Students

Frosh Honored for First-Year Seminar Essays

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Five students from the Class of 2020 were honored for their First-Year Seminar essays during a ceremony March 28 in Downey House. The students include, from left, Daniel Atik ’20, Maya Bernstein-Schalet ’20, Gina Savoy ’20, Benjamin Glass ’20 and Sophie Dora Tulchin ’20. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

During her fall semester First-Year Seminars intensive writing course, Gina Savoy ’20 investigated the career of artist Vincent van Gogh and penned an essay titled “The Church: A Lifelong Obstacle for Vincent van Gogh.”

On March 28, Savoy’s essay took top prize at the Endeavor Foundation First-Year Seminar Essay Contest. She and four other first-year students received cash awards ranging from $250 to $75 and a book, selected by their course instructor. With support from The Endeavor Foundation of New York, Wesleyan was able to offer the offer inaugural awards ceremony and celebrate the success of 43 FYS in the fall, and 10 this spring.

First-Year Seminars are writing intensive courses that introduce students to a variety of topics ranging from Greek mythology to neuroscience. Faculty teaching these classes highlight the type of writing associated with their respective disciplines, and help students develop, compose, organize and revise their writing.

“All first-year students at Wesleyan are strong students, but even still, they arrive with a range of writing abilities,” said Meg Furniss Weisberg, visiting assistant professor of French, interim director of academic writing.

During the FYS program, faculty teach students the specifics of college-level academic writing: formulating an original, debatable claim; supporting that claim with textual and scholarly evidence; making analytical rather than simply observational arguments; and synthesizing one’s points into an effective conclusion. Faculty also expose students to scholarly and critical articles, as well as teach them about this new kind of reading, thinking and writing.

In addition, the structure of the courses, which favor multiple drafts and peer workshops as well as feedback from the instructor, fosters an environment of individual and collective progress, rather than of pure skill acquisition.

“The first year of a student’s time at Wesleyan should be a time of exploration, of expanding intellectual boundaries, and taking some intellectual risks,” Weisberg said.

Savoy, who was enrolled in the Arts and Art History course Van Gogh and the Myth of Genius, taught by Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art history, associate professor of German studies, focused her essay on van Gogh’s tumultuous relationship with religion, specifically the church, which is illustrated through his increasing incorporation of nature in his work throughout his nearly decade-long artistic career. “Although van Gogh had to find a new source to satisfy his unwavering desire for religious meaning in his life, his resentment towards the traditional church did not translate to abandoning the subject in his artwork,” Savoy said.

Her paper examines several of van Gogh’s works that feature a church motif and uses the painting The Church at Auvers, completed in the last few months of his life in 1890, to analyze his nearly two-decade long religious transformation. “The evolution of the church motif in his work supports the argument that nature provided van Gogh a sense of meaning and purpose the church never could,” Savoy said. “This reality is reflected in his complete substitution of Christianity for nature in his work in the last few years of his life.”

Other essay winners included:

At right, Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of romance languages and literatures, speaks about the book she chose for essay winner Daniel Atik '20. Several faculty attended the essay content award ceremony to applaud and speak about their students' essays.

At right, Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of romance languages and literatures, speaks about the book she chose for essay winner Daniel Atik ’20. Several faculty attended the essay contest award ceremony to applaud and speak about their student’s essay.

Daniel Atik ’20 took second place in a tie with his essay “Converted Bells: An Exploration of Religious Power Dynamics,” written in his College of Letters 120 course, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Getting Along in the Medieval World. The class was taught by Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures.

Maya Bernstein-Schalet ’20 also took second place with her essay, “Mocking the World in The Life of Symeon the Fool,” written in her College of Letters 150 course, Great Books UnBound. The class was taught by Tushar Irani, associate professor of letters, associate professor of philosophy.

Sophie Dora Tulchin ’20 took third place with her essay, “Subtleties of Subversion,” French in Translation 123 course, Love, Sex, and Marriage in Renaissance Europe. The class was taught by Michael Meere, assistant professor of French.

Benjamin Glass ’20 took honorable mention with his essay, “The Art of Stability. An Anatomical Explanation of a Mechanical Clock,” written in his Physics 162 course, It’s About Time. The class was taught by Lutz Hüwel, professor of physics.

During the ceremony, Ellen Nerenberg, dean of the Arts and Humanities and the Hollis Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, presented the the students with their awards, and Meg Furniss Weisberg presented the students with a a book chosen by their course instructor. Contest judges included Nerenberg, Weisberg and Wesleyan faculty Andrew Curran, Marc Eisner and Joyce Jacobsen.

Photos of the awards ceremony are below:

During her fall semester First-Year Seminars intensive writing course, Gina Savoy '20 investigated the in-depth career of influential artist Vincent van Gogh and penned an essay titled “The Church: A Lifelong Obstacle for Vincent van Gogh."

Gina Savoy ’20 won the top prize with her essay, “The Church: A Lifelong Obstacle for Vincent van Gogh.”

Daniel Atik '20 took second place in a tie with his essay “Converted Bells: An Exploration of Religious Power Dynamics," written in his College of Letters 120 course, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Getting Along in the Medieval World. The class was taught by Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of romance languages and literatures.

Daniel Atik ’20 took second place with his essay “Converted Bells: An Exploration of Religious Power Dynamics.”

Maya Bernstein-Schalet '20 also took second place with her essay, “Mocking the World in The Life of Symeon the Fool,” written in his College of Letters 150 course, Great Books UnBound. The class was taught by Tushar Irani, assistant professor of letters, assistant professor of philosophy.

Maya Bernstein-Schalet ’20 took second place with her essay, “Mocking the World in The Life of Symeon the Fool.”

Sophia Dora Tulchin '20 took third place with her essay, “Subtleties of Subversion,” French in Translation 123 course, Love Sex, and Marriage in Renaissance Europe. The class was taught by Michael Meere, assistant professor of French.

Sophie Dora Tulchin ’20 took third place with her essay, “Subtleties of Subversion.”

Benjamin Glass '20 took honorable mention with his essay, “The Art of Stability. An Anatomical Explanation of a Mechanical Clock," written in his Physics 162 course, It’s About Time. The class was taught by Lutz Hüwel, professor of physics.

Benjamin Glass ’20 took honorable mention with his essay, “The Art of Stability. An Anatomical Explanation of a Mechanical Clock.”

Loui, Guetta ’17 Author Paper on Brain Connections Between Sound, Taste

Psyche Loui

Psyche Loui

Assistant Professor of Psychology Psyche Loui and Rachel Guetta ’17 are the authors of a new paper exploring how people form associations between sound and taste. The article, titled, “When Music is Salty: The Crossmodal Associations Between Sound and Taste,” was published March 29 in the journal PLoS One.

Scientists know that music can be evaluated as sweet, sour, salty or bitter, depending on features in its composition such as pitch, articulation, or brightness. For example, higher pitches are often thought of as sweet or sour, and lower pitches associated with bitterness.

While previous research has studied this general area, Loui and Guetta implemented four experiments to explore if, and to what extent, humans form associations between complex sounds and complex tastes, and what mechanisms might underlie these associations. One experiment, conducted with 50 Wesleyan undergraduates, involved making matches between recordings of an original violin composition and four different flavors of custom-made chocolate ganache. Whereas past studies have used simpler auditory and gustatory stimuli (such as isolated pitches, or basic taste samples of flavored beverage solutions), “both violin music and chocolate ganache are categories of complex stimuli that enable fine-grained perceptual discrimination,” the researchers explain.

Loui and Guetta write, “Our findings suggest that perhaps everyone, to some extent, has the capacity to form mappings between auditory and gustatory modalities.” They found that individuals with musical training were no more accurate in their sound-taste associations.

The findings also support the idea that the pleasantness associated with each auditory and gustatory stimulus is a mediating factor in creating these sound-taste associations. That is, individual participants were likely to associate those music clips they found most pleasant with those chocolate samples that they enjoyed the most.

These findings may have applications for “food businesses and restaurant entrepreneurs in marketing products and optimizing consumer experience, capitalizing on emotional congruency between sound and taste.” For example, cafes might choose certain music to enhance their coffee flavors, and the taste of beer might be affected by music being played at the bar.

Loui also is assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, assistant professor of integrative sciences.

 

 

Frosh Swimmers Compete at NCAA Division III National Championships

swimHannah O’Halloran ’20 and Caroline Murphy ’20 of the women’s swimming and diving team competed in the NCAA Division III National Championships, which were held March 15-18 at the Conroe ISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas.

“Having two freshman swimmers qualify for the NCAA national championships is an incredible achievement,” explained Mike O’Brien, director of athletic communication. “This means that they’re among the top Division III swimmers in the country in their respective events.”

O’Halloran competed in the 200-yard backstroke event, where she was seeded eighth with a time of 2:01.62. In the preliminaries, she touched the wall in a time of 2:02.06, and went onto swim a 2:03.52 in the finals, which placed her 16th overall.

Murphy, who was seeded fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with a mark of 55.64, finished 11th in the preliminaries with a mark of 55.92. In the consolation finals, she touched the wall in 55.90 to place 13th overall. Murphy also won the NESCAC Championship in the 50-yard backstroke, prior to the national championship meet, to become the first Wesleyan women’s swimmer or diver to ever win a conference title.

In addition, both student-athletes were named Honorable Mention All-Americans.

Brumberg ’17 Wins Princeton in Latin America Fellowship

Hilary Brumberg ’17 waters gypsy broccoli seedlings inside a new greenhouse at Long Lane Organic Farm on April 14. The greenhouse, funded by Wesleyan's Green Fund, allows the student farmers to grow plants earlier in the growing season. The seedlings will be transplanted into the farm once warm weather stabilizes. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Hilary Brumberg ’17, who volunteers at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm, recently received a Princeton in Latin America Fellowship to develop an environmental education program in Costa Rica. She’s pictured here watering gypsy broccoli seedlings inside the organic farm’s greenhouse.

Hilary Brumberg ’17, who volunteers at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm, recently received a Princeton in Latin America Fellowship to develop an environmental education program in Costa Rica.

As a Princeton in Latin America Fellow (PiLA), Hilary Brumberg ’17 will spend next year working at Osa Conservation in Costa Rica developing a river conservation and environmental education program.

Brumberg is double majoring in earth and environmental sciences (E&ES) and Hispanic literatures and cultures. She’s also working on the environmental studies certificate.

PiLA matches highly qualified and motivated recent college graduates with partner organizations engaged in socially responsible development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Students at Wesleyan, in Madrid Collaborate through Teleconferencing

On March 28, the Spanish 258 class, taught by Antonio Gonzalez, professor of Spanish, interacted with a class at at Charles III University in Madrid, Spain over videoconferencing. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

On March 28, the Spanish 258 class, taught by Antonio Gonzalez, professor of Spanish, interacted with a class at at Charles III University in Spain over videoconferencing. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

This semester, students in Antonio Gonzalez’s Spanish 258, “The Intercultural Stage: Migration and the Performing Arts in the Hispanic World” have been experiencing what they study. With the assistance of a videoconferencing system, the Wesleyan students are “joined” in the classroom periodically by a group of students studying at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Charles III University in Madrid, Spain).

Gonzalez, professor of Spanish, co-teaches the course with his colleague in Spain, Julio Checa. Checa also works on modern/contemporary Spanish theater and performance, and the two have collaborated on various scholarly projects over the years. They previously ran the trans-Atlantic teaching project in spring 2014 using Skype, which Gonzalez said was much more rudimentary than the videoconferencing technology available now.

As director of the Center for Global Studies, Gonzalez was deeply involved in planning for the Fisk Hall renovation project, which included choosing the video conferencing system installed in the new telepresence classrooms.

Brown ’19 to Address Gender Inequality as Davis Projects for Peace Grant Recipient

Jamaica native Shantelle Brown ’19 is the recipient of a Davis Projects for Peace grant. She will return to Jamaica this summer to help 24 high schoolers become "truly aware of their power as change makers, proud of their individuality, and believe that their dreams are attainable." (Photo by Olivia Drake) 

Jamaica native Shantelle Brown ’19 is the recipient of a Davis Projects for Peace grant. She will return to Jamaica this summer to help 24 high schoolers become “truly aware of their power as change makers, proud of their individuality, and believe that their dreams are attainable.” (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Shantelle Brown ’19 has been awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant for her summer project, Sisters for Empowerment & Equality (SEE), which aims to address gender inequality in Jamaican culture through an art-based mentorship program for girls age 13 to 16.

Brown’s project is one of 120 initiatives selected for a Davis Projects for Peace grant, each receiving $10,000 for implementation during the summer of 2017. In 2007, Projects for Peace was the vision of philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis on the occasion of her 100th birthday to motivate tomorrow’s promising leaders by challenging them to find ways to “prepare for peace.” More information is available here.

SEE is geared toward the creation of a supportive community that will encourage girls from low-income or rural communities (where gender discrimination and violence are most prevalent) to pursue their dreams. SEE will take the form of high school societies, monitored and maintained by mentors as well as school administrators, in which students will pursue art-based projects that promote a positive relationship with the community.

“We hope to challenge gender stereotypes and create a platform from which girls can shine, through: mentorship, creative expression, and community outreach,” states the project proposal.

Students Attend Discussion on Racism, Sexism, Bigotry in NYC

At left, Sara Feldman '17, Gabe Hurlock '20, Kaiyana Makami '19, Angela Davis and Claudia Khahindi '19 gather at the "We're Not Going Back" Unity Rally in New York City on March 4. 

At left, Sara Feldman ’17, Gabe Hurlock ’20, Kaiyana Makami ’19, Angela Davis and Claudia Khahindi ’19 gather at the “We’re Not Going Back” Unity Rally and discussion in New York City on March 4.

On March 4, members of the student activist organization Sophia traveled to New York City to attend the Community Party USA Unity Rally and discussion against racism, sexism and all forms of bigotry with special guest and keynote speaker Angela Davis.

Angela Davis speaks at the Unity Rally. (Photo by Gabe Hurlock '20)

Angela Davis speaks at the Unity Rally. (Photo by Gabe Hurlock ’20)

Inspired by the rising necessity for constructive solidarity and community, Sophia founder and president, Posse veteran scholar Gabe Hurlock ’20 created the organization to promote inclusion, multiculturalism, and personhood on the Wesleyan campus and in the Middletown community. The organization focuses on critical philosophy and conceptualization of social justice issues through community organization.

The rally featured Jamaican author and poet Staceyann Chin and political activist Angela Davis as the keynote speaker. Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. She is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. The main topic of the evening was cultivating unity and winning a wide-ranging program of reforms that put the well being of people and the planet before private profits.

“I intended for this trip to demonstrate that the act of solidarity requires more than simply being intellectually aware of the disparities plaguing our society, because activism is central to philosophy,” Hurlock said. “After meeting Angela Davis, we all gained a refreshed perspective on what it really means to fight for what you believe in. The prosperity of humanity depends heavily on our capacity to speak up and defend justice everywhere.”

The trip was sponsored by Wesleyan’s Office for Equity and Inclusion and the Student Budget Committee.

Student-Athletes Honored for All-Academic, All-Sportsmanship

Rachel Aronow '17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women's ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Rachel Aronow ’17 is one of 10 student-athletes on the women’s ice hockey team who received NESCAC All-Academic honors.

Ninety-four Wesleyan student-athletes were honored for their excellence in the classroom when the NESCAC announced its 2016-17 Winter All-Academic Team on March 9, while eight others were named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.

To be honored on the All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.40. A transfer student must have completed one year of study at the institution.

The women’s indoor track & field team led the way for the Cardinals with 19 selections, followed by men’s ice hockey with 16, women’s swimming & diving with 11, women’s ice hockey with 10, men’s indoor track & field with nine, and men’s swimming & diving with eight.

McGuire ’17, Araki ’17 Receive Seed Grant to Spearhead MindScope Health

MindScope Healthmindscope, an organization led by Siri McGuire ’17 and Taiga Araki ’17 has won the $10,000 Connecticut College Aetna Foundation seed stage grant—a branch of InnovateHealth Yale and the Aetna Foundation.

MindScope works to improve the quality of life for patients with brain diseases and mental illnesses. Founded by patients of brain diseases and mental illnesses, MindScope Health aims to transform the way that invisible diseases and symptoms are communicated and treated. By allowing patients to alternatively communicate their symptoms to their doctors through the use of an app, symptoms can be recorded overtime, as patients rate the severity of their symptoms throughout the day. That information is then compiled and displayed for doctors, creating a patient-led and patient-centered design process.

Carrillo ’17 Named Connecticut’s Male Athlete of the Year

Dual-sport athlete and Middletown native, Devon Carrillo ’17, has been named Connecticut’s 2017 Male Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance (CSWA). Carrillo will be honored at the CSWA 76th Annual Gold Key Dinner on April 30 in Southington, Conn.

Devon Carrillo, has been named Connecticut's 2017 Male Athlete of the Year

Devon Carrillo, has been named Connecticut’s 2017 Male Athlete of the Year. He has excelled on both the football field and the wrestling mat for the Cardinals.

The senior has excelled on both the football field and the wrestling mat for the Cardinals.

Carrillo is the first Wesleyan athlete to receive the prestigious award, which began in 1973 and includes past winners Dick Jauron (Yale football, 1973); Rick Diana (Yale football, 1982); Steve Young (NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, 1985); Craig Janney and Brian Leetch (US Olympic hockey, 1987); Marlon Starling (1988 World Welterweight Boxing Champion); Rob Dibble (Cincinnati Reds pitcher, 1990); and many others.

“This is a tremendous honor for Devon, Wesleyan and the city of Middletown,” said Wesleyan Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83. “He is an amazing athlete both on the football field and on the mat. After not wrestling for three years, Devon is now competing at a national level. This is truly a remarkable accomplishment!”

This season, Carrillo was named First Team All-NESCAC Offense at wide receiver/running back,

STEM Zone 42 Learning Hub Opens in Science Library

A new teaching and learning space can be found on campus: STEM Zone 42.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Zone 42, located in the Science Library, is a collaborative project by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the WesMaSS program and Academic Affairs.

Operating as a pilot program this semester, STEM Zone 42 is a space where students currently taking introductory biology and chemistry courses can receive academic support. Students can get help from course teaching assistants, course instructors, peer mentors and fellow students.

“We are hoping to reduce barriers students experience in seeking academic help and create and foster a STEM community at Wesleyan, in which we work together towards academic success,” explained Teshia Levy-Grant, interim dean for equity and inclusion. “By providing this academic resource to all students, we aim to improve student performance and increase overall retention in the sciences and math.”

Levy-Grant and her team hope to see STEM Zone 42 become a central location for student services, and double as a place where they can work, study and learn together. “This will be more of a one-stop model,” said Levy-Grant. “We now have the Career Center doing drop in hours in the space where students can learn about opportunities for summer internships and programs, but also get help with their resumes.”

And where does the number 42 come from? Levy-Grant explained, “The reference to 42 is inspired by Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s the ‘Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything,’ calculated by a supercomputer, Deep Thought, over a period of 7.5 million years.”

STEM Zone 42 operates on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 p.m., Saturdays at 3-5 p.m., and Sundays from 7-9 p.m.

Photos of STEM Zone’s opening are below:

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Weinstein ’17, Scruggs ’17 to Join Teach For America Following Graduation

Michael Weinstein ’17 will head to Milwaukee, Wis. to teach.

Michael Weinstein ’17 will head to Milwaukee, Wis. to teach.

Two members of the Class of 2017 and the Wesleyan athletic community have committed to join Teach For America after graduation: Michael Weinstein ’17 of Brookline, Mass. and Katie Scruggs ’17 of Vail, Colo. Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.

Weinstein, who is the captain for both the men’s rugby team and ski team, will teach middle school special education in Milwaukee, Wis. This will be his first experience living in the Midwest.

“I think Wesleyan, as opposed to any other liberal arts school, put me into contact with a lot of people who are really smart and conscientious,” Weinstein said, reflecting on how Wesleyan is preparing him for this experience. “They care about each other and about injustices in America. Any liberal arts school can provide a ‘well-rounded’ education, but Wesleyan students generally try to apply what they learn to real life issue. Hopefully I can do the same!”

teach-for-americaScruggs, who is a member of the women’s cross country team, will teach high school science in Boston.

According to Teach for America, more than 16 million children are growing up in poverty in the U.S. By eighth grade, they are nearly three years behind higher-income peers in reading and math and are 1/10th as likely to graduate from college as students from affluent communities.

Teach For America seeks to combat this problem by enlisting promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.