Southern Alumni Magazine Fall 2019

Page 1

SMagCovFall19.qxp_MagazineCover 11/7/19 2:20 PM Page 1

a publication for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University


FLIGHT SCHOOL How Southern prepared Peter Marra, ’85, to help save the planet.

SMagCovFall19.qxp_MagazineCover 10/30/19 10:12 AM Page 2


16 Flight School

Peter Marra, ’85, says a love of nature saved his life. Today, the longtime Smithsonian scientist and newly named director of the Georgetown Environment Initiative is returning the favor.


When disaster strikes, Katherine Bequary, ’93, and David Denino, ’75, M.S. ’76, travel the country and the world — saving lives and providing solace.

28 24 Power Painter

Chaz Guest, ’85, takes artistic expression to new heights, re-examining the history of slavery and launching a superhero in the process.

The U.S. Fulbright Student Program is one of the most prestigious and widely recognized international exchange programs in the world — and Southern is proud to count two recent graduates as Fulbright award recipients.

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 1

Southern |


Fall | 19

30 The Traveling Chemist Could research on an Amazonian plant save indigenous tribes and help get you through that mid-afternoon slump? Associate Professor of Chemistry James Kearns investigates.

Singing Out and 36 Coming Home


In fall 2019, Southern held its 125th Anniversary Gala and Homecoming, welcoming thousands of guests to campus — including treasured alumni and a Broadway superstar.

2 ■ Seen on Campus 4 ■ From the President 5 ■ Campus News 13 ■ Social Southern 14 ■ True Blue 23 ■ Hidden Campus 34 ■ Supporting Southern 38 ■ Owl Update Jacquelynn Garofano, ‘06: scientist, mentor, STEMinist

39 ■ Alumni News 43 ■ Alumni Notes


Share Southern

student. Thank you!

State Universit Connecticut friends of Southern

issue with a prospective

for alumni and

Southern? Please share this

a publication

who’d be a great fit for


Do you know someone

planet. L help save the FLIGHT SCHOO Marra, ’85, to n prepared Peter How Souther

Expect more. Be more. Southern.

46 ■ Spaces & Places in New Haven The Cultural Capital

48 ■ Southern Events

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 2



SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 3

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 4


you may know, we recently completed our year-long 125th Anniversary Celebrations here at Southern. They culminated in “A Night of Inspiration” on Oct. 4, featuring Tony Award-winner Leslie Odom Jr., one of the original cast members of the Broadway hit Hamilton. The event raised more than $135,000 for a fund to support our students’ basic needs by establishing an oncampus food pantry and student services center. What better way to commemorate an institution’s 125th anniversary than to smooth the path to higher education for those who may be struggling on that journey? As a public, civic-minded university committed to social justice, it is critical that we acknowledge the complexities of our students’ lives: specifically, those of our low-income and working students, more of whom are struggling to make ends meet as they juggle job and family commitments with their studies. As I continue my fourth year as president, I continue to be amazed at how transformative a Southern education can truly be. We prepare our students to be engaged, responsible citizens, but we also strive to help them discover their passions, so that they may develop a career path and go on to make their own contributions to society. When our students succeed, our community gains immeasurably. This is social justice in action — and it is what helps to define us here at Southern. We’re constantly looking for ways to prepare our students for the ever-changing workforce landscape. For instance, our new healthcare studies degree program prepares students for a wide range of career opportunities in healthcare settings and offers a


pathway to complete prerequisites for our nationally rated nursing program. Next semester, the College of Arts and Sciences will launch a new interdisciplinary major: the Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science, a rapidly growing field. And we’re offering a new portfolio of accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree programs — in chemistry, computer science, psychology, recreation therapy, anthropology, Spanish, history, and sport and entertainment management — that will allow students to complete both degrees in five years. The transformation of our campus also continues apace. Our Health and Human Services building will break ground in late November, featuring wonderful space for the clinical programs that prepare our graduates in the health fields and serve the wider community. Design is beginning for a new, net-zero home for the School of Business, on Wintergreen Avenue — just one of the many great sustainability initiatives that we’ll be embarking on. And the Obama Magnet University School on Farnham Avenue will be complete and receive its first entering cohort in early spring, offering tremendous experiential opportunities for our teachers-in-training. Our students take full advantage of these and other new opportunities Southern offers, and they thrive because of them. I thank you for your active interest in, and support of, student success at Southern, and I wish a very happy holiday season to you and your friends and family. Sincerely, Joe Bertolino President

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 5


Miss Teen USA is an Owl




■ VOL 16 • NO 2

a highly

Joe Bertolino, President Michael K. Kingan, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Executive Director, SCSU Foundation, Inc.

accomplished group that includes a beauty queen — Kaliegh Garris, the reigning Miss Teen USA. In the midst of a busy first semester, Garris paused to reflect on winning the title on April 28 and starting college four months later. MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION/IMG PHOTO


Patrick Dilger, Director of Integrated Communications & Marketing Villia Struyk, Editor Mary Pat Caputo, Associate Editor Christina Levere, Editorial Assistant Marylou Conley, ’83, Art Director Isabel Chenoweth, Photographer Jason Edwards, Brokk Tollefson Student Photographers Melanie Stengel, Contributing Photographer Kenneth Sweeten, Sports Charlie Davison, Alumni Notes OFFICE OF ALUMNI RELATIONS

Gregory Bernard, ’04, Director of Alumni Relations (203) 392-6500 EDITORIAL OFFICE

Southern Connecticut State University Office of Integrated Communications & Marketing/Southern Alumni Magazine 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515-1355 Telephone (203) 392-6591; fax (203) 392-5083 Email address: University website: Printed by The Lane Press, Inc.

The road to Southern: Garris, who

On being recognized on campus: It’s

graduated from Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford and ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, applied to colleges only in Connecticut and New York, but thought she’d take a gap year before starting. That changed when she won the Miss Teen USA title and its accompanying scholarship. Her mother was the first to learn she’d be attending Southern — and celebrated with a school-spirited shopping spree. “I got back [from the pageant] a week and a half later and there was Southern gear — sweatpants and an oversized hoodie — on my bed,” Garris says. “I thought, ‘Awww, this is cute. I am excited!’”

flattering and fun, says Garris, who also appreciates being part of the crowd. “Most of the time, I wear athletic clothing and no makeup, and I always wear my hair pulled up. That’s how I am most comfortable.”

One great course: A class in jazz and tap is

An involved student: As a student worker with Southern’s social media team, Garris contributes behind the scenes (learning about lighting, filming videos, etc.) and in front of the camera. She says helping with social media has inspired her to become more involved on campus: “I am constantly looking at Southern’s calendar [for posting], so I know what is happening — and I always know where the free food is being served, which is a plus being a college student.”

a standout. Garris danced competitively for the past 10 years, studying tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, and previously, pointe.

What’s important to her: Her twin sisters are eight years older: Samantha is in the

Southern Alumni Magazine is published by the university in cooperation with the SCSU Alumni Association two times a year and distributed free of charge to alumni and friends of the university. Opinions expressed in Southern Alumni Magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the university or the SCSU Alumni Association. Although the editors have made every reasonable effort to be factually accurate, no responsibility is assumed for errors. Postage paid at Burlington, Vt. Southern Connecticut State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, ancestry, present or past history of mental disorder, learning disability or physical disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, genetic information, or criminal record. Inquiries related to nondiscrimination policies and Title IX may be forwarded to Paula Rice, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Diversity and Equity Programs, 501 Crescent Street, BU 226, New Haven, CT, 06515; (203) 392-5568; Fall 2019 | 5

C A M P U S NE W S n

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 6

military, and Chauntel, who has cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities, lives with their mom. Chauntel inspired Garris to start We Are People 1st, an organization designed to support those with disabilities.

On making history as one of three woman of color currently holding a major pageant title, alongside Miss USA and Miss America: “You can look at it two ways: Yes, I absolutely love being part of this moment — having three women of color [win the titles] and being proud of who we are. But one day I hope that it is not as big of

a topic. That it’s the norm to have women of color be there as well.” Garris is biracial. Her mother is white; her father is black.

Defining Beauty: Garris received extensive media coverage for competing with her hair naturally curled, including stories in Elle, Ebony, Ebony Essence, and People. One of the biggest thrills was learning she’d inspired others. “Having moms of younger children say, ‘My daughter is mixed and she never really sees anybody in the media who looks like her. Now she has someone who does.’ That is really awesome.”


L SA L U TIN G A S U PER N U R S E KAREN REYES BENZI, a student in Southern’s RN to BSN online program, was named Yale New Haven Hospital’s 2019 Magnet Nurse of the Year. Benzi is an infusion nurse at Yale New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital.



95% 87%

are from Connecticut,

representing 147 cities and towns —

of the state’s municipalities.

The remaining students hail from


additional states, Washington,

D.C., and


foreign countries:

Canada, Dominican Republic, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates.


are students of color.

The top


majors for first-year

students are nursing, undeclared, business, education, and psychology.

Nursing Program Tops Ratings

Allow us to introduce the 2018 graduates of Southern’s traditional bachelor of science in nursing program, 100 percent of whom passed the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) on their first try. The website RN Careers is among those lauding the program: “Congratulations to @SouthernCT for being one of the best-ranked nursing programs in the country and the #1 best-ranked nursing program in Connecticut for 2019 with an impressive overall ranking of 99.26%.” The site looked at 1,949 nursing programs, ranking them on a variety of metrics, including first-time NCLEX passing rates and accreditation. The timing of these latest achievements is particularly poignant, as Southern celebrates the 50th anniversary of providing exceptional nursing education. In fall 1969, the program welcomed its first class of 30 students. Today, nursing is one of the top-selected majors, and the university offers a full array of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, including a Doctoral Program in Nursing Education, developed jointly with Western Connecticut State University. OOKING FOR HEALTH CARE PERFECTION?

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 7

Welcoming a World Cup Champion


spoke to a full house at Southern’s John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 21 — discussing her life, career, and the challenges facing women’s soccer, including gender equity and equal pay for female athletes. A forward with the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League, Morgan earned a gold medal with the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and played a key role on two FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning squads (2015, 2019). Since 2018, she has been the co-captain of the U.S. team with Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd. TAKE AIM PHOTOGRAPHY


Soccer star Alex Morgan spoke with noted soccer commentator JP Dellacamera at Lyman Center — and fielded numerous questions from her youthful fans.

Uncovering the Secrets of the Cosmos

I Research Associate Dana Casetti

MAGINE AN IMMENSE STOREHOUSE OF INFORMATION — a historic record of space that could help scientists answer countless questions about the universe. But only if the information was interpreted in a new way. A group of Southern scientists is in the process of doing just that — aided by a three-year, $509,480 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md. Dana Casetti, a research associate at Southern, is the principal investigator on the team, which is working with images captured by a camera system used on the Hubble Space Telescope from 1994 to 2009. At that point, the camera became obsolete and was replaced with an updated system. “Extensive observations were taken with this prior camera and they are in the archive,” says Casetti. “If we treat this data in a very specific way, we can extract more information than ever before.” The team’s goal: to measure the transverse motion of objects in space using these archival images — expertly calibrating the older data so that it’s compatible with information gathered from the camera system used after 2009. “Our proposal will extend the time baseline by about 15 years,” says Casetti. The team includes three Southern faculty members: Elliott Horch, professor of physics; Terry Girard, an adjunct professor in the Physics Department; and Casetti, as well as Vera Kozhurina-Platais (STScI) and Imants Platais (Johns Hopkins University). A graduate student will join the team in the third year of funding.

Fall 2019 | 7

C A M P U S NE W S ■

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 8



Photo Finish



has a way with a viewfinder — a gift that led the Society of

Professional Journalists (SPJ) to recognize her photographs among the best student work in the nation. In spring 2019, she was one of two finalists in the “feature photography” category of the SPJ’s national Mark of Excellence Awards, which honor the best of student journalism.


Jean-Jacques’ award-winning photos — culled from trips to Haiti, India

, Ghana

, Ethiopia, and more

— appeared in the inaugural issue of Crescent Magazine, a lifestyle publication produced by Southern students. Jean-Jacques advanced to the national competition after winning first place at SPJ’s Region 1 conference, which represents universities throughout New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. It was a great day for Southern students, who won five additional regional awards for their work on the Southern News student newspaper and Crescent Magazine. PHOTOS AND AN INTERVIEW WITH JEAN-JACQUES AT:

Financial Literacy Program among Nation’s Best


was ranked the ninth best in the nation in 2019, after being included on LendEDU’s annual “Top 50” list in 2018 and 2017 as well. Yale University was the only other Connecticut institution of higher learning recognized this year, coming in at #20.


50 LendEDU is a marketplace for private student loans, student loan refinancing, other products. 8 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Study Looks at Statins Risk

study of thousands of patients’ health records found those who were prescribed cholesterollowering medicine were significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes — with the rate tripling for those using statins for at least two years. Victoria Zigmont, M.P.H. ’12, assistant professor of public health at Southern, led the study while completing a doctoral program at The Ohio State University. The results were published in May 2019 in the journal Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, garnering widespread media interest.


credit cards, and personal loans, among


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 9

Fast Facts. Good News.

2.1 million, 5-year grant from the

• A$

U.S. Department of Education was awarded to Katie De Oliveira, director of the Academic Success Center, to support the Promoting Educational Retention through Collaborative High-Impact Services (PERCHS) program. The goal: to increase the success and retention of at-risk students through enhanced services and growth of the multi-divisional Southern Success Center. •

5 YEARS: time to complete both bachelor’s and master’s degrees through Southern’s new portfolio of accelerated programs in chemistry, computer science, psychology, recreation therapy, anthropology, Spanish, history, and sport and entertainment management.

3 of Southern’s existing Schools have been rededicated as

Colleges and will now be


Owl Named Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow


acob Santos, ’19, double majored in theatre and business administration. Today, his education continues in both subjects thanks a prestigious fellowship from the Newman’s Own Foundation. About 150 people annually apply for the 12-month fellowship, designed to provide emerging leaders with experience in the nonprofit sector. Santos, one of only 14 to receive the award this year, is serving as the managing director fellow at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. At Southern, Santos founded the Crescent Players of Color, a coalition of students and alumni of color dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. He also interned with Elm Shakespeare Company, Southern’s theater in residence.

known as: the College of Education, the College of


Arts and Sciences, and the College of Health and

Human Services. While a sign of academic maturation, these changes will not materially affect students or standards for graduation requirements, assessment, or accreditations. The School of Business has elected to retain its current name as it is the nomenclatural norm for many of the best business schools.


• The SCSU Foundation awarded $ to


students in the last fiscal year, thanks to

Southern’s generous donors. •

40+ students are taking a FREE Southern class on their community college campuses through a partnership with Gateway and Housatonic. The SCSU@GCC and SCSU@HCC initiative is designed to promote the highest level of degree attainment.

100% of first-year students accepted into the


Grad School Dean Named MANOHAR SINGH

was named dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. He comes to Southern from Humboldt State University, where he was dean of the College of Professional Studies and a professor of finance. Singh also previously held leadership roles at Penn State University Abington and Long Island University.

Honors College receive a merit-based scholarship covering ½ to full in-state tuition, beginning with the Class of 2020.

Southern is educating the most graduate students in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. Fall 2019 | 9

C A M P U S NE W S ■

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 10


Watch for These New Faces at Alumni Events on Campus and Beyond


educating writers who have found success in publishing their work and in related arenas such as teaching and editing. The program is a quiet powerhouse, its graduates’ work winning prizes and finding its way into countless literary journals, onto best-seller lists, and into the hands of eager readers. It’s also the only full-residency program of its kind in Connecticut. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is the terminal degree in its field, similar to a Ph.D., and qualifies those who hold the degree to teach creative writing at the university level, among other types of positions.

• Judite Vamvakides, ’98, M.A. ’19, has joined the university as the associate vice president for alumni and donor relations. Prior to this appointment, Vamvakides was director of development for health affairs at Quinnipiac University. She previously held development positions at Sacred Heart University and Southern. • Michelle Rocheford Johnston has transitioned to the role of director of donor relations and advancement events. Johnston previously served 12 years as director of alumni


relations at the university. • Gregory Bernard, ’04, has assumed the role of director of alumni relations at Southern. Prior to this appointment, he was director of


alumni relations for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut Foundation. • Laura Curtin joins the development

••• Thank you for making SAV A E AV GIVING THE DAT DA ATE 2019 Giving Day a DAY ••• 2020 APRIL tremendous success! 22

team as a major gift officer. She comes to Southern with substantial development experience at New Haven Promise, United Way, Choate Rosemary Hall, and the Yale School of Management.

Swimming Through the Pain

Swimmer Michael Phelps has won more Olympic medals than any athlete in U.S. history (28, including 23 gold), annihilating the competition while simultaneously battling depression. On March 29, he delivered the Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture to a sold-out crowd at Lyman Center, speaking frankly about mental health. “I didn’t want to see a therapist. Most people probably don’t. But I know it saved my life,” said Phelps, an advocate for mental health awareness. In step with the event, Southern also partnered with Connecticut Public Television to present Student Mental Health: Crucial Conversations. Watch the one-hour program at: 10 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 11

faculty spotlight

Jonathan Wharton associate professor of political science and urban affairs A BORN EDUCATOR : “One

could argue it’s in the DNA,” says Wharton of the allure of the classroom. His parents met while attending the doctoral program at Teachers College, Columbia University. IN THE CLASS : “I like to spark

debate and discussion. . . . I want students to be intrigued, curious, and provoked. I relish being more of a facilitator — a referee, if you will — as opposed to just dropping knowledge.” LEARNING BY DOING : “We

take internships very seriously,” says Wharton, internship coordinator for the department. Students often complete multiple internships, up to 15 credits. Placements include federal and state congressional offices, the City of New Haven, political offices, law firms, nonprofit organizations, think tanks, and more. BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE :

Wharton is adviser to the College Republicans and the College Democrats. He also advises the Golf Team, which competes as a club sport. RESEARCH FOCUS : Wharton

and Theresa Marchant-Shapiro, associate professor of political science, are accessioning the archival papers of several former New Haven mayors. The collection was established through the generosity of attorney Neil Thomas Proto, ’67, and is housed in Buley Library. MORE AT:

Fall 2019 | 11


C A M P U S NE W S ■

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:15 PM Page 12

A Global Community



was founded in 2016, but it’s already had a dramatic impact. In 2018, Southern’s team traveled to Nicaragua to assist medical personnel in a rural clinical setting. The club’s next trip took place during the January 2019 semester break, with 21 Southern students traveling to Ekumpoano, Ghana, to help local masons build biodigester tanks for use with pour-flush toilets. The work is critically needed: almost 23 percent of people in Ghana do not have access to any sanitation facilities, according to UNICEF. Next up: the team is slated to assist with a medical brigade in Panama in January 2020.

In Ghana, Southern’s Global Brigades team built five biodigesters and taught a children’s class on hygiene. In January 2020, the group will travel to Panama.

An Owl-Style Celebration


OUNDERS GATE is part of several new traditions — marking both the start and the culmination of students’ undergraduate education. Since fall 2015, Southern has kicked off the academic year by inviting new students to cross under the gate and through a pathway lined by cheering faculty and staff. In 2019, a new twist was added: Senior Send-Off. Following a celebratory ceremony in Lyman Center, the graduates of the Class of 2019 once again passed through Founders Gate — this time, to symbolize the close of their undergraduate journey.

Founders Gate, initially located on the early Howe Street campus, now stands between Lyman Center and Engleman Hall. 12 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:16 PM Page 13

Look Whooooo’s Talking

Posts, ’Grams, Tweets, and More “I was in the pits of Dale Earnhardt when he won the Daytona 500 in 1998. . . . For somebody like me who’s a real race fan to be standing there in big league auto racing with a microphone and a television camera and be able to share what I’m seeing and experiencing with literally millions of people in their homes. . . . How lucky was I?” — renowned motorsports announcer Richard “Dick” Berggren, ’65

From teen mom to the 2016 National Teacher of the Year to the U.S. House of Representatives, Jahana Hayes, ’05, is on a Roll[ing Stone cover]!

Relive Southern’s storied history in this video series, featuring a celebrated graduate from every decade, from the 1930s to 2010s.

Coming to you from Shanghai, the annual meeting of the Better Futures International Consortium united the presidents of the four founding-member universities — Southern, Liverpool John Moores, Shanghai Normal University, and UiTM Malaysia. The site of next year’s meeting: New Haven!

48.2K+ views for the first videos in this continuing series

After inspiring a sold-out audience at Lyman Center, World Cup champion soccer player Alex Morgan shared the experience on social media: “Was great meeting so many people but especially these future soccer stars @Southern Connecticut StateUniversity.” 300K+ likes

FACEBOOK • SouthernCT • 25,500+ followers

Join the Conversation! Follow Southern on:

TWITTER • @SCSU • 7,500+ followers INSTAGRAM • SCSUgram • 4,600+ followers SNAPCHAT • SouthernSCSU

Connect with President Joe Bertolino: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @SCSUTopOwl

LINKED IN • Southern Connecticut State University • 49,600+ followers Fall 2019 | 13

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 14

From the pool to the playing field, a look at SOUTHERN ATHLETICS.


Stellar Year for Gymnastics


aving led Southern’s gymnastics team since 2005, head coach Jerry Nelson has announced his retirement — but not before being named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Coach of the Year for the second consecutive time. Nelson, who was named National Gymnastics Coach of the Year in 2007, leaves an impressive legacy at Southern. He coached five ECAC Athletes of the Year and 19 All Americans, and under his guidance, the Owls won three ECAC gymnastics championships. Linda Mullin also was honored as the ECAC Assistant Coach of the Year, the seventh time she received the award.


Swim Like a Butterfly

Leonardo LaPorte was crowned Northeast 10 (NE10) champion in the 200-yard butterfly in February, setting a new meet record with a time of 1:47.56. He was the only male swimmer in the entire league to qualify to compete at the NCAA Div. II Swimming and Diving Championships held March 13-16 in Indianapolis, Ind. LaPorte finished fifth in the 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA tournament, earning his second All-American honors. He was later named the NE10 Men’s Swimmer of the Year. Also garnering top honors for the Owls, Tahj Mitchell-Westberry was selected the NE10 Diver of the Year, after winning the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events at the NE10 Conference Championship.


Nelson’s final year was certainly one for the record books, with numerous team and individual records set. Hannah Stahlbrodt was named the 2019 Gymnastics Athlete of the Year by the ECAC, which represents more than 200 colleges and universities across NCAA Divisions I, II, and III. Teammate Jordan Peloquin won the 2019 ECAC Gymnastics Balance Beam Championship with a meetbest score of 9.850. Mary Fredericks has been named head coach. She previously coached at Towson University and was an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team.

NE10 Champions! It’s a Three-peat!

For the first time in university history, Southern won the “triple crown,” with the men’s teams finishing in first place at three Northeast 10 (NE10) Championships — cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. Most recently, the Owls won the outdoor title for the third consecutive time, finishing with 207 points — 88 points ahead of second place Merrimack. Southern had two first place finishes at the event. Kade Amster won the hammer throw and the team of Aaron Rattley, Elijah Henry, Luke Velez, and Nigel Green took the 4x100 meter relay — setting an NE10 record in the process. Southern followed up the NE10 victory by winning its second straight NEICAAA New England Outdoor Championship title. The Owls finished with a score of 112, edging out the University of Rhode Island with 109.5 points. Nigel Green won the 100-meter dash and Oghenefejiro Onakpoma took first in the triple jump. Thirty-eight colleges and universities participated in the tournament, including the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Vermont, Dartmouth, and Tufts.


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 15

Jessica Maier

• Junior • Honors College • Collaborative Special Education/ Elementary Education major • Captain of the Field Hockey Team • Hometown: Enfield, Conn.


Some achievements: Received the Outstanding Sophomore Award for success in

For the Win — and the Record


of the close of the spring 2019 season, head baseball coach Tim Shea, ’87, M.S. ’97, has guided the Owls to 468 victories — an new all-time win record. The previous record (466 career wins) was held by former head coach Joe Bandiera, M.S. ’75, 6th Yr. ’81, who was inducted into Southern’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008. Shea set the new record during 17 seasons as the Owls head coach, beginning in 2001, after serving as Bandiera’s top assistant for the previous 11 seasons. Shea has led Southern to six NCAA tournament appearances (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2017) and two NCAA College World Series berths (2005, 2011).

scholarship, leadership, and service * Named to the Dean of the School of Education’s Student Leadership Group * Awarded the Delta Kappa Gamma Helen Moroney and Rheta Lang tuition grants

Getting started: In fifth grade, Maier got her first field hockey stick to practice with her older sister, who’d joined a recreational league. “I hated it at first because I was so bad — and I hate being bad at things,” she says.

A fellow Owl: Maier’s high school field hockey coach, Kathleen “Cookie” Bromage, attended Southern. “She’s been coaching for more than 50 years and is a legend in my town. I like the feeling of following in her footsteps,” says Maier.

At Southern: “Both of my coaches [head coach Kelley Frassinelli, ’93, and assistant coach Ann Berry, ’11] were All American. It’s been really great to learn from them,” she says.

Star student: Maier, who graduated seventh in her high school class, has a 4.0 GPA. One great class: “Introduction to Special Education, taught by Dr. [Kara] Faraclas, [’86, M.S. ’98,] was amazing,” says Maier. She joined the university’s Special Education Field Study in Guatemala, which provides a unique opportunity to learn about special education in a developing country.

Favorite volunteer experience: Women and Girls in Sports Day, which brings more than 100 children to campus to explore different sports

Best campus spot: Buley Library. “It’s beautiful. I love sitting by the window and people watching,” she says.

The Dean’s Student Leadership Group: “It’s an opportunity to learn more


about advocating for education — both at the secondary and higher education levels,” she says.

THE FIELD HOCKEY TEAM was one of only 31 programs in the U.S.

to receive the 2018 National Academic Team Award for Div. II. The award, which recognizes teams with a combined grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the fall semester, was presented by ZAG Field Hockey and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. This is the 12th consecutive year the Owls earned the honor.

Fall 2019 | 15

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 16


l o o h c S t h g i l F

is life. ed director h d e v ture sa d newly nam favor. a n f o love tist an urning the a n s e y i c a s s , ’85, mithsonian tiative is ret a r r a i Peter M e longtime S ironment In nv , th Today orgetown E Ge of the


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 17

truyk illia S By V

Fall 2019 | 17

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 18

CIENTIST PETER MARRA, ’85, VIEWS THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF A NATURALIST — and that includes his childhood. “I was a

feral kid,” says Marra, of growing up largely unsupervised in a wooded neighborhood in Norwalk, Conn. The youngest of four siblings, he was raised in a broken home. His father, an Army veteran turned baker, left when Marra was only 1 and his mother was left seriously struggling. By middle school, Marra was struggling as well, smoking and experimenting with alcohol. He also spent time wandering, often ending up at the neighboring Westport Nature Center. One day, the center’s staff set up a mist net: made of very fine threads, it blends with the surroundings and is used to catch birds without harming them. “I was able to experience a chickadee up close and personal. I’m pretty sure I even held it,” says Marra. “I don’t remember a lot, but I remember there being this moment that was pretty magical.” The experience was an epiphany and a saving grace. “I could have continued down this really bad road. Some of my friends from that time did, and it didn’t end well,” says Marra, who, instead, opted to pursue his passion. Today, he’s an internationally recognized naturalist and ornithologist (expert on birds), an emeritus senior scientist with the Smithsonian Institute, and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014). In August 2019, Marra left the Smithsonian after a 20-year tenure, where he most recently served as director of the Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C. For the next chapter of his career, he’ll direct the Georgetown Environment Initiative, which integrates Georgetown University’s scholarship and outreach efforts related to the earth’s stewardship. Marra also was named the Laudato Si’ Professor of Biology and the Environment, and a professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy. The significance isn’t lost on Marra, who notes he was first in his family “to even think about going to college.” He’d applied only to Southern for his undergraduate degree. The draw: the late Noble Proctor, ’70, M.S. ’72, professor emeritus of biology — a nationally recognized naturalist and author who, during his lifetime, traveled to some 90 countries conducting avian research. Marra, like many students, called him Nobe. Southern proved a great match for Marra. “I think it cost me $350 a semester. Having a really quality education

available to me at an affordable price made all the difference in the world,” says Marra, who studied — and often simultaneously worked — full time. As a senior, he received the university’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biology, and more than 30 years after graduating, he easily recalls his professors’ names. He credits Proctor with helping him secure an internship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture — he researched the interaction between gypsy moths and birds — and says the professor also helped him get into graduate school. Marra earned a master’s from Louisiana State University and a doctorate from Dartmouth College, before joining the Smithsonian in 1998. Through it all, curiosity was a driving force. He’s jointly published more than 215 peer-reviewed papers in journals such as Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His research has three broad themes: the ecology of migratory birds, urban ecosystems, and disease. Basically, if an issue relates to birds, Marra has probably investigated it. He’s studied migratory birds wintering on military bases; what happens to birds and otters when a dam is removed; and the role migratory birds play in the spread of West Nile virus. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Marra, who’s received top research awards from organizations such as the Smithsonian (Secretary’s Distinguished Research Prizes in 2008 and 2010) and the American Ornithological Society (the Elliott Coues Award in 2018). In sum, Marra is an experts’ expert — the one the White House and members of Congress call for briefs on the highly contagious bird flu. Of course, in most cases, the birds are the ones in danger, and Marra has spent — PETER MARRA, ’85 his career studying direct anthropogenic stress: the many ways humans harm birds. “The number one killer is cats,” says Marra, who discusses the issue in-depth in his book, Cat Wars, the Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer Killer, co-authored with Chris Santella. Marra estimates that cats kill 1.3 – 4 billion birds annually in the U.S. — and three to four times that many native mammals. (There’s limited data on feral cats, hence the wideranging statistics.) But the end results, Marra says, are devastating for bird populations. Cats have contributed to the extinction of 63 species around the world, he explains. “DDT, in comparison, has never caused the extinction of a species,” he says, stressing the importance of keeping pet cats inside and on leashes when outdoors. The book also advocates management of feral cat populations, including euthanasia in some cases. Another decidedly less controversial research project is centered just outside of Nome, Alaska, and focuses on a small

“You could live without art. You could live without music. But would you want to?”


continues on page 47


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 19


ANT TO ATTRACT MORE BIRDS TO YOUR YARD? GET PLANTING — and be sure to include as many native species as possible, according to a study from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The magic ratio of native plants?

Seventy percent. “If more than 30 percent of the [plant] species in your yard are non-native, your yard

will not produce enough insects to successfully support bird populations,” says Peter Marra, ’85,

outlining the results of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

of the United States of America. The research looked specifically at chickadees, but has widespread implications. More than 90 percent of herbivorous insects target only one or a select few plants for food. “Everybody, even those in an urban or suburban environment, should be thinking about their yard as a natural park, a place that wildlife depends on — including insects and birds,” says Marra. The Smithsonian suggests these online sites for information on bird-friendly plants: the Audubon’s Native Plants Database, the National Wildlife Federation’s Native Plant Finder, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness map. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and conducted in conjunction with the University of Delaware.

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 20


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 21

When disaster strikes, Katherine Bequary, ’93, and David Denino, ’75, M.S. ’76, travel the country and the world — saving lives and providing solace. By Natalie Missakian


of the worst human tragedies of the last 15 years — earthquakes, hurricanes, mass shootings. Chances are Katherine Bequary, ’93, or David Denino, ’75, M.S. ’76, were there to help. Bequary has traveled the globe as executive director of NYC Medics, coordinating emergency care in places few are willing to go — from earthquake-torn Haiti and Japan to the remote mountains of Nepal. In summer 2018, she returned from one of her most challenging assignments yet: running a crisis-care clinic in Mosul, Iraq, just behind the front lines in the fight against ISIS. Bequary says more than 10 percent of the trauma casualties reported in the city were children, many of whom died before they could reach a hospital. The clinic, which moved with the fighting, did whatever was needed — starting IVs, applying tourniquets, inserting chest tubes — to stabilize victims and help them survive the journey. Staffed 24/7, it provided life-saving care to more than 2,600 patients in the span of a year, many of whom were civilians shot by ISIS snipers while trying to flee the city. “Every mission always has a powerful message or takeaway, but I have to say Iraq, by [Top] Working in McComb, Miss., a post-Hurricane Katrina evacuation far, has been the most zone, David Denino, ’75, M.S. ’76, important work I’ve ever is the mental health lead for done,” says Bequary, 49. the Connecticut/Rhode Island “Not only for the American Red Cross. He’s provided “psychological first aid” at disasters medical intervention our around the country — including team provided,” she the deadly, Oct. 2 crash of a World adds, “but for the hope War II B-17 bomber at Bradley that comes with seeing International Airport in Windsor so many people putting Locks, Conn. [Left] In Mosul, Iraq, Katherine Bequary, ’93, executive themselves in a conflict director of NYC Medics, works zone to help a stranger.” behind the front lines at a crisiscare clinic run by the organization.

continues Fall 2019 | 21

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 22

Psychological first aid Closer to home, as the mental health lead for the Connecticut/Rhode Island American Red Cross, Denino, 66, manages teams of mental health volunteers dispatched to disaster scenes around Connecticut and the country. He administers what he calls psychological first aid, setting up mental health triage based on patients’ levels of distress. If someone needs medication or a hospital, Denino works to connect them with services in the community. A licensed professional counselor and director emeritus of counseling services at Southern, he trained as a Red Cross crisis responder following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. “When I watched the towers go down, I felt paralyzed,” recalls Denino. “The call for help went out far and wide, and I couldn’t do anything because I hadn’t been vetted.” Too late for 9/11, he was sent to New Orleans a few years later, assigned to the shelters housing residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Subsequent missions included hurricanes Sandy, Irene, and Harvey as well as the mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn., and Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, Denino worked in the family assistance center, offering counseling and comfort to people who survived the shooting or lost loved ones. Staged in a conference hall “three times the size of Costco,” he remembers the center being eerily quiet despite being filled with concertgoers and workers, mostly in their teens, 20s, and early 30s. “A lot of them were struggling a couple of days out with sleeplessness and anxiety,” he says. In addition to counseling the victims, Denino also kept an eye on the mental health of his fellow volunteers, helping them process their emotions and cope with stress. He earned the 2017 Meritorious Service Award from the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA) for his work in Las Vegas and in Texas after Hurricane Harvey. In 2018, he served as the organization’s president, leading efforts to prevent suicide and violence on college campuses and K-12 schools. In July 2018, the U.S. Secret Service issued a report concluding that the most effective way for schools to prevent targeted violence is with a behavioral intervention team — heightening the focus on NaBITA significantly.

Southern roots Now living in Wallingford, Conn., with his wife, Vanessa [Pomarico] Denino, ’92, M.S.N. ’98, Ed.D. ’18, and two dogs, Denino traces his interest in counseling to his days as a resident adviser at Southern’s Neff Hall. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure, he stayed on for a master’s in counseling and landed his first job at Southern right out of grad school. He spent 37 years at the university, retiring as director emeritus of counseling services in 2009, and he still teaches in the clinical mental health program. In 2007, he received the J. Philip Smith Award for Outstanding Teaching, one of 22 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Southern’s top faculty honors. He credits his mentor, James Brine, professor emeritus of counseling and school psychology, with steering him toward higher education. Bequary, who lives in New York City, came to Southern as a physical education/athletic training major intending to be a physical therapist, but says the university prepared her well for her eventual, if unexpected, disaster-relief career. She credits Gary Morin, professor and chairman of the Department of Health and Movement Sciences, for teaching her that physical and emotional healing go hand-in-hand. “It’s a big part of what we do [at NYC Medics],” she says. “We’re there to provide the physical care, but it’s so much more than that.” After graduating from Southern, she held several jobs in the healthcare field before earning a master’s in public health from the University of Connecticut in 2010. She had just finished her thesis when the Haiti earthquake struck, and she learned through a friend that NYC Medics was mobilizing to help. “I deployed with them and have been involved ever since,” says Bequary. In December 2019, she traveled to Yemen, which has been ravaged by civil war. NYC Medics is working to legally implement a program there and Bequary hopes to return soon.

‘Humbling and inspiring’ Asked why they do what they do, Bequary and Denino offer slightly different takes on the same answer. “If I could just have people stand in my shoes for one day, they wouldn’t even need to ask the question,” Bequary says. “When people embrace us and open their arms to us . . . it’s the most humbling and inspiring experience in the world.” She offers a story about a 3-year-old Iraqi boy she found wandering alone at the clinic. Through some detective work, Bequary eventually learned his mother had been a patient, shot in the stomach during a mass casualty incident, one of 60 civilians with serious injuries brought to the clinic in a single day. In the chaos, mother and son had been separated. Although critically injured, the mother survived, and Bequary was there for the joyful reunion: “He hadn’t spoken for three days, but as soon as he saw his mother, he just started crying out to her. He ran over and embraced her. It was incredible,” she says. Like Bequary, Denino cites the people he helps as his inspiration. “With Katrina, I was talking to people who lost everything — everything — including members of their family or extended family, and the first thing they would do is hug you and say, ‘Thank you for coming here,’” Denino recalls. He remembers the relief on one woman’s face when he was able to locate her elderly mother in a shelter, and recounts how some neighborhood families brought a homecooked, fried chicken and biscuits dinner to the volunteers — a welcome change from the military-style MREs [meals ready to eat] they’d been dining on for days. “You come home and it takes a little while to recover emotionally,” he says. “But when I’m out there, I feel good about it.” ■


HI D D E N C A M P U S ■

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:18 PM Page 23


owls were on hand for Southern’s annual Giving Day festivities on April 16, including this beauty — a female great horned owl named Amber. The owls came to campus from A Place Called Hope, a birds of prey rehabilitation and education center based in Killingworth, Conn. The group shared information on each of the owls, which currently are unable to live successfully in the wild. A record-breaking $205,853 was donated during Giving Day from 1,257 donors — a success story clearly worth hooting about. Thank you! SAVE THE DATE FOR GIVING DAY 2020:



SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:19 PM Page 24

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:19 PM Page 25


Chaz Guest, ’85, takes artistic expression to new heights, re-examining the history of slavery and launching a superhero in the process. By John Rosengren

haz Guest, ’85, may not be a household name, but his work has been embraced by many big ones. Herbie Hancock and Vanessa Williams collect his paintings. Former President Barack Obama hung his portrait of Thurgood Marshall in the Oval Office. Oprah Winfrey praised a portrait of Maya Angelou as a little girl that she had commissioned from Guest: “Saying the painting is beautiful is too mild of a word.” Guest arrived at Southern as a gymnast on scholarship, not knowing what direction he wanted his life to take. He left after studying graphic design with an inkling he had become an artist. He credits David Levine, his art history professor, and the late Howard Fussiner [professor emeritus of art], the only painting teacher he ever had. “Those two put me on the path of the life I have now as a painter,” Guest says from his studio in Los Angeles, brush in hand, working on a portrait of the abolitionist John Brown while we speak. One of Fussiner’s landscapes hangs on the wall. Levine introduced Guest to the history of art. Fussiner encouraged him to become part of it. The painter — who reminded Guest of Salvador Dali with his wild white hair, quirkiness, and energy — encouraged Guest by praising his work in front of the class. He also passed along commissions to paint watercolors of people’s homes. “He opened my eyes to the idea that I could paint something and actually earn some money,” Guest says. After studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and a brief stint illustrating fashion magazines in Paris, Guest devoted himself to his own painting. He sold his first work on the sidewalk outside his apartment in New York City. With that money, he bought a larger easel and more supplies and was on his way. Today, the artist is represented by the Los Angeles-based Patrick Painter Gallery. His work has been shown in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Paris. A devotee of Kyokushin karate, which his older brother taught him upon returning from the service in Okinawa, Japan, Guest has used the martial arts to open his mind and dedicate himself to his art. An aging hip prevents the 58-year-old from regularly practicing karate, but he still applies the mental principles. “Martial arts is a way of life,” he says. “I certainly have it in mind.” His influences range from Fussiner to Balthus, from Dali to Picasso. Inspiration also comes from musicians — Pavarotti to Mahalia Jackson, but especially his beloved jazz. Thelonious Monk. John Coltrane. He has painted them and frequently plays their music in his studio while working. He’s also created paintings on stage inspired by live jazz performances. He starts without preconceived notions of what he is going to paint and improvises along with the musicians. “It’s best to have a blank mind, and flow to the vibrations and spirit of the music,” he says.

continues Fall 2019 | 25

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:19 PM Page 26

“I have to convey dignity and love and [that] they’re people, not only slaves.”


uest works in a variety of mediums. His Geisha Series, created on Japanese zori sandals, was inspired by a trip to Japan, and his Cotton Series, portraits of enslaved men, women, and children, is done on cotton picked from Southern fields, where the subjects might have toiled. After admiring Guest’s Cotton Series, Yahya Jammeh, then president of the Republic of Gambia, invited him to visit in 2010. Guest painted an oil


— Chaz Guest, ’85, commenting on his Cotton Series.

portrait of Jammeh as a gift, which he presented upon his arrival. “It was a life-changing trip,” Guest says. A stop at James Island in the Gambia River to see the remains of a fort used by British slave traders was particularly profound. Guest spent time alone in a holding cell. “I felt all of my nightmares as an African-American started in this one place,” he says. He wept. Anger and sadness washed through him. He emerged transformed. “Afterward, I felt new,” he says.

Guest suggested that the island be renamed Kunta Kinteh Island to honor the slaves who passed through. Jammeh agreed and the name was officially changed in 2011. For the occasion, Guest sculpted a Mandinka warrior rising out of one of the island’s many baobab trees and escaping the shackles of slavery. He called it Freedom. It was not installed as a 30foot statue on the island as originally intended, as it lacked the support of the president who succeeded Jammeh.




SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 27

But the bronze sculpture was chosen for the statuette of the ICON MANN Legacy Award, most recently presented to Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ruth E. Carter, winner of the 2019 Academy Award for costume design on the film, Black Panther. The Legacy Award honors those whose body of work has positively transformed the narrative and trajectory of black culture. For all of his success as an artist, Guest is proudest of his role as a father. He has two sons, Xian, 16, and Zuhri, 25. He wears a bracelet made from a mold of their umbilical cords. “I enjoy being a father of two great boys,” he says. Guest’s latest project is Buffalo Warrior, a graphic novel he wrote about a boy born into slavery in the 1800s who

becomes a modern-day superhero. Guest illustrated the book in Japanese sumi ink on handmade paper — and also painted a series of the hero in oil and another related series entitled Buffalo Soldiers. He’s in discussions with movie studios to turn the story into a feature film. He sums up his aesthetic, which is particularly apparent in the Cotton Series and Buffalo Warrior: “I wanted to start from the root of our American experience, which happens to be slavery. So I wanted to go back there in that time and paint with everything I have to convey dignity and love and [that] they’re people, not only slaves. If you want to make a good painting, you’ve got to paint what you love — and I love those people.” ■


[center] The artist shakes hands with former President Barack Obama, who hung Guest’s portrait (pictured) of the late Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, in the Oval Office. [right] ICON MANN award recipients actor Samuel L. Jackson, costume designer Ruth E. Carter, and director Spike Lee, pose with Tamara Houston, ICON MANN founder and CEO. Actor Angela Bassett with Ruth E. Carter, holding the award statuette designed by Guest. Fall 2019 | 27

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:20 PM Page 28

The U.S. Fulbright Student Program is one of the most prestigious and widely recognized international exchange programs in the world — and Southern is proud to count two graduates as recent award recipients. By Betsy Currier Beacom and Villia Struyk

Alanna Wagher

, ’16, M.S. ’18, is a gifted scholar. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders — then excelled in Southern’s highly regarded graduate program in the same discipline. Still, she admits to being nervous about applying to the U.S. Fulbright Student Program. “There were people who had tons of opinions about the feasibility of me getting this grant, especially considering the notorious cutthroat competition,” says Wagher. To be sure, “Fulbrighters” are a uniquely accomplished group. Thirty-seven have served as heads of state or government, 86 received Pulitzer Prizes, and 60 were Nobel Prize winners. Wagher is now a member of the prestigious Fulbright alumni club, having spent the 2018-19 academic year in the Netherlands as a Fulbright scholar through the English Teaching Assistant Program. In addition to teaching, she collaborated with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences on her research, which was inspired by her experience as a Southern student. Wagher minored in Spanish at Southern and used techniques from the field of speech-language therapy (her major) to correct her pronunciation. She wondered: would others studying a foreign language benefit from similar techniques? In the Netherlands, Wagher tested her theory, working with Dutch students who were studying English as a second language. The goals: to evaluate the effectives of speech-language therapy techniques at 1) reducing foreign-accented speech and 2) improving students’ confidence as English speakers. The Dutch students perceived that speech-language techniques were beneficial in both areas. “The study [also] aimed to establish evidence-based standards for the evaluation and treatment of bilingual children with speech-sound disorders,” says Wagher, who presented her findings at a United Nations-sponsored educational conference in Amsterdam. “I feel really blessed to have researched a topic that I hope will benefit bilingual children and adults,” she says. Of course, the advantages of the experience were highly personal as well. “Overall, I think one of the biggest takeaways of this experience has been the importance of believing in yourself, especially as a young woman,” says Wagher. Her advice to other would-be Fulbrighters: “I would definitely encourage more students to apply.” 28 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:20 PM Page 29

Daisha Brabham, ’17, graduated from Southern with a degree in history, and her passion for her discipline, along with her scholarship and creative activity, are taking her far — across The Pond to the United Kingdom. Awarded a prestigious U.S. Fulbright – U.K. Partnership Award, Brabham received full funding to complete a Master’s of Public

[Clockwise from left] While based in the Netherlands, Alanna Wagher, ’16, M.S. ’18, presented her findings at an educational conference sponsored by the United Nations. Now completing a graduate degree in the United Kingdom, Daisha Brabham, ’17, is also conducting research for her evolving play, Homegoing, which has been performed on campus.

History degree at Royal Holloway University of London during the 2019-2020 academic year. Her Fulbright project builds on a play she wrote at Southern: an independent project completed in the Women’s Studies Program her senior year. The play — Homegoing: A Herstory of the Black Woman — reflects the history of Black womanhood in America, beginning with the Yoruba tradition of West Africa and going on to travel with a number of different African-American women, such as “Venus Hottentot,” Billie Holiday, and “Mammie.” Brabham describes development of the project as “a physical manifestation of my search for myself.” The quest kicked off during her junior year, when she studied at the University of Plymouth, U.K. Brabham was initially interested in researching the lives of women in Elizabethan England, but soon reached an epiphany: she was studying women who had been researched extensively and was “leaving out women who looked like me,” she says. She changed her focus to African-American women and decided to write Homegoing. As the play has evolved, it has come to incorporate women in the African diaspora around the world. “I am drawing all of these narratives together about what it means to be black,” she says. She sees the play as a celebration of resistance and as bringing to the public “those stories we don’t talk about.” Homegoing is now Brabham’s bridge to her future. She’s incorporating voices from black Britain in the play as part of her Fulbright project. As a student at Royal Holloway, she has access to the National Archives, the London Records Office, and the Black Cultural Archives. She also plans to interview some of the women she meets. The project builds on Brabham’s role as an educator. She’s taught history at several New Haven schools. High school students, the majority from greater New Haven, appeared in prior productions of Homegoing — as has Brabham herself. A teacher to her core, she wants her students to learn the history of the women they portray. “I’m a public historian,” she says, stressing the importance of bringing historical knowledge to the public in engaging, accessible ways, such as museums, exhibitions, documentaries, and theater. “It lets people learn about themselves,” says Brabham. ■

Southern’s Four Fulbrights Daisha Brabham, ’17

U.S. Fulbright – U.K. Partnership Award


Alanna Wagher, ’16, M.S. ’18

English Teaching Assistantship



Brendan Walsh, M.F.A. ’13

English Teaching Assistantship



Kaitlyn Shorrock, M.S. ’12

English Teaching Assistantship


2012 Fall 2019 | 29

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 30

The Travelin Could research on an Amazonian plant save indigenous tribes and help get you through that mid-afternoon slump? Associate Professor of Chemistry James Kearns investigates.


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 31

By Natalie Missakian


e’s endured sweltering temperatures, swum in treacherous waters, hunted wild rodents for food, and encountered the occasional inhospitable native. And then there were the bugs — swarms of tiny sandflies eager to feast on any bit of exposed ankle or shin. Welcome to the world of scientist James Kearns, who divides his professional life between the laboratory, a Southern classroom, and some of the most remote corners of the world. An associate professor of chemistry, Kearns travels deep inside the Amazon jungle for several weeks each summer, living with an indigenous tribe known as the Secoya. His research subject is the Paullinia yoco, a tropical vine that grows wild among the trees in the eastern Ecuadorian rainforest, near the Peruvian and Colombian borders. Kearns has studied the plant’s chemical properties (its bark contains high concentrations of caffeine and theobromine, a stimulant found in chocolate) and is exploring its potential use in energy drinks. The Secoya make a tea from

“There are a lot of challenges and risks,” Kearns says. He first learned about the Secoya as a college student in 1996. While studying biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts, he worked for an engineering firm that was developing a water-filtration system for the tribe. The Secoya live downriver from Ecuador’s largest oil fields. Decades of drilling and exploitation by the petroleum industry has contaminated their water sources. In response, villagers have turned to harvesting rainwater, Kearns explains. In 2012, shortly before joining the faculty at Southern, he first traveled to Ecuador for a separate research project that involved testing water samples for airborne pollutants. There, he met Luke Weiss, an American who had assimilated into the tribe and married a Secoya woman. Weiss is working with Amazon Frontlines, a nonprofit organization that is helping the 500 or so Secoya and other nearby tribes reverse the devastation caused by industrialization and preserve their way of life.

ing Chemist the bark and consume it early in the morning for sustained energy before a day of hunting or farming. “It’s similar to taking in a couple of cups of coffee, but the effects lasts longer because materials that are in the bark result in much slower absorption into the stomach,” Kearns explains. It’s not unusual for scientists and academics to conduct fieldwork in remote places, or even to bring adventureseeking students along. But Kearns describes his Amazon trips as “a totally different level of incredible insanity.” The journey alone is a test of mental stamina. Traveling to the village begins with an eight-hour plane ride to Ecuador’s capital, Quito, followed by 12 hours on a bus to Lago Agrio, a city that developed in the 1960s as a base camp for Texaco. From there it’s a two-hour taxi ride to the village of San Pablo, and another 40 minutes by motorized canoe to a Secoya settlement accessible only by boat.

The pair became fast friends (Kearns is now godfather to Weiss’ daughter), and on a canoe trip one afternoon, Weiss led Kearns to a wild yoco vine entwined around a fallen tree. He showed him how to scrape off the bark with a machete and squeeze it into a gourd to make a cold-water infusion, similar to a tea. The dream, Weiss told him, was to harness the plant’s stimulant properties for use in an energy drink, turning the wild vine into a sustainable cash crop that could reduce the Secoya’s dependence on oil drilling as an income source. (Many younger Secoya have taken jobs with oil companies in nearby cities, threatening the dwindling tribe’s future.) So in 2013, just as Kearns was settling into a new teaching job at Southern, Weiss enrolled in a graduate

continues Fall 2019 | 31

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:20 PM Page 32

program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science to study the plant’s viability as an agricultural product — and he enlisted his friend the Southern chemist to help with the research. The pair spent the next two years analyzing samples of the woody vine in a lab at Yale, using a technique called highperformance liquid chromatography to measure caffeine and theobromine levels in the bark, seeds, and leaves. They found higher levels of the chemicals than initially thought, with the greatest concentrations in the bark. Perhaps not surprisingly, they also discovered that the most potent plants were those with the thickest stems. Their findings were published in the Yale journal Tropical Resources in 2015. Amazon Frontlines has used the newfound knowledge to help pinpoint the yoco’s optimal growing conditions, and is helping the Secoya and allied tribes experimentally farm some 3,000 of the formerly wild plants. In August 2018, Kearns returned to the settlement with then-student Brokk Tollefson to document their progress. [Tollefson graduated in 2019 with a major in sociology and a minor in journalism.] The pair also spent part of the trip in the Andean region of Ecuador, working with a women’s cooperative that uses sap from the Agave americana plant to make agave-based sweeteners. Kearns is leading a research project at Southern that involves testing the sap for the presence of toxic metals. (He received a provisional patent for a low-cost field kit that detects metal levels. It was developed based on research conducted in collaboration with then-student Cody Edson, ’16, M.S. ’17.)



SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:35 PM Page 33

Embracing the Challenge Because it’s so demanding, Kearns usually travels to the rainforest solo. But he was confident Tollefson, who served four years active duty in the Marine Corps, including a tour in Afghanistan, could handle the trip. Staying with Weiss and his family, they spent 10 days immersed in tribal routines, which included back-breaking agricultural work in extreme heat. Tollefson took more than 1,000 photos of yoco farming and other aspects of Secoya life for an independent study project. Even the military-trained Tollefson, however, wasn’t fully prepared for life in the jungle. “The bugs were crazy, the weather was hardly bearable, and after waking up to a very large cockroach the size of my fist crawling on my arm, it was hard to sleep,” he says. “It was the most sobering and surreal experience of my life.” But then he adds: “I’d love to do it again.” ■

[Page 30] James Kearns, associate professor of chemistry, sets out for a day of exploration. [Clockwise from top] A member of the Secoya tribe (second from left) shows Kearns, Luke Weiss, and Brokk Tollefson, ’19, how to harvest yocco. The process begins with scraping off the bark with a machete. * Kearns and Tollefson stayed with the Weiss family during the trip, enjoying immersion into the local culture.

Fall 2019 | 33


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:20 PM Page 34


Barbara Matthews, associate director emeritus of counseling, had a 30-year career at Southern. Several alumni of the Black Student Union (BSU) gather to formally establish the Barbara Matthews Endowed Scholarship, named in honor of the longtime adviser of the BSU. [Seated from left] Matthews and Michele Helms, ’92, an ESL teacher. [Standing from left] James Barber, ’64, M.S. ’79, Southern’s director of community engagement; Attorney Michael Jefferson, ’86; President Joe Bertolino; and Kermit Carolina, ’94, M.S. ’03, supervisor of youth development and engagement with New Haven Public Schools.

* 34 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

BARBARA MATTHEWS, associate director emeritus of counseling. “I’ll tell you one thing about Southern students. They come here determined,” says Matthews, who worked with thousands during her 30 years at Southern — including members of the Black Student Union (BSU), which she advised throughout her tenure. Originally called the Organization of Afro-American Students, the BSU was formed in 1968 and was still a young organization when Matthews came on board in 1972. Its establishment reflected a national movement. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned discrimination in education on the basis of race, color, and national origin. Still, many black students who enrolled at predominantly white colleges and universities faced hostility. In an effort to support students and promote positive change, in 1966, the first Black Student Union in the nation was established at San Francisco State College [now University].* Two years later, Southern followed suit. “Black students on campus needed direction and a voice. The Black Student Union made that happen,” says James Barber, ’64, M.S. ’79, Southern’s director of community engagement. Throughout the years, Matthews remained a mentor. “We were a force to be reckoned with, I’m proud to say,” recounts Michael Jefferson, ’86, who was elected president of the BSU in 1984. “We had to meet certain challenges, and I don’t know if students today appreciate how difficult it was at times. She [Matthews] was a huge influence. She was my confidente,” adds Jefferson, now an attorney based in East Haven. Like many BSU alumni, he’s remained active with the organization and was instrumental in setting the groundwork for the scholarship. It began with “Martinis and Wings,” a BSU reunion held at Jefferson’s home in 1997. BSU alumni came to reconnect and raise funds to support students. They also celebrated Matthews, who received an award for paving the way for so many. In 2019, the fund was fully endowed. The Barbara Matthews Endowed Scholarship was awarded for the first time during the 2019-20 academic year and will continue to benefit students who are active members of the BSU in good academic standing.

The scholarship is a fitting tribute to Matthews, who devoted her career to higher education. A 1968 graduate of Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY), she first worked in academia at a city-run residence hall for college students. Urged on by her coworkers, she earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in 1971, and joined the staff at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, which had just opened its doors as the youngest institution in the CUNY system. Then she heard about a newly created position at Southern. “Students from the BSU came up with the plan,” recalls Matthews. “They were reaching out for someone to work with them. That’s why I felt an immediate connection, and it hasn’t been broken since. This one caught my heart. It’s been a love affair,” she says. Her career has been a calling as well— one that’s enhanced the lives of generations of students. Southern’s campus has become increasingly diverse in recent years: in fall 2019, about 40 percent of the incoming class are students of color and 21 percent of full-time faculty are minorities. But when Matthews arrived in 1972, diversity was not a campus hallmark. As late as fall 1984, fewer than one in 20 full-time undergraduates was black and fewer than one in 100 was Hispanic. Among the 406 professors at Southern in 1984, only five were black — about one percent. “Most of us were coming from the tri-state area from high schools where the student body looked very different from Southern,” says Jefferson. “Coming to a place like Southern was sometimes difficult. . . . It was important for us to create a supportive organization to deal with some of the challenges,” he says. Throughout the years, the BSU, guided by Matthews, promoted inclusivity in countless ways. Noting a dearth of black faculty, the BSU sent student ambassadors to talk with academic department heads about the issue. Concerned about the percentage of black student-athletes who weren’t graduating on time, the BSU worked with the administration to dedicate an academic adviser to them. The group also organized cultural events for the entire campus. Historically, the BSU’s commitment has extended to the New Haven community as well. Members worked on voter registration and advocated for children at New

continues on page 47

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:20 PM Page 35

Southern’s Black Student Union (BSU) has supported students, alumni, and the community-atlarge for more than six decades. A newly endowed scholarship forwards that important work — while honoring Barbara Matthews, one of the BSU’s first advisers.

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:21 PM Page 36

Singing Out and Coming Home


outhern’s 125th anniversary celebration ended on a high note — with a stunning performance by Tony Award-winner Leslie Odom Jr., who originated the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway smash Hamilton. On Oct. 4, Odom entertained guests at the 125th Anniversary Gala, an evening of inspiration to benefit the SCSU Food Insecurity Fund. More than $134,000 was raised at the event to support the creation of a campus student food pantry and an associated social service referral center.


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:21 PM Page 37


he celebration continued at Homecoming weekend on Oct. 18-20. The event, which had an “Owl Star” theme, featured something for everyone, including the Bob Cordo 5K Run/Walk, kids’ activities, a food truck area, the Homecoming parade and football game, and other athletics events. The day’s highlights also included a series of events organized by alumni of the Black Student Union (BSU) — including an “Old Skool-New Skool Party,” Homecoming tailgate, and champagne brunch. Proceeds from the event benefited the Barbara Matthews Endowed Scholarship and BSU Student Emergency Funds. The newly endowed scholarship honors Matthews, associate director emeritus of counseling, and one of the BSU’s first advisers. (More on page 34.)

Fall 2019 | 37


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:21 PM Page 38


ever underestimate the power of a great mentor. As a first-generation college student, Jacquelynn Garofano, ’06, came to Southern to major in physics — and, within that first year, was conducting research in the physics lab. “The catalyst that really set me on my path was meeting and working with Professor [of Physics Christine] Broadbridge. She was instrumental in igniting my love of materials research and guiding me in the pursuit of a doctoral degree,” says Garofano.

professionals published by Connecticut Magazine (2013) and Hartford Business Journal (2015). Most recently, in 2018, she was honored by the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund for her work to advance women and girls in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). “Now that I’m a professional woman in the tech industry, I do my best to make every effort to participate in opportunities to share my journey and empower young students — but young girls and women, in particular, because “see her, be her” is real,” says

all aspects of the program, from recruitment to curriculum development. This focus on education echoes her early career. Under Professor Broadbridge’s leadership, Garofano held several positions with the Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena (CRISP), a National Science Foundation-funded partnership between Southern and Yale University. The goal: to bring the wonders of science to students in K-12, undergraduates, and educators. Her commitment to Southern remains strong — and in October, she

Garofano, a self-described STEMinist. Furthering her efforts to support tomorrows’ innovators, in Oct. 2018, she became program manager of the Margaret Ingels Engineering Development Program at UT, a new entry-level program. Participants rotate through four six-month assignments across the United Technologies business units, such as Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace. Garofano oversees

joined the SCSU Foundation Board of Directors. “The two pillars that my career stands on are mentorship and networking,” says Garofano, reflecting on her new position. “Over all this time, a simple but powerful mantra has stuck with me: ‘I want to be for someone what Christine was for me,’ and it has materialized in a profound way.” ■

Jacquelynn Garofano, ’06 Program Manager Margaret Ingels Engineering Development Program United Technologies

The year 2011 was pivotal: she earned a doctorate in materials science and engineering from the University of Connecticut, was named a “Woman of Innovation” by the Connecticut Technology Council, and joined the United Technologies (UT) Research Center as a senior research scientist. The accolades continued. Garofano was spotlighted on the “40 under 40” lists of outstanding young




SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:21 PM Page 39


Robert Felder, ’08, President Dara Onofrio, ’81, Vice President Robert D. Parker, ’76, Treasurer LaShanté Kelley-James, ’04, M.S. ’14, Secretary

Three Super Bowl Rings — and a Diploma


wenty-three years after playing football with the Owls, Super Bowl champ Joe Andruzzi returned to Southern on July 22 to receive his undergraduate degree — a milestone he’d postponed after being recruited by the National Football League during his senior year of college.

At Southern, Andruzzi played for coach Rich Cavanaugh from 1993 through the 1996

preseason and was a two-time All American. He began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers and went on to play for the New England Patriots. He brought home three Super Bowl rings with the Patriots before joining the Cleveland Browns. In 2007, Andruzzi was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, ending his football career. He successfully battled the disease and, in 2009, he and his wife Jen founded the Joe Andruzzi Foundation devoted to fighting cancer and supporting patients.

James (Jimmy) Booth, ’97 Christopher M. Borajkiewicz, ’98 Teresa Cherry-Cruz, M.S. ’86, 6th Yr. ’06 Kathy Coyle, ’74, M.S. ’78, 6th Yr. ’81 Thomas R. Dolan, ’58 Paul Giordano, ’71 Angela Hudson-Davis, ’88, M.P.H. ’97 Jerry Katona, ’74, M.S. ’88 Debrah Manke, M.S. ’90, 6th Yr. ’17 Dorothy J. Martino, ’54, M.S. ’69 (Emerita) Patricia Miller, ’69, M.S. ’75, 6th Yr. ’81 (Emerita) Donald Mitchell, ’57, M.S. ’61 Sandy Hittleman Myerson, ’69 Judit Paolini, ’73, M.S. ’79, 6th Yr. ’93 Philip Robertson, ’66, M.S. ’75 Teresa Sirico, ’70, M.S. ’73 Renee Barnett Terry, ’76 Carolyn Vanacore, ’52, M.S. ’68, 6th Yr. ’73 (Emerita) Brian West, ’80 Southern Connecticut State University Office of Alumni Relations Alumni House 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515-6500

President Joe Bertolino lauded Andruzzi’s outreach efforts before awarding him a degree at a small ceremony attended by his family. “We talk here at Southern about cultivating an ‘ethic of care’ — and Joe Andruzzi, you are the epitome of such an ethic,”

Gregory Bernard, ’04, Director

said Bertolino. “We are proud to honor you as a member of the Southern family, and to recognize your academic work by presenting you with your degree — a recognition that is long overdue.”

Fall 2019 | 39


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:23 PM Page 40

Honoring the Sports Hall of Fame Inductees


he 2019 Hall of Fame Golf Tournament and Induction Ceremony was held on May 31 at the Grassy Hill Country Club in Orange,

Conn. The inductees for 2019 are: Antonio “Tony” Aceto,’63, M.S. ’72, football standout and the coordinator emeritus of athletic facilities; Lauren Anderson, ’67, M.S. ’71 (a five sport athlete for the Owls); Assaf Dagai, ’99 (men’s soccer); John DeBrito, ’90 (men’s soccer); Tanya Sutton, ’89 (track and field); Carolyn Vanacore, ’52, M.S. ’68, 6th Yr. ’73, celebrated athlete and division director emeritus of health, physical education, recreation, and safety; and Diane Wright, ’77 (track and field). The 1975 and 1976 men’s gymnastics teams also were honored for winning the NCAA Div. II national championship two years in a row.



[Above] Members of the 1975 and 1976 soccer teams were inducted in 2019. [Below] Director of Athletics Jay Moran (second from left) was among those recognizing the honorees: (standing) Tony Aceto, ’63, M.S. ’72; Moran; John DeBrito, ’90; and Assaf Dagai, ’99. (seated) Carolyn Vanacore, ’52, M.S. ’68, 6th Yr. ’73; Lauren Anderson, ’67, M.S. ’71; Tonya Sutton, ’89; and Diane Wright, ’77. including videos on the award recipients.

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:21 PM Page 41

Alums Named Top Educators


outhern prepares the largest number of education graduates in the state of Connecticut. In our humble opinion, they’re also the best — a popular view based on the many Owls who have received “Top Educator” awards at the state level and beyond. Among this select group is Jahana Hayes, ’05, who was named the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, and went on to be elected to the United States Congress, representing Connecticut’s fifth district. Congratulations to these Southern alumni who were recently recognized among the state’s finest educators.

The Milken Educator Award Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by

Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) High School Principal of the Year • Joseph Blake, ’96, M.S. ’01

Teacher magazine, this recognition comes with a $25,000 unrestricted prize.

• Lauren Sepulveda,’10

Coventry High School CAS Middle School Principal of the Year

Clinton Avenue School

• Gordon Beinstein, 6th Yr. ’97

New Haven Connecticut PTA 2019 Superintendent of the Year

Western Middle School, Greenwich CAS Elementary School Assistant Principal of the Year

• Kenneth Henrici, 6th Yr. ’86

• Eric Conrad, M.S. ’04, 6th Yr. ’08

Chaplin School District Connecticut PTA Middle School Principal of the Year • Megan Tiley, M.S. ’97, 6th Yr. ’01

Chapel Street School, Stratford The George Olmsted Jr. Class of 1924 Prize for Excellence in Secondary Education from Williams College

Roger Ludlowe Middle School

• Liam Leapley, ‘00


West Haven High School

Love at Southern


have a decidedly sweet Southern love story — with a rebel twist. Five decades ago, Judy, then a smitten student, skipped class to accompany George to his art history course. The conversation flowed, and the professor made several requests for them to stop talking before kicking them out of the seminar. Any embarrassment was worth it. “George and I had a delightful freshman year making new friends, attending the freshman prom, writing love notes, etc.,” writes Judy. The couple celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary in August and Alice Obas, then a senior at Williams College, nominated high school teacher Liam Leapley, ’00, for the Olmsted Prize.

have four Southern degrees: both are members of the Class of 1973 and Judy earned a master’s in 1979 and a 6th year in 1993. She shares her Southern love story at

Fall 2019 | 41



SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:21 PM Page 42

When the Prize is a Pulitzer


A STUDENT, JEFFREY NOWAK, ’12, was editor-

in-chief of the student newspaper and the 2012

recipient of the Outstanding Journalist of the Year Award — and the accolades continue. Just seven years after graduation, he has reached one of the pinnacles of journalism success — membership on a news team honored with a Pulitzer Prize, the nation’s most prestigious journalism honor. The award was presented to staff from The Advocate, a New Orleans-based newspaper, for its series on Louisiana’s controversial split-jury law. Under the law those charged with felonies could be convicted without a unanimous jury decision. The law has since been amended. Nowak, the digital content editor for the Advocate, contributed a complete digital presentation for the series.

A view from the New Orleans Advocate newsroom shows Jeff Nowak, ’12, digital content editor, working at his computer alongside Gordon Russell, investigations editor.

The Critics have Spoken

Praise is sky high for these alumni authors’ debut books — and, in one case, a new film inspired by a novel. The writers include graduates connected with Southern’s MFA program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. All the more reason to raise a toast to success.

Erin Jones, ’10

Tinfoil Crowns


A 17-year-old YouTube star named Fit has made it her

Xhenet Aliu, ’01

mission to find fame. But


there’s one thing her fans

(Random House) Based in Waterbury, Conn., Brass is about mothers and daughters, haves and have-nots, and the stark realities behind the American Dream.

• Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection • Named among best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Real Simple • Starred reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal

don’t know: when Fit was 3-years old, her mother, suffering from postpartum psychosis, tried to kill her. One of Barnes & Noble “10 Most Anticipated Indie YA Books for 2019”

John Searles, ’91

Strange But True (The new film adaption of Searles’ book

Ryan Leigh Dostie, ’11, MFA ’16

is playing in select cities and streaming

Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line (Hachette Book Group)

on AppleTV and video on demand.) Five years after the tragic death of her boyfriend, a woman

Dostie worked diligently to

arrives on his family’s doorstep

find a space for herself in the

to tell them she is pregnant

testosterone-filled world of the Army

with his child.

barracks, then the unthinkable happened: she was raped by a fellow soldier. • #2 on Esquire’s “Best Books of Summer 2019”

“The tale is a jolting one, and the superb players do justice to the emotional distress of its characters.” — New York Times

• Amazon editors’ top debut for June • One of BookRiot’s “50 of the Best Books to Read This Summer”



1940s ARLINE MILLER CARR, ’47, contributed

photographs and mementos to Southern’s alumni archives — a collection from a scrapbook she compiled while studying at New Haven State Teachers College, as the university was then known. She lives in Endicott, N.Y.

1960s LORI BARKER, ’66, was the featured

artist and writer at a mixed-media art exhibit at the Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery in Washington, Conn. LARRY CIOTTI, ’66, M.S. ’71, 6th Yr. ’92,

is vice president of the Madison Sports Hall of Fame. LAUREN ANDERSON, ’67, M.S. ’71,

was inducted into the University of Rhode Island (URI) Athletic Hall of Fame. Anderson spent 31 years as a coach and administrator at URI, including serving as senior associate director of athletics from 2003-08. CATHERINE “CATHY” MCGUIRK, ’67,

M.S. ’72, the longtime head coach of Branford High School’s field hockey team, was inducted into the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame. DONNA LOPIANO, ’68, was cited in a

review of the book Going to College in the Sixties, in reference to gender discrimination in women’s sports and sport careers during that decade. Forbidden from playing baseball with the boys, she played women’s softball and was the top-player pick in the Little League local draft in Stamford, Conn. She is president of Sports Management Resources and was named one of the “10 most powerful women in sports” by Fox Sports. JOHN PIUREK, ’69, M.S. ’74, 6th Yr. ’91, and DENISE PIUREK, ’71, celebrated

their 50th wedding anniversary. They live in Guilford, Conn. ROBERTA SHEA, ’69, was one of eight

artists featured in an exhibit sponsored by the Society of Creative Arts of Newtown, which was held at the Wilton Library in Connecticut.

1970s DONNA LASHER RUTOLA, ’70, was

recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a top professional in the field of manufacturing. She is a principal at MSM Associates and the former vice president of Okay Industries. INGEBORG VENUS, ’71, M.S. ’83, pres-

ident of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, received the National Member Award of Honor from the

National Garden Clubs in recognition of 25 years of contributions to the organization. THE HONORABLE ROBERT J. DEVLIN, ’72, was nominated to the

Connecticut Appellate Court by Governor Ned Lamont. He has served as a Connecticut Superior Court judge since 1993. ARLENE BURKE, ’73, has retired from

the position of manager of the Madison Racquet & Swim Club. MARGARET QUILTER CHAPPLE, ’74,

Reunion News will be honored in recognition of its 50th reunion at Southern’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 22, 2020 at the Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn. THE CLASS OF 1970

For more information or if you would like to organize a reunion for your class, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (203) 392-6500.

was appointed deputy attorney general for Connecticut. She has served in the office for more than 30 years. JOSEPH GIULIETTI, ’74, was appointed

commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. He is the former president of Metro-North. JACK HULL, ’74, has retired from Dag

Hammarskjold Middle School in Wallingford after 42 years teaching mathematics. CAROL HOMMICK, ’75, M.S. ’77, is a

chaplain and works with hospice patients. Hommick, who lives in Dallas, Ga., also is a military chaplain. ROBERT PARKER, ’76, a retired arts

educator, was honored by the ACES Education Foundation. Parker worked at ACES [Area Cooperative Educational Services] for 36 years as a teacher and as the director of ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven. He also was director of communication for ACES prior to his retirement. FRANCIS “PETE” FARNAN, ’78, who is

95 years old, was interviewed by the Sentinel Source, Keene, N.H., for his work as a restorer of sacred statuary for Catholic churches. Farnan has repaired and restored about 300 statues for churches throughout New England. DENNIS M. FILIPPONE, ’78, retired

from the Brick School District in New Jersey after a 41-year career, most recently serving as interim superintendent. MICHAEL R. CHAMBRELLO, ’79, was

appointed to the board of directors of Inspired Entertainment. A principal of Wickford Strategic Investment, he previously was chief executive officer of North America Lottery for International Game Technology. STEVE FILIPPONE, ’79, was inducted

into the Madison Sports Hall of Fame and is also president of their board of directors. Filippone joined the coaching team at Wesleyan University after a 37-year career as a high school football coach and teacher in Connecticut. DIANE SCHMIDT WARDENBURG, ’79,

the owner and director of Lathrop School of Dance, is retiring and will


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:22 PM Page 43

take her final bow at the school’s 67th Stardust Revue in Newtown, Conn.

1980s BERNADETTE STAK, ’83, has retired

from the position of director of Temple Beth Tikvak Nursery School in Madison, Conn., after 24 years. SHAUN BRENNAN, ’85, was spot-

lighted by the American Red Cross in a nationwide promotion to attract new donors. Brennan recently made his 439th blood donation. CARLAH ESDAILE-BRAGG, ’85, the di-

rector of marketing and community relations at Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, received the Hilda Greenlee Pioneer Award at the Knickerbocker Golf Club awards dinner. DORINDA BORER, ’86, state represen-

tative (D-West Haven), was named co-chair of the bipartisan Legislative Women’s Caucus at the first organizational meeting of the 2019 legislative session. MARY-MARGARET MANDEL, ’86, is

the executive director of Orchard House Medical Adult Day Center in Branford, Conn. JIM BURKE, ’87, is the chief revenue of-

ficer at IVCi, a technology company that provides collaborative meeting spaces, unified communications, video conferencing, and more. AMY MANGOLD, ’87, is the parks and

recreation director for the town of Newton, Conn. AMY G. RASHBA, M.S.W. ’87, is the

chief executive officer of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven. LINDA LEIDEL, M.S. ’89, a portraiture

artist, participated in the Night of Arts event hosted by the Arts Alliance of Woodbury, Conn. RANDALL PUNDZUS, ’89, has joined

Crestmark Equipment Finance as a regional vice president, representing the company in the west. Previously, he was senior vice president with Banc of America Leasing and Capital.

1990s JOSEPH DERISI, ’91, is the recycling

and solid waste coordinator for the town of Hamden, Conn. His past experience includes serving as a site coordinator for Habitat for Humanity and a watershed coordinator for the Norwalk Watershed Initative. He also was an adjunct professor at Gateway Community College. BARBARA RZASA, ’91, exhibited

pastel drawings inspired by a trip to Iceland. She and husband, Peter, were also guest speakers at the Town and Country Garden Club in Newtown, Conn. UWE SCHOBERTH, M.S. ’93, joined

Blackboard Insurance to focus on marketing strategy. A former officer in the German military, he is also vice chairman of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest and chairman of German American Events. CAMILLE BOYD, M.S. ’94, a speech and

language pathologist at Read School in Bridgeport, Conn., has worked with child authors and illustrators to create a book entitled, Be Kind Not Mean. She also writes about the creation of Kindness Learning Communities to teach and facilitate “radical acts of kindness.” CATHERINE CARBONE, M.S. ’94, is the

superintendent of Bristol Public Schools. MATTHEW CASTLEMAN, ’96, is the

site director of the Craigville Retreat Center on Cape Cod in Centerville, Mass. GORDON BEINSTEIN, 6th Yr. ’97, was

named the Connecticut Association of Schools 2019 Middle School Principal of the Year. He is principal of Greenwich Public School’s Western Middle School. MAURA CARAMANELLO, ’97, M.S.

’09, of Middlefield, Conn., was elected to the Regional School District 13 Board of Education. SEILA MOSQUERA-BRUNO, M.S. ’97,

was named commissioner of the Fall 2019 | 43


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:24 PM Page 44

Connecticut Department of Housing by Governor Ned Lamont. She was previously the president and chief executive officer of NeighborWorks New Horizons, a nonprofit dedicated to developing quality, affordable housing. CHRISTOPHER BORAJKIEWICZ, ’98,

of Ameriprise Financial, was named to the “Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list for 2019. His office is in North Haven, Conn. DANA SKIDMORE, M.S. ’98, is a fourth

grade teacher at Lewin G. Joel Elementary School in Clinton, Conn., and runs an ecology camp sponsored by the Clinton Parks and Recreation Department in the summer. She is married to KEN SKIDMORE, M.B.A., ’98. MARK FERNANDES, 6th Yr. ’99, is the

principal on assignment for adult education for New Britain, Conn. With the school district since 1993, Fernandes was principal of Pulaski Middle School prior to this appointment.

2000s TRACEY LEMAY, ’00, the chief admin-

istrative officer at Masonicare, was featured in the Hartford Business Journal. FEDERICO FIONDELLA, M.S. ’03, 6th

Yr. ’18, a former soccer player and career soccer coach, was inducted into the North Haven Sports Hall of Fame. KRISTY GENTILE, ’03, has joined

RE/MAX Platinum Realty as a realtor in the Lakewood Ranch, Fla., office. ERIC CARBONE, 6th Yr. ’04, is the prin-

cipal of Mary G. Fritz Elementary School in Wallingford, Conn. JEFF GLAGOWSKI, ’04, was appointed

the website manager/digital media specialist at Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) in North Haven, Conn. SEAN BRENNAN, ’06, M.S. ’07, is the

principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary in Milford, Conn. CINDY MARTINEZ, ’06, an actress and

playwright, presented her play, “Pegao,” to a sold-out crowd in Hartford. The bilingual production centers on an inter-generational domino game played in Puerto Rico in the 1970s. ALEXANDER HANNA, M.S. ’07, 6th Yr.

’16, is the assistant principal at Cloonan Middle School in Stamford, Conn. SARA ANN LOVELACE “SUNNIE” SCARPA, M.L.S. ’08, was named di-

rector of the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library in Madison, Conn. CARLA CERINO, M.S. ’09, is an English

as a Second Language (ESL) teacher 44 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

and has taught adults through the East Shore Region Adult and Continuing Education ESL classroom at Branford High School for three years. CHRISTOPHER DECKER, M.S. ’09, was

appointed athletic director and dean of students at Woodland Regional High School in Prospect, Conn.

2010s MADELINE CHAFFEE, ’10, is a strategic

wellness consultant with Populytics in Allentown, Penn. JOSUE DORELUS, ’10, a Connecticut

State Police Trooper First Class working in the public information office, received a meritorious service and unit citation award. LUCIANA Q. MCCLURE, ’10, is the co-

founder of Nasty Women Connecticut, an organization that cultivates

community through the arts and curates an annual open-call showcase for marginalized artists. SHANTA M. SMITH, 6th Yr. ’10, is the

principal of Hamilton Avenue School in Greenwich, Conn. SNEHA PATIDAR, ’13, is a youth serv-

ices coordinator at Coventry Connecticut. Her responsibilities include overseeing various prevention, intervention, and support services for children, youth, and their families. JASON FACEY, ’14, hosted the CT Con-

nect Community Convention, a free event featuring networking, a discussion panel, entertainment, and more in East Hartford, Conn. The convention topic was “how to turn your passion into a career.” AMANDA SCHNEIDER, ’14, launched a

philosophy-focused YouTube channel called “Examining Life.” Her goal is to be a traveling philosopher, asking

In Print and On Screen

Arthur Ciaramicoli, M.S. ’72, is the author of eight books, including, most recently, The Soulful Leader: Success with Authenticity, Integrity, and Empathy. He lives in Hopkinton, Mass. Anthony Rostain, M.S. ’76, is co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and Thrive During Their College Years, (St. Martin’s Press). The book is a comprehensive guide to how parents can prepare themselves and their children for the mental and emotional challenges college brings — and the best course of action when students need personal intervention. Vincent Carbone, M.S. ’91, is the author of Distracted Driving … Crosses the Line, his story of being struck by a distracted driver in 2015 and his subsequent recovery. Carbone teaches earth science at Fairfield Woods Middle School in Fairfield, Conn. Martha Simpson, M.L.S. ’91, published her third children’s book, Esther’s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim, which is a follow-up to her previous book, The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin. She lives in Hamden, Conn. Erin Jones, ’10, authored her debut young-adult novel, Tinfoil Crowns, (Flux Books). Ryan Leigh Dostie, ’11, M.F.A. ’16, is the author of Formation – A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line, the story of her service in the U.S. Army and rape by a fellow soldier. She lives in Hamden, Conn.

people all over the world various philosophical questions. JILL KATKOCIN, 6th Yr. ’15, is principal

of Scotland Elementary School in Ridgefield, Conn. JULIEMAR ORTIZ, ’15, is the press sec-

retary for Susan Bysiewicz, lieutenant governor of Connecticut. Ortiz was formerly a journalist with the New Haven Register newspaper. KRISTEN BRADLEY, 6th Yr. ’16, is prin-

cipal of Morris Street Elementary School in Danbury, Conn. SHAMEL LEWIS, Ed.D. ’17, is principal

of Jefferson Elementary in New Britain, Conn. JACOB SANTOS, ’19, is one of only 14

newly named Newman’s Own Foundation Fellows, a program designed to develop the next generation of leaders through 12-month paid fellowships at various nonprofit organizations. Santos has been named the managing director fellow at the Westport Country Playhouse. At Southern, he founded the Crescent Players of Color. PATRICK STIRK, M.S. ’19, was ap-

pointed superintendent of North Haven Public Schools. He is the former principal of Ridge Road Elementary School.

IN MEMORIAM ALICE KRALL, ’43, April 4, 2019,

Bloomfield, Conn. FRANCES M. CANNING, ’46, Feb. 2,

2019, Branford, Conn. CARMELA SAGNELLA, ’46, April 6,

2019, Largo, Fla. LEONOR SAUMELL TASHEIKO, ’46,

Jan. 13, 2019, Phoenix EDNA FRANZ, ’50, Aug. 29, 2018,

Somerville, N.J. JOHN W. “JACK” HUGHES, ’50,

Feb. 3, 2019, Stratford, Conn. HAZEL PRICE JAY JENNINGS, ’50,

Feb. 23, 2019, Florence, Ore. RITA M. FINN HIBYAN, ’52, Feb. 6,

2019, Shelton, Conn. EUGENE LEONE, ’52, April 16, 2019,

Wallingford, Conn. JOAN D. DEFRANCESCO, ’54, M.S.

’74, March 15, 2019, Branford, Conn. JEAN BIRD KOHAN, ’54, June 16, 2019,

Wallingford, Conn.

Douglas Vigliotti, ’11, authored two books, The Gap, and The Salesperson Paradox. He lives in Hamden, Conn.


Cecil Osho-Williams, ’16, published Crayons Don’t Lie, a new book celebrating the joy and creativity inside every box of crayons. She lives in Manchester, Conn.


M.S. ’80, Jan. 20, 2019, Wolfeboro, N.H. Dec. 11, 2018, Orange, Conn. CONSTANCE DUTILLE, ’57, Dec. 10,

2018, Naples, Fla.

SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:22 PM Page 45

JOSEPH M. CARDELLE, ’58, Jan. 4,

2019, Foxfire Village, N.C. ALBERTA INZERO, ’58, May 18, 2019,

Shelton, Conn. LUCILLE BARACH, ’59, Jan. 17, 2019,

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. MARCIA BERGAMINI, ’59, M.S. ’83,

Sept. 7, 2018, Hamden, Conn. EDNA FRASER, ’59, May 3, 2019,

Milford, Conn. WILLIAM H. JOHNSON, ’60, May 7,

2018, Bethany, Conn. INEZ DIAMOND KELSO, ’61, April 2,

2019, Bethany, Conn. KATHLEEN JACHIMOWSKI JAMAITIS, ’62, M.S. ’65, Feb. 27,

2019, Trumbull, Conn. ROBERT C. TUCKER, ’62, May 2, 2019,

New Haven RALPH FERRISI, ’63, Feb. 20, 2019,

Weymouth, Mass. MARGUERITE “PEG” BENTHAM, ’64,

M.S. ’69, Dec. 31, 2018, Suffield, Conn. JOYCE “MIMI” GAROFALO, ’64,

Dec. 23, 2018, Woodbridge, Conn. CAROLYN PALMER, ’65, May 20, 2019,

Shelton, Conn. CONSTANCE CEBEREK, ’66, Jan. 26,

2019, Middletown, Conn. CARL A. BALESTRACCI JR., ’67,

M.S. ’74, 6th Yr. ’77, June 3, 2019, Guilford, Conn. JANICE TIANO, ’67, M.S. ’91, 6th Yr.

’95, May 24, 2019, Gainesville, Va. ERNEST C. GUNN, M.S. ’68, 6th Yr. ’72,

Jan. 28, 2019, Willimantic, Conn. LAWRENCE R. BALDINO, ’69, M.S. ’81,

Dec. 26, 2018, Woodbridge, Conn. ALAN M. BARNICOAT, M.S. ’69,

Feb. 20, 2019, Collinsville, Conn. GIUSTINA MASTRANGELO BROSIO,

’69, Feb. 15, 2019, Cambridge, Mass. EUGENE J. CATALDO JR., M.S. ’70,

March 3, 2019, Burlington, Mass. PHYLLIS PERILLO NUTILE, ’70, 6th Yr.

’78, Jan. 17, 2019, East Haven, Conn. KAREN RAY STANEK, ’70, March 8,

2019, Seymour, Conn. DIANA KATNACK DAVISON, ’71,

Feb. 7, 2019, Woodbridge, Conn. JACQUELINE KIDULAS HUNTER,

M.S. ’71, April 24, 2019, Waterbury, Conn. ELIZABETH A. MARKLEY, ’71, Feb. 2,

2019, Charleston, S.C. CORRINE URBAN MCAULIFFE, ’71,

March 6, 2019, Wallingford, Conn. GEORGE M. OLAYOS, M.S. ’71, 6th Yr.

’82, May 1, 2019, Wallingford, Conn. WILLIAM C. ARPAIA, ’72, M.S. ’78,

June 27, 2018, Murrells Inlet, S.C.


’72, M.S. ’81, 6th Yr. ’90, Dec. 30, 2018, Hamden, Conn. DUDLEY GRIMES, ’72, May 18, 2019,

Goshen, Conn. MICHAEL D. STARNO, ’72, Jan. 26,

2019, Santa Maria, Calif. GARY BORGNIS, ’73, May 18, 2018,

Clinton, Conn. MICHAEL A. SEXTON, ’73, Feb. 24,


M.S. ’74, Jan. 18, 2019, Ansonia, Conn. MARY COURANT, M.S. ’74, May 20,

2019, Windsor, Conn. CATHERINE J. SERINO, ’74, Dec. 24,

2018, Middletown, Conn. LINDA THOMAS SMYTHE, M.S. ’74,


July 1, 2019, Hamden, Conn. KEVIN MORAN, ’86, May 9, 2019,

Harwinton, Conn. SHIRLEY VITUS, 6th Yr. ’86, Feb. 21,

2019, Grand Junction, Colo. MARY E. MITCHELL, M.S. ’88, Jan. 11,

2019, Newtown, Conn. CARL E. SWORD, 6th Yr. ’90, Nov. 18,



Emeritus of Music, Feb. 12, 2019, Silver Spring, Md. MARIE SELVAGGIO, Professor

Emeritus of Anthropology, Feb. 13, 2019, Branford, Conn. THOMAS SHALVEY, Professor

Emeritus of Philosophy, March 3, 2018, Las Vegas VERNON WILLIAMS, M.S. ’68,

Professor of Journalism, Dec. 29, 2018, Branford, Conn.

M.S. ’91, June 22, 2019, Roswell, Ga. EILEEN MCDONALD, M.S.W. ’95,

May 13, 2019, Middlebury, Conn. JENNIFER DEMPSEY WALLBERG,

M.S. ’95, May 18, 2019, New Britain, Conn.

Class notes are compiled from alumni submissions and announcements made in newspapers and magazines.

May 19, 2019, Bristol, Conn. MARIE L. VELARDI, ’74, M.A. ’82,

Feb. 28, 2019, Atlanta THOMAS M. CASSO, 6th Yr. ’75,

Jan. 13, 2019, Easton, Mass. MICHAEL B. QUIGLEY, M.S. ’75,

April 27, 2019, Crystal River, Fla.

Share your good news WITH SOUTHERN FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES. Mail this completed form to Southern Alumni News,


SCSU Alumni Relations Office, Alumni House,

2018, Hamden, Conn.

501 Crescent St., New Haven, CT 06515-1355;


fax, (203) 392-8726;

M.S. ’77, Jan. 26, 2019, North Haven, Conn.

or email,


2019, New Haven, Conn. GLORIA KEITH NILSON, ’77, M.L.S.

’82, March 7, 2019, Durham, Conn. CLYDE A. SELNER, ’77, M.S. ’83, 6th Yr.

’00, May 3, 2019, Kensington, Conn. ANN MARIE LUCAS COOLEY,

M.S. ’78, 6th Yr. ’79, Jan. 19, 2019, Branford, Conn. LEON L. CZIKOWSKY, M.S. ’78, Jan. 8,

2019, Lyme, Conn. MARY JOAN FOLEY MEASOM, ’79,

Jan. 30, 2019, Aurora, Colo.

Name ____________________________________________________________ Street Address ____________________________________________________ City

________________________________State ______________Zip______

Check if this is a new address. Phone (

) ______________________________________________________

Email ____________________________________________________________ SCSU Degree/Year __________________ Major ________________________ Name under which I attended college ________________________________


News Item ________________________________________________________

M.S.W. ’94, March 4, 2019, North Haven, Conn.


CATHY INGLESE, ’80, July 24, 2019



Feb. 2, 2019, Meriden, Conn. TRYPHENA FOREMAN, ’81, M.S. ’84,

Feb. 9, 2019, Trumbull, Conn. ANTOINETTE BALDINO INCAMPO,

’81, March 31, 2019, Hamden, Conn. DOUGLASS PARKER, 6th Yr. ’81,

Feb. 20, 2019, Litchfield, Conn. DAVID J. ZACCARO, ’82, Jan. 9, 2019,

Colchester, Conn. ISABELLE DOUGLAS, ’85, Jan. 14, 2019,

Goffstown, N.H. JOANNE “JODY” MONROE, ’85,

Jan. 11, 2019, Simsbury, Conn.

__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Signature ______________________________________________Date______ Spouse’s Name ____________________________________________________ SPOUSE'S SCSU DEGREE/YR.

Children’s Names/Ages ____________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Fall 2019 | 45


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 10/30/19 3:22 PM Page 46




— in fact, even The Washington Post is raving. “Today, the city is known as Connecticut’s ‘Cultural Capital,’ with abundant theaters, music and museums, well-preserved history, and world-class culinary options,” lauds The Post in its March 15 travel section. The paper goes on to praise access (“leave the car home”), dining (“it’s challenging to narrow down the choices”), and entertainment (“the College Street Music Hall lives up to its name.”) Then there are the sites — including the New Haven Green (a National Historic Landmark) and the Yale University Art Gallery with free admission and some 200,000 objects in its collection. “It has been said that New Haven is large enough to be interesting and small enough to be friendly,” concludes Post writer Susan Barocas.



SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/4/19 1:24 PM Page 47

Creating Community continued from page 34 Haven Board of Education meetings. They also strove to enhance local neighborhoods. Michele Helms, ’92, remembers working on a comparative analysis of a nearby neighborhood while she was attending Southern. She recalls finding a high number of liquor stores and a disturbing lack of resources. It was upsetting and a call to action. “I continue to hold BSU close to my heart because it was a platform that empowered me to make a difference — and she [Matthews] was a big part of that,” says Helms, an English as a second language [ESL] teacher in Stamford, Conn. Her sentiment is echoed by Kermit Carolina, ’94, M.S. ’03, who, as a student, was president of the BSU. His memories of the organization include Saturday mornings spent with New Haven children who came to campus for mentoring and tutoring. “We had an opportunity to make an impact on the greater New Haven community. Every

year, this commitment was passed down from president to president,” says Carolina — now supervisor of youth development and engagement with New Haven Public Schools. Through each program and initiative, Matthews kept a careful eye on her students. “We’d be sitting in her office, talking about the BSU. And she’d casually swivel around to her desk, and say, ‘So, how are classes going? How are your grades?’” says Jefferson. “I had access to their academic information!” Matthews says, with a laugh. “It really was like having a campus mom,” says Jefferson. “We never wanted to disappoint you,” adds Carolina. This enduring, almost familial, connection — fostered by Matthews over three decades and beyond — gives the BSU much of its strength. In October 2018, the BSU held several events in conjunction with Southern’s Homecoming. The BSU tailgate alone drew about 400. Among them was

Kendall Manderville, a senior majoring in recreation and leisure studies, who is president of the BSU today and the scholarship’s first recipient. He met Matthews there after hearing about her for years — and notes that the scholarship is inspiring and needed. “Finances aren’t the only reason students of color might have difficulty staying in school, but they’re a primary issue. All of us have friends who didn’t come back because they couldn’t afford it,” says Manderville. He continues: “I also feel students of color, especially black students, are not always aware of some of the resources available to them. They are not aware of how many scholarships are out there. So having one that’s just for them, right here at the university . . . It makes a difference.” n

Students complete one application to apply for more than 300 SCSU Foundation-based scholarships. MORE AT: foundation-scholarships

Flight School continued from page 18


bird called the bluethroat. It’s primarily an Old World species — meaning it breeds and spends most of its life in Europe and Asia, says Marra. But long ago, one population of bluethroats started traveling to Alaska. The birds annually arrive in May and remain through June to breed. These bluethroats then migrate to another location. “Probably to someplace in Southeast Asia, but we don’t know where,” says Marra In summer 2018, Marra and other researchers began catching the birds and tagging their backs with light-level geolocators that use daylight to estimate location. It’s an intense process. In Alaska, Marra jump-started the day with a cup of coffee, followed by trudging through deep snowbanks to reach small patches of vegetation. The goal: stay clear of musk ox and grizzlies while searching for the newly arrived bluethroats, which must be caught and tagged. The scientists then wait. “If we catch the birds again when they come back next year, we can download the data off their backs,” says Marra. The project was a dream assignment for the naturalist, who is working on The Atlas of Migratory Connectivity for the Birds of North America. Still, recapturing a bird is a challenging task. Only about one in every five birds that scientists tag is captured again the next year, according to the Smithsonian. But Marra remains undaunted, inspired by how much remains to be learned. “The last 10 years, we’ve made some real advances because of the miniaturization of tracking devices and other technology. It’s been a remarkable time to be in migratory animal ecology,” he says. Marra’s new post as head of the Georgetown Environment Initiative will capitalize on his commitment. Ask Marra why we should care about the conservation of various

Scientist Peter Marra, ’85, has co-authored more than 225 papers in journals such as Science and Nature.

bird species, and he turns thoughtful. There are practicalities: removing insects and rodents, spreading seeds, pollinating plants. Birds fulfill critical ecosystem services, he explains: when populations decline or worse, become extinct, it’s a sign that something is deeply unhealthy with the environment. Other motivations are more difficult to articulate, says the conservationist. “You could live without art. You could live without music. But would you want to?” asks Marra. “Would we want to live in a world without warblers, shorebirds, and hawks? I don’t think so. . . .When I wake up in the morning and hear birdsong outside — that fulfills me.” n Fall 2019 | 47


SMag48ppFall19-c.qxp_Layout 1 11/8/19 10:54 AM Page 48

Red Velvet Feb. 28-29, March 5-7 | 8 p.m. March 7, 8 | 2 p.m. The year is 1833 and London’s preeminent Shakespearian actor has collapsed while performing Othello. All are relieved when a replacement is found in the U.S., but reactions shift dramatically when they learn he is black.

Undergraduate Student Research and Creativity Conference May 2 | 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (times are tentative) Adanti Student Center Grand Ballroom Showcasing students’ innovative research and projects.

Directed by Benjamin Curns $15 for general admission; $10 for Southern active alumni and senior citizens; and $5 for Southern students.

May 11 | 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Spring Career and Internship Fair The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (ABRIDGED)

Adanti Student Center Grand Ballroom Showcasing innovative student research and projects.

March 11 | 1-4 p.m.

By Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield

Michael J. Adanti Student Center Learn about career, internship, and cooperative education opportunities from regional and national employers.

Dec. 3-7 | 8 p.m. Dec. 7 | 2 p.m. Kendall Drama Lab A laugh-out-loud parody of comically shortened versions of Shakespeare’s celebrated plays. Directed by Rebecca Goodheart, producing artistic director of the Elm Shakespeare Company, theater-in-residence at Southern. $15 for general admission; $10 for senior citizens and Southern active alumni, faculty, and staff; and $5 for Southern students.

Graduate Student Research & Creativity Conference

It’s ture u your•f•• it makpeen! h ap

(203) 392-8967

Graduate Commencement May 21 Two ceremonies will be held to honor students receiving master’s degrees, sixth year professional diplomas, and doctoral degrees. (203) 392-5240

Student-Directed One-Acts April 28-30, May 1-2 | 7:30 p.m. May 2 | 2 p.m. Theater at its finest by Southern’s talented students. $15 for general admission; $10 for senior citizens and Southern active alumni, faculty, and staff; and $5 for Southern students.

Undergraduate Commencement May 22

Norman Brown’s Joyous Christmas With Bobby Caldwell and Marion Meadows

Dec. 14 | 8 p.m.

Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn.

A special holiday celebration with a smooth-jazz twist.

Celebrating Southern’s graduates and the 50th reunion Class of 1970.

$35 for general admission; $30 for Southern active alumni, faculty, and staff; and $20 for Southern students.

(203) 392-6586

All events held in John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts unless otherwise noted. Southern students must have valid identification to receive their ticket discounts. A limit of two discounted tickets may be purchased by Southern active alumni, faculty, staff, and students for most performances. For tickets and additional information and listings, visit 48 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

SMagCovFall19.qxp_MagazineCover 10/30/19 10:12 AM Page 3

“Life-changing moments are happening every day for students like me.” — Kwadir Delgado-McIntyre, ’20 Business Administration Major Owls football player, studentworker, and scholarship recipient

very Southern student has a story, and every student deserves an opportunity to receive an exceptional education. A gift of any size to the Southern Fund can have a profound impact on Southern and its students. The Southern community is stronger together, and your gift can make the difference!

Have a positive impact on Southern’s future. VISIT: or contact the Office of Annual Giving at (203) 392-6514 or

Office of Annual Giving (203) 392-6514

SMagCovFall19.qxp_MagazineCover 10/30/19 10:12 AM Page 4

Alumni Association 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515-1355 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Burlington, VT Permit No. 19

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.