Denise and Tony De Luca, P’13
Parents of Vanessa & Anthony
De Luca, College of Staten Island

Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

Tony and I have known each other  since childhood and we’ve been married for 27 years (but it seems much longer than that—just kidding!). Tony delivered newspapers to my grandmother’s house and I spent a lot of time at Granny’s. Both of our families settled in Staten Island in the 1800’s; my family came from Norway (my family name is Hansen) and Tony’s came from Italy. The story in Tony’s family is that once they saw the tanks rolling in, after living through the war, they knew it was time to leave Naples.

Tony works for the NYC Transit Authority as a train dispatcher. He currently controls all train traffic (N,R,D service) through the northwest corridor of Brooklyn. He’s been with the NYC Transit Authority for 22 years. I’m an executive assistant for George Kaye, President of Supreme Chocolatier and a man I greatly admire. Supreme Chocolatier has been operated by four generations since it was founded in 1911. Working for a family business reflects the values Tony and I try to instill with Vanessa and Anthony. Although as twins, their bond has always been strong.

M:  What was your hope for your son and daughter when they started Macaulay Honors College?

Living in Staten Island, we didn’t feel it was necessary for Vanessa and Anthony to attend college away from home. New York City offers just about any experience imaginable. As parents, we encouraged Vanessa and Anthony to get the most out of the Macaulay experience. They’ve maintained excellent grades, are very happy and well adjusted and they take advantage of the New York experience. Also, unlike many of their peers, they will not be saddled with a huge college debt when they graduate next spring.

M:  What has been the biggest surprise?

The biggest surprise is how personal and friendly the Macaulay staff and administration have been. Vanessa and Anthony, as well as my husband and I feel that if we have any concerns we can approach the staff and things will get resolved. I don’t really think many other colleges operate in this manner and we feel it is a real credit to the institution.

M:  For parents with students just starting college, what would you say, from your experience, is the most important thing to keep in mind?

Try to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Make an honest assessment of his or her abilities and help them choose a program that fits your child’s personality and ability.

At Macaulay, the staff is very attentive and approachable. The faculty are caring and knowledgeable, each student receives individual attention and the student population interacts very well. Our children have received a great education and are very content.
In our case, Macaulay was the perfect fit for Vanessa and Anthony.

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Michael Sosnowik, P’ 15
Parent of Shayna Sosnowik, Queens College


Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

Our family moved to Lawrence, Long Island from Baltimore in 1995 where all but one of our seven children (Dora Chana, Chaya, Sima, Esther, Shayna, Avigael and Avraham) were born. We have six daughters, one son, two sons-in-law and four granddaughters.

My wife, Susan, and I are both graduates of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

M: What was your hope for your daughter when she started Macaulay Honors College?

Shayna’s dream is to attend veterinary school. When she started college last fall, our hope was and continues to be that Macaulay will be the foundation to help her achieve this dream.

M: What has been the biggest surprise?
Honestly, we’ve been very surprised both by the camaraderie Shayna has developed with other Macaulay students, as well as by her level of work and commitment she’s demonstrated since freshmen orientation. We are extremely gratified and encouraged by this and we can already see the tremendous benefits from choosing Macaulay Honors College.

M: For parents with students just starting college, what would you say, from your experience, is the most important thing to keep in mind?

To other Macaulay parents I would say that having children who have attended other colleges, including, Barnard, Adelphi and LIU, nowhere have we seen the type of commitment to students as Shayna is experiencing at Macaulay. I believe that Macaulay will not only bring out the best in Shayna but will also, and perhaps more importantly, encourage her and help her grow beyond her own expectations.

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Alison Deane, P ’13
Parent of Zachary O’Farrill, City College, Jazz Instrumental Performance

Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

We’re native New Yorkers and musicians-my husband, myself and my two sons. Arturo O’Farrill (Zachary’s father) is a jazz pianist and composer and an alumnus of Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. I’m a classical pianist (Manhattan School of Music) and I’ve been an Associate Professor of Music at City College since 1988. Both Zack and his younger brother Adam are products of the New York City public schools. They attended Brooklyn New School, Mark Twain Middle School for the Gifted and Talented, and Laguardia High School, where Adam is currently a senior.

M: What was your hope for your son when he started Macaulay Honors College?

Our hope when Zack started Macaulay was that he would get a superior education with the best faculty CUNY has to offer that would then pave the way for an exciting future.

M: What has been the biggest surprise?

We were surprised and thrilled with the opportunity for Zack to study abroad in Cuba. He had a fantastic experience studying not only about music but other forms of art and culture in Cuba including film, architecture, religion, dance, etc.  This was an enriching experience that was beautifully planned and executed by the Baruch College study abroad staff and faculty.

M: For parents with students just starting college, what would you say, from your experience, is the most important thing to keep in mind?

College, especially for Macaulay Honors students, is an eye-opening experience and sometimes the workload of honors courses, in addition to demanding major courses, can be challenging to balance. Zack also switched his major from classical percussion to jazz after his first year, so be ready for anything.

To hear Arturo O’Farrill’s Grammy-winning music visit afrolatinjazz.org

To hear Zachary O’Farrill’s music visit ofarrillbrothers.com

photo credit: Damaso Reyes

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Jaskiran Mathur, Aunt ’09, P ’10
Aunt of Rattanamol S. Johal ’09, Baruch College, Art History and Political Science, minors in Math and French
Parent of Sohail Mathur ’10, Hunter College, Economics and History/International Relations, minor in Spanish

Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

I am a Professor of Sociology, Chairperson of my department, and the Director of the Honors Program at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. My husband Dhiraj Mathur is a Partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers’ New Delhi office. We came to New York City from New Delhi in 1998, the boys were in 5th and 8th grade — they both went to Brooklyn Technical to complete their High School education. Our older son Dhruv Mathur is an Electrical Engineer now pursuing his Master’s degree at SUNY Stony Brook after two years of work experience and graduating from the Honors Program at the Polytechnic Institute at NYU. Macaulay Alumnus Sohail Mathur ’10 (Hunter) is our younger son, I am also guardian/the ‘resident parent!’ for my nephew, Macaulay Alumnus Rattanamol S. Johal ’09 (Baruch), and his younger sister Mannat Johal, Wellesley College ’12. Their mother, my sister, Dr. Ramanjit K. Johal is a Professor of Public Administration and Chairperson of her department at Punjab University, Chandigarh, India and will be at the School of Public Affairs Baruch College on a Fulbright Teaching Scholarship in Spring 2012.

M: What was your hope for your nephew and son when they started Macaulay Honors College?

I have been familiar with Macaulay Honors College from its inception as many of my older son’s friends from Brooklyn Tech. attended and it was their wonderful experience that inspired me to mail out the application to my nephew Rattanamol in India. He was accepted as an international student in the program and came to live with me. I  experienced firsthand the growth of this young man ready to take on the world equipped with his MAC and cultural passport! He shared the wonder and joy of his New York Seminars with my son Sohail and me and we watched while not just the metropolis, but the World became his ‘oyster’. No surprise then that when it was time for college applications Sohail applied to Macaulay as an early decision candidate and the cousins became ‘Cousins at CUNY’! My hope for Sohail was that he enjoy his experience, make most of the opportunity, develop, mature, and, pursue his academic goals in this nurturing environment amidst peers who strove for knowledge and excellence.

M: What was the biggest surprise?

No big surprises really [for Rattan], a few unpredictable turns and much validation of expectations. I suppose Rattan’s beginning as an Economics and Political Science major and graduating as an Art History and Political Science Major with minors in Math and French was a surprise for the family! Thanks to Macaulay, between New York City, all his wonderful internships and his study abroad in Paris, he discovered his passion for the Arts and went on to pursue a Masters in ‘Politicizing Aesthetics’ at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He is at present a curator for an exhibition in New Delhi as part of his Curatorial Residency at Khoj International.

Sohail surprised me somewhat by exploring his leadership potential and participating actively in Student Government at Hunter College. His study abroad in Madrid opened up the prospect of acquainting himself with yet another culture and exploring yet another continent. His internships in Washington D.C. and Costa Rica fueled his engagement with policy and he spent the last year in the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, sponsored by a World Trade Organization initiative. I suppose the surprise in this case was that his major in Economics and History with International Relations along with a minor in Spanish, he has not taken the predictable path to law school but instead made him pause and consider?!

M: For parents with students just starting college, what would you say, from your experience, is the most important thing to keep in mind?

If your child is at Macaulay, he or she has made the right choice. The admission with its full scholarship is recognition of the student’s potential. Thus relieved of economic constraint, you are free to concentrate on providing much needed encouragement, guidance, as well as moral and psychological support–basically to be parents without the price tag!

Based on my personal experience (twice over!), I can assert confidently the myriad of opportunities and meaningful experiences that await your child–having the most fascinating, global and unique city as extended campus is just the icing on this cake. Encourage them to make the most of what this institution has to offer, to participate fully in the program, and, to open themselves up to all the learning, formal and informal. Rest assured your child is in good hands, sit back and watch them flower. You now have the chance to vicariously live the Macaulay way–enjoy!

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Andrew Kelman, P ’13
Parent of Elizabeth Kelman ’13, City College, Global Health

Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

I am Andrew Kelman, the proud father of Elizabeth Kelman, a sophomore in the Macaulay Honors College at CCNY. I trade affordable housing securities for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. My wife, Joan Feder, manages a program for the chronically mentally ill at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Elizabeth is the 3rd generation of CUNY students in our family. I received a Masters degree in Urban Planning from Hunter College. My parents, World War II Army veterans, met at a Veterans Service Committee meeting at Brooklyn College, and later graduated with honors in 1947. They were attracted to CUNY by its reputation for excellence. Both became educators, my father was a medical sociology professor and my mom was a New York City special education school principal. Elizabeth’s brother, Jacob, will also be continuing the CUNY tradition as an incoming Dean’s Scholar freshman at Baruch College.

As CUNY students, we all share a love for New York City, and a sincere desire to help improve our city and world for future generations. Collectively, we are grateful for the significant contribution that Macaulay makes to ensuring that CUNY continues to provide quality educational opportunities. That is why I have chosen to join Friends of Macaulay.

M: What was your hope for your daughter when she started Macaulay Honors College?

AK: Elizabeth was unusual in that she had a pretty good idea of her academic focus prior to beginning college. She has been focused on international public health and Elizabeth also has a strong commitment to service. We were hopeful that Macaulay would enable Elizabeth to pursue her interests in a collegial setting that would nourish her thirst for knowledge. We envisioned a diverse and nurturing experience that would develop leadership skills.

Our expectations have been greatly exceeded. Macaulay has provided the best of both worlds – the resources of the enormous City University system with the personal and professional attention provided by the Macaulay Honors College. We have been amazed by the opportunities uniquely provided through this experience. Elizabeth has just learned that she has been selected to be a Jeanette K. Watson Fellow. This follows her awards as a Kenan Leadership Scholar and a Lisa Goldberg/Revson Scholar. Moreover, Elizabeth recently spent the month of January in rural India studying a world renowned public health program. The trip was financed with less than half of her Macaulay Opportunities Fund. Who knows what lies in store during her next two years? The opportunities for internships and international studies afforded by Macaulay are unparalleled. We have also noted that Elizabeth has been able to maintain her public and community service interests. As a Macaulay student, she has helped organize a community garden near City College and a small garden at Macaulay and she serves on the Macaulay Scholars Council, Macaulay Honors College Council and the Macaulay Student Sustainability Task Force.

M: For parents with students just starting college, what would you say, from your experience, is the most important thing to keep in mind?

AK: This is a difficult question for parents as there are so many factors to consider. We all seek a school that is academically respected and an environment that is challenging while accepting and safe. Many parents like to see our children in an economically and culturally diverse setting and most love to have our kids nearby. Thankfully, Macaulay Honors College offers all of this. I would say that where Macaulay sets itself apart from other colleges is its ability to ensure that your child receives the utmost in guidance, attention and access to resources, enabling him or her to stand out, instead of being merely another student at a prestigious institution. This has been the case with my daughter. In consultation with an array of Macaulay advisors, Elizabeth was able to self-design a major that will simultaneously enable her to address Premed and Global Health requirements.

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Maritza Casado Mejia, P ’11

Parent of Katerine Mateo, Lehman College, triple major in Political Science, Physics, and Philosophy

Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

My name is Maritza Casado Mejia and I am the mother of Katherine Mateo, a senior in the Macaulay Honors College Class of 2011 at Lehman College. In 1995, my family moved from the Dominican Republic to New York City, where we sought to attain a better future for our three daughters. Their father and I returned to college and completed our degrees after coming to this country. I now work as a Mental Health Counselor and their father is an Institutional and Research Manager at Lehman College. Currently, all three of my daughters are in college and, as a big part of my daughter’s academic lives, I know first hand of their struggles to become successful in their endeavors.

M: What was your hope for your daughter when she started Macaulay Honors College in 2007?

MCM: When Kathy started with Macaulay Honors College in 2007, I hoped that she would be able to prosper. She has always been an overachiever, but I also knew that college would bring with it new challenges. When she started with the Honors College, it was still relatively new, and I hoped that the program would develop with its students to meet their needs and help them aspire to bigger and better things. I am happy to know that the Honors College has grown and become so prestigious. The direction and assistance that Kathy has gained from the College will last her all throughout her life. I can tell, both from what she has told me of her experiences at the College and from the success that she has gained in her academic career, that the Macaulay Honors College was the right choice for her!

M: What has been the biggest surprise over the last four years?

MCM: The biggest surprise over these last four years has been seeing my daughter gain employment at so many prominent offices. She has worked with the New York State Office of the Attorney General, a Supreme Court Justice, a New York State Assemblyman, and a United States Congressman. Although I have always known Kathy to be such an accomplished and determined person, I would have never thought that, as an immigrant coming to a new country, she could make it to such influential government offices. However, moving forward, I have changed this mentality about her. Even as an immigrant and a minority, I am certain that her motivation will override any stereotypes or obstacles she encounters.

M: What goes through your mind as each graduate school accepts Kat into their law program? Do you want her to stay in New York?

MCM: Although I love my daughter and would, like most parents, hope that she stays close to home for law school, I admire her hard work and her dedication to her goals. Right now, she is like the wind – a force that is autonomous and strong. I refuse to put any limitations on her and instead, I am grateful for the opportunities that are being offered to her, even if they may beckon her to leave home. If these opportunities happen to blow her far from home, I will surely miss her, but I know it will be for her success. After all, she will always know where home is.

M: For parents with students just starting college, what would you say, from your experience, is the most important thing to keep in mind?

MCM: The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is crucial to be involved and constant as a parent in your child’s college experience. These four years will be very different from their high school experience and it will take some adjustment for them to adapt to the new demands of college. Although they are now adults and, as Macaulay Honors College students have proved their potential for great success, they are still our children. Baby them now, because at the end of the four years you too may have to let them fly away to make their own homes and lives.

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Jacqueline Lue, P ’12

Parent of Gavin P. Lue ‘12, Hunter College, Computer Science

Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

Jacqueline Lue: My husband and I are originally from the Caribbean.  I am from the island of Trinidad (of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) and my husband is from the island of Jamaica and we both immigrated to the United States in the early 80s.  We pursued college degrees as a means of attaining our American dreams, got married and raised 3 children (Mathieu 24, Analicia 22 and Gavin 18).  I am currently employed by JPMorgan Chase as a Vice President in charge of Global End User Technology Support for the Corporate Technology Business Unit and my husband works for the Knickerbocker Corporation as a member of their resident support team. We are active volunteers and encourage our children to also give their time to others.

M: What determined your involvement and interest in the events you attended at Macaulay?

JL: Each of the topics seemed very relevant to economic or technology events that have immediate effects on our lives.  I wanted to hear from the leaders in the various industries (e.g. clean energy, electronic media) to get a first person view of the trends.

M: Do you have any other thoughts to share with other Macaulay parents?

JL: We believe that staying engaged with your child is very important to their success.  Balancing the engagement by not being over-bearing or intrusive is very critical so that they understand you care about their personal and academic well-being without the interaction being very stressful to both parties.

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Dawn Alterman, P ’12

Parent of Tyler Alterman ’12, Hunter College, Communications Design

Macaulay: Can you share with us some biographical background?

Dawn Alterman: I’m from Black Rock, Connecticut and we have resided in Mahopac, New York for the last 14 years. My husband, Bruce, grew up in Mount Vernon, NY. He owns a New York investigation firm. I am a caseworker with the Putnam County Child Support Collection Unit. Bruce and I met on Bleecker Street in ’84 and were married at a little stone church in the middle of Harriman State Park. We have two children, Tyler, who is also a J.K. Watson Fellow and Chelsea, a senior at Mahopac High School who wants to study languages in college.

M: What determined your involvement and interest in the events you attended at Macaulay?

DA: My family tries to attend as many events at the [Macaulay] Center as possible. It is always stimulating. We particularly enjoyed the Macaulay Arts Night and the CUNY Film Festival. We recently heard the artist Peter Sacks speak about his paintings. He was brilliant! Anything that involves the arts is of interest to our family, as I am an artist, my husband is a writer, Tyler is a graphic designer and my daughter, Chelsea, is a poet. We are inspired by the spectrum of talent we’ve been exposed to at the Macaulay Center.

M: As a parent, what do you do that has contributed to your child’s success?

DA: I have always taught my children to be inquisitive, kind, open-minded and generous with their time.