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Monthly Archive for November, 2009

Russell Perkins ‘09 was awarded a 2010 Rhodes Scholarship.

Russell Perkins '09 was awarded a 2010 Rhodes Scholarship.

Russell Perkins ’09 was awarded a 2010 Rhodes Scholarship.

Perkins, from Evanston, Ill., graduated with high honors from Wesleyan University in May. He majored in the College of Letters (COL) with a senior thesis titled “Violence in Adornian Aesthetics and the Art of Anselm Kiefer;” his advisor was Khachig Tölölyan, professor of English, professor of letters.

Perkins co-founded Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education which offers Wesleyan courses at Connecticut’s Cheshire Correctional Institution. In addition to offering education for selected inmates, the program provides research and volunteer opportunities for Wesleyan students and faculty.

Perkins entered his name into the Rhodes competition, in part because he wanted to study at Oxford University in England.

“Oxford has one of the most exciting philosophy departments in the
world and I was eager for the potential opportunity to take part in
that,” he says.

The process moved forward and during the fall he received notification that he was a finalist. Up to that point cautious optimism had ruled his thinking, but as he drew closer the reality and gravity of his position began to sink in.

“The whole interview process was pretty surreal,” he said. “There was a dinner
party with the finalists and judges the night before and I felt like I couldn’t get a coherent sentence out. That was tough.”

However, he found the final interview less pressure-packed, and “surprisingly fun.” But after he was done, he found himself in a room with all the other finalists. They waited together for several hours until all the interviews were completed.

“And then they came out when it was all finished and informed the individuals who had won right there,” Perkins said. “It was almost like some reality show. I was extremely surprised when I was told I was a winner. The finalists were such an impressive group—anyone could have been chosen and it would’ve made sense. So when they named me, I felt truly fortunate.”

A classical pianist and avid cyclist, he taught a small discussion workshop in philosophy at the Cheshire prison as an undergraduate. Russell plans to do the B.Phil. at Oxford University. And then…?

“I’m taking this one step at a time. I’ve been so fortunate at Wesleyan to have opportunities to learn from such inspiring professors and pursue initiatives like the Prison Program. I can only hope my experience at Oxford will continue in that vein. I intend to continue to work towards democratizing access to educational opportunity—but what form that will take, I don’t know yet.”

WSJWesleyan University will be hosting an interactive panel on admissions that will be webcast live and co-produced by Unigo and The Wall Street Journal through their partnership WSJ on Campus at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in the Usdan University Center’s Daniel Family Commons.

The panel will feature the chief admissions officers from Wesleyan University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Williams College, Bryn Mawr College, Marquette University, Grinnell College, and the University of Vermont. They will discuss trends and current issues in admissions. The event will also feature interactive participation from viewers on the web, as well as those in attendance at the event.

The webcast is the first in a series of informational presentations that will be produced by WSJ On Campus, a new partnership between Unigo and The Wall Street Journal. According to WSJ on Campus, the partnership is an online resource that brings together the “trusted insight and advice from The Wall Street Journal” with Unigo’s renowned “on campus student perspectives.”

Unigo was created by Jordan Goldman ’04, who also is the company’s CEO. The WSJ on Campus partnership with The Wall Street Journal was finalized earlier this fall. Goldman says that the site provides a multi-layered, diverse resource and information center for college bound-students and their parents.

Live attendance at the event will be limited. Wesleyan will post a link to the event on the homepage once it is available.

Inmates at the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Conn. are taking lecturer Beth Richards "The English Essay" this semester through the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education program. Over the next two years, 19 incarcerated students will pursue a broad curricular sequence of undergraduate courses in the humanities, natural and social sciences. (Photo by Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times)

Inmates at the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Conn. are taking lecturer Beth Richards "The English Essay" this semester through Wesleyan's Prison Education program. Over the next two years, 19 incarcerated students will pursue a broad curricular sequence of undergraduate courses in the humanities, natural and social sciences. (Photo by Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times)

Nineteen students are enrolled in a new grant-funded pilot program that provides classes taught by faculty volunteers and is administered by two graduate students. What makes this program different from any other outreach initiative by Wesleyan is that the students are incarcerated.

“The mission of Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education” program is to practice Wesleyan’s civic engagement by offering college courses to incarcerated individuals, in order both to enrich the lives of those who are systematically denied access to educational opportunities and to enhance Wesleyan’s academic community,” explains program manager Cathy Crimmins Lechowicz, director of community service and volunteerism.

The program is administered through Wesleyan’s Center for Community Partnerships.

More than 120 inmates applied for the 19 available spots in the program, submitting essays and other materials. Over the next two years, the enrolled students will pursue a broad curricular sequence of undergraduate courses in the humanities, natural and social sciences.

“Courses offered are the same courses taught on Wesleyan’s (more…)

This summer, students will have the opportunity to complete semester-long courses in a period of five weeks.

Twenty-five courses, taught by Wesleyan faculty, will be offered during the 2010 Summer Session. Classes begin June. 7.

“These courses include some highly popular courses that always have more interested students than space during the regular academic year, as well as some new and advanced courses, and some new thematic institutes,” explains Joe Bruno, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost.

Highlights include three two-course institutes on different themes: neuroscience and psychology, computer programming and computer music, and visualizing (more…)

My book critically examines how “blood racialization” defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, examines how "blood racialization" defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue we feature 5 Questions with… J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology.

Q. How did you become interested in your area of study?
JKK: My area of study is related to researching the history of U.S. imperialism in the Pacific Islands. Researching indigenous issues in Hawai`i, I found it necessary to study how the U.S. government has treated Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) in light of its U.S. federal policy on American Indians and Alaska Natives. The policy is convoluted. The U.S. government has alternately classified Kanaka Maoli, as well as other Native Pacific Islanders under the Asian or “Asian Pacific” category, but since 1906, Kanaka Maoli have also specifically been included in over 160 legislative acts that apply to American Indians. This contradiction has pushed me to better understand U.S. racial formations and indigenous sovereignty politics. This has led me to other research areas, including settler colonialism, self-determination, decolonization, and international law.

Q. What was the most interesting aspect of researching and writing your recent book Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity?
JKK: My book critically examines how “blood racialization” defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable. Blood racialization is the process by which racial meaning is ascribed—in this case to Kanaka Maoli – through ideologies of blood quantum. The contemporary (more…)

As an undergrad, John Shapiro ’74 dreamed of writing the great American novel. But two things kept him from doing so.

“Talent, and discipline,” Shapiro says. “So recognizing that eventually, I decided that if you can’t do, you can enable.”

In 2008, Shapiro and his wife, Shonni Silverberg, M.D.’76 made a $3.5M gift to fund a writing center at Wesleyan. And on Nov. 20, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, located on the top floor of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, was dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“It’s my feeling that by catalyzing this effort, and helping it come together and getting a center and getting great faculty together and writers and poets who can come to visit that, you become a magnet for wonderful students and they would go and write the great American novel that I wouldn’t write, so I can bask in the reflected glory,” Shapiro says.

The Shapiro Creative Writing Center provides a locus (more…)

New book by Joel Pfister.

New book by Joel Pfister.

American history has almost completely edited out Henry Roe Cloud from its story, even though this full-blood Winnebago was one of the most accomplished and celebrated American Indians in the first half of the twentieth century.  Joel Pfister’s The Yale Indian: The Education of Henry Roe Cloud corrects this omission.

Pfister, chair of the English Department and the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, and former chair of the American Studies Program, began exploring American Indian archives when he was a Yale doctoral student in the 1980s and started his research on Yale’s Roe Cloud letters in 1995.  Very little has been published about the experiences of the few American Indians who beat tremendous odds to make it to college in the early 1900s.  Pfister aimed to find out more about the undergraduate years of one of the most inspiring advocates of higher education for Native Americans.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Roe Cloud’s graduation from Yale College in 1910.  His portrait does not hang in Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, (more…)

The Wesleyan Sailing Club competed in 25 regattas this year, finishing four ranks above Williams College.

The Wesleyan Sailing Team competed in nine regattas this fall, finishing four ranks above Williams College.

Three times a week, a group of Wesleyan sailors travel 21 miles to Essex, Conn. for a three-hour practice on the Connecticut River. On the weekends, the students tackle the waters in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont or Maine.

The Wesleyan Sailing Team, which recently completed its second year participating in the competitive New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA), finished its season in 26th place. Forty-two collegiate teams are registered with NEISA.

This fall, the student-run group competed in nine regattas and 10 last spring. They finished three ranks under Amherst College, one rank under Middlebury College and four ranks above Williams College.

“We started at the very bottom, so we’re satisfied with 26th,” says Wesleyan Sailing Team member Jacon Mayer ’10. “Next year the team is hoping to be five spots higher.”

Mayer, who transferred to Wesleyan during his sophomore year, was instrumental in transforming the hobby-driven club into a competitive sport. He and other team (more…)

Ramnad V. Raghavan, a former artist in residence in the Music Department, died Nov. 21 in India.

Ramnad V. Raghavan, a former artist in residence in the Music Department, died Nov. 21 in India.

Ramnad V. Raghavan, a widely respected performer of the Karnatak mrdangam and long-time member of Wesleyan’s music faculty, died in Chennai, India, Nov. 21 after a long illness.

Raghavan came from a distinguished family of musicians that produced, among others, his brother Ramnad V. Krishnan and internationally known violinists L. Subramaniam and L. Shankar. Sri Raghavan learned mrdangam from his brother Ramnad Easwaran.

He served as artist in residence in music at Wesleyan from 1970 to 1975, and again from 1987 to 2000, teaching South Indian drumming. In the years between his Wesleyan appointments he lived in Cleveland, Ohio where he was a founding organizer of the internationally renowned Cleveland Aradhana.

While he was dedicated to the highest ideals of Karnatak music, and had accompanied the greatest Karnatak musicians, he also performed with East-West fusion ensembles and artists, including guitarist John McLaughlin. During his years at Wesleyan, Sri Raghavan was a popular and patient teacher who worked with hundreds of students, some of whose careers were profoundly influenced.

He is survived by his wife, Sarada, a son, Chandru, and two daughters, Mala, and Viji. Chandru and Mala live in Middletown. Planning has begun for a memorial service, with date and time to be announced.

(Announcement by David Nelson, artist in residence in music)

Eileen Day, 74, of Middlefield, Conn. died Nov. 22. Day was born in Rockfall, Conn. June 17, 1935. She worked at Wesleyan for 23 years, and also served on the board of Middlefield Cemetery.

Day worked as an administrative assistant in the Office of Events Scheduling for first part of her career and in Physical Plant in the Student Life Facilities office at the latter end. She retired in 2003 to spend time with her family and to travel. She loved to visit family that live in different areas of the country.

“Eileen was a trusted and loyal employee as well as a spectacular person,” says Jeff Sweet, facilities manager in Physical Plant. “She will be missed by her many friends in Physical Plant as well as other departments on campus.”

She enjoyed kayaking with the River Ravens and playing Bunco with “The Girls.” She loved gardening and quilting; most of all she loved her family.

Besides her husband, she is survived by her three children, Timothy Day and his wife, Valerie, of New Hampshire, Desiree Wirthlin and her husband, Chris, of Tennessee, Douglas Day and his wife, Rumiko, of Texas; two brothers, Robert Prue of Florida, Thomas Prue of Middletown; four sisters, Dorothy Tyc of Rockfall, Virginia Konefal of Rockfall, Patricia Damiata of Cromwell and Lorraine Swenson of North Carolina. She was predeceased by six brothers, Bernard, Leonard, Charles, William, Donald and Nelson Prue, and a sister, Delores Prue.

From left, Rommel Guadalupe, assistant director of institutional research, and Maggie Taylor, Public Safety officer, listen to their peers during the Nov. 16 meeting of the Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance (AFCA). AFCA, a volunteer organization comprised primarily of administrators, faculty, and staff of African, Latino, Native American, and Asian descent, provides fellowship and support to all students, faculty, and staff on campus paying particular attention to the needs of the people of color in the community.

From left, Rommel Guadalupe, assistant director of institutional research, and Maggie Taylor, Public Safety officer, listen to their peers during the Nov. 16 meeting of the Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance (AFCA). AFCA, a volunteer organization comprised primarily of administrators, faculty, and staff of African, Latino, Native American, and Asian descent, provides fellowship and support to all students, faculty, and staff on campus paying particular attention to the needs of the people of color in the community.

From left, Joanne Rafferty, associate director of operations in Usdan University Center; Persephone Hall, associate director of employer relations; Sarah Lazare, associate dean of student academic resources; and Sharise Brown, area coordinator in Residential Life, take a quiz on a fellow AFCA member during their meeting. The quiz allows club members to get to know each other better.

From left, Joanne Rafferty, associate director of operations in Usdan University Center; Persephone Hall, associate director of employer relations; Sarah Lazare, associate dean of student academic resources; and Sharise Brown, area coordinator in Residential Life, take a quiz on a fellow AFCA member during their meeting. The quiz allows club members to get to know each other better.

Lucy Diaz, assistant director of the Wesleyan Fund, is a member of AFCA.

Lucy Diaz, assistant director of the Wesleyan Fund, is a member of AFCA.

AFCA member Tracey Stanley, administrative assistant in the Registrar's Office, listens during the recent AFCA meeting. In the background, at right, is Ronnie Bowman, journeyman electrician.

AFCA member Tracey Stanley, administrative assistant in the Registrar's Office, listens during the recent AFCA meeting. In the background, at right, is Ronnie Bowman, journeyman electrician.

Fifteen members of AFCA gathered together Nov. 16 for a group photo. AFCA members and students meet periodically to discuss issues pertaining to the Wesleyan community and develop strategies for enhancing the community. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Fifteen members of AFCA gathered together Nov. 16 for a group photo. AFCA members and students meet periodically to discuss issues pertaining to the Wesleyan community and develop strategies for enhancing the community. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

The next AFCA meetings are from noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 17 and Jan. 19 in Usdan 110.

Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics; Joshua Bodyfelt Ph.D ’09; and Mei Zheng ’10 are the co-authors of the paper “Fidelity in Quasi-1D Systems as a Probe for Anderson Localization,” published in Acta Physica Polonica A, Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Quantum Chaos and Localisation Phenomena, Warsaw, in 2009. They wrote the paper with Ulrich Kuhl, and Hans-Jürgen Stöckmann, who are collaborators from the University of Marburg.

This publication is part of the conference proceedings for a workshop at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw where Kottos presented this past summer. The combined theoretical and experimental work done in this project put forward a method for which the celebrated phenomenon of Anderson Localization could be detected through a measure known as Fidelity, which is typically thought of as probing the stability of a system against external perturbations. This work will constitute a large part of Zheng’s senior physics thesis.

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