Students

Wesleyan Students, Local Seniors Become ‘Fast Friends’

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Every week, a group of Wesleyan students in the Wesleyan Alliance for Generational Exchange (WesAGE), visit local senior centers to play card games and bingo and interact with the residents.

“Our residents can’t get out into the community because of mobility and safety issues,” David Frankel, activities coordinator at One MacDonough House, told The Middletown Press in a feature story about the program. “So Wesleyan students through a program called WesAGE come to MacDonough Friday afternoons rather than party with their friends. These are special young men and women. They let us know that we’re a value to the community.”

“Wesleyan University has worked very hard at becoming part of the Middletown community,” he added, praising how the program motivates students and encourages assisted-living residents to remain active.

Gabe Borelli ’16 coordinates the WesAGE Companions Program. Borelli, who is studying economics, politics and history, says students in his program are paired with an elderly companion from one of the area’s assisted living homes: Heritage Commons, One MacDonough, South Green Apartments or Wadsworth Glen.

“I try to match student volunteers with residents’ interests,” said Borelli, who became involved in the program when he was a sophomore. “Whether it’s Scrabble, dominoes or other social games, they really enjoy getting to know the residents.”

Borelli says though some people believe there’s a wide gap between generations, “we usually find common interests such as politics, sports and our personal histories.”10255339_10203921605587222_6579148984284863708_o

Carolina Elices ’17, also a program coordinator, is majoring in art history and English. From Arlington, Massachusetts, Elices plans on earning a master’s degree in English, then teaching or working in publishing. She says WesAGE is her favorite activity at school and looks forward to spending Friday afternoons sharing stories with residents at MacDonough.

“It makes a nice change talking to people who aren’t 18 to 22,” she says. One of her favorite resident companions is a woman who is an excellent Scrabble player. “Ann usually beats me,” Elices says. “But, the two times I’ve beaten her she vows never to play me again,” she laughs.

Refugees’ Art Featured at Student-Run “Art in Crisis” Exhibit

The student-run Wesleyan Refugee Project is hosting an exhibit titled "Art in Crisis" through May 22 at the Center for the Humanities. Student organizers, faculty, members of the administration and artists gathered for the exhibit's opening May 4.

The student-run Wesleyan Refugee Project is hosting an exhibit titled “Art in Crisis” through May 22 at the Center for the Humanities. Student organizers, faculty, members of the administration and community members gathered for the exhibit’s opening May 4.

“Art in Crisis” features work by artists within Za'atari Refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in Amman, Jordan, home to over 100,000 refugees. These artists range from professionals who taught art in Syria to youth who were studying modern art to those who newly developed their passion in exile. The work was recently displayed at the Mission to the United Nations in New York City, and will be sold in a silent auction format.

“Art in Crisis” features work by artists within Za’atari Refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in Amman, Jordan, home to over 100,000 refugees. These artists range from professionals who taught art in Syria to youth who were studying modern art to those who newly developed their passion in exile. The work was recently displayed at the Mission to the United Nations in New York City, and will be sold in a silent auction format.

The Wesleyan Refugee Project is a volunteer initiative which centers around three central community outreach efforts, including online tutoring with Syrian refugee students in Turkey and Jordan, helping Connecticut-based refugees fill out subsidized housing and energy assistance applications, and aiding Iraqi refugees in finding U.S. employment via the International Refugee Assistance Program. Pictured is volunteer Elisabeth Arslanoglou '16.

The Wesleyan Refugee Project is a volunteer initiative which centers around three central community outreach efforts, including online tutoring with Syrian refugee students in Turkey and Jordan, helping Connecticut-based refugees fill out subsidized housing and energy assistance applications, and aiding Iraqi refugees in finding U.S. employment via the International Refugee Assistance Program. Pictured is volunteer Elisabeth Arslanoglou ’16.

Wesleyan Students Partner with City Water, Sewer Workers for Unique Show

Juliana Castro '19, Michael Edwards '16, and Melissa Leung '16 are among the students who have been working with the city's Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 9. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

Juliana Castro ’19, Michael Edwards ’16, and Melissa Leung ’16 are among the students who have been working with the city’s Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

This spring, Allison Orr, the Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment, is leading a group of Wesleyan students in partnering with the city of Middletown’s Water and Sewer Department to develop a unique performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. The performance starts at noon at Harbor Park.

Allison Orr

Allison Orr

According to this story in The Middletown Press, Orr has long used “her choreography talent to expose the work of those who would otherwise go unnoticed.” She is the artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, and is known for “Trash Dance,” a 2012 documentary film that explored the work of the Austin, Texas Sanitation Department.

“What I do is I embed myself within these groups of employees over a period of time,” Orr said. “I convince them to come along with me and we create together performances that educate people about the work.”

Under her direction, eight Wesleyan students “joined” the city’s water department. Since February, they have been collecting interviews, shadowing employees and studying their movements to create a performance based on the workers’ daily lives, and raise awareness about how they keep Middletown’s waterfront clean.

For Gretchen LaMotte ’18, this performance is not only a way to bridge a gap between the Wesleyan community and Middletown, but is also an opportunity for her to bring the Water and Sewer Department’s work to the forefront.

“All of this is invisible work that is supporting the infrastructure of our daily lives. I’m excited about this performance because hopefully it will make that work more visible,” LaMotte said.

In March, Orr also taught movement classes to students at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.

Scholar Student Athletes Honored at Banquet

On April 28, the Wesleyan Athletics Department honored more than 175 scholar student-athletes that excelled both on and off the field throughout the course of the 2015-16 season. Coaches, faculty and staff from the department also attended the event, which included dinner, speeches and awards in Beckham Hall.

To be recognized, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore with a grade-point average of 3.25 or above, and be a key contributor to his or her team’s success.

In addition, scholar athletes Joe Edmonds ’16 of the men’s basketball team and Rachel Hobert ’16 of the women’s soccer team presented inspirational speeches to their peers.

(Photos by Caroline Kravitz ’19)

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Students Meet Astronaut Jemison at Sturm Lecture

Dr. Mae Jemison, an astronaut, physician, Peace Corp. volunteer and dancer, delivered the annual Sturm Lecture April 19 in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall. Her topic was "Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential." 

Dr. Mae Jemison, an astronaut, physician, Peace Corp. volunteer and dancer, delivered the annual Sturm Lecture April 19 in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall. Her topic was “Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential.” Jemison’s sister, Dr. Ada Jemison, majored in biology at Wesleyan in 1974.

Jili ’16 to Study Public Policy, International Relations as Yenching Scholar in China

Bulelani Jili '16

Bulelani Jili ’16

Bulelani Jili ’16 has been named a Yenching Scholar for 2016. This fully funded and prestigious postgraduate program is run by Peking University in Beijing, China. Initiated in 2014, the Yenching Academy program invites exceptional postgraduates from around the globe to engage in interdisciplinary study on ancient, modern and contemporary China in the humanities and the social sciences.

Yenching Scholars are granted the flexibility to create their own study paths by choosing from six academic concentrations and a variety of extracurricular activities. Studying at the Academy represents a unique opportunity not only for intercultural and academic exchange, but also for personal and professional development.

While undertaking a one-year program in Chinese Studies at the academy, Jili intends to concentrate in public policy and international relations.

“I am greatly interested in examining more closely issues pertaining to governance and educational policies in China and South Africa,” Jili said. “This study is especially relevant because of South Africa’s and China’s new and promising relationship.”

Students, Faculty, Alumna Honored at Beckham Social Justice Awards

Several students were honored for helping promote diversity and inclusion during the Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards ceremony April 23 in Beckham Hall. 

Several students were honored for helping promote diversity and inclusion during the Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards ceremony April 23 in Beckham Hall.

Students, faculty and staff who exercised cultural sensitivity, helped promote diversity and inclusion, and improved the campus climate were recognized at the annual Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards ceremony held April 23. The event brought together generations of alumni, students, faculty and staff to celebrate the tenets that make Wesleyan diverse.

Originally called the Edgar Beckham Helping Hand Awards when it was founded in 2013, the awards were created in honor of Edgar Beckham, the first African-American Dean of the College at Wesleyan University and a tireless advocate for social justice.

Wesleyan to Consider Undocumented/DACA Status Applicants as Domestic Students in Admission Process

Wesleyan University announced that it will begin considering undocumented and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status applicants who have graduated from a U.S. high school as if they were U.S. citizens or permanent residents, beginning with the class entering in fall 2017. This policy change has important implications for admission and financial aid for these prospective students.

“Supporting these talented and deserving young people is the right thing to do, and is consistent with Wesleyan values and our commitment to equity and inclusion,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth.  “Many of these students were brought to this country at a young age by their parents and have lived here most of their lives. They ought to have the same access to a high-quality college education as any other student from this country.”

Neuroscience Program Holds Undergraduate Research Symposium, Poster Session

The Neuroscience and Behavior (NSB) Program hosted their third annual undergraduate research symposium April 29 in Daniel Family Commons. Senior thesis writers delivered 10-minute scientific presentations during a dinner with fellow NSB students and faculty. Students also showcased their finest scientific projects during a research poster session, pictured below: (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

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Students Teach Strawberry DNA Extraction Workshop at GSTLC

On April 25, the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center celebrated National DNA Day to commemorate the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953. During the nationally-celebrated event, students, teachers and the public had the opportunity to learn more about genetics and genomics.

On April 25, the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center celebrated National DNA Day to commemorate the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953. During the nationally-celebrated event, students, teachers and the public had the opportunity to learn more about genetics and genomics.

At Green Street, biology major Taylor Matthew ’17 and East Asian studies major Erin Deleon ’17 and led a hands-on science activity for GSTLC’s Discovery AfterSchool students.

At Green Street, biology major Taylor Matthew ’17 and East Asian studies major Erin Deleon ’17 and led a hands-on science activity for GSTLC’s Discovery AfterSchool students.

Wesleyan, Middletown Community Members Vote at Beckham Hall April 26

For the first time this year, Wesleyan’s Beckham Hall served at Middletown’s District No. 14 polling location for the presidential primary election held on April 26. District No. 14 encompasses most of the Wesleyan campus as well most of downtown Middletown.

According to Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, the District No. 14 polling location was at the Senior Center on Broad Street for many years. When the relocation and construction of a new Senior Center required the polling place to be moved, Middletown’s Registrar of Voters asked if Wesleyan would be willing to serve as the new location. With assistance and input of several offices on campus, Beckham Hall was identified as the best location. It will host a November election every year going forward, and may host one or two additional elections in April and/or in August or September.

Undergraduate and graduate students at Wesleyan have the option to vote via absentee ballot based on their home residence, or can choose to register in Middletown. Wesleyan’s Office of the Registrar maintains information on local voting.

Photos of the polling location in Beckham Hall are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.
Voting for the Primary Election in Beckham Hall, April 26, 2016.

Psychology Students Share Research at 10th Annual Poster Presentation

Psychology Poster Session, April 28, 2016. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

Assistant Professor of Psychology Clara Wilkins, pictured in back row center, gathered with her students during the Psychology Research Poster Presentation. The Wilkins Lab broadly examines prejudice, stereotyping, and the self.

Forty-six thesis and research students presented 36 posters during the Psychology Research Poster Presentation April 28 in Beckham Hall. The 10th annual event allowed the students to share their research and ongoing studies with peers and faculty from the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division.

Photos of the poster presentation are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

Psychology Poster Session, April 28, 2016. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

Psychology Poster Session, April 28, 2016. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)