Author: Carissa Rutkauskas

UConn Chemistry May ECE Lab Day

by Dr. Michael Kienzler
Assistant Professor
UConn Chemistry
 
Dr. Fatma Selampinar
UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Chemistry
Associate Professor in Residence UConn Chemistry

 

On May 18th, the UConn Chemistry Department hosted the May ECE Lab Day (MELD) for students taking UConn Chemistry at their high schools. UConn Chemistry opened its doors to almost 125 high school students from Berlin, New Britain, Norwich Free Academy, O. H. Platt, and The Woodstock Academy at the UConn Storrs Campus. MELD was coordinat­ed by the UConn Early College Experience Program Office in partnership with UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Fatma Selampinar and Assis­tant Professor in Chemistry, Dr. Michael Kienzler. The event started with a presentation by Dr. Kienzler on a surprising phenomenon for a select group of molecules—a process called photoswitching. The lengthy Q&A session after the presentation showed the remarkable interest from high school stu­dents on the topic. Next, the students transitioned to the hands-on activities where they split into groups and went to six undergraduate teaching labora­tories. In the labs they did a set of experiments designed by Dr. Kienzler and supervised by graduate students, to learn more about photoswitches. Small groups of high school students synthesized a bright red azobenzene dye and then recorded the ultra-violet/visible spectrum for their molecules. At the same time, students learned about thin-layer chromatography and used this chemical separation method to observe photoswitching of an azobenzene after shining light on it.
 
The event enabled the high school students to have a hands-on laboratory experience on the UConn campus and provided opportunities for students who are interested in doing research of their own to communicate and connect with a research faculty member, Dr. Michael Kienzler, and research graduate students.
 

 

Feedback from the Instructors was inspirational and provided confirmation of the true benefit to the student participants:

 

“My students were raving about the quality of the presentation and correlated lab experience. They were inspired to ponder the connections between their own understanding and the concept of photoswitches.” – Brendan Wilkosz, Berlin High School

 

“The students and I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and the lab experience! The event was well orga-nized and hands-on which is most engaging for the students.” – Manila Mathur, New Britain High School

 

“I can say that my students were excited by the new (to them) subject matter in the lab experiment and inspired by being at the University and in a college setting, if only for a day. We will now finish our school year with renewed enthusiasm thanks to the UConn trip!” – Donna Kaiser, Stamford High School

 

“It was fantastic! The students thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m just sorry I couldn’t have convinced the others in my class to sign up for the UConn ECE program, because I know they would have loved it as well.” – Nike Agman, Enfield High School
 

Additional UConn ECE Benefits

 
By Jessica Dunn

Discount Tickets

As part of the UConn ECE Community, Students, Instructors, Site Represen­tatives, Library Media Specialists, and Faculty Coordinators have access toattend select UConn athletic events and performances at the JorgensenCenter for the Performing Arts at discounted rates! UConn Early CollegeExperience has partnered with UConn Athletics to offer YOU the opportuni­ty to be in the stands and show your Husky pride with your friends andfamily. We have also partnered with Jorgensen who offers UConn EarlyCollege Experience Students and high school partners, with a valid UConn NetID, FREE tickets to a selection of their annual performances.
 
Available athletic event tickets and Jorgensen performance offers are an­nounced throughout the academic year to the UConn ECE Community. Take advantage of these great offers and opportunities to immerse yourself in the UConn culture. Hundreds of UConn ECE partners did this year! You may not be in Storrs, Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, or Waterbury, but you are a part of UConn wherever you are. Bring your class, your friends, or your family to a game or a show! This is just one of the many benefits of being part of the UConn ECE family, and we hope to see you on campus.
 
Find your tickets here: s.uconn.edu/ece-discount-tix
 
Don’t forget, show your Husky Pride and tag us in your photos from the games and shows you attend!
 
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok

 

UConn Recreation Center Access – just for our partners

UConn ECE Instructors, Site Representatives, and Library Media Specialists are eligible foraffiliate membership to the UConn Recreation Center. UConn ECE administrative partners must provide a UConn One Card for purchase of membership.

 

Connecticut History Day Returns to Storrs

 

By Christopher Todd | Body and participant data by Cyndee McManaman, CT History Day Regional Coordinator

 

On a brisk Saturday at the onset of UConn’s spring break, over 200 students accom­panied by family, friends and educators descended upon UConn’s Storrs Campus to participate in the Connecticut History Day’s Mansfield/Storrs Regional Contest. Organized by the Connecticut Democra­cy Center, in partnership with the De­partment of History at UConn as well as UConn’s Office of Early College Programs, Connecticut History Day (CHD) success­fully returned to in-person on the Storrs campus after a three-year hiatus during the Covid pandemic.

Connecticut History Day

Connecticut History Day is an affiliate program of National History Day (NHD) which annually engages nearly 5,000 middle and high school students in histor­ical research, interpretation, and creative expression through project-based learning. As stated by the CHD, the program seeks to bring students, teachers, museums, and scholars together to support young peo­ple as they engage in history. Led by the Connecticut Democracy Center, CHD is presented with major funding and partner­ship support from CT Humanities.
 
CHD offers a wide array of free resources for teachers and students to assist them with the History Day process, including:

 

  • Teacher Handbook (English and Spanish)
  • Student Handbook (English and Spanish)
  • Educator Workshops
  • In-class student workshops
  • Digital resources for research and writing

 
Mansfield/Storrs Regional Competition
 
Throughout the Northeastern Con­necticut Region, 23 teachers repre­senting 27 schools brought History Day into their classrooms during the 2022-2023 school year. The North­eastern region supported 536 of the statewide 4670 school-level partici­pants, with 224 students attending the Mansfield/Storrs Regional Contest at UConn on Saturday, March 11th. In all, CHD held 6 regional contests around the state with the state con­test held at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) on May 6th. As 47 Connecticut students head to Univer­sity Maryland – College Park this June for the National Contest, 22 of them are students from the Northeastern Region.
 
Because of the unique design of CHD, teachers have the flexibility of using the History Day program in a format that meets their diverse needs: inte­grated into the content area or hon­ors/enrichment curriculum or as an after-school activity or club. Students have the flexibility of working alone or in a small group to create a project in one of five formats: documentary, exhibit, historical paper, dramatic per­formance, or a website. The students select a topic that interests them and then use the annual theme as a lens through which to view and analyze their research and frame their projects.
 

 
While at the Mansfield/Storrs Region­al Contest, CHD teachers Dr. Matt Cieslowski (UConn AMST 1201:  Seminar in America Studies) and Ian Webster (UConn HIST 1501 & 1502: US History to 1877 & Since 1977; HRTS 1007: Intro to Human Rights) from Manchester High School were recognized as this year’s recipients of the Patricia Behring History Day Teacher of the Year Award-Senior Division for Connecticut. Patricia Behring was a longtime benefactor of National History Day, and each affiliate selects a teacher for the Junior and Senior divisions to then compete for the honor of becoming recognized as the National History Day Teacher of the Year at the national contest in June.
 
It was wonderful to support the return of CHD’s Mansfield/Storrs Regional Contest to the Storrs UConn campus. All the hard work and planning by participants, families and program staff alike translated into an amazing day for CHD. Who better to share some highlight than the participants themselves.

 
Comments from students at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

 
“The thing I liked best about the Re­gional Contest was that I got to be an expert on a topic I had a lot of inter­est in. I truly feel like I know a large amount of information regarding my topic and am happy to have this knowl­edge that really no other experience could provide me with.”

 
“I thought that it was really fun to be a part of something that so many people were invested in and took so much pride in being a part of this contest.”

 
“The thing that I liked best about the contest is that I got to do a project on a topic of my choosing.”

 

 
Comments from parents at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

 
“She gained significant research and writing experience, honed her time management skills, speaking with judges was a good public speaking experience.”

 

“Great learning and growing experience! An overall beneficial experience in character building.”

 

Comments from teachers at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

 
“History Day offers a variety of academic challenges for students. Developing a long-term, well-researched project is quite a daunting task for students who often have been asked [at best] to complete a ‘research’ project over the course of a few weeks. Scheduling time to work on a project over a few months’ time and meeting deadlines for registration, paper­work upload and finally project submission is an excellent learning experience for all participants.”

 
“Participation in History Day enhanced their research skills and attention to detail in formal academic work; challenged them to reach higher standards for their work.”

 
Comments from judges at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

 
“As a future teacher, I found it a great experience not only the judging but also seeing the students work, and talking with other professionals in History, and hearing not only their approach to judging but what they do in their work and their experiences. It’s a great way to connect with people!”

 
“I am always so impressed by the students’ knowledge, level of commitment, and energy.”

 

Professional Development and New Instructor Orientation

 

By Stefanie Malinoski
 

Professional Development Workshops

UConn Early College Experience Faculty Coordinators offer annual professional devel­opment workshops for their Instructors. This spring, UConn ECE hosted twenty-nine different professional development workshops for certified Instructors. Many of these events occurred in person on the Storrs and Hartford campuses and others were held in a virtual capacity. Some highlights are below. Please be sure to check out the UConn ECE Professional Development Blog on the ECE website for details and pictures from our events.
 
Animal Science

Our certified Animal Science Instructors along with Faculty Coordinators Dr. Jenifer Nadeu and Dr. Amy Safran took a tour of UConn’s animal facilities including the voluntary milking system, and Molly Riser, UConn ANSC PhD student, provided an overview of the domestication and breeding of dogs.
 
Anthropology

Along with ECE Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Alexia Smith, certified UCo­nn ECE Anthropology Instructors met for a virtual workshop where they focused on practical strategies for teaching anthropology today and recent changes within the field. Hot topics such as participation agreements, accessibility issues, and engagement modalities were the main topics of discussion. UConn’s Dr. Noga Shemer served as a guest facilitator for the workshop. Dr. Shemer is an Assistant Professor-in-Res­idence of Anthropology at UConn, where she also serves as an Affiliate faculty member of El Instituto (Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies) and as an Assistant Director of Faculty Development at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. As a cultural anthropol­ogist with many years teaching experience, she provides workshops across the university focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom and has pub­lished journal articles focusing on her use of person-centered ethnographies to build empathy.
 
Art

UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Art, Prof. Cora Lynn Deibler, met with UConn ECE Art Instructors for their virtual professional development session and invited Dr. James J. Hughes to speak with the group about artificial intelligence (AI) in the art world. Dr. Hughes is an American sociologist and bioethicist. He serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and as Associate Provost at UMass Boston. He writes and speaks often on topics of bioethics, technology, and Buddhism. The group listened to Dr. Hughes’ presentation and engaged in a lively conversation discussing the rise of tech­nological art-generating tools that use artificial intelligence. While students are interested in new AI tools, established artists are skeptical – even fearful. The group discussed strategies for talking about, contextualizing, and using or discouraging use of AI artmaking in our classrooms.
 
Biology

Dr. Thomas Abbott, Associate Professor In-Resi­dence and ECE Faculty Coordinator for Biology, met with a group of fifty Instructors for an on-campus workshop. The Instructors engaged in hands on laboratory experience dealing with Maltose Transport Assays with Dr. Chris Malinoski, Assistant Professor in Resi­dence and Rebecca Newcomer, Laborato­ry Manager for UCo­nn’s undergraduate Biology 1000 courses.
 
Educational Psychology

Dr. Joe Madaus invited author of “The Lottery”, Patricia Wood, to speak with our group of certified Special Education Instructors. Patricia shared her personal experiences with the group in a lively virtual discussion all the way from Hawaii!
 
Spanish

Faculty Coordinators for Spanish Dr. Guillermo Nanclares and Dr. Eduardo Urios-Aparisi invited special guest Dr. Maria Lourdes Casas to speak to a group of 40 UConn ECE certified Spanish Instruc­tors. Dr. Casas is a professor in the World Languag­es, Literatures, and Cultures Department at Central Connecticut State University.
 

UConn Early College Experience New Instructor Orientation

New Instructor Orientation occurred in May on the Storrs campus for over 150 newly certified ECE Instructors. Returning to an in-person event for the first time since 2019 the morning was spent covering all things Early College Experi­ence. Topics includ­ed: student regis­tration, instructor responsibilities and resources, creating a UConn ECE com­munity, data highlights, enrichment programs, and Pre-College Summer. After some Q&A and lunch as a group, teachers met with their ECE Faculty Coordinators for discipline-specific orientation sessions.
 
Instructors shared their feedback after orientation and some mentioned that they were happy to hear that UConn ECE is aware of the struggles teachers may face convincing their school boards that run­ning multiple UConn course offerings is beneficial to their students and faculty. They are now aware that the ECE program staff is willing and able to help teachers work with their schools to promote and “package” their UConn courses (with meetings, pro­motional materials, etc.). Most Instructors reported they enjoyed learning about how to create a UConn ECE community in their classrooms and schools and were grateful to have the opportunity to participate in orientation in person to meet with their discipline specific UConn Faculty Coordinator.
 

 

 

UConn ECE Offers Additional Courses

 
UConn ECE is continuously partnering with new UConn academic departments to offer additional UConn courses in the high schools. Here are our most recent:
 
Asian American Studies (Dr. Jason Chang)
• AAAS 2201: Introduction to Asian American Studies
A multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary introduction to major themes in Asian American Studies. Concepts of identity and community, migration and labor histories, Asians and the law, representations of Asians in visual and popular culture, gender issues, interracial and interethnic relations, and human rights.
 
 
Agricultural and Resource Economics (Dr. Emma Bojinova)
• ARE 2210: Essentials of Accounting and Business
An analysis of basic business principle, fundamentals, and concepts for agribusiness entrepreneurs.
 
 
Computer Science and Engineering (Mr. David Strimple)
• CSE 1010: Introduction to Computing for Engineers
Introduction to computing logic, algorithmic thinking, computing processes, a programming language and computing environment. Knowledge obtained in this course enables use of the computer as an instrument to solve computing problems. Representative problems from science, mathematics, and engineering will be solved.
 
 
Communication (Dr. Svetlana Kalnova)
• COMM 1000: The Process of Communication
A study of modern communication theories and principles useful in understanding how you affect and are affected by others through communication. Methods to develop your communication skills, the role of technology and media in various aspects of daily life.
• COMM 1100: Principles of Public Speaking
Theory and performance in public speaking: methods for organizing presentation and delivery skills, over coming anxiety of speaking in public; audience analysis; maximizing message impact; professional presentation skills; evidence; listening and speech evaluation.
 
 
English (Dr. Tom Deans)
• ENGL 3082: Writing Center Practicum
Introduction to Writing Center pedagogy, theory and research methods. Intended primarily for students staffing UConn ECE Partner School Writing Centers. Students taking this course will be assigned a grade of S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory).
 
 
Earth Sciences (Dr. Robert Thorson)
• ERTH 1000E: The Human Epoch: Living in the Anthropocene
Introduction to geoscience focusing on human activities as agents of geologic change. Examines human planetary processes in our current epoch, the Anthropocene. Provides a novel frame for contemporary environmental issues such as climate change, sustainability, mass extinctions, land use, and waste disposal.
• ERTH 2800: Our Evolving Atmosphere
An introduction to atmospheric science, including a history of the field, features of the atmo sphere, weather forecasting, and a geologic history of climate change.

 

Congratulations to our 2023-24 Course Enhancement Award Winners!

 
By Nella Quasnitschka

 
UConn Early College Experience is happy to announce the return of the Course Enhancement Awards for UConn courses taught in partner high schools. Eligible UConn ECE partners were invited to submit proposals for two types of projects: (1) Classroom Enhancement and (2) Community Development. Below is a list of proposals that have been funded for the 2023-24 academic year. We look forward to sharing results and outcomes with you next year.

Bullard Havens Technical High School

ECE Instructor: Bridget Wrabel

UConn Course: ENGL 1007: Seminar and Studio in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition

Description: A class set of “Worn Stories” by Emily Spivack will be purchased to help build their classroom library.

Christian Heritage School

ECE Instructor: Jamie Cosgrove

UConn Course: BIOL 1107: Principles of Biology I

Description: Students will have hands on experience to new technology that they otherwise would not be exposed to be­cause of Professor Cosgrove’s effort to secure funding for a new CRISPR lab set.

East Hampton High School

ECE Instructor: Kasey Tortora

UConn Course: HDFS 1070: Individual & Family Development

Description: A Reality Works Pregnancy Profile Simulator will be purchased to help students understand pregnancy’s impact on the body. The goal of these simulation experiences is to give students real hands-on exposure to pregnancy and stages of life.

Glastonbury High School

ECE Instructor: Laura Haddad

UConn Course: ENGL 1007: Seminar and Studio in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition

Description: Microphones will be purchased to script and record informational podcasts. This multi-modal project allows students to have a voice and to practice putting their writing into real-world applications.

Hall High School

ECE Instructor: Connie Xu

UConn Course: CHIN 1114: Intermediate Chinese II

Description: Lanterns, dragons, mahjong, tea set, and calligraphy are great authentic materials that will be acquired for the classroom over the years. What was missing was a karaoke machine – a very popular form of entertainment among Chinese culture across age groups.

Lewis S. Mills High School

ECE Instructor: Laura Faga

UConn Course: FREN 3250: Global Culture I

Description: This award will allow students to attend the French Quiz bowl in the Fall of 2023. Students will return to their school and share the knowledge they have gained with younger students.

Middletown High School

ECE Instructor: UConn ECE team

UConn Course: HIST1300: Western Traditions Before 1500, HIST1400: Modern Western Traditions, ENGL 1007: Seminar and Studio in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition, ANSC 1676: Introduction to Companion Animals, ANSC1602: Behavior and Training of Domestic Animals, SPSS 1110: Fundamentals of Horticulture, and HRTS 1007: Introduc­tion to Human Rights

Description: This award will be used to support an all-day community event for Middletown High School students. Stu­dents will be able to network with community members and explore resources available to them. Middletown High School Pride Leaders, who are students that take UConn ECE courses, will lead events, direct students, and be positive role mod­els. This event will benefit all involved parties.

Newington High School

ECE Instructor: Carla Toney

UConn Course: ILCS 3239 & ILCS 3240: Composition & Conversation I & II Description: With the goal of increasing opportunities for students to access authentic materials, funds have been provided to create a readers’ library in the classroom.

Ridgefield High School

ECE Instructor: JR Condosta

UConn Course: ERTH 1051: Earth’s Dynamic Environment

Description: Funding for this award will support the development and implementation of a self-guided geoscience walk­ing trail on the Ridgefield High School campus. This educational walking trail will be a valuable resource for students in various high school courses and members of the community. It will provide an engaging way to learn about the geology and natural history of the area.

Trumbull High School

ECE Instructor: Gregg Basbagill

UConn Course: ECON 1201: Principles of Microeconomics

Description: One major deficiency in Mr. Basbagill’s course is the gap between the economic models being taught and the lived experience in the real world. To address this gap, microphones will be purchased so students can begin podcasting. This will allow students to develop a more empathic understanding of how inflation, unemployment, and output affect actual people.

University High School of Science and Engineering

ECE Instructor: Caryn Baseler UConn Course: MARN 1001E: The Sea Around Us

Description: Students in the UConn ECE Marine Sciences class will visit Meigs Point Nature Center and participate in their Three Shoreline Ecosystems program so students can visualize and apply what they have learned in class to the rocky shore, sandy beach and salt marsh ecosystems.

Waterbury Career Academy

ECE Instructor: Frank F. Marcucio, III

UConn Course: AH 4092: EMT Training

Description: Funds for this award will go towards the purchase of cardiopulmonary resuscitation mannequins that record their performance and interface with AEDs. This will provide immediate feedback to Mr. Marcucio’s students. The mannequins will allow students to develop and hone their skills and address inadequacies in a scientific method based on recorded performance.

The Woodstock Academy

ECE Instructor: Sharon Geyer

UConn Course: CHEM 1127Q & CHEM 1128Q: General Chemistry I & II

Description: This classroom enhancement award is for the acquisition of Go Direct sensors and probes that will allow the implementation of science experiments in UConn ECE courses. The sensors will be used throughout all UConn ECE Science courses, allowing approximately 160 students annually to benefit.

 
The Office of Early College Programs will award UConn ECE Course Enhancement Awards again next year.

 

 

News to Know

 
NEACEP Conference 2023

In their first post-pandemic regional confer­ence, attendees from the six New England states and beyond gathered at the University of Rhode Island, Feinstein Campus in Providence for the New England Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NEACEP) on Friday, May 5, 2023. The theme was “Up­ward and Outward” and over a dozen breakout session centered on themes of equity, policy, and teaching and learning. Dianne Lassai Barker, Na­tional Alliance of Concurrent Enroll­ment Partnerships (NACEP) Director of State Engagement, addressed a group of nearly 100 people with an overview of NACEP and thoughts on equity and inclusion. UConn ECE was well-represented, on the planning committee, as a sponsor, and through presentations. University High School of Science & Engineering (Hartford) Principal, Sean Tomany, and UConn ECE American Studies Instructor, Jennifer Todisco, presented “Expand­ing ECE Offerings and Equity”; Jake Skrzypiec and Sarah Wiederecht (Manchester High School) and Chris Buckley (Brookfield High School) UConn ECE Human Rights Instruc­tor presented “Building Bridges: Human Rights & the Early College Experience Classroom”; and our own, Chris Todd, represented UConn ECE in two sessions. His first presentation, “Navigating the Tide: Expanding Pathways to Concurrent Instructor Certification in an Era of Teacher Un­certainty,” Todd spoke to the struggle with the recruitment and retention of teachers. He was also part of a panel for the “Expanding Pathways to Postsecondary Readiness through Dual Credit” session with others from the state: Ajit Gopalakrishnan, CT State Department of Education; John Maduko, President, CT State Com­munity College; Anne Dichele, Quin­nipiac University, CT; Karen Hynick, CEO, Quinebaug Valley Community College; and Thomas Coley, Executive Vice President of Strategic Partner­ships and Enterprise Performance, CT State Community College.

 

UConn Pre-College Summer PCS is growing with options! With over 30 course of­ferings for students to experience in the areas of Fine Arts, Digital Media, Pre-Med, STEM, and Social Scienc­es, we are also now offering a credit course option. Students now have the opportunity to earn two credits by taking the AH 2001: Medical Termi­nology course. The course provides an introduction to and mastery of medical terminology. Students will be studying the location, functions, ter­minology and pathology of the organs of the various systems of the body will be studied. In a unique two-week format, the course will be delivered in a distance learning model during the first week followed by a second week of a hands-on, residential experience. To check out the full list of course of­ferings visit, pcs.uconn.edu/courses/. (contributed by Melanie Banks)

 

Italian Studies Workshop This winter, Italian Studies at UConn (ILCS) launched a pilot Professional Development workshop series for teachers of Italian across Connecticut and the Tri-State area. The series, en­titled, “Lasciatemi cantare: Teaching Italian Language and Culture through Music,” was generously supported by funds from the Consulate General of Italy in NY and ECE and was deliv­ered in hybrid form – simultaneously online and in person. The workshop’s four Saturday morning sessions in January and February focused on using music theory and Italian the­ater, opera, and popular music in the language classroom. UConn Italian Ph.D. candidates David Lara and Rosy Pitruzzello (who is also a Plainville HS teacher) led two sessions each with presentations and interactive ex­ercises aimed at expanding the didac­tic benefits of incorporating different kinds of music into language instruc­tion. The combination of language pedagogy, songs, and music videos led to lively discussions among the participants, all of whom came away with access to new materials, a collab­orative space for continued develop­ment, and many practical applications for their classrooms. ILCS hopes to bring the workshop back next year with a different topic of focus. Please contact Tina Chiappetta-Miller with any suggestions at: mailto:concetta.chiappetta-miller@uconn.edu (con­tributed by Tina Chiappetta-Miller)

 
Congratulations to our UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators on their promotions

  • Promotion to Associate Professor In-Residence

- Emma Bojinova, Agricultural and Resource Economics

  • Promotion to Professor

- Oksan Bayulgen, Political Science

  • Promotion to Professor In-Residence

- Fatma Selampinar, Chemistry

 
Congratulations to Educational Lead­ership UConn ECE Faculty Coordina­tor, Dr. Danielle DeRosa, for defend­ing her dissertation, Exploring Sense of Community for Undergraduate Women in Sport Management.

 

 
UConn ECE HDFS 1070: Individual & Family Development Instructor, Mr. Becker, from Daniel Hand High School gave a TEDx Talk about his passion for wellness and journey on becoming a teacher, called The skill of wellness: maximizing your health to benefit the world. He talks about, “How a transformational moment at 15 would inspire my life’s work… I teach to enhance the wellness of my students; I coach to help students be­come respectful, responsible, honest, & caring people who will impact the world for good.”

 

UConn ECE Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest

 

By Sean Frederick Forbes, Ph.D.
Director, Creative Writing Program
UConn English Department

 

When I learned that the theme of this year’s ECE summer magazine was going to be “Growth Mindset: Challenging the Status Quo,” I nodded in approval. For any writer, especially a poet, it’s important to consider the role that a healthy “growth mindset” plays in the writing process. Every time one writes a poem, an essay, a text message, or even a grocery list, one is learning to write all over again. Writing a villanelle requires an understanding of the way repeated alternating refrains and a specific end rhyme scheme are employed to convey a complex narrative to the reader/listener versus texting one’s sibling to ask for a huge favor which requires one to think about effective and persuasive phrasing. The writer adapts to the nuances and limitations of each writing form, and in turn, the writer is growing by questioning and challenging the norms set before them. It’s the poet’s exuberant curiosity coupled with the impulse to take risks that allows for creative thought and expression.

 

My fellow judges, Sophie Buckner and Dan Healy, (both PhD candidates in the English department and creative writers), and I selected three poetry packets by Grace Dehnel, McKena Clemons, and Natalie Crowley, as the first, second, and third prize winners, respectively. With almost 100 submis­sions for this contest, and no identify­ing information on each packet during the review process, our three winners all happened to be students from Rockville High School. This was very exciting to find out as Mrs. Nordlund, their Rockville High School instructor, was once a Summer Institute fellow for the Connecticut Writing Project housed in the English department at UConn and she’s also a poet herself.

During the reading and deliberation process, Sophie, Dan and I thought carefully and critically about the pre­sentation of the poems in each packet. We considered the ways in which the speaker’s voice establishes tone, and the form and style employed, as well as many other factors. What was most telling to the three of us was that

these three poets were moved by their rum­bustious desires to express themselves in poetic form, and for that we are eternally grateful.
 
In Grace Dehnel’s poem “Air,” the speaker presents the denotative mean­ing of the word “free fall,” and takes on the typography that one would expect to find in an online or print dictionary such as a phonetic pronunciation guide, the part of speech of the word (“free fall” is a verb), and the word’s meaning. Typographically, the poem’s layout is a free fall-esque form that can unsettle the reader ever so slightly. This innovative decision allows the speaker to present a narrative voice to the reader in a most provocative man­ner with lines such as “A gravitational pull--/ intangible & untouchable & yet/doesn’t let you leave does it?” What’s most striking in these lines are the ways in which spacing, notably the large gaps within a line, create a tension within the narrative presented since the speaker breaks free from the constraints of traditional poetic line and stanza breaks expectations.
 
McKena Clemons’ poem “The second month” astonishes the reader with its use of a spare aesthetics juxta­posed with deep-rooted cultural and historical stings about the month of February. In the first few lines, the reader is symbolically exposed to the natural elements associated with a wintery climate—the chilled air, the dead trees, and the muddy slush of too much snow and sometimes rain. Clemons then ends the poem with three thought-provoking lines for the reader to ponder over: The streets are flooded with red hearts but they didn’t leave blood stains. / The shortest month dedicated to love and black bodies. / February is hypocrisy.” These lines can lead the reader to be con­templative and inquisitive about how some months in a calendar year can induce such deep thinking.
 
Natalie Crowley’s poem “Maybe it’s the Maybelline” the speaker confronts feminine beauty standards based on the cosmetics industry and the emotional, physical, and psychological affects and effects of applying mascara to one’s eyelashes. In the first few lines, the speaker informs the reader that in 1872 the first commercial mascara was created: a mixture of “petroleum jelly and coal dust.” In doing so, the reader becomes fixated on the human eye and the drastic and harmful “lengths” one takes in wanting to have allur­ing-looking eyelashes: “Sneaking into my sister’s makeup. / I used her mas­cara. / Got a cyst on my eye.” As one continues to read Crowley’s poem, one engages with the speaker on multiple levels in a succinct yet profoundly substantive style of voice.
 
Listen to Poetry readings

Grace Dehnel

Grace Dehnel is a junior attending Rockville High School and is enrolled in the creative writing program. She enjoys writing poetry and is a Sunken Garden finalist.
 
My ECE courses have allowed me to gain a new understanding of the world and see things through different lenses. With my pieces, I thematically and structurally explored the four elements of nature.
 
I love poetry because it allows me to explore the dark side of human nature through the use of metaphors.
 
 

 
Air

 

free fall

/ˈfrē ˌfôl/

verb

“to move under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly.”

Vertical   descent--

I   was   weightless.

My   body   began   rapidly

approaching   the   ground--

reaching   its   terminal   velocity.

Time   is   impermanent   &   I

wondered   who   it   was   going   to   take   next.      [Was I the one chosen on Time’s waitlist?]

A   gravitational   pull--

intangible   &   untouchable   &   yet

doesn’t   let   you   leave                   does   it?

My   body  steadily   becoming   limp.

My   eyes   feel   dry,         my   mouth   arid   &   my

arms   sting   from   the   harsh  gusts  of  air

that   tear   at   my   skin.         [Razor blades]

I   think   I’ve   accepted   that   this   is   it   for   me--

Perhaps   my   body   will   become   a   cloud

&   overlook   the   sky--

Transitory   clouds

do   not   have   worries   or   fears.

I   feel   my   body   shutting   down--

My   eyes   unfocus   as   I   stare   at   the   sky

littered   with   clouds--

I   see   nothing   anymore         [Dead before I had hit the ground.]

McKena Clemons

McKena Clemons is a Junior at Rockville High School where she is on the Varsity Golf Team. McKena is a proud advocate for social and environmental justice.
 
Sophomore year of high school I dealt with the transition of growing into my skin and where I fit socially. I began writing poetry which helped me grow and continue to grow into a better artist, activist, and a better person.
 
I have taken two ECE UConn classes and they both have been my favorite. The classes are challenging but I know they have prepared me for college.
My poetry has always been a tool so I could express myself. Throughout my poems there are themes of racial identity, gender identity, and coping with difficult moments in life as a child.

 

The second month

 

The air is chilled but days are warm.

The trees are dead but they dance in the wind more.

The pure white snow is nothing but a muddy slush.

The ground is frozen but grass still grows.

The weatherman promises just rain but no one is surprised by snow.

The month is second to all and first to some.

The streets are flooded with red hearts but they didn't leave blood stains.

The shortest month dedicated to love and black bodies.

February is hypocrisy.

 

 

Natalie Crowley

Natalie Crowley is a junior at Rockville High School and is a member of the creative writing program. She enjoys painting and is a part of the lacrosse team at her school.
 
Poetry has allowed me to express my opinions and commentate on issues in an artistic way.
 
My UConn ECE experience has given me a broader perspective on United States history as well as current social and political issues.
 
My poetry addresses my own experiences in the school system as well as how creativity is suppressed in modern education.

 
Maybe it’s the Maybelline
 
In 1872, the first commercial mascara was created:

Eugene Rimmel’s plumping serum--

a formula consisting of petroleum jelly and coal dust.

A rite of passage for middle school girls.

Cheap drugstore Maybelline,

pulled over lashes,

over and over,

until the hairs clumped together--

Just like how those girls stick together,

traveling in packs that I pretended to hate.

I wanted to be more like them.

Sneaking into my sister’s makeup.

I used her mascara.

Got a cyst on my eye.

I will never do that again.

It was like the Universe told me,

No, it’s not your time yet.

I settled for an eye lash curler and Vaseline.

 

I am jealous of those girls now.

When the tiny bottle and wand don’t fit in my hand,

I try over and over.

Black smears on my fingertips,

a constant reminder of who I am not.

Uneven, stuck together–

I practice at night instead of studying.                  I’ll do it in the morning.

 

The mascara weighs my eyes down in class.

I’m fighting sleep as I watch those wide-awake girls

Is there a HIIT for eyelids?

No one looks at me differently.

No one looks at me.

I wonder if Mr. Rimmel is a scam artist.

Do guys even like it?

Do I even like it?

Sitting in my chair with a test

I barely passed--

I let my finger run over the still wet ink--

my fingers coated in another layer of black.

 

News to Know

NEACEP Conference 2023

In their first post-pandemic regional conference, attendees from the six New England states and beyond gathered at the University of Rhode Island, Feinstein Campus in Providence for the New England Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NEACEP) on Friday, May 5, 2023. The theme was “Upward and Outward” and over a dozen breakout session centered on themes of equity, policy, and teaching and learning. Dianne Lassai Barker, National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) Director of State Engagement, addressed a group of nearly 100 people with an overview of NACEP and thoughts on equity and inclusion. UConn ECE was well-represented: on the planning committee, as a sponsor, and through presentations. University High School of Science & Engineering (Hartford) Principal, Sean Tomany, and UConn ECE American Studies Instructor, Jennifer Todisco, presented “Expanding ECE Offerings and Equity”; Jake Skrzypiec and Sarah Wiederecht (Manchester High School) and Chris Buckley (Brookfield High School) UConn ECE Human Rights Instructor presented “Building Bridges: Human Rights & the Early College Experience Classroom”; and our own, Chris Todd, represented UConn ECE in two sessions. His first presentation, “Navigating the Tide: Expanding Pathways to Concurrent Instructor Certification in an Era of Teacher Uncertainty,” Todd spoke to the struggle with the recruitment and retention of teachers. He was also part of a panel for the “Expanding Pathways to Postsecondary Readiness through Dual Credit” session with others from the state: Ajit Gopalakrishnan, CT State Department of Education; John Maduko, President, CT State Community College; Anne Dichele, Quinnipiac University, CT; Karen Hynick, CEO, Quinebaug Valley Community College; and Thomas Coley, Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Enterprise Performance, CT State Community College.

 

UConn Pre-College Summer

UConn Pre-College Summer (PCS) is growing with options! With over 30 course offerings for students to experience in the areas of Fine Arts, Digital Media, Pre-Med, STEM, and Social Sciences, we are also now offering a credit course option. Students now have the opportunity to earn two credits by taking the AH 2001: Medical Terminology course. The course provides an introduction to and mastery of medical terminology. Students will be studying the location, functions, terminology and pathology of the organs of the various systems of the body. In a unique two-week format, the course will be delivered in a distance learning model during the first week followed by a second week of a hands-on, residential experience. To check out the full list of course offerings visit, pcs.uconn.edu/courses/. (contributed by Melanie Banks)

Italian Studies Workshop

This winter, Italian Studies at UConn (ILCS) launched a pilot Professional Development workshop series for teachers of Italian across Connecticut and the Tri-State area. The series, entitled, “Lasciatemi cantare: Teaching Italian Language and Culture through Music,” was generously supported by funds from the Consulate General of Italy in NY and ECE and was delivered in hybrid form – simultaneously online and in person. The workshop’s four Saturday morning sessions in January and February focused on using music theory and Italian theater, opera, and popular music in the language classroom. UConn Italian Ph.D. candidates David Lara and Rosy Pitruzzello (who is also a Plainville HS teacher) led two sessions each with presentations and interactive exercises aimed at expanding the didactic benefits of incorporating different kinds of music into language instruction. The combination of language pedagogy, songs, and music videos led to lively discussions among the participants, all of whom came away with access to new materials, a collaborative space for continued development, and many practical applications for their classrooms. ILCS hopes to bring the workshop back next year with a different topic of focus. Please contact Tina Chiappetta-Miller with any suggestions at: concetta.chiappetta-miller@uconn.edu (contributed by Tina Chiappetta-Miller)

 

Congratulations to our UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators on their promotions

Promotion to Associate Professor In-Residence

- Dr. Emma Bojinova, Agricultural and Resource Economics

Promotion to Professor

- Dr. Oksan Bayulgen, Political Science

Promotion to Professor In-Residence

- Dr. Fatma Selampinar, Chemistry

Congratulations to Educational Lead­ership UConn ECE Faculty Coordina­tor, Dr. Danielle DeRosa, for defend­ing her dissertation, Exploring Sense of Community for Undergraduate Women in Sport Management.

TEDx Talk

UConn ECE HDFS 1070: Individual & Family Development Instructor, Mr. Becker, from Daniel Hand High School gave a TEDx Talk about his passion for wellness and journey on becoming a teacher, called The skill of wellness: maximizing your health to benefit the world. He talks about, “How a transformational moment at 15 would inspire my life’s work… I teach to enhance the wellness of my students; I coach to help students be­come respectful, responsible, honest, & caring people who will impact the world for good.”