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Community College of Rhode Island

2014 Summer Achievements

Beth O'Leary Anish
Assistant professor, English Department

Anish traveled to Ireland in June to present at the joint conference of the American Conference for Irish Studies and the Canadian Association for Irish Studies hosted at University College Dublin. She presented a paper called "Reading History through Literature: The Evolution of the Irish-American Community in Early 20th Century New England," based on two post-WWII Irish-American novels, Mary Doyle Curran's "The Parish and The Hill" and Edward McSorley's "Our Own Kind." Anish is working on turning this paper into a book chapter for an edited collection on Irish-American identity.

Kathleen Beauchene
Professor, English Department

Beauchene collaborated with Pearson Education publishers to customize a Blackboard course by integrating select MyCommunicationLab components. The Blackboard course shell will be available to faculty members who teach Communication 1100: Oral Communication with the new edition of the Beebe textbook for public speaking.

April Brown
Coordinator/counselor, EOC/ETS

Brown was elected to the board of directors of the New England Educational Opportunity Association.

Emily Burns
Associate professor, Physics Department

In June, Burns attended a workshop in Reston, Virginia, as part of iGETT (Integrated Geospatial Education and Technology Training). This joint program by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey trains faculty at two-year colleges to process and interpret remote-sensing data from Landsat satellites. The goal is to enhance the teaching of ArcGIS (digital mapping), earth science and disaster management and improve students' geospatial skills by integrating remote sensing data into classroom activities.

Over the coming school year, Burns will develop teaching materials that she will present at another workshop next June.

John Carl Cruz
Coordinator/counselor, Access

Cruz recently completed his master's degree in college student personnel at the University of Rhode Island.

Stephanie Cruz
Director, Access


The Access program took 30 students to New York City on Aug. 13. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which had a great impact on the students, many of whom were not even in the United States at the time or were quite young in 2001. Seeing the museum brought attendees a whole new perspective on the effects of this tragic event on our country.

Additionally, Cruz was elected to the board of directors of the New England Educational Opportunity Association and has been accepted to a yearlong leadership institute sponsored by the association.

Tracy Karasinski
Dean, Office of Opportunity and Outreach

Karasinski was re-elected as board secretary to the Council for Opportunity in Education, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing and defending equal educational opportunity for low-income, first-generation students, veterans and students with disabilities throughout the U.S.

Maureen Kelman
Professor, Art Department

Kelman presented a four-day workshop and a lecture at Convergence 2014, the biennial international textile arts conference of the Handweavers Guild of America Inc. The conference took place in Providence at the Rhode Island Convention Center and at Rhode Island School of Design in July. Kelman's workshop, "Skins and Skeletons: 3-D Textile Constructions," focused on experimental approaches of combining rigid frameworks and translucent membranes. Her lecture, "Textile Architectonics: An Interface of Skin and Skeleton," took a global look at creative works in textiles, art and architecture where a "skin" and a "skeleton" have been joined to sculpt form in three-dimensional space.

Karen Kortz
Professor, Physics Department

Kortz recently was nominated and elected to be a Geological Society of America (GSA) Fellow. The fellowship is an honor that is bestowed on the best in the profession once per year at the GSA Spring Council meeting and is recognized at the GSA’s Annual Meeting. Members are elected to Fellowship in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences. GSA's newly elected Fellows will be recognized at the 2014 GSA Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 1, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Kortz also attended and presented at the workshop: "Undergraduate Research in Earth Science Classes: Engaging Students in the First Two Years," from Aug. 10 to 14 at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.

Jacqueline Mane
Associate director, Access to Opportunity

Mane was accepted into the yearlong leadership institute sponsored by the New England Educational Opportunity Association.

italyMaria Mansella
Professor, Foreign Languages and Cultures Department

Mansella reports that the 2014 Summer Immersion Program in Italy was an experience of a lifetime with 24 participants. Plans are on the going for the 2015 program, which will include eight days in Sicily before moving on to Umbria and Tuscany regions. For further information, please contact Mansella at

Phil Miller
Professor, Engineering and Technology Department

From July 27 to Aug. 11, Miller attended a workshop called Advanced Manufacturing Problem-Based Learning (AMPBL) Summer Institute at Boston University sponsored by The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). The AMPBL project is the third in a series of National Science Foundation (NSF) problem-based learning curriculum and professional development projects developed in partnership with industry. The project aims to increase the pipeline of high school, community college, and four-year university students prepared and motivated to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers in advanced manufacturing.

Lisa Penta
Reference librarian/assistant professor
Faculty adviser for the CCRI Gardening and Beekeeping Club

gardensummerThis summer marked the first season for the new CCRI Gardening and Beekeeping Club. After a year spent finding a suitable planting spot, five intrepid members created a growing space, digging a pumpkin/sunflower patch and building and filling four raised beds for herbs, greens, tomatoes and root vegetables.

Prior to this "experimental" year, club members and their faculty adviser had varying degrees of gardening knowledge. This has been a summer of trial and error and a lot of lessons learned: radishes can be grown three times in a season from seed; marigolds thrive without water; CCRI deer have a great appetite for poblano and jalapeño peppers; and one voracious tomato worm can ruin four plants in a week.

Although the bulk of the growing season is during the summer, members showed up every Friday at noon to water and weed (even those whose only transportation is the bus or by foot). The club has had two healthy harvests of greens, radishes, tomatoes, dill, peppermint, spearmint, basil, cilantro and tons of marigolds and is looking forward to sunflowers, pumpkins and carrots in the fall.

In all, it's been a great summer of learning how to "grow local" for the CCRI Gardening and Beekeeping Club.

Karen Petit
Writing Center coordinator

This summer, Petit joined the Association of Rhode Island Authors. She will be one of more than 80 Rhode Island authors participating in the upcoming Second Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the West Warwick Civic Center. The event is open to the public, and Petit will be dressed as a Pilgrim as she shows entries to a "Many Good Thanks" blog and signs copies of her novels, "Mayflower Dreams" and "Banking on Dreams." Learn more about Petit's author activities on her website.

Cathy Poirier

Poirier participated in the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Information Literacy Immersion 2014 program at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, in July. This intensive weeklong program focused on several crucial aspects of expanding information literacy programs, including developing an action plan and program outcomes, assessment as learning, leadership, collaborations, staff development, strategic planning, and advocacy and marketing.

Already at the front and center of Information Literacy here at CCRI, librarians work with many faculty members to develop assignments which incorporate information literacy concepts and skills, provide library instruction sessions for classes, develop online research guides and tutorials, and offer linked and stand-alone credit bearing classes in college research.

Poirier learned about many ways in which the college’s information literacy program can reach an ever-increasing segment of CCRI’s student body. By increasing partnerships with other programs within the college, expanding collaboration with faculty, active program development and careful program outcome planning, information literacy concepts and skills will become a framework upon which students can base their information-seeking behavior in all aspects of their lives.

She said librarians at all CCRI campuses are all experienced in teaching information literacy concepts and skills and look forward to working with all faculty to expand these skills to students.

Ricardo Rivera
Assistant professor, Art Department

Rivera has been selected to participate in the Ars Contemporaneus Alpinus (ACA), a project curated by Benoit Antille. ACA is a "critical approach to site-specific art in the natural environment." Rivera is one of five artists selected internationally to participate in Ars Contemporaneus Alpinus, a critical approach to site-specific art in the natural environment – in this case, the heart of the Swiss Alps. Rivera will exhibit his work in January 2015 in Switzerland and Los Angeles and participate in a symposium concerning art in the landscape.

He will be a research fellow/artist in residence at the Villa Ruffieux in Sierre (Valais, Switzerland) during this time. The project will use Valais, where an increasing number of outdoor, site-specific projects have been developed over the last several years, as a case study and laboratory. The yearlong research will address the economy of commissioned projects in the post-industrial era; the links between cultural production and cultural tourism; the instrumentalization of art by local policies; and a contemporary understanding of the land and the landscape.

Gina Santoro
Associate professor, English Department
Writing coordinator

Santoro spent June and July working with her best friends – Shadow, a lab/Rottweiler mix, and Jade, a chocolate Labrador – in the CCRI Pet Assisted Therapy program. Santoro, a founding member of the Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy, completed retraining in the program's Course II: Building on the Bond: Hands-On/Paws-On-Learning. Both of her pets achieved certification. She, Shadow and Jade hope to work with people with developmental delays.

Hope Schachter
Director, Connect to College program

Schachter co-presented "Piloting College Completion Partnerships – Lessons Learned" at the annual NCCEP/GEAR UP conference with College Crusade personnel Bob Oberg and Maria Carvalho.

Nancy Stone
Professor, Nursing Department

In June, Stone presented a poster, "Pacemakers: What Every Primary Care Provider Should Know," at the National Conference of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in Nashville, Tennessee.

Holly J. Susi
Associate professor, English Department

Susi earned a certificate of specialized training in emergency services in August from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. She has been a member of the Rhode Island Critical Incident Stress Management Team since 2006 and serves as a coordinator and clinical member of the team that provides support, consultation, education and crisis intervention to Rhode Island's first responders. The certification recognizes the completion of at least seven courses and knowledge in a variety of topics including group and individual crisis intervention, suicide prevention and intervention, stress management and mass casualty incidents. Susi also participated in several mass casualty drills and mock disasters over the past year and is certified through the ICS-400 level in the national Incident Command System.

Jude A. Tomasino
Associate director of Records/Transfer and adjunct instructor in the Business Administration Department

Tomasino recently was named Professional of the Year by the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC). Award recipients are strong and ethical advocates for students and/or their institutions and have a proven record of accomplishment throughout their careers. They demonstrate honesty, patience, thoroughness and sensitivity in their work with students, parents and colleagues. They are mentors, leaders and consummate professionals.
Additionally, Tomasino was elected president of the New England Transfer Association (NETA) for 2014-16. He becomes the first person from CCRI to hold this position in the organization’s 44-year history. He was also recognized with the Presidential Merit Award from the Rhode Island Association of Admission Officers (RIAAO) in recognition of his commitment, service and leadership to the organization.

Tomasino was the guest graduation speaker for the RIRAL Transitions to College graduation ceremony held in Woonsocket and presented on issues in transfer and higher education at the New York State Transfer and Articulation Association (NYSTAA) conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, and the NEACAC annual conference held in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Martha M. Vigneault
Professor, Rehabilitative Health/ Physical Therapy

Vigneault spent the summer writing questions for the Physical Therapist Assistant licensing exam. For fun, she harvested 17 pounds of honey from her honeybee hives.

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Last Updated: 2/21/17