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7th Annual Court Reporting Symposium!

August 2, 2023

Plaza College’s 7th Annual Court Reporting Symposium was held on Thursday, July 20th at 6 pm at the College’s Forest Hills campus. This year’s symposium was particularly unique, as the evening was broadcasted live on AM970 on Arthur Aidala’s Power Hour and Legal Night hosted by Kevin McCullough and Imran Ansari. The event featured an all-star panel of the industry’s most sought after professionals including Anthony Frisolone (Federal Court), Denee Vadell (Lower Court Reporter and Social Media Influencer), Joshua Edwards (CART Captioner), Sharon Pearce (Freelance Reporter), Pam Fuller (Grand Jury), Darlene Devlin (Suffolk County Supreme Court Reporter and Eric Allen (President of the Association of Surrogates of the Supreme Court Reporters in New York City). The variety of panelists shared their experiences and recounted the opportunities awarded to them in the Court Reporting profession. Current and prospective students, as well as graduates, networked with the industry’s leading professionals and most competitive freelance agencies. Over 120 guests attended the Symposium in-person and countless others listened to it broadcasted on the radio.

Student Spotlight: Sabrina Azimi

June 20, 2023

Ms. Sabrina Azimi is a student in the Dental Hygiene program and anticipates graduating in Fall 2023! Upon hearing she was nominated for the Student Spotlight, Ms. Azimi expressed that, “this is the first time I’ve been awarded something like this. It makes it special because I can see the school is noticing my achievements. I’m also able to share this with the entire student body and my cohort. I feel like this also acknowledges not just my hard work, but everyone I collaborate with.”

Ms. Azimi was inspired to apply to the Dental Hygiene program after being a Dental Assistant for eleven years, starting her career as a senior in high school! “Being a Dental Hygienist will allow me to treat my patients with primary care and educate them on oral hygiene. Patients aren’t prioritizing dental cleanings and I feel they should. I’ve observed different cases and see how important the mouth is and how it’s connected to other parts of the body. Dr. Sleeper and Director Jennings once said, ‘meet the patient where they are,’ and this has always stuck with me since first semester. I can see this correlating to where I was as a Dental Assistant and now to a Dental Hygienist. Everyone comes from different walks of life and I want to provide the best care for my patient. I know I’ll constantly be learning and understanding their needs.”

Her most memorable time at Plaza College is the heartfelt friendships she’s made with her cohort peers. “I’m a quiet person. I never really engaged in many activities or did study groups, but this cohort is so special and so many people bring different things to the group. I can see the connections I’ve made through this program continuing after graduation. Having my golden study group has been amazing. The unity and spirit of the cohort is amazing too.” Director Martinez shares that, “Ms. Azimi is a pleasure to work with, always professional and willing to assist classmates when they are in need. She is passionate about learning and always speaks up when she needs clarification. She has excelled clinically since her preclinic days, and yet still seeks instruction and challenges herself to master new skills.”

This semester, Ms. Azimi is looking forward to participating in Shiny Teeth of Queens, a free preventative dental care initiative for children, ages 2-17, from June 5th-July 21. “I think it is wonderful that Plaza incorporates this experience into the program. Plaza makes it very personable and accessible to join different activities like the Alzheimer’s and Breast Cancer Walks.” Ms. Azimi is grateful for the support she receives from every Professor and students alike; such as Ms. Babullal helping with the patient charts to Mr. Giansante who is always helping with IT. She shares that, “We come together through unity from pre-clinic to clinic. From the minute you walk in, everyone is so friendly and it is such a supportive and intimate environment.” Professor Awad expressed that, “Ms. Azimi is eager to learn and always has her best foot forward.”

Her dream job is to work in a pediatric dental office. “Working with kids is so rewarding. They’re so funny. I enjoy that I can create a bond and make them comfortable with a Dental Hygienist. If we can build great bonds with children and educate their parents it’s a great foundation for adulthood. I’m seeing the correlation between good and bad habits that start young.”

Ms. Azimi balances her academic and home responsibilities by making use of her time to recalibrate by going on walks with her husband, hiking, and being in nature. Her favorite summer drink is lemonade, Starbucks refreshers (even though they have sugar), or iced espresso drinks. She enjoys watching cooking and baking programs where contestants create amazing breads and cakes from scratch such as, “The Great British Bake Off.”

Student Spotlight: William McGinty

Mr. William McGinty is a student in the Bachelor of Nursing Program who anticipates graduating in Fall 2023! For Mr. McGinty, “the Student Spotlight represents a culmination of hard work, being an active member of the student nursing community, taking the program seriously, and putting in all your effort.” A personal experience with his Mother undergoing treatment for breast cancer motivated him to pursue this major. “It was inspiring to see how well the oncology nurses took care of my mom when she had breast cancer. They facilitated therapeutic communication and were passionate about their work, making me want to take the leap.” 

Mr. McGinty’s most memorable experience thus far has been in Med-Surg 1 Clinical, from Winter 2023. “I was front and center on communicating and interacting with patients and providing care for those who just had surgery to another having an episode due to Sickle Cell Anemia. I was giving medications (subcutaneous and oral meds), suctioning patients, working with EKG strips, and more at New York Presbyterian.” Dr. Habeeb expresses that, “Mr. McGinty is a very conscientious, compassionate, dependable, and hard-working student who is clearly determined to complete the nursing program at Plaza College. He has demonstrated a very keen sense of fortitude to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and appropriate attitudes that are essential for safe and effective nursing practice. He engages in scholarly activities on campus and is an active member of the National Student Nurse Association. Among the notable attributes that William possesses are the high level of respect and professionalism that he displays for not only faculty but also his peers and the college community.”

This semester Mr. McGinty has already participated in the NAMI Mental Health Walk in May and looks forward to doing more. He also is currently at St. Francis Hospital for Med Surge 2 and is interested in working with patients from the maternity clinic. He credits Dr. Moses, Dr. Habeeb, and Professor Bacon as being wonderful Professors, mentors and making the educational experience welcoming, learning so much during his time in the program from them. His goal is to be an oncology nurse. Professor Bacon shares that, “Mr. McGinty has been an exemplary student since he entered the Nursing program. He is professional, engaged, and focused on his academic achievement . It’s been a pleasure as his Professor to be on this journey with him.”

Creating an equilibrium between his academic and personal responsibilities comes with a lot of time management. “You need to set aside time to study, for self care, and to spend time with those you love. When exams come up you need to study more and at other times you can balance it out.” His favorite summer drink is a vanilla milkshake and his favorite activity is to be at the beach. He highly recommends watching the Netflix series “You,” currently in the fourth season.

Student Spotlight: Crystal Soraci

June 12, 2023

Ms. Crystal Soraci is a student in the Business Administration Management program and anticipates graduating with her Bachelor Degree in Winter 2024! For Ms. Soraci, “being selected for the Student Spotlight represents all the hard work I’ve put in with my classes. Even when I faced health issues, I continued to push through my coursework. I started at Plaza by receiving my GED and Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies, so I wanted to keep going. I have two kids and if anybody is going to be their role model it’s going to be me.” 

Her most memorable moment at Plaza College was when she achieved a 4.0 GPA and the Cum Laude medal to wear at graduation for her Associate Degree. This semester, she looks forward to vacationing at the end of August in North Carolina, where she and her husband will be house hunting for an eventual move. Ms. Soraci credits Plaza College with advancing her career, sharing that “Director Pokidaylo helped me to secure the job at the law firm I’m currently at in Manhattan. These roles are more difficult to come by and her assistance was amazing.” 

Ms. Soraci’s dream job is to eventually become a real estate agent in North Carolina, and become so well versed in the industry that she can start her own real estate office in the state. Dr. Finlay shares that, “it is a pleasure having Ms. Crystal Soraci in class. She has a positive attitude and is always actively engaged in our class discussions. I admire the professional way in which she expresses herself and is always very supportive of her classmates. Academically, she strives for and achieves excellence. She demonstrates great leadership skills in small and large group discussions. Congratulations Ms. Soraci on being recognized among the great students we have here at Plaza.”

Plaza College has given Ms. Soraci the leverage she needed to create more work life balance in her daily routine. “When I first started Plaza I was working three jobs, taking care of two kids, and going to school at night. When I graduated with my Associate Degree and got the job at the law firm, my work schedule shifted and now allows me to be virtual two days out of the week. I have more time to take care of my household while also attending to my academics.” Dean Zipf says that, “Ms. Soraci stands out as an accomplished professional, especially when it comes to volunteering to participate in class and give assistance to her fellow students.”

Her favorite summer beverage is a watermelon flavored slushie, and her favorite activity is to take a road trip to places like the Jersey Shore with her children. She highly recommends watching Riverdale and Emily in Paris on Netflix as well.

Student Spotlight: Joanna Lopez

Ms. Joanna Lopez is a student in the Allied Health program, completing her coursework in August. She then plans to apply to the Nursing program. Upon finding out she received a nomination for the Student Spotlight, she expressed she was in shock! “It shows I’m being recognized for doing my best and working hard. It’s all paying off.”

Ms. Lopez has been a Medical Assistant since 2011. She enjoys being able to make a difference in a patient’s healing journey and desires to pursue a career in Nursing in an effort to give more to her patients. “I have worked in oncology since 2016, collaborating with nurses who administered chemo. This led me to wanting to have the ability to do more and work more closely with patients. When the pandemic hit, I decided to head back to school in pursuit of a nursing degree. As a nurse I can orchestrate and deliver treatments to patients.”

Ms. Lopez shares that her advisor, Director O’Connor supported her through a difficult time last July. She guided her in completing the coursework over intercession so that she didn’t fall behind. “Having Director O’Connor help me navigate this was so meaningful and appreciated. I’ve never had so much support from school. She was always in communication.” Director O’Connor says that, “I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ms. Lopez as her Academic Advisor and as her instructor in two required courses in Allied Health. She is a young woman with a great deal of fortitude and strength. She has continued to excel in this program in the face of great personal tragedy. She strives for excellence in her academic journey because she understands moving forward to nursing will require dedication and discipline in order to best serve those she will be working with. She is an excellent student, and a woman of integrity and courage. It has been a privilege working with her.”

Ms. Lopez’s dream job is to work in oncology, maternity or with patients in palliative care. She credits practicing good time management for managing her academic and home priorities. “I work during the day and go to school in the evening. Certain days are set aside for school work. I also dedicate one day of the weekend to whatever is left to complete for my assignments.” Director Cirigliano says that, “Ms. Lopez is a hard-working, dedicated student with a passion for learning and a solid sense of responsibility when it comes to her studies.”

Her favorite summer beverage is a Starbucks Pineapple Refresher and her favorite activity is going to Fire Island on her Uncle’s boat, enjoying a day on the beach to get tan! She also recommends watching Sons of Anarchy.

Student Spotlight: Desaree Shamblee

June 7, 2023

Ms. Desaree Shamblee is a student in the Healthcare Management program and will be graduating this Spring semester 2023! Ms. Shamblee says that, “the Student Spotlight represents the hard work I’ve put into my studies and that my accomplishments aren’t unnoticed. I never thought I’d earn my HSED and now I’m about to earn my Associates Degree!”

Ms. Shamblee was motivated to further her education in the field of healthcare by her daughter who works as an ICU secretary. Her most memorable moment at Plaza College was when Dean Krampf called to let her know she got an A in her LL61 course. Dean Krampf expressed that, “Ms. Desaree Shamblee is as devoted to her education as she is to her family! She works tirelessly to make sure the work is done accurately. She still seeks my guidance on her classes, and I am always happy to hear how well she continues to do! I can’t wait to cheer her on when she walks for her Associate’s Degree!” She is most looking forward to graduation! “I’m having a barbeque with family and friends, plus another dinner with my daughter and grandchildren. I’ve been preparing my outfit under my gown and right now I’m between two different styles.”

Her experience at Plaza College has been full of support. “Anytime I’ve needed help the Academic Resource Center was always available. I waited thirty years to get myself back on track with my education and I’m considering my Bachelor Degree too.” Ms. Shamblee had an incredibly eye opening experience in MG230-Professional Development in which students had to ask others to describe them. She has a new vision now for her career path either as an administrator at a daycare center or patient coordinator for a hospital. Director O’Connor expressed that she has known Ms. Shamblee since early in her academic journey at Plaza College stating that, “she excelled in each of the classes we had together. A major reason for that is her unceasing dedication to ensuring she submits quality work. To accomplish that, she asks a lot of questions and reaches out for help. She understands her instructors are a resource available to her to help support her in accomplishing her goals. She has me on speed dial and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is an honor to be part of her successful academic journey. This is a well deserved recognition.”

When it comes to managing her course load and home responsibilities, she relies on high level time management. “On days I don’t have class I get all my assignments done. I also help care for my grandchildren. For self care I enjoy going on walks because it helps keep my stress level low. Her favorite summer beverage is a virgin pina colada and her favorite activity is bike riding. She recommends watching Sisters on BET, All the Queens Men, Married At First Sight, and the new movie featuring Jennifer Lopez, Mother.

Student Spotlight: Bianca Blocker

Ms. Bianca Blocker is a student in the School of Court Reporting and anticipates graduation in Fall 2023. Ms. Blocker shares that, “the Student Spotlight is recognition for the hardwork and dedication I’ve put in throughout the past year. It’s an honor to be recognized by my Professors. I’m very motivated and dedicated to my academics and happy this shines through.” Her inspiration to study court reporting stems from her love of language, reading, and writing allowing Ms. Blocker to combine all three. “I can hone my current skill set and learn new ones. I’ve been able to broaden my horizons through those interests while developing a new passion.”

Her most memorable time at Plaza College has been visiting the federal courthouse with Director Santucci and meeting current court reporters, for this gave her insight into her future career. This semester, Ms. Blocker is looking forward to attending the NCRA convention in July. This three day event taking place in Houston, Texas, hosts a variety of seminars with special topics dedicated to students, particularly learning about the virtual component this career path offers. She is excited to network with new industry professionals, learn new techniques, and see friends during this time. 

Ms. Blocker acknowledges the strong support system Plaza College provides. “Director Santucci continually has insightful tips, always encouraging and motivating the students. Sometimes we plateau and that’s ok as long as we get back on our path of progress. All professors are always available and share their knowledge of the field. My peers are supportive and it’s so nice to practice together and develop our skills. President Callahan is very supportive and it’s nice to know we have his vote of confidence. Ms. Cohn is always available to encourage me and being able to have this means a lot. We need that push to keep going and to find this at Plaza has been life changing.”

Ms. Blocker’s dream job is to work in a courthouse on high profile cases that give her the front seat to what others see on the other side of the media, especially in pop culture. Most recently she was awarded a student scholarship for $500 from the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association and will be putting this towards her tuition. Director Santucci says, “Ms. Bianca Blocker lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been so impressed with Ms. Blocker’s dedication to Court Reporting. She is the only student who has attended every NCRA Convention since she started our Court Reporting program. I had the honor of getting to know her at last year’s convention in Orlando. She came to New York City and joined us during Court Reporting & Captioning week at Southern District. She exemplifies the need to network in this field. Ms. Blocker will be an excellent Court Reporter.” 

She strives to strike a healthy balance between her academic and home responsibilities by taking time to rest and recharge. “I like to take one day out of the week to rejuvenate and read a book or watch a movie. Working a full time job has been difficult, but I have strong time management skills and make sure everything gets done that day and doesn’t carry over. There’s a time for everything and it’s important to be consistent in practicing and doing my homework in this program.” Professor Richards shares that, “Ms. Blocker  is a fantastic student, she does the work and puts in the practice time!! Court reporting is a career that requires someone to do the hard work and take care of the details and Bianca understands that and goes the extra mile to get things right. She understands the meaning of being a guardian of the record!”

Her favorite summer beverage is strawberry lemonade and she enjoys going to the beach because the ocean offers a lot of serenity. She recently completed and recommends watching Next In Fashion on Netflix.

Nursing Students Attend the 2023 Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society Gala

May 24, 2023
On May 11th, Plaza College celebrated the induction of eight students from Cohort 1 of the Nursing program into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society (Sigma).  Induction into Sigma is a true honor and recognition of these students’ dedication to excellence in their education and continued excellence as they enter the practice of nursing.
To mark this momentous achievement, the inductees and nursing administration attended the 2023 Nurses’ Week Gala for the Delta Zeta chapter of Sigma at Marina Del Rey Caterers in Throgs Neck.  The Gala served not only as a celebration of the outstanding achievements of nursing professionals, leaders, educators, researchers, and students from local institutions but also as a fundraising event to support various initiatives, scholarships, and research projects conducted by Sigma.
Providing them the experience to network and connect with various nursing professionals, the Gala served as an inspiring and motivating event for our nursing students. Congratulations graduates!

Mount Sinai, Catholic Health, Jamaica Hospital & New York Presbyterian Visit the School of Nursing!

May 9, 2023

During the Winter 2023 semester, some of our partner hospitals joined forces with Career Services and visited Plaza College to present to our first cohort of graduating Nursing students! Each partner educated the soon-to-be graduates with information on career opportunities, employment benefits, and tips and tricks for the  application and interview processes!

Thank you Mount Sinai-Queens, Catholic Health, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and New York Presbyterian for helping us prepare the next generation of nurses!

Medical Assisting Student, Elizabeth L. Shares Her Experience at the Sigma Delta Kappa 2023 Conference!

April 12, 2023

Hello, my name is Elizabeth, and I am currently a Medical Assisting student at Plaza in my last semester. I recently participated as a roundtable panelist representing Plaza College at the National Honor Society Convention for Sigma Kappa Delta. Being recognized for this incredible opportunity meant so much to me that words cannot express how grateful I am. My time in Denver was incredible. Meeting so many different students from colleges across the country, who were so intelligent and motivated, demonstrated that this is not where I stop, but where I begin. When I first arrived in Denver, I only had a short time before I had to present. I am grateful to the two wonderful ladies who accompanied me, Director Cohn and Dean Krampf. Both staff members took the time to give me the strength and encouragement I needed to overcome my public speaking fears. This enabled me to deliver my speech professionally. It was a surreal experience to be seated next to the other winners at the table and hear their stories.

My time in Denver was brief, but I was able to make many memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. From the time I was dropped off at the airport, boarded the plane, and arrived at the hotel, all I could think about was what if I hadn’t listened to those who pushed me to write that essay? There is so much to say about this experience, but I’d like to highlight a few key points. My first day there, I gave a public speech, and everyone was amazed by my story. It meant a lot to have people approach me and say, “Wow, that was inspiring.” The SKD Meet and Greet took place later that evening at a restaurant adjacent to the hotel, where all the conference participants who had won various awards convened. Each table was given the opportunity to participate in a game called Mad Libs. We had six people at our table competing against ten other teams, and we won the game! Each member of our team was gifted a t-shirt and society accessories. After that event, we returned to the hotel lobby and recapped the day on velvet couches in front of a gas-lit fireplace. Taking in the scenery I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here.” The next day was jam-packed with activities, from waking up and getting coffee, to the SKD Award Ceremony, site seeing, and dinner. The award ceremony was set up like a wedding. Hearing my name called and receiving the panelist award was where it really hit home for me. When I say home, it felt like the cards that were dealt to me in life finally aligned and I was on the right track. My perspective on all of my previous challenges simply vanished because if I could do this, what else could I do? I also attended Ms. Cohn’s presentation, and between her receiving her Five Year Advisor Award with me at the ceremony, and her presentation at her panel, I hope to be as successful and wise as she is. Another favorite part of the trip was seeing the city sights of downtown Denver, because I rarely have the opportunity to travel.

I encourage students who are current SKD members or those who want to join, to never doubt themselves. If you have someone telling you to go for it, go for it! Never pass up an opportunity because you are afraid; after all, what do you have to lose? You can learn a lot by looking at what it has done for me. As a reminder to students, I was never good at writing; it took practice, but I now love writing. Especially now that I’ve received this recognition. Strive for the stars, put in your all, and never give up on anything you want to achieve. Believe in yourself as much as others do. You can overcome any barrier and keep going, never stop!