Eastern’s Music Program to offer a Variety of Programming in March

WILLIMANTIC, CT (02/21/2018) The Music Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will host a variety of performances in March. From jazz to opera, audiences will be treated to performances representing a diverse range of genres and style periods. All concerts and recitals will be performed in the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) Concert Hall–admission is free; no tickets required.

On March 2 at 7:30 p.m., Eastern faculty members Emily Jo Riggs, soprano, and David Ballena, piano, will present a recital of art songs, arias and familiar songs from American Music Theater. Riggs and Ballena will be joined by their colleague, Chris Howard, clarinet. This program is presented as part of the Music Program’s “Faculty Recital Series.” The series was established to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming Music Program students. Each year, Eastern’s Music faculty/artists present a series of recitals to generate funds to support annual awards that recognize student achievement at all stages of the degree program. All Faculty Recital Series events are free and donations are accepted at the door.

On March 7 at 7:30 p.m., the Eastern Wind Ensemble will present a concert featuring the music of Michael Daugherty, Percy Grainger, Frank Ticheli, and Kevin Puts. Also featured on the program is Eastern’s World Percussion Ensemble led by Professor Matt Bronson. The Eastern Wind Ensemble is the newest instrumental ensemble on campus and is designed to provide students with a unique, student-centric instrumental playing experience. Led by Professor Kelly Watkins, the Wind Ensemble performs standard repertoire from the wind band/chamber winds realm, as well as more contemporary works.

On March 19 at 7:30 p.m., the Music Program will host guest artists José A. Zayas Caban, saxophone, Joel Gordon, saxophone, and Casey D. Rafn, piano. The trio will present a diverse program of classical music for saxophone and piano and conclude with a special tribute to Puerto Rico.

On March 26 at 7:30 p.m., The Straight-Up Jazz Trio will perform as part of the Music Program’s “Faculty Recital Series.” Expect the unexpected as the trio gives their interpretation of jazz standards, Broadway hits and recent pop tunes. The group will be joined by guest vocalist Emily Riggs. The Faculty Recital Series was established to raise scholarship funds for current and incoming Music Program students. Each year, Eastern’s Music faculty/artists present a series of recitals to generate funds to support annual awards that recognize student achievement at all stages of the degree program. All Faculty Recital Series events are free and donations are accepted at the door.

Eastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education Reaches 1 Million on YouTube

Julia DeLapp (standing, left) and Niloufar Rezai (right) show a video to preschool children that recaps the various videos produced by the CECE over the years, many of which contain footage from Eastern’s own preschool classroom located at the Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC). DeLapp is the director of the CECE and Rezai is the director of the CFDRC.

Written by Casey Collins

WILLIMANTIC, CT (02/22/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) has reached a milestone on its YouTube account- passing one million views this February. The YouTube channel, “EarlyChildhoodVideos,” has been active since Jan. 29, 2013, and has posted more than 125 videos produced by communication students, research assistants and CECE faculty.
The CECE first began producing video content independently from the Internet, beginning with, “Guiding Young Children’s Behavior” in 2006. The video, which was developed in part with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, was intended for preschool teachers in U.S. Navy child development centers. Eventually the CECE made the move to the web, creating its own site in 2008 and simultaneously releasing one of it’s most popular videos to date, “Five Predictors of Early Literacy.” The center has since seen its videos aired in more than 200 countries, and have received six Telly Awards for technical excellence in video production. The Telly’s have been giving out awards to the most outstanding producers in film and television for 39 years.
“Knowing that our videos are being used to train teachers around the world is amazing,” said CECE Director Julia Delapp. “We have viewers in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Kenya. That is what I’m most proud of.” When asked about the future of EarlyChildhoodVideos, Delapp responded, “We really want to make more videos about the arts, music, social-emotional development… There’s just so many topics I would love to cover.”
The Center for Early Childhood Education is a multidisciplinary research and training institute at Eastern. Opened in 2007, the center is housed in a high-tech facility connected to Eastern’s model early care and education program. The center works to enhance the quality of early care and education by conducting innovative research, disseminating findings, providing professional development opportunities and developing training videos.

Eastern to Host Opioid Crisis Seminar and Panel

Written by Jordan Corey

WILLIMANTIC, CT (02/20/2018) On Feb. 28, the Health Sciences Department at Eastern Connecticut State University will host a seminar about the opioid epidemic in the United States, a medical crisis that also has local implications. The event will occur at 2 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. In an effort to build a solid coalition in the Windham region, the event aims to provide educational opportunities, invoke thoughtful conversations and create links between community members and professionals. The discussion panel – composed of physicians, law enforcement and public health professionals – will contemplate strategies that can be executed with local partners in order to combat the epidemic, followed by a Q&A session with attendees.
Written by Jordan Corey

Holmes Program at Eastern Develops Minority Teachers

Eastern Theatre Program Honored at Kennedy Center Theatre Festival

“Thread City” took the stage in the fall 2017 semester.

Written by Jolene Potter

WILLIMANTIC, CT (02/08/2018) A number of creators and performers behind Eastern Connecticut State University’s recent theatre productions were awarded at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 1. Held from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 at Western Connecticut State University, the annual festival was attended by more than 1,000 students and faculty from colleges across the Northeast.

Eastern’s Performing Arts Department’s fall 2017 production “Thread City” was widely praised, receiving three merit awards. Ted Clement, the KCACTF regional festival co-chair, said that “Thread City” was the most visually spectacular and moving production of the many college productions throughout New England and New York he has seen this year.

Directed by theatre professors Alycia Bright-Holland and Kristen Morgan, “Thread City” explored the ever-relevant topic of immigration with a dialogue-free play that blended choreographed movement, visual projections and folky-electronic soundscapes to convey a heartfelt and historically representative tale of immigration in America. “Thread City” is the popular name of Eastern’s hometown of Willimantic, CT, which is known for its rich history as the largest thread-manufacturing city in the United States in its heyday.

The creative team of “Thread City” included several students and adjunct faculty members Travis Houldcroft and Jen Rock, who received merit awards in the categories of Conceptual Collaboration, Excellence in Original Music Composition and Exceptional Choreography. Theatre Professor Anya Sokolovskaya was also acknowledged for her costume design for “Thread City.” “It was Anya’s costumes that so beautifully placed our actors in time and grounded our often-surreal production into a plausible reality,” said Chase Rozelle, professor of theatre.

“Two Gentlemen of Verona” took the stage in the spring 2017 semester.

Also achieving success at KCACTF was Eastern Professor David Pellegrini, whose spring 2017 production of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” received three awards. The production was a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s early comedy about young people exploring love, friendship and the temptations of city life.

Students took the lead on many design and management aspects of the production, including set, lighting and costume design and as a result three Eastern students were honored for their contributions to the production. Eastern student Troi Barnham received a merit award for her coordination and staging of the fashion show scene, student Hannah Garrahy received a merit award for her work regarding the production’s Live Feed Videography and commercial and student Sinque Tavares received a merit award for his work as Assistant Choreographer and Lead Dancer.

Among the Eastern students recognized at the festival was Kerri McColgan, who won a scholarship to attend the Stage Craft Institute of Las Vegas for her hand-operated alligator winch, which was used in “Thread City.”

Additionally, a number of Eastern students were also awarded scholarships, served as technical interns for the festival and competed in the festival’s Technical Olympics. Eastern student Kerri McColgan won a one-week scholarship to attend the Stage Craft Institute of Las Vegas for her hand operated alligator winch in “Thread City.” McColgan made a winch suitable for use in the movement of rolling stage scenery components. The device allows the frames to open similarly to how an alligator’s mouth opens. “Thread City” Stage Manger Katerina Mazzacaine also received a $1,200 scholarship for her presentation on her experiences in “Thread City” as well as for her service in the festival’s Stage Management Fellowship program.

“We’ve all had very rewarding experiences here. Faculty and students alike have found profound opportunity and fellowship,” said Rozelle. “I can’t truly describe what it’s like to be a member of a 500 plus audience made up of only patrons who are also all theatre practitioners passionate about their work without the use of cliché: It’s thrilling, affirming and hugely inspirational.”

KCACTF recognizes and celebrates the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theatre programs. Eastern Connecticut State University congratulates all Eastern students and faculty for their contributions to performing arts and for their tremendous success at this year’s KCACTF.

Weather Underground Co-founder to Speak at Eastern

Written by Ed Osborn

Tim Plenk Photography

Jonathan Lerner, novelist, magazine editor and political activist from the 1960s, will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University this coming Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. Lerner is a founding member of the Weather Underground, the militant offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and has recounted those turbulent times in his new memoir, “Swords in the Hands of Children, Reflections of an American Revolutionary.” Copies of the book will be available for purchase and book signing. The event is open to the public; admission is free.

Eastern Music Program to Host 4 February Concerts

Eastern Student Lauren Atkinson Wins NASA Scholarship

                                         Grant Will Help Study Antibiotic Resistance

Lauren Atkinson, left, and her research mentor Barbara Murdoch in the lab.

Written by Jolene Potter

Lauren Atkinson ’18, a Biology major at Eastern Connecticut State University from Harwinton, is one of 28 graduate or undergraduate students across Connecticut to receive a summer research fellowship from the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC). Atkinson is using the scholarship to support her research titled “Evaluating the Scorpion Microbiome for Diversity and Antibiotic Production.”

Atkinson and Biology Professor Barbara Murdoch are testing bacteria naturally found in the abdomens of scorpions for their ability to produce antibiotics. Their focus on finding new antibiotics is due to the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microbe such as a virus, bacterium, or fungus to resist drugs that had been useful in treating them.

“The United Nations has declared antimicrobial resistance a fundamental global threat to human life, food production, economic development and security,” said Atkinson. “One step in responding to this threat is to develop new drugs that microbes have not developed resistance to.”

One may wonder how studying the bacteria in scorpions may help in the pursuit of new antibiotics. However, Atkinson pointed out that scorpions are an ancient lineage that has evolved alongside many terrestrial pathogens that they are exposed to in their diets. “We hypothesize that scorpions have formed symbiotic relationships with bacteria that produce antibiotics which protect the scorpions from these pathogens,” said Atkinson.

Antimicrobial resistance contributes to NASA’s overarching goal of human space exploration because under microgravity conditions, bacteria are able to grow and evolve more quickly than they do under Earth’s gravitational conditions. Therefore, the development of new antibiotics that pathogens have not evolved resistance for is crucial to long-term manned space flight.

“The discovery of new antibiotics would benefit the medical community and space exploration,” writes the CTSCG, “seeing as antibiotic resistance increases under microgravity and human immune systems weaken during missions.”

 

Eastern Makes “College Consensus” List of Top Colleges in Connecticut

Written by Ed Osborn

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/26/2018) College Consensus, a unique new college review aggregator, has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University in its ranking of “Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18.” Eastern was ranked in the top 10 schools in Connecticut, and was one of only two public institutions chosen, the University of Connecticut being the other.

To identify the Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18, College Consensus averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems, including U.S. News and World Report among others, along with thousands of student review scores, to produce a unique rating for each school. Read about the organization’s methodology at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about.

“Congratulations on making the list of Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18,” said Carrie Sealey-Morris, managing editor of College Consensus. “Your inclusion in our ranking shows that your school has been recognized for excellence by both publishers on the outside and students and alumni on the inside.”

Part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, Eastern began its life in 1889 as a public normal school. Today the University is recognized as one of top 25 public universities in the North Region by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named one of the nation’s Green Colleges eight years in a row by the Princeton Review.

Eastern is Connecticut’s public liberal arts college, with a student body of 5,300 students; more than 90 percent of Eastern’s students are from Connecticut. Eastern’s size gives its students an uncommon degree of individualized attention, aided by a 15:1 student/faculty ratio and a strong commitment to student success.

In addition to a strong liberal art foundation, Eastern has many opportunities for students to engage in practical, hands-on learning, ranging from internships to study abroad, community service and undergraduate research. For instance, Eastern has sent more student researchers to the competitive National Conference on Undergraduate Research in the past four years than all the other public universities in Connecticut combined. In 2018, 41 of the 44 students from Connecticut who will present their research at the conference in April are from Eastern.

With its history, Eastern is also one of Connecticut’s foremost educators of teachers, and its professional studies and continuing education programs have made it an important institution for Connecticut’s working adults.

To see Eastern’s College Consensus profile, visit https://www.collegeconsensus.com/school/eastern-connecticut-state-university.

Constance Motley Expert at Eastern

Written by Dwight Bachman

Willimantic, CT — Gary Ford Jr., assistant professor of Africana Studies at Lehman College and author of the book, “Constance Baker Motley, One Woman’s Fight for Civil Rights and Equal Justice under Law,” will speak on Feb. 14, at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre on Eastern Connecticut State University campus.

Born in New Haven in 1921 as the daughter of immigrants from Nevis, British West Indies, Motley attended Fisk University before transferring to New York University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in economics. She subsequently became the first black woman accepted to Columbia Law School. A wife and mother who became a pioneer and trailblazer in the legal profession, she broke down barriers, overcame gender constraints, and operated outside the feminine role assigned to women by society and the civil rights movement.

Motley met Thurgood Marshall, chief counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and became the only female attorney to work for the fund, arguing desegregation cases in court during much of the civil rights movement. From 1946 through 1964, she was a key litigator and legal strategist for landmark civil rights cases that included the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the desegregation of the universities of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. She represented Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others jailed for their participation in sit-ins, marches and freedom rides.

“Gary Ford’s well-researched book is more than a biography of Motley’s extraordinary life,” said Henry Louis Gates, Endowed Alphonse Fletcher Professor of History and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. “It is an argument for recognizing the tenacious, courageous role African American women like her played in advancing the cause of civil rights and equal justice for all. To witness Judge Motley in action was to be fortified and astounded. Now, thanks to Ford, a new generation can bear witness to her immense talents.”

“Dr. Ford’s book has sold out three times already this year,” said Stacey Close, associate vice president of equity and diversity at Eastern, whose office invited Ford to campus. The Offices of the President, Provost and Academic Affairs, Education Professional Studies and the Graduate Division, and Departments of History, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work are co-sponsors for Ford’s appearance at Eastern.

“The narrative of the civil rights movement is fundamentally and irrevocably altered by the inclusion of Constance Baker Motley,” said Ford. “Her story is like a breath of fresh air that only strengthens the legacy of the movement as a whole. Her contribution expands the view of history from the model of leadership by charismatic men to a more complex model that is inclusive of female change agents and leaders. Judge Motley broke down barriers for other women of color, attorneys and women in general.”

Ford earned a bachelor of arts in African American history from Harvard University; a law degree from Columbia University; a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the New School; and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland. In addition to his writing and teaching, Ford helped produce the 2012 award-winning documentary film “Justice is a Black Woman: The Life and Work of Constance Baker Motley” with director/producer Professor Michael Calia, director of the Quinnipiac University Ed McMahon Mass Communications Center and scriptwriter Susan Bailey.