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.