WCSU News

WCSU names Hospice CEO Cynthia Roy Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year

image of Cynthia Emiry Roy

Cynthia Emiry Roy

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will recognize Cynthia Emiry Roy, president and CEO of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in Danbury, with the 2019 Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Roy has applied her entrepreneurial career exclusively to nonprofits, armed with the same drive and skills exhibited by successful business owners.

Her current project – directing construction of the Regional Hospice Center for Comfort Care and Healing, which opened in 2015, and running the highly successful operation – set a new standard for the way hospice care is offered not only in Connecticut, but across the country.

“Cynthia’s long resume of work with nonprofits and her drive to do something never before achieved in Connecticut, will convince anyone that the skills and drive expressed by business entrepreneurs are the same needed to make nonprofits successful,” said Dr. David Martin, dean of WCSU’s Ancell School of Business, which administers the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The award will be presented at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The award is given annually to recognize local business leaders whose drive, intelligence and creativity lead to notable business success. The program’s benefactor is Constantine “Deno” Macricostas, the founder of Photronics Inc., in Brookfield, who is a longtime supporter of WCSU and its students.

Roy had been the executive director of another hospice in Connecticut for nine years when, in 2007, the board of directors at the Regional Hospice offered her the president and CEO job at Regional Hospice.

“I told the board, ‘I will come to work for you if you let me build a hospice inpatient center — one like you have never seen before!’” Roy recounted. She had learned that not all hospice care was suitable in hospitals or home. For some people at the end of life, a center that could assess and handle their special medical needs and help family members cope with emotional and spiritual needs all at the same time was the best solution. Connecticut had almost no options for patients and Roy knew from her travels around Connecticut and other states that no other facility met the best-practice standards she could build.

The Regional Hospice board of directors agreed and Roy set about her task. First, she had to change state hospice inpatient regulations, which didn’t represent best practice in end-of-life care. The original law from 1977 required a drinking fountain and a phone booth to be within a short distance of every hospice patient’s room and didn’t include any best-practice, evidence-based research within the regulations.

Roy had to find a location and raise money as well. “We didn’t have a $10 million donor,” she said. “Our average gifts were $400 each.” She identified a piece of land that was wooded and quiet, but is within half-a-mile of Exit 2 on Interstate-84 for easy access.

Operators of another hospice in the state lobbied against the change in regulations in order to blunt Roy’s attempt to construct a building. She spent several years engaging state and federal legislators before Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the reworked law in 2012.

Finally, Roy was able to hire an architect to design the building.

“I knew exactly what I wanted and I knew no one had done it before. We could do something really special,” Roy said. “I didn’t want it to look like a hospital. I wanted it to feel like home. It is the last home for most of the people who come here. We created an experience that is unforgettable.”

Roy has grown the organization from a small business to an $18 million corporation. The 36,000-square-foot building, which cost $14 million, offers 12 patient suites, each with space for family members to sleep, gourmet catering service from the kitchen, a library, chapel, a spa and a playground for children, as well as administrative offices. It is a fully licensed specialty care hospital and the only facility of its kind in Connecticut. It is getting state and national recognition from other health care providers. In addition to the center, Regional Hospice and Palliative Care also provides hospice care in four counties to people in homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

Many people who work in hospice care have had a personal experience with loss that makes them passionate about the calling. As a teenager, Roy lost a best friend to leukemia. The experience of losing and caring for someone who was terminally ill changed her life. Sadly, she had a number of other significant losses that changed her view on dying with dignity.

The difficult experience gave Roy a personal understanding about end-of-life care and decisions the patient and family must consider. At the same time, Roy said, she approaches her position as a job that involves many of the same tasks as any corporate, for profit, business.

“Our business culture is very important because we are working with families and patients at very difficult times in their lives while juggling the expenses of health care,” Roy said. “If you make a mistake at the end of life, people never forget that memory. You don’t get another chance to do it right.”

Roy expects everyone who works at the hospice agency to have the same commitment to service and mission that she does.

“The expectations of care are high here,” Roy said. “People have to believe wholeheartedly in our mission, or they won’t work here. People have to bring positive energy, love and compassion to our care.”

At the same time, she concentrates on nourishing the staff. A Reiki specialist and aromatherapist are brought in regularly, and employees are treated to social events.

Roy previously worked with the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Buoniconti Fund, the fundraising arm of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Roy completed her clinical internship training at St. Vincent’s Psychiatric Hospital. While at Columbia University, she also worked with a United Nations non-government organization, International Committee on Aging.

She received a Master in Science majoring in social work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science from Boston University. She holds an accreditation as both a home care manager and hospice administrator. In September 2013, Roy was appointed to the governor’s Palliative Care Advisory Council. She presented the 2017 Macricostas Lecture on “Entrepreneurship in the Nonprofit World,” at WCSU.

The prestigious Young Professionals Organization invited Roy to join the CEO group in 2016. Membership is for leaders younger than 45 who run companies larger than $18 million. Her fellow members, nearly all of whom are men, discuss and look for solutions to most of the same issues Roy faces every day: questions about payroll, staffing, capital projects, short- and long-term investments and profit and loss concerns.

None of the rest of them, however, come face-to-face with death as part of the job.

“I’m on a different path, spiritually and professionally, to do this work,” Roy said. “People think running a nonprofit is easy, not like a regular business. But it is a health care business, with tremendous meaning and profound privilege.”

Reservations for the luncheon may be made by calling (203) 837-8486 or visiting www.wcsu.edu/ia/entrepreneur/.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

‘Sip & Sketch’ evening at WCSU pairs art with wine and refreshments

Guests of all artistic levels invited to participate in March 22 event

DANBURY, CONN. — An entertaining and creative evening that pairs the experience of drawing from a live model with wine and refreshments will be offered in the “Sip and Sketch” series event to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 2019, at Western Connecticut State University.

Guests of all artistic skill levels are invited to create original drawings as they enjoy wine and assorted snacks during the “Sip and Sketch” evening in the Drawing Studio, Room 241 of the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The admission fee includes refreshments as well as basic art supplies including charcoal and paper. Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own drawing supplies if they wish.

The ticket fee is $25 for general admission, or $20 for WCSU alumni who may obtain the discount code by email correspondence to robeaul@wcsu.edu or coladarcie@wcsu.edu.

Admission to the event is open to adults 21 years of age and older. Tickets may be purchased online at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com. The “Sip and Sketch” series is sponsored by the Department of Art and the WCSU Alumni Association.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

WCSU Master of Fine Arts students to exhibit works at VPAC Gallery

Opening reception on March 28, exhibition to run from March 29 through April 8

DANBURY, CONN. — Eight Western Connecticut State University graduate student candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree in 2019 will present their works in the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition running from Friday, March 29, through Monday, April 8, 2019, in the Art Gallery at the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

An opening reception, co-sponsored by the university’s Department of Art and the WCSU Alumni Association, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, 2019, at the gallery. Viewing hours during the exhibition will be from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission will be free to the reception and the exhibition, and the public is invited.

The Department of Art organizes the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition each spring as a capstone experience demonstrating the personal artistic direction and mastery of candidates for the M.F.A. in Visual Arts, expressed in the works they present for viewing. The M.F.A. is the terminal degree for practicing professional artists. The following M.F.A. students will show their works in this year’s exhibition:

  • image of Jujuh Mass by Dee Rose Barba

    Jujuh Mass by Dee Rose Barba

    Dee Rose Barba, of New Haven. Barba, who was born in California and grew up in Stamford, earned B.A. degrees in Interior Design and Studio Art from the University of New Haven. Her two- and three-dimensional works incorporate a variety of mediums including oil on canvas and wood, pen on paper, and clay. A keen awareness of her surrounding environment inspires works that feature figurative expressionism, non-representational forms and exaggerated landscapes. Barba has shown her works in the City-Wide Open Studios festival of Artspace in New Haven and at Art Helix Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Her WCSU thesis exhibit includes an installation of clay figures mounted on fragmented tree trunks.

 

 

 

  • Brett Colon, of New Windsor, New York. A native of northeastern Connecticut, Colon holds a Bachelor of
    image of Untitled (gourds) by Brett Colon

    Untitled (gourds) by Brett Colon

    Fine Arts in Illustration/Animation as well as a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut. Working primarily in watercolor paint and dip pen ink, she explores the boundaries of expression and precision to depict the ambiance of the scene as well as the appearance of the subject. Colon has exhibited at venues in Dutchess County, New York, and across Connecticut, including her artwork for the 2018 Women Composers Festival in Hartford. She also is an instructor for piano and guitar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • image of Time for Bed by Brian Ferreira

    Time for Bed by Brian Ferreira

    Brian Ferreira, of Bethel.  Recipient of a B.A. in Illustration at WCSU, Ferreira is a U.S. Army veteran with a wife who remains on active military duty. Employing his artistic skills during his deployment to create murals, logos and platoon shirts, he returned to WCSU to pursue an M.F.A. with specialization in illustration for children’s books. His focus on stories about children with special needs has been inspired by his son’s diagnosis with autism. “It’s never easy to fit in when it comes to meeting new people, even more so for those with disabilities,” he said. “I want to help younger people learn to see through others’ unique behaviors and truly find the person, passions and motivations inside.”

 

 

  • Greg Mursko, of Watertown. Recipient of a B.A. from WCSU and an M.F.A. in Advertising and Graphic
    image of Alfred Hitchcock by Greg Mursko

    Alfred Hitchcock by Greg Mursko

    Design from Syracuse University, Mursko garnered numerous professional honors over the span of a distinguished three-decade career in marketing and design including three Ozzie and five Gold Ink awards as well as recognition at the International Festival of Fashion Photography at Cannes, France. He currently serves as an adjunct arts instructor at Naugatuck Valley Community College. His thesis work in illustration features two series of mixed media and digital images addressing the themes “Matrixing: A Study in Stone” and “The Seven Deadly Sins.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • image of Self Loyalty by Mildred Paulino

    Self Loyalty by Mildred Paulino

    Mildred Paulino, of Danbury. Paulino, who earned her B.F.A. from Paier College of Art, has worked recently in oils on gesso board and plexiglass as well as charcoal and graphite on paper. She paints and draws from direct observation, exploring themes of identity and family in portraits that convey powerful stories about personal relationships. She has participated in the City-Wide Open Studios festival in New Haven and in exhibitions at the Silo Gallery in New Milford and Mercurial Gallery in Danbury. She currently serves as an art instructor at Hudson Country Montessori School in Danbury.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Dee Dee Perrone, of Ridgefield. Perrone earned a B.S. degree from Wesley College and enjoyed success
    image of Stifled by Dee Dee Perrone

    Stifled by Dee Dee Perrone

    in a previous career as a graphic designer before taking up painting. Inspired by masters such as Casper David Friedrich and Andrew Wyeth, she paints still-life and figurative works that capture moods and emotions, seeking through brush stroke, texture and color to echo feelings evoked by memory and passing moments. She applies multiple layers of oil paint to convey movement and change over time, leaving a history on the canvas. Her works have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York and the Art and Frame Gallery in Danbury. “After working in advertising and digital art,” Perrone said, “my expression in oil paint can now be my own.”

 

 

 

 

  • image of Philippines, Hong Kong & Macau by Rima Rahal

    Philippines, Hong Kong & Macau by Rima Rahal

    Rima Rahal, of Danbury. A native of Delmar in upstate New York, Rahal holds dual B.F.A. degrees in Illustration and Graphic Design as well as a master’s in Visual Art Education from Lesley University. Her detailed, dry-layered watercolor paintings offer reflections upon her Lebanese heritage and draw inspiration from her father’s professional trade as a jeweler. Over the past decade, she has exhibited in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts as well as China and Turkey. She has visited 30 countries and has taught visual art in Beijing and Istanbul. Her selections for the WCSU thesis exhibition have been inspired by her travels around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Andrea Rios, of New Milford. Recipient of B.A. degrees in Painting and Illustration from WCSU, Rios is a
    image of The Mushroom in the Rain by Andrea Rios

    The Mushroom in the Rain by Andrea Rios

    professional illustrator who uses various mediums including scratchboard, watercolor, ink and gouache to tell stories that connect diverse peoples and cultures. She specializes in illustration for children’s books and has explored classical and contemporary folk tales from around the world, drawing parallels between the values and beliefs held by foreign cultures with those held by Americans. “I love the power of narratives and how they lead us to empathize and learn and connect with each other,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

‘Scholars in Action’ panel April 2 to highlight WCSU faculty research

Provost to moderate discussion featuring six university faculty members

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will present six WCSU faculty members in a discussion of their recent scholarly work at the forum, “Scholars in Action: Acts of Violence, Acts of Grace,” at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

The panel discussion will be in Room 127 of White Hall. Admission will be free and the public is invited. Reservations to attend are requested; RSVP confirmations may be sent to the Office of the Provost at cunninghamj@wcsu.edu.

The panelists will include Dr. Jay Brower, associate professor and chair of the Communication and Media Arts Department; Dr. Brian Clements, professor of Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process; Dr. Deneen Harris, assistant professor and chair of the Social Work Department; Dr. Karen McLean, assistant professor of Social Work; Dr. George Kain, professor and chair of the Division of Justice and Law Administration; and Dr. Greg Haynes, assistant professor of Music. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Missy Alexander will moderate the panel.

Following are the topics that the panelists will discuss in their presentations:

  • Dr. Jay Brower will present “Watching Death on Screen.” His talk will explore how violence and scenes of death saturate the media as commonplace subjects, from a favorite character’s coup de grace on “The Walking Dead” to broadcast news reports on natural disasters. Brower will seek to explain how such mediated death becomes an element of viewers’ environment and why it captures their attention. He will also explore how the individual can restore an appropriate sense of violent death as a brutal and unjust event, and assert an ethics of witnessing in an age where aestheticized violence shapes the media landscape.
  • Dr. Brian Clements will discuss “Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence,” drawing upon his three-part research project that has brought together voices from across the nation to speak about gun violence that killed nearly 40,000 last year in the United States. The first part of his project has collected an anthology of poems about the many varieties of gun violence and stories from survivors, activists and leaders. In the second part, the project seeks to organize events nationwide to extend the conversation about gun violence to communities in every state. The third part aims to facilitate global exchanges about the subject through the website, https://bulletsintobells.com, providing an online forum for poems, essays, videos, interviews, survivor testimony and other information about gun violence. “The goals of this project are to give those most affected by gun violence in the United States a microphone, to educate the public about the frequency and effects of gun violence, and to motivate the public to action to reduce gun violence in the United States,” Clements observed.
  • Dr. Deneen Harris and Dr. Karen McLean will provide an overview of their current research project to educate social work students about the need for self-care and the impact on social workers of empathetic engagement with clients’ trauma. Their research seeks to explore the relationship between race and trauma exposure. Harris and McLean have designed a 90-minute workshop and accompanying training manual to engage participants in self-care, delivering content through a variety of techniques including videos, role playing, small group discussions and experiential activities.
  • Dr. George Kain will discuss “An Eye for an Eye: Retributive or Restorative?” based on a book chapter which he co-authored with Dale Recinella in “The Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment,” published in 2017. The authors’ article found that biblical quotations commonly cited to justify capital punishment in fact have a meaning far different from the interpretations often used to support a vengeance-based theory of retribution. In a subsequent paper that evolved from the book chapter, Kain examined how retribution is presented in criminal justice textbooks for university programs, and concluded that many authors of these texts need to correct their definitions of the term to reflect a more accurate representation of what retribution is and what it is not.
  • Dr. Greg Haynes will present “Peace Intermezzo,” a piece that he composed as part of a Percussive Arts Society initiative to provide beginning and intermediate percussionists with minute-long instructional etudes on a variety of percussion instruments. “Peace Intermezzo,” which is most easily considered in E-minor, consists of a simple melody harmonized over five phrases in a form reminiscent of an open-ended rounded binary. The composition creates a short vibraphone solo with a long melodic line and full harmony using two mallets, two textures and a few dampening techniques. The score details vibraphone pedaling as it should be performed and employs mallet dampening to enable the player to preserve the continuity of a melodic line without cutting out the harmony or allowing tone clusters to build up around the moving parts. Haynes said he encourages students “to perform it as a breath of fresh air or a moment of peace amongst the larger concerns of life and music.”

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU offers High School Summer Arts Intensive program

Workshops feature photography, steel-pan music and musical theatre instruction

Image of Summer Arts Intensive posterDANBURY, CONN. — The School of Visual and Performing Arts at Western Connecticut State University will offer secondary school students three workshop opportunities to enrich their arts education in the High School Summer Arts Intensive program from Wednesday, July 17, through Friday, July 19, 2019, at WCSU.

Students who will enter grades 9 through 12 this fall are invited to register for one of three separate workshops providing intensive three-day immersion in the fields of photography, steel-pan music and musical theatre. Each workshop will feature instruction by professionals in the arts who will conduct sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Each intensive session will conclude with a final workshop presentation on July 19.

Class capacity is limited to 16 students for each workshop. Early-bird registration is available through April 15 at a rate of $195 per student, with regular registration at a rate of $245 continuing from April 16 to July 1 or until workshop capacity is reached. All registrations must be submitted online at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.

The High School Summer Arts Intensive program is presented by the Art, Music and Theatre Arts departments of the School of Visual and Performing Arts. Professionals in the arts will conduct these workshops as part of the summer program:

  • Photography Intensive: Participants will be immersed in various forms of film and digital image-making through a hands-on introduction to early photographic history and photographic processes. Instruction will cover diverse topics including cyanotypes, pinhole cameras, paper negatives, and both wet and digital darkroom techniques.
  • Steel Pan Intensive: Participants will receive an introduction to Caribbean music and the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, the steel pan. Students will learn performance techniques, lead sheet harmonization, music reading and improvisation. The workshop will conclude with student performance in a brief concert.
  • Musical Theatre Intensive: Participants will explore musical theatre acting, choreography and singing. Instruction will include rehearsal and presentation of monologues as well as performance of various genres of dance and musical theatre.

For more information, contact Lori Robeau at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU celebrates Women’s History Month with two talks by award-winning director/producer

image of Kirsten Kelly

Kirsten Kelly

DANBURY, CONN. – Western Connecticut State University will celebrate Women’s History Month with a pair of presentations by Emmy Award-winning director Kirsten Kelly on Wednesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 21, 2019. These events will be free and the public is invited.

Kelly will screen the award-winning documentary, “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” a film by Nancy Buirski, as part of Odyssey Impact’s national impact campaign, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, in Room 122 of White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The film will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Kelly, who is a senior producer at Transform Films, which released “The Rape of Recy Taylor.”

On Thursday, March 21, Kelly will screen clips and discuss her current documentary project about women’s work during WWII at 11 a.m., also in Room 122 of White Hall on the Midtown campus.

“This is an amazing opportunity to meet an important female director,” said Marcy May, co-chair of the WCSU Department of History and Non-Western Cultures. “And even better, Kelly’s focus on women workers of World War II, those ‘Rosie the Riveters,’ offers us a great way to explore women’s contributions to our society.”

Kelly’s work has focused not only on the contributions of women in society, but also the difficulties they face.

“The Rape of Recy Taylor” retells the trauma Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old black mother and sharecropper, faced when she was gang raped by six white boys in 1944 Alabama. According to the film’s website, sexual violence like this happened commonly in the Jim Crow South and few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor: She bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent its rape investigator Rosa Parks to Alabama, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice.

According to the website, the film also exposes the legacy of physical abuse inflicted upon black women and reveals Rosa Parks’ intimate role in Taylor’s story. An attempted rape against Parks was just one inspiration for her own ongoing fight for justice for countless women like Taylor, and Parks’ well-known 1955 bus boycott was the result of decades of activism, not the beginning.

More and more women now speak up after being assaulted. “The Rape of Recy Taylor” shines a light on the black women who spoke up when the danger to do so was as its greatest; it was their noble efforts to reclaim control of their bodies that paved the way for today’s generation of activists. The 2017 Women’s March and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement are directly linked to their courage.

 For more information about “The Rape of Recy Taylor” and to view the trailer, visit www.therapeofrecytaylor.com.

Kelly received the 2015 Emmy Award for News and Documentary film as director, writer, cinematographer and producer with Anne DeMare for “The Homestretch,” which documents the lives of three homeless Chicago teenagers as they struggle to complete their high school degrees and transition to what lies beyond. Terrance Ross of The Atlantic praised the film for its “authentic, no-frills portrayal of what it means to be young and homeless in America.”

Kelly has twice been nominated as a director for the Helen Hayes Award, and has directed theater productions in Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and off-Broadway in New York City. She is also an arts educator and is the director and co-creator of CPS Shakespeare, a highly acclaimed program that works with Chicago public high school students at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which was awarded the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by Michelle Obama at the White House. Kelly is a graduate of Juilliard’s Master Directing program where she received the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and is a member of Rising Phoenix Repertory in New York.

These Women’s History Month events are sponsored by the WCSU Office of Diversity and Equity, the Office of the Dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences, the departments of English, Communication, History and Non-Western Cultures, Social Sciences and the American Studies program.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU-Ridgefield film collaboration highlights tick risk management

Family-oriented ‘Tick Control Gets Reel’ to premiere April 10 at Ridgefield Playhouse

Image of Tick Control Gets Reel cast and crew

Pictured (l-r) during filming on location are the cast and crew of “Spray Safe, Play Safe: Tick Control Gets Reel” including:
Back row, standing: Zac Whitlock, Keith Purdie, Peter Puccio, Liam Flaherty, Thor Manley, Amy Pal, Magnus Manley, Scott Volpe, Neeta Connally, Rayda Krell, Rob Zajac, Elena Zajac, Jennifer Reid, Vicki Hornbostel, Dan Buser, Danielle Marcone, Brittany Schappach
Front row, kneeling: Hazel Connally, Christopher Narciso, Celeste Garguilo, Kristin Quell-Garguilo, Aurora Garguilo, Roseann Capanna-Hodge, Sandra Zapata-Ramirez

DANBURY, CONN. — A series of original film shorts presented by the Western Connecticut State University Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory in cooperation with the Town of Ridgefield Health Department to promote safe practices in preventing tick bites will premiere in a family-oriented event from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 E. Ridge Road in Ridgefield.

“Spray Safe, Play Safe: Tick Control Gets Reel” will screen five film shorts, directed by WCSU Associate Director of Media Services and Instructional Technology Scott Volpe, that showcase healthy and effective practices in residential settings for control of tick populations and prevention of Lyme and other tickborne diseases. The films provide a wealth of science-based information about tick management and safe use of pesticides, presented in a story line that casts local residents in featured roles.

The screening event also will feature a tick-safe fashion show, photo ops with “Fran the Tick,” refreshments and giveaways. Admission is free and the public is invited; advance registration is required to obtain tickets. To register and for more information, visit www.spraysafeplaysafe.org. Sponsors include the TDPL, the Ridgefield Health Department, the Western Connecticut Health Network and Lyme Connection.

The film series has been produced as part of “Spray Safe, Play Safe,” a collaborative project of the TDPL and the Ridgefield Health Department funded by a $25,000 Heathy Communities Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project team includes TDPL Director and Associate Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Neeta Connally; Jennifer Reid, coordinator of the Ridgefield Health District BLAST Lyme and Tickborne Disease Prevention Program; Integrated Tick Management Research Study Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Rayda Krell; and “Stay Safe, Play Safe” Project Coordinator Vicki Hornbostel. Film production expertise was provided by Volpe and staff at the WCSU Department of Media Services, with publicity support from Associate Professor of Art Jack Tom and art major Rachel Rossier.

The film shorts, each approximately three to five minutes in length, begin with a bus stop conversation among volunteer community actors portraying roles including a tick doctor, a mother fearful of ticks, her son unconcerned over tick risk, a newcomer to the area and a resident concerned over the environmental impact of pesticide use. The next two shorts present interactions between the tick doctor and local residents about tick behavior, tick-borne disease prevention measures ranging from personal protection and landscape modifications to chemical spraying, and practical information about safe pesticide use.

In the fourth video, the tick doctor reports on her experience in shopping at a local garden center for pesticides that are safe for the environment and effective in managing backyard tick populations. The final film in the series opens with the newcomer imagining in a dream sequence that she is conducting a “Bachelor/Bachelorette” style interview with pest management professionals to make a “tick manager” connection, before she awakens to a closing discussion at a block party with the entire neighborhood cast.

Connally observed that the films’ informal story-telling approach to communicating science-based information about tick risk management reflects a recognition that families with young children have a particular need to understand how to lower the risk of tickborne disease transmission.

“The reason we’re targeting this population is that the greatest number of cases of Lyme disease occur in children under 12,” she said. “Sometimes translating the science behind prevention can be difficult for homeowners and can be particularly scary for parents who want to keep their families safe. We hope our story-based film series can help clear up some of that confusion and alleviate some of the fears.”

Krell noted the films place special emphasis on appropriate products and applications for safe chemical spraying because studies have found that this prevention strategy is an area where community education is most needed. “Not every yard needs to be sprayed,” she said. “But when this is the right thing to do, you need to know what to use, when and where to use it, and how to do it safely. We want people to have good and reliable information based on research and science.”

Beyond the Ridgefield Playhouse premiere event, the objective of the “Spray Safe, Play Safe” project collaborators is to make the film shorts widely available to the public so that scientifically based information will guide individual action on tick management. Connally explained that wider dissemination of such guidance is especially important as species of disease-bearing ticks continue to expand from the Northeast to other geographic regions in the United States.

“We hope that as a result of these videos, people will feel more confident about making informed choices in decisions about controlling ticks in their backyards,” she said.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU Observatory to offer spring planetarium shows & sky viewings

Saturday evening programs scheduled from March 23 through May 18

Image of WCSU telescopeDANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host evening shows and viewings of planetary and stellar objects during public nights from March 23 through May 18, 2019, at the WCSU Planetarium and Observatory on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The five Saturday evening presentations will include a one-hour planetarium show followed by telescope viewing of prominent features in the night sky including the moon, Mars and prominent star systems, clusters and nebulae visible during the spring months. The WCSU Observatory, located atop a hill near Pinney Hall, offers viewings through a 20-inch, computer-controlled Ritchey-Chretien reflector telescope.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Limited parking is provided adjacent to the observatory, with more extensive parking available on University Boulevard. Planetarium shows are appropriate for adults and older children, and will be canceled only in the event of hazardous road conditions or severe weather that would pose a safety risk. The viewing period will not be offered during public nights when cloud cover prevents sky observations. For updates to confirm plans for a scheduled public night, call (203) 837-8672 on the day of the event.

Following is the schedule of WCSU Planetarium and Observatory public nights, with the most prominent visible objects listed in the order of their celestial appearance during the viewing period for the evening:

  • March 23: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include Mars, the Pleiades star cluster, the Orion Nebula and the waning gibbous moon.
  • April 13: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the star Castor, the moon just past first quarter and the binary star Algieba.
  • April 27: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Algieba, the carbon star Y Canum Venaticorum (Y CVn), the double star Mizar and Alcor, and the M44 star cluster.
  • May 11: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include the first quarter moon, Mizar and Alcor, Y CVn, the M13 star cluster, the Epsilon Lyrae star system and the Ring Nebula.
  • May 18: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Mizar and Alcor, the full moon, Y CVn and Epsilon Lyrae.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

Lecture series to explore ‘Climate and Human Civilization’

Five weekly talks beginning March 19 to explore climate change impact and costs

image of climate change leture series posterDANBURY, CONN. — The Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies at Western Connecticut State University will host a five-part series of weekly Tuesday lectures by faculty and students from WCSU and Danbury High School about “Climate and Human Civilization” from March 19 through April 16, 2019.

Dr. Mitch Wagener, professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences at WCSU, is the coordinator for this fourth annual series of talks on the subject of climate change. The first three talks will provide scientific evidence of changes in the Earth’s climate and explore various manifestations of its impact including wild fires, natural disasters and species evolution and survival. The final two talks in the series will discuss constructive environmental actions that can be taken at the individual and community levels, and will examine the human costs of climate change.

All lectures will be at 7 p.m. in Room 125 of the Science Building on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend.

The series will begin on March 19 with a presentation on “Climate and Wild Fires” by Wagener and meteorology major Eric Gottier, of Tolland. Subsequent lectures in the series will include:

  • March 26: “Taking the Natural Out of Natural Disaster: Some Historical Questions,” presented by Professor of History and Non-Western Cultures Dr. Joshua Rosenthal and history major Ashley Vairo, of Danbury.
  • April 2: “The Impact of Climate Change on Arthropods,” presented by Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Rayda Krell and biology major Jacob Bethin, of Prospect.
  • April 9: “Simple Things You Can Do,” presented by chemistry teacher Susan DeMattio and students from Danbury High School.
  • April 16: “Human Costs,” presented by Wagener and biology/ecological science major Faizah Karim, of New Milford.

Wagener observed that scientists have an important role to play in communicating effectively with the public about the research-based evidence of climate change and the impact of a warming climate on human activity. “Our goal in this lecture series is to provide the best and most accurate information for the public, so that they may act as informed citizens and make good decisions,” he said. “We want people to know how serious this issue is, but also to leave with a list of things that they can do to help in changing the outcomes.”

For more information, contact Wagener at wagenerm@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

2019 Housatonic Book Awards now accepting submissions

DANBURY, CONN. – The 2019 Housatonic Book Awards, hosted by the Western Connecticut State University Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing program, are now open for submissions. The contest seeks authors and poets to submit their work published in 2018.

Awards include a $1,000 honorarium with an additional $500 travel stipend in exchange for the opportunity to lead a one-day, three-hour writing workshop for M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing students. Winners also will give a public reading during students’ weeklong residency at WCSU.

Genres accepted include fiction, poetry, nonfiction (and all subgenres), middle grade and young adult literature. Winners for nonfiction, middle grade or young adult will appear at the M.F.A. program’s August residency. Winners in fiction and poetry will appear at the January residency.

The submission fee is $25. The application deadline is Friday, June 14.

Contestants can review detailed submission guidelines online at the Housatonic Book Awards website: https://housatonicbookawards.wordpress.com/guidelines/.

Submit work online using the electronic submission portal: https://alumni.wcsu.edu/housatonic-book-awards.

Snail-mail submissions can be sent to: Housatonic Book Awards, WCSU Writing Dept., White Hall 314, 181 White St., Danbury, CT 06810.

A list of previous Housatonic Book Award winners can be found at https://housatonicbookawards.wordpress.com/winners/.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.