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.

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

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.

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.

Disconnecting in a Connected Society




Nicole Bartlett

Southington High School

LLAS 1190: Introduction to Latin America and the Caribbean


When I need to disconnect from a connected society I spend time volunteering at my local dog pound. I have been a volunteer at the Wolcott Dog Pound for the past 8 years. I enjoy working fundraising events, fostering dogs, and meeting the everyday needs of those dogs who have entered the pound. They have been abused, abandoned and neglected. My goal is to help them trust again, be their voice, and find their forever home.



Olivia Olbrias

Windham Technical High School

HIST 1502: United States History Since 1877


In today’s society we are frequently stuck to our computers because of online classes. After a long day of sitting at my laptop I like to get outside and disconnect for a bit, I tie up my skates and play some music and get active! My picture represents disconnecting by showing a healthy activity that needs no technology at all!



Min Silva

Ledyard High School

ANSC 1602: Behavior and Training of Domestic Animals


To disconnect from society, I like to ride horses and take in the calmness that they give off.



Alexa Davidson

Sacred Heart Academy

FREN 3250: Global Culture I


My favorite way to disconnect from technology is by taking my dog on hikes. It is a fun and enjoyable way to spend some time in nature and bond with my fluffy friend!



Cam Begley

Suffield High School

NRE 1000E: Environmental Science


Hiking is a great way to unplug from phones, TVs, and even other people. Instead, you can see, feel, and appreciate the natural beauty of our planet… and it’s that much better barefoot! This picture is of me at the top of Croagh Patrick mountain in Ireland; I climbed it barefoot to participate in the tradition of making a centuries-old pilgrimage to the summit.



Isabella Maglio

Plainfield High School

AMST 1201: Seminar in American Studies


This photo represents disconnecting in a connected society because nature photography is my escape. There is so many beautiful things that the world offers if we were just to take a break from social media and take it all in!

UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator Latino and Latin American Studies Anne Gebelein Presents to Schools: Mass Deportation – A Nation Controls Its Identity


By Carissa Rutkauskas


At a recent combined UConn ECE Instructor Professional Development Workshop between American Studies, Latino and Latin American Studies (LLAS), and US History, Dr. Anne Gebelein (Professor and UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator of Latin American Studies) presented Mass Deportation – A Nation Controls Its Identity. She offered a deep dive into mass deportation, and the ethnic politics of moving a lot of people where they don’t want to go. The presentation was well- received, and many Instructors found it extremely relevant to their current UConn courses. Hoping to share the information with her UConn ECE Students at New Fairfield High School, UConn ECE American Studies Instructor Karon McGovern reached out to Dr. Gebelein with a request – would she offer the live online presentation to her class? Dr. Gebelein was pleased to offer it to Karon’s students at New Fairfield, as she regularly lectures for her LLAS ECE instructors in schools such as Manchester , E.O. Smith in Mansfield, and Branford High Schools. This past year, she offered lectures on cyclical violence in Central America, human rights at the US/Mexico border, and on her most recent lecture, Latino and Puerto Rican activism and social organizing.



“I am lucky to have such a dedicated group of teachers in Latin American Studies – I learn as much from them as they do from me,” said Dr. Gebelein. “As we are a small group, it is possible for me to guest lecture at least once a year in each classroom and model for teachers what I consider a solid college-level lecture. Given that I also have the pleasure of observing them in action in the classroom, as they model their own creative approaches to the history, culture and literature of Latin America, it is a wonderful exchange of teaching knowledge. I feel privileged to be able to be inside the classroom of so many talented instructors.”


Dr. Gebelein’s presentation on mass deportation provided an overview of deportation in general, vocabulary around deportation, consequences of deportation, within a critical race theory framework. The primary focus was of the deportation of Mexican and Mexican-Americans during the Great Depression and during “Operation Wetback” of 1954. An examination of the history leading up to these removals of Mexican-looking peoples reveals a stage long set for drastic action, as the precedent of systemic racism was established in the Mexican-American War that ended in 1848. The following summarizes this prelude as well as the thrust of her presentation.



Abbreviated History


The Mexican American War (1846 to 1848) and subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo resulted in the US annexation of Texas and land that makes up all or parts of present-day Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Mexicans did not cross the border, but rather, the US border crossed Mexico. Due to the shift in the political boundary, Mexicans who found themselves suddenly part of the US were considered a colonized people and their land open for repossession as part of spoils of war. After some debate, US officials decided to consider these new members of the nation “white” and to grant them federal citizenship to appease Mexican peace treaty negotiators and elicit their cooperation in fighting Indians. This move created a color shift in the evolution of distinct racial logistics, making lesser whites (Italians and Irish), “more white” in a nation trying to maintain itself as white and Protestant. This “whiteness” was in competition with strong populations of Black, Native American, and Chinese people, in addition to the Irish, Italian, and increasingly Mexican populations, the latter largely Catholic.1


After the war, white settlers migrated west onto the newly acquired land, resulting in grand-scale disenfranchisement through tactics that included:


  • Acquisition of water rights displacing entire communities
  • Large-scale nationalization of thousands of acres of land
  • Anglo cattle companies arriving and displacing Mexican landowners
  • Squatting and Homestead Act of 1862 allowing Anglos to expropriate Mexican land
  • Anglos litigating and charging fines to cheat Mexicans out of mining and ranch claims
  • Raiding, killing and lynching of Mexicans without provocation
  • “OK Corral” Clanton gang widely killing Mexicans
  • Creating mining & agricultural wages different for Anglos & Mexicans; peonage, “Company Store,” indentured servitude practices widespread
  • TX Ranger massacre following De La Rosa movement for autonomy
  • Women and men forcibly sterilized starting in 19072


Emboldened by the success of their expansion and domination of Mexican land and peoples through violence, yet dependent on Mexican labor for food, transport, and wealth generation, US government officials began to debate the value of Mexicans as “lesser whites” who were disposable laborers, who could be sent to Mexico should their labor no longer be needed. The challenge was that many officials could not distinguish Mexican Americans from Mexicans.



Mass Deportation


Soon after the stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting Great Depression, the US began deporting “Mexican-looking” people in an effort to alleviate unemployment and welfare rolls and maintain “Jobs for real Americans.” These efforts included coercion tactics leading to “self-deportation” and raids, resulting in relocating Mexican citizens back to their country, and the mistaken deportation over a million US citizens.3


Diego Rivera,  “Detroit Industry Frescos”


Not even 25 years later the US began Operation Wetback (1954), a deportation strategy primarily targeting the Bracero Program (1942-1964). The Bracero Program, a federal program designed to provide necessary male manual labor during World War II, welcomed 4.6 million Mexican workers to the US. Over the years, unsponsored wives and children joined their husbands, as did undocumented brothers, cousin, and friends. Texas’s refusal to participate in the program added to additional undocumented workers. The US launched a campaign of stereotypes and propaganda visualizing Mexicans as child-like to encourage communities to round up for deportation 1.3 million workers and family members, many of them US citizens.4


Dr. Gebelein then used the historical context of this harsh and callous treatment, and creation of policy and laws against Mexicans and Mexican Americans, to draw parallels to current topics of containment and racialization in the United States.


UConn ECE is grateful for Dr. Gebelein’s expertise and willingness to extend her research to her Instructors. She is a shining example of how UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators not only provide academic guidance to their discipline’s UConn ECE courses, but are an invaluable resource in sharing their research and knowledge.


1 summarized from Gebelein presentation
2 quoted from Gebelein presentation
3 according to the research of Joseph Dunn, former CA state senator
4 summarized from Gebelein presentation


ECE American Studies teacher Karon McGovern reflected on the lecture’s impact on her students:


“I teach AMST1201 at New Fairfield High School through the lens of race and gender issues in America spanning the 20th and 21st centuries and, within the context of race, I am constantly striving to recognize the many different people who have been, and continue to be ‘othered’ in our country. I ‘met’ Anne when I attended an UConn ECE professional development session when she delivered a history of the treatment of Latinx people in America. From the title slide, “Mass Deportation” I was captivated, as I use the text Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, a commentary on mass incarceration in America. I approached Anne to speak at our school, virtually, and she enthusiastically accepted. To say my students were stunned to learn this part of the history of their country, would be an understatement. I feel Anne should do a roadshow around Connecticut schools, delivering this important information, to educate students and beyond, that ‘walls do not a tolerant society make’.”


Dr. Gebelein concluded. “UConn ECE Instructors’ work is more important than ever, in a country in which we have recently seen legislation introduced in multiple states to bar teachers from teaching slavery and from critically theorizing about race. We have to be brave enough to tell the truth about hard history, as it teaches students to recognize the harm that comes from reproducing old ethnic divides, as well as the value of building ethnic coalitions.”

UConn Geoscience: Earth’s Dynamic Planet



By Robert Thorson, Ph.D., Department Head

and Faculty Coordinator, Earth Science


We know that high school and college students are manifestly anxious about the current climate crisis.  But how many also know that Earth isn’t fragile?  That climate comes from underground?  That ecology is only one part of earthly operations?  That radioactive decay keeps our planet habitable?  That petroleum is no less natural than water?  That oxygen was originally an exhaust gas pollutant?  That humanity’s most expensive mistakes involve ignoring the deep time of planetary history? 


NASA Image of Earth from the International Space Station. Reid Weisman, Sept. 4, 2014.


It’s an ongoing and societally expensive tragedy that few U.S. citizens know how the Earth works as the whole pie, rather than pieces carved up into arbitrary disciplines.  Typically, they were taught only nuggets of old-school geology in grades 8-10, rather than the mother lode of new school geoscience that remains undiscovered for most. I call this new school “whole earth environmentalism”, the idea that understanding how the planet works as a beautifully coherent integrated system is a prerequisite to best-practice management of the specific environmental problems that capture media attention.


UConn ECE is now offering an opportunity for students to learn about how it all works with a course that educates and also puts them on a pathway to important careers that will make a difference. 


Meghan Kinkaid, UConn ECE Instructor from CREC’s Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, is a pioneer.  This past year, she was the first instructor in Connecticut to offer UConn’s popular introductory geoscience course Earth’s Dynamic Planet (GSCI 1051). Her students now know that they are “impacted by geosciences daily and that this course gives us an opportunity to make them aware, take interest, and possibly plan a career around it.”


They’ve also learned that good jobs, high salaries, and rewarding careers are increasingly available, given the near-future shortfall of 175,000 geoscientists estimated by the American Geosciences Institute.  Beginning with this UConn course offered through UConn ECE, the vast majority of UConn’s geoscience majors following one of three tracks (Earth, Environmental, Atmosphere) go on to successful scientific careers: mitigating natural hazards, improving risk assessments, restoring landscapes, accessing clean water, obtaining mineral resources, developing geothermal energy resources, science communication, and education.


The other high school teachers in Meghan’s pioneering cohort of UConn ECE-certified instructors—Lewis from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy and both Christopher Tait and Harold Condosta from Ridgefield High School—were ready for takeoff last fall, but the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic forced their administrations to delay.  Five high schools, including New London High School and Plainfield High School, have certified instructors. Next year, four schools are scheduled to offer GSCI 1051.  With school returning to in-person for the fall, Meghan McNichol (New London High School) quipped, “we won’t have to work twice as hard to accomplish half as much.”


Though Meghan Kinkaid is our pioneer, Kim Glazier, a science teacher from Plainfield, is our visionary. “Going forward,” she wrote, she “would like to see all of our AP classes replaced with ECE options.” AP or Advance Placement courses are those which high school students master content to “test out” of a college course during a grueling three-hour exam, provided the college accepts them, and they get a high score. UConn courses taught through UConn Early College Experience are those where the students experience the actual college course being taught in the comfort of their own school by a familiar teacher being supervised by a caring university or college faculty member. Kim’s vision aligns with our growing awareness that sit-down standardized testing is less accessible to under-represented groups, and less accurately reflects the diversity of approaches needed for STEM science careers. When reviewing the GSCI 1051 course description, Kim realized that UConn’s Earth’s Dynamic Planet “would meet the requirements of our required Integrated Science class and thought it would be awesome to offer a course that can lead to college credits for something the students have to take anyway.”


During our inaugural UConn ECE workshop of May 26, 2021, six of us—Meghan, Meghan, Jared, Harold, and me (with Kim included later)—bonded as a team dedicated to increasing the quality of geoscience education in Connecticut high schools. We invite you to join us by reviewing the GSCI 1051 course that unites us and contacting any of us for more information.  As UConn’s ECE Coordinator for Geosciences, I’m a good first contact. I look forward to hearing from you.




Next Generation of Student Registration



By Jessica Dunn


The UConn Early College Experience (ECE) Office is very excited and proud to announce that we will be launching a “new to UConn” student registration system,, this fall. helps Concurrent Enrollment programs, such as UConn ECE, streamline and automate the enrollment of high school students in college courses. This improvement from a 5-step process has been a long time in the making. Our vision of a seamless online registration system and process is now a reality many thanks to the hard work and dedication of the UConn ECE community. We would like to extend a special thank you to University departments including the Office of the Registrar, Office of the Bursar, and UConn’s Information Technology Services as well as our high schools who instilled in us their trust and patience to improve the over student experience.


We would be remiss if we did not recognize and show our appreciation for the countless hours our high school Site Representatives and Instructors have dedicated to the student registration process in the past. Without their commitment to navigate the old registration system and assist students through the 5-step process, thousands of students could have missed out on the opportunity to participate in UConn courses while in high school.


In researching new registration systems, we were looking for a few very important features and found them all in We are happy to be implementing the following major positive changes:


  • 2021-2022 Student registration for Fall, Spring and Full-year courses will occur in the Fall between August 17 and October 6. Students’ schedules should be finalized by that time, and registration should only take 5 minutes.
  • Students will Apply & Enroll at the same time.
  • Paper Consent Forms will be eliminated. There will be no need to collect or upload paper forms.
  • NetID’s will not be used during registration. The NetID is an important interface for engaging in the academic resources of the University, and that is what it will continue to be used for.
  • Student fee bills will be generated at the time of registration and program fee waivers will be processed automatically before payment is requested.


Dual will provide broader access to the high school students in Connecticut by eliminating the 5-step process that inadvertently lost students along the way, as well as provide a true college experience where students can easily register and then focus on the course material rather than the enrollment process. We are proud to implement a tool that will be true to our mission statement of providing access to, and preparation, for higher education.


We look forward to continuing to work with the UConn ECE Community to successfully launch and appreciate the support as we navigate the new system together!




UConn ECE Marine Sciences Symposium


By: Claudia Koerting, UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator, Marine Sciences


The annual Marine Sciences Symposium took place again this year, even though it looked a bit different than in past. The symposium featured student research that has been conducted over the academic year. This year over 80 students from six high schools joined in WebEx to present their work. The students who presented at the symposium are currently enrolled in MARN1003: Introduction to Oceanography with Laboratory or MARN 1001E: The Sea Around Us. The MARN 1003 students demonstrated the true experiential nature of the course by applying the fundamentals of oceanography to their field work and laboratory experiments. In addition, one Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern CT student enrolled in MARN 1001E presented on human interactions with the marine environment. The high involvement in this event was a testament to the dedication and creativity of high school teachers and the commitment of their students to find ways to meet and “do” science.



While some teachers, such as Mrs. Emily Lisy from the Morgan School and Mr. Kirk Shadle from The Bridgeport Aquaculture School were able to meet with their students regularly, others had to get creative. There was a presentation on methods for disrupting harmful algal blooms, as well as a study on shark behavior and how to entice bivalves to consume starch based microplastics. The Morgan School took advantage of their proximity to the water and went on field trips to conduct field sampling and analyses on Long Island Sound ecosystem quality. Ledyard High School students conducted thoughtful sampling on the Thames River and the shoreline for microplastics. Even though they had to analyze their samples either at home or safely spaced apart in school, they were still able to yield very interesting and surprising results. Mrs. Laura Francis’ Coginchaug High School students also presented very impressive research in the face of multiple hurdles throughout the year. What do basil and raising tilapia have in common? A Coginchaug High School student can tell you through his sophisticated hydroponics experiment he conducted at home! Lastly, Mrs. Kathy Howard’s student from her MARN1001 course did an outstanding job presenting on the state of plastics in the world’s oceans.



After hearing all the great research that has gone on this year in the morning presentations, the day concluded with Mr. Mike O’Conner’s Waterford High School students who introduced a community service component of their yearlong project with a 20-minute recording. The inspirational project showed students who are working with the town of Waterford to develop signage for Alewife Cove in Waterford. The signage includes information on the ecology of the marsh, its importance, and threats to its existence. Students have also proposed a new kayak launch to help protect the marsh.



This year, presenting a group project virtually at the Symposium made the most of limited time the students could be together. Even with all the obstacles the students faced this year, their work was very impressive. We appreciate the flexibility and willingness of the instructors and students to make this virtual format a success, and we look forward to next year when we can once again spend the day at UConn’s Avery Point campus together!


2021 UConn ECE Professional Recognition Award Winners


By Carissa Rutkauskas


The UConn Early College Experience (ECE) community and the University of Connecticut publicly recognize and thank outstanding instructors and administrators whose dedication and commitment help make UConn ECE successful. Those recognized have exceeded program expectations and excelled in preparing their high school’s students for the next level in their education.


The UConn ECE Professional Recognition Awards Show premiered on YouTube on Thursday, May 13 in front of a live virtual audience. Ten instructors and administrators were spotlighted in the production, as well as UConn’s Associate Vice Provost, Peter Diplock, and many UConn undergraduate musicians. Congratulations to the recipients:


Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership
Anthony Rizzie, Mathematics, University of Connecticut


Principal Award for Program Support & Advocacy
Frances DiFiore, Cromwell High School


Site Representative Award for Excellence in Program Administration
Ka Man (Mandy) Cheung, Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Science Magnet School


Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction
Dr. Thomas Vrabel, Sustainable Plant and Soil Sciences, Trumbull Regional Agriscience and Biotechnology Center
Margaret Kimmett, Chemistry, Valley Regional High School
Lalitha Kasturirangan, English, Eli Whitney Technical High School


Library Media Specialist Award for Excellence in Enrichment and Collaboration
Liza Zandonella, Newtown High School


“Rookie of the Year” Award for Excellence in First-Year Course Instruction
Kelsey Kapalczynski, Statistics, Wethersfield High School
Christopher Wisniewski, Biology, Berlin High School


Jan Pikul Award for Continued Excellence in Instruction
Aaron Hull, Political Science, Greenwich High School