|Nikhil Melnechuk 07 and Jessica Posner 09 are co-producing a week-long theater event based on Suzan-Lori Parks 365 Days/365 Plays. The plays will be shown throughout campus and the Middletown community this month.|
| In November 2002, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks committed to writing a play a day for 365 days. Since November 2006, this year of new plays has been debuting across the country as 365 Days/365 Plays.
Wesleyan is among 52 universities and more than 700 venues taking part in this project, and will perform eight of Parks plays Feb. 5-11.
Wesleyan is making history, explains co-producer Jessica Posner 09. This festival is the largest theater collaboration in U.S. history, and Wesleyan gets to be part of that. It is very exiting.
According to Posner and co-producer Nikhil Melnechuk 07, Wesleyan’s take on 365 Days/365 Plays will use Parks’ plays as a centerpiece for a week-long festival that attempts to re-contextualize every interaction as theater.
Wesleyan students will act in the plays, changing roles each time the play is re-performed. Each one of Parks plays runs about 10 minutes long, and will be performed seven times a day at seven different venues.
These plays are about finding connections either with each other or within yourself, says Melnechuk 07. They manage social critique without being didactic because of their absurd humor and circumstances.
Melnechuk and Posner have devoted more than 40 hours a week for four months preparing for the event. They are encouraging their actors to exercise their creativity so no play is performed the same way twice. The plays do not have sets; actors will rely on costumes and props to help tell the story.
Plays will take place all over the campus, such as in Pi Café, Davenport Campus Center and the Science Library. Olin Library will host and interactive piece titled 365 Tasks.
The Opening Ceremony, scheduled at 8 p.m., Feb. 5, in the Center for the Arts Theater, will feature a talk by Metzgar and Rugg, and a performance by Gina Ulysse, assistant professor of anthropology and African American Studies. During the week of performances, prominent speakers will be brought to campus including the 365 National Festival producers Bonnie Metzgar and Rebecca Rugg. Lectures, performances and workshops will be offered by distinguished artists such as Joseph Roach, professor of theater and English at Yale University; Christine Mok, a Ph.D candidate at Yales School of Drama, and artist-in-residence poet/activist Amiri Baraka, who perform with his septet Blue Ark Feb. 9.
Wesleyan will also present a large scale, town-wide festival that showcases Wesleyan and Middletown life and culture. It will include workshops, performances, lectures, demonstrations and discussionsall free and open to the public. This festival includes The Write-On Marathon where Wesleyan students and members of the Middletown community can try their hand at Parks project by writing a play a day. Five winning entries will be performed on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Cinema. Submissions will be accepted throughout the week (for more information on how to participate, visit www.wesleyan365.com/write.html).
We want people to see theater as an essential component of everyday life, using the plays by Suzan-Lori Parks as the point of departure, Posner says.
A gala performance of all the plays will take place at 8 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Patricelli ’92 Theatre with a reception to follow. The plays will be performed by actors Michael Chandler 08, Jennifer Celestin 07, Maya Kazan 09, Garrett Larribas 07, Jermaine Lewis 09 and Carter Smith 09. Steven Sapp, founding member of New York Citys acclaimed poetry/theater ensemble UNIVERSES, will be conducting an open theater workshop from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 10 and will open the performances at 6 and 8 p.m. with a solo piece.
Festival coordinators raised over $6,000 to put on the week-long event. Sponsors include the Center for African American Studies, Center for the Arts, Theatre Department, Second Stage, Wesleyan Student Assembly, Adelphic Education Fund, Community Development Fund, Feminist Gender and Sexuality Studies, Ethics in Society Program, Office of Affirmative Action, and the fund for Diversity and Academic Advancement.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
| Howard Bernstein, a long-time visiting professor at Wesleyan, died Jan. 15, 2007 at the age of 63.
Bernstein was a member of the Wesleyan faculty from 1979 to 2001, during which time he taught in the College of Letters, the History Department, the programs in Educational Studies and Science in Society, and in Wesleyans Graduate Liberal Studies Program. Bernstein also was a major contributor to the Masters of Arts in Teaching Program. In addition, he supervised a large number of senior honors theses.
Bernstein earned a bachelors of arts from the City College of the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. Before coming to Wesleyan he taught at Brooklyn College, City College, York University and Yale University. For the past five years, Bernstein was a mentor and educator at Suffield Academy in Suffield, Connecticut.
Bernstein was a world-renowned expert on the work of the German scholar G. W. Leibniz and was a major contributor to a series of international conferences on Liebniz held in Germany in the early 1980s. He also published a number of works on Diderot, Einstein, and on Marxist philosophy. He was passionate about music, particularly classical choral music, and was an avid athlete.
A memorial service is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 6 at St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, in Manhattan.
In lieu of flowers, Bernsteins daughter Christina has asked that those wishing to remember him consider a contribution to one of the many organizations Howard supported. These include The Center for Constitutional Rights, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Innocence Project, Equal Justice Works, Lambda Legal, and Electronic Privacy Information Center.
by Olivia Drake •
|Maria Cruz-Saco, dean of the college, will leave Wesleyan to conduct a study at the Universidad del Pacifico’s Research Center in Peru.|
| Maria Cruz-Saco, dean of the college, will leave Wesleyan at the end of her contract in June 2007.
At the invitation of a United Nations office and Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru, Cruz-Saco will lead a study on aging, equity and income security in Peru. While leading this study in 2007-08, she will be a Fulbright Scholar at Universidad del Pacifico’s Research Center. In 2008-09, Cruz-Saco will resume teaching as professor of economics at Connecticut College.
My response when I heard the news was that as a former economic development person, I could only celebrate Maria’s mission, says President Doug Bennet. I want to thank Maria for her extraordinary leadership as Wesleyan’s dean.
Under Cruz-Sacos leadership, Wesleyan created the Office for Diversity and Academic Advancement, enhanced First Year Matters through collaborations with the Center for the Arts and the Office of Academic Affairs, introduced a new peer advising program, integrated orientation for new and international students and created opportunities for rich educational experiences outside the classroom. Wesleyan has established a task force that is articulating a vision for religious and spiritual life on campus, preparing the opening of the Usdan University Center, and better aligning student affairs with our educational mission. The dean’s office has grown in strength and has the capacity to handle a leadership transition.
Wesleyan is an exceptional place, students are bright and creative, the educational opportunities are rich, and I have been honored to serve as dean of the college and work with a splendid group of professionals, Cruz-Saco says. I know that I will miss being part of this community. But, I will come visit since I will be down the road when I get back from Peru!
Bennet intends appoint an acting dean for a year, allowing time for his successor to develop a sense of what the dean’s office requires and to organize a search for a permanent replacement.
I believe the acting dean should be a current faculty member or staff person who is familiar with the institution and able to provide leadership for a strong, ongoing enterprise, Bennet says.
Bennet welcomes nominations and volunteers, and will consult broadly with faculty, students, and staff as I review faculty and staff lists for candidates.
by Olivia Drake •
|Bon Appétit Management Company will provide the meals for the new university center.|
| Wesleyan is finalizing an agreement with a new dining services provider, Bon Appétit Management Company, to begin a new dining contract as of July 1, 2007.
The new company will provide campus dining in the new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center, Summerfields, Pi Café, WEShop and campus catering.
This was a difficult decision to make but also an exciting one, says John Meerts, vice president for Finance and Administration, and member of Wesleyans Dining Review Committee.
Bon Appétit says it cooks food from scratch with seasonal ingredients. The company aims to serve a wide variety of menu items at each meal, offering authentic and nutritious foods, even for vegetarian, vegan, kosher and international diners.
In addition, the new dining plan provides flexibility, including longer service hours and variety in meal plan options; and promotes sustainability and making socially responsible purchasing decisions in regards to produce, meat, seafood, eggs, coffee and disposable plates and service wear.
Bon Appétits proposal for the new campus dining program will maintain the current level of represented dining staff.
Much of the success Bon Appétit can anticipate at Wesleyan will depend upon the many staff members who have been a part of campus dining for years, Meerts says.
As the semester progresses, the Dining Review Committee will work with Bon Appétit to provide more detailed information about the future of campus dining.
Bon Appétit has agreed to have longer hours of operation to meet the varied schedules of students, faculty and staff. Summerfields will be open for lunch and dinner. Pi Café and WEShop will continue to operate hours similar to their current schedules.
While WesWings, Red and Black Café, Chic Chaque and Star and Crescent operate independently from the campus dining program, they will continue to offer alternative options in the upcoming year.
According to Rick Culliton, dean of Campus Programs and director of the university center, the second floor of the Usdan Center, known as The Marketplace, will offer All-You-Care-to-Eat meals seven nights a week, plus brunch on Sunday. During breakfast and lunch for the rest of the week, the Usdan marketplace will be open for retail dining. The café on the first floor of the Usdan Center will be open from 8 a.m. through late night seven days a week.
In addition, the Daniel Family Common, located on the third floor of Usdan, will serve as a faculty/staff dining room and be available for special events when not in use for residential dining.
We are very excited that the Usdan Center and our campus dining program will bring together the Wesleyan community in so many new ways, Culliton says. The convergence of these significant changes will transform campus life for all of us.
The Dining Review Committee met for six months with student focus groups. They relied on Wesleyan Student Assemblys Concept for dining narrative, which helped frame their efforts. The review committee included Meerts; Culliton; Annie Fox ’07; Chris Goy ’09; Deana Hutson, director of events for University Relations; Estrella Lopez ’07; Peter Patton, vice president and secretary of the university; Nate Peters, associate vice president for Finance; Joyce Topshe, associate vice president for facilities; and Michael Whaley, dean of Student Services.
Aramark Campus Services will continue to serve the Wesleyan community throughout the spring semester. The campus community is grateful to the Aramark management team for all they have contributed to the campus over the years.
We are excited about the challenges that lie ahead and look forward to working together to make Wesleyans dining program the very best it can be, Meerts says. Our goal is to be recognized by the campus community and by peer institutions as having a premier dining program.
For more information on Bon Appétit, go to: www.bamco.com
by Olivia Drake •
| Jim Lehrer P85, anchor of Public Broadcasting Service’s The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, will be the featured speaker at Wesleyan’s 175th Commencement ceremony, which will be held on May 27, 2007.
Lehrer began his career at PBS in 1972 and partnered with Robert MacNeil in 1973 to cover the Watergate hearings. In 1975, the two men began anchoring The MacNeil/Lehrer Report In 1983 the show became the nations first 60-minute television evening news program and was re-titled The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour.
Lehrer has been honored with numerous journalism awards, including a Presidential National Humanities medal in 1999. During the last five presidential elections, he moderated 10 of the nationally-televised candidate debates.
An accomplished writer, Lehrer has written 15 novels; his latest, The Franklin Affair, was published in 2005 by Random House. He has also written two memoirs and three plays. His daughter Lucy Lehrer is a member of Wesleyans Class of 1985.
This years Reunion-Commencement Weekend, which will run from May 24-27, will also mark the finale of Wesleyans 175th Anniversary Celebration. Wesleyans charter was granted on May 26, 1831.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations. Photo courtesy of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.|
by Olivia Drake •
|Civil rights activist Sonia Sanchez speaks during Wesleyans Celebration of the Life of Martin Luther King Jr. event Jan. 30 in Memorial Chapel.|
| Poet, author and civil rights activist Sonia Sanchez delivered the keynote address during Wesleyans Celebration of the Life of Martin Luther King Jr. event Jan. 30. She met King in 1957 and shared excerpts of Kings speeches with an over-flowing audience in Memorial Chapel.
Often in poetic rhythm, Sanchez spoke about her own life and the troubles she and her family faced as being poor, black Americans. She emphasized her years in New York City, and explained her struggle for identity. She talked about her involvement in the Civil Rights movement. She shared her opinions on war and offered advice to the students.
My brothers, my sisters. This is your century. Demand that this world moves forward in peace, she said. This is your country. This is your time. Learn what it means to walk upright as a human being in the 21st century. What does it mean to be human? You got to ask yourself that question.In addition to Sanchezs talk, Ruby-Beth Buitekant 09 and Melanye Price, assistant professor of government, offered a reflection; The Roadside Girls (pictured at right) and Ebony Singers provided song, and Kevin Butler, associate dean of Student Services, welcomed the audience.
Following an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.s Wesleyan Baccalaureate Address June 7, 1964, President Doug Bennet delivered remarks on King Jr.s history with Wesleyan.
To chronicle Kings visits, Bennet and staff consulted with several people who were part of the King era at Wesleyan and wanted to share their memories. Bennet thanked John Maguire, formerly a professor of religion at Wesleyan and president emeritus of the Claremont Graduate Schools; Willard McRae, an administrator at Middlesex Memorial Hospital, frequent adviser, and guide to Wesleyan students volunteering in Middletown; and Rick Tuttle, 62 who was a civil rights volunteer in Mississippi and Georgia in the summer of 1963.
The Wesleyan connection with King began when John Maguire joined the Religion Department at Wesleyan in 1960. As an 18-year-old student in Virginia, Maguire had by chance met and become a close friend of the then-21-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. who was studying at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. During the late 1950s, King had begun coming to New England to speak and raise money for the civil rights movement. When he arrived at Bradley airport, Maguire, who was by then studying at Yale, would pick him up and drive him to his speaking engagements.
These werent Kings first visits to Connecticut. When he was 16, after his first year at Morehouse College, he spent a summer working in the tobacco fields near Hartford. He came north for the good pay and the chance to observe race relations in New England. King later reflected that he was elated to find that he could sit anywhere in a restaurant and order food.
In May, 1961, Maguire and his department chair, David Swift, joined the Freedom Riders. They were jailed briefly in Montgomery, and later met with King. Maguire invited King to preach at Wesleyan, and arranged it so that Kings first visit to campus. On Jan. 14, 1962, King preached to an overflowing chapel. He stayed overnight at the university guesthouse on High Street in order to be available most of the next day to the College of Social Studies students and faculty.
In February of 1963, King preached at Yales Battell Chapel in the morning, got a ride from Maguire to his house at 44 Home Avenue, took a brief a nap, then preached again that evening in the Wesleyan chapel.
Early in 1964 President Victor Butterfield asked Professor Maguire to see if King would be willing to be Wesleyans end-of-school Baccalaureate preacher and to receive the universitys honorary doctorate degree. King agreed, but said that he had to make it tentative since he was not always sure of his schedule.
Then, on the Monday before he was to arrive for the weekend ceremonies, King went to jail challenging segregation in St. Augustine, Fla. Maguire and Kings chief aide, Andrew Young persuaded King to post bail on Saturday afternoon and fly to Bradley, arriving early Sunday morning.
Following his baccalaureate address, Maguire presented King with his degree and they stood while the crowd gave King a long, standing ovation. As they made their way from the platform back to North College, there was continuous applause. On Monday, King flew back to St. Augustine and reentered jail for another few days.
In 1966, King paid his last visit to Wesleyan, again to preach at McConaughy Hall. The audience overflowed.
The Wesleyan Board of Trustees was meeting on the weekend following Kings death in 1968. President Ted Etherington asked the meeting to adjourn early the morning after the assassination and move to the Chapel where he asked John Maguire to provide an informal eulogy for King.
The Wesleyan community has continued its commitment to civil rights and justice, Bennet said. Poet Sonia Sanchez keynote embodies that tradition.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration received funding from the Office of the Dean of the College, the President’s Office, and the Office of Affirmative Action, with planning and support from a committee of staff, students and faculty.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor and Elan Barnehama, university writer|
by Olivia Drake •
|Robert Boyd’s Xanadu is on display in Zilhka Gallery through March 4.|
| A new exhibit at the Ezra and Cecile Zilhka Gallery tweaks, condenses, and re-frames contemporary events into montages of quick cuts, representing a history of apocalyptic thought as a series of MTV-style music videos within a setting reminiscent of a discotheque.
Robert Boyd’s Xanadu is a synchronized four-channel video installation that probes society’s self-destructive impulse and parodies avenues of popular culture such as documentaries, news media, cartoons, and pop music. Xanadu takes its title from the 1980 American pop musical starring Olivia Newton-John.
One of the extraordinary things about Xanadu, beyond its content, is the way it engages the viewer physically and how that engagement actually relates to and reinforces its meaning, says Nina Felshin, curator of exhibitions for the Center for the Arts. In order to see all the projections, the viewer is forced to move around. The soundtrack of upbeat disco music not only provides a disjunctive counterpoint to the often horrific images of destruction but it makes you want to move your body to the beat of the music.
Hundreds of hours of archival footage of doomsday cults, iconic political figures, and global fundamentalist movements were mined for the exhibition. Introducing the theme of the Apocalypse, Boyds video Heavens Little Helper (2005) begins with an excerpt from Masada, a 1981 mini-series about The Zealots, a sect of Jews who defended their right to be free from an oppressive Roman regime but who finally succumbed through an act of mass suicide.
Fast-forwarding into family footage of seemingly wholesome hippies and children dancing in natural settings, Boyd marks the end of sunny popular culture in the U.S. with iconic images of the Manson Family. Continuing in this vein, the video incorporates archival footage of some of the most infamous doomsday-cult gurus and their devout disciples.
While this is not the intention of the artist, I came away feeling that if we don’t do something, if we don’t challenge what’s being served up to us, we will meet essentially the same fate as the victims represented in Boyd’s Xanadu, Felshin says. There is a subtext to this work which, as an activist I would characterize as a call to action or resistance.
Robert Boyd is an interdisciplinary installation artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. Xanadu premiered at Participant, Inc., in New York in 2006, and has also been presented in Beijing and London. The artist suggests that Xanadu is a conglomerate of our fears, paranoia, and prejudicesan envisioned Apocalypse in the process of becoming reality.
Xanadu is on display through March 4 in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, 283 Washington Terrace. Gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Friday. A New York Times review of Xanadu is online athttp://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9402E6DE1F3FF936A35756C0A9609C8B63.
by Olivia Drake •
|Barbara Schukoske, administrative assistant for the Office of Graduate Student Services, is a lifelong Middletown resident and remembers sledding down Foss Hill as a child.|
| Q: Barbara, when did you come to Wesleyan and what led you to the Office of Graduate Student Services?
A: I was hired as a department assistant on Feb. 6, 1989 to the Physical Plant Department, where I worked for nine years. I then transitioned to my current position of administrative assistant for Graduate Student Services on Sept. 28, 1998.
Q: Youve been acquainted with Wesleyan for many years. Why is that?
A: Wesleyan is an important part of my familys life. My father worked as a bouncer at one of the Fraternity Houses on High Street in the 1930s and also delivered milk for Daniels Farm Dairy to faculty that lived on campus at that time. My older sister received her MALS from Wesleyan in 1999, so the university has been a part of my life since I can remember. I do remember using the ice skating rink at Wesleyan and also sliding down Foss Hill a few times. In fact, my older sister once drove her Volkswagen Beetle down the steps by Olin until Public Safety caught her.
Q: Did you ever think youd end up working at the university?
A: My father always spoke highly of Wesleyan and about the people from the university. He thought it would be a great place to work. So, with his thoughts and advice in mind, when there was a position open, I applied. When I got the job, he was ecstatic!
Q: What is your role with the graduate students, who do you work with?
A: I pride myself as being the information person for the grad students and Wes community. Because I have worked on campus for 18 years, I have acquired the knowledge and contacts. I also work closely, and in correlation with the director, Marina Melendez.
Q: How many graduate students are there at Wesleyan?
A: There are approximately 200 graduate students in the MA and Ph.D programs in various stages of their careers.
Q: What typical problems or questions graduate students come to you for?
A: Students often come to me to ask questions of whom to contact with problems in housing, or with health insurance issues. Those seem to be the biggest reasons for their inquiries. Other questions include those on loan deferments, enrollment and registration, how to audit a course, and graduation issues. I also assist with projects like the new graduate admissions project. I am the behind the scene person that helps with the testing of the new process to ensure it will work correctly once it goes live. I also correspond with the graduate departments concerning new student information, and at the other end, when students are ready to graduate; I assist them to their final journey from Wesleyan along with the day-to-day operations of the Office of Graduate Student Services.
Q: Why is it important to interact with the students face-to-face?
A: I encourage the students to come in, for whatever reason, and chat. I get to learn about the student and the different cultures and they learn about me. Knowing each grad student personally, helps me to assist them better with whatever problem or concern they might have.
Q: What keeps your job interesting?
A: The graduate students. I love working with them. Everyday brings something new and some of the challenge of my job is to find the answer to some of the questions pertaining to any number of issues, whether its health insurance, housing concerns, or even directions around town, there is always something new and different everyday. A good example of this is the recent Graduate Career Day (LINK TO SNAPSHOTS) that was hosted by our office in January. It was an opportunity to do something a little different than the everyday duties of the office and it helped to benefit the graduate students, which is the most important thing.
Q: What special events do you hold for these students throughout the year?
A: Starting in August, we have a New Student Orientation for the new grad students, a day full of information to help acclimate to Wesleyan and the Middletown community. Shortly after that, we have an All-Graduate Picnic welcoming all graduate students back to the Fall semester. Throughout the year our office holds workshops on Immigration issues and exiting procedures for those students that will be graduating in May. The Graduate Student Association also has an agenda of events derived from funding through their student activity fee.
Q: Tell us about your Middletown roots.
A: I was born at Middlesex Hospital in 1957, one of triplets, two girls, one boy, or as my mother used to refer to us as, twins and a spare. I went to Middletown public schools. After high school, I found myself working a full-time job at a local book bindery to feed my addiction to muscle cars. I also acquired a fondness for painting and pin-striping cars and motorcycle gas tanks. Connecticut Dragway was my home-away-from-home from 1976 until it finally closed in 1982. I also met my husband Jim while drag racing. Hes a Middletown native, too, and works in town at Pauls Auto Body and Garage.
Q: What hobbies do you have?
A: Metal jewelry design, drawing, painting, singing, boating in the summer, wildlife rescue, collecting Santa figurines, and training, showing and using rottwilers as therapy dogs. I also enjoy long trail rides with my Pinto, Dakota. We bought a farm in 1994 that came with a four-stall barn and 3 acres of fenced property. I hadnt ridden a horse in nearly 20 years, but I soon began boarding horses, expanded the barn to five stalls, built a riding ring, and have taught beginners Western riding lessons.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
ON DEADLINE: From left, Laura Schick 08, Sophia Kim 08 and Jason Harris 09 work on filing prospective student applications and transfer student applications in the Office of Admission Jan. 12. Jan. 1 was the Wesleyan Class of 2011 application deadline.
Reyson Punzalan 07, in foreground, and Ellen Davis 07 alphabetize frosh applications. Punzalan worked more than 35 hours filing applications during the week.
Jenna Juwono 09, in foreground, works on filing Freeman Scholar applications, while Dmitri Lieders 07 works on applicant data entry. The Office of Admission received more than 7,000 applications this year. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)
by Olivia Drake •
| At top, The men’s ice hockey team played the HC Valvenosta in Laces, Italy over Christmas break while touring Europe and playing several games. At right, members of the team take in the sights in Innsbruck, Austria.
Below, Wesleyan plays the Caldaro Under-26 squad in Caldaro, Italy. (Photos contributed by Chris Potter)
| During the winter holiday break, the mens ice hockey team toured Germany, Austria and Italy, competing against four local club teams, and winning all the games while beating opponents by a combined score of 30-1.
Im afraid the competition there wasnt quite up to level we expected, said fourth-year head coach Chris Potter. But it still gave us a chance to skate, practice a few new things and improve our game overall.
The planning for the trip began almost two years ago. Wesleyan teams are permitted foreign travel once every four years. Following the 2004-05 season, Coach Potter and his upperclassmen began discussing options. We talked about the Czech Republic and Scandinavia, but in the end this trip won out, Coach Potter explained.
Using numerous fund-raising techniques to help cover the $1,900 cost per individual, the team accumulated enough money to bring a contingent of 36 people, including all 32 players, the three coaches and the head athletic trainer. They were joined by 30 family members, bringing the total for the trip to 66.
The three-country trip began in began in Munich, Germany, a city that left an impression on at least one player.
I thought our three days in Munich were the best, said forward J.J. Evans 09. It seemed so European and I thought the bratwurst was spectacular. Even though I got a kiss from an Italian girl on New Years Eve when we were in Bolzano, Im still going with Munich.
For team captain Will Bennett 07 Innsbruck, Austria was a favorite. He also said the location of the teams final contest against the Caldaro (Italy) Under-26 squad, an 8-0 Wesleyan win, was amazing.
This rink was dropped right into the countryside, Bennett said. It made you wonder how they managed to build it where they did.
Soon after returning, the Cardinals managed to get their skates back on for their regular-scheduled home games on January 5 and 6. Wesleyan won both to extend its current unbeaten streak to five games and hold a 5-3-2 overall record. It is the first time the team has held a winning record after 10 games since 1988-89.
Im seeing the team starting to gel, said Coach Potter. I think the trip was valuable and I made some interesting rooming assignments to help the players get more comfortable with each other. Im hoping the whole thing will pay off as the season progresses.
|By Brian Katten, sports information director|
by Olivia Drake •
|Ishita Mukerji, chair and associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, uses a UV resonance Raman spectrometer in her research at Wesleyan. Mukerji recently attended a conference in California, judging presentations on biomedical sciences.|
| Encouraging underrepresented minority students to pursue advanced training in the biomedical and behavioral sciences was the purpose of a recent conference in Anaheim, Calif. And the chair of Wesleyans Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department was there to help guide these students down that path.
Ishita Mukerji, chair and associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, was among 220 scientists around the country who attended the 2006 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), held Nov. 8-11.
The scientists volunteered their time and energy in judging the 1,048 poster presentations and 72 oral presentations.
The number of minority students in biomedical research is very small, Mukerji explains. I and my colleagues are committed to improving diversity in the sciences and this is a great opportunity to meet and interact with minority students. We would like to have more under-represented students at all levels in the sciences at Wesleyan and this is one way to interact with minority students and potentially recruit them to come to Wesleyan University.
Now in its seventh year, ABRCMS is the largest professional conference for biomedical and behavioral students. Over 2,500 people attended the 2006 conference including 1,633 students, 421 faculty and program directors and 418 exhibitors. ABRCMS is supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and managed by the American Society for Microbiology.
By volunteering as a judge, Mukerji served in one of the most important roles at the conference, explains Ronica Rodela, spokesperson for the ABRCMS.
The judge’s role in providing constructive feedback to student presenters positively enhances the professional development and advancement of students in their scientific research, Rodela says.
These presentations were given by undergraduate, graduate, post-baccalaureate students as well as postdoctoral scientists in nine sub-disciplines in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. The top 120 undergraduates received monetary awards of $250 for their outstanding research.
Mukerji says some of the research she judged was comparable to the research being done by Wesleyan undergraduates. On the other hand, there is a wide range of science presented at the conference, and some of the students are coming from two-year institutions that don’t have a lot of resources for doing science.
The judging process is an interactive one in which I usually talk to the students about their research project, their scientific interests and what their future plans are, Mukerji explains. Many of them are very enthusiastic about their projects and that makes the judging a lot of fun. On the whole I find it to be a very rewarding experience.
Mukerji is currently the chairperson of the Minority Affairs Committee for the Biophysical Society. For their annual meeting in March, she has arranged a panel discussion on “Recruitment, Retention and Mentoring of Under-represented Students.” Featured panelists will be representatives from MentorNet and Venture Scholars. Both of these organizations are committed to increasing diversity at all levels in the sciences.
For more information on the conference, visit www.abrcms.org. The 2007 ABRCMS is scheduled for Nov. 7-10 in Austin, Texas.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
|David Bodznick, the new dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, researches neuron signals in skate brains when he’s not busy with administrative duties.|
| When David Bodznick took on the role as dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics in July 2006, he became, in essence, a part-time mediator. In his new position, the professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, works as the liaison between the Wesleyans science and mathematics faculty and the administration.
For example, I have the chance to present the needs and aspirations of the Division III faculty to the rest of the administration, Bodznick explains from his office in Shanklin, and the responsibility of presenting the wider perspective and long range planning goals of the Administration back to the faculty.
Bodznick was nominated to the four-year position by former Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean Joseph Bruno, who is the current vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, and professor of chemistry. Brunos nomination came after hearing input from colleagues. They cited Bodznicks expertise and experience working as the director of Graduate Studies and chairing the Biology Department.
The position encompasses the departments of Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Math and Computer Science, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Physics and Psychology, and the Neuroscience and Behavior Program.
What really attracted me to the dean position was that it involves a lot of problem solving, he says. I enjoy trying to find the best solution that works most effectively toward the goal that needs to be met.
Bodznick has already set short and long term goals for himself.
For one, he wants to continue where Bruno left off, raising awareness and the visibility of the sciences at Wesleyan to the larger Wesleyan community and to the outside world. He looks for ways to support the continued successes of the science and math faculty in both teaching and research, and he encourages them to share their research with their students and the media.
He mentions the outstanding research on stem-cells and neuron replacement that are part of the recent Connecticut Stem Cell Initiative as a great example of the important work going on throughout the sciences at Wesleyan.
Bodznicks own research is on neuron signaling in the brains of vertebrates including marine fishes. In fact, every summer, Bodznick and his students move their lab equipment to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. There, the group is among 300 neurobiologists from all over the world working on research.
As dean, Bodznick will also work with the Science Advisory Council, which comprises several Wesleyan alumni and Board of Trustee members, to find ways to increase outside funding for undergraduate and graduate science programs. He hopes to increase the applicant pool for science majors and offer additional courses for non-science majors.
Too many Wesleyan students graduate without taking science courses, despite the fact that now, more than ever before, science literacy is a critical part of a liberal arts education, Bodznick says. We need to continue offering a large number of attractive, palatable classes for non-science majors so theyll want to include science courses in their curriculum.
The deans heaviest workload falls on the new science centers planning. This facility will house three departments and will likely replace Hall-Atwater, which has exceeded its useful lifespan. Bodznick, Wesleyans own facilities experts and a building committee of faculty, students and trustees, are meeting with architects. They are discussing the new buildings feasibility options from the size and location to program planning, and a renovation of Shanklin. Groundbreaking is expected by the end of 2009.
The at-home handyman says the new science center is one project hes very excited about.
To work on this from the beginning to end and see the ground breaking will be a major accomplishment, he says. Theres a lot to be decided and a lot of problem solving to do.
With his plate full of administrative duties, Bodznick has to devote less time to teaching, however it hasnt affected his research or interaction with Wesleyan students. He offers to present lectures in other classes, attends biology and neuroscience graduate student meetings and meets regularly with his four lab students. Next year, he expects new undergraduates to join his research group, and he looks forward to teaching them the methods of the lab.
Ask anyone and theyll tell you the best thing about working at Wesleyan is the students, Bodznick says. Id never want to lose contact with the students, so I do what I can to interact with them, even when Im not teaching as much.
|By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor|