Daily Archives: December 6, 2013

Ripa Describes Range of Opportunities in GLS

Sarah-Jane Ripa ’02 and MALS ’13 told Hartford Magazine that there’s something for every interested scholar in Wesleyan’s Graduate and Liberal Studies.

Smith ’14 Creates Online Community for Amputees, Families

Amber Smith '14 recently received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant to start up her social enterprise, "I AMputee."

Amber Smith ’14 recently received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant to start up her social enterprise, “I AMputee.”

Amber Smith ’14 understands the importance of having connections with others who understand the hardships faced as an amputee. Smith, an African American studies major, was born with an upper extremity amputation of her left forearm.

On Nov. 6, Smith received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant from the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. The award will serve as seed money for starting up her social enterprise, “I AMputee,” an online community designed for amputees and their families to connect with those of similar circumstances in an effort to create positive, reciprocal relationships grounded in common experience. I AMputee’s slogan is “I AM Human. I AM Inspired. I AMputee.”

“Because of my life experiences, I understand that while there are some amazing organizations geared toward amputee support, there isn’t quite something out there like what I want to create. I’m interested in starting an accessible community that will inspire a movement; a new way of thinking about amputees,” she said.

Smith’s parents didn’t know of her forearm amputation until she was born. They were connected with another couple in a similar situation through a penpal program, among a variety of other resources, through the Shriners Hospital.

Amber Smith '14 met Edward “Ted” Kennedy Jr. ’83 during the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame meeting Nov. 6. Smith said Kennedy "is one of I AMputee's biggest supporters."

Amber Smith ’14 met Edward “Ted” Kennedy Jr. ’83 during the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame meeting Nov. 6. Smith said Kennedy “is one of I AMputee’s biggest supporters.”

Smith hopes that I AMputee will evolve into an internet trading and social network where amputees across the world can pair together to purchase and/or exchange gloves and shoes, split the cost in half, and give new meaning to an unattended item.

In the grant application, Smith included a detailed timeline and budget. In receiving this grant, she’s gained much needed financial support and created the structure needed to start making progress and maintain momentum in building her project for the upcoming year.

During the Nov. 6 ceremony, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame honored Smith for “her outstanding project proposal and her commitment to providing assistant to amputees at home and abroad.”

“I want I AMputee to help us redefine our collective and individual identities,” she said. “I also believe it will help restore pride and humanity to a group of people who are often labeled in ways that strips them of such.”

Learn more about I AMputee on this Facebook site.

#THISISWHY

12 Students Elected Early Decision into Wesleyan’s Honor Society

Twelve students, accompanied with Wesleyan President Michael Roth, attended the Phi Beta Kappa initiation ceremony Dec. 4.

Twelve students, accompanied by Wesleyan President Michael Roth, attended the Phi Beta Kappa initiation ceremony Dec. 4.

Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan’s honor society, welcomed 12 new members during an initiation ceremony Dec. 4 in the Office of Admission. These students have been elected to early decision PBK membership, and hold a GPA of 94.89 and above.

“These new members’ accomplishments during their years at Wesleyan should be a source of pride to themselves and to their families,” said Anna Shusterman, vice president of the Connecticut Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and assistant professor of psychology.

At left, Dean Louise Brown, secretary and marshal for Phi Beta Kappa, and Wesleyan President Michael Roth, congratulated the Phi Beta Kappa inductees.

At left, Dean Louise Brown, secretary and marshal for Phi Beta Kappa, and Wesleyan President Michael Roth, congratulated the Phi Beta Kappa inductees.

To be elected, a student must first have been nominated by the department of his or her major. He or she also must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations, and must have achieved a grade-point average of 93 and above.

“For students elected in the fall, it is an especially exacting selection process because admittance is based on a student’s performance at Wesleyan only through their junior year,” Shusterman said.

Also for this election, students must have completed all of their undergraduate work at Wesleyan.

The students, all from the Class of 2014, are: Amy Blum, Benjamin Jacobs, Sinéad Keogh, Carolyn Lipp , Ayala Mansky, Rebecca McClellan, Elliot Meyerson, Setareh O’Brien, Rachel Olfson, Patrick  Sarver, Ema Tanovic and Ga Eun Yoo.

Class of 2017 Dean Louise Brown, secretary and marshal for Phi Beta Kappa, and Professor of Philosophy Steven Horst, Phi Beta Kappa treasurer, presented and welcomed the new initiates. Wesleyan President Michael Roth also congratulated the new members.

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest surviving Greek letter society in America, founded in December 1776 by five students who attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The emblem contains the three Greek letters “Phi-Beta-Kappa,” which are the initials of the Greek motto, Philosophia Bio Kubernetes. This essentially means “the love of wisdom is the guide of life.”

Photos of the ceremony are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Setareh O’Brien is double majoring in psychology and neuroscience and behavior double-major. Currently, she is organizing an intervention program for students struggling with binge eating. O’Brien balances her coursework with dance, assistant teaching, and involvement in several mental health-related student groups.

New Phi Beta Kappa member Setareh O’Brien is double majoring in psychology and neuroscience and behavior. Currently, she is organizing an intervention program for students struggling with binge eating. O’Brien balances her coursework with dance, assistant teaching, and involvement in several mental health-related student groups.

18 Athletes Earn All-NESCAC Honors, 58 Qualify as “Scholars”

Jake Sheffer '14 (#62) is a lead blocker on a run by LaDarius Drew '15 (#14) while receiver Kevin Hughes '14 (#19) blocks on the back side during a Wesleyan scoring drive against Colby in a 41-0 home victory Oct. 5.  Sheffer, Drew and Hughes were all first-team all-NESCAC choices in 2013, Sheffer for the third straight year.

Jake Sheffer ’14 (#62) is a lead blocker on a run by LaDarius Drew ’15 (#14) while receiver Kevin Hughes ’14 (#19) blocks on the back side during a Wesleyan scoring drive against Colby in a 41-0 home victory Oct. 5. Sheffer, Drew and Hughes were all first-team all-NESCAC choices in 2013, Sheffer for the third straight year. (Photo by Brian Katten)

The Cardinals put away a successful fall season, with 18 athletes earning all-NESCAC honors, 58 qualifying as NESCAC scholar athletes and (in case you haven’t heard) the football team winning the Little Three Title for the first time in 43 years.

Leading the way with 12 all-NESCAC picks were the 7-1 footballers, whose season record was the best finish for the team since 1993. Named to the NESCAC first team were NESCAC leading rusher LaDarius Drew ’15, defensive backs Jake Bussani ’14 and Donnie Cimino ’15, defensive end Nik Powers ’15, center Jake Sheffer ’14 and wide receiver Kevin Hughes ’14. Second-team laurels went to placekicker Sebastian Aguirre ’14, running back Kyle Gibson ’15, offensive lineman Pat DiMase ’15, linebacker Myers Beaird ’14, tight end Jon Day ’15 and return specialist Devon Carrillo ’17. Also noteworthy was the performance of quarterback Jesse Warren ’15, who was tops in the conference for passing efficiency as he competed 64.7 percent of his throws for 1,291 yards and 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Both Hughes and offensive lineman Jeremy Edelberg ’14 were recognized with a spot on the CoSIDA/Capital One District II Academic All-America squad.

CFA Receives Doris Duke Foundation’s Grant Award for Adaptability

A $400,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will support staff expansion, creation of capital reserves, professional development, technology, board or staff retreats and consultants at the Center for the Arts.

A $400,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will support staff expansion, creation of capital reserves, professional development, technology, or staff retreats and consultants at the Center for the Arts.

Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts is the recipient of a $400,000 grant recognizing the CFA as an innovator and leader among arts organizations.

The unsolicited gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is one of five – totaling $3.5 million – given to arts centers around the country. It recognizes these centers for their “adaptability” to changing conditions in the arts sector and is intended to support the groups’ ongoing capacity to respond to these changes, according to the foundation.

“We understand that most organizations do not have enough, if any, “change capital’ – funds they can devote to maximizing their ability,” said Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at the foundation.

These changes include conditions related to demographics, audience behavior and the impact of technology.

“This exciting award really speaks to the CFA’s tradition – 40 years and counting – of building a community of creativity and experimentation,” said President Michael Roth. “Under (Director) Pam Tatge’s leadership our Center for the Arts has found ways to engage an increasingly diverse audience. An award like this also recognizes and supports Wesleyan’s extraordinary commitment to the arts.”

The grants were not open for application. An anonymous panel identified five organizations that demonstrated a sustained appetite to innovate and experiment.

The support will be given over a period of up to four years, and appropriate uses of the money include staff expansion, creation of capital reserves, professional development, technology, board and staff retreats and consultants.

Pam Tatge

Pam Tatge

“This grant came as a complete surprise to me and the staff of the CFA,” said Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts. “We are honored to be recognized in this important way. This grant will allow us to lay the groundwork for continued innovation and exciting programs that serve the campus and community, and advance the creativity of Wesleyan faculty and students and the talented artists we bring to campus.”

The grant counts toward Wesleyan’s multi-year, $400 million THIS IS WHY campaign celebrating access, inquiry and impact.

At this time the program is a unique, one-time event, according to the Doris Duke Foundation. The other grantees were: the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass.; the Oregon Shakespeare Festive in Ashland, Ore.; Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. (where Howard Shalwitz ’74 is artistic director) and On the Boards of Seattle, Wash.

Read more about notable recent CFA initiatives here:

The Creative Campus Initiative (http://www.wesleyan.edu/creativecampus/crossingdisciplines);  the Feet to the Fire program

(http://www.wesleyan.edu/creativecampus/crossingdisciplines/feettothefire),

and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (http://www.wesleyan.edu/icpp).

#THISISWHY

Follow President Roth on Twitter

Wesleyan President Michael Roth welcomes the Wesleyan community to follow him on Twitter @mroth78.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth welcomes the Wesleyan community to follow him on Twitter @mroth78.

On any given day, President Michael Roth writes in paragraphs. Clear, complex blocks of prose that build one upon another into blog posts, essays or even, books, such this one, he’ll publish in May.

Also, on any given day, President Michael Roth tweets.

A cultural historian whose last two books numbered 336 pages and 224 pages respectively, Roth is now also expressing himself in 140 characters (or fewer) nearly every day, and has attracted a following of about 490 in the month since @mroth78 joined the Twitterverse.

“I am really enjoying Twitter, perhaps more than I thought I would,” Roth said. “I like being able to reach out on a variety of topics and give a shout-out to events on campus and some of our amazing alumni.”

Roth joins a large cadre of university and college presidents on Twitter, including Little Three colleague Biddy Martin of Amherst. While some executives and university presidents have assistants to handle their social media presence, Roth Tweets his own.

A sampling of the Roth Twitter oeuvre:

*Teaching the Searchers, thinking about longing, violence, racism and carrying around memory that tortures and inspires. #philosophy and film

*@wesleyan_u Bravo!! Great faculty-student collaboration on The Seagull. Amazing acting and staging

*After all these years, why do my thoughts turn to memories of summer camp on the first cold day of the season.

Follow President Roth on Twitter: @mroth78.

 

Wes Community Gives Back on Giving Tuesday

The Wesleyan community contributed more than $54,000 to the Annual Fund on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3.

The Wesleyan community contributed more than $54,000 to the Annual Fund on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3.

A rallying call of “Because Wesleyan Is Our Cause” united alumni, parents, and current senior students on Giving Tuesday Dec. 3. Together, they contributed more than $54,000 to the Annual Fund during the global day of giving back.

This was Wesleyan’s first year participating in Giving Tuesday, which encourages people around the world to kick off the holiday season with gifts of money, service or time to their favorite causes.

“The response was wonderful,” said Chuck Fedolfi ’90, director of the Wesleyan Fund. “Support from alumni, parents and friends is what keeps Wesleyan strong; it’s our edge, our margin of excellence.”

Altogether, 292 individuals contributed $54,135.76 during the one-day fundraising effort. All gifts count toward Wesleyan’s $400 million multi-year fundraising campaign, with support of financial aid its most important goal.

“There’s nothing mysterious about this. The more support we get from the Wesleyan community, the better we’ll be able to provide access to students in need,” said Fedolfi, who himself received financial aid at the University as an undergraduate.

Giving Tuesday was established by the 92nd Street Y in New York as a national day of philanthropy, in counterpoint to the retail industry’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year more than 2,000 “partner” organizations raised about $10 million on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving; this year more than 10,000 organizations signed up as partners, according to the Giving Tuesday website.

#THISISWHY

Singer, Writer Soro ’14 Creating Performance Based on Lesbian Presence in WWII Army Corps

Jackie Soro '14 considers herself a " feminist with an activist consciousness and a knack for critical theory."

Jackie Soro ’14 considers herself a ” feminist with an activist consciousness and a knack for critical theory.” She is double majoring in feminist, gender and sexuality studies and history.

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Jacqueline “Jackie” Soro from the Class of 2014.

Q: Jackie, where are you from and what brought you to Wesleyan?

A: I’m from Oak Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago — one of the few Midwesterners on campus (I think there are more international students than Midwesterners, so I’m a rare bird)! I came to Wesleyan because I knew I wanted to attend a small, community-centered school somewhere other than the Midwest, and also because I decided that I didn’t want to go to art school. I wanted a place where I could make art and not sacrifice my academic interests in the process of artmaking (and vice versa). At Wesleyan, I can do both! So, it seemed like a great fit for me – and it’s worked out wonderfully.

Q: What are you majoring in and why?

Jackie Soro works at the Center for the Arts Box Office.

Jackie Soro works at the Center for the Arts Box Office. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

A: I am a feminist, gender and sexuality studies and history double major. Another reason I chose Wesleyan, actually, is because of the flexibility of the curriculum — without a restrictive core curriculum, you can really create your own path of study, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’m a history major because history been my favorite subject since elementary school; there’s just something so fascinating about tracing the histories of global patterns of influence. And I chose FGSS because the politics and poetics of gender and sexuality (to use a very Wesleyan phrase) are my passion. I am a feminist with an activist consciousness and a knack for critical theory, so I love the compassion and rigor of the FGSS major.

Q: Tell us about your senior performance art project.

A: My performance is one part performance art, two parts dance, three parts playtime and one part improvisation. It’s interdisciplinary, just like my course of study has been; it’s a physical expression of the research I have done on history of lesbian presence in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. I want to take some of the concepts I’ve been grappling with on paper and transform them into a kind of dance, and ask questions about how humans communicate on a nonverbal plane(s), and how the gaze of others shape our physical bodies. Basically, the performance will include a lot of questions, a few answers, some more questions, singing, dancing, interactive genderbending, and face paint.

Q: What are your plans after graduating this May?

A: Up in the air! I know I’m going to spend the summer in one of my favorite places in the world – Circle Pines Center in the middle-of-nowhere, Michigan, working as a counselor for the kids’ social justice summer camp there. I’ve been involved at Circle Pines as a camper, counselor, musician, and volunteer since I was 13, and I think it’s the perfect place for me to return to and gather my thoughts after graduation.

Q: How long have you worked for the Center for the Arts Box Office? What do you like about this experience?

A: I’ve worked at the Box Office since the beginning of my sophomore year, and to be frank, it’s the best job on campus. Campus life moves at such a fast pace that it can sometimes be difficult to get it together to attend CFA events, so I feel really lucky to be aware of the dozens and dozens of amazing concerts that the CFA sponsors each year. (AND I get into a lot of them for free if I sell tickets at the door!). I also have the coolest boss. Underclasspeople, this is the place to apply.

Q: Tell us about your musical interests.

A: I sing in The New Group, known lovingly

20 Teams Participate in Wesleyan’s Cardinal Fit Challenge

Several Wesleyan employees went skating at Freeman Athletic Center in November as part of the Cardinal Fit Challenge.

Several Wesleyan employees went skating at Freeman Athletic Center in November as part of the Cardinal Fit Challenge.

More than 20 teams from Wesleyan are participating in the 10-week Cardinal Fit Challenge, sponsored by the Office of Human Resources and the Cardinal Fit Committee. The goal of the challenge is to encourage Wesleyan employees to develop or enhance their exercise and healthy eating habits. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

Teams earn points by completing various milestones. Bonus points are awarded for unique challenges, such as skating at Freeman Athletic Center in November.

“The program has been very successful and participants should look forward to more challenges in the future,” said Pat Melley, director of Human Resources.

Learn more about Cardinal Fit online here.

 

Blue Man Group, Co-Founder Wink ’83 Entertain Wesleyan Audience in Boston

Wesleyan alumni, faculty, staff, family and friends experienced a one-of-a-kind Wesleyan-themed version of the Blue Man Group's 2013 show at a special fundraising event at Boston's Charles Playhouse on Nov. 13. Blue Man co-founder Chris Wink '83 was on hand for a post-show talkback with President Michael Roth.

Wesleyan alumni, faculty, staff, family and friends experienced a one-of-a-kind Wesleyan-themed version of the Blue Man Group’s 2013 show at a special fundraising event at Boston’s Charles Playhouse on Nov. 13. Blue Man co-founder Chris Wink ’83 was on hand for a post-show talkback with President Michael Roth.

Wesleyan Students Teach Local Children about Science

On Nov. 9, Wesleyan’s informal science education class in conjunction with the Wesleyan Science Outreach Club presented Science Saturday, a semi-annual fun afternoon of hands-on science for the whole family. Activities took place inside the Exley Science Center.

Wesleyan students taught science lessons that they have been working on this semester, with experiments involving dissections of biological specimens, roller coaster models, and an explosions demo. More than 50 local children and their parents attended.

Andrea Roberts, visiting assistant professor of chemistry; Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; and students from the CHEM 241 Informal Science Education course coordinated the event.

Photos of the event are below:

sciencesat9

Life in the Universe, Politics of Pleasure Topics of Wesleyan Thinks Big

Five Wesleyan professors delivered nine-minute lectures during Wesleyan Thinks Big Nov. 20 in Memorial Chapel. Students nominated their favorite professors earlier this semester. Wesleyan Thinks Big is a lecture series designed to give audiences presentations by popular faculty in a format similar to “TED” talks.

Five Wesleyan professors delivered nine-minute lectures during Wesleyan Thinks Big Nov. 20 in Memorial Chapel. Wesleyan Thinks Big is a lecture series designed to give audiences presentations by popular faculty in a format similar to “TED” talks.