All posts by Nicole Gangi

Self-defense training offered at Ammerman

For the first time this semester, the Ammerman campus offered free self-defense training for female students, staff and faculty.

The training, called R.A.D. for Rape Aggression Defense, was founded by Lawrence N. Nadeau, a former Virginia State University police officer and U.S. Marine. The program was developed to become a vital tool for women to defend themselves from an aggressor.

“We teach woman on campus simple, effective techniques anyone can do,” said Public Safety Officer Jillian Carlos, a certified R.A.D. instructor on the Ammerman campus. “There are moves that every woman should have in her defense arsenal regardless of age or skill level.”

Carlos hopes to break the “complaint, non-assertive and non-confrontational,” norms that society sets for women, she said. The class is comprised of learning hands-on and off techniques to escape from a male aggressor.

Some of the hands-off techniques include but are not limited to addressing risk awareness, risk avoidance and risk reduction. The hands-on techniques teaches how to block, punch, kick, and escape wrist grabs, strangulation, choke holds, bear hugs and ground defense.

“When I heard the word defense especially in a danger-filled world we’re living in, I believe that as ladies we have the natural born right to use protection and find any means necessary to defend our own lives,” said Julianna Faustin, 20, of Lake Grove, said after completing the program. “I took it because I knew I could benefit from it and I did in more than one way, thank God!”

Carlos wants to ensure that women on campus can become more assertive and confident in their options for self-defense.

The next set of classes are scheduled to take place on June 5, 12, and 1, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Anyone interested can contact Carlos at

TV production grad now a videographer at SCCC

Michelle Tingle, 34, of Patchogue, graduated from Suffolk in 2015. After going on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and film from SUNY Old Westbury, she she returned to Suffolk as a videographer in the Liberty Partnerships Program, which promotes science, technology, engineering and math among high schoolers.

If I ask you to stop vaping, it’s because I don’t want you to relive my nightmare

Photo courtesy of Vaping360/Flickr

The first reported death in the U.S. from an e-cigarette explosion was of my older brother, Thomas, in 2015. So it’s no wonder why the proliferation of vaping on campus makes me uncomfortable—so uncomfortable that I have walked up to people and asked them to stop. And now I’m writing about it here in hopes that a tragedy can lead people to understand the dangers involved and avoid similar incidents.

Thre first wrongful death lawsuit in the CourtHouse News database over an alleged e-cig explosion was filed last month. The complaint alleges that a vaporizer device launched shrapnel into 30-year-old Thomas Gangi’s head while he was in his Bohmemia, N.Y. home, in Nov. 2015.

Gangi died in the fire, his estate says — CourtHouse News

I am sure most people that attend the Ammerman campus have walked through a big cloud of vape smoke, sometimes where there’s a sign that says no smoking is allowed on campus. But it’s not the smoke that concerns me the most. Vaporizers exploding are on the rise, along with their popularity among younger people and those looking for a way to quit smoking cigarettes.

I will not deny that when vaporizers first became readily available to the public, they piqued my interest because it was thought to be a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking and had many wonderful alluring flavors. I think that if more people knew how common the hazards of vaporizers exploding are they would maybe rethink their usage.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, between January 2009 and Dec. 31, 2016, there were 195 incidents reported from e-cigs exploding causing fire and injury; 121 of them exploded while in use or on one’s person. The explosions are due to the lithium-ion battery that is used to power the e-cig, according to the USFA.


Screenshot taken from

The USFA also reported that in this time frame there had been no deaths linked to the explosion of e-cigs, but there is new information attesting to my brother’s death. The USFA report does not list his death because at the time when the reports were published, the final determination for his cause of death had not been finalized.

Lithium-ion batteries were also the cause of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone explosions.

I had never in a million years thought that something so insignificant could kill someone, but my reality is a lesson for everyone. The sight of vaporizers makes me relive a nightmare that I hope no one else ever has to. I am hoping that, in light of my story, people will be more inclined to adhere to rules and be more courteous to others.

The Ammerman campus started as a tuberculosis sanatorium. Tour its remaining footprints

The Albert M. Ammerman building was one of the original structures a tuberculosis sanatorium that pre-dated the establishment of Suffolk County Community College in Selden. Photo credit: Nicole Gangi (April 9, 2018)

In 1916, a tuberculosis sanatorium was established by two doctors,  William H. Ross and Frank Overton, both Long Island natives, on what is now Suffolk Community College’s Ammerman campus, according to documents archived in the Huntington Library.

The Albert M. Ammerman Building, Kreiling Hall, The Cottage and the Norman F. Lechtrecker Building are the only remaining original structures of the sanitarium.

Join us for a tour of the Selden campus’s forgotten past.

Albert M. Ammerman Building

Photo Courtesy: SCCC’s Huntington Library

The building was originally erected as a dormitory for male patients and named after Ross.


Photo credit: Nicole Gangi (April 9, 2018)

The Albert M. Ammerman building. Photo Credit: Nicole Gangi

The Ammerman building currently houses departments such as admissions, financial aid, registrar and executive dean’s offices.

Norman F. Lechtrecker building

Photo Courtesy of SCCC’s Huntington library 

The Norman F. Lechtrecker building is one of the longest-standing of the original buildings. It was erected in 1922 as an infirmary, replacing a previous one that deemed not to be structurally sound.


Photo credit: Nicole Gangi (April 9, 2018)

The NFL building currently houses Suffolk’s administration personnel.

Kreiling Hall

Photo courtesy: SCCC’s Huntington Library

Kreiling Hall was originally a dormitory for children suffering from tuberculosis and was formerly known as Marshall Hall.

On the roof Kreiling hall was a compass rose, an original piece of the structure was still there until this past fall when the roof was redone because of structural issues. The compass rose was used to spot incoming Nazi airplanes during World War II.

The roof of Kreiling Hall. Photo Credit: Nicole Gangi

Kreiling Hall, currently undergoing renovations due to asbestos, houses the campus’s Health Services.

The Cottage

The Cottage. Photo Credit: Nicole Gangi

The Cottage is home to the Suffolk Community College Foundation and was formerly used at living quarters for sanatorium employees.

The old schoolhouse/Riverhead and Southampton buiildings


The schoolhouse. Photo courtesy: SCCC’s Huntington Library A tiny schoolhouse was built for the children who lived on the grounds.


The Southampton building. Photo credit: Nicole Gangi


The Riverhead building. Photo Credit: Nicole Gangi (April 9, 2018)

The Riverhead and Southampton Buildings are not among the original buildings, but a schoolhouse used to be located where they stand. 

In the early 1960s, Albert M. Ammerman founded Suffolk County Community College and by 1962 the campus was open at full-operation.

SCCC students protest gun violence in walkout

Photo Credit: Erika Peters

Over 100 SCCC students participated in a walkout today that was held to bring awareness to the rise of gun control issues in America.

The walkout also happened across campuses around the nation. The #Enough is the movements logo brandished in bright orange. The walkout lasted for 17 minutes in remembrance of the 17 students and teachers that died in the Parkland, Florida, shooting on Feb. 14.

At 10 a.m., SCCC’s students walked out of class protesting current gun control laws. The event was organized by SCCC student Joseph Vanderwaag, a general studies major. Vanderwaag spoke at the event about the 614 kids and teens that have been killed or injured in 2018 thus far.


Photo Credit: Kaitlin Crowley suffolksentinel“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” @joevanderwaag , the student organizer of the #scccwalkout

“The issue isn’t just in Parkland or Newton, Connecticut at Sandy Hook or Columbine alone,” Vanderwaag said. He stressed that without change, similar events could happen anywhere.

“I don’t want to send my child to school with a bulletproof vest and wonder if he’s gonna come home,” said student Dexter Simmons in front of the library.

Students lined up at a table filled with literature dedicated to shooting statistics, voter registration, letters to congressional representatives, fliers for events such as the April 13 “Take Back the Night” program and other information.


Photo Credit: Erika Peters

Vanderwaag said he was overwhelmed by the turnout.

“I was only expecting like 20 to 30 people,” especially given the weather, he said.

Jodi Moran, secretary for social justice at SCCC, said: “This is what we are made of and most importantly being able to witness students exercising their voices and realizing their power.”

Suffolk’s Diaz appointed to Mather Hospital board

Sylvia Diaz, Suffolk County Community College’s director of college foundations, was appointed to Mather Hospital’s board of directors in January.

Diaz grew up in the crime- and poverty-stricken South Bronx, where she discovered a passion was to help others.

“My interest in helping people probably emanates from very early childhood experiences in the South Bronx. It was a very difficult time and I was growing up in an area where there was a lot of crime, poverty and addiction,” Diaz said. “These experiences had a deep and personal effect on me and I specifically recall feeling tremendous compassion for the less fortunate. I knew I wanted to have a broader impact on the community.”

Diaz has worn many hats after receiving a doctorate in social welfare, a master’s in social work and a certification in parish social ministry. A few examples of her many hats include chief deputy commissioner for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, special assistant for minority affairs for Suffolk, regional vice president for the American Cancer Society, and owner of Pathways Renewed Inc.

Diaz said being appointed to Mather Hospital’s board of directors could open some promising doors for SCCC. Mather Hospital, the newest edition to Northwell Health, is also known as a teaching hospital.

“One obvious connection is through our highly regarded nursing program. Our nursing students are well trained and highly sought after. There are also partnerships possible through our PTA, OTA, Human Services and EMT programs.” Diaz said.

The relationship Diaz brings between Mather Hospital and Suffolk County Community College is fairly new, but has potential for strategic advancements within the community , she said.

“Mather Hospital is smaller to compare with Stony Brook and this could be a crucial benefit for students because smaller groups of students have a greater possibility to learn more,” said Marta Popek, a nursing student at SCCC.

Mather Hospital under the control of Northwell Health would have astounding benefits to Mather’s teaching programs.

“I have never personally had the opportunity to work with Sylvia, but the work she does for the college is vital within the community,” said Jeanne Durso-Gunes, a professional assistant at SCCC for the continuing education department. “I believe the impact a potential relationship between Suffolk and Mather’s would be a life-changer for our healthcare students,” she said.