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

Business Students Recognized at NEDSI National Conference

Left to right: Alexandra Maistrelis, Emily Vieten, Kaitlyn Hohman, Fatma Pakdil, Jenna Moreira, Megan Cole, and Nicole Silva. Not present: Daniel Huacho and Jacqueline Scanlon.

 Eight Business Administration students at Eastern Connecticut State University were recognized for their research projects at the Northeast Decision Sciences Annual Conference (NEDSI)  in Philadephia on April 4-7.

Emily Vieten, Kaitlyn Hohman, Alexandra Maistrelis, Nicole Silva, Jenna Moreira and Daniel Huacho received honorary mention awards for their research. Led by Fatma Pakdil, associate professor of business administration, the students presented projects reflecting their work and analyzes of several local businesses in fall 2019.

“We collaborated with companies located in our community by focusing on their problems, issues and projects so students could see the real life applications and practices of topics covered in their courses,” said Pakdil.

Megan Cole and Jacqueline Scanlon received a third-place award in the undergraduate student poster competition for their project “Feasibility of Implementing Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in Eastern Connecticut.”

Despite ECT being a treatment option for decades, little research has focused on the economic feasibility of implementing such a treatment in hospital settings in the United States. Cole and Scanlon analyzed if ECT would be feasible by specifically collaborating with Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield, CT, on the project.

Maistrelis and Silva’s project, “Process Analysis in Radiology Services at a University Hospital,” focused on process mapping of CT Scans and MRIs services provided in the radiology department at the UConn Health Hospital in Farmington, CT.

Moreira and Huacho analyzed an EEG (electroencephalogram) laboratory, also at UConn Health Hospital. The goal of their project was to identify where potential waste might have occurred, and to minimize the amount of time an outpatient would spend in the EEG process.

Vieten and Hohman’s project, “Process Mapping in Radiology Services Using DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) Process,” focused on process mapping of the services provided in the radiology department at UConn Health Hospital.

“In addition to the examples and practice questions analyzed in class, these real-time cases in the workplace were challenging, and showed students what they can expect in the real world after graduation,” said Pakdil.

Written by Dwight Bachman

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

Annual CREATE Conference to Showcase Student Art, Research

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.

Students present research during the poster session of the 2018 CREATE conference.

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

Finance Panel Examines US Economy 10 Years after Recession

Panelists included Eastern Accounting Professor Candice Deal, guest speaker Jeffrey Fuhrer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Business Administration Professor Chiaku Chukwuogor, Economics Professor Brendan Cunningham and panelist Randall Peteros of the Royal Bank of Canada.

The Business Administration department at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted a panel on Feb. 5 to discuss the United States economy 10 years after the 2008 recession. The panel featured a range of professionals who raised points about what caused the economic crash, who was impacted and how the economy has changed since then.

Panelists included Jeffrey Fuhrer and Randall Peteros of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Royal Bank of Canada, respectively, along with Eastern professors Brendan Cunningham and Candice Deal. The event was moderated by Chiaku Chukwuogor, chair of the Department of Business Administration.

Fuhrer is the executive vice president and senior policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He has been active in economic research for more than 30 years and has published extensively. To begin his presentation, Fuhrer broke the financial recession of 2008 into three parts — the liquidity crisis, the credit crisis and the economic crisis.

“Those were scary times,” he said. “We did not know where the bottom was by a long shot. It was conceivable that what we were looking at was the beginning of an episode that would rival the Great Depression.”

He explained that liquidity deals with short-term borrowing. When the economy struggled, such financing became largely unavailable, in part because of uncertainty surrounding repayments. “People who might otherwise provide money to non-financial firms and to other financial firms were worried about whether those firms would actually be solvent, whether they could actually survive for the next week or even the next few days.” Fuhrer provided an array of diagrams and statistics, like a “reverse EKG” chart that highlighted the unusual borrowing rates.

According to Fuhrer, one solution was that banks were given federal money to allow for short-term funding, awarded in “term auction facilities.” This money was auctioned off rather than handed out, creating an environment of competitive bidding for borrowers. “It wouldn’t be a sign of weakness if you went to this facility to borrow. That was important,” said Fuhrer. Funding granted lending terms that could be extended, in turn offering people newfound stability. The initiative was retired by the beginning of 2010 when short-term markets were mostly restored.

He continued by delving into the credit and economic components of the financial crash, going over the trouble with assets reliant on mortgage payment along with the “duel-trigger” hit of simultaneous disruption in income and home value. The interconnectedness of commercial systems during this time led to a mess that made assets unstable for even those who tried to plan carefully. “This wasn’t just about crazy subprime borrowing and lending. It wasn’t just stupid people doing stupid things,” Fuhrer emphasized. “Twenty-five percent of all mortgages went under water.”

Toward the end of his presentation, Fuhrer noted that the current monetary policy for the U.S. economy is in a “neutral zone,” which “is a good thing.” While he agreed there always need to be some regulations implemented to safeguard against economic risks, he feels that nothing can guarantee protection from financial downfall.

“No matter what we put in place, we’re probably going to get ourselves into trouble, because that’s what we do as humans.” He reiterated that financial crises have happened globally throughout history and should be examined in conversation with one another to better understand how these major upsets can happen.

Following the opening lecture, remaining panelists had their own segments to analyze various aspects of the recession. Cunningham, a professor of economics at Eastern, went first, unpacking the microeconomics of what happened from a longer-term perspective. He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers and book chapters in addition to previously serving as co-editor of the Journal of Media Economics.

He drew on the work of Kenneth Arrow, an economist, mathematician and political theorist who received a Nobel Prize in economics partially due to his fundamental welfare theorems. “Like any proof, his proofs were built upon some assumptions,” said Cunningham. He described the four assumptions, which make statements regarding consumerism, competition and financial availability. One argument, he stated, is that the government should function as closely as possible to Arrow’s pre-conditions. “Maybe we’d be less likely to see such a disruptive and destructive financial crisis as we did in 2008.” Among the topics he considered were accountant responsibility, “imperfect” information and regulations in relation to efficiency.

Accounting Professor Candice Deal serves on several university committees and faculty search committees, and is a member of the American Accounting Association and Beta Gamma Sigma. She once worked as a grant manager for the National Science Foundation, managing a $1 million dollar grant. During the panel discussion, Deal used her home country, the Bahamas, as a reference to address how the 2008 economic crash affected those outside of the United States.

“The financial crisis had a large impact on Caribbean countries, specifically the Bahamas” Deal started. She contended three reasons why this occurred — close proximity, the US being one of their major trading partners and the decline of tourism. While Americans “were feeling the pinch financially,” as Deal put it, they were unable to travel to the Bahamas, thus directly influencing the Bahamian economy.

“We’re not talking about small numbers here and there. The impact was so bad that the hotels in the country had employees working maybe one or two days a week, and they were the lucky ones, because the others were just fired.” She said that about 112,000 people were receiving government unemployment benefits from a population of less than 400,000.

Randall Peteros is the senior vice president of wealth management with the Royal Bank of Canada and an adjunct business administration professor at Eastern. He received a “Best Paper” award at the 25th Annual Association for Global Business Conference in 2009 for his paper “Financial Crisis Investing in Perspective: Probabilities and Human Behavior.” His role in the panel was to talk about financial stocks and bonds, providing modern data points in comparison to past data points. Peteros informed the audience that stocks were down 57 percent from peak-to-trough when the recession finally ended. “To come back to even, you’d have to go up about 132 percent.” Despite the overwhelming negative spike a decade ago, January 2019 marked the best January for stock rates in 30 years, he asserted. “Volatility is back, it seems.”

Written by Jordan Corey

A Decade Later: U.S. Financial Crisis and Economic Recession

Jeffrey Fuhrer

Jeffrey Fuhrer, executive vice president and senior policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, will be the guest speaker at a panel discussion at Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 5. Fuhrer and other panelists will discuss “A Decade Later since the U.S. Financial Crisis and Economic Recession”; the event takes place from 4-6 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.

Fuhrer is responsible for the Federal Reserve’s Bank’s regional and community outreach functions. He has been an associate economist of the Federal Open Market Committee, and regularly attends key U.S. policymaking meetings with the bank’s president. He has been active in economic research for more than three decades and has published extensively.

Panelists include Randall Peteros, senior vice president of wealth management with the Royal Bank of Canada and a lecturer in Eastern’s Business Administration Department; Candice Deal, Eastern associate professor of accounting; and Brendan Cunningham, associate professor of economics at Eastern.

Chiaku Chukwuogor, professor of finance and chair of the Eastern’s Department of Business Administration, will serve as panel moderator.

Written by Dwight Bachman

Professor RuJoub Receives IMA Faculty Leadership Award

Dr. RuJoub received the distinguished service award at the IMA’s annual conference this past November

The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals (AAFP) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) recently named Mohd RuJoub, professor of accounting at Eastern Connecticut State University, recipient of its 2018 Distinguished Service Award for Educators. The IMA presented RuJoub on Nov. 3, 2018, at the IMA Student Leadership Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO.

The IMA has more than 100,000 members world wide, yet only grants one faculty leadership award per year. The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership within and service to the IMA, and has demonstrated significant leadership activities at the national, regional and/or local levels of the IMA. Additional contributions and activities include supporting student participation and student chapters in IMA; leadership, participation and support of the Annual Student Case Competition; recruiting students into meaningful participation in the local, regional and national IMA; and supporting research and writing in IMA publications, such as “Strategic Finance and Management Accounting Quarterly” and other IMA-sponsored research.

“Congratulations! It is an honor for us to choose you from an outstanding group of candidates as a distinguished leader among your peers and an active supporter of IMA activities,” wrote Kerry Butkera, IMA’s research and academics relations administrator, in a letter to Rujoub. “The IMA appreciates your time and dedication to your students and the IMA.”

Rujoub resides in Hebron. He has been attending the IMA Student Leadership Conference with Eastern students every year for the past 18 years. This year, he took six students to the conference. “Thank you very much for this award,” said Rujoub. “I am deeply grateful. It is an immense honor to be recognized by the IMA organization for the 2018 Leadership Award. What a pleasant surprise! Everyone in the IMA organization is so gracious to recognize my work in this way.”

Under Rujoub’s tutelage, the accounting program at Eastern has risen in prestige. In 2015, Rujoub set up a scholarship in his name – the Dr. Mohd Rujoub and Family Endowed Accounting Scholarship. Scholarship are granted to accounting majors with a minimum 3.0 GPA and in financial need. To donate, visit: https://ecsufoundation.com/annual-fund.

Written by Dwight Bachman

Students Gain Insights Abroad: Ireland and Greece

Mackenzie Seymour ’20 studied abroad in Ireland.

Chelsy Popo ’19 studied abroad in Greece.

Eastern Connecticut State University students Chelsy Popo ’19 and Mackenzie Seymour ’20 recently completed semesters abroad this fall. They studied in Greece and Ireland, respectively.

Popo, who majors in political science, believes that studying abroad is invaluable because it allows students the opportunity to see the world. “My coursework at Hellenic American University in Athens included a class called ‘Athens Across the Ages.’ Each session was held at a different location in Athens, so I was able to visit and learn about many of the ancient sites and museums, in addition to more modern locations in the city.”

The destinations Popo found most memorable were the Acropolis and the Parthenon in Athens, as well as the island of Crete. She also enjoyed visiting Meteora, a rock formation in central Greece that hosts one of the largest, most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. She took side trips to London, Paris, Budapest and Amsterdam.

Mackenzie Seymour

“I never expected to study in Ireland, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Seymour, an accounting major. Like Popo, she visited nearby countries, such as Spain, England, the Netherlands and Italy, while exploring Ireland itself. “I had the most fun traveling within Ireland, to Galway, Dublin, Cork and the Ring of Kerry, a scenic route in southwest Ireland. It looked like a breathtaking painting — and has become my favorite place.” Seymour noted her appreciation for learning about unfamiliar cultures along the way.

Popo similarly found herself intrigued by the environment she lived in. “It was interesting to study in Greece as a political science major, since Athens is known as the birthplace of democracy and because of the current political climate.” Popo also enjoyed the Mediterranean climate and the warm, welcoming people she encountered.

Seymour said study abroad programs help students step out of their normal lives. “Many of us are used to a normal routine — it can be hard to change things,” she said. “I believe that it’s important to explore life and experience new things. I became more independent and mature because of my trip. I have returned to America a much stronger person.”

Chelsy Popo

Popo concurred: “Once I made up my mind to step outside my comfort zone, I learned so much about the world and myself. The experiences and connections have helped me become a global citizen.” She plans to study international or criminal law after graduating.

“I have become extremely grateful for my time at Eastern and am excited about returning to continue with my classes,” concluded Seymour, who wants to attend graduate school to become a certified public accountant. “The professors go above and beyond to assist students in understanding the subjects we are studying, and after studying abroad, I can say for sure that my favorite part of Eastern is the academics.”

Written by Jordan Corey

 

For Lynda Petrides, Dreams Really Do Come True

Lynda Petrides now holds an IT position at SPIROL International Corporation.

Lynda Petrides ’17 is living her dream these days. After years of working at part-time jobs, the 59-year-old Eastern graduate is finally working full time in her chosen career field of information technology, recently landing a position as a systems analyst at Danielson, CT-based SPIROL International Corp., a leading manufacturer of engineered fasteners and components used primarily in automotive and aerospace applications.

The position is the culmination of a long journey. Instead of going to college right after high school, Petrides decided to join the workforce. She took a job as a cashier in a grocery store and quickly learned she wanted a better job with better hours, enrolling in Hagerstown (PA) Community College. Her classes in accounting and business administration paid off, as she was promoted to the accounting office with better work hours.

The college experience had another benefit; she met her husband! He was in the Army, and life happened. “We got married, moved to Georgia, then to Germany, back to Georgia, and finally, to eastern Connecticut. We had four children and I became a stay-at-home mom for many years. Eventually, I worked part time at my children’s elementary school as a library aide and later as an assistant computer instructor. This work supported the school and fed my interest in technology.”

Petrides and Professor Kunene at the national EDSIGCON conference in Austin, TX.

In 2010, Petrides found a part-time job as an administrative assistant for Loos & Co. in Pomfret, which manufactures aircraft cable and other stainless-steel products. “This job supported my interests in computer technology and increased my desire to expand my horizons in information systems,” said Petrides. “When my youngest child graduated from high school in 2013, my new dream was to complete my associate degree at Quinebaug Valley Community College.

Petrides graduated summa cum laude from the community college in 2015 and set her sights on her next goal — obtaining her bachelor’s degree. Unsure of what to major in but still interested in technology and business, Petrides learned about Eastern’s business information systems (BIS) major. In summer 2015, she took her first foundation class at Eastern with Sukeshini Grandhi, associate professor of business information systems.

“Life was good! In the spring semester of 2016, I was offered an internship through Cigna’s Technology Early Career Development Program. My role was in project management and I learned valuable skills working with large datasets. This was a great experience for me.”

In her senior year, Petrides worked with Nikki Kunene, assistant professor of business information systems and health information management, on a research project that culminated with Petrides co-presenting at a national conference.

Lynda Petrides on graduation day.

“Our project was on the usability of the Blackboard interface from the instructor’s perspective. Dr. Kunene and I worked on the project throughout 2017 with research, lab testing, data analysis, surveys and write-ups. Our research paper was accepted for inclusion at the EDSIGCON Conference (Information Systems and Computing Education) in Austin, TX.”

“To meaningfully contribute in a research project a student must be able to think, be ready to learn the research skills needed, write well, and quickly learn the technologies we use,” said Kunene. “Lynda had all those qualities. She worked hard, thought critically, and learned new skills readily. She was the ideal student in a STEM major with a liberal arts grounding.”

Crediting her position at SPIROL to her internships, research experiences and BIS classes, Petrides says, “I thank all the great professors at Eastern for providing wonderful learning experiences to students, especially part-time students like myself.”

Petrides’ job at SPIROL challenges her on many levels, “but I’m learning something new every single day. I’m probably the oldest person ever to major in Business Information Systems at Eastern. I hope I broke some gender and age stereotypes along the way! Just know this — dreams really do come true no matter what your age. You just need to take that first step.”

by Dwight Bachman