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News from UMass Lowell for Week of Sept. 10, 2012

Story and Source Ideas for Journalists


Sources of the week: As the nation marks the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a UMass Lowell security expert can discuss where the country stands in the ongoing war against terrorism. The country’s economic outlook is playing a central role in the 2012 presidential race. UMass Lowell economics experts can talk about how gas prices, jobless rates and the housing market may affect voting trends in November. A new climate-change educational program is engaging students across the state. The UMass Lowell expert behind the effort can introduce the aims of Cool Science. 

What:         The public is invited to a screening of “The Fighter,” director David O. Russell’s 2010 Academy Award-winning true story about Lowell native Micky Ward, a welterweight boxer attempting a comeback with the help of his brother, Dicky Eklund, Jr. The film is featured as part of UMass Lowell’s Common Text Book and Film Series, in which first-year English students and members of the community read the same book to share their experiences with it and watch films with complementary themes. This semester’s book is “Townie” by Andre Dubus III, an English professor at UMass Lowell. “Townie” tells the story of Dubus’ rough-and-tumble formative years growing up in Haverhill. Helping to kick off the series, cast extras and crew members who worked on “The Fighter” – which was shot in Lowell – have been invited to join the discussion after the film. The screening is free and handicapped accessible.    

What:         More than 100 chemistry and urban ecology students from Lawrence High School will learn firsthand about the Merrimack River’s health when they take water samples of the river and nearby Claypit Brook and study aquatic life in these waters. Their visit is part of the Bridging the Watershed environmental education program, which is new to the Tsongas Industrial History Center and Lowell National Historical Park. A partnership between the Alice Ferguson Foundation and the National Park Service, the program promotes student achievement and environmental stewardship through hands-on, curriculum-based outdoor studies in national parks and public lands. Only a handful of northeast regional parks have been selected to participate in the program. The Tsongas Industrial History Center is a partnership between UMass Lowell and Lowell National Historical Park.

What:         Fledging entrepreneurs in the education, environment and human services sectors who are looking to turn their bright idea into the next great venture will make their pitches to professionals and others in the community during this networking event sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Sandbox. Winners of this competition will earn a spot in a winner’s showdown next month. The Merrimack Valley Sandbox – one of three such initiatives in the world – was established by the Deshpande Foundation through the Merrimack Valley Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UMass Lowell. The initiative is a partnership between the university, Northern Essex Community College, Middlesex Community College and Merrimack College to promote social entrepreneurship and leadership in Lowell and Lawrence. 

What:         Career training programs for Lowell and Lawrence students interested in nursing will expand this year under UMass Lowell’s Bring Diversity to Nursing program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the initiative looks to train students from diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds for nursing careers, filling the need for nurses who understand the heath beliefs, religious practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patients. This partnership meeting will bring together officials from UMass Lowell’s Nursing Department, the Lowell and Lawrence school systems, Greater Lowell Regional Vocational Technical High School and the Merrimack valley YMCA to talk about the program’s progress and goals. UMass Lowell Provost Ahmed Abdelal is scheduled to speak.  

What:         Gerald Dickens – an actor, producer and the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens – will perform “Doctor Marigold,” a one-man show based on an original public reading Charles Dickens gave during his 1867 tour of America, which stopped in Lowell. A favorite with the author’s Victorian audiences, “Doctor Marigold” tells the heartwarming story of a traveling salesman who adopts a young deaf girl as his friend and companion. The show will be simultaneously interpreted into American Sign Language. Presented by UMass Lowell and the Perkins School for the Blind, the performance is part of Dickens in Lowell, a seven-month celebration of the author’s life, work and his travels in Lowell and throughout America. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $10 for all others at the door or through Gerald Dickens will autograph books after the show. For more, visit