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University MedalDoctor killed in Iraq awarded University Medal
On May 15, Binghamton University awarded a University Medal posthumously to Dr. John P. Pryor '88, at the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences Division of Sciences and Mathematics recognition ceremony. Pryor, a member of Harpur's Ferry Student Volunteer Ambulance Service while a student at Binghamton, went on to become a trauma surgeon, treating about 3,000 patients each year at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Passionate about service to others, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves at age 38 and served two tours as an Army combat surgeon in Iraq, where he was killed on Christmas Day 2008.

After Pryor's brother, Dr. Richard Pryor, accepted the medal in his brother's memory, Pryor's former Binghamton roommate, Todd Kesselman '88, spoke of how hard it is to give a full picture of John Pryor.

"He was a force of nature, larger than life and a once-in-a-lifetime friend," Kesselman said. "John became the quintessential surgeon, teacher, mentor and rising star with an unlimited future. He went where he was needed and gave of himself selflessly and heroically. Live as John did. Have fun, laugh every chance you get, especially at yourself, love your family, and don't just know the right thing to do. Do the right thing. All of you raise your glass to John Pryor and tell your friends to raise their glasses, too. That would be a tribute that John would love."
Senior makes the most of her second language
Amelia Simonson can still remember her reaction to participating in the French Table as a freshman.

"I was a little intimidated to go," she said of the gathering that allows students to converse in French over a meal. "The upperclassmen all spoke French so well. But I wouldn't have improved if I hadn't continued to speak. Having that as a resource was really helpful."

Simonson has done more than master her French speaking skills over the past four years. Whether it's serving as a teaching assistant to Romance Languages and Literatures Visiting Associate Professor Dora Polachek, teaching the language to children during summers or studying abroad as a Rosefsky Scholar, Simonson has demonstrated the power of foreign language.



Joe BansgopaulScholar 'passionate' about extracurricular activities
After spending four years as an undergraduate at Binghamton University, Joe Bansgopaul can say he made the most of his opportunities to become involved in student life. The 21-year-old information systems and finance major has participated in a dozen clubs and activities, ranging from serving as a representative on the Student Association to being the president of his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. And when it comes to balancing extracurricular involvement and schoolwork, the White Plains native has a positive outlook.

Keith CastaldiSOM mentor’s 'boot camp' will keep aiding students
Although Keith Castaldi's position as a SOM mentor ends after graduation, undergraduate students will still be able to get his job interview and résumé-building advice for years to come. In 2008, the finance major from Massapequa Park helped create the school’s Investment Banking Boot Camp, a four-week instructional program for business job hopefuls. "It's a general overview of market conditions, what is expected of you and the process from zero to 100 as to making what (skills) you have translate into a work-ready graduate," Castaldi said.


SOM students make stock recommendations
Students and faculty gathered in May in the Zurack Trading Room to present their suggestions for rebalancing the class' stock portfolio. Professors and expert alumni were on hand to ask questions and make suggestions, while students presented their findings from the semester. 

Dennis Lasser led the class, which is the custodian of a live portfolio of 28 stocks and approximately $155,000. Ten sectors of industry were represented by students including industrial, telecommunications, energy, consumer staples, and health care. Students take a class in the fall to learn how to manage a portfolio and then attend class once a week in the spring to practice what they have learned in a real-world setting. The Zurack Trading Room uses the same trading software as Wall Street professionals.

"If you're going to do this for a living, then this is what you're going to have to know," said Lasser. "Life changes everyday on the markets."

This year, for rebalancing the class’s portfolio, there were several recommended buys including Xilinx, Pepsi, UNH, Ross Stores, Pacific Gas and Electric, and about the same recommended sells, according to Lasser. Alumni in attendance were Matthew Cantor '86 – attorney, Normandy Hill Capital, LP; Mario Cibelli '90 – managing member, Marathon Partners LP; and Jeffrey Schwartz '85 – portfolio manager, Palisade Capital Management. 




Joe WatsonEngineering is family affair for Watson student
It's a continuation of family tradition, Distinguished Service Professor Victor Skormin said enthusiastically of third-generation electrical engineer Pete Watson (no relation to Thomas J.). Almost 25 years ago, Skormin taught Watson’s father, Joe, and the two have remained friends ever since. So when the younger Watson was looking at prospective engineering schools, Skormin showed him around the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Sanmina exec awarded University Medal
Sushil Dhiman received a University Medal during Watson School's recognition ceremony on May 15. Dhiman, senior vice president of West Coast operations for Sanmina-SCI Corporation, has assisted many graduate students as they conducted research for the company, and has continued to mentor them after their graduation. Dhiman has played a crucial role in expanding the Watson School's research and the activities students and faculty engage in, said President Lois B. DeFleur:



Michael HubenthalEducational-poster project earns praise
Michael Hubenthal isn't a typical education master's student. He has already spent five years teaching earth science and physics in public schools, two years at NASA and is now the education specialist for Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), where he trains science teachers to deliver effective classroom instruction and develops learning materials for seismology education. His master's project has the potential to change an omnipresent feature of the classroom — the education poster. Though they are ubiquitous, it seems no one has ever evaluated their effectiveness.

Professor's book looks to change science teaching
Lay a wooden ruler on a table with one end hanging off, and cover the other end with two sheets of newspaper. Now smack the hanging end of the ruler. What happened? If you did it correctly, the stick broke apart without so much as lifting or tearing the newspaper. How could this be possible?

In his book Brain-Powered Science: Teaching and Learning with Discrepant Events, Thomas O'Brien, director of Binghamton's Center for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, uses this counter-intuitive event to illustrate that air has weight and exerts pressure, even if we don't normally feel it.




Kimberly CampbellFuture nurse to use Spanish to help patients
Kimberly Campbell had just finished a lonely freshman year and was wavering on a decision to study law when her mother showed her a journal saved from middle school. "The teacher had asked, 'Where do you see yourself in 10 years?' I wrote, 'In 10 years, I see myself graduating from college on a full scholarship and being a nurse,' she said. "I never remembered writing it, but I guess it was a sign." Campbell, who was already familiar with the Decker School of Nursing thanks to her suitemates, became a nursing major the following year and has not looked back. She also majors in Spanish and plans to combine the two in future endeavors.



Alberto SosaCCPA student continues to connect with the deaf
Alberto Sosa has always considered sign language his first — and natural — language. "There are baby videos of me signing," he said. "I've looked at them and thought, 'Wow! That's me signing at an early age.'" Picking up sign language as a child was not a convenience for Sosa. It was a necessity, as both of his parents are deaf and mute. Young Alberto had to serve as a translator for his parents and two sisters. “I had to mature very quickly,” said Sosa, a 22-year-old human development major.




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Last Updated: 9/26/16