How a History Class Changed One Student’s Path … and Other Alumni Testimonials

We’re launching a new video series called #WhyWeissman on Weissman’s YouTube channel. The videos are short testimonials from alumni explaining how Weissman made a difference in their lives and career paths.

Zoey Zhou cites a history course taught by Professor Charlotte Brooks as inspiring her to change direction and follow her heart. Zhou is now getting a PhD in East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Watch her one-minute video here or below.

Katherine Chemas, a student at Cornell’s veterinary school, credits her success in science to Weissman’s small classes and caring professors (including Professor Pablo Peixoto). Watch her video below or here.

Yelena Dzhanova was editor-in-chief of The Ticker at Baruch and had numerous internships with major media organizations while she was a student. Today she’s making an impact as a journalist at Insider.com. Follow her on Twitter and watch her video below or here.

Aygul Islamova is both a healthcare practitioner and an entrepreneur. She offers advice to students and describes her work as both a nurse and a fashion entrepreneur. Watch it below or here.

We’re always looking for more alumni to feature! If you or someone you know would be a good candidate for a #WhyWeissman testimonial, email baruchwsas@baruch.cuny.edu with contact info.

 

We Are Climate Action is back starting September 30 with events on health, NYC, and art

There is no issue of greater overriding importance to humanity right now than the existential threat posed by climate change.  During the Fall 2021 Semester, Baruch Weissman’s interdisciplinary lecture series, We Are Climate Action, brings together experts to offer their perspectives on three topics: climate change and health, climate change and NYC’s resiliency, and how climate change is being addressed by public art initiatives.

This impressive series of events is organized by WSAS Professor Mindy Engle-Friedman (Psychology).

Thursday, September 30, Climate Change: Health Impacts and Health Policy. Moderator: CUNY School of Public Health Professor Elizabeth Geltman, director of the Atlantic Emerging Technologies and Industrial Hygiene Training Center. Panelists: Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Shamandirector of CU Mailman School of Public Health’s Climate and Health Program; University of Washington Professor Jeremy J. Hessdirector of UW’s Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE); and Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Scientist Kim KnowltonWATCH A RECORDING OF THIS EVENT ON YOUTUBE. 

Thursday, October 7, 4-5:30 pm: Climate Change and ​Preparation for NYC Resilience.  Moderator: Brooklyn College and Graduate Center Professor Brett Brancodirector of the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. Panelists: Jainey K. Bavishi, director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency; and Alice C. Hillsenior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations. WATCH A RECORDING OF THIS EVENT ON YOUTUBE.

Thursday, November 18, 4-5:30 pm: Climate Change: Artists Respond. This panel brings together contemporary artists whose artwork contributes to a broader public understanding of the consequences of climate change for human and non-human existence, and the urgent need for action and mitigation. The seemingly overwhelming scale of the climate crisis is a recognized barrier to public participation in tackling the climate crisis. Art can overcome this resistance through a myriad of methods, from educating and raising awareness to modeling problem solving or giving voice and form to intangible forces. Xavier Cortada, Anina Gerchick, Mary Mattingly and Katherine Behar have created art that is both geographically specific and universally relevant, providing entry points around which people can coalesce.

Organizer and moderator: Art historian Julie Reiss, editor of  Art, Theory and Practice in the Anthropocene 

Co-moderator and panelist: Baruch and CUNY Graduate Center Professor Katherine Behar, interdisciplinary artist and director of the New Media Artspace.

Panelists: Visual artist Mary Mattingly, founder of Swale; University of Miami Professor Xavier Cortada, NSF Antarctic Artist and Writer’s Program Fellow; and Anina Gerchick, painter, landscape architect, public installation artist and founder of BirdLink.  

Register here.

Sandra K. Wasserman Jewish Studies Center Hosts Talks and Films This Fall

The Sandra Kahn Wasserman Jewish Studies Center at Baruch is hosting a robust series of readings, films, and talks this semester. Here’s the schedule for the center’s Fall 2021 programming. For Zoom registration links, email Carina.Pasquesi@baruch.cuny.edu.

READINGS, LECTURES, DISCUSSIONS:

October 12, 2021, 5:30 pm on Zoom: A reading and conversation with Corie Adjmi, author of Life and Other Short Comings. Adjmi’s award-winning fiction and personal essays have appeared in dozens of publications, including North American Review, Indiana Review, South Dakota ReviewEvansville ReviewHuffPost, Man Repeller, Motherwell, Kveller and others. In 2020 her collection of stories, Life and Other Shortcomings, won an American Fiction Award and was a Best Book Awards finalist.

November 1, 2021, 5:30 pm on Zoom: Public lecture with attorney and activist Ady Barkan. Barkan is an American lawyer and liberal activist, a co-founder of the Be a Hero PAC and director of the Fed Up campaign and Local Progress at the Center for Popular Democracy. Barkan was diagnosed with the terminal neurodegenerative disease ALS in 2016 and has been called “the most powerful activist in America.”

December 7, 2021, 5:30 pm: Discussion with novelist and journalist Sayed Kashua, in conversation with Professor Brian Horowitz, Tulane University. Kashua is the author of the novels Dancing ArabsLet It Be Morning, which was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; Second Person Singular, winner of the prestigious Bemstein Prize; and Track Changes. Kashua wrote a weekly column for Haaretz and is the creator of the prize-winning sitcom, Arab Labor.  Kashua was born in Israel to Palestinian parents. He moved to the U.S. to teach in 2014, writing a Haaretz column titled “Why Sayed Kashua is Leaving Jerusalem and Never Coming Back: Everything people had told him since he was a teenager is coming true. Jewish-Arab co-existence has failed.”

JEWISH/LATINX FILM SERIES co-sponsored by Baruch Weissman’s Department of Black and Latino Studies, ISLA – the Initiative for the Study of Latin America, and Baruch Performing Arts Center (BPAC). Free 48-hour streaming access.

October 7-8, 2021: Nora’s Will, Mexico, directed by Mariana Chenillo, 2010.  Nora’s Will is a comedy like nothing you’ve seen before, a truly unique tale of lost faith and eternal love from one of Mexico’s most talented new filmmakers, Chenillo, who was the first female director to win Mexico’s Best Picture of the Year award. When his ex-wife Nora dies right before Passover, José (Fernando Luján) is forced to stay with her body until she can be properly put to rest. He soon realizes he is part of Nora’s plan to bring her family back together for one last Passover feast, leading José to reexamine their relationship and rediscover their undying love for each other.

November 3-4, 2021: Leona, Mexico, directed by Isaac Cherem, 2021. Leona is an intimate, insightful, and moving film that tells the story of a young Jewish woman from Mexico City who finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love. Ripe with all the drama and interpersonal conflicts of a Jane Austen novel, watching her negotiate the labyrinth of familial pressure, religious precedent, and her own burgeoning sentiment is both painful and beautiful – there are no easy choices to be made and the viewer travels back and forth with her as she struggles with her heart to take the best path.

December 5-6, 2021: Mr. Kaplan, Uruguay, directed by Alvaro Brechner, 2014. Jacob Kaplan lives an ordinary life in Uruguay. Like many of his other Jewish friends, Jacob fled Europe for South America because of World War II. But now turning 76, he’s become rather grumpy, fed up with his community and his family’s lack of interest in its own heritage. One beach bar may, however, provide him with an unexpected opportunity to achieve greatness and recover his family’s respect in the community : its owner, a quiet, elderly German, raises Mr. Kaplan’s suspicion of his being a runaway Nazi. Ignoring his family’s concerns about his health, Jacob secretly recruits Contreras, a more loyal than honest former police officer, to help him investigate. Together, they will try to repeat the historic capture of Adolf Eichmann, by unmasking and kidnapping the German and secretly taking him to Israel.

 

 

Film by CUNY Professors Documents Town’s Efforts to Reconcile with Descendants of Nazi Victims

A film produced by three CUNY professors tells the true story of a German town’s efforts to reconcile with descendants of local Jews who were persecuted by the Nazis.

The three professors are Elisabeth Gareis, who teaches communication studies at Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences; Ryoya Terao, who teaches video production at City Tech, and Vinit Parmar, who teaches film at Brooklyn College.

The film, 13 Jewish Driver’s Licenses – 13 Jewish Fates, recounts the discovery in 2017 of 13 driver’s licenses that had been confiscated from Jews in the Nazi era. The licenses were found in the basement of a county office in Lichtenfels, a small town in Bavaria. In 2018, a local high school history teacher had his students research the license-holders’ fates, and they determined that five of the Jews and their families were murdered in the Holocaust. But eight had survived, fleeing to Israel, Argentina, and the U.S. Later that year, some of the survivors’ descendants returned to Lichtenfels to receive their forebears’ licenses.

Professor Gareis, a native of Lichtenfels, happened to see a newspaper article about the project while visiting her hometown. She befriended one of the descendants, Lisa Salko, after seeing Ms. Salko’s presentation on the endeavor back in the U.S. When the German Consulate in New York approached Ms. Salko about making a film, she enlisted Professor Gareis, who readily agreed to help.

“The return to Germany and the descendants’ reception in Lichtenfels is a story of remembrance and reconciliation,” Professor Gareis said. “The descendants remain in contact with the teacher and students, and have formed friendships.”

Professor Elisabeth Gareis with Nancy Stanton Tuckman and Lisa Salko
Professor Elisabeth Gareis with license-holder descendants Nancy Stanton Tuckman and Lisa Salko

Professor Gareis served as associate producer, getting permission from Lichtenfels officials for onsite filming, scouting locations, researching local Jewish history, identifying historians and “Zeitzeugen” — contemporary witnesses — to interview, collaborating on what to ask, and conducting the interviews in English and German. “In short,” she said, “my role is based on my knowledge of German, my familiarity with the town, and my academic expertise in intercultural communication and intercultural friendship.”

Professor Gareis also helped put together the rest of the filmmaking team. She’s married to Professor Terao, who knows Lichtenfels from their many visits there and who directed the movie. His frequent production partner, Professor Parmar, had coincidentally been living in Germany and served as producer and sound manager. Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Mark Raker did the camera work.

The film was shot over the summer of 2021 and is now in post-production. It will be submitted to film festivals in 2022 and will be shown on the German Consulate’s website in addition to other screening venues. The consulate funded the project along with the County of Lichtenfels and the Koinor Foundation.

The short film will focus on the students’ and teacher’s work, but Professor Gareis says that “will not be enough to do justice to the topic. A longer film on the Jewish experience in my hometown is also in the planning once the short film has been released. We have already started filming some timely footage for the longer film, including footage with children of Holocaust survivors from Lichtenfels, who are now in their late 80s and 90s.”

Record Number of Baruch Students Present at International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR)

Witch hunts, fruit flies, and the New York Aquarium are among the intriguing topics Baruch students will discuss when they participate in the 8th Annual International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR), Sept. 27-29. This conference is free and open to the public to attend through the ICUR App, which features the full schedule of panels taking place at 15 universities in 12 countries, all coordinated by Monash University in Australia and the University of Warwick in the UK.

The schedule of Baruch presenters is here.

Baruch’s 28 participants come from all three Baruch schools and many different fields, but more than half are Weissman students, including history, political science, psychology, and biology majors. They’ll be on panels linked in real time with undergraduates at universities in England, Australia, South Africa, Belgium, and France, all presenting their own research. WSAS History Professor Katherine Pence is coordinating Baruch’s participation in the conference, which is supported by Baruch’s Office of the Provost. You can attend on Zoom and participate in questions and answers with the panelists by registering on the ICUR App through the website www.icurportal.com  and available free from the Apple store. Follow the conference on social media at @icurstudents and #icur2021.

poster advertising Baruch student participation in a research conference
International Conference of Undergraduate Research poster

Here’s a sample of WSAS presentation titles, along with student presenters’ names and majors.

  • “Kodak Advertisement and Formation of the Modern Woman” (Aleksandr Sigalus, History)
  • “A ‘Practical’ Curriculum: Embroidery and the Education of Chinese Girls in Protestant Missionary Schools in China, 1860 – 1920” (Ingrid Gendler, Political Science/Communication Studies)
  • “A Gendered Revolution: The American Revolution and Its Effects on Women’s Gender Roles” (Edward Stehr, History)
  • “How the New York Aquarium redefined marine attractions and tourism and contributed to New York City’s appeal as a city of science” (Sadat Tashin, History)
  • “The Social Contract Theory in the Face of Empirical Morality: Integration and Its Consequences” (Margaux Ramee, Political Science)
  • “Neo-Extracting Gilded Welfare States: A Comparative Study of Extractivism and Latin American Welfare State Formation” (Pabvitraa Ramcharan, Political Science)
  • “The Witch Hunt in Scotland during the 16th-17th Century” (Fatou Diop, Political Science)
  • “Annotation of D. Ananassae Muller D Element Contig 23: Analyzing Fruit Fly Chromosomes” (Angela Ng, Biological Sciences)
  • “Secondary Control and Depression In Adulthood: The Role of Age and Gender” (Daniel Mesa, Psychology)
  • “Healthy Hands: The Ultimate Eczema Glove” (Andrew Elvir, Biological Sciences)

For more information on ICUR, see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zXDAKDEQqo.  For a schedule featuring Baruch participants see: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vES7psPtEPCGA8KCW4ROW0upidBFXJxhOMBCpC1MlnQ/edit?usp=sharing

 

Glowing Green Eels: Fluorescence in Morays

These eels glow green. But why?

New research by a team of Baruch scientists reports the discovery  of the first fluorescent protein from a moray eel. The breakthrough was described in a paper published in Frontiers in Marine Science co-authored by WSAS Professors David Gruber and Jean Gaffney (Natural Sciences), along with two CUNY Graduate Center students from Professor Gaffney’s lab at Baruch, Andrew Guarnaccia and Sara Krivoshik.

“This study raises intrigue as to what role the glowing molecule plays in these mysterious marine eels,” Professor Gruber said. “It may be related to attracting each other for full moon mating events.”

fluorescent moral eel glowing green
Fluorescent moray eel

The discovery also has implications for pediatric healthcare. “This eel protein has the potential to be used as a diagnostic tool to quickly test for bilirubin levels for childhood jaundice,” Gruber said. “Being able to measure bilirubin from a single drop of blood would be very beneficial, as drawing enough blood from newborns presents challenges.”  This potential application follows up on a patent previously awarded to CUNY. That patent, which was related to this research and childhood jaundice, was awarded to Professors Gruber, Gaffney and Vincent Pieribone in 2018.

Professors Gruber and Gaffney both hold appointments at The Graduate Center as well as at Baruch. Professor Gruber is a marine biologist and Presidential Professor of Biology and Environmental Sciences at Baruch. Professor Gaffney’s field is chemistry. She was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award that partially funded the research.  The two scientists have been collaborating on this topic for several years.

A recent story published by The Graduate Center, CUNY, focuses on the contributions of the PhD students to the research.

Their recent study includes work by John Sparks, curator of ichthyology at The American Museum of Natural History and professor of Biology at The Graduate Center. Gruber and Sparks created the American Museum of Natural History exhibition “Creatures of Light” in 2011, which broke AMNH attendance records for temporary exhibits. The show returned to AMNH last summer. The eel narrative was also featured prominently in the 1 hour NOVA documentary Creatures of Light.

The team also discovered the mechanisms of biofluorescence in sharks in 2019, which was covered by The New York Times,  PBS, and other outlets. Gruber’s discovery in 2014 of widespread biofluorescence in over 180 species of fish also received widespread media attention.

 

 

 

NYC Latin American History Workshop Comes to Baruch!

The New York City Latin American History Workshop (NYCLAHW) is coming to Baruch!  The workshop is a community of emerging and distinguished Latin American scholars across NYC-area universities who share and discuss their works-in-progress.  Most recently, the workshop was hosted at NYU; in previous years it has had residencies at Columbia, SUNY-Stony Brook, and at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Baruch Weissman is honored to have been chosen to host this prestigious annual series of scholarly presentations. Securing the event for Baruch was a collaborative effort of the WSAS Dean’s Office, the Black and Latino Studies Department, the History Department, and ISLA – the Initiative for the Study of Latin America.

“BLS and ISLA are thrilled to support this opportunity to help position Baruch within this important community,” said Professor Shelly Eversley, Interim Chairperson of the Black and Latino Studies Department. “We agree that this opportunity not only provides critical space for professional development and intellectual community, but it will also support our goals to retain faculty who are so eager to know that they can build scholarly careers here at Baruch.  It is the perfect fit for Baruch–especially as the College is poised to become an HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution), as we recruit new faculty, build community across departments, and as we celebrate the arts and sciences.  The presenters and schedule for the academic year 2021-22 are already set; Baruch faculty will serve as moderators for each meeting. ”

To pre-register for any of the events, email History Professor Mark Rice, mark.rice@baruch.cuny.edu.

Here’s the schedule for the New York City Latin American History Workshops at Baruch:

FALL

October 1, 11 am-1 pm: Jesse Zarley (St. Joseph’s College), “Redefining Puelmapu: The Borogano Mapuche and Juan Manuel de Rosas, 1825-1835”

November 5, 11 am-1 pm: Isadora Mouro Motta (Princeton), “Looking South for Freedom: Brazil and African-American Abolitionists”

December 3, 11 am-1 pm: Renzo Aroni Sulca (Columbia Society of Fellows), “Shorn Women: Gender and Punishment in Peru’s Shining Path”

SPRING

Feb 4: Daniel Mendiola (Vassar), “Sovereignty, Asylum, and the Irony of ‘Strong’ Borders: How Protecting Free Migration Strengthened Central American Borders in the 19th Century, and How 21st-Century Securitization Efforts Are Now Weakening Them”

March 4: Isabella Cosse (CONICET; Columbia), “Revolutionary Love and Political Struggles in the Cold War in Argentina”

April 29: Daniela Traldi (Lehman College), “‘Real’ Feminisms: Gender, Race, and the Far Right in Twentieth-Century Brazil (1920-1985)”​

Events This Fall at Weissman: From Climate Change to DEI to Latin America

There’s so much happening this fall at Weissman, we thought it would be useful to create a blog post with a rough calendar of everything we know about so far. We’ll update and repost as we get more details and as the semester progresses. Some events already have Zoom links and registration forms; some are listed as “save the date” items. Want to add or revise something? Email baruchwsas@baruch.cuny.edu.

We’ve grouped these events by topic and by series, so be sure to scroll down to see what might be of interest to you.

LATINX HERITAGE MONTH (Detailed listings here)
Sponsored by WSAS Department of Black and Latino Studies and the Initiative for the Study of Latin America
  • September 14, 1 pm. Primer Cafecito: introduction to Latinx programs at Baruch for students. Sponsored by the Initiative for the Study of Latin America (ISLA). Register here
  • September 14, 6 pm: Latino, Latina, Latinx: What’s in a Name? Meeting ID 818 9686 9208, passcode BLS2021
  • September 21, 12:30 pm.  Puerto Rican visual artist Miguel Trelles in conversation with Baruch students. Email Elena.Martinez@baruch.cuny.edu for registration details. 
  • September 21, 6 pm. Latinas in Activism: Recognizing the involvement and impact of Latinas in social, political, and environmental activism in order to empower and inspire others. Zoom link here
  • September 29, 12:30 p.m. Culture Share: Celebrating Latinx Voices. Tell us about the countries and cultures you feel most connected to, and how that has impacted your life. Zoom link here
  • September 30, 1-2 pm. A Trip Around Las Américas, sponsored by ISLA. An introduction to culture, traditions, food, music, and history in Latin America and the Caribbean. Register here
  • October 21, 1 pm. WSAS Professors Jennifer Caroccio Maldonado (English), Gustavo Quintero (Black and Latino Studies) and Rojo Robles (Black and Latino Studies) host a screening of the film Patitos comiendo arroz, followed by conversation with director Javier Antonio González. They’ll look at experimental filmmaking practices, Boricua-Latinx theater troupes in NYC, queer archives and communities, Manuel Ramos Otero’s work, bilingual poetics, among other topics. Register here
NYC LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY WORKSHOP AT BARUCH
Baruch Weissman is honored to have been chosen to host this prestigious annual series of scholarly presentations on Latin America. Securing the event for Baruch was a collaborative effort of the WSAS Dean’s Office, the Black and Latino Studies Department, the History Department, and the Initiative for the Study of Latin America.
  • October 1, 11 am-1 pm: Jesse Zarley (St. Joseph’s College), “Redefining Puelmapu: The Borogano Mapuche and Juan Manuel de Rosas, 1825-1835.” Pre-registration required; email mark.rice@baruch.cuny.edu
  • November 5, 11 am-1 pm: Isadora Moura Mota (Princeton), “Looking South for Freedom: Brazil and African American Abolitionists.” Pre-registration required; email mark.rice@baruch.cuny.edu
  • December 3, 11 am-1 pm: Renzo Aroni Sulca (Columbia Society of Fellows), “Shorn Women: Gender and Punishment in Peru’s Shining Path.” Pre-registration required; email mark.rice@baruch.cuny.edu
WE ARE CLIMATE ACTION
This series, organized by WSAS Professor Mindy Engle-Friedman (Psychology), is part of Baruch Weissman’s ongoing interdisciplinary initiative on climate change.
  • September 30, 4-5:30 pm. Climate Change: Health Impacts and Health Policy. Moderator: Elizabeth Geltman. Panel: Jeffrey Shaman, Jeremy Hess, Kim Knowlton. Zoom registration:https://baruch.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpd-yrqzssHt0ynUNN6DiWjXAmdCBiYsU7
  • October 7, 4-5:30 pm, Climate Change and ​Preparation for NYC Resilience. Moderator: Brett Branco. Speakers: Alice C. Hill, Jainey Bavishi. Save the date.
  • November 18, 4-5:30 pm: Climate Change: Artists Respond. Julie Reiss and Katherine Behar, co-discussants. Panel: Mary Mattingly, Anina Gerchick, Xavier Cortada. Zoom registration here https://tinyurl.com/artistsrespond
THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
  • September 15, 12:30-2 pm: War in Afghanistan: How Did We Get Here? What’s Next? Sponsored by the WSAS Department of Political Science. Roundtable discussion with a distinguished group of panelists. Register here
WEISSMAN PROFESSORS AT MARXE FALL RESEARCH SEMINAR
135 E. 22nd St., Room 301, or attend via Zoom.
  • September 29, 12:30 pm: WSAS Professor Erica Richardson (English) presents a chapter from her book-in-progress, “Empirical Desires: Data, Dispossession, and the Aesthetics of the Negro Problem.”
  • November 5, 12:30 pm: WSAS Professor Carolyn Abott (Political Science) presents “A Distaste for Deficits: Voter Opinion and Balanced Budgets in the U.S. States.”
SOCIAL MEDIA WORKSHOP
  • October 14, noon- 1 pm. Social media workshop for faculty. We’ll get you started on Twitter and other platforms if you’re not already there, and we’ll offer tips for rookies as well as veterans, focusing on best practices for scholars and researchers. Co-sponsored with the CUNY Graduate Center, which has presented this workshop a number of times. Save the date.
HARMAN WRITER IN RESIDENCE KARLA CORNEJO VILLAVICENCIO
  • October 21, 6 pm. Reading and conversation with Harman writer-in-residence Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, the acclaimed author of The Undocumented Americans. Save the date.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN COMMUNICATIONS
(open to faculty and MA communication students)
  • November 1, 6:30 pm. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Communication Professionals, presented by the WSAS Corporate Communication Graduate Program. Guest speaker: Carmella Glover, DEI Director for the Arthur Page Society. Panel: WSAS Corp Comm MA alumni Mary Anne Ravenel, Diversity Business Partner at Facebook; Sabina Mehmood, Product Manager, Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, and Meeckel Beecher, Global Head of DEI at Shutterstock. Email caryn.medved@baruch.cuny.edu if interested in attending.
HONORING VETERANS … AND LISTENING
  • November 9, 5:30 pm. The Soldier’s Story: Listening to Veterans at Baruch. Opening remarks by President David Wu. Speakers include WSAS Professor Glenn Petersen (Sociology/Anthropology), author of War and the Arc of Human Experience. Save the date.

How a professor who ‘cares more about your career than your mom does’ inspired a gift

Yu Gan was born and raised in Fujian, China, and earned his BS in math and physics at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He came to the U.S. in 2013 to pursue a career in quantitative finance. The Master in Financial Engineering program at Baruch Weissman was an obvious choice, he said, because it is “world-renowned” for a “cutting-edge curriculum as well as outstanding career service.”

But there was another factor that influenced his choice of schools. He happened to see a student comment on the QuantNet forum that said Weissman Professor Dan Stefanica “cares about your career more than your mom does.”

Yu Gan portrait photo
Yu Gan

Today Mr. Gan is a quantitative portfolio manager for Schonfeld Strategic Advisors and the founder of AXQ Capital, LP. He and his husband, Bo-Xiao Zheng, the CIO and co-founder of AxiomQuant Investment Management, have just made a major gift to the MFE program in gratitude for the education Gan received here. The money will be used over five years to support the Gan & Zheng Directorship of Baruch MFE Fund. The directorship will be awarded to the incumbent director of the MFE program, who is Professor Stefanica.

“We have long wanted to express our appreciation and give back to Baruch and the MFE program,” Mr. Gan said. He described the Baruch MFE community as “a real family. It helps you a lot when you are a student in the program. And you still benefit from the community down the road in your career.”

Mr. Gan also cited the “strong alumni network,” which “plays a critical role in connecting the program to the industry. Alumni are helping the program in every possible way. Some voluntarily help mentor current students, some share information about job openings, and some provide insights on how the curriculum should evolve with the industry trends.”

Years after graduating, he added, “I still went back to sit in Professor Jim Gatheral’s class. I asked for help from Professor Andrew Lesniewski when I wanted to make a job move. We sometimes joke that we get a ‘lifetime warranty.’”

Acknowledging the gift on behalf of the College community, Baruch President S. David Wu said, “We are grateful to Yu Gan and Bo-Xiao Zheng for their generous gift in support of Baruch’s world-renowned financial engineering program. Mr. Gan’s story is a testament to the program’s academic rigor, first-class career placement, and most importantly, a genuine care for the wellbeing of the students. Ultimately, Mr. Gan’s gift will help to ensure that future graduates of the program also achieve the highest level of success, as proud alumni of Baruch College.”

Baruch’s MFE program was ranked #1 in the U.S. in the 2021 QuantNet Ranking of MFE Programs and #2 worldwide in the 2021 Risk Quant Finance Master’s Programs Ranking. Its graduates are highly sought-after with more than 90 percent employed in the financial industry. The program offers real-world training in Baruch’s state-of-the-art Wasserman Trading Floor, where faculty train students for trading and financial competitions around the world. Among the outstanding wins, Baruch teams have placed first in the Rotman International Trading Competition in 2021, 2020, 2017, 2016, and 2012 and in the International Association of Financial Engineers competition in 2020, 2017, 2016, and 2015.

A new Financial Engineering Hub is under development to be jointly run by Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the Zicklin School of Business. The initiative will offer a range of programs and resources including new degree offerings and a Center for Financial Engineering for corporate engagement and partnership.

Don’t miss the extraordinary new online art show at Mishkin Gallery: Reframing America

Andy WarholAlex KatzRobert Indiana, and Carrie Mae Weems are among the artists featured in an extraordinary new online show at the Mishkin Gallery. The 41 pieces include abstract paintings, mixed media, and photos that take the viewer from the South Bronx to Beverly Hills to the Wounded Knee massacre site. Pictured here is Elliott Erwitt’s 1969 photo of the beach at Amagansett, New York, with a flag, umbrella, and toppled fence. Also on display are several of Milt Hinton’s images of African American performers like Ella Fitzgerald, and one of Walker Evans’ famous Depression-era photos.
Black-and-white photo of beach umbrella, toppled fence and American flag on the sand
Elliott Erwitt’s 1969 photo of the beach at Amagansett, New York

The exhibition is called Reframing America: Works from the Baruch College Art Collection. The show was organized by students in Weissman’s MA program in arts administration as part of a course called “Contemporary Issues in Curating.” Student curators each identified three works from Baruch’s collection that resonate with their understanding of what American identity would mean to these artists, as seen through the lens of today.

See the show online here.