People

Ramos ’16 Studies Oceanography, Marine Policy in Hawaii

Robert Ramos '16 spent five weeks this summer at the Hawaii Pacific University’s Hawaii Loa campus, participating in a SEA Semester program called “Aloha ‘Aina: People & Nature in the Hawaiian Islands.” (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Robert Ramos ’16 spent five weeks this summer at the Hawaii Pacific University’s Hawaii Loa campus, participating in a SEA Semester program called “Aloha ‘Aina: People & Nature in the Hawaiian Islands.” (Photo by Olivia Drake)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Robert Ramos from the Class of 2016.

Q: Robert, where are you from and what is your major?

A: I’m from Philadelphia, and I’m a biology and earth and environmental sciences double major.

Ramos explained how the ship's sonar equipment works.

Ramos explained how the ship’s sonar equipment works.

Q: This summer you did a SEA Semester program, “Aloha ‘Aina: People & Nature in the Hawaiian Islands.” How did you become involved in the program?

A: I learned about the program from another Wesleyan student who had done it a few years ago. As a biology and E&ES double major, it sounded like it was right up my alley! At the time, I was thinking about how I was going to apply my studies—what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. This seemed like a good opportunity to explore new options.

SEA Semester does programs at sea all over the world. This summer just happened to be the trip to Hawaii, and I was very excited to go there! I also didn’t want to miss out on a whole semester on campus at Wesleyan, so this worked out well in that it was just five weeks in the summer.

Q: Please give us an overview of how you spent those five weeks.

A: I took two classes—on oceanography and marine policy—and did research on topics like ocean salinity, temperatures and currents.

Somera New Head Coach of Women’s Volleyball

Ben Somera is the new head coach of women's volleyball.

Ben Somera is the new head coach of women’s volleyball.

In this Q&A we speak to Ben Somera Jr., adjunct associate professor of physical education, head coach of volleyball. Somera joined the faculty at Wesleyan this summer.  

Q: Ben, welcome to Wesleyan! You had a very successful three-year stay at New England rival Roger Williams, building the Hawks into a regional and national power in women’s volleyball. What tempted you to make the move to Wesleyan?

A: I have coached collegiate volleyball for almost 20 years and have had the opportunity to experience four university cultures and how they operate.

It was important to me that Mike Whalen, our athletics director, wants to win in all sports. I have always believed that the characteristics that lead to academic success are the same for athletic success, and those student-athletes who are willing to prioritize, time-manage, and sacrifice are able to maximize their potential in the classroom and on the court.

Staff on the Move, July 2015

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires, transitions and departures for July 2015:

Newly hired

Jake Bussani ’14 was hired as defensive football intern on July 1.

Jonathan Day ’15 was hired as offensive football intern on July 1.

Amanda Fairchild was hired as a library assistant on July 6.

Sara Howard was hired as social science reference librarian on July 1.

Meredith Nyser was hired as swimming and diving intern in athletics on July 1.

Devin Ford was hired as public safety dispatcher on July 6.

Jaclyn Wilson was hired as Wesleyan Press marketing manager on July 6.

Jennifer Roach was hired as civic engagement fellow on July 7.

Scott Lukas was hired as interim assistant director of athletic operations on July 9.

Eileen McNamara was hired as residential operation coordinator on July 9.

Alexia Thompson was hired as area coordinator life on July 9.

Kristin Inglis was hired as Center for Prison Education academic development and planning manager on July 13.

Khrystyna Stefak was hired as assistant director of alumni and parent relations on July 13.

Emily Moss was hired as assistant dean of admission on July 15.

Paula Bryant Blue was hired as instructional technologist on July 16.

Samuel Marquez was hired as a public safety officer on July 16.

Jordan Nyberg was hired as program and events coordinator on July 20.

Robert Coughlin was hired as director of financial aid on July 27.

Jiang Liu Rao ’15 was hired as postdoctoral research fellow on July 27.

Coady Johnson ‘15 was hired as Center for Prison Education fellow on July 30.

Transitions

Karen Whalen was hired as director of athletic fundraising on July 1.

Frederick Ludwig was hired as assistant football coach, offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and assistant strength and conditioning coordinator on July 1.

Nicola Bennett was hired as project coordinator on July 6.

Departures

Ilona Bass, research associate/lab coordinator

Sydney Lewis ’14, assistant dean of admission

Marina Melendez ’83, MALS ’88 dean for the class of 2018

Susan Lastrina, accounting specialist

Brian Lee ’13, assistant director, The Wesleyan Fund

Shannon Nelson ’14, center for prison education fellow

Daniel Schnaidt, academic computing manager for arts and humanities

John Siedlecki, assistant football coach

Leslie Starr, marketing manager, Wesleyan Press

Mellon Mays Fellow Haymon ’16 is Double Majoring in German Studies, Theater

Miranda Haymon '16 will be directing her own adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five in the Center for the Arts Theater. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

Next year, Miranda Haymon ’16 will be directing her own adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five in the Center for the Arts Theater. As a Mellon Mays Fellow, Haymon will explore how (or if) artistic works, movements and theories reflect artists’ political positions. “Through this project I hope to put myself in a better position to understand the definition of political theater in the context of post World War II Germany and beyond.” (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Miranda Haymon from the Class of 2016. #THISISWHY

Q: Miranda, what are you majoring in and why?

A: I am a German studies and theater double major but when I started at Wesleyan, I thought I was going to create my own linguistics major under the University Major option. I remember very clearly the Wesleyan Admissions Dean telling me I could take four languages for all four years if I wanted to — I was instantly sold. Instead of doing that, I ended up taking a few theater classes, a German language class and a First Year Seminar cross-listed in German Studies.

Schwartz ’17 Founder of Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club

David Schwartz '17, founder and president of the Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club, flies a drone behind South College July 28. He's also on Wesleyan's ski team, rock climbing team and sailing team. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

David Schwartz ’17, founder and president of the Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club, flies a drone behind South College July 28. He’s also on Wesleyan’s ski team, rock climbing team and sailing team. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with David Schwartz from the Class of 2017.

Q: David, where are you from and what is your major?

A: I grew up in Amherst, Mass. When I first came to Wesleyan, I walked around wearing my Amherst sweatshirt for awhile before realizing there was a bit of a rivalry. I’m an Economics and Government double major, with a minor in data analysis. I’m particularly interested in applying “big data” techniques to government policymaking.

David Schwartz operates the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone "that was very user-friendly and intuitive to learn," he said.

David Schwartz operates the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone “that was very user-friendly and intuitive to learn,” he said.

Q: You are founder and president of the Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club. How did your interest in aerial photography begin?

A: I’ve always had a passion for flying, but unfortunately I get air-sick in small planes, so I’ve been able to apply my interest by being involved in the radio control community. Last summer, I spent my free time building an aerial photography quad copter and coding a basic auto-pilot system. For example, if the gyroscope was leaning left, the program would simply instruct the servos (motor) controlling the ailerons (parts on the wings that tilt the plane) to counter this movement until the plane was stable again. When I was able to stabilize the aircraft, I noticed that the camera on it was able to take some really clear photographs.

Q: Why did you decide to start the club? How many members do you have?

A: After telling my friends about my project building a drone last summer

Uchendu ’17 Researches Production of Biofuels as McNair Scholar

Stacy Uchendu ‘17 is researching second generation biofuels with Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry and environmental studies, as a McNair Scholar.

Science in Society major Stacy Uchendu ‘17 is researching second generation biofuels as a McNair Scholar.

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we talk with Stacy Uchendu from the Class of 2017. Uchendu is participating in Wesleyan’s Ronald E. McNair Post Program, which assists students from underrepresented groups in preparing for, entering and progressing successfully through post-graduate education.

Q: Stacy, where are you from and what is your major?

A: I’m from Houston, Texas, and my major is Science in Society with concentrations in chemistry and religion.

Q: When did you become a part of the McNair Program? Why did you decide to participate?

A: McNair offers a wonderful opportunity to do paid research over the summer and during the academic school year.

Holmes ’17 Studies Congressional Tweets in QAC Summer Apprenticeship

Joli Holmes ’17, an economics major, is one of 24 students in the Quantitative Analysis Center's Summer Apprenticeship Program.

Joli Holmes ’17, an economics major, is one of 24 students in the Quantitative Analysis Center’s Summer Apprenticeship Program.

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Joli Holmes from the Class of 2017. She is one of 24 students in the Quantitative Analysis Center’s Summer Apprenticeship Program.

Q: Joli, what is your major and what’s your specific area of interest?

A: I’m an economics major. I’m particularly interested in studying investment-related practices from an environmental and social perspective.

Q: Have you worked in the Quantitative Analysis Center before this summer?

A: I’ve taken a lot of classes through the QAC, including “Working with R,” “Excel with Visual Basic for Applications,” and “Python.” These are all classes on how to use statistical software, which also cover some statistical analysis topics.

Q: What does an average day look like in the QAC Apprenticeship Program?

A: We start our days at 8:30, and have class for an hour and a half. The classes are taught by Emmanuel “Manolis” Kaparakis, [director of Centers for Advanced Computing], Pavel Oleinikov, [associate director of the Quantitative Analysis Center, visiting assistant professor of quantitative analysis], and Jen Rose, [research professor of psychology]. The topics of these classes really vary. We cover everything from basic statistics – like how to do a simple linear regression and looking at correlations – to different types of clustering and factor analysis. In the future we might do some latent variable analysis. They make sure all the students have a good foundation, and then cover advanced topics. In these lessons, we work with statistical software and example data sets. For the rest of the day, we work on our individual research projects.

Gavin Pittore ’16 is Playing in the Prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League this Summer

Gavin Pittore pitching for Wesleyan in Spring 2015.

Gavin Pittore pitching for Wesleyan in Spring 2015. (Photo by Brian Katten ’79)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Gavin Pittore of the Class of 2016. This summer, Pittore played with the Bourne Braves of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL), the foremost of the dozen or so wooden-bat summer collegiate baseball leagues sanctioned by Major League Baseball. A second-team all-NESCAC pick in 2015, Pittore posted a 7-2 record with a 1.54 ERA and seven complete games over his 10 starts during Wesleyan’s 30-11 baseball season. Pittore had 12 relief appearances for the Braves (22-20-2 overall, playoff semifinalist), throwing 17 innings while giving up a mere eight hits and no earned runs with 17 strikeouts and a 1-1 record. He was chosen as one of nine pitchers for the West squad in the annual Friendly’s Cape Cod League All-Star Game that was played in Wareham Sat., July 25, won by the East, 1-0. Pittore pitched a scoreless inning in that contest. Five days later (July 30) he was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Q: You have accomplished perhaps every college player’s summer dream of playing in the Cape Cod League. Can you describe how you prepared for and earned an opportunity for a spot on one of the 10 teams?

A: Playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League is definitely a dream come true for me. I’ve always been familiar with the league, but not until relatively recently did I think I would have a chance of playing there. I played on the Cape last year and really got to understand what it was about. My sophomore year at Wesleyan was filled with growing experiences and many obstacles, which definitely prepared me for the mental and physical challenges presented by playing a summer on the Cape. One thing I took away from two years of trying to get into the league is that patience is key. As a sophomore, I was very anxious to be placed in a league and [Wesleyan Head] Coach [Mark] Woodworth made sure to emphasize the fact that as long as I pitched well in front of the right people, I would end up where I belonged. I took his advice and went to the annual tryout for the Cape League after both my sophomore and junior years. Both years I was signed to a temporary contract, both of which luckily turned into permanent contracts. Listening to my coaches and sticking with my daily routine prepared me to play in such a prestigious league.

Q: As a member of the Bourne Braves, you are the only Division III pitcher on a staff of some 17 hurlers. Some are from Division I powerhouses like LSU, Illinois and Notre Dame. How do you feel throwing alongside players from such high-powered programs?

A: It definitely is intimidating at first. There is a big adjustment, especially mentally, going from playing Division III baseball to facing lineups that are essentially all college all-star teams. Similarly, it is difficult to adjust to being surrounded by players that come from such storied programs.The first few weeks everyone is still getting to know everyone else and starting to understand where everyone fits in, so it was important for me to prove that I belonged. After a couple successful outings, I no longer viewed myself as D3 guy playing amongst SEC, Big 10, and ACC players, but rather just another member of the Bourne Braves. At the same time, it is an honor to be competing with and getting to know such talented and successful guys. It’s been a privilege getting to know and getting to learn from the 2015 Bourne Braves pitching staff.

Res Life’s O’Neill Oversees 26 RAs, Creates Dynamic Women of Wesleyan Group

Krystal-Gayle O’Neill says she enjoys the way Wesleyan students challenge her "on every front as it keeps me on my toes."

Krystal-Gayle O’Neill says she enjoys the way Wesleyan students challenge her “on every front as it keeps me on my toes.”

In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak with Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, an area coordinator in Residential Life. In addition to her role with Res Life, O’Neil leads Dynamic Women at Wesleyan, a group that was created as a way for women or persons who identify as women to come together, talk about various topics, and gather under a common purpose

Q: Krystal-Gayle, when did you join the staff at the Office of Residential Life and where were you working prior to Wesleyan?

A: I joined the Res Life staff in the Summer of 2011. Prior to Wes, I worked in Res Life at The Juilliard School in New York and in campus recreation at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.

Q: As an area coordinator, what areas of student housing do you oversee? Also, where is your office?

A: I oversee the Foss 1-10 residence halls (West College, Nicolson, Hewitt and the program halls).

Mathew ’18 Participates in Summer Session’s Biology Institute

Christine "Cj" Mathew '18 is taking two intensive science classes this summer that equate to an entire year's worth of credits.

Christine “Cj” Mathew ’18 is taking two intensive science classes this summer that equate to an entire year’s worth of credits. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Christine “Cj” Mathew from the Class of 2018.

Q: Cj, have you chosen a major?

A: I’m a prospective neuroscience and behavior major.

Mathew's second Summer Session class began June 29.

Mathew’s second Summer Session class, Principles of Biology II, began June 29.

Q: This summer, you are enrolled in the new Biology Institute, which is held as part of the Wesleyan Summer Session, and includes intensive Principles of Biology I and II Lecture and Lab. Why did you decide to participate in the institute?

A: For my major requirements and pre-med requirements, there are tons of science classes that I have to take, and I didn’t want to feel too overwhelmed by taking more than one science class in a year.

Q: How many students were in your Bio I class? Do you enjoy the more intimate learning atmosphere?

A: There were 11 people in the class, and I absolutely love having a small class. This class is pretty fast paced, so it’s really helpful to have more individual attention. We spend a lot of time together between class and labs; by the second week of class, it was like we’d all known each other for a long time!

Q: When are you in class? Also, have you done any interesting lab experiments?

A: We’re in class every day from 9-10:40 a.m. and the lab meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:30-4:20 p.m., but most of the labs don’t take that long so we’re let out earlier. In Bio I, we’ve done some pretty cool labs including genetic engineering, where we transformed bacteria. One of my personal favorites was when we looked at what proteins are found in milk and how much protein is found in milk. This one was particularly interesting because so many people are lactose intolerant because of these proteins.

Q: The Biology II course began June 29. How do you feel about jumping right into another class?

A: Luckily, there was a small, five-day break in between the two sessions. But, it’s not too bad. Since we’re only taking one class, not all of our time is consumed with class, so it’s manageable.

Q: After Bio II, do you have any summer plans?

A: Maybe a little traveling!

Q: Where are you from and why did you choose Wesleyan?

A: I’m from Long Island, N.Y. I chose Wesleyan because I knew I wanted a small school, and I loved the fact that Wesleyan has a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing classes.

Q: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities on campus? What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I’m part of Women in Science and I enjoy playing tennis.

Farrar Selects, Monitors Investment Managers to Support Wesleyan’s Endowment

Jonathan Farrar

Jonathan Farrar

In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak with Jonathan Farrar, a senior investment associate in the Wesleyan Investments Office.

Q: Jonathan, when did you join the staff at Wesleyan’s Investments Office?

A: I joined the investments office in mid-October 2014, though in most appropriate fashion (as you’ll soon discover) my first day on the job was actually on the road in San Francisco with Anne Martin, our Chief Investment Officer. I seized the opportunity to tag along since she was seeing some of our existing investment managers as well as a few that I have invested with in the past. I moved my family up on Halloween day just in time for my oldest, Jay, to throw on his elephant costume and go trick or treating in his new neighborhood.

Q: The Investments Office offers guidance and makes recommendations to the Investment Committee in the ongoing management, evaluation and growth of the University’s Endowment. What is the Wesleyan Investment Committee? Who are members?

A: The Wesleyan Board of Trustees is the primary fiduciary of the University’s endowment with the ultimate responsibility for how these assets are invested. The Board fulfills that responsibility by establishing policies governing its management, delegating appropriate responsibilities to the Investment Committee, and taking reasonable steps to verify that the Board’s policies are being adhered to. The Investment Committee is responsible for a number of things, including setting asset allocation, overseeing the work of the investments staff, and making recommendations to the Board for adjustments to the endowment’s investment policy.

Staff on the Move, April and May 2015

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires, transitions and departures for April and May 2015:

Newly hired

Kyle Archer was hired as an assistant football coach, quarterbacks and passing game on April 1.

Brendan Plake was hired as a desktop support specialist on April 6.

Kyle Tousignant was hired as a desktop systems engineer on April 8.

Daniel Mercier was hired as an instructional design director on April 20.

Laurie Kenney was hired as an editor/writer on April 20.

Jeff Murphy was hired as a facilities business manager on May 4.

Stacey Cuppett was hired as a public safety dispatcher on May 18.

Charlotte Freeland was hired as a research assistant/lab coordinator on May 18.

Transitions

Kevin Webster was hired as an electrical shop working foreperson on April 20.

Meg Zocco was hired as the director of parent development on April 27.

Mary Ann Matthews was hired as a public safety dispatcher on May 18.

Departures

Joe Filanda, locksmith.

John Gudvangen, director of financial aid.

Mario Velasquez, facilities manager.

Michele Matera, office assistant.

Adam Fischer, research assistant/lab coordinator.

Morgan Hamill, Unix systems administrator.

Janani Iyer, research assistant/lab coordinator.

Daniel LaBonte, area coordinator.

Peter Staye, director of utilities management.