All posts by Michael Parascandola

Uninstall Flash


Adobe stopped supporting the Flash Player application on December 31, 2020.

This means that there will be no security patches or updates against potential vulnerabilities in the software. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you uninstall any version of Flash Player on your laptops to protect your system. MORE



Be sure to download the uninstaller that matches the Mac OS version on your laptop, and verify that the uninstallation was completed.



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2019 Alumni Pioneer Award Winners

The Macaulay Pioneer Alumni Award recognizes a graduate who is courageously forging a unique path to success. On Thursday, October 3, 2019, Brian Kateman ’11 (CSI) and Sasha Ahuja ’09 (Hunter) received the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award during the annual Alumni Fall Fête. 

Brian Kateman '11 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award
Brian Kateman ’11 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award

Brian Kateman ’11 (CSI), embodies every aspect of what it means to be a pioneer. In 2014 he founded the Reducetarian Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to ending factory farming in order to mitigate the climate crisis and improve public health. Since then, Brian has organized three Reducetarian Summits across the U.S. with 600+ attendees at each (and has plans to scale this event internationally beginning in 2021), published over 50 op-eds in mainstream outlets like Forbes, Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, Vox, NBC, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, and Fast Company, delivered a TEDxCUNY talk with nearly one million views, fundraised nearly two million dollars, produced a full-feature documentary (set to be released in 2020), published two books, one with Penguin Random House and the other with Hachette Book Group and taught three courses to date at Columbia University.

Sasha Ahuja '09 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award
Sasha Ahuja ’09 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award

Sasha Ahuja ’09 (Hunter), ​has been a powerful force for women, workers, and communities of color. Since her time at Macaulay, organizing and advocacy went hand-in-hand with academic studies. As a student, she supported organizations and increased the capacity of impacted-individuals to advocate for their needs. Her work spanned supporting drivers of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance; to engaging youth of the Drum Major Institute; to achieving historic legislation addressing the needs of street vendors. Sasha completed her BA in Social Policy and Race Relations at Hunter and went on to codify the skills of social change at Columbia University’s Masters in Social Work. Her post-graduate career spanned Planned Parenthood, to political organizing with the Clinton campaign, to spearheading the Young Women’s Initiative – the first of its kind to center impacts for young women – on behalf of then-Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. When the #MeToo movement gained momentum, she joined Girls for Gender Equity as Chief of Staff to operationalize a vast network of advocates at the forefront of change. Earlier this year, Sasha took on the role of Chair of the New York City Equal Employment Practices Commission.

Neeru Bhagirath ’20 explores “voluntourism” on her way to medical school

Neeru Bhagirath ’20 (City College) adopted community service as a part of her everyday life from an early age. When she wasn’t hiking, photographing, and exploring nature in Orange County in upstate New York, she was heavily involved with the Greater Newburgh chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

“I became invested in my sophomore year, and it was really impactful to work on home building projects for people who needed a helping hand,” says Bhagirath, a biotechnology major and a double minor in computer science and psychology. “Often, the builds were benefitting people living with disabilities, or those who’d had a life-changing event, like a fire or a sudden loss of a parent.”

These days, Bhagirath runs the Habitat for Humanity chapter at Macaulay—CUNY’s first-ever campus chapter, which was opened in 2014—as the president and building coordinator.

“I schedule the builds and coordinate with the other eight campuses in the CUNY system to gather volunteers,” says Bhagirath. “Our builds are usually in the tri-state area—we did a lot of work helping victims of Hurricane Sandy and Irene, for example. But we also arrange alternative spring break trips where we travel to help people in other communities—we recently went to Colorado and are hoping to travel to Florida this year.”

And Bhagirath’s outreach efforts don’t end there. She is also a member of the William R. Kenan Scholars Program at Macaulay, which sponsors outstanding students who have demonstrated an early commitment to service and civic engagement.

Through Kenan Scholars funding, Bhagirath traveled to Quito, Ecuador, and worked with nonprofit NGO UBECI to offer daily education for the children of local marketplace workers. She also spent time in Galapagos teaching elementary through high school aged children English.

“The Kenan Scholars program underlines the idea that there’s a world beyond your own,” explains Bhagirath. “Through these trips, I was able to gain some experience working with children and make some fulfilling connections with families. I still stay in touch with some of my students!”

In the future, Bhagirath intends to continue on to medical school and go into pediatrics. While she’s not sure which field is the right one for her, she’s leaning toward oncology because of her recent internship at Weill Cornell working with augmented and virtual reality techniques to help cancer patients better understand their disease.

Parents Manjeet and Gurjeet Dhallu


As their first daughter Tanveen was attending high school in White Plains, New York, Drs. Manjeet and Gurjeet Dhallu saw signs that she would one day follow in the family footsteps and enter the medical field.

“While she was in the 11th grade, Tanveen became involved in a science research program through her school,” recalls Manjeet, a neurologist in the Bronx who works with stroke patients. “She chose to study whether inhaling lavender essential oil before medical procedures would have a calming effect on patients. She loved the work, and ended up getting a regional prize for her research and going on to compete at the state level. She decided then that medical school was the right choice for her.”

As a family, the Dhallus debated whether she should begin with just an undergraduate degree, or find a combination program that offered Tanveen even better benefits.

“When we started looking into the CUNY system, we found an incredible Coordinated B.A.-M.D. Program in which she could earn her undergraduate degree in three years from Brooklyn College and then enter SUNY Downstate College of Medicine for her graduate studies,” explains Gurjeet, a child psychiatrist in private practice who is originally from California, where Tanveen was born. “This meant that Tanveen wouldn’t have to take the time and expense to apply to medical school, which was a huge plus.”

Tanveen was not only accepted into the select program, but she was also invited to become a part of Macaulay Honors College. When the family went to orientation at the College, Manjeet and Gurjeet were exceptionally pleased to find a supportive community of their own.

“Instead of only having students as guides during orientation day, Macaulay had fellow parents as guides as well,” recalls Manjeet. “They answered our questions, gave us their personal email addresses, and helped allay any concerns we had, because they had been in our shoes before. The whole orientation was very impressive and made it easier to choose Macaulay and CUNY. It’s like a family here, and we could feel that.”

The Dhallus remain happy with Tanveen’s choice to attend to CUNY—and it seems that soon she may not be the only family member at Macaulay: Her younger sister, a senior in high school, is also eyeing the College as she sees how much her sister is flourishing.

Queens Native and Watson Fellow Seeks Justice For All

Getting things done ahead of the pack seems to be a theme for Aaron Fernando, who grew up in diverse South Richmond Hill. After learning about Macaulay and attending an open house at John Jay, he was sold at once and ready to keep the momentum going.

“The themes of justice and advocacy really spoke to me,” recalls Fernando, a double major in Law & Society and Philosophy. “As soon as they sent out an email with interview dates and times, I picked literally the very first one.”

Then, in the very first semester of his freshman year, he applied to intern in U.S. Senator and Presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand’s office—and he was selected, making him the youngest person in the office at just 17 years old.

“Working for Senator Gillibrand was incredibly humbling,” Fernando says. “There were people on my same level who were in their 30s, and one of my coworkers came here from the UK to take the internship for law school. And here’s little old me, taking the train in from Queens every day!”

Then, at the start of his sophomore year, Fernando was one of just four Macaulay students selected to become part of its 20th class of Jeannette K. Watson Fellows. Through this prestigious award, Fernando will spend each summer interning for important organizations—first in New York City, then in the U.S. or abroad.

In summer 2019, Fernando interned at TransitCenter, a nonprofit that seeks to improve public transit and make cities environmentally sustainable and socially just. He researched hiring trends at the MTA for a transit plan the foundation is creating to help influence the conversation on how public transportation in New York could be improved to benefit the city and the citizens.

As he thinks ahead to both his next internship and his career path—potentially to law school and a focus on civil rights—he’s considering more avenues to explore public policy and how it relates to law.

“Right now, I’m learning more about equal voting rights, especially in the Southwest,” says Fernando. “In places like Montana and South Dakota, there are high Native American populations that experience low voter turnout. There are lots of reasons why this could be—voter suppression laws and not having standard physical addresses, for example—but I think it would be interesting to work with a voting rights organization to learn more and see what we can do to help change the policies and make an impact.”

When he’s not seeking to right social inequalities around the country, Fernando is staying busy here at home—he’s on the Macaulay Scholars Council as the elected representative for his John Jay cohort and the vice president of Campus Affairs, as well as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Macaulay’s SCRIBE Magazine.

A Biological Sciences Major From Indonesia Becomes a Research Superstar


Born in Jakarta, Calvin Herman spent the first 11 years of his life on the outskirts of Indonesia’s capital with his family and three siblings. While attending school, he learned a bit of English, but not much beyond the basics.

After the 6th grade, Herman—along with his grandmother and younger sister—immigrated to the U.S. They lived with Herman’s aunt and uncle in Queens, who had been in the States for more than a decade, but continued to speak mostly Bahasa Indonesia at home.

“The language barrier was a huge culture shock for me,” recalls Herman. “For the first few months, I couldn’t really understand what the teacher was saying at school, and I couldn’t communicate with friends.”

As he began to fall behind during that first year at PS/IS 102 Queens, Herman enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program to accelerate his English skills. But he also had a more unconventional way to catch up.

“I started watching PBS kids shows like Curious George to pick up conversational English,” Herman says. “I would go to the library and read children’s books and talk with the librarians to try to immerse myself in the language.”

Herman continued living with his aunt and uncle for a further six years, developing a deep love for science along the way. In the 10th grade at Manhattan Hunter Science High School, he took a course called “Research Techniques Facility” through Hunter College’s biology department, and as a senior he took a few more college-level classes in the biotechnology program.

“I essentially started as a bio major at Hunter while I was still in high school,” says Herman. “I still had that affinity for math and science, which led me to receive a scholarship and enroll at Macaulay.”

Calvin Herman '20 (Macaulay at Hunter)

Herman hit the ground running that first year, landing an internship in Benjamin Ortiz’s research laboratory studying gene regulation within immune cells. In his second year, he undertook an internship at another prestigious lab studying stem cell biology and bone regeneration. He then studied mobile genetic elements in bacteria over two consecutive summers at MIT. Over the course of his undergraduate career, he has received a number of accolades, including Hunter’s Promising Young Investigator Award and a Futures Initiative Undergraduate Leadership Fellowship from the CUNY Graduate Center. Recently, he was selected as a Horace W. Goldsmith Scholar at Macaulay.

“One of the best things about Macaulay for me has been the support,” says Herman. “I’m a shy person and was anxious about college, but the first time I met my advisor, she put me right at ease. She’s very welcoming and offers a safe space to talk about anything; over the years, we have developed a true friendship.”

As Herman looks ahead to graduation next year, it’s no surprise that he has a lot of goals, including treating patients and helping people—especially immigrants—navigate and understand the healthcare environment, continuing to conduct research, and becoming an educator.

“Thanks to the rigorous education I have received at Macaulay and Hunter, I feel prepared for what my future brings,” says Herman.

Kenan Scholars in Ecuador

This summer, fourteen Kenan Scholars traveled to Ecuador for their annual service-abroad trip. In Quito, students partnered with UBECI, a local NGO committed to providing education for at-risk children. Students helped organize workshops with a focus on gender equality, spending a week building connections with children in the community.

On Isabela Island in the Galápagos, Kenan Scholars transitioned to a more environmental focus. Working with the group “Manos Reciclando,”—a group of women using art to demonstrate methods of sustainability—students learned the importance of recycling on an island with a delicate ecologic balance. Through beach cleanups, craft classes, and school visits, students contributed to the ongoing conservation efforts on the island..  ???