Gallery: Recap of Year-End Honor Societies, Award Ceremonies

Computer Science and Business Information Systems: UPE
Social Work
Kinesiology and Physical Education
Honors Program
Environmental Earth Science


The close of the 2018-19 academic year at Eastern Connecticut State University was filled honor society inductions and award ceremonies, recognizing the numerous achievements by students from every academic department on campus.  

The Social Work Program hosted its 21st Senior Celebration and honor society induction on May 18 in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. Four students delivered remarks and four students received awards of excellence.

The Honors Program held its Senior Reception on May 18 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. The event celebrated the achievements of 25 graduating students enrolled in the University’s highly selective Honors Program.

The Sociology Program inducted 18 students into the theta chapter of the Alpha Kappa Delta National Honor Society on May 9 in the Student Center Theatre.

The English Department hosted English Night on May 7 in the Johnson Room of the library. The night featured an award ceremony, capstone poster session and senior seminar presentations.

The Environmental Earth Science (EES) Department held its year-end celebration and award ceremony on May 6 in the Science Building. Eleven awards were presented to students focusing in different disciplines of EES, from geographic information systems to geology to energy science.

The Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education hosted its annual award ceremony and honor society induction on May 2 in the Student Center Theater. Nineteen students were inducted into Alpha Upsilon Chi, bringing Eastern’s total to 130 inductees.

The Computer Science Department inducted 27 computer science and business information systems students into the Upsilon Pi Epsilon National Honor Society on may 1 in the Johnson Room of the library.

Political Science
Health Sciences
Business Administration: DMD
Business Administration: AMA
Women's and Gender Studies


The Psychology Department hosted its annual award ceremony and honor society induction on April 29 in the Betty Tipton Room of the Student Center. Twenty-six students were inducted into Psi Chi and 15 students received graduation honors of distinction.

The Department of World Languages and Cultures inducted four students into the Sigma Delta Pi National Spanish Honor Society on April 27 in the President’s Dining Room in Hurley Hall.

The Mathematics Department inducted 14 students into the Kappa Mu Epsilon National Honor Society on April 26 in the Johnson Room of the library.

The Biology Department hosted its annual honor society and award ceremony on April 26 in the Science Building. More than 30 students were inducted into the Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society. Several more students were recognized by the department for research and academic excellence.

The Health Sciences Department hosted its fourth annual award ceremony on April 25 in the Science Building. Certificates were given to students for teaching assistance, peer mentorship, research and academic excellence.

The Communication Department presented its annual Celebration of Excellence on April 25 in the Concert Hall of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Fifty-six students were into the Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society. Students were also recognized for excellence in different disciplines of the communication field.

The Political Science Department inducted 15 students and one faculty member into the Pi Sigma Alpha National Honor Society on April 24 in the Connecticut Room of Gelsi Young Hall.

The Business Administration Department inducted 11 marketing students into the Alpha Mu Alpha Honor Society and 24 students into the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society on April 23 in the Johnson Room of the library.

The Education Department hosted its honor society induction and award ceremony on April 20 in the Johnson Room of the library. New members were inducted into Kappa Delta Pi and students were awarded for excellence in early childhood education, elementary education and secondary education.

The Economics Department inducted 10 students into the Omicron Delta Epsilon National Honor Society on April 17 in the Johnson Room of the library.

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program held its inaugural induction ceremony for the Triota National Honor Society. Forty-one students and alumni were inducted in recognition of excellence in women’s and gender studies. Nine additional students and alumni were named Dr. Marcia P. McGowan Scholars.

The History Department inducted 22 new members into its Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society on April 4 in the Johnson Room of the library. This was the largest cohort of inductees to date. On May 8, the department held an award ceremony for graduating seniors.

The Finance Program held its year-end banquet on March 26 in the Johnson Room of the library. The event featured keynote speaker and Eastern alumnus Andrew Simmons ’06; presentations by current students as well as representatives of Travelers Insurance; and an awards ceremony.

Thirty-four students and one faculty member were inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society on March 3. The average GPA of this year’s cohort was 3.79. Students were also selected based on their involvement with the Eastern and surrounding communities.

‘Eastern Celebrates’ Alumni at Annual Reunion Weekend

The class of 1969 leads the Alumni March to the Big Tent BBQ.
The annual Young Alumni Bash commences at Blarney's.
Alumni, families and President Núñez gather for lunch in the Big Tent BBQ.
Hundreds of the Eastern community enjoy lunch.
Alumni, including the jubilee class of 1969, gather for a reception in the Student Center Cafe.
Alumni from the 80s, 90s and 00s celebrate at Blarney's during the Reunion Happy Hour.
Graduate students are honored during the Hooding Ceremony.
Graduates from the past 10 years gather at Blarney's for the Young Alumni Bash.


Hundreds of alumni converged on the Eastern Connecticut State University campus on May 17–18 for the 14th annual Eastern Celebrates reunion weekend. The class of 1969 celebrated its 50th reunion as graduates young and old partook in festivities on and off campus.

The weekend kicked off Friday night as graduates from the past 10 years gathered at Blarney’s for the annual Young Alumni Bash.

Saturday morning opened with a jubilee reception for the class of 1969 in the Student Center Café. President Elsa Núñez congratulated the jubilee class and gave them golden diplomas.

The morning continued with guided tours of campus, the newly reopened Communication Building and the Fine Arts Instructional Center—with a pitstop in the Art Gallery for an exhibition of student art work.

The festivities shifted focus midmorning to graduate students during their hooding ceremony, which celebrated soon-to-be graduates from master’s programs in accounting, organizational management and education.

Lunchtime gathered all patrons to the Big Tent Barbecue for a spread of all-American classics. The class of 1969 led a parade of generations of alumni in a march to the barbecue. With class banners in hand, they entered the tent to music and cheering families.

Classes from the 80s, 90s and 00s closed the celebration at Blarney’s with a reunion happy hour.   

Senior Exhibition Spotlights Graduating Student Artists


The versatile talents of more than 30 Eastern Connecticut State University art majors were featured in the 2019 Senior Art Exhibition. The exhibition ran from May 10–21 in the Art Gallery of the Fine Arts Instructional Center and kicked off with an opening reception on May 9.

The event, which welcomed senior artists to discuss their work with gallery visitors, represented digital art and design, painting and drawing, printmaking and sculpture concentrations. Projects ranged from animated videos to photographs and displayed cultural, academic and personal influences.

Kelsey Kirkendall ’19 captured the people in her life to create “Delicate Exposure,” a digital art series that was created based on a survey of friends’ perceived qualities. “I really wanted to showcase my closest friends and highlight their biggest insecurities alongside the best parts of them,” she said. Her goal was to explore unseen parts of being human, reinforcing openness and encouraging self-assurance.


“Everybody has their own style shown through what they’re making, so it’s a very diverse collection even for those of us in the same classes. That’s what makes this gallery cool,” said Jake Ayotte ’19, another student inspired by the intricacies of humanity. His piece is a CD cover titled “VII,” combining his interest in art and music in an artistic interpretation of the seven deadly sins.

“Seeing all the work of my peers come to life is great,” Jevaughn Lindo ’19 noted, recognizing growth brought on by artistic challenges and successes. “It’s like metamorphosis.” He presented an animated project, “Art Squad,” which required bone animation, or giving the characters skeletons. Creative decisions were driven by the role of cartoons in his life.

Erika Groleau ’19 also incorporated parts of herself into her art, producing a board game called “CAT-astrophe.” She used her familiarity with different game styles and experiences as a cat owner to create it. “The best part was really showing myself that I was able to accomplish this,” said Groleau, who received engaging feedback at the reception. “When I stand there, people tell me about their cats.” She would like to expand the project in the future.

Aiming for a similar connection as an artist to the audience, Joshua Philippas ’19 designed “Lost Looks,” an affordable streetwear clothing line. “I wanted to think outside of the box and make something that people could relate to,” he explained. Articles in the line include lightly colored cropped T-shirts and hoodies, achieving a relaxed but stylish appearance.

Written by Jordan Corey

Year-End Student Activity Enriches Campus

Fashion Forward. Photo courtesy of club.
Fashion Forward. Photo courtesy of club.
Fashion Forward. Photo courtesy of club.
Repertory Dance Troupe (RDT). Photo courtesy of club.
Repertory Dance Troupe (RDT). Photo courtesy of club.
Repertory Dance Troupe (RDT). Photo courtesy of club.
Natural Hair Club. Photo courtesy of club.
Natural Hair Club. Photo courtesy of club.
Natural Hair Club. Photo courtesy of club.
Key of She. Photo courtesy of club.


The end of the academic year is not only crunch time for final projects and exams, it’s also a busy time when Eastern’s many student organizations host year-end events. April and May have had a plethora of vibrant student activities, ranging from fashion shows to carnivals to Asian festivals. Below are a few of the clubs that are closing spring 2019 with a bang.

Fashion Forward held its annual fashion show on April 13 at Windham High School. The club aims to inform and educate Eastern students about the latest fashion trends.

The Repertory Dance Troupe (RDT) held its spring showcase on April 27 at Windham High School. The showcase featured originally choreographed pieces by club members. The club presented big-group pieces (30 or more people), small group dances (15 people), combos (3–6 people), duets and solos. The styles of dances included lyrical, modern, hip hop, jazz and tap. RDT presents a showcase every semester.

The Natural Hair Club hosted its first hair show on April 28 in the Student Center.  The club empowers and uplifts the natural hair community on campus by organizing events that focus on hair hygiene and maintenance, lifestyle tips, hair styles and hacks, skin care and more. “We recognize the trials and tribulations that come with having natural hair,” writes the club. “We want the Eastern community to take pride in their hair in its natural state. Culturally, everybody’s hair is different. We all should love our hair no matter the roots it comes from.”

The Music Society’s acapella group “Key of She” held its annual concert on April 26 in the Student Center. The club educates students about the different aspects of music and enhances the musical experiences of the Eastern community.

Springfest carnival. Photo courtesy of CAB.
Springfest carnival. Photo courtesy of CAB.
Springfest carnival. Photo courtesy of CAB.
Asian Cultural Society. Photo courtesy of the club.
Asian Cultural Society. Photo courtesy of the club.
Asian Cultural Society. Photo courtesy of the club.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz speaks at the College Democrats' "Political Intelligence" event. Photo courtesy of the club.
College Democrats. Photo Courtesy of the club.
College Democrats. Photo Courtesy of the club.
African Club fashion show. Photo courtesy of club.
African Club fashion show. Photo courtesy of club.


The Campus Activity Board (CAB) held its annual carnival and fireworks display on May 4. Featuring a Ferris wheel, scrambler and cotton candy, the carnival wrapped up Springfest, a week of festivities that included a dunk tank, virtual-reality roller coasters and other activities.  

The Asian Cultural Society celebrated “Holi,” a popular Hindu festival in India and Nepal that involves throwing colored powders and water in celebration of the start of spring. Hosted on April 29 on the Webb Lawn, this was the fourth year the club has celebrated the festival on campus.

The College Democrats hosted an event titled “Political Intelligence” in collaboration with the Quiet Corner Democrats on April 27. The event featured nine panels concerning topics such as immigration and gun control. Guests included Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, Deputy Secretary of State Scott Bates, Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt, Senior Advisor of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection James Albis, State Senator Cathy Osten and State Reps. Susan Johnson, Greg Haddad, Mike Winkler, Pat Boyd and Pat Wilson Pheanious.

The African Club hosted a fashion show on April 27. The club promotes interest in the history, development and cultures of Africa, and organizes related service projects and events for the Eastern community.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern Theatre Takes Spectators on a Journey ‘To Damascus’

“Here, Strindberg’s vision is closer to a nightmare,” writes Director David Pellegrini of the author. “This is particularly evident in the horror-tinged scenes in the first part (of the trilogy).”

Eastern Connecticut State University’s fine arts building was transformed into a performance venue at large as “To Damascus” brought spectators on a stage-hopping journey from April 23–28. The main-stage production was based on August Strindberg’s seminal trilogy “The Road to Damascus” and adapted/directed by Theatre Professor David Pellegrini.

The show follows a man on a fascinating and sometimes terrifying spiritual journey. Small groups of viewers followed the journey through scenes in multiple settings throughout the Fine Arts Instructional Center — including the building’s three performance venues, main lobby, rear loading dock and select classrooms.

The traveling, multi-venue format of “To Damascus” mimics the approach of medieval-cycle plays (a medieval type of theatre), in which theatregoers visited “stations” throughout town. The play also extends the palindromic structure — in which the protagonist passes through several settings, then returns to them in reverse order —  to the entire trilogy.


The trilogy’s pieces are rarely produced together — even in Strindberg’s homeland of Sweden. Pellegrini writes in his director’s notes: “The trilogy contains many stylistic innovations and offers a penetrating exploration of creativity, human potential and the causes for — and possible remedies to — human suffering.

“I have long been intrigued by the possibilities of an interdisciplinary production of ‘To Damascus,’” he added, “and university theatre is perhaps the most appropriate setting for its incubation. This is, in part, due to the myriad opportunities for recontextualizing the ‘Stranger’s journey’ in light of present-day concerns, but also because it provides a potent vehicle for student actors, designers and technicians to practice nontraditional production processes afforded by new media/performance technology.”

The cast and crew of “To Damascus” are Eastern students who are enrolled in the capstone course “Experimental Theatre.” The production features theatre majors as actors, designers and technicians, as well as new-media studies students who have created the media content alongside faculty mentor-artists.

Written by Michael Rouleau

‘Town Pride, Town Wide’ Beautifies Willimantic

With rakes and shovels in hand, students deployed across Willimantic on April 27 for the 11th annual “Town Pride, Town Wide” beautification event. Coordinated by Eastern’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE), 122 students volunteered 538 hours at 25 project sites during the day.

Students picked up approximately 750 pounds of trash and lawn waste at project sites including Windham public parks, churches, schools, nonprofit organizations and housing developments. Rep. Susan Johnson, D-Willimantic, spoke to students at the event kick off on the Eastern campus.


Town Pride, Town Wide is an opportunity for Eastern students to work closely with local community members and agencies to leave their mark on Willimantic. The event is a collaboration between the CCE and the Town of Windham.

“Every year there will always be more weeds to pull, more flowers to plant and more mulch to spread, but the bonds and relationships that are built throughout the community last a lifetime,” said CCE Director Kim Silcox. “Town Pride, Town Wide offers Eastern students and local community members alike the unique opportunity to take pride and ownership in our community.”

“Town Pride, Town Wide is exceptional in the way that it creates a truly special partnership between Eastern and the Willimantic community through beautifying the area in which we live,” said Sarah Tricarico ’18, special events coordinator for the CCE and a recent Eastern graduate. “It could not be possible without the willingness and enthusiasm of our community partners and students.”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Professor Dan Donaghy Receives 2019 Paterson Poetry Prize

Daniel Donaghy, English professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named the 2019 Paterson Poetry Prize recipient for his book of poetry “Somerset.” The annual award, sponsored by the Passaic Community College Poetry Center, honors what judges deem the strongest collection of poems published in the previous year.

Drawing from authentic experiences and the growth surrounding them, “Somerset” is the third part in a series centering on Donaghy’s upbringing in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. The collection was his most difficult to create thus far, requiring newfound intellectual and emotional energy as he navigated delicate spaces.

“I went all in to examine what life is and was like in Kensington, with all of its complexities, and make art out of it,” said Donaghy. “I was not going to try to write funny poems just to soften the edges of the book, which, I admit, I did in my earlier books. There were times during the course of writing ‘Somerset’ when I knew I was in uncharted territory, pushing further into heavy issues such as the conditions that our family and neighbors lived under.”

Through his poetry, Donaghy touches on racism, poverty and chronic violence. He praised Paterson co-winner Sean Thomas Dougherty for being another writer who has strived to address more difficult subjects.

“There were poets before him and me, too, who broke down the door in regard to writing honestly about class and place,” Donaghy said, crediting Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes and James Wright among them. “Those writers, and many others, continue to show me how to write about and explore big, tough questions related to where you live or grew up. You never run out of questions about where you come from and how it’s impacted you.”

He continued: “Some of these poems were incredibly draining to write and are still hard to read. Seeing how people respond to them reminds me that I’m not alone in the world. That sense of connection is one of the great gifts writing and reading can give us.”

In addition to focusing on broader social issues, Donaghy gets unquestionably personal with “Somerset,” particularly when confronting the death of his mother.

“Writing about her brings her back to me, though, so with the pain come waves of her love, which was endless,” he stated. “There’s a line in the book from ‘Birthday Poem for My Mother’ that says, ‘how close we can get to the dead sometimes.’ That’s as good a reason as any I can think of to write: to bring back the dead and talk with them, be with them again.”

Donaghy has noticed, however, the poems that were the hardest to write are the poems that people respond best to at readings. “I took a chance and claimed my truth, and I wrote my heart out, and I cried sometimes while I wrote, and I am glad now that those poems are in the world,” he said. “I hope my stories will inspire others to go out and tell their stories, as well as to listen with empathy and openness to the stories of others.”

Donaghy feels “tremendous freedom” at Eastern to seize creative opportunities, and thanks President Elsa Núñez, his students and colleagues including Chris Torockio, Raouf Mama and Susan DeRosa for their support along the way. On sabbatical this semester, Donaghy has several projects in the works, from poetry to short stories. “I’m just thankful that the words are coming. I hope I can revise them into things that I can be proud of, that can be valuable in people’s lives and that further Eastern’s mission as Connecticut’s public liberal arts university.”

A scholar in contemporary British and American poetry, Donaghy has been published in some of the most widely read literary publications in the country. He was Windham County’s first-ever poet laureate and is responsible for launching “Here,” a national poetry magazine.

Written by Jordan Corey

Biology Students Present at Annual ECSC Conference

Fourteen biology students from Eastern presented independent research at the 73rd Annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference (ECSC) on April 6 at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY. The students presented in oral and poster formats on topics spanning medicine and the microbiome. Professors Vijay Veerappan and Barbara Murdoch accompanied the Eastern group.

The conference featured approximately 150 students from institutions across New England. Two Eastern students—Lauren Atkinson ’19 and Haley Grimason ’19—won awards for best oral presentations.

Brieanna Fuentes, mentored by Professor Jonathan Hulvey, presents "Evidence for horizontal gene transfer of xenobiotic detoxification genes in a plant pathogenic fungus."
Lauren Atkinson, mentored by Professor Barbara Murdoch, won an award for best oral presentation for her research titled "Evaluating the scorpion gut microbiome for diversity and antibiotic production."
Haley Grimason, mentored by Professors Barbara Murdoch and Garrett Dancik, won an award for best oral presentation for her research titled "Development of Jupyter notebooks to facilitate Operational Taxonomic Unit identification and analysis of 16S rRNA sequencing data."
Anayancy Ramos, mentored by Professor Garrett Dancik, presents "Development of a PubMed Central citation collection tool and network analysis of cancer-related genes."
Stefanos Stravoravdis, mentored by Professor Jonathan Hulvey, presents "Analysis of the CYP51 paralogs and their potential role in differential sensitivity to fungicides in Calonectria pseudonaviculataandC. henricotiae."
Samuel Pallis, mentored by Professor Kristen Epp, presents "An analysis of the efficacy of varying sampling protocols for Necturus maculosus."
Roshani Budhathoki, mentored by Professor Vijay Veerappan, presents "Characterization of white and black seed mutants in the model legume plant Medicago truncatula."
Rebecca Laguerre, mentored by Professor Amy Groth, presents "Do ODD-skipped genes regulate ELT-2 expression in Caenorhabditis elegans?"
John Meade, mentored by Professor Barbara Murdoch, presents "The effect of simulated microgravity on the ability of primary cortical cells to produce neurons."
Greg Carlson, mentored by Professor Amy Groth, presents "Does the ODD-2 transcription factor regulate the Wnt signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans?"
David Junga, mentored by Professor Kristen Epp, presents "The effects of turbidity on respiration rate of bridle shiner Notropis bifrenatus."
Christopher Shimwell, mentored by Professor Barbara Murdoch, presents "Molecular identification of scorpion telson microbiome."


Speaking to these award-winning students and faculty mentorship, Veerappan added, “It took three years for the faculty to invest their intellect and time to nurture these students to win those competitive awards.”

The ECSC is an association that encourages undergraduate research within the sciences and engineering fields and provides a platform for students to showcase their findings and research papers.

Hundreds Gather for 25th Annual Accounting Banquet

Keynote speaker and alumnus Jason Handel ’04 address the Betty Tipton Room crowd.

The Accounting Program at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted its 25th Annual Accounting Banquet on April 25. With more than 200 students, faculty and alumni in attendance, the event included an award ceremony and keynote speech by alumnus Jason Handel ’04, CPA and vice president of finance for Jacobs Vehicle Systems.

It is the personal and professional connections made or celebrated in this room tonight that make this an amazing group,” said President Elsa Núñez of the networking opportunities offered by the Accounting Program. Speaking to program coordinator Mohd RuJoub, she added, “Through Dr. Rujoub’s leadership and the inspiration of our founders, this accounting community is truly a family.”


A highlight of the evening was an awards ceremony in which 11 outstanding students were awarded scholarships by Accounting Program alumni and dignitaries. The RuJoub Family Scholarship awarded six scholarships. One scholarship each was awarded by the firm BlumShapiro, presented by Frederick Hughes ’87; the firm PFK O’Connor Davies, presented by Katherine Patnaude ’10; the firm Fiondella, Milone & LaSarcina, presented by Amber Tucker ’04; and Founders of Accounting, presented by Professor Emeritus William Sisco.

Keynote speaker Jason Handel’s address was titled “Transitioning from Public Accounting to Private Accounting.” He spoke on his experience in the field and offered advice to students.

Written by Bobbi Brown

Bio Department Hosts ‘Tiny Earth Day,’ Welcomes Local High School

Ellis Technical High School students listen to an Eastern biology major explain the process of isolating bacteria.

The Biology Department hosted a mini-symposium on Earth Day, April 22, to showcase its ongoing work with the Tiny Earth project, an international network of young scientists who are combatting the global threat of antibiotic resistance. The symposium welcomed students from Ellis Technical High School in Danielson and featured research presentations by biology majors.

The United Nations has named antibiotic resistance a global priority. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia. However, as antibiotics are misused – and new ones are slowly discovered – harmful bacteria develop resistances against them, rendering the medications ineffective.

An estimated 25,000 people in the United States die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, with an approximate 700,000 annual deaths worldwide. Researchers predict the death toll to rise to 10 million per year by 2050.

Through Professor Jonathan Hulvey’s General Microbiology class, Eastern students have joined scientists worldwide in the pursuit of new antibiotics by examining microorganisms found in soil. Why soil? Many of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics were discovered from “dirt,” including penicillin and vancomycin.

Highschool students from Ellis Tech have assisted in the effort by providing soil samples from locations across their high school campus. To date, Eastern students have cultured more than 60 antibiotic-producing bacteria from Ellis Tech as well as Eastern’s Church Farm property in Ashford. Hulvey and students are working on biochemical and genetic characterization of the bacteria before sending them to the Tiny Earth headquarters at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Eastern students are carrying out research to tackle the global problem of antibiotic resistance,” said Hulvey, “and this discovery-based learning approach has been an exciting and engaging framework for imparting marketable microbiology skills. Over the course of the semester, my students have worked on these soil samples, and their grasp of the techniques was on display during their lab demonstrations for the Ellis Tech students.”

The Ellis Tech participants are from the honors biology class of teacher Brooke DiFormato, a 2007 Eastern graduate. She mentioned how technical high school students are often expected to go into the trades, but this experience—and the experience of visiting Eastern—has shown some of her students that college is an option.

Stefanos Stravoravdis
Lauren Atkinson
Chris Shimwell


The event featured presentations by three biology majors. Stefanos Stravoravdis presented on fungicide resistance—a research interest of Hulvey’s with many parallels to antibiotic resistance. Lauren Atkinson presented on the scorpion microbiome, an ancient lineage (450 million years old) of microorganisms that has been exposed to many pathogens over the ages and likely contains antibiotic-producing bacteria. Chris Shimwell’s research has investigated the molecular ID of the scorpion telson microbiome — the telson is the segment of the tail nearest to the stinger.

The student-sourcing approach of Tiny Earth was first brought to Eastern’s campus in 2013 by Biology Professor Barbara Murdoch, who piloted the program via independent study. “I wanted to link my research to a larger global problem,” she said, “and to enhance the critical thinking, research and communication skills of our students.”

The goals of Tiny Earth include increasing public awareness of the antibiotic-resistance crisis, inspiring students to pursue careers in the sciences, and engaging them in the global priority of discovering new antibiotics. The program started in 2013 and now utilizes more than 10,000 students from 41 states and 14 countries.

Written by Michael Rouleau