Weekly News for Faculty, Staff and Friends of the Worcester State College Community


College Prepares for 132nd Commencement

College to Host Third Annual Hooding Ceremony
for Graduate Students



WSC Hosts 28th Annual Consortium Gerontology Studies
Program Graduation Ceremony

Impact and Recovery:  Young Survivors of Tsunami

Scholarship Tea Raises Record Amount for Scholarships

Junior Nursing Class Host First Special Olympics Young Athletes Day

Thirteen Students Present at Mass. Undergraduate Conference




WSC e-news General Info



Guillermina Elissondo (Languages and Literature) published “Schooling and Political Participation: The Case of Night of the Pencils” in Lemuel Berry, editor, Culture Monograph Series, National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies, pp.272-291, 2007. She also presented a paper, “Shantytown Dwellers: From Long-Term Employees to City Scavengers” at the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies Annual Meeting, Baton Rouge, February 15. On January 28-29 and April 29 she participated in the Bias-Review Committee Meetings of the Massachusetts Department of Education for MTEL.

Erika Sidor (Public Relations and Marketing) received first and second prize for her photos in the Worcester Magazine 6th Annual Citywide Photography competition. The top ten photos chosen were showcased in Worcester Magazine in the May 8th issue. An exhibit and reception will be held at ARTSWorcester, 660 Main Street., May 16-23.

Amaryllis Siniossoglou (Visual and Performing Arts) has been accepted to exhibit  her artwork at the Printmaking Exhibition, Museum of Karditsa,
, Greece
. The show was organized by the Greek Engravers Association.

Edna Spencer (Diversity) was a panelist for Bondage and Belonging in Black Worcester, a celebration of Worcester slave narratives, local African American authors, and Worcester's black history, on April 26 at the College of the Holy Cross.

Karen Tessmer (Athletics) has been named chair of the NCAA Division III National Basketball Committee.  

Elizabeth J. Wark (Business Administration and Economics) attended a textbook reviewers conference sponsored by McGraw-Hill Publishers on May 1 - May 2.  Conference participants were chosen due to their active involvement in the review and development of new economics texts and supplements.  During the sessions, participants were given the opportunity to provide feedback on new and revised teaching materials under consideration.

Adam Zahler (Visual and Performing Arts) is directing a play this summer for performance at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe, August, 2008.  He first worked on The Patriot Act, a new play by Lydia Bruce and Sandy Burns, during the summer of 2007 when it was a one-act play entered in the Wonderland Festival in New York.  The Edinburgh Fringe is a dynamic theatre festival coinciding with the famed Edinburgh International Festival of music, dance, and theatre.


Top of Page





WSC Hosts 28th Annual  Graduation Ceremony for Consortium Gerontology Studies Program

     The Consortium Gerontology Studies Program (CGSP) hosted its 28th annual graduation ceremony on Thursday May 8 at 7 p.m. in the North/South Auditorium of the Student Center.

     At the ceremony, CGSP graduated nine students from WSC, Assumption, Clark and the College of the Holy Cross. Congratulations to WSC students Bryanne A. Chew and Ashley Marie Piette for their completion of the program.

     The event featured the presentation of the Sol Boskind Award for community service to elders and the Rosalie Wolf Award for scholarship in gerontology. Student ambassador awards were also presented. Music for the event was provided by the Worcester State Chorale.

     The CGSP is a cooperative academic program of the Colleges of Worcester Consortium, Inc. CGSP students from four Consortium institutions (Assumption College, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, and Worcester State College) engage in the interdisciplinary study of aging and earn a Certificate in Gerontology along with their bachelor's degree. Students in the program work with dedicated faculty and have access to supportive internship and community partners. Established in 1978, the CGSP marks its 30th anniversary in 2008.


Top of Page


Impact and Recovery: Young Survivors of Tsunami
Barbara Zang, Ph.D.

     Champika K. Soysa (Psychology) calls what she does “action research.” It’s hard to know which is more powerful, the action or the research.

     “I believe that the people I study are not just a data source,” she said. “I also try to do something for them.”

     She thus did four months of psychosocial training with people in her home country of Sri Lanka after the December 2004 tsunami. After that, she began collecting data. Trauma among women and children is her research focus.

     Soysa returned to Sri Lanka the following year to look at the long-term impact of trauma on children. She is from the west and her work in Weligama in the south helped her establish relationships and access to children that the research required.  

     “In the south, children have recovered from the tsunami trauma for the most part,” she said. “There was a shared sense of stress. It’s seen as a normal reaction to an abnormal situation, the tsunami.”

     It’s not psychopathology, she continued. “That’s why most people in the community were able to get back to their normal lives.”  

     The north, however, presented an access problem. That’s the region where the minority Tamil paramilitaries wage their civil war against the rest of the country.  Children in the north experienced not only the effects of the tsunami but also persistent civil war.

     Researchers need to be culturally adept, Soysa said, especially when dealing with a complex subject like trauma. She doesn’t speak Tamil, and although she traveled to the war zone in early 2005 to conduct psychosocial training sessions, she herself couldn’t do the same level of research she’d done with children in the south.

     With a small grant from the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies, she recruited a mid-career Tamil medical doctor who lives in the north. She then trained him in psychology research skills.  

     “He was already trained in counseling by an NGO in Jaffna,” she said. Jaffna is in the heart of the war zone in the north.

     She has never met her research collaborator, Dr. C.S. Jamunananthan. “We’ve done the training through e-mail and the telephone,” she said.

     He was to have provided medical services to the children in the study, but war has once again displaced people, including the children in the study. Soysa phones the doctor in Jaffna every few months to check up on him and his family.           

     Jamunananthan did, however, collect data on children in the north about their stress reactions.  “The biggest problem for them is the continuous exposure to war,” Soysa said. “The cumulative effect of exposure to war, the tsunami, and war again, is very high levels of stress among these children.”

     Their parents worry about the disruption to their education. There is minimal access to health care in the region.  Nothing is usual. Or normal.

      “You’re listening to children whose life experience has been some sort of extreme life-changing event,” she said.  “They may not be seen as ill. But they’re under unremitting stressors.”

     Soysa’s 2007-08 mini-grant, “One year post-tsunami: PTSD in Two Ethnic Groups in Sri Lanka (Northern and Southern),” paid her expenses to San Francisco in August for the American Psychological Association conference. She presented a poster of the work she did in 2005 and shared the credit with Jamunananthan.

     “People were amazed to hear of the context in which I do this work,” she said. “It is one in which there’s been a disaster, the tsunami, in the context of a 25-year-old ethnic war. Data are difficult to gather. You have to work with schools and other organizations on the ground. It’s all about relationship building.”

     As for the next phase of this ongoing research, Soysa points to two distinct projects. One is to figure out what helped the children who got better. “I have the data,” she said, “but it’s neither analyzed nor interpreted.”

     The other project is to carve out the time to write up what she’s done so far. “Some of the things I’ve discovered in my work aren’t in the professional literature,” she said.

     Making this time to write might prove to be even harder than doing action research in a war-torn, tsunami-stricken country. 



Top of Page



Scholarship Tea Raises Record Amount
for Scholarships

Kimberly Brothers-Caisse

     Presented with the occasion to join Worcester State College in honoring Worcester’s Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Leonard Morse, more than 150 friends, family members, and colleagues gathered Sunday, May 4 in the Student Center, Blue Lounge for the 14th annual Scholarship Tea. The event raised a record of over $23,000 in scholarship aid.

     “This is a milestone, a tremendous accomplishment, and a fantastic and fitting tribute to our honoree, Dr. Morse,” said Camilla Caffrey, assistant vice president of Institutional Advancement.

     True to his unassuming nature, Morse accepted this recognition with humor and heartfelt sincerity. He said that recognition by the Scholarship Tea Committee made him feel like a molecule that absorbs so much fluid it bursts.

     “I was born a mile from here, at Fairlawn Hospital, and I live one mile from here. So I haven’t gone very far,” he said.

     Morse said his connection to WSC began long before former WSC President Kalyan Ghosh asked him to be a charter member of the Worcester State Foundation Board. He was a participant in a College program when he was a teenager, and in 1986, he received the College’s Community Service Medallion.

     Student scholarships are very important, Morse said, pointing out that many medical school students have an average debt of $150,000 upon graduation. “No gift is too small,” he said.

     President Ashley said, “Dr. Morse has been a leader on our campus for many years and a strong advocate for our scholarship program.”

     Jill Dagilis, executive director of the Worcester Community Action Council and a Worcester State Foundation Board member, told the audience that behind Morse’s “kind, gentle exterior” is a man with “superhuman strength” who is “passionate and laser-focused on public health issues.”

     Before presenting Morse with a key to the city, Worcester Mayor Konstantina Lukes told the audience that one of his myriad notable achievements happened in the city nearly 40 years ago. It was Morse who discovered the cause of the College of the Holy Cross 1969 football team’s hepatitis A outbreak, she said. “He makes it a habit to serve the city,” she said.
     “The Scholarship Tea has played a long and honorable role in the history of the College, constituting a direct link to the Worcester State of the past, and serving as both a guide and inspiration to the greatly enhanced scholarship program of today,” Caffrey said.


Top of Page



Junior Nursing Class Hosts First Special Olympics
Young Athletes Day

Robyn Leo, R.N.

     On a very sunny April 19, the Worcester State College junior nursing class sponsored the first “Young Athletes Day” of the Special Olympics of Massachusetts. The program was initiated to introduce children between the ages of two through seven with cognitive delays the chance to develop basic athletic skills for playing in organized sports. It also gives the families of these small children the chance to meet and network with one another. Along with organizing each of the skills stations, the 41 junior pediatric students also set up a craft table so each child could assemble an “Olympic torch."  Chartwells donated an ice cream sundae station for all the participants to enjoy.

     Instructor Debbie Benes (Nursing)  initiated the contact with Special Olympics Section Director Jonathon Muskrat. “This opportunity worked well for all involved," says Debbie. "It gave the students the chance to provide community service, along with the opportunity to work with cognitively challenged children and provide a fun filled day for the children. We hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with Special Olympics." 

Top of Page



WSC Students and Faculty Attend 14th Annual
Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference

Josna Rege, Ph.D.

     More than a dozen WSC students, sponsored by eight faculty members in five different departments, participated in the 14th Annual Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference, held at UMass Amherst on May 2. 

     Kristine Bielecki’s poster presentation, sponsored by Professor Peter Bradley (Biology), was on “Spider Silk Structures as Seen with the Scanning Electron Microscope." William Brideau, sponsored by Professor Eihab Jaber (Chemistry), gave a presentation on “Hydrogen Bonding Formations via Cyanuric Acid/Melamine Complexes." Economics major Christopher Hescock, sponsored by William O’Brien (Economics), gave a talk on “Male Life Expectancy: A Global Perspective," and on the same panel, Manoj Jonna, sponsored by Professor Bonnie Orcutt (Economics), gave an early presentation of his research on  “Worcester’s Unbanked: Trends and Characteristics." Also sponsored by Professor Orcutt, Aaron Kohl, Lindsey Gustafson, and Manoj Jonna presented “Microfinance: Prospects for Prosperity,” an overview of the ongoing Worcester State College microfinance project in Nicaragua.

     Occupational Therapy students Alycia Barney, Kathleen Lynch, Sarah Clement, and Kristin Gajda gave an oral presentation and slideshow on their service learning project in Nicaragua, led by Jacqueline Brennan (Occupational Therapy), “An Exploration of Healthcare Settings in Nicaragua to Assess the Need for Occupational Therapy Services."

     The Psychology Department was also well represented at the conference. Haley Duncanson, sponsored by Professor Brandi Scruggs (Psychology), presented “Comparison of Reaction Times for Localization of a Color Stimulus Following a Mood Induction Procedure."  Michelle Giddens, also sponsored by Professor Scruggs,  presented “Feature Contrast Effects on Salience as Measured by Reaction Time." Paula Edmonds, sponsored by Professor Emily Soltano (Psychology), presented “The Effect of Self-reference and Irrelevant Sound on Memory for Faces."     

     Unfortunately Economics major Heather Chou, sponsored by Professor O’Brien, who had prepared a paper on “Oil Shock: The Federal Reserve’s Evil Twin," was unable to attend the conference due to a family illness.

     Josna Rege of the Department of Languages and Literature served as the WSC campus contact for the conference. Professor Rege would like to congratulate all the students who participated in this inspiring event, and thank their sponsors for their encouragement and guidance.



Top of Page




    OPEN ENROLLMENT for Health Insurance for Non-Benefited Employees

    Part-time, non-benefited employees who do not have health insurance (or want to change health plans) may enroll through the Massachusetts Health Connector during the Open Enrollment period from May 1 to May 31. The coverage will be effective July 1

    Under the Health Care Reform law, all Commonwealth employees must carry health insurance or be subject to a penalty when they file their state income tax return.

    If you are already covered under a health plan other than through the Connector, you must complete a HIRD Form before July 1 and provide proof of coverage (copy of your health insurance card). These forms are available in the Payroll Office. Please contact Mary Zona (ext. 8491, or mzona@worcester.edu) to obtain a form. The College is required to obtain a new HIRD form every year from all employees who are not insured through the GIC or the Connector; and we are required to keep them on file for 3 years.

    To view FAQ’s about this health insurance benefit, please visit the GIC’s website at www.mass.gov/gic. To get an idea of the costs and various plans offered through the Connector or to enroll in a plan, please visit the Connector’s website at www.mahealthconnector.org. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Employer ID # is 149683 – you will need this number to enroll.

  • THANK YOU to everyone who donated books for the K-6 Worcester - The City that Reads Book Drive. We collected over 850 books! We more than doubled our donation from last year. The books are all going to local children who wouldn't otherwise have books to read this summer. Thank you again for your generous donations.

  • WSC GIRLS BASKETBALL CAMP: July 21-25, ages 7-16, 9 am - 3 p.m. The camp will cover skill development and include team games. Cost is $175 with a $10 discount for WSC employees.  Contact Karen Tessmer for brochure at ext. 8769 or check the WSC Athletic Department website to get brochure.

  • BRIDGE TO HER FUTURE AWARD: The WSC Women's Forum received a matching grant of $500 to help fund their first annual "Bridge To Her Future" award.  For each additional dollar raised by the Women's Forum from now through May 30, the donor will match the contribution dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $500. Donations are continuing to flow in and if the matching grant is realized, the Women's Forum will be very close to their overall fundraising target of $2000. Contact Bonnie Orcutt at borcutt@worcester.edu.

  • COMMONWEALTH AWARDS:  Time is running out to nominate a colleague for these awards. Awards are given in three categories: Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance, Eugene H. Rooney, Jr. Public Service Award and the Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service nomination forms for these awards are available in the Human Resources Office on campus (Admin. Village, Room 118). All nomination forms must be in to Carol Faron by Friday, May 16.

  • HOW TO WRITE STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: Understanding the difference between departmental goals, learning objectives and outcomes. This forum will be presented by Andrea Bilics and Maureen Erickson on Tuesday, May 13 at 10 a.m. in the Student Center North/South Auditorium. Space is limited. Please bring your own syllabi.
    To reserve a space please contact Andrea Bilics at: Andrea.Bilics@worcester.edu or cteachlearn@worcester.edu

Top of Page




Elizabeth Gilman
Staff Associate/Associate Controller
Division of Administration and Finance

Paula Kowszik
Clerk III
Financial Aid

Michael Needham
College Police Officer I
College Police


Linda Stake
Clerk III
Office of Institutional Research and Assessment


Clement Delaney
Associate Professor
History/Political Science

Robert Perry

Susan Rezen
Communication Sciences & Disorders


Top of Page



**Please Note - Links to online newspaper articles
 may no longer be available after a certain period of time.**
Green Building Costs, Benefits
Worcester Business Journal (5-12-08)
Excerpt: Worcester State College President Janelle Ashley, left, and Vice President Kathleen Eichelroth, right, in front of the administration building the school is upgrading using "green" principles.
'Skip' primed for first coaching job: McCormack may be next in line of Newburyport baseball alumni to coach
The Daily News (5-8-08)
Excerpt: Mike McCormack will likely be the next product out of the Newburyport coaching factory. But first, the Worcester State College senior and 2004 Newburyport High graduate will compete in the NCAA Division 3 Regionals next Wednesday. The McCormack-captained Worcester State club recently captured the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference title with a two-game sweep of No. 1 seed Westfield.
Worcester State energy project is sunny side up
Telegram & Gazette (5-7-08)
Excerpt: Worcester State College will join the green revolution this summer with the installation of a 100-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array, a project that is part of the governor’s Leading By Example program to increase the amount of solar power used in state buildings.


Monday, May 12, 2008




May 9-16

Final Exams

Monday, May 12

Student Recital

Sullivan Auditorium
Free and Open to the Public
3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 13

Talk: How to Write Student
Learning Outcomes

Student Center,
North/South Aud.
10 - 11 a.m.

Thursday, May 15

Nursing Pinning

Friday, May 16

Graduate Dinner/
Hooding Ceremony

Saturday, May 17

Senior Send-Off BBQ
Student Center
Open to Campus Community
Purchase tickets @
Student Center Info Desk

Sunday, May 18


DCU Center

WSC e-news is produced by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing on a weekly basis
except during semester breaks.

SUBMISSIONS are due by 9 a.m. every Wednesday. Send submissions, suggestions, corrections and questions to Rebecca Senecal at rebecca.senecal@worcester.edu. The Office of Public Relations and Marketing reserves the right to edit submissions for length and APA/MLA style.

CORRECTIONS: Corrections will be noted in the following e-news. If the correction is time-sensitive then the
correction will be noted in FacStaff.

PHOTOGRAPHY: All photography that appears in the WSC enews has been provided by Campus Photographer
Erika Sidor unless otherwise noted.

DELIVERY TIP: To ensure the WSC e-news is delivered to your Inbox and not your Junk Mail folder, please add enews@listserv.worcester.edu to your address book or contacts.

UNSUBSCRIBE: If you do not wish to receive WSC e-news, please send an e-mail to enews@listserv.worcester.edu.
The subject line must be blank and the body of the e-mail must say "signoff enews."

Contact Us:
Worcester State College
Office of Public Relations & Marketing
486 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01602
P: 508-929-8727
F: 508-929-8142