Collaborative Coding Animates Computer Camp Kids

Posted July 29, 2015


Western New England University recently held two week-long computer summer camps for high school and middle school students respectively, from July 6-17. The students discovered how the various components of computers work together, and they spent most of their week learning how to program, creating basic animation and music using two programming environments, Alice and Earsketch. Using these tools required gaining experience with the Python programming language. Nearly 70 area youth participated in this annual high-tech adventure. 

“Animation is part math and part coordinates. You need to know exactly where something is, and where you want it to go, before you can tell it to go there. It’s not so hard once you get the hang of it,” explained Anthony Randall of East Longmeadow.

Kyle Doyle of Leominster, MA remarked, “I play a lot of video games at home and for a couple of years I’ve been sketching out some new game ideas I’d like to create myself. I came this week to learn an animation coding program so I can make my own games.” 

At the end of the week-long camp, parents attend a screening of the animation projects as each student presented their work to the audience. 


"Teaching programming in the context of music and animation allows students to gain a wider perspective on what is possible with coding. Their creations are always amazing, and it's wonderful to hear how many of them plan to keep working with Alice and Earsketch after camp ends." 

“This is my second year coming to this camp,” said Ben Thacher of West Springfield . “I do a little animation coding at home, mostly in Java, but I learned a lot this week at camp using the Python language.” 

Jared Kelleher of Wilbraham, MA said, “I hope to become a computer programmer some day or maybe do computer security. I’m not sure yet but I plan to take programming in high school next year.”

The Computer Camp program is led by Computer Science Professors Dr. Leh-Sheng Tang and Dr. Brian O'Neill. For more information about the annual Computer Camp click here.

To view and download photos from Computer Camp click here.


White ’78 Named to Board of Trustees at Western New England University

Posted July 29, 2015

---Kathleen White ’78 of Pleasant Hill, CA, was named to the Western New England University Board of Trustees. Western New England President Anthony S. Caprio announced the appointment, which the Board approved during its June meeting.

White joined ExThera Medical Corpotration in January 2011 as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Privately held ExThera Medical, based in Berkeley, CA, is targeting the clinical treatment of blood-borne diseases including viremia and bacteremia, as well as the removal of harmful substances present in banked human blood.

White has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of positions including operations, manufacturing, research, development, quality and regulatory approval for the medical device industry.

Prior to joining ExThera Medical, Kathy was the Vice President of Operations for DSM Biomedical, a biomaterials and medical device company she co-founded in 1989 (formerly The Polymer Technology Group). She was the Laboratory Director overseeing all aspects of R&D and project management prior to assuming the quality and regulatory responsibilities for the company where she developed company-wide Quality Systems based on ISO 9001:2000 standard.

White held positions at Avco Medical Products and Thoratec Corporation. She has been the principal investigator on two SBIR contracts awarded by the National Institutes of Health. She has authored or co-authored over two dozen articles and abstracts and two book chapters and holds three patents in the field of biomaterials.

White serves on the Advisory Board for the Western New England University Biomedical Engineering Program. She holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Western New England University.


Dr. Anne Poirot Receives Teaching Excellence Award

Posted July 28, 2015


The 2015 winner of the Western New England University Teaching Excellence Award is Dr. Anne Poirot of Drury MA, Professor of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences. This prestigious award serves to recognize the important contribution made by excellent teachers at the University in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Business. 

Among the letters nominating Dr. Poirot, students described her as being an outstanding, inspirational, and hardworking professor, who pushes and encourages students to do their very best work, because she believes in every single student. Dr. Poirot challenges students beyond their own expectations.

“This important award highlights the value of quality teaching and a commitment to the mission of the University and its students,” remarked University Provost Dr. Linda Jones.

Dr. Poirot earned her Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, formerly North Adams State College. She worked as a licensed Medical Technologist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center for three years and then went on to earn her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island. After a completing a post-doctoral fellowship in biochemical pharmacology at Brown University, Dr. Poirot joined the faculty of Western New England University in 1993. Her teaching and research interests primarily include synthetic organic chemistry, biochemistry, and toxicology.


University Students Explore Europe

Posted July 26, 2015

This past spring, five Western New England University sophomore business students lived and studied at IESEG School of Management in Lille, France, through a student exchange agreement. Beginning this September, 15 sophomore business students will spend their fall semester at Richmond University in London, as participants in a unique program called Sophomore Experience Abroad (SEA).

sea_4jpgRichmond University in London. Front L-R: Briana Andella, Heather Mavin, Asia Weisgerber, Nellysha Sanabria-Lopez, and Katlyn Doherty. Back: Andrew Wise, David Briganti, Cameron Couture, Ian Capozzoli, Kaitlyn Larrabee, Michael Belinski, Michaela Polk, and Eric Barsalou. Missing from photo: Mark Fitzgerald To see more photos, visit the SEA blog .

The SEA was established five years ago in the College of Business to provide a study-away opportunity for students interested in acquiring international and intercultural exposure in a structured academic setting, but doing so in a cohort of fellow Western New England students. The cohort aspect of this program distinguishes it from traditional study-abroad programs that typically involve students choosing and traveling alone to countries that have institutional host arrangements.

“Through this program, I was exposed to new foods, languages, and cultures, while making friends from all over the world!” said Danielle Savoie of Springfield who is majoring in International Business. Scarlet Lamothe of Palmer, also majoring in International Business said, “The SEA program was one of the best things I have ever done.” Claire Regan, a Management Leadership major from Troy, New York said “It was everything I imagined studying abroad would be,” summing up her nearly five month experience abroad.

College of Business associate dean and SEA program director Curt Hamakawa said that this unique study-away program has proven to be popular among students in a part because it does not cost the students’ families any more in educational expenses than they would pay for their children to attend Western New England University. “But the real benefit,” according to Hamakawa, “is the acceleration of the students’ personal growth and development from living in a foreign country and having to navigate the cultural and linguistic landscapes over an entire semester.” Hamakawa added that “It is a wonderful thing to see and especially to hear from the students’ own family members that their child returned a changed person.”


“In today’s global economy, students who take advantage of study away opportunities have a decided leg up on their competition,” Hamakawa said, explaining that “employers are more likely to hire graduates who are able to relate to people of diverse backgrounds, and who have demonstrated an ability to succeed in challenging environments.”


Pay Gap Remains “Stubbornly Persistent” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Posted July 22, 2015

deb_goldbergjpgMassachusetts Treasurer Deb Goldberg’s (pictured left) statewide advisory committee on wage equality held a regional roundtable discussion to gather input from businesses, both large and small, and from the general public, on Friday, July 17. The forum was held in Springfield’s Tower Square.

Western New England University Economics Professor Karl Petrick, (pictured right) who presented wage information to the advisory committee explained, “Companies fail to realize the macro-effect of wage equality. Fair pay is good for morale. It limits turnover and the staff feels invested in the company, which translates to better karlpetrickjpgcustomer service and more customers in the door. Wage equality is good for the bottom line and good for the overall economy.”

“The pay gap between men and women remains stubbornly persistent, even in a progressive state like Massachusetts,” Goldberg remarked. “Women earn only 77 cents on the dollar nationally,” she added. “It's 82.5 cents on the dollar in Massachusetts – but the gap gets even wider for women of color.”

The wage equity committee is hoping to develop innovative strategies to close the wage inequities experienced in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Healthcare Technology Entrepreneur Dr. Terry A. Fuller '70 Inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted July 21, 2015

---The Western New England University College of Engineering Hall of Fame was honored to induct alumnus Dr. Terry A. Fuller. "Terry's entrepreneurial vision and drive will serve as an inspiration for many generations of students to come, reminding them of the rewards of that come with hard work and dedication," commented Assistant Dean Richard Grabiec. 

Dr. Fuller received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University in 1970 and went on to earn his master's and doctoral degrees in Biomedical Engineering from WPI and Clark. He has over 35 years of entrepreneurial business management and technology development experience with emerging and high growth medical device and pharmaceutical companies. He specializes in creating and transforming formative technologies into FDA-cleared medical products. Focused in the healthcare technology market, he has held positions of CEO, COO, and EVP of Technology for both publicly traded and private companies.

A plaque of Dr. Fuller's likeness has been added to the Hall of Fame display in Sleith Hall.

The Hall of Fame was established in 2002 to recognize graduates and individuals who have distinguished themselves by making a significant contribution to the engineering field and/or the College. By honoring these outstanding individuals, the College of Engineering demonstrates its appreciation for bringing distinction to the College at the local, national, or international level.


Thomas ’76 Named to Board of Trustees at Western New England University

Posted July 20, 2015

Garythomas_gary_trustee_2jpg F. Thomas’76 of Southampton, MA has been named to the Western New England University Board of Trustees. Western New England President Anthony S. Caprio announced the Two-year Law Alumni Trustee appointment, which the Board approved during its annual meeting.

Thomas is President of the Wealth Technology Group, with offices in Westfield and Pittsfield, MA. The Wealth Technology Group uses technologies for wealth accumulation and management, tax deflection, and retirement projections.

A native of Pittsfield, Thomas graduated from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Western New England University Law School. A member of the Massachusetts Bar, he also earned the Master of Laws in Taxation degree from Boston University Law School. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter and a Chartered Financial Consultant as well as a member of The Million Dollar Round Table’s Top of the Table.

Thomas has addressed financial professionals in the United States and Britain and for many years, hosted the “Smart Money” radio program, a popular two-hour weekly financial call-in program covering New York and New England.

Thomas has been a member of the adjunct faculty of Berkshire Community College, Westfield State University, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts where he conducts seminars which educate the public on retirement planning and other financial strategies. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Carson Center for Families and Children, and a member of the Foundation Board of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Gary Thomas was a member of the Western New England University Campaign Cabinet for the Transformations Campaign and served as Treasurer of the Law School Alumni Association. He has been a longtime advocate for Western New England Planned Giving and served on the University’s Planned Giving Advisory Committee for many years.


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