Eastern a Top 25 Public Regional University in U.S. News and World Report

The class of 2023 gathered for a group photo during the Fall 2019 Warrior Welcome weekend–Eastern draws students from 160 of Connecticut’s 169 towns

 Eastern Connecticut State University is again the highest ranked institution among Connecticut’s four state universities in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s edition of “Best Colleges.” The 2020 rankings were released on Sept. 9.

This is Eastern’s highest ranking ever as it was ranked 21st among public universities in the North Region. Eastern moved up five spots among public institutions over last year’s rankings and moved up 13 spots when both public and private institutions were considered.

Under the mentorship of Biology Professor Vijaykumar Veerappan, Roshani Budhathoki ’19 was selected for an undergraduate fellowship by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB).

.The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and is known as the most competitive among the four regions that make up the U.S. News and World Report ranking system.

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked based on 15 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, class size, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

“Given the uncertain times facing the higher education community, I am delighted to see Eastern achieving its highest ranking ever,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “This is a testament to our commitment to high standards and the faculty and staff’s focus on providing students with personal attention. Our improved ranking this year is due to our rising graduation and retention rates as well as the continued quality of our incoming classes.

 Environmental earth science students traveled to the mountains of Wyoming and Idaho this summer for a geology field course led by Eastern faculty.:

“Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college. These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high-quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of upwards of 1,400 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2020 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 15.

For the past 35 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Written by Ed Osborn

Students Glimpse Careers Via Summer Internships

Samantha Honeywell interned at NBC Boston.
Dontae Christian interned at Doc Wayne Services.
Zi Yi Huang interned at the Yale Art Gallery.
Shannon Fagan interned at Hi-Way Campers.

 

From law enforcement to TV broadcast to art galleries, many Eastern students recently glimpsed their potential careers through summer internships.    

Communication major Samantha Honeywell ’21 worked as an operations intern at NBC Boston. She was responsible for several duties on the set, including editing voice-overs, sound-on tape and news stories. She also worked in the media operations center, where live videos are recorded, regular programs are held and photos are processed. “I have a passion for editing,” said Honeywell. “Because my internship was hands-on, I gained experience with the technology that television news companies are using today.”

Business administration major Dontae Christian ’20 interned at Doc Wayne Services, a Boston-based organization that fuses sport with therapy to heal and strengthen at-risk youth. He was connected to Doc Wayne through the Forest Foundation, a fellowship that is committed to fostering the next generation of public service leaders through paid summer non-profit internships.

“My internship is meaningful to me because I was once in the shoes of the children that we work with,” said Christian, who grew up in the Bronx. “I’ve dealt with similar things that most of the kids that we work with go through, such as tough family situations and limited money and resources. I was able to relate with the kids.”

Business administration major Jenna Swanson ’20 worked as a human resources intern at Maples Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Wrentham, MA. Her responsibilities included assisting with payroll, interviewing, hiring, training and assessing employee benefits and newly passed laws such as the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.

“I’ve gained better communication skills and learned how to interact with others in a professional manner. And I learned payroll and hiring functions that I’ll be able to use in the future.”

Jenna Swanson interned at Maples Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Samantha Honeywell.
Dontae Christian playing soccer with the youth.

 

Finance major Bethel Teshome ’20 interned at the Edison Electric Institute headquarters in Washington, D.C. She interned in EEI’s accounting and finance department, working with company software and assisting with consultations and financial reports. “Working in the Edison Electric Institute gave me insight into the operations of a trade association as well as energy industry infrastructure.”

Recent graduate and psychology major Shawn Kutschker ’18 interned with the Connecticut State Police in the Major Crimes unit for Troop E in Montville. He went on ride-alongs with troopers, joined detectives on cases and wrote reports for the department. “There are challenges that require the ability to adapt at any point,” said Kutschker. “The things that are seen on the job are not for everyone.”

Art major Zi Yi Huang ’20 interned at the Yale University Art Gallery as an installation intern, setting up and breaking down exhibitions. She found handling the pieces of art to be challenging and physical work. “We have to use tools such as drills and hammers,” she said. “It’s very hands-on work.”

One of her favorite parts of the internship was being able to see the artwork up close. Huang aspires for a career as an art curator and was grateful to gain insights from Yale’s gallery coordinator.

Business administration major Kaitlyn Rade ’19 interned as a management trainee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Her responsibilities included picking up and dropping off customers, renting out cars, billing and tracking vehicle maintenance.

“This internship has taught me the value of customer service and helped me to become a better salesperson,” she said. Rade hopes to continue interning at Enterprise this fall and land a job with the company when she graduates next spring.

Business administration major Shannon Fagan ’20 worked as an operations management intern at Hi-Way Campers, a family-owned RV retailer located in Plainfield. Her responsibilities included managing the company’s payroll, tracking inventory and creating job descriptions for future positions.

She also worked on the company’s website and social media channels, and reported using information from her consumer behavior and advertising courses to drive marketing campaigns. Speaking to other classroom learning she applied to the internship, she said, “Accounting courses helped me to find efficient ways to catalog inventory, understand debit and credit accounts, as well as taxes associated with sales and payroll.”

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

Career Fair Links Eastern Students to Employers

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Internship and Career Development (CICD) hosted its spring Career and Internship Fair on April 3 in the Sports Center Gymnasium. The fair hosted more than 90 employers for students to explore future internship and job opportunities.

The companies in attendance ranged from the U.S. Army to educational institutions, health services, financial groups and many more – all providing information while seeking future employees.

Students came prepared with résumés, networking strategies and background information about companies of interest. Prior to the fair, students engaged in a career fair boot camp, where CICD staff members provided tips on how to network and keep in touch with employers, improve LinkedIn profiles, participate in mock interviews and much more. The fair on-campus provided students with an easily accessible career exploration opportunity. Lacoy Brown, a junior who majors in health sciences, said the career fair was very convenient for a full-time student.

Clifford Marrett, director of the CICD, said students gain internship opportunities, full-time jobs and garner experience talking to employers and showcasing their abilities. “It’s a nervous process for many students, but the more practice you do, the better you become.”

Many students said the fair gave them a clearer understanding of their potential career path. Senior Taylor Day’19, an English major said, “The career fair opened-up my eyes to a lot of opportunities I wasn’t thinking of.” Day aspires to have a career helping people and feels confident about her future and the connections she’s made. Sadie Wood, a senior who majors in physical education said, “The best experience is being able to build relationships with employers. Developing a rapport with them that you can use when you get out of school.”

The CICD works to prepare students for the professional world by providing résumé help, teaching interview skills and connecting them to opportunities that provide real-world experiences.

Written by Bobbi Brown

PASS Students Participate in Job Shadow Day

Eight students from Eastern Connecticut State University’s PASS program took a trip to Hartford on March 11 for a career shadow day at the United Bank headquarters and Hartford Yard Goats baseball stadium. PASS stands for, “Promoting Academically Successful Students” and is intended for students who are placed on academic probation, especially students of color. This opportunity was provided by The Center for Internship and Career Development (CICD).

Job shadow events give students an inside look at potential career paths. Eight students ranging in majors from business to communication participated in the event. They learned LinkedIn tips, underwent training for proper interview etiquette and learned what United Bank’s Human Resources Department seeks in potential employees.

The PASS program has an emphasis on supporting students of color who face unique challenges in higher education. PASS pays close attention to these students, providing them with the extra support and resources needed to help them earn an Eastern degree.

The CICD’s partnership with PASS supplies students with real-world experiences by pinpointing what their future career goals are and giving them opportunities to gain exposure in those fields. The CICD offers résumé help, proper interviewing skills, volunteering opportunities, and even hosts a career fair every semester for students to explore and start networking for future employment.

At the Yard Goats stadium, students gathered information about the various departments at the facility, including Community Partnerships, Tickets and Hospitality, Operations and Business Development — showing Eastern students the many options they have once they enter the workforce.

Written by Bobbi Brown

Eastern’s New PASS Program Offers ‘Academic Reset’ for Students

Academic advisors and study-skills specialists in Easterm’s Advising Center help students develop individualized action plans.

Eastern Connecticut State University is going the extra mile to ensure that African American and Hispanic students who end up on academic probation are provided the support they need to succeed. The new PASS (Promoting Academically Successful Students) program is funded through a $75,000 grant from the Connecticut State Office of Higher Education.

PASS recognizes that African American and Hispanic college students are often first-generation college students without college-educated parents to provide support and personal knowledge of what it is like to attend college. Trying to juggle supporting a family, working to pay for tuition, room and board, and books, and studying can be stressful. Adjusting to campus life is also a challenge. The result can be academic probation and can even lead to dropping out.

PASS is managed by Eastern’s Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning (CSEL) in collaboration with the Center for Internships and Career Development (CICD) and Eastern’s Advising Center. The program uses a hands-on advising model and an active career development program to inform students of available support services.

“While the PASS Program’s immediate goal is to return participants to good academic standing by the end of the semester, its ultimate goal is to reset how students perceive themselves academically and professionally so they put in place learning practices that will sustain them through to graduation,” said June Dunn, assistant dean in the Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning. 

Dunn says PASS helps students take charge of their own learning. “This is particularly crucial for first-generation students on probation who may not have family members or mentors who are college graduates to prepare them for college success. They have repeatedly heard it’s important to get good grades, and they will tell anyone who asks that their intention is to get good grades. What’s unique about Eastern’s PASS program is that we are putting in place the infrastructure that helps students internalize the connection between their education and career goals,” said Dunn.

PASS requires weekly mandatory advising sessions, skill development workshops, and group meetings for all participating students to review their schedules and make any necessary adjustments. Academic advisors and study skills specialists help students develop individualized action plans that may include more appropriate course selection and/or majors Students must show how they plan to keep up with coursework and meet professor expectations.

Eastern’s Center for Internships and Career Development helps students internalize the connection between their education and career goals.

The CICD also has an important role. “Participating students have to take the FOCUS 2 assessment, and then come into the office to meet with a career advisor to assess results,” said Cliff Marrett, CIDC director. “The assessment helps each students identify a major and explore career clusters that align with their interests. Students work with their career advisor and check in weekly after they complete their career development assigned tasks.”

Participating students also attend workshops on resume development, interviewing skills and dressing for success, and use interactive online job search tools and mentoring programs to connect to potential employers and alumni mentors.  “We believe this rigorous academic/career routine will ensure the motivation needed for students to come off and remain off academic probation,” said Dunn.

by Dwight Bachman

Fall Career Fair Helps Students Find Career Connections

Written by Raven Dillon

More than 400 students browsed the career options of 90 employers on Oct. 24 at Eastern Connecticut State University’s fall career and internship fair. The fair was a chance for students to explore employment and internship opportunities, as well as to pitch résumés and network with business representatives.

Companies in attendance spanned many industries, from Mohegan Sun casino and resort to Travelers Insurance. The fair was organized into categories, such as education, finance, medical and the armed services. Students were given packets with résumé and interview tips, as well as an opportunity to take professional headshots for their LinkedIn profiles.

Students were encouraged to dress well for good first impressions with potential employers, and to bring plenty of résumés. Those who had attended the career-fair boot camp the previous week were advised to research the companies that interested them and to ask employer representatives plenty of questions.

“We really try to prepare students,” said Lana O’Conner, administrative assistant for the Center of Internships and Career Development, the fair’s organizing department. “Everyone gets a packet with a list of employers and floorplan of the fair, as well as contact information for the companies. We also emphasize how to practice your ‘pitch’ when meeting potential employers; making a strong introduction is key.”

Jhanvi Shah ’20, a junior business administration major, has attended several career fairs in the past, but as graduation approaches next academic year, she now finds them to be more valuable. “Don’t remind me,” she laughed. “I’m getting close to graduating, and I don’t want to think about it. But these events are really helpful for making connections. I talked with a lot of people in my field. Maybe I’ll find an internship that can help me get a job after I graduate.”

‘English at Work’ Panel Spotlights Alumni Working in Higher Ed

Left to right: English alumni Melissa Dwelley ’12, Reece D’Angelo ’11, Megan Vo ’13 and Monica Mordowanec ’17 discuss their current jobs in higher education.

Written by Jordan Corey

The English Department at Eastern Connecticut State University welcomed four alumni on Oct. 22 to discuss their experiences working in higher education student affairs. The event was part of the “English at Work” series, which highlights the universal nature of an English degree.

The panel consisted of Reece D’Angelo ’11, Melissa Dwelley ’12, Megan Vo ’13 and Monica Mordowanec ’17. They covered a range of topics, including extracurricular engagement at the undergraduate level, going to graduate school and occupational responsibilities.

Panelists highlighted the importance of getting involved on campus. “I was considering a lot of different options as an undergraduate,” said Dwelley, who works as a communications officer for the Young Global Scholars Program at Yale University. During her time at Eastern, she worked as a tutor and peer advisor. “I enjoyed the administrative side of it.” Dwelley now has a Master of Education degree in student personnel administration.

Other panelists cited working in the Student Center, taking leadership roles in clubs and working as a resident assistant (RA) as gateways to deciding their career path. However, as former president of Eastern’s Education Club, D’Angelo noted that students must be careful not to overextend themselves. “Pick one or two things.” With a Master of Science degree in counseling and higher education, she is an academic specialist at Quinnipiac University.

In addition to undergraduate efforts, graduate programs have allowed the panelists to gain access to higher education in different capacities. They touched on becoming familiar with unexpected components of student affairs, such as counseling, and the financial weight that can accompany pursuing further degrees. A suggestion for a manageable transition was applying to programs that provide stipends or payment for working. “There are ways to have grad school paid for, but they are competitive,” said D’Angelo.

In the realm of higher education, job descriptions vary. Mordowanec, who will receive her Master of Education degree in higher education and student affairs this May, works for residence life at Salem State University. She oversees all daily operations of a traditional-style residence hall of approximately 290 first-year students. Her favorite part, she revealed, is the conduct hearings that take place when a student gets into trouble.

“During those moments is when I really get to change students,” she said, explaining that she prefers to give constructive punishments, such as requiring the student to join a program or club, as a means of changing their behaviors.

“I have my hands in all things student affairs,” said Vo. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction and will be completing her Master of Science degree in autism and applied behavior analysis in May. She is the head of the Office of Residential Life at the University of Saint Joseph. With a smaller university, she noted, comes different responsibilities, but there is an “intersection of opportunities” seen across student affairs. “We’re all here for the students.”

Vo also noted that, with any task, the English skills she has acquired assist her in being articulate and concise. D’Angelo agreed, stating that her experience as an English major has helped her in learning how to see outside perspectives and better understand her own positions. Mordowanec utilizes the social justice qualities that she picked up from her English studies on a regular basis.

“One of the reasons I went into student affairs is because there was so much opportunity,” said Dwelley. The panelists agreed that the field is versatile and, in many cases, they discovered what they liked best or what information was most valuable along the way. While student affairs may seem daunting as a profession, the experience gained is invaluable, and success can be achieved with the right balance. “Be realistic with your expectations of yourself and others,” concluded Vo.

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.”

 

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.