Olivia Drake

Students Perform West African, Hip-Hop, South Indian Dances


On May 11, the West African Dance and West African Music and Culture classes performed at the Center for the Arts Courtyard. The invigorating performances featured Wesleyan Artist-in-Residence and choreographer Iddi Saaka, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music and master drummer John Dankwa, and master drummer Mohammed Alidu. Throughout the semester, students learned the fundamental principles and aesthetics of West African dance through learning to embody basic movement vocabulary and selected traditional dances from Ghana. Photos of the performance are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Students Honored with Academic Scholarships, Fellowships, Prizes

Xhonia Robinson ’18 won the Jessup Prize; Shardonay Pagett ’18 won the Butterfield Prize, Heideman Award. and the Senior Legacy Award; Owen Christoph ’18 won the Jessup Prize; Caroline Liu ’18 won the Carol B. Ohmann Memorial Prize

Xhonia Robinson ’18 won the Jessup Prize; Shardonay Pagett ’18 won the Butterfield Prize, the Heideman Award, and the Senior Legacy Award; Owen Christoph ’18 won the Jessup Prize; and Caroline Liu ’18 won the Carol B. Ohmann Memorial Prize during a prize reception for students May 9 in Daniel Family Commons.

On May 9, more than 300 Wesleyan students received University prizes and awards during a reception. The honors, which include scholarships, fellowships, and leadership prizes, are granted to students and student organizations based on criteria established for each prize or award. Certain University prizes are administered by the Student Affairs/Deans’ Office, while others are administered by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD).

In addition, SALD hosted a Leadership Awards Banquet in Beckham Hall on April 27.

SALD hosted a Leadership Awards Banquet in Beckham Hall on April 27.

In addition, SALD hosted a Leadership Awards Banquet in Beckham Hall on April 27.

Wesleyan University’s awards, prizes, and scholarships program connects recipients to the legacies of alumni, administrators, faculty, and friends whose lives and work are honored through endowed gifts. Recipients of academic scholarships, fellowships, and prizes represent the highest ideals of Wesleyan University—intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, creative expression, leadership, and service. While celebrating these recipients of awards, prizes, and scholarships, we also honor and thank alumni and friends for their generous contributions and gifts.

The awards and recipients are listed below: (Photos by Rich Marinelli)

George H. Acheson and Grass Foundation Prize in Neuroscience

Established in 1992 by a gift from the Grass Foundation, this prize is awarded to an outstanding undergraduate in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program who demonstrates excellence in the program and who also shows promise for future contributions in the field of neuroscience.

  • Lila Levinson ’18
  • Carli Poisson ’18
ohn Vasant ’18 won the Trench Prize; Charlotte Pitts ’18 won the Alumni Prize in the History of Art

John Vansant ’18 won the Trench Prize and Charlotte Pitts ’18 won the Alumni Prize in the History of Art.

Alumni Prize in the History of Art

Established by Wesleyan alumni and awarded to a senior who has demonstrated special aptitude in the history of art and who has made a substantive contribution to the major.

  • Nicole Boyd ’18
  • Lily Landau ’18
  • Charlotte Pitts ’18

American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry

Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry.

  • Maya Marshall ’18

American Chemical Society Connecticut Valley Section Award

Awarded for outstanding achievement to a graduating chemistry major.

  • Aaron Stone ’18

American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Awarded to an undergraduate student in inorganic chemistry to recognize achievement and encourage further study in the field.

  • David Solti ’18

American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry

Awarded to a senior who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry

  • Theo Prachyathipsakul ’19

Students Celebrate End of Semester at Spring Fling

Wesleyan students celebrated the end of the 2017–18 academic year during the annual Spring Fling, held May 10 on Foss Hill. Music acts included Girltype Behaviors, Gus Dapperton, Injury Reserve, and Kamaiyah. Italian ice and caramel corn vendors provided snacks during the event.

The event is organized by Wesleyan’s Spring Fling Committee and the Office of Student Activities. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Improvisational Forms Class Offers Roving Performance on Campus

On May 7, the DANC 354 course, Improvisational Forms, performed a roving improvisational performance on campus as part of their final assignment. The group started at Exley Science Center, traveled to Olin Library and the Public Affairs Center, and finished at Usdan University Center. During the performance, the students explored campus architecture with their bodies and movements. They traveled in interconnected clumps, and also as individuals, and interacted with objects and passersby.

Throughout the semester, students explored various approaches to dance improvisation and studied movement vocabulary; increased compositional awareness; developed their creative thinking and observational skills; and sharpened their performance presence. Students learned about improvisation exercises, structured improvisational forms, development and performance of scores, and exploration of the relationship between movement, sound, and music.

This class is taught by Susan Lourie, adjunct professor of dance, who is retiring this year after teaching for 40 years at Wesleyan.

“Roving improvisational dances bring the unexpected to everyday spaces,” Lourie said. “When people come upon dancers in the middle of a busy walkway, on a staircase, or in a doorway, it interrupts/disrupts the normal flow of life and challenges everyone’s assumptions.”

Photos of the performance are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake and Cynthia Rockwell)

Seniors Present College of the Environment Research at Poster Session

Thirteen seniors, majoring in the College of the Environment, presented posters during a COE Colloquium on May 2. (Photos by Tom Dzimian)

Pictured are the COE Class of 2018. Back row: Mariel Holmann, Laura Bither, Sage Loomis, Hannah Wilton, Louisa Winchell. Second row: Guilu Murphy, Katherine Paterson, Nicole Dallar, Nicole DelGaudio, Garrett Hardesty, Ilana Newman. Seated: Alex Horton and Olivia Won.

Castonguay Teaches Coursera Course on Career Decisions

Sharon Castonguay, director of the Wesleyan Gordon Career Center, discussed "The Psychology of Career Decisions."

Sharon Belden Castonguay created a new class on Coursera titled “Career Decisions: From Insight to Impact.”

On May 1, Wesleyan launched a new massive open online course (MOOC) on Coursera titled “Career Decisions: From Insight to Impact.” Free to Wesleyan alumni, the course aims to help learners understand their motivations, strengths, and goals, and appreciate how personal identity affects career decision making. A second version of the class for current Wesleyan students will go live in July, and entering students will be encouraged to complete it before they arrive on campus in the fall. The course is taught by Gordon Career Center Director Sharon Belden Castonguay, who also recently gave a talk at TEDxWesleyanU titled, “The Psychology of Career Decisions.”

“The idea behind this course is that it will provide a ‘flipped classroom’ for career advising,” Castonguay said. “We hope to encourage students to think about their motivations, interests, and goals as early as possible in their Wesleyan career, as well as guide their conversations with both their career and academic advisors. For alumni, we see this course as a way to frame thinking about possible course corrections as they navigate a dynamic employment market.”

In this course, Castonguay draws from her decades of experience as well as research from the fields of psychology, organizational behavior, and sociology to help students understand best practices for making career decisions. She designed the content to help students develop the tools they need to make the right choices—from deciding an area of study to exploring potential lines of work to pursue.

The course is catered to those facing transition in their lives.

“Perhaps you are thinking about switching jobs or changing careers. Maybe you’re starting college and are trying to get a handle on what you want to study. Or you just graduated and are trying to figure out what to do next. If you’re interested in making good career decisions, this course is for you,” Castonguay said.

Through a four-week program, students will watch 20 videos and participate in multiple practice quizzes and three graded reflection papers. Students will explore how cultural norms affect how they think about academic and career choices; take stock of what they devote time to and what that reveals about their motivations; use a design-thinking framework to learn how to broaden their exploration for possible working identities; and much more.

The Career Decisions class joins 12 other courses and specializations created by Wesleyan University scholar-teachers and offered by Coursera. The University seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.

Pianist/Composer Baerman Directs the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble

Noah Baerman

Noah Baerman teaches the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble.

In this issue, we speak to Noah Baerman, director of the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble.  Baerman is a teacher, jazz pianist, composer, and author. He is also founder and artistic director of the nonprofit Resonant Motion, Inc. (RMI).

Q: You’ve directed the Jazz Ensemble at Wesleyan for 11 years. Was there an ensemble before you?

A: Wesleyan’s history of jazz is intense, and perhaps its most significant architect was the great Bill Barron, which I’ve always found kind of cosmic given that his “little” brother Kenny (now 74 and an NEA Jazz Master) was my own mentor. The group I direct runs parallel to the Jazz Orchestra, directed for years by my colleague Jay Hoggard. The Jazz Ensemble was previously directed by several different musicians, including current faculty Pheeroan akLaff and Tony Lombardozzi, as well as the legendary Ed Blackwell.

Q: Do students need to audition for the class? What are the requirements? How many musicians do you accept?

A: It is an audition-based group—there is some diversity of skills and experience, but it is not the setting for those with no prior jazz training. We generally have 6–7 musicians (occasionally more), and in true Wesleyan fashion the instrumentation varies widely from each semester to the next, which is fine since a) I write my own arrangements and b) I want to work with the most serious and motivated students, not necessarily those who just happen to play certain instruments.

Q: What is unique about performing jazz as opposed to classical music? What about it appeals to you? When did you realize that you wanted to be a jazz musician?

Administrative Departments Encouraged to Apply for a Green Office Certification

Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion, and Megan Flagg, executive assistant to the provost and vice president for academic affairs, proudly display their Green Office Certification on the third floor of North College. The third floor is the first space on campus to be Green Office Certified by the Sustainability Office.

Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion, and Megan Flagg, executive assistant to the provost and vice president for academic affairs, proudly display their Green Office Certification on the third floor of North College. The third floor is the first space on campus to be Green Office Certified by the Sustainability Office. “The process was quite easy,” said Flagg, who served as the office coordinator. “Since Wesleyan is so focused on sustainability, we were already doing many of the green office checklist items. The brief checklist was quick and easy to fill out. Now we’re exploring what we can change to see if we can get to the next level of certification.”

This year Wesleyan will reward administrative offices that go green.

The new Green Office Certification Program, overseen by the Sustainability Office, is designed to recognize, support, and promote offices that engage in environmentally sustainable practices. All administrative and academic offices are eligible to become certified.

To get started, a department needs to elect an office coordinator who will fill out the Green Office Certification form, coordinate office participation, and review completed checklists with the Sustainability Office.

The coordinator will distribute individual checklists to all employees in the office or within a defined space.

If at least 75 percent of the office has completed the checklist, the office may receive an award. Certificates will be issued and offices are encouraged to hang their plaque in a location visible to office visitors. Certifications are valid for three years from the date awarded and come in bronze, silver, and gold levels.

“The Green Office Certification Program encourages employees to be environmentally conscious while at work,” explained Jen Kleindienst, sustainability director. “To be certified, departments may need to make small changes in their work environment, for example, share a communal garbage bin, forgo individual refrigerators, or be willing to turn down the thermostat while away from the office. There’s little things that can make a huge difference.”

To date, the third floor of North College (consisting of the Offices of Academic Affairs; Institutional Research; Corporate, Foundation and Government Grants; and Equity and Inclusion) is the only academic space to be Green Office Certified. Although they are proud to boast their silver-level award, they’re not stopping until they reach the gold.

“We are now trying to work up from our silver certification to gold certification,” explained third-floor office resident Joyce Jacobsen, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As part of our additional efforts to improve our certification level, we’ve replaced most fluorescent lights with energy-efficient LED lights; replaced disposable coffee stirrers with reusable metal stirrers; encouraged everyone to use mugs off of our mug tree instead of disposable cups; and switched to a sugar shaker instead of using individual sugar packets. We’ve also replaced our powered shredder with hand-cranked shredders and use a recycling shredder service for big jobs.”

For these extra efforts, the Sustainability Office will offer bonus points toward their certification.

The Sustainability Office and Wesleyan’s Green Team offer many tips for creating a more eco-friendly office environment. For additional information, contact the Sustainability Office.

Turenne Honored by Middlesex United Way for Leading Successful Employee Campaign

Paul Turenne

Paul Turenne

Paul Turenne, systems analyst for Information Technology Services, received a Coordinator of the Year Award during the Middlesex United Way Campaign Awards Breakfast on May 8.

Turenne served as Wesleyan’s 2017–18 United Way Employee Campaign campus coordinator. He helped the University post the highest numbers—both in participation and in amount pledged—since 2012. More than 400 Wesleyan employees, retired faculty, and authorized vendors (including 38 “Leadership Givers” pledging $1,000 or more) participated. Together they donated a total of $122,150 in support of United Way programs in Middlesex County and throughout the state.

To date, the employee campaign has raised approximately $1.9 million for the United Way.

 

Dynamic Women at Wesleyan Hosts Meditation, Discussion on Self-Confidence, Inner Wisdom

On Feb. 13, Wesleyan's Dynamic Women@Wes organization hosted a workshop on "Living a Soul-filled Life by Strengthening Self-Love." Inspirational speaker Mensimah Shabazz led a meditation and discussed that focused on creative ways of generating self-confidence, fearlessness and inner wisdom. Shabazz is the president of AGAPE Consulting, which focuses on energy healing and psychospirituality.

On Feb. 13, Wesleyan’s Dynamic Women at Wesleyan (Women@Wes) organization hosted a workshop on “Living a Soul-Filled Life by Strengthening Self-Love.” Inspirational speaker Mensimah Shabazz led a meditation and discussion that focused on creative ways of generating self-confidence, fearlessness, and inner wisdom. “One of the ways is strengthening self-love, which enables a person to recognize their uniqueness, beauty, and strength,” she said.

Women at Wesleyan frequently meets to actively engage faculty and staff in education, networking, and mentoring processes leading to enhanced awareness, empowerment, and transformation of women.

For more information visit http://womenatwes.site.wesleyan.edu/.