Greetings for the Senior Class from Marissa Castrigno ’15

Marissa Castrigno '15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24. 

Marissa Castrigno ’15 delivered the Senior Class Welcome during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24.

Marissa Castrigno ’15 made the following remarks during the 183rd Commencement Ceremony May 24:

I feel immensely lucky to be able to stand here and see so many people that I love all in one place – so many people that love each other all in one place. My favorite college memory was on this very balcony two years ago when I sat with my best friend on its wide ledge and we spoke candidly for the first time about those private things that motivate and shape each of us. In that moment, among others during my first year here, I knew that transferring to Wesleyan had been the best decision I’d ever made for myself. Now my biggest fear is that we will go forth from this place and lose Wesleyan and all that it has afforded us. But I’d like to suggest today is not a day of loss, rather it is a day from which we become more expansive than we ever could be living together on our idyllic little campus.

We are taught to challenge this place. To examine it, analyze it, criticize it. During our time here we learn that the world is a deeply imperfect place and often this truth disillusions us.

Starr, Masand, Casareno Deliver “Senior Voices” Addresses

Jenna Starr ’15, Jasmine Masand ’15, and Camille Casareno ’15 delivered “Senior Voices” speeches on May 23 in Memorial Chapel. Below are the texts of their speeches.

Jenna Starr

I am grateful to Wesleyan. After a turbulent year at a different school, Wesleyan was the second chance I urgently needed.

When I first got here (literally the first day), I was scared. I was so scared that when my dad and aunt tried to leave, I secretly jumped in their car so they would take me home.

Seniors Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Society

Qualifying members of the Class of 2015 were inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa society, the oldest national scholastic honor society, in a ceremony May 23 at Memorial Chapel. The event was held in conjunction with Reunion & Commencement Weekend.

Eighty-one students were inducted at the ceremony; another 15 were inducted last fall.

To be elected, a student must first have been nominated by the department of his or her major. He or she also must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations, and must have achieved a grade-point average of 93 and above.

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest surviving Greek letter society in America, founded in December 1776.

(Photos by John Van Vlack)


New York Times Features Wesleyan Admission Essay

Adriane Tharp, who will be coming to Wesleyan in the fall as part of the Class of 2019, set her admission essay in the Forestdale, Ala. Domino’s Pizza where she worked, writing about the “lineup of fellow misfits who were her colleagues.” The New York Times featured Tharp’s essay in its annual story on admission essays about working and money.

The story quotes Wesleyan Associate Dean of Admission Chris Lanser, who was the first reader of Tharp’s essay. He tells the Times how rare it is for applicants to write about money and work, and explains what stood out to him about Tharp’s essay.

“The point of the essay is not to tell us that she needs work or doesn’t,” Lanser said. “What she wants us to learn from this is that she is able to embrace difference and learn quite a bit from those differences.”

The Times asked Lanser about the perception that admissions officers at competitive colleges devalue work experience.

“We think there are valuable life skills and people skills to be gained in the workplace,” he said, adding that he personally believes that everyone should work in the service industry at some point in their lives.

Read Tharp’s essay here (second from the bottom).

Environmental Studies Class Presents Artist’s Books, Projects

Students enrolled in the Introduction to Environmental Studies course presented their artist’s books, children’s stories, documentaries and story maps during the class’s annual Project Showcase on May 14 in Exley Science Center. The class is taught by Kim Diver, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences. Suzy Taraba, director of Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives attended the event and spoke to the students about artist books.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Aviva Hirsch)


Koplin-Green ’15 Studied Alpha Neurofeedback to Treat Anxiety

Matan Koplin-Green '15 wrote a thesis at the intersection of his interests in neuroscience, technology and music. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

Matan Koplin-Green ’15 wrote a thesis at the intersection of his interests in neuroscience, technology and music. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak with Matan Koplin-Green from the Class of 2015.

Q: Matan, what is your major and what was the title of your thesis?

A: I’m a neuroscience and behavior major. I wrote my thesis on “Application of Alpha Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders.”

Q: Let’s back up. How did your interest in neuroscience and behavior develop?

A: I came to Wesleyan not knowing exactly what I wanted to study. I was interested in cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind, but also had a lifelong love of music. I took a year off between high school and college to play in a band in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wis., and read a lot about cognitive psychology. Once at Wesleyan, I took classes ranging from computer science to experimental music, but I was also very interested in being part of the fast-growing neuroscience major. Then in 2013, Psyche Loui (assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior) came to Wesleyan. I took her intro class and discovered that she teaches at the intersection of all my interests—neuroscience, technology and music. I decided I had to get involved. I applied to be in her lab, and was accepted.

Digital History Class Creates “A Spatial History of Wesleyan University”

Learn about the history of Wesleyan's campus in the new "Spatial History of Wesleyan University" website.

Learn about the history of Wesleyan’s campus in the new “Spatial History of Wesleyan University” website.


This semester, 18 students with an interest in communication and the history of Wesleyan University created a new website, “A Spatial History of Wesleyan University.”

The students, who were enrolled in the spring 2015 course, Digital History, conceived, designed, built, publicized, and launched this site. The class was taught by Amrys O. Williams, a visiting assistant professor of history, and was part of the university’s Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative.

A Spatial History of Wesleyan University combines geographical and quantitative analysis with archival and oral history research to interpret the past in place. By studying the history of Wesleyan’s campus landscape and buildings alongside the university’s enrollment, tuition, and student body, website visitors can see the connections between the cultural life of the university and its physical environment.

The class brought together 18 students from across campus with varied skills and backgrounds who shared an interest in historical communication and making things.

The class brought together 18 students from across campus with varied skills and backgrounds who shared an interest in historical communication and making things.

The site has four main sections:

  • A historical narrative offers an overview of the major periods and episodes in the campus’s history, tracing student life, housing, and athletics, as well as the university’s changing educational mission and its relationship to other liberal arts schools in the area.
  • An interactive map allows readers to select and view different historical maps and aerial photographs of campus, learn more about individual buildings and see how the campus expanded over time.
  • A “By the Numbers” series of graphs trace data about enrollment, tuition and endowment over time, offering insights into the financial and demographic shifts that affected the shape and experience of campus.
  • Oral history video clips enrich these chronological, spatial, and quantitative stories with the voices of members of the Wesleyan community and their lived experiences of campus.