Top Honors go to Norman Haight and Paul Presendieu-Cuesta
Together with Joan McDonald, director of operations for Westchester County, the Westchester County Board of Health presented the 2018 Public Health Awards on Thursday April 19 at 10:30 a.m. in the Atrium in the Jeannette J. Phillips Health Center, 1037 Main Street, Peekskill.
This year’s awards recognize outstanding contributions to public health in Westchester by five people and celebrate the accomplishments of the public health community. The presentation was hosted by HRHCare Community Health in Peekskill. National Public Health Week was observed April 3-9.
“We all benefit from the commitment of these volunteers to improving the health of our community,” said McDonald, who presented the winners with proclamations honoring their achievements on behalf of County Executive George Latimer. “With their extraordinary concern for others, these individuals set an example for all of us. I congratulate the winners and I encourage other residents to follow in their footsteps.”
On behalf of Latimer, McDonald thanked the volunteer members of the Westchester County Board of Health for safeguarding the county’s health, along with Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler and the health department, who work together to preserve, protect and promote the health of Westchester residents.
Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD, presented the Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Public Health Service Award to Norman Haight, a lifelong Peekskill resident.
“Norman Haight has demonstrated an enduring commitment to improving the health and well-being of Westchester’s most fragile populations,” Baker said. “His volunteer work and service as a vice president and trustee at The Preservation Company, a not-for-profit agency, has supported the construction and preservation of affordable housing in the Hudson Valley.”
“Norman’s welcoming smile opens the door to his commitment to meeting the housing and health care needs of his community,” said Jeanette Phillips, executive director of The Preservation Company. “Throughout his years as a board member, Norman has worked to assure we partnered with developers to provide housing for seniors and special populations, and has supported events that bring the diversity of our communities together.”
The Board awarded the J.R. Tesone Youth Public Health Service Award to Paul Presendieu-Cuesta, 27, of New Rochelle, for his efforts to promote environmental awareness on the Westchester Community College campus. Mr. Presendieu-Cuesta led the effort to revive Earth Day on campus and has continued to expand Earth Day activities at WCC since 2015.
“As a Westchester Community College student, Paul made it his mission to revive earth day on campus and he has continued to volunteer his time to improve sustainability and environmental awareness there long after he graduated,” Baker said.
“We are very proud of Paul’s continued contributions to public health and public good,” said Westchester Community College President Dr. Belinda Miles. “Paul is an exemplary graduate of Westchester Community College who sets a high standard and is a great example of how an individual can make a positive difference on behalf of the environment.”
The Board also recognized three Public Health Honorees:
• Hector Santiago, 30, is a Yonkers resident and community activist who walked alone from Yonkers to Albany last summer to highlight the need for additional resources to address the mental health needs of New Yorkers. Mr. Santiago is a former gang member who initiated the StopAndShake campaign to improve relations between police and the communities they serve.
• Marisa Porgpraputson, 31, is a Scarsdale resident and recent College of New Rochelle graduate preparing for a career in nursing. A leader of the Student Nurses Association at CNR, she played an active role in publicizing and coordinating opioid education and training for CNR nursing students.
• Myrantz Assade, 36, is an Irvington resident and recent College of New Rochelle graduate who now works as a registered nurse. He was a leader of the Student Nurses Association at CNR who helped plan a series of educational events on campus to inform students about the opioid public health epidemic. Included in the events were opioid overdose prevention training sessions led by the Westchester County Department of Health.
“The Health Department is fortunate to have such capable partners working alongside us to promote public health in our communities,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “We are especially grateful to not-for-profit groups and to our honorees, who enhance and support the efforts of local organizations.”
Westchester Community College students recently focused on food insecurity and international travel during their “Alternative Spring Break” experiences. While Professor Anne D’Orazio brought a number of students to Rome, where they explored the cultural and political atmosphere of the Italian capital, twelve other students in the “Making a Difference” Club served food in local soup kitchens. We salute these students for expanding their minds and giving back to the community during their Spring Break!
The Viking News is proud to announce that they have won second place in the national competition for Best Newspaper at a two-year school at the Spring National College Media Convention in Manhattan. The judges evaluated student journalists from across the nation. “This is the first award of any kind for The Viking News since winning third place of best two-year college newspaper at the 2000 National College Publications Workshops in Chicago,” says Viking News Co-editor Amanda M. Gordon. “After eighteen years, filled with many sleepless nights of writing and editing, and lots of hours spent working and laughing with our team in our office, we are overjoyed to be able to call ourselves an award-winning newspaper once again. We want to share this victory with the campus because it is not just a win for the publication, but a reflection of the campus. Without this community our victory would not have been possible. We wish to thank everyone who plays a role in our paper. Our contributors and audience alike have given us the very best product we can produce and we hope to continue producing more quality work for the Westchester Community College community,” she says.
On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson presented 249 SUNY students from across the state with the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. SUNY students, their families, campus presidents, and faculty convened in the Albany Capital Center to congratulate this year’s awardees. Eight Westchester Community College students were awarded with the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence: Johnnie Asibuo, Daniel Barr, Jesus Blanco, Melany Davila, Christine Fils-Aime, Daniela Hirsch, Keenan Long, and Nicholas Singh.
A complete listing of student recipients is available online.
“I am immensely proud of these students, who have demonstrated academic excellence and dedication to enriching their campuses and communities,” said Chancellor Johnson. “From research publications in industry journals to volunteering in hospitals and local clinics to holding leadership roles at their institutions, I am inspired by each student we recognize today. Congratulations to all of the students receiving this year’s award.”
Chancellor Johnson was joined by special guest Erin Hamlin, a four-time Olympian, 2014 Bronze Medalist, and two-time Luge World Champion. Hamlin made history at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games as the first American (male or female) to win an Olympic medal in singles luge, and was the first U.S. woman to win a medal in any luge discipline at the Olympic Games. The Olympian and world champion earned her A.A. in interdisciplinary studies online from Empire State College.
“As a proud SUNY alum, it is my honor to stand here today as we celebrate a room full of SUNY students and their pursuit of excellence in academics, athletics, and community,” said Hamlin. “Your achievements as SUNY students is just the beginning, and I have no doubt that this determination and dedication you possess will drive you to excel in all of your future endeavors.”
The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.
Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the award.
Building Minds, Building Futures. Check out our 2018 State of the College & Foundation Annual Report. This publication contains highlights from the President’s annual State of the College Address—financial information, community influence & demographics. DOWNLOAD
A number of individuals from the college were part of the recent “We are all immigrants” Seder with attendees from Latin American, African, Muslim, Caribbean, Jewish and Asian backgrounds. The event was attended by 135 individuals including President Miles; County Executive George Latimer; Teresita Wisell, Vice President, Workforce Development and Community Education; Tiffany Hamilton, Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer; Dr. Carmen Martinez-Lopez, Dean, School of Business and Professional Careers; Professor Gifford Blagrove, Professor, Emergency Medical Services; Christine Fils-Aime, Katherine Davis Global Scholar; Lijing Xu, Katherine Davis Global Scholar; Angel Cabrera Pereira, Katherine Davis Global Scholar; and Annique McClune, student. The special Seder served as a reminder of our nation’s immigrant roots and how people from diverse faiths and backgrounds can join together and make for a perfect balance The photos were taken by Paula Wittlin.
Workforce Development and Community Education summer class registration is now open! Check out the many opportunities including kids learning camps, career training, and English as a Second Language classes: http://www.sunywcc.edu/wdce
Visit our student profile page to learn more about our alumni, current students, and their perspectives on education at Westchester Community College.
2015 hiring of Dr. Miles noted in Westchester Magazine calendar: http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Westchester-Magazine/February-2018/Black-Westchester/