Eastern Hosts Mental Health ‘Check in’ with Fresh Check Day

Representatives of the Conduit Center of East Hartford lead students through relaxing sound meditation sessions.

Written by Jolene Potter

WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/16/2018) In an effort to raise mental health awareness, Eastern Connecticut State University hosted Fresh Check Day on Oct. 11 – a day designed to reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues. The annual Fresh Check Day involves students in interactive booths that deliver mental health and resource information in a fun and engaging way.

Upon entering Fresh Check Day, students were surrounded by the sounds and vibrations of the many instruments used in sound meditation. Students were offered a free sound meditation session by The Conduit Center, a meditation center in East Hartford, whose mission is to facilitate meditative healing and provide education on the benefits of sound in meditation.

One student who struggles with anxiety noted how focusing on the sounds lessened her racing thoughts. Eastern’s President, Elsa Nunez, even sat for a session of relaxation and clarity herself.

Fresh Check Day is all about embracing our inner quirks and letting go of the stigmas that many of us share.

Fresh Check Day utilizes a peer-to-peer messaging model. “We’ve recognized that these messages are better said and received by peers,” said Sandra Rose-Zak, coordinator of the Office of Wellness Education and Promotion. “When speaking to someone with a similar experience, you have a greater interest in what they’re saying. It’s a different impact when coming from peers.”

In accordance with the peer-to-peer messaging model, several student organizations – ranging from the Pride Alliance to the Fine Arts Club – staffed booths designed to engage and educate students about the many resources available on campus and in the local community.

In the “Elephant in the Room” activity organized by Eastern’s Wellness Warriors, students could anonymously write down their struggles and place them in a box. When the box was filled, messages were displayed all together to illustrate that people are not alone in their struggles.

One courageous student noted how the emotional release of identifying herself as a sexual assault survivor encouraged her to pursue counseling to cope with her trauma. Other messages included “I feel alone,” “I’m a perfectionist” and “I have an eating disorder.” Another student explained how the display made him feel less alone, as there are many people with similar struggles.

The Education Club participated in Fresh Check Day by hosting an activity where students wrote messages of hope for those struggling with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts.

“As future educators, it’s imperative for us to take this awareness into our classrooms and to be mindful of how we can help,” said Cameron Bulk, president of Education Club.

Pride Alliance incorporated a celebration of National Coming Out Day into its booth, where students created tie-dye t-shirts with inspirational messages.

“Suicidal ideation and depression are significantly higher among LGBT youth and we are here to support and advertise a safe space for students,” said Devin Parsons, president of Pride Alliance. “There are many students who are still ‘in the closet’ or who have not been properly supported in coming out and we want to be a source of support for them.”

Veterans are a particularly vulnerable population for mental health and many times the stigma of needing help prevents veterans from receiving proper services. In order to support veterans in the local community, representatives from Eastern’s Veterans Center asked students to write thank-you cards for their service.

“Our goal with this event is to help students recognize resources, reduce mental-health stigma and reduce suicide among college-age populations,” concluded Rose-Zak.

In 2012, Eastern was the first college campus to host Fresh Check Day, which has since expanded across the country. The Hartford-based Jordan Porco Foundation is committed to preventing suicide in the high school, college and college-entry student population by building a bridge between students and local mental health resources and programs.

 

New Program Forges Pathway from Police Academy to Eastern

Manchester Police Officer Danielle Hebert ’20 is among the first Eastern students to articulate her law enforcement training into college credit.

Written by Jordan Corey

New this fall semester, graduates of the Connecticut Police Academy may now enroll at Eastern Connecticut State University with 12 credits applied toward a criminology degree or other major. Credits are granted for academy training.

“Eastern is an institution that recognizes there are experiential learning opportunities outside of a traditional university classroom through which students may gain college-level learning,” said June Dunn, assistant dean of the Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning.

“Connecticut Police Academy graduates will have 12 criminology credits automatically applied to their transcripts when they matriculate at Eastern,” she continued. “This is a semester’s worth of credits directly applicable to the criminology major should the student wish to pursue that plan of study – or applicable to fulfilling general education or elective credits for other majors. With a full semester’s credits, students save time and money toward completing their degrees.”

The credit value for training completion was determined by Professor Theresa Severance, director of Eastern’s criminology program. “I tried to balance what’s relevant and appropriate in the context of our major with the skills and knowledge officers received through their academy training, in addition to what they’ve learned on the job,” said Severance.

Danielle Hebert ’20, a Manchester police officer, is one student who has seized this opportunity following her law enforcement training. “I currently have an associate’s degree in business, so switching my focus to criminology would have extended the time it takes to obtain my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “Because of the program, it should only take me one and a half years to finish.”

Chief Roberto Rosado of the Willimantic Police Department, who graduated from Eastern in 2016, has also found value in traditional education to compliment his insight as an officer. “My personal life was challenged with a full-time job, family and my goal to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Eastern,” he said. “Britt Rothauser and June Dunn of the Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning helped me out tremendously with selecting courses and transferring credits from the Police Academy, FBI Academy and other colleges to help me graduate.”

Willimantic Police Chief Roberto Rosado ’16 is an Eastern graduate who encourages his officers to expand their expertise with a bachelor’s degree.

Rosado has worked to expand this impact beyond his individual benefit, encouraging his fellow officers to pursue their education as well. He arranged for Rothauser to visit police headquarters and present an overview of how officers can enroll at Eastern with previously earned credits and experience.

“It was at that point that the officers asked about whether they could get credit for their police academy training,” said Dunn. “I then presented the idea to Dr. Severance, who articulated their training into criminology credits.” According to Rosado, many of the officers have begun seriously looking into it.

Severance noted, “Many students are interested in law enforcement, so having police officers as fellow students provides them with contacts and insight into the process.”

“I’ve noticed that I’m able to give a different perspective to the discussions in the classroom based on my experience,” said Hebert. “My time in the academy and my time as a police officer has given me knowledge of criminal statutes along with how the criminal justice system is formatted, which has helped me in my classes so far.”

Chief Rosado points out the importance of education within the realm of law enforcement. “Having highly educated officers adds credibility to an agency, reduces liability and overall improves effectiveness by building communication and critical thinking skills. It helps to ensure more well-rounded officers on the street delivering quality service to a very diverse community.”

Severance concluded, “I hope departments and officers in the area will find this program beneficial. While some police departments offer tuition reimbursement, completing a four-year degree while working a demanding, full-time job is obviously a challenge. Eastern has the only criminology bachelor’s program in this region of the state, so I anticipate this will appeal to nearby officers seeking to further their education.”

Academy graduates who matriculated prior to this fall should contact the Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning at 860-465-0206 or rothauserb@easternct.edu for assistance with getting credits for their training applied to their transcripts. For those interested in becoming future students, winter session classes start at the end of December.

 

Poverty Awareness Marathon Raises 378 Food Items

KPE professors Charlie Chatterton and Ari de Wilde midway through the marathon.

Written by Raven Dillon

WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/12/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University held its 10th annual Poverty Awareness Marathon on Oct. 5. The event culminated with 197 members of the Eastern community who walked and ran to raise awareness, as well as 378 food items that were donated to the Covenant Soup Kitchen and Shawn’s Cupboard, Eastern’s on-campus food pantry.

Beginning at 7 a.m., marathon runners participated for as many laps around campus as their schedules permitted; some for a single lap (roughly 1.2 miles) others for a half-marathon (13 miles). Professor Charlie Chatterton, who has completed numerous marathons, exceeded by running 28 miles in approximately six hours.

Participants pose for a group photo before the 7 a.m. starting time

Chatterton teaches kinesiology and physical education (KPE). He has been involved in poverty awareness efforts for years, and has been instrumental in this event since the beginning. He encourages students to get involved in any way they can.

Aside from running or walking, the Eastern community donated nonperishable food items and students signed large, colorful posters, pledging to volunteer in upcoming events and to call attention to issues of poverty with their friends and family. Among them were several athletes from Eastern’s sports teams, including the men’s and women’s cross-country teams, men’s basketball and women’s lacrosse.

The marathon was organized by the Center for Community Engagement and the student organization People Helping People.

 

Travelers Employees Offer Interview Advice

Travelers Insurance employees (left to right) Tiana Correa, Freddy Cruz, Chance Foster, Anthony Peterson and Tyler Stebbins offer advice about the job-application process.

Written by Raven Dillon

WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/10/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University hosted a panel of Travelers Insurance employees on Oct. 3 who spoke with students about interviews, résumés and corporate leadership. The event was organized by the Center for Internships and Career Development (CICD).

Three of the five panelists are Eastern alumni. Freddy Cruz ’18 (double major in business administration and business information systems) works in Travelers’ Technology Foundational Development Program; Tyler Stebbins ’16 (business information systems) works in business insurance IT; and Anthony Peterson ’14 (business administration) is a pricing analyst.

The panelists fielded questions about their paths from college to the corporate world and offered tips on how to succeed in the job-application process. Students were advised to dress well for interviews, to do research on the company and to ask follow-up questions.

Students were also encouraged to bolster their résumés and interviewing skills through workshops offered at Eastern’s CICD, regardless of major or career aspirations. The panelists stressed the importance of being able to ask uncomfortable questions and to stop thinking of their majors as fields, but rather as skillsets.

“Never stop learning,” urged one panelist. “When you transition from college to career, it’s just another step. Take the same lessons you learn from here to your job.”

 

Poet and Vietnam Veteran Bruce Weigl Visits Eastern, Inspires Students

By Jordan Corey

Eastern Connecticut State University welcomed distinguished poet Bruce Weigl to campus on Oct. 3 for “University Hour,” a series of events that features guest lecturers and artists. Weigl, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, conducted a poetry workshop with students and later gave a reading of his own work.

At age 18, Weigl enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War from December 1967 to December 1968. Many of his poems address his experience during and following the war. In “The Circle of Hanh,” a memoir, he writes, “The war took away my life and gave me poetry in return… the fate the world has given me is to struggle to write powerfully enough to draw others into the horror.” His first full-length poetry collection was published in 1979.

The workshop brought with it an open energy and positive space for constructive critique. Weigl covered a range of topics, from the significance of rhythm to useful revision techniques. “Move your lips when you read. Think, ‘how does this make my mouth feel?’” he advised.

“Narrative doesn’t mean non-metrical. It means story,” Weigl continued. “Without music, it’s not poetry.” He emphasized finding the right “voice” for a poem within its form, and called attention to the delicate relationship between narrator and reader. A piece needs to hold the reader in a specific moment, he argued. More tips included using clear, specific details and avoiding clichés. “Hearts are always racing. Make it do something else.”

At the reading, Weigl began with war poems “Song of Napalm” and “Snowy Egret.” The latter stemmed from a dream he had about a boy burying a bird in his backyard. In fact, Weigl did not realize it was truly about the Vietnam War until somebody else had referred to it as a war poem.

He transitioned into sharing poems from his upcoming publication, “On the Shores of Welcome Home.” He compared the new collection to “being seven years old and getting closer to the front of the line” — a transition period right before everything is about to change. Poems read included “A Late Corrupted Flash,” “Earring” and “Clinical Notes #92.”

He explained that for some poems in this collection, the attention to meter helps contain his loaded experiences. Typically, it takes him three to four months to complete a poem. “I revise it into nothing. If it can’t survive the rigors of revision, then it’s got to go.” Then, he told the audience, it may end up in a scrap journal where he can revisit it and potentially reuse the idea.

Weigl’s final advice to writers was to keep challenging their abilities within their work. “You reach certain plateaus, and it’s very seductive to stay there. Always make it harder.”

Weigl has been awarded a Yaddo Foundation Fellowship, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Breadloaf Fellowship in Poetry and the Pushcart Prize. In addition to writing poetry, he has also translated poems of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers captured during war with Thanh T. Nguten of the Joiner Research Center.

Students Dispatch Across Windham for ‘Day of Caring’

Eastern and UConn students pose for a group photo at the event’s kickoff at Windham High School.

Written by Raven Dillon

More than 200 students from Eastern Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut volunteered across Windham on Sept. 28 for the third annual Day of Caring. The event was a collaboration with United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.

Students from all background and academic interests volunteered hundreds of hours in 13 locations across Willimantic and the surrounding area. Volunteer sites included the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry (WAIM), CT Railroad Museum, Habitat for Humanity, Willimantic Housing Authority, Horizons and more.

At the Abundant Life Church, overseen by Pastor Tim Tracy, students clad in gloves and smiles disinfected nursery toys. “We love this event,” said Pastor Tracy. “Every year, we get different students, and they all work so hard. Usually we only get three or four students at this site, but this year we have eight, so the numbers are going up every year. It’s amazing.”

Students disinfect nursery toys at Abundant Life Church.

Some of the volunteers heard of the event through professors or residence halls. Others were student leaders involved in club life, such as Eastern’s Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), which had several volunteers at the event. Many more were repeat volunteers from previous Day of Caring events.

Others, like Dilan Mendoza, a psychology major at Eastern, attended for the first time. “I’d definitely do it again next year,” said Mendoza, brushing dirt off his hands. “It’s a great way to give back to the local community, and to get to know other students.”

Mendoza was a part of a small group of students who were planting flowers and weeding dead plants in Jillson Square. Supervised by the Windham Gardening Club, students pruned bushes, raked leaves and planted flowers.

An Eastern student picks up garbage along Main Street.

David Annecchiarico, a music major from Eastern, led a group of students down Main Street, armed with garbage bags and garden tools. They raked and tended to small gardens on both sides of the street and swept sidewalks while collecting discarded trash and litter. This was Annecchiarico’s second year volunteering for Day of Caring; he hopes to return next year.

Aside from outdoor beautification, volunteers worked on projects indoors. Some UConn students sorted through donated school supplies, while others created literacy kits. The literacy kits consisted of a book and reading activity designed to make reading fun for local schoolchildren. These kits will be distributed in the Windham Public Schools.

At the end of the day, students were given lunch and an opportunity to socialize with community leaders and student organizations. Afterwards, they reflected on the importance of volunteering and the work they had accomplished that morning.

Day of Caring is a year-long global program designed by United Way to promote volunteerism. Eastern and UConn students will return next year to continue their dedicated work in the Windham community.

22 Communities Statewide Achieve ‘Sustainable CT’ Certification

Written by Lynn Stodard

 WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/03/2018) Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming efficient, resilient and inclusive, announced its first group of certified towns this week. Twenty-two municipalities met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for certification. The list of certified communities spans every county and includes some of Connecticut’s largest cities and smallest towns.

With input from municipal leaders across the state, Sustainable CT was developed over the past few years under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM).

Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford and Stamford have achieved “silver” certification, the highest honor in the program. Another 17 municipalities are being recognized at the “bronze” certification level: Bristol, Coventry, Hebron, Madison, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, New London, New Milford, Old Saybrook, Ridgefield, Roxbury, South Windsor, West Hartford, Westport, Windham and Woodbridge.

“We are excited to recognize the first Sustainable CT certified communities,” said Laura Francis, first selectman of Durham and co-chair of the Sustainable CT Board of Directors. “These towns have worked hard and shown great leadership in completing many actions that increase sustainability while also saving money, promoting health and increasing residents’ connection and sense of place.”

All 22 newly certified towns worked to demonstrate significant achievements in nine sustainability impact areas ranging from thriving local economies and vibrant arts-and-culture to clean transportation and diverse housing. In addition, the towns had to address diversity, inclusion and equity when implementing sustainability actions. The certification submissions went through a series of rigorous reviews by independent experts and Sustainable CT partners.

“These 22 Sustainable CT communities are models for local governments that strive to be thriving, resilient, collaborative and forward-looking,” said Joe DeLong, executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. “They have built community and local economies. They have equitably promoted the health and well-being of current and future residents, and they respect the finite capacity of the natural environment.”

CCM will hold an awards ceremony to recognize Sustainable CT certified towns at their annual convention in late October.

Launched less than one year ago, Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable program for towns. Sixty-four towns have registered for the program, approaching participation by 40 percent of all towns in the state.

“Congratulations to our 2018 certified Sustainable CT communities,” said Lynn Stoddard, executive director of the program and director of Eastern’s Institute for Sustainable energy. We are eager to share the inspiring accomplishments of all of these towns in creating livable, thriving communities. They are also showing that local actions lead to positive statewide impact on our environment, economy and culture.”

Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong support from three Connecticut philanthropies: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund.

For more information, visit www.sustainablect.org.

Eastern Receives Major NSF Grant to Study Camel Spiders

The camel spiders being studied at Eastern are preserved in ethanol. This specimen, held by Biology Professor Matthew Graham, has a large chelicerae — jaw-like appendage used for catching food.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Eastern Connecticut State University is the recipient of a major grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund research on a little-known type of arachnid known as the camel spider. Led by Biology Professor Matthew Graham, the grant will total more than $500,000 over the course of four years in an effort that will develop young scientists and contribute to the understanding of climate change in deserts.

The project is a collaboration between Graham’s lab at Eastern, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the University of Colorado. With more than $1 million in NSF funding split between the Connecticut- and Colorado-based teams, the project represents cutting-edge research that could well make an impact on the global stage.

Camel spiders are actually not spiders at all, but another type of arachnid called solifuges. While they do have eight legs and are in fact arachnids, solifuges don’t have venom or make silk (webs) — unlike their spider relatives. Their most obvious difference, however, is the presence of enlarged chelicerae — ferocious jaw-like appendages — rather than venomous fangs.

Camel spiders do not have 10 legs; the right-most appendages are used for smelling and feeling their environment. Scientists recently found that they also act like suction cups.

Native to deserts and arid habitats throughout the world, camel spiders — also known as sun spiders and wind scorpions — are an understudied taxonomical group, as they are notoriously difficult to find, collect and keep alive in captivity.

Unlike their scorpion relatives, which can survive for months with no food or water, camel spiders have high metabolisms and voracious appetites, and are a challenge to study in a laboratory setting.

One of the NSF’s initiatives is to investigate understudied organisms. Graham and colleagues are tasked with understanding how changing desert landscapes and climates have shaped the evolution of camel spiders. Doing so can help predict how they — and desert ecosystems at large — will respond to global climate change, as well as inform desert-conservation efforts.

“Deserts of the American Southwest are my passion,” said Graham, who is an expert on scorpions. “I’ve been collecting scorpions throughout these deserts and using DNA to learn about their evolutionary history. But scorpions are one piece of the puzzle. Now that we’ve got them somewhat figured out, we can look at other arachnids.”

As the NSF-funded arachnologists study camel spiders, other scientists are beginning to use genomic techniques to look at desert mammals and reptiles. “Together,” said Graham, “we should begin to understand how our desert ecosystems formed, how they have changed, and how they respond to ongoing and future climate change.”

Graham’s team at Eastern will focus on camel spiders of the American Southwest. The team consists of a soon-to-be-hired postdoctoral scholar who will work full time on the project; an REU student from Eastern — REU stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates, which is an intensive NSF research program — and other Eastern undergraduates who are conducting research with Graham for independent study credits.

The second team, led by Paula Cushing and her colleagues at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as well as graduate students from the University of Colorado, will focus on understanding the relationships among North American camel spiders and the discovery of new species.

“The most important thing Eastern is getting out of this is student training in some very marketable laboratory skills,” said Graham. “The genomics techniques they are learning are really powerful and generate exponentially more data than traditional approaches.”

Genomics is a branch of molecular biology focusing on the structure, function, evolution and mapping of genomes. A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.

Graham and Eastern student Michelina Pinto utilized a new method of trapping camel spiders this past summer in the Mojave Desert. Attracted by a light that hangs from the stake, the camel spiders wander into the fence (landscape edging), which guides them into a pitfall trap with propylene glycol — a mixture that preserves DNA but is safe for wildlife to drink.

As part of the project, the Eastern team will travel to deserts of the United States and Mexico to trap specimens. This past summer in the Mojave Desert, Graham and Eastern biology student Michelina Pinto used a new method to trap camel spiders, which resulted in many more collections. Their method involves installing pitfall traps with lights (lures) above them. Graham, Pinto and Cushing co-authored a manuscript describing the technique and recently submitted it for publication in a scientific journal.

After specimens have been collected, they are preserved in ethanol and sent to Cushing’s team in Denver for species identification. Back at Eastern, the genome is extracted from muscle tissue using a laboratory procedure. The genome occurs as long strands of DNA. Using special enzymes, which Graham describes as “tiny molecular scissors,” they’ll chop up the DNA into manageable pieces and tag them with molecular barcodes before sending them off campus for DNA sequencing.

“After sequencing, we’re going to have tons of DNA data,” said Graham. “We hope to team up with our math department and use bioinformatics to analyze all this data. Patterns in the DNA will show us how populations of these desert animals have responded to climate change.”

Graham’s team will perform this process on numerous samples collected from deserts across the Southwest. They will return to the Mojave and other arid landscapes throughout the American Southwest over the next four years, as well as go on an extensive sampling expedition along the Baja California peninsula in 2020.

“A lot of what we thought we knew about camel spiders turned out to be wrong,” said Graham, referring to new science that has rejected previous assumptions about solifuges.

The primary goals of the project are to (1) revise the taxonomy (classification) of species of North American camel spiders, (2) provide new online resources about their biology, (3) expand digital records within the NSF’s arthropod database, (4) create an online guide to camel spiders of North America, and (5) inspire and train the next generation of arachnologists.

For more information, visit http://www.solifugae.info/proposal%201733117.html.

Bachman and Close Win State NAACP Awards

Stacey Close, fourth from left, and Dwight Bachman, third from right, are congratulated by Eastern colleagues, left to right: Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury and his wife, Sandra; Vicky Nsiah, wife of Biology Professor Yaw Nsiah, second from right, and Communications Professor Christopher for being name two of the State NAACP’s “2018 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut.”

Stacey Close, associate vice president of equity and diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Dwight Bachman, public relations officer at Eastern, were among 100 honored as the “2018 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” on Sept. 22 by the State Conference Chapter of the NAACP. The recognition ceremony took place during a reception held at the Foxwoods Tower Premier Ballroom.

A native of Georgia, Close has worked in higher education for more than 25 years. Also a professor of history, he has taught courses that focused on African American, American, African and Southern history. Close has also served as chairperson for Eastern’s Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy and Geography; the University’s director for Center for Educational Excellence; and as NCAA faculty athletic representative. 

In addition, he has presented scholarly research at conferences such as the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History and the Professional and Organizational Development Network. Close has served as co-conference and forum organizer for the New York African Studies Association, Connecticut African American Summit and the highly acclaimed Dr. John Hope Franklin Symposium. He frequently lectures and makes presentations on Black Hartford history. In 2014, Close served as contributing editor and essayist for “African Americans in Connecticut Explored,” published by Wesleyan University Press. He has published in numerous journals and press such as the “Journal of Negro History,” “CT Explored” and “Guilford Press.”  

A believer and advocate of mentoring and supporting students outside the classroom, Close has also served as the advisor for student clubs such as Eastern’s Nubian Society and West Indian Society. In 2011-2012, Close received the prestigious honor of being an American Council on Education Fellow. Some of his other honors include Eastern’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award; Student Club Advisor of the Year;  Eastern’s Faculty Teaching Award, and “Hartford Courant Magazine’s 12 Hot Professors.” Close received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Ohio State University and B.A. from Albany State College, a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Georgia.

Bachman has served as Eastern’s public relations officer with distinction for more than 27 years. He is responsible for helping to create, manage, preserve and enhance the image of Eastern and its mission, and to market the University to its many publics. Bachman has successfully written and produced award-winning publications for Eastern’s internal and external audiences; written thousands of press releases and hundreds of feature stories; and placed hundreds of Eastern’s students, faculty and staff on radio and television news and public affairs programs in Connecticut, the region and major national media. The 2003 edition of Eastern Returns, on which Bachman served as managing editor, won the “Second Best in the Nation” Award by the Independent Newspaper Publishers of America (INPA) by the INPA. Two years earlier in 2001, Eastern Returns won the INPA’s “Best in the Nation” Award.” Bachman also works to help align social media with the University’s overall marketing goals.

Over the years, Bachman has successfully enhanced student writing. At Eastern’s May 2013 Commencement, Nana Owusu-Agyemang, a senior from Ghana who presented the Senior Class Address, recognized Bachman as “a wonderful boss,” a recognition Bachman described as his “greatest honor.” In April 2012, at the Connecticut State University System’s Barnard Scholars Banquet, student winner Kate Harner described Bachman as “one the most influential people in her life during her last three years at Eastern,” as she changed her career goal of teaching English to public relations, based on what she “learned about the impact of public relations and all the fun she had learning public relations from Mr. Bachman.”

At Eastern, Bachman also helps to establish mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations that have increased public awareness of Eastern as a valuable resource to the state of Connecticut and beyond. In addition, he has been named the recipient of many awards and honors; and nominated for many others for his professional and public service. Some include the Collin Bennett/Marcus Garvey Award; the Prince Hall Free Masons of Connecticut Willie B. McClendon and David G. Carter Student Advocacy and Community Service Award; the Hartford Enterprise Zone Association’s Service to Community Award; the CASE Century Award; Eastern’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award; and the Connecticut Library Association’s “News Media Award.” 

Before Eastern, Bachman had a distinguished career as reporter, editor and news producer at several major-market radio and television stations in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Hartford. Bachman was the first African American radio/television reporter for KWWL-Radio/TV (1967-69) in Waterloo, IA. In 1970, he simultaneously served as “Black Scholar in Residence” at Wartburg Theological Seminary and as the first African American director of the Commission on Human Rights in Dubuque, IA. In 1977, WTOP All-News Radio (Washington, D.C.) nominated Bachman for a George Peabody Award, the world’s oldest and most prestigious prize in electronic media for researching, writing, and producing an eight-part series on the highly celebrated Allan Bakke affirmative action case. He was nominated as the “Washington Journalist of the Year” by the Capitol Press Club.

Bachman earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and Rhetoric at the University of Northern Iowa and his Master of Professional Studies degree in African and African American Studies at Cornell University.

Eastern Hosts Annual Fall Graduate School Fair

Written by Jolene Potter

Hundreds of Eastern Connecticut State University students met with representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities at Eastern’s annual Graduate School Fair on Sept. 25 in the Student Center. The fair presents an opportunity for undergraduates to learn about graduate and professional education, receive detailed information about various schools and network with professionals in their desired field of study.

Representatives from a variety of schools attended the fair to recruit students for programs in psychology, education, law, business, accounting, engineering, medicine and more.

Graduate schools represented at the fair included such Connecticut institutions as Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut and Sacred Heart University. The fair also hosted representatives from Boston University, Northeastern University, Bay Path University and Assumption College.

“The graduate fair is a great opportunity for students who are exploring their future career and education path,” said senior communication major Kate Cobb. “As a student who works full-time, this gave me an idea of how to describe the skills I have gained, by working on my résumé and applications for graduate school.”

The interaction with representatives also reassured some students who have already decided on their career path. “Speaking with representatives from programs I am interested in has affirmed my chosen career path and helped solidified my decision to apply directly to Ph.D. programs,” said senior psychology major Kelly Bielonko.