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Students Promote Campus-Wide Religious Pluralism


Nadeem Modan ‘10 and Adina Teibloom ‘10 attended interactive workshops, panel conversations with leading think tanks and foundations at the Interfaith Youth Conference Oct. 28-30 in Chicago, Ill. They are sharing what they have learned with their Wesleyan peers.
Posted 11/05/07
Two Wesleyan sophomores met with renowned religious scholars, interfaith activists and peers from around the world recently to promote peaceful relations between different religious groups.

Nadeem Modan ‘10, who is Muslim, and Adina Teibloom ‘10, who is Jewish, attended interactive workshops, panel conversations with leading think tanks and foundations, and an interfaith concert at the Interfaith Youth Conference Oct. 28-30 in Chicago, Ill. This year’s conference was titled “Crossing the Faith Line.”

Modan, an active member of Wesleyan’s Interfaith Justice League and the Advisory Committee for Spiritual and Religious Life, attended the conference to discover methods to encourage further religious pluralism at Wesleyan. He’s also striving to develop a Middle Eastern Studies Program at Wesleyan, where is planning to major in pre-med and religion.

“Many of us grapple with the same problems: How do we create a safe space in which people feel comfortable enough to share their beliefs? How do we guide a discussion in which authenticity is not lost while trying to maintain community? And how do we deal with the elephant in the corner that is the Middle East?,” Modan says. “By attending this conference, I was able to get answers to these questions, all of which will help in working towards religious pluralism on campus and beyond.”

Modan says Wesleyan, which prides itself on its diverse student body, often excludes religion as a form of diversity.

“’Unless you’re like me, unless you believe this, unless you don’t believe that, you are wrong.’ This attitude is still very prevalent at Wesleyan, and it is espoused not only by those who identify as religious, but arguably even more so by those who don’t,” Modan says.

At the conference, Modan and Teibloom had the opportunity to participate in dozens of workshops, led by spiritual leaders from around the country. Topics included Youth as Leaders in the Interfaith Movement; the Relevance of Religion in 21st Century Curriculum; Faith, Democracy, Jazz: The Applications of Universal Language Skills; Baha’i Faith; Enhancing U.S. – Muslim Relations on Campus; Evangelical Christianity; Creating Interfaith Dialogue on College Campuses; Deepening Interfaith Service Learning Through the Arts; Addressing the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Interfaith Dialogue; Fostering Mentoring Communities Through Interfaith Service Learning; among many other topics.

This was Teibloom’s second year attending the interfaith conference. She has worked with the organization for five years, and was invited to facilitating a brainstorming session about how to be an effective interfaith leader on campus. She also wrote a pamphlet about the Days of Interfaith Youth Service, which was widely distributed.

Teibloom, who is planning to major in religion, hopes to begin a summer program for students in high school and college to experience religious diversity and work together toward common action. She wants to pilot the program at Wesleyan.

“Our campus lends itself to interfaith work because it is an accepting environment to begin with,” Teibloom says. “I hope that an interfaith culture can be started on this campus and become a tradition that will continue even after I have graduated. If we can come to understand each other across difference perhaps we can begin to consider ending these conflicts with fair, peaceful solutions.”

Modan and Teibloom attended several talks by featured speakers such as Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core; Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, chair and scholar-in-residence at the Nawawi Foundation; Sally Mahe, director of Organizational Development for the United Religions Initiative; Ji Hyang Sunim, Buddhist advisor at Wellesley College; Eliyahu McLean, director of Jerusalem Peacemakers; Sally Quinn, editor of the Washington Post; among others.

Participants also attended a networking dinner, interfaith concert, a screening of “Encounter Point,” featuring a Q&A with director Ronit Avni of Just Vision; and the 2007 Days of Interfaith Youth Service Awards Banquet.

“I see religious pluralism as a way of life,” Teibloom says. “It’s a place where everyone is constantly striving to understand and empathize with people of all different moral and religious traditions. For me, pluralism is more than the existence of diversity but the dedication to encounter it with openness and acceptance at every moment.”
 

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

SOUNDS OF EAST ASIA: The group IIIZ+ (Three Zee Plus) performed for an audience inside the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Oct. 11. From left to right are Ryuko Mizutani playing a Japanese koto; Yi-Chieh Lai, playing a Chinese zheng; Il-Ryun Chung playing Korean percussion; and Jocelyn Collette Clark ’92 playing a Korean kayagum. Combining these instruments is not traditional in East Asia.

Clark, who majored in East Asian studies, says the ensemble relies on collaborations with contemporary composers in order to build its repertoire.
At left, Vera Schwarz, director of the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, chair of the East Asian Studies Program, professor of East Asian studies and professor of history applauds the musicians in between songs.
Il-Ryun Chung and Clark performed a duet. The event was co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies Program and the Music Department. More information about the ensemble is online at http://threezeeplus.com/. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Wesleyan Tests New Emergency Notification System


Posted 10/16/07
In the event of catastrophic weather, accidents that threaten the campus or other life-threatening situations, Wesleyan has furthered its capabilities to inform the campus community quickly and effectively.

A recently-implemented Emergency Preparedness Notification System was tested university-wide on Oct. 10. The emergency notification system alerts students, parents, faculty and staff of serious campus-wide emergencies.

“If Wesleyan has an extended power outage, an incident requiring mass evacuation, or possibly a hostage situation, we will use this system to quickly notify the Wesleyan community,” says Cliff Ashton, director of Physical Plant and chairperson of Wesleyan’s Business Continuity Committee.

Wesleyan has had an emergency preparedness plan prior to 2000, but the new, expanded system includes considerations for long term recovery and on-going business continuity for the university following a major emergency. As a result, the Business Continuity Committee developed the Emergency Preparedness Notification System.

“The need for an expansion in the plan’s scope became apparent to colleges across the U.S. following hurricane Katrina in New Orleans where operations for several universities came to a halt for extended periods, severely challenging the on going viability of those institutions,” Ashton explains.

Wesleyan began implementing the new system in March of 2007. This notification system contacts regular phones, cell phones and e-mail addresses through a Web-based system provided by Connect-Ed. This system is designed specifically for electronic messaging at colleges and universities.

The system notification occurs by voice message to regular telephones or cell phones that students, faculty, and staff identify in the emergency contact listing in their portfolio. Consequently, once someone have been informed of an emergency through e-mail, home phone or cell phone. Employee’s voice mail box will serve as a secondary source of information.

“We needed a way to get campus-wide electronic emergency messages out quickly and reliably,” explains Steve Machuga, director of administrative systems and member of the Business Continuity Committee.

Machuga says the new system is still undergoing some inherent technical and human difficulties with trying contact 4,000 students, staff, faculty and parents as simultaneously as possible. The test on Oct. 10 revealed some problems, such as getting messages past spam filters and simplifying the e-mail format. Machuga and his colleagues are currently addressing these problems.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good information and encouragement through the Emergency Notification Confirmation, which we requested, and we’ve responding to all of them,” Machuga says. “We are moving forward because this is very important for the Wesleyan community.”

The possibility of adding text messaging to the system is being investigated, and additional protocol for the types of notifications that will be sent through the system is under consideration.

In order for the system to work, students, their parents and Wesleyan staff and faculty must update their contact information.

Students can update their phone numbers and their parents’ phone numbers by visiting the Enrollment, Hold & Addresses link in the student portfolio or by navigating to the following http://quicklink.wesleyan.edu/ved.
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Faculty and staff can update their campus-wide emergency numbers through the Personal Profile link in the electronic portfolio or using the following link http://quicklink.wesleyan.edu/personal_profile.

Graduate students can update their phone numbers and e-mail addresses by visiting Enrollment, Holds and Addresses under my Enrollment status in your portfolio or by using the following link http://quicklink.wesleyan.edu/GRADved.

Graduate Liberal Studies Program students can update their phone numbers by visiting the “Address Verification Tab” of the “GLSP On-Line Registration” in your portfolio or by using the following link http://quicklink.wesleyan.edu/GLSPreg.

The Business Continuity Committee has also proposed low-tech options such as using Public Safety officers and their vehicles or limited public announcement systems to alert people of emergencies.

The following members of the Business Continuity Committee helped implement the new system: Ashton, Machuga, Anna van der Burg, registrar; Camille Dolansky, associate director of Parent Programs; Eloise Glick, faculty resource specialist; Justin Harmon, vice president for Public Affairs; Fran Koerting, director of Residential Life; David Meyer, director of Public Safety; David Pesci, director of Media Relations, and Dan Pflederer, human resources management systems functional specialist; Ganesan Ravishanker, associate vice president for Information Technology Services; and Mike Whaley, dean of student services and interim dean of the college.

The committee plans to test the system at regular intervals. Staff will also routinely review Wesleyan’s preparedness procedures to ensure that the university maintains the safest possible campus.

A team of staff members is also currently updating Wesleyan’s emergency response plan in order to comprehend more recent threats, such as the possibility of a pandemic contagion, and to ensure consistency with protocols established in the National Incident Management System created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This same team recently conducted a training drill implementing Wesleyan’s plan in conjunction with the City of Middletown police, fire, and health departments.
 

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Neuroscience, Lemony Snicket Talks Part of Snowdon Lecture Series


Dale Purves, the George Barth Gellor Professor for Research in Neurobiology, and director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University will speak on “Why We See What We Do: Brightness and Color” as part of the upcoming Snowdon Lecture Series. (Photo courtesy of Duke University)
Posted 10/16/07
Upcoming lectures funded by the Edward W. Snowdon Fund focus on children’s book writing, the way human beings perceive brightness and color, and cognitive behavior as it relates to stress and health.

For several years, the family of Edward W. Snowdon ’33 has supported a variety of programs through the Edward W. Snowdon Fund.

“Wesleyan is privileged to have special funds available to bring artists, musicians, dancers, writers, scientists, and other renowned people to campus,” says Linda Secord, director of University Lectures and Alumni Programs. ”These campus visitors provide outside-the-classroom learning experiences that would not be possible without generous funding from supporters like the Snowdons.”

The upcoming speakers, co-sponsored by the Edward W. Snowdon Fund include:

Daniel Handler ‘92, novelist, screenwriter, children’s book author, and musician will speak about children’s books at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 in Beckham Hall in Fayerweather Hall. Under the pen name of Lemony Snicket, Handler, who is pictured at right, is the author of the children’s books, A Series of Unfortunate Events. His talk is co-sponsored by English Department and Wesleyan Writing Program.

Dale Purves, the George Barth Gellor Professor for Research in Neurobiology, and director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University will speak on “Why We See What We Do: Brightness and Color,” at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 in Kerr Lecture Hall in Shanklin Laboratory. His talk is co-sponsored by the Departments of Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Psychology, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program and the Wesleyan Student Assembly.

Purves will speak again on “Why We See What We Do: Geometry and Form,” at noon Oct. 25 in Exley Science Center Room 121. This talk is co-sponsored by the Biology Department.

Robert Sapolsky, professor of biological sciences, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, from Stanford School of Medicine at Stanford University will speak on “Stress and Health: From Molecules to Societies” at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. His talk is co-sponsored by the departments of Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Psychology, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program and the Wesleyan Student Assembly.

Additional upcoming lectures are posted online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/lectures/liberal.html.
 

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Aims for 47% United Way Participation to Make Difference in the Lives of Local Residents


Posted 10/16/07
Growing up, Karen Collins’s family found themselves in financially-difficult situations. But when times got tough, her community generously helped the family through local programs.

In college, she received financial aid, and relied on the support of many alumni of her school to finish her degrees.

Nowadays, the chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, professor of mathematics, is giving back to her community by chairing Wesleyan’s Middlesex United Way campaign drive for the 2007-08 term.

Wesleyan’s annual campaign kick-off is Oct. 23.

“I’m a supporter of United Way because I want to give back to the world some of the help that I received,” Collins says. “I also want to live in a strong and healthy community, and that’s not really possible unless the people around me have food, homes, and basic medical care. The United Way serves people in our community, which is important to me, and supports so many programs in our community, that it is easy to find programs that I really want to support.”

Wesleyan employees will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local residents and improve community conditions by making donations to the Middlesex United Way. The campaign supports critical human care services and county-wide projects that address the top concerns of local residents including housing issues, mental health and substance abuse.

This year, Wesleyan’s goal is to raise $140,000 with 47 percent faculty and staff participation. Last year, Wesleyan raised $135,399 with 45 percent participation.

“As faculty and staff retire, we have to expect that our total contributions will fluctuate from year to year, and that’s one reason we are making the participation rate a priority this year,” Collins says.

Middlesex United Way currently supports six “What Matters” focus areas for funding including Affordable Housing Matters, School Readiness Matters, Positive Youth Development Matters, Independent Living Matters, Personal & Community Safety Matters and Volunteers Matter.

United Way also is mobilizing the caring power of communities in new ways, by working with new partners on prevention-based approaches that can bring about long-term, positive change.

Bill Holder, director of publications, says as a Wesleyan Middlesex United Way Campaign Board member, he is able to witness first hand how much effort goes into making sure that United Way dollars have a beneficial impact, and his contribution is handled with care.

“I certainly believe in helping worthy organizations in the community, and that’s part of my motivation for giving,” he says. “I’m also well aware that Middlesex United Way is working in a strategically smart way to address the underlying causes of problems in our county, and I think that’s so important.”

In 2006-07, Wesleyan was one of 160 businesses and organizations which helped raise 65 percent of all United Way funds during their annual workplace campaign. For its efforts, Wesleyan was named a Silver-level Corporate Sponsor.

“Together with our donors, volunteers and funding partners, we are bringing lasting change on key community issues like youth substance abuse, affordable housing, and early childhood development,” says Andy Heuer, Middlesex United Way development director. “Wesleyan’s leadership and financial support is, and always has been, an integral part in helping us achieve our goals.”

Employees can make a one-time donation or have funds withdrawn once a week, once every two weeks or once a month through Wesleyan’s payroll deduction plan. Forms will be sent to Wesleyan employees this month. A raffle drawing will be held with prizes for those making contributions.

“Here in the Wesleyan community, we have so much wealth compared to many, many people who live around us. We have wealth of education, of resources, and of support for our plans and ideas,” Collins says. “I believe that we can make a difference in the world and that, because we can be, we need to be leaders in making the world a better place. Our contributions make a difference in the lives of the people in our community, and they have an immediate impact. When we live in a strong community, our own lives are enriched and improved.”

For more information on Middlesex United Way go to the organization’s website at www.middlesexunitedway.org.
 

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

New Faculty Expert on Ancient Athens


Celina Gray, assistant professor of classical studies and archeology is teaching Magic in the Ancient World and Introduction to Ancient Greek this fall.
 
Posted 10/16/07
Celina Gray has joined the Department of Classical Studies as assistant professor.

Gray came to Wesleyan this fall after a year spent as the Blegen Research Fellow in the Department of Classics at Vassar College, her alma mater. Previously, she was assistant professor of Greek art and archaeology at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario.

This semester at Wesleyan, she is teaching GRK101, Introduction to Ancient Greek, and CCIV118, First Year Initiative: Magic in the Ancient World. As a graduate of a liberal arts college, Gray is excited to be back in a small college environment.

“I have always been a strong proponent of a liberal arts education,” Gray explains. “This semester, I am continually reminded how wonderful it is to teach and interact with students in this environment; my students are thoughtful, analytical, creative, enthusiastic and critical. They are learning for the first time about an ancient culture which is completely foreign to them, but they continually make observations which allow me to think about the material in new and interesting ways.”

Gray’s research focuses on the material culture of ancient Athens, especially sculpture and architecture from the Classical to Roman periods. She has published several articles on Athenian funerary art and her book project, Buried in the Past: the Funerary Landscape of Roman Athens, considers issues of citizenship, funerary ritual and the revival of the Classical past.

She has been invited to present this research at the “German-American Frontiers of Humanities Symposium” in Potsdam, Germany this month. Sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the American Philosophical Society, the symposium brings together American and German scholars in a variety of humanities fields. This year’s theme is “Worlds in Motion: Migration, Boundaries, Identities” and Gray will be presenting a paper titled, “Defying Definitions: Citizens and Foreigners in Roman Athens.”

Her interest in Greek art and archaeology developed from interdisciplinary training in the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, where she completed her Ph.D. In addition to her work at Berkeley, she has held fellowships at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the American Academy in Rome.

Gray is also a faculty member in Wesleyan’s Archaeology Program. While her current research usually involves studying gravestones in dusty museum storerooms, she has extensive archaeological experience on both excavations and survey projects in Greece (Halai, Nemea, Corinth, Sikyon) and Italy (Oppido Lucano, Monte Polizzo). Additionally, in future courses and research, she is hoping to explore questions of cultural heritage and archaeological ethics.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

New Assistant Professor Expert on Space, Number Representations

 

Posted 10/16/07
Anna Shusterman has joined the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor of psychology. This semester she is teaching PSYCH110, “Issues in Contemporary Psychology: What Makes Us Human?”

Shusterman’s research interests are on the structure and development of mental representations, interactions between language and cognitive development, and representations of space and number.

She comes to Wesleyan from Harvard University, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory for Developmental Studies.

“Wesleyan has provided me with everything I need to do my research, including a beautiful new child development laboratory,” she says. “I also appreciate that Wesleyan values both research and teaching, which is important to me and very hard to find at many institutions.”

Shusterman received a bachelor of science in neuroscience from Brown University in 1998, and a Ph.D in developmental psychology from Harvard University in 2006.

At Harvard, she was the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship between 2003-06; the McMaster Restricted Funds Grant in 2006 for her project “Spatial language and cognition in Nicaraguan Sign Language”; the Mind/Brain/Behavior Graduate Student Grant in 2005; the Stimson Restricted Funds Grant in 2005 for her project “The Comprehensive Survey on Trichotillomania.”

Shusterman is an active member in the Cognitive Development Society and Society for Research on Child Development; an Ad hoc reviewer for Cognition; a past organizer for The Diversity of Children’s Spatial Representations symposium and at the 4th Biennial Meeting of the Cognitive Development Society; and co-founder of the Harvard-MIT Philosophy & Experimental Psychology Reading Group.

She is the co-author of several articles, including “Reorientation and landmark-guided search in children: Evidence for two systems,” published in Psychological Science in 2006; and “Language and the development of spatial reasoning,” published in The Structure of the Innate Mind by Oxford University Press in 2005. She also has several articles under revision or in preparation.

She has presented at more than a dozen conferences, most recently at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development March 29 in Boston, Mass. She will speak on “Does spatial language guide spatial representation? Evidence from Nicaraguan Sign Language” during the Fifth Biennial Meeting of the Cognitive Development Society, Santa Fe, N.M. this year.

In addition to teaching, Shusterman has worked as a research supervisor and reading/research advisor for undergraduates from Wesleyan, Harvard, and other institutions participating in cognitive development research for work-study, Research Methods, Advanced Methods, Honors thesis projects, and summer internship program since 2002.

The Wesleyan students, she says, are a pleasure to be around, work with and teach.

“I came in with high expectations of the students, and my expectations are exceeded every day in new and surprising ways,” she says.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Farmers’ Market, Cob-Oven Demos at Pumpkin Fest 2007


The Long Lane Farm Club is spearheading the fourth annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 20 for the Wesleyan and local community. The event will be held at the student-run Long Lane Farm.
Posted 10/16/07
The Wesleyan community and people from the surrounding area can paint and purchase pumpkins during the fourth annual Long Lane Farm Pumpkin Festival Oct. 20.

The event offers educational composting and organic gardening workshops, beekeeping, pumpkin face painting, tours of the farm, T-shirt designing, free bike tune-ups, garlic planting, music by student and local bands, games and a farmer’s market, selling farm produce and pumpkins. Long Lane Farm Club members will also offer demonstrations of the “cob oven” they constructed last summer.

“Pumpkin Fest is a chance to celebrate fall harvest and the changing of seasons, to bring together folks with connections to long lane both from Wesleyan and the broader Middletown sphere, and to make the farm accessible to students who miss out on the summer season when it is most alive and productive,” says Long Lane Farm Club member Jordan Schmidt ’08.

Although the farm successfully produces more than 80 different types of vegetables from eggplants to tomatillos, the pumpkin patch never produced a successful harvest until this year. Schmidt says the farm will display their 20 “own big beautiful pumpkins” at the fest, and supplement them with pumpkins and apples grown at an eco-friendly orchard in Meriden, Conn.

The Long Lane Farm was created in 2004 so students would have a place to come together and learn about food security issues. Students have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of running the farm.

People of all ages are welcome to participate in Pumpkin Fest activities.

Farm Club member Grace Lesser ’08 says Pumpkin Fest provides an excellent opportunity to introduce children to organic farming. As a freshman, she brought a class of students from a local elementary school to Middletown’s Washington Street Community Garden, and helped them plant a plot with lettuce, carrots and flowers, and met those students three months later to harvest to their crops.

“Some of these students had no idea where their vegetables at dinner came from, and definitely no idea that they could in fact eat food that they, themselves planted,” Lesser says.

The Long Lane Farming Club is extending festival activities into a series of other events highlighting the exploration of urban agriculture and broader food-agriculture interaction.

On Oct. 18, the farm club and Environmental Studies Certificate Program will host the agricultural film, “The Future of Food” from 8 to 10 p.m. in PAC 001; on Oct. 19, the Farming Club will meet between 2 and 5 p.m. to make pizza in their cob oven and work on the farm. At 7 p.m. Oct. 19, Scott Kellogg, co-founder of the Rhizome Collective, will discuss Urban Agriculture in the Russell House. The Rhizome Collective operates out of a self-renovated building in urban Austin, Texas where they work on creating accessible forms of autonomous energy and growing their own food using recycled water and nutrients from the available city-scape.

The 2007 Pumpkin Fest will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the Long Lane Farm. The farm is located at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street, south of Physical Plant and Wesleyan University Press. Admission and activities are free. This year’s special musical guest is the band Busted Roses.

”I hope people can come out and have a good time, meet some new folks, share good food, become familiarized with the fall tasks of organic gardening, and just feel comfortable hanging out at the farm,” Schmidt says. “

The event is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Certificate Program, First Year Matters and Student Budget Committee. For more information contact Valerie Marinelli at 860-685-3733.
 

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Faculty Member of Nobel Peace Prize Winning Panel


Wesleyan’s Gary Yohe is a member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel is supported by the United Nations.
Posted 10/16/07
Gary Yohe, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, is a senior member and coordinating lead author on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a co-recipient of the 2007 the Nobel Peace Prize.

The other co-recipient was former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

The official press statement from The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the IPCC and Gore for: “their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”

IPCC efforts were also further noted in the statement:

“Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over one hundred countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming. Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support. In the last few years, the connections have become even clearer and the consequences still more apparent.”

Yohe, who has been involved with IPCC for more than a decade, is one of the leading members of the panel. Currently he serves as the Coordinating Lead Author in the Contribution of Working Group II of the Fourth Assessment Report and member of the Core Writing Team for the Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment.

When contacted about the award, Yohe was elated.

“The authors who participate in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have always been secure in the knowledge that their assessments contribute to their respective climate research communities,” Yohe said. “We are, as well, always gratified when the member nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change accept the summary reports of our work as the natural and social scientific basis for their negotiations on how to frame global climate policy. It is now particularly rewarding to hear that the Nobel Committee thinks so highly of our work and recognizes its role in elevating the public discourse on climate change. We are, collectively, humbled and invigorated by this award.”

Yohe is featured in a New York Times article about the award at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/13/science/13climate.html?ex=1192852800&en=25796fc30d0797cc&ei=5070&emc=eta1;

A Hartford Courant article at: http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-yohe1013.artoct13,0,812879.story;

And on WNPR Connecticut Public Radio at: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wnpr/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1165858
 

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Kottos to Receive International Nonlinear Physics Award


Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, says his Wesleyan colleagues have encouraged him to pursue his research.
Posted 10/02/07
Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, is the recipient of a major international award for his “many outstanding contributions in the field of nonlinear physics and quantum chaos.”

In March 2008, he will be presented with the Stephanos Pnevmatikos International Award for Research in Nonlinear Phenomena, which is given to an outstanding young researcher in the fields of nonlinear physics, mathematical physics and nonlinear disordered systems. The award, worth $10,000, is presented to only one researcher or scientist every two years.

Kottos is the eight recipient of the award, and the only researcher from a liberal arts college. This speaks highly of Wesleyan, he says.

“I was always viewing the success of these people not only as a result of their personal achievement, but also as a result of their scientific environment, support of their colleagues. Research is not a one person’s achievement,” Kottos says. “It involves discussions, alternative viewpoints, composition of ideas and above all, a supporting academic environment. Wesleyan University, offering me the position of assistant professor, showed its recognition to my scientific work and encouraged me to pursue my research line further.”

Kottos studies complicated moving forms, from electrons and bosons in “chaotic” confinements, to arrays of coupled “non-linear” pendula. Among his most important contributions was his simplified method of modeling electron transport from complex, or chaotic, confinements.

“Pretty often the mathematical equations that describe these systems become very ugly, and the systems are so complex that you cannot even write, or dare to write, the mathematical equations that describe them,” he says.

In his Quantum Mechanics class, Kottos teaches students how to use quantum graphs, a simplified model which imitate the behavior of complex nuclei, molecules, and solid-state devices. Last year, Kottos introduced quantum graphs in a new area of research called “atomtronics”. His goal is to propose atom-based devices that will be extremely accurate, highly controllable, and have the ability to process quantum information in precision measurements.

For these efforts, among others, he was nominated for the nonlinear phenomena research award by Professor Theo Geisel, director of the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Goettingen-Germany. The Max-Planck Institutes are the leading research institutions in Germany, and several of their directors are Nobel-prize-caliber scientists. “In this respect, the nomination itself by Professor Geisel is a great honor,” Kottos says.

His group, consisting of graduate students Moritz Hiller and Josh Bodyfelt; and undergraduates Gim Seng Ng ’08; Rangga Budoyo ’08; Katrina Smith-Mannschott ‘08, Jiayi Zhang ’09; and Carl West ‘11 have already made a significant presence in the scientific community. Together, they have produced more than 10 publications and participated in 15 invited talks at international conferences, colloquia and seminars during the past two years.

“I am pretty confident that we will move forward with the same excitement, achieving new breakthroughs in the future,” he says.

Kottos will receive the award during the American Physical Society meeting. The award will be presented by the committee member Prof. David Campbell, provost of Boston University. The award is established by the Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas, which is the largest research organization in Greece, in memory of the late Professor Stephanos Pnevmatikos. Candidates must be outstanding researchers in the fields mentioned above and must be under 40 years old.

Kottos plans to use the monetary award for personal reasons; however his youngest daughter, Eva-Maria, 2, was promised a “slice” of the prize.

“When I learned that I received the award, I called my wife to share my excitement, and she asked my daughters, “Did you hear what daddy won?’ Eva replied ‘Cake? Wooooo!’ so we’ve figured that $10,000 is equal to approximately 10 years of cake paradise for our daughter,” Kottos says.
 

By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Administrative Assistant Says Physics Department is “Like Family”


Anna Milardo, administrative assistant for the Department of Physics, has worked at Wesleyan 36 years.
 
Posted 10/02/07
Q: Anna, rumor has it that you’ve been here a long time.

A: I started in November of 1971 and lo and behold, 2007 comes and it seems that just a moment has gone by, and I’m still in the Physics Department. You can see that I am very adventuresome — job-wise that is.

Q: Something had to keep you here for 36 years.

A: Wesleyan has allowed me to be expressive and creative, and be appreciated for who I am as a person and as a professional. I like to think of our department and Wesleyan as a family. Everyone always tries to help each other out. If someone needs a rent, or a ride, or has to go shopping, the students/faculty/staff are always there to make the other person’s life a little easier and welcoming. The genuine concern and care is there for each other. Many opportunities and challenges have been given in attending classes, seminars, luncheons, concerts, and plays, and in experiencing a very-well rounded life in respecting a different philosophy of thinking, or acting or just living life in a more meaningful and purposeful way. We are always learning from one another every day. Thank you Wesleyan!

Q: What led you to the Wesleyan in the first place, and the Physics Department?

A: I was working in customer service and also as sales correspondence at Wilcox & Critten in Middletown and had received a phone call from Dean Biggs from Middlesex Community College letting me know there was a secretarial position opened in the Physics Department at Wesleyan University, and if I was interested, I should apply. I had received my associate degree from Middlesex Community College in the Executive Secretarial field. While I was a student at MxCC, I worked for Financial Aid, Sociology Department, President’s Office and the Dean’s Office. I missed the academic environment so I decided to apply.

Q: What generally goes on during your work day?

A: I have lots of e-mails to read and send, and faculty, undergraduates and graduate students are always coming in and out of the office for one reason or another. Professors give me invoices for payments, course work, budget questions, reimbursements, and the phone is ringing. I have mail to get done and forward, calls and work order requests to be made.

Q: Who are the key people you interact with in the Physics Department?

A: Professors, postdocs, lab technicians, our curator and students. Students are always around. They have offices on the same floor of our department. I assign rooms for our undergrad course/lab assistants, give them keys and hand out forms. We also have 17 graduate students in the Physics Department, and there is always some form of interaction going on, either announcing that packages have arrived or arranging monthly pizza luncheons for them. Our students are very intelligent, open minded, wise, respectful, friendly, kind, and authentic and appreciative. Wesleyan is like “a melting pot.” I myself came from Sicily at age 5. I enjoy being with students who come from various countries and their cultures that are so diverse and interesting.

Q: How to you advertise upcoming Physics Department events?

A: I post them in calendar events, send e-mails, and write up and mail notices. During the events I buy and set up refreshments and work on reimbursing the speakers.

Q: What are the biggest changes you have noticed in the Physics Department, or Wesleyan-wide?

A: Computers and technical typing. I remember using stencils and running the messy jobs on mimeograph machines. Those machines were very challenging especially on your clothes because of the black stencil machine, or coming home with purple marks on your face from purple mimeograph sheets. It would take forever typing equations with the typewriter. I’m glad those days are over. Now it’s like magic. Whenever you make an error, you push delete key and all disappears. Beats using the blue liquid fluid or razor blade for the mimeo sheets

Q: What are some activities you take part in on campus?

A: I enjoy going to a Muslim or Jewish prayer session and being part of our Christian Fellowship group. I like the activities available at the Freeman Athletic Center, such as dancing, yoga, exercising and Akido. I love that I’ve had the opportunity to take undergraduate courses from Psychology Department, such as Physiological Comparative Psych, Consciousness, Awareness & Behavior Course, and courses in our Graduate Liberal Studies Program in theater, religion, dance and music. Specifically I’ve taken Resistance & Rebellion of the Holocaust, the Bible as Literature, a Native American Music course, Soul and Psyche. One of my last goals is to take an intro to physics class, and then I can retire.

Q: How has your job changed in terms of location and new faces?

A: In 1971 our Physics Office was where all are computers are on the first floor and we later moved to the second floor of the Science Tower now called Exley. From three staff people, I am now the only one. The machine shop and electronics department were once part of our Physics Department. We have new faces every year from undergrad majors to grad students. We presently have a very diverse group of grad students who come from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iran, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Ecuador and Romania. We also have an undergrad exchange program with Dublin City University in Ireland and we have from Germany grad students who enter our grad program for only a year. In this sense, our department can also be considered a “little part of the melting pot,” which makes it very fascinating, challenging and appealing in the way we interact with one another in a very family oriented style in making everyone “feel welcomed and at home.”

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: Dancing and self improvement. I’ve taken several self improvement, leadership and communication classes including a Self Expression Leadership Course, Relationship Seminar, Communication Access to Power, Communication Performance and Power, Being Extraordinary, a breakdown course and commitment course.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Romance Languages Welcomes New Italian Instructor


Daniela Viale, adjunct instructor of romance languages and literatures, is fluent in four languages.
 
Posted 10/02/07
Daniela Viale has joined the Romance Languages and Literatures Department as an adjunct instructor.

She is teaching elementary and intermediate Italian this semester.

Viale, who is fluent in Italian, French, English and Spanish, also has basic knowledge of German and Latin. She comes to Wesleyan from the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught elementary and intermediate Italian and French for eight years.

An Italian native, Viale completed her master of liberal arts in 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation was titled “The Experience of the Second World War and the Question of Italian Identity: A Study of Fenoglio, Levi and Revelli.” She received her bachelor and master degrees in French and English literatures and languages from the University of Torino, Italy, where she also studied applied linguistics.

“After teaching and having learned immensely from my mentors, my colleagues and my students, I am thrilled to be able to put all I learned at the service of the Wesleyan community,” Viale says. “Teaching language and the cultural nuances that come with it is a great experience.”

In addition to teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Viale served as the language coordinator of intermediate Italian; the interim director of the Italian Language Program; and the liaison between the Italian section of the Department of Romance Languages and the Casa Italiana organization, which involved choosing movie screenings, culinary and music events celebrating Italy and encouraging students’ interest in Italian culture. She also is a freelance interpreter, translator and tutor, and a member of the American Association of Teachers of Italian.

For her efforts, Viale received the Excellence in Teaching for Outstanding Performance and Lasting Contribution as a Lecturer in April 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania Department of Romance Languages.

Viale blends several different approaches into her teaching style.

“I try not to be enslaved by theories and methodologies, but I try to draw useful lessons from all of them. I incorporate a variety of styles and activities in my teaching curriculum, based on what I see works best with the students,” she says. “I strive to communicate enthusiasm and passion to them. My goal at Wesleyan is to make the learning of Italian a fulfilling, meaningful experience for Wesleyan students.”

Viale’s main interests are in learning and teaching languages, but she also has an interest in how World War II influenced the Italian writers. She’s recently rediscovered “the pleasure” of studying history, specifically anti-fascism, partisan resistance, genocide studies and the Holocaust.

One of her up-and-coming projects is to translate a book by an Italian anti-fascist who tells the story of a priest who saved hundreds of Jews in the mountains surrounding her hometown in Italy.

Viale resides in New Haven, Conn. with her boyfriend, Daniel. She enjoys cooking, singing, reading, soccer and trekking in the mountains – an activity which she has not practiced as much since moving to the United States.

“History, languages and mountains are three of my great passions. I wish Connecticut had more mountains like the Alps in Italy where I do trekking, but I guess one cannot have it all,” she says.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor