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Wesleyan’s Basketball Team Encourages Green Street Students to Aim High


Pictured left to right, 9-year-old Monica gets homework help from Wesleyan basketball players Gabe Gonzalez-Kreisberg ’09, Jared Ashe ’07 and Nick Pelletier ’08 during the Green Street Arts Center After School Program. Below, Gonzalez-Kreisberg, who helped launch an ongoing tutoring volunteer initiative goes over a book report with 7-year-old J.J. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Posted 02/16/06

Students involved in Middletown’s Green Street Arts Center After School Program look up to Wesleyan University’s basketball team in more ways than one.

“They always tell me that I’m so tall!” exclaims Gabe Gonzalez-Kreisberg, a 6-ft. 8-inch tall Wesleyan freshman, recalling how students he helps tutor at the center, like 7-year-old J.J., describe him.

Gonzalez-Kreisberg recently helped launch an ongoing tutoring volunteer initiative at Green Street Arts Center with Wesleyan University’s basketball players.

The idea first occurred to Gonzalez-Kreisberg after Wesleyan basketball coach Gerry McDowell encouraged his team to volunteer in the Middletown area during their winter break from classes.

Gonzalez-Kreisberg remembered an e-mail he received from Wesleyan’s community service office calling for tutors at Green Street’s After School Program. He then mentioned the program to Coach McDowell and the entire team immediately agreed to help.

As a result, in shifts of four players per day, the basketball team began to regularly tutor Middletown children enrolled in the program. Even now, with spring semester underway, a handful of players continue to tutor in their free time.

“Many athletes have a sense that things should be given to them, and I wanted our team to know that they should give something back to the community,” says McDowell. “Our team is a solid group of guys, who all care about one another on and off the court and this is important for them to do as a team.”

“I love math and I always encourage the kids to stay with it and to have fun,” says Jared Ashe, the Wesleyan basketball team captain and a junior Economics major from Stamford, Conn. “In sports, great coaching motivates you to play your best. I want to motivate the kids with their homework in the same way.”

When they arrive at the Green Street Arts Center, the students, who range in age from seven to 14, eat a snack and socialize a bit with friends. Then the students who are not enrolled in arts classes go to the homework room where several tutors, including the basketball players, are stationed to assist them.

After helping students finish their homework, which can be in a variety of subjects including math and reading, the players often talk with the kids and sometimes play board games with them.

Ashe, who has always enjoyed tutoring his peers even back in high school, says the board games help to motivate the students to follow through and finish up their homework.

Thirteen year-old Elijah always wants to finish his homework, he says, because that means Gonzalez-Kreisberg will tell him a story afterwards.

“One time, Gabe told me how he touched the court at an Orlando Magic game!” shouts Elijah.

During every tutoring session, Wesleyan’s basketball players agree that the students always seem to get excited about their schoolwork.

“I think one reason why is that we’re such a close group of guys that are all genuinely happy to help out,” says Ashe.

Gonzalez-Kreisberg says another reason why is because he and his teammates act as mentors for the students.

“Because we play a sport and because these students are impressed by the NBA, it allows us to connect directly to them,” says Gonzalez-Kreisberg.

“We try to always stress to them that we are just people who happen to play basketball and that we’re strong in our academics first, then in athletics,” he says.

Despite heavy academic and athletic schedules, both Ashe and Gonzalez-Kreisberg, and other players, like sophomore Nick Pelletier from Amherst, New Hampshire, are committed to continue tutoring at Green Street. Even Coach McDowell has committed to spend some time tutoring at the Center before the year is out.

“Having the team volunteer during Winter break was a tremendous help as we are often left with no student volunteers until classes resume in late January,” says Ricardo Morris, Director of the Green Street Arts Center. “It was also especially nice to have so many male volunteers. I hope the basketball team and other males will consider volunteering at Green Street more often.”

“This is such a positive experience for us as individuals and as a team,” says Ashe. “Hopefully it will continue long after we have all graduated from Wesleyan.”

For more information about how to become a Green Street Arts Center volunteer, please contact volunteer coordinator Lauren Tinkoff at ltinkoff@wesleyan.edu or visit www.greenstreetartscenter.org.

 
By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

Trustee Emeritus Richard Couper Dies


Posted 02/01/06
Richard W. “Dick” Couper died on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at a hospital in New Hartford, N.Y.

Couper served on the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees from 1972 through 1983 and was elected as a trustee emeritus following his retirement from the Board. He was one of the longest serving trustees of his alma mater, Hamilton College, where he was the sixth generation of his family to attend.

Couper served on the boards of more than 60 organizations throughout his life.

He was president emeritus of the New York Public Library, having served as president and chief executive officer from 1971 to 1981. Couper was also president emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Couper is survived by his wife Patricia Pogue Couper, and three children, Frederick of West Hartford, Conn.; Thomas, of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Margaret Haskins, of Morrisville, Vt.; and four grandchildren.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Trustees of Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323, or the President’s Office, The New York Public Library, 42nd and Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10018.

A memorial minute will be presented in recognition of Couper’s service on behalf of Wesleyan at the February 2006 Board Meeting.

Photo courtesy of Hamilton College.

Wesleyan Professor Collaborates with other Universities on Stem Cell Research Initiative


Posted 02/01/06

Laura Grabel, the Fisk Professor of Natural Science and professor of biology, is working with Connecticut’s Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee on ways to save the state money on a research laboratory.

 

Grabel along with scientists from Yale University and the University of Connecticut, believe at least one core laboratory could be established in the state. The scientists told a panel overseeing Connecticut’s 10-year, $100 million stem cell research initiative that they are willing to collaborate and avoid repeating the same work and save money. They said they could share expensive equipment and conduct certain research with human embryonic cells that is not eligible for federal money and prohibited in facilities built using federal funds.
 

The Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee is in the beginning stages of determining how best to distribute the first chunk – $20 million – of the state’s $100 million investment. The committee hopes to award grants this summer, possibly as early as June 30.

Fish May Help Unmask Muscle Diseases


Stephen Devoto, associate professor of biology, neuroscience and behavior, studies vertebrate developmental patterns in zebrafish.
Posted 02/01/06
A tiny fish popular with aquarium enthusiasts is poised to make a big splash in our understanding of muscle development. The results could have implications on the comprehension and perhaps treatment of muscular dystrophy, certain types of heart disease and other serious muscle-based ailments.

These findings by Stephen Devoto, associate professor of associate professor of biology, neuroscience and behavior were recently published in the paper titled “Generality of vertebrate developmental patterns: evidence for a dermomyotome in fish,” in the January issue of the scientific journal Evolution & Development.

Devoto’s research examined the musculature of the tiny zebrafish, an aquarium favorite indigenous to South Asian streams. What the researcher found was that although fish and human beings comprise widely different physical forms, their underlying muscular development is much more similar than scientists had previously believed.

“This research validates the idea that understanding fish development will tell us how human muscle stem cells develop at the very beginning stages,” says Devoto, who has been studying zebrafish at Wesleyan since 1992. “At their very basic level, we found developmental similarities between all vertebrates are much more striking than previously documented.”

In basic terms, Devoto’s work compared the cell layer that contributes to muscle formation in many different vertebrate species, including zebrafish, trout, skates and chickens, among others. He demonstrated that this cell layer in fish, know as the dermomyotome evolved prior to the last common ancestor of all vertebrates.

“It was one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments,” admits Devoto, who has always been fascinated by how cells talk to one another, how they are created and how they morph. “It was the kind of moment that is so rewarding for a scientist.”

But such moments are rare and often require tremendous amounts of work in and out of the lab. In Devoto’s case, the journey actually took him to Europe.

While on sabbatical at Kings College in London during 2004, Devoto engaged in many lengthy talks with Simon Hughes who was Devoto’s host. Hughes, who provided Devoto with laboratory access during his stay in London, is also a fellow co-author, about chicken and frog muscle development.

“Our conversations planted the initial seeds that maybe muscle in all vertebrates is formed the same way,” Devoto says.

Their ideas were solidified after Devoto reviewed a cross section of trout embryos with Walter Stoiber, another co-author, at the University of Salzburg in Austria.

“Surprisingly, these connections had not been demonstrated before,” Devoto says.

After returning to Wesleyan in the summer of 2004, he threw himself into researching the early muscle cell development in as many fish species as he could find.

Katherine Wolfe, an Olin Library assistant in the Interlibrary Loan Department, helped Devoto obtain copies of obscure hand-drawings and research from the 1800 and 1900s. Often he had to do his own translations of the German and French citations.

“I got so excited when I found out one of the journals was in I couldn’t wait to analyze it,” Devoto says. “It turned out that some nineteenth century scientists doing comparative embryology suspected these similarities, but they did not have the ability to provide conclusive evidence back then.

After analyzing their findings, Devoto and co-authors began writing the paper in the fall of 2004.

Devoto and his team continues their research with zebrafish. The tiny fish are a transparent species that is easy to study and breed. Currently, about 5,000 of the fish reside in his laboratory.

One of Devoto’s ongoing projects examines their skeletal muscle signaling protein, named Hedgehog. He and his colleagues learned that, when the protein is intentionally blocked in zebrafish, muscle development is disrupted. With his new work demonstrating close similarities between fish and humans in muscle development, Devoto believes that it is very likely that Hedgehog signaling is required for muscle development in humans. Anomalies in this signaling may underlie some muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy and certain types of heart disease.

Devoto and his undergraduate and graduate students are also trying to find out what happens next to the embryonic zebrafish muscle cells after they form.

“We’re now extending our thought process and asking ourselves where do the cells go from this point and what exactly does this mean?”

 
By Laura Perillo,  associate director of Media Relations

Sight for Cinema: Assistant Professor of Film Studies Looks for Directors’ Visual Styles


Lisa Dombrowski, assistant professor of film studies, is a 1992 Wesleyan alumna, and is a specialist on film form, the American film industry and contemporary East Asian cinema.
 
Posted 02/01/06
Lisa Dombrowski rarely watches a movie just once.

Or twice. Or even 10 times. In fact, it often takes her more than 20 screenings to fully analyze a film.

“Each time I watch a film, I’m looking at it for different reasons,” explains the assistant professor of film studies. “I’ll watch it once to get the initial sense of the narrative, and the next time I’ll count how many shots are in it, and then I’ll focus on the use of the camera, for instance. Is the director using lots of close-ups, or is the camera far from the subject? Is the camera moving a lot? Essentially I’m looking for how the filmmakers’ choices influence our viewing experience.”

Dombrowski, a 1992 Wesleyan alumna, is a specialist on film form and analysis, authorship, the history of film style, the American film industry and contemporary East Asian cinema.

Dombrowski teaches Introduction to Film Analysis; The American Film Industry during the Studio Era; American Independent Filmmaking; and Contemporary East Asian Cinema. This spring, she’s teaching Melodrama and the Woman’s Picture and Contemporary International Art Cinema.

In her classes, she often replaces textbooks with films. Dombrowski accentuates the importance of visual style and has her students look for ways in which filmmakers employ narrative structure, composition and framing, editing, lighting, camera angles and movement, and sound to cue certain emotional and intellectual responses.

She cites as an example Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller “Jaws.” Viewers are introduced to the shark from his visual perspective in the water. What he sees as he swims, combined with the tension-packed musical score, give the audience clues that the shark is on a man hunt.

“We begin affiliating the famous ‘dun-da dun-da’ musical motif with the shark on the prowl for human flesh,” Dombrowski explains. “We actually see very little of the shark until late in the film, so when the shark finally emerges from the water, the shock value is very strong.”

Dombrowski, who also advises the student-run Wesleyan Film Series, says selecting films to show in her classes is a time-consuming and challenging aspect of her position. Only a fraction of all motion pictures are available from distributors, and 35mm film prints can cost more than $800 each to rent. She prefers to show films in the Center for Film Studies’ new state-of-the-art Goldsmith Family Cinema. That way, students can watch the film the way the director originally intended it to be seen: on the silver screen.

Janine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Cinema Archives and chair of the Film Studies Department says Dombrowski was one of the most brilliant students she taught in the Wesleyan film major. Basinger encouraged her bright pupil to get a master’s and Ph.D so she could teach at the collegiate level.

“Lisa is a great addition to our department,” Basinger says. “She brings the ability to teach classes in new areas: the contemporary cinema, East Asian cinema, the history of the film industry, and the independent cinema. Her colleagueship is outstanding, and she’s reached out to the entire campus to help connect Film Studies to all four divisions. Her brains, her energy, her enthusiasm make her a real asset for Film Studies and for Wesleyan.”

In addition to teaching, Dombrowski is reviewing the production notebooks of director Elia Kazan, whose papers are held in the Wesleyan Cinema Archives. Kazan, who directed post-WWII films including “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and “On the Waterfront”, took meticulous notes concerning all aspects of his productions, from the acting to the cinematography. Dombrowski plans to edit a publication based on the filmmaker’s thorough journals.

In the past few years, Dombrowski has presented conference papers on the aesthetics of black and white widescreen pictures in the 1950s; the distribution strategies adopted by Miramax in the release of Hong Kong films in the United States; and comparative approaches to low-budget filmmaking. In March, she will present “Adrift in Time: Free-floating Camera Movement, Memory, and Loss,” at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

Dombrowski didn’t always have a heart for Hollywood. A resident of Akron, Ohio during high school, she came to Wesleyan in 1988 to study English and history. During her first year, she took two film courses, which opened her eyes to a new way of watching film. She ended up majoring in American studies and film studies, graduating from Wesleyan in 1992.

“When I was younger, like anyone, I went to movies and looked for a good story line, solid acting and beautiful visuals, but I was never thinking about the choices that filmmakers made, and why I responded in a certain way,” she says. “When you watch film as an artistic creation, and see its historical and cultural context, it becomes a completely different experience.”

During a 16mm viewing of Samuel Fuller’s 1963 thriller “Shock Corridor” in Prof. Jeanine Basinger’s Film Noir class, Dombrowski found herself curled into her seat, stunned by the director/producer’s bold approach and shocking visual style. Fuller would later become the focus of her dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received her master’s of arts and Ph.D. in film.

Dombrowski has rewritten her dissertation into a soon-to-be-published book, “If You Die, I’ll Kill You: The Cinema of Samuel Fuller.” The book highlights Fuller’s career from the late 1940s through the 1980s, and examines his films from an aesthetic perspective.

Dombrowski has written or co-authored three recent grants, including a Wesleyan University Pedagogical Grant in 2003; an Edward W. Snowdon Fund Grant in 2004; and a Fund for Innovation Grant in 2005. She’s used these grants to develop a Contemporary International Art Cinema course, support an interdepartmental film and speaker series and support interdisciplinary courses, workshops, and speaker events on science and visualization.

She still tries to catch as many new flicks in the theater as possible. Her recent theater trips included viewings of “The New World,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “King Kong,” “Match Point” and “Pride & Prejudice.”

Her interest in international and independent films has also taken her to the South by Southwest Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, The Chicago Film Festival, and The New York Film Festival. She’s been a jury member for the Bethel Film Festival in Bethel, Conn. and Film Fest New Haven; and she’s served as curator of the Samuel Fuller Series at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque.

She’s studied thousands of films, averaging two a day. But to date, there’s still one film-related question she’ll always shrug her shoulders at.

“So, what’s your favorite movie?”

“I’ll never have an answer for that,” she says, smiling. “There are too many good movies out there, each with its own distinct style, to have only one favorite.”
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Head of Operations is Head of Several Servers, Accounts


James Taft, manager of systems and operations for Information Technology Services, helps keeps Wesleyan’s accounts and servers running smoothly.
 
Posted 02/01/06
Q: When did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I started at Wesleyan in September 2003 as the manager of systems and operations.

Q: Briefly summarize Wesleyan’s systems and operations. Are you, in a sense, the data center for the university?

A: The systems and operations group maintains our user account directories and the technological infrastructure located inside our Data Center. Almost all of the central servers for the university, including Web servers, e-mail servers, database servers, file servers, application servers and backup systems, are located in the Data Center and are under our care. When you check your e-mail, visit the Wesleyan Web site, or log into Dragon, Condor or Woodstock, you are connecting to a machine in the Data Center.

Q: Being under the Technology Support Services umbrella, what accounts and servers do you support and oversee?

A: We maintain the accounts that members of the Wesleyan community use to log into their workstations, e-mail, e-Portfolio, and the many other electronic services provided by Wesleyan. We work very closely with the other members of Technology Support Services, especially Dave Warner and Ken Taillon who maintain the network infrastructure.

Q: How do you control the door locks on campus?

A: We don’t directly control the locks on doors, but the server that runs the key card access system is located in the Data Center and is under our care. The folks in the WesCard office connect to this server remotely to program the locks on campus and can make any changes or additions to access levels from their offices.

Q: As a manager, who are the key members of your staff?

A: Jen Platt and Jerry Maguda are our operations specialists. Doug Baker is our Windows administrator, and Hong Zhu and Matt Elson are our UNIX administrators.

Q: Is your work more behind-the-scenes or do you interact with users often?

A: The operations side of our group, which consists of Jerry Maguda and Jen Platt, frequently interact with users to answer questions about accounts, accessing central services, and using our Print Operations services. The folks on the systems side, including Doug Baker, Hong Zhu and Matt Elson, have less direct contact with users, though we do interact with departments that have servers hosted in the data center, as well as professors needing academic UNIX support. For the most part, though, our direct clients are the other wings of ITS: User Services, Academic Computing Services and Administrative Systems.

Q: What are typical concerns people would contact you for?

A: The systems group’s main task is to keep Wesleyan’s technological infrastructure running smoothly.

On the operations side, we create user accounts for our various services and respond to users when they need help with these accounts. Our print operations service tends to the printing needs of the university, including the phone directory and the Board of Trustees booklets. If people are interested in how Printing Operations can help them, we ask them to call us or e-mail us at printing@wesleyan.edu.

Q: Who sees the results of your work?

A: Much of our work is invisible to our users. We spend a lot of time making our systems more robust so that problems do not affect end users. We are constantly improving the speed and capacity of our infrastructure so that it can keep up with the rapid growth of technology usage on campus. In instances where there are service outages, such as system-wide e-mail problems, we are typically the group that responds.

Q: Where did you go to college and what did you major in? How did you get into a high-tech field?

A: I graduated from Haverford College with a degree in English. I have always had an inclination towards technology, but did not have formal training before joining a tiny IT department at Deutsch Advertising in New York City. I was fortunate to work at Deutsch during a time of exponential growth for the agency and their technological enterprise.

Q: What is your relationship with John Driscoll, alumni director and his wife, Gina Driscoll, associate director of stewardship?

A: I am married to John and Gina’s daughter, Laura, and we have a 13-month-old girl, Clara. John and Gina’s primary responsibility is teaching Clara the Wesleyan fight song, but I understand they do other work for University Relations as well.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?

A: My main hobbies are skiing, photography, running and tennis.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

“Ferocious Beauty: Genome”  Premiers at Wesleyan


“Ferocious Beauty: Genome” premiered Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 in the Center for the Arts Theater.

Posted 02/01/06

How we heal, age, procreate and eat may soon change because of genetic research happening right now. The world premiere of renowned choreographer Liz Lerman’s “Ferocious Beauty: Genome” explores this moment of revelation and questioning in an arresting theatrical work that combines movement, music, text and film.

 

The world premier of “Ferocious Beauty: Genome” took place Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, in the Center for the Arts Theater.

 

The piece is the result of an unprecedented partnership with scientists and ethicists to confront the promise and threat of a new biological age.

 

For the past three years, the CFA and Wesleyan faculty have partnered with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, led by Liz Lerman, to explore the ethical and social repercussions of genetic research. The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange is a professional company of dance artists that creates, performs, teaches, and engages people in making art.

 

Through relationships with Wesleyan’s science faculty and students, Wesleyan served as a “laboratory” for Lerman’s development of the piece. This collaboration reflects both the Dance Exchange’s and Wesleyan’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, as the project has initiated an unprecedented dialogue between scientists and artists. The outcome will be represented through a plurality of viewpoints, mirroring a dialogue among multiple voices—artistic, scientific and scholarly—in their varied perspectives.

 

Wesleyan provided extensive information, assistance and feedback in helping Lerman to create the piece.

 

“The piece took a conceptual turn several times because of the contributions from the scientists at Wesleyan,” Lerman says. “And, the fact that one of the scientists is a dancer made the leap between the two disciplines easier.”

 

The partnership with Wesleyan has also resulted in the most comprehensive residency ever undertaken by a dance company at Wesleyan. Lerman joined Wesleyan’s dance faculty as a visiting assistant professor for fall 2005. Students in her class had the opportunity to explore scientific, ethical and social issues related to genetic research.

 

Liz Lerman, who received a MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellowship in 2002 for her visionary work, exposed Wesleyan students and faculty to the Dance Exchange’s methods and interdisciplinary approach. The ultimate goal was to refine ways to teach science to non-scientists and to gain knowledge through embodied movement.

 

Wesleyan and the Flint Cultural Center in Flint, Mich. are the lead commissioners of “Ferocious Beauty: Genome.”

 

The show will soon tour major performing arts centers including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and the Krannert Center for Performing Arts at the University of Illinois.

 

For more information on the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange visit http://www.danceexchange.org/.

Swim Coach Makes a Splash with Division III Athletes


Mary Bolich, head of men’s and women’s swimming, wants her swimmers to be mentally strong in the pool and in the classroom.
 
Posted 02/01/06
Q: Mary, where did you grow up and when did you develop an interest in swimming?

A: I grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, a town just outside of Philadelphia. The neighborhood I grew up in had a summer club pool just down the street from my home. My siblings and I lived at the pool each summer. I would say this is where my early interest in swimming started.

Q: Where did you attend college and what did you major in? What events did you swim in college?

A: I attended Temple University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Much to the dismay of my distance swimmers I was a sprinter in college. My events were sprint fly, back and freestyle.

Q: Why did you decide to become a swimming coach?

A: I started coaching in college with summer league programs to make some extra money, and really enjoyed it. When I graduated undergrad my college coach asked if I would be interested in being his assistant coach and offered me a graduate assistant position. I earned my master’s and continued to enjoy the experience, so I accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh.

Q: What year did you come to Wesleyan to coach, and what are the teams’ records?

A: I came to Wesleyan in July of 2000. The men’s team record this year is 12 –4, and the women’s team record is 12 – 6.

Q: Prior to Wesleyan, where did you coach?

A:, I spent four years at the University of Iowa as the head coach of the women’s program. Before Iowa I was at Penn State for seven years as the women’s assistant coach, and also taught in the Exercise Science program. I also coached at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Pittsburgh.

Q: Why did you leave a Division I school to come to Wesleyan, a Division III?

A: I had a strong interest in living on the east coast. I also was curious about Division III athletics. When the Wesleyan position opened I saw it as a great opportunity at a school that offered outstanding academics with an excellent swimming facility. A great combination for success.

Q: In 2005, the College Swimming Coaches Association of America reported that the Wesleyan team members had an impressive 3.27GPA in the Academic All-American Standings Division III. How important is it to you that your student-athletes are physically, as well as mentally strong?

A: Academics are the number one priority for the Wesleyan swimmers and divers. We discuss the importance of time management, and our individual and team goals to achieve excellence in the classroom, as well as the pool. As a program, we are very proud of the recognition both teams and several individuals have received as a result of their success in the classroom. The men’s and women’s team have received national honors each of the last 10 semesters for their team GPAs. Many of the semesters the teams were ranked academically at the top of the NESCAC Conference and top 10 in the country for their overall team GPAs. We have had many individuals recognized with conference honors, and several individuals have earned Academic All American accolades during the last five years.

Q: Who are the team’s key athletes this season? What team or individual records been broken?

A: I would say our seniors play a key role in their leadership and guidance for both teams. Rob Mitchell, Dan Devine and Stephanie Lasby as captains, and Josh Tanz, Will McCue and Alec Zebrowski also add to the positive direction for our large underclassmen group. During my six seasons at Wesleyan the men’s team has set 12 new team records, and the women’s team has also set 12 new team records.

Q:: Who else do you collaborate coaching with?

A: The other members of the swimming and diving coaching staff are Mollie Parrish and Jeff Miller. Mollie is in her fourth year as the assistant coach for the men’s and women’s swimming teams. She came from Denison University where she majored in biology, and had a highly successful collegiate swimming career. She earned 20 All-America honors, won seven national titles and set three NCAA Division III records and was a member of the 2001 NCAA Championship Title team. Jeff was a national level diver at the University of Pittsburgh, and coached at University of West Virginia and the University of Maryland. Jeff also serves as the associate director of facility management for the university’s physical plant.

Q: The annual New England Small College Athletic Conference begins this month. How are you helping the teams prepare?

A: The Women’s NESCAC Championships are Feb. 17 – 19 at Bowdoin, and the Men’s NESCAC Championships are Feb. 24 –26 at Williams. The teams are preparing to swim their fastest performances of the season at these meets, as well as at the NCAA Championships in March. Our training focus at this point is speed, recovery and attention to race detail.

Q: Why did the Swimming and Diving Team go to Puerto Rico this year?

A: The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams traveled to San Juan for our winter training trip in early January. This is the time in our season where we train at a very high level. We are swimming double workouts plus dry land training that consumes a good part of our day during this training phase. Being able to do this intense training in a warm and pleasant environment enhances the experience for the athletes.

Q:I understand you have coached athletes at the Olympic trials in 1992, 1996, and 2000. What is it like for you to work with the worlds top athletes?

A: It is fun and exciting being a part of training and competing at the national and international level. It is a great opportunity to meet many people and travel to places I may have never gone to with out this experience.

Q: What physical education classes do you teach as an adjunct professor of physical education?

A: I teach Beginning Swimming, which is my favorite, and Advanced Beginning Swimming and Swimming for Fitness.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I like to run, and also enjoy spending time with family and friends.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Basketball Coach Stresses Strong Fundamentals, Team Defense, Drive to Improve


Kate Mullen, head women’s basketball coach, stands outside the Freeman Athletic Center. She has coached Wesleyan athletes for 14 years.
 
Posted 02/01/06
Q: When did you become the head women’s basketball coach at Wesleyan?

A: The 1992-93 year was my first year at Wesleyan.

Q: What is your record so far this year?

A: As of Jan. 30, we are 13-5 overall and tied with Bates for first place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 5-1 conference record,

Q: In the last three seasons, you’ve had an exceptional 63-13 record. And in 2004-05, you led the team to the program’s best record of 22-5. What did this mean for Wesleyan?

A: One team’s success can help set the tone and standard for other teams. I believe our success helped showcase Wesleyan Athletics both on and off campus. If you attended our National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) First Round game here last March, you experienced a terrific atmosphere of excitement and positive energy.

Q: In 2002-03, you were voted by your conference peers as the NESCAC coach of the year. That must have been a great honor. What was your reaction?

A: The acknowledgement of our basketball staff’s efforts by my coaching colleagues was what really made the award special.

Q: What lessons do you stress in your coaching? What do you expect out of your players mentally and physically?

A: Strong fundamentals, team defense, and striving to improve are important parts of the program. We teach everyday in practice and look for student-athletes who want to get better. A high level of fitness and mental toughness are stressed because that is what builds and maintains confidence and success over the long haul.

Q: Who are your key players this year?

A: As usual, we rely on our seniors for their leadership, talent and desire to help meet our goals for the season. Meg Robinson ‘06, Ashley Mastrangelo ‘06 and Hannah Stubbs ‘06 have brought this group a long way this season, and we have our most important basketball ahead of us.

Q: Where did you grow up, and when did you begin playing ball? Did you play other sports?

A: I’m from Connecticut originally and began playing basketball in elementary school. I played field hockey and softball in high school and college, but basketball was my passion.

Q: Where did you attend college? What did you major in, and what sports did you play in college?

A: I attended Central Connecticut State University for physical education and to play basketball for Professor Brenda Reilly. I also played field hockey and softball in college.

Q: Did you always want to become a full-time coach?

A: Looking back, ninth grade seemed to be the year I decided I wasn’t going to focus on music and “lead the band,” but instead I would go towards athletics and coaching.

Q: Prior to Wesleyan, where did you coach? Was your team competing against Wesleyan?

A: Prior to Wesleyan I was the head women’s basketball coach and associate athletic director at Elms College, a small Catholic Women’s College in Western Massachusetts. I became familiar with Wesleyan when we began playing them. When my current position was posted, I felt strongly that I would be a good match for Wesleyan and vise versa. Fourteen years have gone by very quickly and my appreciation and respect for the Wesleyan community continues to grow.

Q: You’ve been a lecturer at various basketball camps. What topics do you speak on and messages do you hope to get through?

A: Depending on the age of the campers, I lecture on a variety of topics. I choose skills like defense and rebounding that anyone can improve on. Also, I like to stress the fun and teamwork found in our sport. Often, I end a lecture with giving the campers two words that I guarantee will improve their game: The words are, “Yes, Coach!” I have them practice those words with energy and enthusiasm.

Q: As an adjunct professor of physical education, what sports-related classes do you teach at Wesleyan?

A: I currently teach two sections of Introduction to Strength Training.

Q: Tell me about the Fundamental Basketball Camp, of which you are co-owner.

A: FBC is for girls from fifth grade through to entering your senior year of high school. We offer a great mix of skill sessions, games, drill work, lectures and fun! Our staff is made up of experienced coaches and our players from Wesleyan, which is an added appeal to the campers. Anyone interested should contact me at 860-685-2888 for any questions.

Q: Aside from sports, what are your hobbies?

A: I enjoy hiking, fitness, reading and playing the flute.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Events Educate About Diversity


Posted 02/01/06
As part of Wesleyan’s on-going efforts to provide staff education dedicated to diversity issues, the Office of Affirmative Action is sponsoring a workshop, “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Academic Workplace,” on Feb. 9.

The workshop will be offered twice: at 9:30 a.m. in the Russell House, and at 1:30 p.m. in Woodhead Lounge. Each session meets for two hours and 15 minutes.

“This workshop will provide frameworks for understanding sexual orientation and gender identity in a more integrated way and offer participants in-community perspectives on work-related issues,” explains Michael Benn, interim director of Affirmative Action.

The workshop will be conducted by Dorothea Brauer, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning & Ally Services, Diversity & Equity at the University of Vermont.

Topics of discussion will include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights, same-sex marriages versus civil unions, benefits and family configurations.

Participants will have opportunities to work with language and terminology and become more culturally competent and confident that their workplace conversations are respectful and inclusive.

Wesleyan’s revised and expanded policy on discrimination and harassment can be found online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/affirm/policy_harassment.html.

Space is limited to 30 participants per workshop. For more information or to register e-mail Janice Watson at jwatson@wesleyan.edu or call 860-685-2006.


Pedro Noguera Challenges Racial Inequality in Schools

The Office of Affirmative Action and The Center for Faculty Career Development sponsored a discussion titled “Challenging Racial Inequality in Our Schools” featuring Pedro Noguera on Feb. 1

Noguera, a professor specializing in urban sociology in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, spoke on the ways schools are influenced by social and economic conditions in the urban environment.

Noguera has served as an advisor and engaged in collaborative research with several large urban school districts throughout the United States. He has also done research on issues related to education and economic and social development in the Caribbean, Latin America and several other countries throughout the world.

President Bennet Attends Summit on International Education


Posted 02/01/06
Editor’s Note: The following article is written by Douglas Bennet, president of Wesleyan University.

During the first week of January I represented Wesleyan at a two-day summit on international education hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. The summit brought together 120 college presidents to discuss concerns, opportunities, and initiatives related to study abroad for U.S. students and study in the U.S. for international students. Both President Bush and Mrs. Bush addressed the summit.

The summit gave me the chance to reflect on Wesleyan’s role in international education. I was reassured that we are doing well. Many of the initiatives proposed during the summit confirm that we are on track.

President Bush opened the summit by announcing a “national strategic language initiative”. Much of the media attention devoted to the summit focused on his call for $114-million to teach languages critical for national security to students from kindergarten through college. While the President’s comments focused on security issues, colleges engage in international education for reasons that go far beyond war and security.

Secretary of Education Spellings’ remarks broadened the goals of language study as a way to prepare students to engage in all facets of global business, economic, research, as well as security issues. She pointed out that only 44 percent of U.S. high school students study any foreign language while most European and Asian countries require that all their students take a second language.

Wesleyan has been very strong in language and studies of cultures for a long time. Most students arrive here with a substantial background in at least one foreign language and are likely to study a new language while they are here. While only 8 percent of college students nationally take any foreign language courses, 60 percent of Wesleyan students enroll in at least one foreign language class. We do not formally require language study, but some of our language faculty have found Wesleyan students more interested and motivated because they are choosing to study a language instead of filling a language requirement. In addition to European languages, Wesleyan students are very interested in Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. We will consider where there are ways to connect the Wesleyan curriculum that the President’s critical language initiative.

Slightly more than half of our students participate in study abroad programs compared with 2 percent of all U.S. college students. Of those, half participate in programs outside Western Europe – considerably more than at our peer institutions. Having spent several years working on economic development issues, both here and abroad, I am convinced that many aspects of globalization are most clearly understood in these emerging countries.

Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes raised the issue of how to make it easier for science students find research opportunities abroad. Our science faculty regularly travel and collaborate internationally in their research, but it’s more difficult for our science students to participate in a semester abroad without disrupting their research. We will follow up on initiatives raised at the summit and look for opportunities to expand study abroad options for science majors.

When the President and Secretary Rice each mentioned finding a balance between security considerations and attracting international students to study in the U.S. they received loud applause. I hope the summit helped calibrate this balance. We must compete successfully for international scholars and students if the United States is to offer an education with a meaningful global perspective. As the President and others recognized, many current world leaders were educated in the United States.

Wesleyan will continue to recruit international students and faculty. Currently, 6 percent of our student body comes from abroad. This figure includes 88 Freeman Asian Scholars from 11 Southeast Asian countries who are at Wesleyan for a full four years. All of these students bring an international perspective to the campus. The Freeman Asian Scholars program is without precedent elsewhere and a truly unique asset for Wesleyan.

There will always be more to do as we prepare our students for a global society and our current strategic plan, “Engaged with the World,” sets ambitious goals for us. Still, I returned from the summit knowing that Wesleyan’s engagement with international issues is robust and ongoing.

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

THE FINAL TOUCHES: The Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies new west wing addition will open at the end of January. Construction began in August 2005.

Construction crews work on the new seminar room, which overlooks the Freeman Center’s Japanese garden. The seminar room will be used for classes up to 25 students, East Asian Studies’ events, dinners, conferences and its Colloquium Series, Japanese Tea Ceremonies and tai chi classes.
Patrick Dowdey, curator of the Freeman Center, and Shirley Lawrence, program coordinator, take a closer look at the new seminar room. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)
Patrick Dowdey stands in the addition’s new entrance. The hall behind him features the curator’s office, an art storage room and a spacious examination room, which will be used for classes to examine art objects. The hallway connects the original Freeman Center with the new wing. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)