UConn First Summer: The Transition to UConn

By Melanie Banks


How do students prepare for the transition to a university after graduating high school? There are many different ways and approaches a student can take. At UConn, incoming first-year and transfer students are able to receive academic and social engagement support through the UConn First Summer (UCFS) program. We are delighted to share the adoption of UCFS to the Office of Early College Programs as part of our mission where students can explore the transition to collegiate life prior to their first semester at college.


Students participating in UCFS take two General Education courses during the 5-week residential program, with the goal of providing participating students a strong start to their academic, residential, and social experience at UConn. Available courses include ANTH 1000, COMM 1000, ECON 1202, HDFS 1060, MUSI 1003, PHIL 1104, PSYC 1100, and SOCI 1501. But college is not all about academics! Students reside on campus with a roommate, have meals at the dining halls, network with campus departments, explore interactive activities, attend social and career development workshops, and make long-lasting friendships.


As one chapter closes, another begins. The months prior to becoming a Husky can be overwhelming, but we are here to help! The staff at UCFS partners with campus departments to ensure students feel prepared and have resources available to take on their undergraduate career.


Spring 2020 Professional Development News

By Stefanie Malinoski


During the Spring 2020 semester we elected to cancel sixteen of our discipline-specific professional development workshops.We chose to cancel these events as we understand everyone’s distance teaching and learning environments are different and did not want to cause any undue stress on our UConn ECE Program partners during an already uncertain time.


Our solution for these missed Spring 2020 events is to grant over 300 workshop attendance waivers to Instructors who were in need of attendinga spring workshop in order to maintain their certification with UConn ECE. These waivers are usually only issued occasionally to Instructors due to extenuating circumstances under the condition the instructor attends the next discipline specific workshop opportunity. This year, the Spring 2020 workshop attendance waivers will be different as they will be granted for a two-year term allowing 300+ instructors’ certification to remain in good standing. This two-year waiver should help alleviate our 2020-2021 events from being over capacity, and overall, it will allow Instructors more time to plan to attend a UConn ECE workshop to continue to maintain their certification.



We are currently working to schedule our Fall workshops and events in hopes that we will all be able to meet in person once the Fall semester begins. Should we not be able to gather in person there will be alternate plans set up to host professional development workshops at a distance in conjunction with each discipline specific UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator. More details will be shared with the UConn ECE community this fall should this occur. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out our professional development events from the past which are posted on our UConn ECE PD Blog on the UConn Early College Experience website. The blog showcases the many scholarly and exciting events we’ve been able to offer to certified UConn ECE Instructors and includes pictures and detailed information about each event.


Although the Spring semester did not go as planned, Faculty Coordinators have been reaching out to Instructors regularly and the community has been staying in close contact about program matters. Look for more information about our 2020-2021 events to be shared soon. UConn ECE Program Staff and many of our Faculty Coordinators have been taking advantage of the tools and training resources provided through UConn’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). We are hoping our Fall semester events will be in-person events, but we know if we must transition to virtual professional development events that we are well prepared to do so. We look forward to seeing everyone again soon either in person or virtually.

"I’d just like to give a thought felt thanks to my amazing Master’s School Drawing ECE Students for making the transition from the classroom to online learning as painless as it could possibly be."

— James DeCesare, The Master’s School

UConn Chemistry and ECE Hold First UConn CT-JAPAN Photochemistry Workshop



By Dr. Tomoyasu Mani 


On October 29th and 30th, UConn Chemistry held the first CT-JAPAN photochemistry workshop for high school students. The two-day workshop was held in conjunction with the visit of five high school students and two teachers of Matsuyama Minami High School from Ehime Prefecture, Japan. Fifty high school students from The Woodstock Academy attended the workshop. The workshop was organized by Prof. Tomoyasu Mani with the help from Prof. Fatma Selampinar and graduate assistants. The students from the two countries attended lectures by Prof. Mani and afterwards jointly performed experiments, learning new chemistry (photon upconversion on Day 1 and charge-transfer absorption on Day 2) and at the same time fostering friendship and cultural understanding. The agenda and the materials of the workshop (lecture slides and experiment procedures) are available online. The workshop was in part supported by the Department of Chemistry and UConn Early College Experience. Japanese high school travel was supported by the Japan Science and Technology through the Super Science High School program.


UConn Pre-College Summer: We Had the Experience of a Lifetime!


By Erin Donohue and Nicole Hyman (Pre-College Summer Graduate Assistants) 

The Summer of 2019 marked another successful year that was also full of changes for UConn’s Pre-College Summer (PCS) program. An all-time high 396 registrations spanning across 4 weeks was certainly influenced by the addition of four new courses, including Data Science, Food Science and Technology, Digital Animation and Motion Graphics, and Digital Media: Introduction to Programming. In student feedback regarding these courses, they noted that they provided, “wonderful”, “fun,” and “hands-on” experiences, while instructors were described as “supportive”, “friendly,” and “knowledgeable” in their respective fields. This past summer, the PCS program also hosted more students from around the globe, including the United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia. In addition, more students stayed for multiple weeks than in previous summers, with a total of 42 students attending the program for either two, three, or four weeks depending on the number of courses in which they chose to enroll. Aside from the new courses added this past summer and our outreach expanding to new regions of the world, perhaps the most important change for the PCS program was the forging of a new partnership with Noble Network’s Summer of a Lifetime (SOAL).

The mission of the SOAL program is to bring diverse, high-achieving high school students to college campuses to explore subject areas in which they are passionate. SOAL’s partnership with UConn’s PCS program during the summer of 2019 emerged in part because this past summer was the first in which Pre-College Summer was unable to work with an organization called Wishbone, a nonprofit that supports low-income high schoolers from New York City and Connecticut to attend summer programs. As Wishbone was not accepting new student applications this past summer, the professional staff at PCS actively sought to establish a new relationship with a similar program. PCS staff wanted to ensure that hardworking high school students who otherwise may not have been able to afford to join us for the summer have the opportunity to attend PCS. Through the SOAL program, low-income, minority scholars are given funding and support, assisting them in participating in life-changing summer academic enrichment programs on college campuses across the nation. In addition, SOAL students are provided with sufficient resources to support their expenses while attending a summer program, including covering costs such as program room, board, and transportation, as well as administrative and emotional support as they transition through the summer program.

This summer, PCS hosted 18 SOAL students all hailing from Chicago, Illinois. For many of these students, attending PCS was their first time away from home or travelling on an airplane. One of our SOAL students, who completed our Game Design course, stated, “I’ve never been outside of Illinois, nor have I visited a college outside of Illinois, so this experience could broaden my collegiate perspective and show me that I might really like colleges outside of Illinois.” In addition, another SOAL student who enrolled in our Pre-Law course was very candid about her feelings toward attending the PCS program, saying, “UConn will allow me to experience being independent and away from home for the first time, something that I am excited and nervous about. I want to take on the risk of being away from my mother, being in a new state, and starting a new chapter in my life as a young adult.” While this was a new experience for many of our SOAL students, all students who attended our PCS program took the opportunity very seriously and recognized the impact that the program would have on their academic and overall goals if they worked hard and utilized it as a jumpstart toward their future aspirations while still in high school. Attending [Pre-College Summer] will allow me a fresh start and the opportunity to get a better outcome in life,” said a SOAL student who ompleted our Pre-Law course. Another SOAL student who attended our Sports Medicine course stated, “Being on the campus will test my maturity and show me how hard I have to work to get to my next destination,” while in a similar vein a SOAL student who pursued our Creative Writing course stated, “I  know college is way harder than high school and grammar school, which I am prepared for. It scares me to go to college because I’m not sure if I’m ready. I want to be successful so that when I graduate I can be on my own. This program will allow me to see if I’m ready to go to college and give it my all.”


It is without a doubt that UConn’s Pre-College Summer program had a positive impact not only on SOAL students’ experience in higher education this summer, including their personal, socioemotional, and academic growth, but on their overall goals for attending college in the future. These students came into the program with the understanding that the opportunity to attend a pre-college summer program would allow them to grow as a student as an individual, and they were determined to utilize the experience to the fullest. Seeing the direct impact that PCS is able to make on diverse populations of students has inspired us to actively seek out additional programs and organizations with which we could partner with for the summers to come. At Pre-College Summer we hope to continue to provide students from all backgrounds the chance to be a part of our program so that they may acclimate to college life before actually attending college and solidify that college is an attainable goal to strive towards. If you are aware of any organizations or programs that support student learning in summer programs, please reach out to our office, as we would love to continue to expand our reach and provide more students the with the opportunity to learn and grow through a summer at Storrs.

2019 UConn Avery Point Cardboard Boat Race


By Jessica Dunn 


UConn Avery Point hosted their 9th Annual Avery Point Cardboard Boat Race on September 18, 2019. With just about 350 UConn Early College Experience Students in attendance, and many UConn Avery Point Students, the event was one for the books! As in years past, undergraduate students, UConn ECE Students, faculty, and staff prepared for the event by spending many hours constructing boats out of cardboard and duct tape with the hope to stay afloat on race day. Participants gathered at Eastern Point Beach in Groton, Connecticut and were tasked with paddling their boat (by hand or actual paddle) around the marked course and crossing the finish line to qualify for an award.


Although the boat race was the main attraction of the day, UConn ECE Students also spent time on the UConn Avery Point Campus. UConn ECE Students were given a warm welcome by Dr, Annemarie Seifert, the UConn Avery Point Campus Director; attended academic lectures with University facultyand staff; engaged in discussions with fellow UConn ECE Students; and explored a portion of the Connecticut Blue Heritage Trail, an interactive maritime heritage trail, all before indulging in lunch, and heading to the beach to race!

This year the boat race theme was Historic Boats, and many teams came prepared with creative boat names and original designs such as “Jolly Roger Penrose the (Pi)rate” from the UConn ECE Physics class at Emmett O’Brien Technical High School. We had a total of 25 boats compete, representing 15 different high schools across the state: Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture High School, East Lyme High School, Ellington High School, Emmett O’Brien Technical High School, Glastonbury High School, Ledyard High School, Lyman Hall High School, NFA, Science & Technical Magnet High School, Shelton High School, The Masters School, University High School, Waterford High School, and Wilby High School.


Teams were recognized for team spirit and best boat design, as well as placing in the races. For the second year in a row Westbrook High School’s UConn ECE Physics team brought home the trophy for first place in the UConn ECE Championship Race with their “Westbrook Turtle II”. Ledyard High School’s UConn ECE Marine Science team in the “Mayflower” brought home 2nd place, and Waterford High School’s UConn ECE Physics team in the “Exxon Valdez” brought home 3rd place.

WORKSHOP – Updates and Highlights


By Stefanie Malinoski 


Fall has been a busy time for UConn Early College Experience. This semester we held almost 20 different UConn ECE Professional Development Workshops for almost 500 UConn ECE Instructors. Many thanks to our UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators for their partnership and primary role in planning excellent professional development opportunities that support course instruction!


Fall 2019 Professional Development



6 Philosophy

12 Sustainable Plant and Soil Science

13 United States History

25 Natural Resources and the Environment, English

30 Physics


14 American Studies & Maritime Studies

20 Sociology

21 Music




3 Library Media Specialists

15 Political Science

16 European History

21 Human Rights & Educational Leadership

23 Marine Sciences



17 Math





Three of our workshops that were noted for their high quality and interest were our Political Science, Marine Sciences and American Studies and Maritime Studies Workshops.

Political Science

Prof. Sanford Levinson, a notable legal scholar from the University of Texas spoke to UConn ECE Instructors about his area of expertise—Constitutional Law. Instructors were able to hear from him and enjoy a lively conversation about current affairs. Special thanks to UConn ECE Instructor Aaron Hull (Greenwich High School), UConn’s Political Science Department, and UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator, Fred Turner for inviting Prof. Levinson to campus.


Marine Sciences

The UConn ECE Marine Science Instructors held their professional development day in New London at the Credabel Coral Laboratory where they heard from Michael Gerdes about the research conducted at the laboratory. Later the group discussed high school students’ projects. We are thankful that UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator Claudia Koerting established this partnership with the Credabel Coral Laboratory and look forward to future collaborations.


American Studies and Maritime Studies
Certified American Studies Instructors and Maritime Studies Instructors enjoyed a visit to UConn’s Benton Museum of Art as a part of their professional development day. The theme for the workshop was learning how to integrate visual arts into the interdisciplinary classroom. Instructors and UConn Faculty and staff discussed Winslow Homer’s paintings and wood engravings and were able to view a painting by Martin Johnson Heade, Rye Beach (1863), which is apart of the Benton Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Many thanks to UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators for American Studies and Maritime Studies, Laurie Wolfley and Matthew McKenzie, Jeanne Ciravolo (adjunct faculty), Betsy Athens (Assistant Professor Art and Art History), and Amanda Douberley (Art Museum Registrar, Benton Museum of Art).

Details about all of our fall events can be referenced on the UConn ECE website under the “Instructor Benefits” section where our new “Professional Development Blog” is located. Information and pictures from each event are posted here regularly.


Looking ahead to the Spring, we will be planning another series of professional development events. They include events for Instructors who teach Italian, Allied Health, Biology, Classics, Chinese, Spanish, English, Medieval History, Animal Science, Art, French, Human Development and Family Sciences, Chemistry, Digital Media, Engineering, German, Latino and Latin American Studies, and Statistics. Please look to the UConn ECE website “Events” section to view upcoming dates.

New Pilot Courses


By Stefanie Malinoski 


The growth of courses in UConn Early College Experience course offerings is an intentional one. We actively pursue diverse course offerings because we know there are diverse student interests. In 2005, there were only 20 different courses, and all courses were ones where students needed to be tracked into the courses (Ex. English, Math, and Chemistry). Now, we offer 74 different UConn courses that represent a wide variety of student interests and needs.


We are currently exploring three pilot course additions for the 2020-2021 school year. These courses are more varied, based on student interest, and open doors to all sorts of students. Should the interest be there from our high school partners, our current collaboration with 32 different University Departments may grow to include three additional courses from two new to UConn ECE UConn Departments. The pilot courses are:



Anthropology (ANTH) 1000 - Introduction to Anthropology
Geoscience (GSCI) 1051 - Earth's Dynamic Environment (Introduction to Geoscience)
Sustainable Plant and Soil Sciences (SPSS) 1100 - Turfgrass Management

If you are you interested in these UConn courses, please contact the UConn ECE Program Office so we can work together to see if a pilot course may be possible. In addition, a representative from the UConn ECE Program Office may be available to schedule a school visit to help encourage the addition of any of the current UConn ECE course offerings in your high schools and as well as the recruitment of qualified instructors. Please contact the UConn ECE Program Office at ece@uconn.edu.


We look forward to hearing from you!

What Inspires You?


By Jessica Dunn 


We would like to congratulate Lenis Pereira-Ortiz, on his piece “Brainiac”, chosen as the winner of the first student artwork-featured UConn ECE Magazine cover. To Lenis and the judges, his piece represents inspiration. The theme –Inspiration– was chosen because we are continuously inspired by the UConn ECE Community, and the high quality education and dedication exhibited by all Students, Instructors, Site Representatives, high school administrators, and Faculty Coordinators. This unique opportunity for UConn ECE Students proved to be a challenge for them and encouraged creativity, out-of-the box thinking, and self-reflection. With over 15 entries submitted by UConn ECE Digital Media & Design (DMD 1000) and Drawing I (ART 1030) Students, from CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Glastonbury High School, Immaculate High School, and Windsor High School, it was very difficult to choose a winner. A committee of UConn faculty and staff judged all entries, which included illustrations, pencil drawings, paintings, collages, photography, mixed media, and digital formats. Each piece revealed what inspiration meant to the student, and what inspired them as an individual.


The Winter 2020 magazine is our 4th edition of the magazine and is produced in both digital (magazine.ece.uconn.edu) format and hard copy. Congratulations to Lenis, Madison, and Jonathan. Your schools will be receiving a framed copy of your piece for their trophy


WINNER: Lenis M. Pereira-Ortiz

Description/Summary of the artwork: For my piece “Brainiac”, I wanted to convey a different perspective with my general interpretation of what inspiration is. Designing this involved taking elements associated with the theme and incorporating each of it’s attributes to create cohesive yet whimsical composition. With the reaction of the wind-up teeth being ‘powered’ up by the brain, resulting in the creation of ideas floating in a pool of imagination.

Madison Rayne Thomas

Description: Based on the prompt “Inspiration”, this is a digital drawing of the things that inspire me as an artist and aspiring animator. The items exploding out of the head are all the things that inspire me like Pixar, Disney, music, animals, writing, painting, and romance.


Jonathan Chester Pohorylo

Description: Several buildings are depicted in my drawing that are around the UCONN campus that are special to me because of their potential to inspire and create education and learning within the different departments. The buildings themselves were an interesting subject matter to draw. I photographed them while on campus and then did the drawing.




Same Program, New Look!


By Jessica Dunn 


Over the years, the UConn Early College Experience Program has undergone minor design changes on the (ece.uconn.edu) website as well as within program marketing materials. With a desire to create a more seamless look and to support our program partners with the resources they need to meet the goals of the program, Brian Boecherer, Jessica Dunn, and Carissa Rutkauskas sat down in July of 2018 to write up a new marketing plan. With a brand new site map in hand, a vision in our minds, two amazing designers, Susan Schadt and Barry Costa, to guide us, we began to create the new and improved UConn ECE look! After many months of strategic designing, rewriting of design and website content, and updating information, we launched the new ece.uconn.edu website in August of 2019. Although we never imagined this project would take just over a year to complete, we are thrilled by the finished product, and we hope our partners are too. Recognizing the unique needs of our 13,000 Students (and their parents), 1,300 Instructors, and 208 high school partners (and 300 Site Representatives), each audience can now easily find the information specific to them by selecting on their icon from the home page, or reference general information from the top navigation menus. Keep an eye out for our new marketing materials!

2019 Conference National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships


By Carissa Rutkauskas

As only 2 of over 1,000 participants in attendance at the National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, UConn Early College Experience Executive Director Brian Boecherer and I had the opportunity to share, learn, and network with colleagues from around the U.S. and Canada. It was a very memorable conference as it marked NACEP’s 20th anniversary as an established association.

The pre-conference started with Brian’s participation on the “Concurrent Enrollment 201” panel, geared towards programs that have built the foundation of their program and are looking to move it to the next level. The session focused on managing growth, advising, program improvement, professional development, sharing of best practices, and effects of accreditation. As a 20-year veteran of a 64-year old program, Brian had a lot to share! Meanwhile, I attended the Program Evaluation workshop where presenters covered methods and approaches to evaluate program effectiveness and student success and most importantly reviewed NACEP’s new E2 standard: Regular and On-Going Evaluation of Concurrent Enrollment Program (CEP). I then had the opportunity to meet with fellow peer reviewers to collectively offer our suggestions and guidance to representatives from a Midwestern community college who are working on their NACEP reaccreditation application.


On days one and two, Brian and I had the opportunity to attend the plenary sessions, each equally engaging. Keynote speaker, Dr. Jim Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship in the Kenan-Flagler Business School and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center in the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, presented his research on the Six Disruptive Demographics that Will Change the U.S. Forever: (1) The South Rises – Again; (2) The Browning of America; (3) Marrying Out is “In”; (4) The Silver Tsunami is About to Hit; (5) The End of Men?; and (6) Cooling Water from Grandma’s Well… and Grandpa’s Too! Based in U.S. decennial census and American Community Survey data, Dr. Johnson’s charisma showed through as he discussed these demographic trends, challenges, and opportunities of our changing population and how that related to secondary and post-secondary education.


Day two’s plenary session was titled “A Tale of Two Utah’s,” a panel discussion that included an urban superintendent, two college concurrent enrollment (CE) faculty, and Utah’s Lt. Governor, Spencer Cox. The panel was impressive, but it was Utah’s Lt. Governor who captivated the audience. Lt. Governor Cox’s experience growing up in an extremely rural area (where he still lives and commutes 100 miles each way, (each day) spoke of how his CE experience shaped his life and how state-wide legislation benefits the students. It was evident that all 4 speakers appreciated each other, their work, and their passion for student success. Prior to the session, the day opened with a showing of “UConn ECE: The Video” projected on two large screens. We were honored that our animated program overview video was one of the top 3 finalists in the 2019 video marketing contest.

A collaborative spirit was apparent in the beehive state. Commissioners, peer-reviewers, and newly accredited colleges came together and celebrated the successful NACEP accreditation and re-accreditation of two dozen colleges and universities! There were also “state” lunches which provided the opportunity for those that share a governor to come together and discuss practices, courses, and opportunities. Most notably, there was positive interest shown during a session that Brian hosted, alongside administrators from Syracuse University’s Project Advance and Boise State University Concurrent Enrollment Program, to discuss the development of an independent, peer-reviewed, academic journal dedicated to research and scholarship in CE.

Brian stayed an extra day to attend the post-conference Accreditation Institute on strategies for implementing NACEP standards for UConn’s upcoming reaccreditation in 2020. Though reaccreditation is a lengthy and time-consuming process consisting of a one-year programmatic self-study review, application, peer-review, and interview, UConn ECE believes that NACEP’s work to ensure quality standards applicable to concurrent enrollment partnerships is one to follow. UConn ECE is a founding member of NACEP (2002) and has contributed to NACEP’s success and national standing through generous start-up support and through staff service. We will be working hard for the next few months to gather all our application materials and look forward to submitting it in July.