|Walter Curry, head track and field coach, says he loves to make a difference in his student-athletes’ lives.|
|Q: When did you become the head mens and womens track coach?
A: I started coaching at Wesleyan in December of 2002.
Q: You are a U.S.A. Track and Field Level II certified coach in sprints, hurdles and jumps. At Wesleyan are these what you specialize in?
A: My first three seasons with the team I coached just the sprints, long, triple and high jumps. I was lucky enough to have a really good part-time hurdle coach and a very good parttime pole vault coach.
Q: Prior to Wesleyan, you worked for eight years as an assistant track and field coach at Boston College. There, you had success coaching three Division I All-Americans and numerous Big East all-conference and all-New England athletes. What led you to Wesleyan?
A: I landed at Wesleyan because I was given a chance to be a head coach and lead a track program. I learned a great many things about track; coaching; administration; people; and just life while I was at Boston College. I really loved it there and I had some wonderful experiences, but it was time for me to see if I could do things on my own.
Q: Where did you go to college and what did you major in? Were you a track star there?
A: I got my degree in journalism from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Go Cyclones! I worked in TV for five years before I got into coaching. And yes, I was a student-athlete on the track team at ISU. I was pretty good, not what you would call a superstar but my name is still on the top 10 list in the hurdle events. And its been a while since I graduated.
Q: Why did you decide ultimately to become a track coach? Is your position rewarding?
A: It is what I think I was meant to do. What can you say about being able to do something you love with people who feel the same way you do, like the coaching staff and athletes, and get to mentor and share in the growing experience of all the student-athletes that come through your program? The best part is having these young people call me up or come and visit and tell me that something I told them or they learned from their relationship with me, and the rest of their teammates made a difference in their life. That makes me feel like what I do is very important.
Q: What classes do you teach, or have you taught, as an adjunct professor?
A: I teach Beginning Strength Training and Beginning Fitness. I enjoy helping students here on campus improve their health and fitness.
Q: When did you begin running and when did you realize you wanted to pursue racing? Were you ever a cross-country runner or are you more of a sprinter?
A: I started running track in the seventh grade and started hurdles in eighth grade. As for cross-country, no way. I will run no farther than the 800-meter!
Q: Who are your key student-athletes this season?
A: Distance runner Ellen Davis. Our best steeple chaser is Owen Kiely. The 400m runner would be Stephanie OBrien. The triple jumper is Sam Grover. These are just some of the athletes who we depend on.
Q: What lessons do you stress to the students?
A: We ask all of our athletes to first, commit to our program; second, work hard; third, be accountable to the coaching staff and your teammates; fourth, manage their time well; and fifth, they need to have a love for track and field.
Q: I understand that you have produced an instruction video on hurdling?
A: My college track coach, Bill Bergan called me up and asked me if I could do him a favor. Coach Bergan was, and is still, a wonderful person and mentor. I jumped at the chance to help him out. His favor was to conduct a video clinic on the common errors and mistakes that happen when young track athletes are learning to hurdle. To make a long story short, everything turned out great and today I still have people tell me that they used my tape or have heard about it. Yes, I am in the video, but only as a coach.
Q: You have been a clinician for hurdle events at the Brown University Track and Field Camp, and you worked with the New England High School Track and Field Coaches Clinic. Why do you do this, and what do you hope participants get out of your teaching?
A: My answer is the same as before; the best part is having these young people call me up or come and visit and tell me that something I told them made a difference in their life. That makes me feel like what I do is very important and I was able to help them reach a personal goal.
Q: You have three children. Do you encourage them to get involved in athletics?
A: At this point in my life, my main interest is in my family. My kids are involved in lots of activities so my wife and I try to go and support their interest. My daughter is on her high schools dance team. I coach my oldest sons Pop Warner football team. My youngest child is a pretty good little soccer player. Plus there is baseball, dance class, summer camp, family trips, and other things. So all I do is try to be positive and help them find the joy in sports. I stress fun, hard work, commitment, sacrifice and pride.
Q: What is your coaching strategy for your own children?
A: I do have one rule for my kids when it comes to activities. If you start it, you finish it! No quitting in the middle of anything. If you really dont like what youre doing, once you are finished with it, you dont have to do it again.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
At right, Jessica French Smith 09, paints a mural with students from Nagarote, Nicaragua. She was one of more than 100 Wesleyan students who volunteered their spring break time to help others around the nation and world.
| Jane Maxson 06 spent her spring break on the gulf coast; however she wasnt sporting a sun hat and flip-flops on the beach. Equipped with a hammer, nails and tool belt, Maxson spent her time-off school volunteering for hurricane relief efforts.
Maxon was one of over 100 Wesleyan students and faculty volunteering world-wide during break.
Helping the Hurricane Victims
Maxon and 50 other students, many of whom are Wesleyan Christian Fellowship members, teamed up with Willing Hearts, Helping Hands, a Christian ministry aiming to rebuild 200 houses in hurricane-affected areas. The students left March 11 and returned March 18. They aided victims on the Mississippi coast.
As part of their project, the Christian Fellowship members sought to explore the intersections of faith and service, specifically how faith motivates service.
We spent the days doing relief work and the evenings discussing the Christian motivation for serving the poor, the idea of meeting needs in a holistic way and the specific cases and challenges associated with Hurricane Katrina, explains Jane Maxson 06. I had a fantastic time, and I don’t think I could have had a more enjoyable time doing anything else.
Another 50-plus students went directly to the hurricanes path of wrath in New Orleans. They were housed in and around a Catholic school in the hardest-hit Upper Ninth Ward that had been converted into a base of operations for the organization they worked for, Common Ground Relief. Some students slept in classrooms, while others slept in tents outside.
Brian Thorpe 07 spent nine days in the shattered city armed with crowbars, shovels,
Untold amounts of people in neighborhoods are still suffering from the effects of Katrina, Thorpe says. The raw truth is that seven months after the hurricane there is still precious little being done by the state, local, and especially federal government to rebuild the city and help the poorer citizens of the area to get back on their feet. Yet while I came back from New Orleans frustrated and disheartened, I still felt hopeful to see so many people my own age giving up their time and money to go down and help.
Developing Wesleyan Partnership in Nicaragua
Jessica French Smith ’09, Kevin Young ’07, and Octavio Flores, adjunct associate professor of Romance Languages and Literatures went to Nagarote, Nicaragua as part of Wesleyan in Nicaragua (WIN) organization for 10 days. WIN is partnered with The Norwalk-Nagarote Sister City Project and together, the groups planned and to participated in community service activities which benefit the people of Nagarote.
The trio stayed for 10 days, living with local families, researching for future Wesleyan initiatives, meeting with teachers, members of the Ministry of Education and the Norwalk/Nagarote
This was French Smiths third time going to Nicaragua to do service work, and shes already promised to return next year.
Knowing that there are people all over the world living in horribly unjust conditions keeps me working hard to take advantage of the resources available to me and to use these resources to help others as much as possible, she says. Besides, its a much more satisfying alternative to Cancun. I don’t think anyone cries when they leave Cancun because they are going to miss their host family, or because they couldn’t stay longer and work harder.
French Smith says there is a lot of potential for other Wesleyan students to work in help, even remotely. The group met with met with community leaders, teachers and members of the Board of Education and found that in the future there is a definite need for both didactic and consumable teaching materials. She hopes students can help with the development/fundraising for these materials.
French Smith says this was not a one-time kind of trip, but rather one designed toward building an ongoing relationship necessary to successful service work.
I met so many incredible and loving people in Nicaragua and I learned a lot about myself and my personal philosophies concerning service-work, French Smith says. I definitely know that it is something all Wesleyan students should have to opportunity to get involved in, work for, and experience in the future and this is something I’m going to be working toward back on campus.
Building Homes in South Carolina
A dozen students involved with Wesleyan Habitat for Humanity went to Georgetown, South Carolina to help build a Habitat House for nine days. Georgetown is a rural, poor area on the South Carolina coast with a large population of people living in substandard housing.
Mark Purser 08 says the tip allowed several students who had never been to the South to experience its unique culture.
The trips purpose was to give students an opportunity to spend their spring break participating in community service as well as learn about substandard housing and poverty in America, he says.
The student worked on two Habitat houses, constructing and raising interior walls, sheeting the exterior walls and installing insulation.
Improving Childrens Lives in Mexico
In addition, nine students traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico over spring break to participate in a community service project. The helped build a structure that will house Cala y Emes, a group in Oaxaca whose mission is to help young people with special needs develop skills to enter the work force. This is a brand new organization that hopes to not only improve the lives of the kids they support, but also to educate/re-program the Oaxacan community about people with special needs.
The Wesleyan students helped clear donated land, poured the buildings foundation, and installed sinks, drainage and other necessities.
Cathy Crimmins Lechowicz, director of the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism at Wesleyans Center for Community Partnerships is impressed by the diverse range of projects dealing with economic development, hurricane relief, housing and long-term partnership building. She hopes to work with the students to share their experience for the entire Wesleyan community.
I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the interest, motivation and dedication of the students organizing and going on the trips, Crimmins Lechowicz says. These immersion experiences can have a powerful impact on student’s perspective on issues.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
Dana Royer, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, researched why pointy-leafed plants are more common in colder climates.
| Smooth or pointy is there a reason?
If that question refers to a leaf, a study by a Wesleyan researcher may have an answer that includes some cold facts about sap flow and the weather.
The study by Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dana Royer and featured in a recent issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences looks at the characteristics of plants with pointy leaves versus smooth-leafed plants and finds the difference is more than just cosmetic.
The pointy or toothed leaves contain high concentrations of xylem, a type of tissue that facilitates the transportation of the plants sap, which is rich with nutrients and water. The water then evaporates from the leaves causing the plants to draw up even more sap.
The result is a greater rate of sap flow earlier in the spring, says Royer. The process apparently helps to jumpstart the plants photosynthetic season.
This may explain why so many trees and other plants in colder climates have pointy leaves.
The colder the climates generally have shorter growing seasons so the greater rate of sap flow is very beneficial to these plants, says Royer. The trade-off is that there is a higher rate of water loss among these plants. So there still needs to be sufficient rain during the growing season.
Royer and co-author Peter Wilf from Pennsylvania State University performed the study by analyzing the moisture transpiration and photosynthesis activity of more than 60 woody species in two decidedly different regions: Pennsylvania and North Carolina. They found that photosynthesis and transpiration activity increased by as much as 45 percent among toothed-leafed plants during the first 30 days of the growing season. The analogous rates of smoothed-leafed plants in the same regions were significantly less.
The findings, while not definitive, certainly provide yet another example of natures ability to adapt to varying conditions. However, Royer adds that, in this case, there could be negative implications with climate change.
Its very speculative, but most of these toothed leaf trees are hardwoods that, along with their environmental benefits, also carry economic value, Royer says. It would not take a large rise in average temperatures during the growing season to put point-leaf plants at a competitive disadvantage.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations|
Guitarist Brings Musicians from around the World to Expose Wesleyan Students to New Styles, Cultures
by Olivia Drake •
|Cem Duruoz, private lessons teacher, just released his third CD, Desde El Alma Tango Classics.” The Turkey native performs internationally. (Photo contributed by Steve Savage)|
|Q: Cem, how long have you been a private lessons teacher of guitar for Wesleyans Music Department?
A: I started to teach at Wesleyan in September 2003 right after finishing my advanced studies at The Juilliard School.
Q: How many student guitarists do you teach at Wesleyan?
A: I have about 10-12 students each semester. I am trying to increase the number of students, especially by encouraging good players to come to Wesleyan to begin with. I am proud of my students; they are all talented. Some of my current students will perform on April 7 at the Chapel Concert Series at noon.
Q: In addition to private lessons, what opportunities are there for budding guitarists on campus?
A: The most important one is our student guitar organization called WesGuitars“, established last semester. We get together once every two weeks, play guitar and socialize. I encourage our guitarists to perform on various occasions such as the Chapel Series. Soon I will find venues in downtown Middletown are and other towns for concerts.
I am also working to bring guitarists from around the world to the campus so that all the guitarists at Wesleyan community could be exposed to their style and their cultures. Last year we had Carles Pons from Spain and Uros Dojcinovic from Serbia. This year so far we had a visit by Marcos Puña from Bolivia. The first guest invited by WesGuitars itself will be Spanish guitarist Juan Jose Saenz. He will give a concert of Spanish Music in Crowell Concert Hall on April 9.
Q: When did you first take an interest in classical guitar? At what age did you know you had a knack for the instrument?
A: I first heard the instrument at the age of 10. My cousin had already been playing it. Each time I would visit, he would let me try his guitar and show me techniques. I fell in love with the guitar the moment I touched it. I did not really have to hold and play; just touching the strings, making a sound and listening to it one by one was magical for me. Soon after, I started to take lessons. I remember asking my cousin to make copies of some difficult pieces and him saying they are too difficult for you now. During one of our family visits, I took the opportunity to hand copy them and surprised him few months later by playing them to him. Afterwards we did many concerts as a duo together.
Q: What is the classical guitar?
A: Classical guitar refers to a nylon string acoustical guitar. In most cases this name seems to imply wrongly- that it is used for classical music only. With this instrument one can play almost any type of music from anywhere in the world in addition to the Western Classical Music, which is the source of its name. However, in most places outside the U.S., when someone mentions the word guitar alone, they usually refer to the classical guitar. This is, after all, the original instrument just like violin and piano. I started directly with the classical guitar unlike many of my students and professional performers that I have met in the U.S. who first learned to play other types of guitar.
Q: Please elaborate on the guitars sound. Why does it appeal to you?
A: I think the main aspect of classical guitar sound is its warmth because of which the instrument lends itself to the performance of emotionally elaborate polyphonic music. The warmth comes from the nylon strings and the right hand fingernails. This combination provides the optimum sound and technique for bringing out the human emotions in almost any type of music in the world, as a soloist. Another peculiarity of the classical guitar is the way it is held. I think it is the only instrument that is embraced and held directly on ones heart. No wonder many classical guitarists are in love with their instruments!
Q: In 1990, you came to the United States from your native country, Turkey. What led you to the States?
A: The U.S. graduate education system is the best in the world. After staying in Turkey I wanted to get advanced degrees here and was able to get full scholarships in California. It is also important to get exposure to new repertoire, different approaches to music and participate in the classes of well-established musicians. All these opportunities widely exist in the U.S. At first I did not intend to stay, but after about six years, San Francisco started to feel like home as much as my home in Turkey.
Q: You recently released your third CD, Desde El Alma Tango Classics, which is quite a style change from your first album, “Pièces de Viole”, which consists of gamba music by French baroque composer Marin Marais; and your second CD “Contemporary Music for Guitar. What inspired you to change your musical interest for the third CD, and what type of audience is attracted to your music?
A: When making CDs I concentrate on a project and spend most of my energy to do the necessary research to understand the music and the culture that created it. Having studied at a French school for seven years in Turkey and having learned the language at the age of 11, I had a natural interest in the French Baroque music. This background and the music of the famous movie Tous Les Matins du Monde led to the first CD. The second CD is a reflection of my interest in supporting the creation of new music by playing works of emerging composers.
Q: Youre an international artist. Where have you performed recently?
A: Ive recently performed at the Weill Recital Hall/Carnegie Hall in New York, and in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, France, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Serbia-Montenegro and the U.S. in various guitar festivals and concert series. I have also appeared as soloist with the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Turkey, the equivalent of New York Philharmonic there. Last year I was invited to the Istanbul Festival in Turkey, one of the biggest and most prestigious in Europe. There I collaborated with gamba player John Dornenburg and harpsichordist Yuko Tanaka to play the music of the 14th Century French Court.
Q: Youve received critical acclaim in international magazines such as American Record Guide, Fanfare, Classics Today, Classical Guitar and BBC Music. The students you teach must feel honored to work with a famous musician!
A: I sometimes do feel famous! Nowadays, due to globalization it is ever more difficult to be individually recognized; there are so many musicians, so many CDs. However I have been working very hard to increase my output, and contribute to the music world. My students appreciate it; it is always exciting and inspiring to work with someone who has international experience and is a role model. I have to say it feels really good all of a sudden to hear your own CD played on NPR when driving, and felt very strange first time, when someone recognizes you having read an article or when someone stops you on the street and says he was at your concert. I think this aspect of music is very rewarding.
Q: Where are your degrees from?
A: I have a masters of arts in composition from Stanford University, and another masters degree in guitar performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. I later completed my graduate guitar studies at The Juilliard School with Sharon Isbin, a Grammy award winner.
Q: Do you write your own music?
A: Although I have extensively studied composition, I enjoy performing much more. Therefore I dont compose much at all nowadays. However my compositional skills come very handy for arranging music to the guitar. Prime examples are on my French Baroque CD and the Tango CD. I have various collaborations with other composers. Some of them send their music to me, and I try to feature a new composer in every recital I play. I also commission music particularly written for me. One of these is a guitar concerto called In and Out of Blue by Robert Strizich. With Angel Gil-Ordonez, his Ensemble of the Americas and I are planning to perform this in the fall.
Q: You have an upcoming recital in Hartford on April 15 in conjunction with the Connecticut Classical Guitar Society, and another performance in New York May 27. What will you perform at these concerts?
A: The Connecticut Classical Guitar Society is one of the biggest in the U.S. I will be playing in their concert series on April 15. This program will include selections from my tango and baroque CDs as well as music from Rodrigo, Tárrega, Bach and Giuliani, composers well known to guitar audiences.
The concert in Merkin Hall/New York is part of an annual Turkish Cultural Festival organized by the Moon and Stars Project. It is titled A Mediterranean Journey and will include music from Turkey, Greece, Israel and Spain as well as tangos and Broadway favorites. In this performance I will be collaborating with a wonderful Greek/American soprano Demetra George.
Q: What are your interests and hobbies aside from music?
A: My main hobby has been dancing tango for many years. After I did my first tango lesson in San Francisco I studied with most of the well-known Argentine Tango dancers. In San Francisco, I used to go dancing three nights a week. In Connecticut there are some venues for dancing tango, but many more are in New York and I go there every now and then to dance.
Q: For more information, where can people find you online?
A: My Web site is http://www.duruoz.com/
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor.|
by Olivia Drake •
|Roslyn Carrier-Brault, administrative assistant for the Chemistry Department, also works as a digital photography instructor at Green Street Arts Center.|
|Q: What keeps you busy in the Chemistry Department?
A: I never have two days that are the same and I enjoy the variety of my work. I work directly with the professors and students, and I have many skills and abilities that aid me to be flexible and detail oriented to whatever tasks comes my way. I work a lot with my computers and keep in touch with all that happens here at Wesleyan University through emails and memorandums. I work with an open door policy, people come first and paperwork second, so I tend to work longer hours at the end of the day to stay on top of deadlines, campus and departmental projects, and coordinating departmental events.
Q: What led you into this position?
A: I first came to Wesleyan in November of 2000 as a temp. I returned to Wesleyan in March 2001 as a floating temp, and in July, I was hired to work in the Department of Finance and Administration as an administrative assistant. I became a permanent employee in December 2001, when I was hired by Philippa Coughlin, director of the Office of Behavior Health as the departments secretary. It was by Dr. Coughlins suggestion that I apply for the full-time opening in the Chemistry Department and my first day at my current position was August 3, 2003. I totally, love my position as the AA for chemistry. It offers me a wide variety projects and I enjoy working with the faculty and students.
Q: What are some of your job duties?
A: My responsibilities include preparing the agenda for the monthly meetings between the Chemistry department staff, the building manager, the stockroom support staff and the chair of the Chemistry department; overseeing the department budget; working with Payroll and Human Resources to oversee employee payroll; scheduling the workload of two undergraduate student workers; maintaining the Chemistrys Web site, providing administrative support to faculty for grant applications; among several other duties in the office. Also, I designed an Access database that assists me in managing important departmental records and budget reports. Overall, I provide support for 16 professors, four staff, 31 student teaching assistants, 27 chemistry majors, 39 graduate students and a few research associates and postdoctoral fellow.
Q: You also coordinate the annual Peter Anthony Leermakers Symposium.
A: The 34th Leermakers Symposium is planned for May 11 this year, and the program title is “Challenges to Chemistry from Other Sciences.” Michael Frisch, visiting scholar in chemistry, is the 2006 chairman. Also, this year I am facilitating a new event. The Department of Chemistry is hosting the Student Awards for the Connecticut Valley Section of the American Chemical Society on April 29.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
A: The long learning curve. It took me one academic year to learn all the various aspects and job responsibilities of being an administrative assistant in an academic department. I have a passion for learning and this position keeps me on my toes, there never is time to feel bored, and I enjoy working with my faculty, students, co-workers and the Wesleyan community at large.
Q: Do you have a personal interest in chemistry?
A: In 2005, I audited David Westmorelands Introduction to Chemistry and it opened my mind to the vast subject called, chemistry. Finally, I can understand the periodic table. I am amazed and inspired by the dedication that the professors and students have to excellence in their research and teaching assignments.
Q: What were you doing before you came to Wesleyan?
A: I worked for the San Diego Symphony, as the assistant to the director of Copley Symphony Hall. I coordinated events and rentals for the San Diego Symphony and Symphony Hall Promotions.
Q: Where did you attend college?
I have an associates degree in liberal studies and fine art from Middlesex Community College, an associates in photography/art from Grossmont Community College in El Cajon, California. I plan to complete a masters in art from the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.
Q: Youre also a teaching artist for Wesleyans Green Street Arts Center.
A: Anna Milardo, administrative assistant in physics, knew that I am a photographer asked me to photograph Green Streets open house/reception for the Saint Sebastian School. It was in the planning committee for this event, that Ricardo Morris asked if I would be interested in teaching at GSAC. This resulted me teaching a digital photography classes for the After School Program, photo club for the After School Program and introductory to digital photography for adults.
Q: Tell me about your recent photo exhibition, Divine Intersections, at Green Street?
A: My current exhibition presents images that are essentially inspired by intuitive guidance and inner reflection upon the things that are familiar to me from my childhood and adult experiences. I have been intertwining photographic images taken of the natural world with scanned images of other forms of life such as plants and animals. My favorite images are restful, reflective, and build a sense of union between the mind, body and spirit connection (an example of Roslyn’s photography is seen in the image above-right).
Q: I take it this wasnt your first show.
A: My first show was in 1996 and I have had several exhibitions in San Diego. In Connecticut, I have exhibited various art and photography shows through the Shoreline Artist Association, the Tracy Arts Center and the Essex Artist Association, and Face Arts Music in Deep River, Connecticut. My husband, William Brault is a gifted sculpture and painter and co-curates all of my photographic exhibitions. He is a talented custom framer and trained exhibition designer so it a perfect creative partnership.
Q: Have you volunteered your artistic abilities at any other non-profits?
A: In Connecticut, I have volunteered for arts organizations such as the Shoreline Arts Association, Images 2000 and 2001; Tracy Art Center in Old Saybrook and I am an active board member of the Friends of the Davidson Arts Center. In San Diego, I was an active volunteer for the Museum of Photographic Arts, the Holistic AIDS Response Program, The AIDS Foundation and with Grossmont College Student Exhibitions and Workshops.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
| Wesleyan will commemorate its 175th anniversary of its institutional charter during the 174th Commencement Ceremonies May 25-28. Wesleyans charter was granted on May 26, 1831.
John Hope Franklin, professor of history, emeritus at Duke University will give the principal address at commencement and will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree during the ceremony.
In addition, Wesleyan will award honorary doctors of letters to Mary O. McWilliams ’71, president of Regence BlueShield, pioneering alumna and trustee emerita.
Franklin is an internationally-renowned historian, intellectual leader and lifelong civil rights activist. He has served on the National Council on the Humanities, as well as the President’s Advisory Commissions on Public Diplomacy and on Ambassadorial Appointments. Franklin’s numerous publications include The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans. Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than 100 colleges and universities.
McWilliams ’71 previously served as president of PacifiCare of Washington where she converted the provider network into groups, expanded statewide, and launched Secure Horizons as a Medicare-Risk plan. She also served as founding chief executive officer for the Sisters of Providence Health Plans in Oregon. She received a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Wesleyan.
Wesleyan will also award the Baldwin Medal to Jean Shaw P79 and Biff Shaw 51, P79. As an alumni leader, Biff Shaws diligent effort on behalf of Wesleyan underscores his commitment to public service. Jean Shaw has served Wesleyan since 1969 in many roles including director of the Center for the Arts, coordinator for exhibitions, events manger and coordinator of University Lectures. She has worked tirelessly to enrich the relationship between Wesleyan and Middletown. She played a key role as Reunion and Commencement coordinator and oversaw the joining of Reunion and Commencement into one weekend.
This initiative was introduced at the 1997 commencement and is becoming a much-beloved tradition at Wesleyan, Bennet says. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Wesleyan on this wonderful occasion.
Academic regalia will be worn by all who participate in the procession and can be ordered through the campus bookstore.
The Office of the Dean of the College will contact graduating seniors with information regarding graduation announcements and activities for Reunion and Commencement Weekend.
by Olivia Drake •
| In an ongoing initiative to increase connections between science and film at Wesleyan, a series of programs will be presented in April. This part of the series, arranged by Film Studies and Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is the last in the “Celebrating the Liberal Arts Tradition Through Film” program in which over 18 departments have participated.
This is the fifth semester the Film Studies Department has hosted the series of seminars, lectures, screenings and discussions.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
First-year student relax in the Fauver Residence Hall lounge. The Fauver Field Residences were recently honored by the Connecticut Building Congress.
| Wesleyans Fauver Field Residences received a First Place Award in the 2006 Connecticut Building Congress (CBC) Project Team Awards competition. It placed in the New Construction category, and competed against other buildings, of which construction costs exceeded $10 million. Fauver’s construction began in August 2004 and the student residences were completed in September 2005. The CBC requests that projects submitted in the competition be located in Connecticut and substantially completed during 2005.
Were honored Fauver is setting a positive example for other new constructions in the state, says Joyce Topshe, associate vice president of facilities. A great deal of time and effort went into the planning, and it shows. Its a lovely facility, and one that not only affords more students a comfortable place to live, it has made the campus more beautiful. This is something the entire Wesleyan community should be very proud of.
Each year, the Connecticut Building Congress looks for outstanding nonresidential building projects that exemplify project team excellence by representing building owners, architects, engineers and constructors. CBC’s goal is to recognize project team members who have adopted this close collaboration as an industry standard for improving a projects quality.
A panel of judges is selected to include representation from each of the major disciplines that form the project team: owners, architects, engineers and constructors.
Susan Labas, associate and director of marketing for van Zelm Heywood & Shadford Inc. of West Hartford and CBC member says Wesleyan was judged for meeting the its budget and schedule constraints; documenting team cooperation and collaboration from conceptual design through project completion; having a team which approached the project’s unique challenges; and considerations made for the projects social, economic or sustainable design.
Fauver Field Residences consist of two buildings on the corner of Vine Street and Cross Street. The units comprise of about 85,500 sq-feet. The Fauver Apartment Building houses 104 upperclass students and the Fauver Residence Hall for first-year students, houses 166 students. It opened for the 2005-06 academic year.
The Connecticut Building Congress was formed in 1952 and initiated the Project Team Award program 11 years ago to recognize and promote teamwork among participants in the construction process. Plaques will be presented during the CBC Awards Program in New Haven, Conn. May 18.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
FEMINIST POLITICS: Carolle Charles, associate professor of sociology from Baruch College, City College of New York, presents “From Confrontation to Negotiation: CONAP and a New Form of Doing Feminist Politics in Haiti” in the Center for African American Studies Lounge Feb. 27. Charles is the mother of Jane Charles-Voltaire ’07.
|The well-attended event was sponsored by the the Center for African American Studies. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)|
by Olivia Drake •
|Pictured at top, Alex Gorelick ’09 performs during a WesGuitars meeting March 9. Pictured in back, from left, are Bolivian guitarist, Marcos Puña and Cem Duruoz, private lessons teacher of classical guitar and WesGuitar coordinator. Pictured below is WesGuitars member Sylvia Ryerson 09.
(Click the speaker button to hear Gorelick playing Prelude No. 1 by Heitor Villa-Lobos)
| Sylvia Ryerson 09 came to Wesleyan with an interest in classic guitar, but no real ability to play the instrument. But after joining a new club called WesGuitars, shes already memorized pieces by Brazillian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos and Cuban conductor Leo Brouwer.
Ive always loved the sound of classical guitar, she says. It’s great to sit in a room with a bunch of other guitarists and share what I’ve been working on, and hear music by others. It’s a really fun and encouraging group.
WesGuitars, a campus group generated last semester, meets twice a month in the Davenport Campus Center. During the March 9 meeting, Ryerson played a Villa-Lobos composition live for the club. Afterwards, fellow WesGuitar members complemented her efforts and offered constructive criticism.
The performance-oriented meetings serve as an opportunity for players to get feedback, tell stories, discuss different composers, ask questions, meet guest artists and be inspired. Sometimes, the WesGuitars will break out into a jam session.
The Music Departments Cem Duruoz, private lessons teacher of classical guitar, coordinates the informal club gatherings. He says the clubs purpose is to promote classical guitar awareness at Wesleyan and the Middletown community. The students may also perform in various concerts throughout the year.
Although the guitar originated in Spain, the students study music from American, Mexican, Turkish, Brazilian, Japanese musicians, among others.
Everyone has their own diverse interests, so we encourage each other to learn music from all over the world, says Duruoz, who has studied and performed internationally. The students are always free to write their own music, too.
Alex Gorelick 09, a chemistry and music major, has played guitar for seven years. During the recent meeting, he performed “Prelude No. 1” by by Villa-Lobos and “Sakura,” a popular fast-fingered folk song from Japan. The song took him three months to master and memorize. Afterwards, guest artist Marcos Puña of Bolivia inspired Gorelick by playing the same song an octave higher.
There are many variations on how to play a song, and writing the music for guitar is close to impossible, Duruoz explains. So much the way someone plays a song comes from the way they were influenced. I just recommend that they play the way they are most confident with.
Graduate student Glenn Henshaw says audiences respond the varied sounds of the guitar. The instrument can be tender and sonorous or it can be deeply rhythmic and angular, he explains.
The guitar is a relatively young instrument but it has timeless qualities, says Henshaw, who is learning “Homenaje – Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy” by Manuel de Falla. We want people to walk away from our performances and say, I had no idea the guitar could do that.
The guitar repertoire is diverse and affective. Some members of the group have performed duets with pianists, flautists and vocalists. Guitar newbie Ryerson says her life-long experience with the violin and reading music has helped the learning process tremendously, even though the fingering on the violin and guitar are backwards.
Most of the club members take or have taken private lessons with Duruoz, however WesGuitars welcomes all musicians from campus and the surrounding area to join. Henshaw says the relaxed environment ensures that beginners or non-classical players can feel comfortable enough to pick up a guitar and play.
Despite the fact that the Wesleyan music program is decidedly theory based there is widespread interest in performance; groups like ours will cater to both the casual and serious musicians on campus and in the community, Henshaw says. Wed really like to make Wesleyan and Middletown a mecca for classical guitar.
The club will culminate this year with a concert as part of the Chapel Music Series on April 7. They also are sponsoring a concert by Spanish guitarist Juan José Sáenz at 7 p.m. April 9 in Crowell Concert Hall. He will play a program of Spanish works.
For more information on WesGuitars e-mail Cem Duruoz at email@example.com.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
|David Phillips, senior class dean, talks to seniors about their personal challenges, academic records, postgraduate options, and academic goals.|
|Sometimes a students academic problems are caused by something not-so-academic.
As a class dean, David Phillips spends much of his time advising students – discussing academic, social, and personal challenges and achieving personal goals. Hell work with individual students, professors and even parents, to support students in their pursuit of a positive learning experience.
“What I like about my job is that I get to deal with the whole student rather than just a particular aspect of a students life, Phillips says. Thats our mission as class deans. We want to get to know them on an academic and personal level.
Phillips, associate dean of the college and dean for the Class of 2006, oversees about 725 students in his class. Hes a source of information on academic standing; major choices; graduation requirements; university policies and procedures; and services, opportunities and resources available at the university and surrounding Middletown community.
As this years senior class dean, Phillips certifies students for graduation. He talks to the seniors about their academic records, postgraduate options and preparing themselves for life after Wesleyan. He runs an audit on every student to insure they have 32 credits and meet other graduation requirements.
Each students credit analysis is about five pages long, so I go through a stack of papers about two feet high, Phillips says, smiling. Its exciting to know that these students will be graduating soon and they will go off and begin their life-long careers.
The New Haven, Conn. native has a special bond with the international community. Phillips, whose father worked for the State Department, considers himself an international student having lived in Peru, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand and India before returning to the States for college.
Some seniors he knows only through phone calls and e-mails, but others he sees on a regular basis during daily drop-in hours.
I wish more would come by and say hello, he says. I get to meet a lot of the students that way.
Class of 2006 president Pacho Carreno is a frequent visitor in the Deans Office. Phillips helped Carreno prepare for his post-Wesleyan career, at a real estate consulting firm in Boston.
Dean Phillips has been my most helpful academic advisor at Wesleyan, Carreno says. His advice has enhanced my experience and has helped me to take advantage of the best that Wesleyan has to offer. I’m ready to graduate but I wish I could have an advisor like him guiding me through the real world.
Maria Cruz-Saco, dean of the college, says as senior class dean, Phillips is instrumental in helping students complete their educational pathways at Wesleyan and as they move out into careers.
“David has a deep knowledge of Wesleyan’s students and the curricular requirements, she says. He is insightful, supportive, a problem-solver by-excellence and loves his advising role.
Phillips came to Wesleyan six years ago as the associate dean of the college and dean for the class of 2006. It is his first administrative job, but his background in social history, cultural studies, and the history of technology makes him an ideal advisor for students with interests across the curriculum.
Phillips earned his bachelors of art in photography and printmaking and his masters of art, in comparative social history from the University of California Santa Cruz. He earned his Ph.D in American studies from Yale University. His dissertation is titled“Art for Industrys Sake: Halftone Technology, Mass photography, and the Social transformation of American Print Culture 1880-1920.
Prior to Wesleyan, Phillips worked as an assistant professor at Bennington College; a site editor for the Center for Electronic Projects in American Culture Studies at Georgetown University; a teaching fellow at Yales American Studies Program; assistant director of the Asian American Cultural Center at the Yale University; and a Web developer for the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale.
In 2004, he taught a class on mass culture titled “The Culture Industry” for Wesleyans Graduate Liberal Studies Program.
“I enjoy teaching, but I really love being a class dean because you get to work with real people who have real issues in need of real solutions,” he says.
Next year, Phillips will become the first-year dean, as part of the Office of the Deans class management system implemented in 2004. He will stay with this class throughout their four years at Wesleyan.
With Dave’s leadership were planning ways to enhance the first year experience, Cruz-Saco says. His position is at the moment more challenging that usual: helping seniors graduate, while at the same time, planning the transition for incoming students next year.
This summer, Phillips will acclimate himself to the new student orientation program, but during his time off, he plans to continue learning guitar, develop online projects related to American studies and social history, and going for walks at the Portland reservoir with his wife Christina and his dog Lucky.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
|Nancy Healy, manager of Broad Street Books, says the shop’s new cosmetic changes, like the new bookshelf behind her, are meant to create the ambiance of a small independent bookstore.|
|Q: When were you hired to manage Broad Street Books and how is it going so far?
A: I was brought on board in the last week of January. It has been an interesting and eventful month! I have spent this first month learning about the history of the store and getting to know my staff, as well as getting acquainted with Wesleyan. Things are going very well so far, and I am confident that things will continue to get better and better as we move forward.
Q: Please describe the purpose of Broad Street Books.
A: Broad Street Books is a full service bookstore. Our goal is to serve both the Wesleyan and Middletown communitys needs. Students can find all their text materials, a wide selection of trade books, basic supply needs, as well as Wesleyan clothing and gift products.
Q: I hear there has been some changeover at the bookstore.
A: There certainly has been some changeover! In addition to myself, we have a brand new textbook manager, Ben Brown. Ben had been our textbook coordinator for the last year and has had an opportunity to learn about the business from the ground up. Carrie Brochu has also recently come on board as our general merchandise coordinator. Carrie also comes from Barnes and Noble and will be involved in building and promoting our apparel and gift sections.
Q: How many employees are there?
A: Our store employs roughly 20 to 25 people at any given time.
Q: What was the purpose of the bookstores recent remodeling?
A: The bookstore recently underwent some cosmetic changes. The changes are meant to create the ambiance of a small independent bookstore, while still promoting our Wesleyan home. Shoppers will find a redesigned trade book floor, as well as the addition of display bookcases on our mezzanine level. We are in the process of redefining the Broad Street brand. I believe it is important that our presentation and selection are reflective of Wesleyans reputation, as well as respectful of the diverse community that we serve.
Q: As a manager, do you spend more time behind the scenes or do you get much time to mingle with customers and staff?
A: I believe that establishing relationships with my staff and with the community that our store serves is the single most important component to building our success. Our hours differ from many campus bookstores. We are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I work weekdays and at least one weekend per month and one night per week. This allows me to interact with all of my staff members, as well as the different segments of our shopping community.
Q: What are typical job duties as a book store manager?
A: I am involved in all facets of our business. Of course, I am responsible for ensuring the operational soundness of the business, customer satisfaction, and sales growth. Currently, two of my main focuses are increasing awareness of the bookstore through the promotion of unique events and networking within the Middletown community, and the re-design of our store website. This will help to provide family, alumni, as well as prospective students access to Wesleyan apparel and gifts, as well as giving students additional access to textbooks during the school year.
Q: What are your daily challenges?
A: Learning all the many aspects of a new company can be challenging. There is something new to confront everyday. However, while I have many friends who cant imagine why I have stayed in retail all these years, the answer is simple. It is never boring. There are always new challenges in creating something. I find managing similar to directing a play. Somehow you are constantly engaged in creating the right dynamic both within your staff, as well as visually to entice your audience, grab their attention. When you finally get the right combination the results are extraordinary.
Q: What led you to Wesleyan and what type of field were you working in before?
A: Actually, I was contacted by a recruiter from Follett Higher Education, the company that runs the bookstore. At that time I was working for Barnes & Noble in the superstore division. I was immediately excited about the possibility of working in an atmosphere that promotes learning, growth and creativity. Previously, I had been an executive team leader for Target stores specializing in operations and merchandising.
Q: What is Follett Higher Education Group and what is the relationship with Wesleyan?
A: Follett Higher Education Group is the company contracted by Wesleyan to operate the bookstore. Follett operates over 700 bookstores at college campuses across the United States, as well as in Canada. Folletts resources provide the store access to many text materials, in particular, a variety of used text titles to help ease costs for students.
Q: What is your favorite book section at Broad Street and why?
A: Im not sure that I have a favorite section. I am quite intrigued by our faculty author sections. I find it fascinating what people are captivated by, and what they choose to write about. The same held true when I worked for Barnes & Noble. I was always interested in the local authors who came in. There are so many wonderful books published by smaller presses that simply dont have the capital to promote them as vigorously as the larger publishing houses. I also love the childrens section.
Q: Do you enjoy reading, yourself? What are your other hobbies and interests?
A: I do enjoy reading. You would be most apt to find me with a biography or history book. I have many interests! I have been engaged in a genealogy project for over a year. It has been an extremely rewarding and fascinating experience. It certainly gives history a new face. I also enjoy music. I play the tenor saxophone and flute. And then theres going to the theater, tennis and I am determined to learn to golf this year.
Q: Tell me about your family.
A: I am very fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive family. My life partner, Melissa, is a trainer with the Hartford Insurance Company. My 15 year old son, Chris, is the best part of everyday. We enjoy doing all kinds of things together. The beach, musicals, museums, and Red Sox games are some of our favorite things to do.
Q: Is there anything youd like to say to your new Broad Street customers?
A: I am always available and open to new ideas. I am excited about the coming months and thrilled to have the opportunity to work on such a thriving campus. Please come visit!
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|