Olivia Drake

One Lecture after Another


Laurie Zolty, assistant to the coordinator of University Lectures, poses with lecture advertisements inside the Horgan House.
 
Posted 03/15/05

Q: When did you join the staff at Wesleyan and why?

A: I joined the staff in the fall of 2000 looking for a career change. A very good friend was on staff here and spoke so highly about working at Wesleyan. I was searching for almost a year, looking for a position where each day would be different – working a diverse schedule, meeting new people, taking on new tasks and challenges. This newly created position with University Lectures seemed like the perfect fit.

Q: What were you doing before you came to Wesleyan?

A: My last job wasn’t very exciting. I was the office manager for a local orthodontist. But the one before that was great. I handled all human resources, payroll and office management for The Tournament Players Club at River Highlands, which meant my employer was the PGA Tour. That was cool.

Q: How do you and Jean Shaw, the University Lectures coordinator, work together?

A: Jean Shaw and I have worked wonderfully well as a two-person team. We handle the logistics for a number of endowed lectures, from their inceptions to their completion. We also assist faculty when they are applying for and receiving funding from the Edward W. Snowdon Fund. These Snowdon supported lectures are more numerous and we do everything from advising to organizing the lecture events and setting up small dinners to working with the graphic designer on advertising and posters. We also assist or manage individual lecture budgets and attend the events we help sponsor.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I’d say the diversity of skills used and the exposure and opportunity of working with and getting to know such a large number of faculty and staff.

Q: I understand working with lectures isn’t the only thing you do at Wesleyan.

A: The major part of my job is working with Lectures, but one-quarter of my time is connected with Reunion and Commencement. This part of my job is to coordinate and streamline the payment process for all R and C invoices and help to track all expenses. In addition, I have taken on assisting the Marshal of the Faculty for commencement. These come at the perfect time, when logistical work on lectures quiets down in the spring and early summer, so it rounds out my work schedule in a nice way.

Q: Do you attend lectures your department put on?

A: Yes, we attend every lecture, activity and performance, whether it be an endowed lecture, such as the Hugo L. Black or Raymond E. Baldwin events where we are totally involved, or be it a lecture, event or residency organized by an academic department, including all events funded through the Snowdon grant process.

Q: What would be an example?

A: A great example of this is the current series of 19 events spanning three semesters that the Center for Film Studies has organized in conjunction with different academic departments. We also work closely with faculty, like Anne Greene, to help support her major Writing Program lectures each year, the Annie Sonnenblick Lecture and the Joan Jakobson evening.

Q: What have been some of your favorite presenters or lectures?

A: It’s hard to say. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people over the past four years. Our first Snowdon Fellow was Steven J. Gould who was remarkable. I actually had the chance to accompany him on a private tour of Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill. It was amazing. But I’d have to say my favorite lecture each year is the Sturm lecture. Kathryn Johnston, of the Astronomy Department, brings in terrific speakers and for me, the topics are fascinating as each lecture explores an area of astronomy that is far beyond our world but so relevant to our lives on earth.

Q: Who generally presents the lectures? Professors? Visitors? Are there certain topics they address?

A: The lectures that we support and are involved with are always given by visitors. They are often professors from other universities, but can be dignitaries, judges, authors, dancers, college presidents, movie directors, journalists or clergymen. For Snowdon funding, a faculty member writes a proposal with a specific speaker, or speakers, and topic in mind. Snowdon supported events are required to have participation from multiple departments, so the topics can range as wide as your imagination will take it.

Q: What would I find you doing on a weekend?

A: You can find me most Sunday mornings sitting in my three-season room with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Over the past few years, my husband, Allen and I have been busy with a series of redecorating projects at home and this seems to be a never-ending process. One room triggers another. I enjoy the decorating process, searching for just the right fabric or accessory. My degree was in textiles and marketing so I love the hunt for a bargain and have a feel for what works and what doesn’t.

Q: That sounds like a fun, but inexhaustible project. Do you have other hobbies?

A: I like to cook and I sew and I used to play a bit of tennis. I really enjoy going to the movies and eating late dinners afterwards, so Allen and I will do one or both on most weekends. Our closest friends include people I grew up with and even though they live in New Jersey or New York, we often meet up for an afternoon or dinner. Every few months we try and get into New York. I just love the theater and the energy of the city.

Q: Where did you meet your husband? Do you have any kids, and if so, what do they do for a living?

A: I met Allen when we were both at UConn. We’ve been married for 32 years and have two sons. Allen has spent his career in labor and industrial relations with Pratt and Whitney, which afforded me the opportunity to stay at home with our kids while they were growing up. Stuart, our oldest, has been married for three years, works as a financial advisor and lives just outside the city. Our daughter-in-law, Meredith, is the general manager of the Jean Cocteau Repertory Company. Andrew, our younger son, lives and works in New York. He is an interactive Web designer, loves to travel and is focusing his time and energies promoting Seven Ender, a rock band that he fronts. 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Breaks Record in United Way Campaign


 
 
Posted 03/15/05

Wesleyan University made a record-breaking contribution to this year’s Middlesex United Way annual community campaign.

Frank Kuan, director of community relations and volunteer community campaign chair, reported that Wesleyan raised $140,018 for the local United Way chapter, exceeding the campaign goal of $135,000. This is the most Wesleyan has ever raised for Middlesex United Way in the 60-plus years the university has been involved in the campaign.

Middlesex United Way supports critical human care services and county-wide projects that improve community conditions.

“This goes to show that Wesleyan employees care about the community that they work in, and many of us live in,” Kuan says. “Raising a record amount is a pretty amazing feat, and it’s a result of everyone’s diligence and effort.”

Wesleyan was among the top three contributors in the Middlesex United Way Campaign. Kevin Wilhelm, Middlesex United Way executive director said Wesleyan consistently ranks in the top 4 percent of all universities nationally with respect to average gift and percent. This year, Wesleyan represents 6.5 percent of Middlesex United Way’s total of $2,150,000. 

Although it was a successful year in terms of dollars raised, the level of participation dropped, a development that has Kuan concerned. Last year Wesleyan had 62 percent of its employees participate; this year that number fell to 59 percent.

”Every dollar really counts and it all adds up for what we want to do locally,” Kuan says.

Despite the drop, seven departments did have 100 percent participation: the Center for Humanities, Classical Studies; Dean of the College Office; Financial Aid; Philosophy; Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) and the Registrar’s Office.

The Leadership Circle, comprising 44 individuals and six vendors who pledged at least $1,000 a year, accounted for $71,050.86 or 50.7 percent of the total amount raised.

John Biddiscombe, director of athletics, chair of the department of physical education, Middlesex United Way Executive Committee 2002-04, and past president of the Middlesex United Way Board of Directors said the United Way campaign has emerged over the past ten years to the point where the employee contributions ranks first in Middlesex County. 

“Wesleyan has always provided strong support for the United Way,” Biddiscombe says. “However, now, not only does Wesleyan provide volunteers, but we also provide significant dollars to local people in need.”

In Middlesex County, United Way provides ongoing funding for 35 programs and services including the Amazing Grace Food Pantry, Girl Scouts Connecticut Trail Council Inc., Boy Scouts Connecticut River Council, Inc., Literacy Volunteers of Greater Middletown, Middlesex Hospital Family Advocacy Program, Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and YMCA of Northern Middlesex County.

In addition to United Way’s core services, the organization is creating three new initiatives:

  • A substance abuse prevention initiative aimed at area teens.  
  • A program designed to reduce and treat behavioral problems among children from birth to 5-years-old.
  • An affordable housing project, due to launch this spring, will build upon local grassroots housing efforts to increase the affordable housing stock.
  • In 2003, United Way touched 26,809 people, or 62 percent of Middletown’s population. Overall, it reached 53,750 people or 34 percent of all people in Middlesex County.

    Middlesex United Way recognized Wesleyan’s contributions with three awards at its recent annual meeting: a Silver Award for Participation, a Special Award for Excellence in Leadership Giving, and an Employee Honor Roll award for Five Consecutive Years of Campaign Growth.

    Joyce Jacobsen, professor of economics, and Mike Zebarth, director of PIMMS, will serve as co-chairs for the 2005-06 campaign. 

    For more information go to www.middlesexunitedway.org.

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Wang Joins Asian Languages and Literatures Department


     
    Lingzhen Wang, assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures stands outside Fisk Hall, where she teaches a class on 20th century Chinese literature and film.
     
    Posted 03/15/05

    Lingzhen Wang joined the Asian Languages and Literatures Department as an assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures in January 2005. She teaches China Modern: An Introduction to the Literature and Film of Twentieth Century China and Intermediate Chinese at Wesleyan.

    Wang completed her undergraduate work at Nanjing University and earned her Ph.D at Cornell University. Her master’s thesis is a comparative study of a well-known Chinese writer, Shen Congwen, and Thomas Hardy, and her dissertation is on modern Chinese women’s autobiographical writing.

    Wang’s main areas of interest are modern Chinese literature, gender studies, feminist and literary theories, and modern Japanese literature. She is currently researching Chinese female film directors.

    She was drawn to Wesleyan in part because of its top-notch faculty.

    “Wesleyan has some leading scholars and professors in Chinese Studies and Women Studies,” she says. “And the role of East Asian Studies is quite prominent at Wesleyan compared to many other places.”

    The Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and proximity to her husband’s workplace were also big attractions.

    In September 2004, Wang’s book “Personal Matters: Women’s Autobiographical Practice in Twentieth-Century China” was published by Stanford University Press. She recently edited a translation anthology of a famous contemporary woman writer, Wang Anyi, titled “Years of Sadness,” which is pending publication. Wang is currently working on two essays, “Peeling Onion: Teaching China and Gender in the United States” and “The Ambivalence of Maternal Body and Voice in Contemporary Chinese Women’s Cinema.”

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Working to Minimize Brain Cell Damage in Stroke Victims


     
    Biology visiting assistant professor Stanley Lin researches ways to prevent brain cell death in stroke patients.
     
    Posted 03/15/05
    Q: Professor Lin, you’re among only a handful of scientists, nationwide, studying excitotoxic cell death. Please explain your research, and what this means for stroke victims.

    A: After a stroke, millions of brain cells can get over excited and the cells can die. This cell death is an ongoing process. This condition can be prevented if the neurological signaling pathways that that cause cell death are inhibited. If we use proteins that block excitotoxic pathways, we could prevent post-stroke death.

    Q: How do you describe an “excitoxin?”

    A: An excitoxin, is an excited poison. It is a normal neurotransmitter that damages neurons when released in large amounts. An excitoxin binds to certain nerve cell receptors, stimulates the cell, and either damages the cell or results in neuronal cell death. Excitatory amino acids, can produce lesions in the central nervous system and set off progressive diseases such as. It’s also a factor in nerve damage in patients who have epilepsy or asphyxiation.

    Q: In addition to strokes, what types of medical problems can arise from cell death?

    A: Excitotoxic cell death is thought to be a central and underlying cause of brain damage in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s disease. An understanding of what causes cell death and lesions after strokes will lead to prevention of the paralyzing cell loss.

    Q: Where did you study this subject before coming to Wesleyan?

    A: I earned my bachelors and doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. Most recently I’ve collaborated with professors at Yale University on this subject. Prior to coming aboard at Wesleyan in 2002, I worked in both the oncology and neuroscience fields, studying serotonin-associated signaling pathways, cloning novel signaling molecules from the brain, and studying the mechanism by which salmonella can target tumors and slow tumor growth.

    Q: What are some of your recent publication topics?

    A: They cover a broad range of topics, including neuroscience, immunology, oncology, and microbiology. My most recent articles include “Oxidative damage and defective DNA repair is linked to apoptosis of migrating neurons and progenitors during cerebral cortex development in Ku70-deficient mice,” which will be published in “Cerebral Cortex,” and “Role of SptP in enhanced tumor necrosis factor-a secretion and ERK activation in murine macrophages by Salmonella typhimurium,” which appeared in “Cellular Microbiology.”

    Q: Do you collaborate with any of the other professors?

    A: I perform research with Janice Naegele who is an associate professor in biology and neuroscience and behavior. She investigates the role of DNA repair in neuroprotection. She’s more anatomical, and I’m more molecular, so our work complements each other’s. We, and student Jia Liu, study cell cultures and segments of rodent brain. Under a microscope, we study the activity of a specific molecule, technically called “striatal-enriched tyrosine phosphatase,” or STEP, a brain-specific molecule that turns off cell death pathways.  During nerve death, the STEP molecule gets degraded, and is no longer present to prevent cell death.

    Q: Please explain more about these STEP molecules.

    A: The STEP proteins, both normal and mutated, are fused to amino acids that allow the STEP proteins to enter cells, bind to enzymes in the cell death pathway, and block death-associated signaling. So far, we’ve shown that addition of certain STEP mutants, but not others, can block excitatory cell death. I plan to study the differences in action of the individual STEP mutants in order to identify the critical cellular reactions involved in cell death.

    Q: What classes do you teach here and what do you want students to get out of your classes?

    A: Last fall, I taught neuropharmacology and this spring, I’m teaching a molecular and cellular neurobiology laboratory course. I want students to get a fundamental understanding of how cells work in the brain, the anatomy of the brain, and hope they can visualize paths in the brain.

    Q: How do you study the brain?

    A: We study them directly. Along with graduate students Jia Liu and Mohit Neema, we bring out a mini ‘bologna slicer’ and will slice apart mice brains for students to study under the scope.

    Q: Do you enjoy research or teaching more?

    A: I’ve always done research, but I’m enjoying teaching, too. Research keeps me mentally active, whereas the students can really keep you on your toes. Those students who really get into neurology are the most rewarding to teach.

    Q: I understand working here has some sentimental value to you.

    A: Yes. My father, Po Chen Lin, earned his master’s degree in English literature from Wesleyan in 1948 under Professor Fred Millett.

    Q: What do you do after a long day in the lab?

    A: I studied violin at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins, so I like to meet up with my trio. We call ourselves Youth ‘n’ Asia. We have performed at various local venues, including Connecticut Hospice and the Neighborhood Music School. I also enjoy reading and spending time with my daughters, Shau-Ru a recent graduate of Smith College, and Fu-Fu.

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Officer Spends 23 Years Keeping Campus Safe


     
    Public Safety Senior Officer William Heckstall has worked for Wesleyan more than 20 years.
     
    Posted 03/15/05

    In his distinctive black, gray and red uniform, a shimmering silver badge and a belt equipped with a jingling set of keys and nightstick, Public Safety Senior Officer William Heckstall appears daunting from afar. But once eye-contact is made with this 6-foot-3, broad-shouldered officer, his sweet, signature smile overwhelms his face.

    “I like to greet everyone with a friendly smile, and let them know I’m a nice guy and can be trusted,” officer “Hex” says, modeling his beaming grin.

    For 23 years, Officer Heckstall has patrolled Wesleyan’s campus. Originally hired by Wesleyan as a guard, Heckstall was promoted to a senior officer in 1993. When he started, there were seven patrol people; the department now has 17 officers and three patrol people working day and night shifts.

    He spends his days with one mission in mind – to promote a safe environment for Wesleyan’s students, staff and faculty. When he’s not responding to reports, he is checking buildings on campus, doing parking enforcement and responding to calls for service such as medical escorts.

    “I’m always on the lookout for safety hazards,” he says. “This could be anything from blown-out light bulbs to cracks in the sidewalk.”

    While on duty, Heckstall takes turns with other officers, patrolling sections of campus by car. He routinely stops to talk walk-through the dorms and other buildings, looking for any hazards and making sure there are no broken locks.

    Near the end of his shift Heckstall reports back to his office at 208 High Street for his least-favorite part of the job – writing reports.

    “I much rather be out with public than in here, writing reports, but that’s a big part of the job, too,” he says.

    Heckstall, an avid weight-lifter and long-distance runner, looks forward to campus-patrol duty in April. In 1995, Public Safety initiated bike patrol, which commences after the snow melts and continues through late fall.

    Public Safety personnel on the bicycle are able to navigate through campus with greater ease than officers in patrol vehicles and faster than personnel on foot.

    “Many areas of the campus are only accessible by walkways or one-way roads,” Heckstall says. “The bike patrol ads a great dimension to our work. We can respond to an event in a matter of minutes, rather than having to get through traffic.”

    The bike patrol is just one way Public Safety strives to make Wesleyan a safer environment. Throughout Heckstall’s double-decade career, the department has set up emergency police/fire boxes and blue light phones, a campus shuttle service and an electronic card access system. Residence halls have been further secured with locking exterior doors. Public Safety also offers tips on its website regarding identity theft, bicycle security, jogging security, sexual assault awareness, and nuisance/harassing telephone calls.

    In addition, all first-year students receive a campus safety brochure.

    “Students can feel real safe here at Wesleyan,” Heckstall says. “Our office works very hard to keep the campus safe. Crime prevention is a partnership we share with our entire community and we need everyone’s help.”

    Maryann Wiggin, director of Public Safety says the officers can always rely on Officer Heckstall for special assignments.

    “William takes his responsibilities very seriously,” Wiggin says. “He has tremendous people skills, provides great customer service. He’s someone I depend on and it’s great to have him on the public safety staff.”

    When not in uniform, Heckstall said he can be found at the gym or spending time with his twins. His son, Elijah, attends Trinity College; his daughter, Ebony, goes to Syracuse University.

    He also likes to watch sports, especially basketball. The 1979 graduate of North Carolina’s Campbell University played Division 1 hoops.

    “I’ve played against some of the pros,” he says, grinning. “Sometimes, I think I should have stayed with it.”

    Being a dad of college-age kids helps him relate even better with Wesleyan’s student body.

     “I think I have a great rapport with the students,” he says. “If I can help one, two, 50 or 100 of the students out there, I feel that I have done my job.”

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    Digitization Specialist Creates Digital Instruction Materials


    Allynn Wilkinson, digitization specialist, works on scanning and piecing together a map of Middletown inside the Information Technology Services digitization lab.
     
    Posted 03/15/05

    Allynn Wilkinson is leading Wesleyan into a digital world.

    As Wesleyan’s digitization specialist, Wilkinson support curricular instruction by converting and creating multimedia instructional materials.

    And campus wide, technology seems to be contagious.

    “We give faculty members what they need, and that gets other people interested in these types of services,” she says. “It’s just amazing what we can do nowadays with technology.”

    Wilkinson works in her own digitization lab at Information Technology Services. There, she uses five computers to convert one medium into another.

    Music from a cassette tape can be transferred to a digital audio tape; video from a High 8 tape can be burned onto DVDs, slides from an art portfolio can be scanned and put on Web sites; and data from floppy disks can be burned to CDs.

    “Right now, I’m converting a concert that was shot on mini digital video, to a DVD,” Wilkinson says, pointing to a computer, processing information. “And here, I’m scanning a giant map for a geology class. It’s so big, it won’t fit on the scanner all at once, so I scan it in pieces and put it together on the computer.”

    Adobe PhotoShop is Wilkinson’s most-used program for digital image manipulation. She also uses Final Cut, DVD Studio Pro, Adobe Audition and iMovie.

    “I set them up, but the computers do most of the work,” she says.

    Although she devotes much of her day to technical processes such as scanning slides, posters or transferring data, she loves to tackle creative projects that come by her desk. Wilkinson opens her latest project, a digital photography slide show, for Jerry Wensinger, a professor emeritus for the German Studies Department. Wensinger photographed scenes in Munich, Germany, in 1948 and shot the same scenes in 2004.

    Wilkinson morphed the 1948 black and white images with the recent color photographs to show the before and after. Wensinger will present the slide show to German classes or public talks.

    “This is one of my favorite projects,” Wilkinson says, watching the presentation.

    Each computer is set up to do different tasks. One has a flatbed scanner, another prints directly onto CDs and DVDs. Another computer is setup to make mini-movies called videostreams, which are becoming a popular teaching tool campus wide.

    Anthropology Professor Betsy Traube uses Digitization Services to transform episodes of  “The Sopranos” TV show into streaming videos for television course; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Associate Professor Michael McAlear records his lectures onto VHS tapes, which Wilkinson transfers to videostreams for students to view online.

    “I think having video streams is a great idea, because it gives students the opportunity to see classes that they might want to review, or might have missed due to sickness or other obligations,” McAlear says. “Seeing the video of the lecture is a much better way to get the information, rather than copying notes from friends. I’ve only had good feedback from it.”

    Wilkinson said professors and students alike appreciate the convenience of on-demand video. “It saves class time when students can watch video assignments on their own time and they can review the material as often as they want,” she says.

    One of Wilkinson’s up and coming projects is to turn videos of a brain dissection into streaming videos for Psychology Professor Harry Sinnamon’s neuroanatomy class. He formerly used VHS tapes.

     “Allynn did a fine job converting the tapes to the streaming video format,” Sinnamon says. “With no significant cost in resolution, we gained the benefits of convenient access, increased security, and minimized wear and tear on the tapes. I would recommend this service to any instructor who uses the same tapes from year to year.”

    Wilkinson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Victorian studies, and master’s degrees in pop culture and library science, acquired much of the technology on her own time.

    She learned to stream videos by recording soap opera clips, and time-lapse movies of flowers blooming.

    “I have all these machines here. If someone brings me something I’ve never seen, I’ll figure it out,” she says.

    She’s had a few cases where professors have brought her outdated hard drives, audio recorders and “little silver things,” but she’s always found a way to open, extract and re-record the material on more up-to-date formats.

    “We’re always up for learning new things,” she says.

    When not in the lab, she’s attending intellectual property committee meetings and works as a media digitations specialist for Leaning Objects, which are graphical simulations, data sets or learning modules that can replace text or lectures on a subject.

    Wilkinson, 44, celebrated her one-year anniversary at Wesleyan in December 2004. Prior to Wesleyan, worked part-time for Brown University, also as a digitization specialist.

    Wilkinson, who lives in Pawcatuck with her pet parrot and cat said once she’s home, she resorts to less techy hobbies, such as decorating her house and gardening.

    “I have a lot of computers at home, but I try hard not to turn them on,” she said.

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    25 Years with All That Money and Never a Dull Day


    Katy Wichlac, CPP, is Wesleyan’s payroll manager and works in Financial Services.

     
    Posted 03/15/05

    Q: I’ve heard of a CPA but not a CPP. What does that stand for?

    A: A Certified Payroll Professional.

    Q: Are you a math person? What skills do you need to work in payroll and what is your educational background?

    A:  I graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, Connecticut.  I have a bachelor of arts degree in American Studies and British History from Cardinal Cushing College in Brookline, Massachusetts I am currently taking classes through the Graduate Liberal Studies Program here at Wesleyan.

    Q: What courses have you taken?

    A: I have taken Irish Music and Dance and International Organization and Evolution of Government: The Rise of the Modern Nation State.

    Q: When did you become manager of payroll services?

    A: In May 2000, I was new to Wesleyan, but I have been a payroll manager for over 25 years.

    Q: You must be a real payroll pro. How would you describe a typical day working in payroll?

    A:  Are you kidding? A typical day in payroll? That would be something to see. On a regular day I oversee the payroll staff – Evelyn Harris and Gladys Fountain. We process payroll for all the students and employees of the university. We get a lot of phone calls and e-mails every day. I spend a lot of time on the computer and not as much as I would like getting out to meet with employees. We see many of the students, but I am sorry to say I know most of the employees via phone or e-mail only.

    Q: What do you like most about your job as a payroll manager?

    A: Every day brings something new, something different. Payroll is never dull or predictable! We all try to have a laugh every day – it helps.

    Q: Outside of work, what are your hobbies or interests?

    A: I love to travel. I especially love London, and I serve on the board of the New England Payroll Conference. This year I will chair the conference for the third time. I also have spent a lot of years as member of a community theater group, the Windsor Jesters.

    Q: Are you a performer? Or do you work behind the scenes?

    A: I have been a member of the group and board member. I served as president for several years. Yes, I have been known to get on the stage. I have done a lot of musicals and my last play was “Dangerous Liaisons.”

    Q: Do you have any children?

    A:  I have two children. My son is Stephen and my daughter is Maria. My first grandchild was born on December 12th. Her name is Hollace Katherine Grace Grove, named after her two grandmothers, and she weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces.

     
    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    WESU Premiers New Format


    Luke Snelling ’05, a DJ with WESU 88.1FM, speaks on air during his talk show March 3. The student-run station now broadcasts shows via the Internet.
     
    Posted 03/15/05

    On March 14, Wesleyan’s student radio station, WESU 88.1 FM, introduced a new broadcast schedule that combines original programs by students and community members with program feeds from WSHU in Fairfield, Conn.

    For the first time, WESU will begin to broadcast via the Internet, a move that should add listeners both on campus and among alumni and parents. In addition, WESU will begin to raise funds from its alumni, local underwriters, and its listeners.

    Live streaming of the stations broadcasts can be heard here: http://www.wesufm.org/.

    The format changes are intended to provide additional programming options, to enable the station to meet FCC broadcasting requirements when local programming is not available, and to add crucial financial support that can allow it to upgrade its operations and equipment, according to University Communications Director Justin Harmon, who serves as administrative liaison to the station.

    Programs produced by students and community members will continue as the mainstay of the WESU lineup. An eclectic mix of ethnic and alternative music will remain the primary feature of the station’s original programming. In addition, WESU is initiating a program to produce public affairs shows about local issues as part of a plan to further serve the listening community and the educational mission of the University. Monday’s community-based show “Talk For Your Rights” (4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.) will serve as a model for such programming. Other talk shows, such as “The Audio MTO” on Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m., feature comedic and other live talent.

    Student leaders at WESU and the Wesleyan administration have developed a weekday schedule that features National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m., “The Diane Rehm Show” from 10 a.m. until noon, and “Talk of the Nation” from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. On weekends, the lineup will include NPR’s “Weekend Edition” and “Car Talk.”

    Students have re-organized WESU’s board and operations to put programming and operating decisions firmly in the hands of students while at the same recognizing Wesleyan’s ownership of the license and broadcast equipment. Wesleyan will hire a general manager for the station who will be accountable to the board and will report through the University Communications Office. Ben Michael, a long-time station volunteer, will serve as consulting manager for the station pending a search for a full-time general manager. Wesleyan students and members of the community will continue to serve as on-air talent, producers and technicians.

    “We have maintained WESU’s distinctive blend of music and community programming and added high-quality programs from NPR,” says WESU President and Station Manager Jesse Sommer ’05. “We intend to build our listener base on campus and in the greater Middletown community, and we hope that our alumni will tune in to our new online service. We are counting on the active support of all these audiences as we move forward with our campaign to revitalize the station.”

    The station’s financial support will come from a variety of sources. The University will continue to subsidize the station by providing offices and utilities. The station will continue to depend on allocations of student activity fees through the Wesleyan Student Assembly. A new non-profit affinity group, the Friends of WESU, will provide fund-raising support and structural guidance.

    WESU will receive a portion of the receipts generated by WSHU’s fund-raising staff from listeners to the NPR programs WESU carries. Wesleyan will cover the station’s remaining budget until these fund-raising sources can sustain the new cost associated with hiring the general manager. It is hoped that, in the third year, fund-raising will attain levels needed to begin investments in much needed production equipment and facilities.

    The contract with WSHU runs for 18 months. It places no limits on the content or format of WESU’s original programming.

    “WESU’s purpose is to provide Wesleyan students the opportunity to learn radio as a medium for culture and public service,” says Harmon. “Our goal is to keep the station strong and independent. We think this partnership of students and community members, alumni and broadcast professionals best serves this goal.”

     
    By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

    Student Recovering from Illness


    Posted 03/15/05
    On March 4, Tom Cornish ’05 was transported to a local hospital with symptoms consistent with meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tom was infected with strain B of Neisseria meningitidis, a strain not protected against by any existing vaccine, though one is in development.

    Based on this information, Tom had meningococcal meningitis, which is a type of bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. Tom’s condition has improved significantly since being admitted to the hospital and he is making steady progress toward recovery.

    Wesleyan’s Office of Health Education has compiled a page with information about this disease:

    www.wesleyan.edu/weswell/atoz_topics/atoz_meningitis.html.

    There are different strains of Neisseria meningitidis. Tom was infected with a strain not protected against by the vaccine mandated for Wesleyan undergraduates. The bacteria can be spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (such as through coughing or kissing). Fortunately, these bacteria are not as contagious as agents that cause the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. A vaccine for strain B Neisseria meningitidis is in development.

    Persons in the same household or who have had direct contact with a patient’s oral secretions would be considered at increased risk of acquiring the infection. Even though the risk of getting meningococcal disease is generally very low; as a precaution, close contacts are often advised to take an antibiotic, usually rifampin or ciprofloxacin. Even when that step is deemed necessary, it does not imply an increase in risk for the broader community.

    The University Health Center has contacted and provided or arranged treatment for those identified as having close contact with Tom. Medical staff maintained a telephone hotline around the clock to answer questions from members of the community and to direct them to further medical consultation or treatment, as appropriate.

     
    By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

    Banking on Emerging Financial Institutions


    Economics Professor John Bonin is the editor of “Journal of Comparative Economics.”
     
    Posted 03/15/05
    As John Bonin recalls a recent overseas trip, one scene in particular stands out.

    “The tree-lined streets with boutiques sprinkled among retail giants like the Gap could have easily been in a European city,” says Bonin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science and editor of theJournal of Comparative Economics.”

    Perhaps the most remarkable part of this recollection is that the streets he describes weren’t in Europe or even the west. They were in Shanghai, China. The image is important because it illustrates how quickly China is growing economically.

    And yet, when Bonin traveled to the nearby city of Wuxi, he encountered another image along the way that impressed him just as much.

    “There were huts sitting in mud with peasants attempting to eke out an existence from farming or fishing in small ponds,” he says. “It was as if these people were from another time entirely.”

    Much like the two extremes of China, Bonin studies extremes within the world of banking. His research focuses on financial sector reform and bank privatization  — the successful transition of financial institutions away from the controlling hands of the government towards private control.

    His travels and research have landed him in many far away countries, including China, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia.  Bonin’s love for far away countries developed during grade school after he wrote a paper about China’s Yangtze River. Ever since, it’s been this country that has captured Bonin’s attention the most. 

    “I’ve always had this romantic notion of China,” he says. “I guess you could say I came full circle.”

    Bonin’s most recent visit to Shanghai last May stemmed from an invitation to speak at a conference on the governance reform of state-owned enterprises in China.

    “When I lectured at Peking University in Beijing in 2001 to a room full of about 50 Chinese students, it was incredibly rewarding,” he says. “They were the most inquisitive, captivated audience I’ve ever had.”

    Bonin is also asked several times a year to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with World Bank leaders who are eager to collaborate with economists and research groups. Some of his research has even been circulated as policy briefs in Washington for government officials and members of Congress.

    In addition, he compiled a case study of a privatized Polish bank for a U.S. Treasury Department funded project about banking in Central Europe and Russia.

    It can take years for emerging-market countries to develop efficient financial institutions, he explains.”My job is to supply them with background information based on the experiences of other countries,” he says.  

    For example, while in Beijing, Bonin met with an official from the banking supervision department of the People’s Bank of China. This person eventually became very interested in Hungary’s experiences with bank privatization.  

    One of Bonin’s newest project includes collaboration with assistant professor of economics Masami Imai. They are researching how stock prices of companies in Korea, including Daewoo and Hyundai, are affected by news of changes in their main bank’s ownership.

    The study will shed light on the impact that foreign owners of domestic banks have on domestic lending, especially lending to long-standing large corporate clients.

    Bonin enjoys the research, but enjoys his work with students even more. He recalls one former student, David Lipton, ’75 who went on to become the Undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury Department in the 1990’s.

    “I was sitting across from Lipton one night over dinner and he looked at me and said ‘You’re the reason I’m an economist,'” Bonin says. “To hear that was one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career.”

    Bonin will also travel to Paris in April to teach a master’s class on financial economics in transition countries at the Sorbonne.  

    “First hand experience compliments standard research sources,” Bonin says. “Experiencing other places and cultures allows me to bring the real world into the classroom and enliven the learning process.”

     
    By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

    Haddad Joins Faculty in Government Department, East Asian Studies Program


     
    Mary Alice Haddad, assistant professor of government and East Asian studies, came to Wesleyan in June 2004.
     
    Posted 03/05/05

    Mary Alice Haddad joined the faculty in the Government Department and East Asian Studies Program as an assistant professor in June 2004.

    Haddad, a native of Washington, D.C., completed her undergraduate work at Amherst College and earned a Ph.D at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her dissertation, “Creating Citizens: Volunteers and Civil Society, Japan in Comparative Perspective,” was about civil society in Japan. Her primary area of research is comparative civil society, with a focus on Japan. 

    “I am especially interested in traditional organizations like neighborhood associations and volunteer fire departments that have largely been overlooked by other scholars,” she says.

    Haddad taught Japanese politics this past fall and is developing a course in Chinese politics that she expects to teach in 2006. 

    Her current research includes an examination of the ways traditional Japanese civic organizations such as neighborhood associations, which were instruments of social control used by the fascist state to manipulate the people, have become institutions of democratic accountability now used by citizens to lobby the government.

    Haddad is the author of a journal article “Community Determinants of Volunteer Participation: The Case of Japan” published in “Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Research” 33:3, September 2004 and a book review “The Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector in Japan” published in “Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Research” 33:2, June 2004. She is working on a manuscript titled “Performing Their Civic Duty: Voluntary Participation in the US and Japan in Comparative Perspective.”

    Haddad said she is very committed to liberal arts education, and that’s among the reasons she came to Wesleyan.

    “I was also attracted to the ways that Wesleyan promotes both teaching and scholarship among its faculty, without privileging one over the other,” she says.

    Haddad lives in Middletown with her husband Rami. She enjoys sports, outdoor activities and pottery. Her first child is due May 3.

    “May 3rd is the last day of class, so people can see me waddle around campus this semester as I grow increasingly round,” she says.

    By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

    The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

       
    COOKIN’ IT UP AFTER WWII: An exhibition titled “Cookbooks and Gender in Postwar America,” is on display at Olin Memorial Library through March 31. The exhibit brings together 30 cookbooks and printed ephemera that document cooking and gender in midcentury America, and explores the changing social conditions under which Americans lived and worked after the war.