Connecticut High School Ethics Bowl

by Jessica Dunn
UConn Early College Experience in partnership with UConn’s Department of Philosophy hosted the Fifth Annual Connecticut High School Ethics Bowl on the UConn Storrs Campus. Dr. Mitchell Green, UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator managed and supported this year’s event. This year there were ten teams from eight high schools around the state who competed: Hotchkiss School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Masuk High School, Torrington High School, Wilcox Technical High School, the Hopkins School, Xavier High School, and Trumbull High School.
Students arrived for the day-long event with excitement and eagerness to engage with one another and debate the most challenging ethical issues of our time. Teams consisted of 3-7 students each who were judged by philosophers from both UConn and Yale on the breadth and depth of their thinking. This regional competition is a qualifier for participating in the National High School Ethics Bowl at UNC- Chapel Hill, and this year’s competition was very impressive, with Hotchkiss School coming out on top as the #1 winner, and Choate Rose­mary Hall as the runner up.
UConn looks forward to hosting this event again in 2025, as Yale University will host the 2024 regional competi­tion.

UConn Chemistry May ECE Lab Day

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Connecticut History Day Returns to Storrs


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


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

Connecticut History Day

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


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

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

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

Comments from students at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

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

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

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


Comments from parents at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

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


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


Comments from teachers at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

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

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

Comments from judges at the Mansfield Regional Contest:

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

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


UConn ECE Offers Additional Courses

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


UConn ECE Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest


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


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


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

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

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

Grace Dehnel

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



free fall

/ˈfrē ˌfôl/


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

Vertical   descent--

I   was   weightless.

My   body   began   rapidly

approaching   the   ground--

reaching   its   terminal   velocity.

Time   is   impermanent   &   I

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

A   gravitational   pull--

intangible   &   untouchable   &   yet

doesn’t   let   you   leave                   does   it?

My   body  steadily   becoming   limp.

My   eyes   feel   dry,         my   mouth   arid   &   my

arms   sting   from   the   harsh  gusts  of  air

that   tear   at   my   skin.         [Razor blades]

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

Perhaps   my   body   will   become   a   cloud

&   overlook   the   sky--

Transitory   clouds

do   not   have   worries   or   fears.

I   feel   my   body   shutting   down--

My   eyes   unfocus   as   I   stare   at   the   sky

littered   with   clouds--

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

McKena Clemons

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


The second month


The air is chilled but days are warm.

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

The pure white snow is nothing but a muddy slush.

The ground is frozen but grass still grows.

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

The month is second to all and first to some.

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

The shortest month dedicated to love and black bodies.

February is hypocrisy.



Natalie Crowley

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

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

Eugene Rimmel’s plumping serum--

a formula consisting of petroleum jelly and coal dust.

A rite of passage for middle school girls.

Cheap drugstore Maybelline,

pulled over lashes,

over and over,

until the hairs clumped together--

Just like how those girls stick together,

traveling in packs that I pretended to hate.

I wanted to be more like them.

Sneaking into my sister’s makeup.

I used her mascara.

Got a cyst on my eye.

I will never do that again.

It was like the Universe told me,

No, it’s not your time yet.

I settled for an eye lash curler and Vaseline.


I am jealous of those girls now.

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

I try over and over.

Black smears on my fingertips,

a constant reminder of who I am not.

Uneven, stuck together–

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


The mascara weighs my eyes down in class.

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

Is there a HIIT for eyelids?

No one looks at me differently.

No one looks at me.

I wonder if Mr. Rimmel is a scam artist.

Do guys even like it?

Do I even like it?

Sitting in my chair with a test

I barely passed--

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

my fingers coated in another layer of black.


News to Know

NEACEP Conference 2023

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


UConn Pre-College Summer

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

Italian Studies Workshop

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


Congratulations to our UConn ECE Faculty Coordinators on their promotions

Promotion to Associate Professor In-Residence

- Dr. Emma Bojinova, Agricultural and Resource Economics

Promotion to Professor

- Dr. Oksan Bayulgen, Political Science

Promotion to Professor In-Residence

- Dr. Fatma Selampinar, Chemistry

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

TEDx Talk

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

Growth by the sea


by Carissa Rutkauskas


The 2023 UConn ECE Marine Science Symposium was held over two days this year, May 30-31, and saw a record number of participants. Nearly 200 students from seven schools (The Morgan School, University High School of Science and Engineering, Marine Science Magnet High School, Ledyard High School, Waterford High School, Coginchaug High School, and The Sound School) spent a day at the UConn Avery Point Campus. The first day was opened with Larissa Graham, Education Coordinator, of the Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) introducing her work. NERR provides stewardship, research, training, and education at each of the 30 reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, allowing reserves to have an environmental impact at the local level, as well as at the national level.1 Ms. Graham closed her talk by sharing opportunities with students on how they can volunteer with NERR ( The rest of the day was student-driven with students presenting about and listening to poster presentations on the research they had done and touring different aspects of the Avery Point Campus. Capitan Marc Liebig hosted a tour of the R/V Connecticut, a 90’ steel single screw research vessel that was designed and built for the University of Connecticut in 1998 and is outfitted for year-round coastal service.2 Dr. Koerting also provided tours of the water labs and other research labs throughout campus. On Wednesday morning, 33 students presented their work, individually or in small groups, in front of their peers in the auditorium. The afternoon session featured over 30 poster presentations, including posters from the previous day. Faculty and members of the Marine Sciences Department joined the ECE Students for this part of the event to show their support and provide the students the opportunity to make connections with UConn Faculty and students.

UConn ECE Marine Science Faculty Coordinator and event organizer, Dr. Claudia Koerting, explained that participants were from two very different courses - MARN1003E: Introduction to Oceanography with Laboratory or MARN 1001E: The Sea Around Us. Introduction to Oceanography is designed for marine sciences and environmental sciences majors. Students study the processes governing the geology, circulation, chemistry, and biological productivity of the world’s oceans. Laboratory experiments, hands-on exercises, and field observations are a required component. UConn ECE Students may meet this requirement through their year-long projects which were presented during the symposium. The Sea Around Us helps students understand the relationship of humans with the marine environment. This non-majors course teaches students about the ocean processes they need to understand marine resources, the development and use of the coastal zone, and the impact of technology on marine ecosystems. The students enrolled in MARN 1001E reviewed the literature to take complex topics that could then be accurately communicated to the general public.

2022-2023 UConn ECE Professional Recognition Awards


by Jessica Dunn


UConn Early College Experience 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.

UConn ECE faculty, staff, and award winners look forward to the annual Professional Recognition Awards Ceremony each year as a momentous time to decompress and celebrate the accomplishments and successes of the community. This year, we were finally able to host a fully in-person Awards Ceremony for award winners, family, and friends on the UConn Storrs Campus, something we have not been able to do for the past four years. Our award winners and guests gathered for the Awards Ceremony at the UConn Alumni Center on April 21st for an elegant sit-down dinner where they were welcomed by OECP Executive Director, Christopher Todd as well as UConn’s Associate Vice Provost, Dr. Peter Diplock.
This year there were many outstanding nominees, who were nominated by colleagues, students, and UConn Faculty for their exemplary instruction and management of the UConn ECE Program. We had the great honor to select and recognize eleven Professional Recognition Award winners along with six award winners of the Silver Jubilee Award, newly recognized at this event. The Silver Jubilee winners were recognized for their dedicated partnership with the UConn Early College Experience Program for the last 25 years. These instructors have successfully maintained their certification by attending workshops and have remained engaged with the UConn ECE program as a dedicated partner, advocate, and ally. Recognizing partners with at least 25 years of service is the first step in rolling out our years of service recognition program, and we look forward to identifying and honoring those with long standing partnerships with the UConn ECE Program.

The UConn ECE Program would not be successful without the passionate and dedicated partners we are honored to work with, and we are grateful for all you do.

Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership

Dr. George Chunsheng Yang, Chinese, University of Connecticut
Principal Award for Program Support & Advocacy

Katelyn Miner, Manchester High School
Site Representative Award for Excellence in Program Administration

Kathleen Deane, Conard High School
Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction

Sarah Lindstrom, Spanish, Bristol Central High School

Joseph Mancino, Physics, Glastonbury High School

Joshua Hersh, Political Science, The Spire School

John Lizzi, Political Science/Human Rights, Housatonic Valley Regional High School


Jennifer Todisco, American Studies, University High School of Science and Engineering
“Rookie of the Year” Award for Excellence in First-Year Course Instruction

Christopher Kerr, Educational Curriculum and Instruction, Newington High School

Joseph Tarantino, English, University High School of Science and Engineering
Award for Outstanding Research in the Field of Concurrent Enrollment

Pamela Peters, University of Connecticut/ Michigan State University
Silver Jubilee Award

David Bittel, Physics, Bristol Eastern High School
Joanne Choquette, Spanish, Portland High School
Richard Fritz, Biology, Marine Science Magnet High School
Michelle Graveline, Statistics & Mathematics, Conard High School
Margaret Kimmett, Chemistry, Valley Regional High School
Marcie Vázquez, Spanish, Lyman Hall High School

French Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl


By: Jessica Dunn


After a three-year hiatus of UConn ECE Student Events, we enthusiastically welcomed back the long-standing French Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl on November 3, 2022. About 100 UConn ECE Students representing Lewis S. Mills High School, RHAM High School, Coventry High School, Norwich Free Academy, Nathan Hale-Ray High School, Daniel Hand High School, and Wheeler High School convened at the UConn Storrs campus for a day of excitement and competition in French culture, grammar, history, literature and many other topics. With matching team shirts and deep preparation and passion, the teams came ready to participate in immersion sessions in the morning with UConn French Teaching Assistants, and a head to head, jeopardy-style Quiz Bowl competition in the afternoon.


Taking home first place in this year’s Quiz Bowl Competition was RHAM High School, followed by Nathan Hale-Ray High School in second, and Norwich Free Academy in third place. From the UConn Early College Experience Program Office, we want to thank Dr. Florence Marsal for her efforts coordinating the event and extend our congratulations and thanks to all high schools who participated in this year’s event. There have been many obstacles in the way of returning to in person events, but we are very happy to welcome students back to campus and support their growth in and outside of the classroom.



Youth in Action for Human Rights


By: Jake Skrzypiec UConn ECE Human Rights Teacher-Manchester High School, Dodd Human Rights Impact Fellow and Chris Buckley UConn ECE Human Rights Teacher-Brookfield High School, Dodd Human Rights Impact Fellow


A new project coming out of UConn’s Dodd Human Rights Impact, with Connecticut educators and youth in partnership with one another, seeks to inspire hope and possibility. Human Rights Close to Home (HRCH) is a three-year undertaking to advance Connecticut teachers’ and students’ skill and capacity in human rights education and civic action. The project brings educators, youth, university scholars and community leaders together to foster these goals through a variety of programing.


The HRCH Youth Advisory Team is a diverse group of youth leaders developing components of the Human Rights Close to Home initiative. From December 2021 to May 2022, the Youth Advisory Team collaborated on the development of the HRCH Youth Action Summit, a learning experience for Connecticut high school
students. Guided by ECE teachers Jake Skrzypiec (Manchester High School) and Chris Buckley (Brookfield High School), this team organized all components of the youth summit. The work of these youth leaders included the selection of speakers, school invitations, the logistics of registration, and the facilitation and moderation of the workshops and panels that defined the event. The May 18th summit was host to 250 students from 10 high schools. The attendees engaged in a wide range of sessions informing and empowering young people around human rights and civic action. The youth team is currently working to develop the upcoming HRCH Youth Summit to be held in January 2023.


Members of the Youth Advisory Team also submitted a presentation proposal for the National Council for the Social Studies conference, taking place in December 2022 in Philadelphia. The proposal was accepted, creating a rare and unique opportunity for young people to share their work with the HRCH initiative in a professional setting. These young people embody the ideal of a human right defender at the heart of Human Rights Education. Their work is at the forefront of human rights education and civic action in Connecticut. Their presentation at NCSS will emphasize the work of HRCH on the national stage to engage and empower educators to enshrine human rights and civic education into their practice.