WCSU News

WCSU wins five Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival national awards

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Theatre Arts participated in the Region One Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in late January/early February 2019 for the fourth year in a row. The department once again came out strong by staging a well-received performance of the university’s fall 2018 production, “Uncle Vanya,” at Cape Cod Community College that resulted in five national awards.

This year’s awards for “Uncle Vanya” are:

Distinguished Performance in a Play – Jillian Caillouette, of Meriden

Distinguished Performance in a Play – Sam Rogers, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Distinguished Performance in a Play – Caleigh Rose Lozito, of Bristol

Distinguished Achievement in Directing – Professor of Theatre Arts Pam McDaniel

Distinguished Achievement in Stage Management – Katie Girardot, of New Milford

McDaniel, chair of the WCSU Theatre Arts Department and director of “Uncle Vanya,” said the awards are particularly gratifying because it was the first time the university had staged a non-musical production at the regional festival.

“It is such an honor for our students to be nationally recognized for their work on ‘Uncle Vanya,’” McDaniel said. “It is one of the hardest modern classics in the canon and working with our students to meet the challenge with enthusiasm and skill was rewarding as a director. When we traveled to the regional festival, ‘Uncle Vanya’ was the only production from Region One designated as a national entry. It was such a pleasure to once again share the work of our theatre arts program, to receive the expressions of appreciation of the work and to expand the perspective for the diverse genres of theatre that we produce here at WCSU.”

In the past three years, WCSU has received national KCACTF honors for its productions of “Evita,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Parade.”

KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from more than 700 colleges and universities nationwide. Eight regional festivals take place in January and February, with finalists and some award winners advancing to the national festival in April in Washington, D.C. WCSU is part of Region 1, which comprises Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, northeastern New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

 

Western Marketing Association wins multiple awards at international conference

WCSU student organization is in top 10 of 388 international collegiate chapters; ranked No. 1 in New England

(back row, l-r): Jake Nimmo, David Cawley, Anna Adebambo, Alejandro Calderon, Mike Hess, Henry Ruck, Adviser Ron Drozdenko; (front row, l-r): Genesis Hernandez, Natalie Carnazza, Fatima Izzat, Hannah LaFontaine, Caroline Chaves, Adviser Donna Coelho, Allison Frenz

DANBURY, CONN. — The Collegiate Chapter of the American Marketing Association at Western Connecticut State University (WMA) received numerous recognitions for the 11th consecutive year at the AMA 41st Annual International Collegiate Conference held in April 2019 in New Orleans.

The WMA has progressed in the AMA’s rankings of its 388 active collegiate chapters, placing in the top 5 percent each of the past five years based on performance in professional development, social impact and philanthropy, planning, operations and external communications. Most of the other institutions in the top 10 have higher enrollments, such as Penn State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin and Temple University.

Thirteen WMA members represented WCSU at the AMA conference, which assembled approximately 1,600 students from more than 200 universities. This year, WMA was one of the three host chapters for the conference. The WMA chapter earned an invitation based on its conference accomplishments last year as Top Small Chapter of the Year, and made a presentation on building a Top Small Chapter to other chapters in New Orleans. WMA members also participated in competitions, workshops, a career fair and featured talks during the conference. In addition to the top-10 ranking, the WCSU chapter received awards for the following accomplishments: Wall Street Journal Case competition, recruitment video, chapter website, marketing simulation competition, exhibit and Marketing Week activities.

WMA representatives at the New Orleans conference included Caroline Chaves, of New Milford; Jacob Nimmo, Alejandro Calderon, Jennifer Alvarado and Anna Adebambo, of Danbury; Hannah LaFontaine, of Waterbury; Genesis Hernandez and Henry Ruck, of Norwalk; Michael Hess, of Brookfield;  Allison Frenz, of Greenwich; Natalie Carnazza, of Ridgefield; Fatima Izzat, of Bethel; and David Cawley, of Bethlehem.

When asked about her takeaways from the conference, president Caroline Chaves said, “Overall it was an incredible experience to not only compete and win awards for our chapter, but to be able to bring and motivate new underclassmen members to feel that same spark of passion that all of us seniors have for this amazing organization.”

Chapter Advisers Dr. Ronald Drozdenko, chair of the WCSU Marketing Department, and Donna Coelho, adjunct professor of Marketing and director, Ancell Community Impact Collaborative, accompanied the WMA delegation. Coelho also serves on the International Collegiate Council of the American Marketing Association that directs the conference and all collegiate chapter activities in North America.

“Competing on the international level raises the bar for our students,” Coelho said. “Our active members are able to secure jobs because they already have professional experience and skills as a result of their involvement with the AMA.” She added, “Our dean, Dr. David Martin, is a great supporter of Ancell student organizations. The accomplishments of our AMA chapter contribute to the Ancell School’s commitment to Community Social Impact, which is one of the requirements of maintaining our AACSB accreditation.”

With a total membership of 20 students, the WCSU chapter offers a diverse range of opportunities to gain hands-on experience in strategic planning and marketing, conceptualizing and implementing advertising promotions, and interacting with marketing professionals in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. WMA “Think Tank” workshops afford an opportunity for local entrepreneurs and small business owners to brainstorm with WCSU students in designing strategies for marketing, advertising, content creation and other topics. Agency@Ancell, a WCSU student advertising agency managed and staffed by WMA members, has formed teams to work with clients in areas ranging from the music industry to online service organizations. The WMA also co-hosted its second Regional Marketing Conference during the 2019-20 academic year.

WMA community outreach activities have shared students’ marketing skills with nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and a regional organization for young entrepreneurs. Other WMA-sponsored events include the Leader Workshop series, where successful business and nonprofit professionals meet in small group discussions with students; and the annual Marketing Week at WCSU, which includes the popular “Big Idea Competition” that challenges students to present entrepreneurial ideas and inventions to a panel of judges who award a $500 grand prize for the best proposal.

“The accomplishments of our collegiate AMA chapter highlight the quality of our academic program and the engagement of our students outside the classroom,” Drozdenko said. “To achieve this level of excellence our students and advisers invest hundreds of hours on chapter activities throughout the entire year. These efforts have resulted in not only the international recognition, but also life-changing opportunities for our students.”

For more information, contact Drozdenko at drozdenkor@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU/SCSU initiative trains new generation of biodiversity defenders

Master’s program prepares students to take local actions to address global crisis

image of Michelle Bissett and Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Dora Pinou track carp in Candlewood Lake

Michelle Bissett and Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Dora Pinou track carp in Candlewood Lake

DANBURY, CONN. — The sobering warning from a United Nations-backed panel that up to one million plant and animal species face imminent extinction because of human activities has focused attention on the global threat to biodiversity — a challenge that Western Connecticut State University is tackling head-on through science-based training to address the crisis at the grassroots level.

In a collaborative graduate studies program offered through the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, WCSU and Southern Connecticut State University recently introduced the Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity degree. The program seeks to educate students about research methods used to measure the health and diversity of organisms and their environments. Students will learn to apply ecological, molecular and spatial tools to examine, quantify and describe biodiversity. “The Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity requires that all students engage in biodiversity monitoring as a component of stewardship, and learn to communicate the importance of diversity to human health and the conservation of resources,” the mission statement said.

image of WCSU students at Peabody Museum

WCSU students at Peabody Museum

Coordinated by WCSU Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Theodora Pinou, the new M.S. program offers a 30-credit curriculum. Faculty from the WCSU Biological and Environmental Sciences Department and the SCSU Biology and Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences departments participate as course instructors and research mentors. The program has accepted 14 students since its launch in January, and applications received through June 30 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for enrollment this fall.

Pinou explained that the recently released report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has raised public awareness of a crisis in rapidly diminishing species diversity that researchers in the field have recognized as a serious and growing global problem for decades. From the accelerating loss of open land to agricultural and commercial development to the impact of climate change and water scarcity on species survival, the UN-sponsored study has highlighted the many ways in which a growing world population threatens to destroy the fragile natural habitats and ecological balance that sustain global biodiversity.

At the local level, Pinou observed that the biodiversity crisis also has grown more acute as land development isolates remaining open space areas necessary to support the region’s many species of animal and plant life. Land use policies that ignore the importance of preserving natural corridors for pollinators to reach flowering plants and for wildlife to move freely across habitats pose a real threat to the survival of many species now found in Connecticut, she said. “Very few people even know what the level of local biodiversity should be,” she observed, and the environmental impact of diminished diversity “easily escapes us until we realize we have a water and food security problem.”

An important aspect of the biodiversity master’s degree program is to provide the opportunity for M.S. candidates to collaborate with a wide range of corporations, educational institutions, conservation and wildlife organizations and other partners where students can apply their skills and knowledge to real-world experiences in the exploration and monitoring of biodiversity.

“Our program has a required component of stewardship where our students go out to investigate biodiversity problems in the field and learn how the professionals are tackling these issues,” she said. “For example, we have a project in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Norwalk Aquarium looking at diamond back terrapin crossings and road mortality.” The study offers an opportunity to explore how the public need for transportation can be balanced with actions to monitor and preserve this turtle species, she noted.

“We study the global dimensions of the biodiversity problem, and then explore what we can do locally to make policy decisions, rooted in science, that produce measurable changes to improve the situation,” she said.

Pinou remarked that through hands-on research in monitoring species diversity, habitat conservation, environmental threats to organisms and other issues, students will gain valuable experience for future careers that contribute to advancing resilience and sustainability. The program mission statement sets the goal of preparing students for careers in ecosystem management and reclamation, policy and environmental consulting, sustainable business, education and non-government organizations. The program is also appropriate for secondary education teachers interested in obtaining an advanced degree focusing on the ecological, physiological and natural history of biological organisms.

Pinou noted that graduates of the program will gain a deeper scientific understanding of the many factors contributing to biodiversity while also being challenged to apply these lessons cooperatively in the public policy arena. “There is a great need to be trained to understand the scientific data, consider all the stakeholders, listen to everyone’s interests, and address the most important problems collaboratively by building consensus,” she said. “For instance, if we need to develop more land to grow food, how can we do the plantings wisely so that we keep a corridor for animals and insects to move between open habitats?”

Application inquiries should be directed to Pinou at pinout@wcsu.edu. Application requirements and additional details about the program curriculum may be obtained at http://wcsu.edu/biology-msbiodiversity/ and at http://catalogs.wcsu.edu/grad1819/master-of-science-in-integrative-biological-diversity/.

For more information, contact Pinou at pinout@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

Several local celebrations of art, innovation and music on June 1 in Danbury

DANBURY, Conn. — The first weekend in June will provide a wide variety of arts, music, food, entertainment, innovation and hands-on opportunities in Danbury. The Fourth annual Art at Ives, Juried Fine Art & Crafts Show will be from 1 to 7:30 p.m. with a concert by flutist Sherry Winston at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2019, at Ives Concert Park on Danbury’s west side. Saturday also will feature CityCenterDanbury’s Street Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. downtown on Main Street, and the Customer Appreciation Fair from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Housatonic Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 51 Austin St. in Danbury.

Habitat’s event is to thank the public for its support of the organization’s 10-year growth. Among the featured activities will be a storewide sale, kids’ crafts, live music, STEM for students activities by Microsoft offering classes all day in Coding with Minecraft, Digital Art with Windows 10 and skills testing in the Xbox Game Zone with six stations. For the littlest shopper, there will be kid crafts offered by Macaroni Kid and custom-painting and antiquing classes for adults.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary of serving the community, CityCenterDanbury’s StreetFestival, presents “A Celebration of Arts & Innovation” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street. Enjoy art, music, games, food and beverages along with fascinating technology and live performances. The festival offers free admission, rain or shine. Main Street will be closed to motor vehicles during the festival.

Newtown Savings Bank presents the Juried Fine Art & Crafts Show at Ives Concert Park on the Western Connecticut State University Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The two-day event on June 1 and 2 will feature high-quality original works from more than 50 artists in a diverse scope of art forms representing every major category. Among the items represented will be one-of-a-kind paintings, mixed media masterpieces, jewelry and wood furnishings. The event will take place rain or shine with gates open from 1 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. A one-day ticket to attend the art show for either day is $5.

On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., The Sherry Winston Band will perform. A ticket to attend the Saturday night concert is $15, and provides entry to the Art at Ives show on Saturday only. Winston, a jazz flutist, has performed alongside many music superstars including Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Vanessa Williams, Sinbad, Patti Austin, Richard Elliott, Ramsey Lewis, Chaka Kahn, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, and Grover Washington Jr.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday will be “Brush and Brunch” at Ives Concert Park. This creative handcraft will involve making 2D decorative relief shapes called “Repousse.” Participate in this activity, enjoy brunch and then shop the artist booths at Art at Ives. Sponsored by The Art Spot, tickets for Sunday admission to the art show plus “Brush and Brunch” are $36.

Children under 16 are admitted free to the art show. Get tickets for the various days and events at www.eventbrite.com/e/art-at-ives-juried-fine-art-crafts-show-featuring-sherry-winston-band-tickets-57738731099.

Ives has partnered with the WCSU Art Department, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Brookfield Craft Center to present this event.

For Art at Ives tickets and information, visit www.ivesconcertpark.com. For Danbury Street Festival information, go to www.citycenterdanbury.com. To learn more about the Customer Appreciation Fair, visit www.facebook.com/pg/DanburyRestore/events.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 

 

 

 

WCSU’s 121st Commencement will be ‘family affair’ for Wilton mother and son

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will hold its 121st Commencement exercises at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2019,  at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.

Among the approximately 1,250 degree recipients will be Carole and Chauncey Allers, a mother and son from Wilton. Cheering them on as they receive their bachelor’s degrees will be a sizable entourage that includes Carole’s mother and sister, her husband Andrew, daughter Emily and son Harrison. Also in the Allers’ cheering section will be several of Carole’s closest friends.

As Carole says, Commencement will be “a family affair” for the Allers. It has been that way since she and Chauncey enrolled at WCSU. Harrison is following in the family footsteps as a WCSU student-athlete. He is a sophomore who plays soccer and is studying Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences.

image of Chauncey Allers

Chauncey Allers

Chauncey, 23, was recruited by WCSU’s soccer program to help turn the team around. Up until that point, college hadn’t been high on his priority list.

“When WCSU Soccer Coach Joseph Mingachos contacted me, I realized the true potential I had in the classroom, too,” he said.

An elective class in criminology set Chauncey on a course to pursue of Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration.

Along the way, he was captain of both the Men’s Soccer (2017-19) and Men’s Tennis (2018-19) teams and accumulated an impressive number of athletic awards. Those awards included 2016-18 Little East Conference All-Conference First Team (Men’s Soccer), 2017-18 LEC Offensive Player of the Year (Men’s Soccer) and 2018 LEC All-Conference Doubles First Team (Men’s Tennis). He also is the WCSU record holder for goals in a season (24), goals in a career (59), points in a season (57), points in a career (131) and tied the school record for most goals in a single game (4) for soccer.

image of Carole Allers

Carole Allers

Carole, who took a number of community college classes for several years, said the harsh realities of life ultimately brought her to pursue a bachelor’s degree at WCSU.

“After my husband had cancer, I realized that I needed to prepare for having my own career,” she said. “At the same time, Chauncey was enrolled at WCSU and I began talking to him about his experiences — and making sure that he would be OK going to the same school as his mom. I had met Psychology Department Chair Dr. Shane Murphy, and his background, along with my original plan to study sports psychology, was another big factor in choosing the school.”

Carole’s interest in sports psychology stems from her role with U.S. Soccer, where she “officiated games up to NCAA level and was actively involved in identifying, training, assessing and mentoring young referees — especially females. I thought that a degree in sports psychology would help me with the tools to better help young referees reach their potential. As I took more classes across the department, I was drawn to psychology itself, particularly as it relates to the local community base.”

It took Carole 2 1/2 years to complete her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Community Health, and she is currently finishing a semester at WCSU as a non-matriculated graduate student.

Juggling being a wife, mother and college student would leave many feeling overwhelmed, but that was not the case for Carole. She joined the WCSU Women’s Tennis team and found herself defeating opponents half her age on the court. She is graduating Cum Laude with 3.66 GPA, was initiated in 2018 into the Chi Alpha Sigma Connecticut Eta Chapter, was captain of the Women’s Tennis team (2017-19) and was named 2018 Colonial of the Year. She also was on the LEC Fall All-Academic Team, LEC All-Conference First Team (Doubles) and LEC All-Conference Second Team (Singles) from 2016-18.

When asked about attending WCSU with his mom, Chauncey said, “Sadly, we have never had any classes together. Every now and then, we would meet for a bite in the Westside campus cafeteria and chat. Whenever I would see her walking on campus or vice versa, we would make it publicly known she was my mother and people around us would laugh.”

Why the laughter?

“It has happened several times where people think I’m my sons’ (Chauncey and Harrison’s) sister instead of their mother,” 47-year-old Carole explained.

Next fall, Carole and Chauncey finally will have the opportunity to take classes together, since both have been accepted into WCSU’s new Master of Science in Addiction Studies program. They plan to continue their athletic endeavors as well — Chauncey on the WCSU Football and Men’s Tennis teams, and Carole on the Women’s Tennis team.

“With the program being brand new, we will definitely be in classes together — most likely all of them,” Carole said.

And while mother and son are extremely competitive in their respective sports, Carole said she doesn’t anticipate that in the classroom. “As for being competitive, I want both of us to do our very best and succeed in the program. That will push us to try and raise the bar for each other as well.

“The thing we have talked about the most is helping each other during our sports seasons,” she added. “Time management becomes the number one strategy during our school and team demands. Having someone helping you be more efficient during those times is important.”

As has been the case throughout the course of their time at WCSU, Carole said, “I have tried to make all of my sons’ games and they try to make mine as well. As a family, we have always cheered each other on.”

At WCSU’s May 19 Commencement ceremony, the “family affair” will continue.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 

 

 

WCSU Master of Fine Arts recipients to exhibit at New York gallery

Blue Mountain Gallery to host opening reception June 20 for eight featured artists

DANBURY, CONN. — Eight Western Connecticut State University recipients of the Master of Fine Arts degree in 2019 will present their works in the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition running from Tuesday, June 18, through Saturday, July 6, 2019, at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York.

The exhibition is supported by the Jason and Ellen Hancock Student Endowment Fund, managed by the WCSU Foundation. An opening reception for the artists will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, at the gallery, located on the fourth floor at 530 W. 25th St. in Manhattan. Admission will be free to the reception and the exhibition, and the public is invited. The gallery will be open for viewing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Department of Art organizes the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition each spring as a capstone experience demonstrating the personal artistic direction and mastery of candidates for the M.F.A. in Visual Arts, expressed in the works they present for viewing. The following M.F.A. graduates will show their works in this year’s exhibition:

  • Dee Rose Barba, of New Haven. Barba, who was born in California and grew up in Stamford, earned B.A. degrees in Interior Design and Studio Art from the University of New Haven. Her two- and three-dimensional works incorporate a variety of mediums including oil on canvas and wood, pen on paper, and clay. A keen awareness of her surrounding environment inspires works that feature figurative expressionism, non-representational forms and exaggerated landscapes. Barba has shown her works in the City-Wide Open Studios festival of Artspace in New Haven and at Art Helix Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Brett Colon, of New Windsor, New York. A native of northeastern Connecticut, Colon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration/Animation as well as a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut. Working primarily in watercolor paint and dip pen ink, she explores the boundaries of expression and precision to depict the ambiance of the scene as well as the appearance of the subject. Her thesis work incorporates pages for an illustrated cookbook inspired by her grandmother’s recipes. Colon has exhibited at venues in Dutchess County, New York, and across Connecticut, including her artwork for the 2018 Women Composers Festival in Hartford.
  • Brian Ferreira, of Bethel. Recipient of a B.A. in Illustration at WCSU, Ferreira is a U.S. Army veteran with a wife who remains on active military duty. Employing his artistic skills during his deployment to create murals, logos and platoon shirts, he returned to WCSU to pursue an M.F.A. with specialization in illustration for children’s books. His focus on stories about children with special needs has been inspired by his son’s diagnosis with autism. “It’s never easy to fit in when it comes to meeting new people, even more so for those with disabilities,” he said. “I want to help younger people learn to see through others’ unique behaviors and truly find the person, passions and motivations inside.”
  • Greg Mursko, of Watertown. Recipient of a B.A. from WCSU and an M.F.A. in Advertising and Graphic Design from Syracuse University, Mursko garnered numerous professional honors over the span of a distinguished three-decade career in marketing and design including three Ozzie and five Gold Ink awards as well as recognition at the International Festival of Fashion Photography at Cannes, France. He currently serves as an adjunct arts instructor at Naugatuck Valley Community College. His thesis work in illustration features two series of mixed media and digital images addressing the themes “Matrixing: A Study in Stone” and “The Seven Deadly Sins.”
  • Mildred Paulino, of Danbury. Paulino, who earned her B.F.A. from Paier College of Art, has worked recently in oils on gesso board and plexiglass as well as charcoal and graphite on paper. She paints and draws from direct observation, exploring themes of identity and family in portraits that convey powerful stories about personal relationships. She has participated in the City-Wide Open Studios festival in New Haven and in exhibitions at the Silo Gallery in New Milford and Mercurial Gallery in Danbury. She currently serves as an art instructor at Hudson Country Montessori School in Danbury.
  • Dee Dee Perrone, of Ridgefield. Perrone earned a B.S. degree from Wesley College and enjoyed success in a previous career as a graphic designer before taking up painting. Inspired by masters such as Casper David Friedrich and Andrew Wyeth, she paints still-life and figurative works that capture moods and emotions, seeking through brush stroke, texture and color to echo feelings evoked by memory and passing moments. She applies multiple layers of oil paint to convey movement and change over time, leaving a history on the canvas. Her works have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York and the Art and Frame Gallery in Danbury.
  • Rima Rahal, of Danbury. A native of Delmar in upstate New York, Rahal holds dual B.F.A. degrees in Illustration and Graphic Design as well as a master’s in Visual Art Education from Lesley University. Her detailed, dry-layered watercolor paintings offer reflections upon her Lebanese heritage and draw inspiration from her father’s professional trade as a jeweler. Over the past decade, she has exhibited in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts as well as China and Turkey. She has visited 30 countries and has taught visual art in Beijing and Istanbul. Her selections for the thesis exhibition have been inspired by her travels around the world.
  • Andrea Rios, of New Milford. Recipient of B.A. degrees in Painting and Illustration from WCSU, Rios is a professional illustrator who uses various mediums including scratchboard, watercolor, ink and gouache to tell stories that connect diverse peoples and cultures. She specializes in illustration for children’s books and has explored classical and contemporary folk tales from around the world, drawing parallels between the values and beliefs held by foreign cultures with those held by Americans. “I love the power of narratives and how they lead us to empathize and learn and connect with each other,” she said.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University recognized by Exercise is Medicine for efforts to create culture of wellness on campus

WCSU among 139 campuses honored worldwide

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University is one of only 139 colleges and universities around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. University Health Service (UHS) made physical activity a vital sign by asking students how often they exercise, and the Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences Department (HPX) coordinated with UHS and the Counseling Center to offer exercise counseling. These two initiatives helped WCSU earn gold-level designation from the Exercise is Medicine On Campus (EIM-OC) program.

According to WCSU Professor of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences Dr. Jeffrey Schlicht, EIM-OC has been a part of WCSU since 2016.

“We started as a Bronze-level campus in fall 2016,” he said. “The following year our department worked closely with University Health Service to integrate physical activity as a vital sign into their intake form, earning us our first Gold-level recognition. Adding this physical activity question, ‘Do you do at least 150 minutes of structured cardio (walk, run, swim) per week?’ onto the patient intake form encouraged the staff at UHS to expand their discussion about exercise with patients and this led to the creation of our exercise counseling program.

“This year at our spring Health Fair, two HPX undergraduate students, Isabel Lara Trinidad and Alejandro Velasquez, staffed an EIM-OC table where they talked to students, faculty, staff and community members about the importance of exercise for maintaining good health,” Schlicht added. They created 20 questions about exercise prescription guidelines and the health benefits of exercise, and used those questions to interact with and educate the public.”

Of the 139 campuses recognized this year, 55 received gold, 56 silver and 28 bronze. All gold, silver and bronze colleges and universities will be officially recognized on May 29 as part of the 2019 Exercise is Medicine World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting.

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives,” said Robyn Stuhr, vice president of Exercise is Medicine. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.”

For more information, contact Schlicht at schlichtj@wcsu.edu.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. 

 

 

WCSU hosts Fifth Annual Media Arts Film Festival

image of Media Arts Film Festival posterDANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host its Fifth Annual Media Arts film Festival on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Sponsored by the Broadcast Education Association student club, video projects from students in the Art, Media Production, Communication and Digital and Interactive Media Arts majors will be shown. The event is free and open to the public. There will be free refreshments and a cash bar. Formal attire is encouraged.

The event will begin with a Digital & Media Arts Exhibit from 3 to 5 p.m. in Room 202 of the Student Center on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. A reception will take place from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by the entry screening and awards ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Student Center Theater.

Entries to be screened at the festival fall into the categories of animation, basic video, digital & interactive media, documentary, drama, experimental, spots, and studio and packages. Judges will review the entries in terms of editing, aesthetic appeal and quality of content.

Professor of Communication & Media Arts Dr. JC Barone, Assistant Professor of Communication & Media Arts Paul Echeverria, Assistant Professor of Communication & Media Arts Dr. Jaqueline Guzda, Assistant Professor of Art Sabrina Marques, Adjunct Instructor of Communication & Media Arts Guy Perrotta and Urban Archaeologist Greg Van Antwerp are this year’s judges. The festival also will feature a “People’s Choice Award,” decided by audience members via live interactive judging.

“It’s a great way to end the year and support student creative work,” Barone said. “All are welcome to this red-carpet event.”

The festival is supported in part by the Communication & Media Arts Department, Art Department, the DIMA program and WXCI-91.7 FM.

For more information, contact Barone at baronej@wcsu.edu or Echevarria at echevarriap@wcsu.edu.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU alumni to share entrepreneurial experiences in public service

Entrepreneurial Arc forum May 6 highlights innovation & problem-solving in public policy

DANBURY, CONN. — Three Western Connecticut State University alumni who have discovered varied outlets for innovation, creativity and problem-solving in public service will discuss their experiences at an Entrepreneurial Arc panel discussion on Monday, May 6, 2019, at the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

Participants in the Entrepreneurial Arc panel, presented as part of the WCSU series of programs showcasing local entrepreneurs, will include Alex Larsson, 2018 Democratic candidate for the 66th House District and a co-founder of the Connecticut Crossroads Project; John Board, New Britain Conservation Commission member and chairman of New Britain Pride; and Christal Preszler, deputy director of Economic and Community Development for the town of Newtown.

The forum will be at 6 p.m. in Room 218 of the Classroom Building on the Westside campus. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend. Co-sponsors for the event include the Center for Entrepreneurship, Research, Innovation and Creativity (E.R.I.C.@THEGARAGE), the Ancell School of Business and the Macricostas Entrepreneurial Endowment, all at WCSU; the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce; and the Danbury Hackerspace.

Dr. Pauline Assenza, associate professor of Management and coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Arc program, observed that the forum will offer perspectives on the personal experiences and evolving careers of the panelists in the public arena and explore what each hopes to accomplish in public service going forward. Assenza noted that public sector work often demands an entrepreneurial mindset attuned to identifying and acting upon opportunities to arrive at innovative solutions for the benefit of citizen stakeholders in society.

“If the goal of the entrepreneur is to look for opportunities to solve problems for those who are in need, and if innovative solutions are necessary, why not apply this energy to public service and become an advocate for your constituents?” she remarked. She added that each of the featured panelists provides an example of seeking opportunities “to exercise creativity in pursuit of something meaningful and to work actively for change.”

image of Alex Larsson

Alex Larsson

Larsson, who received his B.A. and M.A. in History at WCSU, participates in the management of the nonprofit organization Connecticut Crossroads Project, which seeks to record and archive oral histories of residents in communities across the state. A native of New Milford and Woodbury who now resides in Bantam, he observed, “Connecticut’s Northwest corner has a rich history and culture that can be opened up even more with programs through the historical societies and libraries.” He currently serves as a member of the Litchfield Conservation Commission, alternate member of the Litchfield Parks and Recreation Commission and chair of the Litchfield Democratic Town Committee. He also volunteers in a program to train guide and service dogs.

He competed in 2018 as the Democratic nominee for the 66th District seat in the state House of Representatives, losing to incumbent Republican Rep. David Wilson. Describing himself as a youthful progressive, Larsson campaigned to promote public education, free community college enrollment, accessible health care, affordable housing, economic revitalization and other programs to build up communities and expand opportunities for Connecticut residents.

image of John Board

John Board

Board, recipient of a B.A. in Political Science at WCSU, is a current member of the New Britain Conservation Commission and previously served on the Redding Parks and Recreation Commission. An Eagle Scout who dedicated more than 1,000 hours to community service, he interned in the offices of the Newtown first selectman and the mayor of New Britain and has been active in Connecticut political campaigns since 2012. During 2018, he served as campaign manager for Fifth Congressional District Republican candidate Manny Santos and later joined the campaign of independent gubernatorial candidate Oz Griebel as scheduler and deputy policy director.

As founder and chairman of New Britain Pride since 2017, Board has led the organization in coordinating LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations and promoting an atmosphere of acceptance in the city. He has been a frequent “citizen advocate” in testimony before the Connecticut legislature over the past decade, appearing to speak at hearings on House and Senate bills covering a diversity of issues including health and human services for the LGBTQ+ community, student financial aid and debt, transparency in college tuition decisions, and community college consolidation. He served as a student member of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education and an anchor for the award-winning 2017 WCSU Election Connection broadcast. In his anchor role, he observed, “It is fundamental for the community to know and understand what is happening in their local town halls, how their municipal CEOs respond to residents, and how all levels of government interact.”

image of Christal Preszler

Christal Preszler

Preszler, who earned her M.B.A. from the WCSU Ancell School of Business, began her career in the private sector as associate product manager at Duracell, working in diverse areas including customer service, sales, logistics and business-to-business marketing. She joined the Newtown Economic and Community Development office in 2012 and in January 2017 became its deputy director, where she serves as an advocate for development grants, brownfield recovery, business startups and other measures to build a vibrant and economically strong community. Her office seeks to identify property options for Newtown commercial and retail businesses that are planning expansions as well as for firms that are considering relocation to Newtown. Other tasks include assistance to new businesses to gain fast-track permitting and publicity for events such as Sandy Hook Restaurant Week and the Newtown Arts Festival.

Assenza noted that Preszler has become an effective and innovative business advocate for the town where she also makes her home. “Working with diverse stakeholders, the public, government agencies and private organizations, Christal’s goal is to create a business-friendly environment in Newtown,” she said.

For more information about the panel discussion, contact Assenza at assenzap@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

‘Sip & Sketch’ evening at WCSU pairs art with wine and refreshments

Guests of all artistic levels invited to participate in May 3 event

image of Sip & SketchDANBURY, CONN. — An entertaining and creative evening that pairs the experience of drawing from a live model with wine and refreshments will be offered in the “Sip and Sketch” series event to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2019, at Western Connecticut State University.

Guests of all artistic skill levels are invited to create original drawings as they enjoy wine and assorted snacks during the “Sip and Sketch” evening in the Drawing Studio, Room 241 of the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The admission fee includes refreshments as well as basic art supplies including charcoal and paper. Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own drawing supplies if they wish.

The ticket fee is $25 for general admission, or $20 for WCSU alumni who may obtain the discount code by email correspondence to robeaul@wcsu.edu or coladarcie@wcsu.edu.

Admission to the event is open to adults 21 years of age and older. Tickets may be purchased online at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com. The “Sip and Sketch” series is sponsored by the Department of Art and the WCSU Alumni Association.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.