UConn Magazine Archives

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Letters to the Editor

We received a lot of response to our article about Deaf culture and Marie Coppola’s research trying to prove that teaching deaf children with cochlear implants (CI) sign language (ASL) in no way interferes with their ability to learn spoken English. Readers, such as Martha Ordaz and Mary McLinden below, applauded her research and testified to their own experiences with ASL.

UConn Magazine welcomes letters to the editor at uconnmagazine@uconn.edu. Letters to the editor must include your name and class year(s), and should not run beyond 300 words. Letters are included on the magazine site at the editor’s discretion and may be edited for style, grammar, typographical errors, content, and length.

September 2016 Edition

Nice piece about Doug Casa’s work at UCONN. Having met Doug many years ago as a grad student, it is.good to see that his work is continuing to make sports safer. He seems to have the same passion that he had 20 years ago. With a daughter, who is studying to be an athletic trainer and as a former trainer, it is great to see the positive impact certified athletic trainer can have — Todd McDonagh

Thank You for this information. As a father of a deaf child who received his CI when he was four years old, (1997), we were told to not use sign language. His mother & I felt it was good for him to learn ASL, as the equipment some times failed him. I feel he has benefited more from learning both. He spent many days in speech therapy also over the years. One of his issues seemed to be his brain would think faster than he could speak so the words came out mixed up. He could repeat single words very well. One of the areas he struggles with would be the two languages differ in syntax. Thank You for your work in this area, as there is great value in learning how the human brain really works vs. what we thought worked.

Sincerely yours,
Alan Main

My daughter is 12 years old and is hard of hearing, who has excellent speech. We chose to teach her sign as soon as we found out she was hard of hearing at 2 weeks old. She is aided, and mainstreamed in general Ed classes with an interpreter. Without the ASL she would not be where she is today. Many told us that she was on the fence. Not deaf, but not hearing. We have always believed that she is a bridge between the deaf and hearing worlds. She can go between both and help others go back and forth as well — Lori Nimmo

As I read this, it brings tears to my eyes. It brings back memories of my early childhood that Marie discusses in this article about making phone calls for our deaf parents and the struggles we went through and still go through. I am so proud of my sister Marie Coppola for the work and research she is doing in this area. She is a true advocate for the deaf community. Keep up the great work sis!!

Love you!
Xoxo — Dominick Coppola

My son is 3 and one of our audiologists in the UK asked my why I signed to him because he should do well with his hearing aids, I kindly reminded him that my son is deaf, and there is no way that I will create a barrier of communication. It has been so useful and removes the frustration for him and us as his parents. Alas, hearing aids didn’t help him enough and he has bilateral cochlear implants (switched on last week), My son has done very well with BSL, he thrives on it and will continue to do so. His deaf heritage will not be eroded by implants. Total communication is the way forward. It’s a no brainier!! Good luck to you all and thanks for sharing this article — Mel

Hello, I agree with your study and I’m glad you are doing this. I’m a mother of a deaf child and we are hearing parents. My child’s first language is ASL and we are continue to learn ASL. She is currently 20 months old and started learning sign language since she was born. She recently received bilateral CI (2016) it’s been about 3 full month since her activation and she’s already saying about 50 spoken words and signing those words at the same time. I have spend hours with her learning signs language she know 100+ Signs. But I completely believe that she’s doing so well with her CI because she knows the words in sign language and it was easier to connect that spoken word with the sign word. I hope that many people benefit with this study that is crucial bilingualism. ASL is a must for a deaf child they are born to be visual learners and that will only help them if the parents choose CI — Martha Ordaz

September 1974 I was a UCONN freshman, I had a work-study allotment as part of my financial aid package. I went to the Benton museum to apply for a position that was opened. I did not get the position and I never went back to the Benton (even though for four years I passed the museum on my way to classes) until approximately 2009 when on a very cold January day I happened to be in Storrs. The museum had a very interesting exhibit on Japanese Americans and WWII. At that time I realized I missed the opportunity to have experienced many exhibits that the museum had presented over that 35 year time span. I encourage everyone not to make that same mistake. Visit and appreciate the fine museum you have at your doorstep — Mike Towers

My husband and I have been eating vegan for the month of October for the past few years. Made this recipe the night I received my copy of the UCONN magazine in the mail. This is, by far, our favorite main dish recipe to date! Hope you’ll be publishing more vegan recipes — Susan Randall Harbert

I love the look of the magazine and really enjoyed the Trivia. Was not around for the horse mascot but I did wear a Beanie my freshman year,1953. All of the other articles were great — Barbara McDonald

May 2016 Edition

I want to congratulate you and all team for this excellent work, which can give more hope to families with children with this syndrome. I’m a father of a girl with Angelman syndrome, we live in Chile in South America, I am also executive director of the Association of Families Angelman of Chile., Until this June we enrolled 85 children and their families throughout our country. The total population in Chile is 17 million people and we have only been able to locate 85 children, we believe there must be many more, but here no knowledge of the syndrome. We are doing a survey to assess the current situation of our “Angels” if you need information and statistics, please reminded me, we are delighted to be able to help your research. Our website is http://www.angelman.cl, and my email is denes@angelman.cl. Our goal is to provide information, guidance, and comfort to families who are just beginning this journey with an angel — Denes Magliona Halles

As a UConn MBA Graduate from the 1970’s, deeply involved with Academics and Cybersecurity in California, I am so proud to read of the great work you are doing. Your work is a great asset to the University, its vendors, students and staff. There is a difficult balance between Academic Freedom and Security that is not present in the commercial world, where companies, if the choose to do so, have the ability to lock down systems preventing staff from reaching sites, receiving email or installing equipment that is not directly related to job function. Secondarily, thank you for publishing for all Huskies a very informative exposes of the dangers lurking in the world that we all live in. There are few opportunities for those of us in Cyber to disseminate actionable, practical to a large audience. Unfortunately, the media that we are all exposed to, sensationalizes Cyber incidents, without presenting any practical information for protection, as you have done. As a result I am concerned that the general population is becoming numb to the dangers, accepting inevitability and taking no action until it has direct impact on them.There are no ironclad assurances of safety to organizations or individuals, regardless of the protections and detections in place. Complacency geometrically increases the chances of a successful compromise or breach.

Keep up the good work!
Stu Gross San Diego, CA

I had he good fortune of being on staff from 1960-68, with Dr. Babbidge at the helm during six of those years. I was Administrative Assistant in what was then the Office of Men’s Affairs (Dean of Men’s office). I recall his interest in stone walls and his emphasis on the importance of a solid foundation when building a wall. (An appropriate metaphor). He opined that the foundation needed to be deep enough to be below the frost line. Until recently, we owned 150 acres in Pomfret, which were crisscrossed by stone walls. (We sold the development rights to the Town of Pomfret). I am sure that few or none of them had foundations – they were the result of land clearing. But the sight of them often reminded me of Homer. He was a role model for me during my years as an administrator in higher education.

Robert E. Miller, President Emeritus (and founding president), Quinebaug Valley Community College

Homer Babbidge was a great President- a down to earth guy who steered the University through several student uprisings in the Vietnam War days. He loved stonewalls -and blue bikes-but that’s another story about this talented and outstanding man ! I grew up on a farm in Canton,CT and picking up rocks from our fields was a yearly spring time ritual- and necessity- when they were heaved to the surface by frost heaves- or by a plow. One vivid memory I have is flying back in to Bradley Field one warm spring day following a 6 inch snow fall. I was suddenly enthralled by mysterious dark lines spread over many Connecticut fields and hills.Then I realized I was seeing stone walls where latent heat in their stones had melted the snow off ! A beautiful sight ! While I had cussed these rocks as a boy picking them up and hauling them away on “stoneboats”, as an adult I learned to value them- the same as President Babbidge did. — Fred Humphrey

I never hauled a stone for a wall, but enjoyed seeing the walls among the trees, knowing that they had once surrounded famer’s fields. They bordered many off campus roads. They represented a vibrant history, especially near the colonial era house I lived in for a year just off campus. Riding on my motorcycle with a girlfriend, they invited us to pull over and park and traverse into a patch of grass and moss (and manure) they contained for a spring time picnic in the sun. I associate those stone walls and fields with the period of time at UCONN when there were few sidewalks, so walking around campus meant going across wide fields, usually following worn trails, but not always. The stone walls were a tangible reminder of the colonial history of the area and roots of the university. I mowed the lawn of old man Storrs, the last residing member of the family who lived in a house down the road from UCONN which was to be donated to the university after his passing. — Robert Kirsschenbaum class of ’76 & ‘82

January 2016 Edition

This article brought me back to the summer of 1974 at the end of my freshman year I went back to Kenya to visit my family during their eighth year of being abroad. I felt guilty not being able to earn anything towards my education until a friend, Peter Severance, put me in touch with an entomology professor who wanted beetles from Kenya. I went back to Kenya that summer with beetle catching equipment, instructions on proper capture and packing of every kind of beetle on land or in the water. I spent eight weeks catching and documenting where and how I got each one. I was paid 5 cents for each small one and 25 cents for large beetles. As I recall, I made well over $100 that summer. Somewhere in your collection there still may be some memories of that summer and the most interesting summer job ever. — Laura Schlesinger Minor

I have had Type 1 DM for 46 years, and have been eating an egg on most mornings for the last 15 years. My cholesterol is low, A1Cs average 6.5, and I currently have no significant retinopathy. Your work makes me wonder if the eggs are playing a part in maintaining my good health. Thank you for the enlightening study! — B. O’Connor

An inspiring story. For the past 45 plus years the journalism department has been producing some of the University’s most talented graduates, with very little acclaim. Glenn recognized that fact. The University community can be proud of Glenn’s work and that of so many of his fellow alumni — Alan Reisner

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