Eugene Krel ’08 (Baruch) leads MFE team to victory

Eugene Krel ’08 (Baruch) (Baruch MFE’09) led a Baruch MFE team to winning the 2012 Rotman International Trading Competition (RITC) that took place at University of Toronto, where 50 teams representing 44 academic institutions from four continents competed.

Click here for complete CUNY ARTICLE

Russel Neiss ’05 (Queens)

Michael Grohman and Duane Morris

Michael Grohman, Managing Partner at Duane Morris, New York Office

In 2008 Michael Grohman was introduced to Macaulay Honors College and it was an instant connection. As a high-achieving graduate of Brooklyn Law School (1983), he identified with Macaulay’s mission to provide unique opportunities beyond the traditional college experience. Under Michael’s direction, Duane Morris LLP, has been hiring and mentoring Macaulay students and alumni ever since.

Michael has organized three annual “Careers in Law” breakfast events at Duane Morris, introducing over 60 Macaulay students to the field of law. Panelists from various areas of the firm shared insights into their careers and then made themselves available for one-on-one informational interviews.

Since 2009 he has filled seven paid internship positions with Macaulay students who had the rare opportunity to conduct research, create documents, and shadow lawyers. Interns have called the experience “priceless.” One even noted “I learned so much at Duane Morris; now I am sure that I want law school to be in my future and I would highly recommend this internship opportunity to another Macaulay student.”

Michael also filled four graduate internships with Macaulay alumni and two—Reshma Shah ’08 (City), Mary Pennisi ’08 (Brooklyn), —were hired upon graduating from law school. Anna Lukashova ’08 (Hunter) also joined Duane Morris as a paralegal while she attends law school full-time.

On March 1, 2012, Mr. Grohman will facilitate a “mock law school class” for the Macaulay Pre-Law Club. During this workshop, Macaulay students and alumni will get a preview of what a real law school class is like. This experience will enlighten students who are contemplating applying for law school and better prepare the ones who will begin this fall.

Michael has been serving on Macaulay’s advisory council since 2009 and in 2011 Dean Kirschner appointed him as co-chair of this influential and highly invested group. When he isn’t doing everything in his power to help Macaulay students and alumni succeed, he devotes time to his other passion, photography (check out his link below).

We are grateful for Michael Grohman’s leadership and to everyone at Duane Morris LLP for welcoming, mentoring and preparing Macaulay students and alumni to rank among the best lawyers in New York City.


Michael Grohman:


Law career




Duane Morris LLP:

Support Macaulay!

Three reasons why Alumni Giving is important…

-Your support helps advance the mission of the college
-Your gift demonstrates your satisfaction with your Honors College experience
-Your participation is an opportunity to invest in the program that invested so much in you

Sasha Ahuja ’09 (Hunter College)

Sasha Ahuja ’09 (Hunter) talks about choosing Macaulay; her work toward racial and economic justice; and launching Macaulay Honors College’s Alumni Of Color Affinity Group.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? (ie where were you born/grew up/how you found Macaulay etc)

As the first person in my immediate family to attend college in the US, applying and paying for college was daunting at the age of 17. I spent much of my senior year of high school applying to almost every full tuition scholarship program I could find. After finding the Honors College and wanting to get a better feel for Hunter, I remember meeting Gwendolyn Williams ’06 (Hunter) who was going into her junior year at the time. Gwen told me that she would not be pursuing a Bachelor’s had it not been for the (then) CUNY Honors College. She probably doesn’t know this but Gwen’s passion for this program was what sold me (Gwen recently graduated from medical school at the University of Pittsburgh!).

Sasha, would you mind sharing what you have been up to since graduating Macaulay Honors College in 2009?

Since graduating, I completed an MS in Social Work at Columbia University, concentrating in racial and economic justice in social and public policy. I spent a great deal of time organizing alongside social work professionals who were committed to pushing schools of social work to recruit a more diverse cohort of professionals, as well as to prepare social work students to examine their roles as gatekeepers for low-income communities and communities of color to access resources that they have historically been denied. In that time I also continued my organizing work in the South Asian community and immigrant communities throughout New York City, working primarily with youth. I am now working as a legislative consultant with the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, organizing and building capacity for New York City street vendors to drive progressive citywide change. Basically, it’s been a busy two years.

What would you say has been your most significant accomplishments since graduating?

I feel most proud of stepping into a professional role that enables me to bring my vision for change to the workplace every day.

How has Macaulay helped shape who you are today?

Macaulay has shaped my deep commitment to diversity in higher education, and more importantly has brought me to embrace the rich political history of the City University of New York. The Honors College embodies what was once at the core of the CUNY system – free, quality higher education for the people of New York City. MHC has made me think critically about how institutions of higher education are going to work to close the highly racialized education achievement gap in the United States. Macaulay has shaped my thinking about innovation when it comes to higher education as this program embodies what colleges and universities across the country should look like. In the world I want to live in, all higher education programs would invest in students not only financially, but also with the tremendous peoplepower that Macaulay devotes to students.

Sasha, you are launching an ‘Alumni of Color’ affinity group at Macaulay. Can you tell us a little bit about your motivation?

In connecting with Shekeima Dockery ’13 (Hunter) and Natalia Lopez ’11 (Hunter), both Mellon Mays fellows and Africana-Puerto Rican-Latin majors at Hunter College, the three of us began to discuss some of our experiences as students of color at Macaulay, including some of the difficult conversations around issues of race and racial justice that we have had with fellow students. We share a commitment to seeing Macaulay continue to reflect the people of New York City and the communities we are from. We look to bring a creative and necessary perspective to diversity at Macaulay by first and foremost bringing students together.

What is your vision for your new affinity group?

As a Macaulay alumna, it is important to Shekeima, Natalia and I that current students of color at Macaulay have a broad network of alumni to connect with, and that students and alumni of color continue to inform the MHC diversity dialogue, student programming, and institutional policies. Similar to fellow high-ranking institutions of higher education, we ultimately imagine something like a “Macaulay Honors College Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.” We hope this group can be the beginning of something bigger.

How should alumni that would like to get involved with your new group, contact you?

As we begin to sort through logistics for this brand new group, the best way to contact us is e-mailing us directly! Our kickoff event will be at Macaulay on Feb 2 and Macaulay is hosting “Supporting Excellence: Discussing the Experiences of High-Achieving College Students of Color” on Feb. 10. You can e-mail me at for more information on the events and/or affinity group.

What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue to work in a capacity where I am able to work towards my vision for racial and economic justice.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, Sasha!

Alumni make permanent mark on W67!

Over 50 Macaulay alumni gathered on October 5 to welcome the Class of 2011 and dedicate the new word cloud mural.

The word cloud, a gift from the Classes 2005-2010, was dedicated by Macaulay’s 10th anniversary alumni giving chairs, Mila Matveeva ’10 (Hunter) and Dan Blondell ’10 (Hunter). Thanks to all who participated!

Artist, Joseph Sopp '10 (Hunter), with fellow alumni at the dedication

Following Mila and Dan’s dedication, Miriam Samstein ’07 (Brooklyn), Macaulay’s first alumnus Director for the Macaulay Honors College Foundation Board, kicked off the 2011/2012 fund raising efforts!

Miriam strongly emphasized that participation and “giving back” is what matters most – not the amount of the gift.

We invite you to join the tradition of giving back by making a gift today!* Press the “Give” button to contribute now.



*Gifts will go to Macaulay’s Foundation that supports current students, academic programs, faculty and the “Opportunities Fund” that supports study abroad, independent research, internships, and community service projects.

Alumni activities are supported by the generous support from the Laura Schor Fund for Alumni Relations

Robert Gerner (10) Baruch Alumni Profile

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? (i.e. where were you born/grew up/how you found Macaulay etc)

I was born and raised on the South Shore of Long Island near Jones Beach.  I attended St. Rose of Lima Elementary School and Chaminade High School, an all boys Catholic prep school there.  My uncle attended Baruch College a long time ago, so when I was looking at colleges, I included Baruch on my list.  In researching Baruch, I found out about what was then CUNY Honors College, and I figured if I could attend college for free, why not.

 Rob, would you mind sharing what you have been up to since graduating Macaulay Honors College in June 2010?

I worked for J.P. Morgan Chase at the age of 16 as an intern.  One of my customers worked for the United Nations FCU.  When I was 18, in the summer before I started Macaulay Honors College, I interned at the United Nations FCU in their Insurance Department.  I turned the internship into a part-time position and eventually into a full-time position during my senior year at Macaulay.  I am currently a Financial Analyst in the Asset Liability Management department at the United Nations FCU.

What would you say has been your most significant accomplishments since graduating?

My most significant accomplishment since graduating Macaulay in June of 2010 would be purchasing a condo in Hoboken, NJ.  I feel very fortunate for Macaulay giving me the opportunity to save during my college years and graduate without any college debt.  This allowed me to make this purchase when both housing prices and interest rates were at historical lows.

 Can you tell us about the successes you have achieved in your career so far?

I designed and customized lender products utilizing the use of captive insurance companies, reinsurance intermediaries, and direct insurance/reinsurance companies.  Bottom line, I worked with financial institutions to self insure their own risk and therefore save them monies that they would have spent on commissions in today’s tough economy.

What role did Macaulay play in preparing you for the “real world”?

Although Macaulay offered so much to me and all of their students during our tenure there, i.e. the full tuition scholarship, grant funds, etc., Macaulay does not give anything away.  Macaulay makes their students earn it.  Nothing is for free so to speak.  From the application process to the grant request, if you didn’t present a worthwhile case or put in the hard work you either did not receive the grant or were not accepted, it is that simple.  The same goes for today’s “real world”.  Nothing is given, all is earned.

 What surprised you most about being a college graduate that you may not have anticipated as an undergraduate?

While attending Macaulay, I was so involved in working and my studies that although I attended the Macaulay events, I did not realize the importance that they would have on me later in my life.  Now that I have graduated and am able to look back and reflect on my life at Macaulay, I realize that those Macaulay events have helped me grow as a person and therefore succeed in life.  Macaulay events stressed the importance of studies and work, but made you take it a step further.  They made you take what you learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world in New York City, both present and future.

What advice would you give the most recent Macaulay graduates?

I would advise the most recent Macaulay graduates to always be yourself.  Anyone in management can always tell when you are not being real with them.  Trust me, a manager would rather have a hard worker who is real on his staff rather than someone who is fake and changes their attitude only for their manager.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to learn the Asset Liability Management field as it underlies the operations of all financial institutions.  I believe if I understand the backbone of financial institutions, it will allow me to understand the full operations of Financial Institutions to a greater extent.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions!

Xi Stacy Chen ’06 (Baruch) Launches ‘Coalition for Queens’

Xi Stacy Chen ’06 (Baruch) recently co-founded Coalition for Queens: Silicon Valley 2.0. The organization focuses on shaping the long-term future of Queens by building support for an applied science & engineering research campus in Willets Point, Queens. The organization received immediate media attention, being featured on NY1 and by the NY Daily News.

Stacy created the petition “Willets Points, Queens: future site for NYC’s Applied Science & Engineering Campus”.

You can read more about the City’s initiative, Queens SV2 and sign Stacy’s petition here.

Congratulations Olga and Dan!

Congratulations to Olga Barskaya ’10 (Baruch) and Daniel T. Allen ’08 (Hunter) on their recent marriage!

Michael Young ’10 (CSI) Receives Fulbright Award

Macaulay alumnus Michael L. Young ’10 (Staten Island) has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to Spain in English Teaching Assistantship, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

Young—a native of Staten Island—is an American Studies and Studio Art Major and Jeanette K. Watson fellowship recipient. Young joins previous Macaulay Fulbright recipients: Mikela Chase ’09 (Lehman), Nicole Jean Baptiste ’09 (Lehman), Mary Pennisi ’08 (Brooklyn), Alex Rodriguez ’07 (Hunter), Priya Surya ’05 (Queens), and Lauren Vriens ’10 (Hunter).

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director and Founder, Grameen Bank, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; John Atta Mills, President of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; Riccardo Giacconi, Physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate; Amar Gopal Bose, Chairman and Founder, Bose Corporation; Renee Fleming, soprano; Gish Jen, Writer; and Daniel Libeskind, Architect.

Fulbright recipients are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than sixty years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.

Welcome Class of 2011 to the Macaulay Alumni Network

Welcome Class of 2011 to the Macaulay Honors College Alumni Network! We are thrilled to officially welcome our newest Alumni class and look forward to each of you becoming active members of our Macaulay alumni community. Click here to check out highlights from the Class of 2011’s memorable graduation.

Be sure to stay in touch with Macaulay through our website, facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn! (All links on side bar)

Thank you!

Thank you to all alumni who participated in the 2010-2011 Alumni Giving Campaign. The beautiful wall mural will be ready by the start of the 2011 school year. The mural will be completed by artist, Joseph Sopp ’10 (Hunter). Please visit us and check out the new and improved lobby anytime!

Congratulations Brittany Bochow (’08) Hunter!

Macaulay Alumni and current students win prestigious awards and fellowships

Dear Macaulay Community Member,

Following on last week’s string of successes, I have more news to share about several other Macaulay students and alumni who have gained major recognition.

Arthur Parzygnat ’10 (Queens) has won the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He was selected in the field of Mathematical Sciences, specifically in Topological Quantum Field Theory, Homotopy Theory, and Higher Category Theory.
The NSF program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. Arthur was also the recipient of the Arthur Sard Memorial Award in 2010 for excellence in math, and he is currently pursuing graduate studies in Mathematical Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Stephen Ma ’11 (City), David Liu ’11 (City) and Christopher Hue ’08 (City) all received NSF Honorable Mentions. Stephen is also a Mellon and Goldsmith Scholar; David is a Mellon, Dewitt, and Goldsmith Scholar; Christopher is a Muehlstein and Goldsmith Scholar.

Amal El bakhar ’11 (Hunter) was selected for the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, a full-time, nine-month, graduate-level, experiential leadership training program that prepares diverse, talented and committed individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena. To satisfy her dual passions for Medicine and Law, she plans to pursue an MD/JD dual degree and work afterward in fields that pertain to both medicine and human rights. Amal is also a Goldsmith Scholar.

Pooja Shah ’11 (Hunter) has won the Merage Foundation American Dream Fellowship. She is one of just 10 students to be selected for the fellowship this year and is the fourth Hunter College student to receive this award. The Foundation seeks to inspire young immigrants to achieve their American Dream with an award of $10,000 per year for two years. Pooja is also a Mellon and Dewitt Scholar, and she has been accepted early admission to the medical school of the University of Rochester.

Last (for now, because I know we will have more in the coming weeks to share!) is Kunchok Dolma ’09 (Lehman), who won the Clarendon Scholarship at the University of Oxford. The scholarship will support her study for a master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Oxford. Only 10% of the applicants are awarded this generous scholarship, which covers tuition and fees and provides a generous living stipend. The Clarendon Scholars are chosen by experts in each student’s field. Kunchok is one of our most highly decorated alumni: a Mellon Scholar, a winner of the Chancellor’s Award for Community Service, a Dewitt Scholar, a Jeannette K. Watson Fellow, a New York City Urban Fellow, Macaulay’s graduation speaker and the valedictorian of her class at Lehman. She is currently the Assistant Director at “We Are New York” in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Adult Education, helping to empower immigrants through volunteer-led, free English classes.

Be on the lookout for announcements with more details in the coming days. If you missed last week’s announcements, there are links below. What a great way to start the weekend!

All best wishes,

Ann Kirschner

Congratulations Rori and Russel!

We are excited to announce that Rori and Russel Neiss welcomed a healthy baby girl last night, Sunday April 10th.

Congratulations Mariya and Joe!

We are excited to announce that Macaulay alumni Mariya Nerova ’08 (Baruch) and Joe Kharazishvili ’07 (Baruch) were married on August 22, 2010 in Great Neck, New York.

Alumni Profile – Zoya Feldman ’06 (Hunter) and Anthony Volodkin ’07 (Hunter)

Please tell me a little bit about yourselves. (Where are you from/grew up etc.)?

Zoya: I grew up in Bensonhurst via Almaty, Kazakhstan, and now live in Park Slope.
Anthony: My family moved to Brooklyn from Moscow, Russia when I was 12.

For those who may not know about it, please tell us about the Hype Machine and the success you have reached.

Zoya: The Hype Machine tracks conversations on music blogs around the world. These music bloggers are largely unpaid, they have no agenda, but they truly, really love music. They spend their time writing about the stuff they genuinely find interesting, just so other people can fall in love with it, too. We display a selection of their posts, as well as the audio tracks, so other people can easily sample what’s being discussed by these hardcore fans.

Anthony: In the last 5 years, we’ve grown into a top 5000 site that reaches 1.5 million monthly visitors. Our Popular chart, which measures approval from our registered users, is widely used as a barometer for up-and-coming artists, and publications in the UK and Australia have begun reporting on our data every week.

How did The Hype Machine begin? What was the inspiration? How did the two of you connect and join forces on this website?

Anthony: I built the site my sophomore year at Hunter because I was reading music blogs and finding out about all of this fantastic music, but there was no quick way to bring it all together. I wanted to make it easier for myself, so I put together a simple site, and then I asked Zoya for design advice.

Zoya: The Hype Machine was immediately useful to me, too—I was spending about an hour just checking blogs every morning, so I was really excited to have an easier way to monitor them. We were both passionate about music and internet culture, and working together just came naturally.

What has building such a successful website meant to you?

Zoya: It’s a challenge, more than anything, to keep improving. How do we help more people find awesome music from artists who aren’t on Top 40 radio, or aren’t even signed?

Anthony: Working on this project has been a constant discovery of things I do not know. In addition to learning the technical skills needed to start and run a complex website, I’ve been learning tons about business, management, and many other things seemingly unrelated to writing software on the web. This diverse set of challenges has been both exciting and frequently overwhelming.

What opportunities and experiences have you had as a result of the success of the site?

Zoya: Because we can do our work anywhere there is an Internet connection, we’ve been able to travel extensively.

Anthony: We relocated our team to Berlin one summer for a working vacation, which was great. Members of our team and I have had a chance to speak at numerous conferences that focus on the web or on music, or even both. We also still have yet to get an office, and maintain a casual environment made possible by the unique properties of an Internet company.

Please tell me about, besides the Hype Machine, other projects that you have done or are currently working on? What is the best thing you have designed?

Zoya: I continue to do freelance work on music packaging and brand identities for other companies, and I have fun with letterpressing and other personal projects. I make fonts, which I put up for download at The most satisfying designs for me, though, are the Hype Machine t-shirts—it’s always nice to run into someone you don’t know wearing something you’ve made.

Anthony: The Hype Machine takes up nearly all of my time, so when I can, I occasionally escape New York, go to see music, and think about other cool stuff we can make.

Zoya, you were part of the second-ever class of Macaulay Honors College (then, known as CUNY Honors College); Anthony- you were in the third-ever class. Would you please share how your experiences at the Honors College have contributed to your career? How did Macaulay help give you the tools and skills that you use today?

Zoya: The Honors seminars were some of my most fascinating classes; as an art major, I may have never volunteered to take an urban planning course, but these concepts have educated my sense of graphic design.

Anthony: The seminars, as well as the study abroad program of the Honors College, were a great demonstration of the value of learning a diverse set of disciplines. Even though I majored in Computer Science, I was able to take courses on Political Science, Literature and even Urban Planning – an important step to appreciating a variety of things other than technology.

Zoya: The ability to subsidize our study abroad really encouraged me to travel. I love NYC, which is why I stayed here for college, but it’s important to see what’s happening elsewhere in the world, too.

Do you have any professional advice or best practices to share with your peers?

Anthony: Your time matters. Find a way to spend a lot of yours working on what you want to see in the world.

Zoya: Re-read everything you write before posting.

New Macaulay Coordinator of Special Events

Olga Barskaya is Macaulay’s new Coordinator of Special Events. She is an alumna of the Macaulay Honors College and holds a B.A. in Finance and Investments from Baruch College.

Her studies and community service have taken her from Zhitomer, Ukraine, her birthplace, to communities in South Africa, Argentina, Israel, China, Brooklyn and New Orleans. In 2010 she received the Financial Women’s Association’s Student Achievement Award and the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership and Community Service in 2009.

In her spare time, Olga coordinates the Sunday School Program for the Kings Bay Y in Brooklyn, leads youth groups on trips to Israel and is a member of Limmud FSU, an educational organization for Russian-speaking Jews and Limmud International.

Congratulations Yunna!

Congratulations Yunna Gleyzer ’07 (Baruch) on her admittance to Penn-Wharton! She will be starting her two-year full-time MBA program this fall. Good Luck Yunna!

James Manzello ’08 (Hunter) featured in Daily News

James Manzello ’08 (Hunter) featured in Daily News for recently launched web series on Astoria.

Long-time friends and Astoria comedians James Manzello and Matt Pavich launched “The Neighborhood,” a web series focused on the different personalities they encounter in the Queens neighborhood.

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