Three years ago, at the age of sixteen, Joel Cartagena was ready to drop out of high school. Living in a homeless shelter in the Bronx and caring for his mother, who has cancer, Cartagena was suspended for having too many absences on his record. Adding to his sense of defeat, he had taken three years of ninth grade, but was still unable to pass due to extenuating circumstances at home. A diploma seemed out of reach.
When 2014 Graduate School of Education (GSE) valedictorian Cheryl Ann Lee addressed fellow graduates at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, she cited Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.” It’s a work that’s endured due to its message that sometimes, the path less traveled reaps greater rewards. Cheryl, a single mother from Staten Island who weathered the destruction of Superstorm Sandy and spent years raising her children while working myriad part-time jobs, has certainly taken that theme to heart.
Dr. Noah Dana-Picard, former President of the Jerusalem College of Technology spoke with students in the Mathematics Education program in the Graduate School of Education, presenting one of his fields of expertise, plane intersections of singular tori. A torus is a donut, which when intersected creates different two-dimensional shapes. Dr. Dana-Picard was very clear and took many questions from the students, who could present this topic as part of an honors high school math class. Dr. Brenda Strassfeld, Chair of the Math Program, points out that studying this topic illustrates a revival of classical topics in differential geometry that is only made possible because of current technologies. “The advances in technology allow us to access classical topics that were too abstract to represent before. It’s really beautiful stuff.” The students certainly agreed.
Dr. Sheila Tomlin-Reid has come a long way since beginning her career as a teacher in Brooklyn’s Public School 299.
From Wall Street to working in the restaurant business, Triglianos has worn many hats during his professional career. But his path would take an unexpected turn, as a series of life altering events had him dramatically changing course.
There’s an expression about converting lemons into lemonade, but what it really boils down to is seeing opportunities in obstacles and transforming challenges into irredeemable rewards. Graduate School of Education Class of 2013 Special Education and Teaching alum Tina Feingold can relate to that. A few years ago, after nearly 25 years of instructing preschoolers at the Central Queens YM-YWHA, new administrative management arrived with an ultimatum: earn your Master’s or seek employment elsewhere.
Plans, like promises, are often bound to be broken. When Graduate School of Education (GSE) student Roger Von Braun graduated from Stony Brook with his bachelor’s degree, his intention was to segue into law school. “I took the LSATs and everything else,” he remembers. “And then when I got my first acceptance letter to law school, I felt like I was going to throw up, so I realized that probably wasn’t the best path for me to take.”
For the last entry in her journal for the EdSE 600 course, History and Philosophy of Education, taught by Adjunct Associate Professor Miriam Eckstein-Koas, Kerry McCabe evaluated the class.
Growing up as the daughter of Russian immigrants has its challenges, particularly when you were born and raised in America, don’t speak with an atypical accent, and thus find that educators and other students often take your uniqueness for granted. But Long Island native and Touro Graduate School of Education and Special Education Class of 2013 grad Michelle Zak channeled that experience into an ambition to help others. Now, after nearly a decade of work in and out of the classroom between both Touro and her undergrad years at Binghamton University, the aspiring teacher has a mission to reach kids from all backgrounds without letting cultural differences impede.
Children shape our lives in innumerable, unpredictable ways. Sometimes, they even alter the course of our careers. Irina Khaytman relocated to Brooklyn from Russia in 1989 at 16 years old. After earning her undergraduate degree from NYU, she spent years as a network administrator. She also moved to Hewlett, Long Island to settle down and raise a family. But everything changed when her second son, who’s now heading into fifth grade, was diagnosed with autism.