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Csere Receives Social Justice Employee Award

David Csere, winner of the Morgenstern-Clarren Social Justice Award, is known for his legendary grilled cheese sandwiches and knack for memorizing student's birthdays.

David Csere, winner of the Morgenstern-Clarren Social Justice Award, is known for his legendary grilled cheese sandwiches and knack for memorizing student’s birthdays.

In this Q&A we sit down with David McClure Csere, chef for Bon Appétit, recipient of the 2015 Morgenstern-Clarren Social Justice Employee Prize. The award was created in 2009 in memory of Peter Morgenstern-Clarren ‘03 who pursued social justice while a student at Wesleyan. Morgenstern-Clarren’s activism included securing benefits for Wesleyan custodial staff, participating in the United Student and Labor Action Committee, and contributing his leadership to the campus chapter of Amnesty International. Peter’s parents, Dr. Hadley Morgenstern-Clarren and the honorable Pat Morgenstern-Clarren of Shaker Heights, Ohio, are sponsoring this award that honors their son’s activism for the public good.

Q: When and why did you decide to work for Wesleyan?

A: When I graduated from UCONN I worked a sales job and didn’t really like it. I wanted to work with my hands, to make things from scratch. After working odd jobs, I was finally given an opportunity to work as a cook, and then took classes to develop my chef skills. It was basically an apprenticeship program. After completing that training program, I applied to Wesleyan and was offered a job. That was in 1983, so I’ve worked here for more than 31 years.

Q: What is the best part about working for Wesleyan?

A: Meeting and interacting with the students. I like to go to at least one game of all of the Wesleyan sports each year. I also attend the senior thesis video and art projects.

Staff on the Move March 2015

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departures for March 2015.

Newly hired

Zachariah Pfeifer was hired as coordinator of Greek life on March 2.

Julian Goldfield was hired as desktop support specialist and art workshops technology administrator on March 2.

Pierina Cheung was hired as a research associate on March 6.

Francesca Livermore was hired as digital projects librarian on March 16.

Alexander Vazquez was hired as the instructional media specialist on March 23.

Kera Jewett was hired as a development officer on March 30.

Pinette, Brown, Lenten Honored with Cardinal Achievement Award

#THISISWHY

Lisa Pinette, library assistant V, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her work on the Signage Task Force, creating more than 200 new and color-coded signs installed in Olin Memorial Library and the Science Library.

Pinette coordinated a group effort to select sign styles that would allow for future changes as needed, solicited input from library staff, worked with University Communications on the design, and ensured that all signs were ADA compliant. Finally, she hired a company to manufacture and install the signs.

“The signs look great and provide wonderful consistency and clarity from floor to floor in the Library,” said Diane Klare, interim university librarian.

Feinman ’16, TeamIMPACT Child Speak at Boston Gala

Carly Feinman '16, ESPN personality Wendi Nix, and Aliana Fichera at the TeamIMPACT event in Boston, April 2.

Carly Feinman ’16, ESPN personality Wendi Nix, and Aliana Fichera at the TeamIMPACT event in Boston, April 2.

On April 2, Carly Feinman ’16, a diver on Wesleyan’s swimming and diving team, and 10-year-old Aliana Fichera, a local girl who has become an honorary member of the team, spoke on a panel during the TeamIMPACT Game Day Gala in Boston.

In November 2014, Aliana was “drafted” onto the Wesleyan team through the TeamIMPACT program, which matches children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams. Aliana has attended numerous Wesleyan meets and team functions, and the team members have visited with Aliana during her treatments for Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID) and for her meets with her swim team in Rocky Hill, Conn.

Sveen ’17 Speaks on “Women in Politics” Panel

(Story by Lily Baggott ’15)

Emmakristina Sveen ’17, co-founder of the Wesleyan Republican Committee, spoke on a “Women in Politics” panel at the University of New Haven on March 31.

Sveen joined Leutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Executive Director of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale Patti Russo, and Connecticut House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (not pictured) on the panel, speaking about the role of women in politics today.

Sveen, at right, joined Leutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Executive Director of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale Patti Russo, and Connecticut House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (not pictured) on the panel, speaking about the role of women in politics today.

 “It was not, for the most part, polarized, and we answered questions about what holds women back from getting involved in politics and how to galvanize younger women today into getting more involved,” Sveen said of the panel.

“It was not, for the most part, polarized, and we answered questions about what holds women back from getting involved in politics and how to galvanize younger women today into getting more involved,” Sveen said of the panel.

Sveen is a government major with a concentration in American politics. She also serves as vice-chairman of the Connecticut Federation of College Republicans.

Sveen is a government major with a concentration in American politics. She also serves as vice-chairman of the Connecticut Federation of College Republicans. She’s pictured here with a student from UNH and Russo.

Kutlu ’16 Receives ASBMB Undergraduate Research Award

Selin Kutlu '16

Selin Kutlu ’16

Selin Kutlu ’16 recently received the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) undergraduate research award for her work in DNA mismatch repair. ASBMB’s mission is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through the publication of scientific and educational journals, the organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, and promoting the diversity of individuals entering the scientific workforce.

President Roth Congratulates Cardinal Achievement Award Recipients

Wesleyan President Michael Roth spoke to Cardinal Achievement Award recipients March 31.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth spoke to Cardinal Achievement Award recipients March 31.

An employee may be eligible for the Cardinal Achievement Award once each calendar year.

An employee may be eligible for the Cardinal Achievement Award once each calendar year.

#THISISWHY

Wesleyan President Michael Roth hosted a reception for Cardinal Achievement Award recipients March 31 in Zelnick Pavilion. Since the program began in 2012, more than 78 employees have received an award.

“I’m so glad I had the opportunity to thank our staff members for their exemplary achievements,” Roth said. “Their dedication to Wesleyan and their willingness to go well beyond what is expected of them make Wesleyan an extraordinary institution. They are why!”

Filmmaker Fisher is Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies

David Fisher is the Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies. (Photo courtesy of David Fisher)

David Fisher teaches When Private Meets Public, a course focusing on Israeli documentaries. (Photo courtesy of David Fisher)

(Story by Lily Baggott ’15)

Last spring, filmmaker David Fisher presented his film, Six Million and One, at the Wesleyan Israeli Film festival. After viewing Fisher’s film and presentation, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies Dalit Katz subsequently invited the filmmaker to teach a course as a scholar in residence this spring. Currently the Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies, Fisher teaches When Private Meets Public, a course focusing on Israeli documentaries.

“[In this course,] I’m trying to decipher with my students the development and consequently the success of the Israeli documentary films worldwide,” Fisher noted. “They learn how to interpret documentary genres and place them in their proper cinematic, artistic and political contexts.”

Fisher’s own work provides discussion material for his students.

“I use my own documentaries to help shed light on hidden corners of the Israeli society, such as cattle ranchers in the Golan Heights,” he said. “My critically acclaimed family trilogy, however, I use to discuss the universality of very personal films and how both private stories and autobiographical essays meet the public.”

Fisher’s films have won various awards and include Mostar Round-Trip and Love Inventory, which form a triology together with Six Million and One. He is currently working on two films, a National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored documentary on the revival of Yiddish and another film focusing on the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. The filmmaker served as Director General of the New Israeli Foundation for Cinema and TV and has served on various international film festival juries. Before coming to Wesleyan, he also taught courses at various institutions in America and Israel.

“Truthfully, I have always been more interested in the creation of documentaries than teaching about them,” Fisher noted. “…That being said, teaching at Wesleyan was [a] unique experience for me because, for the first time, I didn’t teach film majors but merely interested students. …The students are coming from a variety of different fields (astronomy being one of them) and enrich the discussion to unprecedented levels. …In the case of screening some of my own films, it is interesting for me—as both a filmmaker and as a scholar—to face questions I’ve never been asked before.”

Hingorani Serves as NSF Program Director for the Biosciences

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani

Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, is serving as the rotating program director at the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. Her rotation concludes in August and she will resume teaching next fall.

The MCB supports quantitative, predictive and theory-driven fundamental research and related activities designed to promote understanding of complex living systems at the molecular, subcellular and cellular levels. MCB gives high priority to research projects that use theory, methods and technologies from physical sciences, mathematics, computational sciences and engineering to address major biological questions. Typical research supported by MCB integrates theory and experimentation.

“I look forward to advancing science from this very different and much broader perspective than usual. And it would be nice to become a more effective advocate for basic research and science education after this experience,” she said.

 

Staff on the Move February 2015

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departure for February 2015.

Newly hired
Michele Matera was hired as office assistant in the President’s Office on Feb. 16.
Joseph Buchino was hired as an athletic facility maintenance person on Feb. 23.

Departure
Dashaun Outlaw, public safety officer

Opalacz, LaPlant Honored with Cardinal Achievement Awards

#THISISWHY

Jennifer Opalacz, assistant director of alumni and parent relations, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her efforts in taking on greater responsibility for several high-profile, time sensitive projects that were critical to the success of the University Relations team. Opalacz also stepped up to take on additional project ownership for a team member who was out on leave.

“Jen is among the most conscientious, organized, and upbeat individuals with whom I’ve worked. She is well deserving of a Cardinal Achievement Award,” said Thomas Diascro, director of alumni and parent relations.

Lisa LaPlant, assistant to the president, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her initiative in coordinating the efforts of several individuals who were working independently on the Sasaki project into a cohesive group, which resulted in an extremely well organized and successful event on campus.

It took extraordinary effort to coordinate this event over a ten-day period. She pulled together all of the Sasaki meetings including a luncheon for more than 100 staff, faculty and students with talks by President Michael Roth and Sasaki principals. The luncheon was followed by workshops with six different groups focusing on particular questions. She coordinated meetings the next morning with Trustees and again at the formal meeting of the Board.

“She not only pulled all of this together and was there overseeing everything, she did it all at the second busiest time of the year – the winter meeting of the Board, on which she worked tirelessly,” said Charles Salas, director of strategic initiatives.

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.

Varekamp Elected Chair of Geology, Public Policy Committee

Joop Varekamp

Joop Varekamp

Johan “Joop” Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, professor of earth and environmental sciences, was elected to be chair of the Geology and Public Policy Committee (GPPC) of the Geological Society of America (GSA). The group prepares position statements for GSA (e.g., on fracking, climate change). Varekamp has already made six congressional visits in March, visiting the offices of Senators Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Representative Rosa DeLauro. He does similar work as chairman of the board of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment / Save the Sound.

Varekamp also was elected to be the chair of the LimnoGeology (‘lakes’) division of GSA for the next two years, which involves organizing conferences and sessions at annual GSA meetings, and editing special volumes on lakes.

In addition, Varekamp received funding through the Keck Geology Consortium for a research project on the two crater lakes of Newberry volcano in Oregon. Varekamp will visit the lakes this summer with a group of student researchers from Wesleyan, Amherst, Colgate and Smith College.