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T H E M AG A Z I N E F O R A L U M N I & F R I E N D S O F W E S T F I E L D S TAT E FA L L 2 0 1 2


Collaboration • Taking Campus Experience to the Workplace • Summer Learning • Business Training Ground

Eric Jones ’09


Editor Janice Beetle Godleski ’85 Beetle Press Design Editor Janet Garcia ’83, M. Ed ’04 Director of Marketing ART DIRECTOR Todd M. LeMieux ’89 Photographer David Fried Enrollment Management Editorial Board Glen Brewster, Professor English Department Mickey Curtis Athletics Michael Filas, Professor English Department Janet Garcia ’83, M. Ed ’04 Director of Marketing George Layng, Professor English Department Marsha Marotta Dean of Undergraduate Studies Kathi Bradford, Director Advancement and University Relations Class Notes Kelly A. Galanis Advancement and University Relations Contributing Writers: Kathi Bradford Dan Connors ’12 Mickey Curtis Vanessa Dion ’11 Dr. Evan S. Dobelle Kelly Galanis Janice Beetle Godleski ’85 Amanda Hebson ’12 Matt Jardin ’12 Elizabeth R. (LaFond) Coppez ’03, M ’07 Peter Miller ’84 Claudia Moore O’Brien M.Ed ‘00 Meghan (Canning) Musante ’02 Laura Phelon ’11 Tom Shea ISSN 1520-7641


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From the Editor

Guiding Their Experience, Training a Workforce By Janice Beetle Godleski ’85


n the pages of this magazine are stories by two recent University graduates, Amanda Hebson ’12 and Dan Connors ’12, who I supervised in internship roles last spring. Like all the Westfield State students that I train, Amanda and Dan were earnest and hardworking and very eager to write stories for Focus. Involving student interns with the magazine is a great way to round out their experience because it brings them in close contact with alumni and allows them to hear about the University’s history and its success stories. I especially love when the students interview alumni from many years ago and experience the depth of their wisdom; the students often say the intergenerational interaction is a highlight of their work. I’ve been supervising interns since 1998, and I have worked with dozens of bright students who were well-

Read the story of Mobius Works, and hear from Westfield State alumni about how the University prepared them to work with Ed, on Page 14. Jessica Burgos ’10 is another student who benefitted from her University internship. Armed with experience working in the Reading and Writing Center, Jessica completed an internship at the Social Security Administration in Holyoke, and that, too, transformed into a full-time job. Jessica is now a claims representative at the SSA, and she, too, credits her University experience with her impressive career launch. Her story appears on Page 13. While I don’t often have the opportunity to present interns with the promise of full-time work, I did offer part-time work to my most recent intern, Kyle Johnston ’14, who worked with me this summer and will now continue to produce the monthly enewsletter for my business.

Involving student interns with the magazine is a great way to round out their experience. prepared by Westfield State to tackle the work I needed them to do. Many other businesses in the area who offer internship opportunities feel as grateful as I do, and many are able to show that gratitude by continuing to hire interns for full-time positions. Take Ed Watson, who attended but did not graduate from Westfield State, as an example. Ed started his IT business, Mobius Works, in 1996 and, as writer Peter Miller ’84 says, Ed has “tapped into the well” of the Westfield State student body, offering internships and hiring graduates for full-time positions. Watson’s Westfield-based business employs over 20 professionals, and seven of them are Westfield State alumni in key positions. He sees the value of a Westfield State education over and over again. Watson keeps bringing University students into the fold as interns. As his business grows, he turns to Westfield State first for talent.

Perhaps because I have had such good experiences with interns, and because my own career started through an internship experience, it is a goal of mine to continually offer students the opportunity to learn and grow in real-life work situations. When I worked at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, from 2005 to 2010, I set up an internship program there in the Marketing and Communications Department and brought Westfield State students in, semester after semester. And at Beetle Press, I am waiting to hear who will be working with me in the fall. Where do you work? Could your company benefit from student talent? If the answer is yes, think Westfield State. Do yourself, your company and today’s students a favor and think about reaching out. Create some gratitude, and experience it as well. n

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Table of Contents

ON CAMPUS 3–9 ALUMNI on the Go 10 – 16 FACULTY / Staff 17 – 24








foundATION 37

On Our Cover



L 2012 STAT E FA L


us Experience • Taking Camp to the Workplace rning • Summer Lea ining Ground • Business Tra

s ’09 Eric Jone

With his involvement on campus, Eric Jones ’09 left a lasting imprint on the University, and he has a great job at the NBC Sports Network to show for his efforts. See story Page 10.

We’d love to hear from you! Want to get involved?

Join our Alumni Fan page or group on Facebook and LinkedIn; follow us on Twitter @WestfieldState and @WestfieldAlumni; call (413) 572-5404, (413) 572-5228; or email kbradford@ or

Our URL has changed to, and with it, all email addresses have changed to For instance, the email address for John Doe would be Focus magazine is published for Westfield State University two times a year. The mission of the magazine is to highlight the work of the administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni at the University and to share with the wider community the stories of excellence on campus. Focus magazine welcomes story ideas and story submissions. Ideas and stories can be offered to Editor Janice Beetle Godleski ’85 at (413) 374-6239 or via email at Stories must be of interest to the general readership and should be no longer than 600 words. Class Notes, highlighting alums’ personal or vocational views, are also welcome and can be sent to Deadline for the Spring 2013 issue is November 15, 2012. F O C U S FM OAG CFU OAZ S C UM IN SAG EM• AZ AGFAL IAZ N ELI N•2E01 SPRIN • 1FALL G 2012 1

From the President

Celebrating Community Collaborations Town-gown relations thriving


h is s u m mer Westfield State

joined Gov. Deval Patrick, Westfield Mayor Dan Knapik, government officials and local citizens to officially declare Westfield’s new Great River Bridge open. It was a sunny day, which beyond the speeches, cake and lemonade, marked a new chapter for our community. The Great River Bridge project and its adjacent waterfront park offer a new destination and gateway, as does the revitalized Park Square that now sparkles downtown just minutes away. The city of Westfield continues to reinvent itself, and Westfield State University is a vital partner in that renewal. Our University began nearly 175 years ago, when town fathers William Gelson Davis and the Rev. Emerson Bates lobbied the state legislature to have the Normal School at Barre reopened here. During our first century, we were an active part of the community, initially housed in a building on Washington Street. However, with the move to Western Avenue in 1956, something happened. The emotional connection between the town and gown became tentative and, though we shared the same historic name, Westfield and Westfield State were neighbors, not partners. Thankfully, in recent years all that has changed as the University forged cooperative relationships within our community. Just two years ago, we established Lansdowne Place on Thomas Street, the first public-private student housing partnership of any state university in Massachusetts. Lansdowne is now home to 216 students. The former Westfield Normal School on Washington Street, a short walk from Landsdowne, will soon offer alternate housing for 100 students. City planners call projects like these the “lynchpins” of revitalization with student residents seen as “permanent tourists” in the city center who contribute greatly to the local economy. Indeed, our Owl Bucks program indicates that students spend more than $60,000 monthly in city businesses. Downtown sidewalks are busier than ever and


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empty storefronts have now become attractive properties for future development, including a satellite of the campus Barnes and Noble, complete with its own Starbucks. Complementing the calendars of the Westfield Business Improvement District, the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce and Westfield on Weekends, the University also provides its own schedule of community happenings, which are touted regularly on local public access television shows, produced by our Information Technology Department. Since 2008, our Downtown Art Gallery has presented popular exhibits of first-class art. The Westfield Athenaeum presents First Thursday luncheon concerts, featuring student and faculty musicians, and regularly offers lectures by our expert professors. For sports fans,

tions during the first week of school with over 200 student volunteers. The Western Avenue campus has also become a destination in itself for “Whip City” residents who dine at the Tim and Jeanne’s Dining Commons and enjoy performances at Dever Stage and the Black Box Theatre at Ely Hall. Many Westfielders also use the resources of Ely Library, and our librarians currently are investigating the possibility of extending borrowing privileges to Westfield Athenaeum library card holders during this academic year. Given such positive town-gown relationships, it is not surprising that the Westfield State Foundation has recently moved to a prime location in the old Post Office building that fronts the newly renovated green. It is the perfect spot to show off the growth of the city and to be even more of an active presence in the community.

City planners call projects like these the “lynchpins” of revitalization… there is exciting action at the Amelia Park Ice Arena, home of the Owl hockey team. Throughout the year, the Center for Teacher Education and Research continues to offer outstanding workshops and trainings for area educators. This summer’s “Social Climate and Bullying Prevention Institute” is an example of how the center responds to what is happening in the field of education. Our internship and volunteer programs like SERV continue to enhance services at numerous area businesses and organizations. Staff members from across the campus are active members of more than 100 community boards and committees, including essential membership on the city’s Emergency Management Team. Owl clubs and organizations raise thousands of dollars each year for local causes. Our "College 101" program brings every eighth grade class in the city to experience a day on campus, and the “Help Out Our Town” Day (HOOT Day) spruces up area businesses and organiza-

I invite you to return for Parent/Family Day on Sept. 29 and for Homecoming on Oct. 20. I think that you will really note an exciting synergy. As Westfield the city blossoms, Westfield the University does as well. Here on campus, the newly renovated Ely Hall boasts an outdoor courtyard, two-story Wellness Center and our newly renovated state-of-the-art library. Construction continues on the new 411-bed University Hall residence and next year, ground will be broken for a new academic building, as part of our $200 million capital improvement plan. Westfield and Westfield State are perfectly in tandem, enhancing urban life and responding to the ever-changing needs of a diverse community. It is not without some measure of pride and hope that at last, Westfield can describe itself as “a university town,” filled with all the energy and excitement that only community collaborations can foster. Come visit and be surprised. n

On Campus

Spending the ‘Owl Bucks’, Embracing the City By Amanda Hebson ’12


t ’ s 1 1 at n i g h t, a n d yo u ’ r e h u n g ry. Every eatery on

campus is now closed, and you have no food in your room. You decide to call the local pizzeria, Bell Italia on Elm Street in Westfield, and order a pizza to be delivered. You look in your wallet, though, and discover that you don’t have enough cash.

Not to worry. You have Owl Bucks on your school ID and can afford the pizza. Crisis averted. The Owl Bucks card is held in the hand of every Westfield State University student and is a staple of their lives. Students need the card to access buildings, to get into the Dining Commons, and they can also use it to buy food and other goods – on and off campus. The Owl Bucks card is a declining revenue card that can be used much like a debit card; when checking out of a store, students can present their Owl Bucks card for payment, and the store clerk swipes it. The purchase amount is then subtracted from the student’s available funds. Four and a half years ago, when James Johnson arrived at Westfield State University, Owl Bucks were used only for such things as laundry and vending machines. Later, Johnson said, the program expanded so that students could use Owl Bucks at oncampus eateries like Subway and Quixotes, and then the University thought big and moved into the community, setting up the program in various businesses in downtown Westfield. “We are trying to embrace the city,” President Evan S. Dobelle says. The University is now partners with about 33 stores in Westfield, and roughly 40 percent of the undergraduates at the University currently take advantage of the Owl Bucks program, says Johnson.

Internet. The program also helps with brand loyalty, according to Johnson. If a student starts using a CVS pharmacy while in college, then the odds are that they would continue to use CVS Pharmacy later in life. Johnson and Dr. Dobelle are very pleased with the Owl Bucks program's success. For more information on the stores that are available through the program visit n

Recently, the program took a great leap forward, expanding to include Big Y in Westfield, so students can now buy groceries using their Owl Bucks.   “One major benefit for students, with the Owl Bucks program, is that they don’t have to carry cash around everywhere they go,” Dr. Dobelle says. “It gives them a debit card and doesn’t necessitate them getting a credit card. If you lose it, no one else can really use it.” Using the card is really convenient; with the Manage My ID program that the University has in connection with the Owl Bucks program, students Big Y in Westfield was recently can add money to added as an Owls Bucks partner. their cards via the

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Topping It Off Facilities and Student Affairs staff, along with Walsh Brothers Construction, architects and engineers held a topping-off ceremony to celebrate the completion of the steel superstructure of Westfield State University’s as-yet unnamed new residence hall. University Hall, as it’s been referred to unofficially, was topped with a spruce tree on June 20. The site is located at the northwest corner of the campus behind Ely Campus Center.


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On Campus

Westfield State Honors Residents Horace Mann Award for Public Service


h e f i r st H o r ac e M a n n for Public Service awards cer-

emony, held in February, honored four Westfield residents whose lives of service reflect the rich legacy of Horace Mann, founder of Westfield State, and the community service traditions of the University.

Each resident received an honorary doctorate in public service from Westfield State President Evan S. Dobelle and Kevin Queenin, chair of the Board of Trustees. Recipients were robed and hooded by Nanci Salvidio, interim vice president of Alumni and Community Relations, while Elizabeth Preston, vice president of Academic Affairs, assisted. Mayor Daniel Knapik gave greetings from the city. At a private reception, held earlier in the day at the Westfield Athenaeum, Mayor Knapik, Sen. Michael Knapik and State Rep. Donald Humason presented each of the recipients with citations from the city, the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. “The criteria for the Horace Mann Awards embodies so much of the mission of our University,” said Dr. Dobelle. “Each recipient is a role model whose life of service represent the legacy of Horace Mann and the community service traditions of the University.” Dr. Robert Caret, president of the University of Massachusetts System, gave the featured speech on the importance of community and university partnerships. The Horace Mann Award recipients are Westfield residents Deanna Clark, Kathleen Damon, James Hagan,’84 and Ann Lentini. Dr. Dobelle said Clark is  “the consummate community volunteer,”  noting her  service to  Noble Hospital, the Westfield Woman’s Club, the American Red Cross, the Sarah Gillett Service for the Elderly, the Westfield State

H o r ac e M a n n Awa r d for Public Service

Deanna Clark

Kathleen Damon

James Hagan

Ann Lentini

University Board of Trustees and the Westfield State Foundation. He praised Damon’s “solid commitment to her community” as executive director of the Carson Center of Human Services, calling it “one of Westfield’s most essential not-for-profits,” which “she helped grow into a $16 million

organization that serves thousands annually.”     Dr. Dobelle also honored Hagan, president and chief executive officer of Westfield Bank, whom he thanked for “unflinching support” as former chair of  Westfield State’s Board of Trustees and the Westfield State Foundation  and of numerous civic organizations, including  Noble Hospital and Westfield Little League. “He never fails to be of service,” Dr. Dobelle said. Hagan previously received the 1998 Alumnus of the Year award from the University and was the first recipient of the James C. Hagan award established by Westfield State’s Athletic Hall of Fame Committee to recognize sustained excellence in support of the University’s athletics program. Dr. Dobelle also recognized Lentini as founder and executive director of Domus Inc., a non-profit property management organization that provides low and moderate income housing opportunities and as chairman of Westfield Community Education, one of Domus’ initiatives. “While Ann does not seek the limelight, the light shines on the residences that she has established and the successful program of  GED courses and tutoring that she has so well guided,” Dr. Dobelle explained. Salvidio said she was happy to be involved with recognizing such humble, local talent.   “Our recipients are so well respected in the community,” she said. “They go along making a difference with each life they touch.” “The Horace Mann awards are the biggest thank you that the University can provide, and we hope it will become a town-gown tradition,” she continued. Salvidio also invited the award recipients to march in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade last spring, leading the University contingent. n F O C U S M AG AZ I N E • FALL 2 0 1 2


o n ca m p u s

Summer Learning

University offers innovative education programs to the community By Laura Phelon ’11

It would be easy for a university to vacation during the summer, but not this university. In addition to the numerous classes offered to its students, Westfield State offers three summer programs for local youth: Flight Academy, Westfield CSI, and College for Kids. Flight Academy Led by instructor and pilot Steve Hayden, Flight Academy is a week-long residential program for students ages 14-17 years old who are interested in aviation. After the success of Westfield CSI last summer, the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) wanted to expand the summer residential programming. According to summer programs coordinator Meaghan Arena, Flight Academy was an easy choice. “Because of the concentration in aviation management we have through the Bsuiness Management Department at Westfield State, we have a strong relationship with Barnes Airport and the Westfield Flight Academy,”

The course explores the topic of aviation beyond the limits of the sky, including a historical perspective. Arena says participants most look forward to actually flying. “I think the notion of flying holds great allure,” she adds. “There is a certain population of students that knows they want to be pilots, and this program appeals to them at a very young age.” During Flight Academy, students learn about the topic of aviation from all levels. They participate in ground school training, learn about instruments and gauges, participate in flight simulations and explore the science and physics of aviation. Other areas of study include significant moments in aviation history, airplane model building, airport and tower inspection and cross-country planning. Students live on campus and attend classes at Westfield State, Barnes Municipal Airport and Westfield Flight Academy. Students also take a field trip to The New

“Kids have a great experience with us, and they remember it for a long time to come.” — Meaghan Arena Arena says. “Our contacts there have been interested in program expansion for some time, so this seemed like a natural fit.” A division of the University’s partnership with Westfield Flight Academy, the program is a hands-on instructional course for flying and flight training. Westfield Flight Academy is a Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight training facility offering a range of courses, including those that focus on private, commercial and multi-engine planes.


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England Aviation Museum in Connecticut. At the end of the week, students taxi, take off and fly a plane under the guidance of a certified flight instructor at Westfield Flight Academy. Westfield CSI In its second year, Westfield CSI is an interactive, two-week long residential program for students entering their freshman, sophomore and junior years of high school. Students work in small teams to solve a

fictional murder by using forensic science, criminal justice techniques and crime scene investigation technology. Arena recalls that when the DGCE was brainstorming ideas for a residential program last year, it wasn’t difficult to decide on the theme. “The topic is very popular,” Arena says, specifically referring to the number of forensic-themed television shows. “A lot of students are interested in Westfield State’s Criminal Justice program and see this as an extension of it.” Participants in the 2012 College for Kids program show off their creations in the Pop Art class (left), While the program revolves where kids create works based on famous artists, and the Lego Engineering: Motorized Simple around solving crimes, there’s a clever colMachines (right), where they create various working structures with lego blocks. legiate preparatory component explored between finger printings. Each weekday, children attend classes that teach them skills related to the college search, including essay writing, choosing the right college and major, and even tips on living away from home for those who might be nervous about being on their own for the first time. Parents continue to send their children to College for Kids At the end of the program, each team College for Kids because of the educational Developed more than 25 years ago, College submits reports on their findings. Each report is value the classes have. for Kids is a summer enrichment program. The evaluated on specific elements of the case, and fun educational experience is held each summer “Parents can rest assured that it’s a Universityprizes are awarded to the winning teams. run program with quality instructors and quality for children ages 5-16 and runs through the In addition to classroom learning about programming,” Arena says. “Kids learn, build, month of July. It provides children with innovaCSI technology, students perform investigative bake and create all week long, so their minds tive and creative classroom environments, laboratory work. Lab work is divided into four stay engaged. We make it fun for the kids, but it both indoors and outdoors, making it an ideal separate stations – using a microscope to examremains quality and educational at all times.” atmosphere for learning. ine forensic materials; creating crime scenes Once they become too old to attend classes, Children with different hobbies and areas of using computer software; fingerprinting and interest enjoy the program because of its variety. many youngsters return and some volunteer for fuming the prints; and suspect identification. the program. Arena says it’s not uncommon Around 65 classes are offered each summer “The CSI program gives the students a for former participants of the program to hold including “Let’s Make a Video” for the techchance to view another side of law enforcement savvy; “Weird Science Detectives” for the hands- onto mementos from their favorite classes. other than the traditional ‘police’ role,” says “I know of several students just about ready on kids who aren’t afraid of a little dissecting; program instructor Rob Stering. “Not a lot of to go to college who still have their Fashionista and “Graphic Novels and Illustrations” for the people are fortunate enough to experience this, purses (created in Embrace Your Inner comic book lovers who are itching to create including law enforcement personnel.” Fashionista) in their bedrooms,” Arena says. their own superheroes. “Kids have a great experience with us, and they Other class topics include magic, baking, remember it for a long time to come.” n languages and even pirates.


Academy CSI


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On Campus

Gone Green

Signs that Westfield State honors local agriculture, supports community By Dan Connors ’12


h e U n i v e r s i t y a n d producers of local agriculture

are working together to ensure that locally grown vegetables and other fresh staples are feeding those in need at the Westfield Food Pantry. And this year, efforts have expanded so that faculty and staff on campus can support local, sustainable farm efforts and reap the healthy benefits themselves. Henry Wefing, a professor in the communication department who has worked at the University since 1985, developed a garden lot on campus in 2007 that was dedicated to growing a variety of vegetables and herbs, including asparagus, radishes, lettuce, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. During harvest season, Wefing brought vegetables to the Westfield Food Pantry three times a week. The garden was started with two goals in mind: to provide fresh food to the Westfield Food Pantry and to illustrate that a seemingly modest piece of land can be transformed into a productive garden. “I don't remember its exact size the first spring, but I’ve expanded it a bit every year,” says Wefing, whose been gardening nearly his entire life.   Wefing seems to have started a trend toward sustainable living on campus. Ron’na J’Q Lytle, the administrative assistant to Ethnic And Gender Studies, Liberal Studies and World Language Studies at Westfield State, is the site coordinator for the Next Barn Over Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Hadley. The University started collaborating with the CSA this year, and every week, from June through October, fresh produce has been delivered to faculty and staff members on campus. Rebecca Hart, director of the Westfield Food Pantry, says it’s clear that Wefing’s garden has had noticeable impact on the community.


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Ron’na J’Q Lytle

“About 850 to 950 people visit the food pantry each month during peak growing season. I think most of our clients will receive something from Henry’s garden during each visit,” she says. Wefing’s contributions are especially helpful, since 95 percent of the food at the Westfield Food Pantry comes from local donations.   Hart also noted that Wefing offers a wide variety of vegetables, some that people may not even be familiar with. “Some of the vegetables he brings are new to our clients such as kale, rutabaga and turnips,” Hart says. “Most folks are willing to try something new when it is presented so beautifully.” “The produce arrives carefully washed, packaged and labeled, which conveys a message of dignity to our clients,” she adds. While Wefing and the Westfield Food Pantry are helping out the less fortunate, Lytle and the CSA are helping farmers grow their businesses and creating healthy, affordable lifestyles for the community. “Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) brings together community members, farmers and farmland in a mutually beneficial relationship that sustains local agriculture, ensures greater food security and strengthens communities,” the CSA website states. It also points out that CSA food is fresher than that in the produce sections at supermarkets. Lytle agrees. “I like going to local farm stands,” she says. With support from the University, these allaround good causes can only grow in the future, and Wefing thinks that further growth may be on the horizon for his garden. “We’re on the verge of an exciting expansion. The University has encouraged the development of additional plots for the use of staff and perhaps students,” he says. n

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‘Get On the Money’ University teams up with SALT to teach students and alumni


o r t h o s e w h o h av e e v e r w i s h e d they had a money

coach to help make better decisions about spending, saving and borrowing money, there is hope. Whether you’re a freshman trying to keep enough dollars in your pocket to enjoy the occasional recreation, or a senior wondering how you’ll repay all those student loans, chances are money is on your mind—a lot. Now, students and alumni of Westfield State have a free resource to help them “Get On the Money,” thanks to the new educational program SALT. Westfield State University has joined a growing list of higher education institutions nationwide to join SALT, a dynamic, multichannel educational program that supports students and alumni as they finance higher education and successfully manage student loans, through the many financial decisions they face after they leave school. SALT will educate, empower and engage partcipants to truly own their finances, by making it immediately rewarding, easy and fun to make smarter student loan and financial decisions. “Westfield State University is committed to easing our students’ debt burden,” says Catherine Ryan, director of Financial Aid. “While we cannot erase the debt that our students take on, we can empower them to make smarter, more informed financial decisions. SALT is about giving students and alumni the financial competencies they need to take control of not only their student loan experience, but all of their finances as they transition from college to the workplace.” By now, all Westfield State University students should have received an email invitation to join SALT at no cost, and they’ll soon start to see SALT “Get On the Money” posters and advertisements around campus. Here are five ways SALT can help:

• Demystify student loans. The choices students make now in borrowing for college can affect their financial wellness for years to come. At, they can learn the difference between federal and private loans, or subsidized versus unsubsidized interest. Making better borrowing decisions now can put more cash in the wallet later. • Get money smart. Learn all about banks, budgeting, credit reports and more with SALT’s online interactive education My Money 101TM courses. • Crunch numbers. When you log on to, students and alumni can access a personal dashboard where they can track all their federal and private student loans in one place. Find the right repayment fit by comparing the pros and cons of various payment options. Then plan for the future and figure out how far their money will take them based on their projected income and where they live. • Get loan advice from an expert counselor. As a SALT member, participants have access to chat with a student loan expert one-on-one via email or phone. • Find a job or internship. SALT offers members a searchable database of over 50,000 job and internship opportunities from more than 23,000 employers. SALT was created by American Student Assistance®, a 56-year-old nonprofit that empowers college students and alumni to successfully manage and repay their student loan debt. With SALT, ASA® is revolution-

izing the way that students and alumni learn about money and sparking a movement to develop financial savvy in young adults. ASA has had proven success in lowering student loan delinquency and default through its previous programs of proactive and targeted communication to student loan borrowers. Visit for more information. “We’re excited to join the SALT movement because it cuts through the clutter and typical jargon around student loans and finances, and instead offers simple, useful and motivating experiences that will really change students’ behavior in borrowing, saving, spending and earning,” says Ryan. Westfield State University students who did not receive the SALT email or misplaced their PIN are invited to contact SALT member support at (855) 469-2724 to have their activation information re-sent. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at (413) 572-5218 or SALT or follow SALT at or @ SALT_MONEY on Twitter.



Westfield Sta te University SALT SM joined

, a new mem up with SALT is a mem bership prog give you free bership program, to and SALT and ram access to its SALT logo are created by education services. al service mar ks of American nonprofit American Stud ent Assistan Student Assi ce® stance. All rights reserved (ASA). American Stud ent Assistan . © 2011 Ame ce is a rican Student Assistance. registered trademark All rights rese rved.

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Alumni on the Go

Learning the Craft Alum takes on-campus experience to the workplace By Dan Connors ’12


e t i n vo lv e d ” i s t h e oft-used phrase when encouraging

students to participate in their college community. Eric Jones ’09 followed this advice during his time at Westfield State University. He not only left a lasting imprint at the school but now has a job at the NBC Sports Network to show for it. Jones attended Westfield State from 2005 through 2009, and he majored in communication with a concentration in media arts. He was an integral part of many school programs, including Kiwanis, As Schools Match Wits (ASMW) and WSU TV. He also did video production work with President Evan S. Dobelle on multiple occasions. A studio engineer at NBC Sports Network, Jones learned his craft through his on-campus participation. “I was afforded so many great opportunities at Westfield State that helped me round out my skill set and prepared me for my current position,” he says. With ASMW, a high school quiz show produced by Westfield State University that airs on WGBY News, Jones started as a graphics operator and moved his way up to director, a position he still holds. Working with President Dobelle gave Jones a chance to incorporate and strengthen his expertise in his field. As an intern in President Dobelle’s office, Jones worked behind the scenes on “One On One with Evan Dobelle,” a show that aired on channel 15 in Westfield. In the program, President Dobelle interviews famous speakers from around the world, hosting such big names as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch and former United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. Jones also worked with President Dobelle in collaboration between Westfield State and CPTV at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, where comedian Gary Mule Deer performed live. President Dobelle was in charge of ticket sales and contracts, while Jones was the producer and editor of the taping of the performance; he coordinated travel, technical requirements, crewing, talent comfort, logistics and also edited the show for content and time. “It was really the culmination of all I had learned at Westfield State, and I’m really happy with the way it came out. I’m very appreciative

of all the opportunities that I was afforded while working with President Dobelle, and I really hope that more students can take advantage of all the facilities and personnel that are at Westfield State to support them,” Jones says. President Dobelle was also impressed with Jones. “Eric was a consummate professional while earning a degree,” he says. “He was always able, on time, of humor and competence. Students, when melding the academic experience within the classroom with intense experiential activity outside of it, make the best use of their time at Westfield State.” Jones’ experience not only helped him in

Then, in 2010, Jones decided it was time to share his skills with others by hosting a six-week video boot camp for Westfield students who were interested in the TV Club. They learned field and studio aspects of production and were able to produce their own stories by the end of the camp. “I felt it was necessary to bring life back into the WSU TV club, as there were only a few active members. We had more than 30 students attend the six-week camp, and after the completion, we began the news magazine show, ‘Whip City Weekly,’ which is still being produced today,” he says.

“I felt it was necessary to bring life back into the WSU TV club, as there were only a few active members. We had more than 30 students attend the six-week camp, and after the completion, we began the news magazine show, ‘Whip City Weekly,’ which is still being produced today,” he says.

pursuing a career, but aided Westfield State as well. In the summer of 2008, Jones, along with Mark St. Jean, the coordinator of television production and operations at Westfield State, was hired to redo the University’s production facility. This meant revamping the TV Studio, control room and edit suites. Jones was in charge of the design and integration of equipment during the overhaul. “Those six weeks were very labor intensive, but everything worked out and now Westfield State has a high-quality production facility,” Jones says.

“Whip City Weekly” is a weekly show airing on Westfield’s channel 15 featuring stories about the local community. Jones perfectly exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between student and University, and NBC Sports Network is now the beneficiary of the skills he gained while at Westfield State University. “I was allowed to explore all aspects of production, work every position and grow my skill set to what I wanted it to be,” Jones says. n

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Alumni on the Go

Working In the Name of Justice By Claudia Moore O’Brien M.Ed ‘00


o n d e r f u l e x p e r i e n c e . ” Those were the first

words about Westfield State that came to mind for Tim Sicard ’78, M ’84.

for the past 12 years. “God willing, this year, on December 6, will be my 30th anniversary with the State Police,” he says with a combined sense of pride and humility. Though 30 years may have passed, Sicard is preparing to move forward in his career; he plans to take a test for promotion to the rank of lieutenant. Westfield State University remains a part of Sicard’s life to this day. This year, he led resident assistants in a narcotics detection program. “Westfield State is where I grew up. It was my segue between home and the real world. It is These other alumni hold positions in the field of criminal justice: Timothy Alben ’84: Superintendent, Massachusetts State Police

Tim Sicard, ’78, M ’84 Sicard’s collegiate journey began in the fall of 1974 when the Northampton native moved into Davis Hall as a psychology major. He remembers being influenced by Professors Joseph Perez and William Duval of the psychology department. “Their classes really taught me to enjoy learning,” Sicard recalls. “There was such a spirit of interaction and support between the students and the faculty.” An active participant in campus life, Sicard was also a player on the varsity soccer team. “We went to the Nationals in 1974 and came in third in the country for Division 3,” he proudly reminisces. After graduating in May 1978, Sicard qualified for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), which was enacted to train workers and provide them with jobs in public service. In the early 1970s, the full-time jobs were provided through CETA for a period of 12 to 24 months in public agencies or private not-for-


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profit organizations. “I was assigned to work with a group of carpenters who were putting an addition on the VFW building in Florence.” After a one-year stint with CETA, Sicard was determined to commit to a career and enrolled in the Massachusetts State Police Academy in 1982. Following graduation, he was assigned to the Russell barracks. “Russell was a great place to start my career. I had the opportunity to learn from experienced troopers willing to teach a new trooper,” he says. Sicard’s professional horizon widened as he was assigned to the State Police Detective Unit in Northampton in the Hampshire/Franklin County District Attorney’s Office. Working with the DA’s office for 14 years, Sicard spent nine of those years in the narcotics section. “It was an immensely interesting and challenging experience,” he says. From there, Sicard was selected for a supervisor’s position in the Westfield Barracks, where he has remained

Irma Garcia-Zingarelli ’86: United States Pretrial Services Officer, Springfield Tracey G. Gove ’93: Chief of Police, West Hartford, Connecticut Barbara O’Connor ’85: Chief of Police, University of Connecticut Michael Primeau ’08: United States Probation Officer, District of Rhode Island

important to me to give back.” Sicard still supports the Westfield State soccer team, and he participates in University career fairs and golf tournaments. There is another daily link to Westfield State for Tim Sicard: Sheila (Madden) Sicard, ’79, his wife. Sheila Sicard graduated from the criminal justice department. While he went the trooper route, she worked with attorneys. Their small Westfield State world has become an integral part of both their professional and private lives. n

Alumni on the Go

People Pleasing

Taking on-campus experience to the workplace By Claudia Moore O’Brien M.Ed ‘00

K e n Ja n ecz e k ’ 8 5 The Massachusetts Parole Board makes the initial discretionary decision on whether to release a prisoner from jail, on the condition that they are regularly supervised by a parole officer. “I am that parole officer,” says Ken Janeczek ’85, who has served in the role for 20 years. “I supervise the person who is on parole and make sure that they abide by the conditions and terms that were set for them.” The role is a comprehensive, supervisory one, according to Janeczek. “Parole officers inspect homes, conduct drug tests and make sure the parolee is maintaining employment,” he says. To help parolees transition back into the community, officers also assist with housing, employment and any treatment services they might need. As an officer, Janeczek is licensed to carry a gun, certified to perform CPR and is an expert in defensive tactics. As a field parole officer for the past 13 years, Janeczek says, “I train field officers, which requires that I be fully informed of new laws and regulations.” Janeczek says many courses he took at Westfield State well-prepared him as an officer. “I learned how to manage interpersonal relations and to deal with people appropriately. And, I sometimes have to interact with very dangerous people,” Janeczek says. He adds that his studies at Westfield State were “very pertinent” to the work he does today. “I especially enjoyed courses with Professor Michael McCartney. He was a down-to-earth guy who told it like it was.” Since November 2011, Janeczek has been assigned as parole supervisor of field officer training. “I love my work. I usually instruct about 15 to 20 students at a time who attend yearly trainings,” he says. “I include techniques for proper handcuffing, how to insure the parolee’s compliance, when and how to use force if necessary and firearms training.” A resident of Hampden, Janeczek is the son of a Springfield police officer. Janeczek himself spent six years as a Springfield officer before joining the Parole Board. While he was a senior at Westfield State, he worked part time at the Hampden Country Sheriff’s Department, including at the Hampden County Correctional Center in Springfield. “I credit Westfield State with providing me with a top-notch education in criminal justice. The professors were always available and supportive, and I made some great friends and professional colleagues on campus,” says Janeczek. n

J e s s i ca B u r g os ’ 1 0 An internship led Jessica Burgos ’10 straight to full-time employment at the Social Security Administration (SSA) in Holyoke. Burgos, a Holyoke native and criminal justice major, took full advantage of all the academic and experiential opportunities at Westfield State. Using her work-study student eligibility, Burgos was an office assistant in the Reading and Writing Center throughout her four years

as an undergraduate. “I enjoyed being able to help students and the staff. I learned a lot about listening to others in order to meet their needs,” she says. That experience served her well when she earned an internship in 2008 with the SSA. “From my experience in the Reading and Writing Center, I felt prepared to interact and assist people with questions and help solve problems,” Burgos says. Today, Burgos is a claims representative at the SSA, where she is responsible for assisting people with accessing benefits and services. “Every day is different,” says Burgos, “and every person is different.” She says that the diversity of her responsibilities makes the position challenging. As an administrator, she is handling claims from folks as varied as retirees, survivors of a deceased relative, the disabled and individual medical claims. And, Burgos notes, “Not all claims are approved, which means I must be able to calm people down when they are upset.” She credits her excellent co-workers with her finely-honed interpersonal skills. “I work with a really outstanding group of people. We all help each other and support one another,” she says, “like it was at Westfield State.” Burgos was a residential student at Westfield State. She was lucky to live in four different residence halls – upgrading to newer halls each year. She started in Dickinson Hall, then to Lammers Hall, onto the newer Courtney Hall and spent her senior year in the upscale New Hall. “I really loved being on campus,” she says, “I made lasting friendships and took advantage of all the social activities. It was amazing.” “As a recent grad, I am so grateful to have a position in my field,” adds Burgos, “especially in this recession.” Burgos notes that shortly after she was hired, the SSA implemented a hiring freeze. “Without the guidance and support of the criminal justice department, I most likely would not be where I am today,” she says. “I can envision myself taking advantage of career promotions in the future with the SSA. I really love what I do.” n

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Alumni on the Go

Left to right: John Harrington ’02, Martina Haskins ’10 Ed Watson, Bill Harrington ’04, Ed Haber ’05, Steve Walker ’12 Nick Meszaros ’11, (not pictured) Dave Alger ’01

Perfect Partnership

Local business a training ground for students By Peter Miller ’84


n t h e n ot to o d i s ta n t pa s t, Westfield businesses

might have looked at the University as “the school at the end of Western Avenue,” and the student body may have seen the city as “a place to go to escape campus life, for a while.”

But times and attitudes change. Both the University and local businesses have reached out to each other with hopes of becoming stronger neighbors and partners. One such business, Mobius Works, has “tapped into the well” of the Westfield State student body, offering internships and hiring graduates for full-time positions. The story of Mobius Works is a remarkable one. It is the story of Ed Watson, a self-taught Information Technology (IT) professional, and how his love for IT blossomed from a part-time business in 1996 to the 20-plus employee enterprise it is now, complete with a custom-designed facility at 1 Arch Road in Westfield. This story also well highlights Westfield State excellence.   Watson, CEO of Mobius Works, went to high school in Longmeadow and taught himself computer programming by cutting class to hang out at the mainframe lab at school. After graduating,


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Watson worked at Allston Supply in Springfield, and learned the skills involved in running a business. By 1996, Watson started Mobius Works parttime and the business took off; as the business grew, so did Watson’s family. He and his wife, Patty, have three daughters. Watson attended both Holyoke Community College and Westfield State, taking core and IT courses. And while he didn’t graduate, Watson made a lasting connection at Westfield State with adjunct faculty member Rudy Hebert, also a staff member in the internal IT department at the University. “Rudy helped me the most,” says Watson. “I liked his teaching style, and he became a friend. He started feeding me crackerjack students, including my first employee (Ed Haber) and one who eventually became my business partner (Dave Alger). It is safe to say that Mobius Works wouldn’t be what it is today if I had never taken

that programming course from Rudy.” Watson says the strong relationship between Mobius Works and Westfield State University began when he took classes there and got to know the people in the computer department. Later, Watson taught some non-credit courses at Westfield State and became more familiar with the staff. “As the business has grown and our needs have increased, the University has become a close, convenient resource for us,” says Watson.  “We have always been given access to the best students they have to offer.”   Today, Mobius Works employs over 20 professionals, seven of whom are Westfield State graduates. The positions they hold are testament to their training: vice president of technical services/co-owner, development project manager, director of web development, lead technician, senior technician and developer. Martina (Desnoyers) Haskins ’10, director of web development at Mobius Works, feels her academic studies helped her as a professional. Haskins’ senior project was working on the database system for the annual televised auction for the Kiwanis Club in Westfield. This allowed her to work with customers, implement userfriendly solutions and respond to customer feedback.  “The academic foundation that Westfield State helped me to cultivate has been exponentially Continued on page 31

Alumni on the Go

University Helps Kiwanis Club Earn $40,000 By Laura Phelon ’11


h e 4 3 r d a n n ua l W e st f i e l d K i wa n i s C lu b auction

helped raise $40,000 for the organization. More than 300 items were auctioned off, ranging from restaurant gift certificates and Red Sox tickets to a trip to Aruba and golf club memberships. The items were filmed and broadcast on local channel 15 by students in the communication department under the leadership of Mark St. Jean, assistant director and coordinator of video production and television operations.

James Carabetta, chair of the computer and information science department, also helped with the auction, along with Nick Meszaros, ’11, and many other students from the Communication department. Organized in 1922, the Westfield Kiwanis Club serves the communities of Westfield, Southwick and the surrounding hilltowns. It is a local chapter of the international Kiwanis organization, whose mission is to enhance communities by enhancing the lives of children that reside in them. The Westfield Kiwanis Club raises and distributes more than $30,000 annually to deserving charitable causes. This year, St. Jean was awarded the Kiwanis Volunteer Service Award, recognizing his 20 years of service in producing the auction. This is a rare honor. Adam Wright, president of the Westfield Kiwanis Club said, “Mark has been an invaluable component to the success of our annual auction. His tireless dedication to helping us achieve our goals each year has been a tremendous asset to our club and the community. We are so very pleased to be able to recognize Mark with this distinguished award.” “Without Westfield State, there would be no auction,” says Ken Magarian, director of special programs and community service at the

University. “This partnership is terrific and greatly benefits both the University and the Westfield Kiwanis Club.”

Westfield State’s partnership with the Westfield Kiwanis Club extends past the auction. The Club also sponsors Circle-K, an on-campus Kiwanis club that holds a variety of events, including a city-wide spelling bee and the annual Breakfast with Santa. Ken Magarian and Matt Dellea ’10 are coadvisors for Circle K. Magarian was awarded second place this year as the District’s Most Outstanding Advisor at a Circle K District Convention. The Westfield Kiwanis Club donates annually to the communication and computer information science departments as a thank you for its help and involvement with the auction each year. To learn more about the Westfield Kiwanis Club, visit n

Westfield State faculty member Mark St. Jean, right, with Adam Wright, president of the Westfield Kiwanis Club.

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Commencement 2012 President Evan S. Dobelle high-fives students from the Class of 2012 as they process into the MassMutual Center on May 19. In total, 1,100 students from 31 different majors walked at Commencement 2012.Â


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Fac u lt y / s taff

International Study Paves the Way For a Lifetime of Fruitful Learning By Vanessa Dion ’11


r . B r i a n C o n z m a d e h i s f i r s t j o u r n e y to

Guatemala in 1998 as an undergraduate. He hoped the trip would help him increase his knowledge of geography and Spanish – his two areas of academic concentration – but the six-month adventure meant to power his academic life also transformed Guatemala into a place of influence for his career. When Dr. Conz, a professor of geography and regional planning at Westfield State University, returned from Guatemala after that first trip, he knew that he had to return. And he has – nine times, most recently this past February. As a professor, he is able to spread his love and knowledge about it to his students. Human and environmental relationships have always been interesting to Dr. Conz, and he has long been fascinated with researching indigenous peoples. Through his studies he has discovered how they do or do not use their environment in a sustainable manner and how the creation of parks and protected areas within their homelands affects them. “These kinds of things have really negative impacts on local people,” Dr. Conz says. “They lose access to a forest that they used for collecting medicinal plants, or firewood, or timber for construction, or sheep grazing lands, or even access to sacred sites.” Dr. Conz’s focus on this relationship became a major stepping stone for his involvement in Guatemala. As a geographer, he was attracted to Guatemala because “it has such incredible landscapes and has this really fascinating cultural component.” In the 1990s, a park was made by the government in an area of the highlands of Guatemala called Totonicapan. Dr. Conz included this county in his dissertation research and as a

called Regional Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean. Part of the course will include an alternative spring break travel experience to Belize, giving students the opportunity to participate in valuable hands-on research, even if only for a short period of time. Despite his many visits to Central America, this will be the first time that Dr. Conz travels with his own students. Though he admits that it will be challenging, consisting of unfamiliar Dr. Brian Conz

frequent travel destination. Aside from the educational and researchbased knowledge that Dr. Conz has taken home with him from Guatemala, he has also taken back lifelong friends and a second language, K’ichè, the most popular of more than 23 languages spoken in the country. “I really feel fortunate to have friends in another country that I’m able to converse with about their experiences in life,” Dr. Conz says. In the spring semester of 2013, Dr. Conz will be teaching a course at Westfield State

insects, high temperatures and intense camping, the rewards will be “very powerful.” The trip will be an excellent aid in the course, but Dr. Conz also hopes it will have a similar effect on students as his trip to Guatemala had on him years ago. From his experience, Dr. Conz says that the most important aspects of international study are “personal growth, a greater awareness of what life is like in the world, learning another language and the friendships.” It’s an experience he highly advocates. n F O C U S M AG AZ I N E • FALL 2 0 1 2


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Music to Our Ears Westfield State music students nominated for national awards By Elizabeth R. (LaFond) Coppez, ’03, ‘07

Dr. Mary Brown-Bonacci


h e t u n e s f r o m t h e U n i v e r s i t y ’ s Music Department are hitting high notes across

the state and beyond as seven students were nominated for awards by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). Nominations are for the students’ performance of William Finn’s musical production, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” a Tony Award winning musical comedy following six young people enduring puberty, acceptance and lessons about winning and losing. “Our students in the music department have a very high talent level,” says Dr. Mary Brown-Bonacci, the first full-time, tenured voice teacher at Westfield State. Students will travel to the KCACTF regional festival in January 2013 to compete with students from the region for awards and recognition for Westfield State. “We congratulate the cast, crew, orchestra and production team on a successful and highly enjoyable show,” Brown-Bonacci says. “We recognize the months of effort that the students


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and staff devoted to create and realize this full-scale, curricular project. Our next show is opening in April 2013.” The music department has roughly 120 majors or minors studying music education, music performance, composition or history, jazz studies or general studies. Dr. BrownBonacci is the coordinator of the voice area, and she has appeared with opera companies throughout the United States and abroad. She has served on faculty of the Franco American Vocal Academy in Perigueux, France, Milikin University and Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and Amherst College. “We bring a high level of musicianship and quality and art to western Massachusetts,” says Brown-Bonacci. “We’re a well-kept secret!” The following student nominees will compete for awards and recognition this January in

the following categories: Irene Ryan Award: Gabrielle Smachetti ’13 and Barrett Tamaren-Leddy ’14. Alternates: Daniel Monopoli ’14 and Lewis Pacheco ’14. Music Theatre Award: Stephan Castro Barboza ’13. Technical Merit Award: Wilson Belbin ’13 and Sara Pederson ’15. Brown-Bonacci also credits her colleagues with the production. “My colleagues in the music department were so important in guiding these fine students,” she says. Scott Bailey was the conductor and music director and rehearsal pianist; Rosalie Dialessi served as costumer; and Ernest Iannaccone was technical director, assisting with marketing, sets, lighting and sound. n

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Music Department Made History By Dan Connors ’12


h e M u s i c D e pa r t m e n t h e l p e d m a k e h i s to ry

in January, performing famous British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “A Cambridge Mass” in concert for the first time in the United States.

sales. “To premiere a new work is always a special occasion, particularly when it’s by such a renowned composer,” Taylor says. “The music was challenging, and preparing a chorus for someone else always has its share of difficulties, but seeing 160 amateur singers rise to the occasion is very rewarding. It was a wonderful day, and I was very proud that so many of our Westfield State University family were a part of it.” Along with conducting the first half of the Continued on page 31

The Performers Colleen Jennings, professor, music department: Principal violinist Sonya Lawson, professor, music department: Viola Mary Brown-Bonacci, professor, music department: Alto soloist

Westfield State’s own Professor Allan Taylor co-conducted the performance, which took place at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College in Northampton, along with guest composer Alan Tongue, who discovered the long lost music by the late Williams and conducted the world premiere of “A Cambridge Mass” at Fairfield Hall in the UK on March 3, 2011. “Vaughan Williams was one of the most important composers of the 20th century,” says Taylor, who earned a master’s degree in music from Smith College in 1994. “A newly discovered work of his constitutes a major addition to the choral repertoire, a very important find. We were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to be selected to perform this music for the first time outside of England.” Taylor has been at Westfield State since 2006 and directs the Hampshire Choral Society, a 160-voice amateur choir that per-

formed at the event. “There were 800 people in attendance, and the atmosphere was charged with excitement. It was the largest audience we’ve ever had,” Taylor says. Taylor was in charge of hiring orchestral musicians and soloists, and he made sure that the Westfield State staff got a chance to display their skills in front of the large audience. Twelve current or former Westfield State professors participated, including Professor Colleen Jennings, who was the principal violinist, and music department professors Sonya Lawson and Tim Atherton, who played the viola and trombone, respectively. “I always try to use our performing faculty whenever I have the chance. It’s an opportunity to showcase the wonderful talent we have here in our own music department,” Taylor says. Westfield State University was a sponsor of the $22,000 event, which was funded by donations, program advertising, in-kind trades and ticket

Tim Atherton, professor, music department: Trombone Elaine Saloio, professor, music department: Flute Scott Bailey, staff accompanist, music department: Rehearsal Accompanist Phil Hotchkiss, professor, math department: Choir Ted Welsh, professor, math department: Choir Corinne Ebbs, librarian: Choir Suzanna Adams, staff: Choir Sabine Klein, professor, theater department: Choir Catherine Lilly, professor emeritus: Choir

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Junior Delgado

Training the Workforce Mentor and internship opportunities offer students valuable career experience By Amanda Hebson ’12


v e n i n p r ac t i c e I wa s n e rvo u s . As part of my

internship with Janice Beetle Godleski ’85, she led me through a mock interview to help me prepare for a real interview I would have to do to write a story on the Relay For Life of Hampshire County. Janice had worked with me on the questions, and now she was teaching me how to pose them and how to ask follow-up questions as the interview progressed. I was so nervous and kept forgetting things she had only just told me. Ten weeks later, though, as my internship was drawing to a close, I was gearing up for an interview with Dr. Evan S. Dobelle, the president of Westfield State University, for a different story, and I felt good and ready. I was an intern with Janice at her business, Beetle Press. I wrote articles for Focus. I wrote press releases, and I conducted many interviews for stories about the Relay. Each week, Janice and I would sit down, and she outlined what was


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expected of me. She taught me what it means to be a writer in a writer’s world. It was a great experience. Internship experiences are one of the services offered through Westfield State’s Career Center as a way for students to gain experience in the field of their choice. But internships are not the first step the University offers in linking students with alumni to offer them more experience and training. Staff at the Career Center first welcome students into a mentor program, through which students have the opportunity to work with an alum who is currently working in the student's field of interest. The Career Center pairs the two so that students may voice any possible questions.

“It’s used more for a networking tool and connection for all students with the full intent being to foster relationships between students, alumni and businesses,” says Junior Delgado, director of the Career Center at Westfield State University. The Career Center, which has been in operation for over 20 years, is known as a place where undergraduates, graduate students and alumni can come anytime for career guidance. Delgado has seen graduates dating back over 10 years; he said in the month of March alone, the office had between 228 and 271 scheduled appointments with students. The center also responds to emails, drop-in visits and phone calls. In offering the mentor program, the University is following a national trend in which students are connected with mentors for learning outside the classroom. The program itself has been offered for over 10 years. “We provide students and alumni the opportunity to take advantage of services and resources that will assist them in their career and job development process,” Delgado says. Being mentored allows students to connect with and establish a professional relationship with someone in a specific career. Delgado says mentors help students learn how to network and whether the field they thought they were interested in is really the right fit. The next step, Delgado says, is doing an internship in which students can gain actual experience in their chosen field. About 80 percent of the students who do internships earn course credit in addition to experience; some internships in computer science and business are paid. Students generally go to their department’s faculty coordinator in order to get paired with an internship. Last semester, Delgado says, there were 410 students interning, which went up since the fall semester, when there were about 375 interns. In total, about 700 to 800 students complete an internship each year. Internship opportunities include working with the U.S. Marshalls Service and Diplomatic Security in Washington D.C., Disney World, the State Police, Westfield Public Schools, MassMutual Center, Make a Wish Foundation, and Kiss 108, for example.   The University learns about the available internships in a variety of ways, Delgado says, noting some most common are through career fairs, Continued on page 31

Fac u lt y

Dever Stage the Face of University Arts By Amanda Hebson ’12


e v e r S tag e , l o c at e d i n Parenzo Hall,

is a staple on campus. It was originally built for lectures, but for years, it’s been used for performances of all kinds, from the Big Bands to musicals such as Urinetown, a fundraiser like the Vagina Monologues or a performance by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Ernie Iannaccone

Those shows couldn’t go on without the help of Ernie Iannaccone, the technical director at Westfield State University. Since Iannaccone was hired in April 2008, there have been 366 events on the Dever Stage, pulling in about 50,000 audience members. The stage hosts about 100 shows per year, and in addition to shows the University brings in, the stage also features student Musical Theatre Guild productions, dance company performances, talent shows and chorus and band recitals. “All of the performances on Dever Stage – always open to the public – offer the community a chance to experience the arts without having to drive to Boston, Hartford or New York City, and they offer students an appreciative audience for the experience of it,” says Iannaccone. Dever is the face of the arts and music departments at Westfield State in the same way that the Woodward Center is the face of the athletics department. There are currently 526 seats in Dever Stage, and Iannaccone says they are most often filled with students; about 25 percent of most audiences are members of the community, and that number is constantly growing. Each year, Iannaccone says, the community audience participation is expected to grow by about 10 percent, primarily through word of mouth. So, if you’ve seen a good show at Dever, tell everyone all about it!   For more information about events held on Dever Stage,  n

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fac u lt y / s taff

Bridging a Painful Gap Professor travels with students, reaches out to Vietnamese By Laura Phelon ’11


u m m e r p r ov i d e s a g r e at o p p o r t u n i t y to

travel. Many choose exotic destinations such as the Caribbean islands as a means of escape. But Professor Tom Gardner of the Communication department wanted to do anything but escape.

Gardner, along with filmmaker and high school teacher Michael Dziura, led a group of students from both Westfield State and Wilbraham and Monson Academy to Vietnam


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and Cambodia in June as part of his course Vietnam: Culture, History and Media. The course explores the differences in media coverage from the Vietnam War from both the U.S.

and Vietnamese perspectives. One of the main goals was to foster crosscultural media literacy and to understand and consider the impact of modern media on traditional cultures. Perhaps the most moving excursion of the trip involved a visit to Friendship Village, where the present-day aftermath of the Vietnam War is painfully apparent in the children and adults whose lives were tragically affected by the tons of defoliant herbicides (also called Agent Orange) that were dropped by the U.S. military during the war.

Professor Gardner reached out to faculty and staff and alums and did some fundraising and raising of awareness on Facebook and Linked In to collect a sizeable donation to bring to Vietnam. “We brought some playthings and crayons for the kids, but I felt we had a greater responsibility to alleviate the suffering as much as possible,” Gardner says. Gardner also collected additional funds in order to make a $1,000 donation to Friendship Village and a further donation to the scholarship fund of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA). Gardner dedicated his donation to U.S. Army Veteran George Mizo, a victim of Agent Orange who founded Friendship Village. “He got vets from around the country and other countries involved in this project of reconciliation, and we are helping in a small way to carry on that healing spirit by donating to Friendship Village,” Gardner says. Part of the course included meeting Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, who led the negotiating delegation from the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam in the 1970s Paris Peace Talks that ended the war and later served twice as vice president of the reunited Vietnam after the war. “This was a rare and special opportunity for our students to meet with one of the most

prominent figures in the U.S.-Vietnam conflict,” Gardner says. Students also travelled to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the Cu Chi tunnels and the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Additionally, students met with other students and professors from several colleges, journalists, former Vietnamese ambassadors and officials with the VietnamU.S. Friendship Association and local peace committees. Students also visited the Tu Du Hospital and Peace Village in Saigon, which cares for children severely affected by Agent Orange. Zachary Graves-Miller ’12 shot some 90 hours of video footage on the trip. He will be working with Gardner on a documentary on Agent Orange as well as producing a video on the trip for the University. Gardner felt the trip, especially the visit to Friendship Village, left a lasting impression on the students. “We came back even more committed to making our own small contributions to the healing process from that war, which continues to take its human toll on both sides, but most tragically on the children who were born with dioxin-related deformities decades after the war,” Gardner says. n

Professor Tom Gardner is in the center of each of these trip photos, which also feature his students.

Other Professors On the Road Bringing International Studies to Westfield State Professor Hugh Jo of the Political Science department attended the Japanese Studies Institute program in San Diego in June. Westfield State is currently developing an Asian Studies minor, and Jo wanted to attend the program to gain more insight into Japanese culture. The program offered advice on incorporating Japanese studies into undergraduate curriculum including lectures, readings and discussions on modern Japan. Some of the basics of writing Japanese characters and phonetics were addressed as was some conversational language. Jo also enjoyed cultural activities, including a tea ceremony, a Japanese music performance and screened Japanese films. “I am very excited about the new Asian Studies minor because this program will diversify the undergraduate curriculum at Westfield State and help improve their understanding of many Asian countries,” Jo says. Migrating Back to Westfield Professor Brian Steinberg of the Political Science department travelled to Krosno State College in Poland in July to attend the Erasmus Program, the European Union’s leading education project that enables students to engage in study abroad and helps to fund cooperation between higher education and Europe. Steinberg lectured and participated on a panel on the topic of migration; he chose this particular conference because he hoped it would help extend his knowledge on a topic he often teaches at Westfield State. “I specialize in European and African politics, and this program offered me the opportunity to expand my teaching on migration from an African viewpoint to one including European migration and American immigration policy,” Steinberg says. “I hope to integrate this work into my course on American Government and Comparative European Politics.”

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Commitment Carries On Retired VP still linked to Westfield State By Claudia Moore-O’Brien M.Ed ‘00


e t e r M a z z a , r e t i r e d v i c e p r e s i d e n t of Student Affairs, is a man dedicated to his family,

Westfield State and the community. His retirement is a continuation, or refinement, of the commitment and passion he has expressed throughout his life. He has a razor-sharp intelligence, a kindness of spirit, a devotion to honesty and an infectious enthusiasm for life and learning. Dr. Mazza came to the student affairs division of Westfield State in 1971. “I have a large family in western Massachusetts, and I knew I wanted to stay in this area,” says Dr. Mazza.

Having graduated from American International College with a bachelor’s and Springfield College with a master’s degree, coming to Westfield State was a perfect fit for the young educator. “Early on, I made the decision not to travel all over the country in order to quickly move up the rungs of the professional ladder,” he says. “My family means so much to me.” Dr. Mazza was an extremely hands-on administrator in student affairs. “Getting calls from the University in the middle of the night was not uncommon,” he says. “I would pull on some jeans and head to the campus. I had an excellent and completely


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able staff, but I wanted to show my support for them. I wanted to be ‘there,’ rather than reading a report on Monday morning about what happened the previous Saturday night,” he says. “I have a very simple management style,” he says, “It’s called ‘please and thank-you.’” Dr. Mazza also believes that communication – within a department and inter-departmentally – is vital to running an organization. “Communication means when you call someone, a human answers the phone,” he says. “We need to be able to talk to each other.” Dr. Mazza didn’t have a law degree when he joined Westfield State as the staff assistant

to dean of students. “A lot of the work in the dean’s office was law-related,” he says. They were drafting compliance procedures, safety and security policies and completely rewrote the University’s policies. Working full time at Westfield State, Dr. Mazza attended Western New England College (WNEC) School of Law in Springfield; for five years, he went to WNEC three nights a week and attained his juris doctorate in 1976. “It really worked out nicely,” says Dr. Mazza. “Not only did I benefit from a legal education, but I was able to apply that knowledge to my position at Westfield State.” n

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Throwing Strikes Senior softball star had ‘team-first’ spirit By Matt Jardin ’12, University Spor ts Information Student Intern


o f t b a l l p i tc h e r Madeline Tomich ’12 is a quiet person,

but when she stepped into the throwing circle for the Owls, she made plenty of noise with the pop of the catcher’s mitt. Tomich surpassed a magic milestone by recording her 500th career strikeout during her senior year. She went on to finish her outstanding collegiate career with school records for most pitching victories (48) and strikeouts (577). Also, she struck out a school record 205 batters in 2012 and ranked seventh nationally in strikeouts per game (10.3). “It’s a really cool accomplishment,” says Tomich, who reached the coveted 500 career strikeouts. “It’s nice to make my family proud and have such a big milestone as a senior.” Sports have played a big influence for the Tomich family. Both of her parents are soccer coaches, and her dad is also a softball coach.   Tomich played soccer and softball at tiny Mt. Everett High School, located near her hometown of Alford in the southern Berkshires, and she is also a self-proclaimed “leisurely golfer.” Her athleticism, work ethic and team-first concept aided her in pitching 56 complete games for the Owls, who captured three Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) regular season championships in the past four years.   “Maddie thinks about going out and getting the win and that is all that matters to her. I don’t think she worries about anything else,” says Westfield State first-year head coach Lindsay Sawyer prior to the Owls’ appearance in the MASCAC Tournament championship game in early May.   Tomich’s personality was also a key component of her success in her roles as captain and pitching ace.   “She has great self-confidence. She holds

herself and her teammates accountable and that makes her a good leader,” says Alicia Gardner, who played with Tomich for three years and is now the graduate assistant coach for the Owl softball team. Despite her confidence, Tomich has always shunned the spotlight. Unfortunately for her, it was hard not to notice a player who garnered a rookie of the year award and two pitcher of the year awards in the MASCAC.   “Maddie will turn the attention off of herself if she is being recognized for something. She

Madeline Tomich ’12 will give all the credit to her team,” said Sawyer. “Maddie does her talking in the circle...” Her relationship with Westfield State junior catcher Brittany Dussaiult was strong, and it helped her pitch better. “We just know exactly what to say to each other, and we each know what the other is thinking,” said Dussault, who was Tomich’s roommate at Westfield State.   Tomich’s knowledge of the game also made her an especially dominant force in the circle.

“She is a very smart pitcher. She knows which hitters to play with and which hitters to go right after. She puts the ball where she wants it the majority of the time,” says Sawyer. Tomich began playing softball as a third grader and started pitching in fifth grade. In rare fashion, Tomich played six years of varsity softball. Her high school, Mt. Everett, housed the seventh through 12th grades, and the coaches petitioned for her to play varsity ball.   “There was a lot of pressure being so young, but my time on the team really helped me develop my composure,” says Tomich, who struck out more than 750 batters in high school. Tomich went through a recruiting process that didn’t turn up any colleges that interested her, so she and her father set out to find a school on their own. “I wanted to pick a school for the academics. I wasn’t concerned with the softball side of things,” says Tomich.   Her search led her to Westfield State, where she walked-on to the softball team. When she showed up at the first practice session, some players already had expectations. “I had seen her name in the newspaper, I knew she would be good,” says Gardner. Tomich posted a 1.55 earned run average and 73 strikeouts her freshman year, while chalking up five wins. And she kept getting better each season,   “Maddie was really good when she got here, but what sets her apart from other players was her ability to grow throughout her career, and that is what made her so hard to hit,” says Gardner.   As for the future, Tomich plans to use her degree in business to work with family members at Tomich Landscaping.   “I would also love to coach softball. My sister coaches at Mt. Everett. I help her out occasionally, but I would love to get a more serious coaching job in the future,” says Tomich. n

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All-America Trio Three Owls in spotlight and others also shine By Mickey Cur tis, Spor ts Information Director


l l -A m e r i c a p e r f o r m a n c e s by three student athletes

highlighted the 2012 spring semester for the Westfield State University varsity sports teams. Achieving All-America honors and earning Westfield State national acclaim were senior diver Kim Schmidt of Longmeadow, senior thrower Amanda Gricus of Marion and junior pole vaulter Tom Gauger of Billerica. Schmidt earned All-America honorable mention accolades by placing 12th in three-meter diving and 13th in one-meter diving at the NCAA Division III swimming and diving national championships. Gricus placed second in the 20-pound weight throw at the NCAA Division III indoor track and field national championship, while Gauger finished eighth at the national outdoor championships. Competing in her first national championship, Schmidt performed well in the top-flight competition to become Westfield State’s swimming and diving program’s second AllAmerican. Lori Vincent ’91 was a three-time All-American diver more than 20 years ago. “Kim definitely proved that she belonged at the national championships. This was a great experience for her,” says Westfield State veteran coach David Laing.


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Gricus achieved All-America honors with a school record throw of 61 feet even at the NCAA indoor track and field championships. “Amanda did a fantastic job,” says Westfield head coach Sean O’Brien. “Everything just clicked for her on that throw of 61 feet. She was extremely focused and determined.” Gauger cleared an outdoor personal best 16-2 ¾ on his third attempt to garner All-America status by finishing in the top eight. “Tom was the only one from New England to place in the pole vault,” says Westfield State pole vault coach Jason Weber. “To become an All-American in the pole vault is quite an accomplishment.” Gauger also qualified for the 2012 NCAA indoor track and field championships – his first venture on the national level – by clearing a school record 16-5 .¼ But he fouled on all three attempts at the opening height of the NCAA indoors. Gauger was more relaxed and acclimated to the atmosphere during the outdoor championships. “He had a blast,” says Weber. “He got over the bar and down and that’s all that matters. He

had a fun day.” Gauger is the 39th All-American, the first since 2008, and the 150th national qualifier in the storied history of the Westfield State men’s track and field program. There were numerous outstanding individual performances for Westfield State during the 2012 spring semester. Here are the highlights: Freshman women’s basketball sensation Jen Ashton was selected the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) rookie of the year. The Beverly resident led the Owls in scoring and ranked second nationally in steals per game (4.85). Juniors Matt Devine of Pembroke and Lee Vazquez of Attleboro were first-team all-conference selections and freshman forward Grant Cooper of Northampton was the MASCAC rookie of the year for the 16-11 men’s basketball team. Devine, a long-armed 6-7 center, led the NCAA Division III in blocked shots per game (4.8) and shattered school records for blocked shots in a season (130) and career (260). Vazquez, a lightning quick 5-6 guard, ranked second nationally in steals per game (3.7) and 22nd nationally in scoring (21.4). Team-wise, the Owls led the nation in blocked shots per game (7.6) and field goal shooting defense (.361). The Westfield State women’s swimming team set nine school records in placing eighth

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at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) championships. Westfield State’s top swimmer was junior Kirsten LaMotte of Amherst, who set school records in the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke events and was a member of four record-setting relay squads. In the diving competition, it was a complete sweep for Schmidt as she captured the (NEISDA) one- and three-meter diving championships for the fourth consecutive year, shattering championship meet records in both events. The future looks bright for the Owls as freshman Katie Sterpka of Barkhamsted placed third on the short plank and fourth on the threemeter board in earning the rookie diver of the year award. Junior centerfielder Kevin Greene was a second-team All-New England selection. He is the fourth Westfield State baseball player in the past three years to earn All-New England honors. The Worcester resident led the Owls and ranked second in the MASCAC in hitting (.396), on base percentage (.464) and slugging percentage (.612). He also led the Owls in hits (53), doubles (13), home runs (4), runs scored (32) and stolen bases (10). Greene tied school records with three home runs and six RBI in

a 17-3 victory over Mount Saint Mary College of Newburgh, N.Y. Freshman pitcher Mike Molta of Nantucket was MASCAC rookie of the year. Also receiving major awards were seniors Josh Blair of Westfield and Matt Kelly of Weymouth. Blair was named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District baseball first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Blair is the seventh Westfield State student athlete to earn Academic All-District honors in the past three years. Kelly was chosen the Westfield State Male Athlete of the Year. Rated as one of the bestfielding shortstops in the New England, Kelly also excelled offensively. He ranks second in Westfield State’s record books with 165 career hits and 531 at bats for a career batting average of .310. As a four-year starter he played in 151 career games, the fourth highest total in school history. The Owls baseball team posted an overall record of 20-18 for their sixth straight season with 20 or more victories. They finished second in the MASCAC with an 11-3 record. Senior Carly Keeley of Feeding Hills was the women’s lacrosse conference offensive player of the year. Keeley, a three-time first-team all-conference selection, led the Owls in scoring (76

points) and goals scored (56). The Assumption College transfer finished her stellar three years at Westfield State with 198 points. The Owls suffered a heartbreaking 6-5 overtime setback to Bridgewater State in the postseason tournament championship game. Senior pitcher Madeline Tomich of Alford and senior center fielder Kerin DeGirolamo of North Attleboro capped record-setting careers for the Westfield State softball squad, which posted its sixth straight 20-win season. Tomich shattered school records for strikeouts in a career (577) and season (205) and pitching victories (48). DeGirolamo was simply sensational as a two-sport athlete for the Owls. She amassed six first-team all-conference selections, three in both volleyball and softball, in helping lead her teams to six conference regular season championships. In volleyball, she holds school records for career assists with 3,582. She also holds school records for assists in a season and a match. Her softball numbers may be even more impressive, as she owns school career records for games played (154), at bats (478) and hits (161). She set a school record for hits in a season with 58 when she was selected third team All-New England in 2010. n

Westfield State’s 2012 All-Americans were honored at the University’s Board of Trustees meeting. Left to right are: President Evan S. Dobelle, athletics director Richard Lenfest, Tom Gauger, Kim Schmidt, Amanda Gricus, swimming and diving head coach David Laing, and track and field head coach Sean O'Brien.

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Six to be Inducted Into Athletics Hall of Fame By Mickey Cur tis, Spor ts Information Director

The 17th Annual Westfield State University Athletics Hall of Fame inductions will be held Friday, Oct. 19 during Homecoming Weekend.

26 countries. He lives in Ware with his wife, Stacey, and three children.

Norwood High School cross country coach from 2004-2009. Forrest lives in Norwood with is wife, Jennifer, and their two children.

DAVID ADAMS ’96 was a prolific player for the Westfield State baseball team in the mid-1990s. The Ware native holds the school record for the best career batting average of .402 for those who played at least three years for the Owls. The left-handed slugger also holds the distinction of being the only Westfield State position player selected All-New England and first team all-conference for three consecutive years. Adams was a second team All-New England selection in 1994 and 1995 and a first team AllNew England and All-ECAC all-star outfielder in 1996. His hitting skills earned him an invitation to the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association All-Star game, which was played at Fenway Park in Boston on May 28, 1996. Adams played in 96 career games for the Owls and totaled seven triples, nine home runs and 102 runs batted in. He ranks second in the school record books with 36 career doubles and sixth with 146 hits. He was a model of consistency for the Owls, hitting .415 in 1996, .391 in 1995, and .400 in 1994. Adams, a criminal justice major at Westfield State, works in Boston as a program specialist for the federal government. Following his graduation from Westfield State, he attended the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Center Academy, graduating third in his class academically, and worked full-time as a police officer in Ware. He then attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, graduating first academically, and worked as a federal police officer for the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. In addition, Adams has served in the Air Force Reserve for the past 15 years and he is currently a master sergeant. He has been activated twice since 9/11 and has visited more

JIM FORREST ’90 was a talented and versatile athlete for the Westfield State track and field team. Possessing a combination of power and speed, Forrest primarily starred in the jumping events for the Owls. He still holds school records in the high jump, clearing 6-9 1/2 ,½ indoor long jump and pentathlon, and placed seventh in the high jump at the 1989 NCAA indoor national championships with a leap of 6-8. Forrest earned All-New England honors four times in the high jump and achieved a rare double-double feat during the 1990 indoor season when he won the long jump and high jump at the ECAC and New England Division III championships. He stunned the competitors at the New Englands with first-place efforts of 6-7 in the high jump and his indoor school record leap of 22-9 in the long jump. He followed several weeks later by winning the high jump (6-6) and long jump (22-8) at the ECAC championships. Forrest earned All-New England/All-Region honors nine times and was a two-time conference high jump champion. He also competed in the 400 meter run and the pentathlon for the Owls and holds the school record of 3,747 points in the five-event competition. The Westfield State movement science major was a teacher and the head track and field coach in his hometown of Norwood for 18 years before accepting a job as an assistant principal at nearby Dedham High School in 2010. Forrest, who was dean of students his final six years at Norwood High School, was a highly successful indoor and outdoor track and field coach, guiding his teams and athletes to 18 Bay State Conference championships, 16 school records, 28 state class B individual and relay champions and four all-state individual champions. In addition, he was the

MARY GIBNEY ’96 was a prominent player for the highly successful Westfield State women’s basketball teams of the mid-1990s. The Holden native and graduate of Wachusett Regional High School posted Hall of Fame numbers for the Owls despite being slowed by injuries her final two seasons. She ranks eighth with 1,122 career points and holds school records for most points scored by a freshman (401) and a sophomore (488). Gibney was chosen the New England Division III Rookie of the Year in 1993. In her sophomore season she was selected the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) player of the year. The versatile 5-7 guard led Westfield State in scoring, steals and blocked shots during her freshman and sophomore seasons. The two-time all-conference selection also averaged more than six rebounds per game during her first two seasons. Gibney ranks fifth in the school record books for both free throws made (293) and attempted (427). She is sixth in career blocked shots with 54. Gibney was a pre-season All-American in 1995 and averaged 21.4 points during the first four games of her junior year before she was sidelined with an injury. Despite still being slowed by the injury during her senior season, Gibney played in 27 games and was a starter in the second half of the season for the MASCAC champion and NCAA Tournament team. Westfield State’s aggregate record was 87-27 during her four years. The Owls captured two MASCAC regular season championships and participated in two NCAA Tournaments. Westfield was the ECAC Tournament runner-up in 1993 and a semifinalist in 1994.


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A three-sport star in high school, Gibney was inducted into the Wachusett Regional Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. Gibney graduated from Westfield State with a criminal justice degree and has been a patrol investigator for the Yarmouth Police Department since 2006 and is consistently rated by her supervisors as a highly motivated, intelligent and proactive officer. She has received an honorary investigative award and a Live Saving Award with a co-worker for resuscitating a citizen who had suffered a heart attack. Gibney is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician and received the Massachusetts Coalition of Police President’s Award for dedicated and outstanding service to the Commonwealth after responding to a tragic house explosion while stationed in Hopkinton. In April, she was one of 25 female officers cited by the Massachusetts Women in Law Enforcement organization, receiving special recognition in community involvement. Gibney is highly active in volunteer work, including the Wounded Warrior Project, and she continues to stay physically active by running in road races, mostly for charity. She completed two Marine Corps marathons in recent years. KARL LABADORF ’00 is one of three All-Americans in the storied history of the Westfield State men’s soccer program. He was third-team All-American in 2000 when he led the Owls to the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship and a first-round victory in the NCAA Division III national tournament. The Wilbraham native was All-New England first team in 2000 and All-New England third team in 1997 when the Owls won the MASCAC championship, advanced to the ECAC Tournament championship game and finished with a 13-4-1 overall record. The three-time first-team all-conference forward and two-time captain ranks 10th on Westfield’s all-time scoring list with 111 points. He scored 42 career goals, including 13 gamewinning goals. Labadorf tallied the only goal in Westfield State’s 1-0 victory over Worcester State in the 2000 MASCAC Tournament championship game. He scored a season-high 39 points (15 goals, 9 assists) in 2000, including the gamewinning goal in a 4-3 victory at Roger Williams University in the opening round of the NCAA

Tournament. Westfield finished Labadorf's senior season with a 15-5 record. The Owls posted four straight winning seasons and an aggregate record of 46-24-2 from 1997-2000. Labadorf played for the Massachusetts Twisters semi-professional indoor soccer team in 2002 and was an assistant coach at Westfield State for three years following his graduation. He has worked as a mathematics teacher at Minnechaug Regional High School since 2001, and he lives in Wilbraham with his wife, Stacy, and four daughters. MIKE PERRY ’76, a fouryear starter for the Westfield State basketball teams during the mid-1970s, has been a highly successful high school coach for the past 37 years. The Bridgewater native has guided Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton to state championships in two sports – boys’ basketball and girls’ soccer – and amassed more than 760 coaching victories. During his playing days at Westfield State, Perry was a steady and dependable point guard and team captain who committed very few turnovers and distributed the ball to his high-scoring teammates. The Owls posted an aggregate record of 62-36 and participated in the 1974 ECAC Tournament during the floor general’s four years. Perry has been coaching nearly year round at Cardinal Spellman since graduating from Westfield State in 1976 with a physical education degree. And he has no plans to stop coaching, despite retiring as a middle school teacher in the Bridgewater-Raynham school district last year. The hard-working mentor begins his 34th year as boys’ basketball head coach. He has compiled 458 victories, an average of nearly 14 wins per season. Cardinal Spellman captured the state championship in 1984 and has advanced to the South Section finals seven times, including three consecutive years (1999-2001). His teams have won three South Section championships and six Central Catholic League titles. Perry has been just as successful coaching girls’ soccer. He has been the head coach since the Cardinal Spellman girls’ soccer program began 25 years ago, and he was also the JV coach when the program first started. Perry has led the soccer program to more than 300 victories, including a state championship in 2009 and a state runner-up finish in 2006. Cardinal Spellman has claimed eight

Central Catholic League titles, two South Section titles and two Eastern Mass. championships. In the two sports combined, Perry has been a four-time MIAA coach of the year and a three-time Boston Globe coach of the year. He served as an assistant baseball coach at Cardinal Spellman for 20 years, 1977-1996, and prior to becoming the basketball head coach, he was the JV coach from 1977-1979. He was also a junior high school softball coach at Bridgewater-Raynham during his last six years as a middle school teacher. In addition to coaching the boys’ basketball and girls’ soccer teams, Perry is now the JV coach for the Cardinal Spellman softball team. Perry was inducted into the Cardinal Spellman High School Hall of Fame in 2005. He was named the 1972 Male Athlete of the Year at Bridgewater-Raynham High School, where he was a three-sport standout in basketball, cross country and golf. The Perry family has close ties to the Westfield State community, as his brothers Steve ’77 and Greg ’89 are both Westfield State graduates. Steve was a four-year starter in the outfield for the Owls’ NCAA Tournament baseball teams of the 1970s. Greg, who is the long-time coach of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy men’s soccer team, starred in men’s soccer for the Owls in the late 1980s. Perry lives in North Easton with his wife, Pam ’76. They have four children. SANDY (PINTO) GRAHAM ’98 is the Westfield State women’s soccer program’s all-time leading scorer. The Ludlow native holds school records with 116 career points and 51 career goals. She also ranks second in the record books with 16 goals scored in a season. The highly skilled and fast forward was a four-time all-conference selection and a two-time team captain. She was a three-time first-team all-conference honoree and received the team’s outstanding contributor award in 1997. During her senior year in 1997, she led the Owls to their first MASCAC championship season. Westfield posted a 15-4 overall record in 1997 and an aggregate record of 45-29-2 during her four years. Graham works as an executive recruiter for United Health Group. She lives in Southwick with husband, Judson, and two sons. n

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Gricus Scores High in Academics and Athletics By Mickey Cur tis, Spor ts Information Director

America honors by placing second in the weight throw at the 2012 Westfield State University student athletes continue to excel in the NCAA Division III indoor track and field national championships classroom and on the playing fields as senior track and field standout with a school record heave of 61 feet. Amanda Gricus was selected the Massachusetts State Collegiate Gricus first qualified for the national championships during the Athletics Conference (MASCAC) 2012 Female Scholar-Athlete of 2011 indoor season when she placed ninth in the country in the the Year. 20-pound weight throw. She was a two-time New England Division The prestigious award is presented annually to male and female III and two-time MASCAC champion in the weight throw and senior student athletes who have excelled both academically and earned All-ECAC honors in the event in 2011 and 2012. athletically while a student of a Massachusetts state university. To During the 2012 outdoor track and field season, she qualified be considered for the award, a student athlete must have achieved for the NCAA championships by shattering a longstanding school a least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average and be in his or her last record in the hammer throw with a sensational toss of 183 feet. year of athletic eligibility. Gricus was the ECAC Gricus is the 17th Westfield Division III, New England State student athlete (eight men/ Division III and New nine women) to receive the England Alliance hamMASCAC scholar athlete of the mer throw champion year award since its inception during the 2012 outdoor in 1980. Westfield’s 17 scholar season. She captured athlete honorees are the most in the MASCAC hammer the eight-team conference, folthrow championship four lowed by Fitchburg State with 12. consecutive years and set “Westfield State University is conference records in proud of Amanda’s accomplishboth throwing events. ments, both athletically and Academically, academically,” says Westfield athGricus was a dean’s letics director Richard Lenfest. list student and a “She has been an outstanding two-year member representative of Westfield State Amanda Gricus, with her parents Patricia and of the Lambda and the MASCAC.” Charles Gricus, was the Massachusetts State Sigma Society. A Gricus graduated from Collegiate Athletic Conference Female Scholarfifth-year senior, she did not Westfield State on May 19 with a Athlete of the Year and an Academic and NCAA All-American. compete in intercollegiate 3.65 cumulative grade point averathletes during the 2009-2010 academic year, as she was enrolled in age, earning a double major in environmental science and regional the study abroad program at the University of New South Wales in planning. Also, she minored in geographic information systems. Sydney, Australia. Between her studies, practices and competitions, Gricus says college The Marion resident and graduate of Old Rochester Regional life was hectic at times but nevertheless very rewarding. High School served a full-time, eight-month transportation planning “There was usually a meet every weekend and homework every internship with the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic single day,” she says. “I did nothing but eat, sleep and practice, but it Development District. She assisted with data collection related to kind of worked out for me. I never imagined it would go this far.” transportation planning and environmental stewardship and used Gricus excelled on the national, regional and conference levels her geographic information systems skills for federal grant applicaas a record-setting performer in the hammer throw and 20-pound tions and agency-wide regional base maps. n weight throw. A three-time NCAA Division III national qualifier, she earned All-


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MOBIUS Continued from page 14

CAREER Continued from page 20

rewarding,” she says. “Westfield State gave me the opportunity to develop my potential in the workforce.” Although Haskins didn’t intern at Mobius Works, many of the current employees did. Edward Haber was a sophomore and working at the IT help desk at Westfield State when CEO Watson came looking for Mobius Works’ first hire. Professor Hebert recommended Haber for the position, and Haber started his work study at Mobius Works in 2003. “Westfield State provided me the opportunity to experience real-life applications that supported what I was learning in the classroom,” says Haber. “In an environment dedicated to providing the best in technology, I brainstormed on campus about projects for Mobius Works. I was always motivated to achieve excellence, a value Westfield State exemplified.” By forming a close, working relationship with members of the Westfield State staff, Mobius Works is aware that the students coming to them as job applicants are equipped with the proper skills for the job.  Bill Harrington ’04 worked the IT help desk at Westfield State prior to working at Mobius Works. “My experience at Westfield State gave me the necessary tools to troubleshoot, verify and implement the proper solutions,” he said. “Providing Mobius Works customers with both on-site and remote support, I have been able to apply the level of detail that I learned from Westfield State to my work.” Even with the partnership between Westfield State University and Mobius Works as strong as it is, the ultimate responsibility for developing contacts and leads rests on the shoulders of the third partner in the relationship: the student.  Nick Meszaros ’11, director of development/projects manager for Mobius Works, acknowledges that his employment at the company is

personal networking with faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University. Delgado isn’t able to track statistics on how many interns are getting hired by the employers who offer them internships, but he said that, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), about half are finding jobs through their internships. Janice, my internship supervisor, has been overseeing student interns from the University since 1998, the year she started her business. As a graduate from the class of 1985 she feels that by being an internship supervisor she is able to give back and stay connected with the University. Janice said she loves working with students and watching them learn and grow as writers. An added benefit that she loves is the good work that students do for her and the services they are able to provide, which has helped her grow her business. I have learned a lot while at Beetle Press about what is expected in this field of work. I wouldn’t have known half of what I do now about interviewing and writing articles if I hadn’t been assigned to this internship. It is amazing how much you can learn in a semester. I went from shaking in my boots about an interview to being able to interview the president of the University. My skills and knowledge in the field have grown in immeasurable ways, so I well appreciate the programs offered through Career Services. n

“Westfield State gave me the opportunity to develop my potential in the workforce.” — Martina (Desnoyers) Haskins ’10

a direct result of building relationships with both professors and other students at Westfield State. Meszaros built a close tie with Professor Jim Carabetta and worked on volunteer class projects, thus developing a mutual respect. So when Mobius Works was again looking to expand, Meszaros was able to apply, using Carabetta as a strong reference. When Meszaros goes to Westfield State now to recruit new programmers, it is this message he stresses to students: “The two most important things you can do while attending Westfield State are to develop a good relationship with your professors to rely on them for an employment reference and to look for and volunteer for any opportunity that will give you real-world experience.” n

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concert, which was comprised of works of orchestra by three English composers who were influenced by Vaughan Williams, (Tongue conducted the second half, which was Vaughan Williams’ music), Taylor also played the pipe organ for “A Cambridge Mass.” “This was one of the most important concerts of my career, due to the fact that the major work on the program had only recently been discovered,” he says. Taylor was happy he could share this unique opportunity with his friends and colleagues. “It’s also a treat to be able to showcase them at a concert in the Northampton/Amherst area, which has plenty of fine players as it is,” he says. “Over the last 10 years it’s been very gratifying to see our people become part of that scene.” Despite the concert’s large audience and historical implications, Taylor does not think it was needed to validate Westfield State’s music department, but did help increase awareness to the musical talents of the University. “Westfield State was already on the map,” he says. “What this concert did do was showcase some of our involvement in the fine arts outside of the local area.” n F O C U S M AG AZ I N E • FALL 2 0 1 2


Alumni News and Notes

Westfield State’s Alumni Lifetime Owls Looking for a way to reconnect to Westfield State? The Alumni Lifetime Owls program offers you a lifetime membership in the Alumni Association with exciting benefits. Your one-time $100 membership fee gives you a specially-designed Westfield State baseball cap and T-shirt, a membership discount card (providing discounted or free entry to designated events including Homecoming, The WSAA Tailgate, athletic events, chapter events and more), 20 percent off at the ALUMNI Store, and special LinkedIn, Facebook and password protected pages on the Alumni website. Westfield State is the only state university with this incentive program offering 20 percent of your fee to the Alumni Association to support reconnecting alumni with the campus and 10 percent going to an Alumni Lifetime Owls scholarship fund. Additional percentages will support athletic/alumni programming and special initiatives across the campus that encourage alumni involvement in academic departments and mentoring/networking events. The Alumni Lifetime Owls program is an easy way to show your “Owl Pride.” Join today at or contact Kathi Bradford at with any questions or comments about this exciting new program.

Greetings from the Westfield State Alumni Association Paul Nesbit ’84 has served as the Westfield State Alumni Association President for the past year. As he steps down, he asks fellow alumni “to consider becoming an active member of the Alumni Association by your Kelli Nielsen ’04, gift of time, treasure or talent. We are a Paul Nesbit ’84 resourceful group and 34,000 strong who have done remarkable things over the past 173 years. Together, we are and continue to be, Mighty Owls!” Kelli Nielsen ’04, incoming president of the Westfield State Alumni Association, who will begin her term at Homecoming 2012, says, “In the upcoming year, my vision focuses on increasing involvement with the Alumni Association from Westfield State, across the country and around the world. At the top of the list, our first Westfield State world-wide service day. Westfield State alums coming together for a common purpose.” If you are interested in this program, please sign up at www.westfieldalumni. org/service  to begin the planning process. Register for the website so you don’t miss out on the details of the day by going to www.westfieldalumni. org and logging in.  (Use your first initial and last name plus the four digits of your class year as your user name and password to sign in for the first time.)  We are in need of folks to organize a group in your area of the state, country or world.  Please let me know if you can join us. Watch for monthly eblasts and news on Facebook to learn about the day when we will all come together, from around the world, to give back.  Says Kelli, “When it comes to college graduates, let›s make sure Westfield State stands out in the crowd. I look forward to hearing any news or ideas you’d like to share.  Email me at at any time.  I look forward to serving you this year.”


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Westfield State Alumni Association Awards The Westfield State Alumni Association has established two awards recognizing alumni for outstanding achievements and contributions to their profession and their communities. The Distinguished Alumnus Award originated in 2011 to honor Westfield State Alumni who have set themselves apart in professional and/or community service. Raymond Chelte, Jr., our first recipient was honored during Homecoming 2011. The new G.O.L.D. (Graduates of the Last Decade) Award will recognize Westfield State Alumni who have graduated in the past 10 years and who have made significant contributions to their professions and/or communities. We are accepting nominations, and the first G.O.L.D. Award recipient will be honored in fall 2013. The Westfield State Alumni Association Awards Celebration is part of Homecoming Weekend and honors Distinguished Alumni as well as Faculty and Staff Emeriti. The event will be held on Oct. 20 at the Horace Mann Center at 11 a.m.  All are welcome. To nominate a candidate for the Distinguished Alumnus Award or the G.O.L.D. Award, you may contact the office of Alumni Relations or submit an application online at  Applications must be submitted or postmarked by July 15 of the year of the nomination.

Homecoming 2012 Aaron Morris ’02 , M ’08 and Kate Quigley ’09, M ’11, co-chairs of the Westfield State Alumni Association Events Committee, are gearing up for Homecoming and Tailgate 2012, at which you’ll enjoy preferred parking at Homecoming, as well as the company of your fellow alumni in a laid-back, fun atmosphere. Afterwards, join the Westfield State Alumni Association Awards and Recognition committee, faculty, staff and friends as they honor the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient and welcome the new Alumni Association President Kelli Nielsen ’04. Head over to the

Woodward Center fields for the Main Stage event, complete with music, sports, fun, food and returning again this year, GameSide at Homecoming. Make sure to sign up early to reserve your spot, and have your friends do the same. To register, visit

The 70s Decade Reunion Party Calling all classes from the 1970s: Join us on Oct. 20 immediately following Homecoming for “The Party of the 21st Century” – the 70s Decade Reunion Party. We’ll gather in Scanlon Banquet Hall from 6:30 p.m. to midnight for a fun-filled evening with a cash bar, delicious buffet dinner and entertainment provided by Outta Commission, featuring Tommy Barnes ’84. Tickets are just $35 per person and can be purchased online at All classes are welcome to join us for this exciting event, and we particularly hope to see our “milestone” reunion classes – 1972 celebrating its 40th reunion and 1977 celebrating its 35th.

Reunion Weekend Over 240 alums returned to Westfield State in June for the Fourth annual Reunion Weekend, which reunites classmates, team members and friends with Westfield State. Fun was had by all at the Reunion Luau, Celebration Dinner and Reunion Brunch. Representatives from the Classes of 1962, 1972, 1982, 1987, 1997, the Musical Theatre Guild and Track/Cross Country alumni enjoyed the wonderful weather, food and activities. If you are a member of the Class of 1992 or 2002, we will see you at Homecoming following the Main Stage events at the Westwood Restaurant downtown. Mark your calendars for our 5th annual Reunion Weekend celebration on June 8-9, 2013. Classes with graduation years ending in three and eight are encouraged to contact the office of Alumni Relations to start planning for your return to campus. If you’d like to be part of reunion planning, contact Kathi Bradford, director of Alumni Relations at

Alumni Travel Program London City Stay · March 9-16, 2013 The final days of summer may be upon us, but it is never too early to start thinking about Spring Break. We are pleased to present a fantastic opportunity for our 2013 spring break — a six-night and eight-day trip to London, England. Home to the recent 2012 Summer Olympics, London is a cultural playground filled with exciting adventures for all. The trip runs from March 9-16, 2013 and starts at the amazing price of just $1,569 per person. This includes airfare, double-occupancy accommodations at a beautiful, centrally located hotel, a welcome city tour, daily breakfast, all taxes and fees, and a bus to and from the airport. Payment plans are available. Further information and registration available at

Tuscany and Rome Experience · April 20-28, 2013 Travel to Italy through Westfield State’s alumni travel program and its “Tuscany and Rome Experience,” offering a chance to bring alumni, family, friends and community members together for a wonderful global experience in April 2013. All meals, an English-speaking guide, delightful accommodations and stops in Florence, Venice, Cinque Terra and Rome provide the foundation for an Italian adventure. Openings are filling fast so contact Kathi Bradford, director of alumni relations at or check the website at Watch for information on Ireland in October 2013.

Winter White SWAG Event Join us for a special event, coordinated by Tracey Innella Pinto ’85 for all Westfield State alumni and friends on Jan. 26 at Sweet Caroline’s in the Fenway for music, dancing, food, beverages and a live and silent auction. Hosted by our favorite celebrity Doug Meehan ’87. Visit westfieldalumni. org/SWAG to purchase your tickets. Space is limited. All auction proceeds to benefit the Westfield State Foundation, Inc. and therefore Westfield State. Featured items include: An overnight at the Liberty Hotel, signed hockey puck from Chris Kelly and spa services from Etant Salon in Boston.

Berkshire Alumni Work to Make ‘Pittsfield Beautiful’ On June 2, several Berkshire area alumni teamed up with Westfield State’s Berkshire Liaison, Nancy Woitkowski, to provide community service for “Pittsfield Beautiful.” The team spent the day planting around Liberty Plaza at the corner of North Street and Columbus Avenue in downtown Pittsfield. This is the second year the group participated, and they hope to make this an annual event. Those participating include Eileen Moynihan ’75, Jake Rand ’13, Patti Ricci ’76, Bethany Ricci ’12,  Michelle Rousseau ’73, Nancy Woitkowski and her husband, Raymond Woitkowski. 

Stay Current with Be sure to bookmark our alumni website, Here you will find the latest alumni happenings, news and events. You can read Focus online, or log into our database to connect with classmates. To login as a first time user, your username and password will be your first initial, last name, and four-digit year of graduation. For example, Edward Cullen, class of 1999, would have a first time login of ecullen1999. For more information, email Dave LaRocque at or call (413) 572-8356.

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C la s s N o t e s

2001 Sean and Brooke (Wadhams) Harris are living in New Hartford, Conn., where Brooke is a kindergarten teacher in a local elementary school. Brooke, Sean and big brother Brayden, 3, welcomed a new baby girl, Madeline Marjorie Harris on Feb. 21.  Madeline is adored by all, but especially by her sweet big brother.

Weddings 2001 Mark E. “Dooza” Raymond married Nancy S. Zina on April 14. Mark and Nancy are both graduates from Westfield State University.  The couple first met at Westfield State in Dickinson Hall freshman year and later reunited.  Nancy is a second grade teacher in Ludlow.  Mark works for Federal Express in Hatfield.  They enjoyed a honeymoon in Aruba.  The couple currently lives in Belchertown.

2003 Jillian Mead married Michael Carriere on June 25, 2011. Jillian received her master’s degree in education from Westfield State and is employed as a teacher with the Holyoke Public Schools. The couple lives in Chicopee.


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Emily Tansey wed Stephen Gibbons on Sept. 3, 2011. The bride is a content producer for Rue La La in Boston and the groom is an author and entrepreneur employed by Prima Games. They live in Somerville.

Cristina Saraiva married Elias Giannakopoulos on Oct. 29, 2011. Cristina earned her bachelor’s degree from Westfield State and a master’s degree from Bay Path College. She is employed as a social worker with the Department of Children and Families in Springfield. The couple honeymooned on a Caribbean cruise and currently lives in Springfield.

2006 Mark Meunier married Maria Cortorreal on Jan. 28 in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

2008 Kyle Dulude married Sophia Peroulakis on Oct. 22, 2011. The groom earned his master’s degree from Westfield State and is a teacher at Westfield Vocational Technical High School. The couple lives in Russell.

Pictured above, left to right, are Jenna Gilbert ’08, Josh Owens, Mindy Lawson Owens ’08, Meg Sheehan ’09, Kate Quigley ’09 and Nick Levesque ’11. Mindy Lawson married Josh Owens on April 21 in Clinton, South Carolina. Kate Quigley ’09, ’11M, Meg Sheehan ’09 and Jenna Gilbert ’08 were all members of the wedding party. Mindy and Jenna were National Exchange Students to Westfield State in 2008.

2010 Photo: Alisonmarie Photography


Martina (Desnoyers) Haskins married James Haskins on July 16, 2011. She is the director of administrative services and web development at Mobius Works in Westfield.

Faculty Assistant Professor Lori Desrosiers has contributed a poem to the first multicultural bullying anthology, released in May 2012. The book, BULLYING: Replies, Rebuttals, Confessions, and Catharsis: An Intergenerational and Multicultural Anthology, was edited by internationally acclaimed poet, performer, lyricist and co-founder of Teatro V. da Magdalena Gómez and local poet and educator María Luisa Arroyo. Lori’s poem is called, “I Wanted to be Wonder Woman” and explores the concept that the world

of fantasy saves readers from reality. Lori said that she turned to the world of fiction to escape the pain of being bullied as a child. Her book of poetry, The Philosopher’s Daughter, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2013. She has a chapbook, Three Vanities, a chronicle of three generations of women in her family, which was published by Pudding House Press in 2009. Another chapbook, That Pomegranate Shine, is coming from Pudding House in 2012. Associate Professors of mathematics Julian Fleron and Volker Ecke were the subjects of a cover story, called “Between the Dimensions,” in Mathematics Teacher, a nationwide, peer-reviewed publication of the largest organization of mathematics teachers in the world. “Between the Dimensions” is an in-depth explanation of how two routine classroom activities, the Flatland game and sliceforms, are useful vehicles for student exploration of the geometric interplay between the dimensions. In the article, Julian and Volker wrote, “We authors feel that solid geometry could play a more prominent role in secondary school curricula and that the students’ experiences could move beyond explorations of spheres, cones, cylinders, etc. The activities here allow students to explore our three dimensional world in its full diversity.” Dr. Imo Nse Imeh, assistant professor of art and art history, has released his first book, Daughters of

Seclusion: the Revelation of the Ibibio “Fattened Bride” as the Icon of Beauty and Power.  This unique project published by Peter Lang Publishing maps the historical trajectory of a sorority and institution of womanhood in southeast Nigeria known as mbopo. The mbopo ritual is chiefly characterized by the seclusion of women into “fattening houses” as preparation for marriage. There, a secluded maiden is believed to gain spiritual insight, invaluable knowledge about womanhood and life and most notably, body weight, which is in many ways a measurement of the wealth of her family, her physical and emotional fortitude, and ultimately her beauty. His book is available on both and Megan Kennedy, associate professor of education, published the book Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth. Coauthored by Annemarie Vaccaro and Gerri August, Safe Spaces chronicles the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth of all ages weaving news stories, public policy trends and research studies with personal narratives from more than 100 LGBT individuals and allies. With recent studies finding that LGBT youth face bullying more often than straight youth and are therefore at a higher risk of suicide, this book illuminates the challenges as well as some triumphs of LGBT students and offers advice to provide more tolerant school and community environments. This is not a new topic for Megan. She has presented

on the topic of LGBT in literature at regional and national conferences and is a faculty advisor for Westfield State’s LGBT student organization.


Thomas J. Daniels, Jr.

serve as writer and director of the spring 2012 production of Robin Hood, The Musical. The show enjoyed excellent reviews and sold-out crowds.



1985 Robert Parenteau


Marilyn Girace

1936 Harriet Dowler

1937 Dorothy Stewart


Jean Poirier Fouche

1953 James Slattery

1954 Patricia Tylunas

1956 Joseph Rodgers

1963 Jean Watson

1967 Barbara Chaffee

1968 Michael Ligarski

1969 Edward Sliwa

1970 Ruth Gralinski

1973 David B. Papazian

1975 Robert Shipman

1976 Theresa Anderson

1977 William Lowell

1996 Richard Silva

2013 Jeffrey J. Zucco

Trustee Patti A. Andras, a former member of the Board of Trustees, a city councilor, long-time police commissioner and city volunteer, passed away on May 31. Andras spearheaded the annual fund drive in support of the city’s July 4 fireworks celebration, the city’s Halloween festival and annual Mayor’s Easter Egg Hunt. Other city service included her membership on the boards of directors for Amelia Park, American Red Cross, The Boys and Girls Club, the Forum House, the Air National Guards 104th Fighter Wing Community Advisory Board, Noble Hospital, Westfield State University, The Hampden County Estate Planning Council and The National Trust School Advisory Committee.

News 1969 Kathi Palmer, a member of the Board of Directors for the Westfield Theater Group, was pleased to

Bob Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Special Olympics, served as the master of ceremonies at the Westfield State Foundation’s Celebration of Philanthropy dinner. Bob began his career as a special education teacher and went on to become an administrator, serving as Massachusetts’ Chief Compliance Officer for special education. He has led the Special Olympics since 1989. Bob received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Westfield State in 2010.

1974 Sister Marguerite Patient, a Sister of Providence, celebrated her 70-year jubilee during a Mass of Thanksgiving on June 10 at Providence Place in Holyoke. Sister Cecelia McGrath, a diamond jubilarian with 60 years of service, also earned credits from Westfield State.

1977 Katherine Pedersen has been selected as the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission’s new executive director. Katherine served as the assistant executive director with the commission since 2006 and became acting director in May 2011.

1979 Kathleen Barrett, Ed.D., has been promoted to associate professor of counselor education with tenure in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn. Kathleen earned her bachelor’s degree from Westfield State.

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C la s s N o t e s 1980


The White House has named Cindy Coughlin a Physical Activity Champion of Change. Thirteen teachers nationwide were scheduled for recognition, as part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” health initiative. A graduate of Cathedral High School and Westfield State, Cindy has been a physical education teacher in Springfield for 15 years, the past seven at Alice B. Beal Elementary School in Springfield. She and her husband were flown to Washington, D.C., where she accepted her award.

Bob Culkeen has been named station manager of WILL television and radio at Illinois Public Media. Before taking his position at WJCT in 1998, Bob had been assistant director of video services and distance learning at Westfield State University and chief videographer at WUFT in Gainesville, Fla.

1987 Christopher Donelan has been elected sherriff of Franklin County. A lifelong resident of Orange, he attended Orange public schools and then continued his education at Westfield State, where he received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

1988 Barry Thunberg has been named the new controller for Linder’s Inc., a used car dealership and automotive parts recycling yard in Worcester.

1990 Jeffery Brown, director of Hampden County Lawyers for Justice, has been named partner. He was previously a partner in the Greenfield firm of MacNicol, Tombs and Brown.


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1997 Michael Flynn, a math and science teacher at Southampton’s William E. Norris elementary school, is leaving his job to become associate director of the Summer Math for Teachers program at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. Michael, 37, of Northampton, has been teaching second graders at the William E. Norris School for 14 years. He has earned numerous accolades including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2010, the National Education Association Foundation’s Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009, and was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in 2008. In the new post at Mount Holyoke, Michael will lead development seminars for current math teachers as well as teach two undergraduate math instruction courses each semester. In an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, he said: “The focus should be on teacher training. The deeper their knowledge of math and their understanding of how kids learn math, the better they’ll be at teaching it.”

2004 Worcester State head coach Mat Lemaire has been selected by his peers from around the region as

the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association New England Women’s Coach of the Year for helping to guide the Lancers to an outstanding showing during the 2011-12 indoor track postseason. This past fall, Mat was also honored as the Turfer MASCAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year as the Blue and Gold placed second to tie for their second-best performance at the meet.

double life, and he must choose which road he wants to follow. It deals with issues of gay and lesbian rights and the fight to stay as, “who you are.”


2005 Tam Pham and her husband, Glenn Hartmann, were recently featured in The Republican on their unique story of how they met, married and now work together to help Vietnamese college and university students. They now produce “Viet Fest,” a Vietnaminspired food, music and dance festival, and “Taste of the Caribbean Music Festival” on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College.

2007 Alberto Carlos Peart runs an independent and growing production company, JYA (I AM) Productions. They produce a collaboration of experimental dance and contemporary pieces focusing on the journey through life perspectives and views. Through drama, reality, comedy and movement, they try to communicate the everyday lives and dreams that people hold. JYA Productions is currently working on a project called “Sorry” about the struggles and battles that some young adults struggle with, including the pressure to fit in and have an identity. The protagonist of the story is living a

Matthew Dellea, a member of the residence life staff at Westfield State University, was named Circle K’s “Outstanding Faculty Advisor” for 2011-2012. Matt was co-president of the Circle K Club in 2010-11. He receives this honor in his very first year as a Circle K faculty advisor.

2011 Mary Cafferty has been awarded a $5,000 PKP Graduate Fellowship. She will be attending the Creative Writing English Department MFA program at the University of Texas at Austin. Mary was chosen for one of 56 fellowships out of a qualified pool of 191 nominees.

2012 Michael Brill has been selected to participate in the 2012 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program for Arabic study in Amman, Jordan. CLS is a program of the United States Department of

State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and offers intensive summer language institutes abroad in 13 critical need foreign languages for summer 2012. CLS institutes provide fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and cultural enrichment activities for seven to 10 weeks for students who are U.S. citizens. CLS is highly competitive. There were over 5,200 applicants for the 2012 program. From the applicant pool, 621 students were selected. Michael was also selected to the CLS Program for 2011 and spent eight weeks studying Arabic in the Persian Gulf nation of the Sultanate of Oman. During his undergraduate studies at Westfield State University, Michael has taken five semesters of Arabic in the Department of World Languages with Professor Brahim Oulbeid. Professor Oulbeid, a native of Morocco, also teaches

French courses at the University. Upon his return to the United States, Michael’s future plans include applying for a Fulbright Scholarship for research in the Middle East and to graduate programs for history and Middle Eastern Studies.

Tyler Humphrey wanted to make his commencement experience an extra-special one. On May 19 after receiving his degree, Tyler got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Emily Russell ’09, M ’12, resulting in an exciting day for all.

Rob Larose spent his last semester as an intern for a unique nonprofit organization called World Team Sports. World Team Sports is an organization that grants disabled and non-disabled U.S. citizens the opportunity to accomplish goals that are “beyond what is thought possible.” One of the organization’s largest journeys is the Sea to Shining Sea Ride, which is an incredible trek across the United States on road bicycles. The most astonishing part of this ride is that the participants are disabled U.S. veterans. Twenty veterans have been chosen via application to show the world that despite their disabilities, there are

no boundaries and nothing can hold them back from the things they put their hearts into. Rob’s application as an intern for the Sea to Shining Sea Ride was accepted, and he has been granted the opportunity to aid these veterans in this experience. His enthusiasm for this journey is incredible, and he looks forward to representing Westfield State University on this ride across the United States. The 3,500 mile ride starts on Memorial Day, May 28, in San Francisco, Calif., and ends on July 28 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Corrections Charles Smith ’60 was incorrectly listed in the spring 2012 edition of Focus as deceased. We apologize for the inconvenience. Kyle Piazza ’05 passed away on Oct. 30, 2011.

Celebration of Philanthropy Dinner The dedication of the Scanlon Living Room as the John and Celeste Loughman Living Room highlighted the Westfield State Foundation’s Celebration of Philanthropy Dinner on May 12, as the living room was named in honor of their generous estate gift to the Foundation. The $300,000 gift supports a scholarship in the English department, as well as the library and Westfield Fund. Celeste Loughman was a longtime professor of English at Westfield State who retired in 1998 and passed away in 2007. “Stepping Up” was the theme for the evening. Those in attendance were thanked for their thoughtfulness in stepping up to support the University, and it was noted that the Westfield State Foundation plans to further “Step Up” its efforts to engage private support from alumni, parents and friends under the direction of new executive director Donald M. Bowman. Robert Johnson ’70, the president and CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts, emceed the evening for invited guests, including the Foundation’s most generous and dedicated donors. Alumni, Foundation board members, trustees, faculty and staff and members of the greater Westfield community mingled during the sumptuous cocktail reception and surf and turf dinner, which was donated by the Sodexo Dining Service. Guests also enjoyed a performance by the University’s student a capella vocal group, the Night Owls, and a champagne and chocolate reception in the Loughman Living Room. n Photos: (above right) Westfield Bank president Jim Hagan ’84 (at right) shares a laugh with retired United Bank vice-president Bob Piper ’61. (Bottom right) A birthday cake was a surprise at the end of the evening for Foundation Board Chairman Bing Carey ’65, with his wife, Eileen. F O C U S M AG AZ I N E • FALL 2 0 1 2


Advancement and University Relations Westfield State University Westfield, MA 01086-1630

Colonel Timothy Alben ’84, is sworn in by Gov. Deval Patrick as the new superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. The ceremony was held at Westfield State on August 16, 2012.

Fall FOCUS 2012  

Westfield State Alumni Magazine

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