Monthly Archives: April 2019

A graduate student presents at the 2018 Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Conference.

This year marks Southern Connecticut State University’s 125th anniversary, and the university is hosting four exciting on-campus events in April and May in celebration of its commitment to research and innovation: three research and creative activity (RAC) conferences and a career forum.

“These outstanding, high-impact events shine a necessary light on the tremendous successes and growth opportunities of and for our students, faculty, and university,” said Dr. Christine Broadbridge, executive director, Research & Innovation. “Right now we’re celebrating the university’s long tradition of excellence, but we’re always mindful of the future and how we can evolve as a community of innovators.”

The fifth annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference kicks off Saturday, April 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Michael J. Adanti Student Center Ballroom. The conference honors scholarship and creativity in all forms. Through the observation, interpretation, and documentation of various scholastic disciplines, this RAC conference intends to celebrate our journey to enlightenment. You’ll discover a showcase of undergraduate student research, oral presentations, theatrical performances, art installations, music, and more — all demonstrating the diverse scope of subjects engaged by undergraduate students as well as illustrating the important parallels between them.

Register for the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference here.

Are you interested in a career in one of the fasting growing high-impact areas? Don’t miss Jackson Labs/BioPath Career Day on Friday, April 26, from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in Engleman Hall A120 and the Academic Science and Laboratory Building. This year’s theme is personalized medicine/digital health and team science, and the conference features a line-up of notable professionals, innovative companies, and distinguished speakers. Last year’s event drew more than 250 students from Southern and surrounding universities and professionals in the bioscience fields. At this event, students will gain a solid understanding of what type of training is needed for a bioscience career, learn what skills employers are looking for, and how to land a job. There also will be panel discussions and networking sessions for professional advancement. This event is hosted by The Jackson Laboratory, Southern Connecticut State University, BioPath: Bioscience Academic and Career Pathway Initiative, and the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System (CSCU). In partnership with BioCT, dedicated to growing a vibrant bioscience ecosystem in Connecticut.

Register for Jackson Labs/BioPath Career Day here. 

The CSCU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Conference will take place Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entitled “Making An Impact: Pursuing New Knowledge Through Boundary-pushing Research and Creative Activity,” this RAC conference will feature artist talks; films screened in a dedicated theater; a gallery of posters and the opportunity to interact with the researchers; studio demonstrations; oral presentations; and tapas, during which speakers will give four-minute rapid-fire presentations.

Register for the CSCU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Conference here.

On Monday, May 13, the Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Conference will be held from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center, 3rd floor. According to Broadbridge, “This event allows SCSU graduate students to showcase their outstanding research and creative efforts while also benefiting from numerous very significant professional development opportunities. SCSU’s Division of Research and Innovation provides the infrastructure, but the students are actively engaged in all aspects of planning and running the event. The result is a collaborative effort with some major impact on all involved.”

The conference, which is a new tradition in recognition and support for graduate students, aims to not only encourage continued work as a community, but also to awaken individual curiosity and purpose. In 2018, graduate students showcased more than 130 presentations.

Register for the Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Conference here. 

Southern in the Spotlight

In the News

The New Haven Register was one of several news outlets to report on Southern’s new agreement with New Haven Public Schools offering tuition-free classes to students at city high schools.

The annual Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture featured Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps and received a slew of coverage, including this column by Hearst Newspapers sportswriter Jeff Jacobs, which focused on Phelps’ battles with depression and his campaign to promote mental health awareness.

Frank Harris, professor of journalism, was interviewed about the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans to set foot in Colonial America.

Sophomore Asma Rahimyar’s moving words spoken at the Muslim Student Association prayer vigil for the victims of the March massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, were featured in the Hartford Courant’s “Fresh Talk” opinion section.

Jack of al trades master of one-acts

Coming Up at Lyman

May 1 through 4: Student Directed One Acts, Kendall Drama Lab. 7:30 p.m. (plus 2 p.m. May 4)

May 4: Sax to the Max, with saxophonists Michael Lington, Paul Taylor and Vincent Ingala. 8 p.m.

May 31: Grover 75, with the original members of Grover Washington’s last touring band. 8 p.m.

Click here for tickets to these and other events.

Mary Xatse

Southern Social

Here are some of our latest hits on social media:
Dr. Tyree introduces Otus to Michael Phelps
14 Not-to-be-missed spots on campus
Southern alum dubbed “today’s most successful music critic”
Southern starts the conversation on mental health



New Haven high school history teacher Daisha Brabham, ‘17, has been awarded a U.S. Fulbright – U.K. Partnership Award. This prestigious award allows her to receive full funding to complete a Master’s of Public History degree at Royal Holloway University of London during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Tracy Tyree, vice president for student affairs, is the recipient of the CT ACE Women’s Network 2019 Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award.

Dana Casetti, research associate in the physics department, is the catalyst for the recent awarding of a three-year grant to Southern totaling $509,480 from the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute for a project to measure motions of distant and old star systems.

Troy Rondinone, professor of history, is the author of Nightmare Factories, the first history of mental hospitals in American popular culture, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Cheryl Green, assistant professor of nursing’s new book: Incivility Among Nursing Professionals in Clinical and Academic Environments: Emerging Research and Opportunities was featured  in the Connecticut League of Nursing’s most recent newsletter. 

David Pettigrew, professor of philosophy, continues his research and human rights activism in Bosnia. He recently gave two lectures at the International University of Sarajevo and another for KRUG 99, the Association of Independent Intellectuals founded during the siege of Sarajevo. Titled: “Trouble in the Balkans: Republika Srpska and the Failure of the International Community,”  his lecture received extensive press coverage in on line portals, TV, and print media.

It's Giving Day

In the Lens

Southern celebrate its 4th annual Giving Day on Tuesday, April 16. In honor of our 125th anniversary, we’ve set a goal of $125,000. Help us reach it and support our students’ education by visiting

Click here to view all of our Southern videos.

Dan Lauria

125 Years and Counting

Here’s the fifth installment of our Living History series featuring alums from every decade since the 1930s: Dan Lauria, ’70, noted actor and star of the hit comedy TV series The Wonder Years.

Keep up with everything about our 125th anniversary celebrations and leave your memories here.



Southern will hold its Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 24, 2019, at the Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main Street, in Bridgeport, beginning with an academic procession at 10:15 a.m. Graduate Commencement will be held at the Lyman Center on Thursday, May 23 at 2:00p.m. (School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Health & Human Services) and 7:00 p.m. (School of Business and the School of Education, including Library Science).

Connecticut Public Television, in partnership with SCSU,  will premiere “Student Mental Health: Crucial Conversations” on April 18 at 8 p.m., featuring student testimony and a panel of experts including Southern’s Nick Pinkerton, director of counseling services and Jermaine Wright, associate vice president for student affairs.

Parting Shot

Parting Shot

Student volunteers gathered on Discovery Day, April 6, to greet accepted students and welcome them to campus for a day of exploring all that Southern has to offer

Scott Graves, associate professor of the environment, geography and marine sciences, demonstrates a drone.

It’s not a bird. It’s not exactly a plane, either. But drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, are becoming a sort of superman of modern technology – used by professionals and amateurs alike.

Drones, which generally take aerial photos and videos, are being used today for a smorgasbord of purposes – from journalism to education to public safety to the inspection roads and bridges.

“This cutting-edge technology is not only growing in popularity amongst enthusiastic hobbyists, but finding application in a variety of different professional fields,” said Ian Canning, associate dean of Southern’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies. “In response to this growing demand, and because of our university expertise, we wanted to offer a comprehensive program for working professionals seeking to expand their knowledge in the field of drone operation and utilization.”

As such, SCSU has created a Drone Academy, which is set to launch in Fall 2019.

The academy is designed to prepare individuals for the Federal Aviation Agency exam (which is required for some drone uses); to teach people how to safely operate a drone; to teach basic photography and videography using a drone, and to instruct students on video editing using Photoshop and Video Pro.

Although the SCSU Drone Academy is open to anyone, the program will be geared toward the professional seeking to increase their understanding of drone operation.

The academy will be divided into four modules of eight hours each for a total of 32 hours. It is a non-credit program and the cost totals $800 a person. The academy is scheduled to include classes on Wednesdays from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The instructors are Scott Graves, SCSU associate professor of the environment, geography and marine sciences, who is also an FAA-licensed drone pilot; and Mark Mirko, a Hartford Courant photojournalist who is an FAA-certified Part 107 pilot.

Graves specializes in coastal geomorphology, wetlands, beaches and coastal forest research, as well as computational aerial imaging. He also has engaged in research focused on science education. He has authored many journal articles, a book chapter and conducted presentations on the use of drones for landscape and habitat mapping.

Mirko is an adjunct instructor of journalism at Southern. He brings extensive experience in drone flight navigation, safety, controls and aerial photography. He was part of a team of photographers at the Palm Beach Post in Florida that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew.

For additional information about the Drone Academy, please contact Ian Canning at, or either of the instructors: Scott Graves at, or Mark Mirko at



Front row — Karen DuBois-Walton, Executive Director of the Elm City Communities; Dr. Carol Birks, Superintendent, New Haven Public Schools; Dr. Joe Bertolino, President, Southern Connecticut State University; and back row — Ciara Ortiz, junior at The Sound School; Daniela Flores, junior at Wilbur Cross High School; Hannah Providence, a senior at Wilbur Cross High School; Dayana Lituma, 2017 Wilbur Cross High School graduate and current SCSU student

A greater number of outstanding New Haven high school students will have access to college-level classes, thanks to an agreement announced today between Southern and the New Haven Public Schools.

The university already offers tuition-free college classes to a small group of excellent high school students willing to come to the SCSU campus. Most of the 60 or so such students are from New Haven and the immediate surrounding communities.

But for the first time, Southern is offering the option of taking those college classes at the city’s various high school campuses. Those classes will be taught by SCSU faculty or high school teachers who meet specific criteria and are hired as SCSU adjunct faculty members.

“Part of our mission is to improve access to a college education,” said SCSU President Joe Bertolino at a recent signing ceremony with New Haven Schools Superintendent Carol Birks. “By expanding this program, we will provide greater access to local students. It is an example of what we mean when we say Southern is not only in the community, but of the community.”

Terricita Sass, SCSU associate vice president for enrollment management, agreed.

“Some students are well-prepared to take college classes, but may be reluctant or unable to travel to a college campus,” Sass said. “We want to remove the transportation barrier if we can. This will give some students an option to take classes at their own school.”

Birks said she is excited about the potential academic and financial benefits to students.

“This program obviously offers our students an immediate financial benefit with tuition-free classes,” Birks said. “But the college credits also can either lessen the time it will take them to earn a degree, which reduces student debt, or provide them with more academic flexibility in college to take additional courses of their choice. Either way, it’s a win-win for the students.”

SCSU student Dayana Lituma, who graduated from Wilbur Cross High School in 2017, said taking college courses in high school helped her tremendously. She took five such courses, including three at Southern. As a result of the credits earned, she plans to graduate after the fall semester of 2020, a semester earlier than the traditional four-year college experience.

“Not only will I be able to save money on tuition, but the college classes helped me figure out early on what direction I wanted to pursue,” she said. She plans to seek a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, and eventually become a bilingual speech-language pathologist.

Bertolino said the tuition-free college classes comprise just one of several joint SCSU-New Haven programs being created, continued or expanded to benefit students and their families. He also announced:

*Southern has created a Residential Leadership Scholarship that provides a small group of students with free on-campus housing. The students must meet the criteria for the New Haven Promise Scholarship program, as well as write an additional essay and provide a letter of recommendation to be eligible. If selected, the students must complete activities in leadership development, community contribution/campus involvement, academic enhancement, mentoring and activism/civic engagement. Last fall, seven students were chosen for the one-year scholarship. Next fall, five of those seven students will be offered a continuation of the scholarship, while five additional New Haven graduates will receive the scholarship.

*Southern will set aside $100,000 in merit-based aid, and $100,000 in need-based aid, to incoming freshmen next fall who graduate from New Haven schools. The allocation is expected to continue each year.

*SCSU social work students will work with the New Haven Housing Authority (Elm City Communities) to assist students and their families with truancy, financial literacy, online applications and other matters. The housing authority has allocated $25,000 for the program, which calls for six students to collaborate with resident managers in the West Rock community. The program is scheduled to begin next fall.

*The university plans to increase its presence at local middle and high schools, particularly in the Newhallville section of the city. This will include workshops, participation in field days and other similar types of events. It is part of a community collaborative effort that also involves local businesses, clergy and other neighborhood leaders.

*Southern launched a Visiting Scholars program last semester, in which SCSU faculty members teach academic lessons to area K-12 students. Many of these visits are to New Haven schools. The program offers hands-on learning experiences, giving them deeper insight into various disciplines. The lessons are designed to align with the classroom curriculum.

*SCSU plans to host a career exposure day in May for Common Ground High School. The university will organize panel discussions on public health and recreation, tourism and sports management. In addition, CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement), a program co-housed at SCSU, has been helping Common Ground redesign its 10th grade health curriculum.