Jessica Williams

Carol Gresser Educational Forum


The Carol Gresser forums are always enjoyable for me. As a future educator I am very interested in learning more about the field I am soon to be a part of. Each year there is a sense of anticipation around who will be the speaker at the next Carol Gresser forum. Deputy Chancellor of NYC Public Schools, Mr. Polakow-Suransky, was the speaker this year. Mr. Polakow-Suransky provided great in-depth information in regard to job opportunities and changes that may be occurring in the future to improve the effectiveness of our schools. It is vital that we make ourselves as marketable as possible to get a step above the competition. I am thankful for Mr. Polakow-Suransky’s words of advice. The Carol Gresser forums have been in existence at St. John’s University for thirteen years and are sure not to cease anytime soon. I can’t wait to see who will speak next year.

Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education Biennial Convocation


Kappa Delta Pi is an international education honor society. The convocation that our team of five students and two counselors attended only occurs every two years. This year the KDP convocation was housed in the new JW Marriott hotel in the heart of Indianapolis, Indiana. There were many aspects of this trip that took lots of preparation; (as pictured) our chapters’ presentation board, an ACE (achieving chapter excellence) binder, and the great deal of research conducted for our workshop presentation. Kappa Eta (the St. John’s Queens chapter) won the ACE award placing it on the list of top 25 chapters out of 582 chapters across the globe. This placed us in the running for the ACE of the ACE award, which is only presented to the #1 chapter in the world. Though we did not win this award, our counselor and associate dean of the Undergraduate School of Education, Dean Charisse Willis, won the Lucinda Rose Counselor Award. This means that Dean Willis, after secretly being placed in the running by our chapter, was selected as the top counselor leading a KDP chapter for over 10 years. We are soooo proud of her for this great achievement. Our associate counselor, Alexandra Foukalas also won an outstanding officer award for her work as the executive president during the 2010-2011 academic year. Kappa Eta also conducted a workshop during the convention that addressed the controversial topic of Charter versus Public Schools in this Country. Despite all of the great tangible awards Kappa Eta returned to New York with I came back with a greater understanding of what it take s to be an effective educator. I met and got a book signed by author Debbie Silver, heard moving keynote speeches from the successful illustrator, Peter Reynolds, and the teacher of the year, and networked with so many people that are already experienced in the field. All in all I had a great time in Indianapolis and learned a lot. And on the last day as we made our way to the airport to fly back home I witnessed the immense dedication of Colts fans as there were seas of blue everywhere!

Welcome Back!


Hello Everyone! So the summer has finally come to an end….unfortunately. Time to re-enter the real world of papers, projects, homework and deadlines. Fortunately, I have neared the end of my college career. This is my senior year and I though I will be sad to leave the place that has been my ‘safety net’ for the last couple of years I believe this school has prepared me for the next step. Maybe graduate school. Maybe my career. Anyway, some of the great things I am looking forward to this year are ordering my class ring, taking senior pictures, racking up on graduation cords and sashes, and of course graduation, May 13, 2012. But before I can get there I have to finish my classes. As the year progresses I will be telling you about all the great events, opportunities, and experiences St. John’s University provides for me. If you are a prospective transfer student to this University I hope I convince you that this school is the right choice for you because it truly has been the best choice for me. Check back in soon!

NAACP General Body Meeting #4


Voting? Why is it important? How important is it? Voting is a right that only a little more than half the population takes advantage of. Though for those who do vote how many do so knowledgably? The NAACP STJ chapter dedicated our fourth general body meeting to informing students about the candidates of the upcoming presidential election. Some of the candidates addressed were Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Mike Perry and Mitt Romney as well as the opposing President Barack Obama from the Democratic Party. As we spoke about the candidates’ platforms the overall discussion of the meeting led to many important political issues such as taxes, jobs, the economy as a whole and lastly education. The need for education reform became a big part of our meeting because we, as college educated students, feel and see the need for a big change in education in this country. There is no easy solution but we all agreed that it is a problem that can be fixed and we should take responsibility for combating it together. Ultimately the NAACP decided to team up with Haraya to reach out to failing schools and students in the community and bring the children to this campus to do our parts.

St. John’s University Open House


During each academic year St. John’s stops and takes the opportunity to show prospective students like you what our university has to offer. This is a great time for us, ambassadors, because we are able to meet many new people, answer questions and give our own personal testimonials about this school. At the Open House on October 16th there was a great deal of activity on campus. Beginning at 8 o’clock that Sunday morning STJ faculty, administrators and student leaders began welcoming the first wave of prospective students and their families. From registration to individual college meetings the day involved endless information. I learn something new during every Open House. If you decide to attend such an event at St. John’s you can expect breakfast, campus tours, financial aid sessions, study abroad informational and college meetings with the deans. Come out to our next Open House Sunday, November 20th.

Student vs. Faculty Charity Basketball Game


The Charity Basketball game was amazing! Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, of which I am a member of the executive board, and the School of Education hosted the Student vs. Faculty Charity Basketball Game on Wendnesday, October 12th. I am so happy about the way this great event played out. We gave away a number of exciting prizes that had everyone hoping for the winning numbers. Our very own Dean Haluska won the iPad 2 and the grand prize of $500 went to the loudest organization. Our MC of the night was hilarious and the event provided great acts throughout the night like that from Step Ya Game Up. The best way to end the night was the AMAZING 3-pt shot after 2 seconds on the clock that gave the faculty a win over the students yet again. This was the second annual Charity Basketball at STJ and it was bigger this year than last, so we hope to keep that momentum and improve each year.

NAACP General Body Meeting #2


I am treasurer of the NAACP St. John’s College chapter. This afternoon we held our second general body meeting of the year. Pizza was served as a room full of students had an open discussion on a current event that we felt may have been unjust. Just a few days ago Troy Davis, a man accused of killing a police officer two decades ago, was finally given the death sentence. Even as it was carried out groups across the country rallied and petitioned on the behalf of Troy Davis. Our own chapter held a rally on the ‘strip’ and acquired a substantial list of names that was sent to Congress. The discussion in the room of college students was a very intriguing one. Whether you believed Troy Davis was guilty or innocent the topic led from his case to the constitutionality of capital punishment to ways of preventing something like this from happening again. It is very inspiring to see a group mixed of black, white and Asian educated young people come together to speak about something that so greatly affects our day-to-day lives. I look forward to future meetings and events as we continue to address important issues.

Stacy Bess: Don’t Nobody Don’t Love Nobody


Today the School of Education and my organization, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in education, welcomed teacher, author and motivational speaker, Stacey Bess. You may have seen the Hallmark channel movie “Beyond the Blackboard” about a young teacher, right out of college, who was given a job assignment to teach homeless. This movie tells Mrs. Bess’ story about her struggles as she attempted to teach children ranging from Kindergarten to sixth grade in the school with no name. Stacey Bess talked to us about the great people she met at that homeless shelter in Salt Lake City and how she learned so much from them. She spoke from true passion and love for her job as an educator. Listening to Mrs. Bess speak tonight was truly inspiring to me as a future teacher, not only because she made a difference but because she was able to cause change in the lives of many young people that may not have had a fair chance at life otherwise. She proved that education is key and as I go on to pursue a teaching position in a high needs school I will remember message. The biggest thing I took away from tonight is when she said to always remember that you are human and never let your title lead you. All in all it was a great event with a great turnout. As you can see in the pictures Mrs. Bess donated a number of her books and even stayed around to sign them for us.

The STJ School of Ed…

March 3, 2011

Time for the spiel on MY College.  I’ve been a student of the School of Education (SOE) for three terms now and I couldn’t be any happier.  I tried out two other schools within the university before I came across the SOE, located in Sullivan Hall. The SOE is the smallest school on campus but most of us see that as an advantage. With only a few deans that know almost all of the students on a first name basis, you are afforded a more personable experience.  I was unsure when venturing into the realm of considering teaching as a future profession but after advisement with my dean and sitting through my first education course, I came to the conclusion that I had found my passion.  I am meant to teach and I know the School of Education is doing a great job of preparing me for when I do have a classroom full of children.

Professors in the SOE are very experienced.  It’s a given that you won’t always like all your professors but in the SOE you will respect them for the time they have put in.  Most have taught in New York City public schools for over thirty years or served as members of the administration such as assistant principal and many principals.  I try to soak in everything they teach, from helpful classroom management tips to necessary pedagogy.  The entire staff is a great support system through all the state requirements and exams we have to go through to attain certification upon graduation.  Programs like Jumpstart, America Reads*America Counts and Kappa Delta Pi are very beneficial education based organizations to be a part of.

Kappa Delta Pi is an international education honor society that serves as a great network and resource for all its members.  In pursuit of induction into the honor society, you must complete ten events during the time of an academic year. The events are actually very helpful, like professional development on proper resume writing for educators.  In fact, last Saturday was the Kappa Delta Pi Regional Conference.  It was held right on campus and offered five great workshops like SmartBoards and bullying in schools.

St. John’s is a big school that offers so many programs.  I was able to come here and find my niche.  For that I’m grateful.

Celebrating a Birthday

February 12, 2011

One of the great organizations I’ve had the pleasure to be a part at St. John’s is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  This college chapter was recently reactivated by a group a dedicated upperclassmen last year.  This year I have served as one of the committee chairpersons and had the opportunity to be involved in many things like the 56 Annual Freedom Fund Dinner Dance with the NAACP’s Jamaica Branch through which I met many individuals serving in distinguished positions throughout the state and nation.  We also team up with the other black organization on campus, Haraya, for many events as well.

Last night we celebrated the 102 birthday of the NAACP by throwing a dinner gala in one of the ballrooms on campus.  It took lots of planning but it turned out to be a very nice event.  The speaker, Dialo Shabazz, was phenomenal in delivering “the most inspiring speech I have ever heard in this room”, as said by our chapter president. This “gold tie” event brought in people from youth chapters and both the Jamaica and Northeast Queens branches.  The food was great and our music was provided by the infamous DJ Zeke.

We have had a great year thus far and plan to do much more in the years to come.  Anyone is encouraged to join as we work to always exceed our campus requirements through service and organizational requirements by conducting informative and entertaining events.  Some of these are seen in the attached pictures, like our AIDS awareness week, Black Solidarity breakfast and March on Washington D.C.

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