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Marist Discounts Tuition
for Participants in
Big Brothers Big Sisters
f you volunteer for the nonprofit Big
Brothers Big Sisters organization in the
Hudson River Valley, you now get the rewards
of helping others plus something more.
Marist College offers a 25 percent discount
on tuition for most of its graduate and adult
undergraduate programs and waives appli-
cation fees for anyone who volunteers as Big
Brothers or Big Sisters in three valley coun-
ties. Little Brothers and Little Sisters, when
they reach college age, are also eligible, as are
family members of “Bigs” and “Littles.”
Participants in the Big Brothers Big
Sisters programs of Dutchess, Orange, and
Ulster counties receive the benefts when
they register for degree programs offered
through Marist’s Offce of Graduate and Adult
“I love the idea,” says Colleen Mountford,
president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ulster
County. “Not only does it appeal to volun-
teers and potential volunteers but also staff,
board members and potential board members,
former Little Brothers and Little Sisters,
and the parents of some of the children we
serve. That’s a lot of people impacted by this
partnership. Our agency will beneft from the
volunteers and potential board members who
may just need this incentive.”
In summer 2010, the newly launched
program was the subject of an article on the
education blog of the
New York Times
and Time
Warner Cable’s YNN news service.
Founded in New York City in 1904, Big
Brothers Big Sisters serves a quarter-million
children annually through its network of
nearly 380 agencies across the country. Open
since 1975, the Ulster County chapter served
145 Big/Little pairs in 2010. The children in
the program range from age 4 to 18, while the
adults are age 19 and up.
Mentors report that they have gotten as
much, if not more, from the experience as
the child, says Mountford. “For as little as
eight hours a month, a mentor can make an
impact in a child’s life, just being someone
to share a child’s dreams, to open the child
to new experiences and opportunities. And
it is usually the simple moments that make
the biggest impact.”
The program is a win-win: Big Brothers
Big Sisters recruits more volunteers to
mentor children, and Marist recruits more
students. Marist Dean of Graduate and Adult
Enrollment Sean-Michael Green hopes to
extend the discount to programs in other
states. A former Big Brother himself, he volun-
teers with the Dutchess County branch, is
a member of the board of Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Ulster County, and served previ-
ously on the board of the Pittsburgh chapter.
“The College was founded by Marist
Brothers who were guided by the principle
of service,” says Green. “We are happy we
can follow in that tradition by supporting the
work of Big Brothers Big Sisters, which serves
children and their families.”
For more information, call Marist’s Offce
of Graduate and Adult Enrollment at (845)
575-3800 or toll-free at (888) 877-7900 or
Big Sisters of Ulster County, and her Little
Sister, Dominique River-Lyons, visit the
Marist College campus.
Students Shed Light
on Nanoparticles
or scientific researchers, combating
misperception regarding a topic can often
be more daunting than the countless hours
of lab study needed to investigate the issue.
During the spring 2011 semester, Associate
Professor of Environmental Science Zofa
Gagnon and seven of her students presented
their research on the effects of nanoparti-
cles on organisms, a commonly overlooked
phenomenon, to thousands of the most
esteemed professionals and graduate students
in the scientifc community at the American
Association for Advancement in Science
(AAAS) annual meeting in Washington.
Nanoparticles are used in medical, indus-
trial, and commercial goods such as washing
machines, refrigerators, air conditioners,
toothbrushes, and toothpaste to eliminate
odor-causing bacteria. Although this may
seem like a signifcant advance in creating
healthy and sterile environments, concern
exists that these particles, which are less than
100 nanometers in size, will enter natural
water supplies, and that humans and other
organisms will be exposed to them. Because
of their minuscule size, there’s no way to elim-
inate nanoparticles from the water supply. In
their toxicological study of crayfsh and plants,
the students found signifcant effects of reac-
tive, silver nanoparticles on the organisms,
including DNA damage and the accumula-
tion of nanoparticles in the tissue of animals.
“We were hoping that by alerting the
scientifc community, we could eventually
raise the concerns of legislators,” says Gagnon.
Students carried out the research outside
of their coursework, starting in the summer
of 2010 and concluding the following fall.
The group gave a poster presentation during
a two-hour informal session in which other
meeting attendees could offer questions and
suggestions about the research. “That kind
of exposure to mostly graduate students
and professionals in that particular format
is a pretty remarkable opportunity,” says Dr.
Thomas Lynch, chair of the Environmental
Science and Policy program at Marist.
For everyone involved, there was a sense
that what they were doing was important. “I
always ask, ‘Who’s going to beneft from this?’”
said Alison Sardonini ’11. “For this project, I
know there is a point to my research.”
—Jim Urso ’11
Left to right, Associate Professor of Chemistry and InterimDeanof the School of ScienceNeil
Fitzgerald joins Renae Comulada, Stephanie Cabey, Associate Professor of Environmental
Science ZofiaGagnon, Seth Brittle, ChauQuach, Rachel Serafin, andAllen Clayton, who pre-
sented their research on the effects of nanoparticles on organisms at the AAAS nationwide
annual meeting in Washington, D.C.