Welcome to Wall Street

by Cara Bas

FM’s Wall Street Club took its annual trip to New York City on Nov. 13. About 30 students, along with professors Laurence Zuckerman and Frank Yunker toured financial institutions, saw historical landmarks, and dined at cultural hubs. Professor Yunker designed a walking map for the trip.

Students traveled into Manhattan on a Brown Coach which left campus at 6 a.m.

Their first stop was at Argosy Financial, a two-year-old financial currency trading firm on Wall Street. Students learned how the firm operates, and received advice on financial careers.


Photo submitted by Cara Bas of the Wall Street Club at Trump Building in Manhattan.

At The American Museum of Finance, Zuckerman showed students a 1980s QUOTRON stock terminal display. Zuckerman said he had used the same system when he was a stockbroker with Shearson Lehman Brothers.

While wrapping up with dinner in downtown Manhattan, the group learned of the Paris terror attacks, which occurred that day. Zuckerman noted that on last year’s Wall Street trip, the city was locked down due to the search for the Boston Marathon bomber.

“It was a sad version of déjà vu all over again.” Zuckerman said.

“That said, the Wall Street Club remains and will return to the financial capital of the world,” he added.

Professor Yunker said that the club has discussed changing the agenda for future trips.
“We’re thinking of going to the center of the universe – Times Square,” he said.

The Wall Street Club visited Philadelphia last spring, but there may not be room in their budget for a trip this spring.

Zuckerman said a possible solution would be a collaborative trip with a club that has surplus funds.

“We’re looking to partner with another club for a trip to Philadelphia. We can do joint fundraisers,” he said. Zuckerman added “If we can’t go to Philadelphia this spring, we might start alternating New York and Philadelphia every fall.”

Be distinguished!

by Cara Bas

FM students, staff, alumni, and featured guests gathered at the Johnstown Holiday Inn for the 9th Annual Distinguished Alumni Celebration and Scholarship Recognition Dinner, Nov. 20.

Distinguished Alumni Awards went to Susanne Guttenberg, class of 1977, and Dave Northrup, class of 1966.

Guttenberg received a nursing degree, and began working at St. Mary’s Hospital shortly after graduation. She went on to become the owner of River Ridge Assisted Living in Amsterdam.

Dave Northrup began at FM and then earned a bachelor’s at SUNY Albany and a Master’s at University of Rochester. After retiring from a 30-year career as an English teacher, Northrup writes fiction and nonfiction about the Mohawk Valley.


Photo submitted by Amy Radik of scholarship winners posing for photos.

“I am fortunate to have been an eyewitness to the humble beginnings of the school. The first year FMCC occupied only one building, and that was the former Johnstown High School,” Northrup said. “FM is the only community college in New York State whose name signifies its purpose in serving the populations of two counties – Fulton and Montgomery. Education as a shared experience serves me well. It informs the fiction and nonfiction about this area that I write today.”

FM Student scholarship recipients were invited to dinner. Business major, Odalis Roche delivered an inspirational acceptance speech.


Photo submitted by Amy Radik of scholarship recipients and teachers sitting for the meal.

“I have learned how to network, and what it means to engage in a professional setting. This is my second year at FM and I have taken control of my independence,” Roche said.

“The Gateway’s” Winnie Blackwood and Catherine Hladik were among scholarship recipients who attended.

Another highlight of the dinner was a raffle. The prizes were eight different lavish gift baskets. Blackwood won a Yankee Candle Christmas basket, and Hladik won a Vera Bradley basket.

“We bought about 20 tickets!” Blackwood said.

Some students were chosen for scholarships, others applied and won. Financial aid coordinator Becky Cozzocrea explained the process, “I try to place as many applicants as possible into scholarships they fit into – based on need, merit, major, high school, or location. If I haven’t filled all of them, and no applicants are left, then I try to match students with the best-fitting scholarships.”

Scholarship applications are accepted between February and June. For more information please visit http://www.fmcc.edu/admissions/financial-aid/scholarships-grants-awards/.

“Hands on” with ASL

by Amea Hammonds

FM’s campus not only offers students the opportunity to learn American Sign Language, but also for the Deaf of the community to interact with these students.

Many students signed up to take ASL I and II this semester, with some put on a waiting list. Josh Barmen is a unique student, studying both ASL I and II during the same semester with a passion for ASL and the club.

“… I love the Deaf community and the welcoming feeling they give to ASL students. The Deaf community has impacted me to help bridge the gap between the Deaf and hearing communities. We can do this by breaking the language barrier and encouraging more people to learn the beautiful language of ASL,” Barmen said.


Photo by Catherine Hladik of Robert Collender teaching ASL I and II students during the Deaf chat on October 2.

“Each semester more and more students become eager to learn ASL and it is difficult to find room to accommodate them,” said Cheryl Schiemer during one of her classes.

Schiemer is not only an ASL professor at FM, but also a certified ASL interpreter, and is heavily involved in the Deaf community. She advises both the ASL club and Deaf Chats.

“FMCC ASL club’s mission is bridging the gaps between the Deaf and hearing worlds through American Sign Language. The only thing a Deaf person cannot do is hear,” Schiemer added.

Deaf chats are gatherings held on FM’s campus that allow students and the Deaf to come together and engage in conversation through ASL.

This semester, Deaf Chat has experienced the highest ratio between students and the Deaf. These meetings are held the first Friday of each month starting at 6pm at Mondo’s.

“I love staying long after most people are gone [at Deaf Chat]. It has allowed me to get one on one time with Deaf people and shows me what Deaf culture is really like. I loved it,” said ASL I student Aliyyah Thomas.

Tutor Emmillee Phillips assists students who need extra help with ASL and is a support system for them to get through this semester successfully.

“Going to a peer for help makes them feel more at ease. I have seen only a few people come to both tutoring and the club meetings. After they leave, there is just a small amount of confidence that they are able to accomplish this. That confidence is why I became a tutor,” said Phillips.

The club is growing, as is the amount of students interested in learning American Sign Language. The club meets every Monday and Thursday at noon in room C-108.

9/11 memorial to be built at FM

by Winnie Blackwood

A 33-foot antenna off the North Tower of the World Trade center will arrive at FM on Dec. 15.

This part of the Twin Towers is part of a program with the Port Authority. The program allows institutions and colleges to receive a part of history, according to Joel Chapin, a professor of Fine Arts at FM.


Photo submitted by Joel Chapin of a mock up sketch of the planned sculpture.

Once the antenna has reached its new home, preparations will begin to transform the mangled piece into a memorial and sculpture. Chapin, along with several others, have been working on multiple sketches for the design of the sculpture; an architect was also hired.

“The best way I can describe it, it’s almost like a living thing, like the spine and veins and it’s copper tubes and wires,” he said.

One of the design features is to have the shadow from the sculpture hit two markers on every Sept. 11 at the exact time the towers were struck.

Louis Pabon, an alumnus of FM and a construction worker called to clean up after the wreckage of 9/11, is the mastermind behind this.

Thoughts of actually getting a piece from the Twin Towers began to formulate between Pabon, Chapin and FM’s President Dustin Swanger.

After a trip to Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the home to the Port Authority’s program, Pabon, Chapin, and a few others decided on the antenna.

Pabon said he feels lucky to get this particular piece.

Pabon said he originally came to FM in order to take part in a traveling national exhibition.
Pabon added he wanted to showcase the photographs he captured during this time of his life. His images will be displayed as a part of the final sculpture.

“My reasoning behind all of this was to send a message, but now we’re getting an antenna and that’s so symbolic of sending messages,” he remarked.

Chapin said the antenna was the communication hub for TV stations in New York.

“If you think about this thing, it’s almost symbolic that it had been a tool of free speech and here, ironically, it’s all crumpled up and fallen down,” he added.

Pabon said one of the dedications of the memorial will be to John Vigiano; Vigiano lost both of his sons, one a firefighter and the other a police officer.

“When I found out who he was, I went up to him and I offered him my condolences, at which time I started to cry. He reached out and he put his arm around me and told me it was going to be all right,” Pabon said.

The sculpture is planned to be completed by Sept. 11, 2016 in time for a ceremony; its new home will be in FM’s new sculpture garden.