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Students Pedal for Affordable Housing


Five Wesleyan students will participate in the Habitat for Humanity Bicycle Challenge this summer. Each biker is trying to raise $4,000 for the cause.
Posted 12/04/06
Five Wesleyan students will pedal to help the cause of more affordable home-ownership this summer, raising funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity coast-to-coast.

The students, led by Jessalee Landfried ’07, will bike 70 miles a day, hoping to cross the entire country in two months. Landfried will be accompanied by Elizabeth Ogata ‘09, Liana Woskie ‘10, Margot Kistler ‘09 and Shira Miller ‘07, along with 90 other students from Yale University.

This is the 13th year Yale has hosted the Habitat Bicycle Challenge (HBC) and Wesleyan came aboard this year.

“The trip is essentially a large-scale service project with a strong commitment to supporting Habitat for Humanity,” Landfried says.

Before leaving, each rider will raise $4,000 – approximately a dollar for every mile biked – for Habitat for Humanity. Every night, the riders will give presentations and answer questions in churches and community centers, trying to increase Habitat’s visibility, stimulate the formation of new chapters and encourage donations.

The event will generate approximately $430,000 in proceeds, enough to underwrite the construction of eight Habitat homes.

Each year, the Habitat Bicycle Challenge not only raises more money for Habitat than any other student-run fundraiser in the country, it introduces thousands of people to the good work that Habitat for Humanity does. Last year, the students raised $430,000.

Landfried learned about the challenge from a teammate in the Americorps.

“My team leader had just finished HBC, and said it was the most exciting, challenging, fun thing she’d ever done,” she says. “I chose to become a leader this year because I’m excited by the opportunity to have an adventure and do something really amazing for a great organization.”

The riders can choose a northern, central or southern route to the west coast. All three routes depart from New Haven, Conn. on June 1, and they end in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, respectively.

Landfried and Miller will ride the central route, biking across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho before reaching Portland, Oregon. Kistler will be on the northern trip and Ogata and Woskie will ride the southern trip.

Ogata chose to participate to combine meaningful service work with a journey across the country. This will be her second trek across the U.S.

“Several summers ago, I biked across the country for my own enjoyment,” she says. “Although the trip was amazing, the Habitat Bicycle challenge really excites me because it has the purpose of helping other people in all parts of the country.”

The students will sleep in churches and community centers along the way. In every community where they spend the night, the riders will give a short slideshow presentation about Habitat, the trip, and the goal of ending poverty housing. These venues generally supply meals for the riders.

“When biking all day long, most people need around 6,000 calories a day – so we’re going to be hungry,” Landfried says.

During the ride, every route is accompanied by a support van, which carries the bikers’ clothing and necessities. When they reach their destinations, the van will bring the riders back to Connecticut along with their bikes.

In exchange for raising $4,000 per rider, the bikers receive a free road bike, deep discounts on gear, and free room and board for the duration of the trip. The bike, gear discounts and food are provided for by corporate sponsorships that the leaders arrange over the course of the year.

Since most of the riders are recreational riders who are excited by the combination of adventure and service, every rider is expected to start training once they receive their bike.

Landfried says she bikes about 50 miles a week now, and is training for the trip by increasing the number of miles every week.

But having the physical ability is minor to having the mental ability.

“The prospect of biking across the country is certainly daunting,” Landfried says. “My parents won’t even drive that far! But I try to keep reminding myself that students have been completing the trip for more than a decade now, and that if they could do it, so can I.”

Landfried says her energy is currently too focused on securing corporate sponsorships, individual fundraising, planning the route and arranging housing to get too worried about the biking itself.

The bikers will spend at least one day a week working on various habitat home sites along their journey west.

Miller says the tip may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
 

“I’m doing the trip because I can’t imagine a more unique way to explore the country, or a better time to do it than right after graduating college,” she says. “It is a great personal experience because I know I will be supporting a social cause that is important to me while pushing my limits and having a great time.”

In addition to raising awareness and funds for Habitat, Landfried says she has other goals in mind.

“I hope to gain a greater appreciation for the vastness and diversity of our country, to meet interesting new people, to have fun, and to develop quads the size of a football,” she says.

The Wesleyan fund-raisers are currently accepting donations to support their efforts. They plan to hold fund-raising events later in the year. For more information on making a donation, visit http://habitatbike.org or email Jessalee Landfried at jessalee.landfried@gmail.com.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Men’s Cross Country Competes at Nationals for Second Straight Year


The men’s cross country team encountered a muddy course at the Division III NCAA National Championships Nov. 18, however finished in the top half. (Photos by Steve Maheu)
Posted 12/04/06
The Wesleyan Men’s Cross Country team overcame an uneven season of performances to finish in the top half of the field at the Division III NCAA National Championships in Ohio on Nov 18.

“We started off running instead of racing,” Men’s Head Coach John Crooke says about the early part of the season. “It’s quite simply competing. Cross country is not about time, it’s about place. When you race, you are competing, not running.”

The team had three mediocre efforts in its first three tests of the season, dipping from 10th to 14th in the New England Open, coming up short of both Williams and Amherst in the Little Three meet and placing a disappointing fifth of 11 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) meet.

“I would say we had a roller-coaster season,” Matt Shea ’08 says. “I feel like we lost some of our morale in the middle of the season.”

Some, but not all. A little more than two weeks after their disappointing showing at the NESCAC meet, the men placed 4th out of 45 teams at the New England Division III Regional Championships in Springfield, Mass. Out of 309 total finishers, the Wesleyan scoring five finished: 17th Alex Battaglino ’07; 24th Anda Greeney ’07; 34th Sean Watson ’08; 43rd Jon King ’07; and 47th Mike Brady ‘07.

“We really put our best team race together when it counted at regionals with a 34-second spread from one to five and less than a minute from one to seven,” says Brady.

The top two teams at the event, Williams and Bowdoin, received automatic bids to the NCAA National Championship meet. Wesleyan’s outstanding performance earned the team an at-large bid to the 32-team field. It was the school’s second-ever invite to the nationals, the first coming last year.

“I was exceptionally proud of how we never gave up and we were able to come together as a team and have great races at both regionals and nationals,” says Shea.

Nationals were hosted by Wilmington College in Ohio and held at the Voice of America Park in West Chester on Nov. 18th. Wesleyan athletics director John Biddiscombe, who attended the event, described them as “some of the worst conditions for a sporting event I have ever seen.” Days of torrential rain had left the ground saturated and muddy with standing water inches deep throughout the course.

“Course conditions were nuts,” says Anda Greeney. “Cross country is about running in all types of weather, but this being Nationals, you’d think they would choose a place that wasn’t sitting at or under the water table.”

Overall, the Cardinal finished 15th – ahead of Bowdoin (17th) and Trinity (31st); Williams (7th) was the only New England school to finish higher than Wesleyan. Watson posted the team’s best individual performance, crossing the finish line 67th out of 279 runners.

“Running at Nationals is an exciting experience,” Brady says. “The dinner, the free stuff, flying out to Ohio, the NCAA symbol painted on the grass near the starting area. It’s quite an atmosphere.”
 

By Brian Katten, sports information director

Professor Awarded Grant, Will Co-Direct State Stem Cell Facility


Laura Grabel, the Fisk Professor of Natural Sciences and professor of biology, received $878,348 for her study on embryonic stem cells.
Posted 12/04/06
Wesleyan and one of its researchers were major beneficiaries of the State of Connecticut’s initial round of nearly $20 million in grants to fund non-federally-sanctioned stem cell research.

The awarding of the grants was announced on November 22 in Hartford.

Wesleyan was a co-recipient with the University of Connecticut of $2.5 million dedicated for the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core Facility, which will be located in Farmington. Laura Grabel, the Fisk Professor of Natural Sciences and professor of biology, also received $878,348 for her study titled “Directing Production and Functional Integration of Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Neural Stem Cells.”

Grabel will also be co-director of the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core Facility with Ren-He Xu, associate professor and director of the human embryonic stem cell laboratory at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

“The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core Facility will be a world class facility that will be a tremendous benefit to the state’s residents as well as our faculty and students,” Grabel says. “It lets us maximize the available resources and gives researchers a dedicated space to work with the unapproved stem cell lines.”

The stipulation regarding unapproved stem cell lines is extremely important to stem cell researchers because of the federal guidelines. It is not illegal to work with these non-approved stem cell lines; in fact, researchers in private industry have been doing so for several years. However, researchers cannot use facilities or resources that have been paid for by federal funds for approved stem cell lines in conjunction with research on non-approved lines.

“Most of the researchers involved have received federal funding for their work on approved stem cell lines,” says Grabel, who has received NIH funding for her work with these lines. “To partition a lab and replicate much of the materials and resources that are dedicated to federally-funded work would be tremendously wasteful and extremely impractical. This facility will eliminate any chance of overlap.”

A similar facility will also be created at Yale with an identical $2.5 million state grant.

Grabel adds that use of these facilities will not be limited to the three universities who are being funded by the state’s stem cell initiative – Wesleyan, Yale and UConn.

“Students from all the universities and colleges in the state will have the opportunity to be trained there,” she says. “That’s another great advantage of this facility. We’ll be training a whole new generation of stem cell researchers.”

Grabel’s work at the facility will be based on the individual grant she received from the state. Her research focuses on how to improve the effect of stem cells can be implanted in the brain to replace damaged neurons.
“In some cases the stem cells become healthy neurons and reverse the damage,” she says. “But this doesn’t happen every time. Sometimes nothing is reversed. So we’ll be looking at why this occurs and how we might improve the chances of a positive outcome.”

When Grabel says “we” she is referring to her co-investigators, Janice Naegele, chair and professor of biology, professor of neuroscience, and Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology.

“We have some fantastic researchers here, and our capabilities and interests complement each other quite well,” Grabel says. “It’s really the strength of our research abilities that the state responded to by making us a partner in this initiative.”

Parts of the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core Facility in Farmington are already up and running. The rest should be fully operational in early 2007.
 

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations.

Grant to Fund Epileptic Seizure Study at Wesleyan


Gloster Aaron, Janice Naegele and Laura Grabel will study if stem cell-based treatment in mice brains could possibly control epileptic seizures in human brains.
Posted 12/04/06
A $300,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation will help a Wesleyan University researcher investigate the possibility of using brain transplants of embryonic stem (ES) cells to control epileptic seizures in mice. If successful the study could lay the early groundwork for using similar therapy in human beings.

Janice Naegele, chair and professor of biology and professor of neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan, is the principle investigator in the study that will bring together the expertise two other Wesleyan faculty – Laura Grabel, Fisk Professor of Natural Science, professor of biology, and Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology – as well as Gordon Fishell, professor of biology at New York University.

During the three-year study, Naegele and her colleagues will attempt to create GABAergic neurons from mouse ES cells and implant them in the brains of mice that experience epileptic seizures. The hope is that the new neurons derived from the grafted ES cells will be able to restore normal levels of the brain’s inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA by replacing GABAergic neurons destroyed by the epileptic seizures. GABA is one of the key chemical messengers in the brain that regulates the firing of neurons and prevents seizures.

“A lot of the focus in stem cell-based treatment is in treating neurodegenerative disorders,” Naegele says. “Due to ethical roadblocks in harvesting neural stem cells from human embryos, a preferred course is autologous donation – taking an individual’s own stem cells and using them to generate neural stem cells for treatment. However, in the case of some forms of inherited epilepsy, there a genetic defect in the neurons that causes the seizures. This defect is likely mirrored in the patient’s stem cells, which is one reason why we are focusing on using non-autologous cell lines.”

From a clinical perspective, animal epilepsy isn’t identical in all facets to human epilepsy. However, it is close enough that Naegele’s successful use of these GABAergic neurons to control seizures will go a long way to help scientists understand the potential treatment implications in humans.

For the study, the researchers will chemically induce the initial epileptic seizures in the mice. After two to three weeks, the mice develop spontaneous seizures, making the overall effect more similar to the way seizures occur in humans. The stem cell grafts will be made into the brains of transgenic mice that have fluorescent neurons, allowing the scientists to identify interactions between the cells in the grafts and the host brains using a combination of electrical recording and microscopic imaging. The studies will attempt to demonstrate that the grafted stem cells form connections with the host brain, a critical step for functional recovery from epilepsy.

To create the cells needed to potentially suppress the seizures, Naegele’s team will use a new method to produce high yield GABAergic neurons.

“We plan to use molecular-genetic approaches to get the neural stem cells to express a sequence of transcription factors that will regulate the genes required to produce the GABAergic neurons,” Naegele says. “They will then be transplanted to the mouse hippocampus and then we’ll see if they have enough genetic information to act properly.”

Along with the faculty mentioned, this three-year study will also involve post-doctoral students, graduate, and undergraduate students at Wesleyan who will be assisting with components of the research.

“This is really exciting because it is bringing together three labs here and a lab down at NYU,” Naegele says. “The expertise at each complements the others. It’s a more risky study than others in this area, but the potential information we can generate will really be useful as we move forward investigating if this can be an effective treatment for epileptic seizures.”

In addition to supporting this collaboration, Naegele will participate in a yearly McKnight Conference on Neuroscience, which fosters interactions among the awardees of all of their programs. This year’s conference will be held in the June 2007 in Aspen, Colorado and will focus on music, art, and the brain.

According to their Web site, The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience is an independent charitable organization established by The McKnight Foundation to carry out the wishes of its founder, William L. McKnight (1887-1979), who led the 3M company for three decades. McKnight had a personal interest in memory and its diseases. He chose to set aside part of his legacy to bring hope to those suffering from brain injury or disease and cognitive impairment. The Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Awards were established in 2000 as the Memory and Brain Disorders Awards. Each year, up to six awards are given. Awards provide $100,000 per year for three years. For more information go to www.mcknight.org/neuroscience.
 

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations. Photo by Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

A MAP QUEST: Lena Bui ’07 and Gil Hasty ’10 find their academic building locations on a newly-installed campus map near South College. Physical Plant’s Facilities Department installed five new maps at key locations on campus.

Additional campus maps are located near Clark Hall, pictured, and the Center for the Arts, near Parking Lot “T” and on the sidewalk along Wyllys Avenue. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Film, Cinema Admin Says Meeting Famous Directors, Actors is Part of the Job


Lea Carlson, administrative assistant for the Film Studies Department and Cinema Archives, interacts with faculty and students on a daily basis.
 
Posted 11/17/06
Q: Lea, when did you begin working at Wesleyan as the administrative assistant for Cinema Archives and the Film Studies Department?

A: August 20, 2001, and this is the first department that I’ve worked in at Wesleyan.

Q: Where was your office located when you started, and what are your thoughts on the new Center for Film Studies building?

A: My office was located in the Cinema Archives building when I first started here. I was so lucky because the space was shared with Leith Johnson, the co-curator, and Joan Miller, the archivist, who are two of the nicest, most generous people I know. They were so helpful to a new employee and have become such good friends in the process.

The new center is so airy and filled with light. Because our faculty and staff were housed in several different places on campus before the new center, having the offices and main areas integrated now means easy access to students, faculty, and staff which makes a huge difference in the day-to-day operations.

Q: During your time here, have you had the opportunity to meet any famous directors or actors?

A: Yes, when our building was dedicated, Martin Scorsese came and talked to a full-house. Some of the other directors and actors that I’ve met or spoken to include Jonathan Demme, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Isabella Rossellini, Amy Irving, Joss Whedon, Brad Whitford, Joey Pantoliano, William Windom, Lars Schmidt, Ed Herrmann, Debra Winger, Dana Delany, Joan Leslie, Albert Berger and Isaac Mizrahi.

Q: Very exciting, and since Wesleyan’s film program has been nationally recognized for more than four decades, it must be very rewarding to work for the department.

A: I love working here. It’s a “hands-on” major which means there is a lot of student, faculty and staff interaction. Each day is unique and presents different challenges. Our chair, Jeanine Basinger, is internationally-known in this field as one of the best film scholars in the world. She receives requests for interviews from news organizations, NPR and television stations on a regular basis. She also founded the Cinema Archives whose staff works on a daily basis supporting the Film Studies Department. Our majors, faculty and staff are extremely supportive of each other. The cooperative effort between everyone makes this a great place to work.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis?

A: I think the biggest challenge is to balance the priorities within the department. Students come first for me then the other responsibilities seem to fall into place. There are university deadlines that need to be met on a weekly basis but most of the time there are a lot of different duties that are happening simultaneously. We have a lot of outside requests to use our new screening room and sometimes they overlap our classroom use of the spaces. My job is really enjoyable—I like getting to meet and talk with administrative assistants in other departments as well as the faculty and staff who call to book spaces. The students are so passionate about what they do that they keep my outlook on life optimistic.
Q: Are any two days alike there?

A: Most often, no two days are alike for me. There are regular duties such as responding to student requests, booking spaces for events and classrooms, financial responsibilities, answering general phone calls, shipping and weekly payroll. We get lots of email questions about our major and events that are happening in our building. I spend most of my time interacting with students, the chair, our faculty and staff and other departments within the university.

We get lots of students stopping and asking questions about major requirements, classes that are offered, booking of spaces for our required production and senior thesis films and other things. Parents are interested in jobs after graduation and they wonder how difficult is it for students to be accepted to our program. We offer a tour of the building in conjunction with the Admissions Office on Wednesdays at noon from the lobby of the center; one of our film majors conducts this tour which gives details about our building and the major.

Q: What can film majors expect from the Center for Film Studies?

A: The model of scholarship in the department is in the liberal arts tradition of wedding history and theory with practice. All film majors study the motion picture in a unified manner, combining historical, formal and cultural analysis with filmmaking at beginning and advanced levels in 16mm film, digital video, and virtual formats. A unique emphasis on the study of the medium, its industry, aesthetics, and technology distinguishes Film Studies courses from classes in other departments that approach film as a cultural text. For more information, people can visit our Web site, http://www.wesleyan.edu/filmstudies/, or call 860-685-2220.

Q: Briefly explain the purpose of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives and how do students or outside researchers go about viewing these materials?

A: The Cinema Archives provides a home for Wesleyan’s growing collections related to motion picture and television history. We care for and preserve cinema-related paper materials, photographs, and memorabilia. The archives are open from 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. by appointment only; Monday through Friday. Anyone wanting to inquire about specific materials should schedule an appointment by calling 860-685-3396 or e-mailing our co-curator Leith Johnson at ljohnson@wesleyan.edu or our archivist, Joan Miller at jimiller@wesleyan.edu.

Q: Where can the public see these items?

A: The Rick Nicita Gallery, located in the lobby of the Center for Film Studies, houses different exhibits throughout the year. Right now the gallery exhibit is: Frank’s Friends, The Capra Glamour Portraits. The gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and by appointment.

Q: Do you attend any of the film-related events on campus?

A: Occasionally I attend the film-related events. I have a rather long, 50-to-60 minute commute that discourages attendance to evening events after working all day. I must say, though, that there are several times I’ve really wished I lived closer because the event looked so good.

Q: When you’re not at Wesleyan, what do you enjoy doing?

A: I’m a knitting, weaving, sewing fanatic! My grandmother and mother taught me these skills when I was 7-years-old. I even knit with needles that belonged to them. I like to spend time with my family. My husband and I are restoring a home built in 1769 where we live with our dog and cat. I have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and a 2-year-old granddaughter and a grandson who was born last week.

Q: But movies are not on your hobby-list?

A: I actually hate to admit this but I’m not a big film buff. I do, however, have my favorites. I love suspense movies. My favorites are older movies like “The Uninvited” with Ray Milland and “The Spiral Staircase.” I’m sure the film majors will get a chuckle out of these choices.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Player of the Year Ranked 5th Nationally for Kills


Lisa Drennan ’09 was named New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year in 2006 following a vote of the conference coaches.  A second-team all-NESCAC choice as a freshman, Drennan led the NESCAC and was fifth nationally in Division III for kills per game this season, averaging 5.56, which also is a Wesleyan team record.
 
Posted 11/17/06
Q: You were just named New England Small College Athletic Conference
(NESCAC) Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year. How does that make
you feel?

A: I feel really great about winning NESCAC player of the year. I have worked so hard this season, putting my all into every practice and every game. It is incredibly rewarding to work as hard as you can, and see that others recognize how hard you have worked.

Q: What do you think makes you such a talented volleyball player?

A: Probably the number one thing is my competitive attitude. I really love competing and winning. I also really just love the game of volleyball. My love of the game makes me work harder, run faster and jump higher. Of course, my height, 5’11,’’ helps with my hitting a little too.

Q: When did you first start playing organized volleyball?

A: I have been playing volleyball all of my life. However my first “organized” team was in 7th grade. I guess I was one of the better players then, but I would say I did not develop into a real volleyball player until 9th or 10th grade.

Q: You came to Wesleyan from Ann Arbor, Mich. Is that where you grew up?

A: Yes. I’ve lived there my whole life.

Q: What was it like growing up in the shadows of the University of Michigan?

A: Amazing. I have always been a big supporter of University of Michigan’s volleyball team. I have gone to most of their games, and attended their volleyball summer camp several years. Just this past summer, I helped coach their camps. This was such a great experience for me. I learned a lot from the coaches, the Michigan head coach and the players. Also whenever the coaches (mostly Michigan volleyball players) were on a break, we would play around a little. For them, they were just “messing around,” for me it was some of the most competitive volleyball I have ever played. Playing with a top 10 Division 1 team was an amazing experience. I definitely grew a lot as a player through this experience alone.

Q: How did you become interested in attending Wesleyan?

A: I first learned about Wesleyan through friends from my high school who are now seniors at Wesleyan. They all spoke so highly of Wesleyan, and often compared it to our high school, which I was really fond of. When I visited Wesleyan, the thing that struck me most about Wesleyan was the student body. Everyone seemed so intelligent, unique and approachable. I knew Wesleyan was a great school academically, but also that the students were not competitive with one another. People at Wesleyan are more concerned about learning and less about the grades they receive. This was incredibly appealing to me.

Q: What other colleges did you consider attending?

A: I applied early decision to Wesleyan. I was pretty much set on coming here.

Q: How do you like it here at Wesleyan?

A: I absolutely love it here. I have loved everyone I have met here. I have made great friends. I can not imagine playing on a team anywhere else; our team is like a family. I have really liked (almost) all of the classes I’ve taken, and professors I have had. I haven’t decided on a major yet, but I am leaning towards Environmental Science and Psychology.

Q: You played softball and basketball at the Greenhills School in
Michigan along with volleyball. What other sports do you play now?

A: I would like to play intramural softball, and I am going to try out Ultimate Frisbee this spring.

Q: Tell us about your parents John and Lyn.

A: My parents have always been so supportive of everything I do, volleyball and everything else. They are such amazing people, and certainly my number one role models. I get along so well with my parents, and am so thankful for their unconditional love and support. During high school they came to every one of my volleyball, basketball, and softball games. Not to mention, my dad was my softball coach for several years. I was worried that by coming all the way out to Connecticut they would hardly ever get to see me play. This has not been the case at all. Last year and this year they have made it to a lot of games, including the NESCAC quarter finals and semi-finals this year. My dad came all the way out to Maine last year for NESCAC finals. We lost in the quarter-finals on Friday, and so my dad was stranded in Maine for the rest of the weekend! My whole family, not just my parents have been so supportive of my volleyball. I have an older brother and sister who were able to make it to several games this year. My family is so supportive of me, and I think I play even harder when they are here watching me, because I want to show them my thanks for all of their support.

Q: If you had to credit one person with helping you get to this point
in your volleyball career, who would it be?

A: I really can’t say there is just one person who helped me get here. My family goes to an island every summer in northern Ontario, where my family and friends all play volleyball on the rocks. I have played there since I was really young. I think this is where I developed my love for the game. So I suppose I can give credit to my family and friends for playing with me from such an early time in my life.
 

By Brian Katten, sports information director

Department of Archeology Welcomes New Assistant Professor


Posted 11/17/06

Daniella Gandolfo has joined the Department of Archeology as an assistant professor.

 

Her research areas of interest include urban anthropology; urbanization and urban social movements; social and cultural theory; anthropological writing. She has done fieldwork research in Latin America and the United States. 

 

Gandolfo comes to Wesleyan from the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University where she completed her doctoral degree and taught a course on cultural anthropology. Prior to that, she taught in the Department of Anthropology at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. She has gained additional teaching and professional experience from Barnard College in New York, the University of Texas, and the Ford Foundation in New York. She has participated in research projects dealing with educational reform in Lima and New York City, where she did extensive fieldwork research in public schools.

 

Gandolfo, who is fluent in English and Spanish, was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She received a bachelor’s of arts in archeology at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and a master’s of arts in anthropology at the University of Texas. Her dissertation, The City at its Limits: Taboo, Transgression, and Urban Renewal in Lima, Peru, was completed at Columbia University.

 

Her dissertation deals with the social impact of an urban renewal project of the downtown area of Lima, which it takes as a point of departure to examine relations of class and race in the city. As an outgrowth of her dissertation, she has become interested in urban “informality” and its influence on urban planning and city politics, and in new forms of urbanization in Peru.  She has started fieldwork research on these themes in Lima and in Puquio, a small city in the southern highlands of Peru.

 

She started teaching at Wesleyan in the fall semester.

 

“Wesleyan offers what, to me, is an ideal environment to keep growing as a teacher, researcher, and writer,” she says. “I enjoy the smaller-sized programs with great faculty and students.”

 

Gandolfo says Wesleyan allows her to maintain strong links between teaching and her research interests, and enjoys sharing her research interests with the students.

 

“I have already benefited greatly from sharing work in progress with students, who thrive with complex questions and problems,” she says.

 

Gandolfo is the author of “José María Arguedas,” published in the Biographical Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology in 2004, and The City at its Limits: Taboo, Transgression, and Urban Renewal in Lima, Peru, which will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007.

 

Gandolfo has made numerous presentations, most recently at the New School University in New York and the American Anthropological Association Meeting in Washington, DC. In addition, she is involved with professional associations including the American Anthropological Association, the American Ethnological Society and the Latin American Studies Association.

 

Gandolfo lives in Middletown and New York City, with her husband, Chris Parkman.  She enjoys jogging, hiking, cooking and knitting – a hobby inherited from a long line of women knitters and embroiderers from the south of

Peru.

 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Report Shows Impact of Digital Imaging on College Teaching, Learning


Posted 11/17/06
Digital images are changing the way professors teach at colleges and universities, but often only after the huge expense of personal time and resources, according to a new study titled “Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning,” published on Academic Commons, a Web journal that Wesleyan’s Michael Roy helps to edit.

The study, commissioned by Wesleyan University and the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), suggests ways of how the teaching profession as a whole can harness these new resources in a more efficient manner.

“The big story here is that we’ve still got a long way to go before we realize all of the educational and scholarly possibilities afforded by digital images in particular, and new media in general,” says Michael Roy, director of Academic Computing Services, Digital Projects and Academic Commons founder. Roy is pictured at left.

“Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning” details the results of an intensive study of digital image use by more than 400 faculty at 33 liberal arts colleges and universities in the Northeast. The report makes a set of recommendations for optimizing the deployment of digital images on campus.

Wesleyan and NITLE undertook the study in 2005 in response to questions about how digital image use might be changing teaching practices in higher education.

The impact on teaching is at the heart of the study. One third of participating faculty reported digital images had changed their teaching greatly. Those teaching image-based subjects found that having anytime/anyplace accessibility to a “vast variety of images from a variety of sources,” has given them greater flexibility and creativity in the classroom. With new access to images provided by the Web and other sources, faculty teaching non-image-based subjects are often using images for the first time or using substantially more, and are more likely to build them into the core substance of their teaching. New relationships to images stimulate ideas about visual thinking and visual learning that are themselves changing approaches to teaching.

“Faculty, however, often feel like lone pioneers in their transition to using digital images as because support, resources and infrastructure at local and national levels in many cases are not sufficiently in place to allow them to use these new resources to their full potential,” Roy explains. “In addition to the pedagogical interest of the report, related issues of image supply, support and infrastructure make up much of its fabric.”

Key findings include:

1. Tools and services are badly needed to assist faculty organize, integrate, catalog and manage their personal collections. Most faculty use images from their personal digital image collections (91 percent), assembled from many sources, rather than from licensed (30 percent), departmental (19 percent) or library collections (14 percent). Campuses should define and enhance the relationship between individual faculty collections and emerging institutional collections.

2. Available resources need to be made easier to find. Faculty are often unaware of digital image resources on campus and as a consequence expensively-produced, often licensed resources go underused. Similarly, while faculty call for high-quality, dependable and free online databases of images, these often do exist, but evidently need to be better publicized and more easily discoverable.

3. Fair Use is vulnerable on many campuses. For several reasons, visual resource curators and instructional technology departments are often risk-averse and shy of exploring the possibilities for faculty to legally use copyrighted digital images in their classrooms and on closed course websites. Creating institutional copyright policy, with full community participation and expert copyright legal advice, is an important first step for campuses to be clear about legal responsibilities and the rights of intellectual property users.

4. Image “literacy” skills need to be developed for optimum use of digital images by teachers and students. As digital images become widely used, many faculty need pedagogical support, especially for ideas and assistance in how to use images most effectively, as well as for opportunities to share pedagogical needs and discoveries with their peers. In addition, students often fail to grasp the skills needed to work with images. Many need training in image literacy (analyzing or reading images, including maps), digital literacy (handling and manipulating image files), and image composition (creating and communicating through images).

5. Transitioning to digital image resources affects every level of an institution. Few appreciate the cross-institutional implications of creating digital image resources and the production and presentation facilities required to satisfactorily work with the new medium. Empowering and funding cross-department, cross-functional groups to make coordinated, informed decisions is one good way for laying the right foundations. Dedicated imaging centers can highlight issues, focus decisions and bring disparate parts of the campus together around the benefits that coordinated digital image production and delivery can bring.

This report is rooted in the faculty experience of going digital, as shown in 400 survey responses and 300 individual interviews with faculty and some staff at 33 colleges and universities: 31 liberal arts colleges together with Harvard and Yale Universities. Two-thirds of the survey respondents worked in the arts and humanities, 27 percent in the sciences and 12 percent in the social sciences. Faculty were self-selected.

The report is online at http://www.academiccommons.org/imagereport.

Men’s Soccer Reaches NCAA Tourney 2nd-Round


Sam Griswold, 2nd-team all-NESCAC, drives a ball past a Montclair opponent Nov. 11. The men’s soccer team had a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to end their National Championship run. (Photos by Peter Stein ’84)
Posted 11/17/06
A goal by Montclair State’s Bill Anthes in the game’s 18th minute held up as the home team Red Hawks, ranked eighth nationally, improved to 20-1 with a 1-0 victory over Wesleyan on Nov. 11 in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

The loss to the New Jersey school ended the Cardinals’ season at 11-3-3. It was the second year in a row that Wesleyan, currently ranked 23rd, saw its season conclude in the second round of the NCAAs.

Wesleyan defeated Baruch, 5-0, in the opening round three days earlier to advance to the game with Montclair State.

The Cardinals turned up the pressure in the second half generating a 7-2 margin on shots over the final 45 minutes but were shut out. The closest they came a was shot in the 79th minute by Jared Ashe ’07 off a Julian Canzoneri ’07 corner kick but were denied by a dramatic defensive save by a Red Hawk.

Ashe, pictured at left, was one of four Cardinals recently honored by the NESCAC with a spot on the all-NESCAC squad. He was a first-team choice along with Matt Nevin ’09 and Peter Glidden ’07. Sam Griswold ’08 was named to the second team.
 

By Brian Katten, sports information director

Faculty Receive Fulbright Scholar Grants


From left, Stephen Angle, associate professor of philosophy; Ronald Jenkins, professor of theater; and Jeff Rider, professor of romance languages and literature, received Fulbright grants for the 2006-07 year.
Posted 11/17/06
Three members of the Wesleyan faculty have been awarded Fulbright Scholar grants for the 2006-2007 academic year: Stephen Angle, associate professor of philosophy; Ronald Jenkins, professor of theater; and Jeff Rider, professor of romance languages and literature.

They join approximately 800 other U.S. faculty and professional who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Scholar program, which is sponsored by the U.S. department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Angle’s his Fulbright-sponsored study will take place at Peking University in Beijing, China to further his research, titled: “Sagehood: The Contemporary Ethical Significance of Neo-Confucianism.

Jenkins will travel to Bali, Indonesia in January to study “Messages of Tolerance in Balinese Temple Festival Performances” under the auspices of Bali’s College of the Performing Arts.

Rider’s Fulbright takes him to the University of Charles de Gaulle-Lille III, in Lille, France where he will pursue a translation of Galbert of Bruges’ “Journal.”

According to the Fulbright Program recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. For further information on the Fulbright Program: http://exchanges.state.gov.
 

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations

Goldsmith Family Cinema Dedicated Nov. 17


The Goldsmith Family Cinema was formally dedicated and celebrated Nov. 17 with the family.
Posted 11/17/06. Revised 11.20.06
When he was student at Wesleyan University, John Goldsmith envisioned his college having premier facilities for the burgeoning film studies major. On Nov. 17, Goldsmith returned to Wesleyan with his family to dedicate the Goldsmith Family Cinema, which is housed in the new, award-winning film studies building on Wesleyan’s campus.

“This is just the latest addition to a long-standing labor of love in honor of Jeanine Basinger and the film studies program,” says Goldsmith, the CEO of Metropolis, a Los Angeles-based talent firm that represents artists and writers working in animation. Goldsmith is also president of Metropolis Productions, a production company that creates innovative animated television series and commercials.

“John was an outstanding film major, smart, hard-working, and totally committed,” says Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller professor of film studies and chair of the Film Studies Department. “One thing that stood out about him was his concern for the future of our major. Even as an undergraduate he was looking ahead, planning, and helping shape what would come after him.”

The naming of the cinema came through a generous gift from the Goldsmith Family Foundation.

“The Goldsmith family–John, his mother, and brother and sister–were the first people to provide tangible support for the Cinema Archives at Wesleyan,” Basinger says. “It all started with them. Over the years, we’ve become close friends.”

Wesleyan’s Cinema Archives currently reside in a wood-framed house on Washington Terrace, a formerly free-standing building which has been incorporated into the opulent new film studies building. The construction of an expanded, state-of-the-art cinema archives building will soon begin.

In many ways, the Goldsmith Family Cinema is the centerpiece of the new film studies building, which in 2004 won a prestigious citation by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The Goldsmith Family Cinema is one of the best-equipped and designed film viewing spaces on the east coast, if not the entire country. The screening room contains projectors that can show 16 mm, 35 mm and 70mm films, as well as variable speed projectors essential for viewing silent films. There is also equipment to screen a variety of digital formats, including VHS and Digi-Beta video All formats are presented in the best possible light and sound with impeccable sightlines.

While providing an ideal space for film viewing, the cinema is also specifically designed to accommodate the active study and discussion of film. A podium is equipped to permit speakers to control sound, lighting, microphones, and the screen curtains. Also there is an integrated computer panel to permit the use of peripheral equipment such as laptop computers and other devices.

The events on Nov. 17 will included a private dinner with the Goldsmith family, Basinger, members of the film studies department, and invited guests including Wesleyan Trustees. At 8 p.m. the Goldsmith Family Cinema was formally dedicated and celebrated with a brief ceremony followed by a screening of the classic Buster Keaton silent film “Sherlock JR” with live organ accompaniment.

“Inaugurating the cinema with a film like this, is so much fun,” Goldsmith says, his voice filled with enthusiasm. “I really loved the time I spent as a student at Wesleyan, and my family and I have so much respect for Jeanine and what she has accomplished here.”
 

By David Pesci, director of Media Relations. Photo by Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor