Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why Staff Sergeant Sean Pabey says Post University’s Erica Fitzgerald has gone 'above and beyond her duties'

The men and women of our military live by the call of duty. It's what wakes them up in the morning. Instills their sense of pride and accomplishment. Safeguards our great country.

Going above and beyond the call of duty is what makes heroes, whether on or off the field. And in Staff Sergeant Sean Pabey's eyes, Erica Fitzgerald fits the bill.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Post University alumnus sparkles in Hartford-based independent film 'Rising Star'

"Rising Star." Could there be a better name for a new film created by a team of rising -- indeed, accomplished -- stars themselves?

"Rising Star" is a new independent film starring lead actor Gary Ploski, Post University Class of '97, and produced by Marty Lang. The two met here at Post University in 1995, and hit it off.

Gary, a Prospect, Conn., native, earned his bachelor's degree in management information systems from Post University, followed by his MFA in acting from Sarah Lawrence College. He now has 10 years of stage experience under his belt.

Marty, also locally grown in East Windsor, Conn., attended Post University for his freshman year. He completed his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Connecticut and his MFA at the Florida State University Graduate Film Conservatory. Marty is now an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, having directed eight short films and produced 11.

Gary and Marty recently linked up to work on "Rising Star" together. The film explores the conflict of "working to live, or living to work" by telling the story of an overworked insurance adjuster from Hartford, Conn.

We had the opportunity to interview Gary about the entire experience, from his beginnings at Post University and meeting Marty, to coming together to create "Rising Star." Gary told us what the film means to him, what inspired him to create it, and why he thinks it's important for people to see it.

There are a few spots where we ran into some bad Skype audio. But it only lasts a couple of minutes, so please stay with us!

The "Rising Star" team recently screened their film in front of a sold-out crowd at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford.

They're planning to submit the film to IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs in April. IFP is the nation's oldest and largest independent nonprofit for filmmakers. Its Independent Filmmaker Labs effort is the only program in the world currently supporting first-time feature directors in post-production to complete, market, and distribute their films.

Every year, IFP picks 10 narrative features and 10 documentaries for its fellowship. If "Rising Star" is selected, Gary and team will have the opportunity to show their film to professional filmmakers, festival directors, and distributors in early June in New York City.

Until then, the "Rising Star" team is looking for feedback to create the first teaser about the film, which will include a mash-up of fans' responses to the question, "What don't you like about your job?" You can contribute your input via e-mail to, on the "Rising Star" Facebook page, or on Twitter @risingstarmovie.

You can keep up with Gary by checking in on his blog and following on Twitter @garyploski. You can also stay in the loop on updates with "Rising Star" by hitting the "Rising Star" website and following @risingstarmovie on Twitter.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Six social emotional skills children need as they enter school

Some of you might know that in addition to being the Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Post University, I'm also the Executive Director for the West Haven Child Development Center.

The center is a nonprofit corporation that provides a variety of educational programs for West Haven children ages six weeks to five years, including a full-day preschool and a program for special needs children.

I've developed and administered a great deal of educational programs over the years. And I'm very proud that I was asked to present some of my latest work at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) Annual Conference on Pediatric Health Care last week in Baltimore.

For those who are unacquainted, NAPNAP is the professional association for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and other advanced practice nurses who care for children. It has nearly 7,500 members and 47 local chapters throughout the United States.

So I was at the conference presenting my team's poster, "Using Evidence to Enhance the Social Emotional and Behavioral Health of Young Children."

It shows one of the latest curricula utilizing the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership Program and NAPNAP's KySS guidelines with our team at the West Haven Child Development Center. This poster basically nutshells our methodology, findings, and clinical implications. (Click to enlarge.)

The major goal of our project was to foster social emotional competence in preschool-age children using evidence-based guidelines and interventions.

We put together a multidisciplinary behavioral health team, which included a pediatric nurse practitioner, school nurse, social worker, and behavioral/mental health consultant. I served as the educational consultant.

Working together, we developed a curriculum with goals, objectives, and strategies to address the social/emotional/behavioral needs of each child.
  • Goal: Develop a Daily Program that promotes resilience
  • Objective: Provide time to expend energy and time to relax
  • Strategy: Helping children to identify that they are "tense or over-energized, can help them to learn how to relax their bodies. Teaching children relaxation techniques, deep breathing, counting to 10, yoga positions, etc., can help them to learn how to self-regulate.
We found that this curricular design was successful in identifying at-risk children and improving communication between teaching staff, families, and administration. Each child was given a Social Skills Improvement System, an evidence-based, multi-tiered assessment and intervention system for helping students develop, improve, and maintain important social skills.

The results were then tabulated, and an individual plan was created for each child. Teachers and parents worked together to implement the plan.

This also led us to identify six social emotional skills children need as they enter school.
  • Confidence
  • Capacity to develop good relationships with peers and adults
  • Concentration and persistence on challenging task
  • Ability to effectively communicate emotions
  • Ability to listen to instructions and be attentive
  • Ability to solve social problems
Feel free to look over our poster for more details on our curricula design, and let me know if you have any questions or would like to learn more about it by leaving a comment here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Two exciting Post University graduation 2011 updates

It's that time of year when our graduating class starts counting down to the biggest day of their college career -- commencement. There are precisely 51 days until graduation on May 7. And while that might sound far off, believe me, it will be here before you know it!

We've been hard at work planning and preparing for our 2011 commencement ceremony. I'm proud to be a part of this milestone event to recognize the accomplishments of our traditional and online undergraduate and graduate students. I look forward to seeing and congratulating all of our students from the Class of 2011 in May.

Class of 2011, bookmark our graduation page on our website
I wanted to share two exciting updates with you about our commencement planning. First off, for the second consecutive year in Post University's 121-year history, we will be broadcasting our commencement ceremony live via video feed on our website.

In addition, we've created a special section on our website where all of our graduates can create a graduate profile and share their Graduate Stories.

We realize that not everyone will be able to make it to our Waterbury campus for the ceremony. So we hope our students who are not able to travel to campus this year will join us for our live feed to share in our undergraduate graduation. Gather your family and friends and watch together!

To attend graduation virtually, go to our new graduation page on our website and press the play button. Although the ceremony doesn't officially begin until 11 a.m., feel free to login a few minutes early so you can watch the processional.

The names of all our graduates will scroll along the bottom of the screen in a continuous loop. To make sure all graduates who want to watch graduation have the opportunity to do so, please remember to close your Internet browser when you are finished watching.

We're also offering Commemorative 2011 Undergraduate Commencement DVDs, which will feature the entire ceremony. It's a great keepsake, especially if you aren't able to record graduation yourself. You can buy yours now to reserve your copy. They'll be on sale through May 23.

But, you don't have to wait until commencement to celebrate all of your hard work and accomplishments. You can do it now! We're inviting all of our December 2010 and May 2011 graduates to share their Graduate Story on our graduation page.

We developed Graduate Stories as a place for you to leave a bit of yourself with Post University, your graduating class, and future generations of students.

You can create a profile page with your photo and information on why you chose Post University, your most memorable Post University experience, your graduation plans, and more.

You can also share a "My Post University Story" video. Grab a camera and talk about your favorite thing about being a Post University student, your plans for the future, or anything else you want to share about your experience at Post University and what it has meant to you.

You have unique and exciting personal stories, and I hope we can share in them as part of the Post University family. Even though you spend just a few years of your lives with Post, you'll always be a part of the Post University family. And that's very special.

If you're a graduating student and would like to submit your Graduate Story, go to our Graduate Stories tab on our graduation page. Please submit your profile and/or video by April 18. Graduate Stories will go live about a week before commencement, so you can learn about some of your fellow graduates and share your own story with family and friends.

This is a very exciting time for the Class of 2011, and I am delighted to share it with you. We'll be posting more commencement news and updates on our blog, Twitter page, and Facebook page as May 7 approaches.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

14 tips for a successful job search

You can look at the U.S. unemployment rate in two ways. No. 1, thank heavens it hasn't gone up. No. 2, holy smokes, it hasn't gone down either! It stood at 8.9 percent in February, barely changing over January's 9 percent.

Despite economic growth, competition for jobs is as tough as ever, because this continues to be largely a jobless recovery. But it won't last forever. Analysts are increasingly saying that companies are reaching the limits of how much work they can pile on employees. They're approaching the max of employee productivity. The time for hiring is likely just around the bend.

If you believe you need to strike while the iron is hot, here's a head's up for you: The iron is hot! It's important to soak up good job searching advice and hone your interview skills now.

Post University has put together 14 tips to help you in your job search. Feel free to read them over online, share them with friends and family, or print out the document and post it on your fridge or somewhere you'll always look to be reminded of them.

For more help in your job search, don't forgot Post University Career Services is available to every one of our students. For more information on how we can help you find and get the job you want, see the Career Services page on our website.

Friday, March 11, 2011

CACC recognizes Post University basketball's Al Sokaitis and Josh Lopez

Coach Sokaitis strategizes on the sidelines
The Eagles have wrapped up another great season, making it to the CACC semi-finals. Although a championship would have been a perfect end to a great season, the team still has plenty of reasons to celebrate.

The CACC has named Men's Basketball Head Coach Al Sokaitis Coach of the Year, and player Josh Lopez to its All-Tournament team.

Much of the Eagles' success this season can be attributed to Coach Sokaitis. He led the Eagles to a 14-4 conference and 16-10 overall mark entering the playoffs -- the best record the Eagles have had since the 2002-2003 season.

Josh Lopez aiming high
And Josh had 50 assists, 22 steals, and maintained an 84.6 shooting percentage from the free throw line in 28 games this season.

Congrats, Coach and Josh! Well deserved.

Read on for more details on Coach Sokaitis and Josh's achievements.

Post University Men's Basketball Coach Al Sokaitis Named CACC Men's Basketball Coach of the Year

In only his first season as men's basketball coach at Post University, Al Sokaitis was named Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year. Although it was his first season as an Eagle, Sokaitis has been around the sport for some time. In fact, it is the seventh time in his storied coaching career that Sokaitis has received the honor.

"This is an incredible honor for Al and it is very well deserved," said Anthony Fallacaro, Post University Athletic Director. "Al took over the program late in the recruiting year and was able to construct a formidable class in a short period of time but more importantly, he was able to get the returners to work well with the new group and adapt to his system quickly."

What to look for in an MBA/marketing program

Well, I guess it depends on who is looking and for what purpose. Whether you expect to gain professionally or just to satisfy your appetite for knowledge, one common and desirable attribute of your chosen MBA/marketing program is clear: It needs to provide quality education.

As is true in general for any MBA program, you are likely to get more out of your marketing concentration once you have had some business and work experience, especially the kind involving high engagement with people.

In short, if you are fresh out of school and looking for a piece of paper to magically land you a six-figure salary right out of the gate, sorry, this article might not be for you ...

So, what kind of questions should you ask yourself?

Program content. A good place to start would be the program content, the "what" questions. Are the marketing topics addressed in the program relevant to today's, and more important, tomorrow's marketplace? Are the articles and textbooks current? Are customers, existing and prospects, a central focus of the program? Is there a story line to the program that is compelling and innovative? Is the program well integrated, providing the proper support for high-level marketing courses? Has the program withstood an external peer review to attest to its rigor and value? Without solid integrated content, the end value and relevancy of your education might be questionable.

Teaching staff. The next area to explore could be the teaching staff, the "who" questions. How qualified are the instructors teaching the courses? Do they have both high/terminal degrees and substantive or direct work experience to share? Do their interests and expectations make you want to learn from them? Effective marketing requires art and science. The instructor's aptitude is what brings both to life. Marketing teaching should be applicable, involving hands-on learning, not just learning "about marketing."

Availability and engagement. Teaching marketing (and many other disciplines) ought to be a high-contact, yet flexible engagement, which leads to the next set of questions you should explore, the "how" questions. How available are the instructors and faculty to regularly talk to and meet with students? How much interaction (peer-student-instructor) is built into the course through discussions and other pedagogic tools -- more than 50 percent of the course workload? Is the program flexible enough to accommodate the busy schedule of adult learners?

The keen reader will observe that the answers for most, if not all of the above questions, should be readily found within the program's published information -- that is, if it is a transparent, quality program.

A deficient program can easily be masked with an expensive PR campaign. Branding a quality program takes one success story at a time. Check the social buzz and reputation associated with your selected program and seek out alumni testimonials. Specifically, try to confirm the answers you have found to the questions above.

You have probably noticed that I've ignored the typical questions about program cost and duration. In the long-run, investing $3,000 more or less in the program, or graduating three months earlier or later, are insignificant in comparison to the value at stake.

Not to completely duck the question -- carefully scrutinize programs that will cost you more than $35,000 (2011 tuition) or include fewer than four dedicated marketing courses (12-16 credits) and fewer than 12 total courses (36-40 credits). Will you get the return on investment you expect?

Also consider favorably programs that include a capstone course. This experience will solidify the learning gained throughout the program.

In summary, choosing the right MBA/marketing program for you requires that you start to act like a savvy consumer: Ask the right questions and seek the answers! You deserve nothing less.

Editor's note: While not mentioned in this article, Post University is the first university in Connecticut to offer a completely online MBA degree program.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A big job for a Texas grad: Bring social justice to El Salvador

Texas resident Felicia Scott earned her degree in human services with a concentration in clinical counseling from Post University last year. She's now completing post-graduate work with me to obtain her Drug & Alcohol counseling certificate.

Felicia also advocates for mental illness with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and works locally in Austin to advocate for the rights of AIDS patients.

That's just her regular routine. Recently, she took her human services work to a new level -- an intense 10-day trip to El Salvador to help improve the lives of the country's poor.

Felicia heard about the El Salvador project, sometimes referred to as "Social Justice for El Salvador," from a pastor at her local church, who had gone last year. The project is coordinated by many churches around the United States in partnership with the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Their goal is to better the lives of people in the El Salvador's rural communities. Every January for the last 10 years, about 25 men and women of all ages go to El Salvador on this mission.

Felicia's experience in El Salvador was profound. We wanted to share a slice of what it was like to work alongside the people of El Salvador, and what she learned after 10 days of being immersed in their culture.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Barnes-Franklin Art Gallery presents Post University Art Professor John Rohlfing’s work

Post University Art Professor John Rohlfing has exhibited his colorful ceramics from New York to L.A., Korea, and Japan. And most recently, he's brought his artwork to our own backyard.

You can see it on display now at the “Two Ceramic Sculptors” exhibition in the Barnes-Franklin Art Gallery at Tunxis Community College, Farmington, Conn. The show also features pieces from Peggy Steinway, an art teacher at The Gilbert School in Winsted, Conn.

The two artists are exhibiting 60 sculptural ceramics and drawings at the show. An opening reception was held Feb. 17, and Professor Rohlfing took some pictures to share on our blog.

Professor Rohlfing is an accomplished ceramic artist who has taught ceramics, painting, drawing, and photo courses at Post University since 2001. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Ceramics and Three-Dimensional Design at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford.

Professor Rohlfing's artistic approach is to use ceramic vessels to explore the idea of the container as a metaphor. He is very interested in the painted surface and how it wraps around form.

His honors and awards include two-time Honorable Mentions at the Ceramic Biennial International Competition and World Ceramic Exposition in Korea, and an Honorable Mention at the International Ceramics Competition in Mino, Japan.

In 2010, his work was featured at the Snyderman-Works Gallery in Philadelphia with the National Conference for the Education of the Ceramic Arts. In 2009, his work was included in a group exhibition at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and a one-person exhibition at the ArtSpace Gallery in Hartford, Conn. He is currently working towards a one-person exhibition at the Barnes-Franklin Art Gallery.

You can see Professor Rohlfing's work at the Barnes-Franklin Art Gallery until March 14. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and by appointment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to manage the college financial aid process

It's crunch time for many college applicants. Many students have already been accepted to their dream schools, but now they're trying to figure out how to pay for it. Indeed, attending a particular school is often contingent upon the financial aid that's offered.

Financial aid deadlines vary college to college. But many schools require students to file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this month or next -- and some even as early as today.

The FAFSA is used to qualify students for grants, loans, and other forms of college aid. Applying on time is crucial to ensuring students have the opportunity to receive all of the aid they qualify for.

And with most students seeking financial aid, there's increased competition to secure the best package out there. There is only a finite amount of money available, and the earliest applicants have the best chance of receiving the assistance they need.

There are some important steps students can take to manage the financial aid process.

1. File the FAFSA as soon as possible in advance of each school's preferred filing deadline. If you haven't filed your income taxes yet, collect your W-2 forms and 1099s and use them as the basis for completing the FAFSA, and do it today!

2. Develop a relationship with the school's financial aid office by getting on the phone and explaining your family's individual situation.

3. Not all aid is created equal. Grant aid does not need to be repaid, but loans do. Once you receive an offer of aid, analyze it carefully to determine the amount that actually comes from loans that will have to be repaid.