Tag Archive for alumni

Mentors Share Experience with Female Student-Athletes

On April 17,  more than 30 alumni, parents and community members and 80 student-athletes participated in an Alumni Athletics Mentoring Workshop in Beckham Hall. As part of the program, mentors met with female student-athletes to speak about career options.

Student-athlete Melissa Leung ’16 has first-hand knowledge of the workshop’s value. “At last year’s event, I met my mentor, Clare Colton ’12,” says Leung, who attended the event for the second year in a row. “Clare provided resume and email etiquette advice and connected me with Jim Citrin (P’12 P’14), senior director of Spencer Stuart, who created an internship position for me with Spencer Stuart in Shanghai last semester, during my semester abroad.”

(Photos by Dat Vu ’15.)

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Former Wesleyan field hockey and lacrosse player Suzi Byers ’94 shares her experience with Rosemary Martin ’16 at the mentoring event.

Basinger, Arnold ’91 Talk About Classic Movies on TCM

Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, and Jeremy Arnold ’91 will hold a public talk on “Films and Facts: Whose Responsibility?” at 12:30 p.m. March 27 at the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival. The schedule of the film festival can be found here.

Hollywood’s alleged disregard for the facts of history is year after year the subject of heated media debate. From the early days of the silent era to this year’s Oscar race, charges of historical inaccuracy have fueled great conversations about factual reproduction, creative license, propaganda and audience responsibility. Jeanine Basinger and Jeremy Arnold will continue the tradition by discussing the fascinating question of whether Hollywood films have a responsibility to history or storytelling.

Arnold, who holds a BA in film studies, is the author of Lawrence of Arabia: The 50th Anniversary, a coffee table book published by Sony and included in their 2012 Blu-ray release of Lawrence of Arabia. The book and Blu-ray can be found here.

Held over four days in the heart of Hollywood, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a place where movie lovers from around the world can gather to experience classic movies as they were meant to be experienced: on the big screen, in some of the world’s most iconic venues, with the people who made them. Moreover, the TCM Classic Film Festival strives to be a place where a community of movie fans of all ages can share their love of classic movies with each other, make new friends and see films as they are seldom seen today.

Kurash ’13: Update from Medical School

Laura Kurash ’13,

Laura Kurash ’13 played on the women’s soccer team. 

Laura Kurash ’13, a chemistry and Hispanic literature and culture major at Wesleyan—as well as women’s soccer standout with NESCAC Player of the Year honors—was highlighted in a “Meet a Wesleyan Student” video as an undergraduate.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 3.18.05 PMNow a second-year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Kurash responded to a request for an update—what she enjoys now, what she misses from the Wes campus, assessing new academic rigors, and the ways that Wesleyan prepared her for these challenges:

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Wes soccer almost every day,” Kurash said, although, ever positive, she acknowledges that she did get to play a few times last fall. Studying takes up much of her time, with her main focus on Step 1 boards exam in June. These exams are a major factor in determining her residency placement, she explained, and they cover all the material from the past two years.

As a resident, she’ll begin to focus on a specialty.

“I frequently get asked which one I’ll choose, but I’m not sure since I change my mind every six months! At the moment my favorites are cardiology, oncology and neurology,” she said.

Having an unknown in her academic career is novel.

“I entered Wes knowing I would play soccer, major in chemistry and Spanish, and go to medical school. For the first time in my life, I don’t know exactly what comes next, which is daunting but exciting!”

Also different is her method of studying. Med school, she said, forces her to learn a seemingly endless amount of material in a very short period of time. In order to do so, she had to completely adjust the way she studies and how long she studies each day.

“The rigors of Wesleyan academics undoubtedly helped make these adjustments more bearable,” she said.

Beyond the strong foundation in the sciences, though, she traces other aspects of her undergraduate career that are serving her well—specifically, fluency in Spanish. Last year, Kurash volunteered as a medical interpreter in the hospital, helping non-Spanish-speaking physicians communicate with their Spanish-speaking patients. Since then, she’s signed up to volunteer in a Spanish medical clinic in center city Philadelphia to continue practicing Spanish.

“In addition, I think my experiences at Wesleyan have better prepared me to speak to patients,” she concludes. “The student body at Wes consists of people from different backgrounds with different opinions (which are typically very strong), but overall there’s still a sense of unity and support. Similarly, my patients will have highly varied opinions and experiences, and the ability to empathize and communicate with them is an important skill set that Wesleyan helped to provide me.”

Kurash speaks about her Wesleyan experience in this “Meet a Wesleyan Student” video:
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Wesleyan Magazine featured Kurash in this student scholar article. Wesleyan Athletics reports Kurash caps illustrious women’s soccer career with NESCAC Player of the Year Honors:

Sea Animal Photographs on Display in Exley Science Center

An exhibit titled "Wakaya Octocorals and Giants" is on display in Exley Science Center. The 10 photographs in the display were taken by Joshua Boger '73, P'06, P'09 and feature reefs off Wakaya Island in Fiji. Boger has dived these reefs more than 200 times, spending more than a week underwater.

An exhibit titled “Wakaya Octocorals and Giants” is on display in Exley Science Center. The 22 photographs in the display were taken by Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09 and feature reefs off Wakaya Island in Fiji. Boger has dived these reefs more than 200 times, spending more than a week underwater. Pictured is a royal purple soft coral — Alcyonacea — photographed in 2013.

Alumni Speak on Careers for the Common Good


On Nov. 19, four Wesleyan alumni spoke to students about their post-Wesleyan journeys in a panel discussion on “Careers for the Common Good.” The event was moderated by Lily Herman ’16, pictured at left. Panelists included, from left, Gregg Croteau ’93, Christian Philemon ’97, Katie Nihill ’10 and Matt Lesser ’10.

Garcia ’88 Leads Dwight Greene Symposium, Screens New Basketball Documentary


World-renowned DJ, radio personality, streetball player and sneaker guru Robert ‘Bobbito’ Garcia ’88 led a movie screening and talkback during the 22nd Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium, Sept. 26 in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. Garcia spoke about his journey to Wesleyan and beyond, in addition to sharing his award-winning independent documentary Doin’ it in the Park, which explores the history, culture, and social impact of New York’s summer basketball scene.

Shot at 180 courts in 75 days, the film covers a cross-section of players both professional and amateur, including Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Kenny Smith, “Pee Wee” Kirkland, “Fly” Williams, God Shammgod, Tim “Headache” Gittens, Corey “Homicide” Williams, Kenny Anderson, Jack Ryan, Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon, Niki Avery, Milani Malik, and the Park Pick-Up Players of New York City. The filmmakers traveled to most of the film locations by bicycle, carrying camera equipment and a basketball in their backpacks.

Shot at 180 courts in 75 days, the film covers a cross-section of players both professional and amateur, including Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Kenny Smith, “Pee Wee” Kirkland, “Fly” Williams, God Shammgod, Tim “Headache” Gittens, Corey “Homicide” Williams, Kenny Anderson, Jack Ryan, Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon, Niki Avery, Milani Malik, and the Park Pick-Up Players of New York City. The filmmakers traveled to most of the film locations by bicycle, carrying camera equipment and a basketball in their backpacks.

5 Athletes, 1 Coach to be Enshrined in Wes Athletic Hall of Fame

Five notable Wesleyan athletes and one long-time coach will be enshrined in the seventh class of the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame. In total, the Hall, established in 2008, now includes 37 individuals and 11 teams. Joining the Hall of Fame Oct. 17 will be:

  • Joe Barry Morningstar ’39, a three-sport standout (football, basketball and baseball) for whom Wesleyan’s annual men’s basketball outstanding player award is named;
  • Cochrane Chase ’54, a tremendous football and wrestling talent during his undergraduate career;


  • Marion J. Stoj, M.D. ’74, a high-scoring forward in men’s soccer who earned All-America honors;
  • Thomas Vincent Reifenheiser III ’94, the most accomplished men’s tennis player in Wesleyan history, who earned NESCAC crowns and national Division III ITA titles and also played squash, two seasons as the team’s No. 1 player;
  • Sarah D. Hann, D.V.M.  ’95, an outstanding distance runner for the Cardinals with a NESCAC cross-country title and All-America laurels to her credit, who went on to international repute as a runner after graduation;
  • J. Elmer Swanson, who joined the Cardinal staff in 1963 as track and cross-country coach, adding the women’s teams in both sports to his portfolio when they turned varsity during the 1970s, and served as a mentor to hundreds of Wesleyan student-athletes during his 30 years as a full-time head coach.

The induction ceremony will take place Friday, Oct. 17 during Homecoming Weekend. To register for the event, go here. For more information on homecoming, go here. Read past AOF stories here.

Whedon ’87 Is Subject of New Biography

Joss Whedon '87 delivered Wesleyan's Commencement address in 2013.

Joss Whedon ’87 delivered Wesleyan’s Commencement address in 2013.

Award-winning film and television director, producer and writer Joss Whedon ’87 is the subject of the informative and entertaining Joss Whedon: The Biography (Chicago Review Press) by Amy Pascale, a director at MTV.

The book begins by tracing Whedon’s growth from a creative child and teenager who spent years away from his family at an elite English boarding school (Winchester College in Hampshire), through his early successes—which often turned into frustration in television (Roseanne) and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The biography then covers his breakout career turn as the creator, writer, and director of the highly successful Buffy television series, which garnered a passionate fan base.

Book about Josh Whedon '87.

Book about Josh Whedon ’87.

Following Buffy, Whedon directed, produced or wrote more television series (Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and the current ABC hit Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), several movies, Marvel comic books, and an innovative web series, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which gave him his first Emmy win. He went on to direct and write The Avengers film in 2012, which earned a worldwide box office of $1.5 billion. He followed this blockbuster with his film of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, a critically acclaimed personal project shot in black-and-white at his home with a cast of friends.

One of the chapters of the biography deals with Whedon’s time at Wesleyan, where he majored in film. As an undergraduate, he further developed his keen interest in gender studies and feminism. He also wrote a paper on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which focused on four themes: the Watcher, the Watched, Isolation, and the Role of the Viewer, themes that would appear in his own creative work. Whedon became a TA for film classes and made a student film. He studied with Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English Emeritus, and with Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, who says: “His lectures were absolutely brilliant. They had … a kind of poetry that showed how his heart and soul really understood the medium, as well as his brain … He wasn’t just intellectually sharp about film, he was also emotionally, creatively sharp about it.”

Pascale conducted extensive interviews with Whedon and his family, friends, collaborators and stars, resulting in candid, behind-the-scenes accounts of the making of his groundbreaking TV series and films, and new stories about his work with Pixar writers and animators during the creation of Toy Story.

Governors Shumlin, Hickenlooper to Speak on Campus during Reunion

Two current state governors who proudly call Wes their alma mater will be back on campus during Reunion & Commencement Weekend, May 22-25. Both Gov. Peter Shumlin ‘79 of Vermont and Gov. John Hickenlooper ’74, MA ’80, Hon ’10 of Colorado will be celebrating their reunion years, and giving talks during the weekend.

On May 24, Hickenlooper will give a WESeminar from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., titled “An Inside Look Into the Legalization of Marijuana.” He will address how the decision by voters to legalize small amounts of marijuana for adult use is affecting his state of Colorado, and potentially the nation. The talk will be at the Center for the Arts Hall (formerly the CFA Cinema).

Hickenlooper was elected Colorado’s 42nd governor in 2010. A self-described “recovering geologist now on loan to public service,” he left the oilfields of western Colorado in the late 1980s and opened the state’s first brewpub. He went on to serve as mayor of Denver for eight years before running for, and being elected to, the governorship. Hickenlooper earned a BA in English and a MA in geology from Wesleyan.

Also on May 24 from noon to 1 p.m., Shumlin will speak at the Wesleyan Assembly and Alumni Association Meeting. At this annual meeting of the Alumni Association, chair Megan Norris ’83, P ’17 will share brief updates from the year on association priorities and Wesleyan fundraising. This year, the association also will present Distinguished Alumni Awards to Shumlin, David W. Knapp ’49, Russell Hardin, Jr. ’64, Rev. Edwin C. Sanders, II ’69, John M. Shapiro ’74, Karen E. Donfried ’84, Miguel Arteta ’89, and Jessica Posner Odede ’09. In addition, Stephen H. Oleskey ’64, P ’00 will be honored with an Outstanding Service Award.

Shumlin is the 81st governor of Vermont, elected in 2010. His public service career dates back more than three decades, when he was first elected to the Putney town select board at age 24. He went on to serve in the Vermont House of Representatives, followed by the Vermont Senate, where he was elected by his colleagues to lead the Senate as President pro tem. Shumlin is also the co-director, with his brother, of Putney Student Travel and National Geographic Student Expeditions, a company that sends students on educational programs and service projects around the globe. At Wesleyan, he majored in government.

Read more about Reunion & Commencement Weekend here, or see the latest news and full schedule for the weekend here.