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Suffolk County Community College

From left, George Eli, Stefan Pallotta and Brooke Morabito star in 'Tape' at Suffolk County Community College in Selden through March 19. Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

By Julianne Mosher

The stage at Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus in Selden transforms this week into a basic motel room set in Lansing, Michigan. 

From the moment the lights dim, we are brought back to the glory days of three friends from high school who haven’t seen each other in a decade. But instead of a happy reunion, things turn dark, secrets are spilled, and the plot thickens with a conversation that is just as important now as it was nearly 25 years ago – sexual assault. 

Tape is a 1999 play written by Stephen Belber, first produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the 2000 Humana Festival of New American Plays. In 2001, it became a film, starring Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman. 

From left, George Eli, Brooke Morabito and Stefan Pallotta star in ‘Tape’ at Suffolk County Community College in Selden through March 19. Photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media

Directed by Steven Lantz-Gefroh, the three-character ensemble piece is set within the confines of a tawdry motor lodge in Michigan. After 10 years apart, three former friends (and lovers) come together to play out the unresolved drama of their final days in high school. 

Intrigued, the audience watches through the one-act play as layers of denial are slowly peeled away. Suspense builds as each character is provoked into revealing his or her true nature and motivation — full of plot twists. Mesmerized, we are drawn into their lives as they choose which cards to play and which cards to hold.

Starring SCCC students Stefan Pallotta (as Vince, a drug dealing volunteer firefighter), George Eli (as Jon, a filmmaker who is the reason the former friends are in the same room), and Brooke Morabito (Amy, the girl in the middle and a local assistant district attorney), the three on stage together collaborate so well that watchers can see, and feel, the emotion in front of them. 

Pallotta’s quick witted responses (and stellar dance moves) show promise for his future — he’s graduating this upcoming semester to study acting. The audience deeply empathizes with Morabito, who plays a victim of assault, as she performs her tale of that night and how she overcame it so well that viewers are left speechless. As a graduating senior, as well, she too has a bright future ahead. 

Eli’s performance of antagonist of the story is so impressive, it’s hard to dislike his character. This performance of Tape is so good, you’ll forget that you’re sitting inside a college theater.

Lantz-Gefroh said that although the play was written almost three decades ago, the topic is still important today — and that is why people should come see it this weekend.

“We have come no distance with this subject matter in over 30 years,” he said. “[This show] helps people realize the mistakes they’ve made in their lives that they need to fix — if they can.”

Morabito said that playing Amy was a cathartic experience for herself.

“Amy is the character that speaks for all the victims of sexual assault who get to see this play and she enacts revenge,” she explained. “She gets to close the door on what happened that night and what happened in the motel room, and leave it all behind.”

Eli added he was grateful to perform alongside Pallotta and Morabito for an important cause.

Tape spreads a lot of awareness and shows us that anyone can be a victim or anyone can be an aggressor,” he said. 

Tape continues on March 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and March 19 at 2 p.m. at Theatre 119 in the Islip Arts Building at the Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus, 533 College Road, Selden. Rated R for mature content. 

Theater continues at SCCC Selden with William Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors from April 13 to 23.

General admission is $14, veterans and students 16 years of age or younger is $10. Suffolk students with a current ID receive one free ticket. For tickets, call 631-451-4163.

Julianne Mosher is an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College and a 2013 graduate of the school.

The Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College. File photo
Amazon’s Career Choice program provides pre-paid tuition to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere

Suffolk County Community College has been selected as Long Island’s first education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program to provide Amazon’s hourly employees access to Suffolk County Community College, the college and company announced.

“We are delighted to be the first on Long Island to partner with Amazon to offer this important opportunity. Amazon’s Career Choice program is in keeping with Suffolk’s core mission to provide outstanding and affordable educational opportunities for all county residents. Partnering with Amazon will allow us to connect a new audience of working students with either traditional college courses or career-oriented training for in-demand jobs, that will positively impact their lives and our communities,” said Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Edward Bonahue.

“It is important that everyone, regardless of their financial situation is given the opportunity to earn a college degree,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “That is why I am so proud that Suffolk County Community College was selected as Long Island’s first education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice Program. This partnership showcases both the college and Amazon’s commitment to providing students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the 21st century workforce.”

Bonahue said that although the new program has not yet been widely publicized, outreach from College representatives already brought new students from Amazon to the college for the spring 2023 semester.

Amazon’s Career Choice program is an education benefit that empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. The program meets individual learners where they are on their education journey through a variety of education and upskilling opportunities including full college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas, and GEDs. In the U.S., the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.

Amazon’s Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements, and overall offering education that leads to career success.

“We’re proud of our growing footprint on Long Island and we’re even prouder to offer this program through our partnership with Suffolk County Community College,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s Head of Community Affairs in New York. “This adds to the many benefits available to our employees on Long Island and participants will join 110,000 Amazon employees around the world who have already participated in Career Choice.”

Suffolk County Community College is the State University of New York (SUNY) system’s largest community college, enrolling more than 20,000 for-credit students and over 7,500 non-credit students. The College offers more than 100 degree and certificate program options.

The College is comprised of three campuses and two downtown centers: The Ammerman Campus in Selden, ; Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood; Eastern Campus in Riverhead, and downtown centers in Riverhead and Sayville.

For more information on Amazon’s Career Choice, visit: https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/workplace/career-choice

From left, Christian Arevalo, Beverly Johnson, Christopher Duran, Andrew Lopez, DeShawn Little, Suffolk County Community College Executive Dean Donna Ciampa, Luke Shank, Instructor Brian Karp (VP at SUNation), Demarcus Frazier, Suffolk County Community College Assistant Director of Sustainability Melanie Morris-Carsch, Jokubas Balciunas , Gabriel Gomez, Nicolas Gomez, Jon -Tyler Glennon, and Kwani Opharrow. Photo from SCCC

Suffolk County Community College’s Solar Installer Certificate Program recently graduated an inaugural class of 13 certified installers including a father and son team – Gabriel and Nicholas Gomez.

The 50-hour Solar Installer Certificate Program is hands-on, taught by industry experts, includes a paid externship with a local solar company and the opportunity to earn an OSHA 10 certificate, a Fall Prevention Safety Certificate and a Suffolk County Community College Completion Certificate.

“Career-connected workforce programs are essential to the success of our local economy and will spur a new generation of upwardly mobile Suffolk County residents,” said Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Edward Bonahue. “Together with industry partners, we continue to innovate new ways to deliver short-term career-focused education that prepares students to be immediately ready to work,” Bonahue said.

The course of study covered topics such as fall prevention safety, basic construction, and electric and solar technologies.

The students built a mock roof and mounted solar panels utilizing assorted industry racking systems.

Several students secured jobs in the solar industry immediately after the program’s completion and several others are awaiting interviews.

The program is accepting applications for its March 2023 class. Visit: https://www.sunysuffolk.edu/about-suffolk/sustainability/courses.jsp#tab-d16e3-2

For more information, contact Melanie Morris-Carsch, [email protected], 631-851-6414.

The Theatres at Suffolk County Community College presents I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change at the Shea Theater, Islip Arts Building, 533 College Road, Selden on Oct. 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. With book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change is a musical revue celebrating the mating game. Directed by Marie Danvers, his crowd-pleasing comedy takes on the truths and myths behind that contemporary conundrum known as “the relationship.”

*Mature Content*

Theatre 119
Islip Arts Building
Suffolk County Community College
Ammerman Campus, Selden

  • General admission: $14
  • Veterans and students 16 years of age or younger: $10.00.
  • Suffolk students with current ID: One FREE ticket

For tickets call (631) 451-4163 or Purchase Online

See video Interview with Marie Danvers, Suffolk County Community College Distinguished Theatre Alumna and Broadway Veteran here.






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Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who allegedly committed a lewd act at a Selden college this month.

A man allegely filmed another man using the restroom before he exposed himself and committed a lewd act in front of the victim at Suffolk County Community College, Ammerman Campus, on October 5 at approximately 2 p.m. The man fled the scene on foot.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

Photo from SCCC

A nearly $1.5 million grant awarded to Suffolk County Community College will help the college increase the number of low-income, academically talented Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students who graduate, transfer to a four-year STEM program, or directly enter the STEM workforce.

The Improved Support for Undergraduates in Community College Engaged in STEM Studies (I-SUCCESS) Grant will allow the College to scale up and boost existing resources, developing new student support and cohort-building opportunities, and help students financially.

“Creating a new generation of talented STEM professionals is not just an economic need, it is also a social need. By eliminating barriers facing students who wish to be exposed to STEM, we can broaden the students’ economic opportunities and empower them as agents of change in our communities,” said Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Edward Bonahue.

“Suffolk County Community College has a well-known and respected STEM program,” said Professor Sean Tvelia, the project’s director.  “The additional academic resources, proactive mentoring, and student-centered approach provided through this program will increase success amongst our STEM students,” he said. Tvelia said that students who actively participate in I-SUCCESS will, in many cases, be better prepared for professional careers than students at four-year universities. For those students seeking transfer to four-year colleges and universities, the program also provides networking opportunities, transfer panels, and the ability to meet and work with university faculty.

Tvelia, Professors Richa Rawat Prakash and Joseph Napolitano say the program will support 18 new and 16 continuing students each year with financial support averaging about $10,000 from program entry to graduation.

The $1,499,296 I-SUCCESS grant will provide scholarships; introduce a mentoring program, with faculty positioned strategically across campuses and within STEM disciplines to serve as role models and advisors; increase opportunities for engagement and through remote and in-person activities; make more accessible, discipline-specific faculty tutoring to augment existing support, and provide internship and job coaching to supplement existing career services for STEM careers in the regional workforce and high-impact practices proven effective at promoting retention and transfer, including authentic research experiences and publication and presentation opportunities, will be augmented with opportunities for workforce internships.

Since the 2016-17 academic year, unmet financial need among undergraduates pursuing STEM degrees at Suffolk has increased by approximately 38%.  The I-SUCCESS project includes scholarships totaling $900,900 over 6 years plus $13,800 to support student summer research travel expenses to help address this unmet need.

The project is slated to begin on October 1, 2022.

Students interested in applying to the I-SUCCESS program can visit the college’s I-SUCCESS website, https://www.sunysuffolk.edu/stem/nfs-i-success/ or may contact Professor Sean Tvelia at [email protected]


Noah Fields. Photo from SCCC

Suffolk County Community College honors student Noah Fields, 19 of Holtsville has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship by the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.  Fields was awarded the academic scholarship by the Diocese as part of an inaugural eight-member class of students who are descendants of African slaves as part of the celebration of Juneteenth.

“Suffolk has far exceeded my expectations,” Fields, who is entering his second year at Suffolk this fall, said. Fields said he plans on attending Stony Brook University when he graduates, but also has dreams of studying at New York University where he’d like to major in business.

“The professors and staff at Suffolk were the ones that pushed me to apply for this scholarship and supported me the entire way through,” Fields said. “The network of amazing individuals at Suffolk always try to guide students to their fullest potential and I cannot thank them enough. I am proud to call Suffolk County Community College my school.”

“Noah is an outstanding student and a class leader.  He consistently demands the best of himself, and, in his commitment to his education, he inspires those around him as well.  The Diocese could not have made a better choice for this award,” said Academic Chair and English Professor Douglas Howard, Ph.D.

Honors Program Counselor and Associate Professor Matthew J. Zisel, Ph.D. wrote in his scholarship reference letter: “Noah was elected as our Honors Club vice-president and was instrumental in building a community of students who worked together on charity, volunteer, and fundraising events. As fate would have it, Noah came along when our program most needed a leader; without him, I am not sure that we would have built the community of students we did coming off the virtual year.”

The Barbara C. Harris Scholars Program’s goal is to promote equity in education by providing financial assistance to Blacks, African Americans and Caribbean-Americans, who are African Descendants of Slavery in the United States. At the 155th Convention of the Diocese of Long Island, the Reparations Committee announced that the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island will officially celebrate Juneteenth at the Cathedral of the Incarnation on June 19, 2022.

This scholarship program is named in honor of the life, legacy, and ordained ministry of the Right Reverend Barbara C. Harris, the first woman of African-American descent to be consecrated as a bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Photo from SCCC

On April 21, Suffolk County Community College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to freeze tuition at the State University of New York’s largest community college for the third consecutive year, citing the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and financial strain inflation is putting on students and their families.

The Board adopted an operating College budget of approximately $208 million for the 2022-23 academic year at its monthly meeting that includes no tuition increase.  Additionally, student fees will remain flat.

“Our students are our number one priority,” said Suffolk County Community College Board of Trustees Chair E. Christopher Murray, “and despite the challenges of the waning pandemic, holding down tuition cost ensures we remain an affordable, high quality, accessible resource for Suffolk residents.”

“Even as our economy recovers, we know that many Suffolk County residents need our help starting, or re-starting, their education or a career, and we are here to help them do just that,” said Suffolk County Community President Edward Bonahue. “Our Board has ensured that the door to opportunity remains open for thousands of students.”

Both College Board Chair Murray and College President Bonahue thanked the State and County for their generous, continued support of the College and its students.

Suffolk County Community College’s full-time tuition is $2,735 per semester for Suffolk County residents. In addition, the board kept tuition for its Beacon and Early College programs’ tuition flat at $57 per credit. “Suffolk remains the most affordable college tuition on Long Island,” said Bonahue, “and we believe a Suffolk education also delivers the highest value to the working families in our region.”

Suffolk’s Beacon Program is a concurrent enrollment program that allows high school juniors and seniors to take the College courses at their high school campus during regular school hours. College credits earned through the Beacon Program can be applied toward high school graduation and accepted at the College or transferred to other colleges and universities.

The Early College Program (ECP) is for high school juniors and seniors who attend our partner school districts to earn college credits while experiencing college life. Students enroll in college classes and interact with college faculty, staff and other students. ECP students can earn college-level credits while continuing to complete high school.

The Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College. File photo

Last week, Suffolk County Community College officially inaugurated Edward Bonahue as its seventh president.

During his inaugural address, Bonahue emphasized the importance of offering quality higher education at an affordable cost. The staff of TBR News Media energetically supports this message.

Often flying under the radar, two-year institutions do some of the most important work throughout the county and the nation. These institutions are the bridge for some people who have been historically left behind by the education system. At a time when the cost of higher education is skyrocketing out of control, when the decision to take out a student loan is comparable to taking out a mortgage, when fewer people see the value of a college degree, community colleges provide families a common-sense alternative.

Residents of Suffolk County should know that the decisions one makes coming out of high school can have enormous long-term consequences. For many, taking out a five-figure mandatory loan before the age of 20 is simply unwise, and for others can be a catastrophic mistake. Some 18-year-olds simply lack the prudence to make a financial decision of that magnitude.

Coupled with inflation and volatility in the market, more than ever parents must do the difficult work of calculating whether sending their children off to an expensive four-year institution is in their best interest. How can one know for sure that a high school student will comfortably adapt to life at the university? How can anyone predict the long-term academic success of someone who has only known a sheltered life on Long Island? Nowadays, sending even one child off to college disrupts the entire family budget dramatically.

To the residents of Suffolk County, to the parents and students who may be uncertain about whether or not college is the right choice, understand there are alternatives. Community colleges, such as SCCC, are a valuable resource that more Suffolk families should tap into.

Community colleges are a stepping stone. They allow students to determine for themselves if they are college-ready. For those who thrive at the community college, the pricey four-year institution may be a reasonable next step. However, for those who learn that they either struggle in a college setting or are dissatisfied by the work of the academy, the reasonable tuition of the community college makes it easier and less painful to cut one’s losses.

Community college should be a testing ground for student fence-sitters, those uncertain about which path is right for them. For many, community college will propel them to other institutions of higher learning. For others, it will likely point them in the direction of other — often more profitable — career alternatives.

The TBR staff congratulates President Bonahue on his recent inauguration. We hope that with his leadership, Suffolk residents will build trust in our county’s more affordable college institutions. From SCCC to Stony Brook University — both institutions that offer generous tuition rates for in-state residents — people here do have the option to receive a quality college education at an affordable price. Some people should choose this path to reduce the overall cost of their education.

Bonahue, above, entering the inaugural ceremony at the Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena on the Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood. Photo by SCCC

On Friday, April 8, Suffolk County Community College celebrated the inauguration of Edward Bonahue as the college’s seventh president. 

Bonahue, who took office in June 2021, was joined by students, educators, community leaders and public officials at the Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena on the Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood. During the event, various speakers had an opportunity to share their respective visions for the community college under Bonahue’s direction. 

Sarah Kain Gutowski, a professor of English at SCCC, delivered the inaugural poem, “A Shared Relief.” Gutowski’s poem reflected upon the setbacks faced by the Suffolk community because of the pandemic and offered a message of reassurance and hope.

“Perhaps memory serves us best when it reveals this: That after the onslaught of illness, fear, isolation and doubt, privation and poverty, empty rhetoric and tenuous polity, something remains,” Gutowski said. “Being together again, communing in this space whether virtual or real, masked or unmasked, standing six feet apart or three, is the way to recovery. Our eyes reflecting shared relief, it says, ‘Good, you’re still here.’”

Among the group of inaugural speakers was Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), who commended Bonahue for his leadership qualities and for his unique ability to generate partnerships throughout the community.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, above, spoke during the inauguration. Photo by SCCC

“We are fortunate now to have a seasoned higher education executive with more than 20 years of experience in community college education leading this great institution,” Bellone said. “If the last 10 months tell us anything, it’s that Dr. Bonahue is a proven leader. Throughout the course of his career, he has successfully implemented creative programs and creative, innovative partnerships.” The county executive added that these are “all talents he has brought with him to his role as our new president.”

Bellone also touched upon Bonahue’s local roots, which he considered vital for the continued connection between residents and the community college: “Dr. Bonahue not only has the experience and know-how to lead this incredible institution, but we know he has a special interest in seeing this region succeed as a native Suffolk County resident and graduate of Ward Melville High School.”

Edward Bonahue (left) and County Executive Steve Bellone (right) share a laugh during the inaugural ceremony. Photo by SCCC

Mary Reid, member of the SCCC Foundation Board of Directors and a tax preparer based in Bay Shore, said Bonahue had met with over 100 community representatives from various organizations throughout the county in September 2021. Since that initial meeting, Bonahue has already strengthened the ties between SCCC and its community partners.

“Dr. Bonahue, you and your staff have kept in contact and have begun to implement the suggestions offered that morning,” Reid said. “You have interacted with library directors, with superintendents of schools, labor leaders, civic groups, religious leaders and mothers wanting to attend college who were seeking day care and financial aid,” adding, “We thank you so much for that.”

Reid said jokingly, “Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot leave without asking for something.” Addressing Bonahue, she said, “Today I ask you to add to your to-do list a program that will meet the needs of persons with disabilities, especially those with Down syndrome,” adding, “Also remember to engage in frequent updates to the community groups.”

Representing the student body was Zachary Frost. He celebrated the appointment of Bonahue as president, arguing that Bonahue intends to bring quality higher education opportunities to low-income families throughout the county.

“The first time I met President Bonahue, we spoke about the many resources made available to students to ensure their success,” Frost said. “President Bonahue wanted to streamline access to these resources and make them more readily available to any student who may be struggling. It was in this meeting that I saw President Bonahue’s passion for driving success, especially for those at a disadvantage.” 

Frost described the challenges of growing up in a single-parent household and of being raised by a parent who struggled to make ends meet. “I remember as a young child, probably six or seven years old, my mother didn’t have the easiest time going through college, whether it be financially or her trying to find someone to watch me while she was in class,” he said. “I can’t help but wonder, had she been a student here at Suffolk County Community College and had access to all of these amazing resources, like our food pantry, writing centers, hardship funds and on-campus day care centers, accompanied by caring professors and a great faculty, she probably would have had a much healthier college experience.” 

Dr. Bonahue, on behalf of our three bargaining units, the Faculty Association, AME, the Guild of Administrative Officers, and the executive leadership team, we welcome you, we welcome your family, to our community.

— Dante Morelli

Representing the SCCC employees and the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees was Dante Morelli, professor of communications. He said AME union members are the engine behind the entire operation at SCCC’s campuses and downtown centers.

“President Bonahue, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that you probably already know,” Morelli said. “If you really want to know who keeps the college running, it’s the members of AME. It’s the members of AME who are often the first voice and/or a face a student sees or hears when they walk onto campus or pick up the phone to ask for assistance.” He added, “Dr. Bonahue, on behalf of our three bargaining units, the Faculty Association, AME, the Guild of Administrative Officers, and the executive leadership team, we welcome you, we welcome your family, to our community.”

To access our coverage of Bonahue’s inaugural address, click here.