‘College Consensus’ Ranks Eastern Among Best Colleges

College Consensus, a college review aggregator that combines the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with actual reviews of college students, has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University for the second year in a row. Eastern has been ranked among the “Best Colleges and Universities in Connecticut for 2019” and the “Best Regional Universities in the North for 2019.”

“Congratulations on making the Best Regional Universities in the North for 2019 and Best Colleges and Universities in Connecticut for 2019,” said Carole Taylor, marketing director for the College Consensus. “Your inclusion in the lists shows that you are making an impact on students that will have a transformative effect on their lives and the lives of others.”

Eastern began in 1889 as a normal school preparing teachers for careers in Connecticut’s elementary schools. Today it is known as Connecticut’s public liberal arts university. Eastern is home to 5,200 students, with more than 90 percent of them coming from Connecticut.

To identify standout colleges, College Consensus averages the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems, including U.S. News and World Report, along with student reviews to produce a unique rating for each school. Read more about the organization’s methodology at: https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about.

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

Written by Vania Galicia

Holmes Program Grows Pool of Minority Teachers

Ian Stygar, Sayantani Nandy and Faith Kioko present on their year in the Holmes Master’s Program at Eastern’s annual luncheon.

School districts across the nation continue to face a lack of minority teachers. Eastern Connecticut State University’s participation in the Holmes Master’s Program seeks to alleviate this problem. On June 28, Eastern celebrated three aspiring teachers from underrepresented backgrounds who will soon enter the teaching profession. Faith Kioko (Ashford), Ian Stygar (Lebanon) and Sayantani Nandy (Ellington) were honored at the annual Holmes Master’s Luncheon, hosted by the School of Education & Professional Studies and Graduate Division.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Holmes Program supports students from historically underrepresented groups who are pursuing careers in education. Eastern continued its partnership with Holmes, hosting its third cohort of Master’s students this year.

The Holmes Master’s students (podium) hosted a panel on educational leadership on April 4.

The 2019 cohort of full-time graduate students had a busy year in pursuit of teacher certification. In addition, they designed research proposals, worked in Eastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education, presented to classes and hosted forums on campus. They interviewed alumni teachers and gathered data for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). They also attended the AACTE’s annual Washington Week and advocated on educational policy.

“I believe all children are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow and meet their full potential,” said Kioko, a candidate for teacher certification in early childhood education. “The Holmes Program helped me to pursue my career and has enriched me with professional training and mentorship.”

As part of her Holmes activities, Kioko wrote a research proposal titled “Dismantling Systemic Racism.” The project looked at the effects of race on access to opportunities; implicit bias and its influence on educational policy; and the disproportionate suspension rates for African American students.

Sayantani Nandy presents at Eastern’s CREATE conference on the university’s Education Preparation Program (EPP), which is in the process of being re-accredited by CAEP — the Council of Accreditation for Education Programs.

“To support our students’ social and emotional well-being, we must acknowledge and confront the legacy of racism and exclusion in our schools and communities,” said Kioko. As a teacher, she hopes to empower students, inspire lifelong learning and involve parents in the process.

A candidate for teacher certification in elementary education, Stygar looks forward to impacting the lives of young people from impoverished communities. “I specifically want to work with students from low-income areas because they are often the students who receive the least support,” he said. “Teaching allows me to work closely with students and hopefully help them understand the importance of being a lifelong learner as well as the importance of being a good person regardless of race or gender.”

Much of Stygar’s time in the program was spent interviewing undergraduate teacher candidates at Eastern. “This allowed me to see how the career of teaching is viewed from the perspective of freshman and sophomore students,” he said, noting that the teaching profession is not attracting enough males.

Eventually Stygar would like to move into administration, ultimately becoming a school principal. “It’s a dream of mine to develop a program that recruits males into the elementary education profession, as well as spread awareness of the importance of males in primary grades.”

Nandy has wanted to be a teacher ever since kindergarten. “I would come home and play ‘teacher,'” she said. “My English teacher in elementary school was a great motivator; I wanted to be someone like her.”

A candidate for teacher certification in early childhood education, Nandy originally wanted to teach at the post-secondary level. The birth of her son and the experience of substitute teaching younger children convinced her to shift focus to early childhood education.

Nandy would eventually like to further her studies in the areas of experiential learning and inclusive education. “Digging deep in the field would help me integrate my learnings into my teachings, and address the learning needs of my students,” she said.

The Holmes Program at Eastern is coordinated by Education Professor Tanya Moorehead, a Holmes Scholar herself. “Hosting the Holmes Program fits with the mission and vision of Eastern,” she said in a previous press release. “The education field as a whole is predominately white female, particularly in elementary school. This gives us a way to recruit and develop different faces and backgrounds in the teaching world, because the faces that we’re teaching aren’t always represented by the faces that are teaching them.”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern Alumna Publishes ‘Planet Earth is Blue’ with Penguin Random House

Thousands of children across the country gathered around the television on Jan. 28, 1986, to witness the Challenger Space Shuttle take the first schoolteacher into outer space. The joyous occasion quickly turned to tragedy as the shuttle exploded one minute into flight. Among the onlookers was Nova, the fictional main character in “Planet Earth is Blue,” the debut book by Eastern Connecticut State University alumna Nicole Panteleakos ’08.

Published by Penguin Random House and Wendy Lamb Books this past May, “Planet Earth is Blue” is the story of an often misunderstood character. Nova is a 12-year-old nonverbal autistic girl with a passion for astronomy. As the Challenger launch approaches, Nova finds herself living in a new foster home and worse, her big sister has gone missing — the one person who understands her.   

“Planet Earth is Blue” is a historical fiction for middle-grade readers. On that tragic day in 1986, classrooms across the country were tuned in to see Christa McAuliffe make history as the first teacher in space.

“It was traumatic,” said Panteleakos of the explosion. “Teachers didn’t know what to do. A lot of schools closed early. Kids didn’t know how to deal with it, which is something that Nova is dealing with in the book.”

Coping with life is especially hard for those who have difficulty communicating. Panteleakos has spent a good deal of time working and volunteering with people with autism and strives to bring a voice to this largely unheard community.

“There’s this pervasive belief that autistic people don’t have any imagination, which is just wrong,” she said. “But a lot of kids like Nova couldn’t express it—especially back in the ’80s when they didn’t have the assistive communication that we have today. So people didn’t know.”

Panteleakos’ first author talk talk occurred at Eastern this past April. Education Professor Susannah Richards welcomed her to speak with students enrolled in her course on middle-grade literature. The students read “Planet Earth is Blue” and devised creative ways to implement it in the middle school classroom setting.

Panteleakos also wants to show a different image of autism. “I wanted to show a more realistic autistic character than the characters, or caricatures, that are seen in the media. I wanted to get away from the trope where the autistic person is this academically brilliant, socially awkward, not very nice character who can’t relate to or love anybody. I wanted to show a more nuanced, realistic person.”

The title of the book recalls the famous David Bowie song “Space Oddity.” “It’s kind of like the Challenger,” said Panteleakos. Speaking of the song, she added: “There’s all this hype for this astronaut, then he goes up and gets jettisoned into space. There’s this line, ‘Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.’

“That’s what I was thinking when I wrote the whole book. These bad things happen to Nova and there’s nothing she can do about it. All you can do is metaphorically pick up the pieces and move on. You can’t go back and make it not blow up. You can’t go back and save those people. You can only go forward.”

Tragedy aside, Panteleakos says the themes of the book are hope, resilience, family and friendship. Being able to broach such difficult subject matter is the reason Panteleakos likes writing for the middle-grade age group, as it’s the transitional period between elementary school and the teenage years.

Panteleakos with Eastern student Jakira Wilson.

“It’s an age where kids have the freedom to start striking out on their own and standing out, but also have the comfort of going back home where somebody makes their dinner and takes care of them.”

Stories for this age group are more complex than early childhood literature, but stay away from teenage romance and “saving the world,” topics Panteleakos says often characterize young adult (YA) books — “stuff I’m not too keen on writing.”

“Middle-grade books are about the characters finding themselves or finding their place… figuring out where they belong and how they’re going to be the best version of themselves — which is the challenge for Nova.”

A 2008 graduate of Eastern’s performing arts program, with minors in English and theatre, Panteleakos was first focused on playwriting —and has had many scripts produced and performed. Those formative courses with Communication Professor Edmond Chibeau, who teaches script writing, helped her to master the craft of writing dialogue.

Her trajectory as a writer changed course upon returning to Eastern as a graduate to take a course with English Professor Lisa Fraustino. “I really liked her as an author,” said Panteleakos, “so I was excited to take her class and meet her.”

Fraustino convinced her to pursue a graduate program in children’s literature at Hollins University, which resulted in her landing an agent who got her a two-book deal with Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Fittingly, the debut novelist’s first author talk occurred at Eastern this spring semester, speaking with Education Professor Susannah Richards’ class on middle-grade literature.

“It was very exciting,” she said. “A lot of the students had read the book and asked great questions. Questions about my characters I’d never considered. Insights that made me delve deeper into my own work. It showed that they’re really thinking deeply and connecting with the story, which is very exciting for me.”

“Planet Earth is Blue” was published in May 2019 and is available wherever books are sold.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Allison Lundy Wins National Student-Faculty Research Award

Eastern Connecticut State University student Allison Lundy ’19 was the sole recipient of the Council on Undergraduate Research’s (CUR) 2019 Education Division Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award. Lundy was recognized for her honors thesis, “The Association Between Outdoor Motor Play and On-Task Behavior in Learning Experiences in Preschool,” which she worked on in collaboration with Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Trawick-Smith.

The Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award is a national honor that is given annually by the CUR’s Education Division to honor high-quality undergraduate research in the learning and teaching sciences.

Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith with Allison Lundy

Lundy has been studying the effects of active playground play on the on-task behavior of preschool children during indoor learning experiences. She has found that boys, young children and children of low socioeconomic families benefited the most from playing outdoors before returning to learn in the classroom. She noted that these types of children who played before returning to class were more attentive, on task and able to self-regulate better.

“Teachers will benefit the most,” said Lundy, who stated that her research findings will help teachers better understand how all children learn differently and how outside movement is more beneficial compared to indoor movement. She hopes that her research findings will “provide insight into the importance of outdoor play, and guide teachers in implementing physical activity into their curriculum.”

Trawick-Smith, Lundy’s mentor in Eastern’s Center for Early Childhood Education, says that her findings will “elucidate important areas of inquiry in the psychological sciences and early childhood education and are clearly publishable.” He also stated that Lundy’s study “will be the first to examine, in a controlled way, the effects of such play on the ability of young children to pay attention and regulate their own behavior in the classroom.”

Lundy says that conducting undergraduate research has been rewarding and allowed her to develop and strengthen her critical thinking, communication, writing and presentation skills. She is also thankful for the opportunity to work closely with her faculty mentor. “Professor Trawick-Smith’s vast knowledge of young children is incredible. In working with him, I have learned so much not only about my own area of study, but early childhood education as a whole.”

After she earns her early childhood education and psychology degrees at Eastern, Lundy hopes to teach preschool or kindergarten.

Written by Vania Galicia

Eastern Alumna Salutes Inclusive Excellence Award Winners

On May 9, Eastern recognized more than 100 students with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average or higher, and an additional 11 students who have demonstrated exemplary co-curricular engagement at the University’s Seventh Annual Inclusive Excellence Student Awards Ceremony. The ceremony recognized the achievements of African, Latino, Asian and Native American (ALANA) students at Eastern.

Eastern President Elsa Núñez said the ceremony was not just about inclusion, but also spoke to the University’s other core values of academic excellence, integrity, social responsibility, engagement and empowerment. “It is important for each of you to stand tall and be proud of who you are and what you are capable of. Never, ever, ever let anyone attempt to diminish your worth or your talents.

“Today’s honorees join thousands of other successful Eastern alumni who are making their own personal contributions out in the real world, including our guest speaker today, Dr. Kawami Evans. Today, we show respect and celebrate the accomplishments of students who too often have been forgotten in the past.  Thank you for being part of this celebration; to our honorees, congratulations.  We are very proud of you.”

Keynote speaker Evans ’97 serves as associate director at the Center for African Diaspora Student Success at the University of California at Davis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history and social science at Eastern, her Master of Education in educational policy and research administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a doctorate in educational management and leadership from Drexel University.

Evans encouraged the students to use their curiosity and optimism to persevere through unseen psychological struggles that can become their staunchest challenges. She said many high- achieving students fall prey to chasing individual achievements, accolades or material gain as their goal, even confusing their self-worth with what they can accomplish.

“This is dangerous; it can lead to anxiety and depression. Don’t let this be your reality or focus,” said Evans. “Who you are is what we are celebrating today. All the earned accolades you are receiving are but a byproduct of the brilliance within you . . . You are the promise of our ancestors’ prayers and walk with the wisdom and swag of those who have grit, resilience, the social and emotional intelligence, curiosity and hope.”

Evans told the students the most important element they need to resurrect in discussing their future success is their spirituality, ways in which students discover their destiny — answers to the big questions of who they are, what is their life purpose and how do they make difference in the world.

“Much of the world right now is relegated to systems and polices. We have to raise the bar with our vision of what’s possible,” Evans said. “It will take hard work, community, love, bravery, unrelentless effort and celebration.  I sincerely believe that we can create a world that works for all.”

A total of 280 students qualified for an Academic Excellence Award with a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher, and more than 100 of them were able to attend the May 9 event. During the ceremony, several students received service awards. Adrianna Arocho and Mayra Santos Acosta was presented the Volunteer Service Award; Aiyana Ward, the Athletic Excellence Award; Kimberly Allen and Sommer Bachelor, the Career Development Award; Jenilee Antonetty, the Resident Assistant Diversity Impact Award; Rafael Aragon, the Residential Community Leadership Award; Tristan Perez, the Social Justice Advocacy Award; Emma Costa, the Inspirational Leadership Award; Ishah Azeez, the Resilient Warrior Award; Kimberly Allen and Vishal Jungiwalla, the Advisor’s Choice Award; and the Freedom at Eastern Club, the Building Bridges Award.

By Dwight Bachman

Eastern Graduates 1,250 Students at XL Center

Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba

Hartford, CT — Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba, chief of the Mohegan Tribe, told the 1,259 graduates at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 129th Commencement to “Allow yourself the faith to ‘dream ahead’ as you embrace the next chapter in your journey.” Noting that college graduates have greater job security, live longer and have greater social mobility, Malerba told the graduates that they had made “a smart decision” in pursuing their educational dreams.

The annual graduation ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford on May 21, with more than 12,000 family members and friends cheering on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,175 undergraduates and 84 graduate students received their diplomas.

Malerba told the graduates “Your education has just begun, as you have ‘birthed’ a career that will only grow and mature over time.” She also reminded graduates to set aside time for the “keepers of your heart” — family and friends who share life’s challenges. “When you meet others on the path of life, offer a kind word, encourage someone, comfort someone, and celebrate someone’s joy.”

The commencement speaker also received an honorary doctor of science degree from Eastern in a special hooding ceremony during the graduation exercises. 

Malerba was appointed the 18th Chief of the Mohegan Tribe in August 2010, becoming the first female chief in the tribe’s modern history. She previously was chair of the tribal council and executive director of health and human services for the tribal government.

Prior to her leadership roles in the Mohegan Tribe, Malerba served as director of cardiology and pulmonary services at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Yale University and her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Connecticut.

In addition to a distinguished career as a registered nurse and her leadership positions with the Mohegan Tribe, Malerba is also a national advocate of health issues and the welfare of Native Peoples. She serves in a number of national roles, including positions with the Federal Indian Health Services; the U.S. Department of Justice; and the National Institutes of Health.

Other speakers at the Commencement exercises included Eastern President Elsa Núñez; Merle Harris, vice-chair of the

President Elsa Núñez

Board of Regents for Higher Education; and Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. Additional members of the platform party included Justin Murphy ’98, president of the ECSU Foundation; Father Laurence LaPointe; and other Eastern officials.

“The most important lesson I hope you have learned at Eastern is the knowledge that our great American democracy is only great because of the involvement and participation of our citizens,” said Núñez. “Being a citizen means debating the issues with your friends and in public forums — wherever you get a chance to voice your opinion. Most importantly, be willing to say no to whatever doesn’t feel right.

“You have learned how to think critically on our campus. You have learned how to ask questions, conduct research and analyze the results.  Do this in your workplace, in your community, and as a citizen of our great country.  I know you can do it . . . and I am counting on you to do so.  We need your enthusiasm, commitment and knowledge more than ever.”

More than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. As Connecticut’s only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 160 of the state’s 169 towns, with approximately 85 percent of graduates staying in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.

Senior Class President Michael Theriault (right)

Senior Class President Michael Theriault presented the Senior Class Gift to President Núñez — an annual Class of 2019 scholarship — and thanked his classmates’ families, friends and faculty for supporting the senior class in its journey. He recalled registering for classes in the early morning hours, “trying to stay silent on the third floor of the library” and Thursday night pancakes. Looking to the future, Theriault said the arena floor was a sea of graduation caps, but “While they may look the same from the outside, the reality is that we all will wear different hats. Some of us will go on to be future educators and make differences in the lives of students. Others will become journalists, historians, psychologists, broadcasters and so much more. No matter what hat you will wear, we will all be Eastern Warriors now and forever.”

In speaking on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, Vice-Chair Merle Harris reminded the audience that “commencement” means “beginning.” She told the graduates they “have gained the skills needed to make wise decisions. . .” and were ready to “make your community, our state, and our nation a better place. I am gratified that I can greet you tonight as you begin the next phase of your life’s journey.”

CSCU President Ojakian also offered remarks. Pointing to the “transformational academic journey you have just completed,” he called the graduates “change agents for the future and the next generation of leaders.” Ojakian went on to say, “Connecticut needs bright, talented individuals to stay here, fill the jobs of the 21st century, purchase homes, and raise their families here in the state. Connecticut needs your creativity, your entrepreneurial spirit and your ingenuity. You are the future of Connecticut — and because of that, Connecticut’s future is bright.”

From the colorful Governor’s Foot Guard Color Guard in attendance, to the piercing sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet, this year’s graduation ceremonies reflected Eastern’s longstanding Commencement traditions.

University Senate President Andrew Utterback presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Andrew Hofmann, Tiara Lussier, Austin Stone, Ryan Michaud and Sara Ann Vega sang “America the Beautiful”; senior Shawn Ray Dousis gave the invocation; and Environmental Earth Science Professor Dickson Cunningham was recognized as the 2019 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

Written by Ed Osborn

Fabrizi, Pakdil Win Top CSCU Faculty Awards

Mark Fabrizi, associate professor of education, won the BOR Teaching Award.

The Connecticut State Colleges and (CSCU) System’s Board of Regents’ (BOR) has named two faculty members at Eastern Connecticut State University as recipients of campus-level faculty awards for 2019.  Mark Fabrizi, associate professor of education, won the BOR Teaching Award, and Fatma Pakdil, associate professor of business administration, won the BOR Research Award. A $1,000 prize comes with each award.

The teaching award recognizes “faculty who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers for at least five years and have a minimum of two years’ track record of promoting instructional improvements for their programs/departments.” The research awards recognizes “faculty from the state universities who are doing exceptional research/creative work.”

Fabrizi teaches courses in secondary English teaching methods, literacy strategies and writing pedagogy.  Prior to coming to Eastern, he spent 18 years as a high school English teacher, teaching classes in advanced placement language and composition, fantasy literature, film studies, media literacy and creative writing. 

Fabrizi’s dissertation research, completed at the University of Hull in Great Britain, centered on the development of critical literacy skills in high school students, using fantasy literature.  He published an edited volume of research on teaching fantasy literature with a focus on critical literacy titled “Fantasy Literature: Challenging Genres (Sense, 2016), and another edited volume on teaching horror literature titled “Horror Literature and Dark Fantasy: Challenging Genres” (Brill, 2018). He also is editor of “The Leaflet,” the professional journal publication of the New England Association of Teachers of English. 

Fatma Pakdil, associate professor of business administration, won the BOR Research Award.

Pakdil’s research focuses on statistical quality control and lean management and their effects on human resource management in health care organizations. Her current research analyzes and monitors hospital “length of stay” (LOS) to help improve healthcare quality. Pakdil developed the Healthcare Management Minor and Healthcare Management Concentration in the Department of Business Administration.

Prior to coming to Eastern, Pakdil taught at Indiana and Auburn Universities, and at universities in Turkey. In Turkey, she also served as an auditor at government agencies, auditing institutions to accredit their certification systems. She has served on the international Technical Committee of Application of Statistical Methods that represents the United States in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Her dissertation was titled “Corporate (Organizational) Performance Improvement in Service Sector and a Proposed Model for Hospitals.” In 2016, she coauthored a book, “Performance Leadership.” She has published two book chapters and 37 articles in scholarly journals.

Written by Dwight Bachman

43 Strong, Eastern Represents in Georgia at National Conference

With 43 student presenters, Eastern was among the top 20 schools nationwide for NCUR participation, and the only school from New England to make the list.

Forty-three students from Eastern Connecticut State University traveled to Georgia on April 11-13 to present original research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). The 2019 conference occurred at Kennesaw State University and featured hundreds of undergraduate students from across the country.

Eastern was among the top 20 schools nationwide for NCUR participation this year – the only school from New England to make the list – and one of the few with a student population of less than 6,000.

Eastern students from a range of majors presented artwork, music performances and oral/poster presentations. Research questions probed topics such as the microbiome of scorpions, the link between casual sex and online dating, pop-culture glamorization of eating disorders, and much more.

Adella Dzitko-Carlson presents “Finding Faith in the 21st Century: The Search for the Sacred in John Luther Adams’ “In the Name of the Earth.”

Music major Esther Jones ’20 commented on the experience of performing a lecture-recital. “This experience at NCUR was a milestone in my life because I didn’t think that I could actually do it when the time finally came around. I thought that I would be trembling so badly that my mind would go blank.”

Jones’ piano performance was titled “‘Theme and Variations on an Egyptian Folksong’ by Gamal Abdel-Rahim.” She added, “This experience helped to boost my confidence and has given me courage to face new challenges.”

“One of my greatest takeaways from this conference is how it pushes you and makes you a better academic,” said Michael Tuttle ’19, who majors in psychology and mathematics.

“Presenting at a conference subjects your research to a higher level of scrutiny, challenging your thoughts and ideas. When audience members ask questions and offer suggestions, it pushes you to think critically and creatively.” Tuttle’s presentation was titled “Overconfidence and Impulsivity of College Students in a Cognitive Reflection Task.”

Theresa Parker presents “Echo Chambers in Social Media: Why do People Seek or Reject Opposing Viewpoints.”

Biology major Chris Shimwell ’20 presented “Molecular Identification of the Scorpion Telson Microbiome.” He said, “Presenting at a national conference is a valuable experience because it allows you to synthesize information into an audio-visual format and present it to others who are highly educated and knowledgeable about your field.”

Jacob Dayton ’19, a biology major who presented two projects – one on the genetic diversity of a migratory bird group and one on the behaviors of strawberry poison-dart frogs – added that the value of presenting at national conferences is threefold.

“One, it provides students with the opportunity to practice communicating their research to a diverse audience. Two, questions and comments from audience members challenge students to defend and/or expand their thinking. And three, it provides the opportunity to publicize Eastern and the quality research that its students are conducting.”

Students also cited being exposed to new research questions during others’ presentations, interacting with peers from across the country, and sharing the NCUR experience with their Eastern friends as highlights of the conference. Psychology Professors Carlos Escoto and James Diller and Biology Professor Patricia Szczys accompanied the Eastern group.

NCUR was established in 1987. From a pool of several thousand applicants, students are accepted into the conference if their research demonstrates a unique contribution to their field of study. NCUR offers undergraduates the opportunity to present their research findings to peers, faculty and staff from colleges and universities across the nation, providing a unique networking and learning opportunity.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Mohegan Tribal Chief Named Eastern’s Commencement Speaker

 Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba, chief of the Mohegan Tribe, will be the Commencement Speaker at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 129th Commencement Exercises on May 21 at the XL Center in Hartford. Malerba will also receive an honorary doctorate degree at the ceremonies.

Malerba has achieved an exemplary career in the health care and tribal governance fields. Not only has she served her community with distinction, she has brought national recognition to the State of Connecticut.

Chief Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts) Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba became the 18th Chief of the Mohegan Tribe on August 15, 2010, and is the first female chief in the tribe’s modern history. The position is a lifetime appointment made by the tribe’s council of elders. She previously served as chairwoman of the tribal council and was also executive director of health and human services for the tribal government.

Prior to her work for the Mohegan Tribe, Chief Malerba had a distinguished career as a registered nurse and served as director of cardiology and pulmonary services at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Yale University and was named a Jonas Scholar. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Connecticut, and has an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford.

Chief Malerba has achieved a national reputation as an advocate and supporter of health issues and the welfare of Native Peoples. She is chairwoman of the Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee of the Federal Indian Health Services; is a member of the U.S. Justice Department’s Tribal Nations Leadership Council; serves on the Tribal Advisory Committee for the National Institute of Health; is a member of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Tribal Advisory Committee; and serves as a technical expert on the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. She also serves as the United South and Eastern Tribes board of directors secretary, and is a member of the board of directors for the Ms. Foundation for Women.

In Connecticut, Chief Malerba serves as a trustee for Chelsea Groton Bank, as a board member for the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, as an advisory committee member for the Harvard University Native American Program and served on the board of directors for Lawrence Memorial Hospital for 11 years.

More than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students will receive their diplomas at Eastern’s graduation exercises on May 21, with an audience of more than 10,000 family and friends expected. In addition to Malerba, dignitaries expected to attend include Eastern President Elsa Núñez; Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System; and Merle Harris, vice-chair of the Board of Regents for Higher Education.

Written by Ed Osborn

Annual CREATE Conference to Showcase Student Art, Research

 

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/08/2019) Eastern Connecticut State University will host its premier academic and artistic conference of the year on April 12. CREATE – Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern – will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Center and surrounding venues. An award ceremony with remarks by Eastern President Elsa Núñez will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center.

Hundreds of student researchers, artists and performers will present their talents at CREATE. Students from all majors will lead oral and poster presentations, participate in panel discussions, showcase music and dance performances, exhibit their art and photography, and present documentary films and more.

Registration will take place at 8 a.m. at the Student Center Café. President Núñez will present two undergraduate awards and two mentor awards to outstanding students and faculty members at the 12:30 p.m. award ceremony.

For more information, visit http://www.easternct.edu/create/, where you can view the day’s agenda and download the event’s cell phone app for iPhone and Android.

Written by Michael Rouleau