“College Knowledge Days” Inspires Young Students to Achieve

Written by Dwight Bachman


Willimantic, Conn. – On May 20, 21 and 22, more than 1,400 students in grades five through 12 gathered in the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University to participate in “College Knowledge Days.” The students came from schools in Andover, Bloomfield, Colchester, Enfield,  Farmington, Franklin, Hartford, Norwalk, Plainville, Stafford, Sterling, Thompson, Torrington, Waterford, West Hartford and Windsor.


Eastern President Elsa Nunez greeted the students, and Jeffrey Buskey, assistant director of admissions, explained the purpose of College Knowledge Days. The visiting students  participated in several lectures and group activities facilitated by Eastern staff. The presentation, “Preparing for the Future,” instructed students on how to research and choose the college that is right for them. The presentation, “Financing My Future,” focused on paying for a postsecondary education. Group discussions analyzed payment options such as federal student aid, grants, work-study and loans. Group activities such as “When I Grow Up,” gave visiting students the opportunity to discuss what they want for a future career and the process that it takes to attain that career.


 “College Knowledge Days are a great opportunity for students and educators to start the conversation about postsecondary options,” said LaQuana Price, Eastern’s assistant director of admissions, who coordinated the event. “The program allows students to start planning early for their future.”


Eastern Alumna Discusses Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Elementary Education

Written by Dwight Bachman

On April 24, anthropologist Hilda Lloréns, 96’, presented “Arrancando Mitos de Raíz: Guía para una Enseñanza Antirracista” en Puerto Rico (Pulling-up Myths from their Roots: A Guide for the Anti-Racist Teaching of Puerto Rico’s African Heritage), published in 2013. The book’s presentation, which was sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work and the Intercultural Center, detailed the findings of the research project, “Beyond the Self: Towards an Integral Approach to an Anti-racist Pedagogy in Elementary Education.”

This research project was funded by the National Institutes of Health and spearheaded by Isar Godreau from the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey. The project sought to explore: 1) whether institutional racism was embedded in school curricula; and 2) whether black children were exposed to racism and discrimination in school.

The research team found that at the institutional level, in curricular materials and lessons, students were taught five recurrent and specific myths about Africa, the African heritage, and blackness in Puerto Rico. These five myths are: 1) Africa is a poor, primitive place of little importance in the world; 2) slaves were passive victims of slavery; 3) all black persons in Puerto Rico were slaves prior the abolition of slavery; 4) the contributions of African heritage are limited to music, folklore and hard labor; 5) in Puerto Rico, the majority of black persons disappeared as a result of race mixing or “mestizaje.” At the interpersonal level, racial discrimination among students included rejection, humiliation, mockery, and even physical abuse of black children. Consequently, the research team found that students who are victims of racism experience emotional instability, anxiety, and isolation. Students often begin to experience racism in elementary school and continue to encounter racism throughout the entirety of their schooling experience.

During the presentation, Lloréns explained the findings of the research, as well as the contents of “Pulling-up Myths by the Root.” The book offers a practical guide for teachers, social workers, education students, and the community at large to understand the effects of racism and suggest ways in which they can begin to effect anti-racist change both at the institutional and interpersonal levels. Lloréns donated a copy of the book to the J. Eugene Smith Library.