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The Best and the Brightest: Eastern's Barnard Scholars

kaczynski.jpgMichelle Kaczynski of New Milford and Connor Patros of Columbia, two Eastern seniors majoring in psychology, were honored as recipients of the 23rd Annual Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award on May 11 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

Kaczynski and Patros were two of 12 Connecticut State University System students to win the award; each was nominated by their respective universities. The award is named for the first U.S. commissioner of education, Henry Barnard, a distinguished Connecticut educator who was the state's first superintendent of schools and principal of what later became Central Connecticut State University.

Chandler Howard, president and chief executive officer of Liberty Bank and Eastern's Business Executive in Residence for 2010-11, delivered the keynote address. Chandler shared his own life lessons with the 12 Barnard winners, applauded their accomplishments, and told them, "most of all, never give up." 

Patros.jpgKaczynski earned a 3.83 GPA and has been on the Dean's List every semester while studying at Eastern. She has served as president of Eastern's Honors Program and the Psi Chi Honor National Psychology Honor Society. In her introduction of Kaczynski, Eastern President Elsa Núñez said professors called Kaczynski "the total package," one who "excels in virtually every aspect of what we describe as the liberal arts experience; an over-achiever in the very best sense."

Núñez said Kaczynski's honor's thesis -- "Examining Age Differences in the Conceptualization of Romantic Love" -- was "positively groundbreaking." Kaczynski was invited to present her findings at the national conference of the Association for Women in Psychology. Her research is also being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Patros graduated with a 3.68 GPA and a 3.91 GPA in his major. Under the tutelage of Psychology Professor James Diller, Patros has presented at local, regional and national professional conferences, including the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges undergraduate research conference, the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill event and the CSUS Psychology Day conference. Patros also co-authored two manuscripts that are currently under review for publication; completed two internships; and participated in baseball and track and field at Eastern.  Núñez said Patros "is the perfect example of a student who has used his time at college to mature both personally and intellectually, and to discover his life's passion in the process."

Patros has been accepted into the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Oklahoma State University, and begins graduate studies this fall.

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