| As part of Wesleyan’s on-going efforts to provide staff education dedicated to diversity issues, the Office of Affirmative Action is sponsoring a workshop, “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Academic Workplace, on Feb. 9.
The workshop will be offered twice: at 9:30 a.m. in the Russell House, and at 1:30 p.m. in Woodhead Lounge. Each session meets for two hours and 15 minutes.
This workshop will provide frameworks for understanding sexual orientation and gender identity in a more integrated way and offer participants in-community perspectives on work-related issues, explains Michael Benn, interim director of Affirmative Action.
The workshop will be conducted by Dorothea Brauer, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning & Ally Services, Diversity & Equity at the University of Vermont.
Topics of discussion will include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights, same-sex marriages versus civil unions, benefits and family configurations.
Participants will have opportunities to work with language and terminology and become more culturally competent and confident that their workplace conversations are respectful and inclusive.
Wesleyans revised and expanded policy on discrimination and harassment can be found online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/affirm/policy_harassment.html.
Space is limited to 30 participants per workshop. For more information or to register e-mail Janice Watson at email@example.com or call 860-685-2006.
Pedro Noguera Challenges Racial Inequality in Schools
The Office of Affirmative Action and The Center for Faculty Career Development sponsored a discussion titled “Challenging Racial Inequality in Our Schools featuring Pedro Noguera on Feb. 1
Noguera, a professor specializing in urban sociology in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, spoke on the ways schools are influenced by social and economic conditions in the urban environment.
Noguera has served as an advisor and engaged in collaborative research with several large urban school districts throughout the United States. He has also done research on issues related to education and economic and social development in the Caribbean, Latin America and several other countries throughout the world.
Campus News & Events
by Olivia Drake •
| 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 Wesleyans 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 Presidents 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 Presidents 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 its 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 Wesleyans engagement with international issues is robust and ongoing.
by Olivia Drake •
|Steve Windsor, database administrator, suffers from repetitive strain injury and uses special ergonomic tools at work such as rubber-ball chair, a specially designed mouse, a headset and a touch-sensitive keyboard.|
| Working on a computer all day can become a real pain in the neck (and the back and forearms and hands). Fortunately, a new ergonomics Web site created by Information Technology Services has several suggestions to keep bodies in balance.
The site, http://www.wesleyan.edu/its/ergonomics/, offers advice on good working positions, stretches, workstation guidelines for health, an office ergonomics checklist and even the Occupational Safety & Health Administrations guidelines for proper video display viewing.
Ergonomics is the science that studies the relationship of humans to their working environment and seeks to improve working conditions and increase efficiency. Proper ergonomics can prevent repetitive strain injury, explains Steve Windsor, database administrator.
Repetitive strain injuries are a subtle affliction which may develop undetected for months or years before it is noticed by the user, Windsor says. Correspondingly, it may take the same amount of time for the user to completely heal.
Windsor knows about work-related physical stress first hand. Ten years ago, the then-corporate programmer noticed tightness in his neck and shoulders and pain in his arms and wrists. He tried to ignore the pain for several months, but by the time he saw a doctor and was prescribed physical therapy, it was too late. For six months, he was unable to type, and any forms of gripping jars, door handles, steering wheel and even shaking hands became too painful to bear. Windsor lost his job as a result.
In 1997, Windsor came to Wesleyan where they were very receptive and supportive of my condition, he explains. Windsor currently goes to physical therapy sessions in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs and nutritive supplements.
At work, he uses a rubber-ball chair to align his spine, a specially designed mouse, a headset that he can use to dictate text rather than type it, and a touch-sensitive keyboard that eliminates the need to push keys.
Several body-aligning illustrations are depicted on Wesleyans ergonomics Web site. The site suggests simple stretches, such as a head rotation, lateral neck stretch, finger flexor stretch, standing back bend and arm stretch.
Each stretch should be performed throughout the workday, explains Brandi Hood, senior project coordinator for Physical Plant and ergonomics expert. Hood makes formal assessment of Wesleyan employees workstations.
Windsor says when an employee is diagnosed with a repetitive strain injury a typical reaction is to throw ergonomic equipment at the problem. However, the employee’s posture and work habits are the most important issues to study for a correct diagnosis.
All the ergonomic equipment in the world will not affect positive change unless the user addresses postural and working habits, says Windsor.
When setting up a computer workstation, Hood suggests that employees should be aware of neutral body positioning. This is a comfortable working posture in which joins are naturally aligned. This reduced stress and strain on the muscles, tendons and skeletal system.
Proper posture and limb alignment include making sure your feet are flat on the floor, your butt is all the way back in the chair, your back is in contact with the back of the chair, and your arms are relaxed close to your sides to reduce the severe angles between your shoulder and elbow and your elbow and wrists, she says.
These postures are illustrated on the ergonomics site.
This year, Hood and Julia Hicks, associate director of Human Resources, are planning at least one ergonomics session for Wesleyan employees.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
| Thanks to more than $920,000 in private donations, including one from a notable alumnus, Wesleyan will install a new synthetic turf field in hopes of having it ready for play this spring.
The field will be located on the grounds of the former Long Lane School and provide a competitive playing surface for Wesleyans varsity lacrosse and field hockey teams, as well as foul-weather practice space for other varsity sports including football and soccer. Baseball and softball teams will also use the field for pre-season practice in late February when Bacon Field House becomes overcrowded. The field will be available for selected club sports, intramural play, sport camps and some use by the local community, as well.
Wesleyan is installing the field in part to maintain a competitive edge with peer schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).
The sport of field hockey in particular has adopted synthetic turf as the surface of choice, says John Biddiscombe, Wesleyans director of athletics and chair of physical education. The synthetic turf provides a faster, more exciting game for participants and spectators. High schools throughout the country are moving field hockey games and practices from grass to synthetic surfaces and soon high school players will come to Wesleyan with an expectation to play on the artificial surface.
The same can be said for lacrosse.
More than 160 alumni and parents earmarked donations for the field, including one of Wesleyans more famous former lacrosse players, Bill Belichick, 75. Belichick is coach of the New England Patriots and father of Amanda, 07, who is a varsity lacrosse player.
The field will be composed of Polytan Megagrass 2025. The project is scheduled for completion by April of this year. Wesleyan is hoping raise an additional $300,000 to outfit the field with lights, bleachers, a scoreboard, protective netting and other amenities.
Several alumni, parents and friends of the university have been actively involved in helping to raise the funding for the field, including Moira Byer P’06, David Campbell ’75, P’10, Michael and Marilyn Dee P’06, Mike McKenna 73, Preston Smith ’64, P’06, Jim Walsh P’07 and Cole and Katherine Werble P’07.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
College of Social Studies majors Angela Larkan 06 and Lindsey Reynolds 04 raise funds and awareness for orphaned pre-schoolers in South Africa through their non-profit organization, Thembanathi. Larkan’s thesis at Wesleyan involved establishing a method of care for AIDS orphans using their school system. (Photos contributed by Maya Casagrande)
| Angela Larkan 06 was raised in an apartheid South African town knowing that she could have been born into a poor family just down the road. With an estimated one in three South African children expected to be orphans by the year 2010 due to the AIDS virus, Larkan always knew she wanted to make a difference in her native country.
When I look into the eyes of the orphans, they all seem to be telling me the same thing, says Larkan, who has family roots in South Africa reaching back to the 1800s. They show me that they matter as human beings; that they have energy, love and innocence to offer the world, and that they need someone to help them survive.
In 2003, Larkan took on the task of co-founding a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for children in South Africa. The organization, Thembanathi, means “hope with us” in Zulu. Social studies major Lindsay Reynolds 04 has worked on and off in South Africa for the last three years on HIV prevention projects and co-directs Thembanathi with Larkan.
According to the South African Department of Health, in 2004, South Africa had more HIV positive people than any other country in the world. In the province of KwaZulu-Natal, known as the AIDS belt, 40.7 percent of women attending antenatal clinics had HIV/AIDS. Mothers have a one in three chance of passing the deadly disease onto their children.
Thembanathi partners with Holy Cross AIDS Hospice, a non-governmental organization which supports orphans of AIDS and other vulnerable children. Money raised by Thembanathi goes toward feeding programs, a summer camp, childrens educational fees, and transportation for children to and from the preschool, among other needs.
Larkans interest in the orphaned children of AIDS was intensified during her sophomore year at Wesleyan. She applied for the Davenport Study Grant, normally awarded to juniors doing thesis research, to go to South Africa and conduct research on the AIDS orphan crisis, and determine a strategy to best handle the dramatic increase of orphans expected by 2010.
I wanted to work on something that was real and more relevant to today’s world, she says.
Larkan received the grant, and for six weeks, she traveled around the city of KwaZulu-Natal, interviewing key players in orphan care and the AIDS pandemic. There, she worked with Reynolds, who received a similar grant her junior year to study in South Africa. That opportunity crystallized Reynolds’ interest in AIDS on an international level and expanded her interest to working with children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. Together, the women witnessed dozens of pre-school-aged children left alone to fend for themselves in areas where hunger, disease, and poverty were already part of daily life. They communicate with the children through an acquired toddler Zulu and hire a translator when conducting research.
Our time there was fateful because we left with a desire, drive, and persistence to do more than just write about the AIDS situation, Larkan explains. We knew that we had to do something, no matter how small, to help the children that we had seen.
Larkan, who spearheads Thembanathi’s fundraising efforts, has coordinated benefit concerts, bake sales, candy-grams, refreshment sales at athletic games and jewelry sales to raise money for the organization. Beaded AIDS pins, handmade by Zulu women, are the programs top seller. Thembanathi raised $14,000 in its first two years, and acquired a $33,000 grant from the Wellesley Rotarians and Rotary International to establish a water purification system at Holy Cross.
Last summer, support from President Doug Bennet and the Christopher Brodigan Fund afforded the Thembanathi directors to return to South Africa for two months. While there, Larkan conducted some follow-up research on her thesis, which involved establishing a method of care for AIDS orphans using the school system. In addition, she developed a proposal that would link at-risk children in orphanages and schools with non-governmental agencies and social workers.
Larkan and Reynolds are also building networks, and are trying to have their ideas discussed in academic public policy circles.
Richard Elphick, professor of history, supervised Larkans thesis.
I certainly encourage my students to do projects in public service, but Angela is doing extraordinary things on a number of different fronts, he says. Rather than studying AIDS prevention, Angela is working on the other end – how to deal with victims, or the tsunami of orphans. Shes very intellectually acute and practical, and its wonderful that shes out there raising money for her cause.
A good part of running Thembanathi is administrative work, so Larkan and Reynolds can work using remote devices. Reynolds is living in Chad, Africa for 2 1/2 months doing more research as part of the completion of her Master’s in International Public Health from Johns Hopkins. Larkan, who finished her studies at Wesleyan in December, is living in Colorado.
Some people don’t understand why I want to spend four hours a day working on something that doesn’t pay me, but they haven’t met the children I worked with, Larkan explains. They haven’t interviewed officials who sadly, slowly, tell you how they country is being ruined. It is the experience on the ground that keeps me going. Children are innocent and don’t deserve to be the victims of a crisis this large before they have even learned to read.
Larkan and Reynolds hope to run Thembanathi full-time in the future and set up AIDS testing clinics and pediatric antiretrovirals for those AIDS orphans that are positive.
Larkan credits her experience at Wesleyan with her present and future plans. Shes worked in the Office of Community Service where she ran a group called AIDS and Sexual Health Awareness, teaching HIV prevention in local high schools and raising awareness about local and global AIDS issues.
Classes in government, economics, history and philosophy at Wesleyan provided Larkan with a broad range of pertinent information, allowing her to use to use these tools innovatively to build a model for orphan care. But it was Wesleyan’s students, she says, that inspired her to jump at the problem and try to change it.
Wesleyan’s atmosphere is inspiring and makes you want to be active in creating change, she says. Most importantly, it makes you realize that you can be a part of that change.
For more information on Themabanathi visit http://www.thembanathi.org/.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
|The Memorial Chapel will host several Spirituality Week events between Jan. 27 – Feb. 2.|
| The 10th annual Spirituality Week will take place Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 at various locations on campus.
Spiritually Week is coordinated by the University Chaplains each year to emphasize weekly religious and spiritual programs on campus and to sponsor and recognize special events.
“This is a good opportunity for people to understand the range of spiritually that happens on campus,” says Rev. Gary Comstock, protestant chaplain. “The students will return to campus fresh and open to new ideas. We want them to know that you dont need to be Jewish to go to a Jewish service.”
The chaplains regular events, such as the Catholic Mass, the Protestant Worship, Muslim prayer and a Jewish Shabbat will be held during this period.
In addition, the chaplains have coordinated events with student-run organizations. Wesleyan Christian Fellowship is sponsoring an Athletes Fellowship to discuss the relationship between faith and life as a student-athlete. There will also be a discussion titled Jesus, Revolution and the Pursuit of Justice and two Bible studies. Wesleyan Dharma Study Group is sponsoring three Buddhist meditations.
Rev. Comstock will lead an activity with the Vespers for students of any or no religious affiliation and a luncheon requested by students titled, “Queerness & Spirituality.” He also is presenting a workshop on painted prayers titled Rangoli: Sand Designs of India.
This years Faculty Panel will speak on Integrating Spirituality and Academics. Comstock expects more than 50 students and faculty to attend the discussion that includes a period for questions, posed by the audience.
“Even I am surprised by how much is going on,” Comstock says. “Spirituality Week is a nice highlight of everything that happens here on a regular basis.”
The schedule of events, including the date, contact information and location, is as follows (to print this schedule click on the print button at the end of this page):
Friday, Jan. 27
Sunday, Jan. 29
Monday, Jan. 30
Tuesday, Jan. 31
Wednesday, Feb. 1
Thursday, Feb. 2
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
Unprecedented Star Cluster Study May Offer View of Planet Formation and Our Solar System’s Own Early Beginnings
by Olivia Drake •
| An unprecedented 14-year study by Wesleyan University researchers has revealed a phenomenon that may indicate the forming of new planets or perhaps even the existence of young planets orbiting young sun-like stars more than 1,600 light years away.
The observations were presented at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Washington, DC. on January 11 by William Herbst, the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy and chair the astronomy department (pictured at right), Gabriel Roxby 06, a Wesleyan undergraduate involved in the study, and Eric Williams, the systems manager of the Van Vleck observatory.
The Wesleyan team analyzed 500 stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) which is approximately 500 pc or 1600 light years from earth. The data from the stars were collected by faculty and graduate and undergraduate students during a continuous 14-year period. The observations gave the astronomers the unique opportunity to track the long-term behavior of these stars concurrently with their subtle changes over short timescales.
The findings presented at the AAS meeting detail the discovery of a large number of young T Tauri stars with intriguing patterns in brightness variation over both short and long timescales. One star discovered, Trapezium 093/JW#669, became of particular interest because it seemed to grow brighter then fainter in a remarkably steady pattern with a possible period of about 10 years. This is an extremely long cycle, given that it rotates every 1.18 days.
One theory suggests the presence of a disk of dust and rock orbiting the star. Such a circumstellar disk would have to contain a large clump, such as a planet or proto-planet, in order to obscure the light of the star at certain times and not others. Another possible explanation for the brightness fluctuations may be that the star is experiencing magnetic cycles akin to those seen in our Sun, where its magnetic field becomes stronger and weaker over time, causing the total area covered by sunspots to grow and shrink. Another theory is that the phenomenon is being caused by the presence of a young fully-formed gas-giant planet akin to Jupiter.
Whatever the cause, the observations by the Wesleyan researchers may offer significant insights into our own solar systems origins. Trapezium 093/JW#669 bears a strong resemblance to a younger version of the Sun, and it may be undergoing processes similar to those in the Suns early history. Further investigation may reveal whether these or other explanations can account for this stars long and regular period.
This active star-forming region is a promising area for observations because of its relative nearby distance and its large population of T Tauri stars, which are typically young (about 1 million years old).
The study also offers a new perspective on the changes that occur in T Tauri stars over many years. For the first time a large collection of long-term light curves for a vast sample of young variable stars has been gathered. The sample can be used to further analyze general trends among these stars, as well as locate other unique stars that may help to shed light on the genesis of our own Solar System.
The data were obtained using Wesleyans 0.6 meter (24 inch) Perkin telescope. Researchers used differential photometry to calculate stars alterations in brightness from night to night by comparing the variable stars to a few stars in each field known to have relatively unchanging brightness. They used these calculations to plot light curves, or diagrams of the change in brightness over time, for each star.
Wesleyan astronomers will continue their study of the star cluster and generate data for further analysis.
|By Clara Moskowitz 06 and David Pesci, director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
| Professor Robert Brown, one of the founders of the Wesleyan World Music Program, died recently.
Brown was one of the first students to receive a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from University of California Los Angeles. He was appointed assistant professor in Wesleyans Music Department in 1961 and joined the tenured ranks of the faculty in 1966.
Brown helped the department to grow rapidly to national and international prominence. He brought with him from UCLA a concept called “performance study group,” a musical pedagogy that emphasizes the importance of direct contact between students and master musicians from around the world. In this context, he brought to Wesleyan T. Balasaraswati (1918-1984), the most renowned classical South Indian dancer, and her brothers, a renowned flutist and drummer, T. Viswanathan (1927-2001) and T. Ranganathan (1924-1987), followed by master musicians from Africa, Indonesia and Japan.
Professor Brown had an important role in giving Wesleyans music program a distinctive character and legacy. After his departure from Wesleyan in 1971, Brown led a program at the American Society for Eastern Arts.
In 1973 he established the Center for World Music located in Berkeley, California. From 1979 until his retirement in 1992, he was a professor of music at San Diego State University (SDSU). Bob was known as a promoter of gamelan studies in the United States and beyond.
He is survived by a niece and three nephews, and many great nieces and nephews. The arrangements for the memorial service at SDSU are still pending.
by Olivia Drake •
|The new Wesleyan University Museum will provide a single secure, environmentally-controlled space to house valuable collections of art and materials. Pictured below is a cross section model of how the building will appear. The third-floor spaces will contain three gallery spaces and glass enclosed seating and study areas.|
| Rick Segal ’75 and Monica Mayer Segal 78 have donated $500,000 toward the new Wesleyan University Museum, which will be built on College Row through an extensive remodeling of the historic former squash building.
The new museum building, now in its final planning stages, will make an important architectural impact in the center of the campus. Three exterior walls of the former squash court building will be retained insuring the integrity of College Row. However, the west facade of the building facing Andrus Field will gain a dynamic new architectural expression featuring glass and metal.
Rick and I both feel that there needs to be a stronger visual arts presence on the Wesleyan campus, and that an attractive, inviting, well-placed, user-friendly museum would do wonders to inspire undergraduates to enjoy the arts during their college years, and hopefully into their adult years, says Monica Mayer Segal, who, along with her husband Rick, is an avid art collector. We all know that Wesleyan students are attracted to arts and culture, so it seems a straight shot that they would make great use of a first class museum.
The museum, which will cost approximately $23 million to complete, will provide a single secure, environmentally-controlled space to house valuable collections of art and material culture currently dispersed throughout the campus. These collections include more than 18,000 European and American prints, 600 Japanese prints and over 6,000 photographs displayed or stored in the Davison Art Center, as well as some 30,000 archeological and ethnographic items now housed in Exley Science Center, a collection of musical instruments from throughout the world now in storage in the Music Building, and a variety of Asian objects currently in the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies.
The need for a new museum building was signaled by the Collections Committee Advisory Report in 1997. The report indicated that Wesleyan was beyond reasonable capacity for its collections and that conservation demanded stricter standards of climate and light controls.
In addition to new, secure exhibition spaces and much-needed expanded storage the museum will provide new lab spaces and study areas where students can work closely with objects in our collections under the guidance of the faculty and the curatorial staff, says John Paoletti, Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history and director of the new museum. More of our collections will be able to be shown on a regular basis, highlighting what are now some of Wesleyans best kept secrets.
The new facility will also permit Wesleyan to borrow works of art from other institutions and alumni and alumnae collectors, enhancing the universitys exhibition program and teaching capabilities. The space will also include a new auditorium and reception area on the museums main floor.
Paoletti has been on the Wesleyan faculty since 1972 and has seen the interest in the arts at Wesleyan and other institutions develop in extraordinary ways during that time. And yet, Wesleyan has been without an appropriate museum facility comparable to its peers. His enthusiasm for the museum is contagious, as the Segals soon discovered.
We had been talking with the administration about this project for a few years, and it had gone through several permutations, but when John got involved it all coalesced for us, says Rick Segal. Johns vision for the physical component of the museum and his programmatic ideas are very exciting.
Paoletti is most excited about the impact that the museum will have on Wesleyans educational programs.
Weve recently had sophomore and juniors who have had internships at The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Frick Collection in New York City, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Chicago Art Institute, just to name a few, says Paoletti. Many of our students have gone on to prestigious positions in the gallery and museum world and in academics. The new museum will improve our ability to provide more extensive teaching opportunities and give our educational programs a very public face to the world outside Wesleyan.
Paoletti does not have an exact date for the museums completion, though the gutting of the old squash courts has already begun as part of the work being done for the Susan Lemberg Usdan University Center, which will be next door to the museum.
The speed at which will be able to move this project along will be strongly linked to the support we receive from alumni and friends of the university who want to make it a reality, says Paoletti. Rick and Monica have helped us take a very big first step, and for that we are all very grateful. I am anxious to seize the momentum they have created to keep the museum project moving forward in a creative and expeditious manner.
For more information about the Wesleyan University Museum please go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/masterplan/teaching.html. For illustrations of the Wesleyan University Museum please go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/masterplan/teaching_detail.html.
|By David Pesci, director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, professor of American Studies, studied the 369th Battalions and 77th Divisions roles in France for his latest book, Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality.”
| In 1918, the United States loaned its all-black 369th Infantry Regiment to fight under the French flag in World War I. These soldiers, rejected for combat duty by their own country because they were black, fought for 191 days, longer than any other American unit in the war. The Harlem Hell Fighters, received an honorable award for bravery from the French. In their heroic attack on Sechault, of some 2,500 riflemen who began the battle only 700 survived unhurt.
They kept fighting until they couldnt fight anymore, Slotkin says. Their efforts were extraordinary. Studies of combat psychology show that no person can handle more than 180 days in combat, and they fought for more than 190 days.
Twenty miles away, 700 New York immigrants forming a battalion of the United States 77th Division, or ‘Melting Pot Division’ crossed German lines and advanced into France’s Argonne Forest. This unit of Jewish, Italian and other eastern Europeans battled for six days with limited ammunition and supplies, food, water and shelter. They refused to surrender, although their unit was completely surrounded. Only 200 survived.
Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English, professor of American Studies, has spent the past four years extensively researching the 369th Battalions and 77th Divisions roles in France. His latest book, Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality, published in December 2005 by Henry Holt and Co., depicts American black and immigrant soldiers who were considered to be lesser citizens and racially inferior during and after the war.
In 1917, one in three people living in America was from a foreign country or had a foreign-born parent. Although the U.S. government would have preferred to send only white, American-born citizens to combat, immigrants were promised equality in return for their loyal service in the war.
During World War I, we had to raise an army of 2 million men overnight, and we could not play this role without having minorities involved in the war, Slotkin explains. The government basically told these Blacks and immigrants that if you go to war, we will accept you. The U.S. had to look at how all men are created equal in a way that never existed before.
Some of these guys were from Germany or Austria and could have taken an exemption from being in the war, but they wanted to show their American patriotism, Slotkin explains. But when they came back to the U.S., they still got the shaft. Congress identified them as races incapable of full Americanization, banned further immigration and signalled acceptance of ethnic discrimination.
The U.S. also broke its promise to the Blacks.
The Army gave the French a Secret Information Concerning Black American Troops, which demanded the adoption of strict racial separation. The document stated that it was essential that Frenchmen understand that to Americans, displays of interracial friendship were deeply offensive. It declared that friendships would encourage intolerable pretensions to equality, which would pose a danger to Americas civil peace when the troops came home.
Slotkin studied World War I unit histories written in books and published on microfilm. He visited the National Archives to study World War I military books, and hired research assistants, one of which translated Yiddish newspaper clippings for the project.
He focused his research on the lives of about two dozen characters, including the Lost Battalions captain Charles Whittlesey, who was named a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the U.S. Army following the war. Whittlesey is also the main character in the Arts and Entertainment movie titled Lost Battalion from 2001. Slotkin says the movie portrays an accurate depiction of the events that occurred between Oct. 2-8, 1918.
The author says history buffs and scholars would be interested in his research, although the story is written in a way that can appeal to the general public. The History Book Club and Military Book Club have both accepted Slotkins book into their listings.
A recent Publishers Weekly Starred Review states that Slotkins story examines the relationship between war and citizenship in this trenchant, gracefully written military and social history. Slotkin smoothly telescopes from the trenches to the political and social implications for decades to come in this insightful, valuable account.
Stories like these havent been taught in schools because Americans dont like to look at how hard it has been to become a multicultural nation, Slotkin says.
Slotkin is the author of seven other books including Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln, Gunfighter Nation and Regeneration Through Violence. He is a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Albert J. Beveridge Prize.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|
by Olivia Drake •
| Wesleyan recently elected 15 seniors to the Gamma chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest national scholastic honor society.
Election to the society is based on fulfillment of eligibility requirements, including a grade point average of 90 or above and nomination by the students major department. Phi Beta Kappa is limited to 12 percent of the graduating class each year. The newly elected students are:
Claire Nilsen Blumenson, a government, psychology and sociology major from Cambridge, Mass., is interested in child advocacy as it relates to academic failure and juvenile delinquency. Blumenson completed a semester abroad in Brussels, Belgium, which included a full-time internship at the European Parliament working for the Maltese Labour Party.
Jennifer Mary Bunger is a biology major from Southington, Conn., whose interests include dancing, teaching, and working with children. A dancer in the group Power Groove, Bunger is also ballet and tap instructor and choreographer to children ages 3-12. She has been a teaching assistant in both science and math courses and tutors several hours a week. She plans on attending medical school and studying pediatrics.
Thapana Chairoj is a math-economics major from Bankok, Thailand, and a Freeman Scholar. His experience here has broadened his intellectual sphere and deepened his experience as an international student.
Avishek Chatterjee, a physics, math, and astronomy major from Calcutta, India, spent the past two summers conducting physics research on theoretical simulations of vortex dynamics in a film of superfluid helium. He is an honors candidate in math and physics and interested in philosophy, particularly in relation to the implications of scientific theories. He is applying to graduate school for theoretical physics.
Katherine Leigh DAmbrosio, a double major in English and history from Atlanta, Georgia, is a member of the History Majors Committee and on the editorial boards of Historical Narratives, Wesleyans undergraduate literature journal. As a university scholar, DAmbrosio has worked as a research assistant in the English and history departments and as a writing tutor and recently performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Hoan Bui Dang is a math major and came to Wesleyan from Vietnam. He likes to challenge his mind with mathematical and logical thinking and wants to use this knowledge exploring physical nature. Dang is currently on the West Coast on a combined program.
Cassandra Dunkhase, a music major from Iowa City, Iowa, is a member of Wesleyans Chamber Music program and Cello Ensemble and has been principal cellist of the Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra for the past three years. Dunkhase was recently selected as the Senior Honoree in the 2005 Wesleyan Concerto Competition and will be performing a solo with the orchestra in May. She spent the fall of 2004 studying music at Royal Holloway University in London and is an experienced cello teacher.
Julia Fox, a double major in Spanish and psychology from West Hartford, Conn., spent a summer working with Miami ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) on a campaign that successfully raised the Florida minimum wage by $1. After a few years off, she plans on returning to school to further explore her interests and develop personal career goals that may include a combination of political campaign work, international travel and teaching.
Emily Jacobs-Palmer is a major in molecular biology and biochemistry from Greenfield, Mass. who has been researching a protein that corrects mistakes made in DNA during replication. After graduation, she plans to work for a year and then get her Ph.D. in a lab that applies the techniques of molecular biology to conservation problems.
Kimberly Anne Landry is a psychology major from Agawam, Mass, who studied abroad last spring in Canterbury, England. She loves astronomy and volunteers during the public observing night at the Van Vleck Observatory. Landry plans to go on to graduate school and will be applying to programs in Clinical Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. Her career goal is to become a practicing psychologist or therapist.
Rachael Elizabeth Lax is a psychology major from West Newton, Mass. In the summer of 2004 she received the Dana Grant and was sponsored to work at a non-profit organization in Ecuador as a mentor to children living on the street of the inner city Quito. She is currently assisting in a research project at the Middletown Department of Children and Families and is treasurer of the Wesleyan chapter of Psi Chi, the National Psychology Honor Society.
Heung Ming Ngai is a math-economics major from Hong Kong. During his time at Wesleyan, he has been a co-chair of the Chinese Students Association and a resident advisor and chair of technology for ODE the economics honor society. After graduation he plans to pursue a career in banking in Hong Kong.
Krista Eva Perks, a neuroscience and biology major from Phoenix, Md. worked over the summer at the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole as part of the Hughes Summer Research Program. There, she studied the learning properties of the principle neurons of the cerebellar-like structure in the hindbrain of the little skate. Perks is a gymnastics coach in Middletown and was House Manager of Community Services House during her sophomore year.
Tal Gronau Rozen is a studio arts major from Amherst, Mass. In the fall of 2004, Rozen spent a semester studying High Renaissance and Baroque art history in Rome. In addition, he works as a layout editor for Fat Bottom Magazine, an experimental literary and arts student publication.
Liang Zhao is a double major in economics and math from China and a Freeman Scholar. He has worked for Information Technology Services (ITS), the math workshop, and has been a Chinese Economics Course Assistant. He has also been active in the Chinese Student Association. Zhao looks forward to returning to China and contributing to the future development of his home country.
|By Laura Perillo, associate director of Media Relations|
by Olivia Drake •
|From left to right, Cecil Apostol ’08, Kristina, Kimberly Greenberg , Bobby and Carolyn go over math problems at the Davenport Campus Center. Kristine, Bobby and Carolyn are students enrolled in the Middlesex Transition Academy, which meets at Wesleyan daily. Pictured below are Jesse, Jessica Markowitz ’08, Bobby and Lauren.|
| The pizza served at McConaughy Dining Hall is prepared by a new member of the Wesleyan community. As part of a cooperative educational program for individuals with special needs, 19-year-old Kristina is learning hands-on how to work in food services.
I prep the dough, oil the pans, and flip it, Kristina says. I technically make the whole pizza. I havent thought a lot about it, but I might want to work in a restaurant or pizza place after this. I do like to work with people.
Preparing Kristina and six other disabled adults aged 18-21 to function individually in the community is the goal of the Middlesex Transition Academy. Launched in March 2004, the academy helps disabled individuals who recently graduated from area high schools find employment. Wesleyan provides classroom space and job opportunities for the grant-funded program.
Under direction of a job coach, the academy members learn about their strengths and weaknesses, managing money and social skills. While on campus, they also attend functional academic classes in the Davenport Campus Center.
At Wesleyan, they are assigned various jobs at Davenport, Exley Science Center, McConaughy Dining Hall, Freeman Athletic Center and WesShop.
Frank Kuan, director of Community Relations for the Center for Community Partnerships, says having the academy students on campus offers an excellent opportunity for them to be connected with Wesleyan students. The university also benefits by having this diverse group as part of the Wesleyan community.
It is gratifying to see the growth of these students during their time on campus, Kuan says. You can see them developing their life skills and independence. This community connection is truly a win-win for all of us.
While Lauren, 18, sorts and folds mail at the science center, Bobby, 18, is busy washing dishes at McConaughy or stocking shelves at WesShop.
Both agree that working in a college environment is gratifying. Bobby enjoys the friends hes made. Lauren favors the college atmosphere and is overwhelmed by cute college boys.
The job is pretty easy, and I just love working for money, says Bobby, who works five days a week. I love money!
Normally, when a student is 18 and graduates from high school, he or she goes on to college or employment. Christine Jakubiec, an academy teacher, says the academy provides opportunities to address individual transition goals in an age-appropriate, college environment for these disabled adults in the 18-21 year range. As her pupils get closer to the age of 21, they are weaned off a job coach and should be ready to find similar jobs in local businesses.
All seven students enrolled in the Middlesex Transition Academy also are part of Wesleyans student program called “Best Buddies.” Best Buddies matches Wesleyan students with adults from the Middlesex County area. Wesleyans Center for Community Partnerships began spearheading this collaboration last year. Best Buddies go bowling (pictured at left), star gazing and participate in other monthly activities.
Kimberly Greenberg 07 says her buddy, Rick, brightens her moods. She can always find him making pizzas at McConaughy during the lunch hours.
In his second year with the organization, College Buddy Director Cecil Apostol ’08 has developed a meaningful relationship with his buddy Winston, 28. Apostol feels that society stigmatizes people like Winston.
“They have been neglected and marginalized as much as any other minority group, Apostol says. We expose them to a world that was denied to them for so long. Together, we both embrace the opportunity to participate in a long-lasting, meaningful friendship.”
Best Buddies is accepting associate members. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Transition Academy meets at the Campus Center from 8 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
|By Olivia Drake, Wesleyan Connection editor|