Southern Alumni Magazine Fall '22

Page 1

a publication for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University




12 A National Champion Ultimate fly guy Jordan Davis wins the NCAA Division II championship title in the javelin.

14 First Class

They are trailblazers, role models, and architects of their own futures. Meet five of Southern’s firstgeneration college students.

20 Built for Need

The new home of the College of Health and Human Services officially opened on September 16 with a celebratory ribboncutting ceremony. The result? Southern has the capacity to prepare significantly more graduates to meet workforce needs in the healthcare field — while providing technologically advanced education to students and expanded services to the community.

Cover: Leana Mauricette, ’22



| Fall | 22

Major Grant Provides Expansive 24 Career Opportunities for Nurses About 3,000 more registered nurses will be needed annually in Connecticut, echoing trends in much of the country. Southern is helping to address the shortfall, aided by a grant from the Yale New Haven Health System.

28 A Golden Opportunity

For more than 50 years, the Southern Educational Opportunity Program (SEOP) has helped promising students reach their potential and graduate from college.


(Left to right) Nursing Clinical Director Pamela Forte; Nursing School Chair Maria Krol; nursing students Eirenie Athanasoulis, ’23, and Angela Broadway, ’23; and President Joe Bertolino

2 ■ From the President 3 ■ Campus News 10 ■ True Blue 26 ■ Hidden Campus 30 ■ Supporting Southern A $3 million pledge forwards student research by endowing the Werth Nanotechnology Industry Academic Fellowship — while also inspiring others to give.

34 ■ Owl Update

It’s all about family for Brittany Galla, ’08, the digital content director at In a personal essay, she looks back at the university where hers began.

36 Fine Lines

The fields of science, conservation, art, and education combine in the works of two celebrated natural science illustrators.



37 ■ Social Southern 38 ■ Spaces & Places in New Haven The symphony comes to Southern.

40 ■ Alumni News 44 ■ Alumni Notes 48 ■ Seen on Campus


fter two challenging years, we are looking forward to better times ahead. Certainly, the energy has returned to campus. It was wonderful to see so many students engaged in involvement fairs and other activities during the first weeks of the fall semester. It’s also been inspiring to view the progress on two major building projects — the College of Health

underserved communities seeking employment in expanding fields such as genomics and biotechnology. And a team of computer science and biology faculty has secured a major grant from the National Science Foundation to recruit students interested in pursuing computing and bioscience. This program, which has a strong research component, forwards the connection we’ve established with New Haven’s biotechnology

and Human Services


Building and the new

These are

home for our School

all positive

of Business, which will

developments for

be completed in fall

Southern to build

2023. We held a

on as we undertake

ribbon-cutting for the

a collective effort

CHHS building on

to develop a new

Sept. 16, before a

strategic action plan

large, enthusiastic

for the university that

group of attendees.

will lay the

This state-of-the-art

groundwork for the

facility will truly benefit Connecticut’s future health-based

next three-to-five years. This plan will advance a set of

workforce as well as the community, through its array of

strategic priorities that I developed with our extended

public clinics and labs.

leadership team to help Southern move forward as we

An integral part of being a social justice and anti-

emerged from the pandemic. They fall under the general

racist university is establishing productive partnerships

themes of stabilizing our fiscal position, driving

with the community. This fall, the New Haven Symphony

enrollment, ensuring student success, advancing social

Orchestra is taking up residency at the Lyman Center,

justice and anti-racism, and expanding our community

which not only brings concerts to Southern but also a

interactions and partnerships.

host of internship and learning opportunities. Dovetailing

I welcome your input and engagement as we work

perfectly, our new minor in arts administration and cultural

together to chart this new course for Southern, and I

advocacy gives students a direct step into a field that

invite you to visit campus and view the physical

generates more than $9.3 billion in Connecticut alone.

transformation that continues to take place at your

In the sciences, we recently received two notable

alma mater.

grants that provide opportunities for students in economic growth areas. We’ve partnered with the


University of Connecticut on a program designed to

Joe Bertolino

teach critical research skills to college graduates from





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


Graduation Celebration


fter three years of lockdowns, masking, and social distancing, the Class of 2022 celebrated at an in-person, indoor commencement ceremony, which was held on May 20, at the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Activist and

actor Kathy Najimy

of Sister Act and Hocus Pocus fame delivered the keynote

address to the 1,300 graduates: “You are powerful and you are magic. . . . You are designing your lives and futures — open-minded, openhearted, and ready to give yourselves the futures you and your world deserve.” Southern President Joe Bertolino lauded the graduates for their strength of character. “The Class of 2022 will truly go down in history for its resilience, sacrifice, and determination under the most difficult of circumstances,” he said. The event’s high points included the presentation of the President’s Medal of Distinction to James Barber, ’64, M.S. ’79,

who retired this year after 58 years of

dedicated service to the university. Barber, who most recently served as director of community engagement, crafted a legacy of change at Southern while advancing inclusivity and access. (See page 29.) On May 19, two graduate commencement exercises were held at the Lyman

Patrick Dilger, Director of Integrated Communications & Marketing Villia Struyk, Editor Mary Pat Caputo, Associate Editor Marylou Conley, ’83, Art Director Isabel Chenoweth, Photographer Callie Newberg, Student Photographer Jason Edwards, ’21, Contributing Photographer Mary Verner, ’14, MBA ’18, 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.

Center for the Performing Arts. The afternoon ceremony recognized graduates of the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Health and Human Services as well as the School of Business. Among the highlights was the presentation of the President’s Medal of Distinction to Alice M. Forrester, chief executive officer of the Clifford Beers Community Care Center, who delivered the keynote address. The evening session honored graduates of the College of Education and included the presentation of the President’s Medal of Distinction to Marlene Miller Pratt, ’85, an educator and community activist. Gregory B. Butler, executive vice president and general counsel at Eversource Energy, delivered the keynote address. Expanded coverage, including videos and photos, an online yearbook, and congratulatory messages are at

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 240, New Haven, CT, 06515; (203) 392-5568;

Fall 2022 | 3


Ribbon Cutting for ‘School that Teaches Teachers’


fter a delay of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a ribboncutting ceremony for the Barack H. Obama Magnet University School was held on May 1, 2022 — spotlighting a signature partnership that serves as a national model by highlighting best practices and promoting innovation. The school opened in spring 2020 on Southern’s campus and is designed to educate close to 500 students (preschool through fourth grade) — standing as a highly unique partnership between a public university and a public school system. “We are living in a society of deep structural divides with severe achievement gaps and debilitating attitudes toward education that our children begin to hear at young ages,” says Stephen Hegedus, dean of the College of Education. “Our partnership aims to be a groundbreaking effort to tackle these challenges head on, to reform education, and to make a concerted effort that will impact the lives of many children and families in New Haven.” Southern has been a leading producer of teachers, principals, and school administrators in Connecticut since its founding as a two-year teacher-training program in 1893. The College of Education, recently completed a highly successful accreditation review of its teacher and

Ceremony guests included (lower, from left) Stephen Hegedus, dean of the College of Education, children from the school, and Jahana Hayes, ’05, the U.S. representative for the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut.

administrator preparation programs. In fact, Southern is one of only 32 institutions of higher learning awarded the 2022 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement from the Council for the

Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The award honors universities and colleges for achieving the highest accreditation standards, with a review that found zero areas for improvement or other stipulations.

Owl Named a SHAPE America Major of the Year

Brianna Vallejo, ’22, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in physical education in May having already made her mark in the profession. The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America presented Vallejo with a “Major of the Year” award at the organization’s national conference in New Orleans in April 2022. The award celebrates the nation’s outstanding undergraduate students in the health, physical education, recreation, and dance fields. Vallejo is one of about 110 students to receive the award nationally and one of only two in Connecticut. She is pursuing her studies through Southern’s new B.S. Physical Education to M.S. School Health Education Accelerated Pathway. Students in this competitive academic offering can complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. Vallejo is continuing her Southern education as a graduate student.


New Dean for Business School


ollowing a national search, Jess Boronico has joined Southern as dean of the School of Business. He comes to the university with an outstanding record of academic, business leadership experience at a variety of institutions of higher learning, including the New York Institute of Technology, the University of New Haven, William Paterson University, and Monmouth University. Boronico is widely published on numerous topics, including the measurement of effectiveness of corporate social responsibility practices, mathematical modeling of global accreditation compliance practices, and perspectives on study abroad. He is the editor of two books, one on competitive advantage and another on business strategy, and

the co-author of a book on simulation in operations management. A member of various honorific societies — including Golden Key, Pi Mu Epsilon, Phi Beta Kappa, and Mensa — Boronico was recognized for excellence in teaching at both Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania. He received a doctorate in operations research and management science from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. Construction continues on the new home for the School of Business. The 64,000-squarefoot, environmentally sustainable building will provide a launching pad for expanding the school’s offerings.


Play Garners National Awards

Out of Bounds, a play written and performed by Southern students, was one of only four showcased at the Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which represents Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, northeastern New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. From there, the production was invited to the national KCACTF, held virtually in April 2022 — where it went on to receive six national awards for excellence. The production earned a “Kennedy Center Citizen Award,” which recognizes productions for advocating for justice. It also was recognized for “Special Achievement in the Production of a Devised or Company-Generated Work” and for “Special Achievement in Production Design.” Gracy Keirstead, ’98, and Sarah Bowles, both adjunct faculty members in the Department of Theatre, were honored for direction. Douglas J. Macur, assistant professor of theatre, received two awards for excellence in both costume design and projection design. “It was out of a very clear necessity to be seen and heard, that this work was created,” says Keirstead. “The need to step out of those lines and question the boundaries that we as a society create that end up becoming oppressive to some of us. The need to be limitless, out of pocket, and boundless. The need for representation. The fact that we then got to share it at KCACTF for a national audience of our peers was just the icing on the cake.” Bowles concurs: “The play was devised and performed by our company of 16 student actors. It truly gives audiences a glimpse into what the actorcreators were thinking about, dreaming about, worried about, furious about.” Fall 2022 | 5


Grads Honored for Excellence

• Greta Brunello, ’22, an international student from Carisolo, Italy, is a member of the Owls soccer team. She excelled in the classroom, graduating summa cum laude (with highest distinction) with a degree in exercise science (concentration in human performance) and a minor in psychology. Brunello also volunteered in both Ghana and Panama as a member of Southern’s chapter of Global Brigades, a nonprofit organization that unites volunteers with communities throughout the world to work toward sustainable health and economic goals. She is taking graduate courses at Southern.


was presented to four seniors in recognition of academic achievement,

• Fellow honoree Dominique Dickenson, ’22, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology and three minors (biology, Spanish, and Honors Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives). She was a member of the university cheer team, serving as team captain since June 2021. She came to Southern with about 10 years of experience as a gymnast and was also a gymnastics coach and camp counselor. Her long-term goal is to be a pediatrician.

leadership, and community engagement. It is among the highest honor bestowed by the Connecticut Colleges and Universities system.

• History major Sarah Gossman, ’22, graduated summa cum laude, while also completing three minors: English, social media, and Honor Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives. She was extremely active in the Student Government Association, most recently serving as president, and was also an elected member of the Class of 2022 executive board. She received multiple awards for service, including being named Southern’s “Outstanding” freshman, sophomore, and junior. • Sydney King, ’22, has centered her focus on social justice and community outreach, while majoring in anthropology and minoring in Spanish and Honors Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives. That commitment began prior to enrolling at the university; King participated in numerous mission trips with her church, volunteering at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home of the Indigenous North American Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe. She also worked with AmeriCorps following the Northern California wildfires. As a Southern senior, she studied abroad in Chile to enhance her Spanish language skills.

th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which bans discrimination on • This year marks the the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.


865,469 from 1,554 donors, whose

• Southern’s 2022 Day of Caring raised a record $ average gift of $557 also set a record.

t Fas ts. Fac



• About course textbooks are available at Buley Library to save students from having to purchase the titles. Many can be checked out for the entire semester, while 42 titles — with an average price of $245 — can be reserved for two-hour windows in the library to maximize their availability to as many students as possible. A $ grant from the Office of the Provost funded the latter.


• The five-day “Summer Nursing Symposium,” run by Southern’s School of Nursing in collaboration with Yale New Haven Hospital, introduced New Haven high schoolers to healthcare professions and education. Held in the new College of Health and Human Services building, the program included medical simulation exercises, CPR training, nurse-shadowing experiences, and much more.


• The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Southern and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station a -year grant to continue the Plant Health Fellows summer program. Students in the program spend nine weeks conducting a mentored research project on topics such as plant pathology, analytical chemistry, entomology, molecular microbiology, plant physiology, and forest health.



faculty spotlight

Rafael Hernandez professor and chairperson of World Languages and Literatures


Hernandez is author of Food Cultures of Mexico: Recipes, Customs, and Issues, published in October 2021, as part of ABC-Clio & Greenwood Publishing Group’s “Global Kitchen” series. “Food is one of the most meaningful and effective systems of communication after language,” says Hernandez.


traditional and high cuisine, regional and national foods, and special occasion dishes. Ancestral eating habits and a discussion of the way food has been transformed under the pressures of globalization also are covered.


studying Latin American literature and colonial history from the early 20th century up to the present and came across a lot of references to food and how it was used to identify and demarcate class and status,” says Hernandez, “and so I got very interested in Mexican food history.”

FUN FACT: In 2010, the United

Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) identified Mexican cuisine as representative of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” It is the first cuisine to be so designated — a point of national pride, notes Hernandez.


also is the author of Splendors of Latin Cinema (ABC-CLIO, 2010) and Una poética de la despreocupación, and the co-editor of ¡Agítese bien! A New Look at the Hispanic Avant-Gardes.

Fall 2022 | 7


Southern Wins State Awards for Green Efforts

■ ■

Faculty and Staff Honors Manohar Singh, dean

of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, was one of only 46 education professionals from throughout the Manohar Singh

U.S. named to the American Council

on Education (ACE) Fellows Program for 2022-23. The program, which matches professors and administrators with a mentor at another college, has helped prepare nearly 2,000 faculty and administrators for senior positions in higher education leadership since its inception in 1965.

From left: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recognized Keith Epstein, vice president of facilities, infrastructure planning, and real estate at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system and Southern’s Eric Lessne, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations; Suzanne Huminski, sustainability coordinator; and Heather Stearns, recycling coordinator, for their successful sustainability efforts.



Southern was

recognized by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont at the

2022 GreenerGov CT Awards in April. The “Impactful Project Award,” was presented in recognition of three high-impact, renewable-energy projects at the university: solar-panel installations in various locations on campus, the hydrogen fuel cells placed near the energy center, and the 64,000-square-foot, net-zero building that

President Joe Bertolino (center) with Sherri Hughes. assistant vice president for community strategy and engagement for ACE, and Ted Mitchell, president of ACE.

will soon house the School of Business. The honorees include Southern’s Suzanne Huminski, sustainability coordinator; Eric Lessne, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations; and Heather Stearns, recycling

In related news, President Joe Bertolino was

coordinator; as well as Keith Epstein, the vice president of

presented with the 2022 ACE Council of

facilities, infrastructure planning, and real estate at the

Fellows/ Fidelity Investments Mentor Award.

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

The award acknowledges the significant role

The “Innovation Award,” recognizing an exceptional

of mentors in the ACE Fellows Program.

public-sector sustainability innovation, was presented to

Bertolino, a graduate of the fellows program

Huminski and Stearns for the Office of Sustainability’s

(2010-2011) and past chair of the Council for

successful internship program at Southern. More than 70

Fellows, has mentored five fellows and

alumni have worked as sustainability interns. Huminski also

nominated one.

was honored along with others for efforts supporting a clean and efficient transportation team.


Nobel Peace Prize Winner Speaks on Campus

DMITRY MURATOV, WINNER OF THE 2021 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE, spoke on campus on Sept. 9. A

Russian journalist who co-founded the prodemocracy newspaper, Novaya Gazeta in 1993, Muratov is a vocal advocate for an independent press and known for investigating abuses of power. He was the newspaper’s editor-in-chief from 1995 to 2017, again assuming the role in

2019 and was cited by the Nobel Prize Committee for “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” Six Novaya Gazeta journalists have been murdered over the years in connection with their work. In June 2022, Muratov sold his Nobel medal for a record $103.5 million, which he plans to donate to UNICEF to help Ukrainian child refugees.

From left: Dmitry Muratov delivers a public lecture after speaking with students. • He and President Joe Bertolino exchange gifts. • Ebong Udoma, senior reporter at WSHU Public Radio, moderates with help from a translator.

From the Center for British Arts to Southern

Onyinye Okeke is passionate about art. So, in 2021, when her adviser at Achievement First Amistad High School learned of a new program for young adults interested in photography, he urged her to apply. “He knew I liked taking photos with my phone,” Okeke recalls. The four-month-long program was being launched by the Yale Center for British Arts and the Lens Media Lab at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University. “I was immediately interested,” she says. “Then I heard ‘Yale’ and was intimidated.” But her adviser was insistent, so Okeke completed the application — and ultimately was one of only 12 young adults from greater New Haven selected. She describes the program, conducted online in step with COVID-19 protocols, with a wealth of superlatives: informative, supportive, life-changing. “The best moments of my life were happening during the worst of times with COVID and so many other things that were going on. It was difficult to find joy in anything,” she says. “Knowing I had a photo assignment to complete or an online meeting was my light, a beacon of joy.” The program culminated in an exhibit — The View from Here. Participants’ photographs were showcased online and projected nightly on the exterior walls of the Center for British Art. “I felt proud and, also, somewhat astonished. People from around the world come to visit the museum. And my work is up there on the wall? It was surreal,” says Okeke, the first American-born child of Nigerian immigrants who came to the U.S. with three children. At Southern, Okeke is majoring in healthcare studies. But in her freshman year, she began exploring the arts as well. Two friends, both communication majors, invited her to a video shoot on campus. She also toured the university’s photography department with Jeremy Chandler, associate professor of art, who’d seen her work in a newspaper article about the exhibit. Impressed, he encouraged her to take some art courses, which she plans to do. “The big fear — the whole ‘you’re not good enough’ — has been on my shoulders for so long, haunting me,” she says. “But now that I’m seeing these opportunities, it’s kind of a sign telling me to go ahead. See what happens.”

“Agok,” a portrait of Onyinye Okeke’s close friend was featured in the exhibit. “Looking at people and my community with my camera is how I fell in love with photography,” says Okeke.

Fall 2022 | 9

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

Count ’em up: That’s five major championship team titles!


was a glory-filled spring 2022 semester for the Owls, with four programs winning Northeast-10 (NE10) league championships: both men’s and women’s swimming and diving, as well as the men’s track and field team, which won indoor and outdoor tournaments. The latter team followed up their NE10 wins by capturing the New England Outdoor title. Here’s a quick recap of the victories. Turn to for more play-byplay action.

Women’s Swimming and Diving Since joining the conference in 2003, the women’s program has never finished the NE10 Championships lower than second place. The team’s reign continued in 2022 with another

The Best of Times



Jordan Davis

Javelin (new style)* 72.54 meters (238’ 0”) (2022) NCAA Div. II Champion (More on page 12.) 71.83 meters at New


Southern’s men’s track and field team was more than

Nigel Green



England Championships was an all-time meet record

Also plays Owls Football

100 meter*

10.34 seconds (2022)

New England meet record in 100

up for the challenge.

200 meter*

20.72 (2022)

His fitting nickname: Bullet Train

“When [Assistant Coach]

200 meter**

21.26 (2022)

300 meter**

33.16 (2021)

NCAA Div. II national all-time record in 300

Eli Henry

400 meter*


2022 New England and NE10 400 champion

Turner Kelly

Shot Put*

19.67 meters (64 feet, 6.5 inches) (2022)

First at the NE10 Championships in hammer, shot put, and discus; Also first at New England Championships in shot put and hammer, with an all-time meet record in the former (19.67)

Jake Mattei

5,000 meter**

14:23.02 (2022)

Unique talent: solving a Rubik’s Cube in less than a minute

Terrell Patterson

1500 meter*

3:47.27 (2022)

Also competes with Southern’s cross country program

Tariq Phillips Eli Henry Christ N’Dabian Nigel Green

4 x 100 meter Relay*

40.45 (2022)

All earned All-American honors

Owen Gagne Nigel Green Jonathan Volpe Terrell Patterson

Distance Medley Relay**

09:42.99 (2022)

All hail from the Northeast: three Connecticut natives and one New Yorker (Green)

Brian Nill and I sat down at the beginning of the year, we realized we had a team that could set several school records — and we would have been disappointed if we hadn’t,” says head coach John Wallin of the program that went on to win Northeast-10 (NE10) championships (indoor and outdoor) as well as the New England title. Ultimately 10 studentathletes broke 11 Southern records in the 2021-22 academic year — with some setting tournament and national records as well. *Outdoor **Indoor 10 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Meet the Student Coach victory. The Owls now have claimed four of the last five titles (2017, 2018, 2020, 2022) — and 14 overall. Southern hosted the tournament, held Feb. 17 – 20 at Bruce Hutchinson Natatorium.

Men’s Swimming and Diving After trailing Bentley University for the first three days of competition, Southern pulled ahead on day four to win the NE10 Championships. The Owls finished with 695.5 points, edging out second place Bentley with 671. This is the program’s 14th NE10 title since joining the conference in 2003. Southern hosted the event, held Feb 17 – 20 at Bruce Hutchinson Natatorium.

Men’s Track and Field (Indoor) On Feb. 25, Southern won its fifth consecutive NE10 Indoor Championships. The storied men’s program has claimed 16 indoor conference tournament titles overall. Southern tallied 225 points, the fourth most in the history of the championship. The Owls also placed first in five events. The competition was held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Massachusetts.

Men’s Track and Field (Outdoor) The Owls won their fifth consecutive NE10 Outdoor Championships on May 7, with a more than 140-point lead over second place American International College. Southern’s 269 points is the second highest in the history of the event. This is the program’s 18th NE10 outdoor conference title. Building on that victory, on May 14, the team won the New England Outdoor Track and Field Championships — bringing home the gold for the sixth time since 2011. The Owls also were crowned New England champions in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2019. The event was held at Bryant University in Rhode Island.



Charliana Criscuolo Sophomore Healthcare studies major (pre-nursing focus) with a minor in sport studies Owl Football, student assistant wide receivers coach and operations manager Getting started: As a high school student, Criscuolo was the team manager

for several sports, including football at both North Branford and Guilford high schools. She wanted to continue working with athletics in college, so she reached out to the football coaches at the three universities she applied to, including Southern.

One got back to her: Criscuolo chose Southern. Soon after, Thomas Godek, ’88, head football coach for the Owls, found a YouTube video that Criscuolo had created for her high school senior capstone project; it highlighted her many contributions to the teams she worked with. Impressed, Godek reached out — and she took the call while getting a manicure in preparation for the North Branford senior prom.

She joined the Owls football staff: as an operations manager in summer

2021. Her first task was helping with summer football camps held on campus. It meant long days, often in blistering heat. She loved it.

A promotion: From the onset, Godek asked about her interest in coaching as a potential career. “I thought he was joking at first,” says Criscuolo. He wasn’t and, in spring 2022, she became the student assistant wide receivers coach while continuing as the operations manager.

The days are long: In addition to attending practices, games, and events,

Criscuolo often works in the field house before and after class. A typical day might find her assisting with scheduling and paperwork, breaking down films to prepare for games/practices, running drills with players, or supporting recruitment and scouting efforts.

Connecting: Criscuolo comes to coaching from a unique vantage point. Beyond being a woman, she’s younger than most of the players, and, as a fellow student, a peer. “People ask me about the players, especially the wide receivers,” she says. “Wide receivers can be stereotyped as hotheads, cocky. But they are the most calm, respectful people I have ever met. They help me with everything. They know I am still learning with them.”

Feeling proud: “There was a moment last spring — the first play I was signaling

[from the sidelines] — that really stands out,” she says. “Knowing that the guys were looking at me to lead them in the right direction and that they were trusting in my ability was amazing.”

Why Southern: “I like that Southern is close to my home in North Branford, and MORE AT

the nursing program is great,” says Criscuolo. “It is a big, beautiful campus, but it feels small in the very best sense. It is a community.” Fall 2022 | 11

A National Champion

Ultimate fly guy Jordan Davis wins the NCAA Division II javelin title. by Villia Struyk

ORDAN DAVIS INITIALLY HAD ZERO INTEREST IN THROWING A JAVELIN. As a student at Mark T. Sheehan High School in Wallingford, Conn., he was a star football player and track sprinter. He also had played baseball since childhood. “Center field, so I had a good arm,” he says. So, it made sense when his high school coach asked him to give the javelin a try.

Davis, then a junior, took some persuading. “But he finally convinced me to do it — and right away it just clicked,” he says. Davis closed out that first year of javelin training by winning both the 2019 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) Class M and State Open championships — then placed third at nationals. The stage was set, when his last year of high school competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further growth in the sport would have to wait until college — and Davis knew he wanted to play college football as well. He had helped Sheehan football win a 2019 state title and was a Walter Camp Foundation AllConnecticut First Team selection. As a freshman, he’d teamed up alongside his older brother Zach, who went on to play for Fordham University. Davis’ early dream, he says, was to compete collegiately in track and field and football at a national sports-powerhouse university. “But I wasn’t there [at that level] for both sports,” he says. Enter Southern, his first “official” college visit. He talked with the football coaching staff as well as head coach of track and field John Wallin. Once again, “it just clicked,” he says. “Right away, I told my mother. ‘This is where I want to go. It feels like home.’”

Building a Champion Davis settled in at Southern, majoring in business administration with a minor in computer science. He aptly balanced the demands of two sports: football with a focus on high-energy, team-based training as well as track and field with an emphasis on self-growth, he says. The javelin throw brought immediate success. As a freshman, Davis was first at both the 2021 New England Championships (64.30 meters) and the Northeast-10 (NE10) Outdoor Championships (62.39 meters). The NE10 named him the “Outdoor Men’s Field Rookie of the Year.” Then it was on to the 2021 NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where he placed ninth

— a strong performance that nonetheless disappointed the competitive student-athlete. “I held it as a personal grudge. A challenge,” recalls Davis, of watching the top finishers receive their awards. The following year brought sweet vindication: Davis standing atop the podium at the NCAA Div. II Championships to receive the gold medal in the javelin throwing event. “It was awesome, a blessing, and somewhat indescribable,” says the athlete, who, earlier in the season, had successfully defended his NE10 and New England championship titles. Overall, the program was equally successful, winning the NE10 indoor and outdoor championships as well as the New England title. (See page 10.) At the NCAA Championships, Davis won with his second throw, which came in at 72.54 meters. “I knew it was going to be a personal record,” he says of the throw, which is a Southern program record as well. “For javelin, when the throw is good, you know immediately. It’s a feeling that runs through your body,” he says. Davis entered the NCAA tournament seeded second — with a year of college experience under his belt. It made all the difference. “Last year, was a huge learning period. Each meet was about coaching. This year was about competing,” he says. He notes a change in mindset, developing the selfconfidence needed to be “that dude,” the one who sets the bar. His coach concurs. “From the moment he came to Southern, we’ve discussed being in control of your emotions, thinking logically not emotionally — which is difficult for every young man on this planet,” says Wallin, who alongside assistant coach Brian Nill earned regional year-end awards from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. “Being strong and fast are critical. But being able to perform your best when it matters most is a different challenge entirely,” he adds. As illustration, the coach recalls Davis’ earlier performance at the New England Championships. He was not

continues on page 47 Fall 2022 | 13

First Class

They are trailblazers, role models, and architects of their own futures. Meet five of Southern’s first-generation students. By Villia Struyk



Southern strives to support first-generation students, who comprise about 39% of the undergraduate student body. They’re a diverse group, representing different economic backgrounds, ages, races, and nationalities. But all are united by a single definition at Southern: neither parent has completed a four-year college or university degree.

In the spring 2022 semester, the university reached out to these students with a short questionnaire.

Our goal: to learn a bit of their stories — the successes and challenges. The motivations that illuminated their journeys and the stumbling blocks along the way. They also were invited to participate in a photo shoot conducted by Isabel Chenoweth, university photographer, and Callie Newberg, a student photographer and sophomore special education major. The resulting exhibit can be seen online: In the following pages, we spotlight five of these first-generation students. All are inspiring — and all show a firm commitment to earning a college degree. A lot is at stake, most obviously, income level. Consider a report released in May 2022 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics aptly called, Education Pays, 2021. The median weekly earnings for those with a bachelor’s degree was $1,334 — significantly more than for those with only a high school diploma ($809) or some college but no degree ($899). There are, of course, more benefits — both personal and societal. When compared to those with only a high school diploma, graduates who have earned a bachelor’s degree are significantly less likely to live in households affected by poverty or participate in public-assistance programs. The boons continue: bachelor’s degree recipients are more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, enroll their children in preschool programs, volunteer, vote, and even exercise.* But it’s the personal satisfaction that comes across most strongly in many Southern first-generation students’ stories. Beatrice Tartt-Warren is a telling example. In her 50s, she returned to college part time after facing formidable obstacles, including a life-threatening disease. Today, she’s a senior with a stellar academic record, inching ever closer to earning a college degree. “It feels so good,” she says, which in this instance, is everything. * Education Pays 2019, The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society, The College Board



Camila Ramos, ’22 Earning a university degree was a journey for Camila Ramos — in every sense of the word. Born in Brazil, she came to the United States with her family as a high school student, determined to succeed. “My parents didn’t have the same opportunities as me, so my main motivation was to honor their sacrifices and show that their hard work would not be in vain,” she says. When it came time for college, challenges abounded. “There were language and cultural barriers as well as financial ones,” says Ramos. Even commuting was a hurdle. “Until the end of junior year, I’d spend nearly three hours of my day — every day — just on transportation,” she says, of the commute that included a train ride from Bridgeport to New Haven to catch the free shuttle to campus. She’d arrive at about 8 a.m. — and, often, wouldn’t get home until 9:30 p.m. or later, after studying and completing homework. “If I said that I didn’t cry many times due to stress, that I didn’t doubt myself or my choices, I’d be lying,” she says. Still, while Ramos knew she didn’t have the advantages of some of her classmates, “I did have everything I needed to succeed,” she says. A biology major with minors in chemistry and medical Spanish, she grounded her studies in research. In summer 2020, she was named a Werth Entrepreneurship Industry Academic Fellow, a teambased program funded by Peter J. Werth that explores the intersection of innovation, sustainability, and science. (See page 30.) The following year she presented research on epithelial tissue from seals’ nasal cavities at Southern’s Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference. (The study touched on the semiaquatic animal’s sense of smell.) Along the way, Ramos worked on campus as a Peer Academic Leader (PAL) with the Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services. PALs support Southern students in a variety of academic disciplines. She also was a Presidential Ambassador, representing the university at key functions. “Looking back at my freshman year, I’m a completely different Camila,” she says of her growing campus involvement. In May 2022, Ramos graduated cum laude — and the next month, she started as an intern with Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, which targets neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases, including rare disorders. She’s now a medical assistant, and her long-term aspiration — to become a physician assistant — is in sight. “Commit yourself to the journey, fix your eyes on the target, and don’t look back,” she says.


Fall 2022 | 15

Beatrice Tartt-Warren could teach a master’s class on perseverance. “Out of six children, I am the first to attend college to earn my degree,” says Tartt-Warren, an adult student who is majoring in healthcare studies. Her road to Southern was laden with profound challenges, including the death of her husband from a heart attack in 2009. She is from New York but relocated to Connecticut to raise their two children alone. Then, in 2013, Tartt-Warren was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Today, however, I am eight years cancer free,” she says. “I decided to go back to school to finish my degree and do something for myself. I was a wife, a mother, and a patient with a life-threatening illness. Once I overcame life’s obstacles there was nothing holding me back.” Tartt-Warren enrolled at Southern in 2020, with transfer credits from several institutions of higher learning, including the City University of New York system and Gateway Community College. Her knowledge and experience show in her advice to students: use the services Southern offers. [At the national level, first-gen students are less likely to access most services than continuing-generation students.] “I had a problem with making ends meet and lacked food supplies in my household. I cannot tell you how much the food pantry at school has helped,” she notes. Studying part time at Southern, she is now a senior — a commitment to excellence is her hallmark. She starts the fall 2022 semester with a 3.71 [out of 4] cumulative grade point average. “It feels so good,” she says.

Beatrice Tartt-Warren 16 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE


Carl Dellarocco


For Carl Dellarocco, earning a college degree is part of a comprehensive plan to change his life — nearly every aspect of it. “I was a high school dropout, got in trouble, and never cared about my future,” he says, adding a string of former self-descriptors: overweight, depressed, a pack a day smoker, “always at the bar, and in poor health both mentally and physically,” he says. A lot has changed for Dellarocco. He’s lost 80 lbs., has been smoke- and alcohol-free for more than two years, attends church weekly — and, at age 38, he’s a college sophomore and Dean’s List student. The journey was not always easy. Dellarocco had not set foot in a classroom in 20 years when he arrived on campus. “The challenges were everywhere,” he concedes. But a simple formula led to success: go above and beyond. His attendance record is close to perfect, he says — and then there’s the Math Emporium. A new classroom and lab space on the lower level of Buley Library, it’s designed for students in “MAT 100P, Introductory and Intermediate Algebra,” who are required to spend five hours per week there, a combination of instruction time and labs; Dellarocco devoted three to four hours a day. The staff noticed his commitment and hired him to work at the front desk. Elizabeth Hart in the Department of Mathematics is a mentor, he says, “a main reason for my college career heading in the right direction.” Hart is equally inspired and recommended that Dellarocco share his motivational story with students. Dellarocco — who is majoring in tourism, hospitality, and event management and minoring in English literature — has given more than 40 talks. The hard-working student takes nothing for granted. “This is my second chance at a good life and a good future,” he says. “The best advice I can give anyone is show up and try your best. The rest will take care of itself.” Fall 2022 | 17

Leana Mauricette, ’22


A month after graduating summa cum laude with a 3.96 grade point average, Leana Mauricette was named a CTNext Governor’s Innovation Fellow, a program that places the “most promising college graduates” with innovative companies throughout Connecticut. More than 400 applied for the initiative, with only 33 ultimately selected, Mauricette among them — an achievement made even more impressive considering her uncertain path to college. “I was not expected to pursue higher education. It had never been talked about growing up,” she says. The overriding belief in her household, as she recalls: college was important only if you planned to be a doctor, nurse, or lawyer. Mauricette did not tour prospective colleges and was unsure how she’d pay for her studies. But she forged ahead. “My experience at Southern as a first-gen student was filled with teachable moments, joyful experiences, and some difficult times,” she says. The challenges included financing college, virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, and “finding my place as a woman of color in STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics],” says Mauricette, who majored in environmental systems and sustainability and minored in business administration. She found support through community. In addition to connecting with faculty and peers in her major, she turned to the Office of STEM Research and Innovation at Southern, which offers professional development and entrepreneurship opportunities; the Bioscience Academic and Career Pathway (BioPath), a partnership between Southern and the city of New Haven, which provides academic and experiential programs (internships, boot camps, and research opportunities); and University Access Programs, dedicated to serving academically motivated first-generation, lowincome, and other historically underrepresented students. Mauricette, in turn, became a resource for others. Weeks before graduating, for example, she joined experts from Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim as a panelist for an on-campus forum, Connecting Students and Professionals of Color, which highlighted careers in STEM fields. Her advice to students: take every opportunity to connect. “By putting myself out there and asking for help when I needed it most, I created my own academic family,” she says.


Kyle Augustine has earned two Southern degrees: a bachelor’s in history (2019) and a master’s in education (2022). But he’s quick to stress the challenges facing first-gen college students. His parents came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago in the 1990s, having both graduated from high school. They were fully supportive of Augustine’s college aspirations. But when it came to navigating the application process, finalizing his college admissions essay, and applying for financial aid, he was largely on his own. The Southern Educational Opportunity Program (SEOP) helped him orchestrate college life. “This was my foot in the door,” he says of the program, launched at Southern in 1972, with the belief that underrepresented students’ success is determined by their motivation, regardless of personal circumstances. (See page 28.) Still, Augustine struggled as a new student. “I was barely attending class and partying with my friends three nights a week,” he says. Broke and failing two classes at midterms, he took it to heart when, “my [SEOP] advocate gave me a reality check,” he says. Augustine signed on for tutoring at what’s now Southern’s Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services. He joined the Caribbean Student Association (becoming president), the Black Student Union, the Organization of Latin American Students, and B.R.O.S.E (Brotherhood of Scholarship and Excellence). He also took part in an on-campus protest after Police Officer Darren Wilson was acquitted for the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Along the way, Augustine emerged a prominent leader of color on campus. Life came full circle when he became a graduate intern and advocate with University Access Programs at Southern — the umbrella office which operates SEOP and other programs that support firstgeneration, low-income, and other historically underrepresented students. Augustine’s commitment to student success continued post-graduation. In July, he became a college and career counselor with Achievement First, a network of nonprofit, high-performing, college-preparatory, K-12 public charter schools in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. Among his messages: I made it, so can you.

Kyle Augustine, ’19, M.S. ’22


Fall 2022 | 19

BUILT for Need The new home of the College of Health and Human Services officially opened on September 16 with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony. The result? Southern has the capacity to prepare significantly more graduates to meet workforce needs in the healthcare industry — while providing technologically advanced education to students and expanded services to the community. HE COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES


has more than 16,000

living alumni, including dedicated nurses, public health directors, speech pathologists, social workers, respiratory therapists, physical

education teachers, and other front-line heroes — many providing invaluable services during these challenging times. And, clearly, there are challenges: COVID-19 variants, the monkeypox virus declared a public health emergency, racial and economic healthcare inequities, a growing demand for mental health services, the opioid epidemic, and far too few healthcare and human services professionals to meet society’s needs in many sectors, including nursing, school counseling, marriage and family therapy, and more. The American Hospital Association forecasts a shortage of up to 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026. Amid this climate, many Southern students see opportunity and a call to serve. There are 2,498 students enrolled in the College of Health and Human Services, including 623 graduate students. Many are preparing for their careers in a new 94,750-square-foot building 20 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

located on Fitch Street. There are 26 disciplines (listed on page 23) housed within the college’s departments, centers, clinics, and institutes. Several are remaining in their previous locations by design: the Department of Social Work in the historic Lang House and Orlando House, and the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in Davis Hall, which will accommodate an expanded clinic. Likewise, the physical education and school health education programs will stay in Irma M. Pelz Gymnasium, adjacent to the new CHHS building. Overall, the new facility will unite academic disciplines previously housed in eight buildings throughout campus. The configuration encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and reflects the real world where health and human services professionals work together to provide the best of care. Here are some of the building’s highlights. MORE AT


on the terrace level, is equipped with 10 examination tables that convert into desks, a therapeutic whirlpool bath, and other tools of the field. It’s also home to the Anatomage Table — a computerized, 3D system for teaching anatomy and physiology as well as conducting virtual dissections. (See page 26.)


INCLUSIVE RECREATION, among the first organization

of its kind in Connecticut, provides opportunities for students enrolled in the therapeutic recreation programs to gain experience assisting individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. The institute has a dedicated home in the new building — including a gaming room designed to support children on the autism spectrum.


technology to display the cooktop to audiences — is an interdisciplinary space for use by numerous CHHS programs. Among the subjects potentially taught? Student nutrition and food safety, sport nutrition, and offerings from Southern’s degree program in tourism, hospitality, and event management. Other possibilities include healthy cooking demonstrations from the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), a partnership between Southern and Yale University committed to improving the health of residents of New Haven’s lowest-income neighborhoods. The space converts to a classroom.


DISORDERS, TEACHING, AND RESEARCH LABS serves about 150 clients (children and

adults) weekly, offering an array of speech, language, and hearing services to evaluate and address everything from developmental language disorders to augmentative/alternative communication. “It’s a very special place where we train the next generation of speech-language pathologists,” says Sandra Bulmer, dean of the CHHS. Additional services made possible by the new building include speech therapy for those with English as a second language and swallowing evaluations.

5 The AUDIOLOGY CLINIC AND RESEARCH LAB includes three sound booths

and a large clinic area for assessments, research, and services, including hearing aid prescriptions and cochlear implant mapping. Mapping, which is conducted by a specially trained audiologist, involves programming the implant so users can hear comfortably. Each “map” is individual to its user and changes over time. Within the HUMAN PERFORMANCE FACILITY there are laboratories focused on biomechanics, exercise behavior and metabolism, cardiovascular physiology, human performance, and exercise testing and prescriptive teaching. Hands-on equipment includes a DEXA machine for assessing bone density and a Bod Pod machine that uses air displacement to measure body-fat composition. (Previously, clients were required to sit on a scale submerged in a tank of water.) A lab focused on human performance houses a lactate analyzer and a Biodex unit used for muscle testing and rehabilitation. The CT RUNNING INJURY CLINIC, housed on the first floor within the Biomechanics Laboratory, provides 3D-computerized gait analysis to improve performance and prevent injury. More than 200 runners from throughout New England have received services through the center.




simulated hospital rooms, four standardized patient rooms, a home simulation suite, and classrooms. On the simulated hospital floor, high-tech medical manikins, including pediatric and geriatric models and one that “gives birth,” are programmed to present various medical conditions to educate students in a lowpressure environment. Adjacent control rooms have one-way glass; sessions can be recorded for review and further learning. Combined with clinical placements, the simulation center provides the best of all worlds. “Research shows that simulation education is very effective. You might be in your clinical for 100 hours and not experience all the scenarios seen in 10 hours of planned simulations,” Bulmer says. Furthering education, there are also standardized examination rooms with a green room for use by actors hired from the community to portray patients.

8 Part of the Interprofessional Healthcare Simulation Center, the HOME SIMULATION SUITE teaches health and human services majors to provide care in a home setting — often while working in interdisciplinary teams. The fully functioning studio apartment has a wheelchairaccessible bathroom, kitchen, and more. Plus, there’s an adjoining observation room.

9 The INTERPROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION CENTER forwards the college’s long-held

commitment to interdisciplinary learning, with shared meeting and office space, and a central kitchen/breakroom for use by more than 100 faculty and staff who are housed in the building.

Ba There are four large NURSING CLASSROOM/TEACHING LABS, each equipped with six

hospital beds with headwall systems (they provide electricity and medical gas in patients’ rooms while effectively managing medical cords and tubing) and six examination tables. Medium-fidelity manikins are used to practice skills from inserting IVs to monitoring electrocardiograms.


Athletic Training Child Life Specialist Clinical Exercise Physiology Communication Disorders Exercise and Sport Science Health Promotion Health Science Healthcare and Clinical Research Healthcare Studies Human Performance Marriage and Family Therapy Nursing Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Physical Education Public Health Public Health Management and Leadership Recreation Administration Respiratory Therapy School Health Education Social Work Speech Language Pathology Sport and Entertainment Management Sport Psychology Therapeutic Recreation Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management Youth Development and Leadership

Fall 2022 | 23

Major Grant Provides Expansive Career Opportunities for Nurses About 3,000 more registered nurses will be needed annually in Connecticut.* Southern is helping to address the shortfall, aided by a grant from Yale New Haven Health System.



AND SOUTHERN will double the number of students

graduating with bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN) within the next four years — helping to address a critical nursing shortage in Connecticut heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The YNHHS grant provides Southern’s School of Nursing with staff resources, clinical placements, and financial support to boost enrollment in the established and highly regarded traditional BSN and Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) programs. Both have long-standing first-time pass rates ranging from 95% to 100% on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), a premier standard used in the U.S. to ensure nursing competence. Southern’s rates are significantly higher than national levels: in 2021, for example, the average first-time NCLEX pass rate for candidates from all baccalaureate degree programs was 86 percent. In a bid to boost diversity in the nursing ranks, the grant also funds two new initiatives providing nursing education and career growth opportunities for certified nursing aides and high school students, respectively. These strategies will gradually increase Southern’s nursing graduate numbers from an average of 100 annually to 205 by 2026. “This groundbreaking partnership with the Yale New Haven Health System will further enhance the university’s mission of access, social justice, and service for the public good,” says President Joe Bertolino. “More than 85% of our graduates stay on to live and work in the state, so this investment will positively impact both the capacity and diversity of Connecticut’s nursing workforce.” 24 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Under the agreement: • The traditional BSN program will be expanded from a baseline of 90 students per year in 2021 to 100 students in 2022 and 120 students per year in 2023. • The Accelerated Career Entry one-year nursing program, for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing, will double in size. The existing summer cohort of 36 students will be supplemented by another 36-strong winter cohort by 2023. • A part-time, three-year program for working professionals was established in August 2022, with classes available on evenings, weekends, and on-site at YNHHS facilities. Admitting up to 24 students per year, it provides a career path for those now serving as certified nursing aides in retirement communities, hospices, and other healthcare facilities. • An Accelerated High School Nursing Scholars Program will also be offered, providing students with the opportunity to complete one year of nursing prerequisite courses in high school and then earn their BSN at Southern in three years. Five students will be admitted in 2022 and 12 in subsequent years. “Southern is uniquely positioned for a successful partnership with YNHHS due to the diversity and local residence status of its student population; shared values of patient-centered care, respect, and compassion; and the strong history of YNHHS employing its nursing graduates,”

says Sandra Bulmer, dean of the College of of BSN students at the School of Nursing Health and Human Services. and collaborating on efforts to admit and Students recruited for the various retain diverse students that reflect the programs will be chosen based on interest patient population served by YNHHS. in a career at Yale New Haven Health, “The city of New Haven is 51% diverse, Bulmer says. And YNHHS will serve as the so having someone taking care of you who primary clinical education partner, providing understands you and knows what your placements across eight different clinical struggles are is very important,” says Maria courses (Gerontology, Adult Health I, Krol, chair of the School of Nursing. The Mental Health, Adult Health II, Maternity, new part-time program for working Pediatric, Community Public Health, and the professionals will mean that people of color Capstone). will be able to climb the career ladder in To increase the availability of nurse nursing even as they hold down a job and educators for the joint initiative, Southern care for families, she says. Sandra Bulmer, dean of the College and YNHHS will develop and launch an New nursing majors will arrive at of Health and Human Services accelerated Master of Science in Nursing Southern at an opportune time. The Clinical Educator program tailored to YNHHS university held a ribbon-cutting ceremony BSN-prepared nurses who are interested in working as future for its new, 94,750-square-foot health and human services clinical faculty. The parties will also collaborate to develop a building in September 2022. About one-third of this space is patient care technician certification course for students allocated to greatly expanded nursing facilities and admitted to nursing and healthcare studies equipment. (See pages 22 and 23.) degree programs. “We have worked very hard to “This is a true partnership in open up multiple pathways, not every sense of the word,” says just to bring more nurses into Beth Beckman, chief the workforce, but to WAN T E D : nursing officer, YNHHS. address the lack of “We are solving two diversity in main challenges — healthcare,” Bulmer adequate student says. “We can all IN AUGUST, CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR NED LAMONT clinical placement be proud that and ample Southern is visited the new home of the College of Health and Human Services faculty to responding to to launch CT Health Horizons, a three-year, $35 million program oversee their the nursing designed to address statewide shortages of nurses and behavioral health clinical workforce providers. The program is a partnership between the Connecticut State learning.” shortage in Colleges and Universities system (Southern is a member), other Connecticut Both ways that are institutions of higher learning, and multiple state agencies. It will provide parties also meaningful tuition assistance to incentivize low-income and minority students to enter commit to to our accelerated and cost-effective nursing and social work programs. increasing community.” Additionally, CT Health Horizons will forward efforts to recruit and the diversity ■ retain faculty and develop career pathways for students.

Healthcare and Human Service Professionals

In July, another initiative — the second annual Summer Nursing Symposium — introduced 31 New Haven high school students to the nursing profession and the college experience. The high schoolers were among the first to learn in the new CHHS building at Southern, exploring different nursing pathways, participating in healthcare simulations, and shadowing nurses at Yale New Haven Hospital.

*The Connecticut Governor’s Workforce Council, Workforce Strategic Plan 2020 Fall 2022 | 25


Bodies of Work Looking back, Gary Morin, professor and chairman of the Department of Health and Movement Sciences, has mixed emotions about a cadaver-based anatomy course he completed as a college student. “I have to admit that I didn’t like it,” says Morin. “But I loved how much I learned.” Today, he remains a firm believer in the power of experiential learning, forwarded by Southern’s recent acquisition of an Anatomage Table — a high-tech, 3D system for teaching anatomy and physiology as well as conducting virtual dissections. The table, which is housed in the new home of the College of Health and Human Services, features four life-size virtual cadavers: two females and two males. The digital images are created from actual human cadavers, “meticulously segmented from photographic images to deliver the most accurate real 3D anatomy,” says medical technology supplier Anatomage. The result: extreme accuracy without chemicals, unpleasant smells, recurring costs, or regulations — and a much higher degree of student comfort compared with traditional cadavers. “It allows us to teach so many things you can’t with a regular cadaver,” says Morin, of the table’s functionality. For example, students can view a digital “pregnancy,” including detailed fetal anatomy. They also can study movement by watching kinesiology simulations of a shoulder, knee, or hip — or examine the physiological functioning of a beating heart.

“It’s incredible to see what this technology can do and the excitement of the students who are using it,” says Morin, who used the table this summer in a graduate-level clinical anatomy course during which students conducted virtual dissections using styluses. The technology is in place at some of the nation’s leading medical schools and institutions, ranging from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fl., to the University of Michigan’s nursing program. At Southern, Morin foresees numerous applications. The Department of Communication Disorders might use it to review head and neck anatomy, for example. The table is highly portable. Much like a hospital bed, it can be wheeled to different rooms. Additionally, the tabletop flips upward, placing the virtual cadaver in a standing position for easy viewing by an entire class. The virtual cadaver also can be projected onto a classroom screen. “Our students are going to get a great education working with it,” says Morin. He notes the importance of hands-on learning while acknowledging the many challenges of studying anatomy with a regular cadaver, something that has never been done at Southern. “They are hard to move. They weigh a lot. If they are lying on their back, you can’t simply put them over on their belly to work,” says Morin, reflecting on his own college experience. “But with this device, you simply slide two fingers across the table and the body flips over — and the learning continues.”


hen James Barber gradu“SEOP is still giving students an ated from Southern with a opportunity they might not have had bachelor’s degree in 1964, and the students are still achieving,” he was one of only a handful of people Barber says. And while he is no longer of color at the university. When he involved in the management of the returned a few years later to coach footprogram, having retired in summer ball and track, he was well aware of the 2022, Barber’s heart remains there. lack of diversity among students, facHe continues to support the program ulty, and administration. And when he in whatever way he can, including joined the teaching faculty, he saw his through his friendship and continued chance to effect positive change within mentorship of Dawn Stanton, ’90, an administration that was interested in M.S. ’97, a former SEOP student and his ideas. now director of University Access By Betsy Guertin Regan This year, Southern celebrates the Programs — an umbrella office which 50th anniversary of the Southern operates initiatives, including SEOP, Educational Opportunity Program that support first-generation, low(SEOP), the brainchild of Barber, ’64, M.S. ’79 — director income, and other historically underrepresented students. emeritus of community engagement at Southern — and several Both Barber and Stanton explain that the SEOP program of his colleagues from the late 1960s and early 1970s. SEOP grew out of a desire that emerged during the administration of has evolved over the years. But it continues to serve the same the late Hilton C. Buley, then president of Southern. The goal: audience: students who have great potential, but due to their to help students whose life circumstances may have negatively life circumstances — particularly socio-economic factors — have impacted their prospects for college admissions but who have been prevented from realizing their academic success. The potential and are motivated to learn. Barber knew there were program provides a comprehensive support network for these plenty of people like that when he proposed a pilot program in promising, often underrepresented students to gain admittance the fall of 1971 to help get students off on the right foot. to Southern and ultimately earn their college degrees. He began working closely with the admissions office. The components include a Summer Academy to acclimate Together they identified more than 200 applicants that fit the incoming students to the college experience and an Academic parameters and selected a cohort of 50 for SEOP’s launch in Year Initiative, which provides continued academic and socialthe summer of 1972. “It was clear to me, even as a student, emotional support for each cohort. Thousands of students that one thing standardized testing does not measure is admitted to Southern through SEOP, many of them people of motivation. So, we had an interview process to determine if color, have flourished as a result and, in doing so, inspired they had the intestinal fortitude and could withstand the rigor lasting change at the university. of the program,” Barber recalls. 28 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

For more than 50 years, the Southern Educational Opportunity Program (SEOP) has helped promising students reach their potential and graduate from college.

He worked with the chairs of the English and math departments to identify faculty who would volunteer to help with the program. They spent a week doing team-building exercises among the staff and planning every detail of the summer program that was equal parts academic boot camp, motivational workshop, and orientation to college life. The most important element, Barber says, was that it was personalized. “Each individual came to us at a different place. We needed to know where everyone was to determine that they were moving along and not getting frustrated,” he says. There were pretests, daily and weekly assessments, evaluations, and observations. Any notable issues were brought up immediately and addressed as quickly as possible during the six-week program. That level of personalized learning helped to galvanize the program, revealing its profound need and how significant its impact could be. Barber recalls one student who came in for a midterm conference, during which he shared the results of her academic pretests. She was devastated to learn how poorly she had done but motivated by her progress and the desire to ready herself for the fall term. She went on to graduate from Southern, attend law school, and become a circuit court judge. And there are many stories like hers. When Stanton participated in SEOP in 1986, it was not her plan to attend Southern, despite, or perhaps because of,

having grown up in the West Hill housing projects not far from campus. Her father had attended Southern in the early 1970s, and Stanton said it was not easy for him. “He walked to campus. He worked overnight and would come to class in the morning. There was no visible diversity, and he felt shunned,” Stanton says. “As a political science major, he butted heads with his professors because what he was learning in the classroom didn’t mirror his experience as a Black man. He knew that his reality was different from what they were teaching.” He took a break from school and when he came back, Stanton says, he had a bigger goal in mind. He still walked to campus, but he didn’t engage in debate. Rather, he figured out how to get the best grades, even if it meant keeping quiet. After graduating, he was accepted by the Yale School of Public Health and moved his family out of the projects into graduate student housing. When Stanton herself was approaching the end of high school, she wanted to attend an out-of-state college and run track. By that time, the elder Stanton had moved his family to the suburbs to what he thought was a better public school system, but his daughter had not fit in socially. Although the school had a high rate of college-bound graduates, there were only a few other Black students in the student body. “I was rebellious. I was running away and skipping school. . . . I don’t remember anyone from the school ever talking to

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rowning a 58-year career of service to Southern and the community-at-large, James Barber, ’64, M.S. ’79, was presented with the President’s Medal of Distinction, one of the university’s highest honors. Barber, who retired this year as director emeritus of community engagement, received the award at Southern’s undergraduate commencement exercises, held May 20 at the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Southern President Joe Bertolino lauded Barber for his many contributions: “As a coach, an alumnus, and a longserving administrator at Southern, you have influenced and impacted students and alumni nationwide, many of whom would not have graduated without your support and guidance. And as a committed community activist you have inspired and mentored generations of city youth, while being a leading advocate for inclusivity and equality.” In the early 1970s, Barber helped launch Southern’s Southern Educational Opportunity Program (SEOP), which over time opened the door to college for scores of underrepresented and first-generation students. He also led the university’s affirmative action office, served as director of student supportive services for more than 20 years, and, in his last professional role at Southern, helped to advance the university’s mission through community engagement. A record-setting hurdler as a student-athlete in the early 1960s, Barber later was a successful Owls coach for almost 25 years, training numerous track champions and many All-Americans. He also coached both

Honoring a Southern Legend

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According to Their

Research Students learn by doing, especially when it comes to science. A $3 million commitment from Peter J. Werth forwards key initiatives — including the Werth Nanotechnology Industry Academic Fellowship Program, which provides invaluable experience in scientific research and the business world.



and graduate students who are members of underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, and first-generation college students. So, concludes a 288-page report issued by the National Academies* — findings Peter J. Werth is addressing head-on in his dual roles as entrepreneur and philanthropist. A business leader with the soul of a scientist, Werth is committed to supporting the next generation of researchers among Southern’s students and forwarding Connecticut’s science-based businesses in the process. He comes by this focus naturally. A firstgeneration college graduate, he is the founder, president, and chief executive officer of ChemWerth, a full-service, generic drug development and supply company with offices in Connecticut and internationally. Werth is also the university’s largest benefactor, who has committed $7 million to the SCSU Foundation in the past decade. Included in this sum is a $3 million pledge made in 2022, to be paid over eight years, much of which will support the newly named Werth Nanotechnology Industry Academic Fellowship, an initiative that provides undergraduate and graduate science majors with research and business experience, and, above all, mentorship. The gift will establish an endowed fund to maintain the fellowship program in perpetuity. “Programs that build and educate the next generation are a priority,” says Werth. “Our family has close ties to Connecticut. We appreciate Southern’s commitment to building the state’s workforce as well as its focus on research connected to the community.” The gift reflects Werth’s belief in the importance of public higher education. He received his bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas, prior to

Celebrating a $3 million commitment to support student research are (from left): Thomas Sadowski, adjunct instructor of physics; Vanessa Adamski, junior physics major (concentration in engineering); Suzanne Huminski, sustainability coordinator; Jules Scanley, technician, the CSCU Center for Nanotechnology; Kaleb Roman, ’22, graduate student majoring in applied physics; Andriy Grynyk, senior chemistry major (concentration in biochemistry); Christine Broadbridge, professor of physics and executive director of research and innovation; philanthropist Peter J. Werth, president and CEO of ChemWerth; Max Martone, senior physics major; Emily Davis, senior physics major (concentration in 7-12 education); Jennifer Moses, senior chemistry major enrolled in the B.S./M.S. Biochemistry Accelerated Pathway program; and Gregg Crerar, director of development. Fall 2022 | 31


earning a master’s from Stanford University. “I believe that state universities are the engine that powers Connecticut’s economy,” he says. The Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies at Southern, named in recognition of Werth’s prior $3 million gift announced in 2013, exemplifies this regional focus. Through the center, students and faculty have collaborated on research on a host of topics, ranging from the water quality in local rivers and harbors to the temperate coral Astrangia poculata found in Long Island Sound to the effectiveness of efforts to address beach erosion.

The Werth Nanotechnology Industry Academic Fellowship Program also has a strong connection to the state and the region. It was launched at Southern in 2013 as a pilot program with Werth’s support. He had long been intrigued by the burgeoning nanotechnology field, which can be simply defined as science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale (about 1 to 100 nanometers). A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. A strand of human DNA is 2.5 nanometers in diameter. Werth envisioned a program that would allow students to conduct laboratory research in the field, grounded in a real-world business environment. The resulting program — then operating as the Industry Academic Fellowship — is based at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Center for Nanotechnology, located at Southern, and operates under the direction of Christine Broadbridge, professor of physics and the executive director of research and innovation at the university. Broadbridge is an award-winning industry leader — the past president of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering who was recently elected to 32 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

“I understand the level of research being conducted by faculty and students at Southern, and its importance to the community. I am not only a supporter but also a firm believer” — Peter J. Werth

the Board of Directors of the Materials Research Society. And her regard for Werth couldn’t be higher. “Peter Werth is an entrepreneur scientist who is an inspiration to our students and faculty mentors alike,” she says. “He had the vision from the start (close to ten years ago) to understand the importance of combining nanotechnology with business and entrepreneurship to create the unique Werth Industry Academic Fellowship. We were ahead of our time with the result being a highly successful program that has impacted so many. Close to 100 students have participated in the program, with a large percentage from underrepresented groups in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math].” Team-based research is at the heart of the Werth Fellowship, which includes an eight-week summer program and an additional part-time component during the academic year. Undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty and local companies on scientifically related research initiatives. Recent projects have focused on sustainable nanotechnology as a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field that employs materials science and nanotechnology to address global

sustainability challenges at the nanoscale. The fellows also participate in business-related workshops led by faculty from the School of Business, which touch on everything from intellectual property to marketing. Students receive stipends of up to $5,000 for their work. The fellowship meshes perfectly with the Nanotechnology Center’s goal of enhancing Connecticut’s workforce competitiveness in nanotechnology and materials science, while also aligning with Southern’s focus on sustainability. The collaboration with the business community is a win-win for all involved. The student researchers have worked on

high-level proprietary projects for companies. Werth Fellows, in turn, have the unique opportunity to learn from entrepreneurs and professionals about the business side of scientific research. Werth and other executives from ChemWerth are among them. “Peter’s generosity extends well beyond the financial,” says Broadbridge. “As part of the program, he meets with the students and provides his comments and expertise as a mentor and role model. We have built this aspect into the program, and the student and faculty look forward to it every year.” Werth also welcomes the opportunity to meet with the fellows. “I understand the level of research being conducted by faculty and students at Southern, and its importance to the community. I am not only a supporter but also a firm believer,” he says. This summer, the Werth Nanotechnology Fellowship supported five undergraduates and one graduate student during the eight-week research program; their research continues during the semester on a part-time basis, also with stipends awarded. For the fellows, the combination of financial assistance and the

opportunity to do hands-on research is potentially life-changing. Emily Davis, a senior physics major with a concentration in secondary education, spent June and July researching fuel cells with a team that includes academic mentors as well as collaborators from a sustainable energy company. “We’re looking at the materials at an atomic level, trying to manipulate the atomic structure, and studying the way materials are composed. [When] we put hydrogen and oxygen into the cells, reactions take place within, and energy is produced. . . . Fuel cells are small, but stacks of them can be combined,” Davis says.

Student researchers present their work to Peter J. Werth on August 31: (opposite page, from left) Andriy Grynyk • Emily Davis and Jennifer Moses (this page, from left) Gregg Crerar, Werth, Max Martone and Vanessa Adamski • Martone.

The summer has shaped Davis’ thinking, not only about her future, but also on big-picture topics. She was planning to pursue teaching, but is now considering whether she would rather be one of the researchers who are redefining energy practices around the world. She points to her teachers — both academic faculty and industry mentors — as influencing her reassessment. “This has fully piqued my interest,” Davis says. “Research is not a linear process. There are obstacles, whether related to technology or sample preparation. The biggest thing our mentors taught us was to document everything, especially the failures. . . . Someone can take that information and use it in the next test. Some failures teach you more than successes.” For senior Max Martone, the fellowship has reaffirmed his career plans. He will graduate next year with a degree in applied mathematics and physics, and intends to apply to a doctoral program.

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Me, My Dad,


Southern It’s all about family. A daughter looks back at the university where hers began. By Brittany Galla, ’08


As he recalled, he arrived via bus to the campus as a new Navy reservist stationed in East Haven. “I just had my sea trunk and a dream, Britt, that was all,” he loved to say. And he was right about that. He arrived so early that summer of 1967 that only one hall director was at Seabury, no other students yet. My dad fished a pillow out of the dumpster (true story) and slept in a vacant bedroom on an empty floor. He was responsible for going to the now-shuttered Fort Nathan Hale in East Haven, Conn., once a month, and in exchange for being in the Reserves, got free room and tuition at Southern, where he was majoring in communication. Dad told these stories over and over again as we neared Southern’s campus on our drive from Long Island. It was August 2004 — and I was gearing up to start my freshman year at the university. Eyes rolling, I sat next to my dad; I could’ve cared less about the emotions he spewed about the famed Seabury Hall. I didn’t know much about Southern when I started as a student. But I knew my parents had met there in 1968. They were Crescent Players and connected while working on the 34 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

school play, Sorry, Wrong Number. They walked downtown New Haven, petitioned for the footbridge at Southern to be built, and were in the Homecoming court. They were married months after graduating and eventually had four daughters, myself being the youngest. My mom loved her lifelong career as a teacher and reading specialist — first in Boston and then in Long Island — and my dad started his own marketing and advertising business, where he relished conceptualizing radio ads and TV commercials. “Don’t tell me what happens to Seabury Hall,” my dad said as we exited the Merritt Parkway. “My heart can’t handle it if the school ever tears it down.” “Okay dad,” I replied, resisting the temptation to laugh. When I arrived on campus and got acclimated, I didn’t hear a word about Seabury Hall. From what I knew, it was the furthest building away on campus, essentially in the middle of nowhere and was now a small student center and housed faculty offices. I never made it over there. Until March 2005, when I learned that the Southern News student-run newspaper was looking for a copy editor. I always saw myself as a grammar freak, so I figured why not apply. I met the Southern News staff in their newsroom, located on the first floor of Seabury. I was nervous during my interview. I wasn’t a journalism major yet, and realized I was the

Joanne [Golden] Galla, '69, (left) and husband John met at Southern, where their daughter Brittany Galla, '08, also attended. The three are pictured at Brittany's wedding.

inexperienced one showing up. I wanted to turn around and say, never mind. But then I remembered my dad, arriving at Seabury Hall so many years prior, alone. He was miles and miles away from his home in Pittsburgh, and he didn’t know a soul. And he stayed. He persevered. He didn’t give up. I powered through my interview, as my confidence was restored. I was my father’s daughter. I could do this. I got the job as the copy editor — and spent every Monday night in the newsroom cranking away on stories, editing into the wee hours of the night, and making friendships I hadn’t imagined could exist. I found my voice, and realized I wanted to change my major to journalism. For the next three years, I rose through the ranks to managing editor at Southern News, as well as interned at magazines in NYC, including Seventeen and Us Weekly. The memories I created within my time at the newspaper still bring a smile to my face — the way my parents would smile as they recalled their Southern days. I think about my friends from the paper who attended my wedding, the professors I still email to this day, and my old journalism classmates I text at 1 a.m. with my AP Style questions. Without fail, they reply. After my first year at Southern, Seabury Hall was on the list to be demolished. They moved the newsroom to the shiny new Michael J. Adanti Student Center in my sophomore year.

It had office-style carpet, fancy desks and computers, and smelled like fresh paint, but my dad was right. It wasn’t Seabury. I never did tell my dad that Seabury was, indeed, torn down. But knowing it’s not there — the first newsroom I stepped into and fell in love with — leaves a pang in my heart. Nearly 40 years after Seabury Hall had changed my dad’s life, setting into motion his future, it had changed mine as well. It was where I found my love for writing and my passion for journalism. Those walls connected us — father and daughter. Dreams started and then fulfilled. I never did walk back that way to see Seabury Hall no longer standing. Today, I like to think that Seabury still rises on our New Haven campus. After all, it’s alive in my dad’s heart and my heart, forever. ■

Brittany Galla is the digital content director at She graduated magna cum laude from Southern with an undergraduate degree in journalism in May 2008. She is a recipient of the 2008 Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award, among the highest honors bestowed on a graduating student by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. Fall 2022 | 35

Fine Lines The fields of science, conservation, art, and education combine in the works of two celebrated natural science illustrators. he wonders of the natural world are on full display in the works of award-winning natural science illustrators Dorie Petrochko, M.S. ’78, 1 and Jeanette Compton, ’03, M.S. ’16. 2 The artists’ Southern degrees hint at the diverse experiences each brings to the table: art education (Petrochko), biology and environmental education (Compton). Their work is ultrarealistically rendered, reflecting the duo’s deep respect for nature and commitment to conservation. The artists are educators as well. Petrochko, a wildlife painter, earned a certificate in botanical and natural science illustration from the New York Botanical Garden and is a founding instructor with the Natural Science Illustration Program at the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. Compton, who works in ink, also is an instructor with the illustration program at the Peabody and has a special interest in depicting found objects — from abandoned nests to bone fragments. ■



Look Whooooo’s Talking

Posts, ’Grams, Tweets, and More

The Class of 2026 kicked off the 2022-23 academic year with a photo shoot on Jess Dow Field where a drone captured the action. Interested in the technology? Southern’s Drone Academy is a fivemodule, non-credit program covering FAA-certification exam preparation, aerial photography and videography, and more.

When war broke out seven months ago, 17-year-old Oleksandr “Sasha” Stelmakh and his mother fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now, Sasha has found a new home at Southern, studying computer science.

The nation’s doctor — Dr. Vivek Murthy, the 21st Surgeon General of the United States — visited campus in September. Dr. Murthy spoke with students from Southern and other area colleges, and moderated a panel discussion on youth mental health, community, and social connections.

A $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation will bring fouryear scholarships, internships, and mentoring to Southern students studying computational biology — which uses science, statistics, and mathematics to solve biological problems. Hats off to the team of professors who are launching the program, designed to address workforce needs in New England. FACEBOOK • SouthernCT • 28,000+ followers

Join the Conversation! Follow Southern on:

TWITTER • @SCSU • 8,900+ followers INSTAGRAM • @southernscsu • 8,100+ followers LINKED IN • Southern Connecticut State University • 56,700+ followers TIKTOK • @SCSU •2,000+ followers

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

Fall 2022 | 37





FEELING STRESSED? You might want to turn to classical music, proven by studies to provide a host of health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to easing pain to helping people sleep. A new partnership brings more music to campus: the acclaimed New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO) — the fourth oldest orchestra in the U.S. — is in residence at the university’s John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts throughout the 2022-23 academic year. The partnership benefits students and the community-at-large. There are on-campus concerts, classroom visits with hands-on learning opportunities, and internships with the orchestra. The residency also supports Southern’s newly launched minor in arts administration and cultural advocacy. “More than any other city in Connecticut, New Haven is the right place to experience the variety of careers in the arts,” says Joel Dodson, associate professor of English and co-coordinator of the program alongside Michael Skinner, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre. “The Symphony and the university have a shared commitment to access and excellence in equal measure,” says Alasdair Neale, music director of NHSO, “and we are excited by the opportunities that this residency will offer the orchestra, Southern students, and the broader New Haven community.” The partnership with NHSO builds on Southern’s ongoing connection to the arts. Since 2016, the Elm Shakespeare Company has been the professional theater-inresidence at the university.


National Teaching Award Goes to Grad



saluted the winners of the 2022 Milken Educator Award: “Congratulations on this honor. May you continue to be a light in the world as one of the great educators,” Winfrey told the honorees — a talented group that includes Laura BakerCoronis, ’11, M.S. ’15, a mathematics teacher at Ansonia High School in Connecticut. The award, hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” was presented to Baker-Coronis on March 31 during a surprise ceremony at the school. It includes a $25,000 unrestricted prize as well as mentoring and leadership opportunities. Baker-Coronis is one of only 60 K12 teachers, principals, and specialists from throughout the nation to receive the honor — and the only one from Connecticut. She was lauded for her engaging, real-world approach to teaching mathematics: her students turn to algebra to design their dream cars, compare cell phone plans, and determine which careers provide the most income. Beyond her classroom, she helped launch the Freshman Academy for students transitioning to

Fore Students


a hole in one, with proceeds benefiting SCSU Athletics. The event was held on May 23 at the award-winning Lake of Isles on the private South Course at Foxwoods Casino.


high school and created a “bank” of thousands of sample math problems for teachers to use when preparing students for the SAT. This is the second time in recent history that a Southern graduate has received the Milken Award. Lauren Sepulveda, ’10, a middle school social studies teacher in New Haven, won in 2019-20. More recently, Sepulveda was named a 2021 Lowell Milken Center Fellow, an affiliated, highly selective

professional development opportunity for top educators who have distinguished themselves in projectbased learning. Sepulveda’s ongoing recognition is telling. The Milken Educator Award is not presented for lifetime achievement. Instead, recipients are honored for exceptional mid-career success and the promise of what they might accomplish given the resources provided with the award. MILKEN FAMILY FOUNDATION PHOTOS

Celebrating at the surprise ceremony are [from left]: Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards; Paul Giansanti, principal of Ansonia High School; award recipient Laura Baker-Coronis, ’11, M.S. ’15; Joseph DiBacco, M.S. ’02, 6th Yr. ’04, superintendent of Ansonia Public Schools; Charlene Russell-Tucker, commissioner of education for the State of Connecticut; and Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut lieutenant governor.

National Award Salutes Librarian’s Service to Children



patrons visited in the 2020-21 fiscal year alone, with 27,750 attending the 2,640 programs offered to the community. As HPL’s director of public services, Marie Jarry, M.L.S. ’11, helps drive the action. “I oversee customer service operations at all of our locations, and I also have oversight of the Youth and Family Services Department,” says Jarry, who was a secondgrade teacher before pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science. On June 26, the American Library Association (ALA) honored Jarry during its annual conference, presenting her with the “Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to

Children.” The ALA, which represents more than 55,000 professionals, presents the award annually. In terms of accomplishments, Jarry is clearly in a league of her own. Her contributions include co-leading “Boundless,” a partnership between HPL and the Hartford school community to increase literacy; launching the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” and “STEM Lab on the Go” programs; authoring proposals bringing in more than $200,000 in grants for STEM programming and early childhood initiatives; and streamlining access to the library’s collections for Harford students and teachers. Last spring, Southern Alumni Magazine caught up with Jarry to learn more about her work.

You wear a lot of hats at HPL. Describe a typical day. I don’t think any day can be considered typical! But it might find me meeting with our partners from Hartford Public Schools to work on our Boundless partnership, then working on a grant for our STEM programming, followed by checking in with the front desk to see how the day is going, ordering supplies for an upcoming program at one of the branches, and then a quick walk around Bushnell Park to reset my head.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I love that my job touches so many areas of the library and that every day is something new.

When you look back at your time at Southern, does any person or experience stand out as particularly influential? ILS 565 — Library Management — taught by James Kusack, [professor emeritus of information and library science], stands out in my mind to this day. I remember not wanting to take the class beforehand; at the time, I had no intention of ever becoming a manager. But, the way Professor Kusack approached the material and the real-world case studies he shared really drew me in. When I started in my first supervisory role at the New Haven Free Public Library as manager of the Young Minds Department, I dug out the folder with all of my class notes and brought it to work, so I could refer to them as needed. That folder is still in my work file cabinet. I often share some of the material with my new managers.

Speaking of sharing, what’s one tip for a parent/caregiver who wants to make the most of a child’s library visit? Allow kids to read whatever interests them. They spend so much time in school being told what to learn and what to read. The library should be a place where they can feel ownership. Whether drawn to graphic novels, science books, magazines, or even audio books, kids are more likely to read if they feel a vested interest in what they are reading.


LaShanté Kelley-James, ’04, M.S. ’14, President Aaron Johnson, ’04, Vice President Karl Stephen Wilson, ’02, Treasurer Madison Correia, ’19, M.S. ’20, Secretary Madi Csejka,’19 Shermaine Edmonds, ’04, MBA ’06 Stacey Fields, ’15 Eduardo Foster, ’02 Valencia [McLeain] Goodridge, MBA ’08 Jodi Hill-Lilly, ’88, M.S.W. ’94 Kelly Hope, ’03, M.S. ’10 Laeticia Iboki, ’16 Andrew “Mo” Marullo, ’10, M.S. ’14 Patricia Miller, ’69, M.S. ’75, 6th Yr. ’81 (Emeritus) Montrel Morrison, ’18 Grace Mukupa, ’02 Adwoa Ansah Rey, ’05 Teresa Sirico, ’70, M.S. ’73 Anthony Tamburri, ’71 Renee Barnett Terry, ’76 Carolyn Vanacore, ’52, M.S. ’68, 6th Yr. ’73 (Emeritus) Brian West, ’80 Southern Connecticut State University Office of Alumni Relations Alumni House 501 Crescent Street New Haven, CT 06515 Gregory Bernard, ’04, Director Doreen Cammarata-Gilhuly, ’89, Associate Director

continues on page 42

Fall 2022 | 41


National Award continued from page 41

Honoring Scholarship Donors

Any advice to students thinking of majoring in library science? If anyone is considering a career in public libraries, I want to emphasize that it is first and foremost a job about working with and for people — not books and information. I am still amazed by how many people will learn what I do and then say, “Oh, it must be great to read all day and work somewhere so quiet.” It’s clear they have not entered a public library in the last 20 years! The most valuable thing the library holds is the relationships it builds with its community members. That is the heart of the library.

Southern’s fully online Master of Library and Information Science program is accredited by the American Library Association.

More than 300 people attended the Celebration of Philanthropy, which recognizes scholarship and program donors and the many students who benefit from their generosity. Held in person for the first time since 2019, the festivities took place on April 3 at Cascade in Hamden. The SCSU Foundation manages more than 350 scholarships. They are available to both undergraduate and graduate students, who may apply for all applicable scholarships by completing one application. LEARN MORE AT


continues with his appointment as artistic director of the Marin Shakespeare Company (MSC). Based in San Rafael, Calif., the company entertains and educates some 10,000 people annually, and has earned almost 200 awards and nominations for artistic excellence. For Massie, the theater’s theme of “Playing for Good” is a touchstone. In addition to its popular outdoor summer performances, MSC offers both educational and social justice programs, including ones provided at prisons and facilities for at-risk youth, an initiative launched at San Quinton State Prison in 2003. “One of the things that excited me most about MSC is its commitment to antiracism and social justice — particularly as an organization founded on the work of Shakespeare,” says Massie. “His plays have had a profound impact on my career and my life, and in conjunction with that, I understand that they are far from perfect. Finding an organization that is willing to interrogate the work with goals of harm reduction and increased accessibility, as well as make room for other equally compelling work, both classic and contemporary, was extremely important to me.” Massie majored in theatre and education at Southern where he was an active member of the student-run Crescent Players. He brings more than 20 years of experience to MSC as an actor, director, dramaturg, and educator. Most recently, he was an artistic associate with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In New Haven, he held key roles with the Elm Shakespeare Company (now Southern’s theater-inresidence) and, at Southern, also was a member of the faculty and a guest director. A 2013 recipient of the Drama League of New York Classical Fellowship for Directors of Color, he also attended the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, earning a master’s degree in theatre practice: staging Shakespeare.



New Members Elected to Board

The SCSU Alumni Association Board of Directors welcomes seven new members who will serve through 2025. The group includes Brian West, ’80; Aaron Johnson, ’04; and Madi Csejka, ’19, who were reelected to the board and spotlighted in previous issues of the alumni magazine.

Stacey Fields, ’05, worked on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as an emergency room registered nurse. Her commitment to community service was evident during her time at Southern. Fields was on the executive board of the Programs Council as both the vice president and president. She also co-founded a collegiate chapter of the NAACP and held several executive positions with the organization, including president. Her dedication to the NAACP continued after college. She joined the Greater New Haven NAACP, where she serves on the executive board as chair of the organization’s Health Committee. The newly elected members also include Eduardo Foster, ’02, who brings to the board more than 25 years of federal service with the United States Army. Currently serving as the senior human resources manager for the Connecticut Army National Guard, he has held a variety of strategic planning and operational roles, and deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2006-07) and again with Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (2012-13). His most recent deployment was to the Kingdom of Jordan in 2020-21. Foster also has provided support during state emergencies and disasters, and has been recognized with numerous awards and distictions throughout his military career. Fellow board member Laeticia Iboki, ’16, is a scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. At Southern, she majored in biology and minored in chemistry and psychology, and expanded her knowledge of the scientific field by presenting at prestigious conferences such as the American Society for Microbiology and the annual undergraduate poster session on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Iboki received numerous honors as a Southern student including the Noble Proctor Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and the American Society for Microbiology Student Postdoctoral Award and the organization’s Undergraduate Research Capstone Fellowship. She went on to earn a graduate degree in molecular and cell biology at Quinnipiac University. Anthony Tamburri, ’71, also was reelected to the board, after filling a midterm vacancy. He is dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute and a distinguished professor of European languages and literatures at Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY). The co-founder of Bordighera Press, Tamburri is a past president of the Italian American Studies Association and the American Association of Teachers of Italian. He has authored more than a dozen books, among them, Signing Italian/American Cinema: A More Focused Look, published in 2021. Additionally, he is the executive producer and host of Italic, a television program produced in collaboration with CUNY TV.

Fall 2022 | 43



ROBERTA SHEA, ’69, presented an art

demonstration called Awakening the Muse in Us All at the Newtown Meeting House in Connecticut in July, sharing how her artistic spirit was rekindled during the pandemic. After completing her degree, Shea taught art in public high schools and through adult education and afterschool programs. After raising her two children and a career in marketing research, she resumed painting full time. She has won awards for her artwork from numerous groups, including the Washington Arts Association, the Ridgefield Guild of Artists Juried Show, and Connecticut Womens’ Artists. She is a docent at the New Britain Museum of American Art.


RONALD CONLAN, ’73, M.S. ’78, has

taught social studies at West Haven High School for 37 years, specializing in teaching civil and criminal law, and serving as the Mock Trial adviser. He guided his teams to five state championships and has received numerous honors, including the Mark R. Shedd Award for excellence in teaching law and citizenship. ANTHONY BONANZINO, ’76, is

retired, having previously served as president, chief executive officer, and part owner of Hollister-Stier Laboratories, a pharmaceutical manufacturer which now operates as Jubilant HollisterStier. CANDACE VESSELLA, ’77, began her

career as an intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency and retired in 2009 from her position as vice president for government relations with BAE Systems. Parallel with her civilian career, she served 25 years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, retiring as a captain. The president of the Friends of the Lewes Public Library, she is a judge of the Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest. BO FERNHALL,’79, M.S. ’81, received

the 2021 Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine for his significant contributions to the fields of sports medicine and exercise science. Fernhall is a professor of kinesiology and nutrition, and the dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago. JOHN WALTER, ’79, was appointed the

first chief operating officer of the Food Allergy Science Initiative. He brings extensive experience to the position, having previously held executive leadership roles with the 44 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


THOMAS CELENTANO, ’81, retired as

the library technician for acquisitions at Southern’s Hilton C. Buley Library after 34 years of service. LOUISE BEAUMONT, ’82, and her hus-

band Bill were featured in a Yale News article highlighting their decades-long love story. The couple, who met at Southern, were married 32 years when the article was published in February. TODD SALVA, ’84, M.S. ’92, is retiring

as the boys head basketball coach of Coginchaug Regional High School, after 31 years of service. The school serves the communities of Durham and Middlefield in Connecticut. DOM AMORE, ’85, was named the 2021

Connecticut Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. He is a senior writer with the Hartford Courant. This is the sixth time he was honored with the award, which he also received in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018. MELISSA LEONE, ’87, received the 2022

Lynn Giglione Women in Leadership Award from the National Home Infusion Foundation. The award honors those who have demonstrated exemplary service to patients and their peers, while promoting alternative-care settings. Leone is the executive director of nursing operations at Coram CVS Specialty Infusion Services. JAY O’KEEFE, ’88, was named director

of the Mansfield Parks and Recreation Department in Connecticut. ROBERT KONSTANTINIS, ’89, is an

information technology manager at Atlas Air in New York and lives in Darien, Conn. STEPHEN MANSFIELD, ’89, is the

director of health at Ledge Light Health District, which serves 10 municipalities in Connecticut. He has announced plans to retire in 2023.


SHEILA CASINELLI, ’90, M.S. ’96, 6th

Yr. ’02, was named assistant superintendent of Monroe Public Schools in Connecticut. LORI DUROCHER, ’90, M.S. ’94,

received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching — the nation’s highest honor for K-12 teachers in the fields of science, technology,


please update your contact information at The same form may be used to submit Alumni Notes for Southern Alumni Magazine. Thank you! AND RELATED NEWS,

engineering, mathematics, and computer science. She is a kindergarten teacher at Norfeldt Elementary School in West Hartford. The honor includes an award certificate signed by President Joe Biden, a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 prize from the National Science Foundation. Durocher is one of only two honorees from Connecticut. LORI SUSI, ’90, M.S. ’94, 6th Yr. ’98, was

appointed executive director of the Intensive Education Academy of West Hartford. The school teaches students with special needs using individualized learning. DONALD M. CASEY JR., M.S. ’91,

received the Red Nose Award from the International Shrine Clown Association. Casey was recognized for raising funds to assist needy children receiving medical services through the International Shrine Clown Association Sneaker Fund. GREG DICKINSON, ’91, is the founder

and chief executive officer of Omedym (my demo spelled backwards). Founded in 2017, the company provides digital demonstrations. JESSE SHULTIS, ’92, was appointed vice

president of customer experience at Oticom, a hearing aid company. JACQUELINE BUSTER, ’93, is the chief

impact officer of Jaigantic Studios, a film production company created by alumnus and actor Michael Jai White. The company is based in Connecticut. SHERI SZYMANSKI, M.L.S. ’93, was

appointed to serve on the Connecticut State Library Board, which provides leadership to the state’s 169 public libraries. Szymanski is the director of the Stratford Library Association. JAY DELGROSSO, ’94, was sworn in as

the new chief of police for the town of Stonington, Conn.


has been appointed interim principal of Hamilton Avenue School in Greenwich, Conn. MICHAEL ALFANO, ’95, was named

vice provost for strategic partnerships at Sacred Heart University, with responsibility for developing publicand private-sector connections. He will continue his responsibilities as dean of the university’s Farrington College of Education. BRIAN RAFANELLO, ’95, has joined

Provident Bank as the senior vice president, head of treasury management. Rafanello is responsible for leading sales, service, and operations for the department. JEFFREY SUCHY, ’96, was sworn in as a

police officer for the University of New Haven. He recently retired from the New Haven Police Department after a 21-year career. TRUDY ANDERSON,

6th Yr. ’99, was named the 2022 Teacher of the Year by the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Anderson, a Spanish teacher for sixth - eighth grade students at Nathan Hall School in New Haven, will represent the Northeast at the national competition in November. ANGELO DELIETO, ’99, joined the Yale

Police Department in February 2022. He brings to the position 21 years of experience as a patrol officer and then a detective with the Hamden Police Department.

2000s CHERYL KIESEL, M.S. ’00, 6th Yr. ’07,

was appointed the director of special services, curriculum, and instruction for Bethany Public Schools in Connecticut. KENNETH CRAW, 6th Yr. ’01, was

named superintendent of schools in New Fairfield, Conn.

ROBERT NICHOLSON, ’03, presented

research from his doctoral study at Trident University International titled, “A Case Study Exploring the Motivation of Acquisitions, Logistics, and Technology, Noncommissioned Officers in the Army Contracting Command.” JACQUELINE SOLIMINI, M.P.H. ’03, is

included in Marquis Who’s Who and is the founder of Superformance Health and Wellness. Solimini — a wellness counselor, addiction-recovery coach, personal trainer, and health educator — works with youth and adults. Her areas of specialization include addictions, post-cancer care, lifestyle changes, and wellness counseling. CURTIS HAINES, ’04, was hired as a

technical support specialist with the OMG Roofing Products Division. Haines will provide technical product training and support in addition to working with the product development team. LAKISHA JORDAN, ’04, MBA ’06, was

named vice president, inclusion and diversity, at the American Eagle Financial Credit Union. Previously, Jordan was with KeyBank, most recently, as the vice president, regional corporate responsibility officer. She is a member of the Business Advisory Council for Southern’s School of Business and serves on the Governor’s Prevention Partnership Board of Directors, the Gateway Community College Foundation Board of Directors, and numerous other boards. COLLEEN MCKIRRYHER, M.S. ’04, is

the vice president of legal and patent

protections at Drew Marine, headquartered in Naugatuck, Conn. JEFFREY NAPLES, ’04, was appointed

the assistant fire chief of the Hamden Fire Department. PETER DART,

M.S. ’05, was named the superintendent of Mansfield Public Schools. He previously was principal of Mansfield’s Dorothy C. Goodwin Elementary School. STACY PHILLIPS, ’05, is a victim justice

program specialist with the Office for Victims of Crime within the U.S. Department of Justice. Phillips has more than 20 years of experience in the victim services field and is a child and youth expert with expertise in trauma, poly-victimization, and brain science. Phillips earned a Doctor of Social Work from the University of Southern California. She recently co-authored an article “The Science of Hope as a Framework for Parenting in Difficult Situations,” published in Parents with Preparedness Magazine. STEPHEN PALMA, ’06, was appointed

president of medical cost solutions for Goodroot, a Collinsville, Conn.based healthcare technology company. JANELL TARTAGLIA, ’08, has earned a

Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and was inducted into Marquis Who’s Who. In 2021, she established Crescent Moon Care, an outpatient

In Print, On Screen, and Through the Speakers

Christopher Zyck, ’96, is the author of The Glass Planet, a story about self-adapting to a future environment — with a metaphysical, existential, transcendental journey into human self-consciousness. Set in 2339 2352 AD, the book focuses on contemporary topics: democracy versus autocracy, the ever-growing wealth gap, the pursuit of longevity, and transforming the Earth after environmental traumas. Joseph Massa, ’15, is the creator of My Suicide Story, a docuseries featuring survivors of attempted suicide who share their stories of survival and triumph over their attempts. Massa’s goals: to combat suicide, expose suicidal ideations, and educate the public. The filmmaker’s work on the series has been highlighted in USA Today, Palm Beach Post, New Haven Register, Business Insider, Yahoo News, and Medium. Most recently, he was included in Connecticut Magazine’s 40 under 40 in 2022.

pediatric and adult physical therapy clinic in Canton, Conn. In addition to helping adults restore normal function and reduce pain, she treats children who are living with an array of diagnoses, such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, and various genetic conditions. She is a boardcertified pediatric specialist with expertise in dynamic movement intervention, used by physical therapists to treat children with motor impairments. KEITH PERRY, M.S. ’09, was promoted

by Select Physical Therapy to oversee day-to-day operations in the New Britain, Conn., office. He previously was based in Houston. NATHAN QUESNEL, 6th Yr. ’09, was

named to the Board of Directors of the Connecticut RISE Network, a community of educators working together to help students achieve success in and beyond high school.



invited speaker at TEDX New Haven, held on June 11. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Musical Intervention, a clinical and community-based music program that strives to transform lives and promote empathy. QUINN WAZORKO CHRISTOPHER,

M.S.W. ’10, was named one of Connecticut’s “25 Outstanding Women in Business” by the Hartford Business Journal. She is the owner of M&T Enterprises, a transmission specialist. The journal also lauded her community involvement: she is co-president of the Plainville Chamber of Commerce and president of the South Canal Street Industrial Park Association, serves on the Plainville Parks and Recreation Commission, is a member of the Plainville Democratic Town Committee, and is the administrator of the Ted Christopher Memorial Fund and the Drive for Safety Initiative. NATHANIEL FOSTER, ’10, was named

an account and event manager of the New York Apple Association. ASHLEY FURNARI, M.S. ’10, is the new

principal at Stepney Elementary School in Monroe, Conn. DANIELLE KOONZ,’10, was promoted

to the position of strategic accounts manager at Okay Industries, a contract manufacturer of components and subassemblies for global medical device equipment manufacturers. BRIAN VIVIER, M.L.S. ’10, is the inau-

gural director of the Center for Global Collections at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, effective July 21. The center highlights non-

Western voices, languages, and cultures. Vivier, who will supervise the work of eight librarians, is an adjunct associate professor of Chinese studies at the university. He recently completed a year in Taiwan as a Fulbright U.S. Senior Scholar. JAMES NORTON, ’11,

was elected to the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants Board of Directors for the 2022-2023 activity year. He is the principal, director of accounting technology services, at GRF CPAs and Advisors. MELANIE OLMSTEAD, M.S. ’11, was

named the 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year by Plainville Community Schools in Connecticut in June. She is a middle school health teacher. JULIO DUARTE, 6th Yr. ’12, was

appointed executive director of human resources for West Hartford Public Schools. MATTHEW GLENNON, ’12, was named

an associate at Pullman & Comley, which provides legal services throughout Connecticut, the Northeast, and internationally. Glennon works in the business organizations and finance practice. His experience includes mergers and acquisitions, financing, debt transactions, advising on business formation and ownership transition, and providing general counsel services to clients. KIRK SAMUELSON, 6th Yr. ’12, is the

new principal of Waterford High School in Connecticut. MARGARET STEVENS, M.S. ’12, was

appointed assistant principal of City Hill Middle School in Naugatuck, Conn. WILLIAM CHAFFIN, ’13, was named the

head football coach for Bacon Academy in Connecticut. DANA FIRMENDER, M.S. ’13, was

appointed principal of the International School at Dundee in Greenwich, Conn. DANIEL TRUST, ’13, the founder of the

foundation that bears his name, shares that in May 2022 the organization awarded scholarships totaling $20,0000 to 40 college students. ANNE JORDAN, M.L.S. ’14, has been

promoted to the position of chief human resources officer of the Anderson Center for Autism based in Staatsburg, N.Y. ANDREW LEE, M.S. ’14, 6th Yr. ’19, an

alumnus of the Norwich School System, was named the 2022 Norwich Teacher of the Year. Lee, who has a master’s in special education, Fall 2022 | 45


has joined the district’s focus on students’ behavioral issues, as reported in The Day newspaper. CHARLES NIXON, ’14, is part of a

NASA DEVELOP team charged with assessing water availability in the Sonoran Desert, one of the driest areas in North America. The program — a partnership between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information — uses Earth observations to address environmental issues. The initiative is designed for

early career scientists and university students. Nixon is a doctoral student studying environmental and conservation science at North Dakota State University. Previously, he worked for the engineering firm AECOM as a geologist. KATIE BARRY, ’18, has been recognized

as a 2022 STEP Ahead honoree by the Manufacturing Institute. The award celebrates women in science, technology, engineering, and production careers who have had outstanding achievements in their companies and communities. Barry is the quality

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manager at Marion Manufacturing Company. AJA DIGGS, ’18, is a senior admin-

istrative assistant for the Yale Medicine Administration’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Community Engagement, and Equity. A former New Haven Promise scholar, she was recently profiled in the organization’s newsletter. BROOKE GRAND, ’18, has joined the

Ulbrich Boys and Girls Club as the director of programs and engagement. Grand is responsible for directing and managing all daily operations at their Wallingford location. SAMANTHA GROSKRITZ, ’18, has

been named a National Nuclear Security Administration Graduate Fellow. The competitive, highly selective program is designed to prepare talented leaders in national security and provides a one-year, salaried position. Groskritz earned a master’s degree in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security from the American University School of International Service. TIMOTHY MARTIN, Ed.D. ’19, is a certi-

fied master beekeeper, who completed the University of Montana Master Beekeeping Program in 2019. A science teacher at Stamford High School, he also runs its Beekeeping Club. He is working on an independent study project on beekeeping.

2020s CHRISTOPHER MELILLO, M.S. ’20, 6th

Yr. ’04, started a new position as superintendent of schools for Newtown, Conn., in July. ISABEL POCOCK, ’20, has joined

Pearce Real Estate as a member of the Edgehill Team. She is based in the New Haven office.

__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 46 | Southern ALUMNI MAGAZINE

of the School of Education and former dean of professional studies, Jan. 6, 2022 ANNE DUFFY, ’56, May 28, 2022 THOMAS R. DOLAN, ’58, July 8, 2022 MADELINE DREW, ’59, March 30, 2022 GENNARO GERME, ’62, 6th Yr. ’87,

April 11, 2022 EDWARD J. GUEVIN, ’69, July 28, 2022 SAMUEL BURRELL, ’70, M.S. ’80,

April 11, 2022 MICHAEL MANCANO, ’70, M.S. ’72,

6th Yr. ’76, July 4, 2022 BARBARA MCLEOD SMITH, ’70,

M.A. ’74, 6th Yr. ’81, Jan. 24, 2022 WALTER SHELTON, ’72, March 27, 2022 ROBERT RYNECKI, ’73, M.S. ’77,

Jan. 22, 2022 DAVID HENRY, M.S. ’77, June 5, 2022 MARY KATHLEEN DINGUS, ’80,

M.S. ’90, Feb. 20, 2022 JOAN PERRELLI, ’82, Dec. 31, 2021 CLAIRE NICHOLSON, ’86, Jan. 20, 2022 JOHN A. DOHERTY, M.S. ’91, Jan. 14,

2022 JOHN MACKEY, ’93, M.A. ’98, Jan. 6,

2022 NORA WHITE SABIA, M.S. ’93,

March 23, 2022 WANDA GIBBS, 6th Yr. ’99, July 5, 2022 CATHERINE CHRISTY, M.A. ’00,

director of the Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy, and Support (VPAS) Center, June 25, 2022 EDWARD CHAMBERLAIN, ’06,


M.F.T. ’14, April 19, 2022 HARRY AUSMUS, professor emeritus of

history, Jan. 27, 2022 ARNE SOLLI, adjunct professor of

psychology, April 22, 2022

__________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

ROCCO ORLANDO, ’53, dean emeritus

IN MEMORIAM LOIS M. BARRIE, ’53, May 25, 2022 MARY LOUISE (CERVENANSKY) KANE, ’53, Jan. 17, 2022

Alumni Notes are compiled from submissions as well as announcements in the news media.

A National Champion continued from page 13

A Golden Opportunity continued from page 29

winning when he stepped up to take his final throw — and unloaded the meet record for the victory. “I know he had butterflies in his stomach, and I’m sure he was very nervous,” says Wallin. “But everyone else thought he was a cool customer.” It was another world-class performance from the talented student-athlete who, only a few years ago, had to be convinced to play the game. ■

me about college,” Stanton says. But her father had heard about the SEOP program at Southern. “He said, ‘There’s a summer program at SCSU, and you’re going to do it.’ I would have said no, but now I am grateful that I had a dad who didn’t ask me how I felt about it,” Stanton says. One week into the summer, Stanton says, she had her “aha moment.” Living on campus, among other students with similar appearance and life experiences, she found her community. She sensed the commitment of university faculty and staff who genuinely wanted her to succeed. She felt challenged academically, and she liked it. “SEOP gave me a sense of belonging, a community of support. And my own internal motivation had shifted. It was the perfect combination to do well,” Stanton recalls. She went on to run track for Barber, whom she now affectionately refers to as Coach B, and to work as a resident adviser during her undergraduate years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1990 and a master’s in business administration in 1997. And she has stayed at Southern, first as a hall director, through several different positions in the residence life and student life departments, and now in her current role as director of University Access Programs.

Honoring a Southern Legend continued from page 29 the men’s and women’s USA track teams at national and international championships. A committed community activist, he founded New Haven’s track and field outreach program for young people, working with more than 4,000 children and youth over the years. And he has served as president and a longtime board member of the New Haven Scholarship Fund, which has helped generations of local high school students finance their college educations. On the international scene, he was head coach of the USA Team for the International Association of Athletics Federation World Cup, the World Indoor Championships, and U.S. Olympic Festivals. He helped found the United States Track Coaches Association and was named the United States Track Coaches Association’s Indoor Regional Coach of the Year in 2002. He received the 2000 Service Award for Colleges and Universities from the U.S. Women’s Track Coaches Association and was inducted into Southern’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. The President’s Medal is the most recent in a string of honors recognizing Barber’s many accomplishments. In 2016, he received the SCSU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award and, in 2010, was bestowed a lifetime achievement award from the Greater New Haven African American Historical Society. ■

The SEOP program has expanded, contracted, and responded to the ever-changing needs of students and the ever-evolving influences of the university, the New Haven community, and the world. But the program’s overarching mission has remained the same, including the personalized approach to addressing student needs and a commitment to building relationships. Credits now are offered in two courses — communication and a public health class on personal wellness. The Summer Academy also offers students workshops, small groups, and oneon-one meetings with resources in the Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services, the Disability Resource Center, Counseling Services, the Multicultural Center, and the Financial Aid office. Both Stanton and Barber note that a significant number of graduates from the SEOP program wind up working in human services careers. “I’m not sure if it is the program or the overall college experience,” says Stanton of the transformation. “They come to college with a very limited understanding of how you can help one another.” But they experience how a little assistance changes their outcome, she says, and “they go on to become educators, doctors, lawyers, nurses, social workers, clinical healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, the whole gamut. That is the impact.” ■

According to Their Research continued from page 33 “This was the first major research program I’ve been involved in, the most hands-on research I’ve done,” he says. “I wasn’t sure if I would like lab work. I was really apprehensive, but I really enjoyed it. I love it, actually. It was a great career eye-opener.” Martone’s research was centered on super capacitors — energy-storage devices with up to 100 times the capacity of current battery technology. Specifically, his team researched biochar, a chemical substance similar to charcoal that is produced when plant materials are decomposed at high temperatures. It’s often used in agriculture to improve soil, but its high carbon content might lend itself to enhancing electrodes in super capacitors. “Research by previous students gave us a foundation,” Martone says. “We are trying to learn what works better at maintaining charge/discharge stability. . . . There are so many aspects of biochar to be looked at. We used different parameters of the concentration of biochar, like a recipe, and we did find an optimal concentration.” Both Martone and Davis have taken a winding road toward earning their degrees, transferring to Southern and changing majors along the way. The opportunity to participate in research as undergraduates clarified their goals, and the Werth Fellowship stipends helped ease the financial

challenges of earning a college degree. Davis, for example, notes that it will take five years to graduate. She had previously spent her summers hosting and waitressing, and worked as a tutor during the academic year. In contrast, the stipend awarded through the Werth Fellowship makes it possible for her to focus on her academic and career goals. Werth understands the challenges facing Southern’s student body; about 53 percent of undergraduates who receive financial aid are eligible for Pell Grants, awarded to those with the greatest level of need. He hopes his leadershiplevel support will inspire others to give. With that in mind, part of his most recent pledge will be used to create matching challenge grants during Southern’s annual Day of Caring. “State funds are increasingly being used to keep Southern and other state universities operational,” says Werth. “To create a climate of excellence you need private individuals to invest in institutions like Southern and its students. I hope others follow to make similar investments in the future of Connecticut.” ■

*The Science of Effective Mentorship In STEMM, A Consensus Study of the National Academies of Sciences * Engineering * Medicine, 2019 Fall 2022 | 47


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