Students Become Global Citizens as they Travel to Guatemala in Search of Design Opportunities.

Posted May 26, 2016

by junior Abigail Helfrich


A dozen Western New England University students traveled to Guatemala in Central America on Tuesday May 17, for 11 days, to visit healthcare facilities in the cities of Quetzaltenango and San Lucas Tolimán. The trip is run by Professor of Electrical Engineering Dr. Steven Northrup and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Dr. Michael Rust, and is a part of the ILP-238 Global Health and Technology course, where students study important issues facing global populations. (photos from 2015 trip)


According to Dr. Rust, the trip aims to “expose students to a range of global issues such as inequality, poverty, social justice, and health; provide an opportunity for students to consider the impact their own professional careers can have in the area of global health; and enable students to evaluate the role they play as global citizens in all aspects of their lives.”

In healthcare facilities, students will repair broken equipment, or at least diagnose necessary repairs they cannot complete and compile a list of parts that will be needed. They will also formulate project ideas based on the needs they find in the hospitals and clinics, which will be brought back to the University to create project opportunities for both Engineers who went on the trip and students who did not.

Students in the program consist of both Engineering majors and Arts and Sciences majors. “I’m excited to help people in Guatemala and have a positive impact in their communities,” Professional Communications major Kelly Donahoo says.

The students will also experience cultural sights like Mayan ruins, local street markets, and natural hot springs. The city of San Lucas Tolimán is located near Lake Atitlan at the base of  two large volcanos. 

Biomedical Engineer Andrew Aldrich says “I love to experience how different people live their daily lives. It's different from learning about it in a classroom or seeing it on television. I expect to leave Guatemala with a new-found appreciation for different cultures.”

For more information on the University’s study abroad programs click here, or contact Dr. Josie Brown-Rose at


2016 Commencement Photographs Tell a Story of Triumph, Success, and Joy

Posted May 25, 2016


On Saturday, May 21, Western New England University held its 2016 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony. Photographs of the day can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here.

For more information about the Commencement speaker, click here.

On Sunday, May 22, Western New England University conferred Doctoral, Law, Pharmacy, and Master’s degrees during its 2016 Graduate Commencement Ceremony. Photographs can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here.

For more information about the Commencement speaker, click here.

On Friday, May 20, Western New England University College of Arts and Sciences and College of Business held their Senior Awards Ceremonies. Photographs of both events can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here.

On Saturday, May 21, Western New England University College of Pharmacy held its 2016 Hooding Ceremony. Photographs of the ceremony can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here.

On Friday, May 20, the Western New England University Minuteman Battalion of the U.S. Army ROTC held its Commissioning Ceremony. Photographs of the event can be viewed or downloaded by clicking here.

To view entire videos of both Commencement ceremonies click here.



University Awards Annual Dean's Prize for Literary and Cultural Studies

Posted May 24, 2016

The Department of English at Western New England University is pleased to announce the results of the tenth annual Dean's Prize for Literary and Cultural Studies. The award honors the best essays written for 200-level and above courses in the area of literary or cultural criticism.

abby_helfrichjpgJudged by a panel of department faculty, the entries were evaluated in terms of analysis, argument, and written presentation. “Each of the winning essays exhibited exemplary textual analysis and fluid prose. They also managed to ground literary and cultural criticism in issues of real importance, giving readers a sense of the value of their work,” said Assistant Professor of English Kelly Klingensmith.  “As usual, we had a strong collection of entries that came out of a variety of courses. Choosing between them was a challenge.”

First prize was awarded to junior Abigail Helfrich ( photo above) for her essay “Melville: Loss of Hope through a Career.” 

The second prize recipient was senior Joshua Ayers for his essay “Endings and Epiphanies: The Different Ways James Joyce and Virginia Woolf Actualize Change in Their Characters and Prove Points to Their Readers.”

Third prize went to senior Alicia Young for her essay “From Legend to Loser: Clarice Starling’s Downfall in Hannibal.” 


Social Work Conference to Focus on Dignity

Posted May 23, 2016


Western New England University will host the 34th Annual Regional Social Work Conference on Wednesday, May 25, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. The event features over 40 workshops designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of Social Workers and Human Services professionals of all experience levels. Presentations will focus on important issues facing Social Work professionals when dealing with children and families, the elderly, mental health, substance abuse, multicultural issues, and personal development. 

Assistant professor at Springfield College School of Social Work, Dr. Anthony C. Hill, will deliver the conference keynote address, “Strength of the Journey for Social Workers and Helping Professionals.” Dr. Hill’s keynote will focus on the notion of dignity and respect, and how it can be a useful frame in working with clients and relating with colleagues. Dr. Hill will also explore self-care strategies in dealing with the emotional stressors impacting your work as professionals. 

Dr. Hill has extensive experience in both the fields of social work and education and has become employed as a clinician, adjunct faculty member, school social worker, assistant principal, and principal. He is an educational consultant to school districts in MA and CT and is involved in several community-based organizations. 

In addition, the conference will feature the presentation of the 20th annual Jim Quinn Human Service Award to Ms. Beth Edelberg-Cardillo for her more than 28-year career working in the Human Services field. The Jim Quinn Award honors a human service professional who made outstanding contributions to the social work profession. 

For the last 17 years Cardillo has assisted elderly clients with Alzheimer’s in retirement communities. She is an advocate for the elderly through the ALZ Association, co-chairing their walk every year, co-sponsoring their Memories in the Making Art programs, facilitating an ALZ support group, and most recently spearheading the Dementia Friendly-Westfield initiative. 

The conference fee is $139 until May 18; this includes registration, luncheon, and 6 credit hours for full attendance. Participants will pay $154 for any registration received after the registration deadline, and at the door if there is space available. Non-employed full-time Western New England University students may attend for $25, while non-employed full-time students from other colleges and universities may attend for $30. For more information call 413-796-2173 or register on-line here

The conference is a joint effort of Western New England University’s Bachelor of Social Work program, Social Work Advisory Council, and Office of Professional Development


College of Arts and Sciences Establishes New Honor Society in Forensic Science

Posted May 20, 2016

dds_group_photojpgWestern New England University 2016 Delta Delta Epsilon Inductees

Earlier this month, Western New England University’s newly established chapter of the international forensic science honor society, Delta Delta Epsilon, inducted 18 students during their first induction ceremony in the Center for Science and Pharmacy. 

Last fall, Forensic Science undergraduates from Western New England University competed at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists in Hyannis MA. Not only did students from Western New England score better than all the other undergraduate programs, their scores exceeded every graduate program in attendance as well. After gaining the approval of Physical and Biological Sciences Chair Dr. Alex Wurm and Dean Saeed Ghahramani, Western New England University applied for and received a chapter in Delta Delta Epsilon, becoming one of only 22 chapters throughout the world. 

Delta Delta Epsilon is designed to stimulate academic achievement, promote community understanding, and advance the fields of forensic science.

dde_14jpgNewly elected officers of  Delta Delta Epsilon Victoria Durrett, secretary, Gabrielle Vazquez-Rodriguez, vice president, Dr. John Drawec, faculty advisor,  Alexander Blanchette, president, and Jeffery Massicott, treasurer.

“I am so proud of the success of our students and alumni. They have truly excelled in a very demanding curriculum while at Western New England, and through advancement at the graduate level and in the professional workforce,” stated Dr. John Drawec Associate Professor of Physical and Biological Sciences.

“Our forensic science programs have been carefully developed over the last several years for possible accreditation in the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC),” explained Drawec. "including adding required laboratory components and more advanced scientific and mathematical approaches to forensic analysis, and new non-criminal justice courses that are required for forensic scientists." 

To view or download photos of the induction ceremony click here.


University Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi Business Information Honor Society Inducts New Members

Posted May 19, 2016

groupjpgL-R Kara Kapinos, assistant dean for undergraduate studies, Jenna Leuck, Eric Barsalou, Katlyn Doherty, Emily Trumbley, Kevin Strobel, Matthew Fontaine, and Sara Holland.           (not pictured, Christopher Sun)

On Thursday  May 5, College of Business Professor John Coulter inducted eight new students into the Western New England University chapter of Beta Alpha Psi Business Information Honor Society, during a ceremony in Churchill Hall. Founded in 1919, Beta Alpha Psi is an honor society for financial information students and professionals. There are over 300 chapters on college and university campuses with over 300,000 members initiated since Beta Alpha Psi's formation.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be part of Beta Alpha Psi," remarked Emily Trumbley. "When I switched my major after freshman year from pre-pharmacy to accounting, Professor Coulter helped me catch up and stay on track to graduate on time. I’m so thankful for his guidance.”

The goal of this socoety is to encourage and recognize scholastic and professional excellence in the business information field. This includes promoting the study and practice of accounting, finance and information systems, providing opportunities for self-development, service and association among members and practicing professionals, and encouraging a sense of ethical, social, and public responsibility.


University Students Studying Abroad in Iceland 

Posted May 18, 2016

by junior Abigail Helfrich


Twenty-one Western New England University students departed on Monday May 16 to study abroad in Iceland as part of their spring Globalization and Conflict Resolution course. The class explores how Iceland has handled cultural challenges throughout the ages. 

Students will be based in the city of Reykjavik (seen above) but will be visiting Gullfoss, Geyser, and Thingvellir. This is the second time Dr. Laura Hansen, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Dr. Michaela Simpson, Professor of Sociology, are guiding student in the program. 

“Students will be able to make comparisons between our local/national culture and the distinctly Scandinavian culture of Iceland. Iceland has some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire world, including a number of waterfalls, interesting beaches, and volcanic rock,” says Dr. Hansen. 

Students will spend their eleven days visiting historical sites, museums, touring sanctioned and unsanctioned public art, and will be presented with optional side trips like riding the famous Icelandic horses or hiking on a glacier. A day will also be spent at Reykjavik University for classes focused on geothermal energy, the criminal and legal justice system, and Icelandic history. 

“I’m excited to see the beautiful scenery and go to the Blue Lagoon. They have such a trusting and laid back culture that it will be different than what we are used to here in the United States, so I am excited to be welcomed by them,” says junior health science major Kathleen Rafanelli. 

For more information on the University’s study abroad programs, click here or contact Dr. Josie Brown-Rose at


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