Eastern Students Learn Dining Etiquette for Interviews

Written by Jolene Potter


Students at Eastern Connecticut State University attended a business luncheon with local employers on Sept. 22 to learn about proper etiquette for lunch and dinner interviews. The event was sponsored by Eastern’s Center for Internships and Career Development (CICD).

“This event was an opportunity for students to engage with employers,” said Clifford Marret, director of the CICD, who arranged for professionals from Cigna and the accounting firm Nicola, Yester & Company to attend the event. “It allowed students to practice skills in networking, professionalism and etiquette while enjoying an excellent meal.”

Jeffrey Kwolek, director of Chartwells, Eastern’s food service provider, facilitated the etiquette portion of the event, explaining proper dining manners and conversation protocol.

Among his advice, Kwolek told the students to arrive 10 minutes prior to the scheduled interview time as well as to turn off their cell phones before entering the restaurant. “You want the employer to know that you are fully engaged and focused on the interview,” he said.

Regarding conversation protocol, Kwolek said, “Avoid topics such as politics and religion. You want to keep the conversation geared toward what you will bring to the company as an employee.”

Students were also given tips regarding what type of food to order, where to place utensils and how to maintain positive body language. For instance, when browsing the menu, Kwolek suggested to stay away from messy, large or overly expensive items.

Students were taught the basics of table setup, learning to use their silverware from the outside in for a meal with multiple courses. They were told to drink from the glasses to their right and to use the bread plate to their left. Students were also advised not to place a used utensil on the table, as it is considered unsanitary.

“This was a fantastic event,” said Tessa Jordan, a certified public accountant at Nicola, Yester & Company. “As an Eastern alum I think it’s so important to promote employer and student interaction. This event helped us connect and relate with students.”

Bolivian Ambassador Speaks at Eastern: ‘The Human Race is a Family’

Written by Jordan Corey

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations, visited Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 13 as part of its University Hour event series. Llorenti provided insight on the past and current state of Bolivia, and then spoke more broadly on global relations.

The ambassador was introduced by friend Martin Mendoza-Botelho, a professor of political science at Eastern, who noted that Llorenti has always had a “natural appetite to serve society.”

Llorenti began by describing the world from Bolivia’s perspective. He informed listeners that, while Bolivia is a highly indigenous country, it took almost 200 years to elect its first indigenous president, who took office in 2006.

In addition to social backlash against indigenous cultures in Bolivia, the country was once very poor, with 40 percent of its population living in extreme poverty. With the election of President Evo Morales, Llorenti said, came a “democratic revolution” that has since turned Bolivia into South America’s fastest-growing economy, reducing the poverty level to its current 16 percent.

“That’s why leadership is so important,” Llorenti stressed, using Morales as a jumping-off point to address crises that are going unsolved globally. “We are facing the worst humanitarian crises since 1945,” he said, naming war, poverty, finance, energy usage and climate change among the glaring issues. “Things are getting worse and worse.”

The ambassador called the human race a “family” that must work together to fix the world’s problems. Because the modern world is so interlinked, he argued, what happens in one place has an impact everywhere else.

Consequently, Llorenti advocated for a rules-based international power system in which all members share common goals and responsibilities – components he claimed the global society is lacking. He also pointed out that, in light of this, what is done on a local level matters. “It’s really up to us to do our share,” the ambassador concluded.

Author Malik Champlain Visits Eastern, Speaks on Racial Injustice

Malik Champlain

Malik Champlain

Written by Jordan Corey

Motivational speaker and author Malik Champlain spoke at Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 6 during the school’s “University Hour” series. As part of #EasternBlackout Day, Champlain gave a presentation on how to remain proactive in the face of oppression. Attendees were encouraged to dress in all black as tribute to black and African-American people who have died unjustly at the hands of law enforcement.

Before starting, Champlain projected a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that read “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” which set the tone for the following hour. He began his lecture by thanking those who attended the University’s recent rally in support of DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — and introduced himself through poetry.

Students gather for a group photo for "Blackout Day," in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement

Students gather for a group photo for “Blackout Day,” in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement

The topic of racism has long surrounded discussions of American society, becoming especially prevalent in the past few years. Champlain is one of many who feels a personal responsibility to speak, and more importantly, act out against it. He shared with the audience his own experiences, including marching in Washington, D.C. and co-sponsoring nonprofit organizations such as The Black Man Can Institute.

“Now is going to be in the history books,” he said, urging students to play their own part in joining a movement and emphasizing that sometimes it only takes one person to jumpstart something big.

Champlain provided a list of eight ways to get involved with a social justice movement, including educating oneself on a particular movement and using social media as a platform. Coming full-circle in his speech, Champlain concluded with a rhyme: “When I say Black Lives Matter, I look at you,” he said, “When you hear Black Lives Matter, what will you do?”

Eastern Breaks Into List of Top 25 Public Regional Universities

Written by Ed Osborn

eastern_front_entranceFor the first time, Eastern Connecticut State University made the list of the top 25 regional public universities in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of “Best Colleges.” Eastern was the highest ranked university among the four Connecticut state universities. The annual rankings were released on Sept. 12.

•Theatre students perform Cervantes' "Pedro, The Great Pretender," as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern's new Fine Arts Instructional Center

• Theatre students perform Cervantes’ “Pedro, The Great Pretender,” as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked on the basis of 16 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

•Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono '17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

• Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono ’17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

“I am gratified to see Eastern ranked in the top 25 public institutions in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges report,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Our commitment to high standards, our focus on providing students with personal attention, and the introduction of new academic programs have resulted in our favorable ranking. Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college.  These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of 1,389 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2017 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 10.

For the past 33 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Hundreds of Eastern Students Attend Student Activities Fair

Written by Jolene Potter

Organization of Latin American Students

Organization of Latin American Students

Willimantic, Conn. – More than 500 students attended Eastern Connecticut State University’s annual Fall Student Activities Fair and President’s Picnic on Sept. 11 from 5-7 p.m. on the Library Quad. Student representatives from dozens of Eastern clubs and organizations staffed tables to recruit the hundreds of prospective members who attended the event.

The Fall Student Activities Fair provides new and returning students an opportunity to further explore their interests. Eastern clubs and organizations focus on a variety of student interests such as academic, art and music, club sports, cultural, government, leadership and service, media, recreation, religious and special interests.

Organization for Latin American Students (OLAS) President Freddy Cruz shared the goals of the organization. “OLAS provides a family for students and a support system out of class,” said Cruz. “We want to promote Latin American culture, reach out to our local community and have fun.”

Black Student Union

Black Student Union

Black Student Union President Morgane Russell expressed similar hopes for the current academic year: “Our goal is to provide a safe space for black students and all students of color and to promote unity and diversity on campus.”

 FEMALES (“Females Excelling and Maturing to Achieve Leadership," Excellence and Success”

FEMALES (“Females Excelling and Maturing to Achieve Leadership,” Excellence and Success”

Drama Society student representatives were also present at the event to recruit students. “As an organization we fund shows for the Theatre Department, put on our own independent shows and hold staged readings,” said senior theatre major and Drama Society President Emily John. “Our organization provides a collaborative learning experience for all students regardless of major. Keeping our group open to non-theatre majors is important because it enriches us as a group and enriches our art.”

Student leadership organizations “Men Achieving Leadership, Excellence and Success” (MALES) and “Females Excelling and Maturing to Achieve Leadership, Excellence and Success” (FEMALES) were also present at the fair. “Self-growth is our motto. We want to create a positive circle that uplifts students and helps them to be the best version of themselves,” said senior finance major and MALES President Kendrick Constant. FEMALES shared similar goals and objectives for the current academic year: “Community service and involvement is the cornerstone of FEMALES,” said junior history major and Secretary Kiana Veamon. “We want to get to know students and give them a sense of community and support to help them reach their full potential.”

BioChemistry Club

BioChemistry Club

Several academic organizations were also present at the activities fair, including the Biochemistry Club. “Our goal is to promote scientific collaboration, undergraduate research opportunities, career exploration and help first-year students adjust through study groups for Biology and Chemistry classes,” said sophomore biochemistry major and Vice President Crystal Vicente.

With more than 100 clubs and organizations at the fair, there was something for everyone.


Eastern Announces Fall ‘University Hour’ Schedule

Written by Jordan Corey

campus quad nice wide shotWILLIMANTIC, CT (09/12/2017) This fall 2017 semester, Eastern Connecticut State University is again hosting University Hour, a free and open-to-the-public series of cultural events that occurs every Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. in locations across campus. Upcoming events include:

On Sept. 13 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Concert Hall, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti will discuss global security. He will be speaking about the ideological gaps that lie between developing and developed countries, among other foreign policy issues.

On Sept. 20 in the Student Center Theatre, “Hostage of Empire: Constitutional Dimensions of Puerto Rican Birthright Citizenship” will showcase the history of America’s extension of citizenship to Puerto Rico, and resulting debates over constitutional status of Puerto Ricans.

On Sept. 27 in the Student Center Theatre, “The Role of Naturopathic Medicine in the Health Care System” will feature a lecture by Dr. Tonya Pasternak, who will talk about naturopathic medicine and discuss her medical approaches to common conditions.

On Oct. 4 in the Student Center Theatre, “Dear Woke Brown Girl” will feature “Latina Rebels” founder Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, who will speak about the concept and process of being “woke,” along with the personal tolls that often come with it.

On Oct. 11 in the Student Center Theatre, Cambodian scholar and poet Heng Sreang will discuss his research on the Cambodian (Khmer) diaspora in New England and California, in addition to doing a poetry reading.

On Oct. 18 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Concert Hall, Eastern will host the Providence-based music group Ensemble/Parallax. The ensemble will give a performance featuring several of their pieces, with a follow-up discussion on performance techniques, the aesthetics of new music and historical content on the music presented.

On Oct. 25 in the Student Center Theatre, “Alcohol Monologues” will take place, a show mimicking the style of the “Vagina Monologues.” A cast of student volunteers will read candid accounts of their experiences in order for the audience to consider the impacts of alcohol usage.

On Nov. 1 in the Student Center Theatre, Matika Wilbur, an acclaimed photographer from the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes, will give a presentation that encourages citizens of the United States to move past appropriating and neglecting indigenous images and traditions. This will be done through photographic representation and direct narratives of Native American lives.

On Nov. 15 in the Student Center Theatre, “Living Intersex: Walking the Line” – the final event of the semester – will feature Saifa Wall, an intersex man of African descent. Having overcome emotional and political hardships, Wall aims to develop strong relationships between ethical, responsible research and community empowerment.

Bolivian Ambassador to Speak on Global Security at Eastern

Bolivian Ambassador_LlorentiWritten by Jordan Corey

WILLIMANTIC, CT (09/07/2017) On Sept. 13, Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti will be making an appearance at Eastern Connecticut State University’s “University Hour” to discuss global security. The event takes place from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Instructional Center.

During his presentation, Llorenti will address the ideological gaps between developing and developed countries. This year, Bolivia joined the Security Council of the United Nations as a non-permanent member. The ambassador’s “University Hour” speech will center on foreign policy and is free to attend.

Eastern Announces Star Show Schedule for Fall 2017

Written by Casey Collins

Professor Russell Sampson leads a star show in Eastern's Planetarium

Professor Russell Sampson leads a star show in Eastern’s Planetarium

Willimantic, CT (09/07/2017) —The planetarium at Eastern Connecticut State University has just announced its fall 2017 series of star shows, “Celestial Wonders and Cosmic Conundrums.” The public is invited to attend the free events, but tickets are required.

During the first show on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m., Physical Sciences Professor Russell Sampson will discuss the constellations, planets and special sky events of the season, as well as talk about his expedition to Wyoming, where he viewed the recent total solar eclipse.

The second show of the season will occur on Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m. and will focus on scientific discoveries from the Cassini Mission to Saturn. This show will highlight the rings, moons and storms of Saturn.

The third and final show of the fall semester will occur on Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. Sampson will explore The Big Bang Theory and discuss how the universe was born and what it was like 13.7 billion years ago.

Every show concludes with a Q&A session. Shows last about an hour-and-a-half and are free to attend, but tickets are required. To reserve seats, contact Zosia Carlquist at CarlquistZ@easternct.edu.

Eastern’s Applied Behavioral Analysis Program Recognized Nationally

Written by Ed Osborn

behavioral analysisEastern Connecticut State University is one of 57 institutions in the United States recognized for its applied behavioral analysis program by Applied Behavior AnalysisEdu.org.  The first Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst program in Connecticut and one of only three in the state, Eastern’s program is a concentration offered within the Psychology major.  The program has been certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and given the BACB’s Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) credential.

“We are big fans of Eastern Connecticut University because of the many undergraduate research and creative activities available to students,” wrote ABAEdu.org. “In fact, students (at Eastern) enjoy the opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on an array of projects that contribute to the growing body of research in the field of applied behavior analysis.”

Certification is usually required for employment in the field of applied behavioral analysis, especially when working with children with autism.

“Dr. James Diller continues to do an outstanding job leading this program,” said Carlos Escoto, professor of psychology and chair of the Psychological Sciences Department. “We are grateful to be recognized by a national organization and pleased to be able to offer our students this special professional credentialing opportunity.”

1978 Eastern Graduate Named to Major National Mental Health Post

McCance-KatzElinore McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., a 1978 graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 3 as the first Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the U.S. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, helped create the new position as part of the Mental Health Reform Act that he co-sponsored with U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

“Every one of us has a family member or friend coping with mental illness or addiction. We created this position because after listening to families in Connecticut, I heard loud and clear that the government needs to do a better job addressing these issues for the people who need it. Dr. McCance-Katz has a big job ahead of her,” said Murphy. “She’s experienced and I’m confident she’ll bring much-needed focus and attention to making sure people with mental health needs and addiction get the care they need. I look forward to working her.”

McCance-Katz majored in biology and graduated magna cum laude from Eastern in 1978.  Prior to her new appointment, she was the chief medical officer for the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. She is also a professor of psychiatry and human behavior and professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. She previously served as the first chief medical officer for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Eastern, she obtained her Ph.D. from Yale University with a specialty in infectious disease epidemiology. McCance-Katz is also a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine and board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry with more than 25 years of experience as a clinician, teacher and clinical researcher.

Following her graduation from UConn, McCance-Katz did her residency in psychiatry at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. Her career in academia included a seven-year stint as a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. She has conducted substantial research in the area of substance abuse and addiction, specifically opioid addiction.

“For the first time ever, a medical professional who is laser focused on addiction and mental health will be in the top echelon of HHS,” said Murphy. “We created this position to elevate these important issues and improve coordination so that people coping with a mental illness or substance use disorder can access the care and treatment they need.”

McCance-Katz’s confirmation has been applauded by such groups as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association.