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  Issue Number 11 • Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020  

Campus-champion-Shaneya-Simmelkjaer.jpg

Campus Champion

Shaneya Simmelkjaer, a senior who triple majors in criminology, political science and Africana studies, has spent her academic career studying the struggles faced by people of color. She’s also working very hard to make a difference. The Black Student Union vice president is a Black feminist advocate who believes that Black Americans continue to live in fear, sometimes due to indirect or unintentional discrimination. “I use my voice to highlight diversity issues on campus, and these include microaggressions and color blindness,” Shaneya says. Black History Month is winding down, but Shaneya will remain vigilant in support of greater social, political and cultural understanding of the Black community.

Nominate a Campus Champion


Tuesday, Feb. 25

Black History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Black is Always Beautiful: Readings from Ntozake Shange, Lorraine Hansberry, Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou,” presented by Jack Carr and students from the Communications Studies Department, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, noon.

Lecture: “Small Powers at the League of Nations,” presented by Alexandru Balas, Clark Center for Global Engagement, Sperry Center, Room 0104, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Alumni Speakers Series: Careers in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

Black History Month Poster Symposium: “Black History and Literary Work Now,” presented by the SUNY Cortland English Club, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 12:30 p.m.

Dowd Gallery Documentary Screening: “CERN & the Sense of Beauty,” a full feature film with English subtitles directed by Valerio Jalongo, Dowd Gallery, 5 p.m.

Lecture: Judging Deliberation: An Assessment of the Crowdsourced Icelandic Constitutional Project presented by Delia Popescu, Political Science Department, Peace and Global Studies and Legal Studies at Le Moyne College, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 6 p.m.

Wellness Wednesday Series: “Hazing Prevention: Sweating the Small Stuff,” Corey Union Function Room, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 27

Black History Month Sandwich Seminar:Trashing Ol' Barry Hussein O'bama[sic]: Disrespect and (In)civility in Trumpamerica —A Pointed Discussion, presented by Jack Carr, Communications Studies Department, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, noon.

English Department’s Works in Progress Event: “Desert Island Books,” a conversation on books we can’t live without, Old Main, Room 220, 4:30 p.m.

Black History Month Lecture: “Dr. Wangari Mathai: Impactful Legacy for Africa’s Future Generations,” presented by Margaret Gichuru, Childhood/Early Childhood Early Education Department, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 5 p.m.

Dowd Gallery Artist’s Talk: “Between Mediums,” with Monteith McCollum, an interdisciplinary artist and associate professor of cinema at Binghamton University, Dowd Gallery, 5 p.m.

Afro-Essence Exhibition and Event: Corey Union Fireplace Lounge and Exhibition Lounge, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m.

Performance: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, presented by the Performing Arts Department, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 28

Cortland Nites: Murder Mystery Dinner, Corey Union Function Room, 7 p.m.

Performance: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, presented by the Performing Arts Department, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 29

Performance: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, presented by the Performing Arts Department, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 2 p.m.

Performance: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, presented by the Performing Arts Department, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 1

Performance: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, presented by the Performing Arts Department, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 2 p.m.

Monday, March 2

Student Panel: Experiences of Disability Identities (and How Gender, Race, and Disability Matter),” Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 5 p.m.

Green-flix Film: The Plastic Problem, Moffett Center, Room 2125, 6 to 8 p.m.

Career Services “Start Smart” Workshop: Old Main Colloquium, 4 to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, March 3

Women’s History Month Performance: Andrea Stern, Concert and Celtic Harpist, Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Middle States Open Session: Preliminary design site visit by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Dr. Idna Corbett, for faculty, staff and students, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

Wednesday, March 4

Women's History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Leading Changes in United Nations Organizations?” presented by Catherine Bertini, an accomplished leader in international organization reform and a powerful advocate for women and girls, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 12:30 p.m.

Career Fair: Sponsored by Career Services, Corey Union Function Room, 1 to 4 p.m.

Wellness Wednesday: Strokes: Awareness, Signs and Symptoms, presented by Dr. Jorge Eller, M.D., endovascular neurosurgeon from Crouse Hospital, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 6 p.m.

Thursday, March 5

Women’s History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Nigerian Wives Wishing to Join their Husbands: Gender, Fictive Kinship and Illicit Trans-Colonial Mobilities,” presented by Dr. Ndubueze L. Mbah, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, noon.

Presentation: “Empowered Women Empower Women: A Gender Equity Program for Students,” Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 4:15 to 6 p.m.

Presentation: “Evil: Live Spelled Backwards,” a one-woman cabaret presented by Shanti Jones, certified philosophical counselor, accompanied by Professor Emeritus of Music Stephen B. Wilson, piano, Center for Ethics Peace and Social Justice Spring Lecture, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 3 p.m.

Friday, March 6

Conference: “TransAction 2020: The 2nd annual conference on issues related to transgender and gender non-conforming individuals on college campuses,” Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cortland Nites: $3 Movie Night: Plaza 6 Theater, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 7

Men of Color Student Leadership Summit: Featured speakers are Carlton Goode and Brian “Heat” Hamlin, Sperry Center, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., continental breakfast and check-in begins at 8:15 a.m. Register by Wednesday, Feb. 26, at cortland.edu/moc-summit

Bob Ross Paint Night: Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 8 p.m.

Monday, March 9

Women’s History Month Film Discussion: “I Am A Whisper, My Dear,” a discussion of collaborative ethnofiction film making with indigenous LGBT activists by Mariangela Mihai, Sperry Center, Room 205, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10

Conversation with the Cabinet: Faculty and staff event hosted by the President’s Office and the Gender Policies and Initiatives Council, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Debt Series Lecture: “The history of discriminatory lending practices in the U.S. and its role in perpetuating intergenerational inequality,” presented by Dr. David Fruend from University of Maryland, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 5 p.m.

Gender Inclusive Rock Climbing: “She Can Climb. They Can Climb. You Can Climb!” For women-identified and non-binary climbers, sponsored by Outdoor Pursuits, Student Life Center rock wall, 10 p.m.

Wednesday, March 11

Women’s History Month Sandwich Seminar: “100 Years Since Suffrage: The Current Status of Voter Mobilization in New York State,” Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 12:30 p.m.

Debt Series Lecture: “Macro-Financial Stability and Household Debt from the Perspectives of American Post-Keynesian Economics, the Cambridge approach, and the Monetary Circuit School” by Joelle Leclaire from SUNY Buffalo State, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 5 p.m.



Alumna recognized at the State of the Union

02/24/2020

Amy Howard Williams ’02 doesn’t do it for the attention.

Yet for one moment, Williams and her family were in the center of the national political spotlight for her tireless volunteer efforts on behalf of military families.

Williams, whose husband, Townsend, is a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, was selected to represent the families of America’s armed forces at the 2020 State of the Union Address on Feb. 4.

She has spent countless hours helping others in roles with the Military Spouse Advocacy Network and InDependent, an inclusive wellness community for military spouses. That’s on top of the care packages, the meals and the nights spent in hospitals with those who have had children while their husbands were serving overseas. And she does it while raising her own two small children while her husband is working more than 7,000 miles away.

“Amy works full-time and volunteers countless hours helping other military families,” President Donald J. Trump said during his address. “For the past seven months, she has done it all while her husband, Sergeant First Class Townsend Williams, is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment to the Middle East.”

The only thing that would’ve made the moment sweeter was if Williams’ husband was there with their children, Elliana, 6, and Rowan, 3, in the House chamber.

It turns out he was.

Amy Williams and family
Williams, left, and her children, Elliana and Rowan, were surprised by her husband, Townsend Williams, at the State of the Union

“Amy’s kids have not seen their father’s face in many months,” Trump continued. “Amy, your family’s sacrifice makes it possible for all of our families to live in safety and peace.

“But Amy, there is one more thing. Tonight, we have a very special surprise. I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment. He is here with us tonight, and we couldn’t keep him waiting any longer.”

Amy put her hand over her mouth and turned around. It was true. Dad scooped up the kids and they all embraced. For a moment, the Williams family was reunited, live on television around the globe.

In the weeks since, Williams has received messages from friends and family and those she’s touched with her generosity.

“So many people have said how proud they were of me and how selfless I am,” Williams said. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that so many times. I don’t talk about what I do because I actually don’t like the attention. That was really hard for me to be on TV worldwide.”

Service, however, is part of her DNA. Williams threw herself into helping others through Greek life at SUNY Cortland, both as president and community service chair of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.

Like many Cortland students, Williams came to campus with dreams of becoming a teacher. She realized that wasn’t her destiny, switched her major to English and embarked on a career in marketing and public relations that has taken her around the globe.

Those two experiences on the SUNY Cortland campus led Williams to a pair of valuable realizations. One, switching her major at the last minute gave her the confidence to know she could accomplish anything she put her mind to. Two, there are few things more meaningful in life than service to others.

After graduation, Williams, a Plattsburgh, N.Y., native, moved to New York City to pursue her career. There, she met Townsend Williams, who had also grown up in Plattsburgh and wound up in New York as an emergency medical technician and a member of the Air National Guard.

Townsend Williams joined the U.S. Army, the couple got married. Soon they were stationed at Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.

Townsend Williams has been recognized with the Army Commendation of Valor, four Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medal Ribbons, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, two Iraq Campaign Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Drill Sergeant Badge, Recruiter Badge, Parachutist Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

The experience of moving overseas gave Amy Williams a deep appreciation for the trials military spouses go through as they face the challenges of adapting to a new way of life.

“It sounds like a dream now, but I was a deer in the headlights,” she said. “I had no one that was helping me. I had to navigate the Army world all by myself, and I did it, but I don’t want anyone to ever feel like I did. I will help anybody navigate this very scary world so they don’t feel alone.”

For the last two years, Williams’ family has settled at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Her day job is the chief of advertising, marketing and public affairs for the U.S. Army Special Operations Recruiting Battalion (Airborne). She also thrives as the leader of the Family Readiness Group for her husband’s company in the 82nd Airborne Division, a role that involves sensitive conversations about causalities or fatalities in operations overseas.

Largely, her volunteer work centers on the little things that mean the most.

Williams Family portrait
The Williams family

Williams has worked with Gold Star spouses, organized local suicide awareness runs and mentored other military spouses seeking employment in a new location. Sometimes she’ll swing by the store to pick up coloring books or crafts for children whose parents are half a world away. Or she’ll grab some paper plates and plasticware to save the family member at home a few minutes of doing dishes so that they can take a break or spend more time with their children.

“It’s always easy to help the troops because there are always drives to do care packages for them, but people often forget the military families at home,” she said. “If you’re near an installation, look for ways to help the families.

“Military families will never ask for help. It’s ingrained in us to not ask for help. You have to just do it for them. If you know someone in the National Guard or the reserves and you know their spouse is gone, just mow their lawn. I swear to you that person will cry and be so grateful. I had someone who mowed the lawn the entire time my husband was deployed and it was the most amazing thing.”

Williams has previously been recognized through the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s Unsung Hero Award and as the 82nd Airborne’s 3rd BDE 1-508 Battalion Volunteer of the Quarter.

On top of her volunteer work, Williams has earned certificates in culinary arts, food writing and nutrition from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York University and the American College of Healthcare Sciences, respectively, as well a certificate in Italian Studies from the University of Maryland University College. She recently completed a master’s degree in marketing from Southern New Hampshire University.

As for the State of the Union surprise, Williams was completely unaware her husband was in Washington. She received a message from him shortly before the event that he was going to sleep because of the time difference downrange.

Two days earlier, she spent Super Bowl Sunday texting updates to Townsend, a San Francisco 49ers fan. His request was just a ruse to build up the shock of his return. Townsend was watching while en route to Washington, D.C.

On the night of the president’s speech, she was completely focused on her mission — the value of volunteering for military families at home — and on her children.

“I found out right before, walking in, that we were sitting right next to the First Lady and I thought, ‘Oh dear God, I hope my children behave,’ she said. “It was nerve-wracking. We had incredible support. To hear from so many people that they have noticed how selfless I am has been a huge compliment.”

Williams’ children are certainly following in her footsteps. Elliana recently received the kindness award at school.

“That means so much to me, too,” she said.

For those who are looking to join Williams’ campaign for military families across the U.S. and abroad, her message is simple. The little things count. A modest gesture means the world to those separated from spouses and parents.

“A simple gift package for the spouse and some crafts for the kids is so meaningful for the family just to know that someone is thinking of them and someone knows that they’re there,” she said. “The solders downrange get care packages from so many organizations and the Girls Scouts send them a million cookies.

“But people don’t always ask about the families and kids are often forgotten. Sending them books or other things is so treasured. They know people thought of them.”

Bertini talk leads Women’s History Month events

02/24/2020

Catherine Bertini, an accomplished leader in international organization reform and a powerful advocate for women and girls, will speak on “Leading Changes in United Nations Organizations” as part of Women’s History Month at SUNY Cortland.

Bertini’s talk will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

These and other experts will be sharing their experiences and work at SUNY Cortland in March as the University celebrates Women’s History Month with a packed schedule of events.

Bertini has a distinguished career improving the efficiency and operations of organizations serving poor and hungry people in the U.S. and around the world. She was named the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her leadership of the World Food Programme as executive director from 1992 to 2002.

As a United Nations Under Secretary General for Management from 2003 to 2005, Bertini led efforts in humanitarian, development, nutrition, security and management roles and led missions to the Horn of Africa, Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.

She created the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education to support programs to increase opportunities for girls and women to attend school.  

Bertini has taught courses in Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and has worked in various roles for the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A Cortland, N.Y. native, Bertini was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at SUNY Cortland’s 1999 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony.  

The national theme of Women’s History Month is “Valiant Women of the Vote” and celebrates both the brave women who fought for suffrage, as well as those to currently continue the struggle for representation and equity.  

“This year’s focus is especially timely as we simultaneously celebrate a century of women’s suffrage and look forward to a presidential election,” said Jena Nicols Curtis, director of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies and coordinator of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

As part of Women’s History Month, the University’s Sexual, Orientation, and Gender Identity committee will once again be hosting “TransAction.” This second annual day-long conference, held on March 6, will address the experiences of and best practices for welcoming transgender and gender non-conforming individuals on college campuses.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The Women’s History Month schedule of events includes:

  • Monday, March 2: Student panel on "Experiences of Disability Identities (and how Gender, Race and Disability Matter) at 5 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Tuesday, March 3: “Andrea Stern, Concert and Celtic Harpist” at 7 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium. Tickets are $10 general admission; $8 senior citizens (age 60 and older); and $3 students. Children 10 and under admitted free.
  • Thursday, March 5: “Nigerian Wives Wishing to Join their Husbands: Gender, Fictive Kinship, and Illicit Trans-Colonial Mobilities” a Sandwich Seminar by Dr. Ndubueze L. Mbah at noon in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Thursday, March 5: “Empowered Women Empower Women: A Gender Equity Program for Students” from 4:15 to 6 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge.
  • Friday, March 6: “TransAction 2020: The Second Annual Conference on Issues Related to Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals on College Campuses” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. The event is free for SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff and $15 for all others. Register at RedDragonNetwork.org/transaction.
  • Monday, March 9: “I Am A Whisper, My Dear” a discussion of collaborative ethnofiction filmmaking with indigenous LGBT activists by Mariangela Mihai at 4:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 205.
  • LECTURE CANCELLED/TO BE RESCHEDULED. Tuesday, March 10: “The History of Discriminatory Lending Practices in the U.S. and its Role in Perpetuating Intergenerational Inequality” by David Fruend from the University of Maryland at 5 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Tuesday, March 10: “Gender Inclusive Climbing” at 10 p.m. at the Student Life Center Climbing Wall.
  • THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED. ORGANIZERS WILL TRY TO RESCHEDULE FOR A LATER DATE.Thursday, March 12: “An Afternoon with Cheryl Strayed” will begin at noon in Old Main Colloquium Room. This sandwich seminar is open only to SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact Heather Bartlett or John Leffel. The event is sponsored by Distinguished Voices in Literature.

More information on upcoming Women’s History Month events will be posted in future bulletins.

Women’s History Month Events are sponsored by: Advisement and Transition; the Campus Artist and Lectures Series; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies; he Disability Resources Office; the Economics Department; the History Department; the Geography Department; Hillel; the International Studies Program; the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office; the Clark Center for Global Engagement; the Gender Policies and Initiatives Council; the It’s On Us Action Team; Jewish Studies; the New York Public Interest Research Group; the Memorial Library ; Outdoor Pursuits; the President’s Office; the Sexual Orientation, Gender, Identity, and Expression Committee (SOGIE); Disability Resources; the Student Government Association; the SUNY Cortland Chapter of the American Association of University Women; and the TransAfrica Project.

For more information, contact Curtis at 607-753-2979.


Capture the Moment

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Marian LeTourneau, an inclusive childhood education major, seen here sprinting from the climbing wall, competed in Recreational Sports’ second annual Adventure Race in the Student Life Center on Feb. 23. The event consisted of three beginner-level routes on the climbing wall, three miles on a spin bike and kayaking 10 laps on a designated course in the pool. A dozen students participated, earned t-shirts and made some new friends along the way. The Adventure Race was part of Recreational Sports’ “One Day Events” series competition, which continues throughout the semester.


In Other News

Filmmaker infuses diversity into cinema

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Romanian born Mariangela Mihai, an anthropology and film Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, researches overlapping nationalisms, identity and ethnicity in Mizoram, a Northeast Indian state bordering Myanmar which was formerly Burma.

She will lead a discussion on collaborative ethnofiction filmmaking with indigenous LGBT activists, on Monday, March 9, at SUNY Cortland.

Her talk, titled “I Am a Whisper, My Dear,” will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 205.

Mariangela_Mihai_WEB
Mariangela Mihai

Mihai and other experts will be sharing their experiences and work at SUNY Cortland in March as the university celebrates Women’s History Month with a packed schedule of events.

Ethnofiction refers to a blend of documentary and fictional film in the area of visual anthropology. It is a film type in which, by means of fictional narrative or creative imagination, often improvising, the portrayed characters — natives — play their own roles as members of an ethnic or social group.

Mihai has worked as a graduate assistant on issues of refugee political resettlement at the Emory Center for Ethics and as an intern for the International Rescue Committee.

A graduate from Emory University in Atlanta with a B.A. in anthropology, Mihai has three select film projects.

  • “To Uphold the Law (2014)” explores ideologies of nationalism and anti-drone activism in Upstate N.Y.
  • “Nobel Nok Dah (2015)” offers an intimate view into the lives of three refugee women from Burma.
  • “For My Art (2016),” a two-channel video installation, explores the sensorial landscape of transition-era Burma/Myanmar through the figure of the performance artist.

“Valiant Women of the Vote,” the national theme of Women’s History Month, celebrates both the brave women who fought for suffrage, as well as those who currently continue the struggle for representation and equity.

“This year’s focus is especially timely as we simultaneously celebrate a century of women’s suffrage and look forward to a presidential election,” said Jena Nichols Curtis, director of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies and coordinator of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The Women’s History Month focus also involves the LGBT community, migration and immigration.

As part of Women’s History Month, the university’s Sexual, Orientation and Gender Identity Committee will once again host “TransAction.” This second annual day-long conference, held on Friday, March 6, will address the experiences of and best practices for welcoming transgender and gender non-conforming individuals on college campuses.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The Women’s History Month schedule of events also includes:

  • Tuesday, March 3: “Andrea Stern, Concert and Celtic Harpist” at 7 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium. Tickets are $10 general admission; $8 senior citizens (age 60 and older); and $3 students. Children 10 and under admitted free.
  • Wednesday, March 4: “Leading Changes in United Nations Organizations?” a Sandwich Seminar by Catherine Bertini at 12:30 p.m. in the Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Thursday, March 5: “Nigerian Wives Wishing to Join their Husbands: Gender, Fictive Kinship, and Illicit Trans-Colonial Mobilities” a Sandwich Seminar by Dr. Ndubueze L. Mbah at noon in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Thursday, March 5: “Empowered Women Empower Women: A Gender Equity Program for Students” from 4:15 to 6 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge.
  • Friday, March 6: “TransAction 2020: The Second Annual Conference on Issues Related to Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals on College Campuses” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. The event is free for SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff and $15 for all others. Register at RedDragonNetwork.org/transaction.
  • CANCELLED/TO BE RESCHEDULED/Tuesday, March 10: “The History of Discriminatory Lending Practices in the U.S. and its Role in Perpetuating Intergenerational Inequality” by David Freund from the University of Maryland at 5 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Tuesday, March 10: “Gender Inclusive Climbing” at 10 p.m. at the Student Life Center Climbing Wall.
  • THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED. ORGANIZERS WILL TRY TO RESCHEDULE FOR A LATER DATE. Thursday, March 12: “An Afternoon with Cheryl Strayed” will begin at noon in Old Main Colloquium Room. This sandwich seminar discussion is open only to SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact Heather Bartlett or John Leffel. The event is sponsored by Distinguished Voices in Literature.

More information on upcoming Women’s History Month events will be posted in future Bulletin editions.

Women’s History Month Events are sponsored by: Advisement and Transition; the Campus Artist and Lectures Series; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies; the Disability Resources Office; the Economics Department; the History Department; the Geography Department; Hillel; the International Studies Program; the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office; the Clark Center for Global Engagement; the Gender Policies and Initiatives Council; the It’s On Us Action Team; Jewish Studies; the New York Public Interest Research Group; the Memorial Library ; Outdoor Pursuits; the President’s Office; the Sexual Orientation, Gender, Identity, and Expression Committee (SOGIE); Disability Resources; the Student Government Association; the SUNY Cortland Chapter of the American Association of University Women; and the TransAfrica Project.

For more information, contact Curtis at 607-753-2979.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Victoria Van Every


Education students present at national conference 

Maton_conference_2.gif 02/25/2020

For children with incarcerated family members, the literature that portrays their situation can negatively impact their relationship with loved ones.

Recently, four education students at SUNY Cortland researched, wrote a paper and presented at a national conference on how the parents of these children can overcome the daily challenges when trying to show love and support for their kids.

“Being incarcerated can sometimes present some physical barriers, even if they are very emotionally present, still there, for their kids,” said the students' mentor, Rhiannon Maton, an assistant professor in the Foundations and Social Advocacy Department.

Maton has organized workshops supporting students in building deeper critical analysis about issues in race and incarceration.

She asserts that the depiction of inmates in the picture books that kids read before visiting their incarcerated family members should be monitored more closely. 

“When children are going to visit a family member who is incarcerated, how do the picture books that are geared toward children represent that process of visitation?”

In Fall 2018, alongside a group of teachers in Ithaca, N.Y., Maton conducted a study examining how teachers understand and support students who have loved ones in prison.

“I mentioned it (the study) to a bunch of my classes and students that I knew, and a number of students came up to me and said, ‘Hey, your project sounds really interesting. I’d love to know how I can get involved.’”

With Maton’s guidance, a group of four SUNY Cortland students began meeting once a week to critically analyze picture books and the way inmates are often portrayed as people of color in children’s literature.

Their weekly meetings were constructively used to write a paper titled “Picture Books and Familial Incarceration: Representations of Visitation.”

“We started looking for different themes that could be seen in the books,” said one student in the research group, Nicolette McKeon of Dix Hills, N.Y., a senior inclusive education major. “If the authors wanted to scare kids and portray it in a bad light, then prison was a really scary place. But, if they wanted to prepare them for visiting, then it was more for familiarizing them with it.”

Seizing the opportunity to share their research with thousands of administrators, experts and educators, the four brought their analysis to the 2019 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland. 

The group presented on Friday, Nov. 22. Also participating at the conference were Breeanna Dexter of Tully, N.Y., a graduate student majoring in teaching students with disabilities; Breanna Washington of Queens, N.Y., a senior inclusive education childhood major; and Emily Urias-Velasquez of Mount Kisco, N.Y., a sophomore dual degree major in childhood/early childhood education and Spanish.

Maton, who had never before worked alongside students on a research project, saw the NCTE conference as a terrific opportunity for them.

“As a professor I want my students to see that there are these resources out there so that when they go into professional practice themselves, they can access this kind of conference,” Maton said.   

The audience comprised of authors and teachers provided astounding feedback.

“It was kind of nerve racking because we were talking to these professional academic people,” McKeon said. “But once we got going you could tell that people were interested in what we had to say.

“In education right now there’s this push for inclusion and making sure diversity is well-represented," she said. "Supporting kids who have incarcerated family members is a topic that isn’t really well talked about like other family structures.”

For Maton, watching the students excel outside the walls of her Gender Race and Class Issues course was a rewarding reminder of the impact she has on those around her.

Maton_Incarcerated_screen_WEB

Attending the conference were, from left, faculty advisor Rhiannon Maton, Breanna Washington, Emily Urias-Velasquez, Nicolette McKeon and Breeanna Dexter.

“It’s been so impressive to see the kind of leadership that the students have taken on,” Maton said. “They have grown and flourished into these roles as researchers and they’re all great at it.

“It was great for the students to see that this is what teachers who are out there in practice do. They have the opportunity to go to these professional conferences where they can learn and be immersed in new ideas, be exposed to new books and resources, and then they can bring it all back to their own school and into their practice.”

McKeon is eager to practice these valuable lessons in teaching and leadership once she becomes an educator.

“I learned a bunch of unique ways to support all students,” McKeon said. “I feel like I’m building this toolbox of how to support all these different students in my classroom.”  

Maton is excited to teach a new class next fall related to democratic models of schooling, but her work with this group is not yet finished.

 “We’re done presenting,” she said. “Now we’re focused on writing up a scholarly manuscript for publication in an academic journal.”

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Dean Zulkofske


A unique coming-of-age tale comes to SUNY Cortland stage

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Sophomore Ian Luchini portrays central character Christopher Boone in SUNY Cortland’s upcoming production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which opens on Thursday, Feb. 27.

Christopher is a teenage math whiz who decides to investigate the death of a neighbor’s dog while coping with severe sensory and behavioral issues. He soon starts to unravel family mysteries and opens up about his personal challenges with his social worker and teacher at school.

With innovative set and sound design, the play is designed to be viewed in the way Christopher experiences the world. It provides an interesting challenge for the actors, including Luchini.

“You have to picture everything through his eyes,” Luchini said. “That’s beautiful in a sense, rather than having everything given to the audience. It will make people think.”

The play was adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens from the eponymous 2003 novel by Mark Haddon. In 2015, the Broadway production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” won five Tony Awards, including best play.

Sophia Rissi, a junior from Manhattan, N.Y., plays Judy Boone, Christopher’s mother. Her perspective on the thematic content of the play has changed since rehearsals started.

“The first time I read it, I thought one thing about this play, but now, being Judy, my whole perspective on this play has changed,” Rissi said. “It’s about a family and dealing with the struggles of Christopher.”

Anthony Acevedo, a junior from Port Washington, N.Y., is Roger Shears, one of the Boone’s neighbors. He was similarly struck by how different he felt about the work after getting on stage and bringing the script to life.

The character of Roger is wrapped up in the various mysteries young Christopher is trying to solve and the two initially share a mutual distrust.

“You read it and you see the black and white, but it’s about having emotions and having to deal with Christopher as a human being and not treating him like most people treat him,” Acevedo said. “It’s really different seeing that. I feel like it’s really educational. Being in it, I learned a lot and I think people watching it are going to learn a lot. It’s cool seeing it from his point of view.”

Nicole Furka, a senior from Massapequa, N.Y., is Christopher’s social worker at school, Siobhan. Her character serves as the play’s narrator and does so by reading Christopher’s own writing of things that have happened in his life. That relationship between social worker and student uncovers an empathy for Christopher that isn’t necessarily expressed by all of the people he encounters.

“She’s such a fun character,” Furka said. “She gets to see through a kid’s life she meets at school. But it’s her reading his book, finding out more details of his life, that breaks her heart as a social worker and as someone so close to him.”

“I think acceptance would be the main thing,” Luchini said. “It’s also the idea of overcoming certain obstacles that individual people may have. We’ve talked a lot with (Associate Professor and Director Deena) Conley about how being on the spectrum is different for individuals.

“It’s not important that he’s specifically on the spectrum — in fact, in the play, it doesn’t mention at all that he’s on the spectrum — but it’s about him overcoming his obstacles and that’s very indicative of individual people overcoming obstacles and achieving what they want to achieve in their life.”

Performances of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” will be held in the Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre. Shows on Thursday, Feb. 27, Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 29 begin at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances will be held on Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, faculty and staff, $14 for alumni and $10 for students and are available at Cortland.edu/boxoffice.


Economics to be big March topic

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Three visiting economists will discuss everything from household debt to unfair lending practices to creating a more caring model of political economy, in separate lectures on March 10, 11 and 12, at SUNY Cortland.

The presentations will continue the university’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC) year-long series on “Debt,” a concept that explores a wide range of issues spanning criminal justice, inequality, immigration and climate change. 

Events in the “Debt” series are free and open to the public. To view a list of upcoming topics, visit the CICC’s calendar

DAVID FREUND TALK CANCELLED/TO BE RESCHEDULED

The talks that second week of March will begin with David Freund, the author of the 2008 book, Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America, who will speak on Tuesday, March 10. Freund will lecture on the history of discriminatory lending practices in the U.S. and its role in perpetuating intergenerational inequality. He will speak from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. 

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David Freund

Freund is an associate professor of history at University of Maryland who specializes in the history of the modern United States. His book, Colored Property, was awarded the 2008 Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians, the 2007 Kenneth Jackson Book Award from the Urban History Association and the 2009 Urban Affairs Association Best Book Award. 

He also has contributed to a number of public history, policy and documentary projects and has received grants and fellowships from organizations including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Graham Foundation for the Arts. 

Joelle Leclaire, an  associate professor of economics and finance at Buffalo State College, will speak from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge on Wednesday, March 11. Her talk will focus on macro-financial stability and household debt from the perspectives of American Post-Keynesian Economics, the Cambridge approach and the Monetary Circuit School.

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Joelle Leclair

SCOTT FERGUSON TALK CANCELLED. TO BE RESCHEDULED. Scott Ferguson will focus on the politics of care and the aesthetics of money when he returns to visit the campus again from University of South Florida on Thursday, March 12.

Ferguson, whose research explores relations between political economy and aesthetics, specializing in the history of Western visual culture from Renaissance painting to the Hollywood blockbuster, will lecture from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. His text, Declarations of Dependence: Money, Aesthetics and the Politics of Care, was published by University of Nebraska Press in 2018.

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Scott Ferguson

A research scholar for the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, Ferguson is co-director of the Modern Money Network Humanities Division and co-host of the Money on the Left podcast.

The CICC “Debt” series will conclude with the following event: 

THURSDAY, APRIL 9. Historical sociologist Jakob Feinig will address the topic of money creation from the perspective of popular knowledge and democratization as a means for delivering improved social outcomes. His presentation lasts from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Research by Feinig, who is on the faculty at Binghamton University, examines the intersection of money creation, electoral democracy and human rights. His work also looks at non-elite participation in North American money politics from the colonial period to the present. Feinig currently is writing a book titled The Moral Economy of Money, the first systematic long-term study of popular involvement in the monetary institutions of any country. 

Featured Conversations in the Disciplines guests as well as Cortland faculty, staff and students are invited to contribute original works, which the committee plans to publish the collected works as a field guide under the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity’s ongoing book series under an agreement with publisher Palgrave-MacMillan. Last year, a field guide was published on the topic of Field Guide to Zombies and Surviving the Apocalypse. The institute is an independent public policy think-tank dedicated to the promotion of interdisciplinary research. 

The “Debt” series programming is supported by a $5,000 grant from SUNY Conversations in the Disciplines, a program created to build connections between SUNY faculty and visiting faulty from non-SUNY institutions. The series is co-sponsored by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Office, the Campus Artist and Lecture Series, the Research and Sponsored Programs Office, the President’s Office and the Cortland College Foundation. 

To submit an event, a Field Guide contribution, volunteer to support this year’s activities and programming, or for more information, contact organizer and Assistant Professor of Economics Benjamin Wilson at 607-753-2436. Stay current with the series news on Twitter at @SUNYCortCICC. 


Seminars unite early childhood educators

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On a recent winter evening, a group of Cortland-area early childhood educators met to learn about the importance of integrating movement and learning.

Led by Diane Craft, a SUNY Cortland professor of physical education, the group tried their hand at activities they can do in their own settings with easily available materials. Each participant took home a new understanding of the connection between physical activity and brain development, activities they could put into practice right away, and a copy of Craft’s internationally recognized book Active Play!

Since September 2017, SUNY Cortland’s School of Education has collaborated with The Child Development Council, a regional early childhood support agency, to offer these free, monthly Wise Wednesdays workshops that bring together professional facilitators, teacher education faculty, pre-K and kindergarten teachers, childcare center staff and home daycare owners, to do continuing education together.

The lifelong process of learning begins in early childhood, said the series organizer, Alexis Abramo, a former teacher who serves as a staff associate with SUNY Cortland’s School of Education.

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Alexis Abramo

“What happens in those crucial months and years is the foundation for a child’s eventual outcomes in kindergarten and elementary school, which is why it is so important that early childhood professionals — those who care for and teach children birth to age 5 — have professional development that is high-quality, relevant and accessible.”

This year, the sessions are on the second Wednesday of the month and run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the New York State Grange building in Cortland, where the Child Development Council is housed. Wise Wednesdays begin with a free meal because many participants are coming straight from a long work day. The meal provides an informal time before the workshop to network, share experiences and learn from colleagues.

“If you have a home daycare, you have to complete continuing education requirements, but because you are caring for children all day, you will probably do that alone in the evenings on the internet,” Abramo said.

“And you will have to pay out of pocket. If you are a pre-K or kindergarten teacher in a school, you will attend school professional development, but that might be aimed more toward elementary and high school teachers and feel really irrelevant to your early childhood classroom.”

In New York state, pre-K and kindergarten teachers who work in schools need continuing education credits through the state Education Department, whereas child care center and home daycare staff receive theirs from the Office of Family and Children’s Services.

“One thing this partnership allows us to do is offer both groups the continuing education credits they need,” Abramo said.

Finding the time and money to strengthen their skills can be an obstacle for both groups. Of course, online continuing education programs exist.

“But there’s a real value in in-person, face-to-face, interpersonal contact in a professional development setting,” Abramo said.

She landed a $15,000 grant through SUNY’s TeachNY Implementation Fund to support the program’s overhead and make it possible to continue holding the sessions for free to participants. Abramo also organized and oversees the project, titled “Partnering to Offer High Quality Professional Development in Early Childhood Education.”

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Diane Craft, a SUNY Cortland professor of physical education, heads a Wise Wednesdays session.

“Too often continuing education programs are more like training that lets them tick the box,” Abramo said. “Hopefully, this is treating them more like professionals. You have everyone in the same room: teacher education faculty who are thinking about best practices and the latest research, pre-K and kindergarten teachers who see things from a school perspective. And child care staff that are trying to bridge the world of home and school. And they all have something to learn and something to teach the others.” 

Participants get an insight into kids that are coming into the school system. Child care staff get to hear what issues teachers are facing and how they can help get kids ready for school. Faculty who are preparing the next generation of early childhood educators are able to make connections and stay current with what’s going on in the field.

“Not to mention that SUNY Cortland is preparing a lot of teachers,” Abramo said. “We’re always looking for great placements for student teachers, so having a good relationship with the PK-12 schools around here is good for a university that does a lot of teacher education.”

SUNY Cortland faculty members with expertise in early childhood education Kim Wieczorek, Tricia Roiger, Kate McCormick and  Margaret Gichuru, as well as Stephanie Fritz, director of SUNY Cortland’s Child Care Center, have all lent their expertise to planning the project and leading sessions. Current and retired faculty from many departments have facilitated sessions connecting their fields to early childhood education.

This year, presenters have included SUNY Cortland physical education professors Diane Craft (emeritus) and Aaron Hart. Professional facilitators included Stephanie Fritz, who discussed the historical context of America’s professional child care industry and its political and social implications; Anne Withers, director of the Child Development Council, who discussed developmentally appropriate practices for art in early childhood, and Regi Carpenter, who taught the use of stories for learning. Facilitating future Wise Wednesdays will be: Jessica Custer-Bindel, discussing dual language learners in the early childhood classroom; Leigh MacDonald-Rizzo, on the importance of a play-based curriculum; and Tammy Goddard, who will share techniques for addressing challenging behavior.

Wise Wednesdays began under the Teacher Leader Quality Partnerships (TLQP) grant. Abramo joined the university in 2010 as a grant coordinator in the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department and managed the TLQP grant. The program has been continued through a variety of sources, including funds from the Child Development Center and the SUNY Cortland School of Education. The most recent university and school partnership continues the connections forged during the years of the earlier funding.

“In the first year, our theme was outdoor, out loud, active play,” Abramo said. “Last year, our focus was social-emotional learning and mindfulness. This year, has been a variety of things, but with the TeachNY grant, our focus going forward will be on equity and access for all kids.”

As part of the grant, Abramo is working to include SUNY Cortland students. Next year, early childhood education majors will be offered incentives to attend and bring their host teachers.

“We are all excited about the school-college partnerships and outcomes that this work will generate,” said Andrea Lachance, dean of the School of Education.

For more information, dates and details of upcoming Wise Wednesdays, contact Alexis Abramo at 607-753-4352. 


Cuban defector Alina Fernández to speak at SUNY Cortland

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Perhaps no one has as unique a perspective on the social and political history of Cuba than Alina Fernández.

Fernández, the daughter of Cuban communist revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, became a critic of her father’s government and obtained political asylum in the United States in 1993.

She will speak at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11 in Old Main Brown Auditorium. The event, “An Evening with Alina Fernández, Daughter of Fidel Castro,” is free and open to the public.

Fernández will comment on her first-person account of growing up in Cuba as well as her decision to flee the country and how recent political reforms may shape U.S.-Cuban relations in the future.

Sophia Hall, a junior history and anthropology major from Copiague, N.Y., helped organize the event as a member of  the Student Activities Board. She was initially looking to book a comedian or entertainer for this semester, but changed her thinking to a more serious tack after hearing Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated members of the Central Park 5, speak to a capacity crowd in Brown Auditorium last semester.

“I saw the response to Yusef Salaam when he came and that made me realize that this would be something campus wanted,” Hall said. “Our task at Student Activities Board is to do things that the rest of campus wants and put on events for the rest of campus. I realized that the campus does want something that goes in this direction that isn’t necessarily a comedian or a performer.”

Another inspiration was Hall’s older sister, Grace Hall ’17, who majored in adolescence education: social studies and history and visited Cuba as a study abroad student while at Cortland. Her stories from that trip in part led to Sophia Hall to pursue history herself.

She hopes that Fernández’s talk will illuminate a poignant period in Cuban history.

“I have a particular interest in the time of the Cold War and American history in general,” Hall said. “It’s interesting how smaller countries are used as a pawn by bigger countries. It’s interesting to hear the stories from those smaller countries specifically. You hear so much about the U.S. side and the U.S.S.R. side and you don’t hear the stories from the people who were living at that time.”

Born three years before the Castro revolution in 1959, Fernández became an anti-communist activist by the 1980s. She condemned the Cuban government for food shortages, economic collapse and political and cultural repression.

In 1993, Fernández obtained a Spanish passport, donned a costume and posed as a Spanish tourist to board a plane bound for Madrid. She was soon thereafter granted political asylum in the U.S.

Fernández authored a 1998 autobiography, Castro’s Daughter: An Exile’s Memoir of Cuba.

“I wanted him to find a solution to all the shortages: of clothes, of meat, so it could again be distributed through the ration books,” she wrote. “I also wanted to ask him to give our Christmas back. And to come live with us. I wanted to let him know how much we really needed him…”   

Ultimately settling in Miami, Florida, Fernández has written columns for el Nuevo Herald, hosted local radio programs and toured college campuses across the country.

In her talk, she aims to present snapshots of Cuban society, an inside look at Cuban politics and a detailed and personal view of her father.

The event will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

“It’s a really unique experience that you’re not often going to get, especially for free,” Hall said. “So often we hear stories from bigger politicians, so to be able to hear the story from someone who actually lived it so personally I think is really cool.”

Cuba is of particular interest to many Cortland faculty and students, who for several years have traveled to the island on academic trips focused on disciplines ranging from art and art history to sport management. Miguel Fraga, the former first secretary of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., visited SUNY Cortland and spoke with students in 2016.

The event is sponsored by the Student Activities Board.


SUNY Cortland hosts second TransAction conference

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Maybe Burke, a New York-based writer, actor and human rights advocate, will deliver the keynote address on Friday, March 6, during SUNY Cortland’s second annual TransAction conference.

The conference, which focuses on the needs and experiences of transgender and genderqueer college students, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge.

The conference is free for SUNY Cortland faculty, staff and students. Admission is open to the public for a non-refundable $15 registration fee. Scholarships are available upon request. To register, visit RedDragonNetwork.org/TransAction.

Burke is interested in telling the stories that haven’t been told. Their work has been seen at various locations including the Lincoln Center and the NYC LGBTQ Center. Dedicated to talking about trans and queer identities, Burke has facilitated many panels and workshops.

Burke is partnered with Sex Discussed Here and the Transgender Training Institute. The institute helps provide professional development and personal growth trainings for people of the transgender and non-binary communities. Burke also founded The Trans Literacy Project to collaborate with trans artists, advocates and activists to address questions about trans experiences.

The conference also will feature:

  • A discussion focusing on microaggressions, presented by Burke
  • A breakout session aimed at helping faculty and staff understand non-binary, presented by Burke
  • A breakout session aimed at students on exploring life and work after SUNY Cortland, presented by Lauren Christiansen, SUNY Cortland’s internship and student employment coordinator
  • The closing keynote on the state of trans and gender non-conforming issues at SUNY Cortland, followed by an “ask me anything” session, presented by a panel of SUNY Cortland students

Last year, SUNY Cortland heard the inspiring story of Court Pineiro ’18, who was honored with the university’s Leadership in LGBTQAIP Advocacy award for speaking about his transition.

TransAction is sponsored by the Campus Artist and Lecture Series and the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Committee.

For more information, contact Erin Morris, assistant professor of sport management, at 607-753-4638.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Erica Mirlas


One-credit esports course to be offered

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The days of designating video games only to lazy Sunday mornings are over. 

Today, the best gamers around the world play in tournaments shown on networks like ESPN and TBS. 

Along with million-dollar contracts, popular gamers often receive sponsorships and endorsement deals, making them similar to the famous athletes we see throwing touchdowns or hitting home runs.

Welcome to the world of esports, a ferociously expanding billion-dollar industry responsible for bringing people together from any corner of the world connected to the internet.

SUNY Cortland’s Sport Management Department has taken notice and will offer Inside Sports Video Gaming, a one-credit online course examining the way esports are transforming our perception of sports in America.

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This image by Florian Olivo shows an esports game in progress. Above left, SUNY Cortland students relax by watching a video sports game in the Student Life Center. 

Peter Han, SUNY Cortland’s Sport Management Department chair, will teach the course, which begins on Monday, March 23, and concludes Friday, May 15.

Registration for Inside Sports Video Gaming and other fourth quarter classes begins on March 9.

Contact Han for more information.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Dean Zulkofske


Female Force a force for empowerment

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Working out at the gym doesn’t need to be scary or lonely. The new club, Female Force, hopes to ease these worries.

“I think it’s so important to know that you’re not the only one out there,” said club president Meghan Morales.

The focus of Female Force is to empower individuals through health and fitness and serve as an outlet for all looking to build connections and themselves. The club, which became active in Spring 2020, enforces a judgement free zone inclusive for all.

Morales, a junior fitness development major and sports studies minor from Ossining, N.Y., knew she wanted to leave an impact on campus. She hopes to empower individuals while promoting health and fitness with her club. She, too, has faced adversity when it comes to working out.

“I started weightlifting, and when I walked into the weight room, they thought I was making up gym,” Morales said. “They didn’t think I was coming in to workout. People laughed at me, looked at me weird, like ‘What is she doing?’”

The club will host events tackling topics such as body image and nutrition. Morales and her E-board are working on organizing physical activity workshops in the future. Their current focus is fitness networking and growing membership of their club.

Female Force faced a tough challenge when it appeared before Cortland’s Student Government Association (SGA) last fall. Concerns revolved around the potential for injury and whether Female Force would better serve as a recreational sport.  

“It was a struggle to get through the SGA process,” Morales said. “I felt like I was getting grilled up there.”

After intense debate between senators, Female Force was officially voted in as a new club.

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Female Force aims to make all campus community members safe and comfortable using fitness equipment.

“It sounded like a cool idea because we have a lot of great athletic facilities on campus,” SGA senator Kerry Donnelly said of why she supported the club.

“What’s the point of resources if you don’t know how to use them?” said Donnelly, a junior communication studies major from Croton on Hudson, N.Y.

Any student is encouraged to join Female Force, which meets on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in Park Center, Room 1131. The name shouldn’t serve as a deterrent to fitness conscious males or gender non-binary individuals.

“The name is Female Force because the idea came from just how women have been treated in the world of health and fitness,” Morales said. “I think it’s important that everyone is welcome to come and share their own struggles with us.”

For questions, please contact Meghan Morales.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Victoria Van Every


Harpist to perform at SUNY Cortland

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Minneapolis-based harpist Andrea Stern will perform music ranging from Celtic to Beatles to Bach on Tuesday, March 3, at SUNY Cortland.

Stern, whose humor and warmth aims to engage audiences of all ages in her eclectic performances, will present a concert at 7 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.

The event, which continues the 35th anniversary season of the SUNY Cortland Campus Artist and Lecture Series (CALS), will recognize Women’s History Month at SUNY Cortland.

Thought to be one of the world’s oldest musical instruments, the harp has 37 different ways to make sounds.

Stern’s solo performance will include a variety of classical and cultural pieces utilizing both the concert and Celtic harps. Her performances offer an around-the-world tour that takes students from Japan to Ireland to Latin America as they experience Stern’s dazzling sounds and technical workings on her instruments.

Much of her music explores the music, stories, limericks and lore of Ireland. Listeners may gain insight into Irish traditions and their impact on music and dance on American culture.

Stern has been described by audiences as “sparkling...warm...delightful...eclectic.” She is dedicated to sharing her musical talent with young people using humor and warmth. Fans have commented that it isn’t just her music but her very presence that inspires a memorable concert.

A professional performing artist for more than two decades, Stern has experience performing with symphonies throughout the world.

She has performed with chamber ensembles and orchestras in the United States including the Phoenix, Hartford, Duluth and Fargo Symphonies and abroad including the Hong Kong and Belgrade symphonies. Stern was principal harpist for three years with the Maracaibo (Venezuela) Symphony and for five years with the Minnesota Opera.

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Andrea Stern

She has appeared with a number of celebrities, including Sammy Davis Jr., Olivia Newton John, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert, The Moody Blues and Claudia Schmidt.

Stern serves as an adjunct faculty member at Augsburg College and the University of St. Thomas, appointments that allow her to engage audiences and students in their appreciation for the arts.

She studied at Oakland University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory (B. music), continuing with graduate studies at the University of Arizona.

More information about Stern can be found on her page on GL Berg entertainment’s website.

Tickets prices are $3 for all students, free for children 10 and younger but a ticket is still required, $8 for senior citizens ages 60 and older, and $10 for general admission.

Tickets are available electronically through the College Store of SUNY Cortland (select ‘shop’ on the top menu and then ‘event tickets’); or in person between 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Campus Activities Office of Corey Union, Room 406; by calling 607-753-5574; or at the door starting one hour before show time.

CALS is funded by the SUNY Cortland Auxiliary Services Corporation and the Cortland College Foundation.

For more information about tickets, call the CALS office at 607-753-5574 during the above hours. For information about the concert, follow SUNY Cortland CALS on Facebook and Instagram or check out the SUNY Cortland Campus Artist and Lecture Series website.


Cortland names Curt Fitzpatrick football head coach

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Curt Fitzpatrick has been chosen as SUNY Cortland's new football head coach in an announcement from director of athletics Mike Urtz. Fitzpatrick replaces Dan MacNeill, who spent 23 years at the Red Dragon helm and retired following the 2019 season.

"It is an honor to become the next head football coach at SUNY Cortland," said Fitzpatrick. "I have been an admirer of Red Dragon football since I was in high school, as a college player, as an assistant coach, and now as a head coach. Coach Mac is an icon in the D3 football landscape. It is surreal that I have the opportunity to build on the foundation of all those Red Dragons that have come before."

Fitzpatrick served as head football coach at Morrisville State for seven seasons from 2013-19. This past fall he led the Mustangs to a 6-5 record, including a 4-2 Empire 8 mark, and an ECAC postseason bowl berth. Morrisville handed Empire 8 co-champion Brockport its lone league loss.

Overall, Fitzpatrick guided the Mustangs to four winning seasons (2014, 2015, 2018, 2019), including one conference championship title and three postseason ECAC bowl appearances. In 2014, Morrisville finished with a 9-2 mark – its best record since becoming an NCAA Division III member – and claimed a share of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) crown with a 6-1 league mark. The Mustangs earned a berth to the ECAC North Central Bowl, where they captured the college's first postseason championship title as an NCAA Division III member. Fitzpatrick was voted the NJAC Co-Coach of the Year by his peers and was named the D3football.com East Region Coach of the Year.

"I am pleased to welcome Curt as the newest addition to our Cortland family," said Urtz. "His experience as a head coach not only within our very competitive conference, but in New York as a whole, makes him an ideal choice for us. This experience, along with Curt's football expertise, makes this a great match for Cortland football in the years to come. I believe he will not only preserve the great tradition of Cortland football, but also lead us into a very bright future."

"This is such a tremendous place," said Fitzpatrick. "I am blown away by the support for SUNY Cortland Athletics. I believe in the vision that Dr. Bitterbaum (Cortland president) and Mike Urtz have for our football program and I am excited to get to work. Over the next few weeks and months I look forward to building relationships with everyone in the Red Dragon family - coaches, alumni, colleagues, community members and, most of all, the players and their families."

During his time at Morrisville, Fitzpatrick's high-powered offense averaged 31.5 points and 438 yards per game, making it one of the most potent offenses annually in the Empire 8. Under his guidance, Mustang quarterbacks have been voted as the conference Offensive Player of the Year three times. Since 2013, a total of 49 Mustang student-athletes have earned Empire 8 or NJAC all-conference recognition and 61 have been named to the athletic director honor roll for their outstanding academic performance.

Prior to Morrisville, Fitzpatrick served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Utica College from 2008-12. In his time with the Pioneers, his balanced, no-huddle offense was one of the best in the Empire 8, gained national attention and set numerous school records.

In 2012 the Pioneers featured the Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year and three D3football.com All-East offensive performers. The team was ranked in the top 25 nationally in six major offensive categories, including points (34.2) and yards (465) per game, and set 10 school records. Throughout his tenure at Utica, Fitzpatrick coached 16 all-league offensive performers, and off the field he developed an accountability program for the football program centering on academic and community success, in addition to administering the off-season strength and conditioning program.

A native of Fulton, N.Y., Fitzpatrick graduated from St. John Fisher College in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in management. A standout quarterback for the Cardinals, Fitzpatrick served as a team captain and was a four-year letterman. In his final season, he earned Empire 8 all-conference honors and set school passing records in touchdowns (30) and yards (2,366) while leading the program to a 10-2 overall record and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

Upon graduation, Fitzpatrick returned to his hometown in 2005 to coach quarterbacks and wide receivers at Fulton High School, which captured the OHSL Class A league championship. He returned to St. John Fisher as a quarterbacks coach for two seasons from 2006-07. The Cardinals amassed a combined 23-4 record, won two Empire 8 crowns and were the top-ranked team in New York State each season. Fisher advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2006 and the quarterfinals in 2007, and for the two seasons combined recorded more than 5,300 passing yards and 55 touchdowns.

Since 2006, Fitzpatrick has been actively involved in camps and clinics as both a coach and director. He also has served as guest speaker at numerous clinics throughout New York State and New England.

In addition to his bachelor's degree from St. John Fisher, Fitzpatrick earned a Master of Science in athletic administration from Ohio University in 2012. He currently resides in Chittenango, N.Y., with his wife, Molly, and two children, Collins and Oliver.

Cortland finished last season with an 8-3 overall record and was Empire 8 co-champion with a 5-1 mark. The Red Dragons qualified for the New York Bowl for the program's 24th postseason berth. Cortland will open the 2020 season with a non-league game at Washington and Lee University in Virginia on Sept. 5 and will play The College of New Jersey in its home opener Sept. 12.


Register by March 1 to participate in Conference on Diversity

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Rachael Forester ’12, M ’14 learned the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion at SUNY Cortland.

As a Cortland student during a time when the percentage of students from underrepresented groups rose from 14% to 23%, Forester was a program coordinator for orientation, then a residence hall director and ultimately the interim assistant director of multicultural life and diversity.

It all prepared her for her current role as the associate director of the Identity, Equity and Engagement Office at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte.

Forester, who tries to live by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” will deliver the keynote speech on “Critical Consciousness: Equity in the mirror” during the 11th annual Student Conference on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice on Saturday, April 18.

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Rachael Forester '12, M '14

The conference, expected to attract approximately 300 attendees from 15 educational institutions across the state, will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Corey Union. The conference will feature 25 presentations and four sessions.

Participation in the keynote lecture as well as other conference activities is free to SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff, but registration by Sunday, March 1, is required. For others including SUNY Cortland alumni, visit the conference 2020 website for details on the early and late registration fees. The price for all registrations includes a breakfast buffet, lunch and giveaways.

Conference organizers have issued a call for presentations through March 1. A committee will review the proposals on or after that date. Suggested presentations formats are a research session, panel discussion or creative arts/performance/poster presentation.

Forester, who joined UNC Charlotte in 2015, will speak at 12:30 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room. Sponsored by the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office and the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, her speech is free and open to the public. 

Forester founded Activate! Social Justice Institute and White Consciousness Conversations at UNC Charlotte.

As she currently pursues a doctorate in educational leadership in higher education, her research focuses on understanding whiteness in student affairs and the effect that white privilege and white racial socialization has on those individuals seeking to effectively promote racial equity.

“As a social justice educator, I believe social change occurs through a critical understanding of self as it relates to our dominant and minoritized identities and how those identities are connected to systems of power, privilege and oppression,” Forester said.

She is a passionate advocate for anti-bias education, social justice, student development and creating expansive environments.

“My personal philosophy includes being hard on systems and soft on people as I strive to expand participation on the journey towards collective liberation,” Forester said.

At SUNY Cortland, Forester earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and childhood education and a master’s degree in English as a second language. She also studied Spanish.

The Student Conference on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice was created to provide undergraduate and graduate students with an opportunity to share their academic research, build their resumes and network with other students across New York state around the core values of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. The student-led conference allows participants to discuss the problems and concepts of campus inclusion efforts and to research and present across a wide range of disciplines. The conference aligns itself with the strategic goals of the SUNY system as well as those of SUNY Cortland.

Roman Rodriquez, a senior psychology major from Washington Heights, N.Y., who directs diversity, equity and inclusion for the SUNY Cortland Student Government Association, also will address the gathering.

For more information, contact the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office at 607-753-2336.


Gospel Choir spring tour preview concert set for March 11

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SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir will perform at their Spring Tour Preview Concert on Wednesday, March 11, at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church on 46 N. Main Street in Cortland, N.Y.

The concert begins at 7:15 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Donations to support the Gospel Choir Scholarship Fund are encouraged.

The choir is preparing for their spring tour to Bridgetown, Barbados for spring break. They are being hosted by Silver Samba Church of God where we will perform as featured choir on Sunday, March 15, and also present a concert on Wednesday, March 18 and Friday, March 20.  Additionally, the choir is arranging to perform with other organizations and universities in Barbados.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for the choir to serve as goodwill ambassadors for SUNY Cortland, the Africana Studies Department and the Student Government Association, the latter of which is co-sponsoring this international engagement,” said Gospel Choir Advisor Lima Stafford, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office.

Additionally, the choir will travel to the National Museum, Historic Garrison Area, George Washington house, Harrison Cave and attend community and cultural activities as part of the organization’s annual educational and cross-cultural program in Barbados.

For more information, contact Lima Stafford at 607-753-4895, or Seth Asumah or Deyquan Bowens in the Africana Studies Department.


Cortland in the news

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Two local television stations recently visited the SUNY Cortland campus to follow up on the University Police Department reporting its fewest on-campus crimes in 43 years.

Spectrum News spoke with a number of students, including Valerie Dellorusso.

“I always feel really safe,” she said. “I’ve never felt like I was in danger at any time, night or day.”

WSYR-TV in Syracuse spoke with a number of university officials and students, including UPD Chief Mark DePaull.

“I think at SUNY Cortland and SUNY-wide across the state, we’ve always bought into the community policing aspect and the whole community concept where we’re engaging the community and we’re breaking down any barriers we may have with the community,” he said.

In other news:

  • Robert Spitzer, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Political Science Department, spoke with the Cortland Standard about the town of Solon, N.Y. pondering a decision to refuse to abide by future state gun laws. He also spoke to the Associated Press about what role the National Rifle Association may play in the 2020 election cycle. Spitzer spoke to Newsday about a number of gun control legislation plans New York state may consider this year. The Washington Examiner asked Spitzer about how President Trump’s strategy of running as a Second Amendment champion may play in swing states.
  • Nance Wilson, professor and chair of the Literacy Department, spoke with the Cortland Standard about a trend in education called “growth mindset.” The concept is that students who may not be naturally gifted learners can catch up to their peers through hard work and implementing dedicated academic strategies.
  • Chris Widdall, associate professor in the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, was quoted in a press release from Watermark about a new partnership that will help design new student assessment solutions. SUNY Cortland was one of a number of colleges that will join a pilot program for embedded signature assessments with Stanford Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE).
  • Jena Nicols Curtis, professor in the Health Department, spoke to the Cortland Standard about a charity, Caring Hearts for Central Haiti, that was founded by local resident Joann Tanner. Curtis and her students have visited Haiti a number of times for health-related projects.
  • University Police Department officers Dustin Morris and Matthew Howard were among those who participated in an active shooter training exercise held on Feb. 21 at Homer Elementary School. The event was covered by the Cortland Standard.
  • John Suarez, director of the Institute for Civic Engagement, spoke to the Cortland Standard about the upcoming U.S. census and how local college students will be tallied.
  • The Cortland Standard covered a lecture on campus by Lisa Hamp, who is a survivor of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech.
  • The Cortland Standard spoke to students and university officials about SUNY Cortland’s stable enrollment numbers, as compared to other SUNY campuses.
  • Rebecca Jarrell Lyons M ’96 was named Professor of the Year by the University of Redlands’ Mortar Board Honor Society. She teaches in the university’s Chemistry Department. The award is presented to a faculty member with outstanding teaching abilities who also contributes to the university community.
  • Bill Tierney ’73 was featured in a U.S. Lacrosse Magazine story about how “detours lead to better destinations.” Tierney, who originally came to Cortland to play baseball and dreamed of coaching high school football on Long Island, has become one of the nation’s top college lacrosse coaches.
  • The Buffalo News featured Mitch Reynolds ’10, director of team operations for the Kansas City Chiefs, who recently helped lead the team to a Super Bowl title.
  • Jack Flood ’18 spoke with Patch.com about the upcoming trials for the Summer 2020 Olympics. Flood, who won NCAA Division III individual titles in the heptathlon and decathlon, is aiming to qualify for the U.S. national team in the decathlon.

Harassment and discrimination course feedback welcomed

The Human Resources Office encourages employees to share comments and feedback regarding its online training platform EverFi, launched in the fall of 2019. All employees, excluding operational staff who do not have personally assigned computers, were asked to take the online harassment and discrimination course. The primary goal of this training is to raise awareness about harassment and discrimination, provide insight on how to appropriately respond and report misconduct, and to ensure SUNY Cortland meets the training requirement of New York State Labor Law 201-G.

Comments and questions should be directed to hr@cortland.edu or Human Resources Assistant Justine Ochs at 607-753-2414.

To date 1,030 employees completed this training. Plans to include operational employees on this important training are being made.

Human Resources Office staff appreciate the employee dedication to keep SUNY Cortland a safe working and learning environment.

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Faculty/Staff Activities

Tyler Bradway

Tyler Bradway, English Department, had his book chapter titled "Inchoate Kinship: Psychoanalytic Narrative and Queer Relationality in Are You My Mother?" published in The Comics of Alison Bechdel: From the Outside In. The collection was edited by Janine Utell and published in February by the University of Mississippi Press. 


Evan Faulkenbury

Evan Faulkenbury, History Department, had an article published in the peer-reviewed journal The Public Historian. “A Problem of Visibility: Remembering and Forgetting the Civil War in Cortland, New York” is about the history of Cortland’s Union soldier monument that stands downtown in Courthouse Park. A photograph from its 1877 dedication ceremony was featured on the cover of the journal.


Kim Wieczorek

Kim Wieczorek, Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, represented the New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE) at the annual Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) conference held Feb. 15 to 19 in Atlantic City, N.J. As president of NYSATE, she attended the Council of Unit Presidents on Feb. 16. On Feb. 18, she presented her research titled “Pathways to Teaching: The Vague Infrastructure for Potential Teaching Candidates” in a thematic research session.


Submit your faculty/staff activity

The Bulletin is produced by the Communications Office at SUNY Cortland and is published every other Tuesday during the academic year. Read more about The Bulletin. To submit items, email your information to bulletin@cortland.edu

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