The e-newsletter of Eastern Connecticut State University
July 2012 Archives
Accompanied by Associate Professors of Communication Olugbenga Ayeni and Denise Matthews, a group of 18 students traveled to London and Paris in late May to learn about different platforms of European media and how they compare to American media. The trip coincided with the students' European Media course taken prior to the trip, which covered all aspects of intercultural and global communication across media platforms.
From May 19-29, 12 Eastern students accompanied Art Professor Gail Gelburd on a global field course to Cuba. They went to the 11th Havana Biennale Festival, visited artists in the city, toured museums, art galleries and art schools, and also journeyed to Cienfuegos where they swam in the Bay of Pigs. Above, students watch a festival in Old Havana.
Biology students had the opportunity to participate in an intensive 12-day field experience in Costa Rica earlier this summer that focused on various aspects of tropical forest ecology and conservation issues confronting developing countries in the neotropics. The emphasis of the course was on basic aspects of tropical rainforest ecology and the natural history of tropical organisms. Students conducted field research projects on such topics as the peculiarities of tropical agriculture, the socioeconomic consequences of development in the tropics, and the conservation of tropical ecosystems.
Australia was the destination of a successful Global Field Study course covering 28 days in May and June for Eastern Visual Arts students. Biology students from Central Connecticut State University also went on the trip. Muriel Miller of the Eastern Visual Arts Department and Sylvia Halkin, Professor of Biology at CCSU, have taken students to study abroad for 11 years, five of these in Australia. The group visited the Museum of New South Wales, the Sydney Aquarium, Botanic Garden, and Koala Park Sanctuary in Sydney, and also spent time in Warrumbungles National Park, where students were able to observe kangaroos, many Australian birds and a remarkable pinnacled landscape. They also spent six days in Lamington National Park, a mountaintop rain forest, as well as a week at North Stradbroke Island, where the students did a workshop on the beach with a local Aboriginal artist who had collected red, yellow and black sand from different areas of the island. They also toured Uluru (Ayers Rock) and learned about the history and artwork of this unique area.
Two weeks ago, Melissa Griffin '12 returned from Nepal, where she volunteered as a teacher of English to second graders for five weeks; hiked with her father through one of the most beautiful and remote regions of the Himalayas of Southern Asia; met many Nepalese families; and visited several different villages.
Griffin knew nothing about Nepal until Eastern's Psychology Department advertised a summer study abroad program in 2011. She was reading a book called "Half the Sky," about the oppression of women all over the world, including Nepal, which sparked her interest in going there. She wanted to see what life was like in the developing world where the problems are way beyond anything she'd experienced. Once there, she fell in love with the country and its people, and decided to go back after graduation and experience more Nepali life.
"In the mountains, I stayed in several different villages where the houses were made out of concrete, clay or stone. The toilets were porcelain holes in the ground. The people looked Tibetan. You had to walk for hours to get to the next village or any other civilization, and resources were very scarce, especially water."
Griffin learned how to live without running water; enjoyed what she described as the most beautiful scenery in the world; communicated with people who didn't speak English; ate food that she saw get killed; danced to traditional Nepali music; and taught English in a classroom with 40 children ages 6-8. She became acquainted with poor and rich families of Nepal, and everything in between. "I learned how the different classes live and how they treat each other. I'm still not totally certain how this experience has changed my life, but I know my eyes were opened way more than I ever thought possible."
One specific incident will always stick with Griffin. She joined a Nepali family in a traditional friendship ceremony, when she went trekking with a man named Tika and members his family. Many people told her she looked like Tika's daughter Anita. "They kept saying we look, 'same same.' I didn't think anything of it, but apparently it's a really big deal in their culture when two friends look alike. That means they are 'mitinis,' which means almost like soul-mates for friends. Anita started doing my make-up and giving me a traditional Nepali outfit. Next thing I know we're having a ceremony to unite us as mitinis. It was really cool. The entire village sang songs and played traditional music for everyone to dance to. I felt as though I became a part of that village and their family."
Eleven Eastern student tutors, three who are summer AmeriCorps VISTA members, and one high school student, are serving as volunteers working directly with children participating in a summer camp in Willimantic that is focused on math and language arts.
"Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future" is a six-week summer enrichment camp that provides Windham Middle School students academic skills in the morning, and recreation and cultural enrichment in the afternoon. The academic curriculum is based on the Windham Public Schools middle school curriculum for math and language arts. A certified Windham Middle School teacher provides guidance to the instructors. The program includes one day of instruction, one-on-one tutoring and a follow-up day of active application of the previous day's lesson. The academic program is designed to maintain middle school students' skills through the summer months while building self-confidence, proficiency in the English language and understanding of Latino culture through dance and history. Above, the students fill out a times table as their first task of the day.
From June 22-28, more than 200 high school juniors from across the state converged on campus to attend the 25th Annual American Legion Boys State. During Boys State, the students learned how state and municipal governments operate. They set up and ran mock town, city and state elections and engage in role-playing where towns are represented, with mayors lobbying legislators and representatives and senators debating and enacting legislation.
At graduation, Ed Osborn, Eastern's director of university relations, encouraged the young men to participate in political dialogue; ask probing questions of each other; and to begin voting as soon as they turned 18. "This is a fundamental right in this country that many people died for and a right that many people in other lands can only dream of. Learn about the issues and vote in your local, state and national elections. This is your duty as a member of our democracy." Above, Sinclair Bush, of Burlington, talking discusses a bill with Nick Baldwin, of Torrington and Eric Brown, of Groton.
From June 27-July 3, Eastern hosted more than 180 high school juniors from around the state who participated in the Laurel Girls State program. Sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Laurel Girls State prepares young women for careers in government through citizenship and democracy.
Program officials focused on patriotism by involving students in all aspects of government. Students elected officials on a local and state level, who then, carried out the duties of their offices. Students also wrote bills and enacted legislation, and listened to presentations by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Attorney General George Jepsen. At graduation, every delegate was awarded a certificate of completion and given a signed copy of the book "Ella: A Biography of Governor Ella Grasso," written by Susan Bysiewicz, former Connecticut Secretary of State.
The Girls State program has provided students with hands-on citizenship experience and government participation for more than 65 years. Girls State officials hope the experience will result in lifelong participation in government.
Eastern's Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) program, mandatory for all new first-year students, took place on campus June 25-July 13. The program, designed to make first-year students aware of the resources available to them, consisted of six two-day sessions, where approximately 155 incoming students per session attended informational meetings and social events.
The goal of SOAR is to provide opportunities for new students to learn how to succeed academically and socially at Eastern. SOAR allows incoming students to meet other new students, current student leaders and members of the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs staff. Students received academic advisement and then registered for the fall semester.
During SOAR, students stayed overnight in Constitution Hall, a freshman residence hall, to give them an opportunity to experience life on campus.
On July 3, children, teachers and families from the Child and Family Development Resource Center marched in what has become an annual tradition -- the CFDRC Boom Box Parade. With boom boxes, instruments, flags and banners in hand, they walked across campus, ending at the Foster Clock Tower waving to Easterm staff, families and SOAR students along the way. Above, children get high fives from SOAR participants.
On June 25, more than 70 students from across the state hoping to enroll in Eastern Connecticut State University in the fall arrived on campus to begin the 29th year of the Summer Transition at Eastern Program/Contract Admission Program (STEP/CAP).
Through Aug. 3, students from Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Norwich, Waterbury, Willimantic and out-of-state are attending intensive credit-bearing courses in math and writing, as well as rigorous workshops in social sciences, library research methods, public speaking, study skills and critical thinking. Those who are successful will be admitted as freshmen for Eastern's fall semester.
Organized around the theme of "hard work and determination," students will come to campus having read selective readings that communicate the message.
As part of this preparation for undergraduate life, this year's STEP/CAP students focusing on John Brown's raid on the federal arsenal in Harper's Ferry, VA. In learning about this 1859 incident, students are reading, writing and reflecting upon what it takes for people to organize and collaborate, simultaneously work together as a group and stand apart as individuals.
"The STEP/CAP program is about asking students to change and begin making changes to their lives," said Student Development Specialist Fredrick Hornung. "We challenge students to start walking in new directions by giving them opportunities to showcase their intelligence and drive through hard work. We have high expectations, knowing that each student is capable of becoming a successful college student."
Successful STEP/CAP students have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, insurance executives, government officials, personnel managers and much more - remarkable achievements for young people labeled in high school as incapable of college level work.
President Elsa Núñez, her husband Richard Freeland and other family members were joined by Kim Silcox, director of the Center for Community Engagement, and student volunteers, as well as members of the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society at the hugely popular Boom Box Parade held on Main Street in Willimantic on July 4. The S.S. Eastern float again dominated the seas as the Eastern contingent was well received by the crowd; the parade is now in its 27th year and draws thousands of people each year.
From July 8-27, high school juniors and seniors from more than 20 Connecticut school districts are participating in the 16th Annual Summer Institute for Future Teachers (SIFT) program at Eastern.
During the program, students are immersed in coursework and field trips; work with pre-school and elementary schoolchildren; integrate educational theory with practical experience; and study and live within the rich multicultural environment of Connecticut classrooms.
"Eastern and the Capital Region Education Council (CREC) created the program, which aims to increase the number of students who consider teaching as a career; emphasizes the growing role technology plays in teaching and learning; and expands efforts to recruit teachers from the diverse communities in Connecticut," said David Stoloff, professor of education and director of the University's Center for Educational Excellence.
Students in the program prepare and present lesson plans; create positive learning environments that celebrate cultural diversity; give detailed reports defending their choices for classroom layout; maintain journals reflecting on their teaching observations and experiences; and develop websites and electronic portfolios. Successful participants receive three undergraduate credits for the course titled "Teaching in the 21st Century."
Stoloff, along with Leah Barbuto, professor of early childhood education, and Terrell Green, teacher at Naubuc School in Glastonbury, serve as mentors for the students. Above left, Barbuto instructs on the fundamentals of classroom teaching.
Visual Arts Professor Imna Arroyo is showcasing two of her works -- El Caño (1968) and 2) La Plena (2009) -- in the "Caribbean Crossroads of the World Exhibition," currently on display at the Studio Museum, the El Museo Del Barrio and the Queens Museum in New York City. The exhibition has received rave reviews in the New York Times and in newspapers in Puerto Rico and Colombia. The exhibitions run through October and January.
The reviews can be read by visiting http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/15/arts/design/caribbean-crossroads-of-the-world-spans-3-museums.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120615;
Eastern senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia) and junior point guard Joe Ives (Avon) represent Eastern Connecticut State University on the 2011-12 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court. A total of 469 men's basketball players representing 203 Division I, II, III and NAIA institutions were recognized in the Honors Court for excellence in the classroom. Candidates must have reached junior status and have compiled a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average through the spring semester.
Kohn graduated with an overall 3.95 grade-point average as a Health and Physical Education major, while Ives has compiled a 3.46 GPA as a Sociology major. Kohn and Ives were the only players to qualify from the Little East Conference.
This past year, Kohn and Ives sparked the Warriors to the most successful season in the team's 71-year history. Eastern won a record 24 games against six losses, claimed its first Little East regular-season title in 26 years of competition, won its first LEC tournament championship in 12 years and qualified for its first NCAA tournament in 12 seasons. The Warriors won the SUNY Oswego regional tournament, downing host Oswego in double overtime in the final and advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16.