Cynthia Robson, left, Glen Cove City Councilwoman Marsha Silverman, Geraldine Hart and Dana Arschin at the Female First panel from the City of Glen Cove. (Photo by Jennifer Corr)

Panel Highlights Groundbreaking Women

Women’s History Month celebration held at Glen Cove City Hall

Glen Cove City Hall on the evening of March 11 was packed with men and women ready to hear the stories of three women who broke barriers in their respective fields.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the City of Glen Cove presented a panel titled “Female Firsts,” featuring three-time Emmy award-winning journalist and first-ever storyteller at the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Dana Arschin; first female Suffolk County Police Commissioner and current Hofstra University Director of Public Safety Geraldine Hart and professor at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Captain Cynthia Robson. City of Glen Cove Councilwoman Marsha Silverman led the panel.
Glen Cove High School freshman Charlotte Dilgard-Clark sang the National Anthem and Eva Casale, a marathoner who runs yearly to raise money for veterans, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It’s always empowering to hear other women speak,” Casale said. “I think we should do this a lot more often, and it should be done in schools and other forums so young girls understand what they can achieve…”
To start the panel, Silverman stated that everyone was gathered at city hall that evening for a discussion about women succeeding in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Glen Cove City Councilwoman Marsha Silverman moderated a panel featuring Cynthia Robson, Geraldine Hart and Dana Arschin. (Photo by Jennifer Corr)

Dana Arschin:
Arschin began her career in journalism as a fifth-grader at the Jericho Union Free School District’s George A. Jackson Elementary School, which had started its first television station.
“They needed three anchors and two reporters and they were asking the entire grade to try out,” Arschin said.
Arschin, who tried out by creating a story on the spot about an alien invasion, was selected to be one of the reporters.
Later in life, while attending the University of Delaware, Arschin wanted to be a behind-the-scenes writer for television shows. She applied for an internship at NBC and was assigned to the newsroom.
During the summer, she spent half her weeks shadowing reporters in New York City and the other half on Long Island with Greg Cergol, NBC 4 New York’s Long Island reporter.
“He’s the reason I wanted to become a reporter,” Arschin said. “He would let me take a microphone and go out on the street and interview people every day.”
While completing her Master’s degree in broadcast journalism at the New York Institute of Technology, she was told that she could never get her first job in New York and that every reporter starts in a smaller market somewhere across the country.
“I didn’t buy that,” Arschin said.
When she learned that the News 12 station for the Bronx and Brooklyn hires young reporters, she began recording herself at street corners, reporting on stories she made up. She sent in her tapes and was hired.
After her stint at News 12, Arschin began working as a reporter and fill-in anchor at Fox 5, where she started a series about Holocaust survivors, inspired by her late grandfather who was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“He inspired me to live my life knowing about my roots and my ancestry and everything he endured,” Arschin said.
Arschin called Andrea Bolender, then-director of the Nassau County Holocaust Museum & Tolerance Center, to tell her that she wanted to leave news and just focus on telling the stories of Holocaust survivors. Arschin said that Bolender, who was present at the panel, changed her life by hiring her as the first-ever storyteller for HMTC.
Today, on behalf of HMTC, Arschin interviews Holocaust survivors and keeps their stories alive.
Arschin is a resident of Port Washington.

Geraldine Hart:
Hart’s story began in fifth grade when her class took a field trip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington D.C.
“I was hooked,” Hart said. “I was going to be an FBI agent and I just kind of spent my days figuring out how I was going to make that happen.
Hart, understanding the FBI had a hiring track for attorneys, received her Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University of Law.
Hart, after practicing law for six weeks during an FBI hiring freeze, applied and went through all the background checks, polygraphs, medical exams and physicals. At FBI Quantico, where every FBI employee gets their start, Hart was one of three women in a class of 50.
According to an article about her from St. John’s University School of Law, Hart began her career with the FBI investigating healthcare fraud in Suffolk and Nassau counties before being transferred to the Luchese Organized Crime Squad in 1999. In 2012, she was promoted to Supervisor of the Special Agent of the FBI’s Genovese Organized Crime Squad. In 2014, she was selected as the Senior Supervisory Resident Agent, overseeing the FBI’s Long Island office, where she directly supervised the FBI’s Long Island Gang Taskforce and other cases dealing with violent crime, white-collar crime, counterterrorism and counterintelligence squads.
In 2018, Hart became the first woman to serve as Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest police departments in the country. And in 2021, Hart stepped down to serve as Hofstra University’s director of public safety. Today, Hart’s duty is to keep students and faculty safe from threats such as mass shootings and assaults.
Hart is a resident of Sea Cliff.

Cynthia Robson:
Robson, now a resident of Locust Valley, was born in Virginia and grew up in Texas.
“I grew up in a house on the water,” Robson said, explaining that as she grew older, her boats grew in size.
Since Robson was 11, it was her goal to win a scholarship to Texas A&M University Maritime Academy at the regional science fair, despite being told that a woman would never be selected.
From that time on, until she was a senior in high school, Robson prepared her science project. But at the regional science fair, the judges didn’t even look at her project.
After a winner was selected, Robson did not take no for an answer, pressuring the judges to view her project. It worked, and Robson received the scholarship.
Robson received a Bachelors degree in Marine Biology and Marine Transportation at Texas A&M University.
Robson, according to her bio on the United States Merchant Marine Academy website, is a Master Mariner licensed to sail vessels of any tonnage of any ocean. She has years of service as a merchant mariner and served in the Gulf War as an Executive Officer aboard a U.S. Naval ship. The Maritime Administration selected her to sail as an American Officer aboard the Soviet Sail Training Ship Druzhba during the 1990 trans-Atlantic Soviet-American Sail. And as a survivor of shipboard pirate attacks, Robson conducted extensive research of piracy and maritime terrorism, published papers, wrote part of a book and spoke at several conferences about the subject. After the terrorist attack at the American Embassy in Kenya, Robson briefed government entities in Kenya on the topic of maritime terrorism as part of the Anti-Terrorism Program for the Department of State under the Bush administration. Robson has served for over 20 years as Secretary and Officer on the Board of the Marine Society of the City of New York.
The three distinguished guests answered questions from Silverman and the audience about creating opportunities, skills they’ve developed under pressure, their mentors and other topics.

The entire panel can be viewed at
At the event, Silverman also highlighted contest winners for Glen Cove High School students who submitted artwork, poetry and essays. Among the winners was student Michael Renga, who wrote a letter to honor Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher.
Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, City of Glen Cove Mayor Pam Panzenbeck and a representative for New York State Assemblymember Charles Lavine presented Renga, as well as the panelists, with citations.
“It was my privilege and honor to bring these trailblazing women together to show that the sky can be the limit and you should never stop chasing your dreams,” Silverman said after the event.

Ukrainian Rocker Talks
Fundraising For Friends,
25 Years Of Touring

Gogol Bordello to play free benefit
in Tompkins Square Park

By Cory Olsen – April 15, 2024


Profiles In Education Cover
  • No events