Western Research Day on May 2 celebrates student achievements
Boehringer Ingelheim manager Josh John to present keynote lecture

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University will celebrate student research and present a lecture by Boehringer Ingelheim manager Josh John at the ninth annual Western Research Day (WRD) on Thursday, May 2, 2013.

John, a 2008 graduate of the WCSU Ancell School of Business, will give the keynote talk during the opening WRD session at 10 a.m. in Science Building Room 125 on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Western President James W. Schmotter and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jane McBride Gates will offer introductory remarks.

The opening session will be followed by a poster exhibition of research projects conducted by WCSU students in a wide range of academic disciplines during the current academic year. The exhibition will be open for public viewing from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Science Building Atrium. The WRD program will conclude with a closing session in Science Building Room 125 at 12:45 p.m. where Gates will present Provost’s Awards for posters that earn highest marks from university faculty judges who will view and hear student presentations of their research during the exhibition. Admission to the opening and closing sessions and to the poster exhibition will be free, and the public is invited to attend.

Recipient of a BBA degree in management information systems with minors in information security and financial accounting, John joined Ridgefield-based Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals as an intern. In 2007 he became an employee in the company’s accounts payable department while completing his studies at Western. From 2009 to 2011, he served as a purchasing card administrator and as a senior buyer in the sourcing operations department, before earning a promotion to the position of global sourcing manager.

Since November 2011, John has served as Speaker Bureau operations manager in the Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals marketing department, focusing on process improvements, operational procedures and strategic planning in areas of customer development and peer-to-peer communication. During the past six months, he also has taken on project assignments in established-brands marketing and in marketing research supporting the company’s respiratory pharmaceuticals area.

John’s lecture, “Driving Efficiencies and Optimizing Resources in a Fast-Paced Marketing Environment,” will draw from his experience in market research that guided Boehringer Ingelheim decisions in identifying vendors, improving process efficiency and eliminating redundancies, resulting in annual savings estimated at more than $2 million.

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Dr. Emilio Collar, cochair of the WRD 2013 committee, recalled the strong work ethic that John demonstrated as an exemplary student at Western in successfully completing classroom assignments challenging him to define and address real-world problems, providing foundations for his professional advancement in business.

“The more you learn, the more power you gain to take your career in the way you wish to go and achieve long-term fulfillment,” Collar observed. “Josh John is an outstanding example of this. I am so happy that WRD brings in guest speakers who are recent alumni of Western, and I believe his talk will inspire a new generation of students.”

Student projects accepted for participation in WRD 2013 will represent academic departments in the sciences, liberal arts, business and professional studies at WCSU. Participation requires prior approval by the student’s faculty adviser and submission to the WRD organizing committee for review. Western faculty members will conduct judging during the poster session to select up to five posters whose exhibitors will receive recognition as recipients of the 2013 Provost’s Awards, which will include gift certificates for the winning students.

Dr. Susan Maskel, professor of biological and environmental sciences and cochair of the WRD 2013 organizing committee, observed the annual event provides an important opportunity for Western students to gain valuable experience in conducting and presenting their own research or creative work.

“WRD gives our students a chance to experience what a professional conference is like without leaving Western,” Maskel said, noting that all participants must prepare abstracts describing their research objectives as well as poster displays of their projects. “It provides a great opportunity to share their research or professional activity with people outside their academic disciplines, and their participation will be a plus on their resumes when they apply for employment or graduate school admission.”

Collar described WRD as an important way for students to gain valuable presentation skills in a conference setting, and for researchers from diverse fields to come together in recognition of academic achievement. He noted the event will be sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and cited Gates for her personal commitment in support of WRD.

In addition to Maskel and Collar, members of the WRD 2013 organizing committee include University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian Brian Stevens and Adjunct Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Debbi Johnson. Maskel expressed gratitude to Collar, who will step down after this year’s WRD, for his service on the organizing committee since 2007 and as cochair of the annual event since 2008.

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


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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