Sociology Major, Football Player Fabien ’15 Planning to Coach, Join Special Forces after Graduation

Jay Fabien '15 and his "rescued" husky, Glacier, hang out on Citrin Field Jan. 23. Fabien, formerly a wide-receiver for the Wesleyan Cardinals Football Team, hopes to coach student-athletes after graduation and later join the U.S Army Special Forces. 

Jay Fabien ’15 and his “rescued” husky, Glacier, hang out on Citrin Field Jan. 23. Fabien, formerly a wide-receiver for the Wesleyan Cardinals Football Team, hopes to coach student-athletes after graduation and later join the U.S Army Special Forces. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

He loves “chick-flicks” and played alto-sax in high school. But he also wants to earn a spot in the Special Forces after graduation. In short, the Cardinal’s No. 80 has many layers. They all start and end with respect, and comfort in being himself, on the field and off.

He’s no prima donna, even though he has only played one position since he was 9 — wide receiver. Being a distraction to the team is not in his DNA.

“I’ve never been that way,” said Jay Fabien ’15. “When I think of being a wide receiver, I think I have more of an opportunity to lay someone out because I’m down the field with the play. I love all aspects of the position, especially the dirty work.”

Johnson-Thornton is the New Dean for Equity and Inclusion

Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for equity and inclusion.

Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for equity and inclusion, is exploring ways to better understand the experiences students have that interfere with success and wellbeing. She has a deep commitment to social and environmental justice, conservation and environmental sustainability.

In this Q&A we speak with Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for equity and inclusion.

Q: Renee, when did you come to Wesleyan and what was your first position? When did you join the Office of Equity and Inclusion?

A: I was hired in 1998 to be the associate director of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. The Office of Equity and Inclusion was established in 2013 following the hiring of Vice President Antonio Farias. Prior to his arrival, I served as dean for diversity and student engagement from 2009-2013, and the associate coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program from 2000-2013. I also have held the following positions at Wesleyan: assistant dean for student academic resources from 2005-2006, and assistant to the dean of the college from 2000-2005.

Q: How would you describe your role as the dean for equity and inclusion?

A: The dean for equity and inclusion promotes access, education and compliance through collaboration with students, faculty, staff and alumni that engage the campus community in developing all students’ capacity to achieve at the highest level.

Hurteau Earns Cardinal Achievement Award for Planning Library Project


Linda Hurteau

Linda Hurteau

Linda Hurteau, library assistant, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her work in anticipation of moving the Art Library collections into Olin Library. Hurteau created a plan to make space for and integrate transferred books from Olin Library into the Science Library.

She planned the project, supervised student employees to do a major shift of the Science Library’s monographic collection, and had the space allocated and ready when professional movers relocated the books. The planning work that Linda did resulted in significant savings to the library and the university. Hurteau also planned and initiated a project to create a separate oversize book area. The oversize shelves will help to preserve these materials by reducing the costs associated with rebinding books that are damaged by shelving them on edge or torqued when squeezed onto shelves of inadequate height or depth.

Lastly, Hurteau also undertook a project to integrate seven separate small collections into one when it became apparent that users were having difficulty locating individual items.

“Linda’s proactive approach to cost-savings and dedication to customer service deserve recognition. She is always looking for ways to improve the Science Library and the services we offer,” said Melissa Behney, science librarian.

This special honor comes with a $250 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts. Award recipients are nominated by department chairs and supervisors.

Nominations can be made anytime throughout the year. For more information or to nominate a staff member for the award, visit the Cardinal Achievement Award website. Recipients will continue to be recognized in News @ Wesleyan. See past Cardinal Achievement Award recipients here.

Bernstein ’15 Remembered for His “Large Personality,” Athleticism

Rex Bernstein ’15

Rex Bernstein ’15

Rex Bernstein ’15 died peacefully in his sleep Jan. 10 while visiting family in the San Francisco Bay area. He was pursuing a government major at Wesleyan with a minor in history. He was a former member of the Wesleyan swim team and a member of Beta Theta Pi.

Bernstein, 22, was “a large person with a large personality, and he will be missed by many here on campus,” wrote Dean Mike Whaley, vice president for student affairs.

Bernstein is survived by his parents and younger sister, Olive, and his dog, Gato. View Bernstein’s guestbook online here.

A memorial service is being planned by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Hovey to Serve as Interim Associate Provost

Mark Hovey, professor of mathematics and director of graduate studies, will serve as interim associate provost, part-time through May 15, and then full-time through Aug. 31. Hovey will focus on curricular initiatives and budget management.

Hovey came to Wesleyan in 1997 after receiving his BS from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has taught at Yale, University of New Haven, University of Kentucky and MIT, and has been a regular speaker at international conferences in algebraic topology.

Hovey is the author of the book Model Categories and more than 50 scholarly papers. He has served as editor of publications including Advances in Mathematics and Homology, Homotopy, and its Applications and has been a referee for multiple journals, including Annals of Math, American Journal of Math and Topology.

At Wesleyan he has served as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and as a member of the Review and Appeals Board.

“Mark has been doing an excellent job as the director of graduate studies this year, and I know that he will contribute immensely to Academic Affairs, and to Wesleyan, as he takes on his new responsibilities as interim associate provost,” said Ruth Striegel Weissman, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Please join me in thanking Mark for taking in this important role.”

Samy ’18 Begins Collegiate Squash Career with 12-0 Record

Egypt native Laila Samy '18 says she chose Wesleyan because "the squash team .. was not just a team, it was a family."

Egypt native Laila Samy ’18 says she chose Wesleyan because “the squash team .. was not just a team, it was a family.”

In this Q&A meet Laila Samy from the Class of 2018.

Q: You came to Wesleyan from your hometown of Cairo, Egypt. Can you describe your life growing up in a foreign country? What was your secondary-school education like?

A: Growing up in Egypt and going to school there made me feel very grateful because I had a great opportunity to both play squash and get a decent education which lead me to move on to the next experience which is completing my last two years of high school in the U.S. and that lead me to be able to attend Wesleyan.

Q: You have already established yourself as one of the top newcomers on the collegiate squash scene with a 12-0 record at No. 1 and a title in the Division III National Championships. When did you begin playing the sport and when did it become apparent you were far from a run-of-the-mill player?

A: I started playing squash when I

Professor Emeritus Jason Wolfe Remembered for Mentoring, Cell Biology Research

Jason Wolfe

Jason Wolfe

Jason Wolfe, professor of biology emeritus, died Dec. 23 at the age of 73.

Wolfe joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1969 after receiving his BA from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and completing two post-doctoral fellowships at Kings College, University of London, and Johns Hopkins University. He taught cell biology, human biology, biology of aging and the elderly, and structural biology at Wesleyan for 39 years.

In his research, Wolfe asked big questions about how reproduction and aging are regulated. With funding from NIH and NSF, he produced a consistent and enviable body of work published in the major cell biology journals – always mentoring undergraduates and graduate students with great compassion and insight. He led the effort that resulted in Wesleyan’s first Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant for Undergraduate Life Science Education, establishing a program that has provided decades of support for hundreds of undergraduates. In retirement, he twice offered his popular general education course in Human Biology and published his last Biology Open research paper in 2014 with four former Wesleyan undergraduate co-authors.

About 80 colleagues, friends and family gathered in the Daniel Family Commons April 26, 2009 celebrate Jason Wolfe's retirement. He taught biology at Wesleyan for 39 years. Pictured are former and current members of the Wolfe Lab. Front row, from left, are Emily Lu '00 and Vey Hadinoto '99. Back row, from left, are Aditi Khatri '11, Joan Bosco '09, Hyo Yang '12, Professor Wolfe, Carlo Balane '06 and Ivy Chen '09.

About 80 colleagues, friends and family gathered in the Daniel Family Commons April 26, 2009 celebrate Jason Wolfe’s retirement. He taught biology at Wesleyan for 39 years.

He brought his keen intellect and passion to the study and practice of Judaism. The scope of his activities extended from giving public lectures at the Center for the Humanities to service on the Wesleyan University Press Editorial Board to working with the Sierra Club in Arizona and New Mexico.

Jason is survived by his wife, Vera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of history, as well as three children and five grandchildren. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to Young Israel of West Hartford, 2240 Albany Avenue, West Hartford, CT, 06117. A memorial will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in Memorial Chapel.

Staff on the Move, November, December 2014

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires, transitions and departures for November and December 2014:

Newly hired
David Shimomura was hired as a program coordinator in the Center for the Arts on Nov. 3.

Fernando Vargas-Lara was hired as a post doctoral research associate in the Physics Department on Nov. 3.

Jayana Mitchell was hired as an accounting specialist in the Chemistry Department on Nov. 10.

Angela Wong was hired as a project manager in Physical Plant-Facilities on Dec. 1.

Jessie Cohen was hired as an archaeological collections manager in the Office of Academic Affairs on Dec. 1

Alexander Chremos was hired as a post-doctoral research associate in the Physics Department on Dec. 1.

Armando Ortiz was hired as a public safety officer in the Office of Public Safety on Dec. 8.

Joan Chiari was hired as an administrative assistant in the Office of Student Affairs/Deans’ Office.

Meg O’Brien, associate director of financial planning
Juliana Shortell, archaeological collections manager
Vinnie Agosta, desktop support specialist
Caitlyn DeClement, office assistant
William Fisher, manager of online and video communications
Mardi Hanson-d’Alessandro, library assistant
Beverly Hunter-Daniel, director of Upward Bound Math-Science and Collaborative Programs
Steven Farthing, social network web developer

Assistant Professor of American Studies Grappo ’01 Teaches Latino Studies, Queer Studies

Assistant Professor of American Studies Laura Grappo, who graduated from Wesleyan in 2001, is interested in Latino studies and queer studies.

Assistant Professor of American Studies Laura Grappo, who graduated from Wesleyan in 2001, is interested in Latino studies and queer studies.

Q: Welcome back to Wesleyan, Professor Grappo! Can you please fill us in on what you’ve done since graduating from Wes?

A: After graduating from Wesleyan in 2001, I worked a fifth grade teacher at a Catholic school in the Bronx. Then I went to grad school at Yale and got my Ph.D. in American Studies. I took a job for a couple years as an assistant professor of American studies at Dickinson College, a small liberal arts school in Pennsylvania. Last year, I came to Wesleyan as a visiting professor, and this year I began as a full-time, tenure-track professor.

Q: How does it feel to be back at Wesleyan?

A: I’m excited to be back. I had a wonderful experience here as an undergrad. It was really formative for me as a scholar and I made good friends and enjoyed many of the resources Wesleyan offers. When I saw there was a position open here, it seemed like a terrific opportunity, as not only is Wesleyan an incredible institution, but it’s also in a great area of the country, with so many excellent resources—other universities,

Fedolfi, Kini, Kaufman Receive Cardinal Achievement Awards


Charles Fedolfi '90

Charles Fedolfi ’90

The Office of Human Resources presented three Cardinal Achievement Awards to University Relations staff in December 2014.

Charles “Chuck” Fedolfi ’90, director of annual giving, was honored for his work on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 2, when the Wesleyan community joined together in an unprecedented show of support for students.  Led by Fedolfi, a team of colleagues and volunteers inspired alumni, parents, faculty and staff to make 2,059 gifts totaling over $500,000 – far exceeding the original goal of 1,000 gifts

Altman ’17 Promotes 88.1 WESU Radio Activity, Hosts Punk Girl Band Show

Tess Altman '17 is the public relations director at 88.1 WESU.

Tess Altman ’17 is the public relations director at 88.1 WESU. She also hosts a radio show called Feminist Power Hour. (Photos by Olivia Drake)


In this Q&A meet Tess Altman from the Class of 2017.

Q: Tess, where are you from and why did you choose Wesleyan?

A: I am from the suburbs of Chicago. I was interested in going to a liberal arts school and getting out the Midwest — so I started looking around at a few schools in the NESCAC. As far as why I chose Wesleyan, it seemed like a place where people were excited about many different things, and the prospect of being around those people excited me.

Tess Altman hopes to major in creative writing and FGSS.

Tess Altman hopes to major in creative writing and FGSS.

Q: How did you become involved in Wesleyan’s radio station, 88.1 WESU?

A: I first got involved with the station last year. I’d never done anything in radio before, but I decided to sign up for training on a whim. I ended up really loving being on air. I also think that the community down there is really great — I’ve gotten to know so many non-students that have made my experience at Wesleyan so much richer.

Q: You’re currently the public relations director for the station. What is involved in this position?

A: Most of what I do as public relations director is all about outreach and getting people more involved, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter,

Gridiron Club Honors Assistant Coach DiCenzo, Bussani ’14

Dan DiCenzo and Jake Bussani '14

Dan DiCenzo and Jake Bussani ’14

In November, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston named Associate Head Football Coach Dan DiCenzo the Division III assistant coach of the year.

In addition, NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year Jake Bussani ’14 received a Joe Zabilski Award for being the top Division III defensive player in New England. The honor is annually awarded to New England’s best collegiate players in Divisions II and III. Bussani was one of four NESCAC players chosen for the New England Football Writers Division II/III all-star team. The last Cardinal to grace the NEFW all-star squad was Shea Dwyer ’10 during the 2010 season.

Bussani is currently enrolled in Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies program.

Founded in 1932, the Gridiron Club promotes the game of football at all levels and nurtures the ideals of citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership and athletic and academic achievement. The club carries on its tradition of honoring exemplary players, coaches and officials at all levels of sport.

(Photos courtesy of