Aletta Brady ’15 conducted firsthand interviews with leaders in three Nile basin countries for her thesis, “Freshwater Negotiation in the Nile River Basin: What Explains the Patterns of Conflict and Cooperation?” (Photo courtesy of Aletta Brady)
In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with C. Aletta Brady from the Class of 2015. Brady is a government major with a concentration in international politics. She is a research assistant in the Department of Government, president of the Wesleyan Chapter of Active Minds and co-chair of the Government Majors Committee.
Q: How did you choose your thesis subject?
A: Last summer when I was swimming in the Red Sea in Egypt, someone asked me why I was investigating water scarcity and transnational water cooperation. The water was turquoise and completely clear; I could see my toes. I told them that water is vital for life, and that the number of people without access to sufficient and clean freshwater is only growing. They pushed me to go deeper. I looked down at my red toenail polish surrounded by vibrant coral reefs and schools of fish. It hit me in that moment that the root of it all was that I love water. I grew up in water. I’m from Minnesota, where we have more than 10,000 lakes, and I grew up swimming, waterskiing, tubing, canoeing, skinny-dipping, fishing and floating in water. I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s my favorite drink, and it’s where I’m most alive and most at peace. So, while I have an intellectual interest in how to preserve scarce freshwater resources, at the root of it, my interest is personal.
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Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner ’15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture.” (Photo by Laurie Kenney)
In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Kate Weiner from the Class of 2015. Weiner is an anthropology and environmental studies major.
Q: Can you describe your thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture”?
A: My thesis is an exploration of how community, identity and belonging interact in urban agricultural spaces, with my hands-on fieldwork with East New York Farms! serving as a case study for examining urban agriculture as a political project. Through melding creative non-fiction, feminist theory, community politics and environmental studies, the intention of my thesis is to provide a framework for understanding the various social, natural, socioeconomic and political factors that shape community-making within urban agriculture.
Q: How did you choose your thesis topic?
A: Arriving at my thesis subject was several years in the making. Throughout the summer of 2013, I photographed female urban farmers along the Eastern Seaboard
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Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies, has co-authored a paper published in FEBS Letters, an international journal established for the rapid publication of final short reports in the fields of molecular biosciences.
The paper, which is an expansion of her lab’s work on the enzyme Heptosyltransferase I, is titled “Cloning and Characterization of the Escherichia coli Heptosyltransferase III: Exploring Substrate Specificity in Lipopolysaccharide Core Biosynthesis,” The paper is co-authored by her former graduate student Jagadesh Mudapaka. FEBS Letters is published by Elsevier on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
Taylor also is the co-author of “Improving Alternate Lignin Catabolite Utilization of LigAB from Sphingobium sp. strain SYK-6 through Site Directed Mutagenesis,” published in Process Biochemistry, June 2015. The work in this paper describes molecular engineering of the enzyme LigAB to be better able to metabolize compounds derived from Lignin. Co-authors include Kevin Barry, PhD ’15; Erin Cohn ’15 and Abraham Ngu ’13.
Taylor presented her research “Thoughts about Adenosine: Efforts in Drug Discovery of Nucleoside Utilizing Enzymes” at the Gordon Research Conference: Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Oligonucleotides in July. Her talk described the work she is performing to help in drug discovery for two enzymes from E. coli, Heptosyltransferase I and the TrmD tRNA methyltransferase, and one human enzyme, p300 histone acetyl transferase.
“Our work in these systems involves computational modeling of interactions between small molecules and the enzymes, to help design new compounds with medical applications,” Taylor explained.
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.
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Wesleyan students celebrated the end of the 2014-15 academic year during the annual Spring Fling, held May 7 on Foss Hill. Musicians included Djemba Djemba, The Julie Ruin and Jeremih. Read more about the bands in this Wesleyan Argus article.(All photos by Laurie Kenney.)
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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.
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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)
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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.
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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)
Face painting was one of many activities offered at The Big Draw.
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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
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On 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.)
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.
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