WCSU News

Photographer Bruce Dunbar to offer workshop July 15-18 at WCSU

Intensive four-day workshop focuses on alternative photographic processes

image of Roots by Dunbar cyanotype over ink jet

Roots by Dunbar cyanotype over ink jet

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University Adjunct Professor of Art Bruce Dunbar will offer an intensive four-day Alternative Photographic Processes Workshop from July 15 through 18, 2019, at the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The workshop, presented by the WCSU Department of Art, will meet Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Photo Suite in VPAC Room 343. Enrollment is open to the public at a registration fee of $365, including all materials. Class size is limited to 10 students. Advance registration is required and may be completed online through July 8 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alternative-photographic-process-workshop-intensive-tickets-60706359355.

The workshop is recommended for adults who are interested in a hands-on experience exploring the history of photography. Sessions will cover specific historical processes introduced in the 19th century for photographic printing that include cyanotype, Van Dyke brown and Kallitype. Students will learn techniques for application of these processes in working with digital photo negatives.

Recipient of an M.A. in Photography from New York University, Dunbar has shown his photographs and mixed-media works at numerous solo and group exhibitions in Connecticut and New York City. He described his artistic philosophy in combining photography with mixed media as “an attempt at capturing an impression, an inescapable essence of what once was, the invisible force through which matter changes, and the state of flux in which all organic matter is caught.”

In addition to his faculty position at WCSU, Dunbar serves as a photography instructor at the Silvermine School of Art, conducts workshops for the Art Explorer Program at Weir Farm and participates in the arts group Lamia Ink! in New York.

For 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 biologist Mitch Wagener honored as Environmental Champion

Aquarion award cites professor for outreach to educate public about climate change

image of Pictured at the 2019 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards ceremony at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport are (l-r): Danika Wagener, Rita Wagener, Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Mitch Wagener, Biological and Environmental Sciences Department Chair Dr. Pat Boily and Karina Ross.

Pictured at the 2019 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards ceremony at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport are (l-r): Danika Wagener, Rita Wagener, Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Mitch Wagener, Biological and Environmental Sciences Department Chair Dr. Pat Boily and Karina Ross.

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Mitch Wagener has received the 2019 Aquarion Environmental Champion Award for Communications recognizing his wide-ranging efforts over many years to educate the public about the science and consequences of climate change.

At an awards ceremony held June 1, 2019, at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Aquarion Water Company President and CEO Charles Firlotte expressed thanks to Environmental Champion honorees for their “outstanding efforts to protect and enhance Connecticut’s natural resources.” The Communications Award citation noted Wagener’s exemplary contributions in developing and coordinating the “Climate and Human Civilization” program at WCSU, an annual series of free public seminars led by faculty and students to explore the scientific evidence of change in the Earth’s climate and various manifestations of its impact including wild fires, natural disasters and species evolution and survival. An important part of each series has been the presentation of constructive actions that can be taken at the individual and community levels to address environmental, health and sustainability challenges caused by climate change.

Dr. Pat Boily, chair of the Biological and Environmental Sciences Department, credited Wagener’s work in reaching out to WCSU faculty members and students from many academic disciplines as well as teachers and students from Danbury High School to participate in a comprehensive public education program. “Not only have his efforts contributed significantly to educating the public about one of the most important environmental issues of our time, but also in engaging and training many students to communicate to the public about the wide range of consequences associated with climate change,” Boily said.

In his acceptance remarks, Wagener observed that public education about climate change is urgently needed to provide clarity about the difficult environmental choices that confront political leaders and society worldwide. “We are now seeing the effects of the climate crisis,” he said. “This is the world that we have made, but we don’t know how to escape. The youth of the world seem to understand what so many others do not — that climate change changes everything, that the status quo is not survivable.”

The “Climate and Human Civilization” series, sponsored by the Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies at WCSU, represents only part of the extensive schedule that Wagener has maintained for more than two decades in speaking about scientific topics before university and public audiences. During the past three years, he has given more than 50 public talks and guest lectures, including 13 presentations since the beginning of 2019.

Acknowledging support from WCSU and the Goodall Center for his outreach efforts, Wagener observed, “Trying to save the world is a rational act. Choosing not to try to save the world is a clear statement that the Earth has no value, that life has no meaning other than to grasp and accumulate.

“What terrifies me is that at all scales of time that mean something to us and to our children and great-grandchildren, and on for several more generations, climate change is permanent,” he said. “”By standing up and speaking up now, we — the generation largely responsible for the problem — take on some significant inconvenience in order to lessen the pain and desperation of our descendants.”

The annual statewide Environmental Champion Awards are sponsored by Aquarion Water Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eversource. The Bridgeport-based public water supply company serves 52 communities across Connecticut as well as customers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The corporate mission statement notes that Aquarion “strives to act as a responsible steward of the environment and to assist the communities it serves in promoting sustainable practices.”

 

 

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 ‘Election Connection’ production receives prestigious honors

Election night news show cited for excellence in national and international competitions

image of Anchor desk at 2018 Election ConnectionDANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University 2018 production of the annual election night program “Election Connection” has garnered prestigious recognitions from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Interactive Visual Arts.

The Boston/New England chapter of the NATAS chose the WCSU “Election Connection” broadcast as one of three winners earning Honorable Mention for Outstanding University Newscast in this year’s regional competition. The prize citation recognized the contributions of executive producer Dr. JC Barone, professor of Communication and Media Arts; director Samantha Saalborn, of New Fairfield; and student producers Rebecca Burton, of New Milford; Alanna Hill, of Ridgefield; Richard Lee, of New Milford; and Dion White, of Ridgefield.

The AIVA selected the WCSU program as recipient of a 2019 Communicator Award of Distinction for a live video production. The international awards program showcases creative excellence in education, public relations, corporate communications, advertising and broadcasting for productions in video, audio, print, digital and interactive media.

Since its debut in November 2011, “Election Connection” has provided election night coverage of news and results from congressional, state and local contests in western Connecticut, featuring an anchor team of student, faculty and expert commentators and field teams of student reporters at candidate and party headquarters. Thirty-five WCSU students from several academic disciplines participated in the editorial and production crews for the award-winning four-hour program on Nov. 6, 2018. Produced at a studio on the university’s Midtown campus in Danbury, the show aired live on Charter and Comcast Xfinity cable channels and WXCI-91.7 FM and streamed live on the university website.

Barone observed that he created the program “with the purpose of training students and serving the region with balanced news, commentary, analysis and real-time election results.” This year’s honors mark the latest in a series of recognitions for production and editorial excellence over the past eight years that have also included citations from the Telly Awards and the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts.

The ninth annual “Election Connection” edition will feature live coverage of 2019 town and municipal contests as well as analysis of statewide and national electoral issues from 8 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. The election night program and a preview show airing on Tuesday, Oct. 29, will offer multiple viewing, audio and social media platforms on cable networks, radio, YouTube, Facebook and the WCSU website.

 

 

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.

 

 

Retired WCSU professor’s gift of literacy to Zambian school

image of Professor Emeritus of Social Work Dr. Patti Ivry and Professor Emeritus of Education Dr. Darla Shaw with some of the books Shaw donated to Impact Network.

Professor Emerita of Social Work Patti Ivry and Professor Emerita of Education Dr. Darla Shaw with some of the books Shaw donated to Impact Network.

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University Professor Emerita of Education Dr. Darla Shaw has had a collection of nearly 2,000 children’s books at an elementary school in Zambia named in her honor. The Dr. Darla Shaw Children’s Book Collection was donated by Shaw herself in spring 2018 to the education outreach group Impact Network. Shipping expenses for the books were helped by proceeds from the WCSU Social Work Club and Education Club.

Founded in 2009, Impact Network operates in over 40 tuition-free schools, reaching more than 6,000 students across Zambia. Impact Network’s curriculum is monitored by the Board of American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. Reshma Patel, executive director at Impact Network, said that Shaw’s donation will soon have a home in a “mobile library” that will travel around to different schools run by the organization.

“When I first learned of Dr. Shaw’s intentions to donate a wealth of children’s books to Impact Network schools, I was taken aback with her ambitious goal,” Patel said. “Fast-forwarding to now, I am taken aback by how meaningful the donations have been to teachers, students and communities.”

Once completed, the mobile library will allow students to take books out for a week at a time and “broaden the impact of these books to include their whole families,” Patel added.

“Ample community members can profit from the wonders of Dr. Shaw’s generosity,” Patel said.

Shaw said, “This (Impact Network) is such a wonderful project,” and added that the link between WCSU and the organization’s schools in Zambia is an “important connection.”

Patricia Ivry, professor emerita of Social Work and former interim dean of the School of Professional Studies, traveled to Impact Network’s Joel School in the Katete District of Zambia in 2017 with her husband. It was through Ivry that Shaw learned of the schools’ needs and decided to donate.

“Darla is an incredible person, a unique individual,” said Ivry. “Her impressive career as an educator has been distinguished by always putting her students first. She herself is a student of life, traveling extensively to experience world cultures. Thus, her donation of books to rural schools in Zambia is a perfect gift.”

Shaw served as the Language Arts Coordinator for the Ridgefield School System for 38 years, and acted as an educational literacy specialist for the WCSU Education and Educational Psychology department for 25 years. During her tenure, she helped develop organizations such as the Education Club, the Future Teacher’s Club, the Read Across America program, the Danbury History Comes Alive program, the Oral History program with the Senior Citizens in Danbury and the Educational Honor Society Program, the Danbury Cultural Alliance and the Danbury Historical Society, among others.

In addition to her career as an educator, Shaw has been involved with outreach and artistic projects. She has traveled to over 80 countries for humanitarian work speaking on literacy issues. She is also a musician, playing accordion in the Ridgefield Founder’s Hall Band, and steel drums in the Wilton Steel Drum Band.

“We are thrilled to have created a library for our schools to foster a love of reading within our communities, and Dr. Shaw’s donation is what started this,” Patel said.

For more information about Impact Network, visit the organization’s website at www.impactnetwork.org/. 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 wins five Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival national awards

image of (l-r): Sam Rogers, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Alicia Napalitano, of Woodbury, in a scene from "Uncle Vanya."

(l-r): Sam Rogers, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Alicia Napalitano, of Woodbury, in a scene from “Uncle Vanya.”

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Theatre Arts participated in the Region One Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in late January/early February 2019 for the fourth year in a row. The department once again came out strong by staging a well-received performance of the university’s fall 2018 production, “Uncle Vanya,” at Cape Cod Community College that resulted in five national awards.

This year’s awards for “Uncle Vanya” are:

Distinguished Performance in a Play – Jillian Caillouette, of Meriden

Distinguished Performance in a Play – Sam Rogers, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Distinguished Performance in a Play – Caleigh Rose Lozito, of Bristol

Distinguished Achievement in Directing – Professor of Theatre Arts Pam McDaniel

Distinguished Achievement in Stage Management – Katie Girardot, of New Milford

McDaniel, chair of the WCSU Theatre Arts Department and director of “Uncle Vanya,” said the awards are particularly gratifying because it was the first time the university had staged a non-musical production at the regional festival.

“It is such an honor for our students to be nationally recognized for their work on ‘Uncle Vanya,’” McDaniel said. “It is one of the hardest modern classics in the canon and working with our students to meet the challenge with enthusiasm and skill was rewarding as a director. When we traveled to the regional festival, ‘Uncle Vanya’ was the only production from Region One designated as a national entry. It was such a pleasure to once again share the work of our theatre arts program, to receive the expressions of appreciation of the work and to expand the perspective for the diverse genres of theatre that we produce here at WCSU.”

In the past three years, WCSU has received national KCACTF honors for its productions of “Evita,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Parade.”

KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from more than 700 colleges and universities nationwide. Eight regional festivals take place in January and February, with finalists and some award winners advancing to the national festival in April in Washington, D.C. WCSU is part of Region 1, which comprises Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, northeastern New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Western Marketing Association wins multiple awards at international conference

WCSU student organization is in top 10 of 388 international collegiate chapters; ranked No. 1 in New England

(back row, l-r): Jake Nimmo, David Cawley, Anna Adebambo, Alejandro Calderon, Mike Hess, Henry Ruck, Adviser Ron Drozdenko; (front row, l-r): Genesis Hernandez, Natalie Carnazza, Fatima Izzat, Hannah LaFontaine, Caroline Chaves, Adviser Donna Coelho, Allison Frenz

DANBURY, CONN. — The Collegiate Chapter of the American Marketing Association at Western Connecticut State University (WMA) received numerous recognitions for the 11th consecutive year at the AMA 41st Annual International Collegiate Conference held in April 2019 in New Orleans.

The WMA has progressed in the AMA’s rankings of its 388 active collegiate chapters, placing in the top 5 percent each of the past five years based on performance in professional development, social impact and philanthropy, planning, operations and external communications. Most of the other institutions in the top 10 have higher enrollments, such as Penn State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin and Temple University.

Thirteen WMA members represented WCSU at the AMA conference, which assembled approximately 1,600 students from more than 200 universities. This year, WMA was one of the three host chapters for the conference. The WMA chapter earned an invitation based on its conference accomplishments last year as Top Small Chapter of the Year, and made a presentation on building a Top Small Chapter to other chapters in New Orleans. WMA members also participated in competitions, workshops, a career fair and featured talks during the conference. In addition to the top-10 ranking, the WCSU chapter received awards for the following accomplishments: Wall Street Journal Case competition, recruitment video, chapter website, marketing simulation competition, exhibit and Marketing Week activities.

WMA representatives at the New Orleans conference included Caroline Chaves, of New Milford; Jacob Nimmo, Alejandro Calderon, Jennifer Alvarado and Anna Adebambo, of Danbury; Hannah LaFontaine, of Waterbury; Genesis Hernandez and Henry Ruck, of Norwalk; Michael Hess, of Brookfield;  Allison Frenz, of Greenwich; Natalie Carnazza, of Ridgefield; Fatima Izzat, of Bethel; and David Cawley, of Bethlehem.

When asked about her takeaways from the conference, president Caroline Chaves said, “Overall it was an incredible experience to not only compete and win awards for our chapter, but to be able to bring and motivate new underclassmen members to feel that same spark of passion that all of us seniors have for this amazing organization.”

Chapter Advisers Dr. Ronald Drozdenko, chair of the WCSU Marketing Department, and Donna Coelho, adjunct professor of Marketing and director, Ancell Community Impact Collaborative, accompanied the WMA delegation. Coelho also serves on the International Collegiate Council of the American Marketing Association that directs the conference and all collegiate chapter activities in North America.

“Competing on the international level raises the bar for our students,” Coelho said. “Our active members are able to secure jobs because they already have professional experience and skills as a result of their involvement with the AMA.” She added, “Our dean, Dr. David Martin, is a great supporter of Ancell student organizations. The accomplishments of our AMA chapter contribute to the Ancell School’s commitment to Community Social Impact, which is one of the requirements of maintaining our AACSB accreditation.”

With a total membership of 20 students, the WCSU chapter offers a diverse range of opportunities to gain hands-on experience in strategic planning and marketing, conceptualizing and implementing advertising promotions, and interacting with marketing professionals in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. WMA “Think Tank” workshops afford an opportunity for local entrepreneurs and small business owners to brainstorm with WCSU students in designing strategies for marketing, advertising, content creation and other topics. Agency@Ancell, a WCSU student advertising agency managed and staffed by WMA members, has formed teams to work with clients in areas ranging from the music industry to online service organizations. The WMA also co-hosted its second Regional Marketing Conference during the 2019-20 academic year.

WMA community outreach activities have shared students’ marketing skills with nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and a regional organization for young entrepreneurs. Other WMA-sponsored events include the Leader Workshop series, where successful business and nonprofit professionals meet in small group discussions with students; and the annual Marketing Week at WCSU, which includes the popular “Big Idea Competition” that challenges students to present entrepreneurial ideas and inventions to a panel of judges who award a $500 grand prize for the best proposal.

“The accomplishments of our collegiate AMA chapter highlight the quality of our academic program and the engagement of our students outside the classroom,” Drozdenko said. “To achieve this level of excellence our students and advisers invest hundreds of hours on chapter activities throughout the entire year. These efforts have resulted in not only the international recognition, but also life-changing opportunities for our students.”

For more information, contact Drozdenko at drozdenkor@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.

 

 

WCSU/SCSU initiative trains new generation of biodiversity defenders

Master’s program prepares students to take local actions to address global crisis

image of Michelle Bissett and Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Dora Pinou track carp in Candlewood Lake

Michelle Bissett and Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Dora Pinou track carp in Candlewood Lake

DANBURY, CONN. — The sobering warning from a United Nations-backed panel that up to one million plant and animal species face imminent extinction because of human activities has focused attention on the global threat to biodiversity — a challenge that Western Connecticut State University is tackling head-on through science-based training to address the crisis at the grassroots level.

In a collaborative graduate studies program offered through the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, WCSU and Southern Connecticut State University recently introduced the Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity degree. The program seeks to educate students about research methods used to measure the health and diversity of organisms and their environments. Students will learn to apply ecological, molecular and spatial tools to examine, quantify and describe biodiversity. “The Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity requires that all students engage in biodiversity monitoring as a component of stewardship, and learn to communicate the importance of diversity to human health and the conservation of resources,” the mission statement said.

image of WCSU students at Peabody Museum

WCSU students at Peabody Museum

Coordinated by WCSU Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Theodora Pinou, the new M.S. program offers a 30-credit curriculum. Faculty from the WCSU Biological and Environmental Sciences Department and the SCSU Biology and Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences departments participate as course instructors and research mentors. The program has accepted 14 students since its launch in January, and applications received through June 30 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for enrollment this fall.

Pinou explained that the recently released report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has raised public awareness of a crisis in rapidly diminishing species diversity that researchers in the field have recognized as a serious and growing global problem for decades. From the accelerating loss of open land to agricultural and commercial development to the impact of climate change and water scarcity on species survival, the UN-sponsored study has highlighted the many ways in which a growing world population threatens to destroy the fragile natural habitats and ecological balance that sustain global biodiversity.

At the local level, Pinou observed that the biodiversity crisis also has grown more acute as land development isolates remaining open space areas necessary to support the region’s many species of animal and plant life. Land use policies that ignore the importance of preserving natural corridors for pollinators to reach flowering plants and for wildlife to move freely across habitats pose a real threat to the survival of many species now found in Connecticut, she said. “Very few people even know what the level of local biodiversity should be,” she observed, and the environmental impact of diminished diversity “easily escapes us until we realize we have a water and food security problem.”

An important aspect of the biodiversity master’s degree program is to provide the opportunity for M.S. candidates to collaborate with a wide range of corporations, educational institutions, conservation and wildlife organizations and other partners where students can apply their skills and knowledge to real-world experiences in the exploration and monitoring of biodiversity.

“Our program has a required component of stewardship where our students go out to investigate biodiversity problems in the field and learn how the professionals are tackling these issues,” she said. “For example, we have a project in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Norwalk Aquarium looking at diamond back terrapin crossings and road mortality.” The study offers an opportunity to explore how the public need for transportation can be balanced with actions to monitor and preserve this turtle species, she noted.

“We study the global dimensions of the biodiversity problem, and then explore what we can do locally to make policy decisions, rooted in science, that produce measurable changes to improve the situation,” she said.

Pinou remarked that through hands-on research in monitoring species diversity, habitat conservation, environmental threats to organisms and other issues, students will gain valuable experience for future careers that contribute to advancing resilience and sustainability. The program mission statement sets the goal of preparing students for careers in ecosystem management and reclamation, policy and environmental consulting, sustainable business, education and non-government organizations. The program is also appropriate for secondary education teachers interested in obtaining an advanced degree focusing on the ecological, physiological and natural history of biological organisms.

Pinou noted that graduates of the program will gain a deeper scientific understanding of the many factors contributing to biodiversity while also being challenged to apply these lessons cooperatively in the public policy arena. “There is a great need to be trained to understand the scientific data, consider all the stakeholders, listen to everyone’s interests, and address the most important problems collaboratively by building consensus,” she said. “For instance, if we need to develop more land to grow food, how can we do the plantings wisely so that we keep a corridor for animals and insects to move between open habitats?”

Application inquiries should be directed to Pinou at pinout@wcsu.edu. Application requirements and additional details about the program curriculum may be obtained at http://wcsu.edu/biology-msbiodiversity/ and at http://catalogs.wcsu.edu/grad1819/master-of-science-in-integrative-biological-diversity/.

For more information, contact Pinou at pinout@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.

 

 

Several local celebrations of art, innovation and music on June 1 in Danbury

DANBURY, Conn. — The first weekend in June will provide a wide variety of arts, music, food, entertainment, innovation and hands-on opportunities in Danbury. The Fourth annual Art at Ives, Juried Fine Art & Crafts Show will be from 1 to 7:30 p.m. with a concert by flutist Sherry Winston at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2019, at Ives Concert Park on Danbury’s west side. Saturday also will feature CityCenterDanbury’s Street Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. downtown on Main Street, and the Customer Appreciation Fair from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Housatonic Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 51 Austin St. in Danbury.

Habitat’s event is to thank the public for its support of the organization’s 10-year growth. Among the featured activities will be a storewide sale, kids’ crafts, live music, STEM for students activities by Microsoft offering classes all day in Coding with Minecraft, Digital Art with Windows 10 and skills testing in the Xbox Game Zone with six stations. For the littlest shopper, there will be kid crafts offered by Macaroni Kid and custom-painting and antiquing classes for adults.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary of serving the community, CityCenterDanbury’s StreetFestival, presents “A Celebration of Arts & Innovation” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street. Enjoy art, music, games, food and beverages along with fascinating technology and live performances. The festival offers free admission, rain or shine. Main Street will be closed to motor vehicles during the festival.

Newtown Savings Bank presents the Juried Fine Art & Crafts Show at Ives Concert Park on the Western Connecticut State University Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The two-day event on June 1 and 2 will feature high-quality original works from more than 50 artists in a diverse scope of art forms representing every major category. Among the items represented will be one-of-a-kind paintings, mixed media masterpieces, jewelry and wood furnishings. The event will take place rain or shine with gates open from 1 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. A one-day ticket to attend the art show for either day is $5.

On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., The Sherry Winston Band will perform. A ticket to attend the Saturday night concert is $15, and provides entry to the Art at Ives show on Saturday only. Winston, a jazz flutist, has performed alongside many music superstars including Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Vanessa Williams, Sinbad, Patti Austin, Richard Elliott, Ramsey Lewis, Chaka Kahn, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, and Grover Washington Jr.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday will be “Brush and Brunch” at Ives Concert Park. This creative handcraft will involve making 2D decorative relief shapes called “Repousse.” Participate in this activity, enjoy brunch and then shop the artist booths at Art at Ives. Sponsored by The Art Spot, tickets for Sunday admission to the art show plus “Brush and Brunch” are $36.

Children under 16 are admitted free to the art show. Get tickets for the various days and events at www.eventbrite.com/e/art-at-ives-juried-fine-art-crafts-show-featuring-sherry-winston-band-tickets-57738731099.

Ives has partnered with the WCSU Art Department, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Brookfield Craft Center to present this event.

For Art at Ives tickets and information, visit www.ivesconcertpark.com. For Danbury Street Festival information, go to www.citycenterdanbury.com. To learn more about the Customer Appreciation Fair, visit www.facebook.com/pg/DanburyRestore/events.

 

 

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’s 121st Commencement will be ‘family affair’ for Wilton mother and son

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will hold its 121st Commencement exercises at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2019,  at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.

Among the approximately 1,250 degree recipients will be Carole and Chauncey Allers, a mother and son from Wilton. Cheering them on as they receive their bachelor’s degrees will be a sizable entourage that includes Carole’s mother and sister, her husband Andrew, daughter Emily and son Harrison. Also in the Allers’ cheering section will be several of Carole’s closest friends.

As Carole says, Commencement will be “a family affair” for the Allers. It has been that way since she and Chauncey enrolled at WCSU. Harrison is following in the family footsteps as a WCSU student-athlete. He is a sophomore who plays soccer and is studying Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences.

image of Chauncey Allers

Chauncey Allers

Chauncey, 23, was recruited by WCSU’s soccer program to help turn the team around. Up until that point, college hadn’t been high on his priority list.

“When WCSU Soccer Coach Joseph Mingachos contacted me, I realized the true potential I had in the classroom, too,” he said.

An elective class in criminology set Chauncey on a course to pursue of Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration.

Along the way, he was captain of both the Men’s Soccer (2017-19) and Men’s Tennis (2018-19) teams and accumulated an impressive number of athletic awards. Those awards included 2016-18 Little East Conference All-Conference First Team (Men’s Soccer), 2017-18 LEC Offensive Player of the Year (Men’s Soccer) and 2018 LEC All-Conference Doubles First Team (Men’s Tennis). He also is the WCSU record holder for goals in a season (24), goals in a career (59), points in a season (57), points in a career (131) and tied the school record for most goals in a single game (4) for soccer.

image of Carole Allers

Carole Allers

Carole, who took a number of community college classes for several years, said the harsh realities of life ultimately brought her to pursue a bachelor’s degree at WCSU.

“After my husband had cancer, I realized that I needed to prepare for having my own career,” she said. “At the same time, Chauncey was enrolled at WCSU and I began talking to him about his experiences — and making sure that he would be OK going to the same school as his mom. I had met Psychology Department Chair Dr. Shane Murphy, and his background, along with my original plan to study sports psychology, was another big factor in choosing the school.”

Carole’s interest in sports psychology stems from her role with U.S. Soccer, where she “officiated games up to NCAA level and was actively involved in identifying, training, assessing and mentoring young referees — especially females. I thought that a degree in sports psychology would help me with the tools to better help young referees reach their potential. As I took more classes across the department, I was drawn to psychology itself, particularly as it relates to the local community base.”

It took Carole 2 1/2 years to complete her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Community Health, and she is currently finishing a semester at WCSU as a non-matriculated graduate student.

Juggling being a wife, mother and college student would leave many feeling overwhelmed, but that was not the case for Carole. She joined the WCSU Women’s Tennis team and found herself defeating opponents half her age on the court. She is graduating Cum Laude with 3.66 GPA, was initiated in 2018 into the Chi Alpha Sigma Connecticut Eta Chapter, was captain of the Women’s Tennis team (2017-19) and was named 2018 Colonial of the Year. She also was on the LEC Fall All-Academic Team, LEC All-Conference First Team (Doubles) and LEC All-Conference Second Team (Singles) from 2016-18.

When asked about attending WCSU with his mom, Chauncey said, “Sadly, we have never had any classes together. Every now and then, we would meet for a bite in the Westside campus cafeteria and chat. Whenever I would see her walking on campus or vice versa, we would make it publicly known she was my mother and people around us would laugh.”

Why the laughter?

“It has happened several times where people think I’m my sons’ (Chauncey and Harrison’s) sister instead of their mother,” 47-year-old Carole explained.

Next fall, Carole and Chauncey finally will have the opportunity to take classes together, since both have been accepted into WCSU’s new Master of Science in Addiction Studies program. They plan to continue their athletic endeavors as well — Chauncey on the WCSU Football and Men’s Tennis teams, and Carole on the Women’s Tennis team.

“With the program being brand new, we will definitely be in classes together — most likely all of them,” Carole said.

And while mother and son are extremely competitive in their respective sports, Carole said she doesn’t anticipate that in the classroom. “As for being competitive, I want both of us to do our very best and succeed in the program. That will push us to try and raise the bar for each other as well.

“The thing we have talked about the most is helping each other during our sports seasons,” she added. “Time management becomes the number one strategy during our school and team demands. Having someone helping you be more efficient during those times is important.”

As has been the case throughout the course of their time at WCSU, Carole said, “I have tried to make all of my sons’ games and they try to make mine as well. As a family, we have always cheered each other on.”

At WCSU’s May 19 Commencement ceremony, the “family affair” will continue.

 

 

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 recipients to exhibit at New York gallery

Blue Mountain Gallery to host opening reception June 20 for eight featured artists

DANBURY, CONN. — Eight Western Connecticut State University recipients of the Master of Fine Arts degree in 2019 will present their works in the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition running from Tuesday, June 18, through Saturday, July 6, 2019, at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York.

The exhibition is supported by the Jason and Ellen Hancock Student Endowment Fund, managed by the WCSU Foundation. An opening reception for the artists will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, at the gallery, located on the fourth floor at 530 W. 25th St. in Manhattan. Admission will be free to the reception and the exhibition, and the public is invited. The gallery will be open for viewing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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 following M.F.A. graduates will show their works in this year’s exhibition:

  • 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.
  • Brett Colon, of New Windsor, New York. A native of northeastern Connecticut, Colon holds a Bachelor of 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. Her thesis work incorporates pages for an illustrated cookbook inspired by her grandmother’s recipes. Colon has exhibited at venues in Dutchess County, New York, and across Connecticut, including her artwork for the 2018 Women Composers Festival in Hartford.
  • 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 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.”
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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 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.