Campus News & Events

Wesleyan Launches Pilot Pre-Frosh Math and Science Program

Ishita Mukerji, dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, leads a lab tour.

Ishita Mukerji, dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, leads a lab tour.

New students interested in math and the sciences,  who want to get a jump start on their college experience, are taking advantage of a new program this summer.

The Wesleyan Physical Sciences and Mathematics Scholars Program will welcome 11 students from the Class of 2018 to campus for its debut summer session July 27-Aug. 1. An additional 11 students will participate online.

“We’re really excited to put this program into place,” said Ishita Mukerji, dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “One common variable among all these scholars is a very strong interest in science.”

Debbie Colucci is Equity Compliance Director, Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Deborah Colucci (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Deborah Colucci (Photo by Olivia Drake)

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we talk to Debbie Colucci, who came to Wesleyan in June 2014 as the new equity compliance director and deputy Title IX coordinator.

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Debbie! Please briefly fill us in on your professional and personal background. What makes you uniquely qualified to take on this position?

A:  Personally, I have always been committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment that addresses the needs of a diverse population and provides a rewarding experience for all individuals.  I have a master’s degree in college student personnel and higher education administration and, while my career in higher education began on a traditional student affairs/residence life path, my more recent experiences have afforded me the opportunity to develop a unique skill-set related to equity initiatives. After spending many years developing and presenting programs related to inclusion, I left residence life and became the assistant project director for the Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute.  The emphasis of that program is on communication, understanding, respect for differences, and contribution. That is when my career, and my understanding of my role in the world, shifted.

Wesleyan Media Project Expands Into Health Policy Analysis

WMP logoThe Wesleyan Media Project, which for the past two federal election cycles has tracked and analyzed campaign television ad spending, is expanding into the realm of health policy analysis with a new study examining media coverage accompanying the Fall 2013 rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace.

The question of inquiry: How did media coverage of the ACA (commonly called “Obamacare”) differ state to state—or even within states—and what impact might this have on new health insurance enrollments? Findings were published July 18 in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law from Duke University Press.

Croucher’s Middletown Dig Featured in Courant

Beman Triangle dig

The Courant featured an excavation at the historic Beman Triangle site in Middletown

The Hartford Courant featured an excavation at the historic Beman Triangle site in Middletown by Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, archaeology, and feminist, gender and sexuality studies, and her students.

According to the story:

The dig focuses on 5 acres of land known as the Beman Triangle, a historically significant African American community, enclosed by Vine Street, Cross Street and Knowles Avenue.

The project aims to find household items that will illuminate the daily lives of the area’s 19th century inhabitants…

Read more about the Beman Triangle archaeology project in this 2012 story in the Wesleyan magazine.

Read past Wesleyan Connection stories about the project here, and see an interview with Croucher about the project here.

See the project’s website here.

Beyond the University Makes a Splash

Wesleyan President Michael Roth is the author of a new book published in May 2014.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth is the author of a new book published in May 2014.

A June 10 note to the President’s Office at Wesleyan grabbed attention—Harvard’s Office of Undergraduate Education wanted help in quickly obtaining 125 copies of Michael Roth’s new book to distribute to Harvard faculty members.

The email was indicative of the excitement that Roth’s latest book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters (Yale University Press), has generated since it was published in May. The sixth book that Roth has authored, it has received substantial coverage in the national media and has helped put into historical context today’s debates over the value of a broad, liberal education. Roth reminds readers that accusations about the impracticality of liberal education date back to the days of the Founding Fathers, and are never less convincing than now. He draws on the writings of prominent thinkers such as John Dewey, Jane Addams, W.E.B. Dubois and Thomas Jefferson to make the case for a pragmatic liberal education.

Reviews of the book have appeared in The Washington Post and Inside Higher Ed, while a number of related op-eds and essays by Roth have been published in outlets such as The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe andThe Daily Beast. President Roth has discussed his book with The Atlantic magazine, and on public radio stations around the country.

Staff on the Move, June 2014

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departures for June 2014:

Newly hired
Maureen Zimmer was hired as the Academic Affairs coordinator on June 2.

Felicia Harrsch was hired as a research assistant on June 2.

Kendrick Wiggins was hired as a residential operations coordinator on June 2.

Lauren Davis was hired as a human resources coordinator/generalist on June 16.

Hira Jafri ’13, MA’14 was hired as an evaluation fellow/assistant on June 18.

Deborah Colucci was hired as the equity compliance director and Title IX coordinator on June 23.

Jeanne McNeff was hired as an administrative assistant for the College of East Asian Studies on June 25.

Mohit Bachhav was hired as a network specialist on June 30.

Departures

Jelisa Adair, Civic Engagement Fellow in the Center for Community Partnerships.

Zachary Fischman, Center for Prison Education Fellow in the Center for Community Partnerships.

Ann Gertz, administrative assistant in the College of East Asian Studies.

Ann Goodwin, associate vice president for development in University Relations.

Kimberly Ladd, sports information intern in University Communications.

Dale Lee, information services technician in Olin Library.

Dan Manuyag, senior assistant dean in the Office of Admission.

Veterans Join Class of 2018, Tour Campus

Wesleyan's Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars attended an academic immersion and campus visit July 10-11. The 10 scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. The students will join Wesleyan's Class of 2018. 

Wesleyan’s Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars attended an academic immersion and campus visit July 10-11. The 10 scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship. The students will join Wesleyan’s Class of 2018.

This is the inaugural year for Posse at Wesleyan; the university hopes to add 10 veterans per class for the next three years.

This is the inaugural year for Posse at Wesleyan; the university hopes to add 10 veterans per class for the next three years. Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation, stressed that the Veterans Posse Program seeks to recruit veterans “who have tremendous leadership potential to go out into the workforce and become major contributors” in whatever field they pursue. While typical college freshmen are 18 years old and straight out of high school, the average veteran entering college is in his/ her late 20s or early 30s, and has spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Summer Blooms, Berries, Bees in West College Courtyard

Following the principles of permaculture, the student group WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan) has transformed the West College Courtyard — once an eroded hillside with compacted soil and diseased trees — into complex ecosystems that provide food, attract insects and requires minimal resources and maintenance. The students also are working on a terraced garden near Summerfields. Follow the group’s progress on their blog.

Pictured are summer blooms, berries, bees and other bugs thriving in the garden on July 8. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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A yellow jacket collects pollen from a yellow cone flower.

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Since 2010, WILD Wes has worked to replace conventional energy-intensive lawns on campus with scenic, productive and engaging gardens.

Audrey Hepburn Stars in July’s Summer Film Series

Audrey Hepburn stars in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's. Hepburn was nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role as Holly Golightly. The film will be shown July 22 at the Center for Film Studies.

Audrey Hepburn stars in the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn was nominated for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her role as Holly Golightly. The film will be shown July 22 at the Center for Film Studies.

“Hollywood Icons: Audrey Hepburn” is the theme of Wesleyan’s Summer Film Series, sponsored by the College of Film and the Moving Image (CFILM). All four films, featuring Oscar-award winning actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in July.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the accompanying “Posters From the Collection” exhibition in the Rick Nicita Gallery.

All films will begin with an introduction by Marc Longenecker, CFILM programming and technical director.

All films are open to the public and are free of charge.

The films include:

Roman Holiday on July 8;
Sabrina on July 15;
Breakfast at Tiffany’s on July 22;
And Funny Face on July 29.

See the Summer Film Series website for more information and additional poster images.

Patricelli Seed Grant Winners Share Project Progress

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo '14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo '14 is JooMah's chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Seed Grant recipients Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 and Kwaku Akoi ’14 are spending the summer in New York running a social venture called JooMah, a web and SMS platform that helps African employers find talent and connects job seekers with opportunities. The recent alumni, and other members of the JooMah team have been conducting market research, building connections, honing their own business-related skills and are currently launching their service in Ghana. Oladapo ’14 is JooMah’s chief operations officer and Akoi is the chief executive officer.

In March, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded three student-led social ventures with a Seed Grant. Student representatives from each group received $5,000 in unrestricted startup funds as well as trainings, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

This summer, the students are putting their grants to good use.

Wesleyan Partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation to Grant Teen’s Wish of Becoming a Photographer

Wesleyan staff and the Green Street Arts Center are helping to make a dream come true for a Middletown girl with a life-threatening illness.

Hannah

During a “Wish Granting” Ceremony June 17 at the Green Street Arts Center, Middletown resident Hannah received multiple donations from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wesleyan University and Broad Street Books. Nikon donated a zoom lens.

Hannah Vecchitto, 14, is passionate about photography and received a brand new camera for Christmas. Her dream, which she shared with Make-a-Wish Connecticut, was for the opportunity to learn the camera and the art of photography, as well as have the technology to work on her own photography as a true artist.

Make-a-Wish Connecticut grants wishes for children between 2-1/2 and 18 years old who are suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. This year, the Connecticut chapter, one of more than 60 regional chapters in the U.S. and its territories, is on track to grant 170 wishes.

According to Michael Dominick, community and media relations manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, each eligible child is assigned two wish granting volunteers. The volunteers meet with the family, get to know the child and help figure out how to fulfill his or her wish. One of Hannah’s volunteers reached out to Wesleyan for help in granting her wish.

On June 17 at Green Street Arts Center, Hannah was presented with a new Nikon camera lens and Macintosh computer equipped with photo-editing software. She also was given coupons for lessons in photojournalism and nature photography with Olivia Drake, campus photographer and editor, as well as fine art photography and photo editing lessons with Roslyn Carrier-Brault, administrative assistant in the Chemistry Department and a photography teacher at Green Street. Green Street also offered Hannah an opportunity to exhibit her photographs later this year.

In addition, Broad Street Books outfitted Hannah and her brother with Wesleyan gear. Janan Unghire, owner of Sweet Pea Quilts & Crafts in Ivoryton, also is donating a photo quilt with 12 of Hannah’s photos.

Carrier-Brault, a cancer survivor, started taking photos 20 years ago and now focuses her craft on expressive art therapy.

“I am grateful to receive this amazing opportunity to share my love of photography. It my hope to provide Hannah with the skills to expand her natural photographic talents and to lead her into discovering that small inner voice, which sparks creativity into becoming a powerful tool for healing,” she said.

Like Hannah, Drake received her first camera at age 14. She’s been taking pictures of Wesleyan’s campus and campus events for almost 10 years, and photographs wildlife as a hobby.

“Hannah could have chosen a trip to Disneyland or another vacation, but her wish is to become a professional photographer. Photography is one way to tell a story. Through her photos, we’ll see what Hannah sees, feels and experiences,” Drake said. “I’m so touched and honored to help make Hannah’s wish come true. She’s a very special young lady, and based on photos that she’s shown me, she’s a pretty great photographer already!”

“We’re so glad that we could work with the Make a Wish Foundation to support Hannah in her dream to be a photographer. A great group of people donated their talents and passion to a beautiful little girl and we couldn’t be prouder of our team here at Green Street and Wesleyan,” MacSorley said. “I can’t wait to hear all about Hannah’s photography experiences and see her pictures hanging in our exhibit to share with the community.”

More photos of the June 17 “Wish Granting” Ceremony are below:

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The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut donated photo editing software as part of Hannah’s wish to be a professional photographer. Pictured at left is Hannah’s brother, Calvin.

Students Receive Patricelli Center Grants, Priebatsch Summer Internship

This month, five Wesleyan students received Summer Experience Grants, supported by the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. The honor comes with a $4,000 stipend to supplement costs associated with a summer internship experience.

The grants are available for Wesleyan sophomores and juniors currently receiving need-based financial aid who plan to do socially innovative or socially responsible work during summer break.

The recipients include Theodora Messalas ’15, Dara Mysliwiec ’16, Keren Reichler ’16, Geneva Jonathan ’15 and Jared Geilich ’15. In addition, film major Aaron Kalischer-Coggins ’15 received a Priebatsch Internship Grant. All grantees report on their experiences on the Patricelli Center’s ENGAGE blog.

Theodora Messalas

Theodora Messalas ’15

Sociology major Theodora Messalas is working with a food pantry, soup kitchen and women’s homeless shelter called Crossroads Community Services in New York City, exploring ways to implement successful social services in which the needs and preferences of the end-users are paramount.

“I am interested in finding out exactly how Crossroads is run in the hopes of one day spearheading my own similar organization,” Messalas said. “I want to see firsthand how they have translated the desire to provide food and shelter to underserved New Yorkers into a running operation that can actually get these services to people. I want to see all their successes, and I want to get to know the roadblocks that they meet.”

Biology and earth and environmental studies major Dara Mysliwiec is addressing food sovereignty in Lamas, Peru, using sustainable – and previously lost – indigenous farming techniques