What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Alexandra Milsom, Assistant Professor, English Department

Find her on Twitter @alexandramilsom.

I presented “Why Shelley’s Frankenstein Belongs in the South Bronx” at the International Conference for Romanticism (@ICRMCR2019) in Manchester, England on August 2. I also presented on “Caribbean Guidebooks, Spa Tourism, and Plantation Proximity” at the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (@2019NASSR) in Chicago on August 9. In July, the Los Angeles Review of Books (​@LAReviewBooks) published Professor Milsom’s article “Reading Ruskin in Cataclysmic Times,” a look at the Victorian critic’s bicentennial and the eccentric scholars who study him. I have another article about Wordsworth scholarship coming out in a few days in another literary magazine, which I can send you then.


Alida Pastoriza, Professor, Allied Health Sciences

One  very, very long afternoon I taught my 5 year old grandson, Jack, to select a button, thread a needle, use a thimble and sew the button on my pants.


Christine Hutchins, Assistant Professor, English Department

Shakespeare in Summer: The Othello Teaching Project <https://othelloteachingproject.wordpress.com/>

This past spring at the Shakespeare Association of America meeting, I met a colleague who teaches a course at Indiana University that integrates reading literature with public service opportunities. Hers is a wonderful course, and we talked about the possibilities for providing students with spaces in which to tangle with some of the most difficult issues facing the United States. I began thinking about how wonderful if my students in the Bronx were able to work alongside her students in Bloomington. Such a truly diverse classroom would bring together very different voices and experiences, and allow for discussion across the profound divisions fracturing the United States politically and culturally, mapped in red and blue, rural and urban.

This summer, inspired by our conversation, I created an Open Education Resource collaborative site for teaching Othello, with common readings, activities and assignments, discussion forums, and links for sharing writing with classmates and faculty around the world. The goal is to link professors and students from very different areas of our too-divided world, and very different kinds of selective and open-admission institutions, in conversation about race, difference, migration, sex, gender, domestic violence, and Othello. Why Shakespeare? Because it raises these difficult issues in an engaging and powerful way, with enough historical distance to foster honest but less personally charged conversation.

The Othello Teaching Project is still in planning stages, but it is already rich with faculty colleagues at selective and open-admission institutions in Arizona, California, New York, and Texas. Designing the site was a creative experience. Gathering faculty has been humbling in demonstrating the profound generosity and expertise of colleagues, all committed to teaching and learning across distances and divides.

Participating faculty beginning Spring 2020 integrate Othello as one unit in any class, whether Shakespeare, literary survey, or writing about literature. The site allows anyone (with or without registration) to contribute to the forum, writing submissions, and shared folders. Student submissions are searchable by faculty names. The registration option allows students (and faculty, should they wish) to create social profiles, save and share documents, and log class activities. It’s a class and a community, and I am so glad I stretched my tech skills to create it. If you or someone you know might like to participate, reach out via the site.


Elvir Dincer, Professor, Dental Hygiene, Allied Health Sciences Department

With a Do-It-Yourself attitude, Professor Dincer and his son researched bricklaying by watching YouTube videos and speaking with brick layers to learn how to do a brick wall repair project in the house.


Juno Morrow, Assistant Professor, Visual and Performing Arts, Humanities Department

This summer, I attended a 4-week maker camp at NYU; made some cool laser-cut jewelry; finished my memoir examining intersecting experiences of race and gender; spent a few weeks exploring Tokyo, Kyoto and a relatively remote part of Okinawa, moved for the first time in 6-years (do not recommend); showed my game, Conspiracy Theories About Myself, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum


Gail August, Professor, Language and Cognition

This summer I spent 4 days in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the Fringe festival, where my daughter-in-law was appearing in a play, “Zounds.” We hit several other interesting performances and ran around with the Zounds actors trying to drum up an audience for their show. It is a pretty competitive scene and getting an audience is about as hard as getting published in a peer review journal.

We continued our trip, spending 4 days in St. Petersburg, a gorgeous city. One day checking out some sites and palaces, and 2 days in the Hermitage. A highlight, one of my dreams, was a ballet performance at the Maryinsky theater.  It was Swan Lake, of course, and spectacularly danced.

On our next leg, 2 days in Moscow, we did a small group tour of Communist Russia lead by a young highly informed political activist. She remained glued to her phone, as the Saturday protest was about one block away from our sites.  We skirted the protesters, but did, however, see a whole lot of police. The next day she led a calmer tour of the Kremlin. Although she seemed to be very involved and informed, she had absolutely no news of the nuclear event that had just happened in the North.

As an academic, I will report a short, unofficial survey.  All cab drivers except one like Trump. Only one would talk about Putin, and that was quite negative. He also hates Gorbachev. The Hotel staff people want more information, and are told that all US people love Trump. Weird, as CNN plays all day in the lobby.

Another highlight was a spectacular Folk Music and Dance show, including a virtuosic Paganini mandolin solo of a folk song arrangement. As a reflection of my history, I knew the music to almost every song in the show (and, as a contrast, none of the songs in the recent US movie about Elton John).


Ian Scott, Assistant Professor, Visual and Performing Arts, Humanities Department

I invited world famous New York artist Don Perlis to the Highlands of Scotland where he exhibited his paintings with those of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Whilst there Mr Perlis celebrated his 78th Birthday and attended the Mey Highland games with Prince Charles.

To complete the experience, he gave an illustrated talk for the general public on his 60 years of art works where I acted as compare. I also included my own art works in the art exhibition with H.R.H.


Linda Ridley, Lecturer, Business Department

My “summer vacation” was spent in the 5th semester of my doctoral studies at St. John’s University.  The amount of satisfaction I received for successfully completing the semester is equivalent to a week in the South of France!


Jo-Ann Rover

I visited Brisbane, Australia for two weeks and while in Australia I attended the 21st International Symposium on Dental Hygiene (ISDH). The theme for the 2019 three-day symposium was LEAD.

L- Leadership
E- Empowerment
A- Advances
D- Diversity

As a delegate, I attended several scientific sessions and rapid-fire presentations that discussed current research in the world of dental hygiene.  The scientific exchange presented in all forums were relevant to clinicians and educators in the dental setting.   I was afforded the opportunity to network with dental educators, dental hygienist, dental therapist, and oral health therapist from around the globe. The environment exuded a strong sense of collegiality, and the symposiums’ array of topics were enlightening, and educationally stimulating.  Overall Australia is an exciting multicultural country with an extensive selection of ethnic cuisines.


Olga Steinberg Neifach, Professor, Biology, Natural Sciences Department

I have spent my summer working with the research student at Weill Cornell. This work was supported by the NSF grant.


Sarah Hoiland, Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Social Sciences Department

Writing, meditation, beach, pleasure reading, sleep, time with family and friends, bicycle riding, writing, two conference presentations, Roots and Action fundraiser, writing, and domestic travel to KY, OR, WA, IA, and MN. Writing.


Sherese Mitchell, Associate Director, Early Childhood, Education Department

It seems that every summer since beginning my journey at Hostos in 2008, I have been working with young adults. For several years I worked with the early college and a few years ago, I went back to my roots of a day camp during the summer. This year in particular I was able to continue my connection to the camp, expand upon the foundation which I developed and step out of my Academic Director role. I got a chance to play with the campers! We played dodge ball, soccer and I even took some time to work with some children on their juggling skills (thank you CTL for igniting that passion in me once again). I look forward to volunteering for the camp next year in not only the capacity of Academic Director, but working with the counselors on the play aspect. Being in the open air and sun was really what I needed this summer!


Thomas Beachdel, Assistant Professor, Humanities Department

This was to be a summer of writing and I pictured a writing schedule of early mornings at the library and afternoons spent riding my bicycle along the river and seeing friends. Well, the writing happened and I got out the articles to the journals. But it was a push. I was invited to launch my book Young American in Tokyo, Japan at Tsutaya Books (Daikanyama T-Site). And then I was offered to do an exhibition at SO1 Gallery in Harajuku, so I did and called it Like a Dream. I was also invited to be part of a panel and give a talk on the work at Czech Center Tokyo. The launch and show were amazing—I have no other words—and I am so grateful for being able to share the experiences and work with so many wonderful people. The book is now officially sold out worldwide and it feels very good to have reached so many people who identify with it is themes. This all started with curating a show in New York on June 28, 2018, and grew into a book and more shows around the world—7 in all. I have met so many wonderful people in Tokyo as a result of working here—it has allowed me experiences I would never have dreamed possible. It has allowed me to connect with others and share, which is the real joy in life.​


Victoria Muñoz, Assistant Professor, English Department

In addition to working on my first book manuscript, I traveled through Quintana Roo, Mexico with my family. We visited the ancient Maya sites of Tulum and Coba, and we swam in some majestic cenotes. I was particularly inspired to further explore Maya history for a future research project.


Yoel Rodriguez, Professor, Natural Sciences Department

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