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January 2014 Archives

Second Annual Concert Sandy Hook Memorial Concert

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More than 100 singers and instrumentalists from ensembles across Connecticut came together at St. Joseph's Church for the Second Annual Sandy Hook Memorial Concert on Sunday, Jan. 12. The event raised $718 for the Victoria Leigh Soto Memorial Endowed Scholarship, which supports Eastern students with financial need who are studying to become teachers. 

In his opening remarks, Eastern Professor of Music David Belles said, "We use music to celebrate, to mourn, to comfort, to reflect, to entertain, to educate."

Following prelude music by Michael McCarthy, organist and director of music at St. Joseph's Church, the choral and orchestral ensembles performed Gabriel Faure's "Requiem." Belles conducted the performance, with Emily Riggs, soprano, and Daniel Pavone, baritone, as featured singers.

Musicians and singers performing at the event included members of the Eastern Concert Chorale and Chamber Singers, the Mystic River Chorale, Hartford Chorale, Concert Choir of Northeastern Connecticut, Storrs Congregational Church, St. Mary's Church Choir, Windham Theatre Guild Chorus, Glastonbury First Congregational Church, Eastern Concert Band, Willimantic Orchestra, UCONN Community Division and Glastonbury High School.

Stacey Close Named One of Connecticut's Most Influential African Americans


The Connecticut National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has named Stacey Close, interim associate vice president for equity and diversity at Eastern, one of the 100 most influential African Americans in Connecticut. The NAACP made the announcement at the Omni Hotel in New Haven on Dec. 21.

"We are very proud of Dr. Close for receiving this honor," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Stacey is a noted scholar in the field of African Studies and was one of our most popular professors during his time teaching history on our campus. As the associate vice president for equity and diversity, he is now providing leadership in Eastern's efforts to maintain our reputation as an inclusive, multi-cultural campus."

A native of Georgia, Close has worked in higher education for more than 20 years. A professor of history, Close received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Ohio State University and a B.A. from Albany State College in Georgia. He has taught courses on African Americans, African History and Southern History. In addition, he has presented at such conferences as the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History and the Professional and Organizational Development Network.
"I am touched and honored to receive this recognition with these very prestigious people," said Close. "It is thanks to Eastern, my colleagues, faculty members and staff."

Eastern Reveals TIMPANI Research Results for Best Toy

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                       Magna-Tiles®                                    My First Railway by Brio®

Magna-Tiles® by Valtech, LLC, and My First Railway by Brio® were both been named the 2013 TIMPANI Toy (Toy that Inspires Mindful Play and Nurtures Imagination). Faculty and student researchers with the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern announced the results of the 2013 TIMPANI Toy Study on Dec. 4 in the Joinery of the University's Child and Family Development Resource Center.

This annual empirical study by Eastern researchers examines how young children in natural settings play with a variety of toys. Toys are selected for the TIMPANI study based on recommendations from parents, teachers and faculty. After the toys are chosen, they are then placed in preschool classrooms for a specified number of days and rated on three subscales: thinking and problem-solving, cooperation and social interaction, and creativity and imagination. Magna-Tiles and My First Railway tied in receiving the highest overall scores in this year's study.

Magna-Tiles are three-dimensional magnetic building tiles made from colorful plastic in various shapes. "Magna-Tiles were extremely popular with the children," said Cassie Savalli, an Eastern senior in early childhood education involved in the study. "They learned to build together, and there was a lot of creative imagination around what they were building." Savalli, along with junior Chamari Davis, was responsible for videotaping the toys and coding the videos according to the evaluation rubric.

"It's not surprising that Magna-Tiles did well," said Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, the Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education and the study's principal researcher. "They have been nominated every single year that we've conducted this study -- teachers and parents recognize their value.  Construction toys have done very well in our studies over the past five years.  They tend to inspire a lot of problem-solving as children figure out how to construct different objects, but we also see a fair amount of pretend play and social interaction."

My First Railway is a set of wooden train tracks and wooden trains. "Children used the trains to create different scenarios, which they would act out together," said Davis. "It really brought out their creativity and imagination, as well as any experience they have had riding or seeing real trains." Along with Savalli, Davis co-presented with Trawick-Smith on the results of the study at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 22.

Parsons inks New Book

parsons book.jpgNicholas Parsons, assistant professor of sociology, has published a book, "Meth Mania: A history of Methamphetamine," (Lynne Rienner Publishing). In the book, Parsons chronicles the history and mythology of methamphetamine in the United States from the 1940s--when it was hailed as a wonder drug--to the present public health menace that it is today. He examines the emergence of amphetamines; the first scare: speed freaks; the black market; t ice; crystal meth; new panics and new approaches to dealing with the threat of methamphetamines.

Eastern Ranked High for Serving Student Veterans

Eastern was ranked as one of the top 10 schools in the North that participated in federal initiatives helping veterans and active service members to apply, pay for and complete their degrees. The rankings include only numerically ranked schools in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News Best Colleges Guide that meet each of the following criteria: are members of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium; are certified for the GI Bill; and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

U.S. News ranked these qualifying schools numerically and in descending order based on their 2014 Best Colleges ranks. There are 234 ranked schools across 10 separate ranking categories: National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities (North, South, Midwest and West) and Regional Colleges (North, South, Midwest and West).

Eastern Presents 12-Part TV Series on Martin Luther King Jr.

martin luther king color image.jpgHad he lived, the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 85 years old this year. As part of its celebration of King's birthday on Jan. 20, Eastern presented a 12-part series looking back on the life and times of the man widely considered as the greatest civil rights leader of the past century.

The series, which contains a greeting by Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez, was researched, written and produced by Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern. The series aired all day on Jan. 20, the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Channel 22, Eastern's cable channel. A link to the streaming video can be found at: http://bit.ly/1gUDC5v.

The series originally aired in 1983 on the Stamford, CT-based Satellite News Channel (SNC), where Bachman was a news producer at the time. Nick Messina, director of media services at Eastern, and Craig Naumec, former multimedia production technician at Eastern, recreated the series for the Eastern television broadcast.

Windham High Students Take Free Computer Science Course at Eastern

Thanks to the efforts of Provost Rhona Free; Amilcah Gomes, assistant director in the Academic Services Center; and Dorothy Potter, headmaster at WHS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy, a dozen high-performing students at Windham High School are enrolled, free of charge, this semester in the Computer Game Design and Visualization (CSC 212) course. The course is taught by Joel Rosiene, associate professor of math and computer science.

With some seats available, Free worked with Potter to carefully screen each student and make sure they met the prerequisites for the course (three AP course plus AP Calculus); secured parental permission; and with the help of the Registrar's Office, got the students enrolled.

Participating students include Zachary Noris, Joshua Dupont, Sebastian Ruffino, Dominic Rivera, Neftali Guzman, Joseph Santiago, Elijah Sanchez, Jennifer Figueroa, Cyan Green, Tyler Szabo, Shelby Green and Caleb Nuhn.

Arts Students Curate Two Exhibits at Eastern

Working in collaboration with the No-Freeze Shelter in Willimantic, students in Professor Gail Gelburd's Museums and Exhibitions course have curated the museum exhibit, "Displaced: Perspectives from Within." The exhibition runs until Jan. 30 in the Student Art Gallery in Room 114 of Shafer Hall.

The exhibition, which includes art created by Eastern students and young students from other towns, showcases work created by guests of the No-Freeze Shelter in Willimantic. The students met with homeless men and women at the shelter and gave them cameras and art supplies, which gave the guests an opportunity to share their perceptions of being homeless and their life in Willimantic. The exhibition is accompanied by information about homelessness in America.  For a video on the process the students used, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2_hwaar5Wo&feature=youtu.be.

IMG_4019.JPGStudents in Professor Gelburd's Museum and Exhibitions class also presented the exhibition, "Ink'd: From Scarification to Personal Tattoos" in Student Center Room 223 from Dec. 10-17, 2013.  The exhibition provided an informative and thought-provoking analysis of how tattoos became popular and why popularity in tattoo art is growing. Audience participation activities during the exhibit included henna tattooing, with presentations on the history of scarification, the use of tattoos within organizations like the Yakuza, and lessons on tattoo safety and sanitation techniques. The exhibition also featured photographs of tattoos and guest speaker Alex Holmes, a tattoo artist who presented some of his own sketches and explained the process of tattooing. A video presentation and live models also provided stunning visual examples of the art of tattoos. 

Tom Hebert Exhibits in John Slade Ely House in New Haven

hebert1.jpg"Wflatiya-Whatiya" Paper collage, inlay to linoleum tile.2012, produced by Tom Hebert, visual art lecturer, has been on display as part of the "Digital Ground" exhibition at the John Slade Ely House in New Haven; the exhibit runs through Jan. 20.

"Digital Ground" is an exhibition that explores the potential of combining digitally produced material in conjunction with traditional art practices such as drawing, painting and photography. Use of recycled or repurposed materials as well as firsthand production is included in the artists' creative processes. Works as varied as Paulette Rosen's scanned and drawn upon images of birds to Catalina Barroso Luque's projected photo collage installation to Paul Theriault's looping digital video works offer a survey of the ways artists are incorporating new technology into their art practices.

Another Hebert work is titled, "Trashing Skies."  "My intent was not to make a social statement, but to produce objects of art that are concerned with construction and all the elements involved. The work involved photographing common household objects, evolved into printmaking and collage, and ended up with linoleum tile construction. The result is a series of images that appear to be floating in a night sky. While it was not my intention to make a statement about pollution: it is a fact that we are indeed "trashing" the skies, oceans and environment in general. If the work raises this awareness, it is a positive, serendipitous outcome."

Eastern Hosts "Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey"

akusblack swans.jpgEastern's Akus Gallery is presenting the one-person exhibition, "Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey," through Feb. 20. An opening reception takes place on Jan. 23.
In his book, "The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography," critic and curator Lyle Rexer says, "Ellen Carey is among this country's most committed experimental photographers." Black Swan references Carey's discovery of the "Pull" in 1996, a technique that creates a conical loop known as a parabola and a new form introduced to photography as a different kind of document, pre-dating Carey's large format Polaroid 20 x 24 camera work begun in 1983 with her "Self-Portrait" series. Carey owns one of five Polaroid 20 x 24 cameras in existence.

Carey presents her newest series as "Dings & Shadows," innovative forms carrying emotive feeling that combine her longstanding interest in the history of the shadow in art and photography with her photographic color theory referential palette and color printing expertise. In addition, the exhibition at Eastern features other unique artworks in Polaroid and Photogram from 1999 to 2013, in color and black and white.

One of Carey's "Dings & Shadows" color photograms was first seen in the current group exhibition "A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" in Washington, DC, which received a stellar review in the Washington Post. Merry Foresta, the exhibition curator and founding director of SAAM's photography department, selected Carey's work from more than 7,000 pieces in the SAAM collection.

Carey's work has been the subject of 50 one-person exhibitions and has been included in hundreds of group exhibitions. She has been rewarded with many different grants and awards and also has two documentary videos ("Pulls" and "Mourning Wall").

The Akus Gallery is located in Shafer Hall at Eastern. Gallery hours are: Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday 1-7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m.; and closed on Monday. All Akus Gallery events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Gallery Director Roxanne Deojay at (860) 465-4647 or email deojayr@easternct.edu, or visit www.easternct.edu/akusgallery.

Eastern's Rahmanifar Exhibits at the Benton Museum

afarin 2.jpgWorks by Afarin Rahmanifar, visual art lecturer, are part "Persepolis: Word & Image," a current exhibition at the William Benton Museum of Art Museum at the University of Connecticut in Storrs from Jan. 21-March 16.  The opening reception is Jan. 23 from 4:30-7 p.m.

Inspired by both the format and content of Persepolis, the graphic novel and coming-of-age memoir by Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: Word & Image draws from the Benton's permanent collection to present some of the ways that text and art have functioned historically. In addition to Rahmanifar's work, other art is on loan from such contemporary Iranian artists as Pouran Jinchi, Shirin Neshat and Hadieh Shafie, for whom text is intrinsic to their practice.

Eastern's Devine, Fresen are Pre-Season All-Americas

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                  Mike Devine                                                  Tyler Fresen

Eastern senior midfielders Mike Devine (Cheshire) and Tyler Fresen (Newington) have been selected to the 2014 Faceoff Yearbook Division III All-America team as honorable mention choices.

A total of 87 players divided among first, second, third and honorable mention teams were selected nationwide. Devine and Fresen were among 51 honorable mention picks. A total of 17 players were chosen from New England. Including Devine and Fresen; three were picked from the Little East Conference.

Both Devine and Fresen were USILA Division III All-America honorable mention selections in 2013 and both are fourth-year members of the program. Last year, Devine repeated as an All-America honorable mention selection and first-team All-ECAC pick.

The 6-foot-3 inch, 220-pound Devine was the team's second-leading goal-scorer and third-leading point-producer in 2013. Devine, a three-time All-Little East Conference selection and 2013 LEC playoff MVP, had 36 goals, 17 assists and 53 points in leading the Warriors to their second straight conference playoff title and NCAA tournament berth last spring and final overall record of 10-8 and final No. 8 ranking in the New England Division III poll.

The Warriors open their 2014 schedule March 1 by hosting New England College in the first of four straight home matches.


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