2015 Wellen Davison Seminar to Discuss Cultural Sensitivity, Stereotypes, and Inclusion

Posted March 27, 2015

a_jennings_seminar_smjpgThe Wellen Davison Seminar Series will host a discussion by Azekah Jennings titled “Enhancing our Community: Inclusion” on Monday, April 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Sleith Hall, Wood Auditorium. Lunch will be provided.

Jennings will discuss cultural professionalism and inclusion with an aim to raise awareness toward cultural sensitivity and respect in the face of diversity. The differences between prejudice and bias will be discussed, as well as addressing stereotypes and fostering a culture of mutual respect.

Azekah Jennings is a Senior Conciliation Specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service (CRS), in the Boston Regional Office which services Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. With passage of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, he works with communities to employ strategies to prevent and respond to alleged violent hate crimes.

Prior to joining CRS, he served as a federal prosecutor for over 20 years in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He began as a trial attorney and was eventually promoted to chief of the criminal division. He graduated from the University of Hartford in May 1980 with a BFA, and from the University of Connecticut School of Law in May 1983 with a juris doctor degree. He is a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands Bar and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The seminar is named after former Professor of Mechanical Engineering Wellen Davison, who taught at Western New England University for 38 years.


Przybysz and Berliner Take Home Crowns at the Miss Western Massachusetts Scholrship Pageant

Posted March 27, 2015

Rivers Memorial Hall was the setting earlier this month, as two Western New England University students took crowns at the Miss Western Massachusetts Scholarship Pageant.


L-R: Miss Berkshire County, Amanda Morton of Otis, Aubrie Przybysz of Springfield, Miss Western Massachusetts 2015, Miss Pioneer Valley 2015, Carmen Berliner of Great Barrington.

Pharmaceutical Business major Carmen Berliner was crowned the 2015 Miss Pioneer Valley while, Communication Media Theory and Production major Aubrie Przybysz was crowned 2015’s Miss Western Massachusetts.

"I am incredibly honored to be recognized as Miss Western Massachusetts 2015 and to qualify to compete at the Miss Massachusetts pageant in June,” said Przybysz. “This has been such a humbling experience and has reminded me I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Over the course of the year, Przybysz plans to focus on educating the people in the community and her peers about social media use and how they can utilize these sites to represent themselves digitally for the world to see.

“I am so honored and grateful to have become Miss Pioneer Valley 2015,” said Berliner. “I am also extremely grateful and proud to have received the interview award at the pageant. I am excited and eager to promote my platform Educate to Innovate: Developing 21st Century Problem Solvers which aims to get students excited about the STEM disciplines. I will be working throughout my year to bring programs like Lego league, tech challenge, and robotics programs back into schools across the Western Massachusetts area!”

The Miss Western Massachusetts Scholarship organization provides personal and professional opportunities for young women and promotes their voice in culture, politics and community. The organization empowers young women and encourages them to achieve their personal and professional goals by providing a forum in which to express their opinions, talents and intelligence. Fourteen young and talented women competed in this year’s pageant.


A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer

Posted March 26, 2015

By senior Jourdan Parkinson

On February 13, Western New England University’s V-Day Committee presented the 8th consecutive V-Day production on campus, an intense collection of monologues by world-renowned authors and playwright, edited by Eve Ensler.

Pictured (L to R): Professor Brenda Garton, Gennah Borg, Lyndsey St. Jean, Victoria Nardone, and Danna Mazzola

Directed by undergraduate students Gennah Borg and Lyndsey St. Jean, this Western New England University production is a part of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Its goal is to generate broader attention and education of the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sexual slavery.

"By presenting this information in a theatrical format, we can talk about bad things that happen but show how really good, amazing things can come from it,” says Lyndsey St. Jean, a junior Engineering major.

Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted and of those, more than half do not report their rapes to police, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Approximately 5 million women suffer at the hands of an abuser every year, according to the American Psychological Association. One in four women experience an abusive situation in their lifetimes.

When asked how this is can benefit the University in a positive manner, both Borg and St. Jean stated that displaying the topic of abuse and domestic violence in a manner that is theatrical makes it easier to listen to for the audience and easier to speak about rather than the traditional method of discussion.

Western New England University junior, Ellen Serra said, “This is a great way to bring awareness to an important issue that some people are not comfortable talking about. This program inserts some humor and is more discussion based which is more engaging than a lecture.”

Gennah Borg, junior, “This is the one theater event each year that involves several other student clubs besides the Stageless Players, so it becomes a true campus-wide event.”

Proceeds from the event were donated to the Springfield YWCA.


Asian Culture Saturates Campus Center

Posted March 26, 2015

By junior Jeff Roche


Western New England University's United and Mutually Equal Club (U&ME) recently held another great common hour feast. This time U&ME was celebrating Asian Fusion by bringing food, music, and posters from various Asian cultures to the campus center.

“We have many Asian students on campus and this event helps us to share our traditional foods and music with other students, and the rest of the campus,” explained

Phuong Ha, president of United and Mutually Equal Club. “It’s our hope that the information posters the students made, the food we serve, and music we play, will help students understand that we live in a truly global world now, and should embrace and celebrate other cultures.” 

Students lined up to get a taste of food from countries such as China, Japan, India, Korea, and Vietnam. The food was specially prepared by local restaurants and served by students of U&ME. 


Mini-Law School Program Has Major Impact

Posted March 25, 2015

mini_law_22_jpgLaw Professor Barbara Noah and Judge Kenneth Neiman

Western New England University School of Law opened its doors to the community with a five-week interactive lecture and discussion program focused on demystifying the law. The Mini-Law School Program was held on five Tuesday evenings in February and March, drew a crowd of nearly 200 participants, and generated a wait-list of over 100 people for the next program series. 

“We live in an increasingly complex world filled with laws,” remarked Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources Pat Newcombe. “People want to be better informed in order to make better decisions.”


The Mini-Law School Program was designed to provide practical knowledge to assist ordinary citizens in understanding how laws are applied, why disputes occur so frequently, and how courts mediate this process. Each class was taught by law school faculty and moderated by recently retired Federal Court Judge Kenneth Neiman, who served as the “Dean” of the Mini-Law School.  

“I came because I love every aspect of the law, and because it affects everything in our lives, and I can’t wait for the next series of classes to be offered,” explained Portia Axiotis of Wilbraham, MA.

Tyler Alves explained, “I came along with my grandmother, Portia Axiotis, but I really came because I’m planning on a career in law enforcement and I thought this would be a great way to get a taste of law fundamentals, and better prepare myself.” 

The focus of each class was on how the courts and law are relevant to citizens’ everyday lives. Blending theory and practice, the five sessions included; Family Law with Professor Jennifer Levi, Health Law with Professor Barbara Noah, Constitutional Law with Professor Bruce Miller, Environmental Law with Professor Julie Steiner, and An Inside View of Law School and the Courts with Judge Kenneth Neiman and Law School Dean Eric Gouvin. 

“My daughter is a freshman in law school and I thought this would help me have conversations with her and better understand what she is learning,” explained Ellen Rowles of East Longmeadow, MA. “It’s been very helpful and I’ve learned a great deal.”


“Having strong connections with the community is an important part of the Law School’s mission and we strive to serve as a resource in the community,” said Beth Cohen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “The goal of the Mini-Law School is to increase civic engagement and awareness and provide opportunities for people to better understand the legal system,” Cohen added 

Deans Newcombe and Cohen, co-chairs of the Program, are planning the next Mini-Law School for Fall 2015.  


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