Bronx Science Welcomes New Faculty Members to the Guidance Department


Maanya Shah

Despite starting at Bronx Science only a few months ago, Ms. Moraydda Rosado, Ms. Barbara Rivera-Berger, Ms. Danielle Heckman, and Ms. Sheree Ferguson are already knowledgeable about the Bronx Science community.

“Having guidance is important because students can express their feelings and opinions to professional adults in a safe place,” said Logan Klinger, ’21, who bears the workload of a Bronx Science junior, as well as S.O. Cabinet responsibilities and mock trial.

As a member of Cabinet, Klinger recently helped to organize Mental Health Week during the second week of October 2019. She has also worked with the new school social worker, Ms. Heckman, to de-stigmatize mental illness and to promote mental health and wellness amongst the student body and faculty. 

The growing awareness around the importance of mental health is truly changing Bronx Science for the better. We, as students, have realized that burning the candle at both ends is not a sustainable way to manage four years of high school and that we must take care of ourselves and our own needs rather than ignoring them. 

The Guidance Department at Bronx Science has only grown stronger with time, and many students have formed strong bonds with their counselors. This past summer, a few counselors left Bronx Science to pursue other opportunities, which paved the way for our new guidance counselors, Ms. Ferguson, Ms. Heckman, Ms. Rivera-Berger, and Ms. Rosado. They were all more than willing to take time out of their busy days in early October as they settled into Bronx Science life, to answer some questions about their career decisions, opinions on stress at Bronx Science, and on our lives in general. 

Ms. Sheree Ferguson was born and raised in New York, attending the State University of New York at Albany for Undergraduate Studies and receiving her Master’s Degree from Fordham University.

She has three siblings: an older brother, an older sister, and a younger brother. She attended an all-girls parochial school, where she enjoyed the sense of community.

When Ferguson was in high school, she saw a need for more social-emotional support. She didn’t know her counselor and felt there was no guidance-related support for students. She wants to be available to students to provide the support that she did not have access to. 

Originally, Ms. Ferguson was a teacher, but after seeing so many students who were dealing with challenging personal and social issues that would hinder their success in the classroom, she thought that she could better meet the needs of her students as a school counselor. 

Ms. Ferguson’s favorite way to de-stress after a long week is to spend time with her family, catch up on her favorite television shows, and read for pleasure, and while she doesn’t have any favorite books or movies, she is partial to autobiographical, young adult, and thriller novels.

If Ms. Ferguson was not a guidance counselor, she would most likely have continued teaching, as she enjoys working in a classroom setting.

Ms. Danielle Heckman grew up in Brooklyn with her two younger siblings, but she lives in the Bronx now.  As a child, she was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and would watch the movie at least once every day and acted out all of the parts. 

Ms. Heckman looks back fondly at her high school experience. She still keeps in touch with her friends and stays involved in the school. 

She studied at Franklin Pierce University and Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus for Graduate School. 

During her sophomore year of college, Ms. Heckman’s mother insisted that she choose a career other than acting to support herself. Confident in her people skills and interested in psychology, she knew that being a social worker was the perfect fit.

To de-stress after a long week, Ms. Heckman loves attending dance classes and weekend trips with her family, as well as spending time with their dog, Seamus. 

It wasn’t easy for her to pick a favorite book, but she settled on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which she appreciates because it is satirical and depressing, yet offers a hopeful perspective “in a way that only Dickens can accomplish.” Picking a movie was even more difficult, as she has “tons,” but “anyone who has seen my office knows I’m a huge Star Wars fan.” If she wasn’t a social worker, Ms. Heckman would be a baker or a chef.

Ms. Moraydda Rosado was born in Puerto Rico, but she was raised in the Bronx near Parkchester. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Hunter College and her Master’s just around the corner from Bronx Science at Lehman College. Her Master’s in school counseling is from Mercy College. 

She is the eldest of five, with two younger sisters and two younger brothers. Her adolescence in the 1980s and 1990s consisted of dreams to be in Hollywood, while she describes her high school experience to be full of “missed opportunities [and a] lack of resources and support.”

As another teacher-turned-counselor, Ms. Rosado taught high school history for nine years before she realized that she loved “connecting and supporting [her] students outside of the classroom.” A student of hers recommended that she explore counseling, and it was a perfect fit.

Ms. Rosado has a specific relaxation schedule for her weekend. On Saturdays and Sundays, she watches her children play sports like baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and lacrosse. Ms. Rosado does not have any pets. If she did, she would have an English Bulldog, but it couldn’t be cute enough to make her get up at six o’clock in the morning on a rainy day to walk it. 

Her favorite book changes every few years or so, but recently,  it has been A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It counts as her favorite television show too, after being written for the screen by BBC America. Growing up, Ms. Rosado used to have a dream to be an actress and meet the people she idolized in the 90s.

Ms. Barbara Rivera-Berger was born in Basel, Switzerland, but she has been living in the Bronx for almost thirty years now. She studied psychology and creative arts therapy at NYU. She grew up with her older brother and two younger cousins, and her favorite thing to do was play Monopoly with them for hours upon hours. 

We, as students, have realized that burning the candle at both ends is not a sustainable way to manage four years of high school and that we must take care of ourselves and our own needs rather than ignoring them. 

She describes her high school experience as ‘intense,’ due to the stress of finding out who she was and what she wanted to do with her life. She sang with her friends in a choir for some time, but it wasn’t until she was working as a Public Information Assistant at the United Nations that Ms. Rivera-Berger realized that she “did not just want to talk about the problems of the world, [she] wanted to find a way to help people.” 

After a long week, Ms. Rivera-Berger loves to ice skate, go for walks, and window shop. Depending on the day, she’ll do Kundalini Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong to destress.

She does not have a pet at the moment, but Ms. Rivera-Berger has had both dogs and cats in the past. Her favorite book is Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok because she sees herself in the protagonist, leaving one world to come to another, but making sure not to lose herself and her identity in the process. One of her favorite movies is Lord of the Rings, and she specifically loves to see the deep friendships between the main characters as they overcome obstacles together.

If Ms. Rivera-Berger was not a SAPIS counselor, she is positive that she would be an opera singer, an artist, or an archaeologist.

As Sophie Poritzky, ’21, puts it, “Guidance counselors are incredibly helpful, no matter what you come to them with. Whether it’s course selection, anxiety, or even just needing to talk, the guidance department is always ready to step up and help.” Ms. Ferguson, Ms. Heckman, Ms. Rivera-Berger, and Ms. Rosado have hundreds of students that they want to connect with, but they have some advice that applies to everyone. 

If you could go back in time and talk to your high school self, what would you say?

Ms. Ferguson: “Don’t stress the small stuff! Everything will be okay even if it does not go according to plan.”

Ms. Heckman: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Ms. Rivera Berger: “Don’t worry so much about what your peers think about you; focus on your strength.”

Ms. Rosado: “Don’t give up; don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

What’s one thing that every Bronx Science student should be doing?

Ms. Ferguson: “Get involved with the school community. Academics are important, but it is also good to be a well-rounded individual.” 

Ms. Heckman: “Having fun!  To quote Ferris Bueller: ‘Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.'”

Ms. Rivera-Berger: “Stress management and support[ing] each other when going through difficult times.”

Ms. Rosado: ‘Teens should enjoy being teens, and stop trying to rush through life; adulthood is going to come eventually.”

What’s one thing that every Bronx Science should stop doing? 

Ms. Ferguson: “Procrastinating. One of my favorite quotes is ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.’”

Ms. Heckman: “Sweating the small stuff, but also recognizing what the small stuff is.”

Ms. Rivera-Berger: “Not getting enough sleep. When I taught in the summer, most students did not get enough sleep.”

For the most telling question, Ms. Ferguson, Ms. Heckman, Ms. Rivera-Berger, and Ms. Rosado were asked about their Halloween candy preferences.

Ms. Ferguson prefers chocolate, specifically chocolate kisses, Kit Kat, and Snickers, whereas Ms. Heckman is one of the few candy corn enthusiasts, though she’ll never pass up a Fun-Size Snickers or Twix. Ms. Rosado is a stickler for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and she maintains that it’s also the best Easter and Christmas candy. Ms. Rivera-Berger is partial to limited edition Halloween candy, specifically Kit Kat Pumpkin Pie Miniatures.