Evolutionary Studies Program Hosts Hike

West Trapps Trailhead

West Trapps Trailhead

In conjunction with the campus’ celebration of the Wilderness Act’s 50th anniversary, the Evolutionary Studies program will host a hike up the Millbrook Ridge Trail in the Shawangunk mountains on Tuesday, September 16 from 4-6:30 p.m.

This hike will be free for members of the SUNY New Paltz community. Carloads will meet at the West Trapps Trailhead at 4 p.m. This is a moderate rock scramble with amazing views. Remember to wear good shoes and bring water.

Directions to the trailhead can be found here.

To sign up, please contact EvoS Assistant Nicole Wedberg at wedbergn1@hawkmail.newpaltz.edu. Spaces are limited. Please indicate in your reservation whether you will be driving your car.

Also, please note that LAS is sponsoring a talk immediately after this hike by renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben. His talk will take place in Lecture Center 100 at 7 p.m.  Hike coordinators will make sure that participants are off the mountain in time for this major event.

Visit the Facebook site for the EvoS hike.

Climate Change Activist Bill McKibben to Speak at SUNY New Paltz

Bill McKibben credit Steve Liptay

Bill McKibben

By Despina Williams Parker

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the State University of New York at New Paltz proudly welcomes author and environmentalist Bill McKibben as he mobilizes support for the largest climate march in history. McKibben will deliver a lecture entitled, “On to New York:  Why the Climate Movement is on the March,” on Tuesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 100.

Presidents and prime ministers from all over the world will gather in New York City on September 23 for a landmark UN summit on climate change. In the days prior, dozens of workshops, seminars and events on climate change will culminate in a September 21 march on New York City, as tens of thousands demand action on what McKibben has termed the “biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced.”

If you are concerned about climate change and the long-term health of our planet, don’t miss this important lecture.  The event is free and open to the public.

McKibben is the author of the 1989 book The End of Nature, regarded as the first book about climate change written for a general audience. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. The movement is named for the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million.

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, McKibben was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.” A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone.

To learn more about the People’s Climate March and People’s Climate Convergence, visit www.peoplesclimate.org.

Communication Disorders Offers Post-Baccalaureate Foundation for Graduate Work

Christine Delfino

Christine Delfino

By Despina Williams Parker

Since 2010, the Department of Communication Disorders has offered non-matriculated students with undergraduate degrees in other fields the foundational courses they need to make career changes possible.

Christine Delfino completed post-baccalaureate Foundations of Communication Disorders coursework in 2013 and is one of the initiative’s success stories.

Inspired by her undergraduate internships in the arts, Delfino was poised to begin a career in museum education. But a year into her work at a college art museum, Delfino found her career not as meaningful as she’d hoped.

“I realized that my favorite parts of the job were the ones where I got to interact with people face-to-face, and in situations where I felt like I was helping them; however, I felt like I wasn’t making a significant difference. I quickly realized that the art world was not for me,” she said.

Delfino studied Spanish and literature as an undergraduate. She had a keen interest in languages and communication, which had previously taken a backseat as she pursued a career in the arts. At her mother’s suggestion, she researched a career in speech-language pathology and discovered the New Paltz program.

State and federal laws require speech-language pathologists to complete a master’s degree and clinical work before practicing in the field. New Paltz’s post-baccalaureate coursework meets all of the prerequisite requirements for the graduate program in communication disorders at the university, as well as many others throughout the country.

Coursework is offered online through the Blackboard Learning Network, and courses are asynchronous, meaning that students do not need to log in at a particular time.

The online format appealed to Delfino, who continued to work part-time throughout her studies. She completed the coursework in a year and a half, and was pleased with its high quality.

“In general I found the online format to be easily accessible and the quality of the courses to be strong. I think the program is very well structured and organized. The students know the trajectory of their course load within the post-baccalaureate program, and I would say that the quality of the courses is comparable to being in in-person classes,” Delfino said.

Delfino is now in her last year in the master’s program in communication disorders at Arizona State University. Drawing upon her undergraduate studies, Delfino has pursued the bilingual (Spanish/English) track in speech-language pathology.

She recently won first place in the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s 2014 Student Ethics Essay Contest, in which she described the importance of professionalism and ethics in the clinical supervisor/student clinician relationship.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Associate Dean Stella Turk, who coordinates Foundations of Communication Disorders, said students who earn the certificate have a “very high rate of acceptance” into graduate programs. She attributes this success to the program’s high academic standards — students must receive a B or higher in each course to remain enrolled — and students’ self-discipline and focus in completing the rigorous coursework.

“These students are on a mission; their mission is to get into a graduate program,” Turk said.

Delfino has enjoyed her graduate studies, and particularly her work as a research assistant. She plans to eventually pursue a Ph.D.

Delfino credits her online studies at New Paltz with preparing her for work at the graduate level. “Since my undergraduate degree was completely unrelated to communication disorders, the post-bacc. program provided me with the strong, general foundation that I needed to pursue a master’s degree,” she said.

For more on Foundations in Communication Disorders, click here.

Psychology Professor Joins Unique Gathering for a Discussion of Love and Dating

By Despina Williams Parker

A New Paltz psychology professor, a research scientist and an online dating guru walk into a bar. What follows will likely prove to be a fun, stimulating exchange on love and relationships.

The eleventh gathering of the Empiricist League, which “brings together people from Empiricist Leaguescientific backgrounds for the purpose of communicating the power of the scientific method,” will be held Aug. 19 at Union Hall, located at 702 Union Street in Brooklyn. Union Hall is a 5,000 square foot restaurant, bar and live music venue. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the first speaker begins at 8 p.m.

Department of Psychology Professor and Chair Glenn Geher joins Dr. Bianca Acevedo, a research scientist at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Christian Rudder, one of the founders of the online dating service OKCupid, for a contemporary look at evolutionary psychology, neuroscience and data analysis.

The Empiricist League welcomes “writers, filmmakers, and oddballs,” and Geher extends a special invitation to New Paltz students and alumni.

“A student who attends will hopefully learn a bit about the ultimate factors that underlie dating and mate selection – and given the venue, they would have an opportunity to see that the discussion of intellectual ideas can be downright fun and exciting,” said Geher.

Geher’s talk, entitled, “Mating Intelligence: Evolutionary Psychology’s Advice for the Lovelorn,” will offer an evolutionary perspective on human mating systems, with a focus on what factors led to monogamy-like systems in our species. Geher, who directs the Evolutionary Studies program at New Paltz, will discuss how we can best understand the concept of love from an evolutionary perspective.

Geher’s peers will approach love from other interesting angles. Dr. Acevedo will deliver a talk entitled, “Sex on the Brain: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us about Love, Lust and Marriage,” and Rudder will explore what data reveals about the habits and desires of online daters. He will explain how data scientists can reveal, with “unprecedented precision how we fight, how we age, how we love, and how we change.”

For more event information, click here.