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Update from Physical Plant-Facilities: Summer Projects

A tennis court renovation, a cooling tower replacement, and an informal outdoor classroom construction are among Physical Plant-Facilities projects this summer.

Physical Plant-Facility’s capital projects will include:

  • Comprehensive Energy Phase 10 – LED lighting upgrades to Exley Science Center and other efficiency measures.
  • Tennis Court Renovation – replacing half the courts and repairing the other half as a partnership with the City of Middletown.
  • The RJJulia Wesleyan Bookstore at 413 Main Street.
  • 116 Mt. Vernon – Renovate and convert to Shapiro Writing Center.
  • Renovations to selected science offices and facilities
  • Informal Learning and Outdoor Classrooms – improvements campuswide to refresh underutilized spaces and enable collaboration and study as well as provide additional outdoor classrooms

Highlights of major maintenance projects to be completed this summer are:

  • Olin Library’s “envelope” renovation — parts of the building that physically separate the exterior environment from the interior environment.
  • HighRise – new fire alarm system.
  • Center for the Arts Studio North and CFA Theater – electrical transformer replacements.
  • Steamline replacement along South College
  • 200 High Street – replace all roofing.
  • Hall-Atwater – replace perimeter roof over third floor.
  • South / North College Connector – replace second floor windows and first floor fixed glass panels and doors.
  • Central Power Plant cooling tower replacement – expanding chilled water capacity for campus by 30 percent.

Accessibility projects addresses this summer include the replacement of the accessible ramp on the north elevation, the south entrance to Exley Science Center and the Office of Admission’s patio.

Employees on the Move

The Office of Human Resources reports the following hires, transitions and departures from Jan. 1 through March 31:

Hires
Seirra Fowler, director of health education on Jan. 3.
Shelissa Newball, associate director of student activities and leadership development on Jan. 5.
Rhoanne Esteban, data analyst in university relations on Jan. 9.
Jacob Gonzalez, STEM Career Advisor in the Gordon Career Center on Jan. 9.
Andrew Harazim, athletic facility maintenance person on Jan. 9.
Katie Scheinberg, psychiatric nurse practitioner for CAPS on Feb. 6.
Tania Inturrisi, budget analyst in financial planning on Jan. 9.
Sarah Curran, director of the Center for the Arts on Feb. 20.
Megan Conte was hired as residential operations coordinator on March 27.
Sandy Durosier ’13 was hired as an area coordinator on April 3.
Melanie Messier was hired as manager of financial reporting on April 3.
Andres Sarda was hired as operations project coordinator for Physical Plant-Facilities on April 10.
Victoriano Diaz was hired as operations project coordinator for Physical Plant-Facilities on April 17.
Bonnie Solivan was hired as academic technologist on April 17.
Denise White-Patterson was hired as associate director of benefits on April 17.

Transitions
Melissa Rocha, manager of video services and lead video producer on Jan. 1.
Valerie Nye, director of financial services on Jan. 20.
Joseph Rich, user services manager on Feb. 16.
Jenna Starr, assistant director of alumni and parent relations on March 20.
Teshia Levy-Grant ‘00, dean for equity and inclusion on April 1.
Karen Hook, donor database implementation project manager on April 24.
Courtney Fullilove, associate professor of history, effective July 1.
Tushar Irani, associate professor of letters, associate professor of philosophy, effective July 1.
Marty Gilmore, director of graduate studies, effective July 1.
William Johnston, academic secretary, effective July 1.
Sean McCann, director of academic writing, effective July 1.
Peter Rutland, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, effective July 1.

Departures
Pierina Cheung, research associate in psychology
Robert Jasek, chief information security officer
Ismet Jooma, assistant director of online communications for university relations
Eileen McNamara, residential operations coordinator
Laura Paul, interim director of the Center for the Arts
Allynn Wilkinson, video editor
Krystle Wilson, admissions coordinator for continuing studies
Stephanie Aviles, medical office assistant
Jeffrey McDonald, assistant to the director for operations and facilities
Patrice Melley, director of human resources
Jamil Ragland, assistant registrar

Ice Cream Social June 6

The Office of Human Resources will host an ice cream social for Wesleyan staff and faculty from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday June 6. 

 

Gallarotti Discusses Rising Tensions Over Russia, North Korea on Radio Program

Giulio Gallarotti

Giulio Gallarotti

Professor of Government Giulio Gallarotti was a guest recently on “Best of the Valley/ Shore” on WLIS/WMRD to discuss “Current Challenges of American Foreign Policy.”

“Our economy is doing well, the stock market is strong. The Fed’s been talking about raising interest rates, that’s how well we’re doing. And that hasn’t happened in a long, long time,” said Gallarotti by way of introduction. “There’s a lot going on all over the world and Americans are involved all over the world because we’re a global power.”

On recent tensions with Russia, he said: “I think it’s always been a kabuki dance, even at the height of the Cold War. It’s kind of like two very big people sharing the room. There will be a lot of friction, no matter who they are. Even in good times, they’ll always have issues. And in bad times, the friction will sometimes get to a crisis level. People will be very worried. I think that Russia is trying to solve a lot of different problems. Its main problems are domestic, not foreign, and a lot of the foreign policy is oriented toward maintaining some kind of stability in this political regime. Putin is using a lot of ‘rally around the flag’ tactics.”

Gallarotti elaborated on the problems in Russia, which include political instability, declining oil revenues, and a bad economy. And he said that the Russian people are “culturally comfortable” with being ruled by an iron fist throughout their history.

Listen to the whole interview here (scroll to “Valley Shore–41417–Wesleyan Government Professor”).

Gallarotti is also co-chair of the College of Social Studies, professor of environmental studies.

Celebrate Earth Fest April 22

On April 22, the Wesleyan Climate Ambassadors will host the 5th Annual Earth Fest at the base of Foss Hill from 1 to 4 p.m. This celebration of Earth Day is aimed at bringing the sustainability community and campus together to honor Mother Earth.

Participants will enjoy student bands, free vegan and veggie burgers, a clothing swap and a pin-the-solar-panel-on-the-building game.

Participants also will learn more about what the sustainability community is working on at Wesleyan.
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Wesleyan Introduces New Financial Aid Online Tool

Logo-calculatorWesleyan has just introduced MyinTuition, a new online tool that gives families a fast, user-friendly way to gauge college costs while factoring in financial aid. It will be available for students applying to the Class of 2022 and beyond.

By asking users six basic financial questions, MyinTuition is able to offer a good early estimate of the amount a family will need to contribute for one year at Wesleyan. The form takes about three minutes to complete, and provides a breakdown of the estimated costs paid by the family, work-study, and loan estimates, in addition to grant assistance provided by the institution. All financial information entered is secure, and Wesleyan does not retain any of the information provided.

“We’re excited to offer this new instrument, which we believe will make the college search and financial aid process far more user friendly,” said Wesleyan Director of Financial Aid Robert Coughlin. “We’re hopeful that it will allow more families to see that a Wesleyan education is within their reach, and bring even more socioeconomic diversity to campus.”

Developed by an economics professor, Phillip B. Levine, at Wellesley College, MyinTuition has been used at Wellesley since 2013. After a successful start, it was adopted by Williams College and the University of Virginia in 2015. Now, Wesleyan is one of 12 more schools adopting the tool.

In 2011, the federal government mandated that colleges and universities offer a “net price calculator” to provide prospective students with an estimate of the cost of enrollment and financial aid possibilities. But many are overwhelmed by the large number of questions requiring detailed answers about family finances, including information about tax returns.

“It’s daunting and intimidating especially if you are a mom or dad and this is your first child to go off to college,” said Levine. “Financial help is often available if a child qualifies to be admitted, but the sticker shock and the process scares people away.”

Wesleyan Team Takes Second Prize in Investment Contest

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A team of Wesleyan students took second place with a 24.28 percent return in the 2017 Adirondack Cup, a stock picking contest for college students interested in the investment field. This is the sixth year that Wesleyan has fielded a team, and represented the best performance to date. The contest offers a unique setting for students to test their investment research skills using businesses not widely covered by analysts and the news media.

Over 160 students from 22 colleges and universities participated in the contest this year, which focuses exclusively on “small cap” public companies, the expertise of the contest’s sponsor, Adirondack Research & Management, Inc. This firm is an advisor to The Adirondack Small Cap Fund (ADKSX), an SEC registered no-loan mutual fund established in 2005. A team from Union College took first place. See the final results here.

Wesleyan’s team members included Eddie McCann ’19, Nikolas Ortega ’19, Daniil Plokhikh ’19, Attul Jakkampudi ’20, Sonja English ’20, Mitchell Motlagh ’20, Sahil Shah ’19, Kofi Ofori-Darko ’20, Dan Tran ’20, Allesandro Lorenzoni ’20 and Daniel Lombardo ’19.

Poet Reece ‘85 and Honduran Orphans Are Subject of James Franco Documentary

Episcopalian priest and poet Spencer Reece ’85 taught poetry to the children of Little Roses, an orphanage in Guatelmala, the "murder capital of the world."

Episcopalian priest Spencer Reece ’85 and his poetry students, the children of an orphanage in Honduras, were the subject of a documentary executive produced by actor James Franco.

The film, Voices Beyond the Wall: Twelve Love Poems from the Murder Capital of the World, documents the experiences of poet, priest, and teacher Spencer Reece ’85 in the year he spent teaching poetry at Our Little Roses, a home for abused and abandoned girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Executive produced by Hollywood actor James Franco and directed by Brad Coley, the film had its world premier at the Miami Film Festival in March. Sherri Linden, in the Hollywood Reportercalled it “eloquent,” adding that “[i]t captures an inspiring connection between Reece and his students, whether they’re discussing love and loss or exploring meter through Auden and salsa dancing. It’s the connection between language and life.”

Reese, whose debut collection, The Clerk’s Tale, (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) was chosen for the Bakeless Poetry Prize, had been ordained as an Episcopal priest in 2011, and first visited Our Little Roses as a three-month-long Spanish language immersion program to help him serve his community. He told Joan Crissos of the Washington Post (The Priest Who Healed Orphans with Poetry) that over the course of these months he was struggling to learn Spanish and did not spend much time with the girls. But the night before he returned to America, he noticed one of the girls outside his room. Speaking in a language he was just beginning to understand, she told him, “Don’t forget us.”

And he didn’t. Back in the States, he applied for a Fulbright to return to teach poetry to the girls, “using the lines of meters and verse to help them excavate the layers of emotional scars left behind after their parents abandoned them.” The Fulbright, he admitted to Crissos, might have seemed an unlikely stretch: “’The whole thing didn’t look very good on paper…. I hadn’t taught before, I wasn’t a priest that long, and I hardly spoke Spanish.’

“‘But poetry was what I knew…. It gave me a place where I could find solace, feel that I was loved.'”

With the grant—and a film crew to help tell his story—Reece returned in 2013. His curriculum included a variety of English language poets such as Shakespeare, W.H. Auden, and Langston Hughes, and he encouraged the girls to write their own poetry, which they would translate from Spanish into English. He had planned to publish these poems, and the book, Counting Time Like People Count Stars (Tia Chucha Press), will be published in time for Christmas, he notes on the Little Roses Facebook page.

 

Fisher ’17 Wins Watson Fellowship to Study Cooperatives

Michaela Fisher's Watson Fellowship will take her to Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany and Canada. Fisher is interested in understanding “the many ways in which co-ops can flourish or fail." (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Michaela Fisher’s Watson Fellowship will take her to Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany and Canada. Fisher is interested in understanding “the many ways in which co-ops can flourish or fail.” (Photo by Olivia Drake)

As the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, Michaela Fisher ’17 will spend a year studying cooperatives in five countries. Her project, titled “Cooperative Worlds: Exploring the Global Cooperative Economy,” will take her to Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany and Canada.

Watson Fellows are all seniors nominated by 40 partner colleges. According to the website, “Fellows conceive original projects, execute them outside of the United States for one year and embrace the ensuing journey. They decide where to go, who to meet, and when to change course.” Fellows receive a $30,000, 12-month travel stipend and health insurance while abroad.

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation was created in 1961 by Jeanette K. Watson in the name of her husband, Thomas J. Watson Sr., best known for building IBM. Through one-of-a-kind programs, the Foundation provides fellows with cultural, professional and personal opportunities that challenge them to expand their vision, test and develop their potential, and build the confidence and perspective to do so for others.

Grad Student Khan to Perform with Berklee Indian Ensemble

Suhail Yusuf Khan

Suhail Yusuf Khan

Music graduate student Suhail Yusuf Khan will be a featured guest artist at the Berklee Indian Ensemble on May 9. In addition, he will conduct a master class on Hindustani music and the sarangi, one of the oldest string instruments featured in North Indian classical music. The sarangi is the only instrument in the world that can emulate all the nuances of the human voice. Played with a bow, this instrument has three main strings and 37 sympathetic strings.

Khan started to play the instrument when he was 7 years old. The grandson of the sarangi legend Ustad Sabri Khan, and nephew of sarangi genius Ustad Kamal Sabri, his professional career took off at age 11 when he played his first live concert in Liverpool, England. Khan is the first of his family to fuse ancient classical music from India with genres as varied as jazz, rock, electronic and Irish music. In 2014, he was named a Forbes India “30 Under 30.”

He also is a composer, singer and songwriter. After graduating from Wesleyan, Khan is considering applying to PhD programs in ethnomusicology or will continue to perform around the world.

Grimmer-Solem Delivers Talk at Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences Meeting

Erik Margot Kohorn

Erik Grimmer-Solem

Associate Professor of History Erik Grimmer-Solem presented a talk, “The Wehrmacht Past, the Bundeswehr, and the Politics of Remembrance in Contemporary Germany,” at the meeting of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences (CAAS), April 12.

Grimmer-Solem also is associate professor of German studies and a tutor in the College of Social Sciences. His expertise is in modern German history with specializations in economic history, the history of economic thought, and the history of social reform. He has also developed research interests in German imperialism, German-Japanese relations before 1918, and Germany in the two world wars.

Grimmer-Solem discussed his research, which uncovered the involvement of a Wehrmacht general, honored in public as a member of the military resistance to Hitler, in massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. He discussed how his findings were received by the German public, how that resulted in the official renaming of an air force base, and what that reveals about German perceptions of the war of destruction waged in the Soviet Union by the German army. The talk explored the deep involvement of the Wehrmacht in the Holocaust, the Janus-faced nature of many members of the German military resistance, and the ongoing problem of basing contemporary Germany’s military tradition and “official memory” on aspects of this tainted legacy.

CAAS, chartered in 1799, is the third-oldest learned society in the United States. Its purpose is to disseminate scholarly information through lectures and publications. It sponsors eight monthly presentations during the academic year, hosted by Wesleyan and Yale, that are free and open to the public, allowing anyone to hear distinguished speakers discuss current work in the sciences, arts, and humanities.

 

Wildman ’96 Speaks on ‘Paper Love’ for Annual Frankel Lecture

Emil Frankel ’61 congratulates Sarah Wildman ’88, who presented the 36th annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture, which honors his parents.

Emil Frankel ’61 thanks and congratulates Sarah Wildman ’96, who presented the 36th annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture, which honors his parents.

Sarah Wildman ’96, an award-winning writer and regular contributor to the New York Times, presented the 36th Annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture on April 5, in the Daniel Family Common at Usdan University Center. The event was sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies and organized by Dalit Katz, director of the center.

Wildman spoke on what she’d learned about the Holocaust in writing Paper Love: Searching for the Girl my Grandfather Left Behind (Riverhead Penguin, 2014).

The story began for her, she recalled, when, after her grandfather’s death, she came across a box that had been his, containing dozens of letters from a woman named Valy—or Valerie Scheftel—addressed to her grandfather. It was clear that the two, who had been medical school students together at the University of Prague before World War II, were sweethearts. When Wildman’s grandfather and family fled Europe, Valy had remained behind.

“Oh, that was your grandfather’s true love,” her grandmother told Wildman when she’d asked.

Wildman realized then that the comforting story she’d heard as a child—that their family had all escaped together—was not entirely true, and she began searching for this woman whose story remained only in a box of letters.

Wildman detailed the search with her Wesleyan audience—the libraries visited, the letters read and researched, and the visit to the International Tracing Service in the far western point of Germany. At this repository of everything the Allies had gathered when they liberated Nazi territory, Wildman found that someone else had been looking for Valy, as well. She finally meets the youngest daughter of this searcher in England, and learns much more of the context.

“As naive as it was to think my grandfather had escaped with everyone, it was also naive to think I could tell a story about a single person without trying to understand the community she was living in,” Wildman said.

When asked about Valerie’s fate, Wildman demurred. “I don’t like to talk about her fate when I talk about the book. I find that we flatten the experience of the war into the final outcome,” she said.

“What I really wanted to do with this book is actually look at the day-to-day and really dig in to what it would mean to be a woman, a professional, someone who doesn’t necessarily want to get married, who sounds completely modern, who just wants to be recognized as a doctor….

“There are a lot of letters out there that are not considered ‘interesting to history’ and I wanted to reconsider what we think is important and why. What did it mean to be a regular person, upon whom this happened? These are voices we don’t hear. Letters tell us a huge amount; they are an important source to learn about women and about daily life.”

As for whether Valerie had been her grandfather’s true love, Wildman said the question might not be the right one:

“I believe he loved my grandmother,” she said. “I came to believe that the idea of ‘true love’ in this sense was not just Valy, but also stood for the life he had lived until age 26, which literally ceased to exist after that point. His ‘true love,’ then, was really everything of his past; it was that whole world. And Valy, in some ways, represented that world.”