January/February 2021




Congressman Hakeem Jefferies represents New York’s Eighth Congressional District, including parts of Brooklyn and Queens, in the United States Congress. He’s a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Budget Committee. He’s Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and he’s the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. And on, February 18, 2021, the Congressman sat down for an in-depth conversation with President Karol V. Mason. Read More





Since its inception, John Jay College has been an institution proud to educate public safety leaders in law enforcement, fire suppression, and emergency medical services. Every day, these brave members of our community work hard to keep us safe. We’re continually grateful for their service, and in recognition of their considerable contributions to our safety, we’re dedicating our “Behind the Badge” series to them. The first officer in our series is alumnus John Denesopolis ’94, Police Command Professional for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Port Authority Police Department (PAPD). Read More





Alumna Dawn Rowe ’04, a Bronx, New York native, fully understands the impact of growing up in a chaotic environment. “My mom was emotionally absent and there was a lot of abuse happening. I was a high school dropout. I was slated for an incarceration program, and at times I was suicidal. What I realize now is that it wasn’t so much that I wanted to die, but I wanted my problems to die,” Rowe explains. “Luckily, the one thing that I always knew about myself was that I was smart.”  Read More





Black History Month provides our nation with the opportunity to reflect on the many African-Americans whose lives indelibly shaped our country. As we enjoy the month’s celebration, it’s important to remember that African-American history is American history. Read More





During her time with John Jay’s Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM), alumna Ayana Ikenouchi ’20 relished the opportunity to conduct research with Associate Professor Richard Li, Ph.D., an expert on DNA analysis. Ikenouchi’s interest in the study of DNA stems from witnessing the devastating impact the 2011 tsunami had on her native Japan. Read More





International Criminal Justice major and Honors student Anthony Rowtie ’22 spent his summer learning from the experts at Pfizer Inc., giving him a front-row seat to one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies. As an intern on Pfizer’s Government and Litigation team, Rowtie conducted research and updated databases, engaged with attorneys general across the country, and even sat in on meetings about the Covid-19 vaccine. Read More





Lisimel Mateo De La Cruz ’22, a Macaulay Honors student and a Human Services and Community Justice major from the South Bronx, knows how to express herself through the power of the written word. Her submission for the Malcolm/King Award was a poem entitled “Until Then. Read More





Can someone’s gender or demographic identity impact their opportunity for leadership advancement in government? That’s just one of the many questions that will be answered on March 2 when John Jay’s Women in the Public Sector hosts Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, as part of its Women in the Public Sector webinar series. Read More





Professor of Constitutional Law, Gloria Browne-Marshall was recently awarded a grant by the Pulitzer Center’s Law and Justice Group to produce her new play Shot-Caught a Soul. Browne-Marshall also participated in a book talk earlier this month, where she discussed her new book, She Took Justice: The Black Woman, Law, and Power – 1619 to 1969. 


Heath BrownPh.D., Associate Professor of Public Policy, has published Homeschooling the Right, which analyzes the homeschooling movement and its central role in conservative efforts to shrink the public sector. Brown was also recently appointed Visiting Professor in Public Policy in the Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the United Kingdom’s Birmingham City University (BCU), where he looks forward to strengthening the bonds between John Jay and BCU.


Mangai Natarajan, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice, has been named a winner of the Mueller Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Criminal Justice (2021) by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences international division.


Associate Professor of Law and Police Science, Eric Piza, Ph.D., was named a 2021 Emerging Scholar to Watch by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine, a diversity news resource in higher education.


Presidential Scholar and Professor of Anthropology Alisse Waterston, Ph.D., gave a lecture, Public Anthropology for a Troubled World: Experiments in Writing Otherwise and ethnoGRAPHICS, as part of Stockholm University’s Research and CEIFO Spring 2021 Seminar. During the event, she discussed two of her books: My Father’s WarsMigration, Memory, and the Violence of a Century and Light in Dark Times.


Kevin T. Wolff, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, has been named the winner of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Tory J. Caeti Memorial Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of juvenile justice and delinquency.


Class Notes

Rennae Francis (B.S. ’09, M.A. ’13) has become the first Black female squad commander to lead the NYPD’s 46th Precinct Stationhouse in the Bronx, New York. Lieutenant Francis joined the NYPD in 2007 as a police cadet, while she was earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degree at John Jay.


Cal Mathis (B.S. ’87, M.S. ’09), Vice President and Chief Security Officer at S&P Global, was named a winner of the “Black Leaders Worth Watching Award” by Profiles in Diversity Journal. Before joining S&P Global, Mathis had a 20+ year career with the NYPD.


Robert F. Vivo Jr. (B.S. ’88) has been named Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Sales/Service for Spencer Savings Bank. Vivo brings over 30 years of retail banking experience to the senior executive role.


Charles Scholl (B.S. ’84), NYPD Chief and Executive Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, has retired after 41 years of service. Scholl began his career in 1979 as a patrolman working in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn and during his career earned over 60 departmental recognitions.


In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Albert Ortiz on February 5, 2021. An outstanding individual in our John Jay community, Ortiz was Print Shop Associate in the College’s Print Shop Department for 49 years. We send our heartfelt thoughts and condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.


We’re saddened to report the passing of Campus Public Safety Sergeant Michael Odom, who passed away last month. Odom worked with CUNY for almost 20 years, beginning his career as a Student Aide at Hunter College, then as a Campus Peace Officer at Brooklyn College, before coming to John Jay in 2011. We offer our heartfelt condolences to CPS Sergeant Odom’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time.





Tuesday, March 2

5:30 p.m. | Zoom

This webinar focuses on how gender and other demographic identities impact leadership advancement in government. Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office for International Affairs will provide insight into her professional experience working on global issues. Register for the event


Wednesday, March 3

9:00 a.m. | Zoom

John Jay College’s Department of Public Management presents a one-day experiment design training facilitated by Dr. Gregg Van Ryzin, Director of the Center for Experimental and Behavioral Public Administration (CEBPA). He will discuss survey research and experimental methods, useful for program evaluation, behavioral research, and more. 


Thursday, March 4

1:45 p.m. | Zoom

Soros Justice Fellow and Emmy-nominated choreographer Jeremy McQueen, founder of The Black Iris Project presents a sneak peek into his new project, WILD. A groundbreaking new feature-length dance film, WILD explores systemic racism in the juvenile justice system and the effects of isolation and imprisonment on childhood development. Eventbrite registration is required. Register for the event


Thursday, March 4

6:00 p.m. | Zoom

The 2021 Abby Stein Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Kadeem Robinson.


Thursday, March 4 & Friday, March 5

9:00 a.m. | Zoom

The next four years: Justice in the Biden Era. Plus, special section on the Future of American Policing. Click here for more information


Monday, March 8

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. | Zoom  

Executives in Residence presents Officer Javier Acosta, a 24-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department. Currently, Acosta serves as a police recruiter for the San Jose Police Department and will share what professional skills are needed to excel in the field. Register for the event


Monday, March 8

6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. | Zoom 

Interested in becoming an entrepreneur? Join us for a discussion with John Jay’s graduate alumni entrepreneurs to learn from their experiences.


Wednesday, March 10

3:00 p.m.  

Special guest: Seamus Hughes, Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.


Wednesday, March 10

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. | Zoom

Join us for a special JayChat with Dean Dara Byrne, featuring a panel of Latina judges who will discuss their journey to the bench.


Tuesday, March 16

1:40 p.m. to 2:55 p.m. 

This series of TLC Open Conversations, co-sponsored by John Jay’s Environmental Justice and Sustainability Program and the John Jay Teaching and Learning Center, will offer ideas, resources, and tools from experienced faculty, as well as perspectives from our students, for anybody interested in incorporating climate change, environmental justice, and sustainability into their courses.

For more information contact: Professor Alexander Shlutz, ashlutz@jjay.cuny.edu


Tuesday, March 16

1:30 p.m. | Eventbrite

During this book talk, presented by Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies (RaCERS), Timothy Kneeland will discuss his book Playing Politics with Natural Disaster: Hurricane Agnes, the 1972 Election, and the Origins of FEMA, which straddles politics, disaster studies, and documents the federal structures for disaster response in the period before and just after Hurricane Agnes, which left a trail of damage from Florida to New York, and was the costliest disaster in U.S. history at the time.


Monday, March 22

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. | Zoom

Celebrating Women’s History Month with a leader making history, President Karol V. Mason sits down for a conversation with New York State Attorney General Letitia James.


Thursday, March 25

6:30 p.m. | Zoom

The second of this two-part series, moderated by “Untapped New York” founder Michelle Young, looks at how our streetscapes carry us forward and backward, through activism and nostalgia. This seminar will look at streetscapes, signage, and public art, as they speak to messages of class and race, the power of words shown publicly, and marketing to upward mobility. This program is presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library.


Thursday, March 25

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. | Zoom

Executives in Residence presents Thomas Hazen, Founder, Hybrid Pathways, and Jim Rigney (B.S. ’94), IT Consultant, Hybrid Pathways, as they discuss their 20-plus year career in the Computer Science field.












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