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President Ramon Torrecilha Named Community Foundation of Western Mass. Trustee

"Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D., president of Westfield State University, was recently appointed as a trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Dr. Torrecilha will serve a three-year term.

'I am thrilled to work closely with President Zobel and serve on the board of a foundation that has been an exemplary catalyst for positive change for our region," says Dr. Torrecilha. "I trust my appointment will also provide some additional exposure for Westfield State University and its strides in student success, civic engagement, and workforce development.'"

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Student Presentation at NYIC

Evan Lucey (MS), Jarrod Petersen and Michael Goyette (Biology) presented their immunological research at the Upstate New York Immunology Conference (NYIC) this week. Their immunological studies featured wound healing experiments as well as HIV infection dynamics. Note: they only got to watch the HIV infections studies being done. Specifically, watching from a closed environment, while their professor, Kristen Porter, used their samples at her collaborator's lab at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

As the only undergraduates to present, their work was among that of graduate, post-doctoral fellows and faculty from Dartmouth (Geisel School of Medicine), Cornell, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, UConn, McGill University, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, SUNY schools from across NY, Albany Medical College, etc. As well as immunological giants of the field from Emory and Pfizer. They also attended numerous talks in different Immunological breakout sessions and made meaningful connections towards fulfilling their post-WSU career goals.

From Left to Right:
Evan Lucey (MS) and Jarrod Petersen and Michael Goyette (Biology)

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Westfield State University to Host Nún Isilmë (underneath the moon) Exhibit by Artist Tyler Vouros

"Westfield State University will host "Nún Isilmë" (underneath the moon), featuring the art of Tyler Vouros in the Arno Maris Art Gallery, Ely Campus Center, October 30–December 7. An artist's reception will be held on Wednesday, November 7, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the gallery.

Vouros' exhibit features a series of realistic charcoal pieces featuring bird and sunflower drawings. Water, brushes, erasers, and sandpaper add depth to his charcoal drawings which are later mounted to canvas for display."

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Westfield State Receives Early College Implementation Grant for The Westfield Promise Program

"Westfield State University has received a $140,000 Early College Implementation Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to continue The Westfield Promise program, which was officially designated as an early college program by the Department of Higher Education in May. The program aims to benefit underrepresented student populations, including first-generation and students of color.

Partnering with public high schools in Holyoke, Springfield, and Westfield, the program involves Westfield State faculty co-teaching a "stretch year" course with the high school faculty to high school juniors. As seniors, students then take courses on the University's campus, providing the students with an early exposure to the rigor of collegiate study and the campus environment – enabling them to more clearly visualize themselves completing a four-year degree. As an additional measure, the students are supported with peer and professional tutors.

"By immersing high school juniors and seniors in the Westfield State University culture, college becomes more of an attainable reality," said President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D. "The Westfield Promise students are already identifying themselves as Westfield State students, which is highly encouraging."

Seventy-nine high school seniors and 119 juniors are participating in The Westfield Promise this year, a program which began last fall. Upon high school graduation, if the students meet the appropriate admissions criteria of the University, they will earn preferred admission and enhanced financial aid packages at Westfield State."

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Westfield State Foundation Announces Increased Scholarship Awards

"The Westfield State Foundation, after a record-breaking year of raising more than $3 million, increased the amount of scholarship awards to students and honored philanthropist James Huffmire at its annual meeting in September.

As a result of the funding, the Foundation awarded 253 scholarships in 2017–18 to 194 students totaling $227,233. In addition, 161 internship scholarship awards were given, totaling $281,642. Total support eclipsed one-half of a million dollars. Representing the scholarship award recipients at the annual meeting were Thomas Howard, a junior from Agawam majoring in history and political science, and Alexander Dedinas of Millbury, a senior criminal justice major. Each student thanked their supporters and shared how the scholarship aid has helped their pursuit of a degree from Westfield State.

The Foundation presented its 2018 Stewardship Award to James Huffmire for his vision, commitment and leadership to the students, faculty and staff through many years of service. Huffmire has served as a Foundation director and has sat on numerous committees in the Westfield area."

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Westfield State Receives PIF Grant of $99,000

"Westfield State University has received a Performance Incentive Fund grant of $99,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to develop an enhanced prior learning portfolio assessment system to potentially enable qualified community college transfer students to complete a bachelor's degree within one calendar year.

"We are committed to making an accessible and affordable education at Westfield State University," said President Ramon Torrecilha, Ph.D. "In addition to our streamlined transfer policy with our community college partners and our increase to 79 acceptable credits in a variety of disciplines, this endeavor creates another pathway to success for community college students."

With the National Center for Education Statistics predicting the enrollment of adult learners to grow by 20 percent from 2012 to 2023 a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) has shown to be an effective method to provide students with college credit for lessons learned outside the classroom. Under the program, a comprehensive PLA Portfolio will allow students to earn 15 credits at the cost of three credits. The University will partner with the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL), a national expert in PLA, for technical support and training."

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Westfield State University to Host "Civil Rights Today" Lecture by Activist Shaun King

"Westfield State University will host American writer and civil rights activist Shaun King, on Monday, September 24 at 5:15 p.m. in Scanlon Banquet Hall in its first Higher Ed/Higher Ground speaker series event of the academic year.

King will present a lecture titled "Civil Rights Today: The New Civil Rights Movement," unpacking the ways that racism has shape-shifted and evolved since the 1960s and discussing what can be done in the modern movement today to create a more just world.

A columnist for The Intercept and the writer-in-residence at Harvard Law School's Fair Punishment Project, King has written and spoken about a wide range of topics on racism, mass incarceration, and social justice. In addition to his many writings for outlets like The Intercept, New York Daily News, Medium, and The Daily Kos, King has adopted social media to unite a diverse audience and has become one of the most followed activists in the United States, with more than a million followers on Twitter."

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Westfield State University Ranked Among Best-Value Colleges in the Nation by Money Magazine

"Westfield State University is ranked among the top 200 colleges nationwide, according to Money magazine's recently released "Best Colleges For Your Money 2018" list.

The rankings were determined based on 26 factors in three categories: quality of education, affordability and outcomes. Among the 727 colleges and universities included in the 2018 edition of this annual list, Westfield State is ranked at No. 19 in Massachusetts, No. 33 in New England and No. 184 overall.

The colleges considered for the ranking were required to have at least 500 students with sufficient and reliable data to be analyzed. They could not be in financial distress and required a graduation rate at or above the median for its institutional category."

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Westfield State University Hosts Painting with Paper Exhibit, Featuring Artist Laura Stein

"Westfield State University will host "Painting with Paper" featuring the art work of Laura Stein, in the Arno Maris Gallery, Ely Campus Center, September 5–October 19, 2018. Special events include an artist's talk on October 2 at 11:30 a.m.

'I draw with paper, using lines from different sources,' Stein explained about her work. 'Usually, I make a pencil drawing first. I fit together bits of printed diagrams, map lines, or repurposed drawings to create a work of lines that come together as a whole drawing.'

A native and resident of New York City, Stein holds a BFA from Cornell University with additional art studies at several institutions, including the Pratt Institute. Her work have been exhibited at galleries and shows in NYC, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and in online publications such as columbiajournal.org, 365artists365days.com, and dialogist.org. For more information, visit her website at www.laurajstein.com."

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Westfield State Enters Regional Pilot Program to Diversify the State's Math and Science Teachers

"Westfield State University, Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Springfield Public Schools comprise one of the three regional partnership teams that will leverage a $1.5 million award to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop MassTeach, a new model for increasing and diversifying the ranks of educators who are prepared to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in high-need school districts.

Westfield State, HCC and Springfield Public Schools were selected as a pilot group for MassTeach in Western Massachusetts because of their rich history of collaboration and commitment to STEM education. The partnership among the institutions will be coordinated during recruitment, through the STEM major, licensure requirements, and early career assistance. MassTeach scholars will be well-prepared and supported as early career STEM teachers."

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