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

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March 5, 2012 

Around Campus
In the News


Journalist and Activist
Jose Antonio Vargas to Speak at WSU

Mass. State Colleges and Universities Unite
for Public Higher Education Advocacy Day

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Lisa Krissoff Boehm (Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences) presented a paper, "'A Little Heaven Here': 1940s Detroit and the Quest for Social Justice" at the Association of American Geographer's conference in New York City on February 27. Boehm was part of a multi-session series on social justice and urban spaces organized by Ted Rutland of Concordia University and Jacob Remes of Empire State. 8,500 geographers attended this conference.

Stephanie Chalupka (Nursing) is the author of "Soy Isoflavones for the Prevention of Menopausal Symptoms and Bone Loss: A Safe and Effective Alternative to Estrogen" which was recently published in the Journal of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

Sonya Conner (Sociology) presented her research, "Head Start Advantage: The Cumulative Effects of Family-Based Cultural Resources on Educational Achievement Outcomes" at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, which was held February 23-26, 2012. This research uses data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD), a prospective longitudinal study of American children, their families, and their teachers, to investigate the mechanisms through which class-based cultural resources create disparate educational trajectories for children and adolescents.

Professor Conner also recently had a paper, "Talking with Me or Talking at Me? The Impact of Status Characteristics on Doctor-Patient Interaction"
(co-authored with B. Mitchell Peck, University of Oklahoma), published in Sociological Perspectives (Vol. 4, Issue 4). Using data collected between 2007 and 2008 from a large family medical practice, they find physician-dominated interactions (as opposed to a collaborative, patient-centered model, an approach that research has found yields better health outcomes than the physician-centered model) to be more typical when doctors had a higher race or gender status than their patients. These findings suggest that dealing with inequities in health and health care requires that policy makers consider not only macro-level factors, such as inadequate access to health care, but also micro-level factors--in particular, the doctor-patient encounter as a mechanism through which health inequities are formed.

Fortunata Songora Makene (Sociology) presented a paper at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, which was held February 23-26, 2012, in New York. Her paper, titled "What's Age Got to do with it? Children and Elders Rights in the International Perspective," explores how policy and outcomes on children and elderly rights become decoupled in one nation-state-Tanzania-and the implications of that decoupling. It identifies when policies produce qualitative changes, when they become decoupled from local circumstances, and how, if ever, they are reconciled.

Amaryllis Siniossoglou (Visual & Performing Arts) has been selected to exhibit her prints at the 31st Mini Print International of Cadaques 2011. The exhibition took place at Taller Galeria Fort, in Girona, Spain. Her prints have also been exhibited at Fundacio Tharrats d'Art Grafic, Barcelona, Spain, L' Etand' Art, Bages, France and Wigfield Barns, Suffolk, England.

Worcester State Theatre and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts congratulates John Karwaski and Trang Le, the Irene Ryan Audition Scholarship nominees from the recent production of The Weir. As nominees, the students will attend the 2013 Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, where they will perform scenes and monologues for selectors. Karwaski and Le were nominated by the KCACTF Respondent Susan Sanders, professor of theatre from Northern Essex Community College. Also selected were two alternates: Michael Sparks and Devin Malko.

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Speaker Addresses Race and Citizenship

A person's whiteness has played a role in the United State's citizenship debate and how various ethnic populations are treated since the founding of the country, civil rights expert Alexandra Filindra, Ph.D., told about 50 Commonwealth Honors Program students at a lecture in the Blue Lounge on Friday, March 2.

Filindra traced this attention to whiteness to the Naturalization Act of 1790, noting that Benjamin Franklin at one time even questioned the whiteness of German immigrants. She also outlined how eugenics established a racial hierarchy that influenced immigration laws and court rulings in this country and the Nazis' "final solution."

Although long debunked, the underlying messages of eugenics, based on the color of one's skin and ancestry, are still relevant today, Filindra said, pointing out that some states have passed laws that allow police to stop drivers if they look Latino in an attempt to find undocumented immigrants.

But the most telling example was Filindra's side-by-side comparison of the terrorism cases of John Walker Lindh, Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla. Each was born in the U.S. and was either of Islamic heritage or converted to Islam. The basic facts of each case vary, but her point was to show that Lindh, who is white, received a 20-year federal prison sentence; Hamdi, who is of Islamic heritage, was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and deported to Saudi Arabia; and Padilla was held for six years before he was tried and sentenced to life in prison.

Race is embedded in our culture, Filindra said. "We need to really make an effort to disassociate race with rights," she concluded.

Filindra is an assistant professor of Political Science at William Paterson University and a Research Associate at the Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University. Her field of interest is American public policy, immigration policy, race and ethnicity. She received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University and spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions at Brown University. Her work has appeared in the Harvard Educational Review, the Urban Affairs Review, International Migration, and other leading journals.

WSU Faculty Mini-Grant Initiates Week of
Storytelling at South Community High School

Photo taken after Feb. 17th story slam at South Community High School (left to right: Lilian Adris, student judge Norah Dooley, co-founder, massmouth and project director of StoriesLive; Sabbatina Konadu, second place, schoolwide story slam; Ben Cunningham, storyteller and instructor, StoriesLive; Josna Rege, Professor of English, Global Studies, WSU; Maureen Binienda, principal, SCHS. (Photo by Paula Junn)

On February 17, a week of storytelling in Worcester's South Community High School (SCHS) culminated in a school-wide story slam whose student winners will go on to the statewide high-school storytelling championship in Cambridge, Mass. The project started with a faculty development workshop on storytelling conducted in December, 2011 by Norah Dooley, founder of the statewide storytelling nonprofit massmouth and supported by Josna Rege's 2011-2012 Faculty Mini-Grant. The grant, titled "The World in Worcester: Two Seasons of Storytelling and a Digital Archive," also supported a free storytelling workshop at WSU in September 2011, followed by a story slam at the Sahara Restaurant and Café. (The winners of the Sahara slam will progress to the massmouth semi-finals in Somerville, Mass. on March 14, 2012.) In addition to funding the workshops, the mini-grant enabled the videotaping of the performances and the creation of a digital archive dedicated to showcasing Worcester's cultural diversity.

The seed money provided by the WSU Faculty Mini-Grant has multiplied. The success of the Sahara story slam led to an invitation to apply for a Worcester Arts Council grant to hold a series of story slams in 2012, and that application has been successful. WSU's Margarita Pignataro (Spanish) and Josna Rege (English, Global Studies) and Worcester community arts activist Julius Jones will organize four more slams at the Sahara Restaurant in Spring and Fall 2012, each with a different theme. The success of the faculty development workshop at SCHS, led Principal Maureen Binienda to enroll the school in the Mass Humanities-funded StoriesLive® program, which organized the week on storytelling. Professor Rege is a consulting scholar for the Mass Humanities grant.

Anyone interested in participating in the 2012 story slams or in helping to design the World in Worcester digital archive can contact Josna Rege,

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Celebration of Scholarship
and Creativity Slated for April 18

The fifth annual WSU Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity is scheduled for April 18, 2012. Building on the momentum of last year's event, the celebration will incorporate panel presentations, performances, and poster exhibits representing student and faculty work across the curriculum. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles Cullum said, "For the first time last year, we expanded the Celebration to include presentations from all disciplines--the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences --and to include performances as well as paper and poster presentations to more accurately reflect the wide range of creative and scholarly activities going on across campus. Also, this year, in order to help everyone plan which presentations they want to attend, we will be posting a schedule well in advance of the event."

Posters will be exhibited in the Student Center from 3-5 p.m., and the Celebration committee will develop the schedule for times and locations of panels and performances once all submissions are in.

To ensure that work is included in the booklet of exhibits and that a schedule can be posted, please submit project details and a 150-word abstract or description, as appropriate, to no later than March 29.

Faculty-guided student projects and faculty work done between May 1, 2011, and April 18, 2012, are eligible for this year's event. Address questions to Maureen Shamgochian ( in Academic Affairs.

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Health and Wellness Fair

The Office of Health & Wellness and the Pre-Med Allied Health Club invites the campus community to a Health and Wellness Fair on Wednesday, March 7 in the Student Center Exhibit Area. Stop by anytime between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. for screenings and awareness information from: American Cancer Society, 15-40 Connection, AIDS Project Worcester, American Lung Association, National Kidney Foundation, American Diabetes Foundation, WSU Health Services, WSU Counseling Services, WSU Speech Language Hearing Center, WSU Police, WSU Disability Services, Fallon Community Health Plan, Chartwells, WSU We Speak Up (bystander empowerment), EVO/Living Earth, WSU Active Minds, WSU Hunger Outreach Team, YMCA, UMASS Diabeties & Endocrinology, Central MA Tobacco Free Community Partnership, Veg Worcester, Nu Skin Enterprises, WSU Office of Health & Wellness, Dr. Jim, Chiropractor.

"Give a Book" Drive
Worcester State University will once again participate in the annual Worcester "Give A Book" Drive. The drive is put on by "Worcester: The City that Reads" committee which is led by school committee member John Monfredo. The goal of the city-wide book drive is to collect K-8 level books for distribution by the Worcester Public Schools to students who don't have the means to obtain adequate books for summer reading. New or gently used books would be greatly appreciated. Books will be collected until May 15 in the Public Relations and Marketing Office (Admin Building, Room 231). If you have any questions or need a helping hand getting them to the office, please call 508-929-8018. Thank you!

Celtics Trip with the Lancer Club
Join the Lancer Club for its annual bus trip on Friday, March 9 to the Boston Celtics against the Portland Trailblazers. Tickets are $68, and includes transportation. Bus leaves campus at 5:15 p.m. and returns after the game. Contact Christina Petruzzi if interested at ext. 8872 or

Why Engagement Matters with John Saltmarsh
The Faculty Engagement Committee of the Colleges of the Worcester Consortium invites you to: Why Engagement Matters on Friday, April 27 at the Worcester Historical Museum.

1 - 2:30: Workshop with John Saltmarsh, Co-Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education

2:45 - 3:30: Panel Discussion on Engaged Programs

3:30 - 4:00: Book Signing and Chat Time

Opening Reception for Student Art Show
Please join us in the Gallery in the Ghosh Science Center, Room 113 on Thursday, March 8 from 5-7 p.m. for the Opening Reception of the spring Student Art Show. We are showcasing art made by our Worcester State University students. Light refreshments, free and open to the public. This show will be on view until April 5. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m.

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Worcester Youth Center director going
to Latino Education Institute

Telegram & Gazette 3/2/12
Hilda Ramirez, executive director of the Worcester Youth Center, is leaving the center after four years to become assistant director of the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University.

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Tues., Mar. 6

Dave Stevens
"Impossible Dream"

Student Center,
Blue Lounge

11:30 a.m.

Wed., Mar. 7

Health and Wellness Fair
Student Center,
Exhibit Area

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Thurs., Mar. 8

Student Art Show
Opening Reception

Ghosh Center,
First Floor

5-7 p.m.


Wed., Mar. 14

Harriet Tubman:
One Woman Play

Sullivan Aud.
10 a.m.

"Green Chemistry:
Sustainability with
Nature's Resources"

Student Center,
North/South Aud.

10:30 a.m.

Harriet Tubman:
Bibliographical Presentation

Sullivan, Eager Aud.
(Rm 146)

2 p.m.

Women's Lacrosse
vs. Plymouth State

Coughlin Stadium
4 p.m.

Thurs., Mar. 15

"Define American:
My Life as an Undocumented

Student Center,
Blue Lounge

10 a.m.

One Poem And...
Sullivan, Rm. 305
3 p.m.

Sun., Mar. 18

Women's Lacrosse
vs. Husson College

Coughlin Stadium


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