Technology Helps Student Join Welcome Week Events
When freshman Andrew Fierstein couldn’t attend orientation events this weekend, he got a little help from Honors College Dean Warren Frisina.
Fierstein, 18, was diagnosed at age five with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. A complication with one of his chemotherapies forced the Old Brookville, NY teen into the hospital on Friday, just as Welcome Week kicked off.
But through the use of the FaceTime app on their smart phones, Fierstein participated in a campus lecture from his hospital bed.
The dean introduced Andrew via FaceTime to his fellow freshmen who had gathered in Axinn Library for the Aims of Education lecture, an annual event for incoming first-years in Honors College. After hearing a collective hello from the crowd, Andrew settled in to view the entire lecture by this year’s speaker, biology professor Beverly Clendening, as Dean Frisina held up his phone to capture the talk.
“Andrew has impressed me from the first day I met him with his determination, focus and interest,” said Dean Frisina. “He’s a terrific student, and a warm and easy person.”
Fierstein says that he was touched that Dean Frisina would take time to visit him in the hospital and make arrangements to include him in Welcome Week. After the lecture, he texted the dean, “Thank you for putting in the effort to truly make me feel part of the Honors College family.”
Released from the hospital today, Fierstein hopes to be on campus tomorrow for classes, and will soon move into his dorm room.
His 13-year battle with cancer hasn’t slowed his achievements. He graduated in June as salutatorian of North Shore High School, and will be a health science major at Hofstra, where he was accepted into the highly selective 4+4 BA-BS/MD medical program.
He is also a top earner in New York State for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser, and served as co-chair this year of the North Shore program. Over the past seven years, he has raised $250,000 for the charity.
Dean Frisina’s efforts “allowed Andrew to listen, learn, and feel a part of things,” said his mother, Kerry Fierstein, M.D. “”It is nice to know that a man of honor is in charge of Honors College.”