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NEWS

Alumnae/i, Students & Friends

Winter 2012

A HISTORY OF FIRSTS Maria Pietrosanti ’75 was destined to attend the College of Mount Saint Vincent ever since she was a young girl. Growing up, her mother, a native of Italy, brought Ms. Pietrosanti to the Grotto during the month of May on their evening strolls. “She was very devoted to Mary, and we would walk there in the evenings and on the weekends,” she says.“Once there, we would recite the Rosary, and then my mother would walk with me through the campus and tell me that one day I would go to school there. It is a memory that I will always cherish.” Like Ms. Pietrosanti, many alumnae/i are the first members of their families to graduate from college. The Mount’s current student body is composed of roughly 40 percent of first-generation college students. The College attracts numerous first generation college students, such as recent graduate James Vazquez ’06, ’12 M.B.A., as well as Rose Kelly McTague ’68, Dr.

IN THIS ISSUE: A History of Firsts 1 The Mount Roundtable 1 CMSV in the Media 2 Around Campus 2 Did You Know 3 A Day in the Life 4 Faculty Focus 7

Maritza Bianchi ’90, and Dr. Anthony Esposito ’92. As the first member of her family to receive a college degree, Mount Kisco-based pediatric dentist Dr. Bianchi says the Mount provided an ideal learning situation that left her well-prepared for dental school at New York University. In fact, her Mount classes used a lot of the same textbooks that she later encountered in dental school, she says. “The professors were really willing to work with you,” she says. “(The Mount provided) a non-stressful learning environment. Dr. Felix Bocchino, Sister Mary Edward Zipf,S.C.’62,Ph.D.—they would sit down with you and make sure you understood everything. It’s the type of learning that stays with you.” For the daughter of two Puerto Rican immigrants, Dr. Bianchi says that she found a faculty and staff dedicated to ensuring student success at the Mount. “I felt that the teachers wanted you to succeed,” she says.“They pushed

By Erin Walsh

you, but it was a nice push.” Mr. Vazquez, who grew up near the Mount and attended nearby St. Margaret of Cortona elementary school, knew that he would eventually apply to the Mount. He obtained his bachelor’s in business administration from the College, and will receive his M.B.A. this spring. “I walked by the College every day, and knew that I would apply in good time,” he says. “I was conscious of this decision while in high school, and worked hard at maintaining good grades to make myself a good candidate. When it was time to apply to colleges, Mount Saint Vincent was my first choice.” Although still in graduate school, Mr. Vazquez landed a job with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, where he is currently assistant vice president and senior client service professional in the bank’s Government Services—Connecticut and New York Region division. He credits the Mount with giving him the continued on page 4

Top to bottom: Maria Pietrosanti ’75, James Vazquez ’06, ’12 M.B.A., and Dr. Maritza Bianchi ’90

MOUNT ROUNDTABLE

Internet Identity or many young people today, it’s hard to imagine a world without Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. Ten years ago, such social networking sites did not exist. In a short time span, social media has changed and continues to alter the way we communicate with each other, for good or for ill.

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These sites allow us not only to socialize, but to meet and network with potential employers. While these are positive outcomes from social media, there are also undeniable drawbacks to sharing too much online and leaving an intractable digital footprint. To find out how the brave new world of social media defines and affects us, we spoke with Dr. Cynthia Meyers, Associate Professor of Communication; Diane Machado,

By Christina Gonzalez ’09

Director of Career Development and Internships; and Dr. Rajkumar Kempaiah, Assistant Professor of Business and a specialist in information technology. Here is what they had to say. 1) How has social media evolved in the last several years? CM: New platforms allowing different ways of sharing, including Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, continue to develop. Video sharing sites, such as YouTube, will continue to grow in importance. DM: It has become very mainstream. Facebook, which started as something used mostly by college students, has become something being used by people in every age group, with the largest growth in older adults. It has continued on page 6

COLLEGE OF MOUNT SAINT VINCENT 6301 RIVERDALE AVENUE | RIVERDALE, NY 10471 | PHONE (800) 665-CMSV | (718) 405-3345 | WEB:WWW.MOUNTSAINTVINCENT.EDU


COLLEGE NEWS

CMSV in the

MEDIA The Mount has garnered a lot of press coverage in regional and national publications. Read excerpts of the latest coverage of your alma mater. ®Director of Campus Ministry Cecilia Harriendorf, S.C.’s lifechanging journey from television producer to Sister of Charity was featured in the September issue of Woman’s Day magazine. ®To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, campus chaplain Father Chris Keenan was profiled in the New York Daily News in September for his essential role of providing ministry at Ground Zero. Father Chris is also Chaplain for the Fire Department of New York, and assisted at Ground Zero after the death of his friend and mentor Father Mychal Judge.

around AD LAUDEM DEI On October 25, 2011, the College of Mount Saint Vincent honored distinguished alumnae Nancy Harding ’69, Ph.D. and Sophia Yan Liu ’69, Ph.D. for their noteworthy professional accomplishments, outstanding moral character, and contributions to the community with the 2011 Ad Laudem Dei Awards. Dr. Harding holds a B.S. in chemistry from the College and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Purdue University. She is an inventor of genetically purified gellan gum,

Honorees Dr. Sophia Yan Liu ’69 (l) and Dr. Nancy Harding (r) with Sister Kathleen M. Tracey ’48, Ph.D.

Father Chris Keenan in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, College of Mount Saint Vincent. Credit: Victor Chu/Daily News

®Associate Director of Development Systems and alumna Madeline McGuinness ’01 was featured in an October U.S. News & World Report article on the benefits of tuition remission for college employees. Ms. McGuinness says that finishing college was a special goal for her to achieve, as the first member of her family to earn a degree. ®Assistant Professor of Nursing and alumna Mary Ann Witt ’90 was quoted on understanding childhood obesity in Clinical Advisor. “Tackling obesity often takes skills that are not taught in medical school,” she said in the publication. “Physicians learn about how to treat diseases and repair the body, but don't spend much time learning how to change behaviors.” — Erin Walsh

For more news, visit www.mountsaintvincent.edu/news 2 Winter 2012

a food additive that has helped improved the quality of consumer milk and dairy products, and has also helped create four other patented agents. After earning a B.S. in chemistry from Mount Saint Vincent, Dr. Liu received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Columbia University. Her work has yielded multiple U.S. patents, including one for an agent that results in safer plastics.

ENGLISH PROFESSOR ROB JACKLOSKY SELECTED AS FINALIST IN ESQUIRE MAGAZINE SHORT, SHORT FICTION CONTEST Chair and Professor of English Dr. Rob Jacklosky was recently named one of 10 finalists in the Aspen Writers’ Foundation and Esquire Magazine 2011 Short, Short Fiction contest. Dr. Jacklosky’s story, “Baby Envy,” was performed in front of a live audience composed of contest judges and 300 literati at an Esquire Magazine party. He and the other finalists also participated in a writing workshop taught by Colum McCann, bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin.


COLLEGE NEWS

campus COLLEGE OF MOUNT SAINT VINCENT HOSTS WINNING WEDNESDAYS CAREER SERIES The College of Mount Saint Vincent’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies is hosting a series of career advice workshops. The Winning Wednesday Series is free and open to the public. The series offers professional advice on such topics as resume writing, hiring trends, interviewing skills, and positioning yourself for your ideal job. Visit www.mountsaintvincent.edu/spcs for more information.

SAVE THE DATE: SCHOLARSHIP TRIBUTE DINNER 2012 The annual Scholarship Tribute Dinner will be held on May 7, 2012 at the New York Public Library. This year’s honoree is C. Edward (Chuck) Chaplin, President, CFO, and CAO, MBIA Inc. Join us for a fabulous evening of dinner and dancing, and help raise scholarship funds for talented, deserving students. Visit www.mountsaintvincent.edu/tributedinner for more information.

Did You Know? ® Mount Students Are

Concerned for Others Mount students selected Concern Worldwide, a nonprofit that supports the world’s poorest nations, as the College’s official charity. Every year, Students and the Office of Student Affairs coordinate efforts to raise money that is then donated to the charity. To date, the Mount has donated more than $5,500 to Concern Worldwide. For more information on the charity, visit www.concern.net. ® The Mount Wrestles into

2012-2013 SAVE THE DATE: REUNION WEEKEND The Mount’s Reunion Weekend will be held on June 8, 9, and 10, 2012, RETURN 2 0 1 2 RE UN IO N RECONNECT REMEMBER for classes ending in "2" and "7". Special tribute will be paid to the CEL EBR ATIN G THE “2” & “7” CLAS S YEAR S Class of 1962, celebrating their 50th reunion, and the Class of 1987, cel- JUNE 8 , 9 & 10 ebrating their 25th reunion. The SAVE THE DATE weekend is a wonderful time to celebrate and reconnect with fellow classmates. Visit www.mountsaintvincent.edu/alumni for more information. COLLEGE OF

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— Christina Gonzalez ’09

COLLEGE OF MOUNT SAINT VINCENT NEWS Editor Erin Walsh, Director for College Relations Contributing Writers Chelsea Daus ’12, Ranaan Geberer, Christina Gonzalez ’09 Photography Ben Asen, Dana Maxson College of Mount Saint Vincent News is a publication of the College of Mount Saint Vincent Office of Institutional Advancement & College Relations. Madeleine Melkonian, Vice President for Institutional Advancement & College Relations Address all Letters to the Editor and suggestions for future issues to: Erin Walsh, Director for College Relations, College of Mount Saint Vincent, 6301 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, NY 10471, (718) 405-3345 or erin.walsh@mountsaintvincent.edu Address all Address Changes and Alumnae/i Updates to: Alumnae/i Relations Office, College of Mount Saint Vincent, 6301 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, NY 10471, (718) 405-3336 or alumnioffice@mountsaintvincent.edu

The Mount added a wrestling team to its roster of Division III athletics. The team will compete in the Skyline, Metropolitan, and Centennial Conferences, against rivals such as Yeshiva, NYU, and Hunter beginning next fall. ® Lights, Camera, Action!

Introducing the Mount’s New Theatre Minor The Mount now offers aspiring thespians the opportunity to minor in theatre. The minor, spearheaded by Dr. Brad Crownover in the Department of Communication, allows students to concentrate in either acting/directing or playwriting/ scriptwriting. Students are required to complete 18 credits, which include an introductory course in acting, three credits in drama/performance studies, nine credits in their area of concentration, and three credits of a final performance lab. For more information, visit www.mountsaintvincent.edu/communication. — Chelsea Daus ’12 Winter 2012 3


DAY IN THE LIFE

ON THE JOB WITH A CMSV INTER By Chelsea Daus ’12

Every day that English major and Fonthill Writing Scholarship recipient Christine Westphal ’12 reports to her internship at the Bronx Borough President’s Office, she finds a new adventure waiting. Her daily assignments are based upon what’s happening in the Bronx, so she always finds something new that requires her attention. But she’s not complaining. “The atmosphere on a busy day is full of excitement,” she says. “You can sense when there is a buzz. On those days, I am so happy to be a part of the buzz.” At 9:30 AM, she walks into the Bronx County Courthouse, located just around the corner from Yankee Stadium, and heads up to the third floor. Her supervisor, John DeSio, director of communications for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., briefs her on the day’s tasks. If there’s nothing urgent to attend to, Christine begins writing press releases and articles for various publications, including a recent article for the Legislative Gazette about economic development in the Bronx over the past few years. She has also written articles about every college and university in the Bronx. The Bronx Borough President’s Office is in charge of attending to the diverse needs of the Bronx. The Borough President works with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on all areas that concern the Bronx, including education, social services, city planning, and economic development. One of Christine’s favorite aspects of her internship is assisting

A HISTORY OF FIRSTS

arrives at the 9:30 AM—Christine Borough x on Br Office of the z, Jr. and is Dia n be Ru nt ide es Pr tasks by her y’s da the briefed on Communiof supervisor, Director . Sio De hn cations Jo

2:00 PM—Alumna Jennifer Blatus ’11, who works with the Bronx Tourism Council, checks in with Christine to update her about various events happening in the Bronx.

“The College created a sense of security in obtaining a degree,” he says. “I knew that I could approach professors and other faculty with confidence that they would do their best to help. The College has built a reputation of producing capable students.” Along with the knowledge that he gained at the Mount, Mr. Vazquez credits the support and guidance of his mentors, business faculty members Dr. Teresita Ramirez, Dr. Nina Aversano, and Dean of the School of Professional & Continuing Studies Edward Meyer for his professional success. “The Mount has given me all the tools I needed to succeed,” he says. “Along with the education that I received, I also honed my leadership skills.”

4 Winter 2012

4:00 P Ruben in bet

continued from page 1

tools and support that he needed to succeed.

Top to bottom: Dr. Anthony Esposito ’92 and Rose Kelly McTague ’68

11:00 AM—She begin releases and articles promotional materia Bronx.

Rose Kelly McTague also grew up within blocks of the Mount, and it was the dream of her parents, both Irish immigrants, that their daughters attend the College. Ms. McTague, who currently serves as President of the Alum-

nae/i Board and a member of the President’s Associates Council at the Mount, and her sister Margaret Kelly McTague S.C. both honored their parents’ wishes and attended the College. The Mount was and remains an ideal place for first-generation students to obtain their degree, says Ms. McTague, who earned her bachelor’s in English from the College, and is retired from her position as head of school and CEO of Mother Cabrini High School in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. “Many of the professors themselves were either immigrants or first-generation college graduates,” she says. “They had the same dreams for us as they did when they were students. Faculty and staff were always sensitive to our needs and walked us through situations that may have presented a challenge for first-generation college students; for example, course registration completion and graduate school/professional preparation requirements.”


RN: CHRISTINE WESTPHAL ’12 1:00 PM— Christine heads to her favorite deli across the street for lunch.

ns writing press s for various als about the

with event planning, such as the Big Four, a seven-hour heavy metal concert held at Yankee Stadium this past September. The Bronx is a busy borough, and for Christine, this guarantees she will be writing press releases about upcoming events, coordinating with other offices, and assisting with upcoming projects constantly. Because the office does “more than [she] can describe,” no small task goes unfinished and every project must be completed on a tight deadline. This has taught her the importance of time management, a skill that is one of the most important lessons learned through her internship, she says. “Whenever I’m at my internship on a busy day, I feel a sense of purpose and, at the end of the day, a sense of accomplishment and pride in the importance of the work I have done,” says Christine. In addition to time management skills, Christine’s internship has taught her the importance of focusing on the “task at hand,” she says. She hones these skills as the co-editor of both the student newspaper the MountTimes and the literary journal The Underground.

PM—Bronx Borough President n Diaz, Jr. stops in the office tween meetings.

5:00 PM—Unless there is an event later, Christine typically leaves for the evening.

Ms. McTague says the Mount enabled her to achieve her dream of becoming an English language and literature teacher, and later a school administrator. “From the Mount’s professors, I learned the content knowledge and pedagogical techniques I needed to help me teach several thousand high school students, many of whom were immigrants or the children of immigrants, at DeWitt Clinton High School (in the Bronx),” she says. “At Mother Cabrini High School, I tried to pay it forward by promoting the growth of discipline, goodness, and knowledge.” Maria Pietrosanti knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher, and the Mount gave her the education and skills to excel in her chosen field, she says. “I loved playing school with my friends,” she says. “So when it was time to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up, I looked at schools with strong teacher preparation departments. The Mount was a perfect fit for me. What I liked best about the program was that it allowed me to spend valuable time in real class-

“The best thing to have on your resume is something that shows you have an interest in or, preferably, experience in your field,” she says.“When applying to intern at the Office of the Bronx Borough President, I made sure to highlight my interest in media communications, and also to showcase my expertise in multitasking, time management, group and event organization, writing, and editing.” I

rooms observing master teachers.” Staten Island native Dr. Anthony Esposito’s interest in becoming a medical practitioner was cemented at the age of 12, after a neck injury left him unable to play soccer. He visited many traditional medical doctors and completed physical therapy, but didn’t find relief until he visited a chiropractor. He had found his calling, and chose the College of Mount Saint Vincent as the ideal institution to earn his bachelor’s degree in biology. Besides being drawn to the Mount’s “beautiful campus,” the White Plains-based chiropractor was pleased by the feedback that he received during his campus tour. “The people that I met spoke highly of the programs, and were very approachable,” he says. Dr. Esposito gained an excellent education at the Mount that left him well-prepared for his coursework at Life University in Marietta, Ga. “The education was spot-on,” he says. “The biology and anatomy courses, dissecting animals—all of this prepares you for the next step,

(working on) humans.” Dr. Esposito has many favorite memories of the people that comprise the Mount community— including biology faculty Dr. Bocchino, who was his internship advisor; Dr. Patricia Grove ’74; and Sister Mary Edward Zipf, who was willing to help him when he was laid up after falling down the stairs. “(She) offered to tutor me,” he says. “She was always willing to extend a helping hand.” But perhaps his favorite memory of the Mount was meeting his wife, Jennifer (Bricker) Esposito ’95, who studied health education and currently teaches pre-school. The couple are the proud parents of three children—Carlie, Andrew, and Jack. In addition to his immediate family, the firstgeneration college graduate is a proud member of the Mount family. “I feel that I could go back today during lunch and (people on campus) would remember me,” he says. “It’s like an extended family.” I Winter 2012 5


THE MOUNT ROUNDTABLE

Internet Identity continued from page 1

made it much easier for people to stay in touch and to “find” each other. RK: Social media has become a communication vehicle and an information hub. It is a way to stay in touch with friends and family, update current information, and upload photos in real time. We have become storytellers, often without knowing it. Today, social media allows us to customize what we want to see and when we want it. 2) What trends and changes in social media do you foresee on the horizon? CM: I predict greater specialization. Users will increasingly share with specific audiences on specific platforms, maintaining multiple social media accounts. For example, someone might use Facebook for sharing family photos; Tumblr for sharing photos about an interest such as vintage cars; YouTube for sharing baby videos; LinkedIn for professional contacts, and Twitter for celebrity gossip. RK: More organizations will use social media to communicate to larger audiences, and to launch more exciting and creative competitions to stand out against their competitors. Search engines will be able to pull out information from social networking sites. Organizations will place more emphasis on user ratings and feedback from social media sites. 3) How has social media changed the job search and hiring process? CM: Recent studies indicate that up to 70 per-

cent of employers surveyed look at applicants’ Facebook profiles. Job applicants should set appropriate privacy settings on their Facebook accounts and should be sure that the public profile page is employer appropriate. Furthermore, venting about a job search or employers should take place in private and not on social media sites. DM: It makes people much more visible in both positive and negative ways. Employers check Facebook and LinkedIn for information about candidates, sometimes even before inviting them for interviews. Candidates who demonstrate poor judgment about the kinds of things they post can be eliminated from consideration. On the positive side, both Facebook and LinkedIn have made it easier for people to network and to reach out to others who might be able to help them with the job search process. RK: Social media is starting to become part of the criteria that hiring managers use to weed out applicants. Hiring managers conduct background checks using social networks. Many studies have noted that 80 percent of jobs are found via networking. 4) What are the positives and negatives of using social media for job hunters? CM: The negatives are obvious: that an employer can see posts or images that undermine a job applicant's professionalism. The positives, however, are enormous. Social media allow job applicants to present positive evidence of pro-

fessionalism in a variety of ways. A well-crafted blog, YouTube channel, or Facebook profile could allow an applicant to stand out to an employer, perhaps more effectively than the standard cover letter, resume, and interview. RK: Social media is an essential tool that links business executives and job hunters. Job hunters can keep an eye on their dream employer’s tweets, posts, and updates. Some of the organizations prefer to hire people that are connected to their personal networks and sometimes their friends vouch for them or they are one of their friends. Also, sometimes organizations will be focusing on interacting with potential hires before they actively start hiring so that they get a sense of the candidate and build relationships. 5) What should students be aware of when sharing information online? CM: Imagine that every single thing you do or say online can be seen or read or shared with the rest of the world. Every time you post or share, ask yourself, would you want your grandmother to see it? Be aware of the constant possibility that posts can be taken out of context and/or interpreted very differently than intended. RK: Students should be very careful of what they say online, as saying too much can undermine plans for college, career, or business. Personal and private matters should never be shared online. 6) What impact has social media had on national

ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS Rajkumar Kempaiah is an assistant professor in the Department of Business and Economics and program coordinator of the MBA Program. He received his Ph.D. in information management from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is an information technology expert whose writing has been featured in Information Week.

6 Winter 2012

Diane Machado is director of career development and internships at the Mount. She earned her bachelor’s from Fordham University and her master’s in student personnel administration at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a past president and member of the Metropolitan New York College Career Planning Officers Association and the National Association of Colleges and Employers. She has worked in higher education for 25 years, specifically 15 years in career development.

Cynthia Meyers is an associate professor in the Department of Communication. She received her Ph.D. from University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Meyers professional interests include media history and media industries, including television, radio, advertising, and new media. This year, her article "The Problems with Sponsorship in Broadcasting, 1930s-50s: Perspectives from the Advertising Industry,” was featured in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.


FACULTY FOCUS

AMIR NIKNEJAD and world politics, global political uprisings, and giving oppressed people a voice? CM: Social media has played a very visible role in political change this past year. Activists in the “Arab Spring” have used Facebook and Twitter as organizing and communication tools. However, we should keep in mind that social media themselves don't create political change. The interest in political change must come from the users, who may find social media an excellent way to spread their ideas. That social media can be such a useful tool for change is very exciting, but we should be careful not to attribute the change to the technology itself. RK: The monopoly enjoyed by traditional media is long gone. More politicians are using social media to directly communicate with their electorates. It is transforming the way we communicate. Social media continues to play a pivotal role in scaling connections quickly between people around shared values. It is transforming the societies in the direction of democratic values. It is playing a critical role in disseminating information and countering misinformation often generated by oppressive regimes. As social media is driven by user needs, it will continue to stir up revolutions as more tools become pervasive among oppressed people around the world. Social media tools has created a level of awareness that was never seen before. 7) How has social media profoundly changed our society? What are the implications of these changes? CM: Technological determinists believe technologies change people. I disagree. I think people change technologies. Social media will continue to change as people find new uses, abandon older uses, and begin to build new standards for how to use them appropriately. DM: It has been a very good tool for networking and staying in touch. People can immediately share information and photographs with a large number of people in a short time. It creates convenience in communication. Personal privacy can be compromised by these sites. It makes it harder for people to be anonymous. RK: Social media is encouraging many young citizens to get involved in politics. More and more politicians are using social media sites to engage with voters. I

Detecting Patterns and Changing Lives By Ranaan Geberer

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Amir Niknejad spends much of his time detecting patterns in genetic data. He then applies this knowledge of mathematics and statistics to systems biology. In addition to his love of numbers, Dr. Niknejad is very dedicated to his students, from those with very little math background to advanced math majors. Dr. Niknejad came to the U.S. from Iran to pursue advanced graduate studies. Growing up, his family had an immense respect for learning. “My mother couldn’t read or write, but when I was studying, she’d make me read to her,” he says, adding that she’d memorize each paragraph, and then quiz him on the material. He entered Boston College expecting to pursue a career in physics, but switched fields when he developed an appreciation for the versatility and power of mathematics and its broad applications. Eventually, Dr. Niknejad earned a master’s in mathematical statistics from Claremont Graduate University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois. Along the way, he worked for Polaroid as a research scientist, where he established a technology readiness program for employees. He has held several research and teaching positions, the last as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Visiting Professor at East Tennessee State University. Three years ago, he decided to move to New York and joined the Mount. Much of his research deals with microarrays, or DNA chips, in which microscopic DNA spots are attached to a surface by chemical means. The researcher detects patterns, and then converts the patters to numbers. Typically, of the thousands of genes, only a small number are significant to an experiment. Dr. Niknejad’s book, Applications of Linear Algebra to DNA Microarrays, (with Shmuel Friedland), addresses the problems of how to restore missing data on DNA microarrays that have been corrupted, and how to condense the

enormous amount of information obtained. “This research reflects how algebra and geometry can be used to examine disease and come up with a mathematical model for drug design,” he says. One of Dr. Niknejad’s goals is to serve as a liaison between universities, pharmaceutical companies, and government research agencies to create a dialogue that would help efforts toward finding a cure for diseases such as cancer, HIV, and diabetes. This past summer, he was invited by the Zuse Informatics Institute of Berlin, Germany to collaborate with their Scientific Computing group on a “computational drug design” project. In recent years, both prion diseases, such as mad cow disease, and viral diseases, such as HIV or SARS, have attracted much public and political interest, says Dr. Niknejad. Whenever any new disease is discovered, there is a highly competitive race to invent new drugs to combat it. This race typically starts with computers. Molecular drug design is a timeand cost-intensive procedure, which utilizes many resources. This is why the starting place for new pharmaceutical development begins using computers. Molecular interactions can be predicted and calculated on the basis of simulations in the forefront of design specifications. This can be done by developing fast algorithms using super computers, says Dr. Niknejad. Members of the computational drug design project team hail from around the globe and a variety of backgrounds. Dr. Niknejad is excited and proud to be a part of this interdisciplinary research collaboration. At the Mount, Dr. Niknejad’s door is always open to students. Soon after each term begins, he makes an individual appointment with each student. “One of the advantages of being involved in research is sharing the story with my students and showing them that mathematics can save lives,” Dr. Niknejad says. I Winter 2012 7


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mount saint vincent 6301 riverdale avenue riverdale, new york 10471-1093

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T C E N N CO E H T H T I W T N U O M

The Office of Alumnae/i Relations is proud to announce the launch of our Online Community this spring. The community offers alumnae/i the opportunity to be a part of an online world, where you will be able to connect with classmates and network with fellow alums. Other features of the Mount’s Online Community: I Create your own personal profile I Upload your resume I Post new and exciting information in the class notes section I Reconnect with friends and classmate or make new friendships and connections


CMSV News - Winter 2012