Blogs

As we approach the end of another academic year, I am proud of all that Arts & Sciences has contributed to our University…and it is you who have made this progress possible. Each department, discipline, and program has offered unique and important opportunities for our students. And while this blog can only highlight a few of our collective achievements, let it serve as a reminder of all the good we do with (and for) our students each and every day. I applaud your work; I respect your accomplishments; and I am deeply grateful to have had the privilege of working with you these past four years. Thank you…and bravo!

STUDENT SUCCESSES & HAPPENINGS

Arts & Sciences is proud of all the Barnard Award Winners and we lead with a shout out to our winners, Sadia Younas (CHE) and Brandon Brush (COM). The Dean’s Office is especially attached to Brandon who has worked in the Dean’s Office for three years. We will soon be bidding him a teary farewell. Best of luck to all the Barnard Award Winners in their future endeavors!

Each April, we invite to our campus the students that we hope will become Owls in the fall. On Saturday, April 1st, Southern welcomed 646 prospective students and their families to Accepted Students Day. With 1800 people on campus, the Southern community including administration, staff, and faculty showed their Southern pride. Associate Dean Bruce Kalk (A&S) gave an inspired welcome and introduction for the School. Many A&S faculty attended this important event. Thuan Vu (ART), Resha Cardone (WLL), Todd Ryder (CHE), and Mike Nizhnikov (PSY) participated in a panel discussion on the college experience. They were joined by students, Julio Badillo (BIO), Megan Baker (PSC), Betzabeth Castro (THR), and Daisha Brabham (HIS). Nineteen faculty representing thirteen A&S departments and twelve students from seven of those departments also participated in the mini-class presentations. Thank you to all that offered a warm welcome to the students and their parents!

Just one week later, on April 8th, President Joe, Dean Christine Broadbridge (GSRI), Dean Steven Breese (A&S), and Dr. C. Michele Thompson (HIS & RSAC, chair) welcomed over 150 students and their faculty mentors to the 3rd Annual Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference. The School of Arts & Sciences was well represented with nearly all of our programs participating through oral presentations, poster presentations, or artistic works as part of the Art Crawl. It was an inspiring show of scholarship and mentorship that bodes well for the event to carry on for many more years to come. Thank you all for participating!

Also in early April the Political Science department took 23 majors and Honors College students to the Capitol. Students participated in a reception where they networked with legislators, aides and staff. President Ojakian also dropped by to say a few words and to wish the students well. Following the reception, the students observed the House in session and were recognized officially from the floor just before the session adjourned. Finally, the students were given a tour of the Capitol and the Legislative Office building by Michael Downes (PSC, BS ’15; PSC, MS), a Southern Alum and current Director of Communications for the House Republicans. The event was organized by Jonathan Wharton (PSC) and Michael Downes.  It is the second year that the Political Science Department has sponsored this event and there was significant growth in participation between this year and last. The Department is beginning to discuss how to grow the event for next year.

Also headed to Hartford were two Journalism students who accompanied their professors to participate in, “The Yanks Are Coming: Connecticut’s Commemoration of the United States Entry into World War I,” on this 100th anniversary event. Sandra Gomez-Aceves of Meriden, and Adrianna Rochester of Hartford joined Cindy Simoneau (JRN), chair of the Journalism Department, and Jodie Gil (JRN) to present an exhibit to state officials, veterans and educators about the research conducted by Journalism Capstone students last fall on World War I veterans, war memorials across the state and a variety of stories on Connecticut companies and organizations involved in the war effort. All student work will eventually be published on the State Library website with other documents and war artifacts. The World war I project at Southern will continue next fall with two Journalism Capstone classes.

 

More news from the Creative Writing Program!  Lynn Houston has a poem “She Loves Them Not” forthcoming in Gravel Magazine. Lynn is also on a panel of journal editors at the URI Graduate Conference, and she will give insights to graduate students on best practices for publication submissions, common submissions flaws and the future of academic and literary publishing. Shelby Lanaro had her poem, “God as Woman” published in Dying Dahlia Review. Sean Igoe presented his paper “Understanding Emojis in CMC” at the University of Rhode Island Graduate Conference in early April. Sean has also been accepted into the PhD program in creative writing at URI for Fall, 2017. Congratulations Sean!

In other news of student successes, the History Department is pleased to announce that Dan Fischer (HIS, MA) was accepted into the Mellon Summer Institute for Spanish Paleography at the Newberry in Chicago.  Fischer is one of only 13 people nationwide accepted into the program. Have a great time in Chicago, Dan!

In early March the History Department hosted the annual New Haven History Day Regional ContestTroy Paddock (HIS) invited this event to campus and organized the History Department’s participation.   Over 200 middle and high school students competed with papers and posters. Southern History faculty, Steve Amerman, Siobhan Carter-David, Marie McDaniel, Virginia Metaxas, Heather Vrana, and C. Michele Thompson served as judges and moderators.

History graduate students, Eric Anderson (HIS, MS) and Emily Gebhardt (HIS, MA) also served as judges, and undergraduates, Megan Baker (PSC), Agnes Bartoszek, Erik D’Aguanno, Linda Darkwah, James Delia, Bridget Frouge, Sarah Gardocki, Marvin Generette, Josh LaBella, Christina LoPreiato, Jamie Kelley, and Angelica Sotomayor also served as judges and/or volunteers.  The History Department hopes this will become an annual event at Southern.

In what has become an annual affair, the four chairs of History Departments at Western, Central, Eastern and Southern (Troy Paddock) hosted the 3rd Annual CSU “Making History” Conference at ECSU. On March 24th faculty and students from the four universities presented their research papers and posters. Southern students were well represented with undergraduates Daisha Brabham, Susan Koral, Michael Szeligowski, Eleni Galanos, Bridget Rogers, John Scaldini, Krystyn Devlin, Ryan Fritz, Pat Comerford, Tom Noonan, Tyler Japs, Linda Darkwah, Chris Herlihy, and Nick Hetzel presenting or joining in a roundtable discussion. Graduate students, Dan Fischer (HIS, MA), Emily Gebhardt (HIS, MA), and Matt Esposito (HIS, MA) joined Southern faculty Marie McDaniel, Troy Rondinone, Jeremy Chandler (ART), and Troy Paddock who also presented their research. Jason Smith, Virginia Metaxas, and Marie McDaniel graciously chaired sessions.

At the recent Spring meeting (April 22nd) of the New England Historical Association[NEHA] held at Salem State University, Matt Esposito (HIS, MA), also presented part of his thesis, “Communication Barriers: The effects of Censorship on the Psychological Health of American Soldiers during World War II.”  Great news, Matt! For more NEHA news see below.

Daisha Brabham (HIS ’17) has been busy this semester participating in several research events but also writing a play, HOMEGOING, about the History of Black Womanhood in America. As someone who plans to enter the field of Public History, it seemed fitting to her to convert her research into something that could engage a variety of different audiences, particularly the younger generation. The play, beginning with the Yoruba Tradition of West Africa, travels with a number of different African America women such as Venus Hottentot, Billie Holiday and Mammie, detailing the different social constructions that have been created over the centuries. The performance will be a choreo-play, emphasizing physical movement as well as primary source accounts contemporary to the time period. Southern students, as well as two Hill house sophomores have been casted to play the key roles, and six New Haven Middle and High schools have been chosen. The play will take place on April 28-29th 2017 at 7:00pm in ENC112 with doors opening at 6:30pm. Tickets are $5.00 with the 100% of the funds being donated to a local organization that serves African American women. Southern student tickets will be $2.00. Please consider attending.

Many Southern students (including some mentioned above) will be feted at the upcoming Honors Convocation, Sunday April 30th. Please join us in congratulating these exceptional students.

 

FACULTY SHOUT OUTS

Shafaeat Hossain (CSC) will present his research, “An Empirical Study on Verifier Order Selection in Serial Fusion Based Multi-biometric Verification System,” in Arras, France this June at the Artificial Intelligence Conference IEA/AIE 2017–International Conference on Industrial, Engineering, Other Applications of Applied Intelligent Systems. This work was partly sponsored by a MRRC grant. Safe & successful travels to Shafaeat.

C. Michele Thompson (HIS) was recently interviewed, by email, for an article that appeared in the April 5th edition of Scientific American on the use of rhinocerous horn in traditional medicine in Asia and how the fad for this is driving black market slaughter of these animals.

Troy Paddock (HIS) has been elected President of NEHA for 2017-18.  He is the first president of NEHA elected from any CSU school.

In the March edition of Mathenatics Teacher, Marie Nabbout-Cheiban (MAT) was first author on the work, “Revisions of a textbook problem enhance the underlying tasks and foster conceptual understanding” in which teachers are encouraged to use examples that will engage students with real-world contexts while fostering conceptual understanding.

In late March, Byron Nakamura (HIS) chaired and commented on a Panel for the Twelfth Biennial Conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity at Yale University.

Also in March, C. Michele Thompson (HIS) attended the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies held in Toronto this year, Thompson is an elected member of the Association’s Southeast Asia Council and the Executive Committee of the Vietnam Studies Group.

Once again faculty and students were treated to three excellent talks by senior and junior faculty in Arts & Sciences for First Thursdays. Armen Marsoobian (PHI) kicked off the spring semester offerings with “The Presence of Absence: Photography in the Ottoman Armenian Migrant Experience.” Darcy Kern (HIS) presented “Religious Pluralism and Reform in the late Middle Ages” in March as part of the SCSU Symposium, What is Reform? 1517 to 2017. In April, Jason W. Smith (HIS) wrapped up the semester’s event with “Vessel of Memory: Mystic Seaport Museum, The Whaleship Charles W. Morgan.” In this the fourth semester for First Thursdays, we pause to thank Joel Dodson (ENG) who initiated this event to share faculty scholarship in a collegial setting and continues to support such endeavors. Faculty are encouraged to consider presenting their current research and creative endeavors and to contact Joel regarding scheduling for AY 17/18. As always faculty and students are encouraged to attend these presentations to support the fascinating research on-going at Southern.

Vivian Shipley (ENG, CSU Professor) gave a poetry reading on April 1 with Mark Doty at the Paterson Poetry Center as a Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist for Perennial which was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. A few days later, Vivian gave a poetry reading at Ringling College of Art + Design followed by writing workshops the next day.

 

Celebration of Faculty Excellence 2017

On Wednesday, April 26th 4:30 to 6:30pm, administration, faculty, staff, and students will come together to celebrate the 2017 winners. The School of Arts & Sciences has done quite well this year.

  • BOR Teaching Award for SCSU – Melissa Talhelm (ENG)
  • BOR Research Award for SCSU –  Corinne Blackmer (ENG)
  • BOR Adjunct Teaching Award (SCSU Honoree) –  Lisa Nakamura (HIS)
  • J. Philip Smith Award for Outstanding Teacher (F/T) – Sarah Roe (PHI) and Margaret Sargent (COM)
  • J. Philip Smith Award for Outstanding Teacher (P/T) –  Jennifer Lee Magas (ENG)
  • Faculty Scholar Award – Giuseppina Palma (WLL)
  • Robert E. Jirsa Service Award – Troy Paddock (HIS)
  • Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award – Natalie Starling (CSP)
  • Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship recipient –  Matthew Miller (EGMS)
  • Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship recipient – Michael Knell (ESC)
  • Mid-Level Faculty Research Fellowship recipient – Corinne Blackmer (ENG)
  • Senior-Level Faculty Research Fellowship recipient – Elliott Horch (PHY)
  • Million Dollar Club Inductees – Barbara Aronson (NUR) and Elliott Horch (PHY)

A special note of thanks to the members of the various committees for their time and thoughtful deliberations in making these recommendations for my approval.

  • The Faculty Scholar Committee, chaired by William Lunn (EXS)
  • The Robert E. Jirsa Service Award Committee, chaired by Maria Diamantis (MAT)
  • The Research and Scholarship advisory Committee (RSAC), chaired by C. Michele Thompson (HIS)
  • The J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teaching Award Committee, chaired by Bonnie Farley-Lucas (COM)

 

EVENTS

In early March, the Department of History, the Multicultural Center, and the Black Student Union presented an evening with George Edwards, the founding member of the Connecticut State Chapter of the Original Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Siobhan Carter-David (HIS) hosted a 2 ½ hour interview followed by a public Q&A. This well-attended event touched on several important events and those in attendance addressed not only historical information but relevant issues still reverberating today.

Also in early March in celebration of International Women’s Day, Pina Palma (WLL, ITA) (through the support of a Faculty Development Grant) invited Ombretta Frau from Mount Holyoke College to talk on the subject, “Accidental Heroines: Spinsters in Early 20th Century Italy.” As part of the “Strong Women, Strong Voices” lecture series Dr. Frau presented her important research on this topic.

Just across the way the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies sponsored the 14th Annual Long Island Sound Seminar Series with Koty Sharp, Assistant Professor of Biology at Roger Williams University, presenting a talk, “Exploring New England’s Reefs: Using the Coral Astrangia poculata to Shed Light on Tropical Coral Microbiomes.” A few weeks later this coral was in view at the Werth Center Aquarium Open House.

On March 21st, Southern’s Science Building (SCI 111) hosted the Werth Center Aquarium Open House. Werth Center faculty and students provided information on the fish and invertebrates in the tanks, demonstrated how the organisms are fed, toured the basement filtration systems, and allowed students to interact with organisms in the touch tanks. Sean Grace (BIO) supplied samples of the temperate coral (Astrangia poculata) for viewing. The coral continues to thrive in the touch tank. The following students provided information and tours during the event: Nick DeVito (BIO), Hollie Brandstatter (EGMS), Nicole Woosley (BIO), Matthew Connors (EGMS), Mallery Breban (BIO) and Cassandra Bhageloo (BIO). Marine Sciences faculty, Vince Breslin (EGMS) and James Tait (EGMS) also participated in the event.   This Open House is part of a year-long celebration of the fish in the tanks. If you missed the birthday/anniversary cake, take a moment to walk through the Science Building and say hello to the fish in the tanks. Students and faculty are welcome to stop in the lab for viewing or questions when students are conducting water quality testing or feeding the fish.

The following day STEM-IL and the School of Education presented “Project EcoLearn: Virtual Enviroments & Augmented Reality for STEM and Inquiry Learning,” with Amy M. Kamarainen, Senior Research Manager from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Kamarainen shared research findings from recent projects (e.g., EcoMOBILE, EcoXPT, & EcoMOD) and future directions for using digital technologies for student engagement in and out of the classroom. A hands-on exploration followed her presentation.

Mary Brown (ENG) (with Elsie Okobi, EDL) through the support of a Faculty Development Grant presented on April 21st, a one-day workshop, “Bringing GIS into the Humanities and Education Classroom.” During the morning session, participants worked through a cookbook-style manual developed for this workshop by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Land use Education and Research (CLEAR). Geospatial Extension Educators from CLEAR assisted participants while leading them through interactive, hands-on learning. Participants also learned how to search for and incorporate existing GIS-based materials into their lessons. Participants left the workshop with a better understanding of how web GIS can be used as an effective tool in their classrooms and with resources, including a detailed manual and web links, to help ensure successful implementation in their curriculum.

Finally, we cannot post this blog without mentioning something about the big events associated with the Inauguration of President Joe. Among the many events scheduled for the week of celebration culminating with the inauguration are the Saturday celebration of service for students to work in New Haven neighborhoods; Sunday’s Celebration of Philanthropy to honor the current awardees of scholarships and those who have established them; Monday’s remembrance with the University Choir Concert in honor of Holocaust Memorial Day and the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the New Haven NAACP; Tuesday’s celebration of Student Leadership; Wednesday’s celebration of Faculty Scholarship; Thursday’s Student Appreciation day and New Haven Accepted Students’ day; and Friday’s Inauguration followed by a celebratory picnic. Do not forget to RSVP!

The pace of work in Arts & Sciences continues to accelerate!  Every department, discipline, and program in A&S has good news to report and multiple successes to trumpet. I am most proud that our students continue to take the lead on a wide variety of initiatives. Whether in the Humanities, the Arts, or the Sciences, our students continue to garner honors, praise, and meet with broad academic success. This Blog can only highlight a select few, but we celebrate and applaud all the work that is produced by our students, nurtured by our programs, and supported by our outstanding faculty.  

Student Success & Engagement

Just a sample of Southern’s presence at the recent Day of Action (January 26th)

Sara Baker (COM), in her first year at Southern, motivated several students to join her in Hartford for the Day of Action to support funding higher education in Connecticut. Her students along with others joined with the Reverend Doctor John L. Selders, Jr., one of the leaders of Moral Monday CT. Thirteen students majoring in Communication came to Hartford to lobby their state representatives and join in a rally on the capitol steps. Those students were Mary Parisi, Rebecca Krieger, Rabbie Acquah, Shi Atkins, Jazmin Capel, Christa Leone, Elena Manke, Jaquan Nelson, Carolyn Grace Petkevich, Jaak Rakfeldt, Stephanie Turcotte, Amani Ward, and Eric WilliamsClare Ryan organized a phone-in campaign with current students, alumni, and friends of Southern who contacted their representatives to voice their support for funding higher education. Political Science major Justin Farmar spoke at the rally and shared his story with the crowd. Faculty member Cindy Stretch (ENG) also addressed the crowd. She gave the audience an oral quiz about how funding cuts directly impacted them. Southern students were also part of the drum circle that provided a heartbeat for the rally. The Owls that were in attendance that day not only rose to the occasion, but truly soared.

Students at Hartford's Day of Action

The Theatre Department is celebrating its recent success at Western CT State University for the Region-1 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Eighteen students from Southern competed in various performance, directing and design-based performances, and presentations. In addition to competing, students attended workshops and networked with Professional Theatre Companies and Graduate School programs. Southern represented quite well and took home the following awards:

  • To the Cast for Distinction in an Ensemble Work for the production of The Boy Friend.
  • To the Ensemble for Outstanding Ensemble Production in the production of An Absolute Turkey.
  • To Cailey Harwood-Smith for Distinction in Properties Design for the production of The Boy Friend.
  • To Amelia Pizzoferrato for Distinction as Scenic Artist for the production of The Boy Friend.
  • To James McLoughlin for Honorable Mention in Sound Design & the Vectorworks Award in Design, Technology and Management also presented to James McCloughlin.
  • The National SDC Fellowship Program Excellence in Director-Actor Communication David Wheeler Award presented to Marcelle Morrisey. 

Brianna Bauch advanced to the final round of the Richard Maltby Jr. Musical Theatre competition, and Benjamin Cooperman and his scene partner Cantrell Cheeks II advanced to the semi-final round of the Irene Ryan Acting competition.

Julia Irwin (PSY) reports that the Psychology lab has been really productive in getting work out in the last 6 months. Graduate students Whitney Hoffman (MA ’16) and Jacqueline Turcios (BS ’14; MA ’15) are first authors on two manuscripts, and Nicole Volpe (BS ’11; MA ’15), Lori DiBlasi (BS ’15; MA ’17), and Taylor Rispoli (BA ’16) are co-authors for works on speech perception and autism.

More good news from the Creative Writing Program as Lynn Houston has happily reported that three poems written in one of Vivian Shipley’s (ENG) workshops were accepted for publication by the Marathon Literary Review, a journal produced by Arcadia University’s MFA program. Houston has also been accepted on the editor’s panel at the upcoming URI conference.

Katherine Sullivan has had a panel, “The Un-Real Mother: Character Development within Maternal Poetry,” accepted for the 9th Massachusetts Poetry Festival to be held in early May in Salem.

Rebecca O’Bern will join Sullivan at the same Poetry Festival where she will present on her experiences writing and organizing her first book as an MFA student.

The History Department is pleased to announce that Hanna Peterson (HIS ’15) has just been accepted to do a Ph.D. in Japanese History at the University of Michigan, one of the top programs in the country and Dan Fischer (MA candidate) will soon be heading to Notre Dame to enter their Ph.D. program. Also, Daisha Brabham (HIS “17) is a Fulbright Finalist.

Congratulations to all these students!

New and Special Events

Psychology recently hosted David Moore, Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, who gave a talk entitled, “Pain in Autism: Sensation, Feeling and Behaviours, What Might Differ?”  Members of the Psychology department also met with David to develop study-abroad opportunities for Psychology students at SCSU and LJMU, and we look forward to continued collaboration.

First Thursdays continues to provide faculty a venue in which to share their new scholarship. Armen Marsoobian (PHI) kicked off the spring semester offerings with “The Presence of Absence: Photography in the Ottoman Armenian Migrant Experience.” Darcy Kern (HIS) will present in March as part of the SCSU Symposium, What is Reform? 1517 to 2017 (see below). She will talk on “Religious Pluralism and Reform in the late Middle Ages.” History will represent again with the last talk of the semester in April. Jason W. Smith (HIS) will offer his work “Vessel of Memory: Mystic Seaport Museum, The Whaleship Charles W. Morgan.”

The Renaissance Studies minor at SCSU and the School of Arts & Sciences, with generous support from the Office of Faculty Development, is sponsoring an event to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation.  What is Reform? 1517 to 2017, a two-day interdisciplinary symposium, will take place March 2-3 at Southern and Southern on the Green. An interdisciplinary group of early modern scholars including our own Joel Dodson (ENG), presider, and Darcy Kern (HIS), presenter, will participate in this event  to ask what the prospects are for reforming and transforming society amidst the global volatility and upheaval today. Speakers and events will touch on a variety of topics – history, politics, religion, technology, and ecology – of interest to a wide audience. Faculty, staff, and students are welcome to attend.

In the category of coming events, be on the lookout for the Math Emporium opening Fall 2017 in the Basement of Buley. The Math Department, in particular Len Brin and Klay Kruczek, have been hard at work for many, many months to bring this physical manifestation of a reinvigorated math curriculum to fruition. The Emporium, serving about 75% of Southern students, will help them make the transition to college math courses, and the faculty role will become one of facilitator of student learning. More news to follow in the coming months.

For an event a bit more upcoming be sure to celebrate Mardi Gras and the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording at 7:30pm Tuesday evening, February 28th in the Garner Recital Hall. David Chevan (MUS) reminds that this year Mardi Gras is going to have a special commemorative twist to it as 100 years ago (on February 26th) the Original Dixieland Jass Band from New Orleans recorded two songs, “Livery Stable Blues” and “Original Dixieland One Step.” Please join the SCSU Jazz Standards Ensemble and Music Department Bands for the music, the parades, and, of course, the Mardi Gras beads.

Our Garner Recital Hall is getting makeover. EN C-112 has long served multiple purposes–classroom space, lecture hall, performance space, guest lecture space, as well as Southern’s only music recital hall.  This important space has been in need of a tech-upgrade for many years–I’m happy to report that Garner will get this necessary attention over the summer. Stay tuned for more information and details, but for all those who use Garner, this fall will bring may welcome improvements.

Faculty Shout-Outs

News came late in the fall semester, but congratulations are offered to Pina Palma (WLL) who was chosen to receive the 2016 Faculty Scholar Award for her work, Savoring Power, Consuming the Times: The Metaphors of Food in Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature. Pina will be honored at the Celebration of Excellence event during the spring semester. Be sure to attend.

Joining all the award-winning students in Theatre, Mike Skinner (THR) travelled with the group and also delivered his workshop, Sound for New Plays, to a group of approximately 25 students hailing from 8 different Universities across the Northeast Region.

Nikos Chrissidis (HIS) was awarded a book contract from I.B.Tauris for his book, Russian Pilgrimage to the Holy Land: Piety, Patronage and Politics from the Middle Ages to the Revolution.

Heather Vrana (HIS) published her monograph, Anti-Colonial Texts from Central American Student Movements with Edinburgh University Press. Prior to its release on February 1st, the book reached #1 in sales in Latin American literature on Amazon.com. Excellent news!

Our own Scott Graves (EGMS) was highlighted on the main Southern page for his use of drones for environmental research and conservation. He has donated nearly $10,000 worth of drones, mapping software and other related equipment to further the research efforts with drones among the members of the Southern community. Read the full story of his innovative work and interesting life on the main Southern webpage. Scott also has a leadership role in GLOBE – The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program, sponsored by NASA, NSF, and other government agencies. The 21st annual meeting will take place on Southern’s campus this summer.  Stay tuned for updates in an upcoming blog.

C. Michele Thompson (HIS) recently presented at Yale University for the Southeast Asia Studies Seminar.  Her talk, “The Gardens of Tranquil Wisdom: Tuệ Tĩnh and the Medical Environment of 14th Century Ðai Việt,” addressed the impact of this Vietnamese monk physician on early Vietnamese traditional medicine.

Julia Irwin (PSY) and Larry Brancazio (PSY) also deserve a shout out here as they have been working and publishing with the Psychology students mentioned above. We look forward to more exciting research from them.

In late December, Virginia Metaxas (HIS) appeared as a commentator on the Investigation Discovery Channel for an episode on the program, “A Crime to Remember.” She spoke about the sensationalized rape/murder case that took place in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1930s in which a white Naval officer’s wife falsely accused 5 young Hawaiian men of rape. When the first trial ended with a hung jury, Thalia Massie’s family and some Navy colleagues captured and murdered one of the young men as an “honor killing.” Clarence Darrow defended the family in the “Massie Affair,” one of the most notorious cases in Hawaiian history and a subject of study for race, gender, class, and the militarization of Hawaii.  

$$$ Matters & Sabbaticals

In closing this opening blog of the spring semester, we pause to congratulate the numerous A&S faculty who have received grants and sabbaticals for 2017-2018. You do the School and Southern proud!

Faculty Creative Activity Research Grants totaling $70,000 were awarded to 28 A&S faculty. The Dean’s Office applauds their proposals and looks forward to the impressive outcomes by Mike Rogers (ANT), Jeremy Chandler (ART). Camille Serchuk (ART), Meghan Barboza (BIO), Rachel Jeffrey (BIO), Sarah Wojiski (BIO), Adiel Coca (CHE), Todd Ryder (CHE), Mohammad Tariqul Islam (CSC), Audrey Kerr (ENG), Vara Neverow (ENG), Meredith Sinclair (ENG), Melissa Talhelm (ENG), Vince Breslin (EGMS), Patrick Heidkamp (EGMS), Nikos Chrissidis (HIS), Christine Petto (HIS), Heather Vrana (HIS), Val Pinciu (MAT), David Chevan (MUS), Chelsea Harry (PHI), David Pettigrew (PHI), Mattew Enjalran (PHY), Binlin Wu (PHY), Kelly Bordner (PSY), Ken Walters (PSY), Jesse Gleason (WLL), and Miaowei Weng (WLL).

Faculty Development Grants (ranging in amounts from $1800 to $4000) totaling over $22,000 will support such efforts as those by Armen Marsoobian for the “Philosophy Department Colloquium Series”; Kelly Bordner, Meghan Barboza, Rachel Jeffrey, & Kelly Stiver, for the “Biology/Psychology Joint Seminar Series”; Sean Grace, Jim Tait, & Vince Breslin for the “Fourteenth Annual Long Island Sound Seminar Series”; Pina Palma for “Strong Women, Strong Voices: The Italian Tradition, International Women’s Day”; Erin Larkin for “#Diversity-in-Media-Matters, a two-part lecture with film screenings by African Italian filmmaker, producer and activist Fred Kuwornu”; Trica Lin (with Amy Smoyer, SWK) for “The Role of Forgiveness and Atonement in Reducing the Number of Incarcerated Women in Connecticut”; and Mary Brown (with Elsie Okobi, EDL) for “GIS into the humanities and education classroom.”  Congratulations to everyone and we look forward to seeing these events on the calendar.

Congratulations also to all the A&S faculty granted sabbaticals in the upcoming AY 2017-2018: Ericka Barnes (CHE), Sean Grace (BIO); Joel Dodson (ENG); Nicole Fluhr (ENG); Vara Neverow (ENG); Kalu Ogbaa (ENG); George Rosso (ENG); Scott Graves (EGMS); Leon Yacher (EGMS); Troy Rondinone (HIS); Tricia Lin (MDS); Jo Ann Abe (PSY); Jessica Suckle-Nelson (PSY); and Todd Schwendemann (PHY).

Sorry we missed them . . .

In November the History Department and Southern CT State University hosted the Association for the Study of Connecticut History. Steve Amerman (HIS) and Siobhan Carter-David (HIS) served as commentators for two of the panels.

In December Pat Cumpstone (BS HIS ’15) participated in a series of exhibitions at Trinity College’s Watkinson Library and offered his individual work entitled “‘Can We Keep the Faith?’: The American Bible Society in the Flood of Evangelism, 1816-1850.”

Also in December the Creative Writing Program celebrated with Laura Ahking (MFA) as she was selected for the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences Graduate Fellowship for the year 2017. In fall 2017, Laura will present her research at a CAAS event. We look forward to hear her presentation.

Molly Miller (MFA) also shared good news. Her poem “How I Love” is going to appear in Love and Ensuing Madness, an anthology being edited by Rat’s Ass Review. What a great name for a journal!

Camille Serchuk (ART) and Troy Paddock (HIS) continue to organize the A&S Research Roundtable and welcomed Steve Larocco (ENG) as the first presenter of the spring in late January. Steve enjoyed a conversation with those attending on his sabbatical project on forgiveness. Be sure to look for upcoming Roundtables.

In early February, Tom Radice (HIS) hosted Yuhua JI, Professor of English at Xiamen University, for a talk on Current Trends in socio-cultural development in China: Perspectives on globalization and intercultural communication.

Frank Harris (JRN) was in New York on February 22nd taping a segment on the n-word and his film “Journey to the Bottom of the n-Word” with two others for the Fox 5 New York show “Street Soldiers with Lisa Evers.”

In late January Winnie Yu (CSC) announced an exciting new opportunity for a Summer Internship with the program, Plant Health Fellows. See this URL for  https://sites.google.com/site/planthealthfellows/ information. Deadline is March 10th!

Hello again! Here are the three videos I created from my trip to Italy. I went to Rome, Florence, and Pisa over an eight-day period. It was the biggest trip I went on in Europe but I went with my two Southern flat mates, Shannon and Andrea. We planned the entire trip on our own from the hostels, to trains across the Italian country side, to finding tours or simply exploring the cities ourselves! We got a lot of tips and advice from friends and family who have previously studied abroad or went to these cities.

The videos were all done with my iPhone and a selfie-stick. I held the selfie stick like holding someone’s hand so the entire blogs are meant to look as if YOU, the viewer, was with me the whole trip!

Italy has always been somewhere I wanted to go but it greatly exceeded my expectations. The Italian culture is simply beautiful from the language, to the historic roman architecture, and of course, the food! The people we met were also completely inspiring and enriched this experience. We me an older couple from Florida who raised kids and made a good life for themselves but then decided two years ago that they wanted more out of life. So what did they do? They sold their house and everything they owned, and have been traveling across Europe for the past two years. We were lucky enough to meet them in a café in Roma. We also met a nineteen-year old who was enjoying the views of the Vatican on his last day of his 11-month solo journey around the world.

My eyes of the world significantly got wider from this Italian adventure. It was an experience I will never forget. These videos try to do justice to what I saw and experienced for those eight days. I hope you enjoy them, and if I were you, start planning your trip to Italia!

Ciao!

America in Liverpool

Rome

Florence
Pisa

Greetings from New Castle! One of the reasons why I love my field is that it relates to tourism & travel. This 30 pound trip (about 40 USD) included transportation, a tour of 4 main attractions in New Castle, 1 night in a hotel, breakfast, and dinner. How can you beat that?! But putting the amenities aside, the trip was designed to help with my next assignment in my Conventions course.  I have to write a report as an employee of a company about why either New Castle or Liverpool is the best city to have an annual conference.

During the trip I got to visit the New Castle United Football Stadium, New Castle Keep, the Civic Centre, and (my favorite) The Castle of New Castle. Day 2 we went to The Sage where many events, conferences, and business exhibitions take place. I learned New Castle has 7 bridges and the city is rising to be a stronger competitor in the tourism & conferences industry.

All in all, it was a great two days. I enjoyed the company of the Level 5 students and the lecturers. Everyone made me feel very comfortable & I felt like I belonged J I also really enjoyed the bus ride home because I got to see the North Sea & the English country side which is just so beautiful.

Well, now I have to sign off & get ready for my next trip… ITALY!

Signing off,
America in Liverpool

November fifth is a holiday in the UK, particularly England. It is known as either Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night, and it has been celebrated since 1606. It commemorates the failure of what is known as the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. This was an attempt by several conspirators to blow up the House of Lords, killing everyone inside including King James I. They wanted to reinstate a Catholic ruler to the throne of England and Scotland. The conspiracy was thwarted when authorities found Guy Fawkes in the basement of the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder.

Since then, November fifth has been a major holiday for the country. It was originally celebrated by sermons and ringing bells, but has since evolved into a patriotic holiday much like the fourth of July, marked with firework displays all over the country. In Liverpool, the display was set off from barges on the waterfront, and I joined tens of thousands of others on both sides of the river to watch them. The official display lasted for about a half hour, but unofficial fireworks were going off all over the city for hours. Anywhere I looked I could see fireworks going off in rapid succession. Children carried sparklers and flashing lights through the streets. Overall, the city was in a great mood that day, and several days after. They had come together to celebrate, and it was great to be a part of.

Crowds gathered to see fireworks over the Mersey.
Crowds gathered to see fireworks over the Mersey.

Now that we all know the outcome of this remarkable election season, I want to recognize those faculty who ably represented Southern to our local/regional press. Your calm and thoughtful voices added a healthy dose of civility to an otherwise raucous and contentious debate. Thanks to all who helped us to better understand the complex and often confusing political world in which we now live.

As usual, Arts & Sciences has been very busy this fall semester. Many departments, programs, faculty, and students have continued to demonstrate the excellence that we have come to expect in the School. We have much to be proud of and much to celebrate!

RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Political Science recently hosted two events for Talented and Gifted Middle School Students (TAG) from New Haven Public Schools. On October 26th and November 2nd the Dean’s office was pleased to welcome these students to a two-hour Election Event that examined, socialization and political attitudes, campaign and media messages, and the electoral college and election mechanics. Members of the department, Tess Marchant Shapiro, Art Paulson, Jonathan Wharton, and Jennifer Hopper, presented material, facilitated discussion, and answered questions. The session concluded with a projection of the 2016 election results. Before leaving, political science majors, Corey Evans, Montrel Morrison, Michelle Rodriguez, Samantha Nelson, and Jamie Kelly, led the students on a tour of our university.

Kevin Buterbaugh, PSC Chair, reported that the teachers and students expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the PSC faculty and students and left with a positive impression of the university and its campus. The event was so well received that teachers of the TAG curriculum and PSC faculty are hoping to make this an annual event.

FIRST THURSDAYS

History was well represented at the first two fall semester contributions to First Thursdays. On October 6th at the Interdisciplinary Forum’s new venue, the Buley Art Gallery, Heather Vrana spoke about her research and forthcoming monograph, Don’t Mess with Us!: Guatemalan Students and the State, 1944-Present. More recently on November 3rd, Siobhan Carter-David presented her research on a side project related to her book manuscript on fashion and dress, but focused in particular on the Nation of Gods and Earths, “Supreme Style: Fashion, Aesthetics, and the Making of a Black Heterodox Islamic Tradition.” Faculty and students were treated to two enlightening discussions by these dynamic scholars.

Rounding out the fall semester Forum, First Thursdays will host another young scholar, Luke Eilderts (WLL), who will present his research, “Baring It for the Republic: The (Mis)Reading of a French Anti-Gay Marriage Movement.” Before France adopted its law allowing same-sex marriage in early 2013, the country was awash in debate and demonstrations. Opposing the law, a group known as HOMMEN defended “traditional” family values through public rallies and social media outlets. Their reception in French and English-language news media, however, uncovers compelling (mis)readings of contemporary French representations of masculinity. Faculty (and students) are always encouraged to attend these presentations to support the fascinating research on-going at Southern.

iGEM BEGINS IMPRESSIVELY

Nicholas Edgington (BIO) shared some exciting news. Our first ever SCSU iGEM team won a Bronze medal at this international competition. Unlike the Olympics where only three athletes or teams win medals, at iGEM many teams can achieve a medal award by demonstrating to the judges (based on the presentation, poster, and wiki website, genetic parts that were made, tested and submitted to iGEM repository etc.) that they have achieved various accomplishments, and the number of those accomplishments increase with each medal category. There are also the “Grand Prizes” for which the elite gold medal teams compete. Unlike kids soccer perhaps, not every team automatically gets a medal, so a bronze award is significant for us as a first effort.

It’s important to note that our iGEM team competed against institutions with far deeper pockets. Edgington reported, “We really had to scrape & struggle for everything, and thus are very proud that we managed to compete successfully.”  And compete they did as they shared the honor of a bronze medal with the likes of UConn, Northeastern, Yale, and Tufts.

STUDENT SUCCESS

At the National conference in New Orleans, Southern’s Campus Chapter for the Society of Professional Journalism won Region 1 Outstanding Campus Chapter Award for 2015-16. The Director of Region 1, Jane Primerano, presented the award “in recognition of outstanding programs and activities that enhance professionalism, thereby contributing service to the Society and to the profession.” Cindy Simoneau, JRN chair, said she was especially proud of the student chapter last year which offered a variety of campus programming and assisted with panel presentations and assisted the department with hosting the regional journalism conference on campus last April for professional and student journalists. The former president of the Campus Chapter, Monica Zielinski (JRN ’16) now works for a publication in Poland, Poland Today Magazine. See Southern’s webpage for an interview with Monica.

SPECIAL EVENTS

The Art Department hosted its initial exhibition and reception on October 27th in the Buley Art Gallery. Among those in attendance were President Joe Bertolino, Provost Ellen Durnin and Deans Steven Breese and Stephen Hegedus. This vibrant show featuring work from our outstanding Art Faculty is currently open to the public Monday-Thursday between 11am – 3pm until November 17th.

Journalism faculty and students were well represented once again at the 33rd Annual High School Journalism Day which attracted over 450 high school students and their teachers from across the state on Friday, Oct. 21. The total attendance was an increase of more than 100 from the previous year. After a welcome to Southern from President Joe Bertolino and discussion about the importance of the First Amendment in today’s society by Arts & Sciences Dean Steven Breese, keynote speaker Jenn Bernstein of Fox 61 discussed the multimedia aspects of her job covering politics in Connecticut. Journalism Department faculty offered 18 workshops throughout the morning for the students, and spotlighted the growing importance of drone photography with a demonstration by new assistant professor, Vern Williams.

FACULTY SHOUT-OUTS

Shafaeat Hossain (CSC) recently shared excellent news regarding his paper with undergraduate major, Mohamed Rilvan (BS, CSC ’18). Their work, “User Authentication and Identification on Smartphones by Incorporating Capacitive Touchscreen,” after a successful reviewer stage has been accepted in 35th IEEE — International Performance Computing and Communications Conference (IPCCC 2016). This acceptance is quite an honor as this premier CS conference has a challenging acceptance rate of 25.5% for this year’s meeting.

Under the auspices of the History Department, Byron Nakamura (HIS), our resident ancient historian, organized and hosted the recent Fall 2016 New England Ancient History Colloquium. On October 13th at Southern on the Green, leading ancient historians from the New England area attended talks on Athenian Economic history. Dr. Michael Leese from the University of New Hampshire was the keynote speaker and spoke on “The Intergenerational Transmission of Commercial and Financial Business Estates in Ancient Greece.” As the main commentator Professor Graham Oliver, from the department of Classics at Brown University, led a lively discussion including all of the scholars in attendance.

In our September Blog, we neglected to highlight the summer work of two physics majors, Richard J. Magnotti and Michael Schriefer, and their professor Evan Finch (PHY) whose CSU Research grant allowed them to visit Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.  They worked on part of the STAR (Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC) experiment at Brookhaven, a National Science Laboratory known for research in nuclear and particle physics. They join a prestigious group of physicists from around the world who travel to Brookhaven every year to use their Relativistic Heavy ion Collider. The purpose of RHIC heavy ion collisions is to recreate conditions that are believed to have existed in the first millionth of a second of the life of the universe. While the work was quite exhausting, the students found it extremely rewarding. And so much so, that they made three separate trips there – each visit, spending two to three days at a time.

Alan Brown (SOC), a new faculty member we coaxed away from Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2015, has had a chapter titled, “‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’: Sex Work, Marginalization and the Politics of Social Research,” accepted for the book, Studying Urban Crime, edited by Cognella by Robert Grantham.

The Daily Nutmeg New Haven recently ran a story on Southern’s MFA program, the only full-residency MFA program in the state. Tim Parrish (ENG/CRW) reflected on the benefits of such a program: “‘this sort of program ‘provides you a chance to have a community. You come in and you’re there with some seasoned writers. Then, after your first year, you get to be the seasoned writer.’” “SCSU attracts students with a greater range of ages and experiences. Many students already have careers, Parrish says. Age diversity is one of Rachel Furey’s favorite things about the program. Furey (ENG)—a new tenure-track faculty member—is also excited by SCSU’s unique Prose Class offering, where students can submit fiction and nonfiction in the same workshop.” Southern’s MFA program continues to produce active and creative writers. Liz Wager (MFA, CRW) developed a piece in Vivian Shipley’s graduate course (ENG 507) and recently had the poem, “Meeting a Stranger,” accepted for the winter issue of Able Muse.

Thanks to our membership in the LJMU International Society, we get the benefit of taking several free trips to locations throughout the UK. The first of these trips was to the northern city of York. Besides being the inspiration for “New York,” this city is full of history. Originally founded in the early first century, it is another reminder that English cities are much older than their United States counterparts.

York is just under two and a half hours away from Liverpool, to the Northeast. We travelled in a coach along with 40 other members of the International Society from all over the world. When the bus dropped us off, we were free to explore as we wished, and we had all day to do so. My flatmates and I set off on our own to discover what York had to offer.

As it turned out, York offered quite a bit. There was the architecture—gorgeous and intricate stone buildings from hundreds of years ago. In the center of the city towered the beautiful York Minster Cathedral, constructed between 1220 and 1472. Then there were “The Shambles,” a shopping district dating back to the 14th century. “The Shambles” resembled Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, with narrow streets and eclectic leaning buildings.

Aside from the historic architecture, there was also a good deal of natural beauty in York. In fact, one of the first sights we saw upon arriving was an exhibition showcasing many of the area’s native birds including owls and falcons. The city is home to two rivers, the Ouse and the Foss, and the bridges over them provided a great vantage point from which to view the tree lined riverbanks and the numerous rowers paddling along. Another great spot from which we could take in the natural and architectural sights was the city wall.

York, like many other medieval cities, was defended by a mighty stone wall surrounding it. Much of the wall remains from the 14th century when it was renovated. In fact, it has more wall than any other city in England. To end our day in York, we walked along a few miles of the wall, taking in the view of the city and the surrounding land. Unfortunately, by this late in the day, my camera had run out of battery so I couldn’t get any pictures, but it was a great perspective to see from. I felt immersed in the history of York as I walked along the same stretch of wall and looking at the same buildings that people have been walking along and seeing for hundreds of years.

The grandest of all, Buckingham Palace.

London is one of the world’s great cities, so it was a must for us to plan a trip down to see it while we’re here. On Friday night after we all had finished our classes, we took a two and a half hour train ride from Liverpool’s Lime Street Station to London’s Euston Station. From there, it was only a short walk to the hostel we were staying at. The great thing about studying in Europe is that if you take advantage of the public transportation and hostels, it is much more affordable to travel around than it is to travel from the United States, and the semester affords you plenty of opportunities to do so.

Despite the fact that Liverpool and London are both UK cities, they each have a completely unique character. Liverpool is a diverse port city, but London is the most diverse city in the world. Liverpool has a compact and easily navigable city center, while London has a larger land area than Los Angeles, and as many people as New York City. Liverpool has a history to be proud of, but London’s history is the history of the Western World; from its settlement by the Romans in the year 43 all the way up to today where it is still a center for culture, finance, and politics. We wanted to take in as much of this history as we possibly could in the 3 days we had available to us.

On Saturday morning, we woke bright and early to take advantage of the free walking tour that our hostel provided. This tour was entertaining, informative, and good exercise, as it lasted nearly 3 hours and covered all of the major tourist attractions in London. We saw several palaces including the grandest of them all, Buckingham Palace, home of her majesty the Queen. We also saw the Elizabeth Tower (home of Big Ben, which is actually the bell in the tower and not the tower or the clock itself), the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, King’s Cross Station (where Harry Potter departs for Hogwarts from platform 9 ¾), and the River Thames.

After the tour ended, we continued on our own to see the Shard (the tallest building in the UK), the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and the London Eye. All-in-all, it was a busy and interesting day, filled with equal parts history and beautiful architecture.

On Sunday, having seen all of the major attractions, we decided to venture into some other areas of town. First, we went to Camden Market, a massive area of open air vendors selling all kinds of goods from intricate lamps to sweatshirts to foods from all over the world. After we spent a couple of hours there, we set out to find Abbey Road, home of the studio where The Beatles recorded many albums and the famous crosswalk which graced the cover of one of those albums. This was a bit out of the way, but it allowed us the opportunity to take a double decker bus and see many of the more residential and less touristy parts of the city. It also allowed us a great vantage point from which to see some of the many sports and luxury cars that Londoners drive around—from Lamborghinis and Ferraris to Aston Martins and Rolls Royces.

Later that night, my flatmates took a train back to Liverpool, but I stayed for one more night to catch a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. This venue was by far the nicest I’ve ever been in, and it is another wonderful example of the gorgeous architecture that London has to offer. Before the show, I spent a few hours in the Kensington and Chelsea Library doing my reading for the next day’s classes, and another hour or so enjoying the view of a rainbow from Hyde Park. All in all, it was a perfect way to end a wonderful trip. In those three days, I realized that London lives up to its reputation as a great city, but I also realized how much I appreciate Liverpool. When I got off the train back in Liverpool in the relative quiet of the early morning, I at once felt comfortable and at home. The streets of Liverpool are familiar to me, and I feel like I belong there, away from the hustle and bustle of a 24-hour city like London.

Here I am on the Roman Walls!

October 15th, 2016

Greetings from York England!

Ever since I decided to study abroad, I made it a goal to take up as many opportunities as I can; my trip to York was no different. This trip to York was FREE through the International Society at LJMU! Everyone on the trip was from different countries & not only was it incredibly fascinating to hear everyone’s stories and perspectives, but we also got to travel somewhere new together!

I spent the day exploring the enchanting city that was home to Roman walls and castles, lopsided stores and alleyways, and the European birth city of chocolate! There were dozens of chocolate shops and it was quite common to see crowds at the store’s windowsill because you could see delicious fudge being handcrafted right before your eyes.

I wanted to experience the most of my seven hours in York so I started by enjoying a traditional York Pudding. It was absolutely delicious but I found that York Pudding is everything you will find at a Thanksgiving meal (turkey, gravy, potato, string beans, mushrooms, and stuffing) but meshed together in a giant pastry! I also ate some York chocolate and a KitKat bar since York is where the KitKat was invented.

Beyond chocolate, York is known as a very old medieval city with a rich and haunting history. (Fun fact: York is the most haunted city in England!) In the afternoon I did a “Dungeon Tour” of York where the tour group of approximately twenty people and I became “peasants.” Similar to a haunted house, we moved room to room and learned about the haunting history of York such as the black plague and the witch trials.

The Clifford’s Tower was my favorite part of the day. It was exactly what I imagined a castle to look like but to see and touch it in person was unforgettable. Fun history facts: the tower was built in 1086 by William the Conqueror. However, over the many, many years of tragic events, the tower has been burned down and rebuilt dozens of times but much of it stands tall today. The Clifford Tower sits in the middle of the Roman Walls that surround it. The original structure of the wall goes back to the Roman period but the Danish Vikings destroyed most of the wall when they invaded York in AD 866.  The wall was rebuilt in the 13th and 14th century and that is what is remaining today! (I love history!)

York was a beautiful city with so much to offer. I would definitely recommend going if you are in the UK! I took tons of videos and pictures but sadly I didn’t properly save them :(. Ironically, the only video that was saved is me throwing a coin into a wishing well on the roof of Clifford’s Tower…I should have wished to never lose my videos, haha! Oh well, luckily I sent some pictures to my mum!

Thanks for following me & my adventures, until next time!

Signing off,

AmErica in Liverpool

It has already been 19 days since I arrived in Liverpool, and with each passing day I feel more and more comfortable here. During my first week, I struggled with a brief bout of jet lag which saw me awake and asleep at all the wrong times, but I have long since conquered that. Overall, I have been able to adjust to life in a new city quite well.

During the first week I was here alone, so I explored the city by myself on foot. I was able to enjoy the great end-of-summer weather that there was in early September. I saw the waterfront and the Albert Dock, where I spent hours looking out across the River Mersey to the Wirral Peninsula on the other side and enjoying the breeze. I saw both of the huge cathedrals that the city is home to, the Metropolitan and the Anglican. I found my school, about a 15 minute walk from my residence accomodation. I found the Echo Arena. I found the Bombed Out Church from World War II. I found St. George’s Hall (which was used as a filming location for the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off) and dozens of other gorgeous buildings and landmarks.

As I explored the city, a wonderful thing began to happen. Rather than needing to use my phone as a map all of the time, I could recognize my location by sight and navigate through memory. It is an extrordinary thing to learn your way around in a new city, and it is one of the best ways to feel more at home in that city. Not feeling lost all of the time goes a long way toward not feeling out of place. Besides just learning the streets, there were a few other things which required getting used to. The money is different, they use many more coins here than in the U.S. They drive on the opposite side of the road, so I have to remember to look the opposite way when crossing the street. They use different terms, for example “Cheers” means thank you and they call courses “modules”, among many others. It is truly enjoyable to learn and adapt to these differences, and it gives me a great sense of appreciation for the culture of this place.

After a little over a week of living by myself, my flat-mates arrived. They are all fellow SCSU students, and they are all great people. Two of them, Erica Surgeary and Shannon O’Malley are also keeping blogs which you should check out as well. All of us get along great, and it is nice to have others in the same situation learning how to live in this great city together.

Our first major outing as a group was to a food festival in a local park. There were hundreds of stands with foods from all different cultures. I had the interesting opportunity to try a zebra burger which, somewhat surprisingly, was quite good. We have also gone to a pub in the city center to watch the Liverpool F.C. match versus Chelsea. There were hundreds of joyous Liverpool fans singing together as they defeated their competitors. This was a somewhat foreign environment for me personally as a Chelsea supporter, but it was impossible not to enjoy the electryfing environment.

The people here have been nothing but kind, welcoming, and helpful. I have already met and made friends with people from all over the UK, from Ireland, from the Netherlands, from Romania, from Hungary, from France, from Italy, from China, and from India, all come to study here in Liverpool. Indeed, Liverpool is a great student city. It is accessible, safe, cheap, and full of things to do. It is striking how similar we all are despite our different backgrounds, and the world feels just a little bit smaller for it.

Classes finally begin tomorrow, Monday the 26th of September, after a week of registration and introductory information. I am looking forward to studying Shakespeare, British literature, and fiction writing here at LJMU. I can’t wait to meet all of my professors and my classmates. Here’s to a good semester!

Chris Rowland