The e-newsletter of Eastern Connecticut State University
May 2014 Archives
Eastern wrapped up its spring semester series of 125th Anniversary celebrations with Community Engagement Day on May 2. The day began with a luncheon and panel discussion featuring four alumni in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room. Anabelitza Lozada '11, Levar Mitchell '12, Matt Blocker-Glynn '03 and Victoria Nimirowski '87 discussed how they turned their community engagement experiences at Eastern into successful careers. The event was sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement, the Center for Internships and Career Development, and the Office of Alumni Affairs.
Lozada graduated with a bachelor's degree in Social Work. The following year, she completed her master's degree at the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work. She currently is the social worker for the Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens program at Windham High School. Mitchell earned his Bachelor of Science in Sport and Leisure Management with a minor in Sociology. He currently works as a sports, fitness and recreation director at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford, and is the youngest sports director in Connecticut. Mitchell is pursuing his master's degree in Social Work at the University of Connecticut.
Blocker-Glynn graduated with a B.A. in History. He received his M.Ed. in Human Relations Counseling from Plymouth State University, and then came back to Connecticut to direct the University of Hartford's Center for Community Service six years ago. Nimirowski has been the executive director of the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM) since 2005.
In the afternoon, the CCE sponsored the annual Service Expo, during which time student volunteers displayed posters and other visual manifestations of the various service projects that have taken place during the 2013-14 academic year. The annual Distinguished Service Awards ceremony took place in the Student Center Theatre following the Service Expo.
Kimberly DePaolis, a junior double-majoring in early childhood education and psychology, won the Student Community Engagement Award for her leadership, fundraising and volunteer work locally and abroad--in such countries as Jamaica and Ecuador--earned her this award.
Professor of Anthropology Ricardo Perez earned the Faculty Community Engagement Award for working with Eastern students in service projects with Willimantic schools in the Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) program. The Community Partner Engagement Award was given to '09 alumnus Christopher Brechlin, who worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer with ACCESS Agency and is now the CEO of Blueprint for a Dream, a "social enterprise" that focuses on northeast Connecticut. Professor of Sociology Cara Bergstrom-Lynch won the Service Learning Award for her fundraising efforts and community organizing. Since 2007, more than 550 students in her senior seminar have organized more than 120 community projects. The Community Event Award was given to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). From January to April of this year, the 10 students involved in the program put forth more than 456 hours of tax assistance, filing approximately 9,500 returns for low-to-moderate income individuals and families.
In the evening, "La Familia de Mucho Colores," a community cultural celebration in the Betty R. Tipton Room, concluded Community Engagement Day. Arnaldo Rivera and his band Vente-Tú played Latin Jazz and Salsa; children from the Puentes al Futuro ("Bridges to the Future") program danced to Mexican polkas, a Puerto Rican bomba and other Latin American music. Dancers fom the El Sagrado Corazón Catholic Church also joined in the festivities.
One hundred forty-three students were recognized at the Second Annual Inclusive Excellence Student Awards Ceremony held on May 2 in the Betty R. Tipton Room. The event, sponsored by the Advising Center, celebrated the academic achievements of Eastern's "ALANA" students--African-American, Latino, Asian and Native American students.
"Across the country, minority students are underrepresented on college campuses and graduate at lower rates," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Here at Eastern, we are committed to reversing that trend by fostering a community of inclusion, diversity awareness and academic excellence."
Carmen Cid, a Latina from Cuba with nearly 30 years' experience as a college professor and administrator, and a distinguished scientist in the field of ecology, delivered the keynote address. "You have diverse backgrounds and broad educations; you can do more than one thing," said Cid, currently the interim president of Quinebaug Valley Community College and long-time dean of Eastern's School of Arts and Sciences.
"Finding your inner voice takes time and practice." She also spoke of the benefits of diversity: "In ecology, the more diverse an ecosystem, the healthier it is. This is true for a college campus, too, and for society."
Jonathan Correa, a sophomore biology major from Trumbull; Njeri Dodson, a freshman biology major from Bridgeport; Destiny Hartmann, a freshman accounting major from Stonington; Tyler Hernandez, a sophomore education major from Waterbury; Kayla Enwerem, a freshman from Waterbury; and Briana Tucker, a freshman social work major from Glastonbury, were named recipients of the Diversity Scholars Award.
Inclusive Excellence Awards were presented to James Chadic, a senior mathematics major from Norwich; Vanessa Cioe, a senior sports and leisure management major from Fall River, MA; Shaleah Richards, a senior psychology major from Hartford; and Gregory Riley, a junior biology major from West Haven.
Jerrod Greider Memorial Service
More than 200 students, faculty and staff gathered at the Foster Clock Tower on May 5 to honor Jerrod Greider '14, a senior history/secondary education major who passed away on April 29. Jerrod had his sights set on teaching history in the secondary grades, following in the footsteps of his mother Kathleen, who is the Superintendent of Schools in Farmington.
Father Larry LaPointe opened the service, noting that the clock tower ws the center of campus and the place the University community gathers to lift up the memory of community members who have fallen. "We are very saddened today by the loss of such a young life, one with such promise," he said.
President Elsa Núñez noted Jerrod's passion for teaching and the kindness and support he provided the children who he taught. Supervising teachers in his other clinical experiences described Jerrod as "sensitive" and "kind," an "intelligent future teaching professional" having "the qualities sought in a caring, compassionate teacher."
Marc Provera, one of Jerrod's 13-year-old students at Illing Middle School in Manchester, wrote the following about his student teacher: "Mr. Greider loved everyone he met. Every person that knew him loved him as well. . . I will never forget the first day he came to our school. You could tell that he was happy to be there. He touched the hearts of many students, friends, teachers, and family."
History Club Vice President Joe Garzone also spoke at the service: "I will never forget when I first met Jerrod at a History Club meeting my freshman year. His character, intelligence, and wit commanded respect from all our members. His personality made him someone everyone could get along with and he enjoyed their presence as well."
Music for event was provided by guitarist Morgan Brown; members of the Chamber Singers, accompanied by Eric Ouellette on keyboards; and vocalists Emily Riggs and Melinda DeDominicis.
The Le Le Project: A Tribute to Alyssiah Wiley
More than 60 students, faculty and staff gathered in the Student Center on May 2 to participate in "The Le Le Project: The Life and Legacy of Alyssiah Marie Wiley," a celebration the life of Wiley, who passed away a year ago, a victim of domestic violence. Wiley was a Psychology major with a minor in Biology and was a member of Eastern's FEMALES organization.
Father Larry LaPointe opened the service, remarking on the silence that fell over the room as one of respect. Wiley's life of was caught in a "different type of silence," he said, "a silence that is dangerous and one that should compel the campus community to do its part in ending the silence."
Starsheemar Byrum, coordinator of Eastern's Women's Center and Sexual Assault Response team, remembered Wiley for her beauty and determination to succeed. Student Deidre Montague sang a tribute to Wiley. Shereen Moore, president of FEMALES, who spearheaded The Le Le Project, discussed some of Wiley's joys, and Eastern's Fusion Dance Team delivered an energetic tribute in Wiley's memory.
Onya Harris, one of Wiley's mentors, delivered the keynote address, encouraging the audience to understand that while one may experience hardships and difficulties, one must embody the strength and courage to call on friends, family and support groups to help them land on their feet."
FEMALES, MALES, NOW, PRIDE Alliance, West Indian Society, Peace and Human Rights, the Intercultural Center and the Women's Center all participated in the The Le Le Project memorial service. Wiley's mother and family attended the event and expressed their gratitude for the tribute.
Eastern presented its Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Awards on April 26 to Todd Aviles, a senior majoring in Sociology; Robinson Camacho, a family liaison working for Windham Public Schools; and Kimberly Armstrong Silcox, director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement. The program recognizes members of the campus and local community whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting educational opportunities and/or advancement for members of Latino groups and acts that represent a commitment to positive Latino youth development.
Aviles has been fully engaged at Eastern since he arrived on campus. He served as the president for the MALES organization for the past two years. A native of Hartford and a strong advocate who believes heavily in giving back to his community, Aviles currently works for the Center for Internships and Career Development as a peer counselor. He also worked in the Center for Community Engagement and the Office of Student Orientation. In his spare time, Aviles likes to read and write poetry.
In addition to serving as a family liaison for Windham Public School, Camacho is also coordinator for the high school Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future after-school program. The program meets twice a week at Windham High School and Eastern.
'I am Latino' is a series of classes that Camacho developed, which focuses on motivating, encouraging and opening the eyes of the youth through visual media and interactive lectures. The class is direct and to the point, and its purpose is to make young people think about where they are and where they are going. Young people hear about successful Latinos in history and today, as Camacho goes over statistics on Latino dropout rates, low college attendance rates and the importance of education, by telling his story about dropping out of college and then realizing he needed to finish his college education.
Silcox is director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, which opened in 2009. She serves on many nonprofit boards and committees and has received numerous awards for service to the community. She is an advocate for students, faculty and communities, working to build and facilitate meaningful partnerships in the Windham community.
Eastern's Theatre Program and Drama Society presented "The Laramie Project," written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, in the Harry Hope Theatre from April 24-27. The play was directed by senior theatre major Kelsey Guggenheim.
The Laramie Project follows the true story of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence in the middle of a prairie outside Laramie, WY, in 1998, and left to die just because he was gay.
Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project made six trips to Laramie over the course of a year-and-a-half in the aftermath of the murder and during the trial of the two young men accused of killing Shepard. They conducted more than 200 interviews with the people of the town. Some people interviewed were directly connected to the case, and others were citizens of Laramie. Kaufman and Tectonic Theater members constructed a deeply moving theatrical experience from these interviews and their own experiences.
Guggenheim was given the opportunity to direct this full-length stage production through Pathways to Leadership. The program for students interested in directing includes a series of directing classes, stage management and assistant directing duties, and opportunities to direct staged readings, children's theatre and one-act plays. Students with special skills have the opportunity to direct a full-length, fully-staged production as part of the Harry Hope Theatre season of shows.
More than 130 students, staff, faculty and administrators from colleges and universities throughout Connecticut shared best practices on how to make Connecticut campuses more sustainable at a statewide campus sustainability conference held at Middlesex Community College on April 25.
The conference was organized by Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy and featured more than 20 presentations from campus representatives sharing the details of their sustainability initiatives, successes and challenges. Presenters and participants came from a broad range of public and private universities, colleges and community colleges. The conference and many of the energy initiatives on Connecticut's campuses are supported by EnergizeCT and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund.
"The idea for this conference arose from the desire to hold an event where students, faculty, staff and administrators from public and private colleges and universities across the state could come together to discuss campus sustainability from a variety of different perspectives," said Laura Worthington, conference organizer and energy technical specialist for the Institute for Sustainable Energy. "This type of collaboration is vital to the sharing of best practices and trading of ideas that will continue to move us forward and keep Connecticut on the map as one of the greenest states in the nation."
Eastern and Yale University announced that they will co-chair a new "Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability" that will serve as an ongoing statewide network to facilitate greater coordination and cooperation on sustainability among public and private institutions of higher education. The primary purpose of this collaboration is to share information as peers, foster partnerships and develop system-wide strategies to address climate change and adaptation, local and regional resiliency, stormwater and water management, land use and other sustainability-related issues.
Eastern President Elsa Núñez said, "We are thrilled to partner with Yale University in leading the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability. Together we look forward to engaging our public and private peer institutions to model environmental stewardship in our buildings, classrooms and communities."
The new alliance will tap into the many resources available to help campuses engage in actions that will reduce their environmental footprint, increase resiliency and save costs. These include EnergizeCT programs administered by Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating; programs of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; and national programs such as the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment and the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Eastern's English Department hosted its spring 2014 English Night in the Betty R. Tipton Room on April 28. The event began with a warm welcome from Lisa Fraustino, chair of the English Department.
The English major awards ceremony followed. Brooke Baldwin and Akaya McElveen were the recipients of Service to the Department Awards, which are awarded to students who have helped with departmental projects, coordinated events or organized student clubs that have connections to literature or writing. The Award for Lifetime Learning was awarded to Meaghan Eales. This award is usually granted to a returning student who has shown a steady love of literature, writing and the pursuit of knowledge. Eales was also awarded the Commitment to Teaching award for her dedication to teaching.
Angelia Dilella was awarded the Contributions to the Cultural Life of the Campus Award, which is awarded to students who have been actively involved as a writer or editor in literary publications. Dilella also was awarded the Award for Academic Excellence for her demonstration of superior ability and dedication to reading literature and interpreting it well in class discussions and in written work.
First-year writing awards were presented to Danielle Campitelli and Emilio Estrella. The first-year writing awards are given to students in College Writing and College Writing Plus whose writing is innovative, creative, well researched or uniquely articulated. Campitelli's research paper, "Faking it Until I Make It," written for Professor Mika Taylor's first-year writing class, exemplified those qualities. Estrella's innovative and creative writing paper was titled "Music and Society: Cause and Effect."
The event concluded with senior seminar presentations from Professor Reginald Flood's "Writing Poems/ Reading Culture" seminar; Fraustino's "Adaptation and Ideology" seminar; and Maureen McDonnell's "Monstrous Women" seminar.
Two Eastern students walked off with the two top prizes in the Fourth Annual 2014 Connecticut Campus Slammer Finals, a statewide storytelling contest that took place at Connecticut College on April 26. Jonah Craggett, a junior from New Haven majoring in English with a minor in Anthropology, won top honors. Daniel Solomon, a junior from Woodstock majoring in History with a minor in Asian Studies, was the runner-up.
The 2014 Connecticut Campus Slammer Finals is held in conjunction with the Connecticut Storytelling Festival. The event is sponsored by the Connecticut Storytelling Center. "This is amazing," said English Professor Raouf Mama. "This is the first time that two students from the same university have won first and second place." The contest requires that students craft a five-minute personal story and tell it in a spoken-word competition scored on creativity, relation to theme and delivery. No props, notes or instruments are allowed. The competition is timed, which helps train students to hone their words and delivery to avoid penalty points given for exceeding the time limit.
Craggett and Solomon had competed previously on Eastern's campus in a local contest and then moved forward to the state finals. Campus Slammer is the "Final Four" for wordsmiths. Both Craggett and Solomon are students in Mama's storytelling class. Chion Wolf, voice actress, producer and photographer for NPR Radio and host of "The MOUTH Story Slam" at the Mark Twain House, served as Mistress of Ceremonies.
Participating colleges included Eastern, the University of Connecticut, Manchester Community College, Connecticut College and Middlesex Community College. Above, left to right, are Wolf, Mama, Craggett and Solomon.
On April 22, a group of 80 students and 20 representatives of the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) from Nassau, Bahamas, visited Eastern as part of the group's annual College Road Trip, which came to the Northeast this year.
Candice Deal, assistant professor of accounting and a native of the Bahamas, hosted the group. The 100 visitors heard presentations from the Center for Community Engagement and student clubs and organizations; met with international student representatives; took a tour of Eastern's campus; and were briefed on admissions policies. The campus visit culminated with a luncheon in the Paul E. Johnson Community Conference Room with Eastern students, faculty, and staff.
The Third Annual Collaborative Jail 'N' Bail event, held on Webb Hall Lawn on April 29 to raise money for Special Olympics Connecticut and Habitat for Humanity, had a great turnout and raised more than $5,000 for Windham Habitat and Special Olympics of Connecticut.
In the past two years, the event has raised more than $16,000 in cash and donations. "I would like to offer a huge thanks to our Facilities staff, without whom this event truly cannot happen," said Psychology Professor Peter Bachiochi, faculty advisor for Habitat for Humanity. "They helped with building/setting up our jail cell and tents, delivering tables, chairs, providing power, filling the dunk tank and much more. Thanks to Nick Messina for setting up the live feed that more than 750 people checked out. Thanks to Jason Coombs and Chartwells for providing hot dogs for everyone. Thanks to our judges who laid down the law. And thanks to all the other good sports throughout the day!" Police Officers Thomas Madera and David DeNunzio also were instrumental in organizing the event.
On April 28, the normally tidy playground of Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) was transformed into a muddy obstacle course for the "Fun Mudder" -- a preschool version of "Tough Mudder," a military-style mud run. The event hosted groups of children ages three to five who are enrolled in the CFDRC's preschool classroom. The two groups, each with approximately 25 children, were allowed one hour of play in the Fun Mudder course. "The goal was simply to complete the course; not to win or get a fast time," said Health and Education Professor Darren Robert. "We want the kids to try things they normally wouldn't; to get out of their comfort zone a bit."
Some of the mud-ridden obstacles included a crawl through wet leaves under a bridge; a walk through kiddie pools filled with ice water; a slip and slide into a puddle; a balance beam; and more. The children were chaperoned and cheered on by parents, students and staff, many of whom also participated in the muddy mess to encourage the toddlers. "This event was the culmination of the last few months of physical education work," said CFDRC Director Niloufar Rezai. "Today's obstacles required motor skills such as climbing, balancing, jumping and crawling."
Veteran and Eastern alumnus Brandon Strout '09, a physical education teacher at Windham Tech who helped out at the event, said, "The Fun Mudder is good because it shows the kids that fitness can be applicable to every day play. Plus, they don't often get to play in the mud."
The CFDRC would like to thank students of Windham Tech who built signs for the obstacles; all those who helped build and chaperone the course; and the late Nancy Tinker, whose work as director of the office of Facilities Management and Planning was instrumental in the construction of the CFDRC.
Eastern's softball team, which became the first program to win five straight Little East Conference regular-season crowns this season, has dominated the LEC all-conference first team with five selections, among them Pitcher-of-the-Year Erin Miller of Waterford.
Miller, the program's fourth Pitcher-of-the-Year in the past five seasons, was joined on the first team by first-team repeaters Mattie Brett (Waterford) and Sam Rossetti (Shelton) and first-time selections Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville) and Alyssa Hancock (Waterford). Brett is a senior centerfielder, Rossetti a junior first baseman, Johnson a senior corner outfielder and Hancock a sophomore shortstop.
Nicholas Lawson, director of field human resources for "Doctors without Borders/ "Médecins sans Frontières" (MSF), will receive an honorary degree from Eastern at its 124rd Commencement Exercises on May 13 at the XL Center in Hartford. Lawson began working for MSF in 1997 as a logistical and administrative expert in a project in southern Sudan during that country's brutal civil war. Since then, he has held 11 other positions within the organization, which have taken him on humanitarian missions across the globe to Afghanistan, Burundi, East Timor, Pakistan, Kenya and elsewhere.
Last year in Uganda, Lawson coordinated MSF's response to the Kamango/Bundibugyo refugee crisis on the Uganda/Congo border. In 2011, he coordinated a similar mission to provide HIV-related hospital care to the population of the Chiradzulu district in Malawi. Over the years, Lawson has traveled to and coordinated humanitarian and medical relief efforts in a number of other countries in response to natural disasters, refugee situations, the AIDS pandemic and other health emergencies.
Madeleine Albright Entertains Packed Crowd
Madeline Albright, 64th Secretary of State of the United States, wove a fascinating combination of humorous anecdotes and historical insights during her lecture, "Economy and Security in the 21st Century," held in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium on March 28 to a crowd of 900 students, faculty and community residents.
Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1993-1997 before being named by President Bill Clinton as the first female Secretary of State and as the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government
From 1989-1992, she served as president of the Center for National Policy. Previously, she was a member of President Jimmy Carter's National Security Council and White House staff, and served as chief legislative assistant to Sen. Edmund S. Muskie. Albright is the author of five books and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
New York Times Best-Selling Author Talks Pop Culture
Author Chuck Klosterman wrapped up the 2013-14 Arts and Lecture Series on April 22 in the Student Center Theatre, where he discussed how pop culture shapes modern life in his lecture, "Live Through the Prism of Popular Culture."
Klosterman is the New York Times best-selling author of six books of nonfiction and essays, including "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" and "I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains," and two novels "Downtown Owl" and "The Visible Man," all of which focus on American popular culture. Klosterman currently covers sports and popular culture for ESPN and writes "The Ethicist" column for the New York Times Magazine.
He described how modern popular culture has become a filter through which we observe and validate the world around us. "The fictional frames today's reality, but we cannot evolve as organisms at the speed that technology has evolved in the past 100 years," Klosterman explained, which is why people are alienated by the very technology that dominates their lives.
High-Level Court Officials Discuss Criminal Justice System
Two high-level Connecticut court officials spoke at Eastern on Feb. 26 in the Student Center Theatre, Connecticut Chief Supreme Court Justice Chase T. Rogers and Superior Court Judge Maria Khan addressed the issue of justice and the presence of women in today's judicial system. Their presentation, sponsored by the Women's Center and Office of Equity and Diversity, was part of Eastern's University Hour Series.
Rogers said three women now serve on the Connecticut Supreme Court; Judge Alexandra DiPentima serves as the Chief Judge of the Intermediate Appellate Court; and 55 women serve as Superior Court judges. She said while progress has been made, "focus needs to stay on a much broader picture of addressing the overall issue of diversity, especially in the courts, which so often are called upon to resolve matters in a fair and neutral setting."
Judge Kahn spoke about access for people with limited English proficiency. Born and raised in Angola, Africa, she was appointed a Superior Court Judge in 2006, and currently is assigned to hear criminal matters in the Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse. She moved to the United States at 10 years of age, is fluent in three languages and admitted to several state and federal courts.
Eastern Students Present at National Conference
Eastern communication students Kacey Rainone '14 of Stratford and Jordan Sakal '14 of East Hartford joined more than 4,000 other undergraduate scholars from across the country on April 3-5 for the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research held at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. The three-day event included student presentations from anthropology to zoology and everything in between, as well as career and graduate school workshops and networking events.
Rainone's paper, "Slut: The Deconstruction and Recoding of a Defamatory Term," explored the ways in which offensive labeling influences social interaction. Her rhetorical analysis included the history of the term as well as an examination of several contemporary controversies.
Sakal's paper, "The Effect of Social Media on Political Awareness," analyzed the role of mass media and digital media in the construction of citizens' political viewpoints. Terri Toles-Patkin, professor of communication, accompanied the students to the conference, with Eastern's Office of Undergraduate Research providing financial support.
Eastern Mathematicians Make Discovery
Two members of Eastern's Mathematics Department have made a discovery in the field of mathematics known as "number theory." Eastern Mathematics Professor Mizan Khan and Richard "Ricky" Magner, a junior from Beacon Falls, CT, majoring in mathematics, will have their discovery published in Volume 14 of the electronic journal INTEGERS.
The research, titled "Two Combinatorial Geometric Problems Involving Modular Hyperbolas," was a collaborative effort among four scholars, including Khan and Magner, as well as Steven Senger of the University of Delaware and Arne Winterhof of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. "The research concerned two problems, and Ricky answered one of them," said Khan. "Ricky's discovery is quite pretty; he is very clever."
"Questions in number theory are easy to state," said Magner, "but they are difficult to answer, and their implications are often unknown." Both Khan and Magner agree that the discovery alone has no practical application. "While the solution is elegant, this is a minor discovery," said Khan. "In this case, it is the process that is important, not the solution. My hope is that Ricky will build on this experience to prove bigger theorems in the future when he is in graduate school."
"Through solving problems you develop skill and build an 'arsenal,' which can lead to new discoveries and expand the field of mathematics," said Magner. "At the time, you may not know if the discovery is useful. It may be years before its use is realized."
Magner also recently received an Honorable Mention from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The Goldwater Scholarship program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The program recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate the potential to make significant research contributions in their future careers.
Mama Publishes News Book; Named "Super Professor"
English Professor Raouf Mama has published his long-awaited memoir, "Fortune's Favored Child," new from the Curbstone imprint of Northwestern University Press.
"Master Storyteller" Mama is widely known for his books and especially for his African and multicultural storytelling, which incorporates poetry, song, music, and dance. In Fortune's Favorite Child, Mama tells his own story, beginning in the West African country of Benin. Through a harrowing experience with sickness, an encounter with a clairvoyant traditional healer and astonishing twists of fortune, he struggles to uncover his real identity, to get an education, and to make his own way in the world. His journey takes him to the United States to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan and to begin a new chapter in his life.
"Fortune's Favored Child chronicles the nearly Dickensian journey of a master storyteller whose resilience, hope and abiding love of learning guide him along the way," said noted author Wally Lamb. "With its evocative use of local color detail, Mama's memoir transport¬ed this reader to faraway Africa even as it retold the classic coming-of-age story of a young seeker on a quest for wisdom and enlightenment."
Ella T. Grasso Award Winners
Eastern presented its Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Awards on March 26. The program recognizes members of the campus and local community whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting Grasso's ideals to advance women's rights and gender equality. Awards were given to Betsy Wade, the first woman to be a copy editor at The New York Times and a former resident of Willimantic; Kathleen McGrory, a distinguished member of the Eastern faculty and former academic vice president in the 1980s; and Eastern student Belinda Kwakye.
The keynote speaker of the event was Connecticut Superior Court Justice Maria Araujo Kahn. "I benefitted from the women who came before me like Ella T. Grasso," said Kahn. "They paved the way to success for girls and women like me and for students like you."
Wade was the first woman copy reader ever hired by The New York Times, the first woman chief copy editor on the foreign desk and the writer of the Practical Traveler column for 14 years. McGrory returned to Eastern after administrative and teaching positions at Hartford College for Women, Stanford University, the University of Virginia and Georgetown. "At Eastern, Kathy took action," said Provost Rhona Free. "When she was an academic vice president, she singlehandedly raised Eastern's percentage of female workers on campus from 13 percent to 25 percent and she was also instrumental in founding the first women's center on campus."
Belinda Kwakye, a senior who helped found the Black Student Union on campus, is an advocate for both the LGBT community as well as for clients of the Department of Children and Families. Above, McGrory, Kwayke, Nunez, and Jennifer Boylan, accepting for Betsy Wade.
Eastern Receives National EPA Award
The Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern has received a prestigious national award honoring its accomplishments in energy efficiency and sustainability. The 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award, was presented in Washington, D.C., on April 29 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, recognizes the institute's work with Connecticut towns, state agencies, school buildings and college campuses to strategically and comprehensively manage energy use.
"We are honored to be recognized nationally for the contributions the Institute for Sustainable Energy has made to energy conservation and sustainability in Connecticut," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "In addition to being a leader in evaluating energy efficiency and supporting the adoption of practical energy solutions in municipalities and school systems across our state, the institute has provided dozens of Eastern student interns with the skills necessary to augment our state's clean energy workforce."
Established in 2001, the institute has performed Energy Star "benchmarking" on more than 40 percent of Connecticut's 1,000 public schools, 170 state facilities and more than 120 other municipal buildings. The institute also connects towns and agencies with the many energy incentive programs available in Connecticut, accelerating the installation of energy efficient equipment.
The ISE has also been awarded a $166,000 grant from the Office of Higher Education. The grant will allow ISE to work with Eastern, Central and Southern Connecticut State University staff, along with environmental educators, to educate 50 K-12 teachers from across the state. For more information on the grant, contact Laurel Kohl, energy education specialist at (860) 465-0256 or visit www.sustainenergy.org
Two of Eastern's most highly respected faculty members delivered their "Last Lecture," a new series the University hopes will become a tradition. On March 26, Professor William Newell, who has announced his retirement from the Department of Political Science, Philosophy and Geography at the end of this academic year, gave his "Last Lecture" in Science 301. The "Last Lecture" event provides an opportunity for the campus community to hear professors reflect on his or her discipline and career, and to celebrate their many years as a teacher and scholar. The topic of Newell's lecture was "Jesus: A Life." The second event "Last Lecture" series was held on April 16 in Science 301. Retiring Health and Physical Education Professor Neil Williams's last lecture was titled, "I Was Supposed to be a Lawyer." Eastern wishes Professors Newell and Williams well as they leave many years of teaching, research and scholarship at Eastern.
Elks Club Names Eastern Professor "Citizen of the Year"
Eastern Chemistry Professor Charles Wynn has been named 2014 Citizen of the Year by the Willimantic Elks Club. Wynn earned this award for his commitment to community service and leadership roles in volunteer organizations.
Wynn got his first taste of volunteering in the late 1960s as a Peace Corps volunteer, when he spent two years in Malaysia as a science education lecturer at the Malayan Teachers College in Penang. "Through volunteering you meet exceptional people; the types of people you didn't even know existed," said Wynn. "Those people and experiences with them expand your perspective of the world."
Wynn's causes include working with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, supporting cancer patients and serving those afflicted with blindness. "I consider myself a very fortunate person. I volunteer because I want to give back," said Wynn. "As John F. Kennedy said, 'Of those to whom much is given, much is required.'"
Wynn is involved with numerous charitable organizations locally, regionally and at Eastern. Some of his roles include being the long-time meet director of the Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet; president of the Greater Windham Unit of the American Cancer Society; former member of the Board of Directors of Camp Horizons; and past president of the Willimantic Lions Club.
Eastern inducted its sixth class of Alumni Fellows on March 26 in the Paul E. Johnson Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. Inductees included Robert Hacker '86, a dentist who runs a successful practice, and William Kelly '82, deputy director of securities lending for Bank New York Mellon.
Hacker '86 earned his degree in biology at Eastern and went on to Tufts School of Dental Medicine, where he earned his Doctor of Medical Dentistry degree. He travels to Ecuador annually with his family to provide free dental work for poor children. Hacker is also a member of the American Dental Association, the Connecticut State Dental Association and the Branford Chamber of Commerce.
Kelly double majored in Economics and Public Policy and Government at Eastern. Today he serves as deputy director of securities lending for Bank New York Mellon, a role in which he is responsible for more than $300 billion of business activity, and Global Head of Client Management, where he makes sure the bank's list of clients are satisfied with the services provided by the investment professionals he supervises. As part of his job, Kelly has traveled throughout the United States and to nearly 30 countries.
The Eastern College Bowl completed its 37th consecutive season this past March. Held in the Student Center Theatre, the College Bowl is a competition for undergraduates representing various majors. The championship match saw the lead exchanged several times, and the match that was not decided until the final question. The team representing the Environmental Earth Science (EES) Department defeated the team from the Political Science Department. EES had won matches against Economics and Mathematics to reach the finals, while Political Science had won its previous matches over Biochemistry and Biology. The winning EES team included students Dustin Munson, Cody Lorentson, Daniel Grondin and Mackenzie Fannon.
College Bowl questions come from many different academic and non-academic areas, often involving audio or visual clues. Questions in this year's championship match included ones involving Dante's "Inferno," Julius Caesar and his crossing the Rubicon, phobias, songs from Disney movies and one titled, "The Doors of Eastern," in which contestants were asked to identify buildings on campus after seeing photographs of their front doors. The question that decided the winner of the 2014 College Bowl involved the naming of Transuranium elements. The College Bowl is organized and run by Tim Swanson, associate professor of physical science, who originated the competition in 1978. This year, he was assisted by Biology Professor Gloria Colurso and Martin Levin, interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Eastern Hosts 14th Annual Research Conference
Eastern held its 14th Annual Arts and Sciences Research Conference and Exhibition (ASRCE) on April 12. The event featured oral and visual presentations of student-led scientific research and artwork. More than 50 presentations were delivered by students from a range of academic departments. Mike Manzi, a junior majoring in environmental earth science (EES), presented on shoreline erosion due to weathering along Block Island. "I have enjoyed being a part of every step of the scientific process," said Manzi. "The best part is knowing that the information from my project can be used in the future by others doing research in this field."
"Students studying environmental earth science have the opportunity to carry out exciting field-based research," said EES Professor William Cunningham. "Last summer undergraduates carried out original research in Idaho, Spain and various localities around southern New England. Their findings were presented at Saturday's event."
At the ASRCE, Mathematics Professor Mizan Khan won the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Mentor Award. He was nominated by one of his students, Richard Magner, who has conducted extensive "number theory" research with Khan. "Students who are interested in doing research should ask a faculty member about opportunities in their area of interest," said Psychology Professor Madeleine Fugere. "I am always impressed by the quality of the research presented at this event."
Laura Markley, a junior majoring in EES, presented on population, natural resources and sea level rising in Bangladesh. "My research experience at Eastern has provided me with invaluable hands-on field experience," said Markley. "I'm lucky to be able to present on topics that interest me and address real-world problems."
"This event gives students the chance to experience the 'next step' in the research process--presentation," said Peter Bachiochi, psychology professor and faculty mentor. "It is very motivating for them."
"As a faculty mentor it is very rewarding to see your students present. It represents the culmination of a lot of hard work," said Fugere. "The ASRCE is one of the best academic events all year."
School of Education/Professional Studies Hosts 14th Annual Excellence Expo
Eastern's School of Education/Professional Studies and Graduate Division held its 14th Annual Excellence Expo on April 15 in the Student Center. More than 110 students, supported by 10 faculty mentors, presented research projects and posters showcasing the five departments in the School of Education/Professional Studies and Graduate Division: Business Administration, Communication, Economics, Education, and Health and Physical Education. Presentations included business marketing plans and communication advertising campaigns; research presentations from business and education students; and a gallery photography exhibit of framed prints and color slides, just to name a few. Poster research included topics on communication law and ethics, health communication issues, and systems analysis.
125 Years of Science
On April 10, "Doing Science at Eastern," the fourth in the series of spring events celebrating Eastern's 125th Anniversary, took place in the Betty R. Tipton Room. The audience heard from current science majors and saw six emeriti faculty who were featured in a short, informative video, "The Bards of Science," about the past 50 years of science at Eastern. Outstanding science students thanked and credited Eastern's science faculty for helping to share and direct their careers through meaningful internships.
The audience also participated in a fun activity, "Are You Smarter than a College Freshman," which tested its knowledge of science facts. Winners, mostly students, walked off with the most prizes, which showed how well they learn at Eastern. Following the presentations, the campus community had the opportunity to see science demonstrations, experiments, and other examples of student and faculty scholarship in the Science Building and Planetarium.
Earlier in the day, Eastern's science departments hosted 70 students from the local Windham STEM Academy.
Admitted Student Decision Day
Five hundred admitted students and their families visited Eastern's campus on March 29 to find out more about the University and ensure that Eastern is the right college choice for them. President Elsa Núñez welcomed a packed audience in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium to "Admitted Student Decision Day," telling the students, "Say yes to Eastern if you want to be engaged socially," explaining the variety of more than 70 student clubs and organizations on campus. "Say yes to Eastern if you want a meaningful resume," she said, detailing the internships, paid co-ops, research opportunities and service learning courses that help students apply their liberal arts courses. "Say yes to Eastern if you want to join the list of accomplished Eastern alumni."
Admitted students then sat in on "mock" classes ranging from improvisational theatre to computer gaming to sports management. Parents in attendance were also treated to their own special session, where a panel of current Eastern parents explained what is expected of a parent at Eastern. Other afternoon sessions covered career planning/development; advising; study abroad opportunities; orientation; and the benefits of a liberal arts education. Meetings with financial aid staff and campus tours were also available.
Junior Preview Day
On April 13, the Office of Admissions hosted Junior Preview Day in the Student Center. Juniors in high schools from across Connecticut and surrounding states, along with their families, visited campus to familiarize themselves with Eastern's unique public liberal arts learning experience.
"Eastern provides an affordable top quality undergraduate education, even for many from out-of state, that prepares students to begin their career or pursue graduate school," according to Ned Harris, director of enrollment management. "The University is able to do this," he said, "by pairing outstanding, diverse faculty with great students in small classes, undergraduate research and global field courses."
Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez greeted the students and their families. The program provided information on Eastern's approach to applying one's academic pursuits in practice, admissions, financial aid, housing and residential life, athletics, student academic resources and student activities. Visitors were also provided guided tours of campus with Eastern student ambassadors.
On April 1 in the Student Center, more than 400 students participated in Eastern's largest and most successful career fair in recent years. The fair featured representatives from more than 70 local and national companies and organizations, and connected students to full-time jobs, internships and opportunities to work abroad. The companies and organizations ranged from Connecticut public school systems to the Armed Forces, software firms to insurance companies, the FBI to the Peace Corps, newspapers to Six Flags, with two additional rooms dedicated to nonprofits.
Clifford Marrett, director of the Center for Internship and Career Development, said, "It's been a couple of years since our last career fair, so we worked hard to make this a big one with a variety of employers. We especially focused on having employers that applied to all of the majors offered at Eastern."
The Student Center's Betty R. Tipton Room and two additional conference rooms were teeming with students dressed in professional attire, trading freshly written resumes--some of which were fine-tuned at the "Resumania" event on March 31--for business cards and brochures from company representatives.
One of the career fair's sponsors was software-provider company RMI, which was represented by Eastern graduate Stephanie Armagno '12, a theatre major and now an RMI staff consultant. "I love my job and we're looking to hire more full-time people," said Armagno. "Some of my work includes customer service, trouble shooting and leading trainings."
The Way of the Elders
Ajahn Boumlieng, a Buddhist monk of the Lao Lan Xang Temple in Willington, CT, spoke in the J. Eugene Smith Library on April 8. "The Way of the Elders: Buddhism and the Lao Community in Connecticut," examined Theravada Buddhism and Lao culture.
Theravada directly translates to "the way of the elders," and is among the oldest and most traditional forms of Buddhism. It closely follows the teachings of Buddha and focuses on meditation. "Meditation is the most important part of my culture," said Boumlieng. "Meditation can be active or still, but must focus on breath."
Speaking of the goal of meditation, Boumlieng said, "The mind is like water; naturally clear, but able to be colored." The mind is colored by thoughts and emotions, which Boumlieng calls "monkey mind." Clarity is the state of mind hoped to be achieved through meditation. In his culture, monks are highly revered and are not expected to work; they are totally supported by the community.
Through enlightening themselves, the community benefits, as monks provide a service as teachers and counselors.
The Workforce of the Future
Students, faculty, staff and guests crowded the Betty R. Tipton Room during the evening of March 31 to learn about "The Workforce of the Future," a networking event and panel discussion sponsored by The Department of Business Administration; the Business Advisory Board; the Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management; the Human Resource Leadership Association of Eastern Connecticut; and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association Education Foundation.
The evening began with displays of student creativity and achievements put on by the Accounting, BIS, Entrepreneurship, SHRM and Marketing clubs.
A panel of HR experts then discussed the business sector job market and where it might be in the next five years. Panelists included Judith Resnick, executive director, CBIA Education Foundation; Marty Levine, SPHR, senior human resources professional with 25+ years of experience in hospital management; Michael Christina, an Eastern graduate who currently works at Aetna in HR Analytics; and Psychology Professor Peter Bachiochi; the moderator was Meredith Diette from Siegel, O'Connor, O'Donnell and Beck, P.C.
On April 7, a group of students presented "Alcohol Monologues" on the stage in the Student Center Café. "Alcohol Monologues" enables students to anonymously write about their experiences and choose whether or not they wish to share their experiences with other students. The activity began in Health and Physical Education Professor Nanette Tummers' personal health class two years ago, when a student suggested that students voice their experiences with alcohol similar to the Vagina Monologues. The April 7 presentation was done in conjunction with the Women's Center and the Office of Housing and Residential Life.
On May 9, Eastern's baseball team continued its winning ways with a hard-fought 7-6 victory over University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth in the winner's bracket of the 2014 Little East Conference Baseball Tournament at the Eastern Baseball Stadium. A winner of nine straight games and 24 of its last 26, Eastern (31-7) needs to win only one game on Saturday (against either the University of Southern Maine or a return match with the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth) to receive an automatic bid to the Division III NCAA regional tournament. The victory on May 9 was the third in three days in the tournament; Eastern beat Rhode Island College 9-5 on Wednesday, May 7, and then conquered the University of Massachusetts-Boston by a score of on Thursday.