Olivia Drake

Robinson, Hellberg ’16, Russell ’17 Coauthor Paper on the Interactions between Gambling, Anxiety, Substance Abuse

Assistant Professor of Psychology Mike Robinson, Samantha Hellberg ’16, and Trinity Russell ’17 are coauthors of a study published in the Journal of Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, October 2018.

In the paper titled “Cued for risk: Evidence for an incentive sensitization framework to explain the interplay between stress and anxiety, substance abuse, and reward uncertainty in disordered gambling behavior,” the coauthors propose a theoretical framework about how cross-sensitization of reward systems in the brain, in part due to uncertainty, leads to high levels of comorbidity between gambling, substance use, and anxiety disorder.

In particular, the coauthors review the literature on how cue attraction and reward uncertainty may underlie gambling pathology, and examine how this framework may advance our understanding of comorbidity with anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders, such as alcohol and nicotine, which are both frequently consumed in gambling settings.

COE Celebrates Schumann Institute with Gathering, Keynote Alumni Speakers

On Oct. 26, members of the campus community celebrated the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment (COE) with a reception, remarks, and keynote speakers.

On Oct. 26, members of the campus community celebrated the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment (COE) with a reception, remarks, and keynote speakers. The event was held at the Fries Center for Global Studies in Fisk Hall.

The Robert F. Schumann Institute was established in July 2017 with a $2.5M gift from The Robert F. Schumann [’44] Foundation. Pictured, from left is Timothy Crowley, a foundation trustee, and Robert F. Schumann’s sons and foundation advisors, David and Ford Schumann.

Gruen Edits, Weil Contributes to Critical Terms for Animal Studies Book

Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, is the editor of the book Critical Terms for Animal Studies, published by the University of Chicago Press in October 2018. Gruen also wrote the book’s introduction and a chapter on empathy. In addition, she invited Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters, to write a chapter on difference.

Animal studies is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field devoted to examining, understanding, and critically evaluating the complex relationships between humans and other animals. Scholarship in animal studies draws on a variety of methodologies to explore these multifaceted relationships in order to help us understand the ways in which other animals figure in our lives and we in theirs.

Bringing together the work of a group of internationally distinguished scholars, Critical Terms for Animal Studies offers distinct voices and diverse perspectives, exploring significant concepts and asking the questions: How do we take nonhuman animals seriously, not simply as metaphors for human endeavors, but as subjects themselves? What do we mean by anthropocentrism, captivity, empathy, sanctuary, and vulnerability, and what work do these and other critical terms do in animal studies?

The book provides a framework for thinking about animals as subjects of their own experiences but also serves as a touchstone to help readers think differently about their conceptions of what it means to be human, and the impact human activities have on the more than human world.

Other chapters focus on the topics of activism, emotion, ethics, extinction, law, pain, rights, sanctuary, veganism, vulnerability, welfare, and more.

Gruen also is professor, feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; professor, science in society; and coordinator, animal studies. Weil also is University Professor, College of the Environment; University Professor, environmental studies; and co-coordinator, animal studies.

Gruen will speak about Critical Terms for Animal Studies and sign copies of the book during an event held at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore.

Jackson Translates Second Play from Brazilian Playwright Newton Moreno

A play translated by Elizabeth Jackson, adjunct associate professor of Portuguese, was performed at Yale Cabaret Oct. 25–27. The play, titled “Agreste (Drylands),” is a Brazilian tale of love and loss, desire and death, ignorance and violence, written by Brazilian playwright Newton Moreno.

Based on true events, “Drylands” is a poetic narrative set in Brazil’s suffocating and desertified northeast. Three storytellers share with the audience their accounts and reenactments of a moving love story between two young farm workers that unravels in perplexing ways, as their intimacy becomes the subject of local gossip, and the memories of their relationship are ransacked by a conservative, violent, and deeply fragile community.

The New Haven Review published a review of “Drylands” on Oct. 28, noting that “with its ensemble presentation, the play is simply fascinating to watch, its story seeming to be spun from the air around us.”

The “Drylands” translation was completed during a playwriting conference at Wesleyan in February 2012 titled “Contemporary Conventions, Cultural Innovations, Playful Traditions.” The series of talks, performances, and readings culminated in Wesleyan’s first conference on playwriting pedagogy and creative processes. Moreno was an invited international guest.

This is the second play by Newton Moreno that Jackson translated. In February 2017, the Yale Cabaret staged her translation of “The Meal: Dramatic Essays on Cannibalism,” which tells three stories about people consuming—and being consumed.

American Studies Celebrates 50 Years with Series of Speakers

Fifty years ago, Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, Emeritus, founded American studies at Wesleyan University. As he recounted last year while speaking on campus, “We were doing what was not yet called cultural criticism: studying all the manifestations of American culture to understand the ideological fictions through which American nationality had historically been constituted. We were part of a revisionist wave that departed from the established form of American studies, which tended to celebrate American exceptionalism.”

American Studies at Wesleyan sponsored the first courses in women’s studies, cosponsored some of the first African American studies courses, and supported the development of film studies by sharing courses and faculty. Since then, the department has been at the forefront of interdisciplinarity with a focus on diverse topics of political urgency. In 2011–12, the Education Policy Committee approved the request that American Studies be elevated from a program to departmental status.

To honor the department’s anniversary, the Wesleyan community celebrated on Nov. 2 with an event titled “American Studies Takes on the World: Celebrating Wes AMST @ 50.”

“Celebrating Wes AMST” celebrated the department’s legacy with select luminaries discussing the state of the field, and AMST alumni presenting their cutting-edge work.

The event included: Welcome and opening remarks, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, chair of American Studies

Students “Hop” into Midterms with Design and Engineering Project Presentations

Students who are enrolled in the fall semester Introduction to Design and Engineering course presented their midterm projects on Oct. 17 and 18. At the beginning of the semester, the students were given a box of materials and tasked with creating a “hopper”—an object that would spring into the air but only after a delay of 8 seconds (and less than 60 seconds) from when the student released the object.

After designing the hopper, and (often) creating multiple prototypes, students used laser-cut wooden pieces, rubber tubes, ball bearings, capacitors, balloons, wire, and other equipment to fabricate their final ideas.

The Introduction to Design and Engineering course, which provides a hands-on introduction to design and engineering, is taught by Greg Voth, chair and professor of physics, and professor, integrative sciences; and Daniel Moller, assistant professor of the practice in integrative sciences. It is part of Wesleyan’s Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Science (IDEAS) program, which prepares students to succeed at the intersection of design, the arts, and engineering. Through the program, students develop foundational knowledge in design and engineering by working in collaborative groups on project-based studies. The IDEAS program is hosted and administered by the College of Integrative Sciences.

Photos of the midterm presentations are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake and Cynthia Rockwell)

6 Alumni Inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame

Six Wesleyan alumni were inducted into the 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame class on Oct. 19 during Homecoming festivities. The ninth class features James Carrier ’42, Philip Rockwell ’65, Allison Palmer ’95, Jed Hoyer ’96, Flo Stueck ’96, and Herb Kenny.

Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF), both online and on campus, is filled with entertaining and enlightening accounts of Cardinals past. It features exciting stories of accomplishment, character, perseverance, courage, loyalty, teamwork, and generosity. The HOF was founded in 2006 through the collaborative work of the Athletics Advisory Council, the Athletic Department, and the Office of University Relations and is on display in the Warren Street lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center.

Photos of the recipients are below. View the entire AHOF photo gallery online here. (Photos by Richard Marinelli)

King Coauthors Paper and Is Elected to Chair Research Seminar on Noble Metal Nanoparticles

Melissa King

Melissa King, a PhD student in chemistry, and Michelle Personick, assistant professor of chemistry, are the coauthors of a study titled “Iodide-induced differential control of metal ion reduction rates: synthesis of terraced palladium–copper nanoparticles with dilute bimetallic surfaces,” published in Journal of Materials Chemistry A, August 2018.

In this paper, King and Personick report the use of low concentrations of iodide ions as a means of differentially controlling the reduction rates of a noble metal (palladium) and a non-noble metal (copper). The iodide in this system increases the rate of reduction of palladium ions while concurrently slowing the rate of copper ion reduction, thus providing a degree of control that is not achievable using most other reported means.

In addition, last June, King presented a talk as part of the Gordon Research Seminar on Noble Metal Nanoparticles, a graduate/postdoc meeting that takes place the day before the corresponding Gordon Research Conference. She also was elected to chair the next Gordon Research Seminar on Noble Metal Nanoparticles in two years. King also received an award for her poster at the Gordon Research Conference and gave a 10-minute poster award talk to the Gordon Research Conference audience. With the exception of the poster award talks, all presentations at the Conference portion were invited talks given by faculty.

Alumni Gatherings, Athletic Contests Highlights of 2018 Homecoming

Alumni joined students, faculty, staff, and friends for Wesleyan’s Homecoming celebration Oct. 19–20. This year, Wesleyan athletics took on Little Three rival Amherst College. Football lost 33–3; women’s soccer won 3–2; men’s soccer lost 3–0; and women’s field hockey lost 3–0. In addition, women’s crew Varsity 8 placed 6th of 28 boats at Head of the Charles and men’s crew Varsity 8 placed 12th of 36 and bested all NESCAC boats at Head of the Charles.

Other Homecoming highlights included an Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony and dinner, an alumni volunteer leaders meeting, team tailgates, a reception honoring leadership donors and volunteers, campus tours, a guided gallery tour of the Center for the Arts Kahlil Robert Irving exhibition, and more.

Photos of 2018 Homecoming events are below and on this Wesleyan Flickr Album.

Fall Harvest, Music, Gatherings at 2018 Pumpkin Fest

The campus and local community celebrated the fall season during the College of the Environment’s annual Pumpkin Fest on Oct. 13.

Held at the student-run, Long Lane Organic Farm, participants enjoyed farm tours, farm produce and baked good sales, crafts, face painting, local vendors, free veggie burgers and apple cider, a pie eating contest, prizes from Wesleyan University Press, and musical performances.

Wesleyan performers included Brien Bradley ’19, Phie Towle ’20, Rebecca Roff ’20, Dreamboat (May Klug ’19), Slavei, Long Lane Gourdchestra, and Anna Marie Rosenlieb [’20] Collective Dance Improv.

In addition, the student groups Veg Out, Outing Club, Climate Action, Bee Club, and Wesleyan Sustainability had tables at the festival.

(Photos by Alexa Jablonski ’22)

Case, Hingorani Coauthor Study on DNA Repair

Molecular biology and biochemistry graduate student Brandon Case and Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, are coauthors on a study published in Nucleic Acids Research in October 2018.

The paper, titled “Coordinated protein and DNA conformational changes govern mismatch repair initiation by MutS,” reports new findings on how the Mutator S (MutS) protein repairs mistakes in the DNA sequence, which is essential for maintaining the accuracy of the genetic code.

The collaborative effort from researchers at Wesleyan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University employed single molecule and ensemble kinetic methods to study the mechanism of action of MutS. The outcome is a unified model of coordinated changes in MutS and DNA conformation that enable the protein to recognize errors in DNA and initiate their repair.

The research at Wesleyan was supported by NIH grant R15 GM114743 awarded to Manju Hingorani.