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6 Students Awarded Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships

The 2016-17 Mellon Mays fellows include, from left, Jumoke McDuffie-Thurmond '19; Brianna Thurman '19, Kaiyana Cervera ’19; Bisa McDuffie-Thurmond '19, Azher Jaweed’19 and Brenda Quintana’18 (not pictured). Demetrius Eudell, pictured at far right, is the Mellon Mays faculty coordinator.

The 2017-18 Mellon Mays fellows include, from left, Jumoke McDuffie-Thurmond ’19; Brianna Thurman ’19, Kaiyana Cervera ’19; Bisa McDuffie-Thurmond ’19, Azher Jaweed’19 and Brenda Quintana’18 (not pictured). Demetrius Eudell, pictured at far right, is the Mellon Mays faculty coordinator.

This spring, Wesleyan has awarded six Wesleyan students with a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. The fellowship is the centerpiece of the Andrew Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to increase the presence of traditionally underrepresented groups in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning in the U.S.

Fellows participate in the program during the last two years of undergraduate study and receive a monthly stipend to offset work study requirements, modest research funds, and additional summer research funding as part of the fellowship. Upon successful completion of graduate study, Mellon Mays Fellows also receive up to $10,000 to assist in repayment of student loans.

The 2016-17 Mellon Mays fellows include Jumoke McDuffie-Thurmond ’19; Brianna Thurman ’19, Kaiyana Cervera ’19; Bisa McDuffie-Thurmond ’19, Azher Jaweed’19 and Brenda Quintana’18. Demetrius Eudell, professor of history, serves as faculty coordinator and Teshia Levy-Grant, dean for equity and inclusion, is staff coordinator. 

Patricelli Center Fellows Celebrate Year-Long Pilot Program

The 2016-17 Patricelli Center Fellows jumped for joy during their end-of-the-year celebration on May 9.

The 2016-17 Patricelli Center Fellows jumped for joy during their end-of-the-year celebration on May 9. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In Fall 2016, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship launched a for-credit, cohort-style, project-based fellowship program (CSPL 264 and 265) for 36 students. And on May 9, the fellows celebrated the success of the pilot program during a group lunch and discussion.

stu_patricelli_2017-0509111055Among the fellows are Alexandra Bacchus ’17, who is working to create a platform for day laborers to connect with potential employers in a safe and trustworthy way to combat job insecurity and low pay.

Nebiyu Daniel ’18 is expanding health education in his hometown of Garamuleta, Ethiopia through his organization, Rural Access.

Iraqi refugee Ahmed Badr ’20 is using the power of storytelling to empower youth worldwide through his creative expression platform, narratio.org.

Shantelle Brown ’19 is empowering adolescent Jamaican girls to deconstruct violent and oppressive cultural norms through sisterhood and creative expression.

Etenish Abebe ’17, Jamilia Simon ’17 and Aliya Lyons ’17 are building a user-centered two-sided marketplace to connect freelance hairstylists to clients.

Joshua Nodiff ’19 is creating a nonprofit called Power To The People that seeks to implement energy democracy through urban environmental design.

Through his enterprise, Be The Change Venture, Anthony Price ’20 is connecting Cleveland’s youth and empowering them to be leaders in their community.

Learn more about all the fellows online.

The Patricelli Center is accepting applications for the 2017/2018 Fellowship. For more information, visit bit.ly/patricelli-fellowship.

French Students Offer a Glimpse of Wesleyan’s History

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented a pop-up exhibition on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957.

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented an exhibit on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957. Included was information on the Wesleyan’s missionary past; history on Javanese gamelan and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan; and a mummy, acquired by Wesleyan in the 1880s.

Alumnae Participate in Networking Event for Women Student-Athletes

The mission of the Athletics Advantage (A+) Program is to grow, connect and develop a diverse network of alumni leaders online and through campus programs and events that will inspire, connect and prepare student-athletes for post-Wes life.

On May 7, 20 alumnae returned to campus to participate in a speed networking event for women student-athletes in various stages of their post-Wes journey.

They included: Blair Ingraham ’14; Alicia White ’15; Glenn Hartman-Mattson ’14; Andrea Balkan ’86; Vanessa Block ’15; Michele Drossner ’14; Erin Reding Glaser ’06; Fran Rivkin ’78; Lottie Barton ’16; Corinne Rivard ’16; Lisa Brummel ’77; Nicole Butterfield; ’90; Marisa Graziano P’19; Cindy Nye ’87; Meg Dunham Dempsey ’85, P’19; and Rebecca Hall ’04.

Learn more about the A+ online network. (Photos by Gabe Hurlock ’20)

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105 Students Present Research at QAC Spring Poster Session

On May 5, 105 students presented their quantitative analysis research during a poster session in Beckham Hall.

The Quantitative Analysis Center (QAC) hosts a poster session twice a year, which doubles as a final exam evaluation for its QAC 201 course. Nineteen evaluators, of which seven were Wesleyan-affiliated, attended and judged the projects. Students also had the opportunity to share their projects with fellow students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Wesleyan.

In this project-based course, students learned to answer questions through independent research based on existing data. Students developed skills in generating testable hypotheses, conducting a literature review, preparing data for analysis, conducting descriptive and inferential statistical analyses, and presenting research findings.

Zehua (Jack) Wang '20 presented his story on "The Relation between Region and Diameter of Impact Craters on Mars."

Zehua (Jack) Wang ’20 presented his study on “The Relation between Region and Diameter of Impact Craters on Mars.”

Sultan Delivers Talks on New Approaches to Evolution

Sonia Sultan

Sonia Sultan

Sonia Sultan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies, presented the keynote address at the 2017 Diebold Symposium, held at Kalamazoo College, April 27-29. Her talk was titled “Plant Environmental Response: A Weedy Answer to 3 Big Questions.” In the keynote talk, Sultan presented findings from her Wesleyan research group and discussed their implications for heredity and evolution.

In mid-May, Sultan will join an invited group of 16 biologists and philosophers at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Vienna, Austria, for discussions of causality in evolutionary biology. The workshop is part of an international consortium of researchers and philosophers funded by the J.H. Templeton Foundation to develop an expanded conceptual framework for evolution. Following the workshop, Sultan will spend several days at the University of Lund in Sweden, as a seminar speaker and guest scientist.

Media and Power in Latin America Course Concludes with Pop-Up Exhibit

On May 4, six Wesleyan students presented a pop-up exhibition titled "From Amate to Artists' Books: Crafting Community through Media in Latin America" in Olin Library's Special Collections & Archives. The student curators included Lauren Salazar '17, Brooke Kushwaha '20, Nate Barton '18, Marcos Plaud Rivera '18, Leah Cabrera '17 and Caroline Diemer '18

On May 4, six Wesleyan students presented a pop-up exhibition titled “From Amate to Artists’ Books: Crafting Community through Media in Latin America” in Olin Library’s Special Collections & Archives. The student curators included Lauren Salazar ’17, Brooke Kushwaha ’20, Nate Barton ’18, Marcos Plaud Rivera ’18, Leah Cabrera ’17 and Caroline Diemer ’18. All of the objects in this exhibition shed light on how media artifacts have served as tools for forging and imagining communities in Latin America. The objects date from the Pre-Columbian era to the 21st century, and range in form from stone tools, to photography and artist books. Together, they shed light on how media have been used as components in the construction of empire, to resist political systems of power, and to negotiate individual and collective identity.

Roth Calls on Government Leaders to Enact a Carbon Price as Climate Change Solution

In a letter released May 8, President Michael Roth joined 29 other college and university presidents from across the country in endorsing carbon pricing for its economy-wide approach to reducing greenhouse emissions that cause climate change. The letter calls on state and federal lawmakers to proactively work to enact a carbon price at the state and federal level. Roth was one of three leaders, together with the presidents of Swarthmore and Dickinson colleges, to first sign the letter back in February.

“As leaders of higher education institutions, we call upon our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of current and future generations by putting a price on carbon,” the letter reads. “We work to prepare our students for thriving futures, over which climate change casts a dark shadow of uncertainty. Putting a price on carbon pollution is an indispensable step we can take to effectively combat climate change.”

The complete letter can be found here.

The Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative is led by Our Climate, a youth-led organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of climate leaders. Our Climate co-leads the #PutAPriceOnIt campaign with the National Geographic documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, and partners with Citizens’ Climate Education to recruit, train, and support student leaders across the country to advocate for carbon pricing.

“At Wesleyan, we place a high priority on reducing our own carbon footprint to do our part to address climate change,” said Roth. “A national price on carbon can be an effective tool to address climate change on a broad scale.  Wesleyan is will develop an internal price on carbon to better address the environmental impact of our own energy intensive projects.”

This summer, Sustainability Director Jennifer Kleindienst and Facilities Business Manager Jeff Murphy will be developing an internal method of accounting for the carbon footprint of high-energy-consuming Facilities projects.  This internal mechanism will set up a “shadow” price on carbon emissions from projects as a line item in projects’ lifecycle cost analyses, essentially proceeding internally as if national carbon pricing exists.  For example, if a project results in a 50-ton carbon emissions increase, and an internal price was set at $40/ton (price is yet to be determined), the shadow cost on carbon for that project would be $2,000.  This follows the strategy established in Wesleyan’s 2016 Sustainability Action Plan to reduce the university’s carbon footprint by providing the economic case for higher carbon footprint initiatives, and will prepare Wesleyan for the possibility of future national carbon pricing.

Wesleyan to Offer Muslim Studies Certificate

muslimstyThe certificate, approved by the faculty on April 25, was proposed by steering committee members Peter Gottschalk, professor of religion, director of the Office of Faculty Career Development; Typhaine Leservot, associate professor of French studies, chair of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, associate professor of letters; and Ioana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies.

“Students in the certificate program will gain an appreciation for the diversity among Muslims geographically, culturally, historically, and religiously,” Leservot said. “They will become accomplished in multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to the study of Muslim communities and their expressions and productions. In an American setting in which stereotypes reduce the more than 1 billion Muslims around the globe to singular caricatures, this represents no small accomplishment.”

The Muslim Studies Certificate will mirror an existing certificate in Jewish and Israeli Studies. Students must complete six designated courses in a range of areas, including contemporary society and practice; literary, artistic and musical studies; and historical inquiry. Courses involving Muslim studies already offered by more than a dozen faculty members will be included.

“This new certificate will highlight Wesleyan’s remarkable collection of faculty, courses, and resources for students interested in studying the lives of Muslims around the globe,” Gottschalk said. “Our faculty teach and conduct research in fields as diverse as Arabic, art history, College of Letters, English, French, government, history, music, religion, and Spanish. As Muslims become increasingly prominent in the United States, the number of faculty and students alike interested in Muslim studies has expanded.”

“The certificate aims to maximize students’ education in Muslim traditions by providing a structured program to guide their studies,” he added. “This will require students to diversify their exposure across disciplines and divisions, period and place.”

At a time when American Muslims are becoming increasingly marginalized, the certificate “will also help our non-Muslim students better understand a set of groups and traditions increasingly the target of disinformation and prejudice,” Matesan said. “Meanwhile, it would signal to our Muslim students and potential applicants that Wesleyan recognizes the diversity and significance of Muslim traditions.”

Students Present Academic Research at Poster Sessions

Hundreds of Wesleyan students had the opportunity to present their academic research at various poster sessions in March and April. Posters often contain text, graphics and images that illustrate the students’ research results on a single board. Poster session attendees can view the posters and interact with the author.

This year, the Psychology Department, College of the Environment, Biology Department, Neuroscience and Behavior Program, Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division, Quantitative Analysis Center and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences hosted poster sessions.

Photos of the poster sessions are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake, Caroline Kravitz ’19 and Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)

Kylie Moynihan ’17 presented “Testing the Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Model of Franks et al.." Her advisor is Dana Royer, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences.

On April 21, Wesleyan’s Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division hosted a Celebration of Science Theses, a poster session featuring the work of Honors and MA students in the NSM fields. During the event, Kylie Moynihan ’17 presented her thesis research titled “Testing the Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Model of Franks et al..”

Psychology graduate student Lucy De Souza examined “Honor and Masculinity Among Latinos and European-Americans.” De Souza’s faculty advisor is Patricia Rodriguez Mosquera, associate professor of psychology.

On April 27, the Psychology Department hosted a poster session in Beckham Hall. Psychology graduate student Lucy De Souza presented her poster on “Honor and Masculinity Among Latinos and European-Americans.”

Wesleyan Media Project Researchers Write About What Americans Will Really Dislike about ‘Trumpcare’

Researchers affiliated with the Wesleyan Media Project wrote in The Washington Post on May 5 on what “Americans will really dislike about the House ‘Trumpcare’ bill.” The article, authored by Associate Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, Courtney Laermer ’17, Wesleyan Media Project Project Manager Laura Baum, and Sarah Gollust ’01, is based on data from Laermer’s senior thesis.

House Republicans voted on May 4 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with their alternative plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The authors argue that this vote is likely to cause headaches for Republicans due to several unpopular changes it makes to the law. They focus, in particular, on the AHCA’s replacement for the individual mandate (unpopular itself with only 35 percent public approval) with a “continuous coverage requirement.” As they explain:

If you let your health insurance coverage lapse for more than 63 days, you would have to pay a 30 percent late-enrollment surcharge on top of the premium for the next year. (The bill passed with two amendments affecting these penalties. The widely debated MacArthur amendment lets states seek waivers to enable insurers to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions who fall into this coverage gap. The late-breaking Upton amendment added Wednesday provides $8 billion in funds to offset some of these higher penalties for waiver states, but most analysts don’t think it’s enough).

The researchers surveyed nearly 1,600 Americans in mid-March during the debate over the first version of the AHCA. Here’s what they found:

As much as citizens don’t like the requirement to purchase insurance or pay a penalty to the government, our evidence suggests that they dislike the AHCA’s penalty paid to insurers even more.

In short, AHCA opponents and potential challengers to House Republicans can choose from among many lines of attack: the public is already concerned about protections for people with preexisting conditions, huge cuts to the Medicaid program, and citizens losing insurance. Highlighting the AHCA’s coverage-gap penalty could drop public support further.

Baileys Support Groundbreaking Approach to Environmental Studies

On April 7, Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 visited the College of Letters.

Essel Bailey ’66 and his wife, Menakka, visited the College of the Environment on April 7.

Essel Bailey ’66 believes that science is the foundation for addressing questions of environmental policy, which aptly describes the purpose of Wesleyan’s College of the Environment. Now, he and his wife, Menakka, have increased their support of the COE with a new $4 million commitment to its programs, faculty and students – bringing their total gift to the COE to $7.5 million.

In part, their endowment gift will fund a multi-pronged effort to extend the work and themes of the Menakka and Essel Bailey Think Tank throughout the campus, explained Barry Chernoff, chair of the COE and the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. Chernoff is planning for seminars, workshops and faculty-student research grants as means for engaging the wider community in Think Tank themes, such as next year’s topic – Disruptions to Disasters: Confronting the Human-Environmental Relationship. The fund also supports a Distinguished Visiting Scholar, a position currently held by Professor Henry Adams of Case Western University.

“Wesleyan is committed to graduating informed citizens who will become involved in a broad range of environmental practices and policy-making,” said President Michael Roth ’78. “We are so grateful to Essel and Menakka for their sustained support of the College of the Environment and its curricular initiatives. They have helped the College achieve its mission with distinction.”