Laurie Kenney

West African Rhythms Fill CFA Courtyard

On May 8, members of the Wesleyan community gathered in the CFA Courtyard for an invigorating performance filled with the rhythms of West Africa. Performing were choreographer Iddi Saaka, artist in residence in the dance department, and master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, together with their students in three levels of West African dance courses, plus guest artists. After almost five decades at Wesleyan, Adzenyah will retire in May 2016. To honor his cultural contributions and to recognize his rich professorial and performing legacy, alumni, students, colleagues, and friends are hoping to “drum up” enough support to raise $300,000 for an endowed scholarship in his name. (Photos by Laurie Kenney.)


Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah (center, with hat) and choreographer Iddi Saaka (directly behind Adzenyah) led their students in a West African drumming and dance performance in the CFA Courtyard on May 8.

Grant Supports Kirn’s Research on Adult Neurogenesis

John Kirn

Professor John Kirn recently received a three-year $225,000 grant from the Whitehall Foundation to look at the activity patterns of vocal control neurons formed in adult zebra finches. (Photo by Olivia Drake)


It may not be the most beautiful, or the most complex, or the most well known, but the simple song of the zebra finch is helping Professor John Kirn learn more about how new information is acquired and old information preserved during adult neurogenesis.

Students Spread Dance across Campus

On May 4, students from the Improvisational Forms dance class performed at various locations around campus, including inside and outside Schonberg Dance Studio, Exley Science Center and Olin Memorial Library.

Students in the movement-based class study improvisation from a number of perspectives. Improvising in so many different environments challenges the dancers’ ability to focus while exploring the “score” (prompts/rules) they have pre-set for each specific site, continuously relating to each other and to the unique architecture and nature of each space. The class is taught by Susan Lourie, adjunct professor of dance. (Photos by Laurie Kenney)


Female Voice in Politics Conference Inspires Future Leaders

On May 2, The Female Voice in Politics Conference brought notable and accomplished female politicians and leaders together at Daniel Family Commons in Usdan University Center to discuss the underrepresentation of women in U.S. politics and other issues facing women in the political arena today. Speakers included Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut; Connecticut State Sen. Toni Boucher; Dominique Thornton, former mayor of Middletown; Susan Bysiewicz, former Connecticut Secretary of State; Sidney Powell, attorney and author of Licensed to Lie; and Sarah Wiliarty, director of the Public Affairs Center, associate professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Sciences. The event was organized by Darcie Binder ’15 and Kevin Winnie ’16 and supported by the Government Department, Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, Public Affairs Center, American Studies Department, History Department, and Feminism, Gender and Sexuality Studies. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16.)


Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Representative of Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District, speaks to attendees at The Female Voice in Politics Conference.

Big Draw Unleashes the Artists Within

On April 25, the Friends of the Davison Art Center presented The Big Draw: Middletown, a community celebration of drawing and workshops for all skill levels, from beginning drawers to accomplished artists, at locations across Wesleyan. Facilitated by Wesleyan art professors and students, and sponsored by the Middletown Commission on the Arts and nine local businesses, the fourth annual free event attracted more than 300 participants from almost 40 towns. (Photos by Mariah Reisner ’04 MA ’07 and Tessa Houstoun ’17)

The Big Draw

Face painting was one of many activities offered at The Big Draw.

Springtime Arrives at Wes

Spring weather arrived at Wesleyan this week, and both students and faculty took advantage of the warm temperatures to spend some quality time outdoors. (Photos by Laurie Kenney)

Sophie Massey '15

Sophie Massey ’15

Longley ’82 Speaks at Friends of Wesleyan Library Event

Adobe Photoshop PDFOn April 21, Dione Longley ’82 spoke about her new book, Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories, co-authored by Buck Zaidel (Wesleyan University Press), in the Davison Rare Book Room at Olin Memorial Library as part of the 2015 Friends of the Wesleyan Library Annual Meeting Talk. The book uses soldiers’ letters and diaries, and written accounts by nurses, doctors, soldiers’ families, and volunteers on the home front to vividly portray the war. Hundreds of period photographs (most, previously unpublished) add to the narrative.

Longley was director of the Middlesex County Historical Society in Middletown for 20 years.  Now a public historian and writer, she lives in Higganum.

Dione Longley '82 spoke about "Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories," co-authored by Buck Zaidel,  on April 21 (Photo by Dat Vu '15.)

Dione Longley ’82 spoke about “Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories,” co-authored by Buck Zaidel, on April 21. (Photo by Dat Vu ’15.)


Students Receive Davis Projects for Peace Grant

Claudia Kahindi '18, left, and Olayinka Lawal '15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

Claudia Kahindi ’18, left, and Olayinka Lawal ’15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)


Claudia Kahindi ’18 and Olayinka Lawal ’15 have received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch KIU, an English education project, in Kahindi’s home area of coastal Kenya this summer. Named for the Swahili word for “thirst,” KIU will serve more than 100 fourth-grade students at Kahindi’s alma mater, Kilimo Public Primary School, in Kenya’s Kilifi County.

ICPP Receives $100K Doris Duke Grant

Wesleyan's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) has received a $100K grant from the Doris Duke Foundation.

Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) has received a $100K grant from the Doris Duke Foundation.

Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) has been awarded a four-year, $100,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support the participation of low-income students and students of color in ICPP’s master’s and certificate programs through the ICPP Scholarship Fund.

Founded in 2010 and housed at Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, ICPP is a center for the academic study of the presentation and contextualization of contemporary performance, and offers an interdisciplinary, graduate-level education in innovative and relevant curatorial approaches to developing and presenting time-based art. Starting in July 2015, the institute will offer a master’s degree in performance curation. ICPP’s ten-month, post-graduate certificate program is now in its fourth year.

“We are extremely grateful for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s critical support for the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance’s expanded offerings,” said ICPP Director Samuel A. Miller ’75. “These funds will allow us to significantly enhance access to both our master’s and certificate programs.”

Mentors Share Experience with Female Student-Athletes


On April 17,  more than 30 alumni, parents and community members and 80 student-athletes participated in an Alumni Athletics Mentoring Workshop in Beckham Hall. As part of the program, mentors met with female student-athletes to speak about career options.

Student-athlete Melissa Leung ’16 has first-hand knowledge of the workshop’s value. “At last year’s event, I met my mentor, Clare Colton ’12,” says Leung, who attended the event for the second year in a row. “Clare provided resume and email etiquette advice and connected me with Jim Citrin (P’12 P’14), senior director of Spencer Stuart, who created an internship position for me with Spencer Stuart in Shanghai last semester, during my semester abroad.”

(Photos by Dat Vu ’15.)

eve_ath_2015-0418014433 wp

Former Wesleyan field hockey and lacrosse player Suzi Byers ’94 shares her experience with Rosemary Martin ’16 at the mentoring event.

Faculty, Staff Share Service- and Project-Based Learning Stories


On April 15, faculty and staff met to share their service- and project-based learning stories during an Academic (Technology) Roundtable lunch at the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. A(T)R lunches are designed to promote conversation, cooperation and the sharing of information, ideas and resources among faculty members, librarians, graduate students and staff.

Barbara Juhasz, director of service-learning, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, led the session, providing an overview of service-learning at Wesleyan as well as the variety of ways that service can be used as a pedagogical tool. Other speakers included Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology; Peggy Carey-Best, Health Professions Partnership Initiative advisor; Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships; Sara MacSorley, director of the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center; Janet Burge, associate professor of computer science; Jim Donady, professor of biology, director of Health Professions Partnership Initiative; Anna Shusterman, associate professor of psychology; and Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance.


Jim Donady discusses his ongoing service-learning work at Connecticut Valley Hospital. Left to right: Donady; Sara MacSorley, who shared how service-learning courses can interface with programs at Green Street; Janet Burge, who spoke about how project-based activities are incorporated into her service-learning course, Software Engineering; and Director of Service Learning Barbara Juhasz.