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December 2013 Archives

Eastern Honors Those Who Served

Veterans Day.JPGMore than 150 students, faculty and staff, along with area residents, were on hand when Eastern hosted its Sixth Annual Veteran's Day Ceremony in the Student Center.  More than 300 veterans study on campus and another 50 National Guardsmen are students and several dozen employees are veterans.  To better serve veterans on our campus, Eastern opened the Veterans Education and Transition Services Center in 2009.

After Renae St. John sang "America the Beautiful," Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez remembered Donald Eckman, a veteran, who walked into her office on Veteran's Day in 2008 and suggested the University do something to celebrate the sacrifices veterans make in defense of the nation. Núñez told Eckman that he had a good idea, and that her team would work on it for the next year. Eckman replied, "No, Dr. Nunez; we need to do something now! Today!"  90 minutes later, the president's team had energized the campus to hold its first Veteran's Day celebration.

Núñez said her experience with Eckman reminded her of two critical things: "First, each of us has a passion for something. In Donald's case, he was passionate about honoring his fellow veterans--past and present.  The second lesson we can learn from that Veteran's Day in 2008 is that we need to listen to all the voices on our campus, and then, respond accordingly.  Veterans have fought for the freedoms our nation bestows upon our citizens, and the enduring value of our great democracy.  Those freedoms are worth fighting for, even worth dying for."

IMG_4617.JPGMaster Sergeant James Duncan, a supervisor for the Connecticut Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion, described the joy and comfort felt by members of the armed forces when they return to our country to see the American flag flying over their home base. He told the audience to "Be calm. Be safe.  We will always protect you."

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra: Modern Harmonies and Traditional Eloquence

Aardvarks.jpgJazz lovers were treated to sophisticated rhythms and urban melodies when Eastern hosted the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra on Nov.1l in Shafer Auditorium. The orchestra, a 41-year project committed to preserving the legacy of such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis, simultaneously pushes the genre forward with energetic explorations of the musical tradition's limits.

Assembled in 1972 by Mark Harvey, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra has produced 11 albums, and has conducted numerous world tours.  The orchestra's website says it has "premiered more than 130 works for jazz orchestra."  From original compositions to modern renditions of classics by Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington or Miles Davis, the Orchestra has kept jazz alive for some two generations.

The show began with three original compositions by Harvey. The first, and perhaps most ambitious of these was titled, "Three B's and a Bop," which was, in Harvey's own words, "a more formalized version of the type of jazz music that was made up on the spot in the 1930s."

The performance also featured a new song, "Merry Go Round," by Harvey that showcased Eastern's Concert Chorale Ensemble and the Eastern Thread City Jazz Ensemble. As the concert continued, the songs became increasingly sophisticated in their delivery of sound. This became abundantly clear as the Orchestra eased into a sleek modern rendition of Charles Mingus's 1959 classic "[Goodbye] Pork Pie Hat," which had been dedicated to Mingus's friend and fellow jazz legend Lester Young.

The performance's next song, a rendition of a Duke Ellington 1957 hit titled "Such Sweet Thunder," was by far the most memorable due to its use of what Harvey described as "tone parallels" to create a "slinky, seductive feeling." Originally performed as part of a suite, where each song represented a different character from Shakespeare's plays, "Such Sweet Thunder" flowed smoothly from start to finish from each instrument, enlightening the ears of modern listeners to the glory of the late great Duke.
(Submitted by student Zachary Marotte to News Flash)

Eastern Students Shine at COPLAC Conference



Ten Eastern students presented at the Fourth Annual) Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in October. The conference was sponsored by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), a national advocacy group that supports liberal arts education at public institutions. Participating campuses included Eastern, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Keene State College, the University of Maine-Farmington, SUNY-Geneseo and MCLA.

The two-day conference gave students the opportunity to showcase the results of their individual undergraduate research projects and artistic creativity, and to discuss their work with peers and faculty members. Eastern students displayed their artwork, gave talks and presented posters in disciplines ranging from the arts and humanities to the social and natural sciences. Outstanding projects are featured in COPLACs online research journal, "Metamorphosis." (at left: Chris Lorentson with Professor Steve Nathan.)

Students who presented posters included Sean Duggan and Christina Browning, Visual Arts majors who presented "Sentimental Journey," a poster for an annual hospital gala; Environmental Earth Science major Lindsey Beliveau, who presented "An Examination of Water-Produced Erosion Forms in Bedrock using Terrestrial Laser Scanning"; Biology major Manan Bhatt, who presented "Identifying Cells Capable of Neurogenesis in the Olfactory Epithelium"; David Klein, a Business Information System major who presented "Systems Analysis for Improvement at the Sales Department at Hayward Turnstiles"; and Christopher Lorentson, majoring in Environmental Earth Science, who presented "Geospatial and Physical Assessment of Glacial Deposits in Connecticut to Better Site Ground-Source Heat Pumps." (below: Manan Bhatt and Professor Barbara Murdoch)

Students making oral presentations included Health and Physical Education majors Andrew Burns and Joshua Tamosaitis, who presented "Doping and Cycling in the Media: A Content Analysis of Sports Illustrated"; Psychology major Eric Cerino, who presented "Academic Motivation, Self-Efficacy and Academic Procrastination"; History major Zachary Marotte, who presented "The Struggle to Break with the Ancients: The English Army's Gradual Adoption of Modern Military Theory, 1660-1728"; Economics major Ted Straub, who presented "Can Behavioral Economics Help Consumers Save?"; and Nicholas Denegre, who presented "Validation of the Economics and Energy Savings for Advanced Commercial Rooftop Unit Control Strategies."

Eastern faculty serving as research mentors included James Hyatt, Barbara Murdoch, Don Petkov, Stephen Nathan, Ari de Wilde, Lyndsey Lanagan-Leitzel, June Bisantz, Jamel Ostwald, Dimitrios Pachis and Catherine Carlson.IMG_9961.jpg

(At right: Andrew Burns, Joshua Tamosaitis and Professor Ari de Wilde.)

Cid Honored by Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame

cid head shot.jpgOn Nov. 6, Carmen Cid, interim president of Quinebaug Valley Community College and biology professor and dean of Eastern's School of Arts and Sciences, was inducted in the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame Education and Empowerment for 2013 during a ceremony at the organization's 20th annual celebration.

One of 10 women honored, Cid has served as dean at Eastern for nine years. Over her 29-year career in higher education, she has worked to improve the representation of women and minorities in science fields.

"This year's honorees are leaders throughout the state who have devoted their careers to educating and empowering women and fostering their advancement," said Katherine Wiltshire, executive director of the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. "As we mark 20 years of highlighting remarkable women's stories, we celebrate the incredible community we are building to inspire the next generation and women of all ages."

This year's inductees included Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Representative for Connecticut Third District; Barbara Hackman Franklin, president and CEO of Barbara Franklin Enterprises, who served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush; Linda Koch Lorimer, vice president of Yale University; and Augusta Lewis Troup, union organizer, journalist and promoter of the suffrage movement.

Ocean Frontiers II Premiers at Eastern

Ocean Frontiers.jpgMore than 50 students, faculty and local residents provided filmmakers Karen and Ralf Meyers a very warm Eastern welcome at the Connecticut premiere of "Ocean Frontiers II" on Oct. 30. The new documentary from Green Fire Productions highlights success stories in a field known as marine spatial planning, which focuses on the sustainable management of marine resources. 

Ocean Frontiers II is the second of an award-winning film series produced by Green Fire Productions, and brings audiences face-to-face with those now embarking on the nation's first multi-state ocean plan.  The film prominently features the recently completed Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan, on which Bryan Oakley, assistant professor of environmental earth science, worked on aspects relating to the geology of Rhode Island and Block Island Sounds.  Ocean Frontiers II is an inspiring story of citizens coming together to promote healthier economies and healthier seas across New England.  Marine spatial planning is a hot button issue in many circles, and incorporates a multitude of uses for water bodies, as well as aspects of the geology, biology and ecology of the region.  After the film, there was a discussion with the filmmakers and Oakley and Steve Nathan, assistant professor of environmental earth science. The event was organized by the School of Arts and Sciences and Department of Environmental Earth Science.

An Evening in Politics: Gender in Public Policies in Latin America


A lively audience of students and faculty participated in an intense debate on Oct. 24 in the Faculty Lounge of Webb Hall, during "An Evening in Politics: Gender in Public Policies."  Nora Nagels, a postdoctoral scholar at the Université de Montréal, addressed the issue of gender and social policies in Latin America. Nagels said part of the struggle of bringing sound social policies, such as education and health in the region is the lack of sensitivity towards the gender agenda.

Nagels illustrated this idea with the way in which a program, Conditional Cash Transfers (or CCTS) is implemented in Bolivia and Peru. Under this scheme, mothers and children receive financial assistance in the form of cash from their respective governments on the condition that expecting mothers attend health checkups and follow up visits, and children do not drop out of school.

Nagels agreed that although these are well-intended programs, they restrict women to their specific role as mothers, neglecting other potential opportunities to help them close an existing gender gap in the region that tend to favor men in terms of economic and professional opportunities.

Martín Mendoza-Botelho, assistant professor of political science, moderated the debate.
The following night, Nagels participated in the "Pizza and Politics Night" event, where her Latin American perspective was contrasted to that of the United States, presented by Political Science Professor Nicole Krassas. While Latin America uses a much more social model, the United States uses a more liberal and market-oriented approach to address social issues. In both cases, women tend to be relegated to particular roles. As part of this event, Eastern students Erin Drouin and Stephanie Conway served as discussants, providing a fresh perspective from their generational point of view.

Part of the discussion centered on the idea that although women have made enormous progress narrowing the gender gap, states around the world still neglect to take a much more balanced gender perspective for both men and women. The Department of Political Science, Geography and Philosophy, the Program of Latin American Studies and the Program on Women's and Gender Studies co-sponsored both events.

CECE's New Video

TealRoomTreeRubbing230x173.jpgThe Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) has announced the release of "Investigating Trees," a new video highlighting the work of teachers at the Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC).  Investigating Trees explores how teachers engaged toddlers and preschoolers in a variety of learning activities while studying trees and the animals that live in them.  The video features teachers Patty Gardner, Amy Tyler and Amie Theriault, as well as CFDRC Director Niloufar Rezai.

Investigating Trees is the fourth in the "Investigating" video series.  Each video in the series captures one topic of investigation in the CFDRC, and illustrates how teachers involved children in literacy, math, science, art and other activities through the three to four months of investigation.

Media production specialist Ken Measimer directed Investigating Trees. Communication student Sean Leser served as editor and videographer; Communication students Amy Dillon and Sarah Pierce served as production assistants. To watch the video, visit http://www.easternct.edu/cece/investigating_trees.html.

Wall Climbing at the CFDRC

Wall Climbing.jpg     Wall Climbing2.jpg

The Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC), which serves children ages 18 months to 5 years, recently unveiled two climbing walls; one indoors and one outdoors.  The climbing walls will be used to carry out the CFDRC's mission to foster children's cognitive, social-emotional, creative, and physical development.  The climbing walls are expected to help preschoolers build confidence and gain a sense of accomplishment, socially and emotionally by having them work collaboratively and cooperatively.

Physically, the children will be able to develop upper body strength; increase eye-hand coordination; and develop a better sense of how to move their bodies in a space. Cognitively, the wall is expected to develop spatial awareness; allow for literacy/numeracy development through the use of magnetic letters and shapes; and expand children's oral language. Finally, the climbing wall will help children move their bodies in expressive ways fostering pretend and imaginative play.

The CFDRC is also using this opportunity to provide experiential opportunities for Eastern students.  Under the guidance of Health and Physical Education Professor Darren Roberts, students in physical education will develop and implement lesson plans surrounding the climbing walls, affording valuable experiences in teaching, as well as individualizing based on children's needs. In addition, Communication Professor Denise Matthews is supervising students in the production of a documentary video featuring the climbing walls from their inception to their use with children and staff.

Eastern Hosts A Capella Sing Off

The Parallel Fifths from Western Connecticut State University walked off with top honors at the Connecticut Collegiate A Cappella Sing-Off on Nov. 9 in the Betty R. Tipton Room. This annual event, hosted by Eastern's Music Society, features a Capella groups from Connecticut colleges who present vocal arrangements of popular songs to compete for the honor of becoming the sing-off champions.


Other groups featured in the sing off included the University of Connecticut's Chordials, Extreme Measures and Rolling Tones; Central Connecticut State University's TGFI and Fermata The Blue; University of Hartford's L'Shir; and Connecticut College's Co Co Beaux. Eastern's own A Capella groups Fallin' Flat and Key of She performed during intermission.

Tip-a-Cop Turns Huge Profit for Special Olympics

   tip a cop.JPG    tip a cop2.JPG

On Nov. 9, Eastern's Police Department raised $1,112.90 for Special Olympics Connecticut during its Annual Tip-a-Cop event, held this year at Nita's Restaurant in Willimantic.  "This could not have been possible without the drive and dedication of both the Eastern Police and the surrounding community, which came together to support such a worthy cause," said Eastern Police Lt. Tom Madera. "We thank everyone involved for making a difference in the lives of those with intellectual disabilities. This success could not have been possible without that support."

Miller leads on and off the court


Eastern senior Erynn Miller of Stratford is an excellent example of what student-athletes should strive to be.  She is the captain and only four-year player on the women's volleyball team.  Even with all the time and effort that she puts towards volleyball, she is still able to be an exceptional student.

erynn miller.jpg

Prior to this fall, head coach Pete Maneggia hadn't named a captain for any of the teams he has coached since he coached high school softball in 1996.  Maneggia stated, "I'm a big believer that everybody should be their own captain.  Sometimes it turns into a popularity contest, and there are multiple other reasons why I don't like naming captains.  However, with such a young team this year, I felt like we needed a strong leadership role, and Erynn was the obvious choice."

Miller was excited to become captain, but she also realized that new responsibilities come with the territory.  "It's an honor to be named captain, but there is a little bit of pressure.  Luckily my team has made it so easy on me," explained Miller, "It's a really good group of girls, and everyone gets along."

Miller graduated from Bunnell High School as a two-time All-State volleyball player who was appointed team captain a total of four years in three sports. She chose to attend Eastern because it was relatively close to home, and also because it offered a good balance between academics and athletics.

On the court, Miller never takes a play off.  She practices hard every day, and is a great example to the younger players.  Off the court, she is a model student as a member of the Little East Conference All-Academic Team and as an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award recipient. With a major in Business Administration and a minor in Communication, Miller wants to attend graduate school and eventually get a job in marketing.

Eastern Earns 15 Awards in LEC Season-Ending Program

deVito head 300dpi_2526.jpgIn its fall end-of-the-season awards program, the Little East Conference recognized Eastern athletes and Coach Gregory DeVito with 15 individual awards.

In addition to all-conference awards, three individuals were honored with major awards in soccer and women's volleyball. Senior soccer back/midfielder Carl Stensland (Storrs) was named Defensive Player-of-the-Year, freshman volleyball outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) Rookie-of-the-Year, and men's soccer head coach Greg DeVito was voted Coach-of-the-Year, after guiding the Warriors to their third straight LEC playoff championship.
Seven of the honorees were repeaters: DeVito, Stensland, senior midfielder/forward Mitch Power (Douglas, MA) and senior back Christopher Giustina (Enfield) in men's soccer; senior midfielder Tamar Merheb (Bethel) and sophomore back Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) in women's soccer; and sophomore midfielder Laura Chicorka (Enfield) in field hockey.


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