35K Likes for Thread Comparing Anti-Maskers to Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

Professor Debra Caplan (Fine and Performing Arts) composed a Twitter thread comparing anti-mask sentiment to the mentality depicted in Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros. The tweets received 35,000 likes and 11,000 retweets, with a reach of 5 million impressions.

“In 1959, Eugene Ionesco wrote the absurdist play Rhinoceros in which one by one, an entire town of people suddenly transform into rhinos,” she tweeted. “At first, people are horrified but as the contagion spreads, (almost) everyone comes to accept that turning into a rhinoceros is fine. Rhinoceros is a play about conformity and mob mentality and mass delusion, about how easy it is for people to accept outrageous/unacceptable things simply because everyone else is doing it.”

In an interview with Alternet, she said: “Ionesco’s protagonist faces the same moral conundrum many Americans are now facing amid the ongoing pandemic. It’s crazy to turn into a rhinoceros. His protagonist feels crazy when he doesn’t. It’s crazy to take your mask off. Yet you feel crazy when you don’t.”

Mentoring Mathematicians

A group of students mentored by Professor Adam Sheffer (Math) won a Young Researchers’ Award from Computational Geometry. The award is given for a paper whose authors are under 35 years old. “This is an unusual case,” Sheffer said. “The authors of this paper were all undergrads, so probably not even 25 years old.”

There were 14 students altogether from schools around the country. The paper they wrote and the list of authors can be found here.

The students were part of the Polymath Jr Program, which Sheffer spearheads. The program provides students an opportunity to do math research. Recruitment efforts are focused on women and other underrepresented groups, and hundreds of students take part each year. Each project is mentored by a professor and graduate students. Sheffer just recently won a $47,433 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the program.

“Adam is doing amazing work diversifying the discipline of math and advancing many students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to engage more deeply in the field,” said Dean Jessica Lang.

From Pre-Med to MD: A Baruch Grad Sends Thanks

Professor John Wahlert, chairman of the Department of Natural Sciences, received this note of thanks from former student Hanen Yan, now an MD who’s starting a career in emergency medicine at Brooklyn’s Wyckoff Hospital.

Yan recalled meeting Wahlert when he was researching pre-med programs. “It was such a scary time in my life,” he said. “But you assured me that Baruch’s science department was really good, and I took your words with blind faith since you were so nice and welcoming. The Department of Natural Sciences really helped set the foundation and prepared me for the hardships of medical school. Part of my success during my pre-med days was due to the supportive atmosphere of the faculty and students. To this day, my foundational classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and microbiology are applicable to my daily life. Thank you so much for developing such an outstanding program and helping nurture all the students who have gone through the program.”


Since 2011, Baruch students have a first-time acceptance rate of 68% to medical and dental schools.  The national average is below 50%.  Baruch’s dedicated professors and small class sizes allows faculty to get to know the students well, and helps students form relationships with peers and professors that supports them in their coursework and goals.

Of Wild Animals and Oysters

Jennifer Zhu, who earned a PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center with Baruch as her home campus, was recently hired as the Marine Habitat Resource Specialist at the Billion Oyster Project, which works to restore oysters in New York City waters with the help of students and community scientists. She’ll be leading the group’s scientific monitoring and data efforts.

“I think it’s a good sign our graduates are both getting these jobs and staying local to contribute,” said Baruch/GC Professor Stephen Gosnell, her PhD advisor.​ “My lab at Baruch has been working with the BOP for the past several years on outreach and research. We are currently developing new data collection and storage protocols for the group as part of a long-term plan to enhance our ability to inform oyster restoration in the city. Jenn and I will continue to collaborate in her new position.”


Zhu is also the lead author on an article in Restoration Ecology titled “Fear changes traits and increases survival: a meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of antipredator training in captive-rearing programs.”

Her co-authors were Gosnell; Baruch/Macaulay student Micah Goltsman; and Baruch undergrad alumna Laila Akallal, now at Dartmouth in an MPH (public health) program.

The article looked at antipredator training for animals reared in captivity. These animals are supposed to replenish diminished wild populations once they are released, and the training is intended to help them survive in the wild. Zhu and the team reviewed over 3,000 papers to find the few that had data on whether the antipredator training works. They found that antipredator training typically leads to changes in prey traits and improves the fitness of released organisms, but further work is needed to understand the links among these changes.

Mishkin Gallery Brings Warhol Show to Portugal

From May 21 through Jan. 31, Baruch’s Mishkin Gallery is partnering with the art center Casa São Roque in Porto, Portugal, to present an extensive exhibition devoted to Andy Warhol and his influence on several generations of photographers, filmmakers, painters, musicians and multi-media artists.

Warhol, People and Things: 1972–2022 places Warhol and his contributions to experimental art, media, and critical art discourse in conversation with contemporary artists, while also giving a new generation in Porto an opportunity to encounter his work. The exhibition generates new possibilities for thinking about Warhol’s approach to image production and appropriation, commodity and icon fetishism, the social life of famous and marginalized people alike, and how the artist seamlessly moved between media throughout his career.

The show includes Warhol’s 38 Polaroids from 1972–1986 and 30 black and white gelatin silver prints from the ’70s and ’80s, which were gifted to the Mishkin Gallery directly by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts through their Photographic Legacy Program to expand scholarship on his work. This is their debut in Portugal and their first time on view in Europe. The last major exhibition of Warhol’s work in Porto was the traveling exhibition Andy Warhol: A Factory at Serralves Museum in 2000.

yellow house in Porto, Portugal, Casa Sao Roque
Casa Sao Roque, Porto, Portugal

Baruch Weissman I/O Psych Team Wins Contest

We are excited to announce that Baruch Weissman graduate students Ashley Bueno, Theresa Navalta, and Kimberly Rechter came in first place in the 2022 Human Capital Case Competition hosted by OHDCC (Organization and Human Development Consulting Club). OHDCC is a student-run organization focused on supporting Social-Organizational Psychology master’s students at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Baruch team beat two Columbia teams to win.

All three winners on our team are Masters of Science I/O Psychology students at Baruch. They received $300 worth in prizes and are given networking time to meet with the judges who are consultants at PwC and Deloitte.
headshots of Ashley Bueno, Theresa Navalta, and Kimberly Rechter

In the annual case competition, student teams compete to present innovative solutions to a business case in the area of human capital management. The case requires participants to think as strategic Human Capital consultants, outline any changes that they might recommend to the client, identify problems, discuss Human Capital functions, recommend specific changes, and justify their recommendations.

$142K CUNY Climate Scholars Fellowship Led by Baruch Professor

CUNY is providing $142,000 to fund a new CUNY Climate Scholars fellowship for students from four schools: Baruch College, Bronx Community College, Brooklyn College, and Hunter College. The initiative will prepare students for careers in green energy, climate change mitigation, and climate resilience efforts.

Students can apply for the program here. The application deadline is May 13 and the program starts Aug. 22. Participants must commit to 20 hours a week for six months, with half the time spent on research and half on an internship. Students will receive a stipend of up to $8,400.

“CUNY students are New York’s future leaders,” said Baruch Psychology Professor Mindy Engle-Friedman, who is spearheading the project. “This program will prepare our students to take leadership roles in green energy. They will help protect our city from the impacts of climate change.”

The green energy effort builds on Baruch’s Climate Scholars program, which launched two years ago and is already sending students to internships, jobs, and graduate school in fields related to climate policy.

Sun shines on field with solar panels
Sun shines on field with solar panels

The new CUNY Climate Scholars fellowship will place students in CUNY research labs for three months and in external internships for three months. They’ll meet with experts on topics including offshore wind, solar and geothermal energy; green energy financing and its impact on the economy, and how green energy affects habitats and ecosystems. They will present their research to fellow CUNY students and at professional conferences.

At least two students from each of the four schools will be chosen, and they’ll receive stipends so they can focus on schoolwork, internships, and research. Applicants can major in any subject. “We look forward to welcoming students across the CUNY majors including arts and sciences, business and public affairs,” she said. “We need students with a wide variety of interests, strengths and skills.”

The current crop of Climate Scholars at Baruch, for example, includes Julie Margolin, a Macaulay-Baruch honors student who interned at InsideClimate News. Margolin is majoring in statistics and quantitative modeling. Another Climate Scholar, Chelsea Wepy, is a Baruch business administration major. She’s done research on climate-induced migration and geographic information systems and interned at the Environmental Defense Fund and the United Nations Association.

“Students across CUNY are greatly concerned about climate change and how it will impact their lives,” said Engle-Friedman. “This program will give them the education and experience they need to make a difference.”

Engle-Friedman’s counterparts from the other three schools taking part in the fellowship are Bronx Community College Professor Neal Phillip (Chemistry, Earth Sciences, and Environmental Sciences), Brooklyn College Professor Brett Branco (Earth and Environmental Sciences) and Hunter College Professor William Solecki (Geography).

Engle-Friedman also leads the Baruch Climate Action Collaborative, which includes faculty from Weissman, Marxe, and Zicklin. The group has presented research, hosted speakers, written grants, and collaborated on interdisciplinary courses. ​

April is Poetry Month: Celebrating Baruch’s Poets!

April is Poetry Month! So it’s a great time to celebrate Baruch’s poets. We’ve linked from their names to one or more of their published works. Take a look!

Several lecturers in the English Department are published poets, including Jimin SeoEvan Gill SmithCaitlin McDonnellChris Campanioni, and Safia Jama. Perhaps Baruch’s best-known poet is Distinguished Professor Grace Schulman. From Black and Latino Studies, we have Tonia Leon, who writes poetry in English and Spanish. And from the Physics Department, we have Sultan Catto, who won the European Medal of Poetry and Art.

Array of books of poetry by Baruch professors
Array of books of poetry by Baruch professors

BLS Professor Rojo Robles Selected for NEH Summer Institute

Assistant Professor of Black and Latino Studies Dr. Rojo Robles has been selected as a 2022 Summer Faculty Fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute for Higher Education. He will be participating in a professional development program titled, “Concepts of Black Diaspora in the United States: Identity and Connections among African, Afro-Caribbean, and African American Communities.”

Rojo Robles headshot
Rojo Robles

Dr. Robles is a Puerto Rican professor, writer, playwright, and filmmaker. He graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras with a BA in Theater and an MA in Comparative Literature. He holds an MPhil and PhD from the Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures Department (LAILAC) at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His research interests are located at the intersection of Latin American and Caribbean Literature and Film and Afro-Latinx Cultural Studies. With a Baruch colleague, Rebecca Salois, who also teaches in the BLS Department, he co-hosts a podcast called Latinx Visions.

He has published articles in SX Salon| Small Axe Project, Taller Electric MarronageThe Puerto Rico ReviewRevista CruceRevista Iberoamericana and has been a cultural critic at 80grados.net for more than a decade. He is the editor of Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri’s posthumous chapbook Condom Poems 4 Sale One Size Fits All (Lost and Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, 2019). He is currently at work on a book project about Boricua out-of-the-page poetics and dispersed archives of dissent. He is also developing a series of articles about cinegraphic and intermedial literature in Puerto Rico, Latin America, and US Latinx communities.​

Since 2004 he is the artistic director of the independent group, El kibutz del deseo, dedicated to producing plays, films, and publishing fiction and poetry. He is the author of Los desajustados/The Maladjusted (2015) and Escapistas (2017) and the writer, director, and producer of the experimental film The Sound of ILL Days (2017).

Math Professor Louis-Pierre Arguin Wins NSF Grant

Professor Louis-Pierre Arguin (Mathematics) has won a $278,839 grant from the National Science Foundation to study extreme value statistics in probabilistic number theory.

The funding will be disbursed from 2022 to 2024 and will support Arguin’s research, travel, and conference and workshop participation. The grant will also provide funding for two PhD students and two Baruch undergraduate research assistants. The undergrads will work on codes of numerical experiments.

headshot Louis-Pierre Arguin
Louis-Pierre Arguin

Arguin is also on the faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center. He holds a PhD in math from Princeton and a master’s degree in physics from the University of Montreal, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in math and physics. He serves as an associate editor on the editorial boards of Electronic Journal of Probability and Electronic Communications in Probability.

His research interests are number theory, probability, and statistical mechanics. He recently published a textbook, A First Course in Stochastic Calculus, and he is the recipient of the André Aisenstadt Prize for outstanding research achievement by a young Canadian mathematician.