Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu.

New Patios to Provide Seating Areas along College Row

As part of the College Row sidewalk renovation in August, crews installed three stone patios and gardens. Once completed, seating areas and tables will offer community members and visitors areas to rest and enjoy the scenery.

Patio installation near 41 Wyllys.

Contractors work on a patio installation near 41 Wyllys on Aug. 18.

Wesleyan Hosting New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference Oct. 9-11

The 107th New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference will  be hosted by Wesleyan in Octobe

The 107th New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference will be hosted by Wesleyan in October. (Click to enlarge)

Wesleyan’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is hosting the 107th New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference Oct. 9-11 on campus and in the field. Several Wesleyan faculty, students and alumni are participating in the conference, which includes trips to local sites of ancient and modern geological interest.

Participants will have the opportunity to examine tectonic slivers of oceanic terrain near New Haven; explore groundwater flow patterns and geologic deposits in Bloomfield; observe a gravel bed channel affected by a dam removal on the Naugatuck River in Waterbury; learn about the bedrock geology in Collinsville; examine common continental facies that comprise the Jurassic Portland Formation in the Hartford Basin at multiple locations; observe mineral forming geoenvironments near Trumbull; study a cranberry bog restoration in Massachusetts, and much more.

In addition, Wesleyan’s Johan Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, and Ellen Thomas, University Professor in the College of Integrative Sciences, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, will lead a tour of coastal marshes

The Mash, “Bach to School” Kick Off CFA’s New Season

The Mash will kick off the 2015-16 Center for the Arts series on Setp. 11. Inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, the fourth annual festival highlights Wesleyan's student music scene.

The Mash will kick off the 2015-16 Center for the Arts series on Sept. 11. Inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, the fourth annual festival highlights Wesleyan’s student music scene.

Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts 2015-16 season includes two world premieres, one United States premiere, one New England premiere, four Connecticut debuts and the following events:

Artist in Residence and University Organist Ronald Ebrecht will perform "Bach to School" at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in Memorial Chapel. The concert will feature a lively recital of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck, Charles-Marie Widor, and John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce. (photo by Sandy Aldieri)

Artist in Residence and University Organist Ronald Ebrecht will perform “Bach to School” at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in Memorial Chapel. The concert will feature a lively recital of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck, Charles-Marie Widor, and John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce. (photo by Sandy Aldieri)

• Sept. 11: The Mash at Olin Library, North College, Center for the Arts and Foss Hill.
• Sept. 11: “Bach to School” at the Memorial Chapel with Artist in Residence and University Organist Ronald Ebrecht
• Sept. 13: Music at The Russell House: Julie Ribchinsky Bach and the Modern World
• Sept. 16-Dec. 13: “R. Luke Dubois—In Real Time” exhibition in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
• Sept. 17-Nov. 7: Eiko Otake — “A Body in Places”
• Sept. 18: Nicholas Payton Trio featuring Gerald Cannon and Herlin Riley
• Sept. 24: “Theater After Wesleyan” panel discussion
• Sept. 25-26: Connecticut debut of Dorrance Dance
• Sept. 28: The Combat Paper Project
• Oct. 7-11: 39th annual Navaratri Festival
• Oct. 9: Daniel Beaty performing “Mr. Joy”

Ulysse’s Author of Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-Quake Chronicle

Gina Athena Ulysse

Book by Gina Athena Ulysse.

Gina Athena Ulysse, professor of anthropology, is the author of Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-Quake Chronicle, published by Wesleyan University Press in 2015.

In this book, Ulysse, a Haitian-American anthropologist and performance artist, makes sense of her homeland in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

Mainstream news coverage of the catastrophic earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, reproduced longstanding narratives of Haiti and stereotypes of Haitians. Cognizant that this Haiti, as it exists in the public sphere, is a rhetorically and graphically incarcerated one, Ulysse embarked on a writing spree that lasted more than two years. As an ethnographer and a member of the diaspora, Ulysse delivers a critical cultural analysis of geopolitics and daily life in a series of dispatches, op-eds and articles on post-quake Haiti.

Her complex yet singular aim is to make sense of how the nation and its subjects continue to negotiate sovereignty and being in a world where, according to a Haitian saying, tout moun se moun, men tout moun pa menm (all people are human, but all humans are not the same). This collection contains 30 pieces, most of which were previously published in The Haitian Times, Huffington Post, Ms Magazine, Ms Blog, NACLA and other print and online venues. The book is trilingual (English, Kreyòl and French) and includes a foreword by award-winning author and historian Robin D.G. Kelley.

Long Lane Farm Interns Sell Produce at North End Farmers Market

Connor Brennan ’18 and Tony Strack ’18 sold produce from Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm Aug. 21 at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Brennan spent the summer working as an intern for the student run organic farm, which provides students with a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture.  The produce grown on Long Lane also is donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry and served to students in Usdan University Center.

Connor Brennan ’18 and Tony Strack ’18 sold produce from Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm Aug. 21 at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Brennan spent the summer working as an intern for the student-run organic farm, which provides students with a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture.
The produce grown on Long Lane also is donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry and served to students in Usdan University Center.

Ben Daley ’18 and Seamus Edson ’18 provided musical entertainment during the North End Farmers Market. Ben also was a summer Long Lane Farm intern.

Ben Daley ’18 and Seamus Edson ’18 provided musical entertainment during the North End Farmers Market. Daley also was a summer Long Lane Farm intern.

Grants Support New CEAS Faculty Positions, Japanese Language Databases

With support from The Japan Foundation, Wesleyan acquired three electronic databases including JapanKnowledge, a large collection of language dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries, and other Japanese reference works for Japanese-only searches of historical terms and figures. It includes abbreviate version of the Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan in English and full-text coverage of the Toyo Bunko and Shan Ekonomisuto (Weekly Economist).

With support from The Japan Foundation, Wesleyan acquired three electronic databases including JapanKnowledge, a large collection of language dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries, and other Japanese reference works for Japanese-only searches of historical terms and figures. It includes an abbreviated version of the Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan in English and full-text coverage of the Toyo Bunko and Shan Ekonomisuto (Weekly Economist).

The College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) received two major, multi-year grant awards to hire new faculty and improve library resources.

The Korea Foundation has awarded the CEAS a $314,330 five-year grant to support the hiring of a tenure-track faculty member in Korean political economy. The mission of The Korea Foundation is to promote better understanding of Korea within the international community and to increase friendship and goodwill between Korea and the rest of the world through various exchange programs. Located in Seoul, the foundation was established in 1991 with the aim to enhance the image of Korea in the world and also to promote academic and cultural exchange programs.

The Japan Foundation grant also supports the Yomiuri Shinbun, a full text database of the Yomiuri Shinbun from its initial publication in 1874 to date, as well as full text of the Daily Yomiuri, its English language equivalent, and a biographical dictionary of modern Japanese figures.

The Japan Foundation grant also supports the Yomiuri Rekishikan, a full text database of the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper from its initial publication in 1874 to date.

The Japan Foundation has awarded the CEAS a four-year grant to support a tenure-track faculty position in pre-modern Japanese literature as well as fund the library’s acquisition of new Japanese language digital materials, managed by EunJoo Lee, head of access services, at Olin Library. During the first year, Wesleyan will receive $197,125.

The new databases include JapanKnowledge, a large collection of language dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries, and other Japanese reference works for Japanese-only searches of historical terms and figures; the Kikuzo II Visual for Libraries Database, which provides access to the newspaper Asahi Shimbun (full text from 1984 to the present); and the Yomidas Rekishikan database, which provides the full text of the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun from its initial publication in 1874 to date, as well as full text of the Daily Yomiuri, its English language equivalent, and a biographical dictionary of modern Japanese figures.

The Japan Foundation, based in Tokyo, aims to deepen the mutual understanding between the people of Japan and other countries/regions. The foundation was established in 1972 as a special legal entity supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the objective of promoting international cultural exchange through a comprehensive range of programs in all regions of the world.

The faculty searches for both faculty positions will begin this fall with the new hires starting in the fall of 2016.

Mary Alice Haddad, chair of the College of East Asian Studies, professor of government, associate professor of environmental studies, is overseeing the CEAS awards.

Hingorani’s DNA Mismatch Study Published in PNAS

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, is the co-author of “MutL Traps MutS at a DNA Mismatch,” published in the July 21 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Postdoctoral researcher Miho Sakato also co-authored the article.

DNA mismatch repair is the process by which errors generated during DNA replication are corrected. Mutations in the proteins that initiate mismatch repair, MutS and MutL, are associated with greater than 80 percent of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer and many sporadic cancers. The assembly of MutS and MutL at a mismatch is an essential step for initiating repair; however, the nature of these interactions is poorly understood.

In this study, Hingorani, Sakato and their fellow researchers discovered that MutL fundamentally changes the properties of mismatch-bound MutS by preventing it from sliding away from the mismatch, which it normally does when isolated. This finding suggests a mechanism for localizing the activity of repair proteins near the mismatch.

 

NSF Supports Thomas’s Study on the Impact of Rapid Carbon Emissions on Global Climate

Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas, the University Professor in the College of Integrative Sciences, received a grant in August from the National Science Foundation to support her research on “Evaluating Deep-Sea Ventilation and the Global Carbon Cycle during early Paleocene Hyperthemals.”

The $105,000 award is part of a combined $619,000 grant shared with Yale University and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Rapid, short-term global warming events in the Early Paleogene (~65-45 million years ago) were caused by massive greenhouse gas release into the ocean-atmosphere system. These warming events, called hyperthermals, had far-reaching effects on the evolution of life on Earth, ecosystems and the carbon cycle. The most extreme of these events was the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (~55.5 million years ago). Hyperthermals resemble what could happen during anthropogenic climate change, and provide analogs for the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and their long-term effects on life on Earth.

By testing earth system interactions during the Paleogene hyperthermals, this interdisciplinary project will provide new insight into the impact of rapid carbon emissions on global climate—carbon cycle feedbacks and extremes in climate.

In this three-year collaborative project, new biotic, isotopic and trace element proxies will be integrated with existing data into a state-of-the-art, high-resolution, comprehensive earth system model to test the hypothesis that deep-sea ventilation released a massive amount of carbon from the refractory dissolved organic matter (DOM) pool during hyperthermal events, increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, thus amplifying climate change through carbon-cycle feedback.

“We will investigate the environmental response (e.g., ocean acidification and deoxygenation) and its impact on pelagic ecosystem structure for three Paleogene hyperthermals with different magnitude and duration,” Thomas explained. “The project will focus on a key mechanism involving remineralization of organic matter and oxidation of the DOM pool in the ocean, with potentially major implications for future climate evolution.”

Wesleyan Welcomes 15 Faculty this Fall

Joseph Coolon, assistant professor of biology, joined the faulty this fall. Coolon's research interests include ecological and evolutionary genetics and genomics.

Joseph Coolon, assistant professor of biology, joined the faulty this fall. Coolon’s research interests include ecological and evolutionary genetics and genomics.

This fall, Wesleyan welcomes 15 new faculty to the university. They are:

Francesco Aresu, assistant professor of Italian;

Joseph Coolon, assistant professor of biology;

Daniel DiCenzo, adjunct associate professor of physical education and head coach of football;

Candice Etson, assistant professor of physics;

Anthony Hatch, assistant professor of Science in Society;

Han Li, assistant professor of mathematics;

Jeffrey Naecker, assistant professor of economics;

Paula Park, assistant professor of Spanish;

Michelle Personick, assistant professor of chemistry, is an expert on inorganic nanomaterials chemistry.

Michelle Personick, assistant professor of chemistry, is an expert on inorganic nanomaterials chemistry.

Michelle Personick, assistant professor of chemistry;

Felipe Ramírez, assistant professor of mathematics;

Ben Somera Jr., adjunct associate professor of physical education, head coach of volleyball;

Ying Jia Tan, assistant professor of history;

Shellae Versey, assistant professor of psychology, faculty fellow for the College of the Environment;

Yamil Velez, assistant professor of government;

Kimberly Williams, adjunct assistant professor of physical education; head coach of women’s lacrosse.

Petit Family Foundation Supports Women in Physics Conference

On July 15, the Petit Family Foundation awarded Wesleyan’s Physics Department with a $5,000 grant to support the 2016 Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). Pictured, from left is Kimberly Petit, Chris Othon, William Petit and Meredith Hughes.

On July 15, the Petit Family Foundation awarded Wesleyan’s Physics Department with a $5,000 grant to support the 2016 Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). Pictured, from left is Kimberly Petit, Chris Othon, William Petit and Meredith Hughes.

On July 15, the Petit Family Foundation awarded Wesleyan’s Physics Department with a $5,000 grant to support the 2016 Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). The three-day conference, scheduled for January 15-17, 2016, will showcase career opportunities available to physicists through plenary talks, panel discussions and a career fair. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and interact with more than 200 fellow undergraduate women physicists as well as a variety of industrial and academic leaders.

Chris Othon, assistant professor of physics, and Meredith Hughes, assistant professor of astronomy, are co-organizing the conference with help from Nisha Grewal ’17 (physics/economics) and Julia Zachary ’17 (physics/astronomy). The group is planning a career fair representing regional technology companies and graduate physics programs.

The 2016 CUWiP will be held at nine different sites including Wesleyan, Black Hills State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Old Dominion University – Jefferson Laboratory, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Syracuse University, the University of California – San Diego, and the University of Texas – San Antonio. For more information visit the CUWiP website.

WesMaSS Scholars Get Intensive Introduction to Studying Sciences at Wesleyan

Ten WesMaSS scholars participated in a weeklong program on campus this summer.

Ten Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars participated in a weeklong program on campus this summer.

The Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars (WesMaSS) Program is a highly selective academic program designed to support students from traditionally underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing study in mathematics and natural sciences. The program aims to foster community building and provides the scholars, who are all incoming first-year students, with mentoring and academic resources which encourage and facilitate their sustained involvement in these fields. Each scholar also receives a Wesleyan faculty mentor.

From July 26-31, 10 of the 32 WesMaSS scholars participated in an intensive introduction to studying science at Wesleyan. Students toured the science departments, became familiar with the range of resources available, and attended workshops focused on the expectations for academic work at Wesleyan. They also met with T. David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry, who is serving as director of the WesMaSS Program.

Students attended a mini-course in network analysis offered by Pavel Oleinikov, associate director of the Quantitative Analysis Center; a microscopy lab introduction by Jeff Gilarde, director of scientific imaging; and a tour of the Joe Webb Peoples Mineral Museum by James Gutmann, the Smith Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology. The students also participated in many social activities. The program culminated with the Undergraduate Research in the Sciences Symposium, a day-long event that featured a keynote lecture by a prominent scientist and a poster session of the undergraduate scientific research projects.

Photos of the program are below: (Photos by Roslyn Carrier-Brault and Olivia Drake)

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Faculty Teach Local Girls about Science

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The Green Street Teaching and Learning Center hosted a Girls in Science Camp Aug. 3-7. Wesleyan faculty members Ruth Johnson, assistant professor of biology (pictured third from left); Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies (pictured at far right); Chris Othon, assistant professor of physics (pictured at left), along with three undergraduate students, worked with the campers on various experiments. Sara MacSorley, director of the GSTLC (second from left), coordinated the activities.

Johnson led the campers on a bug hunt through Wesleyan’s West College Courtyard garden. There, the girls observed insects while considering insect diets and insect life-cycles. The girls also learned about the life-cycle of the fruit fly and set up an experiment to test the effects of feeding flies a high-sugar diet (this negatively affects the fly life-cycle, and is akin to inducing Type II Diabetes). Johnson also taught the campers about genetic variations (mutations) that affected wing and bristle development.

“Learning about these phenotypes served as an intro to genetics, genes and proteins,” Johnson said.

Johnson also taught the girls about microscopy. After a short presentation on how a variety of biological objects appear when viewed with high magnification, the girls viewed and captured images of the fly pupal eye with a fluorescent microscope. The girls also viewed a variety of mutant adult fly eyes with dissecting microscopes and, to build their skills in observation, built 3D models of these with modeling clay.
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