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Asst. News Editor
Published: May, 2012

The natural science department at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) will include a neuroscience major starting fall 2012. Currently students who want to study neuroscience can only take general science courses with the natural science major. However, this new major will be offered beginning next semester.

According to Joan Roberts, professor of chemistry at FCLC, and Donna Heald,  associate dean of the sciences at Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH), the neuroscience committee first met in 2004 and the neuroscience major was approved in 2011.

Donald Gillespie, associate vice president for institutional research, said, “The percentage of science majors has been gradually rising in recent years and includes students who listed natural science as their intended major, as well as students for whom it is a second major. The percentage of science majors was  three percent in fall 2003 and held steady at seven percent from 2008 through 2010.”

According to Heald, students who pursue the major will take nine foundation courses that include the disciplines of other courses. For example, two of the nine courses that will have to be fulfilled are a statistics course as well as a chemistry course, which can be fulfilled by taking existing courses from Fordham’s core, electives or by taking a new chemistry course.

Heald said students will have to take three track connective neuroscience courses, which are offered in the department of psychology, biology and natural science. In addition, Heald said that students can also specialize in certain areas, called tracks. The three tracks are a solid molecular track that emphasizes biology, a cognitive track that emphasizes psychology and a systems and computational neuroscience track that emphasizes computer science.

According to Heald, all students pursuing the major will have to participate in a research program that is two semesters long and a capstone seminar. The capstone seminar will allow students to come together during their last semester and share their research.

In total, students will need 16 courses including the research experience along with the one credit seminar to fulfill the neuroscience major requirements.

Roberts said that the new major will bridge the gap between as many fields of science related to the brain as possible. “Neuroscience is the most innovative and interdisciplinary scientific area of research for this century,” Roberts said.

The neuroscience major will be interdisciplinary, meaning that students will take classes that incorporate other subjects. Roberts said, “To truly understand all aspects of this field it is essential to have a background in genetics, molecular biology, physiology, anatomy and computer science. As well as that, students must have a background in neural networks, robotics, psychology, physics, neural imaging and chemistry.”

Tommaso Vagaggini, FCLC ’13, said, “A neuroscience major that incorporates different scientific disciplines in its curriculum would create very well-rounded minds and would allow students to explore relevant issues from equally important and interesting angles. I thus think that the new neuroscience major, in a similar way to the natural sciences major, will help students gain insight in the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of biological and medical studies and help them bridge the gap between different sciences.”

Roberts said that she believes the major will benefit any student interested in neuroscience and some other fields. “There are many recent applications of neuroscience in law and business and so would also be a benefit for those intending to continue on to receive an MBA or law degree,” said Roberts.

According to Roberts, students will not be able to double major or minor in neuroscience due to the requirements such as the research thesis and presentation. Roberts said that students from both FCRH and FCLC will be able to major in neuroscience and will not be required to travel in between campuses unless they devsire to do so.

“As our reputation grows, I’m certain that there will be a strong influx of students. With a neuroscience major as elegant as this one, we have very little competition from Columbia in the New York City environs,” Roberts said.

Some students look forward to the new major. Yzabelle Onate, FCLC ’15, said, “I love science and I think it’s a great opportunity to expand the science department especially for students who aren’t interested in just natural science. Also, this will help students who want to become neurologists.”

Other students aren’t particularly interested in the major, but still see its benefits. Devi Gopal, FCLC ’13, said, “Neuroscience wouldn’t really interest me mainly because my path aligns with ecology and zoology but I do know natural science students who love their neuroscience class and want to pursue it in graduate school.”

Asst. News Editor
Published: May 2, 2012

Beginning in the fall 2012 semester, commuters at Fordham will no longer have to request a guest pass 24-hours in advance. According to Alexa Rodriguez, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’13, United Student Government (USG) had this change on their agenda for the past two years.

Since fall 2011, resident students at FCLC have been required to request a pass from the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) 24-hours in advance. Rodriguez, vice president for operations for USG, said that many commuters found the policy to be inconvenient. The new policy will allow residents to obtain a pass for commuter students on the day they will stay over, but the policy will remain the same for outside visitors.

During a town hall meeting last November, Jenifer Campbell, director of ResLife, said that her job was to maintain the safety of McMahon Hall, and the passes were implemented for Fordham to protect the students. However, during the meeting, many FCLC students felt that commuters should still have leeway in this policy.

Resident student Alejandra Alcala, FCLC ’13, said, “I had many visitors like my sister visit me during my freshman year, and it was always accessible to get a pass…but now with this 24-hour in advance policy, it has not been so simple.”

Alcala said, “I understand that for safety reasons they want to keep a record of who comes in and out of the building or are staying the night, but as long as their names are taken down before they enter the building, it shouldn’t matter how many previous hours it has been done.”

Rodriguez said that the guest passes will be available during the normal ResLife office hours, which are from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. She said that as of the fall 2012 semester, only nine guest passes will be available for commuters per day. Rodriguez said that this is ResLife’s way of testing this new policy.

“Hopefully this can expand in the spring 2013 semester to the point where there is no limit on the number of same day commuter guest passes that can be requested,” Rodriguez said.

In addition, she said that the change was made possible by USG’s coordination with RHA and CSA at both FCLC and Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH). A formal proposal to change the policy was sent to Vice President for Student Affairs Jeffrey Gray and the Division of Student Affairs in February after USG held multiple meetings with Campbell since last semester.

As for guests of a different sex, the overnight guest passes will remain subject to the same ResLife policies. “The change is that now there will be a limited number of passes available to commuters on the same day,” Rodriguez said.

Many commuters and residents at FCLC said that they look forward to the guest policy change.

Janely Fernandez, a commuter and FCLC ’15, said, “Changing the guest policy is a good thing because there have been instances when I wanted to stay late here at school with my friends and I couldn’t because of the 24 hour policy. Now, I can stay when I need to and I don’t have to worry about my two-hour commute.”

Commuters from FCRH also agree. Mat Benicasa, FCRH ’14, said “I take classes here and it’s reassuring to know that I can spend the night the day that I went to and not have to worry about a policy getting in the way of my plans.”

Cinthya Pererira, a resident and FCLC ’15, said, “The change is amazing because there have been a lot of times when I wanted my commuter friends to stay over but I could not because of the policy. I think seeing more commuters in the residency hall bridge the gap between commuters and residents.”

Speaker Haroon Moghul in the Student Lounge discussing Muslims’ role in history connecting to modern America on March 5. (Charlie Puente/Fordham Observer)

Asst. News Co-Editor
Published: March 7, 2012

On March 5, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) welcomed Haroon Moghul to speak at an event titled “Islam Meets America: Working Toward a 21st Century Community.” The event was held in the South Lounge and visited by numerous FCLC students. It focused on the role Muslims played in early history leading up to modern America.

Speaker Haroon Moghul in the Student Lounge discussing Muslims’ role in history connecting to modern America on March 5. (Charlie Puente/Fordham Observer)

According to The Huffington Post, Moghul graduated from NYU with a B.A. in Philosophy and Middle Eastern Studies. He also has an  M.A. and M.Phil. from Columbia University in Middle East, South Asian and African Studies.

Moghul began his talk by setting the tone of a classroom with the usage of a white board and self-illustrated map of the Middle East and Asia. He covered various points in history, emphasizing the birth of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, the growth of the Muslim empire as well as the different effects Muslim people had on Europe and America.

Moghul honed in on various misconceptions of Islam such as the common belief that Islam is puritanical and lacks individuality. He contends that Muslim people are much more than what the media portrays them to be; they are representatives of both their faith and community.

“Muslims had been present in America during colonial times, however, the largest wave of Muslim people entered America around the 1960’s. In fact, the most ethnically diverse Muslim community is in New York City,” Moghul said.

Moghul said that Islam is not what the media construes it to be. “Islam has come a long way and the challenges through history leading to the present day only push Muslims to improve their relationship with each other and other people outside the community. As well as that, many Muslims are making the change from careers like doctors and becoming journalists and public speakers to make others more aware of the issue.”

Despite the misconceptions construed by the media, FCLC students said that they felt confident that Fordham’s community has played a significant role for them.

Mohamed Wahba, FCLC ’13, said “At first I didn’t think Fordham would be welcoming, but after getting to know the Muslim community, I felt it was accommodating.”

Mariam Tenzilla, FCLC ’14, said “FCLC does a good job at making us feel welcome. Campus Ministry and Carol Gibney let us use the chapel on numerous occasions.”

Other students like Nusrat Jahan, FCLC ’13 and president of MSA, said that she felt FCLC as a whole is not the source of acceptance, but instead the feeling is due in part to student clubs like MSA.

“Though Fordham didn’t do much about the NYPD surveillance on MSA groups,  the group still holds events like this one and aims to make students feel welcomed here.”

Seniors listen in while speakers at the convocation talk to them about graduation and their future after Fordham. (Charlie Puente/The Observer)
Seniors listen in while speakers at the convocation talk to them about graduation and their future after Fordham. (Charlie Puente/The Observer)

Contributing Writer
Published: October 8, 2011

Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) held its annual senior convocation for the class of 2012 on Oct. 6. The program took place at noon in the Lowenstein 12th floor lounge, which was filled with seniors and speakers. The convocation provided information for the seniors so that they could be better prepared for graduation in May 2012.

According to Mark E. Mattson, associate dean of FCLC, the purpose of the convocation was to allow the seniors to look back and reflect on their accomplishments and to aid seniors with their transition into the world of careers and graduate school.

Mattson shared with the class of 2012 a checklist entitled “How Do I Get to Graduation?” It said seniors should check DegreeWorks first, plan a spring schedule to finish requirements and meet with an adviser. Mattson also brought up the issue of the lack of a senior dean and said that the university should expect to have one shortly.

In order to be prepared for Commencement on May 19, 2012, Mattson said that seniors must go through several steps. Seniors must register for graduation by logging onto My.Fordham and clicking the “Student” tab. From there, students can access Banner Self-Service, click on “student” once more and see an option that says “Apply to Graduate.”

After that step is done, Mattson said that seniors should: order a cap and gown, go to Senior Salute and get the cap and gown, finish university course work, attend Senior Week events, go to the Baccalaureate Mass and Family Reception on May 18, 2012, and then attend the Commencement.

The Rev. Robert R. Grimes, S.J., dean of FCLC, was also in attendance and welcomed the seniors to the convocation.  He said, “It’s hard to believe that orientation didn’t just happen. You are a special group of individuals and you are special because you are our senior class.”

Hillman Norberg, FCLC ’12, thought the convocation was helpful and said, “It’s a good idea to let the seniors know what’s going on. I just want to be certain about graduation and the steps toward it.”

Norberg said, “My dean left last year and I came because I don’t want to beat around the bush. Many of my friends are just trying to get to graduation on their own.”

Others like Hyewon Yoon, FCLC ’12, felt slightly different. She supported the convocation but believed that the university could do more in aiding students with their transition, and said, “I think the convocation will help and it is completely voluntary but the university could help a bit more with the graduate school process.”

Yoon said that there is “barely enough time” to meet with advisors. “I want more information from Career Services and an opportunity to meet more alumni,” she said.

Though many seniors were worried about obtaining a job and career after college, the convocation offered a solution and an employee from Career Services shared a few words. According to Samantha Friedberg, assistant director of Marketing & Operations Manager, 70 percent of jobs are found through networking. “The Office of Career Services is always open to all and will provide you with the skills you need to get a job,” Friedberg said.

At the end of the convocation, Tim Dinneen, alumni relations officer, young alumni and student initiatives, said, “Nothing here turns to dust. After you graduate, there are so many opportunities.”

Ashley Sequeira, FCLC ’12, said, “I’m terrified as a senior but I feel so much better about senior year because I’m leaving and I don’t have to worry about my academics. The information was useful and I’m super excited for graduation.”