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Book Publicist Promotes New Wesleyan University Press Titles


Stephanie Elliott, Wesleyan University Press publicist, is an avid Wesleyan Adult Fitness Program participant. She is currently training to run a half-marathon Oct. 13 in Hartford to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
 
Posted 08/07/07
Q: Stephanie, when did you start working at Wesleyan University Press?

A: December of 2003.

Q: What is the mission of WesPress?

A: To have a vigorous publishing program in the fields of poetry, dance criticism, ethnomusicology, scholarly science fiction, film studies, and Connecticut history. Our books are grounded in good scholarship, and have a variety of audiences, including scholars, undergraduates, and the interested general reader. Through garnering media coverage for our books and selling copies throughout the world, we are able to project the name and image of the University, enhancing its reputation as an academic institution of the highest quality.

Q: How do you describe your role within the Press?

A: As the publicist, I am the main liaison with the media, including book reviewers, reporters and radio producers. I also work to set up events for our authors. These are online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/authorevents.html.  My other responsibilities include upkeep of our Web site and submitting our books for a variety of national and international awards.

Q: Do you read all the books?

A: I don’t read all of our books from cover to cover, but do read at least a portion of each one to get a sense of the subject matter and who the intended audience is.

Q: How do you promote the books?

A: The main role I have in promoting new books is by trying to get review coverage. I keep a database of reviewers and reviewing publications. Using this database I create a mailing list of potential reviewers for each title we publish. The people on the list receive a review copy of the book or other promotional material. I also set up author events for some of our books. Events are particularly important for reaching poetry buyers.

Q: WesPress books have won several awards in the past. Are there any awards up and coming?

A: Yes. Alice Notley’s Grave of Light is now a finalist for the Quill Awards, in the poetry category. Reed Business Information, owner of Publishers Weekly, organizes the Quill Awards. The awards ceremony is broadcast on NBC. The winner will be announced in September. And Samuel Delany’s About Writing is a finalist for the Hugo Award, an important science fiction award that will be announced in late August.

Q: Is your work primarily done within your office?

A: I spend the bulk of my time in front of my computer, corresponding with the media and authors via e-mail, writing press releases, and preparing mailing lists. E-mail has superseded the telephone in many ways, but I still do find myself on the phone quite a bit, especially when working to set up events, where there are a lot of details involved.

Q: What are some of WesPress’s newest titles and where can people browse all the titles?

A: The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen, Jacob Weidenmann: Pioneer Landscape Architect, and Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the Work of Loïe Fuller are three of our upcoming books. We also have a new book by Jean Valentine, Little Boat, coming out soon. Valentine won the National Book Award for her last book, Door in the Mountain, published by us in 2004. All of our books are online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/.

Q: What do you like the best about being a book publicist at a university?

A: I love books, and I love the variety of books that we publish. I really enjoy meeting new people, so it is great to work with our authors and the media. Even if I only ‘meet’ them by e-mail or over the phone, it is really fun to interact with so many people who have such a vast array of interests. I enjoy working at a university press because I feel that we publish books that really add something to the intellectual life of both the academic community and individual readers who might not be affiliated with a university, but who still have a passion for reading and learning.

Q: Who do you work with at WesPress, and where is your office located?

A: I really enjoy working with Suzanna Tamminen, director and editor-in-chief; Leslie Starr, assistant director and marketing manager; and Eric Levy, senior editor. Our authors are wonderful people to work with as well. I often find that their passion for their work really becomes a motivating factor for me. We are located across from the Physical Plant Cady Building at 215 Long Lane.

Q: You’re an advocate for the Wesleyan Adult Fitness program. What programs do you take and why?

A: The Adult Fitness program and the Freeman Athletic Center are both wonderful resources that all faculty and staff should consider taking advantage of. The programs offered by the Adult Fitness program are free and offered daily at lunch time during the academic year. There’s really something for everyone. I’ve taken Pilates, which is a wonderful, low-impact way to stretch and strengthen your muscles, as well as the power stretch, dance and walk/jog classes. There are ballroom dance classes, water aerobics, rowing, and Tai Chi, too. You can find out more at the Adult Fitness web site: http://www.wesleyan.edu/athletics/adultfitness/.

Q: You’re training for a 13.1 mile, half-marathon run as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. When is this race and how are you training?

A: The race is October 13th, in Hartford. I train by running three times a week and cross training on the alternate days. To cross train, I work out using a stationary bicycle or strength train by lifting weights. During the academic year, I take part in Pilates or one of the stretching classes as well.

Q: What does your team raise money for, and why are you personally doing this? How can someone make a donation?

A: You can donate to my cause through my personal Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Web site at http://www.active.com/donate/tntct/Elliott.

The money goes towards research for new treatments for blood cancers, a field that has actually made much headway in recent years. The survival rate for children with leukemia has greatly increased, due to research for new treatments. So the cause is very worthwhile in terms of the progress that has been made. In the past, I have had friends whose immediate family members have been impacted by both leukemia and lymphoma. I’ve been getting mailings from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program for years now. It is a program that asks athletes to participate in running, walking, and cycling events, as well as tri-athalons, as a way to raise money and awareness for the LLS. When I received their new brochure this past spring, I happened to be getting back into running in a more serious way, so I decided to give Team in Training a try. I’ve found that their program is very supportive and really keeps you motivated to keep training.

Q: Aside from running, what are your hobbies?

A: I enjoy canoeing, hiking and fishing, and I do read a lot. I’m a member of the Byron Society, which is a group dedicated to the study of the Romantic poet, Lord Byron. The writers of the Romantic era are among my favorites. I also enjoy nonfiction. Right now I’m reading God is Red by Vine Deloria, a Lakota anthropologist. It is a very enlightening book. I’ve read the bulk of it while working out on the stationary bicycle at Freeman Athletic Center!

Q: Where did you go to college and what did you major in? Where were you working pre-Wesleyan?

A: I went to the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, majoring in liberal studies. I also participated in a graphic design certificate program at the University of New Hampshire, which was quite extensive as far as certificate programs go. And I attended the publishing program sat Pace University in Manhattan. Before moving to Connecticut to work at Wesleyan, I spent almost three years working as the Northeast region publicity manager for Arcadia Publishing, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Arcadia publishes pictorial histories of towns and communities around the country.

Q: Where are you from originally? Do you have family in the area?

A: I was born in Fitchburg, Mass., but my family moved to Wells, Maine, when I was 3. I grew up in southern Maine, where my parents and my older brother still live. Locally, I live with my boyfriend of three years, Colin, and our three cats Java, Mama Kitty and Snitter.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

History Detectives Helps Solve Wesleyan Book Mystery


Valerie Gillispie, assistant university archivist, holds a rare book, which was featured on PBS’s History Detectives in July. The book is stamped with the name and address of a 19th century female anarchist and possibly belonged to a deceased Wesleyan alumnus.
Posted 08/07/07
In June 2006, a book was discovered in the Wesleyan stacks related to the Chicago Haymarket Tragedy marked with an unusual stamp on the cover.

The book, written by August Spies, was titled Auto-Biography, and appeared to be stamped with the name and address of Lucy Parsons, a 19th century bi-racial anarchist who promoted better labor conditions. Parson’s husband was among those convicted and executed in 1887 for bombing police during the Haymarket riot; police kept her under surveillance for the rest of her life. Parsons died in 1942 from smoke inhalation, and about 1,500 of her books and papers were confiscated by police and disappeared.

1887-published artifact to Special Collections and Archives, where the book encountered a deep investigation.

“How, then, did one of her books end up in the Wesleyan stacks,” asked Valerie Gillispie, assistant university archivist, who received the book. “Did this book actually belong to Lucy Parsons? Is the stamp authentic? Is the book rare?”

Gillispie called the producers at PBS’s History Detectives, who agreed to investigate. In January 2007, a crew came to Wesleyan to see the book and film. For 12 hours, History Detectives filmed scenes on the front steps of Olin Library, the Smith Reading Room and College Row.

The show aired on July 16 with surprising findings.

Although the late 19th century book was declared authentic, based on the age of the paper and typography, the stamp did not prove it ever belonged to Lucy Parsons.

“It turns out, Lucy was selling several copies of Spies’ book to raise money, and she probably stamped her name and address on the books so people who bought the books would know where to go for more anarchist materials,” Gillispie says. “So, the book probably didn’t belong to Parsons, but it still was a big part of that historical movement.”

Nevertheless, the book and stamp are both rare finds. An antique book dealer interviewed on the show said he’s never seen a Lucy Parsons stamp before, and for good reason. In the 1920s, the attorney general raided hundreds of 5radical headquarters and destroyed anarchist-related reading materials. Somehow, this Parsons-stamped copy survived – and ended up on Wesleyan’s shelves.

In a world-wide catalog search, Gillispie says she can only locate 30 copies of the Spies’ autobiography. And based on the History Detectives show, she believes Wesleyan owns the only copy with the Parson’s stamp inked on the cover.

“All evidence of Lucy Parson’s existence was discarded, so it is amazing that this book with her name and address survived. It’s probably passed through many, many hands and that alone makes it a very significant piece,” she says.

But how did the book end up at Wesleyan? That’s one answer History Detectives was unable to find.

Olin Library records show Spies’ book was added to the stacks collection in the early 1970s, and it was checked out six times in the past 10 years.

Gillispie suspects the book might have belonged to Harry Laidler, class of 1907. Laidler, who wrote many books about the labor movement and socialism, died in 1970, and left his personal library of 800 books to Wesleyan. Many of these books and pamphlets were related to labor movements.

“It would make sense, based on the time the book was catalogued, that Laidler owned this book. It’s just a hunch, but it’s the best guess we have,” she says.

The book will be recatalogued and stored at Special Collections and Archives’ rare book collection. The book cannot be checked out, but it is available to the public for viewing.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Hughes Fellows Present Summer Research


Neuroscience and Behavior major Jeff Walker ’08 speaks about his research titled “Does inhibition lead to greater spike timing precision?” during the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences Poster Session Aug. 3. Walker’s faculty mentor is Gloster Aaron, assistant professor biology, neuroscience and behavior.
Posted 08/07/07
In the United States, approximately 80,000 adolescents try cigarettes for the first time each day. Psychology major Michael Raymond ’08 was curious to know why.

As a fellow in the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, Raymond had the opportunity to identify predictors of nicotine dependence onset in adolescents. He spent his summer working with faculty mentor Lisa Dierker, associate professor of psychology, on nicotine dependence research. On Aug. 3, he had the opportunity to present his findings during the Summer Research Poster Session.

Raymond was one of 65 summer Hughes Fellows and other summer research undergraduates to share his work to faculty, graduate students, fellow undergraduates and other visitors. The posters were on display inside the Exley Science Center lobby.

“The Poster Session is always a nice opportunity for the Wesleyan community and public to get a sense of the spirit and accomplishments of our undergraduates’ research experiences throughout the summer,” says Michael Weir, director of the Wesleyan Hughes Program.

Chemistry major Allison Isaacs ’09 (pictured above) spent her summer conducting research on a project titled “Exploring the Mechanism of the Feist-Benary Reaction” with Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry. Products of this type of reaction include a class of compounds which are common among pharmaceutical drugs, and hold much promise in the future of medical treatment. Chemistry major Max Loewinger ’08 (pictured at right) also worked with Calter on a pharmaceutical-related project titled “Asymmetric Synthesis of Substituted, Unsaturated, Aryl-N-Ocyisoxazolidines.”

Biology majors Evan O’Loughlin ‘08 (pictured at right) and Kepa Eizaguirre-Borreson ’08 presented their poster titled, “Mapping Gene Expression of the Scapula in the Chick Embryo.” The students worked with faculty mentor Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, on their experiment, which involved a study of a chick’s development of a lateral plate.

Other projects included a study on the synthesis on Glycinol by Joshua Porter ‘08; analyzing bacterial diversity by Andrew Burger ‘09; the usability of an ecotype simulation program by William Warner ‘08; and biodiversity in Middletown, Conn., by Nick Field ’09 to name a few.

Prior to the poster session, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, delivered a public lecture titled “Through the Looking Glass of Ecological Analysis.” In addition, prospective undergraduate applicants and area high school teachers were offered laboratory tours.

Hughes Fellows are supported by a Hughes grant, awarded to encourage participation and interest in the life sciences by undergraduates. The grant supports summer research by a large number of Wesleyan undergraduates; in the summer of 2006, 48 students were supported, some in conjunction with other funding sources. The Fellowship includes a stipend and participation in Hughes activities.

For more information on the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences Summer Research Program go to : http://www.wesleyan.edu/hughes/summer_program.htm.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Women Scientists Gather, Write at Retreat


Posted 08/07/ 07
Last year, Suzanne O’Connell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, attended a meeting with scientists from around the world. Out of the 40 participants, she was the only female.

“This was 2006, not 1973, and with an organization that had had a pretty good track record for involving women,” she recalls. “It’s amazing to me that I was the only woman.”

It is this type of disparity that inspired O’Connell, pictured at left, to undertake an initiative designed to retain more women in the geosciences. With support from a recent National Science Foundation award, O’Connell co-created Geoscience Academics in the Northeast (GAIN), a program specifically for women geoscientists located in the Northeast.

From July 29 to Aug. 3, 18 women from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, New Jersey and even Illinois, gathered for the first GAIN writing retreat near Boston, which offered camaraderie and a focused environment for writing. The women were offered professional writing guidance from Anne Greene, director of writing programs at Wesleyan. They also shared feedback and left with a paper or grant proposal ready for submission.

“Our goal is to help women from all academic levels take part in a community that stresses professional development in the geosciences,” O’Connell explains. “Through GAIN, we hope to increase the retention of women in geosciences programs here in New England, and eventually spread throughout the country.”

GAIN, online at www.wesleyan.edu/gain is a result of the project “Building a Community of Women Geoscience Leaders,” a project developed by O’Connell and Mary Anne Holmes, research associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The entire project is funded by the NSF’s three-year ADVANCE Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation and Dissemination award of $488,367.

According to the National Science Foundation, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in almost all science and engineering fields, constituting only approximately 25 percent of the science and engineering workforce at large, and less than 21 percent of science and engineering faculty in four-year colleges and universities. Women from minority groups underrepresented in science and engineering constitute only about 2 percent of science and engineering faculty in four-year colleges and universities.

O’Connell says recruitment of women in the sciences, and retention of women in the sciences are the two largest problems causing the low female numbers. Stereotypes, such as “women are not good in math” are still common, even in this day of age, she says. She mentions Lawrence Summers, who served as president of Harvard University from 2001-06, who caused uproar with women academics when he said innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers.

“Girls, even at a young age, are still feeling that they don’t belong in the sciences, and they carry these ideas, these prejudices, with them from middle school into high school and then into college,” O’Connell explains. “It’s a very hard thing to overcome, so we are not able to recruit as many women into the sciences.”

This is called the “leaky pipe” syndrome, where fewer and fewer women are sticking with an educational path in the sciences.

The women who do become scientists face biological challenges. After receiving a bachelor’s, then master’s and Ph.D and moving into an academic position, they are pressured into being awarded tenure, a period of six or seven years that can “be the hardest years of your life,” O’Connell says.

“So by the time a woman receives tenure she is in her mid-thirties.” O’Connell says. “Professionally this might be an excellent time to start having a family, but not biologically.”

O’Connell and Holmes, both members of the Association for Women Geoscientists, will implement additional writing retreats and professional development workshops to provide women necessary skills to reach their full potential as academic and scientific leaders. These workshops will address strategies to increase department diversity, while providing a productive environment for all faculty.

O’Connell speaks more about problems recruiting women to the sciences in this National Public Broadcasting production at:  http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wnpr/local-wnpr-604847.mp3
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

The Wesleyan Connection: Campus Snapshot

SNEAK PEEK: Rick Culliton, university center director and dean of campus programs, and Tim Shiner, director of student activities and leadership development, lead a private tour of the new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center June 22. Pictured is one of the new dining areas.

The newly-carpeted dining area on the third floor also has a lounge with a fireplace and a plasma television.
Wesleyan Station’s new student mail box center.
Staircase between the ground and second floor.
New student dining services.
Main student lounge area. A student help-desk will be placed in the center of this room.
A view from the second floor looking at Fayerweather. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Events Coordinator Jeff Chen Schedules, Attends Center for the Arts Performances


Posted 07/11/07
Q: Jeff, when did you come to Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts?

A: I started my work as the CFA’s events coordinator in the fall of 2005.

Q: What is your role as an events coordinator?

A: As events coordinator, my primary job is to help the Center for the Arts in planning the logistics and details of bringing high-caliber visiting artists and performing ensembles to Wesleyan, after they have been contracted. In this role, I help to make sure that our visiting performers have everything they need, so they can focus fully on their performances and residency activities with the Wesleyan students and community. Barbara Ally and I manage the CFA Events Student Staff of 30-plus students, maintain the scheduling system for the CFA buildings and rooms, and help to oversee the events.

Q: How many performances does the CFA put on, and who attends?

A: The CFA is responsible for the programming and management of nearly 400 events annually for our audience of faculty and staff, students and community members.

Q: How do you advise a group to choose one space over another?

A: Barbara Ally and I like to meet with the groups that present programs in our spaces, so that we have a chance to talk through their needs and expectations in order to help them produce the best show possible. Generally, we look at performance needs. Are they a large dance group that requires a lot of room or are they a small jazz combo that could perform in a small, intimate setting? We consider their potential audience size, availability of venue, number of other performances happening on campus, and, of course, the preferences of the performing group. We have found that meeting with these groups in their planning stages helps immensely, and gives them a chance to learn more about how to put-on and organize a successful performance.

Q: If a group wants to reserve a space, how many weeks in advance must they do so?

A: A group looking to reserve performance space at the Center for the Arts should contact the CFA Events Office at 860-685-2687 at least 6 weeks prior to the performance date. For more questions about how to reserve a space, please contact us via phone or e-mail at cfascheduling@wesleyan.edu.

Q: What else goes into planning events at the CFA?

A: There’s a lot that goes into planning the events at Wesleyan, and often involves the entire staff of the Center for the Arts. The CFA’s mission is to present the highest caliber of visiting artists who serve to extend and enhance Wesleyan’s curriculum through public performances, exhibitions and residency activities with Wesleyan students. We work collaboratively with both the academic arts departments and community at large in order to focus on our programming on work that is of the highest caliber, innovative and global in scope.

Q: Do you attend all the events you coordinate? Do you get to watch them or are you busy working?

A: I do attend most of the events that we coordinate at the CFA. I do get to watch the performances, but often, there are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that requires me to be backstage or in another part of the venue.

Q: What goes on during your day?

A: My job is really split into two positions. During the day, I’m often in the office, doing all the logistical planning of the events, talking with the artists and agencies, as well as our service providers and in-house staffs. On performance evenings, however, I also act as the general manager of our venues, and I’m on-site at the events, overseeing the performances, and our student events staff.

Q: Do you have a personal interest in the arts? If so, what type of arts?

A: I have a deep, personal interest in the arts, as I’m an active musician and artist myself. I am also an advocate for arts awareness, and I believe strongly in the importance of developing and supporting local arts education.

Q: Where did you attend college and what did you major in? What led you to work at Wesleyan?

A: I completed my bachelor’s degree in music and my master’s in business administration at the University of Connecticut. I was drawn to Wesleyan because of its reputation for presenting high-caliber performances with an emphasis on bringing in innovative artists who are challenging and changing the way everybody thinks about the arts.

Q: What do you favor most about working at Wesleyan?

A: I love being at Wesleyan! It’s a fantastic school, and I’m honored to be a part of the Center for the Arts staff. Even though the job sometimes has long hours, last minute emergencies, and a lot of hard work that the audience never sees, it’s a great job and after the performances are over, the artists have gone off to the next stop on their tour, and the audiences have gone home, we’re eager to start planning the next big performance.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I’m an active musician still, and I play electric cello in a progressive rock band called The Cargo Cult Revival. We’ve been touring off and on, and we’re hard at work on our second self-produced album. I also like to cook, read, write, make jewelry, and play video games in my spare time. I’m happily married to my wife, Colleen, and we have a wonderful cat, Steve-O, who graciously lets us live with him.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Manager of Restricted Funds Supervises Million-Dollar, Special-Purpose Accounts


Kim Savinelli, manager of restricted funds, oversees the accounting aspects of about 1,200 grants and monetary gifts given to Wesleyan for a specific – or restricted – purpose.
 
Posted 07/11/07
When a donor specifies how his or her money should be spent at Wesleyan, Kim Savinelli makes sure the donor’s wishes are met.

Savinelli, manager of restricted funds in the Office of Finance and Administration, insures that all special-case gifts, grants and endowments are spent properly. Restricted funds range from grants awarded by federal agencies to monetary gifts made by alumni for a specific purpose.

“Every gift needs to be input into our system and tracked,” Savinelli says. “And similar to an auditor, I need to verify that every gift gets allocated to the right account, and all Wesleyan’s restricted funds are spent properly.”

Managing Wesleyan’s restricted accounts is primarily accounting work, but Savinelli often meets with staff outside of the Office of Finance. Her biggest “clients” are University Relations and the faculty.

University Relations, Wesleyan’s development department, brought in more than $35 million in alumni donations, gifts and endowments last year. Grants funded by federal, state and corporate foundations comprise another $8 million each year. Savinelli supervises how the restricted dollars are spent.

“Each restricted gift is unique in that a donor or corporation wants their money spent a different way, for example applying funds towards the new sciences building, financial aid, or even funding a professorship,” Savinelli explains.

In addition, she calculates how restricted endowment fund income is applied. Endowment gifts are permanently invested, and Wesleyan relies solely on the interest income they generate to support university initiatives. Restricted endowments will often pay for professorships, such as the J. Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy position, currently held by Bill Herbst, professor of astronomy; or the E.B. Nye Professor of Chemistry, held by Albert Fry, professor of chemistry.

“Endowment spending has lots of restrictions. Each fund is set up so that they’re buying units in a pool,” Savinelli explains. “My job is to figure out who gets what piece of the pie, and that the money is being spent appropriately.”

Once a gift is accepted, Savinelli enters it into a program to keep track of it, making sure it is being spent properly. She runs monthly reports on all the accounts, and trains others in the departments how to read and work with the reports.

Kim works closely with the office of stewardship in University Relations, providing information for personalized letters that are sent by the Stewardship Team, which is led by Anne Bergen.

“We let the donor know that Wesleyan has spent their money according to what the person or the organization wanted us to spend it on. That keeps everyone involved happy,” Savinelli says.

In between playing watchdog to some 1,200 accounts, Savinelli coordinates the annual federal and state audits. Savinelli says she loves working with numbers, however working as an account manager requires one additional skill she has mastered – organization. Papers on her desk are stacked neatly in a dozen piles, and account information from years prior is stored in colorful three-ring binders.

“I never throw anything away, so it’s important that I stay very organized and methodical,” she says, smiling. “That’s typical of an accountant. You have to be organized to get it all done. All the information I need is here at my fingertips.”

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Boston College, Savinelli worked at KPMG, a public accounting firm, specializing in non-profit agencies, where Wesleyan was one of her clients.

While working at KPMG, she received her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate. She then took a job as a controller at Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Mass. for two years, and ended up at Wesleyan in 1999.

Savinelli lives in Glastonbury with her husband, Robert, and daughters Kate, 6, and Allison, 4. She enjoys cooking, home improvement projects, and reading as part of a book club. She’s planning to try yoga this summer.

“I’m a high-energy person at work and at home, and I like to keep busy and try new things,” she says.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

All-American Ellen Davis Leaves Behind Exceptional Track Record


Posted 07/11/ 07
All-American track and cross country runner Ellen Davis graduated in May, but more honors just caught up to her.

Davis, pictured in the lead at right, was honored by the College Sports Information Directors Association of America (CoSIDA) in June as she was named a CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine third-team Academic All-American after gaining first-team District I laurels in cross-country/track.

The 10 first-team picks from each of the eight districts (80 total athletes voted upon by all the Sports Information Directors (SIDs) in their respective district) appeared on the national ballot with three squads of 15 named Academic All-Americans after review by a national committee of SIDs. Cross Country/Track is one of seven distinct athletic areas that has an Academic All-America team chosen. Football, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and men’s and women’s at-large are the other six areas.

An individual must have a GPA in excess of 3.20 to qualify for an Academic All-America award as well as be tremendously accomplished in a sport. Davis was just that with her long list of major athletic accolades.

Davis’ running career includes a 2007 NCAA Division III title in the indoor 5k event, a ninth-place showing among 279 runners for 2006 All-America laurels in cross country, and a New England Open title in the outdoor 10k with a trip to the NCAAs in the spring of 2007.

She was a three-time indoor track All-American capped by her first-place finish in 2007 and a two-time cross-country All-American while also competing in the NCAA outdoor track championships twice during her career. She had the fastest time in the country in the 5k outdoors this spring but chose not to compete in the event at the NCAA Championships May 26 in order to attend her graduation at Wesleyan May 27, where she received her degree in women’s studies.

Davis placed 10th in the 10k outdoors at Nationals. She set three indoor track team records in 2006-07 with best-ever times in the 3k, one-mile and 5k, and two outdoor marks with standards in the 5k and 10k this spring.

She leaves Wesleyan as the university’s second Academic All-American in the last two years.

Davis is spending her summer in North Carolina while looking for a position that will prepare her for a career in archival science and art history.

“Ideally I’d like something for a year or two, like an internship in a museum library, before going back for a master’s degree in archival science and art history,” Davis says.

As for her future running career, Davis has no specific long-term plans.

“I’m not planning any marathons,” she says, “but after taking a little time off from running recently I think I’ll start putting in the miles again just to stay in shape. But I expect the ‘runner’ in me will come out and I’ll start putting pressure on myself to perform. I’m sure there will be a road race or two in my future.”
 

By Brian Katten, sports information director. Photo courtesy of Eliterunning.com.

Medieval Studies Faculty Curates Exhibit on Italian Renaissance Man


Marcello Simonetta, assistant professor of medieval studies, romance languages and literatures, is the curator of a recent exhibit “Federico da Montefeltro and His Library,” in New York through September. Pictured in Simonetta’s hand, and below, are portraits of the Italian Duke da Montefeltro.
Posted 07/11/ 07
In 1475, the fully-armored Italian Duke of Urbino posed for a self-portrait in the ductal library with his son at his side. This famous oil painting, pictured at right, containing a 500-year-old mystery, is the centerpiece of a current exhibit, curated by Marcello Simonetta, assistant professor of medieval studies, romance languages and literatures.

Titled, “Federico da Montefeltro and His Library,” the show is on display through Sept. 30 at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, N.Y. Simonetta has studied Duke da Montefeltro since writing his Ph.D. dissertation at Yale.

“I have always been fascinated by this great patron of the arts, who was also a successful mercenary captain,” Simonetta explains. “The combination of refined taste and ruthless politics is what makes him a sort of archetype of the Italian ‘Renaissance man’.”

In 1444 at the age of 22, Da Montefeltro, the illegitimate son of the count of Urbino, was able to inherit his father’s title. He made his reputation as a condottiere, or hired commander, and invested a lot of his money in building a fairy-tale palazzo in Urbino. Its “crowning glory” was the richest manuscript library of the Renaissance. His books highlight his intellectual curiosity on theology, geography, poetry, history and astrology. He became duke of Urbino in 1474, and died in 1482.

The show includes an imposing eagle-shaped lectern from the Museo Diocesano Albani in Urbino; a group of illuminated manuscripts from the Vatican Library; one horoscope from Yale University; and one of the duke’s printed books from Bryn Mawr.

But it is the painting, perhaps by Justus van Ghent or Pedro Berruguete (scholars cannot agree on the source), that stands out in the exhibit. For more than 500-years, historians have questioned what manuscript the duke is holding in the portrait. Simonetta recently solved the mystery, saying it is Pope Gregory the Great’s interpretation of Moralia in Job. This text contained more than a half million words explaining the Book of Job.

“It is a very influential theological work, and it fits perfectly the Duke’s self-fashioning mania as a man of action who also poses as a champion of the humanities,” Simonetta says.

The revealing clues for Simonetta were the features of the original binding and the size of the manuscript. Because bindings were unique to each book in those days, Simonetta was able to do some academic detective work to confirm his suspicions.

In addition to curating the exhibit, Simonetta is the co-author of the exhibit’s 195-page hardcover catalog. The catalogue is lavishly illustrated, containing some of the best images from the Montefeltro Library. There are essays and entries from other scholars, namely Delio Proverbio, who discovered that half of Federico’s Hebrew manuscripts were looted in 1472 from the private library of a Jewish merchant, and Martin Davies, who proved that Federico owned at least 50 printed books.

In 2005, Simonetta proposed the exhibit idea to Morgan Library Director Charlie Pierce. Once approved, Simonetta sought funds through the Foundation for Italian Art and Culture. He managed to borrow all the pieces needed for the exhibit.

Simonetta, a native of Rome, began teaching at Wesleyan in 2001. He will direct the Eastern College Consortium (for Wesleyan, Vassar College and Wellesley College) from Bologna, Italy in 2007-08.

Simonetta’s next book, The Montefeltro Conspiracy. A Renaissance Mystery Decoded, will be published by Doubleday in 2008. It narrates the thrilling story of the attempted killing of Lorenzo the Magnificent and, in a series of twists, it ends up in the Sistine Chapel, revealing some hittherto unknown “coded” meanings of Botticelli’s and Michelangelo’s frescoes.

The Morgan Library is located at 225 Madison Avenue in New York. The exhibition will take place in the Morgan’s new Clare Eddy Thaw Gallery, a perfect Renaissance cube designed by Renzo Piano. The walls will be covered with digital reproductions of the ducal studiolo, with its inlaid wood panels and portraits of popes, philosophers and poets. For more information go to: http://www.morganlibrary.org/exhibitions/federico.asp.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor. Photo by Bill Burkhart, university photographer.

“Mac” Expert on Call for Wesleyan Computer Problems


Todd Houle, Macintosh Specialist for Information Technology Services, says e-mail-related questions are the ones he gets asked most frequently.
 
Posted 07/11/07
Q: Todd, when did you come to Wesleyan?

A: I came to Wesleyan in the summer of 1997 as the Macintosh Specialist for the Information Technology Service’s Desktop Support Team. While different responsibilities have come and gone, I’ve always been in our Desktop Support group. I also manage a couple of Mac servers such as our license server and file servers for a few departments.

Q: Each academic and administrative department is assigned a Desktop Support Specialist. What departments do you oversee?

A: I am responsible for Athletics, Office of Public Affairs, Wesleyan University Press and Classics as well as the Macintosh computers in other areas, such as English, Philosophy, the Office of the President and the College of Letters.

Q: When someone has a problem with a computer, what is the process to get the problem resolved?

A: It certainly depends on the problem, but the basic process is starting to resolve it from general to specific. Is it hardware or software? Is it a problem with the program or operating system? Using different methods, I can narrow down the cause until I can identify it and replicate it – then figure out how to resolve it.

Q: What are the most common problems Wesleyan employees have with their computers?

A: Many of the questions people have are about e-mail. I don’t believe it’s because e-mail programs are a problem, but because that is one thing everyone is doing every day – in many different ways. Home access is another popular question these days. People want to check email and work from home.

Q: And what are some of the oddball cases?

A: Oddball cases are almost always about rare programs or programs being used in non-standard ways. I recently had a question about why Eudora wouldn’t e-mail a giant video file to another user. Other times Microsoft Word randomly removes all toolbars. But having been doing this work for 15 years, there are not too many questions I haven’t come across before.

Q: Are you mostly in, or out of the office on calls?

A: In the past couple of years, I’ve been able to do more remote support thanks to the software included with Mac OS X. Working only over the phone is almost always too difficult. However, with remote control software, the user and I can both see the screen at the same time.

Q: How did you acquire your computer knowledge? And what interests you about these machines?

A: I began working in this field because it was a natural move for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to have computers around my whole life and understanding how they work was easy for me. As I went through college, people frequently turned to me for help with whatever problem they were working on. I started working officially in computer support during my sophomore year in college. Over the years, I’ve worked hard to expand my knowledge by reading and trying new things so that I could remain a resource for other people.

Q: Where did you go to college and what was your major?

A: I went to the University of Connecticut, majoring in philosophy.

Q: How does philosophy relate to computer technology?

A: Philosophy is more closely related to computers than people think – in one class we wrote simple programs as we discussed symbolic logic. Both computers and philosophy require logical, analytical thinking.

Q: Who else is a member of the Desktop Support Team, and you interact with each other often?

A: The Desktop Support staff is made up of myself, Phil Dean, Harriett Epstein, John Hammond, Sean Gomez, Shawn Hill and Ben Jackson. As the issues we tackle are very similar, we work very closely to share knowledge about problems we’ve researched.

Q: In 2006, you taught a Continuing Studies course on film editing using Apple’s iMovie. Do you enjoy teaching too?

A: I really enjoy teaching classes and hope to do it often in the future. While the iMovie class was my first time with the CRST program, I’ve taught iMovie and others many times within the ITS Training program. I’ve also been able to present at many conferences, such as NERCOMP – the NorthEast Regional Computing Program, so that I could teach my peers about different tools and techniques I’ve found.

Q: You are considered a “Mac” expert. How did you acquire PC knowledge? How many people at Wesleyan use one or the other? Is it half and half?

A: Anyone working in computers will at some point work on a Windows PC. As many of the things computers do are similar, the procedure for repairing them is similar. Different departments are dependent more on one platform or the other – the sciences and humanities use more Macs, while the economics and government departments tend to use more Windows computers. Administrative departments use almost all Windows computers, as the move to PeopleSoft a few years ago required it. Now that PeopleSoft is Web-based, we are beginning to see more Macintosh computers in administrative computing. Overall, faculty are about 50/50 split. Administrative computing is about 90 percent Windows and 10 percent Mac- with the number for Macs quickly growing.

Q: Aside from computers, what are your hobbies?

A: I have a great family at home who I love to spend time with. My kids are very involved in sports and music – my wife and I try to join them in those activities. My son is a great soccer player. Now he’s much better than me so I’m not much of a challenge for him but it’s still fun. I also coach my daughter’s soccer and softball teams and am involved in Boy Scouts with my son.
 

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor

Wesleyan Athletes Named NESCAC All-Academics


At left, cross country runners Owen Kiely ’06 and Ellen Davis ’07 were named NESCAC All-Academics. Kiley and Davis are among 64 athletes to receive the honor.
Posted 07/06/07
Sixty-four Wesleyan student-athletes from 28 sports were named 2005-06 New England Small College All-Academic (NESCAC) honorees.

To become an All-Academic, student-athletes must have met qualifying criteria, including holding at least junior status academically with one year’s residence on campus; being a starter or significant reserve on a varsity team; and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.35 or higher.
Founded in 1971, the NESCAC is a group of 11 highly selective liberal arts colleges and universities that share a similar philosophy for intercollegiate athletics. The conference was created out of a concern for the direction of intercollegiate athletic programs, and remains committed to keeping a proper perspective on the role of sport in higher education.
Wesleyan’s All-Academics include:

Alex Battaglino ’07, Men’s Cross Country, Men’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Tom Bendon ’07, Men’s Lacrosse; Taylor Bentley ’06, Men’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Beth Bernstein ’06, Softball; Nate Boon ’06, Men’s Crew; Matt Burke ’07, Men’s Lacrosse; Pat Butsch ’06, Men’s Ice Hockey; Nate Byer ’06, Men’s Lacrosse; Ian Carbone ’06, Men’s Squash; Adam Chamberlain ’07, Men’s Swimming & Diving.

Also: Cara Chebuske ’06, Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Marri Coen ’07, Women’s Soccer; Natalie Cohen ’06, Women’s Soccer; Ellen Davis ’07, Women’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Liz Dee ’06, Field Hockey; Bob Diehl ’06, Men’s Lacrosse; Penny Essoyan ’07, Women’s Track & Field (indoor); Wes Fuhrman ’05, Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field (indoor); Molly Gaebe ’07, Softball ; Gaza Govati ’06, Men’s Soccer; Anda Greeney ’07, Men’s Cross Country Men’s Track & Field (outdoors).

Also: Ryan Hendrickson ’07, Men’s Ice Hockey; Caitlin Herlihy ’06, Women’s Soccer; Nick Holowka ’07, Men’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Sarah Hopkins ’06, Women’s Soccer; Nate Huddell ’07, Men’s Cross Country, Men’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Noah Isaacs ’06, Men’s Soccer; Eiza Jones ’07, Women’s Swimming & Diving; Ed Kenney ’07, Wrestling; Max Kates ’06, Men’s Tennis; Owen Kiely ’06, Men’s Cross Country, Men’s Track & Field (indoor); Megan Kretz ’07, Women’s Cross Country; Jesse Leavitt ’06, Baseball; Stephanie Lasby ’06, Women’s Swimming & Diving; Alex Loh ’06, Women’s Squash ; Kevin Lohela ’06, Men’s Soccer; David Lucier ’07, Football; Katherine Manchester ’07, Women’s Squash.

Also: Dan Mays ’06, Men’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Sarah Milburn ’07, Women’s Basketball; Rob Mitchell ’06, Men’s Swimming & Diving; Tory Molnar ’07, Women’s Volleyball; Becca Morrell ’06, Women’s Soccer; Amy Nebenhaus ’06, Women’s Crew; Lauren Ogden ’07, Women’s Soccer; Joe Pepe ’07, Football; Jack Rooney ’07, Men’s Tennis; Amy Rouse ’06, Field Hockey; Gabe Roxby ’06, Men’s Track & Field (indoors); Deirdre Salsich ’07, Women’s Crew; Tori Santoro ’07, Women’s Tennis; Omair Sarwar ’06, Men’s Squash; Dave Scardella ’07, Men’s Ice Hockey; Jimmy Shepherd ’07, Men’s Basketball; Laura Siegle ’06, Women’s Lacrosse.

Also: Hannah Stubbs ’06, Women’s Basketball; Erin Smith ’06, Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Caitlin Thompson ’06, Field Hockey; Hal Tift ’06, Golf; Dave Tutor ’06, Men’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Seth Warren ’05, Men’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor); Eric Wdowiak ’06, Baseball; Rob Weinstock ’06, Football; Dana Wollman ’06, Women’s Crew.

Textbook Coordinator Chris Summers Dies


Posted 07/11/ 07
Chris Summers, textbook coordinator at Broad Street Books, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, July 6. He was a resident of Middletown.

Chris joined the team at Broad Street Books in January 2006. He was an enormous asset to our store. He was extremely diligent and detail-oriented, and he thrived on the ability to help both students and faculty with their needs. For his co-workers at the store, this is a tremendous blow personally. Everyone who interacted with Chris was aware of his quick wit, intelligence and humanity.

Chris is survived by his mother, Helen Morris Summers, three brothers, a sister, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Biega Funeral Home, 3 Silver Street, Middletown. The family will greet relatives and friends at the Biega Funeral home on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.