Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

MSAS Student Spotlight

Spring 2020

Jasmine Grey will be graduating this May with a BA in Biology and has accepted an offer from John Hopkins University to study Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology in their Ph.D. program. Congratulations Jasmine!


The Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences has awarded two Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) to pursue research with biology faculty.  The recipients of the SURF fellowships are undergraduates Emily Hoegler and James Hannon. Emily plans to work with Dr. Cordeira to investigate how the neurotransmitter dopamine is involved in exercise and food intake in mice which has important implications for human health and disease.  James will be working with Dr. Monette to examine the impacts of multiple environmental stressors such as temperature and salinity on gene expression in the gills of Atlantic killifish, which has important implications for the impacts of climate change on the distribution and abundance of estuarine fishes. Congratulations Emily and James!




Danielle Weiss, Emma Baxley, and Daniela Romero will be working as summer tick lab interns.



Steven Hong will be graduating this May with a BS in Chemistry and has accepted an offer from the University of Maryland to study Biochemistry in their Ph.D. program. Congratulations Steven!


Brody Lennon will be participating in the Nuclear and Radiochemistry Summer School program in San Jose, California. This is an intensive six-week program for undergraduate students funded by the US Department of Energy and the summer schools are administered through the Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology (NUCL) of the American Chemical Society. This fellowship includes a stipend, all tuition and fees, transportation, housing, books, and laboratory supplies as well as transferable college credits. Congratulations Brody!


Ruth Quattro will be graduating this May with a BA in Communication Studies and a minor in Community Health and has accepted an offer from the University of Massachusetts to study Public Health, specifically focusing on Community Education and Environmental Health.  During her time at WCSU, she has participated in Rotaract, managed the Social Media pages for the Western Adventure Club, and has worked in the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.  Congratulations Ruth!


Mikhaela McFarlin will be graduating this May from Western Connecticut State University (one full year in advance) with a BA in Psychology and minor in Humanistic Studies. During her three years spent at Westconn, she has been an Honors student involved in the Kathwari Honors program, a member of the PsychAlliance club, and has served as the WCSU Psi Chi chapter President (The honor’s society in Psychology). As an undergraduate student, Mikhaela has gained extensive research experience working closely with Dr. Stephanie Kuhn, Dr. Bernard Gee, and Dr. Maya Aloni. She has also proudly worked as a peer mentor through the Western Connections program and has had the opportunity to serve her community by baking and delivering casseroles to the Dorothy Day Hospitality House in Danbury, CT. While at Westconn, she achieved the Dean’s List for each semester of schooling, was awarded the    Foresters Competitive Scholarship for Academic Excellence, and recently received the 2020 Willerman Memorial Award from the Psychology Department for her academic excellence.  Mikhaela has accepted an offer to enter the University at Albany’s (SUNY) Counseling  Psychology Ph.D.  program as a first-year doctoral student beginning fall 2020. Congratulations Mikhaela!


Bill Silvia will graduate this May from Western Connecticut State University with a BA in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies (concentrations in Gender Studies and Multi-Cultural Studies) and minor in Creative Writing. In five years at Westconn, he has participated in the Kathwari Honors Program and Sigma Xi research honor society and held leadership positions in the Echo campus newsletter, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Western Beyond Borders, and the Psychology Student Association and Psi Chi psychology honor society. He also works as a peer tutor in the campus writing center and a mentor in the Western Connections program and works to strengthen WCSU’s connection with the US-El Salvador solidarity network. Bill’s research experience working with Dr. Patricia O’Neill, Dr. Maya Aloni, Dr. Carina Bandhauer, and Dr. Kelli Custer has resulted in several conference presentations. Bill was awarded the 2018 Daniel de Rosa Memorial Award for service to the Psychology Department, was recently inducted into Iota Iota Iota women and gender studies honor society, and received the 2020 Louise Kolb Award for Outstanding Tutoring Service to the Writing Center. Bill has accepted an offer to enter Ohio University’s Experimental Psychology Ph.D. program as a first-year doctoral student beginning fall 2020.  Congratulations Bill!



Sanya Kayfus, a Psychology major, was accepted into the University of Bridgeport’s Intern Program for a Master’s of Science in Elementary Education for Fall 2020. This is an accelerated 10-month program where she will be placed in a public-school system for the academic year and will be taking classes at night and on the weekends.  Sanya’s tuition will be paid in full by the school system that she is placed in.   She is only responsible for paying for books and any other extra expenses. The program will essentially prepare her to pass the Praxis II for elementary teachers and the CT Reading Assessment exam to become an educator. Congratulations Sanya!



WCSU 2019 Election Connection wins national broadcast award! In November 2019, the Election Connection live news and election coverage broadcast placed in the top 4% of the nation’s prestigious Broadcast Education Association’s highly competitive media festival. This year, over 1,750  submissions from colleges and universities internationally competed in several categories. WCSU  students took 2nd place in the live Studio/Multicamera category.

Election Connection student producers: Samantha Saalborn, Richard Lee, Markeith Black, Jack Dyckman, Timia Graham; social media producers: Andrew Kocur and Muna Hayajneh; associate producer: Alvin Josi; news director/associate producer/anchor Audrey Nielsen; news director: Rachel Peet; anchors: Julian Doreste and Kameron O’Brien; student meteorologist: Zachary Duhaime; director: Nick DelMastro; associate director: Kevin Salguero; technical directors: Calvin Savoia and Zachary Cummings will be accepting the award on behalf of WCSU. Join us in congratulating these students and Dr. JC Baron for their accomplishments!


Seventeen meteorology students, along with Dr. Albert Owino, attended the 100th Annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) meeting in Boston, Massachusetts from  January 11th to 16th, 2020. One student,  Joseph Burzdak,  presented a poster at the conference: Traffic Fatalities in  Winter: An Evaluation of Weather Regimes and NWS  Guidance During  Killer Storms. This research was a part of the   Research Experience for Undergraduates work that  Joseph did during his summer internship at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma last summer.


Fall 2019

In celebration of National Mole Day (10/23), the Western Connecticut Section of the American Chemical Society hosted the 11th annual Chemistry Bowl at Western Connecticut State University.  Six students (Left to right – Jordan Polvere,  Michael A. Kelly, Henry Vallee-Ayala, Hannah Sexton, Alejandro Garcia, and Tim Meksvanh) from WCSU beat the Sacred Heart University Team to defend their title and take home this year’s trophy, a mole stuffed animal that will be housed at WCSU until next year’s competition.  This marks the 4th year in a row that WCSU has won the competition. This is a chemistry trivia-style competition that covers topics from all disciplines.


Mayor Mark Boughton was the of the COM 394 class, Saturday Night Live type production.  The half-hour sketch comedy show, with musical guest Lake Ave. Extension was broadcast to the 15 towns served by Spectrum TV on October 21 and Comcast in Danbury, Ridgefield,and Bethel on Oct. 21 and the 3 following Monday nights.

History major Lauren Kerton will receive the NASPA Region 1's "Catch a Rising Star" award on November 19th at the NASPA Conference in Providence, Rhode Island.  The award honors a student who has demonstrated "academic achievement, exceeded the  expectations of their respective leadership positions, and shown an interest in the field of student affairs."

Ruth Quattro, a Communication Major with a minor in  Community Health, and Erika Sabovik, a Contract Major, attended and presented alongside Dr. Jessica Eckstein at the National  Council on Family Relations (NCFR) in Fort Worth, Texas. Both students co-authored research papers with Dr. Eckstein and prepared posters to present at the NCFR conference.

Biology Major Jason Linn had the opportunity to apply his biology knowledge and skills as a field assistant, accompanying Dr. Thomas Philbrick to Rondonia, Brazil, working along the Madeira River and tributaries. The trip was part of a National Science  Foundation-supported research project focused on the ecology of neotropical river weeds. The project is overseen by Dr. Philbrick (WCSU) and Brad Ruhfel (Univ. of Michigan), in collaboration with Dr. Claudia Bove (Federal  University of Rio de Janeiro).

Recent graduate, Victor Namer, and Kathwari Honors student pursuing a degree in Political Science with a minor in Business Administration, Bakhtawar Izzat, attended the International Diplomacy Forum in Thailand. Read the full interview with Namer and Izzat at the link provided (