Kaye Studies Addiction and Criminal Justice, Male Prostitution

Kerwin Kaye at Wesleyan University. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Assistant Professor of Sociology Kerwin Kaye is teaching courses this year on sociology of crime and punishment, sociological theory, and sociology of sexualities.

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Professor Kaye! Please catch us up on your life up to the present.

A: I grew up in Denver, Colo., and yes, I did learn to ski. My academic interests have transformed significantly, given that I began my university education with the idea of double-majoring in physics and philosophy. I wound up at CU-Boulder working on a crisis hotline and obtaining a BA in psychology. After that I moved to San Francisco, pursuing an MA in anthropology at San Francisco State University, where I conducted ethnographic research on male street prostitution. In 2001, I moved to the East Coast, obtaining a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. My master’s work concerning street prostitution pressed me toward the issue of drug use (nearly everyone on the street was using drugs of some sort), and also towards the question of institutional responses to street poverty. For my doctoral dissertation, I did a participant-observational study of drug courts and drug treatment within the criminal justice system (topics that brought me closer to some of the core issues and methodologies of sociology as a discipline). I still retain interests in physics and philosophy, and am grateful to have been exposed to a variety of intellectual traditions.

Q: How did you come to teach at Wesleyan? Is it true that you were previously a visiting professor here?

A: I was indeed a visiting professor here four years ago, and enjoyed the experience enormously. At the risk of pandering, I’d have to say that the enthusiasm and intelligence of the students here were huge factors that made me want to return.

Q: Please describe your research interests.

A: At present I am engaged in three projects. My primary project involves reworking my dissertation on drug courts and turning it into a book (tentatively titled “Using Drugs” and to be published in the Public Criminology series with Columbia University Press). I am also collaborating with about a dozen other scholars on a group research project in which we are attempting to reflect upon our individual projects in developing a larger framework concerning the direction of gender and sexuality within the contemporary economic environment. I also just finished writing a paper about the exclusion of men and boys from the sex trafficking discourse, using the exclusion of men as a way to talk about the narrowly gendered vision of “sex trafficking” as a frame, and arguing that a less melodramatic vision of the challenges faced by sex workers is needed. There are simply very few people who need to be rescued from sex traffickers, and prioritizing “sex trafficking” makes the important issues we should actually be confronting practically invisible.

Q: I see you’ve published a number of papers on male prostitution. How did you become interested in this subject, and what specifically did you study?

A: I had been interested in the politics of sex work for some time, and saw that most of the debates centered around street prostitution (just as today they focus on “sex trafficking”). I wanted to develop a better understanding as to what was happening on the street, so I began what turned into a year’s worth of ethnographic study, living for a short time in one of the local hotels used by the street workers, but mostly working through a small harm reduction agency in the area that handed out food, clothes, condoms, and needles for injecting drugs. My research focused specifically on the non-sexual aspects of street prostitution – I was curious about the everyday lives that people were living more than the sex as such. Basically, it was something of a crash course in issues of urban poverty among street populations. To me, the issue of street prostitution must be understood within that broader context rather than having the issue of sex narrowly define the questions.

Q: You’ve also written about addiction and criminal justice. Please describe your research in this area.

A: I conducted more than a year’s worth of ethnographic study looking at the way “drug courts” work (people avoid jail time by undergoing drug treatment that is supervised by these courts). I especially focused on the treatment centers that the courts send people to, a topic where there’s been very little research. I began by looking at the way that “addiction” gets defined by the various people and organizations involved: How do you know if someone is getting “better” if they’re living in a treatment center and are not presently using drugs? Do the different agencies agree upon a common vision of addiction and of treatment, and how do the people going through the programs understand these issues? Over time, I saw many practices at the treatment centers that I thought were very abusive. Apparently getting better from addiction requires being yelled at and shamed a great deal — to me it seemed that “tough love” is more tough than loving. More than that, I saw that “addiction” was being defined in terms of classed and gendered behaviors. Basically, the move from “addiction” to “sobriety” was defined as a shift from the street-oriented hustling that I had seen in the male prostitution study into normative forms of work, sex, and family life. In terms of employment, people were made to subordinate themselves within the lowest strata of the formal economy as a sign of sobriety; this included explicit instruction in how to accept abusive behavior from one’s boss, and how to emotionally cope with the tedium of much low-wage labor. Behaviors associated with the improvisational and often dangerous nature of street life were shamed as unworthy parts of a “drugs lifestyle” while acceptance of labor market injustices was defined as “emotional maturity.” Some of the people going through the program were glad to have a chance to get included in mainstream life, even at the bottom, but others thought the treatment center was simply another type of prison. And no one liked being yelled at and shamed by the staff.

Q: Please tell us about the courses you’re teaching this semester. What do you plan to teach in the future?

A: This semester I am teaching Introduction to Sociology and Sociology of Crime and Punishment. Next semester I’ll be teaching Sociological Theory and Sociology of Sexualities. I’m still thinking about what I might teach next year, but perhaps a course specifically on Critical Social Theories. At some point I will no doubt offer a course on drugs and addiction as well….

Q: How would you describe your teaching style?

A: I approach my classes with limited amounts of lecture and a greater focus on discussion. I usually have an agenda regarding a few points that I want to make sure get made during the class, but beyond that I much prefer open-ended conversations that take us to unexpected places in addressing student concerns. There are usually a few movies or videos thrown in for good measure as well…

Q: What are you most looking forward to about working at Wesleyan?

A: I am very happy to be here. My colleagues are great, and the students are even better! I especially appreciate the classroom dynamics that can get established when students are already interested in a topic and are essentially demanding that I teach them everything I know – it’s hardly an environment in which I confront a classroom of passive and bored students!

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

A: Walks and hikes in nature are perennial favorite activities for me. And, though geeky, I admit to also being an aficionado of science fiction.

New Public Safety Director Looks Forward to Campus Partnerships

Scott Rohde became director of Public Safety on Oct. 1.

Scott Rohde became director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Scott Rohde became Wesleyan’s new Public Safety director the first week of October. The long-term police chief at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse says he’s looking forward to new partnerships between the campus community and Public Safety, and pursuing other initiatives as head of the university’s 30-plus member safety team.

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Scott. What attracted you to Wesleyan?

A: I was attracted to Wesleyan by its reputation as well as its strong commitment to a solid liberal arts education. During the interview process and my visit here I felt very welcome and comfortable both on campus and in the community.

Q: What are the first challenges you hope to tackle as director of Public Safety? 

A: I want to expand partnerships between the department and members of the campus community, in an effort to increase awareness about preventing crime and how to respond in problem situations. I would like to see Public Safety more integrated into the campus community.

Q: Have you had specific experiences that will help you in your Wesleyan job?

A: Having worked with students, faculty and staff extensively, I feel my experience will offer some new perspectives in the areas of both prevention and response to safety issues. I also have had good success in implementing a problem-solving methodology of service delivery.

Q: Since 1998, you’ve served as director of Police Services at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Are you from Wisconsin? Tell us more about yourself.

A: I am a native of Wisconsin, and until last week it was the only state I have been a resident of, although I have traveled pretty extensively throughout the U.S. I grew up in the Milwaukee area and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee majoring in Criminal Justice. I started working in law enforcement in 1987 and served in a number of capacities, most recently as police chief for U.W.-La Crosse. My wife Michelle and I have been married for almost 30 years and have two children and two grandchildren.

Q: Any first impressions of Wesleyan you’d care to share?

A: My first week here has been superb. Everyone on campus and in Middletown has been extremely helpful and has made us feel at home. I look forward to the future!

Read more about Scott Rohde in this News@Wesleyan article.


Chemistry, English Major Yoo ’15 Coordinates WesReads/WesMath Program, Korean Dance Group

Angela Yoo '15 is co-coordinator of the tutoring program, WesReads/WesMath, which allows Wesleyan students to tutor at two different local elementary schools. (Photo by Olivia Drake) 

Angela Yoo ’15 is co-coordinator of the tutoring program, WesReads/WesMath, which allows Wesleyan students to tutor at two different local elementary schools. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Q: Angela, where are you from and why did you choose Wesleyan to further your education?

A: I am from Nanuet, New York but I went to a boarding school called Phillips Exeter Academy. I chose Wesleyan because I was intrigued by how people were given the freedom to pursue their interests, no matter how different these interests might be. I was also attracted by the collaborative atmosphere and how people seemed to encourage and support their peers.

Q: What are you majoring in?

A: I’m double majoring in chemistry and English, and I hope to write a thesis on non-beta lactam inhibitors of beta-lactamses. This entails synthesis of potential inhibitors as well as investigating the efficacy of these compounds through enzyme kinetics. I have been working in Professor Pratt’s lab in the Chemistry Department since sophomore spring. I chose to also pursue English because I was really interested exploring the different stories that people tell, the various ways in which they tell their stories and how we understand them.

Q: You’re currently the co-coordinator of a tutoring program called WesReads/WesMath. Tell us a bit about this program.

A: WesReads/WesMath allows Wesleyan students to tutor at two different local elementary schools. More than 70 Wesleyan students volunteer through the program and we help teachers with classroom activities or work with a small group of advanced learners on a math or reading curriculum that we developed or organized.

Rizza Honored with Cardinal Achievement Award

Cathy-Lee Rizza

Cathy-Lee Rizza

Cathy-Lee Rizza, assistant director of student accounts for Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services, received a Cardinal Achievement Award in September. This special honor comes with a $150 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts.

On March 20, Wesleyan’s Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) hosted a public health disaster response exercise for the Middletown community at the Freeman Athletic Center.

Rizza was asked to create security access and a special C-CERT identification cards for almost 50 participants. Without hesitation, she designed a logo, established security access and produced the necessary ID cards enabling the event to proceed without issue.

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.

Tennis Star Chong ’18 Represents Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 has blossomed as the top player on Wesleyan’s women’s tennis team in her first season. Recently in action during a tournament at Conn. College (Oct. 5), she defeated Trinity’s #1 player and Amherst’s #2 player, both in straight sets.  Each opponent was a top-eight seed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England fall championship, which Eudice missed in September in order to traveled to South Korea for nearly two weeks to represent her native Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games.  Here is a bit about Eudice and her experience:

Q: You just finished playing the the 17th Asian Games in South Korea, essentially the regional Olympics for some 45 nations. How would you describe the experience and nature of the competition?

A: The Asian Games was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, playing players ranked in the top 100 World Tennis Association (WTA) and getting to meet some people up close I’ve only seen on TV. Everyone in the tournament is very good — everyone was chosen to play in the Asian Games because they are the best in their country.

Q: In what events did you participate? How well did you do?

A: I played in the Team, Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles Events. During the Team Event, Hong Kong lost to China in the quarterfinals as my teammates and I lost to players all ranked in the top 200 WTA. In the Women’s Doubles Event, my partner and I won one round, but lost to a Thai pair which had a player who was ranked as high as 20 and another who is currently ranked top 200. Lastly, for the Mixed Doubles Event, my partner and I advanced to the round of 16, losing to a Taiwanese pair with the woman reaching the finals of Mixed Doubles in Wimbledon this year.

Q: You’ve been living in Hong Kong since you were about a year old. How wide-spread is the interest in tennis in the region and when did you figure out you were hooked on the sport?

A:  Well, I’d say tennis is more of a social game in Hong Kong. If you walk around the city, you’ll tend to see older adults playing

Burge Specializes in Software Engineering, Design Rationale

anet Burge, associate professor of computer science, is teaching a service learning course, COMP 342 Software Engineering, this fall. The course includes a survey of current programming languages, advanced topics in a specific language, design patterns, code reorganization techniques, specification languages, verification and tools for managing multiple-programmer software projects. Burge joined the Wesleyan faculty this semester. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Janet Burge, associate professor of computer science, is teaching a service learning course, COMP 342 Software Engineering, this fall. The course includes a survey of current programming languages, advanced topics in a specific language, design patterns, code reorganization techniques, specification languages, verification and tools for managing multiple-programmer software projects. Burge joined the Wesleyan faculty this semester. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Professor Burge! Please fill us in on your life up to now.

A: I’m originally from Michigan, and attended undergrad at Michigan Tech. I moved out to Massachusetts and worked on radar systems for quite a few years. I did a lot of off-site work traveling all around the country; it’s exciting to see the products you build in action. I always planned to go back to graduate school, and I decided to pursue a master’s in computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I started out there part time, but then an opportunity arose and I made a quick decision to go full time to earn a Ph.D. I then taught for nine years at Miami University in Ohio before coming to Wesleyan. I’m very excited to be here.

Q: How did you wind up at Wesleyan, and what is your impression of the school so far?

A: From the time I was a high school student, I wanted to be at a small liberal arts college, but it never quite worked out before now. I also knew a few former and current faculty members at Wesleyan, and they raved about the students here. If anything, the students are even more awesome than they had told me.

Pandolfo Honored with Cardinal Achievement Award

Rose Pandolfo, staff accountant for grant administration in the Finance Office received a Cardinal Achievement Award for her work in providing critical information in solving a complex problem with a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This special honor comes with a $150 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts. The 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 Human Resources website and scroll down to Cardinal Achievement Award under “Forms.”


Martin Oversees Student Employment, Counsels Families on Financial Aid Issues

Sean Martin.

Sean Martin, senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office, says most students work an average of five to 10 hours per week. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

This year, The Wesleyan Connection will feature conversations with students who perform important work all over campus, and out in the Middletown community. In this issue, we speak with Sean Martin, senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office, who oversees student employment.

Q: Sean, please tell us about your role as senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office.

A: I’ve been working in the Financial Aid Office at Wesleyan for going on 10 years, and my responsibilities there have expanded over time. One aspect of my job is overseeing all facets of student employment. I spend a good amount of my time reading files of applicants and current students, and counseling students and families about financial aid issues. I also do various other things, including serving as liaison to Athletics and ITS.

Q: How many students have jobs at Wesleyan?

A: Students can work on campus whether they are eligible for work-study funding or not. Approximately 1,500 students work on-campus each year, roughly 1,100 of whom are work-study eligible students.

Q: How many hours do students typically work each week?

A: Most positions require students to commit to an average of five to 10 hours per week.

Hanakata ’14 Finalist for American Physical Society’s Apker Award

Paul Hanakata '14

Paul Hanakata ’14

Paul Hanakata ’14 was named a finalist for the American Physical Society’s prestigious Leroy Apker Award, the highest prize offered in the United States for an undergraduate thesis in physics. He will compete to win the award this month.

The Apker Award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and thereby provide encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment.

At Wesleyan, Hanakata received high honors for his Wesleyan thesis titled, “Cooperative Dynamics in Supported Polymer Films,” under his advisor, Francis Starr, professor of physics and director of the College of Integrative Sciences.

In recognition of his exceptional research accomplishments,

Matesan Studies Contentious Politics, Violence in the Middle East

This fall, Ioana Emy Matesan is teaching two sections of GOVT 157 Democracy and Dictatorship. Matesan is an expert on Middle Eastern politics. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)

Ioana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, is teaching two sections of GOVT 157 Democracy and Dictatorship. Matesan is an expert on Middle Eastern politics and joined the faculty this fall. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Professor Matesan! Can you please tell us a little about your background?

A: I’m originally from Romania. I came to the U.S. for undergrad in 1998, and earned a degree in economics and political science from Monmouth College in Illinois. Coming from Romania, I had no sense of differences in states. I got together with a couple friends, and we looked at the admission of international students and amount of aid for them at different colleges, and we applied to the colleges with the most aid per international student. It was very much a cost-benefit analysis. I loved the small liberal arts college experience, which is one of the reasons why I love Wesleyan. It was a very good transition coming from Romania on my own at 18—I made meaningful connections with both faculty and students. After undergrad, I worked with a Romanian-American nonprofit, which I had volunteered with in Romania. They had incorporated as a 501(c)(3), and were looking for someone to start the fundraising arm in the U.S. We worked with families who were at risk of abandoning their children to orphanages because of economic or social problems. We offered tutoring and social activities for the children; we helped the parents get jobs, training, etc. After three years at the nonprofit, I decided to go to grad school at Arizona State, where I got my master’s in political science. Then I went on to Syracuse University and got my Ph.D. in political science. From there, I came to Wesleyan.

Q: How did you become interested in studying Middle Eastern politics?

A: I specialize in contentious politics and political violence, with a regional focus in the Middle East. The very first time I became interested in this topic was when I attended a youth UN conference in 1993. There, I met children from Israel and Palestine. I learned a lot about the conflict, but it also became very real, and I suddenly had friends I could associate with both sides.

Volleyball Coach Lackey to Retire After 37 Years, Hundreds of Victories

Wesleyan head women’s volleyball coach Gale Lackey, the senior athletics department member with 37 years of service, will retire in June. In her 30th year coaching volleyball, Lackey is also the senior woman administrator in athletics and an associate athletics director.

Gale Lackey, head coach of women's volleyball, will be inducted into the Connecticut Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Gale Lackey, head coach of women’s volleyball.

Lackey began coaching at Wesleyan in 1978, handling both field hockey and women’s lacrosse and leading the field hockey squad to its only undefeated campaign — and a subsequent berth in the Wes Athletics Hall of Fame —  in 1980.  She took over as volleyball coach in 1985.

“The time is right,” Lackey said. “Coaching and teaching here has been a blessing.  Wesleyan has given me the opportunity to pursue a variety of endeavors and ongoing support to grow professionally throughout my career. The energetic passions of my colleagues, the students, faculty, staff and alumni make Wesleyan a very special place.”

Lackey has the distinction of coaching Wesleyan women’s teams to Little Three championships in three different sports (volleyball, field hockey and lacrosse). With 464 career women’s volleyball victories at Wesleyan (and 477 in total) heading into the 2014 season, Lackey was named New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year in 2001.

Bloom’s Novel Lucky Us on Success, Luck, Big Dreams, Scandals

New book by Amy Bloom.

New book by Amy Bloom.

Amy Bloom, the Distinguished University Writer-in-Residence and director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, is the author of a novel, Lucky Us, published in July 2014 by Random House.

Disappointed by their families, Iris, a hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Lucky Us is a resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise.

In celebration of her book release, Bloom will be speaking Sept. 2 at the Society Club in London, and Sept. 3 at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.

Bloom’s stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, Thee New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate and Salon, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award.