Campus News & Events

Blatt ’17 Selected As a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar

Kai Blatt '17 plans to major in studio art and biology. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

Kai Blatt ’17 plans to major in studio art and biology. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)


Kai Blatt ’17 has been selected to take part in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington. This eight-week, all expenses paid “classroom-in-the-field” program helps students develop their vision for conservation, and gives them the natural and social science skills to become a conservation change-maker. The program is just entering its second year of existence, and this will be the second year a Wesleyan student has participated.

Blatt, who is from Los Angeles and plans to major in studio art and biology, learned of the program from her friend Joseph Eusebio ’17,

Siry to Speak at Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences Meeting April 2

The U.S. Capitol offers an illuminating case study of how modern architecture developed mechanically before the current era of sustainability.

The U.S. Capitol offers an illuminating case study of how modern architecture developed mechanically before the current era of sustainability.

Joe Siry

Joe Siry

On April 2, Wesleyan will host the 1,443rd meeting of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences (the third oldest learned society in the Unites States, chartered in 1799) on campus. To honor the proud occasion, Joseph Siry, professor of art history, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities will give a public lecture presentation about his research.

Siry’s talk, titled “Air Conditioning in the United States Capitol: Architecture, Technology and Congressional Life,” will take place at 5 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Hall. The U.S. Capitol offers an illuminating case study of how modern architecture developed mechanically before the current era of sustainability. This talk examines how air conditioning systems altered patterns of congressional operations during the 1930s and after.

CAAS_LOGO_175pxThe event is free and open to students and the general public.

Basketball, Softball, Lacrosse Play Opponents Out of State during Spring Recess

Wesleyan’s Office of Sports Information provided the following athletic highlights on March 24:

Holding Pomona-Pitzer to seven hits and two runs with five strikeouts, Gavin Pittore ’16 upped his record to 2-1 on the season, while giving baseball a win in its final game out west. Pittore was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week. Jon Dennett ’15 added four hits during the final four games to join the 100-hit club as the 49th Cardinal to do so. Andrew Yin ’15 hit .438 over the week with seven safeties as he rose to No. 5 on the all-time Cardinal hits list with 175. Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15 had a .588 slugging percentage with a double and home run, as he paced the team with six RBI during the week.

Softball ended its Florida trip by going 3-1, defeating all three Division III opponents behind the pitching of Julie McDonald ’18, while losing to a Division II rival. McDonald tossed 18 innings in the three wins, allowing 17 hits with a 1.56 ERA while striking out 21. Over the final four games, Su Pardo ’16 hit .455 with a pair of doubles and five RBI. Annalie Walsh-Costello ’17 hit .500 and Izzy Linzer ’17 batted .417 with a hit on all four games, giving her a hit in 11 of the 12 games played in Florida.

Matt Prezioso ’15 carried the attack for men’s lacrosse during a pair of wins in Pennsylvania. He picked up a hat trick during a seven-goal run that extended a tight two-goal lead in the third period to a nine-goal margin heading into the fourth quarter at F&M. He then added four goals and three assists during the victory against Whittier, with three goals and an assist coming during an 8-0 Cardinals run that erased a 5-3 deficit, turning it into an 11-5 lead in the third period.

Women’s lacrosse split a pair of games in Colorado, with Leah Sherman ’15 providing the spark in the overtime win vs. Pomona-Pitzer. Scoring three goals in the final 8:16 to tie the game, Wesleyan got a goal from Sherman with :40 left in regulation to make it 10-9. Sherman then controlled the ensuing draw to set up Emily Gretsky ’16 for the tying goal at :16. Sherman then scored in the first overtime as the score remained deadlocked, 11-11, before Sherman’s sixth goal of the game decided the outcome just 41 seconds into the sudden-victory period.

For the full update, along with upcoming schedules, webcast information, and weekly scores, visit:

Teter’s Talk Opens Symposium on 50th Anniversary of Vatican II Council’s Declaration “Nostra Aetate”

Magda Teter

Magda Teter

In early March, Magda Teter, the Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies, gave the opening talk at a symposium in Poland on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration “Nostra Aetate” issued by the Second Vatican Council, which changed the tone and relations between Jews and the Catholic Church.

Teter spoke on “Continuity and Change in ‘Nostra Aetate.'” Teter also is chair and professor of history, professor of medieval studies.

Teter has been involved in Jewish-Catholic dialogue in Poland for the past three years. Her research into post-Reformation Europe led her to meet with a bishop in the southeastern Polish town of Sandomierz, a town long considered a locus of anti-Semitism due to a painting in the city’s cathedral depicting the “blood libel” of Jews murdering Christian children. Teter and the bishop discussed what to do with the 18th century painting, and how to bring the community together around a solution. The result was a 2013 symposium on the issue, partially sponsored by Wesleyan, that brought together scholars and clerics and led to the decision to unveil the painting, add explanatory signage and convene again. Read more in this News @ Wesleyan story.

In addition to Teter’s talk at the meeting this month, Bishop Mieczysław Cisło spoke on Jewish-Catholic dialogue in Poland, and John Connelly, professor of history at the University of California-Berkeley, spoke about the individuals involved in creating a foundation for the declaration, both in the interwar period and after World War II.

Faculty, Students, Alumni Present Research at Society for Research in Child Development Meeting

Wesleyan was strongly represented by faculty, undergraduates and alumni at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, the major conference in the field. The meeting was held in Philadelphia, Pa. March 19-21.

Members of the Cognitive Development Labs, co-directed by Associate Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman and Associate Professor of Psychology Hilary Barth, presented research at the conference. Former lab coordinator Jessica Taggart presented work done with Jillian Roberts ’15, current lab coordinator Lonnie Bass, and Barth titled, “Minimal group membership and children’s ideas of equality.” This is Roberts’ senior thesis project.

Andrew Ribner ’14 presented his senior thesis, “Preschool indicators of primary school math ability” with Shusterman and former postdoc Emily Slusser. And Barth presented “A non-Bayesian explanation of adults’ and children’s biased spatial estimates” with Ellen Lesser ’15, Sheri Reichelson ’16, Anna Schwab ’16, Taggart, Slusser and Bass.

In addition, numerous presentations were made at the conference by alumni who did undergraduate work in Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Labs. They included: Christian Hoyos ’11, Julia Leonard ’11, Jessica Sullivan ’08, Ariel Starr ’07, Nick DeWind ’06, Joanna Schiffman ’11,  Margaret Gullick ’07, Elise Herrig ’10, Kyle MacDonald ’10, Dominic Gibson ’10 and Samantha Melvin ’13. Former Shusterman lab coordinator Talia Berkowitz and former postdoc Mariah Schug also presented work at the conference. Learn more about all these presentations, and what these individuals are doing now, in this post on the Cognitive Development Labs blog.

CDs, Apparel, Music at WESU Spring Record Fair March 28

wesyspringWith more than 20 vendors from throughout New England and the tri-state area selling new and used music in all formats, the 88.1 FM WESU community record fair has become a cherished tradition, attracting a diverse crowd of new and old record collectors.

The WESU Spring 2015 Record Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28 in Beckham Hall. Browse new and used CDs, records, music-related apparel, books, apparel, WESU merchandise and more.

WESU DJs will be spinning records live throughout the day to inspire your crate digging.

“Each vendor will be offering their own unique mix of genres and formats, so there is surely something for every type of collector,” said Ben Michael, WESU general manager. “So come on out in search of that one record you’ve been hunting for and support your favorite community radio station in the process!”

WESU also is accepting donations for the fundraising event.

Now more than 75 years old, WESU is one of the oldest non-commercial radio stations in the United States. By day, Monday through Friday, WESU offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources. Weeknights and weekends, WESU student and community volunteer broadcasters provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

The station currently broadcasts at the frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000-watt transmitter located atop the Exley Science Center with the potential to reach over 1 million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio online through their website

Celebrate the Sciences at Poster Session April 17

Dozens of students will present their research at the Celebration of Science Theses on April 17.

Dozens of students will present their research at the Celebration of Science Theses on April 17.

The Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division is sponsoring its annual Celebration of Science Theses from 12:30 to 2 p.m. April 17 in Exley Science Center.

Poster presentations will be made by NSM honors and MA students. Refreshments will be provided. The entire Wesleyan community is invited.

“Come join us in appreciation of our students’ achievements,” said Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

The event is co-organized by Hingorani; Barbara Juhasz, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, director of the Service Learning Center; and Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy.

Obama’s “Auto Czar” Rob Bloom ’77 to Speak on Campus April 8

Ron Bloom '77

Ron Bloom ’77

The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life welcomes “auto czar” Ron Bloom ’77 to campus April 8.

Bloom will speak on “We almost lost Detroit: A hopeful tale about cars, crises, cities and America,” at 7:30 p.m. in PAC 001.

After graduating from Wesleyan with a BA in history in 1977, Bloom received an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1985. After working as the assistant to the president for United Steelworkers, Bloom was appointed by President Obama be the senior advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the President’s Task Force on the Automotive Industry. In this role, the “auto czar” presided over the restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler as the government attempted to bail out both companies.

In 2011, he worked as the assistant to the president for manufacturing policy at the White House, providing leadership on policy development and strategic planning for the administration’s agenda to revitalize the manufacturing sector. Bloom led the discussions with the auto industry which resulted in the industry’s support for new standards that will double the fuel economy of cars and light trucks, saving consumers over $1.7 trillion and reducing oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day.

Bloom currently is vice chairman of U.S. Investment Banking at Lazard where he focuses on mergers and acquisitions, restricting and infrastructure.

On April 29, 2010, he was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in the category of World Leaders. In the Time 100 issue, Bill Saporito wrote that “his role in brokering the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler while preserving more than 100,000 jobs demanded a synergist who could work both sides of the equation with authority and respect.”

In addition to the evening talk, Bloom will meet with students enrolled in Professor of History Ron Schatz’s American Labor History class, and also with selected students and faculty in Woodhead Lounge at 4:30 p.m. Anyone interested in participating in the informal conversation should RSVP to Rob Rosenthal, director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, at

Crosby Honored at Barnard College Event


Christina Crosby, at right, was honored at Barnard College on March 10. She’s pictured here with her partner Janet Jakobsen, formerly a Wesleyan faculty member and fellow at the Center for the Humanities.

Christina Crosby, professor of English, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, was honored at an event March 10 at Barnard College. Several Wesleyan faculty and alumnae participated in the discussion.

Panelists Laura Grappo '01, assistant professor of American Studies, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies; Maggie Nelson '94, teaches at California Institute of the Arts; and Gayle Pemberton, former Wesleyan professor of English, currently professor of English at Mt. Holyoke College.

Panelists Laura Grappo ’01, assistant professor of American studies, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies; Maggie Nelson ’94, teaches at California Institute of the Arts; and Professor of English and African American Studies, Emerita Gayle Pemberton.

The event, titled “Body Undone: A Salon Honoring Christina Crosby,” was hosted by the Barnard Center for Research on Women and NYU’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies. It focused on Crosby’s forthcoming memoir of living with disability, Body Undone: Living on After Great Pain. The memoir will be published by NYU Press in the “Sexual Cultures” series.

In 2003, Professor Crosby broke her neck in a bicycle accident.

“Spinal cord injury has cast me into a surreal neurological wasteland that I traverse day and night,” she wrote. “This account is an effort to describe the terrain. I want you to know, and I, myself, want better to understand, a daily venture of living that requires considerable fortitude on my part and a great dependency on others, without whose help my life would be quite literally unlivable.”

According to the event description, in her book, “Crosby grapples directly with the physical deficits of quadriplegia suddenly encountered at age 50 and refuses to look away from the rawness of grief over the loss of her active, athletic life. The book is an exploration of embodiment that reaches back to the author’s childhood as a tomboy in small-town in Pennsylvania, her brother’s life with (and death from) multiple sclerosis, and the feminist and gay liberation movements of the 1970s that were for her thrilling life-affirmations. In the end, queer commitments create life-sustaining possibility, and open to an unknown future, lived in an undone body.”

The event featured a reading by Crosby, followed by a panel discussion featuring, among others, Wesleyan’s Associate Professor of English Lisa Cohen; Professor of English and African American Studies Emerita Gayle Pemberton; Assistant Professor of American Studies Laura Grappo ’01; and Maggie Nelson ’94, a professor at the California Institute for the Arts.

Watch a video of the event here.

Robinson Studies Individual Differences in Reactions to Junk Food

Mike Robinson studies how individuals react differently when presented with a junk food diet.

Mike Robinson, standing, studies how individuals react differently when presented with a junk food diet. Pictured in the foreground is Sarah Mi ’16. (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, and his students are interested in what makes individuals react differently when they catch a whiff of freshly-baked brownies or another sugary treat.

Mike Robinson and Rebecca Tom '16 remove the junk food concoction from the food processor.

Mike Robinson and Rebecca Tom ’16 remove the junk food concoction from the food processor.

These Pavlovian cues associated with junk food can trigger cravings to eat and increase the amount of food consumed. People who are more susceptible to the motivational effects of these cues may have a higher risk for over consuming readily available junk food and becoming obese. Furthermore, the overconsumption of junk food may itself heighten attraction to food cues. But what causes some people to be more susceptible than others?

Robinson, together with colleagues at the University of Michigan, explores these issues in an article titled “Individual Differences in Cue-Induced Motivation and Striatal Systems in Rats Susceptible to Diet-Induced Obesity,” published in the March 12 edition of Neuropsychopharmacology. Read the abstract here.

The researchers introduced a junk food diet (a mash of potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, and chocolate milk powder) to rats to study whether there were pre-existing and/or diet-induced increases in attraction to cues for junk food, and motivation to seek out the food. They found that prior to gaining weight, the rats that would go on to become obese with the junk food diet showed a greater attraction to food cues. After being exposed to the junk food diet and gaining excessive amounts of weight, those rats began treating food cues as a reward in of themselves, and were more willing to work to obtain them.

89 Cardinals Named Academic All-NESCAC

At left, Brenna Diggins '17 and Jess Cherenza '15 were named academic all-NESCAC during the winter, 2014-15 season. Eighty-nine students earned this distinction. 

At left, Brenna Diggins ’17 and Jess Cherenza ’15 were named academic all-NESCAC during the winter 2014-15 season. Eighty-nine Wesleyan students earned this distinction.

When the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced the names this month of 939 athletes among its conference member schools who earned the distinction of academic all-NESCAC during the winter 2014-15 season, Wesleyan celebrated its largest pool ever in winter with 89 student-athletes. These student-athletes, sophomores and above, meet the criteria of being significant contributors to their teams while achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.35 or higher.

The student-athletes play in the following winter sports: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s squash, men’s and women’s indoor track and wrestling.

Some highlights from this season’s group of honorees include:

Jordan Schildhaus ’15

Jordan Schildhaus ’15

  • Women’s ice hockey standout Jordan Schildhaus ’15, who received academic all-NESCAC laurels in each of her three eligible seasons. She led the Cardinals in scoring during 2014-15 with 23 scoring points and was named first-team all-NESCAC. She was a second-team all-NESCAC pick in both 2013-14 and 2012-13 after being named NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2011-12.
  • Five athletes who had the pleasure of competing in NCAA Championship events, including:
    • Wrestler Ryan Sblendorio ’15, who placed third at 174 pounds during the Northeast Regional Championships to earn a spot at the NCAA Division III Championships where he went 1-2, winning one match with a first-period pin.
    • Ellie Martin ’16, who qualified for the NCAA Division III Women’s Indoor Track Championships in the 400-meter race and placed ninth nationally, a mere .03 seconds shy of All-America status as a top-eight finisher.
    • Three members of the men’s basketball team–Tim Gallivan ’15, Chris Tugman ’15 and Harry Rafferty ’17—as Wesleyan won the NESCAC men’s basketball tournament title with wins over Bates, Trinity and Amherst to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships. The Cardinals lost their opening-round contest to Skidmore.
Ryan Sblendorio ’15

Ryan Sblendorio ’15

Since sophomores became eligible for the award during the 2010-11 year, Wesleyan’s previous record for academic all-NESCAC distinctions was 87 individuals in the 2012-13 season. The best results overall came in spring 2013, when 94 student-athletes were recognized.

For the complete list of all winter academic all-NESCAC selections, click here or see below:

8 Student-Athletes Recognized with NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Awards

NESCAC_Primary_RGBThe NESCAC has announced the 2014-15 winter recipients of the All-Sportsmanship awards for each of the 11 member colleges. In total, eight Wesleyan athletes have been recognized with one in each of the eight winter sports (men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s squash). They are James Albrecht ’15 (men’s ice hockey), Liz Baumgartner ’15 (women’s swimming and diving), Mike DeLalio ’15 (men’s squash), Bridget Doherty ’16 (women’s squash), Bryan Galvin ’15 (men’s basketball), Cara Jankowsi ’15 (women’s ice hockey), Cherkira Lashley ’15 (women’s basketball), Travis Williams ’15 (men’s swimming and diving).

The NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team recognizes student-athletes from each varsity sport who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to sportsmanship. These student-athletes exhibit respect for themselves, teammates, coaches, opponents and spectators. They display sportsmanship, not only as a participant in their sport, but also as a spectator and in their everyday lives. Through their positive actions and example, these student-athletes inspire others to adhere to the quality of sportsmanship that the NESCAC and the NCAA endorse.

The All-Sportsmanship Team was created by the NESCAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The NESCAC SAAC serves as the liaison between the student-athletes of NESCAC member institutions and conference administrators.

For more information and a list of all-sportsmanship award winners in each winter sport throughout the NESCAC, click here.