Lauren Rubenstein

Associate Manager of Media & Public Relations at Wesleyan University

Sanislow, Bartolini ’11, Zoloth ’10 Published in Human Behavior Encyclopedia

Charles Sanislow, assistant professor of psychology; Ellen Bartolini ’11; and Emma Zoloth ’10 are the co-authors of an article on avoidant personality disorder, published in the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 2nd Edition by the Elsevier imprint Academic Press, pages 257-266, 2012.
According to an abstract of the article, “Avoidant personality disorder (APD) is characterized by severe and chronic social anxiety. Prospective studies demonstrate modest symptomatic stability and chronic functional impairment. Current diagnostic conceptualizations distinguish APD from other distress disorders, such as anxiety and depression, by a long-standing pattern of social avoidance accompanied by fears of criticism and low self-worth so pervasive that it defines who a person is. New proposals to refine the diagnosis include the addition of trait components focusing on negative emotionality, introversion, anhedonia, and compulsive risk aversion to better distinguish APD from other anxiety-related disorders. APD is a useful diagnostic construct that captures an entrenched manifestation of social anxiety driven by feelings of low self-worth and the expectation of rejection.”

 

Seniors, BA/MAs Present Thesis Research at NSM Poster Session

Seth Hafferkamp '12 presents his thesis titled, "Autoionization Lifetime Measurements of Na2 Rydberg States" at the "Celebration of Science Theses" April 19 in Exley Science Center. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Fifteen Wesleyan students presented posters on their research in the sciences and mathematics at the seventh annual “Celebration of Science Theses” event held April 19.

“You help keep our sciences here vibrant and alive,” Ishita Mukerji, dean of natural sciences and mathematics, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, tells the students gathered in the lobby of Exley Science Center as she congratulates them. Mukerji says she hopes that after pausing to celebrate their achievements, the students will continue to pursue research for many years to come.

The work presented by seniors and BA/MA students spans a wide range of disciplines.

Micah Wylde ’12 presents his research on “Safe Motion Planning for Autonomous Driving."

For his project, Micah Wylde ’12, a computer science major, developed algorithms for self-driving cars, like the cars reportedly being developed by Google. The algorithms translate high-level navigation goals (eg. Drive from home to the grocery store) into actual turns of the steering wheel. “I was working particularly on safety, which is a big deal when you have one-ton cars hurtling down the road,” he explains.

Wylde says self-driving cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction. “Everything has come together in the last five years—algorithms, sensing technology,” he says. “Now it’s just refining it.”

He adds, “In the next decade, there are going to be autonomous cars on the road—no question.”

Tom Oddo ’12, a Science in Society Program major, studied the work of D. D. Palmer, who founded chiropractics at the turn of the 20th century. Oddo plans to train to be a chiropractor after graduation, and sought to explain the stigma attached to the practice.

Anthropology Class Completes Service Learning Project in Brooklyn

Community members Guido and Tish Ciancotta of GREC (sitting), Laura Hofmann of OUTRAGE, Chris Henderson of St. Nicks Alliance, and Pat Dobosz of GEM, pose with ANTH 289 students and faculty Gillian Goslinga and Jill Sigman at the close of the community ritual.

The students in ANTH 289, “Ritual, Health, and Healing” stepped outside the Wesleyan campus this spring to participate in a service learning project in the North Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint.

According to Assistant Professor of Anthropology Gillian Goslinga—who co-taught the course with Artist-in-Residence Jill Sigman, a North Brooklyn-based performance artist—Greenpoint is a neighborhood facing multiple health, social and environmental challenges. The students in this Creative Campus anthropology course, which is cross-listed with Science in Society and Dance, had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of community organizations, each dedicated to addressing a different issue. This is the first time Goslinga and Sigman have taught the course, which covers topics such as shamanic ritual and traditional medicine, as well as community health and social and environmental justice, and tackles questions of the efficacy of ritual and the traditional ritual/modern medicine dichotomy. The course also has a weekly movement lab, led by Jill Sigman, where students use choreographed movements to explore course concepts.

The service learning project in Greenpoint grew out of Sigman’s artistic work. A multi-media artist and choreographer, Sigman had been commissioned to create the seventh hut in her “Hut Project” by the Arts@Renaissance unit of St. Nicks Alliance, a community organization that works on affordable housing issues in North Brooklyn. For her Hut Project, Sigman builds sculptures, dwellings and stages out of repurposed and found materials, which then become sites for performance and community discussions on the critical issues of garbage, environment and housing. Goslinga says, “The tie-in with the themes of the course was obvious.”

“One of my goals for the course had been to invite students to query default biomedical framings of health and healing, where individual biology tends to be over-privileged even in epidemiological studies, and to broaden thinking about causalities for suffering, extending these to social, historical and environmental traumas, where suffering can also be about loss and shock, forced displacement and discriminatory policy decisions, structural poverty and environmental degradation (often all are related),” she says. “In these contexts, community ritual can be a restorative response.”

Students Inducted into French Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi

This year, 11 seniors were inducted into the French National Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi, on April 18. The students were recognized for their outstanding scholarship in the French language and literature. Pictured, from left to right, are inductees Rachel Tretter, Carina Kaufman, Sarah La Rue, Emma Mohney, Kelvin Kofie, Rachel Silton, Meera Suresh, Hahn Le, Alexandra Kinney.

Catherine Poisson, associate professor of romance languages and literatures, led the initiation ceremony. The society seeks to increase Americans' knowledge and appreciation of the cultural contributions of French-speaking countries, and to stimulate and encourage French and francophone cultural activities.

Rachel Tretter , in the foreground, signs the Pi Delta Phi book, making her membership official, while Poisson watches on.

Carina Kaufman, Sarah La Rue, Emma Mohney recite a pledge in French. Members of the society pledge to continue to promote and celebrate the French language and the Francophone culture throughout their life.

In foreground, Alexandra Kinney, and behind, from left, Rachel Silton, Meera Suresh and Hahn Le recite the pledge. (Photos by Charlotte Christopher '12)

Roth Speaks at MCC’s Presidential Inauguration

Michael Roth

On April 21, Wesleyan President Michael Roth spoke at the inauguration of Anna M. Wasescha as Middlesex Community College’s sixth president. Roth joined Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and many others to welcome the new president.

In his speech, Roth said: “Middlesex Community College and Wesleyan have common ground … literally. Last September members of our institutions stood together on Main Street Middletown to celebrate Moving Planet Day, and to join in the commitment to reduce fossil fuel use. Supporting that celebration was Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, which we have begun in the last few years. We have also made significant investments in energy efficiency and in a more sustainable approach to our dining services. So, I am especially pleased by the theme of this inauguration celebration, ‘Going Green.’ Institutions of higher learning should be setting an example regarding responsibility for the environment. And in this – as in a great many things – I’m happy to see that Wesleyan and Middlesex Community College are taking a common stand. President Wasescha, welcome to Central Connecticut, welcome to Middletown, welcome to common ground.”

Video of the inauguration can be seen here.

Lim on Cuomo’s “Historic” Governorship

The New York Times turned to Associate Professor of Government Elvin Lim for a story examining New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s frequent use of the term “historic” to describe legislation passed under his watch. From legalizing same-sex marriage in the state to establishing a loan program for energy-efficient home improvements, Cuomo’s administration has “made history” more than 80 times since taking office 16 months ago, judging by press releases issued by his office. “A rich person does not brag about it — only the nearly rich does,” says Lim, who is author of “The Anti-Intellectual Presidency,” a critique of presidential oratory.

Roth Reviews “The Patagonian Hare”

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth published a review of Claude Lanzmann’s new autobiography, “The Patagonian Hare: Memoir” in The Washington Post. He writes: “Successful memoirs usually require more than the usual amount of self-absorption, and sometimes an annoying, even comical dose of narcissism. ‘The Patagonian Hare‘ is full of Lanzmann’s cloying self-regard, but we accept it for the single reason that he created ‘Shoah,’ his 1985 documentary about the Nazi war against the Jews, one of the masterworks of cinema. A man who produces a great work of art that succeeds in deeply affecting our consciousness of the past and of the human condition deserves to be listened to. And so we listen to Lanzmann.”

Krishnan’s Dance Performance Praised in Canadian Media

Artist-in-Residence Hari Krishnan, pictured in back, performs "Fallen Rain."

Hari Krishnan, artist-in-residence in dance, received widespread media attention for his dance company’s performance season in Canada. Positive reviews and articles appeared in the Toronto StandardToronto.comXtra!To Live With CultureMooney on Theatreand Fab Magazine.

In other exciting news, Krishnan’s dance company, inDANCE, was invited to present “Quicksand” and a new solo (commissioned for Jacob’s Pillow) at the Canada Dance Festival, the country’s most prestigious contemporary dance festival, on June 11.

Stemler on Evaluating Teachers’ Performance

In an op-ed published in the Hartford Courant, Assistant Professor of Psychology Steve Stemler argues that student test scores are a poor basis for evaluating teachers. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed education reform package would tie decisions about teacher tenure and pay to teacher evaluations, which are partially based on student test scores under a new evaluation system.

Craighead on Slowing U.S. Economy

Assistant Professor of Economics Bill Craighead weighs in for McClatchy Newspapers on a new report showing U.S. economic growth slowed to a disappointing 2.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2012. He points out that while consumer spending grew at a healthy 2.9 percent, despite relatively flat income growth, business investment remained weak.

“I think what it says is consumers are coming back a bit, but firms are still holding back. They don’t feel confident enough in the recovery to start adding to capacity” and expanding, he says. Consumers appear to be making up for cautious spending in recent years, more confident that the worst is over, he suggests in the article.

“Given corporate profits, you might have hoped for more investment growth,” Craighead says. The economy continues to “hit the snooze button. … It’s acceptable growth in the normal economy, but given how many people are unemployed it is disappointing.”