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STEM

A first-generation college student, Jacquelynn Garofano, ‘06, is paying it forward by mentoring some of tomorrow's most promising engineers.

Never underestimate the power of a great mentor. As a first-generation college student, Jacquelynn Garofano, ’06, came to Southern to major in physics — and, within that first year, was conducting research in the physics lab. “The catalyst that really set me on my path was meeting and working with Professor [of Physics Christine] Broadbridge. She was instrumental in igniting my love of materials research and guiding me in the pursuit of a doctoral degree,” says Garofano.

Today, Garofano has come full circle, mentoring the next generation of engineers as the program manager of the Margaret Ingels Engineering Development Program at United Technologies, a new entry-level program for top engineering students. Participants rotate through four six-month assignments across the United Technologies business units, such as Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace.

This focus on education echoes Garofano’s early career. Under Professor Broadbridge’s leadership, she held several positions with the Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena (CRISP), a National Science Foundation-funded partnership between Southern and Yale University. Its goal: to share the wonders of science with K-12 students, college students, and educators. Garofano’s commitment to Southern remains strong — and this fall, she joined the SCSU Foundation Board of Directors.

“The two pillars that my career stands on are mentorship and networking,” says Garofano. “Over all this time, a simple but powerful mantra has struck with me: ‘I want to be for someone what Christine was for me,’ and it has materialized in a profound why.”

She’s a STEMinist: Garofano advocates for increasing the presence of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). “Representation matters (#SeeHerBeHer). As a first-generation college student, I was fortunate to have a strong female role model and mentor at Southern: Christine Broadbridge, [professor of physics and executive director of research and innovation]. Now that I’m a professional woman in the tech industry, I make every effort to share my journey and empower young students — but young girls and women, in particular.”

A few accomplishments: Garofano earned a doctorate from the University of Connecticut and was named a “Woman of Innovation” by the Connecticut Technology Council (2011); was spotlighted on the “40 under 40” lists of outstanding young professionals compiled by Connecticut Magazine (2013) and Hartford Business Journal (2015); and was honored by the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund for advancing women and girls in the STEM field.

On the job: “As program manager of the Ingels program, I have the privilege of cultivating and leading the next generation of engineers who will shape our future. Frankly, this is what attracted me to this role,” says Garofano, who has complete oversight of the program. Her responsibilities include: leading recruiting activities, managing associate rotation schedules, and planning training curriculum for both technical and leadership development.

On board: “I’m thrilled to have been asked to serve on the SCSU Foundation Board of Directors and look forward to the opportunity to support Southern’s mission of providing exceptional, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities to students through the work of the foundation.

A mighty mentor: Last fall, Garofano was approached by a young woman, Edwina Lorient, a native of Haiti, who was studying mechanical engineering. “Edwina was interested in learning more about the different aspects of engineering and hearing about my experience as an engineer,” says Garofano. “She shared with me her desire to use her engineering skills to support her family and community in Haiti with innovative solutions to provide pure water and clean energy,” she says. Garofano encouraged her to apply for summer research experiences, directed her to the Leadership Summer Research-Early Identification Program through The Leadership Alliance, and guided her through the application process. “I was elated when she told me that she was accepted into Brown University’s program for the summer! The return on my seemingly effortless investment has been massively rewarding, not just for Edwina in securing a research fellowship, but, for me also, because I’ve been able to be ‘that person’ for an aspiring young woman engineer,” she says.

Words of wisdom: “I encourage our program associates to build a strong professional network (as they have a unique opportunity to have four different roles across our enterprise), but most importantly, enjoy the journey and have fun!” she says.

Southern Alumni Magazine cover, Fall 2019, featuring Peter Marra, '85

Read more stories in the Fall ’19 issue of Southern Alumni Magazine.

Following a national search, Dr. Therese Bennett has been appointed as the associate dean for STEM in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Bennett joined Southern in 1996 as a full-time assistant professor in the Mathematics Department. In 2001, she was tenured and promoted to associate professor. Six years later, Bennett was promoted to professor of mathematics. Between 2010-2016, she served as department chairperson. Bennett has also served as co-director of the LEP with distinction and has worked tirelessly to ensure the seamless transfer of hundreds of students to Southern.

Dr. Therese Bennett

She earned a B.S. at Temple University and an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh.

Bennett brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to the associate deanship position and will work closely with the associate dean for the liberal arts and the dean of arts and sciences to advance the mission of the School and the University.

Bennett’s first day will be August 30.

Presenters and attendees of the Material Science and Manufacturing in front of SCSU's science building

Science and mathematics educators from various communities in southern Connecticut revved up their engines during the recent fifth annual Materials & Manufacturing Summer Teachers Institute.

One of the highlights of the institute was when the teachers manufactured their own stirling engines, which they placed on top of their coffee mugs. A stirling engine is a closed-cycle heat engine that uses cyclic compression and expansion of air to produce energy.

“The exercise enabled the teachers to gain a better understanding of the real-world value of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), as well as the many career opportunities available in manufacturing. Both are primary purposes of the program,” said Christine Broadbridge, co-director of the institute. She serves as dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Innovation at Southern.

“By demonstrating the practical side of STEM, the teachers are better able to take that knowledge and awareness and develop innovative teaching methods to help inspire and prepare middle and high school students for STEM-related fields,” Broadbridge said.

Faculty listening to presentation at Southern's science center

The four-day workshop included general discussions on education and manufacturing topics; the development of lesson plans in small groups with other teachers, hands-on scientific experiences, and tours of schools and area manufacturing firms. It was co-sponsored by Southern, the New Haven Manufacturers Association (NHMA), the Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena (CRISP) at Yale and Southern (which is a materials research science and engineering center that receives funding from the National Science Foundation), and an array of community partners throughout the region and state.

The institute was coordinated by SCSU, and included hands-on sessions at Platt Tech of Milford, as well as tours at Leed Himmel Industries of Hamden and Assa Abloy Door Security Solutions in New Haven.

Nearly 30 teachers participated, including those from school districts such as New Haven, Bridgeport, Milford, Stratford and Hartford.

Teachers at the Manufacturing and Material Science workshop

Speakers included SCSU President Joe Bertolino; Robert Prezant, SCSU provost and vice president for academic affairs; Jim Gildea, director of manufacturing at Bigelow Tea; Kris Lorch, president of Alloy Engineering Company Inc. of Bridgeport; Robert Klancko, partner, Klancko & Klancko, LLC, and co-director of the institute; Dave Tuttle, chairman of manufacturing technologies at Platt Tech; Greg AmEnde, instructor of manufacturing technologies; Drew Most, chairman of manufacturing technologies at Bullard-Havens Tech in Bridgeport; Carol Jenkins, CRISP education and outreach coordinator, and institute coordinator; and various state officials.

 

More than a dozen science students attended the CT Health and Life Sciences Career Initiative “Bioscience Careers Forum” on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. The event was held at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington.

The forum gave students some crucial advice for gaining a competitive edge in the bioscience career market, from CV boosts to ideal skills and mindsets for getting hired. But perhaps the most impactful aspect of the forum was the opportunity for students to network across Connecticut state colleges and universities and with some of the state’s biggest names in bioscience, including:

  • Matthew McCooe, CEO, Connecticut Innovations
  • Todd Arnold, Ph.D., director of Mount Sinai Genetic Testing Laboratory
  • John Davidson, Ph.D., CSO and Co-Founder, Tangen Biosciences
  • Rong Fan, Ph.D., Co-founder and Board Director of IsoPlexis; associate professor of biomedical engineering at Yale
  • Ellen Matloff, M.S., president and CEO, My Gene Counsel
  • Clifton McPherson, Ph.D., vice president, Regulatory CMC at Protein Sciences Corporation
  • Rajiv Pande, Ph.D., president and CEO, Smpl Bio
  • Petros, Tsipouras, MD, CEO, GenePraxis; adjunct professor at Yale School of Medicine

In Connecticut, the health and life sciences represent an area of strategic growth supported by significant public and private investment. Approximately 200,000 people in the state work in health and life science industries, with another 11,000 additional jobs expected in the next eight years.

The Health and Life Sciences Career Initiative (HL-SCI) is designed to prepare workers to take on these new jobs with a particular focus in recruitment on veterans, TAA-eligible workers (those displaced by foreign trade), dislocated, unemployed and under-employed workers. Learn more.

 

 

    Academic Science and Laboratory Building Ribbon Cutting

    Students engaged in scientific research at Southern now have a state-of-the-art facility and cutting-edge equipment that will better prepare them for the 21st century.

    A ribbon-cutting to mark the ceremonially opening of the university’s Academic Science and Laboratory Building was held Friday in front of SCSU’s students, faculty and staff, as well as local and state dignitaries, and business leaders.

    Academic Science and Laboratory Building

    The building – a four story, 103,608 square-foot-facility – will be the “focal point” for the university’s science programs. It connects with Jennings Hall, which has been the main science building at SCSU for more than three decades. Morrill Hall, also used by SCSU for science classes, labs and offices, is connected to Jennings. The three buildings provide the university with a new “science enclave.”

    “This signature building will truly enhance our ability to foster the next generation of Connecticut’s scientists,” said SCSU President Mary A. Papazian. “Certainly, the need for new facilities for our science programs was clear, as our enrollment in STEM courses has been steadily increasing, in step with workforce demand in these fields. By producing more graduates with much-needed expertise in science and technology, Southern will continue to be a key player in Connecticut’s economic revival.”

    Student Katherine Perez and Nanotechnology
    Katherine Perez, a physics major and New Haven Promise scholar, said the new building gives all STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students the opportunity to explore the many different scientific fields.

    “This building was constructed for the sole purpose of giving its occupants the ability to think freely, to think outside the box,” Perez said. “The new laboratories are spacious and equipped with the latest, state-of-the-art equipment and technologies so that each student has the necessary tools to help improve their academic learning and research. (They) also provide students with the ability to conduct more collaborative research, which is an experience every STEM student should have since (it) is an important skill to have when working in industry.”

    Other speakers included Merle Harris, a member of the state Board of Regents for Higher Education; Steven Breese, SCSU dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; Ted Gresik, senior director, North America service, environmental health for PerkinElmer; Thomas Fleming, chairman of the SCSU Department of Earth Science; Kristin DeRosia-Banick, environmental analyst for the state Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture; and Pasquale Salemi, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Construction Services.

    The “L-shaped” building features a brick and glass exterior, as well as a skywalk to Jennings. Academically, the building will host teaching and research labs for physics, earth science, environmental science, molecular biology and chemistry. It includes a high performance computing lab for research in theoretical physics, bioinformatics and computer science.

    The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) Center for Nanotechnology is located on the ground floor. On the first floor, a saltwater Aquaria Room with a touch tank will be featured and will be a centerpiece of outreach to area schools and the community. In addition, a giant, model nanotube runs through the middle of the building and will light up dramatically as an additional attraction.

    Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies, Touch Tank

    The Werth Center for Marine and Coastal Studies is housed on the first and second floors. The center has several new labs, including an analytic lab (where mercury levels can be determined) and a sediment coastal science lab (where levels of sediment can be tested).

    Other amenities include an outdoor rock garden showcasing rocks indigenous to Connecticut; a sustainable rain harvester system that collects and stores up to 40,000 gallons of water underground, which later is dispersed to reduce landscape watering consumption by 50 percent; rooftop telescopes operated via the third floor Astronomy Room; a pair of 50-seat general purpose classrooms, as well as office space and study/common areas.

    Rain Harvester

    Centerbrook Architect and Planners of Centerbrook is the architectural firm in change of the $49 million project. FIT Construction Inc. of Farmington is the contractor.

    “This building is filled with awe-inspiring science with far reaching implications,” said Christine Broadbridge, SCSU director of STEM initiatives.

    Broadbridge announced that SCSU is naming its model carbon nanotube in honor of PerkinElmer in recognition of the company’s leadership participation during the initial outfitting of the labs and for its recent collaborative efforts with the university.

    PerkinElmer, a company headquartered in Massachusetts with a facility in Shelton, Conn., and which delivers instruments and services designed to help improve human and environmental health, has installed hi-tech scientific laboratory instrumentation in the new building.

      During the summer, area science and math teachers got a lesson from manufacturing experts in how those disciplines are intertwined with the needs of business and industry.

      The third annual Materials and Manufacturing Summer Teachers Institute – a three-day program that brings together academic and industrial leaders in an effort to better prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers – was launched at Southern, where about 20 teachers participated in a day of activities. The next two days were conducted at other locations.

      State Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell delivered the keynote address. Other speakers included James Gildea, a representative of Bigelow Tea; Christine Broadbridge, SCSU director of STEM initiatives and co-director of the summer institute, and Bob Klancko, co-director of the summer institute, and chairman of the New Haven Manufacturing Association Workforce Development Committee. Stephen Hegedus, dean of the SCSU School of Education, and Robert Forbus, associate professor of marketing and assistant to the dean of the School of Business at SCSU, also were among the array of speakers throughout the day.

      Industry product demonstrations were conducted to show how STEM is applied in manufacturing. The demonstrations included taking a hunk of zinc and turning it into a cast/machined product, and converting a steel cylinder into a high tech bolt/screw.

      “It was a terrific learning opportunity for teachers to see just how valuable STEM is in 21st century manufacturing,” Broadbridge said. “One of the primary objectives of the institute is for those teachers to take this knowledge and awareness, and develop innovative teaching methods to help inspire and prepare middle and high school students for STEM-related fields.”

      The institute was a collaborative effort that included SCSU; the New Haven Manufacturers Association; Platt Technical High School in Milford; the Southern Connecticut chapter of ASM; the SCSU Office for STEM Innovation and Leadership (STEM-IL); CRISP (Center for Research on the Interface Structures and Phenomena at Yale University and SCSU). Peter Dimoulas, a science teacher at Career High School in New Haven, was presented an award from the institute for his efforts to promote STEM. He participated in the first year of the program.

      “He has exemplified what our institute is all about – learning more about the practical applications of STEM in industry, and then taking that awareness and creating opportunities for students to see for themselves the possibilities available to them using STEM,” Broadbridge said.

      “Peter is also linking manufacturing with important life science fields, including biotechnology. STEM-IL is pleased to be sponsoring his work this summer.”

      Dimoulas has created a half-year course at Career called “STEM Careers,” in which students will be able to go to local businesses to see what life is like for chemists, biologists, machinists, engineers and other science-based professionals.