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Academics

Faculty and student researchers named DUPLO bricks, a toy made by the LEGO Group, as the 2012 TIMPANI Toy (Toys That Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination). Eastern researchers announced the results of the 2012 TIMPANI Toy Study on Nov. 16, 2012, in the University's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC).

This annual study, conducted by Eastern faculty and students through Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education, examines how young children in natural settings play with a variety of toys. Toys are selected for the TIMPANI study based on recommendations from parents, teachers and faculty. After the toys are chosen, they are placed in the CFDRC's preschool classrooms and rated on three subscales: thinking and learning, cooperation and social interaction, and self-expression and imagination.

Eastern students Jamie Vallarelli '13, Jenny Wolff '12 and Marley Koschel '13 were responsible for videotaping the toys and coding the videos according to the evaluation rubric. The three students joined Professor Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, Eastern's Phyllis Waite Endowed Chair of Early Childhood Education, to present the results of the study at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference in Atlanta on Nov. 10, 2012.

Eastern's School of Arts and Sciences held its 13th annual Student Research and Exhibition Conference on April 13, 2013, in the Science Building. More than 100 students, supported by more than 50 faculty mentors, presented projects and presentations showcasing nine departments in the School of Arts and Sciences. The exhibits included digital art, prints, paintings, drawings, sculptures and books created by Eastern students. The projects ranged from presentations such as "Artificial Structures in Marine Environments: Do Materials Influence the Success of Invasive Species?" to "CIRC DU TAROT: The symbolism of the Major Arcana through Circus Illustrations."

More than 150 students, supported by 11 faculty mentors, participated in the School of Education/Professional Studies and Graduate Division 13th Annual Excellence Expo on April 24 in the Student Center. Presentations covered Communication Marketing and Advertising Campaigns; final projects from the Economics Senior Seminar; and a photography exhibit of framed prints and color slides. Poster research projects included topics on Communication Law and Ethics; Sport and Leisure Management; Early Childhood Education; Technologies, Societies and Communities; and Systems Analysis.

Fifteen Eastern students and alumni were among more than 140 presenters at the Third Annual Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference, held on Oct. 26, 2012, in the Betty R. Tipton Room. The conference was sponsored by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

Participating in the COPLAC conference were Erin Conn, a biology major; MacKenzie Robert '12, a biology major; Thomas Farnsworth '12, a psychology major; Eric Lindquist '12, an environmental earth science major interning with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Rosie Manzo '12, who majored in sociology and minored in Spanish and Renewable Energy; Charles Hooper '12, a non-traditional student who majored in business information systems (BIS); Nels Frantzen, a political science major; Raena Beetham '13, a psychology major; David Stein '12, a biology major; Ariel Levesque '12, an early childhood education and psychology major; Erin Murphy, an early childhood education and psychology major; Suzanne Slater '13, an early childhood education and psychology major; Margaret Pallis '13, an English major; Vincent Aloia '12, a visual arts major; and Carolina Galvez '12, a visual arts major.

Faculty mentors included Biology Professor Patricia Szczys; Psychology Professor James Diller; Fred Loxsom, retired chair of sustainable energy studies; Sociology Professor Kimberly Dugan; BIS Professor Don Petkov; Philosophy Professor Hope Fitz; Psychology Professor Alita Cousins; Education Professor Sudha Swaminathan; English Professor Maureen McDonnell; and Biology Professor Joshua Idjadi.

Last year, the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education approved a new major in Women's and Gender Studies, which became available to all Eastern students in the fall 2012 semester. Eastern is the only public Connecticut college offering a degree in Women's and Gender Studies. Grounded in the liberal arts, the major provides an interdisciplinary approach to stimulate the examination and analysis of how factors such as race, class, culture and sexuality work together to impact the complexity and challenges of women and other groups in the United States. The new major is rigorous, requiring students to take 36 credits from a wide range of academic departments, and weaves in research and experiential learning components. Fourteen full-time faculty teach Women's and Gender Studies courses.

Six Eastern Connecticut State University students, and an equal number of faculty members, attended the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America (NEGSA) Conference in Bretton Woods, NH, from March 18-20, 2013, to attend presentations on a wide range of geological topics. Students attending the trip included Christopher Lorentson, Jon Burdacki, Laura Markley, Rachel Dern, Mackenzie Fannon and Lindsey Belliveau.

Students and faculty gather in front of Mt. Washington at the NEGSA conference. Front, from left: Lindsey Belliveau, Laura Markley, Assistant Professor Meredith Metcalf, Mackenzie Fannon, Rachel Dern. Back, from left: Professor Drew Hyatt, Christopher Lorentson, Jeff Outland, Assistant Professor Lea Gilbertson, Associate Professor Dickson Cunningham, Professor Peter Drzewiecki, Assistant Professor Bryan Oakley, and Jonathan Burdacki.

At the conference, students attended sessions and participated in a follow-up question and answer session. Four faculty members gave oral presentations. Belliveau joined Drew Hyatt, chair of the Environmental Earth Science Department, to speak about meltwater erosion marks in bedrock at Bailey's Ravine in Connecticut.

Four Eastern students who are members of the Eastern Math Club, along with Peter Johnson, associate professor of mathematics, attended the eighth annual Spuyten Duyvil Undergraduate Mathematics Conference at Manhattan College in New York City on April 6.

At the conference, students discussed mathematical topics with other undergraduate students in a professional setting. Kyle Courtemanche '13 presented his honors thesis, "An Application of Markov Chains to Cross and Circle Games," which is a mathematical model on the game "Sorry." This was the first time an Eastern student has presented at the conference.

Other students who attended the conference included Ricky Magner, James Chadic and Joe Nolet.