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LIU Post Pioneer


By Quedus Babalola

Staff Writer

Long Island University recognized approximately 3,000 students, 880 of which were undergraduate, from the LIU Post, LIU Brentwood and LIU Riverhead campuses at graduation ceremonies on Friday.

“After four long years, I can officially say that I am a college graduate,” Motun Olusa, a business administration graduate, said.


This year’s commencement took place at the Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium, Post’s football field, unlike previous years when commencement took place under a tent on the campus’ Great Lawn.

“Whoever made the decision to move over to the field is a genius,” Keolani Williams, a forensic science graduate, said. “The scenery is beautiful and there’s plenty of space. Usually they start to set up while classes are in session, but with this change there weren’t any disturbances, so I think they should continue to have it on the football field.”

With blue skies and temperatures in the low 70’s, the weather cooperated throughout the ceremony.

The undergraduate commencement started at 10 a.m. with graduates, faculty, and speakers marching in, followed by the national anthem. The program included the presentation of honorary degrees, recognition of the co-valedictorians and co-salutatorians, and the conferral of degrees to the graduates.

Some of the graduates dreaded being asked about their plans for post-graduation.

“I actually hate being asked, only because I really don’t know; all I know is that I’m going to have fun this summer and overall in life,”  Taylor Hill, a broadcasting graduate, said.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who spoke at commencement, reminded the graduates to not let the fear of the unknown deter them on their paths.


“Vindicated is the only word I can think of to sum up the last four years,”‘ Hill said. “It’s been a huge battle, especially this year with all my senior classes, but I made it and can’t wait to see what this door opens up to.”



By Jada Butler
Assistant News Editor

The College of Arts, Communications, and Design is searching for a new dean to replace former Dean Noel Zahler, who left the university in August 2016, after four years in the position. Christine Kerr, a professor in the art department and the director of the art therapy program, has been acting as the interim dean of CACD since Zahler left.

Photo by Jada Butler Steven Breese, Dean of Arts & Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University.
Photo by Jada Butler
Steven Breese, Dean of Arts & Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University.

The CACD search committee, composed of professors and administrators, has chosen four finalists for the permanent dean position. The four final candidates have visited campus over the past several weeks to interview and meet with faculty, students and administrators.

The candidates, Jeff Bellantoni, vice president of academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design; Steven Breese, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University; Richard Karpen, Director of the School of Music at the University of Washington; and Christine Kerr, Interim Dean of CACD, professor in the art department and director of art therapy program at LIU Post, met with students to answer questions about some of the core issues students see within their programs.

At the student sessions, multiple students voiced concerns about accessibility, specifically pointing fingers at the Post academic advisors, or Promise Coaches, that place non-major students into the classes for major students.

Photo by Jada Butler Richard Karpen, Director of School of Music at the University of Washington.
Photo by Jada Butler
Richard Karpen, Director of School of Music at the University of Washington.

“Their job is to know their students and know what to put them in,” Steven Breese said. “[I would] screen classes and boot out those who don’t need it.” Breese, if selected, would repair the lack of communication between advisors and specific colleges.

Another issue students raised is funding, or lack thereof, for mandatory programs and events such as dance performances, Broadway shows, and art exhibits. Even with student-organized fundraisers, students are still “paying out of pocket” an estimated extra $400, participants at the forums said.

Breese promised to find other ways to fund programs. Richard Karpen, however, said that he would take a different approach. “If there is not enough money to do everything, [then] we shouldn’t be doing everything,” Karpen said. Instead of spreading the opportunities thin, more attention, he said, should be paid to more important areas.

Photo by Jada Butler Christine Kerr, interim Dean & former Director of Art Therapy.
Photo by Jada Butler
Christine Kerr, interim Dean & former Director of Art Therapy.

Students raised the issue of scholarship funding for upperclassmen, saying that they are scarce. Most of the money goes into recruitment for incoming freshmen, students said.

Bellantoni proposed a solution. If selected for the position, Bellantoni will attempt to secure a private donor and fundraise for grants and scholarships, rather than “pull from an existing budget that is already tight.”

A number of the buildings and facilities used by CACD students are old and outdated, students said. According the theater and music majors, the Little Theater and Fine Arts buildings have mold, pests, and heating problems. “There’s a list,” Kerr responded. “You have to make a wish list and a reality list and then take from what’s in between,” Kerr said. There is a plan to make the buildings more “open and user friendly’ by reconstructing the insides, she said.

Photo by Jada Butler Jeff Bellantoni, former VP of Academic Affairs at Ringling College of Art & Design.
Photo by Jada Butler
Jeff Bellantoni, former VP of Academic Affairs at Ringling College of Art & Design.

Students in the art department raised the issue of the Steinberg Museum of Art, which relocated from Hillwood Commons to the basement of the library when the bookstore moved into its old space before the fall 2016 semester. Susan Kelly, Laura Sweeney, and Samantha Hofsiss, graduate students in fine arts, expressed their dissatisfaction with the move. “There is no space, [the space] is unfit, and the walls need to be painted a different color than orange,” Kelly said.

“Tell me what you need,” Kerr said. Kerr, who has been a professor at LIU Post for over 17 years, is confident that if given the position, she can get things done. “You just have to keep reminding them that you’re here,” she said.

Despite the considerable amount of issues students raised with the CACD dean candidates, they agreed that in each department, the faculty are the strongest points in keeping the balance between the pros and cons. Students were interested in how the Dean can make the arts at Post larger, but maintain the quality of the existing staff.

“[We have to] add faculty and add facilities to create a more diverse learning experience,” Breese said. There needs to be a balanced ratio between faculty and students. With a background as an actor, Breese explained that a “healthy competitiveness” is necessary to grow as actors, dancers, and artists.

Karpen, a composer who has taught artists of all genres, proposed students take a more “experimental” approach to expand the arts. Bellantoni agreed, advocating for students to feel “immersed in the arts,” by getting different departments to interact with one another.

The College of Arts, Communications, and Design students were pleased to have the opportunity to be heard and address their concerns with the prospective dean candidates. At each presentation, they stressed how important it is to let students be heard.


By David Capobianco
Staff Writer

FiOS1 morning news anchor Christine Persichette spoke in the JOU 4 Beat Reporting class about her career as a television journalist, including her current position as a morning news anchor for FiOS1 News on Thursday, Feb. 17. Persichette offered her advice to the class of young, aspiring journalists. “It’s so important to love what you do,” she said.

Photo by Thomas Gillen
Photo by Thomas Gillen

Persichette has been the morning anchor at FiOS1 News since 2015. “I never thought being an anchor was what I wanted to do,” she said, but she loves what she does now. And that love has given Persichette opportunities to do things like have a sit-down interview with Hillary Clinton, and attend several of Donald Trump’s press conferences.

Throughout her career, she hasn’t stopped working hard. In her current position, she goes to work in the early morning, and gets out of work at 10 a.m. every day. This allows her to spend time with her three young children, two of whom are in kindergarten.

Persichette’s first position at FiOS1 was hosting a show called “Heroes on Our Island,” about people doing good things in the community. She said it was “great” to do that show. “You want to tell people good things that are happening,” she said. “That’s why you get into this business.” She showed clips from “Heroes on Our Island” to the journalism students.

But of course, she reminded them, not everything in journalism is a positive story. “There are some uncomfortable things,” she said.

You can’t let it affect you, but it does.” However, that’s not always bad. She explained that showing feelings towards the person you’re interviewing shows a more human side, and can actually get them to open up more Persichette advised the students that finding the “little nuggets” is the key to making boring stories interesting. “You can make any story interesting,” she said. “There are no boring stories, only boring reporters.”

She also emphasized the need for journalists to research and find contacts, as gaining certain contacts can lead to gaining other connections.

Persichette said journalists need to “know their story,” because people will ask questions, and the ability to “think on your feet” is important. Persichette spoke about the importance of internships in college, saying that they are “the best thing you can do” to gain skills and experience.

Persichette grew up in Queens, earned her bachelor’s degree in communications at SUNY Albany, and her master’s degree in broadcast journalism at NYIT. Following her graduation, she began her first job as a TV news reporter and anchor in the small town of Elmira, New York. This is where Persichette’s work ethic shined. Since it was a small television market, she was what she described as a “one-man band.” She reported, researched, shot, and edited her stories all by herself. “Knowing how to do everything is a requirement these days,” she said.

Persichette advanced at the Elmira station, eventually becoming the executive producer. She moved on to work at Fox as a TV news reporter from 2003 through 2013. Shortly after, she obtained her first position at FiOS1.

Next fall, Persichette’s work will extend beyond the reporting world, and into the classroom. She will be teaching the JOU 5 class, “Writing for Electonic Media” at LIU Post.


By Randall Taylor
Staff Writer

On Nov. 3, 2016, LIU President Dr. Kimberly Cline announced the formation of a new school marching band. Recruitment and plans are now underway. Set to begin performing in fall 2017, the LIU Post Marching Band will be led by experienced marching band leader, Anthony Romeo.

“Mr. Romeo has more than 25 years of experience leading and working with marching bands on Long Island, including the New York Skyliners, the Holbrook Fire Department Drum Band, and the “Rage” Indoor Marching Percussion Ensemble, in addition to high school ensembles throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties,” Cline said in the November statement.

The marching band will be a new club under the auspices of the office of campus life. It will be separate from the existing student pep band in the Department of Music. It will serve to amplify team spirit and enhance the game day experience for the Post Pioneer’s lacrosse team and football team, according to Dean of Students Abigail Van Vlerah. “This program will be funded by the University and the cost of the program will be dependent upon student participation,” Van Vlerah said.

Cheerleading coach and Promise Success Coach Katelin Townsend is “very excited to have a marching band come to LIU Post.” She added, “I truly believe that this will change the atmosphere of game day.” Townsend said that the new marching band could amp up the atmosphere for other teams as well as enhance her own team’s performances. “I always enjoyed dancing along to the band’s songs and chants. It helped us [as cheerleaders] to hype up the crowd and get the players ready to roll!”

Director of Music Education and Chair of the Music Department, Dr. Jennifer Miceli, as well as Music Professor and Director of Bands, Dr. James W. McRoy said that they could not comment about the marching band as it will not be a part of the Music Department. Romeo did not respond to the Pioneer’s requests for comment.


Tina Kasin

Staff Writer

Photo by Tina Kasin
Photo by Tina Kasin

Have you ever thought about how one coincidence can change your life by introducing you to unfamiliar places and challenges? Madelaine Olsen, a junior International Studies major from Norway, experienced just that when she was asked to walk the runway for one of the designers during New York Couture Fashion Week last week.

A young girl Olsen had met in Hawaii while she vacationed there, contacted her over Facebook and told her about an excit- ing internship she is doing in New York City, working with Andres Aquino, a designer and host of NY Couture Fashion Week. She asked Olsen if she was interested in coming to an extra cast, a modeling audition where height, modeling experience, size and so forth is measured, that they were hosting. At the time, Olsen was already in Manhattan with some friends, so she immediately agreed.

If she hadn’t been in Hawaii on vacation, and hadn’t met this girl who was interning for the fashion designer, she wouldn’t have had this opportunity.

“The next morning I got an e-mail from the cast informing me that I had been chosen to walk Couture Fashion Week. The e-mail gave me the entire schedule for fittings, shows, and designers. I didn’t really think twice at that point,” Olsen said. She was asked to walk the runway for several Couture de- signers.

Being asked to do a cast doesn’t neces- sarily mean that you got the modeling job, however, she said. You need to be picked out by one of the designers, and at Olsen’s fitting, only a couple of days before the actual show, there were about 150 girls, ranging from 16 years and older. Some even flew in from Chi- cago and several other cities, Sweden, Russia, and other countries.

Unfortunately, some of the girls had to head home without getting signed with any designer. Olsen already knew she was going to walk at her fitting because Auquino had previously asked her and introduced her to his designer, Laila Wazna.

There were usually about 12-18 girls in each designer’s show, Olsen explained. And even though you think you have been signed, you can still get kicked off the show. She heard about a girl who had a tattoo on her back, which the designer didn’t notice until she was styled, and she was therefore fired.

The first day, Friday, February 15, was Olsen’s favorite day. She got to wear her designer’s largest piece of work, which was a wedding dress designed by Ruby Johnson. Getting to be the model that ends the show is a very big deal, she said.

She admitted that was nervous, but excited. Some of the girls she met had modeled for seven or eight years, and compared to them, Olsen felt inexperienced; she had never done any kind of modeling before.

Does she want to be a model? “I would love to say yes, but my Mom would kill me,” Olsen said, laughing. Different photographers and designers gave her their cards before and after the shows, but finishing her education is more important to her than modeling. She said that she might do a couple of shoots, as long as it’s fun and she has the time to do so.