Accolades: Read About the News and Accomplishments from our Students, Alumni and Faculty/Staff

104516017-hands-clapping1-300x2001Accolades – below are news and notes from our alumni, faculty, staff, and students. We are proud of all the amazing accomplishments by our Neag family. If you have an accolade to share, we want to hear from you! Please send any news items (and story ideas) to


Mary Almeida, a graduate student in the Two Summers Program, was honored as Enfield’s Teacher of the Year. She’s a tech-savvy first grade teacher, who utilizes iPads as part of her classroom instructions.

Brittany Larkin, a student in the sport management program, was accepted by TEAM USA for a summer internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee. She is one of 53 minority student leaders from across the US in the program, and she will spend the summer interacting and learning from the professional staff in Colorado as part of the (Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere) Program. The FLAME program provides students with an in-depth look at the Olympic and Paralympic movements and personal exploration of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. The program also offers a pathway for talented youth to become further involved in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, either through the USOC’s internship program, or other career and volunteer opportunities.

Justis Lopez spent part of his summer break as a policy intern for the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, DC. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, veterans and students with disabilities throughout the United States.  COE represents the federal TRIO Programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans’ Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program) to help students overcome class, social, academic, and cultural barriers in higher education. As the public policy intern, his responsibilities included attending weekly meetings at the White House with the office of public engagement to help draft education proposals on behalf of the TRIO programs to be considered by congress.


The UConn Alumni Association is recognizing two Neag alums at the UConn Alumni Association’s Annual Awards Ceremony in October:

  • Kaitlin M. Roig-DeBellis ’05, ’06, Executive Director & Founder, Classes 4 Classes, Inc. is being honored with the Humanitarian of the Year.
  • Douglas P. Donaldson ’73, ’78, Vice President and Development Agent, Subway Development Corporation of New England, is being honored with the University Service Award.

The following Neag alums have passed away:

Lina W. Armitage (‘57)

Janice E. Bedell (’66)

Shirley Bratten (’69)

John F. Brosnan (’89)

Nellie M. Duncan (’70)

Roberta K. Feldman (’43)

Ellen D. Gallo (’60)

Anna G. Goulet (’70)

Malcolm D. Gray (’70)

Barbara E. Kelley (’56)

Joann M. Kondash (’76)

Esther Hayes Laubin (’34)

Peter R. LeClair (’86)

Arthur P. Maxson (’60)

Francis P. Pellegrino (’67)

Elizabeth F. Raines (‘60)

Carl E. Van De Bogart (’70)

Edward S. Pira (’50)

Sigfredo Quiones- Crespo (’81)

Mae Y. Rosenstein (’57)

Harold D. Smith, Jr. (’65)

Patricia S. Zapac (’64)

John Livieri (’58)

Margaret E. Wardle (’51)

Gertrude S. Morrison (’70)


Christie Attanasio (IB/M Elementary, ’13) was named the Fairfax County, Virginia Outstanding First Year Teacher. Last year she applied to seven schools and got seven offers.   

Elsie Fetterman ‘49, ’60, ’64, ’66 of Amherst received a Daughters of the Revolution grant for the restoration of a temple in Connecticut, that she helped found over 50 years ago.

Amy Labas, ’02 MA, has been named the Coordinator of Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities for Plainville Community Schools. Labas vacated her post as Lyman Hall athletic director after the school year and recently has been named the Coordinator of Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities for Plainville Community Schools.

Vanessa Montorsi, director of counseling for Chesire Public Schools, was honored selected as School Counselor of the Year by the Connecticut School Counseling Association.

Saad Toor, ’14 (TCPCG), has a has accepted a job in Saudi Arabia as a history/social studies teacher.  He will be moving there in August.

Zato Kadambaya was selected as one of the Coaches for the Connecticut Dream Team. The State of Connecticut has partnered with LearnZillion to develop CCSS high quality lessons and resources. The state chose about 97 teachers and about nine coaches and Zato is coaching for the mathematics. In addition, he is one of the National Dream Team coach for mathematics. He recently had three days of work with the National Dream Team in New Orleans, where they had over 200 educators from 42 states (USA), Singapore, Scotland and Tunisia.


The Neag School of Education has two new online certificate programs, sport management and school law

The UConn Mentor Connection received a $20,000 grant from Fairfield County Community Foundation to support five Fairfield County students attending this summer’s program.

Neag School of Education was selected to participate with AACTE’s program to actively recruit students to become minority male teachers.

Faculty in the Neag School hosted a group of teachers for professional development on working with new Common Core standards to teach math through a summer workshop “Bridging Practices among Connecticut Mathematics Educators.”

The Neag School of Education was awarded three projects (with four current faculty represented) out of 48 Institute of Educational Studies (IES) new research awards: Mike Coyne (Co-PI), Teaching the Vocabulary of Comprehension: A Technology-Enhanced System to Enhance At-Risk 3rd Graders’ Acquisition and Application of Essential Vocabulary; Liz Howard (Co-I)Writing for English Language Learners (WELLs): Exploring the Relationship Between Writing Instruction and Student Outcomes; and Sandra Chafouleas (PD, Co-PI), Betsy McCoach (Co-PI), Jennifer Dineen (Co-PI – UConn Public Policy), Amy Briesch (Co-PI – Northeastern U and UConn grad) Exploring the Status and Impact of School-Based Behavior Screening Practices in a National Sample: Implications for Systems, Policy, and Research.

Keith Barker is on the Steering Committee for the New England Conference for Student Success Conference at UMass.

Laura Burton and a sport management Ph.D. alumnus, Jon Welty Peachey, served as guest editors for a special issue in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport entitled “Ethical Leadership in Intercollegiate Sport.” It includes contributions from some of the leading scholars and athletic administrators in the field.

Joseph Cooper co-authored an article in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, entitled “The Transfer Effect: A Critical Race Theory Examination of Black Male Transfer Student Athletes’ Experiences.”

Rachelle Perusse has been asked to serve as a panelist at the White House on the topic of “how we prepare our master’s level school counseling students to provide equity-based career and college readiness.” This was in response to the American School Counselor Association Conference, where First Lady Michelle Obama gave a keynote address on her new initiative titled “Reach Higher.” In her speech, she mentioned that she would be working with the Harvard Graduate School of Education to bring together a select few to convene on the topic of College and Career Readiness. Perusse will be the only counselor educator speaking on this topic.

Suzanne Wilson was selected as a member of a small group of reviewers for the Spencer Foundation’s ambitious new grant program, the “Lyle Spencer Research Awards: Advancing Understanding of Education Practice and Its Improvement.” With this program, they aim to reinforce their commitment to intellectually ambitious research, oriented ultimately to improving the practice of education, and independent of any particular reform agendas or methodological strictures. Annually, through a highly competitive award process, they’ll provide research grants of up to $1,000,000 each to a small number of outstanding proposals. This program is a reaffirmation of Spencer’s well-established tradition of supporting intellectually rigorous education research, but even more it is an effort to create much-needed space for creative and ambitious research projects that promise to advance our understanding of educational practice and its improvement.