A Message from the President

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Welcome to the April edition of “Press from the Prez.” This was indeed an exciting month at Guttman. I am continually amazed by the passion and engagement of our faculty, staff, students and administrators. 

We opened the month with a spirited celebration of disability awareness. Over the history of the College, more than 25% of enrolled students have self-reported a disability and have completed their degrees in timely fashion with support from the Guttman Office of AccessABILITY, faculty and advisors — a significant point of genuine inclusion and pride for all of us.  

This month also signaled a great moment for CUNY. Thanks to Governor Hochul, the advocacy of Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, and countless members of the CUNY Chancellery, state funding was approved that will support numerous facets of the University. More information regarding the FY 2025 budget can be found here

Guttman remains a vibrant and innovative ecosystem, and we are continuing to reimagine and streamline our efforts to realize the goals of our Guttman Forward 2028 roadmap. 



Dr. Larry D. Johnson, Jr. ("Dr. J")

President Adds Perspective

University Business Highlights Our Transfer Success 

In his interview with University Business magazine, President Johnson underscores Guttman’s distinction of being 4th in the nation among community colleges with the highest transfer-out rates for Title IV students and articulates the rationale for applying the College’s student success model to new certificate and terminal programs serving students in and entering the workforce.  

Dr. Johnson Joins Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) 

“As a new affiliate of Excelencia in Education’s network of colleges and universities working to make their institutions places where Latine students thrive, Guttman’s team, led by Dr. Rosslyn Knight, is a proud member of this active national organization,” President Johnson announced this month. Excelencia’s Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) network is a diverse group of more than 175 college and university presidents and chancellors who have committed to transforming their institutions into learning environments where Latine students thrive. Excelencia leverages its collective expertise and resources to amplify the talents, skills and contributions of Latine college graduates.

Dr. Johnson Receives Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Paragon Award 

Accompanied by the College’s PTK Honors Society Co-Advisors Dr. Samuel Finesurrey and Diana Zechowski, chapter officers Chunyin Chu, Issa Cisse, Giana Fernandez and Samantha Ruiz-Correa attended the April 4-6 PTK convention in Orlando, Florida to celebrate President Johnson winning the Paragon Award. Dr. Johnson was recognized for his “outstanding support of student success and for providing high-quality learning environments both inside and outside the classroom.” Guttman’s Beta Phi Gamma chapter was selected as the second runner-up for the Distinguished Chapter Officer Award in New York State from fifty-four chapters and placed second in NY State for the Economics of Play Honors in Action project and their ambitious voter literacy campaign.

News Around Campus

Kadillatou Sillah Welcomes You 

“Hey, what’s up?” Abilities Club president Kadi Sillah (third from the left) greets a student in the hallway. He hasn’t come to the club’s meetings in a while and she asks him how he’s doing. “He had some good ideas for activities we could do, and it’s my job to help make things happen that the members suggest,” she explains. “I want everybody to feel included.” 


The friendly, soft-spoken leader wasn’t always this way. She credits her high school English teacher, Ms. Beegle, at the Bronx Academy of Letters, for bringing out her personality. “I used to keep to myself, but she showed me that if you have the courage to present yourself, people are going to see the real you. That’s how I am at Guttman. I love to connect with people.”  


The Human Service major wasn’t looking for a leadership role with the Abilities Club, but she sort of “fell into it.” This past fall during the first week of the semester, she was actually looking for a classroom when she met Luis Guttierez, assistant director of AccessABILITY Services. “He explained that the Abilities Club is an all-inclusive environment filled with leadership development, networking opportunities and fun. He mentioned that the previous president and vice president were about to graduate, and they couldn’t continue to offer it without a new president. “I thought, well here is this beautiful club, and I don’t want it to shut down because they don’t have a leader. I could do it.” And so she has with Guttierez’s help she’s quick to add.  


With a family member who happens to have a disability, Sillah sees herself as a natural ally. And as a Muslim woman, she believes that all people should feel included. “Coming together around fun events and activities like movie nights and Escape Room or advocating for rights, whether you have a disability or not, is the point,” she says. “I don’t care if people label or mislabel me.” Reaching out to include others is a way of expressing herself.  


In the midst of her clinical experience prior to graduating this June, Kadi’s fieldwork is working with elders in the Bronx who attend the nonprofit Neighborhood SHOPP. As the middle child of seven born to her Gambian parents, Sillah plans to transfer to Lehman and major in social work. Her goal is to do counseling with all different age groups and types of people and bring that experience to serving the African immigrant community as a therapist.

Connect Center: Covering The Basics 

April is a busy month at Guttman Connect Center, not just because the Center offers help filing taxes, but it continues to offer emergency assistance, advice and referrals when students encounter life challenges that could halt their ability to pursue their degree. Each Wednesday, 30 students can take home a grocery bag of eggs, bread, fruits and vegetables, thanks to the Connect Center’s “Spring Fresh Food Giveaway.” In partnershipwith B&Y Catering, this program is possible with FY24 NYC Council Food Security Program FundsOn April 22, the monthly bags of frozen food were available to students, too. 

The Connect Center launched a new Lunch Program for Spring 2024 in collaboration with the CUNY Graduate Center. “An anonymous donor makes it possible for 37 Guttman students to get meals at the CUNY Graduate Center Dining Commons from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Friday,” announced Dana LePage, director of the Connect Center.

On April 10, students engaged in a clothing swap as an example of mutual aid, voluntarily creating a network of care, generosity and collaborative exchange that helps participants meet immediate needs or overcome social, economic and/or political barriers. Facilitated by Enbar Ozeri, Connect Center intern in Hunter College’s MSW program, students brought clothing they no longer use to swap with one another.

Students Present at National Council of Undergraduate Research Annual Conference 

With their mentor, Chemistry Professor Chulsung Kim, three Guttman students participating in the CUNY Research Scholars Program traveled to Long Beach, CA to present at the April 8-11 National Council on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) annual conference.

Let’s hear directly from them!

  • Nathalia Marmol: Impact of Roasting on the Antioxidant Capacity and Polyphenol Content in Coffee “When Dr. Kim first approached me, I didn’t think I would be cut out for scientific research, let alone research around chemistry, which can be a difficult subject. I agreed to an opportunity blindly and I am extremely grateful for allowing myself to stick with the research regardless of initial self-doubts. I have learned that doing big things without initial knowledge can later allow me to find an interest and help me in the next steps of my future career path.”
  • Maye-Belen Navarro: Quantification of Water-Soluble Polyphenols in Citrus Fruit Peels “Attending the NCUR Long Beach Conference was an exciting, suspenseful, and, much more so, rewarding experience. Initially, we felt restless with our presentations scheduled for the morning of the second day. Once our presentations were over and well received, the suspense I felt began to dissipate. From then on, I was able to look around for what the conference had to offer and where we could explore. Afternoons were filled with insightful conversations after scanning posters of research from other colleges. Evenings were spent walking in warm weather, enjoying a glimpse of Long Beach.”   
  • Michelle Mejia: Antioxidant Capacity of Raw Coffee and the Effects of Roasting on Its Change “I never imagined myself doing research and presenting my findings to others. I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given to work with Dr. Kim and my fellow researchers on this. It is a fulfilling feeling know our hard work was able to make some contribution to the science world and that others were willing to listen to our findings.”


Guttman is one of 12 CUNY colleges to receive $5,000 from Ponce Bank as part of the Ponce Bank Scholarship Program. This program awards funding to students from historically underserved communities. 


Every Ability Matters

On April 2, the College’s Office of AccessABILITY opened the month with the theme "Every Ability Matters: Part of the Equity Equation in Higher Education." Guests Dr. Denise B. Maybank, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, and Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, highlighted the striving and the power of being part of a movement that sheds light on the fullness of diversity and equity.

Club Brings Students Together  

Grizzlies Without Borders advisors Dana LePage and Jessica Portilla pause with students for a moment during their April 9 Immigration Student Mixer.

Dancing to De-Stress  

Students enjoy a Latin Dance class each Tuesday in April, coordinated by intern clinician Hannah Manning for Guttman’s Counseling and Wellness Center.

Poets in the House 

The Poetry in Your Life panel occurred on April 15 to commemorate National Poetry Month. Presenting were Guttman’s own: Professors Tau Battice and Maya Mason and Academic Success Center Tutors Yiting (Zoe) Zhou and Katie Madsen with other guests invited by Dr. James Mellis.

NISOD Awardees Selected 

Twenty-nine faculty and staff were selected by their peers this month to receive the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Award for Excellence in recognition of their significant contributions to student or employee success. Read more.

Guttman Leaders Present at National Conference  

On April 6, President Johnson and Drs. Blake and Ambrose presented at the American Association of Community Colleges conference. The topic, entitled “Small College: BIG HEART!,” centered on Guttman’s unique academic model, highlighting its substantial impact on student transfer and completion.

Provost Discusses “Careers in the Classroom”  

On April 18, Interim Provost Nicola Blake and former Guttman faculty Dr. Mary Gatta, now of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), joined experts from the Society for Experiential Education (SEE), and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), to discuss and amplify research on faculty’s role in helping students prepare for career success.

Guttman Signs Articulation Agreement  

Guttman joins CUNY School of Professional Studies (SPS) Online Psychology Academy Signing Event on April 17 to provide greater access and seamless transfer for students to enroll in the online psychology bachelor’s degree. Dr. Tyner-Mullings and Dr. Tashana Samuel led the articulation for the College.

Math in the Real World

Guttman faculty take the role of public scholarship seriously. This month, Associate Professor of Mathematics Marla Sole was the featured expert in a WalletHub article explaining the difference between comprehensive vs. collision coverage car insurance.

Drag Story Hour

On April 18, the student Stonewall Club arranged for “Drag Story Hour,” featuring a local drag queen who read aloud and led discussion on themes of gender diversity from historic and current contexts.

Students Visit African American Smithsonian Museum

Guttman Grizzlies headed to Washington, D.C. on April 22 to explore the African American History Musem on a trip led by the College’s Office of Student Life and co-sponsored by the Office of Affirmative Action, Compliance and Diversity.


From Guttman to the World: Soldier D’Angelo Isaac’s Ready


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