Immigration & Invisibility of Latinos: Eastern to Host Live Podcast

 An episode of “In the Thick,” a podcast about race and politics co-hosted by award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela, will be recorded at Eastern Connecticut State University on Oct. 22 in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; show starts promptly at 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public; guests must register at

“In the Thick” is a new podcast by Futuro Media Group that provides insight on breaking news and politics from a person-of-color perspective. The episode at Eastern will concern immigration and the invisibility of Latinos, both nationally and within Connecticut communities.

Hinojosa and Varela–known for their work with the award-winning National Public Radio show “Latino USA”– sit down with different activists, politicians, advisors, influencers and journalists of color discuss situations that they say mainstream media fails to talk about. The focus of the show at Eastern will be around undocumented youth movements.

In Connecticut, the Latino community is growing rapidly, with Latinos being the largest and fastest growing marginalized group. Joining the discussion will be Charles Venator-Santiago, associate professor with the Department of Political Science and El Instituto at the University of Connecticut as well as director of both the Puerto Rico Citizenship Archives Project and the Puerto Rico Status Archives Project; Kica Matos, attorney and director of the Center on Immigration and Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice; and Lucas Codognolla, executive director of Connecticut Students for a Dream.

The live recording was made possible by the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.

Eastern Music Program to Present 9 November Concerts

Eastern Band

Eastern Connecticut State University will host a variety of musical events this November, including faculty recitals, guest performances and ensemble works. All events will be held in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC). Admission is free and open to the public.

On Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the FAIC Foyer, students of Eastern’s Opera Workshop and special guests will carry out performances depicting arias, duets and ensembles from various operas in celebration of National Opera Week.

On Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, the Music Program will host the Charter Oak Brass Band. Performing in Connecticut since the late ’80s, this band will perform repertoire of the British-style brass band.

On Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. in the Concert Hall, the Music Program will conduct their fall concert with the Willimantic Orchestra, featuring works of Barber of Seville Overture, Chabrier’s Suite Pastorale and Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé Suite.

On Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 2:30 p.m., the Concert Hall will host a faculty recital titled “Hopping Through History: Two Piano Multi-Media Concert.” This recital is a collaboration of faculty members from Eastern’s music, theatre and visual arts departments, and will consist of a two-piece piano performance by pianists David Ballena and Okon Hwang. The time periods in history that will be depicted are Baroque, Classical, Romantic and the contemporary.

On Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Instrumental Room (room 108) of the FAIC, the guitar studio will host “Guitar Night.” This night will consist of solos, duos and mixed chamber music of classic repertoire and new arrangements of popular music.

On Nov. 20 at noon in the Concert Hall, the piano studio recital will celebrate the progress and achievements of student piano players throughout the semester.

On Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, the Brass Ensemble Concert will take place. This concert will include performances from brass and percussion students featuring original compositions and transcriptions from the Renaissance period to today.

On Nov. 24 at 2:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, Eastern’s various percussion ensembles will feature performances from the Chamber Percussion Group, World Percussion Ensemble and other larger percussion ensembles.

On Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, Eastern’s Concert Chorale and Friends will host “Music for Choir and Brass.” Conducted by David Belles, this event will feature “Gloria” and “Christmas Cantata” by composers John Rutter and Daniel Pinkham.

Written by Bobbi Brown

Eastern to Present ‘Convergence’ on Oct. 24-27

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Theatre Program will present “Convergence” from Oct. 24-27 in the Proscenium Theatre of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. This biannual concert of Eastern’s Dance & World Performance concentration will feature choreography by Eastern faculty, alumni and guest artists.

Choreography will be presented by Professor Alycia Bright-Holland, guest artist Charles Anderson and four alumni-Alexis Tribble-Bryant ’17, Shatima Cruz ’17, Charliece Salters ’18 and Sinque Tavares ’17. The show will feature individual and collaborative pieces, reflective of the choreographers’ influences and interpretations of modern dance.

The shows on Oct. 24-26 will take place at 7:30 p.m. and the Oct. 27 show is at 4 p.m. Tickets are free for Eastern students; $5 for other students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for senior citizens; $12 for Eastern faculty, staff and alumni; and $20 for the general public. To purchase tickets online, visit

Journalist Maria Hinojosa to Record Live Podcast on Immigration at Eastern

“In the Thick”, a podcast on immigration, will be taped at Eastern Connecticut State University on Oct. 22. The show, hosted by award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela, will discuss the issues surrounding immigration and Latino invisibility, both nationally and in Connecticut. The live taping was made possible by the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.

“In the Thick” is a weekly political podcast that provides insight on breaking news and politics from a person-of-color perspective. Hinojosa and Varela sit down with different activists, politicians, advisors, influencers and journalists of color to discuss situations that they say mainstream media fails to talk about. The focus of the show at Eastern will be around undocumented youth movements. Panelists will be announced prior to the event.

The show takes place in the Fine Arts Concert Hall on Oct. 22. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show will start promptly at 6 p.m. The show is free and open to the public; however, guests will have to register at

Written by Molly Boucher

Faculty Present Research on Teenage Mothers in Kenya, and Music Recitals

On Oct. 2, Steve Muchiri, assistant professor of economics, continued the Faculty Scholars Forum at Eastern Connecticut State University with a discussion on motherhood in developing countries. Muchiri’s research examines the impact of free education on teenage motherhood in Kenya, where up to 20 percent of women 20-24 years of age become mothers before their 18th birthdays.

In developing countries, Muchiri found that many adolescent pregnancies are caused by child marriages, sexual violence and coercion, and that contributing factors are lack of access to education, reproductive health services and poverty. His findings concluded that impoverished, poorly educated and rural girls are more likely to become pregnant than their wealthier, urban, educated counterparts.

All these factors point to the lack of choices and opportunities for poor, rural adolescent girls in Kenya.  Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Kenyan government has introduced free or subsidized education policies, starting with free primary education and later secondary education.Muchiri’s presentation showed some of the potential that these free and subsidized education policies have on teenage motherhood.

On Sept. 28 in the FAIC Concert Hall, the Music Program’s Faculty Recital Series showcased lecturer Amanda Baker on flute; guest cellist Cara Cheung; and David Ballena, assistant professor of music, on piano, performing trio of works by Bohuslav Martinu, David Lang and George Crumb. The program focused on the unexpected departure points of inspiration—how composers are inspired, and what is the thread that carries through from the spark of an idea to the finished composition. The Faculty Recital Series was created as a means to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming Music Program students. All donations collected will directly support Music Program student scholarships and awards.

On Oct. 5 in the Concert Hall, Jeff Calissi, associate professor of music, and lecturer Matt Bronson performed chamber literature for percussion, sharing the stage with guest percussionist Michael Jones.

Jeff Calissi and Matt Bronson

Michael Jones

By Dwight Bachman

Eastern to Host ‘FAFSA Day’ Oct. 27. Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Eastern Connecticut State University will host “FAFSA Day” on Oct. 27 from 1-4 p.m. in Webb Hall, Room 410. Open to current and prospective college students, FAFSA Day is meant to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a timely manner.

Swiftly completing FAFSA paperwork can increase a student’s chances of receiving fair and equitable financial aid. FAFSA opened Oct. 1 and will be available until June 30, 2020. Students are urged to file as soon as possible.

Students and their families will be filing for the 2020-21 school year by using 2018 tax return data. “FAFSA Day” is a free service provided by Eastern’s Financial Aid Office, which urges students to attend the event, especially first-generation students.

For more information and to register, visit:

Written by Molly Boucher

Eastern Hosts ‘Career Conversation’ on Biz-Tech


The Center for Internships and Career Development hosted the second-annual Career Conversations event for “Business in the Tech Industry” (Biz-Tech) on Oct. 8, in collaboration with Business Information Systems Professor Alex Citurs. The event, described as “speed-networking” by Citurs, covered career areas ranging from social media to applications development. The event included 14 industry alumni and seven students who have completed related internships.

The “career conversations” event was created to encourage networking so that students could learn more about careers that interested them. Approximately 100 students took advantage of the event. Citurs, who hosted the first event last year on October 2018, said it gave students who work on weekends a time during the week to build connections. “There are students in this room who have internships and already have jobs waiting for them when they graduate.”

Justin Ferrari, an Eastern alumnus who majored in Business Information Systems with a minor in Computer Science, said his time at Eastern made him well prepared for the business industry. Like many other guest speakers, he encouraged students to work towards completing multiple internships. Jillian Wirth, a junior with a major in Accounting said internships were her reason for attending the event. “It’s interesting to see the different areas and focuses of business.”

The “speed networking” technique that Citurs described allowed students to go to tables covering multiple fields. With 12 minutes at each table, students were able to talk to the guest speakers about their careers and what they did on a day-to-day basis. Students were also provided with a pamphlet that had biographies for each guest speaker and conversation starters to get the discussion flowing.

The tables, in order of popularity, were Business/Systems Analysis; Application Development; Business Intelligence Analytics; Network Administration; Project Management; Internet Marketing; Cloud Services; Healthcare IT; and Database Administration. Students were asked to sign in at each table that they visited, so that the University could understand the varying degrees of interest for each career path.

Written by Molly Boucher

Art Gallery to Open ‘The Happiness Curriculum’ Oct. 17

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will show its second exhibition of the fall 2019 semester, “The Happiness Curriculum: Art from the South Asian Diaspora,” from Oct. 17-Dec. 14. The event will kick off with an artist talk from 3-4 p.m. on Oct. 17, followed by a reception from 4-6 p.m. Six artists’ work will be shown, with their art focusing on cultures in the Indian subcontinent and the competing influence of a contemporary American society. Artists include Kanad Chakrabarti, Ruby Chisti, Swati Kurana, Ruhee Maknojia, Shayok Mukhopadhyay and Sreshta Rit Premnath. There will be four additional programs presented throughout the exhibition’s two months.

Ironically titled “The Happiness Curriculum” — after a 45-minute daily meditation initiative in Indian schools — the work addresses issues such as borders, exclusion and diasporic longing. The art tells stories of war and a clear longing for stability and peace, making the point that “happiness” can only be achieved when justice prevails. The art will also provide an insight to the complicated path that art history has taken within the Indian subcontinent.

The exhibition will be diverse. The art work in view includes the documentary “Gautam & Buddha,” directed by Mukhopadhyay. Khurana will present a series of posters titled “Freedom. Safety. Now.,” which protests sexual violence. Chakrabarti will present an art installation that references the Mediterranean, the place of an enormous historical layering that now hosts neighborhoods of African and Bangladeshi immigrants. Premnath will show his sculptures, which deal with the question of space and how we occupy it. Makhojia’s work will lend insight into the tranquility and shelter that was offered to scholars by Persian gardens. Christi’s work uses worn clothes to show the emotional and physical trauma caused by conflict and war.

Four additional programs will be presented during the exhibition. On Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m., there will be a lecture by Kathryn Myers, a Professor of art at the University of Connecticut. Myers will speak about her Indian-focused art of the past two decades, a body of work that celebrates South Asian culture. On Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theater, there will be a film screening of “Gautam & Buddha,” directed by Mukhopadhyay. The documentary follows rural gay men, Gautam and Buddha, who are Indian traveling actors who play women. Mukhopadhyay will also be at the University on Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. to speak about his documentary films and how they are formed by experiences coming of age in Calcutta. On Nov. 6 at 3 p.m., Khurana will talk about her 2013 protest in front of the Indian Consulate in NYC with the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective against the violent sexual assault and death of Jyoti Singh, a young woman who passed away on a Delhi bus in December 2012. The conversation will be framed around the context of the #MeToo movement.

The Art Gallery is located at room 112 in Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center. Admission is free. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Wednesday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday from 1 p.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. For more information, contact the Art Gallery at (860) 465-4659, visit the website at or email Yulia Tikhonova, gallery director, at

Eastern to Host Basketball Tournament in Honor of Alyssiah Wiley

Eastern Connecticut State University will host a three-on-three basketball tournament on Oct. 9 in the Geissler Gymnasium from noon to 4:30 p.m. in honor of late Eastern student Alyssiah Wiley. There will also be other activities held in the Student Center such as a labyrinth, informational tables, games, a film showing and raffles. Connecticut State Rep. Robyn Porter and Wiley’s mother, Corrinna Martin, will also speak on the issue of interpersonal relationship violence at the event.

Wiley, who was an Eastern sophomore in 2013, was in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. When she decided to break things off with him, things took a turn for the worst and resulted in Wiley’s murder. Wiley’s death sent shockwaves throughout the entire state and Eastern’s community, which prompted Eastern students to action. Eastern staff and students have taken initiative to bring awareness to interpersonal relationship violence, while honoring women like Wiley, who represent the necessity for awareness.

According to recent polls conducted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 43 percent of dating college women and 28 percent of college men say they have experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors. Women and men between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of dating violence, which is triple the national average. 52 percent of college women also report knowing a friend who has experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors.

The activities at the event are designed to promote discussions of relationships between women and men on campus by incorporating sports and education on interpersonal relationship violence. The labyrinth will encourage students and staff to take an exploratory journey of self-reflection. Informational tables will also encourage students to gather resources and information on interpersonal relationship violence while other games will facilitate conversations on the issue. The goal is to create a positive alliance between staff, students and faculty to move forward together to prevent and end interpersonal relationship violence

The coordinators of this event hope to raise further awareness of Wiley’s story to get other college campuses throughout the country to host basketball tournaments and relationship violence awareness events like the one being hosted at Eastern. Their goal is to secure long-term sponsorships that will continue to recognize and bring awareness to dating, relationship and domestic violence. Eastern President Elsa Nunez to host this event annually.

To sign up and participate in the basketball tournament go to or email Registrations will be open from Sept. 17 until Oct. 4. Students who attend the event will also have the chance to enter raffles, win gift cards and other electronics such as TV’s. Staff and faculty are also welcomed to participate in the tournament.

Written by Vania Galicia

Stamford NAACP Honors Eastern Social Work Professor Eunice Matthews

Left to right, Stacey Close, Eastern’s associate provost and vice president for equity and diversity; Sen. Richard Blumenthal; Eunice Matthews, Denise Rodriguez, lecturer in the Department of Social Work; Shirley Matthews, sister of Eunice Matthews and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University; and Isabel Logan, assistant professor of social work, congratulate Matthews.

On Sept. 27, at the NAACP’s Annual Freedom Fund Dinner, the Stamford NAACP presented Eunice Matthews, professor of social work and coordinator of the Social Work Program at Eastern Connecticut State University, its prestigious Dr. Joyce Yearwood Humanitarian Award.

The award is given to an individual who is a premier advocate for fairness, justice and equality in the community in health care, employment, housing, education or voting

Naomi Chapman Taylor, left, and Guy Fortt, Executive Committee members of the Stamford NAACP, present Professor Matthews with the rk and coordinator of the Social Work Program at Eastern Connecticut State University, its prestigious Dr. Joyce Yearwood Humanitarian Award.

rights. The award recognized Matthews for her work as a clinician providing mental health services for two decades to adults and adolescents in southern Connecticut. 

Several dignitaries were on hand, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who praised Matthews, saying, “Dr. Yearwood was a personal friend who I loved and greatlyrespected for her diligence in enhancing the lives of others. I thank you, Dr. Matthews, for the wonderful work you have done so effortlessly and continue to do in transforming the lives of so many people in Stamford and beyond.”

Matthews secured her first faculty appointment at Fordham University’s School of Social Services. She joined Eastern in 2000, and helped develop Eastern’s nationally recognized Social Work program. In 2001, she also began serving as a clinician at the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, and as a consultant for the Healthy Families New York in South Bronx, NY, where she served for 15 years.

Matthews continues to contribute to the intellectual discourse in her field, serving on the board of directors of the Southern Conference of African American Studies and the Council of Social Work Education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Morgan State University; her master’s degree in Social Work at Columbia University; and her Ph.D. in Sociology at the City University of New York.