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Monthly Archive for February, 2010

Wesleyan received 203 more applications from the Midwest, 266 more applications from the South and 619 from the West compared to 2008 data. Applicants from the Northeast increased by 392 since 2008. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

Wesleyan received 203 more applications from the Midwest, 266 more applications from the South and 619 from the West compared to 2008 data. Applicants from the Northeast increased by 392 since 2008. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

This year, 10,645 seniors from around the world applied to Wesleyan University, an increase of 6 percent from 2009, which was a record year for applications, despite the sour economy.

“Last year we reached an all-time high for applications, up by 22 percent, and this year is 6 percent over that,” says Greg Pyke, senior associate dean of admission.

Of these students, 41 percent are male and 59 percent are female.

The applicant pool contains 362 candidates for the Freeman Asian Scholars program, 860 for early decision admission and 9,423 applications in the regular review process. Two-hundred-and-twenty-nine of these students are alumni sons and daughters.

Nancy Meislahn, dean of admission and financial aid, is encouraged by the increase in “markets that Wesleyan has identified as high potential and priority for recruitment initiatives.” These include African-American applicants, applicants from the South, (more…)

Ski Sasamoto. (Photo by Stefan Ruiz)

Aki Sasamoto. (Photo by Stefan Ruiz/Interview Magazine)

A performance/installation work by Aki Sasamoto ’04, titled “Strange Attractors” will be on view as part of the 2010 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison Avenue at 75th St., 212-570-3600, www.whitney.org/Exhibitions/2010Biennial) from Feb. 25–May 30 in New York City.

Sasamoto will be performing occasionally as part of the installation (on days of the month that contain the numbers 6, 9, 16, 19, 26 and 29) at 4 p.m., a.k.a. 16 o’clock. She applies mathematical concepts to personal life stories, while somehow making sense of her kaleidoscopic worldview. She says that her work deals with such varied subjects as “donuts, psychics and hemorrhoids.”

After graduating from Wesleyan, Sasamoto danced for a year in New York City with various choreographers, while creating her own works. She received an MFA in visual arts from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2007. She has continued to show her works in both visual arts and dance venues, mostly in New York, but also in such locations as Germany, Japan and New Zealand.

Sasamoto is the co-founder and co-director of Culture Push, a nonprofit arts organization with two other Wesleyan graduates Clarinda Mac Low ’87 and Arturo Vidich ’03 (www.culturepush.org). She taught sculpture at Wesleyan in fall 2009.

A video of Sasamoto talking about her upcoming performance at the Whitney Museum is online at http://www.whitney.org/WatchAndListen/Artists/Sasamoto.

As a Public Policy & International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellow, Jourdan Hussein '11 will spend six weeks at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University this summer.

As a Public Policy & International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellow, Jourdan Hussein ’11 will spend six weeks at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University this summer.

This summer, Jourdan Khalid Hussein ’11 will be given the skills and experiences necessary to create, analyze, implement, evaluate, and affect policy in a multicultural, multiethnic society.

As a Public Policy & International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellow, Hussein will spend seven weeks at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. The program’s mission is to increase leadership opportunities for future global policy leaders in both the public and nonprofit sectors by preparing students for graduate study in related fields.

“The Junior Summer Institute is a highly focused and rigorous academic program that will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of the Woodrow Wilson School and the opportunities available in the fields of public policy and international affairs,” says Jose Ochoa, director of MPP Admissions and Programs Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.

The program begins June 10 and ends July 30.

“I applied because I knew this is going to change my post-Wesleyan education significantly to an extent that it will provide me with unprecedented (more…)

Lori Gruen, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, speaks during a symposium titled "Stem Cells into the Clinic: Biological, Ethical and Regulatory Concerns," Jan. 28 in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. The event was sponsored by the Dachs Chair, the Faust Lectures in Ethics, and the Ethics in Society Project.

Lori Gruen, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, speaks during a symposium titled "Stem Cells into the Clinic: Biological, Ethical and Regulatory Concerns," Jan. 28 in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. The event was sponsored by the Dachs Chair, the Faust Lectures in Ethics, and the Ethics in Society Project.

Keynote speaker Bonnie Steinbock, professor of bioethics at the Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and professor of philosophy at the University of Albany spoke on “The Ethics of Stem Cell Policy." Her research focuses on the ethics of reproduction and genetics.

Keynote speaker Bonnie Steinbock, professor of bioethics at the Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and professor of philosophy at the University of Albany spoke on “The Ethics of Stem Cell Policy." Her research focuses on the ethics of reproduction and genetics.

Stephen Latham, deputy director of Yale University's Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and Laura Grabel, the Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of biology, joined Gruen and Steinbock in a panel discussion of "Stem Cell Research in the Obama Era."

Stephen Latham, deputy director of Yale University's Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and Laura Grabel, the Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of biology, joined Gruen and Steinbock in a panel discussion of "Stem Cell Research in the Obama Era."

Dr. Irving Weissman, professor of pathology and developmental biology at the Stanford School of Medicine and director of the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, spoke on “Normal and Neoplastic Stem Cells. Weissman’s research focuses on hematopoietic stem cell biology. Other speakers at the symposium included Gordon Carmichael, professor of genetics and developmental biology at the University of Connecticut Health Center, and Valerie Horsley, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University. Carmichael, who spoke on “Double Stranded and Noncoding RNAs in Human Embryonic Stem Cells” studies molecular signals which control the expression and function of mRNA molecules. Horsley, who spoke on “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Control of Skin Stem Cells," studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control stem cell activity and function within epithelia, the tissues that line internal organs and outer surfaces. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Dr. Irving Weissman, professor of pathology and developmental biology at the Stanford School of Medicine and director of the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, spoke on “Normal and Neoplastic Stem Cells. Weissman’s research focuses on hematopoietic stem cell biology. Other speakers at the symposium included Gordon Carmichael, professor of genetics and developmental biology at the University of Connecticut Health Center, and Valerie Horsley, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University. Carmichael, who spoke on “Double Stranded and Noncoding RNAs in Human Embryonic Stem Cells” studies molecular signals which control the expression and function of mRNA molecules. Horsley, who spoke on “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Control of Skin Stem Cells," studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control stem cell activity and function within epithelia, the tissues that line internal organs and outer surfaces. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)

Janice Willis, professor of religion, was one of 20 American religious scholars and nonprofit leaders selected by the U.S. State Department to participate in the U.N.-sponsored, Indonesia-U.S. Interfaith Cooperation Forum, held in Indonesia, Jan. 25-27.

Jan Willis, professor of religion, was one of 20 American religious scholars and nonprofit leaders selected by the U.S. State Department to participate in an Indonesia-U.S. Interfaith Cooperation Forum, held in Indonesia, Jan. 25-27. She stands before a model is of the great stupa/mandala Borobudur in the courtyard of the Hotel Borobudur. The actual Borobudur is the largest Buddhist monument in the world.

Unexpected invitations come with the holidays every year, but one in particular received by Jan Willis, professor of religion, caught her attention. It was from the U.S. State Department, and was inspired by President Barack Obama.

The invitation asked Willis to serve as just one of 20 American religious scholars and nonprofit leaders selected by the U.S. State Department to participate in the inaugural Indonesia-U.S. Interfaith Cooperation Forum that was being held in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 25-27 under the auspices of Religions for Peace.

“As soon as I read it, I knew I had to attend this,” Willis says. “It was a unique opportunity, and one I knew could not miss.”

The consultation was a follow-up to President Obama’s “New Beginning” speech in Cairo, Egypt where he called for interfaith cooperation, especially between Muslims and other faiths. Indonesia was chosen as the location for the first meeting by virtue of it being the largest Muslim nation in the world.

Willis, a Buddhist and renowned Buddhist scholar, was the only Buddhist from The United States invited and one of only two at the gathering; the other: (more…)

Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, uses a non-invasive eye-tracking machine to examine cognitive processing. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, uses a non-invasive eye-tracking machine to examine cognitive processing. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue we ask 5 Questions of…Assistant Professor of Psychology and Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Behavior Barbara Juhasz.

Q. How did you first become interested in psychology?

A. I’ve always been fascinated by how the mind works and why people behave the way they do. Since early in high school, I had the idea that I wanted to be a research psychologist. At that time, I really did not know what the field of psychology actually consisted of. Like most people, I believe, I thought psychology meant psychopathology. Once I started studying psychology at the college level, I realized that the field of cognitive psychology was what really interested me.

Q. What drove you to explore reading and eye tracking?

A. When I took a statistics class at Binghamton University, I had the opportunity to participate in a Master’s thesis project examining eye movements and reading. It was being conducted in the laboratory of Albrecht Inhoff. I had always been interested in literature and languages and was excited that my love of both psychology and reading could be combined. I was also fascinated by the eye-tracker. It is still amazing to me that by recording where a person looks on a computer screen, we can infer so much about what it happening in their mind. It is an accurate, non-invasive way to examine cognitive processing.

Q. What consistent results from eye tracking studies tell us the most about how people read?

A. Readers alternate between brief pauses, called fixations, and rapid eye movements, called saccades. Fixations last between 200-250 (more…)

CaVar Reid '11, second from left, speaks to his peers during Mellon South African Summer Program, held Jan. 4-10 in Cape Town, South Africa.

CaVar Reid '11, second from left, speaks to his peers during Mellon South African Summer Program, held Jan. 4-10 in Cape Town, South Africa.

In 1966, the apartheid government controlling South Africa began forcing more than 60,000 residents of color from their Cape Town homes in attempt to destroy a multi-racial neighborhood called District Six.

On Jan. 8, 2010, Taylor Cain ’11 and CaVar Reid ’11 toured this area, once a flourishing and lively community of freed slaves and immigrants. The township exploration was just one way Cain and Reid gained an understanding of the South African socio-economic, racial, cultural, historical and environmental landscape while interacting with students from academic institutions in the United States and South Africa.

“Knowing the history involved in District Six made going through it a sombering  experience because as we saw all the newer building but we always had in the back of our minds, the thousands of people who were physically forced out of these homes and schools,” Reid recalls. “Some areas have been redeveloped a little but … There is actually big plot of land with a lot of rubble from some of the destroyed homes.”

As Wesleyan Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, Cain and Reid participated in the Mellon South African Program, held Jan. 3-10 in Cape Town. (more…)

Following the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, three Wesleyan faculty, Alex Dupuy, Elizabeth McAlister, and Gina Ulysse have appeared in numerous publications and on radio programs to provide context for thinking about the disaster.

Alex Dupuy.

Alex Dupuy.

Alex Dupuy, the Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of Sociology, spoke to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp and wrote an essay titled “Beyond the Earthquake: A Wake-Up Call for Haiti” on the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) forum, saying, “There is no doubt that the dominant economic and political classes of Haiti bear great responsibility for the abysmal conditions in the country that exacerbated the impact of the earthquake (or of hurricanes or tropical storms).  However, these local actors did not create these conditions alone but did so in close partnership with foreign governments and economic actors with long-standing interests in Haiti, principally those of the advanced countries—the United States, Canada, and France—and their international financial institutions (IFIs)—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank.  Since the 1970s and under various free market mantras, these international actors and institutions sought to and succeeded in transforming Haiti into a supplier of the cheapest (more…)

Gillian Goslinga, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of science in society, has an array of research specialties including reproductive technologies, kinship, spirit possession, shamanism, indigenous healing, ritual, body/knowledge/power, critical medical anthropology, feminist science studies, postcolonial theory and critical philosophy, life history methods and  feminist ethnography. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Gillian Goslinga, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of science in society, has an array of research specialties including kinship and the reproductive technologies, spirit possession and ritual, epistemologies of embodiment and the body, feminist science studies and feminist ethnography. She works primarily in South India. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Gillian Goslinga has joined the Anthropology Department as an assistant professor of anthropology. She also is an assistant professor of Science in Society.

A graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz doctoral program in the History of Consciousness, Goslinga was attracted to Wesleyan for many reasons, including “the school’s progressive ethos and the ’scholar-teacher’ pedagogical model.”   She says teaching is one of her passions.

“The anthropology department is committed to cutting edge theory-cum-praxis,” Goslinga says.

She says she appreciates the combination of theoretical innovation and creativity and serious intellectual inquiry.

“That made an impression,” she explains. “People at Wesleyan seemed genuinely supported and supportive as well as encouraged to break new ground with their scholarship.  I was at once attracted to the intellectual rigor and creativity, (more…)

sherylSheryl Culotta has been appointed director of Continuing Studies and Graduate Liberal Studies. She has served as interim director of the GLSP since April 2009, and in that time has demonstrated outstanding skill in managing the GLSP as well as taking administrative and logistical leadership of the coming Summer Session.

Culotta earned her bachelor’s of arts degree from Colgate University and her J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.

“She has been at Wesleyan for four and a half years, all at the GLSP, taking on increasing levels of responsibility each year, and bringing a spirit of innovation and collaboration,” says Karen Anderson, associate provost.

Culotta came to Wesleyan with three years of experience at Stanford University’s Master of Liberal Arts program, where she was assistant director.

Wesleyan is participating in the Benchmark Division of RecycleMania in 2010.

Wesleyan is participating in the Benchmark Division of RecycleMania in 2010.

For the fifth year in a row, Wesleyan students, faculty and staff are becoming “recycle maniacs.”

RecycleMania, a national recycling and waste minimization competition for universities and colleges, began Jan. 17. For 10 weeks, Wesleyan will record the volume of paper, cardboard and glass/metals/plastics collected from most academic, administrative, on-campus student dormitory facilities and the Usdan University Center. Wesleyan also will record the amount of garbage.

This year, all plastic items identified as numbers 1 through 7 can be recycled in Wesleyan’s “glass/metal/plastic” recycle containers.

“In the past we have only been able to recycle No 1 and No. 2,” says Jeff Miller, associate director for facilities management and member of the Recycling and Waste Committee, a subcommittee of Wesleyan’s Sustainable Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship. “This may increase our recycling efforts significantly.”

Weekly measurements will be taken (more…)

WesPep, a student-run organization, brought cheers and enthusiasm to several Wesleyan sporting events Jan. 29 and 30. Wesleyan took on Tufts in basketball, Western New England in wrestling and New England College in men's ice hockey. The theme for the Jan. 29 game was "black out." WesPep encouraged sports fans to support the Cardinals by wearing black.

WesPep, a student-run organization, brought cheers and enthusiasm to several Wesleyan sporting events Jan. 29 and 30, including a men's basketball game against Tufts Jan. 29. The theme for the game was "Black Out." WesPep encouraged sports fans to support the Cardinals by wearing black.

WesPep presented free Wesleyan gear to the liveliest members of the crowd. The organization also set up the Cardinal's Nest, a section only available to Wesleyan supporters.

WesPep presented free Wesleyan gear to the liveliest members of the crowd. The organization also set up the Cardinal's Nest, a section only available to Wesleyan supporters during the men's basketball game against Tufts.

The Wesleyan Cardinal helped WesPep raise spirits in the audience. (Photos by Stefan Weinberger '10)

The Wesleyan Cardinal helped WesPep raise spirits in the audience. (Photos by Stefan Weinberger '10)

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