Students

Art on Display at Senior Thesis Exhibition

View the talents of senior art studio majors during the 2015 Senior Thesis Exhibition at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through April 19. The gallery is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is free of charge.

In the final year of study, each student develops a focused body of work, and mounts a solo exhibition in the Zilkha Gallery. This exhibition is the culmination of a two-semester thesis tutorial, and is developed in close critical dialogue with a faculty advisor. The exhibition is critiqued by the faculty advisor and a second critic, and must be passed by a vote of the faculty of the art studio program. The senior thesis exhibition provides a rare opportunity for the student to engage in a rigorous, self-directed creative investigation and in a public dialogue about his/her work.

Photos of Week 1 and Week 2 of the Senior Thesis Exhibit are below:

RETURN TO: Paradise by Gabe Gordon ’15.

“RETURN TO: Paradise” by Gabe Gordon ’15.

Kaus Investigates Protein Structure by Using X-Ray Crystallography

Katie Kaus, a PhD candidate in molecular biology and biochemistry, spoke on "Molecular Detectives: Investigating Protein Structure using X-ray Crystallography" during the Graduate Student Speaker Series March 26 in Exley Science Center.

Katie Kaus, a PhD candidate in molecular biology and biochemistry, spoke on “Molecular Detectives: Investigating Protein Structure using X-ray Crystallography” during the Graduate Student Speaker Series March 26 in Exley Science Center.

The molecular structure of proteins is an important component in studying how proteins interact with each other, providing information about how cellular processes are carried out by specific proteins, Kaus explained. By studying the structure of specific proteins, scientists can understand why germs make us sick.

The molecular structure of proteins is an important component in studying how proteins interact with each other, providing information about how cellular processes are carried out by specific proteins, Kaus explained. By studying the structure of specific proteins, scientists can understand why germs make us sick.

Kaus focused her presentation on members of a family of proteins called bacterial pore forming toxins (PFTs); specifically Vibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC) and Vibrio vulnificus hemolysin (VVH). These proteins are secreted by pathogenic strains of the aquatic bacteria, V. cholerae and V. vulnificus. V. cholerae is the human pathogen that causes cholera, an endemic disease in several parts of the world. V. vulnificus is found in contaminated seafood, such as raw oysters, as well as contaminated seawater. V. vulnificus most frequently causes gastrointestinal distress but can also cross from the gut into the blood stream resulting in lethal septicemia.

Kaus focused her presentation on members of a family of proteins called bacterial pore forming toxins (PFTs)–specifically Vibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC) and Vibrio vulnificus hemolysin (VVH). These proteins are secreted by pathogenic strains of the aquatic bacteria, V. cholerae and V. vulnificus. V. cholerae is the human pathogen that causes cholera, an endemic disease in several parts of the world. V. vulnificus is found in contaminated seafood, such as raw oysters, as well as contaminated seawater. V. vulnificus most frequently causes gastrointestinal distress but can also cross from the gut into the blood stream resulting in lethal septicemia.

VCC and VVH are homologous proteins that are secreted by their respective bacteria, bind to macromolecules at the surface of host cells, and undergo structural changes creating lytic pores in the host cell membrane. As part of her research, Kaus is interested in understanding how these bacterial proteins recognize and specifically attack human cells. Guided by biochemical assays, Kaus used a technique called X­-ray crystallography to identify structural relationships between VCC or VVH and the biomolecules each protein binds.

KVCC and VVH are homologous proteins that are secreted by their respective bacteria, bind to macromolecules at the surface of host cells, and undergo structural changes creating lytic pores in the host cell membrane. As part of her research, Kaus is interested in understanding how these bacterial proteins recognize and specifically attack human cells. Guided by biochemical assays, Kaus used a technique called X­-ray crystallography to identify structural relationships between VCC or VVH and the biomolecules each protein binds.

X-­ray crystallography involves obtaining protein molecules in a crystalline form and taking advantage of the manner in which an X­ray beam is diffracted by the atoms that make up these protein crystals, to determine their arrangement within the 3-D space of a protein molecule. Pictured, Kaus looks at crystals under a microscope in Hall Atwater Laboratory.

X-­ray crystallography involves obtaining protein molecules in a crystalline form and taking advantage of the manner in which an X­ray beam is diffracted by the atoms that make up these protein crystals, to determine their arrangement within the 3-D space of a protein molecule. Pictured, Kaus looks at crystals under a microscope in Hall-Atwater Laboratory.

By using this approach, Kaus identified similar, yet distinct molecular mechanisms employed by VCC and VVH to specifically recognize and attack host cell membranes. Understanding how these proteins specifically attack human cells will aid in developing treatments against V. cholerae and V. vulnificus infection.

By using this approach, Kaus identified similar, yet distinct molecular mechanisms employed by VCC and VVH to specifically recognize and attack host cell membranes. Understanding how these proteins specifically attack human cells will aid in developing treatments against V. cholerae and V. vulnificus infection. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Blatt ’17 Selected As a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar

Kai Blatt '17 plans to major in studio art and biology. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

Kai Blatt ’17 plans to major in studio art and biology. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

#THISISWHY

Kai Blatt ’17 has been selected to take part in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington. This eight-week, all expenses paid “classroom-in-the-field” program helps students develop their vision for conservation, and gives them the natural and social science skills to become a conservation change-maker. The program is just entering its second year of existence, and this will be the second year a Wesleyan student has participated.

Blatt, who is from Los Angeles and plans to major in studio art and biology, learned of the program from her friend Joseph Eusebio ’17,

Wesleyan Welcomes Second Cohort of Posse Veteran Scholars

The newly accepted class of Posse Veteran Scholars, holding Wesleyan shirts, together with some current Posse scholars. Also shown are Andy Szegedy-Maszak, faculty mentor of the Class of 2018 Posse scholars, and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek; John Gudvangen, associate dean of admission and financial aid/director of financial aid; and Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer.

Pictured are the newly accepted Class of 2019 Posse Veteran Scholars, holding Wesleyan shirts, together with some current Posse scholars from the Class of 2018. Also shown are, second from left, Andy Szegedy-Maszak, faculty mentor of the Class of 2018 Posse scholars, and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek; fifth from left, John Gudvangen, associate dean of admission and financial aid/director of financial aid; and, far right, Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer.

Wesleyan has accepted a second cohort of Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars into the Class of 2019. The group, which includes three women and seven men, come from all over the United States, and have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Italy, South Korea and Germany. Seven served in the Army, one in the Marine Corps, one in the Air Force, and one in the Connecticut Army National Guard.

The group’s faculty mentor will be Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, professor of environmental studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies.

In 2013, Wesleyan became only the second institution, after Vassar, to partner with the Posse Foundation in a new program to recruit veterans to top-tier colleges and universities, where they receive full scholarships. Read more about the partnership in this story. The first “posse” of students entered Wesleyan in fall 2014. Meet them here.

“Our second Posse Vets cohort brings an even more diverse and eclectic group of veterans to Wesleyan,” said Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer. “What continues to impress me is the unshakeable confidence that is backed by academic rigor and a deep sense of duty each of the vets brings to their educational journey.”

The first group of Posse vets “have set a high bar in terms of academic performance and community engagement, so we’re looking forward to welcoming the next cohort and watching them thrive,” he said.

Farias added that he’s grateful to the faculty who have volunteered to serve as mentors to these students, as well as the tireless staff that help ensure the transition from the military to a liberal arts college is successful.

“We’re thrilled that Giulio Gallarotti has been selected as the faculty mentor. Giulio brings a deep empathetic understanding of how to integrate and help different types of students excel at Wes, which makes him an ideal mentor.”

Basketball, Softball, Lacrosse Play Opponents Out of State during Spring Recess

Wesleyan’s Office of Sports Information provided the following athletic highlights on March 24:

Holding Pomona-Pitzer to seven hits and two runs with five strikeouts, Gavin Pittore ’16 upped his record to 2-1 on the season, while giving baseball a win in its final game out west. Pittore was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week. Jon Dennett ’15 added four hits during the final four games to join the 100-hit club as the 49th Cardinal to do so. Andrew Yin ’15 hit .438 over the week with seven safeties as he rose to No. 5 on the all-time Cardinal hits list with 175. Sam Goodwin-Boyd ’15 had a .588 slugging percentage with a double and home run, as he paced the team with six RBI during the week.

Softball ended its Florida trip by going 3-1, defeating all three Division III opponents behind the pitching of Julie McDonald ’18, while losing to a Division II rival. McDonald tossed 18 innings in the three wins, allowing 17 hits with a 1.56 ERA while striking out 21. Over the final four games, Su Pardo ’16 hit .455 with a pair of doubles and five RBI. Annalie Walsh-Costello ’17 hit .500 and Izzy Linzer ’17 batted .417 with a hit on all four games, giving her a hit in 11 of the 12 games played in Florida.

Matt Prezioso ’15 carried the attack for men’s lacrosse during a pair of wins in Pennsylvania. He picked up a hat trick during a seven-goal run that extended a tight two-goal lead in the third period to a nine-goal margin heading into the fourth quarter at F&M. He then added four goals and three assists during the victory against Whittier, with three goals and an assist coming during an 8-0 Cardinals run that erased a 5-3 deficit, turning it into an 11-5 lead in the third period.

Women’s lacrosse split a pair of games in Colorado, with Leah Sherman ’15 providing the spark in the overtime win vs. Pomona-Pitzer. Scoring three goals in the final 8:16 to tie the game, Wesleyan got a goal from Sherman with :40 left in regulation to make it 10-9. Sherman then controlled the ensuing draw to set up Emily Gretsky ’16 for the tying goal at :16. Sherman then scored in the first overtime as the score remained deadlocked, 11-11, before Sherman’s sixth goal of the game decided the outcome just 41 seconds into the sudden-victory period.

For the full update, along with upcoming schedules, webcast information, and weekly scores, visit:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/athletics/weeklyupdate.html

Faculty, Students, Alumni Present Research at Society for Research in Child Development Meeting

Jessica Taggart, former lab coordinator, presenting work done with Jillian Roberts '15, current lab coordinator Lonnie Bass, and Associate Professor of Psychology Hilary Barth, titled, "Minimal group membership and children's ideas of equality." This project is Robert's thesis.

Jessica Taggart, former lab coordinator, presenting work done with Jillian Roberts ’15, current lab coordinator Lonnie Bass, and Associate Professor of Psychology Hilary Barth, titled, “Minimal group membership and children’s ideas of equality.” This project is Robert’s thesis.

Wesleyan was strongly represented by faculty, undergraduates and alumni at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, the major conference in the field. The meeting was held in Philadelphia, Pa. March 19-21.

Members of the Cognitive Development Labs, co-directed by Associate Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman and Associate Professor of Psychology Hilary Barth, presented research at the conference. Former lab coordinator Jessica Taggart presented work done with Jillian Roberts ’15, current lab coordinator Lonnie Bass, and Barth titled, “Minimal group membership and children’s ideas of equality.” This is Roberts’ senior thesis project.

Andrew Ribner ’14 presented his senior thesis, “Preschool indicators of primary school math ability” with Shusterman and former postdoc Emily Slusser. And Barth presented “A non-Bayesian explanation of adults’ and children’s biased spatial estimates” with Ellen Lesser ’15, Sheri Reichelson ’16, Anna Schwab ’16, Taggart, Slusser and Bass.

In addition, numerous presentations were made at the conference by alumni who did undergraduate work in Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Labs. They included: Christian Hoyos ’11, Julia Leonard ’11, Jessica Sullivan ’08, Ariel Starr ’07, Nick DeWind ’06, Joanna Schiffman ’11,  Margaret Gullick ’07, Elise Herrig ’10, Kyle MacDonald ’10, Dominic Gibson ’10 and Samantha Melvin ’13. Former Shusterman lab coordinator Talia Berkowitz and former postdoc Mariah Schug also presented work at the conference. Learn more about all these presentations, and what these individuals are doing now, in this post on the Cognitive Development Labs blog.

CDs, Apparel, Music at WESU Spring Record Fair March 28

wesyspringWith more than 20 vendors from throughout New England and the tri-state area selling new and used music in all formats, the 88.1 FM WESU community record fair has become a cherished tradition, attracting a diverse crowd of new and old record collectors.

The WESU Spring 2015 Record Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28 in Beckham Hall. Browse new and used CDs, records, music-related apparel, books, WESU merchandise and more.

WESU DJs will be spinning records live throughout the day to inspire your crate digging.

“Each vendor will be offering their own unique mix of genres and formats, so there is surely something for every type of collector,” said Ben Michael, WESU general manager. “So come on out in search of that one record you’ve been hunting for and support your favorite community radio station in the process!”

WESU also is accepting donations for the fundraising event.

Now more than 75 years old, WESU is one of the oldest non-commercial radio stations in the United States. By day, Monday through Friday, WESU offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources. Weeknights and weekends, WESU student and community volunteer broadcasters provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

The station currently broadcasts at the frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000-watt transmitter located atop the Exley Science Center with the potential to reach over 1 million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio online through their website www.wesufm.org.

Celebrate the Sciences at Poster Session April 17

Dozens of students will present their research at the Celebration of Science Theses on April 17.

Dozens of students will present their research at the Celebration of Science Theses on April 17.

The Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division is sponsoring its annual Celebration of Science Theses from 12:30 to 2 p.m. April 17 in Exley Science Center.

Poster presentations will be made by NSM honors and MA students. Refreshments will be provided. The entire Wesleyan community is invited.

“Come join us in appreciation of our students’ achievements,” said Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

The event is co-organized by Hingorani; Barbara Juhasz, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, director of the Service Learning Center; and Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy.

Watson Fellow Banks ’15 to Study Restorative Justice Practices in 4 Countries

Isabella Banks '15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, "Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice" will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Isabella Banks ’15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Restorative justice practices, such as victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, programs for juvenile offenders, and community policing, emerged to give victims and their surrounding communities greater agency than traditional criminal procedure provides to resolve conflict and address its consequences.

As a 2015-16 Watson Fellow, Isabella Banks ’15 will travel to countries where restorative justice has had success, acting as a participant-observer in these practices. Banks will interview individuals involved and evaluate the capacity of restorative alternatives to heal those affected by crime and reduce recidivism within each cultural context.

“In doing so, I hope to come closer to envisioning a perfect system of justice,” she said.

Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

89 Cardinals Named Academic All-NESCAC

At left, Brenna Diggins '17 and Jess Cherenza '15 were named academic all-NESCAC during the winter, 2014-15 season. Eighty-nine students earned this distinction. 

At left, Brenna Diggins ’17 and Jess Cherenza ’15 were named academic all-NESCAC during the winter 2014-15 season. Eighty-nine Wesleyan students earned this distinction.

When the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced the names this month of 939 athletes among its conference member schools who earned the distinction of academic all-NESCAC during the winter 2014-15 season, Wesleyan celebrated its largest pool ever in winter with 89 student-athletes. These student-athletes, sophomores and above, meet the criteria of being significant contributors to their teams while achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.35 or higher.

The student-athletes play in the following winter sports: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s squash, men’s and women’s indoor track and wrestling.

Some highlights from this season’s group of honorees include:

Jordan Schildhaus ’15

Jordan Schildhaus ’15

  • Women’s ice hockey standout Jordan Schildhaus ’15, who received academic all-NESCAC laurels in each of her three eligible seasons. She led the Cardinals in scoring during 2014-15 with 23 scoring points and was named first-team all-NESCAC. She was a second-team all-NESCAC pick in both 2013-14 and 2012-13 after being named NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2011-12.
  • Five athletes who had the pleasure of competing in NCAA Championship events, including:
    • Wrestler Ryan Sblendorio ’15, who placed third at 174 pounds during the Northeast Regional Championships to earn a spot at the NCAA Division III Championships where he went 1-2, winning one match with a first-period pin.
    • Ellie Martin ’16, who qualified for the NCAA Division III Women’s Indoor Track Championships in the 400-meter race and placed ninth nationally, a mere .03 seconds shy of All-America status as a top-eight finisher.
    • Three members of the men’s basketball team–Tim Gallivan ’15, Chris Tugman ’15 and Harry Rafferty ’17—as Wesleyan won the NESCAC men’s basketball tournament title with wins over Bates, Trinity and Amherst to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships. The Cardinals lost their opening-round contest to Skidmore.
Ryan Sblendorio ’15

Ryan Sblendorio ’15

Since sophomores became eligible for the award during the 2010-11 year, Wesleyan’s previous record for academic all-NESCAC distinctions was 87 individuals in the 2012-13 season. The best results overall came in spring 2013, when 94 student-athletes were recognized.

For the complete list of all winter academic all-NESCAC selections, click here or see below:

8 Student-Athletes Recognized with NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Awards

NESCAC_Primary_RGBThe NESCAC has announced the 2014-15 winter recipients of the All-Sportsmanship awards for each of the 11 member colleges. In total, eight Wesleyan athletes have been recognized with one in each of the eight winter sports (men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s squash). They are James Albrecht ’15 (men’s ice hockey), Liz Baumgartner ’15 (women’s swimming and diving), Mike DeLalio ’15 (men’s squash), Bridget Doherty ’16 (women’s squash), Bryan Galvin ’15 (men’s basketball), Cara Jankowsi ’15 (women’s ice hockey), Cherkira Lashley ’15 (women’s basketball), Travis Williams ’15 (men’s swimming and diving).

The NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team recognizes student-athletes from each varsity sport who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to sportsmanship. These student-athletes exhibit respect for themselves, teammates, coaches, opponents and spectators. They display sportsmanship, not only as a participant in their sport, but also as a spectator and in their everyday lives. Through their positive actions and example, these student-athletes inspire others to adhere to the quality of sportsmanship that the NESCAC and the NCAA endorse.

The All-Sportsmanship Team was created by the NESCAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The NESCAC SAAC serves as the liaison between the student-athletes of NESCAC member institutions and conference administrators.

For more information and a list of all-sportsmanship award winners in each winter sport throughout the NESCAC, click here.

Wesleyan’s Vegan Cuisine Continues to Impress

Wesleyan’s vegan fare continues to impress voters and critics: collegemagazine.org has named the school the ninth best vegan campus nationwide, and Wesleyan is looking to reach the final round in the People’s Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) “March Madness”-style voting contest.

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According to collegemagazine.org:

Wesleyan not only boasts its history of social justice activism, but also a wide range of mouth-watering vegan foods. Veggie chicken red curry is just one of these fine meals. Let your senses run wild with Bon Appétit, the campus’ food supplier. Their navy bean soup, garden burger and steamed parsnips will have you running back for more. Even better, Bon Appétit serves vegan options all day, every day.

The article and rest of the top 10 universities can be found here.

As of March 16, Wesleyan has a commanding lead over Shippensburg University in PETA’s small school vegan cuisine contest. Wesleyan looks to reach the final round where it will potentially face Warren Wilson College, which has a small lead over Oberlin College.

The contest page can be found here.