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Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan attended WesFest with her father Kyle Chan.

Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan attended WesFest with her father Kyle Chan. Jennifer is an admitted student.

WesFest, an annual campus event, is a three-day celebration of all things Wesleyan held April 16-18 for admitted students and their families. WesFest allows the students to experience university life first-hand and explore the diverse opportunities that a Wesleyan education has to offer.

Admitted students and their parents tour campus on April 16 during WesFest.

Admitted students and their parents tour campus on April 16 during WesFest.

During Wes Fest, Class of 2018 admitted students have the opportunity to tour campus, visit Exley Science Center and the Center for the Arts, have lunch the all-campus barbecue, meet Wesleyan students at student-to-student panels, attend a Student Activities Fair, participate in “Homerathon,” an all-day reading of Homer’s “Odyssey,” learn about classes and programs during academic departmental open houses and much more.

Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan of San Diego, Calif. attended WesFest April 16 with her father Kyle Chan. She learned about Wesleyan through its website and reading about it online.

“Wesleyan sounded like a nice place and it’s one of the top schools on my list,” she said. “Now that I’m here, I think it is a beautiful campus and I enjoyed the students who led the campus tour. I also met [President Roth] this morning. That was so cool to meet the president!”

Hannah Levin of Philadelphia, Pa. attended WesFest with her mother Joan Joanson. The mother-daughter duo, who enjoyed lunch at Usdan’s Marketplace, first visited campus in 2012 and this was their second visit to the university.

“I applied to Wesleyan because I was looking for a liberal arts education that offered professor access and a science program. I also like Wesleyan’s vibrant and creative community,” Levin said.

Photos of WesFest are below. Check back soon. More to come! (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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WesFest attendees, April 16.

WesFest attendees, April 16.

WesFest attendees, April 16.

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Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 will be the recipient of A Better Chance award in June.

In recognition of Wesleyan’s commitment to equity and inclusion, A Better Chance Foundation will present President Michael Roth with its 2014 Benjamin E. Mays Award.

Named for the famed civil rights pioneer, the Mays award is presented annually to a leader in education who individually and with their institution demonstrate a clear commitment to diversifying higher education.

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by A Better Chance,” Roth said. “The Wesleyan community has been enriched by the students who come to us through the foundation.”

The foundation’s mission is to increase substantially the number of well-educated young people of color capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society. The oldest national organization of its kind, ABC annually recruits, refers and supports about 500 scholars in grades 6-12 at more than 300 member schools in 27 states. Many of these scholars go on to elite universities.

Every year, A Better Chance recognizes its top Scholars and honors leaders in the community who are committed to promoting education and diversity.

Every year, A Better Chance honors leaders in the community who are committed to promoting education and diversity.

Wesleyan has been one of A Better Chance’s strongest college partners, with more than 250 A Better Chance Alumni matriculated over the past 50 years, more than nearly any other American university.

“Our work continues toward greater diversity and a more inclusive and equitable residential college experience,” Roth said. “And I know that with the help of A Better Chance and other partner groups, we’ll get closer to our goal every year.”

Roth will accept the award in New York on June 20.

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Assistant professor of music Paula Matthusen has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy, which will allow her to spend the next year in the Eternal City working on the compelling compositions that distinguish her career.

Matthusen is a composer of acoustic and electronic music who, among other things, teaches Laptop Ensemble at Wesleyan, and records sound in historic structures and architecture. The resulting work reflects the character of these spaces, which include the Old Croton Aqueduct in New York. As an American Academy fellow, she will visit the paths of the Roman aqueducts.

“I’m elated,” Matthusen said. “It’s a very great honor and a wonderful opportunity.”

Each year, through a national competition, the Rome Prize is awarded to approximately thirty individuals who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities. The American Academy in Rome provides extended time and support (room, board, stipend, work space, and freedom from every-day cares) for each fellow to pursue his or her own work and to live among other artists and scholars.

“The Rome Prize in composition has been awarded to such musical luminaries as Samuel Barber, Elliot Carter, and David Del Tredici,” said Dean of the Arts and Humanities Andy Curran. “We are extremely proud that Paula, who reflects the strength of Wesleyan’s music program, has been admitted to this select group.”

Her Old Croton Aqueduct work, developed by working with the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, was called “eden’s arch of promise bending,” after a line in an ode composed at the opening of the waterwork in 1842.  The Aqueduct was closed in the mid-20th century, but for more than 100 years, it brought water from Westchester to Manhattan and enabled New York City’s enormous growth. The composition explores the nature of the aqueduct through field recordings and samplings of its resonant frequencies. Go here to listen to an excerpt.

The New York Times has praised Matthusen’s “creative vitality” and “vivid imagination.”

The Academy is a leading American overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities. Founded in 1894, the Academy was chartered as a private institution by an act of Congress in 1905. On the occasion of the Academy’s centennial, the President of the United States signed a joint resolution of Congress in recognition of the Academy’s contribution to America’s intellectual and cultural life.

Pictured below are photos taken at Paula Matthusen’s “Laptop Ensemble” class on April 7. She also teaches a class on “Total Harmony.” (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

stu_tec_2014-0407184955 Continue Reading »

Professor Jeanine Basinger is teaching “Marriage in the Movies: A History," starting April 21.

Professor Jeanine Basinger is teaching “Marriage in the Movies: A History,” starting April 21.

Always wanted to take a course with legendary film professor Jeanine Basinger? Miss the first run of Professor of Psychology Scott Plous’ wildly popular “Social Psychology” MOOC? Now’s your chance!

The next round of Wesleyan’s massive open online courses (MOOCs) is starting up this month, with “Marriage in the Movies: A History” launching April 21. Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, is teaching the course based on her book, I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies.

“This is essentially a descriptive course on stories and stars and business strategies,” says Basinger, who is also chair of film studies and curator of the cinema archives. “It provides information and shows clips for support and example. It’s not philosophical; it’s not a formalist analysis. It’s a simple study about content in the movies designed for people who love films and would like to have more information about some of them and have, what I hope, will be a fun conversation on the changes that evolved over time in stories about marriage that were made in Hollywood.”

In the course’s intro video, Basinger says the course will explore “how Hollywood had trouble telling the story and selling the story of marriage on film.” Continue Reading »

Jennifer Roach ’14 on a group trip to Wild Carrot Farm, Bantam, CT

Jennifer Roach ’14 is the recipient of a Davis Projects for Peace grant.

Four years ago, Jennifer Roach ’14 co-founded Summer of Solutions Hartford, a food justice and youth leadership development program in Connecticut’s capital. Since 2010, Summer of Solutions has grown to seven garden sites across Hartford, continuously working to “increase access to healthy food and community green spaces in Hartford by empowering young people as innovators in the food justice movement and providing them tools and opportunities to create solutions to food inequality in the city.”

This month, Roach’s organization was the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Kathryn W. Davis Projects for Peace program. The Projects for Peace grant will allow Summer of Solutions to expand its nine-week summer program to a seven-month internship for youth interested in urban agriculture.

Now in the its eighth year, Projects for Peace is “an invitation to undergraduates at the American colleges in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer.

By funding the summer component of the Summer of Solutions internship, Davis will enable Roach and her team to amplify their impact in Hartford. Twelve garden interns will work alongside community members, maintain seven gardens, teach gardening and cooking classes, and come together weekly for a workshop series on food justice, sustainability and community resilience. In addition, they will partner with Capital Workforce Partners, a youth employment initiative in Hartford, to run a five-week Urban Farming 101 program for 10 high school students in July. Continue Reading »

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General's legacy.

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem investigated the story of a celebrated German General during World War II, uncovering new evidence that he cooperated in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. His research has made national news in Germany, where the government is now responding to revelations about the General’s legacy.

Growing up, Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem heard many family stories of his grandfather, a member of the Norwegian resistance movement during World War II. Little did he know then that he would go on to uncover new truths about a celebrated German general, and ignite a public debate over the general’s place in history.
Grimmer-Solem holding a photo of his grandfather, Dr. Odd Solem, and his father, Eivind Solem, taken in 1939, one year before the German invasion of Norway. Odd Solem, part of the Norwegian resistance movement, was arrested by the Gestapo and met General Hans von Sponeck in prison in 1942.

Grimmer-Solem holding a photo of his grandfather, Dr. Odd Solem, and his father, Eivind Solem, taken in 1939, one year before the German invasion of Norway. Odd Solem, part of the Norwegian resistance movement, was arrested by the Gestapo and met General Hans von Sponeck in prison in 1942.

Grimmer-Solem’s grandfather, Dr. Odd Solem, was arrested by the Gestapo along with two other Norwegians during the German occupation of Norway in the summer of 1940. He was sentenced to death by a German military tribunal, but had his sentence reduced to a prison term in Germersheim. There, he met and befriended General Hans von Sponeck, a German general who was court-martialed and imprisoned for refusing to follow Hitler’s orders during a major Soviet counteroffensive on the Crimean Peninsula in 1941 by withdrawing his troops from Kerch, likely saving the lives of thousands of soldiers. Von Sponeck was ultimately executed on the orders of Heinrich Himmler following the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944, while Solem and the other prisoners narrowly escaped an SS execution squad and survived the war.

In the decades since the war, von Sponeck has been celebrated in Germany for his moral courage, with an Air Force base, city streets and other monuments named after him. Along with the tales of von Sponeck’s kindness toward Grimmer-Solem’s grandfather, the general’s unusual reputation as a heroic “anti-Nazi” sparked Grimmer-Solem’s interest. Since he regularly teaches a course on Nazi Germany and knows the literature on the role of the Wehrmacht (Germany’s unified armed forces from 1935-45) in war crimes in the Soviet Union, he began to have questions about von Sponeck’s career when it became clear that the general had commanded units of the German 11th Army during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, in the summer and fall of 1941. War crimes and crimes against humanity are well documented within the area of operation of the 11th Army. Grimmer-Solem undertook a detailed investigation of von Sponeck’s military career in the German Military Archives in March 2013 Continue Reading »

James Greenwood, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, studies the potential of water on the moon.

James Greenwood, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, studies the potential of water on the moon.

James “Jim” Greenwood, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, and four colleagues have published a paper that casts doubt on the theory of abundant water on the moon while simultaneously boosting theories around the creation of the moon, several billion years ago.

The paper, “The Lunar Apatite Paradox,” published March 20 in the prestigious journal Science, stems from work involving the mineral apatite, the most abundant phosphate in the solar system. (Along with its presence on planets, it’s found in teeth and bones.)

Initial work on the lunar rocks brought back to Earth by the Apollo missions indicated that the Moon was extremely dry. Any evidence of water was dismissed as contamination from Earth.

But more recent experiments have shown the presence of plenty of water in grains of apatite derived from lunar rocks. Greenwood and colleagues sought to figure out whether, or how that could be.

“We formulated a solution to the problem of how you get this much water into moon apatite by using a mathematical model,” Greenwood said. Continue Reading »

Newly tenured faculty are, from left, Lisa Cohen, Abigail Hornstein, Miri Nakamura and Anna Shusterman.

Newly tenured faculty are, from left, Lisa Cohen, Abigail Hornstein, Miri Nakamura and Anna Shusterman.

The Board of Trustees recently conferred tenure to four Wesleyan faculty. Their promotions take effect July 1.

They are: Lisa Cohen, associate professor of English; Abigail Hornstein, associate professor of economics; Miri Nakamura, associate professor of Asian languages and literatures; and Anna Shusterman, associate professor of psychology. Other tenure announcements may be released after the Board’s May meeting.

“Please join us in congratulating them on their impressive records of accomplishment,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth.

Brief descriptions of their areas of research and teaching are below:

Lisa Cohen joined the English Department’s creative writing faculty in Fall 2007. Her courses are focused on nonfiction writing, the literature of fact, modernism, and gender and sexuality studies. She has published a wide range of essays and the critically acclaimed book, All We Know: Three Lives (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2012). In this work, she presents the biographies of three 20th-century women whose significance in modernist culture in England and the United States is equaled only by their absence from previous historical investigations. Critics have widely recognized the stylistic achievement of her writing, as well as the innovations of her archival project and her reframing of the genre of biography.

Abigail Hornstein teaches courses in a variety of areas, including corporate finance, investment finance, and econometrics. She has a particular interest in multinational strategy and China, and her work addresses such questions as how corporate characteristics affect the quality of corporate capital budgeting decisions, and how corporate and country-level governance mechanisms affect both foreign direct investment in China and the stock listing patterns abroad of Chinese firms.

Miri Nakamura teaches courses on literary and filmic approaches to Japanese modernity. More particularly, she works on Japanese literature from the Meiji era to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 – with a focus on fantastic fiction, including robot literature and gender theory. In her forthcoming book, Monstrous Bodies: The Rise of the Uncanny in Modern Japan, she brings methodologies from literary studies, cultural history, and critical theory to bear on understanding the link between monstrosity and femininity in the modern Japanese imagination.

Anna Shusterman offers courses in developmental psychology and on relations between language and thought. Always interested in building bridges between laboratory-based findings and real-world interventions, she focuses on the cognitive development of young children and that of populations with varied linguistic backgrounds. Her research has shown multiple ways that humans become more effective at spatial and numerical reasoning once they master the relevant language, such as “left” and “right” in the domain of space or the natural numbers in the domain of mathematics.

Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, assistant professor of archaeology, leads a student excavation team at the site of Ashkelon. The site is located in the southern district of Israel on the Mediterranean coast.

Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, assistant professor of archaeology, leads a student excavation team at the site of Ashkelon. The site is located in the southern district of Israel on the Mediterranean coast.

Between 2500-1200 B.C., Ashkelon was one of the largest and most important commercial centers around the Mediterranean, and it remained a thriving metropolis under varying degrees of Egyptian control until until the Crusaders conquered the city in the 12th century. Today, the site remains preserved, as does a 3,500-year-old, two-story-high mudbrick-archway.

As a recipient of two fellowships, Kate Birney will have the opportunity to study the Hellenistic period (ca. 330 B.C. to ca 100 B.C.) for an upcoming book.

As a recipient of two fellowships, Kate Birney will have the opportunity to study the Hellenistic period (ca. 330 B.C. to ca 100 B.C.) for an upcoming book.

Since 1985, the site has been excivated by the Leon Levy Expedition — a joint project drawing students and faculty from Wesleyan, Harvard University, Wheaton College and Boston University. To date, Ashkelon archaeological digs have revealed a neighborhood of elite Philistine houses dating from the 11th-10th centuries B.C.

Every year, Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, assistant professor of archaeology, leads a student excavation team at the site of Ashkelon. And as a recipient of two fellowships from the 2014-15 academic year, she will continue her research on the historic area.

Next fall, as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, Birney will conduct research at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem; and in the spring, she’ll complete a Fellowship at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. Both fellowships are related to her present research at Wesleyan.

“Since I specialize in interconnections between ancient Greece and the Near East, I’m particularly excited about these fellowships. The fall NEH will allow me to work within a community of scholars who specialize in Near Eastern archaeology, to process the archaeological data, while the spring fellowship at the CHS will allow me to develop my ideas within a community of Classical scholars,” she said. Continue Reading »

On April 11, join several Wesleyan alumnae as they share insights and discuss strategies as women in today’s workplace – from the boardroom to the operating room.

“Female Frontiers – Pushing Boundaries in the Workplace” is an opportunity for students to connect with alumnae in the career context to forge professional relationships and get tips for career success. All students, staff, faculty and alumni are welcome.

The event is sponsored by Women of Wesleyan, a year-long programming initiative that features women, their accomplishments, and their influence on the Wesleyan community and the world at large.

Journalist Jane Eisner '77 will deliver a talk at 2 p.m. April 11.

Journalist Jane Eisner ’77 will deliver a talk at 2 p.m. April 11.

“Female Frontiers” begins with a featured talk by Jane Eisner ’77, former Wesleyan Trustee, journalist, and editor-in-chief of The Forward. After refreshments, participants can attend one of two panels on Women in Education, Not-for-Profit, and the Arts or Women in Law, Medicine, Finance and Science.

Panelists will include Jennifer Alexander ’88 P’16, founder and executive director of Kidcity Children’s Museum; Tracey Gardner ’96, Wesleyan Trustee, chief of staff at NYU’s Robert Wagner School of Public Service; Nadia Zilkha ’79, P’10, c-chair of 3 Generations Films  and co-owner/vice-president of Laetitia Vineyard and Winery; Joaquina Borges King ’87, P’17, senior counsel at Northeast Utilities System; Kristen Laguerre ’92, partner and chief financial officer at Atlas Venture; and Elizabeth Schiller ’01, emergency medical physician at St. Francis Hospital.

The event will conclude with a screening of Tricked, a candid documentary about the reality of human trafficking, at the Powell Family Cinema. Zilkha, the film’s executive producer, and Jane Wells, the film’s director, will provide a talk-back following the film.

For more information, the full schedule, or to register, see this link.

 

The seniors in the Department of Art and Art History’s art studio program are presenting their work in the Senior Thesis Exhibitions through April 13. The art is displayed in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

Students presenting work include Carlos Sanchez, Emily Bernstein, Can “Claire” Zhou, Alex Ginsberg, Will Wiebe, Emily Roff, Allison Greenwald, Evita Rodriguez, Rebecca Schisler, Katie Deane, Oliver Citrin, Hannah Knudsen, Pik-Tone Fung, Jessie Loo, Julia Drachman, Nathaniel Elmer and Isaac Madwed.

Each student selects a single work from his or her Senior Thesis Exhibition for the end of the year showcase, which is curated by Tula Telfair, professor of art.

Photos of the exhibit’s first round are below. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

Alex Ely Ginsberg displays his senior art thesis called "@gutenberg."

Alex Ely Ginsberg displays his senior art thesis called “@gutenberg.”

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During Wesleyan’s Mid-Semester Recess, Joyce Jacobsen, dean of the Social Sciences Division, director of Global Initiatives and the Andrews Professor of Economics, visited Wesleyan’s study-abroad programs in Madrid, Bologna and Paris. Other faculty from both Wesleyan and Vassar (Wesleyan’s consortial partner at all three sites, along with Wellesley in Bologna) also were present, including Professor of Spanish Antonio Gonzalez, interim director of international studies. Each program has local staff (assistant directors, instructors and professors, and host families), many with longstanding relationships with the program. Jacobsen viewed the facilities, reviewed course enrollment procedures, and met with students, administrators and professors in all three locations.

During 2013-14, 38 students are studying in Madrid (31 from Wesleyan), 43 in Bologna (11 from Wesleyan), and 48 in Paris (21 from Wesleyan).

“The students were enthusiastic about their experiences abroad and about these programs,” Jacobsen said. Photos of Jacobsen’s visits are below:

In Paris, Bruno Clément, professor of French literature at Paris 8; Jeff Rider, professor of French at Wesleyan; and Joyce Jacobsen gathered at Reid Hall, the longtime center for the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris. The faculty met with Wesleyan students, host families and professors, and celebrated the upcoming retirement Christine Reno, current resident director and professor of French and francophone studies at Vassar.

In Paris, Bruno Clément, professor of French literature at Paris 8; Jeff Rider, professor of French at Wesleyan; and Joyce Jacobsen gathered at Reid Hall, the longtime center for the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris. The faculty met with Wesleyan students, host families and professors, and celebrated the upcoming retirement Christine Reno, current resident director and professor of French and francophone studies at Vassar.

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