View a photo album from Jahana Hayes’ September 2016 visit to Southern.

The Council of Chief State School Officers today announced that Southern alumna Jahana Hayes, ’05, a history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Conn., is the 2016 National Teacher of the Year.

Jahana Hayes, '05
Photos courtesy of Waterbury Public Schools

Hayes’ route to teaching began as a student. The first in her family to graduate from college, she was inspired by her teachers who urged her to dream bigger and who believed that she was college material, despite a challenging upbringing. She earned an associate degree from Naugatuck Valley Community College, a bachelor of science from Southern, a master of arts from Saint Joseph University, and a certification from the University of Bridgeport.

A veteran history teacher, Hayes also sees herself as an advisor, counselor, confidant and protector. She endeavors to fill the role her own teachers had in her life, guiding students to be their best selves and encouraging them to take ownership of their communities.

“As a teacher, I strive to facilitate learning in a way that engages students by connecting on a personal level and stimulating academic growth, while simultaneously producing contentious and productive members of society,” she says.

For Hayes, being a teacher is a privilege and an opportunity to transform lives and foster a sense of social responsibility in the next generation. As the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and a spokesperson for the teaching profession, Hayes hopes to motivate more people to become educators and continue to carry out this important work.

“I am honored to be the 2016 National Teacher of the Year,” Hayes says. “In the course of the next year, I hope to stoke a national conversation about education that is inclusive of everyone. I want to engage people who have not traditionally been part of the conversation to join in this important effort to prepare well-rounded students for success in life.”

The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and presented by Voya Financial, Inc., identifies exceptional teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

As the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Hayes will spend a year traveling the nation to represent educators and advocate on behalf of teachers. She looks forward to sharing her belief in the importance of service-learning, and in making the teaching profession more attractive and appealing to young people across all demographics.

Every year, exemplary teachers from each state, the U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected as State Teachers of the Year. From that group, the National Teacher of the Year is chosen by a panel representing 15 renowned education organizations, which collectively represent more than 7 million educators.

“The Selection Committee selected Jahana Hayes as the 2016 National Teacher of the Year because we believe her message of service-learning resonates in the education discussion today,” the committee stated. “In addition, we believe she has a strong story that speaks to educators and will bring an important perspective to the public discourse over the next year.”

“Teachers like Jahana Hayes are leading the way to a brighter future for America. What an exceptional educator — we are all proud,” says Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “Extraordinary academic rigor, high expectations, and unwavering commitment to service outside the classroom are the characteristics that Jahana brings to Waterbury students each and every day. She is truly preparing the next generation of global citizens. I want to congratulate Jahana and thank her for making a difference in the lives of so many Connecticut children and families.”

“Jahana Hayes inspires her students to believe in their ability to change the world. She ignites a love of learning and builds their self-confidence. This well-deserved distinction provides Jahana the platform and opportunity to share her gifts, passion, and talent with students and educators across the nation. Without question, Jahana will inspire others to believe in the power of teachers to change the world through education,” says Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell. “Connecticut is so proud of Jahana. She is a true role model for educators across the nation who seek to deliver on the promise of an outstanding education for every student.”

“To be the National Teacher of the Year requires not only pedagogical precision, but also the ability to connect to the hearts and minds of a school community,” says Waterbury Superintendent Kathleen M. Ouellette. “Jahana’s own life experience, her passion for education, and the inspirational manner in which she impacts her students, all contribute greatly to her success. Jahana has masterfully refined a focused, pragmatic, yet heartfelt approach to an evolving global vision of education, bringing her to this pinnacle – the 2016 National Teacher of the Year! We in Waterbury, Connecticut, are very proud!”

Hayes and the other 55 State Teachers of the Year have been invited to an event on Tuesday, May 3, at the White House, where they will be honored by President Barack Obama.

Alumni Counselor with First Lady Michelle Obama
Photo: American School Counselor Association

Southern pride is running sky high, with Colleen Palmer, M.S. ’90, 6th Yr. ’93, and Jahana (Flemming) Hayes, ’05, respectively named the 2016 Connecticut Superintendent and Teacher of the Year, and Megan Johnson, M.S. ’98, 6th Yr. ’99, honored as the 2016 School Counselor of the Year Connecticut state representative.

Johnson was among a select group of school counselors honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House in January (Johnson is pictured above in the second row from the top, second from the left.).

Alumni librarians are feeling the love as well. Congratulations to Diane Brown, ’95, M.L.S. ’04, and Elizabeth G. Rumery, M.L.S. ’05, two of only 10 librarians from throughout the nation to receive the “I Love My Librarian Award.” The competition, which is overseen by the American Library Association, recognizes librarians who have transformed lives through education. Here’s more on the honorees.

Connecticut Superintendent of the Year

Colleen Palmer, M.S. ’90, 6th Yr. ’93

colleen-palmer-200x255Superintendent of Weston Public Schools Colleen Palmer is no stranger to success. In Newsweek magazine’s most recent rating of high schools in the U.S., Weston High was top in Connecticut and 47th nationally. Palmer, a 30-year education veteran has received personal accolades as well, including being named the 2016 Superintendent of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. “I have always loved being an educator, from being a teacher, a guidance counselor, a principal, an assistant superintendent, and a superintendent. In each of those roles you can positively influence the lives of children. I love my work,” said Palmer, quoted in the publication Westport Now. In July, she will begin serving as superintendent for the neighboring town of Westport.

2016 Connecticut Teacher of the Year

Finalist for National Teacher of the Year

Jahana (Flemming) Hayes, ’05

Social studies teacher, John F. Kennedy High School, Waterbury

Johana-Hayes-200x255The first in her family to attend college, Jahana (Flemming) Hayes transferred to Southern after earning an associate degree from Naugatuck Valley Community College. Raised in Waterbury, she credits teachers with inspiring her to dream big. “Teachers exposed me to a different world by letting me borrow books to read at home and sharing stories about their college experiences,” writes Hayes. After beginning her teaching career in New Haven, she returned to Waterbury where she has taught for the past 11 years. In addition to her classroom duties, she was the lead teacher for the district’s after-school programming for seven years and is working to further minority teacher recruitment and retention. “I’ve been telling my students for years that excellence happens here every day. Our students need to know that they have value and can make a difference in the world. This honor makes that real for them,” says Hayes. She is one of only four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in April.

2016 School Counselor of the Year State Representative for Connecticut

Megan Johnson, M.S. ’98, 6th Yr. ’99

King Philip Middle School, West Hartford

megan-johnson-200x255Megan Johnson kicked off the year in high style. Named the Connecticut state representative for the 2016 School Counselor of the Year program, Johnson was among a select group honored at the White House and a black-tie gala held at Washington, D.C.’s historic Union Station. “Going to the White House was an amazing experience,” says Johnson. “It was so nice to see our profession be publicly recognized and appreciated by the First Lady.” Johnson was raised in a family of educators. Her father, David Fox, is a retired history teacher and her mother, alumna Rosemary Fox, ’69, M.S. ’72, also taught before becoming a school counselor. At Southern, Johnson worked as a graduate assistant while pursuing her studies. She credits Professor Emeritus of Counseling and School Psychology Michael Martin, for his mentorship. “His belief in me as a professional helped me gain the confidence I needed to pursue my career and is something I will never forget,” says Johnson, who earned this most recent honor after being named the 2015 School Counselor of the Year by the Connecticut School Counseling Association.

I Love My Librarian Award

Elizabeth Rumery, M.L.S. ’05

Library Director, University of Connecticut Avery Point Campus, Groton

rumery-e-200x255Librarian Elizabeth Rumery has rolled out the welcome mat for students and the community, says Sue Shontell, executive director of the New London Housing Authority, (NLHA), which provides housing opportunities for the elderly, those with disabilities, and low-income families. In addition to welcoming NLHA families and staff at on-campus events, Rumery has encouraged her students to learn the joys of giving back. “She has made the library not only a place of academic learning and support, but a place to learn life lessons as well,” says Shontell. Interested students have attended a presentation by Edward Epps, a representative from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C., and collected cellphones for victims of domestic violence. On campus, Rumery has worked to enhance the library’s physical space and fostered collaborations with veterans, the Rainbow Center, and the writing center. She’s also created a “safe space” in the library, where students grappling with problems and issues will be connected with the appropriate help and resources.

I Love My Librarian Award

Diane Brown, ’95, M.L.S. ’04

Branch Manager, Stetson Branch, New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL)

brown-diane-200x255When members of a recent focus group were asked to describe what they loved most about the Stetson Branch library in New Haven, their answer was lightning fast: “Miss Diane!” Many echo their enthusiasm for Diane Brown, who is widely credited with transforming the library into a safe, nurturing oasis for the inner-city Dixwell neighborhood — an area burdened by poverty, high unemployment, and low literacy. Working with the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology, for example, she helped establish an afterschool tutoring program for Lincoln Bassett School as well as a satellite branch library within the school. Other initiatives she’s helped forward include family nights, health fairs, the International Festival of Arts and Idea’s Pop-Up Festival in the Dixwell neighborhood, and much more. Dawn La Valle, director of the Division of Library Development for the Connecticut State Library, who nominated Brown, notes: “Her commitment to the community she was born and raised in is unbreakable, and it goes well beyond the walls of the library.”



The university has entered into an exciting partnership with The Elm Shakespeare Company (ESC) that promises to bring new energy to the Theatre Department and the entire university community.

The Elm Shakespeare Company, recognized as the premiere Shakespeare company in Connecticut and one of the very best in New England, has been offering free professional outdoor Shakespeare performances in New Haven for 20 years. Southern and Elm Shakespeare recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that brings Elm Shakespeare onto campus and integrates it into Theatre Department activities and facilities.

Under the MOU, ESC is officially “in residence” at Southern Connecticut State University. For two decades, ESC has rehearsed its actors and built the sets for its productions at Lyman Center; the MOU formalizes this relationship. As part of the agreement, ESC will reserve three non-union acting or technical positions for Southern students in its summer season; provide a member of its artistic staff to teach a Shakespeare workshop (THR 228) every semester; and offer additional free workshops to SCSU theater students. In addition, when available, a member of the ESC artistic staff will direct agreed-upon Theatre Department productions, and the company will provide formal fieldwork opportunities for qualified Southern students interested in theater education. The university, for its part, will provide office, classroom, and rehearsal space for ESC; allow access to the costume shop and scene shop; and offer the opportunity for qualified ESC staff to teach, direct or design in Theatre Department courses or productions. Both organizations will acknowledge the partnership in their advertising literature and publications.

Steven Breese, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, says of the new partnership, “We are delighted that Elm Shakespeare will be taking up residency at Southern. Our artistic and educational missions are deeply interconnected and, like any good partnership, we strengthen one another by joining our forces.

“While SCSU has, for many years, had a strong relationship with Elm, having the company and its artistic staff ensconced on our campus and interacting with students and faculty every day will be a ‘shot’ of creative adrenaline — something that all artists need and welcome.”

Rebecca Goodheart, Elm Shakespeare’s new Producing Artistic Director, says, “We at Elm Shakespeare are so excited to solidify our long-time working relationship and become the theater company in residence at Southern Connecticut State University. This partnership is the best kind of collaboration. Together we will create more classical performance at the highest standards, and more opportunities for students than ever before. Together, we will ensure that everyone in this great community and beyond has access to world-class arts and education. Together, we will be the example of what is possible in New Haven.”

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Breese acknowledges the efforts of Goodheart and Kaia Monroe, Theatre Department Chair, for the work they have done to bring this partnership to fruition, adding, “It represents a giant step forward for our theater program, while offering a secure home for one the region’s most respected professional Shakespeare companies.”

An official signing of the MOU will take place on March 2, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lyman Center lobby. The signing will coincide with Elm Shakespeare’s announcement of its 2016 season. For more information about Elm Shakespeare, visit its website.



In terms of diversity of and access to faculty-led study abroad programming, Southern is now “walking the walk,” says Erin Heidkamp, director of international education. With the recent addition of five new study abroad programs, destinations now range from Liverpool to Laos, and program fees are affordable compared to other institutional and third-party programs study abroad programs outside of Southern.

New programs this year include Amsterdam (sociology), China (nursing), Guatemala II (special education), Laos (English), and Liverpool (recreation and leisure). These programs join the university’s existing programs in Belize (biology), Bermuda (the environment, geography, and marine sciences), Guatemala I (public health), Iceland (the environment, geography, and marine sciences), Rome (English), Spain (world languages and literatures) and Tuscany (world languages and literatures).

Heidkamp says, “The publication of our new 2016 faculty-led program abroad booklets has sparked tremendous interest among faculty interested in establishing their own programs. We couldn’t be more excited about the growth in this area of OIE (Office of International Education) services. It’s the direct result of having defined the direction in which we, as a university, want to move.”

A key part of Southern’s mission as an institution of higher learning is “preparing our local students for global lives,” and each year, a significant number of Southern students study abroad. Last year, the university joined 240 institutions nationwide in the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade.


The Amsterdam program (July 7 – August 7) will address social problems in The Netherlands, especially as they relate to crime, drug culture, sexuality and social control. These and other topics will be covered in courses taught by experts on Dutch social policy and field experiences led by activists, policy makers, and scholars from the University of Amsterdam.


The 2016 China program (March 17 – 26) will provide nursing students a unique opportunity to study global healthcare abroad within a developing, culturally diverse population. Students will identify how cultural issues and global diversity impact the delivery of healthcare and will work collaboratively with Chinese nursing students from Central South University in Changsha, China, to explore, understand, and appreciate these differences as well as identify, assess, and plan interventions from a global perspective.


The special education field study in Guatemala (July 31 – August 14) will provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about special education in a developing country through interactions with children, teachers and families; discussions with in-country experts; community observations; and visits to schools, residential facilities and other agencies serving children with disabilities. Students will examine special education policies and services with attention to availability, accessibility, assessment, professional preparation, and resources. Topics such as cultural and linguistic diversity, literacy, school attendance and completion, and successful post-school transitions will be explored.


In the Laos program (May 30- June 16), students will take a course that introduces and teaches travel writing while offering intensive practice in multiple forms within the genre, making it suitable for seasoned as well as aspiring travelers and writers. Students will use their daily interactions with Lao culture, food, historical sites, and people to inform their written reflections on what it means to be a foreign person traveling through an unfamiliar country.


The Liverpool program – “Atlantic Crossing!” (April 3-12) — will provide students with the opportunity to meet like-minded students at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), and learn about the shared historical and cultural roots of two significant coastal cities that played a major role in the international economic and cultural development of the United States and England. The program may also serve as a practicum experience for a student in the Tourism, Hospitality and Event concentration, with student involvement in the planning and logistical management of the program. Students will be required to attend face-to-face meetings with RLS faculty, online meetings with LJMU counterparts prior to departure, and develop a research project linked to their current course work and concentration.

For more information about any of these programs, including fees and contact information, visit the OIE website.

To hear study abroad alumni speak about their experiences with international study, don’t miss the Global Ambassador Symposium on February 24 at 12 p.m. in Engleman A120.

President Mary A. Papazian

Mark Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, has announced that Mary A. Papazian will resign as President of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) effective July 1, 2016, and will become the 29th president of San José State University.

In announcing her resignation, President Ojakian noted that while President Papazian has only served as SCSU president since 2011, she has nevertheless produced a distinguished record of student success and accomplishment. “From major construction projects that have changed the face of SCSU, to urban initiatives and the growth of STEM programs to meet workforce development needs, President Papazian has served the SCSU community with exceptional vision and integrity,” said President Ojakian. “We are indeed fortunate to have had the benefit of her extraordinary leadership.”

“The Board of Regents greatly appreciates President Papazian’s service and commitment to Southern Connecticut State University and its students,” said Board of Regents Chairman Nicholas Donofrio. “We wish her well in her future endeavors and we thank her for her service to the state, CSCU community and Southern Connecticut State University.”

Since 2011, President Papazian — the 11th president of SCSU — led a period of institutional advancement. During her tenure, she established a Student Success Taskforce that enhanced student services and support, and the first Presidents Commission on Campus Climate and Inclusion. Major construction projects included the new School of Business, renovation of Buley Library, and the Academic Laboratory Science Building and changed the face of the SCSU campus.

While president, she also established the Office for STEM innovation and Leadership, where SCSU’s new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs were created in alignment with the needs of a 21st century economy. In spring of 2015, President Papazian and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp announced a new bioscience partnership linking SCSU and the City of New Haven.  In addition, the university is now developing an initiative with the city of Bridgeport, focusing on education, business and environmental science.

During her time at SCSU, President Papazian also led the university through the final phase of a successful academic accreditation process, expanded SCSU’s community engagement by cultivating stronger ties to SCSU’s feeder K-12 school districts, and began the planning phase in partnership with New Haven Public Schools to place a K-4 magnet school on campus. Her efforts enabled SCSU to earn a place on the coveted President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Before joining SCSU, President Papazian was provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Lehman College at the City University of New York. She also served as dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Science at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. At Oakland University where she also was an assistant, associate and tenured professor of English.  She holds a bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. in English literature from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

President Papazian is active in many community organizations, and is chair of the Connecticut Campus Compact governance sub-committee, president of the Greater New Haven Heart Walk and director of New Haven Promise, a scholarship and support program to promote college education for New Haven Public school students. In 2014, she received the Athena Leadership Award from the Greater New Haven and Quinnipiac Chambers of Commerce, and a state delegation member for Complete College America.

The Board of Regents shall commence a search for President Papazian’s replacement shortly.

Dr. Geoffrey Martin, geography professor emeritus and a prominent historian of American geography, will discuss “On the History of the Book — American Geography and Geographers: Toward Geographical Science” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2016, at the Library of Congress. This special event, which is free and open to the public, will focus on Martin’s most recent major work, and will include a display of related rare maps and atlases from the collections of the library’s Geography and Map Division. Opening remarks will be delivered by Ralph Ehrenberg, Chief of the Geography and Map Division, and Douglas Richardson, Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Ronald Abler, immediate past president of the International Geographical Union, cited Martin’s book as “unparalleled in the scope and depth of its research and in its meticulous exposition of the evolution of geography in the United States through the 1970s.”

The late Harm de Blij characterized Martin’s book as “a monumental and magisterial work, exhaustively researched and documented, judiciously presented and extremely important as evidence of the foundation from which the discipline arose and evolved. Like Hartshorne’s Nature of Geography many decades ago, this will become a milestone in the record of the field, and it will engender productive debate for decades to come.”

Geoffrey MartinThe official AAG archivist for nearly 30 years, Martin received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of London (London School of Economics). He is the author of The Mark Jefferson Paris Peace Conference Diary, as well as other books on Mark S. W. Jefferson, Ellsworth Huntington and Isaiah Bowman. Martin and P.E. James co-wrote All Possible Worlds: A History of Geographical Ideas . Martin and James also produced The Association of American Geographers: The First Seventy-Five Years, 1904-1979. He has been the recipient of numerous national and international honors, including East German Visiting Scientist, visiting scientist to Cambridge University, visiting scholar at Yale University and National Science Foundation grant recipient in 1984, 1989 and 2010. Professional awards include both AAG’s Honors and the J.K. Wright Award. In addition, Martin has presented at more than 30 major universities in the U.S., U.K., Denmark, the former East Germany, India, Japan, Serbia and Sweden.

Martin’s talk will be held in the Library of Congress’ Geography and Map Division on Floor B of the Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. SE in Washington, D.C. The most convenient way to reach the Library of Congress is via public transportation, specifically the subway. The closest Metro station is Capitol South (Blue/Orange/Silver Line), which is located across the street from the Madison Building. Please allow adequate time to pass through the security checkpoint at the Library’s Independence Avenue entrance in time to be seated for the start of the event. The rare maps display will be available for viewing prior to and after the presentation.

Dr. Sandra Minor Bulmer, professor of public health, has been named as the university’s new dean of the School of Health and Human Services, effective immediately.

Bulmer has served as a faculty member in Southern’s Department of Public Health since 1999, as a full professor since 2009 and interim dean of HHS since 2014. A specialist in college student health issues and women’s exercise and health, she has excelled as a teacher/scholar, demonstrated a strong commitment to mentoring students, and provided a high level of service to her department and the university.

Bulmer has been active in campus leadership activities, including a six-year term on the Faculty Senate, chairing the Honors Thesis Committee since 2010 and chairing searches for the Vice President of Student Affairs and, most recently, the new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Since fall 2014, in her role as interim dean, Bulmer has focused on building a community environment within the School, expanding inter-professional collaboration among faculty and students, increasing resources for high-demand degree programs, and developing new programs that address workforce needs in the state of Connecticut.

Under her leadership the Department of Nursing initiated reforms to their admissions process, the Exercise Science Department created and launched a new degree program in respiratory therapy, and the Social Work Department is creating a new doctoral degree program.

She also led a team of 20 faculty through the development of an initial building program for the School, worked with her associate dean to expand collaborations and build relationships in the New Haven community, and supported faculty with the launch of academic partnerships with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (BUCEA).

In addition to her work at Southern, Bulmer is the current president for the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), volunteers with the Institutional Review Board and Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program at Yale University, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Division of the American Heart Association.

Bulmer has been the recipient of several notable honors, including the J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teaching Award in 2003 and the Society for Public Health Education’s Outstanding Service Award in 2011. During her tenure as Director of Fitness Operations with Western Athletic Clubs in San Francisco, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) selected her as their first ever Fitness Director of the Year in 1991.  Under her guidance, Western Athletic Clubs was one of the first major employers in the fitness industry to require college degrees and relevant certifications for personal trainers and other fitness professionals.

In 1997, Bulmer left her position at Western Athletic Clubs to obtain her Ph.D. in health education at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Tex.  She also holds a B.S. in physical education from California State University Hayward and an M.S. in physical education with a focus on exercise physiology from the University of Oregon.

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

The university is pleased to welcome 21 new tenure-track faculty members into our ranks this year.

From countries as diverse as China, Romania, South Korea, Turkey and Bangladesh – and from states all over the United States, from Louisiana in the south to Utah in the west — they bring with them a wide variety of experiences and expertise. Among them are a former president of the Connecticut School Counselor Association, a medieval historian who speaks seven languages; a strategic planner and marketing manager for Aetna, and a deputy national security advisor to the president of Romania. Their scholarly interests range from church-state relations since the 16th century to experimental and nuclear physics, from diabetes research to the psychology of donation behavior, to how art can boost literacy.

Our new faculty members’ talents add to the rich palette of teaching, creative activity, and service that characterizes our academic community. We wish them well as they begin their Southern careers!

School of Arts and Sciences

Alan Brown, assistant professor of sociology, joins Southern’s faculty after serving as an assistant professor of sociology/anthropology at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California in Riverside, Calif. He also has an M.A. in sociology from the University of New Orleans, and a B.A. in sociology from San Francisco State University. He was named Best Professor in Halifax in 2014 by Coast Magazine. He has written extensively on sociological aspects of sexuality.

Costel Calin, assistant professor of political science, becomes a tenure-track faculty member after a pair of one-year special appointments at Southern, and five years as an adjunct faculty member at Quinnipiac. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tennessee. He also has an M.A. in political science from Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., and a B.S. in technological systems’ engineering and management from University “Politehnica” in Bucharest, Romania. He served as deputy national security advisor to the president of Romania and head of that country’s National Security Council staff from 1997 to 2000. He has presented papers on U.S. foreign policy at various academic conferences.

Jason Lawrence Cootey, assistant professor of English, comes to Southern after many years as an adjunct faculty member and a graduate instructor, including a most recent stint as an adjunct faculty member teaching technical writing at Salt Lake Community College in Utah. He holds a Ph.D. in the theory and practice of professional communication at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. He also has an M.S. in literature and writing from Utah State, and a B.A. in psychology and an honors B.A. in English, both from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He has served on his community’s library board of directors, and has attended conferences on the use of software and educational games to improve student learning.

Evan Finch, assistant professor of physics, becomes a tenure-track faculty member following a one-year special appointment at Southern. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Yale University, where he also earned an M.S. and an M. Phil. in physics, and a B.A. in physics. He is a co-author of more than 200 journal articles pertaining to high-energy and nuclear physics. He is a member of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experimental high-energy astrophysics collaboration for the International Space Station.

Darcy Kern, assistant professor of history, joins us at Southern after a year as a visiting professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. She previously taught at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., and at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Georgetown, where she also earned an M.S. in history. She graduated summa cum laude in history and Spanish from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. She has studied six world languages (other than English) and has presented papers on medieval Europe.

Binlin Wu, assistant professor of physics, comes to Southern from Weill Cornell Medical College in Yonkers, N.Y., where he served as a postdoctoral associate. He also had been an adjunct faculty member at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY). He holds a Ph.D. in physics from CUNY, where he also earned a master’s degree in physics. He has a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Nankai University in Tianjin, China. He has conducted biomedical research in many areas, such as various types of cancer, diabetes and cardiac disease, using in-vitro, ex-vivo and in-vivo optical imaging.

School of Business

Russell Engel, associate professor of accounting, becomes a tenure-track faculty member after teaching at Southern last year on a special one-year appointment. He previously had been an assistant professor of accounting at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he also earned an M.S. and B.S. in economics. His research interests include studying how people react to uncertainty and incentives. He also studies how companies deal with large amounts of foreign earnings and how investors value foreign cash.

Mehdi Hossain, assistant professor of marketing, comes to Southern from Minot State University in North Dakota, where he served as an assistant professor of marketing. He holds a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Texas at Arlington. He has an M.S.S. in economics from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, where he also has a B.S.S. Honors in economics. His research interests include the psychology of donation behavior, and the role of affective and cognitive motivation in consumer decision making.

Rebecca Ranucci, assistant professor of management, comes to Southern after having been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Connecticut while pursuing her doctorate. She formerly had been a marketing manager, and then a strategic planner, for Aetna in Hartford. She has a Ph.D. in management/strategy at UConn, where she also earned an M.B.A. She has a B.A. in humanities from Providence College in Rhode Island. She has conducted research on firm strategy and capital markets, long-term decision making in strategic management and corporate governance.

Alison Wall, assistant professor of management, comes to Southern after working as a visiting lecturer at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La. She holds a D.B.A. in management from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She also has an M.B.A. from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a B.B.A. from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. She is a former marketing director at the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau in Louisiana. Her research interests include the moderating effects of personality with regard to turnover and the use of social media in higher education.

Sang Won Yoon, assistant professor of economics and finance, joins us at Southern after serving last year as an assistant professor of business and economics at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point, Wisc. He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. He also has an M.S. in applied economics and management at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a B.A. in economics from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. He formerly served as a consultant for the World Bank. His research includes environmental economics and development economics.

School of Education

Jessica Powell, assistant professor of elementary education, comes to Southern from Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, N.Y., where she had been an assistant professor of inclusive early childhood/elementary education. She holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She also has an M.Ed. in early childhood inclusive education from the University of Florida in Gainesville, as well as a B.A.E. in special education from the University of Florida. She has researched the role that families and cultures play in the education of children.

Louise Shaw, assistant professor of special education, comes to Southern after serving as an instructor of reading and language arts at Central Connecticut State University. She previously worked at Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y., where she served as director and an instructor in that institution’s Literacy Center. She holds an Ed.D. in literacy studies from Hofstra University on Long Island. She has an M.Ed. in literacy from Southampton College/Long Island University in Southampton, N.Y., and a B.S. in elementary education and special education from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. She has written extensively about how art can be used to boost literacy.

Kari Swanson, assistant librarian, comes to Southern after working as a systems librarian at the Ruth A. Haas Library and Robert S. Young Library at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. She previously had been chief acquisitions librarian at Yale University. She holds an M.L.S. from Southern and a B.A. in English literature from Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vt. She is a member of the American Librarian Association.

Yan Wei, assistant professor of special education, joins us at Southern after teaching courses at the University of Connecticut as a graduate assistant instructor. He also has been active as a research assistant at UConn for many projects, including those related to teaching students with disabilities and examining the achievement gap. He holds a Ph.D. in special education from UConn, where he also earned an M.S. in educational psychology/school counseling. He has a B.A. in English education from the Anhui Normal University in Wuhu, China, and an A.A. in English education from Huainan Normal College in China. He also has been a classroom consultant for many school districts in Connecticut.

Olcay Yavuz, assistant professor of educational leadership, joins us at Southern after having been the AP curriculum supervisor and director of guidance at Central Jersey College Prep in Somerset, N.J. He also has been an adjunct faculty member at the New York Institute of Technology. He holds an Ed.D. in teacher leadership from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., an M.S. in school counseling from the New York Institute of Technology, an M.Ed. in educational management and supervision from Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey, and a B.S. in primary mathematics education from Bogazici University in Istanbul. He was a teacher and counselor in the Paterson, N.J., school system for many years, and has presented many papers addressing urban education.

School of Health and Human Services

Marian Evans, assistant professor of public health, becomes a tenure-track faculty member after serving as an adjunct faculty member for three years in both public health and women’s studies. She previously had been an associate professor of public health at Southern. She formerly held the position of director of health and social services for the city of Bridgeport. She holds an M.D. from Pennsylvania State University in State College, and an M.P.H. from Southern. She also has a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Penn. She has researched various health subjects, including diabetes and menopause.
Lorrie Greenhouse Gardella, associate professor of social work, comes to Southern after many years as an administrator in higher education. She previously served as vice president for professional and graduate studies at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, where she also had been a professor of human services. She also had been associate dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Services at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford. She holds a J.D. from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, where she also earned an M.S.W. In addition, she has an A.B. in government from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. She has written extensively on a variety of social work topics.

Cheryl Green, assistant professor of nursing, becomes a tenure-track faculty member after three years in an adjunct role at Southern, as well as a senior therapist at Renew Counseling Associates in Fairfield, a nurse leader at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and a clinical nurse educator at Bridgeport Hospital’s School of Nursing. She holds a D.N.P. from Chatham University in Pittsburgh and a Ph.D in clinical Christian counseling from the International University for Graduate Studies from Basseterre, St. Kitts, as well as a Master of Nursing from Sacred Heart University, an M.S.W. from Southern and a B.S.N. from the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, Mass. She has written journal articles on a variety of nursing topics.

Amy Smoyer, assistant professor of social work, comes to Southern from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, where she has served as a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. She also has been an adjunct faculty member at Southern. She holds a Ph.D. in social welfare from City University of New York/Hunter College. She also has an M.S.W. and an M.P.A. from Florida State University, as well as a B.A. in women’s studies from Columbia University in New York. She researches food in prison, especially in women’s prisons, and earned a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in 2014.