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Faculty and Students Share Their Favorite Memories of the Year

We asked members of the MMC family to tell us what inspired them, moved them, and reminded them of what makes our community special in 2022.


Addison McFarlin ’23, senior Musical Theatre major
In the spring, once our daily dance classes were done, my friends and I would go have lunch on this little hill on Roosevelt Island. We call it “Gender Reveal Hill” because the first time we went, we saw a couple film their gender reveal, and it was pretty funny. The view of the city from the hill is incredible, and I associate going there with the semester wrapping up and having more time to spend with my friends. It’s definitely one of my favorite MMC moments.


Marnie Brady, Ph.D., assistant professor of Politics and Human Rights
In the spring, we hosted Justine Medina ’12 for a panel discussion on workers’ rights. Justine spent more than a year helping to organize a historic unionization campaign at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse, and when she stepped into the Regina Peruggi Room, the students burst into applause. Seeing the standing ovation she got was one of the most phenomenal moments of my year. The students recognized Justine as their own—an alum who, in her words, applied what she learned at MMC to problem-solve our city’s challenges.

The moment was especially meaningful to me because I collaborated with Justine in planning a project for students in my Urban Sociology course, engaging in the praxis (theory, action, reflection) of student-labor solidarity. Leading up to the warehouse workers’ vote to unionize in April, students Stella Georgian ’24, Sofija Kac ’25, Steven Umlauf ’24, and Maggie Weeks ’24 met with Justine, participated in phone banks for worker outreach, attended Amazon Labor Union (ALU) events, and celebrated at the National Labor Relations Board’s final vote.

At the end of the panel discussion, Jackson Mizell ’25 invited everyone to join in a unity clap customary among Mexican and Filipino members of the United Farm Workers. The clap started out slowly and got faster and faster, with the entire room in unison. In that moment, we celebrated Justine and the ALU workers and felt the power of each other, our college, and our city.


Valentine Joaceus ’26, freshman Psychology major
Before starting my freshman year, I decided to open up and get more involved. In high school, I didn’t talk to people much, and since I babysat my brother, I would go straight home as soon as school ended. But I wanted to enjoy my college years, so I knew I had to make an effort. In the end, my best moments this year have all come from participating in campus activities. At MMC, HEOP and the First-Gen program helped a lot—I feel a sense of community there—and I’ve taken part in a lot of events that were really interesting. I also signed up for a leadership program with SDA in the spring semester.


Alessandra Leri, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, professor of Chemistry
The moment that stands out for me was when my research student Iris Parke ’23 won first place in the Organic Chemistry category at the 15th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in Biological and Chemical Sciences, which took place at William Paterson University in April. This symposium attracts undergraduates throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and Iris faced stiff competition. Her win was a huge thrill for us both! MMC has a long and storied history of wins at undergraduate science research symposia, including the one at William Paterson.


Tatiana Serafin, assistant professor of Communication and Media Arts and coordinator of MMC’s Journalism program
My favorite moments this year reflect that at MMC, New York City is our classroom—we link our learning to real-world events. For example, in October, my Reporting Climate Activism class went to The Climate Museum, a first-of-its-kind pop-up museum dedicated to climate issues. The students received a private tour, interviewed the staff about the museum’s origins and goals, and took in the exhibits. They even went into the museum’s video booth to share their experiences with climate change, which may be used in a museum documentary. One student wrote about the museum for MMC’s student paper The Monitor. And the class was so inspired after our trip that they decided to take on a climate action group project: staffing a table in Nugent Hall to share information with fellow students.

Later, my Public Affairs and Political Reporting class learned that President Biden would be at The Met for a private memorial service; at the time, the Met was being used as an early voting polling site. So we dropped everything and headed over to do some breaking news and on-the-ground interviews as part of our focus on the mid-term 2022 elections. You can read some of the students’ work here.


Christina Newland ’25, sophomore Business and Finance major
One of my most meaningful moments happened last month. I work for the Office of Admissions and was helping out at an open house for incoming freshmen when I saw a family I’d conducted a campus tour for in September. They recognized me immediately, and their accepted student, Charlotte, thanked me for helping her find the right college. She and her family were intrigued by MMC—they loved our school’s theatre arts program, clubs, and activities. Now Charlotte will be joining us in January. I’m so happy that I was able to help her! It makes me even more determined to do my best as a tour guide.


Leila Gastil, Visiting Instructor of Psychology
An unexpected highlight of my day has been passing by the security desk in the mornings and seeing the blinged-out, glammed-up rhinestone creations that Security Officer Butterfly Scott has become known for. (Like this rhinestone Griffy tumbler!) The joy those fantabulous objects bring me when I come in the door! The wild explosions of color and light and glittering graphic designs open my heart and make me smile. Joy and creativity, that’s what I love about MMC!


Emily Pandal ’23, a senior double-majoring in Musical Theatre and Advertising and Promotion
The identity of the students who play our mascot Griffy is usually a closely guarded secret, but I will say that I got to jump into the role for a Homecoming-related event, and it was one of my favorite things to do this year! Everyone loves Griffy—they’re one of the things you think of when you think of MMC. I had so much fun getting into costume and bringing them to life.


Matt Lundquist, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biology
It’s been a great year for Natural Sciences students in MMC’s Urban Ecology Lab. The spring brought in a new field season, where Victoria Perez ’24 had a chance to go out to the Bronx River and collect aquatic insects. She presented her research on them at the William Paterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium in New Jersey. In the fall, Madison Weisend ’20 and Hope Kenmore ’20 were published in the journal Urban Forestry and Urban Greening for entomological work they did while they were MMC students. It’s a big deal for undergraduates to publish in peer-reviewed journals, and it was a great accomplishment that adds to worldwide scientific and ecological knowledge.


Jake Gladwin ’23, a senior in the BFA Musical Theatre program
I was part of the cast of Carrie this year, but if you were at the show, you would have seen me on stage and floating in the audience—my mom has been making hand fans with my face on them and bringing them to my shows since high school. She gives them to my friends and anyone who’ll take them. It’s hilarious but it’s become a tradition, and it’s nice to have family and friends who root so hard for you.

Pielah Kim, assistant professor of Marketing
I attended an MMC dance performance for the first time this semester, which became a pivotal moment for me. I spotted several of my business students up there on stage, and I was reminded of how multitalented our students are and how hard they’re working—it takes a lot of physical energy to deliver a performance, and it also takes a lot of dedication to focus on the business classes I teach. It opened my eyes to how much our students juggle and how impressive they are. Other memorable moments came from taking students in my NYC seminar, “The Business of Fashion,” to visit various venues in the city, like the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum at FIT. Students love it because it broadens their perspective. Many of the exhibits we saw show the intersection between fashion, art, movement, and culture, which corresponds to the pedagogy that MMC believes in.


Nava Silton, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health, Human Development, and Creativity and professor of Psychology
One of the lovely highlights I’ve had this year was taking students in my NYC Seminar “Can you Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street? Child Development in NYC” to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and to FAO Schwarz. The students had an opportunity to learn about the socio-emotional, cognitive, and physical development of the child in a fun, engaging, and informative fashion. After visiting the interactive exhibits, one class participated in a superhero art project and the other class participated in a graffiti art project. It was a terrific way to make the city our campus for the day! At FAO Schwarz, my students had an opportunity to study toy design, play and how toy companies consider gender in their marketing. Another highlight: Working with our incredible Pre-Health Advisor Eugene Rubin, Peter Naccarato, and other colleagues to get the new Center for Health, Human Development, and Creativity up and running. It’s been such a joy seeing the center come to fruition—from our Monthly Speaker Series to our growing list of potential internships, research opportunities, and faculty collaborations. If you’re a student interested in health, please visit us on the 7th floor of Carson Hall!


Vandana Rao, Ph.D., professor of Business Management and chair of the Business Division
My best moments this year have been watching my capstone students make their presentations. Each student presented a strategic analysis of a major corporation, such as Tesla, Alphabet, Costco, and Disney, and recommended improvements. It’s an opportunity to reflect on how far they have come since their first year when some of them were in my NYC seminar class.


Eugene Rubin, Pre-Health Advisor
I recently came on board as the College’s pre-health advisor and career counselor for the new Center for Health, Human Development, and Creativity. In the relatively short time I’ve been here, I’ve encountered so many wonderful students with exciting career aspirations. I met with one who was unsure if she qualified for a particular internship that involved working with neurodiverse children in a therapeutic setting. After encouraging her to proceed with the application and assisting her with a cover letter, she applied. We waited for a response from the agency, and after a while, I received an email from the student telling me she was offered the position. She thanked me for my encouragement and assistance, and I sensed her extreme joy and excitement from her well-deserved accomplishment. I was equally as thrilled! Experiences like this make me feel so fortunate to be able to have a positive impact on the lives of our students and assist in their amazing journeys to meaningful and rewarding careers.


Jennifer Brown, Ph.D., professor of Writing, Literature, and Language and chair of Humanities and Social Sciences
My favorite part of 2022—and every year—at MMC is new student orientation. I love meeting the new majors, hearing their excitement upon arriving at MMC, and learning who will be in my classes. For opposite reasons, I also loved Commencement. It was great to have it at the beautiful United Palace,and it’s so special to be part of a ceremony that celebrates the completion of college and the start of the students’ next chapters.

Published: December 19, 2022