Tag Archive for alumni

Hornstein, Hounsell ’11 Co-Author Paper in Journal of Economics and Business

Abigail Hornstein

Abigail Hornstein

Associate Professor of Economics Abigail Hornstein and James Hounsell ’11 are the authors of a new paper published in The Journal of Economics and Business titled “Managerial investment in mutual funds: Determinants and performance implications.”

In the paper, Hornstein and Hounsell examine what determines managerial investments in mutual funds, and the impacts of these investments on fund performance. By using panel data they show that investment levels fluctuate within funds over time, contrary to the common assumption that cross-sectional data are representative. Managerial investments reflect personal portfolio considerations while also signaling incentive alignment with investors. The impact of managerial investment on performance varies by whether the fund is solo- or team-managed. Fund performance is higher for solo-managed funds and lower for team-managed funds when managers invest more. These results are consistent with the higher visibility of solo managers, and less extreme investment returns of team-managed funds. The results suggest investors may not benefit from all managerial signals of incentive alignment as managerial investments also reflect personal portfolio considerations.

Read the full paper here.

On Site in Orlando with Lockwood ’93, NYC Red Cross CEO

Josh Lockwood ’93, CEO of the New York City region of the American Red Cross, visits scenes of tragedy, supporting his team members and those suffering loss.

Josh Lockwood ’93, CEO of the New York City region of the American Red Cross, visits scenes of tragedy, supporting his team members and those suffering loss.

Josh Lockwood ’93, CEO for the American Red Cross in Greater New York and co-chair of the national LGBT affinity group, is no stranger to disaster and tragedy in his workday. Heading the organization’s efforts within an area that is home to 13 million persons, he estimates that his chapter receives between five and 20 serious incident-calls each day. Red Crossvolunteers also travel to other states to help out. Lockwood recalls his response when the country awoke to the horrific news about the mass shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016.

“I’ve been on a disaster scene countless times and I’ve met families who have lost loved ones and had terrible moments,” he says. “Just seeing the images on that Sunday morning of what had happened at the Pulse nightclub was particularly affecting…and it seemed to be a moment where, if I could be helpful and play a role, I certainly would want to.

“I have a husband and I have a young son, and so I sat down with them that morning to explained where I was going and what I was doing. Our son is 6 years old, so we couched it for him. Then I headed to the airport—after stopping by our church and saying a prayer.”

Once in Orlando, he settled in at the Family Assistance Center, where the city of Orlando and the Red Cross were partnering to offer information and support to survivors, family and friends.

Says Lockwood, "It’s a special kind of person who can stand alongside someone receiving that news. Part of my role in Orlando was just to support the caregivers, support our team who was doing this very difficult work.”

Says Lockwood, “It’s a special kind of person who can stand alongside someone receiving the worst news imaginable. Part of my role in Orlando was just to support the caregivers, support our team who was doing this very difficult work.”

“It’s an incredibly challenging environment,” Lockwood explains. “We had large extended families, almost exclusively Latino families, huddled together, desperate to hear information. And not one family that was there when I was there received good news. It’s a special kind of person who can stand alongside someone receiving that news. Part of my role there was just to support the caregivers and support our team who was doing this very difficult work.”

Yet in the difficult work and heartbreaking sorrow, Lockwood remembers moments of awe. “I was at a small vigil a day after the shootings. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Orlando convened a meeting and a young man, Adrian, shared his story: He had been at the nightclub with his husband and their friends. When the shooting started, he thought he had been shot and raced out of the building. When he realized his husband wasn’t with him, he ran back into the club and the gunfire. In those desperate moments inside, he made eye contact with the shooter but couldn’t find his husband. Somehow he got out again. Then, 35 minutes later, as he stood behind a police barrier, he saw a solitary figure limping out of the back of the nightclub and it was his husband, Javier. But none their friends appeared. They all were murdered inside the club. What was so amazing about this young man was that he implored the audience to not act out of vengeance or anger. He kept saying ‘We’re all just people. We all just need to love each other a little bit more.’

“I was so inspired and moved by this young man who had the grace to share his story and a world view that challenged the audience to not react out of revenge and anger but from our better angels. Listening to Adrian helped to temper the confusion and anger that one feels after an attack like this.”

Now back in New York City, Lockwood continues to work with his colleagues in Orlando, hoping to provide some longer term mental health support for Adrian and his husband through the American Red Cross.

Additionally, he offers his reflections on service to the community, which was reinforced through his work in Orlando. “All of us feel the pressures of our busy schedules, between family, friends, and our work, but we all need to make time for something larger than ourselves. When people do engage that way, it enriches their lives and creates something they are proud of and really thrilled to have done. But—it does requires intentionality.”

Says Lockwood, "Sadly, what we, at the Red Cross know— through experience at scenes in Newtown, Charleston, N.C., and the Boston Marathon—is how to provide guidance to local groups and government about what the community needs might be in six weeks or six months or six years from now, as people started to think about moving beyond this and into the longer term.

Lockwood notes that, sadly, through experience at scenes in Newtown, Charleston, N.C., and the Boston Marathon, the Red Cross volunteers have learned how to provide guidance to local groups and government about community needs as people start to beyond the first moments of tragedy and into the future.

Junger ’84 Speaks on American Heroes for PBS News Hour

Journalist Sebastian Junger ’84 spoke on PBS NewsHour on 'American Heroes.'

Journalist Sebastian Junger ’84 spoke on PBS NewsHour on American heroes.

For the July 4 PBS News Hour, hosted by John Yang ’80, Sebastian Junger ’84 offered a video essay, his reflections on American heroes.

“Several years ago,” Junger begins,” I spent much of a deployment with a platoon of combat infantry at a remote outpost called Restrepo. It was named after a medic, PFC Juan Sebastiàn Restrepo, who was born in Columbia, emigrated to America as a child, and died fighting at the bottom of a hill in Afghanistan…. The platoon was in several hundred firefights that year. And everyone out there was almost killed. Yet over and over, I watched perfectly normal people risk their lives to keep others safe. No one was more important than anyone else—and race religion and politics had absolutely no relevance at Restrepo. It was the most profoundly egalitarian place I’d ever been.”

From these experiences, Junger and his colleague, the late photographer Tim Herrington, had created and directed a feature-length documentary about the Afghanistan war, Restrepo, in 2010.

In his essay, Junger uses this lens to consider the ideal that is America, offers examples of everyday heroism, and urges all of us—including those in “the halls of power”—to remember the promises of equality and justice on which the country was founded.

Hickenlooper ’74 Releases Engaging Memoir

The20Opposite20of20Woe20by20John20Hickenlooper-197x300Irrepressibly optimistic, funny, self-deprecating, at times self-doubting but driven to tackle difficult challenges. These are the qualities that shine through in John Hickenlooper ’74’s disarming autobiography, The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics (with Maximillan Potter; Penguin Press, 2016).

It was in a moment of self-doubt, or perhaps profound personal insight, that Hickenlooper chose Wesleyan over Princeton, having been accepted to both universities in 1970. He confesses now that he didn’t think he was good enough for Princeton, but then adds, “I had a feeling that Princeton would be a bit too conservative, too buzz-cut and buttoned-down for me, and that Wesu’s long-haired liberal arts types would be more my crowd.” He was right.

Hickenlooper’s time at Wesleyan was remarkable for its longevity, and he devotes three chapters to “That Decade I Spent in College.” With candor unlike any politician bent on image burnishing, he tells in detail how he had his heart broken in love. An English major, he discovered his interest in geology in the second semester of his senior year, when he attended a lecture with a friend and found himself captivated by a discussion of leach fields and perc tests. He stayed at Wesleyan as a special student to take courses specified by the Geology Department as a prerequisite to being admitted into the master’s degree program, which he received in 1980.

Sociologist Smith ’60: What the Stock Market Teaches Us

what the market teaches usCharles W. Smith ’60, professor of sociology emeritus at Queens College, City University of New York, spoke to News @ Wesleyan about his latest book, What the Market Teaches Us: Limitations of Knowing and Tactics for Doing (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Q: I was surprised to note that you are a sociologist, not an economist. How, then, did this lead you to studying the stock market?

Charles W. Smith: The sociology of knowledge—how do people make sense of the world—has been my intellectual pursuit for the past 50 years? We create narratives, not only in our minds, but also in out communities. The stock market is a perfect venue to study the ways that we make sense of what happens around us..

Q. Were you surprised by the stock market crash of 2008?

CWS: Market crashes are part of the market. Knowing when they will occur, however, is another thing. The market is subject to so many different forces that you never know when it will happen or how large it will be. That is one of the major lessons that the market teaches us.n.

Q: In light of this, how should we navigate the market?

Charlie Smith ’60, professor of sociology emeritus at Queens College, City University of New York, is the author of the recently released What the Market Teaches Us.

Charlie Smith ’60, professor of sociology emeritus at Queens College, City University of New York, is the author of the recently released What the Market Teaches Us.

CWS: In part III of the book, I examine some of the major tactics for doing just that. The key is to know how to “act sensibly” rather than trying to “make sense” of what is happening. Market accounts and predictions have their uses, but as any successful trader knows when the market becomes turbulent you need to know what actions to take and this requires grasping what is going on. In the book I compare it to kayaking and surgery— things will happen and you have to respond in the moment to what is happening.

Q: So what does the market teach us?

CWS: It teaches us that elegant market theories and narratives have their functions – without them there would be no market, but they can’t manage the  contingencies and fluctuations of the market. Much the same can be said of grand accounts in general. Human societies are grounded in what we accept as sensible accounts, but that doesn’t mean that they are factually correct. This explains why ideologies prove to be so dangerous. For me this is the most important lesson that the market teaches us. In this sense I like to think of the market as being supportive of critical and pragmatic thinking along the lines promoted by Wesleyan.

Q: Could you give a more detailed description of what you see to be such critical and pragmatic thinking?”

CWS: Freeing ourselves from ideologies by contrasting how we actually experience concrete practices and events as they unfold—rather than simply accepting and acting upon what established accounts would dictate.

Saint John ’99 Wows Crowd at Apple’s Developers Conference

Bozoma Saint John ’99, head of Apple Music, spoke at their Worldwide Design Conference. Photo by Justin Kaneps for Wired.

Bozoma Saint John ’99, head of Apple Music, spoke at their Worldwide Design Conference. (Photo by Justin Kaneps for Wired)

Bozoma Saint John ’99 took the stage at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), held this year in San Francisco, and stole the show. “It’s not just that Saint John, head of marketing for Apple Music, was a black female executive appearing onstage at WWDC. It was the way she commanded the room—and the show—that blew everyone away,” wrote Davey Albey for Wired.

Saint John, who spoke about Apple’s streaming music service, which now has 15 million users, had led Apple Music’s marketing division since April 2014, when Apple acquired Beats, the company she had joined three months previously. Prior to that, she led the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola’s North America division,

Noted for her impressive career around connecting musicians and artists with brands, Saint John has received accolades and awards from numerous organizations, including induction into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement. Her appearance at WWDC garnered articles in Fortune and Business Insider. Nevertheless, she does not let her success go to her head, notes Albey, and explores the ethos behind Saint John’s work with Tiffany Warren, chief diversity officer and  senior VP of Omnicon group, an advertising and marketing company.

“'[S]he turns around and gives it back immediately,’ says Warren. …’She’s an incredible sponsor and mentor to many.’” Saint John also returned to campus for WesFest, speaking to admitted students and their parents about her formative years at Wesleyan as the place where she began to think about a career in the music industry.

MSNBC’s Women in Politics, College Edition, Highlights Kate Cullen ’16

Kate Cullen on campus with South College and Memorial Chapel behind her.

Kate Cullen ’16, who served as president of Wesleyan Student Assembly was selected for MSNBC’s “Women in Politics: College Edition.”

Kate Cullen ’16, an earth and environmental science and history major from Bethesda, Md., was selected for MSNBC’s Women in Politics: College Edition series. The president of the Wesleyan Student Assembly, Cullen received the University’s nomination “as a leader making a difference not only through key issues on campus, but in bridging the gender gap in politics.” MSNBC plans to use the series to highlight women candidates and as a springboard for national conversations on women’s issues.

Cullen, who has “been fortunate to have a lot of strong female role models,” says she was motivated to work in student government by “making a tangible impact, whether through policy change, facilitated dialogue or a big community event…” Additionally, she notes, “I think student activism and free expression are of the utmost importance in fostering meaningful campus dialogues.”

Wesleyan Establishes Hamilton Prize for Creativity

Lin-Manuel Miranda ‘02, Hon. '15 and Thomas Kail ‘99 will serve as honorary chairs of the Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity judging committee. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)

At left, Lin-Manuel Miranda ‘02, Hon. ’15 and Thomas Kail ‘99 will serve as honorary chairs of the Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity judging committee. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)

On June 15, Wesleyan announced the establishment of the Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity, a four-year full-tuition scholarship that honors Lin-Manuel Miranda ‘02, Hon. ’15 and Thomas Kail ‘99, who created and directed the hit Broadway musical for which the prize is named.

The Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize will be awarded to the incoming student (beginning in the class of 2021) who has submitted a creative written work—whether fiction, poetry, lyrics, play, script, nonfiction or other expression—judged to best reflect originality, artistry and dynamism. Miranda and Kail will serve as honorary chairs of the judging committee, which will be composed of other Wesleyan alumni and faculty.

The Broadway musical Hamilton, written by and starring Miranda and directed by Kail, has taken the country by storm and on June 12 won 11 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, and many others. It had received a record-breaking 16 nominations. Steeped in history and uncannily responsive to contemporary culture, it is an extraordinary artistic achievement at once traditional and experimental.

“I’m truly honored and excited that Wesleyan has created this prize,” Miranda said. “Wesleyan nurtures creativity and encourages students to make connections across disciplines. I got my shot at Broadway thanks to the start I had as an artist in this environment, and I hope this prize will help other young writers to get their start.”

Kail added: “Learning to tell a compelling story that will engage an audience is the hardest task for any writer, and I’m delighted that Wesleyan is recognizing and encouraging young people to persevere as writers.”

The winner of the prize will be selected by a panel of distinguished faculty and alumni, including Miranda and Kail. Interested students will be able to submit their creative work along with their application for admission. More information is available on The Hamilton Prize website.

Hamilton’s source is a historical biography by Ron Chernow, which Miranda transformed into a hip-hop opera that draws on Broadway traditions in profoundly original ways.

Hamilton is a major event, and this is a major prize,” said President Michael Roth ’78. “Wesleyan has had a strong history of great writing. From poet laureate Richard Wilbur back in the days when I was a student to novelist Amy Bloom and playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes today, dynamic writers have made our campus their home.

“The tension between the traditional and experimental,” he added, “continues to energize students here – from the graphic novelist getting work out to new audiences to the slam poet or songwriter wowing fellow students to the screenwriter eager to follow in the footsteps of Wesleyan alumni like Matthew Weiner or Joss Whedon, to name just two.

“The Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity signals our pride in creative endeavors of all kinds.”

Read Roth’s Huffington Post essay on the Hamilton Prize.

NYT: Carter ’88 Opens High-End Coffee Shop in South Bronx

Majora Carter ’88, center, marks a coffee cup, as she takes an order at the Birch coffee shop she and her husband recently opened in the South Bronx. Photo credit: Edwin J. Torres for The New York Times See the photo series>

Majora Carter ’88, center, marks a coffee cup, as she takes an order at Birch Coffee. She and her husband recently opened the coffee shop in the South Bronx. (Photo by Edwin J. Torres for The New York Times)

“Is gentrification next?” asks the New York Times in a May 31, 2016 article by Jeff Gordinier. Majora Carter ’88, who is from the South Bronx, and her husband and business partner, James Chase, teamed up with Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader, entrepreneurs who created Birch Coffee. The result: they have brought “exposed brick, reclaimed wood and $2.75 macchiatos” to “a stretch of Hunts Point Avenue dominated by dime stores, bodegas and auto shops.”

To those who say they feel as though they are in Manhattan by the vibe in the shop, Carter responds, “’You know what? You are in the Bronx, and we can have this here as well.’”

Additionally, Gordinier notes that the fact of Carter’s longtime advocacy for the community does alleviate neighborhood concerns that the shop signals a trend toward pricey gentrification. Beginning with Sustainable South Bronx, which she founded in 2001, Carter has used her entrepreneurial skills to provide services, employment, and programs for the community in which she was raised. She and her husband put up the funds to begin this venture, since an upscale cafe in the Bronx was not an attractive risk to financial institutions they’d approached.

“And why should Manhattan have a monopoly on macchiato?” Gordinier concludes rhetorically. “’We like to see the work that we do as self-gentrification,’ Carter said. ‘People in low-status communities like nice things, too.’”

 

Fernandez Goodman ’04 Named an Outstanding Young Omahan

Mosah Fernandez Goodman ’04, counsel with Gavilon, was named an outstanding young Omahan by the Jaycees.

Mosah Fernandez Goodman ’04, of counsel with Gavilon, was named an outstanding young Omahan by the Jaycees.

Mosah Fernandez Goodman ’04 was named one of 10 in the TOYO! group—Ten Outstanding Young Omahans—by the Omaha Jaycees. The honor goes to those “who have exemplified the ideals of their communiites and exhibited extraordinary leadership qualities,” improving their community through both acts of selflessness and professional excellence.

Fernandez Goodman, who earned his Wesleyan bachelor’s degree in theater and his MALS with a concentration in the social sciences, received his JD/MBA at the University of Iowa, where he served as vice president of the graduate student body. Upon graduating from Iowa, he joined Gavilon, a commodity management firm, where he currently serves as counsel. While at Gavilon, he has managed the construction of Gavilon’s downtown headquarters, supported various business development efforts and has worked on a variety of legal and compliance issues. He is a founding member of is 24hoursofimpact.com and continues his involvement in that initiative.

Feldstein ’15 Dubbed ‘Breakout’ for Neighbors 2

With Yahoo's Kevin Polowy, Beanie Feldstein ’15 dishes about behind the scenes in Neighbors 2 versus her real-life college experience.

With Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy, Beanie Feldstein ’15 dishes about behind the scenes in Neighbors 2, versus her real-life college experience.

“There is an entire neighborhood full of funny people in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” wrote Kevin Polowy, senior editor at Yahoo! Movies. “But some of the film’s biggest laughs belong to newcomer Beanie Feldstein, who makes her major-studio movie debut as the party-hearty sorority pledge Nora.”

Feldstein ’15, a Los Angeles, Calif. native and sociology major at Wesleyan has been acting on stage since she was 5, with “three to six musicals a year every singer year from 5 to 22,” ending last year with graduation.

She tells Yahoo that Neighbors 2 was not a typecasting situation: “My college experience was nothing like Nora’s. I was such a lame person. I had never done drugs. They had to teach me how to use a lighter, and how to inhale. That scene where I smoke weed in the movie was actually my first time smoking anything.”

Also invited to appear on the Conan O’Brien Show, Feldstein recalls more of her college career: four years as a tour guide. “My friends like to call me TGB—Tour Guide Beanie—and it’s an entirely different person than me. I’m already pretty peppy, but she’s on a whole other level. I could sell anything at that point—I mean Wesleyan’s really easy to sell; it’s a great place.”

Sprinkles Founder Nelson ’96 Highlights Frosting Demos at New Store

Candace Nelson ’96 has opened the 20th Sprinkles Cupcakes Store in Disney Springs.

Candace Nelson ’96 has opened the 20th Sprinkles Cupcakes Store at Disney Springs, in Orlando, Fla.

In a video interview with central Florida’s WESH to celebrate the opening of the newest location of Sprinkles Cupcakes at Disney Springs, the store’s founder Candace Nelson ’96 offered a brief frosting tutorial.

“All of our cupcakes at Sprinkles are hand-frosted,” she noted. “You can actually come to our store at Disney Springs and see those cupcakes being frosted in our frosting theater. All of our frosters are in a cute little window so you can see them do their magic at Sprinkles.”

Additionally, she said that cupcakes ATMs are open until 2 a.m. for those on the late-night prowl: “It’s technology and pleasure coming together in the form of a cupcake.”

“We had a line of 100 people deep when we opened on Sunday and it has been going strong ever since, and we are so grateful,” she said. The popularity of the store, she said, is based on the company’s “commitment to quality, freshness, wonderful flavors, with someone for everyone.” Sprinkles now offers gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free treats in addition to the original signature cupcakes.

Nelson opened her first store in Beverly Hills with her husband Charles in 2005, a story that appeared in the Wesleyan magazine in 2010. It was one of the first cupcake-only bakeries, although has expanded its line to include cookies and ice cream, as well. The Disney Springs location is store No. 20.