Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Labs hosted Family Math Night at Edna Stevens Elementary School in Cromwell, Conn. on April 9. The event was full of games and activities for preschool children to play and get them excited about math while showing families activities that they can do at home to prepare their children for kindergarten. Assistant Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman’s students designed the math games as part of a research methods class.
In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Swetha Mummini ’14 who studied abroad last spring through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad Program. Her study abroad program hires two graduating past participants to be paid interns for the year after graduation and Mummini received the internship for the science and health programs assistant.
Q: What prompted you to study abroad in Copenhagen?
A: Macaroni and cheese. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous, but the first time I seriously considered going abroad was at the very beginning of junior year when my friend Catherine invited her friends over for baked macaroni and cheese. Over the course of the meal, her friends talked about their plans to go abroad during spring semester of junior year, and that moment served as my personal eureka moment. I realized what a unique opportunity studying abroad was and how I should take the opportunity to pursue it. That night, I was up until 4 a.m. researching programs and trying to find the perfect fit. Denmark has always fascinated me, especially because of its status as the happiest country in the world and its welfare state. The program that I chose, the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), also offered a wide variety of health science and public health classes that appealed to me.
Q: What did you like about the DIS program in particular?
A: For premedical students, DIS has a unique program called Medical Practice and Policy. It’s a very hands-on program that exposes students to the fundamentals of clinical medicine and the European healthcare system. By participating in the program, I was able to get clinical exposure that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to experience in the U.S. I learned how to take a patient’s case history and formulate a diagnosis. I also learned how to perform basic medical procedures, such as taking an ultrasound and drawing blood. To give students a broader understanding of healthcare policy, our class also took a weeklong trip to Vienna and Budapest where we heard from physicians and other medical specialists about the challenges in their healthcare systems.
Wesleyan’s Center for Community Partnerships celebrated its 10th year anniversary on April 8. The CCP, located inside the Allbritton Center, serves the development of both the individual and the community and is guided by principles of mutual respect and shared responsibility. The different offices that combine to constitute the CCP are the Service-Learning Center, the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism, the Office of Community Relations, the Green Street Arts Center/PIMMS, and the Center for Prison Education.
Each office within the CCP connects Wesleyan to surrounding communities. The Service-Learning Center integrates experiences outside the classroom with an academic curriculum taught within the classroom to broaden students’ understanding of course content in virtually any discipline through activities that are simultaneously of service to the community. The Office of Community Service and Volunteerism fosters Community building within the University and with the communities of Middletown and Middlesex County, maintaining the spirit of public service at Wesleyan by offering opportunities to participate in volunteer work, providing work-study placements, and supporting student-sponsored social action initiatives. The Office of Community Relations aims to enhance and maintain collaborative initiatives between Wesleyan and the greater Middletown community and beyond while developing and strengthening partnerships within the Wesleyan campus by working closely with the other offices in the CCP as well as other partners on- and off-campus such as the Upward Bound programs. The Green Street Arts Center/PIMMS offers programs for the youth and educators of Middletown and greater Connecticut, offering opportunities for Wesleyan students and working with faculty members on the broader impacts of their research. And the Center for Prison Education offers a high-caliber liberal arts education inside prison walls, advancing Wesleyan’s commitment to civic engagement by offering college courses to incarcerated individuals in order to enrich the lives of those who are systematically denied access to educational opportunities.
Read past stories about the Center for Community Partnerships here.
Photos of the 10th year anniversary are below:
Avery Esdaile ’00 started his new job as athletic director for Boston Public Schools on Monday, April 14. Before his recent transition, Esdaile spent 12 years in the Wellesley College Athletic Department.
Ken Still, the former athletic director for Boston Public Schools, retired in October, leaving the schools without an AD for much of the fall and the entire winter season. Esdaile, with a degree in sociology from Wesleyan and a master’s of science in management of sports industries from the University of New Haven, says he is looking forward to being “in a position to hopefully down the line develop a program that infuses some learning and life lessons through athletics” because he hopes to help “kids that participate in athletics not only grow athletically but grow as the people that they are,” according a Boston Globe article.
Esdaile will face challenges through the transition from college to high school including the huge shift in size; at Wellesley he had only one team in each sport but as AD for Boston Public Schools, he has multiple teams participating in each sport. One issue Esdaile is planning to tackle is “the lack of interest in certain sports in the city.”
Less popular sports include hockey and swimming and Esdaile hopes to give students more opportunities to participate in these sports. Speaking about his plans, he states, “Right now, for me to come in and make changes would be foolish. The goal is to get through the year, take that breath, and then start to get ready for next year and look at what are some of things that we can do that make us more efficient or open the lines of communication or deal with anything that will just make what we do in this office here work at a higher level.”
Jeremy Serwer ’70 joined the Outlet Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2005, the Developers of Outlet Centers and Retailers started the Outlet Industry Hall of Fame to honor people in the outlet retail industry who help the industry grow and improve. Serwer is the president of a consulting firm he began in 1993.
At Wesleyan, Serwer majored in French, Russian, and music, so his decision to enter the retail industry shocked his family. As a 14-year-old boy working in a girls’ clothing store, Serwer thought that retail was the most exciting market. “The constant demand and constant energy and the measurement of your efforts every day through sales really turned me on,” he said.
With a client list that includes Michael Kors and Jockey, Serwer has worked on both developer and retail sides of the industry. As he accepted the award, Serwer said he had “never envisioned that the industry would become a primary channel of growth and innovation. We started with a cigar box for cash and 2-year-old inventory, and then one day a landlord offered to write a check to build a store.”
Jerry Hourihan ’86 is the new president of AIG Private Client Group for the United States and Canada. In his new role, Jerry will drive the development, implementation, and execution of strategies and priorities in the Private Client Group business.
Before being named president, Hourihan served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for AIG Personal Lines, working with marketing, distribution management, and field operations. Hourihan has been with AIG Private Client Group since 2002 and has held several different positions. At Wesleyan, he studied economics.
Lori Gruen, professor of philosophy, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, professor of environmental studies, and coordinator of Wesleyan Animal Studies recently edited a new book, The Ethics of Captivity. The book explores the various conditions of captivity for humans and for other animals and examines ethical themes that imprisonment raises. Chapters written by those with expert knowledge about particular conditions of captivity discuss how captivity is experienced. The book also contains new essays by philosophers and social theorists that reflect on the social, political, and ethical issues raised by captivity.
One topic covered in many chapters in the book is zoos. Gruen recently published on Oxford University Press’s blog about the high-profile killing of a two-year-old giraffe named Marius by the Copenhagen Zoo because his genes were already “well-represented” in Europe’s giraffe population. His body was autopsied in public and fed to lions. Those lions, an adult pair and their two cubs, were later killed to make room for a younger male lion that was not related to any of the captive female lions.
Gruen writes that while zoos were originally designed to entertain visitors, they have increasingly expanded their roles to include conservation and education due to the heightened awareness of endangered species and the danger of extinction. Zoos tend to place more value in the overall genetic diversity of a captive population than on the well-being of an individual animal. Gruen suggests that seeing animals as disposable may undermine conservation efforts. That attitude towards animals is part of what has lead to so many wild animals to be threatened. She reminds us that “Causing death is what zoos do. It is not all that they do, but it is a big part of what happens at zoos, even if this is usually hidden from the public. Zoos are institutions that not only purposely kill animals, they are also places that in holding certain animals captive, shorten their lives. Some animals, such as elephants and orca whales, cannot thrive in captivity and holding them in zoos and aquaria causes them to die prematurely.” Some of the chapters in the upcoming book explore how zoos affect animals in the zoos and the people who watch those animals.
Click here to learn more about the book or to purchase it.
Gruen also wrote a post on OUP Blog based on the book.
After an extensive national search, Mental Health America’s board of directors has named Paul Gionfriddo ’75 the new president and CEO of the organization. Gionfriddo is an experienced nonprofit leader and former state legislator and mayor. During his over 30-year career, Gionfriddo has held many leadership positions related to health and public heath; he has led nonprofit organizations in three states, run his own consulting business, specializing in public health, children’s health, primary care and mental health.
In 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appointed Gionfriddo to a four-year term on the National Advisory Council to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services. Gionfriddo writes a popular weekly health policy blog and has written multiple essays, one of which was adapted as an opinion article in The Washington Post. Not only did Gionfriddo get his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan, he was also a member of the adjunct faculty during the 1990s.
Marty Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environmental studies, will present her work with the MARS Rover missions on Tuesday, April 8 at the final Science of Screen of the year.
The monthly Science on Screen events pair local scientists with screenings of popular movies. Gilmore’s presentation of her research will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a screening of Mission to Mars.
Gilmore’s primary research involves using images of the surface of Mars and Venus to interpret geological processes and history. For example, her research includes searching for clues regarding where and when there might have been water on Mars. She is also interested in the future of planetary exploration: how to bring back soil samples from Mars and Venus and using artificial intelligence to improve the capabilities of the Mars Rovers.
The presentation and screening will take place at Real Art Ways at 56 Arbor Street in Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit the website.
James Lieber ’84, president of the consulting firm, Lieber Strategies, hosted a dinner for Wesleyan students in Paris in March.
“I think they were all fed for a week,” Lieber said.
After graduating from Wesleyan with a BA with honors in art history, Lieber went on to get his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard and a juris doctor degree cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law. In Paris, he founded Lieber Strategies, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in management of cross-border projects for multinational and national corporations, investment funds and private individuals.