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November 2012 Archives

Eastern to Hold Winter Choral Concert

Written by Nana Ama Owusu Agyemang

Willimantic, Conn. ¬¬- Eastern Connecticut State University's Concert Chorale, and Chamber Singers, as well as select members of the University's Concert Band will perform a Winter Choral Concert at St. Joseph's Church in Willimantic on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.  The public is invited. Admission is free, although donations are encouraged. St. Joseph's Church is located at 99 Jackson St.
Music highlights from the concert will include pieces dating from the 16th century to the present; music for antiphonal choirs with a brass ensemble from Eastern Concert Band; renaissance motets; and contemporary spirituals, all conducted by Eastern Music Professor David Belles.

The concert will be a blend of choral/orchestral masterworks presented by the chorale ensemble, chamber music from more than four centuries sung by the chamber singers, and classic band literature and challenging works from contemporary composers contributed by members of the Concert Band.

For more information, please contact Professor David Belles at or on (860) 465-0246.

Barbara McClintock Presents Her New Books

Written by Rebecca Holdridge

McClintock close up.JPGWillimantic, CT- Award-winning children's book creator, Barbara McClintock, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on Nov. 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Joinery at the Child and Family Development Resource Center. The public is invited. Admission is Free.

Her presentation marks the publication of her two newest books for children, "Leave Your Sleep" and "Twelve Kinds of Ice." "Leave Your Sleep" is a collection of classic children's poetry, collected and sung by Natalie Merchant and illustrated by McClintock. The poems are written by; Robert Louis Stevenson, Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, E.E. Cummings, Nathalia Crane and others. A CD of Merchant's performance of the songs is included with the book.

 "Twelve Kinds of Ice," written by Ellen Bryan Obed and illustrated by McClintock, is a story of one family's adventures ice skating during the New England winter. Both books and others illustrated by McClintock will be on sale at the Eastern bookstore.


mcClintock wide shot.jpg McClintock will also present at the Child and Family Development Resource Center at 3:30 p.m., but this will be for the children only. McClintock's visit it sponsored by Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education and the Education Department.

English Department to Host "English Night"

Written by Rebecca Holdridge

Willimantic, CT- The English Department at Eastern Connecticut State University will host "English Night" on Dec. 5 to recognize outstanding student achievement. The event takes place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.  The First Year Writing Award and the Constance Campo Scholarship will be awarded and new members will be inducted into The Alpha Epsilon Delta chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society.
Seniors from Associate Professor Susan DeRosa's "Memoir: Exploring the Private/Public 'I,'" and Professor Elena Tapia's "Conceptual Metaphor in Literature" will also present their research projects.
English faculty and students in selected classes are encouraged to attend, along with family and friends. Refreshments will be served.

Eastern Reveals TIMPANI Research Results for Best Toy in 2012

Written by Dwight Bachman

credit roxanne pandolfi -unveiling at the chronicle 1.jpg

Willimantic, CT -- Faculty and student researchers at Eastern Connecticut State University have named DUPLO bricks, a toy made by the LEGO Group, as the 2012 TIMPANI Toy (Toys That Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination).  Rainbow People, a toy made by Environments, Inc., received an honorable mention. Eastern researchers announced the results of the 2012 TIMPANI Toy Study at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16 in the University's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC).

This annual study, conducted by Eastern faculty and students through Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education, examines how young children in natural settings play with a variety of toys. Toys are selected for the TIMPANI study based on recommendations from parents, teachers and faculty. After the toys are chosen, they are placed in the CFDRC's preschool classrooms and rated on three subscales: thinking and learning, cooperation and social interaction, and self-expression and imagination. DUPLO Bricks and Environment, Inc.'s Rainbow People received the two highest overall scores in this year's study.

 -close up of toy.jpg

DUPLO bricks are colorful, plastic, interlocking building bricks.  Parents and teachers know them as a larger version of the popular LEGO bricks, sized for use by preschool-aged children. "DUPLO bricks pose many problems for children to solve, so there's a lot of deep thought that goes into building," said Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, the Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education at Eastern and the study's principal researcher. "Construction toys have done well overall in our studies due to the fact that they don't suggest any one use.  They can be used in many different ways, so children tend to interact more and negotiate what they want to build.

"One reason that DUPLO bricks did well compared with some of the other toys tested is that they maintained child interest and very high levels of play across three days of play," continued Trawick-Smith.  For most other toys, children's interest waned after the first or second day of testing, or the quality of play dropped off over time.  "DUPLO bricks also elicited high levels of play from children of very diverse backgrounds, scoring equally well across children from different ethnic and socioeconomic groups," said Trawick-Smith. 

Rainbow People, a set of 30 wooden figures in a variety of colors, also scored highly. "Rainbow People prompted the children to be creative," said Jamie Vallarelli, an Eastern senior in early childhood education who was involved in the study.  "They encouraged the children to create elaborate play scenarios, which developed their knowledge and vocabulary." 

Vallarelli was responsible for videotaping the toys and coding the videos according to the evaluation rubric, along with students Jenny Wolff and Marley Koschel. The three students joined Trawick-Smith to present the results of the study at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference in Atlanta on Nov. 10.


"Today's announcement of the top scoring toys in the third annual TIMPANI Toy Study demonstrates the quality of research that is occurring at our Center for Early Childhood Education," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "At the same time that we are identifying and testing toys that promote the intellectual, social and creative development of children, we are also helping our students prepare for careers as professional early childhood educators. I congratulate Professor Trawick-Smith and his students for this ground-breaking research. The investigative work they are doing to build strong learning environments for preschool children is impacting an entire generation."

"We are thrilled that our LEGO DUPLO bricks have been chosen by Eastern Connecticut State University's Center for Early Childhood Education as the TIMPANI Toy of 2012," said Michael McNally, brand relations director for LEGO Systems, Inc. "Research shows that construction play inspires creativity and imagination among children of all ages while also fostering storytelling and social skills, and early childhood vocabulary and literacy, and DUPLO is a perfect way to introduce toddlers to the LEGO building system."

Previous TIMPANI winners have included Hasbro's Tinker Toys, and Wooden Vehicles and Signs made by Melissa and Doug, LLC, of Wilton, CT.

For more information on the TIMPANI Toy Study, contact the Center for Early Childhood Education at (860) 465-0687 or visit For information about The LEGO Group and its products, visit For information about Environments, Inc., and its products, visit

Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center will host a workshop on "Choosing Quality Toys: What All Parents Should Know" on Dec. 4, from 7 to 8 p.m. To register for the workshop, call (860) 465-0206.

Eastern to Present "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot"

Written by Nana OwusuAgyemang

Willimantic, Conn.- Eastern Connecticut State University's Theatre Program and Drama Society will present "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" by Stephen Adly Guirgis, in the Harry Hope Theatre in Shafer Hall. The play, directed by Eastern Performing Arts Professor David Pellegrini, will be performed on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 and Dec. 4-5 at 7:30 p.m., with a 4 p.m. matinée on Dec. 2.  The public is invited. Admission is $5 for students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $12 for the general public.

New York Times critic Ben Brantley has said, "Set in a courtroom in a corner of purgatory called Hope, 'Judas Iscariot' considers nothing less than the conflict between divine mercy and human free will."
For more information on "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot," call the University Box Office at (860) 465-5123 or email Ellen Brodie at

Eastern's Sixth Annual Day of Giving

Written by Christopher J. Herman

day of giving wide shot.JPG Willimantic, Conn. - On Nov. 21, Eastern Connecticut State University will host its sixth annual "Day of Giving Community Celebration," a Thanksgiving dinner for community members who are patrons of local soup kitchens and other social service agencies. The Thanksgiving meal will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in Hurley Hall, located on Eastern's North Campus.

The Day of Giving was started in 2007 by Jason Budahazy '09. This year, students  Elise Davis, a senior from Warwick, RI, Elliott Woolworth, a junior from Bristol, Max Goto, a senior from Hamden, and Yollaine Kaja, a freshman from Naugutuck, have organized the event, supported by Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, AmeriCorps VISTA Jacqui De Cormier of Bolton, and the Office of Institutional Advancement. The coordinators have enlisted campus-wide support from Eastern's administration, resident assistants from the Office of Housing and Residential Life, student clubs and organizations, and Chartwells Dining Services.  The local community has embraced the event by encouraging residents to attend and supporting food drives.
The project consists of two parts. The first is a large-scale food drive that takes place in the local community as well as on the Eastern campus. Local stores and businesses that have supported the food drive include Bob's IGA, Ted's IGA, the Willimantic Food Co-Op, Highland Park of Coventry, East Brook Mall, Main Street Café, Lebanon Green Market, Willimantic's Stop & Shop and Wal-Mart. More than 2,300 food items have been donated to date along with $2,306. Donations are distributed to area food pantries including the Northeast Food Collaborative, Covenant Soup Kitchen, Access Agency, Catholic Charities and others. The last food drives will take place at Walmart from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Nov. 17, as well as Bob's IGA from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Nov. 18.

The second part of the Day of Giving is a full-course Thanksgiving meal complete with all the trimmings for members of the Willimantic/Windham community who may otherwise not have a Thanksgiving dinner. Chartwells Dining Services and its vendors donate the food, and staff volunteers prepare and serve the meal.  Eastern students, faculty, administration and alumni will volunteer at the event.

"Eastern's Day of Giving is a special event because it is student-driven," said Max Goto '13, one of the coordinators. "It would not be possible without the help of several key professionals and crucial departments here at Eastern, such as the CCE, under Director Kimberly Silcox; Eastern's AmeriCorps  VISTA Jacqui De Cormier, overwhelming support from the University; and especially the ECSU Foundation, Inc., without which this event would not be possible."

For more information regarding the Day of Giving, contact the CCE at


Eastern Presents Cultural Significance of Hair

Written by Christopher J. Herman

Eastern Connecticut State University is presenting "Hair," an event that focuses on the cultural significance of hairstyles, at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29 in the Student Center Theatre. The event will explore the many cultural and personal attachments between people and hair. 
            Organized by Eastern student Michael Piña, the program will feature stories on topics relating to hair. Hairstyles can often convey or misrepresent a person's identity, faith beliefs and experiences of hair loss due to medical issues or therapy. The event will compile stories into a short play, with the hope of building an understanding through acknowledging various hairstyles. People's real-life stories will be read at the program, with the intention of broadening students' cultural horizons.

 For more information on the event, contact the Intercultural Center at (860) 465-5749 or

Eastern Discusses Innovative Technology Startups in Mill Towns

Written by Dwight Bachman

Willimantic, Conn: -- Eastern Connecticut State University will host a panel discussion on innovative technology start-ups in Connecticut mill towns on Nov. 15 from 3-6 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Jr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.  The panel of Connecticut innovators and entrepreneurs will discuss their strategies for launching and building successful technology firms in the state's historic mill towns, where fabric, thread and other products were produced for hundreds of years.
In addition to the panel discussion, students from the four Connecticut state universities, Quinebaug Valley Community College and the University of Connecticut will compete for prizes by presenting innovation proposal posters of their creative startup ideas and proposals. A reception will follow, when students will be able to network with Connecticut entrepreneurs, innovators and business community members.
Persons interested in registering for the event should call (860) 465-5265 or email

President Núñez Presented "Transforming Lives Award"

Written by Dwight Bachman and Ed Osborn

nunez - candida flores award.JPG

(left to right) Candida Flores, Family Life Education's executive director, presents the Transforming Lives Award to Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University.

Willimantic, Conn: -- Elsa M. Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University, received the 2012 Transforming Lives Award from Hartford-based Family Life Education during its 25th anniversary gala on Nov. 3 at the Connecticut Convention Center.

In accepting the award, Núñez talked about the challenges and struggles that Latinos have faced in Connecticut and the impact that education can have on a person's life. "When someone in a Puerto Rican family, an African American family, or an inner-city student from a low-income family is the first family member to attend college, it not only transforms one life," she explained. "Graduating from college tells a student, 'Yes you can.'  It tells his or her family, 'We are strong.'  It tells an entire neighborhood, 'We can succeed.'  It is like a pebble tossed into still water -- it ripples and ripples and ripples, until it reaches all shores."

Family Life Education is an independent, non-profit organization that empowers inner-city families in the Hartford area through partnerships with corporate, civic and social organizations. This year's event marks the 17th year that Family Life Education has honored a community leader for their support of young people in Hartford.
"President Núñez is a powerful example of career achievement for Family Life Education clients, especially the girls and women who are served by our organization," said Candida Flores, Family Life Education's executive director. "She has devoted her entire career to the field of education; with special attention to supporting communities of color obtain access to higher learning, including the development of a program identifying Hartford students who have the capacity to succeed academically."

"Family Life Education has long sought to ensure the healthy growth and development of Hartford's disenfranchised children through education, advocacy and support," said Family Life Education Board President James Shortley. "Dr. Núñez is a vigilant advocate for children, especially closing Connecticut's achievement gap. She is an outstanding role model for young girls and young women served by Family Life Education. Her example instills a desire in them to finish high school, pursue college and advanced training, and become productive citizens willing to give back to their community."

Connecticut First Lady Cathy Malloy, who also served on the Gala Honorary Committee, presented Núñez with a special citation from Governor Dannel Malloy. In addition, a citation from Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra was also presented to Núñez at the gala.  Past Family Life Education gala awardees include Nathan Grube, tournament director of the Traveler's Championship; Dr. Paul Dworkin, executive vice president of the Connecticut Children's Medical Center; and Greg Butler, general counsel for Northeast Utilities.
 Since Núñez's arrival at Eastern in 2006, the University has received several awards and recognitions, including being named one of the top 30 regional public universities in the North by U.S. News and World Report; being recognized for the fourth year in a row by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a "Great College to Work For"; being named to President Obama's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll With Distinction, one of only 110 institutions nationally to receive this recognition; and being included in The Princeton Review's list of "Best Colleges in the Northeast," just to name a few of the distinctions the University has garnered in the past six years.

Family Life Education was founded in 1987 to address teenage pregnancy among Puerto Rican youth in Hartford's Frog Hollow neighborhood. The organization partners with other agencies to strengthen the Hartford community by supporting families in developing life and employability skills.  Family Life Education helps at-risk, low-income families by giving them the confidence and tools needed to manage their own lives with dignity.  Services focus on the needs of families, children and youth in Hartford; the majority are of Latino heritage, with a small percentage of clients being of African American and South Asian descent. 

Veterans Day Observance Ceremony

Written by Gabrielle Little

vets challenge one mile run 2.JPGWillimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University will host its third annual Veteran's Day Challenge from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 9. Prior to the event, there will be a Veterans Day observance ceremony hosted by Veterans Center Coordinator Lawrence Schmitz in the Student Center Atrium.

The formal program will include remarks by Eastern President Elsa Núñez, reflections by Executive Vice President Michael Pernal, and welcoming remarks by Vice President for Student Affairs Kenneth Bedini.  Edmund Burke, district military and veteran's affairs representative for U.S. Representative Joseph Courtney, will be the guest speaker.

The Veterans Day Challenge competition is based on the workout of Medal of Honor recipient and Navy Seal Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in 2005 during a tour in Afghanistan. The Navy Medal of Honor website expresses Murphy's sacrifice: "Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing it would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, with complete disregard for his own life, moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men."


Decorated War Veteran Colonel Matthew Bogdanos at Eastern

 Wrtitte by Nana Owusu Agyemang

Bogdanos.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - U.S. Marine Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will speak at 7 p. m. on Nov. 15 in the Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium at Eastern Connecticut State University. Bogdanos is the second speaker in Eastern's 2012-13 Arts and Lecture Series.  The event is free of charge.

Bogdanos is the author of "Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine's Passion to Recover the World's Greatest Stolen Treasures."  A former middleweight boxer who joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 19, he left active duty in 1988 to join the New York County District Attorney's Office. Remaining in the Marine Corps Reserves in the 1990s, Colonel Bogdanos led a counter-narcotics operation on the Mexican border and served in Desert Storm, South Korea, Lithuania, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo.

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, Colonel Bogdanos joined a counter-terrorism task force in Afghanistan, where he received a Bronze Star for actions against al-Qaeda. He then served in the Horn of Africa and three tours in Iraq -- leading the investigation into the looting of Iraq's National Museum -- before deploying again to Afghanistan in 2009. Exposing the link between antiquities trafficking and terrorist financing, and presenting those findings to the United Nations, Interpol, British Parliament and the Peace Palace in The Hague, Colonel Bogdanos received the National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush for his work recovering more than 6,000 of Iraq's treasures in eight countries.

Colonel Bogdanos holds a classics degree from Bucknell University; a law degree and a master's degree in classics from Columbia University; and a master's degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. In addition to dozens of military awards, he received the 2004 Public Service Award from the Hellenic Lawyers of America, the 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award from the Washington, D.C. Historical Society, and was a 2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient.

Colonel Bogdanos donates all royalties from his book, "Thieves of Baghdad," to the Iraq Museum.

While seating is free of charge, please reserve your seat by calling (860) 465-0036 or e-mailing


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