Students

Students Showcase Art at Painting Show

Thirteen students enrolled in Professor of Art Tula Telfair’s Painting I course (ARTS 439) displayed their artwork at a Painting Show Dec. 8 at Art Studio South.

This introductory-level course in painting (oils) emphasized work from observation and stressed the fundamentals of formal structure: color, paint manipulation, composition and scale. Students addressed conceptual problems that helped them develop an understanding of the power of visual images to convey ideas and expressions. (Photos by Dat Vu ’15)

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Somoroff ’18 is Making Documentary Film on Holocaust Survivor, Woman Who Saved Him

Sofie Somoroff '18 traveled to Poland over Thanksgiving break to document on film the reunification of a Holocaust survivor and the "righteous gentile" who saved his life.

Sofie Somoroff ’18 traveled to Poland over Thanksgiving break to document on film the reunification of a Holocaust survivor and the “righteous gentile” who saved his life.

#THISISWHY
A prospective film major, Sofie Somoroff ’18 is interested in how filmmakers can foster a connection between the past and the present. Over Thanksgiving recess, she traveled to Poland to document the reuniting of Karl Schapiro—the grandfather of Somoroff’s close friend and working partner, Rachel Kastner—with a “righteous gentile” who saved his life during the Holocaust.

Sofie Somoroff filmed in Auschwitz.

Sofie Somoroff filmed in Auschwitz.

Schapiro has not returned to Eastern Europe since the war, and while he has corresponded with Paulina Plotskaj, the woman who saved him, they have not seen one another in many decades. Now 90 years old, Plotskaj and her parents, who were Christians, hid 15 people in an underground bunker for approximately three years during World War II. They were recognized as Righteous Gentiles by Yad VaShem, the world center for Holocaust research, documentation, education and commemoration. Plotskaj, who had no children and whose husband passed away 25 years ago, now lives alone in Krakow.

Somoroff’s connection to Plotskaj came through her friend Kastner, who visited Poland last spring on a trip retracing the steps of Eastern European Jewry during the Holocaust. Plotskaj unexpectedly spoke to Kastner’s tour group briefly during the trip. When Kastner came home, she and Somoroff “felt compelled to return to Poland and capture this fleeting reunion,” said Somoroff.

Students Lead Black Lives Matter March through Campus, Middletown

Wesleyan students, accompanied by faculty, staff and community members, led a Black Lives Matter March Dec. 3. 

Wesleyan students, accompanied by faculty, staff and community members, led a Black Lives Matter March Dec. 8 in Middletown. Participants carried signs and chanted during the march.

On Dec. 8, approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff participated in a Black Lives Matter March. The participants marched as a show of solidarity with national protests against discriminatory treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system and incidents of police brutality.

The group started at Exley Science Center, marched across campus and proceeded down Washington Street to the intersection at Main Street in Middletown. They chanted “black lives matter,” “hands up, don’t shoot,” and “we can’t breathe.”

In The Hartford Courant, Abhi Janamanchi ’17 said he he hoped the event would serve as a “dose of reality” about the racial issues many people face every day. “We like to think these issues don’t affect us when we’re in school,” he said in the article. “This isn’t a police state. For a lot of the students here it’s something we have to live with.”

In a Dec. 7 blog, Wesleyan President Michael Roth, who also participated in the march, wrote, “We are preparing for finals, writing exams [and] grading them. These are important things. But all around the country people are speaking out against the outrageous injustices that people of color face on a regular basis. We must acknowledge these issues. The time to speak out is now. At Wesleyan we affirm that we are an institution that values boldness, rigor and practical idealism. One doesn’t have to be an idealist to recognize that change is necessary, and that we must demand it.”

Read more about the event in The Hartford Courant and The Middletown Press. Photos of the march are below: (Photos by Dat Vu ’15)

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QAC Hosts Final Exam Evaluation, Poster Session

More than 100 students presented their quantitative analysis research Dec. 5 in Beckham Hall. 

More than 100 students presented their quantitative analysis research Dec. 5 in Beckham Hall.

On Dec. 5, the Quantitative Analysis Center (QAC) hosted its annual student research final exam evaluation event for its QAC 201 course. More than 100 students presented their projects at a poster session to fellow students, faculty, alumni and friends of Wesleyan.

15 Elected Early Decision to Phi Beta Kappa

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On Dec. 3, Wesleyan welcomed 15 students elected to early decision membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Fifteen Wesleyan students were elected to early decision membership in Phi Beta Kappa during an initiation ceremony Dec. 3.

To be elected, a student must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations, and must have achieved a grade-point average of 93 and above. For students elected in the fall, it is an especially exacting selection process because admittance is based on a student’s performance at Wesleyan only through their junior year.

88.1 FM WESU Radio Hosting Holiday Pledge Drive

88.1 FM WESU community radio is currently hosting their annual holiday pledge drive. The 2014 drive will help fund studio upgrades and support the station, run by 150 student and community volunteers.

88.1 FM WESU community radio is currently hosting their annual holiday pledge drive. The 2014 drive will help fund studio upgrades and support the station, run by 150 student and community volunteers.

Wesleyan’s non-commercial college and community radio station, 88.1FM WESU, is holding its 10th annual WESU Holiday Pledge Drive.

WESU is a constant source of diverse music, provocative public affairs, and creative free-form programming that has engaged countless curious and discerning listeners for more than seven decades. The station is currently celebrating its 75th year of operation.

Community support during this pledge drive supports locally produced free-form radio created by student and community volunteers. Currently, WESU operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and is supported by a volunteer staff of over 150 student and community volunteers, one part-time paid staffer, and one full-time general manager.

The 2014 drive will specifically target much-needed studio upgrades.

WESU offers a unique mix of public affairs and cultural programming that reflects the diversity of the communities that it serves.

Posse Scholar Foley ’18 Recipient of Quilt of Valor

Kyle Foley '18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She's pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak.

Pictured sixth from left, Kyle Foley ’18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She’s pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak. The quilt pattern is sawtooth star blocks representing the American Flag. The center eagles represent patriotism.

For her six years of service to the nation, Afghanistan veteran Kyle Foley ’18, a Posse Scholar at Wesleyan, received a quilt from the local Quilts of Valor Foundation during a ceremony Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Since 2003, Quilts of Valor have become a national community service effort to bring the home front to wounded soldiers and to honor returning Veterans. Quilts of Valor members pay tribute to those who have been touched by war by giving them a symbol of comforting and healing.

During her six years in the Navy, Foley was a Seabee, specifically a construction mechanic, and was attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4. Within the battalion she worked as a mechanic on both construction equipment and combat vehicles, and also served as a fire team leader, squad leader, and 240Bravo gunner, at different times.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

On Foley’s second deployment, she served as the lead mechanic on a detachment to Camp Marmal Afghanistan. At that time, she was the first female mechanic during her tenure to be put in charge of the mechanical shop of a detachment. At the end of her second deployment she re-enlisted to “cross-rate,” or change her job. She cross trained at Corps school in Great Lakes, Ill., and became a Hospital Corpsman (Navy Medic).

After she had finished training she was re-assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, where she worked as a general medic, one of the hospital’s three primary phlebotomists, a command mentor — mentoring foru junior personnel — and as a command fitness leader, and as a member of the auxiliary security forces team. Foley also volunteered as the strength and conditioning coach for a women’s lacrosse team at a local high school.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The  scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Foley, 29, ended her service Oct. 9, 2012 and enrolled at Wesleyan in fall 2014 as a result of the university’s partnership with the Posse Foundation. Posse Foundation identifies talented veterans who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top tier universities.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek and Professor of Classics, a mentor for Foley, recommended her as a candidate for a Quilt of Valor.

Students enrolled in a quilting class at Middletown Adult Education and The Quilting Queens, a club in East Hartford, came together to sew patriotic star blocks for the Quilts of Valor. Under the direction of Deborah Sierpinski, instructor at Middletown Adult Education and administrative assistant at Wesleyan, the talented group of women pieced the red, white and blue quilt top.

The Emblem Club, an organization that celebrates Americanism, donated funds toward the cost of the quilt. Representatives from Wesleyan, Middletown Adult Education, the Emblem Club, and the Quilts of Valor Foundation attended the ceremony to pay tribute to Foley.

GIS Service Learning Class Shares Field Research, Projects with Community

As part of the GIS Service Learning Laboratory course, Katy Hardt '15 researched the wetlands, waterways and critical habitats of the northwest section of Middletown. Hardt and fellow group members John Murchison '16 and Catherine Reilly '15 presented their findings to the Middlesex Land Trust.

As part of the GIS Service Learning Laboratory course, Katy Hardt ’15 researched the wetlands, waterways and critical habitats of the northwest section of Middletown. Hardt and fellow group members John Murchison ’16 and Catherine Reilly ’15 presented their findings to the Middlesex Land Trust.

Five groups of students enrolled in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Service Learning Laboratory course E&ES 324 spent their semester helping local organizations learn more about land parcels in the City of Middletown.

On Dec. 1, the students presented their research to fellow students, faculty, staff, community members and community partners.

Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class.

Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class.

Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, taught the class, which included included lessons on geographic information systems (GIS) concepts and spatial data analysis and visualization.

“GIS are powerful tools for organizing, analyzing and displaying spatial data,” Diver explained. “GIS has applications in a wide variety of fields including the natural sciences, public policy, business, humanities or any field that uses spatially distributed information. In this class, students worked to solve local problems in environmental sciences.”

The students worked closely with community partners from the Middlesex Land Trust, Middletown Conservation Commission, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and others to design a GIS, collect and analyze data, and

Students Represent Wesleyan at Keck Astronomy Consortium

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Conor Hunt ’16, pictured in the back, left corner, and Trevor Dorn-Wallenstein ’15, pictured in the center, represented Wesleyan as student speakers at the 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium.

Conor Hunt ’16, Trevor Dorn-Wallenstein ’15, Girish Duvvuri ’17, Coady Johnson ’15 represented Wesleyan as student speakers at the 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium held at Swarthmore College on Nov. 8.

A total of five faculty members and eight students from the Astronomy Department, including Greg Schulman ’17, currently at Clark University, joined colleagues from around the northeast at this annual event.

Altman ’17 Promotes 88.1 WESU Radio Activity, Hosts Punk Girl Band Show

Tess Altman '17 is the public relations director at 88.1 WESU.

Tess Altman ’17 is the public relations director at 88.1 WESU. She also hosts a radio show called Feminist Power Hour. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY

In this Q&A meet Tess Altman from the Class of 2017.

Q: Tess, where are you from and why did you choose Wesleyan?

A: I am from the suburbs of Chicago. I was interested in going to a liberal arts school and getting out the Midwest — so I started looking around at a few schools in the NESCAC. As far as why I chose Wesleyan, it seemed like a place where people were excited about many different things, and the prospect of being around those people excited me.

Tess Altman hopes to major in creative writing and FGSS.

Tess Altman hopes to major in creative writing and FGSS.

Q: How did you become involved in Wesleyan’s radio station, 88.1 WESU?

A: I first got involved with the station last year. I’d never done anything in radio before, but I decided to sign up for training on a whim. I ended up really loving being on air. I also think that the community down there is really great — I’ve gotten to know so many non-students that have made my experience at Wesleyan so much richer.

Q: You’re currently the public relations director for the station. What is involved in this position?

A: Most of what I do as public relations director is all about outreach and getting people more involved, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter,

Neuroscience Major Russell ’15 an A Cappella Singer, Organic Chemistry TA

Colin Russell '15 sings with two a cappella groups on campus and works as a Senior Interviewer in the Office of Admission. "My goal is to personalize a student’s application as much as possible, and it has been a joy to meet so many accomplished high school seniors," he said. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Colin Russell ’15 sings with two a cappella groups on campus and works as a Senior Interviewer in the Office of Admission. “My goal is to personalize a student’s application as much as possible, and it has been a joy to meet so many accomplished high school seniors,” he said. Colin plans on applying to medical school next spring. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY
In this Q&A meet Colin Russell from the Class of 2015.

Q: Colin, what are you majoring in? What have been your most instrumental courses so far?

A: I am majoring in neuroscience and behavior while also on the pre-medical path. Two of the most instrumental courses in my journey through Wes have been Organic Chemistry and the Organic Chemistry Lab that is paired with the lecture course. The reputation of Organic Chemistry was extremely intimidating prior to taking the course, and I was nervous that I would not like this subject that is the basis for so much of the biological world. However, I soon learned that I enjoyed the structure of subject, not just in the way it was taught, but in the way that my brain began to process information. The concurrent lab course, while extremely difficult, also allowed for hands-on application of the processes and reactions that we were learning in the lecture class. I enjoyed the course so much that I became a Teacher’s Assistant for the lab, and I will be starting my fourth semester as a TA for the lab in the spring. Not only has the information from these two courses been crucial for my studies, but the process of meeting the challenges of these two classes has also been extremely important in my academic journey.

Q: You’re currently a Senior Interviewer in the Office of Admission. Please describe that role.

A: Joining the Office of Admission team has critically shaped my senior year and outlook on Wesleyan. I have learned much not only about the admissions process, but also a ton about Wesleyan and her students. As Senior Interviewers, we are expected to know about the various corners of campus life, and so I found myself seeking out ways to soak up random tidbits,

Wang ’16 Advocates for Asian American Civil Rights

Alton Wang '16 is a sociology and government double major who plans to enter public service after graduation, advocating for the rights of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Alton Wang ’16 is a sociology and government double major who plans to enter public service after graduation, advocating for the rights of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. He’s currently a member of the Asian American Student Collective. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY
In this Q&A, meet Alton Wang from the Class of 2016. 

Q: Hi Alton! Please tell us about where you grew up and your high school experience.

A: I grew up in Arcadia, Calif., which is about 40 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles. The community in my high school was predominantly Asian and Asian American, so most people looked like me. I personally wanted to break out from that mold and try something completely different for college. So not only was Wesleyan was far away from home, it was not a place I’d ever previously considered going to college.

Q: So how did you wind up coming to Wesleyan?

A: I discovered it by chance. A guidance counselor suggested that I might be interested in Wesleyan, so I said, “Sure, I’ll add it to my list.” I didn’t give it another thought until the acceptances were in and I had to choose a school. When I visited Wesleyan in the spring of my senior year of high school, I fell in love with the campus. I just felt really comfortable here.