PRODiG Initiative


SUNY PRODiG at Empire State University

The SUNY Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth (SUNY PRODiG) initiative supports the growth of faculty diversity and aims to improve campus efforts to increase the number of historically underrepresented populations in faculty and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics faculty. SUNY Empire is proud to participate in this SUNY initiative and is committed to its mission.


SUNY Empire State College is proud to welcome Bernadet DeJonge, as a SUNY PRODiG Fellow for the 2021-23 academic years


Bernadet DeJonge has joined SUNY Empire State College as the college's second PRODiG Fellow. DeJonge, who is based at the college's Syracuse location, will will teach diversity in human services and the history of social welfare in the College of Human Service during the fall 2021 term, and will be at the college as a PRODiG fellow from 2021-23.

DeJonge is a recent graduate of Oregon State University, where she is on the path to receiving her Ph.D. in counseling. She holds an MA in rehabilitation counseling from Western Washington University, a BA in psychology from Western Washington University, and an associate degree from Skagit Valley College.

DeJonge has taught courses in counseling, case management, disability systems, and many other subject matters. Her research interests include suicide intervention and treatment, counseling clients with aphasia, and motivational interviewing for frontline staff, to name a few. DeJonge also possesses clinical experience, as an expanded community services clinician, care manager, and social worker, among other roles.

She is currently doing her dissertation on the experience adjunct, online faculty have with gatekeeping, which is the professional responsibility of counselors to address problem behavior in masters’ level counseling trainees.

Naiima Khahaifa joins college as its first PRODiG Fellow


In September 2020 Naiima Khahaifa joins SUNY Empire State College as its first PRODiG Fellow. Based in the School of Social and Behavioral Science at the college’s Cheektowaga location, her research has included an examination of  the historical process of prison workforce integration and urban processes, through the lens of neighborhood change. She is a Ph.D. candidate in geography at the University at Buffalo, SUNY (UB) and has earned an M.A. in International Trade at the University at Buffalo, SUNY (UB) and an M.S. in Global Business with Marketing Concentration from Daemen College.


PRODiG Provides Funding for Four New Faculty for the Fall 2020 Term


For the Fall 2020 term, the college welcomed four new faculty members whose positions were made passible with SUNY PRODiG funding.

Norine Masella is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and Allied Health in Saratoga Springs. She has been a visiting assistant professor in the School of Nursing and Allied Health at SUNY Empire State College since July 2017, and has been teaching nursing students in both traditional and online programs for over 25 years. She is a certified nurse educator (CNE) through the NLN Academic Nurse Educator Certification Program and is pursuing doctoral studies at the University at Buffalo, SUNY (UB).


Rosalind October is an Assistant Professor of human services in the School of Human Services at the college’s Brooklyn location. She has been a mentor at the college since 2010 and a visiting assistant professor since 2016, specializing in the field of addiction. Dr. October is a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor, and has taught a number of human services courses including Introduction to Substance Abuse, Case Management, and History of U.S. Social Welfare Policy.


Julie Parato is an Assistant Professor in the School of Science, Mathematics and Technology at the college’s Brooklyn location. Most recently, she has been a postdoctoral scientist at Columbia University studying the role of hyperstable microtubules in Alzheimer's Disease. She has also been a research assistant at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and taught at Long Island University.


Noor Syed joins the college in September as an Assistant Professor in the School for Graduate Studies at the college’s Hartsdale location. Dr. Syed will also be clinical coordinator and director of the Autism Research Education and Services Center at the college. She is a board-certified behavior analyst doctoral (BCBAD) and a licensed behavior analyst/specialist in New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.


Mentor Audeliz Matias, Interim Chair of Mathematics at ESC, Named SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellow


Dr. Audeliz (Audi) Matias

Dr. Audeliz Matias, interim chair of the mathematics department in the School of Science, Mathematics, and Technology, has been selected to be one of nine SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellows for 2020. She was chosen for her potential to become an emerging leader in SUNY. She also was selected as a 2019-20 ESC Provost’s Fellow, working on assessing the level of diversity awareness in the curriculum and better serving STEM students online.

"On behalf of the College's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, we congratulate Dr. Audeliz Matias on her selection as a 2020 SUNY Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellow and thank her for her many significant contributions to the ESC community as an active member of our ESC PRODIG Steering Committee and the convener of the ESC Women in STEM Affinity Group," said Chief Diversity Officer Elliott Dawes.

"I am honored and privileged to have been nominated and selected for this leadership development opportunity," said Matias. "Hispanic students are currently the largest underrepresented group at SUNY. As a Hispanic women in science, I see leadership as an opportunity to serve and to continue to develop the pipeline of scholars and leaders, particularly in the STEM areas. I am eager to enhance my current skills, to learn new ones and to put them into practice."