Monthly Archives: June 2010

Shusterman’s Study Featured in National Academy of Sciences Publication

Anna Shusterman is the co-author of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nicaraguan Sign Language, developed only 30 years ago by Deaf children in Nicaragua needing a way to communicate, offers insight to ways an adapted language affects thought processes.

In a new study, which was published June 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-author Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology explains how human spatial cognition depends on the acquisition of specific aspects of spatial language.

The article, titled “Evidence from an emerging sign language reveals that language supports spatial cognition,” is co-authored by Jennie Pyers (Wellesley), Ann Senghas (Barnard College), Elizabeth Spelke (Harvard) and Karen Emmorey (San Diego State University).

“The reason we chose to look at navigation was that my colleague Ann Senghas had discovered that older NSL signers had difficulty systematically communicating about the spatial concepts left and right,” Shusterman says. “In our PNAS study, we discovered that they also had trouble with navigation.”

Previous research has suggested that left-right language is related to spatial reasoning and navigation, but there were always reasons to be skeptical.

“In children, language and thought tend to develop together, but it’s hard to know the causal direction,” she says. “In people who speak different languages, we might see corresponding differences in habits of thought, but they might actually be related to culture, not language. The NSL population allowed us to conclude much more forcefully that language supports thought.”

Honors Thesis by Tolman ’10 Published in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Arielle Tolman ’10 presents her honors thesis to Wesleyan President Michael Roth. Her findings were recently accepted for publication in Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Quality-of-life for patients with Schizophrenia has been recognized as a crucial domain of outcome in schizophrenia treatment, and yet its determinants are not well understood.

Arielle Tolman ’10, who studied “Neurocognitive Predictors of Objective and Subjective Quality-of-Life in Individuals with Schizophrenia: A Meta-Analytic Investigation” as her senior honors thesis, will have the opportunity to share her research with other scientists interested in schizophrenia. This month, the editors of  Schizophrenia Bulletin accepted Tolman’s paper for publication in an upcoming edition.

“This is a real achievement, particularly at the undergraduate level,” says the paper’s co-author and Tolman’s advisor Matthew Kurtz, assistant professor of psychology.

Although other researchers have demonstrated that “quality-of-life” is not a uniform construct, Tolman conducted the first meta-analytic study

Haddad Joins Elite Group of U.S.-Japan Policymakers for D.C. Meeting

Mary Alice Haddad,assistant professor of government, assistant professor of East Asian studies.

Mary Alice Haddad, assistant professor of government, was named a U.S.-Japan Network Fellow and joined an elite group of 14 other scholars and researchers invited by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership (CGP) to join its June Policymakers meeting in Washington, D.C. this month.

The meeting is part of an ongoing effort by the Mansfield Foundation to “build and enhance a network of new generation Japan specialists that can bring diverse expertise and perspectives to he U.S.-Japan policymaking process.”

The U.S.-Japan Network Fellows also provides an invaluable resource for policymakers in Washington regarding U.S-Japan relations in virtually every arena.

Summer Film Series Features Cary Grant and His Leading Ladies

Cary Grant and Sophia Loren star in "Houseboat," which will be screened July 27 as part of the Summer Film Series at Wesleyan.

Every Tuesday night this July is a Cary Grant night at Wesleyan, though he’ll be joined by some very attractive company.

“Cary Grant and his Leading Ladies” is the title and theme of this year’s installment of Wesleyan University’s annual Wesleyan Summer Film Series.

The film "To Catch a Thief" kicks off the Film Series on July 6.

The free series held at the Goldsmith Family Cinema will feature a classic, fully-restored Cary Grant film each Tuesday night in July, with an introductory talk beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The screenings star on Tuesday, July 6, with “To Catch a Thief” featuring Grant and Grace Kelly. On Tuesday, July 13, Connecticut’s own Katherine Hepburn and a professorial Grant star in “Bringing Up Baby.” On July 20, Audry Hepburn joins Grant in “Charade.” The series wraps on Tuesday, July 27 with Sophia Loren and Grant in the always entertaining “Houseboat.”

The screenings feature fully-restored prints courtesy of the Academy Film Archive, and each film will be introduced by Marc Longenecker, programming and technical manager at Wesleyan’s Center for Film Studies. All screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Goldsmith Family Cinema on 301 Washington Terrace.

The Wesleyan Summer Film Series is presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for Film Studies with support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, The Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, The City of Middletown and the Downtown Business District.

Nationwide Summer Sendoffs Welcome New Students, Families

Join members of the Class of 2014, new transfer students, and their families for a casual summer social as they prepare to head to campus.

“The Summer Sendoffs are an opportunity to meet others new to Wesleyan, as well as some current students and their families, alumni and friends of Wesleyan,” says Dana Coffin, assistant director of parent programs.

All Sendoffs are hosted by Wesleyan alumni or parents. Sendoffs begin June 27. They will be held in New York, N.Y., Atlanta, Ga., Boulder, Colo., Cary, N.C., Chappaqua, N.Y., Chicago, Ill., East Hampton, N.Y., Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, Calif., Memphis, Tenn., Newton, Mass., Philadelphia, Pa., San Francisco, Calif., Seattle, Wash. and Washington D.C. The complete schedule is online here.

For more information on Summer Sendoffs, e-mail or call 860-685-3756.

Fraser ’82: “Our Way of Saying Goodbye”

Author Laura Fraser '82.

Laura Fraser ’82 wrote the May 28 “Modern Love” column for the New York Times. In “Our Way of Saying Goodbye,” Fraser traces the role of the Italian farewell, “ci vediamo,” or, “we’ll see each other” in her long-time, but sporadic, relationship with “The Professor,” her sometimes-married lover.

She writes that earlier on, the words served as affirmation that “he would always stitch in and out of my life, and that this stitching was slowly mending my heart.” Ultimately, it again allowed the lovers to avoid “goodbye,” when he is diagnosed with liver cancer.

Fraser’s memoir on their meeting, An Italian Affair, details the healing that this love provided soon after the end of her 18-month marriage. It was published in 2001. The sequel, detailing her life in the years after their affair finally ends, All Over the Map, was published June 1, 2010.

Wesleyan Honored for Climate Change Efforts

Bill Nelligan, director of environmental health, safety and sustainability, delivers the opening remarks at the 2010 Climate Change Leadership Awards Ceremony June 7 in Kerr Lecture Hall. Wesleyan was one of seven individuals and organizations honored by Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell for its innovative efforts to address global climate change.

Physical Plant’s Mike Conte Helps Rebuild Katrina-Damaged Home

At right, Mike Conte, assistant director of mechanical trades, works on a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Conte and his 17-year-old daughter, Megan Nicole Conte (pictured in back, center), volunteered with recovery camp Mission on the Bay to help rebuild a home located a mile off the shoreline.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s battering storm smothered Bob Flowers’ Gulfport, Miss. home. The flooding and winds left the structure unlivable, forcing Bob and his wife to reside in a FEMA trailer for the next four years and 10 months.

Desperate for some helping hands, the couple applied for relief with Mission on the Bay, a ministry of Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi. The organization provides volunteers who help families rebuild post-Katrina homes.

Mike Conte, assistant director of mechanical trades, and his daughter, Megan Nicole Conte, 17, are among 1,800 volunteers from across the country and Canada who joined the organization in 2010.

In mid-April, the father-daughter duo and eight

Shaw Appointed Interim Dean of the Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary Programs

Gary Shaw

Gary Shaw, professor of history, professor of medieval studies, was appointed Interim Dean of the Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs for the 2010-2011 academic year, beginning this July.

In his 20 years at Wesleyan, Shaw has served as chair of the History Department, vice-chair of the advisory committee, chair of EPC, and has been a member of FCRR and the faculty merit appeals committee. He is the associate editor of History and Theory. His numerous awards include an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, an American Philosophical Society Research Grant and Wesleyan’s Carole A. Baker ’81 Memorial Prize.

Shaw’s current project studies the “piepowder people” in the late Middle Ages, focusing on historical agency, mobility, and the circulation of culture. He is the author of Necessary Conjunctions: The Social Self in the Middle Ages (2005), The Creation of a Community: The City of Wells in the Middle Ages (1993), and is editor, with Philip Pomper, of The Return of Science: Evolution, History, and Theory (2002).

Martin Appointed Chief Investment Officer

Anne Martin has been appointed Wesleyan’s Chief Investment Officer. Her appointment is the culmination of an intensive search that began in October and included many individual candidates as well as investment management firms.

“We explored a variety of models for the management of Wesleyan’s portfolio before concluding that we had found the outstanding candidate in Anne Martin, of the Yale University Investments Office,” says President Michael S. Roth. “We are confident that her experience, financial acumen, and disciplined

Miranda ’02 Joins In the Heights Tour, Freestyle Love Supreme Performance

Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 (Photo by Corey Hayes)

Fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, the creator and composer of the long-running Tony Award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights,  have a chance to catch him perform again on stage. Miranda has joined the national tour of In the Heights to recreate the role of bodega owner Usnavi as the show plays a five-week run at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. from late June through July 25.

The Los Angeles Times and the Ventura County Star recently caught up with Miranda.

He will also be appearing with Freestyle Love Supreme, the hip-hop improv group, at the Gramercy Theater in New York City on Aug. 5. Miranda founded the group at Wesleyan along with Bill Sherman ‘02 and Thomas Kail ’99 (who collaborated with Miranda on In the Heights) and Anthony Veneziale ’98 (read more).