Students

Afelin ’19, Kim ’19 Awarded Watson Fellowships for International Exploration

Momi Afelin '19 (aafelin) and Justin Kim '19 .  (wkim). Thomas J. Watson Fellows.

Momi Afelin ’19 and Justin Kim ’19 are recipients of the 2019 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

Two Wesleyan seniors will spend a year abroad working on purposeful international discoveries as 2019 Thomas J. Watson Fellows.

Momi Afelin ’19 and Justin Kim ’19 are among 41 students from 40 partner institutions across the country to receive the prestigious fellowship. The Watson Fellowship is a rare window after college and pre-career for students to engage their deepest interests on a global scale. Fellows conceive original projects, execute them outside of the United States, and gain personal insight, perspective, and confidence.

Afelin, a biology and neuroscience and behavior double major, will spend her fellowship year working on a project titled “Island Innovation: Embodiment through Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation.” She will embed herself in five island countries in the Pacific and Caribbean including Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago and observe how geographic isolation and unique social structures of island communities demand innovation for survival and success.

Her curiosity in island innovation comes from growing up in Molokai, Hawaii.

“To grow up on an island is to grow up a problem solver,” she said. “I would like to explore how other islanders like myself are harnessing their innovation through social entrepreneurship or social innovation endeavors that address community issues.”

Students Volunteer at Nonprofits during Interfaith Service Trip

During the Interfaith Service Trip, representatives from Wesleyan volunteered at the Manna House Soup Kitchen in Newtown, N.J.

During the Interfaith Service Trip held over spring break, representatives from Wesleyan volunteered at the Manna House Soup Kitchen in Newtown, N.J.

Wesleyan students and staff traveled to Johnsonburg, N.J., March 18-22 to participate in the fourth annual Office of Religious and Spiritual Life Interfaith Service Trip. The group had representation from the Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim communities.

The student participants included Nacala Gadsden ’21, Joy Adedokun ’19, Fitzroy Pablo Wickham ’21, Brynn Assignon ’20, and Fatima Sepulveda ’21. The trip was led by University Chaplain Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska and Sandy Durosier ’13, area coordinator for residential life.

“The purpose of the trip was to engage in community service and learn about other faiths,” Mehr-Muska said.

The group stayed at the faith-based Johnsonburg Camp and Retreat Center and volunteered their time at the Barnyard Sanctuary in Johnsonburg; Trinity Methodist Church Thrift Shop in Hackettstown, N.J.; and Manna House Soup Kitchen in Newton, N.J.

“Each of these incredible nonprofits happened to be run by women, and the students were able to see the complexity and rewarding nature of developing and sustaining important, life-giving community organizations,” Mehr-Muska said.

2 Students Inducted into the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society

Mackenzie Mitchell '20 and Edelina (Lina) Marzouk '19

Mackenzie Mitchell ’20 and Lina Marzouk ’19 were inducted into the ASBMB Honor Society. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

Two Wesleyan students were inducted into the 2019 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Honor Society in March. They are among only 33 students from around the country who were eligible to join the society this year.

The inductees, Mackenzie Mitchell ’20 and Edelina (Lina) Marzouk ’19 are both majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry and the Science in Society Program. They are both members of the ASBMB Student Chapters, have a GPA of over 3.4 on a 4.0 scale, and have demonstrated exceptional achievement in academics, undergraduate research, and science outreach.

The students were recognized by the Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Department during a reception on March 27.

Mackenzie Mitchell says the “dynamism of scientific study, as well as the complete integration of problem-solving,” have been the greatest influences over her decision to study science. Since enrolling at Wesleyan, Mitchell has furthered her interests by participating in research with Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Amy MacQueen’s research group.

Students, Faculty, Alumni Present Research at 50th Annual Planetary Science Conference

Jeremy Brossier presented a talk titled "Radiophysical Behaviors of Venus’ Plateaus and Volcanic Rises: Updated Assessment." He also presented a poster titled "Complex Radar Emissivity Variations at Some Large Venusian Volcanoes."

At left, earth and environmental sciences postdoctoral research associate Jeremy Brossier presented a poster titled “Complex Radar Emissivity Variations at Some Large Venusian Volcanoes” during the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas.

Several Wesleyan students, faculty, and alumni attended the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) March 18-22 in The Woodlands, Texas. Members of the Wesleyan Planetary Sciences Group presented their research on a range of planetary bodies.

This annual conference brings together international specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, geology, and astronomy to present the latest results of research in planetary science.

Earth and environmental studies major Emmy Hughes ’20 presented a poster titled “Observations of Transverse Aeolian Ridges in Digital Terrain Models” during a session on “Planetary Aeolian Processes.”

Earth and environmental science graduate student Reid Perkins MA ’19 presented a talk titled “A Reassessment of Venus’ Tessera Crater Population and Implications for Tessera Deformation” and a poster titled “Volumes and Potential Origins of Crater Dark Floor Deposits on Venus.”

Tran ’21 Wins Japanese Language Essay Contest Prize

Jess Tran ’21

Vietnam native Jess Tran ’21 grew up learning her native language alongside English, but it wasn’t until her freshman year at Wesleyan that she decided to give a third language a try—Japanese.

Tran, an economics major and College of East Asian Studies minor, immersed herself in the new language for two years. This month, she won a prize at the annual Consulate General of Japan in Boston Japanese Language Contest.

The essay prompt was “What is Japan to me?”

“In essence, I talked about how my initial admiration for certain aspects of Japan inspired me to think about how I can contribute to Vietnam—my home country, and how learning Japanese actually gives me a better understanding of my own mother tongue and solidifies my interest in language and Asian culture,” Tran said.

Learning Japanese, Tran explained, is much different, grammatically, than English or Vietnamese, although it is indirectly connected with Vietnamese through certain shared characteristics with Chinese.

“So often, as I learn Japanese, I would learn something new about or learn new ways of thinking about Vietnamese, and it’s very fascinating to see how the differences in cultural values tie into the differences in the two languages,” Tran said. “I feel like I’m not only learning a new language but a new thinking structure.”

Tran took third place in the contest’s intermediate level essay division, which is open to students who have completed fewer than two years of Japanese language study and have not studied in Japan.

Tran said she’d “definitely recommend everyone who’s interested in Japanese to participate [in the essay contest] because it’s a great learning experience.”

“My Japanese professors were extremely patient and helpful during the process, and it really helps consolidate what was taught in class,” she said.

In 2018, Zhaoyu Sun ’20 took second place in the contest.

Shumway ’20 Wins TEDxWesleyanU Student Speaker Competition

Dylan Shumway '20 will share his talk titled, "Small Moments" during the April 27 conference.

Dylan Shumway ’20 will share his talk titled “Small Moments” during the TEDxWesleyanU conference on April 27.

During Wesleyan’s second annual TEDxWesleyanU in April, a Wesleyan junior will have the opportunity to deliver a 10-minute talk alongside numerous distinguished alumni and guest speakers.

As the inaugural TEDxWesleyanU Student Speaker Competition winner, Dylan Shumway ’20 will share his talk titled “Small Moments” at the April 27 conference.

“My talk focuses on how small interactions we have on a daily basis can impact our lives on a larger scale, and that we should utilize their impact to foster positive change,” Shumway said. “Developing a TED talk was a fun and engaging challenge because it has allowed me to synthesize my life experience into something that could potentially help others! The topic is one that I often discuss and share with friends and family.”

TEDxWesleyanU was founded by a team of students on the principle of broadening thought diversity on campus and beyond. During the inaugural conference, the TEDxWesleyanU team invited changemakers and thought leaders from medicine, art, music, business, and more, to present.

“For the second annual conference, the team thought that featuring a student perspective in addition to the other innovative thinkers would be critical in furthering our mission,” said TEDxWesleyanU cofounder and lead organizer Eunes Harun ’20.

73 Student-Athletes Receive NESCAC All-Academic Honors

Sophia Antonio ’19 (women’s swimming & diving) was named to the All-Academic Team for the third time and was also on the All-NESCAC squad. (Photo by Ron Wimer)

The Wesleyan University winter athletic teams put a total of 73 student-athletes on the 2019 NESCAC Winter All-Academic Team, while eight Cardinals earned All-Sportsmanship honors as announced by the conference.

In order to earn a spot on the All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore academic standing and be a varsity letter winner with a minimum GPA of 3.50 or equivalent on a 4.0 scale. Transfer students are eligible as long as they have completed at least one year of coursework at the institution.

Drozdov ’19 Wins Wesleyan Monogram Design Competition

Gabriel Drozdov ’19 proudly displays his design that was chosen as Wesleyan’s new monogram. “I wanted to maintain Wesleyan’s rebranding while reintroducing some of the elements that the new visual elements had reduced,” he said. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Wesleyan announced Wednesday that a design submitted by Gabriel Drozdov ’19 has been selected by popular vote as the University’s next monogram. Drozdov’s submission garnered more than 50 percent of the 6,200 votes cast by Wesleyan community members.

“For the monogram, I personally wanted to reintroduce some of Wesleyan’s old spirit back into a new design,” Drozdov said.

In September of 2018, Wesleyan launched an updated website, featuring new messaging and visual elements. One of those elements was a new monogram that many community members felt did not cohesively represent the University. Wesleyan’s administration responded by rolling back the mark, and forming a committee of students, alumni, faculty, and staff to organize a monogram design submission contest and engage the community’s substantial creative abilities and input.

Participants were faced with the design challenge of creating something uniquely Wesleyan—to set it apart from the nearly 200 other colleges and universities that start with the letter W and around 20 with Wesleyan in their names—as well as something flexible enough to work with current and emerging formats like small screens and handheld devices. It also needed to have the potential to work at scale (as on a large banner), while following the existing Wesleyan design standards.

Wesleyan’s monogram selection committee members include Jen Carlstrom, manager of design services for University Communications;  Aaron Cheung ’19, a member of the Wesleyan Student Assembly; Marcy Herlihy, director of stewardship and donor relations for University Relations; Elijah Huge, associate professor of art; Deb Katz, director of marketing; Gil Skillman, professor of economics and chair of the faculty; former trustee Harold Sogard ’74, P’17, retired president of Hive Advertising; Jonathan Turitz ’86, chief marketing officer of D’Addario & Co.; and trustee Luke Wood ’91, president of Beats by Dr. Dre.

“We realized that the best way to develop a truly representative mark was to engage our community’s creativity and incorporate their feedback,” said Deb Katz, director of marketing. “We received 30 submissions from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and were impressed by their originality and creativity.”

The committee narrowed the submissions down to three finalists. From Feb. 20 to 27, the University hosted an online vote to determine the community’s favorite. Drozdov’s design of a white “W” on a red shield “was the clear winner,” Katz said, and will be able to be adapted for use with other color palettes as well.

Drozdov, who is double-majoring in theater and computer science, described his submission as a “simple, clean design that incorporates several elements of the University’s new visual identity and is based on students’ belief that Wesleyan’s ‘longstanding collegiate identity’ and reputation speak for themselves.”

Drozdov incorporated the Copernicus typeface to match the serif focus of Wesleyan’s old monogram. He designed an expanded variant of the shield crest to more easily elicit the collegiate tone, “since the full crest is more recognizable as an icon of higher education,” he said. Drozdov also maintained the simplicity of Wesleyan’s redesign by keeping the color palette monochromatic, and improved legibility over the old monogram by increasing line weight.

“I know that I and others felt like the new visual elements didn’t acknowledge Wesleyan’s prior identity,” Drozdov said. “As a senior, I want to leave this school feeling like I can still relate to it. Still, it wouldn’t make sense to reuse Wesleyan’s old typeface and colors, so I mixed a bit of the old and new and I’m glad people seem to like it and feel the same way.”

Although Drozdov hasn’t designed a monogram before, he works as a freelance graphic artist, creating designs, websites, and branding guidelines for theater and arts organizations. “After graduation, I’ll probably find a career in graphic design,” he said.

For questions or additional information, email ucomm@wesleyan.edu.

Student-Led Ventures Win $5,000 Entrepreneurship Seed Grants

Sydney Ochieng ’22, founder of Accessible and Affordable Sanitation for Women (AASW), is one of four recipients to receive a 2019 Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) Seed Grant. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

On March 4, not three, but four student-run ventures received $5,000 seed grants from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE). The unrestricted funding is accompanied with training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace, and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

On March 1, six finalists pitched for a panel of judges in Allbritton 311.

“As always, the competition was steep, and the judges had a tough time selecting grantees,” said Makaela Kingsley ’98, director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “In fact, this year they decided to make a special donation to the Patricelli Center so we could offer four grants instead of the usual three.”

Students Receive Innovation Fund Grants from the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships

Musical Mentor Henry Hodder ‘20 works with two of his guitar students at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown.

Musical mentor Henry Hodder ’20 works with two of his guitar students at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown. Hodder’s group, Cardinal Kids, is one of nine student ventures to receive grants from the JCPP Student Innovation Fund.

This spring, nine student ventures received grants from the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships (JCCP) Student Innovation Fund. These student efforts are representative of the JCCP’s commitment to cocreate mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.

The Student Innovation Fund provides up to $750 for spring or summer projects that prioritize:

  • Collaboration between student groups, faculty/staff, and/or community partners.
  • Investigation of the impact of our civic engagement efforts.
  • Sharing of ideas and learnings in civic engagement on campus and beyond.

The recipients are:

Jessica Brandon ’20 and Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19
Adolescent Sexual Health Awareness (ASHA)

Due to the structural forms of racism that economically oppress people of color, volunteer opportunities are inherently restrictive. ASHA’s innovation seeks to investigate this barrier to the involvement of students of color in volunteer opportunities, as it is essential to the project of cultural competency for an educational organization to include members that represent the identities of many different students. The Student Innovation Fund will support their effort to make ASHA an inclusive and equitable organization.

Cardinal Kids Teaching Collective Hosts Interactive Lessons for Area Children

Wesleyan’s student group, Cardinal Kids, led a six-part series of events throughout the month of February at the Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore. Cardinal Kids is a teaching collective run by Wesleyan students, each adapting their on-campus work into fun, interactive lessons for children in grades 1–5.

Throughout the month, Cardinal Kids provided a comic book–making workshop, two introductions to world art, a lesson on protecting the environment, a class on journalism and newspapers, and a DNA-extracting workshop. All lessons were taught alongside an accompanying book.

On Feb. 21, Cardinal Kids’ Meera Joshi ’20 led “Get That DNA!” using the book Have a Nice DNA. Participants extracted DNA from strawberries and learned about genetics. The events are free to all participants. For more information email books@wesleyan.edu.

Photos of the DNA workshop are below: (Photos by Caroline Kravitz)

Princeton Review Ranks Wesleyan as Its No. 1 Impact School

Wesleyan University was named the No. 1 “Impact School” for 2019 by The Princeton Review.

Wesleyan and the other 24 schools that made the list “were selected based on student ratings and responses to survey questions covering community service opportunities at their school, student government, sustainability efforts, and on-campus student engagement.” The Princeton Review also took into account PayScale.com’s percentage of alumni from each school that reported having high job meaning.

Since the Princeton Review created this category in 2015, Wesleyan has remained at the top of the list.

“According to our Civic Action Plan, we wish to be an increasingly ‘Engaged University’ where we prepare our students to engage in civic participation throughout their lives and where civic responsibility is a visible institutional commitment,” said Rhea Drozdenko ’18, coordinator of community participation for Wesleyan’s Jewett Center for Community Partnerships.