by Cynthia Rockwell •
Frantz Williams Jr. ’99 has been named the successor to Vice President for University Relations Barbara-Jan Wilson, who has announced her upcoming retirement at the end of December 2018. A government major as an undergraduate, Williams joined the University Relations team right after his graduation and has continued to serve the University, most recently as assistant vice president for development.
“We’re fortunate that Frantz will lead University Relations,” said President Michael S. Roth ’78. “He is eminently well prepared to continue Barbara-Jan’s legacy of immensely successful fund-raising and friend-raising, and I am grateful that he will be at the helm when we launch Wesleyan’s next campaign.”
“Wesleyan has a strong, dedicated leader in Frantz,” said Wilson. “A loyal alumnus, he is a mentor to students and staff and alumni alike. His warmth, his care for the University and all of its people shine through in everything he does.”
Williams’s family was from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, moving to the States when Frantz, the third of four children, was 9: “In January 1986, on a very cold day, we landed at JFK airport, never having seen snow, and speaking only Creole—that was our start,” he recalls. “I entered the fourth grade, taking ESL courses, and trying to catch up with my classmates. It has been a journey.”
In a Q&A with the Connection, Williams traces his route to Wesleyan, talks about the mission that has kept him here, and reflects on what continues to engage him in Wesleyan’s future.
by Olivia Drake •
On May 1, Wesleyan launched a new massive open online course (MOOC) on Coursera titled “Career Decisions: From Insight to Impact.” Free to Wesleyan alumni, the course aims to help learners understand their motivations, strengths, and goals, and appreciate how personal identity affects career decision making. A second version of the class for current Wesleyan students will go live in July, and entering students will be encouraged to complete it before they arrive on campus in the fall. The course is taught by Gordon Career Center Director Sharon Belden Castonguay, who also recently gave a talk at TEDxWesleyanU titled, “The Psychology of Career Decisions.”
“The idea behind this course is that it will provide a ‘flipped classroom’ for career advising,” Castonguay said. “We hope to encourage students to think about their motivations, interests, and goals as early as possible in their Wesleyan career, as well as guide their conversations with both their career and academic advisors. For alumni, we see this course as a way to frame thinking about possible course corrections as they navigate a dynamic employment market.”
In this course, Castonguay draws from her decades of experience as well as research from the fields of psychology, organizational behavior, and sociology to help students understand best practices for making career decisions. She designed the content to help students develop the tools they need to make the right choices—from deciding an area of study to exploring potential lines of work to pursue.
The course is catered to those facing transition in their lives.
“Perhaps you are thinking about switching jobs or changing careers. Maybe you’re starting college and are trying to get a handle on what you want to study. Or you just graduated and are trying to figure out what to do next. If you’re interested in making good career decisions, this course is for you,” Castonguay said.
Through a four-week program, students will watch 20 videos and participate in multiple practice quizzes and three graded reflection papers. Students will explore how cultural norms affect how they think about academic and career choices; take stock of what they devote time to and what that reveals about their motivations; use a design-thinking framework to learn how to broaden their exploration for possible working identities; and much more.
The Career Decisions class joins 12 other courses and specializations created by Wesleyan University scholar-teachers and offered by Coursera. The University seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.
Alumni can register free online here. Alumni need to log-in or sign-up for a Coursera account using their Wesleyan.edu email address in order to enroll in the course. Once you log-in with your wesleyan.edu email address, Coursera will send you an email verification.
by Cynthia Rockwell •
Doris Zhao, an investment associate with Wesleyan’s Investments Office, joined Chief Investment Officer Anne Martin’s team in 2013, after graduating from Yale. Since then, she has completed all three levels of the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst credential. “My role here at Wesleyan is to help manage the portfolio through monitoring our current managers and selecting new managers,” she says. When we approached her for this Q&A, we discovered that scheduling was an issue: Zhao’s position sends her on frequent travel across the country and internationally, but on a sunny December afternoon she was on campus and spoke with us about her career, her background, and her interests beyond financial matters.
Q: How much time do you spend traveling?
A: When I first started, not as much, because it’s important to build foundational understanding before you go out. Now I travel almost every week, often for multiple days. In the extreme case, like November, I was only at home for one full workday in the month. And I just came back from Toronto yesterday—so you caught me in the office on my one day this week.
Q: With that schedule, It would be hard to have pets.
A: Yes. I don’t even have houseplants.
Q: What brought you to Wesleyan?
A: I was an Ethics, Politics, and Economics major (a multidisciplinary program similar to Wesleyan’s College of Social Studies) at Yale. I concentrated on international development, and my research focused on cash transfer programs as a method of alleviating long-term poverty in developing countries.
In my junior year I did an internship in investment banking and thought that would be my path, but in my senior year, I ended up working as a research assistant for a vice president of China’s sovereign wealth fund. We researched how to build and manage a good private equity program. That served as my gateway to portfolio management, and I started looking for opportunities in that field. Anne was recruiting for an analyst at the time. We connected and the rest was history.
by Himeka Curiel •
The Office of Human Resources announces the following hires, transitions, and departures for January–April 2018.
John Lundell, athletic facility maintenance, on Jan. 2
Johanna DeBari, director of survivor advocacy and community education, on Jan. 3
Lee Walsh, postdoctoral research associate in physics, on Jan. 17
Kara Murphy, development research analyst in University Relations, on Jan. 22
Clifton Watson, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, on Feb. 5
Dennis Hohne, video producer in University Communications, on Feb. 12
Nafeza Kingston, facility and events manager in Usdan Campus Center, on Feb. 12
Matthew Magenheim, senior investment associate in the Investments Office, on Feb. 12
Suzanne Rivera, public safety dispatcher, on Feb. 12
Wengang Zhang, postdoctoral research associate in physics, on Feb. 12
Jacob Nite, postdoctoral research associate in chemistry, on Feb. 15
Megan Lenzzo, assistant director of Annual Giving, on Feb. 19
Rani Arbo, campus & community engagement manager in Center for the Arts, on Feb. 26
Richard Contrastano, curatorial, archival and programming assistant in Cinema Archives, on Feb. 26
Daniel McGloin, CPE program coordinator, on Feb. 26
Durga Nyame, project coordinator, Upward Bound Math-Science Program, on Feb. 26
Nathan Mealey, associate university librarian for technical and digital services, on March 1
Ashley Alvarado, public safety officer, on April 2
Benjamin Chaffee, associate director of visual arts in Zilkha Gallery, on April 2
Glenn Knight, assistant director, Graduate Liberal Studies, on April 2
Erin Strauts, associate director of institutional research, on April 16
Alexander Vazquez, academic tech training specialist in Information Technology Services, on Jan. 2
Claudia Wolf, library assistant/accounting specialist in Olin Library, on Feb. 5
Nancy Putnam, assessment and research services librarian in Olin Library, on March 1
Paul Turenne, systems analyst in Information Technology Services, on March 22
Zehra Abbas, study abroad advisor
Joan Adams, administrative assistant in Athletics
Allen Alonzo, director of auxiliary services in ITS
Kimberley Alonzo, administrative assistant in Center for Pedagogical Innovation
Gaylord Brown, analyst programmer in ITS
Colin Desjardins, HVAC/utility mechanic in Physical Plant
Jennifer Enxuto, administrative assistant in FGSS/SiSP
Alecia Goldfarb, business manager in Center for the Arts
Holly King, administrative assistant in chemistry
Emily Lai, web developer in University Communications
Jean Lawrence, administrative assistant in University Relations
Juan Liu, research associate in molecular biology & biochemistry
Jay Mantie, public safety supervisor
Emily Moss, senior assistant dean of admission
Sarah-Jane Ripa, associate director for student services and outreach, Continuing Studies
Kimberly Spachman, research analyst in University Relations
Roney Thomas, postdoctoral research associate in physics
by Olivia Drake •
This year Wesleyan will reward administrative offices that go green.
The new Green Office Certification Program, overseen by the Sustainability Office, is designed to recognize, support, and promote offices that engage in environmentally sustainable practices. All administrative and academic offices are eligible to become certified.
To get started, a department needs to elect an office coordinator who will fill out the Green Office Certification form, coordinate office participation, and review completed checklists with the Sustainability Office.
The coordinator will distribute individual checklists to all employees in the office or within a defined space.
If at least 75 percent of the office has completed the checklist, the office may receive an award. Certificates will be issued and offices are encouraged to hang their plaque in a location visible to office visitors. Certifications are valid for three years from the date awarded and come in bronze, silver, and gold levels.
“The Green Office Certification Program encourages employees to be environmentally conscious while at work,” explained Jen Kleindienst, sustainability director. “To be certified, departments may need to make small changes in their work environment, for example, share a communal garbage bin, forgo individual refrigerators, or be willing to turn down the thermostat while away from the office. There’s little things that can make a huge difference.”
To date, the third floor of North College (consisting of the Offices of Academic Affairs; Institutional Research; Corporate, Foundation and Government Grants; and Equity and Inclusion) is the only academic space to be Green Office Certified. Although they are proud to boast their silver-level award, they’re not stopping until they reach the gold.
“We are now trying to work up from our silver certification to gold certification,” explained third-floor office resident Joyce Jacobsen, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As part of our additional efforts to improve our certification level, we’ve replaced most fluorescent lights with energy-efficient LED lights; replaced disposable coffee stirrers with reusable metal stirrers; encouraged everyone to use mugs off of our mug tree instead of disposable cups; and switched to a sugar shaker instead of using individual sugar packets. We’ve also replaced our powered shredder with hand-cranked shredders and use a recycling shredder service for big jobs.”
For these extra efforts, the Sustainability Office will offer bonus points toward their certification.
The Sustainability Office and Wesleyan’s Green Team offer many tips for creating a more eco-friendly office environment. For additional information, contact the Sustainability Office.
by Olivia Drake •
by Olivia Drake •
Paul Turenne, systems analyst for Information Technology Services, received a Coordinator of the Year Award during the Middlesex United Way Campaign Awards Breakfast on May 8.
Turenne served as Wesleyan’s 2017–18 United Way Employee Campaign campus coordinator. He helped the University post the highest numbers—both in participation and in amount pledged—since 2012. More than 400 Wesleyan employees, retired faculty, and authorized vendors (including 38 “Leadership Givers” pledging $1,000 or more) participated. Together they donated a total of $122,150 in support of United Way programs in Middlesex County and throughout the state.
To date, the employee campaign has raised approximately $1.9 million for the United Way.
by Olivia Drake •
For more information visit http://womenatwes.site.wesleyan.edu/.
by Himeka Curiel •
Three outstanding employees were honored with Cardinal Achievement Awards during the past few months.
Smith Kidkarndee, psychotherapist, Counseling and Psychological Services; Cathy-Lee Rizza, assistant director of student accounts, Student Accounts Office; and Gladys Rodriguez, administrative assistant, Registrar’s Office were recognized for demonstrating extraordinary initiative in performing a specific task associated with their work at Wesleyan.
This special honor comes with a $250 award and reflects the University’s gratitude for their extra efforts.
by Bill Holder •
Barbara-Jan Wilson, vice president for University Relations, recently announced that she will retire in December, ending a Wesleyan career that began in 1982 and included leadership of two major capital campaigns.
Wilson assumed her present role in 1999, but she is also well known to generations of alumni through her prior leadership of Admission and before that, Career Resources – the position she took when she was hired by President Emeritus Colin G. Campbell Hon. ’89.
Her efforts as Wesleyan’s energetic and highly successful fundraiser spanned two presidents and four Board chairs. She worked with President Emeritus Douglas J. Bennet ’59, Hon ’94, P’87, ’94 on a campaign that raised $281 million and more recently with President Michael S. Roth ’78 on the $482 million THIS IS WHY campaign. In announcing Wilson’s plans to the campus community, Roth said her leadership had made an enduring contribution toward establishing a sustainable economic model for Wesleyan and has greatly strengthened Wesleyan’s endowment.
by Cynthia Rockwell •
In this Q&A, we speak to Jasmine Cardi, who joined the Access Services staff at Wesleyan’s Olin Library on Jan. 7, 2013 (“Five years already!” she says). Now the weekend and evening supervisor, she provides support to the departments of Interlibrary Loan (ILL), Olin Reference, Reserves/E-Reserves, and Olin Circulation. With her arrival, the ILL office was able to lengthen their hours until 10 p.m. some evenings, offering availability for those geared to later study nights in the library.
Q: What do you like best about working for Interlibrary Loan?
A: I love seeing all the books we get from around the world—Italy and Russia, everywhere, depending on what people are studying. When we get one of these volumes from far away, we all think it’s really cool and just have to hold it and open it—before we quickly put it on the shelf for the borrower.
Q: How many people does ILL assist each year?
A: ILL serves hundreds of people, between borrowing from other libraries and lending to them. Last year there were almost 14,000 requests, combined.
Q: Tell us about Olin Library—as building, an institution, a workspace?
A: Olin is a unique building. My favorite place is on the second-floor balcony, overlooking the front foyer. I love the chandelier; I love on Saturday and Sunday morning when I come in to open the library, the way the sun shines through the windows and onto that chandelier. I actually took a picture one morning of that and made it into the screensaver on my phone.
When we think of a library, we think of books—but I love that libraries are evolving into places where the core value is patron service—whether it’s students, faculty, staff, co-workers, or the community.
Q: What’s your own educational background? Where did you begin your career?
A: I went to the University of St. Joseph back when it was an all-girls school known as St. Joseph College. My major was psychology and education with a minor in art history. Before coming to Wesleyan, I worked at Hartford Public Library for more than 10 years. Fun fact: My first job was at a library at age 16.
Q: Outside of work, what are your interests and hobbies?
A: I love to read and I run—I’ve done four half-marathons, and a lot of 10Ks and 5Ks, more than I can count. I also did my first Spartan race in November. They’re a mix of running and obstacle courses, and the tradition goes back to ancient Greece. I like that we’re bringing that into the contemporary culture; I’m training to do more this year. I also like to go boating on the Connecticut River. We have a small 14-foot boat; my husband’s family has been boating every weekend their whole life, and now it’s our tradition. We’ve been together 17 years and we make it a point to get out on the water at least once on Saturday or Sunday.
Q: Are there any challenging/surprising moments—an outstanding moment that illustrates your work day you’d like to share?
A: Much of my day is spent helping someone find something in the stacks, or finding it elsewhere via interlibrary loan. Many times it’s an urgent request, with a deadline in the next 48 hours. It’s like saving the day when you can find what is needed within that timeframe.
And another story: One night as I was getting ready to leave, a family came in with an urgent request. Their two middle-school children had reports due the next day, but the family had been out of power for a few days after a storm, and they needed to print their papers. The kids were so grateful that the library was open and we could help them be ready for school the next day. Their appreciation was heartwarming.