College of Arts and Sciences Newsletter
February 2016
Attorney Valerie Stanwood is grateful for her alma mater
When Valerie Amaral Stanwood arrived at UMass Dartmouth as a freshman, she knew she was in school for the long haul. However, she wasn't certain about what she wanted to study. "I always knew that I wanted to continue beyond my bachelor's degree," she said. "When I first started at UMassD, I was going to major in music."
However, Val took a Political Science course, which completely changed her focus. Instead of studying musical notes, she decided to major in Political Science and study law notes. "One of the special things for me about UMass Dartmouth was the idea that you could change your major," Val said. "It's a school with diverse classes that you can sample." 
Not only did UMass Dartmouth give Valerie the opportunity to sample classes, it also gave her the opportunity to continue her education. With scholarships and grants, Valerie was able to leave the Dartmouth campus virtually debt free, which allowed her to attend Suffolk Law. "University scholarships had a huge impact on my life and the things I've been able to do," she said. "They allowed me to not only get my bachelor's degree, but also get my law degree, something I would never have been able to do if it weren't for UMass Dartmouth."
Now, Valerie, who is an accomplished singer and previous Miss Massachusetts winner, practices law at Hoyt Legal in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. She continues to applaud her alma mater. It was the place where she learned to think critically and see things from a different perspective. "When you practice law, you have to think critically and learn how to ask the right questions," Val said. "Studying Political Science helped me develop those skills."
Philosophy Professor Maureen Eckert earns grant for summer logic camp
This year Professor Maureen Eckert is excited to go to summer camp. UMass Dartmouth's Summer Program for Diversity, which is funded by the American Philosophical Association (APA) Diversity and Inclusiveness grant, is a logic camp that focuses on paradoxes. It invites students to investigate formal techniques and systems aimed at solving paradoxes. "We here at UMass Dartmouth have a specialty in logic and philosophy," Maureen said. "We want to give our students a chance to study."
Planned by Professor Eckert, the logic camp helps the APA's efforts to make philosophy a more diverse and inclusive field. The one-week camp, which is designed for students from underrepresented groups, has space for ten external applicants and two UMass Dartmouth undergraduates. It covers transportation fees to and from UMass Dartmouth (up to $500 USD), room and board, and a modest stipend. "This program is a targeted intervention to help students feel apart of the discipline and to help students get into graduate school," Maureen said. "The students in this program will be connected to scholars that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet."
By participating in this program, underrepresented students study logic in an inclusive setting. They learn that there is a place for them in the field, and they recognize they have something valuable to offer the discipline. And because the program is open to undergraduates across the country, it helps UMass Dartmouth's Philosophy department connect beyond the campus. "Logic camp will help us be recognized for the work we do," Maureen said. "It pushes us forward to show what we've been building here."
Writing and Reading Center is renovated to help support important services
Along with the new Learning Commons, the Writing and Reading Center (WRC) underwent a major transformation over winter break. The new space is well liked by students and staff. But the renovated center is more significant than just its new colors and new furniture. "The message being sent to the students is that the work they are doing here is valuable and important," said Amy Parelman, the director of the center.
The center's space follows that same design as other renovated areas across the university. The large tables are intended for groups of two or more. New monitors and projection systems help students focus on one image or text. Sofas and chairs create a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. These redesigns demonstrate the change from individual learning to group learning. "The changes reveal that collaborative work is being valued," Parelman said.
Right next door to the Learning Commons, the WRC will utilize its new space to initiate improvements. With over 60 staff members, the larger room and new technologies will provide an enhanced training experience. Parelman also wants to look into possibly having longer hours, developing informal writing groups, and creating study spaces for students. "The connection to the Learning Commons is phenomenal," she said. "The Writing and Reading Center can outreach and bring in more workshops."
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