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February 2011 Archives

Bowling for Buck$ at Eastern: Annual Bowlathon

Written by Kate Harner

bowlathon.JPGWillimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University will hold its annual Bowlathon at 11 a.m. on March 5 at Willi Bowl on Route 6 in North Windham, CT.  

The Bowlathon has become an annual tradition involving the Eastern community, alumni, local businesses and the general public to raise funds for scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to a minimum of five high school seniors who will enroll at Eastern next fall. Eligible students must attend a high school within a 20-mile radius of Eastern's campus.

 Students, faculty and staff, alumni and local businesses are encouraged to send teams to participate in the Bowlathon. Each team consists of four bowlers, who will each bowl three games. Each bowler must raise a minimum of $30 to bowl. Prizes will be given to the winning teams. Gifts will be given to everyone for participating. A pizza lunch is included.

Business-sponsored teams must register as "Striker" level sponsors ($300) or higher.   Pledge sheets, team registration forms and sponsorship forms are located online at: Team registration and sponsor forms should be returned to the ECSU Foundation, located at 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, Gelsi-Young Hall, Institutional Advancement, Room 120.  Pledge forms and pledge money must be turned in by March 4, 2011. 


Eastern Performs "Fab Fables"

Written by Kate Harner

FabFables1.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - On Feb. 10, students in Eastern Connecticut State University's Theatre Department performed "Fab Fables," the culminating project of the fall 2010 Children's Theatre class, which was taught by Ellen Faith Brodie, professor and director of theatre.

"Fab Fables" included two short plays that focused on American tales and magical themes. Jeff Himmelman wrote "The Goody Witches of Killingworth." It was directed by Max Loignon, a senior theatre major from Cheshire, who was assisted by Stephanie LaPointe, a senior communication major from Willimantic, and Katherine McManus, a senior communication major from Columbia. The short play entertained audience members with 18th-century Connecticut folklore. The other featured short play, "Wiley and The Hairy Man," written by Susan Zeder and co-directed by LaPointe and McManus, took audiences deep into Louisiana. Entre-acts written by Sarah Dillon, a junior theatre major from Putnam, connected the two plays like a road trip from Connecticut to Louisiana.


FabFables2.JPG"The children in the audience got a chance to get away from school to sit down and watch a show that not only tells a story, but allows them to laugh and have fun," said Munroe Carter, a senior individualized major from Manchester.

"Fab Fables" will tour schools in the eastern Connecticut area this spring and summer. The production will feature portable sets designed by Luke Reinwald, a senior theatre major from Branford; make-up by Blaine Tetlow, a freshman theatre major from North Stonington; and props designed by Craig Harlow, a senior theatre major from East Haven.


Students and Faculty Recognized at Theatre Festival

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University theatre students and their productions were recognized at the annual Region I Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), held at Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, MA, from Jan. 25-30. Ellen Brodie, director of theatre; J.J. Cobb, assistant professor of theatre; Robert Sweetnam, assistant professor of theatre and design; and Chase Rozelle, associate professor of theatre and technical director, accompanied 29 Eastern students to the festival.

            Students who attended included Stephanie Armagno, a junior theatre major from Colchester; Janaya Barnes, a sophomore theatre major from Windsor Locks; Olivia Beaullan-Thong, a freshman theatre major from Hamden; Laura Cuffe, a junior theatre major from Tolland; Shannon Delahanty, a junior English major from Wallingford; Ben Donnel, a senior theatre major from Groton; Keri Dumka, a junior theatre major from Burlington; Ben Friedman, a senior communication major from Bristol; Ryan Gearity, a junior theatre major from Woodbury; Amanda Hale, a senior theatre major from Willimantic; Craig Harlow, a senior theatre major from East Haven; Seana Hendrickson, a junior theatre major from North Grosvenordale; Shane Kegler, a senior theatre major from Mansfield Center; Gia Kilbrith, a senior psychology major from Cold Spring Harbor, NY; Stephanie LaPointe, a senior communication major from Willimantic; Paul Lietz, a sophomore theatre major from Somers; Max Loignon, a senior theatre major from Cheshire; Katherine McManus, a senior communication major from Columbia; Hilary Osborn, a junior theatre major from Columbia; Sarah Paprocki, a sophomore theatre major from Norwich; Lydia Pollard, a junior theatre major from Oakdale; Luke Reinwald, a senior theatre major from Branford; Alexis Smith, a junior music major from Windham; Elizabeth Swan, a junior English major from Woodstock; Blaine Tetlow, a freshman theatre major from North Stonington; David Thomson, a freshman theatre major from Branford; Denis Ugurlu, a junior theatre major from Haddam Neck; Jason Wadecki, a senior communication major from Ledyard; and Corey Welden, a freshman from Mansfield Center.

Wadecki, Smith and Alex Renner, a senior music major from Uxbridge, won honorable mentions for their presentations in the final round at the Design, Technology and Management Expo, which included 130 entries.

Smith also won a full scholarship for a one-week workshop session of her choice at the Stage Craft Institute of Las Vegas. She presented her original music for Eastern's play, "Pleasure Beach," a performance in December 2010 on which she and Renner collaborated. Smith set up her laptop and MIDI keyboard and allowed respondents to use them to understand how she and Renner ran the sound during the performances.

Leonardo Gaviria, a senior communication major from Norwich, was awarded a merit certificate for his videography on "Pleasure Beach." Shane Kegler, a senior theatre major from Mansfield Center, after adjudication as the student director of "Quyne Paterson," was chosen as one of 12 student directors from Region I, which encompasses Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and northeast New York, to compete in the stage directors and choreographers directing fellowship competition.

Eleven Eastern students competed for Irene Ryan acting scholarships after having been chosen by KCACTF respondents who adjudicated shows at Eastern. The Irene Ryan candidates included Cuffe, Donnel, Hale, Hendrickson, Kilbrith, Lietz, Loignon, Osborn, Paprocki, Reinwald and Swan. The Irene Ryan partners included Armagno, Beaullan-Thong, Delahanty, Dumka, Harlow, Kegler, McManus, Pollard, Thomson, Ugurlu and Welden.

Rozelle also received recognition for five years of outstanding service to the Region I KCACTF as the co-chair of design and technologies for the annual festival.


Eastern to Perform Vagina Monologues

Written by Julianne Bass

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University students, faculty and staff will perform "The Vagina Monologues" on Feb. 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. The theatrical performance, put on by Eastern's Women's Center, will include actresses from Eastern and the larger community, who will bring to life monologues about women moving past violence, rejection and shame to fully accepting their bodies and reclaiming their sexuality. Admission for this event is $5. Tickets can be purchased at the information desk in the Student Center.

All proceeds from the shows will be donated to two local non-profit agencies -- the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Eastern Connecticut and the United Services Domestic Violence Program, which provide services to women and children in the Willimantic community.

February is the month of love and "The Vagina Monologues" is pairing it with awareness as part of the global movement known as "V-Day." Valentine, Vagina and Victory  is what the "V" in V-Day stands for, linking love and respect for women together with ending violence against them.  

            "The Vagina Monologues" were written in 1996 by performance artist Eve Ensler. In drafting her early monologues, Ensler conducted interviews with 200 women on the subjects of sex, relationships and violence against women. Since 1996, a new monologue has been added to the performance each year to highlight a current issue affecting women around the world. This year the production will showcase the violence that women and children experience in Haiti.


Cherokee Film Producer Comes to Eastern

Written by Tim Talley


Willimantic, Conn. - Heather Rae, who has produced more than a dozen documentaries and a half dozen feature films, will discuss the images of Native peoples in the public media, film and popular culture as part of Eastern Connecticut State University's University Hour series. Rae's presentation will be held at 3 p.m. on March 2 in Eastern's Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free.

          Rae, who is of Cherokee decent, recently produced the Academy Award-nominated "Frozen River," which won the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for $1 million. Prior to "Frozen River," Rae served as producer of "Out of the Blue," the documentary about the Boise State Broncos' dramatic January 2007 Fiesta Bowl win against The University of Oklahoma.

            Rae has produced documentary films with CBS's 500 Nations, Turner Broadcasting's The Native Americans and PBS' Storytellers of the Pacific. In 2009, "Variety" named Rae one of "10 Producers to Watch" for her success with both independent and mainstream films. Rae also served as an adjunct professor at Boise State University, teaching "Producing the Independent Film." Rae is a former member the board of directors for Treasure Valley Television, Boise's community TV affiliate, and chair for the board for the regional True West Cinema Festival.

Students Receive United Nations Honor

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, CT -- Three Eastern Connecticut State University students joined Executive Vice President Michael Pernal and Akus Gallery Director Elizabeth Peterson on Jan. 29 for the inaugural Arts for Peace Salon at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel in New York City.

The salon was presented by Arts for Peace, an initiative of the World Association of Former United Nations Internes and Fellows (WAFUNIF,, and was organized by Director Dean Leslie and Development Officer Frank Dominguez. "Arts for Peace puts art into practice and uses it for peace in real and usable ways," said Leslie.  "It touches real people in their communities. We use visual arts, dance, performance, music and communications to further our mission."


Paintings from "Haiti Rising: Selections from the Stanley Popiel and Ingrid Feddersen Collection of Eastern Connecticut State University." 

The Eastern students' band, The Phantoms, was awarded the 2011 United Nations Arts for Peace Emerging Artists Award for their humanitarian work this past January, when they volunteered in Haitian orphanages and spread their message of love and peace through music.

Band members include Jordan Lorrius, a senior communication major from Stamford; Matthew Grosjean, a senior political science and economics major from Ellington; senior Donald Palardy '11, a computer science major from Jewett City; and Christopher Brechlin '10 from Meriden.


                                          Ingrid Feddersen

The Phantoms performed "Ayiti Kanpe," which means "Stand up, Haiti," and "Volim te New York," which draws parallels between the NATO bombings of Belgrade, Serbia, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.

Lorrius and Jourdan Urbach, a sophomore at Yale University who is both a violin virtuoso and philanthropist, were also named United Nations Arts for Peace Goodwill Ambassadors.


                          United Nations Director Dean Leslie

On display during the salon was the exhibition "Haiti Rising: Selections from the Stanley Popiel and Ingrid Feddersen Collection of Eastern Connecticut State University."  The late Stanley Popiel and his wife, Ingrid Feddersen, donated more than 240 Haitian paintings and sculptures to Eastern in 2000. Feddersen spoke at the Arts for Peace Salon about her and Popiel's frequent visits to Haiti between 1975 and 1999, when they collected art and worked with the Haitian Health Foundation ( 

Haitian artist Serge Geffrard, many of whose surrealist paintings are in Eastern's exhibition, was also present and answered questions about the artwork.

"This collection is not just a gift from Popeil and Fedderson, but also a gift from the Haitian artists and people themselves," said Executive Vice President Michael Pernal. "We are honored to have these works displayed at Eastern and at this event."

UN-Pernal and peterson.JPG

Elizabeth Peterson, director of Eastern's Akus Gallery and Michael Pernal, Eastern's executive vice president.

Peterson, director of Eastern's Akus Gallery, curated the Haitian art exhibition, which had previously traveled to the Yale Institute of Sacred Music in summer 2010. "Haiti is one of the richest nations in the world -- not in material wealth, but in cultural life," said Peterson.  "Art and music are the heartbeat of Haitian culture.  Haitian artists and musicians know better than most of us that the arts are what buoy you up, inspire, empower and delight. Art is an essential ingredient for peace and well-being."

Peterson spoke about the loss of thousands of works of art, particularly in Port-au-Prince at the National School of Art, the Center of Art, and the George Nader Gallery and Museum, as well as conservation initiatives spearheaded by the Smithsonian Institute to repair damage and train a new generation of Haitian conservators.


Willimantic Orchestra to Perform Winter Concert

Written by Kate Harner

WillimanticOrchestra.JPGWillimantic, CT -- The Willimantic Orchestra will present a concert at 3 p.m. on Feb. 27 in Shafer Auditorium at Eastern Connecticut State University. Admission is free; however, a donation is suggested.

The orchestra will perform its featured selection, Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," a jazz concerto for piano and orchestra. Other performances include Bock's "Fiddler on the Roof" symphonic dances, Waldteufel's "Skater's Waltz" and Meacham's "American Patrol," among others. Annette Shapiro, local piano virtuoso, will play with the orchestra.

The Willimantic Orchestra is a nonprofit orchestra made up of local community members committed to authentic orchestral music. David Vaughan, adjunct professor of performing arts, conducts the ensemble.

For more information, contact Fred Wengrzynek, president of the orchestra, at (860) 228-4008, or visit






Aardvark Jazz Orchestra to Perform

Written by Kate Harner

AardvarkJazzOrchestra group shot.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, led by music director Mark Harvey, along with Eastern Connecticut State University's Concert Chorale, led by Director of Vocal Studies David Belles, will perform "Celebrating Mary Lou Williams, First Lady of Jazz," at 7 p.m. on March 16 in Shafer Auditorium. The performance is part of Eastern's 10th Annual Arts and Lecture Series.

Aard Mary Lou Williams 1944 piano.JPG            The event celebrates African American and Women's History Months and honors the legendary Mary Lou Williams, an African American composer who rose to prominence in the pre-Civil Rights/pre-Women's Rights era. Dubbed the "First Lady of Jazz," Williams (1910-1981) composed and arranged music for many leading bands, most notably Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington.

            The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will showcase Williams' masterpieces, such as the Swing-era classic "Roll 'Em" (featuring Eastern's Jazz Ensemble led by Joseph Tomanelli) and the rarely heard "Scorpio," the only known movement from the 1945 "Zodiac Suite" that Williams wrote for big band. Eastern's Concert Chorale will join the orchestra in a rendition of "Gloria" from "Mary Lou's Mass." In addition, Harvey will present the world premiere of "Soul on Soul," his tribute to Williams written for the occasion.

            The orchestra has won various awards, including one for Best Jazz Recording at the 2000 Independent Music Awards for "Scamology," and has released 10 albums since 1973. The group has also premiered more than 100 works for jazz orchestra.

            In addition to free admission to Eastern faculty, staff, and students, admission to the

Arts and Lecture Series events is free to all middle school, high school and college students,

who are encouraged to attend. Admission for the general public is $10 per ticket; tickets can

be reserved by calling (860) 465-0036 or sending an email to For

information on the 2010-11 Arts and Lecture Series, visit

Eastern Seeks Volunteers for Special Olympics

Written by Julianne Bass

special olympics swimmer 2.jpgWillimantic, CT - On March 12, more than 200 athletes will take part in the 32nd Annual Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Windham High School in Willimantic. Eastern Connecticut State University is looking for volunteers and requesting that volunteers return their registration forms before Feb. 28.

            The Special Olympics is a year-round program of physical fitness, sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and the swim meet is one of the culminating events for Special Olympics athletes in the region.

Eastern Chemistry Professor Charles Wynn, who has been the swim meet director for the past 16 years, says he expects that more than 350 volunteers will be needed to make the event the most successful Special Olympics Swim Meet in Connecticut.

Each volunteer is paired with one athlete and assists them in registering for events, cheering on their efforts and involving them in activities while they are not swimming. "In addition, volunteers will be needed for sports clinics, food service and water safety, said Wynn. "Clinics also are offered in various sports, aerobics and arts and crafts." By volunteering, helpers will aid in fostering positive self-esteem, work ethic, and friendship with the Special Olympic athletes and realize what a rewarding experience it is to be a contributing member to the betterment of their community and the lives of those living in it. 

            According to a study conducted at Yale University, Special Olympics athletes perform better at school, at work and home the longer they participate in the program. The study found that the Special Olympics has a direct and positive effect on their self-image and ability to function in a social setting. They acquire skills that help them gain employment, maintain relationships, function independently and contribute to community life.

            Volunteers will be provided with lunch and a souvenir Windham Special Olympics T-shirt. Volunteer forms may be picked up at the main office in Eastern's Sports Center. This event is approved for community service credit.


            For more information, please contact Charles Wynn at (860) 465-5258 or Geri White at (860) 455-9196.


Close to Discuss Connecticut's First African American Professor

Written by Tim Talley

close-newtown friends school.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - Stacey Close, professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University, will discuss the historical significance of Eastern's hiring the first African American professor in the State of Connecticut as part of Eastern's University Hour series. Close's presentation will be held at 3 p.m. on Feb. 16 in Eastern's Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free.

close- close up.JPG          Juliette Phifer Bursterman became the first African American professor in the State of Connecticut when she accepted a job as assistant professor at what was then Willimantic State Teachers College in 1948. In 1959, she was promoted to the rank of full professor and remained at Eastern until her retirement in 1974.


close - with gov. meskill.JPG            Bursterman received a Bachelor of Science degree from Winston-Salem Teachers College in 1929 and her Master of Arts in Education in 1933 from the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City. During the 1933-34 school year, Bursterman taught at the Newbold Training School, which was associated with the State Teachers College in Fayetteville, NC. In the 1934-35 school year, she took leave from the Fayetteville Teachers College to serve as state supervisor of adult education at the Federal Emergency Relief Program in North Carolina. The following year, she returned to the Newbold Training School as principal and remained there until 1946. Bursterman received her doctorate from New York University in 1948.


Dean's List for Fall 2010 Semester

Written by Dwight Bachman

Willimantic, CT--Please find below a list of full- and part-time students from Eastern Connecticut State University who have achieved Dean's List status during the Fall 2010 academic semester. Many of them are from your readership area and we have listed them by town for your convenience.

            Eastern is proud of its students. Their accomplishments are the result of hard work and discipline. The students and their families look forward to seeing their names in your publication.  Thank you for helping us spread the news of their achievement.


The Jack Lemmon Legacy

Written by Tim Talley

jack lemmon.jpg

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Department of Performing Arts is featuring the films of legendary actor Jack Lemmon in its first February Film Series. "The Jack Lemmon Legacy" will showcase comedic classics of the man affectionately known as "the extraordinary ordinary man." Films will be presented on selected Saturdays in February with introductions and talks by guest film critics. The film screenings will follow each of the introductory discussions, which begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.

            On Feb. 12, Robert Kagan, chair of the communications department at Manchester Community College (MCC), will introduce "The Out of Towners." Kagan is an active documentary filmmaker and director of the monthly International Film Festival at MCC. He has facilitated film programs at the Wadsworth Atheneum and Real Art Ways in Hartford.

            On Feb. 26, Scott Higgins, associate professor of film studies at Wesleyan University, will introduce "The Front Page." Higgins has authored several books including "Harnessing the Technicolor Rainbow" and "Media Studies." He specializes in the history, aesthetics and theory of American cinema.

            The series has already featured Deborah Gaudet, curator of film and theater at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, who introduced "The Odd Couple" on Feb. 5. Gaudet currently sits on the Board of CATO (Connecticut Association of Theater Owners). She has been a featured speaker at various institutions and has attended and taken groups to film festivals around the world including the Febio Fest in Prague, Czech Republic; Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece; and the San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain.

            The February Film series is presented in partnership with The Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities at St. Joseph College, which will show four Lemmon films. Admission is free for Eastern students; $5 for Eastern faculty, staff, alumni and groups of ten or more; and $10 for the general public. For information about the films shown at Eastern, call the box office at (860) 465-5123.  For information on films shown at St. Joseph, call their box office at (860) 231-5555.



Ilse Pfeifer to Present an Improvisation of Dance

Written by Tim Talley

Willimantic, Conn. - Ilse Pfeifer, a prominent voice and movement specialist, will delight the audience with an improvisation of dance at Eastern Connecticut State University at 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 in Shafer Auditorium in Shafer Hall, located at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. The presentation is part of Eastern's University Hour. The public is invited. Admission is free.

        The human condition will be explored and exposed in performances that are comedic, dramatic and run the spectrum of emotions from joy to pathos.

            "Pfeifer brings a unique appreciation and expertise as a former ballet dancer to her teaching of voice, as she truly understands the breath, body and voice connections that are essential for the actor to perform efficiently and excellently," said Ellen Brodie, director of theatre and professor of performing arts at Eastern. "She works extensively with professional performers as a private coach as well as with novice performers and relates to them, having performed for years herself--first as a dancer and now as a singer and actor, as well as a choreographer and movement artist."

            Currently, Pfeifer teaches at the New York City-based HB Studios and the Atlantic Theatre Company. As a ballerina who trained in Germany and Great Britain, Pfeifer has extensive experience in choreography and teaching. Pfeifer is a certified associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voiceworks, a voice-training workshop that is taught in numerous studios and university drama schools.


Professor Produces "The Screen Project"

Written by Kate Harner

ScreenProjectOne (2).JPGWillimantic, Conn. - June Bisantz, professor of digital art and design at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Harrison Judd, photographer and digital archivist to Maurice Sendak, will produce "The Screen Project," Connecticut's first Urban Screens event, from sunset to midnight on Feb. 11-21. The event will be held at five locations on Main Street in Willimantic, including Cafémantic, the Willimantic Public Library and the former Nassif's for Sports facility. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            The Urban Screens concept uses architectural surfaces as "canvases" for creative work. Bisantz and Judd will connect eastern Connecticut to the global art community with "The Screen Project," using downtown Willimantic as their setting. They call the event an "optimistic experiment in illumination, architecture and art in public spaces," and will exhibit local, regional and national artists' work as video projections in "Love in a Cold Climate," the project's first exhibition.

ScreenProjectTwo (2).JPG

            The project includes video, animation, moving text and poetry by New York City artists Holly Anderson, Caroline Beasely-Baker, and Flash Rosenberg; Texas artist Sev Coursen; and Connecticut artists Sue Berg and Rachel Siporin, as well as Bisantz and Judd.

The ECSU Design Group, a team of 10 student artists from Eastern Connecticut State University's Digital Art and Design program who designed promotional materials and billboards for the event, will also exhibit. The Screen Project's animated logo was created by Design Group member Paula Hansen. Billboards promoting the event in Willimantic and Putnam were designed by Kaitlin Butler, Paula Hansen and Trevor Shaw-Mumford, a senior visual arts major from Manchester. A still image from Butler's "Screen Project" video will appear in the February issue of "Connecticut Magazine."

"The Screen Project" builds on the success of "Turning Pages," Bisantz's video projection created for the façade of the Willimantic Public Library in April 2010, which prepared the way for this larger public art event.

"The Screen Project" has been invited to become a global partner of the Streaming Museum, which presents art in public space and cyberspace on seven continents. This partnership means the Screen Project will connect eastern Connecticut globally, introducing a new way of using illumination, architecture and art in public spaces to connect local and global communities.

For more information on "The Screen Project," visit


Math Students Shine at Regional Competition

Written by Kate Harner

Willimantic, Conn. - Colton Alexander '11, Danny Arsenault '11 and Anthony Pizzoferrato '11, three students majoring in mathematics and computer science at Eastern Connecticut State University, recently helped Eastern place sixth during the Collegiate Mathematics Contest, sponsored by the Math Association of America, held in Providence, RI. The top two teams received $150 prizes; all the participants received student licenses for Mathematica.

            Nineteen teams from colleges from across New England, including Southern Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut, Brown University and Yale University, participated in the contest.

            Contestants worked in teams and took a two-hour exam featuring problems in geometry, probability, combinatorics, number theory and other areas of mathematics.

Conference attendees heard keynote lectures on recreational and applied mathematics and listened to undergraduate students present papers. They also attended a reception and banquet, where they met with competing students and networked with speakers and professors.

            Prior to the competition, Mizan Khan, professor of mathematics and Eastern's Mathematics Department chair, and Christian Yankov, associate professor of mathematics, advised and prepared the students.


Eastern Student Receives Award

Written by Kate Harner

Nikole Doolittle (3).jpg

Nancy Scirocco, chair of the Board of Directors of and vice president of Webster Bank, with Nikole Doolittle '10, Intern Hero Award Recipient.

Willimantic, Conn. - Nikole Doolittle '10 of Middletown has been named the recipient of's 2010 Intern Hero Student Award. Doolittle was presented the award during's recent Fifth Annual Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership's State of the Region Conference. The award recognizes excellence in the Hartford-Springfield Region, which consists of 22 colleges and universities.

Doolittle was hired by the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits as an intern in its Hartford office in summer 2009. "Nikole was an amazing intern and continues to volunteer for Connecticut nonprofits," said Melissa Harris, director of marketing and communications and intern coordinator for "She is a very conscientious and hard-working young woman who approaches every task with a positive attitude and enthusiasm.

"While interning for us, Nikole conducted data research to support strategic communications initiatives, including a leadership development education directory; prospect lists for business collaborators; and targeted career center marketing outreach.  She also provided support on the integration of new technologies including social media and website applications. She also maintained our community events calendar and nonprofit resource library on our website. Since her internship in the summer of 2009, Nikole has stayed in touch and volunteered at our annual conference. She truly is a joy to have around and a reliable volunteer."


Eastern HPE Student Wins Top State Honors

Written by Julianne Bass

matthew lance.JPGWillimantic, Conn. -- On Dec.14, Matthew Lance , a senior from Stratford, was selected as Connecticut's Outstanding Future Teaching Professional in Physical Education. Lance will represent Connecticut on Feb. 17 at the Eastern District Convention of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) at the Ocean Place Resort and Conference Center in Long Branch, NJ.
The prestigious honor entitles Lance to attend the conference and meet professionals from 11 eastern states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Lance has a cumulative 3.96 grade point average. He is currently completing his student teaching at Two Rivers Magnate Middle School in East Hartford and will receive his teaching certification in health and physical education.
Lance said receiving the honor "to be chosen as one of the top two future professionals in the entire state of Connecticut was amazing, and it was one of the defining moments of my time at Eastern."  Lance credits his studies at with providing him the tools and resources he needs to succeed as a teacher and in life.  "The high-quality of instruction and rigorous nature of all my courses in Health and Physical Education prepared me for any scenario that I faced during my student teaching, as well as any future challenge that may arise during my teaching career."
At Two Rivers Magnate Middle School, Lance has gotten off to a fulfilling start in forging a career in an area he has found to be his passion. Looking back, Lance said he truly appreciates choosing Eastern. "The faculty at Eastern, along with the university's focus on identifying the needs of their students and putting them first, made my experience enjoyable, challenging, and extremely beneficial in terms of preparing me for the next step in my life, and for that, I will be forever grateful to Eastern."
Caption: Matthew Lance

Native American Artist Courtney Leonard at Eastern

Written by Dwight Bachman

Courtney Leonard character-1.JPGWillimantic, Conn. - The Julian Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University is presenting "," through March 10.  Artist Courtney M. Leonard will be on campus Feb. 10 for a gallery talk at 3 p.m. followed by a reception from 5-7 p.m. in the gallery.

In "", Leonard, a member of the Shinnecock Nation and recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, explores the evolution of language, image, and culture through mixed media pieces of video, audio, and tangible objects.  "As an Indigenous woman I navigate three worlds - the first world is that of indigeneity; the second world is one of Western Imperial construction; and the third world is where these two meet in dynamic reaction and adaptation," said Leonard. She reinterprets traditional Shinnecock clay vessels, which act as the carriers of historical narrative through the currents of present cultures and on to the next generations.

"This exhibition may be enjoyed on a purely aesthetic level, but if you look beyond the lyrical beauty of Leonard's paintings, sculptures, and video installations, you will find a seamless drawing together of widely diverse inspirations and her measured, yet acerbic social commentary," said Gallery Director and Curator Elizabeth Peterson.  "Imagery of plant, animal and human life, with warm and cool colors of the land, sea and sky, bring all of her work in clay, metal, canvas and video into perfect harmony." 

The Shinnecock Reservation is located at the east end of Long Island, NY.  The proximity of the reservation with the Hamptons and New York City puts the varied worlds described by the artist into sharp relief.  "The only way to truly know a people is through the people themselves, objects hold only pieces of time - we carry the rest," said Leonard.

Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic.  Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday and 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.  The public is invited.  Admission is free.  For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at Akus Gallery, please call (860) 465-4659 or visit  


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