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.

11 Mellon Mays Fellows Present Research Topics

Lynn Ma ’16 presented “Solitude and the Political Life.”

Mellon Mays Fellow Lynn Ma ’16 spoke on “Solitude and the Political Life” during the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Summer 2015 Research Presentations July 23.

#THISISWHY

Eleven Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows delivered brief research proposal presentations July 23 in Fisk Hall. The fellows, six from Wesleyan and five from Queens College, City University of New York, spent the past two months developing their research projects with the assistance of their peers, Wesleyan faculty and Wesleyan librarians.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program provides minority students and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, with support to pursue graduate degrees in the arts and sciences.

Research topics range from deconstructing African feminism to the role of political theater for a post-combat audience to trauma in Japan caused by the Atomic Bomb.

Conference Focuses on Teaching Finance at Liberal Arts Colleges

Wesleyan’s Department of Economics hosted a conference titled "Teaching Finance at Liberal Arts Colleges" July 21-23 on campus. The Association to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) provided Wesleyan with a grant to support the event. Faculty from Wesleyan, Bowdoin, Carleton, Denison, Drew, Grinnell, Lafayette, Macalester, Pomona, Smith, Swarthmore, Trinity, Wellesley and Williams attended.

Wesleyan’s Department of Economics hosted a conference titled “Teaching Finance at Liberal Arts Colleges” July 21-23 on campus. The Association to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) provided Wesleyan with a grant to support the event. Pictured, front row, from left: John Caskey, Swarthmore; Tom Bernardin, St. Olaf College; Matt Botsch, Bowdoin; Ben Keefer, Carleton; Liang Ding, Macalaster; Abigail Hornstein, Wesleyan; Michelle Zemel, Pomona; and Caleb Stroup, Davidson. Back row, from left: David Chapman, University of Virginia; Chris Hoag, Trinity; Xiao Jiang, Denison; Ted Burczak, Denison; Karl Boulware, Wesleyan; GianDomenico Sarolli, Drew; Michael Kelly, Lafayette; Martin Gosman, Wesleyan; Bill Gentry, Williams; and Greg Phelan, Williams.

O’Connell Named Society Fellow of the Geological Society of America

Suzanne O'Connell

Suzanne O’Connell

For her distinguished contributions to the geosciences, Suzanne O’Connell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, recently became a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on leading professional geoscientists. New fellows are nominated by existing GSA fellows in recognition of their contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic and library responsibilities.

“Suzanne O’Connell is an accomplished geoscientist who highly honors the traditions of research and scholarship in the geosciences, but also pays great attention to the societal well-being of the community, reflected by her service in professional societies, her work in policy, and her persistent and caring attention to students,” said GSA fellow and nominator Marilyn Suiter, who earned her MA from Wesleyan in 1981.

At Wesleyan, O’Connell teaches courses in the geosciences

Wesleyan C-CERT Builds Mobile Medical Facility on Andrus Field

In the event of an emerging infectious disease outbreaks, other public health emergencies and acts of terrorism, a mobile hospital can provide an additional 100 beds.

In the event of an emerging infectious disease outbreaks, other public health emergencies and acts of terrorism, a mobile hospital can provide an additional 100 beds.

On Aug. 3, more than 20 Wesleyan employees will help erect a tent on Andrus Field that could be used as a medical facility in the event of an emergency situation.

The inflatable tent, which measures 60 by 30 feet, is 1/5 of the complete Ottilie W. Lundgren Memorial Field Hospital owned by the State of Connecticut. If all sections of the tent were assembled, it would contain a 125-bed unit, an operating room, ambulatory care and triage areas.

Students Explore Sustainable Landscaping at WILD WestCo

Heather Whittemore ’17, who is working on campus this summer, enjoys occasional strolls through the WestCo. courtyard. “I like to check out what’s blooming,” she said.

Heather Whittemore ’17 enjoys strolling through the WestCo. courtyard. “I like to check out what’s blooming,” she said.

In 2011, the student organization WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan), created WILD WestCo, a .75 acre sustainable landscaping initiative in the West College Courtyard. WILD Wes developed a landscape design and implementation plan following a permacultural ethic.

Today, the courtyard features more than 40 shrubs, dozens of fruit trees, two rain gardens, a rainwater catchment system, multiple wood chip pathways lined in rye, clover and buckwheat, a seating area, compost area and hundreds of perennials that draw birds, insects and other wildlife.

The landscape requires minimal resources and maintenance.

As a member of WILD Wes, Heather Whittemore ’17 frequents the courtyard daily throughout the summer.

“I’m really into flowers and gardening. Usually I am into more traditional gardening, but WestCo is really cool because it’s designed using permaculture principles that are much more sustainable and ecological than traditional gardening methods and design, which is important to me as an environmental studies major,” she said.

Photos of the courtyard on July 7 are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

Wesleyan's summer campus, July 2015. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

California poppy is native to the United States and is the official state flower of California.

Starr, Mukerji Explore Ways to Better Engage Students, Faculty in the Sciences

Professors Francis Starr and Ishita Mukerji recently participated in the National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education at Princeton University.

Professors Francis Starr and Ishita Mukerji recently participated in the National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education at Princeton University.

For their efforts enhancing undergraduate science education and supporting teaching innovations, two Wesleyan faculty members were named National Academies Education Fellows in the Sciences for 2015-2016.

Francis Starr, professor of physics and director of the College of Integrative Sciences, and Ishita Mukerji, the Fisk Professor of Natural Science, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, received the fellowships while participating in the 2015 National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education, held June 14-19 at Princeton University.

The Summer Institute, a five-day program of discussions, demonstrations and workshops, brought college and university faculty together to develop teaching skills. Co-sponsored by the National Academies and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Starr, Mukerji and 44 other participants were taught ways to transform the undergraduate classroom and engage students and fellow faculty in the sciences. Current research, active learning, assessment and diversity were woven into the program, creating a forum to share ideas and develop innovative instructional materials to be implemented at each participant’s home institution.

Pictured at far right, wearing a striped shirt, Francis Starr worked with more than 40 other faculty from around New England at the Summer Institute. 

Pictured at far right, wearing a striped shirt, Francis Starr worked with more than 40 other faculty from around New England at the Summer Institute. (Photo by Jill Feldman/Princeton University)

“Wesleyan’s commitment to teaching innovation puts us at the forefront of improving undergraduate education that is essential to prepare future scientists and scientifically literate citizens,” Starr said.

During the institute, Starr and Mukerji developed a “teachable tidbit” with four other institute participants. These tidbits can be implemented in a course during the academic year. In addition, Starr and Mukerji are planning to speak about their experiences to fellow faculty at an NSM luncheon. They’re also working on creating an Academic (Technology) Roundtable meeting with one of the co-directors of the institute.

“Francis and I were both interested in learning these new teaching methods and we’re excited to share them with others on campus,” Mukerji said.

O’Connell Edits Book that Focuses on Women in the Geosciences

womeningeosciencesSuzanne O’Connell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, is the co-editor and co-author of the book, Women in the Geosciences: Practical, Positive Practices Toward Parity, published in May 2015 by Wiley and the American Geophysical Union.

The geoscience workforce has a lower proportion of women compared to the general population of the United States and compared to many other STEM fields. This volume explores issues pertaining to gender parity in the geosciences, and sheds light on some of the best practices that increase participation by women and promote parity.

Highlights include lessons from the National Science Foundation-ADVANCE; data on gender composition of faculty at top earth science institutions in the U.S.; implicit bias and gender as a social structure; strategies for institutional change; dual career couples; family friendly policies; the role of mentoring in career advancement for women; recruiting diverse faculty and models of institutional transformation.

O’Connell’s chapters are titled “Multiple and Sequential Mentoring: Building Your Nest”; “Learning to Develop a Writing Practice“; “Hiring a Diverse Faculty”; and “Lactation in the Academy: Accommodating Breastfeeding Scientists.”

O’Connell also is the faculty director of the McNair Program.

Res Life’s O’Neill Oversees 26 RAs, Creates Dynamic Women of Wesleyan Group

Krystal-Gayle O’Neill says she enjoys the way Wesleyan students challenge her "on every front as it keeps me on my toes."

Krystal-Gayle O’Neill says she enjoys the way Wesleyan students challenge her “on every front as it keeps me on my toes.”

In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak with Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, an area coordinator in Residential Life. In addition to her role with Res Life, O’Neil leads Dynamic Women at Wesleyan, a group that was created as a way for women or persons who identify as women to come together, talk about various topics, and gather under a common purpose

Q: Krystal-Gayle, when did you join the staff at the Office of Residential Life and where were you working prior to Wesleyan?

A: I joined the Res Life staff in the Summer of 2011. Prior to Wes, I worked in Res Life at The Juilliard School in New York and in campus recreation at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.

Q: As an area coordinator, what areas of student housing do you oversee? Also, where is your office?

A: I oversee the Foss 1-10 residence halls (West College, Nicolson, Hewitt and the program halls).

Mathew ’18 Participates in Summer Session’s Biology Institute

Christine "Cj" Mathew '18 is taking two intensive science classes this summer that equate to an entire year's worth of credits.

Christine “Cj” Mathew ’18 is taking two intensive science classes this summer that equate to an entire year’s worth of credits. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Christine “Cj” Mathew from the Class of 2018.

Q: Cj, have you chosen a major?

A: I’m a prospective neuroscience and behavior major.

Mathew's second Summer Session class began June 29.

Mathew’s second Summer Session class, Principles of Biology II, began June 29.

Q: This summer, you are enrolled in the new Biology Institute, which is held as part of the Wesleyan Summer Session, and includes intensive Principles of Biology I and II Lecture and Lab. Why did you decide to participate in the institute?

A: For my major requirements and pre-med requirements, there are tons of science classes that I have to take, and I didn’t want to feel too overwhelmed by taking more than one science class in a year.

Q: How many students were in your Bio I class? Do you enjoy the more intimate learning atmosphere?

A: There were 11 people in the class, and I absolutely love having a small class. This class is pretty fast paced, so it’s really helpful to have more individual attention. We spend a lot of time together between class and labs; by the second week of class, it was like we’d all known each other for a long time!

Q: When are you in class? Also, have you done any interesting lab experiments?

A: We’re in class every day from 9-10:40 a.m. and the lab meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:30-4:20 p.m., but most of the labs don’t take that long so we’re let out earlier. In Bio I, we’ve done some pretty cool labs including genetic engineering, where we transformed bacteria. One of my personal favorites was when we looked at what proteins are found in milk and how much protein is found in milk. This one was particularly interesting because so many people are lactose intolerant because of these proteins.

Q: The Biology II course began June 29. How do you feel about jumping right into another class?

A: Luckily, there was a small, five-day break in between the two sessions. But, it’s not too bad. Since we’re only taking one class, not all of our time is consumed with class, so it’s manageable.

Q: After Bio II, do you have any summer plans?

A: Maybe a little traveling!

Q: Where are you from and why did you choose Wesleyan?

A: I’m from Long Island, N.Y. I chose Wesleyan because I knew I wanted a small school, and I loved the fact that Wesleyan has a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing classes.

Q: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities on campus? What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I’m part of Women in Science and I enjoy playing tennis.

Students Gain Skills, Help Departments While Working on Campus this Summer

More than 185 Wesleyan students are employed in various campus departments over the summer. Of those, about 78 are work-study eligible. Students earn money that can be contributed to the cost of their education, while learning skills that will benefit them in the classroom and beyond. Employers benefit from students’ skills, insight and enthusiasm.

Andrea Vargas ’17 is spending her summer working as a student assistant for the Office of University Events and Scheduling. She also holds this job during the academic year. “I use a computer program to process information about campus events. We handle all the logistics for events, and right now I’m planning for faculty lectures that will be held next fall.”

Andrea Vargas ’17 is spending her summer working as a student assistant for the Office of University Events and Scheduling. She also holds this job during the academic year. “I use a computer program to process information about campus events. We handle all the logistics for events, and right now I’m planning for faculty lectures that will be held next fall.”

Weaver MALS ’75, CAS ’76 Discusses Ways Science, Entertainment, Education Overlap

On June 22, Christopher Weaver MALS'75 CAS '76 presented a seminar titled "Amplius Ludo: Beyond the Horizon" to interested students and faculty at Exley Science Center. Weaver is an author, software developer, scientist and educator. He is the founder and CEO of Bethesda Softworks, where he co-developed wildly popular games, including The Elder Scrolls role-playing series and John Madden Football for Electronic Arts.

On June 22, Christopher Weaver MALS ’75, CAS ’76 presented a seminar titled “Amplius Ludo: Beyond the Horizon” to interested students and faculty at Exley Science Center. Weaver is an author, software developer, scientist and educator. He is the founder and CEO of Bethesda Softworks, where he co-developed wildly popular games, including The Elder Scrolls role-playing series and John Madden Football for Electronic Arts. Success in these ventures has required Weaver to bring together elements of computer science, design, and storytelling. As a result, he is an expert in the special niche where science, entertainment, and education overlap.

Shapiro Translates Haitian Poetry Collection

haitianpoetryNorman Shapiro, professor of romance languages and literatures and the Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, translated the book Poetry of Haitian Independence, published by Yale University Press in May 2015.

At the turn of the 19th century, Haiti became the first and only modern country born from a slave revolt. During the first decades of Haitian independence, a wealth of original poetry was created by the inhabitants of the former French Caribbean island colony and published in Haitian newspapers. These deeply felt poems celebrated the legitimacy of the new nation and the value of the authors’ African origins while revealing a common mission shared by all Haitians in the young republic: freedom from oppressors and equality for all.

This collection of Haitian verse written between 1804 and the late 1840s sheds a much-needed light on an important and often neglected period in Haiti’s literary history. Editors Doris Kadish and Deborah Jenson have gathered together poetry that has remained largely unknown and difficult to access since its original publication two centuries ago. Featuring translations a foreword by the Haitian-born novelist Edwidge Danticat, this volume describes a turning point in Haitian and world history and makes a significant corpus of poetry accessible to a wide audience.