PAANI and EcoBamboo Living Take Prizes at ‘Cuse Tank

Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) awarded the following teams prizes at this year’s ‘Cuse Tank entrepreneurial competition, held on Friday, October 18 at Bird Library:

four people standing in front of podium, with second person from left holding award certificate
James Bason, judge, with PAANI first place winners Brianna Howard (Falk), Nikita Chatterjee (A&S), and Jacob Sardino.
  • 1st Place winner – Nikita Chatterjee (Arts & Sciences) representing PAANI won $7,000. PAANI provides clean water solutions for global health.
  • 2nd Place winner – Justin Diaz (Engineering & Computer Science) representing EcoBamboo Living won $3,000. EcoBamboo Living is a sustainable bamboo construction company.
  • Wild-card winners: Patrick Prioletti (iSchool) representing Thinc-hub, a platform to build innovation ecosystems, and Clinton Graham (Engineering & Computer Science) representing FreeSwing Power Source, a portable mobile device to produce electricity. Both of these start-ups won $500 each.

Twenty student teams from eight schools and colleges across campus competed in a “Shark-Tank” style business pitch in front of a panel of judges consisting of Syracuse University parents and successful entrepreneurs. Families were invited to attend this event as part of Family Weekend to experience the entrepreneurial spirit of University innovators.

“It was extremely exciting winning,” said Nikita Chatterjee ’20, co-founder of PAANI. “We’ve been working really hard to develop our product and our story, so winning is great validation! We came into the LaunchPad last November and have received tremendous guidance in developing our business. Invent@SU was also instrumental in helping us refine our device, make sure it was novel, build the prototype, and take protection precautions by filing the provisional patent. Most of our funding from ‘Cuse Tank will be going towards laboratory testing and collecting samples of water directly from India. We also hope to produce full working prototype filters for testing purposes and meet and secure manufacturing partners.”

“I continue to be impressed with the quality and creativity of the University students across campus who make use of the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library,” said David Seaman, Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, and interim Dean of the School of Information Studies. “We’re also grateful to the parents who gave their time to work with the Libraries on this competition.”

Other venture teams, led by idea champions, who presented during the competition included:

  • Attend Pro, Caleb Obiagwu (Engineering and Computer Science), device for improving maintenance work-flow
  • Bluerem,  Noel Chang (Maxwell), Bluetooth medical diagnostic technology
  • Brief, Nick Barba (Whitman), weekly friend news briefing
  • CLLCTVE, Kelsey Davis (Whitman/Newhouse), digital platform for brands and creatives
  • F.E.I Technology LLC, Yuhang Zhang (Whitman), Asian food lunchbox service
  • Fiat Finance, Sam Hollander (Whitman), platform solution to student debt
  • Film Junction, Nicole D’Souza (Arts and Sciences), streaming service for independent films
  • Gather, Nolan Kagan (Whitman), building community over home cooked meals
  • HAUS, Gokul Beed (VPA), Internet of Things home appliance company
  • Iced, Rachel Kaiser (Whitman), wearable technology sports apparel
  • LFG, Josh Berenson (Whitman), fan content digital media platform
  • Mobile Crapper, Spencer Krimsky (Newhouse), portable environmentally-friendly toilet
  • Modern Solutions, David Fox (College of Law), smart home technology installation service
  • Porta-Splint, Maxwell Boise (iSchool), lightweight, compact, portable splint
  • UniRide, David Kestin (Whitman), mobile transit aggregation platform
  • Visos, Matt Shumer (Whitman), enterprise-first Virtual Reality toolset

University Archives to Host Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Open Archives

To commemorate Remembrance Week 2019, Syracuse University Libraries Special Collections Research Center will host two Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Open Archives sessions on Thursday, October 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Friday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. Vanessa St. Oegger-Menn, Assistant University Archivist and Pan Am 103 Archivist, will have prepared selections available for viewing in room 608 Bird Library, Spector Room.

The Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives holds over 400-linear feet of material, including correspondence, government reports and legislation, photographs, artwork, audio visual material, and personal items that belonged to the victims of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. For more information, contact the the Archives at or 315.443.0632.

Lydia Wasylenko, Librarian, and Barry L. Wells Honored with SOURCE Awards

Photo of six people standing in Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement including female Caucasian, male Caucasian, female Caucasian holding certificate, Asian male, female Caucasian, African american male
Left to Right: Cathryn Newton, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Faculty Engagement; Michael Wasylenko, Maxwell Advisory Board Professor of Economics; Lydia Wasylenko, Librarian for citizenship and humanities at Syracuse University Libraries; Junje “Rec” Ren ’20, Arts & Sciences major in Religion/Environment, Sustainability, and Policy who considers Lydia a valued mentor; Marissa Brown ’20, Arts & Sciences major in Biology and Neuroscience and SOURCE Student Research Mentor; Barry L. Wells, former Syracuse University Senior Vice President of Student Affairs and former Special Assistant to Chancellor Syverud, currently on the Transition Team for the SOURCE.

Syracuse University’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE) presented Syracuse University librarian Lydia Wasylenko with a SOURCE Award named in her honor at a small reception held at SOURCE’s office at 238 Bird Library on Friday, September 27, 2019. The award was presented by Cathryn Newton, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Faculty Engagement, for Wasylenko’s pivotal role in researching and writing a study of undergraduate research at Syracuse University that led to the creation of SOURCE. Through the generosity of donors, SOURCE will be providing a grant in 2019 to support an undergraduate student conducting research in the Humanities or Social Sciences in Lydia Wasylenko’s name.

Lydia Wasylenko, librarian for citizenship and humanities at Syracuse University Libraries, served as recorder on the University’s Senate Committee on Research from 2010 through 2016. She co-authored a report on research opportunities for undergraduate students at Syracuse University, along with Professors Jamie L. Winders and Dinesh K. Gauri, in March 2015. That report helped to create SOURCE, a University-wide resource dedicated to undergraduate research.

The SOURCE grant in Wasylenko’s name will support a student whose work in the humanities or social sciences is driven by curiosity and a sustained commitment to excellence and is committed to depth of inquiry into the literature or archival materials. Applicants will follow the same guidelines to apply as for all other SOURCE Grants.

Wasylenko, female Caucasian, holding certificate, next to Ren, male Asian. Artwork on wall behind the two people
Left to Right: Lydia Wasylenko and Junje “Rec” Ren. Rec presented Lydia with the certificate.

Another award was named for Barry L. Wells, former Syracuse University Senior Vice President of Student Affairs and former Special Assistant to Chancellor Syverud, who is currently on the Transition Team for the SOURCE. That award will be given to a student in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) fields and is driven by sustained commitment to scholarly/creative excellence and to inclusivity in all its dimensions, as well as long-term mentoring and deep personal investment in the careers and lives of others.   Wells began his career as inaugural coordinator of Syracuse University’s Office of Minority Affairs in 1976 and has been a committed leader in student and academic affairs, particularly dedicated to advancing principles of inclusion and diversity.

Student deadline to submit an application for these or other fall research awards is October 15.

Wordgathering, a Digital Open Access Journal of Work from Disabled Writers, Transitions to Publication at Syracuse University

three Caucasian females standing next to one another in front of shelf of books
From left to right, new Wordgathering publication team: Amanda Page, Open Publishing and Copyright Librarian at Syracuse University Libraries; Diane R. Wiener, Research Professor and Associate Director of BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach; Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri, Administrative Assistant of BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach (missing from photo: Kate Deibel, Inclusion and Accessibility Librarian at Syracuse University Libraries)

Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) and Syracuse University Libraries will be assuming publication in December 2019 of the digital open access journal and website, Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature.  Diane R. Wiener, Research Professor and Associate Director of BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach, will take over as Editor-in-Chief from Wordgathering’s founder and long-time editor, Michael Northen. Further support and advisement will come from Syracuse University colleagues Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri, Administrative Assistant of BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach; Amanda Page, Open Publishing and Copyright Librarian at Syracuse University Libraries; and Kate Deibel, Inclusion and Accessibility Librarian at Syracuse University Libraries. As part of this transition, the journal will be made fully Open Access over the course of the next several issues. Assuming responsibility of open access publication of Wordgathering aligns with the University’s goal of providing shared competency opportunities for students around ethics, integrity, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“As we celebrate disability awareness and appreciation month and open access week in October, it’s fitting that we celebrate this Wordgathering transition too,” said Diane Wiener. “Syracuse University Libraries’ Open Publishing Services supports publication of several journals, including Ergo, Excelsior, and Public. Adding Wordgathering to this portfolio is a natural extension,” said Amanda Page.

In an interview conducted by Professor Jim Ferris (Ability Center Endowed Chair in Disability Studies at the University of Toledo), the members of the Wordgathering transition team share additional details and background around the transition. Wordgathering was originally published in March 2007 to showcase the work of disabled poets. Later, audio versions were added to accompany the poems in text copy, enhance accessibility and increase readers’ aesthetic experience. The journal evolved to include poetry, essays, book reviews, interviews, fiction, art, excerpts, and other work from contributors with myriad disabilities, as well as work by nondisabled people. The journal provides diverse, cross-disability perspectives.

According to the current editor of Wordgathering, Michael Northen, “…Books by poets who actually wrote about their own disabilities in poetry prior to 2000, could literally be counted on one hand…for the first time [with the publishing of Wordgathering], the poets in my group saw their own lives reflected in the poetry they read.” Dr. Kate Deibel notes “Technology has certainly opened up opportunities for disabled creators to contribute their works. I’ll be working to ensure that can continue with Wordgathering, as well as ensuring that people of all abilities can read the content in the journal.”

Northen goes on to say that the transition of publication to Syracuse University will enable “the marvelous archive of disability writing published in Wordgathering over the past thirteen years [to] be preserved and accessible to any interested readers or researchers…[and] the available resources that Syracuse University has to offer. The journal, under Diane’s direction, and with advisement, sponsorship, and support from Syracuse University Libraries, the Burton Blatt Institute and others, will be able to expand and develop in directions that have not been possible up to this point.”

According to Wiener, “In thinking of disability arts and literature as facets of cultural diplomacy and communication, broadly, Wordgathering is well-situated…to engage actively in and be among the leaders of an ever-expansive discussion and demonstration of Disability, Deaf, Neurodivergent (including Autistic), Mad, and Crip poetics, in the world today.”

For more information, visit

Libraries Celebrates Veterans

Syracuse University Libraries’ joins the University community in celebrating Veterans year-long, but especially throughout the month of November. Noteworthy events and collections to highlight include:

  • The Libraries recently added an electronic primary source collection: Service Newspapers of World War Two. The collection provides access to service newspapers from the British Library; Imperial War Museums; US Army Heritage and Education Center, US Army War College; Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand; Berlin State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage.
  • Carnegie Library will feature a display of military and veteran-related books in the Diana entryway display case for the month of November.
  • Bird Library will host a letter/card writing event on Veteran’s Day. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to stop by the first floor between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, November 11 to write a letter or card to a United States military service member. The Library will supply materials and collect notes to send to service people and veterans via Operation Gratitude. Participants will receive a Veteran’s Day button for participating.

Special Collections Research Center Opens Papers of Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical Center

black and white photo of several people chatting in group, with camera pointing at man wearing jacket and tie and smiling
Thomas Szasz, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries

Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is pleased to announce the opening of the Thomas Szasz Papers.  At nearly 200 linear feet, the collection represents the culmination of several years’ work by SCRC staff, including surveying, analysis, organization, rehousing, and documentation and description of the correspondence, writings, photographs, posters, awards, and memorabilia of the noted Hungarian-American psychiatrist. The collection is opening during Disability Awareness and Appreciation Month, celebrated in October.

Thomas Stephen Szasz (1920-2012) was an American psychiatrist and scholar, best known for his criticisms of psychiatry and modern medicine, as well as his theories on the intersection of law and psychiatry. Born in Budapest, Hungary on April 15, 1920, Szasz immigrated to the United States in 1938. He received his medical education at the University of Cincinnati and his psychiatric training at the University of Chicago Clinics. In 1956, he became Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York, a post he held until 1990, when he became Professor Emeritus.

“We are very pleased to see the completed finding aid to our father’s collection of papers. Kudos to the archivists at Syracuse University for creating a comprehensive inventory that will be indispensable for researchers and scholars for years to come,” said Margot S. Peters and Suzy Szasz Palmer, Thomas Szasz’s daughters.

Dr. Szasz was a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, which he referred to as “the therapeutic state.”  A libertarian, Szasz advocated for the legalization of all drugs, the abolition of involuntary mental hospitalization and the insanity defense, and “the right to be mentally ill.”  He was a prolific author and an active correspondent, with strong opinions on the power of language and the relationship between modern psychiatry and the state. His writings, lectures, and speeches often evoked lively debate.

Taken as a whole, the collection illuminates the growth and development of Dr. Szasz’s ideas and theories and his passionate belief in an individual’s right to control their own life. The collection provides useful and salient background context for themes immediately relevant today, such as the problem of addiction, the failure of the “War on Drugs,” and societal attitudes towards individuals suffering from mental health issues.

“We are very excited about the many possibilities that scholars, researchers and students will have to engage with the Thomas Szasz papers and look forward to the impact that the resulting scholarship will have on the field of psychiatry and discussions surrounding mental health,” said Petrina D. Jackson, Director of the Special Collections Research Center.

The finding aid for the Thomas Szasz Papers is available online. For more information about the Thomas Szasz Papers or to schedule a visit, please contact

New Biblio Gallery Exhibit: Master Copy Drawings

pencil drawing of side angle of man's face
Master Copy Drawing from Biblio Gallery

Syracuse University Libraries’ new Biblio Gallery Exhibit on the 4th Floor of Bird Library, titled “Master Copy Drawings,” is on display from October 1 through November 1, 2019. Master drawings are records of the artist’s creative process. Master copies are considered an essential form of practice for the beginning drawing student, since it facilitates the student’s development of the importance of line quality and mark making. The master copy drawing assignment integrates research, art history, and drawing skill. To prepare for the assignment, students participated in a workshop taught by Ann Skiold, associate librarian, which introduced them to resources available in Syracuse University Libraries.

Pieces in this exhibit were selected from three sections of first year studio students in the two courses Drawing I: Observation and Drawing Nature in the School of Art. The student drawings represent a range of master artists’ approaches in figurative and landscape works from the Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, Rococo, and Neo-Classical periods. The pieces on display were selected by studio instructors: Susan D’Amato, Associate Professor, Drawing Coordinator; Holly Greenberg, Associate Professor, Printmaking Coordinator; and Sarah McCoubrey, Professor, Painting Coordinator.

pencil drawing of old bearded man sitting near lion in the middle of the woods with a house in the distant background
Master Copy Drawing from Biblio Gallery

Students whose work is featured in the exhibit are: Nicole Blanchard, Sike Chan, Chloe Crookall, D’Mya Curtis, Emilie DelSignore, Emma Edelin, Abe Frankel, Diana Garcia, Aisling Kenny, Zhanhao (Jim) Liang, Shianne Lindsay, Claudia Lynch, Sophia Medieros, Callen Moore, Celena Mouton, Leito Navarete, Lydia Pleasants, Nikkos Saviolis, Robert Spano, Kayla Tomlin, Jiaqi Yuan, and Anna Zinan.

For more information about the Biblio Gallery, contact S. Ann Skiold, MFA, MLIS, Librarian for Decorative & Applied Arts, Design, Art History, Film, Photography, and Spanish & Italian at Syracuse University Libraries or apply to submit an exhibit via Biblio Gallery website. 


Office Hours with Librarian for School of Information Studies

headshot photo of librarian
Brenna Helmstutler

Brenna Helmstutler, Librarian for the School of Information Studies, will hold office hours fall 2019 semester on Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the iCafe at Hinds. Those interested in library resources for projects, citations management tools, research reputation tools, or reference consultations are encouraged to drop by or schedule an appointment with Brenna via email at

Libraries Seeking Collections Feedback

bookshelf filled with books
Bird Library Interior Books Shelves Racks

As part of its analysis, Syracuse University Libraries is exploring a number of new electronic resources throughout October 2019 for possible inclusion in its collection. The Libraries is seeking feedback from users on these trial resources. On-campus users are asked to visit the resource trials guide, explore the resources under consideration, and provide feedback on whichever resources tested via the embedded form on that guide page. Any insight users can provide on how well the proposed resource works, information contained within the resource, and how it might be useful is helpful in the Libraries’ evaluation. Note that access is limited to members of the Syracuse University community. Please see the SU Libraries policy on access to licensed resources.

Syracuse University Libraries develops the Libraries’ collections in a broad, interdisciplinary, and systematic way to maximize the Libraries’ holdings. The Libraries implement a three-pronged approach to collection development: 1) transformative collections that support a “One University”  and provide faculty and students with competitive and comparable resources available at other Doctoral Universities with Very High Research Activity (R1); 2) responsive collection based on specific and direct requests from faculty and students to support teaching and learning; and 3) anticipatory collection development through the liaison librarian relationships and professional acumen, where librarians anticipate the teaching and research needs of the university and select resources to match. This three pronged approach allows the Libraries to build and prioritize collections that meet individual needs while improving the overall collection.

Visit the resource trials guide.

Libraries Welcomes Families October 18-20, 2019

Syracuse University Libraries’ welcomes families to visit the Libraries during Syracuse University’s Family Weekend October 18 through 20, 2019. The following activities are planned:

  • Tours of Bird Library (approximately 1 hour in length): Friday, October 18 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.; Saturday, October 19 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Tours of Carnegie Library (approximately 30 minutes in length): Friday, October 18 at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (families encouraged to stop by before the Tailgate party begins at 4 p.m.); Saturday October 19 at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • “150 Years of Tradition at Syracuse University” exhibition will be open Friday, October 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Anyone from the community is welcome to visit on these days as well.)
  • Blackstone LaunchPad Powered by Techstars ‘Cuse Tank competition at Bird Library on Friday, October 18 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.