University Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta Welcomes New Members

Posted May 4, 2016

by junior Abigail Helfrich


On Wednesday April 27, Western New England University’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society inducted seven new members. Sigma Tau Delta is an International English Honor Society, founded at Dakota Wesleyan University in 1924. It serves to offer distinction for achievements in literature, foster the study of English and promote literacy, provide culture stimulation and interest in literature, and exhibit academic excellence. 

Current Sigma Tau Delta president Kristian Staev, Associate Professor of English Edward Wesp, and Chair and Professor of English Chip Rhodes were present to welcome new inductees. 

“I'm really honored to be accepted as a member of Sigma Tau Delta because I've worked really hard these past two years, and it feels great to be recognized for my achievements in and out of the classroom,” inductee Gina Lanzano says. Lanzano was one of the seven inductees, along with Joshua Ayers, Rachel Azzara, Erin-Nicole Conti, Ernad Minic, Samantha Palumbo, and Ryan Shea.

sigma_tau_delta_groupjpgRyan Shea, Rachel Azzara, Dr. Chip Rhodes, Joshua Ayers, Gina Lanzano, Erin-Nicole Conti, Dr. Ted Wesp, and Samantha Palumbo

At the induction meeting, elections were held to decide new officers for the next year, naming Nina Kublan as President, Abigail Helfrich as Vice President, Gina Lanzano as Secretary, and Ryan Shea as Treasurer. “I’m excited to get more English majors engaged through trips and activities, as well as continuing to spread awareness of Sigma Tau Delta and our appreciation of literature,” Kublan said.

Each semester, Sigma Tau Delta takes a field trip to a nearby historical author’s house, like last fall’s trip to the Herman Melville house. In the past, Sigma Tau Delta has hosted an English Professor Appreciation week, a book drive for local charities, and a box tops collection for local schools. Each year around induction time, the society also holds an English social gathering so the University’s English majors can get to know each other and their professors. 


University Innovation Fellows Hold First Successful Epicenter “Pop-Up” Class

Posted May 3, 2016

by junior Abigail Helfrich


On March 31, Western New England University’s Epicenter Innovation Fellows held their first pop-up class in Sleith Lab 302, focused around proper use of lab equipment for engineering projects. The student Innovation Fellows program aims to help students combine innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and skills, so they can create lasting change on campus that benefits all of society. Funding for the student Fellow programs is provided through generous grants from the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN).

KEENOne way the Fellows accomplish their mission is by hosting unscheduled “pop-up” classes, which are classes organized by the taught by the Fellows, and held outside of the University’s formal curriculum.

Pop-up class topics and teaching technique vary by university and this one featured practical equipment operation with a hands-on technique taught by Fellows Benjamin Kennedy, Kathryn Jordan, and Jonathan Young. It also gave the Fellows an opportunity to encourage younger students to apply to the Innovation Fellows program.

“I want to get involved because I think it’s a great opportunity. Not only did I learn more about University Innovation Fellows, but I also learned how to use tools in the freshman lab that I will need in the future,” freshman Civil Engineering major Caroline Best said.

popup_2jpg“These skills, like soldering, using the dremel and drills, and a few other skills, aren’t always taught in the classroom, so we wanted to give students the opportunity to learn how to confidently use the equipment,” Fellow Kathryn Jordan says of their purpose. The six students who attended the class will be able to use the skills they learned on future engineering projects.

Biomedical Engineering Professor Rob Gettens explained. "As our faculty continue to take positive steps in teaching innovation in the classroom, and through our partnership and efforts with the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), having this simultaneous student-driven effort through the Fellows program will have a powerful synergistic effect.”



Dean Julie Siciliano Meets with Cohen Scholars

Posted May 2, 2016


College of Business Dean Julie Siciliano met recently with the Cohen Scholars at the students’ bimonthly professional development roundtable called the Chautauqua Series. Started in 2015, the program introduces the scholars to a wide range of topics and invites guests from both within and outside the University community. Previous guests included President Anthony Caprio, Cohen Estate Trustee Jeff Sagalyn, former Massachusetts State Senator Gale Candaras, and political consultant and public affairs commentator Tony Cignoli. While many of the Chautauqua topics address so-called soft skills; that is, personal attributes that help students become more effective in their professional interactions, Dean Siciliano’s topic focused on strategic thinking, and challenged the students to think critically about drilling down to the core essence of why businesses – and they as future business professionals – do what they do.

cohen_roundtable_group_410pngIn photo with Dean Siciliano, left to right: Kevin Strobel, Matt LaCoille, Julie Cokotis, Rickie Rizos, and Dawn Heideman.

Faculty advisor Curt Hamakawa said he was impressed by the Cohen Scholars’ embrace of the Chautauqua program and their willingness to voluntarily meet at 8 a.m. on Friday mornings, adding that “they each take their turn in presenting topics on professional development” as well.


Western New England University and Bryant University Sign Articulation Agreement

Posted May 1, 2016

bryant_and_wnepngDr. Evan Robinson, Dean of the Western New England University College of Pharmacy, Dr. Wendy Samter, Dean of Bryant University College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Kirsten Hokeness, Associate Professor in the Department of Science and Technology.

The Western New England University College of Pharmacy and the Bryant University College of Arts and Sciences entered into an articulation agreement on Thursday, April 14, 2016. The Agreement will provide qualified students from Bryant University an enhanced opportunity to pursue study in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Western New England University's College of Pharmacy.

This represents the first articulation agreement for the University's College of Pharmacy. According to Dean Evan Robinson, “This is a very exciting collaboration and we could not be more pleased to have Bryant as our partners in our first articulation agreement.  We look forward to working with our Bryant University colleagues going forward.”

One unique aspect of the Bryant University experience is that it requires all Bryant students to minor in Business.  This will provide new opportunities to participating Bryant students, since the Western New England University College of Pharmacy offers two dual-degree programs (the Doctor of Pharmacy/MBA and the Doctorate of Pharmacy Master of Science in Organizational Leadership programs), in collaboration with the College of Business. These programs offer a powerful combination of pharmacy and business for those interested in the practice of pharmacy in a business or managerial environment. Graduates of the University's combined degree programs will receive two separate degrees, one in business and one in pharmacy.


Dance Team Soars to Spectacular Heights While Raising Money for Smilow Cancer Center

Posted April 29, 2016


On Sunday, April 4, the 29 women on the Western New England University Dance Team performed in the Alumni Healthful Living Center. Tickets were sold to Western New England University students, faculty, friends, and family with all the proceeds being donated to two young girls being treated at Smilow Cancer Center in New Haven CT.

“I have watched this team grow and develop for the past 4 years and could not be more proud of our accomplishments,” explained team president, senior Jessica Barnet. “The team loves to dance, this year alone we’ve performed at many football games, homecoming festivities, Midnight Madness, basketball games, Women & Sports Day, and two major Showcases.” 


The Dance Team provides members with the opportunity to learn a variety of difference dance styles and techniques, and learn to collaborate as a team. “Being a dancer for 16 years before college, I wasn't really sure what to expect from this team,” remarked freshman Blake Work. “It definitely made my freshman year great! The recital was amazing because we got to see many different choreography styles as well as seeing the team interact in new ways. I cant wait to see the team continue to grow and I am so happy to be a part of it!

"The team has been practicing for their recital the entire spring semester,"  explained freshman dancer, Gigi Nietschmann, who danced in 11 of the 21 songs the team performed. Nietschmann added, “preparing for the recital was a long process, often going past the Alumni Healthful Living Center's closing time. We all worked extremely hard and I'm really grateful for the opportunity, not just to dance, but to make so many new friends.” 


Junior Emily Gahr, who will be the team’s president next year remarked, “I believe that most of the strong comradery this year, came from our amazing senior class. The 12 girls that are graduating this year made up half of our team, and they were the most welcoming, genuine, and talented group of girls I have ever met.” 

To view and download more photos from the team's recent recital click here.


Students Utter-ly Impress at the 7th Annual University Public Speaking Contest 

Posted April 28, 2016

by sophomore Gabrielle Kiss

The 7th annual University Public Speaking Contest took place on Friday, April 22. The event, sponsored by the Department of Communication, is open to all undergraduate students. This year, students were tasked with crafting informative speeches of approximately five to six minutes in length about any subject of the speaker’s choosing. 

ps_comppngDr. Doug Battema, Megan Pantos, Mallory Paszkiewicz, Kiara Don, Kaitlin Armstrong, Gianna Comparone 

Megan Pantos, a freshman pre-pharmacy major from Rutland, MA, won this year’s contest. Her speech, “Career Paths in Pharmacy,” earned her the top prize of $100 cash. 

Second place went to “Yawning,” written and presented by Mallory Paszkiewicz, a freshmen majoring in pre-pharmacy from Schenectady, NY. 

Kiara Don, a junior communication major with a concentration in professional communication from Massapequa, NY took third place with her speech, “United and Mutually Equal (UME).” 

Honorable mention went to Kaitlin Armstrong, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major from Bolton, CT for her speech on ethical ambiguities in the drug development process, and Gianna Comparone, a freshmen health science major from North Providence, RI, for her speech on the dangers of opiates. 

Department of Communication faculty, who selected the five most promising speeches for presentation during the contest, initially reviewed all the submissions. Members from the Western New England University Chapter of Toastmasters International judged the final speeches, including Professors Joseph Gerard and Karl Petrick, and Copywriter Alexandra Lyman.


Western New England University Students Value Mother Earth

Posted April 28, 2016

by junior Natasha Mercado-Santana

On Tuesday April 19, Western New England University celebrated Earth Day. Display tables and outdoor activity challenges were set up on Deliso Lawn and run by various clubs and organizations on campus, such as the Model United Nations (UN), Feminists Unite, Freshman Council, D’Amour Library, and the Outing Club.


The Model UN promoted the sustainability goals of the United Nations, which are a range of development goals that also serve to reduce poverty and hunger and provide affordable energy and clean water to maintain that developed nations are up-to-speed with keeping the environment clean. Freshman Council handed out little flowerpots for people to decorate and seeds to plant in them, the library created a pledge for students to save paper when printing, Feminists Unite held a clothing drive, and the Outing Club put up a slack line for people to test their balance between life and nature.

earth_day_11jpgOne group created a real life demonstration to show how much energy is required to run basic appliances. They counted how many curls people could do in 30 seconds with a 10-pound weight, and then put that number into a formula to see how much energy the person would be able to generate; and subsequently which appliances that they could power. “It’ll be kind of a disappointment when you see how much work you do and how little energy is produced energy, because it’s not as much as you would have thought,” explained freshman Jeffery Govoni, “It shows how much energy we use on a daily basis that gets wasted.”

Earth Day is significant, not just for the campus, but the whole world. “Earth Day is important because we have to value Mother Nature,” said Jermaine Harper, president of Freshman Council, “Nature is valuable because it’s impossible to survive without it.” Celebrating Earth Day is just the first step towards a greater good. “Every little step counts,” said senior Jake Thomas Picard, who was representing the Model UN, “so if we can get this campus engaged in Earth Day, then that’s one step towards the overall goal of getting the entire world on board. If we don’t take care of our planet, we won’t have one.”


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