Campus News & Events

Student Wrestler Wins NECCWA Championship


Dan deLalla ’07, pictured on top, received the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA) Championship title at 157 pounds.
Posted 03/01/06
Wrestling team co-captain Dan deLalla ’07 received the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA) Championship title at 157 pounds during the match, hosted by Wesleyan Feb. 18 and 19.

deLalla becomes Wesleyan first NCAA qualifier since Brian Fair ’01 captured the 149-pound title in 2001. DeLalla traveled to the College of New Jersey for the NCAA Division III Championships March 3 and 4. deLalla competed in the 157-pount weight class for Wesleyan and lost to third-seeded Robert Gingerrich of North Central, 13-7, in the opening round. He then lost by pin (1:26) to Ryan Herwig of Delaware Valley in the consolation round.

deLalla injured his left elbow during the preseason, sat out the entire regular season but continued to train and practice on his own throughout the winter.

Two other Cardinals took all-New England honors at their weights as Josh Wildes ’08 placed third at 133 pounds and Mike Lima ’08 took fifth at 197 pounds

 
By Brian Katten, Sports Information Director

Board of Trustees Approves Tuition, Fee Increases


In 2006-07, room rates for students will increase.
Posted 03/01/06
On Feb. 25, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees set tuition, room and board rates for the 2006-2007 academic year. Tuition and fees will increase 5 percent to $34,844. Room rates will increase 8 percent, bringing the base double room rate to $5,808, and the base 12-meal dining plan rate will increase 5 percent to $3,732.

The increase in the room rate reflects the escalating cost of utilities in the residence facilities. Wesleyan is also continuing a program to renovate residence halls to improve safety and security. This summer will see completion of the installation of proximity access locks on all undergraduate residence hall facilities accommodating more than 20 students. Tamper-resistant ground-floor windows in the Foss Hill residences and improved fire alarm and sprinkler systems will be installed; lounges will also be renovated.

Additionally, in response to requests from students and parents, senior houses and apartments will be furnished; $200 will be added to the room rate for these units for this purpose. This change was endorsed by the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee, which includes representatives from the Wesleyan Student Assembly, Physical Plant and Residential Life.

Maintaining Wesleyan’s commitment to providing access to students from all backgrounds remains one of the university’s highest priorities. Wesleyan provides financial aid awards that meet 100 percent of demonstrated need. Awards typically include loans, campus employment and grants. In 2005-06, 44 percent of students received grant awards averaging $24,756; scholarships for all four classes totaled $29.3 million.

Wesleyan continues to manage its finances strategically and prudently. The university administration has been efficient in this endeavor, having one of the lowest ratios of administrative costs to educational expense among our peers. While Wesleyan continues to identify new efficiencies, the university administration has been mindful to do so in a way that does not compromise support of the primary academic mission of the university. Wesleyan remains committed to strong financial discipline while providing a first-rate liberal arts and science education that prepares its students to be leaders in a global society.

 
By Justin Harmon, director of University Communications

Outreach Program Gives Local Students a Taste of East Asian Culture


Pictured at top, right, Yashan Zhou ’09 and Mo Sarakun ’07 teach seventh graders from Woodrow Wilson Junior High School how to make their own sushi rolls.

Pictured at left, Ada Fung ’06 teaches the students how to paint cherry blossoms on rice paper.

Pictured below, Alex Weber ’06 teaches martial arts and the history of the shaolin.

Posted 03/01/06
Seventh-grader Liam Wolfram had tried sushi at Japanese restaurants, but he’s never attempted to make his own. Last month, Liam did just that as he and 25 of his classmates from Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Middletown experienced a taste of East Asian Culture at Wesleyan by preparing their own sushi rolls.

“It only took about a minute to make, and it’s really good,” Liam says, chomping off a bite of his seaweed wrap, teeming with tuna, cucumber and carrot. “The rice sticks to the top of your mouth, though.”

Sushi making, rice-paper painting and martial arts were all taught during the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Outreach Program. Now in its 19th year, the program was designed to reach students in the community by providing a range of hands-on activities that introduce them to various aspects of East Asian cultures.

The student-run program is offered Friday mornings throughout the academic year and reaches about 300 students each year. Wesleyan students plan and run the activity workshops for each visiting class.

“What do you know about Japan?” asks the program’s co-coordinator Mo Sarakun ’07.

“It’s made up of islands,” one student answers.

“They have a lot of noodles there,” another replies.

Sarakun, a China native who studies Japanese culture at Wesleyan, taught the sushi session and talked to the students about Japan. Afterwards, the seventh graders moved to another room to learn about painting on rice paper.

Program co-coordinator Ada Fung ’06 taught painting techniques and the students participated and went back to school with their own paintings of cherry blossoms.

Fung, who has worked as a coordinator for three years, says she enjoys working with area children because of their eagerness to learn something new.

“Curiosity and open-mindedness are the two most important things a student can bring when they come to participate in the program because they’ll get a lot more out of it,” she says. “It’s a crash course in East Asian culture, but if we can plant the seed, just inspire and encourage them to keep learning about other cultures and countries, I think we will have achieved our purpose.”

The Outreach Program’s coordinators tailor each session to the incoming class’s age level, ranging from preschool through high school. Visiting classes average about 25 students in size, and are split into three smaller groups which rotate among the activity sessions. This way, each student has the opportunity to participate in three different activities.

Other sessions offered include Writing and Language, Food in East Asia, Martial Arts, Japanese Tea Ceremony, East Asian Music, Traditional Clothing, Kamishibai Story-telling and Origami. Po-wei Weng, a graduate student in the Music Department, also has taught segments on Peking Opera, introducing the music, techniques, gongs and symbols.

The sessions may include visits in the Freeman Center’s Japanese-style tatami room and garden, a kitchen to prepare Chinese and Japanese meals, and a gallery with changing exhibitions of East Asian art.

Wesleyan students benefit from teaching the sessions, explains Stephen Angle, chair of the East Asian Studies Program, director of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and associate professor of East Asian Studies and philosophy.

“The Outreach Program gives our own Wesleyan students the opportunity to practice communicating their understanding of East Asian culture to others,” Angle says. “At the same time, our students are serving a younger generation of students in the community surrounding Wesleyan.”

This is the second year Kim Fentress, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson school, brought her geography students to the Wesleyan program.

“We’re just beginning to study East Asian culture, and the program here at Wesleyan really ties in with that we’re learning,” Fentress says. “It’s wonderful we have Wesleyan right here in Middletown.”

For more information on the Outreach Program, contact program coordinator Shirley Lawrence at 860-685-2330 or e-mail slawrence@wesleyan.edu, or Ada Fung at afung@wesleyan.edu.

 
By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

Project $AVE Wants Input on Saving Money, Improving Efficiencies


Phil Cotharin, temperature controls mechanic/energy management specialist, is helping Wesleyan significantly reduce energy waste and save money. A new initiative, Project $AVE, will work with the campus community to implement energy-saving ideas.

Posted 03/01/06
During the past two years:

  • The Purchasing Office negotiated purchasing contracts, competitive bidding and individual purchasing negotiations, saving $800,000.
  • Wesleyan Station contracted with a new vendor for handling first-class university mail services to save $4,000 annually.
  • The Freeman Athletic Center added energy-efficient fixtures, automated light sensors and high efficiency pumps to provide a rebate of $18,300.
  • Waste management efficiencies consolidated four dumpsters into one trash compactor at a central location, yielding $32,000 in annual savings.

    These are just a few ways Wesleyan has worked to save money and develop sustainable and viable efficiencies on campus. Now, a new initiative called “Project $AVE” will add to this success by collecting additional ideas for sustained cost savings throughout the Wesleyan community.

    Project $AVE, http://www.wesleyan.edu/projectsave/, is operated by a team faculty, staff and students who will carefully evaluate all suggestions submitted. The team will uses it own expertise in evaluating suggestions. When necessary, the team will also reach out to community members with relevant expertise to help evaluate selected suggestions.

    The status of ideas will be posted on the Project $AVE Web site as the team goes through evaluation and implementation.

    “We are most interested in suggestions that will result in permanent and on-going savings, but will also review suggestions for one-time savings,” says John Meerts, interim vice president for finance.

    Project $ave offered the first 25 people who submitted an idea with a gift coupon to Pi Café or the Red and Black Café. More than 50 people submitted ideas on the site’s launch date, Feb. 22.

    “We want all ideas whether big or small from everyone on campus,” says Ed Below, review team chair and director of Administrative Applications. “The more ideas, the more we save and the better we all get at doing our jobs.”

    Members of the Project $AVE review team are Below, Cliff Ashton, director of Physical Plant; Matt Ball ’08; Rick Culliton, dean of Campus Programs; Gemma Ebstein, director of Alumni and Parent Relations; Marc Eisner, professor of government; Diane Klare, science library reference librarian; Steve Machuga, Project Save technical advisor and director of Administrative Systems; Brian Stewart, associate professor of physics; Gabe Tabak ’06 and Jesse Watson ’06.

    To post a suggestion or to suggest a way for a process to work better, users can submit their ideas by leaving a message at the Project $AVE phone line, 860-685-2883, or by posting the suggestion on the Project $AVE Web Site.

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    By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor

    Brown Leaving Provost Position, Will Continue Teaching, Research


    Posted 02/16/06

    Judith Brown, vice president for academic affairs and provost, will step down from her position June 30. She will spend a year on sabbatical, and return to Wesleyan as a professor of history in 2008.

     

    Brown was recruited six years ago to help Wesleyan achieve its highest academic aspirations as a liberal arts university. 

     

    “Judith brought extraordinary intelligence and commitment to what is surely one of the most difficult jobs in university administration,” says President Doug Bennet. “I speak for the trustees and all of us in thanking her for her leadership and celebrating her plan to return to scholarship here at Wesleyan.”

     

    Brown, who has not has a sabbatical since 1992, has worked in academic administration for 11 years. She made her announcement during a faculty meeting Feb. 14.

     

    “I am ready for a change and for a change of pace,” she says. “I would like to take a break, to resume some intellectual projects I have neglected, to explore new intellectual horizons, and above all, to take more time to be with and travel with my family, especially with my husband, Shannon, while we are still able to enjoy a healthy, energetic, and active life.”

     

    Bennet will appoint another faculty member as interim vice president for academic affairs and will actively consider nominations.

     

    “It is of the greatest importance that we sustain the momentum and direction to which Judith has contributed so much, and meet the objectives in the strategic plan,” Bennet says.

    Wesleyan’s Basketball Team Encourages Green Street Students to Aim High


    Pictured left to right, 9-year-old Monica gets homework help from Wesleyan basketball players Gabe Gonzalez-Kreisberg ’09, Jared Ashe ’07 and Nick Pelletier ’08 during the Green Street Arts Center After School Program. Below, Gonzalez-Kreisberg, who helped launch an ongoing tutoring volunteer initiative goes over a book report with 7-year-old J.J. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

    Posted 02/16/06

    Students involved in Middletown’s Green Street Arts Center After School Program look up to Wesleyan University’s basketball team in more ways than one.

    “They always tell me that I’m so tall!” exclaims Gabe Gonzalez-Kreisberg, a 6-ft. 8-inch tall Wesleyan freshman, recalling how students he helps tutor at the center, like 7-year-old J.J., describe him.

    Gonzalez-Kreisberg recently helped launch an ongoing tutoring volunteer initiative at Green Street Arts Center with Wesleyan University’s basketball players.

    The idea first occurred to Gonzalez-Kreisberg after Wesleyan basketball coach Gerry McDowell encouraged his team to volunteer in the Middletown area during their winter break from classes.

    Gonzalez-Kreisberg remembered an e-mail he received from Wesleyan’s community service office calling for tutors at Green Street’s After School Program. He then mentioned the program to Coach McDowell and the entire team immediately agreed to help.

    As a result, in shifts of four players per day, the basketball team began to regularly tutor Middletown children enrolled in the program. Even now, with spring semester underway, a handful of players continue to tutor in their free time.

    “Many athletes have a sense that things should be given to them, and I wanted our team to know that they should give something back to the community,” says McDowell. “Our team is a solid group of guys, who all care about one another on and off the court and this is important for them to do as a team.”

    “I love math and I always encourage the kids to stay with it and to have fun,” says Jared Ashe, the Wesleyan basketball team captain and a junior Economics major from Stamford, Conn. “In sports, great coaching motivates you to play your best. I want to motivate the kids with their homework in the same way.”

    When they arrive at the Green Street Arts Center, the students, who range in age from seven to 14, eat a snack and socialize a bit with friends. Then the students who are not enrolled in arts classes go to the homework room where several tutors, including the basketball players, are stationed to assist them.

    After helping students finish their homework, which can be in a variety of subjects including math and reading, the players often talk with the kids and sometimes play board games with them.

    Ashe, who has always enjoyed tutoring his peers even back in high school, says the board games help to motivate the students to follow through and finish up their homework.

    Thirteen year-old Elijah always wants to finish his homework, he says, because that means Gonzalez-Kreisberg will tell him a story afterwards.

    “One time, Gabe told me how he touched the court at an Orlando Magic game!” shouts Elijah.

    During every tutoring session, Wesleyan’s basketball players agree that the students always seem to get excited about their schoolwork.

    “I think one reason why is that we’re such a close group of guys that are all genuinely happy to help out,” says Ashe.

    Gonzalez-Kreisberg says another reason why is because he and his teammates act as mentors for the students.

    “Because we play a sport and because these students are impressed by the NBA, it allows us to connect directly to them,” says Gonzalez-Kreisberg.

    “We try to always stress to them that we are just people who happen to play basketball and that we’re strong in our academics first, then in athletics,” he says.

    Despite heavy academic and athletic schedules, both Ashe and Gonzalez-Kreisberg, and other players, like sophomore Nick Pelletier from Amherst, New Hampshire, are committed to continue tutoring at Green Street. Even Coach McDowell has committed to spend some time tutoring at the Center before the year is out.

    “Having the team volunteer during Winter break was a tremendous help as we are often left with no student volunteers until classes resume in late January,” says Ricardo Morris, Director of the Green Street Arts Center. “It was also especially nice to have so many male volunteers. I hope the basketball team and other males will consider volunteering at Green Street more often.”

    “This is such a positive experience for us as individuals and as a team,” says Ashe. “Hopefully it will continue long after we have all graduated from Wesleyan.”

    For more information about how to become a Green Street Arts Center volunteer, please contact volunteer coordinator Lauren Tinkoff at ltinkoff@wesleyan.edu or visit www.greenstreetartscenter.org.

     
    By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

    Grant will Support Lecture Series on Ethics, Politics, Society


    Posted 02/16/06
    Wesleyan received a $200,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support an ongoing lecture series titled Ethics, Politics and Society. The award was given in honor of Douglas Bennet’s 10 years as president of Wesleyan University.

    “Wesleyan’s history of diversity, openness, and activism provides an environment that embraces the opportunity for scholarly discourse around issues of ethics, politics and society,” Bennet wrote in the endowment proposal. “As a liberal arts college, we have a responsibility to produce graduates who are able to think and act strategically within an ethical and moral framework. A permanent lecture fund, which does not have to compete each year for scarce financial resources, will go far in helping us achieve this goal.”

    The grant, awarded in December 2005, will allow Wesleyan to bring prominent speakers to campus who will engage faculty and students in intellectual discussions of critical and sensitive ethical, political and social issues.

    The lecture fund will serve multiple university objectives. It will stimulate intellectual life on campus by introducing new perspectives and experiences to current issues; promote positive and civil political discourse; lay a foundation for lifelong participation as concerned and engaged citizens; and complement efforts already underway to incorporate ethical reasoning in the curriculum.

    Expenditures from the Mellon-funded program, estimated at $10,000 a year, will be used for an honorarium, travel expenses and associated costs for the speaker to give a public lecture, attend a class and/or meet informally with faculty and students for one or two days.

    “As on many college campuses, Wesleyan recognizes that recent national events, as well as ongoing political and social unrest in several parts of the world, have altered how students view society as well as how they discuss their views,” Bennet says. “As students and later as graduates of Wesleyan, they will be faced with moral and ethical choices. This will be true, he says, in whatever courses of study or careers our students choose to pursue, from business to scientific research to politics to art.”

    Wesleyan is already stressing ethical reasoning in the curriculum. Wesleyan has hired new faculty positions in ethics and encourages faculty to designate courses that stress ethical reasoning.

    The university also has established a faculty workshop to help them integrate ethics in their courses. This year, students can chose from among 88 courses with an ethics designation.

    “Wesleyan has a responsibility to prepare students to think clearly about current issues, to make informed choices and resolve conflict between diverse viewpoints,” Bennet says.

    Grant Supports Professor’s Research on DNA, RNA Structure and Dynamics


    David Beveridge, pictured at right, the University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics and professor of chemistry studies molecular dynamics of biological molecules and systems with postdoctoral fellow Bethany Kormos and research associate Surjit Dixit.

    Posted 02/16/06

    By simulating complex protein and polynucleotide structures on a supercomputer, a Wesleyan professor has been able to study one the fundamental events that lead to gene expression in biological systems.

    David Beveridge, University Professor of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of chemistry, has spent the past 20 years studying various aspects of the structures, molecular motions and binding properties of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) using theoretical methods. DNA and RNA are informational macromolecules that control the composition of proteins necessary to life structures and processes.

    Beveridge recently received a $241,950 Academic Research Enhancement Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to continue his project “Theoretical and Molecular Dynamics Simulation Studies of U1A-RNA Binding and Specificity.” U1A is an important human protein that interacts with RNA.

    “Biological processes involved in gene expression are all controlled by protein-DNA and protein- RNA interactions,” Beveridge explains. “We study the nature of these interactions at the molecular level, and how the molecules involved recognize each other with such high fidelity.”

    An understanding of how RNA-protein complexes form and are stabilized is important for understanding the splicing out of stretches of DNA.

    Molecular dynamics simulations in this project were motivated by questions posed in experiments performed by Anne Baranger, associate professor of chemistry; and they have been collaborating on protein RNA projects for several years. Bethany Kormos, who is supported by a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship, and Surjit Dixit, senior research associate, are key coworkers on this project and “really do the work,” Beveridge says.

    “David has been a fantastic colleague to collaborate with because he is particularly talented at developing projects that aim to investigate and understand fundamental important problems in his field,” Baranger explains. “It has been valuable to me as an experimentalist to work with a person who has developed theoretical methods to answer questions that are difficult to achieve experimentally.”

    To progress in his research, Beveridge and his colleagues study the factors contributing to the stability of RNA-protein complexes with a particular emphasis on “dynamical structure,” the nature and significance of molecular motions involved in the complex formation.

    Molecular simulations of this type are quite computationally intensive. The Beveridge group carries out their calculations with high performance computers at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. The communication between Wesleyan and NCSA to run simulations involves over the Internet.

    The results of a simulation are returned to laboratories at Wesleyan over the Internet and are analyzed locally for these properties using advanced computer graphics work stations.

    “Remote access to national supercomputer facilities enables cutting edge research in this field from even a small university vantage point, makes it possible simulate model systems quite close to those involved in experiments,” Beveridge says. “We can computer model systems closer to laboratory conditions than I ever dreamed of 40 years ago.”

    Beveridge grew up in the “Sputnik Era” and found the launching of the Soviet space satellite as an incentive to study science. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio in 1959 and his Ph.D in physical chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1965. Under a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health, he studied molecular quantum mechanics at the Centre de Mécanique Ondulatoire Appliquée in Paris, and continued his postdoctoral studies in quantum chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University with Professor J.A. Pople, a Nobel laureate.

    In addition to research and teaching, Beveridge serves as Wesleyan’s co-director with Ishita Mukerji of the NIH-supported graduate training program and the undergraduate certificate in molecular biophysics.

    “David is certainly one of the department’s most successful scientists,” says Mukerji, chair of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department and associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry. “He has brought much recognition to the department and to the Molecular Biophysics program.”

    Beveridge has served Wesleyan as Dean of Natural Science and Mathematics for seven years and currently holds the title of University Professor of the Natural Science and Mathematics.

    Beveridge has overseen a number of undergraduate research projects at Wesleyan, and has mentored both bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D students in their dissertation research. Recent master’s graduates include Duk Blakaj ‘99, now a medical doctor/Ph.D student at Einstein Medical School, and Laura Vickers ’05, who is currently a medical doctor student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Matthew Young ’92, who initially worked with Beveridge as an undergraduate and continued on to get a Ph.D, has just been appointed to the faculty of the University of Michigan’s Medical School as an assistant professor of biological chemistry and bioinformatics. Five former research students now hold positions as college or university professors – “my greatest achievement,”  Beveridge says.

    By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor


    Professor Looks for Similarities in Science, Art

    Six years ago, David Beveridge began combining teaching and personal interests in the visual arts with scholarship.

    Along with Mariah Klaneski ’04, he developed two classes, Science and Modernism and more recently, Science and Art. In Science and Art, interested students, even those with no particular science background, learn basic concepts in class and in the associated laboratory make paper and fresco, synthesize their own pigments using chemical reactions, make paint of various types, and use all their own materials to make original works of art.

    “An ultimate experience in learning by doing,” Beveridge says.

    Beveridge’s teaching at Wesleyan now ranges from topics in physical chemistry applied to biological systems to general education courses. His currently active courses at Wesleyan in addition to those mentioned above are Molecular Biophysics, and Macromolecular Modeling and Simulation.

    Beveridge has more than a passing interest in the visual arts and has taken “a dozen or so” drawing, painting and photography courses offered by Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program and elsewhere. He is curious about the parallels between the arts and the sciences.

    “Both are very experimental in a sense, but make use of images in very different ways,” Beveridge explains. “It is interesting to investigate the extent to which viewer response to art follows natural laws analogous to those of science, and where the similarities and differences in creative process occur between scientists and artists.”

    Being at Wesleyan has given Beveridge the chance to be involved in a wide range of academic initiatives, both within the sciences and in other areas of the university.

    “I’m pretty much a compulsive learner, and Wesleyan accommodates my natural instinct to be a ‘perpetual student,'” he says.

    Neuroscience and Behavior Alumni Present Research, Offer Advice


    Pictured left to right, front row: Gloster Aaron, assistant professor of biology; John Seamon, professor of psychology; Janice Naegele, associate professor of biology; John Dekker, candidate, department of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School; Megan Carey, postdoctoral fellow, neurobiology department, Harvard Medical School; Allan Berlind, professor of biology, emeritus; Joshua Gooley, postdoctoral fellow, Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; David Bodznick, professor of biology; Harry Sinnamon, professor of psychology; John Kirn, chair, neuroscience and behavior program and associate professor, biology; Back row: Sam Sober, postdoctoral fellow, Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience, UCSF and Mauricio Delgado, assistant professor, department of psychology, Rutgers University.

    Posted 02/16/06
    The Neuroscience and Behavior Symposium was held at Wesleyan University on Feb. 11.

    Organized by John Kirn, associate professor of biology, neuroscience and behavior (NS&B) and Chair of Wesleyan’s Neuroscience & Behavior Program, the symposium was designed to allow current Wesleyan undergraduates to discuss the major and research with established alumni of the Neuroscience & Behavior Department. Nearly 60 people attended the symposium, which was followed by lunch and an informal panel discussion.

    “I think that current students like to hear first hand about the experiences of others who are a few steps further along in their career paths,” says Kirn, who hoped to also attract to the symposium Wesleyan students who don’t conduct research, and who have limited interactions with graduate students.

    “All of our current majors doing research interact with our own graduate students and I think this is a very important mentoring process – yet another reason why we are lucky to have a Ph.D. program,” he says.

    Kirn also says the conference was a great opportunity for current students to learn how the speakers structured their own educations at Wesleyan and to find out what their lives are like now.

    Current Wesleyan students, like Emily Gallivan and Jessica Ghofrani, both Sophomore NS&B majors, were happy with the small, intimate symposium setting and found the presentations interesting.

    Junior NS&B major Tarek Sami agrees.

    “I liked hearing about the history of the department and this was a great opportunity to meet alumni and current faculty in the department,” he says.

    One of the symposium’s featured speakers was alumna Megan Carey ‘96, now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Carey also received a master’s from Wesleyan University’s NS&B department in 1997. She presented a talk on her Ph.D, thesis which she earned from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), titled “Visual instructive signals for motor learning.”

    Carey’s work suggests a mechanism for how sensory signals represented in specific brain areas can lead to changes in neuronal activities that trigger learned behaviors, such as riding a bike or playing tennis. Carey studied the repeated eye movements of monkeys in order to gather her information.

    Another alumni, Sam Sober ‘98, discussed his Ph.D. dissertation research, titled “Sensory Integration During Motor Planning.”

    Sober, who also received his Ph.D. from UCSF, is now a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF’s Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience. He spoke about his Ph.D., which involved analyzing the movements that human subjects made when reaching towards targets in a virtual reality environment.

    Sober used virtual reality to alter visual imagery, by shifting an image of the subjects arm away from its true location.

    “This led to people making reaching errors,” explains Sober. “We analyzed these errors and found that the brain is very adaptable in how it combines visual information with proprioceptive (the felt sense of posture) information.”

    Sober says that although his studies focused on healthy individuals, a basic understanding of how the brain integrates different sources of information could help us understand disorders resulting from strokes and traumatic brain injuries.

    Sober, who earned a Luce Fellowship, took a year off after graduating from Wesleyan to study acupuncture in Korea. He told the audience that taking a year off between finishing undergraduate studies and beginning graduatestudies or medical school was a good way to stem potential burn out.

    Other presentations included “Entrainment of the Circadian Timing System,” by Joshua Gooley ’00; “Reward-related processing in the human striatum,” by Mauricio Delgado ’97 and “Single Channel Analysis of Mammalian HCN Gating,” by John Dekker ’98, ’99.

    “These speakers, who once did research in our labs, are now doing excellent work and we wanted to recognize them for their achievements,” says Kirn. “Based on suggestions of some students, we’d like to host something like this again with alumni who aren’t in academic positions – with a theme like ‘Just what can I do with this NS&B degree anyway?’”

     
    By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations

    President Bennet Attends Summit on International Education


    Posted 02/01/06
    Editor’s Note: The following article is written by Douglas Bennet, president of Wesleyan University.

    During the first week of January I represented Wesleyan at a two-day summit on international education hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. The summit brought together 120 college presidents to discuss concerns, opportunities, and initiatives related to study abroad for U.S. students and study in the U.S. for international students. Both President Bush and Mrs. Bush addressed the summit.

    The summit gave me the chance to reflect on Wesleyan’s role in international education. I was reassured that we are doing well. Many of the initiatives proposed during the summit confirm that we are on track.

    President Bush opened the summit by announcing a “national strategic language initiative”. Much of the media attention devoted to the summit focused on his call for $114-million to teach languages critical for national security to students from kindergarten through college. While the President’s comments focused on security issues, colleges engage in international education for reasons that go far beyond war and security.

    Secretary of Education Spellings’ remarks broadened the goals of language study as a way to prepare students to engage in all facets of global business, economic, research, as well as security issues. She pointed out that only 44 percent of U.S. high school students study any foreign language while most European and Asian countries require that all their students take a second language.

    Wesleyan has been very strong in language and studies of cultures for a long time. Most students arrive here with a substantial background in at least one foreign language and are likely to study a new language while they are here. While only 8 percent of college students nationally take any foreign language courses, 60 percent of Wesleyan students enroll in at least one foreign language class. We do not formally require language study, but some of our language faculty have found Wesleyan students more interested and motivated because they are choosing to study a language instead of filling a language requirement. In addition to European languages, Wesleyan students are very interested in Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. We will consider where there are ways to connect the Wesleyan curriculum that the President’s critical language initiative.

    Slightly more than half of our students participate in study abroad programs compared with 2 percent of all U.S. college students. Of those, half participate in programs outside Western Europe – considerably more than at our peer institutions. Having spent several years working on economic development issues, both here and abroad, I am convinced that many aspects of globalization are most clearly understood in these emerging countries.

    Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes raised the issue of how to make it easier for science students find research opportunities abroad. Our science faculty regularly travel and collaborate internationally in their research, but it’s more difficult for our science students to participate in a semester abroad without disrupting their research. We will follow up on initiatives raised at the summit and look for opportunities to expand study abroad options for science majors.

    When the President and Secretary Rice each mentioned finding a balance between security considerations and attracting international students to study in the U.S. they received loud applause. I hope the summit helped calibrate this balance. We must compete successfully for international scholars and students if the United States is to offer an education with a meaningful global perspective. As the President and others recognized, many current world leaders were educated in the United States.

    Wesleyan will continue to recruit international students and faculty. Currently, 6 percent of our student body comes from abroad. This figure includes 88 Freeman Asian Scholars from 11 Southeast Asian countries who are at Wesleyan for a full four years. All of these students bring an international perspective to the campus. The Freeman Asian Scholars program is without precedent elsewhere and a truly unique asset for Wesleyan.

    There will always be more to do as we prepare our students for a global society and our current strategic plan, “Engaged with the World,” sets ambitious goals for us. Still, I returned from the summit knowing that Wesleyan’s engagement with international issues is robust and ongoing.

    Trustee Emeritus Richard Couper Dies


    Posted 02/01/06
    Richard W. “Dick” Couper died on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at a hospital in New Hartford, N.Y.

    Couper served on the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees from 1972 through 1983 and was elected as a trustee emeritus following his retirement from the Board. He was one of the longest serving trustees of his alma mater, Hamilton College, where he was the sixth generation of his family to attend.

    Couper served on the boards of more than 60 organizations throughout his life.

    He was president emeritus of the New York Public Library, having served as president and chief executive officer from 1971 to 1981. Couper was also president emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

    Couper is survived by his wife Patricia Pogue Couper, and three children, Frederick of West Hartford, Conn.; Thomas, of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Margaret Haskins, of Morrisville, Vt.; and four grandchildren.

    Memorial gifts may be sent to the Trustees of Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323, or the President’s Office, The New York Public Library, 42nd and Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10018.

    A memorial minute will be presented in recognition of Couper’s service on behalf of Wesleyan at the February 2006 Board Meeting.

    Photo courtesy of Hamilton College.

    Wesleyan Professor Collaborates with other Universities on Stem Cell Research Initiative


    Posted 02/01/06

    Laura Grabel, the Fisk Professor of Natural Science and professor of biology, is working with Connecticut’s Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee on ways to save the state money on a research laboratory.

     

    Grabel along with scientists from Yale University and the University of Connecticut, believe at least one core laboratory could be established in the state. The scientists told a panel overseeing Connecticut’s 10-year, $100 million stem cell research initiative that they are willing to collaborate and avoid repeating the same work and save money. They said they could share expensive equipment and conduct certain research with human embryonic cells that is not eligible for federal money and prohibited in facilities built using federal funds.
     

    The Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee is in the beginning stages of determining how best to distribute the first chunk – $20 million – of the state’s $100 million investment. The committee hopes to award grants this summer, possibly as early as June 30.