Notes from Ethiopia

This June, the Coordinator of the Deaf Studies program, Rebecca Swenson and seven and New Paltz students embarked on a Deaf education and empowerment study abroad trip to Ethiopia. Here are some notes and photos of their adventure so far:

From Rebecca Swenson on June 17:

Rebecca Swenson and Deafness Center students around a table

Rebecca, New Paltz students, and Bahir Dar Deafness Center students in the classroom

I am just checking in to let you know we have started working with the Deaf here in Bahir Dar. Yesterday we had a site visit to the school and the new Deafness Center where we were given a show put on by the children. Then we started working with the Deaf young adults to put together skits for short educational films to raise public awareness about deafness.  Our New Paltz students are doing well with communicating using their sign skill and with the interpreters. It is really quite an experience with 4 languages going on at one time! Today we will visit two new classrooms for deaf students and we will put on a program and lead some activities for them. This is really an amazing learning experience for our New Paltz students; and it is wonderful to see their enthusiastic participation.

Cick thumbnails to enlarge photos.

English Alumnus Success Stems from Liberal Arts Education


John Hoeschele ’86 (English)

Part of the beauty of a liberal arts education is the unexpected directions your degree can take you. After graduating from SUNY New Paltz, John Hoeschele ’86 (English)—a member of the College’s Alumni Advisory Council— planned on becoming an English teacher. He enrolled in graduate school, completed his student teaching, and was two requirements shy of completing his master’s degree.

“But I had another plan to get into the advertising business,” said Hoeschele. “I always thought it was a cool business and an interesting way to use an English degree. Before I finalized my graduate degree, I scattered my resume near and far, and ended up getting a job at an ad agency in Ithaca.”

Hoeschele entered the industry as a junior copywriter at the small firm, and quickly climbed to the position of creative director. Later, he landed at Sag MarCom, a larger agency in Syracuse, where he became vice president of creative services, before leaving that job to work for a Syracuse-based dotcom business as head of marketing and communications. He then ran his own consultancy, Drum Creative Communications, for six years before landing his current position in 2006 as marketing communications and government relations manager at Anaren in Syracuse.

“Being able to write, to stare at a blank page and not be afraid of it, is a great skill to have,” said Hoeschele. “Advertising, by itself, is a creative and fun process. You get to think and write. There’s editing. You have to boil down messages and make them more succinct and streamlined.”

While at New Paltz, Hoeschele was involved with the English Club and also studied abroad for a semester in London, which was an inspiring and invigorating experience.

“For an English major, it was a dream come true,” said Hoeschele. “It’s where Dickens lived and wrote, where Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes. I got to go to the Lake District where Wordsworth and Coleridge and all those guys did their writings. It was really cool to see the places they were referring to in their poetry, and the things that inspired them.”

Hoeschele also met his wife, Lisa (White) Hoeschele ’85, at New Paltz, where she majored in French. She currently manages a mental health agency and previously worked as a French teacher as well as a development fundraiser for PBS. They have two children, Maxwell and Margaret, and reside in Cortland, N.Y.

Prior to his involvement with the Council, Hoeschele admits he’d largely lost touch with New Paltz, but hopes to change that with his new position. This past December, Hoeschele decided to partner with fellow New Paltz grad Catherine Fisher ’81 (English) to host an alumni mixer at the Onondaga Historical Association in downtown Syracuse as part of Global Orange and Blue Day.

“I thought it was sort of incumbent upon me to walk the talk,” he said. “I’m trying to create some excitement and a sense of New Paltz community.”

Deaf Awareness ASL Movie Night Returns April 28!

The Department of Communication Disorders is pleased to announce ASL Movie Night on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. “The Legend of the Mountain Man” (rated PG) will be shown at 6:30pm on campus in Lecture Center Room 100. There is no cost for this event. The movie is presented in sign language and is closed captioned for the hearing.

Please join us for this ever-popular and delightfully campy movie night!
asl_movie_night_poster_4-28-2015Sponsored by:
Mid-Hudson Deaf Awareness Group
Department of Communication Disorders, SUNY New Paltz
Sociology Concentration in Human Services, SUNY New Paltz
Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc.

Prominent Doctor to Speak on Acid Reflux Disease Epidemic

Dr. Jonathan E. Aviv, one of the leading authorities on acid reflux disease, will share his expertise on the disease’s warning signs and linkage to the fastest growing cancer in America during a presentation on Thursday, April 16 at 6 p.m. in Lecture Center 100.

Aviv head shot folded smile 3.14.14

Dr. Jonathan E. Aviv

The presentation, entitled “Hard to Swallow: The Sweet and Sour of Acid Reflux Disease,” will demonstrate how throat complaints (cough, hoarseness, frequent throat clearing, and lump-like sensations in the throat) even more so than traditional heartburn complaints, may indicate severe acid reflux disease. Aviv will describe how actions by the U.S. government and food industry in the 1970s inadvertently led to the nation’s current acid reflux epidemic and the rise of esophageal cancer. The latest technology available to prevent, diagnose and treat this growing problem, including the use of “food as medicine,” will also be discussed.

Aviv has been named one of New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” (1998-2013). He has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and has appeared on “Good Morning America,” the Discovery Channel and several national radio programs.

bookimage3He is the clinical director of the Voice and Swallowing Center, a division of ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP (ENTA) and author of the health and wellness book “Killing Me Softly from Inside,” which makes explicit the connection between highly processed foods, acid reflux and esophageal cancer. The book advocates for a low-acid, nutritionally balanced diet.

Following the presentation, Aviv will sign copies of his book and low acid refreshments will be served.

The event is sponsored by the Communication Disorders Department, SUNY New Paltz Speech, Language and Hearing Center, Office of Academic Affairs, HealthQuest and Medtronic.

For more information, contact Nina JeckerBryne at 845-257-2399 or

Join All-Faculty Band for Talent Show Benefiting Student Scholarship Fund

Questionable Authorities

 The all-faculty band Questionable Authorities will host “New Paltz Got Talent” at Bacchus Restaurant and Bar, with funds benefiting the College Council Student Retention Fund, on Friday, April 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Questionable Authorities is composed of professors Glenn Geher (Psychology), Peter Kaufman (Sociology), Maureen Morrow (Biology), Brian Obach (Sociology) and Anne Roschelle (Sociology).

Last year the event raised $1,000 for the Fund for New Paltz, which provides special opportunities for students.

The band invites members of the campus community who sing or play an instrument to join them as guests in performing a set-list of punk rock classics.Those who choose to perform, should let band members know their preferred song and instrument of choice and should attend one practice session with the band prior to the event.

 Give today!

LA&S Faculty Meeting to be Held January 27

A full meeting of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in Lecture Center 102.

This meeting was postponed from the end of the Fall 2014 term and will include Dean Laura Barrett’s report to the LA&S faculty, a report from the LA&S Senate on business conducted last fall, and other agenda items directly concerning the LA&S faculty.

“Despite the very busy period of the new semester and the return of Annual Report season, I encourage all LA&S Faculty to attend this meeting, especially as we push forward to heighten the profile of–and to strengthen the university’s commitment of resources to–the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” said Christopher Link, LA&S Senate presiding officer.

Link announced that agendas will be available soon. Those wishing to add an agenda item concerning the LA&S faculty as a whole should contact Link via email at

Study Abroad Opportunity in Deaf Studies

Please join us on Monday, October 27 for a slide show and presentation on this exciting study abroad opportunity affiliated with the Deaf Studies program:

Deaf Studies study abroad presentation announcementLearn more about faculty member Rebecca Swenson’s trip to Ethiopia this past summer here:

 Deaf Education and Empowerment in Ethiopia

For more information, contact Rebecca Swenson at


Communication Disorders Graduate Program Open House

Are you interested in applying to graduate school for a degree in Communication Disorders, or do you know someone who is? The Graduate Program in Communication Disorders will be having an open house from 2pm to 4pm on December 18, 2014; join us in Room 22 of the Humanities Building. Here is a link to assist campus visitors:

Campus Visitor Information

Additionally, the program coordinator, Dr. Anne Balant, will be offering informal tours of the department and the Speech, Language and Hearing Center facilities at 2:30pm on two Fridays: October 31 and November 21 – meet in the Humanities Building, Room 14A.

Grad program open house announcement

The Making of an ASL Song

By Maria Gillin, President, SUNY New Paltz American Sign Language Club

Every semester begins the same, we introduce ourselves and say what we do. Then we see what the members of our club are interested in. We learn the most about each other when we pick what song we want to translate and learn how to sign. Our members always get to choose – we ask them for song ideas, narrow them down based on level of difficulty, and put it to a vote. Then the fun begins. It usually takes 3 or 4 days to translate a song and then from there it takes about 4 meetings to teach everyone and be comfortable enough that we can perform the song, or record ourselves.

This past year we had the awesome experience of performing twice, once at Relay for Life and again at the Sexy Pitches final spring performance. Our debut at Relay for Life was bigger and better than we ever imagined. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch when we took the stage. Afterwards we spent over a half hour with people asking about how they could join and be a part of something so awesome.

Here is the ASL Club performing “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen:

The ASL Club meets on Mondays at 8pm in the Commuter Lounge, SUB100S. Please join us, or get in touch-


Twitter: @NewPaltzASLClub

Instagram: @newpaltzaslclub

President Maria Gillin –

Vice President Sarah Broughton –


EvoS Program Announces Spring Seminar Series

The New Paltz Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program has assembled an esteemed group of speakers for its spring 2015 seminar series. The speakers represent a diversity of disciplines (anthropology, biology, sociology and psychology) and will continue the EvoS program’s tradition of providing accessible and thought-provoking academic talks that connect evolutionary principles with all areas of knowledge.

The EvoS program, together with its sister program from SUNY Binghamton, is at the center of the international EvoS Consortium, which was launched with funding from the National Science Foundation. The EvoS program celebrates the power of Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution across all aspects of the academic curriculum.

Patricia Wright of Stonybrook’s anthropology department will deliver the Darwin Day keynote lecture on Feb. 9 from 6-7 p.m. in Lecture Center 102. Darwin Day commemorates Charles Darwin’s 206th birthday. Wright will speak about her years of work with Madagascar lemurs (currently featured in the IMax film, Island of Lemurs, narrated by Morgan Freeman).

Patricia Wright

Patricia Wright, shouldering a lemur, will deliver the keynote lecture in the EvoS Program’s spring seminar series. Photo by Ben Hider

The full series, which features other luminaries in the field of evolution – including notable rising stars, is free and open to the public.

The series is sponsored by Campus Auxiliary Services, the EvoS Program and the EvoS Club.

For more information about this seminar series, or how to get involved, contact EvoS Director, Glenn Geher,

2015 Seminar Series Schedule of Events

Feb. 9:  Lemur Evolution and Ecology
Patricia Wright, Ph.D.
Stony Brook University
Department of Anthropology
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Lecture Center 102

Feb. 23: Songs and the Suburbs: What Birds Can Teach Us About Communication and Conservation
Kara Belinsky, Ph.D.
SUNY New Paltz
Department of Biology
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Lecture Center 102

Mar. 9: Using Evolution to Improve our Cities
Dan O’Brien, Ph.D.
Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Department of Sociology
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Lecture Center 102

Mar. 23: Primate Evolution in the Modern Age
Todd Disotell, Ph.D.
New York University
Department of Anthropology
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Lecture Center 102

Apr. 6: Facebook Frenemies and Selfie-Promotion: Intrasexual Competition in the Digital Age
Mandy Guitar, M.A.
Binghamton University Ph.D. student and Teaching Assistant
Department of Biology, Anthropology
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Lecture Center 102

Apr. 13: Transcendental Medication: Defraying the Costs of Analysis Paralysis
Christopher Lynn, Ph.D.
The University of Alabama
Department of Anthropology
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Lecture Center 102

Apr. 20: The Evolutionary Psychology of Breaking up and Making up
Joel Wade, Ph.D.
Bucknell University
Department of Psychology
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Lecture Center 102