Noted children's literature specialist and schoolteacher Esmé Raji Codell spoke on Feb. 12 in the Betty R. Tipton Room. The event, supported by the ECSU Foundation, Inc., was part of Eastern's spring 2014 Cultural Celebration Series, and was sponsored by Eastern's History and Political Science, Philosophy and Geography Departments. Codell is best known for her book "Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year." The book deals with how children and teachers dealt with racism and economic difficulties and problems with funding in inner-city schools. It documents her attempts as a young, white female teacher in Chicago to bring about changes despite the obstacles in the school system.
Eastern's English Department hosted a panel discussion of Eastern alumni titled "English at Work" in Room 301 of the Science Building on Feb. 26. The discussion was part of the Department's ongoing visiting alumni series to help build support networks between alumni and current students. Panelists included Starsheemar Byrum, Jessica Fontaine, Kileen Gilroy and Matthew Ryan. Byrum '07 received her Bachelor of Arts in English, minoring in women's studies. Following graduation, she completed her master's degree in Women's Studies at Southern Connecticut State University. Byrum previously oversaw the Intercultural Center and today coordinates all operations of the Women's Center as well as the Sexual Assault Response Team. Fontaine '08 graduated from Eastern with her bachelor's degree in English. After receiving a master's degree in children's literature from Hollins University, Fontaine is currently the librarian at Tolland High School and taking classes to become a certified school library media specialist. Gilroy received her bachelor's degree in Secondary Education English, as well as a minor concentration in writing. She currently teaches English at Lincoln High School in Rhode Island while applying for graduate school and writing a full poetry manuscript. Ryan graduated from Eastern in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in English, and is employed at Union Savings Bank in New Milford as a supervisor and branch operations specialist.
Eastern's Women's Center presented the Girl Rising Project as part of the University Hour Series on March 12 in the Student Center Theatre. Girl Rising is a groundbreaking feature film that captures the dreams, voices and remarkable lives of nine unforgettable girls born into unforgiving circumstances.
Eastern's Theatre Program and Drama Society presented "Prelude to a Kiss" in the Harry Hope Theatre in Shafer Hall from Feb. 27-March 2 and March 4-5. The play was written by Craig Lucas and directed by Gloria Trombley, lecturer of theatre. "This magical story of lustful, youthful, romantic love required the audience to take an imaginary leap into a bewitching fantasy," said Trombley. "The audience, along with the characters, took an extraordinary journey of wild twists and turns that carried us along an emotional roller coaster and challenges and transforms our sensibility about the power of love."
"This is a most compelling exhibition as it brings together a group of distinguished artists working in a wide variety of print media," said Emeritus Gus Mazzocca, curator of the exhibition and printmaking professor at the University of Connecticut. "The show emphatically reflects the strength and variety of artists within the state who elect to work with printmaking as an ever-expanding and viable form of visual expression." Artists include Imna Arroyo, Robert Cottingham, Pamela Marks, Timothy McDowell, Robert Andrew Parker, James Reed, Ronnie Rysz, Rachel Siporin, Laurie Sloan and Mark Williams. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/akusgallery.