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LILAC co-sponsors a Critical Pedagogy Symposium

Keynotes: https://mnylc.org/cps/?page_id=79

Full Schedule: https://mnylc.org/cps/?page_id=325 

Registration: https://criticalpedagogysymposium.eventbrite.com/ 

LILAC is among the co-sponsors of a Symposium on Critical Pedagogy and Librarianship on May 17th – May 19th, each day, 11am – 4pm EST (add time). The event will be held virtually and is open to everyone. The Symposium’s goal is to explore a pedagogy that interrogates and explores structures of power, is designed to address frameworks of anti-oppression, and articulate a vision of justice within the field of library professionals. The symposium was organized by a Committee (see below) and includes workshops, panels, posters, presentations, and lightning talks. 

A critical pedagogy focused on Race 

A critical lens can provide us with tools to understand and dismantle the structures of power and oppression within the library and baked into the positionality of the library itself. In particular, a critical pedagogy that draws in Critical Race Theory (CRT) demands that we understand the centrality of race, racism, and the complexities of intersectional marginalities. CRT understands racism as a phenomenon that is both ordinary and aberrational. Though CRT stemmed from legal studies. It interoperates with multiple fields, including education, and has expanded to communities that center race alongside political identities (TribalCrit, QueerCrit, etc.) to deepen intersectional modes of criticality, furthering the combat of white supremacy.  

Critical Pedagogy has been woven into theoretical spaces within LIS for years now, from  the Library Juice’s 2010 publication of Critical Library Instruction (Accardi, Drabinski, Kumbier Eds. Library Juice Press) to MIT press’s 2021’s, Knowledge Justice  edited by Sofia Leung and Jorge R. López-McKnight, the first collection to directly focus on CRT in LIS. The theoretical frameworks in these texts and many others are now the spine of faculty librarian positions opening at academic libraries. For instance, Critical Pedagogy Librarian roles are being integrated into traditional library teams. What impact might this have on the profession and on institutions? This conference will be a place to think about how we might truly actualize the aspirations of this moment.

How did the Symposium come to fruition?

Initially, the idea was to explore methods of teaching in a remote environment. Co-sponsored with New York based groups such as the Reference and Instruction Special Interest Group (SIG) by the Metropolitan Library Council, ACRL/NY’s Information Literacy/Instruction Discussion Group, the Symposium’s groundwork was laid by two previous Case Studies in Critical Pedagogies forums held in November 2020 and February 2021

The coordinating Committee has 50% BIPOC representation and 50% queer representation. We bring a variety of experience and positionalities to this work, all as providers of public services in libraries. As symposium organizers, an underlying goal is to hold ourselves to a deeper accounting, and to think more rigorously and clearly [by inviting] critiques along the lines of race/ethnicity, indigenous and decolonial perspectives, issues of labor and class, and inclusive of gender/sexuality.

What will the Symposium offer?

The Symposium features more than 50 presenters, showcasing over 30 panels, presentations, workshops, posters, and lightning talks, with two amazing keynotes. Some subjects range from critical analysis to practical applications in: reference by mail to prisons, diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), LGBTQ+ cataloguing, MLIS interrogations, race-centered services, indigenous studies, silos, echo chambers, COVID implications, public libraries, zines, and womanism.

The Opening Keynote will be presented by Jamillah R. Gabriel, the founder of Call Number, a book subscription box specializing in Black literature and authors. Gabriel also co-hosts LibVoices, a podcast that interviews BIPOC librarians and information professionals about their experiences in LIS. Gabriel’s research focuses on issues at the nexus of information and race via a critical theorist lens, and interrogates how hegemonic information systems and institutions impact Black people and communities will get us started. Our closing Keynote is a conversation between the co-founder of Cite Black Women, Christen A. Smith and the co-founder of Black Women Radicals, Jaimee A. Swift. Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Engagement at NYU, and co-organizer of the Symposium, will moderate.

Registration & More Information

Registration is open and is first-come, first serve. The Symposium will be held on Zoom with closed captioning and recording for both keynotes (other events will not be recorded). Interested library folks and anyone interested in criticalities in libraries can register here.

Symposium Committee members:

Emma C. Antobam-Ntekudzi
Instructor/Librarian, Bronx Community College, CUNY

Vikki C. Terrile
Assistant Professor, Public Services and Assessment Librarian & Co-Coordinator of Information Literacy, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

Dianne Gordon Conyers
Associate Professor & Periodicals Librarian, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Kate Adler
Director of Library Services, Metropolitan College of New York

Linda Miles
Assistant Professor, Head of Reference & OER Librarian, Hostos Community College, CUNY

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz
Associate Dean, Teaching, Learning & Engagement, New York University Libraries & Visiting Assistant Professor, Pratt School of Information

Elvis Bakaitis
Interim Head of Reference, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Stephanie Margolin
Associate Professor & Instructional Design Librarian, Hunter College, CUNY

LILAC Instruction Chat 2/23/21

On this installment of the LILAC Instruction Chat, we heard from Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi, on her experience conducting instruction for a Nursing 100 (Gerontology) class.

The class was tasked with finding evidence based practice research with very specific criteria (authored by a nurse, published in a nursing journal, published within the last 7 years, etc.). The traditional approach to this course included a one shot session with a librarian followed by appointments with individual students or groups who needed more help. The sessions were more demonstrative with scheduled follow ups expected later.

Challenges to the session included the short time constraints, the difficulty of the research parameters and too much time spent reviewing citation tools like Refworks rather than learning and attempting the research process. The students also proved challenging as they had different levels of experience in research, were often hesitant to research things of their own interest (more interested in finding and writing about an easy topic to research) as well as anxiety about the course load of the nursing program in general.

Instructor Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi decided to change the format of the session in the hopes of creating more time for group work and conversation. The instructor divided the session equally between a lesson and group work. The instructor demonstrated how to use the PICO model (Patient/Population/Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) to identify sources as well as explaining what an evidence based research article includes. Students were asked to conduct research and then answer specific prompts: provide article citation, what were your keywords, does the article have methods, result, and conclusion (Evidence Based Research), what journal is it coming from, and lastly an explanation of the article based on the abstract. While some groups were able to complete the assignment, others were not.

Future suggestions for the session include additional sessions to spend more time helping the students, requesting more session time from the professors, reviewing and discussing the assignment parameters with the nursing program, and creating a flipped model to give the students more time to observe and learn the research process before arriving to the session.

Critical Pedagogy Symposium – CFP deadline March 8

CRITICAL PEDAGOGY SYMPOSIUM: Call for Proposals [mnylc.org]
May 17-19, 2021
CFP Deadline: March 8, 2021
More info: https://mnylc.org/cps/

A “working symposium” intends to give professionals within the library and information field, with or without the MLS, including students, the space to learn, collaborate, and engage with critical pedagogies. Our working definition of critical pedagogy includes: teaching and learning in the library that interrogates power structures, distributions of labor, histories, queer, racial inequities, environmental and social justices, and other forms of anti-oppression frameworks. We seek proposals from the perspective of reference, instruction, and fostering relationships outside the library through outreach, liaison work, and programming. Proposals may come in the form of:

  • Individual presentations
  • Panel presentations
  • Discussions
  • Workshops
  • Posters
  • Lightning talks

We envision a symposium that is a participatory learning environment where speakers and participants alike come together in community. Thematically, your work should align with anti-oppressive critical frameworks – such as race, disability, gender, ability, class, etc. We welcome descriptions of current projects, imagined projects, failed projects or theoretical discussions that speak to the following questions:

  • How has the year of mass protest in response to police shootings of black communities impacted instruction practice?
  • How has your library adapted to remote instruction?
  • What are some strategies that you’ve used when engaging with Library patrons?
  • What practices did your library or college develop to support remote instruction?
  • How has the pandemic and its emerging racial and social disparities affected your experience of librarianship?
  • How have you applied critical feminist pedagogycritical librarianship, or the totality of critical race theory to a remote teaching environment?
  • What is your experience in library school in relation to critical librarianship?

We welcome proposals from all positions within the library and information field, with or without the MLS, including students, and invite you to consider proposing on your various departments and experiences in relationship to the above questions and themes.

Proposal and Symposium Timeline: 
Proposals due: March 1, 2021
Notification of accepted proposals: Week of April 1st, 2021
Schedule released: April 12th, 2021
Free registration begins: April 19th, 2021
Symposium: Monday, May 17th – Wednesday, May 19th; 12pm – 4pm

Proposals can be submitted using this google form [forms.gle].

If you have any questions or comments, let us know at criticallibrarysymposium@gmail.com

The May Working Critical Pedagogies Symposium collaborators are:
Reference and Instruction SIG co-leaders: Kate Adler, Director of Library Services, MCNY, Linda Miles, Hostos Community College, & Shawnta Smith-Cruz, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Engagement, NYU,

Chair of the ACRL/NY Information Literacy/Instruction Discussion Group, Dianne Gordon-Conyers

Library Information Literacy Advisory Council, CUNY: Elvis Bakaitis, Graduate Center, Vikki Terrile, Queensborough Community College, and co-chairs Stephanie Margolin, Hunter College, and Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi, Bronx Community College

IceBreaker Responses

Icebreaker responses

Q1 : Information Literacy Teaching : What is one thing you tried for the first time this year? How did it go?

Breathing. It went great!

Word mapping as a way of breaking down a large topic into many sub-topics (and generating keywords). Always thought it sounded too simple, but it went great! Students enjoyed it and were able to use it to articulate much more focused research questions.

Taking a brief break—asking the students to stand and stretch—after a unit in a long (75 min) instruction session.

Part 1: Teaching database searching as part of IL. Part 2: Pretty well! Everyone was happy except me…

Making a v. specific LibGuide instead of visiting a class (in this case, it worked well!)

PollEverywhere! And implementing a research log – Emma

Factitious game. It went great, come see how!

Trying to game in every class/course. It went well and built trust for follow ups.

Developing course/assignment-related guides embedded in Blackboard with the new LTI tool – being piloted right now, but faculty are excited about it.

  1. Formative assessment: What are your next steps in research? And then sharing a summary of results – and some expert suggestions – with instructor. 2. Went well, but time-consuming.

Q2: Information Literacy Teaching: What is one thing you want to try for the first time next year? Why?

More peer observation—I’d like to see what my colleagues are doing.

More autobiography when I teach

Teaching IL to journalism students because they are requesting it! (Although not with these words.)

UX of our website, because I can see that it’s not great but want to know more concretely what would be better for our students. I guess that is not directly about teaching. In general, I want to find more ways to be more constructivist in my teaching.

Flipped classroom

More authentic convo and listening. Reflective discussions.

Meeting more ESL needs in any possible way

New activity I’ve been thinking about to help students integrate their own voice with voices from outside sources.


Q3: Summer reading : What is something you recommend reading next?

Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

Getting Schooled Garret Keizer

Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy

The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder – I would never had read it based on the premise (masculinity, football) but it is hilarious and smart (and humane and lovely).

Anything by Nnedi Okorafor

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Self as Subject: Autobiographic Research and Libraries (subtitle paraphrased)

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

To Throw Away Unopened – Viv Albertine (memoir)

Meg Wolitzer – The Female Persuasion (novel)

La Fiesta del Chivo (Feast of the Goat) by Mario Vargas Llosa

Self as Subject: Autoethnographic Research into Identity, Culture, and Academic Librarianship


Q4: Summer listening : What is something you recommend listening to next?

99% Invisible – about design, but writ large – urban planning, flags…okay, subject list doesn’t sound inspiring, but it’s great! 99pi.org

Alice Isn’t Dead – weird Americana horror fiction podcast

Janelle Monae

Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack – great for concentrating

Revisionist History

Radio Ambulante (spanish-language news – I’m learning/brushing up on Spanish)

Indoor Voices – podcast by Kathleen Collins and Steve Ovadia –CUNY’s own!!

Judge John Hodgman (podcast) – funny, smart, and totally ridiculous- a break from political stress etc.

Dress History

Evaluating Sources Track Recap

  • Navigating between Trust and Doubt on the Internet – Linda Miles and Haruko Yamauchi, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College

HANDOUT for Navigating between Trust and Doubt on the Internet

Write-up by Nancy Foasberg

In this participatory session, Linda and Haruko shared an exercise to help information seekers become more aware of the processes they use to evaluate information on the internet.

First, Haruko and Linda asked the participants a question: “What questions do you ask when searching for information on a subject with which you aren’t already familiar?” They noted that our attitude toward sources isn’t binary, and we would likely fall somewhere between total trust and total distrust with each source. As a group, we brainstormed some of these questions, including wanting to know more about the author, considering “about” pages of websites, and relying on sources we already know.  Linda and Haruko introduced a schema for framing and ordering the questions we ask as we are evaluating information. Although there is overlap among these categories, most of the important indicators have to do with the text, the publication, the medium, the authors, or the reader.  As a group, we sorted the questions into the different categories, and took this opportunity to discuss why they fit where they did. Finally, to further our understanding of our own habitual taxonomies, we split into pairs to look at specific information sources and decide to what extent we found them trustworthy. Many of us discovered that we wanted much more information than was available on the page in question, especially for questions about funding and more information about the authors.

An exercise like this can be used with either students or faculty and is especially useful for thinking about different kinds of sources. Overall, this was a very helpful exercise that teaches participants to be more conscious of the strategies they use to evaluate information.

  • Understanding Fake News by Teaching with the Game Factitious – Sharell L. Walker, Borough of Manhattan Community College

  • What Do You Meme it’s Not Credible? Using Memes to Counter Misleading Information
    Christina Boyle, College of Staten Island

image of The Credible Hulk saying,
The Credible Hulk

Write up by Daisy Domínguez and Stephanie Margolin

Walker discussed how the true or false game Factitious (factitiousgame.com) could be used in information literacy classes to help students become more critical of sources. When Factitious reveals whether a story is true or false, it also provides information about the source in question and the source referenced, which can help users research the answer and is one of the reasons this game can be a helpful teaching tool, especially in the context of libraries and research. Walker notes that the game may be used in a variety of ways: 1) in real time during a class, which is the most fun 2) by using screenshots of the game alongside PollEverywhere (https://www.polleverywhere.com) which would collect the students’ responses, and 3) students may be asked to play the game on their own or a tailored version of it on their own.

Boyle demonstrated how memes can be used to easily show the importance of citations and foster critical thinking skills. Boyle listed several tools like Meme Generator (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator), Know Your Meme (http://knowyourmeme.com), which attempts to give background information about a meme, and “The Credible Hulk.” During our discussion it became clear that memes could serve multiple purposes in library instruction. First, memes can help us teach about sources and citations. Second, having students create memes related to their research would require them to synthesize information found in a scholarly article in an alternative, non-text-heavy way. Finally, memes could be used to broach the topic of fair use and transformative use.


Tools/OneSearch Track Recap

  • Using Google Docs and WordPress for Communication and Instruction
    Sarah Johnson and Mason Brown, Hunter College

HANDOUT for Using Google Docs and WordPress for Communication and Instruction
WordPress site: https://hunterlibrary100.wordpress.com/

Recap by Julie Turley:
Takeaway: Both WordPress and Google Docs provide benefits that Blackboard cannot for course management, including more visually inviting interface, personalization, real time feedback, time stamps, more content control and smaller learning curves.

  • Encouraging Student Engagement in the Library Classroom with PollEverywhere
    Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi, Bronx Community College

SLIDES for Encouraging Student Engagement in the Library Classroom with PollEverywhere

Recap by Julie Turley:
Takeaway: Poll Everywhere is great for on the spot, low stakes assessment during library instruction sessions. It’s also helpful for brainstorming topics as a class and for “ice breakers.” There is a free higher ed version.

Recap by Mariana Regalado:
Emma presented an app that she used as low stakes assessment and to keep students engaged during 1-shots. Poll Everywhere allows instructors to run quick polls with students using either desktop computers or students’ own devices (i.e. smartphones).  Emma suggested that the polls are most useful when paired with an activity, either before or after. Results appear on the screen as lists, clusters, word clouds, etc. and they can be used to spark class discussion.  One example Emma showed was using Poll Everywhere to have students submit keywords during a class brainstorming session—as students see the terms appear they get excited about contributing their own or “voting” for good terms.  As well, polls can be used as surveys.  Emma uses the free version, but there is also a premium version.


  • Not teaching OneSearch is No Longer an Option
    Marta Bladek and Maureen Richards, John Jay College

Recap by Julie Turley:
Takeaway: With library homepage changes, OneSearch usage is rising. Whether or not librarians are teaching it, students are using it. Upsides to Onesearch instruction: One shots don’t allow time for book searches. Only EBRARY is found thru OneSearch. OneSearch is also great for brainstorming a topic: “If you’re naked and you don’t know what to wear you go to OneSearch.” OneSearch is also a great database from which to teach filters. For senior level courses, however, take students to the specialized databases

  • Using OneSearch: Librarians Need to Stop Worrying, Our Students Like It
    Anne O’Reilly, LaGuardia Community College

SLIDES for Using OneSearch: Librarians Need to Stop Worrying, Our Students Like It

Spring Training 2018 – Up Your Game

Poster by Prof. Anne Leonard, City Tech


  • Using Google Docs and WordPress for Communication and Instruction
    Sarah Johnson and Mason Brown, Hunter College
  • Encouraging Student Engagement in the Library Classroom with PollEverywhere
    Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi, Bronx Community College
  • Not teaching OneSearch is No Longer an Option
    Marta Bladek and Maureen Richards, John Jay College
  • Using OneSearch: Librarians Need to Stop Worrying, Our Students Like It
    Anne O’Reilly, LaGuardia Community College


  • Strategies for Embedded Information Literacy Instruction for English Language Learners
    Clara Y. Tran, Stony Brook University, and Selrnsy Aytac, Long Island University
  • Dis/Information Nation: Voter Personas and Dis/Information Literacy in the 2016 Election and Beyond
    Iris Finkel, Hunter College and Lydia Willoughby, SUNY New Paltz

Evaluating Sources

  • Navigating between Trust and Doubt on the Internet
    Linda Miles and Haruko Yamauchi, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College
  • Understanding Fake News by Teaching with the Game Factitious
    Sharell L. Walker, Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • What Do You Meme it’s Not Credible? Using Memes to Counter Misleading Information
    Christina Boyle, College of Staten Island

The Library Information Literacy Advisory Committee, LILAC, is the Library Discipline Council of the City University of New York. All librarians inside and outside of CUNY are welcome to attend the Spring Training.

Fourth Annual Spring Training (June 2017)

On Friday, June 16, 2017, LILAC held its fourth annual spring event, Spring Training, at the Guttman Community College Library, from 1-4pm. The training featured four concurrent workshops by librarians from around the New York metro area. This website serves to document the event.

The sessions were as follows. Click the links below to be taken to a more detailed description of each breakout session.

Improvisational Role Play: Negotiating with Classroom Faculty
Haruko Yamauchi and Linda Miles, Hostos Community College

Teaching Fails
Sarah Ward and Stephanie Margolin, Hunter College

Deep Listening in the Library
Robert Farrell, Lehman College

What librarians and journalists can learn from each other about adapting to change and meeting communities’ needs
Barbara Gray, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Academic Library Makerspace; do we need it?
Galina Letnikova, LaGuardia Community College

LILAC spring event planning committee:

  • Marta Bladek (John Jay College)
  • Robin Brown (Borough of Manhattan Community College)
  • Robert Farrell (Lehman College)
  • Julia Furay (Kingsborough Community College)
  • Neera Mohess (Queensborough Community College)
  • Amy Stempler (College of Staten Island)
  • Galina Letnikova (LaGuardia Community College)

Instruction Librarians Talk about Teaching and Learning: Hunter College Libraries’ 2015 Library Instruction Day

Instruction day icebreaker
Icebreaker: Would you rather be able to fly, or be invisible?

At Hunter College Libraries, we often complain that there is rarely time available for us (those who teach) to talk about our teaching and share ideas, both best practices and biggest challenges. This spring, Sarah Ward and I began considering a time and space for such a conversation. In an attempt to be as inclusive and democratic as possible, we (the organizers) invited interested library faculty and staff to complete a Doodle poll to choose the best date and then, following an “unconference” model, to nominate topics via a Padlet “wall.” Expenses for the event were minimal: adjunct coverage at the reference desks.  We invited folks to bring brown bag lunches, and we organizers contributed some cookies.

Library Instruction Day became a reality on Tuesday, June 23 from 10-1, with approximately 14 of us attending, representing all four of Hunter’s libraries; members of the technical services team, as well as reference and instruction. We began the day with an icebreaker: Which super-power would you rather have, flight or invisibility, and why? Participants, fairly evenly divided, shared their answers on a white board.

Hunter's library instruction day
Take-aways from Hunter College’s Library Instruction Day

We then spent about an hour gaining context in an interactive workshop lead by Meredith Reitman, Hunter’s Director of Assessment, titled “What are your students really learning?” The remaining two hours were spent in informal discussion of ideas from the participant-generated list (seeded with a few additional items by the organizers).  Attempting to practice what we preach, we closed by asking each participant to generate a three-item “to do” list, based on ideas generated by the event. Each person then shared his/her top item on the white board.

Our discussion was great and the feedback was generally positive, with interest in making the event annual. What do you do in your library to meet this need?

CuPL – CUNY Libraries Branch Out!

cupl2CuPL : CUNY Libraries Branch Out
Monday, April 13th – Saturday, April 18th, 2015

How do we connect the resources of CUNY libraries with the life-long learning possibilities of Branch libraries? Are our current and future students aware of resources outside of their campus libraries?


Monday, April 13th – Saturday, April 18th, 2015, participating CUNY campuses will Branch Out!

Teaming with participating branch libraries, the first ever CuPL: CUNY Libraries Branch Out initiative will bring branch libraries to CUNY campuses all in one week.

CuPL: CUNY Libraries Branch Out is a collaborative effort between librarians at the City University of New York, and librarians in the public libraries throughout NYC. The goal is to enhance use of systems across institutions and make current, former, and future students aware of local resources for academic research success as well as lifelong learning.

2015 Participating CUNY Libraries

LaGuardia Community College
Monday 4/13
teams with Queens Public Library
College of Staten Island
Monday 4/13
teams with Richmondtown Branch
Lehman College
Monday 4/13
teams with Robyn Saunders from the Career, Education and Information Services (CEIS) at the Bronx Library Center
York College
Tuesday 4/14
teams with Queens Public Library
Queens College
Wednesday 4/15
teams with Queens Public Library
Kingsborough Community College
Wednesday 4/15
teams with Sheepshead Bay Library
City Tech
Wednesday 4/15
teams with the Info Commons at Central Branch
Hostos Community College
Thursday 4/16
teams with Bronx Public Library main branch
Brooklyn College
Thursday 4/16
teams with Central Library’s Society, Sciences Technology Division
Guttman Community College
Friday 4/17
teams with NYPL Midtown for a library card drive
Saturday 4/18
teams with the New Amsterdam Branch for BMCC’s career fair

To receive more information on CuPL : CUNY Libraries Branch Out, contact the CuPL representative:
NYPL – Rebecca Federman & Carolym Broomhead
Queens Public Library – Kim McNeil –Capers
Brooklyn Public Library – Melissa Morrone
CUNY Libraries – Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz

CuPL : CUNY Librarians Branch Out is a sub-committee of LILAC and includes the following librarians
(list in formation):
Carolyn Broomhead, New York Public Library
Robin Brown, BMCC
Diane Dimartino, OLS
Robert Farrell, Lehman
Rebecca Federman, New York Public Library
Julia Furay, Kingsborough Community College
Meagan Lacy, Guttman Community College
Tara Lannen-Stanton, Queens Public Library
Miriam Laskin, Hostos Community College
Galina Letnikova, LaGuardia Community College
Kim McNeil–Capers, Queens Public Library
Jesse Montero, Brooklyn Public Library
Melissa Morrone, Brooklyn Public Library,
Evelyn Muriel Cooper, New York Public Library
Shawnta Smith, Graduate Center
Amy Stempler, College of Staten Island
Di Su, York Community College

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