Global CUNY 2016 Guest Speakers

Erika Ryser – Keynote

Erika Ryser is an Assistant Vice President for Program Management and Development at the Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University (IFSA-Butler). She manages programs in Latin America and Spain. Prior to joining IFSA-Butler, Erika served as Director of Education Abroad for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences and as Illinois’ Associate Director of Study Abroad. She also previously worked with the International Partnership for Service-Learning. Erika holds a Master of Education in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s degree in history, Spanish and Latin American studies from Macalester College. Erika has worked and studied throughout Latin America, including an undergraduate semester in Venezuela.


Bianca Brown

Bianca Brown received her undergraduate degree at CUNY York College, and is now a second year PhD student at Brown University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is interested in how environment shapes host-mictobiome interactions. Currently, her research projects are investigating the microbiome of the barnacle species S. balanoides in the intertidal, and assessing microbiome shifts of drosophila species when exposed to novel environments.


Evelyn Okeke

Evelyn Okeke emigrated from Germany in 2009 to begin her undergraduate studies at the College of Staten Island at the City University of New York from which she received a bachelor of science in biology and double minor in Biochemistry and Chemistry in May 2013. Starting in here sophomore year, she has been conducting research in the El Idrissi lab working on a project that have lead to two publications. She also presented her research at numerous conferences including the 18th International Taurine Meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco in April 2012.

During the summer of 2011, she worked as a research assistant in the Robinson lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, while during summer of 2012, she completed an internship in the department of Protein Science at the Merck & Co. Inc.. In the summer of 2013, Evelyn was invited by the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands to complete a research internship in the department of pediatrics with the focus in neuroscience.

During her undergraduate years, she was awarded the prestigious UNCF/Merck fellowship for the academic year 2012/2013, and she received an honorable mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2012. She has also spent a semester abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos Island in 2012 studying evolutionary and conservation biology while being fully funded.


Dane Fearon

Dane Fearon is a senior studying chemical engineering at The City College of New York with plans to graduate in May 2017. He has supported his college community as both a mentor and a workshop leader. He is the former secretary of Materials Research Society, and the current President of his college’s chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon (OXE), a chemical engineering honor society. He is a member of Combustion Catalysis Labs at City College as well as an LSAMP scholar. His research has been presented at the CUNY Summer Research Symposium. His primary interest is sustainability with a focus on energy generation. He recently visited the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Titech) in Japan to conduct research on converting debris from natural disasters into energy. He is continuing his research at his home university along with a student visiting the U.S. from Titech. As a student he hopes to publish or be in the process of publishing at least one paper before graduation. When he graduates, he hopes to become a researcher, philanthropist, and promoter of science literacy.


Mahmoud Hamsho

Mahmoud Hamsho ’15 grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn College. He is on pace to graduate in the fall with a degree in Physics. He has been part of Professor Sophia Suarez’s Material Research Lab at Brooklyn College since December 2014. He became a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participations (LSAMP) Fellow in the spring of 2015. Working in the field of sustainable energy, he has conducted research on ionic liquids and their potential to be used as electrolytes in fuel cells.

In the summer of 2016 he participated in LSAMP international research in Colombia at the Universidad del Valle under Professor Julien Wist. His role was to optimize the synthetic process of gels to be used in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance research. Mahmoud plans on using his programming and analytical experience gained through research to pursue a graduate degree in Statistics.


Victor Flores

Victor Flores is an undergraduate student at Brooklyn College, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Urban Sustainability. He is a current research assistant at New York City Urban Soils Institute based in Brooklyn College.

As a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) research scholar, Victor participated in the 2016 international summer research program at the Universidad Federal do Reconcavo da Bahia in Cruz das Almas, Salvador-Bahia, Brazil. At this university, he took part of a pilot study to understand heavy metal distribution and concentrations


Lysna Paul

Lysna Paul is a senior at New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) and will graduate in January 2017 with a bachelor’s in Biomedical Informatics. She has received her associate degree of science in Chemical and technology at NYCCT on June 2nd, 2015. During her time at NYCCT she has served in several leadership roles including vice-president of the Chemistry Club, Treasury of the Haitian Student Association Club, Vice-president of the City Tech Connection club, and served as an orientation guide.

Lysna is also an honor student who is a member of both the National Society of Collegiate Scholar (NSCS) and the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). She was one of the eight CUNY students selected from the Louis Stoke Scholar for Minority Participant (LSAMP) for the summer 2016 international research program in Brazil and she is also a recipient of the NSF-STEM scholarship.


Rabia Javed

Rabia Javed is a current Junior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. She is an Honors scholar at the college as well as an Undergraduate Researcher at the PRISM program. Her love for Biology first began in the freshman year of high school when she dissected Rana tigrina (BULLFROG!!). Visualizing the internal morphology of the amphibian species and studying the complex functioning of its digestive and circulatory system was quite fascinating for her. She is very passionate about learning and works as a Peer Tutor at the Math and Science Resource Center (MSRC) at her college. At PRISM, she works under the mentorship of Dr. Shu-Yuan Cheng, focusing her research on the therapeutic properties of Thymoquinone in Maneb and Mancozeb induced toxicity. She was inspired to take on this project after her recent summer experience in Morocco where she worked on the extraction of essential oils from aromatic plants and the analysis of their therapeutic properties in vivo. After the completion of her Bachelor’s degree, Rabia plans on pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience.


Francoise Sidime

Francoise Francoise Sidime is an adjunct associated professor in the Biology Department at the College of Staten Island, CUNY.

Dr. Sidime obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the College of Staten Island while conducting her master’s thesis at the Kennedy Krieger/Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Her doctoral thesis in Neuroscience was conducted at the CUNY Graduate Center under the mentorship of Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi.

Besides teaching at the College of Staten Island, Francoise assists the LSAMP Activity Coordinator with some of the duties associated with the program on the CUNY campus. Additionally, Dr. Sidime serves as the research liaison for the CSTEP program that supports students from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Ms. Sidime is currently the Marshall Plan scholarship/TU Graz student liaison – a role that helps in assisting the Technical University of Graz in securing scholarships for LSAMP students. Finally, Francoise is involved in the LSAMP-Morocco international collaborative project with Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi– an international program that provides LSAMP students the opportunity to conduct research in Moroccan universities and medicinal institutes.


Jenny Paredes

She is a PhD Candidate of the Molecular and Cell Biology program at SUNY Downstate who has been awarded the P20 NIH grant for cancer research with Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. Ms. Paredes was the LSAMP Coordinator at UniValle University for the 2016 summer program as well as the LSAMP Coordinator at BMCC for two years.

As a LSAMP Master student, Ms. Paredes received the Austrian Marshall Plan scholarship for the summer program of 2015 as well as funding for her thesis research at the immunology department of CCNY. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at BMCC and hopes to continue her work with minority students.


Debra Evans-Greene

Debra Evans-Greene has a long and impressive track record at the College of Staten Island of working to ensure students from historically underrepresented, and economic disadvantaged groups obtain their diplomas, both at the college and high school levels. However, beyond her official capacity as the director of Access and Success Programs such as the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), the Collegiate Science and Technology Program (CSTEP) and CUNY’S Black Male Initiative, Learning by Teaching Program on campus, many CSI students throughout the years have come to know her as their personal friend, and mentor thanks to the guidance that she has given throughout her 20 plus years.

Under Ms. Evans-Greene’s leadership, several CSI CSTEP students have earned PhD’s in a STEM related field, and several have become Physicians, NYSED Principals, Lawyers, and Adjunct Professors in the CUNY and SUNY systems. Ms. Evans-Greene life challenges have helped her to become a mentor and leader for tomorrow’s leaders; her service to the community is driven by her passion to give back, and help others achieve their academic, and career goals.

Debra Evans-Greene is a CUNY alumnus with a Master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Bachelor’s degree in Sociology / Anthropology.


Abdeslem El Idrissi, Ph.D.

Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi is a professor or Biology and Neuroscience at the College of Staten Island. His primary area of research is in the field of neuroscience, where he focuses on mental retardation and developmental disabilities such a Down syndrome, autism, and Fragile X syndrome. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. El Idrissi is the deputy- chair of the Biology Department and a Director of the Medical technology Program at College of Staten Island.

Dr. El Idrissi received his BS in physiology from the University of Science (Morocco), his MS in endocrinology from Brooklyn College, and his PhD in neuroscience from the CUNY graduate school. He also was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Basic Research and Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Genetics Molecular Neurobiology. Dr. El Idrissi is involved with Dr. Sidime in the Morocco Summer Research Program.


Ardie D. Walser

Dr. Ardie D. Walser is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies at the Grove School of Engineering, and Professor of Electrical Engineering at the City College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York. The Grove School is one of the most diverse engineering schools in the country, with eight nationally recognized programs granting bachelors, masters degrees with five also granting PhD degrees.

During his tenure at the Grove School of Engineering, he has had a wide range of accomplishments including the creation of several joint/dual degree engineering programs that have increased the opportunities in science, and engineering for women, Hispanics, African Americans and other under-represented groups. His implementation of effective advising protocols has increased the retention and graduation rate of undergraduate and graduate students.

He has extensive experience in accreditation and evaluation of academic programs, and has led several successful accreditation campaigns during his tenure as associate dean. Dr. Walser has also established robust connections with industry resulting in research and funding opportunities for faculty and employment and internships for students.


Micaela Mathre

Micaela Mathre is a Partner Manager at the Institute of International Education (IIE). She supports over 750 partners (U.S. colleges and universities, international partners, organizations, education associations and country partners) who have committed to the Generation Study Abroad campaign. Generation Study Abroad is an initiative of IIE to double the number of U.S. students who study abroad before the end of the decade. Prior to her current role, Micaela was an Institutional Relations liaison at IIE for the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. She has also taught English in South Korea and worked in environmental justice education in Minnesota. She had the opportunity to study in Tanzania and Mozambique as an undergraduate student and is committed to increasing access to education abroad.

IIE: An independent not-for-profit founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education is among the world’s largest and most experienced international education and training organizations. IIE’s mission is to advance international education and access to education worldwide.

We accomplish this by:

  • Managing scholarships, training, exchange and leadership programs
  • Conducting research and facilitating policy dialogue on global higher education
  • Protecting scholarship around the world

Ayanna Reed

Ayanna Reed is an undergraduate senior at Herbert H. Lehman College, Bronx, NY, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a minor in Mathematics. Prior to her current position as an administrative assistant in the New York City Research Alliance Office at the City College of New York, she was a research intern in UNAVCO’s Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS) program in Boulder, CO.

Ms. Reed will also be presenting her summer research at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in December 2016 in San Francisco, CA and the American Physical Society Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics in January 2017 at Harvard University.


Nia Rene

Nia Rene is an aspiring environmental scientist from Brooklyn, New York. She is the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Activity Coordinator at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She has conducted research as an LSAMP scholar in the fields of Organic and Physical Chemistry. After earning a Bachelor’s in Chemistry from CUNY York College in 2015, she decided to use her knowledge of materials to assist the environment. She traveled to Cartagena, Colombia to participate in an environmental monitoring research project funded by LSAMP and the National Science Foundation. During this experience, she found a passion for protecting the earth’s water resource from pollution. She is currently a Master’s student in Earth & Environmental Science at Brooklyn College studying the remediation of toxic algal blooms in lakes and marine systems.