Alumni Recruit Students at 15th Annual Accounting Job Fair

Fiondella, Milone and Lasaracina (FML) auditors and Eastern graduates Alyssa Townsend '17 and Destiny Hartmann '17 speak with students.
Brian Green of the Defense Contract Audit Agency speaks with students about fraud management and job opportunities.
Horizons Inc. representatives speak with an Eastern student.
Nicola Yester auditors and Eastern graduates Nicole Brooks '15 (CPA), Tessa Jordan '07 (CPA and partner) and Carissa Riccio '16 pose with Professor RuJoub at the fair.


The Accounting Program at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted its 15th Annual Accounting Job Fair on Oct. 5. With more than 70 students, 17 companies and nearly 25 alumni, the event was busy as students shared resumes and networked with future employers.

The Accounting Job Fair was created by Accounting Professor Mohd RuJoub, who has been teaching at Eastern for 20 years. RuJoub has seen students graduate from Eastern’s Accounting Program and go into careers with top companies such as Blum Shapiro and Travelers, and even earn top positions as vice presidents and managers.

“This career fair has enabled our accounting students to meet employers in an informal setting over the last 15 years and given them the opportunity to learn more about those employers and the opportunities available,” said RuJoub. “Employers were very impressed with the turn out and engagement with our students. Most employers were represented by Eastern accounting alumni—Eastern was represented on both sides of the table, as recruiters and job seekers–it was a sight to see!”

Many Eastern alumni that attended the event expressed the bond they still have with the university. Alumna, Amber Tucker’ 04, who works for the Connecticut-based accounting firm of Fiondella, Milone & LaSarcina stated, “Every Eastern graduate that we’ve worked with has been of extremely high quality.” Tucker, who also teaches auditing in the spring and winter semesters at Eastern, said she enjoys coming back to campus. “It’s great to come back and see my former students working and trying to get their career on the way.”

Alumna Nicole Brooks’ 15, who works for the accounting firm Nicola Yester, recalled her time as an Eastern student when she attended the Accounting Fair. “We’ve hired quite a few Eastern grads as interns… they have good working knowledge and have been well-versed in accounting related topics.”

RuJoub added, “Our alumni are very proud of their alma matter and accounting education that they have received and happy to come back to campus and play an increasingly significant role in our students’ careers, from getting that first internship or full-time job out of college to finding advanced positions.”

Eastern’s Accounting program provides introductory and advanced courses in financial and managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and accounting information technology and business solutions, as well as teamwork and leadership skills. Senior Jenna Moreiria, who majors in Business Administration and minors in Accounting, spoke highly of the education she received through the Accounting program and her professors. “It gives you a well-rounded education that prepares you for internships and future careers.” With a high interest in tax auditing, Moreiria is aiming to take her skills to Blum Shapiro.

Written by Bobbi Brown

Eastern to Host Basketball Tournament in Honor of Alyssiah Wiley

Eastern Connecticut State University will host a three-on-three basketball tournament on Oct. 9 in the Geissler Gymnasium from noon to 4:30 p.m. in honor of late Eastern student Alyssiah Wiley. There will also be other activities held in the Student Center such as a labyrinth, informational tables, games, a film showing and raffles. Connecticut State Rep. Robyn Porter and Wiley’s mother, Corrinna Martin, will also speak on the issue of interpersonal relationship violence at the event.

Wiley, who was an Eastern sophomore in 2013, was in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. When she decided to break things off with him, things took a turn for the worst and resulted in Wiley’s murder. Wiley’s death sent shockwaves throughout the entire state and Eastern’s community, which prompted Eastern students to action. Eastern staff and students have taken initiative to bring awareness to interpersonal relationship violence, while honoring women like Wiley, who represent the necessity for awareness.

According to recent polls conducted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 43 percent of dating college women and 28 percent of college men say they have experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors. Women and men between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of dating violence, which is triple the national average. 52 percent of college women also report knowing a friend who has experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors.

The activities at the event are designed to promote discussions of relationships between women and men on campus by incorporating sports and education on interpersonal relationship violence. The labyrinth will encourage students and staff to take an exploratory journey of self-reflection. Informational tables will also encourage students to gather resources and information on interpersonal relationship violence while other games will facilitate conversations on the issue. The goal is to create a positive alliance between staff, students and faculty to move forward together to prevent and end interpersonal relationship violence

The coordinators of this event hope to raise further awareness of Wiley’s story to get other college campuses throughout the country to host basketball tournaments and relationship violence awareness events like the one being hosted at Eastern. Their goal is to secure long-term sponsorships that will continue to recognize and bring awareness to dating, relationship and domestic violence. Eastern President Elsa Nunez to host this event annually.

To sign up and participate in the basketball tournament go to or email Registrations will be open from Sept. 17 until Oct. 4. Students who attend the event will also have the chance to enter raffles, win gift cards and other electronics such as TV’s. Staff and faculty are also welcomed to participate in the tournament.

Written by Vania Galicia

Stamford NAACP Honors Eastern Social Work Professor Eunice Matthews

Left to right, Stacey Close, Eastern’s associate provost and vice president for equity and diversity; Sen. Richard Blumenthal; Eunice Matthews, Denise Rodriguez, lecturer in the Department of Social Work; Shirley Matthews, sister of Eunice Matthews and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University; and Isabel Logan, assistant professor of social work, congratulate Matthews.

On Sept. 27, at the NAACP’s Annual Freedom Fund Dinner, the Stamford NAACP presented Eunice Matthews, professor of social work and coordinator of the Social Work Program at Eastern Connecticut State University, its prestigious Dr. Joyce Yearwood Humanitarian Award.

The award is given to an individual who is a premier advocate for fairness, justice and equality in the community in health care, employment, housing, education or voting

Naomi Chapman Taylor, left, and Guy Fortt, Executive Committee members of the Stamford NAACP, present Professor Matthews with the rk and coordinator of the Social Work Program at Eastern Connecticut State University, its prestigious Dr. Joyce Yearwood Humanitarian Award.

rights. The award recognized Matthews for her work as a clinician providing mental health services for two decades to adults and adolescents in southern Connecticut. 

Several dignitaries were on hand, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who praised Matthews, saying, “Dr. Yearwood was a personal friend who I loved and greatlyrespected for her diligence in enhancing the lives of others. I thank you, Dr. Matthews, for the wonderful work you have done so effortlessly and continue to do in transforming the lives of so many people in Stamford and beyond.”

Matthews secured her first faculty appointment at Fordham University’s School of Social Services. She joined Eastern in 2000, and helped develop Eastern’s nationally recognized Social Work program. In 2001, she also began serving as a clinician at the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, and as a consultant for the Healthy Families New York in South Bronx, NY, where she served for 15 years.

Matthews continues to contribute to the intellectual discourse in her field, serving on the board of directors of the Southern Conference of African American Studies and the Council of Social Work Education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Morgan State University; her master’s degree in Social Work at Columbia University; and her Ph.D. in Sociology at the City University of New York. 

Eastern Named to Princeton Review’s 2020 ‘Best Colleges’ Guide

Eastern Connecticut State University has been recognized by in the Princeton Review in its “2020 Best Colleges” guide for the Northeast region. Featured schools were chosen based on survey results from 140,000 students across the country. Eastern was praised for its small class sizes, close-knit campus community and affordability. 

Home to 5,200 students annually, Eastern students come from 160 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, along with 29 other states and 20 other countries. The 16:1 student to faculty ratio encourages group discussions and teamwork. Eastern offers 41 majors and 59 minors, with a liberal arts curriculum that’s rooted deep in the school’s mission to provide students with a well-rounded education. Eastern was also ranked among the top 25 public universities in the North Region by U.S. News and World Report in its 2020 Best College ratings.

Eastern also offers 18 NCAA Division III sports teams, more than 90 registered student organizations and 17 honors societies. Eastern’s athletic mission is to emphasize values such as diversity, sportsmanship, health, wellbeing and equity. Eastern hosted its annual President’s Picnic and Student-Club Fair. In spring of 2019, more than 50 percent of Eastern students participated in at least one club. Clubs with the highest membership last semester were Eastern Outdoors Club, Freedom at Eastern and People Helping People. Eastern is also home to student services such as the Womens Center, LGBT support groups and minority support groups. Eastern was awarded the ‘Green Campus’ Status by Princeton Review for the ninth year in a row in fall 2018.

Written by Molly Boucher

Balcerski Explores Relationship of Two 19th Century Politicians

Tom Balcerski

As the nation heads towards the 2020 elections, observers have asked if America has ever elected a gay president. Some say yes. Others say no. Tom Balcerski, assistant professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University and author of the highly acclaimed new book, “Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King,” discussed the topic on Sept. 19 at his book talk “James Buchanan: The First Gay President?”

Balcerski has thoroughly researched the friendship of the bachelor politicians James Buchanan (1791-1868) of Pennsylvania and William Rufus King (1786-1853) of Alabama. He narrates Buchanan and King’s relationship and each man’s rise to national prominence. King was elected vice president in 1852 and Buchanan became the nation’s 15th president in 1856.

Balcerski said before the two men became prominent politicians, they became close friends while living together in a Washington, D.C., boarding house. “Their friendship blossomed into a significant cross-sectional — some have suggested sexual — political partnership. They were the talk of the town. The gossip was unkind. Andrew Jackson once called Buchanan — Jackson’s minister to Russia — ‘Miss Nancy.’ King’s political opponents called him Buchanan’s ‘better half.’ Their friendship was so intense that people called them ‘Siamese twins’ and ‘bosom friends,’ the title of my book.”

Even so, Balcerski, an expert on male gender studies, says, “though their 20-year relationship was intense, the evidence is just not there to say that either man was gay. There is nothing there to suggest that their close relationship was more than a political alliance.” He said male political, platonic friendships were common in the 19th century.

Balcerski’s highly acclaimed book has received coverage in the national news media, including CNN, NBC News and Time and Smithsonian magazines. “‘Bosom Friends’ is a revelation,” said Douglas Egerton, author of “Year of Meteors: Douglas, Lincoln and the Election That Brought on the Civil War.”

“Exhaustively researched, (Balcerski’s book) sheds fresh light on antebellum politics through its discerning analysis of a distinctive, intimate friendship that crossed sectional, if not sexual, boundaries,” write Egerton. “Prepare to be surprised and enlightened by Balcerski’s findings.”

By Dwight Bachman

Eastern Students Consider Graduate School

Grad school fair
Grad school workshop
Grad school fair
Grad school workshop
Grad school fair
Grad school workshop


The Center for Internships and Career Development (CICD) hosted a graduate school workshop on Sept. 23 in the Science Building and its annual graduate school fair on Sept. 24 in the Betty Tipton Room of the Student Center.

The CICD’s role on campus is to advise and provide students with resources that will guide them in the process of career development. As part of the CICD’s mission to help students with their future careers, the staff began to organize the graduate school fair and workshop the summer prior to the fall 2019 semester.

The graduate workshop was designed so that students could drop in and out as their schedules permitted and speak with faculty and staff about different aspects of graduate school, such as financing, applying and graduate programs. The CICD involved staff from other departments who covered topics at different tables. Elizabeth Scott, the interim dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies/Graduate Division, hosted a table centered on helping students choose a graduate school that is right for them. She explained the application process, the expectations and what different graduate programs look like.

Julia DeLapp, director of the Center for Early Childhood Education, hosted a table focused on graduate school scholarships and fellowships. Katherine Wrana, associate director of financial aid, shared options on how to finance graduate school. Other tables covered the application process and standardized testing.

“We intentionally made the event casual,” said Janice Patry, assistant director of the CICD. “It was set up in the form of a table round discussion so students could move around freely from table to table, so if a student only had 20 minutes between classes they could just drop in and out whenever.”

The CIDC organized the graduate school fair to help students make further choices on prospective graduate schools. The CICD chose schools with programs that match majors offered at Eastern. Participating universities included Central Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut’s School of Social Work, Quinnipiac School of Law, Johnson and Wales University and Springfield College. A total of 40 universities attended the event.

Deajah Curry ‘21, a communication major, attended the fair to see what graduate programs best suit her. “My main purpose for coming here today is to see which colleges have the best programs that fit me, as well as to network and create new connections.”

“A great group of colleges are here today,” she added, “because there are some that are closer to the area and some further out. The variety is good, and it got me thinking about other aspects of grad schools, such as what town I want to attend school in.”

The CICD will host a career and internship fair on Oct. 23 in the sports center gymnasium from 1-4 p.m. An estimated 90+ employers will attend, representing industries across all majors. To learn more about the CICD and their upcoming events, visit

Written by Vania Galicia


Eastern’s Economics Professor Conducts Workshops in Uganda

Professor Muchiri with Kyambogo and Stawa Universities faculty and students.

Steve Muchiri, assistant professor of economics at Eastern Connecticut State University, was invited by Kyambogo and Stawa Universities in Kampala, Uganda, to be the keynote speaker at an economics workshop this past summer. Muchiri’s research explores issues related to healthcare, education and teenage motherhood in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. One of his current research interests is an analysis of Kenya Vision 2030, an economic development program aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals adopted from the United Nations Millennium Declaration. His work examines the impact of free education on teenage motherhood in Kenya, where up to 20 percent of women 20-24 years of age become mothers before their 18th birthday. While in Uganda, Muchiri also facilitated a series of workshops on economic issues such as healthcare utilization, health insurance and the importance of higher education in the labor market.

Professor Muchiri in front of statue of King Mutebi II, Buganda’s current king. a subnational kingdom within Uganda. Buganda is the kingdom of the Ganda people, the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda.

“I made new friends from the student body as well as the local community,” said Muchiri in describing his experience. I learned from them as much as they learned from me, but I think I may have gained more from this experience. This is definitely a great destination to take students for a summer or regular semester study-abroad program.”

By Dwight Bachman

Courant Names Eastern a ‘Top Workplace’

For the eighth time the Hartford Courant has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University in its “Top Workplaces” survey. With almost 1,000 employees, Eastern ranked 10th in the “large” category, and was the only public higher education institution recognized among 60 organizations in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, Windham and New London counties. Results were published on Sept. 22 in the Hartford Courant.

“We are honored to be recognized once again as a top workplace in Connecticut,” said Eastern’s President Elsa Núñez. “Even though Eastern was recognized in the large organization category, our university has always prided itself on being a close-knit community and a welcoming, inclusive campus for students, faculty and staff. The Courant’s announcement reminds us that Eastern is a stable, inspiring place for our faculty and staff to come to work each day, and a supportive learning environment for our students. I am very pleased that we were among those recognized.”

Surveys were administered on behalf of the Courant by Energage, LLC, a research and consulting firm that has conducted employee surveys for more than 50,000 organizations. Rankings were based on confidential survey results completed by employees of the participating organizations. This year’s Courant survey surveyed 29,000 employees across the state.

The survey included 24 statements, with employees asked to assess each one on a scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Topics included organizational direction, workplace conditions, effectiveness, managers and compensation. Each company was assigned a score based on a formula.

To honor all “Top Workplaces,” The Hartford Courant held its annual awards program on Sept. 19 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT, where it announced the top workplaces in each category.

Written by Vania Galicia

Eastern Presents ‘Africa to America: A Celebration of Who We Are’


After a successful one-off performance in March 2019, the Theatre Program at Eastern Connecticut State University presented three encore performances of “Africa to America: A Celebration of Who We Are” on Sept. 17-19 in the Proscenium Theatre. The play was written by Wendy Coleman, chair of the Department of Theater Arts at Alabama State University, and re-imagined and directed by Deron Williams, theater professor at Eastern.

“Africa to America” chronicles the heritage and legacy of African Americans throughout history. The play opened with “Movement 1: Reigning in Africa,” which illustrated the previous lives African Americans had as kings and queens. Next came “Movement 11: Suffering Towards America,” which portrayed the brutal slave voyages to the Americas. The play continued with depictions of slavery, segregation and the Civil Rights Movement, journeying chronologically through the trials and tribulations that African Americans have faced through the years.

Screenwriter Coleman stated, “Americans would not be who they are today had it not been for the contributions that were made, often at great cost, by people of African ancestry. This play sheds a light on our ancestors’ passions, strengths and courage.” Director Williams added, “This piece is very timely, particularly because August marked the 400th anniversary of the first ship’s arrival on the coast of Virginia carrying 20 enslaved Africans.”

Components of the play included special effects, music, dance and speeches by iconic African-American figures. Visuals included moving waves symbolizing the voyage from Africa to America, and plantation fields depicting the sites where slaves endured forced labor. Overhead projections also showed pictures of inspirational figures such as abolitionist Harriet Tubman and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Students vocalized famous speeches and reenacted pivotal events, such as the escape of slaves and the Selma March. African beats and spiritual songs sung by student performers filled the theatre and emphasized the hardships and resilience of African Americans.

Bobbi Brown

Jeff Calissi Describes Drumming and the Music of the American Revolution

Most Americans have spent time in class — going back to elementary school — learning about the Revolutionary War. But do you know of the role that the drum played in colonial times?  Jeffrey Calissi, associate professor of music, kicked off the fall Faculty Scholars Forum series describing how drums were used to communicate, gather people together, help troops carry out orders to salute and signal the moment to begin marching.  

Calissi’s entertaining discussion also included a demonstration of the rope drum during colonial times in New England during the Revolutionary War. 

Many centuries before anything was recorded, Calissi said the drum conveyed special messages. The snare drum and fife were frequently paired as part of drills and exercises, along with marches and parades, contributing to fellowship, pride and loyalty in the Colonial militia during the Revolutionary War. 

Calissi explained the use of drums during the French and Indian War, and up through and including the American Revolution. During battles with the British army, Calissi said the drum functioned as “the radio of the battlefield” because of its ability to project commands and signals. Trained drummers had different beats, and each beat had a message. For instance, two strokes and a flam might say ‘Go for wood or go for food.’

          Calissi concluded his presentation with a fascinating demonstration of drum calls and signals, along with a performance on a rope drum that was constructed in the likeness of one from the 1770s, complete with a steam-bent shell and hoops, calfskin heads and gut snares, and tacked with 250-year old hand-forged nails.

By Dwight Bachman