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.

Gatherings, Celebrations During Reunion & Commencement Weekend May 21-24

The all-campus party will take place from 10 p.m. Saturday, May 23 to 1 a.m. in the main tent on Andrus Field.

The annual reunion party will begin at 10 p.m. May 22, followed by the all-campus party at 10 p.m. May 23. Both activities take place in the main tent on Andrus Field.

The Wesleyan community has established a tradition of celebrating Reunion and Commencement together, ensuring a large and convivial gathering of alumni, students, families, faculty, staff and friends of the university.

Beginning with the arrival of alumni, family, and friends on May 21 and culminating with the 183rd Commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. May 24, Wesleyan will offer a wide array of educational and recreational programs, including many opportunities to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2015.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (Photo courtesy of broadway.com)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 is the 2015 Commencement speaker. (Photo courtesy of broadway.com)

This year’s schedule includes class reunions, WESeminars, academic department open houses, the 100th anniversary of the parade of classes, campus tours, an all-college picnic and festival, historian David Potts speaking on the history of Wesleyan, the traditional all-college sing, an all-campus party featuring DJ Smokey (Smokey Fontaine ’93) and a fundraising benefit performance by FreeStyle Love Supreme (tickets are still available by calling 860-685-3870).

Award-winning composer, lyricist, writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 will deliver the Commencement address on May 24. Miranda ’02, Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, P’04, and Michael Price will receive honorary doctorates during the event.

Registration is located in the Usdan University Center.

For additional information on R&C Weekend visit WesConnect.

The R&C photo gallery, hosted on Wesleyan Flickr, will be updated frequently throughout the weekend. Check back frequently.

Environmental Studies Class Presents Artist’s Books, Projects

Students enrolled in the Introduction to Environmental Studies course presented their artist’s books, children’s stories, documentaries and story maps during the class’s annual Project Showcase on May 14 in Exley Science Center. The class is taught by Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. Suzy Taraba, director of Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives attended the event and spoke to the students about artist books.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Aviva Hirsch)

cls_sci_2015-0518160325

Art by Graphic Design Class on Display in Usdan

Now on view at Usdan: A is for Ampersand, the final project of Professor of Art David Schorr’s Advanced Graphic Design Tutorial. Students in the class conceived and realized the project with inspiration from a non-curricular project on which some of the students had worked as members of The Type Club. All decisions regarding font, format and other particulars were made as a group, with most of the letters developing or being entirely redone over a four-week period.

Now on view at Usdan: A is for Ampersand, the final project of Professor of Art David Schorr’s Advanced Graphic Design Tutorial. Students in the class conceived and realized the project with inspiration from a non-curricular project on which some of the students had worked as members of The Type Club. All decisions regarding font, format and other particulars were made as a group, with most of the letters developing or being entirely redone over a four-week period. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

Students Honored with Scholarships, Prizes

On May 6, dozens of Wesleyan students received academic scholarships, fellowships and prizes. Recipients represent the highest ideals of Wesleyan University — intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, creative expression, leadership and service.

Several awards are supported by the legacies of alumni, administrators, faculty and friends whose lives and work are honored through endowed gifts.

View all the awards and award recipients here.

Thomas Authors 4 Papers on Environmental Change

Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas

Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the co-author of four recenty-published papers. They include:

Deep-sea benthic foraminiferal turnover during the early middle Eocene transition at Walvis Ridge (SE Atlantic),” published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Issue 417: pages 126-136, January 2015. The paper’s co-author, Silvia Ortiz, was a PhD student at the University of Zaragoza, and spent several months at Wesleyan working with Thomas.

Weissman to Step Down As Provost, VP; Jacobsen to Serve as Interim

Ruth Weissman

Ruth Weissman

This summer, Ruth Weissman will be stepping down as provost and vice president for academic affairs and returning to her role as the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences. Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics, dean of the Social Sciences and Director of Global Initiatives, has accepted a one-year appointment as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“Ruth’s efforts over the past two years in support of the faculty, in overseeing the curriculum, and in exercising administrative leadership have been extraordinary,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth in an all-campus e-mail. “Wesleyan has been fortunate indeed to have had her in this role.”

Anthropology Major Cooper ’15 Co-Creates Interactive Campus Map

DeNeile Cooper '15 is majoring in anthropology, minoring in archaeology and working toward a certificate in environmental studies. She and three other members of the Class of 2015 created an interactive map for the Wesleyan that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner. 

DeNeile Cooper ’15 is majoring in anthropology, minoring in archaeology and working toward a certificate in environmental studies. She and three other members of the Class of 2015 created an interactive map for the Wesleyan that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner.

In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak to DeNeile Cooper from the Class of 2015.

Q: DeNeile, as part of a GIS (Geographical information systems) service-learning project, you’ve been working on a interactive campus map project. What is the purpose of the map?

A: We wanted to create an interactive map for the Wesleyan website that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner. The interactive map not only illustrates every building on campus to-date, but color codes them according to their usage, for example, purple buildings represent dormitory halls, blue buildings represent academic buildings and offices, and yellow buildings represent woodframe houses. In addition, each building can be clicked on to reveal a pop-up with a photo of the building, details about its contents, and links for the building’s department or office contacts. We really wanted to synthesize the strengths of the current online map with the abilities available to an interactive map.

The interactive map provides information about every building on campus.

The interactive map provides information about every building on campus. Each building is clickable and contains a pop-up that gives a photo of the building, a description, and external links to the departments, staff members, and web pages that further explain the building’s content and contact information.

Q: How did you come up with this idea? Was there a need?

A: In our Introduction to GIS course, Professor Kim Diver (visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences) had been teaching us how to use GIS online to make interactive maps, or “Story Maps” that are accessible to the public. Our group, consisting of Katy Thompson ’15, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Chloe Holden ’15 and myself, worked with Wesleyan’s Physical Plant to create two updated versions of the Wesleyan campus map. We thought that this would be a perfect way to update the current map found on the Wesleyan website. We wanted to give the viewers the option to have both an aerial view of the campus and a detailed photograph and description of each building.

Q: How does the interactive campus map differ from other Wesleyan maps?

A: The interactive map takes the concept from the current online map of conveying an aerial view of the campus, but color codes the buildings by their use purpose. We hope that these colors makes it easier for new students and parents to more quickly locate the building that they want to find. Each building is clickable and contains a pop-up that gives a photo of the building, a description, and external links to the departments, staff members, and web pages that further explain the building’s content and contact information. Alternatively, the viewer can peruse each building by clicking the white up and down arrows located on the far left side of the screen. Our map is also unique in that we have extended the scope from the current map to include the many different athletic fields Wesleyan owns, and even Physical Plant and Long Lane Farm. We hope that this new map breadth will help new students get a more complete understanding of the full extension of our campus and the activities we have to offer here.

Humanities Hosts Queer Art Poetics Conference April 23-25

queerartconference(By Lily Baggot ’15)

Later this month, scholars from across the country will gather on campus for the Queer/Art/Poetics Conference. The conference, which will run from April 23-24, is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and will address questions such as “What does theory do when it takes queer art seriously?” and “How does queer theory remain artful while unpacking the objects, strategies and politics of queer aesthetics?”

Othon, Taylor Students Published in Physical Chemistry Letters

Christina Othon and Erika Taylor, along with physics graduate student Nimesh Shukla, Lee Chen ’15, Inha Cho ’15 and Erin Cohn ’15, are the co-authors of a paper titled “Sucralose Destabilization of Protein Structure” published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, March 2015. Othon is assistant professor of physics and was PI on the paper. Taylor is assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies.

Sucralose is a commonly employed artificial sweetener that behaves very differently than its natural disaccharide counterpart, sucrose, in terms of its interaction with biomolecules. This research suggests that people may need to think about the impact of sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) on their proteins.

Watch Othon explain associated research in this video. She speaks around the 34 minute mark.