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Fowler, Gollust ’01 Author Paper on Insurance Enrollment, Advertising

Erika Franklin Fowler is co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project.

Erika Franklin Fowler is co-director of The Wesleyan Media Project.

Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler is an author of a new paper released in HealthAffairs examining the link between health insurance changes after the first Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period and the efforts of federal, state, and non-profit sponsors to market their products.

Fowler and her co-authors found that advertising worked—more ads for the ACA produced a significantly higher rate of insurance enrollment.

The study, conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Minnesota (including Sarah Gollust ’01), uses advertising and television news data from the Wesleyan Media Project. It is one of the key papers to come out of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE) grant for Wesleyan/University of Minnesota, on which Gollust is principal investigator and Fowler is co-PI.

The researchers considered the relationship between the volume of television insurance advertising in a given area during this time period and the area’s rate of uninsurance and Medicaid coverage before and after open enrollment (ie. In 2013 and 2014). They found that the percentage of the population younger than age 65 that lacked health insurance fell by an average of 2.9 percentage points between the two time periods. Counties with larger advertising volumes saw larger declines in uninsurance than other counties. For every increase of 1,000 insurance advertisements, there was a 0.1 percentage-point reduction in uninsurance. Furthermore, state-sponsored insurance ads had the strongest relationship with declines in uninsurance from 2013 to 2014, compared to ads from private, federal, and other sponsors. An increase of 1,000 state-sponsored insurance ads was associated with a 0.23 percentage-point reduction in uninsurance.

The researchers emphasized the particular importance of state-sponsored insurance advertisements in driving coverage improvements. They calculated that roughly 2.5 people gained insurance for every state-sponsored ad aired during the first open enrollment period, and that doubling this advertising would lead to a 1.19 percent reduction in the uninsured. While strategic investment in advertising will be important to increase the uptake of insurance going forward, the authors stress that the type of advertising might affect the responsiveness of consumers.

“Although Republican control of government and the recent American Health Care Act proposal brings much uncertainty to the ACA’s future, insurance advertising will remain an important feature of encouraging enrollment in any marketplace,” said Fowler.

MacSorley Authors New Coloring Book Celebrating Women in Science

LaNell Williams '15, who studied physics at Wesleyan, is one of 22 women in science and technology careers featured in a new coloring book by Sara MacSorley.

LaNell Williams ’15, who studied physics at Wesleyan, is one of 22 women in science and technology careers featured in a new coloring book by Sara MacSorley.

Sara MacSorley, director of the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center, is the author of Super Cool Scientists, a new coloring book celebrating women in science. It features stories and illustrations of 22 women in science and technology careers. Highlighting a wide range of diversity in scientific field, background, race, and more, it aims to show all young people that science can be for them.

The idea for Super Cool Scientists came to MacSorley a little over a year ago, and launched with a successful Kickstarter campaign.

“I had been looking for a side project that brought more direct science communication to my life,” she explained. “My background is in science and science outreach and I was missing that a bit. I was also learning to deal with my own anxiety issues so had started coloring to relieve stress. When I was doing some research on the things I’d want to color, I realized there was no book out there quite like this that celebrated women currently doing science in such an approachable way.”

Each scientist featured in the book has a full-page biography about the work they do, as well as a full-page illustration (by local artist Yvonne Page) to color. The coloring activity is designed to “let the stories of the scientists be told in a way that the reader/ artist can place themselves in the story,” explained MacSorley. And while the text was targeted to a middle school audience, since publication she has heard that younger children also get a lot out of the book.

“And, surprisingly to me, science college students have been really into the book too,” she added. “I hope that young people can read (and color!) the book and see that science is a field for everyone and that—regardless of what you look like or where you’re from—you can be a scientist. I also want people to understand that there are many types of science jobs. Not all of them require a white lab coat.”

Among the scientists featured is LaNell Williams ’15. Her bio describes how she grew up wanting to be a journalist, but transitioned to studying physics while at Wesleyan, and highlights her current graduate research projects. Williams is now at the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program. The accompanying illustration shows her in the laser lab on campus.

The response to the book so far has been very positive, said MacSorley, including healthy sales on Amazon and bulk orders with schools. The social media community (Facebook and Twitter) is growing and sharing their colored pages.

 

Students Attend Discussion on Racism, Sexism, Bigotry in NYC

At left, Sara Feldman '17, Gabe Hurlock '20, Kaiyana Makami '19, Angela Davis and Claudia Khahindi '19 gather at the "We're Not Going Back" Unity Rally in New York City on March 4. 

At left, Sara Feldman ’17, Gabe Hurlock ’20, Kaiyana Makami ’19, Angela Davis and Claudia Khahindi ’19 gather at the “We’re Not Going Back” Unity Rally and discussion in New York City on March 4.

On March 4, members of the student activist organization Sophia traveled to New York City to attend the Community Party USA Unity Rally and discussion against racism, sexism and all forms of bigotry with special guest and keynote speaker Angela Davis.

Angela Davis speaks at the Unity Rally. (Photo by Gabe Hurlock '20)

Angela Davis speaks at the Unity Rally. (Photo by Gabe Hurlock ’20)

Inspired by the rising necessity for constructive solidarity and community, Sophia founder and president, Posse veteran scholar Gabe Hurlock ’20 created the organization to promote inclusion, multiculturalism, and personhood on the Wesleyan campus and in the Middletown community. The organization focuses on critical philosophy and conceptualization of social justice issues through community organization.

The rally featured Jamaican author and poet Staceyann Chin and political activist Angela Davis as the keynote speaker. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. She is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. The main topic of the evening was cultivating unity and winning a wide-ranging program of reforms that put the well being of people and the planet before private profits.

“I intended for this trip to demonstrate that the act of solidarity requires more than simply being intellectually aware of the disparities plaguing our society, because activism is central to philosophy,” Hurlock said. “After meeting Angela Davis, we all gained a refreshed perspective on what it really means to fight for what you believe in. The prosperity of humanity depends heavily on our capacity to speak up and defend justice everywhere.”

The trip was sponsored by Wesleyan’s Office for Equity and Inclusion and the Student Budget Committee.

‘Walking Elephants Home’ Project by Winkler ’16 Nominated for Conservation Grant

 Becca Winkler ’16

Becca Winkler ’16 launched “Walking Elephants Home,” a project that provides a new model of tourism, and has been nominated for a European Outdoor Conversation Association grant.

“Walking Elephants Home,” a Mahouts Educations Foundation (MEF) project launched and run by Becca Winkler ’16, has been nominated for the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) grant—and voting is open until March 23.

“From many conversations with elephant owners struggling to make ends meet and who were unhappy with the conditions their elephants live in at elephant camps, I could see that we needed a new model,” Winkler said. “The forests of Thailand have been home to the Asian elephant for thousands of years; it is their birthright. ‘Walking Elephants Home’ is on a mission to to prove that tourists should do the work to see elephants in their habitat, rather than removing the elephants and forcing them to live in a tourist camp for our benefit.”

Winkler, a Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies major who first began working with elephants in Thailand as an undergrad, wrote her thesis on “Walking with Giants: Eco-feminist Insights on Elephant Tourism in Thailand.” She received a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship grant in 2016 that helped her launch and run “Walking Elephants Home” through the MEF, a nonprofit that supports elephants and their mahouts (owners) in Thailand. Collaborating with indigenous people, the MEF offers a successful business model with ethical tourism alternatives to those who free their elephants. Their goal is to not only improve the elephants’ well-being by returning them to their natural habitat but also enhances biodiversity and prevents further deforestation.

New Wesleyan Bookstore to Offer Food by ‘grown’

grownThe new Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore on Main Street, opening this spring, will feature a café run by grown, a USDA organic certified concept based in Miami, Fla. owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Shannon Allen (a Middletown native) and NBA champion Ray Allen (also a proud University of Connecticut Husky and Olympic gold medalist). grown marries the quality of farm-to-fork cuisine with a level of convenience that makes it possible for busy people on the go to access high-quality foods at affordable prices.

The Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore will be located at 413 Main Street, near the intersection of Washington Street, in a 12,000-square-foot, two-story space.

“We’re delighted to partner with grown in this exciting new venture. Their commitment to wholesome food and sustainable practices are a perfect fit for Wesleyan,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78. “We think the addition of this healthy option on Main Street is a great thing for the people of Middletown.”

Experts Discuss Fake News, Then and Now at History Matters Panel

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On March 7, the History Department sponsored a History Matters Panel on “Fake News: Then and Now.” Speakers included Courtney Fullilove, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of environmental studies, assistant professor of science in society; Ying Jia Tan, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of East Asian studies; and Erik Grimmer-Solem, associate professor of history, associate professor of German studies.

Student-Athletes Honored for All-Academic, All-Sportsmanship

Rachel Aronow '17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women's ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Rachel Aronow ’17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women’s ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Ninety-four Wesleyan student-athletes were honored for their excellence in the classroom when the NESCAC announced its 2016-17 Winter All-Academic Team on March 9, while eight others were named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.

To be honored on the All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.40. A transfer student must have completed one year of study at the institution.

The women’s indoor track & field team led the way for the Cardinals with 19 selections, followed by men’s ice hockey with 16, women’s swimming & diving with 11, women’s ice hockey with 10, men’s indoor track & field with nine, and men’s swimming & diving with eight.

Spring Break Begins with a Snowy Start

Wesleyan’s midsemester recess, otherwise known as spring break, began with a snowy start on March 10. On March 14, Winter Storm Stella powdered campus with an additional foot of snow. Classes will resume on March 27. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Enjoy spring break from these lounge chairs on Foss Hill.

Enjoy spring break from these lounge chairs on Foss Hill.

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Students and their canine companion enjoy the snow on Andrus Field.

McGuire ’17, Araki ’17 Receive Seed Grant to Spearhead MindScope Health

MindScope Healthmindscope, an organization led by Siri McGuire ’17 and Taiga Araki ’17 has won the $10,000 Connecticut College Aetna Foundation seed stage grant—a branch of InnovateHealth Yale and the Aetna Foundation.

MindScope works to improve the quality of life for patients with brain diseases and mental illnesses. Founded by patients of brain diseases and mental illnesses, MindScope Health aims to transform the way that invisible diseases and symptoms are communicated and treated. By allowing patients to alternatively communicate their symptoms to their doctors through the use of an app, symptoms can be recorded overtime, as patients rate the severity of their symptoms throughout the day. That information is then compiled and displayed for doctors, creating a patient-led and patient-centered design process.

Wesleyan Media Project Releases Analysis on 2016 Election

mediaThe 2016 presidential campaign broke the mold when it comes to patterns of political advertising. But, in a new publication, the Wesleyan Media Project (co-directed by Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler) says, “Not so fast” to those who argue that advertising no longer matters in elections.

The article published in The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics (open access through mid-April 2017) shows that the presidential race featured far less advertising than the previous cycle, a huge imbalance in the number of ads across candidates, and one candidate who almost ignored discussions of policy. Yet, at the congressional level, political advertising appeared far more ordinary. The authors share lessons about advertising in the 2016 campaign, and argue that its seeming lack of effectiveness may owe to the unusual nature of the presidential campaign with one nonconventional candidate and the other using an unconventional message strategy.

Furthermore, the authors demonstrate that 1) Clinton’s unexpected losses came in states in which she failed to air ads until the last week, and 2) Clinton’s message was devoid of policy discussions in a way not seen in the previous four presidential contests.

Read more on the Wesleyan Media Project blog, and in this Vox story.

Creative Campus Fellow’s Performance Explores Personal Communication

Pamela Z will perform in Ring Family Hall on March 9, 2017.

Pamela Z will perform in Ring Family Performing Arts Hall on March 9.

Wesleyan’s 2016-2017 Creative Campus Fellow in Music Pamela Z, a composer and performer, is performing Correspondence, a work in progress, tonight (March 9). Her ensemble performance includes voices, electronic processing, sampled speech sounds, gesture-controlled MIDI instruments, projected image, and an array of mechanical and digital communication gadgetry.

Ms. Z’s performance looks at the history of personal communication from hand-written letters and telegraphs to electronic messaging and video chats in Correspondence, a sonic and visual exploration of the ever-evolving modes of personal communication.

More than 20 students are involved in the performance as members of the chorus, playing viola, bassoon, percussion, and operating typewriters.

As a Creative Campus Fellow, Ms. Z is commissioned by Wesleyan to create new works in collaboration with faculty and students across disciplines and conducts substantive research on campus for creative development. The Creative Campus Fellowship is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The performance is free and open to the public, and will take place on Thursday, March 9 at 8pm in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall.

Ms. Z is a composer/performer and media artist who makes solo works combining a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, gesture activated MIDI controllers, and video. She has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Her work has been presented at venues and exhibitions including Bang on a Can (New York), the Japan Interlink Festival, Other Minds (San Francisco), the Venice Biennale, and the Dakar Biennale. She’s created installations and has composed scores for dance, film, and chamber ensembles. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, Creative Capital, the Herb Alpert Award, MAP, the ASCAP Award, an Ars Electronica honorable mention, the NEA/Japan-US Fellowship, and a Djerrassi Resident Artist Program residency.