Recently in English Category
Written by Dwight Bachman and Ed Osborn
Willimantic, Conn. -- 1,256 undergraduates and 41 graduate students heard the roars and cheers of thousands of their family members and friends as they celebrated their achievements at Eastern Connecticut State University's 123nd Commencement exercises at the XL Center in Hartford on May 14.
Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the "Little Rock Nine," gave the Commencement Address, telling the graduates "This is your moment, a time you have been looking forward to and working toward since you first arrived at Eastern. Celebrate the moment; seize it. Step out into your future bravely and boldly." LaNier noted that the graduates were bound to encounter challenges. Those experiences will be "the greatest teacher in the grand classroom of life. Those challenges will show you who you really are."
The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, AR, in 1957. Due to the segregation policies of Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus and the mob atmosphere in Little Rock at the time, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered 1,000 members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division to Arkansas to provide protection and escort the nine students to class throughout the 1957-58 school year.
Despite the daily military escort, LaNier and her friends were kicked, hit with rocks, threatened, and shunned. Her own home was firebombed. As the onslaught continued, "the more determined I became to get my diploma." Today, she has "made peace with my past."
LaNier turned to the Class of 2013 and encouraged them to have the same commitment: "Finish whatever goals you have set for yourself. Find the strength, fortitude and determination to see it through. When you see injustice, how will you respond? I hope you take the heroic stand." LaNier was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa at the Commencement Exercises.
Eastern President Elsa M. Nunez told the graduates, "There is no other country in the world that places its future so firmly in the hands of the people. You are now the next generation of citizen leaders in our state and in our nation. . . . The world needs your energy, your enthusiasm, and your skills . . . There is a challenge out there ready for you to conquer, whether it's helping out at your church or synagogue, volunteering at the local senior center, or inventing a new surgical procedure. There is a team somewhere that needs you to complete its mission."
As an example of the contributions Eastern students are making in the world, Nunez cited more than 100,000 hours of volunteer work performed by Eastern students, faculty, and staff each year in local communities, noting that President Barack Obama's had named Eastern to his National Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third time in four years that past March.At the same time, President Nunez told the graduates to "be yourself and do what makes you happy," and quoted New England bard Henry Thoreau, who wrote: "Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still."
From the Governor's Foot Guard Color Guard in attendance, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick's Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet, Eastern's graduation ceremonies were marked by dignity, grace and elegance. Senior Jessica Johnson sang "America the Beautiful," and Senior Class President Thomas Balestracci presented President Núñez with the class gift, a scholarship funded by more than 200 donations from the graduating class. Balestracci encouraged his classmates to continue donating so that the scholarship would grow. "We have all benefited from our experiences here at Eastern. These experiences are the ones that we will keep with us forever as we move on. They will be the ones we will look back upon and realize that they have helped us become who we are today. We lived up each day like it was our last at Eastern, and now, it really is our last day. We have turned our dreams into reality during our time at this University and we made memories that will last a lifetime."
Yvette Melendez, vice president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, the governing body for the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, brought greetings on behalf of the Board of Regents. "Congratulations to each and every one of you for reaching this incredible milestone. This is one of those moments that will forever be embedded in your memory. You are at the beginning of a future you have just begun to mold. You took the first step in that journey by enrolling at Eastern. You have much to be proud of." Meléndez urged the graduates to make their contribution to society "in the way that Eastern has taught you. You have worked exceedingly hard . . . you have learned that regardless of major, you are part of a community."
Nana Owusu-Agyemang of Ghana, West Africa, delivered the Senior Class Address. She thanked the faculty for their support, saying, "During my time here at Eastern, I have met professors that I simply cannot forget -- professors who really care for their students. It will forever strike me how much time professors at Eastern are willing to spend with each student...how much of themselves they give. It's not just the professors who make Eastern what it is. At Eastern it's not just about imparting knowledge, it's about joining hands to mold each student into a richer person academically and mentally, as well." Owusu-Agyemang closed by quoting the late philosopher Alan Watts, who once said, "The attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be."
"May our truth be a good truth," said Owusu-Agyemang. "May our world be a good world. May our mark be a good mark."
Carlotta Walls LaNier made history at age 14 when she enrolled at Central High School as a sophomore. On the first day of school she was surrounded by an angry mob that prevented the nine African American students from entering the building. After two weeks of protests and violence, President Dwight Eisenhower sent U.S. Army troops to Little Rock to protect the "Little Rock Nine" by escorting them to class for a year. Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus closed Little Rock schools for the 1958-59 school year, forcing LaNier to take correspondence courses. In June 1960, she became the first African American female student to graduate from Central High School.
LaNier has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in 1958, and the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian award, which was bestowed upon the Little Rock Nine in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. She is also the author of "A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice of Little Rock Central High School."
Written by Gabrielle Little
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's School of Arts and Sciences will hold its 13th annual Student Research and Exhibition Conference from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on April 13 in the Science Building. The public is invited. Admission is free.
More than 100 students, supported by more than 50 faculty mentors, will present projects and presentations showcasing nine departments in the School of Arts and Sciences.
From 9:30-11:50 a.m., students will present oral presentations in the Science Building. From 11:50 a.m.-12:30 p.m., poster presentations will be on display in the Science Building Lobby and visual arts exhibits can be viewed in Room 223 of the Student Center. The exhibits will include digital art, prints, paintings, drawings, sculptures and books created by Eastern students.
The projects range from presentations such as "Artificial Structures in Marine Environments: Do Materials Influence the Success of Invasive Species?" by Biology major Sheona Douglas '14 of Bloomfield, to "CIRC DU TAROT: The symbolism of the Major Arcana Through Circus Illustrations" by Communication major Lindsey Ancel '13 of Milford.
Eastern's Jazz Ensemble will close out the ceremony.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University has been honored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education as one of the nation's colleges and universities that are leading the way in bettering their communities through community service and service learning.
Eastern was one of 609 institutions of higher learning acknowledged on President Obama's "Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll" earlier this month, recognized for their work in serving local communities through volunteer programs and other activities.
"Community service has been a hallmark at Eastern since our earliest days in the 1890s as the Willimantic State Normal School," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Today, our Center for Community Engagement works closely with our faculty to ensure that the service that our students perform in local communities aligns with their academic programs. In providing thousands of hours a year of service to dozens of social agencies and nonprofits, Eastern students are demonstrating their social responsibility while learning valuable professional and organizational skills.
To be recognized by President Obama as a university that exemplifies such service is something that everyone on our campus should be proud of." To better coordinate student service projects in the community, Eastern's Center for Community Engagement (CCE) was launched in September 2009. A full-time director, assistant director, a shared administrative assistant, an AmeriCorps VISTA member and a part-time university assistant staff the center. The center also provides leadership opportunities through federal work-study employment for students.
Eastern's commitment to service is exemplified by the comprehensive volunteer efforts in area schools by Eastern students. Programs to assist schools with student academic performance, behavior and motivation are widespread and effective in all six schools in the district, as well as in local preschool programs. From 2008-09 to 2011-12 Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education partnered with two area early learning centers to address early literacy. Over the three-year period ending in the 2011-12 academic year, the project improved the language and early literacy skills of nearly 600 preschool-aged children by providing professional development and literacy coaching to 50 teachers and staff. Thirty-nine Eastern students were involved in this project through academic coursework.
Eastern students are also engaged in local schools outside of the classroom. Four hundred and forty-nine students volunteered 5,180 hours in long-term volunteering programs in Windham schools through the CCE and student clubs. Including students who participated in academic service-learning, more than 1,000 students contributed more than 60,000 volunteer hours in area schools. Students in the Business Administration Department provide database and website services to area nonprofits, assisting them in providing more effective services. Nonprofits also benefit from students engaged in the Community Grant Service Corps, supported by the Office of Academic Affairs. Students learn how to assist nonprofits with grant research, through use of the University's "Work Hub," an on-campus worksite dedicated to community-campus collaborations. In all, students provided more than 100,000 hours of service to the local community in 2011-12.
The Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future Mentoring Program demonstrates Eastern's commitment to community service. English Language Learners (ELL) in the Windham Public Schools struggle with assimilation into the school community both socially and academically. The Puentes al Futuro Program assisted ELL students at Windham Middle School (WMS) by integrating in-school tutoring and mentoring with afterschool and summer academic and cultural enrichment with the goal of encouraging students to excel academically and to attend college. The program is a collaborative effort between the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), WMS teachers, family liaisons, and afterschool program staff. WMS students have developed positive mentoring relationships with Eastern volunteers who have committed to continuing their mentoring relationship with the students as they transition to high school.
Students in the program showed very positive gains in math comprehension, from a mean of 17.8 on the pre-tests to a mean of 54.2 following the instruction. Comprehension remained high at the end of the six-week program, with a mean of 48.7. Students' language arts skills improved as they wrote poetry and performed before families. The project was supported by FWS, AmeriCorps VISTA and a state education grant.
The Collegiate Health Service Corps (CHSC) is a program coordinated by the Center for Community Engagement with a community partner, Eastern Area Health Education Center. The CHSC's mission is to expose undergraduate students to health careers through service learning experiences that promote culturally competent health and disease prevention education to medically underserved communities. Student volunteers participate in three program phases of 25 hours each.
In the past year, nine students contributed 234 hours of service at three elementary schools and one after-school program at a community center in Windham, CT, during the academic year. Students conducted a needs assessment to identify nutrition, public health and wellness topics of interest to the children in each of the programs. They then developed lesson plans with weekly objectives and site-specific activities; 80 lessons were provided at the four sites. Subject areas included nutrition, bullying, staying physically active, hygiene, emergency preparedness and stress and behavior management. Students also worked with a local community garden. Program coordinators at the 4 sites expressed great satisfaction with the program, indicating that the children learned a great deal and the program helped address critical public health issues in the Windham community, which has the highest obesity rate in the state. The AmeriCorps program supported this program.
Eastern's "Day of Giving," held on the day before Thanksgiving each year, has become one of the University's most highly acclaimed traditions. For six years in a row, more than 450 needy individuals and families have been served a Thanksgiving meal in the University's dining hall. This is a collaborative effort between students, faculty, administrators, contractors and service providers in the community to ensure that people who might otherwise go without a Thanksgiving meal are served with dignity and respect. More than 100 volunteers from across the campus, including student servers and staff from the University's food service provider, come together to cook, serve, clean up and provide transportation for anyone in the local community who would like to attend. In addition to the Thanksgiving meal, students work with local grocery stores to gather canned goods -- more than 5,000 items were delivered to soup kitchens and food pantries this past year.
In all, Eastern students, faculty and staff donate more than 106,000 hours of time annually to local communities, a value of $2.3 million annually. "Congratulations to Eastern Connecticut State University," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. "Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges."
The CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
Written by Rebecca Holdridge
Willimantic, Conn. Author Lisa Taylor will present a poetry reading from her latest book, "Necessary Silence," on April 4 at 7 p.m. in Room 301 of the Science Building at Eastern Connecticut State University. A book signing and light refreshments will follow the reading.
Taylor's creative writing has appeared in "The Worcester Review," "Haight Ashbury Literary Review," "Birmingham Poetry Review," and many other journals. "Necessary Silence" was unveiled at the Willimantic Public Library on March 16. This is Taylor's fourth collection of poetry.
Taylor graduated from the Stonecoast Master of Fine Arts Program at the University of Southern Maine, and is a former fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. This summer, she will be a fellow at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland. She has traveled across the United States and Ireland to read her work.
For her reading schedule, visit www.lisactaylor.com.
Written by Rebecca Holddrige
Willimantic, Conn. The Campus Slammer, a statewide Connecticut story slam event, will take place on April 9 from 7-9 p.m. in Room 110 of Webb Hall at Eastern Connecticut State University. Anyone affiliated with a college or university in Connecticut is invited to participate.
Participants need only to put their name in a hat to "slam the story down" and share a five-minute personal story on the selected theme. No reading from a script is allowed.
Several other Connecticut colleges and universities including the University of Connecticut, Western Connecticut State University, Manchester Community College and the University of Hartford, are holding their own slam events. Two finalists from each slam will move on to the Campus Slammer Finals at Connecticut College in New London on April 27. The final winners will receive free entry to the Connecticut Storytelling Festival.
For more information, visit http://www.connstorycenter.org/campusslammer.htm.
Written by Gabrielle Little
Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University will host the 36th annual College Bowl at 7 p. m. on March 18 in the Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free. Timothy Swanson, associate professor of physics, will host the show.
The College Bowl is a single elimination competition that consists of teams representing various academic majors on campus. The Biology team and Mathematics team are this year's finalists. In the semi-final matches, The Biology team beat the History Department Team, and The Mathematics Team beat the team of Biochemistry majors.
The winning team will be presented with a "traveling plaque," for display by the winning department for one year. The plaque was made by a member of the first winning team in 1977 and has been presented to winning teams for the past 35 years.
For more information about the show, contact Zosia Carlquist at (860) 465-4317 or email@example.com, or Timothy Swanson at (860) 465-5217or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Rebecca Holdridge
Willimantic, Conn. The Eastern Visiting Writers Series at Eastern Connecticut State University will present author Michael Sheehan for a book signing and reading on March 6 from 7-8 p.m. in Room 301 of the Science Building.
Sheehan will read from "Proposals for the Recovery of the Apparently Drowned," published by Colony Collapse Press in 2012. Refreshments will follow the reading.
Michael Sheehan's fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared or are upcoming in "Conjunctions," "Necessary Fiction," "The Quarterly Conversation," and "The Rumpus." He graduated from the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Arizona, and was a fellow of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the Vermont Studio Center. Sheehan currently serves as the reviews editor and assistant fiction editor for "Diagram," and formerly the editor-in-chief of "Sonora Review."
Written by Dwight Bachman
Campo Scholarship winner Rebecca Holdridge with Kenneth McNeil, chairperson of the English Department
Willimantic, Conn: -- Rebecca Holdridge '13, a senior from Groton majoring in English at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named the recipient of the University's Constance Campo Scholarship. Holdridge was presented the award on Dec. 5 during the English Department's "English Night."
Holdridge maintains a GPA of 3.98 and is vice president of the Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor society, and also serves as secretary of Eastern's Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society.
The Constance Campo Scholarship was established in memory of Constance Campo, a longtime member of the English Department staff. The scholarship is presented to a non-traditional student who has demonstrated excellence in his or her studies, and is awarded to someone who has shown sensitivity to gender and diversity issues, as did Campo.
Holdridge is a teaching assistant to English Professor Reginald Flood in his African American Literature class, and is enrolled in the Immigrant American Literature class for her senior seminar. During the spring 2012 semester, she interned with English Professor Jian-Zhong Lin, working on "The Connecticut Review," a literary journal published by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.
"Rebecca Holdridge has excelled both in the classroom and in the university community," said Flood. "Besides doing outstanding academic work that cemented her reputation as an outstanding writer, Rebecca was always generous with her classmates, making her one of those rare students that helps a professor build a sense of community in the classroom. Perhaps the clearest evidence of the gifts she brings to the classroom is the fact she has twice been asked to be an intern in different capacities for the English Department."
Lin agreed. "Rebecca Holdridge has demonstrated intellectual curiosity, academic preparedness and A strong work ethic as a student in the three classes I teach and as an intern at Connecticut Review. She participated in a study abroad program in London in fall 2011, and is serving as a public relations writer in Eastern's Office of University Relations, which demonstrates her commitment to the study of English and her ability to put classroom learning to real-world practice. Her GPA of 3.98 is a testimonial to her excellence. Connie Campo would have been proud of Rebecca."
Holdridge studied at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in Preston, Lancashire, England, a small town in the Northern England. "I wanted to study abroad in England, because as an English major, I wanted to see the culture that is behind so many classic pieces of literature. I wanted to experience life in a different part of the world, and I wanted to travel."
Holdridge studied with several professors while in England, but considered Professor Robin Purves the most influential. All English majors were required to take a theory class, which Purves taught, and it was deemed the most intense but useful class. "He really pushed us to dig deeper into everything we read, from classic novels, to modern literature, to poetry. In England, they take their final exams after their Christmas break, and I spent weeks preparing for his final. In the end, it was the most difficult class I have taken as an English major, but also the most rewarding."
Outside of class, Holdridge had an wonderful time traveling and becoming a close friend with Anna, a German girl also studying abroad. "It was amazing that two students from two very different countries could share so many interests. My most memorable times with Anna were exploring England and other countries. Together, we went to Dublin, Ireland; Rome, Italy; and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. We just pointed our finger at a map of England and picked random towns to travel to for the day. We ended up in Liverpool, Manchester and Bolton just to name a few towns. In Manchester, we even saw a Manchester United soccer match."
Holdridge also traveled a great deal on her own, staying in Iceland for a few days on her way to England; with a French family in Paris; and in London for a weekend. She also visited Stonehenge. "Words cannot describe how amazing this experience was. I wish all students were able to study abroad because living in a country for a few months is completely different than staying in a hotel for a week or two. I was able to experience the culture firsthand, and made friends from many different countries."
Written by Rebecca Holdridge
Willimantic, CT- Reginald Flood, associate professor of English and coordinator of the African American Studies Program at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Announced on Nov. 27, the fellowship brings with it a cash award of $25,000.
Competition for the grant is rigorous. Of 1,173 applications, only 40 received grants. In addition to his talent as a poet, Professor Flood's teaching on the Eastern campus is broad-reaching, ranging from teaching African American Literature -- the works of Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and others -- to supervising writing interns, to developing the writing skills of students through the developmental writing program.
"This award is a testament to the quality of Professor Flood's work and his commitment to his scholarship," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "His dedication to his students is a further reminder of why we are so fortunate to have him at Eastern."
NEA fellowships enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. Flood says he is thrilled, as the fellowship places him in elite company. "I have a great deal of admiration for some of the other poets in this year's class: Rickey Laurentiis, John Murillo and Shane McCrae are all poets whom I have read and admired. Also, I feel this award is validation for a writing project of mine that pushes some boundaries."
Flood's first book, "Coffle," was published in March 2012. A collection of poems written in traditional forms that complement canonical slave narratives, "Coffle" is the first in what Flood hopes will be a trilogy. "I did not know how poems about Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass or Mary Prince would be received; it is gratifying to know some careful readers found they had value." Flood said he plans to use the fellowship to extend his sabbatical into the summer, and will travel to conduct research for the second collection of poetry in his trilogy, "There is Still War in the World."
"There is Still War in the World" focuses on slave narratives recorded during the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration Federal Writer's Project (WPA). "The fellowship will give me the financial ability to retrace the journey many of the former slaves made from Mississippi to Arkansas as slaves before they were freed," said Flood.
"Additionally, I will be able to travel to Washington, D.C., to examine the archives for narratives that are not yet digitized or available on the Internet. That will allow me to get a more in-depth perspective on the lives of the individuals I will be writing poems about."
The NEA Creative Writing Fellowship program has been in place since 1967. The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector. For more information, visit www.nea.gov.
Written by Rebecca Holdridge
Willimantic, CT- The English Department of Eastern Connecticut State University will host "English Night," an event that recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of several students. The event which takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the Paul E. Johnson Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library will recognize recipients of the first year writing award, and the Constance Campo Scholarship. New members will also be inducted into the Alpha Epsilon Delta chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society.
Students from the senior capstone experience for English majors 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.