Eric Cerino Receives NSF IGERT Fellowship for Graduate Training

Eric Cerino (Psychology Department) graduating in May has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at Oregon State University in Human Development and Family Studies. He has also been selected as a National Science Foundation (NSF) IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program) Fellow for the Oregon State University LIFE* in an Aging Society program. He will receive a stipend, tuition remission, health benefits and research support costs.

The National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship allows students to collaborate across disciplines in a multidisciplinary research traineeship. Students pick a primary core (Psychology) and a supplementary (Gerontology) core.  He plans on extending his research begun here at Eastern Connecticut State University with Dr. Jennifer Leszczynski in collaboration with the engineering professors and students.

Eric has presented his research on Alzheimer’s at regional conferences and is scheduled to present at the Poster’s on the Hill Conference later this month. During his time at Eastern Eric has received a Travel Grant, The Jean H. Thoresen ECSU-AAUP Scholarship and will receive the Barnard Scholar Award.

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2013-2014 Student Recipients of Travel and Project Grants


The following students received Travel Grants that were used to present research and regional and national conferences:

Eric Cerino (Psychology) “Investigating Subjective Age, Level of Activity, and Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults.” Posters on the Hill, April 2014

Eastern Concert Chorale (Performing Arts) “John Rutter’s Requiem.” Carnegie Hall, NYC March 2014.

Mackenzie Fannon (Environmental Earth Science) “Kinematic Constraints on the Emplacement of Very Hot Rheomorphic Ignimbrites in the Southern Snake River Plain, Idaho.” Geological Society America NE Section Annual Meeting, March 2014.

Matthew Gonsalves (Environmental Earth Science) “Structural Evolution of the Soapstone Mountain Metagabbro Complex, Somers, CT.” Geological Society America NE Section Annual Meeting, March 2014.

Destinee Holmes (English) “Stepping Out: Encouraging Inclusivity and Differences In/Outside the Writing Center.” Northeast Writing Center Association, February 2014.

Rebecca Keenan (Mathematics) “Estimating the Volatility in the Black Scholes Formula.”  National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, April 2014.

Kacey Rainone (Communication) ” Slut: The Deconstruction and Recoding of a Defamatory Term.” National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, April 2014.

Jordan Sakal (Communication) “The Effect of Social Media on Political Awareness.” National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, April 2014.

Krysta Valerio (Health and Physical Education) “Real-Time Analysis at Sports Venues.” North American Society for Sport Management, May 2014.

Miles Wilkerson (History) “Nunca Olvide: Reframing Historical Discourse on Cuban Exile Terrorism.” Phi Alpha Theta NY Upper Regional Meeting, April 2014.


Dominique DuBois a student in the Biology Department Mentored by Dr. Szczys received the first Project Grant to continue their project titled “Genetic Analysis of Parentage in Whiskered Terns.” The grant will be used to continue genotyping their samples.


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Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Mentor Recipients 2014

We are happy to announce the recipients of the first 2 faculty to receive the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Mentor Award. Faculty were nominated by students and also their respective department chairs.

The recipient for the School of Arts & Sciences is Mizan R. Khan, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Mathematics. Dr. Khan received his award from the Provost and his student Richard Magner at the 2014 Arts & Sciences Research Conference & Exhibition held Saturday April 12th. Richard Magner and Dr. Khan created several conference presentations and 2 publications in selective journals in Mathematics.

Dr. Jeffey Trawick-Smith (Professor of Education) was nominated by 8 Students including Kimberly Depaolis, Heather Oski, Kristen Krause, Cassandra Savalli, Jennifer Wolf, Marley Koschel, Jamie Vallarelli, and Christina Samaha. Their work resulted in 2 publications and several conference presentations.

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Students Represent Eastern at Northeast Regional Honors Conference

Three students conducted formal thesis presentations in Niagara Falls, NY April 3rd to the 6th at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference.  Students were accompanied by William Salka, Ph.D.

Katherine Buyse, Senior Honors Scholar, History and Accounting
“Muscular Evangelism: At the Crossroads of Sports, American Fundamentalism and Media, 1891-2011.”

Molly Gosselin, Senior Honors Scholar, English
“Is This Real Life? Exploring Grief, Dreams and Reality in a Young Adult Novella.”

Zachary Marotte, Senior Honors Scholar, History
“The Persistence of the Ancients: The English Army’s Boundary to the Adoption of Modern Military Theory, 1660-1728.”

Seven students presented posters based on their honors theses. Below are their names and titles of the presentations:

Alexandra Cross, Sophomore Honors Scholar, Political Science
“The Hellenic Representation of Art.”

Patrick Boyne, Junior Honors Scholar, Communication
“Interesting the Uninterested and Informing the Uninformed in “22 Minutes.”

Richard Magner, Junior Honors Scholar, Mathematics
“Ordinary Lines and Modular Hyperbolas.”

Megan Velasquez, Sophomore Honors Scholar, English
“Queer Readings of Literary Fiction.”

Samuel Underhill, Junior Honors Scholar, Computer Science
“Implementation of Algorithms Across Various Computational Mechanisms.”

Brooke Baldwin, Junior Honors Scholar, English
“Writing the School Story in a Dynamic Education System.”

Kelsey Tuller, Junior Honors Scholar, History
“The Forgotten Town: Gay City Connecticut.”

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Richard Magner Receives Barry Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship established in 1986 recognizes, outstanding students in the areas of mathematics, natural sciences or engineering. Ricky was nominated by Eastern Connecticut State University. This honor adds to his research presentations and 2 publications with his mentor Mizan Khan and as our first Undergraduate Research Fellow. Ricky was 1 of 6 Honorable Mentions for the State of Connecticut.

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Concert Chorale to Perform at Carnegie Hall

The Eastern Concert Chorale have been invited to perform composer John Rutter’s “Requiem” on Monday March 17th at world famous Carnegie Hall as part of a concert series sponsored by Mid-America Productions in New York City. This is the culmination of a 2 month rehearsal process at not only Eastern Connecticut State University but at also a 4 day residency with choirs from Arizona, California, Connecticut and Kentucky. The following students will be performing: Devannie Cesar, Emily Chubet, Conner Cummings, Mindy DeDominicis, Talia Erris,  Andrew Faria, Kyle Girard, Tyler Hinde, Alexis Kurtz, Jordan LaRusso, Tom Law, Moriah Perrett, Josh Perry, Judy Reid, Zach Rice, Ally Rollins, Erik Russell-Shepherd, Cecile St. Jean, Renae St. John,  Thomas Wazny, Matthew White, and Mikayla Zagata.          

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Students Graphic Designs on Display

Working with Faculty Mentor June Bisantz, graphic design students  will have their work for the Green Lights Initiative on display at the Kerri Gallery in Willimantic from February 2 to March 5th. The students involved are Kara Berglund, Melissa Blazejak, Christina Broccoli, Laura Cardeno, Joshua Cranmer, Braden Herrick, Lauren Hodkinson, Cynthia Kapp, Solinda Keth, Colleen King, Hannah Lewis, Cassandra Marion, Chris McMenamey, Seth Myers, Kristin Palka, Joseph Perez, Robert Picone, Mark Raleigh, Alyssa Reilly, Alexa Senia, Chelsea Taylor, Tyler Scott and Julie Vega.

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Mathematics Student Presents Research

Rebecca Keenan  presented her research with students from Wesleyan University, Concordia College and Valparaiso University in the 2014 Joint Mathematics Meetings held in Baltimore, MD in January. The project titled “Estimating the Volatility in the Black-Scholes Formula” was created during her participation at a National Science Foundation REU (Research Experience for Undergraduate) site last year.

Rebecca is continuing her research with Dr. Anthony Aidoo.

Left to right: Rebecca Keenan (Eastern Connecticut State University), Rachel Lane (Concordia College) & Josh Matti (Wesleyan University)

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5 Students to Present their Research at National Conferences in Spring 2014

Eric Cerino of the Psychology Department and mentored by Dr. Jennifer Leszczynski will represent Eastern Connecticut State University at the 18th Annual Posters on the Hill Conference in Washington DC. Their research titled “Investigating Subjective Age, Level of Activity and Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults” was 1 of 60 posters selected from approximately 600 submissions. All presenters will also be able to discuss the impact of their research experience with members of Congress.

The National Conferences on Undergraduate Research NCUR have selected 3 students to present their work in April 2014. These projects were selected from over 4,000 submissions and will represent Eastern Connecticut State University at this prestigious conference. The following are the students names and presentation titles as well as their departments. Rebecca Keenan, Math Department (Mentor: Anthony Aidoo) will present her research titled ” Estimating the Volatility in the Black Scholes Formula.

Mentored by Dr. Terri Toles-Patkin of the Communications Department,  Kacey Rainone (Presentation Title: ” Slut: The Deconstruction and Recoding of a Defamatory Term) and Jordan Sakal (Presentation Title: “The Effect of Social Media on Political Awareness).

Krysta Valerio of the Health and Physical Education Department (Mentor: Greg Kane Ph.D.) has also been selected to present  at the North American Society for Sport Management Conference in May 2014. Her research titled “Real-Time Analysis at Sports Venues” was selected from from 487 abstracts.


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Performing Arts Students Award Winners at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

Joseph Staffa projection design work for Once on this Island won first place for Scenic Design Excellence at this year’s conference.  As such, he wins a one week trip to Washington DC’s national conference.  This is the second year in a row a student of Faculty Mentor Kristen Morgan has won a first place national KCACTF award for their Projection Design.

Keri Smart won a one week scholarship at the prestigious Stage Craft Institute of Las Vegas for her costume design of Eastern’s production of The Birds. Anya Sokolavskaya was Keri’s mentor and advisor in designing and building the costumes which featured a highly creative use of feathers.  Her award includes an experience with Las Vegas’ famous Jubilee costume design and run crew.

“Once on this Island” directed and choreographed by Alycia Bright-Holland won a regional Merit Award for Excellent use of African and Caribbean dance and performance in a theatrical context.

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