Dr. Patty Compagnone-Post: Science Research in Liverpool

Scientific research is a quest of discovery, culminating in the dissemination of new knowledge following what can be an intensive peer-review process.  Understandably, the focus of experimental research is to acquire a sufficient body of information that provides a “story” worthy of publication; in major research institutions the catch-all phrase is “publish or perish”.

What drew me to research in the biological sciences, however, was not only the giddy excitement I felt when an experiment yielded [positive] results but the opportunity I had to meet and interact with such interesting and stimulating people.  In 2011, I had the thrilling experience of spending my sabbatical at the University of Liverpool in England, conducting research on repair of chemically damaged Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

I returned to Liverpool in June to continue my research, and as I prepared for my trip, I found myself reflecting on how important comrade and cooperativeness are in my overseas research experience.  In fact, these two factors have played a crucial role in the exuberance I generally feel for science, as both a researcher and educator.

My first day in Liverpool, England, seriously jet-lagged and in the company of only my two high school age daughters and about ten rather large pieces of luggage, was undoubtedly mind-boggling.  Although I had never formally met the two faculty members hosting me for my sabbatical, Lesley Iwanejko and Andy Bates, Lesley greeted me and my daughter at the hotel with her small flat-bed truck to help transport our belongings to our new home.  She was instrumental in acclimating us to our residence (who would have known that a boiler could be tucked behind a kitchen cabinet!), the public transportation system, shopping options, and more than I have time and space to detail.

The success of my sabbatical research was only possible because of the assistance and advice of a diverse group of individuals from more than five different university departments – a Radiation Safety officer who found me a twenty-year-old power supply to run my gels; a diligent graduate student who taught me how to operate a $3 million dollar piece of equipment; lab mangers who made sure I had any needed chemicals and supplies, to name but a few.  It certainly “takes a village” for some things to happen and, to coin a term from Andy Bates, the “intangibles” of some experiences can far out-weigh the concrete results.

Patty Compagnone Post2Dr. Patricia Compagnone-Post, an Associate Professor of Biology, joined the Albertus Magnus College faculty in 2003.   She was appointed an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool in 2011.  The Connecticut Technology Council selected Dr. Compagnone-Post a Woman of Innovation Finalist in 2009 for her contributions to the field of academic innovation and leadership.  Prior to joining the Albertus faculty she had been a research scientist at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Compagnone-Post received a B.S. degree, magna cum laude, in chemistry from Emmanuel College, a M.S. degree in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.

AUGUST 2013 – Dr. Compagnone-Post will follow-up with part-two of her blog sharing more about her experiences and research in Liverpool, England.

Accelerated Degree Programs for Adults

Many working adults, who did not complete college, realize later in life that having a college degree can make a big difference in their future, helping them to move along their career track and find greater success.  Reaching educational goals after taking a break from more traditional college life doesn’t have to be unattainable amidst responsibilities of working and raising a family.  The dream of having a college degree or advancing to a higher degree can indeed be realized, and accelerated degree programs can help students make their dreams a reality.

Albertus Magnus College has led the delivery of quality, accelerated degree programs for working adults in Connecticut since 1985. Our programs offer the most comprehensive, flexible, convenient, and affordable educational opportunities for adults available anywhere in the state.

Students in our accelerated degree programs can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in a format that best fits their busy schedule and responsibilities in life.  Formats include our New Dimensions program which is cohort based, begins anytime throughout the year when a cohort of 14 students is admitted into a particular program, and follows a preset sequence of courses in which students complete one-course-at-a-time for the duration of their program. Courses are typically 5-6 weeks long and meet on the same night of the week over the duration of the program. Our other accelerated degree format at the College is modular, and that allows students to choose up to two or more courses during each 8-week module that runs over a typical semester.

Accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs are offered either fully online, in a blended (hybrid) format which is a combination of on-ground and online delivery, or on-ground in a classroom.

So, what are some of the benefits of an accelerated degree program?

Because accelerated courses at Albertus allow for earlier program completion, students can realize their educational goals quickly without taking them away from their jobs or family commitments.  One of the most important benefits in the New Dimensions program is our one-course-at-a-time accelerated format which offers students a status as a full-time student, and eligible for financial aid if they qualify.  This is a very convenient benefit, and concentrating on one course at a time is an effective approach for adults returning to college.

Accelerated degree programs enable academically qualified students to earn both a bachelor’s and an advanced degree — graduating sooner than they would in traditional programs.

Our accelerated degree programs cover a wide range of online and on ground degrees, from sociology, psychology and criminal justice to education, business and management, art therapy or organizational leadership.  Our programs are located in New Haven, East Hartford, Norwich, Bridgeport, Bristol and Enfield.

In Albertus accelerated degree programs, students learn from academically qualified professionals with real-world experience, which means that they can apply what they learn immediately in their jobs and life.  Students build upon a strong foundation in the liberal arts, giving thoughtful attention to the ethical issues which arise in the workplace and in life.

Innovative approaches to adult learning and personalized classroom attention. That is a hallmark of the accelerated degree programs at Albertus Magnus College.


Dr. Irene Rios served at Albertus Magnus College from 2009 to 2013. A graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a baccalaureate degree in business administration and a master’s degree in curriculum development and instructional design, she received her doctorate from the University of Hartford where her research focused on academic advising in higher education. She is the 2008 recipient of the annual dissertation research award recognized by the National Academic Advising Association.

An extensive career in higher education includes holding leadership positions at a variety of institutions including Rochester Institute of Technology, Saint Joseph College, and Springfield College. Additionally, Dr. Rios has served as a professor in business management, education, and student development programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels at Springfield College and the University of Hartford.

Building Confidence from Going Back to College

It’s coming to that time of year again: that time when the happy new graduates go on to achieve their future goals after gaining their degrees. They are all gleaming with confidence and pride. Going back to college – or going to college for the first time as a working adult – can be stressful and nerve-racking. That confident glow shown by recent graduates doesn’t begin at their commencement ceremonies; it originates from their first day in class, followed by meeting their classmates, overcoming challenges, working together on each course and learning other skills they can use in everyday life.

Overcoming Challenges

There are a number of challenges students face when choosing to go back to school. Between family and schoolwork, things can get pretty busy. Confidence grows with every challenge overcome successfully, no matter how little that challenge may seem. Every homework assignment returned with a score of 100 percent – especially after a hard week – greatly boosts confidence. So many students build their confidence by doing well on assignments outside of class. By the time they present their final project to the rest of the class, they are prepared to deliver a great presentation.

Working and Presenting in Groups

Many adult students gain confidence from working together. They realize they are not alone. By working together in groups, as in the cohort model, students talk to each other about their goals, their busy schedule and their family life. They often find that their goals are very similar. Their goals-might be to better provide for their family; to seek a promotion, to change careers, or to pursue a dream job. Being able to bond over similar goals goes a long way to building great confidence and teamwork. Many students have said that their group presentations gave them great confidence moving forward to future classes, and after they graduate.

Other Skills Learned

Confidence gained from going back to college is not only used in the classroom and the workplace, but everywhere else in life. Now that classrooms have been equipped with much more technology, students are finding that they are becoming much more computer savvy. This confidence in technology carries over into use of devices in everyday life. In the video below, a recent Albertus graduate says, “(With) the computer skills I mastered while I was here and the confidence that I have now, I can do pretty much anything I want to now.”

Transcript from Video

My name is William Farm and I just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management.

My favorite memories of the experience, in general, probably (come from) having one of those challenging classes, having some kind of big project due, working together, struggling, and maybe waiting to the last minute on certain things. Then, when it all comes together, and you actually stand up and do a presentation (per se) and everybody does it nicely, everybody does it perfectly, it’s just a great feeling. That confidence carries into everything that you do.

(With) the knowledge that I got while I was here, the computer skills I mastered while I was here and the confidence that I have now, I can do pretty much anything I want to now.