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March 2012 Archives

Ling Describes Captivity in North Korea

laura ling.jpgVeteran broadcast journalist Laura Ling shared a message of hope and resolve with more than 300 people in the Betty R. Tipton Room on March 13 as the last guest in this year's Arts and Lecture Series.

Ling, who is host and investigative reporter for "E! Investigates," spent much of her time describing her own capture and imprisonment in North Korea in 2009. She and her producer, Euna Lee, were reporting on a story about North Korean defectors on the Chinese-North Korean border for Current TV when they were arrested and held in confinement for 140 days.

On March 17, 2009, Ling and Lee were interviewing defectors on the frozen ice of the Amnok River between China and North Korea when two North Korean soldiers captured them and dragged them back to North Korea.  During her captivity, Ling was interrogated on a daily basis. "I would walk endless circles in my cell just to stay busy. I was scared, confused, numb . . . in despair."

"But I never lost hope," she continued.  She was able to receive letters from friends and family--"my husband's letters were my oxygen" and encouragements such as meditation techniques and Bible passages. Eventually the North Korean Supreme Court, following a five-minute deliberation, sentenced Ling to 12 years of hard labor.

"One thing I learned from this ordeal is that all people want the same things--decent lives and to provide for our families.  I realized that good things can happen when people interact and learn how much we all have in common."  Ling also realized that North Korea wanted to save face and only needed a graceful resolution to grant Ling's release. That came in the form of former President Bill Clinton.  Apparently when North Korean leader Kim Jung-il's father had died in 1994, Clinton was the first person to reach out to him.  The condition for freeing Ling was simple--Kim Jung-Il wanted to personally meet Clinton.

Today, Ling has a 20-month old daughter and wants to continue to "do things that make a difference; things that will make my little girl proud." 

"Journalism is a fast-changing profession, but it performs a vital service to our nation.  We live in a world where the need to communicate to build bridges between peoples has never been greater."

Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award Recipients Announced

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                      Marci Reisman, Margaret Hebert, Xae Alicia Reyes and Wiley Dawson

Eastern seniors Wiley Dawson Jr. and Marci Reisman, University of Connecticut Professor Xae Alicia Reyes and Eastern retiree Margaret Hebert were recognized with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards on March 14 at a reception in the J. Eugene Smith Library. The awards recognize members of the campus community and community-at-large whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting the ideals of King and to further the goals of diversity and social equality.  

Keynote Speaker Hasani Pettiford called the awardees "four extraordinary community leaders and agents of change."  He noted that  King was also an agent of change, someone who sought out and confronted injustice at every opportunity.  Pettiford asked everyone present also to be change agents as "disciples of your own destiny."

Reyes said she grew up in a family with a tradition of service; her mother would translate things into English for neighbors and her father would help other families by getting groceries or driving people without a car to the doctor's when they needed a ride. "Service is in our veins," she said.  Reyes was especially moved that both of her sons could attend the ceremony.

It was estimated that Margaret Hebert has helped more than 1,800 students to enroll in the STEP/CAP program, with more than 1,700 admitted to Eastern following the summer program.  Over 29 years, she saw more than 1,400 STEP/CAP students graduate from college.  "I found my calling," she explained.  She said she was proud to have spent her 33-year career in higher education promoting educational opportunity.  "We still have a lot of work to do."

Dawson talked about his early years when he was placed in a special education classroom for three years.  "I had no sense that I could do anything." Today, he has forged a history of success, participation and leadership at Eastern.  "In order to be successful, you need to be comfortable being uncomfortable.  I continue to be inspired by the people at Eastern to do more."

Reisman has served as a resident assistant since 2009; participated in the Summer Orientation Program as a counselor; worked in the Office of Career Services as a student assistant and interned with the Connecticut Judicial Branch; is involved in many of Eastern's clubs and organizations, including the Student Government Association, F.E.M.A.L.E.S., Senior Class Committee, Pathways to Leadership and the Omnicron Delta Kappa Honor Society. 

Class of 2012 Alumni Fellows Visit Campus

fellows one goodwin in red.jpgThe Class of 2012 Alumni Fellows was introduced to the campus on March 14.  Inductees included Carla Goodwin '69, an elementary education major and now a forensic psychologist in Massachusetts; Wendy Daly '75, a psychology major and owner of a leading pediatric clinic in Louisville, KY; and Tim White '81, director of collections and operations at the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.

"Today's Fellows are role models, the kind of graduates we want our students Thumbnail image for fellows two.jpgto be," said President Elsa Núñez during an induction luncheon in the Connecticut Room. "For them to come back to our campus to speak with our students about their career success is a wonderful gift to the University."

Over lunch, Goodwin recalled her time at Eastern when she lived in the Nathan Hale building on Main Street and had to dress up to come "up the hill" for dinner. "No slacks were allowed," she explained, and students had to sign in and out of their dormitories. Daly was taking 22 credits a semester at Eastern, and recalls the curfews at Burr Hall and the "breath tests" conducted each night when students returned from outings, presumably to ensure that no alcohol had been consumed. 

Later, during an hour-long panel discussion in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room, the three members of the 2012 Class of Eastern Fellows spoke about their careers to a room full of students, faculty and staff. At the urging of Dean of Students Betty Tipton, Goodwin turned away from a planned career as a classroom teacher ("The classroom I student taught in was very small and I felt doomed!") to become a forensic psychologist.   Daly, who already was a registered nurse when she arrived at Eastern, graduated, got married, and eventually moved to Louisville, KY, where she decided perhaps she had what it took to become a doctor, despite the fact only 25 percent of the medical school students at the time were women. Today, she owns a pediatric practice with four doctors and 13 employees and has also done research work in the area of vaccine development.

White has spent the past 29 years as a member of the administrative team at Yale's Peabody Museum. "Coming out of graduate school (at the University of Kansas) I thought I would end up working in the oil industry.  But I saw a job at Yale on a bulletin board and the rest is history." Last year, White was a member of a group of Yale officials who returned historical artifacts from the Inca site Machu Picu to Peru. "There I was, riding in a presidential motorcade in Lima, sharing a deep, emotional moment with the people there.  The artifacts were a matter of national pride."

All three Fellows offered similar advice to the students present: "Find a mentor who can help push you." "Find unexpected opportunities." "Learn to use the library, even with all the Internet resources today."

Volunteers for Special Olympics

special olympics- BEST Eastern student volunteers group shot.jpgNearly a hundred Eastern student volunteers helped out at the 33rd Annual Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet on March 10 at Windham High School, under the direction of Charles Wynn, professor of chemistry. Volunteers served as one-on-one partners with their own Special Olympians for the day. Partners make sure athletes get to their registered events, cheer them on, and get them involved in activities when they are not swimming. All volunteers were provided lunch from McDonalds and a souvenir Windham Special Olympics t-shirt. Wynn has been the meet director for the past 18 years.

The Special Olympics is a year-round program of physical fitness, sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. According to a study conducted at Yale University, Special Olympics athletes perform better at school, at work and at home the longer they participate in the program. The study found that the Special Olympics have a direct and positive effect on their self-image and ability to function in a social setting. They acquire skills that help them gain employment, maintain relationships, function independently and contribute to community life.

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Bowlathon a Success!

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Eastern held its 18th annual Bowlathon on March 3 at Willi Bowl on Route 6 in North Windham. The Bowlathon has become an annual tradition involving the Eastern community, alumni, local businesses and the general public, raising funds for scholarships for students who graduated from local high schools. Once again all the lanes were filled with 130 total participants. Windham Pepsi and Charter again served as lead sponsors.

"What makes this event so special is the outstanding support we continue to receive from Eastern faculty, staff and students as well as the local business community," said Ken DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement. "We had another full house and I am pleased to report that we raised $7,500 to add to our Community Youth Scholarship pool."




Wynn Discusses Darwin during lecture series in Oregon

wynnc.JPGCharles M. Wynn Sr., professor of chemistry at Eastern Connecticut State University, was the 2012 Darwin Day speaker in Oregon where he gave three public lectures about the continuing conflict between scientific understandings and religious beliefs and the dangerous effects of scriptural literalism. 

Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around Feb. 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born in 1809.  The day celebrates Darwin's discoveries and life as the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor.

Wynn's talk, "And God said, 'Let there be evolution!': Reconciling the Book of Genesis, the Qur'an and the Theory of Evolution," was based on his recent book of the same name.

Lectures were given at Willamette University in Salem, Portland State University in Portland and the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Salem.  They were co-sponsored by the Center for Religion, Law and Democracy at Willamette University; the Physics Department of Portland State University; Center for Inquiry Portland; and Oregonians for Science and Reason.

Students Raise Gambling Awareness at Eastern

gambling awareness.jpgFive students in Sociology Professor Thomas Broffman's class at Eastern Connecticut State University are coordinating a gambling awareness campaign during the spring semester. It is estimated that young people are two to three times more likely to develop a gambling problem than adults. Broffman said, "Eastern is the only college in the country that has a 'gambling awareness semester.'"

The students point out that they are not anti- or pro-gambling, but instead are collecting data on gambling behavior among students to see how widespread gambling is. They are also examining housing policies at various private and public universities in Connecticut. The next public awareness event will take place on April 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 119 of the Student Center, when a panel of six recovering gamblers will speak to Eastern students about their experiences. This spring, the class will conduct a hot dog sale in front of Webb Hall to encourage students to sign a petition supporting a bill to provide more funding for gambling awareness programs nationwide.

Those interested in more information about the national campaign can visit www.npgaw.org.  For more information on Gambling Awareness Semester at Eastern, contact Broffman at (860) 465-0298 or broffmant@easternct.edu.

Hats Off to Doris "Daffodils" Decyk

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For more than 20 years, Doris Decyk, human resources assistant, has lead the charge on Eastern's Daffodil Days, selling bouquets of daffodils, bears and bunches of daffodils, potted daffodil bulbs and bear hugs of hope, all designed to raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS). This year, Doris, raised $1,375. Last year was her best, when she raised $1,710. The daffodil is the first flower of spring, and is the perennial ACS symbol of hope for cancer patients throughout the community. Daffodil contributions to the ACS's fight against cancer are making a difference. Daffodil Days help fund groundbreaking cancer research, provide up-to-date cancer information and education, advocate for public policies that benefit the community, and provide services that improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

Chamber Singers Visit Montreal

chamber singers-Kaitlin Kozrya (2).jpgEarlier this month, Eastern's Chamber Singers and the Chamber Singers of Mount St. Mary's University of Emmitsburg, MD, completed a three-day tour of Montreal, singing at such notable venues as Notre-Dame Basilica. Under the direction of Vocal Studies Professor David Belles, the two universities have begun laying ground for future bi-annual collaborations, including summer concerts abroad. Belles said, "This outstanding growth and positive reflection on the University is most noteworthy, and can be attributed in large part to the hard work of Professor Lynn Maxfield, whose instruction and contributions to the choral rehearsal are leading our students to set new and higher standards." At right, Eastern student Kaitlin Kozyra, a business administration major and singer in Chamber Singers, enjoys a light moment in Montreal.

"Thieves' Carnival" Entertains the Campus

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thieves Carnival Madame Dupont Dufort.JPG          Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thieves Carnival Madame Hurf and Niece Eva.JPG Students from Eastern's Theatre Program performed "Thieves' Carnival" from March 8-11 and March 13-14 at the Harry Hope Theatre. "Thieves' Carnival," written by French playwright Jean Anouilh in 1932 and translated by Lucienne Hill, was directed by J.J. Cobb, assistant professor of theatre. In the play, three thieves pose as Spanish aristocrats and are invited to stay at the estate of a wealthy French woman ("Lady Hurf" played by Hilary Osborn). The thieves (Adam Pender as Hector, Michael Hinton as Peterbono and Paul Lietz as Gustave) try to rob the family through deception and wit, while also courting Lady Hurf's two nieces, Eva (Sarah Paprocki) and Juliette (Kelsey Guggenheim). Gold diggers Madame Dupont-Dufort (Seana Hendrickson) and her son Dupont-Dufort Jr. (Corey Welden) compete for attention and the family dowry.  In the end, Lady Hurf unveils that she has been wise to the thieves' masquerade all along, yet youthful romance prevails nonetheless.

Unnatural Variations: A Playful Look at Science and Art at Eastern

The Akus Gallery is presenting "Unnatural Variations: A Playful Look at Science and Art" from March 15 through April 26.  The opening reception will take place on March 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Akus Gallery. "Unnatural Variations" draws together the work of five artists, all of whose work references forms and themes seen in many different types of science.


Unnatural Variations-1-BROWNELL SLwGrapeandPear.jpgMia Brownell, a Chicago native, was born to a sculptor and a biophysicist. Her paintings are in several different collections such as Wellington Management, Fidelity Investments and the National Academy of Sciences.

Irene K. Miller's work is influenced by Post Minimalism and Neo-Geo.  In order to create her Sightlines and Floaters mono-prints, she combines ephemeral resources such as dust, seeds, dirt, hair and plants with more tangible materials such as photos, wax paper and thread. 

Laurel Roth says she uses art "in order to examine the biological ramifications of human behavior and humankind's drive to modify itself and its environment. By playing with the convergence of biology and product design to create innovative cultural artifacts, I try to question social constructions of need, design and individual desire."

Unnatural Variatons-5-ROTH DIAZHOPE AllegoryoftheInfiniteMortal.jpgAndy Diaz Hope and Roth have collaborated on several works, one of which -- "The Allegory of the Infinite Mortal" -- is a detailed woven jacquard tapestry depicting the intellectual structures humankind uses to try to understand the concept of the infinite. 

Joseph Saccio sculpts, creating work that ranges from installation sizes for indoors or outdoors, to pedestal sizes utilizing both natural and synthetic materials. Most of his work uses natural materials, primarily wood, and found objects, joined together in a very primitive manner, expressing feelings that have to do with myth, ritual, loss and rebirth.

For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at Akus Gallery, please call (860) 465-4659 or visit www.easternct.edu/akusgallery.

Eastern Men's Hoops Team Makes the Sweet Sixteen

Eastern's men's basketball team had one of its most successful seasons ever when it gave fifth-ranked Cabrini College all it could handle before succumbing 72-65 in the semi-finals of the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament on March 9 at Middlebury College.  The Warriors had advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 for the third time and the first since 1992-93.

Eastern senior guard Nick Nedwick of Irvington, NY, the program's all-time leading scorer, concluded his career by scoring Eastern's final 15 pointssports-nedwick300dpi_6769.jpg and 17 of its last 20 over the final four minutes. Nedwick finished with a season-high 31 points and a team-high five assists.

Eastern ended the season with a 24-6 record, the most wins ever in the program, posting its third straight 20-win season and winning its first LEC regular-season title and its first LEC tournament championship since 1999-00. Nedwick also became the second player in Eastern history and the first in 19 seasons to be selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-Northeast District Team. Head Coach William Geitner was named Northeast District Coach-of-the-Year, the first Eastern coach to receive the honor.

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