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."