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June 2012 Archives

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is a Huge Success

torch run group shot.jpgOn June 5, 22 Eastern students, faculty and staff, along with members of the Willimantic Police Department, participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The event raised $1,400 for Special Olympics Connecticut.

Eastern students, faculty and staff cheered on the runners as they took off from the Eastern Police Department parking lot; wound their way through campus past the Foster Clock Tower; and then hit the streets of Willimantic.

Eastern Police Chief Jeffrey Garewski thanked everyone who participated in the race, extending a special thanks to Lieutenant Tom Madera and Officer Dave DeNunzio for their planning and dedication to the Torch Run. Anyone interested in making a donation to the Special Olympics Connecticut Torch Run should contact Officer David DeNunzio or Lt. Tom Madera at the Eastern Police Department at (860) 465-5310.

The Transit of Venus!

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Nearly 40 students, faculty, staff and area residents gathered in front of the Gelsi-Young parking lot on June 5 to watch the planet Venus pass in front of the sun, commonly called a "Transit of Venus." The event dazzled and amazed the group of die-hard eastern Connecticut sky enthusiasts.

"Transits of Venus are extremely rare celestial events," said Russell Sampson, associate professor of physical science and assistant director of Eastern's Robert Wickware Planetarium. "For the few hours during a transit, Venus appears as a silhouette against the brilliant disk of the sun. The orbits of Earth and Venus allow these events to occur in pairs separated by eight years.  However, those eight-year pairs occur 105.5 or 121.5 years apart!  The first of this most recent pairing occurred on June 8, 2004. Prior to the 2004 transit, you would have to go back in time to 1874 and 1882 to see another pair of Venus transits.  The next transit of Venus occurs on Dec. 10, 2117."

Sampson and Zoran Pazameta, associate professor of physical science, provided Eastern solar telescopes for viewers to get the best views of the transit. Sampson said some visitors even put their cell phone cameras up to the eyepiece of the telescopes and successfully captured digital souvenirs.

"College Knowledge Days" Inspires Young Students to Achieve

Thumbnail image for collegeknowledgefountain.jpgOn May 22, 23 and 24, more than 1,500 students in grades five through 12 gathered in the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center at Eastern to participate in "College Knowledge Days." The students came from schools in Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Coventry, Danbury, East Hartford, Ellington, Enfield, Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Union, Watertown, Wethersfield and Willimantic.

The visiting students participated in a number of lectures and group activities facilitated by Eastern staff. The presentation, "Preparing for the Future," instructed students on how to research and choose the college that is right for them. Other presentations included "Financing My Future," which focused on paying for a postsecondary education. Group discussions analyzed payment options such as federal student aid, grants, work-study and loans. Group activities such as "When I Grow Up," gave visiting students the opportunity to discuss what they wanted for a future career and the process that it takes to attain that career.

"College Knowledge Days are a great opportunity for students and educators to start the conversation about postsecondary options," said Eastern's assistant director of admissions LaQuana Price, who coordinated the event. "The program allows students to start planning early for their future."

Psychology Major Ariel Levesque '12 to be Published

DSC_4835lorez.jpgAriel Levesque '12, a psychology major from South Kent will have her research methods project manuscript, "Influences of Family of Origin and Relationship Closeness on Romantic Attachment Security," published in the "Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research. Levesque considers the writing project a tremendous learning experience.

"My project allowed me to apply what I was learning from the classroom in a meaningful way. When I received the email saying that the "Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research" had accepted my manuscript, a huge wave of excitement and accomplishment ran through my body. I had done it! Even if I didn't get accepted into the journal, I would still be proud of how far I went."

The results of Leveque's research showed that family autonomy, defined as the family's ability to help develop one's individual identity, influences young adult attachment security in romantic relationships. In other words, individuals who are securely attached to their romantic partners had high levels of personal identity.

Professor Osei Article Named Best in his field, Ecological Modeling

osei teaching.jpgAn article co-authored in fall 2010 by Bonsu Osei, associate professor of math and computer science, and published a year ago, has been named the best of the "top articles" in the scientific domain of ecological modeling.  The article, titled, "Modeling Invasive Species Spread in Lake Champlain via Evolutionary Computations," was published in the June 2011 edition of "Theory Biosci."

"Top articles" means the most relevant of the 20 articles in the field published on the same topic since Osei's article was published. "I wrote this paper when I was on sabbatical in Ghana, working on a malaria project," said Osei. "It was work I did on the side, and is based on my Ph.D thesis, but with newer experiments and ideas that have come up since I wrote the thesis."  The co-authors are Daniel Bentil, professor of mathematics at the University of Vermont; James Hoffmann, professor of Sustainability Studies Program at Stonybrook University in New York; and Chris Ellingwood,  a Vermont-based computer programmer who worked with Osei  on the simulations. For more information on Professor Osei's research, visit www.BioMedLib.com

Music to Our Ears

IMG_6838.jpgOn June 16, a special "Music to Our Ears" event at the Mohegan Sun brought together 100 Eastern donors to enjoy an evening with Neil Diamond. The event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Mohegan Tribal Council and arranged by tribal council member Kathy Regan-Pyne '79 (shown above with Dr. Nunez).  Title sponsors of the event included Webster Bank; Barnes & Noble; Savings Institute Bank and Trust; Manafort Construction; the Eastern Hartford Chamber of Commerce; and Chartwells. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards scholarships and other programs of the ECSU Foundation, Inc.


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DSC_5614.jpgThe annual ECSU Foundation, Inc. Golf Tournament to benefit the Athletics Department was held under sunny skies on June 18, at Lake of Isles in North Stonington. The tournament generated more than $65,000 with a field of 140 alumni, staff and friends in attendance. Since moving to Lake of Isles in 2006, the tournament has grossed more than $500,000. Chartwells again served as the title sponsor, with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, First Niagara Private Client Services and Webster Financial Advisors serving as breakfast sponsors. Charter Business, Manafort Brothers, WalMart and the Savings Institute Bank and Trust rounded out the list of lead sponsors. "We are truly thankful for the support we receive each year from our lead sponsors as well as the businesses that sponsor golfers each June," said Kenneth DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement. "We are blessed to have such wonderful friends of the University."

Butler Exhibits Paintings in Seattle and New York

Butler brooklyn (2).jpgThis spring, SEASON Gallery in Seattle presented Visual Arts Professor Sharon Butler's paintings in "Squeeze Hard (Hold That Thought)."  Made in response to the monumental sculpture at the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Butler's new work is composed of spare color, graphite, metallic pigments, and geometric shapes on unprimed, and in some cases, unstretched canvas.

This month, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of her award-winning blog, Two Coats of Paint,  Butler invited New York City (NYC) curator Austin Thomas to organize an exhibition in her new studio, located in Bushwick, New York's gritty, but distinguished art community. Coinciding with Bushwick Open Studios, a three-day celebration featuring hundreds of events and performances, Butler's exhibition was among the top activities recommended by several well-regarded publications, including The New Criterion, ArtInfo, Hyperallergic, The L Magazine, Art Fag City and Bushwick Daily.
Butler, who returns from a leave of absence in the fall, is preparing for upcoming solo exhibitions at Real Art Ways in Hartford and Pocket Utopia in New York City.

Eastern Faculty and Staff Installed as Officers at Willimantic Lions Club

Charlie Wynn - Bob Barron 2012.JPGOn June 5, Chemistry Professor Charles Wynn Sr. was installed as president of the Willimantic Lions Club for 2012-13. The ceremony was held in the Desrosier-Bernard Room of Windham Community Memorial Hospital. Wynn, an active member of the Willimantic Lions Club for the past nine years, said, "I am looking forward to continuing the Willimantic Lion Club's commitment to serving the community by promoting its service and fundraising projects."

Other Eastern staff members who are current members of the Willimantic Lions Club include David Oyanadel, ITS technical support specialist, who is the club treasurer; Education Professor David Stoloff, who has served on the Lions Club board of directors; Lawrence Schmitz, coordinator of  Eastern's Veteran's Center; and Michael Wolter, part-time instructor in Eastern's Business Administration Department.

Since the club's chartering in 1941, its members have worked on a variety of projects in the local community, such as the Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet, Annual Lions Peace Poster Contest and Lions Eye Health Program Vision Screenings.  Proceeds from past fundraising events have gone to the Connecticut Radio Information System (CRIS) Talking Newsstand for the Blind and Print-Handicapped; Fidelco Guide Dog Program; Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM); and the local No Freeze Shelter and Covenant Soup Kitchen.

Above, left, Charles Wynn receives the President's Pin from outgoing Willimantic Lions Club president, Robert Barron. Left, Keith Lemire, immediate past district governor of Lions Clubs District 23C, presents Wynn with the Ambassador of Sight Award of the Lions Low Vision Centers of Connecticut.

Grant for Community Education Garden Project

shutterstock_104746295.jpgNortheast Utilities has awarded an Environmental Community Grant to Eastern's Green Campus Committee to set up a community education garden on campus. The garden site and adjacent area will be developed this fall, with plans for events to begin during the growing season in 2013. Eastern faculty, staff and students will develop educational events that will enable school groups and other community members to learn about developing urban gardens and green spaces. All events will be open to the public.

"Topics will include  how to compost; how to develop a vertical garden; how to harvest seeds and seed-saving techniques; harvest marketing; and creative ways to connect gardens to the quality of life in our community," said Mary Ragno, part-time faculty member in Eastern's Department of Health and Physical Education. "We are grateful to Northeast Utilities for funds that will provide garden materials, plants and educational brochures for community education events and help to better connect Eastern students, faculty and staff with the local community and with the natural environment." For more information about Eastern's Community Education Garden, contact Ragno at ragnoma@easternct.edu.

Eastern Students Help Support Local Pantry

Thumbnail image for food.jpgDuring the spring 2012 semester, students on the Center for Community Engagement's (CCE) Food Justice Committee, worked to establish a mobile food pantry through the Connecticut Food Bank (CFB) in Willimantic. The committee was formed in fall 2011 to address issues of food insecurity, poverty and education in the Willimantic community.

The committee's goals include increasing donations of fresh and healthy food to local agencies; educating the community on how to prepare and cook healthy food; and developing a weekly after school program on nutrition and gardening. Eastern student Becky Rushford contacted the Connecticut Food Bank (CFB) and asked for mobile food trucks to come to Willimantic to deliver fresh food to low-income families in the area.

In collaboration with the CFB, committee members also participated in two gleanings at a local apple orchard. Gleanings are defined as picking through a farmer's leftover crop to salvage food for other uses. Members picked 500 lbs. of apples that would have otherwise rotted, and donated the apples to Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and the Covenant Soup Kitchen.

Four Student-Athletes from Eastern Recognized as All-New England

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                          Molly Rathbun                                     Arielle Cooper

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                         Priscilla Alicea                                     Joe Balowski

Senior All-America right-handed pitcher Molly Rathbun of Hebron has been named Division III New England Player-of-the-Year for the second time in three seasons by the New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association (NEISCA). Rathbun was among four Eastern athletes to be recognized regionally in the sports of softball and baseball. Rathbun was joined as a first-team All-NEISCA selection by junior third baseman Arielle Cooper of Mystic, with senior right fielder Priscilla Alicea of Stratford, gaining honorable mention honors.

In baseball, junior first baseman Joe Balowski, of Berlin, represented Eastern on the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Division III All-New England Team as one of 15 first-team selections. Fifteen players were also named to the second team and 19 to the third team.

Rathbun concluded her career as a four-time NFCA All-America and first-team All-New England Region pick; three-time Little East Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year; and the 2012 LEC Player-of-the-Year. Earlier this year, Cooper was named second-team All-America and first-team all-region, and named to the all-conference team for the second time in three seasons and as MVP of the Little East Conference tournament. Alicea was named to the all-region team and first-team all-conference this past spring for the fourth straight time.

Balowski is the only second Eastern first baseman selected in the past 10 years. A first-team all-conference pick at first base this past year, Balowski led Eastern in hitting (.371), slugging (.528), hits (66), total bases (94), RBI (37), doubles (17), and fielding percentage (.994/two errors on 361 chances).


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