Students find ways to support blood drive

Shannan Schmidt, a 21-year-old liberal arts major in her last semester at SCCC, had given blood at various events in years’ past, but never at Suffolk. So when she found out about last week’s blood drive in the Babylon Student Center, she was all for it.

“I think blood drives are a great idea,” said Schmidt. “It brings students together, it brings the school closer to the community, and it’s an amazing thing you’re doing. I wish I knew about this event last year so I could’ve participated in that one as well.”

The blood drive was organized by Health Services and held Feb. 22 from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. in Montauk Point Room 212.

Anyone who isn’t comfortable with donating blood or is unable to can participate in other ways.

Jon Panetta, a 19-year-old student here at SCCC, said he’s “not the greatest with needles” and always manages to pass out in the doctor’s office immediately after getting blood taken.

“However,” he said, “I do support and agree with what blood drives are trying to do.” He found the event so important that he told almost all of his friends on campus about the drive and urged them to stop by to donate between classes or during breaks. He also spoke to students the day of the drive “just to get the word out so people know what [was] going on.”


Email scam targets SCCC students’ tuition refunds

An email phishing scam aiming to steal student tuition refunds has targeted SCCC students, according to a warning sent by the college’s Information Technology Services department earlier this month.

Rochelle Tharpe, a 20-year-old criminal justice major at SCCC, received the phishing scam email, which sought to trick students into entering their school account information, but fortunately did not fall for it. She said she the experience was nonetheless unnerving.

“It was from that moment on that I began to fear for my cybersecurity,” Tharpe said.

SCCC student, Rochelle Tharpe, showing the phishing email scam warning she received from Suffolk on Feb. 14. Photo courtesy of Paula Schultz.

“The email looked like it came directly from the Suffolk IT department. It states that you must enter your student email and password in order to have access to your tuition refund,” Tharpe said. “Thankfully, I was too busy and did not go through with entering my information. This whole mess made me question if student information is really that safe from cyber-crime.”

Tharpe said she received a warning from Suffolk information technology department before she fell for the scam.

On Feb. 2, students attending any SUNY institution were informed about a phishing scam that has targeted SUNY students through email. By Feb. 14, an updated email announcement informed Suffolk students the email scam had reached them.

Just how many students were affected is not yet known.

In the most recent email, students were instructed to delete the scam email and empty their trash folder.

The email that SCCC sent out to students, warning about the active phishing email scam. Photo courtesy of Paula Schultz.

“Phishing scams seem to have become a commonplace in educational institutions these days and they have increased over the last year or so,” Steve Rios, the educational technology specialist on the Ammerman campus,  said in an emailed statement. Rios has worked for the college for 28 years and is in charge of setting up and maintaining the classroom technologies.

“Most of the time it’s a group of people trying to scam users’ information for many different illegal reasons, like stealing money from someone’s bank account,” Rios stated. “Scammers send out hundreds and even thousands of emails to try to get someone to email their logon and password or other information that will allow the hackers to penetrate the user’s computer, work or home network, and or bank information.”

For cybersecurity concerns such as this, the Office of Information Security at Suffolk works to analyze trends in cybersecurity and keep student and school data protected. Information security officer Jason Fried makes it clear that protecting student information is an ongoing effort.

“We strive to continuously enhance our controls, policies, procedures, and training. The National Cybersecurity Alliance is one of many organizations that provide free training and materials that guide people through making good decisions about their online activity,” Fried said.

“I encourage students to review the Information Security Policies on the College Website …. Also, please regularly install security patches on your personal computers and mobile devices,” Fried advised.

Are SCCC students informed about politics?

Photo: Newspapers that were once only available in print are now available online, such as the New York Times. Photo by Mike Gaisser 

College students get their news through many different sources. However, when it comes to the hot topic of politics, some are more informed than others.

“Students are remarkably open-minded and eager to learn more,” said Jason Rose, a political science professor at SCCC’s Ammerman campus. However, he also points out that “young people are blissfully ignorant,” as are professors.

To learn more, there is an abundance of the news sources that college students can go to. Rose recommends that students read and listen to NPR and watch “PBS Newshour.”

Sam Ashkenazy, 19, a broadcasting major, said he often goes to late night comedy shows like “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah for news. He said they give him a sense of stories he needs to research, “and then I branch out from there. But if I’m really watching the news one day, I’m usually on CNN.”

However Denise Centeno, 31, a physical education major, admits that she doesn’t watch or read much news. She watches the “news every now and then,” usually in the morning. “I don’t know sh–” about what’s going on in Washington, she said.

In 2016, Pew Research Center conducted a study and found television news use is dramatically lower among younger adults. Just 27 percent of people age 18 to 29 got their news from television. However, it’s higher for adults 30 to 49, which is 45 percent.

Centeno, who lives in Bay Shore, argued that the “news is phony” because she believes media outlets are not covering important stories enough, such gang-violence killings. She noted that the media is just coming around to covering years-long gang violence in Brentwood.

For students, their phones are a primary way to get their news for the day. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, 94 percent of people aged 18 to 29 got their news from a mobile device in 2017. Same for people aged 30 to 49. These numbers have continued to rise. Mobile devices serve as a quick way of getting news when students are on the go, with college and jobs.

“The first thing I do in the morning is check my phone to see if [Trump] blew up the world or not,” Ashkenazy jokes. “We constantly have breaking news updates going on.” Ashkenazy reads a variety of online news sources.

Centeno said she prefers email notifications and doesn’t go on social media regularly. “I have a Twitter, but I don’t go on it.” Twitter features trending topics throughout the day based on your location.

With jobs, college work and family life, it can be rather difficult for college students to keep up with politics and know what is happening on a daily basis. However, it’s important to keep up to know what issues could affect them. Ashkenazy finds himself dedicating “more and more” time for it. Currently, he spends “at least..two hours a day.”

5 things every transferring student needs to know

So you’re getting ready to transfer to a four-year college or university next semester and, like many students in the same boat, you’re probably freaking out for a variety of reasons. We’re here to take some of the stress off your shoulders. Here are five things that will prepare you to make the next big leap.

  1. Map out a plan

Make a list of schools that have your major or program, then break it down from there. How many of your credits will get transferred to your next college of choice? The more credits the better. This process will help you stay organized and will avoid any complications down the line.

  1. You aren’t alone. Talk to people.

Suffolk County Community college itself offers a lot to students who are transferring. The Campus Counseling Center is a great resource for those who aren’t sure which step to take first. The counselors are there to sit down with you and help you through this process. Same goes for professors and even other students.

Jenna Berte, a former SCCC student who transferred to the University of Delaware in 2018 said, “I did most of the work with my transferring process. If I needed help, I contacted professors I was close with or advisors that I knew would help me at Suffolk.” Do not be afraid to talk to people. And especially don’t miss out on the Ammerman Campus Counseling Center’s Spring 2018 Transfer Day this Wednesday, from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Babylon Student Center’s Montauk Point Room. You can meet with representatives from more than 60 colleges and universities, pick up brochures and ask questions about the institutions, their curricula, and the application process.

  1. Don’t be afraid of change.

You’re finally going to leave Suffolk County Community college and move onto bigger and better things. Don’t get me wrong, SCCC is great, but it’s nothing compared to other colleges. I transferred out of a college in Fredonia and came here to Suffolk, now this process is starting all over again for me. I wasn’t afraid of change and you shouldn’t be either. Change, after all, is inevitable.

Maria Savino, a student from John Jay who transferred here to Suffolk said, “My advice to anyone that is going to transfer in the future is, do not be scared of change. You will miss what you left behind, but what is coming is far better because it’s one step closer to all you have dreamed of. Enjoy the process and the journey.”

  1. It’s a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.

There are a lot of different elements and series of questions within this process. Am I choosing the right school? Can I afford this school? Will they accept me? Stop. Breathe. You got this.

Berte said to her, “The transferring process wasn’t necessarily difficult as it was stressful. It was stressful trying to figure out what classes would transfer over to the university I’m at now and whether or not they’d be of any use to me when I got here to University of Delaware. It was tedious and most of the stress is on you to figure out deadlines and transfer information.” You can’t expect any situation leading you to your future to be simple. That’s just how life works.

  1. Enjoy the ride. Everything is going to be OK.

When I transferred to Suffolk, I wasn’t sure I was making the right decision. But now, I am graduating this semester with a degree and then attending another school to get another degree. You must trust your instincts and always follow your heart. I promise everything will be okay. This is your journey and honestly, it’s only the beginning of it. Hang on tight and enjoy the ride. It’ll be a good one.



Silent no more: Student finds her voice at Suffolk after six years

If you had never met 19-year-old Katie Digena before, you would never be able to tell from her bubbly personality that just two years ago she was nearly mute.

Digena has struggled with a stutter since she first was able to speak at two years old. Bullied heavily in elementary school, Digena entered junior high school looking for a way to avoid speaking and being bullied any further. An English teacher suggested that she try communicating through a whiteboard and marker, which went on to become Digena’s voice for most of the next six years at school. Although it was a salvation from having to use her voice, it didn’t prevent bullies from targeting her.

“There were a few times when someone would take my whiteboard—break it, throw it away,” Digena said. She only spoke to her parents at home and a few close friends.

After high school, Digena entered Suffolk knowing that she would have to start speaking to get through everyday adult life. She slowly started speaking little by little in her first semester.

“I started to talk in my English class a little, and I realized I was able to not stutter as much. I thought, ‘I can do this, in this one class.’ Then I did it in a second class. I started talking more and more,” she said.

Digena also went to therapy to help with the social anxiety she felt about public speaking.

“I was told to just talk, just forget everyone’s around. If you stutter, just keep pushing through it, just keep going,” Digena said.

Now in her fourth semester, when Digena speaks, her stutter can barely be found.

“It’s a world of a difference. I don’t even remember her stuttering her last time I saw her or the last dozen times I’ve seen her. I think she became much more confident in herself and who she is,” said 19-year-old Spencer Ross, Digena’s friend since junior high.

Digena hopes to become a teacher or even a public speaker at schools and colleges in the future.

“I want to be the voice for other people when they can’t talk because they’re terrified. I would be terrified to go to school, terrified to get up in the morning. I wanted to kill myself—I tried it. It was such a horrible time in my life. I just want to be that voice for other people,” Digena said.

Suffolk student Kimberly Ramirez, 19, has been Digena’s friend since third grade and says she is proud of Digena and is happy that speaking has become easier for her.  

“Having a stutter is something that a lot of people don’t realize the effect that it can have on someone, and also the way that other people perceive it and treat you as a result of it. I don’t think people fully understand the impact that that can have on someone’s life,” Ramirez said.

For others going through something similar, Digena has some advice.

“If I could speak to my junior high self, I would say, ‘This is all for right now. Your entire world is this school — for right now. But when you’re older, you won’t even think about these days. You’re going to look back and you’re going to think,  ‘Wow, I spent all that time worrying about what people thought when I could’ve been doing something that made me so happy.’ And right now, I want to take back that time, and do as much as I can with it,” she said.

SCCC celebrates the Lunar New Year

At a Feb. 10 celebration of the Lunar New Year hosted by the SCCC Asian Culture Club, tradition and culture were the main dishes on display.

The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays in the Asian culture. It is the start of their year based on the lunar calendar. There is no specific date for this celebration, but it is generally held between Jan. 21 and Feb. 10. This year it was Feb. 16. Each year is represented by an animal from the Chinese zodiac, and 2018 is the year of the dog.

Red and gold, which represent good luck, positivity and festivity in the Asian culture, decorated the entrance.

“There are different ways to celebrate this holiday, depending on the country. What we do here is a Chinese celebration, since there is a big Chinese community around,” said Linh Cai, a student at SCCC and member of the Asian Culture Club.

Suffolk County is the home of more than 50,000 Asian people, which represents a 3.7 percent of the county’s population, according to Suburban Stats.

A Tray of Togetherness, an eight-compartment plate composed of preserved vegetables for prosperity, coconut for togetherness, and seeds of plants for good wishes, was placed on the entrance. Next to it, there was a basket with red envelopes, which people give on New Year to their family members for good luck and abundance.

Sponsored by the Office of Campus Activities and the Asian Culture Club, the event was held in the Montauk Point Room of the Babylon Student Center and included members of the college community, as well as representatives and families from the Long Island Little Dragon Chinese School and Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu School.

“This is a space for families and all of us to enjoy. We are here to celebrate together,” said professor Vera Hu-Hyneman, faculty advisor of the Asian Culture Club.

The tables had tangerines, as the lucky fruit, arranged in groups of eight by table, since eight is also a symbol of luck. In addition, traditional food was served, such as rice, noodles, sweet and sour beef, spring rolls and dumplings.

Artistic acts, such as the Lion Dance, performed by the Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu School, and some storytelling performed by students of Long Island Little Dragons Chinese School, immersed the attendants into significant representations of the culture.

This culture has a big influence locally, and they wanted to create a space on campus to cherish their traditions away from their homelands.

Adriana Gonzalez, who attended the event, said, “It is important to encourage more people to participate, so we can open our minds to different ways to see the world around us.”

The Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu school performing the Lion Dance, a tradition in Asia, while people from different ethnicities enjoy this cultural exchange.


How to use SCCC resources to make the most out of your experience

If you are attending Suffolk County Community College, there’s a chance you didn’t get accepted into your dream school and SCCC is a springboard to get you there.

If this sounds like you, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. Many students who go here are in the same situation.

SCCC graduate and current Baruch attendee Kyle Mikes has some words of comfort and advice: First, don’t worry. And second, “work hard, but don’t bury yourself in anxiety.”

When Mikes first attended SCCC, he was nervous about keeping his grades up, meeting deadlines and making sure he was taking all the right classes. The anxiety that built up prevented him from being the stellar student he knew he was.

“I always brushed it off when teachers said to visit the Writing Center and stuff, but I began to use my teacher’s advice and seek help through the school in order to focus and crack down on my school work,” he said. “The Writing Center was really helpful and they took all of what I thought was perfect work, and truly made it into an academic masterpiece.”

Courtney MaGinley, an adjunct instructor who teaches English and journalism, agreed, calling the Writing Center “a wonderful place for students to further develop their writing skills in a safe and encouraging environment.”

Mikes also employed the help of his academic adviser.

“When I was going into Suffolk for the first time I had no idea what I was doing, how to schedule classes, or what classes to even take to ensure I meet my credit needs.” By taking the right classes and evening out the workload throughout his semesters at Suffolk County Community College, Mikes was able to maximize his productivity and it really allowed him to excel in his two years at Suffolk.

Current student Matt Nook says he would be “completely lost” without the help of his adviser.

Mikes suggests to all students who are here to become better students to utilize the tools Suffolk provides and it will ensure your spot in your dream school.

“If it wasn’t for the help of the Writing Center, helpful teachers who want you to succeed, and the academic advisers at Suffolk, I never would have been able to boost my grades and become a better student compared to the one I was in high school.”