Biology Students Present at Annual ECSC Conference

Fourteen biology students from Eastern presented independent research at the 73rd Annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference (ECSC) on April 6 at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY. The students presented in oral and poster formats on topics spanning medicine and the microbiome. Professors Vijay Veerappan and Barbara Murdoch accompanied the Eastern group.

The conference featured approximately 150 students from institutions across New England. Two Eastern students—Lauren Atkinson ’19 and Haley Grimason ’19—won awards for best oral presentations.

Brieanna Fuentes, mentored by Professor Jonathan Hulvey, presents "Evidence for horizontal gene transfer of xenobiotic detoxification genes in a plant pathogenic fungus."
Lauren Atkinson, mentored by Professor Barbara Murdoch, won an award for best oral presentation for her research titled "Evaluating the scorpion gut microbiome for diversity and antibiotic production."
Haley Grimason, mentored by Professors Barbara Murdoch and Garrett Dancik, won an award for best oral presentation for her research titled "Development of Jupyter notebooks to facilitate Operational Taxonomic Unit identification and analysis of 16S rRNA sequencing data."
Anayancy Ramos, mentored by Professor Garrett Dancik, presents "Development of a PubMed Central citation collection tool and network analysis of cancer-related genes."
Stefanos Stravoravdis, mentored by Professor Jonathan Hulvey, presents "Analysis of the CYP51 paralogs and their potential role in differential sensitivity to fungicides in Calonectria pseudonaviculataandC. henricotiae."
Samuel Pallis, mentored by Professor Kristen Epp, presents "An analysis of the efficacy of varying sampling protocols for Necturus maculosus."
Roshani Budhathoki, mentored by Professor Vijay Veerappan, presents "Characterization of white and black seed mutants in the model legume plant Medicago truncatula."
Rebecca Laguerre, mentored by Professor Amy Groth, presents "Do ODD-skipped genes regulate ELT-2 expression in Caenorhabditis elegans?"
John Meade, mentored by Professor Barbara Murdoch, presents "The effect of simulated microgravity on the ability of primary cortical cells to produce neurons."
Greg Carlson, mentored by Professor Amy Groth, presents "Does the ODD-2 transcription factor regulate the Wnt signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans?"
David Junga, mentored by Professor Kristen Epp, presents "The effects of turbidity on respiration rate of bridle shiner Notropis bifrenatus."
Christopher Shimwell, mentored by Professor Barbara Murdoch, presents "Molecular identification of scorpion telson microbiome."

 

Speaking to these award-winning students and faculty mentorship, Veerappan added, “It took three years for the faculty to invest their intellect and time to nurture these students to win those competitive awards.”

The ECSC is an association that encourages undergraduate research within the sciences and engineering fields and provides a platform for students to showcase their findings and research papers.

‘Why,’ not ‘What’: Service Expo Honors Community Partnerships

CCE student leaders and staff at the Service Expo and Awards.

The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted its annual Service Expo and Awards on April 18. The event showcased the numerous service projects being spearheaded by Eastern students in the Windham community and featured a keynote address by Ryan Matthews, director of community programs for Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters and executive director of the Susie Foundation. The event concluded with an award ceremony for outstanding projects and individuals.

Hundreds of Eastern students volunteer thousands of hours in the Windham area every academic year. At the expo, student leaders staffed posters describing more than 50 community programs spanning a variety of causes — working with children in afterschool programs, volunteering at the local homeless shelter, assisting the elderly at a rehabilitation center and more. Judges perused the displays, questioning students and ranking the projects according to different criteria.

Jenna Petitti volunteers at the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), helping to lead all-recovery meetings. “Working with an adult population is totally different from what I’m used to,” said Petitti, who majors in secondary education. “It’s been an amazing experience. We form connections with the guests that are there, which gives us a new perspective on their part, as well as for them on our part. It’s a great way to break down barriers and stigmas between the two groups. We’re like one big family.”

 

Katelyn Root and Ryan McCarthy led a community-based project on problem gambling. “Problem gambling is something that’s not obvious,” explained Root, comparing it to other types of addictions that have physical symptoms. “Lower-income areas with less resources are heavily affected by gambling because they’re targeted by advertising. They want to trick you into thinking you’ll be the next big winner. A lot of people don’t realize this; it’s important to make the community aware.”

McCarthy focused on sports gambling—a topic he’s drawn to for personal reasons. “I know a former student who gambled his tuition money away, thinking he’d be able to double or triple it. He ended up dropping out,” said McCarthy. “And I have another friend with a gambling addiction. This project has helped me cope because if I can help someone… I don’t want to see them go through what I’ve witnessed two of my friends go through.”

Jessica Saffiotti volunteers with the Sweeny Girl’s Club, an afterschool program for girls between third and fifth grade that emphasizes self-confidence and self-advocacy. “This program has helped me solidify that I want to be a teacher,” said Saffioti, who’s helped the girls deal with bullying and the stresses of having divorced parents. “It’s helped me realize how important it is to help these girls find themselves, find their voices, stand up for themselves. I never had that growing up, so giving it to them… I’ve seen a big change over the year, in how much more confident they are.”

Rafael Aragon volunteers with the Sweeney Elementary Afterschool Program. During his presentation he explained thermochromic slime. “It changes colors based on temperature,” he said. “It’s like magic to the kids, their eyes glow. Then we have the opportunity to explain it to them, how and why it works. This leaves them with an understanding; there’s science behind it. They realize that they can learn this and do things that are cool and interesting. Actively participating in the world triggers a change in their perspective of education.”

Keynote speaker Ryan Matthews

Keynote speaker Ryan Matthews followed the poster session. He is the director of community programs for Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters and executive director of the Susie Foundation, an agency that assists people impacted by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

In regard to determining a career path, Matthews emphasized the importance of identifying the “why,” rather than “what,” that leads to future actions. “My ‘why’ is my mom,” he shared. His mother died of ALS when he was 23. ALS is an immobilizing disease that destroys neurons controlling voluntary muscles.

At the time, Matthews and his father were full-time caretakers for his mother, an emotionally and physically taxing role. He recalled the fateful night when he grew impatient with his ailing mother, who was struggling to communicate something to him. Instead of waiting for her message, “I walked away without saying goodnight, without saying I love you,” he said. The next day, his mother was in a coma, and passed away soon after.

Matthews has used this emotionally draining experience to guide his professional journey. “I’m enormously grateful for that failure. It’s provided me a well of resiliency. It’s that well, that purpose, that ‘why’ which drives my work forward.”

The Susie Foundation, named after his mother Susan, was launched with the goal of directly supporting ALS patients, families and caregivers in Connecticut, while also contributing to the eventual eradication of the disease.

The Outstanding Student of the Year award went to Jocelyn Santiago.
The Rookie of the Year award went to Lexie Mastroianni (left).
A Community Engagement Award went to student Shawn Dousis (middle).
The Service Learning Award went to Professor Terry Lennox (middle).
Community partner Carolyn Stearns (middle) received a Community Engagement Award.
A Community Engagement Award went to Professor Cara Bergstrom-Lynch (right).
The Outstanding Community Event Award went to CCAR.

 

An award ceremony concluded the event. The Support Our Schools award went to United Way Readers/Natchaug Elementary School; the Best New Program award went to the Women’s Meeting at CCAR; the Broadening Horizons award went to the Puentes Al Futuro/Bridges to the Future program; the Leadership Development award went to the Ashford School Girls Mentoring Program; the Strengthening Communities award went to the CCAR Problem Gambling program; the Putting Liberal Arts Into Action award went to the Windham Technical High School Tutoring Program; the Kids First award went to the Windham Heights After School Program; the Liberal Education Practically Applied award went to the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program; and the Community Choice award went to the United Way Readers/Natchaug Elementary School.

Community Engagement Awards went to student Shawn Dousis; Professor Cara Bergstrom-Lynch; and community partner Carolyn Stearns. The Service Learning Award went to Professor Terry Lennox for the ACCESS Agency Poster Project. The Outstanding Community Event Award went to CCAR. The Rookie of the Year award went to Lexie Mastroianni and the Outstanding Student of the Year award went to Jocelyn Santiago.

Written by Michael Rouleau and Jordan Corey

Support Staff Honored at Administrative Professionals Breakfast

Thirty-four administrative assistants and other support staff were the honored guests at the 19th Annual Administrative Professionals Appreciation Breakfast on April 22.  The event gives administrators and other supervisors the opportunity to say “thank you” for the support and leadership provided by administrative assistants across the Eastern campus.

Ken DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement and chief human resources officer, opened the formal program by thanking those present for helping to make Eastern “a top workplace in Connecticut,” and pointed to the “healthy and positive campus culture you have helped to create.”

“How you conduct your business—our business—is what makes all of you truly special . . . if you did not do what you do and with great spirit, our effectiveness would surely be limited.”

 

Eastern President Elsa Núñez also thanked the administrative assistants in the room for their contributions to the University, explaining that the word “assistant” comes from the Latin word “assistere.”

“It means to ‘stand by,’ ‘to take one’s stand.’  Someone who will stand in for us; someone who will take a stand with us.  Someone who is committed to the same things we are. The Latin word for secretary means someone who is entrusted with our secrets — hence confidential.  I cannot think of a finer group to stand by me and share our common purpose than the people in this room. The spirit of generosity that characterizes this campus is nurtured by the people in this room today.”

Eastern’s Inaugural Honor Society Induction for Women’s and Gender Studies

Women Gender Studies Inductees

Eastern Connecticut State University held its inaugural Iota Iota Iota (Triota) induction on April 12, launching the Epsilon Gamma Chapter by recognizing student and alumni members. Triota is a national service-based Women’s and Gender Studies honor society that promotes academic excellence and facilitates activism.

The application process for Triota began in the spring of 2017. Faculty voted on criteria and bylaws to submit to the National Chapter in Denver, CO, which are slightly more demanding than required. Eastern Triota members must have achieved second-semester standing with at least nine credit hours of women’s and gender studies courses, an overall GPA of at least 3.0, a GPA within the program of at least 3.3 and without a history of academic dishonesty or other unfitness. The department is committed to keeping Triota open to suitable alumni.

New Scholarship Winners

The ceremony began with an introduction by Professor Maureen McDonnell, director of Eastern’s women’s and gender studies program. “Our program has consistently been diverse in terms of race, sexuality, gender, ability, age and other identities,” she stated. She credited several contributors who helped bring the event to fruition, including alumna Allison Smith ’17, who initially questioned why the honor society did not exist at Eastern.

McDonnell also thanked “mothers of the Civil Rights Movement” for allowing Triota to prosper, such as Ella Baker, who encouraged paying attention to the courage of young people. “Each person in here has strengths, quirks, commitments, rage, joy and love that informs the work that they do. Our world is better for the work, and for them,” said McDonnell.

Marcia P. McGowan Scholars with

Kim Ward, professor of Mathematics, commemorated past Marcia P. McGowan scholars, who have received the endowed scholarship for excellence in Women’s and Gender Studies. The students were Mae Ehrnfelt ’16, Vivian Nguyen ’16, Lisa Maria Guerra ’16, Emma Costa ’19, Allison Smith, Andrea Slater ’18, Jordan Corey ’19 and Natalie Criniti ’19. The 2019 winner was announced as Makayla Mowel ’19.

Costa also received the Ann Marie Orza endowed scholarship, which is awarded to a student who has a minor in Women’s Studies or who has made a contribution toward human rights. Aubrie Curcio ’20 received the Megan L. Kleczka memorial scholarship, which is awarded to full-time students in good academic standing and committed to women’s social issues.

Michèle Bacholle, professor of World Languages and Cultures, named Brianna Prentice ’19 and Jordan Corey as commencement marshal and alternate commencement marshal, respectively.

When asked about the significance behind starting Triota at Eastern, McDonnell noted, “Having a Triota chapter allows us to celebrate the academic achievements of our students. Triota is distinctive in its ongoing commitment to feminist values of diversity and inclusion, and requests that its members engage in ongoing community service and social justice efforts.”

She concluded: “I look forward to seeing how Triota’s officers and members enact these principles.” In joining Triota, students gain new networking and coalition opportunities. Members are invited to wear honor cords and pins at graduation.

In addition to the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Board, the ceremony was made possible by Alumni Affairs, Institutional Advancement, Dean Carmen Cid and English Department Secretary Miranda Lau.

Written by Jordan Corey

Mohegan Tribal Chief Named Eastern’s Commencement Speaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Ed Osborn

SLM Classes Show Students the ‘Real World’ of Sport Management

SLM students toured Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on April 4, led by Eastern alumnus Derek Miles ’08 (second from left), director of operations and events.

Sport and leisure management (SLM) students enrolled in Professor Charlie Chatterton’s upper-level courses have had a dose of reality this semester. They’ve toured sporting facilities and interacted with a range of professionals, from young Eastern alumni to franchise executives from the Hartford Yard Goats and Connecticut Sun.

The “Design, Construction and Management of Sports Facilities” class went to East Hartford on April 4 for a tour of Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, led by Eastern alumnus Derek Miles ’08. Miles is the director of the stadium’s operations and events, and discussed game/television production, grass and field maintenance, game-day operations, stadium security, parking operations and internship opportunities.

Amber Cox (middle), vice president of Sports Connecticut Sun/New England Black Wolves, spoke with students on March 18.

“For any students entering the SLM field, I would offer the advice of keeping an open mind about what they would like to do,” said Miles. “The sport-management industry is tough to get started in. Often you just need a foot in the door in order for other opportunities to arise.

“I’ve seen people come to us with economics degrees or a marketing background and turn out loving the operations side of things,” he continued. “As long as students are open to different positions and are willing to try different areas of the sports field, they can absolutely grow into other positions.”

The “Intro to Sport Management and Sport Science” class welcomed alumnus Anthony Rosati ’09 on April 3. Rosati is the director of athletic facilities and graphic design enchantments at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He oversees the game-day operations of all UConn athletic facilities; manages more than $3 million in facilities budgets; and oversees the hard-branding (graphic enchantments) in and outside of athletic facilities.

“My job boils down to ensuring that our teams have everything they need from a facilities standpoint — ensuring that practice and games are set up in a safe and efficient manner.”

Eastern alumnus Casey McGarvey ’12, assistant director for athletic communications of the University of Hartford, spoke with SLM students on March 29.

Rosati advises students to volunteer at events, work an internship and job shadow professionals of interest. “The main thing is to make the most of those experiences,” he said, “not to simply go through the motions, but to stand out.”

March was a busy month the “Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Communications in Sports” class, with three visits by distinguished professionals who spoke on marketing initiatives and strategies for their companies.

Amber Cox, vice president of the Sports Connecticut Sun/New England Black Wolves, came to campus on March 18; Tim Restall, president of the Hartford Yard Goats, visited on March 25; and Eastern alumnus Casey McGarvey ’12, assistant director for athletic communications of the University of Hartford, visited on March 29.

Written by Michael Rouleau

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

Paul Canavan Presents at Sports Medicine Symposium

Paul Canavan, professor of health sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University, presented at the 31st Sports Medicine Symposium in Wisconsin on March 14. Canavan gave three presentations and was also a guest speaker at the symposium.

 Canavan’s first presentation was titled “Preventing Groin Injuries,” and used evidence from research literature as well as Canavan’s own real-life experience with the Northeastern University ice hockey team. He spoke on the importance of providing specific screening and interventions to prevent such injuries in sports.

His second presentation was called “Efficient and Effective Functional Examination and Exercise Prescription for the Lower Extremity” and was directed towards physicians and physical therapists to advocate the use of tests that screen for strength, flexibility and control, as well as provide specific therapeutic exercises.

The final presentation, “Knee Varus and Knee Valgus: Considerations for Therapeutic Exercise Intervention,” examined Canavan’s prior research related to the stresses upon the knee for individuals with knee valgus (knock-kneed) and knee varus (bow-legged). This presentation helped attendees understand various exercises that may help these individuals and potentially slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis.

The Sports Medicine Symposium was primarily attended by physicians and physical therapists throughout Wisconsin and beyond. Nearly 250 attendees included primary care physicians, emergency medicine physicians, physical therapists, athletic trainers, nurses, coaches, athletic directors and others who were interested and involved in the care of athletes of all ages and abilities.

Written by Raven Dillon

University Hour Reveals the Hidden Cost of Chocolate

Despite its popularity, chocolate is a treat that comes with a greater cost than most people know. Fiona Vernal, professor at the University of Connecticut, was invited to Eastern Connecticut State University on March 20 to explain the prevalence of child labor in the cocoa industry and the emergence of child labor as a major human rights crisis.

Before her presentation, Vernal surveyed audience members to determine their favorite kinds of chocolate. With Snickers and Kit Kats among the most common responses, she used the audience’s favorite brands to highlight the blissful consumerism surrounding the business. “Child labor has always been a part of the cocoa industry,” she said, but only recently has it been identified as a crisis.

Vernal shared photographs throughout the lecture that depict the reality of child labor in many African cocoa farms. She began by discussing the role of the “typical African farm” in the mass production of chocolate. Since the 19th century, in order to survive, these farms must use familial labor to make up for lack of significant income. She addressed the looming “farm gate price,” which is crop profit minus extra expenses. According to Vernal, with low access to resources, high input prices and small-scale farms, African farmers have been historically disadvantaged.

She revealed that the majority of cocoa comes from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Cameroon and Nigeria. With 60-70 percent of Africans participating in agriculture, there has been growth in the farm gate price over the years, but there is still persistent poverty. When a chocolate bar is sold, only three percent of the revenue goes back to the farmer. “The story that I’m telling is not that different from other commodities across African colonial history,” said Vernal.

She went on to describe the nature of the crisis behind cocoa farming, noting that child laborers are exposed to harmful pesticides, required to use dangerous tools such as machetes and engage in heavy lifting beyond their capabilities. Moreover, protective gear and clothing is rarely available. Some of these children are as young as five years old.

There is very little concern about assisting farm families, Vernal stated. Reasons vary, but include not wanting to interfere in African affairs. While those who remain uninvolved argue in favor of autonomy, Vernal pointed out that this mindset is another means of avoiding a serious set of problems. In the name of being hands-off, companies allow families to go without earning enough money, resulting in child labor. “They simply provide a market for that product.”

Human rights activists have long fought to change the chocolate business, though companies are still slow to make changes. “Cocoa production has been labeled as using the worst forms of child labor,” said Vernal, “and that language is important.” Upward of 1.8 million children between ages five and 17 are involved, with 55 percent of them subjected to forced labor. In some instances, they are victims of trafficking, being kidnapped or even sold to other famers by their families. “There is this underground assortment of children that are especially vulnerable.”

Vernal emphasized that her goal in exposing the reality of chocolate is not just about raising awareness, but also to show that the dark industry is a system that everybody can take part in dismantling. “A lot of us are complicit in this process,” she said. “It’s a story about how the everyday things that we do can be significant.”

Personal responses can be as easy as not buying a chocolate bar, Vernal concluded, as companies pay attention to consumer response over all else. “I just want us to think about those 1.8 million children across West Africa.” To satisfy the desire for chocolate, people can also support fair trade businesses like Aldi, Equal Exchange and Sweet Riot.

Vernal is a native of Trelawny, Jamaica. Since 2015, her teaching pedagogy has shifted to incorporate inquiry-based learning and human rights practice, yielding the exhibits “Children of the Soil: Generations of South Africans under Apartheid” and “Child Labor and Human Rights in Africa.” She is the author of “The Farmfield Mission,” published in 2012.

Written by Jordan Corey

Halladay, Canavan, Torcellini Present a Range of Research

Halladay Discusses Gender Stereotypes on Confidence

By Dwight Bachman

Brianna Halladay, assistant professor of economics, addressed the topic “Perception Matters: The Role of Task Gender Stereotype on Confidence and Tournament Selection” at the Faculty Scholars Forum on March 20.

Halladay said extensive research suggests that women avoid competition even when they can be benefit from potential rewards. Researchers conclude that women differ in their preference for competition compared to men.

Halladay’s own research explores the potential that another channel may be yielding the observed gender gap in tournament selection: a gender difference in beliefs about future performance reflecting gender stereotypes.

Using a laboratory experiment, she analyzed differences in tournament entry, using a male-stereotype task and a female-stereotype task. Her findings suggest that the observed difference in behavioral responses to competition among men and women is not due to a difference in preference for competition, but rather a difference in beliefs about future performance task (an environment where women would carry lower beliefs about future performance), and that more women than men enter the tournament under the female-stereotype task.

“In other words, it appears an increase in female confidence and decrease in male confidence is driving this result,” said Halladay. “This suggests the effect of competitiveness on gender is not exclusively about a difference in preference for competition, but consistent with a difference in beliefs about future performance.”

Canavan Presents at Sports Medicine Symposium

By Raven Dillon

Paul Canavan, professor of health sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University, presented at the 31st Sports Medicine Symposium in Wisconsin on March 14. Canavan gave three presentations and was also a guest speaker at the symposium.

Canavan’s first presentation was titled “Preventing Groin Injuries,” and used evidence from research literature as well as Canavan’s own real-life experience with the Northeastern University ice hockey team. He spoke on the importance of providing specific screening and interventions to prevent such injuries in sports.

His second presentation was called “Efficient and Effective Functional Examination and Exercise Prescription for the Lower Extremity” and was directed towards physicians and physical therapists to advocate the use of tests that screen for strength, flexibility and control, as well as provide specific therapeutic exercises.

The final presentation, “Knee Varus and Knee Valgus: Considerations for Therapeutic Exercise Intervention,” examined Canavan’s prior research related to the stresses upon the knee for individuals with knee valgus (knock-kneed) and knee varus (bow-legged). This presentation helped attendees understand various exercises that may help these individuals and potentially slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis.

The Sports Medicine Symposium was primarily attended by physicians and physical therapists throughout Wisconsin and beyond. Nearly 250 attendees included primary care physicians, emergency medicine physicians, physical therapists, athletic trainers, nurses, coaches, athletic directors and others who were interested and involved in the care of athletes of all ages and abilities.

Torcellini: ‘Buildings Mortgage the Energy Futures of the World’

By Dwight Bachman

Paul Torcellini, endowed chair of sustainable energy studies and professor of environmental earth science, kicked off the Spring Faculty Scholars Forum on Feb. 13 with a fascinating presentation on “Living at Zero: Experiences in Moving Towards an All Renewable Energy Lifestyle.”

Torcellini, who has been researching energy efficiency since he was in high school, said buildings that use electricity and natural gas to stay warm, cool and lighted are the largest consumer of energy in America. Unfortunately, the growth of new facilities is taking place more quickly than measures to impact energy efficiency. “Buildings mortgage the energy futures of the world,” said Torcellini.

He used the construction of his own family home to encourage others to strive to live at what he called “net zero or zero net.” For sure, it is net positive. He described the process as “building on a diet.” Together, he and his family decided to evaluate and examine the cost and value of how they would light, heat the space, use hot water, appliances and electronics in their new home.

The family started building the home in 2014 and finished in 2016. Through a series of measures including a great deal of insulation, heat pumps, energy efficient windows and efficient LED lighting, the house uses so little energy that solar photovoltaic panels generate enough electricity to cover all the loads. The solar panels also produce enough electricity to partially power a new electric vehicle.

In addition, the construction of the house minimized the introduction of chemicals that outgas during the life of the house. Mineral-based paints, linoleum with cork backing and tongue oil on native wood floors were used.

Another sustainability measure is the Torcellini family’s commitment to raising much of their own food, including organically fed meat from turkeys, chickens, sheep and pigs, as well as producing eggs.