Month: December 2021

Cover Artwork Submissions


Cover image
Ashlynn Miles, Griswold High School
A painting of a woman in a white dress underwater using a type of medium called guash. This artwork is a symbol of transition and moving forward. It represents stepping into something new. A new perspective, its own glow and scope of color. It represents a feeling of weightlessness where gravity does not apply and the world is muffled and silent.



Runner up
Nicole Gallecher, Bolton High School
Flying Through Colors
When given a transitions assignment I automatically thought of the lifecycle of a butterfly. I started by sketching the branches, next the caterpillar, then the cocoon. I filled in each with a variety of colored pencils. After that I sketched the butterfly and added the color. Finally I included black marker to outline the butterfly and branches, and add in more detail to the cocoon and caterpillar.

Next Generation of Student Registration: A Great Success

By Jessica Dunn


As announced in the Summer 2021 Magazine, UConn ECE has a new student registration system, We successfully launched on August 23, 2021, and we have received very positive feedback from our community ever since. We put a Student Registration Survey out to our Site Representatives once we closed registration in the beginning of October, and the responses were very encouraging. As it was the first year with the new system, there were indeed some bumps along the way, and some learning curves as we all worked to navigate the new system together, but there was nothing our resilient community could not overcome. With 13,889 students enrolled in UConn courses this year, a program record, we consider the registration period a great success!


We received responses from almost half of our Site Representatives, and open-ended responses that were echoed over and over included:
“The new system allowed the students to complete their portion in one step!”
“Quicker process, more user-friendly, and more streamlined”
“The online platform allowed me to track the status of applications more efficiently and support student registration.”


There were also a few responses which confirmed the need for minor improvements for next year. Things such as updating the language used in parent correspondence to clarify their steps, refining the student program fee waiver process, and improving the processing time of enrollments and payments. These are all items that are being addressed at this time and will be implemented for next fall. As we look forward to next year’s registration process, we are excited by the opportunity to fine tune the existing product and present a topnotch student registration process to our community.

Utilizing your Credit: Making the most of your credit

Not sure if you plan on coming to UConn or going to another college or university? You are not alone! Explore how to make your credits work for you. And remember, even if you don’t decide to come to UConn, your credits have an 87% likelihood of transferring to the college or university of your choice.


Coming to UConn?

You do not need to order a UConn transcript, but you do need to meet with an academic advisor to accept or reject your credits.
• Meet with your College Advisor
• Accept or Reject your Credit


Not Coming to UConn?

Follow the steps below to request a transcript to be sent to the college or university of your choice to transfer your credits.
• Save syllabi
• Check your grades
• Explore our Credit Transfer Database
• Review your new college/ university’s credit policy
• Request a transcript
• Speak to a college advisor
• Contact UConn ECE Program Office

A Lasting Legacy

By Carissa Rutkauskas and Jessica Dunn



Brian A. Boecherer began his 21-year involvement with the program as a high school student at Norwich Free Academy. The UConn English and Modern European History courses he completed while still in high school were a success, but he found his Chemistry course to be very challenging and made the tough decision to drop the course. Dropping the course wasn’t a failure though: it opened the door for Brian to explore his academic interests while in high school and shaped the future of his academic career.


In the fall of 1999, Brian matriculated to UConn to study German and International Relations of Russian and Eastern Europe with nine UConn credits under his belt. It didn’t take long for Brian to seek employment at UConn, and was hired as a student worker for the High School Co-operative Program for Superior Students, under the leadership of Michael Menard. After a period of neglect, lack of leadership and funding, the program was in a period of revitalization and needed  institutional support. With only one and a half professional support staff for the Co-op program, Menard relied heavily on Brian’s work ethic and interpersonal skills and tasked him with professional staff responsibilities as a freshman. Brian took great pride in his role in the office. He studied Menard’s leadership style closely with emphasis on student, faculty, and instructor engagement, he was given the opportunity to act independently and make programmatic decisions, and preserved the history of the program as he saved countless primary institutional documents from the shredder.


Brian continued a relationship with the Co-op program, working in the summers, while pursuing his first Master’s Degree at the University of Toronto. Brian’s experience and institutional knowledge of the program was integral, as through a retirement and promotion, there was a complete office turnover in 2004. Under the newly hired Director, he was appointed Assistant Director in 2005, a role which he held for six and a half years. Under this title, he created a development plan to reintroduce schools to the program, presented a professional development plan, and championed a name change from the High School Co-operative Program of Superior Students to UConn Early College Experience. Realizing that a strong rapport between the schools and the Co-op program needed to be strengthened to preserve true partnerships, he started a “UConn ECE road show.” Brian got on the road and single handedly visited100% of partner schools in 2006, and 75% is 2007. In this time he built up strong partnerships with all high schools and made it a priority to maintain them ever since.


In 2008, with strong high school partnerships in place, Brian shifted his focus to serve the students. Brian pioneered one of the first student events, The Globalization Conference which has remained an annual event. For this event UConn ECE Students are invited to a UConn campus where they are tasked with presenting a critical review of the year’s chosen topic and offer concrete solutions to the issue that are both politically and economically viable.

The Last 10 Years

In 2012, Brian became the Director for Research and Development of UConn ECE and the Associate Director of the Office of Early College Programs. During this time, he communicated the programs direct impact on departments/programs and research initiatives to University administration and engaged in research for program improvement. Brian was instrumental in UConn ECE’s 2014 NACEP reaccreditation. He was awarded a NACEP grant to create a credit transfer database and also developed an advising portal, both of which are updated annually and still used today. During this time he continued to make and strengthen his connections with faculty, staff, and students.

Brian became the Executive Director of the Office of Early College Programs & UConn Early College Experience in May 2015, having just completed a second master’s degree in Political Science and Government. The 2016-2017 school year marked UConn ECE’s first year of offering competitive student scholarships and classroom grants, as well as grants to enhance faculty coordinator-led professional development for UConn ECE Instructors. His ability to draw people together for a common goal also led to UConn ECE supporting the Connecticut High School Ethics Bowl, Connecticut History Day, and the Connecticut Science Olympiad. Brian’s encouragement of others to do the same has inspired others to develop events such as the Marine Science Symposium, Chemistry Days, language immersion days and quiz bowls, and countless other events.


In 2020 he won the UConn Unsung Hero Award, awarded to a person who is continually both a real benefit to coworkers and a stable, dependable resource for the entire University and consistently goes above and beyond, without fanfare or public recognition. Eighteen of his colleagues nominated him, with sentiments of appreciation such as:

  • …he expanded the office and changed the ethos into a smooth running machine serving programs across the state. He favors an idea-driven environment over a task-driven one…
  • With over 20 years of service to the University, Brian is a true idol… he made it a personal and professional goal to open the door to higher education for all students of Connecticut…
  • His creativity, enthusiasm, politeness and grace always made me feel at ease. I knew that I could reach to Brian for any concern or new idea that I had.
  • It takes a brave person to provide that kind of autonomy to such a crew of diverse employees, but courage is only one of his noteworthy attributes.


Two thousand twenty was also the year that COVID-19 came into our lives. Brian navigated this new challenge with grace and elegance, continuously communicating with our high school partners to create a sense of stability to UConn ECE students and families in a sea of unknowns. The pandemic didn’t slow Brian’s receptive and innovative nature down. Over the last 21 months of remote work, we’ve successfully transformed the Professional Recognition Awards Ceremony from a refined, sit down dinner event to an on-line show; transitioned to a state-of-the-art student registration system eliminating an onerous 5 step process; and started a partnership with the Connecticut Department of Correction’s Unified School District #1 to offer UConn courses to high school students in juvenile detention.


Brian leaves a legacy of hundreds of thousands of students who were given the opportunity to experience a college course in high school. From a program of roughly 2,000 students when he started his first professional role at UConn in 2005 to the end of 2021 with an enrollment of nearly 14,000 students, students in the state of Connecticut have had more opportunities because of him. There has been over a 40% increase in school partnerships through his tireless outreach and course offerings have more than doubled since 2005. As editor-in-chief of the bi-annual UConn ECE Magazine, he offers his insights and sparks contemplation to the UConn ECE community through his “Director’s Thoughts” and eloquent pieces.


Brian has contributed to the greater field of concurrent enrollment through the publication of his chapter, Bridging the High School-College Gap: The Role of Concurrent Enrollment (Chapter 16),
and annual presentations, board membership, and volunteer service at NACEP and NEACEP. He is a concurrent enrollment advocate in the state, often presenting at legislative meetings and working with the State Department of Education. Brian has always been willing to speak to and offer advice to developing programs – whether they are within the UConn ECE realm, other CT institutions or out-of-state.

In 2020, Brian was instrumental in a state-wide initiative which finally put dual/ concurrent enrollment programs on par with Advanced Placement in the State of Connecticut. The State added dual/ concurrent program on Next Generation Accountability Index (Indicator 6), which is used to rank high schools in the State of Connecticut. In this 2019 email to UConn ECE partners, Brian advocates:

The State Department of Education has what is called the Accountability Index that gives high schools an overall rating based on the programs they provide and also the programs their students use. There are 12 indicators that form a score for the high school. Indicator 5: Preparation for Postsecondary and Career Readiness – Coursework gives a high school points for the percentage of students in grades 11 and 12 who take AP/IB and dual enrollment courses (i.e., UConn ECE). We were always part of Indicator 5. Indicator 6: Preparation for Postsecondary and Career Readiness – Exams give schools points based on the percentage of students who earn “benchmark score[s]” in SAT, ACT, AP, and IB. Indicator 6 states that it is about student performance on college/career readiness exams, and we were previously not a part of this indicator, which resulted in external pressure to choose other advanced programs instead of UConn ECE for the benefit of high school rank.


His tireless work promoting the value of college classes in high schools to the State Department of Education and encouraging UConn ECE partners to advocate their worth resulted in this major victory of dual/ concurrent enrollment programs to be counted in both Indicator 5 and Indicator 6 Accountability Index.


But Brian won’t tell you any of that. Or that the above only talks about one, albeit the largest of the four programs in his purview as Executive Director of the Office of Early College Programs. He is more concerned about you, his colleague, his student, or his friend. His naturally altruistic outlook and belief that every student should have access to, and preparation for, higher education can’t help but result in strong relationships to all those who meet him.


The UConn ECE community will be happy to hear that Brian will continue on this path of supporting institutions of learning to build a better society as his launches his new business, Olive Shade Higher Education Consulting, where he will support early college programming for high schools. Brian, we wish you infinite success in your exciting new endeavor!

Faculty Coordinator: Anthony Rizzie

By Brian A. Boecherer


Get to know our faculty and learn some tricks of the trade with advice they have to offer. Here our Faculty Coordinator in Mathematics answers questions about his personal and professional interests as well as how he has transitioned to teaching during these challenging times.


Q. How long teaching at UConn?
A. I started August 2015


Q. How long in Teaching?
A. I taught my first class (officially) in August 2009


Q. Favorite course you teach at UConn and why?
A. Decisions…let’s say Math 1030Q (Elementary Discrete Mathematics) because it may be my last chance to change someone’s outlook on math for the rest of their life.


Q. Tell us why you got into teaching and a bit about how you see your role as a teacher?
A. I used to stay after school to do free tutoring in math in high school, and I continued tutoring regularly throughout undergrad
at Ball State University. I got a chance to fill in for a professor for a class of Differential Equations for a week who was away at a conference, and that experience solidified for me my love of teaching math. I went to graduate school at Purdue University, and surprise surprise, but I loved teaching classes there and tutoring still whenever I could. I live to see a student’s “aha” moment, and I strive to create a classroom environment that is both fun and helps shift students from a fixed mindset to that of a growth mindset.


Q. You won the Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership this past year. What would you say is core to your philosophy as Faculty Coordinator of Mathematics?
A. I wholeheartedly believe in running a program that is flexible and attentive to the needs of both the students and teachers. This past year, in particular, has been tremendously difficult for everyone, but it led to several unprecedented situations and abrupt changes-in-schedule that were disruptive in completing the standard ECE curriculum for the math courses and giving assessments in the usual way. We all made it work and worked within the parameters that we had (which varied significantly from school district to school district!), and I thank everyone teaching ECE Mathematics and in the ECE Office for their support and advice as we navigated that challenge together!


Q. As the youngest winner of this award, what advice would you give to other young professionals about leadership?
A. Listen. I think that listening and being receptive to feedback and change are among the most important aspects of being a good leader. Over the last few years, I have encountered various policies, regulations, and rules that seem to be no longer working, worth maintaining, or are not worth the time cost for the little gain, so I have heard that feedback and made various changes while not sacrificing the rigor of the program and the consistency that we strive for with the UConn Mathematics courses.


Q. Your teaching methodologies are legend at UConn, tell me one thing you do that you think is especially cool.
A. Legend, huh? I guess landing myself in a few Reddit posts that went viral counts, but that’s for another time…I started doing a “bad math joke of the day” in my Multivariable Calculus courses, which I taught for about five years straight. When I recorded videos for an online version of the course back in 2018, I made sure to record all of the jokes to create the same experience. I now regularly teach Differential Equations, and many of my students, coming from my Multi course, ask if I also do bad jokes in that class. After years of wearing me down, I finally gave in and created a “bad joke of the week” for that class as well, with each joke completely different from those in Multi! Students regularly tell me in course feedback that this is their favorite part of the course(s). Am I just a joke to them? 😉


Q. Many in our UConn ECE Community watched the awards ceremony and many of our teacher’s and staff’s children believe you are the real Spiderman. Can you offer a comment to our community?
A. You forgot the hyphen in my name; it’s “Spider-Man”…I mean… *cough* his name.

News to Know

NACEP Conference

UConn ECE staff attended the annual NACEP conference for the 16th consecutive year. Blending lessons learned at last year’s virtual conference with prior in person conferences, the 2021 conference was a blended opportunity for concurrent enrollment professionals to gather in person in Orland, FL, or attend virtual breakout sessions. While Brian Boecherer and Jessica Dunn attended from a distance, Carissa Rutkauskas was on site, participating in outdoor conversations at the Tibet-Butler Preserve, Latinos in Action, 20% time, a state and regional gathering (connection with Amy Hubbard, the new NEACEP president, among other presentations and networking opportunities. UConn ECE has proudly sponsored NACEP since 2005.


Welcome Jessica Hinckley

Please officially welcome Jessica Hinckley on board. Jessica is the Office of Early College Program’s Billing and Operations Specialist. She is responsible for managing program billing and fee waivers and purchasing support materials for workshops and summer programs. Jessica attended the University of Connecticut where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences. You may have already been in communication with Jessica, as she has worked with us during her undergraduate career!


Congratulations to David Wilock

Wilton High School. HIST 1400. Congratulations to Dr. Wilock for earning his Ph.D. in History from St. John’s University. His dissertation centered on Yale College during the American Revolutionary period.


10th Annual Cardboard Boat Race

Though UConn ECE did not participate for the second year in a row due to concerns over the coronavirus, Avery Point carried on the tradition on September 22, as did Waterford High School on September 30, albeit in a swimming pool! Michael O’Connor’s Marine Science and James Lovering’s Physics students paddle their way across the pool in vessels made of nothing more than cardboard and duct tape.



Elise Weisenbach, Branford High School, La Plaza Virtual


This summer, University of Connecticut Early College Experience Latin American Studies (Spanish/ LAS)
students Sushant Kunwar, Andrew Bono Alex Sweeney designed web pages using HTML and WordPress for the University of Connecticut’s El Instituto: Institute of Latino/a, Caribbean and Latin American Studies.


The website, La Plaza Virtual New England, consists of curricula for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean studies used by high school teachers and college professors across New England. The main goal was to make webpages as streamlined, organized, and accessible as possible for Sra. Weisenbach’s curricula: Cuba at the Crossroads, Human Rights in the Southern Cone: Spotlight on Argentina, Immigration: Cultural Crossroads of the Americas, and Cultural Heritage of Mesoamerica: Traditional Mexican Cuisine Across Time. ECE Spanish/LAS alum Hanna Bloomquist (BHS 2021, Columbia Univ. 2025) edited and revised documents. Sammi Esposito (BHS 2020, UConn 2024) created a unit of study on European perceptions of native foods in Colonial Mexico (don’t eat potatoes or your beard won’t grow), the use of food to facilitate religious practices and to coerce native peoples into following Catholicism, the portrayal of food in Colonial paintings, and the impact of colonization on Mexican food culture. Mia Josephy-Zack (BHS 2020, UMass 2024) and
Josh Josephy-Zack(BHS 2020, Harvard 2024) continue as technical consultants for the site. Also, Mia is writing a curricular unit, Threats to Traditional Mexican Cuisine with focus on how the environmental changes impact traditional food culture.


The department is proud of current and former ECE Spanish/LAS students pursuing their interest in culture, history and language during the summer by volunteering their time to work on the UConn website.


Jev Hohnson, Somers High School, Beats

Jev writes music and makes some beats with an EDM device. He posted a few songs to SoundCloud, including a jingle for an online motorsports league that he participates in.

Book Review: How to Raise an Adult

By Carissa Rutkauskas


As the parent of three children, the eldest of whom is in his first year of high school, and someone who spends her weekdays promoting concurrent enrollment, I am always on the lookout for resources to help our family along our journey to produce happy, fully-functioning adults. Julie Lythcott-Haims’s How to Raise an Adult: Break free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kids for Success was mentioned in an online Facebook group I follow and I knew by the title that I had to read it (full disclosure: I don’t have time to read, but audiobooks are great!)

I loved it. From the topic of each chapter, to the external references and resources she mentions, her personal experiences (as a college dean and mother), interviews, and research all held opportunities for thought to better parenting. In our household, we believe that independence, self-reliance, and self-efficacy is equally important as teamwork and communal experiences. Some of Lythcott-Haims’s suggestions may seem extreme for some families, but it provides ideas that promote healthy boundaries in the parent-child relationship. All parents want to protect their kids, but at the same time, one of the greatest gifts we can provide are the tools for them to become capable, curious, autonomous humans. I couldn’t help but to self-reflect as I made my way through the chapters. Was I a permissive, authoritarian, or authoritative parent, or overlapping in some areas? (p. 146) Am I causing them psychological harm by doing for my kids what they can already do for themselves? (p. 94) Is it really true that there are fewer missing children than there were in the 1980s and that child abductions are done by a friend or relative? (p 15).


I would love to include the title of each of her chapters, as each speaks volumes on its own, but here are just a few, from Part 3: Another Way, for thought:
12. The Case for Another Way
13. Give Them Unstructured Time
14. Teach Life Skills
15. Teach Them How to Think
16. Prepare Them for Hard Work


And it would be a shame not to include some of the books and articles that she references, as their clever titles lead to contemplation…
• Gist: The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids
• Less-Structured Time in Children’s Daily Lives Predicts Self Directed Executive Functioning
• Helicopter Parents: An Examination of the Correlates of Over-parenting of College Students
• How Not to Talk to your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise
• Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
• Homework’s Emotional Toll on Students and Families
• Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
• The Decline of Plan and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents
• Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder


Parents want what is best for their children and sometimes the hardest thing is letting go, giving kids the opportunity to invent themselves and parents the opportunity to reinvent themselves.