Campus News & Events

Wesleyan in the News

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we introduce a new feature highlighting some of the latest stories in the media about Wesleyan and our many illustrious alumni.

Recent Wesleyan News

The Hartford Courant:

“Chelsea Manning Draws Crowd at Wesleyan, Talks of Community, Resistance”

On Nov. 15, the former intelligence analyst convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of military documents to WikiLeaks, who is now an activist for gay and transgender rights, spoke to a packed room at Wesleyan in a conversation moderated by Associate Professor Margot Weiss.

2. Boston Review: “An Autobiography of Captivity”

In the Language of My Captor by Shane McCrae, published by Wesleyan University Press, is reviewed. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award this month.

3. The Hartford Courant: “Wesleyan Gets Federal Funding to Strengthen Upward Bound in Middletown”

A new $2.5 million federal grant over five years allows Wesleyan to expand its Upward Bound Math-Science program to help local disadvantaged students gain access to a college education.

4. The Atlantic: “How Racial Data Gets ‘Cleaned’ in the U.S. Census”

This article by Associate Professor of Sociology Robyn Autry explores the messy question of race in the U.S. Census, and how it gets “cleaned.”

5. USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism: “As Trump Guts ACA’s Ad Budget, a Tour of the Evidence on How Advertising Affects Insurance Sign-Ups”

Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, and Sarah Gollust ’01 share WMP research findings on the impact of this year’s shorter health insurance enrollment period, and drastically reduced advertising, outreach and enrollment assistance budget.

Recent Alumni News

1. Los Angeles Times: “Alexander Chee [’89] on the Life, Work and Loss of his Mentor, Kit Reed

Alexander Chee ’89, a critic at large for the Los Angeles Times is the award-winning author of The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh and a professor at Dartmouth College. In this essay, he recalls the importance of his advanced fiction class with the late Kit Reed as “my first time for so many things” and traces their friendship— her influence on his writing and his admiration for her—throughout her lifetime. Wesleyan Writer-in-Residence Kit Reed died Sept. 24, 2017, in Los Angeles.

2. Vanity Fair: “Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein [’15], the High-School “Soul Mates” Who Made It to Broadway Together

Beanie Feldstein ’15, who majored in sociology at Wesleyan, has been garnering rave reviews for her roles in Lady Bird, with Saoirse Ronan (currently in theaters) and Hello, Dolly!, with Bette Midler on Broadway. Feldstein’s high school pal, Ben Platt was on Broadway until recently, earning rave reviews for the starring role in Dear Evan Hansen—and the two discuss their friendship, as well as past, present, and future projects.

3.New England News Collaborative; NEXT podcast: Episode 69 “Home Again,” featuring Dar Williams ’89.

In this New England-focused podcast, broadcast on public radio stations, John Dankosky interviews Dar Williams ’89, on her book, What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musicians Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities, emphasizing her theory that “positive proximity”—people working together on projects that improve their community and provide a meeting place—are at the heart of regrowth in old post-industrial towns.

4. Chicago Tribune: “Pilotlight, a New Shared Kitchen, to Open in Former Le Cordon Bleu School

Nick Devane ’13, Pilotlight CEO and co-founder, describes the new shared-kitchen venture, saying, “Our mission was always to empower anyone to start a food business and create community through food.” Pilotlight will also provide access to mentors and classes to help its members grow their own businesses.

5. Huffington Post: In an article titled “PTSD—Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” author Dr. Sudip Bose, MD, quotes Sebastian Junger ’84

Noting that journalist Sebastian Junger “covered war for almost 20 years,” contributing writer Sudip Bose, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, refers to Junger’s TED Talk for an expert’s perspective in examining the role that brotherhood plays in helping veterans cope with high-risk situations—and why our divided society makes it difficult to return to civilian life. Junger is most recently the author of Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (Twelve, May 24, 2016).

 

Yohe Speaks on Climate Change at Local Community Center

Gary Yohe spoke about climate change at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center on Nov. 15.

Gary Yohe spoke about climate change at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center on Nov. 15.

On Nov. 15, Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, delivered a talk on climate change at the Glastonbury (Conn.) Riverfront Community Center. It was sponsored by the Land Heritage Coalition of Glastonbury, Inc.— a non-profit corporation whose mission is to support farming, open space preservation, and water and wetlands protection—as its annual educational initiative.

“As part of our mission, we feel it important to help folks in Connecticut understand the issue of climate change, what the local impacts are, and what we can do in this state,” explained David Ahlgren, LHC co-president. “There’s a lot of hype, spin, misunderstanding, and politics around this very important issue. We’re planning a series of events on this topic, and are starting off with Dr. Yohe, who is eminently equipped to help us understand the science and sift out the spin.”

In the talk, which was free and open to the public, Yohe brought his expertise to address climate change from a scientific perspective, and took questions from the audience.

Case, Kessler ’18 Honored for Outstanding Poster Presentations

PhD candidate Brandon Case and Emily Kessler '18 attended the North Eastern Structural Symposium at the University of Connecticut.

PhD candidate Brandon Case and Emily Kessler ’18 attended the North Eastern Structural Symposium at the University of Connecticut.

Molecular Biology and Biochemistry PhD candidate Brandon Case and Emily Kessler ’18 recently won poster awards at the North Eastern Structural Symposium (NESS) at the University of Connecticut on Oct. 28.

Both students research the mechanisms of action of DNA replication and repair proteins with Manju Hingorani, chair and professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, professor of integrative sciences. Hingorani’s DNA Lab investigates proteins responsible for DNA replication and repair. These proteins maintain genome and cell integrity, and their malfunction leads to cancer and other diseases.

Case received an Outstanding Poster Award for his work, “Coordinated Actions of Four ATPase Sites on UvrA2 During Initiation of Nucleotide Excision Repair.”

Kessler, who is a Wesleyan Beckman Scholar, received an Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Award for “Investigating the MutS Conformational Dynamics During MMR Initiation of Lynch Syndrome-Linked MutS Mutants.” The NESS created this undergraduate award only for Kessler after hearing her presentation.

Elphick Edits Late Professor’s Book on the History of South Africa’s Racial Segregation

Book by Jeffrey Butler

Book by Jeffrey Butler

The late Jeffrey Butler, professor of history, emeritus, is the author of Cradock: How Segregation and Apartheid came to a South African Town, published by the University of Virginia Press, December 2017. Richard “Rick” Elphick, professor of history, emeritus, co-edited the book with the late Jeannette Hopkins, a former director of Wesleyan University Press.

According to the book’s abstract, Cradock, the product of more than 20 years of research by Butler, is a vivid history of a middle-sized South African town in the years when segregation gradually emerged, preceding the rapid and rigorous implementation of apartheid. Although Butler was born and raised in Cradock, he avoids sentimentality and offers an ambitious treatment of the racial themes that dominate recent South African history through the details of one emblematic community. Augmenting the obvious political narrative, Cradock examines poor infrastructural conditions that typify a grossly unequal system of racial segregation but otherwise neglected in the region’s historiography. Butler shows, with the richness that only a local study could provide, how the lives of blacks, whites, and mixed-race individuals were affected by the bitter transition from segregation before 1948 to apartheid thereafter.

Students, Alumni Present Papers, Attend Roundtables at Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting

Several students and recent alumni attended and presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting for the Society for Ethnomusicology, Oct. 26-29, 2017, in Denver, Colo.

Founded in 1955, the Society for Ethnomusicology is a global, interdisciplinary network of individuals and institutions engaged in the study of music across all cultural contexts and historical periods.

Ellen Lueck, MA ’12, PhD ’17, presented her paper, “Proposing a Theory for a New Space, the Affinity Interzone.”

PhD candidate Gene Lai presented his paper, “Uniquely Singapore: Revitalizing a Tamil Folk Music Tradition in the Lion City.”

PhD candidate Sean Sonderegger MA ’14 presented “None of That is a Trend: Three Studies in Intertexuality and the Merging of Jazz and Hip-Hop Traditions.”

PhD candidate Huan Li presented her paper, “Roses and Thorns: Mass Media, Chinese Cultural Market, and Qinshi’s Creativity in Reform China.”

PhD candidate Andrew Colwell MA ’11 participated in a roundtable titled “Music and Mobility in Inner Asia: Experience and Theory.” Cowell, who is expected to earn his PhD in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan in 2018, also won the student prize for best paper from the Society for Asian Music.

PhD candidates Ender Terwilliger and Christine May Yong organized a panel discussion on “Performing within Parameters: Government Policy and the Performing Arts in Taiwan, Malaysia and Venezuela.”

In addition, Visiting Assistant Professor Kate Galloway chaired a panel at the event.

PhD candidates, Ender Terwilliger and Christine May Yong, presented their papers as part of an organized panel. Christine’s talk was called Angin Wayang: Framing Wayang Kulit Kelantan Practice Within and Beyond the State, and Ender’s talk was titled From The Capital to the Rice Paddies: Adjusting Performances across Taiwan’s (Political) Landscape.

Gene Lai presented his paper, “Uniquely Singapore: Revitalizing a Tamil Folk Music Tradition in the Lion City.”

Ender Terwilliger, Elaine Sandoval (CUNY Graduate Center), Christine May Yong, and Margaret Sarkissian (Smith College) organized a panel titled "Performing within Parameters: Government Policy and the Performing Arts in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Venezuela."

Ender Terwilliger, Elaine Sandoval (CUNY Graduate Center), Christine May Yong, and Margaret Sarkissian (Smith College) organized a panel titled “Performing within Parameters: Government Policy and the Performing Arts in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Venezuela.”

Cultural Exchange Celebrated during International Education Week

From Nov. 13-17, Wesleyan students, faculty and staff participated in a rich agenda of on-campus events celebrating International Education Week.

International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences. At Wesleyan, events included a Study Abroad for the Sciences Fair, a discussion on exploring international opportunities, a Fries Center for Global Studies open house, an international student and faculty dinner, a Wes in the World Photo Contest, a “Food Around the World” luncheon, film screenings, information on Germany-U.S. opportunities and more.

The Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an open house on Nov. 13 and welcomed Wesleyan community members with an interest in international education and initiatives to stop by and learn more about the center.

The Fries Center for Global Studies hosted an open house on Nov. 13 and welcomed Wesleyan community members with an interest in international education and initiatives to stop by and learn more about the center. Pictured, Antonio Gonzales, director of the Fries Center and professor of Spanish, welcomed the attendees.

Winners of the Wes in the World Photo Contest Announced

On Nov. 13, the Fries Center for Global Studies announced the winners of the 2017-18 Wes in the World Photo Contest. More than 200 Wesleyan students, staff, faculty and alumni voted on 56 images in five different categories, including landscape, people, contemporary issues, daily life and sports.

Photographs were submitted by international students and U.S. students who studied abroad.

View the winners below. View the honorable mentions online here.

“Cinque Terre Town” by Natalie Strassheim, ‘18 / Manarola, Italy “I was ready to capture some of my own awesome photos by embarking on a solo trip. I remember, in Pompeii, saying farewell to my study abroad friends. I boarded the train, heading off to my next stop in Italy. This was the beginning to feeling independent. This was the start to feeding my wanderlust.”

BEST PHOTO OF LANDSCAPE: “Cinque Terre Town” by Natalie Strassheim ‘18, Manarola, Italy. “I was ready to capture some of my own awesome photos by embarking on a solo trip. I remember, in Pompeii, saying farewell to my study-abroad friends. I boarded the train, heading off to my next stop in Italy. This was the beginning to feeling independent. This was the start to feeding my wanderlust,” she said.

Col. Cassidy Is Wesleyan’s First Retired Military Officer Teaching Fellow

As Wesleyan's inaugural Retired Military Officer Teaching Fellow Robert "Bob" Cassidy is actively building relationships and understanding between the U.S. Armed Services and Wesleyan students.

As Wesleyan’s inaugural Retired Military Officer Teaching Fellow, Robert “Bob” Cassidy is actively building relationships and understanding between the U.S. Armed Services and Wesleyan students. Cassidy, who joined the U.S. Army in 1981, focuses his teaching, research and scholarship on international security, strategy, irregular war and military culture. His office is located in the Public Affairs Center.

In this Q&A, and in honor of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Retired Military Officer Teaching Fellow Robert “Bob” Cassidy speaks about his military career, thoughts on the Iraq invasion and teaching at Wesleyan. (Brandon Sides ’18 contributed to this article.)

Q: How did you acquire your teaching fellowship at Wesleyan?

A: I received a Retired Officer Teaching Fellowship (ROTF) through the Chamberlain Project, which supports fellowships at some of the nation’s top liberal arts institutions. Fellows are required to work on building relationships and understanding between the U.S. Armed Services and civilian institutions and to contribute to the richness and diversity of students’ educational experiences. We also teach two full-credit courses. This fall and next spring, I am teaching a seminar on Policy and Strategy in War and Peace at the Center for the Study of Public Life.

Q: What material is covered in this course?

A: We explore the meaning of civilian-military relations and how those relations interact with our ability to align policy and strategy. We start with the Vietnam War and cover eight wars through the present. So far this semester, we’ve studied the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the peace operations and combat operations in Somalia, the initial war in Afghanistan, and this week, we cover the bad decisions behind the invasion of Iraq. We will end with a look at where we are now with policy and strategy, and the wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere against the likes of the Islamic State.

Football’s 35-0 Victory, “The Big Roll”: Highlights of 2017 Homecoming/Family Weekend

Hundreds of Wesleyan alumni and families participated in the traditional Homecoming/Family Weekend Tailgating event on Andrus Field.

Hundreds of Wesleyan alumni and families, visiting campus for Homecoming/Family Weekend Nov. 3–5, participated in the traditional Homecoming/Family Weekend tailgating event on Andrus Field.

On Nov. 4 during Homecoming/Family Weekend, more than 5,000 Cardinal football fans cheered Wesleyan to a 35–0 victory over Little Three archrival Williams College.

Throughout the three-day event, parents, alumni, students, families and friends also attended tailgating events, campus tours, 20 WESeminars, the 25th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, the 7th Annual Stone A Cappella Concert, gallery exhibits, a family swim, multiple dinners and receptions and much more.

Kate Quigley Lynch ’82, P’17, ’19, assistant director of The Wesleyan Fund for University Relations, attended HCFW events as a Wes alumna, parent and staff member with her husband, Christopher Lynch ’81. In addition to co-organizing the 50th Reunion Planning meeting, Quigley Lynch and members of her family attended the President’s Reception honoring leadership donors and volunteers; the Alumni Association tailgate; and a WESeminar on the Evolution of the Real Estate Industry, led by Matt Winn ’92 and Marshall Brozost ’89.

Yohe Examines Impact of the Newly Released Climate Science Report

Gary Yohe

Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, writes in The Conversation about the recently published Climate Science Special Report. While he, like many others, had feared that the Trump White House would reject the report, instead, he writes, “last week’s release was like trick-or-treating on Halloween and coming to a house with a bowl of candy at the door but no one home.”

Student-Athletes Raise Awareness, Funds for Men’s Health in Movember

The Men's Crew Team showing off their mustaches-in-progress to raise awareness for men's health issues in support of the Movember Foundation.

The Men’s Crew Team showing off their mustaches-in-progress to raise awareness for men’s health issues in support of the Movember Foundation.

This month, Wesleyan students, many affiliated with athletic teams, are raising awareness and raising funds for men’s health through the Movember Foundation. According to its website, the Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global level, with a focus on addressing prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. It has funded over 1,200 men’s health projects in 21 countries.

Wesleyan has had an official Campus Representative with the Foundation for the past four years. This year Luke Forsthoefel ’20, a member of Men’s Crew team, is the Campus Representative for all of Wesleyan.

“The issue of men’s health is especially important to me because I think in a lot of ways there are societal norms and expectations put on men that can make it difficult for those who need help to get it,” he said. “There is a certain stigma around men asking for help and support when they need it, which is why I think it is so important to get people of all genders involved in helping men break this stigma.”

Wesleyan to Offer Residency for Artists Impacted by 2017 Hurricanes

(by Andy Chatfield)

The Center for the Arts, in collaboration with the College of the Environment, invites an artist or artists from areas affected by the hurricane season of 2017 to campus for a short-term residency in April 2018. Artists working in all disciplines from Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands may propose a project that explores the evolving human relationship to water, and responds to the following questions:

  • How can the arts address and respond to the environmental and humanitarian crises wrought by climate change?
  • How do we redefine humankind’s evolving relationship to nature, specifically to water?
  • What role might the arts play in rebuilding after storms?

“Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts has a history of interdisciplinary programs, integrating the arts across campus,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “This new one-time residency in collaboration with the College of the Environment will have an impact not only on the artist selected for the residency but also allow the Wesleyan community to respond to the environmental and social impact of these natural disasters.”

“The arts allow us to explore issues in ways no other medium does,” said Sarah Curran, director of the Center for the Arts. “The arts have a unique responsibility to help us improve our communities and world where ever we can. In these times of rebuilding after crisis, the arts can play a critical role in community building, envisioning, and imagining how we rebuild, and what we want to become.”

Project Details:
The Center for the Arts seeks to engage an artist in a 7 to 14 day residency in April 2018 on Wesleyan’s campus. Artists may work in any performing arts or visual arts discipline (music, dance, theater, visual arts), or in a practice that crosses disciplines. Artists are invited to create a work that responds to hurricanes and their environmental and social impact. We invite projects that also address environmental issues such as climate change, disaster, and disruption. The proposed project must include an opportunity for the Wesleyan community to interact with the creation of and/or presentation of the work. The project budget includes a $10,000 artist fee and up to $5,000 for travel and materials.

Eligibility:
• Artist must have permanent residency in one of the states or U.S. territories most directly impacted by the hurricane season of 2017 (Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands). If a group of artists, the majority of the group must have residency as described above.
• Artist(s) must be available to travel to Middletown, Connecticut for a 7 to 14 day residency in April 2018 and be able to work within the budget outlined above.
• Artist(s) must be able to provide proof of eligibility to work in the United States.

Required Materials:
• Application form, including project description, resume, three references, and work samples submitted here.

Timeline:
Proposals are due at 11:59 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Decisions will be announced no later than Dec. 15, 2017.
Residency is in April 2018 (dates to be determined in consultation with selected artist).

For additional information, contact Michelle Grove, interim associate director for programs.

“After seeing the scope of this year’s hurricane season, we thought this was a way that we could both address the needs of artists in those areas, while also deepen the conversation on campus about climate change on the human environment,” said Barry Chernoff, director of the College of the Environment, Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. Chernoff also is chair of the Environmental Studies Program, professor of biology, professor of earth and environmental sciences.