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Suffolk County Community College

Photo from Suffolk Federal

Suffolk Federal Credit Union presented college scholarships totaling $43,925 to six high school graduates who plan to attend Suffolk County Community College this fall.

“As a community-focused credit union, we are committed to supporting hardworking students as they pursue higher education, while also easing the financial burden for their families,” said Michele Dean, CEO & president of Suffolk Federal. “We congratulate these outstanding scholarship recipients on their accomplishments and are pleased to help them achieve their educational and career goals.”

The following four Suffolk Federal Scholarship award recipients each received a scholarship of $6,275: Alex Pinto (Deer Park), Alyssia Furchert (Blue Point), Michael Krolikiewicz (Farmingville) and Zachary Gallant (Port Jefferson Station).

In addition, Juliana Ramai (Centereach) received a $6,275 scholarship from the LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which was matched by Suffolk Federal for a total of $12,550. 

Daniel Paesano (Sound Beach) was awarded $6,275 by Suffolk Federal in honor of the Michael E. Reilly Foundation Memorial Scholarship for Excellence. 

Scholarship award recipients were selected based on their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community involvement and essays. 

The scholarships are a result of an ongoing partnership between Suffolk Federal and the Suffolk Community College Foundation.

“We are deeply gratified to continue to partner with Suffolk Federal to support exemplary students with these generous scholarships,” said Sylvia A. Diaz, executive director of the Suffolk Community College Foundation. “Each of these recipients has a record of community service that reflects the values we share and the determination to succeed.”

Dr. Edward Bonahue, president of Suffolk County Community College added, “Young people are our greatest resource and best investment. Through these scholarships, Suffolk Federal demonstrates its notable commitment to helping Long Island families thrive and succeed.”

The credit union recently expanded its charter to include Nassau County as well as Suffolk County.

Suffolk County Community College interns prepare to take environmental samples in a south shore salt marsh. From left: Jake Montgomery, David Ziff, Jessica Cormier, Field Supervisor Nicholas Cormier, Brendan Lin, Kyler Vander Putten, and Grace Nelson. Suffolk County Community College photo

Six Suffolk County Community College interns are spending their summer monitoring the health of tidal wetlands as part of a multi-year study funded by a grant issued to Suffolk County and the College from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Grace Nelson holds an American Eel, a common inhabitant of the salt marsh. SCCC photo

Interns Jake Montgomery (Hampton Bays), David Ziff (West Islip), Kyler Vander Putten (Oakdale), Brendan Lin (Stony Brook), Grace Nelson (Selden), and Jessica Cormier (Farmingville) don waders, backpacks and other protection from the heat and biting insects to navigate through the challenging conditions of Suffolk’s south shore salt marshes as part of a multi-year post-Hurricane Sandy tidal wetland restoration project.

Assistant Professor of Marine Biology and grant coordinator Dr. Kellie McCartin said the students are given an orientation before starting their field work to understand the overall goals and science behind the multi-year study and how to safely navigate the salt marshes. “There are three monitoring aspects to this study: measuring the abundance of mosquito larvae, surveying the fish, invertebrate and plant community, and measuring water quality. Our students are learning a wide variety of skills and data collecting methods commonly performed by environmental scientists,” McCartin explained and said that the students are in the field up to four times per week collecting data that are vital to current and future salt marsh restoration efforts here on Long Island.

“Salt marshes play an important ecological role as the interface between the marine and the terrestrial environment, said Project Director of the Coastal Resiliency Internship Amy Dries.

“Salt marshes also affect public health by providing larval habitat for mosquitoes that are vectors for disease,” Dries said, adding that previously, ditching and pesticides were used as a control mechanism. “Ditching requires maintenance, and mosquitoes develop resistance to pesticides in the long term,” Dries said.

Beginning in the summer of 2017, select marshes on the south shore of Long Island were sampled weekly for mosquito larvae, nekton, and vegetation were collected and water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, temperature, and salinity) were measured by interns from Suffolk County Community College. Hot spots of mosquito larvae were frequently found near locations of the invasive Common Reed, Phragmites australis, where reduced water flow and low salinities were also identified. Based on the data obtained by the interns, restoration of the marshes began in 2019.

Jessica Cormier pulls a minnow trap during a monthly nekton survey. SCCC photo

“We need healthy wetlands for a healthy Suffolk County,” said Edward Bonahue, President of Suffolk CountyCommunity College, “whether it’s water quality, habitat restoration, or aquaculture. Our students clearly feel a sense of urgency about this project, and I’m delighted they’re committing their time and energy to studying our crucial natural resources.”

Suffolk graduate and now Field Supervisor Nick Cormier, himself an intern before earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stony Brook University, said it’s nice to combine a passion for science with being outdoors. “It’s a great opportunity that’s also fun,” Cormier said, “the students are engaged and inquisitive. They want to be there,” he said.

Suffolk intern Brendan Lin of Stony Brook said he recommends the internship to anyone who’s interested in environmental science. “It’s quite interesting how the data we collect will help improve marsh conditions,” Lin, who is pursuing an environmental science and forestry degree, said.

Kyler Vander Putten said the internship is helping him narrow his study choices. “I’ve been really interested in the environmental science world and marine biology,” Vander Putten said. “I’m going to try and narrow it down by taking part in different internships and opportunities wherever I can. The field work we do supports everything we learned in class,” he said.

“The students are excited to be in the field. They’re applying what they’ve learned in the classroom or virtual classroom and it is a fantastic experience for any student interested in a career in the sciences” McCartin said.

Suffolk County Community College has been awarded $90,000 as part of the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership grant. Suffolk is one of 10 community colleges nationally to receive the grant award that may be renewed annually for up to four years.

“This Johnson Controls award will advance the ability of our HVAC program to train high-need, high-skills technicians for our county workforce, and to partner with area employers who need this talent,” said Dr. Edward Bonahue, President of Suffolk County Community College. “We’re very grateful to Johnson Controls for investing in community college programs that are keeping up with cutting-edge building engineering technology.”

The college will use its funding to invest in state-of-the-art training simulators and growth of a guided mentoring program featuring Johnson Controls employees supporting peer mentoring and career counseling.

The Johnson Controls grant supports efforts to expand associate degree and certificate programs in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), fire and security and digital building automation systems, all areas where the U.S. Bureau of Labor is predicting an increased need for skilled trades expertise in coming years. In general, the funding will support the purchase and development of classroom materials, learning technologies and student scholarships.

“We are excited by this opportunity,” said Sylvia A. Diaz, PhD, LMSW, executive director Suffolk Community College Foundation. “Johnson Controls’ award is transformative and aligns with our Foundation’s mission is to support student access to a superior quality education and vocational skills training by providing critical funding for students pursuing rewarding careers in the dynamic Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry.”

“Johnson Controls is proud to build upon our significant presence in Suffolk County by partnering with Suffolk County Community College on the Community College Partnership Program. We believe the program will empower people to build life-long careers that will transform their lives and their communities,” said Grady Crosby, VP of Public Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Johnson Controls.“Just as smart, healthy buildings are critical to our well-being, well-educated and trained technicians are crucial to keeping our environments operating safely and efficiently. As a leader in the building industry for over a century, Johnson Controls is honored to share our expertise with the country’s leading community colleges.”

Suffolk County Community College’s Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) program prepares students for rewarding and challenging positions in the ever-changing and growing HVAC/R industry by combining comprehensive, career-based courses such as system design, diagnostics, servicing and controls with real-life, hands-on training through internships and intensive laboratory sessions. The HVAC/R curriculum provides students with the credentials and experience needed to obtain immediate employment upon successful program completion.

Visit: https://www.sunysuffolk.edu/explore-academics/majors-and-programs/hvac/about.jsp for more information.


The Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College. File photo

State University of New York Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. Edward Bonahue as president for Suffolk County Community College. The appointment was announced by the SUNY Board of Trustees and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.

“SUNY Suffolk is the largest community college in our system, serving more than 22,000 students with a high-quality and affordable education to jump start careers or provide the launching pad for further degrees, and we are pleased to have Dr. Bonahue join the SUNY family to lead this multi-campus College,” said Chancellor Malatras. “We thank Interim President Lou Petrizzo for making sure our students could succeed in their studies during this pandemic, and at the same time help the community as a vaccination site. Now with President Bonahue joining the team, we look forward to celebrating the end of this academic year and look forward to a fuller reopening this fall.”

SUNY Board Trustee Cary Staller said, “Dr. Bonahue has amassed a great breadth and depth of experience in higher education over the past two decades in areas such as developing academic programs, creating career pathways, and fostering student success. His background in community colleges makes him a great fit to lead Suffolk County Community College during this pivotal time where a degree is the gateway to professional success and personal growth. The Board congratulates President Bonahue on his appointment.”

Suffolk County Community College Chair E. Christopher Murray said, “The SUNY Suffolk trustees are excited that Dr. Bonahue will be our new president. With his background and abilities, he will make an outstanding leader who can assure the college’s continued success at serving the Suffolk County community. I would also like to give the Board’s heartfelt thanks to Interim President Lou Petrizzo for his great leadership during these challenging times.”

President Bonahue said, “It will be a tremendous honor and privilege to serve as the next president of Suffolk County Community College. SUNY Suffolk is an outstanding college that changes students’ lives every day, and I look forward to being part of the Suffolk community. I want to thank Chancellor Jim Malatras and the whole SUNY Board, as well as the Suffolk Board of Trustees for their confidence in me.”

About Dr. Edward Bonahue

Dr. Bonahue is a seasoned higher education executive with more than 20 years of experience in community college education, including service as a tenured faculty member and executive administrative leader. He currently serves as the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Santa Fe College in Florida, a position he has held since 2009. In that role, he provides leadership for planning, management, and assessment of all credit and non-credit instructional programming, and economic and workforce development initiatives.

In this capacity, he has implemented nine new baccalaureate programs and multiple associate of science degree and certificate programs, as well as established two deferred-admission partnerships with the University of Florida. He has provided leadership for major college-wide grant initiatives, including a $2.5 million Title III grant, a $1.7 million Department of Labor Trade Adjustments Assistance Community College and Career Training grant, a $1.5 million American Recovery & Reinvestment Act grant, as well as raised more than $300,000 for facility renovation to support related programming.

At Santa Fe College, Dr. Bonahue has served as the associate vice president for Academic Affairs; chair, Department of Humanities & Foreign Languages; co-chair, International Education Initiative; co-chair, SACS Reaccreditation Steering Committee; assistant chair and adjunct coordinator, Department of Creative Arts & Humanities; and assistant/associate professor of Humanities and Theatre. Additionally, he has also held positions of visiting assistant professor of humanities at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida and instructor of English at the University of North Carolina.

In addition to his academic experience, Dr. Bonahue was the managing editor for The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina; managing editor, Shakespeare Quarterly, Folger Shakespeare Library; and editor, U.S. General Services Administration. In 2009, Dr. Bonahue was a Fulbright Scholar with the U.S. International Administrators Program in Germany, and in 2016-2017, he was an Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Presidential Fellow.

A native of Long Island, Dr. Bonahue earned a Ph.D. in English literature at the University of North Carolina; M.A. in English literature at the University of North Carolina; and B.A. in English literature from Wake Forest University.


On Saturday, April 24th, forty-one SUNY schools collaborated to present a first-ever Virtual Concert Festival! SUNYFEST 2021 will be headlined by Kesha and AJR will be the opening act.


Prior to the headlining and opening act, the concert festival will feature student performers from a multitude of SUNY campuses, along with spotlight videos of each SUNY campus involved in the festival.

SUNY Suffolk County Community College will feature three performances, The Hims led by Ammerman’s Len Lopez, Jack Zuckerberg , and his band, Vicious Summer from the Michael J Grant Campus and Deanna DeMola also from Ammerman Campus.

Kesha, the global sensation, brings her two number one albums and four number one songs along with 40 million followers on social media to our virtual stage. AJR, the multiplatinum trio of brothers will open for Kesha.

Join them for this historic festival bringing the SUNY community together like never before.

To register for this free event click on this link.


The Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College. File photo

For the second consecutive year, Suffolk County Community College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to freeze tuition at the State University of New York’s largest community college, citing the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and strain it has put on students, their families, and finances. The announcement was made in a press release on April 15.

The Board adopted a $208 million College operating budget at its monthly meeting for the 2021-22 academic year that includes no tuition increase and represents a $5 million reduction in expenditures from 2020-21. Additionally, fees will also remain flat or in some cases be reduced.

“By freezing tuition and fees, we are not only prioritizing students, but working to ensure cost is not a barrier to receiving a quality and affordable education,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in reaction to the Board’s vote.

“Facing unprecedented pandemic-driven revenue losses we are committed to remain the affordable, high quality, accessible resource for Suffolk residents that we have always been,” said Suffolk County Community College Board of Trustees Chair E. Christopher Murray.  We know many are unexpectedly out of work and others are looking for convenient, close-to-home options to pursue their college education. Suffolk County Community College is and will continue to be here for them,” Murray said.

Murray said the College faced a more than $2.5 million budget hole resulting from an enrollment decline and the resulting loss of tuition, and pandemic driven costs and reductions in state aid.

College Board of Trustees Budget and Finance Chair Kevin M. O’Connor said sound fiscal management combined with belt-tightening initiatives, as well as staff reductions through attrition, not filling vacant lines, reconfiguring course sections to be more efficient and the College’s workers who voluntarily agreed to wage and benefit reductions helped ensure that Suffolk County Community College will continue to be an affordable, premier provider of higher education and workforce training.

“Freezing tuition and reducing fees are tangible manifestations of the trustees’ and our county partner’s commitment to our most important mission, the futures of our students,” said Jim Morgo, vice chair of the Board of Trustees.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Suffolk students particularly hard,” O’Connor said. “The Board of Trustees recognizes that we cannot ask our students and their families to shoulder a greater share of the burden during this tough time. Suffolk County Community College is the most affordable, accessible option to get a great education – and the Board intends to keep it that way.”

“Suffolk County Community College is a beacon of opportunity for many students who have few options when it comes to higher education” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo. “By their actions today, our Board has ensured that a door to opportunity and advancement remains open and affordable for thousands of students.”

Suffolk County Community College tuition is $2,735 per semester for Suffolk County residents.

Suffolk County Community College students Jason Saravia, Gabrielle Flores, Kecia McKoy and Brian Higgins all received COVID-19 vaccinations at NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement at Suffolk’s Michael J. Grant Campus on April 12 that New York State is taking its battle to defeat COVID-19 to college campuses, offering vaccines for students with direct allocations to schools, colleges and universities.

The Governor greeted each of the students after they received their vaccinations.

“Vaccinations are safe and effective and the best way to ensure that students don’t bring the virus home to family and friends. Vaccinations will also open the door to a return to campus and the college life students have been missing.” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo.

Suffolk County Community College students who would like to be vaccinated can schedule a vaccination appointment by email at: [email protected]. The email must include contact information (cell phone number and college email address). A college representative will call to schedule an appointment.

Photos courtesy of SCCC

Three outstanding Suffolk County Community College students will be awarded the prestigious State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence at an April virtual ceremony.

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recognizes students for outstanding achievements and who best demonstrate the integration of SUNY excellence within many aspects of their lives, which must include three of the following areas: academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service, or the arts (creative performing).

“We are extremely proud and celebrate these exceptional students,” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo. “Our students’ outstanding academic achievements, leadership and service, exemplify the very best our college has to offer.”

Suffolk County Community College’s SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipients are:

Leeanna Rutigliano (pictured on left)
A Child Study Education major from Medford, Leeanna has a 4.0 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List recognition every semester for the last two years. Leeanna serves as President of Phi Theta Kappa’s Alpha Zeta Nu Chapter; is a Division 1 Finalist Oberndorf Scholar, and member of Suffolk’s College Choir.

Gabriella Hassildine (pictured in center)
A Liberal Arts General Studies major from Mattituck, Gabriella has a 4.0 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List recognition every semester for the last two years. Gabriella has served as president of the Music Club, president of the Honors Club, and as an Orientation Leader.

Amrita Deonanan (pictured on right)
A Business Administration major from Brentwood, Amrita has a 4.0 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List recognition every semester for the last two years. Amrita serves as a Peer Mentor, chief financial officer of the Student Government Association, and assistant editor of the Western Student Press.

The 2021 award ceremony will premiere live on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 2:00pm at

New York State’s new “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” effort to combat drowsy driving kicked-off March 13 with a creative boost from Suffolk County Community College students who produced two of the three public service announcements for the campaign.

Jenna Capozzi

A “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” message is being promoted on message signs on the New York State Thruway, other state roads, and on social media before and after the recent Daylight Saving Time change. In addition, there is targeted outreach to college students who are among the most at risk of driving drowsy.

As part of the education effort, college students were invited to create a public service announcement (PSA) highlighting the dangers of drowsy driving. Two of the three winning PSAs being aired on social media and at Department of Motor Vehicle offices throughout the state were created by Suffolk County Community College students who took home prizes for first and third place. The first-place winner received a $2,000 cash prize, the second-place received a $1,500 and third-place $500.

Suffolk liberal arts major Jenna Capozzi, 21, from Lake Grove teamed up with friends she graduated with from Centereach High School, Vincent Meyers and Matt Kopsachilis to produce the winning 25-second PSA.

Radio and Television Production major Samantha Fowler, 19, from Medford captured third place.

“I was inspired by a story one of the organizers told us about losing a sister due to drowsy driving,” Fowler said. “I have a sister as well, and really wanted to focus on that emotional aspect of it.”

Samantha Fowler

“I personally thought it was a good idea to produce the video,” Capozzi said, “even if we did not win the contest, the message was an important one to spread.”

“Drowsy driving is something we can all relate to. That struck me as something that I wanted to be a part of,” said Meyers.

“The chance to create something that’s really special and very, very unique was a great opportunity,” cameraman and editor Kopsachilis said.   

The team collaborated on writing and pulling together on creation of the video, with Meyers doing the acting and Kopsachilis handling the camera and editing the piece that ultimately won the competition.

“Hopefully this message reaches a wide audience and it helps open up people’s eyes to what we don’t want to admit that they drive drowsy. At the end of the day I don’t think any of us really thought we were going to win. But it was very nostalgic, in the sense that we kind of came back to our old roots, where we like first met each other through theater,” said Capozzi.

Capozzi said she expects to graduate in May, and pursue a degree in aerospace engineering. Fowler said she will graduate in December.

“I definitely want to get some experience underneath my belt,” Fowler said, “I might take a gap year just to see what jobs are available for me in my field.”

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 24 hours without sleep has similar effects on driving ability as a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10 percent. GHSA also estimates that drowsy driving is a contributing factor in 328,000 crashes nationwide, annually, and more than half of them involve drivers age 25 and younger.


Talise Geer

Suffolk County Community College student Talise Geer recntly was honored with the Vanguard Award.

The student recognition award that acknowledges outstanding students who are enrolled in career and technical education programs that prepare them for professions that are not traditional for their gender, the Vanguard Award is presented annually by the Nontraditional Employment & Training Project — an initiative administered by SUNY Albany’s Center for Women in Government & Civil Society in partnership with the New York State Education Department.

Geer was one of 15 state-wide finalists, and is one of eight state-wide award recipients for pursuing a new career in cybersecurity.

She was notified of her win  earlier this month.

 “I had been searching for a long time to find my fit, a passion —  and I found it in cybersecurity,” she said. “I feel honored to be have been recognized as one of the winners of the Vanguard Award. I look forward to what the future holds for me and holding the door open for other women seeking to enter this field.”

The Vanguard Award Ceremony will be held virtually at the Nontraditional Employment Training Conference in April.

Geer, a Wading River, married mom to a six-year-old daughter, was working successfully in sales after earning a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Old Westbury. But, she wanted more.

“I wanted to find a profession with job security,” Geer said, adding “and to do something I loved and with the opportunity for advancement.”

Geer researched emerging professions and settled on cybersecurity.

“I needed a school offering a cyber security major, a great faculty, affordability and convenience,” she said, “Suffolk County Community College had everything I needed.”

“Talise started with very little computer knowledge, but she fought through every challenging course, and she has continuously improved substantially with each class. Talise always comes prepared for class, hands in all assignments on time, and shows enthusiasm for every topic,” said Susan Frank, assistant professor of cybersecurity.

“Talise fully understands the significance of a nontraditional career,” Frank added, “and she is determined and prepared to succeed in the male dominated field of information technology. Cybersecurity offers her a world of opportunity with a higher salary, quick career advancement and job security. A traditional field could not provide all of these benefits.”

Frank said that Geer is the perfect person for the honor.

“I’m very thankful for the time I spent at Suffolk, the professors and for Professor Frank nominating me for this prestigious award,” Geer said. 

Geer’s next stop is the New York Institute of Technology Cybersecurity Master’s program.

“I hope more girls, more women transition to this field,” Geer said. “It’s possible! And I hope to inspire more girls and women to enter cybersecurity. I’m honored and hope that a girl or woman in a seemingly dead-end job considers cyber security as a future career.”