Monthly Archives: April 2016

We have been fortunate to spend two days touring the various museums that have contributed to Liverpool‘s status as a Culture Capital on Europe back in 2008. Most of the museums that we visited are open seven days a week and are free to residents and visitors.

We visited the Slavery Museum which helped us to understand the economic realities that lead to the 150 years of trade between Liverpool, West Africa, the Caribbean and the North American Colonies in the deplorable slave trade.

The Tate Museum of Modern Art challenged us to expand our understanding of what constitutes art.

The Liverpool Museum is the largest and most interactive of the museums in the city. From pre-historic times to our modern era, the development, growth and impact of Liverpool on the UK and the rest of the world is presented in a variety of interesting exhibits. Museums are the best way to learn the most about a city like Liverpool in a modern (and dry) setting.

The Liverpool Museum is a perfect example of how contemporary buildings have been added to the 17-18th century dockside scene.


A view of the transportation section of the Liverpool Museum.

After a few hours of museum hopping our reward was a trip on the Liverpool EYE. Many european cities have added a ferris wheel to their center city attractions. Despite the fear of heights that a few admitted to, we all took a spin on the wheel, getting a great panoramic view of the city.

The Liverpool Wheel – a great view of the city from a dizzying height!

Budding entrepreneurs at Southern have gotten a taste of what it’s like to start a small business in the real world, thanks to their participation in a statewide, interdisciplinary course offered this semester called “New Venture Challenge.”

Southern joined with about 100 students from colleges and universities throughout Connecticut to form teams that worked on putting together hypothetical businesses centered on student products and services. It marked Southern’s first participation in the course, which culminated in “Launch Weekend,” where their research and preliminary work were put to the test, and ultimately teams made their pitch to judges and investors.

While classified at SCSU as an accelerated, special topics business course, it was open to students from various academic disciplines, provided that they successfully completed the Management 301 course, “Entrepreneurship/Small Business Development.”

“The New Venture Challenge course was tremendously successful in giving students a chance to develop the skills they will need if they opt to start their own businesses,” said Dan Mabesoone, SCSU assistant professor of management/MIS. “The level of enthusiasm sparked by the course – especially during the Launch Weekend – was incredible. You could see the passion that these students have toward being entrepreneurs.”

Mabesoone said there were about 20 teams of 5-6 students each, with each team including students from several of the schools. The teams discussed various aspects of putting a business together, such as branding, logo and website design, minimum viable product requirements, domain and trademark search, and online research for selecting a company name.

Mabesoone said that in addition to standard undergraduate tuition and fees, each student was required to pay $230 for the course. But that additional cost was covered by a donation from Richard C. Meisenheimer, an area businessman who is president of the Meisenheimer Foundation and a member of the Business Advisory Council for the SCSU School of Business.

“(Our) family has a firm belief in supporting and nurturing students who have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit,” Meisenheimer said. “(Provost) Ellen Durnin presented a new venture challenge to me for consideration, and we felt this was an excellent opportunity and invaluable experience for students in the Business School.”

“In addition, six members of our family are graduates of Southern, and as such, we have a commitment to this institution,” he said.

Durnin, who had been dean of the SCSU School of Business before recently being appointment as the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, thanked Meisenheimer for his support.

“The School of Business faculty and students are indebted to Mr. Meisenheimer,” she said. “Through his generosity, our students were able to participate in the Connecticut New Venture Challenge experience.  We appreciate him providing this unique, hands-on experience for our students to work with entrepreneurs in a mentoring capacity.”

Mabesoone also thanked Sam Andoh, the new dean of the SCSU School of Business; and Richard Bassett, chairman of the SCSU Management/MIS Department; for their support in offering this opportunity to Southern students.

Four student recipients of the Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award

Four Southern students were recently honored as recipients of the Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award.

A total of 12 students are chosen for the award each year from the four universities in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. It is considered among the university’s most prestigious awards. Criteria include a 3.7 GPA or better and having demonstrated significant participation in university and/or community life.

The four Southern students are:

Kristen Dearborn

*Kristen Dearborn (pictured far right), is an English major, who has a GPA of 3.71. She is president of the Golden Key International Honour Society; is recipient of the Study Abroad Academic Merit Scholarship; studied abroad in Rome; and wrote a series of poems she intends to publish.

What makes her academic accomplishments even more impressive is that she struggled as a high school student. She participated in the SCSU Proof of Ability program during the summer between her senior year in high school and her freshman year at Southern. But she was determined to overcome her challenges and carved out a path to success. She intends to pursue a master’s degree in a health-related field.

“Dearborn’s story is among the most inspiring and fascinating I have heard from a Southern student…her journey of personal growth…is the kind that inspires all of us who work with students at Southern and in the CSU system,” says Michael Shea, chairman of the English Department.

Kelly Gunneson

*Kelly Gunneson (pictured second from right), is a secondary education major in mathematics, who has a GPA of 3.91. She is a student-athlete, having served as a captain of our women’s volleyball team and was named to the Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Gunneson received many academic honors, including the Beatrice H. Rockwell Endowed Scholarship and the Dr. George J. Collins Academic-Athletic Scholarship. She also participates in many community service activities, serving as the head coach of the Connecticut Juniors Volleyball Association, and is a Praxis core math test prep instructor for Southern’s Academic Success Center.

“Her greatest strengths are her professional attitude, her willingness to grow as an educator, her excellent math knowledge, and her good rapport with students,” says Marie Nabbout-Cheiban, assistant professor of math. “She accepts constructive remarks in a professional way and strives to improve them.”

Gunneson intends to pursue a teaching career.

Caitlin Hansen

*Caitlin Hansen (pictured second from left), is a physics major and math minor, who has a GPA of 3.97. She has received the SCSU Honors College Scholarship, the Pathways to Academic Success Scholarship and the NASA Connecticut Space Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

In addition, Hansen coordinates outreach programs for the New Haven Public Schools as part of Southern’s STEM-Innovation and Leadership program. She is a nationally certified tutor for physics, scientific writing and writing. She also is a runner who two years ago completed her first half marathon. Last summer, she went on a scuba diving expedition in the Great Barrier Reef.

“She is an exceptionally strong and dedicated student who has exemplified outstanding community service and leadership qualities,” said Christine Broadbridge, director of STEM initiatives.

Hansen is planning to continue her studies throughout the next year before applying to a Ph.D. program in a physics-related discipline, most likely either medical physics or biomedical engineering.

Megan Mancinelli

*Megan Mancinelli (pictured far left), is a psychology major, who has a GPA of 3.91. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and vice president of the hall council in the Office of Residence Life.

Mancinelli tutors middle and high school students from New Haven, Hamden and Cheshire, and was involved with the Gear-Up program, in which she worked with children from New Haven.

She also has been involved with many community service activities, such as the Special Olympics.

She intends to earn a master’s degree in social work and hopes to work with children and adolescents.

“Students such as Megan are extremely rare and an absolute pleasure to have in class,” said Michael Nizhnikov, assistant professor of psychology. “Megan challenges not just the other students, but the professor, with her insight and thoughtfulness.”

John Heilemann – a national political analyst for MSNBC and co-author of best sellers “Game Change” and “Double Down” – will discuss the state of the 2016 presidential campaign on Monday (April 11) at Southern Connecticut State University.

The talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, where Heilemann also will touch upon the Washington political scene and the major policy issues affecting the country. The event comes about two weeks before the Connecticut Primary on April 26, when Nutmeggers will join voters from Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware in casting ballots in the Republican and Democratic presidential nomination contests.

Businessman Donald Trump is seeking to garner enough delegates for a first ballot nomination at the Republican National Convention. But U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are looking to stop him, which if they are successful, would likely lead to a contested convention in July. Not since 1976 have the Republicans entered their national convention uncertain as to their nominee. And the last GOP national convention that went beyond the first ballot came in 1948 with Thomas Dewey becoming the eventual choice.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is well ahead of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in delegates, but Sanders is hoping to continue with his recent momentum in an effort to turn the tide.

Heilemann is the co-anchor of the MSNBC daily news analysis program, “With All Due Respect.” He is a co-creator, executive producer and host of Showtime’s “The Circus,” which provides an inside look at the presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

Heilemann also is co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and is a regular contributor to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Game Change” was a New York Times bestseller that focused on the 2008 presidential election and led to an HBO movie. “Double Down” examined the 2012 presidential race.

Tickets, which are free, should be reserved in advance as a limited number of seats are available. To reserve tickets, call (203) 392-6154 or email



We started our week with a workshop at John Moores University with a group of event management students. Our task was to create a cultural event to take place as students traveled together by ship across the Atlantic from Liverpool to New Haven. The event needed to include elements of each culture that we would like to share during the voyage. We learned of each others favorite foods, music and recreational preferences. What occurred was an hour and a half of learning about each other, finding common interests and learning new things from each other. It was time well spent that resulted in us making plans to meet later that evening for a night out in Liverpool. We had a great, late night out and made some new friends that we are sure to stay in touch with over the year. Many of the LJMU students are hoping to come to Southern for the fall semester!



Southern students stand in front of the John Moores statue on the streets of Liverpool.
SCSU meets John Moores on the streets of Liverpool

After a Hard Days Night, we landed in London not really knowing if it was 3 am (our time) or 8 am (Scouser time). We managed to get through customs without incident and made our way to the “Tube” to catch a train out of Euston Station, London.   A very pleasant two hour train ride brought us to Lime Street Station in Liverpool where we were met by our host, Drew Li, a faculty member at Liverpool John Moores University.

We arrived at Hatties Hostel on Mount Pleasant St. Our first experience of culture shock was the spartan environment of the hostel. The accommodations are minimal as we had to rent towels and the rooms are cramped at best. There were no mints on the pillows but we did find a zucchini wedged behind the door.

What we are sacrificing in creature comforts is more than compensated by the excellent central location of the hostel,close to all the major attractions and only a block from the Redmond Building of LJMU.

We are looking forward to a great week of new friendships and experiences here in Liverpool.

The distinctive challenges of teaching and learning in an inner city school are well-documented. Lower test scores. Skimpier budgets. The student body coming from a higher proportion of broken families.

But none of that dissuades a group of Southern students from wanting to teach in that setting. In fact, they see it as an incentive – some would even say a calling.

The Urban Education Fellows – led by co-directors Jessica Powell, assistant professor of elementary education, and Meredith Sinclair, assistant professor of English – are amid an expansion of the organization.

It had been limited to elementary education majors during its first three years, but now is opening its doors to anyone who has or is taking the Education 200 course and has an interest in urban schools.

“Our Fellows want to be leaders and advocates for the urban education community,” Sinclair said. “It is imperative for them to understand the challenges facing those schools so that they can do what is best for children and their families. That’s why many of our activities are geared toward giving them a keen insight into these schools.”

Powell agreed. “Our students want the opportunity to become change agents in urban schools,” she said. “They are starting now to better understand the urban education environment and to build relationships with the schools and communities so that when they become teachers, they will be able to better empower their students.”

Those relationships are being fostered through meetings with urban school educators and student teaching placements in school districts such as New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford. In addition, the Fellows are attending conferences on the subject and will be conducting research that has practical applications.

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In addition to Powell and Sinclair, other faculty members assisting in the program are Helen Marx, associate professor of elementary education; Laura Bower-Phipps, associate professor of elementary education; and Andrew Smyth, professor of English.

Those interested in becoming an Urban Education Fellow may contact Powell at 392-6412 or, or Sinclair at 392-7048 or