The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

Interdisciplinary Studies Program Members and Faculty Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Current and former ISP professors.
Taylor Johnson
Current and former ISP professors.

On April 4th, 2024, current and former department heads, professors, and students of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (ISP) gathered in the Moot Court to share food, laughter, and memories to celebrate the program’s 50th Anniversary. 

The food was provided by The Migrant Kitchen, a restaurant that employs immigrants and makes food using cooking techniques spanning from the Middle East to Latin America.

Professor Jessica Cortez, an adjunct professor in the ISP program, recommended The Migrant Kitchen because she wanted to ensure that the food at the event, “reflected what ISP stands for…inclusion and support for all.”

In addition to former students mingling with their former professors, the event also consisted of two panels. The first was a panel of current and former students and the second, current and former ISP professors. 

All ten participants were asked a range of questions: identifying what lessons they learned in ISP, their favorite ISP memory, and for the professors, their most impactful moment as an educator. 

Each sentiment made by a panelist resulted in laughter or tearful applause from the audience. It was two and a half hours of sharing all their best memories and most heartfelt admirations of ISP.   

Mahek Patel, an ISP sophomore and peer success coach, served as a student panelist and talked about the impact the program has had on her.

“ISP is one of the main reasons I stayed at John Jay. It gave me a home away from home and…I just love it here. I always know that there will be someone to listen and care when I am in the ISP department,” she explained. 

Professor Gerald Markowitz has been teaching ISP classes for almost the entire 50 years of the program’s existence and commented on what the community offers as well. 

“ISP is a built-in community. [Students] aren’t just taking one class together then going off to a new class with a whole new group of people. They spend years hanging out together in the conference room and having pizza. It is about seeing the same faces and building lasting relationships,” said Markowitz.

The panel mediators were also an important part of the night’s events. In line with ISP’s values of allowing students to explore the world around them with some individuality, they had a student mediator for the panel of professors. 

The student mediator was Judith Boza, an ISP ambassador and recipient of the Malcolm/King Leadership Award. She spoke about her role in ISP and the program’s impact on her. 

“As an ambassador, I help in the process of welcoming students into the ISP program and to the college. I help organize the process with a team and we set up welcoming events, workshops, and other things that help engage students with one another,” said Boza, “I do it because ISP has revolutionized the way I think about school.” 

In addition to talking about the ISP community, almost every panelist commented on a crucial element to the success of ISP; the fact that almost every class in the program is taught by two professors. 

Professor Richard Haw, ISP minor and freshmen program coordinator, provided an explanation as to why this is.

“ISP takes professors from two different disciplines and has them teach a topic together. That gives students an inside look as to how people from different specialties may look at things differently,” said Haw. “You cannot understand the world purely through one discipline, so ISP doesn’t ask you to.”

On the professor panel, all five participants mentioned how they love and appreciate the opportunity to learn from their students. Cortez commented on this. 

“I really enjoy teaching,” Cortez explained further that “Sometimes I even get to be a student along with my students and build relationships with them. They sometimes open my eyes to new perspectives.”

ISP professors have no problem admitting that they are people with a limited amount of knowledge and can learn from someone else, even their students. 

Professor Silvina Calderaro, the ISP department’s newest professor, commented on the unique classroom environment fostered by the program.

“It’s a place where the authority of the teacher is kind of debunked, meaning we are also learning from the students.”

Tchintcharauli is a senior and four-year ISP student who has devoted her entire college experience to becoming a life-long learner and contributing member of society. She summarized and affirmed everything said by the panelists and other speakers about what ISP has given to its members in the last 50 years. 

“ISP created a great circle for me to rely on. I was a part of something and learned so many things. I had people around me that were independent, yet trustworthy. ISP can help you with anything, whether it be career development, internships, or anything else. It is a sustainable, supportive, and positive environment. ISP makes college worth it,” Tchintcharauli declared.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All John Jay Sentinel Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Emily ChavezApr 9, 2024 at 12:35 pm

    Amazing job capturing the ISP departments values and contributions to the John Jay Community!!

    Cannot wait to read more from Taylor!