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  1. Connecticut Public Radio: “The Struggle for Sleep: Why More School Districts Are Considering Later Starts”

Speaking as both a scholar and a mother, Associate Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman comments in this story on the movement to push schools in the state to start later. “People ask me, as a developmental psychologist, ‘Oh, we have this mental health crisis in the state, what are we going to do, what should we be funding, what kind of resources do we need to build in?’ And I just think it’s so silly when we have such a straightforward solution that has such large, measurable impacts.”

2. The Washington Post: “For the Super Bowl, Bloomberg and Trump Are Each Spending $10 Million on Ads”

Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler and her colleagues on the Wesleyan Media Project write about what makes political advertising in the 2020 election cycle look so different (hint: two self-funded billionaires are blowing up existing records) and the unusual decision by candidates Michael Bloomberg and President Donald Trump to spend $10 million each to reach nearly 100 million American viewers at the same time. Fowler was also recently interviewed on Marketplace about political advertising.

3. Transitions Online: “Russian Government Reshuffle: Plus ça Change”

Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, Professor of Government, analyzes the recent mass resignation of the Russian government following a surprise announcement from Russian President Vladamir Putin that he was rewriting the constitution. There is much unclear about the changes, including why Putin chose to make them at this time, and what the impact will be on Russia’s government. What is clear, Rutland writes, is that “Russia’s political system is broken” due to Putin’s constant tinkering with the country’s political institutions “to create the appearance of change while retaining power in his own hands.”

4. The Middletown Press: “Wesleyan Student Heading to Hollywood Among Writers of the Future Winners”

Skillman’s Article Published in the Review of Radical Political Economics

Gil Skillman, professor of economics, is the author of “Moseley’s ‘Macro-Monetary’ Reading of Marx’s Capital: Rejoinder and Further Discussion,” published in the Review of Radical Political Economics on Dec. 17, 2019.

According to the abstract:

Moseley (2018) offers a partial reply to Skillman’s review of his Money and Totality, addressing one comment at length while mentioning a second in passing and ignoring the third. In this rejoinder, Skillman responds to his replies and develops the three main arguments of his review in greater detail, with particular focus on the logical consistency of Moseley’s “algebraic summary” of his macro-monetary reading of Marx’s transformation analysis.

Students, Alumni Attend Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Hawaii

American Astronomical Society in Hawaii

Ismael Mireles MA ’19, Rachel Marino ’20, Katharine Hesse MA ’20, Justin Perea MA ’20, Gil Garcia ’20, Hunter Vannier ‘20, Fallon Konow ’20, and David Vizgan ’21 gathered for a photo at the American Astronomical Society in Hawaii in January.

Seth Redfield, Hunter Vannier (BA ‘20), Fallon Konow (BA ‘20)

Seth Redfield poses with his students, Hunter Vannier ’20 and Fallon Konow ’20, at a poster session.

Several Wesleyan undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and alumni attended the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 4–8, 2020.

“The meeting was a huge success, and we were thrilled to have such a large contingent of Wesleyan students able to attend and present their research,” said Seth Redfield, associate professor and chair of astronomy.

Wesleyan McNair Fellow Rachel Marino presented a poster titled “HD106906 Debris Disk Morphology and Origin of an External Perturber.” Her advisor is Meredith Hughes, associate professor of astronomy.

Hunter Vannier ’20 shared his research titled “Mapping the Local Interstellar Medium: Using Hubble to Look Back at the ISM along the Sun’s Historical Trajectory.” His advisor is Seth Redfield.

Wesleyan McNair Fellow Gilberto Garcia ’20 shared his poster titled “From Einstein to Chandra: Dramatic long-term X-ray variability in AGNs.” His advisor is Ed Moran, professor of astronomy.

Fallon Konow ’20 presented “Constructing a Survey of the Local Interstellar Medium using Hubble Spectra.” Her advisor is Seth Redfield.

David Vizgan ’21 presented a project titled “Using [CII] luminosity as a tracer of gas mass @ z=6,” which was based on work from a summer research program in Copenhagen.

Graduate student Justin Perea presented a poster titled, “Emission-line active galaxies and the Cosmic X-ray Background.” His advisor is Ed Moran.

Graduate student Katharine Hesse spoke on “Removing (and Using!) Contaminating Field Stars Around Bright K2 Targets.” Her advisor is Seth Redfield.

Alumni attending included Ismael Mireles MA ’19, Amy Steele MA ’14, Raquel Martinez MA ’13, and Chris Dieck MA ’08.

Redfield and Ilaria Carleo, a postdoctoral researcher in the Astronomy Department, also attended the meeting.

Kurtz, Rose Receive NIMH Award for Schizophrenia Study

Matthew Kurtz

Matthew Kurtz

Jennifer Rose

Jennifer Rose

Two Wesleyan faculty received a $492,410 Academic Research Enhancement Award (R15) from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) to support their study titled “Comparing Cognitive Remediation Approaches for Schizophrenia.”

R15 awards provide funding for small-scale, new, or ongoing health-related meritorious research projects, enhancing the research environment at eligible institutions and exposing students to research opportunities.

The R15 principal investigator Matthew Kurtz, professor of psychology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, and R15 co-investigator Jennifer Rose, professor of the practice and director of the Center for Pedagogical Innovation, will work with a group of Wesleyan undergraduates for the duration of the three-year, randomized clinical trial that compares—for the first time—two well-studied approaches to cognitive training in schizophrenia.

Athletics Hosts 5th Annual Women in Sports Clinic for Area Girls

On Jan. 25, Wesleyan Athletics held its fifth annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day Clinic. More than 130 local girls—from kindergarten to sixth grade—participated in this free event.

Several coaches from women’s teams and student-athletes taught the clinic and introduced the girls to softball, soccer, field hockey, rowing, track, tennis, and more.

“Our female student-athletes did a fantastic job in being role models for our local youths,” said Christine Kemp, head field hockey coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach. “The girls had a blast and had the opportunity to try out a number of sports all morning.”

The clinic was held in conjunction with the Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This celebration inspires girls and women to play and be active, build confidence and character, and become strong leaders in sports and life.

The event concluded with a pizza party.

Photos of the clinic are below: (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)

girls camp

girls in sports camp

Alumnae Lead Women’s Athletics Mentoring Workshop for Wesleyan Athletes

On Jan. 26, the Athletics Department welcomed 25 alumnae back to campus for its annual Women’s Athletics Mentoring Workshop.

The alumnae met with female student-athletes to network and offer career advice.

The workshop was held in conjunction with the Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This celebration inspires girls and women to play and be active, build confidence and character, and become strong leaders in sports and life.

Photos of the Athletic Mentoring Workshop are below: (Photos courtesy of Wesleyan Athletics)

alumni athletes

alumni athletes

Wesleyan Student Jewell-Tyrcha ’22 Dies in Fatal Car Accident

Daniel "Danni" Jewell-Tyrcha

Daniel “Dani” Jewell-Tyrcha was a member of the Class of 2022. Jewell-Tyrcha died on Jan. 26 following a motor vehicle accident in Middletown. (Photo courtesy of wayup.com)

Daniel “Dani” Jewell-Tyrcha ’22 of Scituate, Mass., succumbed to injuries following a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Middletown on Jan. 25. Jewell-Tyrcha was 20 years old.

They were double majoring in American studies and African American studies.

In an all-campus email on Jan. 26, Wesleyan President Michael Roth and Vice President for Student Affairs Mike Whaley wrote: “It is with deep sadness that we write to inform you of the death of Wesleyan student Daniel Jewell-Tyrcha ’22. … We offer our condolences to Dani’s family, friends, and loved ones.”

According to Jewell-Tyrcha’s wayup profile, Jewell-Tyrcha’s interests were “creating progress and social change, traveling the world and learning about new cultures, helping end human rights abuses, and writing.”

Students struggling with this tragic event can contact the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or a class dean. Faculty and staff who need support may contact the Employee Assistance Program at 800-854-1446.

“Wesleyan is a caring community. We are all here to help one another,” Roth wrote.

Expressions of condolence may be sent to Mike Whaley, who will collect and forward them to Jewell-Tyrcha’s family.

Men’s Basketball Scrimmages, Learns from Local Wheelchair Team

Spokebenders

The men’s basketball team recently met, mingled, and scrimmaged with members of the Connecticut Spokebenders Wheelchair Basketball Team.

Wesleyan’s men’s basketball team recently learned what it’s like to dribble, pass, guard, and shoot baskets without ever setting foot on the court.

On Jan. 21, the team traveled to New Britain, Conn., to meet members of the Connecticut Spokebenders Wheelchair Basketball Team. The Spokebenders are one of the longest-running competitive wheelchair basketball teams registered with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA).

After watching the team practice, the Spokebenders welcomed the Cardinals to participate in a few drills via wheelchair, and eventually challenged the Wesleyan athletes to a scrimmage.

“Thankfully they took it easy on us,” said Wesleyan Assistant Coach Tyler Gaffaney. “Afterwards, we mingled and got to know each other and called it a day. It was a great experience all around.”

Tezén ’97 Appointed President, CEO of A Better Chance

Francisco Tezén

Francisco Tezén ’97 (Photo courtesy of A Better Chance)

On Feb. 1, Francisco Tezén II ’97 became the next president and chief executive officer of A Better Chance, a national nonprofit that places talented young people of color into the leadership pipeline through increased access to academically rigorous secondary schools.

Tezén, a first-generation Peruvian-American, will lead the nonprofit when racial equity, educational opportunity, diversity, access and inclusion are at the forefront of our nation’s collective conscience. He was formerly the chief development officer at the Food Bank For New York City.

“My parents, an immigrant father and a black mother from rural North Carolina, stressed the importance of education to climb out of poverty and realize our American dream,” Tezén said. “As an alumnus of a college preparatory program, I have experienced firsthand the transformative effect of efforts that open pathways of opportunity for people like me. I am honored to lead A Better Chance in writing the next chapter in its venerable legacy.”

Former Virginia Governor Baliles ’63, Hon. ’88, Remembered

Gerald Baliles ’63, Hon. ’88, who had served as the 65th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, died Oct. 29, 2019. He was 79.

A government major at Wesleyan, he earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. After a stint in the Virginia attorney general’s office, he practiced law in Richmond, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. Elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1976, he became the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1981, and was, during his term, selected by his peers as Outstanding Attorney General of the United States.

Elected governor in 1985, he served in that capacity from 1986 through 1991. An obituary in the Richmond Times Post noted that as governor, “[h]e delivered on his promise to make transportation an economic building block, with new roads and improvements to the port and airports in Virginia. He saw education as the key to economic development, raising teachers’ salaries and fully funding school budgets. . . . His continuing leadership was recognized by the National Governors Association when he was elected as its chairman during his term.”

Students Volunteer with Civic Organizations Over Winter Break

Perri Easley '23 spoke at her former high school, Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, N.J., to educate students about important issues around the 2020 elections, including the U.S. Census, the Electoral College, and voter suppression. Easley worked with Rock the Vote, a non-partisan group dedicated to building the political power of young people. (Photo by Steve Patchett).

Perri Easley ’23 spoke at her former high school, Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, N.J., to educate students about important issues around the 2020 elections, including the US Census, the Electoral College, gerrymandering, and voter suppression. (Photo by Steve Patchett)

The first cohort of students participating in the Wesleyan Engage 2020 (E2020) initiative dedicated their winter breaks to working for voter registration and issues advocacy groups, as well as for a range of candidates for presidential, congressional, and local offices.

The 18 students participating over winter break were stationed in states as far-flung as Georgia and Alaska, New York and Arizona. Wesleyan awarded over $20,000 to assist with participants’ living and travel expenses while they conducted this work.

Many students chose to work with organizations advocating for particular issues, including criminal justice reform, housing justice, reproductive rights, and immigration.

Others focused their efforts on voter engagement and registration. Perri Easley ’23 spoke at her former high school, Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, N.J., and at the Morris County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America to educate young people about important issues around the 2020 elections, including the US Census, the Electoral College, gerrymandering, and voter suppression. Voter registration drives were held at both events for high school students who are of eligible age to register to vote.

Wesleyan Connection Celebrates 15 Years of News Distribution

Wesleyan Connection

The Wesleyan Connection newsletter is celebrating its 15th anniversary in January 2020.

This January, The Wesleyan Connection newsletter celebrates 15 years of providing news about our students, alumni, faculty, staff, and campus happenings.

The Connection, spearheaded by the Office of University Communications, debuted in January 2005 as the University’s first electronic newsletter. It replaced the former Campus Report, a printed newsletter for faculty and staff.

“By going electronic, we were able to share institutional messages and stories with all students, alumni, and parents as well,” said Campus News Editor Olivia Drake MALS ’08, who has served as the publication’s editor since its founding. “The Connection continues to be a popular vessel for communicating highlights about and achievements of the Wesleyan community, and we’re very thankful for our loyal readership.”

To date, the Connection has published more than 7,590 articles.

In honor of the newsletter’s 15th anniversary this January, we looked back on 15 highlights from the past 15 years (in no particular order):

They are:
1. Wesleyan Establishes Hamilton Prize for Creativity (2016)
On June 15, 2016, Wesleyan announced the establishment of the Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity, a four-year full-tuition scholarship that honors Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 and Thomas Kail ’99, who created and directed the hit Broadway musical for which the prize is named. The prize is awarded to an incoming student who has submitted a creative written work—whether fiction, poetry, lyrics, play, script, nonfiction, or another expression—judged to best reflect originality, artistry, and dynamism. Miranda and Kail serve as honorary chairs of the judging committee, which is composed of other Wesleyan alumni and faculty.

obama

Senator Barack Obama delivered the Commencement Address in May 2008.

2. Prominent Speakers, Alumni Deliver Commencement Addresses

President (then-Senator) Barack Obama Hon. ’08 delivered the 176th Commencement Address in May 2008.

Award-winning writer, director, and producer Joss Whedon ’87 delivered the 181st Commencement Address in May 2013.

Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, lyricist, and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 delivered the 183rd Commencement Address in May 2015.

And Kennedy Odede ’12 delivered a profound Senior Class Welcome during the 180th Commencement Ceremony in May 2012. Odede created and co-directs the Kibera, Kenya–based organization Shining Hope for Communities with his wife, Jessica Posner ’09.

2. Wesleyan Selects Michael Roth as 16th President (2007)
Michael Roth ’78 became the 16th president of Wesleyan University on July 1, 2007. Roth is known as a historian, curator, author, and public advocate for liberal education. Roth’s call for a “pragmatic liberal education” is the cornerstone of both his scholarship and his administrative work at Wesleyan.

black lives matter

On Dec. 8, approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff participated in a Black Lives Matter March on campus and in downtown Middletown.

3. Students Lead Black Lives Matter March Through Campus, Middletown (2014)
Activism seems to run through the blood of many Wesleyan students, over many generations. One of the largest demonstrations in the past 15 years occurred on Dec. 8, 2014, when approximately 1,000 students, faculty, and staff participated in a Black Lives Matter March. The participants marched in a show of solidarity with national protests against discriminatory treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system and incidents of police brutality. The group started at Exley Science Center, marched across campus, and proceeded down Washington Street to the Main Street intersection, chanting “black lives matter,” “hands up, don’t shoot,” and “we can’t breathe.”

4. Wesleyan Raises $482 Million in THIS IS WHY Campaign (2016)
Wesleyan closed out its most successful fundraising campaign ever on June 30, 2016, with $482 million raised, far surpassing the original goal of $400 million. The biggest share, $274 million, went to financial aid, making a Wesleyan education possible for motivated and talented students who could not otherwise afford to attend. More than 36,000 donors gave to the THIS IS WHY campaign.