Campus News & Events

McNair Summer Fellows Perform Research, Prepare for Grad School

RockyAndIshitaMcNairPoster

McNair Fellow Raquel Ibarra ’16 and Ishita Mukerji, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division, director of technology initiatives, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, speak at the Research in the Sciences poster session on July 30.

This summer, 13 students had an opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor to conduct research, as well as get a leg up in the grad school application process, through the McNair Program. For 10 weeks, they studied topics in psychology and neuroscience, earth and environmental science, biology, physics, and science in society.

The McNair Fellows, all rising juniors and seniors, are either low-income, first-generation college students or members of a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate school. The fellows may be engaged in research in any field, though the vast majority focus their studies in the sciences. This summer, eight fellows were fully funded by McNair, three were partially funded by McNair, and two others received funding from other sources, according to Ronnie Hendrix, associate director of the McNair Program.

Former Artist-in-Residence Redpath Remembered for Teaching Folklore

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of http://www.jeanredpath.com/)

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of http://www.jeanredpath.com/)

Jean Redpath, a Scottish-born singer who delighted audiences worldwide and was described by The Boston Globe as “something very close to Scotland’s folk singer laureate,” died Aug. 21 at age 77. She brought her musical talent and extensive knowledge of Scottish history to Wesleyan and the Middletown community as an artist-in-residence in the 1970s.

According to her official website, Redpath arrived in the United States in 1961 with $11 in her pocket.

Registration for Family Weekend Open Through Sept. 12

Wesleyan students can enjoy time with their families during Family Weekend Sept. 27-28.

Students’ relatives and friends are invited to Family Weekend Sept. 27-28.

Registration is open through Sept. 12 for Family Weekend, Sept. 27-28, when Wesleyan families are invited to attend classes and WESeminars, take in concerts and sporting events, enjoy meals, tour campus and learn about student programs and services. Breaking from tradition, this year Family Weekend will be separate from Homecoming Weekend, because Homecoming occurs during Fall break.

Register for Family Weekend here.

Breaking from tradition, this year Family Weekend will be separate from Homecoming Weekend, because Homecoming occurs during Fall break.

Breaking from tradition, this year Family Weekend will be separate from Homecoming Weekend, because Homecoming occurs during Fall break.

A full schedule of the weekend’s events is available here. Highlights include a South Indian vocal performance as part of the Navaratri Festival at the Center for the Arts; the 22nd annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, featuring a movie screening and talkback with Bobbito “Kool Bob Love” Garcia ’88; student a capella concert; Friends of the Wesleyan Library book sale; tailgating; and WESeminars on a variety of topics including animal dignity and ethics of sight, writing at Wesleyan, and ending back pain.

Because many members of the Wesleyan community celebrate the Jewish New Year, which concludes at sundown on Friday, Sept. 26, most of the weekend’s events have been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. In observance of Rosh Hashana, Rabbi David Leipziger Teva is planning special programs for Friday, including an Eco Tashlikh Walk to the Connecticut River at 4 p.m., as well as Shabbat services and dinner.

Homecoming, scheduled for Oct. 18, will include Middletown Day activities in the Homecoming Spirit Tent, football vs. Amherst College, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer vs. Amherst, volleyball vs. Bowdoin, and other athletic contests. For more information, see the Homecoming website.

Read more in this past News @ Wesleyan article.

 

New York Times‘ Steven Greenhouse ’73 Teaching Journalism as Koeppel Fellow

Steven Greenhouse ’73 P’08

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08, will bring his years of experience in journalism back to Wesleyan this semester as the Koeppel Journalism Fellow.

The longtime New York Times reporter, who covers labor and workplace issues, will teach “Journalism, Nonfiction Writing and the Search for Truth.”

“It’s an honor to be invited to teach at Wesleyan, but it also feels a little daunting because I’ve never taught a full course before,” Greenhouse said. “But I imagine that I’ve learned a thing or two about journalism and writing and editing since once upon a time, when I was editor of the Argus eons ago.”

For Greenhouse, who has been with the Times for 31 years, the student interest in his course is as gratifying as the opportunity to teach it. “I’m thrilled that in this turbulent, difficult era for journalism, and for newspapers in particular, there are still many young people who are interested in working in the field,” he said.

Greenhouse joined the Times in September 1983 as a business reporter, covering steel and other basic industries. He then spent two-and-a-half years as the newspaper’s Midwestern business correspondent based in Chicago. In 1987, he moved to Paris, where he served as the Times’s European economics correspondent, covering everything from Western Europe’s economy to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. Five years later, he became a correspondent in Washington for four years, first covering economics and the Federal Reserve and then the State Department and foreign affairs.

This year, Greenhouse, along with two New York Times colleagues, won the Loeb Award for spot news business reporting for covering the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in which more than 1,100 workers died. He is the author of “The Big Squeeze, Tough Times for the American Workers,” which won the Sidney Hillman award for non-fiction writing.

The Koeppel program, launched in 2010, brings distinguished journalists to campus each year. Past fellows include The Jewish Daily Forward editor Jane Eisner ’77, who taught “The Citizen as Journalist,” and noted author and reporter Tracie McMillan, whose course was called “Writing and Arguing About Inequality.” Bloomberg’s Larry Roberts and ABC’s Martha Raddatz were also fellows.

The Koeppel courses are offered through the Writing Certificate program, which allows students from all majors to develop proficiency in creative writing (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, screenwriting, playwriting) and forms of non-fiction such as criticism, biography and autobiography, science writing, political and literary journalism, and writing about academic subjects for non-specialists.

Greenhouse also is the father of Emily Greenhouse ’08.

Graduate Students, Faculty Attend American Chemical Society Meeting

Chemistry graduate student Duminda Ranasinghe spoke about his research on "Density functional for core-valence correlation energy."

Chemistry graduate student Duminda Ranasinghe spoke about his research on “Density functional for core-valence correlation energy.”

Two graduate students and two faculty attended the 248th national meeting of the American Chemical Society Aug. 10-14 in San Francisco, Calif.

Chemistry graduate students Duminda Ranasinghe delivered a poster presentation on her research titled “Efficient extrapolation to the (T)/CBS limit” and an oral presentation on “Density functional for core-valence correlation energy.”

"Assessing weak interactions in small dimer systems with PM7."

Chemistry graduate student Kyle Throssell presented a poster titled “Assessing weak interactions in small dimer systems with PM7.”

Chemistry graduate student Kyle Throssell presented two poster presentations on “Potential curves of selected radical thiol double additions to alkynes” and “Assessing weak interactions in small dimer systems with PM7.”

The students were accompanied by George Petersson, the Fisk Professor of Natural Science, professor of chemistry; and Michael Frisch, research professor in chemistry.

Two Whistler Drawings from DAC to Be Featured in PBS Documentary

Open Access Image from the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University

Whistler’s sketch showing how his Venice works should be exhibited in 1880

Two drawings by James McNeill Whistler, part of the Davison Art Center’s collection of more than 100 Whistler works, will be shown in a new documentary on the life of the painter.

The sketches, one in pencil and one in pen and ink, will be seen in “James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty,” premiering September 12 on PBS.

They represent just a small part of Wesleyan’s extensive holdings of works on paper by Whistler, one of the most important American artists of the 19th century.

“Whistler was crucial in making the connection between the Impressionists and British art, and … American art,” said Clare Rogan, curator of the Davison Art Center and adjunct assistant professor of art history. “While he worked mostly in Europe, he was incredibly important in creating that link.”

Neither sketch is large – unlike finished prints or paintings, both were for Whistler’s personal use and not intended to be seen by a larger audience. They are, however, interesting glimpses of an artist at work. The pencil sketch, measuring at just 4.4 by 6.9 inches, represents his ideas about displaying his famous landscape prints of Venice at an 1880 exhibit by the Fine Arts Society in London.

Middletown Students Get Taste of STEM at Wesleyan

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Making “gak” at Green Street

Oneiry, in sixth grade and 11 years old, liked the tie-dye experiment, where learning about the light and color also resulted in cool take-home T-shirts. Genesis, a nine-year-old fourth grader, really enjoyed the liquid nitrogen demonstration, especially the ice cream she got to make with it. And Julia, at 10 in fifth grade, had a good time making “gak,” a substance that’s not quite solid and not quite liquid – and slimy and fun.

They were among 10 Middletown girls between fourth and sixth grade who participated in a girls’ science camp sponsored by the Green Street Arts Center Aug. 4-8. The session, staffed by Wesleyan faculty, was designed to introduce girls to the “STEM” fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Women are underrepresented in these fields, and educators believe it’s important to engage girls in them as early as possible.

Wesleyan Welcomes New Faculty

Wesleyan welcomes 12 new faculty members this fall. They are:

Amanda Belichick, adjunct assistant professor of physical education, head coach of women’s lacrosse.

Karl Boulware, assistant professor of economics.

Janet Burge, associate professor of computer science.

Claire Grace, assistant professor of art history.

Roger Grant, assistant professor of music.

Laura Grappo, assistant professor of American studies.

Kerwin Kaye, assistant professor of sociology.

David Kuenzel, assistant professor of economics.

Ioana Emilia Matesan, assistant professor of government.

Victoria Pitts-Taylor, professor and chair of feminist, gender and sexuality studies.

Jesse Torgerson, assistant professor of letters.

Camilla Zamboni, adjunct instructor in Italian.

Staff on the Move, July 2014

Newly hired

Sarah Jean Chrystler was hired as coordinator for special events on July 1.

Nara Giannella was hired as digital media specialist on July 1.

Frederick Ludwig was hired as assistant football coach on July 1.

Susannah Capron was hired as civic engagement fellow on July 7.

Huanan Li was hired as post doctoral research associate in Physics on July 7.

Shannon Nelson was hired as Center for Prison Education coordinator/fellow on July 7.

Benjamin Wohl was hired as assistant dean of admission on July 7.

Joseph Hopkins was hired as boiler tender on July 9.

Lindsay Rush was hired as research associate in Biology on July 14.

James Huerta was hired as assistant dean of admission on July 21.

Emily Pagano was hired as area coordinator for Residential Life on July 21.

Smith Kidkarndee was hired as post-doctoral clinical/counseling psychologist on July 28.

Transitions

Marianne Calnen became associate director of planned giving on July 1.

Dan DiCenzo became head football coach in waiting on July 1.

Karen Kasprow became director of principal gifts on July 1.

Sarah-Jane Ripa became associate director of student services and outreach at Graduate Liberal Studies on July 1.

Frantz Williams became director of development on July 1.

Departures

Sarah Atwell, administrative assistant in Chemistry.

Katharine Henderson, research assistant.

Debra Holman, facilities manager.

David Thomas, assistant dean of admission.

Samantha Slade, assistant director of communications operations at University Relations.

Wesleyan Hosts Macroeconomics Research Workshop

Wesleyan’s Economics Department hosted the 2014 Workshop in Macroeconomics Research in Liberal Arts Colleges on August 5-6.

The conference brought together about 40 macroeconomists from liberal arts colleges around the country to present and discuss research, and exchange ideas about research and teaching. It aimed to increase productivity of macroeconomists at liberal arts colleges. It was organized by Wesleyan’s Bill Craighead, assistant professor of economics; Pao-Lin Tien, assistant professor of economics; Masami Imai, professor of economics, professor of East Asian studies; and Richard Grossman, professor of economics. The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life also provided support.

Past years’ conferences have been held at colleges including Claremont McKenna, Lafayette, Vassar, Colgate and Hamilton.

More information and the conference schedule is available on this website.

See pictures from the conference below:

Joyce Jacobsen, dean of the social sciences and director of global initiatives, Andrews Professor of Economics, delivered welcoming remarks at the conference.

Joyce Jacobsen, dean of the social sciences and director of global initiatives, Andrews Professor of Economics, delivered welcoming remarks at the conference.

New faculty member Karl Boulware, assistant professor of economics, spoke.

New faculty member Karl Boulware, assistant professor of economics, spoke.

New faculty member David Kuenzel, assistant professor of economics, spoke.

New faculty member David Kuenzel, assistant professor of economics, spoke.

Cardinals Share Stories, Gifts As Campaign Nears $350 Million

Share your "This is Why" reason you love and value your Wesleyan experience and education through the new campaign website.

Share your “This is Why” reason you love and value your Wesleyan experience and education through the campaign website.

From a journalist who launched a publishing start-up, to the multifaceted designer of the “Fremont Troll,” to a noted international lawyer, scores of Cardinals took time last year to share their “This Is Why” stories with Wesleyan.

That loyalty – and the many gifts also shared by alumni, parents and friends – led to a stellar year in the university’s fundraising campaign. Generous donors gave a total of $44.3 million in gifts and pledges in fiscal 2014. The campaign raised $43.8 million in cash, more than any previous year. And $25 million went directly into the endowment. Currently, giving to the THIS IS WHY campaign stands at $349.3 million toward a goal of $400 million.

“The Wesleyan community – alumni, parents, friends – has been generous in its support again,” said Chuck Fedolfi ’90, director of the Wesleyan Fund. “They have truly helped make the Wesleyan experience what it should be for our students on campus.”

Fedolfi said the Fund exceeded its annual goal of $10.25 million by $100,000, and stressed the importance of annual gifts.

“Our donors recognize that we need support every year,” Fedolfi said. “Without that consistent support, we just wouldn’t be the outstanding institution we are today.”

When Water “Unmixes”: Starr Commentary Published in Nature Physics

Water is the most ubiquitous fluid on Earth, and plays a foundational role in life as we know it.  And yet the complexity of this seemingly simple molecule remains a vigorously debated area of scientific research to this day.  Writing in the most recent issue of Nature Physics, Professor of Physics Francis Starr provides a commentary on recent research to uncover the mystery of water’s unusual properties.  

Francis Starr

Francis Starr

“We all learn as children that oil and water don’t mix,” Starr writes. ” If there was only one fluid – say just the water – then “unmixing” should not even be a possibility.  However, it turns out that evidence suggests that, under unusual supercooled conditions, water can unmix from itself, forming two distinct fluids, both of which are pure water.  And it turns out this unusual behavior just might help explain many of water’s other unusual and vital features.”

Nature Physics, part of the prestigious group of Nature journals, is published monthly.

Starr’s research at Wesleyan focuses on computational approaches to understand the emergent complexity of soft and biological matter.  His lab has explored DNA modeling and nanotechnology, lipid membrane dynamics, and polymer films and composites. Undergraduates and graduate students work together in the Starr lab, emphasizing connections to experimental results.