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Coaches, Student Athletes Teach Local Girls about Sports

Wesleyan’s Athletic Department hosted its fourth annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day celebration on Jan. 26 at the Freeman Athletic Center.

Wesleyan coaches and student-athletes taught local girls in kindergarten through sixth grade about various sports, including track, soccer, softball, field hockey, volleyball, lacrosse, and more.

In addition to the lessons, participants had the opportunity to watch a women’s basketball game and a women’s ice hockey game. The women’s ice hockey team also hosted a “Skate with the Cardinals” where players welcomed fans and the girls to join them on the ice. Pizza was provided to all participants.

(Photos by Yizhuang Lin ’22 and Mingxuan Zhang ’22)

Snow Squalls Power through Campus

A snow squall stormed through Connecticut On Jan. 30, forming nearly white-out conditions on Wesleyan's campus. Temps plummeted from 30 degrees at 4 p.m. to 5 degrees at midnight.

A snow squall stormed through Connecticut on Jan. 30, forming nearly white-out conditions on Wesleyan’s campus. Temperatures plummeted from 30 degrees at 4 p.m. to 5 degrees at midnight. Pictured is Foss Hill.

The Russell House and corner of High Street and Washington Street.

The Russell House and corner of High Street and Washington Street.

Alpha Delta Phi.

Alpha Delta Phi.

Wesleyan to Expand Hamilton Prize for Creativity

Wesleyan has announced that it will expand opportunities for incoming students under its Hamilton Prize for Creativity, which was established in the 2016–17 academic year in honor of Wesleyan alumni Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 (writer/creator/original star) and Thomas Kail ’99 (director) of the international phenomenon, Hamilton: An American Musical.

Over the past two years, more than a thousand students have submitted stories, poetry, songs, plays, and screenplays for consideration. A distinguished selection committee of Wesleyan alumni in the arts, headed by honorary chairs Miranda and Kail, reviewed submissions and chose one winner each year to receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend Wesleyan. Read about past winners here and here.

Audible Bacillus Exhibit Explores the Fluidity of the Human Biome

The exhibit, Audible Bacillus, opened at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Jan. 29.

Audible Bacillus opened at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Jan. 29.

The opening reception included opening remarks by Curator Benjamin Chaffee, associate director of visual arts.

The opening reception included opening remarks by curator Benjamin Chaffee, associate director of visual arts.

Chaffee set out to answer questions such as, "What does it mean for our world concept, language, ethics, and knowledge if we accept that human bodies co-evolved with their microbiomes?"

With the exhibit, Chaffee set out to answer questions such as, “What does it mean for our world concept, language, ethics, and knowledge if we accept that human bodies coevolved with their microbiomes?”

The works are presented not as practical scientific rhetoric but rather as investigations in their own right into a variety of themes including alternative epistemologies, the nature and source of volition, a breakdown of the boundary between self/other, the limits of our language(s), and into the radical care we need to sustain a future.

The works are presented as investigations into a variety of themes including alternative epistemologies, the nature and source of volition, a breakdown of the boundary between self/other, the limits of our language(s), and the radical care we need to sustain a future.

Stromatolites, the fossilized remains of ancient cyanobacteria, the dominant species on the Earth billions of years ago, will also be included in the exhibition.

Stromatolites, the fossilized remains of ancient cyanobacteria that were the dominant species on the Earth billions of years ago, are included in the exhibition.

The exhibit presents pieces of audio and video to create an experience of movement for visitors, mirroring Chaffee’s efforts to understand the fluidity of the human biome.

The exhibit incorporates multi-media pieces, including artist Ed Atkin's video short titled "Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths."

The exhibit also incorporates multimedia pieces, including artist Ed Atkin’s video short titled “Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths.”

Listen to a conversation between Benjamin Chaffee and Curator of the Davison Art Center Miya Tokumitsu about this exhibition on the Center for the Arts Radio Hour.

A conversation between Chaffee and Curator of the Davison Art Center Miya Tokumitsu about this exhibition can be heard on the Center for the Arts Radio Hour.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 12-5 p.m.; Thursday, 12-7 p.m. (NEW Extended Hours); Friday through Sunday, 12-5pm.

The Zilkha Gallery is open Tuesday and Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; and Friday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Audible Bacillus will be on display through Sunday, March 3, 2019. (Photos by Sara McCrea ’21)

The Next New Things: Presenting Final Projects in IDEAS 170

In December, the students of IDEAS 170: Introduction to Design and Engineering presented inventions of their own design. These final group projects are possibly the next new life hacks everyone will crave: a projector that doesn’t rely on electricity (great for watching movies when the power is out), a chair that folds flat (packs easily and saves space), or a dorm room light that mimics the sun (helps set your sleep/wake cycle naturally).

Additionally, one group of Wesleyan students collaborated with students from Renbrook School in West Hartford. Betsy Flynn, Lower School Learning Specialist at Renbrook, explained: “The Renbrook students brought their accessible playscape design to Wesleyan and pitched their idea to the class on the same day that other project ideas were pitched. Then the Wesleyan team came to Renbrook with several elements of their inclusive playground to get feedback from Renbrook students. They spent an hour together getting to know each other and had a spirited discussion of what each had in mind in their designs.”

On the day the final projects were presented, the Wesleyan students set about creating a one-inch scale prototype of the playscape, inviting their younger collaborators to visit the University to see how their initial ideas had taken physical (albeit miniature) form.

The two IDEAS sections of the fall 2018 semester, taught by Professor of Physics Greg Voth and Assistant Professor of the Practice in Integrative Sciences Daniel Moller, offered 32 students the opportunity to work collaboratively on project-based studies at the intersection of design, the arts, and engineering. The course, part of a new interdisciplinary minor, the Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Sciences (IDEAS) program, is hosted and administered by the College of Integrative Sciences (CIS).

Wesleyan (issue 3, 2018) featured the course in its cover article, Putting the Art in Smart Design, following the students through the first half of the course as they worked on individual devices that would hop after a timing mechanism released. A video, “The Big Hopper Reveal,” illustrated their design and engineering work at the semester’s midpoint. The photos and video below, taken at the end of the fall 2018 semester, show the group inventions. (Remember: You saw them here first). (Photos by Cynthia Rockwell)

Trevor Devanny ’20, Joe Clayton ’20, Liam Murray ’20, and Mauricio Bailleres ’21 ready their go-cart, complete with fully functional steering mechanism, for its outdoor trial run.

Professor and Chair of the Physics Department Greg Voth examines the steering mechanism for stability.

Wesleyan in the News

In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.

Recent Wesleyan News

  1. The New York Times: “Anthony Braxton Composes Together Past, Present and Future”

Anthony Braxton, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, is profiled. Among other ongoing projects, Braxton has spent much of the past four years working on his newest opera, “Trillium L,” which, he says, “is a five-day opera”—if it is ever performed.

2. Los Angeles Review of Books: “That Bit of Philosophy in All of Us”

Tushar Irani, associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of letters, is interviewed about his book, Plato on the Value of Philosophy: The Art of Argument in the Gorgias and Phaedrus.

3. The Guardian“The Blake-Wadsworth Gallery of Reborn Dolls”

This original short story by Amy Bloom, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing and professor of the practice, English, follows a woman coping with her elderly mother’s memory loss.

Coach Raba Inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame

John Raba

Wesleyan men’s lacrosse head coach John Raba was inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame Jan. 24 at the Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell. Raba is one of 11 individuals and four teams inducted into the 26th class.

“It is an absolute honor and privilege to be inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame,” Raba said. “I feel blessed to be recognized with some of Middletown’s finest. I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with so many great administrators, coaches, and players throughout the years. Without their support and effort, this honor would not be attainable!”

Raba has been at the helm of the Wesleyan men’s lacrosse program for 22 seasons; in 2018 he led the Cardinals to the University’s first-ever national team championship. Wesleyan had the toughest road to the finals as it defeated No. 8 Cabrini (12-7), No. 2 Tufts (12-11), and No. 1 RIT (19-18) before earning an 8-6 win over perennial powerhouse, No. 3 Salisbury.

In his 22 years, Raba has amassed an incredible 265-113 (.701) record with 19 winning seasons, while competing in arguably the most competitive conference in the country. The three-time NESCAC Coach of the Year became the winningest coach in league history this past season. He was also named the 2017 USILA Division III Coach of the Year and is a six-time New England Coach of the Year.

Raba has coached three national position players of the year and 43 All-Americans during his tenure. His teams have qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament on six occasions and are 14-5 all-time with four semifinal appearances. Additionally, Wesleyan has won two NESCAC Championships and its 23 conference postseason wins are third all-time behind only Tufts (31) and Middlebury (26).

Students, Faculty, Alumni Attend American Astronomical Society Meeting

Mark Popinchalk ’13

Roy Kilgard and Mark Popinchalk ’13.

More than 25 Wesleyan affiliates attended the 233rd American Astronomical Society Meeting Jan. 6-10 in Seattle, Wash. All current Wesleyan students who attended presented posters of their research.

Campus attendees included: Bill Herbst, the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy and professor, integrative sciences; Roy Kilgard, associate professor of the practice in astronomy and associate professor of the practice, integrative sciences; Michael Henderson ’19; Allison Quintana ’19; graduate student Jessica Klusmeyer; graduate student Ismael Mireles; and graduate student Anthony Santini ’18.

Alumni included Hannah Fritze ’18, Aylin Garcia Soto ’18, Prajwal Niraula MA ’18, Amy Steele MA ’14, Nicole Arulanantham MA ’15, Mark Popinchalk ’13, Marshall Johnson ’11, Anna Williams ’09, Ken Rumstay MA ’77, Taft Armandroff ’82, Phil Choi ’95, Anil Seth ’98, Evan Tingle ’08, MA ’09, Diana Windemuth MA ’13, Trevor Dorn-Wallenstein ’15, Clara Moskowitz ’05, Emily Leiner ’10.

Diana Windemuth MA ’13 and Aylin Garcia Soto ’18

Diana Windemuth MA ’13 and Aylin Garcia Soto ’18.

Former graduate student Colin Littlefield, and former post-doctoral researchers Vicki Sarajedini and John Cannon also attended.

In addition, five college students who participated in the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium’s (KNAC) summer Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program at Wesleyan attended the meeting. Karina Cooper, Sadie Coffin, Aleezah Ali, Katie Chapman, and Diego Garcia worked at Wesleyan’s observatory last summer and were under the direction of Wesleyan faculty and students.

View additional photos of the meeting in this Van Vleck Observatory blog.

5 Students Receive NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium Fellowships, Awards

Two graduate students and three undergraduate students are recipients of Fall 2018 NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) awards. They are among 39 students from 13 CTSGC academic affiliate institutions to be honored.

NASA CTSGC is a federally mandated grant, internship, and scholarship program that is funded as a part of NASA Education. There are Space Grant Consortia in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Earth and environmental science graduate student Christina Cauley received an $8,000 Graduate Research Fellowship for her project “Chemistry and Biology of Giant Hydrothermal Mounds in Paulina Lake, Oregon.” Her advisor is Joop Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science and Smith Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology of the Joe Webb Peoples Museum of Natural History. Varekamp also is professor of earth and environmental sciences; professor, environmental studies; and professor, Latin American studies.

Astronomy major Hunter Vannier ’20 received a $5,000 Undergraduate Research Fellowship for his project titled “Using Hubble to Look Back at the Sun’s Historical Trajectory Through the Local Interstellar Medium.” Vannier’s advisor is Seth Redfield, chair and associate professor of astronomy. Redfield also is associate professor, integrative sciences, and co-coordinator, planetary science.

Three other students received $1,000 Student Travel Grants, which covered travel expenses to attend the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Seattle, Wash., in January.

At the meeting, Astronomy major Michael Henderson ’19 presented his senior thesis research titled “High Precision Photometry of Faint White Dwarf Stars from K2 Data.” Henderson’s advisor is Seth Redfield.

Astronomy graduate student Ismael Mireles, presented his master’s thesis research on “Searching for planets around the brightest stars in K2.” Mireles’s advisor is Seth Redfield.

And astronomy graduate student Anthony Santini ’18 presented his BA/MA thesis research titled “Determining Fundamental Properties of Galaxies with X-ray Binary Correlations.” Santini’s advisor is Roy Kilgard, associate professor of the practice in astronomy and associate professor of the practice, integrative sciences.

Weaver, Video Game Legends Gather to Honor “Spacewar!”

Before “Fortnite” and “Candy Crush,” before “Super Mario Bros.” and “Tetris,” in fact, even before things like VCRs, Post-its, email, and hacky sacks, eight young MIT students came up with a truly novel idea that ended up becoming not just one of the first video games of its kind, but one of the first video games ever. Their excitement is still palpable in the game’s title, “Spacewar!”

Todd Howard, Vijay Lakshman, Christopher Weaver & Julian Jensen—four of the original Bethesda Softworks team.

The game essentially launched what today Smithsonian Magazine estimates as a $140 billion industry, with games as varied and ubiquitous as the devices they are played on. All modern-day players and developers owe at least part of their success to that early sci-fi strategy invention.

Early this past December, around 300 attendees — including many of the most renowned and celebrated members of the video game industry — gathered at the Smithsonian National Museum of History in Washington D.C. to pay tribute to “Spacewar!” and its founders. Christopher Weaver, the Distinguished Professor of Computational Media in the College of Integrative Sciences at Wesleyan University, hosted a panel discussion with the seven living members of the eight-person team: Martin Graetz, Steve Russell, Robert Saunders, Steven Piner, Wayne Wiitanen, Dan Edwards and Peter Samson (Alan Kotok passed away in 2006).

Weaver is himself an MIT graduate, as well as the founder of Bethesda Softworks, a video game publishing company that launched in 1986 and is known for its The Elder Scrolls series, among many other popular titles. In 2017, Weaver was appointed a Distinguished Scholar in the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and installed as the co-Director of the Videogame Pioneers Initiative (VPI).

“By recording and archiving the stories of the industry’s creators, the Lemelson Center is gathering a trove of seminal material to help uncover many of the fundamental threads of invention and innovation that go into making every creative industry,” Weaver said in a recent message. “The Spacewar event was the first of its kind in the Innovative Lives program at the Smithsonian. Based upon the success of that event, there are already plans to make similar events an annual occurrence.”

To read more, see the magazine’s full write-up of the event and the game’s interesting history.

Wesleyan Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 12th Annual Commemoration

On Jan. 23, the Wesleyan community gathered in Crowell Concert Hall to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

On Jan. 23, the Wesleyan community gathered in Crowell Concert Hall to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pictured in the center is Penney Jade Beaubrun, assistant director for alumni and parent relations for University Relations and MLK Commemoration Committee member.

Bettina Love, award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia, presented the commemoration's keynote address. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education and is the author of the book We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press).

Dr. Bettina Love, award-winning author and associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia, presented the 12th annual MLK Commemoration’s keynote address titled “What Came Before & After King: Abolitionist Teaching & Life.” During her talk, she focused on the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of hip-hop education and is the author of the book We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press).

Winter Ice Storm Freezes Wesleyan’s Landscape

Following a winter storm and subzero temperatures on Jan. 20-22, students returned from Winter Recess to a campus crystallized in an icy sheathing. Several trees on campus succumbed to broken limbs.

Pictured below are scenes on campus on Jan. 22: (Photos by Olivia Drake)