Olivia Drake

Professor Emeritus Dies at 72


Posted 12/02/05
Spencer Berry, professor of biology Emeritus, died Nov. 19 at his home in Middlefield, Conn. at the age of 72. His career at Wesleyan spanned 35 years.

Berry joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1964 and retired in 1999.

He earned a bachelor’s of art in biology from Williams College with a minor in art history; a master’s of arts in biology from Wesleyan; and a Ph.D at Western Reserve University.

An expert in the mechanisms of insect development, he held a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Career Development Award from 1971 to 1976 and received several research grants from the NIH and National Science Foundation. He published more than 40 papers in professional journals, and he delivered talks at many professional meetings and conferences.

Professor Berry also was a valued contributor to Wesleyan, serving on the Advisory Committee, the Association of American University Presses Executive Committee, the Editorial Board of the Wesleyan University Press, the Health Sciences Advisory Panel, the Faculty Committee on Rights and Responsibilities and several administrative search committees.

In the local community, Berry was a founding member of the Middlefield Land Trust, vice-chairman of the Middlefield Conservation Commission and the Middlefield Inland Wetlands Commission.

He is survived by his wife Susan, daughter Alice, sons Matthew and Peter and several grandchildren.

A memorial service for Berry was held Nov. 29 in the university’s Memorial Chapel.

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

BOOK SIGNING: Ethan Kleinberg, associate professor of history and letters, held a book signing event Oct. 26 at Broad Street Books. Kleinberg is the author of “Generation Existential; Heidegger’s Philosophy in France, 1927-1961,” which focuses on the initial reception for Heidegger’s philosophy had on those who encountered it. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

Physics Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, teaches classical dynamics this fall.
 
Posted 11/16/05
Tsampikos Kottos’ research field is so narrow he often has to measure it in nanometers.

Kottos, who joined the Physics Department as an assistant professor in August, is an expert in mesoscopic physics, non-linear dynamics and theory of quantum chaos. Mesoscopic systems, such as semiconductors, metal wires, small metal grains or semiconductor quantum dots, can range in size from 1/1000 of a millimeter to one nanometer.

Kottos, who came to Wesleyan from Germany, has a bachelor’s of arts in physics, a master’s of arts in solid-state physics and a Ph.D from the University of Crete, Greece. His thesis was “Electron Dynamics and diffusion properties in 1D and quasi-1D random lattices.”

Recent studies on classical chaotic dynamics in quantum observables have a range of applicability covering areas from mesoscopic, atomic and molecular physics to acoustics and microwaves.

He has published more than 40 papers on mesoscopics, mathematical physics and computational modeling of complex systems. Topics include random matrix theory, semi-classics, and quantum graphs; theory of driven chaotic mesoscopic systems; computational foundations for modeling quantum transport in complex structures; and control of chaos through impurities. In April, he served as guest editor in a special issue of “Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General” on the topic “Trends of Quantum Chaotic Scattering.”

Kottos has presented his research at more than 35 universities and international conferences.

Kottos received a United States European Office of Air Force Research and Development Fellowship in 1997, and was a Feinberg Fellow between 1997-99. Since 2000, Kottos has devoted his research time to developing a theory of driven chaotic mesoscopic systems and instability of quantum dynamics. As a result, he received a grant in 2002 from the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development.

Recently, Kottos received funding from the Max-Planck-Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme-Dresden to organize an international conference on “Aspects of Quantum Chaotic Scattering.”

This fall he is teaching a course on classical dynamics.

Kottos says teaching and research activities co-exist in a positive way at Wesleyan. He also admires the strong colleagueship at the university.

“For every problem that I had, there was at least one person to help me find a solution, and this is not only for work-related problems,” he explains. “Coming from Europe to the United States is a big step. People in the department and within Wesleyan have helped myself and my family to make the transition very smooth.”

Kottos lives in Middletown with his wife Mania and his two daughters, Rafaela and Eva-Maria.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Science Program Energizes Local Elementary School Class


At top, fifth grader Taylor Spencer learns about the hydrogen make-up of vinegar, club soda and ammonia with Manju Hingorani, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Spencer Elementary School Nov. 10. (Photo by Olivia Drake)
Posted 11/16/05
When 18 fifth graders from the Spencer School in Middletown came home on Nov. 10 and were asked, ‘What did you do in school today?’ they had a few ready answers:

“We extracted DNA from wheat germ, checked hydrogen levels in household products and stripped-away pigments from M&M candies.”

Probably a little different from the responses parents had heard the day before.

The extracting, checking and stripping-away came courtesy of an all-female Wesleyan faculty and student organization called Action Science Kids (ASK), which is part of the Wesleyan Women in Science program (WesWIS). One of ASK’s goals is to generate interest in science among the elementary school-aged students, as well as to demonstrate to girls and boys that the sciences are not only accessible to men.

“The idea is to infuse a notion of intelligent, competent women in various scientific fields,” said Kate Longley, a ASK member and Wesleyan senior biology major from Delmar, N.Y.

The Nov. 10 demonstration in Mrs. Greenlaw’s homeroom class was ASK’s most recent effort. Students and volunteers were divided up into groups and participated in the three different science experiments.

Manju Hingorani, assistant professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, led an experiment where she explained how common household products like vinegar, aspirin and ammonia, among others, contain different levels of hydrogen. When mixed with red cabbage juice, students determined that the pink mixtures, like vinegar, contained more hydrogen than the green mixtures like ammonia.

“Learning how to engage such a young audience in scientific discussions is quite an experience,” says Hingorani.

She adds that she enjoys the presentations and is hoping more Wesleyan students will get involved with the ASK program.

“It is very effective to show kids that, at any age, how much fun they and grown-ups can have with scientific experiments,” she explained.

Emily Alexy, a Wesleyan senior and math major from Ohio, worked on the experiment extracting DNA from wheat germ.

“Does anyone know what DNA does?” she asked. “It’s like a recipe for something and tells your body what you’re going to look like.”

Alexy discussed DNA and its functions, using common items, like soap, rubbing alcohol and water. In her experiment, DNA strands bubbled up to the top of the student’s test tubes when they mixed soap with wheat germ, warm water, meat tenderizer and baking soda.

One of the students, a 10-year-old named Eleanor, grew excited when her DNA strand fizzed to the top of her test tube.

“I like science because you get to learn about your world and earth you live in!” she exclaimed.

Samsun Nahar, a freshman from Manchester, Conn. presented an experiment called candy chromatography. She led students through rubbing coffee-filter paper across the candy coating of brown M&Ms, brown Reese’s Pieces candies and purple jellybeans to observe their different color coatings and dyes.

For more information about ASK contact Manju Hingorani at 860-685-2284 or mhingorani@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

Recasting Human Resources, Payroll will Improve Service and Access


Dan Michaud has been appointed as the interim associate vice president for Human Resources to manage a new department including Payroll, Benefits and Human Resources.
Posted 11/16/05
A recent reorganization of services has combined the Human Resources Department with the Payroll and Benefits Offices. The reorganization became effective on Wednesday, Nov. 9 and was announced by John C. Meerts, interim vice president for finance and treasurer and vice president for Information Technology Services. The intent is to create a single, one-stop office that handles compensation, benefits, personnel information, transactions and recruitment.

“By merging the two areas we’ve created a more efficient, more accessible service for faculty and staff,” says Meerts. “Bringing these areas together in a single department will provide better overall service in these areas and eliminate confusion about who to contact for any of these issues.”

Meerts adds that the offices will eventually be combined physically at a single location to provide additional convenience for faculty and staff.

Dan Michaud has been appointed as the interim associate vice president for human resources to manage the new expanded department. Michaud comes to Wesleyan from Caritas Christi Health Care in Boston, Mass.

“We’re very excited about Dan coming to Wesleyan,” Meerts says. “He has tremendous experience in managing these services in a nonprofit environment and we’ll be looking forward to his expertise and leadership, especially during this transitional period.”

Meerts and Michaud hope to finalize a new location for the department in the near future.

 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Service with Smiles, and Maybe a Hug or Two


 
Lennie Sweeny, top, and Maureen Tosto, left, have worked for Wesleyan’s Campus Dining Services for more than 35 years combined. Sweeny works as a cook in Summerfields and Tosto is a cashier at the Davenport Campus Center.
 
Posted 11/16/05
Q: What is your job title?

Lennie Sweeny (LS): Second cook. I do the prep work for the first cooks. They’re the ones who are in charge of everything. You could call me the soup lady, because I make all the soups and chili.

Maureen Tosto (MT): I’m a cashier.

Q: How many years have you worked in food services?

LS: I’ve been working for Wesleyan for 20 years. Seventeen of those years I worked at the Campus Center as a cashier and in salad, deli and beverage stock. I’ve been here in Summerfields for the past three years.

MT: I came here in 1984, but I left because I was pregnant. I came back in 1989. I’m a cashier now in the Campus Center, but I’ve done everything here. I’ve been in beverage stock, and I worked at Summerfields briefly as a line server.

Q: What are your job duties?

LS: My job first and foremost is to make the soup, and then I help prep other foods. I make two soups a day. The most popular soup is my clam chowder. I cook it with bacon bits and put my heart into it. We’ll go through four pots of that, and only one pot of tomato soup. Students love the cream soups. Yesterday we had a cream soup and by 12 noon there was no more, period.

MT: I monitor the students’ meal points on their cards and let them know if they’re low. Some of them pay cash. At lunchtime it’s bang, bang, bang.

Q: What hours do you typically work?

LS: I work 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6 to 11 a.m. Friday.

MT: I work 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. I love those hours.

Q: Is working in food service stressful?

LS: Not here in Summerfields. Absolutely not. We all get along and work together to get the job done. No one says, “That’s not my job.” Charlie Moorehead is our boss and we love him and he loves us.

MT: No, I thrive on this.

Q: What is the best part about working in dining services?

LS: I like the atmosphere of the job here. I like how we’re all so close.

MT: I love the students. I still get emails from some of them who wanted to stay in contact. I love that I have a birds-eye view of every thing that goes on in here. Always something interesting to look at.

Q: What is your interaction with the students?

LS: I am always in the kitchen. When I worked at the Campus Center, the students were the best part of the job. I’d give at least 500 hugs a day and tell them everything is going to be OK during their exams. These kids are away from home and not seeing their moms and they all can use a hug. Hugs are good for the soul.

MT: I’m constantly working with the students. I like to give them a question of the day, sort of like a David Letterman poll. Last week I was asking, “Did you get a flu shot?” We have some interesting conversations.

Q: How many students are served in the Campus Center a day?

MT: When Lennie worked here, we had about 900 go through the line a day. But now things are more spread out on campus so that number has dwindled.

Q: Do you eat meals prepared in Summerfields and Campus Center?

LS: Usually I don’t have time. I rather make it than eat it. But I am here to make the best food I can possibly make. If I won’t eat it, then you’re not going to eat it.

MT: Sometimes I’ll go upstairs to Stephanie’s and have organic food. I love beets. I also drink a lot of Starbucks Doubleshots. Have you ever had one? I usually have four of them a day.

Q: What are your favorite foods?

MT: I like seafood. I love shrimp.

LS: Of all the soups I make, my personal favorite is the chicken stew. Breakfast is my favorite meal to make.

Q: Do you cook at home?

MT: I love to cook. I cook like I’m Italian even though I’m Irish. Every Sunday I make two or three big dinners like roast beef or sausage and peppers and they last us throughout the week.

LS: I don’t. I spend enough time doing that here.

Q: Do you have families?

LS: I have two boys, Arnie, who is 24, and Randall, who is 22. Randall works at McConaughy Dining Hall. Everyone calls him “Oogie.” I also have a granddaughter named Amara. She’s 3, and we spend lots of time playing with Elmo and going to Chuck E. Cheese and the park. We all live here in Middletown.

MT: I have three girls. Melissa is 27 and she is a second grade teacher in Middletown. I’m going to repay her student loans the rest of my life. My daughter Katie turned 21 last week and she had a big party with 300 guests, but I pulled through. Amy is my youngest. She is 19. We also live in Middletown.

Q: How far back do you two go?

MT: We go way back, some 20-something years. Her boys used to come over and play Atari, and that’s just when it came out.

Q: Tell me about your hobbies and interests outside of work.

LS: I like to support people. If I wake up and I am alive, I think, ‘I was given a chance to do something today’ and how dare we complain about anything. I like to give hugs and help others. I’m always willing to help people who are struggling. That is my hobby.

MT: I stay home on Friday nights and wait for my girls to come home safely.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Uprooting Racism through Education, Discussion


Brandon Buehring, area coordinator for Residential Life, helped develop a campus-wide anti-racism discussion board. He also works with the student residents of West College, Clark Hall and Fauver Apartments.
 
Posted 11/16/05
Growing up in southern Texas, Brandon Buehring was taught by his elders, teachers and textbooks that he was living in a post-Civil-Rights-movement racial utopia. Meanwhile, all of his Mexican-American classmates, whose family trees stretched down at least three centuries in to America’s soil, were struggling with the state’s educational system and government. They were treated, he explains, like invaders.

At the time, Buehring chose to believe that these families weren’t trying hard enough to do better for themselves. But that all changed when every-day activists – friends, professors, authors, supervisors and even strangers – encouraged him to open his heart and think critically about his own identity and the country’s institutions.

As an area coordinator for the Office of Residential Life, Buehring wants to also help members of the Wesleyan community tap into their capacity for empathy while challenging their assumptions about race and systems of power and oppression.

With the help of his colleagues he has developed an online vehicle titled “Uprooting Racism,” to help people process the ideas and theories they are hearing in classes and at campus events, and then work together to bring actions to those ideas.

The Wesleyan community can join the discussions and check out the project’s Web resources by logging in to Wesleyan’s Blackboard Learning Systems at www.wesleyan.edu/reslife/uprootingracism.htm and type “Uprooting Racism” in the search box.

“I believe that racism is tightly woven into the fabric of this country and that it is still very much working to destroy the lives of people of color here and abroad,” Buehring says. “This is not a belief that people in this country like to consider. It was certainly a belief that I refused to consider for most of my life.”

The online discussion Buehring has created seeks to engage members of the Wesleyan community in a critical examination of their racial identities and their positions within an intricate system of racial power and oppression in the United States.

The process began when an Uprooting Racism planning committee convened in July. Soon after, potential staff and student collaborators were contacted in late August and early September to get feedback on the project and help to generate interest and support. In late September, a steering committee was formed. They meet about once a month.

The Uprooting Racism Steering Committee consists of Buehring, Rich DeCapua, Dawn Brown, Eric Heng, Maureen Isleib, Robin Hershkowitz, Sharise Brown, Frances Koerting from the Office of Residential Life; Leilani Kupo and Nicole Chabot from Student Activities and Leadership Development; Dianna Dozier from the Office of Affirmative Action; Lucy Diaz from Academic Affairs; Marina Melendez of Graduate Student Services and residential advisors Iris Jacob ‘06, Lashawn Springer ‘08, and Celia Reddick ’06.

“The project will very much be a work-in-progress for the rest of the academic year and one of the steering committee’s main responsibilities will be continually assessing in which ways the project needs to grow to more closely meet our goals,” Buehring says.

Committee member Melendez admires her colleague’s involvement.

“Brandon is a good person to work with, and has a compassion and clear understanding of what his role is,” Melendez says. “He understands that he must fight racism by opening dialogue for all people. He is not just a bystander. He is a real activist.”

Overseeing the Uprooting Racism project is just one part of Buehring’s busy day. As an area coordinator, he works with the residents of West College, Clark Hall and Fauver Apartments. He spends his days meetings with colleagues, students and project committees, and during the evening, he gathers with his 18 residential advisors and student residents.

“Being an area coordinator really means connecting students with campus resources and helping build enjoyable, respectful, engaged and accountable residential communities,” he says. “We work hard to infuse our communities with the idea that education is an everyday, life-long process that requires self-accountability, respectful conduct and critical optimism.”

Buehring holds a bachelor’s of art in cinema and studio art from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and a master’s of education in counseling from North Carolina State University. He came to Wesleyan in 2003.

“I felt that my own values matched up with Wesleyan’s educational and community values,” he says. “I had also faced a lot of homophobia and persecution in all previous communities and was looking for a home and working environment that would be much more welcoming.”

Buehring, of Middletown, enjoys practicing Buddhism, crafting, knitting and reading non-fiction books about politics and education.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Examining Venezuela’s Economic and Political Struggles


Francisco Rodríguez, assistant professor of economics and Latin American studies, worked as the chief economist of the Venezuelan National Assembly prior to coming to Wesleyan.
Posted 11/16/05
In the recent Summit of the Americas in Argentina, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez openly defied President George Bush by reportedly declaring that the meeting would mark the end of Bush’s push for free-trade era in Latin America. However, the meeting marked another step in the contentious relationship that Chávez has staked out with the American president.

According to Assistant Professor of economics and Latin American Studies, Francisco Rodríguez, this increasingly vocal and confrontational posturing by Chávez is typical. Rodríguez knows this first hand. He’s met Chávez. In fact, Rodriguez has even been a guest at the Venezuelan Presidential Palace.

That was in 2002, when Rodríguez was working as the chief economist of the Venezuelan National Assembly (2000-2004) where it was his job to compile economic outlook prediction reports for the country.

One of Rodríguez’s reports caught the attention of the moderates within Chávez’s administration. It warned of a looming Venezuelan financial crisis and deep recession.

“At that moment, it seemed that the meeting was a positive step towards Chávez becoming a more progressive, democratic leader,” says Rodríguez.

“Shortly after the meeting, however, Chávez realigned himself with the more radical advisors within his administration and our report was widely ignored.”

It wasn’t long after Rodríguez’s meeting with Chávez when Venezuelan citizens tried unsuccessfully to oust the dictator from power. The repercussions are being felt to this day. Numerous citizens, journalists and politicians have been thrown in jail for simply speaking out against Chávez.

Since joining Wesleyan, Rodríguez has continued much of the same research he conducted while working for the Venezuelan National Assembly.

At Wesleyan, he examines economic growth, the political economy and international trade relations of Latin American countries, like Venezuela. One of his most recent papers studies how economic policies like openness, redistribution and liberalization, which are successful within one country, cannot necessarily succeed in another.

“There are many relevant interactions between policies, institutions and economic structure that make it problematic to use one country’s growth experience to make inferences about other countries,” says Rodríguez.

Similarly, his recent research outlines how open trade could be harmful to Latin American countries. In fact, Rodríguez predicts the free and open trade agreement, proposed by the Bush administration at the recent Summit of the Americas, is bound to fail.

“Latin American countries run the risk of not being able to compete with U.S. high-tech goods or East Asian low-skill intensive manufactured imports,” says Rodríguez. “Therefore, they’re forced to specialize in less dynamic sectors such as natural resource and agricultural exports.”

Rodríguez is both academically and personally interested in Venezuela’s economic issues. He was born in Venezuela, yet admits he is critical of elements of the leftist Chávez administration.

“His human rights violations are simply atrocious,” Rodríguez says.

Even the new television station, Telesur, whose signal is broadcast over Latin America on a satellite, which Venezuela recently purchased from China, proves what a powerful hold the Chávez administration has on the people.

“It’s Latin America’s version of Al Jazeera,” says Rodríguez.

However, despite the negativity surrounding Chávez and his government, Rodríguez admits the administration has recently developed some positive social programs to assist the needy.

One called “Barrio Adentro” places doctors to live and work in the poorest areas of the country and other, “Mercal,” sells food to the needy at subsidized costs.

While Rodríguez admits that these social programs have raised living standards among the poor, he is skeptical of the government’s intention as well as of the sustainability of their policies.

He claims that Venezuela’s economy continues to be threatened by high budget deficits and an overvalued exchange rate.

“Before Chávez, oil cost $9 a barrel and after he came into power it rose to as high as $60 a barrel,” explains Rodríguez. “While some of the revenues are being spent on social programs, a considerable proportion is spent on lavish government projects.”

These include such “projects” as a luxurious $54 million A319CJ Airbus plane for Chávez’s personal use. Rodríguez says that Chávez and the Kuwaiti royal family are the only developing country government to have purchased the airplane for official use.

Another is a case of missing money — $3.2 billion. In 2002, the Venezuelan National Assembly assigned the money to the Macroeconomic Stabilization Fund – a fund the nation uses to protect itself against sudden changes in oil revenues.

However, Rodríguez says the funds were never deposited and the government cannot account for their whereabouts. Rodríguez says the funds are thought to have been used to finance political destabilization in other Latin American countries.

“These revenues could instead be saved, invested and used to pay off Venezuela’s current debt,” he says.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media relations

Family Moves into Wesleyan’s Habitat Home


The McNeil family will celebrate Thanksgiving in their new home built by more than 250 students, faculty and staff and community volunteers.
Posted 11/16/05
Wesleyan University and Northern Middlesex Habitat for Humanity formally welcomed Jennifer McNeil and her family into their new home on 34 Fairview Avenue on Nov. 13.   Wesleyan donated the four bedroom, white colonial to Habitat for Humanity last year and faculty, staff, students and other members of the Wesleyan community assisted with the home’s renovations.

McNeil is looking forward to cooking Thanksgiving dinner next week with extended family members and her five children, Darryl, Tyquan, Titeana, Taquana and Jamarea.
 

Renovations are currently underway on a second house that Wesleyan also donated to Northern Middlesex Habitat for Humanity at 15 Hubert Street.

For more information go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/newsletter/campus/1005habitathouse.html
 

By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

Economics Professor Concerned with the Climate


Posted 11/02/05
Gary Yohe, the John E. Andrus Professor of Economics, wasn’t surprised to learn that Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma were churning in the Gulf of Mexico. But along with scientists across the globe, the economist was surprised by how quickly the storms intensified into catastrophic proportions.

The unpredictability of what these storms and global warming’s possible effect on their intensity and increased frequency is what Yohe, a climate change economist, has been studying along with scientists for nearly 25 years.

Climatologists, biologists, and climate modelers often collaborate with Yohe as they contemplate what could happen in certain scenarios.

“They take what economists like me give them and they produce climate scenarios and impact trajectories,” says Yohe. “Economists then take their products as ‘inputs’ for vulnerability assessments.”

Last fall, Yohe co-authored a paper in the journal Science outlining a possible deterrent to global warming. The paper suggested attaching a tax on the carbon content (which generates the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide) in fossil fuels of $10 per ton (or about 5 cents per gallon of gasoline) and gradually increasing it each year.

Yohe compares this possible tax increase to buying insurance against global warming. In economic terms it’s known as “hedging” – doing something that reduces the likelihood of an unpleasant outcome.

He says that hedging global warming is like diversifying governments’ policy portfolios just like individuals diversify their financial portfolios.

“In no case is buying insurance like paying premiums into a pot from which you collect payment to cover a climate induced loss,” he says. “Instead, investments in hedging strategies are designed to reduce the anticipated cost of climate impacts. We need to accept that the climate is changing, perhaps increasing the intensity of hurricanes, for example, and make complementary investments in our capacity to adapt.”

Yohe will be sharing his research on how scientists may adapt to the ever-changing climate when he presents his findings in January to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) – the international gathering of natural and social scientists who routinely assess climate change. He and his fellow study authors hope to ultimately provide environmental policy-makers some insight into how they may intelligently voice their concerns about climate change.

Yohe also hopes that his upcoming journal article in Climatic Change will help magnify the importance of integrating climate into development plans. He is currently collecting contributions from scientists who participated in the Aspen Global Change Institute workshop of Abrupt Climate Change last summer for the article.

However, Yohe admits that it could be a while until we see any real action by policy-makers regarding global warming as the United States has withdrawn from discussions under the Kyoto Protocol. (An international agreement between more than 150 countries to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are suspected to be the cause of global warming). Still, Northeastern states have been joined by California and some Canadian provinces in an effort to reduce emissions in spite of Washington’s reluctance to proceed.

“Citizens of these states can work to support and to expand these efforts to manage climate risks in anticipation that, over the coming years, the threat of climate impacts, particularly abrupt impact of the sort observed in the Arctic over the past few years, becomes so clear that the federal government will follow their lead,” explains Yohe.

 
By  Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

The Puck Stops Here


Donna Wright, women’s ice hockey head coach, learned to play hockey on a pond.
 
Posted 11/02/05
Q: How many years have you been the women’s ice hockey head coach?

A: I began my coaching career at Wesleyan in September 1995. I was hired as the head women’s hockey coach and assistant lacrosse coach. Because the position was not an adjunct faculty position at that time, I also took a part-time position in the Physical Plant as a network desktop support person. It enabled me to be at Wesleyan full-time.

Q: When does the season begin and end?

A: Our season officially begins each year on November 1. Our regular season games end in late February and then the playoff season begins. The New England Small College Athletic Conference playoffs are usually the last weekend of February and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships are the third weekend of March. The goal is to play into March!

Q: How difficult is it to find talented women’s ice hockey players among all the secondary schools?

A: Recruiting is a challenging task. Women’s ice hockey is a very regional sport with the majority of players coming from New England and Minnesota. More and more opportunities have been created in other Midwest states like Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as New York, New Jersey and Maryland. There are very few public high school varsity teams. Most of these are in Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut, so many of the players still come from youth hockey programs and New England prep schools.

Q: How early are some of your players getting into their sport? Were they involved in other sports prior to hockey?

A: Many of my student-athletes currently play or have played other sports. Three of my current athletes are varsity field hockey players, one is a varsity soccer player and one is a rower. On average, the current student-athletes have been playing hockey more than 10 years.

Q: What are some of the skills and lessons that you stress year after year?

A: We will win as a team and lose as a team. I stress fundamentals, discipline and support. We will always work to continue to develop our individual skills, have the discipline to play as a team and always support each other on and off the ice.

Q: At what age did you take up the sport and why? What were some of the challenges of picking up what is thought of as a male-dominated sport?

A: I began hockey later than most of my players. I started when I was 14 years old. It began as an obsession on the pond with my male friends. Those were the days of playing on the pond from early morning until dark on Saturdays. I quickly developed a passion for the game and begged my parents to let me play. I grew up in Danbury, Conn. and the closest girls program was in West Haven, Conn. My parents were wonderfully supportive and not only allowed me to play but drove me several days a week to West Haven for practices and games. In the 80’s, there were limited opportunities for women to play in their own league. I always attended summer camps mainly for boys and played pickup games with boys. The biggest challenge was to get the boys to treat you as they treated the other boys.

Q: There’s a perception that it takes a certain emotional edge to play ice hockey. Is the perception true?

A: Hockey is a fast paced game that is best played with decisive players. The best players play with passion and determination. Sometimes relentless determination can decide a game or season. The Wesleyan 1997-98 team was such a team. With only 12 players that season, they ended their season by playing for the ECAC Alliance title against Middlebury. They finished with the best record in Wesleyan Women’s Hockey history of 17-8-1.

Q: Could you tell me a bit about your new assistant coach?

A: We are happy to have Heather Hoffay join our program. Heather has a lot of NESCAC playing and coaching experience. She is a 2003 Hamilton College graduate and spent the last two seasons assisting in the Trinity College women’s hockey program. She is passionate about the game and about coaching. She is a great addition!

Q: Briefly, where have you played and coached?

A: I was fortunate to play at Providence College. I learned a lot about the game during my time there. Soon after graduation, I began coaching youth hockey in South Windsor, Conn. It was an outlet for me to cultivate my love of hockey while working full-time at Pratt and Whitney as a systems analyst. Before long, I realized that coaching was my real passion and aggressively began coaching with the goal of coaching full time some day. Before coming to Wesleyan, I was an assistant for Manchester, Conn. boys’ varsity hockey, Brown University’s women’s hockey and Yale University’s women’s hockey.

Q: How would you compare the nature of women’s ice hockey at Wesleyan with your experience as a player at Providence and a coach in the Ivy League?

A: Women’s collegiate hockey has growth exponentially since my playing days and my Ivy coaching days. Since that time, Division III opportunities have been officially sanctioned and more than 50 collegiate teams, both Div I and Div III, have emerged. I find the student athletes here at Wesleyan are as committed and work just as hard as the Div I student athletes. We have a slightly shorter official season playing in the NESCAC conference, but these athletes train year round.

Q: How difficult is it to compete in the NESCAC with such national powers as Middlebury and Bowdoin to contend with every year?

A: It is a challenge to play in the NESCAC, but it is also great hockey! Our athletes are competitive and want to challenge themselves and the play best that Division III can offer. For most women, collegiate hockey is the most competitive hockey they will play in their careers.

Q: Do you root for any National Hockey League teams?

A: Coaching is not a career but a lifestyle. I watch a lot of hockey on all levels. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to catch NHL games with my responsibilities here and raising a family. However, I am still a die-hard Ranger fan!

Q: Do you use tapes as a tool for the women?

A: We tape all home games and have tapes of all NESCAC away games. We do use the footage as a teaching tool for both players and coaches.

Q: I’ve heard rumors your husband, Bill, attends a lot of games with your boys, Nicholas and Kyle. Does he enjoy the sport as much as you, and what about the boys?

A: I am blessed with a great husband! Bill and the boys do come to all home games and some on the road. They are our biggest fans. Bill was not a hockey aficionado before we dated but has come to love the sport. He doesn’t even mind getting up at 5:30 a.m. to get Nicholas to the rink for practice on Saturday mornings. As for Nicholas and Kyle, they love coming to Wesleyan. They enjoy watching the team play as well as get on the ice themselves. Game day is just part of the Wright family life.

Q: When you’re not in the rink, what are you doing? What are your hobbies?

A: Bill and I spend a lot of time working on our home in Colchester. It is our hobby I guess. We have done everything from remodeling to landscaping. Besides that, we love to be outdoors as a family. As the boys are getting older, it is fun to ride bikes and play lots of sports.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Government Department Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Posted 11/02/05
Kelly Greenhill joined the Government Department as an assistant professor in July.

Greenhill’s current research focuses on non-traditional coercion, counterinsurgency operations and barriers to conflict resolution. Such research has appeared in a variety of books and journals, including Security Studies, International Migration, and Polity.

This semester, Greenhill is teaching a course on civil wars and international conflict management and another on geography and international conflict. In the spring, she will teach an introductory international relations course, as well as another that offers a more in-depth exploration of international relations theory.

“I was attracted to Wesleyan for myriad reasons, but was especially drawn by the high caliber of the student body and by the university’s clear commitment to cultivating amongst its faculty both strong teachers and scholars,” she says. “I very much look forward to becoming an integrated and engaged member of the Wesleyan community.”

Greenhill holds a bachelor’s of arts degree (double major) in political economy and Scandinavian studies from the University of California at Berkeley; a certificate of special studies in international management from Harvard University; and a master’s of science and doctorate in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In addition to her appointment at Wesleyan, Greenhill is a research fellow in the International Security and Intrastate Conflict Programs at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Her studies have been supported in part by the Social Science Research Council, the MacArthur Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the Eisenhower Foundation.

Before coming to BCSIA, Greenhill held pre-doctoral fellowships at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. She served as a consultant to the Ford Foundation and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a defense program analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, and as an economic policy intern in the Office of Senator John F. Kerry.

Greenhill’s other interests include rock climbing, hiking, skiing and kayaking. She also enjoys cooking, watching films and “reading practically anything I can get my hands on.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor