Monthly Archives: July 2011

Roth: U.S. Budget Woes Furthering Income Disparity

Writing for The Huffington Post, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth ’78 sees the findings of Pew study that shows record income disparity between whites and non-whites in the U.S. being exacerbated by the ideology framing ongoing budget battles in Washington D.C.  Roth says in part that, “The defense of racial and economic privilege under the rhetoric of “taking back our country,” or of “living within our means” further undermines our political culture today as it starves future generations of cultural and economic opportunity.”

Chenoweth: Christian Terrorists Do Exist

Commenting in a column in The Hartford Courant, Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor of government, discussed the recent terrorist attack in Norway and how extremist beliefs in an ideology can become a rationalizing factor for a variety of behaviors.

Hughes Poster Session Friday, July 29

Hughes Fellow Patrick Sarver '14 is spending his summer working with Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry. He studies “The Catalytic, Asymmetric ‘Interrupted’ Feist-Benary Reaction."

Hughes Summer Research Program culminates with a poster session in which Hughes Fellows and other summer research undergraduates present their research.  The 2011 poster session is free and open to the public. It will take place between 1 and 3 p.m., Friday, July 29 in the lobby of Exley Science Center.

This summer, Wesleyan is hosting 43 Hughes Fellows and approximately 65 Hughes Associates. Hughes Associates are not funded by Hughes, but they participate in Hughes activities.

Wesleyan faculty members serve as mentors in the summer program. For more information on the 2011 summer fellows, click here.

Juhasz on Better Understanding How We Read

A piece in The Boston Globe examines how technology is helping scientists better understand how we read, in part to understand ways to make the process more effective and efficient in coming years. In the piece, Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, discussed her research on how much information we can process from words during reading.

Psychology Department Hosts Undergraduate Research Conference

The Psychology Department's Cognitive Development Lab members hosted an undergraduate research conference June 29. Students from Wesleyan, Wellesley College and Barnard College attended. Pictured, from left, are research assistant Rebecca Lange '13 and Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology and co-director of the Cognitive Development Lab. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Open-Source Software Group Designs Humanitarian Projects

Gabriel Elkind '14 speaks about a graphical software used for forest ecology simulation during the HFOSS Project 2011 Summer Institute final presentations on July 22.

This summer, 26 students representing six colleges and universities in the Northeast participated in the
Humanitarian Free and Open-Source Software (HFOSS) Project 2011 Summer Institute, hosted by Wesleyan.

Wesleyan is part of a growing community involved in The Humanitarian FOSS Project, dedicated to building and using free and open source software to benefit humanity.

Trinity's HFOSS director Trishan DeLanerolle and Wesleyan's HFOSS director Norman Danner, associate professor of computer science, listen to the students' presentations.

Students from Wesleyan, Connecticut College, Trinity, St. John’s College, Mt. Holyoke College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute participated in the summer institute and designed 11 projects for HFOSS. They presented their research July 22 in Woodhead Lounge.

Diego Calderon ’13, Jeremy Fehr ’13 and Trinity student Vlad Burca worked on a project called “Tor Status,” a support application for the Tor network, a tool that allows for anonymous web access. Tor Status allows users to see general information about the entire network at a glance, as well as get detailed information on any specific server in the network.

Brian Gapinski ’14 and Gabriel Elkind ’14 worked on a project titled “Landis/LIME.” Landis is forest ecology simulation software developed and used by academic researchers, the U.S. Forest Service, land-user managers and others. LIME is a graphical front-end to Landis, making it much easier to use for individuals who might be less comfortable with programming tasks.

Diego Calderon '13 and Trinity student Vlad Burca speak about their HFOSS project, "Tor Status," a tool which prevents anyone from learning a user's online browsing habits. (Photos by Bill Tyner '13)

Calderon, Gehr, Burca, Gapinski and Elkind also worked on a content management system-based “HFOSS@Wesleyan” web site. Norman Danner, associate professor of computer science, is project advisor and director of the summer institute.

Wesleyan is a founding chapter of the HFOSS Project, along with Trinity College and Connecticut College. The HFOSS Project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

To view a list of former Wesleyan HFOSS projects, click here.

McDonald to Appear in American Football Monthly, Training Videos

An article by Jeff McDonald, assistant football coach, will appear a national football magazine in August. He also hosts three accompanying instructional DVDs, teaching fellow football coaches and players an array of techniques and defenses.

Jeff McDonald, an assistant football coach at Wesleyan, will have a trio of instructional DVDs and an article produced by  American Football Monthly (AFM) magazine, one of the premier trade magazines for football coaches in the United States.

The article will appear in the August issue of the magazine and will be accompanied by online promotional samplings of the instructional DVDs, each of which will run approximately one hour.

McDonald flew to Florida in June to help prepare the DVDs. In each he presents instruction on different techniques and defenses, including defensive schemes, unique approaches to eight-man defensive fronts, and linebacker plays against the run and pass. Film clips of the techniques and defenses being used in game situations are widely used in the presentations as McDonald instructs and narrates.

The DVDs complement the August magazine article, which McDonald describes as focusing on linebacker fundamentals throughout the season.

“A lot of the time coaches get so caught up in weekly game plans during the season they forget to make time to continue to work on the fundamentals,” McDonald says. “The article discusses what I call the six-pack concept.

Olin Fellow Schonfeld ’13 Explores Presidential Birthplaces

Zach Schonfeld '13 visits the birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth, Vt. on July 1.

On June 7, Zach Schonfeld ’13 toured the modest 170-year-old site of President Grover Cleveland’s 1837 birthplace.

“Live from Caldwell, N.J.,” Schonfeld blogged on this day. “It’s not much—the house has been expanded significantly since Cleveland’s birth, but the siteitself still blends seamlessly into the background of Caldwell’s quiet suburban sprawl. Yes, I drove past it initially and had to circle back. Sorry, Grover. Just be thankful I didn’t steal your parking spot.”

Cleveland’s childhood home is one of 20-some presidential birthplaces Schonfeld is exploring this summer as a Wesleyan Olin Fellow. His project, partially funded by the History Channel, allows the English and American studies major to travel the country, visit presidential historical sites, interview locals and experts on presidential preservation and blog about his experience. His blog, appropriately titled, “I Visit Presidential Birthplaces,” is updated multiple times each week.

Schonfeld initiated the project in December 2010, near an abandoned farm. Here, he explored the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth, Vt. and found it to me one of the most memorial visits of his adult life. He returned to the “breathtaking, perfectly preserved” 19th century farm on July 1 and participated in the town’s Fourth of July parade. “There I paid respects—and wished the late Vermonter a happy and healthy 139th,” Schonfeld writes.

Hoping to visit additional presidential homes, he applied for and was awarded the Olin Fellowship, created by Wesleyan Writing Programs to support independent research or creative writing.

“My project explores the notion that presidential birthplaces are more than mere passive markers of historical trivia—that they can, and do, provide rich insight into the ways in which small,

Dowdey, Cheong ’12 Researching Prints, Sculptors in China

Pictured at right, Patrick Dowdey, curator of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, visits with students and faculty at the Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China on July 6. Dowdey lived on Soutwest University's campus during his dissertation research in 1995-6 and has lectured, attended conferences and met with anthropology students there every year since.

McQueeney’s Pilgrimage Leads Her to a Wesleyan Connection

Kris McQueeney, administrative assistant in the Theater Department, holds a silver scallop which she acquired in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

During a 100 kilometer pilgrimage across Spain in June 2010, Kristin McQueeney purchased a silver scallop shell slide to wear on her necklace. Little did she know that shell carried a coincidental Wesleyan connection.

Wesleyan's crest, featuring five scallops, was adopted from the John Wesley family's coat of arms. Wesley was a descendent of the Wellysleye/Wellesley family.

The scallop, which represents the pilgrimage across Europe to Santiago de Compostela, also appears on the Wesleyan crest.

According to Valerie Gillispie, assistant university archivist, the Wesleyan crest is based on the Methodist founder John Wesley’s family coat-of-arms. Wesley was a descendent of the Wellysleye/Wellesley family, whose crest bears a cross decorated with five scallop shells.

“Those who made pilgrimages across Europe, or from the port to the holy land or to Rome, could wear the scallop shell as a medallion of honor, or have it displayed on their shield.  The Wesley’s apparently were so eligible,” says John Driscoll, alumni director.

The Wesleyan crest is almost 60 years old. In the early 1950s, the Chicago Alumni Club hoped to secure a place for a coat of arms in the club’s gothic “great hall.” Prominent Wesleyan alumni Daniel Woodhead ’34 and John Baird ’38 reserved “the last and most prestigious spot” over the fireplace – however, they ran into one problem.

“Wesleyan had no coat of arms nor heraldic shield. We had a side visage of John Wesley, but not coat of arms,” he says.

So, the alumni, with the blessing of President Victor L. Butterfield, contracted with the Newbury Library in Chicago to have the research done into the history of the John Wesley. In 1953, Butterfield approved the shield design, which is used today.

The Wesleyan University crest.

McQueeney, administrative assistant in the Theater Department, began her walk in Sarria, Spain and walked to Portomarin, then Melide, then Rua, and finally into Santiago de Compostela in 4 and 1/2 days. She purchased the scallop in Santiago.

“I knew that the scallop shell was the symbol of the pilgrimage; however, didn’t know of any Wesleyan connection until John mentioned it to me during a recent conversation,” McQueeney says. “My reaction was, ‘wow that’s cool. I had no idea.’”

McQueeney walked her second pilgrimage this summer in Rome, Italy.

Animal Studies Scholars Explore Human-Animal Relations

Wesleyan’s Animal Studies hosted the Animals and Society Institute-Wesleyan Animal Studies Fellowship Program Conference June 27-30 in Usdan University Center. The conference is the culminating event in the first annual ASI-WAS Fellowship Program, which brings to campus a broad range of scholars studying human-animal relations. Lori Gruen, chair and professor of philosophy, and Kari Weil, university professor of letters, co-organized the conference.

Photos of the conference faculty, guests and ASI fellows are below:

Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters, spoke on “Animal Deaths and Melancholy Becomings" on June 28.

Kelly Enright, a writer, historian and museum consultant, spoke on "Extinction: How we lose, mourn, and live with lost species" on June 28. Enright, of Vail, Colo. is the author of Rhinoceros (Reaktion 2008), America’s Natural Places: Rocky Mountains & Great Plains (Greenwood 2010), and Osa & Martin: For the Love of Adventure (Lyons 2011). Enright has consulted for museums and non-profits, including the Wildlife Conservation Society and the American Museum of Natural History.

Bruce Performs Music of William Duckworth, Hosts Piano Tutorial

Seated, Neely Bruce, professor of music, performed the piano music of William Duckworth, standing, on July 12 in Crowell Concert Hall.

Bruce performed Duckworth's "The Time Curve Preludes" and "Walden Variations," as well as the "Thoreau” movement from Charles Ives' Piano Sonata No. 2 (the Concord Sonata).

Bruce acknowledges the audience following his performance.

Bruce also hosted a short tutorial for interested musicians in the audience. (Photos by Bill Tyner '13)