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July 2011 Archives

President Núñez Joins in Annual Boom Box Parade

boom box 1.JPGPresident Elsa Núñez and her family joined WILI-AM radio personality Wayne Norman to march in the 26th Annual July 4th Boom Box Parade. Kim Silcox, director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), as well as student volunteers and CCE staff also marched as members of the Eastern contingent.  Other participants in the parade, termed "the largest of its kind in the world" by the Willimantic Chronicle, were Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and State Sen. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for boom box 2.JPGDon Williams.

The "S.S. EASTERN" float was shaped in the form of a boat on the high seas. Festooned with banners and flags, it drew loud cheers from the enthusiastic Main Street crowd.  Maintainer Moises Flores and Maintenance Supervisor Jean-Pierre Godbout were on hand to assist the Eastern group and drive the float. 

Art Students go the British Isles

ireland 1.JPGOn May 24, 2011, four Eastern art students -- Rebecca Marsie, Leanne Church, Brian O'Meara and Alex Moshier -- joined students from Central Connecticut State University and the University of Hartford for a 28-day trip to the British Isles to draw and study biology. The students were accompanied by part-time art professor Muriel Miller of Eastern and Biology Professor Sylvia Halkin of Central. 

The tour group started their journey on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare. For more than a week, students painted, drew and did field studies in biology.  They also spent a day on the Aran Islands, visited Galway and the Cliffs of Mohr.  They hiked one day to the Doolin Cave where they saw a wonderful stalactite. 

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ierland 2.JPGThese field trips provided students with ideas and dramatic views to capture in their art. Hikes in the Burren also provided much content for biology studies and artistic creativity.  "Being on the seacoast was also a great place for studies of art and biology," said Miller, "and we especially enjoyed the local folk music of Ireland."

The students then traveled to the Lake District National Park in Cumbria for the next 12 days. Sheep, cows and a variety of wildflowers offered bountiful art subjects and the hiking kept the group invigorated.   "We visited John Ruskin's home and studio, and Wordsworth's home and the cemetery where he is buried," said Miller. "We also studied badgers, which have dens along the trails."

Eastern Courses will help MCC Graduates Transition to Eastern

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Sociology lecturer Eric Williamson teaches an anthropology class at Manchester Community College.




Eastern is offering selected business courses at Manchester Community College (MCC) this fall. The program is a collaborative project involving Eastern's School of Education and Professional Studies, the Department of Business Administration, and the School of Continuing Education, as well as the University's partners at MCC.  Students who graduate from MCC with an associate's degree have the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree with a concentration in Management at Eastern by taking select Eastern courses at MCC.

Since 2008, Eastern has been offering Saturday courses leading toward a BGS degree with a concentration in Human Services at both Manchester Community College and Capital Community College. Students have been able to complete a BGS degree by taking these courses as well as select EasternOnline courses, courses at Eastern's main campus, and additional courses as needed at Capital and MCC. Students will not be able to complete their entire Eastern bachelor's degree on the MCC campus. However, classes taken at MCC can be used toward the degree, and participating students will be able to meet many of Eastern's requirements right at MCC.

SOAR Program Helps Prepare Entering Students

Eastern's Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) program has been taking place on campus throughout June and July. The first session was on June 23 and the last session was July 12. The program, which is designed to make first-year students aware of the resources available to them, consisted of six (6) two-day sessions, during which approximately 155 incoming students per session attended informational sessions and social events.

During SOAR, students stayed overnight in Constitution Hall to give them an opportunity to experience life on campus. Students also had the opportunity to participate in several group sessions facilitated by student orientation counselors (SOCs), where they engaged with other students socially, had discussions and were able to ask student leaders questions about their experiences at Eastern. There also were sessions about living on campus and commuting to Eastern, as well as separate information sessions for parents.



Advisor Christine Guarnieri on June 28.










Desi, John, & Samantha Hugh on June 23.





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Make a wish on a rainy Friday, July 8.









Keziah Encarnacion & dad Erick E. at Constitution Hall on July 11.

















Miles Wilkerson gets assistance from Taylor Hammond, head student orientation counselor, during the web access session on June 28.

Teacher Workshops Enhance Advanced Placement Courses

liz cowles.jpgFrom July 11-15, Eastern Connecticut State University is hosting a series of Advanced Placement (AP) summer institutes for Connecticut teachers. One hundred forty teachers are participating in the workshops, which are taking place in the Science Building. Topics include AP calculus, biology, environmental science, English language, English literature and statistics. Seven workshops covering beginning and advanced topics are being provided.
"We are pleased to host workshops for experienced and new teachers," said Elizabeth Cowles, professor of biology and AP workshop organizer. This is the 13th year in row that Cowles has coordinated AP workshops for Connecticut teachers. "Our purpose is to make everyone feel comfortable and confident with the AP curriculum and more importantly, to develop an AP community."

The workshops are a collaborative initiative between Eastern, Hartford-based Project Opening Doors (POD) and the Willimantic-based Project Access for All. The goals of the workshops are to help increase the awareness of AP classes within school systems and provide teachers with methods to enhance their student's knowledge in the areas of math and science. Both of the projects are funded by a grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in partnership with EASTCONN, which runs the program.

Studies have shown a steady decline of American students pursuing math and science courses. According to the NMSI website, only 18 percent of 12th-grade students performed at or above the proficiency level in science. Project Opening Doors has helped to raise these figures -- the number of students in AP math and science in nine school districts participating in the POD project increased 12 percent in 2009, which is twice the national average and three times the average in the the state of Connecticut, according to CBIA's website.

Eastern Teaches Fundamentals to Youth Soccer Players

devito72_4867.jpgEastern's Athletic Department is hosting its annual summer youth soccer camp July 11-15 for girls and boys ages 5-14 of all skill levels. All funds support Eastern's soccer program. 

Greg DeVito, Eastern's head men's soccer coach, and Adam Phaiah, assistant men's soccer coach, are leading the camp along with current and former college soccer players.  "The camp is an excellent way for young players to learn the fundamentals of soccer," said DeVito. "It provides structured curriculum to promote learning and a positive, fun camp experience."

Each camper is receiving technical skill training in dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting and heading. Individual goal-keeper training is also being offered. Campers will play small-sided games involving fewer players on a smaller-sized field, which allows each camper more individual playing time and more exposure to the soccer ball.

Sen. Blumenthal Opens Boy's State 2011

blumenthal.JPGU.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal gave the keynote address on June 19 to open the 2011 Boy's State conference at Eastern Connecticut State University. Following a 15-minute presentation on the uniqueness of America's democratic form of self-government, Sen. Blumenthal took questions from the floor from this year's Boy's State delegates, covering a wide range of topics including Connecticut's Department of Defense contracts for submarines; the potential of increased water scarcity on the planet; the need for chiropractic care for veterans; the state of the social security system, which Blumenthal called a "bedrock promise to the American people"; the current tax code and corporate tax breaks; our relationship with Pakistan; and the potential for cyber-attacks.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman Shares Challenges of Governing

Boys STate Nancy Wyman Speaking 2.jpgOn June 20, the first day of workshops for the Boys State delegates, Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman outlined Gov. Malloy's plans to manage Connecticut's $3.1 billion budget deficit. Wyman said that after balancing the budget, "education and creating jobs, desegregating public schools, closing the achievement gap and working with local officials to end violence in our inner cities are the Governor's top priorities."

Girls State Returns to Eastern


State Senator Joe Markley (R, 16th district) talking to members of the Senate.

DSC_6766cropped.jpgSenator Nora Blake listens to a fellow senator.

DSC_4492.jpgState Senator Edith Prague (D, 19th district) speaking to members of the House.

CECE Wins Telly Award

Telly.jpgEastern's Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) was recognized with a prestigious Telly Award in June for the production of "The Importance of Play," an e-clip¬ educational video featuring Education Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith. The Telly Awards honor outstanding television, video and film production programs. This year, the awards program received more than 11,000 entries from five continents.

The e-clips series was created by Communication Professor Denise trawick smith.JPGMatthews and has involved a number of other Eastern faculty, staff and students. This is the center's second Telly Award for an e-clips video. "Our original goal was to use the expertise of our early childhood faculty to develop powerful videos for training current and future early childhood teachers -- and we've received very positive feedback about the video content from professionals across the United States," said Julia DeLapp, CECE's program coordinator.

The video series has also provided an important opportunity for involving Eastern's communication students in developing professional-level videos under the direction of Matthews.  "This award, which recognizes the technical quality of the video, demonstrates that Eastern students can gain really meaningful professional experiences at Eastern when paired with committed faculty.  We're thrilled to have their collaborative efforts acknowledged by such a prestigious award," said DeLapp.

In addition to Matthews, individuals responsible for developing "The Importance of Play" include Ken Measimer, production coordinator; Trawick-Smith as content expert; student Kerin Jaros-Dressler, editor; student Jessica Barbieri, production assistant; and DeLapp as executive producer. To view the winning video, visit http://www.easternct.edu/cece/e-clips_main.html.

Mascot Day at Rock Cats





Eastern's mascot participated in Mascot Day 2011 for New Britain Rock Cats fans.

BIS Students Win National Awards

AITP2011_WebCompetitionTeam_Orlando.jpgEastern's Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) Student Chapter (formerly the BIS Club) received two honorable mentions at the 2011 National Association of Information Technology Professionals Collegiate Conference on March 26, 2011.  There are more than 280 collegiate chapters of AITP across North America, with approximately 800 chapter representatives attending the national conference. 

Thumbnail image for AITP_2011_WebDatabaseTeam_and_Windham_Nonprofits.jpgThe chapter's database-driven website application team received Honorable Mention for their year-long information-sharing hub project.  The team worked with 10 Windham area nonprofit organizations on this Internet application project, which has both a general public information sharing and search website as well as a more extensive information sharing hub to help the nonprofits operate more efficiently and share resources. For instance, they use the hub to better respond to shortages of winter items such as blankets, coats and pillows as well as food items.  The nonprofit organizations involved are Holy Family Home and Shelter, Inc.; Covenant Soup Kitchen; Windham Area Interfaith Ministries (WAIM); Windham Regional No Freeze Hospitality Center; Project Genesis; Access Agency; Windham Regional Community Council, Inc.; Generations Family Healthcare; Town of Windham - Department of Human Services; and the Windham Region United Way.

Over the past four years, Eastern's AITP team of students has been one of the 10 top scoring teams across North America and has been selected to present at three Annual AITP National Conferences.

Anita Lee Receives National Recognition

anita lee.JPGAnita Lee, assistant professor of Health and Physical Education,) was recognized at the National Coaching Conference at Colorado Springs, CO, in June after her service as chair of the Accreditation Review Panel of the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education. She is the first minority in this position; the number of accreditation portfolios she coordinated and reviewed in the past four years was more than the total of her three predecessors.  The 2011 National Coaching Conference was organized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.  Lee also made a presentation, "How to Get Your Coaching Education Program Accredited: Learn from the Past Experience and Statistics," at the conference.

Eastern Students Travel to Nepal

Thumbnail image for IMG_6612.JPGFrom May 23-June 13, nine Eastern students traveled to Nepal to study the health care system in that country as the focus of their three-credit Comparative Psychology course. Associate Professor of Psychology Carlos Escoto and Geeta Pfau, retired associate director of health services, accompanied the students, as did ITS trainer Barbara Williams. The students traveled to Kathmandu, Dhulikhel and Pokhara, visiting two hospitals, a free medical clinic, Kathmandu University, an orphanage, nepal 2.JPGtwo psychiatric facilities and an Ayurvedic clinic. Students also toured several Buddhist and Hindu temples.  During the trip they were hosted by Little Angels College, which coordinated ground transportation and provided them with a guide throughout their stay.

Eastern's students were most impacted by their visit to Maryknoll Nepal, the first non-government organization providing psychiatric services throughout the country. Students and faculty made a donation of clothing as well as a donation in the name of their host school coordinator Shristi Limbu. The gift donation was sufficient to cover the medication costs for 10 patients for one month.

Eastern Shines at New Haven Arts and Ideas Festival

More than 1,500 visitors enjoyed Eastern's Haitian collection and an installation of the work of Japanese-American artist Niizeki Hiromi, in an "Arts for Peace" event in New Haven during the Arts and Ideas Festival in June.  The festival featured musical performances by the ensemble "The Phantoms," a group of Eastern students who are currently in Leogane, Haiti, one of areas most affected by the 2010 earthquake.

Arroyo Exhibits in Louisiana

Art enthusiasts in Louisiana are learning about the history of the African diaspora as seen through the art of Professor Imna Arroyo. "Ancestral Memories:  The Work of Imna Arroyo" opened on May 14 at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard Art Museum at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and ran through July 9. This exhibition gives visual voice to the untold millions of Africans who died during the Atlantic crossing between Africa and the American colonies. As scholars report, millions of people were kidnapped and loaded onto slave ships.

Ancestral Passage is composed of 27 terracotta ceramic figures in a sea of acrylic canvass. The figures represent African ancestors who died during the journey and are coming back to tell observers to remember African gifts. A six-minute DVD, titled "Trail of Bones," tells this poignant story and accompanied the exhibition.

Studying Media in London and Paris

Eastern at Eiffel Tower.jpgFrom May 25 to June 5, 20 students majoring in public relations, advertising, television production, journalism and psychology traveled to London and Paris to gain new perspectives on professional media practices. During the trip, each student pursued a research or applied project as part of the three-credit course, "European Media," sponsored by Associate Professors of Communication Denise Matthews and Chris Ayeni.

The class visited two London advertising agencies -- McCann Erickson Advertising Agency and Thing1 Digital Advertising agency; the World Advertising Research Center (WARC); the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) which regulates the United Kingdom's film industry for acceptable content and applies a rating system; the London Film Academy; the Guardian newspaper; the London Film Museum and several London movie locations. In Paris, students visited an international film school and Cinematique, Paris' film museum. They also spent time observing the French culture and advertising industry. Perhaps the most memorable evening was the visit to the Eiffel Tower, where they made it to the tower summit to witness the breathtaking view of Paris at night!

Biology in the Bahamas

Thumbnail image for Group Photo San Salvador.jpgOn May 23, 17 Eastern undergraduate biology students traveled to the Gerace Research Center on San Salvador Island, the outermost island in the Bahamas, for an 11-day study tour of marine and terrestrial environments.  San Salvador's flora and fauna include both native and introduced species, making the island a natural laboratory for studying island biogeography.


Thumbnail image for Joe Haddad SCUBA diving 2.jpgMarine studies focused on coral reef, sea grass bed, mangrove, beach and rocky shore communities. The students studied everything from terrestrial plants to important animals in the patch and barrier reefs, learning different water conservation techniques that plants use; adaptations of different animals to harsh environments; and the importance of healthy corals in the ocean's vast ecosystem.  Major activities included snorkeling in two different coves and studying corals; swimming out to and hiking on a local cay; and climbing down into caves to get a better view of how the island was formed. Each evening, students attended a lecture where they discussed and identified all the organisms they discovered that day, updated their daily observations and shared their transect datum.

Wynn Publishes New Book on Theory of Evolution

WynnBook.jpgChemistry Professor Charles Wynn has just published a new book, "And God Said, "Let There Be Evolution!': Reconciling the Book of Genesis, the Qur'an, and the Theory of Evolution."  The book deals with the continuing conflict between scientific understandings and religious beliefs.  In Wynn's book, David Kay, a scientist and conservative rabbi in Florida; Howard Van Till, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Calvin College in Michigan and devout Christian; and pediatrician T.O. Shanavas, a Muslim living in Michigan, present scientific evidence in support of the Theory of Evolution and then explain how they reconcile that theory with their respective religions. Each concludes that accepting evolution does not require abandoning one's faith.

Eastern Completes Three-Season LEC Academic Sweep

After winning the inaugural President's Cup for academic superiority in the Little East Conference last year, Eastern completed a three-season sweep of this year's academic awards by placing 30 student-athletes on the 2010-11 spring season All-Academic Team. Eastern became the first institution in the four-year history of the LEC All-Academic awards program to top all conference institutions in the total number of All-Academic achievers in the fall, winter and spring seasons. Eastern totaled 31 selections in the fall and 28 in the winter prior to boasting 30 this past spring for a conference-high of 89 for the year. All-Academic Team qualifiers must be have reached sophomore academic and athletic status, be enrolled in their current institutions for one full academic year, and show a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.30.

Of  Eastern's 30 spring  selections, seven seniors earned All-Academic Team status for the maximum third time in their respective sports: Amanda Ericson, Ashlee James, Joseph Perucki  and Sam Buczek in outdoor track, Jim Schult and Chris Wojick in baseball and Eric Vasil in men's lacrosse. Vasil was previously honored this year as a USILA Academic All-America and Schult a second-team selection to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District Baseball Team. On the field, Vasil was an honorable mention USILA All-America and Schult a first-team ABCA All-America and ABCA national Player-of-the-Year.

As an institution, Eastern was awarded the inaugural President's Cup last year signifying the highest overall GPA among all Little East Conference institutions. In the 19 conference-sponsored championships, Eastern featured a cumulative GPA of 3.02 during the 2009-10 academic year. Eastern sponsors teams in 17 of the conference's 19 championships. 
Over the course of the year, Eastern's 354 student-athletes recorded an average GPA of 3.02. Ten of the department's 15 programs (men's indoor and outdoor track is counted as one program, as is women's indoor and outdoor track) registered GPAs of at least 3.00 in 2010-11. Members of the women's cross country program earned a 3.51 GPA in 2010-11 (the highest of all Eastern's teams), with women's track and field at 3.37, women's soccer 3.30, women's volleyball 3.20, men's cross country 3.19, and softball 3.18, women's basketball 3.11. All 15 programs accumulated a minimum team GPA of 2.56.

academicAAphoto300dpi.jpgThe athletes shown above were named Scholar All-Americas by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) in fall 2010. (Photo taken at the NSCAA national convention in Baltimore last January.) (from left) Chris D'Ambrosio (head women's soccer coach), Lauren Hickey, Carl Appel, Greg DeVito (head men's soccer coach), Adam Phaiah (assistant men's soccer coach).

far_award_wxc201011_8215.jpgThe women's cross country team received the team academic award at the annual awards banquet this past May. (from left): Rhona Free, Faculty Athletic Representative; Frank Poulin (head cross country and track coach), Katie France, Amanda Quinones, Ashlee James, Melissa Healy and Amanda Ericson (team members who were present at the banquet).


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