University Receives Funding to Advance Skills in Computing Education

Posted October 8, 2015

Dr. Heidi Ellis and Dr. Stoney Jackson of the Computer Science and Information Technology Department recently received a grant of $389,569 from the National Science Foundation titled “OpenPath – Improving Student Pathways to Computing Professions via Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software”. This funding is part of a nearly $1 million collaborative grant initiative with Nassau Community College in New York and Drexel University in Pennsylvania.


The OpenPath program will improve undergraduate computing education by developing a shared pathway through the computing curriculum. It will encourage input and feedback from students and faculty to address key challenges of computing education, by using proactive online learning in small groups with an authentic and exciting framework. The pathway will consist of course materials and activities that support student involvement in Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS), throughout their entire undergraduate education. This intentional and shared effort builds on collaborative relationships with the Red Hat University Outreach team, the GNOME Accessibility team, and the OpenHatch project, all of which promote and support the use of educational open-source software.

“OpenPath will connect students directly with many Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software professionals from around the globe,” remarked Dr. Ellis. “ Allowing students to learn directly within a professional environment. OpenPath will create a conduit for supporting that professional involvement. 

As it unfolds, OpenPath will help build a globally competitive workforce by exposing students to a unique community of international developers, and allow them to experience computing as a social activity with societal benefits. By giving students opportunities to positively impact society, OpenPath can also engage and motivate traditionally underrepresented minorities and women to pursue careers in computing.”


Clason Speaker Series at School of Law to Host C. Thomas Brown on October 13

Posted October 7, 2015

clason_brown_c_thomas_410jpgWestern New England University School of Law’s Clason Speaker Series and the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies will host a talk by Public Interest Week, Keynote Speaker C. Thomas Brown on Tuesday, October 13 at 12:00 noon in the Law School Common. The talk, entitled “Litigating Marriage Equality: A Law Firm Attorney’s Role in Obergefell v. Hodges,” is free and open to students, alumni, the University community, as well as to the general public. Pizza will be served.

This summer, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which interpreted the Constitution to protect the equal rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry in all states. The Court’s decision would not have been possible without the work of many attorneys from non-profit organizations and law firms, who worked tirelessly to create the winning arguments. In honor of Public Interest week, we will hear from one such attorney, C. Thomas Brown. He will discuss his role in the marriage equality litigation and how law firm attorneys can incorporate public interest work into diverse practices.

C. Thomas Brown is a senior associate at Ropes & Gray in Boston, where his practice focuses on actions under the Federal securities laws, mergers and acquisitions law, and other complex transactional matters.

The Clason Speaker Series presents expert lectures to the School of Law and to the public. The series is named after Charles R. Clason, a prominent local attorney and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who held the position of Dean of the School of Law from 1954 to 1970. Today, the purpose of the Charles and Emma Clason Endowment Fund is to host speakers who will enhance the academic environment of the School of Law at the University.

For more information, call 413-782-1405 or email Professor Erin Buzuvis at


2nd Annual Fall Ball a Big Success

Posted October 6, 2015

By junior Natasha Mercado-Santana


Friday night, September 25, the class of 2017 Council hosted its second annual Fall Ball in Rivers Memorial Hall. The Fall Ball is a semi-formal social event open to students of all classes.

There was great food all evening, a fun photo booth, a super DJ, and a chance to win a free iPad.


Kenya Jenkins, Lynda Akor, Jennifer Alves

It was a good opportunity for students of all classes to meet each other and spend time together making memories. Sophomore Kristen Dansereau says, “I had a lot of fun dancing, taking photos with my friends, and just hanging out with my classmates!”

It was senior Gennah Borg’s first time attending the Fall Ball. “It was a lot of fun. I liked the turn-out, and I think that more students would be interested in going in the future because of the excitement around getting dressed up, dancing with friends, taking pictures at the booth, and making memories with peers,” she says. As a senior, Borg is excited to be a senior and hoping to participate in as many activities as she can before graduating next May.


    Katie Betlej, Jeffery Massicott, Gennah Borg, Kristen Dansereau


"Fun Home" Broadway Excursion Planned

Posted October 2, 2015


The Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development is sponsoring a unique opportunity for students to experience Fun Home on Broadway, Sunday, October 18 for the 3:00 matinee. 

Fun Home is the 2015 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, and the first show written and composed entirely by women to win Best Musical! It's based on Alison Bechdel's best-selling graphic memoir of growing up in her dysfunctional family, embracing her sexual orientation, and showing how much our world has changed. Performed entirely in the round, Fun Home is a uniquely intimate and emotional theatrical experience. You will not be disappointed!

The bus will depart from behind the Campus Center at 11:00 a.m., and will return to campus around 8:00 p.m. Tickets are just $30, including the $59 face-value ticket, and transportation to and from New York City. Tickets are available on University Tickets:

If there are any tickets remaining as of Friday morning, October 9, they will be available for faculty and staff to purchase at $59 each. 


Students Bewitched on Field Trip

Posted October 2, 2015


On Saturday, September 19, the students and faculty from an honors course called “Packaging the Past for Profit,” took a field trip to Salem, MA, to explore how a public municipality uses its history to attract visitors to town. Marketing Professor Beth Elam and History Professor Jonathan Beagle led a dozen students to Salem to study how history can be used for marketing purposes in a variety of industries, and to witness the citiy's remarkable success.

Professors Elam and Beagle have worked with the executive director of the nonprofit Destination Salem, Ms. Kate Fox, for more than a year as they developed this unique course. 

The students in this course are assigned to work with the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB), to create a an effective marketing plan to help the GSCVB attract tourists to visit Greater Springfield, much as Destination Salem attracts people to visit Salem.  Students will present their final marketing plans to executives from the Visitors Bureau at the end of the semester.

During the field trip to Salem, Ms. Fox hosted the entire class in the House of the Seven Gables for a marketing presentation, which lasted more than two hours, and was “remarkably fascinating.” After a luncheon, the class toured other major tourist attractions throughout the city including three different museums, to see how Destination Salem applies Fox’s marketing principles to real life applications.

 “It was a perfect day, and a very fun and educational field trip,” exclaimed Dr. Elam!


Flynn Family Golden Bear Pavilion -                            Open for Business!

Posted October 1, 2015


Western New England University held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the new Flynn Family Golden Bear Pavilion on Tuesday, September 29. The new facility is the latest addition to the Western New England University Outdoor Sports Complex. The new building features men’s and women’s locker, sport medicine, training, and equipment rooms for lacrosse, football, softball, baseball, soccer, and field hockey teams. A concession stand and restrooms will also provide added convenience to the fans on game days.

"Over the years, the Board has made it a priority to support the development of the University’s physical plant in ways that enhance the experience for our students – in and out of the classroom," remarked Michael A. Serafino, chair of the University's Board of Trustees."This is indeed a proud day for Western New England University as we inaugurate this outstanding new facility."  

The Pavilion is named for University Trustee Michael J. Flynn ’82/G’83, (pictured below) CEO of Hampden Engineering Corporation, and his family, who are longtime supporters of education and athletics in western Massachusetts—including the University’s Golden Bear Club, and the University’s College of Engineering.


Michael J. Flynn ’82/G’83 (center) with women's and men's soccer teams

"The Flynn Family Golden Bear Pavilion exemplifies our commitment to support the University’s ever-rising Division III athletic program," explained President Anthony S. Caprio. "This facility would not have been possible were it not for the fortitude and generosity of many kind benefactors. I am so happy to begin my expressions of gratitude by thanking Mr. Michael Flynn, esteemed alumnus, trustee, and local business leader."

"It was Mike’s perseverance, and through his urging that many donors came forward. Mike also presented the University with the lead gift to this project. I am so proud that Mike Flynn and the Flynn Family name are forever joined with the athletic program at Western New England University. And a special thank you to Mr. Tom Henshon who brought his vision and resources to the table and who worked faithfully and with commitment to the realization of this great project," President Caprio added.


Art Gallery at Western New England University To Feature Work of Dawn Howkinson Siebel

Posted September 30, 2015

The Western New England University Art Gallery will host “Endangered,” an exhibit by Painter Dawn Howkinson Siebel, from October 4 – November 5. An opening reception will take place on Sunday, October 4 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The gallery is located in the St. Germain Campus Center, where Siebel will offer insight into her work during a Gallery Talk on Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 p.m.


Dawn Howkinson Siebel was born in Lake County, IN, but her first career in the theatre relocated her to New York City. She earned a Broadway credit, but theatre lost appeal as a profession. She became a dyer, working in batik to create a line of t-shirts she sold through craft fairs and retail stores. She has a t-shirt in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution from this period. Dawn began hand-coloring silk with a dye process she devised herself, eventually selling her collection of one-of-a-kind kimonos to Bergdorf Goodman. She also mounted four solo shows in New York City.

artist_siebeljpgIn 1985, Dawn embarked on a trip around the world, which led to a decade of watercolor painting with a day job in publishing. In 1994, she moved to Boulder, CO, to devote herself fully to fine art, and switched to oil paint. Since 2009 Dawn has focused almost exclusively on one large project: “Better Angels: The Firefighters of 9/11,” individual oil portraits of all 343 firefighters who died on 9/11, an exhibit that is currently touring the U.S. (see In October 2011, she relocated to Massachusetts. Her “Endangered Species” series is the beginning of her new body of work.

“Over 40% of all species on Earth are threatened with extinction. This “threatened” classification includes 2129 Critically Endangered, 3079 Endangered, and 4728 Vulnerable animal species — numbers two to three times higher than only fifteen years ago. seibel_artjpg"My species has caused this and I am horrified," says Howkinson-Siebel. “In response, I began painting their portraits. The endangered animals in these paintings are distinct individuals, not generic representatives of their species. They are equal beings that meet the viewer eye-to-eye and claim their right to be.”

General Art Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

For information and directions to the gallery visit or call the University at 413-782-1567.


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