April 12, 2013

ECC On Campus - New York Institute of Technology

Central Islip, N.Y. - The latest ECC On Campus focuses on New York Institute of Technology. The Bears athletic department has a rich history with the conference as one of the original members of the ECC. Through written and recorded interviews, this feature will take a look at some of the positive people, activities, and acheivements that are connected to the athletic programs at NYIT.


Current Student-Athlete: Julian Marcon, Men's Tennis

Julian Marcon, a junior at NYIT and a member of the men’s tennis team, believes that the time he has spent in athletics has had a very positive impact on his academics and extracurricular activities and that his studies and leadership roles at NYIT have made him a better student-athlete as well.

Julian arrived  from Nadrin, Belgium to be a part of the inaugural season for men’s tennis at NYIT.  Having started playing as a young boy, he was looking for an opportunity to study abroad in a good academic program as well as continue to play his sport competitively.  NYIT was a great fit for him. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace and looks forward to continuing his studies on the graduate level and working in this field.
 
The tennis squad at NYIT has excelled in the conference very quickly and Julian, who was appointed as a team captain, was part of the lineup that last year earned a spot in the NCAA East Regionals.  Outside the classroom and away from the court, Julian has also become very involved in campus life as a representative to the NYIT SAAC as well as to the NYIT Student Government Association.  He sees his participation in these groups as his chance to help his fellow students and team members and, through campus and community activities and efforts, to give back to others.  He feels strongly that it is his responsibility to do what he can to learn about student’s concerns and try to help improve the school.

In this February 2013 interview and podcast, we spoke with Julian about his experiences at NYIT and his involvement as a leader on the tennis team and on campus.
 
Julian, you traveled to the US from Belgium to study Mechanical Engineering and will graduate next fall.  What are your career plans following graduation?
I will graduate in December 2013 and will probably work or intern for six months. In the meantime, I will apply for graduate school for the Fall 2014. I really want to go to a top national university, my dream being CalTech or Stanford. If I cannot get in (or afford) a top American school, I will just go back home (Belgium) and study in my local university which has also a really good level. After receiving my master’s degree, I will maybe consider pursuing a Ph.D. depending on my future career orientations. Eventually, I want to work for the ESA (European Space Agency, the European equivalent to NASA) which also offers different opportunities for young graduates.

Can you tell us why you chose to attend NYIT?
Before choosing NYIT, I made the choice to come and study in the U.S. The reason for it was the opportunity the American education system offers to student-athletes to get a degree while playing their sports at a relatively high level. This is not possible back home as college is only three years and requires much more work. This was also a great opportunity for me to improve my English, which is extremely important in my major, even in Europe. There are different reasons why I chose NYIT over other schools. Firstly, NYIT seemed to be very international and culturally diverse. It was also the first year of the program and I wanted to give the opportunity to the school to go forward. Everything has to start from nothing and get bigger. I am glad I made this choice as our team is now among the best teams in the region and I was right to give NYIT a try. Finally, NYIT is close to NY, which is a great advantage as people are used to foreigners. I have heard a lot of stories about people going to study in remote places and hating it.

Why did you get involved in SAAC at NYIT?  Are you involved in any other extracurricular activities?
Being already captain of my team since the very beginning of the program, I wanted to keep helping my team. Joining the SAAC was a great opportunity for me to connect my team to the rest of the department by reporting concerns and suggestions. I think it is also a great opportunity to have these exchanges between athletes of different sports and to work all together to improve the atmosphere in the Athletic Department, to get student involved in our activities, and to work on the NYIT community in general. I am also involved in SGA, in addition to being dedicated to my studies.

As a leader in SAAC, what are some of the important projects you have been involved in while at NYIT? Why are these important efforts?
The SAAC is responsible for several community services such as “Night Out on the Bears,”the “Make-A-Wish Formal,” the “Purple Out Night,” participation in the “Relay for Life” among others. We, as student leaders, think that it is very important to give back to the community. We have the chance to be in college and play our sports and we believe that we must help those who don’t have that chance. This is one on our main objectives as SAAC representatives.

I understand you are also involved in Student Government. What moved you to working with that organization?
I really consider SGA to be the equivalent of the SAAC at the school level. I love working on SGA as, again, I get to work with leaders from different background, majors, and interests. Our goal is to help the student community and improve the environment in our school, and I do believe we do this very effectively. I am, for example, chair of the Elections Committee within SGA and one of objectives is, in addition to SGA recruitment and elections, to promote an annual SGA survey. This survey is always a great success is the highest rate of participation among all NYIT events. Through this survey, we are able to analyze students’ need and act towards them. Part of the promotion of the survey, is a campaign to prove to students that their voice does matter and makes a difference.

Why are athletics important to you?
Tennis is all my life. I have started playing when I was seven and there has not been more than a week (except injuries) since then without playing. It is the best way for me to release tension and energy in order to have better focus and concentration in my studies. It is literally part of me and I cannot even consider not playing tennis. Before coming to the USA, I was also playing volleyball. I was captain of my regional selection team. However, the NCAA level in volleyball is so high that I could not find sufficient financial aid or a school that would allow me to play both sports at the same time. Therefore, I chose tennis which is my first sport.

Why should students and student-athletes attend NYIT?
The reasons why I came to NYIT should apply to a lot of students. It is a great culturally diverse environment to work in. The size of the school is decent, allowing a lot of student-professor direct interactions. Studies are also very good especially in majors such as engineering, medical studies, and architecture. Regarding student-athletes, there is a great atmosphere within the Athletic Department between athletes and with the staff and it is always a pleasure to hang out there. Most people know each other, which is great! Some of our programs are also very successful such as lacrosse, volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s basketball, and now even tennis.

To hear the full interview with Julian, click on the links below.

Julian Marcon Interview - Part One
Julian Marcon Interview - Part Two


Former Student-Athlete: Kristen Kastrinos ('97), Women's Soccer

For Kristen Kastrinos, a 1997 graduate from NYIT and a former member of the women’s soccer team, there is a very big connection between her participation in college sports and the experiences she had as a student-athlete and the career accomplishments and athletic success she is achieving now.

A multi-sport athlete in high school in New Hyde Park, N.Y., Kristen was attracted to NYIT for the graphic design program and also by the opportunity to be part of a newly developed sport at the institution.  She played in the early years of women’s soccer at NYIT and enjoyed being part of that new team.

Instead of going immediately into a career in graphics, she instead chose to go to the NY State Police academy in 2000 and now, in her 13th year, she is a Sergeant in the State Police.   Kristen strongly believes the leadership skills she learned as a team member and team captain as well as the ability to handle different kinds of stressful situations as a student-athlete has helped her be successful in her current challenging job.

Kristen also makes use of many of the same skills and abilities that she started working on  as a student-athlete, such as discipline and dedication,  in her latest pursuit of Ironman competitions.  She started running half-marathons, moved onto triathlons and now is very committed to the training and work needed to be successful in the grueling Ironman events. She is participated in her first competition in November 2012 at the Arizona Ironman and was following that up with the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco in February 2013.

Kristen continues to make a major impression on those in the NYIT athletic department.  Director of Athletics Clyde M. Doughty, Jr. said of Kristen, “Kristen Kastrinos was one of our pioneer Bears who helped get our women's soccer program off the ground.  Kristen was a devoted, dedicated and highly respected student-athlete who provided positive leadership to her teammates and peers. In her current role with the N.Y.S. Troopers, she continues to exemplify high standards of professionalism, community service and social awareness. Kristen continues to support NYIT athletics with her presence at intercollegiate athletic functions and contests. She is an inspiration to all. “

In this February 2013 interview, Kristen talks about her time at NYIT, her current career and her plans for the future as well as what NYIT meant to her as a student and an athlete.  

Kristen, what was your experience as a soccer player at NYIT like?
I was able to watch a new program grow, play a sport that I loved and made friends that I still keep in touch with.  It was an amazing experience.

Why did you choose NYIT for your undergrad studies? What did your experience there mean to your career?  
The Graphic Design program at NYIT is top notch.  I enjoyed studying there and although I went a different route with my career by getting into law enforcement, I still have a great background in design and work on side projects often.  

What did you like about the academic program at NYIT?  
The Academic Program was well rounded and at the same time fully involved me in my area of study.  The classes gave me plenty of time to work and receive instruction.  I also worked in several classes with a lot of the same students so we became friends and had a very enjoyable time.  

You are involved in something very different than what you went to school for.  What led you to that career?
I am currently a Sergeant with the New York State Police.  My ability in athletics and the self-discipline of being an athlete helped me very much in becoming a Trooper and also in my promotion to the rank of Sergeant.  Taking tests for law enforcement was a backup plan I had and going forward with it was a good decision for me.

What do you like about what you are doing now?  
Every day is something different, every day is a challenge.  Once in a while I get to do something that you can see directly affects the civilian public in a positive way.  

Have you thought about your plans and future goals?
Yes, retirement once I reach 20 years with the State Police, then possibly update my degree in Graphics and/or work on personal training certification.  I believe fitness is such an important part of life.

Can you talk a bit about your participation in Ironman and other activities outside of work?  What do you like about those activities?  
Training for and participating in Ironman Arizona was the most intense and time consuming thing I have done in my life.  The level of commitment was unreal.  The support I received from my family and friends was fantastic.  Within about three years I went from completing my first half-marathon to being an Ironman.  I just kept pushing myself to see what else I could do.  The best part about triathlon is that it is something I can do by myself.  With a schedule that is constantly changing because of work, team sports became difficult for me.  Individual sports such as swimming, biking and running although they can be done in a group, can also be done alone when it is convenient.  

What was the importance of athletics in your life as a college student-athlete and now? What did it teach you and what opportunities did it give you?
The physical training and the discipline of college sports are things I carry with me in every aspect of my life.  The feeling of being physically fit is so important to me and I try not to take it for granted.  Because of the shape I am in I have been asked to coach and help others.  There is no greater feeling than seeing someone become motivated because of you, and succeeding because of your push.  

Why should students go to NYIT?  
NYIT was a way for me to grow as a person and keep ties with my life before college.  Because I went to school and stayed home I was able to show my friends and family the progress I was making while I was at school.  Plus I didn't have to drive home for holidays and get stopped on the Thruway for speeding, but you can interview my brother and sister regarding that.

To hear the full interview with Kristen, click on the link below.

Kristen Kastrinos Interview


Faculty Member with Outstanding Support for Athletics: Elaine Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Elaine Brown has been teaching at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) for 27 years, and has been chair of the English department since 1999.  In her role as professor and chair, she has had the opportunity to teach and work with many students who enroll in the various and diverse array of degree programs offered.  Now, Dr. Brown is stepping into a new role as well.  She has been appointed as the new Faculty Athletic Representative for NYIT by President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D.

Every NCAA institution is required to designate an individual from their campus as Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR).  The FAR works with academic administrators, athletic administrators and the conference to advocate for student-athletes and to exercise three primary roles: Ensuring a quality student-athlete experience and student-athlete well being; ensuring the academic integrity of the athletic program and ensuring institutional control of athletics.

Director of Athletics Clyde M. Doughty, Jr.  was quick to endorse Dr. Brown noting that, "she has been a staunch advocate for athletics and our student-athletes for many years.  She has been part of our BEAR mentoring  program which helps monitor student-athletes academically, comes to many of our athletic contests and related events and clearly has the full support of Dr. Guiliano and the administration in this role.”

Dr. Brown is committed to continuing her support of the athletic program at NYIT as well as helping the overall growth of the student-athletes.  She will have an even keener interest in Fall 2013 when her son enrolls at NYIT and becomes part of the Men’s Lacrosse program there.  In our interview and podcast from February 2013, we discussed Dr. Brown’s academic work at NYIT; her interest in athletics;the importance of sportsmanship  and her views about how the athletic program impacts the institution; her new role as FAR and how NYIT makes a difference in the lives of its students.

Dr. Brown, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I received my undergraduate degree from Brown University and my Ph.D. from Duke University.  I have taught at NYIT for 27 years and I have served as the chair of the English department for 14 years.

We understand through AD, Clyde Doughty, that you have taken on the role of Faculty Athletic Representative.  He also described you as someone who has been supportive of NYIT athletics. What has been your involvement with the athletic program and what has that meant to you?
Over the years, my involvement in NYIT athletics has been twofold: 1) I have attended and enjoyed many games with my family and 2) I participate in the B.E.A.R. mentoring program.  This program is designed to help student-athletes bring up their GPAs.  I meet with my mentees once every other week to see how they are doing to support their academic success.  Right now I am working with student-athletes from the soccer, baseball and lacrosse teams.  It's very enjoyable.

Can you briefly discuss what you think the place is for athletics on a college campus?  What do you see as the value based on your experience of working with some of the student-athletes over the years?
Involvement in college athletics is a very valuable part of the college experience.  My student-athletes have learned many lessons in the value of dedication, teamwork, commitment and time management--all of which will help them greatly throughout their lives.
Why is NYIT a good school to teach at and a good school for students to attend?

NYIT is a great place to work.  Faculty and staff are very dedicated to our students.  As a matter of fact, NYIT has been named a "Great College to Work For" for the past three consecutive years by the Chronicle of Higher Education, one of the most respected workplace recognition programs.  Most of our classes are small and students get to know each other and their professors.  We provide career oriented professional education and give all qualified students access to opportunity.

I also need to add that I am very excited to begin my new role as FAR and it is quite an honor to have been selected.  Another point--my son Ian is an NCAA recruit and he will be part of the NYIT lacrosse when he begins his freshman year at NYIT in the fall.  It will be interesting to look at all this through the lenses of both a faculty member and a parent!

To hear the full interview with Dr. Brown, click on the link below.

Dr. Eliane Brown Interview


Community Engagement: Night Out on the Bears

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Athletics clearly understands the NCAA DII concept of “Community Engagement” and in December 2012, the Bears conducted their sixth annual “Night Out on the Bears” event.

As the NCAA notes, “Division II is committed to developing students and communities by actively engaging in shared experiences and, therefore, has targeted community engagement as one of its strategic priorities.  The objective is to build relationships by bringing the community to campus to experience Division II and its events.”

The NYIT community filled Recreation Hall in Old Westbury, N.Y. on Friday December 7, 2012 with laughing children, triumphant cheers, sparkles, and school pride as the NYIT Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation hosted its sixth annual "Night Out on the Bears" community engagement event.

"Night Out on the Bears" gave parents from the community an opportunity to enjoy an evening out while student-athletes and staff cared for their children in a safe, healthy, and fun-filled environment, free of charge. Activities included a nutritious dinner, catered by NYIT Campus Dining, as well as various physical activities such as monster soccer.

NYIT's Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored the arts and crafts portion of the night that included a face painter and several holiday craft stations.

"I am very proud of the combined efforts of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and the SGA in making this community engagement a staple for our athletic department," said Director of Athletics, Clyde Doughty Jr. "This event has grown each year and continues to provide the community with an outstanding experience that children and parents remember for years to come."

Many parents echoed those same sentiments, including Glen Cove Mayor, Ralph V. Suozzi, whose children attended the event. "Our kids had a great time. My wife and I were able to spend some time together holiday shopping and even grabbing a quick bite to eat without worrying about our children knowing they were having fun and were well supervised."