Puentes al Futuro Completes Summer Session at Eastern

60 Middle School students from Windham and 12 Eastern student leaders participated in the Puentes al Futuro program during the month of July.

60 Middle School students from Windham and 12 Eastern student leaders participated in the Puentes al Futuro program during the month of July.

On July 28, the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Eastern concluded its fifth summer youth program for “Puentes al Futuro” (Bridges to the Future). Sixty students from Windham Middle School participated in English, math, arts, music and dance, gardening, media production, sports and leadership workshops over the four-week program. The students also participated in service projects at the new West Avenue Community Center afterschool site and went on field trips to the local nonprofit organization CLiCK (Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen).

Bernice Kwarteng ‘18, Arielle Thomas ‘17 and Danielle Licata ‘17 teach hip hop dance to Windham students during the Puentes program.

Bernice Kwarteng ‘18, Arielle Thomas ‘17 and Danielle Licata ‘17 teach hip hop dance to Windham students during the Puentes program.

Puentes al Futuro provides a safe space for summer fun and helps students improve their academics in advance of the next school year. The program is an extension of an after-school program in Windham schools during the academic year that has grown from  20 students when it started five years ago to an anticipated level of 125 for the next year.

John Murphy, Communications Coordinator for the CCE and a long-time faculty member at Eastern and Eddie Pavliscsak ’17 teach students how to produce music in the radio studio at Eastern.

John Murphy, Communications Coordinator for the CCE and a long-time faculty member at Eastern and Eddie Pavliscsak ’17 teach students how to produce music in the radio studio at Eastern.

This year, 12 Eastern students served as counselors and mentors to build self-confidence among the children. Many are also members of CCE, where more than 1,000 students each year provide 20,000 hours of volunteer service in 35 programs at local schools and community organizations.

Adilsa Encarnacao ’18 and Austin Cirella (MA ’17) work with students in the community garden on the Eastern campus.

Adilsa Encarnacao ’18 and Austin Cirella (MA ’17) work with students in the community garden on the Eastern campus.

One of the goals of Puentes is to encourage middle school students to learn about their personal identity and cultural roots, and realize that there is a path open for them to grow through school, attend college and realize their life’s dreams.  Adilsa Encarnacao ’18, a summer counselor from Waterbury, said, “I thought I was going to help them, but I feel I have learned more from the kids than they have learned from me.” Eddie Pavliscsak ’17 of Ashford, said he was happy to be able to introduce the children to Eastern’s campus, including classrooms, the Sports Center, the Student Center and outdoor spaces. “Being on campus really helps them see themselves as future college students.”

Governor’s Council on Climate Change Holds Public Hearing at Eastern

Climate Change imageThe Governor’s Council on Climate Change held meetings around the state on July 26 to update the public on the status of Connecticut’s climate change planning efforts and to solicit input on policy scenarios needed to achieve the state’s ambitious climate change goals.

A central stakeholder event was held in Hartford, with presentations streamed to 10 satellite locations, including Willimantic. The Willimantic session took place from in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library at Eastern. Other satellite events will be held in Bridgeport, Goshen, Groton, Killingly/Dayville, Middletown, New Haven, Norwalk and Waterbury.

Governor Malloy established the Council on Climate Change through executive order to establish interim targets and make recommendations to achieve the state’s climate change goals.  Connecticut’s long-term target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

To learn more about climate change in Connecticut, visit www.CTClimateandJobs.org.

Eastern Chamber Singers Perform Again With Josh Groban

Chamber Singers with Groban at Mohegan SunThe Eastern Chamber Singers left such a positive first impression when they performed with singer/songwriter Josh Groban at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford this past fall that they were asked to perform with him again, this time at the Mohegan Sun Arena on July 29.  They joined Groban on stage for “Dust and Ashes” and “You Raise me Up.”

“It’s particularly gratifying when professionals recognize Eastern’s exceptional work,” said Vocal Studies Director David Belles. “Having an artist of international acclaim ask us to perform is an honor, and important to highlight. For that the university should be proud of these students.”

Belles said participation in the ensemble is not restricted to music majors. Students in the group major in psychology, accounting, education, visual arts, sociology, biology, theatre, business and more.

“It is equally important to acknowledge the vital role of the arts in the lives of our students across campus, all of whom are a product of a liberal arts education,” said Belles. “Believe me when I say there are many institutions that limit involvement in pre-professional experiences such as this to those within the major.”

Eastern to Offer Four New Programs in Coming Academic Year

new major - criminologyEastern Connecticut State University will offer four new academic programs in the coming 2016-17 academic year — a major in criminology and minors in bioinformatics, environmental health science and insurance. All four programs are in response to local and national workforce needs and labor market projections. The criminology major, available this fall semester, will explore the social construction of crime, the causes of criminal behavior and the societal responses to crime. Grounded in a sociological perspective, the new program will investigate the intersection of social inequality, diversity, crime and justice.

The bioinformatics minor, also available this fall, will prepare students for Connecticut’s growing biomedical andnew-major-bioinformatics-300x200 pharmaceutical industry. Using computational and mathematical tools, the goal of the program is to teach students how to analyze genomic information, which is revolutionizing our understanding of health and disease.  “Eastern is one of the only schools in the region to offer an undergraduate program in bioinformatics,” said Garret Dancik, bioinformatics and computer science professor. “This is a great opportunity for students interested in using computer science and mathematics to solve important biomedical problems, such as better diagnosing and treating genomic diseases like cancer.”

new major - environmental health scienceThe environmental health science minor, available this fall, will explore the relationship between human health and the environment, and how one influences the other.

The versatile minor is particularly appropriate for students majoring in health sciences, environmental earth science and biology, but also supports those students whose careers will involve them closely with the public, such as those majoring in communication, sociology, social work and political science.

The insurance minor, available in the spring 2017 semester, isnew major - insurance meant to meet the needs of the ever-changing health care system as well as forecasts that predict greater demands for new employees in the insurance industry. The minor is particularly suitable for students majoring in finance, business administration, accounting and economics.

Eastern a “Great College to Work For”

Great-College-to-Work-For-2015GCWFHonorRoll_CLR_TM-150x150The Chronicle of Higher Education announced on July 19 that Eastern has again been named one of the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For.” Of the 281 institutions participating in the survey this year, Eastern was one of only 42 named to the program’s “Honor Roll.”

Eastern is the only school in Connecticut to make the honor roll and the only public four-year institution in New England to be named a “Great College to Work For.” This marks the seventh time that Eastern has been recognized since the recognition program began in 2009.

“We are very pleased to be a member of the ‘Great Colleges to Work for’ Honor Roll for the second year in a row,”Great-College-Residential-Halls-Exterior-300x199 said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “It is an honor to again be recognized as one of the nation’s top higher education workplaces. The shared values and spirit of teamwork that exists on our campus is a strength that helps us better serve our students and the state of Connecticut. Receiving this national recognition for the seventh time from the Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying, as is our high ranking on five of the program’s 12 criteria.”

Local High School Students Participate in Summer Arts Institute at Eastern

Students present their final performance for family, friends and the community in the studio theatre.

Students present their final performance for family, friends and the community in the studio theatre.

Eastern Connecticut State University hosted a three-week Summer Arts Institute on July 11-28, inviting rising juniors and seniors from Windham High School and Arts at the Capitol Theatre (ACT) to participate in a free college course and the opportunity to gain college credit. The program was funded through a generous grant from the Board of Regents for Higher Education.

Students present their final performance for family, friends and the community in the studio theatre.

Students present their final performance for family, friends and the community in the studio theatre.

Students were taught by Eastern professors and given the opportunity to develop their English language arts and literacy, math and socio-emotional-cognitive skills. “We had a terrific group of students this year,” said Kristen Morgan, assistant professor. “They really grew a great deal from start to finish.”

The three-week course was team taught by performing arts assistant professors Morgan, Alycia Bright Holland and program coordinator Nicola Johnson. Two current theatre majors, Nicole Rivera and Sinque Tavares, served as teaching assistants. The course ended with a public performance for friends, family and the community in the studio theatre.

Students were enrolled in “The 180,” a course that combines a contextual and experimental approach form the perspective of the artist-practitioner and their work onstage, in film, dance, video and other representational mediums. The course emphasized the key concepts, approaches and methodologies as practiced globally and from the past and present. There was a great deal of hands-on participation in experiential exercises and projects.

The faculty are hoping to expand the program next summer in order to include students from a larger geographic area and perhaps a broader subject matter.

Eastern Students Study in Ghana

Eastern students with Ghanaian students in school in the Agona-Asamang, Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Eastern students with Ghanaian students in school in the Agona-Asamang, Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Thirteen Eastern Health Science students traveled to Ghana, West Africa, from May 22-June 11 with Shelly Gimenez, adjunct faculty in Biology and Kinesiology and Health Education.

Eastern students help at a baby clinic at a hospital in Ghana, West Africa

Eastern students help at a baby clinic at a hospital in Ghana, West Africa

The trip to Ghana spanned three weeks, where the field experience component offered clinical experiences in surrounding communities of Agona-Asamang, Ashanti Region of Ghana. The field experience is a requirement for those seeking internship credits.  Students were able to compare and contrast what they saw with systems in place in the United States.

ghana - group shotThe field experience included visits to clinics, hospitals, schools, an orphanage and public services, where students learned firsthand about the health care and public health systems in place. At Mampong Hospital in rural Agona, students participated in hospital rounds; observers in the operating theater; conducted well baby clinics; actively participated in the Maternal and Child Health Clinic; conducted patient intake; and gained valuable experience in the Emergency Room.

ghana - eastern students outside with some of the Ghanaian studentsIn addition to the healthcare and public health component, students experienced the Ashanti culture by living in a compound in the rural African village of Assamang. They also were able to interact with public health and nursing students from Withrow University College in Agona-Assamang founded by Biology Professor Yaw Nsiah.  In addition, weekends were spent visiting historical sites in Ghana including an elephant preserve, slave quarter, a monkey cemetery and preserve, waterfalls, various villages and markets.

Eastern Students Study in Italy

ProfessorTorockio took the class to dinner their last night in Italy.

ProfessorTorockio took the class to dinner their last night in Italy.

From June 23 to July 28, 22 Eastern students traveled to Florence, Italy, with English Professor Christopher Torockio to participate in the course, “Creative Writing Abroad.” Students spent five weeks in an intensive creative writing workshop where they wrote, critiqued and edited original works of short fiction. They were instructed to use the Tuscan views, scenery, art and architecture to inspire their writing.

 

The student took an excursion to the Colosseumin Rome and took beautiful pictures inside.

The students took an excursion to the Colosseumin Rome and took beautiful pictures inside.

The students worked in the courtyard of Studio Art Centers International (SACI) where, surrounded by gardens, they met twice a week to review their work. “Working in this beautiful garden made learning a lot more fun than the average classroom back at school,” said senior Ashley Lester. “It was relaxing and beautiful with the art and other aspects of a garden. The workshops flew by as Professor Torockio made them as engaging as possible.” Aside from the workshops, students spent time traveling to different locations in Tuscany. Each Sunday students were brought to quaint and picturesque cities such as Lucca, Siena, Pisa, San Gimgnano and Fiesole, as well as given opportunities to visit museums, galleries and other famed attractions.

In Manarola in Cinque Terre.

In Manarola in Cinque Terre.

Aside from the structured historical visits, students were given the freedom to travel on weekends to various destinations. This year’s group took advantage by traveling to destinations such as Barcelona, Rome, Amalfi Coast, Venice, Dublin, Amsterdam and more. “Traveling through Europe on my own really made me break out of my shell,” said English Major Amanda Demaio. “It made me think of things differently as well as open my eyes to a whole new world.”

In Pompeii at the ruins.

In Pompeii at the ruins.

Students stayed in various apartments throughout the city. They were never far from a palace or grand building. “We stayed about six minutes from the Duomo,” said senior Christina Rossomando. “We were never far away from the action, there were restaurants and cafes on every corner. I think staying in the center of the city made it easier to adjust and feel comfortable since there were always people walking around.”

Professor Fitz Discusses Aristotle and “Ahimsa” in Greece!

Philosophy Professor Fitz, second from right, discusses Aristotle and “Ahimsa” in Athens, Greece

Philosophy Professor Fitz, second from right, discusses Aristotle and “Ahimsa” in Athens, Greece

Philosophy Professor Hope Fitz presented a paper at the World Congress of Philosophy, July 9-15, in Athens, Greece.  The theme of the conference was “The Philosophy of Aristotle.” Professor Fitz’s paper was titled “Aristotle’s Virtue Theory Plus Gandhi’s “Ahimsa”: an Ethical Theory with Global Relevance for the 21st Century.”

Professor Fitz in Greece.

Professor Fitz in Greece.

The paper argues that Aristotelean scholars, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, have made clear that Aristotle’s Virtue Theory is limited to a small community and cannot work in large nation states.  This is because the citizens who were involved in the Greek Assembly of Aristotle’s time had to know or at least be acquainted with one another to be able to form the small friendships that Aristotle describes.

In her new book, “Ahimsa: a Way of Life; a Path to Peace,” Professor Fitz traces the origins of “ahimsa” back nearly 4,000 years to the Vedic literature of the Hindus, through its development by the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, which culminated in the thought and practice of Mahatma Gandhi. Despite the problems of various values and beliefs which exist in most nation states and the European Union, Fitz believes that “if you added “Ahimsa” to Aristotle’s Virtue Theory, and children were taught and practiced it, there would be greater concern about the welfare of other persons, and all life on the planet. Thus, the conflict and violence, which is rampant in families, communities, states, nations and globally, would be greatly reduced, and, in time, war would, perhaps, become obsolete.”

Eastern Professors Present at Math Education Congress in Germany

Left to right, Mathematics Professor Marsha Davis, Education Professor Hari Koirala and Sita Koirala, a lecturer in the Mathematics in the Department in Hamburg, Germany

Left to right, Mathematics Professor Marsha Davis, Education Professor Hari Koirala and Sita Koirala, a lecturer in the Mathematics Department.

Every four years, the International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME) attracts more than 4,000 mathematics and mathematics education researchers and teachers from more than 50 countries. ICME-13 was held July 24-July 31 at the University of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany. Three Eastern faculty members — Mathematics Professor Marsha Davis, Sita Koirala, a lecturer in the Mathematics Department, and Education Professor Hari Koirala — presented “Teaching Statistics Through Applets and Using History of Mathematics To Address the Common Core Standards” in two poster sessions.

 

Professor Wynn Publishes New Book

Wynn's new bookChemistry Professor Charles Wynn has published a new book, “The Human Side of Science:  Edison and Tesla, Watson and Crick, and Other Personal Stories behind Science’s Big Ideas.”

“This lively and humorous book focuses attention on the fact that science is a human enterprise,” said Arthur Wiggins, co-author and distinguished professor of physics, emeritus at Oakland Community College in Michigan. “The reader learns about the foibles and quirks as well as the admirable ingenuity and impressive accomplishments of famous scientists who made some of the greatest discoveries of the past and present. Examples abound: Nikola Tesla once worked for Thomas Edison, but then quit after a dispute about a bonus. Robert Hooke accused Isaac Newton of stealing his ideas about optics. Plato declared that the works of Democritus should be burned.”

“With tongue-in-cheek illustrations by renowned science cartoonist Sidney Harris, this book takes the reader behind the scenes of scientific research to shine new light on the all-too-human people who ‘do’ science,” said Wiggins.

Two from Men’s Basketball Team Repeat Academic Honors

SPORTS-sciro-head1516-tie-300_7958Two members of the Eastern men’s basketball program have repeated recognition as the only qualifiers from the Little East Conference to the 2015-16 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court. For the second straight year, graduated senior guard Michael-Thomas Sciro (Westerly, RI) and 2015-16 junior guard Alex Borofsky (Southington) qualified for the national academic team, which recognizes collegiate junior and senior men’s basketball players from four-year colleges who have achieved cumulative grade-point averages of at least 3.20 through this past spring.

The Warriors won 18 and lost 9 this past season, claiming their thirdSPORTS-borofsky-head1516-tie-300_7931 copy straight LEC regular-season title and fourth in five years under 14-year head coach Bill Geitner. Eastern has had nine NABC Honors Court qualifiers in the past five years. This past year, the Eastern intercollegiate program repeated as winner of the LEC Presidents’ Cup with a record overall GPA of 3.18.