several cultural sites, such as the Lviv Art Gallery, the Museum on Lanskogo Street—a former Soviet jail for political prisoners—and the National Theater of Opera and Ballet, where the class attended a performance of Swan Lake.

Seeing these sites firsthand, as well as directly interacting with their Ukrainian peers, was an invaluable learning experience for the students, Nikolayenko said.

“You can read about Ukrainian politics and society in a book or a newspaper article, but students can gain a much a deeper understanding of what it’s like to live in such a society when they interact with the people face-to-face,” she said.

“Social media is breaking down barriers, but still, walking through the city streets and talking to students gives the Fordham students a completely different perspective on what it’s like to live in another country. And I also think it helps them appreciate better all the political freedom that they enjoy in the United States.”

— Joanna Klimaski

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bronx Health and Wellness Summit to be Held at Fordham

Max Gomez, M.D., will be the keynote speaker.
The Bronx Health and Wellness Summit will make its way to Fordham's Rose Hill campus this weekend with a full day's worth of events on Saturday, April 6.

The summit, sponsored by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and hosted by Fordham, will start at 8 a.m. and finish around 4:30 p.m.

"At Fordham, when we talk about nurturing the entire person, we often we think about it spiritually or intellectually," said Lesley Massiah-Arthur, associate vice president for government relations and urban affairs.

"But we need to talk about the body and also engage in a conversation about health in the Bronx."

As host, Fordham will donate the use of its space. McGinley and Keating Halls, O'Keefe Commons, and Fordham Prep will welcome 500 people for breakout sessions and seminars on a variety of topics, including healthy eating, domestic violence, asthma, diabetes awareness, substance abuse, adolescent sexual health, genomic medicine, emotional health, HIV prevention, women's health.

A keynote speech will be delivered by Max Gomez, M.D., the multi-Emmy winning medical journalist.

A spokesperson for the borough president said that Diaz is looking forward to the event and views the summit as a unique opportunity to arm Bronx residents with wellness knowledge.

To register click here.

—Tom Stoelker

Fordham Undergrads Visit Capitol for Government Tour

Fordham University students pose for a group photo with Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin
Fordham Students meet with Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin
Students from Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College Lincoln Center, and the Gabelli School of Business got to see the nation’s economic levers of power in person during a visit to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 27. 

The trip, which was sponsored by the Fordham President's Council member Ed Blount, FCRH '69, brought 25 students to the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve. 

At the Treasury Department, the group met with Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, who spoke to them about the economic recovery and the ongoing work by the Administration to strengthen economic growth and stability in our financial systems. Wolin also touched on the ongoing debate in Washington on how to reduce our deficits in a balanced way.

Olivia Chopra, FCRH '13, a dual economics and Middle Eastern Studies major, said the trip not only bolstered her passion for public policy but also gave her a sense of where her passion can take her in the future.

“I particularly enjoyed the Q&A session with Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin, who was able to answer our questions regarding international economic issues, including the current financial policy towards Iran,” she said. 

Veronica Daigle, FCRH '93, program examiner for the Office
of  Management  and Budget, chats with students.
“Equally as engaging, the presentation at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shed light onto the domestic issue of the Federal budgeting process and the current sequester.  I was very impressed by our presenter at the OMB, Fordham alumna Veronica Daigle, whose knowledge of and dedication to her work as a program examiner was inspiring.”

Evangelos Razis, FCLC '13, said the experience was both exciting and humbling.
“We toured the institutions that are fundamental to our nation’s political economy, and it’s quite something to see where those fundamental decisions are being made. It’s too easy think of a government body like 'The Treasury' and the 'SEC' merely in the abstract. In the end, we’re talking about real people, buildings, and things,” he said.

“The people we spoke with were all professionals committed to serving our country. As an aspiring public servant, that shared sense of duty resonated with me.”

—Patrick Verel