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PSU Symphonic Band gets a new start with contemporary wind, band works

October 22nd, 2014 by Lynn

    PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth State University Symphonic Band visits some “New Beginnings” with a concert at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at the Silver Center for the Arts on campus.

    The program highlights newer contemporary works for wind ensemble and concert band, including “Gavorkna Fanface” by Jack Stamp, “Sheltering Sky” by John Mackey, “Metamorphosis” by Andrew Boysen Jr., “Shenandoah” by Frank Ticheli and “Cakewalk” by L. M. Gottschalk.

    The featured piece, “Culloden,” by Julie Giroux, is a three-movement symphony that presents the folk and Gaelic “commoners” music from Scotland in the mid-1750s. A battle lasting less than 30 minutes occurred at Culloden in 1746, leaving 1,500 Scots and their allies dead.

    “My objective was to locate and present the popular Scottish/Highland/Gaelic music leading up to this battle, and ‘Culloden’ came about because of it, Giroux said.

    Three senior music education majors will conduct works on the program: Alicia Dale of Claremont, Joey Jarvis of Ascutney, Vt., and Kyle Quirion of Derby, Vt.

    Tickets to the performance are $6-$8 and are available by calling 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869 or visiting www.silver.plymouth.edu.

    PSU professor who was inspired by nurses honored for her own work

    October 22nd, 2014 by Lynn

      Union Leader Correspondent


      PLYMOUTH — Sandra Gamble first recognized the tireless, often thankless, work done by nurses when her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2003.

      A year later, he passed away. But she was so impressed by his nurses’ dedication and love of their work that she decided to make nursing her life.

      She went to nursing school in Massachusetts, and then worked as a nurse in a Lynn, Mass., hospital for three years. In 2011, she joined the nursing faculty at Plymouth State University, becoming a nursing professor in the first year of the university’s nursing program.

      Recently she was proud to have been honored with 30 others as the institution held its first induction ceremony into the P.S.U. Honor Society of Nursing. The inductees are recent graduates who maintained at least a 3.5 grade point averages, community nursing professionals and qualified faculty members who have graduated from an accredited institution.

      For Gamble, the honor brings her life full circle as she has joined the profession she once admired, and has now been honored for her work. She’s also proud to see her students and other nursing professionals in the community honored for work that sometimes goes unnoticed.

      “I feel very honored to be recognized,” she said. “The honor promotes excellence in nursing, and I think that’s important for the community. Nurses do selfless work that can be very taxing as well.”

      At the same time, establishing the honor society at PSU is a needed step for the university as it seeks to become part of a widely recognized international honor society of nursing, a prelude to starting a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, whose goal is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service.

      “It is the pinnacle of nursing academic scholarship and leadership, but it might be a five-year process to gain chapter status,” PSU Clinical Associate Nursing Professor Susan Buchholz-Jones said. “We want our students to strive for this. Academic excellence is an ongoing process and we want to achieve this at PSU.”

      PSU’s nursing program was established in 2011 to help fill a need for nursing professionals in the region, university officials said. The program offers both a pre-licensure and bachelor degree registered nursing program.

      University officials note statistics showing that New Hampshire will add more than 500 nursing jobs over the next eight years, nearly a 20 percent increase. The median pay for a registered nurse is about $65,000 annually.


      Plymouth State University creates Honor Society of Nursing

      October 21st, 2014 by Heather

        Inaugural induction ceremony recognizes faculty, local nursing professionals and graduates

        PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University recognized 31 nursing faculty and students with the institution’s first induction ceremony into the PSU Honor Society of Nursing. The inductees are recent graduates who maintained at least a 3.5 GPA, community nursing professionals and qualified faculty members who have graduated from an accredited institution.

        PSU President Sara Jayne Steen congratulated the awardees, noting they are committing themselves to a profession that is being counted on to maintain the world’s health.

        “You’ve entered a profession that requires passion and leadership … you will need to be leaders and collaborators, because none of us can do alone what will need to be done,” Steen said. “PSU’s motto is Ut Prosim, That I May Serve; you have chosen a field of genuine service and I honor your choice.”

        According to Dr. Mary Bantell, Director of the PSU Department of Nursing, creating the honor society is another step forward for the institution’s flourishing three-year old program.

        “This is a major step to establish a program with scholarship that exemplifies excellence in nursing education,” Bantell said.

        PSU Clinical Associate Nursing Professor Susan Buchholz-Jones noted the formation of a nursing honor society is a prelude to starting a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, whose goal is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service.

        “It is the pinnacle of nursing academic scholarship and leadership, but it might be a five-year process to gain chapter status,” Buchholz –Jones said. “We want our students to strive for this; academic excellence is an ongoing process and we want to achieve this at PSU.”

        Littleton Regional Healthcare nursing educator Catherine Bernosky de Flores delivered the keynote address, and said the PSU Nursing program has made impressive progress in its three-year existence.

        “You deserve tremendous kudos for making this happen,” Bernosky de Flores said. “To see that idea come to fruition so rapidly is such an honor.”

        Established in 2011 to help fill a vital need for nursing professionals in the region, Plymouth State’s nursing program is helping meet the demand by offering both a pre-licensure and a RN –B.S. Nursing Programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Hampshire will add more than 500 nursing jobs over the next eight years, nearly a 20 percent increase. The median pay for an RN is about $65,000 annually.

        Plymouth State University’s Nursing Program offers two options for students to obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Incoming first year students can participate in a four-year program, B.S. Nursing. A bachelor’s degree completion for RNs is also available for current nurses holding a valid registered nurse license and an associate’s degree.

        The completion program for RN’s provides associate degree RN’s an opportunity to attain a higher level of education by completing the baccalaureate degree.


        Ice Theatre of New York comes to Plymouth

        October 20th, 2014 by Heather

          PLYMOUTH — Douglas Webster is an artistic director for Ice Theatre of New York, which is known as one of the premier ice dancing companies in the country. On Sunday, Webster will be bringing his work to the Granite State- as a bit of a homecoming, as he was born in nearby North Conway.

          “Bringing Ice Theatre of New York back to Plymouth is a highlight for me,” Webster saod, who added that this will be the second straight year he has been at the Silver Center with last year receiving great feedback. “Returning to my roots and sharing with the community my love of ice dancing as both an athletic and artistic endeavor is important to me.  I travel all over the world as a skating choreographer but there’s no place like my home state and I’m excited to bring a high quality performance to New Hampshire.”

          Ice Theatre of New York, Webster explained, has a mission of elevating ice dancing as an ensemble art form. He said that in their performances they have had a wide array of music ranging from classical to Mumford and Sons.

          “We have a little something for everyone,” Webster said.

          The performance is titled “ICE: DANCE, On Golden Pond,” and will feature an ensemble of some of the top international and Olympic skaters, which includes Ryan Bradley who is 2011 US Men’s Figure Skating champion. Also involved are Kim Navarro, Brent Bommentre, Eve Chalom, and Joel Dear, who have experience on the world figure skating team and ice theatre.

          The event in Plymouth will feature a new work called “Flight,” which is a quartet he created to the music of “On Golden Pond.” It will be a 90 minute show with a 15 minute intermission that Webster said is something anyone will enjoy.

          “The skating is so strong,” Webster said. “It really is, right now, considered to be one of the best products of ice skating in the world. It’s great to bring it to Plymouth.”

          Webster grew up in North Conway where he was always involved in winter sports like Nordic and downhill skiing. He said that there was an outdoor skating rink in the center of town, so he took to skating right away. Webster noted that he has an athletic family, saying that his brother Eric is the director of the U.S. Grand Prix snowboarding circuit.

          “It is only fitting we both ended up in major careers in winter sports,” Webster said.

          Webster said that he got into skating right around the time when the Olympics were in Lake Placid, N.Y. in 1980. His parents saw that he loved it so much that they started taking him to rinks all around New England to skate.

          His family moved to Virginia in the early 1980s and Webster got involved in competitive skating. He said that he had a big career in shows as a performer, but eventually shifted to choreography. Now, he said, he has choreographed many of the major shows in the world. He has choreographed a broad spectrum of work, including Stars on Ice, Disney on Ice, and Skating with the Stars.

          “It’s been quite a journey, and it all started in New Hampshire,” Webster said. “It just shows if you love something, stay passionate and true, and follow your dreams because you never know where you will end up.”

          The company, which consists of 12 professional skaters, has been on a tour starting on Sept. 20 inSun Valley, Idaho before performing in Wenatchee, Wash. on Oct. 3. On Oct. 11 they made their way to Santa Rosa, Calif. and on Oct. 25 the will be skating in Boston. In between, they spend their time in New York City, which is the home of Ice Theatre of New York.

          Ending the tour will be the stop in Plymouth, and Webster said that his cast is just as excited as he is to be able to get out of the big city into the relaxed White Mountain region of Plymouth.

          “Anyone who is a lover of arts and sports will enjoy this,” Webster said. “It is something so unique, and so entertaining, and is a great way to spend the afternoon.

          The event will take place on Sunday, Oct 26 at 3 p.m. at the Silver Center. Tickets are currently on sale at the Silver Center for the Arts Box Office at 535-2787 or online athttp://www.plymouth.edu/silver-center/buy-tickets/.


          Saul O Sidore Lecture Series at PSU presents Thomas Patterson

          October 16th, 2014 by Lynn

            PLYMOUTH — The Saul O Sidore Lecture Series at Plymouth State University will present Harvard professor Thomas Patterson speaking on “News and Democracy: Why Are Citizens So Misinformed?” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts on Main Street in Plymouth.

            Patterson will discuss the cultural pretenses that led up to his belief that American journalism needs to be reinvented. Among them, he includes the effect technology has had on today’s youth, saying that young adults are “more attracted to entertainment content than to public affairs information.”

            Patterson tasks news organizations and schools of journalism with the challenge of creating a new form of credible media.

            Patterson explains, “The rise of partisan news outlets and the emergence of journalistic techniques for attracting audience attention, such as excessive sensationalism and negativity, have contributed to the public’s misunderstanding of political issues.” Patterson urges that America needs a better form of journalism–one that regularly delivers news that is relevant and trustworthy.”

            Thomas Patterson is the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and author of Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism.

            The American Association for Public Opinion Research recognized Patterson’s first book, “The Unseeing Eye,” as one of the 50 most influential books regarding public opinion in the previous 50 years. Patterson also wrote “We the People” and “Mass Media Election.”

            The theme for this year’s Sidore Lecture Series is “The State of Democracy.” The series’ premise is that Americans consider our political system to be the premier model of democracy, and that we like to think that others around the world wish to emulate us. However, the democratic nature of our institutions cannot be taken for granted – they need to be examined and reexamined time and time again. Headlines in the news regarding growing inequality, money in politics, changes in voter registration laws, government surveillance and setbacks of democratic movements in various parts of the world suggest that now is a good time for reflecting on the state of democracy in the United States and elsewhere.

            The next speaker in the series will be Erin O’Brien, speaking on “Voting Laws Are Racist” Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Silver Center.

            Named for humanitarian and New Hampshire businessman Saul O Sidore, the Sidore Lecture Series was established in 1979 by PSU and the Sidore Memorial Foundation. The series brings a variety of speakers to campus to address critical issues and events in politics, society and culture—topics that reflect Sidore’s interests.

            All Sidore Lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. A reception follows each lecture. Free tickets are available at the Silver Center Box Office, 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869.

            General information about events at PSU is available at ThisWeek@ PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.

            Andrew B. Palumbo: NH students should not have to take the SAT or ACT

            October 11th, 2014 by Lynn

              “SHOULD I TAKE the SAT or the ACT?” It’s a question I’ve been asked countless times throughout my career in college admissions. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong question. College applicants would be better served by asking, “Why should I take the SAT or the ACT?”

              These students are not at fault for asking the wrong question. Instead, the blame lies with our colleges for continuing to stand by an archaic model of measuring academic preparedness.

              Under the guise of fairness, many colleges have admissions policies that promote standardized testing requirements as the only way to equitably compare applicants. This would be a perfectly reasonable expectation if the assumption were true.

              Unfortunately, it’s not. Even worse, colleges know that these standardized tests are far from equitable.

              In September 2008, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) published a report that explicitly recommended “colleges and universities give less emphasis to the ACT and SAT.” This study found that research on standardized test scores highlighted inherent differences in the predictive value of scores based on students’ gender, racial or ethnic background, and socioeconomic status.

              Earlier this year, NACAC published a study of almost 125,000 students from 33 different colleges and universities, “Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions,” which found the difference between students who chose to submit test scores and those who did not was statistically irrelevant.

              The study confirmed that students’ academic performance in high school is a far greater predictor of future academic success. Similar studies over the years have come to the same conclusion.

              The vast majority of students who aspire to attend college have long perceived standardized testing as a necessary evil. I don’t recall ever speaking with a student who has shared her excitement about an upcoming testing date.

              These students divert a portion of their attention from academic studies, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities to devote to preparing for and taking the SAT or the ACT. They also have to pay the ever-increasing testing and score submission fees. They do so because our colleges and universities have set this as an expectation.

              I strongly believe that students should be empowered and encouraged to ask, “Why?”

              More than 800 colleges and universities have made the decision to adopt test-optional policies. These schools enjoy support from NACAC and can point to the most comprehensive academic study on test-optional admissions policies to date as proof that they are doing what is right for applicants as well as their own institutions.

              Every year, several more colleges join the growing list of test-optional schools. They choose to value four years of academic performance over four hours on a Saturday morning.

              Many schools speak of “de-emphasizing but still requiring” test scores. To the students forced to take the standardized tests, this provides no relief.

              They sill pay the fees, prepare for the tests, and divert their focus from other more meaningful pursuits. So the silver lining is that they do all of this work only for it to then be “de-emphasized?” I don’t see how devaluing the outcome of this requirement is overly beneficial to applicants who are making the sacrifices necessary to take the tests.

              Applicants to our nation’s colleges deserve more than business as usual.

              These young men and women deserve honesty and our collective respect. Students go to great lengths to meet college admissions policies while navigating unnecessarily complex and diverse processes on the good faith that our institutions are only requiring what is necessary.

              It is each college’s responsibility to be accountable to this expectation and avoid the misuse of our power throughout the admissions process.

              Is it difficult to completely reevaluate admissions policies and reengineer a school’s requirements to reflect a more accurate and fair process? Absolutely. I can speak from personal experience after being involved in this process at three separate institutions, most recently at Plymouth State University.

              It is a worthwhile process that is beneficial to our own institutions, and most importantly, we owe our applicants and future students the respect to do so.

              I challenge my colleagues at institutions throughout New Hampshire and beyond that currently require test scores as an admissions requirement, whether they be firm believers or claim to “de-emphasize” required test scores, to do what is hard, but right.

              When students ask you why test scores are required at your school, “Because I said so” is no longer an acceptable response.

              Andrew B. Palumbo is assistant vice president of enrollment management at Plymouth State University in Plymouth.

              Sink your teeth into “Dracula” Oct. 16-19 at the Silver Center

              October 9th, 2014 by Lynn

                PLYMOUTH — Get a jump-start on Halloween horror as Plymouth State University Theatre presents “Dracula,” by Steven Dietz, Oct. 16-19 in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts.

                “Dracula” is a classic tale of horror based on Bram Stoker’s novel, in which Professor Van Helsing and his brave comrades must hunt down and destroy the profoundly evil Count Dracula. But the Count is exceedingly resourceful, and has unusual powers that confound and frustrate his antagonists.

                Co-director Elizabeth Daily, professor of theatre, says that at Plymouth State, the classic story will be told with twists and turns, as Dracula is seen in deeply shadowing light and illuminating darkness in a new adaptation that restores the suspense and seduction of Stoker’s novel. As Dracula begins to exert an otherworldly will upon the residents of London, they try to solve the mysteries created by the vampire’s machinations. In a valiant attempt to save themselves from a hideous fate, they resolve to conquer the would-be vanquisher. Rich with both humor and horror, this play graphically paints a wickedly theatrical picture of Stoker’s famous vampire.

                Daily says, “Dietz’s play is fast paced and multifaceted. We intend to utilize gore, choreographed movement and sound/music/lights to produce an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere for this play. ‘Dracula’ gives us unusual flexibility in casting, and we have cast a woman in the title role, and another as scientist Van Helsing. We are allowing females to take on these usual male-cast roles to give the play a different perspective on the relationships and power structure within the 1897 Victorian male-dominated society.”

                Elizabeth Daily is professor of acting and voice/diction at Plymouth State. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where she taught acting and drama appreciation. She also holds a Master of Education in rehabilitation counseling and deafness, and a Bachelor of Arts in speech and dramatic art. Daily has acted professionally as well as directing, coaching voice and speech, and doing video/voiceover for commercial and educational purposes. At PSU, she has also developed an actor training pedagogy using sign language.

                Co-directing with Daily is PSU alumnus Robin Marcotte, who has served both as an artist in residence and a teaching lecturer at PSU. Marcotte trained at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, Calif., and earned a Master of Fine Arts in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College. He founded Hotel Obligado Physical Theatre in Philadelphia and served as executive director and co-artistic director of the company. He was also managing director of the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts before returning to New Hampshire.

                Cast members include theatre arts majors Meg Anchukaitis, a senior from Walpole, Mass., as Dracula; Evan Grande,
                a senior from Kingston, Mass., as Jonathan Harker; Haley McKenney, a senior from Marshfield, Mass., as Lucy Westenra; Karielle Anzaldi, a junior from Newton, as Mina and Chase Perkins, a senior from Manchester, as Dr. Seward. Also, Hayden Stearns, a senior from Windham, Conn. as Renfield; Katrina Chamberlain, a senior from Candia, as Dr. Johanna Van Helsing; Catherine Jacobs, a junior from Milton, as Maid; Leo Curran, a sophomore from Braintree, Mass. as Waiter, and Jaclyn Goodrich, a junior from Exeter and Cindy Wade, a senior from Jefferson as Vixen.

                Interdisciplinary majors Chelsea Merritt, a senior from Plainfield, Conn. and Darcy Graham, a senior from Manchester, are also portraying Vixen.

                On the tech side, PSU professor Matt Kizer, scenic designer says, “ ‘Dracula’ is a part of our contemporary mythology. People know who Dracula is, and the rules of the world in which the story occurs. Dietz’s play is cinematic in the way that it unfolds. Places and scenes overlap and dissolve casually into each other. The challenge for this set design has been to create a world for our production that can flow easily between different settings and moments, and to make it scary. Vampires are terrifying, ancient, and evil. For this to work, you have to believe in them, and the dark magic that makes them possible. The job here is to make the audience believe. We are making use of a lot of atmospheric effects and fog, a lot of lighting (by PSU alumna Victoria Miller’05) and illusion, and a lot of surprises.”

                Performances of “Dracula” are Oct. 16 and 18 at 8 p.m., Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 18 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $21 for adults, $18 for seniors and youth at the Silver Center Box Office, 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.

                “Dracula” may be unsuitable for young children and for those sensitive to graphic horror.

                Information about the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at PSU is online at Plymouth.edu/department/mtd.

                General information about events at Plymouth State University is online at ThisWeek@PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.

                Beyond bunsen burners

                October 9th, 2014 by Lynn

                  Research program introduces science teachers to new technologies and fosters collaboration

                  PLYMOUTH — With every buzz of a cell phone, technology can be a leading culprit in distracting a student. But that same technology can encourage a student to question an idea, type a few key strokes, and retrieve information all within a matter of seconds. The challenge for teachers is not only how to keep pace with such technology, but how to use it as a key to unlock a student’s inquisitive side.

                  “Teachers have to bring to the table enthusiasm and curiosity because they are faced with curious people on a daily basis,” says Mark Green, assistant professor of hydrology at Plymouth State University in Plymouth.

                  To help satisfy that curiosity, Green and several other university professors throughout New Hampshire each teamed up with five science educators as part of the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program. The summer of 2014 was the second year for this six- to eight-week project, which is part of the NH Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, funded by the National Science Foundation.

                  “RET gives teachers experience into how scientific research is conducted and where knowledge comes from. Scientific knowledge doesn’t come from a book; someone has to get it into the book first,” says Stephen Hale, Research Associate at University of New Hampshire and Outreach Director for NH EPSCoR. “Knowledge comes from this scientific practice of collaboration, critical thinking, trial and error, frustration—all of the things that go into research. And we bring teachers onto college campuses to experience that.”

                  Rebecca Steeves was one of those teachers who immersed herself in the scientific process by collaborating with Green, who served as her RET mentor

                  The pairing was a good fit, as the two had already worked together the previous year on a water quality monitoring program LoVoTECS through NH EPSCoR. She is one of approximately 35 “citizen scientists” who continue to oversee 108 sensors in various rivers and streams throughout the state. As part of this volunteer work, Steeves in 2013 had set up three water quality sensors in the Pemigewassett (Pemi) River, with one sensor located within walking distance from her school.

                  “Students could walk to the site with me and see me get into the river and actually do a reading,” says Steeves, a middle school science teacher at Lin-Wood Public School in Lincoln. “It was cool for the students to see their teacher participating in science and how things are happening in their backyard.”

                  But the readings Steeves was gathering on the Pemi didn’t come from those old-school monitoring kits that she and most science teachers used when they got their teaching degrees. Today’s high-tech sensors automatically measure water temperature, conductivity, and water height—every five minutes.

                  “Science has changed a lot in a short time, especially with such sensors and how they create huge data sets. Programs such as Excel are no longer sufficient in handling that much data. You need to write code and know how to work with it,” says Green. “In my lab, there is a strong computer science component to the research. A lot of teachers don’t have that background in computer science because that wasn’t the nature of the field at that time.”

                  Through the RET program, Steeves was able to go beyond just getting her boots wet. She worked with Green to understand the technology, investigate the data, and start making hypotheses and drawing conclusions. When she went back to the classroom, she could pass down the knowledge of how technology enabled her to see how those water measurements in their “backyard” could fit into a larger picture.

                  “I’d heard about coding in the education world and could see how that skill was definitely coming down the line and into the classroom. There are coding workshops and conferences that teachers can attend, but that can be daunting. Participating in RET was a more natural way for me to learn about coding and other technologies,” says Steeves.

                  Running computer code, operating a Scanning Electron Microscope, and calibrating sensitive instruments were just a few of the many new skills that RET participants acquired. This hands-on experience showed the teachers how technology is growing by leaps and bounds and is shaping the global marketplace.

                  “You can have a student who wants to work in finance or another industry; but whether a student in her class wants to work with water or not, Rebecca’s experience can expose her students to coding and show them that the coding knowledge is transferable [to other careers],” explains Green.

                  Along with the equipment, it is the research culture itself that RET works to convey to New Hampshire teachers and ultimately to their students.

                  “We keep in mind that most teachers have Bachelor’s degrees in science disciplines and they might have done three hours of lab work a week during a college semester, but that isn’t doing research,” says Hale. “The teachers in RET learn science practice—how science is done. They get to experience the look and feel of research culture and bring that back to their students.”

                  Part of that scientific culture is understanding the checks and balances that are essential to the scientific community and then realizing the value of when answers do not come easily.

                  “Being in the lab and looking at that data shows you that it is OK to look into a question, thinking you can answer it, but seeing you have too many holes [in your data] to make it reliable,” says Steeves. “It reminded me of the reality of the scientific process in that the data won’t always be found exactly where you think it will be or that you won’t always have nice, round numbers.”

                  Along with lab work and analyzing data, RET also challenges teachers to hone their communication skills. Much like a middle school student at a science fair, RET participants create “posters” at the end of the summer and present them to their RET colleagues. But these posters aren’t made out of cardboard, glitter, and glue. These highly detailed posters summarize a hypothesis, list research methods, include graphs and charts, draw conclusions, suggest future study, and acknowledge the scientists who assisted them in their research.

                  Under the guidance of Green, Steeves will be presenting her poster in the spring at the New Hampshire Water Conference, where it will be seen by water professionals such as those from the Environmental Protection Agency.

                  “I grade my science students on their presentation skills, and now it is my turn,” laughs Steeves. “I have done presentations in college, but I’ve never had to do one at this level.”

                  For the professor mentors and their school teacher mentees, RET was a summer of collaboration, community, and a chance for each to be reminded of how it feels to be on the other side of the classroom: the teaching side and the student side.

                  “When you try to teach something and communicate it, that process illuminates the gaps in your understanding,” Hale says. “There’s this saying, ‘That you really don’t know something until you try to teach it.’”

                  Voices Against Violence works to raise awareness of domestic abuse

                  October 9th, 2014 by Lynn

                    BY DONNA RHODES
                    Staff Writer

                    PLYMOUTH — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and locally, Voices Against Violence is doing their part to draw attention to a problem that affects far too many people and lately has even been headlining the national nightly news.

                    “Just right here alone, in the 18 towns we encompass, we worked with over 800 people last year who had experienced domestic or sexual violence in our community,” said Voices’ Executive Director, Megan Kennedy Dugan.

                    Dugan said she works with a team of dedicated volunteers and board members who help others in a time of crisis by providing them with referrals to agencies that can assist them with their particular needs. They also offer them support, necessary provisions if they had to vacate their residence suddenly due to safety concerns, and even provide temporary shelter when needed.

                    “We also work closely with local police, hospitals, and courts, as well as Plymouth State University and area schools on a number of levels,” she said.

                    Working with the schools and community organizations, Voices Against Violence has an extensive outreach and education program that helps teach young people how to develop healthy relationships that can help curb acts of dating and/or sexual violence.

                    “We have a new collaboration with Plymouth State University as well, where we’re doing more training with their staff and we’ve already seen an increase in the number of referrals we get from there,” said Dugan.

                    Recently they have also begun partnering with local businesses in another new initiative called, “Voices Uniting.”

                    “These are businesses in the area that are particularly committed to preventing domestic and sexual violence and they’ll have information on those subjects available for the public,” Dugan said. “Whether they do it by providing special services or donating financially, they’re showing their support for what we do.”

                    Plaques will soon be on display at those locations so people will know of that commitment to the community each business has made.

                    To further increase awareness, Voices Against Violence will have some special events taking place in October.

                    First up will be the annual Clothesline Project that will be on display at the Plymouth Town Common on Thursday, Oct. 9. Victims, their family members or others who have been affected in one way or another by domestic and sexual violence will be creating tee shirts to hang in the common to express their thoughts and feelings on the matter. Then, at 7 p.m. that same evening, a candlelight vigil will be held at the gazebo where the public is invited to pay tribute to such victims and even share their own personal experiences if they so choose.

                    Next up, on Oct. 22 and 23, up to 20 area restaurants will be donating a portion of their proceeds to Voice Against Violence as part of their annual Dine-Out fundraiser. Dugan said participating food establishments will include everything from local diners to fine dining.

                    Finally, the Uncle Steve Band will close out the month on Saturday, Oct. 25, with a special benefit performance in the Back Room at the Mill Fudge Factory in Bristol. Those attending the event are also encouraged to bring a new item from the wish list found on the Voices Against Violence Web site or a gas card that can then be distributed to victims of violence.

                    For more information on tee shirt making days for the Clothesline project, a list of participating restaurants, and services the organization provides visit them at www.voicesagainstviolence.net and follow them on Facebook.

                    Brusseau named Civic Leader of the Year

                    October 9th, 2014 by Lynn

                      By BOB MARTIN | Oct 09, 2014

                      MEREDITH — Laura Brusseau wears many hats — whether it is a teacher making a difference in a child’s life or the organizer of various charitable organizations — and this week she was honored for her hard work and was named the Civic Leader of the Year by Stay Work Play New Hampshire.

                      “I was shocked,” Brusseau said, and added that she found out that she was nominated in August but had no idea she was a winner until her name was announced during an award ceremony in Manchester on Monday night. “It was an honor being nominated, but winning was something else. There were so many great people nominated so I couldn’t be happier.”

                      This was the fifth annual Rising Star Awards, which is an initiative of Stay Work Play in partnership with New Hampshire Public Radio. College Student of the Year went to Ian Gagnon of Enfield; Young Entrepreneur of the Year was Michael Carlton of Northwood; Young Professional of the Year went to Corey MacDonald of the Portsmouth Police Department and MacDonald and Black Law Firm and Coolest Companies for Young Professional Awards went to Calypso Communications in Portsmouth, W.S. Badger Company in Gilsum and LAUNCHWORKS in Exeter.

                      Nominated along with Brusseau for her award was Luke Bonner, Bryan Bouchard and Serena Galleshaw. The award is given to an individual who, through volunteerism, philanthropy, and/or community involvement demonstrates a commitment to civic participation, strengthening the community and developing personal leadership to make New Hampshire a better place for future generations.

                      Brusseau, a Laconia resident who teaches ninth grade Civics and World History at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith, was also nominated last year. She explained that she has been involved in volunteer work since she was very young. She said that volunteerism and helping the community is something that traces back to her great grandfather’s work creating the fire station in Alton, Rhode Island, and added that her father was a fire chief at the age of 19 in the same town, and was involved in scouting and coaching sports. He mother was also a firefighter, sports coach and was involved in the local church

                      Her family inspired her to get involved in volunteerism, notably beginning in her senior year in high school where she was a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient. She also performed 200 hours of volunteer hours through AmeriCorps in Georgia one year, working on construction and framework in the Habitat for Humanity village.

                      Brusseau said that her charitable efforts and volunteer work really took off when she was at Plymouth State University, which she graduated from in 2000. She said that once she got to Plymouth, she knew she was home because so many people had the same mentality as her.

                      “At PSU, their motto is to serve,” said Brusseau. “When I got to PSU, I knew I was in the right place. There was a lot of opportunity to serve.”

                      In 2006, Brusseau helped co-found the Faith, Hope and Love Foundation with Jessica Dutile. This organization has devoted time helping those in the community with scholarships, motivational speaking and events like “Gowns for Girls,” which helps students get geared up for prom with prom dresses and accessories.

                      Brusseau said that coming up this year will be the first ever “Ties for Guys,” which has the same focus but for high school boys going to the prom. She also co-founded Lakes Region Dancing with the Stars with Ashley Halsey. Between those two organizations, more than $60,000 has been raised for local charities.

                      Brusseau is the former fundraising chair for Lakes Region Habitat for Humanity. She is also a Circle Girl mentor, where she mentors a young lady in Franklin and hangs out with her a few times a month. She is also an advocate for women by helping with the New Beginnings Domestic Violence Shelter and helps those in need with Hands Across the Table.

                      “It’s all about the joy of knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of others,” said Brusseau. “I like being a voice for the voiceless.”

                      Brusseau said that it is easy for people to talk about making a difference, but she likes getting down to business and making things happen. She said that this not only puts smiles on faces of people throughout the community, but also her own by making friends and helping make peoples’ days.

                      “It’s two-fold really,” said Brusseau. “It makes me feel good.”

                      Brusseau said that she loves challenging herself and creating new ways to help others. She can’t see herself not volunteering at any point, and continues to brainstorm ideas on how to make the community a better place.

                      Recently she attended the One Million Pibble March in Washington D.C. which was organized by the Stand Up for Pits Foundation, saying that it not only helped raise awareness of pit bulls and dogs that have stigmas, but it also hit home because she is the owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier Calli. The organization supports pit bull rescues around the nation. She is now working on a fundraiser called Painting for Pibbles to raise money for a local animal non-profit and to raise awareness about breeds that are not always adopted due to stereotypes.

                      She said that she also plans to expand the Faith, Hope and Love Foundation and looks forward to reaching goals, and exceeding them, with the Lakes Region Dancing with the Stars.

                      “I always try to set goals for myself,” said Brusseau. “Every year I want to do new things and more things.”


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