All posts by Noelia Vazquez (East Islip High School)

Outside the Stony Brook School of Health Technology and Management (Leslie Perez)

New center links SBU, community


A new center at Stony Brook University will help surrounding underserved communities improve health and education, build capacity to tackle community-based challenges and put food on families’ tables.

The new Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development brings together faculty from across the Stony Brook campus to work on community-based projects that can best be addressed from a multidisciplinary approach.

Brooke Ellison (Leslie Perez)
Brooke Ellison (Photo by Leslie Perez)

“The Center for Community Engagement Leadership Development is meant to be a bridge between the university and the community,” said Assistant Director Casey McGloin.

“The center allows for a broad-based exchange of central ideas,”said Associate Director Brooke Ellison. “It makes sense to have people all in one spot rather than scattered throughout the university, because then we can exchange ideas.”

The main focal points include community engagement, helping communities to reach their goals, engaging in community based participatory research, and establishing a pipeline of researchers dedicated to this work.  The team is led by Associate Dean Carlos Vidal, Ellison, McGloin, Educational Specialist Erik Flynn and Program Associate Jennifer Mesiano Higham. The center will be housed in the School of Health Technology and Management.

Photo by Leslie Perez
Casey McGloin (Photo by Leslie Perez)

According to a description released last September, the program’s initial focus is to “enhance the academic experience of future leaders in community health disciplines and collaborate with local community members to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world.”

The Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development has several important goals designed to work toward meeting its mission: service learning, leadership development and research. Select activities of the center include the Health Careers Academic Readiness and Excellence (HCARE) and HCARE HStem programs, which exposes high school students in Wyandanch, Brentwood, Amityville, William Floyd, and the Sovereign Unkechaug Nation to the allied health professions.

Faculty and staff from the center travel to these schools and communities and assist students with SAT preparation, college applications, applying for financial aid and anything else that could improve their future educational careers.

The center also provides a Distracted Driving program to curb motor vehicle deaths among youth. Another program is a campus-based food pantry launched last year and co-founded by McGloin, which provides food to  members of the Stony Brook University community who are in need, or are food insecure. The center also works with the Town of Islip Youth Bureau to survey middle school students’ needs. The center is proposing to conduct an evidence-based, consumer satisfaction survey of Suffolk County residents on their experiences with the Suffolk County Police Department.

The center has invited representatives from Long Island Native American tribes to begin discussing and exploring the possibility of developing a Long Island Native American business incubator.

“Many Native American Tribes have difficulty getting loans,” McGloin said.  Business incubators often can offer services like leadership training and space for entrepreneurs who are interested in developing new business ventures.

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Kelly Colligan

Kelly Colligan: Shelter Island, then the world

For Kelly Colligan, growing up on Shelter Island means even a trip to the mall requires a long trip including a ferry.

But Kelly is far from sheltered. She keeps busy watching movies, being active in her school, Shelter Island High School, and working at a souvenir shop.

“Playing sports, doing journalism and making excursions to other places on Long Island helps me to experience the world around me,” Kelly said. “I’m hoping once I graduate high school to college some place outside of Long Island and experience other societies and cultures.”

Kelly, 15, was one of nineteen students selected to participate in the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists this July.

Kelly’s interest in journalism arose two years ago during her freshman year of high school when her English teacher influenced her to join the class. She learned quickly and was soon promoted from staff writer to editor as a sophomore. Kelly said one of the main reasons she stuck with journalism was, the “realness” of it all.

“Writing articles, knowing that they may have an impact on society, is really cool,” Kelly said. “Journalism gives young people a voice that they are not given enough.”

When she is not in class writing stories and helping design the layout for “The Inlet,” her school’s newspaper, Kelly is an active teen. She plays multiple sports, including volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball.

“I really enjoy playing volleyball,” Kelly said. “I play on my school’s varsity team, and I play on a club team during the off-season.”

Her artistic side not only shines through her written work but also when she is acting on stage.

“ I have participated in school drama club since seventh grade, and I really enjoy that as well. This sounds corny, but I really enjoy making people laugh. I think that’s just the best feeling.”

Kelly said journalism has changed the way she approaches her writing.

“Journalism has improved my writing skills tremendously,” Kelly said. “It’s also taught me that print is risky, but sometimes as a writer, you have to take risks to become successful.”

As a staff writer during sophomore year, Kelly covered a wide range of topics. “I love trying new things,” she said.“. . . Seeing everything come together is exciting.”

Now as an editor, Kelly said she enjoys helping new writers develop their stories and putting the final touches on all the articles.

“I like getting a bunch of raw material and making it better,” Kelly said. “Seeing everything come together in the end makes me feel like I accomplished something worthwhile.”

For these reasons, she said, she hopes to continue studying journalism.

“Journalism is something I will somehow always take part in throughout my entire life,”Kelly said. “I feel privileged to be part of the selective Greene team.”

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Mmskk, selfies and smiles

We are not even done with our second day and I’ve already made so many memories to last a lifetime. We learned a lot of interesting things yesterday, but my favorite part definitely was when Pulitzer Prize winner and Newsday Assistant Photo Editor John Williams (who by the way is my new favorite person) came in. He brought us outside and taught us how to properly take artsy pictures (not really). In all seriousness he taught us how to take amazing quality pictures and how to adjust the shutter, ISO and aperture.

My friend Madison and I were partners for the assignments and, if I do say so myself, took some amazing action shots of us jumping. The amount of possible profile pictures for all our social media we took in one day is never ending. We really bonded over that and sharing the back corner in the newsroom. I also learned something important about her – don’t get her name wrong. I accidentally called her Melissa and she punched me.

Just kidding. We’ve actually gotten really close and she’s hilarious.

Another great part of these past few days was playing Scattergories with all the girls late last night. I feel like it’s never a dull moment with these ladies. So far the food hasn’t been that bad. I had pizza and ramen noodles yesterday, but we decided to put them in the microwave to save time and it kind of broke – the ramen noodles not the microwave. No matter how many times we put it in it wouldn’t warm up so naturally I got up to throw it out and completely fell flat on my face which was kind of embarrassing. I recovered though, it’s all good.

After the workshop last night, but before our Scattergories night, Madison, Alejandro and I were in the break room where we met this kid from another team. His name was Matt and he was from Port Washington he was here for math camp. Even though I absolutely hate math, he was really nice and we all became friends. I would have to say my absolute favorite part of this experience is meeting so many new people.

A selfie with Noelia
The pic that made us Stony Brook Famous
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$81 dollars worth of pizza and some bonding

I’m not going to lie—as excited as I was to get in my car and get away for a week, I was incredibly nervous. This is an incredible opportunity and I want to make the most of it. What I was most nervous about was that everyone here was going to be an intense hipster, because obviously that’s a stereotype for writers.

Everyone here is so friendly. I liked that we came here already knowing someone because of the bios we were asked to write. I feel like it made everyone a little more comfortable with each other. Even though we were strangers, we quickly became friends in a matter of minutes. I especially think we all bonded when we all got together to order pizza to end our starvation. Our total came to $81, and we each chipped in a couple dollars. While we were waiting, we all introduced ourselves and really got to know everyone.

It’s only been a day and we already have nicknames for each other, my favorite is YaYa—aka Yardalie. Meeting new people is awesome, but I feel like just hearing people’s stories and finding out that you having common interests is also interesting.

For example, Madison and I are currently bonding over Gossip Girl and taking candid selfies in the newsroom with the clocks. It’s not even 11 a.m. and it has already been a great day, I can’t wait for the rest of the week to see what happens.

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