Category Archives: News

Women’s History Month: Recognizing dedicated women on campus

Among the many dedicated women at Suffolk County Community College, Lorraine Perdomo, right, is a professional assistant in the Campus Activities department. Photo by Maria Camila Hernandez

March is National Women’s History Month. It is a good opportunity to recognize the work of many women who are contributing to progress and change at our college.

Whether it is in administration, learning centers or general services, all of the women in our campus devote great effort to share their skills with the college community. These women represent every woman on campus. This is a recognition for their hard work and unconditional desire to give their best to those who need it.

Sandra Sprows, associate dean of academic affairs

Sandra Sprows
Sandra Sprows is the associate dean of academic affairs at the Ammerman campus. She started in SCCC as an English professor in 1999. After that, she made her way up, starting as assistant chair of the English department, then chair of the department and finally accepting her current position. “That was a big step for me because I love teaching English. But I decided to do it because I have a very interdisciplinary mind, so I thought it could be interesting,” said Sprows. As dean of academic affairs, her main responsibility is to work with the academic chairs of the different departments on campus. In addition, Sprows works with the Faculty Senate, which is the governing body for the faculty, as well as in the Academic Standards Committee, which is a college-wide body dealing with any issues related to academics.
Sandra Sprows,
As part of her job, Sprows also supports students and faculty in the academic pursuit with things such as the curriculum for different programs, the academic integrity on the classes, and supporting the professional development of faculty. In addition, she stills teaches one English class a semester. “It reminds me why I do all the other things I do because, in the end, it’s all about what happens in the classroom,” she said. Sprows feels happy to work with professional faculty members, being able to work with different departments and looking forward to offering students a good academic experience.

Lisa Melendez, instruction librarian

Lisa Melendez
An important place on our campus is the Huntington Library. Lisa Melendez has worked as an instruction librarian for almost 25 years. Her work is to provide resources and information, and she is also involved in programming. “We had a women’s week on campus for over forty years. I was on the planning committee for that, at least for 15 years. For me as a librarian, it was also a way to connect people to information,” said Melendez. Besides her work in the library, Lisa is the faculty advisor for the Association of Latin American Students, and she is part of the Undocumented Student Task Force, connecting people to information in all the ways she can.
Lisa Melendez
The goal of Melendez and of the staff working at the library is to connect people with the information that they need. Also, they support classes being taught on campus with different resources, such as research process and academic materials. The variety of sources that they manage, and that are of easy access to students and faculty members, make their job of great importance for the college community.

Kathy McCoy, professional assistant, Honors Program

Kathy McCoy
Kathy McCoy is part of the Honors Program at SCCC, and she represents all the women who work hard for the Honors’ students on campus. McCoy started as College Aid in 2010 and has worked all the way up to professional assistant, now as a full-time member. What she likes the most about her position is to work with really good people in the Honors Program. In addition, she enjoys being able to interact with students more now that she works full time. “It is fun to be able to help students, to talk to them about what their future holds and what their plans are,” McCoy said.
Kathy McCoy
Some of her tasks are to keep records of the students in the program, to maintain scholarship and contact lists and to confirm all the graduating students with honors credits. Also, she occasionally advises students to create the schedules and decide what they want to take. Besides that, the people in the department also create the program for a convocation of students and take care of all the details behind the events held by the Honors Program. “We are a small department, so we all work together, hand in hand.”

Writing Center tutors

writing center
As part of our large community, these women working at the Rose Tehan Memorial Writing Center find a way to contribute. From left to right: Brianna Gianni, student tutor; professional assistants Danielle Berg, Carol Moore, and Kristen A. Hoffman. Moore is also an adjunct English instructor at Farmingdale State College. Hoffman is also an adjunct English instructor. They are always welcoming people and challenging them to become skilled writers.
Writing Center
This group of women, as well as many others working in the writing center, offer students individualized tutoring. Their goal is to help people become better at writing. The passionate work that they have performed for years has been a great contribution to the college community, and to those who ask for their particular assistance.

Lorraine Perdomo, professional assistant, Campus Activities

Lorraine Perdomo
Lorraine Perdomo works as a professional assistant at the Campus Activities department. She has been at SCCC for four years, serving as a bridge between students and the college. Perdomo is in charge of all the clubs and organizations on campus., as well as helping students who want to develop new clubs. She also does leadership training. such as helping to prepare students to be orientation leaders. “I think that when students are engaged on campus, not only academically, but also outside of the classroom, they are more likely to graduate, to build a relationship with the college and to return. It is how alumni relationships are developed,” Perdomo said.
Lorraine Perdomo
Her goal is to engage students to enjoy their time in community college so that they can have a memorable experience. The Campus Activities department understands the needs of students and makes everything possible to bring them different options to relax and to have a good time outside the classroom or workplaces. They work mainly to benefit students because it is valuable to them to build that relationship.

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.”

SCCC students weigh in on Suffolk bag law

A new Suffolk law enacted in January that charges 5 cents per plastic bag at stores has many supporters and detractors.

At Suffolk, students similarly have varying opinions.

Josh Urban 19, a liberal arts student at Suffolk, says he doesn’t like t like how it has “slowed down lines in stores.” Urban said he’s also encountered inconsistencies with certain stores not charging for bags, sparking a “disdain for the law.”

For Kate Roma, 20, a liberal arts major the new law doesn’t bother her. “It’s only 5 cents, and I drop that in purse every time I pay cash,” said said. And while  slower lines annoy her, “it hasn’t really been that big of a deal.”

The law also has its outright supporters among students.

“I like it because it reduces the amount of bags you see on the side of the road, or at least my road. Also, it finally forces people to buy the reusable bags,” Matthew Brown, 19, who works at Best Market. and he loves when people bring in the reusable bags. “They have tons more room in them and they can carry much more than your typical crappy bag.”

Brown says customer still complain about longer lines, and they constantly forget their reusable  bags.

“People unintentionally hide their reusable bags, say they want [a plastic bag], then remember they have a bag, or they slow my ringing down cause they can’t decide if they want a bag. Honestly, there are times where I miss the convenience, but it’s a double-edged sword.”

Suffolk launches courses for National Guard at Gabreski

Suffolk County Community College began offering two courses this semester at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base base in Westhampton, deepening the college’s ties with veterans.

The courses, which include Psychology 101 and English 101, enable National Guard members to gain credits towards an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force, officials said. The CCAF degree is mandatory for higher-level promotions.

“In the Air Force, we expect our members to strive for excellence. One of the ways we can do this is through continuing our education,” Michael T. Hewson, 106th Rescue Wing Command Chief, said in a press release.

College spokesman Drew Biondo said in a statement that “Suffolk’s campus has the highest population of veterans on campus in the entire State of New York.”

SCCC President Shaun L. McKay announced the program in fall at a Veterans Plaza dedication ceremony at the college’s Eastern Campus honoring Suffolk County Community College student and Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Louis Bonacasa, 31, who was killed in action in 2015 while serving in Afghanistan.

“Suffolk County Community College is committed to assisting our military by helping them achieve their educational and personal goals,” McKay said in a release. “ In the process, we know we are fulfilling our community mission as well as helping to produce a new generation of lifelong learners equipped with the skills they can utilize both during their careers and long after.”

For Suffolk this is a huge step towards continuing their veterans program.  The college has a leading effort in continuing this program further into the future to ensure that veterans on campus can further their education so that they can have a successful careers. The college and those who wish to join these classes offered at the base will interact with hands on experience as well as being taught and shown from those who are currently serving in our 106th Rescue Wing.

The Ammerman campus is always looking to lend a helping hand towards our veterans on campus. The skills they can acquire through this program at the base can be used for future personal goals along with the degree that they can obtain by completing the program as well.


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.

Students call for greater parking lot security

Photo: Parking Lot 8 is one of eight lots at the Ammerman campus where commuters jockey for space. Photo by Rich Olson

With a student population of more than 15,000, a few accidents every day are to be expected at the Ammerman campus, as students and faculty constantly compete for parking spaces.

But for some students, the lack of eyes in the sky is weighing down their pockets and leaving unsolved hit-and-runs.

In 2016, Temur Khan filed a report with the Ammerman campus Public Safety department after he noticed scratches and a dent on his car.

Khan, now 19 and a general studies major, asked to see camera footage to help catch the perpetrator but there wasn’t any footage. He was told that the college didn’t have cameras monitoring the student parking lots on campus.

Confused and angry, Khan asked why. He was told that the campus does not want to get involved with such incidents.

“That didn’t make any sense,” he said. “I was shocked that this was their policy.”

Several students sympathize with Khan’s frustration regarding the lack of cameras.

“I feel a little unsafe now,” said Chris Alger, who has been driving to school for three semesters and hopes things change soon.

“I’d be willing to pay a little more tuition if it meant my car was safer.”

The current cost of tuition for a full-time student is $2,435, according to the college’s website.

“If not cameras, more security should patrol the parking lots,” said Katiana Brescia, 20, who is finishing her last semester at SCCC but said she wanted better security for future students. She noted that extra security is important given that “a majority of the campus population are students.”

Director of Public Saftey Baycan Fideli did not return several attempts seeking comment.

Khan, who paid $600 to fix his car, says “it’s messed up” the college doesn’t want to deal with the parking lot security issue and he hopes things change soon. To push it forward, he’s calling on classmates to take a stand with him.

“I hope something is done before another student goes through what I did.”

‘Snacks, Not Meals’ policy takes effect

If you’re looking for a place to eat lunch on campus, the Huntington Library is no longer an option.

At the start of the semester, SCCC students were notified about a new ‘Snacks, Not Meals’ policy that only allows vending machine bag-sized chips and drinks in sealed containers (i.e. lids, bottle caps).

While there is no actual penalty to enforce the measure, students who slip in meals are asked to finish eating outside the building, and signs reminding students about the policy are plastered around the library.

The initiative started out of a focus group of nine students that campus head librarian Susan Lieberthal conducted last December to consider ways to improve studying at the library.

The group found a common issue: the number of meals being brought into the library. The students were handed index cards and logged everything they found lying around that was food-related. The results included bags from Moe’s Southwest Grill filling up the trash can, sushi near the computers, sandwiches and boxes of Cheez-Its. They even came upon a live birthday party with cakes and balloons.

“We don’t have any boundaries anymore,” said Lieberthal, noting that she and the focus group noticed food was a major distraction in the library and that it was becoming a second cafeteria. “You have your phone, your laptop, your work and your food. You’re not really studying anymore with all these distractions.”

Armed with their research, they knew what had to be done. They considered banning food altogether, as the new library at the new Grant campus library has done. But they opted for something in between o help some students.

More than a month into the semester, the policy is quickly being adopted by students.

“I feel like this had to be done for a good reason, but it really doesn’t bother me,” said Matt Walsh, 19, a liberal arts major.

Some students say they understand the reason for the policy, but also see why students have brought food to the library.

“I understand it and it makes sense as to why they don’t want meals near equipment. But people have full days and a very limited time to eat,” said 19-year-old liberal arts major Skylar Shagan.

According to Lieberthal, there hasn’t been any big incidents since the policy was announced and really hopes this does improve the quality of studying for Suffolk Students.

“I just want what’s best for the students and the library,” Lieberthal said