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On April 11, join several Wesleyan alumnae as they share insights and discuss strategies as women in today’s workplace – from the boardroom to the operating room.

“Female Frontiers – Pushing Boundaries in the Workplace” is an opportunity for students to connect with alumnae in the career context to forge professional relationships and get tips for career success. All students, staff, faculty and alumni are welcome.

The event is sponsored by Women of Wesleyan, a year-long programming initiative that features women, their accomplishments, and their influence on the Wesleyan community and the world at large.

Journalist Jane Eisner '77 will deliver a talk at 2 p.m. April 11.

Journalist Jane Eisner ’77 will deliver a talk at 2 p.m. April 11.

“Female Frontiers” begins with a featured talk by Jane Eisner ’77, former Wesleyan Trustee, journalist, and editor-in-chief of The Forward. After refreshments, participants can attend one of two panels on Women in Education, Not-for-Profit, and the Arts or Women in Law, Medicine, Finance and Science.

Panelists will include Jennifer Alexander ’88 P’16, founder and executive director of Kidcity Children’s Museum; Tracey Gardner ’96, Wesleyan Trustee, chief of staff at NYU’s Robert Wagner School of Public Service; Nadia Zilkha ’79, P’10, c-chair of 3 Generations Films  and co-owner/vice-president of Laetitia Vineyard and Winery; Joaquina Borges King ’87, P’17, senior counsel at Northeast Utilities System; Kristen Laguerre ’92, partner and chief financial officer at Atlas Venture; and Elizabeth Schiller ’01, emergency medical physician at St. Francis Hospital.

The event will conclude with a screening of Tricked, a candid documentary about the reality of human trafficking, at the Powell Family Cinema. Zilkha, the film’s executive producer, and Jane Wells, the film’s director, will provide a talk-back following the film.

For more information, the full schedule, or to register, see this link.

 

Melody Oliphant ’13, who double majored in neuroscience and behavior and history at Wes, is now a research associate in a neurogenetics lab at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

“I’m often awestruck at the seemingly limitless answers to the question, ‘What makes Wesleyan special?’ or ‘What excited me about Wesleyan?’ Yet, in some form or fashion, the answer always remains the same: the people, the sense of community.

Throughout my Wesleyan experience, I participated in a disparate array of activities and academic pursuits ranging from environmental activism to my double major, from founding a sorority to participating in the Wesleyan Student Assembly, from playing Ultimate Frisbee to serving as a women’s center escort to help women pass center protesters. I worked as an archivist at the Middlesex County Historical Society, as a student manager for the Red and Black Calling Society, as a sustainability intern working to remove bottled water from campus, and as an intern for the Senior Gift.

Someone unfamiliar with Wesleyan might wonder what unites such supposedly divergent interests. But the answer is simple: community. Even in my academics, I learned not to take courses according to my own purported interests, but rather by following professors who ignite a sense of intellectual curiosity and foster a holistic understanding of the world, uniting the humanities with the technoscientific realm.”

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View this video and others at the Video @Wesleyan site.

#THISISWHY

Game of Thrones cast members Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen are seen in this image by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.

Game of Thrones cast members Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen are seen in this image by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.

On the eve of the fourth season of HBO’s fantasy hit Game of Thrones, Wesleyan Visiting Writer in English Jim Windolf talks with series creators D.B. Weiss ’93 and David Benioff and novelist George R.R. Martin – on whose works the show is based – in Vanity Fair:

“Based on ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ the epic series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, the show seemed like an odd fit for HBO. But Benioff and Weiss believed it was in the tradition of The Sopranos,Deadwood, Oz, and other HBO shows in that it would breathe new life into a tired or maligned genre. It wasn’t an easy task, though, to persuade executives that something belonging to a category that includes Xena: Warrior Princess was right for the crown jewel of premium cable. ‘That was one of the big uphill sells,’ Weiss says. ‘It was just a question of convincing them that it applied to a genre that had never seriously crossed their minds before.’”

Windolf traces the history of the show’s creation and rocky HBO debut, and asks author Martin about the relationship between the source material and the series:

“Game of Thrones, which enters its fourth season this month, may be heading toward its second massive problem, as tough to solve as the messed-up pilot, which is this: the show is in danger of catching up to the books.

“Martin started writing the epic saga (more than 4,000 pages and counting) in July 1991. He has published five of a planned seven books. If the 2015 television season carries Benioff and Weiss through Book Five, which is possible, and if Martin has not completed Book Six (The Winds of Winter) by that time, which is also possible, there could be trouble.

“Asked if it’s conceivable the show could overtake its source material, Benioff says, ‘Yup.’ When I mention to Martin that Benioff and Weiss are catching up, he says, ‘They are. Yes. It’s alarming.’”

Windolf is editor of M magazine, contributing editor for Vanity Fair, columnist for Capital New York, and writer for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The New York Observer.

Several Wesleyan students attended a dinner in Paris, hosted by Wesleyan alumnus James Lieber ’84. Pictured, from left, are Robert Don ’15, Laura Hess ’16, Olayinka Lawal ’15, James Lieber ’84, Haylle Reidy ’15, Will Slap ’15 and Drue Mirchand ’15. In the booth are Borworn Satayopas ’15, Dan Medvedev ’16, Gabriella Carpenter ’16, Daniel Issroff ’15, Michael Lyn ’15 and Stephanie Dawson ’16.

Several Wesleyan students attended a dinner in Paris, hosted by Wesleyan alumnus James Lieber ’84. Pictured in the back row, from left, are Robert Don ’15, Laura Hess ’16, Olayinka Lawal ’15, James Lieber ’84, Haylle Reidy ’15, Will Slap ’15 and Drue Mirchand ’15. Pictured in the front are Borworn Satayopas ’15, Dan Medvedev ’16, Gabriella Carpenter ’16, Daniel Issroff ’15, Michael Lyn ’15 and Stephanie Dawson ’16.

James Lieber ’84, president of the consulting firm, Lieber Strategies, hosted a dinner for Wesleyan students in Paris in March.

“I think they were all fed for a week,” Lieber said.

After graduating from Wesleyan with a BA with honors in art history, Lieber went on to get his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard and a juris doctor degree cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law. In Paris, he founded Lieber Strategies, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in management of cross-border projects for multinational and national corporations, investment funds and private individuals.

Book by Daniel A. Gilbert '98

Book by Daniel A. Gilbert ’98

Not one but two books about baseball by Wesleyan graduates have just hit the shelves. Daniel Gilbert ’98, assistant professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has published Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency (University of Massachusetts Press), while Benjamin Baumer ’00 and Andrew Zimbalist P’02 have co-written The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Book  by Benjamin Baumer '00 and Andrew Zimbalist P'02

Book by Benjamin Baumer ’00 and Andrew Zimbalist P’02

Expanding the Strike Zone takes a look at issues of work and territory that have come into play as baseball expanded since the mid-20th century. The book highlights how players, owners, writers and fans have reshaped the sport as a central element of popular culture from the postwar book to the Great Recession.

Gilbert examines recent research as well as fiction and film and shows how Major League Baseball grew to become a transnational popular culture, arguing that the sport exists within the development of neoliberal globalization. In particular, his study works as a labor history, spanning from integration and ballplayer unionism to big league stardom and baseball academies.

Chapters of the book cover such topics as the role of free agency; star power and solidarity in the United States and Mexico; Dominican baseball and the rise of the academies; and Seattle, the Mariners and the politics of location.

The Sabermetric Revolution closely examines the rise of player performance analytics depicted in the 2003 book (and 2011 movie) Moneyball, correcting common misinterpretations and developing new methods to assess the effectiveness of sabermetrics on team performance. Baumer, a visiting assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Smith College and former statistical analyst for the New York Mets, and Zimbalist, the Robert. A Woods Professor of Economics at Smith, explore how analytics have changed since the 2002 season and question how useful sabermetrics will be in the future.

Baumer and Zimbalist provide an interesting case study of the use of statistics by general managers and front office executives. For fans and fantasy leagues, the book is an accessible primer on the real math behind moneyball including new insights into the changing business of baseball.

Andrew Zimbalist P'02

Andrew Zimbalist P’02

Daniel A. Gilbert '98

Daniel A. Gilbert ’98

Benjamin Baumer '00

Benjamin Baumer ’00

Roberta Pereira ‘03 is the co-founder and managing editor of Dress Circle Publishing, whose mission is to provide its readers with a peek behind the curtain through theater-themed books. The company publishes fiction and nonfiction, which attracts a varied audience, and especially theater-lovers everywhere.

Roberta Pereira '03 (Photo: Erik Pearson)

Roberta Pereira ’03 (Photo by Erik Pearson)

Dress Circle Publishing has just published The Untold Stories of Broadway, Volume 1, by musical theater historian and producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper, which records the stories of eight Broadway theaters and productions that have played there, as told by producers, actors, directors, writers, musicians, and the various other artists and workers involved. Pereira edited the book and says that even during the first read of the work she knew she had found something unique.

Book Published by Dress Circle Publishing

Book Published by Dress Circle Publishing

Pereira recently talked to us about her work and her Wesleyan experience.

How did Dress Circle Publishing come about?
I have always been an avid reader and a passionate theater lover. In fact, I am also a theater producer (with Bisno Productions) and have worked on shows such as Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, starring Tyne Daly and now playing on Broadway. One evening, I was having a post-show cocktail at Sardi’s with my friend and fellow producer Brisa Trinchero, and we were bemoaning the fact that there was a lack of great theater-themed books. As two enterprising women, we immediately wanted to do something about that, and thus Dress Circle Publishing was born.

Did you always have an interest in theater?
Yes! When I was six years old I was obsessed with a show called The Butterfly Garden in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I grew up. I asked my parents to take me back to see it every weekend for six weeks in a row. My favorite part was that The Wind was played by a dancer on roller skates.

Roberta Pereira '03 with Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 at launch party of The Untold Stories of Broadway by Jennifer Ashley Tepper. (Photo: Kristin Goehring)

Roberta Pereira ’03 with Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 at launch party of The Untold Stories of Broadway by Jennifer Ashley Tepper. (Photo by Kristin Goehring)

Did you have a lot of publishing experience before founding the company? Was it difficult getting funding?
I had worked at Scholastic before embarking on my theater career and had further experience editing articles, programs, blogs, etc. Since both my co-founder and I are experts at raising money for theater, getting funding wasn’t too difficult. Besides, it is much easier when people are excited about your idea and our funders agreed with us that theater-themed books was an untapped market.

Would you talk about some of the favorite books you’ve published?
I love our Broadway Trilogy by Ruby Preston. Showbiz and Staged are out already and she is working on the last book right now. Those books are fun because they are inspired by real-life Broadway people and events, but tell a very engaging story of Scarlett Savoy, an up-and-coming producer who works for the less than nice “King of Broadway.” It is The Devil Wears Prada in the world of theater.

Do you rely on submissions or do you sometimes commission projects?
We have an open submission policy (info at dresscircepublishing.com) and so far we have been lucky that all our books have come to us through that. We are big proponents of first-time authors so we been able to support a lot of fresh new voices. (more…)

Kenneth Kimmell ’82 will join the Union of Concerned Scientists as president in May. After graduating with a BA from Wesleyan, Kimmell received his JD from UCLA. His decision to become an environmental attorney was prompted by an experience assisting a United State District Court judge on a case in which the government misused science. He was a director and senior attorney at a law firm in Boston before joining the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. As General Counsel of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Kimmell wrote and helped pass five groundbreaking environmental and energy laws. In 2011 he became the head of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the position he will leave to join the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Kenneth Kimmell ’82

Kenneth Kimmell ’82 will join UCS as president in May.

The Union of Concerned Scientists began as a collaboration between faculty and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is now an alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists who “combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.”

“We are pleased and excited to have Ken Kimmell on our team,” said Kathleen Rest, the executive director of the UCS. “He brings a wealth of experience, a deep passion for our issues, and a strong commitment to science-based policy and decision-making. He is a strong, strategic and energetic leader, and we couldn’t be happier with this appointment.”

Kimmell said, “Becoming the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists is the opportunity of a lifetime. UCS is a nationally recognized, mission-oriented group with a stellar staff and the credibility and resources to make a difference on the defining issues of our generation. It’s an honor and a privilege to join such a prestigious organization, and I look forward to working with the UCS board, staff and members to be even more visible and effective in addressing the difficult challenges ahead.”

For more information about the USC, visit their website.

 

Paul Tractenberg ’60

Paul Tractenberg ’60

The Institute on Education Law and Policy (IELP), an interdisciplinary research project at Rutgers University-Newark that director Paul Tractenberg ’60 established in 2000, has produced two major reports [see one and two] on school segregation in New Jersey in collaboration with The Civil Rights Project at UCLA. “The findings were sobering, even for a state that has long been home to some of the most segregated schools in the country,” wrote Tractenberg for NJ Spotlight.

Tractenberg, who is also the Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and Alfred C. Clapp Distinguished Public Service Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, recently published Courting Justice: 10 New Jersey Cases That Shook the Nation (Rutgers University Press, 2013) which he edited, as well as authored two chapters. He discussed these cases on New Jersey Capital Report with Steve Adubato and Rafael Pi Roman. Adubato, who calls the book “provocative and fascinating,” brings up Tractenberg’s case number 10, Robinson v. Cahill, which declared that New Jersey’s school funding statute was unconstitutional because it violated the “thorough and efficient education” requirement of the state constitution. Tractenberg explains the genesis of the lawsuit:

“At the level of funding… urban kids were not getting a fair shake; they were not getting as much as advantaged suburban kids. … There was fundamentally unfair and unequal in taking the children with the greatest educational needs and giving them less resources, older buildings, weaker curricula…It was an effort to address a lot of things through funding.” [See it here: Tractenberg comes in at 9:40.]

A history major at Wesleyan, Tractenberg earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan and has been on the faculty at Rutgers Law School since 1973. He is spending his sabbatical year working on a comparative study of public education reform processes in Ontario, Israel and Finland, where he was appointed as a visiting professorial scholar at the law and education schools of the University of Toronto, Tel Aviv and Haifa Universities and University of Helsinki, respectively.

Wesleyan alumni Bill Rodgers '70 (second from left with dark glasses) and Amby Burfoot '68 (second from the right), pictured in this 1967 men's cross country team photo, will reunite April 6 for a half marathon. The team's former coach, Elmer Swanson, is pictured looking over Burfoot's shoulder. Jeff Galloway '67 also will run the race.

Wesleyan alumni Bill Rodgers ’70 (third from left) and Amby Burfoot ’68 (second from right), pictured in this 1967 men’s cross country team photo, will reunite April 6 for a half marathon. The team’s former coach, Elmer Swanson, is pictured looking over Burfoot’s shoulder. Jeff Galloway ’67 also will run the race.

When Jeff Galloway ’67, Amby Burfoot ’68 and Bill Rodgers ’70 ready for the start of the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon Sunday, April 6 near Main Street, it will be a reunion of titanic proportions. The three haven’t been seen together since running as Cardinals 47 years ago.

“This might be the first time the three of us have been together since Wesleyan,” Rodgers said.

The trio of Galloway, Burfoot and Rodgers has given Wesleyan tremendous presence in the running world. Burfoot, as a Wesleyan senior, became the first collegian in the then 72-year history of the Boston Marathon, to win the event on April 19, 1968. He skipped a Wesleyan-UConn meet that day to make history in Beantown.  Consistently active in road races throughout his career, Burfoot has left quite a footprint in the field through his editorial involvement with Runner’s World magazine.

Rodgers, who roomed with Burfoot during the 1967-68 year and helped him train for Boston, went on to become the world’s top ranked marathoner for much of the mid- to late-1970s, winning both the Boston and New York marathons four times over the span. Over his career as a competitive road racer, Rodgers competed in 59 marathons, winning 22. He runs the Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston.

Galloway has gone on to great fame as a writer and clinician in the world of running and was a member of the U.S. Olympic squad in 1972 alongside Frank Shorter in the 10k event. Both he and Rodgers identify Shorter as a major influence in their early post-Wesleyan running days. Rodgers qualifies him as a prime rival in the road racing circuit throughout the heydey of his career. Galloway had the chance to train at Yale during the winter as an undergraduate and was paired with Shorter.  The two were charter members of the Florida Track Club in 1970.

All three are quick to praise Wesleyan and their former head track and cross-country coach Elmer Swanson for helping shape their illustrious careers.

“What I remember most vividly about Wesleyan,” said Burfoot via email, “is the university’s incredibly tolerant, accepting ethos – that all manner of diversity was encouraged and endorsed.” He qualified some of his characteristics both as a runner and student as weird, but “astonishingly, I didn’t feel that weird as there we plenty of other wonderful weirdos at Wesleyan.  I felt very lucky to be a member of such a community.”

“Wesleyan in the 1960s offered a laid-back environment that inspired the pursuit of excellence for those who wanted this,” Galloway said.  “During my four years I adjusted my expectations in academics, running and life.  Elmer Swanson let us set our own training programs.  We didn’t feel the pressure that many of our friends experienced.”

“Coach Swanson was a unique kind of coach,” Rodgers echoed. “He didn’t have that win-at-all-costs attitude.  He just wanted us to do our best.  He helped us avoid injuries while following our own path.  It allowed us to have the careers we have today.  And most of all, it was fun!”

On April 6, the three will be looking for another fun time together in Middletown.

Laura Fraser '82

Laura Fraser ’82

Laura Fraser ’82, who majored in American studies, has cofounded and launched Shebooks, an e-publishing site dedicated to producing short e-books by and for women. The site went live in January, and it features exclusive memoirs, fiction and journalism by established authors like Hope Edelman, Marion Winik, Faith Adiele, Jessica Anya Blau and Suzanne Paola. Some contributing Wesleyan authors include Jennifer Finney Boylan ’80, who wrote an original novella for Shebooks and is on its advisory board, Virginia Pye ’82, who wrote an original novella, stories by Bonnie Friedman ’79 and some essays by Fraser herself.

All works, ranging from long articles to short books, are designed to be read in under two hours. They’re available on all major e-readers and soon by subscription directly from the shebooks.net site. Individually, each title costs $2.99.

“Women writers are looking for new outlets for their most personal work, and women readers crave great reads that fit into their busy lives,” said Laura Fraser, in a press release. “We are thrilled by the variety and quality of our first titles.”

Fraser’s own bestselling 2001 book, An Italian Affair, documented her post-divorce getaway to Italy and the romantic rendezvous that followed. Her more recent title, All Over the Map, continues the tale in Oaxaca, Mexico, where Fraser visited to celebrate her 40th birthday and reflect on her past experiences.

Any women writer can submit her own shebook for consideration, but be warned that it’s a carefully curated collection and a very selective process.

“Our main criteria for publication is that the writing is really good, and of interest to women,” reads the text on Shebooks’ submission page. “If you haven’t published anything elsewhere, it’s unlikely that we will be interested in your work, but not impossible. It all depends on how compelling your story is—whether we MUST keep reading.”

Tsampikos Kottos and Hamidreza Ramezani Ph.D. ’13.

Tsampikos Kottos and Hamidreza Ramezani Ph.D. ’13.

Hamidreza (Hamid) Ramezani Ph.D. ’13, recently won the Biruni Graduate Student Research Award. The award aims to promote and recognize outstanding research by a physics graduate student of Iranian heritage who is currently studying in one of the institutions of higher education in the United States, seeking originality, thoroughness, a teamwork spirit and ownership among the candidates. The honor comes with a cash award.

Before graduating with his Ph.D. from Wesleyan in November, Ramezani studied cosmology and gravitational physics while earning his master’s degree at the University of Tehran. He completed his bachelor study in solid state physics at Sahed University.

At Wesleyan, his mentor was Tsampikos Kottos, Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Physics. Ramezani worked in the Wave Transport in Complex Systems lab and studied ways a macroscopic object is miniaturized. The lab’s objective is “to close the gap between the microscopic and macroscopic worlds and to develop models and theories that will help understand the interplay between quantum mechanics, interactions, and disorder, which dictate the dynamics on the mesoscopic scale.” More information on the lab and its research can be found on this website. Ramezani focused more specifically on the fundamental properties and application of complex optical systems with judicious balanced gain and loss.

Currently, Ramezani is a postdoctoral research assistant under Professor Xiang Zhang at the University of California – Berkeley. His interests are asymmetric transport phenomena in complex electronics, acoustics and photonics systems.

Max Perel-Slater ’11

Max Perel-Slater ’11

Max Perel-Slater ’11 has won an Advancing Leaders Fellowship from World Learning for the Tanzania-based project, The Maji Safi Movement (“maji safi” means “clean water” in Swahili; see majisafimovement.org).

Maji Safi is focused on disease prevention and health promotion and particularly aimed at empowering rural communities in their efforts to combat water-borne and water-related diseases. The Movement encompasses both a local NGO and a US-based 501(c)3; Perel-Slater is president and co-founder of the U.S. arm and treasurer of the Tanzania-based organization. He has worked on water projects in Shirati, Tanzania, since 2009, when he led the construction of a rainwater catchment system.

A College of the Environment (COE) major at Wesleyan, Perel-Slater studied abroad in Tanzania with World Learning’s School for International Training, dedicated to international development and exchange programs. He also completed a graduate-level field course in hydrogeology at Clemson University. While in Tanzania, he researched Shirati’s water challenges for his senior capstone project with the COE. In 2011, he worked in Nairobi’s Kibera slum with Shining Hope for Communities, a nonprofit organization founded by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner Odede ’09; there, Perel-Slater coordinated a water sanitation project and co-led their summer program for students from US universities.

Additionally, this summer Perel-Slater was named an associate fellow of the College of the Environment, noted Barry Chernoff, COE director and the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan. The fellowship acknowledges both the formative and continuing relationship between Perel-Slater’s work and the COE: Wesleyan undergraduates in the College now serve as interns with Maji Safi in Shirati, and Perel-Slater returns episodically to campus to meet with COE students and faculty.

“Max is an inspiration to our COE undergraduates and alumni alike,” said Chernoff, who is also professor of biology, professor and chair of the environmental studies program, professor of earth and environmental sciences. “He has put his education—and idealism—to practical use in the world in an incredible way. We are so proud of him.”

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