Campus News & Events

Wesleyan Football Team Helps Artists for World Peace Pack for Health Mission in Tanzania

Members of the Wesleyan football team and coach Dan DiCenzo, second from right, celebrate their successful packing service for Artists for World Peace. Founder and executive director Wendy Black-Nasta P’07, center is shipping the equipment to a Tanzanian village where she and others will offer an eye clinic this summer. (Photo by Lucy Guiliano for Artists for World Peace)

Members of the Wesleyan football team and coach Dan DiCenzo, second from right, celebrate their successful packing service for Artists for World Peace. Founder and executive director Wendy Black-Nasta P’07, center is shipping the equipment to a Tanzanian village where she and others will offer an eye clinic this summer. (Photo by Lucy Guiliano for Artists for World Peace)

On April 2, in a relentless rain, 20 Artists for World Peace volunteers—including Wesleyan Football Coach Dan DiCenzo and staunch members of the football team—loaded a 20-foot shipping container with $648,000 worth of medical equipment, eyeglasses, and other items.

“It was great to see our guys help such a fine organization,” said DiCenzo.

Jewelry artist Wendy Black-Nasta P’07, founder and executive director of Artists for World Peace (AFWP), had contacted the coach when she realized her group needed help. She had arranged for the shipping container, which arrived in the parking lot of Ace Hardware in Middletown, at 10 a.m. She and her team had only two hours to pack it with the donated equipment she had been collecting for the past two years. Included in the shipment were two complete eye examination rooms, one donated by Professor Raymond Dennis, who heads the Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing program at Middlesex Community College. Individual pieces weighed as much as 350 libs. It will be used in the small village of Kibosho-Umbwe, in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, where Black-Nasta and her group are returning this summer. On their previous visit in 2014, the team opened the first health clinic in the region, which they had helped build.
Black-Nasta, who arranged that trip and the one upcoming, has been traveling to the village since 2008. Her organization supports and educates the 20 children in the Good Hope Trust Orphanage.

The organization’s eye clinic will be running the first two weeks of August. To view their efforts, see AFWP’s Facebook page, blog and view the entire medical clinic and trip on AFWP’s website.

Black-Nasta was grateful to Coach DiCenza and the team for their support.

“Thank you again for being part of this with us and for bringing an incredibly joyful group of guys. Even the rain couldn’t dampen our spirits,” she said.

Wesleyan Students Win at Korean Speech Contest

Wesleyan students Yuhan Wang '19, Sasha Guo '18, Sifana Sohail '18, and David Cabanero '19 participated in the Five College Korean Speech Contest on April 1.

Wesleyan students Yuhan Wang ’19, Sasha Guo ’18, Sifana Sohail ’18 and David Cabanero ’19 participated in the Five College Korean Speech Contest on April 1.

Four Wesleyan students recently participated in the Five College Korean Speech Contest, and three went home with prizes. The contest was held April 1 at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and included students from Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Hampshire colleges, and the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

The contest is sponsored by the Five College East Asian Language Program. Students in the Five College Consortium, and others in the New England area who are currently enrolled in Korean language classes, are eligible to participate, except for native Korean speakers or heritage learners. Participating students must write their own short speeches in Korean. Visiting Assistant Professor of Korean Hyejoo Back served as a judge in the contest last year, and upon returning to Wesleyan, immediately introduced the contest to all her students.

At the elementary level, David Cabanaro ’19 won second place with a speech titled, “My Precious Korea,” and Yuhan Wang ’19 won third place with a speech on “My Trip to Korea.” At the intermediate level, Sasha Guo ’18 won first place with a speech on “Banana.” Also participating was Sifana Sohail ’18.

 

 

Kolcio, Students Attend Ukraine in Washington Forum

Students spoke with former Ambassador from Georgia Temuri Yakobashvili at the Ukraine in Washington forum. From left, James Reston '18, Misha Iakovenko '18 and Molly Jane Zuckerman '16.

Students spoke with former Ambassador from Georgia Temuri Yakobashvili at the Ukraine in Washington forum. From left, James Reston ’18, Misha Iakovenko ’18 and Molly Jane Zuckerman ’16.

Katja Kolcio, associate professor of dance, associate professor of environmental studies, and a group of students attended the Ukraine in Washington forum at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on March 30, where Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivered the keynote address. Poroshenko was in Washington for President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Summit.

The trip was funded by the Dean of Social Sciences and the Dean of Arts and Humanities. According to Kolcio, the highlight of the trip occurred when Poroshenko responded to a question posed by Misha Iakovenko ’18 about the president’s efforts to deal with corruption, and a recent article that appeared in the Kyiv Post by gas company CEO and anti-corruption advocate Oleg Prokhorenko. The group also heard panels on Humanitarian Crisis, Economic Reform, and Political Context: Budapest to Minsk Agreements.

Students Inducted into American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society

Six Wesleyan students were inducted into the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) honor society this year. Helena Awad ’16, Noah Hamlish ’16, Selin Kutlu ’16, Melanie Parziale ’16, Julianne Riggs ’17, and Zarek Siegel ’16 were honored with this prestigious award for exceptional work in biochemistry and molecular biology.

The ASBMB Honor Society recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in the molecular life sciences for their scholarly achievement, research accomplishments, and outreach activities. The mission of the society is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, promotion of the diversity of individuals entering the scientific workforce, and publication of a number of scientific and educational journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Journal of Lipid Research.

Winners of this award have the ability to present their research at the 2017 annual ASBMB annual meeting, being held in Chicago.

Gordon Career Center Begins New Collaboration with Harvard Business School

The Gordon Career Center at Wesleyan University.

The Gordon Career Center at Wesleyan University.

The Gordon Career Center (GCC) recently began a new collaboration with HBX—Harvard Business School’s CORe (Credential of Readiness Program), an online business fundamentals primer developed and taught by Harvard Business School faculty. Wesleyan students looking to gain basic business fundamentals can complete the program over the summer—in some cases, on the side with a summer job or internship.

According to Rachel Munafo, the GCC’s assistant director of public relations and communications, several alumni who have completed the program raved about its usefulness. The curriculum is appropriate for students across all majors, and is open to underclassmen, graduating seniors and recent graduates.

WESU Hosts Spring Record Fair April 10

WESUWESU, Wesleyan’s radio station, is hosting its annual Spring Record Fair in Beckham Hall on April 10. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., vendors from across the greater Connecticut area will be selling rare records and CDs. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to not only browse through hundreds of records, CDs, posters, and T-shirts, but also enjoy WESU DJs spinning vinyl live.

WESU is one of the oldest non­commercial radio stations in the United States. It offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources on weekdays; weeknights and weekends are dedicated to Wesleyan students and community volunteer broadcasters, who provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

Tune in to 88.1 FM or online at www.wesufm.org.

Author, LGBT Activist Boylan ’80 to Speak at Wesleyan April 21

Jennifer Finney Boylan (photo by James Bowdoin)

Jennifer Finney Boylan (photo by James Bowdoin)

Author, professor and LGBT activist Jennifer Finney Boylan ’80 will speak at Wesleyan from 4:15–6 p.m. on April 21. The event will be held in Beckham Hall.

The talk will open with a short reading from Boylan’s bestselling memoir, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, as well as the anthology It Gets Better, and then open up into a discussion of gender and society. The talk touches upon Transgender 101 (a brief overview of the wide range of gender expression), and then moves outward to address the embracing of diversity in its many forms. The event concludes with an audience Q&A.

Sumarsam Named Fellow in the American Council of Learned Societies

Sumarsam

Sumarsam

Professor of Music Sumarsam was named as a fellow in the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) 2015-2016 fellowship competition. He was chosen as one of 69 fellows from a pool of nearly 1,100 applicants through a rigorous, multi-stage peer review process. As a fellow, Sumarsam will receive the opportunity to spend six to 12 months researching and writing full time on the project of his choosing, the support of the ACLS’s endowment.

The ACLS is dedicated to supporting scholars in the humanities and related social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. Matthew Goldfeder, director of fellowship programs at ACLS, said, “The fellows’ projects exhibit great disciplinary, temporal, geographic, and methodological diversity. This year’s cohort, moreover, includes several independent scholars as well as faculty of all ranks, on and off the tenure track, from more than 50 colleges and universities, working on projects that peer reviewers deemed best poised to make original and significant contributions to knowledge.”

Sumarsam’s project, titled, “Expressing and Contesting Java-Islam Encounters: Performing Arts at the Crossroads,” examined the link between religion and culture in an Indonesian society and how the performing arts bolsters that link. He delves into “Javanese culture, the largest cultural group in a nation with the largest Muslim population, and analyzes discourses of trans-culturalism, the performing arts, and Islam.” The study “addresses the history and diversity of both traditional and popular Indonesian -Muslim expression, while unpacking Indonesia’s modern socio-cultural and religious development.”

President Roth Comments in The Atlantic on College Admissions Process

Michael Roth

Michael Roth

The Atlantic education writer Alia Wong turned to President Michael S. Roth for his perspective in a three-part series on “Where the College Admissions Process Went Wrong.” One critical problem is that the intense focus on the college application process means that rather than preparing themselves for college or for life, students are preparing simply for the “moment of admission.”

“What we want is to have students who want to come and work hard because they can leverage their experience at the university and do something after they leave,” said Roth. “One of my predecessors used to say to students, ‘If these turn out to be the best four years of your life, we’ve failed you.’”

In recent years, different groups have attempted to reform the process to change this focus, and the values it promotes in students.

“I think that that’s the missing part now—this consumer mentality [of], ‘Oh, I got in and now I get to enjoy the exclusive club,’ rather than ‘I got in, and now I get to use these resources to do something after the university,’” said Roth.

One new campaign, called Turning the Tide, tries to emphasize the character-building potential of the application process by calling on selective colleges to encourage applicants to engage in “meaningful, sustained community service,” contribute to their families, and focus on the quality (versus the quantity) of extracurricular activities. Yet Roth remains skeptical of this approach.

“I do worry about trying to create a new system that will measure qualities that will supposedly make people better people. Because insofar as it becomes a new system, it will be gamed by people who already pad their resumes with all kinds of activities that supposedly show empathy, but what they really show is a desire to get into schools where empathy is a criterion for admission,” he said.

He sees the fundamental problem as being the American obsession with exclusivity.

“Part of what’s attractive [about] going to a great Ivy League institution is not so much the anticipation of a wonderful undergraduate education,” he said. “But the fact that it’s just really hard to get in—that’s just a trait of our culture.” Once “you set up another grid, people will create another profile to match the grid as long as the competition for seats remains intense.”

The third article in Wong’s series looks at the effect of the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings on colleges and universities.

They’re “highly pernicious,” said Roth. “I think they’ve had a really deleterious effect on higher education as [colleges and universities] try to meet requirements that may not be in the best educational interest of their students.”

He added that college rankings contribute to the admissions frenzy, giving the impression that the most desirable schools—irrespective of the applicant and his or her specific interests and needs—are the ones at the top of the list, the ones that are harder to get into.”

“They accentuate the race toward the wealthiest schools,” said Roth.

Read more in parts two and three of the series.

 

Students, Faculty, Alumni Present Research at Planetary Science Conference

From left, graduate student Ben McKeeby, Melissa Lowe ’17 and graduate student Shaun Mahmood met Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, the only geologist to go to the moon. Schmitt collected collected the samples that Lowe and Mahmood were presenting on at this meeting.

From left, graduate student Ben McKeeby, Melissa Lowe ’17 and graduate student Shaun Mahmood met Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, the only geologist to go to the moon. Schmitt collected the samples that Lowe and Mahmood are studying.

Three Wesleyan students, faculty and several alumni recently attended the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

This conference brings together international specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, geology and astronomy to present the latest results of research in planetary science. The five-day conference was organized by topical symposia and problem-oriented sessions.

Earth and environmental sciences graduate students Ben McKeeby and Shaun Mahmood, and earth and environmental science major Melissa Lowe ’17 presented their ongoing planetary science research at the conference. Lowe received a NASA CT Space Grant travel award to attend the conference.

McKeeby shared his research titled, “An investigation of jarosite and associated alteration mineralogy
in Martian Meteorite Roberts Massif 04262 using Micro-Raman spectroscopy;” Mahmood presented his study titled, “Hydrous glasses of lunar sample 75055: A Micro-Raman spectroscopy investigation;” and Lowe spoke about her study titled “Cl-rich britholite substitution in apatite of high-titanium basalt 75055: A chlorine and REE-enriched phase of lunar phosphates.”

The students were accompanied by their advisor, James Greenwood, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. Greenwood presented on “Volatile content of the lunar magma ocean: Constraints from KREEP basalts 15382 and 15386.” In addition, Martha Gilmore, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences and the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, was an author on two Venus presentations at the conference.

Several alumni also made contributions at the planetary sciences meeting including Ian Garrick-Bethell ‘02; Peter Martin ‘14; Bob Nelson MA ‘69; James Dottin ‘13; Keenan Golder MA’13; Tanya Harrison MA ‘08; Nina Lanza MA ’06; and Ann Ollila MA ’06.

Wesleyan Welcomes Posse Veteran Scholars to the Class of 2020

Wesleyan's newest group of Posse Veteran Scholars. Back row, from left: Gregory Hardy, Andrew Daggon, Zachary Patterson, Daniel Rodriguez. Front row, from left: Lance Williams, Noel Salvador, Marisella Andrews, Rebecca Martinez, Gabrielle Hurlock, Mitchell Motlagh.

Wesleyan’s newest group of Posse Veteran Scholars. Back row, from left: Gregory Hardy, Andrew Daggon, Zachary Patterson, Daniel Rodriguez. Front row, from left: Lance Williams, Noel Salvador, Marisella Andrews, Rebecca Martinez, Gabrielle Hurlock, Mitchell Motlagh.

This fall, Wesleyan will welcome to campus its third cohort of Posse Veteran Scholars in the Class of 2020—a group of three women and seven men who have served in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. They come from all over the United States and have served in places such as Afghanistan, Uganda and Iraq. Their interests range from visual art and filmmaking to teaching and mathematics. One student, Marisella Andrews, is the great-granddaughter of a Wesleyan alumnus, Matias Perez, from the Class of 1917.

The group’s faculty mentor will be Jill Morawski, the Wilbur Fisk Osborne Professor of Psychology, professor and chair of Science in Society, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. Trained in experimental psychology, Morawski has turned her scholarly inquiries toward seeking better understanding of the ways that scientific psychology has shaped American culture, policy and individual lives.

“It’s exciting to have Professor Morawski join the team of deeply committed faculty mentors, without whom, this initiative would not succeed the way it has these past two years,” said Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer, and Wesleyan’s Posse Veteran liaison.

The newest group of Posse Veteran Scholars join two earlier cohorts in the class of 2018 and 2019, bringing the total number of Posse Veteran Scholars on campus to 30 next year, and the total number of veterans on campus to 32. Farias commented on the increasing presence of veterans on campus, “Those that have served, viscerally understand what selfless service is about—it’s the motivating drive to give more than they get, and it’s the keystone to developing highly functional and diverse teams, where the mission is greater than any individual need. Excellence through resiliency best captures the experience of our Posse Veteran Scholars and we look forward to seeing them continue to thrive.”

Read the original announcement about Wesleyan’s partnership with the Posse Foundation to recruit military veterans here, and see a recent PBS Newshour feature on Wesleyan’s Posse vets here.

Boulware Presents Research at Symposium of the Society of Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics

Assistant Professor of Economics Karl Boulware recently presented research at the 24th Symposium of the Society of Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, held March 10-11 at the University of Alabama.

Boulware presented a paper titled, “Monetary Policy Surprises and the Shadow Bank Lending Channel: Evidence from the Fed Funds Futures Market” during a session on Monetary and Government Policy. The project is a refinement of research started by Kota Uno ’16 during a QAC Summer Apprenticeship with Boulware.