Arts & Sciences Blog: April 13, 2016

Arts & Sciences Blog: April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

Spring Comes to Arts & Sciences

As the winter blues begin to recede in the semester’s rear-view mirror, we all begin to look forward to spring’s revitalization and renewal. Along with the reemergence of flowering buds and the greening of the grass, the A&S Music Program ushers in spring with its own annual welcome: Concerts!  In the coming weeks the Music Program will offer a wide array musical programming including Choir Concerts, Jazz, Broadway Classics, a Piano Recital with Karine Poghosyan, and much more. Already this month, the Department of Music presented two faculty music recitals sponsored by the Stutzman Family Foundation: Jonathan Irving (piano) with Kim Collins (flute) and Olav van Hezewijk (oboe) with Eric Trudel (piano). I encourage you to check out the A&S Event Calendar to peruse the wide variety of events the School has to offer.

Accepted Students Day

Each April, we invite to our campus the students that we hope will become Owls in the fall. On Saturday, April 2nd, Southern hosted hundreds of prospective students and their parents to Accepted Students Day. Many A&S faculty attended this important event. Thuan Vu (ART), Marie Nabbout-Cheiban (MAT), Evan Finch (PHY), Jodi Gil (JRN), and Jessica Kenty-Drane (SOC/IDS) participated in a panel discussion on the college experience. Walter Stutzman (MUS), Evan Finch (PHY), Kevin Buterbaugh (PSC), Troy Paddock (HIS), Meredith Sinclair (ENG), Kelly Bordner (PSY), and Linda Sampson (COM) presented sample mock classes in their respective fields in an effort to give these prospective students a sense of undergraduate college academics.  Three A&S students, Laeticia Iboki (BIO), Jacob Santos (THR), and Arden Rand (PSY) also talked to the assembled group of prospective students and parents. Thank you to all that offered a warm welcome to students and their parents!

Society of Professional Journalists

The Journalism Department brought 200 professionals and students to Southern Connecticut State University April 8th and 9th for Making CONNections, a regional journalism conference. The conference featured keynote speaker John Dahl, vice president and executive producer for ESPN Films and Original Content. More than 20 professional development workshops gave insights into topics ranging from drones to ethics to different news beats.

Speakers represented major media outlets, including ESPN Films, the Hartford Courant, Newsday, the New York Law Journal, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, and Slate. Also present were leaders of journalism groups such as the Freedom of Information Commission, the Tully Center for Free Speech and the National Society of Professional Journalists. Leonard Boyle, the deputy chief state’s attorney for Connecticut, and Scott Burrell, the men’s basketball coach at Southern, also appeared on panels.

The conference attracted journalists and students from New England and the tri-state area. One student traveled from Cairo, Egypt to receive an award in the Mark of Excellence student journalism contest Saturday.

Students in the SCSU SPJ chapter organized two of the panel discussions. One focused on how to work with college coaches and sports information directors when covering college sports; the other covered free speech issues on college campuses. Faculty members and adjunct instructors in the Journalism Department moderated several of the workshops, and Southern alumni were part of four of the panels.

The conference attracted media coverage in the New Haven Register, CTNewsJunkie and on CT-N.

Conferences Coming to A&S at Southern

There are several conferences and events in the coming weeks. Anita Sarkeesian, media critic, public speaker, and founder of the website, Feminist Frequency, will give the keynote address for the 22nd Women’s Studies Conference Saturday, evening April 16th. The presentations and panel discussions of this conference will not only address the past, present, and future of the intersections of women, community, and technology, but also showcase feminist in(ter)ventions with technology. Participants will explore how women and girls have participated (or not) in the fields of technology and in what ways this participation has intersected with the studies of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Several A&S faculty and students will present at the Friday/Saturday conference including Christine Broadbridge (PHY), Lisa Lancor (CSC), Alan Brown (SOC) and Siobhan Carter-David (HIS). Alexis Elder (PHI) and Anahit Ter-Stepanian (ART), also A&S faculty, will present late Friday afternoon with Sarah Reeves, a graduate student in WMS.

Following the success of the April 2015 Commemorative Conference in honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the World Languages & Literatures Department presents “Literature Across Disciplines: Gabriel García Márquez II: An Interdisciplinary & Transcultural Conference.” Southern faculty, including Maria Diamantis (MAT), Patricia Olney (PSC), David Pettigrew (PHI), Rubén Pelayo (WLL), Resha Cardone (WLL), Rafael Hernández (WLL), and Miaowei Weng (WLL), will participate in panel discussions on the works of this great author. The conference is free and open to the public.  Connect to the President’s Blog for more information.

At the end of April, Southern will host the 12th Annual Conference of The International Association for the Study of Environment, Space, and Place (IASESP). This will be the second time that Southern has hosted this interdisciplinary conference that seeks to bring together scholars from a variety of institutions and disciplines to address the inscription or spatialization of meanings. Participants will be arriving from California to Florida and just down the hall with Southern faculty from History (Darcy Kern, Troy Paddock, Christine Petto, and Troy Rondinone), English (Charles Baraw), and World Languages & Literature (Erin Larkin). This year’s theme is “Mythical Places/Legendary Spaces,” and the organizers look forward to discussions on the vital role that myths and legends have played in various cultures over time and the geographical links created by their development, use, and manipulation.

A&S Program Highlights

Seven of our outstanding Computer Science students participated in the finals of Connecticut Technology Council Skills Challenge.  The finals consisted of 50 students selected from colleges and universities across Connecticut including: Quinnipiac, CCSU, ECSU, WCSU, UConn, Yale, UNH, Sacred Heart University, University of Bridgeport, and Gateway Community College.  All 50 students were formed into 10 teams of 5 – our Computer Science team among them. Congratulations to Tudor-Matei (Matt) Boran and Steve Blandon, whose team placed second overall and were awarded prize money.  Our other CSC students who participated were, Mario Aguayo, Stephen Csvihinka, Nicholas Bittar, Ivan Meyerovich, Julian Velez and Utibe Idongesit.

Steven Brodeur, a recruiter for Aerotek, responded to the success of Southern’s Engineering Concentration. He reported that Enis Bukalo (PHY ’15), a recent graduate with this concentration, was successful in landing a job with Assa Abloy. Brodeur wrote, “It is a unique story because although Enis didn’t have a standard engineering degree, he still beat out multiple other engineering candidates that had engineering degrees from notable schools. It was Enis’ work ethic and great senior project that set him apart from the competition. For Enis’ senior project, he designed and built a 3D printer from scratch and presented it to the Physics Department. SCSU’s hands-on teaching styles and real world applications are very beneficial and definitely carry on with students as they embark into the real world!”

Last month the Hartford Courant ran a story on colleges and the biosciences industry. The article mentioned Southern’s bioscience pathway partnership with the city of New Haven. Christine Broadbridge, Director of STEM initiatives (STEM-IL), and biology student Bryan Pasqualucci were quoted in the story. Broadbridge offered, “‘Higher education officials are looking at how to expand the jobs pipeline, talking with businesses about drawing up professional development and certificate programs at Connecticut companies’.” Pasqualucci, a junior biology major, is seeking a summer internship. He reported, “A lot of companies in Connecticut are doing [gene] sequencing work so when I go to apply for jobs there are a lot of opportunities for me.”

Also on April 20th, a 25th-year anniversary gala celebration of the SCSU Program in Salamanca, Spain, will be held from 6:30-10:30 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom. The event includes dinner and entertainment to celebrate this study abroad program’s quarter-century milestone and also will raise funds for a scholarship program to assist future study abroad students in Spain. Tickets are $60 per person and $20 for current SCSU students. The event is sponsored by the World Languages and Literatures Department, the Office of International Education, and the School of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office. For more information, you can contact Carlos Arboleda. Purchase tickets.

Theatre/SCSU Awarded for Excellence

Each year our Theatre Program enters at least one production in the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival. This year two of our students where highly honored in their respective competitions!  Kiernan Norman attended the Festival to compete in Dramaturgy and Criticism. She was the proud winner in Best Program Notes/Dramaturgy and the Region’s Theatre Journalism institute. She will be going on to Washington DC in April to compete on the national stage. Christine Parella competed in Lighting Design, in which she received 1st Runner up in the National Award for Excellence in Lighting Design and won the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Award. She will be traveling to Las Vegas this summer to attend the prestigious Stagecraft Institute. In addition to these honors, Theatre/SCSU also received three merit awards: Outstanding Multiple Dialect for Our Country’s Good, another for Outstanding Student Sound Mixing (JT McLoughlin) for Rent and Outstanding Ensemble Acting for Almost Maine. Finally, Marcelle Morrissey, an Irene Ryan nominee for acting, made it to the semi-finals. Congratulations to the Theatre Department and to all of our student artists!

Psychology Opens New Student-Friendly Website

Psychology Website has undergone a significant update this month! The Department has added many of features to make it easier to navigate including pages embedded in menus that are directly accessible from the homepage. The goal is to help students more become more proactive and informed as they move through the Psychology program(s).

Of note, PSY has an area devoted to “prospective majors,” which includes promotional info about their program (and some bragging, based on student feedback from our department’s assessment survey), and the site has a new page specifically for prospective transfer students. Larry Brancazio, the Department Chair, indicates that, “We’ve been trying to make things easier for psychology majors in general. To this end, we have: online signups for group advising that are directly accessible from the webpage; forms for students to request an advisor;  pages explaining the acceptance process; information about tutoring opportunities….we’ve also tried to help students have a better sense of direction with their major.  We now include pages with comparisons of our different degree options (including a comparison of the requirements for each, and a list of how they match up with different career paths),  lists of graduate programs and professions our alumni have gone to, lists of faculty research projects, explanations of how to get involved in research, and lists of different interests and which courses are good choices to match those interests. In general, we’ve been working hard to promote our program, to be accommodating and welcoming to students, and to streamline processes for majors to keep them on track for graduation.”

Psychology has also been hard at work on their curriculum, having recently revamped their B.S. in Psych which will be going into effect in the fall. This revised program will have Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, and Applied Psych tracks which will be an exciting new option for STEM-oriented students.  Along with this, they have revised their minor, which will now offer a general minor and a higher-level minor in Psychological Science. The new minor is designed to allow higher-achieving students (either minors or IDS majors) to take upper-level Psych classes, while other students with a more general interest will still have a variety of options.

Congratulations to everyone in Psychology for these new and important innovations!

Rock Stars in the Building

Earth Science Faculty and students were highlighted in “Business New Haven” for the many projects they worked on as we opened our new science building. Congratulations and thank you to the Department of Earth Science for raising our profile and representing A&S so very well. Read the article on pages 16-18. (This issue is dated November 2015 but was not released until January).

Invitation to “The World of Gaming, Gaming in the World” 

Visiting Scholar Dr. Joaquín Granell Zafra from Universitat Jaume I (Castellón de la Plana, Spain) will be on campus from April 18th to 22th to visit classes and learn about our varied approaches to teaching at SCSU. He is particularly interested in attending courses in Media Studies and other fields related to his research and teaching (described below). In addition to Dr. Granell’s presentation about his work, this event will feature a student-led round-table, during which five students will discuss topics related to our theme, “The World of Gaming, Gaming in the World.”  If you have students who might be interested, please invite them to attend or to contact Charles Baraw with proposed topics for the round-table.

The nature of this topic and Dr. Granell’s work make it a multi-disciplinary endeavor and this event welcomes participation from all Departments, Programs, and campus groups. We hope students and faculty from across the university will participate. Finally, as part of Dr. Granell’s visit, the English Department is organizing a symposium which will take place on Thursday April 21st from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Engleman C112. 

Clubs & Organizations

Southern hosts over 100 clubs and organizations, many of which have ties to the School of Arts & Sciences. Thanks to all the faculty advisers for their service to our students through the many clubs and organization including:

  • Anthropology Club, Valerie Andrushko
  • Biology Club, Meghan Barboza & Michael Fisher
  • Biotechnology Club, Nicholas Edgington
  • Bookmarks English Club, Cindy Stretch
  • Botany Club, Rebecca Silady
  • Chemistry Club, James Kearns
  • Computer Science Club, Winnie Yu
  • Crescent Players, Mike Skinner
  • Digital Production Club, Kaia Monroe-Rarick
  • Drumline, Craig Hlavac
  • Earth Science Club, Cynthia Coron & Mike Knell
  • Folio, Jeff Mock
  • French Club, Luke Eilderts
  • German Club, Christine Dombrowski
  • History Club, Siobhan Carter-David
  • Italianissimi, Pina Palma
  • Math Club, Ross Gingrich & John Scheuermann
  • Media Studies Club, Rosemarie Conforti
  • Music Club, Jonathan Irving
  • Music Studio Club, Mark Kuss
  • Philosophy Club, Richard Volkman
  • Physics Club, Todd Schwendemann & Eric Anderson
  • Society of Professional Journalists, Jerry Dunklee
  • Sociology Club, Cassi Meyerhoffer
  • Southern News, Cindy Simoneau & Frank Harris III
  • Spanish Club, Rubén Pelayo
  • WSIN Radio, Jerry Dunklee

Student Shout Outs

Brian Darrow, a secondary education mathematics major, was recently accepted to an eight-week summer REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at Illinois State University for pre-service teachers doing research in Discrete Mathematics. These programs are funded by the NSF and are highly competitive. Review REU program information.

Lynn Houston, an MFA student working with Vivian Shipley, was named a finalist in the Broad River Review’s Rash Awards in Poetry with her poem, “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.” More information about the Broad River Review can be found here: http://broadriverreview.org/2015-contest/

Patrick Cumpstone, a recent graduate in history teaching at a Hartford magnet school, has published his work, Connecticut Witchcraft: Witch-Speak and Social Unrest in 17th Century Connecticut, with the Maine academic publisher, Picton Press. Drawn from his honors thesis completed under the guidance of Marie McDaniel, Cumpstone investigated the speech patterns of the accused witches from the documents of ten trials. His work contributes not only to the scholarship on the history of witchcraft, women, and Connecticut, but also to public and local history as an avenue of study for the students he is teaching in Hartford.

Jacqueline M. Desrosier Thurber (BS ’15) and Laeticia Iboki (BS ’16), both in Biology working under the guidance of Elizabeth Roberts, will soon be presenting her research in Washington, DC at the 20th Annual Posters on the Hill event in April. Out of 300 applicants, their work, “Characterization of a Novel Antibiotic and Plant Growth Promoting Pseudomonas Bacterium found in Connecticut” was accepted as one of 60 presenters. Here is more information about the Posters on the Hill.

Jahana Hayes (Jahana Fleming, BS ’05) was named Connecticut Teacher of the Year in October. Governor Malloy praised the work she is doing at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury. Hayes, a social studies teacher, is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of Year to be announced this month (April). She earned this distinction through her dedication to teaching and her encouraging efforts to direct student attention to the community and projects that will improve society. Read the Courant Article.

Mohamed A. Rilvan, a CSC student working with Shafaeat Hossain, attended the National Conference for Undergraduate Research last week at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. Mohamed began his research as part of an NSF funded REU program at Washington State University and continues to develop it under the guidance of Dr. Hossain.

Faculty Shout Outs

In early February Charlene Dellinger-Pate (MDS) contributed to the Southern webpage story, “Satire: an Essential Element on the Political Landscape.” Commenting on the presidential campaign coverage, Dellinger-Pate noted that “‘we need satire to see what is behind the performance.’” She teaches a course, MDS 385: Political Satire and New Media, which gives student a front row seat to the antics and analysis of the events. Furthermore she warns, “‘there is no informed political discourse—no informed debate—in punditry. So much information is presented as true, with so much money behind it. Without satirists, there’s a perfect recipe for disaster.’” Read the full article.

Frank Harris (JRN) was interviewed on WNPR’s “Where We Live” about his research on the history of the n-word. The project culminated in a film, “Journey to the Bottom of the n-Word,” produced by Harris that explores the history and modern day usage of the n-word, as well as dispelling some myths associated with it. WNPR interview.

Derek Taylor (COM) has had his recent experimental film, Into the Light of the Present, chosen for screening at the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Hawick, Scotland this April. Out of 850 submissions, Derek’s film was one of 90 selected. His work will be screened with 38 other films, of which only 17 are from US filmmakers.

Jonathan Wharton, Assistant Professor of Political Science, was profiled Monday in the New Haven Independent. He recently took over as chairman of the New Haven Republican Town Committee.