Yearly Archives: 2015

Steve Howell, project scientist for NASA's Kepler Mission, talks about how planets need to be in a 'habitable zone' to have a significant chance of harboring life. He discussed the Kepler Mission during a recent astronomy forum at Southern.

The question of whether we are alone in the universe has fascinated scientists and non-scientists alike for centuries.

While it’s true that speculation about intelligent beings inhabiting other planets has been fodder for science fiction, serious scientists also are eager to find out the answer to that age-old question. And the Kepler Mission is a first step — albeit a small one — toward finding the answer.

Steve Howell, project scientist for Kepler, was the keynote speaker during a Nov. 16 forum at Southern called, “Missions Possible: A Manned Flight to Mars, & Finding ‘New Earths’ in the Milky Way Galaxy.” He spoke about the conditions needed to maximize a planet’s ability to sustain life — such as being in the “Goldilocks Zone,” an area that is neither too close nor too far away from its sun.

The forum, held at Southern’s Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, attracted about 650 people, including about 425 high school students from 14 schools. Also in attendance were about 30 middle school students, 45 seniors from area senior centers and members of the general public, in addition to Southern students and faculty.

Howell and other speakers during the forum were asked by the audience whether they believe there is life on other planets — beyond microbes.

“It’s unknown,” said Elliott Horch, professor of physics at Southern. But Horch hinted that it certainly is possible given the vast number of planets that exist in our own galaxy, let alone the universe.

Howell noted the two planets believed to have the best chance of harboring life are Kepler-452(b) — which has been labeled as “Earth’s larger and older cousin,” and Kepler-186(f). It’s sun is similar to our own and the planet is believed to be in the habitable zone. But he cautioned that 452(b) is 1.7 times the size of Earth, and therefore it may well have a dense atmosphere and be more akin to a Neptune-like planet.

On the other hand, Kepler-186(f) is very similar in size to Earth, but it orbits a much cooler star than our Sun, and therefore may not be able to harbor life.

Howell added that there are other planets that Kepler has identified that could harbor life. And the project continues to find new candidates all the time.

Meanwhile, there has been much buzz in recent months about Mars — such as the discovery of liquid water on the planet. Jennifer Stern, a NASA space scientist who is an expert on Mars, also spoke at the forum. She discussed what life is like on the Red Planet and some of the challenges involved in a future manned flight to the Red Planet.

The program also included a panel discussion that included Elliott; Jim Fullmer, associate professor of earth science at Southern; and Tabetha Boyajian, a post-doctoral fellow at Yale and member of the citizen astronomy organization, “Planet Hunters.”

Elliott Horch (center) makes a point during the recent astronomy forum at Southern. Also pictured are (from left): Steve Howell, project scientist for NASA's Kepler Mission; Tabetha Boyajian, a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University; Jim Fullmer, associate professor of earth science at Southern; and Jennifer Stern, a NASA space scientist and expert  on Mars.
Elliott Horch (center) makes a point during the recent astronomy forum at Southern. Also pictured are (from left): Steve Howell, project scientist for NASA’s Kepler Mission; Tabetha Boyajian, a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University; Jim Fullmer, associate professor of earth science at Southern; and Jennifer Stern, a NASA space scientist and expert on Mars.

Coming soon: Talking About Mars

Hilton C. Buley Library is pleased to announce the first annual library undergraduate research awards. These awards recognize and reward SCSU undergraduate students who have excelled in their undergraduate research projects in any discipline during the 2015 calendar year: Spring, Summer, Fall. Faculty are encourage to nominate students who have completed outstanding research projects.

Students must show evidence of significant use of the library’s resources and collections. Whether students have created a historical thesis, a policy paper, a musical composition, or a scientific study, they are eligible to apply for this award.  

One student in each of the following categories will receive a monetary award of $500.00:

  • Freshmen/Sophomores
  • Juniors/Seniors

Application deadline is February 1, 2016 

To Apply:

The attached application form and all required supporting materials can be completed and submitted at

Or the documents can be submitted in person to Shirley Cavanagh at Hilton C. Buley Library, Room 112A, Access Services Division.

The deadline for the receipt of the completed application is Monday, February 1, 2016 at 5:00pm.  Late or incomplete applications will not receive consideration.

For additional information contact Shirley Cavanagh at or (203) 392-5768.grad-students-4


Faculty explore possible string ensemble for Spring 2016

The Music Department is seeking students who are experienced and interested in playing the violin, viola, cello, or double bass in a dynamic and fun string ensemble. Thanks to the generous support of the Stutzman Family Foundation, the group will be conducted by Dr. Viara Sergueeva-Albonetti – an internationally-acclaimed violinist and clinician. Selected students will rehearse for approximately 90 minutes each week and will receive (1) credit. Rehearsals will begin in the Spring 2016 semester.

For more information or to schedule an audition, please contact Dr. Albonetti at


Members of local literacy organizations will gather on campus on November 19 for a research forum sponsored by the university’s Journal of Student Psychological Research (JSPR). The forum, “Early Literacy Experiences, the Brain, and Child Development,” will feature a panel discussion with Dr. Perri Klass, National Medical Director of Reach Out and Read and a New York Times columnist; Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, commissioner of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood Education; and Dr. Julia Irwin, psychology professor at Southern and senior research scientist at Haskins Laboratories. Their discussion will be moderated by Dr. Laura Raynolds, SCSU professor of special education and reading and research affiliate at Haskins Laboratories.

Klass is a professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University, where she is co-director of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She has written extensively on pediatrics, literacy, medicine, and ethics for many publications, including the New York Times.

Jones-Taylor oversees early childhood programs and early intervention programs serving more than 50,000 children in the state each year. Her research expertise focuses on the effects of early care and education reform in low-income urban communities.

Irwin is author of Preparing Children for Reading Success: Hands-On Activities for Librarians, Educators, and Caregivers, along with co-author and psychology colleague, Dr. Dina Moore. Irwin’s research focuses on the development of audiovisual speech perception.

The event will take place from 5:30-8 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center Theater, with light refreshments from 5:30-6 p.m, the forum from 6-7:30 p.m., and a Q&A from 7:30-8 p.m. It is free and open to faculty, students, and any members of the community with interests in language, reading, child development, and education. Anyone interested in attending must RSVP by emailing The forum is being held in collaboration with the SCSU Psychology Department, with special thanks to The Literacy Coalition of Greater New Haven for its assistance.

Cheryl Durwin, professor of psychology, is secretary of the coalition and the representative from Southern. The coalition is a group of literacy organizations in the New Haven area, says Durwin, whose own research involves assessment of and early intervention with at-risk early readers in grades K-2. Durwin, along with Patricia Kahlbaugh, professor of psychology, is a faculty adviser to the JSPR.

Durwin says the journal was launched a couple of years ago, the brainchild of a couple of graduate students who had the idea of showcasing the research of graduate and undergraduate students. The students approached Durwin about it, and she agreed to help. While the journal is currently funded by an outside donor, the students on the editorial board have also been fundraising and are working towards the journal becoming a university organization. The forum is the first event the journal has hosted.

Current and former students work on the journal — the editors are Jessica Franco, editor-in-chief; Kandice Green, associate editor; Whitney Hoffmann, associate editor; and Joshua Ryan, associate editor.  All editors are graduate students in the M.A. program in psychology. Durwin says the journal is seeking more interdisciplinary work related to psychology from students in other departments across campus.

“It is wonderfully rewarding to mentor the students through their research,” says Durwin.

Climate Commitment

In a strong show of leadership in the sustainability arena, Southern’s President Mary A. Papazian has signed a new Climate Leadership Commitment that goes farther than the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), to which the university became a charter signatory in 2007.

Signing the ACUPCC meant pledging to reduce the university’s carbon footprint to zero by 2050, an important step to take in 2007. But over the intervening years, it has become clear that a carbon mitigation pledge alone as a strategic imperative isn’t enough.

In 2014, Second Nature, which oversees the efforts around the ACUPCC, introduced the Alliance for Resilient Campuses (ARC), to begin exploring climate adaptation and resilience as complements to the original Climate Commitment. The ACUPCC has been updated as a Carbon Commitment and, to advance the mission of ARC, a new Resilience Commitment has been formed.

Now, there are three possible Commitments a university president or chancellor can sign: the Climate Leadership Commitment, which integrates a goal of carbon neutrality with climate resilience and provides a systems approach to mitigating and adapting to a changing climate; the Carbon Commitment, which is focused on carbon neutrality; and the Resilience Commitment, which deals with climate resilience and adaptation. Papazian, with approval from the Cabinet, signed the first of the three.

“Under this new integrated Climate Leadership Commitment, we are formally committing to continue what we have been working on for many years,” says Papazian. “This includes incorporating sustainability across all of our operations, as well as further developing sustainability in our academic programs, greening our purchasing practices, the way we care for our buildings and grounds, our co-curricular offerings, and reducing the amount of materials we throw away.”

She added, “We are educating our students to prepare them for environmental issues that will be prevalent when they graduate, and the new commitment means that we are going farther than just striving for carbon neutrality. The Climate Leadership Commitment is more than just a declaration or statement: it is a catalyst for rigorous and robust actions on our campus and in our community.”

Southern is one of only 40 of the original 600-plus signatories from across the country to join the new commitment thus far.

Suzanne Huminski, the university’s sustainability coordinator, explains, “In 2007, the conversation was still about ‘is there climate change?’ and about carbon reduction. But climate change impacts are prevalent in the world around us – like the health of Long Island Sound, for instance, or the growing vulnerability of neighborhoods, transportation corridors, and waste water treatment plants close to shore. Studying coastal resilience and the health of the Sound, which the Werth Center has been doing for many years, can now be recognized in our university climate commitment, rather than solely focusing on reducing carbon emissions.”

Signing the new commitment “means we are building a stronger community around adaptation and resilience,” Huminski adds.

Climate Commitment

Resilience, in the world of sustainability, has to do with two areas, she explains. The first has to do with  planning and implementing strategies to prevent or minimize future harm caused by climate change impacts. But even with excellent planning and communication, unexpected challenges will arise, so resilience is also the institution’s ability to recover from unexpected events and adapt to “the new normals” that a changed climate brings.

“We need to be better equipped for these challenges, and we have a role to play in helping surrounding communities do the same,” she says.

The university has made significant strides in sustainability in recent years. From new campus construction and facilities renovations to green transportation options and programs like the Food Recovery Network, Campus Conservation Nationals, Recyclemania, Plant It Forward, and Compost Happens, to projects like the campus community garden, Urban Oasis, Green Room Certification, and refillable water bottle stations, to presentations by guest speakers, and much more — the university has been working on sustainability on many fronts. The Office of Sustainability tracks progress toward meeting greenhouse gas and waste reduction goals of the ACUPCC.

The university is also committed to and has a long history of integrating sustainability into the educational environment, and offers one of the only Environmental Education Master’s programs in New England. The geography degree offers a concentration in sustainability, and the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies has endowed research positions for undergraduates. New for fall 2016, Southern will offer an undergraduate major in Environmental Systems and Sustainability, and the School of Business has developed courses in sustainability management. For many years Southern’s Public Health Department has focused on food justice and access, and one focus of the sustainability office in the past year has been to expand opportunities for student internships, both on campus and partnering with industry.

Huminski says that Southern is attracting national attention for its efforts toward more sustainable operations. This fall, the university was profiled in Business View Magazine for its sustainable practices. The university has twice been named one of the nation’s greenest colleges and universities by the Princeton Review and recently received top honors for a national energy efficiency award sponsored by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. This award was based on energy savings from the Adanti Student Center recommissioning project, which utilized wireless sensing and online energy analytics to address less-than-optimal energy performance . The project paid for itself in three months, and resulted in a 17 percent reduction in energy use in the building.

Huminski points to the dedication of administration, faculty, and staff for embracing sustainability across campus operations. “Students have always been involved,” she says, “but Facilities Operations and Southern’s executive leadership are also a driving force in adopting sustainability. Effective leadership is critical to success.”

Papazian says, “Signing the Climate Leadership Commitment sends a powerful message that we will do better working on this as a campus community — and as part of regional and global communities. Reducing carbon emissions and adapting to the dynamic and changing world around us is complex and involves everyone on campus. We have already been doing this work – with the help of so many folks here at the university.”


A Southern astrophysicist will take the clearest images ever photographed of 2,000 of the nearest stars to Earth as part of a collaborative project that ultimately will tell us how typical our solar system is within the Milky Way Galaxy.

The study – funded by a $335,326 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) – will enable Elliott Horch, professor of physics, to use an instrument he developed several years ago that is attached to telescopes and provides images many times clearer than previously could be taken. The device is called a Differential Speckle Survey Instrument (DSSI).

The grant was approved after research conducted by Georgia State University identified and catalogued stars within 150 light years of Earth. It is part of a collaborative effort in which SCSU will observe and capture images of the stars, followed by in-depth analysis by GSU.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to explore our ‘local neighborhood’ of stars and solar systems, and in effect, learn more about our own sun and solar system,” Horch said.

Horch will be among the panelists for SCSU’s Nov. 16 astronomy forum, “Missions Possible: A Manned Flight to Mars, & Finding ‘New Earths’ in the Milky Way Galaxy.” The forum will look at NASA’s plans for human exploration of Mars, as well as its Kepler Mission, the search for Earth-like planets outside of our solar system. The forum, free and open to the public, will run from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts.

Horch said among the questions to be answered in the new NSF-funded study is what percentage of these stars is binary. Binary stars are systems in which stars have a “companion” and in which they orbit around each other. The sun is considered a solitary star because it lacks such a companion.

“We believe it’s probably about a 50-50 breakdown in terms of solitary vs. binary, but this project will give us more data to see if that is true of these 2,000 stars,” Horch said. He noted that while there are more than 2,000 stars within 150 light years of Earth, this provides a representative sample to study.

Horch said the study also will look at how many stars have rocky planets like Earth and Mars orbiting them in a “habitable zone,” a distance that is neither too close nor too distant to support life.

He noted that the grant will enable the university to hire a doctoral student to assist with the project, as well as provide SCSU students with opportunities to participate in the research.

This will mark the third NSF grant that Horch has received in the last decade. In addition to being awarded a grant to develop the DSSI, he received a $300,000 grant recently to produce a double-barrel telescope that generates ultra-high resolutions. The technical name is a “portable multi-channel intensity inferometer.

“Using the DSSI is like putting eyeglasses on a telescope,” he said. “The double-barrel telescope is like remaking the whole eye.”



*Business View Magazine ran a lengthy piece on Southern’s sustainability efforts in its October edition. A variety of people from the Southern campus community were quoted in the story, including President Mary A. Papazian; Suzie Huminski, sustainability coordinator;Heather Stearns, recycling coordinator; Bob Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations; and Susan Cusato, associate professor of the environment, geography and marine sciences.

*Jack Mordente, veterans affairs administrator, was interviewed Oct. 29 on Channel 8regarding problems associated with the Veterans Administration delay of payments for veterans’ tuition and other obligations.

*Cindy Simoneau, chairwoman of the Journalism Department, was quoted in an Oct. 26 articlein the Waterbury Republican-American regarding concerns over the abridgement of First Amendment rights in a case involving Wesleyan University students. A column was published in the student newspaper that some students found distasteful, and as a result the Student Government Association reduced the paper’s funding. (Please note that you need to be a subscriber to read most of the story.)

*Alan Brown, assistant professor of sociology, was quoted in an Oct. 26 New Haven Registerstory regarding the use of social media by police in the Greater New Haven area

*Jodie Gil, assistant professor of journalism, was interviewed Oct. 20 on WNPR radio’s (90.5 FM) “Where We Live” show regarding barriers to health care. The interview was based upon an article she wrote earlier this year on the effect that a lack of health care can have on children’s education.

*The New Haven Register ran a front page story in its Oct. 18 edition about the early reaction to Southern becoming a tobacco-free campus. The university officially instituted a tobacco-free policy in August.

*A Southern study that showed microbeads floating in New Haven Harbor was referred to during an Oct. 16 press conference called by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). During the press conference, covered by several media, he advocated for a national ban on those microplastic substances, which are found in some face scrubbing products and some toothpastes. The study was conducted a few months ago by then SCSU student Peter Litwin andVincent Breslin, co-chairman of the SCSU Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Studies. Vince offered his remarks during the press conference.

The New Haven Register, Channel 8 and Channel 30 were among the media outlets that covered the press conference during its Oct. 16 newscasts.

*Kelly Gunneson, a senior on the SCSU volleyball team, was featured in the Oct. 15 edition of the New Haven Register. The article talked about her return from an ACL injury, her success on the court and in the classroom, and her family roots at Southern.

*The opening of the Academic Science and Laboratory Building generated media attention in advance of the Oct. 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The New Haven Register ran a story on Oct. 14 about the features of the new building.

Two area business publications posted portions of a press release last week pertaining to the collaboration between Southern and PerkinElmer. The company has provided hi-tech instruments for the new science building.

The Fairfield County Business Journal posted an article online on Oct. 15.article, which was posted last Thursday.

The Hartford Business Journal posted an article on Oct. 14.

*The Oct. 8 talk by former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent garnered the attention of several media outlets. His talk was the focus of this year’s Dr. Joseph Panza Annual Sport Management Lecture.

The New Haven Register, Hartford Courant and Meriden Record-Journal ran stories in the Oct. 9 editions of their newspapers.

The lecture also was covered by Channel 61, which aired a story during an Oct. 9 newscast.

*Chris Piscitelli, director of judicial affairs, was quoted in an online version of a Sports Illustratedstory that was posted Oct. 8. The article dealt with daily fantasy football and the low-stakes betting associated with it. Chris was quoted, as were a few Southern students.

*Southern’s new high tech treadmill — designed to assess risk of injury in a person’s hips, knees and ankles – garnered media attention in an Oct. 2 story and video in the Waterbury Republican-American. Carrie MacMillan, a features reporter with the paper, wrote a first-person account of what it is like to be tested on the treadmill. She included comments from Bob Gregory, assistant professor of exercise science, who is in charge of the treadmill testing, as well as Marc Robertson, a physical therapist and an assistant professor of exercise science.

A video of Carrie’s experience, as taken by multimedia journalist Erin Covey, was included in the online posting. (Only a small portion of the column is available to non-subscribers)

*A summary of President Mary A. Papazian’s State of the University address was posted in the Oct. 1 online version of the Hartford Courant’s YourTowns section.

Highlights from the address were also posted online on Oct. 3 as part of the New Haven Register’s Forum section.

Astronomy Forum: Exploring Our Place in Space

Two of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by NASA — the human exploration of Mars and the search for Earth-like planets outside the solar system — will be the subject of a Nov. 16 forum at Southern.

The program, “Missions Possible: A Manned Flight to Mars; Finding ‘New Earths’ in the Milky Way Galaxy,” is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at SCSU’s Lyman Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

The Kepler Mission has identified more than 1,000 planets that are in a “habitable zone,” – an area in which their orbits are neither too close nor too far away from their suns to support life. Most recently, a planet 1,400 light years away called Kepler 452(b) shows the most promise to date of being able to sustain life. The planet has been dubbed “Earth’s older, larger cousin.”

Steve Howell, project scientist for Kepler, will be the keynote speaker. Howell is involved in NASA educational outreach programs and specializes in research on variable and binary stars. He serves on many review panels and was most recently a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on NASA’s Constellation system.

Mars opportunityMeanwhile, plans are being developed for a manned flight to Mars for some time in the next two decades. While a manned landing is challenging, the development of a reliable return flight is a more difficult technological hurdle. The colonization of the Red Planet is also being considered by some, but would require means to deal with the planet’s thin atmosphere, lack of oxygen and barren cold weather.

Jennifer Stern, a space scientist for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will speak about the plausibility of human exploration of Mars, as well as what the recent discovery of water on the planet suggests for the possibility of life. She is a member of the science team for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars in August 2012.

A panel discussion will follow the two main speakers, and will include: Elliott Horch, SCSU professor of physics; Jim Fullmer, SCSU associate professor of earth science; and Tabetha Boyajian, post-doctoral fellow at Yale University and a member of the citizen astronomy organization, “Planet Hunters.”

Horch, a noted astrophysicist, has developed an instrument for the National Science Foundation that is used on telescopes to dramatically improve the clarity of cosmic images and has been used as part of the Kepler Mission. Fullmer is a veteran astronomer whose expertise includes understanding the weather on celestial bodies, such as Mars. And Boyajian is the lead author of a recent article published in a scientific journal about the lack of conclusive evidence that a natural cause was responsible for a dimming of light in front of a faraway star. It has led some – including many in the scientific community – to believe the dimming is caused by a superstructure orbiting around that star, perhaps created by an advanced alien civilization, though Boyajian said it is still only a longshot possibility.

A question-and-answer period will conclude the program.

The forum is being sponsored by the SCSU Office of Public Affairs. Last fall, SCSU organized a forum to mark the 50th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and featured keynote speaker Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. National Security Council member and diplomat. A program to analyze the impending 2014 mid-term elections also was held last fall.

Other recent programs have included an examination of the situation in Ukraine in April 2014; a look at the Millennial and post-Millennial generations in October 2013; and a preview of the presidential and congressional elections in October 2012, featuring political journalist Erin McPike.

Parking will be available in the Wintergreen Parking Garage on Wintergreen Avenue, next to the Moore Fieldhouse.

For further information about the upcoming forum, please contact Joe Musante, the forum coordinator, at (203) 392-5073, or at


For the first time in its 122-year history, Southern has an endowed chair.

Ruth Eren – the director of SCSU’s Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders and a noted expert in this field on program development for children – has been selected as the Goodwin Endowed Chair in Special Education. She was chosen after a national search.

Eren, along with the late former interim dean of the School of Education James Granfield, co-created the Center in 2010 to help provide the state with a distinctive resource to improve the experiences of children who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

She has spent many years consulting with public schools in Connecticut regarding program development for children with ASD and has been a member of several state committees related to this subject, including Connecticut’s Task Force for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Eren is a former special education teacher and administrator, and currently serves as chairwoman of the SCSU Special Education Department.

“Ruth stands out in her field as an educator, researcher and resource who has been tapped many times by Connecticut legislators and education officials for her insight and advice,” said Stephen Hegedus, SCSU dean of the School of Education. “We are delighted to have someone with Ruth’s commitment and vision to become our very first endowed chair at Southern.”

Louise Spear-Swerling, chairwoman of the search committee for the endowed chair, agreed.

“She has an extensive knowledge base about autism spectrum disorders, years of practical experience working with individuals with autism, and a longstanding involvement in state, regional and national autism initiatives. She combines an exceptional level of applied expertise with strong leadership skills and a deep personal commitment to helping this population of students and their families.”

The endowed chair is being funded through a gift left by the late Dorothy Weisbauer Goodwin, who graduated from Southern in 1939, when it was named the New Haven State Teachers College. She died in 2009 at the age of 91.

Upon her death, $1 million of the $1.2 million gift to the SCSU Foundation was earmarked for an endowed chair. Today, that endowment is worth nearly $1.6 million. About $180,000 is available initially, with additional allocations each year that are determined by SCSU Foundation policy and market conditions.

The intent of the gift is to provide financial support for the position, including a reimbursement to the university of salary and benefit costs associated with the position; the hiring of research assistants working for the chair; and covering conference, travel, publication, research and other customary expenditures associated with an endowed chair.

“I would like to use the endowment to support more SCSU student engagement in the Center and its activities, bring outstanding leaders in the field of education regarding ASD to our campus to share their knowledge with our students and community, and support efforts to increase our visibility and influence at state, national and international conferences,” Eren said.

“Most important, the endowed chair will allow SCSU and the Center to enhance the lives of individuals with ASD by giving their teachers, related service providers and families, the evidenced-based tools that will help them all to achieve the goal of successful participation in society as adults,” she added.

Hegedus said the chair is a major boost for SCSU.

“We are confident that this will enhance the reputation and prestige of the Center and the university as a whole,” he said.

    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.