Campus News & Events

NASA Grant to Fund Study on Venus’s Landscape


Holding a globe model of the planet Venus, Martha Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environmental science, and Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental science, will study an area on Venus that contains the oldest rocks on the planet’s surface. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

Thanks to NASA, two Earth and Environmental Science faculty are going to spend the better part of their next three summers on Venus looking at volcanoes and mountain ranges.

Specifically, Martha Gilmore, associate professor of earth and environment science, and Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental science, will be using a three-year NASA grant to examine an area of Venus called the Tellus Regio, which is contains some of the oldest rocks on the planet’s surface.

“It’s an area of interest for two reasons, primarily,” says Gilmore, who has done work on Mars and Venus missions, among others for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “First, it’s an area that is high on NASA’s list of

Alden, Imai, Starr Awarded Tenure

The Wesleyan University Board of Trustees affirmed the promotion with tenure, effective July 1, 2009, of the following members of the faculty:

Jane Alden.

Jane Alden.

Jane Alden, associate professor of music, was appointed assistant professor of music at Wesleyan in 2001. Prior, she was an acting assistant professor at Stanford University, and an instructor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Alden was awarded a Wesleyan Center for the Humanities Fellowship and was a visiting research associate at Harvard University. She has been the recipient of a Mellon Center Mini-Grant, a Wesleyan University seed grant, and Wesleyan University Snowdon funding for a symposium.

Her research and teaching interest include manuscript production and music books in the 15th century; historiography of chanson in the late 19th and 20th centuries; The “New York School” of American experimental

Thomas on “Top 100” Earth Science List

Ellen Thomas.

Ellen Thomas.

A paper by Ellen Thomas, research professor of earth and environmental sciences, is listed as one of the 100 most influential papers in the earth sciences by

Thomas’s article, “Trends, rhythms, and aberrations in global climate 65 Ma to present,” was originally published in Science, 292, in 2001. Also included in the top 100 are Charles Darwin’s The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, published in 1842, and British geologist Sir Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology, from 1830-33.

The same paper was also identified by Thomson Reuters Scientific’s Essential Science Indicators as one of the most highly cited papers in field of geosciences, and has been designated as a “Current Classic” in October 2008.

In addition, Thomas was recently a co-author of another paper published in Science magazine Dec. 15 on the “long record of the Ca-isotope composition of seawater.”

Under-the-Desk Waste Baskets Replaced with Recycle Containers

Jonathan Curry, TITLE, and Alex Cabal, area coordinator, have replaced their plastic trash cans with recyclable containers in Residential Life.

Area coodinators Jonathan Connary and Alex Cabal have replaced their plastic trash cans with recyclable containers in Residential Life. (Photo by Intisar Abioto '09)

Trash bins may find themselves down in the dumps, at least around Wesleyan’s campus.

The university is replacing them – one by one – with recyclable containers in attempt to make Wesleyan a “greener” campus community.

“Most everything we throw away at our desks – paper, plastic water bottles and soda cans and cardboard packaging material – is recyclable,” says Jeff Miller, associate director for facilities management. “So why keep a trash can under your desk?”

Miller and other members of Wesleyan’s Recycling and Waste Committee, a subcommittee of Wesleyan’s Sustainable Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship (SAGES), are spearheading efforts to remove the trash bins from all individual administrative and academic offices.

Student Team Makes Smart Investments during Economic Struggle

Wesleyan Investment Group co-chairs Dan O'Brien '10, Ramanan Sivalingam '10 and Mike Levin '09 make executive decisions on a Wesleyan account.

While the financial markets continue to decline, a group of Wesleyan students is proving that there’s always a way to defy the current trend.

This fall, the student-run Wesleyan Investment Group increased their portfolio from $27,500 up to $44,000.

“We’re very selective in our stock purchases, and we analyze each company very carefully,” says Wesleyan Investment Group co-chair Ramanan Sivalingam ’10.

Sivalingam and the group’s other two co-chairs Dan O’Brien ’10 and Mike Levin ’09 manage the group. It has about 20 active members and 40 subscribed to the club’s list-serve. Participants are from all currently matriculated class years.

“We’re a diverse group when it comes to general knowledge of the stock market

Drennan All-American and NESCAC Player of the Year

Lisa Drennan '09

Lisa Drennan '09 (by

In 2008, Lisa Drennan ’09 accomplished something never done by any Wesleyan athlete: she became a two-time New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Player of the Year. She was also named a second-team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). She was the only player from a New England College to be named to any of AVCA’s three All-America teams.

“This season was by far Lisa’s best,” says 24-year Wesleyan head coach Gale Lackey. “Repeating as NESCAC Player of the Year is no surprise.

South Korea, Cameroon Give Students New Perspectives on Cultures

Allison Hardy’s experiences as a study abroad student in Cameroon have reinforced her knowledge about criticisms of the United States. One common stereotype she encountered is that “all Americans are really wealthy.” In fact, she was asked if she had a huge sweet sixteen birthday bash like what is depicted on television.

Although Hardy ’10 has explained that the majority of Americans are not wealthy, she feels that other issues are harder to explain. For example, she’s gained a new appreciation for the United States’ improving gender equality, fighting homophobia and moving past hetero-normative attitudes, she says.

Sherry Cho ’10, another study abroad student, decided to return

88.1 FM WESU Begins Holiday Pledge Drive

Ben Michael, general manager of 88.1 FM WESU is asking listeners to donate this holiday season during the Fourth Annual Winter Pledge Drive.Wesleyan's own non-commercial, listener-supported radio station, 88.1 FM WESU is hoping listeners give the gift of WESU this holiday season during its Fourth Annual Winter Pledge Drive Dec. 1-14.

Operating as a community service of Wesleyan since 1939, WESU has served Connecticut river valley listeners for nearly seven decades and is one of the oldest college radio stations in America.

Ethnic Bake Sale Raises $1,200 for Food Pantry

Wesleyan hosted an international bake sale in the Usdan University Center Nov. 20 to benefit the Middlesex United Way.

Wesleyan hosted an Ethnic Bake Sale in the Usdan University Center Nov. 20 to benefit the Amazing Grace Food Pantry. Wesleyan raised $1,200 from the sale. (Photos by Intisar Abioto '09)

Swedish sweet bread, Greek jam cookies, Iranian walnut puffs and Irish soda bread were just a few tasty treats sold recently to benefit a local food pantry.

On Nov. 20, Wesleyan hosted an ethnic bake sale in the Usdan University Center. More than 70 bakers and volunteers contributed to the event, helping to raise almost $1,200 in two and a half hours. All proceeds were given directly to Middletown’s Amazing Grace Food Pantry.

Hundreds of baked goods were for sale.

Hundreds of baked goods were for sale.

“It was so wonderful to see the Wesleyan community come together as one and see what we could do for the community during these tough economic times,” says bake sale organizer Olga Bookas,

Soup Kitchens, Miles of Smiles Supported by United Way Gifts

In 1996, Linda Putnam realized she was dying of metastatic colon cancer. She assumed she’d spend her last days of life in a nursing home.

“When we told her that she was going home to be with her family and be cared for by hospice nurses, she was relieved,” says Putnam’s daughter, Camille Dolansky, project coordinator for planned giving. “Having hospice care

Photographers Speak on ‘Eye of History: The Camera as Witness’ Panel

The Camera as Witness" presentation and panel Nov. 7.

Documentary photographer Wendy Ewald explained how photography relates to personal history during the "Eye of History: The Camera as Witness" presentation and panel Nov. 7.

“We can never really claim to have seen anything unless it has been photographed.” — Émile Zola, c. 1901, Minutes of the Camera Club of Paris

Documentary photographers, contemporary visual artists and historians grapple with issues of photographic meaning, evidence, and interpretation.

This fall, Wesleyan has hosted a series of exhibitions, talks and films that explore photography’s role in historiography, historical memory and public life. Organized by Associate Professor of History Jennifer Tucker, “Eye of History: The Camera as Witness” serves as a meeting point for people who share a common interest in photography, art and historical memory.

On Nov. 7, internationally-renowned documentary photographers Wendy Ewald, Eric Gottesman and Susan Meiselas joined acclaimed writer and critic David Levi Strauss in a panel discussion about photography’s role in the world today.

Saturn’s Rings, Siberian Eclipse Topics at KECK Symposium

Hannah Sugarman '09 speaks on "Finding Intermediate Mass Black Holes in the Local Universe" during the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium Nov. 8.

Hannah Sugarman ’09 speaks on “Finding Intermediate Mass Black Holes in the Local Universe” during the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium Nov. 8.

Astronomers interested in black holes generally study small, low-mass types within our own galaxy, or super-massive black holes found in the center of other large galaxies. But during the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium Nov. 7-8 at Wesleyan. astronomy major Hannah Sugarman ’09 explained the importance of finding intermediate mass black holes in the local universe.

“Small black holes are about 30 times the mass of the sun, and the big, super-massive black holes have a mass of about a million times the mass of the sun. Intermediate mass black holes are in between these mass limits,” Sugarman says. “They are important because if super-massive black holes are made by slightly smaller ones combining, we want to be able to observe the smaller ones to see how this works.”