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September 2013 Archives

Board of Regents President Gray Visits Eastern's Campus

gray speaks.jpgOn Sept. 18, Eastern President Elsa Núñez, along with more than 100 students, faculty and staff, greeted Gregory Gray, the new president of Connecticut's Board of Regents for Higher Education, to campus. President Gray is in the midst of touring the 17 schools that make up the Connecticut State Universities and Colleges System (ConnSCU). He took over as president on July 1, and oversees 12 community colleges, four state universities, and Charter Oak College, the state's online institution.

Núñez praised Gray for his vision; his goal of restoring integrity to the system; and for finding opportunities for more collaboration between community colleges and the four-year universities.

Noting that Eastern students were already fortunate to have a beautiful, physical setting, Gray said, "Pristine is all around you here. Knowing that you were so dedicated to having such a beautiful campus tells me this same dedication must be taking place in the classroom as well." 

Gray said he believes that by working together with faculty members who have a deep-rooted passion for excellence, ConnSCU will become a world-class system of higher education. To achieve this long-range goal, Gray wants to (1) restore trust and integrity to the system; (2) make the system more efficient and productive; and (3) develop a plan to benefit current and future students.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we have to get it right. I want to develop a plan that will positively impact students 25 years from now." He said online education courses; a unified calendar for all system colleges and universities; and seamless transfer of credits will better serve students. "Saving money is important, but that is not the primary goal. We want to provide access and focus on what we should focus on, a student's purpose for being here, which is to learn.  We then, want tell the world about it."

President's Picnic, Community Service and Student Activities Fair

6556-6564_Panorama1.jpgOn Sept. 18, more than 2,500 students, faculty and staff attended the Annual President's Picnic and Student Activities Fair on Webb lawn.  With the sun shining, the steel drum band pumping out hits from the Caribbean islands, and Chartwells serving a tropical-themed picnic menu, a good time was had by all.  Given the option of more than 100 clubs, organizations, and service opportunities, there was something for every student at the fair. From academics to recreation, student clubs and organizations on campus had sign-up sheets filled with students looking to make the most of their career at Eastern. 

J. Eugene Library Presents Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys

IMG_0826.JPGEastern presented "Points of View/American Stories" on Sept. 16 in the fourth floor archives of the J. Eugene Smith Library. The program was a part of the library's "Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys," a series of events aimed at educating and informing Eastern's students and faculty members of Islamic culture.

Library Technicians Elise Brown and Kathy Freidenfelds, who led participants in a reading of quotations by Turkish/Persian poet Rumi, hosted the program. Describing Rumi as "an excellent poet who really makes you think," Browne also read an excerpt from "Rumi: Poet and Mystic" titled, "Nothing Venture, Nothing Win," which is a reference to a chapter in the Koran. Participants were able to choose a piece of literature to read from a bookshelf readily available for the duration of the series.

The itinerary for the library's "Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys" included "Literary Reflections," where Eastern French Professor Michele Boskovic introduced the "Literary Reflections" book from the Muslim Journeys collection. "Pathways of Faith" took place when Yahya M. Michot, professor of Islam at Hartford Seminary, discussed the topic of Islam. "Points of View/American Stories" followed. 

"Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys" is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to promote understanding of and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad. A list of collections by theme can be found at http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/.

Professor Osei Brings Ghanaian Principals to Connecticut

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Twenty-six school high school principals from Ghana, West Africa, visited Connecticut Sept. 1-8. Mathematics Professor Bonsu Osei arranged their visit, which was designed to have the Ghanaian educators interact with their counterparts in Connecticut on issues such as ethics, educational leadership and service to their respective schools. "The visit also encouraged a broader discussion on global issues of education, and offered students' opportunities to study abroad," said Osei. "We hope that students from Ghana will be encouraged to undertake their undergraduate education in Connecticut, especially Eastern."

The principals met with Connecticut's African-American Affairs Commission, which showcased some of Connecticut's model educational programs with the principals.  "Ghana is a nation that many African-Americans can trace their ancestral roots to, so it is fitting to share knowledge and expertise to improve educational outcomes for both countries," said Glenn Cassis, executive director of the commission.  "It is an honor for the commission to serve as a host."

Eastern Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury provided the principals an orientation at the Ramada Hotel in East Hartford. They held a series of discussions on public policy and practices in Connecticut, and participated in lectures, seminars and workshops on information technology for educational management. They also visited high schools in Bloomfield and East Hartford; toured the Connecticut Science Center; visited state government officials at the State House and Legislative Office Building; and met with Connecticut Department of Education officials to discuss financial and behavioral management, supervision, evaluation and professional development; assessment and testing and school safety issues.

On Sept. 6, the Ghanaian principals toured Eastern's facilities and enjoyed a luncheon hosted by Provost Rhona Free. That evening, they dined at the home of Yaw Nsiah, professor of biology and a native of Ghana, where they expressed gratitude "for Eastern's fine and gracious hospitality" and vowed to send students from their respective schools to Eastern.

Rickey Magner: First Undergraduate Research Fellow

Ricky Magner 1.jpgRichard "Ricky" Magner, a senior studying mathematics at Eastern Connecticut State University, is the University's first Undergraduate Research Fellow. The research fellowship program provides undergraduate students with a stipend and the opportunity to research with experienced professionals in their field. During his freshman year, Magner met Professor Mizan Khan of the Mathematics Department and was invited to take part in the research that Khan was undertaking in the field of Number Theory.

"The interesting part of the experience was that the original question we started out with wasn't answered in the end," said Magner. "We realized that it was not the most successful question to ask, so we had to modify things as we went along." The research in the field of Number Theory is about phenomena known as modular hyperbolas, which are sets of points in a plane. The original goal of the research, according to Magner, was to show when three or more points passed through a line, which proved to be unsuccessful.

Magner and Khan modified their experiment to test for only two points passing through a line and that proved to be a more successful operation. "The research is pretty much self-contained and probably won't change anyone's lives except for mine," said Magner, "but it is good practice and résumé building experience for the future." Magner also spoke to the nature of math research. "It is not too uncommon in math research to go for a long time and not get anything and then have it all come tumbling out in a great realization."

Khan was Magner's research supervisor and mentor throughout the process and helped introduce him to the topic more than 18 months ago. Magner presented his research at two research conferences this past summer. The first was at the "Combinatorial and Additive Number Theory 2013" at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY); the second was the 2013 Young Mathematicians Conference at Ohio State University (OSU), which was funded by the National Science Foundation. Only a third of the abstracts were accepted at the OSU event.

The research has culminated in two manuscripts. The first, "Two combinatorial geometric problems involving modular hyperbola," (http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.6943v2) has been submitted to a research journal. The authors are M. Khan, R. Magner, A. Winterhof and S. Senger. The second, "An application of modular hyperbolas to quadratic residues," co-authored by Khan and Magner, has been accepted for publication in the American Mathematical Monthly, the flagship journal of the Mathematics Association of America and will be published in late 2014. The Monthly accepts less than 10 percent of submissions, and publication of the research represents a major milestone for Magner. He believes being a research fellow will serve him well when he applies to a prestigious doctoral program in mathematics.


 

Eastern Selected in National Effort to Promote Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

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Eastern has been selected to participate in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrator's (NASPA) "Lead Initiative," a national effort centered on civic learning and democratic engagement (CLDE).  Eastern is one of 73 institutions nationwide and the only four-year public institution in the state accepted into this program.

Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA, and Laura Sponsler, content director for civic learning and democratic engagement at NASPA, made the announcement.

In a congratulatory letter to Kim Silcox, director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, Sponsler wrote, "Over the coming year, you will participate in programmatic and scholarly activities to share information and resources, reflect on lessons learning through CLDE work on your campus, and collaborate with partners through webinars, special events, and the Lead Initiative blog. We are so pleased that you are a part of the initiative and I am sincerely looking forward to our work together."

"We are pleased to have been selected to participate in this program," said Silcox. "Eastern's new Strategic Plan reaffirms the University's commitment to supporting Windham's efforts to address the academic achievement gap of Windham students, and we look forward to using the tools and strategies developed through this program to further our partnerships with the Windham community."

Students Inducted into Society for Human Resource Management

human resourse management students.jpgOn. Sept. 4, nine Eastern students were sworn into the Society for Human Resource Management, the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. The society has more than 250,000 members in 140 countries. A local professional affiliate, the Human Resource Leadership Association of Eastern Connecticut, which represents nearly100 companies in eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island, formally installed the Eastern student chapter as an affiliate of the society, and presented a certificate and banner to the chapter. The student chapter will organize guest speakers, workshops, and networking events to develop student skills and make connections with industry human resource leaders in the area. For more information on the chapter, its activities, or to propose a professional speaker, contact faculty adviser Niti Pandey, assistant professor of management, at pandeyn@easternct.edu. Above, Front left to right, are Maura McCabe, Mireya Lepore, Kelsey Teraila, Amelia Dube, Jessica Sammataro, Shannon Fitzpatrick, Rachel Junga, and Tara Fournier.  In the back row is John Meotti.

Visual Arts Faculty Showcase Art in a Variety of Settings

Thumbnail image for chinese Fand Xiangle-Loner.jpgQimin Liu, professor of art, organized the "Lyrical. LUSCIOUS" Art Exhibition, a display that concluded on Aug. 31 at New London's LQM Gallery. The exhibition featured four Chinese artists taking part in the ICAS (International Contemporary Art Space) International Residency program.

Liu was also the artistic director for a second exhibition that ran from Sept. 14-30 at the LQM Gallery, featuring the Chinese ink paintings of four different Chinese artists.

ODonnell Art.jpgJohn O'Donnell, adjunct professor of art, is featured in numerous art exhibitions during the fall 2013 semester. His solo exhibition, "Ponzi Structure," was on display at Real Art Ways in Hartford in September. O'Donnell is also presenting drawings of dinosaurs in the "Hartford DADA" exhibition at the Pumphouse Gallery in Hartford, beginning on Sept. 26 and running through Nov. 1.

O'Donnell will also take part in an exhibition titled "New Prints 2013/Autumn" at the International Print Center New York (IPCNY) in New York City. The opening reception will takes place on Nov. 7, and the exhibit will run from Oct. 29 through Nov. 30.  Lastly, O'Donnell will present a large-scale watercolor in the exhibition, "Habitat" at Manchester Community College's Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery in Manchester.  It will be curated by Susan Classen-Sullivan and will run from Oct. 24 through Dec. 4, with the opening reception at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24.  O'Donnell can be contacted at odonnellj@easternct.edu.

This past summer, 12 Eastern and CCSU students, along with Visual Arts lecturer  Muriel Miller and CCSU Biology Professor Barbara Nicholson, had the opportunity to develop and apply skills in art and biology in the beautiful landscapes of coastal Ireland and the Lake District National Park in England. Students painted and drew natural rocky coastal settings while biology students did field studies of the area's distinctive flowers, fossils and birds. Students also visited the Aran Islands.

The Lake District, England's largest national park is a landscape of low mountains, pastureland, lakes and streams where art students rendered the special sense of the place in their beautiful landscapes.  Art students used many types of media to develop skills of perception and technical abilities in their chosen field.  Some did drawings, and others used acrylic or watercolors while studying the juxtapositions of forms and colors in natural environments. Students visited John Ruskin's Studio and Beatrix Potter's home. Biology students studied animal behavior, plant growth forms and ecological interrelationships.  Combined art critiques and biology presentations provided a forum for students to discuss their work and receive suggestions and ideas to develop their work.

Artwork produced from the trip is being shown in the Shafer Hall first-floor showcases during the fall semester.

Eastern Students Study at Yale University

Yale Internships.jpgThis past summer, four Eastern students, along with approximately 75 students from other Connecticut colleges and universities, participated in the Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program. The program, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides an intensive six-week exposure to science, clinical medicine and career counseling for motivated college students and graduates who want to attend medical school.  Biology Professor Gloria Colurso coordinated the event. Amilcah Gomes, student development specialist in the Academic Advising Center; Clifford Marrett, interim director of the Center for Internships and Career Development; and Kemesha Wilmot, coordinator of the Intercultural Center, assisted in recruiting students to learn about the program and encourage participation. Above, left to right, are Olayinka Black '16 who is majoring in biochemistry; Yollaine Kaja '15, who is majoring in Biology; and Destiny Holmes '15, who is majoring in biochemistry.

Eastern Students Volunteer at Early Childhood Block Party in Hartford

early childhood block party.pngSeveral Eastern students and alumni volunteered at the Early Childhood Block Party at Bushnell Park in Hartford in late August. The event was organized by Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood Education, and was designed to provide both family-friendly activities and information and resources for parents.

Eastern Education Professor Sudha Swaminathan recruited students and alumni to staff an Eastern tent, where they engaged children and families in various early math and science activities. Volunteers included Swaminathan, Education Professor Professor Ann Gruenberg, Jenny Wolff '13, Chamari Davis '14, Katie-Lynne Twarog '13, Stephanie Timek '13, Brittney Wieloch '13 and Patrick Donovan.

The event was also co-hosted by the City of Hartford Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation; The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; and the Connecticut Department of Education, with additional support from many community providers and other organizations throughout the state.    

Poverty Awareness Marathon

chatterton marathon.jpgOn Sept. 21, Charlie Chatterton and the Eastern Men's Lacrosse, Women's Softball, Cross Country, Track, Basketball and Baseball teams took off for yet another run around the perimeter of campus to participate in the annual "Poverty Awareness Marathon -- Taking Strides to Break the Cycle of Poverty."  The marathon is designed to raise public awareness about the rising number of Americans living in poverty. Participants and supporters were encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item, with the goal 462 items to reflect the 46.2 million Americans living in poverty.

Eastern's LaBranche Announces Baseball Coaching Staff

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Eastern's new head baseball coach, Matt LaBranche, hired this past summer as the sixth head baseball coach in program history -- has announced his coaching staff for the 2013-14 season. Scott Smith and Steve Cervizzi will return to the Eastern staff after both had previous assistant coaching tenures at Eastern and Trinity College, and will be joined by Tim Mayo and Marc Senia.  Mayo served as pitching coach the last four years under LaBranche at Western New England University, and will serve in a similar capacity at Eastern. Senia has coached at the AAU and American Legion levels and is a former four-year member of the Wheaton College (MA) baseball program.

A former catcher in the Eastern program, Smith will work with catchers and hitters. Cervizzi will work with outfielders and hitters, and Senia will work with infielders and be responsible for coaching base running. On game days, Smith and Cervizzi will serve as bench coaches and Senia will coach first base.

"I am very excited about how quickly the remainder of the staff has come together," said LaBranche. "It is a tremendously experienced and knowledgeable staff. These are outstanding baseball men that bring a great passion and enthusiasm for teaching the game of baseball."

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