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Naegele, Aaron, Student Researchers Published in Journal of Neuroscience

Wesleyan faculty, students and alumni co-authored a paper published in the October 2014 Journal of Neuroscience.

Wesleyan faculty, students and alumni co-authored a paper published in the October 2014 Journal of Neuroscience.

Jan Naegele, Gloster Aaron and several Wesleyan researchers are the co-authors of an article titled “Long-Term Seizure Suppression and Optogenetic Analyses of Synaptic Connectivity in Epileptic Mice with Hippocampal Grafts of GABAergic Interneurons,” published in the October 2014 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, Issue 34(40): 13492-13504.

Naegele is professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, and director of the Center for Faculty Career Development. Aaron is associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior. The article is co-authored by Diana Lin ’15; graduate students Jyoti Gupta and Meghan Van Zandt; recent alumni Elizabeth Litvina BA/MA ’11, XiaoTing Zheng ’14, Nicholas Woods ’13 and Ethan Grund ’13; and former research assistants/lab managers Sara Royston, Katharine Henderson and Stephanie Tagliatela.

Studies in rodent epilepsy models suggest that GABAergic interneuron progenitor grafts can reduce hyperexcitability and seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Although integration of the transplanted cells has been proposed as the underlying mechanism for these disease-modifying effects, prior studies have not explicitly examined cell types and synaptic mechanisms for long-term seizure suppression. To address this gap, the researchers transplanted medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) cells from embryos into adult mice two weeks after induction of TLE.

The researchers found that TLE mice with bilateral MGE cell grafts had significantly fewer and milder electrographic seizures. These findings suggest that fetal GABAergic interneuron grafts may suppress pharmacoresistant seizures.

 

Meet Wesleyan Tour Guide Greg Tavarez ’16

Greg Tavarez '16

Greg Tavarez ’16 is a Wesleyan tour guide and admission intern.

As part of an ongoing series on student employment, we speak to a campus tour guide. All Wesleyan tours are given by students, and the Office of Admission employs up to 50 student tour guides at a time.

According to Ashleigh Corvi ’13, assistant dean of admission and coordinator of the tour guide program, “The goal of our tours is to highlight the unique characteristics of Wesleyan, and interweave these ideas into a personal narrative. We want our tours to be a mix of facts and personal anecdotes and experiences. The stories our students recall are what resonate with visitors, especially the prospective students. This tour model, which we believe is effective, would not be possible without this student perspective.”

Tour guides are selected from a group interview setting in order to ensure they are comfortable presenting and answering questions in front of a group. According to Corvi, the Office of Admission

Mukerji Represents Wesleyan at National STEM Meeting

Ishita Mukerji

Ishita Mukerji

Ishita Mukerji, dean of natural sciences and mathematics and director of technology initiatives, represented Wesleyan at a White House-sponsored conference of STEM educators Sept. 16.

Mukerji said she was intrigued by other universities’ approaches to increase access to science, technology, engineering and math – and happy to share Wesleyan’s STEM initiatives with her counterparts.

“It was a great opportunity to learn about what works and compare with what we are doing,” said Mukerji, who also is professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.”I was happy to see that in many instances, we were on the right track and have some of the key elements in place.”

The conference was a followup to a January meeting at the White House, attended by President Michael Roth and about 100 other leaders in higher education. That gathering, part of the White House College Opportunity initiative, asked the leaders how their institutions were increasing access. Wesleyan’s commitment to opening access in STEM fields

Burge Specializes in Software Engineering, Design Rationale

anet Burge, associate professor of computer science, is teaching a service learning course, COMP 342 Software Engineering, this fall. The course includes a survey of current programming languages, advanced topics in a specific language, design patterns, code reorganization techniques, specification languages, verification and tools for managing multiple-programmer software projects. Burge joined the Wesleyan faculty this semester. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Janet Burge, associate professor of computer science, is teaching a service learning course, COMP 342 Software Engineering, this fall. The course includes a survey of current programming languages, advanced topics in a specific language, design patterns, code reorganization techniques, specification languages, verification and tools for managing multiple-programmer software projects. Burge joined the Wesleyan faculty this semester. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Professor Burge! Please fill us in on your life up to now.

A: I’m originally from Michigan, and attended undergrad at Michigan Tech. I moved out to Massachusetts and worked on radar systems for quite a few years. I did a lot of off-site work traveling all around the country; it’s exciting to see the products you build in action. I always planned to go back to graduate school, and I decided to pursue a master’s in computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I started out there part time, but then an opportunity arose and I made a quick decision to go full time to earn a Ph.D. I then taught for nine years at Miami University in Ohio before coming to Wesleyan. I’m very excited to be here.

Q: How did you wind up at Wesleyan, and what is your impression of the school so far?

A: From the time I was a high school student, I wanted to be at a small liberal arts college, but it never quite worked out before now. I also knew a few former and current faculty members at Wesleyan, and they raved about the students here. If anything, the students are even more awesome than they had told me.

Ishiguro to Study Female Saman Dance as Fulbright DDRA Fellow

Maho Ishiguro

Maho Ishiguro

Maho Ishiguro, an ethnomusicology doctoral student, received a Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship to study the female Saman dance in Indonesia. The award came with a $29,508 stipend.

Ishiguro’s proposed research title is “Saman Dance in Diaspora Presence of Female Saman Dance as Expressions of Piety Cultural Identity and Popular Culture.” Her DDRA project will examine the contemporary life of female Saman dance in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Banda Aceh.

Saman dance, or the dance of a “thousand hands” is typically performed in Gayo Lues, a mountainous region of Aceh, by eight to 20 male performers who kneel in a row and make different kinds of torso movements accompanied by songs, clapping hands, slapping chests or slapping the floor. The dance traditionally is performed to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad and has been used recently to promote Acehnese as well as Indonesia’s national culture.

“Indonesia’s deepening Islamization today impacts the nations’ performing arts and the conduct of Muslim women’s lives,” Ishiguro said. “In Aceh, despite its Islamic origin, female adults were prohibited from performing Saman dance at public events.

Federal Grant Supports DAC Digital Initiative

Davison Art Center.

Many works at the Davison Art Center will be digitally photographed starting with a collection of Dutch and German prints.

A significant federal grant will support efforts to make works in Wesleyan’s Davison Art Center more accessible to students, faculty and the wider world.

The $111,173 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, announced this week, will fund digital photography of some of the DAC’s permanent collection, beginning in 2015 with Dutch and German “old master” prints.

The funds, awarded in the Museums for America program, will allow the DAC to execute high quality, rapid photography of key parts of its holdings; these images can then be used for collection management or in classes.

Chong ’18 to Represent Hong Kong in Tennis at Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18

Eudice Chong ’18, a native of Sai Kung, Hong Kong, will be representing her nation in the 17th Asian Games, to be held in Incheon, South Korea from Sept. 19-Oct. 4.

Forty-Five nations will be represented at the Games with 439 events in 36 disciplines being contested. Chong is Wesleyan’s number-one player in women’s tennis and went 4-0 during the team’s opening activity, a double tournament hosted by Sacred Heart University Sept. 6.

She will be competing in both doubles and mixed doubles during the Asian Games. Chong is currently ranked 323rd in the most recent International Tennis Federation World Junior Rankings.

Wes Media Project Analyzes Campaign Advertising

The Wesleyan Media Project is back with a new analysis of campaign advertising in this year’s midterm elections. As Vox reports, WMP’s new analysis shows Democrats holding a clear advertising advantage in Senate races in many key states. The story explains:

Some of the largest ad advantages for Democrats have been in Colorado and Michigan, where they are leading, as well as Arkansas and Georgia, where GOP candidates appear to have the edge. Republicans only had a sizable ad advantage in one key state — New Hampshire, where Scott Brown seems to have recently gained a bit of ground in polls. [...] Some of this advantage is because more Democratic incumbents are at risk, and incumbents usually have an easier time raising money than challengers. But Democrats are getting substantial support from Super PACs and dark money groups as well…

 The Washington Post cites the WMP report in its story on how pro-Democratic independent groups–especially, Senate Majority PAC and Patriot Majority–are playing an aggressive role in Senate races this year:

Perhaps most notably, the super PAC has held its own on the air against Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group that is the primary political organ of a network backed by the Koch brothers and other wealthy donors on the right. By the end of the summer, the two groups had run nearly the same volume of television ads nationwide, according to Kantar Media/CMAG data analyzed by the Wesleyan Media Project.

And the National Journal picked up on WMP’s finding that the 2014 ad campaign is opening with more negativity than 2012 or 2014:

In U.S. Senate races, 55 percent of ads aired over the last two weeks were negative, meaning the ad only criticized the opponent. Another 17.5 percent of Senate ads aired in the past two weeks were “contrast ads,” or ads that mention both the opponent and the sponsor’s favored candidate. Just 27.5 percent of the ads were positive. By comparison, ads for gubernatorial and House races over that period were more than 40 percent negative. Ads for both House and Senate races have become increasingly negative since 2010. Between 2012 and 2014, the share of negative ads for gubernatorial campaigns jumped by 20 points—from 23.3 percent to 43.8 percent. “So far the 2014 midterms are seeing increased volume and increased negativity over 2010, which is going to make citizens even less happy with the tone of the airwaves,” Michael Franz, the Wesleyan Media Project’s co-director, said. “Evidence from political science suggests, however, that citizens may be more informed as a result of the negativity.”

Read the entire new study here. Read more coverage of the study in FiveThirtyEight, USA Today here and here, The Wall Street Journal (requires subscription), The Hill, Scripps News, and The Huffington Post.

CareerDrive Will Put Student Job Searches in Gear

Wesleyan's Career Center offers a new recruiting platform called CareerDrive. Students can access the tools through their e-portfolio and search and apply for jobs and internships, view the employer directory, manage career advising appointments and browse a calendar listing of upcoming workshops, employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The platform also offers integration with LinkedIn and Facebook to shows students their connections with specific organizations.

Wesleyan’s Career Center offers a new recruiting platform called CareerDrive. Students can access the tools through their e-portfolio and search and apply for jobs and internships, view the employer directory, manage career advising appointments and browse a calendar listing of upcoming workshops, employer information sessions and on-campus interviews. The platform also offers integration with LinkedIn and Facebook to shows students their connections with specific organizations. CareerDrive is one of many professional development initiatives offered by the Wesleyan Career Center this fall.

Students getting ready for life beyond campus can take advantage of several comprehensive professional development initiatives offered by the Wesleyan Career Center.

CareerDrive fuels students’ efforts to learn career management skills, search for jobs and internships, sign up for events, and track progress toward their goals. Powered by CSO Research, CareerDrive will allow students to search and apply for jobs and internships, store their documents, register for events and gain access to subscription-only online resources. It replaces Wesleyan’s previous recruiting system. One feature will allow job-seekers to see social media connections in target organizations.

“It’s a great tool,” said Sharon Belden Castonguay, director of the Career Center. “Say you type in Widgets, Inc. – Drive will let you see whether your LinkedIn or Facebook connections work there, people who may be able to provide insight into the organization.”

While the new recruiting platform is open to all students, seniors can participate in Accelerate, a “job search boot camp” running concurrently with the fall recruiting season, providing job hunters with real-time guidance.

Martin Oversees Student Employment, Counsels Families on Financial Aid Issues

Sean Martin.

Sean Martin, senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office, says most students work an average of five to 10 hours per week. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

This year, The Wesleyan Connection will feature conversations with students who perform important work all over campus, and out in the Middletown community. In this issue, we speak with Sean Martin, senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office, who oversees student employment.

Q: Sean, please tell us about your role as senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office.

A: I’ve been working in the Financial Aid Office at Wesleyan for going on 10 years, and my responsibilities there have expanded over time. One aspect of my job is overseeing all facets of student employment. I spend a good amount of my time reading files of applicants and current students, and counseling students and families about financial aid issues. I also do various other things, including serving as liaison to Athletics and ITS.

Q: How many students have jobs at Wesleyan?

A: Students can work on campus whether they are eligible for work-study funding or not. Approximately 1,500 students work on-campus each year, roughly 1,100 of whom are work-study eligible students.

Q: How many hours do students typically work each week?

A: Most positions require students to commit to an average of five to 10 hours per week.

Hanakata ’14 Finalist for American Physical Society’s Apker Award

Paul Hanakata '14

Paul Hanakata ’14

Paul Hanakata ’14 was named a finalist for the American Physical Society’s prestigious Leroy Apker Award, the highest prize offered in the United States for an undergraduate thesis in physics. He will compete to win the award this month.

The Apker Award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and thereby provide encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment.

At Wesleyan, Hanakata received high honors for his Wesleyan thesis titled, “Cooperative Dynamics in Supported Polymer Films,” under his advisor, Francis Starr, professor of physics and director of the College of Integrative Sciences.

In recognition of his exceptional research accomplishments,

COE Scholar Presents Multi-Media Exhibit on “Colony Collapse”

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan's College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

Joseph Smolinski, visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, is a guest artist at the Green Street Arts Center this month. His exhibit, Colony Collapse, explores the recent disappearance of millions of honeybees.  The work focuses on the notion of collapse in relation to human impacts on the environment in drawing, video and 3D printed sculpture forms.

The mysterious disappearance of millions of honeybees – known as colony collapse disorder – has frustrated and worried scientists around the world for more than seven years. The visiting scholar at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment explores this mystery in a new exhibit at the Green Street Arts Center that opened Sept. 4.

Joseph Smolinski, a noted artist who has exhibited in many venues ranging from MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. to the Cleveland Institute of Art , uses 3-D printing, video and other media to show the scale of the honeybee crisis – and note that environmental stressors