Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Connecticut Post posted an online article on May 27 about Southern’s M.S. and 6th year certificate in reading programs earning accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association and its affiliate, the Center for Effective Reading Instruction. The program met the standards outlined by the association’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teaching of Reading. Southern was one of nine universities nationwide to earn the accreditation.

Terricita Sass, associate vice president for enrollment management, was quoted in an articlethat was posted May 22 in the online version of the Chronicle of Higher Education pertaining to enrollment issues facing regional public universities. As part of a plan to address enrollment challenges, she pointed to the university’s efforts to consider students who might not have the grades/SAT scores, but who have shown evidence of motivation and improvement, particularly in their junior and senior years. She also talked about the importance of sustained mentoring of students as a strategy to improve retention rates. The article is running in today’s hard copy of the Chronicle.

The undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 20 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport attracted considerable media attention.

The New Haven Register ran a story and photos in its May 21 edition, and posted an extensive online photo album that night from the proceedings.The Connecticut Post ran multiple photos in its May 21 edition, and also posted an online photo album on May 20.

The Hartford Courant ran a story in its May 21 edition.

Channel 8 aired a story on May 20 during its 5 p.m. newscast. The segment included an interview with President Mary Papazian and some students soon after commencement exercises. The piece talked about challenges students are facing after graduation.

The New Haven Register ran a Page 1 article Sunday that profiles 5 of our graduates-to-be. The story looks at the varied paths these students took to obtain their degrees. You could say that in each case, they truly took the “road less traveled.”

The 18th annual Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture generated considerable media attention. Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” spoke to a sold-out crowd Friday evening at the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts. She focused on the challenges she has faced in her life emanating from two bouts with cancer.

The New Haven Register ran an article on Page 1 in its May 7 edition.

The Register also posted a photo album taken from the event. The album, posted May 6, includes pictures taken during the lecture, as well as a pre-event meeting with small groups of students.

Channel 8 aired a segment from an interview with Robin Roberts before the lecture.

Channel 61 also aired a segment from the lecture during its Friday evening newscast.

The New Haven Register ran a story in the May 2 paper about how two of our students –Laeticia Iboki and recent alumna Jackie Desrosier – recently presented their scientific research on Capitol Hill. The students found and tested a type of bacteria that has antibiotic properties and enhanced the growth of tomato plants. They were selected among only 60 projects nationwide to participate in the Posters on the Hill program.

Bill Conlon had wanted to complete his bachelor’s degree ever since he left college in 1965.

Bill Conlon, SCSU commencement candidate 2016

At the time, he was struggling with classes as he was working full time to support his wife and children. “I knew I could handle the academic rigor of the classes if I had the time to focus on them, but there just weren’t enough hours in the day,” he said. “I was exhausted every day. With a young family, it just couldn’t be my top priority.”

As a result, Conlon opted to leave Southern Connecticut State College (as it was called then). But he always intended to return some day when he had more time to boost his GPA, complete a few final courses and obtain his diploma.

He started that process in the summer of 1970, when he took an economics class and earned an “A.” But the rest of the comeback would be put on hold again as work and family commitments rendered it nearly impossible.

Some 45 years later, the 73-year-old West Haven resident decided it was time to return. After contacting the university, he was helped by Joanne Mielczarski, an academic advisor, who guided Conlon through the degree requirements and paperwork necessary to start the process. “I needed two more classes if I could earn an “A” in both of them,” Conlon said. “If not, I might have to take a few additional courses.”

True to the academic ability he demonstrated as a teen, Conlon garnered an “A” in an English class (Writing Arguments) last summer. And in the fall, he earned an “A-plus” in a psychology course.

As a result, the 73-year-old Conlon will receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies May 20 during the SCSU Undergraduate Commencement ceremony at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

“I have enjoyed working with Bill over the last year,” Mielczarski said. “He is a delightful gentleman. After so many years away from college, it would have been easy for him to forget about getting that diploma. I admire his determination to return to Southern and complete that degree.”

“It’s a great feeling,” Conlon said. “I figured I owed it to myself to go back and have something concrete to show for all the time and effort I had put it in when I was younger. Plus, I enjoy learning, so this was a terrific experience.”

So much, in fact, Conlon will take a class this summer – after commencement – in Spanish, just to learn the language. “At my age, I may not become fluent in Spanish, but it would be nice to at least learn the basics,” he said.

Conlon, a former councilman in West Haven, lives in that community with his wife, Deborah. He is a graduate of Derby High School.

Mother/Daughter commencement candidates Elizabeth Reyes and Angélique Quiñones.

Mother’s Day is coming late for Elizabeth Reyes, who will celebrate not one but two Southern graduations on May 20: her own and that of her daughter, Angélique Quiñones.

The two never had a class together, but the mother and daughter are united by a firm commitment to education. “I was at Southern first. Then she joined me,” says Quiñones, who is graduating with a degree in theater and a minor in communication.

“I am her mom, so I am going to get emotional,” says Reyes, her eyes welling with tears. “She is an inspiration to so many people.”

mom and daughter

As is Reyes, a single mother of two daughters. Building on years of experience working in preschool education, she began her degree at Gateway Community College where she earned more than 100 credits before transferring to Southern. “I wanted to continue my education, but I wanted to put my daughters first and make sure they had a good upbringing. So I took my time to get here,” says Reyes. She will graduate with a degree in general studies and hopes to begin working on a graduate degree in education this September.

The two soon-to-be-grads note that the family’s connection to Southern will remain strong. Reyes’ second daughter is currently studying at Gateway. “As soon as she hits 90 credits, she’s transferring those over and coming to Southern,” says the proud mother.

In the meantime, the family is excitedly looking forward to celebrating commencement, which will take place on May 20 at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Later that day, Reyes has been invited to speak at the ROTC military ball held by her alma mater, DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City. The following day, they will gather with family to celebrate. “We’re really looking forward to it,” says Quiñones with a smile. “Grandma’s food.”

Asked what she is most proud of, Quiñones answer is decidedly short and sweet: “Graduating,” she says with a huge smile. “I’m graduating.”

commencement graphic

Mother and daughter graduates of the Class of 2016 reflect on their time at Southern.

Ideal Study Atmosphere
Elizabeth Reyes (Mother): “I love soft music in the background.”
Angélique Quiñones (Daughter):  “I’m the opposite. First I like noise. Then once I start focusing, everything needs to be silent.”

Most Challenging Part of Attending Southern Together 
Reyes: “No . . . I don’t have anything!”
Quiñones: “She stalks me sometimes. I’m just saying.”
Reyes: “No. How is that possible?
Quiñones: I don’t know where she comes from. She just pops up . . . .”

Favorite Classes
Quiñones: “There was an anthropology class that I took recently. There’s a script writing class. Creative writing.”
Reyes: “I enjoy the psychology courses, sociology courses and education courses.”

Best Part of Attending Southern Together
Reyes: “I know hers.”
Together: “Rides home!”
Reyes: “Having her on campus and seeing her smile. Seeing her being with her friends . . . engaging and socializing with other people. It warms my heart.”

A self-described mediocre student, Kristen Dearborn almost didn't make it to college.

Kristen Dearborn, 2016 Barnard Scholar

In the spring of 2013, a string of her college applications had been rejected. By her own admission, she was not a very good student in high school – her report cards reflecting an “alphabet soup” of grades. “I just didn’t like school very much,” she said.

And when she finally received an acceptance letter – from Southern Connecticut State University — it was conditional. She would need to pass two courses with a grade of “C” or better during the summer between her senior year at Sheehan High School and the fall semester at SCSU – a testing ground known as the “Proof of Ability” program.

The program is designed for students who show signs of academic promise, despite inconsistencies in their grades. Dearborn had started showing improvement in her grades during her junior and senior years of high school, spurring admissions counselors to give her a second look. She took up the Proof of Ability challenge in earnest.

“I wanted to prove to myself I could do it,” Dearborn said. “Those two classes were intense for me.”

Despite the pressure, she passed those courses – a writing composition and a communications class — with flying colors. She would be allowed to enroll for the fall.

“I was so elated,” she said. “I said to myself, ‘I’m doing this. I’m moving in.’”

Not only did she set her sights on a college degree, but she sought to graduate in three years – a full year earlier than the traditional four-year path. Her plan was to take classes during summer and winter sessions, in addition to full course loads during the fall and spring semesters.

And right on schedule, on May 20, Dearborn will be receiving her diploma – a Bachelor of Arts degree in English — after three years of classes. The SCSU Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will be held at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, starting with the procession at 10:15 a.m.

Dearborn proved to be a model student. She earned the prestigious Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award – which honors four SCSU seniors each year for outstanding academic achievement and community service. She attained a 3.7 GPA, in addition to having served as vice president of Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) and a member of the Zeta Delta Epsilon Honorary Service Society. She also is a volunteer at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

“I loved every second of my experience at Southern,” she said.

Vivian Shipley, a CSU Professor of English who taught Dearborn in two poetry courses, said she was impressed by the student’s vigor, as well as her poetry.

“I have been teaching full time at SCSU since 1969 and Kristen is one of the most talented poets I have ever taught,” Shipley said. “Kristen had a remarkable ability to interact with other poets because she is open-minded and sensitive to cultural differences. She also enabled others to open up and share their ideas because she was courageous enough to write about some very complicated subjects. Like Kristen’s multiple achievements at SCSU, her moving poems provide inspiration for all who read them.”

Michael Shea, chairman of the SCSU English Department, also praised Dearborn.

“Ms. Dearborn’s story is among the most inspiring and fascinating I have heard from a Southern student,” said Shea. “Her journey of personal growth…is the kind that inspires all of us who work with students at Southern.”

Dearborn has been accepted into SCSU’s Master of Public Health program, which she will begin during the upcoming fall semester.

Shayla McQueen, student, Commencement story

On the joyous morning of May 20, Shaylah McQueen will walk across the stage to receive her diploma at Southern’s undergraduate commencement ceremony — an achievement made all the sweeter by the fact that she once considered dropping out of high school.

In the midst of her academic triumph — she will graduate magna cum laude and has received Southern’s Jack Georges Memorial Award recognizing an exceptional senior majoring in recreation and leisure studies — McQueen says she’ll never forget the moment she almost lost hope. Then a senior at James Hillhouse High School in New Haven, McQueen was sitting in a classroom with other sky-high academic achievers when the conversation took a familiar turn. “I heard them talking about who would be in the top 10 of our high school class,” she says. “And no one said my name.”

The omission was bewildering. McQueen was an outstanding high school student who excelled in advanced classes, including a college-level media course at Southern. With an overall grade point average well above 4.0, she was a member of the National Honor Society, president of the Spanish Honor Society, and an extremely active community volunteer who also participated in varsity sports and the Drama Club.

McQueen was also a teenage mother who had unexpectedly become pregnant as a high school junior. Many were supportive. She credits the high school’s Supporting Parenting Teens Program with helping her stay in school. But she also recalls classmates’ taunts, whispers, and stares — and despite McQueen’s many accomplishments, the odds were not in her favor. Only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school and fewer than 2 percent complete college by age 30, according to research released by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The pressure became overwhelming for McQueen. “I remember going home one day and thinking, ‘I am not going back to school. I am done. I can’t do it,’” she recalls. The next morning, she felt the same. Then she heard a familiar buzz, her phone signaling an incoming text message. “I looked down and read, “Shaylah, you are valedictorian.’”

More good news followed, with McQueen awarded the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship. The award, presented to only 1,000 out of 24,000 exceptional applicants nationwide (4 percent), provides full college tuition, as well as graduate tuition in the fields of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science. The award recognizes exceptional achievement among African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic American students.

Armed with the scholarship, McQueen first enrolled at Wilson College in Pennsylvania, which offers a program for single parents. The initiative enabled her to live on campus with her young son, Arlander, and attend school full-time. “It is awesome that he can honestly say, ‘Mommy, I went to college,’” says McQueen, with a smile. “I always want to be his advocate and his supporter. . . . The best step you can take as a parent is to be that role model — to live what you are trying to instill in your child.”

In 2014, the Gates Millennium Scholar transferred to SCSU. “Southern was always my number one choice,” says McQueen. “In high school, I was in the teacher-prep program which is affiliated with the university. I’d taken a class at Southern and loved it. . . . I’d been on campus, met the professors and students, and knew it was an exceptional university.”

She notes that majoring in recreation and leisure studies with a concentration in therapeutic recreation — a major she discovered at Southern — has allowed her to integrate her passions. “I’ve always known I want to mentor, counsel, and teach youth. . . . I’ve also always loved performance art — drama, creative writing, poetry, you name it,” says McQueen, who cites Southern’s Lyman Center for the Performing Arts as a favorite spot on campus.

McQueen lauds Southern’s faculty for its support, particularly Associate Professor Deborah Smith and Assistant Professor MaryJo Archambault, both from Southern’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Married and living in New Haven with her now five-year-old son, McQueen credits her mother and husband for helping her make the most of her education. In addition to attending school full time, she works at Montowese Health and Rehabilitation Center as a therapeutic rehabilitation assistant and is a recreation leader at New Haven’s Hill Central School (kindergarten through eighth grade), where she previously attended. “I want to be that role model,” says McQueen of her young charges. “ . . . to let them know that whatever they want to do, the sky’s the limit.”

Looking forward, she will continue her pursuit of education. Twenty-eight percent of Gates Millennium Scholars transition into graduate school. Having enrolled in Southern’s master’s degree program in special education, Shaylah McQueen will be happily among them.

NFL player Jerome Cunningham

NFL player Jerome Cunningham will be among the Southern students to walk across the stage at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport later this month to receive their college diplomas.

Cunningham, who had been a tight end with the New York Giants for the last two years – including as a starter for part of last season – said he originally came to SCSU because it was one of the few schools that offered him a scholarship after high school. Although waived by the Giants a week ago, he was claimed Monday by the New York Jets.

Cunningham, who grew up in Waterbury, will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation and leisure studies with a concentration in sport management. He will participate in the SCSU undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 20.

“I want to be a sports agent and represent myself one day,” he said.

Cunningham said he was contacted by the Giants before his first season. “Before the next season, I made sure I took advantage of every opportunity and trained as hard as I could.”

He ended up earning a starting tight end spot.

Cunningham said SCSU prepared him well, both academically and athletically. (Former Owls’ coach Rich Cavanaugh) prepared me very well. He made sure nothing was given to me. But all that hard work and discipline helped me to never give up.”

He said about the only thing SCSU didn’t prepare him for on the field was playing in front of a crowd of more than 80,000 NFL fans, compared with a maximum crowd of about 8,000 when he wore the Owls’ uniform.

On the academic side, Cunningham said the faculty approached things in a similar manner. “The teachers here are phenomenal,” he said. “Nothing was given to you in the classroom. They are making sure that you are not just being passed you through and that you are actually learning.”

Cunningham said he is looking forward to being handed his diploma. “It’s a great feeling to graduate,” he said. “I didn’t realize the implications of it until I spoke to my grandmother and I told her I was going to graduate this May. She said I was the first one on my dad’s side to actually graduate and I’m going to be the second one on my mom’s side. So, it’s a huge accomplishment to my family.”

Cunningham has been volunteering at Hill Central School, an elementary school, where he previously had done an internship. He hopes to be a role model for the children. “I just enjoy coming back and giving back to people in the community,” he said.

Before playing for the Giants, Cunningham was a four-year member of the Owls’ football team, starting at tight end for three seasons. He recorded 61 catches for 690 yards and 7 touchdowns during his career.

Botany students planting garden at SCSU science building

As the school year draws to a close, Southern students may be leaving campus, but not before they put down some roots.

A new campus installation – the Science Garden – is now in place near the Academic Science and Laboratory building, thanks to the efforts of students, faculty, and campus leaders. Susan Cusato, associate professor of science education and environmental studies, worked with students in one of her classes this semester to explore ideas for the garden, and students presented their ideas as part of their course work. In addition, Botany Club students contributed to the garden planning during the conceptual phase and grew some plants for the garden from seeds.

The Science Garden is composed of three primary raised beds, each of which is 4’8” x 4’8”. The beds are located in the courtyard between the new science building and Jennings Hall. Cusato’s students — Honors College students in HON 260: Pollinators — A Case Study in Systems Thinking and Sustainability — installed the garden on May 10. Students and faculty have taken responsibility for maintaining the garden, which has the potential to benefit several science departments as well as honeybees and other pollinators. The Office of Sustainability will maintain the beds during the summer.

Cusato says that she and Sustainability Coordinator Suzanne Huminski have taught the pollinators course together for about four years, and this year Cusato taught it on her own. The course is designed around the issues surrounding the decline of all pollinators worldwide but especially the threats to honeybees, because they are responsible for the pollination of much of our food supply.

As Cusato explains, pollinators face many threats, including pesticides, climate change, and mites, among, “but one thing we can do to help is help preserve their habitat. So planting pollinator habitat is something the students learned to research and design.”

Botany students planting in front of SCSU science building

In the class, students worked in pairs to design pollinator habitats. With help from some Southern faculty and community members, the students considered how to enhance the campus’ pollinator habitat by planting pollinator-friendly plants in gardens near the science building. The goal of the plantings is to attract bees, butterflies, birds, moths, and other species.

Cusato says, “We are hoping that by enhancing habitat, students can begin to study the various pollinators on campus, can begin counts of specific pollinators and begin to examine the relationships between plants and pollinators. Students can collect and compare different pollen for specific traits. Blossoms can be analyzed for various compounds resulting in scent. As pollinators are attracted by scent, some plants have evolved intriguing ways to attract them, as the continued survival of that species depends on pollination.”

The planting of the garden is especially timely, given the fact that Governor Malloy recently signed legislation to protect pollinators, particularly in the area of preserving and developing pollinator habitat. The bill he signed had been unanimously passed by the Connecticut House of Representatives and addresses a range of concerns relating to pollinator health, from pesticides to parasites and habitat remediation.

Rebecca Silady, assistant professor of biology and faculty adviser to the Botany Club, credits the students in the pollination class with finalizing the details of the garden and with the actual planting of the garden, although she adds that Botany Club students took part in initial discussions about the garden and grew tomatoes, zinnia, and marigolds from seeds to contribute to the beds. Silady says the garden adds to the plant diversity on campus that she will be able to highlight in her course on plant taxonomy in the fall.

Celebration of Excellence, faculty awards

Southern faculty are known for striving to make a difference in the lives of their students, as well as for their contributions to their respective disciplines and to the community in general. Each year, the university’s Celebration of Excellence ceremony presents an opportunity to recognize the special achievements of a few faculty and reflect on what is possible in higher education.

At this year’s ceremony, held on April 25, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Durnin called the event “a public affirmation of the fact that, as a university, we hold faculty research, teaching, service, innovation, and student advising in high regard.”

The Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowships aim to provide junior faculty members with a significant amount of reassigned time at an early stage in their careers at Southern for these purposes. Two fellowships are awarded each year. This year’s recipients were Amy Smoyer, assistant professor of social work, for her project, “Prison at the Margins: Understanding the Intersecting Vulnerabilities of Incarcerated Lives,” and James Kearns, assistant professor of chemistry, for his project, “The development of methods to quantify arsenic contamination in rice and other common food sources by chemical digestion and measurement with an atomic absorption spectrophotometer.”

The Mid-Level Faculty Research Fellowship aims to provide mid-level faculty members with a significant amount of reassigned time at this crucial stage in their careers at Southern for these purposes. This year’s recipient is Jonathan Weinbaum, associate professor of biology, for his project entitled “Assessment of a New Late Triassic Fossil Bonebed in Arizona.”

The Technological Teacher of the Year Award recognizes the importance of the effective use of technology in the classroom and the faculty who embrace it. Leon Yacher, professor of geography, was named the 2016 Technological Teacher of the Year. Yacher designed and developed the university’s first course in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)and he has made innovative use of pedagogical tools such as Blackboard, clickers, and TOPHAT.

Named in honor of the late Robert E. Jirsa, former Faculty Senate President and P & T Committee Chairman, the Robert E. Jirsa Service Award is given annually to a full-time faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions and demonstrated outstanding leadership in his or her service to the university. This year’s recipient is David Pettigrew, professor of philosophy. Pettigrew came to Southern in 1987, and over the years, he has been deeply involved in the life of the university, having served and chaired most Philosophy Department committees, as well as School of Arts & Sciences and university-wide committees, among them Faculty Senate, the Faculty Academic Strategic Planning Committee, and the University Promotion and Tenure Committee. In addition to his committee work, he coordinated PROJECT CONNSTRUCT to reform Mathematics and Science in Southern’s teacher education program while collaborating with the New Haven Public Schools; initiated the Annual Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Conference, the University-wide lecture series, and the university film festival series, “Cinema du Monde”; and served as chair of the Forum on Islam, as co-coordinator of selected Holocaust Remembrance activities, and as co-chair of Southern’s Big Read, among other activities.

Carol Stewart, assistant professor of management, was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Academic Advisor Award. Stewart has advised students in the LEP program as well as the former AUR in the Business Administration and Management concentrations, as well as advising transfer students. In addition to EAB training, her advising is informed through her work with the Undergraduate Curriculum Forum (UCF).

The Board of Regents Adjunct Faculty Teaching Awards are given to recognize part-time faculty who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers with a track record of increasing student learning and promoting instructional improvements for their programs or departments. Michael Pascucilla, currently an adjunct professor in SCSU’s Department of Public Health, is the Southern nominee for this year’s award.  An adjunct professor in Southern’s Department of Public Health since 2013, he teaches four to five 3-credit classes in public health each year, serves as a mentor to students, and regularly hosts student internships in Public Health and Environmental Health.

The Board of Regents Teaching Awards are given to recognize faculty who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers for at least five years and have a minimum of two years’ track record of promoting instructional improvements for their programs/departments. The BOR-approved SCSU campus winner for this award is Jess Gregory, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies. Gregory came to Southern in 2010 and has been recognized several times for her excellence as a teacher and mentor, having received the J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teaching Award for 2014-2015; and been nominated four times for the SCSU Outstanding Academic Advisor Award. She teaches courses in education law and leadership, and has numerous publications, presentations, awards and grants.

The Board of Regents Research Awards are given to recognize faculty from the four state universities who are doing exceptional research/creative work. The BOR-approved SCSU campus winner for this award is Christine Unson, associate professor of public health. Unson teaches Biostatistics, Research Methods, and Special Projects at the graduate level, and Health Promotions and Research Methods at the undergraduate level. She has also served as director of the Office of Research Integrity since 2013. Her research interests include aging and work-life extension, participation in clinical trials, caregiver burden, and predictors of student success, and she has many publications and presentations, and has received a number of awards and grants for her work.

The Faculty Scholar Award recognizes scholarly and creative work of exceptional merit by a full-time member of the SCSU faculty.  This year’s recipient is Armen Marsoobian, chairman and professor of philosophy, for his book Fragments of a Lost Homeland: Remembering Armenia. In the book, Marsoobian uses his family’s story in the late Ottoman period to construct the history of the Armenian minority in central Anatolia. In writing this book, he employed a vast array of primary source material, and the selection committee was impressed by the depth of his scholarship and the sheer quantity of archival and investigative work it required. In addition, the committee appreciated the precision of Marsoobian’s writing, the richness of the narrative, and his ability to weave micro or personal history together with broader political developments. Marsoobian serves as chair and professor of philosophy, and since 1993 has been editor-in-chief of Metaphilosophy (an international journal of philosophy).

The J. Philip Smith Award for Outstanding Teaching is presented to one full-time faculty and one part-time faculty member for exemplary teaching. Thomas O’Malley, instructor of communication, has been selected as the recipient of the part-time faculty award. He teaches Interviewing Skills, Communicating Online, Fundamentals of Professional Presentation Skills and Intellectual and Creative Inquiry. He began teaching at Southern in 1996.

Helen Marx, associate professor of elementary education, has been selected as the recipient of the full-time faculty award. Marx joined the faculty in 2011 and currently teaches Integrated Curriculum, Social Studies in the Elementary Classroom, and the Capstone Student Teaching Seminar, which also entails student teacher supervision. She is also the coordinator of the Elementary and Early Childhood Program.

Art for public good

The term “street art” might conjure images of graffiti splashed across the side of a building, but street art – works of art created in public spaces – actually encompasses many media and is often legal and permitted, says Noelle King, an adjunct professor of art. Many artists are doing street art now, says King – herself an artist — so she proposed a new course on street art to the Art Department, and it ran this semester as a beta, or experimental, course.

As a final project, after hearing from several invited guests on the topic of street art, King’s students completed two approved community service art projects: a large mural inside the Yale New Haven Hospital George Street Parking Garage, called “A Leaf History of New Haven,” and “A Friend for Life,” an image of dogs and cats painted on a door at the New Haven Animal Shelter, intended to encourage adoption of animals at the shelter.

Throughout the semester, leading up to these projects, King invited several guests to the class to discuss various aspects of street art. Detective Orlando Crespo of the New Haven Police Department, a specialist in gangs and graffiti, who explained to the students the nature of graffiti and the legal repercussions of street art that is done without permission.

Another guest, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, is an artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose “Stop Telling Women to Smile” campaign addresses gender-based street harassment. In 2015, Fazlalizadeh was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 40 Artists Under 40. In her project, she invites women to tell their stories of street harassment, does their portraits, and adds text from their stories to the portraits. She then pastes the portraits up on walls in public spaces. Fazlalizadeh’s project is universally lauded as being an important part of the dialogue concerning sexual harassment of women.

Other guest speakers in the class included artist and community organizer Alex White-Mazarella; Tina Re, curator of artists’ books and librarian in Buley Library; and Pairoj Pichetmetakul of The Positivity Scrolls Project in New York.

King describes the course as writing intensive, with writing assignments including everything from essays to poems, to letters to responses, and a project King calls indoor sky writing, that involved students writing messages with whipped cream.

Art for public good

To prepare for the mural they painted inside the Yale New Haven Hospital George Street Parking Garage, students researched plants native to the New Haven area from ancient days to the present and decided which leaves to depict. They then stenciled on the garage wall the mural of leaves, creating “a very calm and peaceful” feeling, says King.

Leaves depicted in the painting are from kelp, pin leaf cherry, tulip tree, birch, cinnamon fern, daimyo oak, fern, Franklin tree, white pine, sassafras, slippery elm, mulberry, chestnut oak, aquatic moss, red maple, willow, white oak, sycamore, northern red oak, apple, dandelion, white spruce, and two-leaf water fern.

Mural painted on door of New Haven Animal ShelterFor the animal shelter mural, the class responded to a request from the shelter. “A man from the shelter approached the Art Department about having someone come paint something to beautify the shelter,” says King. “They wanted to make the shelter feel more family-friendly and cheerful.” Students submitted designs for a painting, and student Traci Henri’s design, “A Friend for Life,” was chosen. The painted mural on an exterior door portrays a dog and cat and encourages adoption of animals.

King says she is proud of her students, who included Shannon Anderson, Ben Asbell, Nick DiDominicis, Alexis Dillon, Dannielle Gladu, Valerie Glibert, Tracy Henri, Ariel Herbert, Dan Holloway, DJ Johnson, Tessa Karmelowicz, Rahni Lawrence, Alexandra Marx, James Mastroni, Kelsey Page, Katie Pfeiffer, Rebecca Ramirez, Laura Salvatore, Jane Snaider, Nathan Tracy, Katie Verrastro, Roleen Bisaillon-Sheehan, Alyssa Fernandes, Kate O’Keefe, Melissa Urban, and Nina Zachary. King says, “They saw how they could make a relationship between themselves and the city of New Haven, and between the university and the city.” She wanted them to learn about doing street art for the public good, as, she says, “art has tremendous power and can change lives.”