Snapshots

Seniors Share Thesis Projects on Wesleyan Instagram

While the Wesleyan community can’t celebrate our seniors’ theses in person this year, several members of the Class of 2020 are sharing their accomplishments on Wesleyan’s Instagram (wesleyan_u).

Any senior who would like to see their thesis spotlighted can fill out this form.

Examples of recent posts are below. Click on the image to open the original post in Instagram. (Project curated by Eitana Friedman-Nathan ’20)

Eliza

Eliza McKenna ’20 (@elizarmckenna) // Woodstock, NY
Film Studies. “‘Brownie’ is a 16mm short film, based on my great grandfather, who was a tailor for the mob in Atlantic City back in the ’40’s, and it follows an awkward Jewish man as he tries to prove his love to the hairdresser next door. When faced with a sensitive mob secret about the murder of another gangster, he must choose between telling the truth or staying silent. I’m planing on submitting this project to film festivals in the future!”

Wei-Ling

Wei-Ling Carrigan ’20 (@weilingcarrigan) // Bordeaux, France. High Honors in Studio Art with a concentration in painting. “In ‘TAKING UP SPACE’ I want to bring a different perspective than is historically given to portraiture, by painting women from the standpoint of a woman, painting women who find authorship within the canvas, who invite the audience to stare at them while they stare back.”

Leo

Leo Merturi ’20 (@leomerturi) // Milford, Conn.
Honors in Music and winner of Gwen Livingston Pokora Prize. Leo describes his thesis, “COPVRIGHTS: An illegal expression of art protected by creative commons” as “an exploration of copyright law as it currently exists and is interpreted in the modern digital age of media and artistic creation. New technologies in audio production and consumption have spawned new approaches to policing creative content. Comparative analysis of digital sonic files, as exhibited by programs like Shazam and YouTube’s Content I.D., ensure that specific creative works in their recorded states are automatically protected on popular media platforms. But, what do these protections imply? Do recording protections introduce “ownership” of sound in physical space? Who can control certain recorded sounds, and why? What is the extent of this control and how does it impact the existences of both creators and consumers?”

Miri

Miriam Zenilman ’20 (@miriamzenilman) // Lawrence, NY
High Honors in the College of Letters. “The College of Letters has a foreign language and study abroad component, so I spent a semester in Jerusalem during my sophomore year, and that’s when I started to develop this idea for my thesis. I’m also pursuing the film studies minor and writing certificate, so completing this screenplay was really the culmination of a number of interests I’ve cultivated at Wesleyan, and through a number of grants from Wesleyan, I was able to spend last summer conducting extensive research in Israel to ensure the narrative’s authenticity. My favorite film genres have always been historical dramas, war films, and coming-of-age films, so I was excited to explore and combine these different genres in my first feature screenplay.”

sivan

Sivan Piatigorsky-Roth ’20 (@soilboyy) // Toronto, Canada
High Honors in English. “I wrote a graphic memoir that was part personal narrative/part history of Jewish self representation and gender representation in comics/part theory. It was a comic, so fully illustrated, and was divided into three sections corresponding to head/torso/limbs, each exploring different related themes in history and in my personal narrative.”

sophie

Sophie Dora Tulchin ’20 // Pleasantville, NY
High Honors in American Studies and recipient of the M.G. White Prize for the best thesis in American Studies.
“I wrote my thesis on trans plaintiffs’ use of the Americans with Disabilities Act in discrimination cases. The ADA actually contains an explicit exclusion related to trans identity, so I focused on the history of this exclusion and how some trans people have successfully evaded it. In short, I explored why some trans people feel their conditions should be understood as disabilities under the ADA, and then shared how this argument has been made in court. I am very grateful for the support of my girlfriend and dog!”

tara

Tara Mitra ’20 (@tara3031) // Bangalore
High Honors in Anthropology. “This thesis examines the ghosts of animal welfare work in India, with a focus on gujarat, to call for solidarity between minoritised groups across species. Through theorizing ghostly absences, I put human and nonhuman oppression in conversation with each other, revealing the biopolitical control of reproductive processes in humans, dogs, and bovines. I grapple with the implications of animal welfare work within a system that uses nonhuman animals as tools in order to oppress other minoritised communities. With attention to the problems of speciesism, nationalism, and reproduction, I explore the relationship between minoritisations that arise from the narrow category of human, implicitly normalized in India as upper-class Hindu, and male. Here, I tread the ambiguous space between binaries in order to affirm new ways of inclusively engaging with welfare work. I use poetry and art in my ethnography ‘(Re)Birthing Ghosts: An Ethnography Toward Solidarity’ to reimagine linearity in academia, allowing readers to internalize the contents through personalized journeys.”

Annie

Annie Ning ’20 (@anniening) // Suzhou, China. High Honors in Film Studies (Digital Film Production). “My thesis is a short film shot on digital. On a visit to her family in America, a grandmother is left to find companionship with a pet fish as she slowly comes to terms with losing her independence.”

Anthony Price thesis

Anthony Price ’20 (@anthonydprice) // Cleveland, Ohio
American Studies. Most Americans never have and will never learn the history of black representation during America’s Reconstruction. Drawing on archival research and analysis of congressional debates and bill introductions, Anthony’s thesis “The Forgotten Founders of America: Investigating Black Members of Congress During Reconstruction” shows how 16 black members of Congress ensured Americans could have a larger voice in their government.

Cantos

Chelsea Cantos ’20 (@chelseancantos) // Los Angeles, Calif.
High Honors in Philosophy and Distinction in History. “My thesis is about how the German phenomenological tradition can aid cognitive science’s quest to understand human consciousness. The thesis draws on Martin Heidegger’s understanding of what it is to be ontologically finite, explained in his book, Being and Time, to show how this essential condition of human being is coextensive with human mindedness, and argues for the necessity of ontology in fields that study the human mind. I also completed a capstone project in history titled ‘Ontological Death and World Collapse: Making Sense of the Interwar Period in Germany.'”

Campus Community Captures Themselves Wearing COVID-19 Protective Masks

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that United States residents not only practice social distancing, but wear masks in public. In this piece, we highlight Wesleyan faculty, staff, students, and alumni donning their masks and explain a bit about them.

mask sillasen

Roseann Sillasen MALS ’07, associate director/project manager for Physical Plant-Facilities, wears a standard-issue surgical mask that was donated by families of Wesleyan students. The mask “has special meaning because it demonstrates caring and concern for our safety from around the world,” she said. Sillasen, who continues to work on campus, wears the mask daily in the office. “It not only protects me from others but also protects others from me. Although we practice social distancing, you do not realize how exposed you are unless you truly trace every contact every day,” she said. “This virus is insidious. It knows no boundaries.”

mask williams

Frantz Williams, Jr. ’99, vice president for advancement, wears a mask crafted by his wife, Anne Johnson ’01, from felt samples they had in their house. Johnson also made one for herself. “I wear this to the grocery and pet store when I need to get supplies,” Williams said.

Students Discuss Wesleyan’s Sustainability Efforts during Earth Month

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Wesleyan’s Sustainability Office led a virtual WesFest session to introduce Class of 2024 admitted students and their families to the office.

Several Eco Facilitators and Sustainability Interns from the Wesleyan Sustainability Office, and members of the Wesleyan Green Fund and other environmental sustainability groups on campus shared information on the sustainability scene at Wesleyan. There are currently a total of 16 Eco Facilitators, two Eco Facilitator coordinators, five compost interns, three sustainability coordinators and one Sustainable Middletown intern.

Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst explained the office’s three main purposes: to reduce Wesleyan’s environmental footprint; to ensure students are exposed to information on sustainability and environmental justice in their courses; and to focus on the office’s intern program to build more of a culture of sustainability on campus.

“We’re trying to bring sustainability to more people [and] make it more accessible, . . . bring in intersectional issues as much as possible, and we’re always looking to evolve,” Kleindienst said. “We’re excited to have you here today to talk about what we do and get you excited about coming to Wesleyan!”

salma

During a virtual discussion on Wesleyan’s Sustainability Office, Eco Facilitator Salma Hassan ’22 shared her efforts on encouraging students to return their eco-to-go food containers; collaborating with the Wesleyan Resource Center on including intersectionality in environmentalism; and expanding the topic of environmental justice into more Wesleyan classes. Hassan, a psychology, French studies, and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies triple major, worked with fellow Eco Facilitator Chloe Johnson ’22 to start eco-to-go collection hours in first-year student residence complexes where students could drop off the containers on site rather than returning them to the dining halls. The effort worked, and Wesleyan’s Dining Services reported an uptick in the amount of containers returned.

Earth and Environmental Science Seniors Conduct Research in Hawaii

Sixteen earth and environmental science majors from the Class of 2020 recently conducted field research in Hawaii as part of their Senior Field Research course.

The class, E&ES 498, is taught by Tim Ku, chair and associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Suzanne O’Connell, professor of earth and environmental sciences. The course is open to students who completed E&ES 497: Senior Seminar, and focuses on improving scientific research skills.

Past classes have conducted research in Death Valley, Calif., the main island of Puerto Rico, the Connecticut River Valley, and the Big Island of Hawaii. The field research took place on the Big Island of Hawaii on Jan. 5-12 and the course concluded with student group presentations on March 3 and 5 and written reports.

The trip was funded by the Lawrence H. Davis ’76 Fund.

The students and their project titles are below:

Emmy Hughes, Avery Kaplan, Haley Brumberger, and Shuo Wang worked on a project titled "Assessing Microplastic Accumulation and Distribution on Four Beaches in Hawaii.

Shuo Wang, Haley Brumberger, Emmy Hughes,and Avery Kaplan worked on a project titled “Assessing Microplastic Accumulation and Distribution on Four Beaches in Hawaii.”

Emily Litz, Jackie Duckett, Miles Brooks, Katie Toner, and Allegra Grant worked together on a project titled "Coffee Soils: Carbon Source or Sink?"

Emily Litz, Jackie Duckett, Katie Toner, Miles Brooks, and Allegra Grant worked together on a project titled “Coffee Soils: Carbon Source or Sink?”

Middletown Public School Students Display Artwork at Wesleyan

The 39th annual Middletown Public Schools Art Exhibition was on exhibit from March 7-15 at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. The show featured a wide variety of visual art from children in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The 39th annual Middletown Public Schools Art Exhibition was on view from March 7–15 at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. The show featured a wide variety of visual art from children in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The exhibition was sponsored by the Middletown Board of Education, Middletown Public Schools Cultural Council, and Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts. Due to the threat of the coronavirus, the show was closed to the public on March 13-15.

The exhibition was sponsored by the Middletown Board of Education, Middletown Public Schools Cultural Council, and Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts.

Students Engage with Google Employees through Career Virtual Panel

On Feb. 27, the Gordon Career Center hosted a Google Career Virtual Panel featuring Wesleyan alumni who offered insight on their roles in sales, business, product management, marketing, legal issues, and other roles at Google.

The panel was assembled by Sherry Liang ’20, who completed a WEShadow at Google last winter, and Peer Career Advisor Esmye Lytle ’21.

Speakers included:

Aaron Stoertz '03

Aaron Stoertz ’03

Aaron Stoertz ’03: Stoertz graduated with a BA in English. Since then he worked in conservation biology, public health, and international health policy at the World Health Organization before landing in tech, where he’s worked his way into a position as a product manager at Google Health.

Terry Wei ’07: Wei has 13 years of experience in public relations and communications. She currently leads communications for Waze, the world’s leading crowdsourced navigation app. Previously, Wei was head of public relations at Squarespace and managed product communications at Mercedes-Benz. Originally from California, Wei studied English at Wesleyan and graduated in 2007.

Paul Vidich ’72, P’00, ’03 Discusses Espionage Novel at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore

Paul Vidich

Paul Vidich ’72, P’00, ’03 spoke about his new book, The Coldest Warrior, on Feb. 24 at the Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore. The espionage novel, published by Pegasus Crime in February 2020, explores the dark side of intelligence that is exposed when a CIA officer delves into a cold case from the 1950s―with fatal consequences.

Paul Vidich

Many of those who attended Vidich’s talk were friends and fellow members of Wesleyan’s Class of 1972. Vidich, a College of Social Studies (CSS) major, said, “What I learned at CSS was critical thinking and healthy skepticism, but not cynicism. I think I’m a skeptical person, but I also think that every generation goes through periods in which government disappoints. … Skepticism, to me, is a healthy way of looking at the world, and my characters in the novel are intentionally skeptical.”

Students Enjoy Spring-Like Temperatures in Late February

Several students took advantage of the 60-plus degree temperatures and warming sun rays Feb. 24 on campus. While some students enjoyed outdoor study time in solitude, others rode bikes and skateboards, played with flying discs, had lunch, and enjoyed socializing under the sun. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

students outside

students outside