Course Enhancement Awards


UConn Early College Experience(ECE) Course Enhancement Awards are funded by UConn Office of Early College Programs (OECP) and give certified ECE Instructors, Site Reps, and Principals an opportunity to expand and enhance UConn Courses through two types of project awards - Classroom Enhancement and Community Development.

1. Classroom Enhancement: These awards may be used to enhance UConn Courses by providing books, technology, instruments, equipment or other materials that enable students to learn the subject matter or skills and enhance the classroom experience.

2. Community Development: These awards support projects that may have a positive impact on the school, districts and/or surrounding community. Project proposals can include, but are not limited to, beautification/renovation projects, projects which support community health and wellbeing, and/or projects which foster creativity and research. *Funds for a Community Development award may be used to support a single activity or a suite of related activities. Student involvement in the project is required.

Applications can be submitted from Monday, November 7, 2022 through Sunday, February 5, 2023 and will fund projects that enhance active UConn Courses during the 2023-2024 academic year. Interested applicants are invited to submit a proposal using the online application.  **To avoid loosing your work, we recommend saving your answers to the questions found in the application in a safe place then coming back to the application to complete and submit. **

If you have any questions, please contact Nella Quasnitschka.

Application Details    Apply Now

Award Winners 2023-24

Bullard Havens Technical High School

ECE Instructor: Bridget Wrabel

UConn Course: ENGL 1007: Seminar and Studio in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition

Description: A class set of “Worn Stories” by Emily Spivack will be purchased to help build their classroom library.

Christian Heritage School

ECE Instructor: Jamie Cosgrove

UConn Course: BIOL 1107: Principles of Biology I

Description: Students will have hands on experience to new technology that they otherwise would not be exposed to be­cause of Professor Cosgrove’s effort to secure funding for a new CRISPR lab set.

East Hampton High School

ECE Instructor: Kasey Tortora

UConn Course: HDFS 1070: Individual & Family Development

Description: A Reality Works Pregnancy Profile Simulator will be purchased to help students understand pregnancy’s impact on the body. The goal of these simulation experiences is to give students real hands-on exposure to pregnancy and stages of life.

Glastonbury High School

ECE Instructor: Laura Haddad

UConn Course: ENGL 1007: Seminar and Studio in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition

Description: Microphones will be purchased to script and record informational podcasts. This multi-modal project allows students to have a voice and to practice putting their writing into real-world applications.

Hall High School

ECE Instructor: Connie Xu

UConn Course: CHIN 1114: Intermediate Chinese II

Description: Lanterns, dragons, mahjong, tea set, and calligraphy are great authentic materials that will be acquired for the classroom over the years. What was missing was a karaoke machine – a very popular form of entertainment among Chinese culture across age groups.

Lewis S. Mills High School

ECE Instructor: Laura Faga

UConn Course: FREN 3250: Global Culture I

Description: This award will allow students to attend the French Quiz bowl in the Fall of 2023. Students will return to their school and share the knowledge they have gained with younger students.

Middletown High School

ECE Instructor: UConn ECE team

UConn Course: HIST1300: Western Traditions Before 1500, HIST1400: Modern Western Traditions, ENGL 1007: Seminar and Studio in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition, ANSC 1676: Introduction to Companion Animals, ANSC1602: Behavior and Training of Domestic Animals, SPSS 1110: Fundamentals of Horticulture, and HRTS 1007: Introduc­tion to Human Rights

Description: This award will be used to support an all-day community event for Middletown High School students. Stu­dents will be able to network with community members and explore resources available to them. Middletown High School Pride Leaders, who are students that take UConn ECE courses, will lead events, direct students, and be positive role mod­els. This event will benefit all involved parties.

Newington High School

ECE Instructor: Carla Toney

UConn Course: ILCS 3239 & ILCS 3240: Composition & Conversation I & II Description: With the goal of increasing opportunities for students to access authentic materials, funds have been provided to create a readers’ library in the classroom.

Ridgefield High School

ECE Instructor: JR Condosta

UConn Course: ERTH 1051: Earth’s Dynamic Environment

Description: Funding for this award will support the development and implementation of a self-guided geoscience walk­ing trail on the Ridgefield High School campus. This educational walking trail will be a valuable resource for students in various high school courses and members of the community. It will provide an engaging way to learn about the geology and natural history of the area.

Trumbull High School

ECE Instructor: Gregg Basbagill

UConn Course: ECON 1201: Principles of Microeconomics

Description: One major deficiency in Mr. Basbagill’s course is the gap between the economic models being taught and the lived experience in the real world. To address this gap, microphones will be purchased so students can begin podcasting. This will allow students to develop a more empathic understanding of how inflation, unemployment, and output affect actual people.

University High School of Science and Engineering

ECE Instructor: Caryn Baseler UConn Course: MARN 1001E: The Sea Around Us

Description: Students in the UConn ECE Marine Sciences class will visit Meigs Point Nature Center and participate in their Three Shoreline Ecosystems program so students can visualize and apply what they have learned in class to the rocky shore, sandy beach and salt marsh ecosystems.

Waterbury Career Academy

ECE Instructor: Frank F. Marcucio, III

UConn Course: AH 4092: EMT Training

Description: Funds for this award will go towards the purchase of cardiopulmonary resuscitation mannequins that record their performance and interface with AEDs. This will provide immediate feedback to Mr. Marcucio’s students. The mannequins will allow students to develop and hone their skills and address inadequacies in a scientific method based on recorded performance.

The Woodstock Academy

ECE Instructor: Sharon Geyer

UConn Course: CHEM 1127Q & CHEM 1128Q: General Chemistry I & II

Description: This classroom enhancement award is for the acquisition of Go Direct sensors and probes that will allow the implementation of science experiments in UConn ECE courses. The sensors will be used throughout all UConn ECE Science courses, allowing approximately 160 students annually to benefit.

Awards 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23

Awards were suspended in 2020-2021 & 2021-22 due to COVID-19

Awards were revamped in 2022-23, including an updated timeline for applications.

Award Winners 2019-2020

Bais Yaakov of Waterbury High School. Instructor: Davita Rosenbloom. Course: AH 4092, ENGL 1010, ENGL 1011

Description: Books and equipment will help ensure that students receive the most out of their UConn ECE courses. Supplies such as medical equipment and textbooks to supplement the instructor’s teaching will benefit the students in these courses.

Central High School. Instructor: Jill Vital. Course: CHEM 1127Q, CHEM 1128Q

Description: Funds will be used to acquire equipment and needed glassware such as hot plates, pipets, Buchner funnel kits, etc. This will greatly impact the effectiveness in both the accuracy of the experiments being run in the course as well as teach students the most efficient and foundational methods of using this equipment.

Central High School. Instructor: Ann Trapasso. Course: ENGL 1010

Description: Funds will be used towards art supplies and transportation to fully engaged with the second text they study, “Untitled 2009,” a painting of a painter by Kerry James Marshall, which is exhibited at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Cromwell High School. Instructor: Christina Williams. Course: SPAN 3179

Description: Purchase of the Voice Thread program will be used to enhance the learning environment. The program will help students gain proficiency and confidence in both auditory and verbal aspects of the Spanish language.

E.O. Smith High School. Instructor: Suzanne DasJarlais. Course: HRTS 1007

Description: A performance from Looking In Theatre will be available to students from multiple courses such as UConn ECE Human Rights, Creative Writing, Social Studies, etc. This performance will illustrate local and global social issues. Students will be exposed to this in hopes that it opens dialogue about the issues students face.

E.O. Smith High School. Instructor: Amy Nocton. Course: SPAN 3178, SPAN 3179

Description: Students will produce a monthly podcast about equity and social justice issues. The podcast will consist of stories from community members and students. This podcast will connect students with adults who have expertise in areas of interest as well as give a creative connection with others through storytelling.

Frank Scott Bunnell High School. Instructor: Kristen Record. Course: PHYS 1201Q, PHYS 1202Q

Description: To enhance teaching of wave phenomena, PASCO Ripple Generators and Light Sources will be purchased. This equipment will allow for better demonstration of phenomena across many inquiry labs. This equipment will also allow for small group work leading to more interactive labs.

Franklin Academy. Instructor: Amy Bigelow. Course: STAT 1100Q

Description: With the purchase of TI-84 graphing calculators all students will have access to a calculator. Having a standard calculator for all students throughout the class allow for efficient instruction as well as time allows to focus on the important concepts                 and analyses found in these courses.

Jonathan Law High School. Instructor: Tracy Turcotte. Course: CHEM 1127Q, CHEM 1128Q

Description: Vernier digital probes will allow students to work in smaller groups when conducting experiments which allows more hands-on experience for each student. Additional hardware will allow this equipment to connect to student’s Chromebooks allowing students to integrate their technology into learning.

Miss Porter’s School. Instructor: Lisa-Brit Wahlberg. Course: HRTS 1007, POLS 1402

Description: Students will use statistics from UNICEF along with other sources to learn about child marriage in Mexico and methods used to end it. They will examine current methods and how cultural understanding effects these efforts. They will then look at how ending poverty could address the issue of child marriage. Ultimately, the students will organize an awareness campaign, create an online petition, and design a fundraising venture to contribute to the eradication of child marriage in Mexico.

New Fairfield High School. Instructor: Karon McGovern. Course: AMST 1201

Description: A trip to New York City will allow students who have learned about 20th Century issues for five units to walk in the footsteps of those who experienced them first hand. Students will visit places such as Ellis Island, the African Burial Ground & Memorial and more to immerse themselves in the events of that time.

Waterford High School. Instructor: Diane Herr. Course: NRE 1000

Description: To gather authentic data, camera traps will be used to capture images of wildlife. Students will have to use these images to quantify and sort the animals to draw meaningful conclusions from their data. This data will also be used over the span of multiple years to look for trends over the years.

Westbrook High School. Instructor: Nancy Malafronte. Course: ENGL 1011

Description: Books as well as author visits will be arranged through the bookstore RJ Julia to enhance student learning about diverse cultures. With the implementation of Literature Circles students will learn about cultures including Cuba, the Middle East, and the South Pacific.

Award Winners 2018-2019

Christian Heritage High School Instructor: Jamie Cosgrove. UConn Course: BIOL 1107

Description: Two CRISPR kits will be purchased to expose UConn ECE students to this new DNA sequencing technology. Students in Professor Cosgrove’s class will use the CRIS-PR kits to grow bacteria on a medium that contains streptomycin which binds ribosome and prevents it from biding, not allowing the bacteria to replicate and grow colonies.

Civic Leadership High School Instructor: Kelly Woodard. UConn Course: EDLR 1162

Description: Students will create a nature trail for the local Enfield and greater Hartford community. The goal is to create a natural trail in the wooded area adjacent to the school building and to advocate for access via municipal transportation from the greater Hartford area. The benefits of exposure to wooded, natural spaces has been proven and additional studies show that access to these spaces is often limited in urban areas.

E.O. Smith High School Instructor: Beth Daitch. UConn Course: HDFS 1070

Description: Professor Diatch has been funded to purchase two active learning experience simulators that will help students to appreciate the many challenges and obstacles faced in both pregnancy and later adulthood/elderhood stages of development. e simulators will replicate the third trimester of pregnancy as well as what hearing loss, tremors, and arthritis feels like. ese experiences will help students gain real life exposure to these stages of life.

Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy Instructor: Taylor Bacon. UConn Course: STAT 1100Q

Description: UConn ECE Statistics students in Professor Bacon’s class are working with calculating descriptive statistics as well as creating histograms and boxplots to describe shape, center, and spread for distributions. Later in the course, students will need to create scatterplots, generate linear regression equations, calculate binomial and geometric probabilities, and run hypothesis tests, which requires the use of a graphing calculator. is grant will fund the purchase of graphing calculators so all current students, and future students will have access to the tools needed to practice problems both inside and outside the classroom.

Masuk High School Instructor: Mari O’Rourke & Peter Schmitt. UConn Courses: MATH 1131Q, PHYS1201Q, PHYS 1202Q

Description: A 3D printer will be purchased to provide hands on technology experience as well as allow students to do more science activities and experiments. The addition of a 3D printer in the classroom will increase students’ under-standing of the concepts being taught and will spark interest in the areas of math and science by providing a hands-on experience in programming and engineering tasks.

New Britain High School Instructor: Keith Ontko. UConn Courses: PHYS 1201Q, PHYS 1202Q

Description: High school students taking UConn Physics courses face a great challenge in learning the concepts of a fast-paced college-level course, which most students nd dicult in nature. To enhance learning opportunities for his students, Professor Ontko has created a website where he provides tutorials using different types of media including textual media and videos to match the textual tutorials. To help capture the video and audio a screen drawing tablet will be purchased. Presenting the physics concepts and solved example problems in a video format will complement the instruction provided in the classroom.

New Canaan High School Instructors: Michael Staaroni & Donna Sapienza. UConn Courses: ECON 1201, ECON 1202, HDFS 1070

Description: Students will set up a financial literacy and economics knowledge program at the local elementary school by using children’s literature to teach economic concepts and financial literacy to 2nd grade students. Students in the economics course will use what they learn in class to determine the appropriate content goals and objectives for each book. Students in the childhood development course will use their knowledge to analyze available resources, develop new ones, and ensure the correct and most effective pedagogical approaches are used.

Stamford High School Instructor: Anne Runge & Ella Kraiz. UConn Courses: CHEM 1127Q, CHEM 1128Q

Description: Spectrophotometers will be purchased to increase students’ access to a central piece of equipment in all chemistry and biology courses. is increased access will allow students to become more engaged, and better understand how the principles of spectroscopy can be applied in a real scientific experiment. In addition, the ability to collect their data more eefficiently means that they will have more time in which to analyze their results.

Vinal Technical High School Instructor: Cheryl Lee. UConn Course: ECON 1000

Description: is grant will provide the materials students in ECON 1000 need to build modified ride-on cars for young children who experience limited mobility. Research has shown that the interaction provided to children who are able to use the cars help development, physical, social, language, and cognitive skills. Students will build the cars while in shop and then conduct research on the economic impact of people with disabilities in the workforce. Professor Lee and her students seek to contribute to the growth and development of people in their community by allowing them to blossom into productive members of the workforce.

Wilbur Cross High School Instructor: Moira Cassell. UConn Course: ENGL 1004

Description: Professor Cassell will take students to the Newport Mansions to support and enhance the students’ cultural comprehension and analysis of the Great Gatsby. Students will identify and evaluate the lifestyle of 1920’s-era mansion-dwellers, which will inform their analysis of characters’ lives and motives in e Great Gatsby—a book they will be reading for class at the same time of the trip. e students will then use their notes and experience to write an analysis of the setting, characters, and characters’ flaws and motives with respect to the American dream.

Woodstock Academy Instructor: Sara Dziedzic. UConn Courses: HRTS 1007, POLS 1402

Description: Funds for this grant will go towards a human rights leadership conference that is open to all high school and middle school students in Northern CT and Southern MA. Topics will focus on human rights and include a keynote speaker and breakout sessions focusing on a variety of topics such as LGBTQ rights in schools, immigration rights, women in the workplace, etc. Students enrolled in Professor Dziedzic’s courses will help facilitate breakout sessions and discussions, as well as research relevant topics to high school and middle school students. Students will also be tasked with developing promotional materials and visiting area schools to explain the event.

Award Winners 2017-2018

Enfield High School UConn ECE Instructors: David Lenn & Melanie Finn-Scofield. UConn Course: BIOL 1107 & 1108

Description: Students at Enfield High School demonstrated a strong interest in dissections while in their biology courses. As an extension of this topic, Professor Lenn and Professor Finn-Scofield would like to organize a dissection club to expand the number of species the students dissect and continue their engagement in the subject. They will receive funding for different types of species along with equipment needed for dissection.

Franklin Academy UConn ECE Instructor: Amy Bigelow. UConn Course: MATH 1030Q

Description: Franklin Academy serves students on the autism spectrum and with non-verbal learning disabilities. Individuals carrying these diagnoses tend to have slower processing speeds, difficulty with planning and organization, and frequently struggle to interpret information presented visually. Much of the analytical reasoning taught in MATH 1030Q is based on analyzing presented data. In order to provide students with an easier way to read and follow data associated calculations in class, Professor Bigelow requested to purchase an LCD projector and document camera to aid instruction and visual transfer of large data sets, graphs, and tables.

Lewis Mills High School UConn ECE Instructor: Laura Faga. UConn Course: FREN 3250

Description: In collaboration with the Crosby Fund for Haitian education, students will create French language science activities for students in Haiti. Students will better understand the Haitian culture, use the French language in authentic ways, and provide Haitian students with needed learning resources. Professor Faga has requested funding to cover the cost of materials for educational activities and her initial travel to Haiti to personally deliver materials and provide professional development. With the approval of the Board of Education, Professor Faga plans to take students to Haiti during the 2018-2019 academic year to allow them the opportunity to implement the educational activities they create.

Plainfield High School UConn ECE Instructors: Laura Maher & Kevin Mariano. UConn Course: AMST 1201

Description: As they study the history and evolution of the American Experience, Professor Maher and Professor Mariano believe it is important for students to be engaged with the diversity of the nation. To do this in meaningful ways, they would like to expose their students to individuals different from themselves and challenge students to discuss the issues our country has faced and their implications to today’s world. This grant will fund student transportation to work in collaboration with ECE professors and students at Kennedy High School. The project will expand students diversity and create an authentic learning experience outside of their usual classroom.

Ridgefield High School UConn ECE Instructor: Christopher Tait. UConn Course: NRE 1000

Description: Ridgefield High School is working on a project called “Barcode Ridgefield.” Barcode Ridgefield will teach students about biodiversity in their local area through the process of DNA barcoding. Students will be trained on how to DNA barcode, collect field specimen, develop relationships with park managers, and develop a database platform to share information to the public. The funding they receive will go directly to the materials needed for students to perform DNA barcoding. This project will enhance the NRE 1000 students understanding of biodiversity, which is one of the essential understandings of the course.

Robert E. Fitch Senior High School ECE Instructor: Amy Turo McKenna. UConn Courses: ENGL 1010 & ENGL 1011

Description: Professor McKenna will receive funding to support a new reading initiative in ECE ENGL 1010 & 1011. She has redesigned her course syllabi to sup- port student choice in the course reading selection in order to encourage more authentic lifelong reading and writing experiences. The money received will go directly to the purchase of various books to back the choice of text selection for her students.

Rocky Hill High School UConn ECE Instructor: Karen Redanz. UConn Course: HDFS 1070

Description: Rocky Hill High School students in HDFS 1070 will travel to Heifer International in Rutland, MA, which is an organization working to end world hunger and poverty. Students will experience the Global Village representing countries around the world, and will partake in a service project. Once the students return to school, they will create projects showcasing what they have learned and developed. The money received will go directly to the field study materials, transportation, post-activity materials, and the purchase of a goat for a Heifer family.

Stratford High School UConn ECE Instructor: George Marrash. UConn Course: PHYS 1201Q

Description: To enhance the accuracy of measurements taken in physics labs, Professor Marrash will receive funding to purchase PASCO Computer Data Collection 550 Interfaces. The new technology will improve students’ laboratory skills and expose them to real-world physics lab techniques. Students will be confident about their data collection and more engaged with topics they are studying.

University High School of Science and Engineering UConn ECE Instructor: Michael Fromerth. UConn Courses: CHEM 1127Q & CHEM 1128Q

Description: University High School is in need of equipment and supplies to run the ECE Chemistry course. Materials needed include burets, separatory funnels, non-graphing calculators, and paper towels. The money will go directly to the purchase of these supplies. Wilbur Cross High School ECE Instructor: Kristin O’ Lynnger ECE Course: ENGL 1004 Description: Professor O’Lynnger will take her students to the Newport Mansions where they will look at the opulence seen in The Great Gatsby and then volunteer at a local organization to demonstrate the experiences of people with different economic status. These visits will correspond to literature about the American Dream. Students will reflect on these experiences with journal entries and ultimately with a book of pictures and essays. The final product will be sold and proceeds will go to the local organization with which they work.

Wilcox Technical High School Uconn ECE Instructors: Kara Papa & Leslie Czerwinski. UConn Courses: BIOL 1107 & PHYS 1201Q

Description: Wilcox High School is starting a project based on the summer reading of The Martian where student groups will have to problem solve using different techniques from their biology and physics courses. Professor Papa and Professor Czerwinski have requested equipment that will help students solve the problems one would encounter if trapped on Mars. Once the project is completed, the results will be showcased in a “Martian Day” that will be open to students and the com- munity. They will continue to use the equipment purchased for their biology and physics problems after this project is complete.

Xavier High School Uconn ECE Instructors: Linda Charpentier & David Applegate. UConn Courses: NRE 1000 & STAT 1100Q

Description: In an effort to be more conservation minded and environmental friendly, students in the Environmental Science course will place recycling bins in all classrooms and offices then work with the entire student body to increase recycling efforts at the school. Teams of students will collect and weigh the contents for students in STAT 1100Q to analyze and determine the success of this program.

Award Winners 2016-2017

The office received fifteen incredibly competitive applications from schools all over Connecticut. Out of these incredible proposals, nine winners were fully funded and two applications were partially funded. A total of about $5,570 was awarded.

William Schultz (CHEM) and several other instructors of Enfield High School

Description: Applied for the purchase of a solar panel system and additional physical outputs to be used in the classroom and in community outreach events for demonstrations and experiments relating to renewable energy conversations. Experiments will include electrical, chemical, and mechanical energy conversions in the UConn ECE Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science, and Physics courses.

April Kelley (NRE) of Laurelton Hall at Academy of Our Lady of Mercy

Description: Applied for funds to build a hoop-style greenhouse in the corner of the campus designated for green learning. The intention is to use the greenhouse as an outdoor classroom, to let students to participate in a farm-to-table experience and to allow community gardening, fostering stronger ties between students and senior citizens living in the senior complex next door. Students of UConn ECE Environmental Science will construct the greenhouse.

Lisa-Brit Wahlberg (POLI) and Sarah King (ENGL) of the Master’s School

Description: Proposed a collaborative community-based learning project designed to address the psychosocial effects of war and resettlement on Syrian refugees in Connecticut. UConn ECE Political Science and English students will be instructed in journal making, journal writing, and art activities to foster and develop global citizenship, social justice and diverse cultural awareness. Students will be trained through IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) of New Haven about the Syrian crisis and plan community activities involving Syrian refugees.

Jan Frazier (CAMS) of Waterford High School

Description: Received funding for the publication of a mini-textbook, edited and put together by students of UConn ECE Latin.

Jane Carey Lyon (BIOL) of Windham High School 

Description: Equipment purchases of spectrophotometers to upgrade laboratory facilities.

Sharon Geyer (CHEM) of Woodstock Academy 

Description: Equipment purchases of spectrophotometers to upgrade laboratory facilities.

A joint application of Jennifer Gampel (BIOL) at Masuk High School and Jamie Cosgrove (BIOL) at Christian Heritage Academy

Description: Purchase of a miniPCR and a PTC Taster Lab was also approved.

Natisha Vidal (HDFS)

Description: Receiving a donation of UConn memorabilia to be used in her classroom for student motivation.

Mimi Fluharty (HDFS)

Description: Running a hygiene products drive  with the help of UConn and ECSU.

University of Connecticut Early College Experience (UConn ECE) Concurrent Enrollment – Two female high schools students conducting science experiment University of Connecticut Early College Experience (UConn ECE) Concurrent Enrollment – Three male students smiling at the camera at the Grant Exchange University of Connecticut Early College Experience (UConn ECE) Concurrent Enrollment – Two students conducting a science experiment University of Connecticut Early College Experience (UConn ECE) Concurrent Enrollment – Two females students in Newport