FYSH Mansfield-small.jpg

In HON 110, First Year Seminar in Honors (FYSH) students learn about primary sources such as: rare monographs, maps, photographs, personal papers, reports, and city documents. To achieve this goal, FYSH teachers and their students were recently treated to a mini-tour of Lowell led by two UMass Lowell librarians: Martha Mayo and Anthony Sampas. First, Mayo, a UMass Lowell Special Collections librarian, hosted the students at the Center for Lowell History on French Street (http://library.uml.edu/clh/).

Martha showed the students the vast array of primary source materials available to them. Then Sampas, a UMass Lowell Archivist, led the class on a walking tour from the Center for Lowell History to Lowellís Victorian Era public library (the Pollard Memorial Library). Along the way, they learned about many historic locations: the Mill Agentís House on Kirk Street, Lowell High School, St. Annís Church, Monument Square, the Merrimack Canal, the underground Moody Street Feeder Canal, and the Lowell City Hall. The Pollard Memorial library is awe-inspiring, both inside and outside. Tony explained its history, its architecture, and its phenomenal art collection: particularly the enormous and imposing civil war paintings that fill the walls. He also highlighted primary sources that are unique to the library. All UMass Lowell students can freely acquire a Pollard Memorial library card to continue their studies.  Four separate tours were provided as multiple sections of FYSH took advantage of this opportunity. FYSH instructor Shanna Thompsonís class walked from campus to the Center for Lowell History via the beautiful Lowell Riverwalk. FYSH instructor, Stephen Courtemanche said, "The students had a great time and Tony is an encyclopedia of Lowell lore." An informative time was had by all. Thank you Martha Mayo and Tony Sampas!

FYSH_Courtemanche_Class_interior-small.jpg

Fasanella Comes Alive at UMass Lowell

This fall semester, a team of 14 UMass Lowell honors students are enrolled in a service-learning course called: Create it! The Fasanella Exhibit. By working together, and guided by professional curator Nancy Nesvet and UMass Lowell Cultural Studies faculty member, Jennifer CaderoGillette, the students will create a real Fasanella art exhibit at the Lawrence Thumbnail image for fasanella1.jpgHeritage Park gallery. The show must go on! It is scheduled to open October 12th, 2013 and it will run through Dec.16th. The course is an advanced practicum that creates and curates an art exhibition. It will focus on the work of social justice artist, Ralph Fasanella (1914-1987). Twelve original Fasanella paintings will be on display along with two portraits of the esteemed artist. The students are creating a 40 page, color glossy catalog of the artist's work, choreographing a ballet, creating music, and filming a documentary about the process of putting on the exhibit. The course incorporates readings, research, and reflection papers about how Fasanella depicted working class life in both Lawrence and Lowell. Students will consider the historical/cultural contexts of art objects as well as offer their scholarly and critical interpretation of american art during the 20th century. The show's opening will be covered by WGHB in Boston as well as other news outlets. Also providing significant help for this course are UMass Lowell librarians: John Callahan and Mitch Shuldman, both of whom work in the fantastic South Campus Media Center! An ambitious project, but a wonderful team of motivated people are inspired to make it happen.


Here are two of Ralph Fasanella's creations.

ralph-fasanella2.jpg


ralph-fasanella3.jpg





We're Ready!

Honors Computing II students take a moment after class to let the world know that "We get it." There is something special about the feeling of accomplishment. "This was just a fantastic group of students who put the time and effort into the course. They accomplished a lot. I am so proud of them." said Computer Science Professor Jim Canning. " They put up with my puzzle problems, my trivia, and my demands to worry about their fundamentals. They had great comraderie in class. Just a perfect learning environment. Nice job!"

CS102medium.jpg
"Brilliant professor. Loved the small group in Honors Calc III and how he initiated class discussions, and group work. Very different than other math classes."

"This teacher is outstanding. One of the best at UML. Take her if you can. Very knowledgeable, and brings real world experience to the class. Had multiple people with nonprofit experience speak to the class. Extremely helpful and answers any questions."

" ---- is truly a genius. You will appreciate math at a much higher level after having him."

"I have her for honors chemistry II, and she's a teacher of the highest caliber. I sincerely enjoy listening to her lectures."

"Great class. He has a passion for teaching and cares for his students to know them by name."

" ---  is the type of teacher who builds all stars.If you plan to go to grad school, take him."

"The energy that this instructor puts into the course is phenomenal. Provides an environment where participation is not only welcomed, but encouraged."

" --- was always enthusiastic about his teaching and kept his students interested. Best professor I have had at UMass Lowell."

"Constant enthusiasm for learning and self-improvement. Inspires students to care about academics."

"this guy is amazing!! i had zero interest in politics before taking this class and now i am not only interested but well-informed."

"Absolutely the best professor I have had at college. I enjoyed every class and look forward to every other class he has to offer."

"This man is one of the best teachers I have ever had. His lectures are interesting and he is really funny."

"Prof. --- loves teaching and loves sociology. She is very passionate and cares about her students and is very willing to help inside the classroom and outside to make sure you are on the right track. Definitely take a course with her!

"His classes are very interesting and will go over DEEP math. It will require a lot of critical thinking."


HonorNight1.jpgOn November 20, 2012,  the Commonwealth Honors Program hosted its first annual Honors NIght at the Costello Gym as a record crowd cheered on the UMass Lowell Women River Hawk Basketball team when they battled Stonehill College. "The game was very thrilling. Lots of action. Game went down to the wire." said UMass Lowell Honors student Jacob Kinsman.  The night featured honors students, vice-chancellors, deans, retired faculty, families, alumni, and staff all across campus. "It was just a fantastic two hours all-round." said Jim Canning Director of the Honors Program. "We were all together for a single night and cheered the women River Hawks on. The turn out was great."   Honors student Kathleen Campbell belted out our National Anthem were her powerful and majestic voice. Also in attendance were 45LHS-Band.jpg young women from Lawrence Boys and Girls Club who were invited guests of the Honors program and they played a scrimmage at half time. The Lowell High School band filled the gym with fight songs and little ditties during time outs and intermission. Post game pizza was served. Stonehill came away with a close victory. ( Photo to the right is the Lowell High School Band. Photo below are girls from the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club.) It appears that everybody was in great spirits. Scholarship Rises.
Thumbnail image for lawrenceb&g.jpg

Stephanie Lyon, a Fine Arts major, is all smiles after recently defending her Honors Project. "This is clearly a significant piece of creative work, well beyond what is typically expected.", said Art Department Head Jim Veatch. "It was fun and very rewarding to do.", said Lyon. "When I came to UMass Lowell I just did not realize all that there was to do in the city."  Now, Lyon has created a marketing campaign and a professional graphic arts magazine entitled, Mill Around lyons.jpgLowell. The overall campaign, replete with posters and social media portals, features the many many attractions, sites, eateries, and museums that students can take advantage of. During her defense of her work, the Art Department faculty were clamoring to find a way to pitch her work to the city of Lowell. "The Mill Around Lowell tag line is perfect." said one student in attendance. "Stephanie's honors project is one terrific example of how a Fine Arts major can top off her honors experience and earn UMass Lowell Commonwealth Honors designation upon graduation", said Honors Director Jim Canning. "She will carry that experience forward with her as moves through life." Stephanie relied upon the advice and counsel of two adjunct professors as she developed her work. This project highlights one very neat feature of the honors program - students can work on a project of their own choosing, for an extending period of time, and come away with "The Faraday Smile" -- the smile that comes to you when you've completed a good job. The Honors Program celebrates Stephan Lyon. Scholarship Rises.
On Friday, March 1st, Dr. Juliette Rooney-Varga gave a rousing, informative, and fun Thumbnail image for rooney-varga.jpgpresentation to the Commonwealth Honors students enrolled in this semester's offering of HON 320 Difference Makers. When Dr. Rooney-Varga played a short video clip of huge icebergs disintegrating in Greenland the room went silent. Climate change was the topic at hand and research scientist Rooney-Varga finds herself educating the world about a problem she cares so deeply about. Through the use of clever analogies, she explained the earth's precious atmosphere is not infinite ... not even close. Relatively speaking, if the earth was an apple, the skin of the apple would represent the atmosphere. Scientists like Dr. Rooney-Varga are convinced that our atmosphere is filling up with all sorts of emissions. "If an individual person could carry around her own emissions in a back-pack, she would be walking around with 104 extra pounds on her back each day. "Students are required to reflect upon what Juliette offered today and they will be handing in their written thoughts by mid-week." said course coordinator Jim Canning. "That will make for interesting reading." After the lecture, Dr. Rooney-Varga stayed for awhile and engaged some interested students.  The photo shows three honors students presenting the "Commonwealth Honors Bleacher Blanket" to the Dr. Rooney-Varga. From left to right: Rishi Vangapalli, Meghan Burke, Dr. Juliette Rooney-Varga, and Adelle Trainor.

Bottomline.jpg
Bottomline Technologies was front and center on Thursday, February 28th, as they gave an informative, recruiting presentation to honors students enrolled in Dr. Jim Canning's Honors Computing II class. Representing Bottomline Technologies were Ahmed Hafeez, Director of Software Development, and Victoria Martin, User Interface Researcher."It was fantastic to see Ahmed once again.", said Professor Canning as he recalled the days when Hafeez earned his BS in Computer Science from UMass Lowell in 1994. "Ahmed sure has had a glorious career - and he is also the father of twins."  Bottomline is headquartered in Portsmouth, NH and is a global leader in business to business secure financial billing software. Victoria is also heading up the college new-hire program for Bottomline. Approximately 27 students attended the presentation. Also in attendance was Sandhya Balasubramanian who heads up the formal CS Co-op program for UMass Lowell. Canning, who is also a father of twins, fondly remembers the days when Ahmed and his classmates ( Omar Hoda, Nadeem Chaudhury, Rupel Trivedi) walked the UMass Lowell hallways. "Those were the days we were in the Wannalancit Mill." Ahmed was a past president of our student chapter of the ACM. He helped me run high school programming competitions." The photo includes honors students: Stephen Demeule, Willie Boag, (Ahmed Hafeez), Clayton Smith, (Victoria Martin), Virinchi Balabhadrapatruni, and Jacob Kinsman. "This group of Honors Computing II students is exceptionally strong. Bottomline would benefit from their substantial talents", Canning said.

On Wednesday, February 20th, ten honors students dined with Chancellor Marty Meehan in the Allen House. A good time was had by all! The students and the chancellor discussed a wide range of topics including: Why did they choose UMass Lowell?, the magnificent new building projects that are on-going at UMass Lowell, the move of our athletic program to Division I, and how to better spread the word about the Commonwealth Honors Program. One capital project discussed was the new Student Center @ University Crossing. The Commonwealth Honors Program will be moving into that regal building when it is completed. The honors students who attended the event are (from left to right in the photo): Anna LeBlanc (Exercise Physiology), Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for meehan-students.jpgMeghan Burke (Biology), Julie Mitchell (Plastics Eng.), Bridget O'Brien (English), Scott Ankiewicz (Chemical Eng.),  Kaci McLaughlin (Political Science, Psychology), Andrew Ambrosino (Computer Science), William Anderson (Mechanical Eng.) and Nicholas Zylkuski (Psychology). Of the meeting, Andrew Ambrosino said, "It's really invigorating to see that the school's leadership is so accessible and supportive of our ambitions here." while Meghan Burke expressed: "Meeting with the Chancellor made me realize just how many opportunities we have in the Honors Program. Not only did Chancellor Meehan listen to our ideas, but he encouraged us to say and do more." Honors student, Megan Hadley also attended, but she is not shown in the photo since she took the picture!  Megan is an English major who is in the final stages of her Honors Thesis. Her faculty advisor is English professor Todd Avery. Scholarship Rises.

Inspired Leadership through Film

Inspired Leadership in Film ruled the moment, as UMass Lowell Athletic Director, Dana Skinner, delivered a thought provoking talk to about 40 honors students during the weekly Difference Makers lecture held each Friday from 12:00 - 12:50 in 222 O'Leary Hall. Using "decision-making" video clips from Look Who's Coming to Dinner, Invictus, The West Wing, and Aladdin, Skinner asked the students "What would you have done?"  Skinner noted that "doing the right thing" is not always easy to do - particularly the first time - but after awhile it becomes easier and easier. "Dana is the second speaker we have had this semester.", said Honors Director Jim Canning." "Last week we featured Marion Stoddart as our first Difference Maker through the viewing of a fantastic 30 minute documentary called, The Work of 1000. Marion defined and led the movement to clean up the Nashua River in the 1960s." Students in the class focus on social and economic pressures that hinder or help difference makers as well as learn to apply critical thinking skills, dispositions, and approaches when a difference needs to be made. The weekly lecture is one component of a new honors course, HON 320: Difference Makers: Past, Present and Future. All are welcome to attend the Friday lectures whether they are enrolled in the class or not.