College partners with SUNY Stony Brook on federal grant to increase underrepresented minority students in STEM

Nov.28, 2016

Westchester Community College is receiving $100,000 ($20,000 per year for  five years) as a partner institution for a new $4 million five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority (UREP) students receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The grant coordinated by SUNY’s Stony Brook University supports the SUNY Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (SUNY LSAMP) program, a synergistic collaboration and alliance of fourteen SUNY schools with a diverse mix of academic strengths and capabilities.

Since 1996, SUNY LSAMP has been an instrumental program shaping STEM education and forging new opportunities for UREP students to pursue and succeed in STEM programs and degrees in New York State. Over the past twenty years, SUNY LSAMP has achieved an eleven-fold increase in STEM enrollment for minority students in comparison to the previous twenty years in the state. The program has also helped increase STEM bachelor’s degrees by almost 300 percent. During the past five years, the program has been a catalyst to helping to nearly double community college students transferring to four-year STEM undergraduate programs.

“Competition for talent in STEM occupations is high, and we offer a range of pathways into these fields. Our partnership with Stony Brook University expands the talent pipeline for underrepresented minorities sought by many employers,” says Belinda S. Miles, President, Westchester Community College.

As one of the partner schools in the SUNY LSAMP alliance, Westchester Community College will provide tutoring and mentorship resources to students, sponsor university visits to encourage transfer after graduation, and initiate various summer research projects. Stony Brook and the other SUNY schools will look to expand the alliance and create additional STEM curriculum opportunities for students. Over the next five years, the three primary goals of the project will be to meet the continuing challenge of preparing UREP students for a successful transition into STEM majors; provide experimental activities that lead to socialization into science; and promote systemic change by broadening participation in research.

“Our alliance will scale up programs that build our momentum to increase student recruitment and retention,” says David Ferguson, SUNY LSAMP Project Director. “We will also focus on improving STEM pathways from community colleges to four-year schools and creating a pipeline to produce global researchers and scholars.”

To date, SUNY LSAMP has taken leadership in STEM curricular reform on the SUNY campuses and has supported UREP STEM student needs. The effort has led to engagement among faculty, staff, administrators and heads of academic departments to create new infrastructures on campuses to enhance UREP students’ participation and pursuit of STEM higher education.

SUNY LSAMP has also received ten grants for NSF fellowships and support services for twelve LSAMP graduates through the LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate program. The Bridge program has increased the UREP STEM doctoral pool by bringing in students from LSAMP programs around the country and supporting them in their first two years of SUNY graduate work and on to completion of their doctorates.

The NSF has supported the SUNY LSAMP program since its inception. This latest grant is the fifth stage of funding and will build upon and fine-tune the Fostering STEM Identity through Transitions (FIT) model that will conduct an in-depth theory driven examination of the pivotal experiences that lead to engagement, retention and over-all success of UREP STEM college students.



FAFSA Fridays and Workshops

Nov.08, 2016

Financial Aid staff members will be available to assist students with the 2017-18 FAFSA application.

FAFSA Fridays

Drop in assistance will be held in The Gateway Center – Computer Lab, room 225

10:00 am -1:00 pm

November 11 and 18

December 2 and 9

FAFSA workshops

November 14 – December 19

Monday – Thursday evenings from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Admin. Bldg., Room 120.


Questions?  go to 

Want to do it yourself?


Westchester Community College Promotes Faculty

Nov.08, 2016

Westchester Community College promoted the following faculty members at its recent Board of Trustees meeting. 

Promoted to Full Professor: 

Dr. Jody Reifenberg (resident of Hartsdale)

Dr. Jody Reifenberg has been a faculty member in the Chemistry Department for 12 years and has been Chairperson of the Department for the past 7 years. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Yale University and a M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Reifenberg is a member of the American Chemical Society and a Board Member of the Westchester Chemical Society. At Westchester Community College, she has been a Senator in the Faculty Senate and the co-chair of the Faculty Senate’s Academics Committee for the past 9 years. She has extensive experience conducting assessment studies for her Department and has served on many collegewide committees including the Strategic Planning Task Force, the General Education Task Force and numerous search & screen committees for administrators and faculty members. Dr. Reifenberg has been the Joseph & Sophia Abeles Endowed Chair for Chemistry since 2009. Other awards she received include the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the American Chemical Society’s Salute to Excellence Award.

Paul Robinson (Pleasantville)

Paul Robinson is an Associate Professor in the Physical Sciences Department at Westchester Community College. He teaches astronomy and physics courses. He is co-director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. He holds a Chancellor Award for Excellence in Teaching, and received the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award of the League for Innovation in Community Colleges.  Paul was Co-Chair of the Monitoring Report with Laurel Senft. BS, Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics-Appalachian State University; MS, Astrophysics, University of Minnesota; MS, Science Education-Montana State University.

Sheela Whelan (Pleasantville)

Initial appointment was Fall 1990. Professor of Mathematics. She has been a leader to improve the mathematics developmental education program. She has been the ACE liaison for Mathematics for five years during which time the program expanded greatly. She has served on many Search & Screen committees and has demonstrated dedication to the math programs and students. She is co-coordinator for the High School Partnership which work with local area high school teachers to prepare students for college-level courses.  She has been Faculty Advisor to Math Club. Sheela was a core team member of the Achieving the Dream Committee. Awards include SUNY Chancellor Award for Excellence in Teaching and John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award, League for Innovation in the Community College. BS, Syracuse University; MA, Teaching, Manhattanville College.

Promoted to Associate Professor: 

Robert Barnes (Ridgefield, Connecticut)

Professor of Criminal Justice in Behavioral /Social Sciences; serves as Asst. Chair of department of behavioral & Social Sciences. Served on six Search & Screen Committees, having chaired two of them. Perkins Grant recipient for Criminal Justice curriculum; SUNY Chancellor’s Award Excellence in Teaching; NISOD Excellence Award winner. BA, Sociology, Ithaca College; MS, Criminal Justice, Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Iskra Hernandez (Bronxville)

Prof. Iskra D. Hernández. The Acting Director of the Center for Academic Counseling and Student Success is responsible for coordinating the daily operations of the office, supervising all the members of the unit, managing office coverage; developing, coordinating and assessing department initiatives and programmatic efforts, managing the department’s budget, and has oversite of all General Counseling for many students. Her work experience is complimented by the following higher education degrees:

  • Associates Degree in Applied Sciences from SUNY Delhi College
  • Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Binghamton University
  • Master of Arts in Student Affairs and Diversity SUNY Binghamton University

With 12 years of experience with counseling and higher education programing, Iskra has been involved with the following programs:

  • The GEAR UP program at Lehman College (CUNY)
  • The College Now program at The City College of New York (CCNY)
  • The EOP programs at SUNY College at Oneonta and Binghamton University.

She has also a co-advisor for Phi Theta Kappa and has advised other student organizations such as WEB and the OLPA program.

Beth Seelick (South Salem)

Professor in Learning Resources, Library, Media & Instructional Technology. Serves on various campus committees and is an advocate for the Library and the students. Developed Library module for Blackboard online certification; collaborated in library brochure design; served on Search & Screen Committees. Created an online guide for Black History Month; served on Library Faculty Senate and Faculty Senate General Education Committee. Created and managed an online interactive “Library Jeopardy” game presented at New and Transfer Student Orientation. Beth is active in professional organizations which include the American Library Association, Academic College and Research Libraries and Westchester Library Association. Recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Librarianship. BA, English, CUNY Queens College; MA, Library Science, St. John’s University.

Laurel Senft (Pleasantville)

Professor in department of Physical Sciences. Served on Faculty Senate; leadership in student extracurricular activities (Geology & Astronomy Club). Search & Screen committees and Advisory Committees; Faculty workshop organizer; service to the department the Division and the college. Laurel was Co-Chair of Monitoring Report with Paul Robinson. She received the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award –League for Innovation in the Community College; SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; and has earned certificates of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard University. BS, Geological Sciences, Cornell University. MA & PhD, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Harvard University.


Thanksgiving Take Home Dinner

Nov.07, 2016

The Benefits Access Center is hosting its 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Take Home Dinner event on Monday, November 21. This wonderful new tradition is offered through a partnership between the Food Bank for Westchester and Shoprite. We are pleased to announce that ShopRite is donating 150 frozen turkeys and all of the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner to students in need.

Dinners will be distributed between 11 AM and 4 PM on a first-come basis, but an advance request must be submitted. In order to request a Take Home dinner, students can do either of the following.

  • Sign up online by clicking here.

Please help us to get this information to students who can benefit from this special event.

Did you know

The WCC Pantry, THE WCC FOOD BANK,  opened in October 2014, and through the strict guidelines of the Food Bank for Westchester, was up and running for a few months prior to the establishment of an official partnership. In March 2015, Westchester Community College became the first college in Westchester to partner with the Food Bank. Through the use of work-study students, the pantry is staffed on a regular basis with hours of operation from 11 AM to 1 PM daily. Students are most interested in pack-n-go lunches, snacks, and take home meals. Events have been coordinated on campus including a Dance-a-thon, healthy food demonstrations, and Thanksgiving Feasts. Through additional partnerships with local supermarkets and food pantries in the community we have been successfully able to expand our capacity. If you are interested in making a food donation to the college’s food bank, please contact Debra Santora.

If you are interested in learning more about the college’s Benefits Access Center, please click here.


Course Evaluations

Nov.07, 2016

The Course Evaluation Period is November 14 through December 5.
Please take a few minutes to complete your anonymous survey(s). Your feedback is important to your professors!

FIRST, ACCESS THE <mycourseval LINK:


1. Log into <mycourseval by entering your WCC user ID and password

2. You will see your list of available surveys. Then click on Take Survey

3. The survey will open and you’ll see all the available questions. Submit when finished

4. If more than one of your courses has been selected, you may continue on with the next survey or return to the <mycourseval link later.

HELP is available at: or call 914 606-5600.

Thank you for participating!



New articulation agreement with Delaware State University

Nov.06, 2016

Westchester Community College and Delaware State University (DSU) have reached an agreement that will facilitate the transfer of associate degree graduates to DSU where they will be able complete a bachelor’s degrees in two years.

In addition to the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree in two years at DSU, the agreement also makes it possible for Westchester Community College’s Associate Degree in Accounting graduates to continue their academic pursuits at the University through a “2+2+1 Program.” Such students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree in two years and a Master of Business Administration Degree after one additional year.

Westchester Community College President Belinda S. Miles and DSU President Harry L. Williams  signed the agreement on the afternoon of Nov. 7, 2016 on the Del State campus.

Dr. Miles said this agreement establishes a partnership between two institutions that share a commitment to academic excellence and student success. She noted that achieving such collaborations that guarantee junior status for students transferring into those programs are a critical component of Westchester Community College’s college completion efforts.

“Today we expand our articulation agreement to include this HBCU (Historically Black Universities and Colleges) creating exciting new pathways for our graduates that will place them in the pipeline to a range of professional careers many of which are seeking qualified individuals to address the issue of underrepresented minorities,” Dr. Miles said.

Dr. Williams said that Westchester graduates will be welcomed at Delaware State University.

“DSU is proud to be able to take the baton of these Westchester students’ academic aspiration and help them reach the finish lines of bachelor’s degree and MBA completions,” the DSU president said. “They are getting a great start at Westchester Community College and we believe they will find that Delaware State University is an excellent place to fulfill their higher education goals.”

The smooth transfer of the Westchester Community College students to DSU is facilitated by 27 academic program alignments between the two institutions.  The agreement guarantees transfer admission for WCC graduates that have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA, with the exception of four undergraduate programs that require a 2.5 GPA (Management, Accounting, Social Work and Mathematics Education).


College closed Nov. 24-27

Nov.06, 2016

Students may still register for Wintersession and Spring classes through the online system even though the college will be closed November 24-27. The college reopens on Monday, November 28.




Just Add One program wins award

Nov.05, 2016

just addone

Photo ID: Tere Wisell, VP and Dean, Workforce Development and Community Education, Westchester Community College; Donnovan Beckford, Director of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board; Eridania Camacho, Director, Gateway to Entrepreneurship Program, Westchester Community College (left to right).

The Westchester Community College Just Add One program, which assists small businesses in their efforts to expand, has received the Workforce Program Award from the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP). The program is funded by the Westchester-Putnam Development Board.

“We are proud of this recognition for an initiative which truly fits into our mission as a community college,” says Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President, Westchester Community College. “The college prides itself on its involvement in workforce development. The Just Add One project has proven to be a successful team effort.”

NYATEP is a statewide workforce association made up of colleges, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), workforce development boards and other workforce associations. The annual award was presented at the organization’s conference in Albany, New York.

This initiative for Westchester and Putnam County businesses in New York State was coordinated by two offices within the college’s Workforce Development and Community Education Division. The Gateway to Entrepreneurship (G2E) office supports entrepreneurial education through collaborations with partners in both the public and private sectors. G2E is a resource hub for entrepreneurial development at all stages, facilitating programs that respond to entrepreneurs’ needs and contribute to a vibrant local economy. Gateway to Entrepreneurship’s various programs give entrepreneurs the tools to turn their ideas into businesses by offering workshops, courses, consultations and other resources. With this particular effort, the G2E staff worked with individuals in the college’s Professional Development Center, which provides incumbent workforce training for local businesses.

Just Add One was developed in partnership with the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board and the Business Council of Westchester to assist eligible small business owners to create strategies to strengthen their business models/operations and make them more efficient, with the goal of helping each participating business grow, add a new employee, and contribute to the economic growth in the region. Within six months after the completion of the program, employers reported that a total of 45 new employees had been hired, with some companies adding one employee and others multiple employees. Westchester Community College’s Gateway to Entrepreneurship partnered with the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, Community Capital New York and the Business Council of Westchester to deliver a ten-week program for businesses at the growth stage. With a strategic focus on empowering businesses to hire new employees, this program placed emphasis on problem areas to help address some of the obstacles preventing small business owners from growing their companies.

Each of the participating businesses was assigned a coach who worked with each of the business owners for the entire ten weeks of the program. For many of the businesses, this was their first experience with coaching. Some of the businesses retained their coaches after the program ended.

Just Add One was empowering,” says Eve Ashworth of Ashworth Creative, a Westchester design firm. “Inside my small and successful business is a bigger and even more successful business longing to get out! This program strengthened my skills and helped me forge connections with individuals who have expertise in finance, Human Resources, and business development. From the moment this program started, I found myself assimilating the ideas and tools and experience of the Just Add One team. Week by week, my business became stronger and the opportunities brighter. This program was invaluable!”

In addition to the new graphic designer hired by Ashworth, various jobs were added at other small businesses including sales staff, project managers, office staff, warehouse employees, electricians along with a hair stylist, video editor, business development coordinator, and solar system installer.

“The initiative has validated the significant impact that efficiently run small businesses and properly trained entrepreneurs can have in preserving and creating employment opportunities,” says Donnovan Beckford, Director of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board.

Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, concurs. “Our organization is so pleased that this entrepreneurial program proved to not only educate small business owners to improve performance but indeed demonstrated proven results in terms of job creation. This is the essence of economic development through a program that truly delivers success!”

The selection of participating businesses was limited to qualified applicants. In order to participate in this program, which will start its second year of operation shortly, businesses must have a growth goal that would require the hiring of at least one additional employee.

For further details on the program, email or call the college at 914-606-5685.


SUNY Workforce Grants

Oct.21, 2016


Westchester Community College’s Professional Development Center has submitted three 2016-17 SUNY Workforce Development Training Grant proposals. The total cap for each community college for this grant period is $60,000. WCC requested $57,830 in grant funding and received 100% of the requested amount.

The grant recipients include the Hawthorne Foundation, a nonprofit organization; Hudson Valley Hospital, a regional hospital; and Non-Profit Westchester, a county association of nonprofits grouped together as a consortium. The awards per organization came to:

Hawthorne Foundation $14,380
Hudson Valley Hospital $28,230
Non-Profit Westchester $15,220


Grant Recipient – Hawthorne Foundation Inc.

The Hawthorne Foundation is a 250-person agency providing services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Its mission is to provide quality education, habilitative, vocational, and recreational programs to their clients.

The primary service providers within the Hawthorne Foundation are their Direct Service Professionals (DSP’s). The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is rolling out an initiative to transform the primary role of the DSP from care-giving to coaching.

This grant will provide the Hawthorne Foundation with the training to help their DSP’s transition to their new coaching role. In addition, the DSP role is often a high-turnover position and this program will improve retention by giving DSP’s the incentive to stay employed in this field or organization.

The Hawthorne Foundation has identified 7 program topics for inclusion in the grant.  They are:

  • DSP Competency Training
  • Person Centered Planning
  • Observation and Feedback Skills for Supervisors
  • Communicating with Families and Team Members
  • Demonstrating Professionalism
  • Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
  • Managing Personal Biases

A target audience of 70 individuals will participate in some or all of the 7 topics to be covered. There will be a total of 29 cohort groups each open to 10 participants bringing the total of training seats used to 290. The total grant award is $14,380.

Grant Recipient – New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital

Hudson Valley Hospital, now a regional hospital under New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the community and providing quality, comprehensive medical care in Westchester County. Offering state-of-the-art diagnostic treatment, education and preventive services, the Hospital is committed to improving the quality of life in the community.

In fulfilling this mission, the Hospital will strive to continuously improve the care provided and develop and offer programs, facilities, systems and alliances that most effectively respond to community health care needs.

Hudson Valley Hospital has identified the following workforce development needs for incumbent workers of the hospital:

  • Implementing Process Change
  • Leadership / Management Training
  • Language Skills
    • ESL
    • Spanish for Healthcare Workers

Healthcare is one of the most important and fastest growing sectors in the county. The hospital includes a wide range and diversity of employees and various staff positions throughout the organization. These programs will help Hudson Valley fulfill its mission to effectively respond to community health care needs by investing in their employees and workforce development.   The SUNY Grant will cover four programs and approximately 120 students. Total grant award is $28,230.

Grant Recipient – Nonprofit Westchester

Nonprofit Westchester is an association of nonprofits to form a collective organization throughout Westchester County. Nonprofit Westchester was formed four years ago and has a focus on:

  1. Building capacity of organizations (e.g. giving them the tools to be effective, get work done and be successful);
  2. Marketing – strengthening and improving awareness and knowledge of nonprofits throughout the county;
  3. Advocating for the needs of nonprofits through legislation in the county.

The SUNY Grant provides the option for smaller nonprofits to benefit from workforce training opportunities through their participation in this consortium. Leveraging the consortium approach model, WCC’s PDC will be able to gain broad exposure to a number of agencies throughout Westchester County.


Degree Works

Oct.09, 2016

Degree Works is a web-based advising tool to help students, faculty and counselors track a student’s completion of academic program requirements, determine course selections, track progress toward graduation, and use “what-if” scenarios to see how courses already taken would apply to a different major. DegreeWorks is user-friendly, has helpful visual cues for completion and can even be accessed from smart phones.

The use of Degree Works is part of larger State University of New York initiative so that “every student will have fundamental degree planning services at every institution with the ability online for students considering transfer to assess degree progress at other SUNY institutions” (SUNY Degree Planning Initiative).  The college has been working on this implementation for almost one year is has held training sessions for Deans, Chairs, faculty, staff, student leaders, and students. Training sessions will be ongoing through the spring 2015 semester.

To access Degree Works go to; specific questions may be directed to Please note that Degree Works will show full degree audits for students who matriculated into a Westchester Community College degree program plans from fall 2013 on.