Monthly Archives: April 2015

Spring weather has arrived. But for students, it is often wedded to the anxiety of final exams.

Spring has sprung. But for students, the gift of the warmer weather often comes with a price: the anxiety of final exams and projects.

The finish line of the semester or school year is in sight, but it can’t be reached before completing the tests, projects, theses and whatever else must be done — hopefully successfully.

Wise Words has posted some helpful tips for those who are going through this challenging period.

One previous post talks about how to study for final exams. Another talks about how to de-stress.

    Biology students at Southern have joined the quest to find new antibiotics at a time when an increase in drug-resistant bacteria threatens the lives and health of the public.

    SCSU is participating in the Small World Initiative, an international undergraduate research collaborative, designed to help address the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics through the discovery of antibiotics from soil bacteria. More than five dozen colleges and universities – most of which are in the United States — are taking part in the program spearheaded by Jo Handelsman, a Yale professor who was appointed by President Barack Obama last year to the position of associate director for science in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

    A total of 32 SCSU students took soil samples during the 2015 spring semester from locations around Connecticut. The students then examined the samples for bacteria that were able to kill other bacteria. The chemicals from those attacking bacteria were then extracted and tested.

    “We already have had a good deal of success in that more than half of our students were successful in finding bacteria that killed other bacteria, and then successfully extracted the chemicals from them. In other words, they have found antibiotic-producing bacteria,” said Elizabeth Lewis Roberts, SCSU assistant professor of biology. Roberts teaches the biology course that is part of the Small World Initiative.

    “The next step will involve testing those samples further to determine whether they are antibiotics that already exist, or are brand new,” she added. “We hope to conduct that testing during the next year. I am optimistic that we will find new antibiotics, but obviously various levels of testing will be needed in the years ahead to see if they can be used medically.”

    John D’Alessandro, a senior biology major and resident of Brookfield, said the project has generated considerable excitement. “It’s a hands-on type of lab course that creates a lot of enthusiasm. There is a real need to find new alternatives to the existing antibiotic supply and it’s exciting to be part of that effort.”

    Roberts applied to participate in the program and received approval last year. The biology course that is part of the Small World Initiative is scheduled to be taught again in the spring 2016 semester.






    A small number of hooligans react violently after their favorite sports team loses — or wins — important games. It sometimes entails setting fires, such as was the case recently with some University of Kentucky men’s basketball fans after losing to Wisconsin at the FInal Four.

    There are loyal fans, rabid fans, and then there are the hooligans.

    Those University of Kentucky fans who lit fires on the street following their team’s loss to Wisconsin in the recent NCAA men’s basketball semifinal fall into that third category. And so do those individuals who may have encouraged those lighting the fire.

    Oh, Kentucky is hardly unique. Most of their fans are good people who are loyal to the school. In fact, we have seen rioting behavior in all parts of the country after many sporting events. In some cases, it’s not even fans of the losing team who engage in this kind of activity, but fans of the victorious team.

    And it’s not just an American thing. If you’re a fan of world soccer, you know that it happens around the globe.

    Why do people resort to this kind of behavior? Find out in a blog post from Last April.

      The SCSU Chemistry Department has developed a couple of new formulas designed to bolster student success in the workforce.

       The department now offers an accelerated B.S./M.S. degree program, commonly referred to as the “Four plus One” program. It will allow students to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. Typically, it would take a student six years (four years for the bachelor’s and two years for the master’s).

      Students can apply for acceptance into the program after their junior year. If accepted, they will be required to start graduate courses, as well as M.S. degree thesis research, during their senior year (in addition to the normal requirements for a B.S. degree). During their fifth year, students complete their course work, as well as a second year of research to finish their M.S. thesis. Students are required to have and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

      Two major advantages of this program are that students can enter the workforce a year earlier than they would normally, which reduces the cost of their education, and they work closely with faculty on research projects intended to improve their chances of landing a job.

      Meanwhile, the Chemistry Department also recently started a professional science track within the current Master of Science degree program. The track is designed for students who seek advanced training in both chemistry and business. The 36-credit curriculum is divided equally between credits in chemistry and business administration.

      The program is geared toward students who are in the chemistry field and wish to pursue a managerial position.

      Among the benefits are the development of analytical and critical thinking skills needed when interpreting data, and improving communication skills for the dissemination of chemical information to colleagues and the public. It is intended primarily for students seeking a career in the sciences in business, government or non-profit organizations.

      The new graduate-level chemistry track follows the creation of an M.S. in applied physics program, which also includes a curriculum that combines science and business courses. That program has two focus areas – materials science/nanotechnology and optics/optical instrumentation.

      Both are part of a university effort to enhance students’ marketability upon graduation and to meet Connecticut’s changing workforce needs for the years ahead.





        The crown jewels of Buley Library have returned home after several years away. Four magnificent stained-glass windows were recently reinstalled in the library after being removed while the building was undergoing construction. Two arched windows, known as the “Hector” window and the “Water Brooks” window, among three donated by the First Church of Christ in New Haven, are considered masterful examples of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Along with a third arched window known as “The Angel of Praise,” the “Hector” and “Water Brooks” windows are now on the south side of the first floor of the renovated section of the library, near the Reference Desk and computer area. These windows were originally donated to the university in the 1960s and installed in Buley in 1972. A fourth window, known as the “Congregational” window — donated by the North Stonington Congregational Church in the 1990s — is also on the south side, in the two-level reading area that starts on the second floor of the connector between the original library building and the addition built in recent years. Both locations illuminate the windows with natural light during the day and are also be visible at night from the outside.

        Buley's Tiffany WindowThe three arched windows were the first major works of art the university acquired for permanent exhibition. They were originally installed for public display in the library’s main reading lounge, set in shadow boxes with back lighting. It was believed that this manner of displaying the windows was the first incidence of former church windows being exhibited as art works in a public building, aside from museums. The windows were removed when construction began on the library, and they were restored and kept in storage until their new home became ready for them.

        The Tiffany windows are considered to be fine examples of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), a renowned designer, painter, and craftsman who remains one of America’s most influential and celebrated artists. Tiffany founded the Tiffany Glass Company on December 1, 1885. He focused on new methods of glass manufacture, and before opening his studio, he had registered a patent for opalescent window glass, in which several colors were combined and altered to create an inconceivable range of hues and three-dimensional effects. Tiffany devoted himself to “the pursuit of beauty” and the elevation of American Arts and Crafts into a fine art.

        Tiffany’s studio achieved national and international recognition when he was commissioned to produce stained-glass windows for the interior homes of Mark Twain, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the White House under President Chester A. Arthur. Tiffany’s unparalleled style – reflected most notably in his glass vases, tiles, mosaics, and particularly his glass table lamps and lampshades – greatly influenced the Art Nouveau movement. The artistic pieces he produced between the 1890s and 1918 were dazzling, exquisite, exotic, and of the highest quality, thus forever joining his name with the ideal of elegance.

        Unfortunately, by the time of his death in 1933, there had been a decline in the interest and popularity of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, matched by a drop in the market for Tiffany’s works. With the advent of the Art Moderne and Expressionist movements, the popularity of Tiffany’s signature design and style was diminished.

        It was Dr. Robert Koch, (Professor Emeritus, 1918-2003) a decorative arts expert and Louis C. Tiffany’s biographer, who set in motion a revival of interest in Tiffany’s Art Nouveau glasswork designs.

        His scholarly infusion into Tiffany’s legacy led to a resurgence in popularity and increased demand for Tiffany works. Born in New York City and educated at Harvard and New York universities, Koch served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945 and in 1958 earned a doctorate in art history at Yale University.

        For over 20 years, he served as a faculty member and was an art historian in the Art Department at Southern. Upon his retirement, Koch’s significant contributions earned him professor emeritus status. He was the author of several books on Tiffany, and he donated rare Tiffany works to several museums. Koch was responsible for the donation to Southern of the Tiffany windows.

        A jawbone (not pictured above), recently discovered in Ethiopia and estimated at 2.8 million years old, is believed to be a link between the ape man and the earliest humans.

        Now this jaw bone is a little long in the tooth. Make that a lot long.

        An Arizona State University student recently discovered what appears to be the oldest jawbone from man’s ancestors ever found. The fossil was unearthed in the Afar region of Ethiopia and is believed to be 2.8 million years old.

        The jawbone – the left side of the lower jaw with five teeth, to be exact – contains elements of both the Australopithecus afarensis, sometimes referred to as the “ape man,” and the genus homo, which is responsible for the human lineage. It most likely involves the species “homo habilis,” an early and primitive human.

        The discovery appears to fill in some scientific gaps between the two with fossils dated at 3 million years old and 2.3 million years old having previously been found. The fossils from the latter are more similar to man. The implications for this discovery, published in the journal “Science,” are major.

        Michael Rogers, professor of anthropology at Southern, says the anatomical characteristics are consistent with an intermediate between Australopithecus and homo. “The surprise here is that it fits almost too perfectly as a transitional form, exactly what some have predicted would be found,” Rogers says.

        Rogers – who has led many Southern student anthropological expeditions to the Afar section of Ethiopia, including a trip two months ago in Gona – says discoveries rarely fit this neatly into scientific hypotheses. But he said the discovery is exciting and potentially enlightening.

        “It was found in a drier, more open grassland type of environment than that of any earlier human ancestor, which could mark a significant adaptive shift that began with the origin of our genus,” Rogers says.

        “This adaptive shift also eventually included the use of stone tools, the earliest of which are found at the Gona site and are dated to 2.6 million years ago. This new find gives more weight to the suggestion that my colleagues and I have made that evidence of stone tool use will eventually be found earlier than 2.6 million years ago.”

        Rogers was part of an international research team credited more than a decade ago with the discovery of those stone tools. The findings were reported in the September 2003 issue of the “Journal of Human Evolution.”

        Meanwhile, the search into man’s past continues

        April is National Alcohol Awareness month 

        National Alcohol Screening Day aims to raise awareness and educate students about the misuse and abuse of alcohol.  We invite all students, whether infrequent or frequent drinkers to come by to take the free alcohol screening and pick up some important information about alcohol and your health.

        Please stop by if you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol problem and you would like to learn more about resources and support services on and off campus!

        Alcohol Screening Day
        Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

        Student center theatre: plaza level 

        FREE food and T-shirts!

        Contact the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center for more information: 392-5074/5087

        Adanti Student Center Ballroom, 1-4 p.m.

        • Meet prospective employers
        • Discover career possibilities
        • Dress like you mean business!

        Each year the Academic and Career Advising Center holds a career fair that bring national and regional employers representing all fields to the Southern campus. The fairs foster student and employer interaction while offering students the opportunity to explore various careers, learn about organizations and industries, and apply for full-time, part-time, internship, and cooperative education opportunities.