Monthly Archives: May 2012

AP: A year after snub, Stony Brook rolling into NCAAs

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NEW YORK (AP) – Matt Senk and his frustrated Stony Brook Seawolves were home at this time a year ago, thinking about what should have been.

After setting the school record with 42 victories and breezing through the regular season, a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament seemed a lock. But the Seawolves lost in the America East conference tournament and were denied a few days later of an at-large berth for the field of 64 teams.

“That was definitely a big letdown for us,” senior right-hander Tyler Johnson said.

Fueled in part by that stunning end to its season, Stony Brook came back this year and left nothing to chance.

“We did our best,” junior outfielder Travis Jankowski said, “to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

Mission accomplished, and then some. Stony Brook one-upped last year’s squad by going 46-11, leading the nation with an .807 winning percentage, winning the America East tournament and earning an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament.

“Last year’s disappointment was a motivating factor, but it wasn’t a rallying cry,” said Senk, in his 22nd year as Stony Brook’s coach. “We had a lot of motivation, mostly just to play our best. We felt that if we did that, we could end up right where we are. Last year’s team did some tremendous things, and this team turns around and outdoes that team. I can’t be more proud of our group of guys.”

The Seawolves are in Coral Gables, Fla., set to open up Friday against host Miami (36-21). It’s the second time the schools are meeting on the diamond, with the last being a 9-8 victory by Miami in 2003, when the Hurricanes’ Ryan Braun – last year’s NL MVP – hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning.

While Stony Brook is the No. 4 seed in a regional that also includes Central Florida (43-15) and Missouri State (39-20), the Seawolves are hardly an overmatched underdog. They enter the tournament having won 11 straight and 22 of their last 23.

“In sports in general, it’s always easy to underestimate a team, but I’d like to think that with our record and how we’ve hit the ball and pitched the ball, we’re getting some good respect,” Jankowski said. “I think we’ll put up a good fight against whoever we play.”

And, the Seawolves have shown they can be a tough out. In 2010, they got the first NCAA tournament victory in program history by beating North Carolina State before being eliminated by Coastal Carolina. Stony Brook was more of a nice, feel-good story back then, a Northeast-based school taking on the big boys.

Now, the Seawolves are truly one of the big boys themselves, ranked in the top 30 in a few national polls.

“Most of the guys on our team right now have been to a regional and have won a game against a very, very good ACC team in N.C. State,” said Johnson, who was on the mound for that 6-2 victory two years ago. “Now we’re facing a Miami team right off the bat and they’re good and have been for a long time. But even a team like us from the Northeast seeing a team like Miami, we have some confidence to go out and put together a good game against them.”

Some thought Stony Brook was even deserving of a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament instead of a No. 4.

“Certainly, the number of wins this team has and the winning percentage we have, when you post a record like that and do so many things as far as individual and team accomplishments, I think a strong argument could’ve been made for us being a 3-seed,” Senk said. “But the fact we’re a No. 4, it doesn’t really concern us.”

Senk has done an outstanding job, particularly in the last 10 years, in elevating the program to national prominence – helped by an increased focus on baseball by the school and athletic director Jim Fiore. Late last season, the Seawolves broke in their slick new ballpark, Joe Nathan Field – named after the Texas Rangers reliever who was a star shortstop at Stony Brook.

Back when Nathan was there in the early 1990s, the athletic programs were Division III and the teams were called the Patriots.

“For that program to come so far from the days before our recruiting class, and we kind of got things started a little bit in D-III and I think things really started moving quick for them,” Nathan said this week. “I think they had to go independent for a year or two, and then right into D-I and they really didn’t skip a beat. Their success continued even though they were in obviously tougher baseball, so it just speaks for what that program has done.”

Nathan has followed his alma mater since it made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2004 and nearly pulled off an upset of host Arizona State in 2008 before getting that first win two years ago.

“They’ve been to the NCAA regionals now and hopefully they can get over that hump and get past the regionals,” Nathan said. “They’ve played some good ball. A couple of years ago, they had a chance, but fell short … so hopefully they have a little better luck in Miami.”

The Seawolves are loaded with talent, starting at the top of the lineup with Jankowski, who’s hitting .411 with four homers, 40 RBIs and 34 stolen bases. The America East player of the year is a possible first-round draft pick next week who ranks among the national leaders in several offensive categories.

“Having Jankowski to start a ballgame for us, he’s just that catalyst you want,” Senk said. “He can set the tone right away for what we’re going to do offensively.”

Jankowski is followed in the lineup by catcher Pat Cantwell (.306, 1, 27), an outstanding situational hitter. Third baseman Willie Carmona (.380, 10, 60) bats third and was the conference player of the year last season. Next is second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum (.400, 3, 41), who has struck out just four times in 200 at-bats.

“Timely hitting really came through toward the second half of this season and we stress scoring first and jumping out to an early lead,” Jankowski said. “We’ve been able to do that the last couple of weekends, and just been playing a really good game of baseball overall.”

The rotation is led by the solid 1-2 punch of Johnson (9-1, 1.78), the America East pitcher of the year who holds the school record with 33 career victories, and sophomore righty Brandon McNitt (8-2, 2.26). Senior right-hander Evan Stecko-Haley (7-3, 3.08), junior righty James Campbell (5-0, 3.09, two saves) and closer Frankie Vanderka (1-2, 2.22, five saves) provide pitching depth, a necessity to succeed in the NCAA tournament.

“Honestly, it’s been a little bit of everything this season,” Johnson said. “We start off with pitching and defense, and our bats have gotten really hot lately. We’re really starting to click as a team, and that’s just a great feeling. It definitely gives us a lot of confidence going into this.”

AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Arlington, Texas, contributed to this report.

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Seawolves Baseball Plays Miami June 2, 2012


Baseball Headed to Coral Gables Regional to Face Miami
Seawolves headed to third regional in the last five seasons.

Stony Brook, N.Y. –
Fresh off its second America East championship in the last three seasons, the Stony Brook baseball team found out on Monday that it is headed to the Coral Gables Regional this weekend to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

Seeded No. 4 in the regional, the Seawolves will take on top seed and host Miami in its first game on Friday at 7 p.m. at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

Joining the Seawolves and Hurricanes in the Coral Gables Regional is No. 2 Central Florida (43-15) and No. 3 Missouri State (39-20).

Stony Brook (46-11) has the top winning percentage in Division I (.807) and has won 11 straight and 22 of 23. Ranked No. 30 in the latest NCBWA poll. The Seawolves will be making their fourth all-time regional appearance and third in the last five years.

No. 21 Miami (36-21) is making its record 40th straight regional appearance and is coming off an 8-5 loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC title game on Sunday. The Hurricanes are led by a pitching staff that ranked 12th in the nation in the country with a 2.96 ERA entering last week.

This will be the second all-time meeting between Miami and Stony Brook. The first took place on March 19, 2003 when then freshman and future National League MVP Ryan Braun hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to lift the Hurricanes to a 9-8 victory over the Seawolves.

Friday, June 1 Game 1: UCF vs. Missouri State at 2 p.m.
Game 2: Stony Brook vs. Miami at 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 2 Game 3: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 at 2 p.m.
Game 4: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, June 3 Game 5: Loser of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 3 at 2 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5 at 7 p.m.

Monday, June 4 (if necessary) Game 7: Winner of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 6 at 7 p.m.

Click here for ticket information.

Get Your RED On!



Alumna Remembers Her Mentor, SB History Professor

Filed under: Alumni, Faculty/Staff Highlights . Posted by editor on Monday, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:23 am

Alumna Scala-Giokas

Debra Scala-Giokas with PRPLI past president, Hofstra University public relations professor and award presenter Jeffrey Morosoff at the awards ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Bill Moseley/BBA Photography Corporation)

There is a Japanese cherry tree on Stony Brook’s campus that stands for everything academia should be — it was planted in 1995 just outside of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building to mark the passing of one of Stony Brook’s own — History Professor Hugh G. Cleland.

Cleland’s memory sprang to life again at a Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI) awards dinner on May 8, when 1987 alumnus Debra Scala-Giokas, a former student of Cleland’s, was honored with the PRPLI Mentor Award, which is one of six awards the organization annually presents.

Scala-Giokas is currently an adjunct professor at Dowling College. The Mentor Award is given to a public relations professional who exhibits the four tenets of PRPLI — advance, learn, share and network — and is a source of inspiration and encouragement to others in the field.

In her acceptance speech, Scala-Giokas wasted no time praising her long-time mentor, Cleland. She used the Japanese cherry tree that was planted in Professor Cleland’s memory to show how a teacher’s influence never stops. She shared with the group that she had spoken at his tree dedication and memorial service in 1995, and she elaborated on how Professor Cleland reached out to his students. “He even called my home one evening to congratulate me on a research paper I had written. That magic formula of a caring disposition and never-ending enthusiasm gave me the push to make my way in the world.”

Making her way includes 22 years of helping three of Long Island’s largest law firms in their marketing efforts. She joined her current firm, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, as its first marketing director in 1998. She began teaching as an adjunct at Dowling College in 2007.  “I always wanted to teach a college class,” she said, “I want to give back what was given to me.”

In an interview, Scala-Giokas credited Professor Cleland as one of the people who most influenced her career. “He was memorable. He made history real and pertinent to our lives. He used primary texts to teach us history — autobiographies of Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass, for example. He encouraged me to gain skills so I would be employable after graduation. Professor Cleland kept in contact with me after graduation, checked in on my career and always encouraged me. When I found out about his passing, I wrote a letter to the history department, explaining his influence on me. Professor W. Burghardt ‘Burg’ Turner, former chair of the history department, asked me to speak at the tree dedication and memorial service, and I was extremely honored.”

“What I mostly try to give my students is what Professor Cleland gave to me. He cared. To paraphrase what the Dalai Lama once said about education: It’s that students will always gravitate toward the teacher who cares. That is the most important quality.”

Source: Stony Brook University Happenings

Class of 2012 Contest Winner…you can win too!

Congratulations to Stephen Testino ’12 (Computer Science Dept) who won a Nook E-Reader from the Stony Brook Alumni Association for participating in the Graduation Information Fair! 

Class of 2012 sign up at by June 29 for your chance to win. 

Visit us at the Alumni Association tent outside of LaValle Stadium following the Commencement ceremony

5/16/12 PBS to air Turkana Basin documentary

PBS to air Turkana Basin documentary

Posted by Scott Bjelland on May 9th, 2012. Category: EventsFeatured

Bones of Turkana follows the story of famed paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey and his wife Meave, daughter Louise and their colleagues, as they work in the arid northern regions of Kenya’s Turkana Basin to unravel the mysteries of human evolution. While one of the Leakeys’ goals is to demonstrate the complexity and truth of human evolution, they also seek to show how the qualities that we proudly call human were all born in Africa.

Photo courtesy of J.J. Kelley for National Geographic Television.

Bones of Turkana airs on PBS on May 16, 2012. Please check local listings for the time of broadcast.

The story that emerges is exciting, emotional, contemplative, occasionally funny, and in the end, transforming. This is Africa at its most beautiful and harshest.

We hope you will tune in for Bones of Turkana, written, directed and produced by John Heminway.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Abruzzi in the Turkana Basin Institute office at 631.632.4608 or


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Come to the SBU VIP Event at Golfsmith May 15, 2012 – Lake Grove, NY

All Stony Brook students, faculty and staff with SBU ID can get a 15 percent discount on most products at Golfsmith in Lake Grove on Tuesday, May 15, from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. Get your red on and join Wolfie in this exclusive demo and shopping event. There will be vendors on site to demo various products as well as giveaways, raffles, contests and refreshments.

Golfsmith is located at 3220 Middle Country Road.

Contact Vincent Accardi in Athletics at (631) 632-9556 or at if you have questions.

Source: Stony Brook Happenings 

Young-gil Song, Mayor of Incheon, Korea to lecture May 14

Young-gil Song, Mayor of Incheon, to lecture May 14

Rising star in Korean politics will speak on Incheon’s role in global economy

CAaron S. WIlliamsarmen rehearsalA talk by the Honorable Young-gil Song, mayor of Incheon, South Korea, will spotlight “Incheon City: A Mayor’s Vision” on Monday, May 14, at 3:30 pm in Wang Center Lecture Hall 2. An energetic politician known for human rights advocacy, Song is drawing attention for his plans to revive Incheon City through enhanced global integration.

Student leader, union activist, human rights lawyer and passionate advocate of globalization and economic equality, Young-gil Song has been a strong voice for democracy since he became the first directly elected president of Yonsei University’s student council and participated in the democratic movement with students from other universities.

In 1985 Song was sent to prison for a year and a half for violating the Law on Assembly and Demonstration. Following his release, he worked as a laborer and as a taxi driver for seven years, and at the age of 30 took the national bar exam to challenge human rights violations and improve unfair treatment of the underprivileged.

In June 2010 he was elected mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City, which has led the economic development of Korea by opening its port to the outside world. As mayor, Song is spearheading the effort for Incheon City to become an active participant in the global economy.

The event is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture.


52nd Stony Brook University Commencement on Friday, May 18, 2012



On Friday, May 18, 2012, Stony Brook will celebrate our 52nd Commencement. The main exercises will begin at 11:00 am in the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. Doctoral Graduation and Hooding Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 2:00 pm in the Staller Center. Honorary doctorates will be granted to Glenn Dubin, Richard J. Gambino, Sister Margaret Ann Landry and James Salter.

University Commencement Program 

Commencement Details 

LIVE WEB CAST – There will be a live web cast of the following ceremonies:


Baccalaureate Honors Ceremony. May 16, 2012 starting 3:00 pm 

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, May 17, 2012 starting at 2:00 pm

Main Commencement Ceremony, May 18, 2012 starting at 11:00 am

The link for both ceremonies will be available on the Stony Brook home page on 5/17 and again on 5/18. The ceremonies will then be archived and available on-line for two weeks following the ceremonies at: 

Visit the Alumni Association Table on May 18, 2012 following the Main Commencement Ceremony



Rebecca Grella ‘99 is on a mission to recruit America’s next generation of researchers

Rebecca Grella ‘99 is on a mission to recruit America’s next generation of researchers

Rebecca GrellaTo her students, she’s Mama Grella. To everyone else, she’s one of the best science and math teachers in the nation.

Brentwood High School teacher Rebecca Grella, a PhD candidate in Stony Brook’s Department of Ecology and Evolution, was named one of the top 10 science and math teachers in the U.S. and a 2012 Fellow last week by the Society for Science & the Public (SSP) for her ability to inspire a love of scientific research in the students of her community, many of whom are members of underrepresented minorities and come from families in poverty. She is the only teacher to be awarded this honor in New York State and, in fact, the only 2012 Fellow to be named in the northeastern United States.

Grella, who also received her undergraduate (’99) and master’s (’01) degrees and teaching certification at the University, has created, in her own words, a mini-Stony Brook at Brentwood, complete with a state-of-the-art research lab where she nurtures and guides about 70 students each year in independent research.

“My goal is to see my students rise to their highest potential,” Grella says. “We need more American scientists.”

Her longtime mentor, advisor and friend, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolution Jessica Gurevitch, is delighted but not surprised by Grella’s national recognition.



Last year Grella’s efforts netted $2.1 million in college scholarships awarded to 15 students who received full support at Yale, Brown, Johns Hopkins and other leading universities. Every one of those students did independent research at Stony Brook while in high school.



Grella plans to continue acting as a liaison between Brentwood High School and Stony Brook University, doing her part to promote the hard sciences and further STEM education in the United States.

“Stony Brook changed my life,” she sums up. “I want to be able to give back to Stony Brook what it has given me. I believe that STEM development is critically important, and that the best way to make progress is to give students the opportunity to do research. My grant from SSP will allow me to solicit the next generation of scientists.”


See the full story by Toby Speed online 

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