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Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 501 NEW HAVEN, CONN.

a newspaper for the campus community

Southern Connecticut State University

April 2014 • Vol.17 No. 5


4 An Unconventional Spring Break 5 Keeping Tabs on Ukraine

Heptathlon Comes Up Sevens for Track Star


National Champions Swimming Like a Butterfly

Raymond Cswerko

spot atop the podium was not

new to

Nick Lebron. Two years ago, in

Mankato, Minn., he claimed the 2012 NCAA Division II championship in the heptathlon. But this year was different. Fueled by a third-place finish in the competition at last year’s NCAA championship, Lebron made sure the results would be even better. He knew it was the end of a four-year journey, the last time that he would compete for the Owls as a member of the indoor track and field squad. Bolstered by a year’s worth of training – both physically and mentally – Lebron crushed the field with a Division II record score of 5,765 points in the seven events to claim the 2014 NCAA title. Along the way, he also set a new high mark among New England programs in all three divisions. Lebron is also an All-American in the decathlon, which is made of 10 separate events. Both competitions are grueling and follow a multiple-day format. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it,” Lebron said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. This is a 5-year deal. You have to be the first

had a

feeling that he might win

one into the gym and the last one out because there’s so much to do. “It has to be a passion of yours. It can’t just be something that you do on the side. There are either seven or 10 events that you have to be good in. That’s something that I Lebron continued on page 6.

an individual title among his four swims at the NCAA Division II Championship in Geneva, Ohio, last month. The Owls’ junior collected All-America honors in the 400-yard individual medley at last year’s event and was one of the favorites to win this year’s title. Cswerko got his national championship, but had to settle for a national runner-up mark in the 400 IM. Instead, he touched the wall first in the 200-yard butterfly to claim the 19th individual title in the history of Southern’s men’s swimming and diving program and the first since 2003. A day after finishing second in the 400 IM, Cswerko led the field by nearly a full second (1:46.25) to capture his first NCAA individual title. In total, he finished this year’s competition as a three-time All-American for his performances in the 400 IM, 200 butterfly and a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley.

A Torrington native, Cswerko was one of just two Americans to claim individual titles at this year’s NCAA Championships. The competition continues to feature a global mix on an annual basis. In fact, Marko Blazevski, who edged Cswerko for the 400 IM title, is a native of Macedonia and was a member of its 2012 Olympic team. “He’s swimming against an international, world-class field,” said Owls’ coach Tim Quill, who has now coached SCSU swimmers to Cswerko continued on page 6.

Men’s basketball team progresses to Elite Eight. See Page 8.

Charting a Course to Improve Student Graduation Rates advisors who would guide students through their first two years; and master advisors, who would take over advisement duties for students after they have declared a major.

• Modify academic programs, policies and instruction. The task force report states: “Too often SCSU has created unintentional obstacles for students; these obstacles include but are not limited to, overly restrictive academic policies, unnecessary prerequisites, single-course bottlenecks, curricular sprawl and an ambitious Liberal Education Program.” It recommends examining all of the above to remove obstacles that make it unnecessarily difficult for students to graduate in four years.

The Student Success Task Force – a committee that aims to significantly improve the university’s retention and graduation rates – has developed six major recommendations it believes will enable Southern to accomplish that goal. The task force was charged by President Mary A. Papazian more than a year ago in an effort to reverse what had been a steady decline for several years in the university’s 4- and 6-year graduation rates, as well as to improve retention rates (the percentage of full-time undergraduates who continue as such in subsequent years). “Nearly 100 people participated on the (task force), which shows a genuine interest on campus in making a real improvement,” Papazian says. “We will do all we can to implement the recommendations.” The task force was led by Tracy Tyree, vice president for student affairs, and Steven Breese, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

The six recommendations were: • Advance a culture of student-centeredness. This would include enhancing a sense of belonging; improving customer service; increasing employee training and development opportunities; creating a university ombudsman and expanding the university’s hours of operation to meet the needs of students who take classes at night and on weekends. • Create a student success center. Ideally, this would include a physical location, but initially it would be a virtual center. Initiatives would include additions to: student transition support (e.g. a second-year student program); learning support (e.g. more tutoring options); academic interventions and enhancement; disability support; and academic and career advisement. • Transform academic advising. This would involve the creation of a cadre of

• Refresh university branding and marketing. Research indicates that most students do not come to Southern because it is Southern, according to the report. Nevertheless, many of them end up with an

educational experience that exceeds expectations. A specific brand that applies to the university as a whole is recommended. Suggestions also include greater community engagement, forging better relationships with high school guidance counselors and administrators, and delivering on promises made by the university.

• Improve student financing and affordability. This includes assistance in the areas of financial literacy, as well as linking some financial aid programs to a student’s likelihood of graduating in a timely manner. “We should designate a permanent body with broad representation to institutionalize student success,” Tyree says. That panel would monitor how well the university is meeting the goals outlined in the report by the Student Success task force. The findings of the task force were presented to the campus community during a town hall-style meeting last month.


An Evening of Laughter The Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture Series presents a “Tonight Show”-style monologue and an evening of stand-up comedy with acclaimed late-night talk show host Jay Leno on May 9, 7 p.m., at the Lyman Center for the Performing Arts. Leno’s “everyman” style has earned him millions of fans worldwide and established the doubleEmmy Award winner as a television icon. Reserved seating is available at A portion of the proceeds supports Southern’s Endowed Awards of Excellence, a merit-based scholarship program.

A Message from the President programs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Additional academic and community events will be scheduled in the coming months. I’m pleased to announce that Dr. Robert J. Rennie has been confirmed as our new chief information officer, succeeding Dr. Pablo Molina. Pablo returns to Washington, D.C., on April 30 to become CIO of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS). Since 1997, Rob has been the CIO and vice president, technology for Florida State College at Jacksonville, Fla., a multi-campus institution serving more than 60,000 students. His CIO experience spans more than 20 years, and he is known for building the reputations of orgaPresident Mary A. Papazian nizations on a foundation of innovation, value creation, excellence and technology leadership. Under Rob’s leadership, Florida State College has won many awards for its highly innovative and successful technology environment. It was ranked first in the nation for three out of four years by the Center for Digital Education; rated “Most Wired” by Yahoo; and has been featured by several major technology firms for best practices and successful innovations. Rob’s first day at Southern will be July 15. Pablo will provide consultancy services during the interim period between his April 30 departure and Rob’s arrival. I am confident that the transition between these two talented CIOs will be smooth and that our OIT will continue to provide excellent and innovative service to our campus community. As you will read on Page 1 of this publication, our national profile in President Mary A. Papazian stands with construction workers during a recent ‘topping off’ ceremony athletics continues to grow, with two to mark the last steel beam being put into place on the Academic and Laboratory Science Building. Dear Colleagues, Recently, I had the pleasure to attend the inaugural ball for New Haven’s new mayor, Toni Harp. Ms. Harp has a long association with Southern from her many highly productive years as a state senator and co-chair of the legislative Appropriations Committee. I believe that her knowledge of, and appreciation for, our mission will make for an even more fruitful partnership in the months and years ahead. As you know, I have emphasized enhancing our involvement with the Elm City, and many of New Haven’s key players are excited about our presence downtown through Southern on the Green at 900 Chapel Street. The suite of offices and seminar rooms looks professional and polished with new furniture and photography highlighting all that is good about the university. Southern on the Green officially opened April 7 with an open house for selected graduate

national individual titles and the wonderful run of our men’s basketball team to the Elite 8. In recent years this has owed much to the leadership of Patricia Nicol, who will leave Southern on May 29 to take up the director of athletics position at Emerson College in Boston. Pat has been a member of the Owls’ athletics administration for the last 15 years, and since her appointment as director in 2005, our studentathletes have excelled on the playing fields, in the classroom and in the community. Another Southern stalwart moving on is James Blake, our executive vice president for finance and administration, will retire in early January 2015. Jim has been an integral part of the growth and sound financial health of Southern since 1996. And, with almost 30 years of dedicated state service behind him, his pending retirement has been well-earned. Jim has worked with and counseled five presidents of Southern. One of the first items on my agenda when I assumed the presidency in early 2012 was requesting that Jim stay on for as long as possible. He committed to three years – and I am sure we are all glad that he did! A national search for a new vice president for finance and administration will commence this summer, and we hope that a hire will be made by Thanksgiving. In this way, Jim will be on hand to assist with the transition, and also to provide his invaluable counsel for the new strategic planning process, the design for our planned Student Recreation Center and other key institutional initiatives. Sincerely,

Mary Papazian, Ph.D. President

News from the Vice Presidents’ Offices ACADEMIC AFFAIRS


Published by the Southern Connecticut State University Office of Public Affairs Patrick Dilger, Director Editor

Patrick Dilger writers

Betsy Beacom Bailey Brumbach Mike Kobylanski Joe Musante Villia Struyk Designer

Janelle Finch Photographer

Isabel Chenoweth SouthernLife is published monthly when classes are in session, from September through June, by the Southern Connecticut State University Office of Public Affairs, 501 Crescent Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1355. News and calendar inquiries should be addressed to Wintergreen 162, campus mail, or call 392-6586. Story ideas, news items and comments can also be e-mailed to the editor at DILGERP1. The editor reserves the right to consider all submissions for timeliness, space availability, and content.


SouthernLife • April 2014

An estimated 800 students registered for the recent Accepted Students Day – an opportunity for students to tour the campus and learn more about the university. Director of Admission Alexis Haakonsen said a total of about 2,000 people were on campus that day, which included the students and their families. “The energy on campus that day was really high with a wonderful welcoming of students, some great informational sessions and an opportunity to get a taste of campus life,” Haakonsen said. “The weather was perfect and we got many positive responses. The turnout was even better than last year.” She said that for some students, it was their first time actually visiting the campus. For others, it was one last opportunity to gather information before making a final decision on where to attend college. All students who have been accepted at Southern for the fall 2014 semester were invited.


Southern has proposed a budget of $208 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year –representing a $5 million increase compared with the current fiscal blueprint, Executive Vice President James E. Blake has announced. Much of the budgetary increase stems from contractual obligations. The budget plan includes 435 full-time faculty positions, an increase of 12 such positions from the current fiscal year. “We presented the budget to Dr. (Gregory) Gray (president of the state Board of Regents

for Higher Education) and his staff,” Blake said. “We have several other budget discussions scheduled before the Board of Regents votes on it on June 18.” Blake said the budget assumes a 2-percent decline in overall enrollment, although efforts are being made to try to exceed expectations. Among those efforts are a restructured M.S. program in computer science, a new undergraduate program in interdisciplinary studies, an accelerated MBA program and an undergraduate certificate in accounting.


Ushering in the spring, a Senior Class Campaign Festival was held on April 15 on the academic quad. All were welcome at the event, which honored the Class of 2014, and had a carnival-like atmosphere — complete with popcorn, cotton candy and games. Representatives of the campaign were on hand to invite members of the graduating class to make a symbolic gift of $20.14. Seniors who made the contribution received a commemorative T-shirt and a mason jar-style mug, and will have their names included on a banner at undergraduate commencement. There’s still time for seniors who have not yet made a gift to do so. To make a contribution, contact Jaime Toth at (203) 392-6514 or In other news, the annual Owl Golf Classic will take place on May 20 at the Lake of Isles, North Course at the Foxwoods Resort Casino. Enjoy a great day on the links while supporting Southern’s talented student-athletes. All proceeds from the event will be used for student scholarships and program enhancements for

the Athletic Department. For more information, contact Doreen Cammarata-Gilhuly at (203) 392-8824 or


The university has just approved a “Good Samaritan,” or medical amnesty statement, said Tracy Tyree, vice president for student affairs. The statement seeks to diminish students’ fear of disciplinary and conduct sanctions around the reporting of medical emergencies involving excessive drinking and/or drug use. With this statement, if an individual or organization reaches out to a campus official seeking medical attention for themselves or another person, those requesting and requiring assistance may not be subject to the typical sanctions for a violation of campus alcohol and drug policies, as long as they follow the statement’s guidelines. The statement grew out of efforts to foster responsible student behavior, and the movement to develop and approve it was initiated by DARC (Drug and Alcohol Resource Center), said Tyree. Many colleges and universities have such statements in place, she said, citing Eastern Connecticut State University, Yale and the University of New Haven as a few examples. The state of Connecticut also has adopted a Good Samaritan Law. The SCSU statement will be included in the student handbook and on the university website, Tyree says, and DARC will promote it among the student body. “This statement is about making sure students get the help they need,” Tyree said. “It’s important that we focus on the health and safety of students first, and the statement will help students who might be afraid to seek assistance.”

Eye on Ukraine

Keeping the ‘I’ in Interdisciplinary While

colleges and universities gen-

erally offer a wide array of majors,

sometimes students wish to pursue a career path in which established majors just don’t quite meet their needs. In an effort to better serve the needs of students, Southern is offering a bachelor’s degree program in interdisciplinary studies that began last fall. The program enables students to design their own programs of study and pursue educational and career goals that are both personally interesting and professionally relevant, according to Ilene Crawford, director of the interdisciplinary program. She says one of the advantages to this program is that it offers students the flexibility they might need to better prepare them for their future. The B.A. degree in interdisciplinary studies will combine two, 18-credit concentrations, while the B.S. degree will combine three such concentrations. Students can also design their own concentration with the help of their academic advisor. For example, a student who initially opts to participate in Southern’s nursing program may become interested in other career paths in the healthcare field. That student may benefit from a B.A. degree that combines concentrations in public health and a science. Similarly, if a student is interested in becoming a science writer, they can combine concentrations in public policy, professional writing and science to obtain a B.S. degree. If a student wants to become a photojournalist, they can combine concentrations in geography, photography and journalism. Students interested in becoming self-supporting artists may combine concentrations in business, music and communications. “We believe these degree options reflect Southern’s commitment to exemplary undergraduate education in the liberal arts and professional disciplines,” Crawford says. “In short, we want students to use the flexibility of these degree programs to pursue selfdefined interests and to develop themselves into rigorous, innovative and independent problem solvers who will be competitive in a global economy.” For further information about the program, contact the Academic Advising Center at (203) 392-5367.

Panelists gather for the recent university forum, ‘Crisis in Ukraine: What Happened and What’s Next?’ The program examined the latest developments in Ukraine, the effect on the United States and Europe, and the potential consequences to the relationship between the United States and Russia. About 250 people attended the event, including more than 100 high school students from four schools. Standing (from left) are: Chris Velardi, news anchor for

WTNH, moderator; Kevin Buterbaugh, SCSU professor of political science; Greg Adams, SCSU chairman of the Sociology Department; and Matthew Schmidt, assistant professor of political science and national security at the University of New Haven. Sitting (from left) are: Patricia Olney, SCSU professor of political science; Krystyna Gorniak-Kocikowska, SCSU professor of philosophy; and Costel Calin, SCSU assistant professor of political science.



The 1,500th and final steel beam for the structure of the Academic and Laboratory Science Building swings into place after a March 25 ‘Topping Off’ ceremony adjacent to the construction site. The building is scheduled for completion in spring 2015.

SouthernBrief ly

After a national search, SCSU’s director of international education position has beenrecently filled James Barber, director of community engagement, with the the appointment of Erin E. Heidkamp. received Rev. Dr. Edwin R. Edmonds Humanitarian th Heidkamp has as West interim director Award at the 28served annual Haven Black of Coalition international education January Scholarship Awards Dinner.since Edmonds, who2012 passed away in a member of the SCSU sociology and2007, as anwas associate coordinator in the Officefaculty for decades and was instrumental in gaining of International Programs from April 2010approval to for the university’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work January 2012. During her time as interim director, degree program. The father of state Rep. Toni Walker, a Heidkamp has coordinated the merger of three longtime New Haven minister and Board of Education branches of international education at Southern: chairman, Edmonds was one of the founders of the study abroad and reciprocal exchange programs national United Church of Christ Commission for Racial (formerly the Office International Justice in 1967, and a of leading advocate Programs); against racism J-1 visa andinclusion risk management (formerly and for full of all people in the housed life of the in Sponsored Research) and of his church. Barber Programs received theand award in recognition matriculated international student services longtime service to the community. (formerly International Student Services). During The Social Work Department recently learned that its B.S.W. her tenure, student study abroad participation and M.S.W. programs have been reaccredited. At its has increased by 25 percent, faculty-led spring October 2013 meeting, the Commission on Accreditation break and summer abroadforprograms (COA) reviewed the study applications the baccalaureate have increased by 40 percent the number and master’s degree social workand programs, and voted of reaffirm reciprocal universities has to bothexchange programs’partner accreditation for eight years, increased by 40 percent. Heidkamp earned her

ending in October 2021. The COA site visitors stated in their report: “Because of the energy and commitment of the chair, as well as a dedicated faculty (the department) has been able to maintain a high quality of education despite cutbacks.” The university community was saddened to learn of the passing of Madan Nangia, associate professor emeritus of management, who died March 4 in Bridgeport at the age of 82. Nangia taught in the School of Business from 1986 to 2009. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to: Professor Madan Nangia Scholarship, c/o SCSU Foundation, 501 Crescent St., New Haven, CT 06515. Art professor Mia Brownell has had three of her paintings selected for a two-year installation in Hong Kong through the Art in Embassy Program. She also has a solo show – “Delightful Delicious Disgusting: Ten-Year Survey 2003-2013” -- at the Juniata College Museum of Art in Huntingdon, Penn., from April 10-Sept. 13. Brownell’s work is also part of a group show, “Peristalsis,” at the gallery Air Circulation in Brooklyn, N.Y., through May

11, and an exhibit at Friesen Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho, opening May 24. In addition, one of Brownell’s paintings, “Still Life with Prosthetic Group,” has been acquired by the Hunterdon Museum of Art, and another, “Still Life with Lost Migration,” is featured on the volume #26 cover of Post Road Magazine. Brownell has also received a Connecticut State University Research Grant to conduct research in Colmar, Basel and Zurich. Southern’s annual Relay For Life will be held beginning April 26 at 3 p.m. through April 27 at 9 a.m. on Jess Dow Field. Relay For Life is a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society (ACS) hosted at Southern by Colleges Against Cancer, a student organization affiliated with ACS. Teams camp out overnight, and team members take turns walking or running around the track. Each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times, and team members have sponsors who have pledged to donate money to Relay for Life on their behalf. This year’s theme is “Superheroes.” Learn more on Twitter @scsu_Relay4Life and on Facebook at www. To join, go to www.

SouthernLife • april 2014



Southern Students Use Traditional Downtime to Serve Others Hands-on Healthcare in Jamaica A

group of nine nursing stu-

S o u t h e r n fl e w t o Jamaica last month for their spring d e n t s at

‘I was amazed at the lack of healthcare and how one can leave these beautiful resorts and beaches to find a third world country in the midst of all this wealth,’

break week. But unlike many of their college peers, they eschewed the party scene, opting to volunteer their time alongside Jamaican healthcare professionals to assist at various medical and care centers. Antoinette Towle, an assistant professor of nursing who teaches the class “Understanding Global Healthcare,” visited Jamaica with her husband to do a trial run before the trip with her students. “I was amazed at the lack of healthcare and how one can leave Antoinette Towle these beautiful resorts and beaches to find a third world country in the midst of all this wealth,” says Towle, who is also an APRN. The trip marked the Nursing Department’s first educational trip into (the school),” Raucci says. outside the United States. The objecTowle says she developed a great tive of the course is to offer nursing appreciation for the positive demeanor students an opportunity to study within of the Jamaican people, and was very a culturally diverse and vulnerable moved by their warm and welcoming environment. manner once they became familiar with At the beginning of the trip, Towle Southern’s nursing students mingle with young children at a Jamaican school after bringing them books, the Southern nursing class. prepared the students for the long, coloring books and other materials. It was one of several stops for the Southern students in that CaribRaucci says she also was impressed rigorous days of working in the field bean nation, where they learned about Jamaican health care and assisted at various medical facilities. by the upbeat attitudes of the local by participating in challenging teampeople, despite the seemingly underprivileged conditions in building exercises. The students also volunteered at a children’s hospital in which they lived. “We went to Dunn’s River Falls and climbed the 950the capital city of Kingston, where they saw patients who “Money is not their reason for happiness,” Raucci says. “But foot waterfall as a group,” says Nicole Valeriano, a junior suffered from asthma and chicken pox. they get excitement out of working hard and showing others from Stratford. “The children were so kind and were so happy to see how beautiful Jamaica is.” The students observed the Jamaican medical profesus that (we) really felt like just (our) presence was changing As a teacher, Towle’s favorite part of the trip was watching sionals at work, but they also provided assistance with their lives,” Valeriano says. the students’ perspectives transform throughout the week, checking patients’ vital signs and performing general health In addition, the nursing group volunteered and brought as they went from seeing “the big, stark buildings with no assessments. toys, coloring books and reading books to children at, “Felwindows,” to valuing and understanding the people. Visiting the Jamaican countryside induced a bit of culture lowship Hall,” a one-room schoolhouse in the Parish of St. Regardless of the tropical weather and beautiful resorts, shock for the students. The local nursing home was a “big Mary. Valeriano said the trip changed her life by giving her a greater ward instead of individual rooms,” and a vast majority of Preston Briggs and Melina Raucci, juniors from Old appreciation for the opportunities and cleanliness in the Jamaicans here walked around barefoot and had no access Saybrook and North Branford, respectively, said the children United States, and changed her perspective on mission trips. to running water, creating some unsanitary conditions, were animated and seemed to appreciate the group and “I look at people differently now and will take my experience according to Towle. Some of the patients were amputees, gifts. “We were (greeted) with hugs the second we walked with me wherever I work,” she says. the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes.



Helping Poor Peruvian Children For

college students, the first few weeks after

completing the spring semester is often a time to catch their breath,

return to the comforts of home and get ready for a Memorial Day picnic or two. But that won’t be the case this year for Krystina Morgan, a sophomore at Southern, who has volunteered to help impoverished South American children as part of the Cruz Blanca program. The Ansonia resident will be trading in the temperate late spring Connecticut weather for the

late Peruvian fall. Instead of relaxing at a beach, she’ll be working with hammers and nails to build houses for poor families. And forget about the comforts of home – her nightly accommodations will be a sleeping bag on the floors of families she is trying to help. “Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to the challenge of living in harsh conditions,” Morgan says. “It’s for a good cause -- to help keep the costs down so that we can maximize our assistance to the people.” Morgan, who will be stationed in Lima with about a dozen other Connecticut residents taking part in the program, will be helping children who usually get just one meal a day. “Typically, the kids are being raised by single moms who are working all day,” she says. “There is usually one mother who cares for all the kids in the neighborhood during the day. And they are living in homes that are more like huts.”

And when Morgan and her cohorts are not building decent houses for the poor families, she will be playing and interacting with the children, who are generally in kindergarten through third grade. “We want to boost their spirits, as well as help provide them with a nice religious environment.” Cruz Blanca is a Peruvian non-profit charity that provides campus and other activities for poor children from the shanty towns of Lima, Peru. Children attend the camps throughout the year. The May 22 to June 1 trip is being coordinated by Sister Gabriella DaVilla, a religion teacher at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull who taught Morgan in her senior year. She has remained in contact with her former teacher and might have gone on the trip to Peru last year, but it coincided with a vacation she had already planned. Morgan, a journalism student who would like to go into the broadcast news field, can often be found working in the campus bookstore when she is not in class. She says donations are welcome. About half of the proceeds go toward living expenses while the other half goes to supplies and food for the poor. Those wishing to donate can do so at the following website: http://www.


People can also donate directly to Cruz Blanca at the website: 4

SouthernLife • april 2014

Keeping Watch on Ukraine When Greg Adams

left for Ukraine more than a decade ago to begin his research as a U.S. Fulbright Fellow, his objective was to examine the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in that country, especially as it related to intravenous drug use. The fellowship was intertwined with his pursuit of a Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. And while he conducted his research in 2003-04, his stay in Ukraine also provided him a ringside seat into a political firestorm. The newly independent nation was still in a transition from a former socialist republic of the Soviet Union to a democratic, free-market nation. Adams witnessed an election process in the fall of 2004 that is almost universally regarded as corrupt. At that time, Viktor Yanukovych -- who would later become president for four years before being ousted in February – apparently defeated Viktor Yushchenko in a runoff election. But a backlash from the Ukrainian people – followed by the Ukrainian Supreme Court declaring the vote invalid – led to a new election being set for Dec. 26, 2004. That backlash by the citizens of Ukraine is often referred to as the country’s “Orange Revolution.” Adams saw the opening days of that revolution, but had returned to the United States just as it had gained momentum. He was asked to come back to Ukraine to serve as an elections monitor for the Dec. 26 election by a Fulbright official, who made the request on behalf of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. “While I was in Ukraine, I was part of a community of scholars – both American and Ukrainian – who were specifically studying elections and corruption,” Adams says. “So, I was obviously interested and informed as to what was happening.” Adams accepted the request and witnessed the political changes demanded by the public. He returned to Ukraine to present his HIV/intravenous drug use research to a variety


of stakeholders in 2006. His research indicated that the level of HIV infections at that time was not as high as it had been reported. “But it was still higher than in most nations, largely because of a comparatively high level of intravenous drug use,” Adams said. His interest whetted, Adams has kept a close eye on the eastern European nation ever since. To this day, he has remained in contact with several individuals, including a few Ukrainian journalists. His interest in the country has dovetailed with the recent tensions in Ukraine, such as the Russian annexation of Crimea and a fear that other parts of Ukraine, and perhaps Eastern Europe, could be next. Because of his background and experience in Ukraine, the chairman of Southern’s Sociology Department, was selected as a panelist for the April 7 university forum, “Crisis in Ukraine: What Happened and What’s Next?” The panel also included several Southern faculty members. They were: Kevin Buterbaugh, professor of political science; Costel Calin, assistant professor of political science; Krystyna Gorniak-Kocikowska, professor of philosophy and Patricia Olney, professor of political science. Matthew Schmidt, assistant professor of political science and national security at the University of New Haven, was another panelist. The discussion, attended by about 250 people, was moderated by Chris Velardi, anchor for the weekday “Good Morning Connecticut” newscast on

Greg Adams

Channel 8 (WTNH). And Adams has been interviewed about the situation by several media outlets, including Channel 61 (Fox61), as well as the WTIC (1080 AM), WNPR (90.5 FM) and WQUN (1220 AM) radio stations. He may have an opportunity to return to Ukraine as an elections monitor if the planned May 25 elections become reality. “I’d really like to do it again, but it depends upon whether those elections are going to be held and if I am selected.”


Waiting for the Light Christine Beck

Christine B eck was wandering the L ouvre one day in 1999 and came upon a painting that grabbed her attention. The artwork – “The Madonna of Justice,” (photo, right), painted in 1620 by Bernardo Strozzi, depicts the Madonna and child with an angel – typical subjects for a work of the Italian Renaissance. But there was something different about this painting that stopped Beck in her tracks: Mary is pointing to a large book with the Latin words “Suprema Lex Esto,” or, “the highest law.” Beck, an adjunct English professor and former lawyer, says, “If you’re a lawyer in the Louvre – which I was – and you see a painting of a mother and a baby and a law book, it gets you thinking.” Beck has just published a book of poetry, “Blinding Light,” which she says was initially inspired by the Strozzi painting. After seeing the painting, she researched it on the Web, but only found explanations saying the Madonna represented the law of the Old Testament. Beck disagreed. “I decided it was the law of mothers,” she says. “She’s

got a baby and a book.” As a lawyer who is also a mother, Beck was intrigued. She became interested in the notion of Mary and the law of mothers – what Beck calls “Lex Maturnus.” Yet “I knew I wasn’t going to write a book just about Mary,” she says. “I had to bring her down to my level. I had to think about the concerns of all mothers, about loving a child and not knowing what is going to happen in that child’s life.” The Strozzi painting poem was the first she wrote that is in her book, but the poem, like her ideas about the painting, evolved over time. Some time after she wrote the poem, Beck took a writing workshop and chose to work on this poem. “One instructor told us to end our poems with a strong sensory image,” she says. “I thought about Mary feeling like her body had been taken over when she was carrying the baby. She might feel a baby’s heel pushing on her from the inside. This became the sensory detail I used in the poem.” Once she had this image of the heel, she began to have many other ideas for poems. “It is mostly about a sense of things getting out of your grasp – things you can’t control.” Beck wrote many of the poems as a student in Southern’s M.F.A. in creative writing program, and the book is a shorter version of her thesis. She graduated in 2013 and since then has been teaching creative writing at

Southern and literature at the University of Hartford, where she taught law for nine years and later chaired the paralegal department. Her practice of law lasted more than 2 0 years, and during that time, she says, she was not thinking about writing poetry. But after leaving the legal field, she began to write and eventually decided to enter Southern’s M.F.A. program. She entered the program with a clear goal: she wanted to write a b ook. She had some poems written when she started the program, the poem about “The Madonna of Justice” among them. As a former lawyer, she was new to the study of literature and creative writing, but she says her studies “forced me out of my comfort zone.” Beck says that her book reads like a memoir but is also a meditation. She calls it a “braided narrative,” with poems about being a mother, poems about the law and poems about “blinding light” – the desire to have a spiritual solution made clear, as in the case of Moses and the burning bush. But “while you’re waiting for the blinding light,” Beck says, “there are other things happening. The important thing is to go where life takes you and see what emerges.”


SouthernLife • april 2014


Teaching Youngsters About the Holocaust Photo by Betsy Aldredge

SCSU and You

Frank LaDore, director of academic and career advising, solicits responses from Southern staff members during a recent professional development workshop sponsored by the ‘SCSU and You – Working Together Committee.’ LaDore was the motivational speaker for the program. The committee seeks to enhance enthusiasm and camaraderie in the support of Southern students.


Record-setting Academic Success for Athletes


student-athletes excelled

during the fall 2013 semester. As a group, the Owls’ 392 studentathletes combined to record a semester grade point average of 3.04, the best mark in school history. “The academic success achieved individually and collectively by our student-athletes this past semester continues to demonstrate their presence as outstanding ambassadors for Southern,” says Director of Athletics Patricia D. Nicol. “These great accomplishments could not be achieved without tremendous support from our university administration, faculty and staff, as well as our coaching staff and athletic administration. I offer my congratulations to our coaches and student-athletes for

in the classroom

their distinguished accomplishments.” Eleven of the Owls’ 19 programs achieved a team grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the fall semester. The women’s cross country team posted a 3.60 team GPA to lead all programs, while the men’s swimming and diving team’s 3.03 GPA was tops among men’s squads in the fall. On the individual front, 46 percent of Southern’s student-athletes achieved a semester grade point average of at least a 3.0., While 25 percent registered a semester G PA of a 3.5 or higher. Five student-athletes scoring a perfect 4.0 G PA during the semester.


The Athletic Department’s academic highlights for the fall semester: · All student-athletes combined for 3.04 grade point average · 11 of 19 teams with 3.0 team semester GPA or higher · 46% of student-athletes with 3.0 semester GPA or higher · 25% of student-athletes with 3.5 semester GPA or higher · 4% of student-athletes with 3.9 semester GPA or higher · 5 student-athletes with 4.0 semester GPA

Lebron continued from page 1. take pride in.” Owls’ coach John Wallin, himself a former All-American decathlete at SCSU, lauded Lebron for his competitive drive in the wake of last year’s third-place finish at NCAA’s. “Winning the national title and setting the record was a year of planning,” Wallin said. “Last year, he scored extremely well and finished third at the NCAA championships. That moment when he ended up third and competed really well, we realized that we had some flaws to fix the next year. “This was a year’s worth of training and planning. It really came together when it needed to. That’s a testament to Nick. He’s very good at focusing on what he needs to do. He’s absolutely a student of the sport. That’s not something that’s very common to be honest with you. He was able to break the record because of his dedication and his focus.” The climax of Lebron’s record-setting performance came in the final event, the 1,000 meters. He had already wrapped up the national title, but was also still within striking distance of setting a new NCAA


SouthernLife • april 2014




Jennie Ellis is one of only 16 people selected to participate in an education-focused internship program run by the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. Established in 1998, the initiative, known as the Lipper Internship Program, trains interns to teach young students about the Holocaust and Jewish history. “I’ve always been interested in the subject of the Holocaust,” says Ellis, a junior who is majoring in English and minoring in psychology at Southern. “It’s undoubtedly a tragic slice of human history, yet it’s also marked by bravery and resilience.” After applying to the internship program in 2012, the Ansonia resident was chosen to begin the program in fall 2013. The internship is open to undergraduate and graduate students who attend school in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. “From the beginning, we knew it was important, as an educational institution, to offer a meaningful internship program to those interested in Holocaust education and history,” says Betsy Aldredge, director of media relations for the museum. The internship runs for an entire semester, beginning with a two-week training period that includes studying the museum’s exhibitions, attending seminars teacher

led by Museum of Jewish Heritage scholars and meeting Holocaust survivors. Ellis says the training was overwhelming at first, but the program coordinators were very helpful. Listening to the personal accounts of three Holocaust survivors and a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide was a powerful experience, she adds. The first account she heard was particularly moving, says Ellis, recalling Sally Frishberg’s vivid description of hiding from the Nazis. “I could see it clearly in my mind,” says Ellis. “The terrified family dug out from under a pile of old husks and stalks . . . living in an attic, in the dark, in silence with barely any food and no room to stretch their legs…” Now that her training is complete, Ellis and the other interns bring groups of middle and high school students to the museum where lessons are integrated with tours of the exhibitions. She also shares her knowledge with schools in Connecticut through presentations on Jewish heritage and the Holocaust. Ellis says she had a very positive experience at New London High School, where she taught five classes of freshman students. She is also scheduled to teach at High Horizons Magnet School and James J. Curiale School, both in Bridgeport; Windham High School in Willimantic, and Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich before completing the internship in June.

For more information about the Lipper Internship Program, visit

record. Always the aggressor, Lebron went full bore for the NCAA record and was able to break the New England mark. “I had the competition pretty much wrapped up after the hurdles,” Lebron said. “I just needed to clear a height in the (pole) vault. It’s easy to just settle, but I wanted to score as high as possible. Lebron’s efforts were recognized in multiple facets, according to Wallin. “I can’t stress enough how impressive it (his performance) was,” Wallin said. “People really took notice of the way that he competed and how much better he was this year, how his approach was so much more aggressive and calculated at the same time.” Said Lebron: “It was a rewarding experience and a euphoric experience.”


Csweko continued from page 1 . 19 NCAA titles during his tenure. “I think that makes his performances stick out a little more.” Touching the wall first, in that particular event and on that particular stage, was an experience that Cswerko had to absorb quickly. “Initially, I just had the biggest rush of

adrenaline,” he said. “It’s just a feeling that I really can’t explain.” Cswerko joined the Owls for the 2012-13 academic year after competing for the University of Maryland during his freshman season. After the Terrapins dropped their program, he returned to his native Connecticut to swim for the Owls. He made an immediate impact in his first season with the club, earning All-America honors and being selected as Northeast-10 Conference Swimmer of the Year. The transformation from last year to this year, though, had been a point of emphasis for both the student-athlete and his coach. “I don’t think that the training is different,” Quill said. “What’s changed is that Ray is understanding more about what it takes to be a great athlete. There’s no question that the work that he did from the (Northeast-10) conference meet (in February) to the national championships was far better than it was last year.” Cswerko, also the Most Outstanding Performer of the Northeast-10 Championship for the second year in a row, played an integral role in helping the Owls win their 10th league title in the last 11 years. He was the only male swimmer among

all Northeast-10 schools to qualify for this year’s NCAA championship. He hopes that will change next year. “The personal accomplishments are good and all, but we’ve really been building as a team that last few years,” Cswerko says. “We’re looking to work together to get better as a team. Next year, we’d like to send a relay team, and maybe get a top-10 team score.” As there was a progression forward from last year to this year, plans are already in motion to take the next step on the national stage in 2014-15. “It starts now in the offseason,” Cswerko said. “Everything that you do now affects what you do during the season. I’ve got to stay in shape and try to get even better. I want to try to win two events next year. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility.” Added Quill: “Next year will be a different year in terms of what the minimum expectation level is. He did a better job this year. He worked more toward goal-oriented type splits because we thought that he needed to split the race well. That needs to continue. “If he puts a solid summer in the pool and in the weight room, he could be a player in three or four races next year and bid for a couple of titles.”


Art The following senior thesis shows will take place in the Earl Hall Second Floor Gallery Space. For more information, call (203) 392-6647. APR 14-19 • “A DEADLY HUNGER: A DINNER WITH SCULPTURE AND PAINTINGS” By Katelyn Blumetti and Grant McGhan. APR 21-26 • “SUPERNATURAL” By Sarah Thomas and Ashley Young. APR 28-MAY 2 • “OBSERVATIONS” By Dan DeCamillo and Ave Rivera. MAY 5-10 • “HUMAN: A DICHOTOMY OF THE FIGURE IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND PAINTING” By Ciara Cumiskey and Crystal Tejeda.

Career Services APR 24 • RESUMANIA Engleman Hall Rotunda. Noon-2 p.m. (203) 392-6536. Conferences & Colloquia


Potpourri APR 24 • THE CHAIR PROJECT Active Minds presents a visually amazing event that can change the discussion on mental health. Academic Quad. Noon-3 p.m. (203) 4614496. APR 28 • PEACE CORPS RECRUITMENT: “LIFE IS CALLING, HOW FAR WILL YOU GO?” Shannon McBride, Peace Corps recruiter and returned volunteer from Uganda, will give a presentation. Open to the campus community. Pizza will be provided. Engleman C013. 1-2 p.m. (203) 392-7003. APR 28 • “SISTA-HOOD” LUNCHEON AND FAIR Catered by Mama Mary’s Soul Food, and includes live performances, cultural exhibits and a presentation on hip-hop feminism. Engleman B121. 1-3 p.m. (203) 392-8975. APR 30 • PET-ASSISTED THERAPY De-stress before finals with the registered therapy dogs of “Pet Partners.” Farnham Programming Space. 5:30-7 p.m. (203) 392-5475.

APR 26 • GRADUATE ENGLISH CONFERENCE “The Text and Time: Past, Present, Future.” Engleman Hall D-Wing. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (203) 392-7278.

Dates to Remember APR 18-19 • Days of Reflection No class MAY 2-3 • Reading Day MAY 5-10 • Final examinations MAY 15 • Graduate Commencement MAY 16 • Undergraduate Commencement


Programs Council will present the following Movie Nights in the Adanti Student Center Theater. Come see a movie and enjoy free snacks! Call (203) 392-5511 for more information. APR 15 • “LONE SURVIVOR” 9-11 p.m. APR 29 • “ROBO COP” 8-10 p.m.

Music & Dance APR 27 • STEPPIN’ UP DRILL TEAM 7TH ANNUAL COMPETITION Lyman Center. 7 p.m. (203) 392-6154. MAY 3 • AN EVENING OF JAZZ: ELAN TROTMAN, VINCENT INGALA AND JONATHAN FRITZEN A double bill from the next generation of jazz stars. Lyman Center. 8 p.m. Tickets: $30 general public; $25 series; $25 faculty/staff, SCSU student guests (limit two); $15 SCSU students with valid ID (limit one). Call (203) 392-6154 or visit MAY 30 • JAZZ ATTACK: PETER WHITE, RICK BRAUN AND EUGE GROOVE Get your groove on with three of the hottest jazz musicians as they come together for a special concert. Lyman Center. 8 p.m. Tickets: $29 series; $30 faculty/staff, SCSU student guests (limit two); $18 SCSU students with valid ID (limit one); $34 general public. Call (203) 392-6154 or visit


drama acting class in this play presented by the Theatre Department and Crescent Players, and directed by Kaia Monroe Rarick. Lyman Center. Apr. 28-May 3: 8 p.m. May 4: 2 p.m. Tickets: $5 SCSU faculty/staff; $10 general public. Call (203) 392-6154 or visit


APR 16 • FILM: “VERY YOUNG GIRLS” A film and panel discussion about human trafficking in the inner city. Adanti Student Center Theater. 7 p.m. (203) 392-8975. APR 16 & 17 • CONVERSATIONS IN THE DISCIPLINE: ADDRESSING SOCIAL JUSTICE THROUGH COMMUNITY ENGAGED RESEARCH Faculty from public health, social work and sociology invite all interested students to attend a discussion about conducting community-based research and projects, particularly the thesis and special project. Adanti Student Center 306. April 16: 5-7 p.m. April 17: 6:30-8:30 p.m. (203) 392-6961.

Sinbad brings the laughs to Lyman May 10.

APR 16 • COUNSELING SERVICES COACHING SERIES: LIFE GOALS BOOT CAMP “Staying On Track” – Turning your goals into a lasting reality, review your progress and goals. See what works and what needs to change and set your sights on your future. Farnham Programming Space. 7-8:30 p.m. (203) 392-5475. Lisa Williams MAY 4 • AN EVENING WITH MEDIUM LISA WILLIAMS Lisa Williams uses her supernatural gift for speaking with the dead to bring the living messages from the other side. Lyman Center. 8 p.m. Tickets: free for SCSU faculty/ staff and SCSU student guests (limit two); free for SCSU students with valid ID (limit one); $30-$60 general public. Purchase of a ticket does not guarantee a reading. Call (203) 3926154 or visit MAY 9 • JAY LENO: AN EVENING OF LAUGHTER The 2014 Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture Series presents an evening with Jay Leno. Enjoy a “Tonight Show”-style monologue at an evening of stand-up comedy with the acclaimed late-night talk show host. Lyman Center. Tickets: $45 general public; $40 faculty/staff, active alumni, SCSU student guests (limit two); $30 SCSU students with valid ID (limit one). 7 p.m. Call (203) 3926154 or visit MAY 10 • SINBAD Comedian Sinbad’s take on everyday life experiences will have you laughing until it hurts. Lyman Center. 8 p.m. Tickets: $25 faculty/staff, active alumni, SCSU student guests (limit to two tickets per valid ID); $10 SCSU students (limit to one ticket per valid ID); $35 general public. Call (203) 392-6154 or visit

Theater APR 28-MAY 3, MAY 4 • “CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION” Intertwined relationships develop among the participants of a creative-

LYMAN CENTER BOX OFFICE Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (when the university is open). Box office: (203) 392-6154.

Jazz Attack! Peter White, Rick Braun and Euge Groove at Lyman – May 30.


APR 15 • University of New Haven. 3:30 p.m. APR 16 • University of Bridgeport. Bridgeport, Conn. 3:30 p.m. APR 17 • Le Moyne College. 3 p.m. APR 18 • Post University. Waterbury, Conn. 3 p.m. APR 21 • Le Moyne College. 1 p.m. and TBD. APR 22 • University of Bridgeport. 3:30 p.m. APR 23 • Adelphi University. 3:30 p.m. APR 26 • College of Saint Rose. Albany, N.Y. Noon and 3:30 p.m. APR 27 • College of Saint Rose. Albany, N.Y. Noon. APR 29 • University of New Haven. 3:30 p.m. MAY 2 • Pace University. New York, N.Y. 3:30 p.m. MAY 3 • Pace University. New York, N.Y. Noon and 3:30 p.m.


APR 19 • UConn New England Challenge. Storrs, Conn. 9 a.m. APR 27 • Yale Springtime Invitational. 9 a.m. MAY 2 • Northeast-10 Conference Championships. Easton, Mass. 2 p.m. MAY 3 • Northeast-10 Conference Championships. Easton, Mass. 9 a.m. MAY 8-10 • New England Outdoor Championships. Westfield, Mass. MAY 23-25 • NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships. Allendale, Mich.

WOMEN’S SOFTBALL Elan Trotman at Lyman – May 3.

ALUMNI RELATIONS OFFICE Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wintergreen 108 D, (203) 392-6500. BOOKSTORE Adanti Student Center, street level. Call (203) 392-5270 for hours. BULEY LIBRARY Mon.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 1-11 p.m. COMPUTER LABS Adanti Student Center 202: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 2-10 p.m. Buley Library 409 & 410: open with building Jennings Hall 130: open with building RECREATIONAL Recreation times and open swims may be preempted by athletic events. Moore Fieldhouse: Mon.-Fri. 6:30-9:15 p.m. Pelz Pool: Mon.-Thurs. 6:30-9:15 p.m. FOOD SERVICE Conn Hall: Mon.-Sun. 7 a.m.-midnight. Bagel Wagon: Mon.-Thurs. 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. & Sun. closed. North Campus: Sun.-Thurs. 3-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. closed. Davis Hall Kiosk: Mon.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. closed. STUDENT CENTER Building: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.5:30 p.m.; Sun. 2-10 p.m. Dunkin’ Donuts: Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun. closed. Food Court: Mon.-Thurs. 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m; Fri. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. and Sun. closed. Fitness Center: Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. 2-7 p.m. GRANOFF HEALTH CENTER Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

APR 16 • Pace University. 3 and 5 p.m. APR 18 • Le Moyne College. Syracuse, N.Y. 1 p.m.

APR 19 • Le Moyne College. Syracuse, N.Y. Noon. APR 22 • Pace University. New York, N.Y. 4 p.m. APR 25 • American International College. 3 p.m. APR 26 • American International College. Noon and 2 p.m. APR 29 • Northeast-10 Tournament First Round MAY 1 • Northeast-10 Championship MAY 8 • NCAA Regionals MAY 15 • NCAA Super Regionals MAY 21 • College World Series


APR 16 • American International College. 4 p.m. APR 19 • Merrimack College. 1 p.m. APR 22 • Le Moyne College. 4 p.m. APR 24 • Dominican College. Orangeburg, N.Y. 4:15 p.m. APR 26 • Saint Anselm College. Manchester, N.H. 1 p.m. APR 30 • Northeast-10 Tournament Quarterfinals MAY 3 • Northeast-10 Tournament Semifinals MAY 4 • Northeast-10 Tournament Finals MAY 10 • NCAA Championship First Round


APR 19 • Wolfie Invitational. Stony Brook, N.Y. 11 a.m. APR 24-26 • Penn Relays. Philadelphia, Pa. APR 25-26 • Lions Invitational. Ewing, N.J. 9 a.m. APR 27 • Yale Springtime Invitational. 9 a.m. MAY 2 • Northeast-10 Conference Championships. Easton, Mass. 2 p.m. MAY 3 • Northeast-10 Conference Championships. Easton, Mass. 9 a.m. MAY 8-10 • New England Outdoor Championships. Westfield, Mass. MAY 22-24 • NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships. Grand Rapids, Mich.

Visit our website for updates on Events@Southern: SouthernLife • april 2014


a photo essay by isabel chenoweth


Congratulations! The men’s basketball team can enjoy the title of 2013-14 NCAA Division II East Regional champion. By earning three wins in the regional tournament, including a 78-72 victory over St. Anselm College (Manchester, N.H.) in the regional final, the Owls gained a berth in the Elite Eight. Although they were unable to advance any further, it was a stellar year for the Owls with a 30-3 overall record and a Northeast-10 Conference title.


SouthernLife • april 2014

Southern Life, April 2014  

A newspaper for the SCSU campus community

Southern Life, April 2014  

A newspaper for the SCSU campus community