Tags Posts tagged with "coronavirus"

coronavirus

Volunteers fill Christmas stockings for veterans.

COVID-19 has presented countless obstacles and losses over the past nine months, and now, with the holiday season upon us, many folks are feeling the challenges of COVID even more intensely. Lisa Siedlarz, student loan coordinator in Financial Aid and Scholarships, is doing what she can to make the season a little brighter for veterans, a group that is close to her heart.

Lisa Siedlarz being interviewed by WFSB

For the past 12 years, Siedlarz has coordinated a holiday stocking drive for veterans, collecting donations of treats and small gifts and organizing a team of volunteers to help her stuff and deliver the stockings to the VA Hospital in West Haven. She started making holiday care packages for soldiers when her brother was serving in Afghanistan, and after he returned home, she began making stockings for veterans at the VA.

WFSB interviewed Siedlarz recently about her work: “New Haven woman on a mission to bring joy to veterans this holiday season” (Dec. 1, 2020). She plans to shop and fill the stockings soon, and will drop them off at the VA in mid-December.

Donations Siedlarz has received for filling the stockings

A year ago, her current job didn’t even exist. Now, at the age of 26 and set to earn her Master of Public Health in December, she’s arguably one of the most important people on campus. Meet Erin Duff, ’16, Southern’s COVID-19 coordinator.

Erin Duff
Erin Duff

Duff’s job responsibilities cover a lot of territory: “First and foremost, is the randomized testing that we do on campus,” says Duff, who coordinates COVID-19 testing of 450 to 500 students a week. She also assists with Southern’s contact tracing program and on-campus quarantine and isolation efforts — and educates the Southern community on COVID-19 and how best to prevent the disease.  

About testing: It takes place in Engelman Hall in the grab-and-go store/dining area, affectionately known as the Bagel Wagon before COVID. (It’s temporarily closed for dining, etc.) Duff explains that the site was chosen to meet guidelines: adequate airflow, a separate entrance and exit, no carpeting, and a large enough space for people to wait safely. “Our student wait time is no more than five minutes, which is really great. . . . When I talk with other schools, their wait can be up to 45 minutes,” says Duff. In fall 2020 prior to the move to remote learning, testing was done Mondays and Thursdays (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and Fridays ( 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.).  Results were available in about two days, as of early November.

Among those tested are: student-athletes, on-campus residents, and students who are in clinical placements interacting with clients/patients — for example, nursing and communications disorders majors. The university also tests residence hall directors, athletics staff, and nursing staff. As residential students prepared to leave for the Thanksgiving break, exit testing also was available to those who hadn’t been slated for screening within the previous two weeks.

Every day is different: “Testing is the one thing I can count on to be consistent,” says Duff, who begins the day by sorting through emails. “Students and staff fill out a COVID report if they have been exposed or have tested COVID positive. The first thing I do is look for those in my email. That is my priority,” she says. She calls these students, staff and/or faculty members, gathers information, and passes it along to Southern’s team of contact tracers.

“And then things just happen,” says Duff, of her shifting responsibilities. A day will likely include: following up with Southern Health Services to learn the results of symptomatic students who went in for testing; working with Residence Life to arrange on-campus quarantine housing for students waiting for test results to come back; and reaching out to students, faculty, and staff to promote awareness of COVID and how to best protect oneself.

Staying connected: Duff meets virtually with the Connecticut Department of Public Health once or twice a week, along with representatives from all of the state’s colleges/universities. She also connects virtually with COVID-19 coordinators from Southern’s sister universities in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system (Central, Eastern, and Western). “We have many similarities, so it’s helpful to connect on a more personal level to share ideas,” she says.

People want to know: Duff receives 15 – 30 questions a day about COVID-19 from the Southern community, including students, parents, faculty, and staff.

The most common question:  Relates to the definition of — or a misunderstanding of —  the phrase “close contact.” It’s an important consideration, notes Duff: “If someone tests positive, we deem who were close contacts to that person. We put those close contacts into quarantine.”

Southern follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) definition of a close contact: “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, starting from two days before illness onset or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection.”  Duff echoes the CDC in noting that extended contact and extremely close contact, such as kissing, should also be considered.

Another big question: The difference between quarantine and isolation. Duff explains: “Someone is in isolation if they are sick —  COVID-19 positive. They have to be in isolation for a minimum of 10 days. They can come out of isolation when they’ve gone 24 hours without having a fever and their symptoms have significantly subsided. I say significantly rather than completely. [For example,] some people who loose their sense of taste or smell, don’t get that back for months, unfortunately, but are not contagious.

In contrast, quarantine is for those who are deemed close contacts. “They are not technically sick, but have been significantly exposed to the virus and could potentially be carrying it,” says Duff. The quarantine period is 14 days, with students typically tested eight – 10 days into their quarantine. Students are monitored each day. “If they develop symptoms – the main ones being shortness of breath, fever, loss of taste or smell at this point — we want to get them tested sooner, so that we can put them in isolation,” says Duff.

Three great moves Southern’s made from a public health standpoint, according to Duff: 1) Creating and using exceptional health-promotion signage throughout campus. “You can tell a lot of time, effort, and money went into promoting all of the best ways possible to protect yourself,” she says. 2) Requiring masks inside – and outside, when social distancing isn’t possible. Duff comments: “I like the outside piece. We’ve set the standard: if you are at Southern, you are wearing a mask, which makes is super easy for people to understand. There is no gray area.” 3) Creating the COVID-19 coordinator position.  “That is pretty telling of the work we are trying to do. [The university administration] is making an honest effort, doing the best they can in the situation we are in — even with budget challenges. It doesn’t matter what it takes, we are going to put our students first,” says Duff.

The team: Duff works closely with Dr. Diane Morgenthaler, director of health services; Emily Rosenthal, wellness coordinator; Tracy Tyree, vice president for student affairs; Robert DeMezzo, ’99, MBA ’07, director of residence life; and Jules Tetreault, dean of student affairs. A team of six Southern graduate students also work with Rosenthal, who is the lead contact tracer. “For most, it is their internship, either for their Master of Social Work or Master of Public Health. They complete a training run by the state Department of Public Health that prepares them to be contact tracers,” says Duff.

Why public health: Duff, who’d previously worked at a camp for those with special needs, came to Southern to major in special education. But an elective taken in her sophomore year — Wellness 101 taught by Lisa Seely, ’03, M.P.H. ’06 — changed all that. Noting Duff’s talent for the subject, Seely encouraged her to consider public health as a major. “It ended up being the best decision I ever made,” says Duff of changing her major. “Some students are not fans of taking [required] electives. But doing so changed the course of my life.”

How her education prepared Duff for this role: Duff loved her undergraduate courses, particularly the close contact she had with faculty, which inspired her to enroll in the graduate program at Southern. “The health promotions courses have helped significantly. What I am most drawn to about public health is the prevention piece,” says Duff.

The biggest challenge: “That every day is different and the unknown. [For example,] if I am on the phone with someone who tested positive, we don’t [initially] know how many close contacts they’ve had. And as much as we are promoting social distancing and all of the safety precautions — wearing masks, washing your hands —  I can’t control everyone. So, I have to rely on what we are doing in terms of education and trying our best to not only keep our numbers low but also to keep everyone safe,” says Duff.

Most rewarding part of the job: “Knowing that I am helping to make Southern a safer place — whether I am answering a question or letting someone know that they are a close contact or helping the student who is COVID-19 positive. Not everyone sees the day-to-day work. But I know how much effort is being put in by our team. We truly, genuinely care – and that motivates me to keep going even when the days are long,” says Duff.

Closing thoughts: “The first thing I would say is I am hopeful for our future. I know we all crave normalcy. We want things to go back to the way they were — and eventually they will. But we need everyone’s help with that. . . . We are literally in this together. We need to continue social distancing, washing our hands, and wearing our masks at all times. That’s the only way they we are really going to be able to combat the virus at this time and come out stronger,” says Duff

 

Earth science students explore a small creek near Schwartz Hall, where they learned how to locate and measure water sources.

Many Southern professors find creative and innovative ways of incorporating fresh air and hands-on learning into their curricula, and this semester was no exception. Despite the pandemic and shift to online learning, some professors taught outside, incorporating measures such as distancing and face masks to keep students safe.

In earth science, professor Jennifer Cooper Boemmels used the rock garden outside of the science building to teach Structural Geology and Tectonics. Students used the boulders to collect data and measure features of the rocks using compasses.

Earth science professor Dushmantha Jayawickreme took his hydrology students to a small creek near Schwartz Hall where they learned how to locate and measure water sources. Not far from campus, anthropology professor Michael Rogers taught his Methods in Archaeology class near the West Rock Nature Center. His students spent the semester in the woods excavating an archaeological site.

Meanwhile, all the biology 101 and 103 labs met outside to study moss and ferns in the outdoor classroom, roam around campus studying plants, and measure the leaf area of sun versus shade leaves from campus trees.

History Professor Jason Smith walked neighborhoods and parks in his History of New Haven class while discussing local history, the development of planning policies, and the purpose of memorials and monuments in community life.

View a gallery of images from various classes taught in the field this semester.

Erin Duff

This article was written by student Ketia Similen.

Erin B. Duff is a graduate student in the Master’s in Public Health (MPH) program and Southern’s COVID coordinator. She has always been involved in student affairs and is constantly trying to learn and grow through public health conferences and experiences on campus. Working as a hall director for Chase Hall and the Wellness Center for the past two years has helped Duff in managing her new position. Transitioning into the COVID coordinator role was an evolving experience, as the responsibilities of this position increased over time. Duff takes joy in this position as her new experiences have reinforced her passion for public health while highlighting the importance of it in our society. Duff says, “Every day I know I am helping someone and I think that is the best feeling, whether that is answering a question or making Southern a little bit safer by putting someone in quarantine.”

In addition to contacting those who test positive for COVID-19 or those who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, Duff speaks to students and staff about health education and how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe, while clarifying any misconceptions around COVID-19. The most challenging part, Duff says, is that the actions of others cannot be controlled, making control of COVID-19 unpredictable. “Every day is different so I don’t always know what to expect – which is good, as it keeps me on my toes – but also can be overwhelming at times.” As Southern’s COVID Coordinator, Duff meets with the Department of Public Health once or twice a week for updates, while also working closely with other Connecticut schools to discuss the best practices that will help her be more effective in her job at Southern.

Duff is seeing first-hand that Southern students are resilient and committed to their safety and the community’s safety. Southern’s students continue to work hard during this pandemic so they can finish their semester strong, despite all the barriers that they face. “I am hopeful for our future,” Duff says. “I know we all crave a sense of normalcy and to one day go back to the way things were – but to do that everyone needs to play a role. By social distancing, washing hands often, and wearing a mask, that is the best way that we are going to combat this virus and come out stronger.” Duff tells us all, “Do not give up hope! We’ve got this!”

Sarah Crawford

Sarah Crawford, a professor of biology who has an expertise in virology, recently had an article published regarding the latest developments with vaccines and therapeutics in the journal, “Medical Research Archives.” The piece is titled, “Defeating the COVID-19 Pandemic by Targeting the Critical Interface between SARS-CoV-2 Virus Infection and Its Destructive Immune System Effects.”

Crawford discusses why younger people are at lower risk for severe reactions to COVID-19 infections; the role of interferon — both natural and in drug form — and of hydroxychloroquine on the disease; the keys to effective therapeutics; and whether it is possible to prevent the “cytokine storm,” the cascade of reactions causing serious complications in the second week after an infection begins.

She also addresses the topic of whether previous exposure to other coronaviruses can generate immunity.

And Crawford’s article points out that previous vaccines for SARS and other coronaviruses showed serious after effects in some patients in clinical trials. “We are beginning to see that now with the new vaccines,” she said.

After having her paper published, she was interviewed on Channel 3 (WFSB) and on WTIC radio (1080 AM).

The following is a question-and-answer with Crawford that offers a summary of the highlights of the article:

*Why are younger people at lower risk for severe reactions to COVID infections?

I believe one of the reasons is that people 50 years and older tend to produce less interferon than younger folks. Interferon inhibits the reproduction of the virus in the early stages.

*Can interferon as a drug help those who don’t produce enough of it naturally?

Studies have shown that it does help. But it has a wide range of effects in drug form, and the pros and cons would have to be weighed.

*Are there other reasons for young people having much milder symptoms?

This may be related to the various vaccines given to children. There is evidence to suggest they create a broad enhancement of the immune system during a person’s youth. This seems especially linked to a type of tuberculosis vaccine.

*What are keys to effective therapeutics?

The most effective therapeutics attack the spike attachment protein, replication of the RNA genome, and assembly of virus particles in infected cells.

*Is it possible to prevent the “cytokine storm,” the chain reaction in the body that spurs inflammation and sometimes blood clots and other complications, in a person who already has been infected?

Drugs, such as Remdesivir and Favipiravir decrease the duration of the disease, and seem to have the greatest effect in limiting the cytokine storm if given early in the infection. Dexamethasone, a glucosteroid, has been shown to decrease mortality rates.

*What about hydroxychloroquine? Is this an effective treatment or not?

There is conflicting evidence. But a study in Henry Ford Hospital included 2,500 patients in which there was a significant reduction in mortality rates when used by itself or with the antibiotic azithromycin, compared with those who used neither. This contradicted an earlier Oxford study.

*Can previous exposure to other coronaviruses generate some immunity from COVID-19?

Other coronavirus may produce long-lasting cross-reactive immune system responses.

 

 

Susan Burger
Susan Burger

The proliferation of COVID-19 has sparked a major increase in the use of telehealth appointments in an effort to reduce the chances of spreading the disease.

Some in-person medical visits are necessary even during times when the number of coronavirus infections is high. Other appointments can safely be postponed. But many of those important, non-emergency needs have been met through the use of telemedicine.

Susan Burger, associate professor of nursing who had done considerable research on telehealth before the pandemic, recently discussed the pros and cons of telehealth during an interview on Channel 30 (NBC Connecticut).

 

President Joe Bertolino in an interview with New 8's Ann Nyberg

Ahead of a Town Hall special, “Educating in a Pandemic,” on WTNH on July 30, 2020, News 8’s Ann Nyberg sat down for a one-on-one interview with President Joe Bertolino, to discuss the reopening of the university, among other related issues. As President Joe says in the interview, “There will be light at the end of the tunnel, it’s going to be okay. And while things may not get back to normal or be the same as it was before, I do think that we’re going to grow from the experience.”

Watch the interview:

One-on-one interview with SCSU President Joe Bertolino on COVID-19 impact on higher education

#SouthernStrong graphic with photo collage of SCSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni
As the university prepares to reopen, here’s a look at how the Southern community responded to the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic — and upheld its commitment to education.

First, the good news. Southern’s physical campus is slated to reopen for fall 2020, with classes beginning on Aug. 26, following a staggered move-in for residence hall students. Courses will be offered in a HyFlex model, a combination of on-ground and online courses. Public health guidelines will be followed (face coverings, class size, etc.) and, if the need arises, the university is prepared to pivot to an all online schedule. The goal is to complete the entire fall semester as scheduled, with one caveat – on-ground classes will end at the Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving, all remaining classes and final exams will be held online and all student services will be offered remotely.

The plan is a promising return to normalcy for the campus community.

The first campus-wide warning came in January: an email with tips for fighting seasonal influenza included a sentence about the outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan, China. The news became increasingly dire in the following weeks, and, on Feb. 26, U.S. officials reported the first non-travel-related case of the illness now officially known as COVID-19.

On campus, the disease’s rapid-fire spread came to light on March 10, after a Southern student attended an event where another participant later tested positive for the virus. Southern’s physical campus was closed (initially for five days) for a deep cleaning, a process that included licensed professionals in HAZMAT suits.Southern’s campus has remained shuttered through spring and summer to date, following the Office of the Governor’s directives for statewide closures and the decision of the Connecticut State Universities and Colleges system.

At the macro-level, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented: in early June when the university magazine in which this article first appeared went to press, there were more than 1,800,000 cases and 106,000 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — figures that have been tragically surpassed today. Like the nation and, indeed, much of the world, Southern is mourning profound losses. Students, university employees, and alumni have become ill from the virus, some seriously. While impossible to track all cases, Southern graduates have died from COVID-19.  No student has died from the virus as of June 24. The university is also navigating a new world order, driven by an overarching directive: ensuring the health and welfare of the Southern community and the community-at-large.

To be clear, the university was never closed. Instead, over a 10-day period that corresponded with students’ spring break, faculty prepared to adopt remote/online learning for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. On March 23, all Southern courses began being offered remotely /online, with summer sessions soon following suit. With fall’s campus opening in sight, here’s a look at some of Southern’s initial responses to the early phases of the pandemic.

More at:  go.SouthernCT.edu/strong    inside.SouthernCT.edu/coronavirus

Demographic of SCSU students, Grad assistants/interns/faculty/staff, with collage images
The People:

Piloting Southern through the COVID-19 pandemic is complex. The university is a home-away-from-home for 11,072 people — more residents than 44 percent of cities/towns in Connecticut. In spring 2020, the Southern community included 9,212 students (1), a figure that comprises 7,456 undergraduates and 1,756 graduate students, both full- and part-time. There are also 2,050 faculty and staff, including some 190 students working as graduate assistants/interns.

FEMA setting up cots in response to Covid-19 at SCSU Moore Fieldhouse
Changing Places:

On March 31, 2020, the National Guard began assembling a 300-bed “Connecticut Medical Station” inside Southern’s Moore Fieldhouse [above]. (2) Designed as “overflow” space for Yale New Haven-Hospital in anticipation of a surge of COVID-10 patients, the facility fortunately had not been needed as of early June. The university also made available 2,500 rooms in nine residence halls, which were used minimally to house some National Guard staff.

A New Way of Working:

Following the governor’s mandate for statewide closures, about 1,662 faculty and staff began working remotely. They are responsible for most university operations — from admissions and teaching to information technology and health services. Those designated essential employees — 34 unsung heroes as of press time — continue to regularly report to campus. Among them: the police chief and officers, and the facilities team, including grounds crew, custodians, receiving staff, mailroom workers, supervisors, dispatchers, and building tradesmen.  An additional 116 employees are on-campus on an interim basis.

Chart showing pre- and post-Covid remote learning accounts, participants, and sessions

Teaching Remotely:

Between mid-March and the end of the month, the Office of Online Learning held more than 70 webinars — including individual and group support sessions. The focus was on teaching/learning through the use of several platforms: WebEx (web conferencing), Teams (an online communication and collaboration platform), Kaltura (video), and Blackboard (educational technology). In April, the office also held a three-day online Teaching Academy, with all sessions filled to capacity. In addition to the staff from the Office of Online Learning, faculty volunteers have helped with training.

SCSU Academic Success Center has Coach Team Meeting online

Academic Support:

The Academic Success Center is working virtually to help students succeed. The center’s hours have stayed the same and its tutors, 100 PALS (Peer Academic Leaders who focus on gateway and foundational courses), Academic Success Coaches, and more than 200 student workers all mobilized online through Microsoft Teams. “The short answer is we’re here,” says Kathleen De Oliveira, director of the ASC. “We want them to succeed. Just like before, all they have to do is come and ask.”

Buley Library:

The building is closed, but the library is open for business, with 100 percent of staff working remotely. They’re a busy group. Between the shutdown and mid-May, they redesigned their web page to promote online resources and services (100,000 visitors), answered 180 questions from students, hosted numerous online events (including an online exhibit for National Poetry Month), and even used 3D printing to create mask components for health care workers at UConn Health. Since the shutdown, they’ve also activated 3,500-plus online resources, including thousands of ebooks and streaming videos.

A Global Issue:

The pandemic has been particularly challenging for students who were far from home. There were 13 Southern students studying abroad during the spring 2020 semester: 10 returned home in mid-March and three signed waivers after deciding to remain in their host countries. International students studying at Southern — both exchange students and those who are matriculated at SCSU — were helped by the Office of International Studies (OIS) and, when needed, Residence Life. (They coordinated flights and airport shuttles, ensured access to food and housing, and much more.) The 26 international exchange students studying at Southern this spring returned home by early April. But many of the 65 matriculated international students remained in the U.S., staying with extended family or in campus-sponsored accommodations at an extended stay hotel with other students.
Looking forward, Southern is holding strong to its long-term commitment to international education. Intercultural engagement and global diversity in the classroom “are the antidote to the isolationism and nationalism that the pandemic has fueled in some parts of the world,” says Erin Heidkamp, director of the Office of International Education.

SCSU student and Army National Guard member Renee Villarreal with baby
Renee Villarreal — parent, student, Army National Guard member
The Ties that Bind:

“The current situation is hard for students,” says Sal Rizza, director of New and Sophomore Programs, reflecting on the spring 2020 semester. “We’re trying to bring a little life and enjoyment. There are a ton of activities happening.” Among them: SCSU Music Trivia, The Dan Baronski Hour (peer mentor and orientation ambassador Baronski talks fashion and music), Cooking with Kyra, Coffee Chat with Student Involvement, and more.

Campus Recreation and Fitness held programs to get students moving, including a live-stream workout with President Joe Bertolino and his trainer, Hunter Fluegel, that drew about 300 viewers. Similarly, more than 200 students and 100 faculty and staff signed up for A Southern Strong Step Challenge. Many student clubs also met online, with Daphney Alston assistant director of Student Involvement, noting that the university is “really proud of how clubs and organizations have tried to figure out this new normal.”

SCSU President Joe Bertolino and volunteers deliver lawn signs to 2020 future graduates

Celebration:

With large gatherings prohibited, Southern is holding a virtual commencement ceremony for undergraduate and graduate students on Aug. 15 — and also found ways to immediately honor students safely. More than 1,000 celebratory yard signs were delivered to graduates; an emotional virtual pinning ceremony was held for graduating nursing majors; and seniors submitted photos and memories for a virtual yearbook and social media spotlights.

Helping Hands:

When the Southern campus closed suddenly in mid-March, Chartwells was left with an abundance of food. That’s when an existing food recovery program run by Southern’s Office of Sustainability and Chartwells sprang into action. Several students and Chartwells staff packaged more than 300 pounds of food for delivery to St. Anne’s Soup Kitchen in Hamden, Park Ridge Tower Affordable Senior Living in New Haven, and Monterey Place Senior Living in New Haven.
There were countless other outreach efforts. Southern police collected equipment from university labs/clinics to assist in relieving the PPE shortage, numerous community members made and donated face coverings, Buley Library staff 3D printed components for face masks, and more.

You helped, too:

Responding to students’ heightened need, more than 1,000 donors contributed over $500,000 during Southern’s Day of Caring, held on April 22.

SCSU Alumni collage during Covid-19 pandemic

Alumni Pride:

Thoughts are also with our alumni, many of whom are in the frontlines of fighting the pandemic. Among them are more than 11,000 graduates of the College of Health and Human Services. Similarly, as the largest educator of teachers and educational administrators in the state, Southern salutes its graduates of the College of Education — who have turned to technology to educate their young charges.

Through it all, our 93,500-plus alumni have remained a source of pride, strength, and optimism. Consider Fairfield, Conn., couple Maureen and Dan Rosa (3), both graduates of the Class of 2010, who met as Southern students in 2006. Tragically, Maureen’s father Gary Mazzone was among those killed in the crash of a World War II-era B-17 bomber plane on Oct. 2, 2019, at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn. A year later, the couple faced the fear of welcoming their first child during the epicenter of the pandemic. And, yet, they persevered and triumphed — and the media heralded their joy on April 2 when they welcomed their new daughter: Cecilia Hope Rosa.

Cover of SCSU Southern Alumni Magazine Summer 2020Read more stories in the Summer ’20 issue of Southern Alumni Magazine.

President Joe Bertolino on WTNH's CT Style program

In an interview with WTNH’s CT Style host Teresa Dufour, President Joe Bertolino addresses questions about public higher education during COVID-19, covering topics such as the challenges and opportunities presented when the university had to go fully online earlier this spring; how the university has operated during this time; how the university is preparing for a potential reopening of campus in the fall; and what that will look like.

As one of only four students in Connecticut to receive the Bob Eddy Scholarship, Jason Edwards is being recognized for talent and promise.

Spring 2020 will be one to remember for Southern rising senior Jason Edwards — and he has the photos to prove it.

In addition to completing online courses, working as a student photographer for Southern’s communications and marketing department, and serving as photo editor of the student-run Crescent magazine, the talented journalism major is turning his camera lens on his neighbors to visually capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Connecticut Naugatuck Valley.

Edwards is one of only four recipients of the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Foundation’s Bob Eddy Scholarship, which recognizes excellence and promise in the field. The award is open to rising college juniors and seniors attending Connecticut universities as well as state residents who are studying elsewhere.

In related news, numerous Southern student journalists were recognized for their work in Crescent magazine and the Southern News from the Society of Professional Journalists in its Mark of Excellence competition.