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Quick Hits

  • Kate Marshall ’13 Receives Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Award

    An English teacher who dedicates just as much time to students outside the classroom as she does in the lecture hall, Kate Marshall ’13 was recently honored as Eastern Massachusetts New Vocational Technical Teacher of the Year. Each year, the Massachusetts Vocational Association presents the award to a new vocational high school teacher who “exemplifies excellence in teaching.”

    Marshall – an English literature and secondary education graduate from Roger Williams University – teaches English at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in her hometown of Billerica. A devoted educator, Marshall’s commitment to her students doesn’t end with the close of the school day – she also coaches the junior varsity basketball team, plays tunes as the disc jockey for school dances, and serves as freshman class advisor. 

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  • MNS Faculty Member Creates Learner-Centered Textbook on Environmental Studies

    Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Loren Byrne has published a college textbook designed to engage students in hands-on activities that promote a deeper learning of environmental and sustainability studies. As editor of "Learner-Centered Teaching Activities for Environmental and Sustainability Studies" – published in March 2016 – Byrne also wrote the introduction and two unique teaching activities . Among other featured educator resources, Byrne includes an exercise in which students distribute environmental amenities (such as parks) and negatively-perceived resources (like a coal-fired power plant) among themselves – which “opens a conversation about fairness and justice,” Byrne says, “as the students make the connection between justice and environmental concerns like access to greenspace and proximity to pollution, which have been found to be distributed unequally in real-world communities.” With few collections of instructional resources available that are focused on sustainability studies, Byrne aims to provide a one-stop source for teaching ecological concepts, scientific analysis and more through practical and comprehensive active learning exercises.

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  • Biology Faculty Member’s Book Examines Why Some People Dispute Evolutionary Science

    In a recently published book, Avelina Espinosa – associate professor of biology and coordinator of biotechnology programs at Roger Williams University – examines how religion and faith-based beliefs cause some people to reject the concept of evolution. “Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities” – coauthored by Espinosa and Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C, an evolutionary biologist and co-director, along with Espinosa, of New England Science Public at RWU – comprises the authors’ research into attitudes toward evolution at high-education institutions, with detailed analysis into the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who dispute evolutionary science versus those who accept it as scientific fact.

    The authors say that the root of the “evolutionary controversy” is an antagonism between personal religious convictions and the understanding and acceptance of science and evolution. The book includes more than 100 data tables, maps and more from information the authors collected over seven years.

    According to Niles Eldredge, curator emeritus of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, “the authors deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England – which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.”

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  • Campus Community Steps Out for 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes'

    Members of the campus community stepped out in style on Wednesday, April 27, for the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence event at Roger Williams University. The event, coordinated by RWU Women's Center Director Jennifer Stanley, raised $900 to benefit the Rhode Island Crisis Assistance Center. Each year, participants across the country come together in their communities to support the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes effort, which is described as "a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men's sexualized violence against women." More than 60 RWU participants -- the majority of them men -- donned women's shoes to walk around campus and get people talking about pervasive gender violence issues across the U.S. and worldwide.

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  • Rachael Nilson ’18 Awarded National Scholarship for Summer Research

    Rising junior biology major Rachael Nilson (Mansfield, Mass.) has been selected to join the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program – one of just 15 students nationwide to earn the honor. Nilson, whose research interests include environmental science, conservation biology, genetics and molecular cellular biology, will work alongside Dr. Alan Ross Morrison at Brown University in a lab affiliated with the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center. In addition to the summer research appointment, Nilson will also receive a $3,500 stipend as determined by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and she will present her research at a national symposium in August.

    Nilson has previously worked alongside Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Loren Byrne, most recently conducting literature reviews focused on ecology. 

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  • Graduate Psychology Student Honored for Work with Domestic, Sexual Assault Victims

    During the annual Victims’ Grove Ceremony on April 13, Rebekah Snyder, a graduate student of forensic psychology, was honored for her work to create the “Resource Guide for Collegiate Survivors of Sexual Assault” for colleges and universities in Rhode Island and for her volunteer advocacy at Day One – a sexual assault and trauma center in Providence – where she provides support and resources for survivors and served as interim advocacy coordinator managing the help line operations. She is also a member of the Statewide Sexual Assault Task Force and graduate assistant working in the Roger Williams University Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

    Snyder spent a year building the sexual assault guide for Day One, in collaboration with each university and college in the state, developing a comprehensive booklet of reporting policies, procedures and resources available at the institutions. It will be available on campuses, as well as hospitals, police stations and advocacy groups in May.

    At the April 13 ceremony in Providence – which was held in commemoration of National Victims’ Rights Week – Snyder was one of five recognized by R.I. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and other law enforcement leaders. Snyder also received a certificate of “Special Congressional Recognition” from U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

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  • SAAHP’s Brad Postian ’16 Receives Newman Student Medal for Excellence in Architectural Engineering

    Roger Williams University graduate architecture student Brad Postian was recently honored with the 2016 Robert Bradford Newman Student Medal for Merit in Architectural Acoustics for his project, “Acoustical Analysis of the West Side City Hall in Providence, RI.” On March 24, the Newman Student Fund Award, a program that honors outstanding architecture and architectural engineering students around the world, presented Postian with the award for excellence in architecture and in the application of acoustical design principles.

    In his architecture studio project, Postian, a resident of Brewster, N.Y., explored how sound would reverberate in the space redesigned with acoustical enhancements. Testing a variety of scenarios within the unique spatial characteristics, Postian discovered that sound systems would maximize the quality of the acoustics.

    Although a theoretical classroom project, Postian’s ideas will be shared with an international audience via the Newman Student Fund Award.

    “It’s an honor to be recognized for my work,” Postian said. “I didn’t expect this project to have the potential to go beyond the classroom and make a difference in real life.”  


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  • RWU Health and Wellness Educators Win Regional Award for Peer Education

    The RWU Health and Wellness Educators (HAWEs) have captured the Outstanding Peer Education Group Award from NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. On April 3, the HAWEs – under the leadership of Donna Darmody, director of Health Education and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Coordinator at RWU – attended the NASPA/Bacchus Northeast Spring Conference at Harvard University, where they accepted the award, which recognizes their exceptional work in consistently providing health and safety education for students on campus. The northeast region represents all universities and colleges from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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  • School of Education Dean to Keynote Event on Emerging Demands on Educator Workforce

    On Wednesday, May 4, Kelly Donnell, dean of the School of Education will serve as the keynote speaker for the Regional Education Laboratory Northeast & Islands Bridge Event. The event will bring together administrators, policymakers and educators to discuss the emerging demands on the educator workforce, the challenges in meeting those demands and innovations in educator-preparation program design and accountability. Dean Donnell will share findings from her own and others’ research with implications for policy and strategies to better prepare teachers. 

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  • RWU is Now Home to the Rhode Island Writing Project

    The School of Education at Roger Williams University is now home to the Rhode Island Writing Project (RIWP), a program led by area literacy professors and K-12 teachers, to offer professional development opportunities focused on writing instruction to K-16 educators.

    “The RI Writing Project’s philosophy is to encourage teachers to find their own writing voices while sharing effective writing instruction methodology,” says Susan Lee Pasquarelli, professor of literacy education at Roger Williams University. “The professional development workshops led by the RIWP allows more opportunity for pre-service and in-service teachers, across all disciplines and grade levels, to collaborate on and hone their craft.” 

    The Rhode Island Writing Project is a division of the National Writing Project and aims to improve the teaching of writing by offering high-quality professional development programs for educators and writing enrichment programs for Rhode Island elementary and secondary students. 



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