Summer 2022

Student Artwork


Silhouetted couple with backdrop of night sky

Cover/first place
Artist: Anthony Fiore, High School in the Community
Caption: United, Together, Forever, Strong

Description: As I saw this couple climb this monument, my first
thought was “why do something so risky, is that even worth it,
what happens if they fall?”. Saying this I still took the picture
when they got to the top and I regretted criticizing them for their
self-given challenge. As I was reflecting on this photo again I
came to the conclusion that this couple showcases the struggle of
working toward something big. Their act of “climbing the mountain” is a testament to everyone’s struggle or fight. I’m sad to say
I was the hater, the doubter, I was Thomas. It is easy to see someone’s unpractical or unreasonable goal and criticize them, I’m glad
I was wrong about this couple. I’m also glad I took this picture, it
still reminds me to get up even after falling, and to fight.



Oil painting on canvas representing three different generations of Americans Runner up
Artist: Laila Bakhshalizadeh, Griswold High School
Caption: Three figures sitting down representing a few different
perspectives in the United States

Description: The piece relates to the theme because through the
masks and the figures it demonstrates the present and past also
while considering moving forwards (as we look at recent Covid
spikes). The younger figure in the front represents the emerging
generation, contrast to the older figure on either side. The red and
green complimentary colors creating an ambiance reminiscent of
the United States.

Welcoming One of Our Own

Todd family photo
Chris lives in Ellington with his wife, Melissa, an Assistant Principal at McAlister Intermediate School in Suffield, and their two sons, Cooper (10) and Parker (7).

By Christopher Todd


The Office of Early College Programs and the UConn ECE Community is excited to officially welcome Christopher Todd, as our new Executive Director of OECP/ECE.  With nearly 20 years in public education, Chris comes to UConn as a practitioner with extensive field experiences and a proven track record of success as both a classroom educator and state agency leader, who has worked tirelessly to elevate the profession on the behalf of students and educators.  While Chris may be stepping into a new role, UConn and the ECE Community is in no way new to him, and his return to UConn serves as a homecoming of sorts


Growing up in Willington, CT, Chris’ first experience with the UConn ECE Community and concurrent enrollment programs began as a student at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, where he enrolled in UConn courses as both a junior and senior.  After completing his BA in History and a secondary social studies education licensure program at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Chris returned home to Connecticut, beginning his teaching career at Windsor High School.  For the next 15 years of his career, Chris dedicated himself to the Windsor Public School community, in both classroom and district-based leadership roles.  Chris benefited from the support of incredible colleagues, mentors, and leaders during his time at Windsor as he worked to refine his own instructional practices in order to develop and deliver highly engaging and rigorous lessons designed to motivate and prepare students to pursue their post-secondary goals and career aspirations.  As a classroom teacher, Chris distinguished himself as both a state and national award winner, teaching a wide variety of courses and levels including alternative education, Advanced Placement and UConn ECE (POLS 1602).  In addition to his teaching, Chris was a longtime varsity swimming & diving coach and a frequent participant on district and building-wide committees.  While teaching, Chris went on to complete his MA in Public Policy at Trinity College, and eventually returned to UConn to earn an MA in Curriculum & Instruction.

As a district-based teacher leader, Chris split his time between the classroom and facilitating the district’s Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM ) program. Chris worked with district leadership and colleagues to advocate for the expansion of Windsor’s New Teacher Academy and provide educators with release time to observe colleagues and participate in PD.  Additionally, Chris coordinated district Educator Preparation Program (EPP) partnerships and teacher leader initiatives.  Under Commissioners Stefan Pryor and Dr. Dianna Wentzell, Chris had the distinct privilege of serving as a Teacher Leader-in-Residence at the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) where he co-led the Department’s Teacher Leadership initiatives and advocated for educator voice and input into the policy making process.  In 2013, Chris was honored to be recognized by his colleagues as the Windsor Public Schools Teacher of the Year and was recognized as Connecticut’s 2013 James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellow.  In 2014, Chris was a Finalist for the 2014 Connecticut State Teacher of the Year and was the recipient of the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Teacher of American History.


For nearly three and half years, Chris has served as Bureau Chief in the Talent Office at the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) where he provided leadership and support to the Bureau of Educator Effectiveness and the Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification.  While at the Department Chris helped design, build, and implement systemic changes to support educators, districts, and students statewide.  During his time in the Talent Office Chris fought to streamline and enhance educator certification; bolster relationships with the state’s Educator Preparation Programs and RESC Alliance; enhance Connecticut’s TEAM program; and engage critical stakeholders in the reform of educator evaluation and support.  However, Chris is most proud of his work and efforts with the Talent Office team to provide timely and meaningful guidance and flexibilities to the field during the Covid-19 pandemic.  During his time at the Department, Chris has also served as an adjunct faculty member for both UConn’s Neag School of Education and Sacred Heart University’s Farrington College of Education.


As Chris begins his new role of Executive Director of the Office of Early College Programs, he is excited to bring his passion for education and high-quality curriculum and instruction, as well as his experience building robust and meaningful partnerships, to a nationally recognized program that he believes offers a critical and timely solution to ensuring that all Connecticut students have equitable access to a high-quality education.

Group photo at CT State Capital & Meeting

Fall 2021 Political Science ECE Instructor Workshop with fellow UConn ECE Instructors and Connecticut James Madison Memorial Fellowship Winners Jon McGlynn (’19) of Windsor High School, Michelle Pusser (’15) of AITE, and Kathleen Boland (’20) of Trumbull High School.


WHS POLS 1602 (Annual trip to the CT State Capital and meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Brandon McGee and Sec. of State Denise Merrill).



WHS Political Science 1602 Meeting with Sec. of State Denise Merrill


WHS Political Science 1602 learning about Oliver Ellsworth & The Constitutional Convention at the Oliver Ellsworth Homestead in Windsor, CT


WHS Political Science 1602 Meeting with Sec. of State Denise Merrill

Student group photo inside state capital building


Students talk with Sen. Richard Blumenthal


student group photo in front of CT state capital building

UConn ECE Ambassador Summer Plans


Emily Laput at UConn


Each year, enthusiastic UConn ECE Student Ambassadors assist in the marketing and administration of the UConn ECE program at their high school, support their fellow students and Site Representative, and create a more seamless college experience for all. This year they helped support the UConn ECE program with our reaccreditation with the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). Students were interviewed by a committee of NACEP members and spoke about their experience with their UConn classes. Here are some of our student ambassadors and their plans for the future, after graduation this Spring.


My summer plans include catching up on leisure reading as well as devoting the remainder of my free time to enhancing my life with new experiences. There are limitless opportunities to try new food, hobbies, and excursions that I plan to make the most of. While I have not yet committed to a college or university, I hope to enter my higher education as a more well-rounded and elevated version of myself.

-Aris Flores; Coventry High School



My summer plans consist of working with adaptive children at summer camp, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. I am extremely excited to be attending Springfield College in the fall where I will be playing softball and majoring in Health Sciences. Although I will miss high school, I am looking forward to the new chapter of my life at Springfield!

-Madison LaValle; Francis T. Maloney High School



This summer my plans are to go on adventures with my friends and family and enjoy the time together while we still have it. Next school year I plan on attending Siena College. I will live on campus away from my family and friends so this summer I plan on having fun and spending time with them. We have planned many trips and I cannot wait to go on these adventures that will later lead to my new adventure in life.

-Samantha Thompson; Plainville High School


This summer, I will be going on vacation with my school to Greece! I will also be working on my musical sight-reading skills to prepare for my college music program audition. In the fall, I will be attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst and majoring in psychology with a possible minor in music.

-Mia Sommers; Wethersfield High School



In June, I will be hosting my second annual Pink and Flow (, a fundraising yoga event, for a local nonprofit breast cancer called Seymour Pink. I also will be continuing managing the social media and marketing for a jewelry store. This fall, I will be studying Marketing at the University of Connecticut.

-Emily Laput; Woodland Regional High School


This summer, I plan to continue participating in an internship in the field of microbiological bioinformatics at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, studying the genomes of bacteriophages. Further, I will be participating in an internship at Central Connecticut State University, helping them to run their planetarium, participating in public outreach events, and researching the surface conditions on Mars in comparison to local Connecticut geology. Lastly, and most excitingly, I will be preparing to move into college at Harvard University as a member of the class of 2026, where I plan to major in astrophysics with a particular focus on astrobiology.

-Logan Wilson; Torrington High School



2022 UConn ECE Student Scholarship Winners


UConn Early College Experience recognized 6 outstanding UConn ECE Students this year, awarding each a $500 scholarship, which can be used at any institution. Winners are high school seniors, who have taken or are currently taking at least one UConn Early College Experience course and have excelled in the area in which they submitted their project. More information on our Scholarship Opportunities and a video summary of our winners can be found on our Scholarship page


Excellence in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences

Winners demonstrate academic achievement and a potential for future academic and professional accomplishments in a field focusing on the Arts, Humanities, and/or Social Sciences.

(left) Madison Gates, Waterford High School. Research Paper: S. Education Systems are Failing Disabled Students

(right) Emma Smith, Edwin O. Smith High School. Produced original musical: “Antlersong”

Madison Gates portrait

Emma Smith headshot



Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic

Winners demonstrate academic achievement and a potential for future academic and professional accomplishments in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Mathematics.

(left) Sofia Cabrera, Brien McMahon High School. Member of Brien McMahon Healthcare Academy Club

(right) Anisha Bhatnagar, South Windsor High School. Medical research review: COVID-19’s Impact on the Heart

Sofia Cabrera headshot

Anisha Bhatnagar portrait



Excellence in Civic and Community Engagement

Winners are academically successful, are already making a positive difference in their town or neighborhood, and are inspiring others to do the same. The students chosen for this award must be a UConn ECE Student who demonstrates ambition and self-drive evidenced by outstanding achievement in both school and their community.

(left) Youssef (Joey) Macary, Wolcott High School. FIRST Lego League Town Director.

(right) Emily Laput, Woodland Regional High School. Planner and Coordinator of Pink & Flow, nonprofit yoga event to raise funds to fight against breast cancer.

Youssef Macary headshot

Emily Laput portrait

2022 UConn ECE Professional Recognition Award Winners

By Carissa Rutkauskas
The presentation of the 18th annual UConn Early College Experience Professional Recognition Awards, celebrating outstanding teachers and administrators, was successfully celebrated in a hybrid format this year. On April 28th, UConn ECE Staff, award winners, and their guests enjoyed a casual yet celebratory evening of appetizers, mingling, and collegiality as we were able to personally present the winners with their awards. “Thank you”speeches captured during the celebration were then added to pre-recorded and collected footage of our winners, to produce the UConn ECE Professional Recognition Awards Show, which premiered May 19th on the UConn ECE YouTube Channel.

The UConn Early College Experience community and the University of
Connecticut publicly recognize and thank outstanding instructors and
administrators whose dedication and commitment help make UConn ECE
successful. You have exceeded program expectations and excelled in preparing

your high school’s students for the next level in their education.


Maureen Vint at library desk
Maureen Vint, Library Media Specialist Nonnewaug High School Library Media Specialist Award for Excellence in Enrichment and Collaboration
Kristina Schule with pie
Kristina Schule Human Development and Family Sciences Greenwich High School “Rookie of the Year” Award for Excellence in First-Year Course Instruction
Karon McGovern portrait
Karon McGovern, American Studies New Fairfield High School Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction
Christine Higgins headshot
Christine Higgins, German Wilton High School Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction
Laura Francis on marine science field trip
Laura Francis, Marine Sciences Coginchaug Regional High School Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction
Dan Cote headshot
Daniel Cote, Philosophy Christian Heritage School Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction
Elizabeth C. with math themed Christmas sweater
Elizabeth Capobianco, Mathematics Trumbull High School Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction
Karen R. headshot
Karen Risley, Site Representative Portland High School Site Representative Award for Excellence in Program Administration
Sean S. at graduation ceremony
Sean Tomany, Principal University High School of Science & Engineering Principal Award for Program Support & Advocacy
Anne Gebelein, Latino and Latin American Studies, UConn Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership 


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.”

UConn’s Neag School Set to Offer Four ECE Courses in Education




  • Coordinated by Stefanie Malinoski
  • Written by Ann Traynor (Assistant Dean and Certification Officer), Michele Back (Associate Professor, World Languages Education), Danielle DeRosa (Clinical Instructor, Educational Leadership), and Joseph Madaus (Professor, Educational Psychology)
  • Edited by Stefanie Dion Jones


The University of Connecticut’s Early College Experience (ECE) Program allows high school students to earn UConn credits and meet general education requirements by taking college courses while still in high school. UConn’s Neag School of Education, consistently ranked as one of the top 20 public graduate schools of education in the nation, recently piloted several education courses and next year will offer courses in multiple high schools across Connecticut.

Connecting superintendents statewide with these emergent ECE opportunities, the Neag School continues to be committed to expanding access for students and families across the state, increasing the diversity of the educator workforce, and attracting high school students to the teaching profession. UConn ECE Students will have the opportunity to choose from any of the following four UConn courses dedicated to studying diverse aspects of the education field:


  • EDCI 1100: If You Love It, Teach It
  • EDLR 1162: Health and Education in Urban Communities
  • EDLR 2001: Contemporary Issues in Sport
  • EPSY 1100: Introduction to Special Education

EDCI 1100: If You Love It, Teach It

The Neag School’s EDCI 1100 course will give high school students a glimpse into the world of K-12 teaching, learning, and schooling in the U.S.. Designed to provide students with an understanding of the historical, philosophical, and social foundations of education, it also encourages them to reimagine the future of the field.

“I hope that students will not only learn how U.S. education came to be what it is today, but also how to reflect critically on these histories and philosophies, as well as how education can be transformed for the better,” says Michele Back, EDCI 1100 Faculty Coordinator and associate professor of world languages education at the Neag School. Students enrolled in this foundational course, which focuses in part on social justice, will read a diverse array of scholars and educators. Each reading will offer a unique perspective on the history of educational thought in the U.S. and on how the nation can strive for educational equity for all learners and teachers.

“Your experiences as a student for over a decade are essential contributions to this course,” Back says. “Whether you love school or not, we invite you into this community of learners and want to hear your voice!”



EDLR 1162: Health and Education in Urban Communities


The Neag School of Education is also home to UConn’s undergraduate and graduate-level academic programs in areas such as sport management, student affairs, and school leadership. Through EDLR 1162: Health and Education in Urban Communities, students will explore how poverty, culture, and identity can affect children’s health, nutrition, schooling, and opportunities for success.

Danielle DeRosa headshot

Through readings, films, discussions, and service-learning opportunities, class members will analyze society’s policies, norms, and beliefs while considering how these phenomena may perpetuate injustice.

According to clinical instructor Danielle DeRosa of the Neag School, the “service-learning” aspect of EDLR 1162 “means that in addition to students learning within their high school classrooms, they will also engage in service in the community … to better understand community needs and to build relationships with others.”

The course, she adds, “offer[s] an exciting opportunity for students to make connections from the curriculum to their own lives and lived experiences, as well as current topics in society.”


EDLR 2001: Contemporary Issues in Sport


DeRosa is also Faculty Coordinator for EDLR 2011: Contemporary Issues in Sport. This course delves into sociocultural, economic, political, and other issues specific to the world of sport.

Beyond teaching students about sport as a social institution and examining sport’s impact on American culture, the course will also discuss sport at the youth, intercollegiate, professional, and international levels.

EDLR 2001 “allows students to see course concepts in action through highlighting current topics in sport,” says DeRosa. “As an example, not only will students learn about sport and the intersection of gender and race, but they will also discuss current examples of gender and racial inequities within sport at multiple levels. This will invite students to think about their own experiences as participants in sport, as well as consumers of sport.”

Both this course and EDLR 1162, according to DeRosa, intend to “engage students in understanding the complexities of society as it relates to justice, education, health, and sport, as well as provide a space for students to have critical conversations with each other.”


EPSY 1100: Introduction to Special Education

Students specifically interested in the realm of special education can obtain an overview of this field in American K-12 schools via EPSY 1100: Introduction to Special Education.

The course’s key topics will include the various types of disabilities that are served in schools nationwide and the laws that support students with disabilities and their families. In addition, UConn ECE Students will learn about the career options available to them in this field beyond traditional classroom teaching — school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers among them.

“All of these professional paths,” says EPSY 1100 Faculty Coordinator Joseph Madaus, “play important roles in ensuring that the students are properly identified and receive the right services.”

Madaus, a professor at the Neag School in the Department of Educational Psychology, says “he hopes that those who take this course will learn about the many strengths and talents that students with disabilities bring to their schools and communities.”

EPSY 1100 also will challenge students to “think about their existing beliefs about students with disabilities and will come to understand that many of the challenges these students experience can be addressed by focusing on their strengths,” Madaus says.


For more information about the Neag School’s courses in education, please visit