Monthly Archives: July 2009

Mencher ’12, Key ’11 in Education Life

Marie Mencher ’12 and Lindsay Keys were both featured in the lastest Education Life issue of The New York Times. Mencher contributed to the “Your Story” section, which features short first person essays on elements of college life. Mencher’s essay is titled “Romance Crushed.” Keys was featured in a photo essay titled “College Life.”

Swinehart: “American Heroes” is the ‘Real Deal’

Kirk Swinehart, assistant professor of history, has a reivew for The Chicago Tribune of Edmund Morgan’s latest book, American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America. Swinehart says: “as so many times before, Morgan proves himself one of our deftest thinkers about race — what he once called ‘the American paradox, the marriage of slavery and freedom.’”

McAlister on What Revolution Sounds Like

Elizabeth McAlister, professor of religion, associate professor of African American studies, associate professor of American Studies, continues her participation in a round table on Haitian culture in The New Yorker, discussing the music of revolution in Haiti and why it is so important within the culture.

NSF, NIH Support Burke’s Development, Evolution Research

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Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, received grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health to study amphibian systems.

Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, recently received a three-year, $395,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the development and evolution of the shoulder girdle using transgenic mice, frog and salamander.

The mice will be generated in collaboration with a lab at the University of Michigan and will allow Burke and her associates to turn off Hox genes, which are specific patterning genes, in specific sub populations of the embryonic mesoderm that make the musculoskeletal tissues.

Pictured is a three dimensional reconstruction of a mouse and chicken scapula. Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, received two grants that fund her research on the scapula's development.

Pictured is a three dimensional reconstruction of a mouse and chicken scapula. Burke is studying the scapula's development.

“Comparing the dynamics of gene expression and cell interactions during the formation of the pectoral region in a variety of embryos will help us understand the evolution of these musculoskeletal structures and the dramatic variations among vertebrate lineages associated with adaptations for different locomotor strategies, like swimming, scurrying, crawling and flying,” Burke explains.

The frog and salamander experiments will use transplants of mesoderm between wild type embryos and embryos that have Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) expressed in all their cells, allowing Burke and her associates to fate map mesodermal cell populations.

Fate mapping is determining which cellular structures in the embryo give rise to which adult structures.

“We do this by transplanting the embryonic structure from a labeled embryo (GFP in this case) into the same spot in an unlabeled embryo, and tracing the ‘fate’ of the labeled cells, that is which adult structure they end up in,” Burke says.

Burke also received a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same amphibian systems (salamander and frog) to develop a model system for understanding body wall defects in humans.

The grants will provide funds for a team of researchers at Wesleyan working with Professor Burke on these projects, including a postdoctoral fellow, graduate students and undergraduates.

“Receiving these two new federal grants, plus a grant from the Eppley foundation earlier this year, is a remarkable accomplishment in any year, but particularly this year as funding levels have dropped precipitously,” says Jan Naegele, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior.

Transformers Sequel Directed by Bay ’86 is a Huge International Hit

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Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (Paramount Pictures)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen directed by Michael Bay ’86 with a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ’95, opened in late June to mixed reviews, but the film, a sequel to Transformers (2007), sold some $201.2 million in tickets at North American theaters over its first five days as the number one film at the box office.

In his review of the film in The New York Times, A. O. Scott wrote:
“Mr. Bay is an auteur. His signature adorns every image in his movies … and every single one is inscribed with a specific worldview and moral sensibility.”

In the latest film based on Hasbro toys, the young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is on his way to college but is compelled to join the Autobots robots in an intergalactic feud against their sworn enemies, the Decepticons.

The weekend of July 10-12, Transformers 2 remained very popular at the domestic box office, grossing $24.2 million from more than 4,200 screens for a total of $339.2 million in its third weekend. Overseas during the same weekend, the film continued to attract large audiences, grossing $32.5 million from 63 territories for a total of $364.5 million. The picture has done particularly well in Asia, and had a strong debut in India.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has made $703.7 million worldwide.

Wesleyan Public Safety Honored by Northeast Security Association

Wesleyan's Office of Public Safety received the NECUSA President's Award for Outstanding Service.

Wesleyan's Office of Public Safety received the NECUSA President's Award for Outstanding Service. Pictured, from left, are Captain Tony Bostick, Director David Meyer and Officer Steve Crescimanno.

For efforts with the May 6, 2009 shooting near Wesleyan’s campus, the Wesleyan University Public Safety Department was honored with the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association President’s Award for Outstanding Performance on June 14.

C. G. “Neil” McLaughlin Jr., chief of police at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. nominated David Meyer, director of Public Safety at Wesleyan and the Wesleyan officers for this honor.

His recommendation read:

“On May 6th at 1 p.m. a man in disguise, wig, beard, mustache and glasses entered the campus bookstore about a block and a half from the Public Safety Office at Wesleyan University and shot a female student who was working in the café inside the bookstore. The gunmen fired several rounds into the female student worker in front of several witnesses and fled the scene.

The suspect discarded his disguise and blended in with the bystanders as Public Safety Officers from Wesleyan and the Middletown Police Department arrived on scene moments later. He was identified at the scene but no one realized that he was the shooter. During the investigation after the school was shut down and students alerted to the shooting and advised to stay in their residences, his vehicle was found parked at the bookstore and impounded. The puzzle started to come together.

Within 48 hours of the shooting the suspect who had been positively identified and his picture published in the local newspapers surrendered himself to police in a neighboring city. He was brought to the Middletown Police Department where he was charged with the murder of the Wesleyan student.

The Wesleyan Office of Public Safety did an outstanding job in responding to and containing this horrendous situation. According to news accounts, the shooter’s intent, after shooting the victim, was to roam the campus and randomly kill students of Jewish descent. The quick response by the agencies involved; the timely shut down of the campus and emergency warnings to the students; and other elements of police/public safety coordination kept the rest of the campus safe while this person was on the loose. As I understand the news reports, the department did an outstanding job of coordinating the response; working with the responding law enforcement agencies and securing the university during this horrendous time.”

The Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association (NECUSA), established in 1953, is the oldest campus law enforcement organization in the United States. Originally intended to be a small group of campus security and police professionals coming together to share information on issues facing their campuses, the organization grew from eight loosely organized members to an organization over 400 members strong.

Local Teachers Learn Hands-On Methods to Teach Sciences from PIMMS

Lisa Montelli, a fourth grade teacher at Simpson-Waverly Classical magnet School in Hartford, Conn. participates in a "bottle shake" exercise July 7 at Wesleyan. Montelli is one of several Connecticut teachers enrolled in the 2009 Energy Education Workshops series, sponsored by Wesleyan's Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science and eeSmarts.

Lisa Montelli, a fourth grade teacher at Simpson-Waverly Classical magnet School in Hartford, Conn. participates in a "bottle shake" exercise July 7 at Wesleyan. Montelli is one of several Connecticut teachers enrolled in the 2009 Energy Education Workshops series, sponsored by Wesleyan's Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science and eeSmarts.

Dozens of Connecticut teachers went back to school July 7 to gain knowledge, confidence and skills for teaching their students about science, energy and energy conservation.

As part of the 2009 Energy Education Workshops series, sponsored by the Project to Increase Mastery of Math and Sciences (PIMMS) and eeSmarts, teachers learned creative exercises to bring back to their classrooms. The annual program is open to all teachers in the state.

During a “bottle shake” energy transformation experiment, the teachers were put into groups of four and given two plastic water bottles with a small amount of clear liquid in each bottle.

“What will happen if you shake a bottle of liquid for eight minutes,” asks Marilyn Odell, a PIMMS consultant. “I want you to generate an investigation and form a list of questions.”

Teachers in “group 2″ brainstormed

Blue Sky Studios Donates Animation Computers to Wesleyan

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Henk Meij, senior consultant and manager of Unix Systems Group, stands by two racks of blades, which were donated by Blue Sky Studios.

Next fall, Wesleyan students and faculty will perform research activities on the same state-of-the-art animation computers that produced Ice Age the Meltdown, a $652 million worldwide box office hit.

The computer hardware was donated July 2 by Greenwich, Conn.-based Blue Sky Studios, the creator of a number of award-winning digital animation features, including the Ice Age series and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, which took in nearly $300 million worldwide.

In 2008, Blue Sky Studios refreshed their technology for their latest movie, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and bought racks of new computers.

“The old computer racks still had a lot of life left in them, so we went looking for large colleges and universities in Connecticut that might be able to make use of this kind of computing infrastructure, and to which we might donate these computers,” explains Andrew Siegel, head of systems at Blue Sky Studios. “Wesleyan seemed like a good candidate.”

Blue Sky arranged for the racks to be delivered to the Exley Science Center loading dock. They are now housed on the fifth floor of Information Technology Services.

“We requested two, but they graciously gave us four,” Ganesan “Ravi” Ravishanker, associate vice president for Information Technology Services.

Each rack holds 52 Angstrom Microsystem-brand “blades,” with a memory footprint of 12 or 24 gigabytes each. Combined, Blue Sky donated about 3.7 terabytes of total memory.

“This is just phenomenal,” says Henk Meij, senior consultant and manager of Unix Systems Group. “Once it’s in full operation, it’s going to be much appreciated by the researchers.

4 Former Athletes, 1 Team Joins Athletics Hall of Fame

Entering the next Athletics Hall of Fame wall are Emilio Daddario '39, Winthrop "Wink" Davenport '64, Sally Zimmer Knight '81, Kofi Appenteng '81 and the baseball team of 1994.

Entering the next Athletics Hall of Fame wall are Emilio Daddario '39, Winthrop "Wink" Davenport '64, Sally Zimmer Knight '81, Kofi Appenteng '81 and the baseball team of 1994.

A former Middletown mayor, Olympic volleyball coach, a three-hour marathon runner, and Baldwin Medal winner are among the newest members of Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

Wesleyan will formally induct the third class into its Athletics Hall of Fame during a ceremony Nov. 6 as part of Homecoming/ Family Weekend activities. Wesleyan will enshrine four individuals and one team to join the previous two classes of inductees, bringing to total in the Hall of Fame to 20 individuals and three teams.

Entering in the fall class of 2009 are Emilio Daddario ’39, Winthrop “Wink” Davenport ’64, Sally Zimmer Knight ’81, Kofi Appenteng ’81 and the baseball team of 1994:

• Emilio Daddario excelled in football

Wes Open Raises Funds for Local Youth Center

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Participants in the 16th Annual Wesleyan Open golf tournament raised $1,500 for the I Have a Friend Youth Center in Middletown. Pictured, from left, are Frank Marsilli, coordinator of the Usdan University Center; Sean Higgins, Lock Shop foreperson for Physical Plant-Facilities; David Meyer, director of Public Safety; Cynthia Bartholomew of I Have a Friend; and Lou Onofrio, maintenance and repair mechanic at Physical Plant- Facilities.

Higgins and Meyer hand over the check to Bartholomew. All participants pay an entry fee which includes an 18-hole round, prizes and dinner. A portion of the fee is collected for a different charity in Middletown.

Higgins and Meyer hand over the check to Bartholomew. All participants pay an entry fee which includes an 18-hole round, prizes and dinner. A portion of the fee is collected for a different charity in Middletown.

Seminars, Readings, Workshops at Writers Conference

Wesleyan Writers Conference teacher Ravi Shankar leads a discussion on poetry June 17 during the 53rd annual conference.

Wesleyan Writers Conference teacher Ravi Shankar leads a discussion on poetry June 17 during the 53rd annual conference.

The Wesleyan Writers Conference welcomes new writers, established writers, and anyone interested in the writer's craft.

The Wesleyan Writers Conference welcomes new writers, established writers, and anyone interested in the writer's craft.

Angle, Gallarotti, Gottschalk Promoted, Willis Appointed to Endowed Professorship

Wesleyan University has announced the promotion to full professor, effective July 1, 2009, of the following members of the faculty.

Stephen Angle

Stephen Angle

Stephen Angle, professor of philosophy, came to Wesleyan in 1994. He has served as director of the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, co-directed the NEH summer seminar “Traditions into Dialogue: Confucianism and Contemporary Virtue Ethics” at Wesleyan in 2008, was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Beijing University in 2006-2007, and was awarded Wesleyan’s Binswanger prize for excellence in teaching in 2006. His research focuses on neo-Confucian philosophy, and his books include Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy (forthcoming from Oxford University Press) and