The Humanities Division at Essex County College will host its 2015 Conference – Speculative Humanities: Steampunk to Afrofuturism – March 11-12. The conference will feature a special emphasis on the life, legacy, and influence of the late science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. The conference, featuring panelists from Essex will be held in Smith Hall on the Newark campus from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 11 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 12.


“Our conference events have a wide appeal for students and faculty,” said Assistant Professor English Rebecca Williams, co-chair of the program. Open to all humanities disciplines, the conference will feature papers, panel presentations, screenings and performances of works that can be included in the broad category of speculative humanities, she added.


Papers encompassing all facets of the speculative humanities topics have been submitted from all over the country as well as two from Italian educators.


The entire College community and the public are invited to attend any and all events.  The panel discussions will feature Essex faculty covering a wide spectrum of science fiction and social topics aligning with the overall theme of the conference.


Professor Williams said that next February marks the 10th anniversary of the untimely death of Ms. Butler, the author of such classics as Fledgling, Lilith’s Brood and Kindred and the winner of a Hugo Award for her science fiction writing. Members of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network and the Butler Archives will participate in the conference via Skype. “We’re dedicating this program to her memory.”


Another highlight of the conference will be a special production of Joslyn Housley-McLaughlin’s “The Silver Thread,” performed by the New York City-based Liberation Theatre Company on Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. in the Mary Burch Theater. Associate Professor and pianist Richard Alston will also perform Franz Liszt’s “The Mephisto Waltz.” This production, which is being co-sponsored by the Student Life and Activities Office, is free and open to the public, and will feature a “talk-back” session with the actors after the show.


During the week of March 9, the College Gallery will feature the works of students in Professor Anna Muniz’s Drawing I class. The project is entitled “The Exquisite Corpse.” Professor Muniz will discuss the project at 1 p.m. March 12.


The Micheaux/Washington Black Film Series will kick off the conference with a special screening of the 1973 classic black horror film, Ganja and Hess, on Tuesday evening, March 10, at 6:45 pm in Siegler Hall.


“In this age of devastating economic austerity, the Humanities give us the inspiration and tools to imagine a better world,” said Professor Jennifer Wager, conference co-chair.  She noted the conference will bring together leading scholars and artists from all over the country and even internationally to examine how the Humanities has created space for speculation, creativity and positive social change.


“As a Predominantly Black Institution, Essex leads the way nationally and internationally as a two-year college dedicated to the creation and dissemination of historically accurate knowledge of communities of African descent locally and globally.  The Humanities Division annual conference once again highlights the foundational contributions of Black history and culture to the Humanities with this year’s theme,”, added Professor Wager.”


Other conference committee members are faculty members Viral Bhatt, Eileen DeFreece, Jina Lee, Sean O’Connell and William Tooma.



Posted in Academic, Community, Essex County College News

By virtue of capturing the Region 19 Division II basketball championship, the Wolverines will advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament for the third consecutive year. The Wolverines scored a 73-54 win over rival Mercer County Community College on Saturday, February 28 to win the Region 19 title, also for the third straight year.

The men’s team is now on a 10 game winning streak.  Coach Corey Lowery’s squad, 25-4 on the campaign, is currently ranked 10th in Division II by the NJCAA.  Last year’s team advanced to the NJCAA title game.

“I’m very proud of the young men on the team; they worked very hard to get to this point and were able to continue the tradition of winning championships,” said Coach Lowery. “This team has accomplished all of the goals we have set up to this point – Garden State Athletic Conference champs, Region/District champs. The last goal of winning a National Championship will be the toughest challenge, but we are going to work as hard and smart as we can to achieve this elite goal.”

In the Region final, the Wolverines erased a four point halftime deficit, outscoring Mercer 44-21 in the second half. Rashad McNeil led the way with 21 points, followed by Josh Treadwell with 11 and Tahlib Swann with 10. McNeil, who scored 41 points in the two games, was named tournament MVP, while Coach Lowery was tabbed as Region 19 Coach of the Year.

The Region 19 tournament was played at the County College of Morris.

The national tournament will be played March 17-21 in Danville, Illinois.

Wolverines celebrate Region 19 crown

Wolverines celebrate Region 19 crown


Posted in Athletics, Essex County College News

IMG_1727After Israel Vieruel receives his hard-earned Essex County College Associate in Science in Engineering on May 15, he will have one week to prepare for the next big step in his life. And the East Orange Campus High School graduate wouldn’t have it any other way.


Israel has a 16 week engineering internship this summer at Railroad Construction Company, Inc., in Paterson. He is also transferring this fall to New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he will continue his engineering studies.


The internship was secured after the Division of Engineering Technologies & Computer Sciences referred him to the Construction Industry Advancement Program (CIAP) of New Jersey internship program. “I first got into the intern program, and then attended the CIAP Career Fair where I met a number of area engineering companies for the actual internships,” he recalled.


Israel received two internship offers and accepted the paid position at Railroad “where I will be gaining experience in my field.” Railroad specializes in civil, track and building construction in the Northeast United States.


This is a far cry from when Israel began classes at Essex in 2011. “When I entered Essex, I did not qualify for financial aid so I had to work full-time to pay for my part-time tuition.” Faced with an incredibly hectic schedule, he made the decision to cut back on work and concentrate more on his grades. And it worked, especially after he switched his major from Business Administration to Engineering.


The transformation impressed Ravi Manimaran, chair of the Engineering Technologies division. “Israel is a very hard worker who worked very hard for the internship; that’s a big break for him.”


Likewise, Israel, who carries a 3.1 grade point average, has high praise for the division. “The Engineering department is great because of the staff that not only cares about your time at Essex, but makes sure that you are on the right path for your future endeavors.” He also attributed the small class sizes, the accessibility of his professors, and the specialized tutoring available in the MESA Center as assisting both him and his classmates.

Posted in Academic, Essex County College News