WCSU showcases student projects at Western Research Day
Western graduate and Mercy College educator Eric Martone to give keynote lecture

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University will showcase the achievements of student researchers in a wide range of academic fields and present a guest lecture by a WCSU graduate recognized for his contributions as a historian and educator at the 10th annual Western Research Day (WRD) on Friday, May 2, 2014.

The WRD 2014 program will feature a poster exhibition of student research projects conducted during the current academic year from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Atrium of the Science Building on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The program will begin at 10 a.m. in Science Building Room 125 with an opening session highlighted by welcoming remarks from WCSU President James W. Schmotter and a keynote talk by Dr. Eric Martone, assistant professor in the School of Education at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Martone will offer perspectives on the academic and future career benefits of student research in a lecture titled, “Set Yourself Up for Success: The Value and Practical Applications of Student Research and Publications.”

WCSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jane McBride Gates will present awards honoring 10 research projects shown at WRD during the closing session at 12:45 p.m. in Science Building Room 125. Admission will be free to all WRD sessions and the public is invited to attend.

Martone, a Danbury native, is an assistant professor of history and social studies education at Mercy College, teaching graduate-level traditional and online courses and serving as founding faculty adviser to the graduate student publication, “Mavericks’ Education Journal.” He also offers a course online through Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. He is the author of four books about European history and 19 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and curriculum guides. In 2013, the international honor society for education Kappa Delta Pi cited him as a “Teacher of Honor.”

Martone received teacher certification in 2003 and an M.A. in European history in 2007 at WCSU, pursuing doctoral studies to earn a Ph.D. in global history at Stony Brook University in 2011. Prior to joining the Mercy faculty in 2011, he served for seven years as a social studies teacher at Kennedy High School in Waterbury. He was the 2011 recipient of the John Rogers Memorial Award from the Connecticut Education Association in recognition of his contributions in the areas of teaching and scholarship.

Student projects accepted for participation in WRD 2014 will represent academic departments in the physical, biological and social sciences, humanities, arts, business and professional studies at WCSU. Participation requires prior approval by the student’s faculty adviser and submission to the WRD planning committee for review. Western faculty and staff will judge exhibits during the poster session and select projects in several categories of academic disciplines as Provost Award recipients, with presenters of the prize-winning exhibits to receive Barnes & Noble gift certificates.

Dr. Susan Maskel, professor of biological and environmental sciences and chair of the WRD 2014 planning committee, observed the annual event provides an important opportunity for Western students to gain valuable experience in designing and conducting their own research or creative work and presenting it to judges outside their discipline.

“It’s a great experience for them to learn what a professional conference will be like, without the more intimidating aspects of a conference presentation, and it makes a great contribution for students’ job resumes and graduate admission prospects,” Maskel said. During the 10 years that she has been involved in WRD, she added, “I have found it a real eye-opener to see the wide diversity of research and creative work that our students at Western are pursuing in the various disciplines. We encourage students from all academic and professional areas of study to participate.”

Debbi Johnson, adjunct professor of biological and environmental sciences and coordinator of judging and volunteer recruitment for the event, said WRD judges will evaluate students’ ability to mount an effective poster presentation and explain research studies and findings in clear and understandable terms. “We have always found that even when students enter WRD as a class assignment, they come out of the experience saying they loved it and had so much fun talking about their projects,” Johnson said.

In addition to Maskel and Johnson, members of the WRD 2014 planning committee include Dr. Michelle Monette, assistant professor of biological and environmental sciences; Dr. Anne Roberts, assistant professor of chemistry; and Brian Stevens, university archivist and special collections librarian. Maskel credited Schmotter and Gates for their commitment to sustaining WRD as an annual event and the Office of the Provost for its continuing sponsorship, as well as the WCSU Office of Publications and Design for its extensive support each year to WRD organizers and student presenters.

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


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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