Olivia Drake

Wesleyan Professors Lecture to Local High School Students

 
Above, Rob Rosenthal, professor of sociology and director of the Service-Learning Center, draws a troubadour to illustrate how the message of music is perceived differently during a lecture to high school students.

At right, high school students listen to Rosenthal’s lecture during the High School Humanities Program.

Posted 05/23/05

This semester, local high school students read “The Odyssey,” and watched “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” but it wasn’t with their high school English teachers.

As part of the High School Humanities Program, more than 80 high school students had the opportunity to participate in six discussions at Wesleyan. Wesleyan faculty members facilitate the lectures. Students were bussed in from Vinal Technical High School and Middletown, Killingworth, Mercy and Xavier high schools.

Rob Rosenthal, professor of sociology and director of the Service-Learning Center, lectured about social music and culture on May 6. He played music samples for the students including songs by Woody Guthrie and Aretha Franklin.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T. What kind of respect is Aretha asking for here,” Rosenthal asks the students. “If you study this stuff, you can’t simply listen to the lyrics. Think about the style, the voice, the year it came out.”

Rosenthal sketched a troubadour and other people on the chalkboard to illustrate how the music, or the message, is interpreted differently. One person may really favor the lyrics, another may like the beat and rhythm, and still another may not really be paying any attention, he explained.

“It’s difficult to pin-point the real connection between music and social movement, he says. “Individuals take this in and react, as well as reflect, differently,”

Other viewings this year included “Glory,” “Monsoon Wedding,” “Slam,” “The Godfather: Part II,” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

The High School Humanities Program is supported by Community and University Services for Education, most commonly known as CAUSE.  Established in 1967 by Marjorie Daltry Rosenbaum, CAUSE facilitates the implementation of cooperative programs and projects between Wesleyan, the Middletown community and the public and private schools in the Middletown area.

In addition to the High School Humanities Program, CAUSE also supports the following:

  • The Art Show, a unique exhibition of more than 1,200 artworks of Middletown students in grades K-12 at Wesleyan’s Zilkha Gallery. This annual event in April showcases the art curriculum in Middletown public schools and attracts hundreds of students and their families to the Wesleyan campus each spring.

  • Silent Sounds, a collection of selected literary works submitted by students in Middletown Public Schools grades 6-12. Categories include poetry, short stories, literary analyses and personal essays.

  • Mini-grants to local Middletown teachers to develop innovative and creative short-term projects to engage their students in learning.

    Rosenthal is one of six professors involved with the High School Humanities Program. Other lecturers this semester have included Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor of classical studies, and the director of the Center for Faculty Career Development; Richard Slotkin, the Olin Professor of English and professor of American Studies; Indira Karamcheti, associate professor of English, associate professor of American studies and associate professor of women’s studies; Kate Rushin, adjunct assistant professor and visiting writer of African American studies; and Sean McCann, associate professor of English, associate professor of American studies and chair of the American Studies Program. Peter Frenzel, professor of German Studies Emeritus, served as faculty director of the program and Frank Kuan, director of Community Relations, offered administrative support for the program.

  • For more information, call 860-685-2245 or 860-638-1401.

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Director of Administrative Applications Makes Systems More Efficient for Users

    Ed Below, director of Administrative Applications helped develop systems on the electronic portfolio.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

    A: I came to Wesleyan in 1987 as the director of Financial Aid. In 1998, I became the project manager for the PeopleSoft Student Administration System, and later the director of administrative applications. It was a new position.

    Q: What does it mean to be “director of administrative applications?”

    A: I have overall responsibility for how the Student Administration System (SFIS) and the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) are used by the functional offices around campus. My job is to develop better and more efficient ways to use systems in office operations.

    Q: What is your interaction or overlap with Information Technology Services and Human Resources, or other departments of note?

    A: ITS has responsibility for all the technical aspects of the systems, but I work with offices to make this technology more efficient. We work closely with ITS to help us implement the system improvements for the offices that use the PeopleSoft systems. In addition to my work with various student services office, I also work with with Human Resources, the Financial Planning Office, Payroll, Academic Affairs and other offices that use the HRMS side of the system. All of our projects are done cooperatively with ITS and the user office that will use the enhancement.

    Q: What are some examples of projects that have extended the efficiency of these systems?

    A: One is the InfiNet Web payment system for the Students Accounts Office, GLSP and University Relations. A new online-registration system for GLSP went live last week, and we have also developed a new Budget Management and Planning System that allows senior staff areas to see and enter more detailed information about their budgets. An application that will be live this week is a new on-line compensation system where managers can make their recommendations for the July 1 increases for their staff.

    Q: How did you get into this type of work?

    A: I have a master’s in higher education administration, and I spent 25 years working in financial aid offices at three other institutions. Working in financial aid has given me a good perspective on how other departments operate, so I learned what was needed in administrative systems. I may not know the payroll process or how Human Resources does their budgeting, but I am able to sit down with experts and figure out how to implement a useful system that can make things easier for them.

    Q: What is your involvement with the electronic portfolio, and how often should people log into the system and why?

    A: People should log in every day. From this portfolio, you can see your time off or vacation time, change your address, elect health and life insurance, establish retirement funds and see if there are any campus-wide alerts such as snow parking bans. We established this system for faculty and staff in 2003 to save paper and a lot of hassle. No more filling out papers and physically brining them to an office, and no more calling around to change your mailing address. People can submit all this information now on the Web. Also, since you have to sign into your portfolio, we know it is the right person getting into the system.

    Q: Any upcoming projects?

    A: We’re currently working on making a better system for all hourly employees who have to report time. The one now works, but we can make it better by extending capabilities for online time recording. We’re also designing a recruiting module for new employees, so they can submit their applications and resumes online. On the student side, we’re looking at re-writing the student online registration system. That’s our big project for next year.

    Q: How do you spend most of your day?

    A: I’m usually going to quite a few meetings or working on plans here at my desk. I’m on the phone sometimes, but mostly I work through e-mail communication.

    Q: What have you liked best about working at Wesleyan?

    A: I like the variety of people I come in contact with. I’ve met many students and staff and faculty and it interests me to see the variety of things people do. I also like the athletic facility and the cultural resources here at Wesleyan. It’s a really good atmosphere.

    Q: What about your job?

    A: I like that I’m always working on something different and that can be very challenging. And it’s nice to see how something I made improves the way someone else works.

    Q: Do you have family?

    A: I am single, but I have two grown children. Molly is a grad student at the University of South Florida in clinical psychology and Kate is a paramedic in Hartford. She’s engaged to be married next summer.

    Q: What do you do after work?

    A: I am a singer. I’ve been singing about 10 years, three of which have been with the Hartford Chorale. We put on about three to four concerts a year and sing with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. I also like to see opera in New York City. I play bridge every week and I like to just putter around my house doing small projects.

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    18th-Century Man: Assistant Professor of History Researches a Revolutionary Tale

    Kirk Davis Swinehart, assistant professor of history, specializes in early American history. (Photo by James Ward Swinehart, Jr.)
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    Kirk Davis Swinehart, assistant professor of history, has been spending most of his time in the 18th century with an Irish knight and a Mohawk woman.

    Swinehart’s research and teaching focus on events from the period just before and leading up to the American Revolution. He has also done extensive research on the New World soldier-adventurer Sir William Johnson (1715–74) and his families, Irish and Mohawk, both of which fought for Britain during the American Revolution. Funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Faculty Career Enhancement Grant, Swinehart will spend next year finishing his book on Johnson and his Mohawk common-law wife Molly Brant.

    “Sir William’s story is easily one of the eighteenth century’s most seductive—a story of setting out and making good, a story reenacted for centuries throughout the British Empire,” Swinehart says. “Monarchical, rich, and sexually corrupt in the eyes of a fledgling nation, this unlikely couple represented all that America struggled to define itself against after winning independence from Britain.”

    Swinehart’s book, tentatively titled “Molly’s War,” is a narrative that recounts an intimate history of the Crown’s uneasy military alliance with the Mohawk Indians of central New York. The story chronicles Sir William Johnson’s 20-year relationship and domestic life with Brant (1736–96), a powerful Mohawk woman who struggled to maintain the Mohawks’ allegiance to George III after Johnson’s death.

    The book is under contract with Houghton Mifflin in North America and Hodder Headline in the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth. 

    Swinehart’s “Molly’s War” derives its narrative verve from the events and places that shaped Brant and Johnson’s lives: their childhoods in the New and Old Worlds; the circumstances of their meeting and subsequent two decades together; the building of the estate they shared uneasily with their eight children and with Johnson’s three white children; and the two decades Brant spent without Johnson, waging war and living as a single mother confronted with heartbreaking blows.

    Many have written about Johnson since his death in 1774 but too often he has been depicted as a caricature of the British colonial official. Swinehart says his research, conducted in British and American archives–including the British Library, the Public Records Office in London, and in Sir William’s own published papers–suggests a more complicated portrait than the ones offered by previous biographers and scholars. Swinehart says Johnson was a devoted father, a great lover of fun, and a man of tremendous intelligence and empathetic powers.

    To complement his research, Swinehart spends time in physical locations where Johnson and Brant lived. He has spent extensive time at the house they shared, Johnson Hall, which still stands, 45 miles northwest of Albany. This summer, he’ll be in London, searching for the family’s banking records, and in Dublin, visiting Johnson’s childhood house.

    Swinehart’s interest in Johnson and Brant dates back six years. After earning a master’s degree from the University of Delaware, where he studied American decorative arts, he pursued a Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University. While at Yale he studied with prize-winning colonial historian John Demos, who changed forever how Swinehart writes history. That is when he began his doctoral dissertation on Johnson.

    “Writing narrative history is for me a way of enriching our sense of the eighteenth century,” Swinehart says. “So, too, is reconciling the history of early America with the history of the British Empire.”

    Swinehart says he hopes to spend his life doing work that combines scholarly rigor and accessibility in equal measure, inside the classroom and on the page. Students, he finds, learn best about early American history when people and life stories are placed front and center: when enormous social and economic changes can be discerned in the life of a James Boswell or a Benjamin Franklin or a Molly Brant.

    At Wesleyan, Swinehart has taught all self-designed courses. These include the survey of early American history, narrative nonfiction and historical biography and the British Empire, a seminar on the Puritans, and another on early American furniture and art.

    “I believe in reaching intelligent, curious people, in opening up worlds to people who may never become scholars but who — if you can persuade them of a book’s capacity to transport and transform — may become discerning adult readers of serious literary nonfiction,” Swinehart says. “It’s always a marvel to watch young readers connect for the first time with people who lived over 200 years ago.”

    In addition to the Mellon Foundation Career Enrichment grant, Swinehart is the recipient of a Yale College Teaching Prize and of fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, and the New York Public Library. Prior to coming to Wesleyan in 2002, he was the Mellon Research Fellow in American History at the University of Cambridge.

    “That’s my vocation,” he says. “To reach those who will never become professional historians, teach them that reading books is a lifelong pleasure — and the cheapest vacation they’ll ever take.”

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Telfair Paints from Memory Via Her Heart

     
    Above, Tula Telfair, professor of art, sits near her students’ work inside her office in Art Studio South. At right, Telfair’s oil on canvas, “Obscured to the Eye Apparent on the Map,” measures 79 by 100 inches.
     
    Posted 05/02/05
    Many people who see Tula Telfair’s landscape painting titled “To Make Space Distant,” are confident the artist painted a place familiar to them. However, before she painted it, the grassy field, split by a pond highlighted in fire brush existed nowhere but in Telfair’s mind. It’s part of a world that the professor of art at Wesleyan creates from her life experiences.

    “The paintings trigger a connection in people,” says Telfair. “Two people, one from Florida and one from Maine will swear they grew up near there, and they know these places.”

    Telfair’s work is nationally recognized. Her large-scale paintings have been shown in dozens of solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and other large city galleries. They are also held in numerous public collections including MasterCard Corporation, General Electric Corporation and The New Orleans Museum of Art.

    The scenes she creates are expressions of metaphoric visual short stories. She invents landscapes with skies blazing with white, golden, gray or saffron clouds. In her square format paintings, skies often make up most of the image. Others include water, which leads viewers through the picture to an indefinite end. The water reflects the light in the sky, as it cuts through the shifting land surface, contributing to the mood of the scene.

    “I work from my own memories and feelings,” she says. “I don’t paint on location. I paint in my studio where I can determine the colors. Colors are so meaningful to the expression.”

    Telfair recently exhibited work at the Forum Gallery in Los Angeles. Many of those multi-paneled pieces are set off with wide bands of color, which lead views around the painting. Telfair says these self-invented bands – which wrap around or cut through an image – are painted with colors found within the landscapes contained in the painting itself.

    The bars also add depth. “The Relationship is Symmetrical,” is actually painted on five canvases, each at a different elevation.

    “The bands have their own intensity that yields a sensual roadmap to the scenes they contain,” says Robert Fishko, director of the Forum Gallery. “They magnify our approach and deepen our desire to penetrate the suggested story of the landscape.”

    Telfair is currently Wesleyan’s only painting instructor, and describes her lessons as “challenging and demanding.”

    “See these paintings? These are all done by students who have never painted before,” she says, pointing at finished work on display in Art Studio South. “I teach each student real technical skills and help them foster unique expression. I am thankful for that privilege.”

    David Schorr, professor of art, says his colleague is known for her toughness and “extremely high” standards.

    “Tula demands and gets the most from everyone: her students, her colleagues, and above all herself,” he says. “Sometimes she scares people or puts them off but she never worries about that, because her standards matter and because they always like her in the end for making them perform to their utmost.”

    Telfair never intended on becoming a painter. In fact, she entered into a required art course in high school and felt overwhelmed. Frustrated by her ignorance, Telfair decided to teach herself how to draw and began copying the drawings of Michelangelo and DiVinci. Two years later, she went to college with aspirations of becoming a medical illustrator.

    Six years later, she ended up a painter, with a bachelor’s degree from Moore College of Art and a master’s of fine arts degree from Syracuse University. In 1989 she was hired by Wesleyan University as an assistant professor of art. She soon became the chair of the Department of Art and Art History and then served as acting academic dean for the Arts and Humanities.

    Telfair currently teaches all levels of painting, introductory drawing and senior thesis, while she continues to work from her studio in New York. Teaching and painting go hand in hand, she says. She’d never want to do one and not the other.

    “Teaching to me is essential,” she says. “I am stimulated by the challenge to teach students how to paint.”

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Center for the Arts Director Brings the Arts to Campus, Town

    Pamela Tatge is Director of the Center for the Arts and spearheaded the development of the Green Street Arts Center.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    When Pamela Tatge became the director of the Center for the Arts (CFA) six years ago, Wesleyan had a golden reputation in the arts.  Unfortunately, not enough people in the community – or on campus  –  were taking notice.

    “We were an undiscovered gem,” Tatge recalls.” I saw the richness in this institution and believed the resources should be shared with the community.”

    Tatge would spend the first five years of her Wesleyan career raising the public’s awareness of arts at Wesleyan. By 2004, the CFA increased its attendance by the general public by 70 percent, while increasing student attendance by 18 percent and faculty-staff attendance by a staggering 1,720 percent. Overall ticket sales climbed 14 percent and revenues for CFA sponsored events went up 24 percent.

    Tatge also spearheaded the development of the university’s Green Street Arts Center, which opened in January of 2005 in Middletown’s North End. She conducted feasibility studies, focus groups and derived the business plan.

    “Nothing in my working life has been as tremendous as creating the Green Street Arts Center,” she says. “I know the institution is here to stay, and it will only grow and continue to assist children and adults.”

    Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2003, she was awarded the Elizabeth Mahaffey Fellowship for Arts Administration from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. In March, the Connecticut Dance Alliance honored Tatge and the CFA with an achievement award.

    In addition, the Center for the Arts was recently named a Hub Site for the National Dance Project in recognition for their ongoing commitment to the creation and presentation of new dance work. As a result Tatge will serve on the NDP Board.

    But these are just the extras that Tatge takes on. As director, her main duties are to oversee programming in an arts complex that includes a theater, cinema, two music halls and a contemporary art gallery. Offerings include the Crowell Concert Series, the Breaking Ground Dance Series and Outside the Box, a series of theater performances and talks, well as several professional and student installations annually in the Zilkha Gallery.

    LiLy Milroy, Dean of the Arts and Humanities program and professor of American studies and art history says her colleague devotion to promoting arts in the Middletown community is signaled by such projects.

    “I think Pam is a dynamic director of the Center who has developed an exciting and innovative program of events for the Center and has as a result significantly raised the profile of the Center for the Arts both on campus and in the wider community,” Milroy says. “I enjoy working with her immensely.”

    Working in the CFA is not Tatge’s first experience with Wesleyan’s fine arts. After growing up in Bethesda, Md., and Milan, Italy, the bilingual student enrolled at Wesleyan in 1980 to pursue a degree in history.

    But in between courses on 20th Century Europe with Professor of History Nat Greene and psychohistory with Professor of History Phil Pomper, she took an interest in Wesleyan’s overabundance of art, dance and music classes. She acted in a play every semester, took several dance classes and sang in the concert choir. These experiences, along with a year abroad in Paris, led to a deep love for international cultures.

    “These four years here were a precious time for me to take advantage of the arts and the arts faculty here,” she says. “I aimed to be a triple threat. I was going to be an actress, singer and dancer and I was determined to make my fame in New York,” she says.

    After graduating in 1984, she worked for two years as an actor in New York, supporting her career by grant writing and fund-raising for several arts organizations. In time, her home life and administrative interests in the arts outweighed her desire to be cast in roles that would require her to travel.

    From 1989-99, she was the Director of Development at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, where she spent 10 years developing the theater’s fund-raising  and community outreach programs, including mounting what was at the time, the most successful single year fundraising campaign in the theater’s history.

    While at Long Wharf, she ran fund-raising workshops for arts organizations throughout the state, worked to create the Arts Industry Coalition and the Regional Cultural Plan for Greater New Haven, and was hired by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts to mentor first-time arts managers.

    “My life experiences had taken me in many different directions, so I came back to Wesleyan, looking at it through new eyes,” she says.

    She oversees a staff of 15, including an exhibitions curator, technical operators, an art director, box office manager, art studio and audio-visual technicians and the staff of the Green Street Arts Center. She’s also been recruiting artists for Middletown Dances!, a town-wide dance festival which will feature the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. As a result of Tatge’s efforts and the interest of the dance and science Departments, GLSP and the Continuing Studies Program, among others, the dance exchange will be in residency throughout the year, culminating in world premiere of Ferocious Beauty: Genome as part of the Breaking Ground Dance Series.

    “Pam has done wonders in bringing the Green Street Arts Center to life, establishing important arts connections between Wesleyan and its surrounding community,” says Eric Charry, associate professor of music. “Her great energy has helped to bring a wide array of musical events to campus that gives Wesleyan its distinctive character.”

    Tatge lives in Madison, Conn., with her husband, artist Jerry Zinser, her two children and two step-children. She also spends time as a Madison Foundation board member, a volunteer at her children’s schools, and attends events that the CFA sponsors.

    She regrets not having the time to sing, dance or perform. However, she still sneaks in an occasional jam session with her family.

    “I still love to dance,” she says. “I still love to rock out.”

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Assistant Dean of Admission Reads Applications, Recruits Students, Plans WesFest

    Leah Kelley, assistant dean of admission, looks through a student’s file in the Office of Admission.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

    A: I came to Wesleyan as an assistant dean last fall after graduating from Yale in the spring.

    Q: What led you into working in an admission office?

    A: I have a bachelor’s of arts in psychology, but in college, I became very involved in college awareness and SAT prep outreach programs. The different programs that I worked with opened up my eyes to the complexity of admissions. After working with high school students for three years, I knew that I wanted to work on the inside as well to get a better understanding of the process before returning to the advising/counseling side again someday.

    Q: What are you enjoying most about working here so far?

    A: Wesleyan is a wonderful place to work, but what I enjoy most about this job is the opportunity to travel and interact with students at their schools and in their communities.

    Q: Working in the Office of Admission, do you get to work face-to-face with the students and parents or are you behind the scenes?

    A: Both. All of the deans in the office spend time meeting students and parents at college fairs, school visits and information sessions. But of course a lot of the work in admissions goes on behind the scenes. We spend a lot of time reading applications, coordinating alumni outreach, planning travel and putting special programs together just to name a few duties.

    Q: And what about that successful WesFest?

    A: It was a community wide effort that Wesleyan can be proud of!

    WesFest is our admitted student’s weekend, and I was involved with the planning of it. It could be thought of as a celebration of all things Wesleyan and requires coordination between the Office of Admission and dozens of faculty and student groups on campus. Around 400 admitted students visited that weekend and I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things from both parents and students.

    Q: What are your thoughts on the Wesleyan students?

    A: I absolutely love working with both our prospective students as well as our current students. One of the greatest parts of this job is getting to meet so many individuals and hearing their stories and plans for the future.

    Q: What are typical questions that high school students or parents have about Wesleyan?

    A: Our information sessions are driven by the audience’s questions so we get asked almost everything and anything about Wesleyan. Some common themes are social life on campus, study abroad opportunities, campus culture and academic programs. One of the neat things about our information sessions is that a current senior sits on the panel with an admissions dean. Having a student on the panel is invaluable to families that are trying to find out what it’s really like to be a student at Wes.

    Q: Students are also tour guides, correct?

    A: Yes. Our tour guides are also excellent and we get a lot of great feedback about them. The Cardinal Key Tour Guide Program is a volunteer program and so the students who give tours really do it for the love of the university, which makes for a wonderful tour. 

    Q: How does your job change throughout the year?

    A: Admissions is a cyclical process, so I’ll describe the different seasons of admissions. In the fall, the deans in our office travel all over the country — and the world — to visit high schools, meet students, work at college fairs and host receptions. It’s a hectic schedule where we visit up to five schools during the day and then host a reception or attend a fair at night. In the winter, you will find most of the deans reading applications. Once decision letters go out in the spring, our office gets busy planning for WesFest, reaching out to admitted students though phone-a-thons and recruiting the next year’s class. Throughout the year, we hold daily information sessions and answer questions from students, parents and counselors.

    Q: Is reading applications a pretty intense process?

    A: Yes. Last winter, I often found myself reading applications six days a week, sometimes from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Most of the deans work at home to avoid office distractions.

    Q: Are you involved with any Wesleyan activities?

    A: The on-campus activity that I am most heavily involved in is varsity softball. I played in college and jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with the team here at Wesleyan. It’s a great way to spend more time interacting with students and sharing a passion that they have. 

    Q: What are your hobbies?

    A: Probably the most interesting “hobby” of mine, if you can call it that, is football. This past winter I joined a women’s professional football team here in Connecticut called the Connecticut Crush (www.ctcrush.com).  Few of the women on the team have played full-contact football before, so we put in a lot of time practicing and learning the sport. I’m also active in my church in New Haven, Christ Presbyterian, and can often be found spending time with that family on the weekends.

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Flory joins Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department

     
    Mark Flory, assistant professor of molecular biology, studies genomic integrity in Hall-Atwater Laboratory.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    Mark Flory joined the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department as an assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry in January 2005.

    Flory, a native of Roanoke, Virginia, completed his bachelor’s of science degree at the University of Richmond majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry in 1994. He earned his Ph.D. at the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2001. His dissertation was titled, “Isolation and Characterization of Calmodulin-Binding Centrosome Components Related to Sacharomyces cerevisiae Spc110p from the Fission Yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Humans.” Flory completed his postdoctoral research in proteomics and mass spectrometry in Ruedi Aebersold’s group at the Seattle Institute for Systems Biology in 2004.

    Flory’s research interests involve understanding the specific mechanisms that ensure genomic integrity. These mechanisms are fundamental to the prevention of chromosomal abnormalities that accompany carcinogenesis. A core set of proteins, conserved in yeast and human cells, protects telomeric chromosome ends by forming a physical cap structure, termed the “telosome,” that regulates access to chromosome ends. The low-abundance and biophysical properties of telomere-associating factors have hampered their identification and characterization, but he has successfully applied mass spectrometry to the identification of telomeric proteins in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

    “I hypothesize that the telosome serves as a repository for factors that dynamically function in an equilibrium balancing telomeric protection and DNA repair according to the needs of the cell under different conditions,” Flory says.

    While conducting postdoctoral research in Seattle, Flory also taught “Introduction to Biochemistry and Metabolism Parts I and II” at the University of Washington Extensions College for two years prior to coming to Wesleyan.

    “I value highly the merits of a smaller-campus environment, but did not want to sacrifice the quality of my research program,” he says. “Wesleyan provides a truly unique combination of high-level research with an intimate teaching environment ideally suited for effective training of undergraduate and graduate students. During my recent national job search, I found the Wesleyan life sciences environment is unique not only to Connecticut but across the country.”

    Flory is the co-author of nine articles, one technical report and a chapter in a book. He lives in Middletown with his partner Amy Sanchez, a chocolate lab named Ace, and a cat named Denson. He enjoys listening to and playing classical and jazz piano, kite boarding on water and snow and hiking.

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Director of Publications Says “Wesleyan” Magazine is Collaborative Effort

    Bill Holder, director of Publications, is the the editor of “Wesleyan” magazine.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    Q: Your history with Wesleyan goes back more than three decades. How did it start?

    A: My story with Wesleyan begins in 1971, when I came here as a freshman, graduating in 1975. I ended up working here most of my professional career here in the Office of University Communications, formerly the Office of Public Information.

    Q: As director of publications, what are you in charge of?

    A: I’m the editor of “Wesleyan” magazine. I plan content for the magazine, write, edit and oversee production, but really, the magazine is a collaborative venture with a number of people here in communications, from beginning to end. I’m glad to be part of this publication, which has been very well received. Our office also produces most of Wesleyan’s publications: everything from invitations to the course catalog.

    Q: Sounds like a satisfying career.

    A: The opportunities that came with doing the magazine have been very gratifying. I’ve met so many wonderful people on and off campus, and the job presents unending opportunities for personal growth. There are always challenges ahead.

    Q: Who is the audience of the magazine?

    A: Both campus and alumni. The magazine has various names that reflect its history. The correct name is “Wesleyan: the University Magazine,” but many people still call it older names, such as ‘the Alumni Magazine,’ or ‘Alumnus,’ which I think originated in the single-sex era here. Some people still call it “The Bulletin,” and that name goes way back. It’s funny how these old names stick around.

    Q: What was your degree, and what led you into journalism/publications?

    A: I actually graduated with a degree in chemistry, and then I went on to graduate school at the University of California at Berkley, wanting to become a research chemist. But after one year, I realized it wasn’t for me.

    Q: Then what led you into journalism?

    A: I learned mostly through on-the-job training. After I graduated, my Wesleyan connection served me well. I got a job as a science journalist with the American Chemical Society in Washington D.C. and my supervisor had a master’s from Wesleyan. Also, we both knew Max Tishler, who was a professor of chemistry at Wesleyan between 1970 and 1987 and served a term as president of the American Chemical Society. He influenced a lot of people, including me.

    Q: How did you end up working at Wesleyan?

    A: My wife, Elisabeth, and I wanted to move back to New England, so I came here and worked at the Middletown Press as a reporter for two years. My beat was covering Wesleyan, so I got to know many people here. And when a job opened up in Wesleyan’s public information office, I joined as a writer/editor.

    Q: What were you writing/editing?

    A: We had a newsletter for faculty and staff called the “Campus Report” and a tabloid for alumni called “WesNews.” I wrote for those, and the magazine, and later started WesOnline, which has since been replaced by the online newsletter.

    Q: How has the Office of University Communications changed?

    A: The public information office in South College was much smaller. There were only six or seven of us. Now there are 16, and the name changed to the Office of University Communications in 2000 when Justin Harmon was hired as the director. So back then I was doing a little bit of everything, including writing and editing stories for the magazine and writing a lot of press releases. Now there are three departments under the Office of University Communications: Media Relations, headed by David Pesci, which handles the media inquiries, press releases and the online newsletter; Web Management, headed by Jennifer Carlstrom, which handles the design of the bulk of the University’s Web pages; and my department, Publications, which produces the “Wesleyan” magazine and most of Wesleyan’s higher profile publication pieces.

    Q: You left Wesleyan for a few years. Where did you end up going?

    A: In 1990, I went to Cornell’s news bureau. I was a full-time science writer, and that was an interesting change, as Cornell is a much different institution. My beat was the College of Agriculture, and I wrote articles on everything from cows and apples to molecular biology. I was there three years, until the magazine editor job opened here at Wesleyan and I came back.

    Q: What do you enjoy doing after work or on weekends?

    A: I work out regularly at the Freeman Athletic center, read, and I like to travel. Recently, I went to visit my daughter in L.A.; other trips have included visits to friends in Ottawa and in Switzerland. Our Swiss friends have a view of Lake Geneva and the Alps to die for. I also am on the Middlesex County United Way board of directors and a member of the Rockfall Foundation, a local conservation and environmental group.

    Q: Tell me more about your family.

    A: My wife, Liz ‘76, teaches earth science at Rocky Hill High School. I have three children, Anne, who is at USC in LA now; Luke, who will graduate from Wesleyan this spring with the class of ’05, and Zoe, a freshman here at Wesleyan.

    Q: Any pets?

    A: We have two dogs, Acadia and Kona. We go on lots and lots of dog walks.

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Wesleyan Jewish and Muslim Students Explore Faith, Society in Turkey

    At left, Wesleyan Jewish Chaplain Rabbi David Leipziger and Muslim Chaplain Imam Abdulla Antepli try on traditional Turkmenistan hats in an Egyptian Bazaar. At right, Jessica Strom ’07, Alana Miller ’08 and Jeremy Gillick ’07 observe the only mosque in Ankara, Turkey.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    What is life like in a secular Muslim nation, especially for Jews?

    This was the question that motivated 17 Wesleyan students – 12 Jewish, 5 Muslim – to go to Istanbul, Turkey, in March during spring break to see for themselves.

    The eight-day trip, which was envisioned and created by Wesleyan’s Muslim Chaplain Imam Abdullah Antepli and Wesleyan’s Jewish Chaplain Rabbi David Leipziger, was discussed at a presentation on April 19 in Judd Hall.

    Leipziger says the objectives of the inter-religious trip were to study successful Jewish-Muslim coexistence in Istanbul, to interact and build bridges with the Jewish and Muslim communities and to visit major religious and historical sites.

    “Most importantly, we wanted to them to learn about each others’ backgrounds in order to build strong and vibrant inter-religious programming at Wesleyan,” he says.

    During the discussion, nine of the students took turns discussing their views on the country’s politics, government, social interactions, impressions of the country and interactions between the Wesleyan students. Dan Janvey ’06 of New York, N.Y., presented a short documentary on the trip, which included clips of a mosque, prayer, music, and personally delivering a Wesleyan T-shirt to a chief rabbi.

    Students went on guided tours through Istanbul. Destinations included old Istanbul, a Jewish museum, the Turkish parliament, and a historical home in the Galata area. The students also went to an Egyptian Bazaar, mosques, Faith University, a Turkish music concert, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, a sufi dance performance, and a Muslim prayer service.

    The students influential religious and secular leaders in the city, including Chief Rabbi Ishak Halevo and local Jewish leaders, Turkish journalist Ekrem Dumanli local Christian leaders, as well as Vatican representative George Marovitch, and Turkish peace activists and interfaith workers. They also met with U.S. Ambassador Eric Edelman in the U.S. Embassy.

    But it was during dinners that the students received the most personal interaction with the Turkish people. Every night they’d share a meal at a local resident’s home, one night with a Muslim family, the next with Jewish hosts.

    Yaneez Nojib, ’08, of Saint-Pierre, Mauritius, said for a few of the Muslim families, this was their first time hosting Jews in their homes. They also allowed the Jews to pray in their living rooms during Sabbath.

    “One night, we ate at this man’s home,” Nojib says. “He was dressed like he was from the O.C. so we thought he was a businessman, but when we sat down for dinner, he didn’t have servants to bring us our food. He personally came and brought us out food, and that just shows what wonderful, hospitable, welcoming people they are. If there’s one thing I learned, it is that I need to find myself a Turkish wife.”

    The country of Turkey has welcomed Jews, expelled from Spain, and Muslims since 1492. Because Turkey is a secular state and forbids census-takers to include questions of religious affiliations, the exact number of the Jewish population is unknown. By 1477, Jewish households in Istanbul numbered 1,647 or 11 percent of the total, and the present estimation is around 26,000, with the majority living in Istanbul.

    Although Judiasm has a small presence in Turkey, among nearly 70 million Muslims, Andrew Inchiosa ’07 of Woodcliff, N.J. says the Jewish community is evolving with the Turkish culture. During a Shabbat service, one practice seemed especially anomalous to the group. 

    “At the mosques, they’d hold out their hands in prayer, but we also observed that at the synagogue,” Inchiosa says. “It involved a partial, one-handed waving motion. We met an American student studying in Istanbul after the service, and he explained that this was a distinctly Turkish tradition.”

    Inchiosa says there were also few religious divisions from a culinary standpoint.

    The students were served Turkish tea at many different religious functions, and experienced a version of Turkish delight, featuring milk chocolate, at the home of the ambassador to the Vatican.

    Other students who went on the trip were Alana Miller ‘08, Jeremy Gillick ‘07, Jessica Strom ’07, Leora Abelson ‘07, Saad Mustafa Handoo ‘06, Marie Brophy ‘08, Lillian Siegel ‘08, Nitzan Ziv ’07, Jacob Goldin ’07, Ben Smyser ‘08, David Abravanel ‘08, Emiria Wijayanti ‘07, Joel Bhuiyan ‘06 and Nabil Ansari ’06.

    Handoo, of Clarksville, Md., says the students want to reach out to area newspapers, deliver presentations in their hometowns, write articles for Turkish newsletters, hold discussions and conferences about their trip, and reach out to Wesleyan alumni regarding their interfaith experience.

    “Now that we have this knowledge, we want to share it with a broader base and other religious circles,” he says. “What we have been through has been a transforming experience.

    Another trip is being planned for March 2006.

    Anyone interested in ordering a DVD of the students’ documentary, or having the Wesleyan students make a presentation at individual synagogues, mosques, schools or other venues, contact Rabbi Leipziger at 860-685-2278 or dleipziger@wesleyan.edu.

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Stereochemistry Topic of 33rd Leermakers Symposium

    Posted 05/02/05

    More than 150 guests, many from academia and the pharmaceutical industry, attended the 33rd Peter A. Leermakers Symposium May 5 at the Exley Science Center.

    The annual, one day meeting brings together internationally recognized chemists for a day of intensive examination of a particular subject in chemistry.

    This year’s symposium, titled “Chirality,” united scientists working in the general area of stereochemistry. The speakers have played a fundamental role in the control and understanding of stereochemistry.

    Stereochemistry is a property that certain molecules have that can make two molecules behave completely differently as drugs, even though the structures of the two molecules look very similar. Stereochemistry depends on the symmetry of a molecule and is very difficult to control when one is synthesizing the molecule.

    Speakers of the day-long event included Judith Brown, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost; Michael Frisch, visiting scholar in chemistry; Professor Kendall Houk from the University of California, Los Angeles; Professor David Evans from Harvard University; Edward Grabowski from Merck Research Laboratories; Professor Eric Jacobsen from Harvard University; and Professor Geoffrey Coates from Cornell University.

    The speakers presented results related to asymmetric catalysis, the synthesis of stereoregular polymers, the computer modeling of stereoselective reactions and the use of spectroscopy.

    “These scientists are all at the very top of their fields and have been recognized by numerous awards,” says Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Leermakers Symposium.

    The first symposium was held in 1972 on the chemistry of vitamin B12 and featured the late Robert B. Woodward, who reported on the just-completed total synthesis of this complex molecule. Since then topics have included natural biology, theoretical chemistry, extraterrestrial chemistry and chemical reaction dynamics.

    The symposium was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Merck Research Labs and Pfizer Global Research Division.

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    The Speakers Judith Brown, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, Wesleyan University

    Professor Geoffrey Coates, Cornell University spoke on “New Catalysts for Constructing Small Molecules and Polymers of Defined Stereochemistry.”

    Professor Eric Jacobsen of Harvard University spoke on “Seeking General Asymmetric Catalysts.”

    Michael Frisch, Visiting Scholar in Chemistry spoke on “Spectroscopy of Chiral Molecules.”

    Professor Edward Grabowski of Merck Research Laboratories spoke on “Novel, Asymmetric Hydrogenations.”

    Professor Kendall Houk, University of California, Los Angeles spoke on the “Theory and Modeling of Stereoselectivity”

    Professor David Evans spoke on “From Crystal Structures to Chiral Catalysts.”

    International Students Share Wesleyan Memories at Senior Reception

    From left to right, Ambika Ahuja ’05 of Thailand, Zaheed Essack ’05 of South Africa, Phudorji Sherpa ’05 of Nepal, and Lianne Morris-Smith ’05 of Jamaica converse at the International Student Senior Reception.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    The Office of International Student Services held an International Student Senior Reception at the Russell House April 27.

    More than 25 international students and exchange students attended. Some gave brief remarks about their experiences at Wesleyan while others mentioned ways they plan to stay connected with Wesleyan after graduating.

    “Whether they stay in this country or travel back to their home country, these students can maintain a relationship with Wesleyan,” says Theresa Cann, coordinator of International Student Services.

    Wesleyan staff, administrators, and faculty attended, including the Senior Class Dean, Louise Brown.

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Human Resources Launches Virtual Orientation Web Site

    The Human Resources department’s new Virtual Orientation Web site provides vital information for new employees.
     
    Posted 05/02/05

    Prospective employees can learn all about Wesleyan before they even set foot on campus — just by going online.

    The Human Resources department has launched a Virtual Orientation Web site this month for new employees. The site can be viewed at:

    http://www.wesleyan.edu/hr/newemployee

    The site features a list of important resources, interesting facts and valuable information that employees will need before they arrive and during their first month at Wesleyan.

    “We wanted to create a place for new employees to learn as much as possible about Wesleyan before they arrived” says Julia Hicks, associate Human Resources director.  “We also wanted to provide a place where existing employees can also view useful human resources information.”

    The Virtual Orientation web site contains similar material given to new employees on their first day but includes additional features such as an information on campus dining, the computer store and child care resources, the adverse weather policy, and even Wesleyan trivia. A new employee checklist explains where to pick up a Motor Vehicle Registration Form, Wesleyan Identification Card and how to get signed up for Wesleyan benefits.

    The site also offers resources to employees who are not familiar with the Middletown area. An extensive list of places to eat and things see and do in Middlesex County is available on the site, as is a map of Middletown.

    “Even employees who have been here for years will find a great deal of useful information on this site,” Hicks says.

    The site was developed by Vanessa Sabin, Human Resources administrative coordinator; Pat Leone, World Wide Web administrator, Jennifer Carlstrom, Web manager and Sasha Foppiano, formerly a web designer for the Office of University Communications. Sabin and Dan Pflederer, Human Resources functional specialist, coordinated focus groups to gather input and feedback regarding the site.

    The development team explored numerous university orientation Web pages and came up with our unique look and feel.

    “We picked a design that we felt would be the best fit for Wesleyan,” Hicks says.

    Harriet Abrams, director of Human Resources, encourages Wesleyan employees to offer feedback on the site and included a suggestion box link on the site for this purpose.

    “We consider this a work in progress and we’ll be continually updating and enhancing it,” Abrams says. “The site is primarily focused on new hires but since it’s accessible to anyone visiting Wesleyan’s site, it’s also a terrific marketing tool to encourage others to apply.”

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor