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Learning Outside the Lines

Iona students lead in the classroom, in the community and in the nation.

Student Entrepreneurs Tackle Real-World Problems

Even as COVID-19 forced students to online platforms, entrepreneurs from Iona College’s Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation demonstrated a vision for solving real-world problems during the third annual Iona Innovation Challenge (IIC).

Held virtually on April 30, students pitched their ideas in a ’Shark Tank’-style competition to a panel of expert judges selected from corporate, nonprofit, investment and higher education partners across the region. Winners received cash prizes ranging from $3,000 for first prize and $1,200 for second prize, to $500 for the Fan Favorite.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence Danny Potocki ’06, who led the program at Iona College’s Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, said, “That the students were able to bring their ideas to completion and deliver such compelling pitches —even virtually—perfectly captures the spirit of entrepreneurship. As innovators, we keep going despite, and often because of, the challenges we are presented with.”


A company launched by Raymond Carapella ’20 and Michaela Ceci (Marist College) that manufactures eco-friendly, decomposable and cost-effective clothing hangers for major retailers.

A concept presented by Amanda Fitzgerald ’22MA and Gurpreet Singh ’22MA to bring representation and inclusivity through the form of college-branded, adaptive apparel to the Iona College community.

A beverage pouring device pitched by Christina Bryde ’20MBA to monitor pouring levels for consistency and safety.

“Our students are at the center of everything we do,” said Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding program director of the Hynes Institute. “They are our most valuable asset as we continue to build and grow our program. The work that they did, despite the current climate, is a testament to their commitment as leaders and scholars in our community.”

44 Iona College Students Inducted into Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society

Iona students shine in so many ways, and this past February, 44 exceptional students received national recognition for their academic achievements, leadership and commitment to service.

These stellar students were inducted into Delta Epsilon Sigma, the national scholastic honor society for Catholic colleges and universities.

The induction ceremony was held at the Arrigoni Center with Darcy
M. Katris, Esq., ’82, delivering
the keynote address. Katris, who has been listed as one of New York’s “Super Lawyers” for nine consecutive years and serves on the Iona College Alumni Association Board of Directors, emphasized that students should “find a mentor and then become a mentor; become involved in a professional organization outside of the workplace; and build relationships and stay connected.”

Two Iona Students Earn National Recognition as Social Work Students of the Year

In a testament to their commitment to serving others, two Iona College students were named by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) as Social Work Students of the Year.

Wanda McDonald ’20 was named NASW Westchester, NY, chapter Social Work Student of the Year and Susana Coxaj ’19 was named Florida chapter NASW Social Work Student of the Year.

“While I am happy about the work I have done thus far to help vulnerable populations, I know there is so much more work to be done,” said McDonald.

Coxaj added: “I am very grateful to the Iona social work faculty for preparing me to be the best master of social work student I could be. This award is dedicated to them for investing years into my education and being an example of the kind of social worker I want to be one day.”

Jeanne Matich-Maroney, Ph.D., chair, Social Work & Marriage and Family Therapy Department; Social Work program director; and director of the Center for Social Research, commented on the success of Coxaj and McDonald saying, “These external awards attest not only to Wanda’s and Susana’s exceptional performance as social work students and change agents, but also to the energy, creativity and unwavering commitment each of these students brought to her work.”

WICR, Iona’s Award-Winning Radio Station, Keeps the Show Going

Typically, WICR, Iona’s award-winning radio station and club, operates from a fully equipped studio in a cozy space on the ground floor of the LaPenta Student Union. There, club members enjoy the unique experience of hosting their own radio shows.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the campus to shut down, it looked like WICR might have to suspend their programming. That, however, was not an option for Club President Austin Stellato ’21. Using ingenuity and technology, he and his e-board kept WICR on the air.

“Despite not physically being in the station, with our current streaming platform of YouTube Live, we were able to offer our members the opportunity to record their shows and then upload them on our YouTube,” Stellato said. “Several members took advantage of the opportunity and continued to produce content.”

WICR was recently named as a finalist for four different Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Awards this year. These awards classify WICR within the top five percent of college radio stations in the country.

“I am very grateful for this online opportunity to not only share my work but also express my gratitude for my amazing mentor, Dr. Lee,” said Marnie Skinner ’20, whose work is included in the virtual presentation and who is now pursuing a doctoral degree in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“We are not only proud of these students’ academic accomplishments, but also of the adaptability, perseverance and dedication to scholarship they have demonstrated under these unusual circumstances,” said Sunghee Lee, Ph.D., Board of Trustees endowed professor, Biophysical/Analytical/Surface Chemistry.

Presentations covered topics including Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Dance, Education, Finance, Psychology, Science, Speech Communication and Text Analysis.

Margaret Pisani ’85, MD, MPH, who was originally scheduled to deliver the Iona Scholars Month keynote address, was instead serving tirelessly as an MD on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic at Yale Medicine in New Haven, Conn. She will deliver the address in 2021.

Iona Scholars Month: A Celebration of Research and Resiliency as Presentations Go Virtual

As COVID-19 forced Iona to move classes and activities online, Iona Scholars responded with creativity and resiliency, opting to create a virtual platform for the 11th Annual Iona College Scholars Month in April in order to share their outstanding work.

Scholars Month is a celebration of faculty-student accomplishments in academic research, performing arts and creative work.

Nearly 25 students participated by filming and submitting their presentations to the Virtual Scholars Day platform.

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