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April 2011 Archives

Núñez Wins United Way Award

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Nunez is pictured with United Way President and CEO Susan Dunn and board chairman Jim Sicilian.

On March 31, Eastern President Elsa Nunez was recognized with the United Way of Central and Northeastern Community Service Award, the service organization's highest volunteer honor. The Community Service Award is present annually to someone who volunteers with United Way and other community activities and is recognized by the community as a leader. It is given in memory of Dr. Frederick Adams, a former United Way board member, for his service to the community.

Chukwuogor Leads International Financial Conference

2011FSIT&EDevelinAfricaCropped.jpgChiaku Chukwuogor, professor of finance and business administration, told an international audience in Abuja, Nigeria, that the financial crisis and economic recession in the industrialized world were severely impacting the financial services sector, stock markets, exchange rates and foreign investment in Africa. Chukwuogor gave the opening address at the first conference on "Post Crisis Focus on Financial Services, International Trade and Economic Development in Africa, March 24-25. The conference brought together academicians, financial services sector experts and bureaucrats to examine financial services structures in Africa and offer proposals to cope with the challenges of Nigeria's banking sector.

Chukwuogor, who served as the conference chairperson, said the crisis poses "a great threat to economic development in Nigeria, but with its wide range of natural and mineral resources, Nigeria should be a stronger nation." These days, cargo ships arrive on African shores full with cargo and leave almost empty. We have oil, land, cocoa and lots of fertile land. We should be doing more to diversity the economic base." She called on Nigeria's government and the banks to be more proactive, helping in the economic development of the country.

Arroyo Exhibits at the UN

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"Ancestral Memories," an art exhibition by CSU Professor Imna Arroyo, was the featured exhibit at the United Nations International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on March 22 in New York City. The United Nations event commemorated the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, which forced 25 million to more than 30 million Africans away from their homes to endure the torture of slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean. Arroyo's exhibition featured the African Orishas guarding their ancestors during the transatlantic passage.

"As a descendant from those 30 million, I was so happy to see Eastern represented," said Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury. "Many people from all walks of life were rubbing shoulders in attendance. I managed to talk with the Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea at one extreme, and at the other, a housewife from Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, who was a part of a dance team from that island that performed at the event."

Eastern cited by Connecticut Allied Health Workforce Policy Board

Eastern's programs in Business Information Systems (BIS) were cited as important professional development options for Connecticut's allied health workers in the 2010 Report of the Connecticut Allied Health Workforce Policy Board (CAHWPB). In particular, the BIS certificate, Eastern's minor in Social Informatics, and minor and a certificate in Healthcare Informatics were highlighted.

At a time when the workforce relevance of the liberal arts remains under scrutiny, the CAHWPB report noted that the "interdisciplinary Healthcare Informatics program (at Eastern) prepares students for several jobs redescribed by the American Society of Health Informatics Managers (ASHIM): application support and training, EMR consulting, desktop and network support, clinical analysts, business analysts, transition coordinators, data/information managers, privacy and security experts and health IT managers. It complements well the skills developed in such (other Eastern) programs as Business Information Systems, Computer Science, Business Administration, Biology, Psychology, Accounting, Health and Physical Education, or BGS Public Health."

CAHWPB also noted that Eastern was "the only institution of higher learning in Connecticut that offers a course in Healthcare Informatics as part of the Business Information Systems and the Public Health BGS programs and it has expanded its offerings to serve better the growing needs of the health care sector in Connecticut."
The Healthcare Informatics minor and certificate were a collaborative project of the Business Administration and Computer Science Departments and the School of Continuing Education, with leadership provided by Business Information Systems Professors Doncho Petkov and Alex Citurs, with support from Deans Shelly Gimenez, Carmen Cid and Jaime Gomez, as well as Associate Dean Carol Williams. 


A Bet is a Bet

salka.jpgEastern is all about working together, wearing many hats, and helping out other members of the campus community. Bill Salka, professor of political science and president of the Faculty Senate, put that credo into practice on March 28 and 30 when he worked as President Núñez's administrative assistant. The temporary assignment was due to the fact Salka's faculty team lost a bet with the President's team at the ECSU Foundation Scholarship Bowlathon on March 5.

"I had a wonderful time working for Dr. Núñez; I think shredding 917 time cards in the course of two hours was the most fun," salka1.jpgsaid Professor Salka.  "But I wouldn't recommend this for everyone.  They say that works flows upstream, and that is certainly true in the President's Office. I haven't worked so hard since we had to pass Senate Bill 1011-2."

Last year, the President's team at the Bowlathon lost and the President paid for refreshments at a University Senate meeting, which apparently drew record numbers of onlookers and lasted well into the night.  Calling last year's defeat "questionable," Captain Mike Pernal remarked, "After they cleaned out the pantry last year, there was no way the President's Team was going to lose this year. We may not look as athletic as the faculty team, but our superior talent ensured that this year's win was an easy walk down the alley."

Guarnieri Honored for Excellence in Advising

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Advising Center Director Susan Heyward congratulates Guarnieri on winning the NACADA Advising Excellence Award.

Christine Guarnieri '03, student development specialist in the Academic Services Center, has been named the recipient of the National Academic Advising Association's (NACADA) Advising Excellence Award. Guarnieri was presented the award at the NACADA's Region One meeting in Burlington, VT, on March 10. The awards are presented to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic advising of students and who have served as advisors for a period of three or fewer years.

"Christine Guarnieri has had a tremendously positive impact on advising countless individual students here at Eastern, as well as enhancing initiatives that have dramatically improved the quality of advising and overall student experience of all Eastern students," said Alex Citurs, assistant professor in the Department of Business Administration.

"Christine is a committed alumnus of Eastern and I am pleased that she has been recognized for her advising services," said Susan Heyward, director of Eastern's Advising Center.  "Her honor reflects on the quality of advising and support services offered to our students through the Advising Center. The University benefits from this regional recognition."

Liberty Bank Executive Emphasizes Volunteering

On March 10, Chandler Howard, president and CEO of Liberty Bank and Eastern's Business Executive-in-Residence for 2010-11, told more than 100 students, faculty and staff in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room, that volunteering is key to their success. "Serving the community is critical; it provides you with the kind of training you can never get on the job." He said Liberty Bank's 550 employees contributed more than 17,000 volunteer hours this past year, and donated more than $5 million dollars to charitable organizations over the past 10 years.

Chandler says Liberty Bank employees get four paid days annually to volunteer. "Volunteering helps the community become vibrant, which in turn, helps the bank become more vibrant, enabling it to provide financial liquidity in people's lives. Together, we make a difference in the overall health of the community."

Citurs and AITP Students Win Awards

Eastern's Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) Student Chapter received two honorable competition recognitions at the 2011 National Association of Information Technology Professionals Collegiate Conference March 26 in Orlando, FL.

The chapter's database-driven website application team received Honorable Mention for its year-long information sharing hub project.  The team has been working with 10 Windham area nonprofit organizations on an Internet application project, which will soon be launched for general public.

For three of the past four years, Eastern's AITP Chapter Team has been one of the 10 top scoring teams across North America. The team received "Honorable Mention" two years and won the National Championship last year.  The chapter team also received "Honorable Mention" in design competition. More than 280 collegiate chapters of AITP across North America attend the national conference. 

At the AITP conference, Alex Citurs, assistant professor of business administration, was presented the "Going the Extra Mile" Faculty Award. Citurs led the Easter team of BIS students to another very successful participation in the conference. "Alex truly goes the extra mile with respect both to the preparation of the team and his work in the Business Information System program," said Doncho Petkov, professor of business administration. "He g
ives of his time and energy in an unselfish manner to the AITP student chapter throughout the year; keeps the chapter focused on meaning events and activities; and bends over backwards to train, support and mentor chapter officers."

Homegrown: Celebrating 30 Years Community Art

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The Julian Akus Gallery at Eastern is presenting the juried exhibition, "Homegrown: Celebrating 30 Years of Artistic Community," from March 24 through May 5.  An opening reception and awards ceremony took place on Thursday, April 7 in the gallery.

"Homegrown" celebrates the 30th anniversary of the gallery's opening and also commemorates its namesake, the late Julian Akus, who taught visual art at Eastern for nearly three decades until his passing in 1981. 

The more than 70 works now on view in "Homegrown" were created by artists throughout the Northeast, and includes residents from Willimantic and neighboring towns such as Lebanon, Coventry and Ashford.  Residents across the region were encouraged to enter their work. Students, faculty and staff from regional universities also submitted pieces for consideration.

Some of the work selected by the esteemed panel of jurors also is created by students from Eastern, the University of Connecticut and Manchester Community College, along with artists who are well-established and artists who are just starting promising careers.        

Stephanie Norell, Shining Star

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Stephanie Norell, a physical education major from Stratford, has been named the recipient of Eastern's Shining Star Award for athletic and academic excellence.  Norell, a four-year member of the university's soccer team, was selected from more than Eastern 300 athletes. Norell is currently student teaching at Plainfield Memorial School.  She graduates in May with a 3.96 GPA and is a member of the International Health and Physical Education Honor Society. At Eastern, Norell engaged in a research project working with "at-risk" students from the local high school.  She will pursue a teaching career in both health and physical education in a Connecticut public school system.

Carolyn Jenkins Headed to Graduate School


Carolyn Jenkins '11 of Willington, has been accepted at Springfield College to pursue a graduate degree in Sport Management. In addition to her Sport Management studies, Jenkins is a member of the Eastern Swim team and coaches master's level swimmers at the Mansfield Community Center. Jenkins has worked as an intern at the state Capitol in the Office of Policy and Management, and has also interned at the Mohegan Sun in the casino's marketing department for special events.  Her career goals include working at a major university in sports facility operations.  Carolyn will be inducted into the International Honor Society for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance in May.

Battle of the Chefs

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Left to right, Courtney Bigger, Irene Cretella and Angela Bazin talk to Marketing Intern Marlana Carroll about their confidence in their dish, as Chef John oversees.

Faculty and staff engaged in a food throw down in the Battle of the Chefs on March 30 in the Student Center. With only 30 minutes to deliver, teams worked hard to produce the best presentation and best-tasting food. Audience members had fun answering trivia from Chartwell's marketing interns Malcolm Jones and Marlana Carroll. Alicia Demers, vice president of  finance of  the student chapter of the American Marketing Association; Judy Frankel, Student Government Association treasurer; and Munroe Carter, president of the Culinary Club, served as student judges.

Courtney Bigger, career services counselor; Irene Cretella, administrative assistant in Student Affairs; and Angela Bazin, acting director of housing and residential life, assisted by Chef John Cyr, constituted the Saucy Mammas winning team. Saucy Mamma's teamwork shined with colorful hat banners and their winning dish of pork with pineapple salsa; brazed bock choy with mushrooms; and red stick rice with spinach. The Saucy Mammas beat "Team Pans on Fire," a team made of Lourdes Ardel, manager of compensation and training in the Office of Human Resources; Gayl Osuba, CSUS administrative assistant in the Office of Human Resources; and Heidi Roberto, secretary in the J. Eugene Smith Library, assisted by Chef Danny Hernandez.  Team Pans on Fire's dish included mesdun salad with pineapple, cucumber, carrots; cantaloupe with pomegranate vinaigrette dressing; and farfalle pasta and alfredo sautéed chicken with peppers and onions.

On April 27, outside of the Student Center, Team Saucy Mama's will go up against Team Crunch Wrap Supreme, the winning student team, where the audience will judge the championship round.

Poets Present Reading at Eastern

On April 4, award-winning poets Geraldine Mills and Lisa Taylor, part-time professor of English, presented a reading of their newly released international collaborative collection, "The Other Side of Longing." 

Mills, who resides in Ireland, has published two collections of short fiction, "Lick of the Lizard" and "The Weight of Feathers," and four collections of poetry, including "Toil the Dark Harvest," "Unearthing Your Own" and "An Urgency of Stars." She has won the OKI Award, the Moore Medallion, the North Tipperary Award, the South Tipperary Award, a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship and the Aspire Short Story Competition.

Taylor is the author of three collections of poetry, including "Falling Open" and "Talking to Trees." Her work has been featured in anthologies, literary magazines and journals such as "Cape Rock," "Healing Muse," "Midwest Review," "Pegasus," "Birmingham Poetry Review" and "Connecticut River Review." Taylor's poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. In 2009, she was awarded a Surdna Arts Teaching Fellowship to travel to Ireland to explore its landscape and culture with Mills. Afterward, Mills traveled to Connecticut.

Rollason-Reese Retires


Eastern President Elsa Nunez presented IT Support Services Director Rick Rollason Reese with a crystal bowl and a clock at a retirement reception on March 22 to honor his 27 years of service to the University. Over the years, Rollason-Reece served as VAX System manager, data base administrator, IT operations manager, ITS associate director, and finally, director of support services.

"Each of these functions requires a unique skill set and all of these major areas of computer technology were developed during Rick's career," said Joe Tolisano, chief information officer. "Rick always remained steady and maintained a gentlemen's approach to tech support. Most important, Rick was a mentor to our students. He possesses a caring passion for guiding and shaping these young men and women. Many students return and thank him for the lessons learned and opportunities he opened for them."

Steve Nelson, technical support specialist, agreed. "What became evident, regardless of who we talked with, how long someone worked with Rick, how well they knew Rick, or what their role was here at Eastern, everyone painted the same picture, that despite the day-to-day pressures, looming deadlines on critical projects, or the emergency of the day, Rick had a way to put a positive spin to any delicate situation. Rick, you have earned you the respect of the entire Eastern community."

Minority Recruitment and Mentoring

minority mentors - williams speaking.JPGOn March 18, students, faculty and staff involved in minority recruitment and mentoring gathered for lunch in the Science Building to discuss how well the program was working. Barbara Williams introduced Tara Hurt, university archivist and head of special collections in the library, who provided a fascinating presentation on the history of Eastern.

minority mentors- basketball team.JPGHurt's
slide show documented Eastern's growth, from its humble beginnings as a Normal School on the third floor of the Willimantic Savings Institute building in 1889 to the several names changes of principals and presidents the school has undergone to the world class university that Eastern is today.

Tim Swanson, chair of the Department of Physical Sciences and a faculty member for nearly 45 years, shared cost comparisons to attend Eastern from when he arrived in 1966 to 2011. In 1964, 470 full time students enrolled at Willimantic State Teachers College. Today, 4,417 full time students study at Eastern. In 1966, tuition at Willimantic State Teachers College was $1,160. Today, it is $8,350.  

Several mentees were on hand, including Winthrop Hall Director Amilcah Gomes, whose mentor is Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury, and Yolanda Sazo, assistant director of financial aid whose mentor is Margaret Hebert, director of the Tutoring Center and STEP/CAP. Hebert organized the luncheon as chair of the committee.  Sazo, who has worked for six years at Eastern, said she was glad to have been part of the mentoring program. "The minority mentoring program helps guide you into your career and educational goals."

Jail and Bail

Thumbnail image for Jail Bail Steve kenton.JPGOn March 14, faculty and staff received panicked calls from colleagues locked up in jail in the Student Center, where they remained until someone paid their bail.  The callers had to raise their own bail to be released. Proceeds from this year's "jail and bail"went to support the Eastern chapter of Habitat for Humanity's Spring Break trip to West Virginia, and to help with the club's next house renovation project in Willimantic.  Some of this year's jailbirds  included Margaret Letterman, Bill Salka, Liz Cowles, Jason Coombs, Mark Connolly and Cara Bergstrom-Lynch, just to name a few.

Eastern Students Perform "Dog Sees God"

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Students in Eastern's Theatre Program performed "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead," on March 18 and 19 in Shafer Auditorium. In "Dog Sees God," the main character, C.B., questions the existence of an afterlife after his dog dies from rabies. Since his friends do not provide any comfort or solace for his loss, C.B. turns to another peer whom his friends used to bully. Their new friendship pushes teen angst to its limits as the play provides a perspective on pressing social issues today, such as teen violence and drug use.
The performance was directed by Shane Kegler, a senior theatre major from Mansfield Center. Keri Dumka, a junior theatre major from Burlington, was the assistant director. The cast included Shannon Delahanty, a junior English major from Wallingford; Hilary Osborn, a junior theatre major from Columbia; Max Loignon, a senior theatre major from Cheshire; Kerri Panciera '10, a theatre major from Killingworth; Joey Dias '10, a theatre major from Colchester; and Scott Kegler '06, a fine arts major from Mansfield Center.

Eastern Dominates Little East Honor Roll


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Led by four track and field athletes, Eastern led all eight conference institutions with seven selections in the Little East Conference spring awards program. With seven selections in four sports, Eastern athletes garnered nearly one-third of the conference-wide total of 22. Both Eastern track and field programs had two representatives on the weekly honor roll, with the nationally-ranked baseball team receiving two and the nationally-ranked softball team one.

For more information on athletics, please click here: http://www.easternct.edu/mt-static/teams/


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