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Starr’s Nanoparticle Research Published in Science

Professor Francis Starr and his collaborators are working to self-assemble a diamond-structured lattice at will from nanoscale particles.(Image by graduate student Hamed Emamy). 

Professor Francis Starr and his collaborators are working to self-assemble a diamond-structured lattice at will from nanoscale particles. (Image by graduate student Hamed Emamy).

Professor Francis Starr, graduate student Hamad Emamy and collaborators from the Brookhaven National Lab have co-authored a paper titled “Diamond Family of Nanoparticle Superlattices” published in the prestigious journal Science on Feb. 5. Starr is professor of physics and director of the College of Integrative Sciences.

Their work proposed a solution to a decades-long challenge to self-assemble a diamond-structured lattice at will from nanoscale particles.

“Such a diamond-lattice structure has long been sought after due to its potential applications as a light controlling device, including optical transistors, color-changing materials, and optical — as opposed to electronic — computing,” Starr said.

To solve this challenge, the team utilized the specific binding properties of DNA as a tool for materials science. Specifically, they created nanoscale “atoms” that consist of 15 nanometer gold nanoparticles coated with many single-stranded DNA. The single-stranded DNA act like binding arms to connect nanoparticle/DNA “atoms” by forming double-stranded DNA links, and analogue of traditional chemical bonds between atoms. By appropriate selection of the sequence and orientation of these DNA links, the nanoparticles will spontaneously arrange themselves into the desired structure.

“This self-assembly approach not only allows for highly specific order, but also offers the potential for tremendous savings in the cost of materials production, as compared to traditional methods used in the semi-conductor industry,” Starr explained.

Emamy, a graduate student in Starr’s lab, carried out numerical simulations that helped to develop the approach and explain how to stabilize the structure. Collaborators at Brookhaven experimentally synthesized and verified the structure and properties. The effort, Starr said, represented an ideal collaboration between experiments, theory and computation.

Environmental Justice Topic of MLK Commemoration

On Jan. 29, the campus community attended the annual commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy in Memorial Chapel. Dorceta E. Taylor, a leading voice in the environmental justice movement, delivered the keynote address, titled “Different Shades of Green or Beyond the Farm."

On Jan. 29, the campus community attended the annual commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy in Memorial Chapel. Dorceta E. Taylor, a leading voice in the environmental justice movement, delivered the keynote address, titled “Different Shades of Green or Beyond the Farm.”

Wesleyan Hires 8 New Tenure-Track Faculty

On Feb. 2, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce Jacobsen announced that Wesleyan has hired eight new tenure-track faculty in fields including African American studies, sociology and physics, among others. Wesleyan also made a senior hire, which will be announced later this semester after a successful tenure review, Jacobsen said. Nine other faculty searches are ongoing and will hopefully be completed this spring.

“With 18 searches going on, we will likely have a larger than usual group of new faculty coming to campus next fall,” said Jacobsen. “We’re excited to welcome this accomplished and diverse group of scholar-teachers.”

Brief bios of the eight new tenure-track faculty follow:

Abigail Boggs, assistant professor of sociology, is a Wesleyan alumna whose PhD thesis from University of California – Davis is titled “Prospective Students, Potential Threats: The Figure of the International Student in U.S. Higher Education.” Her work crosses the boundaries of feminist studies, popular culture, queer studies, and transnational studies. Her first book manuscript, “American Futures: International Studies and the Global U.S. University” is currently under review.

Wesleyan Receives Record Number of Applications for Class of 2020

The Office of Admission received more than 12,000 applications for the Class of 2020. 

The Office of Admission received more than 12,000 applications for the Class of 2020.

At a time when many are decrying the demise of liberal arts colleges, Wesleyan has received its largest application pool ever for the Class of 2020. As of Feb. 1, 12,026 students had applied, marking a 22 percent increase over the previous year and a 10 percent increase over the previous all-time high three years ago for the Class of 2017.

“We’re very pleased by not only the sheer number of students who can see themselves at Wesleyan—amongst the highest of any liberal arts college—but also by the highly talented and diverse nature of the applicant pool,” said President Michael Roth. “I’d like to believe this is evidence that we’re about to see a resurgence of pragmatic liberal arts education in this country.”

Gottschalk Named Director of Faculty Career Development

Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk is the recipient of a $20,000 National Endowment for the Humanities "Enduring Questions" grant.

Peter Gottschalk

Peter Gottschalk was named the Director of the Center for Faculty Career Development for a three-year term starting July 1.

Gottschalk is currently Professor of Religion and has been at Wesleyan since 2002. He earned his BA at the College of the Holy Cross, his MA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his PhD at the University of Chicago. Gottschalk has co-edited one volume, co-authored another with a Wesleyan student, and authored three monographs, including the recent Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India. His work has also been published in The Los Angeles Times and the OnFaith website formerly of The Washington Post, and his teaching has been recognized with an NEH Enduring Questions grant.

Staff on the Move, January 2016

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires, transitions and departures for January 2016:

Newly hired
Robert Jasek was hired as chief information security officer in Information Technology Services on Jan. 1.
Aidan Earle was hired as gallery supervisor in the Davison Art Center on Jan. 4.
Jenna Starr was hired as assistant director in the Wesleyan fund on Jan. 4.
David Malone was hired as HVAC/utility mechanic in Physical Plant on Jan. 4.
Sonia Vega was hired as department assistant in Admissions Office on Jan. 4.
Olivia Berry was hired as a softball intern in Athletics on Jan. 4.
Michael O’Brien was hired as director of athletic communication on Jan. 11.
LaDarius Drew ’15 was hired as men’s and women’s track and field intern in Athletics on Jan. 11.
Elizabeth Bianco was hired as project coordinator in University Relations on Jan. 19.
Jeremiah Kenney was hired as dispatcher in Public Safety on Jan. 19.

Transitions
Ray Mason was hired as central power plant foreperson on Jan. 18.
Rosalind Adgers was hired as administrative assistant in the Wesleyan Career Center on Jan 25.

Departures
Geraldina Muzik, medical office manager in Health Services.
Kathleen Roberts, assistant director, Wesleyan events and conferences.
Alice Scholar, administrative assistant in the Wesleyan Career Center.
Robert West, research analyst in University Relations.
Lee Maes, volleyball intern in Athletics.

Quah ’12 has ‘All the News on Podcasting’

Nicholas Quah ’12 is the creator of Hot Pods, a newsletter on podcasting that is garnering attention as expert commentary on a new field of journalism.

Nicholas Quah ’12 is the creator of Hot Pods, a newsletter on podcasting that is garnering attention as expert commentary on a new field of journalism.

Nicholas Quah ’12 is the subject of “Meet the 26-year-old who’s got all the news on podcasting,” an article by Benjamin Miller on Poynter.org. Quah is the creator and full-time blogger at Hot Pod, his newsletter about podcasts, which you can find at nicholasquah.com. It is also hosted at NiemanLab, the site for Harvard’s Neiman Foundation for Journalism.

While most media aficionados consider the fall of 2014 to be the time when podcasts gained considerable popularity (Serial—the true crime investigation series on public radio is just one example), Quah had been a fan of podcasts for several years by then: as a Wesleyan undergrad majoring in the College of Social Studies, he had enjoyed podcasts. He continued listening in his post-college life, where he started as a research associate at Business Insider.

Both as a fan and a journalist, Quah followed podcasting from a cultural and business perspective. He began an e-mail newsletter, Hot Pods, because, as he explained to Miller: “It just felt like there was a lot missing…. Why were there developments in podcasting? Why were there developments in podcasting culture? Where did “Serial” come from? …I approached it from a criticism standpoint at first and then expanded into more business-side stuff.”

On Jan. 26, he announced his departure from Panoply, a podcast network, for which he served as manager of audience development, to devote himself full time to HotPods, hoping to make his avocation a sustainable business, with subscribers receiving weekly updates—with the option to pay a fee and receive more frequent communications, with Quah’s insights and analysis.

The decision, he told Miller, came about because:  “I think it feels like everything in podcasting is moving a lot quicker, and we’re going to hit some kind of tipping point. And I want to be an outsider and cover that when it happens.”

Bush ’93 Receives Leadership Award from Tufts Medical Center

Jonathan Bush '93, chair, CEO, and cofounder of athena health, was named a visionary leader by Tufts Medical Center.

Jonathan Bush ’93, chair, CEO, and cofounder of athenahealth, was named a visionary leader by Tufts Medical Center.

Tufts Medical Center selected Jonathan Bush ’93 to receive the Ellen M. Zane Award for Visionary Leadership. Chairman and CEO of the health care technology company, athenahealth, Bush was cited for “exemplifying visionary and transformational leadership” as well as his “passion for uniting individualized and coordinated patient care with the demands and practicalities of healthcare management.”

Bush co-founded athenahealth in 1997. In 2007 it was the most successful initial public offering, and it is now one of the health care information technology industry’s fastest growing companies, considered by many to be industry standard. In announcing the award, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children Dr. Michael Wagner said, “I am proud that we share Jonathan’s enthusiasm to drive change in health care for the greater good.”

Runner ’79 Named President and CEO of Chicago Urban League

Shari Runner ’79 was named president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League

Shari Runner ’79 was named president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League.

Shari Runner ’79 was named president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. Crain’s Chicago Business notes that she is redirecting the purpose of league.

“Right now, all the things we support are in turmoil,” Runner told reporter Shia Kapos. “We have an opportunity to change that.”

Runner had been interim leader of the Urban League for eight months and had served as senior vice president for strategy and community development a the Urban League since 2010. Previously a banker—vice president of ABN/AMRO Bank and vice president at First National Bank of Chicago—she attributes her move into the nonprofit world to her parents’ influence: her mother was a social worker and her father was a pediatrician.

“It was in my DNA to be of service to the community,” she told Kapos.

While the Urban League has always championed economic empowerment and civil rights, it had been most recently focused on strengthening the business community after the financial crisis. However, with current concerns about gun violence and police/community relationships, Runner plans to focus on education and social justice, as well as economic empowerment. “We’re at a unique point in time. We need to make sure the Urban League is strengthening African-American communities,” Runner explained to Kapos.

Runner also met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and officials with the U.S. Justice Department. Emanuel “inherited this dysfunctional” system, Runner said, adding, “We need systemic change. We need to make sure we’re changing something in people’s minds that allowed this to exist for 60 years without it being a priority.”

Runner comes to the position after serving since 2010 as senior vice president for strategy and community development at the Urban League. Prior to that, the Chicago native was a vice president of ABN/AMRO Bank and vice president at First National Bank of Chicago.

She grew up in Hyde Park and attended the University of Chicago’s Lab Schools. At Wesleyan, she majored in psychology. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Men’s Basketball Davis ’16 Reaches 1,000-Point Milestone

B.J. Davis '16

B.J. Davis ’16

B.J. Davis ’16, a guard on the men’s basketball team, scored his 1,000th career point as the 25th-ranked Wesleyan Cardinals used a second half rally to defeat the Connecticut College Camels in NESCAC play Jan. 30, 87-79.

Wesleyan trailed the entire first half but outscored the Camels, 53-37 in the final 20 minutes of regulation to earn its fourth-consecutive win.

With 13 points, four fouls and just :43 remaining on the clock, Davis went to the foul line. He missed his first shot but hit the second to etch his name in the Wesleyan record books as he finished with 14 points on the day.

More Cardinal Athletics news can be found on this website.

(Information provided by Mike O’Brien, sports information director)

Herman Receives Dropkin Postdoctoral Fellowship to Study Evolution of Plant-Pathogen Interactions

Jacob Herman

Jacob Herman

PhD candidate in biology Jacob Herman received a V. Dropkin Postdoctoral Fellowship to research the epigenetics of plant response to pathogen infection at the University of Chicago’s Department of Ecology and Evolution.

The V. Dropkin fellowship funds a postdoctoral researcher for up to four years to study the ecology and evolution of plant-pathogen interactions.

Herman will begin the post-doctoral position after completing his dissertation defense this April. His advisor at Wesleyan is Sonia Sultan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies.