Yearly Archives: 2019

School of Business Dean Ellen Durnin with Mike Haggerty, Haggerty Financial Partners (left), and Richard Dyce, Director of Operations, Amazon (right)

School of Business Dean Ellen Durnin and the Southern Connecticut State University Business Advisory Council hosted the 2nd annual Business Leadership Breakfast on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, at the New Haven Lawn Club. SCSU President Joe Bertolino was in attendance, along with 150 key members of the Greater New Haven business community.

Sponsored by Haggerty Financial Partners, the event featured a keynote address by Richard Dyce, Director of Operations for Amazon’s North Haven Fulfillment Center on the topic “Regional Economic Development: Investing in the Local Community.”

Dyce, who was introduced by North Haven First Selectman Mike Freda, captivated the audience with a discussion on Amazon’s beginnings and its successful customer-focused business model, and detailed how it manages the incredible feat of getting product to our doorsteps in two days or less.

The popular Business Leadership Breakfast is an important component in building the relationships between industry and education to prepare graduates for both current job opportunities as well as jobs of the future. SCSU School of Business is pleased to bring together all parties for the benefit of the region’s economy.

Dr. Jia Yu, assistant professor of economics, and Alexandra Ball, RN, MBA, '19

Alexandra Ball, ‘19, presented her MBA thesis at the Ninth International Conference on Health, Wellness and Society at Berkeley, CA, on September 19th, 2019. Ball’s research seeks to identify which U.S. region renders the highest quality patient care of total knee arthroplasty as measured by impact on patient discharge disposition, hospital length of stay, and adverse outcomes during a three-year span of 2008-2010.

The results of the study found that lowest lengths of stay are noted in the West and Midwest, and that the West had the highest patient outcomes.  Demographic characteristics of age, race, and marital are associated with shorter lengths of stay, however, discharge status is only significantly impacted by age. These findings are utilized to evaluate cost- efficiency of the surgery in the regions of the United States.

Ball’s advisor, Jia Yu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics said that this is a great international conference that brings together many health and medical researchers from different disciplines and countries, giving attendees the opportunity to learn different perspectives on health-related problems from a variety of countries.

She says, “We have also built up some connections with researchers from Hong Kong and Singapore for future collaboration possibilities.” And continues, “It is a wonderful opportunity for Southern students to know the world and let the world know about Southern as well.”

The 2019 Special Focus of the International Conference on Health, Wellness and Society was Inclusive Health and Wellbeing, stating “…the volume of healthcare research and wealth of groundbreaking healthcare technology continues to expand, leading to more advanced health delivery systems and an increased quality of living. Not all people or all groups are benefiting from these advancements equally; significant barriers to accessing these developments still exist across the globe…This conference aims to explore the implications and effects that geographic, socioeconomic, and political barriers pose to health and wellbeing as well as constructing means across these barriers moving forward.”

Ellen Durnin, dean of Southern Connecticut State University School of Business, is pleased to welcome Kevin Burke and Lauren Tagliatela to the Business Advisory Council.

Durnin said about the importance of the BAC, “The Business Advisory Council serves a critical role in connecting the School of Business to the business community. The BAC members provide connections, internships, and employment opportunities for students; they advocate for the School of Business in the community; and they are key partners in fundraising efforts for strategic initiatives.”

Kevin Burke is a senior vice president and Market Executive for the Wells Fargo Commercial Banking in Connecticut and NY Capital Region. He manages commercial banking division that develops and maintains business relationships with companies with annual revenues greater than $5 million. Burke’s team has offices in Albany, N.Y., and Greenwich, Hartford and Shelton, Conn.

Burke started his banking career in 1991 and, before joining Wells Fargo, had a long and impressive career utilizing his talents at Consolidated Asset Recovery Corporation, a subsidiary of Chase Manhattan Bank; Shawmut Bank; and Fleet Bank, a successor to Shawmut.

Burke, a U.S. Army veteran, earned a B.A. from Fordham University in New York; an M.A. in international relations from Boston University in Heidelberg, Germany; and an MBA in finance from the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Burke is an active member in the community. He is the chairman of the Gateway Community College President’s Council, and immediate past chair and board member of the Shubert Theater in New Haven. In addition, he is a member of the board of overseers of the Bushnell Theater in Hartford.

Burke and his wife have two daughters and reside in Guilford, Conn.

Lauren Tagliatela joined Franklin Construction, a family business founded by her great-grandfather over a century ago, in 2006. She serves as the chief community officer for Canal Crossing at Whitneyville West and Franklin Communities, managing a total of 1,200 apartment homes in the Greater New Haven region. She is responsible for marketing, social media campaigns, online reputation analytics, resident engagement, conflict resolution, budgeting, and creating design concepts for future apartment communities.

Born and raised in Wallingford, Conn., Tagliatela currently resides in North Haven with her wife and twin boys. She graduated from Boston University in 2002 with a B.S. in journalism, a concentration in photography and minor in women’s studies. In 2017, she received her MBA with high honors from Albertus Magnus College, with a concentration in marketing and leadership.

Currently, Tagliatela is serving on the Board of Directors for the Hamden Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Durnin said, “Both Kevin and Lauren bring experience, knowledge, and passion to their roles as new BAC members. I am pleased to welcome them to my advisory council, and I look forward to continuing our progress of building bridges with the business community.”

 

Bonnie Edmondson, graduate coordinator and professor in the School Health Education program, has just finished a stint as head coach of the U.S. women’s track and field team at the World Championships, which ran Sept. 27-Oct. 7 in Doha, Qatar. This was her fifth World Championship, but her first as a head coach.

Read the Hartford Courant article by Lori Riley:

Coventry’s Bonnie Edmondson ready for her role as the U.S. women’s track and field coach at the World Championships

One by one, members of the men’s basketball team ran towards the Vertec vertical jump tester trying to see how high they could go. With teammates cheering on, each athlete jumped as high as they could. After recording all of the scores, Lonnie Blackwell began explaining how he would incorporate strength and conditioning to see these values rise during the off-season. Blackwell is a graduate student obtaining his Master of Science degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Human Performance. Blackwell also works for Jim Ronai’s Competitive Edge Sports Performance, a company based out of Orange, Conn., as a strength and conditioning coach. He also has certifications such as the NASM CPT and NSCA CSCS. Blackwell acts as the graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for men’s basketball, men’s soccer, and women’s field hockey, with head strength and conditioning coach, Dave Hashemi.

The Department of Health and Movement Science’s Human Performance Laboratory, offers numerous fitness, performance, and functionality assessments to members of the SCSU community. Men’s basketball started the preseason by utilizing the lab with Blackwell to test their physical performance. These tests included: vertical jump, change of direction using the 5-10-5 test, and acceleration with the 10-yard dash. Blackwell used the lab’s zybek lasers in order to precisely measure the 10-yard dash. The team tested strength with a 1-repetition maximum weight for the squat and bench press.

Men’s soccer testing included the yo-yo intermittent beep test to evaluate aerobic fitness levels and to predict VO2max, and performed 1-repetition maximum for the squat and bench press to measure strength.

During the regular season, the girls’ field hockey team comes into the weight room two times a week. The strength and conditioning system in place utilized six different lift options. Depending on each athlete’s fatigue level and general fitness, they can choose a lift option that compliments them.

The soccer team and field hockey team is also utilizing GPS. The GPS technology operated by the human performance laboratory gives a researcher data such as distance covered, top-end speed, and work rate. The field hockey team uses this technology every Friday for practice, in order to estimate the training load. Men’s soccer utilizes the GPS to grab data from their games, such as training load. It also allows them to monitor their performance throughout the season.

Blackwell is well versed in GPS technology, as he is using GPS for his master’s thesis. His research will be utilizing data from various sports teams, to gain further understanding of how to prescribe programming to teams during the year and summer months.

    Graphic for Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in 5 years

    Undergraduate students at Southern now have the ability to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a combined five years in a variety of majors as part of a package of new accelerated programs.

    Robert Prezant, provost and vice president for academic affairs, has announced that the new pathways are being offered to students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in computer science, history, chemistry, recreation and leisure, sport and entertainment management and psychology.

    The program is available to existing undergraduate students, as well as to students who will begin taking classes at SCSU next year.

    “These new programs will enable students to save time and save money, while continuing to provide the full benefit of a high quality educational experience,” Prezant said.

    A bachelor’s degree traditionally takes four years to complete, while a master’s degree typically takes two years of study for a full-time student. Therefore, the new program will enable students who are interested in pursuing both degrees to shave a full year off the time that it generally takes to finish. That will save students a full year’s tuition and expenses, as well as enable them to become eligible to enter the job market a year sooner.

    The programs will continue to offer the traditional four-year bachelor’s degrees and two-year master’s degree tracks. But those students looking to complete both degrees in a total of five years are generally encouraged to apply for acceptance into an accelerated program during the spring semester of their junior year.

    The programs generally enable students to replace 6 to 12 credits of undergraduate electives with graduate level courses in their major during their senior year.

    Alumna wins the "Oscars of Teaching," becoming the first Milken Educator Award recipient of the 2019-20 season.

    A group of students come in for a group hug to support their award-winning teacher.
    Excited students swarm Sepulveda for a group hug. Photo: Milken Family Foundation

    Social studies teacher Lauren Sepulveda, ’10, entered the gym prepared for an upbeat but typical morning assembly at Clinton Avenue School in New Haven. Instead she received the surprise of a lifetime when her name was announced as the first recipient of the 2019-20 Milken Education Award and its $25,000 prize. Watch Sepulveda receive the award.

    Hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Educator Awards are designed to “celebrate, elevate, and activate the American teaching profession.” It is not a lifetime achievement award. Instead, the recipients are recognized for exceptional mid-career achievements — and the promise of what they might accomplish given the resources provided with the award.

    Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, made the presentation to a shocked Sepulveda in front of a cheering crowd of students, colleagues, and local and state officials. “Lauren Sepulveda brings history to life by demonstrating how past events have shaped our nation, world, and people today. Students develop a greater understanding of the responsibilities as global citizens and lifelong learners,” said Foley.

    Sepulveda, who earned a B.S. in history 7-12 at Southern is the sole award recipient in Connecticut. Nationwide, no more than 40 educators will be honored during the 2019-20 season.

    Sepulveda, who teaches seventh and eighth grade, was lauded for efforts to help her students become global thinkers and empathetic citizens. In her classroom, students have met guest speakers who share personal stories of their experiences during World War II, the Korean War, and the Rwandan genocide. Another assignment challenged students to review coverage of the Revolutionary War in their text books — and determine whose perspectives were missing. The students next drafted a new chapter that included the stories of significant minorities. Sepulveda then helped the students submit their work to the text book publisher for consideration for the next edition.

    In addition to the cash prize, the award includes networking and mentoring components. Sepulveda will join the other 2019-20 honorees at an all-expenses-paid trip to the Milken Educator Forum in Indianapolis from March 26-28, to connect with other educational trailblazers. In addition, each 2019 recipient will be paired with a veteran Milken Educator mentor.

    Owl pride is running sky high thanks to a growing list of accomplishments that position Southern among the best. Here are some of the university’s many exciting achievements and initiatives.

    SCSU New Student Orientations: students jump for joy

    Owl Pride graphic with facts for 2019

    Southern’s student-faculty ratio is 14:1.

    The website RN Careers is among those lauding the nursing program: “Congratulations to @SouthernCT for being one of the best ranked nursing programs in the country and the #1 best ranked nursing program in Connecticut for 2019 with an impressive overall ranking of 99.26%.”

    The Princeton Review has consistently included Southern in its annual guide to America’s “green colleges.” The Sierra Club also previously recognized the university for environmental responsibility.

    Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification was awarded to two campus buildings: the Academic Science and Laboratory Building and the home for the School of Business. The certification recognizes construction and design meeting exceptional ecological standards.

    Southern is home to the CSCU** Center for Nanotechnology, the only system-wide center for the field in the state.

    Also housed at Southern, the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies is the only CSCU** center dedicated to faculty-mentored student research that addresses environmental issues along the Connecticut shoreline and Long Island Sound.

    Southern is one of only 22 colleges/universities in the United States with graduate programs accredited by the International Dyslexia Association for providing exceptional teacher training.

    Beginning with the Class of 2020, all first-year students accepted into the Honors College receive a merit-based scholarship covering one-half to full in-state tuition.

    A partnership with the City of New Haven and its school system, the Barack H. Obama Magnet University School is expected to open on campus in spring 2020 — and will be the city’s first early education school located on a university campus. Serving almost 500 elementary school students, the school will provide exceptional experiential learning opportunities for Southern education majors.

    Southern received a federal grant of $3.68 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help improve the health of vulnerable populations in New Haven. The project is being coordinated by the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), which is co-housed at Southern’s College of Health and Human Services and the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). It is the largest grant ever received by Southern.

    Southern is an NCAA Division II powerhouse, holding 80 individual titles and 10 team championships.

    In November 2019, Southern will celebrate its third annual Social Justice Month with almost 100 events expected, all designed to further social justice education and awareness on campus.

    Southern is the first breast-feeding friendly campus in the state and the nation. — Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition

    An innovative trans-Atlantic partnership between Southern and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) offers research internships, study abroad opportunities, and faculty exchanges.

    Jacob Santos, ’19, (B.A. in theatre and B.S. in business administration with a concentration in accounting) is one of only 14 in the country named a 2019 Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow, a program designed to provide young leaders with experience in the nonprofit sector. About 150 apply for the award annually.

    Rigoberto Escalera, ’19, received one of two Legacy Awards from New Haven Promise. The award recognizes recent graduates who have demonstrated a deep commitment to their studies, fellow scholars, and the city of New Haven. Escalera graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration.

    Southern is historically recognized for its exceptional teacher preparation programs and education graduates. These include alumnus Jahana Hayes, ’05, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

    In 2019, Southern alumnus and West Haven High School Teacher Liam Leapley, ’00, was awarded the George Olmsted Jr. Class of 1924 Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education from Williams College. The award recipients are nominated annually by graduating seniors at Williams.

    Jefferine Jean-Jacques, ’18, was one of two national finalists in the “feature photography” category of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards, recognizing the best of student journalism.

    Southern students won six awards at the annual conference of the Society of Professional Journalists for Region 1, which represents universities throughout New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. They were honored for their work on Crescent Magazine and the Southern News student newspaper.

    Karen Reyes Benzi, a student in Southern’s RN to BSN online program, is Yale New Haven Hospital’s 2019 Magnet Nurse of the Year.

    In 2019, a group of 12 journalism students earned first place in the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists’ Excellence in Journalism Awards in the “health” category for a group project. The project was awarded the highest honor above all the major news outlets in the state in the Regional A division.

    Just seven years after graduation, Jeffrey Nowak, ’12, has reached one of the pinnacles of journalism success — membership on a news team honored with a Pulitzer Prize in 2019, the nation’s most prestigious journalism award.

    Computer science majors Michael Solati and Robert Crowdis, ’19, won first place at the 2017 College Tech Challenge — standing out among many of the state’s top engineering and programming students. The duo won a $5,000 prize.

    A Southern team was a semi-finalist in the 2017 American Marketing Association’s Collegiate Case Competition. Southern was the only institution of higher learning in Connecticut to score among the semi-finalists and finalists — and joined Providence College as the only two in New England.

    Sandra Gomez-Aceves, ’17, beat out nearly 500 applicants to win one of twelve coveted spots at the 2017 ProPublica Data Institute, a seminar for journalist and journalism students. Gomez-Aceves was one of only three of the latter chosen by the Pulitzer Prize-winning organization to participate.

    There are 11,000 student members in the American Marketing Association (AMA), and recent graduate Julia Rotella, ’17, was one of the best, finishing second in the organization’s “Student Marketer of the Year” competition.

    A Southern student team was one of only three from Connecticut to medal at the 2016 IGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. Southern, the University of Connecticut, and Yale University each won bronze at the competition.

    Two Southern graduates were among a total of only 10 librarians chosen form throughout the U.S. to receive the 2016 “I Love My Librarian Award,” sponsored by the American Library Association.

    ** Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

    Art Professor Mia Brownell and her husband, Martin Kruck, a professor and Art Department chair at New Jersey City University, were both awarded sabbaticals last year. Their joint interest in Roman art and architecture lead them to both being awarded Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome during the month of October 2019. Their research took them to additional locations in Sicily and Malta. Artwork created during sabbatical by Brownell and Kruck is on display in a two-person exhibitionSkeptical Realism — at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, N.J., through January 2020. The exhibition opened this month.

    According to the museum’s description of the exhibit, “Brownell’s series Plate to Platelet simultaneously draws on scientific images of platelets (tiny blood cells shaped like plates) and the history of the painted food still life. She explores the realism of eating by recognizing the entanglement between the consumerist idealization of food with its biological engineering and the molecular strains that then interact with our bodies. The space she paints attempts to capture this paradoxical perspective, one that is equally rational and fantastical, material and in constant flux, Brownell said. She encourages viewers to consider this question: If we are what we eat, what are we becoming?”

    A sabbatical leave, CSU Research Grant, and Faculty Creative Activity Research Grant supported Brownell’s creative activity research during the 2018-2019 academic year.

    In addition, Brownell’s painting Pear and Grape, oil on canvas, 2008, is featured in the group exhibit Foodie Fever at NYC’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice Shiva Gallery. This painting was also on display at the USA Department of State Embassy in Hong Kong during the Obama administration.

    Her painting Passing Fruit, oil on canvas, 2008, was also featured in the exhibit Foodie Fever at NYC’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice Shiva Gallery.

    Brownell’s painting Bird and Bees, oil on canvas, 2014, is featured on the cover of SCSU’s English professor Margot Schilpp’s new book of poetry Afterswarm.

    Bird and Bees

    The paintings below, as well as the painting featured at the top of this story, are all from Brownell’s sabbatical and are on display with many others at the Hunterdon Art Museum.

    Southern takes steps to address basic needs

    Responding to an issue occurring at colleges nationwide, Southern is looking to establish an on-campus food pantry and social services resource center to help a growing number of students meet their basic needs of food, shelter, transportation, child care and other essentials.

    Based on surveys conducted with Southern students over the last few years, about 30 percent of the student population falls into the category of food insecure, said Jules Tetreault, dean of student affairs. (Food insecurity is a term to describe a lack of adequate access or money to buy food.)

    “It’s a problem we are seeing at all levels – local, state and national,” Tetreault said. “In fact, 14 percent of the total population in Connecticut is considered food insecure, while at a national level, we are seeing a range of 14 to 40 percent at four-year universities.”

    Student Affairs is planning to have a pantry operating by the spring semester, eventually including a social services resource center that would provide guidance for students struggling with other basic needs.

    To support the project, the university is donating proceeds from its 125th anniversary gala on Oct. 4.  The sold-out “A Night of Inspiration,” in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom, will feature Tony Award-winning actor Leslie Odom Jr. – who played the role of Aaron Burr in the original cast of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.

    “As we conclude our 125th anniversary year, it’s important to look at how Southern has changed, especially in recent times,” said President Joe Bertolino. “The demographics of our population are vastly different, the expectations of students, parents and employers are increasingly outcomes oriented and the competition for enrollment and private support has intensified.

    “With this in mind, the continued well-being of our students is a high priority. It is important to acknowledge the complexities of their lives, and particularly, those of our low income and working students.

    As the cost of higher education has increased, the availability of financial assistance has not kept pace – and these factors have seen an increase in the number of students who are not able to meet their basic needs, Bertolino said.

    “Simply put, when students can’t eat, when they have no place to sleep, when they have little family encouragement for bettering their lives through education, we must do more than offer classes and assignments,” he said. “We must holistically help them navigate the complexities and challenges that they face, even as we focus intentionally on supporting their capacity to learn and ability to persist to graduation.”

    The problem is also being addressed at the national level. Southern alumna and Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, ’05, has introduced a new bill, along with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, to address the food insecurity crisis among college students. The Closing the College Hunger Gap Act would empower low-income college students with the information they need and ultimately reduce food insecurity on campuses nationwide.

    Tetreault said Southern is at the higher end – though not at the highest – of the food insecurity category. He said this is due, in part, to the demographics of the student population with a growing percentage of students who belong to racial and ethnic minorities, as well as a relatively high percentage of first-generation college students. He said these students tend to fall lower on the socioeconomic strata.

    Tetreault echoed President Bertolino’s comment that financial assistance at the state and federal levels has not kept pace with the increased costs to attend college.

    “We know that food insecurity has a negative effect on academic performance,” he said. “In fact, these students report lower GPA scores, are six times more likely to withdraw from a class, and 15 times more likely to fail a class. And food insecure students have reported poorer physical health and higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.”

    He noted that K-12 school systems throughout the country offer free or reduced lunch prices to students based on family income, and some also offer similar breakfast programs. “But the need and the hunger don’t stop when you graduate from high school.”

    Tetreault added that Southern already has a community garden and a food recovery program at Connecticut Hall – the university’s main dining hall – which are designed to benefit less fortunate individuals in the local community.

    “A food pantry would be consistent with these efforts, but would directly benefit our own students,” he said.

    The university has also adopted smaller scale programs to help needy students, such as a mobile food pantry, departmental food closets and a “swipe it forward” program designed to enable students support their peers through meal donation in the dining halls.

    You can support Southern’s Food Insecurity Fund by visiting southernct.edu/giving, and choosing “Food Insecurity Fund” upon checkout.