Monthly Archives: December 2011

Gudvangen on the Realities of Financial Aid

The Chronicle of Higher Education continues it’s monthly check-in with John Gudvangen, director of financial aid, and finds him and current students discussing the process and intent behind financial aid awards. Perspectives and suppositions on both sides are explored, and Gudvangen comes away with a possible survey idea that may help him refine his efforts.

98 Students Present Data Analysis, Statistical Research

Amber Smith '14 presents her research during the Quantitative Analysis Center's Fall Poster Session Dec. 9. Smith examined levels of depression among adolescents with and without permanent physical disabilities. "This was my first poster presentation at Wesleyan, and it was amazing to see everyone so engaged in my study," Smith says.

Amber Smith '14 presents her research during the Quantitative Analysis Center's Fall Poster Session Dec. 9. Smith examined levels of depression among adolescents with and without permanent physical disabilities. "This was my first poster presentation at Wesleyan, and it was amazing to see everyone so engaged in my study," Smith says.

Does participating in combat sports (like martial arts and wrestling) or playing contact sports (like football and hockey) influence aggression outside of the sport? According to a study by Zander Parkinson ’13, the answer might be, yes.

English and psychology double major Alexander "Zander" Parkinson '13 presents his study, "Anger and Athletics: The Association between Sports and Aggression."

English and psychology double major Alexander "Zander" Parkinson '13 presents his study, "Anger and Athletics: The Association between Sports and Aggression."

“I found that among male adolescents there was a significant association between activity level and increased likelihood of getting into a physical fight,” Parkinson explained during the Quantitative Analysis Center’s Fall Poster Session Dec. 9. “Adolescents who played an active sport three or more times a week were significantly more likely to get into a physical fight than non-active adolescents who played an active sport two or less times a week.”

Parkinson and 97 other Wesleyan students enrolled in the hands-on course Applied Data Analysis (QAC 201) presented posters as their final exam. More than 30 guests, who use and teach applied statistics, attended the event to speak with students and judge the posters. (View a photo gallery of the poster session online here.)

The interdisciplinary course QAC 201 provides experience in data management and applied statistics. Students develop skills in several aspects of the research process including generating testable hypotheses based on extant data; conducting a literature review and evaluating the content of scientific literature; preparing data for analysis;

Wesleyan Cinema Archives Receives NEH Challenge Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Cinema Archives with a $425,000 challenge grant.

Wesleyan’s Center for Film Studies Cinema Archives has long been acknowledged as one of the most vital collections and educational resources of its kind in the world. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has approved a $425,000 challenge grant to the archives. Support from NEH, which requires a three to one match with private gifts, will ensure that the archives continue to grow and flourish.

The four-year NEH grant will help endow a full-time curatorial position for the Cinema Archives, a collection which includes the personal papers and other materials of such seminal film icons as Frank Capra, Elia Kazan, Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Ingrid Bergman, among others.

“Our Archive is a little gem,” says Jeanine Basinger, Chair and Corwin Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator, Wesleyan Cinema Archives. “We house some of the most important primary documents in film history, and our students are allowed to use these materials in their studies.  However, the real importance lies in the fact that our Archive is also vital to a wide range of other liberal arts researchers. For instance, Frank Capra was not only a famous film director.  He also made science documentaries and was head of the U.S. Office of War Information during World War II. 

Faculty, Students Present at International AGU Conference

Graduate student Austin Reed presented his first results for his MA thesis at the American Geophysical Union conference. Reed and his advisor, Johan Varekamp, are examining the evolution of two large explosive volcanic eruptions in the Greek arc.

Three faculty members from Earth and Environmental Sciences, as well as two graduate students and two undergraduate students, presented their research at the annual conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 5-7. The conference drew more than 20,000 scientists and policy makers from around the world.

Associate Professors Suzanne O’Connell and Dana Royer, Assistant Professor Phillip Resor, and Austin Reed MA-candidate, Rosemary Ostfeld BA ‘10/MA ‘12, and Julia Mulhern ’12 all attended. In addition, a poster by Katherine Shervais ’13, was also presented.

“Our research in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is so diverse, and it is exciting to see Wesleyan faculty, students, and alumni contributing to technical sessions spread across many of the AGU sections,” Resor says.

13 Seniors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

President Michael Roth welcomed 13 students (12 pictured) to Wesleyan's Phi Beta Kappa Dec. 7.

Thirteen seniors joined the U.S.’s ninth oldest Phi Beta Kappa chapter during an induction ceremony Dec. 7.

President Roth and Professor Gary Yohe congratulate Rachel Merzel '12 for being elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Election to the society is based on fulfillment of eligibility requirements. For students elected in the fall, admittance is based on a student’s performance at Wesleyan only through their junior year. A student first must have been nominated by his or her major department. He or she also must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations, and have achieved a grade point average of 93.00 or above.

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776, during the American Revolution. The organization’s Greek initials signify the motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

The students and their majors are: Brittany Laine Baldwin-Hunter, biology; Alicia Doo Castagno, American studies; Ali Khalid Chaudhry, economics/mathematics and computer science; Lee Solomon Gottesdiener, chemistry/neuroscience and behavior; Zin Lin, mathematics and computer science/physics; Cassidy Siegel Mellin, neuroscience and behavior/psychology; and Rachel Leah Merzel, chemistry.

Also Emma Kathryn Mohney, English/romance languages and literatures; Emma Elaine Paine; English; Reed Leon Sarney, mathematics and computer science; Allegra Stout, feminist, gender and sexuality studies/psychology; Brianna Megan van Kan, College of Letters/music/Russian languages and literature; and Kathryn Emily Wagner, biology/molecular biology and biochemistry.

Chapter President Gary Yohe,

Ring in the New Year at Middnight on Main

Wesleyan is co-sponsoring Middnight on Main 2012.

Wesleyan students, employees and their families can ring in the new year with a night of music, dancing, fireworks, crafts and entertainment close to campus.

Starting at 3 p.m. Dec. 31, the City of Middletown will host Middnight on Main 2012, an alcohol-free celebration with unique activities for revelers of all ages, centered in the city’s historic downtown. Events conclude at midnight with a participatory event.

Since Wesleyan is a sponsor of the activity-rich festival, employees are eligible for discounted admission buttons: $6 for kids (usually $10) and $12 for adults (usually $16-$20). To get the discount, use code “Wesleyan 2012” when purchasing your buttons online, or order directly from this link.

“Middnight on Main is a wonderful opportunity for the Wesleyan community

5 Questions With . . . Fred Cohan on Moneyball, Biology

Fred Cohan

This issue, 5 Questions talks about the connections between the Moneyball and biology with Fredrick Cohan, professor of biology.

Q: Fred, you’ve been talking about how the data mining revolution in baseball, championed by the Michael Lewis book Moneyball and the recent movie of the same name starring Brad Pitt, can change science in general and biology, specifically. Really?

A: Absolutely! On the surface, Moneyball is the story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, who found a way to lead his poverty-stricken team to success against teams with many times the payroll of Oakland. But Moneyball is really about the thrill and triumph of data mining—how old data can be gleaned for meaning in ways that were never intended when the data were originally collected. Beane and his colleagues challenged the time-honored “holy trinity” of batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBIs) as the essence of a player’s offensive value. They were working off theories developed by Bill James, who posited in the 1970s that these traditional statistics, which everyone in the game knew provided the “truth” about a player’s value, were really imperfect measurements. James mined the data and developed other measurements, such as O.B.P. (on base percentage),

GLSP Hosts Winter Reception, Baking Contest

Wesleyan's Graduate Liberal Studies Program hosted a winter reception for current students, alumni and friends Dec. 15 in Downey House. Jeffrey Bishop, a GLSP alum, is pictured in the center.

GSLP student Karen Swartz mingles with Stephanie Elliott, publicist at Wesleyan University Press.

Cardinal Technologies Offers Prizes at Wheel Spin

Like Wesleyan University’s Cardinal Technology Center on Facebook? On Dec. 5, students who “liked” the store on Facebook had the opportunity to spin a wheel at Usdan University Center to win prizes.

Assistant store manager Luis Vodak Rodriguez, at right, facilitated the two-hour event. Danielle Adam '13 was the winner of the grand prize - an XBOX 360. (Photos by Bill Tyner '13)

“Wasted Man” at Usdan

The GOVT/EAST/ENVS 304 “Environmental Politics and Democratization” class is presenting its eco-art project in Usdan University Center’s Huss Courtyard this month. The class is taught by Mary Alice Haddad, associate professor of government, environmental studies and East Asian studies.

All of the trash used to build this structure was collected on campus over two days. According to the class, this “Trash Structure” is meant both to highlight the absurd amount of trash generated on our campus every day, and to emphasize the fact that trash does not simply disappear once its primary purpose has been exhausted.

The “Wasted” man is meant to highlight the "wasteful nature of party culture" at Wesleyan, and to encourage students to drink out of re-usable cups to reduce waste.