Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kevin Gaughan, Fulbright scholar

Alumnus Kevin Gaughan sends this reflection about how WestConn helped to prepare him to be a Fulbright scholar in Estonia :

"About a week ago, an old friend contacted me to say congratulations on receiving the Fulbright scholarship to Estonia. We both grew up in New Fairfield, so when he realized that the last four years of my life were spent at Western Connecticut State University he was stunned that such a prestigious award was granted to one of its students. He was even more surprised when I told him that I was the third student in three years to receive the award. After all, WestConn had always been perceived as the token 'fallback' option among our high school class. It turns out that my buddy failed to realize something, though—something that I only came to understand after becoming a student at the university: WestConn is Connecticut’s best-kept secret.

"So what exactly is it that makes WCSU 'Connecticut’s best-kept secret?' The answer lies in WestConn’s commitment to a principle that many universities have long since forgotten--that higher education should first and foremost be student-focused. Whereas an overwhelming amount of universities continue to clinch firmly to the idea that producing 'scholarly research' is the primary function of higher education, WestConn has repeatedly challenged those norms. It has recognized that equal importance needs to be placed on helping students develop the interpersonal and analytical skills necessary to become contributing members of society.

"When I reflect upon my years as both an undergraduate in Political Science and a graduate student in History, I feel fortunate to have been part of a university that espouses such a student-focused philosophy. For instance, I remember when Dr. Kukk and Dr. Wilcox championed the benefits of an interdisciplinary education and sought to give their students the opportunity to realize these benefits. With the support of President Schmotter and Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. Abbey Zink, they allowed students to tailor their own curriculums to meet their various needs and interests. As such, they opened the door for students to take a more active role in their education.

"Giving students the flexibility to create their own educational experience seems like a rather simple idea, doesn’t it? Not only is it simple, it’s empowering, for it implicitly tells students that they have control over what they choose to learn. And yet even today, some of the world’s leading universities resist this structural change.

"Another notable example of WestConn’s commitment to its students is the Roger Sherman Debate Society. Eight years ago, a group of students wanted to prove to both themselves and the university that they could compete intellectually with some of the best schools in the country. In pursuit of this goal, they launched WCSU’s first debate team. After being given financial and administrative support from two professors at the university, the newly formed debate team has since been generously funded by the School of Arts and Sciences and, as a result, it has grown into a nationally recognized program. During the Spring 2011 semester, for instance, two members of the team, Ben Allen and Ben Townsend, placed among the top 20 speakers in the country at the JV/Novice National Tournament in Towson, Maryland. This marked a significant milestone not just for the debate team but also for the university as a whole, since it highlighted the level of academic talent that WestConn students can demonstrate.

"WCSU’s student-focused philosophy goes beyond the classroom in other ways as well. For example, my classmates and I were frequently given the opportunity to participate in educational trips to New York City, where we met with prominent United Nations officials and discussed important global concerns. I can only speak for myself, but these experiences were invaluable to my academic development, for they not only gave me multiple perspectives on a given issue, they also further instilled in me the idea that WestConn students were smart enough to take part in such important international discussions.

"While the examples above provide a glimpse into the myriad opportunities for academic and personal development that WestConn students have at their disposal, they are remiss in capturing the premier quality of professors that the university has to offer. For instance, Dr. Kukk is a former research fellow at Harvard University; Dr. Wilcox received his PhD from Cornell; Dr. Duffy graduated with a PhD in history from New York University; and Dr. Knudsen recently graduated with a PhD from Yale. There are many others who contribute to WestConn’s long list of accomplished faculty as well, which makes me feel as though I received an education far more valuable than what most other small state universities can provide.

"Therefore, I just wanted to thank the School of Arts of Sciences, and Western Connecticut State University as a whole, for such a wonderful educational experience during the last four years. When I look back on my time at WCSU, I feel as though I have been given the opportunity to be part of something truly great--something that people are going to look back upon and say with admiration, 'wow, I really wish I was a part of that.' I will forever be one of the university’s biggest fans, and I look forward to the day when I no longer have to describe Western as 'Connecticut’s best kept secret' but rather as the definition it truly deserves: An Ivy League education within the walls of a state university."

Thanks, Kevin, for sharing your experiences with us.  We're all very proud of you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Congrats to Michael Fraser

Congrats to Michael Fraser who has been elected as a student representative on the new Board of Regents.  Mike was profiled in "WCSU Student Joins Board of Regents" on Danbury Patch.  Way to go, Mike! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wor(l)ds of Poetry

More than 40 students participated this afternoon in this year's "Wor(l)d of Poetry" event sponsored by the Department of World Languages and Literature.  Students read poems in French, Italian, Spanish, and Tagalog.  A special thanks goes to Dr. Alba Skar, associate professor of Spanish, for organizing the event.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Update: Kevin Gaughan, Fulbright

Recent WCSU grad Kevin Gaughan is currently on a Fulbright at the University of Tartu in Estonia.  Kevin is featured in "WCSU student awarded Fulbright scholarship:  Graduate student says Western put him on the right track" on the WCSU web site.  Way to go, Kevin!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Congratulations to CHE major Anthony DiDomenico

Drs. Yuan Mei-Ratliff and Russ Selzer, co-chairs of the Chemistry Department, share this terrific news:

"[O]ne of our students, Anthony DiDomenico, recently took 1st place at the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for outstanding research.  He offered the paragraph below to give a synopsis about this award.

"On Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 the University of Maryland at Baltimore County hosted the  symposium in which undergraduates could present their research. This symposium was available to selected schools from around the Maryland area. The University of Maryland is an honors college and has an excellent reputation for academics and research. The symposium consisted of two poster sessions and a workshop concerning the importance of Mass Spectroscopy followed by a tour of the facilities.

"To wrap up the day’s events, an awards ceremony was held to announce 1st and 2nd place winners for outstanding poster presentations. The awards were given out to outstanding presenters in chemical, biological, and biochemical & molecular chemistries independently.

"Out of over 200 presenters, Anthony DiDomenico, an undergraduate chemistry major at WCSU, took home 1st place for his research conducted during a summer research experience for undergraduates (REU) at James Madison University during the summer of 2011. REU programs are competitive summer programs that allow undergraduates to get a feel for what research is like at the graduate level. Accepted students are expected to complete a 10 week program involving in-depth research followed by a presentation to sum up their findings. These research experiences provide an excellent way for students to network as well as promote their educational resume for possible admission to graduate school.

"Taking home 1st place during this event is not only a personal achievement, but also brings up WCSU’s name at an event where most participating schools are more nationally known. This means that WCSU’s chemistry program is not only successful at producing students ready for grad school, but also has a competitive program that allows students to excel in chemistry. Contending recipients came from universities such as: John Hopkins, Penn State, University of Delaware, Georgetown, University of Maryland, James Madison, and Villanova. "

Way to go, Anthony! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dr. Jean Twenge to speak about "Narcissim Epidemic" tonight

Dr. Jean M. Twenge, author of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (with W. Keith Campbell) and Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable than Ever Before, will give this year's President's Lecture on "The Narcissism Epidemic: Implications for Education & the Workplace" tonight (Wed., Nov. 9th) at 7:30 p.m. in the Ives Concert Hall.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tune in tonight for "Election Eleven!" coverage

Dr. JC Barone, assistant professor of Communication, invites the A&S community to watch "Election Eleven!" tonight:

"Tune in to WCSU's first televised LIVE coverage of the Nov. 8 elections this Tuesday  (Nov. 8) from 8-11pm! Join the Department of Communication for a CNN-styled live  broadcast of “Election Eleven!” through Charter Community Access, Channel 21. This program will also be simulcast over WXCI-FM 91.7, and through live video streaming at As soon as the polls close at 8 pm, the program begins!

"With over a year and a half of planning and involvement from over 45 students, faculty, and staff from 11 different departments and offices at WestConn, this broadcast will be a historic first while providing a vital service to the community.

"Students are using technology such as smartphones to conduct live video field reports from various towns, virtual studio environments, blogging, and instant messaging. The three-hour live broadcast features faculty anchors and commentators Dr. Chris KukkDr. Jay Brower, and Dr. Truman Keys, with Dr. Trish Crouse reporting and analyzing regional race results. Prof. Tammy McVey-Camilleri is assisting in the field. Media Arts Production majors include Kevin Jones directing, with Christa Laukevicz and Billy Trotta, producing.  COM  and Poli Sci students are ramping up for the live broadcast election night. COM 394 Live News and Election Broadcast instructor and executive producer is Dr. JC Barone. University Computing is providing technical support."

"Election Eleven!" already has garnered news coverage in The Litchfield Times in "WCSU Students to Cover Elections."

Monday, October 24, 2011

One Book, One Community: Doug Fine to speak

Doug Fine, author of Farewell, My Subaru, will speak at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 25th) in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the Midtown campus.  

Farewell, My Subaru was this year's One Book, One Community selection.  Fine's visit was previewed in the News-Times in  Carolyn Mueller's "Fine Will Bring Big Laughs to Danbury."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wizards of Chemistry

More than 100 students from Rogers Park Middle School were on campus today to a "Wizards of Chemistry" show put on by Chemistry Club members and Dr. Nick Greco, assistant professor of Chemistry.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dr. Saad reflects on Gadhafi's death

Dr. Abubaker Saad, who has been interviewed widely by international media about the ongoing Libyan conflict, was featured today in the News-Times in Eileen Fitzgerald's article "WestConn professor who knew Gadhafi now will return to visit homeland."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Update: Will Michael, Communication alumnus

Communication alumnus Will Michael was featured in "Capturing Nature on Camera" on Bethel Patch.  The article was written by History alumnus and freelance writer Erik Offgang.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

RSDS wins first championship of season

Rashad Evans, the new coach of the Roger Sherman Debate Society (RSDS), shares the following terrific news:

"I am so happy to report that the Roger Sherman Debate Society captured its first championship of the young debate season! Sophomores Taylor Wolff and Taylor Pasquence won the novice division of the James Madison University Debate tournament this past weekend.  The team posted incredible victories over James Madison University, SUNY Binghamton, Richmond University, Liberty University and a decisive final round victory over Vanderbilt University.  In addition, Talyor Pasquence was named the 3rd best individual speaker in the division. This was an impressive follow-up to the team’s semi-final appearance at the season’s first tournament.  They will now compete in the junior varsity division!

"Juniors Eugene Allen and Ben Townsend also competed with great success in the junior varsity division compiling wins over George Mason University, The US Naval Academy and SUNY Binghamton before losing to eventual champion Vanderbilt University in the octa-final round.

"I would like to congratulate both teams on their success and thank them for their hard work both before and during the tournament.
Thanks to team captain Max Hamoy who travelled with the team, scouted and coached along the way.

"Next up is West Point!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grassroots activist Jane Roberts to speak on campus on Oct. 13th

Grassroots activitist Jane Roberts will present "Women, Population, and the Millenium Development Goals" at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 13) in Student Center 201B. 

Roberts is co-founder of "34 million friends of the United Nationals Population Fund UNFPA"  to raise awareness about the work of the UNPFA to promote gender equity, safe motherhood, and access to contraception in the developing world. 

Roberts has been widely recognized for her work on behalf of women around the world and was nominated in 2005 for the Nobel Peace Prize by the 100 Peace Women Project.  In 2003, she was one of MS. magazine's Women of the Year recipients.  She also has been named a Purpose Prize Fellow and one of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century by eNews.  Pultizer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn featured Roberts in "Jane Roberts and Her 34 Million Friends" in Half the Sky:  Turning Oppression in Opportunity World Wide (2009). 

Roberts also is the mother of Dr. Anne Roberts, assistant professor of Biochemistry, at WCSU. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Students assist Dr. Neeta Connally with Lyme disease research

Chris Madden and Dr. Neeta Connally,  assistant professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences,  inspect the immature ticks they have just collected from Pole Bridge Nature Preserve in Newtown.
During Summer 2011, Michelle Dease and Karen Thompson collected immature blacklegged ticks by drag-sampling at the WCSU Westside Nature Preserve in Danbury.

Dr. Neeta Connally, assistant professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences, is collaborating with the CT Dept. of Public Health, the Yale Emerging Infections Program, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on a Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases prevention study that is being conducted in nine western CT towns.  As part of the study, during Summer 2011, biology students Michelle Dease (WCSU ‘11), Karen Thompson (WCSU ‘12) and Christopher Madden (WCSU ‘14) helped to conduct field sampling of blacklegged ticks.    The ticks were collected from various tick monitoring sites, as well as from the backyards of households that have been enrolled in the study.    Dease, Thompson, and Madden also helped to identify tick specimens found on study participants.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A&S celebrates Banned Books Week

The School of Arts and Sciences is celebrating Banned Books Week with a series of events.   Today, Dr. Rob Whittemore, professor of Anthropology, and scholar Elizabeth Beverly will present "How to Make a Picture 'Dirty': Lock it up in a Bookstore" from 1-2 p.m. in the Warner Hall Lobby.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Congrats to Kerri Copello!

Congratulations to Kerri Copello, who just started her first job after college as the weekend meteorologist for Fox 31 (WXFL) in Albany, GA.  Kerri graduated in May 2011 with a B.S. in Meteorology:  Operational and was among the graduating seniors featured on the WCSU web site for her outstanding contributions to campus life.   Way to go, Kerri! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Faculty-student reseach on Zebra Mussels featured in News-Times

Dr. Mitch Wagener, professor of Biology, and two of his students, Bruna Oliveira and Catrina Morgan, are featured this morning in "In Search of Zebra Mussels" by Robert Miller in the News-Times. Great work!

Monday, July 18, 2011

STEM Summer Experience

The STEM Summer Experience was featured today in "A summer of discovery:  Danbury camp offers much more than swimming"  by Eileen Fitzgerald in the News-Times

The STEM Summer Experience is a partnership between WCSU and the Danbury Public Schools.  It is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Connecticut Department of Education

Dr. Dora Pinou, associate professor of Biology, is the WCSU lead for the STEM Summer Experience.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Congrats to Kevin Gaughan

Congratulations to Kevin Gaughan, who is WCSU's third recipient of a Fulbright scholarship in as many years!  He will study at the University of Tartu in Estonia. 

At WestConn, Kevin earned his B.A. in Political Science and will finish his M.A. in History in August.  He was featured in "Student becomes third from WestConn to earn Fulbright" by Eileen Fitzgerald in the News-Times on 27 June 2011.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Welcome, new students!

Yesterday, the School of Arts of Sciences welcomed incoming Exploratory Studies and transfer students at Orientation.  Welcome, new students!  We enjoyed meeting you and your families and look forward to working with you in the fall.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcome, new students!

Yesterday, the School of Arts of Sciences welcomed incoming first-year and transfer students with Orientation.  Welcome, new students!  We enjoyed meeting you and your families and look forward to working with you in the fall.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2011 WCSU Summer in Spain

The 2011 WCSU Summer in Spain program is in full swing!   Dr. Galina Bakhtiarova and her students arrived in Spain late last week and already have visited Madrid.  The second photo from the top is with famous American baritone  Nathan Gunn who sang "Almaviva" in a performance of  Le nozze diFigaro that the WCSU group attended  at Teatro Real in  Madrid on Saturday.  Dr. Bakhtiarova and her students are now in San Sebastian, which will be their home for the next few weeks.   Thanks much to student Priscilla Pauta and Dr. Bakhtiarova for the photos.  Picture us all jealous here in Connecticut! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Young Writers Conference featured in News-Times

The Young Writers Conference was featured in "Teens nurture their voices at WestConn's wrtiting camp" by Eileen Fitzgerald on June 1 in the News-Times.  More information about the Young Writers Conference is available at

Friday, May 27, 2011

Congratulations, graduates!

Congratulations to all who graduated last weekend!   WestConn has a web page dedicated to 2011 Commencement.  Enjoy! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Congrats to Emily Cole!

Congratulations to English major Emily Cole, who is one of two WestConn recipients of the prestigious Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Awards from the CSUS Foundation! 

Emily and the 11 other CSUS recipients (including fellow WCSU recipient Bryan Bielefeldt, a graphics design major) were honored on 11 May 2011 at the 23rd Annual Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Awards Banquet at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, CT.

Emily is graduating next weekend and will begin her graduate studies at Fordham University in Fall 2011.

Congratulations, Emily!  We are so proud of you and your accomplishments!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Psi Chi induction, JUPR reception

Left to right, the 2011 Psi Chi inductees are Brian Osar,  Meredithe Talibon, Arielle Berthod, Melissa Hood, Tabytha Donaldson, Ryan Slaiby, Danielle Spangler, Zachary Kunicki, Matthew Donofrio, Mariana Ornaff, and Laura Bergh.

The WCSU chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology,  inducted 15 new members on May 6 at a ceremony at the Westside Campus Center.

The new WCSU Psi Chi members are as follows:  Samantha Augustine, Laura Bergh, Arielle Berthod, Tabytha Donaldson, Matthew Donofrio, Melissa Hood, Zachary Kunicki, Candy Murias, Mariana Ornaff, Brian Osar, Glenda Schweitzer, Ryan Slaiby, Danielle Spangler, Meredithe Talibon, and Meghan Zadrowski.

WCSU has had a Psi Chi chapter for 40 years.  Faculty advisors for 2011 were Drs. Kristin Henkel and Shane Murphy.

At this same event, the Psychology Department also celebrated the release of the latest edition of the WCSU Journal of Undergraduate Psychological Research (JUPR).  Dr. Patricia O'Neill served as 2011 faculty advisor.  Student editors were Shannon Engel (editor) and Antonia Giannakakos (assistant editor).  Students publishing articles included Shannon Engel, Rebecca Stephens, Josh Ryan, Krista Mayer, Ariel Berthod, Jacqueline Howard, Bridgette Pasquarella, Zarachy Kunicki. Meredithe Talibon, Megan Zagradowski, Jennifer Rota, and William Milvae.  Faculty reviewers were Drs. Daniel Barrett, Robin Flanagan, Norine Jalbert, and Shane Murphy.

Dr. John Dovidio of Yale University was the guest speaker.

Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Update: Dan DeRosa, Psychology alum

Dan DeRosa
Dr. Shane Murphy, associate professor of Psychology, provides this update about recent alumnus Dan DeRosa, who is finishing his master's degree and will soon begin doctoral work at Florida Tech:
Dan DeRosa was the President of the WCSU chapter of Psi Chi, 2008-09, and graduated from WCSU with a Psychology major in May 2009.
Upon graduating from Western Connecticut, Dan presented the results of a research project conducted at Western in a poster session at the annual conference for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (the day after graduation). Dan describes what happened next: "While at the poster session I had the opportunity to meet two authors of one of the studies I referenced in the paper. One of these men invited me to present the paper in a symposium in Boston the following October. This was an honor I could not have anticipated. Also while I was at the conference, I met the Chair of the Behavior Analysis program at the Florida Institute of Technology. He urged me to apply to the Master's program, where I am now."

Dan is now finishing a dual master's degree in
Applied Behavior Analysis and Organizational Behavior Management at Florida Tech. He has been accepted to the Ph.D. program and will begin his doctoral work in the Fall 2011. Dan told us about some of the amazing experiences he is having at graduate school.
“While here, at Florida Tech, I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful people, sharpen my clinical skills, and learn amazing new things. I have been a part of conducting a great deal of research and I look forward to continuing that for the rest of my career. I am currently assisting in the process of writing multiple grants that would enable me to continue conducting research in areas such as training school teachers to use behavior analysis in the classroom, autism applications of vibra-technology, and research that will translate basic research into real-world applications," he said.
"Also, I have served as the president of the Behavior Analysis Students Association and vice president of the Society for Performance Management. Our organizations host an annual conference that, I am proud to say, has continued to grow and attract a larger audience every year for the last three years. For the first time this year, our conference was broadcast over the internet and was viewed by behavior analysts from Massachusetts to California.”
 Way to go, Dan!  We're proud of you and your accomplishments! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Congratulations to Drs. Galina Bakhtiarova and Damla Isik for winning CSUS awards!

Congratulations to Drs. Galina Bakhtiarova and Damla Isik for winning prestigious Connecticut State University System (CSUS) awards for teaching and research!

Dr. Bakhtiarova, chair and associate professor of World Languages and Literature, won both the CSUS system and WCSU campus 2011 Trustees Teaching Award(s). 

Dr. Isik, assistant professor in Social Sciences, won the WCSU campus Norton Mezvinsky Trustees Research Award.

Congratulations!  You both make us so proud!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sister Helen Prejean on campus on April 14

Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, will present "Dead Man Walking:  The Journey Continues" on April 14 (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the Midtown campus.  The event is free and open to the public.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A&S faculty mark 150th anniversary of start of American Civil War

Several A&S faculty members have played an important role in the Danbury region's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. 

Over the weekend, History professors Kevin Gutzman and Marcy May published op-ed pieces for the Sunday Discussion page of the News-Times on the topic of  "A Nation Divided."   Dr. May's piece was entitled "Peace rallies fought in Danbury area."  Dr. Gutzman  approached the topic from the perspective of "Scars of war still close to South's surface."  In addition, the research of long-time Communication adjunct Dr. Jeanne Christie into the life of Civil War nurse Almira Ambler was featured on the front page of the same issue of the News-Times.

Today, Drs. Gutzman, May, Burton Peretti,and Leslie Lindenauer of the Dept. of History and Non-Western Cultures participated in a panel discussion on "The Legacy of Our Civil War:  150 Years After Fort Sumter" at 11 a.m. in the Haas Library.   In addition, a special exhibit of Civil War-era artifacts will be on display in the Haas Library through the end of April.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Zarecki to give Pop Culture lunch series lecture (4/7)

Communication adjunct Tom Zarecki will share his insights on "The Impact of Radio and Other Media on Popular Culture" at noon on April 7 (Thursday) in Student Center 202.  Zarecki's lecture is part of the "How Pop Culture Impacts Our Lives" brown bag seires sponsored by Student Affairs.  The event is free and all are welcome.

Zarecki has extensive experience in the radio industry and serves as faculty advisor to WXCI, the campus radio station.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Graduate Open House Today (4/5)

Graduating in May?  Thinking about graduate school?  WestConn is hosting its annual Graduate Open House today (Tuesday, April 5) from 4:30-7 p.m. in the ballroom of the Westside Campus Center.  For more information, go to http://http//  This Open House is a fantastic way to explore a number of graduate options in an afternoon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Update: Ben England, Psychology alum

Dr. Shane Murphy, Associate Professor of Psychology and long-time Psi Chi advisor, provides the following update about recent Psychology grad Ben England:

"Ben England graduated from WestConn in May 2008. He was the President of the WCSU chapter of Psi Chi, 2006-2007, and Vice-President of the Psychology Student Association. Before graduation he received the Psychology Department’s 'Psychology Spirit' award. In part, his citation read: 'you have demonstrated an unfailing enthusiasm for improving student life, for creating new learning opportunities for your fellow students, and for challenging yourself and others intellectually.'
"Ben is currently in his third year as a graduate student at Texas Tech University, in the Experimental Psychology: Applied Cognitive Division. His research focuses on a fairly new area in cognition; metacognition (thoughts about one’s thoughts). Within this area, Ben mainly focuses on how people evaluate their learning (e.g., Judgments of Learning or JOLs) and what may make their judgments more/less accurate. While JOLs are functional in the control of study time allocation, his research mainly focuses on the accuracy of the judgments and not the allocation element.

"In December Ben received his non-terminal M.A. after completing the required coursework and defending his thesis. Currently he has three scientific papers in preparation for publication. He is planning on taking his qualifying exams (to be admitted to doctoral candidacy) in September 2011, and from there will begin work on a dissertation. Ben says, 'I hope to be "Dr. England" by Spring 2013, and everything so far seems to be on track for that.'
"To get more information about the lab where Ben works at Texas Tech, follow this link:"
Way to go, Ben!  Thanks much, Dr. Murphy, for sharing this info with us.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Congrats to Brandon Litwin

Congratulations to Chemistry major Brandon Litwin, who won the "Best Undergraduate Poster Prize" at the 20th Annual Symposium hosted by the Connecticut Microelectronics and Optoelectronics Consortium on March 16th.   Brandon competed against students from Yale, UConn, Trinity, the University of Bridgeport, the University of New Haven, and Southern Connecticut State University.  Way to go, Brandon!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dr. Mel featured in News-Times

If you missed Dr. Mel Goldstein's lecture, you can read about his remarks in Robert Miller's feature "Dr. Mel 'reigns' at WestConn."  A&S was thrilled to have one our own deliver this year's Presidential Lecture, and the event on March 29th was well attended.  While on campus, Dr. Mel taught a seminar for meteorology students and attended a reception in his honor before his lecture.  Here's a link to photos of his day on campus:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Roger Sherman Debate Society members place among top 20 in national tourney

Assistant coach Kevin Gaughan sends this latest update on the ongoing success of the Roger Sherman Debate Society:

"I am proud to announce that two members of the Roger Sherman Debate Society recently placed among the top 20 speakers in the country at this year’s JV/Novice National Tournament in Towson, Maryland. In what can be considered the best national finish in the history of WCSU's debate program, Ben Allen won an award for the 4th best speaker at the tournament and his teammate, Ben Townsend, won the 17th speaker award. This marks a significant milestone both for the debaters individually and the team as a whole, since both speaker awards were the highest of any previous WestConn debater and it was also the first time that two debaters won a national speaker award in the same year.

"The team of Allen and Townsend finished the year ranked in the top 25 of novice debaters, defined as students with less than two full years of debating experience, and advanced to the elimination rounds at the national tournament.

"[On March 10,] with one tournament to go, WCSU is tenth in the northeast in the official National Debate Tournament rankings, above such schools as New York University, the University of Vermont, Fordham, Columbia University, the University of Massachusetts, and Amherst College.

"Congratulations to the Roger Sherman Debate Society for all of their hard work and perseverance over the course of the 2010-2011 season!"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dr. Mel to give President's Lecture on Tuesday, 3/29

Dr. Mel Goldstein will present "Growing Up Dr. Mel" as this year's  President's Lecture on Tuesday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Science Building 125.  A legendary figure on the Connecticut weather scene, Dr. Mel joined the WestConn faculty in 1970 and helped to start the Weather Center (the first in New England) and the B.S. in Meteorology (the first in Connecticut).  Over the years, Dr. Mel also has become a much loved Connecticut weather icon as a broadcast meteorologist at WTNH-TV.  He is author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Weather and started a foundation to support multiple myeloma research.  Dr. Mel is a long-time survivor of multiple myeloma and a true inspiration.   Dr. Mel's lecture is free and open to the public.  Don't miss this opportunity to hear Dr. Mel's amazing story!

Friday, March 18, 2011

'Bugging the Bugs' lecture today

Dr. Linda Passaro of Bedoukian Research Inc. will be presenting "Bugging the Bugs Using Chemical Messengers in Integrated Pest Management Synthesis of Pheromone Components for Insect Control" at 3 p.m. today (March 18) in Science Building 219.  Dr. Passaro's lecture is part of the Chemistry Seminar series, which is now in its 36th year. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Former U.S. Commerce Dept. Official Visits PS 104

Longtime adjunct Prof. Scott Benjamin reports below on the visit of former U.S. Commerce Department official Steve Arlinghaus to PS 104:  World Governments, Cultures, and Economies.   Thanks much for sharing this visit with us!
Steve Arlinghaus On The European Union
By Scott Benjamin

Former U.S. Commerce Department official Steve Arlinghaus said “today It is hard to imagine how awful things were in Europe in 1945, ’46 and ’47” after that part of the world had been devastated from the fighting during World War II.
“Europe had been bombed for four years,” he said during a talk to a section of PS 104: World Governments, Economies and Cultures at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury on Feb. 28, 2011.
“There were m any displaced persons,” Mr. Alringhaus added. “They also had two of the worst winters in their history right after World War II.”
“Europe now has a standard of living that is similar to that in the United States,” Mr. Arlinghaus said regarding the reconstruction that ensued in the years following the end of World War II.
He said part of that is due to the lack of conflict between some of the powers in Europe.
Mr. Arlinghaus said the years of 1870, 1914 and 1939 are important in understanding how the European Union (E.U.) became established.
He said on those respective dates, Germany and France began fighting in the Franco-Prussian War, World War I and World War II.
“The initial creation of the E.U. was to stop another war between France and Germany,” said Mr. Arlinghaus, who worked for the Commerce Department in France and Belgium for many years and now teaches Economics part-time at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic.
“The great powers are no longer fighting,” he said. “It started what has been the longest period of peace in European history.”
Mr. Arlinghaus said what started as two countries seeking an agreement in trade and other areas has now grown to a group of 27 nations, 12 of which have joined within the last seven years.
He said what was known as the European Common Market in the 1950s and 1960s has become a larger unified market that includes both small and large countries, some of which were formerly part of the Communist bloc that had been controlled for years by the former Soviet  Union.
Mr. Arlinghaus said that Croatia is now negotiating to enter the E.U. and that Serbia, Albania and Bosnia will probably join at some point.
In explaining some of the provisions in the E.U., he said, for example, a citizen in France can now get work in England without having to submit working papers.
Mr. Arlinghaus said the laws for the European Union come from the European Commission, which also enforces compliance of those laws.
He said that over time there was a movement to create a common currency, and in 1999 11 of the 15 countries that were in the European Union at that point agreed to use the Euro. He said that currently 16 of the 27 members are using the Euro, which is now valued above the American dollar.
Mr. Arlinghaus said the adoption of the Euro has made it easier for tourists who can use the same currency as they travel from one European country to another.
However, he said it also has created problems for countries, such as Greece, who no longer have their own currency and can’t “inflate their way” out of a recession.
Mr. Arlinghaus said that if a country creates an inflationary spiral it usually can pay down at least some of its debt as wages go higher and many of the residents pay higher taxes.
He said at times that has happened in the United States, indicating that a surge in wages allowed his brother-in-law to pay off his mortgage ahead of schedule.
Mr. Arlinghaus said the development of the European Union and the less-encompassing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, the United States and Mexico are examples of multi-country pacts that enhance the economies of the members.
He said that, for example, Texas billionaire Ross Perot complained during his independent run for president in 1992 that NAFTA was going to create a large sucking sound in which America would lose jobs.
Mr. Arlinghaus said that didn’t happen, noting that the United States went through the longest economic expansion in its 235-year history in the late 1990s during the years immediately after NAFTA took effect.
“If anything, Mexico had to change more than the United States did,” he said. “The American market already was open to Mexico and NAFTA made Mexico’s market was much more open to the United States.”
On another topic, Mr. Arlinghaus, said that, generally speaking, Europeans are more likely than Americans to choose leisure over work.
He said that is largely due to the tax rates, which become more prohibitive on higher wage earners. He said that as a result of that there is less incentive to work additional hours or seek some of the higher-wage jobs.
Mr. Arlinghaus said that as a result of that there often is less of a spirit of enterprise in the European countries than in the United States.
He said that when the Commerce Department sent him to California during the early 1990s, when the United States was in a recession, he found, for example, that some of the people who had lost their jobs in the aerospace industry had immediately started t heir own consulting businesses.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A&S in the News

Drs. Galina Bakhtiarova and Jordano Quaglia of the Dept. of World Languages and Literatures were featured in the News-Times in a series of photos of the Brazilian Carnival held on campus on 8 March 2011.

Dr. Paula Maida and her MAT 212:  Mathematics in the Middle Grades students were featured in the News-Times in a story about Pi Day activities on 14 March 2011.

Dr. John Briggs of the Dept. of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process published an op-ed piece in the Hartford Courant on 15 March 2011.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day!

Dr. Paula Maida's MAT 212:  Mathematics in the Middle Grades celebrated Pi Day (3.14) with a series of pi-related activities, including lining up for a visual representation of pi and making pi-inspired treats (featured above). 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sherman Alexie on campus on March 14th

Author and film director Sherman Alexie will present "Without Reservations:  An Urban Indian's Comic, Poetic, and Highly Irreverent Look at the World" at 7 p.m. on Monday (March 14) in Ives Concert Hall on the Midtown campus. 

A screening of "Smoke Signals," an entertaining film based on one of Alexie's short stories, will take place before the lecture at 5 p.m. in the Warner Hall Lyceum.  A reception and book signing will follow Alexie's presentation in the Warner Lyceum as well. 

Alexie's talk is part of the ongoing Neuwirth Lecture series, which is named for the late Dr. Steven Neuwirth, a professor of English who helped to start the American Studies and Honors programs on campus. 

These events are free and open to the public.  All are encouraged to attend what promises to be an outstanding evening of lively discussion and entertainment.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Barbara Hillary on campus on March 9

Inspirational explorer Barbara Hillary will make a presentation tomorrow (Wednesday, March 9) at noon in the Warner Lyceum as part of Women's History Month actvities.  Don't miss this exciting opportunity to hear about the experiences of the "first African-American woman on record to reach both poles."  The event is free and open to the public.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dr. Laurie Weinstein: "Who were Danbury's first peoples? The Pahquioque"

Dr. Laurie Weinstein, professor of Anthropology, and Diane Hassan, research specialist at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society, published "Who were Danbury's first peoples? The Pahquioque" in the News-Times on 6 March 2011.  


Friday, March 4, 2011

Celebrate Mardi Gras with a Brazilian Carnival

Celebrate Mardi Gras 2011 with a Brazilian Carnival on 8 March 2011 from 7 p.m. to midnight in the ballroom of the Westside Campus Center.  The public is invited to attend.  Tickets are $5 for WCSU students and $10 for all others.  Costumes are welcome, and all are encouraged to dress colorfully and comfortably. 

The Brazilian Carnival is sponsored by the Department of World Languages and Literatures, the WCSU International Center, Club IMPACT, and the Latin American Students Association (L.A.S.O.).  Proceeds will benefit the Global Studies Fund.

For more information, contact (203) 837-8211.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yale postdoc to present biochemistry seminar on March 4

Dr. Youngjoo Kim of the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University will present "Temporal Resolution of Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Signaling Events" at 3 p.m. on March 4 in Science Building 219.  Dr. Kim's presentation is part of the weekly Biochemistry Seminar series in its 36th year. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dr. Pinou on importance of turtles

Dr. Theodora Pinou, associate professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences, was quoted extensively in Robert Miller's column, "Earth Matters:  The Year of the Turtle," published in the News-Times (online version) on 25 Feb. 2011. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Update: Kate Lockwood

Here's the latest from WCSU alumna Kate Lockwood, who is spending this year working for an NGO in New Delhi, India:

"I graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 2005 with a B.A. in English: Professional Writing: Business.  Like many undergraduates, I was not sure what career I wanted to pursue. I decided to become a substitute English teacher in an inner-city middle school. After obtaining a Durational Shortage Area Permit (DSAP), I returned to school in 2006 to earn a master’s degree at University of Bridgeport in Secondary Education with English certification.
"Teaching in an impoverished inner-city school for five years exposed me to the vast educational disparity that exists in the United States and how, in turn, this disparity is internalized by children. In 2007, six ethnic Karen students joined my English class. These students, along with their families, had been resettled to the United States because of the civil war in Burma. I quickly became very involved with the resettled families: organizing a donation drive, voluntarily teaching English language classes in the evenings, and recruiting other volunteers to assist the families who were being underserved by the organization responsible for assisting them. This marked a significant turning point in my life.
"Having seen the domestic side of the U.S. resettlement process and the struggles faced by the Karen families, I wanted to better understand the decision process and the expectations of refugees prior to resettlement. In the summer of 2008, I spent two months in the Thai-Burmese border region where I conducted ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in Mae La Refugee Camp. The findings of this research are described in a co-authored article forthcoming in The Journal of Refugee Studies. While in Mae Sot, Thailand, I also worked as a volunteer English teacher for the children of illegal Burmese migrants.
"Leaving my position as a teacher in mid-2010, I moved to New Delhi where I began an internship with a local NGO, the India Alliance for Child Rights (IACR). IACR focuses on a broad range of issues pertaining to child rights and the specific needs of disadvantaged populations including refugee and internally displaced children, child laborers, urban poor and migrant youth. Living in India and learning to speak Hindi has been an amazing experience.
"I am currently in the process of applying to graduate schools in the U.K. where I would like to earn a second master’s degree in conflict and international development. Having worked with different socially excluded populations, I am especially interested in the self-reinforcing and cyclical relationships of poverty, social exclusion, conflict, and migration and how children in particular factor into this pattern. Having had the opportunity to live in India and visit Thailand, Burma, and Laos, I have a special interest in South and Southeast Asia. Ultimately, I would like to work for an international development NGO that blends fieldwork, policy work and research, while keeping open a return to academia for a doctoral degree."
Thanks much for the update, Kate.  You're a wonderful example of the ways in which WCSU alums make a big difference in their local communities and greater world at large.   

Friday, February 25, 2011

WCSU hosts Hat City Debates this weekend

The Roger Sherman Debate Society is hosting the Hat City Debates this weekend (Feb. 26-27) on campus.  Some of the top debate teams in the region will take part in the competition. 

The tournament schedule is below:

8:00 AM: Round 1
10:30 AM: Round 2
12:30 PM: Lunch
1:30 PM: Round 3
4:00 PM: Round 4
6:30 PM: Round 5 (CEDA only)

8:00 AM: Round 5 (NDT only) Round 6 (CEDA only)
11:00 AM: CEDA Elimination Debates, NDT qualifier
1:30 PM: Lunch and Award Ceremony
2:30 PM: CEDA East meeting during elimination rounds
2:30 PM: Elimination Rounds for CEDA
2:30 PM: NDT run-offs as necessary
4:30 PM: Elimination Rounds (as necessary)
7:00 PM: Elimination Rounds (as necessary)

Best of luck to all of the competitors this weekend! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hurricane research focus of new Bridge program

Longtime adjunct Marjorie B. Salem, a WCSU alumna who retired as the English coordinator at Bethel High School and who has been involved with the "Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success" program since its beginnings, reports on the latest addition to Bridges, a partnership between WCSU and the Danbury and Bethel public school systems:   
“The WCSU Bridges program continues its strong partnership with the Danbury and Bethel public school systems by initiating a new Hurricane Research Program organized and presented by Dr. Albert Owino, Assistant Professor of Meteorology and Director of Meteorological Studies and the Weather Center.
“Students from Bethel and Danbury high schools meet on campus every Wednesday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Science Building.   As part of the program, the high school students will learn how to conduct hurricane research, including the following:   preparing hurricane data charts, examining streamlines and hurricane temperatures, becoming knowledgeable concerning weather systems, and understanding the daily operations of hurricane researchers.  The program began Feb. 9.
“WCSU’s Weather Center, under the leadership of Assistant Director Gary Lessor also welcomes students from Bethel Middle School and Rogers Park Middle School every Wednesday and Thursday.  Students learn how to become weather reporters, create forecasts, and produce audio visual presentations  The Hurricane Research Program for high school students and the Junior Weather People experience for middle school students extend opportunities for future meteorologists to  participate in a “hands-on” laboratory.  Students are engaged in an environment fully equipped for each to understand how weather stations operate.”
Thanks much to all for their good work on this program!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Poet Elizabeth Alexander on campus on Feb. 23rd (W)

Don't miss the opportunity to see poet Elizabeth Alexander speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Ives Concert Hall.  Dr. Alexander was the inaugural poet for President Barack Obama.  She will sign books afterward. 

The event is free and open to all. 

Thanks much to Carolyn Lanier, Chief Diversity Officer, for sponsoring and organizing Dr. Alexander's visit to campus as part of celebrations of  Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Update: Michael Carlo

Longtime Social Sciences adjunct Dr. Jeannie Hatcherson reports that Michael Carlo, who graduated with B.A. degrees in Music and Political Science in 2008, is serving in the Peace Corps in the Ukraine.  While a student, Michael served as president of the Humanitarian Travel Club. Good work, Michael!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bridge program featured in Hartford Courant

President James W. Schmotter and Bethel Superintendent Gary Chesley are quoted extensively about the "Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success" program in "WCSU Reports Success Helping High School Students Get Ready to College" by Kathleen Megan in the Hartford Courant.   Drs. Schmotter and Chesley and Interim Dean Abbey Zink and Bethel Associate Superintendent Janice Jordan testified today at a legislative hearing focusing on education-related issues, including remediation and teacher preparation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don J. Snyder wins travel journalism award

Don J. Snyder, a Writer in Residence for the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing Program, won a gold award in the Special-Purpose Travel category of the 2010 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition for "Clubbed" published in Outside magazine.  The Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.  Congratulations, Don!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Science at Night: Jim Bishop, Storm Chaser

Meteorologist Jim Bishop will present "Storm Chasing: Behind the Scenes" at 7 p.m. in Science Building 125 on Feb. 17th as part of the "Science at Night" lecture series.  More information about Bishop's work is available at  A reception will follow Bishop's talk.

Dr. Thomas Philbrick, Professor of Biology and CSU Distinguished Professor, organizes the "Science at Night" series.  Thanks so much, Tom, for all of your good work in bringing so many interesting speakers to campus.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dr. Saad to discuss 'Popular Revolution in the Middle East' on Feb. 16th

Dr. Abubaker Saad, Professor of History and Non-Western Cultures, will present "Popular Revolution in the Middle East" at noon on Feb. 16th (Wednesday) in the Warner Lyceum.  Dr. Saad is a specialist in Middle East and Islamic Studies.  All are invited for what will be a fascinating hour of insight and discussion.