Yearly Archives: 2019

Alumna's debut young adult novel is among the most eagerly anticipated.

Erin Jones, ’10, majored in journalism at Southern -- and has made her mark in the red-hot young adult book market with her debut novel, Tinfoil Crowns.

Barnes & Noble (B&N) stocks more than 1 million titles for immediate delivery — so it’s a particular thrill for authors to find their work among the mega-retailer’s most eagerly awaited. So it was for author Erin Jones, ’10, whose debut young-adult novel, Tinfoil Crowns, (Flux Books) was included on B&N’s “10 Most Anticipated Indie YA Books for 2019.”

“This of-the-minute narrative is accessible and authentic, layered with diverse, flawed, and immensely likable characters.” -Kirkus Reviews

Coming to readers on May 7, Tinfoil Crowns is about a 17-year-old YouTube star named Fit and her mission to become famous. But there’s one thing her fans don’t know: when Fit was 3 years old, her mother, who was suffering from postpartum psychosis, tried to kill her and her sibling. The book is also noted as a rainbow read (LGBTQ) and for including an adult point of view. It’s a portrayal Kirkus Reviews calls “an empathetic glimpse into the rise of tomorrow’s celebrity du jour.”

Jones graduated magna cum laude from Southern with a degree in journalism and went on to earn a graduate degree from Emerson College, where she’s now an affiliated faculty member. She’s also editor-in-chief of the Platform Review, a literary journal focused on publishing quality literature from emerging and established writers. The former head of marketing at Ploughshares, Jones regularly contributes to the Ploughshares Blog.

A Global Brigades service trip to Ghana provides senior Princess Bart-Addison with an opportunity to "give back" and connect with her family's heritage.

Taking a break, during Global Brigade's 2019 trip to Ghana. Princess Bart-Addison is second from left.

Senior Princess Bart-Addison was born and raised in the Bronx. But she grew up hearing stories about the Republic of Ghana — her parents’ homeland — and, while English is her first language, she also speaks Twi (Akan), one of the more than 250 languages and dialects spoken in the country. In 2018, she paid her first visit to Ghana, traveling alongside her mother who’d left the country more than two and a half decades earlier and was returning for the first time.

Bart-Addison recalls the trip as life-changing; the people electrifying. Children walked throughout the streets selling items to passersby. A young woman carried her child on her back, deftly balancing large packages on her head as she walked through the streets. “Everyone is doing something. There is so much determination,” says Bart-Addison. Inspired, she visited an elementary school in Ghana — and, upon returning to the U.S., helped her sister, a high school senior, collect much-needed supplies to send to the students.

In January 2019, Bart-Addison returned to Ghana, traveling with the university’s chapter of Global Brigades — a secular, student-led service organization. Global Brigades has university chapters throughout the world with an overarching goal: to empower volunteers to help resolve global health and economic disparities in communities around the globe.

Founded in 2016, Southern’s chapter has quickly attracted members. Bart-Addison was one of 21 Southern students to join the brigade along with a faculty member. “I was so excited to be going back to Ghana. The first time was a vacation. This time was for service. It was a different feeling,” she says.

Southern participated in a “public health brigade,” traveling to the community of Ekumpoano in Ghana to help local masons build biodigester tanks for use with pour-flush toilets. The work is critically needed. Nationally, 22.9 percent of people in Ghana do not have access to any sanitation facilities (open defecation is the norm) and only 15 percent use improved, unshared sanitation facilities, according to UNICEF.

Global Brigades launched its first public health initiative in Ghana in January 2019, so the Southern students joined the effort on the ground floor. For Bart-Addison, the prospect was simultaneously exhilarating and intimidating. “There was a group before us, so we saw what they had built [a completed biodigester tank]. I remember thinking, ‘How are we going to do this?” she says.

Members of Southern’s Global Brigade team hard at work on the biodigester.

The group began by meeting with families in the community. “We went to their homes to introduce ourselves . . . to ask them about their problems, and learn about their families and their needs,” says Bart-Addison. The next day, the students divided into groups of four or five, and were paired with a local mason. The construction techniques were vastly different than in the U.S. “We have machines to mix the cement. Over there, they pour the cement on the floor, add the water, and then turn it with a shovel,” says Bart-Addison, who was able to assist her group as a translator.

The students stayed in a modernized hotel, traveling by bus each day to the community. With temperatures rising through the 90s, they worked from early morning through the late afternoon, using cement, cinder blocks, bricks, and sand to help construct the biodigester tanks. “There was so much sand and dirt in our shoes and on our clothes. And we were so tired immediately after, but on the bus ride back we always had enough energy to sing and talk,” she says.

Southern’s team built five biodigesters. After completing the project, they provided lessons on how to correctly use the systems. They also taught a children’s class on hygiene, demonstrating proper hand-washing techniques with a song. “One of my friends wrote it in their language. It was really nice. The children sat in a circle and sang it to us,” says Bart-Addison.

Students received an invitation to meet with the local chief.

This connection with the community was a high point for Bart-Addison. The group enjoyed trips to several historical and cultural sites — and was invited to meet with the chief at his palace. He thanked the students profusely, invited them back, and even exchanged cellphone numbers.

Completing the project brought an amazing sense of accomplishment and gratitude. “It definitely gives you a great sense of appreciation. I have a toilet that flushes — and I don’t think anything of it. But to them, this is probably the best thing that has happened in a very long time. . . . It will make a difference in their lives.They will remember it,” says Bart-Addison, with a smile.

As will she. An interdisciplinary studies major with concentrations in forensic science, sociology, and social science and medicine, Bart-Addison plans to work with at-risk youth. She’s spent the past three summers as a counselor at Epworth United Methodist Church Day Camp in the Bronx — and also volunteers with KHAIR (pronounced “care”), which serves at-risk youth from New Haven through mentoring and workshops on topics like financial literacy and dressing for success. On campus, she’s a vital member of the True Blue Owls team, working within the Division of Institutional Advancement to highlight the importance of giving.

“I loved how our group was so open to new experiences like trying new foods and listening to new music. The people from Global Brigades would play African music on our bus. By the end of the trip, our group was singing along.” — senior Princess Bart-Addison

Bart-Addison graduates in May and is looking into service work opportunities. Meanwhile, her Global Brigades teammates have stayed in touch — in person and through social media. “We’ll put pictures up. If someone is listening to a song we heard in Ghana, they’ll share it with everyone — and it always brings me right back,” she says.

Photos by Southern student Brokk Tollefson, a sociology major and journalism minor, who will graduate in May 24, 2019.

See an album of photos from Ghana.

A lively welcoming committee met the Southern students each day.

The late John Daniels (left) and Biagio DiLieto, former mayors of New Haven

Southern’s Buley Library will now be the repository for the papers and related materials of three New Haven mayors, thanks to a fund established by alumnus and attorney Neil Thomas Proto, ’67.

Southern had recently acquired the papers of former New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who served from 1994-2014. The Neil Thomas Proto Mayoral Papers Fund will now see that the university houses documents dedicated to former mayors Biagio DiLieto (1980-1990) and John Daniels (1990-1994).

Included in the Mayoral Papers will be correspondence, special project materials, proclamations, and memoranda such as newspaper articles, photographs, and campaign literature from each mayor’s tenure. The archive will also chronicle the mayors’ early lives and feature supporting items from individuals who served or associated with DiLieto and Daniels during their time in office.

“As New Haven’s public university and consistent with its historically thoughtful relationship with the city, Southern is a natural home for this important archival collection,’’ said Proto, who last year established a Scholar and Civic Fund in Law and Social Justice at the university. “I knew both mayors. They made valuable contributions to the civic good and political life of the city long before and during their mayoralty. Their lives warrant this active effort to preserve and chronicle who they were.”

The fund will also support a public exhibition of the three collections of Mayoral Papers, sponsored and organized by Southern, and scheduled to be held in 2020.

Neil Thomas Proto, ’67 (right)

“The exhibit will provide a wonderful insight into the processes of city government and how critical decisions were made,’’ said SCSU President Joe Bertolino. “Neil Proto’s generosity has helped create an archive of historical and societal significance for the City of New Haven.”

Clara Ogbaa, director of Buley Library, has been charged with management of the Mayoral Papers project, aided by librarian Jacqueline Toce and SCSU political science faculty members Jonathan Wharton and Theresa Marchant-Shapiro.

A retired partner with Washington, D.C., law firms, Proto has made his mark in numerous professional fields since graduating from Southern with a degree in political science and history and subsequently earning a master’s degree in international affairs and a Juris Doctor degree at George Washington University.

His public service in the United States Department of Justice, counsel to a presidential committee on nuclear power plant safety, and private practice in law includes 45 years of experience in land use, environmental, and federal litigation, as well as teaching assignments at Yale and Georgetown universities.

Widely held as a leading environmental litigator, Proto has represented Native Hawaiians, fought against the construction of highways on civil rights grounds, the unnecessary use of natural resources, and harm to Indian reservations. He also chaired two New Haven mayoral inaugurations and represented the city in its successful battle to stop regional shopping malls.

To Bonnie Edmondson, a world-ranked Olympic athlete and program coordinator of the School Health Education Program at Southern, the support systems in place for Olympic-level athletes are no different than those needed by today’s students — and she’s not alone in her thinking. Nationwide, health education policy is gaining traction, and it means an increase in demand for qualified professionals in the field.

“Athletes have family, coaches, and doctors on their team ensuring that their physical, social, and emotional needs are met,” Edmondson says. “The goals of health education work in the same way, to make sure students have the knowledge, skills, and behaviors to be successful in all that they do. Students have to be ready to learn in order to reach their maximum potential.”

More importantly, in Edmondson’s opinion, “Students need to understand why they need to make healthy choices.” For instance, “Children need a healthy lifestyle in order to learn, but physical education is just one piece of that,” Edmondson says. “Students need to understand why the physical activity is important.”

Bonnie Edmondson

Health education addresses that why; much like school nutrition, it has garnered governmental support. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coordinated school whole health (CSH) approach has steered Connecticut schools in the development and implementation of health-promoting policies, processes, and practices. Recognizing the need for enhanced collaboration between school education, public health, and school health sectors, the CDC and ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), recently expanded and merged the CSH model with tenets of the ASCD’s whole child approach to inform a new “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)” model, which seeks to “to engage students, families, staff, and the community-at-large to improve the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development of every child.”

In short, everyone is getting on board to positively affect student health, from top to bottom. For those passionate about this comprehensive wellness, Southern’s Master of Science degree in school health education teaches students to actively connect family, school, and community. It also prepares graduates for leadership roles in the field because, although data indicate a clear link between student health and achievement, oftentimes schools aren’t equipped to take on the task.

“Health education has evolved,” Edmondson says. “It’s not just about regurgitating facts, it’s about affecting behaviors, so preparing our health educators to be able to address these needs, it’s a significant paradigm shift.”

It’s also a timely shift.

“For the first time, Connecticut has outlined in its guidelines to school districts that health education and physical education are viable content areas for federal support,” Edmondson says. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, identifies both school health and physical education as part of a student’s well-rounded education. And new Connecticut legislation mandates that this year, all incoming high school freshmen must have one health education credit in order to graduate. In light of this new state requirement, additional health educators will be needed.

“Many high need districts are integrating whole student policies,” Edmondson says. “There’s more and more need for leaders in the field to be vocal advocates in our communities, for graduates to become ambassadors to field.”

Southern’s Master of Science degree in school health education arms graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to lead, coordinate, teach, and advocate for school health education programs in grades pre-K through 12. The skills are also applicable in community-based settings.

“This is an incredible time for us,” Edmondson says. “Southern’s Master of Science degree in school health education caters to teachers and coordinators in this field. We’re cultivating future leaders and practitioners.”

Edmondson is a two-time national champion and former world-ranked hammer thrower, a participant on expert panels, and a peer reviewer for numerous publications and journals.

Dana Casetti, research associate in the Physics Department; Elliott Horch, professor of physics; and Terry Girard, adjunct faculty member in the Physics Department

Dana Casetti, research associate in the Physics Department, is the catalyst for the recent awarding of a three-year grant to Southern totaling $509,480 from the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute for a project to measure motions of distant and old star systems.

The project entails the calibration of an older imaging camera that was used at Hubble between 1994 and 2009. Casetti said previous Hubble measurements used imaging cameras that were well studied/calibrated, but had observations taken for 10 years or less.

“We proposed using an older imaging camera that acquired measurements from 1994 to 2009, thus extending the time baseline of such measurements by 10-15 years,” she said.

“This was seen as valuable by the Hubble Space Telescope panel as it will enable numerous other studies well beyond the science we proposed in the project. It is an extremely challenging project, but our team is unique and extremely well-equipped to address this task.

“Our members are experts with more than 20 years in the field,” Casetti said. “Three of them are Southern faculty members (Elliott Horch, professor of physics; Terry Girard, adjunct faculty member in the Physics Department; and Casetti), one member is at Space Telescope Science Institute, and one is at Johns Hopkins University.”

Casetti said one of the goals of the project is to help scientists better understand the formation of the Milky Way Galaxy in a cosmological context. It also is intended to help better understand the roots of our own solar system.

“In a galaxy that underwent substantial harassment via interactions with other galaxies, it is difficult to have stable circumstances for a solar system to form and evolve to the point of developing intelligent life on a terrestrial planet,” she said.

This project will aid in helping to understand how that happened in the case of Earth.

Casetti also recently had been part of a team of experts that used NASA’s Hubble Telescope to help provide an answer to an astronomical mystery pertaining to two satellite dwarf galaxies. Astronomers believe that project is providing additional insight into how stars are “born.”

Last year, she taught in the summer school program at the Vatican Observatory, one of only a handful of astronomy experts selected to teach Ph.D. students, post-doctoral researchers and other outstanding astrophysics students from around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A graduate student presents at the 2018 Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Conference.

This year marks Southern Connecticut State University’s 125th anniversary, and the university is hosting four exciting on-campus events in April and May in celebration of its commitment to research and innovation: three research and creative activity (RAC) conferences and a career forum.

“These outstanding, high-impact events shine a necessary light on the tremendous successes and growth opportunities of and for our students, faculty, and university,” said Dr. Christine Broadbridge, executive director, Research & Innovation. “Right now we’re celebrating the university’s long tradition of excellence, but we’re always mindful of the future and how we can evolve as a community of innovators.”

The fifth annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference kicks off Saturday, April 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Michael J. Adanti Student Center Ballroom. The conference honors scholarship and creativity in all forms. Through the observation, interpretation, and documentation of various scholastic disciplines, this RAC conference intends to celebrate our journey to enlightenment. You’ll discover a showcase of undergraduate student research, oral presentations, theatrical performances, art installations, music, and more — all demonstrating the diverse scope of subjects engaged by undergraduate students as well as illustrating the important parallels between them.

Register for the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference here.

Are you interested in a career in one of the fasting growing high-impact areas? Don’t miss Jackson Labs/BioPath Career Day on Friday, April 26, from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in Engleman Hall A120 and the Academic Science and Laboratory Building. This year’s theme is personalized medicine/digital health and team science, and the conference features a line-up of notable professionals, innovative companies, and distinguished speakers. Last year’s event drew more than 250 students from Southern and surrounding universities and professionals in the bioscience fields. At this event, students will gain a solid understanding of what type of training is needed for a bioscience career, learn what skills employers are looking for, and how to land a job. There also will be panel discussions and networking sessions for professional advancement. This event is hosted by The Jackson Laboratory, Southern Connecticut State University, BioPath: Bioscience Academic and Career Pathway Initiative, and the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System (CSCU). In partnership with BioCT, dedicated to growing a vibrant bioscience ecosystem in Connecticut.

Register for Jackson Labs/BioPath Career Day here. 

The CSCU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Conference will take place Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entitled “Making An Impact: Pursuing New Knowledge Through Boundary-pushing Research and Creative Activity,” this RAC conference will feature artist talks; films screened in a dedicated theater; a gallery of posters and the opportunity to interact with the researchers; studio demonstrations; oral presentations; and tapas, during which speakers will give four-minute rapid-fire presentations.

Register for the CSCU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Conference here.

On Monday, May 13, the Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Conference will be held from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center, 3rd floor. According to Broadbridge, “This event allows SCSU graduate students to showcase their outstanding research and creative efforts while also benefiting from numerous very significant professional development opportunities. SCSU’s Division of Research and Innovation provides the infrastructure, but the students are actively engaged in all aspects of planning and running the event. The result is a collaborative effort with some major impact on all involved.”

The conference, which is a new tradition in recognition and support for graduate students, aims to not only encourage continued work as a community, but also to awaken individual curiosity and purpose. In 2018, graduate students showcased more than 130 presentations.

Register for the Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Conference here. 

Southern in the Spotlight

In the News

The New Haven Register was one of several news outlets to report on Southern’s new agreement with New Haven Public Schools offering tuition-free classes to students at city high schools.

The annual Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture featured Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps and received a slew of coverage, including this column by Hearst Newspapers sportswriter Jeff Jacobs, which focused on Phelps’ battles with depression and his campaign to promote mental health awareness.

Frank Harris, professor of journalism, was interviewed about the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans to set foot in Colonial America.

Sophomore Asma Rahimyar’s moving words spoken at the Muslim Student Association prayer vigil for the victims of the March massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, were featured in the Hartford Courant’s “Fresh Talk” opinion section.

Jack of al trades master of one-acts

Coming Up at Lyman

May 1 through 4: Student Directed One Acts, Kendall Drama Lab. 7:30 p.m. (plus 2 p.m. May 4)

May 4: Sax to the Max, with saxophonists Michael Lington, Paul Taylor and Vincent Ingala. 8 p.m.

May 31: Grover 75, with the original members of Grover Washington’s last touring band. 8 p.m.

Click here for tickets to these and other events.

Mary Xatse

Southern Social

Here are some of our latest hits on social media:
Dr. Tyree introduces Otus to Michael Phelps
14 Not-to-be-missed spots on campus
Southern alum dubbed “today’s most successful music critic”
Southern starts the conversation on mental health

 

Notable

New Haven high school history teacher Daisha Brabham, ‘17, has been awarded a U.S. Fulbright – U.K. Partnership Award. This prestigious award allows her to receive full funding to complete a Master’s of Public History degree at Royal Holloway University of London during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Tracy Tyree, vice president for student affairs, is the recipient of the CT ACE Women’s Network 2019 Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award.

Dana Casetti, research associate in the physics department, is the catalyst for the recent awarding of a three-year grant to Southern totaling $509,480 from the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute for a project to measure motions of distant and old star systems.

Troy Rondinone, professor of history, is the author of Nightmare Factories, the first history of mental hospitals in American popular culture, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Cheryl Green, assistant professor of nursing’s new book: Incivility Among Nursing Professionals in Clinical and Academic Environments: Emerging Research and Opportunities was featured  in the Connecticut League of Nursing’s most recent newsletter. 

David Pettigrew, professor of philosophy, continues his research and human rights activism in Bosnia. He recently gave two lectures at the International University of Sarajevo and another for KRUG 99, the Association of Independent Intellectuals founded during the siege of Sarajevo. Titled: “Trouble in the Balkans: Republika Srpska and the Failure of the International Community,”  his lecture received extensive press coverage in on line portals, TV, and print media.

It's Giving Day

In the Lens

Southern celebrate its 4th annual Giving Day on Tuesday, April 16. In honor of our 125th anniversary, we’ve set a goal of $125,000. Help us reach it and support our students’ education by visiting SouthernCT.edu/givingday.

Click here to view all of our Southern videos.

Dan Lauria

125 Years and Counting

Here’s the fifth installment of our Living History series featuring alums from every decade since the 1930s: Dan Lauria, ’70, noted actor and star of the hit comedy TV series The Wonder Years.

Keep up with everything about our 125th anniversary celebrations and leave your memories here.

 

Announcements

Southern will hold its Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 24, 2019, at the Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main Street, in Bridgeport, beginning with an academic procession at 10:15 a.m. Graduate Commencement will be held at the Lyman Center on Thursday, May 23 at 2:00p.m. (School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Health & Human Services) and 7:00 p.m. (School of Business and the School of Education, including Library Science).

Connecticut Public Television, in partnership with SCSU,  will premiere “Student Mental Health: Crucial Conversations” on April 18 at 8 p.m., featuring student testimony and a panel of experts including Southern’s Nick Pinkerton, director of counseling services and Jermaine Wright, associate vice president for student affairs.

Parting Shot

Parting Shot

Student volunteers gathered on Discovery Day, April 6, to greet accepted students and welcome them to campus for a day of exploring all that Southern has to offer

Scott Graves, associate professor of the environment, geography and marine sciences, demonstrates a drone.

It’s not a bird. It’s not exactly a plane, either. But drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, are becoming a sort of superman of modern technology – used by professionals and amateurs alike.

Drones, which generally take aerial photos and videos, are being used today for a smorgasbord of purposes – from journalism to education to public safety to the inspection roads and bridges.

“This cutting-edge technology is not only growing in popularity amongst enthusiastic hobbyists, but finding application in a variety of different professional fields,” said Ian Canning, associate dean of Southern’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies. “In response to this growing demand, and because of our university expertise, we wanted to offer a comprehensive program for working professionals seeking to expand their knowledge in the field of drone operation and utilization.”

As such, SCSU has created a Drone Academy, which is set to launch in Fall 2019.

The academy is designed to prepare individuals for the Federal Aviation Agency exam (which is required for some drone uses); to teach people how to safely operate a drone; to teach basic photography and videography using a drone, and to instruct students on video editing using Photoshop and Video Pro.

Although the SCSU Drone Academy is open to anyone, the program will be geared toward the professional seeking to increase their understanding of drone operation.

The academy will be divided into four modules of eight hours each for a total of 32 hours. It is a non-credit program and the cost totals $800 a person. The academy is scheduled to include classes on Wednesdays from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The instructors are Scott Graves, SCSU associate professor of the environment, geography and marine sciences, who is also an FAA-licensed drone pilot; and Mark Mirko, a Hartford Courant photojournalist who is an FAA-certified Part 107 pilot.

Graves specializes in coastal geomorphology, wetlands, beaches and coastal forest research, as well as computational aerial imaging. He also has engaged in research focused on science education. He has authored many journal articles, a book chapter and conducted presentations on the use of drones for landscape and habitat mapping.

Mirko is an adjunct instructor of journalism at Southern. He brings extensive experience in drone flight navigation, safety, controls and aerial photography. He was part of a team of photographers at the Palm Beach Post in Florida that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew.

For additional information about the Drone Academy, please contact Ian Canning at canningi1@southernct.edu, or either of the instructors: Scott Graves at gravess1@southernct.edu, or Mark Mirko at mmirko@courant.com.

 

 

Front row — Karen DuBois-Walton, Executive Director of the Elm City Communities; Dr. Carol Birks, Superintendent, New Haven Public Schools; Dr. Joe Bertolino, President, Southern Connecticut State University; and back row — Ciara Ortiz, junior at The Sound School; Daniela Flores, junior at Wilbur Cross High School; Hannah Providence, a senior at Wilbur Cross High School; Dayana Lituma, 2017 Wilbur Cross High School graduate and current SCSU student

A greater number of outstanding New Haven high school students will have access to college-level classes, thanks to an agreement announced today between Southern and the New Haven Public Schools.

The university already offers tuition-free college classes to a small group of excellent high school students willing to come to the SCSU campus. Most of the 60 or so such students are from New Haven and the immediate surrounding communities.

But for the first time, Southern is offering the option of taking those college classes at the city’s various high school campuses. Those classes will be taught by SCSU faculty or high school teachers who meet specific criteria and are hired as SCSU adjunct faculty members.

“Part of our mission is to improve access to a college education,” said SCSU President Joe Bertolino at a recent signing ceremony with New Haven Schools Superintendent Carol Birks. “By expanding this program, we will provide greater access to local students. It is an example of what we mean when we say Southern is not only in the community, but of the community.”

Terricita Sass, SCSU associate vice president for enrollment management, agreed.

“Some students are well-prepared to take college classes, but may be reluctant or unable to travel to a college campus,” Sass said. “We want to remove the transportation barrier if we can. This will give some students an option to take classes at their own school.”

Birks said she is excited about the potential academic and financial benefits to students.

“This program obviously offers our students an immediate financial benefit with tuition-free classes,” Birks said. “But the college credits also can either lessen the time it will take them to earn a degree, which reduces student debt, or provide them with more academic flexibility in college to take additional courses of their choice. Either way, it’s a win-win for the students.”

SCSU student Dayana Lituma, who graduated from Wilbur Cross High School in 2017, said taking college courses in high school helped her tremendously. She took five such courses, including three at Southern. As a result of the credits earned, she plans to graduate after the fall semester of 2020, a semester earlier than the traditional four-year college experience.

“Not only will I be able to save money on tuition, but the college classes helped me figure out early on what direction I wanted to pursue,” she said. She plans to seek a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, and eventually become a bilingual speech-language pathologist.

Bertolino said the tuition-free college classes comprise just one of several joint SCSU-New Haven programs being created, continued or expanded to benefit students and their families. He also announced:

*Southern has created a Residential Leadership Scholarship that provides a small group of students with free on-campus housing. The students must meet the criteria for the New Haven Promise Scholarship program, as well as write an additional essay and provide a letter of recommendation to be eligible. If selected, the students must complete activities in leadership development, community contribution/campus involvement, academic enhancement, mentoring and activism/civic engagement. Last fall, seven students were chosen for the one-year scholarship. Next fall, five of those seven students will be offered a continuation of the scholarship, while five additional New Haven graduates will receive the scholarship.

*Southern will set aside $100,000 in merit-based aid, and $100,000 in need-based aid, to incoming freshmen next fall who graduate from New Haven schools. The allocation is expected to continue each year.

*SCSU social work students will work with the New Haven Housing Authority (Elm City Communities) to assist students and their families with truancy, financial literacy, online applications and other matters. The housing authority has allocated $25,000 for the program, which calls for six students to collaborate with resident managers in the West Rock community. The program is scheduled to begin next fall.

*The university plans to increase its presence at local middle and high schools, particularly in the Newhallville section of the city. This will include workshops, participation in field days and other similar types of events. It is part of a community collaborative effort that also involves local businesses, clergy and other neighborhood leaders.

*Southern launched a Visiting Scholars program last semester, in which SCSU faculty members teach academic lessons to area K-12 students. Many of these visits are to New Haven schools. The program offers hands-on learning experiences, giving them deeper insight into various disciplines. The lessons are designed to align with the classroom curriculum.

*SCSU plans to host a career exposure day in May for Common Ground High School. The university will organize panel discussions on public health and recreation, tourism and sports management. In addition, CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement), a program co-housed at SCSU, has been helping Common Ground redesign its 10th grade health curriculum.

 

The Top Owl Social Justice Award is given to recognize contributions toward helping the university achieve its mission of creating and sustaining an inclusive community that appreciates, celebrates, and advances student and campus diversity.

This award, selected by the President’s Commission on Social Justice, are being awarded this academic year during the months of December, January, February, March, and April to recognize the contributions, leadership, and service of a worthy faculty, staff, part-time student, and full-time student.

For the month of March, the Top Owl Award winners are undergraduate student Madison Caruso; Michelle Mann, department secretary in the Department of Public Health; and Meredith Sinclair, assistant professor of English.

Madison Caruso is an Honors College student who is committed to pursuing social justice for those suffering from mental illness. Her honors thesis concerns advocacy for social justice by inviting the SCSU community to a talk on mental illness, then offering them the opportunity to make artwork in response to the talk. Those who complete the artwork will have a chance to share stories and come to a better understanding of how mental illness impacts us all, as well as how art has the potential to heal us all.

Caruso took advantage of SCSU’s Social Justice Grants program to provide the Southern community with these opportunities to both learn and create, and, her nominator wrote, “I applaud both her initiative and care.”

Her nominator continued, “Madison is going above and beyond what is required of an Honors Thesis to also better all of us at SCSU, especially those struggling with mental illness and/or those who know someone struggling with mental illness.”

As the department secretary in Public Health, Michelle Mann was described by her nominator, a student worker in the department, as “Office Mom!” and “the glue that keeps this department together.” Mann, her nominator wrote, is thoughtful and caring, baking cakes for birthdays, taking student staff on museum trips, and open to learning about others’ backgrounds and cultures. “I have never seen Mrs. Michelle be biased, judgmental or close minded to any topic, culture, or any challenge,” her nominator wrote. Her nominator particularly noted Mann’s care and concern for her department’s student workers, writing, “Mrs. Michelle is the kind of person who would encourage me to go to counseling services rather than clocking in. Mrs. Michelle is the kind of person who will take a walk with you just to listen about your concerns. Mrs. Michelle is the kind of person who will slip $10 in your backpack after you persisted to tell her not to just to help you out. Mrs. Michelle has opened her home, and her arms up for me, and I am ever so grateful. She has encouraged me to challenge myself, and believe in my abilities.”

Further, when it comes to social justice, Mann’s nominator wrote, “she is not complacent nor quiet in the eyes of oppression. Graduating from UCONN with a history degree, she found her stance against racial discrimination and promotes cultural awareness to her child and the rest of her staff. She is ready to march at any time, to open her mouth against things that aren’t right. She is open minded, and exposes herself to many cultures. She is the woman on all of the boards, has the huge dinners for her church, and orchestrates fellowship among different cultures and people.”

Meredith Sinclair has taken a leading role at SCSU in promoting anti-racist and culturally responsive pedagogy for future PK-12 teachers and for university educators. She is a co-director of the Urban Education Fellows, a student-driven organization for future teachers who are committed to teaching in urban schools and promoting activism through education. She is also a member of the SCSU Racial Justice Pedagogy Project and of the Faculty Senate Curricular Task Force for Social Justice and Human Diversity, as well as being a leader in AAUP Committee W. Her nominator wrote, “Dr. Sinclair integrates Social Justice in her teaching, research, and outreach, and many teacher candidates are grateful for her guidance, support, and struggle against inequities in education.”