Cardboard Boat Race: Underdogs in History


By Jessica Dunn


On September 23, 2022, we hosted the UConn ECE Cardboard Boat Race at the Avery Point Campus with about 200 participants in attendance! Twelve teams representing seven partner high schools spent the morning in maritime-related academic sessions, had lunch outside, including UConn Dairy Bar ice cream, and then took to the water to test how their handcrafted cardboard and duct tape vessels would fare on the mouth of the Thames. One seacraft ventured out a bit further than intended into Long Island Sound but was able to make it back safely with a little help from the safety crew! Underdogs in History: A Belief in the Possibilities was a fitting theme, as one faculty/ staff heat and three student heats fought wind, low temperatures, and currents to make their way around two buoys and back to the finish line.


The numerous hours of collaboration and preparation by the UConn ECE students for the event was evident as all boats fared very well considering the conditions of the day. Teams were recognized with trophies for placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each of the three heats, and the 1st place boat in the Championship Race, The Morgan School’s “USS Independence”, took home the cardboard trophy! In addition to the awards presented for placing in the races, Ledyard High School’s “Ugly Ductling” took home the Best Visual Award, Waterford High School’s “Titanic Undoordog (Jack would have fit!)” took home Best Boat Name Award, and The Morgan School’s second boat, “Miracle on the Water”, took home the People’s Choice Award.


A special thanks to the UConn ECE Instructors and students who participated, and to the entire UConn team including Avery Point Campus staff and subject area presenters who helped make the day a success.


2022 UConn ECE Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest Winners

By Sean Frederick Forbes, Ph.D., Director, Creative
Writing Program, UConn English Department,
Julia Brush, and Daniel Healy


“Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight” is a phrase commonly synonymous with the 1973 reggae song “Get Up,
Stand Up” by Bob Marley and The Wailers, and it serves as inspiration for turning one’s spirit into action. For a poet,
this action can be crafting lines of poetry. As my fellow judges, Julia Brush and Daniel Healy, both poets and PhD
candidates in English at UConn, and I read through 98 five-page poetry packets for the 2022 ECE Wallace Stevens
Poetry Contest, it was clear that many students had been, and continue to be, inspired to write.


Julia, Daniel, and I selected poetry packets by Kaylin Maher, Matias Peña, and Lily Bolash, as the first, second, and third prize winners, respectively. The three of us have written brief introductions about each winning poetry packet: Julia writes about Kaylin’s, Daniel focuses on Lily’s, and I discuss Matias’. Kaylin Maher’s poems belong firmly within the world within the body, often collapsing the two together through intimate portraits of families. In “Envy,” Maher tells of a grandmother proudly sharing her jade plants and their steadfastness whose grandchildren “promised that our ribs would prod/through our chests before we let our jades tarnish,” uniting the body, time, and protection as many of her poems do. Maher’s poems suggest strength even in moments of pain, sorrow, and regret. With challenge, there is opportunity, and the body is poised not only in the past, but into the future, which has its own plans: “I stare at the crack of his palm,/the color of smashed bone/bolts of royal blue veins//that thumb the ridge of the cup/and I realize it looks a lot like mine.” What’s most striking in Matias Peña’s poems is the liminal world he creates for the reader in which one is on the threshold of the worldly and otherworldly. In “The Loss of Innocence: Exiled from the Garden of Eden,” he presents short narrative snapshots of the newfound sense of disbelief, fear, horror, and shame the Biblical figures of Adam and Eve experienced after they are banished from Eden: “And they wailed at the sight of horses running / from cheetahs bathing in their hunger / blades for teeth.” Peña’s speaker in “Hostas’ Lungs” creates a scene imbued with wondrous imagery such as “my lungs purified / blooming like sun rise / opening and re-opening / into vermillion hostas petals.” His poems are finely chiseled rare gems. Poetic form engages and encages possibility. It’s a vehicle for meaning, but building it takes a certain dilution of desire, reflection away from raw intent. Lily Bolash’s poems thread a powerful middle ground, where form joins something universal. Her work recalls the soft precision of early Adrienne Rich, less Lee Scratch Perry or Marley’s Catch a Fire in immediacy, and more the pure joy-in-song of post-The Harder They Come Jimmy Cliff. Bolash’s imagery still flashes hard through melody. Mineral meets herb; a crimson cardinal transfigures, transmigrates; treasure renders a violent glint to land and air already saturated with wonder itself beheld: “To all but mirror seems an Icarian crime/For pooled azure blood lies under winged condor/Reflecting wind of souls dyed breathless indigo.”


Information on the UConn ECE Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest can be found on our UConn ECE Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest page.


First place

By Kaylin Maher

I remember when Nana cooed tales of her longevity.
She showed us her rusted jades that managed
to withstand what our bodies could not.


We promised that our ribs would prod
through our chests before we let our jades tarnish.


I asked you to be my seamstress.
Make me your muse,
pluck the cellulite from my bones,
stitch my porcelain together.


The first time your spool and needle graced my thigh
I was twelve.


Even after you closed the seams
between my stretch marks,
I’d still pick at the parts
that spilled over my chair.


Don’t let skin seep through the sutures.


You’d watch my fork waltz around my plate.
I´d still butter my toast and wash my untainted silverware.


I couldn’t tell you how honey felt on my tongue,
what the tang of lemon tasted like,
or what was for supper last night.


All I could remember was
your calf was smaller than the leg of the kitchen table

and mine wasn’t.



Second Place

The Loss of Innocence
Exiled from the Garden of Eden
By Matias Peña


Forbidden fruit lost its skin
glowed from the sun’s kiss,
Satan’s scales gripping against Eve’s arms into dusk.


Sour satisfaction dripping down Adam and Eve’s
plump puckered lips
the tigers roaring at the sky falling.


The rivers are on fire.


And they wailed at the sight of horses running
from cheetahs bathing in their hunger
blades for teeth.


Jophiel blew the horn.


Open your innocent eyes
He is here to judge.



Third Place

Terra Cor
By Lily C. Bolash

Venture forth from cold wrought home
Into emerald valleys of millenia deep
Stillness welcomes weary traveler sweet,
Proud falls beckoning to the one at roam.
To see beyond intricate colors, she is prone,
Yet set against elements is undue feat–
Lapis and lavender, crystal crowns meet
Blessed intruder to cratered dome.
Where life fibers emerge woven through time,
Sacred ground cradles no treasure fonder–
One universe, jaded by Majesty’s onyx shadow.
To all but mirror seems an Icarian crime,
For pooled azure blood lies under winged condor–
Reflecting wind of souls dyed breathless indigo.



News to Know

Concurrent Enrollment Review Banner





Concurrent Enrollment Review (CER) – co-founded by Boise State University, Syracuse University, and UConn ECE – will be launching its first call for papers this summer and is looking for all professionals in this space to consider submitting. The journal seeks to explore the identity, impact, and application of dual/concurrent enrollment. The broad audience of the CER includes, but is not limited to, dual/concurrent enrollment practitioners, researchers in all disciplinary areas, policy specialists, secondary and post-secondary education decision-makers, community leaders and organizers, and civil administrators. UConn ECE will share the call for papers with our community upon release.


Welcome to 168 newly certified UConn ECE Instructors. This number includes brand new UConn ECE Instructors as well as veteran instructors who are adding an additional certification. Seven of the newly certified instructors for the 2022-2023 school year became certified in more than one discipline. All new instructors attended our virtual New Instructor Orientation on May 25th and met with their discipline specific Faculty Coordinators. ENGL 1007 and EDCI 1100 topped the list with a tie for the most newly certified instructors!


English Summer Institute was held in-person June 28-29 at UConn’s Hartford campus. UConn’s ECE English department is working to “rematerialize,” after a long period in a virtual space, and ease the transition for Instructors from ENGL 1010 & ENGL 1011 to ENGL 1007. This year, ENGL 1004 instructors are also trying to understand the ways that 1004 leads to and supports 1007. The two-day seminar & workshop engaged ECE English Instructors in current scholarship and practices in composition studies and provided a supportive, collaborative environment for experiments with classroom application. They invented, explored, and tweaked course materials in a spirit of shared inquiry and discussion.


UConn ECE was a proud sponsor of UConn’s 13th Annual Writing Center Conference for Secondary Schools on March 25th Schools from around the state attracted teachers and students to share strategies for starting and sustaining peer writing centers, specifically bouncing back to in person experiences after the shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Marine Science Symposium on June 2nd. Claudia Koerting, UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Marine Sciences successfully organized another Marine Science Symposium on June 2nd at the Avery Point Campus for UConn ECE students enrolled in MARN1003: Introduction to Oceanography with Laboratory or MARN 1001E: The Sea Around Us. This year, student participants included those from Marine Sciences Magnet High School, Ledyard High School, Coginchaug Regional High School, Fishers Island School, and Plainfield High School.

2021 - 2022 Workshops. The 2021-22 school year saw an impressive 44 professional development workshops, with 11 of the workshops (212 instructors participated) in May alone! Virtual events allowed us to host workshops in December through early March which traditionally we would be hesitant to schedule in person due to weather threats.

Chemistry Day. On Thursday, April 21st, UConn ECE Students from New Britain High School, Berlin High School, and Orville H. Platt High School came to the Storrs campus for Chemistry Day. Drs. Alfredo Angeles, Jie He and Gael Ung hosted activities on how chemists are trying to reduce the impact of the high levels of CO2 in our atmosphere. Special shout out to UConn ECE Chemistry Faculty Coordinator Dr. Fatma Selampinar for organizing this wonderful event.



Dylan Gaffney headshotDylan Gaffney, New Fairfield High School In 2021, I graduated summa cum laude from UConn with dual degrees in Political Science and History. I was a three-time Babbidge Scholar, an Honors Scholar, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. I am currently a 1L at Columbia Law School, where I am pursuing my JD. My ECE experience as a senior in high school was a major asset in accomplishing these goals, as it provided me a crucial head start in developing college level academic skills, such as scholarly research and writing.














Sylar Pearse headshot

Skylar Pearse, Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut I recently graduated from UVM with a Neuroscience Major and an Anthropology minor. My UConn ECE courses helped me stay well rounded while being at a marine science high school. I feel as though my high school was too science focused and made me feel science was the only option. However, the ECE courses I took were some of the only humanities classes I was able to take in high school. This pushed me to be a more well-rounded person in college and I ended up minoring in Anthropology. I ended up with a 3.8 GPA and I received honors from UVM when I graduated. In my senior year, I published a thesis on perinatal antidepressant usage which won the judged portion the UVM Student Research Conference. The first research paper we had to write for one of the ECE courses was ever present in the back of my mind while I was writing my thesis. I also volunteered as a psychology TA at the local woman’s prison. I was able to do all of this because my ECE courses prepared me for some of the more rigorous college courses I would have to endure.







Ryan Palzere headshot

Ryan Palzere, Bristol Eastern High School The UConn ECE courses that I had the opportunity to take in high school better prepared me for the courses I took during my time in UConn’s School of Engineering. In my experience, the ECE courses I took in high school translated nicely into my studies in college. While this “preview” of the caliber of college level classes was challenging at times, it ultimately better prepared me for my time at UConn, allowing me to begin developing my planning and time management skills. I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for Mr. Kelly’s Calculus ECE course nor Dr. Bittel’s Physics ECE course. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have taken those courses, and I encourage any student thinking about enrolling in them to do so.




Leslie Imse headshot

Leslie Imse (MUSI 1011 and MUSI 1012) is the K-12 Music Department Chair for the Farmington Public Schools in Farmington, Connecticut. Under her leadership the Farmington music department has been recognized with numerous performance and education awards. Most notably the town of Farmington was named one of the Best Communities for Music Education and won the CT Arts Administrators Association’s News to Know continued from page 11 continued on page 13 EARLY COLLEGE EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE 13 Excellence in Arts Education Award for their outstanding K-12 music program. This year, Leslie was celebrated by the Connecticut Music Educators Association and awarded as the CT Arts Administrator of the Year.













Cover of original novel by Maria Rivera titled 'Chasing the Wind'

Maria Rivera (ENGL 1011), Information Technology and Software Engineering High School at the Fairchild Wheeler Campus, published a fiction book last year (Chasing the Wind) and its sequel, Chasing Shadows, released this May!




















Katie Boland (POLS 1202, POLS 1402, and POLS 1602), from Trumbull High School has been awarded the prestigious 2022 Teacher of the Year Award from the American Lawyers Alliance (ALA). She was selected for the award from a competitive group of nominees from across the country. The ALA is a national organization affiliated with the American Bar Association, whose aim is to promote civic- and law-related education.

Faculty Coordinators

Congratulations on the following promotions!

Eric Rice, Music (Promotion to Professor), UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Music

Thomas Abbott, Molecular and Cell Biology (Promotion to Associate Professor In-Residence), UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Biological Sciences

Jason Courtmanche, English (Promotion to Associate Professor In-Residence), UConn ECE Assistant Faculty Coordinator for English

Natalia Smirnova, Economics (Promotion to Associate Professor In-Residence), UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Economics

What an honor!

Alexia Smith, UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Anthropology, was recognized as the Honors Faculty Member of the Year Award recipient during the 2022 Honors Medals Ceremony, held on April 30th in Jorgenson Auditorium.

Natalia Smirnova, UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Economics, was recognized for the 2022 Broader Impacts, Service, and Visibility Award for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculty and Staff Awards, where she showcased her work with UConn ECE.

Jason Courtmanche, UConn ECE Assistant Faculty Coordinator for English, was recognized for outstanding undergraduate teaching by the UConn Foundation and the Office of the Provost with the 2022 Alumni Faculty Excellence Award

In Rememberece

It is with great sadness that we share that Laurietz Seda, former UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Spanish, passed away in December 2021. We appreciate her support of UConn Spanish courses to high schools throughout the state. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences/ Literatures, Cultures, and Languages will hold a memorial for Dr. Seda on September 15, 2022.


Sheila Lafferty, UConn ECE Library Media Specialist Coordinator. Shelia has been with UConn for 37-years, and the LMS for UConn ECE since 2016. She was instrumental in creating a library resources web page specifically for UConn ECE Students and facilitated annual training for high school LMSs. Sheila plans to visit with family and become more involved with historical genealogical societies in retirement.


Kenneth Gouwens, UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for History 1400, arrived at UConn in 1998, and served four years as coordinator for both HIST 1300 and HIST 1400. He took leave from the position when he went abroad for a year on a fellowship, but resumed the position as Faculty Coordinator for HIST 1400 again in 2016. It’s hard for Dr. Gouwens to pick a single memory most dear to his heart. He states, “This has been the most meaningful “service” I’ve done in my career, and I found it both edifying and fun to work both with Brian Boecherer as my supervisor and with the teachers. The one thing that stands out, and of which I’m proudest, is that with strong support from Brian, I was able to assemble a team of four outstanding teachers to help me design and edit a new proprietary course reader, a substantial project which we completed in January. I’m really proud of the product and of my collaborators, Mark Peters, Trina Bowman, Jen Dufault, and Martin Glasser.” The UConn ECE HIST 1400 200-page reader, exclusively for ECE-certified history instructors, is now posted on the HIST 1400 HuskyCT site! Dr. Gouwens and his wife have retired to Ft. Lauderdale, which they love. He explained that his retirement so far includes, “While we have lots of travel plans now that the pandemic has let up (Machu Picchu just a month from now, for example), I am continuing with my scholarship: in February I sent off the final version of another Latin edition and English translation of a work by Paolo Giovio (a Renaissance humanist), submitted an article to an Italian journal in March, and just now am completing another article for a different Italian journal. After that I’ll return to work on my book project, which concerns how Renaissance intellectuals used descriptions of monkeys to talk about human nature, and vice-versa. Now of course I can work at my own pace!”


Frederick Turner, UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator for Political Science, had retired from his department back in 1997, spent some time at the Universidad de San Andres outside Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then held a second career teaching at Hartford’s Bulkele  High School from 2003 until 2016. Dr. Turner graciously acted as the UConn ECE Political Science Faculty Coordinator from 2004 through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Dr. Turner’s fondest memory as Faculty Coordinator is New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie’s visit for the 2022 UConn ECE Political Science Professional Development Workshop. A long-time admirer of his writing, Dr. Turner shares, “[I] learned that both his parents were in the Navy, so he grew up in Virginia Beach, and that his most cherished academic memory is of a seminar at the University of Virginia where the professor had students read Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine and then debate the French Revolution as though they were observing it then. Bouie said that he thinks back to that seminar all the time. I saw Bouie give a lecture to a large audience on Thursday night
and then interact with our ECE instructors for hours on Friday. Being able to encourage his visit felt really good.”

As for the future, Dr. Turner plans to garden in Storrs and in Ocean Park, Maine, to travel with his wife Leslie, and to read extensively. “In Ocean Park we have flowers and ajuga to cultivate, for the tenants as well as for ourselves, and in Storrs we are expanding our vegetable and herb gardens. Here we grow rhubarb for pies and sauce (with Dairy Bar ice cream), tomatoes, and many herbs. We love to cook for each other, and now we have more time to do this and to try new recipes. We read the New York Times over tea and coffee in the morning and the Washington Post online during the day. My sister is 93 and mentally sharp, so I hope to keep my wits for many years.”

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.

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.


Celebrating Languages with UConn ECE


by Jessica Dunn 


Congratulations to the following high schools for participating in the 2019 UConn ECE Student Language events:


Bristol Central High School  Nathan Hale Ray High School 
Cheshire High School  Newington High School 
Coventry High School  Norwich Free Academy 
Edwin O. Smith High School  North Haven High School 
Glastonbury High School RHAM High School 
Granby Memorial High School Staples High School 
Lewis S. Mills High School 


November was UConn Early College Experience’s month of celebrating languages! For the first time, UConn Early College Experience hosted three different Language Immersion Days which included a competitive Quiz Bowl to culminate each event.


We started our celebrations with our 19th annual UConn ECE French Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl Competition on November 13, 2019, closely followed by our new UConn ECE German Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl Competition on November 14th, and wrapped up with our new UConn ECE Italian Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl Competition on November 22nd.


For each event, UConn ECE Students from across the state came together on the UConn Storrs Campus for a day of immersion and fun competition in the respective language of the event. In the morning of each event, students participated in academic sessions with department specific UConn teaching assistants and competed in a Quiz Bowl Competition in the afternoon. The academic sessions reflected the interests of the TAs, and all lessons were given in the respective language of the event. Each participating high school put forth a team of up to four UConn ECE Students to compete in the afternoon Quiz Bowl Competitions, which were moderated in French, German, or Italian. The Students were then required to answer in the same language that the questions were presented to them in.


All day, students were given the opportunity to be culturally immersed in the language by practicing their vocabulary and pronunciation, tuning their ears to new voices speaking foreign languages, learning about different cultures, and interacting with other Connecticut high school students who have a passion for learning a second (third, fourth, fifth, etc.) language. With just about 250 students in attendance for all three events, it was apparent the Students were very enthusiastic about being at the UConn Storrs Campus and excited to engage with the UConn ECE Faculty and Staff over a love of languages.


As this was the first year for the German and Italian Immersion Days and Quiz Bowl Competitions, we look forward to these events growing and becoming annual events as French has for many years. With UConn courses in Chinese, Latin, and Spanish as well, we hope to grow the number of student events in the languages in the future.

2018-2019 UConn ECE Professional Development Awards


By Jessica Dunn


This year there were many outstanding nominees, reflecting the high enthusiasm and support the UConn Early College Experience community has for one another and the program. UConn ECE Instructors and Administrators were nominated by their colleagues and students for their exemplary instruction and management of the UConn ECE program. This year nine Professional Development Award winners were selected, across six different award categories, which only happens every few years. We typically present awards in five different categories, but were privileged this year to present a well-deserved Award for Outstanding Research in the Field of Concurrent Enrollment to Kathrine Grant, a UConn undergraduate. Kathrine is only the second person in UConn ECE's history to be presented with this award.


We recognized all award winners at our annual Awards Ceremony in April, presenting them with a plaque and a monetary award over a celebratory dinner with family, friends, and colleagues. It was a night full of admiration and appreciation for the dedication each award winner displays day in and out for their high schools and their students. All award winners have exceeded the program expectations and excelled in preparing their students for the next level in their education.


The UConn Early College Experience program would not be successful without passionate and dedicated Instructors and Administrators. It is a true honor to work alongside such enthusiastic educators who go above and beyond program expectations and work tirelessly for the well-being and success of their students. On behalf of all of us at UConn ECE, we applaud our Instructors and Administrators from across the state for their hard work and dedication to the program, and we are forever grateful for you.


We are pleased to announce our 2018-2019 UConn ECE Professional Development Award winners:
Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership
Nalini Ravishanker, Statistics
Site Representative Award for Excellence in Program Administration
Seth Korn, Newington High School
Principal Award for Program Support and Advocacy
Mary Kay Tshonas, Quinebaug Middle College
Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction
Alina Britchi, Physics - Westbrook High School
J. Mark Peters, European History - Shepaug Valley High School
Peter Vermilyea, u S History - Housatonic Valley Regional High School
Sara Dziedzic, Human Rights & Political Science - The Woodstock Academy
"Rookie of the Year" Award for Excellence in First-Year Course Instruction
Kristina Sluzewski, Human Development and Family Studies - Wilton High School
Award for Outstanding Research in the Field of Concurrent Enrollment
Kathrine Grant, UConn Undergraduate


UConn ECE Science Days


by Kathrine Grant & Dr. Fatma Selampinar


UConn Early College Experience collaborated with Chemistry Faculty Coordinator Dr. Fatma Selampinar (UConn ECE) and other department faculty to host two Science Activity Days at UConn Storrs. On April 25 and May 17, UConn opened its doors to over 100 high school students from The Woodstock Academy and Berlin, 0. H. Platt, Daniel Hand, and Watertown High Schools for a day of science lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on laboratory activities.


The April 25th Science Activity Day was coordinated by the UConn Early College Experience Program Office and Dr. Selampinar, with science activities hosted by Dr. Rouge and  Dr. Ung and their graduate students (Alyssa H., Saketh G., Mark T., Kaitlynn A., Erin B., Nishya M., and Rebecca F.). To kick off  the day's events, the high school students learned about how an interest in chemistry can prepare them for a  variety of job paths, including working in a lab as a researcher someday. In the afternoon the students broke into two sections to learn about molecules that can fluorescence and about biomacromolecules that can build structures at the nanoscale. During Dr. Ung's activities, students were taught an overview of the principles of fluorescence and how light interacts with molecules. They made glow sticks and were exposed to scientific thinking. The students were asked to determine why molecules glowed and made simple hypotheses that they verified experimentally. Later, the students gathered and shared the results of their experiments to conclude the relationship between chemical structure and a molecule's ability to glow.


During Dr. Rouge's lab activities, students learned about how polar charged molecules interact differently with DNA than hydrophobic molecules and that hydrophobic dyes can be chemically tailored to dock into DNA for tracking in a variety of applications. After learning the basic properties of DNA, the students were asked to predict what would happen to DNA when subjected to various conditions, including when DNA is assembled on a nanoparticle. At the end of the activity students were able to interpret their own data and compare their results to other groups.


The May 17 Science Activity Day was also coordinated by the UConn ECE Program Office and Dr. Selampinar, with science activities hosted by Dr. Adamson, Dr. Kumar, Dr. Lin, and Dr. Zhao and their students (Megan P., Ankarao K., Jean B., Mansi M., Stephen K., Arlene B., Elizabeth B., Prabodha A. and Deepthi V). The morning started with the presentations given by Dr. Adamson, Dr. Benson, and Dr. Lin. After a series of presentations, the students broke into four sections in which they learned about nanoparticles. In Dr. Kumar's workshop on nanomaterials, the lab group presented the synthesis of protein-based nanoparticles and the use of dynamic light scattering to determine their sizes. The students were able to discover and learn about how nanoparticles are formed, how they are characterized, and the possible uses of nano­materials as opposed to bulk materials.


Drs. Lin and Zhao's activities involved synthesizing gold nanoparticles and testing the nanoparticles obtained to see whether their color changes when salt or sugar is added to the solution. In this experiment, students learned that noble metal nanoparticles exhibit unique optical properties compared to the bulk material. In other words, the color of the nanoparticles are different from the bulk. For example, a solution of gold nanoparticles may look red instead of yellow. The students were also able to visualize individual gold nanoparticles with a state-of-the-art optical microscope.


Dr. Adamson's activities involved methods for exfoliating ( or unstacking) both graphite and boron nitride without resorting to harsh chemical treatments or added stabilizers. In this experiment, two-dimensional sheets, each a single atom thick, are stacked up like a deck of cards to form materials such as graphite and boron nitride. Unstacking these decks of cards is difficult but would provide very high surface area materials with uses as conductive transparent films or nano-fillers for polymer composites. Students learned about how these processes rely on an interfacial kinetic trapping technique that takes advantage of mismatches in solvent surface tensions and results in a dramatic climbing phenomenon of single sheets of material on glass slides.


Since the Chemistry Department and UConn ECE started hosting these Science Days filled with hands­on activities, demonstrations, and lectures, the interest from high schools and high school students has increased. These kinds of activities spark the students' interest in chemistry as they are seeing the real face of chemistry in a laboratory setting as well as learning what it means to study the subject at the collegiate level. After beginning these Days, the department has begun receiving e-mails from students interested in doing research in a lab over the summer or in joining a research group when they come to UConn.

Avery Point Cardboard Boat Race 2017


The 2017-2018 academic year was off to a strong start. On September 27, 2017, the ECE Marine Sciences, Maritime Studies, Physics and Engineering students participated in the 7th annual UConn Avery Point Cardboard Boat Race. The event is always a fun and exciting time filled with lots of laughs. This year we had about 450 students and instructors in attendance.
Participating in this year’s event were twenty one partner high schools:Waterford High School, Marine Science Magnet High School, Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut, Manchester High School, University High School, Westbrook High School, Norwich Free Academy, Shelton High School, Windham Tech, Lyman Hall High School, H.C. Wilcox Tech, Kaynor Tech, Glastonbury High School, Ellington High School, Bridgeport Aquaculture, Enfield High School, Hartford Engineering and Green Tech, Emmett O’Brien Tech, Ledyard High school, Northwestern Regional High School and Daniel Hand High School. The team from H.C. Wilcox Technical High School won first place in the UConn ECE Championship Division.


Cardboard Boat Race 2017 Cardboard Boat Race 2017

2017 UConn ECE French Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl Competition

On November 1, 2017, UConn Early College Experience held this year’s French Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl Competition. We enjoyed the company of Nathan Hale Ray High School, Coventry High School, Lewis S. Mills High School, RHAM High School, Portland High School and Norwich Free Academy ECE French students as they competed for the Quiz Bowl Champion. Taking home first place in this year’s Quiz Bowl Competition was RHAM High School, followed by Portland High School in second place, and Norwich Free Academy in third place. The competition put the knowledge of the French ECE students to the test, but they all performed well and showed their love for the course. Congratulations to all participants for taking on the challenge of broadening your French expertise.
Quiz Bowl Winners 2017