Monthly Archives: December 2016

iGem, Mayor Toni Harp, proclamation

Mayor Toni N. Harp Wednesday honored a group of Southern  science students – including a New Haven Promise Scholar — for earning a bronze medal at a recent international synthetic biology competition.

Harp presented the SCSU students, as well as faculty and administrators, with a proclamation at a ceremony at Southern on the Green, located on the 10th floor of 900 Chapel St.

The students competed in October at the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition in Boston, where they presented their research on trying to find a faster testing method to detect tuberculosis.

The event included nearly 300 teams of students – mostly undergraduates, but some graduate students and high school students. It marked the first time Southern competed in the program, and SCSU was among only three teams from Connecticut to do so this year. Yale University and the University of Connecticut also earned bronze medals.

Julio Badillo, an SCSU student and a New Haven Promise scholar, was a member of the team.
“We are so proud of Julio and the entire team of Southern students,” Harp said before reading the proclamation. “(Their work) is awe-inspiring.”

The students’ accomplishment was so inspiring that it brought one of Badillo’s former teachers to the ceremony.

Lana Rowan, a teacher in the New Haven Public Schools, was Badillo’s freshman biology teacher when he was a student at the Connecticut Scholars Academy, a sub school of Wilbur Cross High School.

“Julio was an A-student and someone who was motivated and asked questions in class,” Rowan said. “But I also remember him being one of the nicest students in class and was generally a pretty quiet kid. We are very proud of him.”

Rowan said she was told about the ceremony by Richard Therrien, science supervisor for the school system, and she immediately expressed an interest in attending, along with Therrien.

Several of the students presented a synopsis of the team’s work during the ceremony.

“We are very proud of you,” said SCSU President Joe Bertolino. “You have represented yourselves well as scientists, and you also have represented Southern well.”

The project was the latest example of a partnership SCSU forged in 2015 with the city of New Haven, as well as the region’s bioscience industry. The agreement, named “BioPath,” calls for SCSU to expand its bioscience offerings and to work with area school systems in the development of curricula to prepare them for college-level programs in the biosciences. The biosciences are an important economic sector for Connecticut, employing nearly 25,000 people statewide. The Greater New Haven region is the No. 2 bioscience cluster in New England with companies advancing the science in oncology, antibiotics, rare disease treatments and other specialties. Notable companies include: Alexion, Arvinas, Achillion, Melinta and BioArray.

As part of the BioPath agreement, the city has agreed to assist with grant applications that would help pay for equipment and other expenses, as well as promote the new SCSU programs with local businesses, and to assist with internships for SCSU students at biotech companies.

SCSU opened a new, high-tech science building before the start of the fall 2015 semester that has provided students with more research and laboratory opportunities in areas such as biology, biotechnology, chemistry, physics, earth science, marine studies and more.

The team sought to develop a screening test for TB that is both accurate and speedy. The more accurate tests today require a wait that can take several weeks before learning the results.

The DNA materials that the team generated have been sent to a repository where future college teams from around the globe can use to advance this effort. In addition, Thomas Hoang, a member of the SCSU team, will seek to finish the project on his own after securing an SCSU undergraduate research grant.

graphic design class

Many students think graphic design is all about technology – the software programs like Quark and InDesign that are bread and butter to graphic designers – and not so much about problem solving. But this semester, students in Alex Girard’s Principles of Graphic Design (ART 215) course learned differently. Girard, an assistant professor of graphic design in the Art Department, challenged his students to have a positive impact on the life of someone else, to and use creative problem solving to make it happen.

“My two main goals in the course,” Girard explains, “are for students to see how much impact a graphic designer can have on perception, and to explore mapping a solution from start to finish.” At the end of the semester, students presented their projects to the class to practice professional presentations of creative ideas.

In the assignment, students were challenged to identify a problem, the problem’s audience, a concept for the solution, and to establish measurable benchmarks on a timeline. The project was very self-directed. Girard wasn’t asking his students for a highly refined design solution but was more focused on concept and process. Critical thinking skills came into play.

“The project is about navigating a process,” he says. “You’re successful in the class if you do this. The focus is not on the end product. And this class is a safe environment in which to experiment and maybe fail.”

Girard was particularly impressed with the thoughtfulness with which his students developed their topics and projects. They “tackled some brave issues, and did some really positive work,” he says. One students’ project was about stopping racial slurs, for instance, while another’s was about teen suicide.

Girard says the 12 students in the class supported each other and challenged each other as they worked on their projects, but also respected each other.

Speaking as a graphic designer himself, Girard says, “Graphic design is never about you – you are the conduit of something external. Your job is to see the world through someone else’s eyes.” One of the reasons he likes teaching graphic design at Southern is its liberal arts environment. He says many graphic design programs are very technology-focused, but the liberal arts education Southern students receive teaches them to communicate well with others and think about the world broadly.

“It’s important to help students beyond just design sensibility and technological competence,” he says, adding that he thinks about what his students will be doing next, beyond college, and talks to hiring directors and art directors to find out what they’re looking for in potential employees. One key skill he often hears them ask for is the ability to communicate well.

Girard’s students and their topics were:

Pause MovementJordan Watkins
“The outcome is to let people know that it is okay to put your phones down for once.”

Stop the Slurs Julies Ly
“I hope that this movement will bring an understanding that racial slurs hurt.”

More than Something on a Wall Trevon Homeward-Bennett
“I’m hoping that after this show other people would be inspired to create their own art, with their own interpretations and have fun with it.”

Not a Starter Fish Julia Zeidler
“I am raising awareness about proper Betta fish care to eliminate ignorance about how these beautiful creatures are to be kept and raised.”

Intro to Diving Salim Lemond
“I hope that this [project] will bring forth to viewers a stronger understanding, as well as an increased interest, in the sport [of diving].”

Stress Relievers Fabian White
“I am bringing the problem of stress relievers into the light.”

Have You Smiled Today?Whitney Lane
“I am striving to let people know that you in fact do matter and you have made such a great impact on at least one person’s life.”

Strength is Beauty Lee Langley
“I am intending to inspire and motivate a plethora of young girls to embrace their outer strength and beauty as well as, inner beauty.”

Stop. Remember. – Michelle Tenney
“My intended outcome is to promote relaxation and decompression, both physically and through social media.”

Not Another StatisticFelicia Carey
“I am creating a Twitter movement and keychains with the saying ‘Not Another Statistic’ to help spread awareness and show someone suffering that we all care. Together we can put an end to suicide.”

Smash CommunityEdwin Vargas
“The Smash Brothers Community is torn between two games. Using Twitter, I will bridge the two communities by creating and sharing content that both can share and understand.”

 

 

 

 

 

Pina Palma, professor of Italian, has been chosen by the Faculty Scholar Award Committee as the recipient of the 2016 award.

Palma’s application, consisting of her book Savoring Power, Consuming the Times: The Metaphors of Food in Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature (University of Notre Dame Press), was found to be “outstanding and impressive” by the committee, chaired by William Lunn, associate professor of human performance.

The committee was particularly impressed with the quality of journals that had positively reviewed Palma’s book, as well as the breadth of her work and her candid inclusion of negative reviews to balance positive critiques.

“Moreover, committee members volunteered that your publication was just plain fun to read,” Lunn wrote. “Your chapter on “The Language of Food in Boccaccio’s Decameron” was a particular joy.”

The book, according the the publisher’s website, “is an innovative look at the writings of five important Italian authors—Boccaccio’s Decameron, Pulci’s Morgante, Boiardo’s Innamorato, Ariosto’s Furioso, and Aretino’s Ragionamento. Through the prism of gastronomy, Palma examines these key works in the Western literary canon, bringing into focus how their authors use food and gastronomy as a means to critique the social, political, theological, philosophical, and cultural beliefs that constitute the fabric of the society in which they live.”

Palma earned her Ph.D. at Yale University and is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. She will be honored at the Celebration of Excellence event during the spring semester.

President Joe Bertolino said, “My congratulations to Pina, and the Department of World Languages and Literatures. Her achievement is yet another example of the tradition of excellent scholarship and research established by our faculty.”

Professor Terry Bynum

Terrell “Terry” Ward Bynum, professor of philosophy at Southern and founder of SCSU’s Research Center on Computing and Society,  was honored December 5 as Southern’s newest CSU (Connecticut State University) professor, at a ceremony in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom. The CSU Professorship is one of the most prestigious faculty awards within the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. The state Board of Regents for Higher Education announced Bynum’s selection earlier this fall.

Southern, Central, Western and Eastern Connecticut State universities each can have up to three such professors. Bynum fills an SCSU vacancy left by the recent retirement of James Mazur, who was named as a CSU Professor in 2010. Bynum joins Southern’s current CSU Professor, Vivian Shipley, who is a professor of English. A third CSU Professor at Southern, Joseph Solodow, recently retired, leaving a vacancy. Bynum is the first member of Southern’s Philosophy Department to receive the title.

Bynum’s prominence as a teacher is reflected by the fact that doctoral students from Europe and China have come to campus to work with him, even though the Philosophy Department does not have a Ph.D. program, said President Joe Bertolino, adding, “He also has served as a valued teacher for both the Philosophy and Computer Science departments — presenting to generations of students the computer ethics course he created.”

Provost Ellen Durnin remarked that Bynum’s “ongoing commitment to exploring the complex issues raised by new technology is a valuable societal contribution – and in so doing, has earned Southern international recognition in this groundbreaking field.”

In addition to launching the Research Center on Computing and Society, Bynum organized and hosted the first international computer ethics conference in 1991. The event was funded by the National Science Foundation.

He received the inaugural INSEIT/Joseph Weizenbaum Award in information and computer ethics in 2009 during the International Conference of Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry. The award was presented for making significant contributions to the field of information and computer ethics through research, service and vision. And earlier that year, he was chosen as the recipient of the American Philosophical Association’s Barwise Prize for his life-long work on computing and human values.

Bynum is an accomplished author, having written his first book, “Gottlieb Frege, Conceptual Notation and Related Articles,” about a noted German philosopher. Oxford University Press would eventually republish the book as an Oxford Scholarly Classic, according to Troy Paddock, chairman of the CSU Professor Advisory Committee.

Bynum would go on to write books on computer ethics, as well. “He is considered to be, by more than one scholar, the ‘founding father’ of the field,” Paddock said.

He established the American Association of Philosophy Teachers and has conducted more than two dozen teaching workshops, Paddock said. He also created the Computer Ethics course at Southern and has taught in the SCSU Honors College.

Bynum began teaching at SCSU in 1987 and holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from City University of New York.